Saturday, 31 January 2009

the pope defeated

According to Nicole, her mother was getting distressed because I didn't update my blog on a regular basis. Since I don't want to be responsible for Vicky running around with a hatchet in Adelaide killing people here's an update on the happenings of last week. I dedicate this one to Vicky.

At work the foundation for our new engine room is progressing; the concrete floor has been poured and they're now working on setting up the walls.

pouring concrete

Work this week has been mostly on the Annual Report (what's new…) and the cosmology booklet. The AR is almost finished now; I only waiting for two articles and the introduction. The director promised me to have the introduction ready on Monday. He also said not to beat him up if it wasn't ready since Monday is his birthday. I promised to hit him only softly as a compromise.

On a few occasions I walked home when my feet weren't hurting that much. Most of the time I took the bus, though. Tuesday I went past Frankendael just when the sun was setting, which threw a golden light over the pond.

frankendael sunset

At the Ringvaart a woman was feeding the birds. Seagulls and ducks were flocking around her trying to get at the food. The animal care organisations have asked to give birds a bit extra this year since it has been colder than average.

bird feeding

Thursday evening I was meeting Collins for a Chinese meal in Restaurant Tong Ah near Leidseplein. I left work early and decided to walk most of the route, walking a bit in circles around Amsterdam. My feet were feeling great, so I first set off to the Oostenburgergracht where I saw a bridge going nowhere.

bridge to nowhere

At the end of Oostenburgergracht I took the bus to Central Station. I got off at the Schreierstoren (Weeping Tower), so named because this is the spot where according to tradition sailor's wives would wave their husbands good bye. Again according to tradition this involved a whole lot of weeping.


The North-South Line Metro diggers have broken up their installations on the Damrak so once again we can see the water and the houses which are built straight on the water with no quay in front of them.


Dinner at Tong Ah was very good. Collins is a regular there but for me it was the first time. He usually gets the Gong Bao Chicken but wished that he could get something more spicy. I like spicy food too, so we discussed ideas with the owner who came up with "beef and chicken in a very hot sauce, just leave it to the chef". What came out of the kitchen later was beef and chicken in a very hot sauce, prepared with Mme Jeanette chillies. Very hot, indeed. Yum.

After dinner we went to Dan Murphy's on Leidseplein for a drink and talked about Collins' upcoming projects. We bounced a couple of ideas back and forth, but I don't think that night had one of my 'once a year great ideas', as Collins puts it.

After two drinks we split up and I started to walk home. I only made it two tram stops from Leidseplein before I caught the tram. The longish walk earlier had done its damage and my feet now seriously hurt. Taking the tram was the best option.


Friday I attended a conference for physics teachers which was organised at work. Several people were giving talks on what was happening in 'big science' with it's 'extreme machines'. Very interesting as they didn't throw too much mathematics and Greek around so I could follow it easily. One of my colleagues, a physicist with a PhD confessed that even he learned from the talk about entanglement in quantum mechanics. This reminded me of a Richard Feynman quote: "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics."

Today, Saturday I slept late. After my morning coffee I went to do the weekend shopping. The community centre in Joubertstraat is nearing completion. The building has two very large windows in the fa├žade. I looked inside to see what they were building. It turned out to be a mosque. I like the idea of a Dutch-style mosque; one of the things that tourists always notice is the large open windows in Dutch houses where you can see the family sitting in their living room. It looks like the designers of this mosque took that idea and implemented it here.


The tunnel under the railroad has been painted with graffiti since I don't know when. Years ago the council told the local graffiti painters to do their best and supplied them with the paint. Miraculously, it has not been overpainted with other graffiti much. Most of the original is still there. What is new, is the 'Escher' swans on the sign. It used to have words on it (which I have forgotten). I like the re-use of graffiti in this way. It gives it a feeling of continuation and renewal. Graffiti is one of the non-static arts. It keeps evolving. You can see it here.

transvaal graffiti

Those who don't like graffiti are warned by a sticker I saw on the old 'Volkskrant' building.


I got my exotic coffee blends for the Senseo at the AH on Wibautstraat and bought a small jar of Dun Peas which I ate tonight with onions, pickles and a meatball. For tomorrow I got a Mozarella salad.

loading up at AH

When I got home I saw on on of the FaceBook games I play, Mafia Wars, that Miss Jo and I had defeated the Pope. I didn't make any money from it.

the Pope defeated


Juf Jo said...

I don't like mosques, I don't like graffiti and I don't like signs that tell me that I can't dislike things.

I do like fighting the pope.

Anonymous said...

Kees, Thank you very much for today's blog entrance! I LOVE looking at the photos that you take and read every word. I find that very interesting and I learn some things on the way. I understand that you need planty of time to place the pics and commentars there, and I appriciate it even more,
thank you, and write when you can , any time is lovely,
btw. congrats on your weit loss and take care!

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