2009.03.17 01:00 - Dutch Time

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    Wester Kiranov was the Guardian on Call for this meeting. The comments are hers.

    I came in about twenty minutes late, having totally forgotten that the sessions are one hour earlier now Europe does not have Daylight Saving Time yet. I found Bertrum sitting there on his own.

    Bertrum Quan: Hi Wester
    Wester Kiranov: hi bertrum
    Wester Kiranov: i totally forgot the Daylight Saving time
    Bertrum Quan: What time of the day/night is it for you?
    Wester Kiranov: 9:25 am
    Bertrum Quan: Good morning then!
    Wester Kiranov: thanks
    Wester Kiranov: what time is it for you?
    Bertrum Quan: PDT
    Bertrum Quan: Night for me.
    Wester Kiranov: have a good night then
    Wester Kiranov: just goodnight sounds so much like "go to sleep now"
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, not the same as good morning!
    Bertrum Quan: Or top of the morning to you!
    Bertrum Quan: Do you have a topic that you're interested in discussing?
    Wester Kiranov: not particularly. do you?
    Bertrum Quan: No agenda.
    Bertrum Quan: DO you see the odd effect on your screen? We both seem to be partially disappearing...
    Wester Kiranov: not on my screen
    Bertrum Quan: Hmmm
    Bertrum Quan: Right now it's okay.

    We talked a bit about the country I'm in, the Netherlands.

    Bertrum Quan: Which country are you in?
    Wester Kiranov: in the Netherlands
    Bertrum Quan: Wol is from there too, I think.
    Wester Kiranov: so is Pema - originally
    Wester Kiranov: i think wol is german, but i'm not sure
    Wester Kiranov: brb
    Bertrum Quan: I've always been fascinated by Holland because of its constant struggle with the sea.
    Wester Kiranov: back
    Wester Kiranov: why does that fascinate you so?
    Bertrum Quan: Like New Orleans... folks building a city or a country where they are below sea level and have to depend on barriers to keep the sea out. It's the constant struggle with the natural force of nature that I find compelling.
    Wester Kiranov: ok
    Bertrum Quan: Do you think about it at all. Or is it just a fact of the situation?
    Wester Kiranov: i don't think about it often. only in the moments when i feel interested in how our national character developed
    Wester Kiranov: but it's a nice first interest in this country definitely better than tulips or, ummmm, other plants.
    Bertrum Quan: The metaphor of attempting to stop the sea is compelling to me.. like the myth of Sisyphus.
    Wester Kiranov: that's an interesting parallel
    Bertrum Quan: An eternal struggle...
    Wester Kiranov: a grim dance
    Bertrum Quan: Life is a struggle. And the sea itself is a metaphor for life. So in a sense, keeping the sea at bay (pun intended) is an attempt to deny a certain aspect of life...
    Wester Kiranov: if we don't keep the sea at bay in some way we can't live here at all. It actually forces us (as a country) to think about the sea a lot, if we denied it we would not last long. But maybe that's not what you meant?
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, it is a noble struggle on that level. In a different sense, it suggests a certain confidence in human beings that they can harness the natural world. That thinking has in some instances has, I think, created a certain imbalance,
    Wester Kiranov: Sometimes it does, that's true. When people get overconfident in technical solutions.
    Wester Kiranov: But sometimes they also think about what they can allow the sea to do. For instance, the Wadden isles wander, so any town you build there has a limited lifespan. People accept that.
    Bertrum Quan: That's interesting. I didn't know about the Wadden Isles and what is built there.
    Wester Kiranov: i did a small project about them in university
    Wester Kiranov: very small
    Bertrum Quan: Can you share the gist of it with me?
    Wester Kiranov: as far as i remember... i think it mainly was bout this town which is on the disappearing side of the island, and now is too close to the sea for some of the rules. They had to build a big dike but that would ruin the view of most people, and they were thinking of how to put "ok, these houses probably will be flooded somewhere in the next 100 years" in legalese
    Wester Kiranov: so they would not have to build this dike
    Bertrum Quan: Like building sand castles...
    Bertrum Quan: You enjoy them and then they are washed away.
    Wester Kiranov: right
    Bertrum Quan: Thank you for sharing that.
    Wester Kiranov: you're welcome
    Bertrum Quan: When I visted Holland years ago, I found it to be a lovely country.
    Wester Kiranov: what did you see in Holland?
    Bertrum Quan: It's along time ago, but I remember some Dutch friends I'd met in college gave me a tour. We drove to pretty much throughout the entire countryside. Saw museums.
    Bertrum Quan: Amsterdam, Rotterdam...
    Wester Kiranov: I think I'll go now. It was nice talking to you.
    Wester Kiranov: bye
    Bertrum Quan: Take care.
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