Working Culture

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I never had much of a full time job in the states. It was more like lots of little ones that kept me running in a million directions at all time. In Portugal I was a full time slob and working with some fantastic people for a very evil corporation. And at the fishtank its a whole different story …. and even though you’re not supposed to talk about work, I gotta say the place where I work is like a family. Well, a family where people occasionally resign and move on… but still.. a family.

So some of the family decided we’d busted our asses for the brains of the netherlands today, and we deserved an evening in the park. Oosterpark to be exact. So we grabbed the left over fancy food from the fancy events of the day, I grabbed my frisbee, and we sat at that park from 6pm to 12am. Toronto’s most famous chef in exile was there; incedentally, he was in the movie PCU or something like that, as — yes — a frisbee player. So of course he and I threw the disc around and he gave me the tips I need to impress the frisbee feminina, if I decide to go that route.

But the best part of that evening was as it was almost pitch black, and the park has few lights, and we decided to play frisbee in the dark. It sounded something like “ok… here it comes bicyclemark…. THUMP… — OWWW MY EAR.” A whole lot of that in between drinks and hysterical laughter.

I mention all this for a higher purpose. Work culture. You probably have some where you live. Maybe you bowl… or have dinners together. Maybe you’ve got a softball team or yearly picnic. Here in Amsterdam, this is how it is for me; a big family of people who are VERY social and can often be found out in the middle of the night together throwing discs at each others’ heads.


Haiti and Jamie

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Two things on my mind this evening, which is basically toast from my new and improved job responsibilities at the fishtank. While it might mean more income, it also means I’m tired and grumpy at the end of the night. Not that I didn’t find time to practice frisbee with le Big Jim, who’s in town from Paris, as well as another friend from New Jersey.

First off, concerning a place in the world I worry about and follow closely; Haiti. For those not keeping score at home, there is still a coup d’ etat in power, which took power with the help of unknown American security forces who kidnapped or smuggled (depending on who you ask) president Aristide into exile. Now the illegitimate government is charging the former prime minister with some big crimes. No shock there; take power by force, accuse your enemies of murder. Case closed. Maybe the only ones I like in all this are the Brazilian peacekeepers.

Second, more personal and promotional. Mr. Known Universe himself – Jamie, has published his novel. Not only that, as a frequent flyer between Brooklyn and Amsterdam, word on the street is he’s coming back to our fair city this summer. Jamie is a good human, a good writer, not to mention a dam good photograph maker. Online ordering is, of course, available.

To the BBC

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Having grown up in New Jersey, we obviously didn’t have the BBC in my house. We didn’t even have cable for that matter, which may not sound like a big deal to you, but in a suburban high school, “what you got” can determine where you classify on the foodchain. I of course was made fun of and pitied for my lack of cable. The guys used to talk about how the cable company had a big map of the state and there was a big red circle around my house and my family was the focus of all their sales efforts.

But I did have public radio, and you can bet I made use of it. During the day, Pacifica’s wonderfully crazy WBAI, the station where so many different groups could have their voice; from native americans, to convicts, to former characters from TV’s The Munsters. Everynight, French radio on WNYE New York, followed by the BBC. Each of them offerred me news stories from all over the world, not to mention reports from local activists, who didn’t just talk about issues, many were directly involved in a cause they believed in. Hell, that’s the beauty of Alternative Grassroots Radio.

All this as a round about way to tell you about the one day BBC strike yesterday. It isn’t so much that they had a strike, but the way they talk about it on the air. I happenned to have BBC World on the night before, and the anchor actually reports that the station is going on a one day walk out, and goes on to interview another BBC employee about the issues. Do you see what is unique here? The BBC actually talks about internal disputes ON THE AIR! It’s a simple and beautiful thing… a dash of transparency in a realm that rarely sees it. When the hell do you see Fox or NBC or whatever other crappy network reporting about their own company’s internal disputes? Never. It’s not allowed. You CAN NOT make such reports.

So I just thought — that’s what I call a media corporation with a commitment to the public. Or at least a hint of honesty for a change. Speaking of honesty, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and god knows what else, the Blog Maverick embodies how corporate bigshots SHOULD blog. Honestly, openly, and with a curiously creative spirit.

PS – I still listen to all those stations, even here in Europe. Thanks internetS.