Archive for July, 2008

Lovely, Part II (“My bad!” Edition)

Well, I heard from Rutger de Vries, the photographer who did the picture that I inserted in yesterday’s entry. Apparently, the picture is not photoshopped! It’s a half-demolished student dorm. Well, shame on me for assuming that colorful, compartmentalized beauty needs computerized assistance. (It often does.)

FYI, a lot of the works on his site are inspired by the work of German artist Katharina Grosse. I checked her site and fell in love this room she did this year.

Check her site here.


I found this photo through 24 oranges, and they found it through Perongeluk. I love this picture so much; I tend to gravitate towards cellular constructions but I also like artistically decayed urban settings. I don’t know where this concrete dollhouse tendency comes from. Anyway, the colors and font are all obviously photoshopped in, (and boy do I love photoshop), but I wonder where the original picture came from. My first instinct, of course, is to think of the Bijlmer. However, there have to be other places in Holland that have this kind of architecture.

My curiousity’s piqued…

Amstel Light

This Amstel Light commercial has been around for a few months now. I recognize almost every street in this commercial. The Queensday water parade, Zeedijk, Museumplein, are pretty touristy, but I definitely would not have recognized any of this before I went abroad. They even included Vrankrijk! It’s kind of cheesy and amazing. It’s so wonderful to be able to recognize this place that I love some much from just a few quick shots. I hope I have that same relationship with Leiden.

Granted, there is no “Leiden Light”… maybe they’ll shoot a Grolsch commercial there.

I liked her before she got cool.

No, really. I had an earlier post about Rachel Maddow before the election frenzy kicked off. Before she started showing up every night on MSNBC.  And before I found this great picture that serves as a great place holder until my next legit post idea comes along.

I’ll figure out something to write about, don’t worry. I’d post about Obama, but I’m so, so scared that the dream will die that I’m slightly paralyzed. I hope to God he wins. For the first time in years, a major US official has gone abroad and hasn’t faced burning flags. And McCain needs to shut up; he went on a “victory lap” abroad, too, but no one cared.

Well, back to my comfort zone: so far my thesis has been picking up. I’m not calling it a novel yet. It feels safer with the label “thesis.” But it’s been going in fits and starts all summer, but I figured out a few scenes that accomplish a lot of things that original draft lacked. There were huge swaths of writing that were receiving band-aids when they really should have been in traction. Sca-ry. Hopefully, everything will improve.

Diplo, Blaqstarr, A-Trak, Kid Cudi (And Santogold)

Diplo, A-trak

Why, yes, this is a picture of Diplo and A-Trak (!!!) which I snapped on my phone yesterday. I went to Summerstage in Central Park. Everyone was were super/amazing. It was well worth the wait in the scorching heat. My friend and I managed to to get all the way upfront to the stage. Diplo squirted silly string on me! It was magical.

Blaqstarr and Catchdubs were there as well. It was a dream come true. All we needed was DJ Ayres and I would’ve died and gone to heaven.

Diplo, A-trak

However, it got so hot and crowded, I wasn’t strong enough to wait for Santogold. That, and Diplo’s set had these bizarre 80s looking dancers and it was really distracting.

At least security didn’t confiscate my Sigg bottle!

Name Your Price, Three- Stacks: Girl Talk’s New Album

For those who haven’t downloaded Girl Talk’s New album, Feed The Animals, here you go. He pulled a Radiohead and is letting people name their price. Since his music consists almost solely of other people’s samples, I guess it’s a good to make payment optional.

It’s a great album. In my opinion, he’s head and shoulders above E-603 (aka the “other” major mash-up DJ). Examine both of their takes of “Whoomp! There It Is”. Girl Talk’s is  “Hand’s in the Air.” E-603’s is at the tail end of “Money and Girls.” They’re both great, but Girl Talk wins points for my because he incorporated Planet Rock and other wonderful things. Besides, his combinations have always been well thought out: Roc Boys vs. Paranoid Android, Gimme More vs. Sexy Boy, Sound of the Police vs. Come Together, Whisper Song vs. Bittersweet Symphony. I’d near to hear more of E-603’s album to judge if some similar cleverness for pairings is there.

Padma Parvati Lakshmi

So I decided to bring back the Mooi Vrouwen section. I might as well herald it’s return with a shout out to the brainy and stunning Padma Lakshmi. What’s more perversely cute than a stick thin supermodel who can cook? Answer: Nothing.

Although we may never know why she married Salman Rushdie (yeah, yeah, brilliant writer, yeah, yeah, knighthood, yeah, yeah) but we all make mistakes. I just can’t wait for a new season of Top Chef. You can also (occaisionally) see her on Globe Trekker on PBS.

Hotel Folding Star

I’ve started a Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst back when I was at Amherst, but I wasn’t able to finish before the book was due back at Frost. So last week, I went to the Brooklyn Public Library to finish what I started. Unfortunately, Swimming Pool wasn’t there, but Hollinghurst’s The Folding Star was.

It isn’t a perfect novel; I hated the way everything got resolved, and I was not particularly fond the protagonist’s object of affection. But I grew very comfortable with living in this obsessive little Flemish town. Now I feel as if I’ve been evicted. The writing was so enviably beautiful and lofty, yet very warm and engaging. And the sex scenes are incredible! After attempting to write some sex scenes this year, I’ve gained a new found respect for well written sex scenes. Even a painful unsexy yet well written scene is very hard to do. (See the sex scene in On Beauty by Zadie Smith. Yijks.)

I’ve started Slow Man by Coetzee, but it’s so stipped down and sharply written compared to Folding Star. It’s like leaving a luxurious Carribbean resort to go on a hike in a beautiful yet remote part of Iceland. Their both worth the visit, yet the drop in temperature can be startling.

I’m at your (formerly) local library!

OK, here’s my biggest nerd-out to date. Brace yourself;  I just looked up undergraduate thesis (short novel about the Bijlmerramp) to see if it’s in Frost Library, and it’s totally there. All of the undergraduate thesis are printed on acid free paper, and live in the basement of Frost rarely to be seen again. However, they all get assigned call numbers and can be looked up (often accidentally) like any other book.

On the off chance you’re on Amherst’s Campus and want to take a peek at what I’ve been going on about for months, be my guest. As promised, there are a few color photos. However, if you know me, email/facebook me and I’ll send you a revised copy that contains fewer embarassing grammatical errors.

Winy Maas goes domestic:

Wonderful things happen when you’re friends with Winy Maas. He redesigned and expanded a house for a family in Rotterdam to aleviate a space crunch.

It’s too blue on the outside for my taste, but it’s lovely on the inside where it counts. With the exception of an aqua roof, I love this house. The levitating helix-like staircases (there are three from each bedroom) lead up to the roof. It’s so stunning. This looks like a bookish little kid’s dream.

I had an earlier post about Maas (who has earned some comparisions to Rem Koolhaus) and his obsession with stacking stuff. Usually, he designs looks a little industrial but here the stacking tendency manages to be both efficient and quaint.

I’m so excited! I’m so— scared.

I’ve been browsing for recipes to play with next year. So far, I’ve been on epicurious, the Whole Foods recipe section and the BBC’s Good Food website. I don’t know whether the stove in Kaarsenmakerstraat is gas or electric. Worse comes to worse, I’ll set a garbage can fire in the yard and roast a whole pig. Just kidding. It’ll probably be too cold over there for outdoor cooking.

I’ve been watching ton of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares lately. At first, I balked at the idea of watching a screaming chef, but after seeing a few episodes, I realized that he was screaming for reason: most of the people on the show have no clue.The kitchens are in all kinds of states, from unhygienic to crowded with useless appliances. The menus sometimes have hundreds of items for each course. There’s all kind of hazardous activity going on.

I guess all I can do is try to eat the right things, read the right books, and never stray 5 yards from a mirror. But even then, the fear won’t end.

It’s very scary to know that it’s possible to go through life that blindly. That possibility is on my list of new and cringe-worthy fears. Sometimes I worry that no matter how much I learn, no matter how much I try, I’ll miss something major. It’s sort of the intellectual equivalent of leaving the bathroom with part of your skirt sticking in your underwear.

Random anxiety aside, growing up is nice. I need to find a decent cookbook; preferably for quick, healthy meals on a student budget. Any suggestions? And does anyone know if they sell Vitamin Water in the Netherlands? I forgot.

Very Young Girls

It might be weird way to spend July 4th, but I’d really like to see this movie at the IFC Center tomorrow. As the title suggests, it’s about Very Young Girls involved in prostitution in New York City. Many of them started at the age of 13. I usually gravitate towards alternative narratives of sex work (i.e. people who willing get in, male prostitution, fetish work etc.), but unfortunately, there is a large and ugly reality involving trafficked women and girls that needs to acknowledged.


I’m a little slow to post this, but here goes. I love Olafur Eliasson‘s Waterfalls that are all over New York. I first saw one while taking the B and thought it was a desperate attempt at oil drilling in New York. Mistaken identity aside, they’re absolutely delightful. They totally kick The Gates’ ass. And it’s around until October. That’s longer than the Gates measly two week run which had been in the works since 1979.

I’d like to get some pictures of it as I take the water taxi to Ikea. Which means that I’d viewing the work of a Danish- Icelandic artist while on my way to shop at a Swedish super-chain that is located in a former Dutch colony (Rood Hoek.) I sense a northern European summer!

I’ve seen the future:

And the future is this sexy cardboard bike that I’ve spotted on the Dwell Magazine blog. The bike is super low cost, $30, and is great for deterring thieves. I’d want something like in Leiden, except that it’s so intriguingly ugly that someone would want to steal it just so show off to their bike-thief friends. I’ll get it when it’s widely sold and super popular. Then again, if it does get stolen, it would be easy to spot from the normal bikes. Choices, choices.

July 2008
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