Thursday, 23 June 2011

10 things M. should do to feel alive again

A good friend of mine confessed a couple of weeks ago that he’s having a not so good time at work and it saps much of his energy. It’s difficult to dissociate work from the more important parts of life. He asked me to suggest 10 things that could make him feel alive once he’d done them. Here we go:
  1. Remember that delicious dish you had at a restaurant in some big city last year? Learn how to cook it. Research and practice until it looks and tastes perfect.
  2. What are the skills you poses? Are you good at what you do? Look around and pick an absolutely (or almost) new skill for you. Knit. Solder. Plaster. Master it.
  3. How does your home reflect your personality? Did you put a lot of thought in furnishing and decorating or did you rent your apartment fully furnished? Craft something for your home. A lamp, candlesticks, ingenious bookshelves – anything goes!
  4. Read that book!
  5. At your age with your life and professional experience you carry a load of priceless information that others need. And the gross of that information is just sitting there at the back of your head, doing nothing all day. Put it to use. Write an article on any topic. Then publish it.
  6. Help someone. For real. Don’t just give them a good advice (however useful). Go into trouble of actually doing things for them. Provided they’ll be really better off if you do it for them - solve as much of their problem as you can by yourself.
  7. Have you lost contact with somebody? Somebody who you’d rather not lose? Invite them to come and visit you. Make sure you have enough spare time to show them as much of the country as you can. If they cannot come, go visit them.
  8. Art gives you energy, you knew that, right? Look up an art exhibition or a theatre play you’d like to see. Think of the art first. The place doesn’t matter. It could be anywhere in the world. Book a flight, arrange a hotel and go.
  9. Carnivals make you feel alive! Choose one (Italy, Brazil, wherever), arrange the trip AND a costume! Go!
  10. Fall in love.
Dear M.,

I hope you feel inspired by this list and even if you choose to do just one thing, please do it with dedication. Put your hart to it. And I hope you’ll feel refuelled and happy just like your old self.



The Shins - New Slang

Friday, 17 June 2011


Today women in Saudi Arabia protest against the (not-written) rule that forbids them to drive cars. Ok, just hold that ‘women are dangerous drivers’ argument to yourself. If we take all the testosterone driven vehicles off the road, we will forever solve not only the safety issue, but also traffic jams, shortage of parking space, environmental problems and oil prices terror.

I find it remarkable that Saudi women protest against the female drivers ban, but not against the dress regulations. The rules that are called to life because men cannot control their you know what. That lack of self-control is not limited to Saudi or Muslim men. But why should women be responsible for maintaining the order?

You know what? That’s right. Women should be responsible for maintaining peace and order. Because they are capable of it. So maybe they should take that responsibility. I suggest we lock up all the men and use them for heavy physical labour and reproduction. The ones who can prove they are capable of adequate functioning in a civilised society may appear in public unaccompanied and maybe pursue a career.

In the meanwhile women will conduct sustainable business, govern free, peaceful and safe societies and drive around in cars. Naked.

Ambitious? One step at a time: first let women drive cars in Saudi Arabia – support Manal al-Sharif.

Thursday, 16 June 2011


Call me arrogant and presumptuous. Call me too self-assured and overweening. Call me names. I don’t care.

I am done with hypocrisy and fake modesty. I demand we say things as they are without being judged or punished.

I insist on complete trust when it comes to statements. I rebel against mediocrity. I’m not hiding anymore.

OK. Here we go:


Here, I said it. Deal with it.

Come le onde del mare - Gianmaria Testa

Monday, 13 June 2011

James Ensor

James Ensor was magnificent. And I didn't even have to go to Paris to see him! We’ve spent nearly two hours at the museum without even realising that! The somewhat absurd paintings made me think of Daniil Kharms:

The Red-Haired Man
There was a red-haired man who had no eyes or ears.
Neither did he have any hair, so he was called red-haired theoretically.

He couldn't speak, since he didn't have a mouth. Neither did he have a nose.
He didn't even have any arms or legs. He had no stomach and he had no back and he had no spine and he had no innards whatsoever. He had nothing at all!

Therefore there's no knowing whom we are even talking about.
In fact it's better that we don't say any more about him.

James Ensor - The Sad Pierrot

Saturday, 11 June 2011

5 steps to a rocketing high Klout Score

I’ve read ‘the rules’, played around for a while and now I get it. So I thought I’d share this piece of use(ful/less – please delete as applicable) knowledge with you.

The Klout Score is a number indicating your online influence based on your Twitter and Facebook activities. Why would you want a high Klout score? For many reasons: you want to show off in front of your peers, you want to impress your clients, you like the Klout widget and want to place it on your blog, you’ve always liked to get high grades or you have nothing better to do. Even if you have no reason you still might profit by following the steps described below.

You will need: 1 Twitter account, 1 Facebook account, 15 to 60 minutes a day, 15 to 60 days depending on your ambition.

1. Set up Klout
Connect your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to your Klout account.

2. Build your community
Get friends and followers.
  • Connect with everyone you know on Facebook. (Use elaborated privacy setting s.)
  • Make sure you have more followers than people you follow on Twitter. Follow the ones that are likely to follow back, and only follow back people whom you know or in whom you are interested. The higher your followers/following ratio, the better your Klout Score!
Easy ways to find friends and people to follow: browse through friends of your friends to find more people you know; have a look at whom your favourite tweeters follow. When meeting people in person, ask them to connect on Twitter.

3. Spread the word
Tweet and post.
  • For Facebook you’ll need some funny status updates, updates reflecting on the ‘hot’ news topics  or updates in the form of a question to trigger likes and comments. Post useful links if you know majority of your friends would be interested. Your aim is to get as many reactions as possible. Klout will calculate an average amount of likes and comments per post, so be strategic.
  • On Twitter you have to tweet regularly and try to share content that is likely to get retweeted.
An easy way to get a retweet is to complement a brand that is active on Twitter. For example @easyJet is likely to retweet you if you thank them for bringing you from one place to another. A reasonable amount of good self made photos tend to get a good response on Facebook. Checking in with FourSquare at a bizarre location usually triggers responses too.

4. Interact
Engage in conversations.
  • On Facebook you have to comment and like posts of others to encourage them to act the same way towards you.
  • Make sure you get as many mentions from as many people on Twitter as possible. Number of mentions matters and so does the number of unique mentioners. Also try to get a mention from a “celebrity” – a tweeter with a very large number of followers. That will increase your Klout Score tremendously.
Easy ways to get new mentioners: answer questions from random strangers, ask questions and if you happen to be up late react to people complaining their timeline is empty. Watch ‘celebrities’ for a while until you know what kind of comment would most likely to trigger an answer. Then strike.

5. Keep up
Even if you don´t need your Klout Score to grow anymore you´ll still have to keep up to prevent it from dropping. You may stop hunting for new mentions and followers, but keep the conversation with your current friends and followers going.

Voila! Here´s your new Klout Score. Nice isn’t it? And as a bonus you now also have a tight, active, highly engaged community of friends and followers that can help you cook a new dish or get new clients, that will support you in your new undertakings  and share fun with you. Use it! And if you’re doing that right... your Klout Score will keep on growing. :)

Disagree or need to know more? Leave a comment!

Voetbalspelers vs stompneusaap

Ik heb een paar dagen geleden per ongeluk iets meer dan tien euro uitgegeven bij de AH en kreeg een geel zakje met kaartjes in handen gedrukt. Bij de uitgang werd ik tot mijn verbazing niet aangevallen door militante jongetjes die het zakje uit mijn handen wilden rukken. ‘Het zullen dan geen voetbalplaatjes zijn’ - dacht ik.

Thuis ontdekte ik dat het om superdieren gaat. Ontzettend leuk! Veel leuker dan voetbalspelers. Waarom willen kinderen dit niet? Zo heeft een zeeanemoon veel meer tentakels dan Kurt Elshot, dat weet ik zeker. Ola Tolvonen mag dan uit Finland komen, maar een vacht van 18cm dik (van stompneusaap) heeft hij echt niet. En Luis Suárez kan echt geen 10 minuten lang op de bodem van een meer wandelen. Nee, doe mij maar een nijlpaard.

Een grizzlybeer kan een hert doden met een omhelzing. Zou Evgeniy Levchenko het ook kunnen? Nah. Wat grizzly beer niet heeft is zo’n lekkere lijf als Levchenko. Maar daar kicken die jongetjes toch niet op? En ik ben door geen enkele vrouw aangevallen om de voetbalplaatjes.

Ik snap er helemaal niks van.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Life cycle

SGN-35 successfully fight certain types of cancer my newspaper said yesterday. “Yay!” – I thought. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if cancer no longer would mean a death sentence? Science, progress and new technologies rule! Or?..

Isn’t cancer more or less the result of elaborate technological progress and high level of welfare? We thrive, make progress, fight diseases, live longer, consume more, provoke new illnesses, make progress, fight diseases, live longer, consume more, etc. – interesting life cycle...

Sunday, 5 June 2011


Even though my house has no secrets for her anymore, she keeps distance. All I get from her is a quick look when she passes me to enter the house. Her business is her business and I have no place in it. She carries herself with a confidence I do not dare to retort.

She took her time for a thorough inspection. Nothing was left unattended. She checked windowsills behind the curtains, paid a visit to my study to discover a messy desk, looked under the couch. She’s studied every bit of the garden and every corner of the garden shed.

Her visits started some weeks ago and became more and more frequent. Until last night when she simply refused to leave. This morning I found her curled on the couch. She looked well rested and satisfied, but didn’t want to stay for breakfast.

If she carries on this way I might need to buy cat food. I just wonder: do I timeshare a house with the neighbours’ cat or a cat with the neighbours?

Hindi Zahra - Set me free

Friday, 3 June 2011

I Can't Get Behind That

I wish I could make my point so clearly!

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