Does Calvinism come in sprays?
June 27, 2001
Dear [52 names],
The weirdness started at the entrance already. It didn't quite look like a concert hall; it looked more like a museum. In fact, it was a museum. Why would anyone perform the Mozart Requiem in a museum? I also felt overdressed: I had put on my black button-down shirt not to look too sloppy, but everyone was wearing normal clothes and the average age was higher than I had anticipated. When I found out there was no orchestra I really started to question my own sanity. Was I in the right place? Was I on crack? Don't forget that I had invited Ellen, and one of my roommates to come with me to this concert. And also, I was so proud that I brought the entire musical score with me so that I could follow the whole concert on paper, but I wasn't as cool as I thought: every single person had the score. Everyone, without a single exception. Very strange...
Then it hit me...
It was a sing-along. We, the audience, had to perform the concert! It was a very embarrassing moment but, you know what?, it was fan-tas-tic. There were roughly 150 people there and I had so much fun. I still remembered most of it from 2 years ago when I performed the Mozart Requiem myself. I realized how much I miss singing in a choir.
After having made the transition from age 24 to 25 a few days ago (``oh, shit'') I find myself divisible by 5 and by 5 only. In fact, it will be one of those rare years that my age is a square. I hope to live to also see 36, 49, 64, and maybe even 81. Right now I can't think of any other philosophical thing to say about getting older other than sharing with you my observation that relative knowledge intake is inversely related to age. Simply said: I still have no clue what I'm doing and it doesn't seem like I ever will.
I have reached a new level of ridiculous decadence that you need to know about: I installed a wireless hub in my own house! Effectively, this means that I now have Internet access in the garden, on the porch, and, yes, even on the toilet without having to plug a cable into my laptop. It works through radio signals that will make me infertile when used frequently. It's wonderful. Question fertility.
At work things are fine. The best part of work is my colleagues. The development team is an amazing, diverse collection of smart, funny people, each with their own weirdnesses, quirks, and mind-fucks.
Gil's Theory Number One: moving to Mars is easier than moving to the United States.
I bought a very exciting road bike. Take a look at http://www.bianchiusa.com/sections/bikes/road/veloce/index.html to see it. (Mine is light-blue, not yellow.) I have turned into a bike fanatic. Inspired by my colleague Max, I ride up and down hills in the area on Saturday morning. Three weeks ago, Max and I rode 120 kilometers in little over 4 hours---including hills.
This bike has so-called cleats. Cleats enable me to connect my foot to the bike by clicking a special shoe onto the pedal causing my feet to be stuck to the pedals. This is fine as long as you ride. However, getting off is tricky. To release the mechanism, one has to twist the foot sideways, which requires lots of practice. Let me just tell you that my feet were still connected to the pedal even after falling off the bike. Twice.
Max told me that riding a bike for years on a badly adjusted seat can make you infertile. Who needs wireless Internet to perform auto-sterilization? My guess is that riding on a bike with no seat at all is much faster and more cost-effective.
The INS. The Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States of America. What can I say? How about this: after having spent 5 hours in total at the Consulate General in Amsterdam to get my visa, I discovered (by coincidence) that I have to leave the country on July 23 (in stead of mid-August as originally planned). This is good and bad. Good because I get to go to Amsterdam for a short time and bad because it all amounts to an enormous waste of money. I got yelled at by this person that the INS hires specifically to yell at everyone who dares entering their office. This rare specimen, somewhat similar to a primitive predecessor of the Neanderthal, has been trained to bark and to yell frantically at everything that moves. The poor, poor, pitiful creature. They should end his misery and put him to sleep using one of their wonderfully sophisticated electric chairs that fries someone's brain by blasting 10,000 volts through it. Question death penalty.
Speaking of putting people to sleep, I saw a very nice bumper sticker that said ``Bush for lawn ornament.'' English is too poor of a language to find proper wording that suitably describes the man's unfitness to rule this country. I wouldn't even let him manage my fish tank, for that matter. The man is a living counter-proof of Evolution Theory. Question Darwin.
Shocking fact: there is no light switch in the office building to turn lights on or off. The light are always left on until they burn out and get replaced by new ones. It is a simple, yet effective metaphor for the local mentality that I find impossible to accept: first consume, then throw away. Does Calvinism come in sprays? Can I have 20 tons, please?