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vol. 6 #12 – 11 June 2013

The Sentinel Amsterdam

Integrity, heart, humour




Quality next door



in this issue

feature - p.04

perspectives - p.26

lifestyles - p. 60

Quality next door

Dam in 60 mins: Rembrandtplein


‘A redesigned large church (kerk) and the entire place is simply beautiful’

‘There is so much to see, so many temptations that demand your attention’

‘It should make your antennas extend’

amsterdam city life - p. 77

sport - p. 94

sport - p.96

Bring back

On the volley The Return of the Repressed

The Gold Room



Too many coffee/soup houses and cafés are more or less identikit’

‘A year of structured punishment‘ more

café/bar review - p. 52

perspectives - p. 64

city gem - p. 66

Van Mechelen

How to hang out in Amsterdam


star beer guide - p. 78

sentinel recommended - p. 81

spotted - p. 82

Ciney blond

Where is this in Amsterdam?

film - p. 83

trends - p. 84

health & well-being - p. 88


Bad trends would be good if...


technology - p. 90

User Interface

The Sentinel Amsterdam

E-mail: Website: Contributors: Sam van Dam, E.D. Munsterman, Valeria Scimia, Andrei Barburas, Dirkje Bakker-Pierre, Evelina Kvartunaite and Simon Joseph

Editors: Gary Rudland & Denson Pierre Design, realisation and form: Andrei Barburas & Webmaster: Webhost:

The Sentinel Amsterdam does not intentionally include unaccredited photos/illustrations that are subject to copyright. If you consider your copyright to have been infringed, please contact us at




Quality next door 5

‘Amsterdam has changed so much on a social level in recent years’

By Denson Pierre

A few weeks ago I learned from a local client that the folk from a Haarlem-based brewery were to visit their establishment here in Amsterdam. The brewery in question happens to be one of the fastest growing in the Netherlands and not only did a salesman and his director show up to borrel, but a fair proportion of the entire workforce.



‘I was reminded of a time when Amsterdam-based companies used to do these nice things’


‘Our desire to feel that we are dealing with other human beings when constructing our affairs of fun and indulgence’

I went to meet the people from the brewery and would eventually be invited to visit their very impressive operations at Jopenkerk, Haarlem. To have met them on a company outing, spending in the very bars they supply with their fine selection of A-class beers, dented my developing idea that all suppliers are just out to maximise profit and share no regard for our desire to feel that we are dealing with other human beings when constructing our affairs of fun and indulgence. It may have been old-fashioned marketing and/or a calculated attempt to show business clients that the products they deliver are made by a team of happy and proud people, or just chance. But it was such a nice touch that I was reminded of a time when Amsterdam-based companies used to do these nice things more often. On the simplest of levels, and given that it is not a fully concessionary arrangement, it offers the client bars about ninety minutes of at least 25 dedicated lovers of beer giving a nice little boost to takings, while celebrating their business linkage. This was one of the most sensible and heart-warming corporate acts I have observed in Amsterdam for quite some time. Individual hospitality businesses can do similar things, from time to time, but to have a manufacturer and supplier recycling money through your business is just a refreshing act, which they plan to repeat every couple of months with other partner businesses.

To complete the story, I went to visit Jopen at its base of operations in Haarlem soon afterwards. What an opportunity to remind myself that somehow, given that I consider Haarlem to be one of the most gorgeous cities I have ever come across, I had not made the journey there for more than ten years. The point being that it takes me longer to cycle across greater Amsterdam (25 minutes) than it does to hop on a train and stroll out into historic Haarlem; such a natural and effortless trip to make. After a leisurely stroll through historic Haarlem, taking in the beauty of the place, I finally arrived at the terrace of Jopenkerk and the gods of sunshine turned up the intensity at that very moment. All of the red prominent in the brewery’s branding made the square look like the aftermath of an explosion in a sweet shop. The building containing the brewery, café and restaurant is, of course, a redesigned large church (kerk) and the entire place is simply beautiful. When I started to interview the owners, business managers and brewers about their history, strategy and beer, I began to realise what an inspiring and comfortable place it is, much aided by the extraordinarily friendly employees and the owners and managers themselves. I was joined a little later by the women of No Office Studios, Amsterdam, to help me assess the full experience of being present at this capital, historic, hospitality-concept establishment. It is not really the place of a lead feature to endorse commercial operations but Jopen, its beer and its people are so well worked out and presented that it should be on every Amsterdammer’s radar as a particularly warm aspect to plan into a little trip to our neighbouring city. It is well worth it. In Amsterdam, meanwhile, these A-class beers are currently available at Café Bax, Gollem, Café Kostverloren and Café de Toog. Haarlem is closer than you think.


Amsterdam has changed so much on a social level in recent years, with an entirely new generation, new to city life and certainly new to Amsterdam, occupying public and private real estate. Behaviours and expectations are very much in flux as the Amsterdam so immortalised as a cool, rebellious, sharing and fun place is being replaced by a more showy place, but lacking in a certain kind of content. It is home to newer masses of service industry and IT-oriented young professionals, while artists and conjurers become somewhat marginalised, usually through pricing.



‘I went to visit Jopen at its base of operations in Haarlem’

















‘Such a natural and effortless trip to make’














‘Jopen, its beer and its people are so well worked out and presented that it should be on every Amsterdammer’s radar’



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Dam in 60 minutes! 26


By Sam van Dam


‘Our journey is a short one that can even be done on foot’

Last time out I took you up North to the beautiful island of Marken. Since that was a somewhat longer trip than some readers might want to take by bike, this time our journey is a short one that can even be done on foot, to Rembrandtplein.

When you have returned from the water tour, return to Rokin and keep walking towards Munt, which is easily recognisable by its old-style tower featuring a clockwork chime that marks the hour and enhances the scenery in this part of town, along with the Hotel De L’Europe just across the way. You could also take a pit-stop there, while enjoying the view over the Amstel and the hundreds of little boats filled with chillaxing people, at least on sunny days. You can dwell on the fact As you walk down Damrak, you start to see the that life in Amsterdam often seems so easy and buildings situated around Dam Square, the central beautiful that it entices visitors to return again and point of Amsterdam, offering such delights as the Royal again. Palace, Madame Tussauds, the Nieuwekerk, the war memorial and other landmarks that define this famous You are now very close to your final destination, so square. Rotate 360 degrees to take it all in and then cross the road and enter the Reguliersbreestraat. move toward Rokin or, if you are in mood for some Marvel at the beauty of the Tuschinski Theater as you shopping, walk down Kalverstraat instead. You’re bound continue towards the wide open square that is our last to find something you like in the hundreds of shops stop. Grab a drink or some ice-cream while you find lining one of Amsterdam’s two main shopping streets. yourself a nice spot on the grassy, circular, central area Keep walking straight on and just to your right you’ll of the Rembrandtplein, where you can spend hours find Spui, a lovely square that is regularly home to art looking at the beautiful buildings, the relaxing people and book markets, if you have the time. You can find a and the artists selling their work. This is also where multitude of interesting and inspiring items there or you can find me, presenting a fine selection of my photo just grab a coffee and sit on one of the benches, taking prints of what, to me, is the best city in the world. So, if in the scene. it’s not raining, come by and enjoy my photographic impressions of Amsterdam; they make awesome Once you are done enjoying Spui, it’s time to get back souvenirs to take home with you. I’m looking forward on track, so return to the Rokin/Kalverstraat and head to meeting you on ‘my’ square! to the right (south), not forgetting to take a closer look


The adventure starts at Central Station, turn your back on the visually pleasing building that facilitates the arrival of visitors to our hometown and head towards Damrak, Amsterdam’s ‘Red Carpet’ and home, these days, to gazillions of restaurants, shops, bars, cafés and of course the nearby, world-famous Red Light District, all of which we’ll simply ignore. This is easier said than done, as there is so much to see, so many temptations that demand your attention and try to make you spend your euros before you have even entered the actual city.

at the statue of former Queen Wilhelmina and her horse standing proudly at the bridge opposite. This is also the starting point for boat tours, if you want to take a little time out from your stroll to Rembrandtplein, get a ticket and hop on one of the very typical 70s-style boats that constantly criss-cross the watery arteries of Amsterdam. These typical 1970s-style barges provide a visual impression of the city that looks familiar, yet very different; a pleasure that locals and visitors alike appreciate very much every time.




‘1970s-style barges provide a visual impression of the city that looks familiar, yet very different’









‘Marvel at the beauty of the Tuschinski Theater’








‘Rotate 360 degrees to take it all in’












perspectives feature

perspectives feature



perspectives feature

perspectives feature

‘Take a closer look at the statue of former Queen Wilhelmina and her horse’




‘This is also where you can find me, presenting a fine selection of my photo prints’









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cafe/bar review

CafĂŠ/Bar Review Van Mechelen

cafe/bar review

‘The new hype in the city, as far as grand café and restaurant concepts go’

By Denson Pierre

It may be the new hype in the city, as far as grand café and restaurant concepts go, but Van Mechelen is already approaching excellence. Considering its handy location in another pretty neighbourhood of Amsterdam South, it is almost a ‘must visit’ place that has created a theme built on the Burgundian enjoyment of life: good food complemented with top-class beer and wine. If you want a taste of what it feels like to visit a caférestaurant in Mechelen, Belgium, Van Mechelen is an easy way for an Amsterdammer to savour this experience and is just a short cycle ride away. Ambiance Burgundian. Rating 5 Staff/Regulars Members of staff are clearly very well trained and this adds to the light and airy atmosphere. Having opened for business just three months ago, those who have fallen in love with the place and its consumables have not yet had time to clock up the number of visits and connections to be considered ‘regulars’. Rating 5

Televised sport No space within the design and layout for this form of distraction. Rating 3 Prices Surprisingly, these are within the ‘normal’ range for this level and quality of fare. Outstandingly fairly priced snacks and nibbles are also offered, to help you along as you take on the fine (Mechelen brewery group Alken-Maes) beers and wines. When did you last enjoy a generous portion of fresh olives for a mere €2.50? Rating 5 Music At the time of review the establishment was fairly packed out. The atmosphere is conducive to chats and hilarity and, although the selection of tunes could be heard far in the background, the sound system may well have more kick. It should, as the building is of such a solid constitution that it should contain noise and not easily upset the neighbours. Rating 5 Smoking area provision Fortunately for puffers, the originally industrial nature of the address means that the former loading bay and entrance/exit areas have become two naturally covered terrace areas, separated from the luscious interior by huge glass-panelled doors. Rating 5 Total rating: 28/30 (Rating from 1-5, where 1 = Very poor and 5 = Excellent)


Van Mechelen Sloterkade 96-97, Amsterdam

cafe/bar review


‘Members of staff are clearly very well trained’

cafe/bar review



cafe/bar review

‘Outstandingly fairly priced snacks and nibbles are also offered’

cafe/bar review


cafe/bar review


‘The atmosphere is conducive to chats and hilarity’

cafe/bar review


scam ster dam?




‘You face the everyday hell that is job-seeking but now you must also beware of scam companies’ ‘The form asked for all my personal information’ By Valeria Scimia

Unemployed, international and looking for a job in the Netherlands? Not only must you face the everyday hell that is job-seeking but now you must also beware of scam companies. Yes, they’ve arrived here too.

would have been untraceable. No one was even picking up the phone at the number given in the e-mail and the company they claimed to represent wasn’t even active in Europe!

‘This smelled very fishy to the Italian in me’


So, I said no and told them I was no longer interested. They even had the gumption to call me back and ask me why I wouldn’t do it. I gave them a silly excuse, so as not to give them any more information or tips on how to improve their scummy scam. I am happy I started I was recently contacted by an ostensibly legitimate checking their contacts as soon as their promises company that wanted to hire me. The contact took the form of what appeared to be a genuine e-mail, complete seemed too good to be true, even if I am still angry I allowed them to data-mine all of my information when with website and logo, from a company in Australia I sent them my CV and filled in their form. that seemed absolutely legitimate (I have since contacted the company to warn them that someone It beggars belief that they set up an entire facade in overseas is using their name and logo to scam people). The e-mail explained that the company was opening an these times of work despair and it really doesn’t feel office in Holland and was looking for people who would right, especially because there’s not much I can do handle the back-office orders. It contained a form to be about it now, apart from inform people. I didn’t think filled in and returned if I was interested in the position; this would ever happen here, in this country, where everything has to be, or always seems to be, so the form asked for all my personal information, including my bank details. I had been looking for a job legitimate. But I guess some things never change and a and was interested in the offer, so I filled in and sent off place doesn’t make the people, and certainly doesn’t the form and my CV. Once they received my e-mail, they influence the choices they make. I just wanted to share my experience to alert everyone to the possible scam. If asked me to start a trial period without practically explaining anything of what the job was actually about. a company contacts you and asks you to return a form, including your bank details, when you have never met I didn’t immediately reply, so they called me the next anyone face-to-face, it should make your antennas day asking me to start immediately with the trial period, promising lots of benefits once the contract was extend and remember to double-check their credibility. Apparently, it is illegal to ask such questions of signed. I hadn’t met anyone at this point, only someone here, so don’t fall for it as I did. As I am still telephone interviews, and that already didn’t seem right to me. I asked them to send me more information waiting to hear from the company in Australia, I didn’t feel it was proper to disclose its name publicly just yet, by e-mail about what I was meant to do and, a few moments later, I received a response asking me to make plus I am not sure the scammers always use the same company as a fake front. But what they ask you to do is a bank transfer to show them I was trustworthy. The more or less always the same, so keep your eyes open to ‘trial’ implied that they would send me some money and I had to transfer half via GWK or MoneyTransfer to the little details! one of their clients and keep the other half. This smelled very fishy to the Italian in me. In reality, they could be sending a cheque to the bank, which would register an income that would later bounce, after I had already made the payment to their ‘client’. On top of losing money, the person that tried to ‘hire’ me/you



Je moet er geweest zijn.


Authentic and full of surprises. That’s Mechelen. Hospitable and honourable. That’s the people of Mechelen. Come and experience the city’s urban charms for yourself.

Authentic and full of surprises. That’s Mechelen. Hospitable and honourable. That’s the people of Mechelen. Come and experience the city’s urban charms for yourself.

photography © Milo Profi


Mechelen Mechelen



How to hang out in Amsterdam ‘Café culture must help teach’

‘I am seduced by places where waiters don’t work for tips’

By E.R. Muntrem

It is not against the rules for babies to cry in cafés. It happens. Mostly, they sleep or sit in someone’s lap with commendable decorum. Otherwise, kids in cafés tend to nosh a little less than their elders and handle crayons a little more. And while anyone who toddles behind the bar will certainly get caught, they can always claim they were encouraged to toddle there in the first place. Dutch parents, and I realise this is hard to prove, seem to let their kids wander a metre or two further away from them than parents from other developed countries; that universal “where is she?” look delayed five or ten seconds. If this extra distance is a sign of perceived safety, café culture must help teach it. Except for chefs, all café workers do more or less all the jobs required to run a café. They all wait on tables,

serve hot and cold drinks, set up outdoor furniture, load and retrieve supplies, take the garbage out, wash glasses, light candles, arrange flowers, unfurl the awning and ring up the bill. When the young guy or girl greets you, you may know they are not the owner but, for the moment, they are the face of the establishment. It may as well be their place. Admittedly, I am seduced by places where waiters don’t work for tips, where the rushed pace of eating in a restaurant in America does not exist. In a café you can do what you want for as long as you want and get food and drink while you do it. Pretty cool, and as much a baseline for how to hang out in Amsterdam as cycling is for how to get around. Places to eat and drink owned by corporations have to package experience, to deliver it. What’s our brand? How can our managers and servers be most efficient? How, ultimately, can we be number one? Not something most cafés seem to be worried about and where the universal signs for ‘we are having a good time together’


‘Café culture churns towards the civilised without grinding anyone too far down’

or ‘I am happy here by myself’ (clinked glasses or absorption in a newspaper, say) are routinely in evidence. This is one true grace of democracy, the average worth smiling about.

night, the crowd of drinkers may as well be at a party, hosted by their parents or kids or both.

It’s not all about money; café culture churns towards the civilised without grinding anyone too far down. As At cafés, co-workers have a beer before or after their well as pleasure, there is power in this. The best shift, friends drop by or a regular pops in with some distillation I know of what democracy should be came news. The stream of customers they don’t have to woo from a young woman working at Café Captein. With and don’t have to ‘work’ gives the whole thing a slightly our meal in front of us, my friend noticed he was familial, living room, perfectly public feel that makes missing his salad. Flagged down, the young woman the work far less of a personality crimp than working at went to investigate. “It’s on its way,” she said, “I told my Starbucks. Or so it seems. I do not mean to pretend boss to do it”. carrying drinks across the street to the canal side seating or giving obvious directions yet again is always Imagine . . . we told Putin to do it. We told Obama to do glorious, but most people who work in café’s laugh and it.  We told the bankers to do it... smile a fair bit, almost as much as the patrons. And when the owner of a café is of a generation older than those working there, as is usually the case, it lends a wise uncle or mother hen feel to the proceedings. In the daytime, no one is ever too caught up in his or her designated title to ignore a baby on the move. And at


‘Most people who work in café’s laugh and smile a fair bit’

city feature gem

‘The last of the large, independent music stores left standing in Amsterdam’



city gem

Concerto ‘It has incorporated a cute café and lunch area within its premises, as well as introducing a bookshop and lounge area’

Concerto and its new café and bookshop Concerto has not stuck but has twisted. Since concept and not end up spending more time September it has incorporated a cute café in this true city gem than you had anticipated.


and lunch area within its premises, as well as introducing a bookshop and lounge area, Concerto making it possible to spend an almost Utrechtsestraat 60, 1017 VP Amsterdam nostalgic time there over several hours. It still has a vast range of the very best music in vinyl (both new and second-hand) and CD It is a rush when, on a full stomach, you can form, DVDs, DJ equipment and even gear make an instant decision on where your next used for live musical performances. It’s a gold city-centre lunch will be taken. It is almost mine. ecstasy when the venue is situated in a music shop which, for decades, has been If it has taken this clever adaptation in space defined by its exceptional range and quality utilisation to keep this institution viable and of music available in Amsterdam. Concerto available to Amsterdam-based music lovers, is the last of the large, independent music then I personally wish to support this venture stores left standing in Amsterdam. All the and help mean this type of music retailer to others have long since been killed off by remain part of the city scene. For people of a everything from the advance in recording certain age, there is something infinitely more and playback technologies to habitual illegal appealing about physically handling recorded downloaders only now realising that their material, appreciating the artwork in its behaviour has an impact right back down to packaging, having a listen and then deciding street level, despite what they might think if it is a purchase you would like to make. about the giant studios and recording Even though non-digital stockpiling has companies. become rather passé, I challenge you to visit By Denson Pierre


city gem

city gem



city gem

city gem


city gem


‘There is something infinitely more appealing about physically handling recorded material, appreciating the artwork in its packaging’

city gem








amsterdam city life

: K C A B G BRIN Independent cafés/bars 77

By Denson Pierre

Something that seems to have been watered down considerably in Amsterdam’s hospitality industry in recent years is independence of thought, styling and design. All you have to do is walk around the city to note that way too many coffee/soup houses and cafés are more or less identikit. This also applies to many cafés with unimaginative business leaders, who open unoriginal looking spaces and hope that the use of white paint, purple or blue lights and house music is all it takes. Luckily, there is something brewing to save our days and nights. I have come across café owners who are now seriously considering ending the arrangements they have with the giant drink suppliers. There are actually no good arguments left for continuing with these huge multinationals, as they are frankly more expensive at wholesale, for the same A-class products, than the supermarkets on every Amsterdammer’s street corner.

It looks like space is being created for the smaller brewers to take up the supply of A-class beer to smaller establishments throughout the city. The giants can keep their character-free tourist traps and those bars still able to benefit purely from their unbeatable locations throughout the city. The Sentinel says bring back better and more original businesses of scale within the local hospitality industry, which will help more cafés and bars not only to become distinguishable by the interior designs they will need to conjure, but also through the variety of local and regional beers that could become part of their coherent identity. The overriding benefit of such courageous thinking and action would be an immediate return to realistic and reasonable pricing for A-class beer in Amsterdam, which remains the staple of the easy consumables as this recession drones on.

star beer guide


Star Beer

star beer guide

The Sentinel Star beer guide By Denson Pierre

ciney blond

(7% A.B.V.)

‘Different beers can seem to weigh on the conscience as much as on the taste buds’ 79

Just like the changing of the seasons, different beers can seem to weigh on the conscience as much as on the taste buds. Ciney blond is a lovely, almost effeminate tasting beer. All light, smooth fruitiness bolstered by substantial alcohol content. As the temperature increases, it can even feel like a thirst quencher. A nice session beer and one that could function as an entrance-level, quality beer, in terms of its complexity. For advanced samplers, it is a great lower platform to descend to after cruising the space occupied by the 8-plus percentage alcoholic beauties. Ciney blond is brewed by Alken-Maes, Mechelen, Belgium.


Cafe Kostverloren 04/06/06


ende Recomm

We find the best, most fun, most typical, exciting, or local favourite restaurants etcetera in Amsterdam and bring them to you; an easy way to feel like a local.

To be seen and tasted

To be seen and tasted

Fun, Drinking & Music

Cafe de Toog 1890’s grandeur fashioned into Amsterdam-West, grand, brown cafe-restaurant-cool. Classy drinks and meals. Nicolaas Beetsstraat 142 hs Amsterdam

Parck Great fun, beautiful people and simply the best bar food in town! Overtoom 428 Amsterdam

Mulligans Irish Music Bar Amsterdam’s best address for live Irish music: Five (5) nights a week! Check our agenda for upcoming sessions. Amstel 100 1017 AC Amsterdam

To Be Seen and Tasted

Connoisseurs Delight

To Be Seen and Tasted

Cafe restaurant Edel Cafe restaurant Edel is the perfect place for lunch, dinner or to simply enjoy a drink. Edel is a unique place in Amsterdam. Postjesweg 1 1057 DT Amsterdam

Incanto A restaurant with a classic Italian kitchen. Venetian chef Simone Ambrosin is known for his pure and simple style of cooking with great feeling for nuance. Amstel 2 Amsterdam

Café Kostverloren Café Kostverloren is a contemporary cafe offering the cosiness of a saloon, an open kitchen and the intimacy of a living room. The large terras is great for sunny days. 2e Kostverlorenkade 70 Amsterdam

Fun, Drinking & Music

Connoisseurs Delight

Neighbourhood cosy

Café Oporto Café Oporto is a traditional Amsterdam ‘brown cafe’. Welcoming tourists and regular customers alike, they offer televised sports, wifi and a wide range of reasonably priced beers and spirits. Zoutsteeg 1 1012 LX Amsterdam

Planet Rose The first Caribbean restaurant in the Netherlands, specialised in Jamaican cuisine. The menu features a daily changing selection! Nicolaas Beetsstraat 47 Amsterdam

Zest Zest is fine food, warm atmosphere and classy drinks with regular semi-acoustic (live) music and DJs (Thursday to Sunday). Amsterdam’s newest and freshest! Bilderdijkstraat 188 Amsterdam

Fun, Drinking & Music

Connoisseurs Delight

Fun, drinking and music

Bax A cosy and friendly local café with a focus on special or interesting beers and good quality food. Open 7 days a week with a professional kitchen offering a lunch and dinner service. Ten Katestraat 119 Amsterdam

Opera Prima Patisserie Bistro Traiteur The best place in town for lunch, exquisite high teas or brunches and all of your luxury catering, both private and corporate! Kinkerstraat 228 Amsterdam

Gollem Gollem’s Proeflokaal, Gollem and Gollem II represent the best addresses serving the fullest range of top Belgian, Dutch and international beers in Amsterdam. Overtoom 160-161




Where is this in Amsterdam?


Answer to:


Room 2c film O Brother, Where Art Thou

By dpmotions


“Come on in boys, the water’s fine.” This is arguably the best all-round and funny musical to come out of Hollywood in a generation and certainly one of the best three soundtracks of the same period. George Clooney will never be as good or charming as he is here, playing the accidental leader of a trio of chain gang escapees in the US south of the 1930s. Spirituality meets the Ku Klux Klan, all coloured by Virginia bluegrass. 83

Escape from New York (1981) “Call me Snake.” The coolest handle for a leading man (Kurt Russell) in any movie to date. Here he is sent in on a heroic, ‘at all cost’, one-man mission to rescue the president of the United States from the prison island Manhattan has become in a ‘future’ representation of 1997. Air Force One has crashed there and the countdown is on. Classic 1980s turn of the millennium, dystopian vision with style, pace and gadgetry.

By dpmotions




Bad trends would be good if they weren’t so bad ‘Trends are great to join and surf, like a once in a lifetime tsunami’

By Dirkje Bakker-Pierre 85

Each and every micro-world has its own specific trends. Take the fashion world, for example, where one day you have to wear high heels and round noses, and the next it’s flat, hairy elephant feet-like boots that must hug your feet. Or take the automotive world, where once upon a time you could never have enough chrome on your car, or the food world, where we have quietly moved from fast to green and wholesome, or the TV world, which used to be about fiction and is now more real than reality. Some of these trends are great to join and surf, like a once in a lifetime tsunami, others can slip by unnoticed and others still keep bugging and bugging you even if you try to avoid them like the plague.

stops liking them they fade away as quickly as the sun in our small, wet country. There is one trend, however, that has festered within Facebook from the very beginning and which seems to be gradually growing and growing without anyone ever liking the posts… and I mean EVER.

The online world, and specifically the social media universe, eats through trends like a fat chick after a hunger strike. Facebook, in particular, seems to move seamlessly from one hype to the next; one day it’s pictures with fuzzy edges or a bit of a 1970s filter, the next it’s a profile picture with you very consciously not looking into the camera (very spontaneously and naturally non-posing, you might say). These are mostly harmless things, if I’m honest, and when everyone

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open” – Frank Zappa

Yes, I am talking about daily quotes, words of wisdom, holy quotes, mesmerizingly philosophical quotes, cheesy quotes, religious quotes… How can I describe all of them in one easy sentence; pieces of text from (famous) people (it can never be something you thought of yourself) that ‘disclose’ previously secret information about being happy in life (or at least previously secret to the person doing the posting, I presume). In short: texts that belong on tiles hanging on the wall in old Dutch people’s toilets. Why? Here are a few I found in my news feed this week:

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.” – Seneca “If you don’t take what you are doing seriously, then nobody else will”. – Darryl Dlt Thomson





health & well-being

– ‘The stone is highly associated with the moon and moon goddess Diana’ –

Moonstone 88

By Evelina Kvartunaite

One of my personal favourite gemstones is moonstone. It‘s been around for centuries and is used in many cultures. As suggested by its name, the stone is highly associated with the moon and moon goddess Diana. It brings calm, peace and love, and is said to become more powerful when the moon is full, so that‘s the best time to wear it. One proverb even claims that moonstone can bring you love that will fly you to the moon!

helpful for people who are very sensitive and it is also used in meditation, for reflecting oneself. It‘s always best to charge your gem when the moon is shining at night, either while wearing it or by leaving it on a windowsill that receives moonlight. Moonstone is also used in healing and is known for balancing the internal organ systems, enabling them to work in stable cycles. It‘s usually more associated with women but is also known to help men embrace their more emotional side, soft creative energies and optimism. Perhaps understandably, moonstone should have limited exposure to strong direct sunlight.

Spiritually, this amazing stone is said to enhance intuition and is always associated with the self. It is a very powerful personal stone, which doesn‘t add or remove any aspects of the personality, but merely reflects the person wearing it. It is said to be very

– ‘It is said to be very helpful for people who are very sensitive’ –

health & well-being


– ‘More associated with women but is also known to help men embrace their more emotional side’ –


‘UIs must be able to teach their users over time’

User Interface 90

The next big thing in UX

‘Complexity and bad user experience can prevent users from integrating it into their lives’ By Andrei Barburas

Philip Batin wrote an article a couple of months ago, about the next big idea in User Interaction; gadgets that adapt to your skills. As gadgets become more complicated, UIs must be able to teach their users over time. Apparently, more and more interactive products are being returned. In 2002, 48% of all returned products were technically fully functional but were rejected for failing to satisfy user needs, 20% purely due to customer remorse. Even though a product may have all the features one can hope for, complexity and bad user experience can prevent users from integrating it into their lives.

In his article, Batin shows how learning how to use complex products is like learning a computer game. Just like the challenges in video games match the skills of the user, so should TV interactions or any UI interactions for that matter. For reference, Batin used the four levels described in the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition. Level 1: Novice •Rigid adherence to taught rules or plans •No exercise of ‘discretionary judgment’ Level 2: Advanced beginner •Limited ‘situational perception’ •All aspects of work treated separately with equal importance



‘The average Joe has no idea about the full potential of a smart phone’

Level 3: Competent •‘Coping with crowdedness’ (multiple activities, accumulation of information) •Some perception of actions in relation to goals •Deliberate planning •Formulates routines Level 4: Proficient •Holistic view of situation •Prioritizes importance of aspects •‘Perceives deviations from the normal pattern’ •Employs maxim for guidance, with meanings that adapt to the situation at hand Now, just imagine a User Interface that adapts based on what you can do and the abilities you have. As you learn new things, new levels of complexity are unlocked, opening the door to fully knowing your device, because you learned by doing and not by reading a complicated

book, the majority of which you probably skipped through. Personally, I believe that there are certain end users, most likely the majority, that use only a limited set of features from any device they buy. Mobile phones have become indispensable tools in our daily activities, yet the average Joe has no idea about the full potential of a smart phone. The same applies to Smart TVs; they can do lots of things, yet the only thing that we do with them is flip channels and complain how bad the shows are. The bottom line is that it’s definitely something worth thinking about, not only from an operating system perspective but also from the perspective of applications developers.






On The Volley


The Return of the Repressed or the Point of No Return

By Simon Joseph

‘Insanity is when you keep repeating the same behaviour and expect a different outcome’

‘The past season was like a book with most of its pages missing’

Someone once said that insanity is when you keep repeating the same behaviour and expect a different outcome; most likely a psychologist aimed at his or her ailing patients. But for me these words are more reminiscent of my own conduct over the course of a regular football season. Week in, week out, season after season, I would expect Tottenham to win something and more often than not, I’d be left disappointed. So I decided to stop. No more football – at least not for one full season.

Not knowing what was happening in football was extremely annoying, to put it mildly, and it wasn’t just my own self-denial and avoidance of all things football that was a hindrance; the extent to which I had to ask others to go, in order to remain ignorant, was much more excruciating than I’d ever imagined. There may even be some damage done to football-related friendships that is irreparable. I now feel as though I’m walking through an empty stadium after everyone else has gone home.

So, what now and where to next? The season is well and truly over and I’m free to do whatever I want. I could read the back-dated sports pages, check all the stats, and find out all the facts, if I wanted to. I could spend hours catching up on last season and speculating on The season 2012/13 is now over and during the whole the next with the friends I’ve still got left down the nine months, I didn’t watch a single moment of football pub, if I wanted to. I can follow all the transfer gossip, or read a single article on the subject. That was my watch pre-season friendlies and build up all my hopes... challenge and I was committed to it. What is more, But, as with most addictions, that would simply be despite all the warning signs, I didn’t relapse. After a falling back into a previous state of dependence and year of structured punishment, I didn’t have a clue everything I’ve just put myself through would’ve been about what was going on in the English Premier League for nothing. So how do I go back to an old habit without (or any other league). Only having picked up bits and a total relapse, or would it be better to keep abstaining? pieces of information that somehow slipped through the net, the past season was like a book with most of its All my questions seem to be met with other questions pages missing. and no solutions. On the other hand, if you ask me what


‘Has abstaining for a season changed me?’

Tottenham Hotspur means, I would still tell you that it’s not just a pretty football package, it’s about kith and kin, not just where I came from but how I relate to others around me in the here and now. What’s more, millions of people are attracted to football; they hunger for it and yearn to connect with it, even though I still believe it’s a form of ineffective escape from one unsatisfying reality to another. Following football is a classic example of cognitive dissonance – when you simultaneously entertain two opposing thoughts that appear to cancel each other out. Before the start of each season, for example, we all want our club to win everything or to be taken over by billionaires but know that it’s impossible or, in the latter case, controversial and even undesirable. So we invent ways to cope. We develop a so-called ‘siege mentality’, or other harmful patterns of behaviour, to relieve the discomfort of incongruity. With this in mind, the past year was supposed to be an exercise in behaviour modification – to discover the root of the problem and treat it effectively. But, one year on, have I really discovered anything at all?

it until the cows come home but it was us who made those changes, or at least allowed them to happen, and those changes will continue to happen with or without me. Perhaps, then, the questions I should be asking are: has abstaining for a season changed me? Am I still obsessed or have I broken the habit of a lifetime? Is following football really that terrible or even a real addiction?

The English Premier League, whether you watch it or not, is still probably the most exciting football league in the world. We can complain about the changes made to

One thing is certain, this lack of resolution is not completely without satisfaction because, like all forms of fixation or obsession, there’s comfort and familiarity to be found in repetition, as Tottenham miss out on Champion’s League football by a single point again. The repressed will always return to haunt us, or so it seems; and, before we know it, the start of next season will be upon us. There will be more pain, no doubt, and more joy. This time, however, it will take more than a boot camp approach to keep me away; and, who knows, Tottenham might even win the league... Come on you Spurs!


‘There may even be some damage done to football-related friendships’


The Gold Room 96

By Denson Pierre

The season petered out in an all-German Champions League Final which did nothing to dispel the record that this was a season of too few new stars or regular spectacle. We look forward to the next season as it ought not be too difficult to create more excitement than in the one just past. We did have the opportunity to hand over the envelopes and trophies to the Sentinel Fantasy Football game winners. This year, all the major winners from the Sentinel Fantasy Football League were unable to be present for the physical prize giving but the winner of the Gold Game, and focus of this column, was there to receive his prize for winning the master game, in style. So we retire the Gold Room until the beginning of the new football season. See you all again then.

Fantasy Football Gold – Champions League 2012-2013 winner, Denson Pierre and his prizes.


Charles Conneely, Sentinel Fantasy Football League 2012-2013: Champion! 97

Matt Parker receives his third place and Manager of the Month prizes for the Sentinel Fantasy Football League.




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