July 25, 2008

Buying and selling

I'm quite proud of myself, I have recently sold something and bought something via Marktplaats and I stuck to Dutch the whole way through the transactions. Ok, there was an email or two where I asked a native speaker for some help, but most of the time I was on my own. I find it so difficult to write in Dutch though, I mean, I do it way less often than speaking, and I don't do that incredibly often. But with typing, my English keeps taking over. I think it correctly in my head, but my hands do what they're used to. So "ik" becomes "i", and "voor" becomes "for". Very frustrating.

So, it's rather silly, but the thing I bought is a VCR, heh. The reason I got a VCR is that I'd like to bring back the videos I have sitting in the US. So I found a used VCR on Marktplaats and arrranged to pick it up last night. I headed over to the address... to find that it was a tattoo parlour. Well, actually, I first tried ringing the bell of the house above the tattoo parlour before deciding, no, the address I needed was not the house upstairs. So I stepped into the tattoo parlour to find a line of people waiting at the counter. I have a look around the shop and see it's definitely not my kind of tattoo place, it's the type of place where you pick your design out of a book from typical things like old-fashioned sailor-style tattoos or tribal designs or Chinese characters. The shop also does piercings, so there was a display of hoops and studs. But then there were cases with things I was not expecting to see: fireworks. Not the big, professional things you can only buy for a few days at the end of the year, but "party fireworks" like sparklers. I didn't know you could get things like that throughout the year. So it was a tattoo/piercing/fireworks shop. With a line of people. It was all rather strange.

Anyway, I got the VCR and lugged it home and now I have my doubts as to whether it will play US format tapes. I dug around online for nearly an hour trying to find more details about this model of VCR, and only the details listed by someone selling it on a website in Romania gave me hope that it can play US tapes. And I don't have any US tapes with me to be able to try it out, but I may be able to get some. If it doesn't work, I suppose I can always try reselling it on Marktplaats...

July 23, 2008

New travel post

I've added a new post to my travel blog, talking a bit more about my trips to Wilsons Promontory and the Great Ocean Road. There's some videos as well. If you want to skip to the pretty pictures, you can head here.

July 22, 2008


After 3 months, I finally got up the Australia map I had bought.

While at my computer, I have Australia in front of me and Oregon to my left, so I can stare longingly at them both and not get much done.

Why am I in the photo? Because my hair is probably the longest it's been in a few years and I thought I should commemorate the moment. I should be getting it cut this weekend, though I'm not sure what I'll have done.

July 20, 2008

Pleasing to the ears

I've bought an abnormally high amount of CDs lately (for me) and many have become instant favourites, so I thought I'd recommend them (btw, bands really seem to be dispensing with the old plastic CD cases these days. Of the pile of new CDs sitting on my stereo, only 1 is in a plastic case).

Liam Finn - I'll Be Lightning
: Ok, this one isn't really that new to me, I've been listening for months to mp3s I have of the album, but I only got around to buying the CD recently. There are just so many good songs on it, both quiet, and louder, catchier stuff. His website says he'll be in Europe in November, and I've seen him live, he puts on a great show, so go!

Sam Amidon - All is Well: I saw this guy play at a show in Amsterdam (you can watch the show on the 3Voor12 website; he's plays with the Icelandic guy, but then they switch and he plays his songs) and I quite liked the performance. The album is all American folk songs, but with modern, yet simple, arrangements.

The Cake Sale - feat. Lisa Hannigan, Damien Rice, Josh Ritter, Nina Persson, Gary Lightbody, et al.: A friend surprised me with this CD, which is a charity project with proceeds supporting Oxfam's Make Trade Fair program. I don't know everyone who plays on the album, but no matter, I still love the songs. And the cover has cake on it. You can't really go wrong with cake for an album cover.

Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog: I read a couple of rave reviews of this album online and bought the CD without even listening to any of the songs first (rare these days). It is so very different from the quiet of Our Endless Numbered Days that I associate with Iron and Wine, but it's a brilliant album that I can't seem to stop playing.

July 14, 2008

Tuesday, September 9...

...is the day I'll be getting my second tattoo. =) The date has been set with Mikal at Infinity Tattoo in Portland and I can't wait. And that's without even having seen her design for the tattoo yet!

I've realized it will be best for me to tell my parents, and likely some other relatives, that I'm getting the tattoo done, and let them know I have one already. The main reason is because I'll be staying with an aunt and uncle while I'm in Portland and it just seems silly to go sneaking around like a teenager while taking care of it or trying to keep it covered up. And if I tell them, I should definitely tell my parents as well. I don't think they'll be happy, but, knowing how my family is, they'll resign themselves to the truth soon enough.

I was missing Oregon over the weekend (if only because they have better weather than we do, big surprise), so I indulged/tortured myself by watching my Burn to Shine DVD, which has nearly all of my favourite Portland bands on it (The Thermals, Gossip, Sleater-Kinney, Quasi, The Decemberists, The Shins). (Note to E - there's a Seattle Burn to Shine now, with bands chosen by Ben.) It made me want to go home very, very much, especially so I can experience summer. Today I saw the beautiful photos on this site (2nd post down), taken by a guy who paramotored to work. The pain of seeing all of that blue sky and hills and mountains and rivers...

It's way too nice out (for once) to be inside working. Damn you, weather, and your stupid timing.

July 13, 2008


YouTube likes me now and doesn't screw up the timing of the sound and video when I upload, so videos from Rock Werchter are now online:

REM - What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
REM - What's the Frequency, Kenneth? 2 (You can just make out Michael shaking his skinny hips.)
REM - Let Me In
(This was done beautifully, with the band all in the corner of the stage facing each other, but the audience didn't seem to appreciate it. The vibe from the crowd is one reason I was disappointed with REM's set.)
REM - Losing My Religion
Radiohead - Idioteque
Grinderman - Depth Charge Ethel
Grinderman - Grinderman

July 12, 2008

Rock Werchter 2008

I survived my first rock festival, through the rain and mud and lack of sleep and portable toilets. Despite feeling rather exhausted a lot of the time, I now look back fondly on the 4 days at Rock Werchter and I definitely saw some great shows: Radiohead, REM, Gossip, Ben Folds, Grinderman. I was introduced to the sensation that is Mika and was shocked to find out that I actually knew a couple of songs. And shocked that everyone seemed so into the music, or maybe they were just happy for the festival to be starting (it was the first day) and enjoying dancing in the thunderstorm that bucketed down on us. I saw a lot of bands I had heard of but never heard, like Kaiser Chiefs, Kings of Leon and The Editors. They were all ok, but I can't say I'm a new fan of any of them.

The photos I took aren't brilliant (it was always either too dark or too far away), but the salvagable ones are here. I have some videos too, but I'll need to upload them first.

Daily life at the fest was pretty relaxed: see a band, eat, drink, hang out on the field, repeat. It was tiring though, especially since sleeping was not easy. People were up all night in the campground and by the time they might have finally headed to bed at 4 or 5, you only had a few hours before the sun started to shine on the tent, making it unbearably hot by 9. There were always weirdos to keep you entertained on the festival grounds though, or people running around picking up empty cups, since 20 used cups would get you a free drink ticket. One day we were near some people who attached a few empty cups to a string, which they would yank if anyone bent down to pick them up. Cheap laughs, but it was something to pass the time.

On the second night, lying there, unable to sleep, I thought to myself that I'd never do a festival again. But now I'm not so sure. If the lineup was right I'd think about it, so maybe I'll be heading there again next year...