Amsterdamse Bos revisited revisited

Near Nieuwe Meer:
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Sky, trees:
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Ruins:
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Would you please leash your dog? Please please please, pretty please?
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Ingrown name tags

A better camera does not make a better photographer. I knew that going in, yet when I produced photos with my new DSLR (a Canon EOS 1000D) that were just as bad as those taken with my trusty Canon A620, a digital pocket camera… Well, I had to swallow for a bit. Pride mostly.

But I had decided to treat myself, and so I did. One of the things that irritated me about the pocket camera is how much light it needed to get anything done, and in this respect the new camera is clearly better. I especially like how my trees now have frilly branches instead of a sort of blue aura. Also the macro shots come out nice and crisp, even though they’re a horror to get in focus.

Today was the first sunny day since I bought the camera last weekend, a good time therefore for an outdoors test run. My regular route to the Amstel park leads past the Zuidas, an area in which lots of high-rises are being built, and in the park there are always grateful models in the shape of very tame ducks, chickens, pheasants and peacocks.

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The relevance of Arts & Humanities (i.e. none)

Cleaning the house I found an old report six of us had to write during a course in building information systems back in college. The course was aimed at students of the ‘soft sciences,’ and was a sort of side-salad thing that wasn’t really relevant to your study at hand, but you could take it to collect some skills with actual relevance to the real world. It ended with a project in which we had to analyse a customer’s needs, and then design and actually implement an information system. Our little group had to build a system for electronically storing patient files (very relevant these days in the Netherlands).

I looked up the five names besides mine on that report: 2 of them ended up becoming an IT manager at a hospital.

(Of course, the rest of us also ended up in IT, but that’s par for the course for anybody from humanities and social sciences; you get to spend some time in IT for at least part of your career.)

Wine stains

You know how red clothes never seem to be able to keep their colour? And how you never seem to be able to remove red wine stains from anything? So here’s an idea: why don’t clothes manufacturers use red wine to colour their products red?

(No, I did not suddenly develop a taste for colouring clothes over the holidays. Yes, I dropped a bottle of red wine. Henceforth one half of my kitchen shall be known as the Red Zone, the other half as the White Zone.)

Shaving: comparing the Gillette Contour (Plus) with the Gillette Mach 3

For shaving I have always used the same “system” since I started shaving over 20 years ago, the Gillette Contour. Recently there’s been a dearth in blades, especially the regular, cheaper Contour ones, so it was time to upgrade. After consulting the internets to see which system people liked, and asking the lady behind the counter which blades people actually buy I settled on the Gillette Mach 3.

When I got I home I decided to see if there was a difference between the two, so I shaved the left side of my face with the old system, and the right side with the new system. As you can see from the before and after photos, the results are pretty much the same. To the touch, the side shaved with the Contour blades is slightly smoother, but barely noticeable.

The difference while shaving was pronounced though. I usually use shaving foam, but decided to go without for the test. The Contour shave was considerably more painful than the Mach 3 shave. It’s what you’re used to of course. I had shaved without foam before, and having had nothing to compare it with, I never considered it horribly painful. It’s only when contrasted with the Mach 3 that the Contour stood out in the pain department.

Before, about three days worth of growth:
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After:
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(Right side, my left, was shaved with the Contour Plus. Left side, my right, was shaved with the Mach 3. Note that the Contour Plus comes with a lubricating strip—it’s what the plus stands for.)

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Tape

The rather expensive Christmas cards I bought this year came with an atrociously bad bunch of envelopes, some of them greasy on the inside (I kid you not), others refusing to stay closed. I decided to use a roll of gold sticky tape I have lying around for occasions like this, but could not find it. Rummaging through my shoebox of office supplies I did find these fellows though. And the odd thing is I cannot remember when I used any of them for the last time.

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Trees and the Nieuwe Meer

Yesterday I walked around the Nieuwe Meer, the body of water that used to connect the Schinkel river which flows through the west of Amsterdam towards the IJ with the Haarlemmermeer, a large inland lake that has been turned into a polder with mainly farms and a large airport.

You could tell the days are getting shorter quickly. I left my house at 1430, and soon I was taking only blurry photos because almost all of the light had gone.

Trees casting shadows on the Sandberg Institute (the neighbour of the Rietveld Academie):

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The shore of the Nieuwe Meer:

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Walking through the Amsterdamse Bos in a direction opposite from the one I usually take, I came across these shiny stems:

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Zie de maan schijnt door de bomen / Makkers staakt uw wild geraas

(Traditional song sung by children the weeks before Sinterklaas visits their homes and brings them presents. If you look closely you see black dots in the branches: jackdaws.)

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Shrooms

I know little more about mushrooms than that they make good photographic subjects: they sit still (most of the time), and they contrast well with their surroundings.

Today my brother, his girlfriend and I went to Baarn in Utrecht to traipse around both the current and former park of Groeneveld Castle. More photos below the fold.

[photo of Castle Groeneveld]

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From and to work

I am doing a job for a customer in Zuid-Oost, which takes me along routes I’ve never been before.

This bridge though is right around the corner, and I have crossed it myself many times:

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Sun set:

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Subway station:

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Last beautiful day of the year

Today it’s 24 degrees outside, but from what I understand the cloud cover that should be familiar by now to anyone’s who’s stayed in the city this summer will return tomorrow. The next time the sun will be back it will be autumn.