Saturday, March 30, 2013

Street Smarts: How To Avoid Being A Victim

Part 1 of 3. Street Smarts: How To Avoid Being A Victim w./ Det. J.J. Bittenbinder, was a PBS special aired back in October of 1993 I believe on WHYY for us in Philly. The Det. went through a thorough process of how avoid being victimized in various stages, the last being taking some form of action. At the time I was 11 years old and applied the techniques in this special and hope others will benefit from it also. Hence, why I've uploaded this video. Naturally, there are aspects of it which are outdated, please adapt accordingly; i.e. not putting keys away in pockets/purse until getting out of car and inspecting surroundings. We have smart keys now, this is irrelevant, there's no need to take out the keys at all. This is NOT for purely entertainment value, it is useful.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Risk Taking: Flirting with a Dutch woman, if you must!

So, you want to flirt with that special Dutch woman in the early spring sunshine.

First check that the young lady who is smiling and flashing her baby blue eyes at you, is indeed Dutch.

There are a lot of foreign visitors and residents in Holland and they do most of the smiling.

It is probably safer to go sky-diving in Syria but, OK, let's look at it.

The Dutch don’t have an eloquent romantic language, so you can safely assume they do not like or encourage flattery.

Unlike the French and the Italians, they are not especially well-known for their romantic eloquence. Their language is functional and practical, as are their personalities.

Just think of the Dutch national motto "doe maar gewoon, dan doe je gek genoeg" (just act normal, that’s crazy enough), and you will realise that it doesn’t take a lot of verbal fireworks to impress your average Dutch woman.

The trick is to keep it simple and use as few words as possible to a maximum effect - an idea that might sound quite appealing to new speakers of Dutch. Here are some dos and don’ts to get you on the right track. But be careful what you wish for!

What you should not do...

› Don't confuse leuk and lekker
If you have the vocabulary, it is easy to overdo it with compliments when flirting in Dutch. Still, if you want to give it a go anyway, don’t confuse the two Dutch words for nice, that is: being lekker and leuk.

Lekker applies more to food and sensual experiences. It means something like tasty, yummy, or luscious (yes, including the sensual connotation) and relates to things you "like with your body."

Whereas Leuk is closer to nice, entertaining, or amusing and relates to things you "like with your mind."

Hence, lekker weertje (nice weather) is fine, while leuk weertje (amusing weather) is simply a bit odd.

Your good-looking colleague will be pleased to be introduced as mijn leuke college (my nice colleague), but might frown at mijn lekkere college (my tasty, luscious colleague). It helps not to salivate too much if you do use this phrase.

When in doubt, use leuk - it is better to be funny than to be slapped in the face by your luscious colleague, unless you like that sort of thing.

› Don't go over the top
It is just as easy to go over the top in Dutch flirting as in climbing a Dutch mountain (finding one is tricky): the tops are virtually non-existent and for a foreigner it is easy to overlook them altogether.

When you look for adjectives to describe anything - from an evening out to your friend’s fashionable flip-flops (thongs to the Aussies!) - stick to mooi (pretty), leuk (nice, see last point), or even geinig (funny), and avoid fantastisch (fantastic), geweldig (great) and heerlijk (delicious).

› Other no-go areas
No-go areas include:

  • - appreciative noises (yes, those are common in some circles)
  • - any (explicit, metaphorical, lyrical, etc.) comments on your belle / beau’s appearance
  • - open displays of courtliness, machismo, or sexism (in Dutch eyes, it is quite hard to say where the one concept starts and the other ends, so it’s better to play safe).

What you should do...

› Start a conversation using a diminutive (that's a linguistic term, and not a dwarf!)
In Dutch, diminutives often have nothing to do with the actual size of things.

Hating pomp and flattery, the Dutch like to add "-je" to their words and make them sound smaller, cuter, more intimate and gezellig. The Scotts also like to do this and a lot of this article applies to them to.

You can create instant intimacy and play around with some "-jes" yourself. Try:

  • - a general comment such as lekker weertje (nice weather), lekker zonnetje (nice sunshine), leuk terrasje (nice terrace)
- a rhetorical question such as lekker weertje?, lekker zonnetje?, leuk terrasje?

  • - or an offer biertje?, wijntje?, bitterballetje?

The mother of all diminutive flirting phrases, vuurtje? (fire?) might still work, but like cravats and bow ties, it  has become slightly outdated.

NB: Complimenting a Dutch woman's bicycle will also be a good approach as it is a compliment of a Dutch object, close to but not of the person. See how tricky this is.

It helps if you are a trained psychologist or bomb-disposal expert with a cool mind and steady workman-like hands.

› Play the foreigner card
Say any Dutch sentence you have picked so far - revision of chapter one of your (online) course might help here - look very proud and clearly state that you are practicing your Dutch.

Go for a slightly absurd rather than completely bizarre sentences that have no flirtatious connotation at all, but is nonetheless impressive, such as "Dit is een lange, brede straat," or "Heeft u misschien een bonuskaart?"

The object of your affection will be surprised and pleased by your attempt to speak his or her language and might offer to practice some more Dutch together.

They may also look completely disgusted and turn their back on you. This can also sometimes be a gesture of affection, especially in Dutch marriages.

› Forget our advice and just go for it!
All in all, it is hard to think of an easier and more enjoyable way to start practicing your Dutch than some harmless flirting with a friendly Dutchy (see comment re Dutch mountains) on a sunny terrace - possibly enjoying a small over-priced Heineken, or a lekker non-attributable wijntje.

Forget our advice, "trek de stoute schoenen aan" (literally: put on your naughty shoes) and give it a go!

› Be careful what you wish for!
Yes, you will find it challenging to engage with Dutch women, just be sure you don't become engaged to one because that way leads to monsters!

We wish you all lekkere lentekriebels!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Low-tech: Unloading big truck load of bamboo - YouTube Video

Unloading big truck load of bamboo without the need of labourers or fork lift trucks - Taiwan 2013

Sheephead's chomping choppers - YouTube Video

Sheephead fish caught by guest from Ireland in Terra Ceia Bay, Florida

Elephant Seal Stops Traffic In Brazil City - YouTube Video

Motorists and tourists in a Brazilian city are given a unexpected close-up of one of nature's most impressive animals.

A massive elephant seal, estimated to weigh more than half a tonne, blocked a busy street in a Brazilian city after deciding to go for an impromptu stroll.

The animal stopped traffic for more than an hour in the beach city of Balneario Camboriu in the southern state of Santa Catarina.

The 9.8ft seal waddled out of the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday afternoon and headed up the beach straight for the busy Avenida Atlantica.

Police officers and firefighters splashed water on the beast, which politely used the pedestrian crossing, to keep it wet during its unexpected adventure as shoppers and tourists took pictures and videos.

Locals said the animal finally returned to the water after about an hour-and-a-half.

Guy gets punched by street performer! - YouTube Video

Hilarious video of an annoying man getting his come-up from a street performer on Cavil Ave - Surfers Paradise. Queensland, AUSTRALIA!

Pranksters Get Weatherman With Hugh Janus Birthday - YouTube Video

A US weatherman is probably still wondering how he could have fallen for one of the oldest pranks in the book after he was tricked into saying the name ‘Hugh Janus’ live on TV.

Forward - YouTube video

Videos filmed in a single take or those shot in reverse are nothing new but combine the two and you get something truly spectacular.