Monthly Archives: April 2006

Report on Queen’s Nacht (Videoblogging in A’dam #3)

The Friday before Queen’s Day 2006 and 3rdarm is out in the streetz of A’dam, next to a carnival bouquet of electric rides & lights, giving the low down on how Dutchies get down on the night before Queen’s Day. Obviously, they’re chillin’ & wildin’ out! Check it.

Click here to download and watch Queen’s Nacht Report.

On the Topic of the Dutch Streetz (Videoblogging in Amsterdam #2)

This one has me relaxed on the couch in my sister’s apartment, discussing whats been happening with me in the city so far. Behind me are two giant picture windows that look out over Haarlem or whatever the neighborhood outside is called. The view is from three stories up, and the video features me telling at least three stories of strange things happening in Dutchland.

Download and watch Video #2 of my journey through the land of the Dutch.

Notice how its still light out, yet the time the video was taken was mebbe 9:30 PM! Its freaky like Alaska over here, for real. Beware the Northern Lights, they tell me.

@ the Reefer Coffeeshop (Videoblogging in Amsterdam #1)

*Click this link to download and watch video of me lighting up my first LEGAL Dutch spliff! :-)*

Yesterday my sister and I went out on bikes to do some shopping. Per my request, we stopped at a coffeeshop beforehand, one named Reefer Coffeeshop. I bought a massive spliff and a Diet Coke. We had to leave about 5 minutes after I lit it up because my sister’s eyes were getting red and dried. Then we ventured out into an open air market with various stalls, some professional selling new, some household selling used.

High as a kite I spent about fifteen minutes looking through badly worn, dirty sneakers. There was some kind of massive howling noise made routinely in the background… It was just bizarre at the bazaar, you feel me? Eventually I ended up buying a Joe Cocker album, “With a Little Help from My Friends” for 2 euro. The other albums (Loggins & Messina, Kenny Loggins, etcetera) were all priced at 10-20 euro but for some reason this psychedelic gem was only 2. “That’s 2 euro!” said the big fat man selling his records.

Perhaps to the sensitive Dutch ear the scratchy voice of Joe Cocker is simply a mismatch, or worse, offensive. I mean, Joe Cocker is kind of what Dick Cheney would sound like, if the Vice sang Beatles songs. Anyway, after the open air market my sister and I went on to a health and body store, where she insisted that I try some aloe for my hands, which I admit were dry. But this set up the nightmare situation of riding through the downtown areas holding a record on the handlebars of the bike with greased up hands. Did I mention the spliff already?

But anyways it was a good time. My sister was offended when I got talking to this tailor woman about my teeth being yellow, anarchist politics, European pigfarming versus American pigfarming, etcetera, because she thought it was all “high talk”. Just because its legal here doesn’t necessarily make it socially acceptable all the time, I guess is the lesson.
*Click this link to download and watch video of me lighting up my first LEGAL Dutch spliff! :-)*

My Sister Lives in Haarlem, Amsterdam

This is the kitchen/living room/entire apartment. Very nice, on the X floor.

TD in Dutchland (Bird Flu Free in a Yorp Town)

I am now officially landed and bird flu free on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.  Having just completed a low-earth-orbit continental hop, I am feeling very happy to be on the West Coast of Europe in Amsterdam, a city sunken down below the top-skin level of the sea.  The change in location over takes me, but what really brings a smile to my face is the “bird flu free” part… Last time I came over here I was stricken with a 103(F) temperature and a (1) collapsed lung.

Whats happened so far is that I did the routine on the flight exactly as I’d practiced it.  Never did I let my filth & flu – ridden fingers wander up into any cavities or mucus membranes to deliver the killer touch.  I strictly kept my hands away from my eyes, mouth, nose and anus.  “Haha,” is what I would type if I wasn’t so serious.  In the cabin of an international airliner you can be exposed to all different types of baby-spread diseases.

The medicine that I carried were Airborne which is a kind of holistic mass-people anti-germ tablet that fizzles in water, and Purell hand lotion which I used as repeatedly as if I had the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Which I don’t.  Well, okay I guess I have a pretty serious case of O.C.D. but when you work for a month or two to make money to take a trip to Europe and then you pick something up on the plane that effectively ends your trip…

I came not to play, this man right here was serious.  And guess what happen, I didn’t get sick.  I showed up on the West Coast of Yorp with the entire fun factory packed in my laptop carry-on bag, including the new Exilim camera that I bought with a 2GB memory card, effectively a video camera.  My plan with the tech is to start video-blogging while I am over on these shores.  My sister will act as camerawoman/paparazzi.

The UPS tried to deny my adventures in Dutch videoblogging but I ruthlessly played their game to win and did.  After several unsuccessful delivery attempts (in part unsuccessfuly because the UPS comes to my house in Cambridge late in the evening), I called them and told to hold the package at the Customer Center in Somerville.  They held, but when I arrived to pick up told me that the hours were a mere 8:30 to 10:30 in the morn, 4:30 to 7:30 in the eve.

A UPS security guard woman gave me the bad news at approx 2:15 on the afternoon that I was supposed to fly out to A’dam.  Plane leaving at 7:15.  I pleaded, begged, offered additional money, and offered up the info that I’d used to work for UPS, in Chicago.  Anything to pick up my new videocamera package early.  No dice.  The security guard woman was sympathetic but the homeys up in the office weren’t having it.  “Computer’s down ’till 4:30,” told.

In the parking lot I bugged out on anger but that settled like an omelette into resolve.  I went home packed pulled on my running shoes.  After packed my bags I headed back to UPS at 3:50 and stood outside the door for forty minutes.  At 4:30 there were at least ten others waiting with me, but I was on top of the entrance and when the door was unlocked I was right up at the Pick-Up window.  First in line, first out the door, first rule of line-ownage:  be feared & loved.

I got my new Casio camera home out the box and into my laptop and caught a taxi to the airport, safe on time.  From this point on I will be using this high-powered new digital camera with a 2GB brain and orange shell to photograph myself on a strange land under stranger cycles of the sun.

Chinese Prez Has Heads (of State) Nodding

Vice President Dick Cheney says he was looking at his notes, not sleeping, during a briefing by President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao in Hu's first Oval Office visitSo I’m sitting up on the sofa-bed of my aunt’s living room reading online newspapers because I am going to Yorp tomorrow and I want to be well-informed in the East Coast tradition when I arrive, and I am feeling like I’m having a heart attack (perhaps from bad posture?) This is actually indigestion, to my relief, because of a giant massive whole onion I ate tonight with dinner. My aunt cooked up pasta with green peppers & sausage…

But the feeling in my chest cavity resonates with my mind down to a deeper level because of what I’m reading (and seeing) reported in the Washington Post. Evidently, when Chinese President Hu gave a speech both Dick Cheney (the heart-attack man) and Condoleeza Rice, who may be anointed the New Vice, both nodded off. Dick Cheney looks to be in deep sleep of the peaceful kind. No green pepper onion sausage pasta indigestion.

Either Hu was a less-than-charismatic speaker or he was speaking to a very drowsy crowd. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice looks a little sleepy hereIf Condoleeze is made the new Vice President I am wondering if she already knows… that would explain her parallel behavior to Cheney. She is practicing mimicking him, so that when the time comes she can step into the mold of the Great Man. I champion Cheney because of his stoic rumbling true voice. That he chose to sleep during the Chinese Prez’s speech shows considerable diplomatic pragmatism. He will read the notes when he wakes up, but what this shows China is that as a nation we are calm vis-a-vis their exploding economy. Calm to the point of napping.

Other interesting things were happening in the world of cable news tonight in America. For example, I learned on PBS that Ben Harper is a black man. In fact, not only is he a black man but in addition he is the identical twin of Kanye West. Ben Harper listed all the instruments he could play, and I was impressed. Puzzled over what kind of instrument are “vibes”, but sure that smoking marijuana helps learning to play them.

On the Colbert Report it was said that woman balls are called “thatchers.” Jon Stewart coined “Humscalade” and “Fuck the Earth Day”…

After I turned off the TV I turned on the computer and read a response to a comment regarding worms in seafood that I’d posted on Frank Bruni’s blog Diner’s Journal. What follows is the original query I posted and its informative response:

If someone could explain shrimp-parasites it would be helpful. As a handler of raw & cooked seafood, I like to be aware of things such as worms that live inside the fishy flesh of warm-water sword. I thank Mr. Bruni and especially the Comment community for the wisdom.

Comment by 3rdarm — April 19, 2006 @ 10:19

Almost every living creature, including humans, contain parasites. The level in which they (parasites) co-exists with their host varies, depending upon their habitat (cold/warm water). We can consume large amounts of seafood that have high levels of parasites without any ill effects. It is the bacteria that grows from incorrect handling that makes people sick (i.e. not kept at a temperature below 40 degrees, serving too many days after catch and processing, unclean preparation). To deal with these bacterial growth issues most restaurants comply with HAACP standards and go further by preparing seafood in acidic marinades, which can kill the bacteria (i.e. ceviche).

the further away you live from coastal areas have higher probability of having these kinds of issues, but with technologies these days, it’s rarely an issue.

a note about parasitic fish: you’ll find most slow, sedentary fish are more susceptible to parasites. The wors… Monkfish and Swordfish. Just get them cooked through if it bothers you.

Comment by foodscientist — April 20, 2006 @ 6:49

Rub Me Down With Chum & Feed Me Scat (This Skittles Grabbin’ Beard is Freaking Me Out)

Yo, I don’t know whats up with advertisers, but recently I have been getting very creeped out by whats been playing on TV. I mean you have this whole herd of advertisers who are all clamoring to cash in on the ‘young man demographic’ and the cash-ins are manifesting in bizarre, rude, disturbing forms. There’s a sticker on my Mitchum deodorant that says ‘If you read the Sports Page first, you’re a Mitchum Man’, for example…

I read the Op-Ed pages first. Mitchum Man? Not so much. I was primarily attracted to their brand deodorant because Walgreens was offering Buy-One-Get-One-Free not to their advertising on the product or billboards on the T etcetera. Actually, I do like how the brandname has the word ‘chum’ embedded in it, makes me think of feeding sharks. But thats the kind of subconscious musing that has only risen to the surface after I brought the packages home.

chum2 ( P ) Pronunciation Key (chm)

Bait usually consisting of oily fish ground up and scattered on the water.

Wendy’s has been advertising something called the “Frescata” which is a deli sandwich from an “old-fashioned hamburger” vendor… Wendy & Dave Thomas must be rolling about, six feet under. But then again, the product has an appeal for me because the name contains the word, “Scat”, and there’s no other sandwich vendor that’s going to package up some “scat” and sell it between two pieces of white bread.

“Do deli so fresh, fast and convenient it’ll make your head spin…” Begins the marketing. Are you sure its not all that scat you’re feeding me thats spinning my gourd like a b-ball on the finger of a Globetrotter? “Its good deli when you do what tastes right.” Scat tastes about right to me. Ying Yang & Bubba Sparxxx agree, “Get it ripe, get it right, get it tight.”

scat3 ( P ) Pronunciation Key (skt)

Excrement, especially of an animal; dung.”Do deli so fresh, fast and convenient it’ll make your head spin… Frescata”

Okay on TV the commercial that bugs me the most is this damn Skittles commercial where a man has a beard that keeps grabbing at Skittles and its just like a long hairy appendage growing off his damn face. Maybe I’m just upset that I can only grow sporadic facial hair myself. With my patchy facial hair I’ll never be a Mitchum man, nor will I soon be able to reach across the table with my beard and pick up Skittles and put them in my mouth… with my beard.

Put Down the Coffee, Son

Van I camera-phoned on drive back from Ricky's FlowersThis morning I awoke early and was put under assault from the get-go. First I had to maneuver my way past the cat, in heat, the cat in heat. Cats in heat are like the possessed girl Reagan from ‘The Exorcist’, the Director’s Cut, when she crab-walks down the stairs. Cats in heat are the devil, so I had to hot-step around the flames, lace up my sneakers and I was out in the neighborhood by 8AM…

You might be wondering why on Earth I woke up so early. Was it the ring ring ring of the alarm clocks I collect? It was not. The source of my early morning consciousness was the massive, growling Public Works garbage truck at 7:30AM. Three stories up the noise of its beast-belly digesting the whole neighborhood’s trashbags, its tongue lapping up fresh barrels, its crew swearing and calling back-and-forth. An open window is therefore better than an alarm, amen.

Its not just happen-stance that I got the garbage truck wake-up treatment. Also, I wanted to wake up because it is my roommate Ari’s birthday today, and last night at my friend’s house I decided that I wanted to be waking up early to be buying some flowers etcetera. So with my sneakers laced up I jumped into my white whip and steered the wheels down Prospect St. to the Dunkin Donuts in Union Square, Somerville.

I parked in the parking lot and sat in the sunshine. My eyes were threatening to glue up shut. What I bought to treat them was a Large Regular Hot Coffee. I bought it & brought it back to my car, turned jazz on the radio, lit a cigarette and called up my aunt. The floral expert. “Did I wake you up?” was my first innocent question, while my aunt sputtered morning dust on her end of the line.

Having just woken up and everything of course she had to go pee, but before getting off the phone I got the names of several flowers/ plants/ indoor/ outdoor hardy ones. Because of erratic roommates scheduling, the plant(s) I wanted to get for Ari had to be hardy. Sure wasn’t going to be buying laurels, I had my mind set on hardy, nahmean?

Feeling confident that my eyes would stay open, with about a fifth of my Large Regular Hot Coffee in my stomach, I got out the car, shook my limbs to limber them. I prepared to cross Prospect St. to get to Ricky’s, the outdoor floral market in Union Sq. With my crustified eyes I watched the blinking traffic lights to tell me when to go. And then I crossed the street.

Ricky’s is a super-duper flower depot. The location is like an old gas station covered in potted growth, over-growth, maybe, fenced, shade, greenhouses, mad petal scents in the wind. I entered the gate and swayed through aisles of greenery carrying my Large Regular, looking for the man. The mans was way on the other side astride a delivery truck, holding a clipboard. His eyes were the color of dead-green that might mean he drank eighteen beers to his dome the night before…

And every night before that as well, perhaps. The Man with the clipboard, who may or may not have been Ricky, was one sassy Bostonian. In the R-less accent he told me, “Have a look around, take you time, I gotta count these things.” Like a drunken sailor I wandered around the plants sipping my Large Coffee. For about 10 minutes. I’m East Coast, too, and I don’t ‘take my time’ shopping, not so much. I go out and buy & carry home in under an hour. Thats how we do.

So the mans, being pure Bostonian, must have known this, especially because I started to follow him & the clipboard around. When I followed him into a section where they keep the over-stock, he snapped. “Who are you buying for? What’s your vision?” Using plant names I had procured on the phone with my aunt, I told him my plans. “No way. No f’en way.” Okay, what about this plant? I pointed to a beautiful yellow tree.

“Do you own a house?” he asked me, incredulous. “You have to plant that in the ground.” I told him I was a renter. Its a renter’s market, anyway. “No, no, no,” he told me, “Just get this and that.” He pointed to two different flower baskets, one hanging one sitting. How about a bowl of pansies to sit out on the deck in the sun? “Absolutely,” he told me briskly. “That’s absolutely the right thing to do. Jose! Go get the cash register!”

While the Latino/minority went to fetch the register, the Clipboard Man told me to pick out which bowl of pansies. Do they all have the same flowers? “No!” he scowled, “What you see is what you get. You like yellow you get yellow. Same for purple.” I went to lift up the bowl I’d chosen, cradling my coffee in my elbow. “Hey!” the improper Bostonian hollered.

“I am going to give you a little Life Advice,” he told me. “When you get a coffee, drink it down. Don’t be one of those people carrying the coffee all around. Drink it, be down with it, and move on with life. Drink the coffee and go out into the world for the next thing. Go out and smell, see, touch & hear the world. Put down the coffee, son!”

I sputtered my response & defense… the coffee was hot, my tongue was still dry from sleep, it was so early. “Just drink the coffee and move on with your life he told me.” So I finished my coffee right quick while Jose brought out the register. Paid for my pansies and moved on… Happy birthday Ari! We’ll be out on the deck with the flowers chilling tomorrow.

On the way home I was laughing outloud in the car thinking about the mans coffee rules & Life Advice & his insistence. Thats why I love the East Coast… we’re fast, ruthless, honest & on point. Get the coffee in your stomach and get your shoes on your feet, lets go. Driving home I got behind this van with Santa stuck on the spare-tire, I took a pic with my phonecam… horn solo!