Archive for May, 2008

Stuff Dutch People Like: Phone Taps

Well, this is surprising. The Dutch government has authorized more phone taps than the US government! Of all the countries in the world, I would not have expected that from the Netherlands. They’re very opposed to the concept and practice of entrapment, but this smacks of it. They might still have the jitters from the van Gogh and Fortuyn killings, but I doubt this will help stop another murder.

I wish I had more than the Dutch News feed; I’m curious about why they’re so worried. Can we get Ian Baruma back on the case?

Een jaar?

Apparently, academic years at Leiden are very similar to real people (i.e. not American academic) years: 365 days. I wonder what that means, really. Does that mean that I’m there for the whole time? Maybe I’ll peace out in May? I’m not certain. The classes don’t go on into eternity, but maybe I’ll still be writing my thesis then. It’s scary to write “thesis” in the prospective sense again, and so soon, but it’s worth it. Can somebody tell me how master’s programs at Leiden work? I can’t find a detailed English academic calendar to save my life. I’m sure there’s a break in there somewhere.

If there isn’t, I totally don’t mind. I’d love to be in the land of cheese and bicycles for a nice long time. I like being abroad. As much as I (and Miffy) love New York, I think that the further I am, the faster I’ll grow. That’s not a hard and fast rule for everyone, but I know this is the case for me.

If I didn’t get into Leiden this time around I was like, “Meh, maybe I’ll take a year off.” But to be perfectly honest, I’m not a big fan of limbo. I get anxious in those situations very easily. I’d rather use my momentum than lose it. I’m 21 now, so I might as well do it while I’m young.

I do not expect study abroad, the sequel. I was in Amsterdam with a bunch of other little American undergrads. This is a different story, and perhaps a preferable one.

English Abroad

I graduated from Amherst a few days ago (Sunday) and I just got accepted to Leiden University’s English MA program. Oh, there will be stories.

de Volkskrant Gorilla

I can’t read half of them, but I like the cartoons by “Gorilla” in the Volkskrant, which is a major Dutch paper. Gorilla is a collective of designers.The cartoons are very wordy and shamelessly photoshopped, but that’s how I like them. (This one is about how the Dutch are best suited to survive climate change. Oh, how I miss those Big Friendly Giants.)

PS 24 Oranges is amazing!

Do you believe in life after sexual eruption?

This little ditty is making my week. It’s Cher vs. Snoop Dogg. It’s kind of beautiful. And why am I only catching onto BootieUSA now? Oh, right: because my iBook is slowly dying and I’m afraid to tax it too much. That’s why. Hopefully, I’ll have a new Macbook over the summer. I’m thinking of getting either Traktor or Serato (yes, I know) and I can’t get either one of those until I get something that doesn’t eat it’s own battery power.

However, the main problem with this iBook is the battery stuff. I’m sure if I were to buy a new battery, new charger, and a new memory+ external hard drive, I’d be in good shape. Then again, by the time I spend that money I might as well by a new one and treat it right the first time around. I don’t think I’ll throw this one away, though. If I slowly accumulate the proper parts it could be a sturdy backup.

It’s the final countdown

I’m spending my last week before the summer at Amherst. It was pretty deserted today, but I’m sure I’ll find people to hang out with. I’m not sure of what next year will bring, but I’m glad it’s not more of the same. It’s not that I’m tired of learning, but I’m tired of this. It’s the perfect time for me to go. I’ll enjoy what I can, warm up the camera, read a few books and lay in the sun, but I think I’m peacing out at the right time.

PS Isn’t this record great? I’ve been seriously considering yielding to temptation and getting two Technics and Serato Scratch, so this is particularly amusing to me right now.

I miss my thesis, y’all.

No really, I do. I was proofreading it a few days ago and I had to resist doing some serious revisions. I’m too tired to fix anything and I need some distance, but it felt good to plunge through it again.

Epic moments of nerdiness this week:

There was a fun “deleted scene” that took place in an Anarchist run squat/ common brothel. I’ve been tempted to reinsert it.

I’ve gotten two summer internships for the summer that are in some way connected to public radio. (Symphony Space + Storycorps)

I’ve replaced the tackiness of Amherst Confessional and the Daily Jolt with online British newspapers such as the Daily Mail and the Guardian. And it’s worked.

I choose the Dutch language option on facebook, and now my wall is called “het prikbord.”

I’m considering getting a PhD. in English. Eventually.


Hey all! I just finished my finals. Now I can do some leisure reading. Netherland by Joseph O’Neill looks like a good start, after:

1. New Kings of Nonfiction edited by Ira Glass

2. Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (Still need to finish it!)

3. The God Delusion

Why “Gifted” Children Make Me Nervous

As you might have guessed by now, I’m a little addicted to the New York Times. Today, I was particularly drawn to an article about “Mad Pride,” which is the reclamation of the term “mad” by mentally ill people as a badge of pride (similar to the reclamation of “queer” by, well, queers.) They don’t want to have their madness viewed as an impediment to a healthy life. I was totally with them up to there, until I got statements like this:

“The Icarus Project says its participants are “navigating the space between brilliance and madness…Some Icarus Project members argue that their conditions are not illnesses, but rather, “dangerous gifts” that require attention, care and vigilance to contain. “I take drugs to control my superpowers,” Mr. DuBrul said.”

Then they lost me. Here’s why:

Continue reading ‘Why “Gifted” Children Make Me Nervous’

May 2008
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