January 26th, 2007 § § permalink
Twice since I’ve moved here to the good old Netherlands, I’ve been swindled by a swindler quite unlike those that you find in other countries.
In other countries, you can see a swindler coming from miles away. They ooze swindliness, and you can easily sidestep their advances. But the Dutch….well, they’ve taken it to a whole new level.
Example 1: About a year ago, I was walking Lola through a very affluent neighborhood at night, probably peeking into people’s windows to see how they decorate their house, like I usually do (don’t tell me you don’t). A woman was coming up the road towards me, wobbling a bit like she was drunk, but still dressed very nicely, hair and nails done, makeup pretty much perfect (in that Dutch old-man way that lays the eyeshadow on heavy), and wearing a nice expensive-looking coat. She stopped me and gave me this sob-story about how she was out at a party when her daughter called (she waved her cell phone in front of me to somehow prove that her daughter had called) and that she was in an accident, and now she had to run to such-and-such hospital (“You know that hospital? No?”) to take care of her, but she didn’t have any money on her and just needed 3 euros 50 cents for the taxi ride, and could I please lend her that?
I can’t remember if I gave her money just for the entertaining story, or whether I claimed out, saying I had no money on me because I was just walking the dog, but both are just as likely.
But the meeting stuck in my head, and kind of confused me for a bit. Was she telling the truth, or lying? If this was a swindle, much props to her, because it was a good one. She was totally believable, but something was just off a bit.
Example 2: Just today, as I was walking the dog (again, is it Lola who attracts these well-dressed freaks?) a lady stopped me and started spurting about in very polite Dutch about this and that, and then switched to even politer English when she saw she was losing me. She was also meticulously well-dressed, wearing nice probably expensive glasses, nails done up, nice bike in tow, again heavy on the eye-makeup, and overall well-to-do looking. Her story went like this: “Good afternoon. I work at ___someplace I didn’t quite catch___ – Do you know the place? No? …Well, as you can see, my bike tire is flat (pushing bike tire, which is indeed flat) and Ï live in Zandaam, and to get home I need just 2 euros 80 cents for the train, would you please give it to me? I can take your number and pay you back (waving cell phone in front of me as proof that she would pay me back)” She was also heavy on the compliments – My, what a lovely dog you have there (pointing at pathetically wet and muddy dog), and your eyes- they are gorgeous, what a nice color, and oh! you aren’t Dutch? I thought you were Dutch, you look very Dutch (perhaps she thought this was a compliment???).
So, I dug in my pockets, and gave her what I had, a grand total of 90 cents, because shit…I didn’t need it, and also, again I couldn’t tell if this was a swindle or not, because she was just that good. But instinct tells me that it is a swindle. A very Dutch swindle.
What is it about these ladies? Do they just get bored in their old age, and go around telling these stories for spare change, and for kicks? They don’t look homeless, or like junkies, who are the usual sad-story-telling-beggars, such as “I’m lost and my wallet was stolen and I need to find a hostel to stay in tonight”, or “My friends left me here and I have no money and need a taxi to go home”. Those are predictable, and easy to defend against.
But these ladies…..you both can’t say no, but can’t believe their stories. And I think they choose their targets wisely. I just look like the fool to believe a story like this, and so they move in for the kill, and lather compliments and give promises.
They could make it easy on themselves and just ask me for change straightout. I am the type to usually just give it. But whatever…we’ll play this little game of pretend every time, since they seem to enjoy it so much.
January 23rd, 2007 § § permalink
I just got it in the post today and I LOVE it! You guys are awesome, thank you so much!
I was so excited to get it (totally unexpected of course) that I immediately put it on, and took these series of photos JUST FOR YOU!
And yes, I did it with a self-timer, alone in my living room, karate-chopping all over the damn place. I am totally not afraid of making an ass of myself online for your viewing pleasure.
And yes, those ninja faces are necessary.
And yes, those are little fluffy clouds on my socks….and a clump of dog hair.
And yes the shirt fits perfectly.
I shall not take it off all day and all night and all tomorrow and so on until it starts to smell and Dave makes me take it off.
Thanks guys! I soooo can’t wait to meet up in the summer!
Glinda the Good Witch of the North
Waaaaaaaay cool ! And kudos to Cam and Jamie for the awesome shirt!
You know how WE do in NJ! I’m sure a lot of gangs want you to join cuz of your ninja skillz! I bet you’re pretty good with a bow staff too
I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself. You are truely worthy to Rock tha Ninja gear!
P.S. the fact you said “post” is hilarious! Thanks for the smiles
This is by far the coolest blog eva. And not just because you mention the 2 coolest people in the world.
I’ve come back to look at this like a million times – IT’S HILARIOUS!!!!!!
January 19th, 2007 § § permalink
It’s nearly 2 am and I’m still up, puttering around on the good ol’ Internet, trying to make myself tired and getting nowhere fast.
I just went into the bathroom to wash my face (step one of going to bed), and halfway in, hand on light switch, realised that the lights are out in the bathroom. Both of them. This happened tonight, marking the ELEVENTH lightbulb in the apartment that has blown in the past 2 weeks. A veritable lightbulb boycott.
And because I’m too terribly busy during the day working (from my living room table) (shut up I am too busy), I totally forget everyday that bulbs need be bought! Like you do when its broad daylight and have no need for indoor lights.
Now, I am faced with a dilemma. A small dilemma, sure, but a dilemma nonetheless (shut up its nearly 2:30 am) of needing to wash my face and having no light in the dark, oh-so-very dark, bathroom.
You see, a grown-up woman would just wash her face in the dark. But me? I haven’t been able to enter a dark bathroom since I was 14 and Mel and I used to dare eachother to say ‘Bloody Mary’ three times into the bathroom mirror in the dark, thus evoking Bloody Mary herself and our own inevitable (and bloody) deaths. Honestly. The quickest way to scare me into submission would be to lock me in a dark bathroom. Mature adult to blobbering chicken shit in .2 seconds.
So there will be no face washing tonight. And no teeth-brushing. And should I break out all over my face tomorrow due to slackened hygiene…..well, that’s just the price I am going to have to pay for being a yellow-bellied (but still alive! and breathing!) chicken shit coward.
i thought 13 was the LUCKY number??
January 15th, 2007 § § permalink
Soooooo….on Friday night a group of us went to the Stutters show at this tiny little music venue called De Nieuwe Anita, which looked more like someone’s house than a music venue, making it that much cooler.
While sitting there waiting for the show to start, I saw someone in the crowd that I know sings for another band that I have just discovered and really, really like. She was sitting across the way, so I pointed her out to Dave saying ‘You know that song I just played for you tonight? There goes the singer right there.’
And Dave was all, ‘Go say hi to her. Tell her how you like her music.’ and I flat-out refused, but everytime she came within a foot of me, Dave would nudge me going ‘Look who’s behind you, look there she is, go say something.’ and of course I didn’t because I was put on the spot (sorry Wendy for doing the same thing to you before! I see the err of my ways now!!!)
Well, a couple drinks later, and I saw her again at the bar, so I mustered up the courage and proceeded to make a complete ass of myself, saying something along the lines of:
‘Hi, excuse me, are you so-and-so from *insert band name here*? I just want to tell you that I really, really like your music, I think it’s really good, you’re a great singer, and actually one of your songs is now on my MySpace profile (fucking cringing just writing this), and I’ll definitely be there at your next show! yadda yadda I’m a geek just shoot me now!’
Then I went back to my stool and died a little on the inside.
And this is why I will never, ever again speak to someone who is even the slightest bit famous.
January 11th, 2007 § § permalink
This was when the novelty of a web cam still hadn’t worn off yet.
January 4th, 2007 § § permalink
I just got this email from a friend:
“Thought you might like to know that I have both of the pictures that you
gave me hanging up in my apartment The one with the rose is in the living
room and the one you made is above the bed in our bedroom. Thank you again
Attached are pictures of proof LOL
PS: The Spice Girl CD didn’t make it to the States though….I figured it
must be illegal to own one of those here LOL”
And she really did attach proof- 2 photos of those paintings hanging on her walls, with the one I painted hanging in the Prime-Hanging-Spot-Above-the-Bed.
I feel all warm and cuddly inside.
And when I visited my mother in early December she pulled a 3-panel painting that I had done out of nowhere and announced that she was going to hang them in her computer room.
Again, I feel all warm and cuddly inside.
Aw shucks. I’m blushing. You guys are the best.
January 2nd, 2007 § § permalink
This is just a quick look back on 2006. A year in review, if you will. Sesame Street style- to the tune of the alphabet!
A- Amsterdam, my home of about a year and a half now. You have both pleased me and pissed me off. More of the former, but enough of the latter to make me think twice about this whole Amsterdam thing. But I think I’ll try and keep you for awhile longer. We’ll see how things go.
B- Barwork. If I never again work in another bar it will be too soon. Take your Italian and French tourists and SHOVE IT.
C- Cleopatra. This year for Halloween I went as Cleopatra, and had such a great time, and won some vodka too- always a plus!
D- Dog shit. I can honestly say that this year, I have picked up every single one of Lola’s poos. Yup. All of them. Because I’m just that considerate.
E- Edinburgh. We took a trip to Edinburgh in August and enjoyed all of the free shows that the Fringe Festival had to offer, and just got the hell out of Dodge (Dodge being Amsterdam) for a week.
F- Fast Food. Why, people, WHY? Just don’t. Don’t do it. Stay away. Read ‘Fast Food Nation’. Watch ‘Supersize Me’. And if you still eat it, then piss off I don’t care if you want to kill yourself. I’ve given up fast food for about 3 years now, but bought the book ‘Fast Food Nation’ for Dave after telling him how interesting it was and how harmful the fastfood industry is. I was tired of explaining to him why I don’t eat it, so just had him read it instead. He subsequently gave up fast food himself, which was a pleasant surprise and a better outcome than I had hoped for and its been months since he’s been now.
G- Gym. I joined the gym this year, and now do cool and crazy things like “workout”. I know! So wild! My aim last year was 4 times a week, so this year, being the wiser and more mature (one year older) person that I am, now have set my aims a bit lower at 3 times a week.
H- Hair. I went curly. Ta-da! Smells like news to me!
I- Ice cream. The one junk food that I didn’t give up on my 26th birthday. And cinamon ice cream, you have saved the day on several occasions! Here’s to you!
J- Josh Ritter. Saw him twice this year, and he was by far and easily the best concert(s) of 2006.
K- KPN. Fuck you.
L- Lola. When you ran out into the street on one of the busiest intersections in the neighborhood while I was at the ATM machine this past summer, I very nearly lost you. I know that you were only confused and thought I had crossed the road without you, so you ran after me. I know this because you stopped RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD when you realised I wasn’t over there, and sat down looking so very sad and mixed up. When I came after you in a fit, you realised your oh-so-big mistake, and knew you were in for trouble. I took you home and screamed at you louder than I’ve ever screamed at any person or creature before because I love you so so so much and the thought that I had come THISFUCKINGCLOSE to losing you shook me to the core and I felt so responsible because you weren’t on the leash at the time.
M- MySpace. I occassionally get the opinion expressed to me that people would rather “make friends for real”, but thats bullshit. I know everyone on my MySpace- have actually met them all in person, with the exception of one friend of a friend (who seems cool!), and 2 bands. Its just a way of staying in touch with them, and having a laugh together online when we can’t be together in person. So piss off and don’t paint it in that picture. That being said, I spent way too much time on it altogether in 2006.
N- NUON. Fuck you too.
O- O’Reilly’s Pub/Obesity Surgery. Basically both of my jobs this year. You paid the bills and drove me mad many a time. What more can I say?
P- Paranoia. I will really, really, really try not to get so uptight with certain people who may or may not be trying to “move in on my man”. I said I’ll try, not that I’ll succeed, you dirty little trollop! JK! But in all honesty, its something that I gotta work on.
Q- Quiz Night. They used to be fun in Brussels, but the ones here in Amsterdam…..well, they just leave me feeling stupid. Really stupid. Because I can’t name the men’s tennis singles Olympic bronze medalist from 1984. And other such nonsense that really now- would anyone care about? Besides said men’s tennis singles Olympic bronze medalist from 1984, who I’m sure is still very proud. Our team- ‘Up There For Thinking, Down There for Dancing’ got dead second to last, followed by dead last. Then we remerged as ‘Bel Nu 0-900-SEXSEXSEX’ and got dead last again (but at least got a chuckle everytime he read our name out).
R- Rascal. Of course. Such a big part of my year this year. The origin of several friendships, and several times nearly the demise of my relationship, but hey! I partied! I danced! Viva les Rascalites!
S- Saddam Hussein. Am I a bad American because I didn’t want to see the guy hung? Why so cruel, people? Why do you love the taste of blood on your lips, and splashed over the cover of your newspapers. Let him rot in jail, but I seriously oppose the death penalty, no matter who is facing it. NO MATTER WHO.
T- Tig Barra. Oh how I once loathed you, my local Irish pub, and oh how now I love you! Maybe its the free drinks? Maybe its the hot barman? (wink, wink) In either case, I’m real glad we’re neighbors. Thank you for being a friend, and being the place “where everybody knows your name, and you’re always glad you came”.
U- The Undercover Glutton, a restaurant and food critic for the Amsterdam Weekly. My hate for you knows no bounds, you crap-for-brains, no-good writer. I carry this hate into the new year. Let’s still be arch-enemies in 2007 again, ok?
V- Veganism. Keep attempting, keep failing. I’m sure this will continue into 2007.
W- ‘Wok to Go’. You have sustained me so many times this past year with your lovely to-go noodles with Sweet-n-Sour sauce and stittake mushrooms and pineapples, that I almost feel like you should have been on my Christmas Card list. If I sent any this year. And if you celebrated Christmas.
X- Xenophobia. Hi the Netherlands. I know I’m American, and you don’t like most of us, but we’re not bad people, and I would just like to live here in peace, please, if that’s possible.
Y- You. Hi friend. If you are reading this, we are friends and have been in touch over the past year (most likely). I hope this will continue into 2007. If you are not on my friend’s list, but do know me, please get in touch, because we have some catching up to do!
Z- Zushi. Dave tried sushi at Zushi with me for the first time this year and fell in love with it, so it is a love that we both share now. Which is a good thing, because if he didn’t like it, the relationship might well have ended right then and there.
All the best!!!
HAPPY FREAKIN NEW YEAR!!!!!
Amanda, dear, why oh why are you in the fashion world? Not that you are not in every possible way a fashion goddess, however, you should venture into the land of dun dun duhnnnnnnn JOURNALISM! Or heres a New Year’s resolution for you – start writing an autobiography. I swear I enjoy nothing more – well that’s not the whole truth – there are few things I enjoy more – like Cameron—– than sitting down in front of Myspace and reading your blogs! Even when I know I only have like barely 3 minutes to spend on here I hit up your blogspace first!!
P.S – I LOVE MCDONALDS FRENCH FRIES soooooooo nanna nanna boo boo!!
P.S.S Have you ever had Green Tea Ice Cream?? Mmmm Mmmm Mmmmm like Campbell’s but better!!
Bonne Année!!! I totally agree with Grand Larsony! You should write columns or something…
Glinda the Good Witch of the North
I loved this blog! What a great way of synopsizing the year…. I may have to steal it just to see how my year shakes out. I can guarantee you “veganism” won’t be on mine though….