Monthly Archives: May 2012

Blood donation (Or: Fillin’ up some vials)

Today’s random activity was donating blood at the local public library after work. And dragging a coworker along for good measure. This way she could also donate blood, see the public library for the first time, and get NY Blood Center to stop calling her for at least, oh… 56 days until we’re both eligible again.

NY blood donation button and sticker

The best thing about donating blood is getting to eat guilt-free cookies afterwards. Home baked this time!

I did some searching on Google about the differences between donating blood in the United States and donating blood in the Netherlands. I found this thread which does seem to suggest that donating blood in the Netherlands is a bit more annoying for the individual – though it seems to get better once you are a regular donor.

It seems like you need to register first. Once you are registered, they contact you, and then you come in for an eligibility test. After that, they look at the results and then contact you to come back again to actually donate (I think). On top of that, it doesn’t seem like you can donate as often – in the United States it is every 56 days.

However I tend to only go when places of opportunity crop up, like holding a blood drive at the college I work at or the public library, as in this case. I get the impression that most Dutch blood donation happens with the individual going to to donation center, rather than the donation center workers coming to a place that is more convenient to you.

I also heard that women and men are tested differently. They mentioned that women get tested for their iron levels, but that is the same thing that they do here with a finger prick to draw blood. But women in the Netherlands can’t donate as often as men — at least according to one link that I read.

Anyone else here have experience with donating in the Netherlands?

Categories: Daily Dutch living | Tags: | 2 Comments

Stadhuis (Or: Ooh! Kijk! De bibliotheek!)

Sometimes a simple picture is best when the day has been long!

City hall (stadhuis) in the Hague

For me, the Hague’s city hall (stadhuis) will always be intrinsically linked the city’s public library, as they are so close to one another.  Don’t forget to hug your favorite librarian this week!


Categories: The Hague | 1 Comment

Summer thunderstorms (Or: Alert me)

It was an interesting morning. I walked past the data room at work and heard a rather loud noise.

Turned out to be the server. We entered the room and it was HOT. The air conditioning had turned off overnight it seems. Didn’t see any issues after it was turned back on (by the IT department) at least. But still…poor server.

We’re in the beginning stages of another summer thunderstorm. There have been many lately thanks to the hot temperatures. Today’s high was 90f (32c), feeling like 97f (36c). The latest thunderstorm just began in the last minute or two, though it has been windy for the last hour or so. They told us to expect winds up to 60mph (96km/h).

That reminds me of a storm that we had a few days ago – we had emergency alerts taking over our TVs for most of the day (including 3 in 5 minutes! It was insane), though nothing ended up happening in my neighborhood. In America, the National Weather Service can decide to send out an alert, which takes over the programming and changes the screen to black with information and some loud beeps to get your attention. They then tell you about the situation, including where it is and what to expect. At least we don’t get too many tornadoes in New York!

Speaking of alerts, the security department at work told us to expect some alerts through our “beacon system” this afternoon. I wish they had mentioned that that would mean that their alert system would be taking over the public computers without warning:

Just imagine the red ALERT! flashing every second or so for maximum scary effect.

Of course I found it amusing that this alert only appeared on the public computers, not the staff computers. Maybe they don’t want to warn us about our impending doom…

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Cool down (Or: Through the maze of water)

Spuiplein fountain in the Hague

This is the fountain where Marco and I tested our luck, near Spuiplein.

During one of the trips, Marco, his mother and I were going somewhere in the Hague (I forget where). Marco and I sort of didn’t realize where we were walking, and soon found ourselves entering this area. His mother was paying more attention and laughed at us as she walked around it.

We had time to turn around – but Marco did not. So I did not. It was a tense 12 or so seconds where I wondered if I was about to get inadvertently soaked. It wasn’t that warm of a day, so this does not sound as fun as it could be. But no – neither of us got soaked and we got through it in one piece.

As we walked out the other side, Marco’s mom was still laughing at us. Pfft!

Categories: The Hague | 1 Comment

Rustle rustle (Or: Stop with plastic book covers!)

Okay, I have a dirty little confession to make.

I, a librarian, have not picked up a book in at least 8 months and sat down and read it. Even after my post in early May bemoaning this fact.

Crazy, I know. Life just seems to get in the way sometimes. My favorite is when people hear I am a librarian and the first thing they say is Cool! You must get so much reading done! If you count reading over emails and proofreading notes for the library resources class I am about to teach, then yes I do a lot of reading.

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Categories: Culture, Daily Dutch living, Transportation | 2 Comments

Tracking money (Or: Where will it go next)

One of the more random things that I have seen since moving here is a few rare occurrences of dollar bills tracked through Where’s George?, a website which allows you to track where your dollar bills (and other American currency) have been.

So far I have found 6 registered dollar bills. None of them have had any further hits after I registered that I found the bill.

Serial number removed for George’s protection 🙂 Around the seal, it reads “Track this bill”. The two arrows point to the serial number (top) and series number (bottom). On the right side it says “This is registered bill”. There are different stamps out there. This one is pretty elaborate.

In case you are wondering, the top user has entered over 2 million bills and had hits on 371,000 of them. (He actually stamps new bills and sends them on their way, which obviously raises the counts a lot. Most people just find already stamped bills and mark that they were found again.)

Here’s a snippet from his website mentioned above:

“I am catching a lot of the local people looking at me out of the corner of their eyes and several of the local elderly have been giving me the Anti-Evil-Eye sign behind my back.

Lately, the bank in Wattsburg always seems to be closed when I pull up in my car (even at noon) and Bill Spenser at the Keystone station is getting tired of selling me gasoline 6 or 8 Georges at a time.”

Since it is technically illegal to deface American currency, the Where’s George website does have its own rules section to try and prevent liability on their end. You can also read more at the Wikipedia page,  which states that bills which are entered into the system but not marked are called “stealths” and that most people mark the bills to increase the hit rate. So the consensus on the Where’s George? website’s end is that people are only marking the bills to get more hits – they themselves do not encourage it.

It’s odd that I didn’t see many of these marked bills in Chicago, only when I moved here. It’s an interesting tactic, and apparently Canadians have a similar site called Where’s Willy?

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Errand day (Or: One melted laundry basket)

I randomly took the day off today. At least, I took it off from work — not errands. I walked downtown to do a load of laundry, went to the bank, vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom and kitchen, and went to the library. A few days ago I had received an email from the local library that both of the Dutch books arrived (mentioned here). As they are closed Sat-Sun-Mon for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, today was the last chance to nab them.

After I picked up my holds I took them to the seating area to read the first part of My ‘Dam Life. What I read before I left the library seemed pretty interesting, so hopefully I will be able to spend some time reading more over the weekend.

Have you ever seen a melted laundry basket?

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Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Waiting, waiting (Or: Random bus observations)

How does one work 9 hours and manage not to get more than 5 minutes total on their own project? (Answer: It happens. I am sure I am not the only one.)

1. One of the more annoying things about working a later schedule (besides working a later schedule!) is that the time between when my shift ends and when the bus arrives is longer.

2. Today’ s total wait: 45 minutes

3. Bus drivers really know how to drive slow when they want to. I thought there was no way we would miss that green light (on an internal road with no one around, too), but we did.

4. The person sitting in the row in front of me put their seat back (this is fine, they weren’t directly in front of me). But this did mean I could see their phone. Over about 6-7 minutes, they set 3 phone calls from “Job” to ignore. I can’t even comprehend that. Although maybe they had already worked 12 days straight and work was calling to ask them to come in tomorrow too…

5. All of the sudden I realized the windshield wipers were in use. Oh boy, rain for the 4th day straight? But it didn’t seem too bad.

6. As I got to my stop and was getting off the bus, the passenger in front of me ignored a 4th phone call from “Job”. Heh.

7. Hello drizzle. Halfway home, it starts raining harder. Hello power walking.

8. Cold, wet. But then, home. Warm. A late dinner. Good times.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 1 Comment

Stolen bicycle seats (Or: That’s a new one)

When Roger came back from Amsterdam yesterday, he found something missing.

His bicycle seat.

One bicycle, no seat

Apparently they really do take whatever isn’t nailed down. The bike was nailed down, but the seat wasn’t. I am happy to report, however, that the problem has already been fixed (at cost to him of course :/) ! And this time with a seat that isn’t quite as easily removable…

Categories: Daily Dutch living, Friends&Family, Transportation | Tags: | 3 Comments

Pretzels and cheese (Or: Let’s go Rangers

The NHL Rangers are currently tied in the Eastern Conference finals 2-2. They need to win 2 more games this series, and 4 more in the finals. Of course, both the first and second playoff rounds went to 7 games. Nailbiters.

Final game of the regular season, Rangers vs. Capitals, April 2012

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Categories: News, Sports | 1 Comment

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