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Courtesy of the tombstone generator

I guess this is what I'll want when I go.
Courtesy of the tombstone generator

Corso, El Torrero and professional dancers

Last Sunday night we stopped over at Corso for a while and had a half liter of Stella Artois for less than 1 euro. The only beer size offered in town is half liter.

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flower gardens and rusty playgrounds

Last Sunday afternoon we went to the Botanic garden, also only less than two blocks away.

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The weekend was rather busy as we've tried to keep our days interesting for the kids as well as going out every night to one of the many clubs and bars in the historic center of the city.

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First Posting from Timisoara, Romania

Friday I arrived in Timisoara with my wife and two kids. Haven't been in my hometown for 8 years and my, how it's changed.

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In a last ditch effort to reverse the quickly-dropping US Army enlist rates, creative minds have decided that some plastic intervention may help. The problem though is that if silicone implants burst unexpectedly, the potential injuries may not be justified by patriotism.

Music scene in Amsterdam

Just in case you've been wondering what live shows have I been seeing lately... here is the scoop. I'm only mentioning these bands because they are amazing, local, and mostly unknown in the world at large (with some notable exceptions). Also, it should help to mention that when there's any singing it's all in English so don't be afraid to check them out :-)

Postmen - Rotterdam hip-hop band... first heard them on some pirated shit, was impressed, went to see them live at the Melkweg with a friend who drove up from Antwerp at my suggestion. We were blown away. Not only do they rap skilfully over well-played electric funk music, but the stage dynamics and auditory dexterity is beyond any "rap acts" I'm familiar with.

Bettie Serveert - alternative pop fused with Velvet Underground references and a killer front lady/singer/songwriter (together with the guitarist). Have heard them since at least 10 years ago... first experience live was in Boston! Subsequently I've seen them half a dozen times and met them backstage. One of the best places to see them is the free annual Uitmarkt.

Ghorar Deem Express - world jazz nonet, including two people from Boston, met them first in Amsterdam and have seen them quite a few times as well as running their web site. Quirky and sometimes virtuosic punk world jazz, they are unlike any other band I ever met.

Bernie's Lounge - Amsterdam funk/latin/ska/jazz, I first saw them live last night and was blown away. Their jam swings harder than any other jam, I don't care what anyone might say. They are already famous in Italy and Brazil and are going to play here opening for Buena Vista. They're way better than Buena Vista ;-)

I'd really like to start a music site with photos of local acts, that I've been taking at smaller shows. All of their own sites have downloadable tracks, but a public blog that would allow fan photo posting would be fun to run. There's so much eclectic music here locally that I feel I shouldn't even see big acts until I see all the local names at least once.

Spamassassin, sweet spamassassin

Over the last few days I've set up SpamAssassin on my hosting servers and so far I am thrilled with the results. Not only can I delete spam automatically, reject and block spam senders, but I can also report spammers to central servers that keep track of spammer activities.

Additionally, and this is much more satisfying than just sending spam to a separate folder for deletion, spam gets tagged and quarantined on the server. There is the pleasure of revenge, seeing each piece of spam carefully rated using hundreds of different algorithms of spam-detection, new headers get injected with the summary information, and I also have the option of auto-replying the spammer (and possibly the ISP) with a snide: "Your spam has been intercepted, quarantined and your email address blacklisted. The following content rules showed evidence of spam, etc." Definitely more satisfying than just clicking delete through dozens of messages daily.

In the first 24 hours, I've quarantined over 100 messages server-wide and blocked or auto-deleted many more (according to their spam rating). Scanning over the Subject headers in the quarantined messages, not one of them is a false positive. They are all low-grade, despicable spam content which has been efficiently processed!

Updates for my friends

I'm going to try to post a little more often in my LJ even if it's just for the sake of keeping it somewhat current.

Last week and this week this country is on holidays. Most of these two weeks every store (including supermarkets) is closed and generally the city is fairly quiet. Well, in the center when I went out once last week, there seemed to be a lot of people around. In my hood it's eerily quiet. Plus it's raining most of the time. Two weeks of doing nothing but staying mostly home with the family. The kids are too small for us to go anywhere but the local museums, and even that becomes difficult if it's raining, as we have to take public transport. That's holidays...

In international news, I see the serbians are voting the radical nationalists back in. It seems the more difficulties a country has, the more people act like thinking herds. Time to re-read Elias Canetti's "Crowds and Power".

New Year's is coming up. My resolution will be to learn Dutch, get out more and participate in music-related activities. Also, to develop my consulting business, seek new clients and settle my residence status. I want to start paying taxes again! :-)