21 07 2010

I’m in Pasadena at the moment, and am making one small painting of a Pasadena detail per day.
If you want to see them all, go to my art blog!

My horse trailer

2 07 2010

Is finished!

I spend 10(!) days sanding the whole darn thing!!!!

After I put the white base coat on I decided I liked it so much that I exchanged my creme paint for bright white.

All painted white, and the window removed. It was set in rubber which had almost completely desintegrated.

Doesn’t it look good?

I painted the inside as well, makes it much brighter and hopefully nicer for the Tarq.

I had to buy new rubber to fit in a new window at a boat shop, and you need a special tool to fit in a plastic thingy in the rubber. That was a ridiculously expensive tool, and after looking it up on the internet I decided I could easily make it myself.

And it worked fine! I also cut out a new window from a piece of lexan. The old one was too scratched and damaged.

The finished trailer on it’s first mission!

What’s in a name

20 06 2010

I think names are very important. And when you have the honor of choosing a name for somebody or some pet it requires a lot of deep thinking.
My names are from women who meant much to my mother. The name Aafke is a very ancient one and has been given trough the ages to girls in my father’s family. It means something like ”Fairy” or ”Supernatural being”.
Hence my problems to connect with the real world.
My second name was that of a woman who took care of my mother during and after the war.

I like fairly short names.
My cats, were originally my mum’s cats but I named them, and their names are: Kira, and Simsalabim. And Ishtar, but she died last year. Kira is a Star Trek name. Lots of the pets in my family have Star Trek names.
Simsalabim just seems a very good name for a cat like Simsalabim. Ok it’s not that short. Short is ”Sim”. But somehow, even when I am angry with Simsalabim it remains Simsalabim, in anger it becomes: SimsalaBIM!

Rabhar is also dead now, but his name means ”leader” in Arabic. He came with his name, of course I don’t change a good name. He was the sweetest gentlest horse, but knew to get what he wanted very well. So a bit of leadership was in there, but we never had serious clashes, or not as often, as I have with The Tarq.

My Alsatian is called Zora. From the Arabic Az Zahraa, the beautiful, the morning. Or something like it, according to a name book I have. It’s short, easy to pronounce, and as Zora came from an official breeder we had to give her a name starting with a Z. So I went to the Z at the back and we choose Zora.
I think this name fits her beautiful friendly soft nature. She is also way too clever and sneaky and partially deaf. Her hearing diminishes with her intention to hear you, it improves dramatically if she needs to be alert to make sure you don’t go out without her.
Zora always gets her way somehow.

Al Tarq is officially called Zjarky, pronounced Sharky. This name would not do as it reminded me too much of the end of the Lord of the Rings. Besides it is Russian (Tarq is Russian bred) and it means ”hot”. Now if somebody is a subzero cool dude it is the Tarq.
Tarq is from Tariq, It means ”morning visitor”  or, ”The star that twinkles”, and in Middle Dutch is means somebody who is dirty, Tarq being a real man never minds being covered in dirt. And in Klingon it means lout or duffer. Which is a characteristic trait of Al Tarq. Al Tarq is another animal who is way too clever; I am only just a bit more clever as the Tarq. Besides, Tarq is a good name to shout when you are angry, and to whisper when you are in love.
Al Tarq has a way of calling me over to the stable and ordering me about.

My list of pets wouldn’t be complete without my dreamrabbit, the Q.
The Q is named after the totally cool and super intelligent heroes from a Dutch tv series from my very early childhood: Q and Q.

One of the clever boys was called Aristides Quarles van Ispen, and the other Wilbur Quant.
And yes, these are really weird names. Even in Dutch.
Everybody watched this every week. It was very scary. Maybe it was more scary because I was too young to really understand it, but I did have a slight pash on one of them. The series is out on dvd, maybe I should get them.
I just fall for intelligent pets…
Somehow I always do what the Q wants me to do. Why is it that all pets can manipulate me as they wish?

Room for one more?

19 06 2010

This post is related to the former post.

While thinking about monotheism versus polytheism, and The One and Only God always going on about how everybody should convert, otherwise they will burn in hell, and if they don’t you should kill them, otherwise you will burn in hell… (Which is why christian missionaries swarm the world trying to ”save souls” and why Muslim terrorists think they get rewarded with eternal orgies and 72 virgins in heaven, because killing ”infidels” is something God likes.) I came to the conclusion that polytheist religions don’t have this jealousy hang up. Sure some Gods always wanted a bigger share than other Gods, but in the end nobody could deny that all gods have a right to some worship. Moreover, if you allready have a score of Gods, it’s not that weird an idea about other people having other Gods. And it certainly doesn’t spring to mind to kill them for it.
Or to ”convert” them by force, forcing them to change religion or else…

We did not really see this jealousy obsession a few thousand years ago when the rule for most societies was polytheism.
After all, when you have a whole pantheon of useful Gods why not add a few more? You can never have too much help!
Befriended rulers would even lend one of their own Gods to help out a neighbouring ruler who was sick. I think it was the Hittites, who send one of their Gods to help out a Pharao when he was sick. Because the Pharao was so pleased with the power and helpful attitude of this God or Goddess he was a bit reluctant to send Him or Her back, and when He or She had enough, He or She sent a few plagues to convince the Pharao, and he then finally send the borrowed God back with a caravan of suitable presents.
Or was it the other way around?

The Romans had a very relaxed attitude towards foreign Gods, They noticed that many were just a more exotic form of the ones they already knew, and so the Romans happily combined them. Like for example the Celtic Goddess Sulis, She was combined with the Roman Goddess Minerva and the Romans built a temple for Minerva-Sulis in Bath. They certainly did not try to ”convert” the Celts to their pantheon at the point of a bloody sword!

All Gods were worshipped in Rome. And just to make sure no foreign God would miss out they build the Pantheon, one of the most beautiful structures ever, as a home for those Gods they might have missed or not yet have heard about.

How’s that for coexistence?

But this can’t happen with the more modern monotheistic religions. Those gods are jealous Gods. Does nobody else get the feeling that makes them a lot less divine? Our modern male Gods can’t bear any competition. And worse; they call for bloodshed and murder, punishment and death, to establish themselves as ”The Only One”.

To be sure the modern monotheistic religions are very inferior to the older polytheist religions and have a lot to learn yet.

The whining Baby

18 06 2010

I was discussing stuff and I suddenly got a new insight I want to share.
I have always thought that monotheism is an evolutionary step after polytheism (and before people evolve further to atheism): Humans through the aeons develop their notion of a ”Divine Something” in steps. But I had a new insight which I now need to write down.
In a pantheon of Gods there is a division of jobs, every God has his/her own job. In monotheism one God does it all.
In a Pantheon there is also some sort of punishment for those who do evil deeds, and in the Ancient Egyptian underworld you get eaten by a monster Ammut, ànd thrown into a lake of fire. (This btw is where the Christians and later Mohammed got their inspiration of their invention of Hell.)
So far so good.
But a monotheistic God, (Egypt was there first as well, with the Aton) has more fish (or sinners) to fry. While the emphasis in polytheist punishment is in response to the evil deeds you’ve done, the monotheistic Gods have invented a lot of additional reasons to fry the ”sinners”:

If you do not worship Me you will burn in a lake of fire!
If you change your mind about My Religion you will burn in a lake of fire!
If you have sex with somebody I don’t like you to have sex with you will burn in a lake of fire!
If you do not follow all My little rules you will burn in a lake of fire!
If you do not kill all people who do not believe in Me you will burn in a lake of fire!

The monotheistic God seems to have an irrational obsession with Women. And an even greater maniacal fixation with Women and Sex!

If you are a woman and wear make-up you will burn in a lake of fire!
If you are a woman and you do not hide your God-given hair beneath a piece of fabric you will burn in hell!
If you are a woman and you don’t cover your face with a piece of fabric you will burn in a lake of fire!
If you are a woman and you talk to men you will burn in a lake of fire!
If you are a woman and you do not obey your lord and master (any man who has ownership) you will burn in hell!
If you are a woman and you do not let your husband have sex with you whenever he likes you will burn in a lake of fire!
If you are a woman and you get raped by a man you will burn in a lake of fire!
If you made the mistake of being born a woman you will burn in a lake of fire!

A monotheistic God is no improvement at all!
The more punishments God makes up and meets out the more He seems to  be like a whining, spoilt, selfish baby.
Can an omnipotent God really be acting like a whining spoilt baby who needs to create a whole universe because He needs to be worshipped? Can an omnipotent God really be that selfish? Wouldn’t such an entity be in balance with Himself without having to create a species who worships him all day? And why create beings who are not programmed to do so by default? Is God a crappy programmer? Can an omnipotent God really be suffering from a pathological fixation on sex and What Women Wear? Can an eternal omnipotent God have a sexual gender like the animals He created?
I don’t think so.

All this is all the proof I need to know that organised religions are invented. They are constructed, and given the emphasis on controlling and punishing those pesky women, I’d say it’s also pretty clear which gender has had the most to do with making it up and inventing ”the rules”.

What Women Wear

15 06 2010

Or, Freedom and Dress,
Is what we choose to wear really a free uninfluenced choice?

I think that in a man’s world, women are wearing what men want them to wear. Wether it be by blunt force or by more subtile social prodding, if a society is wholly geared towards What Men Want then women will have to conform. And let’s be honest, except one or two forgotten pockets the whole planet is ruled by men and geared towards their desires.
And what apparently most men want all over the planet is sexual access and/or total control over women. Both these preferences are written in the holy books of major religions and can be observed in women’s outfits.
Now different societies have different ideas as to what constitutes ”modest dress” of course. What is considered perfectly modest in Europe, is considered totally slutty in the Middle East. In a secular open society both dress codes can walk side by side.
The essence of freedom is not what you wear, but the freedom to choose what you wear without being harassed or punished for it.

So you see some women wearing revealing clothes because that gives them an advantage in certain circumstances, and you see on the other scale other women completely covered up because that gives them an advantage.
You see it in the ”power suits” worn by modern business women, needed to be looked at as competent business women. You see some girls wearing skimpy clothes because they are told by the (male-run) media that’s what they should wear to be considered desirable, you see some girls wearing hijab because they are told it makes them more desirable, etc…

So really I don’t think women are fully to ”blame” for dress choices. Our choice of dress, wherever we live on the planet, is never wholly our own choice. We are influenced by the society we live in, by the rejection or approbation of our social circle, by what the media shows us, by what religion and/or religious leaders tell us some God wants, by what our job requires, by the social gathering we attend, and all these things together will have significant effect on what a person will wear.

Really, to some extent we all wear a uniform.
The only thing which seems to present itself is the more restricted a society, the more uniform the dress code, and the harsher the punishment for not adhering.
For example the ”Mao suit”.

It is really a very, very small percentage who really dares and/or has the opportunity, to wear what they themselves like and if it doesn’t conform to what is ”the norm” in their social surroundings they will get serious flak from the people they meet.

And you will notice that people who choose to defy the accepted dress codes of their social group rarely stand alone: they band together in new, smaller groups of fellow deviants.
For example the three Goths in a classroom.

I do not think it’s healthy to use overwhelming force, and draconian punishments to make people conform to a certain dress code, but there are always some forces at work which steer us to the clothes we choose, and the image we want to project.

I really resent forcing people into constricting dress codes. I also reject dress codes which annihilate human personality. But I know that in certain environments on the planet there just isn’t a real choice.
I also reject the use of extortion and scaring people with lies about hell and damnation to blackmail them into wearing whatever preferred dress code. That is just fundamentally wrong. And of course there can be no question of ”free choice” when the subject believes it.

Be that as it may, considering all these facts, nobody can lay full blame at nobodies door about what they choose to wear.
Or not to wear.
So I hope we can stop now with backbiting and calling the populations of whole continents invectives based on malicious fabricated gossip.

We should stop blaming women with a different dress preference altogether and instead put the blame where it belongs, on men!

Humans, discrimination and defending the Woman with the Scarf

27 05 2010

This video is from ABC, they put unknowing people in a situation to see how they would react. The situation is like this: A woman wearing a head scarf comes into a shop and the guy at the counter refuses to serve her. Some people give him the thumbs up, about half say nothing (some look uncomfortable) and about a third of the costumers get angry, defend the rights of the woman, and promise they will not leave it like that but pursue further action.

Here is the video

I have been working out the maths:

Bullies: 14,6%

Bystanders: doing nothing:  53,7%

Heroes, defenders of the oppressed:  31,7%

Now of course we would rather have seen a 95% number on the Heroes, but, human nature being what it is, and compared with what we see happening in the real world, all over the world: I think this is a pretty good percentage!

So chapeau for the people of Texas, of whom at least 30% are heroes!

You see, apart from taking these numbers sec, there is more to include into the equation.
I think that the bullies had it easy: they were already inside a situation, which was congenial to them, and only had to agree with the dork behind the counter. It is very easy to follow a herd if you are  a sheep yourself.

Then there were the Bystanders, the group which said nothing. Now I don’t admire it, and I certainly hope never to be part of the Bystanders, but standing there, two people behind the counter, and speaking up takes a bit of courage. More courage then most people can muster. That’s how it is. That is fact. That’s why the Bystander group is always so very large, in all countries, and in all situations.
It’s the easy way, the way of not getting hurt or attacked yourself.
And let’s not forget the bystander effect!

And last but not least: The heroes. The defenders of what is right. The people who stand up for reason and fairness and freedom and all which is good. Now apart from the staggering 31,7% I think that in effect this number is huge because these people stood up in an antagonistic situation, and still spoke up. Still defended what was right in their opinion.
That is by way more difficult!

So I think this 31,7 % is a very important number, these people do not only outweigh the 14.6% of the bullies, but as they showed to have way better courage they would prevail if the numbers had been the other way around. And the 31,7% of courageous people will always get the better of the middle group,who lack the guts to respond in any situation.

So with a 31,7% of people who have the right morals, and the courage to defend them, I think Texas is doing very, very well, and way much better as most other countries on the planet.
Maybe it won’t be so bad… moving to Texas.