Friday, February 27, 2009


The microwave is my old one, since it still worked, I thought it was a shame to throw it out only because a new one would look nicer. It is very old. It was given to me second hand by a girlfriend eight years ago, and it wasn't exactly new even then.

The oven is new. Even though the old one still worked it was so dirty and crooked, and possibly even older than the microwave. But yesterday when I had finally connected a plug to the power chord, the NEW oven didn't work! First I was sure I was being punished for throwing out something that still fuctioned. Then I blamed the cheap plug I got for 89 cents and thought I should have gone for the expensive rubber ones. Then I thought I might have connected the wires wrong, I mean.. yellow and green is Earth, right? Blue is Neutral, brown is the Phase, and earth goes in the middle? Although brown is definitely more of an Earthy color... To be absolutely sure I tried another plug and taking one off another appliance would have the added advantage of being able to copy the correct way of connecting the wires. As it happens the only plug that could be unscrewed was the one from my fathers old drill. That drill still works. It only has one speed, and it is useless as a screw driver, but I use it every time the battery of my screw driver drill is run out, which is pretty often. I have no idea how old the drill is, but it screwed the second part of my plan completely, because the chord of the drill has different colors wiring. It has blue in the middle, and black and white on the poles. I had to assume blue used to be earth when they made it. But when I connected the plug to the chord of the oven with yellow and green in the middle, the oven still did not come on. Nothing came to life, not even the light bulb.

I hate giving up. Next, I tried everything you can imagine. I switched the blue wire to the middle. I pulled the oven out on the floor, screwed open the back to see if the power was well connected inside (it was), and finally I even did what you always tell your kids not to do and put the naked blue and brown wire each in one of the holes of the electric socket. Nothing. Not even a huge flame and an explosion and myself sizzling away in a small pile of scorched flesh. Then I realized I might have been dead if I had succeeded, and finally gave up.

This morning I called the manufacturer of the oven and told them: the oven doesn't do anything, at first I thought it was the plug... but they said they were sure it wasn't the plug. That is when I knew everything was going to be allright. However, I still don't know how the oven works. I know now that it has been put on "manual", and that sometimes when I turn the knobs next to the clock in the center of the oven face, the light inside will go on, and the heating element may fire up, depending on the selected settings of the dial on the left. I still don't exactly know what makes it happen. Preparing a pizza is like cracking a safe. But the oven works. At irregular intervals, totally at random, it reminds me of this happy circumstance by ringing a bell. Like a small cuckoo clock or a passing cyclist, it goes "Ting.. ting... ting..."

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I have mounted all the doors, boards and panels but two, and oiled the counter. Two panels and then there is nothing more to do except some cleaning and tidying - which i find can usually wait.. because if I do it now I will still have to do it next week, so I might just as well not do it now but just do it next week, saves me half the trouble!

OK, just a little bit of tidying.

And now I need to wait for the tiler/carpenter to come back and finish the job.

I can only reach the bottom shelves. But yes, I really really need the storage space! I need some neat and elegant little steps to stand on instead of the chair, something that won't say "this kitchen is too high" but that will so obviously be made to be stood on while reaching for high shelves and in the mean time so pretty and modern and cool that you'd build your cupboards too high with the express purpose of getting one too.

And this is absolutely the most practical way to store plates. No doubt about it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

last lap

The cupboards are pretty, but they are a bit high... I need a chair to reach anything!

Cooker was out of stock, will be delivered later.

I could kill for a hot pasta...

Yesterday I have been busy till after midnight (third time this week) unscrewing all the screws that fixed the cuboards to the wall and pushing them over 1 cm off the wall and then trying to refix everything. More or less succeeding. The contractor sent a 21 year old kid, he has been working this job for 5 years already, he's very good, fast and neat, but he doesn't think of everything and yesterday after putting in all the cupboards and the equipment he discovered that he had put the oven too close to the wall and the door won't open after the tiles are put on the wall, beause they will add 12 mm thickness. It was 16 hrs in the afternoon and he went home, and so I have been working till near midnight straightening it out.

And today (after sleeping till 2 am) I have gone to the Do-It-Yourself store and bought glass wool insulation and have been stuffing it between the cupboard and the wall... something that should have been done earlier but the kid forgot or didn't think it important. All in all it is really coming along. I am hoping to get a bit off the price if it gets finished in half the time. The tiles I want are crazy expensive, and I am supposed to pay for them myself, but if I push things along a bit - and get him to make a few more mistakes that I can correct - maybe I can get them to gift those to me...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

still can't cook

Love it!

Um... in the glass... that's tea.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

what's cooking...

The superkid: "I thought you wanted black cupboards, these are all white!"
And, looking for the sugar: "Ever since we have the new kitchen, I can't find a thing back here."

I feel like I have been to the gym. Like I have been paying lots of money to work my own ass off... Assembled 8 cupboards, it took till after midnight. I didn't cause a lot of permanent damage, only dropped something twice. I hate dropping things and chipping bits off. But as they say in Russia: you need to break eggs and chip board and pierce the occasional bit of temporarily unprotected insulation if you want a beautiful kitchen.

It is really amazing how after a while all the pieces fall into place and it becomes less and less neceassary to consult the manual. In moments like this, I find it reassuring that my brain is wired the same way some other peoples brains are wired, and the things the designers of this puzzle came up with start to appear natural to me. The mathematical beauty of it... I hope I will still feel this way near the end, when I will inevitably be riddled, irritated and confused by bits that won't go anywhere and other bits that are missing.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

a new dimension

Giving the words "can't cook" a whole new dimension.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I screwed up...

Aaahrg... The superkid broke his PSP screen. Of course he didn't remember doing it... he went off in a long rambling list of moments it could NOT have happened... "it couldn't have happened in the school taxi... because it was still working in the school taxi... at least I think it was still working in the school taxi.." etc. etc. Very helpful. Instead he wanted me to think it was a virus.

I got all enthusiastic when I found a tutorial on how to replace broken PSP (slim) screens on the internet. I love taking stuff apart under the cover that it is already broken so it doesn't really matter if I break it up some more. 1 out of 10 times I can fix something. This wasn't 1 of those times...

Getting the front cover off wasn't a problem, and I got past the button bar. The screen came out and there were the two cables connecting it to the motherboard. There was no stopping now, my curiosity drove me to continue.

After I very proudly pried loose the "very delicate clip" of the large cable connector and then priding myself on wriggling loose the tiny very delicate connector clip on the smaller left side cable (for connaisseurs: the one for the cable of the backlight)... I realized that I wasn't certain how I got that second one loose.. it sure had not taken "excessive force" like the tutorial warns you should avoid... but it hadn't been a very intelligent process either. After a close look at the cable I had pried off I could only come to the conclusion, that I have taken the clip and the entire connector off with it. As it happens, this clip lifts from the opposite side the other clips come off.

That's life. Just when you think you've sossed it, it turns around on you and lifts from the other side.

The fact that I have broken the clip is not the worst of it... but I feel a bit dumb that I already ordered and paid for a new screen.

This is the way I see it: I now have two choices 1. to cancel that order for a loose screen, or, 2. to order a new PSP slim to go with the screen and wait for it to get broken. Of course I opted for the second choice. (It is people like me who keep the economy on its feet in times like this.) The only thing I do not quite understand about myself is why I also bought a carry case to protect the new PSP... there seems to be some conflict of interests there.

In any case, I am now making an inventory of potential victims among the Superkids friends who are in the posession of a PSP slim, and have given him instructions to warn me when one of their screens breaks. I can't wait!

Friday, February 6, 2009

the A startupsidedown problem

I've not been sketching in a while and now I suddenly found that the shortcut to my sketch program had disappeared. Windows can remove unused shortcuts but I got it to stop doing that a long time ago, this must be different. The thing is: I use Painter Classic which is built for older computers with less memory. If it sees more memory than it can handle it gets confused and thinks there is not enough. Fortunately some clever person on the other side of the internet had this problem long before I did and he made a fix, a little executable that if started wakes up Painter Classic and tells it a little white lie when it asks how much memory is installed. Perfect. But now that I haven't used it for a while it suddenly disappeared! I suspect Norton removed it because it wasn't digitally signed. Or this program defines a new class of software ... the perfect well-behaved little anti-virus, fixing problems in your regular programs and when they no longer feel needed they delete themselves....

When I finally got everything up and ready to go, my tablet acted up by going left when I went right...
untill I found that I had it upside down.

Without a regular job I find myself more busy than with one. I still have the odd jobs for my American friends. I'm not sure if developments in the market for recycled materials will allow for me to work uniquely for them for a long time, but at the moment I am not too worried yet. At least the Americans pay up. The last three months they have been my bread and butter even though the invoices to my other client where three times as much... I still haven't got paid for october! Money in the bank is better than money in the mail...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

where have I been

I lost my job, so I've been busy, relaxing, playing scrabble on the internet, watching the snow fall...

Seriously, I've been told by my biggest client that their biggest client has postponed a job they were going to start at the end of this month, it all sounded rather serious. As usually happens, five minutes after they hung up the phone rang again and one of my favourite head-hunters called... he has helped me find jobs before .. only this time was different, and instead of offering work he asked me if I knew a place for one of the people on his payroll. So.. this crisis is getting serious! I guess we are going to have to tighten the waistbelt and sit this one out.

In the mean time I had already paid my contractor so he took me out on a sightseeing trip and I came back inspired.

In the old days in farmhouses when there wasn't any work to do for the kids, because of the weather or other reasons, they "walked the corners" (de kantjes aflopen). That meant that they walked around the big rooms from corner to corner and looked at the bottom strip of tiles. No ordinary tiles:

For the kitchen I've decided on a Maroccan type tile (Zellige) in bright colours ocean-blue and green, bleu vert or Kasbouri foncé. What I like about them is that every tile looks different, even the edges, not a single one is straight.

The contractor pointed them out to me and when he saw my response he just said "aha... I was afraid you might like those"...

Monday, February 2, 2009

the truth, america...

Apologies to the people who can not see the videos. But I have gotten entangled in a discussion about freedom of speech in the Netherlands, and Fitna, the anti-Muslim hate movie of our own bottle-blond Geert Wilders.

It seems that there are many people in America who sympathize with Geert Wilders now that he is being charged and brought to court for sowing hatred. These Americans think this is against Freedom of Speech as it is described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I don't think so. The Netherlands have only two exceptions on Freedom of speech: it is forbidden to incite hatred on the grounds of race or religion.

Fitna, I hate it. The movie itself is an act of terrorism.

My reason for hating it (and getting all worked up about it) is that every single Muslim I know is a gentle person who would never hurt anyone. This film is filled with terror and hate and wrong and out of context translations of the Quran. It makes Muslims look like murder machines that only need to be switched on. My own family came to the Netherlands from France over two hundred years ago because they were in danger of being killed for their religion and they were CHRISTIANS being murdered by CHRISTIANS. Christianity is not above this. If you translate bits of the Old Testament in a certain sense the Bible can be made to look just as evil.

If you are curious, go watch the original fitna here at UglyThingNoScoop, or the English translation here at LiveLeak.

For all the pain Al Queda has caused people, the West has caused Muslims a hundred times more in their quest for oil and domination of the Middle East. And although Al Queda did claim the attacks on the twin towers, it isn't even certain that the US government were not aware of the attack before it came, and let it happen with the purpose of making a propaganda movie - 911 the documentary by the Naudet brothers - in order to get the support to (re)start the war in the Gulf and regain dominance.

Why haven't the makers of this film been investigated? They were very conveniently on the spot! The Naudet brother holding that camera here knew exactly where to look.

Let me be clear on this: I am not and never will be, a Muslim. I consider myself lucky to be raised as a Christian, and as a Christian I find it wrong to do to others what I would not want them to do to me: I will deny no-one the right to practise their own religion in peace and I will not pass judgement before I know the full truth.

"We have to reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."