Nature and Trash

by bicyclemark 1 Comment

It’s important to get out of your daily routine and get back to nature, even if you didn’t really come from nature to begin with, you can go back and pretend. That’s what the staff of the international school and I did today. A boat ride around the Biesbosch just outside Dordrecht was both educational and completely relaxing. Plus I got to speak Dutch, which is always a welcome exercise in a different environment. The Biesbosch is a huge national park which was largely planned, in typical Dutch style, in the early 20th century. I’m always impressed with the strong mix of environmental consciousness and manipulation that they incorporate all over the country. I think in the states the choice is more for the manipulating, than anything else.

We also visited Dordrecht an extremely old city near Rotterdam. It was so quiet, and so picturesque, made me wonder if I’m not missing out on the calm life living in Amsterdam. Naaah.

I wanted to share the following two photos: the first is a typical houseboat in Dordrecht, which I’m sure I could never afford, notice the clothes hangin out to dry

This second photo will be of particular interest to my friends at 2600.

A woman was taking out her trash. She had the usual black garbage bag with her, and she walked across the street from her home, and instead of just opening the lid to this container, she pulled out a scannable keycard! We stopped our tour and immediately asked what she was doing. I found the explanation extremely odd, she said that it ensures that only people in this neighborhood could use this trash container. She also said something about taxes and different neighborhood trash systems. I still don’t get it, anybody heard of this?

A bit of lighter news, I’m now using google’s new gmail as a betatester. Blogger users can now sign up for their own @gmail.com accounts. So far I think it’s nice, 1000 MB is a welcome factor. No sign of those “related to my email content” ads, yet.

Today’s Music: The Rasmus – Into

Back Against that Wall Over There

by bicyclemark 0 Comments

Slight crisis in my world, my PhD proposal got heavily criticized by an important scholar. I still have one month to get it ship-shape, but this is a major setback, and from now til then I’ll be working day and night on it. Of course, with time to join a picnic is Oosterpark, as I did today. It’s officially park season in Amsterdam, thanks to sunny weather combined with the desire to be outside equals almost one million people flocking to tiny parks. A Canadian friend once denounced this city for its “lack of nature,” I told her – at the time – that it is just enough nature for me. Upon further reflection, she’s kind of right. Still, all you have to do is ride in any direction for 25 minutes and you’ll find yourself in nature… of some sort.

I found myself rummaging through that garage sale of shadey information, the whitehouse website, not to be mistaken with that other whitehouse on the web. What really disturbs me, besides the images and basically most of the words, are the menu options. The list looks like this:

Issues

Education

Iraq

National Security

Economic Security

Homeland Security

More Issues

En Espanol

Note, this is obviously how the whitehouse would like you to think of W and the administration. It doesn’t mean they’re actually any good at any of this. Nice attempt to get the Spanish speaking voters as well, not that the administration has ever done a thing for them. And furthermore, talk about scare-tactics, notice all the times SECURITY is mentioned. What the hell is the difference between National and Homeland Security anyway? What a waste of money and energy.

Going over Michael Moore’s latest letter, he mentions two interesting things: 1- As you might know, his film Farenheit 911 will be out soon, I believe it’s about the relations between the Bush and Bin Laden families. But the real shocker for me was 2- Some researchers, working for him, are in Iraq, and according to him: When Americans arrive in Iraq, there’s no need to show a passport! Why? Because it’s considered an American territory! Welcome to the American Colony of Iraq, please mind the armed gunmen.

PS – I hear M. Moore getting alot of criticism for his popularity and style. After reading his messages for over 4 years now, I’d like to say that I’m an admirer and a supporter of Mike’s Militia, the world needs more like him.

Today’s Music: David Byrne – Grown Backwards

I’m going through bridges

by bicyclemark 9 Comments

I’ve had visions of changing. Changing colors. Changing photos. Changing my woredrobe (like one new shirt). Most of all, I’m contemplating changing the name of this blog. I mean really, does it mean anything to anyone? BM’s Communique? Has it grown on anyone? Title’s can be important, I’m constantly reading blog-theory, like A. Granado’s Fantastic book “Weblogs: Diario de Bordo”, and alot of the names of these blogs are so famous. How am I to compete? I’m gonna need some feedback on this one, so leave some scribble after reading this.

On my ever expanding jog route yesterday, I couldn’t avoid having to stand at a draw-bridge and wait for some huge ships to come through lugging dirt, gravel, and people’s houses. This is something I think the whole world could use that Amsterdam has – drawbridges. See, no matter how much in a rush, or busy you are… you have no choice.. the draw bridges open all day, anytime. People never get angry, they just stop and wait. Some talk to each other, some just stare… lots even sing! Even after almost two years, I love these moments. I think it improves a city’s mental health – there are some things we cannot control. In this case, the drawbridges, only those guys with the fake captain’s uniforms can control those, when they’re not watching soap operas in their little booths. (Sometimes you see the glow of a TV!) Here, have a look at the animated picture I made of a bridge opening:

The topic that I got caught up this afternoon is missile defense, does anyone remember this? You remember, it’s to set up this hollywoodesque “missile shield” that will destroy any “rogue” missiles fired at the US or its allies. Which right away makes you wonder what a nation is doing that is pissing people off to such a point. Anyway, what is new is that the government is broke and operating in the red. So they want to cut some spending, and since they’ve gutted public health, education, etc., they’re actually thinking “… hmmmmm maybe 420 billion!! is too high of a military budget.” They’ve decided maybe the 10.8 billion spent on missile defense research (thank your evil congress for agreeing to that), maybe that’s too much. Especially considering it doesn’t work and it basically shows they’re not interested in waging peace on this planet.

Today’s Music: Bill Frisell – Gone, Just Like a Train (unbelievable!)

Read more about ..

by bicyclemark 0 Comments

So the Republican National Convention 2004 is to be held at MSG in NEW YORK CITY! Once again the party, rallying around their crown prince, show the nation as well as the world that they truely have no respect whatsoever for the people of New York City and the sanctity of that city since that awful tragedy. Once again they use New York to score “political points” and play upon sensitive emotions for their own agenda.

This is an injustice.. an embarassment to democracy.

Republicans, Democrats, and basically every citizen should demand that this decision be reversed. Their first target should be non-smoker extrodinaire Mike Bloomberg, who literally spends his days figuring out new ways to fight smoking… which is a really cute way for a mayor to pass his time. As apposed to balancing a budget, addressing serious education problems, etc. But Mike isnt the only problem.. the Republican National Committee, the New York State Senate, and the US Congress should all be pressured to help stop this convention from taking place.

New York City is off limits to political parties seeking to “galvanize” the hearts and minds of New Yorkers and Americans scarred by the terrorist attacks. Nor republicans or any other party should be able to have their convention there. Shame on the Republican party. People must mobilize before New York City is once again exploited!