Saturday, April 29, 2006


At Sal´s home, working at 3.00 in the night Posted by Picasa

Some weeks can get a little crazy at the Miami Ad School. Like this week for example. I wanted to work a little more in advance and in the meanwhile I had to make a lot of homework. So I was at school from 10.00 till 12.00 every day.

Thursday was the worst. The washing machine in my appartment was broken, so a washing machine repairman was supposed to come by between 9.00 and 12.00. Unfortunately, he never came. And because I also forgot to take my computer home the day before there was not a lot of homework I could do. I also needed a haircut very badly, so after waiting until 13.00 I went to the hairdresser. It´s bad timing, but at this school everything that comes in between is bad timing, so I thought: let's just go for christ sake because I started to look like a caveman already.
Because of this, there was not a lot of day left to work. But there's always the good old night. I already brought my sleeping bag an my matress to school and I was prepared to sleep in some dark corner at school. Luckily, Salvatore invited me to stay at his apartment because he and his flatmate Gunnar also had so much work that it would keep them busy for most of the night.

On friday I arrived with bags under my eyes in radioclass, but at least I got all of my work done. To end this crazy week in Robin style, I went to a club with some fellow students to dance, meet girls and to get drunk.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hard to copy

The original photo by the great Man Ray Posted by Picasa

The copy made by Robin Stam Posted by Picasa

Oh my god! It has been almost a week since I wrote something on my blog. And as all bloggers do, I´m going to excuse myself for neglecting my blog. My god I´m sorry!

That'll do it. Now, to make it up I'm finally showing some work again. Above you can see some photographs made in photography class. A couple of months ago, I bought a digital SLR camera from my last savings. I haven´t regretted this big purchase since then. Because we have to execute every good idea like it is actually printed in a magazine, we have to make our own photos as well. Because a bad execution means bad grades at the Miami Ad School, the photos better be good.

The assignment in the photography class was: find a photograph and make an exact copy of it (and no, we were not allowed to put the photo under the copy machine). I chose a picture of Man Ray, a surrealistic photographer from the 30's. He is one of the first photographers that used photo manipulation. I admire every single work that he's made. The picture I wanted to copy was titled 'tears'. The most difficult about this picture was to capture the theatrical expression on the face. Luckily, my model for this picture, Lea, is a very good actress and got very close to this expression. And I did manage to get the right angle with my camera. It looks good, but of course it isn't an exact copy. Somehow I couldn't copy the empty look in the eyes that makes Man Rays picture so surrealistic. That proves that the real artist is hard to copy.

Photography is not the only reason I forgot to write a post for my weblog. I've got a lot of assigments for Outdoor advertising and Concept class, I'm working in advance for Typography, I'm writing my ass off for radio class. In the meanwhile I work for Energize and I'm writing columns for two different magazines in Holland. And I probably even forgot half of the stuff I do here. Just like I forgot to write on my blog.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Working at full speed again

I have so little time right now. Tonight I´m going to work for Energize. The rest of the week I have classes and in the meanwhile I have to execute three billboard campaigns and five ideas for a postcard. Which means I'll be working in the weekend.

But it also means I have to work really really fast. Yesterday I had to make photographs of the Reeperbahn. I did it between classes, which meant I had exactly one hour and 45 minutes for it. I bought a film, went by public transport to station Reeperbahn. It was mandatory to work with an analog camera. I haven't used an analog SLR for years, so in the U-bahn I figured out the different functions of the camera. As soon as I got out, I had about 20 minutes to walk from station Reeperbahn to St. Pauli while making 24 pictures. After that I dropped the film off at the photo store and went back to school. I was about five minutes too late in class, but I managed to do it.

It´s kind of hard working so much, but it also forces me to work at full speed. After three weeks at this school there´s no time for being lazy. It forces you to think very fast, work very fast and it keeps you sharp and alert. Last week the changing working pace was like a punch in the face, but I'm fine now. The cool assignments I get here prevent me from falling asleep ;-)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Visitors from Holland

Maarten in the gutter Posted by Picasa

When I announced everybody the news that I was going to the Miami Ad School the first reaction was always one of surprise. "What a big step!" or "It's good for you, but why do you go all the way to Hamburg?". Some people were just stunned by amazement and looked at me with their mouth open for a couple of seconds.

After that everybody always says: "if you go to Hamburg I'm sure going to visit you". Now I knew already in advance that most of the people who say that aren't going to do that. And it's okay. Because it's not that they don't want to, but they just can't. I mean, everybody's got his own life back in Holland. You can't expect anybody to just disrupt their schedule and go to Hamburg for a weekend.

But it's really cool when somebody does! Tomorrow Maarten, a friend of mine, is coming over and he takes some other friends from Holland. It's Easter so I don't have school. On the Miami Ad School that doesn't mean you have the day off. It means you'll have to do work for two days in one. So today I'm working my ass off.

Above this post there's a picture of Maarten photoshopped in a gutter (this picture actually led to the gutter idea for NOAH, see earlier post). I'm really looking forward to seeing my friends again. And for the people who want to know when the hell I'm coming back to Holland: after this quarter is finished I'll go back to Holland for two weeks. Have a nice weekend and happy Easter!

Friday, April 07, 2006

First week, second quarter

After a well deserved break the working slowly began at the school. Now it´s still quiet, I even have time to read a book when I come home in the evening, but I know that in a couple of weeks the assignments are going to pile up.

And that´s just fine with me. I really needed the break, but two weeks of doing totally nothing is boring in the end. I also noticed that it made me slower somehow. Like a steamtrain on low fuel. Even though I slept a full eight hours a day and ate very well.

But I could start the new quarter really fresh again. There a lots of new people here. The students of the fourth quarter are doing an internship, so they are gone. Instead, a whole new class of first quarters are nozing around in the school right now. This week students from a fashion education in Danmark came over to do an assignment with third quarter MAS students. They alredy started to work very hard and even have to present at Saturday.

For me it´s still quiet. I´m a little exhausted because yesterday there was an introduction party for the new students. It was in a bar in the Reeperbahn. As usual I couldn´t get myself to go home before everybody else did and I had only three hours of sleep. It's hard to stay concentrated, expecially when you hear some technical measuring techniques during Typography class. Well, it's weekend now. As soon as I'm home I'm going to have a good rest watching a movie and drinking a few beers. As I said, it's a slow start and while I still can I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Living with The Twits

Take your time to read about one of the biggest bastards I’ve ever met: my former landlord, the owner of the apartment in which I rented a room in the first quarter. First of all, I´m not the type of guy that´s easily pissed off by people. I respect people for who they are and I realize that everybody is different. So when someone makes me so angry that I write an article about him on my weblog, you can safely say that person deserves it.

I don't respect this man anymore, but I do respect privacy, so I call him M from now on. When I first met M, he seemed like a perfect landlord. He also lived in the apartment, so you should really be able to get along. There was also another student there: Tine. Tine is one of the sweetest girls I've ever met in my life. We could immediately get along. Now, M also had a girlfriend, named K. M and K are around 40 years old, but from the beginning they behaved like 18-years olds being in love, cuddling and all that stuff. Which was okay, old people need love as well, and they were after all a new couple. In the beginning I used to talk to M a lot. Tine as well, she lived in the house for 2,5 years already. We ate next to him. M did his best to talk in English, because he wanted to learn it. M and K even invited me to drink a glass of Rum sometimes. And even though he was the nerdy type of man, his charming eccentric behaviour kind of made him pretty cool. He was also very relaxed and he didn't have very much rules. Everything goes as long as you respect each other.

But all that changed after 1,5 month. It first started when I left a lamp burning in the corridor. He came out of his room and started nagging about it. Tine heard it as well and she was surprised, but we thought he just had a bad mood that day. But after that it became worse and worse. Whenever he had a bad mood he always found some reason to unleash his anger, whether it were some food someone left in the oven or the refrigerator door that was left open. And he didn´t say it in a nice way. He would run into my room to start screaming like Hitler. He made both me and Tine feel like we were unwelcome and that we were between him and his happy relationship with K.

And suddenly he even made rules. He wanted us to clean every little cup or spoon that we used and leave nothing in the kitchen. Even if it was for one day. We also had to clean the house every three weeks. And he wanted me to take less time to shower. Now this was fair, because he´s the owner of the house and I respect that. Except for the fact that he didn´t stick to the rules himself! He left all of his dirty plates and cooking pottery on the sink and in the bathroom there was a variety of insects that it would even startle biologists. To make it even worse: the shower was broken so I had a forced warm-cold shower every morning, the toilet didn’t flush so I had to throw a bucket of water in it, the internet was regularly down, the heating didn’t work properly and the tap was broken so we had to clean every little spoon that we used with cold water.

After a while M had some news: he was going to marry K and they wanted the house for their own. Which was okay. I even congratulated them and said I’m going to find a new house as soon as possible. I thought it was a rash decision to get married after having a relationship for two months, but I really meant it when I wished them good luck. I was even reassured, because I thought now that he finally got it out he was going to be friendly again. But no…the terrorizing continued. K was almost there every day, so I had the feeling I was living with The Twits (the nasty couple from a famous children's book by Roald Dahl, see this link:

Now I wasn’t a lot at home anyway. Most of the time I went straight to bed after I came from school. But Tine was unfortunate enough to be in her holiday, in which she had to study. She was literally chased away by M. The few times I was at home I’ve regularly seen her in tears because of M’s crazy mood swings. She almost moved in the house of a friend because she couldn’t stand it anymore. Fortunately, she found a new room and she's very happy now.

The last months I was there I had a very intimidating attitude towards M. He probably noticed my sudden change of attitude and he actually tried to be nice. Which is the obvious thing to do if you’re over 40 and there’s a 29-year old kickboxer in your house. But although he tried to be nice, I never forgave him for the way he treats people.

Now he finally did it. He got us both out. I hope that when he reads this post, he’s going to think about his behaviour. But I don’t think so. He probably doesn’t even know that he’s been like that. This kind of people live in their own world. If somebody criticises them, it’s not because they are wrong. No, no, it’s because “the others are jealous”. In other words, M was only friendly in the beginning because it was the most convenient for him at that moment. After all, me and Tine payed rent to the money hungry, egocentric son of a bitch. But I believe that in the end an attitude like that isn’t going to work for him. As for me, I’m better off now. I’m living in one of the best neighbourhoods of Hamburg, I have my own apartment with fellow student Emilia, and I even pay less rent than before. M changed from a charming, social person to a pathetic, self-overrating loser. I can’t imagine anyone with that personality being happy. And an impulsive marriage is not going to change that.