Friday, 18 July 2008

think outside the box

This morning I walked to Amstel Station, going through James Wattstraat. Here I passed the Casa 400 hotel. In winter time it is used as student housing, but in the summer it is home to tourists who are here on the cheap. In keeping with the predominantly Eastern-European visitors, the hotel has a stalinist-era look to it, complete with crumbling walls. They're building a new Casa 400 hotel around the corner. I hope they'll make it look a bit better.

casa 400; all busses and cars had eastern-european plates.

At Amstel Station there was only one #12 tram waiting. In summertime they don't run as often.

#12 at amstel station; bijlmer prison towers in the background

At work we continued with the Typo3 test installation. Consultant Ben was a bit non-plussed that we couldn't log in anymore as admin. He phoned one of his colleagues after failing to google a solution. The colleage: "You imported the database from the development machine? Then your admin password is imported as well…" Dôh!

We then proceeded to add a PHP script that I wrote two years ago to one of the template pages. There are at least four different ways of adding your own code to Typo3, all of which require you to read phonetically spelled backwards Chinese in a Cyrillic alphabet, or so it feels anyway. Ben said he was going to write a plug-in for this sort of thing. It would make life a lot easier and they can use it in their consultancy as well.

In the afternoon I updated parts of the old website. That's one of the problems with a 'live' system, it keeps changing even when you're building the new version. A lot of work has to be done twice; once on the old site and once on the new one.

When I left work I took the bus to Insulindeweg where I caught the #14 tram to Waterlooplein. The tram took me passed the windmill. When I was here a few weeks ago the terrace of the little IJ brewery you can see in front of the windmill was teeming with drinkers. I used to go here some 20 years ago and the beer was always very nice.

windmill and ij brewery

I got off the tram at Waterlooplein. The flea market was still busy.

stalinist-looking city hall and moses & aaron church

I walked into the Stopera's 'binnenstraat', the covered street. This is where you find one of the few Post Offices in Amsterdam that has a 'PostBank Help Desk'.


I gave the nice lady behind the help desk counter my Chipper card and explained the problem. She tried to read the card, which failed. I could have told her that. After all, that 's the reason I came to see her. She said she couldn't do anything about it.

The only thing she could do was to tell the PostBank computer to send me a form, which I have to send back with the broken card. Then the forensics department will try to see what the amount of money is still on the card (€ 49.67) and tranfer that back into my account. She also ordered a new Chipper card which will be sent to my home within 5 working days. This being a Friday it means that I'll be out of a card for more than a week. I told her that I use the card to buy lunch in the cafetaria at work. She said to bring my own sandwiches. I'm glad the bank has employees that think outside the box for you.

I'm thinking that the lady in the first Post Office I went to yesterday could have ordered the same form and ordered a new card for me. The ladies in the second and third Post Office could have done the same.

I walked out of the Post Office, not really satisfied with the level of service I'd come to expect of one of Holland's bigger banks. Maybe I should change banks. That would also solve the problem I have with the PostBank's website, which will only show some forms when you use Internet Explorer V6 on a Windows 98 system. You try it with a W3 compliant browser and they tell you it's your own fault for not using ancient M$ crud. Well, PostBank, let me tell you something: It's easier for me to change banks than to change computing platform. Bye.

I walked out the 'binnenstraat' on the other side of the Stopera and into Staalstraat. It was lively with tourists and cyclists. I like Staalstraat; small and cosy with some great little shops.


I went on to Mulligans where I was meeting with Miriam. She had asked me to make new drinks menus. Prices are going up in August. Normally she only changes the prices in January, but since the prices of grain and oil (transport!) have gone through the roof the breweries are asking a lot more for beer and spirits. There have already been two price increases in the last four months and Miriam has to do likewise if she wants to make a profit.


After the menu delivery I walked passed Rembrandtplein through Utrechtsestraat and caught the #7 tram on Frederiksplein, getting out at the OLVG hospital.


At the Albert Heijn I got a nice Mozarella and pasta salad. The check-out queue was pretty long with everybody buying their Friday-night beers and snacks. They had posters in the shop saying "save for free shopping". If the shopping is free why do you have to save for it? You save to buy things you don't have the cash for now. If it's free give it to me right now.

check-out ah


Juf Jo said...

Someone please get rid of the Stopera, its too ugly for words.
The staalstraat is lovely, it has some nice shops, I love the shops that only sells animal-themed toys and the vintage clothing shop across from it, although its much too expensive.
The chocolate place is brilliant as well, I dont like chocolate but just cant resist looking at how nice it all looks and smells.
Today I didnt go to the Waterlooplein but I wonder how long it takes for us to bump into each other as I visit most of the same places you visit almost every day.

Prices going up in Mulligans?
THank god its too far away for me to go there as much as I used to, im broke enough as it is!

Im amused at how modern people no longer know the difference between the beach and a park.
In every park they sit on the grass, sunbathe and worse...
I prefer the way parks used to be, with a low fence and a sign; 'no walking on the grass'.
But everytime I walk passed the Rembrandt statue I think of the horrible double murder and suicide that happened on that spot in 1927.
And I wonder how many people remember that today, not many, eventhough a very famous actor and entertainer died.

Did you go the Albert Heijn on the Sarphati straat?
I was there as well, sometime around 4 o clock I reckon.
Buying coca cola ;)

Kees said...

@juf Jo: I always go to the AH on Krugerplein. After all, I live above it.

Nicole said...

I too love the Staalstraat :)

Vincent said...

I love that windmill.

What's a pint of Guinness gonna cost now?

I think that in a city with so little room for gardens it's very good to open up the parks for people to be in.

I never heard of Pisuisse before.

Kees said...

@Vincent: a pint of G stays at 5 euro, it's only the other beers that will go up in price.