Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.                 /T. Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky, p. 349/

Friday, 20 December 2013

Precision Packing

I am sure you've all had those moments when stuff just wouldn't fit. Tonight I was on the verge of looking up that awesome packing video on youtube (but didn't, until after). But years of scouting (and for those of you who know me, years packing too much) have brought me to the new level: now I sometimes shave down what I'll bring.

I am still wondering if not taking running shoes was a right idea, but only time will tell, I guess. I did bring the rest. BRING IT ON, WIZZAIR!
Before:
After:

And just to be clear: things on the right on the after picture are going in my pockets. And the disc could've potentially fitted in as well.

And that's it. If you haven't, you really should check out "Packing Like a Pro" on youtube.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

UN investigates Zwarte Piet for racism?

Well, with great cultural power comes great er... respon... err.. complications.

Below, excerpts. See more here.

A letter (published by NRC) from the Chair-Rapporteur from the Working Group on people of African descent stated that the UN has received information that the character and image Zwarte Piet perpetuate a stereotyped image of African people and people of African descent as second-class citizens, fostering an underlying sense of inferiority within Dutch society and stirring racial differences as well as racism.

He added that the government is aware the people’s opinions of the festival differ and that "the Dutch government is aware that 'Black Pete' is considered by some to be offensive." He also noted that complaints to anti-discrimination offices about Zwarte Piet have been increasing in recent years: from three or four a year in Amsterdam up to 2010, then 113 in 2011 and a record 204 in 201[2].

Henk Leegte, who organises the Amsterdam procession, said he is happy to discuss possible changes with protestors in January. He also says he understands their objections to the curly hair, black make-up, red lips and gold earrings. "I can personally propose beginning by giving one hundred out of the five hundred Piets a different appearance," he said. It is, however, it is too late to make changes this year, as the procession is due to take place on November 17.


From: United Nations investigates Zwarte Piet for racism (23 October 2013, by Alexandra Gowling): http://www.iamexpat.nl/read-and-discuss/expat-page/news/united-nations-investigates-zwarte-piet-racism-netherlands#sthash.BF98C35s.dpuf

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Clowns in the morning hours (or A'dam - Ede - Arnhem - Ede)

I had a VERY interesting night. It finished at 06:40 AM. :)

So I go on the train, right, to Ede-W. I nod off between Driebergen and Veenendaal; whooh, that was close. "Should maybe stay awake for the next stop," I think to myself. Yeah, about that.
As it's only 5 minutes, I should've just ... got up, walk around a bit, stand by the door.
  Well, I didn't.

Instead, I wake up in Arnhem. On the last train of the night. Whoops. I get out, too sleepy to even remember to ask the conductors, when the next train is leaving or what the taxi number is or if, by chance, one of them lives in Ede.. So I go out and think a bit - with a slight drizzle, I go to stand below a nice tree. I put on some extra clothes (thank god for layers! (I had a nice shirt with me, and additional thin sweater, so good on me:)) and I see a naked man, walking down the street.

I mean, either he was naked or he had a see-through everything. I was pretty sure I could see some "bouncy-action" happening down THERE. Anyway, I can only see him for 10 seconds or so, as he goes into this alley and vanishes. This wakes me up completely and puts a huge smile on my face: life is crazy indeed! I will never say "I've seen it all," because life just keeps bringing up surprises for me:)

Anyways, I decided to check the train station again, for train schedule (why I went to a nearby park was .. well, I needed to get some of the tea we had, out), but it was closed. Euuh, OK. So I put on some music and as that didn't work for me, I put on a really nice podcast (Stuff to blow your mind) - just geeky and serious enough for me.

So I walk around, right, Arnhem - phuh, what's there to see at 2 AM? I check some store fronts, see three shops selling wedding dresses (apparently they are a huge thing in Arnhem - not the dresses, they're normal, the weddings, I mean), a games shop, etc. A guy on a motorcycle passes me twice. I mark him down as a potential threat to look out for. (Or just a local dude with nothing to do.)

So I walk down the street and a guy with two white bags in his hand looks like he's just closing up for the night. By the look of the bags, he's got Chinese or some food shop. We pass each-other, I say "hi!" and as he almost goes into his car, he turns around and asks: "hhfas fsahlkjfasldj". Mhm? I took my earphones out and ask him: "I'm sorry, what?"
"Are you hungry?" he asks.
I'm like: "Well, yes, a bit."
"Here, take this." He gives me a bag of fries! "It's not so warm anymore," he adds after a fashion.
"Wow, thanks! Thank you!" I reply and start eating it, as I continue my walk. I wave to him as he drives off and give him the (hopefully) international sign of 'dude, this is great!': OK sign. I hope he saw it, and didn't think I was giving him the thumb due to the fries indeed being warm and not hot.

As I walk further, I meet two cats, second one of which I hopefully fed 3 fries (or else, they're just there on the pavement still). I find a bench and sit, then lie down. It's 3:15 now. Jeez, "this is going to be a long night," I think to myself.

Lonely cars and trucks keep waking me up, but I manage to nod off in between. I'm nervous about the cops. Just in general, you know, nodding off in the street is frowned upon and I just want to get back home, no trouble and no questions asked.
"HEEEEE HEEEEEE HAAAAEEEEE HAAAEEEE!" two cars rolling down from the side street, just behind me. Just two retards, having fun and either trying to wake me or trying to wake people in the alley. Dicks. (I'm sorry, but they probably were.)
3:45. Ok, time to start back to the station. (I was kind of hoping the first trains would be there at 4:30, but a tiny voice kept saying: yeah, you wish. It's probably more like after 5 or so.)

So I start back, with another podcast and as I near the centre of Arnhem, I see this guy, in flippy-floppies, a shirt, two Amstel beers and a woolen sweater on his shoulder. He’s drunk, obviously. I sort of try to avoid him (not because I would be afraid, but because I too easily get into lengthy discussions with drunken people, preachers and elders), but he goes like: “Hey, you want a beer?”
  (Man, Arnhem at night is like, get-stuff-for-free heaven.)
I say that sure, the closed one. He goes: “What? Closed one! Are you Dutch!?”
After we establish, that no, but some of it might have rubbed off on me in the past year and a half, I say I’m from Slovenia.
He says his father, when separated from his mum, is now living for 10 years in Slovenia. OK, what does he do, I ask, as we are walking along the street.
He’s a circus man, the guy replies.

It turns out that the guy, Josma, is also a clown and a performer. And he goes: “Wow, the stars maan, they tell stuff, you know?”
I think: well, this is going to be interesting.
“Let’s go and make a fire!”
  I’m slightly dubious, as I don’t want to be the lead character of a front-cover matter in national newspapers, you know, just trying to find my way back home. But then he mentions “fire-pit”, which sounds more controlled, and “outside the town, in the fields”, which totally sounds more scary (than it actually was at the time).
 
As he said before that the first train leaves at 5:31, and it’s now about 4 AM, and as he looks harmless, I sort of go along. We end up walking next to the Arnhem’s park (Sonsbeek) and I ask him about the house on the hill. He says it’s now a restaurant, but that a young, 19 year-old lieutenant lived there and went to India and she hanged herself when he didn’t come back.
  Sorry, what? … After some explaining, I piece together a story of a lieutenant who apparently went missing and his young wife waiting for him, and hanging herself in her white dress (what’s with Arnhem and wedding dresses!?) from that top ledge – you see, just there?

And we go to the mill, and he explains about it and how he slept on the ridge in the roof, and we jump a fence and walk along; he tells me of animals that live in the ponds and how kids get assignments from the mill/centrum and go and find animals and plants and write down what they see. Aaw, that’s nice. Cool.
  Then we come to this larger pond, where some ducks are sitting, and some are standing in the water. I dismissed it, as they were probably standing on some ledge in the water.
Then he tells me: “There’s this path here, you can walk onto the island! You can walk on the water!! … I just have to find it!”
And I see the place where the ducks were: “I think it’s here, but …”
And before I can stop him, he’s already on it, ankle-deep.
Sigh. Ok, get ready, I say to myself, might be you’ll be rescuing the guy at some point. But hey, I still got 45 mins to kill and why notJ?

So he starts edging further into the water, now it’s slightly deeper, he’s all happy about it (who wouldn’t be, walking on water, like that, albeit slightly drunk) and he turns back to me and shouts:
“I can’t swim!”
Euh, what? “Sorry, did you say that you CAN or that you CAN NOT swim?”
The answer is even more doubtful:
“I can…(t), the DUCKS told me!”

Sigh. Ok, I’m getting mentally ready, might be some rescu-
and he’s gone. Flipped into the water. Of course.
I wait a second or two, before I start taking clothes off, but he’s back up, scrambling onto the treacherous pathway. He’s coming back towards me, all dripping and like a water-zombie. Huffing and puffing like one, as well.
It’s a comical sight, and I can’t suppress some laughter, but it’s all good natured.

On the way home now – I decide to accompany him, especially, after he mentions that he should not get hypothermia, and that he’s got minutes. (I’m thinking, well, it’s not that cold, and he should be fine, if we keep moving, but who knows, maybe he’s more experienced in this?)
And I find out about his wife (and that she won’t be too happy about this, oh, no) and daughter, and what he does and how he once put on a tall pair of stilts and went on a skateboard, downhill. I’m like, Jesus, really? “Yeah,” he says, “it was winter!”
Larks.

At the end, we part at his house and we shake hands again, and he starts telling me of his company (Verder Nog Iets) and half out of interest, half out of courtesy, and half out of already thinking I should have some proof of this night’s adventure (hey, back off about the halves, eh, it was late – now 5 AM) I want to write down his name.
“Nooo, wait, I’ll get you my card!”
“No, really, it’s fine, I’ll just write it here-“ And I realise I can’t, cause I don’t know how to spell it. And neither does he, so he – despite my insisting that nooo, you’ll wake up your wife, it’s fine – goes in to get his card.

So now I’ve got this 3 postcards (which are also business cards) of him and his girlfriend/wife at home. Want some? Write to me, I’ll send itJ.

I believe redonkulous is the word we are searching for, to describe this night in Arnhem.


PS – Got home safely, caught the first train and nearly fell asleep again. Had my bike at Ede station, and even though the first bus was 13 minutes away, I still cycled home, quite content with this night’s adventure … and the niceness of the evening before – but that’s another story.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Avtomatski Sestanek-maker

Kej tacga bi nucala nasa univerza/fakulteta [avtomatski sestanek-maker]:


Welcome Aljaz Gabersek New Appointment My Appointments Logout

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Your Appointment Details:
15 May 2013 14:30 - 15:00
Appointment Study Adviser - Standard Appointment
[30 Minutes]
Study Adviser: Alet Leemans

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Thursday, 5 September 2013

Interview


And this is why I love international (life) experiences. Where else do you get a chance to meet people like that? :)

I took the print screen without his permission.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Cloud Atlas - What is an ocean but a mutlitude of drops?

Quoting: [...]
My recent adventures have made me quite the philosopher, especially at night, when I hear naught but the stream grinding boulders into pebbles through an unhurried eternity. My thoughts flow thus. Scholars discern motions in history & formulate these motions into rules that govern the rises & falls of civilizations. My belief runs contrary, however. To wit: history admits no rules; only outcomes.
What precipitates outcomes? Vicious acts & virtuous acts.
What precipitates acts? Belief.
Belief is both prize & battlefield, within the mind & in the mind’s mirror, the world. If we believe humanity is a ladder of tribes, a colosseum of confrontation, exploitation & bestiality, such a humanity is surely brought into being, & history's Horroxes, Boerhaaves & Gooses shall prevail. You & I, the moneyed, the privileged, the fortunate, shall not fare so badly in this world, provided our luck holds. What of it if our consciences itch? Why undermine the dominance of our race, our gunships, our heritage & our legacy? Why fight the “natural” (oh, weaselly word!) order of things?

Why? Because of this: –  one fine day, a purely predatory world shall consume itself. Yes, the devil shall take the hindmost until the foremost is the hindmost. In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction.

Is this the entrophy written within our nature?

If we believe that humanity may transcend tooth & claw, if we believe divers races & creeds can share this world as peaceably as the orphans share their candlenut tree, if we believe that leaders must be just, violence muzzled, power accountable & the riches of the Earth & its Oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass. I am not deceived. It is the hardest of worlds to make real. Tortuous advances won over generations can be lost by a single stroke of a myopic president’s pen or a vainglorious general’s sword.

A life spent shaping a world I want Jackson to inherit, not one I fear Jackson shall inherit, this strikes me as a life worth the living.”


 

[…] I hear my father-in-law’s response: ‘Oho, fine, Whiggish sentiments, Adam. But don’t tell me about justice! Ride to Tennessee on an ass & convince the red-necks that they are merely white-washed negroes & their negroes are black-washed Whites! Sail to the Old World, tell ‘em their imperial slaves’ rights are as inalienable as the Queen of Belgium’s! Oh, you’ll grow hoarse, poor & grey in caucuses! You’ll be spat on, shot at, lynched, pacified with medals, spurned by blackwoodsmen! Crucified! Na├»ve, dreaming Adam. He who would do battle with the many-headed hydra of human nature must pay a world of pain & his family must pay it along with him! & only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand, your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean!’

Yet what is an ocean but a multitude of drops?

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas quotes -- pages 527-529. 
Got most of the quote above from this Goodreads page.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Bollywood, Improv Comedy Mumbai at Impro2013, Berlin

You can't do everything in one evening, right? So I went to see Bollywood only on the second day and I already heard from others, what's it was going to be like. Maybe it was a mind trick, resulting from vivid imagination somewhat spoiled by the report of others, but I thought I saw some fake-ness on behalf of the Mumbai cast (the rest were trying to support them, fuck it up or both:). I don't mind, I mean, they're not that experienced yet, I guess, since it is hard to play the same show two (three*) times two nights in a row. I know it's a format, but I personally think they let themselves surprise each-other too little. That creates the fun, doesn't it?

Suggestion for improvement: mix up the people who play the roles. The bollywood "archetype" roles can be the same, just shift the people. Then, or as a prelude, mix it even more: have the old ones play young characters, have women play men, etc. You know, keep it alive.

*On the same note, I am sorry to say that the re-enactment after the second Bollywood show at the Impro Berlin's own resident theatre (when everybody arrived from the Bollywood show arrived, thus the Bollywood part 3) was just lame. I mean, was OK, but .. I've just seen it. And so have, in a way, the people from the previous night.
I wonder how many people that leaves, that were genuinely seeing it for the first time?


To be true, i just read a different review of the show on Impro2013's page and it does paint a vivid and colourful picture in my head. In retrospective (the above was written in March earlier this year), the show was quite OK, but with the fake-ness, resulting, I judge, from too little role variation, still lingers in my head.

Links: Impro Comedy Mumbai; Impro Berlin Festival; Gorillas.