Posts tagged ‘Wageningen’

I has a flea problem

Hi there, whether or not this is the beginning of a comeback will remain to be seen. I will refrain from any promises, mmmkay? But I feel like writing something, even if it’s just to let you know I’m still alive. But since I’m quite hopelessly inept at this kind of thing and I didn’t want to catch you all off your guards with a super awesome post out of nowhere, I thought I would just start small.

I have a flea problem. This is what it looks like:
Flea bag
I changed those sheets yesterday night, after ‘flea problem’ finished his daily nap on my bed and left some uninvited guests behind. That’s a loft bed, which means you need to climb some stairs to get there. So today, I thought, I’ll make a ‘flea barrier’ to keep the “problem” out of the bed:

flea barrier

Nevermind all the junk. That's not actually part of the 'barrier'

Then I opened the window:

window

Clearly, I had underestimated the ‘problem’. Flea Buffet jumped in through the window, ate his breakfast and went straight for his nap, unhindered by my silly human barriers. “Yooppie, NOOOOOOOOOO!”, I cried, removing the barrier and climbing the latter. It seemed Mr. Flea Spa had gotten the message, as he promptly climbed down the latter and left, clearly offended.

Satisfied with myself for resisting his cunning feline deception, I went about my morning routine. Halfway through checking my email and daily reading, I start to get this uneasy feeling that I am not alone. I only left for a few minutes at a time, surely he wouldn’t go for it a second time. I removed the barrier and checked the loft. Sure enough:I surrender

I gave up. Asshole.

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March 17, 2009 at 5:38 pm 11 comments

Dutch lesson

Nah, not really. But you guys want to know the Top 5 funniest dutch words of all time (at least in my mind)? Either because of how they are spelled, pronounced or mispronounced, these crack me up every time.

Wanna guess what they mean? I even translated the context for you to make it easy. Find out after the jump.

#5: burger, as in American burger. Nope, nothing to do with McD’s.

o rly?#4: hoor, as in “Ja, hoor!”. Pronounced wh0re. Ya, rly! Of course it means something else! What did you expect? This is a family blog!

#3: monster, as in “Did you gather any monsters in the field today?”

lucifer, singular#2: lucifers, as in “Have you seen the lucifers? I need a smoke!

#1: ghettoblaster, as in “Turn on the ghettoblaster! Let’s have some fun!!1!

(more…)

March 12, 2008 at 1:45 am 2 comments

Living in Hippie Town

DroevendaalPhoto by Hedwig. And that’s not really our garden, its common space. And that’s not really my house either. And the stage was for a party.

So, remember a while back I told you guys I was moving out of my apartment? I even promised to tell you more about my new place… Yeah, I know I also hinted that my posting might become more regular, and we’ve seen how that turned out 😀 Well, here I am, keeping yet another overdue promise.

After more than a year cohabitating with ClosetBoyfriend, I’m back to living in student housing for a few months. And, believe it or not, its actually been a step forward in terms of greenness. All because I was lucky enough to end up in a house where everyone was already pretty green by my own standards, in a wonderful place called Droevendaal.

The house itself is a sort of a bungalow with a garden, in a little student complex of sorts. The toilets and washing machine use rainwater, and we use green electricity. But probably the main factor that makes us green is the strong communal component in our house. We eat together everyday and all the food is shared. Oh, and there is a strict vegetarian policy, which accounts for the fact that I only ate meat one time since I’ve lived here (at that conference).

But our eating habits also mean that we have an extremely high food turnover, which means food never goes bad and we get by with one very small fridge (the under the counter kind) for the 6 of us. And its enough! (And yeah, this surprised me too. So if you think you really need a ice-cube spitting monster for your family of four, really, let me assure you that you don’t.)

And this probably has something to do with the fact that our 6 person household only uses around 4200 KWh per year. Compared to 4600 KWh of the average European household and 11.200 KWh of the average American household (note that the average household typically consists of 3 or 4 people).

We have a compost bin in the garden, and though we don’t have anything growing right now, we still have a sizable stash of homemade jam in the pantry from this summer’s berries. But I have to say, my favorite thing is that, for the most part, my housemates are pretty committed to eating organic and that’s just such a relief I don’t have to persuade them, or, alternatively, always do the shopping myself.

Although, sometimes, I still like to grace the most dedicated vegetarians among them with horror stories of cow pus in their non-bio yogurt or baby cow stomachs in their non-bio cheese. Just to keep them motivated 😀

We also have 2 house cats that satisfy my cat-loving needs. One of them is really old and I swear, he’s the ugliest little feline creature I have ever seen. The other one is cute and slutty and likes to hang out in my room. Would be cuter if it wasn’t for the daily dead mouse in our kitchen. I lovingly refer to them as ‘the ugly one’ and ‘the slutty one’.

So there you have it, my new house. I quite like it here and that goes a long way towards enduring the absence of ClosetBoyfriend.

Ps: I think I’ll still add a some pictures to this post, so if you want to see just how ugly the ‘ugly one’ is, check back later this week.

December 3, 2007 at 2:58 am 4 comments

Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing

Tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day (aka Black Friday Consumerism Disaster) in US and Canada, whick for me and international ClosetReaders, is on Saturday the 24th.

So here is my appeal to you. Buy Nothing! Think about the impact your consumption has on the worlds resources. Think before you buy useless shit no one wants anyway.

But most importantly, go out and have fun. Do stuff that doesn’t involve spending money to feed the capitalist establishment. You’ll be much happier, really.

And now, to the ‘pull the ember to my sardine’ part of this post, here is what what’s going down here in Wageningen, NL. I have joined the local hippy crowd in organizing Buy Nothing Day activities. We are setting up a living room in the main market square, with live music, free tea (maybe even coffee if we’re lucky), free hugs, free shop, traditional games, board games, newspapers, massages (maybe), professional portraits, and workshops.

The goal is to try to lure passersby away from consumerism with happy activities that don’t involve consuming, the key word in this being ‘happy’, seeing that HappyJMA Wageningen is organizing.

You can also revisit this post, where I shared with you guys a video about Wageningen Buy Nothing Day in 2006.

So today, my message to you is: Be happy. And buy nothing!

Ps: I also wrote a post about BND for Celsias. Check it out for the hilarious adbusters tv spots.

November 22, 2007 at 5:56 pm 2 comments

Price perception and the organic (and local).

I have this theory for a while now and I am now going to share it with you guys. and you can tell me if it makes sense or not. It all started with an observation of my patterns of ‘going out on the town’ in a relatively unfamiliar city.

Say, we go to Amsterdam for a weekend. We are quite broke as always, but despite the fact, we go out for dinner and look for a place for an after dinner drink, that hopefully will not rip us off. We pass a bar, and it looks nice, if only a little bit on the fancy side. And, inevitability, the conversation goes something like this:

“Hey, this place looks nice, wanna go inside?”

“Hmm, I don’t know, it looks kinda expensive, I don’t think we can afford it”

And then what happens? We go somewhere else, that looks more like the kinda place we can afford (i. e. hole in the wall). And we end up paying 3 euros for a beer in a crappy looking hole in the wall.

And after this happened one or two times, I developed a new philosophy. This one more satisfactory, and it goes something like this:

“We are in Amsterdam. Gonna get ripped off no matter what we do. So we might as well enjoy it and go to the nice looking place we wanted to go in the first place. I’m sure it won’t rip you off any worse that the others”.

So then I started noticing this little theory applied to other things as well. Like, here in Wageningen, we had this really crappy looking supermarket, the kinda place you don’t want to spend more than 5 minutes in, just get the milk and get out before this place steals your soul. And the strange thing is, this place got a reputation of being cheap. But the fact is, when you actually compared the prices of the same products, it was even more expensive than the nice looking supermarket!

We as consumers are subject to a hell of a lot of manipulation. Why do you think all the prices are always $9.95 and not $10? Never $10. I know, rationally, that $9.95 is really 10$. But for some reason, it just seems a whole lot better than $10, huh? Why you go to the supermarket and buy something for $4.95 and next week it is on SALE, for ONLY $5.45!!! And yet, we still buy (into) this crap!

So, I wonder, even though there is no doubt that most local and organic things are, in fact, more expensive than their conventional counterparts (like the 8E/kg bell pepper), how much of the price difference is real, and how much is just in out heads?

I have, just recently, seen the lettuce heads at the organic market stand for 1E a piece, picked that same morning in Wageningen. In the supermarket, they have them imported from Spain, who knows when and how, for E1,5o! And the 8E/kg bell pepper seems expensive, right? That’s about E1,5 a piece. What if I tell you that about the same time I saw single overpackaged bell peppers trucked in from the Kingdom of Far Far Away at the supermarket at guess how much? That’s right, E1.50. And let’s not forget that said peppers rank at #3 of most evil vegetables in pesticide residue.

I’m not saying this is always the case. It’s true, about 70% of the times (my guesstimate), local and organic is more expensive. But it is also fresher, tastier and pesticide free! Isn’t that worth paying for?

Just because you buy something at ‘Cheap’o’market’ doesn’t mean that it is actually cheaper! I am just making a case for the fact that supermarkets are not actually the cheapest places to buy food, despite what they want you to think.

I’m just saying. Go to the farmer’s market. I bet you will find plenty of local (and sometimes organic as well, with or without certification), cheaper than at Cheap’o’market. Don’t just assume that it’s more expensive and therefore you can’t afford it. Do some research first, and actually compare it. Even better, look into the possibility of buying directly from farms in your area.

On a personal note, I am now going to look into the possibility of buying cherries and strawberries and other fruit from farms just on the edge of town. Yesterday I noticed them from the bus. They had a little barrack by the side of the road with a painted sign saying ‘Cherries for sale’. I bet ya that’s the cheapest I’ll find here in town. And if they are not organic, who cares? They are local, which is cool too.

The point is, you are going to get ripped off no matter what you do. So might as well enjoy it, and get what you really want, and not go for the inferior alternative just because your perception is tricking you into thinking it’s cheaper 😀

Yummy photo by CAZASCO on Flickr.

June 16, 2007 at 2:58 pm 13 comments

Wageningen’s Buy Nothing Day 2006

I found this video today, more or less accidentally and I thought I would share it with you. Buy Nothing Day was in November, apparently on a Saturday, and I can’t believe that I somehow missed it! It just totally passed me by, I didn’t even know about it. Damn… It looked really cool… apart from the typical November weather.

It’s here for a few reasons. You can see the small town where I live, you can see the market I always talk about, and you can see the back of Emmaus, the charity shop (where you see the ‘pimp my bike’).

The thing they are shooting the video from is a tricycle, a special cargo bike. I used it twice for moving my shit across town (including one bulky sofa). Apparently it was put together by 2 local organizations, one of which I knew because they give out free food at the market about once a month. That’s the ‘Food Not Bombs’ people, it’s them pouring soup in the video. (also in Wikipedia)

The first two stands you can see are the organic vegetables (the guy who waves at them) and right next to it is the organic dairy guy. It’s too bad they didn’t write ‘free hugs’ in dutch, “gratis knuffels”. Knuffels (the k is not silent) always cracks me up… it’s just such a funny word 😀

Notice in the end, when they are putting the tricycle back, there is a yellow sign in the road and a bunch of bicycles inside. That’s the shared patio of Emmaus and a ‘Bike Oasis’, which is a bike repair shop where I always take my bike when I have a flat. The guy is really nice.

Anyway, I just thought it would be interesting for you guys to see where I live and actually see the stuff I’m always talking about. I hope you enjoyed it.

May 11, 2007 at 3:34 pm 5 comments


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