Saturday, September 25, 2004

Groutnis Oet Grunnen - Trip to Groningen

Groutnis Oet Grunnen means as much as Greetings from Groningen in the Groningen dialect.
So. Yesterday I went for a trip to Groningen, in the north-east part of the Netherlands. By train.

I was accompanied by a good friend of mine. Humphrey. A plush green frog.
He needed to make a photo report for this week's Humphrey's FotoFrog Friday. It is fun hanging out with Humphrey and since we both wanted to shoot some pictures, we went together.

It is great walking around in Groningen - except for the rain and the cold weather. Lots of small streets, antique shops, boutiques, galleries and old buildings.
In fact. We were so busy walking and looking around that we did not notice the time. No time left to visit the Groninger Museum, like I wrote yesterday. We passed by it. Great building, very outstanding architecture. But I did not see the inside...

From the Grote Markt I made this picture of the Martini Tower, the most famous landmark of Groningen. We did not climb it. Would be too much stairs for small plush toy animals like us. Besides that, unfortunately the Martini Tower does not have anything to do with the popular drink.
Youssouf at the Grote Markt in Groningen with the Martini Tower in the background

There are lots of historical buildings in Groningen. One is the Goudkantoor, the Gold Office. Let's do the blah thing and pretend I was really interested ;-) (We spent more time posing and making the pictures than actually looking at the building, but hey, it was raining, we wanted to get inside...)
The Goudkantoor was built as the provincial tax office in 1635. The inscription 'Date Caesari quae sunt Ceasaris' or 'Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's' still refers to this function. With its richly decorated fa├žades, this is the last building in Groningen that was built in Renaissance style. In fact, the building only received the name 'Goudkantoor' in the nineteenth century when the 'bureau van waarborg van goud en zilver' (office to safeguard gold and silver) settled here. The Goudkantoor was comprehensively restored in 1996. A restaurant has occupied the building since then.
Youssouf and Humphrey in front of the Gold Office in Groningen

After we passed by a restaurant named Humphrey's, Humphrey was unstoppable. Started to jump and dance on the streets. It looked like the classic movie scene Singing in the Rain. But with a frog. And believe me, a dancing Humphrey looks in no way like a dancing Kermit...
Of course Humphrey insisted on dining at Humphrey's. He hoped to get a free meal, pretending to be the owner. It did not work out. They found out the real owner did not have green eyebrows and Humphrey does. Anyways, it was a nice way to end our day in Groningen.
Youssouf and Humphrey in restaurant Humphrey's in Groningen

Friday, September 24, 2004

Trip to Groningen

Today I am going to make a trip to Groningen. In the north-east of the Netherlands.
Visiting the Groninger Museum, which is famous for its building as well as its collection.
And of course a bit looking around in the the old town centre.
Gotta go!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sheep News: Shaun the Sheep Gets his own Show

For years I have been a huge fan of Shaun. Shaun is the clay animated sheep that appeared in the Wallace & Gromit movie "A Close Shave". A brilliant Nick Park movie from the Aardman Animations studio.
I even archived my friend Gwynt's site Wallace & Gromit AND Shaun Picture Paradise on my own site.

Now Shaun is back! I just read it at BBC News.
Shaun the Sheep, the woolly star of the Wallace and Gromit short A Close Shave, is to get his own show on CBBC, the BBC's digital channel for children.

Since "A Close Shave" Shaun has been immensly popular. You can find merchandise of him everywhere. Especially popular with school kids.
What can you do but create additional Shaun animations?

Hurray! More Shaun in the future!
I am really excited. Jumping around a bit. My sheepish plush friend Flapser - you will hear more about him soon - is jumping and flapsering around and flapping his big ears in excitement.

Clay animations do take some time, so Shaun will be on the air not earlier than 2006. Will be worth the waiting!
I sincerely hope we can receive the digital CBBC at that time...

Make sure you read the full article at BBC NEWS: Shaun the Sheep gets his own show.

Cooking a Tim Stew

You might have heart of Bob who is raising funds to be sent to Mars. With his six sheep, well I wrote about it before.

The story is like, Bob does not like Tim, one of his sheep. He wants to get rid of Tim. The good thing is, if Tim is not going to Mars, I can replace him. The ultimate journey. Will make great pictures.

Bob wants to have a real creative recipe for cooking Tim.

Since it is in my personal interest that Bob has a good recipe for cooking Tim (if he cooks Tim, I am sure to join Bob to Mars), I'll give you, Bob, some tips for making sure a dinner with Tim will be a great treat.


So the following recipe is for Bob and Tim. You can use it at home as well, if you have a spare sheep.

Make sure you take the following with you on the spaceship (quite a lot, but hey we want to cook a whole Tim):
* Tim
* a small bucket of freshly dried garlic
* a small bucket of fresh gingerroot (or ginger-race if you prefer Brittish)
* one bucket of onions (preferable red)
* a small bush dried bay leaves (laurel)
* a bunch (two hands full) of dried chilli's (hot peppers)
* small bag of cloves
* small bag of cummin
* five cinnamon sticks
* a bag of peppercorn
* a bag of salt
* a couple of gallons olive oil and vinegar
* a real big wok
* several flowerpots with (still growing) koreander
* knives, spoons and stuff

The recipe:
* Cut Tim into tiny chops (cubicles of 1-2 inch), remove the parts you consider not edible (some folks love eyes, brains, but just the meat will do for most people) - how you do this, the struggle with Tim, the hideous (s)laughter can make a great story, but not relevant here
* Mash all of the garlic and gingerroot, make it a smooth pulp and put it in a bucket (big enough for the Tim chops as well)
* Add olive oil, a quarter of the amount of garlic
* The same with the vinegar
* Add Tim, stir real well
* Leave in a fridge overnight and stir occasionally
-- Tim is now being cooked by the mixture overnight real slowly --

-- Next day --
Cooking starts!
* Peal and slice the bucket full of onions (might want to cover the onions with water otherwise you will be crying too much for the loss of Tim)
* Chop the chilli's into tiny pieces
* Take the wok, put it on the fire and make sure it is very hot
* Add loads of olive oil (a bit more than the amount poured into the bucket the previous day)
* Make sure the oil is cooking
* Add two hands full of peppercorn, a big hand full of bay leaves, a hand full of cloves, the cummin, the five cinnamon sticks and the chopped chilli's
* Stirfry (continuous stirring otherwise it will get burned) in the hot oil untill the whole gets real fragrant (like a sweetish smell from the cloves, cinnamon and cummin) and you can't breathe anymore because and are only coughing because of the hot chilli vapours afflicting your lungs
* Add the onions and lower the fire a bit
* Stirfry untill the onions start to become a bit glazed
* Add the Tim-garlic-ginger mixture
* Stir real well so the tiny bits of Tim get sealed
* Keep on stirring occasionally and add salt to taste
* Cut the koreander stems and chop the koreander
* When Tim is done (his chops may be a bit reddish inside), add the koreander to Tim and the rest, stirfry for another 2 minutes
* Turn off the fire
* You can - if you want to - remove all of the remainders of the spices, because not everybody wants to bite on a chunk of glove, pepper, bay leave or cinnamon stick. Or you could just eat around it :-D

Serve Tim and make a special dinner for the two of you.
You and Tim will become one (if you don't like that idea: 2 days later most of Tim will depart you).


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Cardboard Sheep in Dangast

There are pictures of me all around the world.
One place I never visited was the German seaside resort Dangast.

Fortunately in Dangast they have their own sheep. A cardboard one.
There is a series of pictures of this sheep al around Dangast and its seaside.

Just like Youssouf's travel pictures, but not as real (hey, it's cardboard, not a plush sheep)...

But you might like to have your own cardboard sheep and make pictures of it.
That is possible.

The online shop (how's your German?) of Dangast sells the cardboard sheep! Just click PappSchafe on the left side of the shop.
You can now own your own cardboard sheep in two sizes.
Lucky you.

Sheep Cartoon: Schaf Witze

Well, you have to understand German to be able to get the joke...
A bit nasty, but an excellent cartoon.

Found it at Nur EIKI ist so! - Funny Stuff - Funny Pix.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Sheep in Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt they had sheep too. Of course. Even a god with a ram's head, Khnum.

Sheep were kept for their meat, milk, skins and wool, and flocks of sheep were used to trample newly sown seed into the ground.

Rams, seen as a symbol of fertility, were identified with various gods, notably Khnum, a creator god, and Amun, the great god of the city of Thebes. Ram-headed sphinxes flank the entrance to the temple of Amun at Thebes.

The bodies of some rams were mummified and equipped with gilded masks and even jewellery.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Sheep News: Sheep Hides out in Mutton Cove, Escapes Dinner Plate

What happens if a sheep suddenly becomes more clever than other sheep and starts to realize it is being led towards an abattoir?
It escapes and hides out in a cave. Of course.
Just like the Monty Python story of dangerous and clever sheep Harold.

This sheep escaped from ending up in a sheep stew and now passes its life in peace without any chances of being eaten.

Read the full story at ABC News Online: Sheep hides out in Mutton Cove, escapes dinner plate. 19/09/2004.

The Sheep,Cabbage & Wolf Puzzle

A classical logical problem.
How to get the sheep, the cabbage and the wolf to the other side of the river. You can only take one at a time in your boat.
But, if you are not there, the wolf will eat the sheep (can't leave them unattended) and the sheep will eat the cabbage (can't leave those two unattended as well).

Anyways, try it online in this fun - quite basic - Flash puzzle by Go to the Sheep,Cabbage & Wolf Puzzle Online Game!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Got Stuck at a Party?

Yesterday I had a party. It was great fun!

The party was going on real well. Great music. Loved the snacks. Had a little drink. Did a bit of dancing.

Finally I ended up in this net. But somehow I can't recall what actually happened...
Youssouf stuck in a net at a party...

Anyone any ideas? I would like to know...