Liou's quiet little life...or is it?

Monday, January 31, 2005

Great techno classics!

Some great techno classics mp3s on a amateurish, student website about the history of this electronic genre.

Check out these:

Make fair trade

A great photography stunt, for a good cause, what a good combination! I just saw this and decided to post this immediately.

Make Fair Trade is about protesting against the rich countries selling their surplus ('dumping') products at extreme low prices in developing countries. The consequence is that the native farmers are outpriced and don't get any benefits. So go the site and sign the petition!

I already have seen some postcards at the Vrije Universiteit, but now I understand what it's all about. Photographies of celebrities which get all kind of agrarian products dumped on them. Check out the stunning pictures of Michael Stipe (REM), Chris Martin (Coldplay) and Jamelia, for example.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Chemical Bros.

I forgot to tell you about it, but last week me and my housemates were watching MTV and saw an ad for the new album of the Chemical Brothers - Galvanize. The night before we heard the single with the same title in a club, and we were really enthousiastic about it. So when at the end of this ad we heard there would be a concert in Amsterdam (in the Heineken Music Hall), we all shouted more or less synchronized "let's buy the tickets!". And that's exactly what we did 1 hour later. So I'll be going there the 24th of february with Eva, Arturo and my friend Daan, who is completely into electronic music ("if there's singing in it, I don't like it").

We heard the new single the day before in a club called Club 11. It is located on the 12th floor of a former post building (the 1st floor is not the ground floor, so that explains the number 11), and offers an excellent nightly view of the centre of Amsterdam while dancing. Too bad the music s*cked most of the time, consisting of electronic beats without any imagination. And the superficial, fashion level was a bit too high for me.

Well, I'll make this a short one. I still need to burn some tracks for Daan, who is celebrating his birthday today. Oh yeah, still no news of the university (big surprise!).

Monday, January 24, 2005

Still no answer...

I just encountered the professors of the examen board of my faculty. Just as me, they are still waiting for a reaction from the directing board. I am really wondering what is happening here? Maybe they are thinking a bit better about the decision to make, since the article got in the uni paper. But still, they assured me of the contrary last Friday.

At the beginning of the afternoon it started snowing. What a delightful sight! Not really when you are cycling through it, but definitely when you are in your warm office.

Some interesting link about a dutch artist making moving arts of works, based on animals (video).

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Still no letter

I am still waiting for the letter with the decision from the public hearing (see previous posts). Either it will arrive on Monday or they just sent it to my old address in Uilenstede. Needless to say, I really can't wait to read it, especially with all the build-up.

Just a small link to the site of my teacher of photography, Rogier Alleblas. Some really interesting pictures, originally black and white but retouched with oil paint.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


I mailed the directing board and fortunately they understand the situation with the article (see the last post). So normally it should not affect their decision! Few, that is a relief! Well, I should get the letter tomorrow, it's getting more and more exciting.

A small link to a nice photo-web site: a Stern-photographer making pictures throughout Asia. Well, this might be what I should expect if I go and work in Japan :O

Ooooops! Bad timing, bad publicity

This morning I arrived at the university, and as usual went to get some tea at the staff room before starting to work . After contact with a reporter from the newspaper of my university, I expected some little news item about my problems with my diploma (see recent posts). I was completely surprised, mostly in a bad way, to see this story on the front page! It is nice to get in the publicity, but not when this can affect a legal decision!!!

Not a smart idea to get in contact with this paper (Ad Valvas), especially not with this timing. I did think of it yesterday and wrote an email right after my conversation with the reporter, to ask if they could wait until after Friday. She replied that the article was already written, edited and included in the newspaper, and that it was pretty dry ("sec") and objective. Well the title says "This is not my diploma!"!!! This doesn't sound objective to me, but more sensationalistic!!!

But most importantly, I am afraid this might affect the judgment of the board of directors with regard to my complaint. I have written them an e-mail where I explain the situation and more or less apologize. I have also sent an e-mail to Ad Valvas, where I state that I am not happy with the article and that I hope it doesn't affect the board's decision in a bad way.

Well, on the bright side, this makes things a bit more exciting. I had pretty good hopes before, but now the outcoming decision is not so clear anymore. But my main thought is "sh***t, I hope this doesn't screw things up"

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Transcultural Communication Seminar

I intended to write about the seminar yesterday, as you can see in the title of the last post. But I was probably too tired writing about the hearing :)

Yesterday I went to a transcultural communication seminar. And part of it was indeed as 'socio-abstract' as the title suggests. But fortunately I received some good tips, which for example made me reconsider my work in Spain. This seminar was organized by AIESEC, the organization through which I hope to find an internship in Japan. Part of this exchange is to follow this seminar to be better prepared when working in a foreign country.

We had a presentation of two employees of the Department of Economic Affairs (economische zaken), which hosted and sponsored the seminar. This was mainly to get interest from potential future employees amongst the students. Then came a anthropologist who taught us about key differences between types of culture. This started out with vague concepts as masculinity, power distance and avoidance of uncertainty. Fortunately, at the end of the training this was used for more concrete tips.

For example, I remembered I only had one or two conceptual discussions about my project with my boss in Spain. He left me free in my work most of the time, as he was quite busy. But now I think I confronted him too much with my critic, a typical Dutch thing. So it's better to use more indirect mechanisms (suggestions, a middle person, etc.) or otherwise the person might not know how to react or stop the cooperation.

Besides that I talked with other (graduated) students. Apparently India offers the widest number of internships and therefore seems to be booming. Few people had such a distinct goal as I do (Japan), but were happy to go anywhere in the world. That is definitely adventurous, although I would like to consider the internship subjet as well...

Next Friday is my first meeting with my AIESEC contact person, so after that I should know where to start.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Hearing and seminar

In my last post I wrote I would go to a public hearing last Friday. I was a bit nervous, especially since I had no idea what to expect. But it all went very well! First I met up with Babet, my 'counselor'. As a law student she gave me some tips and I asked her to come along, so I would have some support. We were a tiny bit too late, as we had some trouble finding the small meeting room. It was filled with about 10 people, and we occupied the two remaining seats. There were two people from my faculty, against whom I have made the complaint about my Italian courses not being included in the diploma.

The board let me talk and then the faculty representatives. I repeated the arguments I already explained in my letters, and added two more: that it was not correct to let me know about the decision only 3 minutes beforehand, and that I had all the rights that I got until then to expect the Italian courses to be included. The faculty members replied by agreeing, which I already expected. Then the hearing turned into a bureaucratic discussion about which rules they followed. All in all, the board was positive about my complaint, and I will get their decision next Friday.

So, cross my fingers, I hope the decision will be (very) favorable for me, and I will be very glad to have made this complaint. It seems that you can actually have influence on the rules of the university!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Tomorrow court day!

I haven't written about this yet, but some of you might know that I was not completely happy with my diploma. To be more specific, the fact that the courses I followed in Italy do not appear on my list of achieved courses. This is due to some stupid commission (Schutte) who was founded when the government found out (hbo) universities were making up fake foreign students to get more money from the state. This commission also did an inspection at my faculty and this resulted in the decision of not putting any foreign courses anymore on the diploma.

This is really unheard of, since the courses that should substitute my courses do not correspond at all regarding the content. And the excellent notes I got are also not present on the paper. So I made an official complaint to the directing board of my university. And this resulted in a public hearing tomorrow where I will have to explain my arguments. I was too late with the complaint, so I'll have to have a good reason for it, which I have. The decision to substitute the courses was told to me only 5 minutes before the actual diploma ceremony, and then I went on holiday for three weeks. By the time I found out about the complaint procedure, I was already too late. But we'll see.

I am not nervous at all, but no big things are at stake here. I hope I can get some kind of certificate that I did those courses, but I already have from the university in Italy (Siena). But it would be nice to see those high grades on my actual diploma...

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Why blogging?

Some friends have asked me why I should put up a weblog? They are absolutely to ask this. I have seen a lot of totally unnecessary weblog that possess no added value whatsoever. My reason for creating one is to keep my friends informed of what I do. And this is especially relevant, since a lot of them don't live in the Netherlands. This way they can keep up with my life in an easy way. [even if from the site statistics I haven't seen too many foreign siteviews!]

I found it very useful during my stay in Spain. People I met after returning home knew a great deal more about what I did, compared for example to my stay in Italy. So now, it might be slightly less relevant, but I still hope people find this interesting to read of course!

Monday, January 10, 2005

My first lecture ever!

This morning I had the pleasure of teaching 90 students something about web design! I still have mixed feelings about this first lesson. All things considered, I did pretty well. I wasn't nervous, had no problem talking clearly and went quite smoothly through the material. But it was still a bit too dull, I guess. Maarten already warned me for talking in a monotone way and standing too much still. Raul (one of my friends and also student-assistent for this course) actually said the same thing. But I guess it's really difficult delivering the content right and interestingly at the same time! Practice should improve this, and I should really work on this. But, not bad for a first time, come on!

After the lecture, I was completely drained! I haven't felt like this for a long time. It's like the void after a tremendous effort, such as after sport or a funeral. I just ate a chocolate bar and did nothing for about 20 minutes. After this I started recovering and had a talk with my student-assistents.

I still have to do some work, but feel pretty relaxed now. Tomorrow is the next lecture, so I'll have to prepare that one as well!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Other info

Before I got the job as an university teacher, I agreed upon making a website for a couple of psychologists in Leiden. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do as much work as I wanted on that level. Now I'll really have to deliver some results. Which is not that bad, as I am teaching web design now. Some practical experience is always handy, although doing the two things at the same time is not so wise.

Recent developments

Here follows a small summary of the most important and recent developments in my life.

First of all, I am working full-time until February. The professor who was supervising my Master thesis (Gerrit van der Veer) offered me a job as an university teacher! Of course I accepted as I had absolutely no other prospects at the time. On Monday I will give my first lectures, so I am getting quite nervous now! Especially since I still need to work on the slides and organise all kind of stuff. Until now about 95 students signed up, which is quite a big amount of spectators :0 But I am really happy with this, as it is a great opportunity to learn how to teach and to build (cv) experience.

So, what to do when this job is over ? As some of you already might know, I would really like to go and work in Japan. This plan seems to be more concrete, as I was selected by AIESEC. This is an international student organization, which offers internships throughout the world. When I went at one of their presentations, I was thinking of doing some voluntary work in South-America. I explained that I couldn't find any jobs in Japan, and that this might be a welcome intermezzo. And then they told me there were also internships in Japan!! It is not sure I will get one, since every member of AIESEC may compete for the same placement. But I hope my IT background, Japanese origins and passport and other skills will work in my favour. And otherwise I might be off to Chili, Argentinia, Brazil or another South-American country...

Well, gotta get back to work now, so I'll post some more info later on!

My first post

I promised to start a new blog a long, long time ago! Well here it is. I hope I have enough time, with all my current activities. But I think it is a good way to share a bit of my life with my friends in different parts of the world. And it saves me writing email *hehe*. Not that I will stop writing them now!