Monday, October 22, 2007

Westland



Yesterday we had one of those magical outings that don't take long. We went to an area between Rotterdam and the North Sea appropriately called Westland and visited a village not so appropriately called Maasland.

Val managed the dog while I did my best not to only stop and take fisheye photos for panoramas.
The annoying thing can be that the travel companion always has to move away from the camera because it takes pictures all around.

Anyway, we saw a variety of the most wonderful scenes again, and cottages of dream quality, very traditionally Dutch and a feast for the eyes.
I took the panorama below because I found the colours of the private bridge so appealing, and the whole setting of the house so romantic because it sat on its own litlle island.

So here's the panorama. Don't forget to drag the cursor inside the image and use shift and control for zooming.




Or view the bigger size HERE

Friday, October 19, 2007

Point #3 about me: Panoramas

A point that isn't new to blogland is I love panorama photography, see for instance the post preceding this one.
In a comment there I promised making a QuickTime VR panorama about the cube houses near where we live.
Here it is, made today - and feel free to ask why my feet aren't on it ;-)
And while we're at it, this is the best quality I have delivered so far.


Click and drag in the image to navigate. Press shift to zoom in, press control to zoom out.
Nice and cute and small, but why not click on this link to see it at a proper size?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Eight points about myself, like mustard after the meal*)

It took Lannio's recent comment on this blog to make me realise that talking about something else is still talking about myself, which - believe it or not - I find difficult.
So instead of listing eight points about myself let's see if I can deliver eight points about Poland. I'll spread them ou over a number of posts.

1 You think there are two ways to show foreign programmes on tv, being 1: post-synchronise the dialogues to your own language, and 2: use subtitles?
Think again, because the Poles have a third way: let one (male) voice do all the talking including dialogues between women!

2 Now that it's allowed after the Communist regime the Polish people show a lot of affection for the American culture. Not surprising given the number of relatives they have there.Police cars in Holland and Germany tend to sneak around unobtrusively. Not so in Poland, where they use the most unnerving oyoyoyoyoyoy sirens - and they use them a lot! This makes Wroclaw sound like New York.
Here's a photo, taken in Wroclaw, but only because I say so. I bet your guess would be that it's somewhere in America
Typically Poland...

*)'Mustard after the meal' is a Dutch expression meaning 'that's a bit late and inconsequential'.

PS Here is a test: a QuickTime interactive panorama embedded in this page.
And it works! Use the mouse cursor to drag your way through the panorama.
Oh and by the way, I made that panorama myself. It has nothing to do with Wroclaw, but it is around the corner from where we live.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Wroclaw Central Station

Wroclaw Central Station
I spent a few hours of the night inside this station in Wrocław, the first night, and later came back to take the train to Kozle. Waiting time was over an hour, so I had the opportunity to take photos of two of these platforms. Later I discovered that they were so similar that with some serious tweaking I could mount them in a common frame. Here's the result.
Need I say "VIEW BIG"?
Or, while we're at it, HUGE? (13 megapixels!)

Here is a rather touching film about people in this station. Featured in it are some that I recognise...
(Added later:) Ouch! I thought I'd stated clearly that I'd found this film on YouTube. Turns out I was wrong. Sorry for the misleading non-info.


Every day I discover at least one excellent photographer on Flickr.com
Today's is someone calling himself gatorhank. Go see.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Wrocław (Wroclaw): A very unsystematic approach - but I like it!

I wanted to tell you why I felt so attracted to Wroclaw, Poland, but why not tell you why you'd feel attracted to that city of fame.
I showed you the totally hilarious tram/bobsleigh film and thought it wouldn't get more impressive than that.

But it did.

Here is another Youtube film from Wroclaw where it seems every year on May 1st they assemble a bigger guitar orchestra than the year before to play Jimi Hendrix's Hey Joe.



Last year they reached the number of 1581 players. I don't know how many there were this year but if they organise the same thing next year you bet I'll attend - playing my modest little guitar along with all the other modest little guitars.
Let's see if I can drag VallyP over there with me (she plays the guitar as well).
Ad maybe my eldest son (he is a pretty good guitarist).

Any of you, readers of this blog, want to join in?

If you like to see crisp photographs (not mine), try this

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wrocław, the first night

This was supposed to be a quick sequel to the first instalment about a short trip to Poland, but The Sensational Steel Orchestra got in the way - and before that Valerie's new book Watery Ways, of course.

But here goes.

Maybe arriving at Wrocław is just like any other place on earth. Where are the pitfalls? I should have looked them up on the internet but failed to do so.
A fellow passenger and I find a taxi that takes us downtown through areas that can be described as mostly decrepit, but nearer the centre things brighten up slightly. Coming from a country where every square meter is used, I look in amazement how much land lies fallow here in Poland.

Public transport is good, and I wonder why I'm in a taxi. There is such a good bus connection between the airport and Wrocław, while nearer the centre we come across more and more trams.
Here is how the tramway system in Wrocław works, or is it? Anyway this video is a must see:

This seems like quite an effort, so maybe the taxi was the right choice after all.
In the end the taxi driver (sorry, no English. Nein, kein Deutsch!) understands my destination as I have it in print and delivers me at the hotel I booked in Holland.

The receptionists are just wonderful (blushing when I tell them so) and before I know I am at ease in the hotel room.
This doesn't last long, so I go into town as described earlier.

At ease? After such an exciting journey into the unknown? Don't think so. Just after midnight I'm wide awake an decide to go out and roam a bit. The camera is my best friend at the time, the light is sodium-based, so the colours are horrible and I change to black and white.
Here are the images.

BUFET PERONIK
The liveliest place is Wroclaw central station, but not on this platform at 2:20

Sleepless night
The only rain (and I mean rain) occurred during the first night, when I was supposed to be asleep. The rest of the time I had the ideal weather.

Another black and white picture:
Wrocław, Poland

See my complete set of night pictures from Wrocław

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Extra Extra VALERIE POORE'S NEW BOOK IS OUT

The title: Watery Ways

Here it is:



And here's a description:
(the back cover)


Find it HERE

Monday, September 03, 2007

Wroclaw, Poland. First impressions

Never one to follow the guide on the well trodden tourist path, I'd feel barbaric if I totally ignored the historic city centre, so the first evening I go where the action is.
This is one of those sultry evenings that I yearn for so much in the colder seasons.

What I find around the ratusz, town hall, pleases me. The quiet murmur of tout Wroclaw and small groups of tourists from Spain, Germany and the US.

Wroclaw townhall square seen from street level

The prices in Poland are still in Zloty, and haven't crept up to euro standards, so being there is very affordable for us 'westerners', whether it's lodging, food or other products.
I find the façades really impressive and charming. This being the centre, the buildings are well maintained or in the process of restoration.
(As we'll see later, outside the centre the situation is much less favourable).

It is getting dark, and anyway I have left the camera in the hotel. Now I am just taking in the impressions. The photos here were made during the following days.

Here the centre as seen from the footbridge of the Mary Magdalene church's twin towers.
Wroclaw, Poland

Here's another one from the centre: the Mary Magdalene church watching its reflection in a modern building's mirror façade.
A reflective mood
Can anyone tell me what NIE PARKOWAC means?

In my book a visit to a foreign city is not complete without a seeing the railway station, so here it is (much more later).
Yrrah in Poland
A useful general link about Wroclaw

Here is a satellite view of Wroclaw, with its amazing maze of waterways that I found so appealing.

View larger map

Thursday, August 30, 2007

About this blog - a Manifesto of sorts

This kettle is boiling over, but I'm not a banana tree. In other words, the thoughts come up and become long discourses about freedom, bullying people by way of psy-ops like 9/11 and SARS; the silent integration of Canada, US and Mexico already accomplished and nothing your representatives (can) do about it - in other words these three countries have stopped existing as such; our strong Dutch 'no' to further European integration and the way the 'constitution' has now been 'rewritten' (96% of the text has remained the same) and now a new referendum is no more needed.
Not to forget the Al Gore hoax, of course.

All the above spells 'conspiracy nut', so that ends the debate, and we can go back to our tv's and have ourselves amused to death and scared witless about subjects like terrorism and climate change, handing over our freedom in the process.

So what to do now?
Well, how about some beauty as I see it.
Val went West while I flew to Poland. After a day or four I came back with loads of impressions and over a thousand digital photographs.
A few thousand of the older work can be seen on Flickr.com, and I'd like to make this Blog a jumping board to my photos on Flickr.

Be prepared. A lot of beauty passes in front of my camera, and I capture a lot of it!

Here is an appetiser. It is in Wroclaw, Poland, where I spent so much time around August 25, 2007.

A sunny day in Poland
This is the sort of pictures I assemble when super wide angle is still too narrow an angle. I stitch them togerther using several wide angle images - in this case 9 of them!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Show Me The Law

With fascination I follow the developments around civil rights in the USA. As a rule people accept the erosion of their liberties, because they think it makes them safer.

That would be a great subject for a post, but there is more.

People are now sent to jail for non-compliance with IRS (income tax) regulations, although these regulations seem not to be backed up by a law.
During the court procedures the defendants ask time and time again to be shown the law on which the income tax is based. That demand is consistently overruled by the judges.
So now the weird situation is this: not the law is the basis of the jury's verdict but the opinion: 'we all pay income tax so why should they not'. On the basis of this opinion the tax lawyer Irwin Schiff (77) was sentenced to 30 years in jail.

Shall we welcome him at the prison gate when they finally release him at the age of 107?


Dave Vonkleist explains the situation in a song.

Here's a link to Ed Brown's video blog. Ed has declared that he'll rather die than go to jail.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Val's 'new' Vespa

She wanted a real scooter to get the feel of scootering. She saw the Vespa PK50 and said "That's real".

The scooter is over 20 years old and pretty tame by today's standards - all the better for someone who's never ridden a motorised two-wheeler.
Here is a short film of her test-riding the Vespa for the first time.




Saturday, May 19, 2007

Climate Change Is Here To Stay

The Wettest September Ever!
The Mildest Winter Ever!
The Driest April Ever!

And now the ultimate extreme is coming up.

Going outside during this month of May I realise time and time again a that there is a certain familiarity about the weather. This is exactly the type of weather one expects in May in this part of the world. In fact it feels incredibly normal. So if this goes on, May 2007 will go down in history as The Most Normal Month Of May Ever!!! Be very worried, because this proves that climate change is here to stay, permanently and constantly.

The important news: yesterday I visited a tugboat rally in a small town not far from where I live (Vianen if you want to see it on a Google aerial photo / map).
I took no pictures, just a bit of film of a fascinating old piece of machinery they had on display.
Enjoy!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

About love in different cultures

Copied from a post by Dijedon

There is a beautiful deserted island in the middle of nowhere where the following group of people are stranded:

2 Italian men and 1 Italian woman
2 French men and 1 French woman
2 German men and 1 German woman
2 Greek men and 1 Greek woman
2 Bulgarian men and 1 Bulgarian woman
2 Irish men and 1 Irish woman
2 American men and 1 American woman
2 British men and 1 British woman

One month later on this absolutely stunning deserted island in the middle of nowhere, the following has occurred:

One Italian man killed the other Italian man for the Italian woman.

The two French men and the French woman are living happily together in a "menage a trois".

The two German men have a strict weekly schedule of when they alternate with the German woman.

The two Greek men are sleeping with each other and the Greek woman is cleaning and cooking for them.

The Bulgarian men took a long look at the endless ocean and one look at the Bulgarian woman and they started swimming.

The Irish began by dividing up their island, Northside and Southside, and by setting up a distillery. They do not remember if sex is in the picture because it gets sort of foggy after the first few liters of coconut whiskey, but at least the English are not getting any.

The two American men are contemplating the virtues of suicide while the American woman keeps on talking about her body being her own, the true nature of feminism, how she can do everything that they can do, about the necessity of fulfillment, the equal division of household chores, how her last boyfriend respected her opinion and treated her much nicer and how her relationship with her mother is improving. But at least the taxes are low and it is not raining.

.AND...

The 2 British men are still waiting for someone to introduce them to the British woman

Don't forget to thank (or blame) Dijedon, not me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

This week on the shipyard: BEREZINA

The owners, of the former steam tugboat Berezina, FairNature, want to use the boat for promotion of low-emission propulsion and creative solutions for energy issues.

Berezina

A promotion tour is being planned to eastern Europe, down the Danube and up the rivers Dniepr and... Berezina, the boat's namesake.
Am I jealous to see someone else start on my dream journey? Yes I am.

Berezina

The steam engine was replaced by a tiny 6-cylinder DAF diesel engine in the aft - hence the undersized propeller.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Film is ready!

Great relief today: I have finished making the videofilm I said I was going to make in December!!!
What's more, the friends to whom I promised I would do this, love it.

Months overdue, but now I am a very proud and happy man.
Below is the film as it can be seen on Youtube - in two parts because the total length exceeds the regulatory 10 minutes' maximum. A high quality dvd version will be produced for promotional purposes.

Enjoy!

Part 1


Part 2

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Let's see if this is worth trying

It is a small series about a rather dismal place on the Belgo-French border.

I am testing this for the first time in Blogger, so let's see what happens.

Friday, April 27, 2007

A pic of Sindy and a song by Pete... for Grace

Blogger Grace told me she was inspired by me to do new things with her blog.
She loves dogs and The Who.
That in turn inspired me to publish this picture of our dog Sindy, and to embed a lesser known song by Pete Townshend called 'Sleeping dog'.

This song is only partly about the dog, and mainly - I think - about Meher Baba.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hey, that's Good!

This morning I was talking to one of our neighbours about what it is like to come across a particularly clever bit of writing, or hear an especially pleasant piece of music, only to realise it's your own writing or you playing that music. We'd both had that experience.
She asked me if I'd ever had that feeling about my photography and I said yes - but then I could not come up with any examples.
Later today, going through my collection it happened: 'Wow, good work!'

Here they are, three photos I took in March 2006. They could have been someone else's work, but they are mine and that makes me a happy man.

My question to you who are reading this now, have you any examples of such work? I would like to hear about it. Hmmm, is this the beginning of a series of taggings? Handy way for me to avoid them: I tend to panick when I get tagged.

Vilvoorde, Belgium

Vilvoorde, Belgium

A snowy day in Rotterdam
I realise I have posted this last one before - can't find it though

Friday, April 20, 2007

Don't touch that dial, here's another dedication... for Anne-Marie

ANNEMARIE, a Dutch barge of the type 'kastje' I was born on

For those who wonder who Anne-Marie is: she is a warm and entertaining personality from Toronto, Canada with interesting stories to tell. On top of that she is a gifted and prolific writer, who is now in the middle of writing her second book

I discovered the barge bearing the name ANNEMARIE yesterday (Thursday April 19 2007) when I took the scooter for a ride in South-West Netherlands, later finding a disused water tower in a place called Axel...

In disused water tower near Axel, NL, looking up
In disused water tower near Axel, NL, looking up

...after which I headed across the border into Belgium where I took the pictures below - and a lot more that you'll find by clicking on the photos posted in Flickr.

Moerbeke, BelgiumMagic Realism is an integrated part of day to day life in Belgium...

Moerbeke town hall and sugar factory, Belgium...and so is the sugar mill in Moerbeke, which can be found right next to the town hall.

View a slideshow of my most recent photos

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Daffodil for Dale

This is for Dale who feels she is like a daffodil in the snow.
Here's the Daffodil, famous Dutch car of the DAF brand.
It came with a special daffodil vase.
Couldn't find an image of one in the snow. Sorry...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

In love at first sight

Hard to guess what the size of this object is, so I'll tell: about 1 meter (3ft) high and some 3 meters (10ft) wide. Found this gem in a dyke along the river Linge in Holland. No sign to say what is means, no clue about context, so it's obvious: this is art for the art's sake - and I love it...
Art for the art's sake
See where this picture was taken. (opens in a new window).

Monday, April 09, 2007

40 years ago this year?

The real My Generation by THE WHO - for those who wonder where THE ZIMMERS found their fabulous hit song

Monday, March 12, 2007

Another controversial view

Apple computers have long been my favorites; Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, some sort of personal hero
Here's a parody about the presentation of a new product.
How I know it is a parody? Because the comedian is loud, a sure sign that we are supposed to laugh.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Reply to the comments on "Reasons for grave concern listed"

Hi all,
Sorry all for reacting so late. Our internet access has been extremely wobbly since Sunday morning.
This comment is bigger than my average post so far, so it seemed a good idea to make it a post in its own right.

Anne-Marie
I wish I knew a way to achieve the things you mention in your comment. I agree 100% with you.

Erik-Jan
Below a set of links that will work for you. I tried to get the films to play with Internet Explorer, but one has to wait until the whole (part of the) film is in.
Better alternative: get yourself the Firefox browser and you'll wonder why you've ever put up with that quirky IE.
Dale,
I forgot 1984 but had I thought of it I wouldn't have mentioned it as a passing fashion. Big Brother is my personal main concern (here I agree with angela@desmogblog), followed on its heels by nuclear disasters (see http://www.elenafilatova.com who lives relatively close to Chernobyl). These are the only two things that could send me shivering into the bilges, not muslim terrorism, not bird flu, and not climate change, caused by human behaviour or not.
I missed you too, Dale... Sorry, this was not 3 weeks, more like 6.

NB Elena Filatova states that the UN now downplays the risks of nuclear energy (and the number of Chernobyl casualties to a few dozen instead of several thousands).
This seems to hang together with the UN opinion on fossil fuels.

Dan L
Thank you for your message of support, and the mail with the interesting link
My message to you without becoming too specific (I'll loosely quote your great leader Thomas Jefferson): If you sacrifice your liberty for security, you'll end up losing both. As you've seen above, I agree with Angela on that subject. I sincerely hope that's the bigger fish you mean.

Quoting Desmogblog, my comments in brackets:
..."serves as a great example of the fantasy world [bad] the FOS promotes"
..."notorious climate change skeptic [bad] Sallie Baliunas"
..."Hansen et al. that were published in the highly regarded [good] Proceedings of the National Academy of Science"
..."controversial [bad] paper by New Zealand academic Chris de Freitas, published in the Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology at a time when his brother, Talisman Energy geologist Tim de Freitas, was the editor [very bad]"
..."only nine appear in a peer-reviewed journals. And numerous of these [how many out of nine is numerous?] do not support the FOS contention that climate change remains unproven."
..."pieces by the Hockey-stick obsessed [bad] Ross McKitrick, appearing in the right-wing [very very very bad I suppose?] Fraser Institute Forum newsletter"

Maybe I am allowed to paraphrase a quote on Desmogblog :
When you can't stand people agreeing with your opponents in a fight on principle, the next best thing is producing facts about them that you know people won't like. That's what Desmogblog is doing.
Angela, your comment shows the same tendency of discrediting the messenger instead of refuting the message: "the "Friends of Science" are now a discredited [bad](and re-organized and re-named) source, noted for their public relations slant." [bad]

Do you really think the average scientist now gets funding for research that aims to refute the current wave of believers' reports? That's the meaning of my remark about the financial side.

I have very little time for your level of debate, that now introduces 'extreme' climate change.

I prefer people who present their case without attacking messengers. And that is why - again - I recommend viewing the 5 film parts that are brought to us in a calm and - dare I say? - more academically dignified way.
BTW the makers of that film believe in global warming like you and I, and in global cooling too, for that matter. We just seem to disagree about the causes.

Below the 5 parts of the movie Climate Catastrphe Cancelled.

Quicktime
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Windows Media
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

They're all parts of one movie.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Reasons for grave concern listed

Just recently I tried to list the reasons for grave concern that I had seen in my lifetime - and which I now look upon as just as many fashionable doom scenarios. That list was all but exhaustive.

How about this?

The post-war years of bad weather: nuclear tests.
Already mentioned: 1972 the limits of growth. The worst of which was expected was to emerge in... 2000, thank you very much.
70s and 80s panic, we're heading for a new ice age. Forgotten.
Followed by acid rain and forests dying. Forests look better than ever.
The hole in the ozone layer. Still there at the end of every summer, like it may have always been, before we started measuring.

And now that terrible CO2. Studies have shown that in the atmospere there is 0,04 volume percent of CO2. It is argued that a fraction of this fraction has to do with human activity.

Go see the fascinating films about climate change at the Friends Of Science site, and see if we need to be concerned about climate change.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

This might upset some people of good will

After saying I might be off for a week or three and then staying quiet for about six weeks, here's a new beginning with a quote (if you don't like quotes, read on from the point below: "But what's the point of the above paragraph?"

"The record cold of the decades of the 1890's, 1940's, 1970's, 1980's and most recently the bitter northern hemisphere winters of 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003 argue against the occurrence of harmful man induced climate change (global warming). Also Winter 2000-2001 and 2004-2005 in Siberian Russia, as well as Winter 2004 in Antarctica were the coldest in recorded history. And let's not forget that January 2004 in Boston, MA was the coldest January in 111 years. Grand Forks, ND set it's all time record low of -44 deg. below zero F, Fosston, MN also at -50 deg. below zero F and Saskatchewan, Canada saw minimum temperatures fall to -62 deg. below zero F, all in Winter 2003-2004.

But what is the point of the above paragraph? It is to demonstrate that for every short term global record warm weather event that is heralded in the media as an example of global warming, there is a counter balancing global record cold weather event, usually ignored by the media."

I need to do this because at some point in my musical background I vowed not to be fooled again. So when I see the fooling done big time, Al Gore, the United Nations and the European Commission all paying lip service to the Greenhouse Effect*), the least I can do is quote someone who, I think, has his facts in order.

*) Hallowed be its name