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Why? Who? What's this blog about? It's about MEEEE!

Being a Widow

My experience of dealing with grief as a widow

Astrocytoma

About Jane's brain tumour journey: Astrocytoma.co.uk
 

Don't Fuck with Britain

28 July 2005

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No more IRA violence

The IRA have today announced the end of the violent struggle for a united Ireland.
Good for them. It is, no matter how much I despise violence, a difficult step to take for any army to give up the fight.
I guess they have lost all importance in the light of the terrorism we face these days. A small nail bomb just does not do as much for your cause when at the other side of the city, there are much more professional multiple-bombers at work. The other terrorists are prepared to die for their cause. This makes the IRA bombers look like cowards as they are not prepared to die for a united Ireland.

I hope the Loyalists will see the importance of this step. Most of the (small) Republican steps have been ridiculed by Loyalists. And yet, Loyalists have very rarely been asked for a 'sacrifice'. They have now become the same thugs as the IRA. Dealing in guns, drugs and all kinds of illegal stuff. They are now simply two organised crime organisations.

They should BOTH be treated like that. BOTH should be condemmed. Both should be asked to prove they have given up their guns.
Keep Reading: "No more IRA violence"

London today

27 July 2005

in london today for business. Not on the tube though. Too sacred. Prefer traffic jams. Lots of police around.

Keep Reading: "London today"

Sponsors needed

26 July 2005

How often does a tele seller get an answer like this:

"Hello, I have sent you some information about our company and I am just calling to see if you are interested."

"Actually, I am interested. When can we meet?"

I was a little taken aback with the response but I am well pleased. See, I am trying to find sponsors for Old Leamingtonians Women's Rugby Football Club. To that effect, I sent out a bunch of really nice flyers to a bunch of local companies in the area. And the first one I called today for a follow-up said: Sure, let's meet.

I am positively glowing now. I might strike lucky only once in the whole thing but it certainly is a nice start. By the way, if you want to sponsor us, download our Sponsorship Brochure.
Keep Reading: "Sponsors needed"

Please tell me this is Photoshopped!!

25 July 2005

Keep Reading: "Please tell me this is Photoshopped!!"

Nicole Kidman sucks

22 July 2005


I used to like Nicole Kidman. In fact, I used to think she was stunningly beautiful. Look at this picture. Nothing wrong with that I would think. Now of course this was before she got skinny and started to suffer from an eating disorder (which she of course denies. It is just exercise and eating fruit & veg. Yeah right.)

Anyway, as I said, I have gone off her. Why? Well, apparently she turned down playing a lead role in a film when she was younger becuase she did not want to kiss a woman. And because she was too shitty to admit to that, she lied and said she had school exams (yes, she was that young.....)

It can not be so bad to snog a girl that you would turn down Jane Campion. And I am mightily miffed that she denied another woman to be able to say: I snogged Nicole Kidman.
Keep Reading: "Nicole Kidman sucks"

London under attack

I fancied using an American-style headline so there...


It seems the aim in London is more to create chaos than to kill as many people as possible. Yesterday detonators went off in the Tube and a bus, today a mosque has been evacuated and plain-clothes police have shot (dead?) a man on the Tube, creating another shut-down of the Tube system.

And their technique works. One major attack will not stop people from getting on with their lives. But consistent threats will wear people out and they will feel insecure about the dafety of the Tube. I am going to London next week but I will most definately not use the Tube.
Keep Reading: "London under attack"

Where are my 72 virgins?????

Inspired by a link to an article in The Guardian posted by Minispace I remembered a conversation I hear on BBC Radio 5 Live. Presenter Nicky Campbell was talking to an Imam about the suicide bombs in London and how martyrs of the Islam apparently get 72 virgins, an eternal erection, sofas made of jewels and wine that does not make you drunk when they get to heaven. Nicky suggested that people who want to be martyrs must be sexually frustrated if they want to get their hands on these virgins so badly that they are willing to blow themselves up for it.

Of course the Imam was highly offended and accused Campbell of trivialising the Islam. But I thought he had a point. Of course he was putting it bluntly but the Koran describes heaven as a highly sensuous place where there are women and sex and alcohol as much as the martyr could possibly want. So if a martyr says he just wants to get to heaven, he is effectively saying that he just wants to get laid and get rich. Bit materialistic I think.

The question is of course if the sexual rewards are the ultimate goal of the freaks or if they are just a nice added extra bonus for being a martyr. The piece in The Guardian actually tries to explain that the whole notion of the 72 virgins might be a matter of mistranslation. That if you translate the Koran in a different way (i.e. in the way language was spoken back in the days it was written and not just in plain Arabic), the promise is actually just of wine and jewellery and angels. Not of virgins.

Interesting thought: So many men might have died only to be offered a glass of wine instead of a virgin…….
Keep Reading: "Where are my 72 virgins?????"

Madness

20 July 2005

I am sure you have by now been sent the text of this thing called "How did we survive". It is doing the rounds on emails and website about how things used to be better in the olden days when your school report told you you failed, when injuring yourself when playing outside was an accident and nobody was sued etc.

Although the text is partially true, it is of course ridiculous to suggest that things were better 30 years ago. After all, it is the generation that grew up without seatbelts, law suits and PlayStations who have created the society we live in today. Soif they feel kids these days are horrible, it must be their own fault as they are the generation that raised these kids.

Anyway, I digress. I wanted to let you all know that if you think your government is molly-cuddling you, think again. The Dutch Minister for Traffic has just proposed a new law that bans motorists from having loose objects in their car. Yes, you read that right. Ban. As in: The police will give you a fine if you have an umbrella inyour car. After all, people could be hurt by those objects in a crash. You could be decapitated by your road atlas!
I suspect this is the final straw and common sense and reason has now completely left this woman.

A LAW to determine is I can have a First Aid Kit in my car that is or is not strapped up? Or an umbrella? I could not believe my eyes when I read it. But it is true.Thank goodness the Dutch parliament has told the woman she is a nut case and that she should spend her time fighting congestion or something important.
Keep Reading: "Madness"

More depression

19 July 2005

Something else to get depressed about: American politicians who suggest dropping an atom bomb on Mekka to sort out the Islamic terrorists. And a Republican Party running around trying to control the damage. How stupid can these people be. No wonder Muslims believe it is a war against the Islam, rather than a war against terrorism.
Keep Reading: "More depression"

No denial

17 July 2005

I thyink there is no denying it. I am getting depressed. Perhaps it is because I am about to turn 30 and I have no house, no car and a job that pays shit money with no perspectives. Perhaps it is becuase I have nothing to look forward to. Not that my life is shit, but when you have a job with no perspective, life just moves along and there is nothing in the future that helps you to go on. I am not going on a trip around the world, not going skiing, not moving to another country. Just life ahead of me.

But more than anything, it is my job. I hate it. It is boring. But on the other hand, I feel I have no skills to move on to something more interesting. I have a degree in Journalism, something that is proving completely useless out here. England is a much more competitive job market than The Netherlands. JD's fellow students have all just graduaetd and are going no starting salaries of £30,000 in places like London, New York and what have you. The average starting salary of a UK graduate is £22,000. STARTING salary. I currently get £15,000 and with my limited skillset, there is no real prospect to go anywhere over £20,000.

Journalism is a degree in general knowledge but you end up knowing nothing. In the end, it is the only thing I am trained to do. I went to a recruitment agency and the guy asked me if I had done purchase orders, sales order processing, stock control, invoices? In the end he said: " What CAN you do?". I felt that was particularly nasty of him and it certainly made me feel depressed.

If I had the money, I would go back to university and study marketing. I will achieve more as a fresh graduate with a useful degree that has taken me 3 years than I will achieve trying to climb the ladder for the next 3 years.
But I have no money. So I just don't see myself rising above jobs like Sales Administrator, Accounts Administrator, Administration Assistant and the likes of that. I am 30. If they can take no a 21 year old, they will. I need a salary of at least £15,000 to live on. JD is doing what she can to help me. But I am already feeling that tell-tale sign of not caring and nothing being good enough and "It will never change as I am not good enough so I might as well give up trying before I have even started."

I want to succeed in England. I do not want to go back to The Hague because I could not make it here. But it is so much different than what I expected. Much more competitive, much more based on performance. High flyers will do well in this country. People who are modest in their ambitions, like me, run the risk of falling behind and ending up behind a desk in a job they hate.

If you are reading this and you want to give me a job: I like creative things. Marketing or something. I liek a bubbly environment. THis is what depresses me most at the moment: I am alone in the office day after day after day, typing letters and sales proposals. It is not funy when there is nobody to talk to. At all. Oh, and I like sport. So I could be an outdoor instructor. If only I had a diploma in anything else than journalism.
Keep Reading: "No denial"

And so it begins...

16 July 2005

I realised that the next week was going to be unbearable when the doorbell rang at 6.50am. I barely registered the M shaped blur heading out of the room. The postman had just delivered the new HP book.

M offered it to me to read first but I got the impression that it was one of those 'I'm just being polite but I'll be annoyed if you say yes' offers. Don't offer if you don't want me to take it up! But I scored brownie points for declining and making tea. Like a boyfriend in a shoe shop I will wait patiently until my loved one is finished.

However, as I will be reading it immediately afterwards, there are to be none, I REPEAT NONE, of the following uttered whilst reading: "ooooh, aaah, noooo, yeah, oh no he's dead!"

But M read the last page first so the book has just lost all real excitement for her. IDIOT.
Keep Reading: "And so it begins..."

Radio Tour de France - The Sound of Summer

13 July 2005



For as long as I can remember, the summers were spent listening to (Dutch) Radio Tour de France. Every day between 2 and 6pm they are live in France, on motorbikes, reporting on the latest developments in the Tour de France, the most exciting sporting event on the planet, and free for spectators to boot!!!!

The sound of Radio Tour de France is the sound of my summers. Being in England means I miss it. I miss it really badly. So I have decided to defy the ban on streaming audio at my job. I am listening to Radio Tour de France and I am happy. I feel like summer. Outside the weather is fabulously hot, inside the airco is working fabulously hard and I can listen to Rein van den Broek's famous Radio Tour de France Theme Tune "Trumpet Cross". You can listen to that tune here.
Keep Reading: "Radio Tour de France - The Sound of Summer"

London Explosions Part 4

12 July 2005

News is coming in fast today. Raids on houses in West Yorkshire and Leeds, a car blown up by the Police at Luton Station and, most importantly, they identified the man who set off the bomb on the No. 30 bus in Tavistock Square. It was indeed the man eyewitnesses had said was fiddling around in his bag and looking nervous, moments before the blast.

This man was decapitated, something that is normal with suicide bombs according to Israeli terror experts. It seems that all activity today stems from identifying this man and widening the search to his last movements.

But how did they find out who he was? Did he carry a piece of paper with his name on it? Now they say they suspect the bombs on the Tube were suicide bombs. Things seem to change every 5 minutes at the moment.
Keep Reading: "London Explosions Part 4"

Why me?

09 July 2005

Jane and i are spending a lovely weekend in wales. A nice pebble beach and lovely weather. The lady from the campsite however forgot to tell up that this is apparently a beach for naked men. We are surrounded by tanned naked men with binoculars. Very weird but worryingly fascinating. Maybe the woman though we would not mind being surrounded by gay men. I wonder why...

Keep Reading: "Why me?"

London Expolosions Part 3

08 July 2005

I think the response by the UK politicians has shown the difference between America and The Rest of the Western World. Blair did not stand on top of the rubble, proclaiming to 'get the bastards who did this.' He did not threaten with war against those who did this. He did not rant about patriotism, the greatest nation in the world, war, revenge, retalliation.

Instead, he spoke of finding those who did this, waiting for the results of the investigation before attributing blame, he praise the Police and Emergency Services. And the staff of the London Underground who all worked hard and were in complete control of the rescue operations. He spoke of his pride of the British people and how everyone had stayed remarkably calm.

There is a difference beyond recognition. So please, Americans, stop posting on all those blogs that Britain will now understand why the USA went to Afghanistan and Iraq. The attrocities may have been committed by the same people but the response is completely different. We, and I mean Europeans, prefer to punish those responsible, not those who happen to have the same faith, skin colour or religion as those responsible. We, and I mean Europeans, prefer not to just kill a lot of people, hoping the purpetrators are amongst the dead.

You will see the difference. You will see why Europa is not hated around the world but America is.

Is this an ani-America rant? I guess it is but it is not at all Americans. it is at those who post on the internet that these attacks have somehow vindicated America's actions against Muslims, Afghanistan and Iraq. They have not. After all, if America is fighting the war on terror, it looks like their approach has failed.
Keep Reading: "London Expolosions Part 3"

Celebrating British Newspaper



England has a reputation for a sensationalist press. And today, after the London bomb attacks, I was not disappointed. The more sensationalist the paper, the higher the death toll. Officially, the blasts have killed 38 people. That number is expected to rise. So the editor of the Daily Star felt it was safe to claim 60 fatalities. 52 according to The Daily Mail, 53 according to The Sun and one paper I saw this morning even claimed 100 deaths!! It seems that if you want to sell more papers, you need to increase the deathtoll. I don’t understand how editors decide to run with those numbers when the official statement is "37 but expected to rise".

The Daily Star opened with the headline "Bastards" and the intriguing "Ken Bigley’s killers behind carnage" (Ken Bigley was killed in Iraq by Al-Saqhawi after being kidnapped for weeks).

The Daily Mirror, up till yesterday, carried the slogan Make Poverty History. Today it has dumped that for the more popular: We will stand firm.

Pragmatic as always, these English papers.
Keep Reading: "Celebrating British Newspaper"

London Explosions Part 2

07 July 2005

It is strange, the feeling when you hear what is happening. I remember it from September 11, 2001. You listen to the radio and watch TV. One attack happens, and then news fom another comes in. Whilst still trying to understand the first attacks, news of another one comes in. Adrenaline strats rushing through your body and a weird feeling of fear, excitement, amazement and morbid fascination takes over. That feeling that makes you wonder when it is going to stop. And then, after a few minutes or hours, they say there are no more new explosions. And the nerves go away. The adrenaline calms down. The curiosity drops back to normal levels.

And throughout the rest of the day, it is almost like you are searching for that high feeling again. Looking at websites, listening to the radio. But it is not as shocking as it was in that first instance when it was all happening.

People are weird. I am sure I am not the only one who feels like this.

I really do miss being a journalist. I feel amazingly frustrated that I am not out there on the street and making some sense out of it in an edit suite, feverishly working away before the evening news.
Keep Reading: "London Explosions Part 2"

Reflecting on life

After speaking to Jane, I have pondered about life. As the explosions happen, it makes you wonder about how much choice you have in life. Jane has just gone through major surgery and came out of it really well. People have called her brave for fighting it.

But what does it matter if life and death is decided by which seat you choose on the bus on your way to work?
Keep Reading: "Reflecting on life"

London Explosions




Fucking hell...
You try to get some news about what is going on in London today but everything is down. No websites are available.

I know it is probably 'wrong' to think such a thing at this time but my first thought was: I miss my job as a reporter. I miss it really badly. The adrenaline, the work.

I don't know anyone in London so I am not too worried. I guess this has to do with getting the Olympics. Someone wants to say: We are still here you know! IRA? Iraq? What?

Update
12:13 - The explosion on the bus was a suicide bomber. In Britain. Fucking hell. That is somehow the scariest thing of the whole story.

Update
15:41 - It has just been confirmed that there are at least 33 fatalities confirmed. Seven confirmed at Aldgate 21 confirmed at Edgware Road and five at Russell Square. Numbers of fatalities for the bus have not been confirmed.
Keep Reading: "London Explosions"

The Olympics are upon us

06 July 2005

In 15 minutes we will know if London wins he 2012 Olympics. Why am I feeling nervous? I am listening to BBC Radio Five Live. Waiting for either dissapointment or elation. I am interested in hearing how the BBC reporters respond. Will they remain calm and impartial or will they show their personal feelings?

Update
It is London.
The reporters have gone nuts. But with dignity. They are enthusiastic but not screaming. Most of them don't believe London has won it. In London people are coming out of their offices, walking into Trafalgar Square, cheering, singing.
It will be so much fun to see Jaques Chirac congratulate Tony Blair at the G8 summit later today!!

BBC website is suddenly taking minutes to load. The official London 2012 website is down too. I feel happy somehow. It is nice that there is something positive for people to look forward to.
Keep Reading: "The Olympics are upon us"

Question of the day

01 July 2005

One can't help wondering if the crack of dawn and the break o' day were caused by nightfall.
Keep Reading: "Question of the day"

I knew it: Orgasmic genes

Scientist have discovered that women who may have trouble reaching an orgasm can blame their genes.
Tim Spector, who led the survey, says it's all down to genes and evolution. If women reached orgasm too easily, they wouldn't be "very good selectors". The survival of the species requires more than brawn (the strongest male gets the female); it needs brains and the ability to be good nurturers and providers.

So the genes of women who were satisfied too easily were selected out, and those who wanted more than just a good time in the cave survived.

Hahaha! So women, do not despair if you can not climax easily. You will at least make a wonderful mother. When you think about it, it makes sense too socially. When we think of women who have lots of casual sex (Women who really like having sex a lot probably like it because they get lots of orgasms), we don’t think of them as suitable mothers. According to this theory, the slappers will eventually die out. Cool. I have no trouble with that at all.
Keep Reading: "I knew it: Orgasmic genes"