I am surprised I don't hear people singing in agony more often when they eat bitterballen. Many times I've burnt my mouth and started imitating a gibbon, singing, "Oooooo! Ooooooh! Oooook oook oooooo!" while flapping my hands in front of my lips and flailing for a glass of beer.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
Behold the wooden shoes. Surprisingly warm and unsurprisingly not the most comfortable footwear ever found. Besides serving as suitable boats for small animals, they can also protect the wearer from acids and worms. Furthermore, there appears to be a museum devoted to them. Oddly enough, what I thought of as a traditional Slovenistani clog turns out to be, according to Weekeepeedeea, Swedish in origin.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
In a land of alluvial deposits and human terrain, while sipping a coffee most Flatlanders find absolutely horriffic (instant coffee with a solid dose of fresh milk), I came across a fascinating little geological gem - something to remind me of the mountains that are so absent here.
Soon it will be time to reminisce about carnival by heading for Maastricht, where they celebrate this noble ritual of winter-killing and saturnalia.
Meanwhile, back to the mountains:
Monday, January 21, 2013
One of the oddest aspects of Flatland coffee traditions (besides the machinery involved) is that their caffettiere is actually a "French press", completely different from the Italian caffettiera, which is a percolator.
I still recommend instant coffee.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Today there's not much to see outside, just driving snow (more or less), so I drew something else instead. I'm happy to say, I've gotten to drawing 20 in-a-row, more or less without big gaps. Since 20 is a big and important number, though not as silly as 80 in Flatlandish, I leave you with an enjoyable little song by the inimitably eye-shadowed Tim Minchin:
Saturday, January 19, 2013
The experience of omnipresent 'birdedness' in the Netherlands is most fascinating and I guess it goes to show how vast quantities of slow-moving water close to the coast affect the visible fauna. I have literally had to stop my bike while a family of ducks crossed the path, quite unconcerned that they were making me late.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Cheese. Traditionally a mark of Flatland, along with certain flowers, technologies for extracting energy from the wind, soggy ground, land reclamation, and so forth, cheese has shaped and been shaped by another strange technology invented by the Norse: the cheese slicer.
I asked a native, at one point, "Isn't it dangerous? Pulling a sharp cutting blade towards your other hand?"
The response, "Oh, no, not at all!"
"So you can't really cut yourself with it?"
"Well, once my daughter took the tip of one of her fingers off, but since then she's been more careful with it."
For the record, I remain wary of this tool. Also, for the record, enjoy a cheesy song by Tim Minchin:
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Friday, January 11, 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
It is an interesting point, how property taxes affect architecture. I wonder how much work has been done on this point. The Flatland example of narrow houses due to street-front taxes is one example, overhanging medieval and renaissance buildings due to plot taxes is another. A more modern example is the Greek example of the "unfinished" and "unroofed" house to avoid paying taxes, which are only levied on finished houses.
I would think that a modern approach should involve property taxes based on energy-efficiency. However, that may be a topic for another time ... taxes will keep, along with death. A slightly related documentary might be interesting, however. The topic: how many people can live on Earth? Something that seems important to the heavily compacted (so they say) Flatlanders.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Literally dirt farming. I never realized that it's not a joke--people used to make a living by digging up peat, which helped power the early bits of the industrial revolution, provided an incentive for drying out marshy bogs, provided heating for the not-so-very-rich, brough about the building of canals, and ... as a special effect ... helped lower large areas of Flatland so much that flooding became severe enough to result in the loss of quite a few towns and villages! Literally, certain areas of Flatland dug themselves into the sea. Some of them cannot be seen right now, because they are ... a bit damp.
Monday, January 7, 2013
An isometric illustration of an archaic native peat-diggers hut with living quarters for ruminant quadruped used for heating of quarters and provision of milk and moos. Now, admittedly, it's been a while since I saw a reconstruction of such a house in Drenthe, but this was pretty much it--a tiny hut sunk into the turf. The combination of small houses, world war II and an expanding population led to housing such as that which I occupy now--the modernist apartment block--but that will be dealt with in a few days.
On a completely different note, a history of another peat extracting country, quite close to Flatland:
Sunday, January 6, 2013
This seems to be a pretty boring topic (though for some reason it gets people quite riled up), so I'm going to make this post more fun by recommending more history of the Mediterranean. Yes, still missing bright sunny weather here!
Saturday, January 5, 2013
|Ok, I might have exaggerated the elevation a bit.|
In the meantime, I would recommend you listen to John Cleese go on about creativity, rather than watching the news. It'll probably help you more!
I can't see him without thinking of the Popular People's Pfront of Judea.
Friday, January 4, 2013
However, I want these posts to also be interesting and fun. On a cold, grey day like today I cannot but help think of the Mediterranean, land of olives, ancient civilizations, old religions and the brain-deadening hum of the cicadas. Enjoy a wonderful documentary on how it came to be, narrated by the epic Mr. Attenborough: