Friday, 13 June 2008

Enemy at the gates

A fairly miserable morning; cool and moist. I walked along Tugelaweg towards Muiderpoort station. Railway to the left, houses on the right. I used to live here 20 years ago. The whole house would shake when a train went by.


I crossed under the railway bridge on Linnaeusstraat and walked onto Oetenwalerspad. I had never walked here before; the path looked nice and green and the houses were set further back from the railway than those at Tugelaweg. I wondered what an 'Ecologisch Proefplantsoen', Ecological Trial Garden was and why I had to be aware of it. By the way, did you know that babelfish translates 'plantsoen' into 'plant blockhead'? I've noticed before that automatic translations usualy suck.

ecological plant blockhead

At the Muiderpoort station they have just finished the gates for the new Public Transport cards which they want to introduce. This card is based on flawed RFID technology which has already been hacked. But they still carry on as if nothing has happened; why should they worry, it's only taxpayers money!

It had started to rain so I took the bus for the remainder of the trip. In today's free newspaper on the bus I read that 76% of the Moroccan population in Holland supports the Dutch national soccer team in the European Championships. This number was revealed after a lot of research by a bureau that specializes in polling ethnic minorities. They probably got a shitload of money for something I had noticed yesterday just walking through the neighbourhood, where three out of four Moroccan teahouses were festooned with orange flags. That's 75%, close enough for government work.

muiderpoort station gates

When I got to work I noticed that they'd been working on placing gates in our building as well. We won't be using the Public Transport card, though.

work gates

We have something better to keep hackers out: too narrow gates. My colleague Jan walked into my office complaining that he tried the gate and got stuck. I came with him to see what was happening. Indeed, he gets stuck when he walks straight through the gate. As a matter of fact, so do I. Both Jan and I have to walk crab fashion through the gate. I emailed management with a copy of the photo below.

Minutes later our institute mananager wanted to see what all the brouhaha was about and we went to the gates together. He, being a skinny little guy, could walk straight. The facilities manager showed up, too, and said the gates conformed to international standards. I pointed out that 80% of the world's population is from third world countries and likely a lot smaller than your average western obese fatso tub of lard. Being civil servants and skinny, they didn't see the problem and wouldn't change the gates while still possible. I told the institute manager that if I couldn't walk throught the gates in summer wearing a T-shirt, doing so in winter wearing a thick wintercoat and rucksack or laptop bag would be well-nigh impossible. If I can't come in, I'll work from home.


Speaking of working from home: again they managed to let me sleep through the day and then come in at 15:45 with a job that would take me at least two hours to complete. This when they know I'm leaving at 16:00. I think I would be better off just staying at home doing useful things like doing the laundry and cleaning the house. Then, when they call me at 04:00 in the morning or at 20:45 in the evening for a rush job I could either do the work from home or get a taxi to work. That way everybody would be happy. One way or another I don't think they will approve of the idea.

I gave the industrious fellow (again a manager; why can't managers plan ahead?) the same answer I have been giving everybody lately about being forbidden to work in my free time and walked out the door.

Walking through van Swindenstraat I noticed this big orange/yellow ball at the corner of Dapperstraat. I don't think it has anything to do with soccer, though.

orange ball

The Oosterpark is transformed into an open-air theatre for the Roots Festival. They were setting up big-top tents and sound stages all over the park.

big top

The playing field is home to the big sound stage. The keffiyeh in the foreground was left there by somebody.

sound stage

I had dinner at the ThaiCoon. I've been very hungry lately and still loosing weight at the same time, so I thought I could do with a slightly larger than normal meal. I had the springrolls, the Tom Yam Kai soup and a spicy noodle salad with veggies, shredded chicken and shrimp. Delicious.


I'd been thinking of having an after-dinner coffee and cognac in Maxwell's. When I walked in the Italy-Romania match was in full blast. The cozy corner with Chesterfield chairs had disappeared and everybody had their eyeballs glued to the massive 40" flatscreen. I walked out again.

maxwell refugee camp

The terrace had disappeared under a tent and was no refuge either; it was rather cold, set-up for eaters and it also had a TV blaring away.

TV tent

So I left, sans cognac, and made myself a coffee at home.

Whilst writing this blog entry I heard loud cheering coming from the neighbours on both sides. One side are Surinamese, the other side are Moroccan. Yes, Netherlands v France: 1-0 in the 9th minute


Vincent said...

Is het niet fantastisch om een begrijpende manager te hebben?

Die OV poortjes kunnen waarschijnlijk goed worden aangepast aan een evt. nieuwe OV pas dus ik begrijp wel dat ze die stug door plaatsen. Ik heb een tijdje zo'n pas gehad toen ik in R'dam werkte en ik ben er erg tevreden over moet ik zeggen.

Goed dat je je poot stijf houd (zal nog beter gaan met vaste enkel trouwens ;-) met die laatkomers op je werk. Kan ik slecht tegen, mensen die zo laat nog een klus op je bord leggen en denken dat het vandaag nog goed gaat komen.

Nicole said...

I wouldn't fit through those doors either. I hate those kinds of things at train stations etc. I think I just hate them because I can't stand how everyone is forced into some kind of uniformity and I hate those transport cards that track everywhere you go. I'm too paranoid about those systems.

Oscar said...

Let's see if I will fit through the new gates at the lab. Especially with my rucksack and wintercoat. Heck, I'll have to be careful that I don't destroy these with just my t-shirt on. I wouldn't call myself in any dimension. I hate it when they hide behind international regulations. That's just nonsense. The OV-gates are also not that wide. I usually walk through the extra wide gate for ease.

I'll see by myself on Monday. If I don't like it, I'll complain at the manager myself.