Odd jobs – #2

After leaving the health insurance company where I worked during my years as a university student I had a hard time finding something in my field. Or no, let’s be honest, I just gave up on my childhood dream of working in the field of development aid… Or I made peace with the fact that the economy was shitty and this field was one of the first things to disappear off of every country’s list of priorities. Completely understandable too… And the fact that NGO’s were no longer hiring westerners to set up projects but working with local people was only a good thing. In a way it is exactly what these projects usually have as a final goal anyway, right?

Anyhow, I am straying completely off track. My point is that somehow, I ended up working at a local car dealership. First for three months, covering for someone on maternity leave but in the end I stayed there for nearly two years. It was simple administrative work, a lot of excel sheet magic and a daily routine that was surprisingly enjoyable. The work atmosphere was very different from the health insurance company I worked before and again, I learned all sorts of new things about myself, about people and about (work)life.

Which lessons, I hear you say? Well to name a few:

  • I enjoy being part of a predominantly male workforce
  • MS Excel is a blessing and a curse,depending on the time of day and task at hand
  • I am actually no good with numbers
  • A dirty mind can be a great asset, in the right context
  • I do not enjoy having to look “presentable” every day
  • Everything they say about car salesmen is true
  • They can be nice guys, nonetheless (just never trust them 😛 )
  • Guys gossip just as much as girls do
  • Cars are serious business
  • Volkswagen drivers and Audi drivers come from completely different planets and can be recognized from a mile away
  • Audi Q-series are cool rides, but I am too small to feel completely comfortable driving one
  • Men are better at parking on average, I’m not even going to deny it
  • There are always exceptions
  • I can drive any car
  • Audi A1 (in Shiraz red) is my dream car
  • A VW Polo would make me very happy as well…

I could have worked there for many more years and would have had a better income than I do now, but at the end of the day I just got fed up with working in such a materialistic environment. I realized that I was getting way too comfortable doing uninspiring work. I decided to quit and travel for a while, and I’m still so happy I did!

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The R is back

August, where did you go?? I wrote you a promise and I must confess I did not fully deliver.

I promised you 31 blogs, 31 pieces of fruit, 5 jogs and one bucketlist item. I pretty much failed at ticking every single box. The final score is:

  • 26 blogs
  • no clue, didn’t keep track of the fruit but I’d say I did eat more than usual but definitely not every day.
  • I did go to the gym every week but did not go out for a run every week. I think it was three times this month and once went to work by bike.
  • I added three items to my bucketlist, CHECK!

Now, fun as it was, I will definitely not keep on trying to squeeze my brain like an orange for inspiration and forcing myself to look at my computer screen on days that I would much rather go to bed early. I did however very much enjoy pushing myself a bit and reading back the results at the end of the week. I saw the view count on my blog go up a bit and did definitely notice that the more you write, the easier it becomes.

Some of the things I posted were definitely easy cop-outs and may not stay online forever, but they still served their purpose.

Now that September has crept up on me with the first autumn rains, I have decided to make some new goals. Definitely not as ambitious as posting a blog a day, but inspiring stuff nonetheless. Between now and August 2016 I will

  • donate my hair to charity
  • learn bee-keeping
  • volunteer at refugee foundation
  • go back to donating blood regularly after my 6 month hiatus due to trip oversees.
  • blog about all the above and more
  • get back into photography and post the results
  • strike some (let’s say at least three?) of the items off my bucketlist

So, I am ready take on this final quarter of 2015 and get some things done. Onwards we go!

Heal the world

Imagine walking through the desert. It’s hot. You’re thirsty. You see something glistening in the sand… Is it water? A mirror? Is it your imagination playing tricks on you? No, it is actually your lucky day and you’ve just stumbled upon of those super rare genie bearing lamps! What were you doing out here in the desert anyhow and why are these things always found in the middle of nowhere? Nevermind… Quick quick, rub it and see how many wishes you’ve been granted….

POOF! A genie! But not just any genie… This one went to University! That’s Dr. Genie for you! And you get ONE wish. A very specific one too, it’s all in the small lettering at the bottom of the page, I assure you… The bill will be sent to you in a couple of weeks. Now please sign here…

The instructions: You may name any disease or ailment, physical or psychological and the world will be rid of it.

Such a precious wish. But it’s just the one, so you must choose wisely!

There are so many diseases cutting valuable lives short. So many wonderful people being taken from their loved ones. Sure, some of them are probably ass holes but they still didn’t deserve to die like that, right? According to this list the top ten deadliest diseases are:

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Still, I would not name any of these diseases to be annihilated because I am one of those horrible beings that believes people need to die at some point. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy losing people, I cry at funerals and hope those I love live as long and prosperly as possible. My dad has (had) at least three of the ailments from that top ten list and I’m glad they didn’t kill him (yet).

Making these diseases disappear will decrease mortality rates and only increase the world’s population. Sure, It will prevent some individual’s personal losses and hypothetical traumas. They will not thank me though. They will not value the no-longer-dying person more, nor will they make the most of the time they have just won. They probably never even knew their time was running short. And even if they did, you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone anyway. They might never value life like they would have if they’d had lost their mother, brother, father or child to that mortal disease.

Now that all of you think I am a horrible person I could go on and say that I wish to rid the world of hatred, or I could go full blown hypocrite and say that I will eradicate cynicism but I’m not here to troll.

The ailment that I wish to wipe out is depression. I’m sure some will say this doesn’t qualify as a disease, but I disagree. Seeing people I love suffer from depression is the worst thing. I have never been depressed myself and am quite certain I never will be touched by this dark demon but I do see its shadows in my environment every now and then. It’s horrible horrible horrible.

It’s a disease that doesn’t kill you, but makes being alive feel pointless. All the beauty of the world is lost to those suffering from it. No “I love you” ever enters their heart, no matter how often you say it. They still feel worthless and alone, no matter how tight you hug them. I hate that bloody disease and would ask the genie if I could give that wretched black mut of a dog one last kick in the balls before he blasts it off the planet.

Men are funnier than women

Isn’t that just a wonderful thing to say? I have no idea who William James was, or if he had a last name at all, but I like him already… I totally agree! Or not, because I must admit sometimes I lean abit towards the bizar with my sense of humor; the hysterically absurd if you will. Some might prefer to call it retarded or obscene. I don’t care, as long as it makes me chuckle.

Earlier this month I read a blog that touched the subject of humor, something I find extremely important. Being a woman however, I do know that I can’t get away with everything in this respect. This specific blog even went so far as to say that being funny might influence my chance of reproducing (long story short and very much simplified, for the full story do check out the original blog on Evolutionist X)

I must confess I don’t particularly like watching female comedians myself. I’m sure the ladies on stage are extremely funny to be around and great company on a night out, but as comedians they always seem to either try too hard or completely miss the mark. Or both.

Many comedians thrive on jokes at their own expense. So Eddy Murphy and Chris Rock make jokes about black people, Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart make jokes about jews, Tim Minchin and Conan O’Brien make jokes about gingers. They touch taboos, say things we may have thought at some point but didn’t dare say because of its political incorrectness.

So yes, female comedians make jokes about women but for some reason, I just don’t find that amusing for very long. Why not? Is it because all taboos surrounding women have already been busted open? Does nothing women do or say shock us anymore? Are pussy jokes getting old, stale and unoriginal? Or is it because I find many jokeworthy traits women have extremely annoying in real life? I can’t put my finger on it!

SO, are men indeed funnier than woman? Hell no! They just don’t do well on stage, for some reason (all though they are getting better lately). The best jokes are the spontaneous, quick and clever ones in my opinion anyway, so to hell with stand up comedy. Humor is the biggest turn on in the world and I don’t buy for a second that men don’t find that attractive in women.

Sure, I know funny women (especially the sarcastic ones) may be considered “a bit much” by some. I also happen to know some men absolutely hate being verbally outgunned  (which makes it that much more amusing to do, if the right crowd is there to witness it) and some prefer the doe-eyed giggly kind of girl. That’s totally fine, to each their own.

Mission Impossible – Cocoa protocol

choco protocol

Have you every heard of the Harkin-Engel protocol before? It is often referred to as the cocoa protocol. Never heard of it? Me either, even though it involves the world’s favorite snack: chocolate.

This protocol is “an international agreement aimed at ending the worst forms of child labor and forced labor in the production of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate”, according to wikipedia. The two initiators of this agreement were Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Eliot Engel. The protocol was signed in September 2001.

choco childlabour

In 2004 investigative journalist from the Dutch TV program “Keuringsdienst van Waarde” found out that non of the major chocolate producers were complying with the rules formulated in the agreement. As they themselves were regular chocolate consumers, they feared they might be contributing to the problem. One of the journalists, Teun van de Keuken, then ate one more chocolate bar and then turned himself in, confessing he was a knowing accessory to child slavery.

The indictment was not accepted by the court of law after which they appealed to a higher court to reconsider. This drew great media attention to their case and re-opened the discussion about slavery and especially the exploitation of children in the cacao sector. In the end, Teun van de Keuken was not convicted due to lack of evidence.

This was not the end of it though… Teun realized he couldn’t beat them, so decided he should join them instead. So that’s what he did. He started his own brand of chocolate, guaranteed to be slavery-free, and named it Tony’s Chocolonely.

Ofcourse they were sued by other chocolate companies stating they couldn’t guarantee their chocolate was 100% child labor free either. In 2007 a Dutch judge decided in favor of Tony’s Chocolonely and stated they had demonstrated sufficiently they their chocolate was indeed being produced without slavery or child labor playing a role.

And the best part is that Tony’s chocolate bars are really tasty! They started out with only milk and dark varieties but have expanded their selection in recent years, now including:

The classics:

  • melk (milk)
  • puur (dark)
  • melk hazelnoot (milk hazelnut)
  • melk noga (milk nougat)
  • melk caramel zeezout (milk caramel sea salt)

The exclusives:

  • melk coffee crunch (milk coffee crunch)
  • puur meringue kers (dark meringue cherry)
  • puur sinaasappel rozemarijn (dark orange rosemary)

Special editions:

  • melk pecan marshmallow (no translation needed)
  • melk rabarber crumble  (milk rubarb crumble)

The ones that are written in chocolate are the ones I have already tried. My favorite is the one with caramel and sea salt. I actually just opened a bar of milk pecan coco, which is a special edition from a previous month and it’s pretty darn good. Not as coconutty as I would’ve thought, but real nice. And guilt free! 😀

Lyrical confusion

Once again, I am behind on schedule. I have missed out on some blogging deadlines (placed there by nobody other than myself, which made them that much easier to break). My inspiration is running a bit dry so this blog is going to be a pretty simple one.

One of the lists I have been adding items to lately on Wunderlist, is one about songs with confusing lyrics.

For example, the song Boy with a Coin. Beautiful song with a beautiful but totally unrelated (as far as I can tell) video.

I sort of get the first verse, but then he starts changing the iron:wine ratio, it seems and goes full on delirium when he sings:

A girl with a bird she found in the snow
Then flew up her gown and that’s how she knows
If God made her eyes for crying at birth
Then left the ground to circle the earth

I guess the bird is some sort of sexual metaphor? Symbol of her virginity? If so, I would imagine the bird would be flying OUT from under her gown and abandoning her forever, as she apparently becomes pregnant?

Someone who DOES know about contraceptives is Alanis Morisette, or at least that is what I thought the “jagged little pill” she dedicated her album to referred to. Thinking on it a bit harder and listening to the song that these words actually come from, it might actually refer to some sort of hallucinogenic drug, but it’s open to interpretation….

But that’s not the song I wanted to mention here anyway. The lyrical confusion I wanted to share comes from one of my favorite songs by her, which is “Not the doctor”. I won’t post the whole song here, but you can check it out on youtube. The part I have always wondered about goes like this:

Visiting hours are 9 to 5 and if I show up at 10 past 6
Well I already know that you’d find some way to sneak me in and oh
Mind the empty bottle with the holes along the bottom
You see it’s too much to ask for and I am not the doctor

What’s this bottle with holes along the bottom?? Can’t think of any medicine or drug that comes in a bottle with holes along the bottom… I have even asked doctors this question… and if it’s a metaphor, than what does it symbolize?? Anyone?

Another song that always leaves me in this bundle of confusion is this song by Nelly Furtado (but written by Chris Martin, if I remember correctly) is “All good things (come to an end)”. Again, the videoclip is totally unrelated to the lyrics and kind of weird all together, but it kind of fits because:

Dogs were whistling a new tune barking at the new moon
Hoping it would come soon so that they could die

That’s some pretty depressive stuff, don’t you think? So your breakup was so heavy that even the dog wants to kill himself now?? Geesh!

And this isn’t the first time Chris Martin’s lyrics confused me…. All though I have almost all Coldplay records and listened to them fanatically in high school, I always skipped this one weird song: Yellow. I don’t get it!!

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.

OK, nothing weird there. Stars can totally be yellow, right? And they’re shining for me, yeah! But then it gets weird:

I came along,

I wrote a song for you,

And all the things you do,

And it was called “Yellow”.

What did I do? and who or what was called yellow? No comprendo!

So then I took my turn,
Oh what a thing to have done,
And it was all yellow.

Did you drop a can of paint maybe? or did you squish a banana? Did life give you lemons? eggs? corn? sunflowers?

I swam across,
I jumped across for you,
Oh what a thing to do.
‘Cause you were all yellow,

Ok, I get it…… You’re talking about the minions movie now, right?

I drew a line,
I drew a line for you,
Oh what a thing to do,
And it was all yellow.

Did you use a yellow marker to draw the line? Yellow chalk? And why did you draw a line anyhow? Chris be honest…. are you high?

If any one of you out there has any ideas about these lyrics, do enlighten me… And if you know any other confusing songs, do share! 🙂

Doing nothing

This blog is a response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Nothin’ But A Good Time.”, which read:

Imagine that tomorrow, all of your duties and obligations evaporate for the day. You get the day all to yourself, to do anything you please. What types of fun activities would make your day?

This should be easy, but for some reason it’s really hard! Why is that?

  • It’s just one day and many things that I really really want to do require more time than that. Even if the activity itself doesn’t take up so much time, I’d rather do it if I have a day or two extra to recover / prepare.
  • I have many things on my to do list I would like to tick, but they could be considered to be duties and obligations and aren’t particularly “fun”, so they don’t count in this hypothetical situation.
  • There is so much to choose from that I’d almost rather not choose at all.

What I would probably end up doing is nothing, firstly because it is something I actually love doing and secondly because I am actually very good at it. Lastly I think I would do absolutely nothing because I suck at making decisions and I sometimes just freeze up in the face of too many options and end up not choosing at all, which results in well… me doing nothing.