Jong Nieuws’ formation for EURO2008

The European Football Championships have entered their final phase, and people across the globe worry about playing systems, injuries, formations, fate, and what have you. Here’s the Jong Nieuws blog’s preferred formation for EURO2008. I probably should have translated “vrouw” as “wife,” but I feared that the caveman mentality present in this cartoon would perhaps not be appreciated for what it is and only noticed by those of more refined sensibilities (you, that is).

Link (Dutch).

Sushi World: instant karma gonna get you

Sushi World

Don’t walk away, run

Last month around this time I was having a heavy cold that wouldn’t go away, with a fever and a headache and a general under-the-weatherness that made me fall asleep every four hours or so. The past few days I had stayed home and done my own cooking, but by the third day I had run out of ingredients and I either had go to the store, which I did not feel up to, or order out. The latter it was. When I am sick I tend to try and eat healthy, which is hard to do if you order out, so I settled on sushi.

Using an online ordering service, I settled on a menu from Sushi World on the Stadionweg in Amsterdam, which is a two minute walk from my house. I wasn’t entirely sure whether the order had gone through, so I decided to call the restaurant to make sure. An ominous tape message told me that this number had been disconnected, but why not try this mobile number instead. Which I duly did. The person on the other side of the phone confirmed my order, and when I asked him how long it would take, he said fifty minutes.

Fifty minutes! Add that to the ten I had already been waiting and I would have to wait 60 minutes for some bloke to take a couple of makis and nigiris from the cooler, put them in a bag with some soy sauce, wasabe and ginger, and walk all the way up to my house, the whole 300 meter.

I don’t know whether it was the absurdity of this idea or me being high from the fever, but I couldn’t get angry about the long delivery time. All I could do was giggle.

So, 65 minutes after I had ordered my food somebody rings at my door. I answer the house phone, ask who’s there, and when the guy says “delivery” I press the button to open the door. While I am still pressing the button I hear him say “it’s broken.” I press again, and the guy repeats his claim. I have since tested the door opener several times, and it worked every time. So I walked the three floors down, as calmly as possible, and collected my food from a bored teenager.

Of course my adventures with Sushi World wouldn’t be complete if I had actually gotten what I had ordered. Actually, of the four items I had asked for they only got one wrong: instead of a spinach salad I got some kind of bean salad. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I had ordered either. For this delight I paid a little under 18 euro. Just enough to nourish a sick man.

The Dutch word for service is “service.” That’s no coincidence: we just don’t have our own word, because we barely understand the concept, and Amsterdam is particularly bad in this respect. Nevertheless, Sushi World’s service, rather lack thereof, ranks amongst the worst I’ve witnessed in the 9 years I’ve lived here.

I am giving this 1 star instead of 0 or 0.5, simply because the food itself was OK.

So, if this took place a month ago, what’s with the instant karma? Well, a little after I finished the meal I got an e-mail from the online ordering service asking me if I would like to review the restaurant for their website. Oh boy, did I!

My rating: 1.0 stars

Why Van Basten might be better than Advocaat (just)

Four years ago I blogged rather harshly about Dick Advocaat, then manager of the “Oranje,” the Dutch national football team. That was because he deserved it. People may remember the EC in Portugal as the one where Advocaat incurred the wrath of the Dutch for pulling his best man off the field (Arjen Robben) when we were leading 2-0. After Advocaat’s substitution we lost 2-3. (Still one of the finest matches I’ve ever seen.) When Robben had been on the pitch he had kept an entire wing of Czechs busy who because of him did not dare venture far from their own penalty box. When we substituted an attacker for a defender though, the Czechs could push forward, and they did so with gusto. Such are the delicious ironies of football.

After that match Advocaat’s own assistant, Willem van Hanegem, told the press he’d punch his boss in the mouth if he’d pull a stunt like that again.

Read the rest of this entry »

Be your own Oranje coach

I did it before, but last time it only worked in Firefox, and barely at that. This time you can play coach of the Dutch national football team at the EC 2008 in any browser, as long as it’s not IE 6 (or indeed any other browser that fails to support even the smallest basics of the DOM).

The quick and the dirty for those who won’t click: move the players around on a pitch until you have the “Oranje” formation you would field. There’s not much more to it, but it’s super-handy for all these in-house (or in-bar) tactical talks you’re going to have before the upcoming matches.

I’ve added some extra features, such as the ability to store your formation, or to mail it to a friend (basically they’re the same thing: all you get is a web address, and what you do with it is up to you).

Moonster died

Tiny cat Moonster came to stay for a weekend in 2004, not long after I had started this blog, and due to all kinds of circumstances she never moved out. Even when I moved in the interim, she moved along with me. Last Monday, four years and five days later, she had to be put to sleep at the age of 21.

Moonster, very small and light-weight for a Norwegian forest cat, was scared of a lot of things, not the least other cats. But she could also be very stubborn, and I felt that she enjoyed life and lived it on her own terms. I doubt she would have left it so soon voluntarily, but her body started to desert her. Recently she had developed kidney and thyroid gland problems, for which she received medication every day. The last two weeks she gradually lost the ability to walk, and on Monday she could no longer get her own food or go to the litter box. We carried her to the vet where she received a shot with an overdose of sleeping medication. I miss her.