Monthly Archives: July 2012

Hijacking (Or: Marco takes over)

Marco: I’m taking over the blog again. nWo style.

What? You might ask yourself.. What? I’m taking over. What? Coming to power. What? Assuming control.
If you are thinking right now “Could you please shut the heck up!” You might not be with one of my favorite forms of entertainment.

If you are thinking “Awweeeesome!!” You probably know that the above lines are filled with references to pro-wrestling.

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Categories: Marco&Niki | 8 Comments

Black cats (Or: Being followed)

Somehow it is already 10PM. Where does the time go? So in the interests of getting to bed at a sane hour, I am just going to post a few pictures.

Both images are of a small black cat which followed Marco for a while on his way to work. Always staying far enough away, but obviously curious. Running ahead, and then ducking underneath cars – just to get a safe look at Marco.

Definitely someone’s pet, since it has tags. Very cute looking.

It followed him for a while, darting in and out of bushes. But not all of the way – doubt Marco’s workplace allows pets!

Categories: Daily Dutch living | Tags: | 9 Comments

Cycling (Or: Rooting for two teams)

Note: I took this post idea from a Georgia Peach Abroad – and the concept of rooting for two teams equally.

Of course, I am not yet in the Netherlands. I am still in America, so that means that the coverage is dominated by American athletes. So hearing that there is a sport that will feature a Dutch athlete as a clear favorite means that I am much more likely to tune in (oranje!). This morning was the women’s road race in London and the surrounding area.

When I first turned the TV on, one of the comments was how the Dutch were aggressively attacking. This strategy did not let up at all. Near the end of the race, there were four riders left from four countries: America, Great Britain, Russia, and the Netherlands. I remember thinking: Who do I root for? America or the Netherlands? Although it would have been nice to see both teams medal. At some point the conundrum was solved, as the American had to drop behind after having mechanical issues with her bike.

Originally from (article has some other nice pictures)


So it was down to three… and I was trying to not watch, but trying to watch all the same. So nerve wracking!  I suppose that I should be glad, since I was rather clueless about the history behind the Dutch rider (Marianne Vols). I later found out that she has a tendency to do very well in races – but fade at the end. But she won!

Of course, after the post-race hugs and congratulations, NBC focused on the rider from Great Britain (partially because it was an English speaking athlete). So that was the end of the Dutch coverage. For now…

Categories: Sports | Tags: | 1 Comment

Productivity (Or: A busy Saturday)

I really need to get to bed earlier, but I blame the Opening Ceremony for that. Ending at midnight – yeesh. But I probably would have been up until then anyway. It’s a rare day that I get to bed before 11PM these days.

I must amend my previous blog post, as I have seen the entire opening ceremony. I loved how the torch came together at the end, and I loved the fireworks once it was lit (mainly because the fireworks weren’t contained just to the stadium itself). Though the Olympic rings coming together while being “forged” was still a big highlight.

This morning was spent watching the road race and then walking to Shoprite (more like speedwalking, since I was trying to get back for the end of the road race!). The coverage on NBC went from 5AM to 6PM, then 8PM for a few hours with tape delayed events.

But after lunch I did some frenzied work for Avatar MUD. August 8 is the mud’s anniversary (first went online in 1995 – I didn’t start playing until February 1998). This year we are spreading out the events over the entire month, and I scheduled myself for five trivia sessions with the players, among other things. Since the festivities begin Wednesday,  it’s down to the last few frenzied days of preparation and hoping the code you are about to put in doesn’t crash the game…

And at the same time, there’ s still Dutch to study which is the priority. The countdown draws ever closer, and the studying and preparation seems to intensify with each passing week. I know that this week I definitely have to skip ahead and start studying word order, and try to improve my speaking skills. It’s always something.

It’s going to be an interesting August…

Categories: News | Tags: | 2 Comments

Olympics (Or: That’s a lot of volunteers)

So far my favorite part of this opening ceremony was during the industrial age, with the rising of the Olympics rings and the sparks flying from underneath. The LED lights on the stadium audience seats are pretty cool too.

The weirdest thing has been realizing this is on tape delay (just like Beijing in 2008) and that NBC in America loves to add lots of commercials to the program. Marco and Roger watched the ceremony live, with it lasting about 4 hours. With commercials, the American version lasts 4 hours (8PM – midnight EST) so there is definitely some bits that will be cut out.

50 twitter feeds to follow for the Olympics (athletes, reporters, etc.)

Bringing things a bit closer to my home… Empire State Building lightning schedule – Each day of the Olympics, the Empire State Building will light a side of its building in honor of a country in the Olympics (four countries per day). The Netherlands will be featured on July 31, along with New Zealand, Brazil, and Romania.

Categories: Sports | 4 Comments

Birthday cards (Or: Marco’s viewpoint)

As Niki mentioned she sent me 13 cards in the past few weeks.
It’s hard to explain why that’s so cool.
What I mean is, on one hand it’s sort of cliche to send cards.
But that is probably what makes it so cool.
And then there’s the factor that she didn’t just send one card.
No, she kept a steady stream going. And that’s what makes it awesome! 🙂

The backs of each of the cards, showing the numbering system.

I live two floors up, and the mailbox is downstairs.
So often I’d get home, get the mail (leaving the spam in there) and when I saw the card from Niki,
there were only two choices. Either RUSH (needs to be capitalized) up the stairs and read it once inside.
Or..and this was usually the case, I’d rip it open while going upstairs, and at least look it over, big grin on my face.

Often I couldn’t help but chuckle because Niki has the tendency to write a LOT on those cards.
One of them was written with such fine print that I think she managed to fit about a thousand words
on that tiny piece of paper. But for the record. I love it. 🙂

The first 9 cards, non-birthday themed.

I think it took me until card #3 to realize there was a serious pattern developing.
Probably not coincidentally that was the first time I noticed she had numbered the cards.
Of course she denied everything when I brought it up (and sly-ly asked her if I she would be sending more)
It was after card 7 or so that I realized she’d at least keep it up until my birthday.

So last night, during our chat, I actually asked “Do you have any more cards?”
And I got a “There are no more cards in my home” back. Which of course made me laugh.
Since that could mean “I shipped five more this morning…” but we’ll see.
I do know that for the next two-three weeks I’ll sort of eagerly open the mailbox 🙂

It does remind me of the count down I did when NIki came to the Netherlands two years ago.
I created our own little advent calendar. One picture with a number on it a day 🙂
Maybe that’s another blog?

Another thing that I’ve mentioned to her is that now I cannot randomly send a card back.
Though this is 99% a joke, it does feel like a cheap trick to send her one.
Maybe I’ll think of something else soon. Send her a candy-gram or something 🙂

Categories: Marco&Niki | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Birthdays (Or: A flood of cards)

Today is Marco’s birthday! (Well, technically due to the time zone differences it’s already over for him.) But I had some fun with my scheming…

In early June I got the idea to send him lots of cards in advance of his birthday. Someone I knew back in the day mentioned sending cards to a friend of his: one for each of her years (thankfully I think she was only 18-20 years old) to surprise her.

When I first had the idea, I didn’t know how many cards it would end up being. First I went to Shoprite and picked up some cards, with a mix between birthday and non-birthday. That same weekend I went to the mall, and got some more. I ended up with 6 non-birthday cards and 4 birthday cards. About halfway through I went back to Shoprite and supplemented that with another 3 non-birthday cards, for the eventual total of 13. And when I get an idea I try to go all out… each card had both sides filled out with smallish letters to fit more in.

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Categories: Marco&Niki | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Milestones (Or: 200 posts)

I can’t believe it’s been 200 days since I started this blog. Back on a cold day in early January! The year is quickly coming closer to an end, though there is still a lot of road left to travel, it seems.

The three top posts so far:

A chance meeting (Or: American present, Dutch future) – the story of how Marco and I met in person.

Dutch televisie (Or: Soaking up some Dutch) – various useful television shows you can watch online, usually with Dutch subtitles.

Crazy Dutchies (Or: More Euro 2012 decorations) – Orange, orange, orange. What more can I say?

Top commenter so far:

Bel’ Occhio (a poster living south of Vancouver), with posts of gorgeous flowers, maple walnut cookies, and Chronicles of Oswald, gentleman rabbit. It’s a pretty diverse blog!

Who knows what the next 200 posts will bring. Hopefully more sports recaps from Marco, with the Olympics coming up! 🙂

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments

Irony (Or: Summer schedules on rain-filled days)

There’s just something very ironic about the following photo which Marco gave me a few days ago. It is taken from the inside of a bus, and focuses on an advertisement.

1. “Summer schedule returns next week!”

2. We’re going to promote this with a picture of a smiling happy family at a beach!

3. Don’t look out the bus window, or you might see the dreary rain-filled day which lies in stark contrast to this promise of sorts.

Categories: The Hague, Transportation | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Yellow jerseys (Or: The end of the Tour de France)

This is Marco again, taking over Niki’s blog.
And once again I’ll talk a bit about sports.

You see, I like sports, but for Niki it’s a way of life.
Every now and then it seems like she doesn’t even care what type of sports, as long as she gets to watch something on tv. Like, the many times she puts on golf.
It amuses me (but in a good way.)

So a few times she told me she is really looking forward to indulging herself into the more European sports. We’ve already discussed voetbal (soccer) and how she wants to watch that.
We’ve already agreed upon me taking her to a few games (I haven’t been to a game in like..20 years?)

As part of her preparation for the euro-sports, she tried to follow the Tour de France this year.
Of course this isn’t easy to do, since it’s not on the radar in the USA.
I gues interest took a nose dive when Armstrong retired (and being under drugs scrutiny doesn’t help).

But even if she had been able to closely follow it, this year was boring.
You see, I like cycling for three weeks a year. The Tour is fun to watch..if the competition is strong.
Now I never like the flat surface races, because they follow the same formula and the sprinters always win.
But the mountain stages can be awesome. This year? Meh..the same team dominated everything and nobody was strong enough to challenge their superiority and threaten the race leader.

So the best thing the past three weeks was explaining some of the ‘behind the scenes’ happenings to Niki,
like race orders and tactics and such.
Like how each team comes with a designated leader, the guy that goes for the general rankings position.
They usually build the rest of the team around his needs, give him helpers for the mountains, stuff like that.
Oh, and I got to tell that the yellow jersey winner (the leader in the rankings) gives the money he wins to be distributed amongst the team. That’s one way of making them cycle for your benefit. 🙂

So that was the fun part. Again, the race itself was boring this year.
Oh well…Now we can get ready for the Olympics. Zet ‘m op, Holland!

Categories: Sports | Tags: | 2 Comments

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