Skip to content

All right, new structure

March 11, 2009

If you aren’t going to put the blogs together, I suggest that they be entirely separate; you don’t look at each other’s blogs. I won’t influence the blogs either: you can ask me questions but I won’t provide my opinion or the science theories, because apparently you don’t really care.

We’ll have a look at the end of the program.

I linked to your individual blogs in the links column, but here the links are again.

Sophie is at
Sylvie is at



March 11, 2009

Agreed. We’re going to do this in separate blogs.

Mine is – Sylvie Lee out.

This Isn’t Working for Me

March 9, 2009

The shared blog isn’t working. We’ve been talking about how to make it work, and we’re just too overwhelmed and excited and bored at the same time. There’s too much for us to handle, but we don’t want to put up things like pictures of our receipts and type up every single thing we’ve consumed. 

We have our own lives. And the way this is supposed to work with commenting? I don’t get it. We’re not commenting on each other’s posts, we have to start new posts or else it won’t really pop up to the top.

Is Stealing Illegal?

March 4, 2009

Gijs asks: What is legal under the challenge rules? For example can you eat out (when someone offers to buy you a meal) or watch a movie etc. or is that against the rules? What about Bittorrent?

Answer: Yes, if someone else pays that is fine. It should also be possible to have a coffee or a drink out each week, or perhaps even catch an afternoon movie in the theater under the budget. (But not both drinking and movie.)

Ok, really the ethics of pirating during the challenge are dubious, but in normal circumstances people have found that piracy doesn’t negatively affect the economy, because people who pirate one thing, like entertainment, simply shift their spending to other areas. And it’s unlikely that they would have purchased the item anyway.

Matt Mason, in the Pirate’s Dilemma, argues that piracy occurs when a good exists for which people are unwilling or unable to pay the set price.

It would also be technically possible to shoplift, but aside from being illegal, that would be like admitting that it’s not possible to stay within budget.

I guess that the limit is placed on the other person’s willing behavior, but you can’t do anything more than ask. So you can have someone pay for you, but you can’t do or promise anything of yours to reimburse them; you can’t steal, but Torrenting is like meeting up with a friend who says ‘Hey, I have a bunch of DVDs in my library, do you want to see if there’s something you wanna watch, maybe take one home? Because I’ve already seen it.”

The internet does strange things to friendship relations. If it’s fair to share a copy of a CD or a bootleg concert tape, it’s fair to Torrent.

Second Me

March 3, 2009
Sylvie Closeup

Sylvie Closeup

Lisa asked us to familiarise ourselves with Second Life a little before plunging us into the world. In the deep end.

My job is to learn how to interact without spending money. This is kind of odd, like going to China without any cash in your pocket and then trying to clothe yourself in what people will give you. Sure, everything’s going to be cheaper than in Europe or the UK but it won’t really matter, you’ve got nothing in your pocket and you’re in a foreign country without your baggage.

What’s especially odd is that a lot of people will just give you stuff for free. Hair designers (Diversity, Gurl6) will just give you a free pack of your hair choice if you send them a notecard, join their group, and you’re under 30 days old.

Here you have me at one of the better freebie spots in SL, at FabFree. After a few hours poking through various freebie places, I’ve got several outfits that look cute and I’ve settled on a look.

I don’t quite understand the dollarbie phenomenon. The difference between 0 L$ and 1 L$ is like 1/270 of a real dollar, but it means a lot more when you’ve got 0 in your account.



Grocery Shopping

March 3, 2009

We aren’t allowed to stockpile food, but we are allowed to eat whatever is left when the challenge begins. For the benefit of those reading, we aren’t going to list everything in our cabinets and the frig, that would take too long. It’s some ramen noodles, tomatoes, milk, cheese, a few boxes of tomato sauce, etc. Normal items.

I went shopping on Sunday. We think we’re going to divide up the shopping; I’ll go on the weekend and Sylvie will go midweek, unless that’s too much of a pain in the arse and then I’ll just do all of it. As well we have to tally up other expenses, but those will be personal and the groceries should be communal.

March 1 AH XL

March 1 AH XL

Went to the AH XL on Sunday night. There was a coupon available for half off the Kies & Kook, and this should be about two or three days worth of dinner. 8.12 euro. Euroshopper pasta (.60), Zaanse Hoeve vanilla pudding (.65), bananas (1.19). We could have saved a bit on the bread; the small rolls are less value for the money but they make really good sandwiches.

After seeing how much 8.12 gets us, I’m feeling a lot better about this challenge.

Our Financial Situation

February 28, 2009

My sister Sophie and I are fraternal twins (but very near identical). We’re from London, and when we applied to graduate school in the Netherlands, each pound was 1.5 euros. Since then the pound’s basically fallen to 1 to 1.10 euros, but we priced our living situation and graduate study based on a strong pound.

For example, the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht charges 9250 € for the year. This is about 8200 quid now, but we figured it would be more like 6000.

We’re stuck in a one-year lease for a furnished flat with utilities that costs 1295 € a month; the security deposit for the flat was one month’s rent and 1000 € for the housing company just to find it.

And while we both worked full-time for the past three years, we hadn’t saved up much. This study was very much funded by credit, and we’re actually the lucky ones because there aren’t student loans available to people applying now.

So we are in debt. We’ve got student loans, bills to pay, and a couple of credit cards with balances on them.