Archive for February, 2007

Calogero’s a Man?!?

For those of you who have never heard this song or have not seen the video, listen to it one time through with your eyes closed and try to guess the gender of the second singer (i.e. not the rapper) It’s kinda crazy.

Face a la truth, yo. Face a la truth.

Now I’m afraid to see the Dutch take on The Wiz:

‘Grease’ Car Makes Pit Stop

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NEW YORK TIMES

Published: February 27, 2007

A vehicle carrying the Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson of a Dutch production of the musical “Grease” wound up in the orchestra pit during a performance on Sunday night in Almere, nine miles east of Amsterdam, The Associated Press reported.

Jim Bakkum as Danny, the role played by John Travolta in the 1978 film, suffered a concussion, and Bettina Holwerda, in the role played by Olivia Newton-John, might have broken her arm, Dutch television was told by Peter Swinkels, the director of the Almere City Theater.

No musicians were injured when the car, made up of the chassis of a red-and-white convertible and the engine of a golf cart, landed in an empty part of the pit.

Ikea

Ikea trip. If I surive the combination of Swedish and Dutch, I should be back soon.

Why everyone should live in an international school dorm, at least once:

Actual conversation in my hallway:

Brazilian Guy: So tonight, I was thinking we could first go to a jazz concert-
Eastern European Guy: WHAT?
Brazilian Guy: You know, a jazz concert.
Eastern European Guy:Oooh…haha, I thought you said a jism concert.

The More You Know: Instant Soup Edition


Dutch Word of the Day
niet: not (catch all negator of sentences)
Ze hebben niet Ramen in Amsterdam.
They don’t have Ramen in Amsterdam.

They do, however, have a couple if knockoffs. Chief amongst the knockoffs are “Good Noodles”, “Saimin” and “Super Noodle.” I’ve tested all three so far. They also have Cup-a-Soup, but I knew I’d be too tempted to make “Soup in a Cup”/”Dick in a Box” jokes, so I stuck to the three pictured above. Here’s the reviews:

Saimin, Shrimp Flavored: This is a Japanese company. I found it at Albert Heijn (where I got the other two as well). The fact that this was there but not Ramen made me sad, but I tried it anyway. All around, not bad. The shrimp flavoring came through a little too strong, but it was pretty good.

Super Noodles, Oriental Kip Flavored: This is actually put out by Campbell’s. Despite the fact that they use the words “Oriental Kip” when they really mean Thai Chicken, this is pretty good. It’s somewhat more spicy than Ramen, and you get a substantial opaque broth.

Good Noodles, Kip Flavored: Good Noodles? Not so much. Yeah, fuck these. Absolutely weak flavor, and they just taste a bit weird and plasticky. There the most common one, too. There’s a smallish Albert Heijn near me and this seems to be all they have, so I just walk three blocks to other, larger Heijn for more variety.

Next week at your parents house: Some soup in a cup…

Awk-ward

Dutch Word of the Day
onhandig: awkward
Wel, dat was onhandig.
Well, that was awkward.



I’d like to introduce a new segment today. Hopefully, it won’t be too much of a common one, but something tells me it will be. Dutch people are often nice, practical and charming, but damn are they awkward. Combine their awkwardness with someone who doesn’t speak their language (or chooses not to) and it get’s special.

Take for example, last night. In New York, if their aren’t any cars coming you just walk across the street. Lights don’t really have a lot of sway in New York except for yellow, which means run faster. So I’m running across the street when there are no cars at all, and some cops decide to yell at me:

Cop: Rood licht!
Me (playing the American card): What?
Cop (pointing to light): Rood! Licht!
Me: I don’t speak Dutch!
Cop: Oh. Red light! You can’t go!
Me: Um…ok… (runs off to the next intersection)

Granted you need to pay attention because of the bike and tram traffic, but when no one’s there, what am I supposed to do?

In case you didn’t know-

Dutch Word of the Day
atheïst: atheist
De Netherlands heeft veel atheïsten.

The Netherlands has a lot of atheists.

In fact, they have one of the highest populations of atheists, about 35-40%. It’s not present in the in the somewhat militant Richard Dawson Dawkins “God Delusion” manner that this sticker in my hallway suggests, but they just don’t have any use for religion. (Wonder why this sticker is in English?)

I live in the Jordaan, a neighborhood near the Westermarkt, the tallest church in Amsterdam. If you are on the corner on Radhuisstraat and Prinsengracht, you’re basically on the corner of the Westermarkt. Turn left and you’re facing the Homomonument. Turn right and you’re facing the Anne Frank Huis.

Mmm… city planning with a wink.

"Pussypussypussymarijuana"

Dutch Word of the Day
verslaafd: addicted, literally “enslaved”

Bent je verslaafd?
Are you addicted?

Important language point: “Verslaafd”is a strong word in Dutch. If you ask someone in Dutch, “Are you addicted?” using the word “verslaafd” you won’t get a good response. Especially if this person happens to be of African descent. Then it gets very, very uncomfortable. It’s better to ask “Do you enjoy/use drugs?”

This is one of the things we learned today at the Rainbow Centre, which is a drop in center for drug users. We were supposed to have a former prostitute/addict speak to us, but she is currently recovering from hepatitis, so that that wasn’t possible.

I went to the Paradiso tonight and saw the Brazilian Girls. Man, I wish I still had my camera phone. That was a really fun show. For those of you not familiar with them, download “Don’t Stop”, “Sirene de la Fete” and “Pussy.” They did an amazing job on the first two, but were slightly disappointing with the latter, which saddened me seeing as were are in Amsterdam.
There were mostly Americans at this show, a bunch of people from the International School, too. There was a lot of cigarette smoke, which made me miss Bloomberg. And of course weed smoke, which made me happy I bought that French Febreze. Even the band was smoking a fatty on stage.

I’d do the Snoop concert in the spring, but a. it’s sold out and b. with a contact high like that, I don’t think I’d know where I was.

Can you! Feel a! Brand New Day!?!

Dutch Word of the Day
zwarte: black
Ja, we hebben zwarte mensen.
Yes, we have black people.


For those who doubted that there were a lot of black people in the Netherlands, I ask you: How is this production of the Wiz, “de musical”, happening in Utrecht, hm? Hm??? Most of the black people here are from Suriname, Aruba and the Antilles. Note that Aruba and the Antilles are not one and the same anymore. (Kind of like Diana Ross and the Supremes, yes?)

I wish it was all in Dutch, I’d totally see it.

The More You Know: Region Codes

Dutch Word of the Day
meer: more
De meer je weet…
The more you know…

(This can’t be gramatically correct. It doesn’t even make sense in English.)

Important Info if you Buy A DVD Overseas:

Problem: DVDs are each stamped with region codes. They were invented by the movie industry to allowed DVDs to be release at different times, and prevents mass importing from other countries. For example USA is region 1, Western Europe is Region 2. If you’ve been playing US bought DVDs on your computer all along, you’re computer’s DVD player is set automatically to region 1.

However, if you’re in Amsterdam and find a beautifully priced 5 euro DVD of Kill Bill I, your computer will tell you that you’ll need to switch your DVD’s code to region 2. It’s not a problem, except that there is a finite amount of times that you can switch back and forth. For the Apple iBook G4, this amount of times in 5.

This means that I want to watch my Dutch copy of Kill Bill, I need to switch my DVD region 2. Now I have four chances. Then I watch my American copy of Six Feet Under, and go back to region 1. Now I’m down to three chances.

Solution #1: Buy DVDs that are marked with Region 0. (They are marked with a large number,0-6, over the image of the globe.) Hard to find, but look out for them. They’re like an O-Blood type, that can be used in any machine.

Solution #2: Hack the bitch. Seriously, there is a way around this if you google it. However, it might possibly void your warranty on the computer.

Solution #3: Bring a multi-region DVD player with you when you go overseas. If you already have a separate DVD player, make sure that it can play various formats.

Solution #4: Do what I did and download this DVD program:
http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
It’s a free DVD program that ignores region codes. I went from Kill Bill to R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet with no problem. It’s fabulous.

Vespas!


Dutch Word of the Day
houd: like or love, depending on the context.
Ik houd van Vespas.
I love Vespas.

There are so many zipping around here. It’s the perfect place for one, too, especially since there wasn’t a real winter this year.

I also starting to love the way Dutch sounds sometimes. For example, what sounds more fun to hear from a small child?:

a. “This is the kid’s book store!”
or
b.”Dit is de Kinderboekwinkel!”

The latter one’s just so darn cute!

I’m afraid of the Netherlands… I’m afraid of the world


Dutch Word of the Day
zuigt: sucks
Nederlands school zuigt.
Dutch school sucks.

This is one of those special “Thank God I’m American” moments. Here’s what happens when you go to school in the Netherlands:

Basisonderwijs (Basis School) 4-12 years old: You’re in school with everyone else, playing with blocks and numbers and words and minding your own business when, BAM!

Voortgezet Onderwijs (continued education, this is the crossroads) 12 years old: You take an exam that is meant to determine the rest of your life. The exam is called the CITO Exam. There are three things that can happen to you after the CITO exam.

a.) Voorbereidend Middelbaar Beroepsonderwijs, VMBO (preparatory middle-level vocational education) 12-16: This is what happens to you when you don’t do too well on the exam. This is basically trade school. You’ll learn mad languages and some other things…but it’s basically trade school. It’s impossible to get from here to university. After this, it’s kind of the end of the educational road.

b.) Hoger Algemeen Voortgezet Onderwijs, HAVO (higher general continued education) 12-17: So you did a little better on the exam. Now you’re here. This has more liberal arts stuff, but it’s not a pass to university. You can however, get a BA later on, but not the BA and Masters track program you can get at…

c.) Voorbereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs, VWO, (pre-university secondary education)12- 18: Congratulations, you smug preteen fart! You did very well on your CITO! Now you’re in the top eschelon of education with only 10% of the nation. You’ll do very nicely in University, cause you’re totally on track for that!

For those who are familiar with European education, you might wonder why this bothers me so much. Well, I’m a terrible test taker, especially of the standardized kind. Especially when I was 12. If I had grown up in Holland, I’d have been a carpenter by now.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with carpentry (Jesus used it to make an honest living) But something tells me that I would hate being bravenewworlded into something at the age of 12.

On the brightside: They have no juries, therefore no jury duty. There’s French Febreze. They don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. This is my kind of town.

Of course

The one time Amherst gets a snowday, I’m out of town.

Food


Dutch Word of the Day
hongerig: hungry
Ik bent hongerig.

I am hungry.

Since they haven’t got a meal plan, I’ve been having tons of fun with the kitchen in my room. It’s been mostly cereal, sandwiches, ramen, eggs, salad (this is a new addition as of today), and Indian takeout (as you can see from the delightful samosas pictured above), so when you visit me, do bring euros. You don’t want to witness my cooking.

Handicapped?


Dutch Word of the Day
gehandicapt
: handicapped

Amsterdam is ontzaglijk zo je bent gehandicapt.

Amsterdam is awful if you’re handicapped.

It really is. These people need an Americans with Disabilities Act. There are no ramps, barely properly sized elevators, and many of the thresholds have a half inch high barrier at the bottom that’s very easy to trip on.

By the way, this is how “Capri Sun” is spelled in Dutch. I love the brand names over here.


February 2007
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