Monthly Archives: June 2011


This was meant to go out yesterday evening (2011-06-22) but what with the stress of moving and having to deal with an aggressive former landlord…

I was bored on the stoptrein earlier this evening so I decided “what the fuck: I’ll go through my mobile contacts and give my British friends the +44 prefix they deserve”.

In its current form, Android’s – or maybe it’s an HTC concoction – dialer application has been designed around one main purpose: calling people. There is a People application on my Desire – again, I don’t know if it’s an HTC application or an Android application – which acts as the phone’s contact manager but I’m only interested in adding +44 to contacts that currently begin with something like 07 or 01. I know these are British numbers because for numbers I put into my phone nowadays, I make sure I add the appropriate dialing code to the beginning. Because I only want to edit certain entries, it makes sense to use the dialer over the contact manager – since the dialer displays an entry’s main phone number in small type under the contact’s name; the People application does not. The dialer does have an ‘edit’ button – or rather a ‘go to contact’ button – but it’s a little small. On occasion, I’ve accidentally started calling someone when all I wanted to do was to go to their contact card. I have to really concentrate to make sure I tap right in the centre of the ‘go to contact’ button without tapping the rest of the entry’s rectangle, which would result in me dialling them (and on a pay-as-you-go phone, an international call is something I want to avoid as much as possible).

I’ve ‘solved’ this problem by enabling Aeroplane Mode: as I said, I’m have a pay-as-you-go account in the Netherlands and mobile internet is costly in such a case – back in the UK where I had unlimited internet with O2, turning on Aeroplane Mode was a different story.

But I’m not writing this to tell you about what I did on the train. I’m wondering …why can’t I have a slightly bigger phone?; why does my phone need to be this small and its screen so narrow I can’t easily push UI elements? And, I know this isn’t going to happen but, in generations-to-come, will we have evolved to have small fingers (or perhaps pointier fingers) to cope with the size of technology?


Fifteen minutes

Commuting by train in the Netherlands is usually no problem. Yesterday, however, Nederlandse Spoorwegen—the state-owned rail operator of the Netherlands—had to delay some of its services. Back in the UK, I wouldn’t even consider writing about delays on the railways: it would be a waste of my time. Everyone[who?] knows the UK suffers from the worst rail delays in Europe[citation needed] and, in my experience at least, encountering delays on the British railway network is anything but unusual. Dutch railways on the other hand: that’s a different story. I wrote the draft of this post on a reasonably-packed (ten people standing in the aisle of a seventy-five-ish-seat-carriage; 113% crowded) intercity naar Enschede; the stoptrein I usually get home from the office was delayed by… well: the announcements said five minutes, but 18:04–17:55 is nine minutes. Anyway, I’m used to a much quieter train—I don’t care for men talking loudly about “the datas [sic] in the clouds”and how “[in] the future, the normal PC will disappear”; people coughing and sneezing on the blue and striped carriage moquette; at least there aren’t any chavs on-board and I haven’t heard a screaming baby sinc– (Out at Hilversum and there’s a shitcake screaming and whaling in a pram on spoor 2.)

Yesterday morning, the stoptrein to Leiden did arrive, fifteen minutes later than scheduled. I arrived at Duivendrecht with perhaps ten minutes to go before work so instead of risking arriving late by walking, I hopped on the Metro—what a foul and disgusting one-stop journey that was. I’ll have to research, but I swear those carriages were from the 70s, complete with an 8-bit ‘hammers’ voice announcer. Then, after running off the train and elbowing everyone London-style, …I fell down a fifteen-step staircase on the way out of the station: where was this sign when I needed it?

I wrote this post over the course of about an hour-and-a-half yesterday evening and, while waiting for a stoptrein south via oo-treɣt oa-fer-veɣht, in front of me was something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to—a DB service to Hannover Hbf, with announcements for its service in no less than three languages. It’s an odd thought see├»ng a train to Germany. I think you need to book a seat reservation in advance, but there’s no glass security fencing like at St Pancras International; no customs or passport control to stress over. It’s an alien idea, this ‘free movement between countries’ thing and that is what I don’t think I’ll get used to.



I’ve been living on my absolute minimum for a while now. It’s tough and it’s starting to affect me. I’m growing noticably weaker; I have quite a large mouth ulcer from (I think) all the cheap processed shit I’m forcing myself to buy. The healthier things – vegetables and needs-to-be-prepared-and-cooked-properly meals – are just too damn expensive, especially over here in the Netherlands. Though interestingly, bread is quite cheap: I haven’t seen one wheat field since I left the UK and still, a cheap loaf of sliced bread goes for sixty cents.

Why am I telling you this, reader? I don’t actually know; it felt appropriate to write an “I’m doing just fine” post on how I’m coping. I’ve just cycled the 30 km back from work, of which the final ten or so km was …it was pissing it down. My Hurricane’s brakes are very loud in the rain and, in weather like that, I gets on your tits more than you can imagine it does. My tent is dry and I’m very thankful it is – next to me is a 600 g jar of chocoladepasta – it was full when I bought it about…twenty-six hours ago and it’s almost all gone now. It’s processed beyond a joke, but fuck is it tasty. I’ve run out of bread so I’m just eating it out of the jar with a teaspoon.

My new job is – like most new jobs – unstructured (though deliberately at first) and my duties have been a little all-over-the-place: not my style of working. I’ve been told today that my manager is interested in getting a video and photography project going but at least I have a goal to aim towards with that one. I’m attending a photoshoot with our main graphic designer in Amsterdam tomorrow; let’s just hope GVB workers don’t vote on strike action overnight.


An apology

I would like to apologise in public to every last one of you; you being Moleskine owners. I didn’t understand your fetishism towards this particular brand of notebook and I am after your invitation into your community of people proud of the notebook they carry.

I’ve been using my run-of-the-mill ruled Moleskine for two-and-a-bit months now and I can say with grace and pride that I love the fucker. It’s become my journal, my place to write notes (but never scribbles), my personal vocabulary, my sketchbook—poor old Gmail misses being sent emails from itself, and my HTC is… well, actually, I’m using the voice recorder just as much as I did.