Category: Verbose

June 2, 2008

Moonster the cat checks out at 21 years, 3 months

Filed under: — Natasha @ 5:43 pm

tightrope_moonster2a.jpgmoonster-april-2007-small.jpg

When I was a little girl we had two cats, Ti-Noir (‘Blackie’) and Ti-Gris (‘Little grey one’). T-Noir was a big tabby that just got too old (16 or so) and Ti-Gris had decided to take off into the woods and never come back one summer. My dad had the nasty task of bringing Ti-Noir to the vet to have it put to sleep. When he came back, he told me something like, “don’t get a cat unless you’re ready to do this, too.”

When I got my first apartment in 1987, the first thing I wanted to have that I couldn’t before was cats. At my favourite restaurant, one of the waitresses had kittens she was giving away. I said yes without knowing what the kittens looked like, all I knew is that I wanted a female cat. I got a whiny pitch black siamese cat called Gala (Dali’s wife’s name) and renamed it Pussyminou, roughly French Canadian for catcat. A bilingual joke on my part.

After a few months of whiny Pussyminou, the black stealth cat that sneaked around corners, I met some classical guitarists that had some kittens to give away. I said yes again, without a picture and ended up with the female Moonster.

Both Pussyminou and Moonster came to the Netherlands with me in 1999. Pussyminou got very ill and was put to sleep – how could I forget – on September 10, 2001. She was 14.

Moonster was put to sleep today and was 21, which is a helluvalot for any cat. After some years of kidney pills and recent heart problems, she had a stroke and was paralysed, so it was time to check out.

Long live Moonster.

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November 13, 2007

Lifehacking Academy event impressions

Filed under: — Natasha @ 10:49 pm
Podcast workshop

All the way due North in Groningen, the very first Lifehacking Academy got underway in a nice film theatre complete with Macs and Fat Boys (huge modern beanbags) all over the place. There were presentations of all kinds related to hacking your life with tips and tricks, how to work smarter and how to promote yourself. I myself gave a workshop on how to podcast your story, and I was lucky enough to get to tell my story twice. Read the full programme in Dutch of the day here.

I heard some interesting things, one of them was from Erno Hannink who I listened talk about personal branding, a story I had already heard from friend and fellow woman on the web, Marieke Hensel. As expected, they know each other.

I also noticed that it’s not just the huge foobar surrounding paying for the right to podcast music in the Netherlands that deters people from podcasting, but also the lack of technical knowledge and equipment. I enjoyed talking to Lykle de Vries, who I heard give a workshop on Web 2.0, about music rights in the Netherlands and discussing how the music authorities are so incredibly stupid that they dare ask for money from podcasters who use non-copyrighted music because they don’t understand the concept. In fact, major radio stations, which were logically the firsts to podcast here have axed their podcasts because they couldn’t take dealing with the stupidity anymore. I told Lykle that podcasters could pull an ‘RTL’, my personal expression referring to four TV stations (RTL, 4, 5, 7 and 8), which although Dutch in content, broadcast out of Luxembourg to avoid stupid advertising laws.

It was a creative and positive day, and that’s what counts.

September 30, 2005

No unsollicited mail, goddammit

Filed under: — Natasha @ 2:22 pm
geen reclame

Well that’s what the picture says. In very faint black marker it says ‘niet vloeken’ (I swear it’s there), which means ‘don’t swear’. This is what happens when someone gets fed up and colourful. This person could just get a ‘nee-nee’ sticker, a sticker that says ‘no’ to unaddressed mail and ‘no’ to bulk mail, although it isn’t a guarantee.

The Dutch often say that Amsterdammers are rude. They are more uptight and stressed than the rest of the country, but the population is dense and to the dislike of some, too diverse, which is code for not particularly integrated. Amsterdam is a city of 730,000 inhabitants that has to create more polders in order to keep people in the area. It also gets 1.5 million tourists a year, literally congesting the city centre and making walking, biking or taking public transport downtown stressful during most of the year.

Move away? Sure, houses and flats are somewhat cheaper, but then your travel time goes up, no matter if you take the car or train. The traffic jams are really heavy and the trains are often delayed or cancelled. There are many companies that will not hire anyone who lives more than 10 km away from Amsterdam to save on having to pay travel expenses.

All the good stuff about Amsterdam we try and keep to ourselves. The centre provides all the entertainement, museums and cultural bits to keep people busy, while the locals have their parties and events in a sort of subspace only they know is there. This subspace takes time to find and eventually becomes the only thing you see after a while. The rest you have to try and inhibit, something I think the Japanese probably know a lot about.

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