February 27, 2006

What's been going down

The weekend was not as relaxed and happy as I could hope for when I had nothing planned. One main issue was that O got sick and I've had 3 restless nights as he snarfed and honked all night. I gave up in the early hours of Sunday and went to sleep on the couch, but then woke up incredibly stiff and with a headache. I made up for it later by taking a wonderful hour-long nap, in bed, where I was warm and very comfy. Last night didn't go so well again, though part of it was myself being unable to get comfortable, but it particularly sucked because not only was it Monday morning, but it was a Monday morning where we had to get up early because people were coming to paint our water-damaged wall (last fall water was leaking in all the way from the top of the building, seeping somehow into the brick of the front wall and leaking into at least the top 3 houses of our building). We at least made a deal for them to come at 8:30, not 7:30 like they wanted to, but it still meant needing to get up earlier than normal. Then the guy who showed up said he was just meant to paint the damaged area, and our walls apparently aren't white, but they have a tinge of blue, but he said he'd try to blend his white paint into it. O was like "nonono, the deal was that you're supposed to paint one whole wall of the living room and also the ceiling" (because of some tiny amount of damage up there). The painter was like "this is what I was told" and then O said "well, the landlord is coming by in about an hour and she made the arrangements so she can discuss it with you." The painters voice fell a bit and he said with the slightest bit of agitation "oh, is the landlord a woman? Yeah, we've talked to her about what's to be done..." like you could just feel how happy he was to hear that she was actually coming by to check his work (our landload is the best ever and is totally someone who gets what she wants). But the painter got on with his job, I left for work, and a few hours later we got word from our landlord that he was done, and yes, he had done the full wall, ceiling, and even the door. Oooh. But yay, because of course we had to squish things together in the living room and move some of it to the bedroom and it will be nice to have everything put back in its place. And to not have to get up early again tomorrow.

Another difficult thing about this weekend is that I've been quite depressed after stopping with the pills I was taking. I've been off them a month, which I'm pretty proud of, that's twice as long as I managed to go off pills a few years ago, but it's not been good the past few days. I cry at everything and my ability to get any thing done has mostly disappeared. I noticed that at work at the end of last week, how it felt physically painful to have to buck up and dig into the small amount of work I had to do. Then in the weekend I would think about things that had to be done and have this feeling of dread. Actually, it's more like I felt like a little kid who wanted to throw a tantrum at having to do something I didn't want to do. I managed to not actually throw a tantrum, but inside I felt like it. On Sunday I had the plan to go into town to have lunch on my own mostly because I really felt like I needed to get out of the house, that I've been too much of a couch potato lately. But then I just couldn't go, but I wanted to still, and I just couldn't decide, I was standing there just unable to make a choice one way or the other. Part of me was like "get out, be around some people, even if they're strangers, enjoy the sunny day, walk a bit", but the other part was all "I cannot be bothered to tram into town just for lunch and then tram back and it's not worth it." It sounds so stupid to write about, but I was so torn by this one little thing, like one second feeling totally cabin feverish and needing to get out, and the next feeling bogged down by the idea of eating lunch out. In the end I did a bit of a compromise. I didn't go out for lunch, but I did at least go out, later, for a walk around the park across from our house. And that was good. It was sunny and a lot of people were also enjoying the sun and I got some walking done. But this is the stupid way I've been in the past few days, and I'm afraid I'll have to see the doctor and discuss new pills to go on because this isn't working.

It did however give me the excuse to call a college friend cuz she's my font of advice when it comes to meds. So we chatted awhile and it was good to hear her voice.

Despite my unwillingness to do things, I did actually get two things done yesterday. One was hanging the remaining artwork that we still hadn't put up after moving. It took me like 15 minutes to do, so it's pretty bad we didn't get it done before. The other thing was I finished off the last 170 pages of the Harry Potter book I was reading, so that is finally done. I don't think it took me too long to read, by my standards, considering it was 870 pages. I liked it though. It was hard to decide what to read next though, after reading such a long book that's children's fiction. I've settled on a book of short stories by Dave Eggers, something to balance against the length of the Harry Potter, and something I should be able to get through faster.

In other news, I see that the Belle and Sebastian show in Paradiso in May is now sold out, within a week of it going on sale.

And O sent me this today, a summary of a children's book called "Onno, het vrolijke varkentje", which means "Onno, the happy little pig." And yes, Onno happens to be O's name, for those who didn't know and hadn't figured it out. So: hehe. For the ones who can't read Dutch, the summary of the book is:

Onno, the happy little pig, is playful and mischievous. He learns tons from every adventure. Especially about himself and about how to deal with other animals.

The colourful illustrated story shows how exciting Onno's life on the farm is.
Yes, he has a happy little peeg's life on the farm.

February 23, 2006

I hate the post office

Yesterday we received 2 letters in the mail from the post office, addressed to "the residents" of our address. They were not happy letters. They were to inform us, in a rather weird and vague way, that packages meant for our address had gone missing and were "in all likelihood" lost. That was about all they told us, there was no explanation, just "oops, sorry about that." And they realized or found out they'd gone missing last Friday, but we only got the letter about it yesterday. The key part is just worded so strangely, saying that on 17 February there was a report and that our stuff was likely lost. So at some point they realized stuff was gone, or someone made a report? Saw someone run off with a postman's cart? Post truck blew up on the freeway? No idea, but they realized it at some point and could tell us we weren't getting our packages, but couldn't inform us in any way as to what had happened. Typical.

The problem then was, we want our stuff and now it's not coming after all. The post office's brilliant help on that front was "give this 0900 number that costs 45 cents per minute to the person who sent the package and we'll work it out with them." But the packages were coming from the US, and I doubt the places that sent the packages want to call over here to then go through whatever runaround the Dutch post is going to give them. So O and I just contacted the companies directly.

And that was another slight complication. We are expecting 3 packages at about this time, but apparently only 2 went missing. So what stuff was it that got stolen/blowup/hoarded by the postman? No way to tell. Though the packages had been given Track and Trace numbers once they got into the country, and these numbers were in the letters, when you trace them online, all it tells you is where they are now, there's no other info like where they came from or who sent them or anything. And the trace helpfully says that both packages were delivered. Right. Lying bastard.

Two of the packages we were expecting were coming from Lands' End and I've heard they have excellent customer service, so I wasn't too worried about getting help from them. And indeed, when I explained the problem to the guy I spoke to, the first thing he said was "Alright, well, we'll get replacements for your order sent to you right away. Let me just check if it's all still in stock..." *Mwah* lovely customer service. How I miss thee. O also contacted Threadless, from which he had ordered (yet another) shirt, and while they couldn't send a replacement because the shirt is sold out, they did say they'd refund his money straight away.

Of course, something is going to arrive in double. I guess we'll find out in the next few days which was the package that made it through.

February 22, 2006

Two blokes

I came across this video from last July of Colin Meloy playing 3 songs while going up and down in the lift in Paradiso. Quite sweet, especially when the lift doors almost eat him.

I knew it would be a mistake to mention Adam Brody. I had a spike in traffic and found it was apparently from someone linking to my site from some OC fan forum. I was just asking for that though, wasn't I?

New link

In my list of blogs over to the right, I just added a site that applies the Engrish concept (when the Japanese try to translate into English) to Dutch. I must admit a smug happiness when the Dutch fuck up English, mostly because they think they're so damn good at it, but also they are often using English in the first place to sound hip or something, so when they then can't even get it right, it sort of blows that idea to bits. One of my favourite stories in this vein comes from when I volunteered at an organization that helps people moving to the Netherlands. Someone was updating a database of shops and such, so she was flipping through the yellow pages and came across a hair salon that was called "Careless". We think they were going for "carefree", but instead they gave themselves a name that ensured that no English speaker would visit their shop.

A perhaps-handy link off of the Dunglish site: Signalering Onjuist Spatiegebruik, a site describing when you are supposed to mush all of the words together in Dutch and when not to and when to use a dash, etc etc. It's in Dutch, but the examples they give can help teach something about how the words are supposed to go together.

February 20, 2006


Last week I finally got our hotels for Italy booked. The Florence hotel booking was rather simple since we used a travel agency website and booked online. Booking the hotel for Lake Como was a lot more work, partly because we're there smack dab during the long Easter weekend, but also because these little towns don't have hotels bookable through travel agents, at least not online. So I had to contact them separately by email. Quite a few were already booked or too expensive, so it came down to two hotels, both rather basic, one in the town of Varenna and one in Bellagio. The one in Varenna was cheaper, and I wanted to stay in that town more, but the one in Bellagio had rave reviews on Trip Advisor, which I always check to get an idea of what a hotel is really like. (What did people do before the internet? Just took a gamble, I guess.) We decided to go with the place in Varenna, though we couldn't find any feedback about it online.

I wanted to call the hotel to make the booking, so I could talk to someone there and get an idea of how nice they were and such. The first person I talked to, a young-ish sounding guy, said he didn't speak English and he didn't understand me. Oh. Ok. So I decided to fax my credit card details to hold the room and then sent an email asking if they could confirm the booking. A couple days later I had no reply. It was kind of weird because when I first wrote asking if they had a room and all, I got a reply quite quickly, but nothing now. I tried calling again and this time I got an older-sounding woman who also didn't speak English. At least the guy I had talked to could say, in English, "I don't understand, I don't speak English." This woman could only speak Italian. A few hours later, I got home, still had no email confirmation about the room, and I tried calling one last time. Again a woman, maybe the same one, who couldn't speak English. So I gave up, wrote an email saying our plans had changed and we weren't staying in Varenna anymore so I wouldn't need the room, and then promptly booked at the highly-recommended Bellagio hotel, from which I got an email confirmation straight away. Gah. 4 days later we had a place to stay.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't want to stay somewhere where the owners can't speak English. In fact I'm a bit sad that so many people do speak at least a little English now so that when you go on holiday you don't have to speak the native langauge as much, though I am underneath it all relieved that I can just use English most of the time. I chose to go to a different hotel because I had no idea if we really had a room booked. They could have sent me an email in Italian; I could have figured it out. But whatever, I'm a bit relieved that we're now in this place in Bellagio that sounds really nice, and while I preferred to stay in Varenna, we can still visit there, and Bellagio is hardly a bad place to say, plus it's a bit more central to other villages on the lake. The trip there ain't gonna be fun though. We arrive in an aiport that Transavia calls a Milan airport, but it's really 40 km to the east near a town called Bergamo. But that's ok, we don't have to go via Milan to get to the lake, the lake is kinda between the two and just a bit to the north. But to get to Bellagio, we have to first take a bus shuttle from the airport to the main train station in Bergamo. We then take a train to Lecco at one southern tip of the lake and change trains to get to Varenna. We then head from the Varenna train station to the ferry that goes across to Bellagio. It's supposed to take at least 2 hours. At least we arrive bright and early in Italy, at about 8:30, but that means we're leaving Amsterdam at almost 7 and will have been up since about 4. I hope our room is ready for napping when we get there...

When I was looking around at the Florence hotels, I was getting excited to be going back there. It'll probably be more pleasant this time. I doubt it'll be so hot, and with O with me, I won't be getting hit on by Italian guys. I want to climb the cathedral dome and hang out more in the piazzas. It should be good.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Melkweg, 19 February

Last night was Show Two of our Insane Pile of Concerts - Spring 2006, the first being Caesar about a week before in the Patronaat in Haarlem, which was good, though the crowd was a bit sparse and we kept being bugged by a drunken group that wanted to stand front and center and then lean over the stage to stare up at the guitarists or just talk away with each other. Hello, the band can see and hear you, you know. Anyway. So, yes, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are a big hype from last year and this show sold out quite a few weeks ago. I was interested to see what they'd be like live, or to find out what the band even looked like. But first, the opener...

The opener was a band called Dr. Dog, which didn't sound too promising, but we listened to some mp3's during the afternoon and they seemed weird enough to be interesting. And they luckily were. There was a high level of facial hair and crappy sunglasses and funky stage moves and silly backup vocals. I think they gained the crowd's favour.

Oh yes, this was my first concert where I was wearing earplugs. I am officially an Old Fart. But it must be done. The Caesar show was quite loud and my ears were buzzing quite a lot by the end of the opener's set. By the time Caesar were done, my ears had a white-noise hiss going on that lasted a couple of days. Not good. So I got earplugs. It is nice to not have all this ringing or buzzing in your ear when you stick your ear against your pillow and are trying to sleep after a show. But wearing earplugs is certainly not the same as not having them. You hear yourself when you talk, so you never know if you are talking at the right volume to someone, which means you might be shouting during some quieter lull. You also hear yourself hum. Not that I hum much to songs live, but I do sometimes, and usually it's just lost in all the noise, but with earplugs you hear yourself as much as the band. I want to look into other earplug types, surely there must be ones specifically made for rock shows (Steven, if you have info on this, let me know).

Another thing: standing about two people in front of me was the Dutch Adam Brody, but this guy was even more emo geek with ubiquitous square black glasses. I don't mind Adam Brody, so this guy in the crowd was someone to look at every once in awhile, or more, while waiting for Clap Your Hands...

So yes, the main band... They were quite fun, though they seemed to only really enjoy it in the encore. Maybe it was because all but one of them didn't smile much, so they didn't seem to be enjoying themselves much. The one who did smile a lot, a guitar/keyboard player, was almost overexuberant. He was bouncing around, smiling, all the time, all "I'm in a band! And we're playing in AmsterDAM! Whoooo!" But it was rather sweet. I slowly realized that the other guitarist/keyboard player and the bassist are twin brothers. I dunno, it took me awhile to notice. O hadn't noticed either, then I pointed it out and I see him glancing back and forth across the stage and thinking "Ahhh... They are..." Bassist Twin Brother was more keen though to break a smile than the other twin, plus he said we were terrific, so we like Bassist Twin more. The lead singer looked way different than I imagined, and the band had a lot less beards than I thought they would have, but I dunno why I thought they had beards.

They played most of their first album, plus a few new songs, including a song with the chorus of "Satan, Satan, Satan..." which O has a live mp3 of. They ended their encore with what I feel must have been a cover, and members of Dr. Dog came back on stage to sing and play a few things. It was a great show. Photos are beginning to appear on O's page.

Next up: Two Gallants on the 28th.

February 19, 2006


Laura tagged me with a meme awhile ago, and then I couldn't be bothered to reply. Suddenly, late on a Saturday night, I felt like answering.

Four Jobs I've Had
- Packing up holly branches at a holly farm before Christmas time
- Working in a cafe at a zoo
- Crappy admin stuff for a health insurance company, but I did get to peek at people's insurance claims
- Worked at an Odeon Cinema (which is now closed) in England

Four Movies I Could Watch Over And Over
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail
- Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
- So I Married an Axe Murderer
- Aladdin

Four Places I Have Lived
- Beavercreek, Oregon
- Salem, Oregon
- Nottingham, England
- Amsterdam

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch
- Lost
- 24
- Gilmore Girls
- Six Feet Under

Four Places I've Been On Holiday
- Greece
- Chicago
- Budapest
- Jamaica

Four Blogs I Visit Daily
(mostly Portland, or formerly Portland, based blogs. I like to live in denial.)
- Oh Dog
- Welcome to Blog
- Little Lost Robot
- on-no.net

Four Albums I Love
- The Decemberists - Picaresque
- Sleater-Kinney - The Woods
- Elliott Smith - Either/Or
- Neutral Milk Hotel - In an Aeroplane over the Sea

Four Places I'd Rather Be
- Southern Europe
- Oregon
- Australia
- With some old friends

Four Vehicles I've Owned
- Um, only had one, a 1981 Mazda GLC
- Oh, I guess I do have a bike now. Knock on wood, it's my first bike here, and it's not been stolen yet.

Four Others to have a Foursome with... (though I doubt they'll join)
- O
- Elton
- Steven
- um... I'm afraid my blog circle is fairly small, so 3 will do.
or rather these are the four people who should DO IT TOO.

February 15, 2006

Vlad and Sara

Last night I was watching a show on the BBC called The Hairy Bikers. I had never heard of it and just came across it while flicking through the channels. It's a food/cooking show actually. Two guys who are, um, hairy bikers travel around on their motorcycles and then cook up some local cuisine. They were funny as hell and O and I had a good time making fun of their northern England accents.

So in this episode, they were in Romania and of course they visited Transylvania and the castle that once was occupied by Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. As they talk about Vlad, my thoughts turn to my college friend, Sara, as they do, because I cannot hear about Vlad without thinking of Sara. This is because Sara had a sort of fascination for the legend of Vlad the Impaler, and at least once gave a presentation in a class about him. And before you get the wrong picture, Sara is not a tall goth girl with raven black hair. She's the furthest thing from a goth. But she loved the story of Vlad and would share trivia about him at whatever chance she could. Kind of worrisome, now that I think about, especially the enthousiasm with which she would share the stories of death and impalement. But now I'm watching this show and I hear about Vlad and a few minutes later I'm missing Sara deeply. The strange connections we develop...

February 11, 2006

Change of plans

We've decided not to go to Iceland after all. It's too expensive and I'm meant to be saving money for Australia. So our plan now is to go to the less-exotic, but still lovely, and likely much warmer Italy. The plan is to go to Lake Como in the north, which I've heard is beautiful, and also go to Florence. We've both been to Florence, but I went on my own and it was like 100 degrees at the end of June and I got two bad blisters on my feet from bad footwear choices, and O went on a school trip when he was 12 or something, not the most appreciative age, so we'd like to go, together, under better circumstances.

I am a bit disappointed in not going to Iceland. I was looking forward to the nature and beauty and sparseness of the country, as well as driving for the first time in Europe (and driving a stick for the first time in almost 6 years). But yeah, it would have been a lot of money and we are going to the US later this year and need to rent a car for longer than normal and San Francisco is also rather expensive, so better to have more money for that. I had gathered some weird and interesting facts though about Iceland that I was going to post after we booked our trip. I don't really want to wait 2 years or more to share them, so I'll post them anyway:

- Iceland is 2.5 times larger than the Netherlands, and only has 281,000 people (compared to the Netherlands' 16 million+).

- Traditional Icelandic food is something I think we'll be staying far away from. One of the most talked about is "putrefied shark meat that has been buried for up to six months to ensure sufficient decomposition" which even most Icelanders stay away from. Another fun one is "ram's testicles pickled in whey and pressed into a cake," as well as boiled sheeps' heads. Mmm.

- Serious crime is usually between people who know each other, and the police are unarmed.

- The Icelandic language is one of the most foreign I've seen without it being in Cyrillic or Chinese or something (the other two I can think of that could compete are Hungarian and Finnish). It hasn't changed much in 1300 years, so people in Iceland today are basically speaking what the Vikings spoke. There aren't really any regional dialects. While most people speak English well (thank god), they fight to keep English words out of their Icelandic, so they make up Icelandic description words for new inventions, like the phone (called literally "long thread").

There's all sorts of accents and umlauts and strange letters and long words (though I should be used to that by now). Some "simple" phrases:

How are you?: Hvernig liður þér?
What's your name?: Hvað heitirðu?
I'm from America: Ég er frá Bandaríkjunum.

Um... yeah.

Nouns can change spelling depending on how they are used, so, for instance, the name of a town or city can change depending on whether you are talking about going to it or coming from it. This is handy in the airport when you might be looking for your flight to a certain city but can't find it because it isn't spelt quite as you think it should be. The spelling of your own name could change depending on how it's being used in a sentence.

Names are another fun thing. Your last name in Iceland is your father's first name with son (son) or dóttir (daughter) added to the end. So the girls in a family have different last names than the boys, which can make things confusing to outsiders (especially when travelling; try convincing a UK or US customs person at the airport that you really are your kids' parent when none of you have the same last name). I don't think the woman takes her husband's last name either, so a family of four, if they have a daughter and a son, would have four different surnames. But the surname isn't that important anyway to Icelanders, and they usually forget about them and just use first names, even for the prime minister. Also, the phone book is alphabetical by first name.

February 10, 2006

At least it's Friday

I had a very crap morning. I had to get up about an hour earlier to go to the dentist, so my brain feels like mud. When I went into the bathroom to get ready, the light didn't come on, so I had to get ready using what feeble light reached the bathroom from the living room. On the tram on the way to the dentist, the guy behind me was humming some tuneless prayer song or something, which was pretty damn annoying. Then the dentist visit was evil. It was just a cleaning, but it was probably my least pleasant one after the first one I had here where my teeth were cleaned for the first time in about 15 years. She poked around a bit and said my gums were inflamed in one area, then decided to show me how to clean better with a toothpick, which involved her grinding the toothpick between my teeth til I was bleeding. She started the actual cleaning, but instead of reaching for the little supersonic machine thingy that blasts away the grime on your teeth, she went again for the evil metal toothpick of doom. More like toothhook of doom, that horrible tool they use to poke at your gums and scrape out stuff from between your teeth. All of the other hygenists I've had have only used that tool to poke around a bit at the start and then to get in some tight areas at the end after cleaning my teeth mostly with the supersonic thing. This woman, she only used Evil Toothhook. Bloody sadist. Using that thing makes me cringe so much. It's like nails on a chalkboard, but then in your own mouth. So it was not a happy experience, when normally I'm not too bothered about just a cleaning. There was some music playing at first, so I tried to focus on that and ignore the sounds and scraping coming from the toothhook. That song that goes "Somewhere... beyond the sea. Somewhere... waiting for me. La lalala lalalalala laaa..." came on and so I kept my mind busy thinking how it was sung in French on Lost and then thinking of the episode we watched last night, and then the song ended and... no more music. I was left with the sound of my teeth being scraped to bits, which, just thinking about it now, still makes a shiver go down my spine. When I left, the hygenist said "See you in 6 months" and it's like, no, you're not touching my teeth again. I've never had the same hygenist twice, but I think O had this woman when he went a few months ago, so maybe she's the evil person who will decide to stick around. Wonderful.

February 8, 2006

Cuz they don't have any feelings

I participate in a mainly-expat group that organizes activites and dinners in Amsterdam. The other day a new event was sent around; someone was planning a dinner at an eetcafe that specializes in grilled meats and spareribs. At the end of the organizer's description of the cafe, she said, "And for the vegeterians amongst us, they also serve nice fish dishes." I am not and have never been a vegetarian, but I just don't get when people assume that vegetarians would eat fish. Like, what part of "I don't eat animal flesh" do you not understand? I know that there is a wide spectrum of vegetarians and vegans, and so some people don't do eggs, but are fine with milk products, while the next person cuts out milk too, and I suppose some people might call themselves vegetarian and still eat fish, but I think that is kinda outside the definition, really. In college a friend of mine was going around saying she was a vegetarian just because she didn't eat red meat, which was just wrong. But I've heard this before, someone asking a vegetarian if she ate fish at least, and it's like, why would you think that? And if you do eat fish, I don't think you should be calling yourself a vegetarian. Or am I just being to pedantic about this?

February 7, 2006

Lab rats learn faster...

...than the people who work in my building. In our lobby, there is a row of four turnstiles that you have to pass through to get to the lifts. You wave your building pass in front of a sort of box on the turnstile, it gives a green light and beeps, and then you pass through the turnstile. Well, that's how it should work. But due to a lame "security" feature, the turnstile locks for about 3 or 4 seconds before letting another person through. (I asked Facilities why it locks up, making it difficult and slow to get in the building, and they told me something like it was to protect from someone sneaking through behind someone else, which makes no sense whatsoever, and besides the turnstiles are low, so if someone really wanted to get into the building, they could just vault over the damn things.)

So instead of letting people flow easily into the building, what you get when a group of people come in at once (which is often the case because we get all piled up at some traffic lights before the building, leading to people coming into the building in clumps instead of an irregular stream) is someone goes through the turnstile fine, and then the next person scans their card: beep, and tries to go through: ca-chunk. No go, the thing locks up and they have to wait a couple of seconds for it to unlock. But do they? No. They scan their card again, and: ca-chunk. And perhaps they try it one more time cuz they just don't get it. The other course of action is to assume that this turnstile must be broken, so they move to another turnstile. What is brilliant is when someone has just passed through the second-go turnstile, so it locks on them once again. By now they usually turn to the receptionists either with an angry look of "what the hell is going on here?" or a bashful look of "man, my card must just not be working this morning." Either way, you're an idiot. No one, after entering the building every fucking day, seems to realize how the damn things work and figures out that you should wait a second if you are going after someone. Or to just avoid going after someone if you can, there are four gates which is usually enough to spread people out.

I feel sorry for the receptionists who have to deal with it every morning and evening. Beep. Beep. Ca-chunk. Beep. Ca-chunk. Maybe they could work an electric shock system into the metal bars of the turnstile, so that when it locks you'd get a jolt. Maybe that's the thing keeping the employees here from reaching the same level as the lab rat.

Good Lord

Will the spate of spring shows never end?! Only a little more than a week ago I posted the list of tickets we already had, and mentioned that tickets for the Presidents of the USA were going to be purchased once they went on sale. Well, that's been taken care of and now two new shows, both in May, have sprung up in their place. It's like an evil snake out of mythology that you can never kill, it just keeps coming back with more heads than you chopped off.

The two new shows, which we must wait until Feb 18 to buy the tickets for, are Andrew Bird, upstairs in Paradiso on May 5 and 6 (but we're only going one night. I mean, good god, we may as well move into Paradiso for the month of May as it is), and dear Belle & Sebastian, also in Paradiso, on May 8. That is now 5 concerts in May. At least we'll finally get some real use out of the month-long membership that you have to buy for concerts at places like Paradiso and Melkweg.

We will finally actually go to a gig starting this Friday: Caesar in Haarlem at the Patronaat. Nice to start off with a band I know are good live. Hopefully they set a good precedent for the next 4 months.

More yay for O!

Another request came in for the use of O's photos. A promoter at Touch and Go Records emailed O yesterday to ask if they could use a few of the live Quasi photos he took last year. They would go into Quasi's section of the Touch and Go website. O wrote back saying that'd be fine for them to use some of his photos, and they said they'd choose which photos they'd want to use and then run them by Sam and Janet (the two who make up Quasi) for their approval. Cooool. Check this space for the link to his photos on the website.

February 1, 2006

Imminent cave-in

Brilliant. According to nu.nl, the market/roof of the parking garage of the Bos en Lommerplein, which is 5 mins from my house, is about to collapse. The summary:

Een parkeergarage onder het Bos en Lommerplein in Amsterdam-West staat op instorten, nadat woensdagochtend een scheur van 10 meter in het dak is ontstaan. Dat kon gebeuren doordat een vrachtwagen op het plein het dak te zwaar belastte. Volgens de brandweer is de kans op instorting 80 procent.

So it will likely collapse (80% chance they're giving it right now, for the non-Dutch readers). The whole plein area, including the houses that are part of the complex, has been evacuated. They are also looking at how "the relatively small truck from Bavaria can be removed." So it's all beer's fault.

As the article points out, the whole construction of the plein is only about 2 years old, and there have been leaking problems in the underground area for quite some time. Bloody construction these days. The building I work in, which is only a bit more than a year old, has had leaks for ages as well in the lobby area, and right now there's some scaffolding camped out there that we have to walk under when we come in the building. This also bring to mind the parking garage? new theater? that collapsed in Hoorn and one or two incidents of people's balconies falling off their building. Anyway, I just hope we are able to do our shopping this weekend, otherwise we may have to go to another area to get groceries. Or, go to the Dirk again. *shudder*

Go O!

Every once in awhile, O's amateur photography efforts pay off. He has on a few occasions now had people or organizations email him asking to use some of his photos for something. One of the first was some small Dutch printers wanting to use a photo or two of his in travel books they were publishing; I can't remember if that actually happened though.

More recently, a marketing/ad sort of company in New York asked if they could use some of the bike photos O's made because it fit in with the theme they had planned to market themselves. Sometime in January (a little late) we received a Christmas card from the company and one of these bike photos was on the front. Cool. So everyone who got a card from them saw a photo of O's and it credited his website on the back.

Now, thanks to the photos he took of the Decemberists in Cologne, two of his photos of Petra Haden (their touring violinist) feature on her official website. One photo is the one on the main page and in the banner at the top, the other is the first one on the bio page (funny enough, the person who took the other photo on the bio page is the guy who I just linked to the other day. I thought I recognized that photo...). Using O's photos came about after he received an email from her manager asking if they could use a photo or two on the new website for Petra that was being made. O said sure, and now the photos are up! There is a slight problem of O not being well credited (there is his copyright still in the bottom right of the photos, but with them being much smaller than on his website, you can hardly see it), but Petra's manager assures that'll be fixed.

Hopefully we'll see Petra play again with the Decemberists in May, she's so sweet and funny. Weird though to find out she's a triplet. Assuming they're identical, three women out there looking like that is just not fair.