Archive for the 'education' Category

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.

Duane Green!

Love it. I’d “tree” NY, too, if I didn’t have these horrible allergies. For those who don’t know (aka non- New Yorkers) Duane Reade is a ubiquitous drug store chain that’s on every street corner in the city. It’s ugly and overpriced, but we go anyway. Now it’ll feel better to go because they have an “eco tote”! I’ve been collecting these 99 cent wonders from various establishments; they remind me of my Albert Heijn days. I’ve got them from Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and even Walmart. The Walmart one is my favorite. Too bad I never remember to use them while I shop. Continue reading ‘Duane Green!’

This unmade my day

How did this sweet little Oxford math prodigy become a $260/hour prostitute?

No idea. I mean, yes, her father was the Joe Jackson of mathematics. He pushed those children way too hard in one area of life, and in the end, it wasn’t worth it. He was probably also sexually abusive, which ruins people in ways that we are only starting to understand.

According to the website she works through, Sufiah Yusof aka “Shilpa Lee” is “available for booking every day from 11am to 8pm.” That doesn’t leave time for anything else, except prime time television. Everything is gone. It’s absolutely terrifying to think that something led her to completely die inside like that.

I might have to go there

I was reading the Turntable Lab blog, and learned that there is a DJ school in…guess… the Netherlands. It’s a merger of my post 2007 dreams come true. Every since I threw a wonderful Pancakes, Booze and American Pop Party on the Prinsengracht I’ve connected the NL with good times in DJing. This excludes the night at Dansen bij Jansen when the DJ abused the smoke machine in order to compensate for a sloppy night. Other than that, fun times. I’d love to go here. Check it. It’s a school attached to a hotel, and there are setups in every room, so you needn’t drag your own around.

It would be fun to see what formal training looks like, meet more people, and get exposure to other setups. And more time to practice my Dutch!

It was the trip that never ends


Dutch Word of the Day

reis: travel
Goede reis!
Have a good trip!

I had two, nonstop back to back field trips today for two different classes. The first as 7 AM to the Deltaworks in Zeeland, the second to Hilversum for an interactive TV studio “experience.” Yeah, I don’t know how I’m alive either. I got back home at 10 PM on the dot.

The Deltaworks are on the southern coast of the Netherlands near Belgium. They are constructed to keep the North Sea from flooding the southern part of the country through a system of dikes and dams. Dikes are dams on the land and are usually constructed from the land. They enclose whatever area they are meant to protect. Dams are manmade structures that are built in a body of water to keep the water back. We got a tour of the inside of a dam.

It was very nice except our tour guide was a royal jerk who tried to get into an agrument with me over the predominence of the English language instead of Dutch. (Um…wasn’t my idea, that’s for sure.) Then he gave a somewhat sloppy presentation of how things worked and then got annoying about President Bush. (Yes, we’ve heard it all before. Not much we can do at the moment, can we?) At first we thought he just hated Americans until our professor reassured us that the guy hated on him in Dutch, too. He just hates people, so being a tour guide was a wonderful career choice. Someone’s gonna talk to his supervisor.

After that we came back to Amsterdam and into another field trip to Hilversum, home of the Dutch television networks and such. There was an interactive television experience called Beeld and Geluid (Sight and Sound) which brings me to the weird picture above. The entire building was fascinating, but this really caught my eye. I took this from the ground floor. We didn’t go into this part, but I feel like I’ve had an elaborate nightmare in this place. The kind where someone’s chasing you and you can’t get out. Who would want to work in those red basement offices? Click for a large image, it will freak you out.

Anyway, the rest of the building was nice. It would’ve been nicer if I spoke more Dutch. None of the interactive activities were in English. I think that was the last of the field trips for now.

And I think to myself…what a wonderful world…

Dutch Word of the Day
leuk: nice, cute
Dat was veel leuk!
That was so cute!

This is in reference to my Dutch Social Policy class’ visit to a school/community center in De Pijp, a neighborhood outside of the center. I got very lost on the way there, but I’m glad that I found it.

The kids were making us dinner. They have a cooking club and were quite busy taking our orders and putting drinks together. They were very serious and very, very adorable. I didn’t understand what they were saying because they don’t speak English yet, but they were patient with my rudimentary Dutch. And the food was quite good! There was even tiramisu for dessert.

(I know, right? Damn!)

They really should have cooking programs like this in the US, especially with our childhood obesity problem. Once people learn that it is more fun, healthy, and cheap too cook instead of doing takeout/fast food all the time, it’ll change everything. But we can only dream.

One of the kids mixing the drinks actually looked like a very young picture of my brother. I was like, “Mini-Mart? No? OK….”

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.


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