Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What constitutes discrimination?

1. In the darkness of winter, some colours are harder to see at night. That's why the council of Limburg has decided to donate safety vests to refugees of a darker hue.

2. Then, this column brought my attention to the fact that some gravitationally-challenged folks are claiming they are targetted because of their weight.

Sooo... are the Dutchies discriminating against darkies in Limburg? And... should victimisation of fatties count as discrimination?

I know how I feel on the latter and am ambivalent about the former. I don't have an objection to safety vests being given to the immigrants. What makes it an issue is that the people of Limburg have actually specified that only black immigrants will receive this freebie. Completely disregarding the fact that most people - black, white, local or otherwise - wear black or dark colours in winter. I'm about as pasty pale as you can get, but in the middle of winter all you can see of me are my eyeballs - as the rest is smothered in hat, gloves, scarf, coat, boots etc. So I guess, well-intended and misguided though it may have been, I think the Limburgers discriminated.

Now onto issue number two. The one that I feel is black-and-white. I am a fattist. Or a weightist. Or an adipophobe (new word I'm trying out... "fear of excessive adipose tissue"). I really struggle to sympathise with the obese. I know that some people are just bigger, much bigger. Some people have hormonal imbalance and medical reasons for why they rapidly gain weight and then cannot lose it. But I think for most, weight gain is something that is just too much effort to consider fighting. A former colleague of mine is 5'6 and weighs over 100kg. He constantly complained about his discomfort, his heart pains and his sweating. He's 28. One particular meal I saw him put away - fast - was a full plate of fries topped with 500g of minced meat and cheese. Then he would tell us that he didn't know what to do about getting healthier. Lose the fries and try eat a tomato or two, for a start.

Weight you can do something about. Skin colour (Michael Jackson aside), you can't.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Here comes another airline rant

I just booked our tickets for Christmas in the UK - had a look at a few different websites and decided that jet2 was the most competitive. I'm not stupid. I know that's not going to be final cost, but yes please, I'll take two for Christmas Eve, return.


120 base fare, times two.
Plus taxes. Times two.

And before you know it, you're up to 388 total.
Right, now we need to check in a bag - it being Christmas, and us hoping to bring home a loot. Just the one bag between the two of us. That'll be 26 euro extra. For wanting to bring luggage on holiday.

Then we get charged for the option of online check-in. 11 euro for the both of us. But wait, it's not actually an option... it's just a charge. They did away with their front desk, AND they're charging for the lack of service. Suck on that!

That's 212.50 pp, in case you're keeping count.

Oh but wait... are you wanting to sit down on the flight? Cos that'll be another 6 euros per actual seat (no ma'am, sitting on one bum cheek will not half that cost... snigger). So add another 24euros return for the - mandatory - luxury of sitting down.

Before you know it, the tickets of 120 pp have shot up to 224,50 pp. Oh, plus 10.50 from the credit card company and... always love this one... 16 euros booking cost - for using their website and paying for my own paper and ink when I have to print the obligatory boarding pass (confirmation code can be found hidden somewhere on page four, after several pages of legal jargon, full colour pictures and adverts encouraging me to book affliated hotels, rent cars and buy orphans from Bulgaria).

Low cost, s'foot. That said, the total cost was still lower than KLM (a.k.a. Satan's Porthole).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

News snippets

Snippet of news from the Netherlands: Massive drug bust
However, my favourite part of the story is not the amount of houses that were searched or subsequent percentage of plantations uncovered. It's the following paragraph:
Police moved in at 7.45am, placing the Kastelenbuurt neighbourhood under emergency rule and only allowing people to leave their homes if they had to go
to work or take children to school.
Emergency rule doesn't sound so scary... Sort of sounds like normal everyday life, really. So you can't leave your house, unless you have to do some errands. Probably a bit inconvenient, but police tend to cordone off everything within 3km of any incident so it's not unusual to trip over or around chevron tape on your way to the shops anyway.

Another thing Dutchies don't do right... Strike. Sounds threatening right? This one could've been a real bitch for me, seeing as it already takes me 90 minutes to get to work by public transport. But don't worry, the court said NO. So the employees shrugged and agreed to get back to work.

How bout that? I don't know whether to be proud of a functioning legislative system or whether to send over some toyi-toyers to show them how to bring a country to its knees. To be honest, it was going to be piss poor strike - intended from 7 to 8.30am. Seeing as most people only start work at about 9.30, it probably wouldn't have been so crippling.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Since I was about 17 I've looked older than I was. Or people have just thought I looked older than I was. Whatever, either way the only time I got asked for ID was when I was standing with particularly young looking friends. It was cool. Everyone wants to look older than they are... when they're a teen.

Ten years (or so) later, it's not so cool. I've just started a new job and am getting to know the new colleagues. I was talking about being in my late-twenties and the big 30 looming in the next few years. "Really," said a co-worker without so much as a smirk, "I thought you were at least 33, or closer to Nellie's age!"

Nellie is 37. Are you kidding me, bitch?

So that's what prompted me to spend excessive amounts on Nivea products earlier today. Standing with my shoulders slumped in the facial product isle, Mills recognised that I needed a supportive hug. Do I really look like I'm in my mid-thirties? Is it these dark bags under my eyes? I thought I'd be able to hit thirty before I had to buy eye cream or wrinkle-free anything.