Wednesday, 30 April 2008

French porn director Cadinot dead

I am not a big fan of porn. I think I have never watched a porn movie from beginning to end, I don't own a single porn movie, I hardly ever look for porn on the Internet (really!), and when I visit friends who like to watch porn to "get into the mood" I often grab a newspaper to kill the time.....
Having said the above, I have good memories of the films directed by Jean-Daniel Cadinot, the French director who passed away last week. His films had a story-line, we could see the models get to know each other, there was some romance and the sex scenes were not too long. Perhaps I should reacquaint myself with his films.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Another night in hospital

Yesterday OS came back to Amsterdam from Colombia and I was quite shocked to see the result of the infection in his arm. I told him to go to the hospital today, but OS was afraid they might keep him there which would mean he'd miss Queen's Day, so he didn't go. After I came home tonight I just took him to the hospital where they put a drain in his arm and gave instructions how to treat the wound. The doctor was quite relaxed about the whole thing which was a big relief for OS and myself. We can both do without frequent visits to the hospital.
In other news, SI from Hong Kong wrote me an e-mail in which he wrote: "I am suffering in Koh Samui on a work trip." And he is serious! He must be the first person in the world to complain about a business trip to Koh Samui.
And finally, TO from Moscow sent an SMS announcing his 3rd visit to Amsterdam for mid-May. Our gang should receive the "Best Ambassador Award" from the Amsterdam Tourist Board.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Only in America: 5 year old girl handcuffed by police

And around the same time, 3 New York City policemen who killed an unarmed man in cold blood on his wedding day are acquitted. Has common sense and the rule of law disappeared from America?

Friday, 25 April 2008

Who said Singapore doesn't enforce anti-gay laws?

Wasn't it Lee Hsien Loong himself who said that yes, Singapore would keep its anti-gay laws, but no, they wouldn't be enforced? Can somebody please remind him and tell him to repeat his message, because the over-active bigots in various governmental agencies seem to not to have heard him.
The news today: A Singapore television station has been fined for airing a show that depicted a gay couple and their baby in a way that "promotes a gay lifestyle," the city-state's media regulator said Thursday. The Media Development Authority fined MediaCorp TV Channel 5 $11,000, it said in a statement on its Web site. The station aired an episode of a home and decor series called "Find and Design" that featured a gay couple wanting to transform their game room into a new nursery for their adopted baby. The authority said the episode contained scenes of the gay couple with their baby and the presenter's congratulations and acknowledgment of them as a family unit "in a way which normalizes their gay lifestyle and unconventional family setup."

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Canada and Japan

It is Thursday 1015pm and I just returned to my hotel after having dinner with my colleague in a typical Tartar restaurant. We also toured the Kazan Kremlin today after work - very beautiful.
First I need to correct a mistake in my previous post: the final of the ice hockey championships was between Canada and Russia. My Russian friends lost 8 - 0 so small wonder they were hiding from me at breakfast this morning.
Yesterday I met up with our gang's Japanese friend TO who lives in Moscow and who came to Amsterdam already twice this year. He took the trouble to fly to Kazan to meet me. We had a wonderful dinner in his hotel - TO was telling me about his 11 year career as a professional gymnast, he is a 4 times Japanese gymnastics champion! A very hard life according to the stories especially after he moved to Russia with his new trainer. As his hotel was much nicer than mine I accepted his invitation to sleep over - if my bosses are too cheap to provide me with a decent hotel I will make my own arrangements......

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Suddenly a fan of ice hockey

It is Tuesday evening 1015pm and I am in my hotel room in Kazan. I have participated in 3-hour long, boring meetings which took even longer because everything needs to be translated. Russia hasn't changed much yet - on arrival, the 20 person long queue at passport control took 1 hour and 20 minutes to clear, the air quality is bad, roads are crazy (they don't have lanes, they just dump a lot of asphalt) and everybody drives like Schumacher.
Fortunately, the World Championships Ice Hockey for under 18's are here in Kazan and the Russian team is staying in my hotel! I normally don't like very young men, but these are all tall, muscular, blond Gods so I am having a good time in the breakfast room. Tomorrow is the final Russia vs. USA. I will support my friends from breakfast!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Going to Каза́нь

In a few hours I will be boarding a flight to Frankfurt, connecting later tonight to Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, where I expect to arrive Monday morning early. It has been a while since I had a business trip and it always nice to discover a new place where I have not been yet. My colleagues tell me the people are friendly, we'll see if they force me to get drunk on wodka this week.....

Saturday, 19 April 2008

The Hard Rock Cafe, Amsterdam

In my wildest dreams I would never have thought that I would ever go to the Hard Rock Cafe. It is full of tourists and very American - two good reasons not to go there hehe. So when GZ suggested yesterday that we have dinner in the HRC I had to think for a while and then said to myself "why not?, let's try it". GZ has a frequent eater card for HRC which gives a discount and which also shortens the queue to get a table. When we got there, they told us the waiting time is one hour, but with GZ's card only 20 minutes. In the bar I saw an old friend who now works as a waiter in HRC and with his help we only had to wait 10 minutes. Upstairs in the restaurant there were lots of empty tables and they lied to us that a group had just left - but if they had been honest they would have told us the waiting time is for marketing reasons only, to pretend that the place is very popular and to force people to drink more in the bar. (food is reasonably prized, drinks are very expensive - come on 4.20 euro for a small beer is too much) That's what I mean with the place being very American: everything is about marketing and cross-selling. Most of the guests were American tourists it seemed, and for sure I can understand why most Dutch people don't like the HRC.
The food was quite good though - huge portions and hardly any veggies. The conversation with GZ was good as last time and I didn't give him a chance to complain about our last meeting which he had promised to do.
After HRC we went to Spijker bar where I hadn't been in 5 years. (GZ likes to go to bars with darkrooms) And he insisted we buy some joints, too. We had a few beers/wines in Soho with MA and RE, at one point I was very tired and listening to GZ and MA talk I realized GZ' way of talking is very much like sgboy. Later at home GZ forced-fed me the 2nd joint which made me sick in the middle of the night (but not as bad as last time).
I just got home from visiting mummy and MA is texting what time to meet for drinks. I will pass tonight, after an evening with GZ I need to rest.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Vitamin pills not only waste of money, but may be dangerous

Don't you love it when you have a strong opinion on something and you are proven right very soon after you have expressed your opinion? Last Sunday, AA asked me if I take any vitamins and I said "no, that's really unnecessary as long as you have a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables." AA disagreed. Today, there is this story on BBC web site: Research has suggested certain vitamin supplements do not extend life and could even lead to a premature death. A review of 67 studies found "no convincing evidence" that antioxidant supplements cut the risk of dying. Scientists at Copenhagen University said vitamins A and E could interfere with the body's natural defences.
Right! Take as few pills as possible and you will be more healthy! Nature has arranged for our bodies to fight most diseases. Don't interfere too much with Mother Nature, unless you are really very sick and the doctor tells you that you need something. Vitamin pills are just a little money machine for the pharmaceutical industry.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Crying: the difference between women and men

An interesting piece of research that will change the world: Psychology magazine from the Netherlands interviewed 800 people on crying behaviour. Men cry on average 9 times per year, women 33 times. The magazine says this is remarkable because young boys cry more than young girls. Only after the male testosteron and the effects of upbringing ("be a man") kick in will males cry less than females. Men cry more for being happy, women for being angry. When asked "why do you cry?" 65% said because they are sad, 38% answered because they felt powerless, and 26% because they were moved by something. Only 18% cry about something outside their personal life, such as hunger and sickness in poor countries.
I'd say I am around average for a male: 9 times per year sounds about right. Pfff - I am not such a bitch after all.

Monday, 14 April 2008

A wholesome weekend

I had a very nice wholesome weekend in London: dinners, lunches, museum, theatre, flower market, street market, no gay bars, no clubbing, no sex. Met up with AA after arrival and proceeded to the Aurora Restaurant where MT and PE joined us. Very enjoyable night with good food, and I believe I drank more than my fair share of the wine. After dinner we were all tired from a week at work so AA and I took a taxi home. Chatted some more at home and slept like babies for many hours. Saturday AA (who claims he is the perfect hostess) made a nice breakfast with Kaya jam I had freshly imported from Singapore, and we proceeded to the Tate Modern where we spent three enjoyable hours. Had an early dinner with AA's friends AD, LO and ST at Frederick's before going to the Almeida Theatre where MT joined all of us to watch The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is a wildly funny court-room drama in which history's most infamous betrayal is dissected by forces of good and evil. In a court room that owes as much to the ghetto to the Gospels, figures such as Pontius Pilate, Mother Teresa and Sigmund Freud are called to testify in a trial of God and the Kingdom of Heaven and Earth versus Judas Iscariot. The play was funny and nice but a little long (3 hours). After dinner we had energy for one drink. AA got lost when walking home so we ended up taking a night bus home. On Sunday I discovered a part of London that I don't know well (East End) when we toured the Columbia Flower Market and the Brick Lane area, where VT joined us for Indian food. Said goodbye to AA and was at the airport just in time. After arrival in Amsterdam I joined the gang in SoHo bar - good to see everybody after many weeks. Was home around 1130pm - tired but contented. Thanks AA for being the perfect hostess. I will sure visit you when you move to New York later this year!

Friday, 11 April 2008

Going to London!

I am off to London for the weekend. Tonight I'll have dinner with AA, MT and PE (AA and PT like each other, let's see if MT is jealous again), tomorrow I'll join AA and his friends to see a play, and in between I hope to catch up with VT and possibly RD. We'll see if there will be any time left for partying. I'll be staying with AA and fly to and from London City Airport which is so much more civilized than Heathrow.

Too much cycling or am I pregnant?

I have been suffering from cramps in my legs at night - I have woken up at least 5 times per night this week and the only cure is to jump out of bed. It must be that my body is getting used to the cycling again.
Nocturnal leg cramps are involuntary muscle contractions that occur in the calves, soles of the feet, or other muscles in the body during the night or (less commonly) while resting. The duration of nocturnal leg cramps is highly variable with cramps sometimes only lasting a few seconds and other times several minutes. Soreness in the muscles may remain for some time after the cramp ends. These cramps are more common in older people but may happen to anyone. They can happen quite frequently in teenagers and in some people while they are exercising at night. Nocturnal leg cramps can be very painful, especially if the person is dehydrated.
The precise cause of these cramps is unclear. Potential contributing factors are believed to include dehydration, low levels of certain minerals (magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium), and the reduced blood flow through the muscles attendant in prolonged sitting or lying down. Less common causes include more serious conditions or the use of drugs.
Nocturnal leg cramps may be relieved by stretching the affected leg straight out and pointing the toes upward. People report that quickly standing up and walking a few steps may also shorten the duration of a cramp.
Nocturnal leg cramps (almost exclusively calf cramps) are considered to be 'normal' during the late stages of pregnancy. They can however vary in intensity from mild to incredibly painful.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Singapore fossils get worldwide attention - yet again

The fossils that work for Singapore's Media Development Authority (a.k.a. Censorship Board) managed to get world-wide negative publicity for the city-state with this news: Two women kissing in an advertisement led Singapore to fine a cable operator for breaching guidelines on sexuality in the conservative city-state. Singapore's Media Development Authority, which regulates and censors media and the arts, said on Wednesday it fined StarHub S$10,000 for airing a commercial for a song that featured "romanticised scenes" of lesbians kissing and portrayed the relationship as "acceptable".

"Naar vriendschap zulk een mateloos verlangen"

I was chatting with ER this morning and realized once again what is really important in life. Most of us are busy chasing men, and we like to boast to our friends about our conquests. But how often have we walked out of a house, room or cubicle feeling empty and lonely? At those times, we realize that the goal of our hunting is to find real friendship and intimacy.
The designer of the Homomonument in Amsterdam captured this feeling very well by having an incription of a line from the poem To a young fisherman by Dutch gay poet Jacob Israël de Haan: "Naar vriendschap zulk een mateloos verlangen". ("Such an immense longing for friendship") Let us never forget that sex with the most beautiful hunk pales in comparison to hugging your loved one.

Roses are not as beautiful as your cheeks,
Tulips not as your tender bare feet,
And in no eyes I ever read
Such a boundless longing for friendship

Monday, 7 April 2008

Physically tired, emotionally drained

I am back in Amsterdam. The flight was long objectively (lots of head wind so 13+ hours in the air) and subjectively (lots of things to think about, I could only sleep well into the flight although I was so tired for lack of sleep for many nights). At least there was a cute Indian SQ boy who gave me something to look at.
When we landed, it was cold (minus 1 C) and sunny, I took a train home and while walking home I took a deep breath of fresh air which helped a bit to feel better. Worked a full day, came home, did my grocery shopping and laundry, opened the mail and am now so ready to go to bed.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

In Singapore: happy, sad and an awkward goodbye

I am in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 waiting for my flight to Amsterdam. My time in Singapore can best be described by the German expression (based on Goethe): "Himmelhoch jauchzend - zu Tode betruebt". I was very happy one moment and very sad the next. I spent time with friends from my Singapore days, ex-colleagues and most importantly with the sweetest man in the world. We shared happy moments but also quite a few moments during which I was puzzled, sad and confused. Today, after having some drinks with a group of friends, our goodbye came suddenly and awkwardly. Walking away from the scene, MA asked "what happened?" but I was unable to answer him as I was fighting tears. AN was so sweet to join me for a quick bite after MA and GI left, and as he understands the whole situation we didn't even have to talk about it much to let me vent my feelings. I can't blame the sweetest man, I think I can't blame myself, and there is nobody else to blame. Will time heal all wounds?

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

A thousand star hotel

We arrived back on Bali from Flores this afternoon after a short, but great trip to see the Komodo dragons. We flew to Labuan Bajo on Flores island yesterday morning, were met by our cute guide Richard (who speaks fluent English and rather good Dutch!), sailed 2 1/2 hours to Rinca island where a local ranger accompanied us for a two hour hike. We saw 5 Komodo dragons (the largest 3 meters long) which is quite scary when they came walking towards us. Also saw water buffalos which are sometimes eaten by the dragons. We slept on the deck of a small boat - hence the 1000 star hotel. This morning woke up at first daylight at 6am to do snorkeling - better coral reefs around Flores than near Bali.
Tonight GI will buy us dinner (it is my last night with MA and GI) at Antique restaurant - one of the best in Bali. And tomorrow I'll fly to Singapore to put the crown on my holidays!