Author Archives: Dennis

New York

I’m in New York City right now, and the predominant thought I have on the city in the summer is; hot. And not hot “cool-hot”, but just fucking, bleeding hot. Like, 30 Celcius at nine in the morning-hot. The rubber on the soles of your shoes sticking to the pavement-hot.

And…the weird thing is, that the flight over was freezing. After getting grilled at the airport by the airline’s (Continental) security people – something that normally only happens at immigration on the other side of the pond – I was let on a flight that was; delayed, long, turbulent as fuck and freezing.

Double-wodka. No dinner.

Reuniting with Moulsari was fabulous. It took us no time at all to be comfortable with one another, talking about this and that, as we waited for the shuttle service from Liberty to Grand Central. We had lunch/dinner as soon as we got off the bus in a nice little quasi-Italian place that served a mean burger and a lovely salad. They even accomodated us with a wine-cooler for a bottle of cold water. The price was steep and I was reminded once again that I was in Manhattan. I finally got to see her new apartment, that she’ll be leaving soon again. It’s been over a year since I’ve been here, and a lot has happened for Moulsari in that time. It took me a while to catch up and realise that all the thing she’s been telling me about have happened in actuality. Her apartment is nice, a multi-leveled and rather spacious apartment, on 34th, between 1st and 2nd, near the entrance to the Midtown tunnel, that she shares with her 40 year old roommate Mike, a bit of a macho-man short guy of Italian descent with a heart of gold. She would later also show me her new apartment that she’ll be moving into soon with two of her friends. That’s on the 29th floor of a high rise apartment block on 2nd ave, overlooking all of downtown Manhattan. It’s really got a beautiful view.

*Jealousy*

So far we’ve had a lot of fun, saw Sin City – which is a film I really need to have some more time to think on before I can say anything useful about it – and we saw a stage-show starring Ethan Hawke; Hurlyburly. Really quite good. Elizabeth Berkley was in it. I thought that after Showgirls she was persona non-grata in the entertainment industry. It was cool.

I’ve been walking around the city a lot, sitting at Washington Square Park, talking to one of the dealers there, named Jay Jay. He was quite nice once he found out I wasn’t looking to buy blow and that I was from Amsterdam. It’s funny how certain things, customs and gestures, are pretty much universal wherever you go. For instance, Jay Jay was walking around a vending cart for a while, talking to the fat Puerto Rican that was its proprietor and he’d been eyeballing me. After about twenty minutes, in which I was burning up in the lovely sun (I swear, the Dutch are like the Irish; we don’t tan, we just burn), he nodded almost imperceptibly in my direction, indicating if he could help me with something. I shook my head almost as imperceptibly as he had nodded at me. I know the way it is done, I know that a law enforcer might be looking on, and I don’t want to give him away, so I don’t. It works the same with in Amsterdam. The same kind of people, the same gestures, the same type of handovers.

You have to wonder if there’s some deeper interconnectedness among people – a hivemind, if you will – that determines our progress. How often hasn’t it happened in history that the culmination of different sciences lead to spontaneous and entirely disconnected revelations and inventions of concepts and things that were similar in nature, or had a similar function, but were thought up by men and women that didn’t know eachother and didn’t have the same background? I swear, if my memory wasn’t so shit, and if I could come up with an example, of which I know there are many, my case would be a lot strong.

Skeptics, who needs ’em.

In the Grammecy area, particularly around Grammecy Park, there’s a lot of construction going on. Construction in New York City means unions. Unions mean Mafia. So the Grammecy Park Hotel is being renovated after it was closed. I spent some time looking at the construction site. It’s interesting to see how construction workers work in an area that is as dense and traffic heavy as Manhattan. They come up with really nifty, space-conscious ways of working, that’s reminiscent of back home. Again with the inter-connectedness. Anyway, the union officials that need to be on the site to make sure that health-code regulations and all that good stuff are followed, are in this case, two middle-aged men with a significant girth. They also look “tough” and “not to be messed with” in their Mochino and Armani shirts. Their leather shoes and gold bracelets contrast nicely with the hard-hats they have to wear.

Anyway, it’s hotter than fuck out here, and I’m not leaving Mouls’ airconditioned apartment until the sun is spent. I’m going to indulge myself with World of Warcraft, cool glasses of Coca Cola, to which I’m sure I’m getting heavily addicted, and Comedy Central.

La’ers.

Shadowrun

Since I discovered Shadowrun back in 1992 I’ve been in love with it. I never really got the chance to play it until much later, but in the meantime I tried to read up on as much of it as I could, though I never bought any of the books until I actually started playing. Before that happened however, I knew I wanted to play it, but I had to wait until the time was right, and I had to make do with the SNES and Sega console games that were available at the time. So we start playing, and I’ve always been the GM for the game. I’ve got an excellent gaming group, who all enjoy Shadowrun, so things were good. Sadly, since about a 18 months now I’ve suffered a severe bug in my system and I just couldn’t really offer it the time and attention it needed to maintain a consistent campaign, so I shelved it. With it went the development of the Shadowrun section of this website, much to the dismay of many of the regular visitors to wRx. But slowly the desire to start playing and developing is returning. I felt it today as I read a Shadowrun 4 game review and cruised by the Official Shadowrun Website. I can’t wait to get my hands on the new edition. Until that time, however, I’ll be playing D&D and World of Warcraft, and developing the back-end of this section so that I may use it for the new incarnation fo the Shadowrun section, once I start playing again. What? You didn’t think I would let a new version of Shadowrun pass without updating my website, did you? :)

Buggy Code

I hate it when I make mistakes, or when I overlook things that lead to mistakes, especially when coding. There was an bug in the weblog I made to keep track of who comes to this website. Well, actually, there was a bug in the monthly process that stores the statistics to a different table, to increase performance. I lost the data for the whole month of May. Grrr.

European Constitution

I have very mixed feelings about the European constitution, and the referendum coming up on June 1st. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like the idea of a democracy, for the very simple reason that I don’t want ill-informed people to determine, through a referendum, which direction this country is going to take, and in this specific case, which direction it will take within the European Union. Most people I’ve spoken to are badly informed, and know it, but some people – and I’m afraid these people represent a significant part, if not majority, of this society – are goign to vote against the constitution because they misplace the blame of the economic recession ( I know, I know, technically it’s not a recession ) on the introduction of the Euro, and equate the Euro with the European Union, since that’s the only way that most people are exposed to the Union in their day to day lives. What people here don’t realise is that Dutch exports have increased and become more profitable, and the most optimistic figures suggest as much as 80%, money all of which floods into our economy and improved the general wealth of this country. We don’t immediately see it, but the European Union benefits all of us, even if the Dutch put more money towards the Union per person than any other member-country.

So, I say; for shame that we’re not better informed. For shame that our political leaders didn’t do more to inform the public. For shame that the public didn’t do more to inform itself of this important decision. For shame that we misplace blame. For shame that we’re on the verge of voting against the constitution, en masse, simply because we don’t understand, nor care to understand what it stands for.

But, on the other hand, the constitution looks to be pretty shitbox, and incredibly open to differences in interpretation, definitely when the cultural differences of the different members are pretty significant. What will happen is that these differences of interpretation will have to be settled in the European courts, making this constitution as controversial and contested as the constitution of the United States of America. They can’t seem to agree on anything, neither. So perhaps it’s best that this constitution is shot down. Perhaps it’ll lead to a more carefully deliberated and a more conservative draft of the constitution, less likely to lead to conflict.

But of one thing I am very sure; the European Union is necessary in order to remain at our current level of welfare and to remain competitive on a global economic stage. But not only economically, but also interpersonally, we need a better cohesion, not so that we can be stronger globally, but also intra-continentally. The European Union was born in a post-WWII time, where everyone wanted some peace and quiet for the first time in over 30 years. It’s important that we get along with our neighbours, it’s important that we have a common cause.

And this is why I’m so conflicted, because I want to go forward, and I know it’s important that we do, but I also know that now is not the time yet.