Saturday, January 15, 2011

2:20 la dee da

This week started with an esthetically appealing date, namely: 11-01-11.
Right now the time is 2:22, not bad either esthetically speaking.
None of these numbers are special, they're here everyday, never changing to something that is only slightly different.
Maybe that's why they're beautiful.
Or maybe this special order of numbers is what specializes them.
My date of birth is also a bunch of numbers that feel right.
Not in the exact order, but if you shuffle them around a bit they make sense.
0123 98(8-1=)76
0+9 = 9, 1+8=9, 2+7=9, 3+6=9
Doesn't mean anything of course but I like to play around with them a bit, looking for reasons of why they might turn out like this and whether it means something, or says something about me.
Perhaps it is a devilish number like 666 but then upside down, with an extra 6!
Perhaps it makes me devilla and people oughta run for me and be scared as I approach them.
I could give a try, if it doesn't work it would at least be a fun experiment.
(That probably will never take place :P)
The time is now 2:37, time to call it a night tonight.
Couldn't make anything big finale-ish of 2:37 and as I kept staring at the time, 2:38 appeared!
And then.... (drum rolls) 3+8=11-2=9 wahhaaaaa magic 9 again!
It's a sign!!!!!

Oh, and a picture I took of my across the madly wild canal neighbors, to prove my devilish spying skills... But it's also kinda nice.(!)



Friday, January 07, 2011

The end of an era

First of all, happy 2011! It's been exactly a week since newyears so it was about time to blog about the new year so far.

It's been a wonderful, relaxing two week break but now I've gotta face reality again.
Back to the normal life means back to full scheduled days at the uni, work and an occasional babysit.
It also means back to studying the most intriguing form of science there is (to me at least); psychology.
As from monday my eyes will only be looking at the insides of these two books about developmental psychology.

1) Keenan and Evans, An introduction to child development

2) William C. Crain, Theories of development

Since september I've only allowed myself to look at the following few books, introducing me to psychology and statistics, a.k.a. statz.

3) Peter Gray, Psychology

4) Agresti & Franklin, Statistics; the art and science of learning from data (sounds real fun like this huh?)

5) Douglas G. Mook, Psychological research; the ideas behind the methods (a fantastic book)

6) Daniel T. WIllingham, Cognition: the thinking animal

All of them are definitely worth a read, though in the end I got kind of weirdy-eyed from all them letters....

Anyway, this vacation has really been a nice reward for all the studying I've been doing. There were times where I was so caught up in reading, doing assignments and practicing statz that I kinda lost track of everything else going on in my life. Times where I couldn't just let it go for a moment and enjoy some relaxation time with my friends, or by calling it an early night for a change. Times where I felt I needed to read just a little bit more, study a little bit harder or working on an assignment for 4 entire days instead of spreading it out a bit over those 4 days. For the upcoming 4 weeks I'm gonna try to be more efficient with my time and look for a better way to work through the books!

So, another thing, Yoga! Yesterday me and my sister went to a yoga class around the corner of my house, which was great cause it was pooouring. It was just a tryout class in a cute little room and only four people (cause it was pooouring!). We started with a cup of tea and an explanation of the whole yoga/pilates concept. I already knew most things since I've done pilates and yoga before. It comes down to doing a lot of stretching things with your body and try to focus on your breathing while doing that. Sounds a lot easier than it is, and in the end my upper arm felt kinda.... auch. Still, I like to feel those kinda pains, they make me feel I really did something. I'm not sure if I will continue this class since it's a bit expensive for my poor student-being, but I might just join another gym that offers a poor-student-being rate. And if not, I'll wait until the weather improves so I can go out and start running again. I had a dream last night that I ran another Dam-tot-Damloop, so I might just live up to that dream this year... who knows?

And hereby I conclude this blog for the day, salut!

Monday, December 27, 2010

This year round

Gather round good people, a sum-up of 2010 is about to come together.
The oven is baking my dough balls filled with peanut butter and chocolate.
It'll be good, damn good.

Tonight the new year will pop open, wide open to fill it in with whatever you want.
I choose to fill it in with knowledge, new experiences, creativity and fun.
How exactly I don't know yet, but I want it to be a good year, I know it will be.

So now, 2010, you've been going by quite rapidly.
So many things happened, so many things started, so many things changed.
Moving back to Amsterdam, starting a new studies, running my first Dam tot Damloop, traveling to the Caribbean...
It's all good.

The part I'm most excited about is the new studies. It's something I deeply like.

Gotta go check on the dough balls, it's been about 10 minutes...

They kinda collapsed... After I let my magic work on them, they looked like this.

Butt-ugly lookers, but heavenly on the tongue :)

So, on with the 2010 sum-up.
Actually, the most important parts of the year I've already mentioned.
I am now looking forward to another good year, in which I can expand the knowledge, experiences and fun I've had so far.
So to all, celebrate big, good and make the new year worth it.
See you next year!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Classical Conditioning

Last night turned out not to be as great as I had hoped it to be. MUSEUMNACHT in Amsterdam; an every year ritual where about 45 museums in the city open their doors until 2:00 AM (remember this post?). Dumb fact no. 1, I forgot to buy a ticket and today when I finally wanted to buy one they were completely sold out. Big Fat Bummer! There was a small solution though, I got to sneak a little peak of Museumnacht after all at Tropenmuseum in tha east side o' town. My friend picked me up at the entrance with somebody else's ticket and together we enjoyed the music of a UK artist called Banjo or Freakout (to me Banjo or Freakshow sounds better though but who cares about one little Dutch girls opinion) within the beautiful surroundings of the "ROOD" exhibition. Listen for ya selves...

Another band I've been starting to enjoy for some weeks now, is The Asteroids Galaxy Tour. It's a Danish band with an alternative-ey sound. The high voice of the lady singer combined with the beat-y, happy music pretty much boosts happy moods. And since they're good enough for Steve Jobs (one song of them was used in an Ipod Touch commercial in 2008) they should be appealing to all of you unknown souls out there. Go listen and watch and enjoy and like. This video kind of gave me a quirky, eighties Blondie - Atomic kinda feeling, likelikelike!

Last but certainly not a least, Johann Strauss! Don't ask me how he got into my head but last week I found myself humming a song from which I didn't know the title OR the artist. The only thing I was quite sure of was that I'd probably heard it from the New Years Concert in Vienna (on TV though, I was not actually present unfortunately). I have absolutely never had any interest in classical tunes but the New Years Concert is kind of holy to me. I try to watch it every year (that is when I am not still in bed recovering from a late-wild-funky-bubbly new years party). I especially like the conductor; Georges Prêtre.

Some people just have a certain appearance that touches me. He looks so friendly, like a sweet grandpa who you want to share stories with in front of a fireplace. This next video comprises both the humming song as well my imaginary grandpa-conductor Georges Prêtre.

So, this classical conditioning I'm mentioning in my blog title is actually a psychological term that can be simply explained like this: a dog hears a bell (conditioned stimulus) and gets a bowl of food (unconditioned stimulus) after. This combination of stimuli is offered to the dog a few times. After some time when the dog hears the bell, he knows the food is coming. This experiment has been done by Pavlov. He measured the amount of salivation the dog produced by hearing the bell and receiving the food. At the start there was no salivation by hearing the bell, and a normal amount when the (smell of) food appeared. After several offerings of both stimuli the amount of salivation had changed; the dogs already started to salivate by hearing the bell, which means they expected the food to appear shortly after that. More to be found about classical conditioning at WIKI for those who are interested.

Classical conditioning fits into my story like this: music and experiences share a connection; a story. Hearing a song during an occasion leaves a mark in your brain that gets re-activated when you hear it again in a different environment. The pattern you went through during that occasion starts to get back to you, lets you relive that moment that obviously meant something to you. It makes it easier to remember. I find that connection to be quite special, it makes you feel that special feeling again from first time you went through it. It can be good, emotional or horrifying, but you cannot change the fact that it's there. For me it's not just songs that make me relive moments, it's also smells. The smell of fall, for example, makes me think of family vacations during the short fall-break we used to have when we were younger. Good memories that sometimes make me sad that those days are over. Of course new good times are still happening and some of them still yet to happen. The old ones though are gone, hanging in the air and waiting to be remembered by you through a song or a smell. Magical.

And with that I would like to conclude this sunday-afternoon blog. I'm gonna go practice my guitar skills a bit more. I found out that even with tons of practicing I do NOT have a gift for that. I always hoped I would but I cannot say that it comes natural to me. If I feel I'm good enough to produce an entire song without mistakes, I'll promise to make a little video and put it up here. Have a good last day of the weekend and until soon.

Ps. This is Jim. He's the cat my friend babysits this weekend. He has three legs and shiny eyes. He runs like the wind and jumps like he's got a Jalapeño up his behind. Anyway, I didn't want to keep this sweetcute kittycat all to myself. Jimbo is also to be found right herrre.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tests, Tofu and Therapy

I gotta stop starting every post saying how long it's been since my last update. So from today on, I won't anymore. Lots has happened since (let me check...) september 17! Fall started, to begin with, rather quick in my opinion. One day you're out for a walk on the beach with the warm summer sun on your face and your feet in the (still mildly warm) sea, and then the next day when you wake up you just know everything is different. Rain is pooring, you don't wanna just get up out of bed, your feet are cold again and when you open the curtains the fall has INSTANTLY taken over the world. Well, my world. This change of season used to make me feel soso blue. Gray skies, cold wind and the smell of fallen off leafs seem to be everywhere. But this year I experienced a breakthrough...

While avoiding the statistics book I surfed my way all over the world(wideweb) looking for some Thanksgiving recipes. I fell from one blog into another and as the search continued they got better and better. Of course Thanksgiving is a very US-tradition so I really couldn't ignore the over-the-top-ish pictures of dressed up people (and animals), enormous scary-faced pumpkins and giant piles of trick-or-treats. Somehow that got me SO in the mood to go baking! I instantly lost my gloomy-fall feeling and felt full of fresh fall-energy instead. So... on with the search I'd say. Quite honestly this fall-fever started a few days ago and so far I still haven't find a recipe for pumpkin pie. I got a day left before I need to finish it so tomorrow should be my lucky day.

While postponing the pumpkin for a while I did experiment with some tofu. Having never really cooked it myself before, and never really eaten it too, I thought this should be the time do try it. First thought: heavy shit! First experience: pretty good! Second experience: MUCH (nuts) better! Found the simplest, easiest recipe of all with special ingredient: Calvé pindakaas. Look and cook if you wish.

Peanutbuttery tofu 'n greens

So, with this brainfood I was hoping to be fully prepared for my tests today; Statistics and Introduction to Psychology. Last chapters of the Introduction to Psychology was the most interesting because it had to do with mental disorders and ways in treating them. As a part of this course we had to interview a psychologist about his treatment-methods and just to get an idea of what a working day of a psychologist looks like. I gotta say that it was all quite interesting. Our guy treats people in a 'Freudian" (psycho-analytic) way from a humanistic approach. Psycho-analysis means focusing on the unconscious rather than the conscious. He uses a humanistic approach to get a person to change bad thoughts to good thoughts, which (in the long run) should lead to self-acceptence. I'm not sure it's my cup of tea to work with this method daily, but hearing him talk about the experiences he has had in his career and the daily variation of it did really spoke to me. So... who knows? Maybe the world will meet another Freud(anique) in a few years!

So I think I'm gonna finish up about now, longest post ever! Good date to publish though, october 31st: HALLOWEEN! I made my very first pumpkin pie today (took me long enough, but ok) and it tasted... a little too egg-y. But it was fun to do and hopefully I'll be able to say "I make a pretty mean pumpkin pie" someday ;)

Oh it's november already, 12:42 AM GOODNIGHT!