September 24th, 2008 § § permalink
Because the words of the world cannot, and should not, be reduced to simply Arial and Times New Roman, there exists an art form that is, in my humblest of opinions, so very improtant and yet mostly ignored and not lauded as loudly as it should be (excuse the matching words there).
That art is Typography.
I could download new fonts until the cows come home. Just thinking about it makes me all tingly. Too bad I have little to do with the fonts once I have them besides type my name into a Word document and see how pretty it comes out in ‘Hotel Coral Essex’ or ‘Poesie Noire’.
I guess you could call it a hobby of mine, if by ‘hobby’ you mean ‘time waster’.
If you are also a Typophile, click on over to dafont.com and check out my favorite sections: Eroded, Destroy, and Retro. I used ‘sidewalk’ in deep purple for the header of my resume and impressed my boss to no end (and got myself hired).
I have only met one Typographer in my life, and if we weren’t meeting for (unrelated to typography) business purposes, I would have picked his brain to find out about how he gets his inspiration, what it takes to make a font from start to finish, and what were his favorites.
I know there are more Typographers out there, so where are they hiding, and why is this art not appreciated more? I’m sure in the graphic design world it is, but everyone needs words every day of their life- even us little (non-graphic design) people, so why not giving more attention to these guys and this awesome art form.
There, I’ve had my say.
September 18th, 2008 § § permalink
I just found out that my last post just then was my 200th blog!
What a lovely round number, and my god don’t I have a lot to say?
Anywho, if you have stuck with me that long, fair play to you! It can’t have been easy listening to me jib-jabber away like that!
So here’s a gift for you to say thanks! Because you’re so effin worth it!
While looking for this lollipop online, I also came across this one! A 2-person lollipop! How cool is that! And how very awkward it must be to suck on….
September 18th, 2008 § § permalink
When I first got a dog (Lola), I really did understand beforehand what kind of responsibility I was letting myself in for. I knew that you had to feed her regularly, walk her more, keep her entertained and keep her water bowl full. She proved to be an easy dog- sweet in temperment, and quick to train. She wasn’t overly needy, but she was always there by my side and I loved it.
So when I got Mylo I was already well versed enough in Dog, or so I thought. But double the dogs, and you have both double the fun, and double the nightmare.
Mylo was harder to train, is a bit of a rapscallion, and is very, very needy. So needy in fact, that his neediness has rubbed off on Lola. She has seen the attention that Mylo demands and wants in on the action. All of a sudden she is very demanding, often times nudging her way onto my lap come hell or high water just to plop down and stare up at me adoringly, waiting for a belly rub.
So while I thought I knew Dogs, I realised I knew Dog- Singular. Plural Dogs is a whole ‘nother ballgame, and so here is a list of rights that I threw out the window the moment I welcomed a second dog into our household.
° The Right to go to the bathroom in peace.
° The Right to eat a banana without having to share it with 2 sets of big brown eyes (I haven’t eaten a full banana in 6 months).
° The Right to chop any kind of vegetable on the chopping board without having to give some of it away to waiting paws on the floor at your feet.
° The Right to cook anything in peace.
° The Right to shower in peace.
° The Right to go in the bedroom and shut the door. (God Forbid you close that door for even a second!)
° The Right to the area under my desk formerly reserved for my feet.
° The Right to walk out of my apartment without having to say ‘Sorry! You’re not coming! Sorry! Walkies later! Be good!’
° The Right to welcome guests into my home without them being stampeded upon by 8 little furry legs.
° The Right to my own pillows.
° The Right to hairless-clothes.
° The Right to wake peacefully in the morning without a dog-licking-face-bath, a paw to the face, or 2 animals competing for the standing space on my chest (or usually all of the above).
° The Right to a leisurely morning without having to rush out the door to walk the dogs.
° The Right to movement while sleeping without being pegged down on each side by dogs on top of the covers.
° The Right to leave anything attractive to dogs on top of the desk (since they’ve learned to jump up on the swivel chair). This includes pens, water bottles, stuffed toys, dog ear medicine, wrappers, and anything small and plastic.
° The Right to fill the trash can to the top without rummaging noses pulling out every piece of crap near the top and licking it clean while I’m out.
° The Right to have a foot of space around me at all times while sitting on the couch.
° The Right to leave my shoes in any one place in the house and expect them to be there when I next need them (instead they are carried into the dog kennel and licked to a fare-thee-well). (Same goes for my slippers. One will always be in the kennel.)
° The Right to a pair of underwear that has not chewed up or nibbled in some way. (YOWZA!)
° The Right to walk freely through the apartment without having to step over dogs, who in turn run and step into my direct path again.
° The Right to leave a bag on the chair and not have it snooped through (come on now really).
° The Right to do anything in the house without being stared at. Intensely.
So there you have it. Dogs are, indeed, hard work in ways that I couldn’t have even fathomed before I got them. They are also a whole load of fun, and I can’t imagine life without these two little f*ckers.
September 15th, 2008 § § permalink
I’m sitting here working away, listening to: This American Life 339: Break-Up (Act One) (mid August 08)
So funny, and so true! As she says:
“I needed to take wallowing to the next level. It wasn’t enough just to be lying on the floor in my pajamas at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I wanted to BE the songs, I wanted to BE the pain.”
I absolutely love break up songs, and heart ache songs, and those songs that you listen to when you’re sad that keep you sad, keep you pushed under water. If I’m ever feeling sad I allow myself the self-serving torture/pleasure of wallowing for a couple hours/days/weeks. I stay in bed, never getting out of my pajamas. I let myself go. I weep, and then look at myself weeping in the mirror to make sure I really, really look the part. I weep some more. I become a sad, sad state of affairs, let me tell you.
And when I’ve had enough masochistic pain, I switch my music to something uplifting (Modest Mouse’s Float On always does the trick) and move on with my life.
This was such a funny program. She really hits the nail on the head. And she speaks to Phil Collins (who is surprisingly sweet and helpful!), so she must be rad.
Enjoy! If you’ve ever been through a breakup, you’ll understand this!
August 19th, 2008 § § permalink
You know those nights out drinking that go down in history as one of the better nights out drinking, but when you wake up the next morning and slowly begin to remember snippets of conversation and you realize how much of an ass you were being and inwardly cringe a little?
Don’t you just love those nights?
August 14th, 2008 § § permalink
I have never, in my life been so mortified. I am not easily embarrassed, but holy shit I am beet red in the face right now.
I’m pulling the night shift in the hotel tonight. My bed is rolled out behind the reception desk, the doors are locked and the lights are down, so I’m watching TV (Desperate Housewives just ended) and flipping through the channels when the door bell buzzes.
I lean up onto the desk to ask the people through the intercom if they are guests (they are), so I buzz them in.
I give it a second to make sure they are all in and then I turn back JUST in time to see that I stopped on the PORN CHANNEL, and right that very second was the ultimate MONEY SHOT (use your imagination) just huge on the screen. Like, whamming-bamming-thank you ma’aming, larger than life (literally).
Crossing this channel at work always weirds me out even though I am alone here at night, so I scramble to change the channel, but not before ALL SIX of the guests stop outside of the reception door pointing and laughing and oh-my-godding, because they have a perfect shot of the TV from where they enter.
I ran around to the door, threw it open, and said “I SWEAR that I wasn’t watching that!” which only makes me look even more guilty, and they are like “Oh, sure. It’s ok!”
Cringing here, I’m seriously cringing.
June 9th, 2008 § § permalink
About a year ago an Australian girl named Kristin in her early twenties was on her bike on coming up to the corner where my street meets with another street on a busy intersection. Kristin worked at the Hard Rock cafe nearby and like many Australians had probably been working her way across Europe. I’m not sure how long she had been away from home. I didn’t even know the girl, but I won’t forget her.
As she was coming up to this corner, a large work truck was also approaching, and Kristin fell into the truck’s blind spot. Kristin was going forward across the intersection and the truck, probably going a little too quickly, was turning right. Her and her bike were crushed underneath the truck and she died right there on that spot, a spot which I can see from my bedroom window. In fact, our flatmate Veronica heard the noise and saw the aftermath, before the police came and sectioned off the corner with big white dividers. It took her a few days to get over the shock.
I was walking home from the gym up the street shortly after it happened. All I could see were policemen, ambulances, the work truck, and her bike still halfway underneath the truck. By the way that the ambulance was sitting there idle, the by lack of urgency of the police there, I knew that this was no longer an emergency, but a fatal disaster.
Amsterdam is small and the expat community here even smaller, especially if you work in bars, so word spread fast who she was and where she worked. I had never met her, but we had friends who knew her, and the tragedy hit everyone a little too close to home. For two weeks there was a constant stream of friends and coworkers leaving flowers, cards and mementos on the corner. It made me cry to see it all.
Recently, maybe by the change in weather, I was walking with Dave and mentioned that it must be nearing the one year anniversary of the accident. I couldn’t help but think about this poor girl’s mother, who had flown in the year before to collect her daughter’s body and bring the remains back to Australia for burial. How must she have coped this past year, with her daughter taken so abruptly? What an awful year this must have been for her. Kristin had been living here for awhile, so her mother probably hadn’t seen her in about a year, and now they never had that one last chance to hug and kiss eachother, to say ‘I love you’ that one last time.
Sure enough, the memorial was set up again about a week later, and a group of people gathered there on the corner for a vigil. I stopped by to read the cards and there was one from her mother that made my heart hurt. It was a card to Kristin saying that this past year was the worst she had ever experienced. She wrote that she didn’t want to live any longer knowing that she would never again set eyes on Kristin, her daughter, her best friend, the love of her life.
Tonight as I passed, an older couple stood looking down on the memorial, taking in the flowers, the cards, and they had relit all of the candles. The woman was sitting on the ground in front of the candles, the man standing beside her. It was obvious that these were Kristin’s parents by the depth of the sadness that just surrounded them as they stood vigil over the last place that their daughter ever saw on earth. It made me well up with tears to think that they had to travel thousands of miles from home on the anniversary of her death just to come to this non descript corner of Amsterdam to give Kristin’s death a concrete place in their minds.
I wanted to go up to them and say something. I wanted to say that I had been thinking of them recently, and that I was sorry for their loss. I wanted to say that every time I walk past that corner, I think of their daughter, and every time that I approach that corner on my bike I am a little more wary of the traffic around me. I wanted to let them know somehow that their daughter affected my life, without me even knowing her, and that all of the bar staff in Amsterdam last year felt for their loss. It could have been any of us, living so far away from our homes and our families and enjoying our invincibility.
But I didn’t. I walked past and left them to their silent candlelit vigil. After all, I didn’t know her personally, I don’t know them, and I didn’t have to words to properly express the sorrow I felt for them, which would never ever truly fathom the depth of their loss, the despair at losing their baby, the tragedy of it all. I hurt for them, but their hurt goes beyond anything that I have the capacity to understand right now. If I’m lucky I might never understand it.
Posted by Lesley
on Monday, June 09, 2008 – 10:20 PM
June 5th, 2008 § § permalink
I love ginger.
Ginger powder, pickled ginger from sushi restaurants, ginger cookies, ginger ale, I love it all!!!
If I could, I would propose to ginger on bended knee, whisk it off to the nearest wedding chapel, and say I do. Then I would carry it home and across the threshold, drop it down onto our newlywed bed, and roll around naked on top of it.
That’s how much I love ginger.
But alas, you cannot legally marry a vegetable, much less a fragrant spicy root!
So I have to be content with things like this KICK ASS Pineapple Ginger Upside Down Cake that I made yesterday (vegan of course) from this book that I recently bought.:
Oh my goody-goody-goodness, this cake kicks ass!
Chopped stem ginger
vanilla soy milk
May 28th, 2008 § § permalink
Yesterday I was on the Leidseplein waiting with a male friend to use the cash machine, when a group of 5 American girls walked by.
I got a whiff of their personalities as well as their conversation, when I overheard the one saying:
“All I know is that when I’m in Vegas, I don’t pay for anything when I’m out.”
Both my friend and I were pretty disgusted by them, and had to laugh at the downright cheek of the one girl, who was probably going to go home having had less than a great time in Amsterdam because – SOB! SHOCK! HORROR! – the guys here didn’t buy all of her sour apple martinis!!! (pout)
I just can’t decide: Are you really disgusted because no one JUMPED at the offer to follow you around a bar and pay for your drinks? Do you feel that this reflects on your own personal worth – that no guy so far has found you worth the cost of a little drink? Or are you just a cheap bitch?
Go back to Vegas then. This is the Netherlands, baby. It works a bit different over here.
American guys are probably just as much blame here. They often times DO insist on buying all the drinks, but I’m not sure why? Are they hoping that the dollar-spent ratio is in direct proportion to the chance-of-ass ratio? Because that’s just sad. In that case, you could probably save money and time and just go and find a hooker. At least that’s a sure thing, hookers rarely say no!
Anyway, here is my challenge to the ladies in the States. Why don’t you buck up for once, and buy the fellas a drink? Sure, because of their macho-ness, they’ll go ‘No, no, don’t be silly’ and try and get the drinks themselves, but you CAN insist you know. You can go up to the bar and get a round yourself, it’s easy! If you’ve never done it, just watch other people at the bar- you’ll get the hang of it soon enough. (And don’t forget to tip the bartender!)
Also, to American guys: Let her buy you a round! You’re worth it, I promise!
Here in Amsterdam, with my group of friends, everyone just takes turns buying rounds. Whether its me with a group of all guys, a mixed group, or out with the girls*. If someone misses a round, no big deal, but if you consistently miss round after round after round, then you’re being a cheap bitch and you’ll be reminded next time that it’s your turn.
An exception to this are if it is known that a friend is going through a rough time financially, then its no big deal to see them through a few rounds. Another exception is if you are not drinking as fast as everyone else, but if that’s the case, then you should bow out of a few rounds when other people are buying, so as not to be greedy! And every now and then, a round might be skipped because you’re distracted in conversation, or in the bathroom, or whatever. Other than that, no one is trying to get in anyone’s pants, so everyone pulls their own weight. I certainly am not trying to get you into bed, so there’s no way in hell I should be supporting your drinking habit while getting no drinks in return.
I would be embarrassed if I didn’t buy a fair share of the rounds on a night out, and so when I overheard this spoiled little bitch of a girl pouting that she wasn’t getting fawned over by the male population in Amsterdam, I was ashamed. Ashamed for her, and for the message that she is bringing over from the States with her. Thanks for being such a positive ambassador for us American chicks!
Are you REALLY surprised that guys aren’t tripping over eachother to get to you? Because I’m not.
* Um, having said this, Wendy and I owe Alexandra a few rounds after the other night! Sorry hon, next few on me!
** Oh! OH! I just remembered one time when I was out with a group of guy friends, and an American guy at the bar we were drinking in fell in with us. We were, as normal, buying rounds one at a time, and because we were nice and not about to leave this guy out of the loop, we asked him every time if he’d like a drink. He was always, “Sure! Gee, thanks!” and ordering vodka red bulls, of ALL THINGS (cha-ching!). Never once did he reciprocate and buy anyone else a drink, never once did he buy a round. And then, the real kick in the nuts to everyone there, was when he chirped up, ‘Wow you guys are SO NICE! Everyone keeps buying me drinks!’
Yes, that’s right. We are showering you with drinks because we just LOVE your insightful and witty conversation, not because we are dying of thirst and got tired of waiting for you to offer to buy a round. No, really- why don’t you come with us to the next bar even though we didn’t invite you, and let us buy you some more drinks? We would love nothing better.
I mean, how oblivious can some people be? Get a clue, don’t be so naive, and offer a round, is all I’m saying. It’s simple good manners.
May 2nd, 2008 § § permalink
It is 3.33 am and I am NOT sleeping, and that is because as I was drifting sweetly off to sleep here at the hotel tonight, the door buzzer buzzed. After midnight, we don’t just let anyone in, so we ask them via the video monitor on the front door to flash their room key to make sure they are a guest. This time it was two younger guys, who didn’t understand what I was saying until the tenth time I repeated it, when they finally quickly flashed the key and I let them in.
So I laid down again to hopefully fall asleep for what remaining hours I can, and I heard footsteps again in the hall stairs. From where I lay in the hotel lobby (which is locked down for the night), I can see the security camera screen, and the two boys had again gone to the hotel front door. I watched for awhile, highly suspicious, and next thing you know two more kids come to the door and they quickly sneak past the lobby door to the stairs and head up. By the time I got it unlocked and got to the stairs, they were still on their way up, but no matter what I said they ignored me and kept going. I looked up on the reception system, and it turns out only one kid rented the room as a (cheaper) single and 4 of them are staying there. And it turns out they are French.
From working in HoReCa in Europe (hotels, restaurants and catering), I can already say pretty much flat out that I hate French people. I know thats a broad generalisation, but they are hands down the rudest people to serve. Maybe I should say that I hate French people in this context, where they are the customer and I have to be nice to them no matter how rude they are to me. So this whole ignoring-me-on-the-stairs really got my blood boiling. And of course it didn’t help that they woke me up.
Double whammy against the French kids.
So I grabbed the spare key to their room and headed up there to give them a right good speaking to and maybe kick a few of them out into the cold night. And let me tell you the thought of doing so just made me giddy with evil, evil revenge for every French person who snapped their fingers at me in the pub, or every large group of French people that each ordered coffees, teas, and cappucinos and left 13 cents as a tip on a party of 12, and basically for every other slight I have suffered at the hands of French people everywhere.
And then I stopped myself. The reception system said that the kid was born in 1990, which makes him and his friends 18 years old.
I flashed back to 1998 when I was 18 and backpacking through Europe for the first time. I met a guy from Jersey, Kevin*, on a pub crawl in Rome and when we parted ways we made hopeful plans to meet again in Florence when I got there a day after he did (out of curiosity I was travelling further south first to where my family’s ancestors come from).
By some awesome stoke of luck, we did meet up, when I passed him sitting on the supports of a bridge over the river Arno a day later, drinking a bottle of red wine. We stayed out all night drinking and dancing until well after my hostel locked down for the night, and not wanting to part ways too soon (he was leaving the next day), we went back to his hotel where he tried to sneak me in for the night so we could……finish our conversation. Yeah, our conversation.
The night porter at his hotel wasn’t having any of it. He demanded to see my passport, and when he couldn’t find me listed in any room, he pretty much went ape shit, and kicked me out into the brisk summer night. Kevin grabbed his belongings, told the guy off, and came running after me.
Long story short we wandered aimlessly, our alcohol buzzes wearing off while fatigue set in, feeling a bit sorry for ourselves but still young and happy and invincible, and able to find humor in the situation. We eventually found this little gem of a hotel the name of which escapes me. It was really kitsch and sweet and we spent a short night there before parting ways the next morning at the train station.
So, all of this came back in a flood of memories while I was on the way up the stairs to tell off these French kids and all of a sudden, I just couldn’t. They’re 18 years old, and they’re probably having one hell of a time in Amsterdam for the night, so why cause them any trouble. To be honest, it’s no big deal and causes me no extra work, so I thought, ‘Fuggedaboutit’. I won’t be the same kind of asshole night porter that we met in Italy. I won’t try to ruin their buzz.
So I curled back under my covers, which is where I am now, sadly awake, but swimming in happy memories of being 18 again, young and happy and invincible.
* Names have NOT been changed to protect the innocent. Just so you know, Kevin was not a one-night stand, we actually continued dating when we eventually both got back to New Jersey. Although the relationship didn’t last, we have kept in contact over the years and just last week I got an email from him. I am pleased to report that he is happy and expecting his second child with his wife soon. Hi Kevin!!!
February 29th, 2008 § § permalink
I feel like I am going to explode. Do you ever get that feeling? That insanely great feeling like everything is in place- or even better than you could ever have hoped?
That’s the way I feel right now.
I want to scream, only out of happiness this time. Anything to release the pressure of the excitement coursing through my veins like crack.
(Maybe I had too much coffee today?)
I know that it is largely due to the fact that I am going to see two (maybe three) very awesome people that I have not seen in years this upcoming week. UUUGGGHHH I feel like a kid at Christmas! JUST LET ME AT THEM ALREADY! My presents! My friends!!!
It is probably also due to the fact that I will be setting foot back in los estados unidos for the first time in years, and that just has me tickled pink.
And….then there’s the gambling. Always an Amanda-Pleaser.
Thank you world, you’re the best.
January 7th, 2008 § § permalink
Was it just me, or did Amsterdam just sound the incoming attack alarm system?
I have heard about this, but somehow missed it in my two plus years here. Apparently they test the alarms once a year to make sure they are in working order, while in actuality they have not been used since WWII (thankfully).
What a freaky thing to hear.
Everyone- into the bomb shelters!!!