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June 09, 2008

Game on!

Writing about web page http://www.telesport.nl/voetbal/ek_2008/4194109/_Van_Nistelrooy_niet_buitenspel__.html?p=3,1

Hurrah!

I don’t care if we peaked too soon, this was a great match to remember – first win over Italy since before I was born!

And: the first goal wasn’t off-side! Apparently, the defender had enough time to join the game again, and cannot put a striker in an off-side position by staying off the field. Double hurrah!

And: none of the Dutch players seemed too bored or incompetent to join in the game. Triple hurrah!


March 03, 2008

No limits

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7274259.stm

Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing. I can say almost anything I want on this blog, although with the slight restriction of a personal responsibility to censor myself:

The test here is not whether you, or your peers, find content offensive; it is whether such content could be deemed offensive to others.

Should public figures, government officials in particular, be held to such censorship as well? A country has a certain image to uphold, and the more prominent a representative becomes, the more synonymous he or she will be for the country’s image in the rest of the world.

At the moment, it seems the Netherlands has turned from the country of clogs, tulips, prostitution, and legalised drugs into the country of Wilders: a country where a limited number of muslims are welcome, as long as they agree to be ridiculed.

You would think that an MP or similar official would operate in the country’s best interest, whilst not ignoring his or her own beliefs and ideals. But where is the line?

Is there a line?


February 02, 2008

Voor mama

And this is why you should always read the label for washing instructions!

Dieforit

January 29, 2008

I was in Boston

... a few weeks ago. Hence the new banner.

For more photos, go here
or here.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to join facebook to see them!

Edit: P.S. I should probably mention somewhere I created the banner using Autostitch on nine separate photos…


October 10, 2007

Kiefer Sutherland behind bars, in real life

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7037022.stm

Under a deal with prosecutors, the star will serve the sentence during breaks in filming for his hit TV drama, 24.

Fair enough, but:

Sutherland also received a six-month driving ban, and was ordered to attend alcohol education classes for 18 months and weekly alcohol therapy sessions for six months.

Can you imagine Jack Bauer without the aid of a beast of a car?


July 25, 2007

Sometimes I wonder

Writing about web page http://environment.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn12346&feedId=online-news_rss20

Have these people seriously never played Sim City?


June 19, 2007

Boxes

Writing about web page http://money.uk.msn.com/student/fundingandloans/jobs/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5281595

it has to be said, that your typical maths undergraduate doesn’t look the sort to have had quite the same university ‘experience’ as, say, their drama-studying counterparts.

Is this supposed to be a snipe to maths students (being geeky and studying) or to drama students (being lazy and partying)?


June 01, 2007

2 for 1

Aren’t you lucky? I’ve had another week of all fun and little work (although my article is ready to be submitted now) as my friend Arielle from Holland was here, and I’ve decided to tell you all about it!

Well, not all. I’ll cut it down to two cultural “events” in London. I guess you wouldn’t be interested in our marathon Six Feet Under and cups-of-tea sessions.

The National Portrait Gallery

In numerous visits to London, I’ve managed to avoid this place, but trying to do something different every day, its day had come. It turns out the National Portrait Gallery is a gigantic history book – which is a good thing. Whereas most museums just tell you what’s on the painting, and maybe a little bit about the painter, the NPG seems to understand that quite a lot of paintings are actually rubbish, or at least uninteresting. So instead they give us more background on the people depicted, and thus you follow the history of Britain through portraits of monarchs and their relatives, and, more interestingly, politicians and their personalities. Although the collection might not be as magnificent as the National Gallery’s next door, as a museum it is far more enjoyable and educational than its neighbour.

Dave Matthews Band – Wembley Arena

Mixed. Awful support act: Tom Morello (ex-RATM, Audioslave). Too political for a British audience (who here cares about Chavez?), often anachronistic (a song for the men and women of the Union?!), generally out of tune, and actually not even funny. He was better when he played with DMB for two songs, but again not convincing.

Dave and his band then. The set list was good. Quite a few big songs were missing (Crush, Crash Into Me, Lover Lay Down, Everyday) but then they played a few new ones, 3 out of 4 were actually really good, the fourth one a bit repetitive (but as such might be great once you know it). Having just checked out the songs on iTunes (on the album Stand Up), I can tell you that they’re much richer and more interesting live, mainly as melodies are now played by brass and the great violinist Rashawn Ross.

The main problem with the night was Dave’s voice. He already apologized after the introduction that it was a bit squeeky, and although he didn’t miss any important notes, he refrained from even trying some of them, and his voice lacked the power to linger in the arena. As a result, the concert was a bit static – not helped by the audience including me staying in their seats until the encores – and the apparent energy hardly reached the audience until the second half of the set.

Overall, I can’t complain. The high ticket price was practically justified by the long set (nearly three hours); musically it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever witnessed; everyone can have a sore throat – heck I’ve got one after every choir rehearsal!


April 19, 2007

Schnitzel and Strudel

One thing to remember when in Vienna:
The kezboard is messed up, as the z and y are switched. It also has buttons for üöä and the @ is hidden on Q.

I could probablz write a whole entrz about the kezboard, but that would be wee bit pointless. Also, I shall now try to hit the z and y in the appropriate places.

It’s been 5 days now, and here’s a list of what I’ve done. I could try and write prose, but I like lists better.

I rushed through Frankfurt Airport and just about made it to my connecting flight. This is not interesting, but the flight was filled with people carrying posters for the conference, which makes it a bit more amusing.

I picked up my badge and infoterial from the conference and skived the first two days for sightseeing.

I saw the Albertina, got refused entry to the Kunsthistorisch Museum, saw the Leopold Museum, and the MUMOK.

I was very depressed. I didn’t only miss WiM (friends and music), but Austrian art (Klimt, Schiele, Art Nouveau) is amongst the most gloomy stuff on this planet.

I saw Schönbrunn. The inside only cheered me up mildly, and mainly because they had an allegorical ceiling fresco where the Austro-Hungarian provinces were depicted with metaphors. It was good. The rest of the palace not so much, unless you like Sissi.

The outside of Schönbrunn was much better! Beautiful setting on a hillside with fountains and flowers and a zoo and I saw a white handed gibbon (in the zoo) and emperor penguins and more and I used the macro function in the palm house and it was hotter outside than in the desert house.

And after sweating and getting all schmutzig I even made it to the conference to attend three lectures. One about guinness, one by a Dutchman, and one I fell asleep in.

Wednesday I chatted to people who are studying Sahara sand. It was mightily interesting and vaguely related to my research. I also chatted to a guy from Finland who was very friendly and gave me some references for further research. Met up with my roommate for dinner and bought The Feeling CD to get over depression.

Today I spent the whole day in the conference hall near my poster, hoping someone would ask questions. Some people did. But now I’m exhausted.

Had the best meal: wurstknüdeln mit sauerkraut. Will try and get a recipe. Time’s up!


April 01, 2007

My sister was here, part II

This weekend my older sister, Kirsten, came to visit. We had lots of fun. Legged lots of miles. Did lots of shopping. And saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, which was a gay joyeous occasion! Here’s a nice 2/5 family photo for you:

Kirsten in England 8

More photos here


March 08, 2007

The irony is lost on me

And the irony of PSV hero Alex’s links with Chelsea did not escape the beaten Wenger.

The reporting on the PSV – Arsenal matches of the past two weeks has been truly appalling. From Russian mafia conspiracy theories to negative tactics to the worst football product in recent years. And I don’t even read the Sun.

Simple fact: PSV scored more goals than Arsenal (in fact, they scored all goals). You generally don’t advance without scoring a goal. You cannot blame the other team for having a better understanding of this concept.

Here’s another one: PSV, with Valencia, are the only club left in the Champions League not amongst the 20 richest football clubs in Europe. Why? Because it’s not in the Premier League! It might be hard to believe, but football clubs outside the UK tend not to make so much money (one reason is that admission prices are below an average working day salary), and thus don’t have much to spend on the best of the best. Great local talent is snatched away – to be fair, PSV does the same locally, by attracting youngsters from smaller Dutch clubs, but only for them to be lured away by the money making machines elsewhere. And even if you’re lucky on the transfer market, your star player will not stay for more than two years. It’s only a matter of time until Farfan enters the global spotlight.

With restricted means, you have to be clever. Guus Hiddink managed to take PSV to the second round in the Champions League twice in a row with two rather dissimilar teams. He had a slightly more versatile selection than Ronald Koeman is managing this year, so he could be a bit more adventurous, but the big difference with PSV’s game from the 1990s is its serenity. The defence is solid, and with arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, there isn’t a lot of pressure on the team to make the game. And that one goal will come, as we’ve seen twice now.

A report in the Guardian noted more irony: how Arsenal appears to be the last stronghold of the revelled Dutch total football, whereas one cannot get further away from this system than with Dutch champions PSV’s game. Or even worse: how if PSV are the Dutch champions, the quality of the Dutch league must be rather poor. But who is to blame?

PSV manages to get maximum return out of its input. Perhaps it’s a shame it involves “negative tactics” and a star player on loan from a competitor. Perhaps it’s more of a shame it had to resort to such means, forced by the economic ways of the game.


March 06, 2007

But nowadays

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6412083.stm

28. People go to hospital to become ill.
Jan Podsiadly, Cheam

There’s more where that came from!


March 02, 2007

When the world ends

Sometimes you feel you’ve seen all you need to see before you die. [1] Last night, me and my friend Mikey witnessed a guitar master class, not so much by Dave Matthews, but rather his buddy Tim Reynolds. An Acoustic Evening with Dave Matthews thus became An Acoustic Evening with Dave Matthews and Guitar Magician and One Man Band Tim Reynolds. The following clip is from the Belfast show (we were in Manchester last night), and is a bit blurry, and doesn’t show that much, but I hope you can still recognize Mr Reynolds’ awesomeness! (He’s the guy on the left)

The show was sort of an updated version of what you can hear on Live at Luther College , possibly only interesting for music or guitar students. As we were listening to The Feeling on the way there, I got a bit worried, as Dave’s songs often aren’t as catchy single material, and Dave can get carried away letting his voice hover over the chords, but it was all good: Mikey thought it was more than worth the drive along many roadworks, and now wants the magic distortion box that Tim used.

1 Don’t worry, this is not a suicide note.


February 18, 2007

As I lay awake

I wonder:

Has the year gone by so swiftly?

But no. A billion people around the world are celebrating new year today. And a few of them are just around the corner from my house to let me know. Thanks. I hope you enjoy it. Goodnight.


February 09, 2007

Late confirmation

Yes, I have noticed the snow.

Snow 2007

A strong message

Follow-up to It could be Rotterdam from [TBA]

Also writing about the following news item.

Feyenoord has been ejected from the UEFA Cup, and here’s what wise man and new UEFA president Michel Platini has to say about it:

This sends out a strong message that acts of violence by fans within the game will be heavily dealt with and punished by the relevant authorities.

A bit of a shame that the message has been delivered to the wrong people. The key word is, as usual, fans, for are those who illegally obtain tickets to football matches, and then end up disrupting the match, really what you would like to call supporters?

I understand the UEFA is not in the easiest position, punishing a club for something it actually could not prevent, but someone needed to be punished. But then to declare that justice has been served is a complete farce, and creates sympathy for the big clubs who want to break away from this archaic institution with its maze of fictional rules and regulations.


January 31, 2007

You will be sadly missed

Follow-up to Impulse from [TBA]

That’s the tagline on my latest temptation to keep me from my PhD: the Six Feet Under complete DVD collection. It looks stunning and murky, just like the show! Got to prepare my class for tomorrow though, but lots of dark fun will be had in the next few weeks!


January 26, 2007

Impulse

I feel a bit sick :-/

I just spent a load of money on a boxset of one of the best TV shows ever broadcast. And this is after I received the first series of The Sopranos this morning.

Maybe it would be best if the maths department would keep hold of my salary until I actually need it…

To make me feel better I’m planning to spend the whole weekend reading up on cloud physics and parallel programming.

Sometimes I wonder whether my cells were leftovers and outcasts and decided the only way to survive was to form me.


January 21, 2007

Country Gem

Honestly, country music is a goldmine! The easy rhythm helps me get into a steady workpace too! Anyway – here are the lovely lyrics to Jason Aldean’s very catchy Amarillo Sky:

He gets up before the dawn
Packs a lunch an’ a thermos full of coffee
It’s another day in the dusty haze
Those burnin’ rays are wearin’ down his body
The diesels worth the price of gold
It’s the cheapest grain he’s ever sold
But he’s still holdin’ on

He just takes the tractor another round
An’ pulls the plow across the ground
And sends up another prayer
He says: “Lord, I never complain, I never ask: ‘Why?’
“Please don’t let my dreams run dry
“Underneath, underneath this Amarillo Sky”

That hail storm back in ‘83
Sure did take a toll on his family
But he stayed strong and carried on
Just like his Dad and Granddad did before him
On his knees every night
He prays: “Please let my crops and children grow”
‘Cause that’s all he’s ever known

He just takes the tractor another round
An’ pulls the plow across the ground
And sends up another prayer
He says: “Lord, I never complain, I never ask: ‘Why?’
“Please don’t let my dreams run dry
“Underneath, underneath this Amarillo Sky”

An’ he takes the tractor another round (Another round)
Another round (Another round)
Another round
An’ he takes the tractor another round, another round
He says: “I never complain, I never ask: ‘Why?’
“Please don’t let my dreams run dry
“Underneath, underneath this Amarillo Sky
“Underneath this Amarillo Sky”


January 19, 2007

It could be Rotterdam

i think they should throw the whole of holland out of all competitions. I t was good enough for the english in 1985 when those liverpool fans went on their rampage so it must be good enough for everyone else.
Ian
Evertonian

Sometimes I wonder if internet access to the general public is desirable.

If a club warns their competitor hooligans are on their way, acquiring illegal tickets on the streets, and the other ignores the warnings, who is to blame? In this way, a club could even be intentionally negligent and admit hooligans – supposedly the opponent’s supporters – thus causing the opponent to be expelled from the competition.

I wonder what spurred UEFA’s turnaround…


December 07, 2006

For visual thinkers…

Writing about web page http://www.visualthesaurus.com/

This may seem egotistical, but the way I think fascinates me.

Like, when someone sings a random tune at me I find it nearly impossible to sing it back, and when someone tells, or asks, me something that is lacking in punctuation or is spoken with a strong accent I can hardly remember what has been said.

But, as soon as it is written down, or I can see it, then I’m fine.

This is probably all linked to the way that I see everything subtitled.

I discovered today, that there now is a Visual Thesaurus that shows links between words, as a mindmap, just like in my head.

Happiness.


November 13, 2006

Why the warning?

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/insite/newsandevents/notices/stagecoachbuspasses/

I’m really confused – is warning everyone about bus pass and bus ticket spot checks a legal requirement, like TV licensing needing to get a warrant before searching a house for a TV?

It seems a very odd thing to announce…


October 05, 2006

Public announcement

Writing about A New Beginning from [TBA]

As hinted on Thor’s blog and for those of you I haven’t bumped into recently or seen my Facebook profile.

Rich and I are engaged

For those of you who wondered why it took us so long, you should know the standards I laid out for the proposal.

  1. I had to be warm / cosy
  2. I had to be able to see the sea
  3. It couldn’t be in Coventry (implied by no. 1 and 2)
  4. No Revvers could be around (which ruled out an Omi – Kev copycat proposal at a Rev event)

Rich got full marks in all of these, going to the impressive lengths of proposing on top of a hill overlooking Barcelona, and hence the sea!

So far, we have:

  • 1 church booked (Westwood)
  • 1 1/2 bridesmaids (one who’s very excited, the half bridesmaid being the one I haven’t asked yet)
  • 1 member of a worship band
  • A first pass at a wedding list
  • Someone to marry
Any suggestions for reception venues would be gratefully received!

September 22, 2006

Print–your–own postage stamps

Writing about web page http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/jump3?catId=400043&mediaId=26800663

This seems really useful, as it is so much easier (for me) to print a stamp when I need one rather than buying a book of stamps once a year from a Post Office, but what happens if the stamp is printed with an inkjet printer, gets wet and the ink runs?

Will the Post Office charge the receiver in the same way as when a stamp falls off a letter? or will they check the details in some other way (like cross-matching the receiver address with the stamp database)?

And do you think you can print onto normal paper and glue the stamp to the envelope or do you have to use labels? I can’t see it being used widely if you have to print onto the envelope (sure to cause a paper jam) or buy a set of labels!

It also says:

Post your mail by the end of the next working day after purchase

What happens if you forget? is it not delivered? Does it cost more?

I suppose I should be putting all this into the feedback form

So, has anyone tried the online stamps? Do they work?

September 21, 2006

BBC Stats

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/live_stats/html/

Is it just me who thinks the stats from the BBC News website are fascinating…?

The slider of popular stories is simple but clever, and the difference between most popular and most emailed is interesting. Especially seeing what type of articles are emailed to friends, i.e the article entitled, “Vitamin may block MS disability” is number 5 on most emailed list, but doesn’t even appear on the most read. It shows people care…