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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

another nerdy thing - Opera 8.5

opera 8.5 is available - without ads, and finally for free, from

Why should anyone care about Opera? This test claims it is the fastest browser, at least for windows: Brower Speed Test. And it might help you to get in touch with your inner nerd.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

[from the editor]

The previous post has been edited; links and content have been removed. The background of this unusual measure is as follows:

The Gobbledygook Generator had been moved to its own domain yesterday (www.unfg.org).

Somehow, the statement on the above website then found its way into a UN mailing list [no, we didn't post it to the list].

From there, the statement continued its journey, and was forwarded to several other mailing lists.

Rather baffled by this huge and early success of the Program for Capacity-Building in the Field of Language Transparency Impact, we decided to edit the previous post. Links, as well as some content were removed, merely to protect the privacy of people who were not involved in this program.

Thank you for your understanding.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Hanoi is filled with tranquil lakes, tree lined boulevards, roaring motorbikes and lots and lots of Embassy-[snip] and UN Bureaucrats.


Voilà the UN Gobbledygook Generator. It took 20 minutes to create this revolutionary tool, which might potentially save countless hours of tedious report-writing.

The UN Gobbledygook Generator is in an early beta stage. Please submit error reports and suggestions for improvement to this blog.


Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Finally. The Ipa-Nima Boutique is online.

I even managed to keep my own deadline - finishing this by the end of May. A lot of the nitty-gritty boring stuff remains do be done, like getting an 800-number, setting up a merchant account for credit card processing.

More importantly, marketing this will probably need a lot of time, and cause a few headaches. Still, Christina is a media magnet, which obviously helps.

Let me know if there's anything which can be done to improve the site. (of course, I'll offer a 10% discount, ie cash-back/refund after purchase, to anyone who mentions this blog when ordering).

Go ahead, shop, and be happy.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

don't move

when the temperature in your study approches 95°F / 35°C during early morning hours, think about the following:

"The body's dominant forms of heat loss in a hot environment are radiation and evaporation. However, when air temperature exceeds 95°F / 35°C, radiation of heat from the body ceases and evaporation becomes the only means of heat loss. An individual exercising in the heat easily can sweat 1-2 L/h. If humidity reaches 100%, evaporation of sweat is no longer possible and the body loses its ability to dissipate heat."

Humidity is already 90% here.

Should we spend the rest of the day in bed, not excercising? Or evaporate outside only?

Inevitably and tragically, a wrong choice today will result in failure of renal and splanchnic vasoconstriction, cerebral edema, cerebrovascular congestion, a dramatic decrease in cerebral blood flow and finally, Central Nervous System Dysfunction:

"Initially, the body attempts to lower the core temperature via renal and splanchnic vasoconstriction with concomitant peripheral vasodilatation, thereby shunting blood to the periphery. Eventually, the vasoconstriction needed to keep the blood in the periphery fails; peripheral blood flow decreases, less heat is carried away from the core, and hyperthermia results. This hyperthermia causes cerebral edema and cerebrovascular congestion, which culminate in increased intracranial pressure. This increased ICP combined with a decreased mean arterial pressure (from the failure of renal and splanchnic vasoconstriction and decreased peripheral resistance) causes cerebral blood flow to decrease.

This is manifested clinically as Central Nervous System Dysfunction."

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Limousine Service

Want to swank around town in a stunning old classic Citroen? Our answer to this suggestive question from the Luxe City Guide is clearly no. We only swank around town on our Minsk.

Still, being quite curious, we inquired about this Oldtimer. Standing on display in front of the Metropole Hotel, it is apparently longer used to swank around.

Hanoi is evolving quickly. Hanoi Limousine Service provides the vehicles of choice to travel in style in Hanoi these days. "See Hanoi and let us be your guide...Our professional and knowledgeable chauffeurs provide mobile concierge services, with advice on where to dine, where to shop and what to see and do. Whatever your choices, you will travel in comfort and safety - allowing you to truly enjoy your tour and create lasting memories." . Chapeau.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

gone sailing

Forget about the coq au vin. What a brilliant excuse, these roosters. We'll be sailing, on West Lake, for the rest of this afternoon.

dreaming of coq au vin

Very kindly, our neighbours have begun to breed figthing roosters. We love the sound of roosters in the morning, and we simply adore cockfights while we are trying to work in our home office.

Yesterday was the tenth annual International Noise Awareness Day. No one noticed here.

Monday, April 18, 2005


I just made a fresh cup of coffee. Inevitably, I reached for the milk, which is in the fridge. Now guess what, the cheesecake is still there.

So, if you read this, and you are close to Tay Ho - please help me to to eat the bl cheesecake today.

say cheesecake

The cheesecake in my fridge is looking at me. Something has led me to no longer have cheesecake for breakfast. A sudden outburst of premature symptoms of a midlife crisis? Admittedly, I still had a piece for lunch yesterday. Maybe I am not approaching a crisis after all.

Friday, April 15, 2005

evil commercials...

...will be kept somewhere else from now on.

Not-so-evil commercials may still be tolerated here, on a purely exceptional basis. This refers to particularly outstanding organisations, persons, services, widgets or products, which truly contribute to sustainable development in Viet Nam.

Like KOTO (how to help KOTO).

And, very exceptionally, the Ipa-Nima Boutique, opening officially in May 2005.

For all those good folks out there who asked why the editor of this blog had disappeared: I'm back, and I very much appreciated your support. Thanks.

(PS - very last commercial: everyone who sent me an email enquiring about this blog - or posted a comment - before April 2005 is eligible for a special discount. Send me an email if you find something you like on the Ipa-Nima Boutique).

Ipa-Nima (experimenting with technorati tags)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Hanoi Made: Ipa-Nima

Cate Blanchett, Princess Victoria of Sweden, Martha Stuart, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hillary Clinton, "Friends" stylist Debra McGuire and the editor of this freshly updated weblog have at least one thing in commong: their funky Ipa-Nima bag.

The sought-after label's collections are available at Harrods and Harvey Nichols in London, or Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue in New York. You may see Hong Kong lawyer-turned-Ipa-Nima-designer-director Christina Yu's intricately hand-embellished designs clutched by the local trendsetters if you have not yet spotted them gracing the pages of Vogue, Time Magazine and other eminent publications, eg this particular one, or urbanstyle.com and the purse blog.

You no longer trust your personal shopper, after becoming the victim of cruel fashion pranks? Your schedule is simply to busy for a trip to Harrods? Visit the official Ipa-Nima online boutique - opening soon. Send an email to info@ipa-nima-boutique.com to be the first to know when the site opens. A cult is born.

Ipa-Nima (experimenting with technorati tags)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

learn Spanish in one lesson

The forty foot container with the all things that may be nice to have in Vietnam has finally arrived. Just in time: the dinner guests tonight will appreciate the fact that they can drink from wine glasses.

I wanted to write something about Spanish. Silvio Rodríguez' rather obscure, often political, and sometimes highly personal lyrics are intriguing. I recently rediscovered Ojalá; an attempted translation into English is located here, and the song itself can be downloaded from cantoresypoetas.com (thanks!).

joy of small things

A sudden power outage shut down all airconditioners, fans, and lights.
I am smiling like a small child, hearing the brief alarm which indicates that my IT and network infrastructure is running uninterruptedly, on battery back-up.

Thus, quite happy, I even dare to post another of my tacky pictures.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

business opportunity

The geckos like watching me, apparently, while I am writing about them. Widely used in traditional Vietnamese medicine, they could eventually become a popular product for export.

There are plenty of them here. Let me know if you would like to order some, as a cure for your headache, insomnia, or golf slice. Should you experience really serious problems though, consider buying a Komodo Dragon instead.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

a search for meaning, growth and change

The title is a quote from the cover of "zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance", which I just bought, on this rainy day in Hoi An. Will I be smelling of essential oils after reading this book?
Anyway, I should buy some new suits. They will be dark and pinstriped.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

no extras please

Why do I post a picture of a flower? Any suggestions? I will think about it while I get massage at the hotel in Hoi An. I just hope no one will try to offer me any "extras".

Thursday, September 09, 2004

ten minutes left

Well, nine now. I am supposed to be at the airport soon, and I still have not packed anything. If you notice a strange person in Da Nang this weekend, wearing only a pyjamas and a cartier watch, say hello to me.

flickr stream (birth of)

My recent visits to internet cafes have left me with a fascination for Vietnamese teenagers chatting. There are much more Vietnamese chatrooms on Yahoo than French or German. Highly interesting.
Unlike the slightly touristy pictures I have just posted on flickr. Below: Hmong children and buffalos, seen on the road from Sa Pa to Lao Chai.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

on the night train

Today is Vietnam's 59 national day. In four hours I will be on the night train, to the mountainous Lao Cai Province, in the north.

This made me think of Axl Rose.

Loaded like a freight train / flying like an aeroplane / speeding like a space brain / one more time tonight / I'm on the night train

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


There is something suspect about those who write letters to the editor, for which excessive moral discourses, obnoxious conceptions and tedious details seem to be essential ingredients (just like a blog?).

Yesterday evening, I suddenly decided to jump out of the closet, into the world of letter-to-the-editor writers. An article in the Norwegian daily "Aftenposten" mentioned "Horace", claiming he was a "latin poet". Outside the Anglo-Saxon world of poorly translated Reuters news, "Horace" is known as Horatius (ie Quintus Horatius Flaccus, or Horats in Norwegian).

Funny enough, the editor immediately answered my email, and modified the article.

There is a much more interesting exchange of emails here: Coke. Izzit.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Cham Pa

A micro-narrative involving Cham Pa culture, citing Sanskrit epic poems, is what I would like to post here today, evolving into something about the confluence of Indian, Chinese and South-East-Asian culture in Vietnam.

However, I crashed my router while attempting to upgrade its firmware.

I know virtually nothing about Cham Pa, but I thought the router was a better excuse for not writing about Cham Pa. Click on the title to read more ("Cham Pa").

Thursday, August 26, 2004

mirror site

owing to the enourmous amount of visitors, this site may load slowly during peak traffic hours. should you experience this, do not despair: there is now a mirror site.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Reading Sontag: Cultural theory and cultural predeconstructive theory

One of my all-time favorite links: Communications from elsewhere. Reload the page a few times.
If you enjoy this, you might also enjoy reading about the Social Text Affair, involving NYU Physics Professor Alan Sokal's brilliantly meaningless hoax article, which was accepted by a cultural criticism publication.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

...maledicere temptant

a toad:

1) any of numerous anuran amphibians that as compared with the related frogs are generally more terrestrial in habit...

2) a contemptible person or thing

This particular one lives in my yard, where I met it this morning. Ovid's onomatopoeic sentence might not apply to it, since it indeed seems to be one of the more terrestrial toads.

I had frog meat for lunch yesterday, with a quite delicious eel soup. Tempted to speak evil of eating frog meat, anyone? In that case, I might call you a toad.