Archive for September, 2007

Koninginnedag Flashback:

Dutch Word of the Day:
Geen blauw zonder geel en oranje!
No blue without yellow and orange!

Not fully back yet, but I was reading this NYT article by Holland Cotter about Van Gogh’s letters to Emile Bernard, which are currently on display at The Morgan Library.*

If, for you some reason, you think that Van Gogh was French instead of Dutch (too many people do) this handy passage will remind of you of where he really comes from:
“After a year in ashen Paris, he was in a chromatic delirium. He couldn’t stop cataloging the colors he was seeing and using…Frustrated at how to convey the reality that even transparent elements — water and air — have complex color ranges, he ends up shouting on paper: ‘No blue without yellow and orange.'”

Oh, Vince. I feel your pain.

*I smell a field trip coming on!

Udink zo?

Back for a minute with a wee Debbie Downer:

Associated Press – September 23, 2007 6:55 PM ET

MERLIN, Ore. (AP) – A southern Oregon family has been ordered to turn in the vanity license plates for their cars because the state finds their Dutch name can be interpreted as offensive.

The plates UDINK1 UDINK2 and UDINK3 are on the vehicles of Mike and Shelly Udink and their son, who live in Merlin.

The plates were deemed offensive by a ten-person Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division panel that approves custom plates.

One panel wrote that Dink has several derogatory meanings and can be a racial slur, especially toward Vietnamese.

Mike Udink says his name is common in The Netherlands, and wonders how a panel can dictate that someone’s name is offensive.

A DMV spokesman says the state has the right to censor license plates because the state owns them.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Gone A’ Learnin’

Wow, it took a while for me recover from that terrible VMA performance. (That’s right, I’m blaming Britney for my slacking) . Things will be a little on and off until October 1st. They’re will be an entry here and there, but not as regular as I’d like.

When I come back, hopefully I can start the Pimsleur challenge. (What is that, you ask? Stay tuned!)

Un-mooi vrouw

Dutch Word of the Day
Britney was slecht.

Britney was bad.

YEESH. Even I could do better than this. It’s so sad, cause her body’s completely gone (by old school Britney standards):

Britney Spears – Gimme More [Live Vma’s 2007]
Uploaded by Wonderful-Life

Verworpen Mooi

Dutch Word of the Day
Waaroom was zij verwopen?

Why was she rejected?

OK, so Ms. Anneliese Marie Frank is a very obvious choice for any Monday or in this case, a Sunday Mooi Vrouw; widely published Dutch writer (yup, the original book was in Dutch, NOT German) and all around thoughtful person living at a terrible time. I also had the distinct privilege of living down the street from her house for four months. I miss that.

But here’s another reason to love her: big time publishers, with the exception of Doubleday, freakin’ hated her. Apparently, the book was “a dreary record of typical family bickering, petty annoyances and adolescent emotions.” It took about 16 rejections until someone figured it out. And the rest is canon.

That’s the funny thing about rejection. Most of the time, the critic is seeing something problematic in there that needs some sorting out. Sometimes, that something is utter crap. In this case, the adolescent tone was caused is because the author was 12. C’mon buddy.

Then there are erroneous critiques stemming from weird misunderstandings about the U.S. book market and just flat out racism. (Although for The Good Earth example: I hated that book. So many Asian stereotypes it made my skin crawl.)

Usually it is up to the author to locate what generated the critique, objectively evaluate the validity, and act. The danger of this New York Times article is that potential authors can be lulled into a sense of not having to change and revise. “But I’ve been working on this for 12 years! How could it possibly be called trite? Oh, well. Anne Frank wasn’t published in a day!”

This is dangerous ammunition in the hands of people who get so “emotionally connected” to their work that they can barely seek any outside help, especially when they need the most help. I’ve been around people like this. It hurts.

They’ll talk on and on about the process and finally, after a long period of drama, insist on showing you their work. Then, after you’ve been subjected to their little Crapsody in Blue, you try to say something nice, but you can’t. Then you take a deep breath and try the constructive track, carefully starting with the “It’d be cool to see more of this” comments before you get to the “Maybe you should cut this” comments. But by then, it’s too late. You’ve questioned their opus and the friendship is over.

See, this is why I love Anne Frank. She’s one of the very few writers who can pull off a “I got rejected a million times and it didn’t mean a thing.” It leads to a great story behind a great story. Here’s to her.

Party like a rock star? T-t-t-totally don’t…

Dutch Word of the Day
Stome wijfjes.

Stupid b*tches.

Well, they are:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007
For two Northeastern freshmen, school year begins and ends with arrest

By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff

A pair of freshmen at Northeastern University learned a tough lesson before classes even started this semester, when one of them allegedly leaned out the window of his dormitory and yelled something regrettable in earshot of plainclothes police officers.

“If you’re looking for weed, my roommate Ferrante has some for sale,” Michael R. Emery yelled, according to a release issued today by the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

The sales pitch, made Sunday to a fellow student out a second-floor window at the Hemenway Street residence hall, got Emery, 18, and his roommate, Matthew J. Ferrante, 18, in a lot of trouble. After their room was searched and officers found a bevy of marijuana, smoking accessories and liquor, the pair was arrested, arraigned, and apparently thrown out of school….

According to the release from prosecutors, police went to the second floor of the dormitory after hearing Emery yell and found the door open. In plain view was a bottle of Grey Goose vodka, a shot glass, and a plastic baggie of marijuana…

As they spoke to the teens, police spotted another bag of marijuana and a glass pipe. The officers read the students their rights and received permission to search the room, according to the release. The search yielded eight small bags of marijuana, a larger bag containing three to four ounces of marijuana, hundreds of clear plastic baggies, and a Triton T2 digital scale. The officers also found a grinder, a bong, $1,045 in cash, bottles of Malibu rum, Smirnoff Twist raspberry vodka, and Southern Comfort, and a vaporizer, a device that uses heat to release marijuana’s intoxicating chemicals but does not burn the plant.

Outside the window of their room, the students had rigged a pulley system that had been designed to raise and lower items from the room directly overhead. It was not immediately how the students were using the pulley system, prosecutors said.

Emery and Ferrante were arraigned Tuesday in Roxbury District Court and charged with possession of a class D substance with intent to distribute in a school zone, possession of alcohol by a minor, and conspiracy to violate the state’s drug laws. The teens were released without bail…

As someone who lived in Amsterdam for some time and has an affinity for the Showtime series Weeds, I have to say that I’m not that much of a party animal about the stuff. (Combination of asthma, apathy, and wee bank account) That said, I think if it was legalized and regulated, drug arrests and street crime around it would certainly decrease. Although vehicular homicide might increase, since the US is so much more car based than the Netherlands and we already have enough problems with drunk drivers, let alone high ones.

One nice thing about weed being illegal: it sure helps you separate the strong from the weak and stupid during orientation. Good job, Northeastern.

IPod Touch

Dutch Word of the Day
Ik heb twijfels aan dit.

I have doubts about this.

Sorry for the break yesterday. Anyway, as you know, I’m something of an iPod junkie. I am unapologetic about this. Yes, my headphones are huge. Yes I do listen to the damn thing all the time. Well, maybe I just prefer my own soundtrack to hear the cacophonous, unedited rotating buzz of the same 1,600 people around me. Ever thought of that? I like having all my music in a tiny box, I’m very spoiled that way. I don’t care much for the video features, just give me that audio.

That said, I am not thrilled about this iPod touch crap. Yeah,the New York Times looks cute on it, but it appears to be a scratch fest waiting to happen, much like the iPhone. Hopefully, Apple beefed up the screen glass or their cases. But you know what they can’t beef up? Lithium batteries. Battery technology is terrible. The life diminishes with every keystroke. It will also go down hill even faster when you’re, oh, I don’t know, using your iPod to go on the weak wifi internet or watching a music video. They keep throwing in all these features (“It slices! It dices! It empties the litter box!”) without having proper means of support. It’s like making a flying car without inventing proper fuel.

I think the best pretentious Steve Job conference would be if he just announced a new battery. Nothing sleek, nothing flashy, just, “Hey, guess what? This won’t die so fast. We’re putting it in everything.” That would be remarkable. I don’t know if they’ll get around to that soon. I wish they would.

But the 160 GB on the iPod classic? That’s just sexy. Well done. I’ve got a little under 3000 songs on a 30 GB, so I’m at half capacity. But I don’t know how long that’ll last. I’m very happy with the iPod I have now. We’ve been through some rough times. But when it goes, I’m glad to know that something with more capacity (and probably cheaper) is waiting for me.


Dutch Word of the Day
De orkaan staat bij peil vier.

The hurricane is at level four.

Normally I’d have my beautiful woman of the day, but there’s something a bit more pressing. Hurricane Felix, which was at category 4 (and later 5) went through Aruba and other Dutch Antillean islands (as well as many other places in the area.) Thankfully, no one died, but the island got drenched and there were a lot of floods. This is unsual, because Aruba’s normally quite dry. I hope this thing dies soon.

September 2007
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