When you can't live without bananas

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Andrew attempts to fill in the large (metaphorically) shoes during Agagooga's temporary hiatus.

Seven dreams before death: (i'm assuming this means things i haven't done)
1. Write a musical
2. Choregraph a 30-minute work
3. Trace my family lineage
4. Breed kribensis (blame it on my brother, he was the one who pointed them out to me in a tropical fish book). http://www.justbajan.com/pets/fish/species/krebensis/index.htm
5. Rear a colony of tree frogs. Oops, better not ... they're endangered!
6. Get a disease named after me.
7. Biological researcher on a NASA mission in outer space (far out!)

Seven things I can't do in this lifetime (excluding the ones above- well, dreams are dreams for a reason!) :
1. Take beta-blockers (asthma)
2. Own a Balinese-style bungalow with a balcony opening to a luxurious garden (would love to but doing so would compromise environmentalist principles)
3. Grow long hair (unlike agagooga)
4. Leave (anywhere) at a moment's notice
5. Eat udon without feeling nauseous
6. Multi-task
7. Undo mistakes i've made

Seven things that attract me:
1. Humour - especially ppl who cringe at my jokes but can make even worse ones
2. Nice eyes (=
3. Quiet kindness. The altruistic sort.
4. Any allusion to rabbits.
5. Bright colours. Gelati colours, if you know what I mean.
6. Intelligent and captivating writing
7. Honesty

Seven things I say:
1. Oh dear (according to my classmates, the "andrew" substitution in situations calling for expletives and vulgarities, e.g. a tutorial re-scheduled for 5pm)
2. Super-(fill in the blank)
3. , like,
4. WRRaaaaa (long story, trackback to sec 4 days of "Wrraaaa who threw the bun...")
5. Sigh.
6. That is sooo.....
7. (silence, more often than not)

Seven books that I love (books I would read over and over again):
1. To kill a mockingbird, Harper Lee
2. The chrysalids, John Wyndham
3. Dune, Frank Herbert (What else??!!!)
4. The velveteen rabbit
5. Any of Nigella Lawson's cookbooks
6. The Diving-bell and the butterfly
7. The Bible

Seven movies that I've loved:
1. The Fifth Element (the quintessential sci-fi junkie)
2. My Fair Lady
3. The Sound of Music
4. X-Men 1 and 2
5. You've got mail
6. To kill a mockingbird
7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Seven tags:
Nah. I'll pass.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Due to my gracious host changing domains, the new URL for my homepage is http://gssq.entori.net/. The old URL will stop working at an indeterminate point in the future (maybe a month or two).

Any inconvenience caused is regretted (I didn't want it either).


Unfortunately, I am unable to finish my travel diary before setting off once again. Later on Sunday I will be visiting Brussels for the day before flying for Athens, where I will take the evening ferry to Crete and gallivant for almost 2 weeks with my brother-in-law and someone. I will then spend another 2 days in Athens before flying back to Brussels, and will be back in Utrecht on 29/4 (Saturday), just in time for Queen's Day.

Till then, tot ziens!

(Wth. The weather spread for Monday is 6-29 degrees. That's 23 degrees difference!)


Warblings Of A Little Bird: Dedicated to People Who Can't Catch Fish -

"There is a saying oft-heard: "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach him how to fish, and he will eat for life." However, not even throwing the poor man a fish may potentially leave him to starve to death...

With that in mind, here is a guide to solving The Wicked from levels 1 up to 38. Good luck with Level 39, you all."

(Levels 39-41)

This is for the tens of people who keep emailing me/leaving comments asking for answers.


Special feature (thanks to an anonymous source): THE LAW FACULTY AS A LANDSCAPE OF EXCLUSION

"The Law and Arts faculties in the NUS campus are located in close proximity, and instances whereby students from the two faculties use the other’s resources are fairly frequent. However, the recent uncovering of the unofficial SNAILS Act (APPENDIX A) which was drafted by law students and widely circulated has hinted at some form of antagonistic relationships between the two groups of students...

Through our survey, it can be clearly seen that the larger society holds law students in higher regard than they do arts students. For all the questions, when given statements that reflected positively on a person, the response average for the likelihood of the person being associated with the law faculty is 4.22 (on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the least likely and 5 being the most likely), while the response average for arts shows a drastic difference, standing only at 3.11...

Such a normative landscape is extended beyond the physical boundaries itself, and also manifests itself in the social behaviours of law students, who have been observed by many to be cliquish and socially exclusive, with strong notions of insiders and outsiders (Relph, 1976), as reflected in the SNAIL Act, which serves to embolden the distinction between the law students and the others. This has not gone unnoticed by our non-law undergraduate respondents, with “proud/arrogant” and “elitist” being the most common adjective being used to describe the law undergraduates (Figure 2)...

It has been observed, that on most occasions, the doors to the Law faculty are closed (Picture 3). The closed doors serve as a marker of territoriality, strategized to assign people they deem to be outsiders to areas outside of the boundaries (Agnew, 2000), so as to exercise their power over the space within the Law faculty."

Full project report available.

This is supplemented by: Transcript of interview with law librarian (Removed on request)
There's a screwup with my money, probably because of ABN AMRO. On Wednesday, 6 weeks after I'd given them my bank draft, I went down to see what was happening. I was told that they couldn't help me since they had no access to the records in Amsterdam (where the International Payments office is), and that I had to call a certain phone number myself. I went home and called the number, and was told that I had to go down to the branch in person. And so I went down once again, and finally got some attention. I was told that on 31 March a follow-up had been sent to Singapore, but there was no reply, and that the original request had probably been sent 2-3 weeks before that date.

Meanwhile, the Singapore side claimed that they'd never received any notice from ABN, and that in any case, according to DBS, ABN was obliged to pay me on presentation of a demand draft issued by DBS with no further confirmation in accordance with established International Banking practice.

On Thursday, I tried tracing my cheque's status, but was told that ABN AMRO was waiting for ING Bank to send them the money, and that I'd get it once they did. I tried calling ING, but after being bounced around twice I was told to ask for someone who wasn't there. I was told to call back at 4:30. By the time I called back at 4:50 she'd left for the day and wouldn't be back till Tuesday, by which time I'd be out of the country.


At least I discovered that when you wait for an operator to attend to you at ABN AMRO, they periodically tell you: "You are second in the queue". This is a good thing.

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Garbage police? Uhh.

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In the bus you can eat or drink, but "geen patates frites, ijs of andere eet- en drinkwaren nuttigen, geen radio's, bandrecorders etc. laten spielen of op andere wijze muziek maken en geen vernielingen aan richten" (no fries, ice cream or other messy foods [?], no radios, tape recorders, music to disturb others and destructive actions [?]). Uhh.

I saw a place selling Polish Garnier Fructis for €1,79 per bottle. Uhh. I love competition.

Aldi and Nettorama are the only places where prices go down instead of up. Hurrah.

I saw a little girl who seemed to be floating on air. At first I thought she was a ghost, but then she managed to activate the automatic sensor of the door. Then I noticed her rollerblades.

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Hetero, homo or bi? Hot rubber condoms are suitable for all three!

I saw some "Candy" brand lip balm for sale: "Natural lip balm. Tastes delicious!" Wait a minute...

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Bunny love

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"Canta LX". What happens when the Cock Car merges with a Perodua - the worst of both worlds. I call it the Cock Car X2

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I haven't seen purple bird shit before

At this Dutch dinner the exchange students network cooked up, I was talking to this Belgian guy who said that the Flemish have very different food and culture from the Dutch, though the former is mostly due to the French influence; there's a reason why you can't find Dutch restaurants, even in the Netherlands.

The dinner was supposed to start at 7pm, but despite the Dutch reputation for eating early (which I understood after feeling ravenous at 6pm after having a Dutch lunch), the main course only came at 8:41pm (timestamp on my picture) after soup at 7:06 and snacks at 8:12 - they were probably catering for the punctuality and appetites of the Spanish (someone remarked that if you told a Spanish person to meet you at 7, at 7:45 they'd call you to say they were leaving the house).

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We first had cabbage soup - this girl from Amsterdam termed it Dutch soup which she'd never had before. Some of us were expecting erwtensoep (pea soup), but were told it was a Winter/January soup, and that it was too late for it now.

I was talking with this Lithuanian who said that in his country they had conscription as well, but that full time students would get unlimited deferment till the age of 26, and on reaching 26 you'd be free. Also, following in the footsteps of other civilized countries, it's going to make conscription voluntary soon. This is a big step from the bad old days when the Tsar press-ganged some people for 25 years (it's made an indelible dent in their national culture - songs and stories and such).

He also said that in Lithuania, the biggest shops open from 7/8am-midnight daily (because they are very "profit oriented"), and that he was very surprised that Dutch shops closed so early and didn't open on Sundays. Looks like it's a Continental Western European thing (or maybe just Germanic). I asked if the girls in his country were afflicted with compulsive photo taking disorder. He said no, but quickly added that perhaps this was because they had no money for film.

The Belgian was saying how it's quite screwed up in his country, since there're two official languages (Dutch and French) and that you've the right to be served in your own language. So in Brussels you can have a shop where the shopkeeper can only speak French, and the Flemish customer refuses to speak French. This is bad.

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Dutch snacks: Mini-sausages in pastry, Bitterballen (fried balls with kroket-stuffing), Fluffy pomme balls and Mini-frikandels served with Mustard, Dutch Curry and Fritesaus (Dutch mayo)

Immediately around me at my table were a Dutch, a Belgian and a Lithuanian. What did we do? We started complaining about the French and how stuck up, chauvinistic (they assume that everyone else can/should speak French) and parochial they were (I didn't start it). Why ah.

Sjoelen - A Dutch game
Unfortunately this is much too dark. If someone could lighten it for me I'd be very happy (original video available on request).

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Sjoelen board
You have 25 pieces and the aim is to shoot them into slots. From left to right (facing the player) each piece in a slot is worth 2, 4, 3 and 1 point respectively, and for each set of 1 piece in each slot, you get 20 points. A round goes on until the pieces are all used, whereupon those that didn't enter the slots are taken back and reused. 3 rounds are played.

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On the top is witloof - a Belgian vegetable a bit like cabbage - with mashed potato and ham. On the left is something that tastes like wasabe - endive (?), with mashed potato and bacon. And on the right is something with mashed potato and sausage. The Dutch are really jiak kantang.

2 of the people at my table were saying that there's an Asian country where young men have to carry condoms around or they'll get fined. One of them mentioned it and someone else said it was on CNN. I can't find anything online, though. Maybe it was CNN's April Fool's joke.

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I'm quite sure I've had blue food before.

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Cock Car
I swear I hadn't seen any cock cars in Utrecht from the time I came to the end of March - they're so cock that I'd have noticed them. Yet, I saw 3 on Friday (and 2 within 5 minutes).

I finally saw a guy riding on the back of a bicycle on Friday. Actually I saw this twice - it was a day for sightings.

I saw Tropicana on sale for €1.99/l (usual price €2.59). Wah.

I see a lot of Uitzendburos (work agencies) in Utrecht. Maybe that's why the province has the lowest unemployment rate in the Netherlands (not sure about other provinces, though).

My eggs got stolen again despite a sign I taped to the fridge; I had two in the fridge before leaving, and on my return neither was there. I should get a marker. Someone suggests: "One of these eggs is poisoned. Only I know which." Maybe if eggs are in the egg tray people assume it's for public consumption; I will try leaving them in the carton next time.

Someone: "in old kent ridge it's worse
you put a carton of milk in fridge
day 1: carton opened, not by u
day 2: 1/4 gone
day 3: half gone (bear in mind not drank by u)
day 4: 3/4 gone
day 5: empty.
dun u wish u have spit into the carton of milk"

My cheese was growing mold on, and apparently the bottled garlic I had was bad so someone threw it away. Gah.
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