November 4, 2017

The photos in the corridor

The corridor of our apartment floor would sometimes feels a bit gloomy. Except for a large black and white photograph - taken from the North Exit of the Amsterdam Centraal Station in the 60s - that hangs at the entrance of the corridor, the walls were bare. At the annual New Year’s get together, the neighbours decided to remedy this by agreeing to put up some art. However, there was no consensus on what sort of art it should be. An enterprising neighbour asked everyone to email their pictures from around the general area of our apartment building and organised voting. Two of my pictures made the cut and now adorn the corridor walls.

Corridor

The first one was taken during Sail 2015 - a rather unique event that happens every 5 years in Amsterdam during which thousands of ships visit the Ij lake. I am a bit surprised that I didn’t post anything on this blog about it. Probably because we left for Iceland soon after and so that trip dominated my thoughts. I was sincerely hoping that this one would win just to be able to see how it’d look when printed on a large glass pane:

Winner 1

The second one was a somewhat lazy shot from our window and I wasn’t sure if it’d make it but it seems to have struck a chord:

Winner 2

Heres a couple that I sent but didn’t make it:

Nomination 1

Nomination 2

And finally, here are ones I shortlisted but never sent because even by the standards of a small city like Amsterdam, they were stretching the definition of around the general area of our apartment’ a bit:

Shortlist 1

Shortlist 2

Shortlist 3

Shortlist 4

Shortlist 5

Shortlist 6

At some point in our lives, we’ll leave this apartment but the photos will be left behind. Will they outlast my time on this planet as well?

October 16, 2017

Spoke too soon?

Me a week ago:

We packed away the fan last weekend and I’d be surprised (and worried) if it needs to be assembled again before May.

The Netherlands this week:

The temperature at De Bilt was measured at 21.5C at 12.40pm, beating the old record of 21.2C. Forecasters say the south of the country could exceed the 25-degree mark, which has only happened twice before in the second half of October.

While not quite need-to-assemble-a-fan-hot, this is very warm for this time of the year.

October 8, 2017

Summer is over

Summer is over. Second week of October is pretty late in the year to be saying this, but I wanted to be sure. We packed away the fan last weekend and I’d be surprised (and worried) if it needs to be assembled again before May. Overall, we got a cool and wet summer this year. The sort of summer even I can get behind, look back fondly on etc:

Goodbye Summer

Goodbye Summer

October 1, 2017

Zippers

Despite years of wearing jackets with full-length zippers, the wife and I found ourselves struggling with zipping and unzipping while trying on new jackets at shops in the US. The wife pointed out that the Pull Tab and Slider were mounted on the right Chain while the jackets we’ve been wearing for the past few years in Amsterdam, have had them on the left.

Zippers

While both countries drive on the right side of the road, the Americans went with the side of the road they drive on, whereas the Europeans chose the side where the steering wheel is. Why the two are different never made sense to me.

I still can’t believe that this simple change caused us to struggle with something we do hundreds of times a year.

The list of parts of a zipper on Wikipedia is fascinating: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipper#Components

September 26, 2017

My top three favourite movies

Some movies manage to become the staple of in-flight entertainment. I discovered Edge of Tomorrow on a flight and it became an instant favourite of mine. I watched it a second time a year later on another flight (quite fitting for a movie with a time-loop narrative). A transatlantic flight last week - in a plane whose idea of in-flight entertainment system was tiny screens per 10 or so rows suspended from the roof of the plane - managed to slot it in between two runs of the latest Pirates of The Caribbean sequel. Perhaps because the movie came on when I was in that twilight between wakefulness and fitful airline sleep, it got me thinking about my other favourite movies and if they shared something in common with Edge of Tomorrow. The top three came down to:

  1. Arrival
  2. Edge of Tomorrow
  3. The Matrix

Turns out they do have something in common - the protagonist(s) in all of them are up against highly intelligent alien or artificial life forms. They also play with time as a plot device (ok The Matrix not so much unless you count Bullet Time).

Movie Montage

June 25, 2017

Summer 2017 in Amsterdam…

…as panels of an imaginary comic:

In June, days in Amsterdam stretch on for 16+ hours. The afternoon sun, even on partly-cloudy days when it’s a pleasant 23ºC outside, is blindingly bright. It takes my mind back to much hotter (40ºC+) and considerably lazier afternoons of school summer vacation spent binge-reading comics.