dinsdag 11 maart 2008

Home sweet home....

I'm not a great blogger - while some are out there digitally clicking fotos, uploading them immediately with their webphones to their blogs within moments because we live in superfast ADHD-times, here I am uploading some pix I took 3 months ago but couldn't be bothered downloading from my camera until now. I am really beginning to feel the generation gap close in - I don't care that a faster laptop has been released - I don't care that my mobile phone has internet capability (in fact, after 8 months, I only used it once) - I guess I'm truly on my way to becoming a grumpy old man :-) Anyhow, here are some pix of my old hometown.

Ah, the good ole days of the ratrace downtown. Actually, it's changed quite a bit - barely saw any homeless people - it's not that there are less - they just seem to have found a way to sweep them away somewhere else I guess

A view of San Francisco from Emeryville, which used to be a shithole, but now has turned into a bit of a yuppietown

Sutro Baths by the Cliff House, a favourite restaurant with a view of the Pacific Ocean. To think, I used to live right near here - you never appreciate what you have until its gone...

The Cliff House restaurant - best view from a restaurant in San Francisco! Very expensive but luckily the dollar is very weak at the moment so we went there twice ;-)

I think this place may have been shut down which isn't surprising given its name...

Obligatory tourist cable car photo

The Video Cafe on the corner of my old apartment - we very undiplomatically used to call it "We Hate Roundeye Video" because they were always incredibly rude to us, but it didn't matter because they were a 24-hour Food/Video Rental place 1 block from home! Ah, those 3am milkshakes!!

We decided to have lunch at a place called Moe's in North Beach, but never in my wildest dreams would I imagine the name was inspired by The Three Stooges!! Great burgers and Stooges memorabilia on the walls- the only bummer was no Stooges on the TV - I considered asking, but thought the guys watching "the game" would probably beat me to a pulp

zaterdag 1 maart 2008

Fascinating information no one cares about...

Barely a day goes by in the Netherlands where you will not come across an article publishing the findings of some ludicrous survey or opinion poll which informs us of some mundane crap that no one in their right mind could be interested in. A few weeks ago, I read the fascinating fact that the Dutch buy more fake-laminate flooring than other people in Europe! WOW!!!!!!! I'm so glad the precious little space in the newspaper devoted an ENTIRE COLUMN to mentioning this- just that morning, I had been wondering what country used the most laminate flooring and....well, luckily I didn't have to ponder it that long. Apparently, a reason so much of these nauseatingly banal facts are thrust upon us is that there are loads of braindead "researchers" living on subsidies who, in order to maintain their subsidies, must compile and release "research" like this, supposedly as some sort of sociological experiment?? The Dutch seem obsessed with statistics - they're everywhere! And of course we all know statistics are useless and can be manipulated by the phrasing of the questions, so what is the point???

What started me on this rant? A piece from today's "news" that the Dutch prefer bread and cheese for breakfast and continues to inform us what percentages buys their bread and where, and how many make their own sandwiches for lunch!!???! Well, anyone who's lived here for more than 2 weeks could tell this - this is generally what they eat for breakfast and lunch. In fact, in several situations I've encountered, the Dutch actually use the word "bread" for lunch, as in "Shall we go get some bread???" Now this is completely weird to most of us foreigners, but it's business as usual here. The thought of a rich, filling American breakfast or a greasy English fry-up is completely frightening to them (and sure, that's probably why they're much skinnier than us!). Anyhow, in case you are interested, the article is below.

AMSTERDAM – Despite the culinary variety in the Netherlands (WTF???-This is culinary variety???-dman) , a brown bread roll with cheese remains the most popular breakfast. Bread is essential to the Dutch diet, as evidenced by a survey of 500 people.

The survey was held in anticipation of the bakery trade fair to be held at the Amsterdam RAI from 2 to 4 March.

Healthy products are popular at the baker's as well: customers say their favourite breads are those with a healthy image, like multigrain, wholegrain and brown breads.

The survey also indicated that one in three Dutch prefer meat fillings for their sandwiches. Favourites were roast beef, ham and "worst" (a type of sliced sausage coldcut). Just one in ten prefers sweet fillings like chocolate sprinkles or jam.

"Almost four in ten Dutch usually buy bread at the baker's and six in ten usually at the supermarket. The Dutch are generally of the opinion that the bread from the baker's is tastier than supermarket bread. But those who buy it at the supermarket do so out of convenience. Men are of this opinion more often than women. Women are more likely to cite price as a reason to not buy at the baker's," the researchers concluded.

Four in ten Dutch take sandwiches from home to work each day. Most workers prepare these themselves, though one in five men does admit that his partner or mother prepares the sandwiches.

One in five workers visits the company canteen and 25% go home to eat at lunchtime.