Monday, 30 June 2008

nothing happened in oosterpark

Beautiful weather today and I walked to the Amstel Station to catch the #40 bus. On Krugerplein you can find Nicole's clothes cleaning and repair service. I've been there twice to have a zipper renewed and they did a good job.


Across from the Amstel Station is a rather new little neighourhood. It was built only a few years ago and, since I'd never been there, I walked through it today. The main street is called Maliebaan. You can find a Maliebaan in Utrecht where it was named after the sport that was played on that spot centuries ago. There they would play 'malie' or 'pall mall' as it was called in English, a precursor to the game of croquet. To play the game you would need a long, straight stretch of road which would also be called a 'mall'. This is where you get the modern use of 'shopping mall'.

I don't think, however, that 'malie' was ever played across the Amstel Station. The street they've built there isn't long enought and doesn't run straight.

maliebaan; neither a shopping mall nor a playing field for mallets

In both the UK and the USA people are getting paranoid when photographers make photos of public buildings. In the London the Metropolitan Police has posters out asking the public to warn them when they see 'suspect persons' taking photos. In the USA people have been arrested for doing what tourists do: make photos. It is actually worse now in those countries than it was during the height of the cold war in Moscow!.

In the spirit of solidarity with persecuted photographers worldwide I marched into Amstel Station and took a shot of the monumental mural, made in 1939 by Peter Alma, right in view of three security guards. They didn't blink an eye during my photo session. I walked back and forth, left and right, asked one of them to move out of the way and then took the shot.

mural in amstel station

The security guards were very friendly and cooperative. Of course, I might not look like a terrorist on a recce mission.

do i look like a terrorist?

The recce into the security of the gates at work is progressing nicely; in the bus I was talking with colleague O who explained they had managed to crash the computer which controls the access gates. The gates have sensors to see if there is still a limb or other body part in the path of the sliding doors. If there is, the doors don't close. A piece of tape across a sensor means the gates don't close either. If you then try to open another gate with the same key the system crashes. It doesn't understand how the same key can be used twice at the same time. What I don't know —but what to me seems the only reasonable way of working in case of failure— is if all gates open when the system crashes. After all, when there's a fire or power failure they do open automatically. A crash should yield the same result. So now you know how to get a large group of terrorists into the building: use a piece of gaffer tape and (steal/use) one key.

The morning was used to do a bit of maintenance on the website. In the afternoon I got forwarded an email by colleague P from a site in Germany that claimed to have seen a break-in attempt by our webserver. I started digging in my log files and found that the break-in attempt had occured at our site too. What is worrying, is that I can't find a trace to the German attempt in my log files. This might mean that my site is compromised. I discussed it with colleagues P and T and we're going to sleep on it tonight and talk again tomorrow to see if and how we can find out what really happened.

I left work and walked through Javastraat into van Swindenstraat. There's a ladies fashion shop called Manzara catering to those of the muslim persuasion. They've got the most hideous colours on their sign that ever caused me an eye sore. The photo doesn't do justice to the brightness of the greens used. Imagine a sort of day-glo green of the hue used in horror movies.

ouch! the after image is still burned on my retina

Oosterpark was the scene of a photo shoot with a bunch of girls dressed up in multi-coloured tutus. One girl stood in a shopping trolley and was trying to stop her tutu from falling down. It wasn't autumn yet, so nothing happened…

tutu shoot

At the other side of the park some guys were trying to shift a tent by balancing it on a truck-pulled flatbed trailer. I watched them for about 10 minutes in which time they made about 5 meters. Every time the truck moved, the tent started shifting on the flatbed and threatened to fall off. Then the guys would shift it back onto the flatbed. I waited for the tree branches to swipe the tent off, but it didn't happen so I walked on to the ThaiCoon for a meal.

tent swipe

When I got to the ThaiCoon is was still early and therefor quiet. Peter, the owner, was still having his own dinner. He's the guy in the green shirt on the left hand side.


I had Tom Yam Kai, which was basically a complete chicken that had sweated the broth from all the chillies it ate, with some green stuff thrown in for good measure. I like spicy food, and this was done to perfection.

tom yam kai

After the soup I had the Yam Woon Sen salad. Glass noodles, made from mung beans, with vegetables, shredded chicken and prawns. De-li-ci-ous! I just found out on wikipedia that if you let mung beans sprout you get taugé. I didn't know that; I always thought that taugé was sprouted soy bean.


Vincent said...

You take nice photo's. You also see a lot of things. Because it gets dark when I leave work and during the day I... work, I can't take as many nice photo's as I would like...

I can't stand the sight of Dutch girls aged 16-25 anymore due to the overwhelming experiences with the ones living above us in A'dam. What makes you think it was a photo shoot anyway? It was probably just their "normal" clothes. They must've seen it in a cheap-ass TV ad somewhere like they usually do...

Right, back to my meat balls.

Nicole said...

I agree with Vincent, that might not have been a dress up photo session, that might be the way they dress. Sorry, a little joke there at the expense of some of the "fashions" that used to hurt my eyes.

I love the murals at the Amstel Station. I like that whole station.

The Thai Coon looks really nice inside. Lovely, little place.

I too love Tom Yum soup. I make it at home quite often (more in the warmer months).

Kees said...

I respectfully disagree; it was a photo shoot. They had the cameras, tripods and other parafernalia stacked by the side of the bridge and one of the girls was directing the others. A girl with a make-up box was also spotted by me.

What the shoot was for I don't know. It could be for a fashion magazine and then this is what you will be wearing this summer ;-)

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