Painted statues make me happy

This story about painted statues makes me happy for some undefinable* reason:

Call them gaudy, call them kitsch, but archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann insists his eye-popping reproductions of ancient Greek sculptures are right on target.

Do check it, if only for the pictures (there is a gallery).

*) Not really, I am just too lazy for introspection. A lazy guess though: any confirmation that the other, whether separated from us in time, space or skin colour, is basically the same as us, a grand human being… well, that is just a nice confirmation.**

These painted statues have that effect because despite themselves the garish colours do sort of bring the statues alive and pull them into the future. I could have a beer with these ancient Greeks, if they weren’t so damn ancient and hadn’t been so dead for so long.

**) That sounds too sappy, does it not? Well as I said it was just a guess.

Source quote: Smithonian Magazine. Link: Eamelje.net.

WRT yesterday’s photos

There is by the way a real chance, when taking street photos of static objects, that the Google Street View camera outdoes you. (And I ain’t just talking quantity.)

The reasons I am OK with that, yet:

  • The Google Street View camera does not make selections of the photos it likes best, whereas I do.
  • Just because the Street View robot took a snapshot does not mean it is a bad photo.

That Heineken brewery picture came mighty close though. (Close to something. To something that makes me feel perhaps I should be able to outshoot that damn robot.)

Amsterdam

It is true that even after all these years, the city and I don’t get along that well. But I am glad to be back, even if for only a few days a week. Zoetermeer is never more than a destination. Here I get to bike to work, maybe stopping at Simon Meijsen’s to buy a cinnamon bun, and I lunch at Cantarell where I eat their famous spicy chicken rolls.


Huddestraat.


The weather gods installed a new, temporary canal in this Amsterdam of the North, on the Sarphatistraat.


The entrance to the Pijp neighbourhood as shot from the Weteringcircuit is a favourite destination of British tourists.


A house on the Beethovenstraat.

Epic epidemic breakage

In the past three weeks four relatively new devices I own with a combined worth of well over 500 euro broke down, and there’s nothing I am going to do about it.

The IKEA alarm clock is probably still under warranty, but it will cost me the price of the damn thing alone to even get to IKEA to make use of the warranty, so I’ll skip that. This will teach me for not buying HEMA, I guess.

The Philips DVD-player cost me about 50 euro. Taking half a day off to turn it in and then another half day to pick it up may cost me more in lost turnover (depends on whether I can fit the pick-up moments into a quiet time). I guess I’ll just buy a new one.

The Samsung 19″-monitor has developed a nasty, vertical, 1-pixel wide, green line that is only visible in dark images (against white it disappears). I don’t know what I am going to do about this yet. Getting it fixed is worth my time: I don’t want the rare visiting client to see me working on broken equipment. That means reduced productivity while the monitor is in repair though. Getting a new one was on my agenda anyway, but that means spending time finding good 19″-screens for businesses. (Regular computer shops are aimed at consumers, and consumers seem not to buy 19″-screens anymore.)

Finally, the 3.5 year old Canon Powershot A620 camera that has led to many a photo on this website developed a fault in its shutter, which now refuses to open. The warranty has run out, but I am pretty sure I can have the store fix it for me, simply because a camera should not break down after only 3 years. That probably does mean that I will have to start a fight with a shop assistant during a humid Saturday afteroon, and I am not sure I want to waste my time that way. Since I needed a new pocket camera anyway (I wanted decent video, which the old one doesn’t provide), I bought a Canon Ixus 300 HS to replace the Powershot.

I know some readers are interested in buying a new camera, so I include a photo of some pigeons (taken at about a distance of 4 metres) with this post. Click on the photo for a 100% crop. The 300 HS has a zoom factor 4 starting from a 35-millimetre equivalent 28-mm focal length. In layman’s terms: it don’t zoom much.

Saw a real live tip jar the other day

Well, not alive live…

Across from the place on the Ferdinand Bolstraat where they sell belts there is a place where they will punch holes in belts, and I am guessing they are sort of ashamed of charging money for such a simple activity, so they don’t.

Recently they put a tip jar on the counter. I had heard of such things, but oddly enough never seen one in action. (Recently in the previous sentence means: since I last needed holes punched.)

Fixie

This, apparently, is the coolest thing in bike-land right now. Can you tell?

Surely being cool and rusty is reason enough to take up two parking spots.

(Dutch) Meerdere McAfee-installaties voor de XS4all-abonnee

(This post is aimed at an audience of which every member speaks Dutch, and not every one of them may speak English, so the rest is in Dutch.)

XS4All biedt zijn abonnees een ‘gratis’ virusscanner aan, en helaas heeft de provider voor het gebruiksonvriendelijkst product * gekozen, te weten McAfee (of McAffee als je zoals ik niet kan spellen).

Deze virusscanner mag je op maximaal 3 pc’s installeren, en daar ging het tot nu toe bij me mis. Elke keer als ik een extra virusscanner installeerde, zag McAfee dat als een losse licentie in plaats van als onderdeel van het 3-voor-de-prijs-van-1-pakket. Weliswaar werd daar niets extra’s voor gerekend**, maar het gevolg was wel dat ik elk jaar op 3 verschillende dagen een virusscanner moest herinstalleren. Wat toch elke keer een uurtje van mijn tijd kostte.***

Wat blijkt: er zijn vele manieren waarop je via je XS4All-account een McAfee-virusscanner kunt installeren, maar slechts één ervan zorgt ervoor dat je meerdere pc’s met dezelfde licentie dekt.

  • Ga naar je McAfee-account VANAF de pc waar je de scanner wil installeren.
  • Download de scanner ALLEEN vanaf het linkje van de licentie die je wil gebruiken.
  • Installeer.

Elke andere methode (software op een andere pc downloaden dan waar je hem gaat installeren, software vanaf een andere link downloaden) lijkt ervoor te zorgen dat een nieuwe, losse licentie wordt aangemaakt.

Als je een nieuwe pc hebt gekocht, en je bent door je 3 sub-licenties heen, dan kun je een van die sub-licenties loskoppelen van bijvoorbeeld een oude pc die je niet meer gebruikt. Op je McAfee-account klik je daarvoor op de naam van je abonnement (bij mij: “Subscription 1 Via McAfee”), en op de pagina die volgt kun je op “Deactivate” klikken. Dat zorgt ervoor dat er een licentie vrijkomt, die je dan weer kunt gebruiken voor de nieuwe pc met de methode die ik hierboven heb aangegeven.

*) c’t 2009/26. (Terug)

**) Dat wil zeggen, aan mij werd rechtstreeks niets gerekend, ik acht het niet geheel onwaarschijnlijk dat McAfee al die extra licenties gewoon doorberekent aan XS4All. Dat zou ik ook doen als ik een schoft was, en ik heb wat dat betreft geen enkele illusie over McAfee. (Terug)

***) Dit geldt natuurlijk alleen als je elke virusscanner op een andere dag hebt geïnstalleerd. Als je de pc’s voor je gezin niet allemaal op exact dezelfde dag aanschaft zal dat gauw het geval zijn.

Waarom je overigens überhaupt elk jaar je virusscanner opnieuw moet installeren is me een raadsel. Alhoewel: de helppagina’s van XS4all suggereren dat dat ook niet hoeft. Wel moet je dan voor elke pc een nieuw e-mailadres aanmaken. XS4All laat je standaard 5 pop-accounts met elk 5 aliases aanmaken (in totaal 25 e-mailadressen), dus het kan wel. Maar knullig dat zoiets is! (Terug)

The square egg

That morning I found a square egg in the coop. I could see nothing remarkable about the chicken. It was the small brown one.

I took the egg. It looked perfectly square, and felt so too. I studied it from all sides, but apart from its shape it was a normal chicken egg.

Mary gave a start when I showed her the egg. “Give me that!” she yelled, and almost snatched it from my hand. I quickly pulled back my arm. “Easy,” I said, and gave her the egg. She immediately dropped it.

I was sitting on my knees, looking for the corners among the yoke, when Mary entered with some paper towels. “Move aside, you fool,” she said, “you are making a mess.” The shell fragments crackled between her fingers.

I went out to study the chicken again. Still nothing remarkable to see. Perhaps it had a square hole? When I was lying on my belly, looking at perfectly round cloacae as far as I could tell, I heard the scraping of a throat a little further on. From over the low hedge old Johnson smiled his fake teeth at me. He was holding a rake.

“Howdy.”

“Good morning.”

The next day the small brown one had laid another square egg. This time I let it lie where it was, and ran into the house to fetch my camera. Where had I left the damn thing? When I came back to the garden I saw Mary standing in the back, at the coop.

“There was a square egg here,” I shouted at her. It was gone.

“Sorry, dear,” Mary said, “I can only see round ones.” She laughed.

“Morning,” I snapped at the eternal neighbour in his eternal garden, and stormed back into the house. I was angry, though I did not know at what or whom.

That night I dreamed I was lying between the chickens. They were pecking furiously at my face. Mary and old Johnson pushed me against the ground, and laughed. Oh how they laughed!

The next morning the small brown one had laid a perfectly round egg.

Whither Denis Menchov?

The Dutch press have adopted Russian cyclist Denis Menchov as an honorary citizen. He is after all the leader of the only Dutch team participating in the Tour de France. Who else would we cheer for? So we cheer for the impassive Russian.

Menchov has won a couple of Grand Tours, which is impressive, but he has never won the one that counts the most, the Tour de France. That makes him a potential Gianni Bugno, but not a Michael Indurain. How far can Menchov go?

His demeanour during stages is not that of a true contender. Where other race leaders make their presence felt in the front of the pack, the Russian is always happy sitting somewhere in the back among the domestiques, the water carriers. Even in the last climbs of mountain stages, after the peloton has dwindled to a group of five or ten, he can often be found as the last of the first, in the spot from where it is hardest to react to attacks by others.

He does not look like a winner, even though he bikes faster than most other people on this blue marble.

The outcome of the 2010 Tour de France might as well have been scripted. The somewhat proactive Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador, numbers one and two of the last edition, have been battling for the top spot, while Menchov has been plodding along in fourth. Seen from that angle the third place won by the Russian’s excellent time trial today seems a bonus, and it is greeted as such by both the national and international press, and by the man himself. Menchov even told Dutch television that he is well contented, because he is getting better each year.

But that perspective is false. The press already seem to have forgotten that the day before yesterday Menchov lost 1 minute and 40 seconds in the last climb, in which he looked more resigned and less attacking than ever. Could he have been in contention for the first spot today? Would he have looked like the Road Runner rather than Droopy if he had managed to counter the attack of the men before him? We will never know, and Menchov’s entire attitude will never provide us with a clue. The press’ conclusion that Menchov and his employers should be happy with his third place is based in expected narrative though, not in fact.

Heron

This fellow let me get as close as two metres. No idea what had drawn him there.