Monday, January 29, 2007

Easy Enjoyment

It's Monday,

and we pick up the real life from where we left it. For me that means more fiddling around with my papers and waiting for a sign of life from Utrecht. The weekend however has been great! Went from down South up North and down again. Saturday was a dual trip to Hahndorf and the World's Biggest Rocking Horse (TWBRH ;).

I went with Te-Yu and Gianni and we had a blast. Hahndorf had "TOURIST" written all over it and there was nothing really German about it - just a few shops with German trinkets and paraphernalia and some restaurants serving German food on big plates. Needless to say that we greatly enjoyed consuming one of these big plates! After a short stroll through the center of town we asked directions to TWBRH at the Tourist Information. It was in Gumeracha and to get there we had to travel from the southeast to the northeast, so it was back in the car and make the drive of half an hour.

And man! Was is worth it! TWBRH was well.. THWBRH!! It really was! Have a look:

You can understand that I shit myself laughing when we arrived. In the middle of nowhere, suddenly there is this huge red and white Rocking Horse! Of course we made the climb to the top, took some more pictures and it was just uberfunny the whole thing.

Saturday night I planned to go out, but ended up not feeling like it, so did some design stuff for some people and had quite an early night. Which was for the best, because I had forgotten that we were to go out the next morning to have breakfast in celebration of Aki's birthday! She turned 30 on Sunday (She makes me feel so young, I love it) and I had bought her the cutest stuffed wombat EVER! He had his little head cocked to the side a bit and just looked adorable. It was hard to part from it, but I know he will be in good hands with Aki.

After the breakfast party I went with Liam and Tara down south again for a barbie with Ben and Kathryn. I met them on several occasions before and my impression was that they were very friendly, but not that outspoken. Well - in the comfort of their own home this completely changed! I had the best barbie since I have been here. Great food, fun and enjoyment. We played Settlers of Catan (Kolonisten dus ;) and after I already got Aki, Liam, Tara and Patti addicted, so are Ben and Kathryn now. Nobody knows Settlers here, but once they play it, everyone loves it. I think it is because the artwork is so ugly. The Dutch version has a very good design, but this one is quite nasty, a bit off-putting, but the game itself is of course just as much fun.

Than there is one other thing I would like to share with you all:

MY PARENTS ARE COMING!!!! :D

They booked their flight and they will be here the 1st of April (no joke) and will stay until the 19th. I am ssoooo looking forward to that! It will be awesome to see them again and show them a bit of the things I have been doing and the experiences I have been going through. There is so much I would like to take them to - I will definitely have to devise a tight schedule to cover the best things :)

Ak, Jan, ik hou van jullie, mis jullie en kan niet wachten om jullie te zien!!

Dikke kus voor iedereen!!

Jaag

Friday, January 26, 2007

completely useless

BUT FUNNY!

Leekspin.com

I say: welcome to the new Hampster Dance!

PS. The music is from a Finnish quartet called Loituma and they make a capella, repetitive, canon songs which are completely intoxicating and addictive :)

B O R I N G

I'm bored.

Yes, I'm 20000 km away, no strings attached, in an exciting country, but still. I'm just waiting and waiting! I want to finish my research rapport, but Utrecht stays silent. E-mail bombs don't seem to help much, so I keep looking at the things I've done and the draft of the document as it is and add bits here and there, but just would like to hear from them if I'm on the right track. I started with my master thesis as well, but it is hard not to worry about my oral exam (still no date) and research rapport.

Besides worrying I have been doing some nice things, but it has been quiet and slow. As some of you might have seen on my Flickr page I have been to Henley Beach with Aki and Waterfall Gully with Te-Yu and that was about as exciting as I got it this week. Today it's Australia Day, but nothing special seems to be on other than that the mayor gives all the naturalized and now official Australians a speech and some cake.

I am however looking forward to tomorrow. Then Te-Yu and his friends Gianni, Andy and Michael are going to take me to the world's biggest rocking horse (I know...) and after that to the German village Hahndorf. Later on we'll probably hit town to dance.

A few posts back I talked about a really hot guy I was about to have lunch with? Well I did, it was really nice, but basically never heard from him since. Oh well.. that's life I guess. I have the suspicion that it is the Dutch honesty about things which is too much to handle for the average Aussie guy. Their loss ;)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Machinima @ Adelaide Film Festival

Today I found out that there will be an all-day event on machinima at the Adelaide Film Festival! This can't be a coincidence, I just restarted with my research for my master thesis on machinima, so this is a fantastic event! Friedrich Kirschner will be there, I met him during my time at Mediamatic and he is a very inspiring, humorous and driven guy, and Paul Marino the unofficial guru of machinima will be there as well!

I still have more than a month to prepare some material and good questions, so hopefully I can snatch them both for a while to ask them all I need to know!

This is such good news, goody goody!

Shot from Friedrich's Person2184

btw:
I'll be giving 2 lectures on games at Flinders somewhere in March. My first lectures, how cool is that! One on machinima (of course! Because we just had the festival!) and one on gamestudies in general. I'm already excited :D

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Flickr!

(nee niet "flikker"... nou ja ook, daar niet van)

Dear readers,

Together with the rest of the online world I have succumbed to the urge and opened up a Flickr account! The biggest photo sharing site around.

And they have increased service a lot since they have been taken over by Yahoo.com. Although you need to have a Yahoo.com account (free, but with some occasional spam of course) I can now upload aaaaalllll the pictures I like!

So check them out!

GO TO MY PICS!

(and if you already have an account - buddy me :)

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Honour Fee vs. The Foreigner

For a while I was thinking that I was assimilating quite nicely here in Oz - I have great friends, I live in a lovely household, I know my way around, my accent is a hit, I am using Ozzie slang, but you know what? Forget it! I'm a bloody foreigner!

A few days ago I received a letter from my Australian bank (ANZ). I was declared an Honour Fee of $35. I hope that you agree with me that there is an apparent paradox here by the use of the combination: declared an Honour Fee. I was puzzled, but the letter continues

"Recently you tried to withdraw an amount of money from an ATM, while at the time you had insufficient funds to do so.

As a service to you, our valued customer, we have provided you with the extra funds based on your banking history with our bank.

For providing this service to you, ANZ has now declared you an Honour Fee of $35"

*eyes turned blood red and smoke rose from the top of my head*

WHAT???!!!!

I never asked for this 'service'!! Shove your 'service' up your ass ANZ.

I called to get to the bottom of this:

"Good Afternoon, ANZ banking, Omar (or some other Indian name) speaking"
"Yes, Jago speaking. I just received a letter saying that I have to pay an Honour Fee of $35 to you."
"I have your banking details here and yes that is true."
"I never asked for this."
"It is a standard service of ANZ banking."
"How nice."
"Sorry Sir?"
"Can I ask when and where you 'provided' me with these extra funds?"
"Of course Sir. On the 3rd of January you had a 30 odd dollars in your account and you tried to get 100 dollars from an ATM in Port Wakefield."
[silence]
"Omar.. Listen to me, are you telling me that ANZ gave me 70 dollars 'extra' to afterwards charge me the sum of 50% of this amount!! I don't call that service, I call that extortion!!"
"This is a standard ANZ procedure, Sir."
"I bet it is! I would like to earn money myself like that!"
[silence]
"I want to cancel this 'service' immediately."
"That is possible Sir, but I have to go trough a script with you."
"No, no script, just do it. You have my complete permission."
"No Sir, I need to go through the script."
"For Chrissake.. get it over with!"
"Do you understand that..
blablablabla no 100% security that ANZ can completely close the account for further excess withdrawals"
"WHAT? No 100% security, what kind of bank is this? So you always want to reserve the right to extricate money from me without my consent??!!"
"I'm sorry Sir"
"No you are not! You are just reading your script! Continue" [shit that was rude...]
"Furthermore ANZ reserves the right blablabla
[1 minute] blablabla
"Do you understand this Sir?"
*grinding teeth* "yes"
[2 minutes] blablablablablabla
"Do you understand this Sir"
*tapping feet and sighing* "yesss"
[3 minutes] blablablablablablablabla
"Do you understand this Sir"
*pulling hair* "YEESS! YESS! YESS! GET IT OVER WITH! PLEEEAASSEE"
"And finally, do you understand.."
"YES! COMPLETELY!"
"Thank you Sir, the changes will be made overnight."
"Fabulous, have a good day."
[clicked phone off and smashed it on the table]

AAAAAAAAAAARRRGGHHH!! And can you believe that at the moment I'm reading Kafka? This can't be a coincedence...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Horseman of the Apocalypse


(at least it sure looks like one! To herald Anthony of Egypt (patron saint of pets) day (17 January), the villagers of San Bartolomé de Pinares ride horses through large bonfires in the belief that the smoke and fire would cleanse and purify the horses.)

* picture courtesy of NRC Handelsblad *

Life for sale!

Check this out! Putting your life on sale on eBay... The internet does make humans into commodities!

Silk

"[...] The girl continued to stare at him, with a violence that wrenched from every word the obligation to be memorable. The room seemed to have slipped into an irreversible stillness when suddenly, and in utter silence, she struck one hand outside her robe and slid it along the mat in front of . Hervé Joncours saw that pale spot reach the edge of his field of vision, saw it touch Hara Kei's cup of tea and then, absurdly, continue to slide until, without hesitation, it grasped the other cup, which was inexorably the cup he had drunk from, raised it lightly and carried it away. Not for an instant had Hara Kei stopped staring expressionlessly at Hervé Joncour's lips.
The girl lifted her head lightly.
For the first time she took her eyes off Hervé Joncour and rested them on the cup.
Slowly, she rotated it until she had her lips at the exact point where he had drunk.
Half-closing her eyes, she took a sip of tea.
She removed the cup from her lips.
She slid it back to where she had picked it up.
Her hand vanished under her robe.
She rested her head again on Hara Kei's lap.
Eyes open, fixed on those of Hervé Joncour."

Silk - Alessandro Baricco

Must buy / read!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Short again

It just had to go - the hair!



(I recently got complaints about the lack of personal photos of me, so I decided to give you this intimate peak of my new physical appearance)

The scientific proof is here...

... that we all procrastinate! A relief! I always thought that my habits of postponing the things I should do now and the extreme rushes of adrenaline I got when staring face to face to a deadline, made me an unique breed of procrastinator, but nothing is more besides the truth. I did the test and I was happy to see that I'm just a moderate procrastinator.

So if you don't mind, I'm heading off to the city to have some well deserved fun - fuck work ;)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Primal Fears

Yesterday night I went to "Pan's Labyrinth"(/ El Laberinto del Fauno original Spanish title) it received great reviews and the trailer looked really promising as well. More people apparently heard of the buzz around this movie, because the cinema was completely sold out (which never ever happens here in Adelaide) And after seeing it I can totally agree with the critics: it was beautifully disturbing.

The story set in 1944 Spain, revolves around a little girl Ofelia, who travels with her recently remarried and pregnant mother to the countryside to join her new 'father' General Valdis who is a prominent member of Franco's regime. Valdis is evil incarnated, completely sadistic and only interested in his wife because she's bearing his child. Ofelia therefore escapes in her imagination where the real world is blurred with her fairytale world, which is every inch as gruesome and twisted as the real world, but where she is at least capable of effecting some change.

What struck me the most was how Pan's Labyrinth went back to the essence of what fairy tales used to be before Disney gave them a sugar and neon-coloured coating. Fairy tales were tales of despair, of death, of wonder and of evil forcing decisions on us (it makes me think of the malicious traps of death in Saw). The fairy tales spun by Ofelia are of this same nature. The faun of the title which is spawned by her imagination is a wicked and treacherous creature, but you feel that it is his nature. He wants to help Ofelia, but his nature works against him: he is primal, wild, immoral - the incarnation of the dark side of human nature.

The whole film is an exploration of this dark side. It is high in graphic violence and gore, yes, but it's a testament to the fact that it is inherent to us -violence is the language of our subconsciousness and all sorts of traumas and experiences can unleash it to the surface where it inflicts terror to the world.

Making in some cases death the only escape.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Koala encounter

Yesterday night I was at the birthday party of Erin, best friend to my friend Ben (yes his name didn't show up early, but he's a really nice guy and fun to be around) After being hugged to death, pinched in the cheek and constantly addressed with: "JAGO! ohh.. ur really beautiful!" by forementioned Erin, we did have a fun time at the party and later on we went back to Ben's place for the night.

Ben lives up in Belair, amidst the hills, trees AND! Koalas! We made the last turn to Ben's house and than he appeared in the headlights: a real and wild koala! O M G!! Ben screeched to a stop of course and we both got out of the car. He was ssooo cute, not scared at all and he came up to us to have a look at these two weird humans. I didnt touch him cause I know that they can turn pretty vicious, but anyway, here is a photo of him after he run back to his tree and grabbed it tight.


Further social information: I'm working my butt of to get my research rapport up and running and next week I will have an oral exam about it and I'm pretty scared to be honest, but we'll see how we go.

The flu has been bested and to prove that I went to yoga today and felt really good afterwards, so to celebrate I joined Liam, Tara & Friends at the Exeter for Thursday curry night (hot lamb curry tonight - yum!). Tomorrow another day of writing on my report and then the weekend's already here. Oh before I forget... Tomorrow I'm having a coffee date with a particularly hot guy! At the Mars Bar last week I surprised myself and went up to the hottest guy in there and just made a little chat with him and got his phone number. I talked rubbish, stumbled and was probably extremely weird, but still.. he liked to do coffee tomorrow, so that's fine with me!

And now I'm off to bed!

R.I.P Elmo



*snif*



and he's toast! *evil grin*

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

iPhone


The iPhone is coming! GIMME GIMME GIMME!!!

Monday, January 8, 2007

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

~ William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.


- love you Auntie of mine -

Talking Tapes and other mouth entering stuff

(stolen from BoingBoing)

What a cool idea: Talking Tapes! They are little tie-strip like plastic thingies which have little perforations and ridges on them, which when plucked by for instance your finger nail, talk back to you! You need to amplify the sound however, but by sticking one end in your mouth you can make them resonate inside your skull, how nice.



Speaking of putting stuff in your mouth - have a look at what 200 calories look like.. Loose the bacon next time I would say. Oh and in case you were wondering: yes.. people do use semen to cook, valuing it for its high amount of proteins. It is even a favourite among vegans, which kind of makes sense, it is given completely voluntarily and no harm comes from its production - I say: live and let live.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

PostSecret

(thanx Dad for reminding me :)

We all have secrets. Big secrets, small secrets, funny secrets, tormenting secrets, secrets that wipe away the grounds we based our lives upon if they were to be revealed. I read about it a while ago and had a talk with my Dad about it on the phone tonight. PostSecret is a blog started by Frank Warren as an art project back in 2004.

He distributed 3000 blank postcards in Washington D.C at various locations with the note attached to it saying that people should write something both true and secret on the postcards and send them to his house. A form of confession was born and a lot of the cards did come back to him and an exhibition was held. But afterwards, the cards kept coming and word spread further and further. To this date Warren's blog is still delighted with new postcards each week.



What I find most interesting about them is not so much the confessions themselves (although I have to admit that some of them are really hilarious) but more the creativity that comes with them.

Secrets are deeply embedded within us. The seals we place on them are like the ones on the gates to Tartarus - because we know that with the slightest breach Pandora's Box will be opened. Still, every now and then they will surface - in dreams or when we are lost in thought or if we encounter the person or thing the secret is about. Uncontrollably they will rush back to consciousness and haunt or amuse us - secrets are just beneath the surface and ever-present.


We carry them around, burdening us for months, years or even decades. It might even become a form of symbiosis - we've come to rely on our secrets as do the secrets on us for keeping them. Keeping secrets is sometimes the price we have to pay for the life we are living, however skewed that may be. But it is from this close relationship with our secrets that also the artistry is born. In the space of a postcard people pour the complete impact of their secrets. You feel their relief, the emotions that are unleashed and which inspire them to use the space to the fullest and come up with the best visual images and words to describe what they kept silent for so long.

But is this a new phenomenon? Of course not... just go to a Catholic church on Sunday and watch the people standing anxiously in line to open their Tartarus' Gates.

I guess that PostSecret filled a niche for all us unbelievers.

Thanks Frank!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Que Hiciste (- What Did You Do)

(I did my homework As ;)



JLo's new single, from upcoming (but of course, already in my possession) and completely Spanish album:

Como Ama Una Mujer (- How a Woman Loves)

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Books and numbers

Quick math:

I came to Oz with 3 books.

I presently own 14 books.

I arrived in September

Result: in 3 months the number of my owned books has increased approx. 366%!

That's scary..

Soul Searching

Ok readers of mine, it is time to come clean:

Who are you!

As some of you might know, I am a fervent soul searcher and navel gazer at times. I live in a world rich with emotions, feelings and deeper understandings of what we all call 'existence'. In this search I have come across quite a lot of 'personality tests' to assess one's Personality. With varying degrees of interest I have taken these and read their results. The most memorable and useful however has been the Jung-Brigg-Myers based Personality Type. I won't bore you with the inner details of it, besides saying that it is quite striking and that a mere 16 combinations can indeed categorize (on a basic level!) the stretches of human nature.

So everybody:

take the test!

and after you have done it, find more in depth information on your type here

My type is ENFP - the Inspirer, which on the upside is extremely animated and passionate, warm, sociable, knowledgeable, in touch with people, always on the lookout for new experiences and interested in the inner world of feelings, possibilities and emotions. On the downside this type tends to be tense, restless, overflowing with negative thoughts, scared of the future and has an extreme dislike of conflict and criticism. Just so you know ;)

Post your type in the comment box, I'm very interested to see them!

Embers of Love

As well as in 2006, I'll still be scouring the web in search of new multimedia enjoyment in 2007.

Mich Gerber is a new gem. Cellist from Switzerland with very soothing, ambient music. Collaborating with a wide array of artists the resulting songs are very enjoyable and easy to the ear.


Mich Gerber feat. Imogen Heap - Embers of Love

Mich Gerber - Zumurud


For who wants to hear more, his songs are very hard to find, but I'm trying my best. (you could however buy his albums legally on iTunes ;)

and pointed out to me by someone very close to me:


Kate Havnevik

The cd "Melankton" has just finished downloading and I've only listened to the first song as of yet, but guys: this is a winner! Its all there: an enchanting voice (faintly reminding me of Dolores O'Riordan -lead singer of the Cranberries), eerie electronica, mellow beats and warm string arrangements.

Unlike Me

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The Shack

*coughs*
Shit! That was fun!
*coughs*
... but damn! Am I sick or what!

In case you are wondering what the above is about: I have been away the last 3 days - to 'The Shack'! What is this shack you might wonder. It is a little beach house owned by the family of Patti. Every New Years Day, Patti, Tara, Liam and the rest of their friends head off for the shack to enjoy a couple of days of relaxation, beach, sunshine and other enjoyment. The Shack is located in Ardrossan. A little town on the Yorke Peninsula, about 150 km. northwest of Adelaide, although.. to be more exact we stayed in Rogues Point, a suburb of Ardrossan located a few kilometres away from Ardrossan itself. Rogues Point consisted mainly of shacks like ours and beach. Besides that there was nothing: no gas station, no shops, nothing. It was splendid!

We stayed with 9 people in the house and although it was small and people had to sleep on the floor, it never felt cramped. The beach was just a few steps down the road, the view of the ocean was calming, the weather was excellent and the company good. Only downer was that just a few days before we left I caught the flu. I wasn't confined to my bed, but it did drain a lot of my energy and I had to pass for most of the midnight fun on the beach. On the second night however I did make a beautiful walk along the ocean all the way to the next little suburb James Well. I saw crabs skimming across the sand and pelicans floating on the waves while a full moon and bright stars guided my way. I lost track of time and the rest got worried so when I was on my return I could hear them shout my name, so after a quick run back to the others I could reassure them of my safety. Although I felt a little guilty that I made them a bit upset and worried, it was nice to feel the warmth and care from all of them.

And now that those nice days are over, I feel that my body is presenting me the bill for swimming most of the day in the water (the water was so warm - it felt like taking a warm bath instead of a refreshing dip!) bathing in the sun and staying up longer than I should. A good night sleep is what I need and that's what I'm going to do right now!

(I forgot my camera, but I will ask for some pictures from Patti and post them here soon.)

Best wishes..

for 2007 to everybody!

For those interested, my new year resolutions:

* Finish my internship with a good result
* Write my master thesis
* G R A D U A T E !!
* Make the most of my time in Oz
* Meaning:
* Seeing heaps more
* Meet even more people
* Experience everything
* Get my driver's learning permit (believe it or not ;)
* Keep my blog alive

And after these revelations of mine, share yours with me!

Lots of love,
Jago