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As the sun sets over South Holland

A Great New Adventure Out West starts. More on that later, but for now a small visual tribute to two places very dear to me: a place that taught me how to be a scientist, and a place that stole my heart.

rotown from Fenix

The view from a place I loved to watch the sun go down, perhaps a place known for its touch of champagne socialism, but boy what a fantastic spot. And what about this one, though perhaps not Oxford’s ‘Bridge of Sighs‘ this was taken from, the view is a more majestic one if you ask me:

Euromastjestic

There I so many things that I could, maybe should, or probably wish I had written about the city of Rotterdam, the city which I had come to call my home during the final stretch of my PhD (and, what turned out to be my final time in The Netherlands, that is). I wanted to have written how I truly love the fact that in many ways this place was the proud antipode to Amsterdam, an unpolished diamond, a harbor city and a place with rough edges, yet culturally rich and beautiful at its core not unlike the beloved city of my teenage years, Antwerp; how this place cuts strait through a lot of the BS so adorned in the capital, a place of doing instead of talking about doing; how it is the only city in the country that has a true metropolitan feel; how, unlike other Dutch cities, this place did not give me the sense of being a mere spectator in my own country, and so on and so forth. In short, how by a historic and gruesome twist of fate this city had become the non-conformist rebel of the Low Countries, and how this place finally made me feel truly at home in my country of birth for the first time in my life. But as with so many things floating around in one’s head, only minute fractions end up in writing. Perhaps for the better, as I was probably too busy enjoying life. Anyway, enough rambling, let’s let the pics do some of the talking: Continue reading “As the sun sets over South Holland”

It’s not education, stupid!

Ah, La perfide Albion, wanting to be left alone by that pesky old continent again, will it ever be any different? Not in a while, I suppose. Of the innumerable opinion articles that were written in the wake of the actual Brexit vote, some I found a very good read. A discussion on Zuckerberg’s medium prompted me to do some writing of my own, so below a slightly modified version.

histoire se repète

An 1870 map depicting Brittain as an old woman, turning her back on ‘the continent’. Via 1843magazine.

As most probably have witnessed over the past days, the quite strong correlation between average education level and Brexit leanings of a region was often condescendingly used as an ‘Eurosceptics are (racist) morons’ statement by Bremainers/pro-Europeans. In my view, nothing is more nonconstructive, dangerous, and – frankly – stupid than that. If anything, this referendum should be a wake up call to the higher educated, pro-EU slice of the population (I am implying yours truly as well). Continue reading “It’s not education, stupid!”

Adolf on Vladimir

What would be the musings and thoughts of Adolf Hitler if he woke up in present day Berlin, thinking he had just awaken from another night in the furherbunker in 1945?

read me

Timur Vermes gives this premise a shot in his novel “Look who’s back“, and a very intriguing one it is I must add. Though he still has his obviously ill and distorted world views, he also very astutely addresses the present day incompetencies, bureaucratic annoyances and inefficiencies that come with modern democratic politics in a way only an outsider with dictatorial urges can do. This leads to hilarious observations, such as this little gem here:

Him on a politician’s obligations to engage in sports of any kind:

“[…] And as for appearing in swimming trunks – well, that is the most preposterous thing imaginable. You couldn’t dissuade Mussolini from doing it. And more recently that suspect Russian leader has been doing it too. An interesting fellow, no question, but as far as I am concerned it is a foregone conclusion: the moment a politician removes his shirt, his policies are dead in the water. All he will say is, “Look, my dear fellow countrymen, I have made the most extraordinary discovery: my policies look better without a shirt on.” What sort of nonsensical proposition is that?”

and so he continues his musings:

“I have even read that a German war minister was lately photographed with a wench in a swimming pool. While his troops were in the field, or at least preparing for deployment. Had I been in charge, this would have been the gentleman’s last day in office. I wouldn’t have bothered with a letter of resignation – you lay a pistol on his desk, a bullet in the chamber, you leave the room, and if the blackguard has an ounce of decency he knows what he has to do. And if not, the following morning the bullet’s in his brain, and he’s face down in the pool. Then everyone else in the ministry knows what to expect if you stab your troops in the back while wearing swimming trunks. No, bathing larks were out of the question as far as I was concerned.”

All in all a witty and entertaining novel, I am not surprised the book made it onto the movie screens.

Death by fungicide

talk about having an off day
Talk about having an off day.

Stumble upon Sunday. This reminded me of a fascinatingly morbid BBC (earth?) series. A fungus that takes over control of an insect brain, directs it towards an area optimally humid for fungal growth, lets the zombified critter bite down into a leaf to anchor it in place, then finally kills and devours it. How on earth does this work? How does something like this evolve? In any case: it makes for great pictures, as Alex Wild shows.

That time when there was too much magic in your mushroom

On finding love 2.0

Let me start off by stating that I am a terrible pick up artist. Really. An example: recently, at a party somewhere far away, I decide that it might be a good occasion to experience the joys of being single again. There was no one whom I really knew for thousands of kilometers, so one could argue that I should not care about screwing up. But that is obviously not how it works. Walk around a bit. Beer in hand, my palms are sweatty […knees weak, arms are heavy, there’s vomit on my sweater already, mom’s spaghetti – oh wait, this is the Eminem in me speaking. Where was I? Oh right.] After a couple of beers I gather my courage, walk up to this girl and ask: “Are you Dutch?”

Well, what d’ya know: a slightly off-topic comic.

Really Bojk?! Is that the best you could come up with? Of the million funny/cool/nice/random/so-awkward-that-it’s-funny-again things to say, you choose this? You moron! Her boyfriend arriving at the scene moments later did not particularly make me feel less of a moron either. Besides this, she was not Dutch and an encounter with a fellow compatriot was actually the last thing I was looking for in the first place. What was I thinking, if at all?! Got out of there asap and another beer later I was pointing and laughing at myself in solitude. At this moment, a different girl walks up to me, gives me a witty, teasing stare and says: “What brings you here, blue eyes?” And I remember thinking: Now that’s how you do this Bojk!* Continue reading “On finding love 2.0”

I’m on a boat

That’s right, T-Pain is on our side. Don’t you ever forget. We won’t, as epic is the right way to describe this trip – and just what I needed before the Big Write-Up started. A big thank you to Till, Stephan and Velis.

Adios Poros.
Reunited, double LP, world excited.

I mean really, what a great way to relax. Sun and fantastic food galore, being rocked to sleep every night in a star-lit cove, playing water basketball or frisbee or just going for that morning swim, great company all day and some Ouzo to accompany us around sunset. Can’t help but feel spoiled at my first encounter with this way of excaping from life.

F*ck trees, I climb buoys.

Continue reading “I’m on a boat”