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Ottens
22 June 2009 @ 12:35 pm
Just not an awful lot of interest going on right now, besides work and, well, no, that's pretty much it. Hope you're all having a good summer!
 
 
Ottens
15 June 2009 @ 10:47 am
We have seen election fraud and essentially a coup taking place in Iran; North Korea goes on building the bomb in response to UN Security Council action; and Geert Wilders, that right-wing islamophobic buffon I mentioned before, is calling to deport all Muslims from Europe, for no other reason that they might, one day, “be a majority.” Eh? Even the political right is now calling him an idiot.
 
 
Ottens
11 June 2009 @ 02:09 pm
The "P" of my keyboard that is. (That actually sounds rather funny if you pronounce it.) Yesterday, it broke and I figured, maybe it'll help if I restart my laptop, not remembering that I needed the "p" for my password to log in...

Today I picked up a little 10-euro keyboard from the store and that's what I'm using now. It's not exactly the most convenient solution, I really should get a new keyboard for my iBook (one can buy those separately, fortunately), but at least I can use my computer again!
 
 
Ottens
09 June 2009 @ 02:59 pm
Just came back from a chat with my professor about my BA seminar essay. I'd feared she'd be tough on me, for she'd returned a few very strict notes earlier but on the whole, she seemed satisfied with my work and rated me a 7.5. So, I'm one step closer to my Bachelor's degree now!
 
 
Ottens
08 June 2009 @ 12:38 pm
It was Dean Martin's birthday yesterday and I all forgot if it weren't for The Dino Lounge (splendid blog, I tell ya!). So here's to the King of Cool!
 
 
 
Ottens
04 June 2009 @ 02:01 pm
Just did my democratic duty and voted for the European Parliamentary elections. No voting machines this time, just old fashioned paper and red pencil.
 
 
Ottens
02 June 2009 @ 07:30 pm
That's the impression one gets from watching the televised debate of the Dutch European party leaders. (The only outspoken pro-European party apparently wasn't invited.) What's with the hate? All the numbers indicate we've only prospered, and immensely so, from European cooperation. Sure, not all is glamorous. There's an awful lot of money being spend around, and an awful lot of money disappearing mysteriously, but efforts are underway to fight fraud and lots of subsidies are being shrunk or done away with altogether. People apparently fear some European “super-state” even though that's no way going to happen. People fear Turkey becoming a part of the Union even though that's no way going to happen any time soon. Why are people so fearful?
 
 
Ottens
01 June 2009 @ 10:20 am
It begins in the car with my father. We are standing in front of what is apparently a hospital and I'm supposed to go in and find my grandmother (who, in the real world, has been in a hospital exactly one time in her whole life). So I'm off to the back entrance were I find a whole crowd of people also wanting to get it. A guard tells us something about the hospital staff being on a break and that's why we can't enter yet. Soon, however, the doors are opened and we all storm in like crazy.

Inside, everything looks more like a huge shopping mall meets Grand Central Station, nothing like a hospital. For some reason, I pretend to be a med student, I wave my student card around and find myself in a class where I explain I'm working on a project to cure Ebola. (Yes, I saw Outbreak.) But I got to get out of there, of course, I'm supposed to be lookin for my grandmother. So I ask the teacher whether I can use the bathroom. He says no. I then pretend I must get to the bathroom because I'm about to throw up. He lets me go.

I get out of the class and into the huge hall that has all kinds of staircases and platforms and shops and restaurants. I find my way to a place where someone might tell me where to find my grandmother: there's a nurse standing next to a green machine that can apparently tell you were to find patients. She asks the room my grandmother is in. I say it's room 254 (IIRC). She puts that into the computer and on a view screen, we can see the five people apparently occupying 254. She even prints out a picture of it, but my grandmother's not among them. I ask what to do if I don't remember the room number and she tells me that somewhere in the higher levels of the building, there's a chamber where they keep records and there I can find my room number. These records are kept in pink folders in some archive, apparently.

While I'm trying to find that, I bump into my father who's obviously grown impatient with me having no yet found the room we're looking for. He's got a guard with him, for some reason to protect us, against what, I do not know. We make it to the higher levels and this is near the end of the dream. We find that the buiding is actually very old (though things looked very modernish before) with different towers and spires rising above the outside platform we're standing on. From here, we can see all the rest of the city below us, with lots of trees in the vicinity. We enter a room, hoping to find the archive there, but it's a lecturing hall, so my father quickly closes the door again. We wander about this courtyard-in-the-sky some more before I'm brutally awakened by my alarm clock.
 
 
Ottens
31 May 2009 @ 03:42 pm
In case you care to read up on the sitation in Northeast-Asia, may I recommend some reading material? NightWatch has a pretty good analysis of what's going on, as does EagleSpeak, which points out that recent developments all came shortly after the South announced it would be entering the so-called Proliferation Security Initiative. North-Korea has now announced the termination of the 1953 cease-fire and threats to attack U.S. and South Korean naval forces.

The China Defense Blog presents some interesting developments across the Yellow Sea where apparently, they know more than we do. DPRK Studies, however, says we're all paying too much attention to this recent turmoil and claims that nuclear weapons are still the greatest concern.

Finally we have Thomas P.M. Barnett listing four reasons why Kim Jong-Il's Hermetic Kingdom won't stop being a pain in the butt. Uncertainly about whom will succeed the Dear Leader should he finally succumb to madness is wrecking hevoc in Pyongyang but that's of no great concern, according to Mr Barnett. “If nothing else,” he writes, &lduo;direct hostile reactions might reveal the fraud that is North Korea’s decrepit military might, and—who knows—maybe they would actually tip things over into the regime-ending conclusion the whole world is looking for. [...] Unlike, say, Iran, North Korea is a completely fake state—the unnecessary tailbone still remaining from the Cold War—plus it’s truly totalitarian, meaning engagement is a fool’s errand.” Well, that's a relief, isn't it?
 
 
Ottens
30 May 2009 @ 01:00 pm
The Saturday before Pentecost, we have a little celebration here in The Netherlands called “Luilak.” I wouldn't know how to translate that into English, but it basically comes down to youngsters getting out of bed in the early morning to make all sorts of noise. The past few years however, this otherwise perfectly harmless celebration is more and more being abused to vandalise cars and public property all under the guise of having fun. Bus stands are always a popular target. People, sometimes we need this.