Becoming Dutch – Phase II, Part 1, section ii

Back on September 28 I said to mark this date. The IND had one month to reply to our request to become a Registered Partnership. What the IND has to do with it I still don’t understand. But nevermind, whoever does understand bureaucracy must be crazy. Well, surprise, surprise, the IND actually replied early. We received today our letter from the Stadsdeel De Baarsjes saying that we are approved and to make an appointment to come down and get hitched (sort of).

They were at least a week early with their reply, so maybe the IND is getting better.

DB will call tomorrow to make the appointment.

Once we’re officially registered as a partnership (not sure how long that takes, surely not just a day!) we can go down to the IND (again) and fill in the paperwork for my Dutch passport. I’m seriously trying to hurry before they change the law about letting me keep my US passport. I expect it will take 6 months from the time the forms are handed in until I receive a (positive) reply. We’ll be sure to take photos at the ceremony.

I will keep you posted loyal readers……

Bobo’s at Boom

Friday night in Amsterdam 20 October at Boom Chicago was a special Late Nite show to celebrate Horace Cohen and Ruben van der Meer‘s 35 years of friendship. Tickets were only available to us no-bodies via the Boom mailing list email, and only if you reacted quickly enough. Most of the seats Friday night were occupied by friends and family of Horace and Ruben’s and it felt like we had crashed a private party.

Before leaving home for Boom that night we watched Het Gouden Televizierring Gala which is the Dutch equivalent to the People’s Choice Awards in the US. The final award was for best TV show. The 3 nominees were “Dancing with the Stars”, “Gooische Vrouwen” (Rich Women), and “De Lama’s“. At the beginning of the awards show “Dancing with the Stars” was winning the votes. We couldn’t have that! So we got out our mobile phones and sms’d our votes for “De Lama’s”. We love them. We watch them every week. Granted, they HAVE stolen some of their routines from Boom Chicago, as any Boom fan can attest to, but that’s ok, there’s plenty of laughs to go around.

In the end, “De Lama’s” won the vote! Since one of the Lamas happened to be Ruben van der Meer, I expected him to show up late and possibly drunk, to his Boom event. After all, there was another celebration going on at a theater just a mile away from Boom now in progress…..

We arrived at the Boom theater about an hour before the show was to begin. As I said earlier, it felt like we were crashing a private party. And not just ANY private party. This party was full of bekende Nederlanders. DB spent the night telling me who was who and what they are famous for. This one a singer. This one a writer, etc. We were standing at the bar when Ruben showed up, right on time, smiling from ear to ear. As he walked past I said “Gefeliciteerd!” and he said “danke je wel”. He was beaming.

The show started slightly late since Ruben was walking through the audience being congratulated by everyone he knew, which was most of the people there. Greg Shapiro tried in vain to tap his watch and point to the stage. Eventually “3 minutes to places” was called and the show began.

I have seen Boom Chicago at least 10 times in the last 4 years. I’ve lost count really. This is the 4th Late Nite show I’ve been to and it was by far the best ever. Ruben and Horace took the stage and were funnier than the first time I saw them together at Boom. They were more relaxed and were obviously having a good time. Horace won the “Da Do Run Run” game, but only because the Nazi General spared his life. During the Idols sketch Horace and Ruben dressed up as each other and Ruben’s English has improved enough that he could do a reasonable immitation of Horace. Michael Diederich impersonated Horace’s mom (was it really accidental that he picked her out of the audience?) and won the Idols contest. The players were really on that night.

There were moments of seriousness. Horace read a speech to Ruben that nearly had the audience in tears and I could swear I saw tears in his eyes as well, as he told about their 35 years being best friends. Ruben came out later, not having prepared any such speech, but not wanting to not say anything, improvised his own words to Horace. But just then the stage was taken over by Treintje Oosterhuis and Edsilia Rombley who sang toghether “That’s What Friends Are For”. The whole audience joined in. I thought the place would errupt into one giant group hug. And then the rest of De Lama’s burst in and jumped on the stage. Ruben Nicolai jumped onto our table and walked the length of it to the stage, the table wobbling and shaking and spilling drinks. The show was over and the party began! Boom’s fearless leader, Andrew Moskos, took the mic to direct everyone how to move about while tables were cleared to make way for dancing. De Lama’s jumped up and down and sang “Kampionen” showing off the prize they had won that night.

I really hope that Boom was filming all of this as it was something special.

London in a weekend

This photo was taken from inside the Tate Modern museum, up against a window. People are streaming over the Millenium Bridge. St. Paul’s cathedral is in the background. The photo was taken on 15 October at about 3 in the afternoon. The sun had just started to come out through the clouds turning the grey day a little bit brighter. You can see my other London photos here.

We spent the weekend in London, sightseeing and walking walking walking. Tate Modern was the highlight of the weekend. There is currently a special show by Swiss artists Fischli and Weiss. This show is worth the entire trip to the Tate. I tried to find a good link to give a feeling of their body of work, but couldn’t find anything useful. They have done everything from photography, to sculpture, to video art. They have a wonderful sense of humor that made us laugh out loud, and a view of the world that is interesting and accessable at the same time. If you live anywhere near London, even if you have to fly, head to the Tate Modern. There is also currently an installation exhibit of tube slides of various lengths that kids and adults stood in long lines to have the chance to slide down. As it was Sunday, the place was packed with kids, so we were very happy they had these slides to keep them occupied!

I have two other impressions of London besides the wonderful Tate – the crowds and the cost of eating. London is so very crowded and busy it can make your head ache. Amsterdam seems like a provincial village in comparison. Only on Sunday afternoon walking in the backstreets of The City did we feel a little bit of breathing space from the crowds.

The cost of eating in London is truly amazing. In Amsterdam you can find cheap places to eat and still have reasonable food. Just head to any “Eet cafe” and you’ll be fed well for 10 euros. Try to do this in London and you’ll be set back double that. Sunday evening we had a pub dinner, dessert and 2 pints of beer each and the total bill came to about 50 POUNDS! Eating out 3 times a day, even at cheap-ish restaurants was quite a shock to the travel budget. Luckily DB’s work paid for our hotel as he was at a conference Monday and Tuesday.

Another surprise was Saturday evening when we tried to get into a movie. We took the tube to Notting Hill Gate since there are a lot of movie theaters in that area. Every one we went to was sold out, some for days in advance. It seems that spontaneous movie going is just not done. Never mind trying to get into a West End show at short notice. A colleague of mine was trying to get tickets to a show and found out they were sold out til MARCH!

Lasting impression of London – a great place to visit, but bring lots of money and be prepared for the crowds, and plan ahead. Start early in the day if you want to try to beat the tourist crowds. In other words, the same advice as visiting any major city!

Google my life

Google is taking over the world, slowly but surely, and they are also taking over my tech life. It happens sweetly and gently, like falling in love. First it’s the excitement of discovering a great new internet email service like GMail and falling so hard for it that you sign yourself up for 5 new email accounts in one week. Then comes Blogger, which you Dear Reader are currently enjoying vicariously through reading this blog. That’s when the hook catches in your mouth and you start being reeled in, albeit smiling all the way.

I didn’t even know I was being Google-ized when I posted short films on YouTube, but we all know what happened there.

Then it was Blogger Beta, and Google Analytics so I can see how many bored interesting and intelligent people are reading my blog.

And now today I’ve succumbed to Google News Reader.

I blame most of this Google-izing on TUAW who routinely post positive reviews about Google services and new things Google is up to. Such posts always make me curious, so I search around for more info, find even more positive input, et voila, I’m subscribed/signed up/Google-ized. It seems to me that Google has almost (almost) as much cool factor as Apple. If Apple had put half as much cool into .Mac from the beginning, they would not be struggling so hard to retain subscribers (like me, an ex-.Mac PAYING subscriber). Apple dropped the ball, and Google picked it up. Ah well, it’s a big playing field.

So what’s the next really cool thing Google will offer that would suck you in?
Integrate GoogleEarth with TomTom route planning?
Post your YouTube video on your Blogger blog just like you can post photos from Flickr today?
Or, ten years from now people will wonder how Microsoft could have become such a big company. After all, if everything is free from Google now, why did we ever pay so much for so little before?

Grey skies above

It’s been a while since I posted anything here and I’m starting to feel a: guilty (which is pretty stupid) and b: like I’d better continue this or I can just chalk it up to another thing started and not continued! Blogging is a committment!

It’s been a very busy time at work (excuse #1) and I’ve had no energy at the end of the day to be creative or interesting. There have been family issues that needed attending to (a pretty damn good excuse) which took time on the weekends. And the last few days a migraine has attacked me (final excuse #3) which made me incapable of doing anything other than sit and wait it out.

Finally when I do start feeling better, and feel like looking at the computer screen for more than a few minutes, I get addicted to playing Sudoku Slam. I was pretty much over my sudoku addiction and the 5 various sudoko books sitting on the coffee table have been untouched for a while. But them TUAW posted a link to this sudoko website and I’m sucked in all over again. This site is great because it takes all the tedium out of the game. So far my best time at solving their hardest puzzles is 3:33. Not bad I’d say. But then I’m an addict and this only feeds me.

Also, since I’m feeling better and have a little time this weekend, I’m looking again into hobby type projects. One of those is ripping vinyl records into mp3’s. Another one is making a cool ringtone for my Treo 650. Having looked around a bit it looks like Rogue Amoeba has the answers for both. And their company has a cool name.

When I was in California last (August) my mom had me help her set up some software and hardware to rip her records. We managed to make it work, but man what horrible software it was! This was the worst UI I’ve seen in years. Imagine Windows 95 type stuff. It works, but it ain’t pretty. Thank goodness I work on Macs and can use software as cool as the hardware. Sorry Mom!

So, dear reader, now that I’ve given you some links to keep you busy, I’m off to do my Dutch homework and take home test, then to try my hand at Rogue Amoeba’s toys…….