dinsdag 6 januari 2009

Impersonated at Boom

A few weeks back, Seth and Josh Meyers came to town to revisit their old improv stomping ground, Boom Chicago. Seth has become very famous on Saturday Night Live, and Josh was on a show I like called Mad TV, in which he occasionally played a crazed Dutchman named Geert (with the exellent euroshite-disco spoof track "Dingle Dangle Song")=

Anyway, we made a last-minute decision to go and it was great - the best part for me was when they did an improv based on the Dating Game and asked for a Dutchman's business card to base one of the characters around - no one volunteered, but Josh saw me hesitating, and urged me to give mine up - I'm not really Dutch but have a Dutch-ish last name and a business in Amsterdam, so it worked out - and so Josh Meyers, using his Geert voice and character, pretended to be ME in a Dating Game show - Damon the Dutch sound engineer - he came out with my exact same glasses, which got a big laugh - but luckily spared my crap hair and put on the eccentric curly-haired Dutch wig, and every minute, would throw away a mobile phone. I was totally dying as he took the piss out of my profession and business, proclaiming "Yesh, I am the beshtest audio engineer in the Netherlands!! If it rocked - ik heb het gemaakt!!!" - apparently I shagged Ellen ten Damme on the studio floor recently as well!! Here are some pix I managed to sneak - I would have filmed the whole Dating Game thing, but the iphone, for all its wonderfulness, does NOT have video capability!!! He's the guy with the red tie - after the show, he even came up to me and thanked me for giving him the card - and I felt compelled to speak back to him in a fake Dutch accent....

During the performance, Seth Meyers did his "Saturday Night Live" news bit, using jokes which NBC had rejected because they were too "extreme"......and they were bloody hilarious - it's apparent that SNL isn't so great because they have bad writers, but possibly because they are too restrained due to the network/puritanical network affiliation=

zondag 4 januari 2009

People are strange....big brother is watching

Police: take photo of strange people

4 January 2009 – The police have sent residents of the Oostenburg neighbourhood a letter asking them to take photos of people who should not be there or who are ‘different’. It wants to restore social control and prevent burglaries.

A police spokesperson told het Parool what people should be looking for: “Does anything out of the ordinary happen? Is someone in the neighbourhood behaving conspicuously? Are there people who are different, people who normally shouldn’t be there? Also look if people display searching behaviour, look into car windows. Is anyone acting strangely?”

The initiative was an idea of a trainee policeman who noticed a rise in car burglaries in the new Funenpark residential area.

In the future, the police want to set up a tool to store and analyse submitted photos automatically. Among other things, the tool should assess whether the photos are genuine. Information about the person who submitted the photo will be stored as well.

donderdag 25 december 2008


Been feeling unusually Christmas-y this year...maybe it's due to being outside America - in the States, you're bombarded with consumerism, and the newspapers and newscasts seem to think it's *important* to report how retailers are doing - as if Walmart's profit margin is the determining factor as to whether this is a good Christmas or not!! I watched Fox News last week and a "reporter" actually said something like "we'll know next week whether Walmart's Christmas wishes will come true or not" - it's Christmas wish of selling crap to people who are in a recession so it's top execs can take home billion dollar bonuses????? Anyhow, while there is of course consumerism in the Netherlands, it's much more mellow - and I've been surprised (and relieved) how unusually friendly and upbeat people in shops are. Someone actually said "Sorry!" when almost ramming their shopping cart into me at Albert Heijn - this is unheard of!!!! Normally when I've been in the US, I come back to NL after Christmas and am immediately disgusted by the rude and impolite behaviour of people, but it seems different this year - maybe the coming recession is in fact humbling people?? For the first time, we got a Christmas tree and decided to make a turkey! There's only 2 of us (plus the animals), so we didn't need a big one, but there was a misunderstanding at the butcher. They asked me if I wanted to 2.5-3 pound turkey.....they said "pound" so I assumed they had heard my American accent and were kindly converting from metric for me, even though in truth, I have lived here so long I have completely forgotten non-metric measurements and don't have a clue how warm or cold 70 degrees fahrenheit is anymore. Anyway, I show up at the butcher and the turkey was in fact 3 KILOS! A big bird!! This will be the first attempt at cooking a turkey, so it will indeed be interesting - hope it works out. I imagine there will be quite a few turkey sandwiches in our future (which will taste great on maisbrood!). On the downside, my Dad has been quite ill lately and I just discovered my cousin, who was strangely born the exact same day and year I was, has breast cancer - all the bad things in my family seem to happen around Christmas time (among other things, another cousin died two days before Christmas back in the 80s), so I do get a bit nervous this time of year. anyhow, happy holidays - whatever it is you celebrate, be it Hannukah, Kwanza, Christmas, or just enjoying a few days off :-)

dinsdag 23 december 2008

Burger Quest

I guess I fulfill one of the American stereotypes, but I do love a good burger. And those are not easy to come by on this side of the Atlantic, but one place that does them well is Boom Chicago. With plans to attend the Monday night Pub Quiz, I also planned on partaking on a burger, so I starved myself all day so I'd be nice and hungry! The tram was delayed and I got there slightly after 8pm, only to discover that the kitchen had closed 1 minute ago! This wasn't good, as not only was I starving, but I didn't want to drink the inevitable beers on an empty stomach. My group told me to run over to Burger King really quick (a French person suggesting BK - there's a first!), so, though it's not my favourite place, I ran over to BK, which is strategically located next door to a "coffeeshop", thus catering greatly to stoned people with the munchies. People don't form queues here in The Netherlands, it's more like a herd of elephants, and if you are polite like me, it can make getting served next to impossible. At one point, the guy called to me, but discovered there was someone before me, and retracted his offer. It was taking too long, so I left (as I often do in The Netherlands if it looks like I'll never get served) and discovered my only super-quick food option was oliebolen (oily balls, kind of like donuts). So I took two and headed back. One of my quiz group was so disgusted as the concept that I had to eat oliebolen for dinner that he kindly offered me some of his burger, which he had luckily ordered 1 minute before 8pm. Unfortunately, as he tore off my piece, I discovered a minute later that he had in fact missed the burger completely and torn off a bunch of the bun. Again, my polite nature made it impossible for me to point this out, so I enjoyed a nice tasty bun and some oily balls. Now that burgers were on the brain, I decided to head back to Burger King after the quiz - I'm much more patient with queues when I've had a few nice beers :-) I waited a few minutes and then - voila! I was being served. I ordered my burger and the slightly embarrassed cashier responded that they had run out of buns (!), so they couldn't make any more burgers. I realized that it was just not meant to be, this day. Maybe God was intervening to keep my heart healthier (sure, with oily balls and beer!). Well, living in Holland over the years has taught me to live with disappointment, so I made my merry way home. Next time, I'll get there before 8 and all shall be well.

woensdag 17 september 2008

Dueling headline

Always fun to compare headlines.

Hmmm, my old hood in San Francisco, 5 blocks from "home"=
(09-17) 09:51 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- A bicyclist was shot and killed early today in a normally quiet neighborhood in San Francisco's Richmond District, police said.

AMSTERDAM - Staand een biertje drinken op een terras? In Amsterdam mag dat volgens de regels niet.
Rough translation= Standing drinking a beer on a terrace?? In Amsterdam, according to the rules, that's not allowed.

dinsdag 12 augustus 2008


Yesterday, I awoke to the sound of gunshots and police sirens, though at the moment I didn't think they were shots, just a blown tire or something (must have been groggy - tires don't blow out 9 times, do they?) . But it turns out, just down the block.....MURDER!!....One of the very few positive things about living in Holland is I always felt rather safe. Even the one time someone attempted to mug me was laughable - he claimed to have a gun, I ignored him, pushed him aside and went on my way. However, even though I live in a "good" neighbourhood, I'm beginning to wonder what's going on. Last month, a plainclothes police agent was shot to death by a man who was driving erratically and was actually on the way to murder his girlfriend .... the NY Pizza place up the street was robbed at gunpoint .... a nightshop owner down the street was knifed to death during a robbery.... a boxer was shot dead and we heard the shots but didn't realize what it was until the papers came out the next day....and a year or so back, a family down the block was murdered in their flat (but the man had criminal ties, so I guess that's OK, right?)....all these things are happening within a kilometre of my home!! If this was happening in the US, I think I would be VERY nervous, but for some reason, even the close proximity of these events feels distant. This is a nice family neighbourhood, but for some reason, it seems much more violent and dangerous than the squalid centre of Amsterdam where we used to live. I'm still out every night walking the dog, tuned out of the world with my ipod playing old radio dramas from 70 years ago.