Monday, July 31, 2006

V1.B.P2 A day of Paintings

(source of all photos of the paintings is the National Gallery Website)...

What was much more entertaining than the Kandinsky Exhibition, however, was a day I spent after the Pre-Raphaelites and my former obsession Caravaggio. I started my search at the National Gallery.

As I entered I was struck with a painting by Delaroche: The Execution of Lady Jane Gray.

I once again noted that I have to try really really really hard to like most of the impressionist work however well-known they may be. No wonder "the term 'Impressionist' was first used as an insult in response to an exhibition of new paintings in Paris in 1874." But leave aside my understanding of art. Doesn't count.

What I liked was to look at this painting on the left, Avenue at Chantilly by Cézanne, from a distance. The loss of details, which I thought made his work rather boring seems to be a genius way of highlighting his work from a distance, now.

My next discovery was Combing the Hair by Degas. But don't blame it on my love of orange (oh doesn't it sound weird when one lives in the Netherlands to love orange) . I like to imagine that when he finished this painting he felt he made a difference to the world of art. The painting was once owned by Matisse, so I cannot be too wrong about this ;)

Yet, as I moved, I started to feel guilty about how quickly I had to pass some of the best work of art created in the Western European civilisation... Click here for the highlights. But I had to pass them by so that I could reconvene with The Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio. As always it was a bliss to see his genius and passion at work. But walking down the hall, I also figured that there were some "Caravaggisti" of the Netherlands, particularly in Utrecht, which I will have to follow up later.

Of course, I will also go after the ice painters... More to come on that later (it requires a visit to the Rijks).

Out of the National Gallery, I headed to Tate Britain, with a bunch of books on the Pre-Raphaelites. For some reason, along the Thames, I had to stop by for a pub (yes, for a pub not for an ale because I obviously love pubs, not necessarily all ale). I like the feeling that a lot of things in a pub is that way just because they have always been that way. The power of the years that passed on the daily lives. I do like to feel that. It gives a meaning to many things that you cannot otherwise appreciate. Nothing is hyper-technological (or even technological) in a pub. It's good. -I know I am getting old... Yet, I liked the feeling.

After taking some photos -obviously influenced by the whole artistic mood of the day (see below for a few examples)- Tate Britain and the Pre-Raphaelites were finally a few steps away...


The first exhibition I visited in London was the Kandinsky Exhibition in Tate Modern...

Although I really like some of his work (which, unfortunately was not included in this exhibition), it looked extremely difficult to follow his path to abstraction, and track how he ended up in the Bauhaus School. And the most colourful and inspiring pieces weren't there. The Moscow / Red Square painting was greatly appreciated though. So that will be my choice of the day.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006


Wiki says:
"According to an insert taken from the East Anglia Tourist Board in England, Humpty Dumpty was a powerful cannon during the English Civil War. It was mounted on top of the St Mary's at the Wall Church in Colchester defending the city against siege in the summer of 1648. Although Colchester was a Royalist stronghold, it was besieged by the Roundheads for 11 weeks before finally falling. The church tower was hit by enemy cannon fire and the top of the tower was blown off, sending "Humpty" tumbling to the ground. Naturally all the King's horses and all the King's men (Royalist cavalry and infantry respectively) tried to mend "him" but in vain. Other reports have Humpty Dumpty referring to a sniper nicknamed One-Eyed Thompson, who occupied the same church tower.

Visitors to Colchester can see the reconstructed Church tower as they reach the top of Balkerne Hill on the left hand side of the road. An extended version of the rhyme gives additional verses, including the following:

In Sixteen Hundred and Forty-Eight

When England suffered the pains of state

The Roundheads lay siege to Colchester town

Where the King's men still fought for the crown

There One-Eyed Thompson stood on the wall

A gunner of deadliest aim

From St. Mary's Tower his cannon he fired

Humpty-Dumpty was its name..."

are some pictures from Colchester. I haven't taken them, they are from a tourist website, but mine are quite similar as well.

1. jumbo watertower

2. the river towards Wivenhoe (and Essex Campus)

3. summer gardens in the Castle Park

4. HolyTree Museum

5. The Colchester Castle

6. Natural History Museum.

It was a short visit to a tiny town, but I have loads to tell. I hope to find some time in a short while! It was a visit to the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the Wall of Humpty Dumpty...

Israelis say "Enough!" too...

Take a tiny step to stop this: Sign a petition

After the heavy bombing Israel is now talking about invading Southern Lebanon!

"What's so surprising?" you may ask... That the world is doing nothing to stop them. Although we all know that the state of Israel has no right to kill Lebanese civillians, we seem to buy their "self-defense" propaganda rather than dealing with it (as we all did when they were killing Palestinian civillians for years). For some reason, we feel the need to come up with solutions to the problems as defined by the Israeli state rather than asking for immediate ceasefire. And that is an open appeasement of war and murder of more than 300 civillians in the last week.

We CAN AND SHOULD ask for peace "regardless of what".

Well, some still do.

(English follows Hebrew)

די! הפג� ה � גד מלחמת לב� ון הש� ייה

במוצ"ש, 22 ביולי, בתל אביב; � פגשים בשעה 18:30 בכיכר רבין
די להרג ולהרס בלב� ון, בעזה ובישראל!
מדי� יות הכוח והמלחמה, המגובה על-ידי ממשל בוש, גובה מחיר כבד מישראלים, לב� ו� ים ופלסטי� ים. ה� סיון לכפות "סדר אזורי חדש" והתוכ� ית לתקוף גם את סוריה מובילים לעוד ועוד אסו� ות.
זה הזמן להתייצב � גד פשעי מלחמה, לרבות פגיעה מכוו� ת באזרחים. זה הזמן לתבוע להשתיק את התותחים ולהתחיל לדבר. אין פתרו� ות צבאיים. הפצצות

אי� ן מו� עות פגיעות בעורף ואי� ן מחזירות שבויים למשפחותיהם.
א� ו קוראים לאזרחי ישראל, � שים וגברים, יהודים וערבים, לכל בעלי המצפון, לפעול יחד למען שפיות פוליטית ו� גד אשליות התכתיב הצבאי. בואו � פגין יחד למען חלופה של שלום וביטחון שבמרכזה – יציאת צה"ל מכל השטחים הכבושים, פירוק ההת� חלויות, הסדר שלום בין שתי מדי� ות, ישראל ופלסטין, וכיבוד ריבו� ותן של כל מדי� ות האזור.
חיפה: 16:45, כיכר סולל בו� ה. ב� ימין: 050-535-8601
ירושלים: ירושלים, 17:00, גן הפעמון. גלעד: 050-868-2992
� צרת: 16:00, בית הידידות. זאהר: 050-314-8805

יש גבול, מק"י, חד"ש, קואליצית ה� שים לשלום, גוש שלום, ת� ד"י, בת שלום, ב� ק"י, המרכז לאי� פורמציה אלטר� טיבית, לוחמים לשלום, שמי� יסטים, תעאיוש


A Demo against a second Lebanon war

Sat. July 22, in Tel Aviv; meet at 18:30 at Rabin Square
Stop the killing and the destruction in Lebanon, Gaza and Israel
Haifa: 16:45, Kikar Solel Bone. Binyamin: 050-535-8601
Jerusalem: 17:00, Gan Hapamon. Gilad: 050-868-2992
Nazareth: 16:00, Beit Hayedidut, Zahar: 050-314-8805
Yesh-Gvul, Mak"i, Hadas"h, Women's Coalition For Peace, Gush-Shalom, Tand"i, Bat-Shalom, Bank"i, AIC, Combatants For Peace, Shministim, Taayush

(Source of all images is AFP.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Did you ever sign a bomb?

Listen to Bush and Blair talks "off the record" on the Israeli attacks on Lebanon... So as to see what will happen if we leave it to them.

Is it not the time to ask from our governments for more deliberative democracies in which our opinions also count (and NOT through opinion polls or marker research, but in the real, political sense of the word)? Or are we done with thinking about politics? Do we think our choices and opinions about life and the structure and the content of your societies and democracies do not matter any more? Did we outsource thinking about politics? Has our passion for a better world been replaced by a passion for more consumption?

Over 250 people are dead by now as a result of the attacks on Lebanon. Israel is suffering from Hamas attacks as well. For those people that die, that evacuate their houses, that leave their livelihoods behind, our opinions DO MATTER!

One thing that a lot of people found shocking was this picture by AFP, in which Israeli children were writing messages on bombs. It reads something around "to Nasrullah from Israel with love." I highly respect the Israeli peace activists, and even more so after seeing this picture and realising the extent to which militarist brainwashing is exercised in this so called "democratic Middle Eastern country". Hence, I would not expect to see peace activism that reaches the goal of peace.

In a while, in a very short while, there will be no Lebanon as we know it. There will only be more rage, more blood, more dead, more tragedy, more anger, more tears, and less hope. All the balances that have been created in that society, all their history as they know will change. The people that are being murdered are civilians. How are we going to expect them to forgive and forget? War is a vicious circle. We should at least try to figure who makes the most of it, and bear wittness, and document this whole circle so that from the next generation of Israelis one or two individuals can have the slightest chance to read their history
from Arabian eyes...

Sunday, July 16, 2006


"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

Israeli protesters hold signs during a demonstration against Israel's offensives in Lebanon in Tel Aviv July 16.
DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! -or let me know what I can!

(*) so is Hamas, I know, but they are not claiming to be a legitimate state, you know..

p.s. if I happen to have ideas as to what to do, I will start blogging again!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Violence in Lebanon

According to the Guardian at least 50 Lebanese were killed in the assault, including 17 members of two families.
What has been called "w
ide strikes by Hezbollah" by NY Times has killed a woman in Israel.
No one was injured by two rockets that fell on Haifa, but they had an important psychological impact because Hizbullah has not been able to hit targets so deep into Israel before, nor such a large city.
The Israel-Lebanon crisis, coupled with anxiety over the mounting confrontation over Iran's nuclear ambitions, drove the price of crude oil to a record of almost $77 a barrel yesterday.
The EU said the sea and air blockade was unjustified and it deplored the "disproportionate" use of force and the loss of civilian life.

The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, said he would dispatch a three-person team to the region to try to defuse the crisis.
GW Bush said that “Israel has the right to defend herself,” but also warned Israel "not to weaken the government in Lebanon".

(Sources: Guardian Unlimited italics NYTimes)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Time to report from the depths of England.

The Summer School is probably great, but I am stuck at the "school" part and almost nothing to do with the "summer" bit. Spending much less time than expected (from me) in socialising and/or doing the other summer(y) activities such as PUB CRAWLING (According to good old Oxford English Dictionary, "the term -including variations like 'gin crawl' and 'beer crawl'- has been in use since the late 19th century. It's purportedly called a "crawl" because the participants are literally crawling from pub to pub after getting drunk at the first few pubs")!

Some points (too tired to make a story):

Being in England is GREAT! Everybody speaks in English. (Not joking. This is a real issue. Here everybody NORMALLY speaks in English, not because you CANNOT speak a particular language. Hence normality, hence lack of disturbance, hence confidence boost.) They do it naturally. You can understand what the people passing by down your window are talking about. English is good. I love it. It is complex, it is intuitive, and it has very few written rules so you have to be passionate about it (a nice reflection of the society it belongs to now that I am in a mood to oversimplify).

The campus doesn’t provide one with the expected historical atmosphere. The architecture is modern and skyscrapers are black (yes! black! and not one of those fashionable black ones either). Where I stay is nicely college-like, however, made of yellow brick and three-storey blocks around a court, called the Walton Court. Wiki says “Frinton and Walton is a civil parish and town in the Tendring district of Essex, England. It had a population of 19,039 according to the 2001 census. The parish consists of the towns of Frinton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze.[…] Hamford Water and the town of Walton-on-the-Naze feature as the location of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons book, Secret Water.”

Trivia (for Dutch friends in particular): Due to the visible erosion of the Naze, this has become a popular area for school fieldwork research into the effects of coastal erosion and methods used to protect the coastline. Some of the methods of protection that have been used include a sea wall, rock armour (rip-rap), groynes and a permeable groyne as well as improved drainage. However, the area of cliff where the Naze Tower is situated is being greatly eroded by the sea and weather. This means that the cliff is receding at a very fast rate and within 50 years the Naze Tower will have tumbled into the sea like the pill boxes that can be seen on the beach.
Great to know that engineering ALWAYS works in the Netherlands, while it may disappoint the English every now and then.

The Network Analysis course is confusing at times, mostly due to technical issues. Nice 3D graphs I must say. And good TAs who are nice to chat with out of the class and readily available in lab hours. More on some of their work later.

The other course however, is stunning. It gets you confused without the promise of any easy or difficult ways of circumventing / solving / ignoring / dealing with “the problem”. The course is designed (very craftily) so as to try every blind alley that the educated mind would like to escape to and helps you figure on the way back what might be a different way of looking at your steps. At one point it requires you to stop searching for the answer and enjoy the ride. As one Italian friend of mine said today, "you are only lost if you think there is a way out." So I am more AND less lost every time I am in and out of the class. I must also add that the lecturer (Mark Devenney) makes it admirably easy for me (and I think also most of the others in the class) to go through all the readings and theories and I feel that he even empathises with our confusions at times. Yet, not everyone is as confused as I am one “the problem” of course… Rule of thumb: some people have more structured minds and/or less tortured grey cells than others . But who knows maybe (just maybe) I'm having more fun... ;)

As a result, of course, I have to give a break to reporting now and spend the rest of my night with good old Jürgen. uh oh… Wish me luck (or find/choose a god and pray for me)!

ps. I know... too many bracets...

To the next stop

Monday, July 10, 2006

V1.A.P1 = V(isit) 1.(U.K.) A. (Colchester) P(osting) 1

Colchester and Essex Uni are nice and fine...

Alptekin met me at Heathrow and took me here -very nice of him- and then I basically moved in. This is the road we took:

Colchester claims to be Britain's oldest recorded town. "In AD77 a Roman writer by the name of Pliny the Elder described the location of the Isle of Anglesey as being 'about 200 miles from Camulodunum, a town in Britain'. This was the Roman name for Colchester and is the earliest known reference to a fixed settlement in Britain, hence the claim to be Britain's oldest recorded town." I hope to visit a bit and then write more about it.
The courses start today and looking at the programme of yesterday (with presentations from the faculty etc) it seems they will be rather intense. Better.

I really wanted to add a course on philosophy of social science, but the hours were clashing with the course I am already registered for.

The social event of last night was of course the World Cup Final. Yet, there was a lot of nice and new people to meet and talk to. I really enjoy the influence of time on my actions and mood (and of other people). I had a great time in Amsterdam right before I came over here, and here the time pressure already forces me (and others) try to make the best out of everything: the classes, the campus, the country and each other...

Back to my readings now.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Visit 1. U.K. (Colchester + London)

Tomorrow I will be travelling to U.K. once again... This time I had to give my fingerprints to get a visa. Last time (in 2001) all I had to do was to go to the Embassy in Tokyo and tell the person that interviewed me that I had no intentions of getting married there.

The reason of my visit is to attend a course on Social Network Analysis at Essex Summer School in Social Science, Data Analysis and Collection -at least for the first two weeks. Then I will be in London doing some interviews (finally, I will be on the field!!!) and will have a few days off so that I can visit Victoria and Albert Museum (that has a Che Guevara Exhibition as well as one on Modernism) and both Tate Galleries. Modern is always good to visit and there is a Kandinsky Exhibition till October. But as the theme of this visit will be the Pre-Raphaelites, I want to see the five Rossetti paintings at Tate Britain as well.

I think I managed to find a place to go where the weather will be exactly the same as in Amsterdam. -I know Ipswich is a little colder than Colchester where Essex Uni is, but that was as close as I could find on the web.

I will report from England next time. Till then!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Missiles and balls - a piece on capabilities...

DRNK's 7th missile test
(all quotes from The Guardian, texts in Italics belong to me)

As most of Europe seems to be in the craze of the World Cup finals, "North Korea ignored international condemnation of its missile tests by launching a seventh missile today, insisting it was its sovereign right to do so." -as do all Western countries that test missiles, the difference seems to me that when you are Western, you do not have to INSIST on that. You just do it...

"The launch came hours before the UN security council was due to convene in New York to discuss what US and Japan said would be a tough response." Surprise surprise! No Europeans involved. They must be discussing the last minute goal(S!) of last night. Of course, due to the difference (in time and culture) neither US nor Japan was awake and/or interested about THAT! Listen to their reason for this gathering and the "tough response" though:

"Hours before, the communist regime [THE communist regime!] launched six missiles, including a long-range Taepodong-2 missile, which is capable of striking the US mainland but which failed 40 seconds after launch." Like all North Korean missiles really... I don't remember one that didn't fail. The question seems to me, HOW ON EARTH you call this "capability". On the other hand of course, the US missiles are capable of striking ANYWHERE in the world, but that is for some reason taken for granted.

"'The Taepodong obviously was a failure - that tells you something about capabilities,' said US national security adviser Stephen Hadley. " At least some are still making sense. When we are talking about nuclear capabilities it seems vaguely important to note that the US outnumbers any other country's warheads, spending, investment, variety etc.

So nobody seems to worry about the fact that these tests are not only destructive to the seabed but are also RADIOACTIVE!!!

Oh talking about the seabed (or the World Cup for that matter) I have to mention that according to Greenpeace 10 football pitches of ocean floor is trawled every four seconds.

See their anima on the World Cup, too.

Simple suggestion: Don't eat ocean fish. Watch the games, enjoy your life, forget about the nuclear tests... It's World Cup time of the year...

Or if you want to get serious, or course, when there is will there is a way...

I believe that's all for now -and for the week as I will be packing for UK.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Companies That Do/That Don't Test on Animals

These are only a selection of companies that do/don't, which I thought could be handy when it comes to shopping...

To see the full lists click here, or TAKE ACTION!

Companies That DO:

Braun (Gillette)

Colgate - Palmolive




Garnier Fruc.

Giorgio Armani

Helena Rubinstein

Loreal (who bought
Body Shop as a niche market this year)

Ralph Lauren


Max Factor




Procter & Gamble



S.C Johnson (OFF! insect repellent)

Reckitt Benckiser

Henkel - Schwarzkopf

Johnson & Johnson



Calvin Klein





Adidas (cosmetics)





Companies That DON'T:
Benetton (cosmetics)



Solgar (vitaminler)



Estee Lauder
Tommy Hilfiger (you may still want to protest for other reasons of course)


Body Shop (that now belongs to


Hello Kitty

And Eefje's current favourite LUSH!

And again according to PETA the worst 10 university/college laboratories are: