Book Americana

by bicyclemark 6 Comments

Apparently there are no more tickets left to see David Sedaris speak here in Amsterdam at the end of September. Also I hear the dress code is corduroy or denim, which sounds fun. However my visit to the American Book Center was not in vein, I discovered yet another wi-fi HotSpot in Amsterdam, the second floor of the ABC, which I can add to the growing list of lovely places to bring your laptop-lover. Also I discovered they sell imported chips deluxe cookies, but at almost 6 Euro per box, I think I’ll surpress my cravings.

Michael Musto, the mastermind behind the DAILY MUSTO, has never been among my favorites at the Voice. Too gossipy and showbusinessy for me. But this week he caught my eye, I found his article on the whole McGreevey debacle quite fun.

Speaking of New Jersey folk, my brother’s Foggy Recollection has started off in a very funny manner, and hence should become a much loved blog. Much like many of you out there, he definately needs to get into RSS, as my blogger-friend Chris finally has in Iraq.

These Google graphics keep getting better! And obviously the blogger community loves these sorts of things, as Torill was saying the other day.

Today’s Music: Ani DiFranco & Utah Phillips

Puerto Rican Style

by bicyclemark 0 Comments

I grew up in New Jersey, and I was a teenager in the days of all the TEAM USA Basketball hype. Perhaps some of you remember, it was when the US decided to send their professional NBA types, instead of those college guys who I guess were losing all the time to teams like Yugoslavia or something. I wasn’t excited at the idea, nor am I a big sports fan, but it was interesting back then… Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan representin the US, it was as it was called – a dream team. I guess.

But man oh man. Seems that since winning every match in Atlanta 96 and then again in Sidney 2000, the dream is dead. I watched this lame-ass effort last night, and I laughed my ass off, when I wasn’t being offended at the level of play by the Americans. Puerto Rica was superior in every way. And from what I hear, this US team lost their qualifier to Italy as well. How lame. And on the other hand, hooray for the rest of the world, no more one-country domination of that sport.

Recall elections seem to be the trend in the world this year. Chavez won his yesterday, and will therefore continue being president of Venezuela for the remainder of his term. I love populism and mass hysteria as much as the next guy, but I find it very annoying that officials are now elected for a fixed-year term, yet suddenly you can demand a recall election to get him/her out early. Sounds like politics is starting to resemble a trip to the local department store; you buy something, but then you don’t like it when you get home, and you return it. Bad metaphor? Well my point was to stress why so-called liberal-democracies are full of non-democratic quirks.

Being that I am such a fan of blogs from around the world, I noticed Jill’s post today about Chinese blogs. Which led me to an ex-pat in Asia’s blog that I’m now beginning to read. (And I’m glad its written in English, I’ve got no Chinese characters on my windowsxp setup) Its an especially good for its blogroll, including all kinds from Hong Kong as well as “plain old China.”

Today’s Music: Franz Ferdinand (everyones listening to it I guess)

Oui, C’est Bien ?a

by bicyclemark 1 Comment

Je crois que j’ai jamais commenc? un blog en Fran?ais. Donc voila, la premiere foi, m?me si vous ne comprenez pas. – Hugh inspired me with his blog opening in French, and therefore despite my poor spelling (in all my languages) I thought it would be a nice change of pace. Another change of pace is that I’m blogging from DeBalie, the electronically hip cultural space in Leidseplein, Amsterdam. I’ll sit here for hours, considering I just spent 5 euro of apple juice and pie. I see nothing wrong with eating both together, you can never overdo apple.

So before I go OLYMPic, I should first discuss the good governor’s resignation in my home state of New Jersey. First off, it’s true that I’m a bit out of the loop with New Jersey news. I spend so much time reading newspapers from all over the world, chatting with Blondebutbight, and trying to clean the white tiles of the kitchen floor, that I don’t notice much on the New Jersey font. Still I do know quite a bit about Jim McGreevey and I’ve always felt the last governor pretty much booby-trapped the job with budget troubles before he arrived. I guess it could also be, as the D-Rock has pointed out, that McGreevey has been surrounded by scandal since the start. My only thought about this whole thing is that he should not have resigned, at least not yet. I feel that this story will be remembered as “McGreevey announces he’s gay and resigns.” Thereby legitimizing being gay as a reason someone cannot hold office. A simple yet effective way to set civil rights back a decade or two. I would have much preferred that he announce he’s gay and stay in office, bearing the brunt of whatever charges or troubles loomed ahead.

Now lets go Greek. I confess… I watched more than two hours of he opening ceremony last night. I’ll confess even more- I liked it. Maybe its the google olympic logo that charmed me, but as critical as I am of the money spent and wasted on stadiums and silly stuff, I’m now digging these Olympic games. I learned all these fun facts about countries like Palau and Gabon, not to mention the enjoyment I got from the BCC announcers dry humor. Then this morning I was fascinated by Judo, Rowing, and Cycling. I was surprised to see Jan Ulrich biking in the olympics. And while I’m a former martial-arts instructor (YES I AM!) I’m still dumbfounded by the rules of Judo. Anyway I can’t wait to watch the other wacky events, especially TABLE TENNIS!

Today’s Music: Vinicious Cantuaria – self-titled

Search Engine Boogie

by bicyclemark 0 Comments

One quick photo sample of my vacation time More are available, as I put them up on my photoblog. (Yes I have a photoblog!)

I can smell the new semester in the air… its a bouquet of beer, paper, and perfume. But more importantly, there are new people milling around University buildings, and in the past few days I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a great new group of them – social scientists persuing Masters Degrees.

BlondeButBright allowed me to tag along with her and attend a party with the new crew. It was as if two years had melted away and we were once again starting a new semester. Well, I suppose we are, so that makes sense. The point is its nice to see Amsterdam towards the end of the summer, it’s a great transition time full of promise and other nostalgic crap.

While I was on my two week respite in Portugal, I obviously didn’t see or hear too much about the Democratic Convention. Well, I got enough really. But today I came across something that really captured my attention, Teresa Heinz Kerry’s speech. Overall, what a great speech, and seemingly, what a great person! I just watched the streaming video and the first 5 minutes of the speech are superb, not only should every first lady eat her heart out, but every president for the last 20 years should either take note or roll over in his grave, because no one has ever been as great a speaker as this woman. I’m not talking about accent, which I find a pleasure to hear anyway. I was more captivated by her calmness, frankness, and confidence. Basically the second she greeted the audience in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, and then greeted every immigrant in the country, I was sold!

And tonight, as I have done throughout this campaign I would like to speak to you from my heart. Y a todos los Hispanos, los Latinos; a tous les Americains, Francais et Canadiens; a tutti Italiani; a toda a familia Portugesa e Brazileria; to all my continental African family living in this country, and to all new Americans: I invite you to join our conversation, and together with us work towards the noblest purpose of all: a free, good, and democratic society.

If only we could just swap, she should be the candidate! (stupid electoral rules are a problem as well, I know)

BlogMaverick, otherwise known as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, being one of my most respected bloggers, was recently talking about his latest investment: www.icerocket.com . It is meant to be a challenge to Google, a more creative and feature-filled search engine. It’s only in the beggining stages, but already I like it alot. It provides info such as a thumbnail of the site, what number it rates with other engines, and interesting people searching tools. I commend his investment, I’m going to be a ice rocket user. Soon people will start saying, quick… “Ice Rocket” (as opposed to Google) Bicyclemark and see what his latest web projects are. Man, I can’t wait for the future!

Today’s Music: Bill Frisell – The Willies