A Walk Around the Ring

Another wide awake Sunday morning. 8am. Let’s go.

Today I have a destination — Scooter Planet in Oude West. Devon and I are going to scooter around the Noord to get acquainted with some areas we’re considering moving to.

We live on Ceintuurbaan, which is a major car and tram thoroughfare that goes all the way around the ring of the Canal Zone. On Sunday morning, it’s dead, just like everything else in the city.

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The leafy section of Ceintuurbaan, across from Sarphatipark.

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Just the entrance to neighborhood brothel (two doors down from the Kindergarten).

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The ubiquitous logo of the Amsterdam Electricity and Gas Company.

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Everyone look for Bart!

Sunday shopping?

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Bridge over the Ruysdaelkade, separating de Pijp from Oude Zuid.

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These tiny little two seater Canta LX vehicles are officially considered scooters by the city. People drive them in the bike lane, park them on the sidewalk and can drive them right on to the passenger ferries that cross the IJ River.

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People like to celebrate newborns and birthdays by decorating their front stoop.

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Weekend construction zone security measures in front of Museumplein.

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I never see anyone at this weird little evangelism stand.

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The poetry of Pablo Neruda translated into Dutch seems…off.

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The city is still very asleep.

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I’m wide awake, though. My wandering soundtrack today is Beirut/The Flying Club Cup and Steindór Andersen/Stafnbúi.

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Always look down alleys. You may find an impromptu Basquiat memorial.

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Or some strawberry paste-ups.

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Lost and found at the entrance of Vondelpark.

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Which I basically have all to myself.

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A sticker on one of Amsterdam’s priciest streets, adjacent to Vondelpark.

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Looking straight up to a sculptural installation overhanging the front of this Oude West office building.

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It’s called “How to Meet an Angel”

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The Dutch are very straightforward with nomenclature.

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I tried to stop at one of my favorite coffee houses in Amsterdam, Lot 61, but it wasn’t open yet (9am). This was a fun bike sticker parked on the canal in front of the store.

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Still in bed, probably.

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Too fun to pass without a photo.

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Another Canta LX in its natural habitat — all up on the sidewalk.

Time for  a coffee refill myself, and to pick up our scooter.

An Early Sunday Morning Walk

It is humid and filthy. I get up out of bed, and into the street. 5:48am.


This is the neighborhood trash collection point, across the street from our house. For how dense of a city Amsterdam is, they do a really good job with trash collection, road maintenance, and most public services. I guess that’s what a high income tax rate buys you.


Our neighbor has a free little library on their front stoop. I’ve seen people stop and take books on many occasions.


I turn west into Sarphati Park. Immediately to my left, there is a gym and game area with permanent fixtures. This ping pong table does double duty as a bar on Saturday nights.


The west border of Sarphati Park. Streets will suddenly appear like this, and just as suddenly be completely repaved and open. I noticed a few days ago that the bar just out of frame on the right will put some outside tables in this pit when the bar gets busy.


I find Albert Cuypstraat more interesting as a lonely, polluted, desolate, dystopian streetscape than it’s more famous daytime turn as a giant street market.


Why is there a tricycle on the roof?


I walk west until I hit Ruysdaelkade, the western border of de Pijp. I spent a couple minutes hanging out with this swan. It swam over to me from the far side and paced me for a couple blocks.


Lots of outdoor peeing opportunities for men. This urinal is suspiciously located directly across the street from the Ruysdaelkade window ladies.


I turn north to 75 Ruysdaelkade, where I recently learned Piet Mondriaan started the de Stijl art movement.


This utility box on the street in front of 75 Ruysdaelkade honors Mondriaan, too.


I start walking back toward my apartment and I see a piece by laser 3.14. I really dig this guy’s work, but this is one of my least favorite of his. I think the person who drew the dick next to this one might agree with me.


I noticed a plaque on the side of a building with the poem “Avond in de stad (Evening in the City)” by Frederik van Eeden in 1908. I couldn’t find an actual English translation of the poem, but the Google Translate version actually sounds nice.


Back to Albert Cuypstraat, where the sea birds rule the street.


One of the best things about walking down Albert Cuypstraat outside of market hours is to see all the painted roll-front doors.


The best doors are the ones where they paint the products they sell inside. The coacoa butter creme bottle is pretty convincing close up.


This chalk drawing was really surprising. It was drawn next to the entry of a residential building.


I walk by this restaurant a couple blocks from my house often, and each time I wonder if their digital sign is intentionally showing a pixelated image. Still can’t figure it out.



I walk quietly back in the door of the apartment and notice raindrops tapping against the windows. I got back just before a thunderstorm hit and broke open the humidity.

A Walk to Oost

Saturday afternoon, Spring day in Amsterdam.

Exiting my apartment in de Pijp, I see this collection of trash outside the neighboring apartment building on Ceintuurbaan. Was someone convicted? Trash bag blowout?

Walking east, I cross Van Woustraat. This tattoo shop has been around for 50 years.

The Amstel river, separating de Pijp from Oost. A lot of houseboats along the banks. The run down ones tend to be on the far side of the river and the modern ones on the near side.

There is an undeniable charm to the run down ones, though. 

It’s Spring, and there is color here and there when the sun comes out. 

I’ve been craving a motorcycle or scooter lately. This one parked in front of one of the houseboats would do. 

Continuing east, I walk through a pedestrian area between mid-century housing blocks. This garage is not bird-friendly.

The colors in this tag caught my eye behind the Wibautstraat Metro stop.

Navigating sidewalks strewn with parked bikes can be a challenge.

The streets really widen out in this section of Oost. Time for coffee.

Burn The Witch

Like any great song, Burn The Witch is mysterious and lends itself to all sorts of interpretations. The video’s director links the song to the European nativist backlash to the refugee crisis over the past year. Some see it as a cautionary tale of Trump’s America (similarly to the way that Hail to the Thief was about George W. Bush’s America). Musically, the song manages to feel simultaneously dread-inspiring and ebullient. It is one of the most thrilling pieces of music I’ve heard in a long time.

In a lot of ways, this song describes what the two months were like while deciding to leave the authoritarian religious organization we were brought up in. We still went to meetings to keep up appearances. We had to stay in the shadows and cheer at the gallows inherent to cult life. We lived in a constant state of fear of having our lives torn apart. Avoid all eye contact. We were careful in what and how we said anything to our friends and family. No loose talk around tables.

We knew the consequences of witch hunts. We know where you live.

Stay in the shadows
Cheer at the gallows
This is a round up

[Pre-Chorus 1]
This is a low flying panic attack
Sing a song on the jukebox that goes

Burn the witch
Burn the witch
We know where you live

[Verse 2]
Red crosses on wooden doors
And if you float you burn
Loose talk around tables
Abandon all reason
Avoid all eye contact
Do not react
Shoot the messengers

[Pre-Chorus 2]
This is a low flying panic attack
Sing the song of sixpence that goes

Burn the witch
Burn the witch
We know where you live
We know where you live

An Incomplete and Subjective Ordering of Radiohead’s Visual Aesthetic by Album

This is a 100% subjective ranking of my response to Radiohead’s evolving visual aesthetic, ranked by album.

8. The King of Limbs
King of Limbs

7. Amnesiac

6. The Bends
The Bends

5. In Rainbows

4. Hail to the Thief
Hail to the Thief

3. OK Computer
OK Computer

2. Kid A
Kid A

1. Airbag: How am I Driving?
Airbag / How am I Driving?