Monday, July 21, 2014

Things we get up to in Hoorn

Rik grew up in Hoorn and his parents still live there. I don't often take photos of our everyday activities there, but here are a few that give you a peek into our suburban lives.

Rik testing out his nephew Camiel's birthday present. We were at Camiel's home to celebrate his 7th birthday. Isn't it awesome to have a canal in your backyard and your own bloody boat??

Rik making some acrobatics with his niece, Yelena. And there's Camiel by the side waiting to play the walkie talkie (another birthday present) with Yelena again.

This is from many months ago, but it's Rik and his dad challenging each other in planking. Guess who stuck it out the longest?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Homemaking with photo frames

For a couple of years now, my original drawings have been displayed on the small area of wall next to the window, just bare paper unprotected from the sunlight, hanging only by blue tack on the four corners, the ink fading and little bugs dying behind them, flattened by the quick as lightning paws of Lucy the cat.

Finally, though, we've decided to do something about it. About three weekends ago, we headed to IKEA to buy some frames to slow down the decaying level of my artwork. And finally, yesterday, we started putting them up.

Long story short, we discovered we only had two photo-hanging hooks instead of the eight we needed. So... only two frames are up, and the rest is to be continued...

Every successful project starts with careful planning.

Every successful homemaker has a cat who watches over everything.

We eventually got tired of squatting and standing up, and we needed to know exact measurements compared to the wall. So we did what every tech geek and designer does. Take photos and start designing in Photoshop.

Lucy wanting to give us her input on the layout.

Rik at work on Photoshop. This isn't the final layout, by the way.

After the planning comes the realisation of the plan. Here are the two proudly on display, waiting for their brothers and sisters to join them the moment our Tesa Powerstrips arrive in the post.

Lucy just can't resist a good piece of paper to sit on.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dag van de Architectuur 2014 Rotterdam

Every year, we take the opportunity to visit private buildings that are open for just one day a year, on the Dag van de Architectuur / Day of Architecture.

Our itinerary this year included:

  • The new library at Erasmus MC
  • De Rotterdam
  • Maastoren
  • Delftse Poort
After three very hectic weeks, we found ourselves too tired to wake up in time for the 11am tour at the new library, so we skipped it and went for pho instead.

Deli Tasty is a cute little Vietnamese-Asian restaurant that just opened on Meent. The food is delicious and reasonably-priced, but service is extremely slow. We only go there when we are eating at off-peak times. Lunch at 11.30am or dinner at 5.30pm, for example.

After lunch, we biked over the Erasmus bridge – with my thighs burning as usual – to De Rotterdam, the latest skyscraper in the city. It's a very impressive construction consisting of 3 huge towers of residential, office and retail lots.

Classic tandem bike found parked outside.

De Rotterdam was the only stop on our self-made tour that didn't require registration, so we had to queue to get in.

Very nice photo in the lobby. De Rotterdam is seen in the photo (the three towers side by side).

View from the full-length living room windows on the 30th floor. Amazing.

We are very high up, but the HAL cruise ship below us is also very large. So it's difficult to see just how big the distance is. You can get an idea by looking at the size of the deck chairs onboard.

These rubber stickers were found all around the apartment and I thought they were really cute. Just to show you how the room might look like with everyday things scattered around. There were also slippers, handbags and... chickens.

En route to Maastoren (behind me) and on my first outing with my new New Balance shoes!

Spent some time queueing to the registration desk till we found out that I needed my ID card, which I don't bring with me ever since getting pickpocketed twice (and paying 500 euros to replace it twice).

So Rik went up on his own and I went in search of a drink. Found a dodgy-looking eetcafe just across, but the owner was very friendly and helpful, so I felt a little better.

The cappuccino was disgusting.

But the view made up for it.

Then to the Douwe Egberts cafe at the Nationale Nederlanden building, aka. Delftse Poort, for real coffee and a saucijzenbroodje / sausage roll. I was craving pasta, but there wasn't any on the menu.

While waiting for our coffee, I spotted true Holland sprinkles – orange, blue, white and red – and we asked the barista what drink they use that on. And the answer was: "Actually... nothing!". Guess it's a leftover from some other event like Kings Day. So we requested it on my Lazy Noon. The barista was MORE than generous!

Rik helped me with the mountain of whipped cream, which turned out to be a volcano.

The tour of the Delftse Poort building was guided by a cheerful local architect. Here she is, showing a maquette of the final design choice for the building. There are 4 others next to it of proposals from other architects.

We were brought down to the car park for explanations of underground metro tubes and other boring things.

That is one long escalator, and very quick too. I like speedy escalators.

Colourful visitor's meeting area at the top of the escalators.

Recreational basketball court.

Stationsplein. The central station.

View from, I think the 31st floor.

A high-speed train pulls out of the station below.

I was still craving pasta, so we stopped by Vapiano opposite Delftse Poort for some shrimp pasta.

We ended the day with the Germany-Ghana game (2-2) on the red boat with Anselm.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014, the year of the poster

Know why I have so few photos up these days?

Cuz it's such a bugger to connect the camera to my computer, upload and save the pics (and let's face it, edit the colours because no camera is perfect) and upload them to Blogger again. If I had the money, I would buy a WiFi camera right now. But I'm using that money for a week in Melbourne instead. So maybe I shouldn't be complaining.

I don't know if anyone still reads my blog, but if anyone is interested, I'm working on a bunch of megaposters at the moment. They will be displayed on several (I don't remember now, 15? 20?) university campuses around KL. So that's cool. I'm definitely gonna visit at least one of em to see how they turn out. That's why I love print. It's so exciting to see the end result that you have very little control over.

It seems that the year 2014 is all about posters so far. I've also just delivered a poster design for an exhibition in Rotterdam. If you just happen to be in Rotterdam (or if you live there even) between 31 January and 8 March, there is an exhibition happening in Belvedere called Shanghai Tan. A poster of mine will be up on display there. Pretty fan-friggin-tastic!

Unfortunately, I won't be able to see it in person as I'm only back in NL in April, but I'll make sure to get photos of it and post em up here.

Till the next time...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Watching An Unexpected Journey the second time

My mum is one of the few who haven't watched all The Hobbit films (yet).

So when I came to stay with her, I made sure she had the DVD for An Unexpected Journey (2012) and settled down to watch it with her. We had to split the film into two because of its length, but we finally finished the second leg last night.

And I must say, I liked it better the second time round.

The first time, I had watched it in an amazing cinema hall in 3D HFR (High Frame Rate) on the wishes of R. At the time, I thought, "Wow, cool, new technology, should be fantastic!". And then I saw it, and it looked so strange and "puppet"y. So I was thrown off by the strange look of it and didn't pay much attention to the storyline and script.

Watching it again on DVD (couldn't be poles apart, really, the DVD quality and my mum's speakers are so bad that I had to repeat some lines to her so she would get the story), I could at least enjoy the acting and the story better. And I surely did.

I was so impressed with Gollum, even the first time I saw it in the cinema. Just the way he made you hate him and yet love him at the same time. That is absolutely amazing. Really, kudos to Peter Jackson and the Gollum team.

My favourite line in the film has to be from Gandalf in reply to Galadriel's question, "Why the halfling?":

Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? I don't know. Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.

And in half an hour, you see his "small act of kindness" that eventually saves Middle Earth, although that scene is a lot more powerful when you look at it with hindsight.

Bilbo Baggins also gives me courage. Seeing his innocent and courageous nature pull through no matter what situation makes me realise that you are never too small to handle anything.

I just love how inspirational this story is!

And the music! Really, really good, as usual. I'm so in love with the Misty Mountains song that the dwarves sing in Bilbo's house. And that it was turned into a proper track for the end credits is super sweet. I'm going to have it on repeat for the rest of the week now!

If you have Spotify, treat yourself here: Neil Finn – Song Of The Lonely Mountain

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Back working in Desa

I have been on my extended working holiday in Kuala Lumpur now for 6 weeks.

Well, the holiday part officially ended on 7 January, but I have been sneaking in some work throughout December. Gotta make full use of my newly-purchased MacBook Pro Retina, after all #showoff

And that marks the first time I'm using a hashtag in my blog. I feel pathetic.

I just wanted to check in today to my blog because firstly, it's been a while. And secondly, because I have so much work to do and I'm just sitting here mas... procrastinating.

Did you get it? ;)

I want a WiFi camera. Just sayin'.

Monday, November 04, 2013

October 2013: Illustrations, boots, concerts, driverless automobiles, Halloween and Michelin star dining.

I've had a pretty eventful October and I'm going to share it with you because this is my blog, and this is what it's for. I hope you like the phone-quality photos.

First up, you may not know, but I've been selling my illustrations for a while now on my own webshop, as well as on Etsy. Earlier this month, I woke up to an email saying one of my birthday calendars had been purchased. Hoorah!

My friend Riri likes to order cards from me, and she orders A LOT. Because she always seems to be celebrating something or other for someone or other. That girl has too much energy. So anyway, this is a birthday card for her friend who moved to Stockholm, and who misses Dutch things. Riri and her friend decided to send a care package of Dutch items to her. Sweet.

I have been searching for these boots ever since I moved here. I finally found them after researching online (yes, online), and then heading to the store to grab them. Yup, I can't believe how I'm being efficient now while shopping.

We bought the tickets months ago, and the concert was finally at our doorstep. This is Goldfrapp performing at Paradiso in Amsterdam. It was fantastic. This woman does not need any post-production on album recordings. She was perfect, everyone was perfect, it was so energising and the all-enveloping electronic orchestral sounds just lifted me up into the clouds.

I went for a meeting with a client for the first time at their office in the Brainpark in Rotterdam. It's a super cool place, but the coolest thing there were the driverless busses. See how I took a photo including the windshield wipers so that you'd see that's the front of the bus... and THERE IS NO DRIVER. Very cool indeed.

In case you haven't noticed yet, I've been playing around with photo effects on my photos. How fun.

Halloween this year was at our place. For part of the decor, I made ghosts. I first tried a method I found online and even bought bloody clothes starch to get the fabric hard enough to stay in a ghost shape. But I think the fault was in the fabric. It just freaking doesn't get hard! So I used a needle and thread and hung the ghosts up from the ceiling instead. Simpler, cleaner and quicker.

This did not work.

This worked. With some fairy magic.

That's me, as an attacked librarian.

And finally, last night - although technically November, I will still add it here because who knows when's the next time I'll blog?? - I dined at a Michelin star restaurant for the second time in my life. This one, Amarone in Rotterdam, is a bit less posh than Parkheuvel (also in Rotterdam), but the service was still good and the food still interesting. Taste-wise, but not concept-wise. But well, we had ordered a special group menu, so I'll cut them some slack.

The amuse. And I can't remember what it was. Calf is there somewhere, I think.

The fellows I dined with.

The appetiser of liver terrine and quail.


And that's where a photo of the halibut should have been, but I forgot to take the photo.

The main dish of fantastically cooked beef with beets and other veg. This beef was awesome.

I always find it strange when you have such a big build-up to the main dish - first you have amuses, then several appetisers, and then you get the main dish... and all of a sudden, like reaching the top of Mount Everest on your feet and then parachuting down, they present you with dessert. I mean, where are all the other amuses to prepare you for dessert?

ANYWAY, this dessert was my favourite of the night and I can't be more enthused about it. Finally, here was something that was a bit different, a bit more interesting and exciting. Here's a coconut on sand, made of chocolate and other coconut-based delights. This. was. brilliant.

This annual dinner was also an opportunity to thank the man who had been the council secretary for nearly 10 years. Congratulations, Ed, a job well done!

Shameless advertising of their restaurant on the chocolates. Well, the chocolates were yummy.