April 30, 2006

Long weekends are bliss

And the best part of them is usually Sunday night: realizing that instead of having to go back to the office tomorrow morning I have another day off.

Although it was the Queensday weekend here in the Netherlands I have managed to stay away from pretty much all of the mayhem. I'm not a traditional Queensday party-goer, but this year I really didn't feel like going out and joining the drunken masses in Amsterdam/Den Haag/Utrecht/wherever. And it was very cold anyway!

But, I did end up having a fabulous weekend!

Last night, I was taken out for a gorgeous Japanese dinner at Genki-Tei. One of the most popular Japanese restaurants in Den Haag, but I'm embarassed to admit that I had never been there before. So, we had a huge meal of all types of kushiyaki, tempura, miso shiru, plain white rice, Asahi & Kirin... hmm, fun evening! Also because I was introducing everything to someone who had never eaten Japanese ever before.

Then today was an incredibly lazy day, at the beach! After yesterday's cold but this morning's bright blue sky, we decided to go to the beach for coffee and lunch. We hung out in this funky place: Strandclub WIJ. The food (and wallpaper!) there is great, I so much want to try out the decadent Sunday breakfast once... it looks amazing! So does the Tuesday night lobster menu, actually.
The sun finally broke during lunch so we moved outside where we chilled out with more coffee, slowly moving on to wine while enjoying the company, reading the paper, loving the sun. Ah, bliss...

And then there's still tomorrow. I don't know why I have the day off, but I'm not complaining. Hopefully I can get some necessary stuff done - job hunting stuff, preparing a meeting, sending off packages to faraway countries, etc. And in between have lunch, hopefully catch some sun and enjoy one of the last days before total chaos starts at the office on Tuesday...

April 27, 2006

TOD - The politics of oil: the discourse must change

Although a US-minded post, a good article by the Oil Drum editors to influence the debate on energy policy:


We strongly feel that the leaders of both political parties are not only headed in the wrong direction with respect to gas prices, but we also worry that they fundamentally misunderstand the factors behind the current situation at gasoline stations around the US. Public statements by political figures over the past several days would seem to suggest that oil companies and their record profits are the sole factor determining the price of gasoline. Not only is this untrue, but it is dangerous to give the American people the impression that only oil companies are to blame. The American people need to understand that the phenomenon of high gas prices cannot be attributed to a single source. They also need to understand that no one political party will be able to fix our current woes.


The political discourse on this topic is simply so devoid of fact, and constructive discourse so buried and out of the mainstream, that we felt we needed to raise a voice of reason. Public officials will continue to misinform and obfuscate if we allow it.

The only solution is to educate the public about the most important problem we face as a generation. We, the citizens of the US and the world, must move our attention to this the issue of energy more than any other. We must hold our representative governments accountable for having an open and honest debate on the subject.

Simply put, we must learn more about where our energy comes from.


April 20, 2006

April 19, 2006


If I ever thought this was just something that you do while you are studying [like writing a thesis], but that would stop after you graduate, I was wrong.

Despite my continuing complaints about not having a proper job I have to admit that I haven't been looking particularly hard lately. Argh.

Why aren't I doing more?

- My current work is actually busy, and to be honest, it's becoming too comfortable. Exactly what my colleagues have warned me about, and why I resisted the contract for as long as I did.
You've got to admit though that going to Russia is a pretty cool trade-off for losing a bit of drive in my search for a new job. Right? *looks around desperately for some confirmation...*
In any case, I need to win the champagne that a colleague has promised if I make it out by the end of the year....

- I've been trying to find a bit of volunteer work to do. This, however, is failing miserably. Even for volunteer jobs I apparently need relevant work experience. Come on people, give me a break.... Pffff.

- It's spring! Or at least, I'm desperately trying to believe it is.... What can I say, it's cause for some distraction lately. Fun, but not so productive from a jobhunting point of view...

I'll better my ways though, also as far as the writing for this blog goes ;)

April 16, 2006

More on books

Continuing on from the book posts below, I just found out that there's a new David Mitchell book out! Black Swan Green

He's one of my favourite current writers, and can't wait to get my hands on this (after I've read the big stack of books that I have waiting...). Haven't seen any reviews yet though. Has anyone out there read it? Heard about it? Would love to hear some comments!

Name-that-song, by Stef Kamil Carlens

Four-day-weekends are bliss! And it's only halfway, I love it. Can we have this more often?


Last night I was in Rotterdam, at the Motel Mozaique festival. Good night, unfortunately it was way too crowded so we didn't get to see much of many bands though. Quite liked The Veils, which I hadn't heard of before.

Definite highlight of the evening was the Zita Swoon ‘Band in a Box’ performance though. I was reminded again why I like that band so much. Brilliant brilliant gig.

I love how this band performs old songs but in a different way, how their music is actually exciting and unpredictable, how they manage to make their shows different. Although this gig was inside the quite ugly Rotterdam theatre the setting was very nice. The band played in the middle of the space, with the audience sitting on pillows on the floor. About threequarters through the guy in front of us, who was sitting right in front of the singer, jumped up and started dancing. After which everyone automatically jumped up and started dancing.

Although I'm quite happy that this band isn't selling out big stadiums. I prefer them small and being their fun self. Now if only Stef Kamil Carlens would stop wearing only pink and get rid of his earring...

April 08, 2006

All-Round Reader

I just took this on-line test about reading personalities. Usually these things are not too interesting, and in a sense my result is easy to achieve but it still makes sense to me.

Apparently I'm an all-round reader:
Your responses showed you fitting equally into all four reading personalities:

Involved Reader
: You don't just love to read books, you love to read about books. For you, half the fun of reading is the thrill of the chase - discovering new books and authors, and discussing your finds with others.
Yep, that sounds about right. I make an effort to read the Friday bookpages in the newspaper and in magazines. And I make note of recommendations that I hear about through friends.

Exacting Reader: You love books but you rarely have as much time to read as you'd like - so you're very particular about the books you choose.
This is quite true as well. I love to read, and I'll read loads of different things, but I won't quickly pick up a book that I've only heard mediocre things about. And, if I'm not into the book within say 50 pages I'll put it away again. Luckily this doesn't happen a lot!

Serial Reader: Once you discover a favorite writer you tend to stick with him/her through thick and thin.
Yes, I have a few favourite writers and I'll buy anything from them when it comes out without knowing what it's about or how it has been reviewed (at the moment these authors are David Mitchell and Haruki Murakami)

Eclectic Reader: You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors.
Uhuh, I probably have books in any genre on my bookshelf and love them too. Fantasy, romantic drama, political intrige, mystery etc. I also read different languages so I'm not too stuck by just reading contemporary English-language lit. And although I tend to read mostly fiction, I'm now waiting impatiently for a few non-fiction books to come in on 'cosmopolitanism' and economic reform... I guess I need a bit of intellectual challenge again now that I'm not getting that at my work!

Speaking of books, I had a very pleasant surprise yesterday. Through an internet-book-exchange I came home yesterday to find a package containing a book from Finland. It looks really really cool, so can't wait to get started on it!

I will be updating more soon...

... but in most recent good news:

picked up my Russian visa this week! Woohoo!

Don't understand what it says as it's all in cyrillic, but my name is in there, as is the expiry date: 1 April 2007. And it's apparently multiple entry. Ha!

So, I should be learning Russian as I hope to be making maximum use of it over the next year. And if anyone has tips on Moscow (cheapish and safe accomodation, places to eat, things to do) before I get a guidebook, I'd love to hear about it!