bunnyfish adventures


a story of sinterklaas
November 25, 2008, 1:36 am
Filed under: Dutch culture | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I first heard about Sinterklaas from Marlous and Jur when I went to Amsterdam (in the early ages of this blog!).  In a nutshell, here’s how it goes:

Sintaklaas sails into various ports in the Netherlands on a steamboat from Spain in November.  The actual holiday is celebrated December 5th, but it takes Sintaklaas time to visit all the cities, so there are various festivals for his arrival beforehand, like the one I saw on Saturday.

intocht sinterklaas
slideshow

He has helpers called “Black Pete” (Zwarte Piet) who were originally devils, thus the dark skin.  They are the ones that go around delivering presents to the good children, since Sinterklaas can’t do it alone.  (Man, that Dutch rationality.)  Shoes are laid out so that presents can be left in there as well.  And then the bad kids are taken away by the zwarte pieten to Spain to work for Sinterklaas.

The grown-ups exchange gifts that have poems written by the sender that are intended to rip you a new one in the name of good fun.

There are various treats around this time, including gingerbread-ish anise-ish mini-cookies (kruidnoten and pepernoten) and biscuits (speculaas), giant chocolate letters for the first letter of your name, and marzipan figurines.

And here are some variations from the above that I’ve heard or read:

  • The bad children are thrown in Zwarte Piet’s sack (that otherwise carries presents) and are taken back to Spain.
  • The bad children are thrown in Zwarte Piet’s sack and beaten. (Jeroen, Belgium)
  • To make Black Petes more racially palatable, the story of their skin color was changed to their being dirty from coming down the chimney.  But why wouldn’t the clothing also be dirty?  (Insert laundry detergent ad here.)
  • To make Black Petes even more racially palatable, they tried to have multi-colored Petes one year, like Fruit Loops.  It was so successful that they changed it back to all-black the following year.  (Wikipedia)

But to end on a good note, I’ll mention Sverre’s childhood experience with the Norwegian version of Santa.  Basically his parents had an agreement with the neighbors to take turns getting dressed as Santa and going to each other’s doors to deliver presents to the kids.  This way, you really wonder when Santa comes to the door and both your parents are inside of the house.  And his sleigh and reindeer are parked at the way end of the street, out of sight, because he can’t bring them everywhere.

To this day, he still doesn’t know which neighbors came to his door.  (Or were they neighbors after all?)



unproductive productivity
November 24, 2008, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Delft, design, mini-adventures, school | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I came home last night after watching Cloverfield and went on a cleaning/organizing spree that started with the dishes, then proceeded to the kitchen, and ended with my staying up all night going through all my finances since I got here.  The picture below is just a few receipts from my frequent grocery runs to C1000, one of the three supermarkets in my area.

finances

I also realized that I could also keep track of the cashiers’ names and started a tally of who has served me the most.  (Hallo Seborah.)  Cindy and Jeanne are tied for second.  I started trying to diversify my cashier when I was going there more than three times a week.

And now I can also start keeping rough track of how much I’m spending on what.  Unfortunately I am missing some relevant information, so to reconcile my cash expenses I have a slush expense called “boozin’,” because in the absolute worst case scenario I would have spent all the rest on going out.  (Slightly unrealistic, but seeing it in my statement will be a nice reminder.)

norman 2008.11.20 - 12
slideshow

DA dinner 2008.11.19 - 08
slideshow

I also caved and paid for a flickr account so I can show more pictures in a pretty fashion that isn’t facebook-dependent.  Like watching a baby learn to walk, maybe you’ll see some more sophisticated photo management out of me in the future.

I uploaded other photos from the Donald Norman excursion (it was held in the Design Huis of Eindhoven, so there were some exhibits to see), and I also put up pictures from my Domestic Appliances inspirational dinner last Wednesday after a product imaging workshop with Philips.

At this phase of the class, we are developing individual concepts based on the research we did as a group in the first quarter.  To test out and learn more about some of our concepts, my group held a long-due inspirational dinner.  Ivo (glasses) is making a tofu squeezer and marinater, Elliot (plaid shirt) is interested in making steaming more accessible, and Suyanto (last guy) is interested in increasing nutritional knowledge and balanced eating.  We kind of failed to steam anything, but we did make tofu, sushi, noodles, green beans, and ice cream with fruit chunks and pineapple glaze.



Sungyon came to visit!
October 31, 2008, 1:27 am
Filed under: mini-adventures | Tags: , , , , , , ,
sungyon 2008.10.23-25 - 044

sungyon 2008.10.23-25 – 044

We went to Dutch Design Week (yes, part 2 for me) and also to Amsterdam for Sungyon’s birthday. (Many thanks to Marlous for letting us crash at her place.)

Design Week was less interesting this time than I thought it would be. I may have needed to know more about the things that were there, but it wasn’t as inspiring as I had hoped… There are some photos up on Flickr anyway. Speaking of which, it only shows 200 of my photos at a time, so until I get suckered into paying, seeing some of my older photos may not work.

And since I think my most loyal reader of my blog is Mom (hi Mom!), I’m linking to the slideshow so it’ll be easier for her to look at everything.