Shameless Self Promotion

In my inbox, I just found a nice message from poetry website Poetry Soup. They’ve selected one of my poems to be featured on the homepage. Since Poetry Soup is a podium for english languaged poetry, with a vast database of very good poems, as a non-native speaker and self-proclaimed poet, I am very proud of this. And I wanted to share that. Have a good weekend!

A New Phenomenon

Doing things that seem crazy can help you energise. It is a good way to release tension and get concentrated again. Just like the people in this movie, which is actually a new wave of Capgemini’s branding campaign.

Update: Since for me (in Google Chrome) the movie didn’t play, I embedded a version from youtube.

Snapshots of Lutetia – Place de la Concorde

The Obelisk at Place de la Concorde

In the nineteenth century, two obelisks were donated to
France by the Egyptian government. One remained in Egypt, the other
stands tall in the center of the Place de la Concorde, at the end of
the Champs-Elysées. It was placed there exactly 175 years ago
yesterday. Before that, the more than 3000 years old obelisk used to
mark the entrance of the Luxor temple.

Proreactive

In Dutch and Anglo-Saxon business it is regarded a virtue if you are proactive. It means you can be relied upon to get things done. You act before you’re asked, and just give that extra bit to make things be as well as they can be. So to speak, you make sure the shit doesn’t come in the same room as the fan.
The opposite is being reactive. Reactive people are waiting for orders. And when they’re asked to do something, they do exactly that what’s asked, and nothing more. when it’s done, they start their next game of solitaire, or look out the window again. When the shit hits the fan, they will just stand by and watch, and will only clean the mess, when they’re asked to.
Considering this, it might be somewhat of an insult, when you, as an obviously proactive person get told that it is so great that you are so reactive. And in France, this might just happen. For in French business, giving that extra bit, and avoiding the shit hitting the fan, or simply said being proactive, is called reactif. So, when a Frenchman says you are reactive, it is a compliment.

In My Name 2: Break a World Record

This weekend the In My Name campaign will attemp to break the World Record for the largest coordinated movement of people in history. You can help them break this record by adding your name between 17 and 19 October to the list of people who ask their governments to deliver on their promises and act now to reach the millennium goals set in 2000. The list already has people like Will.I.Am, Scarlett Johansson, Kristin Davis, Mary Robinson and me. So you’ll be in good company. If you’re looking for a good reason to sign your name, watch the clip, or visit the In My Name or Millennium Development Goals websites.

What The Dutch Can Learn From The French

The Ov chip kaart is a big and costly project. The intention is that
you can charge it and every time you travel you pay the fare with part
of the credit on the chip. The problem is, the chip is hackable.
Although to many in NL this is a surprise, it shouldn’t be. Everything
manmade, can be made by someone else and is thus hackable. The only
thing you can do is build such a high barrier, that it takes too much
money to crack it to be profitable. But having something 100% secure is
just not achievable. However, the Dutch government wants the users of
the card not too be in danger of losing their money to hackers. This
idea is incompatible with the digital purse concept that is used for
the OV Chip Kaart. What troubles me, is that for many year, and with
spending a lot of tax payers money, there is still no solution, while
it is so obvious.

First of all, that the card is hackable was to be forseen from the
start. Considering the weight on the requirement of users not losing
money, from the beginning the people in the project should have looked
for a different solution. One can be found in Paris, where the Navigo
pass is used. You can pay for a weekly or a monthly subscription, and
that data is loaded on the card. Data that doesn’t change if someone
hacks into the chip on the card, especially if you also store the data
centrally. In The Netherlands, probably 80% of the kilometers travelled
are daily commutes. So a subscription solution is a good option. For
the other 20%, there can be either paper tickets or the infrastructure
mostly in place for paying with a bank card for a one-way ticket. The
ambition is to have the fare paying completely with cards containing
chips. That is difficult for irregular travellers and tourists, but it
can be done. If there had been proper risk management in place in this
project, it would have never even become an issue. But there is light
on the horizon: it only takes a different way of thinking to solve the
OV Chip Kaart issue.

Continue reading

Song Story 5: How Herman And I Differ

“When the fire is smothered, the wolves will come” is what Acda en De Munnik tell me when I walk to the metro in the morning for my workdaily commute. The song, performed in Dutch, is about a guy, Herman, who reflects on his life and finds that it went differently from what he had originally planned. No more time for travels, only his journey back home where his wife awaits him with dinner. It is a song about being hung up on once set goals and not being able to cope with the way your life turned out. It is a song about people who cannot accept that the life they lead holds its own treasures, if you just stop lingering over the past and look for them in the present.

And as I listen to the song on my iPod, I suddenly realise that I am nowhere near where Herman is. Not only am I not sitting on a bench in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, but I am walking to a metro station in Paris. I’ve been travelling across Europe last month for my job. When I woke up this morning, it was next to a beautiful girl I refer to as m/gl (Muse-slash-Love of my Life) for about three years now, and it looks that I can for quite some years to come. Yes, there is always room for improvement, but in fact, I am living the life I always dreamt of. It took Herman’s story to become aware of it.

Snapshots of Lutetia – Iconic Tour Eiffel

ToweringTour Eiffel

Like a lighthouse, the Eiffel Tower stands out above Paris. In the couple of months that we live here, it has become our beacon for coming home. Of all the Parisian landmarks, this one stands out; probably the best known Parisian icon. Literally, even, because when you look at Paris from one of the surrounding hills, it is by far the tallest structure, towering above the city as a sentry. Even with the law against high rises abolished, the Eiffel Tower will retain its iconic status, and will probably keep guard of the town for many years to come.

A Good Week For This Blog

A Clear Blue Sky debutes on The Paris BlogThis week has been a good week for A Clear Blue Sky. First of all, I got invited to become a contributor to The Paris Blog. A group blog on life and living in Paris, which happens to be one of my favorites, especially since I moved here. The obvious move was to happily accept the invitation, because to me it was just a great honour  to join the ranks of al the amazing blogging colleagues, blogging on one of my favorite subjects. And by Thursday, my first contribution was made. I think this is a good place to thank Laurie for the invitiation, and of course all her work on The Paris Blog. Be sure to visit the site, and also those of my colleague contributors.

To celebrate this amazing thing, I expanded this site with a recommended reading page. You will find a selection of my other favorite sites, and a (changing) selection of my favorite books. Enjoy this new addition, and of course The Paris Blog.

Small update: I also fixed an issue I had with the archives. They will now load in the proper lay out.