31 March 2004

Too much flesh

Today I registered with a GP (Doctor). Had a chat with the nurse who took my medical history. Did I smoke (not since I moved here) and did I exercise (not really but reasonably fit). She put me on the scales....................and my life has changed forever.

Until last year, I have always been a healthy 65 kilos if I remember right. I agree that age adds weight. I have a wedding in 3 days and tried on the suit I wore when my sister got married 3 years ago. It still fitted. Only just. Really just.

She put me on the scale and asked me how much I weighed. I said somewhere between 65 and 70. She weighed me in at a not-so-healthy 73.5 kilos!!!! I got off the scales in total shock. Tried to excuse my very heavy boots but she said she had already taken that in to account. Less than 3 hours later, I was sweating in the gym with Jane. We finally got round to joining the local gym. And a good one too: pool, sauna, steam room, loads of classes and unfortunately.........lots of torture machines. I have already noticed that Jane hates it. But I love it. We got an introduction by a bloke who will help us again on Friday morning when Jane sees him at 8.15 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) for some serious training-tips. I see him at 9.15.

After 50 minutes of training, we went to the pool, hit the bubblebath, sauna and steam room. The best part of it all. We had a light Ceasar Salad for dinner with a lot of fruit afterwards. My new life has started today. I have never felt so fat before in my life. When I was jogging on the treadmill, I could see my thighs and the cellulite wobble in the mirror. It was horrible. I will be slim this summer. I am nearly 30. The Great Fight has started and I will not lose it.


Or I will be in a few months

30 March 2004

No job...or...

I got a call from the employment agency today. I did not get the job I went for. Bugger. The people I talked to thought I would get bored doing that job because they thought I had a lot more in me than Receptionist/Assistant Admin. Right. Ok. I was pissed off because that still left me without a job.
But, said the lady on the phone, they DO want to give you a job in the company because they really like you. So they created a position for you.

What? Like me so much you just create a new job? I guess I must have seriously been underselling myself. The job they created for me is Sales Assistant. Or something flashy like that. It is basicly, if I get it right, a new position. It means I will be assisting the 3 sales people in the company. By being their PA or something along those lines. They have no job description for it yet but I shall get that next week. They also mentioned that they do business with The Netherlands and maybe I oculd do some translation work for them. Fine. The agency said they job is mine as long as I get along with the 3 sales men. They said the company said it had no doubt that I would get on with the men but it is still a formality: I have to meet them. I am meeting them next Tuesday. Oh and did I mention it pays about 3000 a year more aswell?

So I am flattered. However, still not 100% sure of having a job. And having to completely fill a new position feels a little bit daunting to me. But I am flattered. Fingers crossed that I get on with the blokes and I that will have landed myself a stunning job. Yippie!!! Life is only just beginning for me here. But nothing is definate until 6 April next week. I will feel better once the contract is definately signed.

Obviously I am putting other jobs on hold until then. I get calls from agencies for temp work but now I will tell them I am not available until after Tuesday. Like I said: I will only feel happy once I have my contract signed. I am actually scared. My sister does something very very similar. I will ask her for help a fair bit I think. Cool. Help me Big Sister. Help Me.

Edited at 11.22pm

Job hunt

Went for my second interview yesterday. I felt it all went really well. They apologised for being a little bit weird:) I told them the weirder the better as far as I am concerned. the other job did not happen. I never got the call they proomised me. Oh well, I will hear on Wednesday morning if I get this job. I actually really want it because te people were really nice to me.
Just help me get the job by sending positive energy my way.

I am settling in nicely here. Of course I am bored during the day because I have nothing to do but last Sunday was good. My landlord Cristina is Italian and so is her boyfriend who does not live inthe house buut comes around often. He owns an Italian restaurant in Kennilworth, a town a few miles up the road. He cooked lunch and Cristina invited me and Jane to join them. In true Italian style, they started cooking about 2 hours later than planned so instead of lunch at 1, there was lunch at 3:) Never mind. Gorgeous chicken, copious amounts of wine. It was kinda nice and fammily-like because we all ended up playing fotball in the enormous backgarden with Cristina's little son Michael. I really enjoyed it.

I am aiming at buying a car in 3 months if I get the job. If I get it, I start on Monday and am on 3 months probation. If I pass that, I will buy a car. Yippie. Am feeling like a grown up actually.

26 March 2004

Advice needed

So there are now 2 options possibly for my work. Monday I have 1 interview for a permanent job and hopefully 1 for a temp job that could be permanent after 3 months. I don't know what the 2nd job is until I have the interview but they are both office work. Now let's assume they both look nice enough to me and I have to choose. What do I choose:

Job 1: Permanent. About £13.500 a year (£7 per hour). Would ideally need a car to get therfe, but I can get there by bus. 9-5 Monday - Friday.

Job 2: Temporary for 3 months. £6.5 per hour. BUT: could turn into permanent job after 3 months and then salary would go up to about £17.000 per year. Could get there by bike or bus.

What do I do? Take the temp one that pays less for the first 3 months but will pay more IF it becomes permanent? And I mean a LOT more. Or do I take the permanent one that pays more in the beginning but at least is definately permanent?

I am not sure about either of these jobs. Will know more on Monday after the interviews but I would really like as much input from people as possible. So leave your comments and advice please.

25 March 2004

Silence will do

Just watched the most amazing programme on Channel 4: The boy whose skin fell off, about a boy with EB, a skin disease where the skin doesn't stick to the body and eventually results in skin cancer. The boy, or actually man since he was 36 years old, filmed the last 4 months of his life. Remarkable show of courage. Made me cry. Especially when his mother changed his bandages (he is covered in bandages for about 80% of his body) and it hurt so much he yelled at her, cried in pain and then apologised whilst still crying. The sheer agony he must have gone through. I hope this programme gets sold around the world so that everybody can see it. Truely beautiful and amazing. I was watching it with Jane and her flatmate Kate. When it finished we just sat on the sofa in silence. Beautiful.

But don't believe me. Read the review of the show in The Guardian

Oh, and if you are interested, you can sponsor Nell McAndrew. I never heard of her but this pin-up is going to run the London Marathon in memory of this man, Jonny Kennedy. Go on. Give. Lots. Sponsor her. Raise money. Cure people. Go to the website of Nell or to Debra, the charity that raises money for research into EB.

I want a job

This morning I went for my first job interview. A permanent job no less. Excellent. Dress standards in English offices tend to be higher than in The Netherlands. So I had to go and get myself something decent to wear. A suit. Yes indeed, a very scary thought. Mariek in a suit. So I cycled to Dorothy Perkins.. I have never worn a suit in my life, except for my sister's wedding. And that was beige. The thought of a black trouser suit was a little bit scary. Power dressing. Me? I found a really nice one for £50 so I was a happy bunny. Jane put me on her car insurance so like a proper little business woman, I drove off to Southam this morning for my interview.

I was, of course, slightly over-dressed. Never mind. Better over-dressed than under-dressed. Nice lady chatted to me about the job. A Receptionist/Assistant Administrator. I think that means I do a little of everything: making sure the toilet paper does not run out, book meetings, make sure the caterer delivers the sandwiches for that meeting, get quotes for a roof repair if the tiles fall off. That sort of thing. Can I do that? the lady who spoke to me seems to think I can. And I think I can do that too. It is very different from working at Radio TV West of course. But hey, the magic word 'Transferable Skills'. I will need to be extremely organised. That will be a bit of a challenge but I am not one to shy away from challenges.

I had a really good positive feeling about the interview. And I was right: about an hour after I left, the employment agency phoned me to arrange a second interview on Monday. Excellent. I am hoping i will get this job. I like a new start and I would like to feel more safe with regards to my money. And it will also make me feel like I am finally starting to build a life here, and just on holiday in Leamington.

I can do this. I want to do this. I am looking forward to this. GIVE ME THE JOB!!!

22 March 2004

Opening a bank account in England. Part 1

Me: Hello. I would like to open a bank account.
Bank Bitch (BB): Do you have a passport. And something with your address on it?
Me: I do. However, I have only moved to the UK 6 days ago. The only thing with my address on it is my rent agreement.
BB: Is that a Private Rent Agreement or one through a Letting Agency. We can not accept private ones.
Me: Well, that poses a problem then.
BB:Do you have a Drivers License with your address on it?
Me: As I said before: I moved 6 days ago. So no.
BB: Do you have a pay-slip with your address on it?
Me:As I said before, I moved 6 days ago. So no I don't. But I do have a letter from DSS (Social Services) with my address on it.
BB:If that is hand written, I can not acccept it. Do you have another bank account in the UK?
Me: As I said before: I only moved here 6 days ago. So no. Because nobody wants to give me one.

By this time I am getting a little annoyed. It would be easier to ask me what I DO have with my address on it. Which is nothing but my rent agreement that she won't accept. But no, we go on for a while longer.

BB: Do you have a Council Tax bill perhaps with your address on?
Me: I know the tax office moves quickly when they see money, but since I only moved here 6 days ago, I don't have a tax bill yet.
BB: Hmm....this might be difficult. I can't see how I can help you.

I offer a signed letter from my landlady, with a copy of HER council tax bill to prove I really live there. Not acccepted. My bank statements from The Netherlands are no good either because they do not have my current address on them. In the end BB suggests I come back with my first pay slip. I try to explain to her that I can not get paid if I don't have a bank account. She sighs as if I am the one who is being uncooperative. Eventually she suggests I have my Dutch bank account transferred to my English address. Once they send me a bank statement at my new address, I can come back with that and they will open the account for me. That can take up to a month. I leave.
I try the bank next door. And the one next to that. And so on and so on. Do these people all have the same conversations all the time?

How does anyone ever get a bank acount here?

20 March 2004

Trying to get the balance right

I was listening to Mary Black and I came across the song " Trying to get the balance right". How do you get the balance right? How do you go from a long distance relationship too a living around the corner one? It makes no sense to spend a night apart now that you live so close. But the whole point of not moving in together right away was that we wanted to take it slow. Or at least make sure we both build our own lives before we start sharing. I guess as long as I don't have a job and as long as Jane is away from Uni for a few weeks, we don't have any pressing engagements that make it hard to be together. I hover around town and Jane does work at home: we might As well be together. On Sunday, Jane will be off to her parents. I am not coming along because I have things to do on Monday. That will be the first time we spent a night apart since I arrived here. I am looking forward to getting a job. I want to see what it will be like to not have all day to hang around the house or have nothing else to do but go to Jane. I told Jane I wanted to sleep at my own place tonight because I felt ' it was the thing to do'. Quite right she wondered why the hell I said that. I could find no reason so here I am: watching the Rugby (Go Wales!!!) with Jane. When it is over, we are going to have a bath.

So far, I am enjoying it a lot here. But I think it has not sunk in yet that this is a permanent thing. That I will have to learn the rules of Rugby. And Cricket. And that I will be buying a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side sometime soon. And that I am not going back home. Home to Radio TV West. And that is just the weirdest thing: That I no longer work for Radio TV West. That I am no longer a journalist. That I now have to do something new entirely. Something I never had to do in my life.

But with Jane and me things are OK. We are working on this. Trying to get the balance right.

We don't always live in harmony
And often there are times when we are enemies
I fight with you, and you fight with me
Trying to get the balance right.

Sometimes we cause each other pain
Sometimes our wills are not the same
And often we tire of the strain
Trying to get the balance right.


Like a circus pair
High up in the air
Working on their act
We need that kind of pact
High above the ring
Watch them balancing
See how they unite
We too can get it right.

We don't always seem to get along
And one of us often acts too strong
Sometimes we find we're goin' wrong
Trying to get the balance right.


We don't always live in harmony
And often there are times when we are enemies
But I love you and you love me
When we get the balance right
When we get the balance right
We can get the balance right.

First impressions

For those of you who actually care about me (Jane: I do I do!) and follow my adventures in England, here are some first impressions. I have managed to put all my stuff in my room. It looks quite cool. The room is big and has a nice double bed and a little sink. It feels kind of cool to live in England now. It was completely strange when I was in town yesterday. I was going around the temp agencies for work when I bumped in to Jane. She was shopping for clothes with her flatmate. We exchanged a few words and then I went on my way and said: See you later. You are coming over to my place for dinner?

That was so WEIRD!!!

Anyway. I spent most of my Friday searching for jobs. I registered with a bundle of Temp Agencies. All of them told me I was aiming too low with the kind of work I was looking for. Really? Me? A P.A.? I admit: On my CV I made an extra big point of having been Editor-in-Chief sometimes at Radio TV West. To them it means that I have supervisor qualities. To me it simply meant that I did my work well and people respected me enough to listen to me. I would much rather start lower down in a company and grow my way up to a higher position. Rather than coming in to a job as Office Manager or something like that. But hey, they think i can do it. And more responsability means more money. So I will go to all the interviews thhey set up for me and if I feeel unhappy at a certain job, I will simply leave.

However, I am a little surprised. I would never assume I have advanced levels of Word. But according to their tests, I do. The only thing I couldn't do was a mailmerge. The rest was nothing more but cut-and-paste etc. Nevermind. I guess I am simply a lot smarter than I think. Or mmaybe I don't think high enough of myself. I did a test for my French. I failed miserably. So instead of accepting my failure, I simply told the lady of the temp agency that their test was flawed. And so she will arrange an interview for me at a company in Rugby. The Managing Director wants a PA who can speak to his customers in French. I can do that. And apparently it pays a good deal more than the sum I had in mind.

I might put off applying foor a job at the local supermarket here. They are only willing to pay me 4.68 pounds per hour!!! Nobody can live on 4.68 per hour!!!

17 March 2004

I'm here!

After a 9 hour drive, I finally made it to Leamington Spa in the West Midlands. My dad had his first experience driving on the left side of the road. He was scared as a bunny caught in the headlights but he did really well. As a man does, he bluffed by saying he was kidding when he said he was scared.
Anyway, we went through the Eurotunnel. kind of scary after the bombs in Madrid. But thank goodness the security was really tight . Not. We arrived with a van stuffed with boxes of clothes etc. The bloke with the big gun asked me to open the van. I did and his face went a little pale. He sighed: "Oh no." I told him I was moving to England. I am lucky we were 3 white people. Because he should of course have made us empty the van box by box. Instead he looked at us and said: Oh. Ok then. Have a nice trip.
I am certain if we had been from southern Europe, Turkey or Marocco, he would have asked us to unload the thing bit by bit. I feel sorry for the people who suffer this kind of discrimination all the time, simply because their compatriots are idiots.

Anyway, we arrived annd found my landlady was not home. Where was she? Had she left without saying a word, taking my money? I called. And called. And called agian. But she never answered. Then she called. She was in the park with her boy because the weather was so nice. hehehe.

I am looking forward to my new life here. But I am also scared. I guess that is normal. I need to get dressed now. My parents want to see Stratford-upon-Avon. You know, where Shakespeare lived.

13 March 2004

It's over

Yay. Had a great night last night in the pub. I asked colleagues from work to come to the pub but that I wouldn't pay their beer. I was actually secretly chuffed with the number of people that showed up. Shame that it stood out like a little sore thumb that there were only 4 friends (who came in pairs of 2) and the rest was colleagues. Sort of shows how much of my life revolves around my work. But I was happy that those friends had gone through the effort of coming from a fair distance away. And, I have to admit that a few friends cancelled because they were on holiday.
Those evenings are nerve wrecking for me. So many peolple and you can not pay attention to all of them.

I got lots of cool presents. Books, CDs, money, a cool little radio with chopsticks(??????) and a really cool t-shirt they had designed for me: a Photoshop picture of the Radio TV West logo, combined with some Finding Nemo pictures.

I had a great night. Much better than a big farewell at work. Now everybody who wanted to drop by came around. And some people at work had already given me cards or little gifts. Interesting how you hear people you never really worked with suddenly tell you how much they will miss you.

I will miss them. I just don't know how much yet. I think that when I have another job, I will start realising that my job is no longer with Radio TV West. And that my colleagues will now either become my friends, or they will fade into the background and filter themselves out. New phases in life are weird.

By the way: I am pulling the plug on the internet today. Anyone who still comes to the site through the wanadoo.nl address: Change it for Pete's sake.

12 March 2004

The last day

My last day at work today. I don't expect anything special since on Friday, this place is almost deserted. And besides: our best radio presenter is also leaving today. So I will be leaving more or less in silence, in the shadow of his departure. Shame, now I wil never know if they like me here:)

I am feeling sad. But I am looking forward to starting this new part of my life.

11 March 2004


I have tried to resist. But if a Blogroll is about sites you visit on a regular basis, Grouchy Old Cripple deserves to be in it. But don't blame me if you are appalled by the stuff some people post there. It is not even Denny himself. Eventhough I disagree with just about everything he says. And even if I get really sick of him, quite condescendingly, telling me he respects me but that I have been brainwashed by the leftist media, I like him. Because at least he has the decency to answer my questions and argue. Instead of resorting to things like: All lefties live in a dreamworld and are stupid. Or even calling me stupid personally.

Everything right wing people claim lefties to be is to be found there; written by right wing people. So they are rude. They make arguments personal, they live in their own little world, don't address points I raise but mostly assume I am just stupid because I am from Europe. Just the same way they claim lefties dismiss Americans for simply being American.

And still, in a kind of masochistic way, I drop by every day. If only because I believe that visiting the 'opposite side' is useful and teaches you about other people's beliefs. If only more people, from both sides, would bother to do that. I think I would be fine sitting down and having a beer with Denny. But with the rest of his visitors, I am not so sure.

By the way, this site, and a conversation I had with a friend of mine recently, lead me to think why so many key positions in the media the world over are taken by more or less left-wing people. I can see how this is a gripe for a lot of folks. Now I am a leftie so as such I don't really mind. But it is true and honesty tells me to be bothered by it. Because as a journalist, I want my news as objective as possible. Not right, not left. Food for thought. In another post perhaps.
Abstinence doesn't work

Teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage have the same rates of sexually transmitted diseases as those who don't pledge abstinence, according to a study that examined the sex lives of 12,000 adolescents.

Ha. I bet you won't find a link to this article on all those hysterical Christian websites that try to tell you abstinence is the only thing that works against STDs. Of course, not walking prevents you from breaking your leg. So not having sex protects you from getting an STD. But, as the article point out, no sex education means that once they start having sex, they get STDs faster because they don't know anything about protecting themselves. So they don't use condoms. DUh. STUPID. So, as we can see once again, religion does NOT protect you from the evil in the world. In fact, it just makes it more evil. After all, when you are sexually active, you are, if you are smart, aware of the risks you are taking. If you are not active and you get active one day, you just assume you are safe and run a greater risk.

99 percent of non-pledgers and 88 percent of pledgers have sex before marriage.

Well, I would say that pledging is a raging succes. Not. 88% break their holy promise to God. Gee. How much is it worth then? Not much obviously. Lemme help: That is because God gave you a penis and a clitoris so you could actually ENJOY sex. So he made it very hard to resist. I think he doesn't even want you to resist it. He just wants you to do it safe and concensual.

10 March 2004

The Gospel according to Deb

I got here via Lexius and laughed my arse off.

A parchment diary found inside the backpack appears to contain the musings of one Debbie of Galilee. Many of the pages are still being translated from high-school Aramaic; here are some persuasive excerpts:

October 21

Everyone says that he's just totally good and devoted to all humanity and that he was sent to save us and that's why he doesn't have time for a girlfriend, although I swear I saw Mary Magdalene doodling in the sand with a stick, writing "Mrs. Jesus Christ" and "Merry Xmas from Mary and Jesus Christ and All the Apostles," with little holly leaves all around it. And I'm like, Mary, are you dating Jesus? and she says, no, he's just helping me, and I'm like, you mean with math? and she's like, no, to not be such a whore.

April 5

So Mary Magdalene tells me that Jesus and all the apostles had this big party and that it got really intense and Jesus drank from this golden goblet and now it's missing and the restaurant is like, this is why there's a surcharge.
Gays and Nazis

Well-meaning people who oppose "gay marriage" often float the compromise of "civil unions" as a way to keep everybody happy and to demonstrate their goodwill.

But it won't work any better than British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's attempt to appease Adolf Hitler by handing over Czechoslovakia in 1938. Shortly after Chamberlain proclaimed that he had negotiated "peace in our time," Hitler cut a deal with the Soviets and they jointly invaded Poland in 1939. Historians record that Hitler was utterly amazed at Chamberlain's naivete.

How shocking is that? How disgusting is it that so-called Christians compare gay activists with Nazis? And then they try to wiggle themselves out of it by saying they are really not comparing gay activists with Nazis. Well, someone tell me exactly what they are saying above? Sometimes I feel so alone and angry. Sometimes I just want to cry at the hatred these people are spewing out on the internet. Sometimes I wish God would strike them all dead.

As with the mayor's lawless order to issue "gay marriage" licenses, the supervisors' resolution shows that the homosexual agenda is not about expanding tolerance but about crushing everybody else's civil rights under the steamroller of "gay" activism.

Really? Gay people are not trying to stop other people from getting their civil rights. That is exactly what those Christian fascists are doing. I just want to get married. It should bloody show you that I respect the institution of marriage. If I didn't care, I wouldn't want it. However, I do not force other people to get married. Or to not get married. or to become gay. But the Christian fascists do exactly that: not content with spreading hatred around the world, they also want to actively deny people civil rights. Even when granting those people these rights would make no difference to THEIR personal little pathetic Christian life. Mind your own business. As soon as gay people start demanding they can preach in your church about how great it is to be gay. THAT is when Christians can complain about gay people wanting to influence them. But as long as all I want is to live somewhere in peace, without even bothering, go FUCK OFF and leave me alone.

By the way: I refuse to link to the article because every visitor they get is one too many. If you really want to read the whole thing, search Google for Concerned Women for America.
Michael Jackson

*To the tune of Michael Jackson's Bad*

Because I am bored
I'm bored
Really really bored

2 more working days until I get to leave my job. Yippie. I want to go I want to. It is darned hard to stay motivated right now. But being the professional that I am.....ugh.
In the mean time J is being mistreated my her lecturers who piss me off immensely. Giving her worse marks than other peoplewith the exact same answers. How can you ever be expected to learn from your mistakes if they won't even give you your assignments back? Or if they won't discuss your work with you? Sometimes I just want to take her out of University because they treat her badly and make her feel down sometimes. Christ I feel so protective abuot Jane. She must think I am smothering her sometimes.


09 March 2004

Not in my backyard

Just how many garden shows are there on the BBC?

We found that over the seven days up until this Friday (March 12), BBC1 and BBC2 will air a total of 26 hours of lifestyle and gardening shows - the equivalent of an entire day's schedule. [snip]
Over the same period only two shows are devoted to science - BBC2's Horizon, which will take a look at the viewer-friendly Tyrannosaurus Rex at 9pm on Thursday, and Patrick Moore's long-running Sky at Night, placed in a graveyard slot on Monday, which is the only science show on BBC1.

See, I thought I was the only one who got really pissed off with all those stupid shows.

Thank God Sir David Attenborough agrees with me.

Sir David Attenborough said there was "too much concentration on a few genres of programming". Too many populist shows about gardening, said Sir David, speaking on last night's Panorama special about the BBC, and not enough music, drama or science.

Just how many gardening shows are on the BBC? wondered The Buardian. Well, it is shocking. When I see how much time is dedicated to life-style shows, reality shows, wife-swap shows, my blood just boils with rage. Not only because I actually watch them (Hello, my name is Marieke and I watch Life-style programs), but because they are all the bloody same. I only need one Wife Swap. I do not need Mother-in-law Swap, Boss-Swap, Sister Swap, Lover Sawp and Religeon Swap.

Actually, Religeon Swap is a show on Dutch TV. That program is supposed to enhance the understanding between religeons. Personally I think you are a bloody hypocrite if you swap your religeon. Jews and Muslims swapping religeon for a week? Muslims eating pork for a week and praying to God? Catholics praying to Allah 5 times for a weekend? If you give up your deepest beliefs like that, you are not really religeous, you are a hypocrite.

07 March 2004

Time to say goodbye

The time to say goodbye has started. Last Thursday I said goodbye to one of my best friends. She has gone skiing so she won't be here next week to come to my farewell party. And on Friday I said goodbye to another friend who goes skiing (why does everybody just go skiiing these days). Today will be quite painful too. DON'T LAUGH. I am a seasonticket holder for Feyenoord, a football team from Rotterdam. I was there when they won the UEFA Cup 2 years ago, it has left me a most wonderful memory. Anyway, it will leave me very very sad to leave it behind. The matches every 2 weeks, he yelling, cheering, the atmosphere in one of the most beautiful and historic stadiums in Europe.

Some people laughed when I said that Feyenoord was the one thing I would miss most in England. They said: You can support an English team and buy a seasonticket? As if that is the same.

I remember 1999 when Feyenoord played Juventus in the Champions League. I was in Australia at the time. I was lying in bed at 7am local time. Connected to the internet I listened live to the report on the radio, from the other side of the world. And I cried. We beat Juventus 2-0 and I wasn't there.

I remember when Feyenoord played the semi-final of the UEFA Cup in 2001. Against Inter Milan in our home stadium. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Only about 200 Italians and the rest of the stadium was ours. With fireworks, singing and a win. A beautiful win.

I slept on the street for 24 hours, in front of a shop to get a ticket for the final. And I got one. I was so happy. And thenI won a prize. VIP-Tickets to the final. Cool. So I sold my own ticket. But when we got to the stadium, things had gone wrong and there were no tickets for the prizewinners. They had to buy them on the black market. So instead of between Feyenoord supporters, I ended up with 10 people between the German Borussia Dortmund fans. Most people say I should be happy that I was there at all. But I cried. I cried almost all the way through the match. I could see the section where I would have been had I not won that stupid prize. I would rather have watched the match at home or in a pub with friends anf fellow Feyenoord fans than where I was now: In my own stadium, being yelled at by Germans. I cried. It was not the most beautiful moment of my life. Something it should have been when we won 3-2.

So does that make it a little clearer how important this football is to me? It is so important that, even though I am not there, I am going to get a season ticket for next season. So that I can come back to The Netherlands and plan it around the matches I really want to see.
Packing up

The last week has started. On Friday I will say goodbye to my colleagues and then Tuesday the 16th, I will hop in the car and be off for England. Yippie!!!
I have started to pack up. And take the furniture apart. I am not taking anything with me because my room in England is furnished. So coming TUesday, the rubbish-people will come to pick up my old sofa, a cupboard and a side-table. I'll be sitting on the floor for 3 days:)

As I was clearing stuff away, I found photos and letters from past lives. What do you keep, what do you throw out? I went through my stuff and I decided to treat it like clothes: if you have not looked at in for more than 2 years, throw it away. And so I did. but from memorable things, I kept one thing. I did not throw away pictures I once liked, I just threw away pictures I had 5 tims with only a small difference. So my photo collection has halved now without actually losing any of the value to me.
And letters. Once they had tremendous value to me but should I keep them now that they no longer have? Is the memory not in my head? I went through 2 boxes of letters from different people. Friends, ex-girlfriends, family. First I threw out all the old birthdaycards. Then I threw out the cards congratulating me on my graduation (like: about 2). Letters from friends when I was in France, little scribbled notes from when I was in high school survived the cut. You know the notes you pass to your best friend during lectures? I thought they were funny and a nice reminder of high school.I don't have that many good memories of high school so a few grins, I did not want to throw out.

Love letters. Are all letters sent by lovers love letters? Love letters have a high cringe factor. On one side you read them and think: I can't believe I once felt like this for this person. And that she felt like that for me. But then again, it happened and it is silly to cringe. Because your feelings were true. But do you need to KEEP them? I mean, it's not like i will say to Jane: "Come here sweetie, let's sit on the sofa and read all the letters my ex-girlfriends have sent to me." And I wouldn't do it secretly either. So they end up in a box because I feel I can't really throw them away but that box has not been opened in at least 2 years.

So I read them. Not all of them. I just picked some out of the box. The ones that made me angry I just threw out. The ones that made me cringe, I just threw out. And then I realised I don't 'need' them. When a relationship ends, you start to give it a place in your life. And that place is obviously a very very different one than the place it had when you were still in that relationship. And after a relationship, sometimes you discover things that put the whole thing in a new light so that those letters seem to be from a person you don't really know at all. And so letters made me cringe because I could not believe how silly I had been, how childish, how naive etc. I do not need letters to remind me hoa happy I have been with some of my girlfriends. I have had happy timeswith all of them. And these times are stored in my head. I don't need letters to remind me.

So I picked out the photos from between all the letters and put them in my photobox. Because I do not want to deny those old relationships or forget about them (well, I can think of one that I would dearly like to forget about, thank God it lasted a few months only and she never wrote me a single card). And I threw the letters out. Because all of my past is in my head. I remember how I felt for my girlfriends. I do not need letters and cards to remind me of that. They are all treasured memories, some more painful than others. But the have their own place in my past and in my personality now. And now that I am starting a new phase in my life, I feel, quite litterally, that I do no longer want to carry the bad memories around like a burden. And the good ones are stored in my head so I do not need a reminder.

Jane thinks I should keep them. She has a box of things that remind her of a period in her life. Fair enough. But that is not the same as having a box of things that remind you of a person. I now have that box too: some stuff from different times in my life. Much more useful because it reminds me that were more in my life in those periods than just that particular girlfriend.

03 March 2004

More gay marriage

I can't believe I did not link to this article myself and waited for Julie to remind me of it. You know, seeing I posted about it earlier today. I read this issue of The Economist last Monday on the plane back from England. It was a good, refrshing, non-emotional look at why the American Constitution just about HAS to allow gay marriage. It picks apart some of the arguments opponents use.

Allowing homosexuals to marry will weaken the institution of marriage. The weakening of marriage has been heterosexuals' doing, not gays', for it is their infidelity, divorce rates and single-parent families that have wrought social damage. Let's give the gay people a try. They can certainly not do any worse.

It is wrong in the eyes of God. Fair enough but the American constitution is VERY strict in separating Church and State (eventhough those who INTERPRET the Constitution might not be!). So if marriage is about religeon, it is not a matter for the Constitution. That means Bush would be illegal to enforce a religeous belief through the Constitution.

Marriage is about raising children in a stable home. It might be. But then why not oppose marriage of those who are unable to concieve. Or those who know before they get married that they never want to have children. Or women who are past menopause?

Marriage has always been between a man and a woman, why should we change that after so many years? The article kindly points out that until 1960, it was illegal for a black person to marry a white one. Simply because it had always beenillegal. I doubt anybody these days would support the return of that ban, based on the fact that it was a tradition once.

America is brutally conservative. But strangely enough, there have been a fair few High Court Judges who have said they personally oppose gay marriage but based on the Constitution, they can not do anything but allow gay couples to get married in their state. And the rule in the USA is: A marriage from one state, is valid in any other state, even if that other state does not have gay marriage. (Hence 16 y/o can get married in Ohio and return to Chicago, where the age is 18, and Chicago will have to aknowledge the marriage). I think it is hopeful that these judges can set their personal opinions aside and read the Constitution for what it says: Equality for all.

However the article has one error in my opinion: it encourages homosexuals NOT to settle for a Registered Partnership that gives them the same right butnot the name Marriage. I believe that a Registered Partnership is a vital step inbetween. It will give gays the rights they deserve without bothering a large part of the straight community. After a few years, more people will see that society has not collapsed from giving gays the same rights as straight people. In The Netherlands, this strategy worked. Because after a few years, the debate had calmed down (if there really ever was one). And the Government realised it was stupid and a lot of extra paperwork to have two separate kinds of marriage that were exactly the same, just not in name. So wihtout much fuss, apart from the Christian-Facists, they opened marriage to gay people. And there was a lot less protest then there was when the Registered Partnership was introduced.

I can understand that for a society, the step from virtually no rights for gay people, to full marriage is too big. No matter how stupid I think society is for having a problem with this, I think it is smarter to move forward in little steps, than pushing your issue too hard.

Murder and mayhem

Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a fan of legalising gay marriage in America.

Last month on NBC's "Meet the Press," he warned of anarchy and deadly consequences if the San Francisco marriages were not stopped. "All of a sudden we see riots and we see protests and we see people clashing," Schwarzenegger said. "The next thing we know is there are injured or there are dead people, and we don't want to have that."

Right. Well, gay people getting married are usually not rioting so if there will be riots, they will be started by the opposition. Say, the same people who bomb abortion clinics and kill abortion doctors. Great. let's protect those pillars of society. Duh.

By the way, Dolly parton is my new hero. On the Oprah Show, she recently said she was in favour of Gay marriage.

[Tennessee twang ON]

Hell yeah. Why should gay people not suffer like us straight folks!

[Tennessee twang OFF]

Now run out and buy a Dolly album in support. She has all the makings of a gay icon. For the lesbians: she has big tits (that she can do tricks with). For the gay men: she is totally over the top and a dyed blonde.

02 March 2004

Do it anyway

How to avoid becoming a terror victim.

This next bit of advice will hopefully taken to heart by ALL Americans. Not just those who want to avoid being terror victims.

12. When in a foreign country, don't advertise that you're American by speaking loudly, holding up maps, exchanging currency at airports, showing American flags, etc...

But then again, how can Americans NOT talk loudly and just be generally in the way? I think they should add rule number 27: don't wear hawaian shirts as they single you out as an American.

Really, the world will be a better place for it. At least if they follow these two rules, I will not get so outraged that I want to kill them. Hawaian shirts are like a red rag to a bull.

God how ridiculous ARE these people who make up stories like this? Are they trying to make every American paranoid? They should ask how the Brits did it all those years during the IRA bombing campaign. Even they did not urge their citizens to do some of these stupid things. No wonder Americans think the world is against them. The government tries its best to make them feel that way. So they will vote for a president who is hard on Defence.

Stolen from Plumbing the deeps
That is just scary

You're Australia!

You're easy-going, relaxed, and yet somewhat tough and hardy all at the
same time.  You can appreciate culture, scuba diving, and even safaris.  This
makes you pretty interesting and intriguing to others, though also really unpredictable and
even wild.  Your knowledge of nature is unthinkable to most of those around you, even
though your respect for it is sometimes less than perfect.  People really like your

the Country Quiz at the
Blue Pyramid

Toxic piss

Don't you just hate it when people clean the toilet and leave the bleach in the bowl? And when you go for a pee, you almost die from the toxic fumes when your pee mixes with the chlorine. Ugh. FLUSH, you darn cleaner. FLUSH!!!!
Back again

Spent the weekend with Jane in Leamington. I signed my rent agreement. My room is indeed HUGE. Nice big double bed and lots of space to walk around. Will be interesting to see how i will fit in with the life of Cristina and her son Michael. I like them. Michael is a loud little man of 4. Cristina is a nice lady. The only problem I see with it is my own attitude. I have been living on my own for the past 10 years or so. In student rooms or in a house with other professionals. But with Cristina it will be much more like 'living together'. My room is only my bedroom. The idea is that we share the living room, I use her pots and pans, I use her fridge and I watch her TV. I am willing to do that. But that will be something I will have to get used to again. I have to make sure I do not spend all my time in my room. I am used to having only one room: a bedroom/livingroom. I'll get used to it.

Things were cool again with Jane. I like being around her and we are now at the stage where we can simply be bored together. I know that sounds weird but it is a big deal. Most people feel that they always have to do stuff in their relationship. Jane and I spent most of the weekend sleeping, going in to town and watching videos (Rabbit Proof Fence and Whale Rider, we were in a Down Under kind of mood I guess). I bought the DVD of Finding Nemo! Yippie. Double DVD with lots of interactive fun. One thing missing though: there was nothing on how they record the voices for films like that. I would LOVE to see how they record the voices. Because the voice-actors get a rough version of the storyboard when they record their lines. And then the animators adjust the images of the characters to make them lip-sync. Cool.