I sit here in a pub in London, using the wireless to work, and on my second pint of cider (wwwhheeeeee!!!!!).
Across from me is a guy who looks JUST like the manager from a pub I used to work at in Brussels. And then I hear him speak and he has that unmistakeable Spanish accent. Jes. Jew know the accsthent dat I am talking abou. He catches me staring at him, and I hope he doesn’t think I’m being rude. I just thought for a second that he was that prick of an assistant manager.
What was his name again?
…….EUGENE. Yeah. That was it. What a prick, that guy!
Anyway where was I? Besides nearly done my second pint…
Oh! So here I am in London, and tonight is that Cringe thing, and I’m so looking forward to it for many, many reasons! Two guys that I haven’t seen in years will be dropping by, and I just got word that a friend of a friend will be there. She and I have a mutual friend in Amsterdam, and many common interests, so we’ve been virtual friends for maybe two years now, and to think that I’m actually going to meet her IN PERSON just boggles my mind!
And I’m also on Gmail chat and my friends are out in full force! 5 windows of chat going on, and I’m a bit tipsy and so very very very happy and I really shouldn’t be blogging but damnit life is good.
If I ever get bored with life again, all I have to remember is that one simple cure: travel. Getting out of your box. Getting away for awhile. Shaking things up.
That, and FRIENDS. Friends are also a part of the cure.
Here’s me shaking things up. With friends.
See some of you tonight!!!
Brussels, 2001-2002. I found a letter that you had written to me recently when looking through old boxes of things at my mother’s house. It was sewn up in a cloth envelope, with a heart drawn in red ink on the outside. The memories that it brought back made me smile, although the letter that it contained was somewhat bitter and stand-offish. I glanced briefly at the letter and put it aside for later when I was alone and could read it in private, but I must have misplaced it because I can’t find it now.
Your friendship was a force to be reckoned with. You were funny and intelligent and had plans, big plans for the future. We made lots of plans together, and wrote them all down so that we would be sure to stay on track. Our biggest thing was that we wanted everything to be made by our own hands. We were going to each write a book, and it would be hand-printed on paper (paper that we made ourselves), and bound by us as well. Did I mention that we were also going to make our own ink?
You decided one day to learn to play the cello, and so you got a cello and started practicing. Just like that, like deciding to buy a new shirt. Then you took me to see Yoyo Ma at the Palais des Beax-Arts. It was my very first foray into classical music, and in the middle of the show you leaned over and whispered to me to close my eyes. “Just feel the music,” you said. And I did. I felt it down to the very tips of my fingers and toes. It left me breathless.
When I went vegan for the first time, you did too. Not to support me, but to prove that you could do it, and do it better. We survived solely off of french fries and potato chips, and this friendly competition went on for six months until we had a falling out over something small and trivial. Then, out of spite, you ate a huge hamburger and we didn’t speak for a few days.
Months later, distracted by a new love in my life and freaked out by one night in particular in which you and I stayed up late into the night and didn’t talk and listened to Alkaline Trio for hours, I would push you away to the outskirts of my life. Your friendship was like a full-time job, and I didn’t have enough time to give. Looking back I can see that it was the energy you projected, and the way you really looked at me and understood me that made me push you away. I just wasn’t ready for such intensity at the time. I wasn’t ready for that night.
It certainly wasn’t the last time that I would fuck up a good friendship in my life, and these seven years have shown me that it also wasn’t the last time that I would let fear drive me away from someone.
I have this song in my playlist for the gym. When it comes on, I always smile big and run faster. It is so typically you- not just because you were a big fan of Alkaline Trio- but because it is a love song with the words ‘shit’ and ‘fuck’ in it.
And that was you, in a nutshell. Lovely and coarse and refined and hilarious. Classical music mixed with “love punk” (as you referred to it).
A few years ago I got a call at 4 am. You were sitting on a mountaintop in California and had thought of me so decided to call me right that very moment. You said you were helping to herd sheep or something just as obscure, but you had plans to walk around the world. Yes, you were going to fly from California to Japan, walk around there for awhile, and then take a boat to Russia. Then you’d walk across Russia into Europe and then head south down through India and then who knows.
All of this was conveyed to me down the line in a rush of excitement and no stops for breath. Then you got distracted by someone walking up the mountain and hung up, and I haven’t heard from you since. I have no doubt you ended up doing what you had been planning, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if life led you on some other crazy journey.
I do know, however, that I would always welcome a call from you at 4 am, no matter what or when or how. Always.
Oh! Hello, internets. Are you still here? Has it really been six days since I last posted? That’s not like me.
I’m trying to sum up what I’ve been doing in the last six days, and all I can land on is: scheming and socialising.
It was a brilliant six days with lots of friends and a few dark patches, but those few dark patches were enough to make me sit down and think, “Right. WHERE TO.”
And so I’m off to London tomorrow. I very nearly decided not to go to the Cringe night, but then Veronica came home the other day with a surprise- turns out the Cringe book is already out in the Netherlands (Waterstone’s)! We had a little read through and it was quite funny and totally cringe-worthy and I thought, “Fuckit. You’re only in a book once, right?” (Answer: HOPEFULLY NOT.)
So I booked my flights and let some London people know that I was coming, and off I go tomorrow morning.
If it weren’t for the shit storm raining down on me this year, I might have missed it. But there’s nothing like stoopid drama and money woes to make me want to flee the country.
I am also cooking up a few more trips within the next month. All of this will do absolutely NOTHING to help my money woes. It also will do nothing to help any stoopid drama that pops up, but I’m banking on the old saying “Out of sight out of mind.” That does work, right? Fingers crossed.
Here are a few photos from my break at work yesterday when I popped around the corner to Waterstone’s to see for myself that, yes, the book is actually on the shelf (Gah!).
If anyone is reading this and happens to be in London tomorrow night, please come by to the Cringe night at the George Pub in The Strand! 6pm, yo. Sure to be a good time.
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Four Years Ago: I was trying to find the ultimate balance: work, school and love. Still am actually. It didn’t help that back then I still smoked weed (Whaaaat? I was new to Amsterdam- it was still novel back then!). Any family who might be reading this (ahem and convalescing at home with a bad back) please ignore what you read on that post!
One Year Ago: My nerdy love of fonts burst through. This is a love that cannot be tamed.
Just saw that my second letter was posted up on ‘Confront Your Bully’.
Don’t hate me because I got my revenge. It was beautiful.
Just before I first moved to the Netherlands in 2005, I had visions of me riding my bike, with Lola in the basket, zooming along the canals.
Lola had other ideas. It took a long time for her to get used to the basket, and then we got Mylo and 2 dogs in one basket was just impossible.
Behold: 2 Dogs, 1 Basket. (No scat to be seen*.)
We have been collectively DUTCH-I-FIED.
*Do you get that reference? If so I heart you, you filthy pervert.
So after a long day of traipsing around town (yes, I traipsed. It’s like walking but prettier and more girly.), we got back to the hotel and I started to draw a bath. I was thinking of a long soak with a good book and some nicely scented Lush products.
After a few minutes I went back into the bathroom to check on my bath (this was before any Lush stuff was added).
And that spelled the end of my bath dream for the whole weekend.
Exactly why you shouldn’t drink the water in Prague, my friends.
Also, do you remember my birthday boots? The chicks (and some dudes too) in Prague were totally mackin’ on them! I watched them as they watched my boots. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed.
“You’re right! That girl was totally checking out your boots!”
Seriously, though. Can you blame them? They’re awesome boots.
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It feels a bit strange just focusing on things like the tap water, a sweet-ass bike I saw (Seriously go czech out that ride! It’s awesome!), or the fact that there was a Dutch cafe in Prague when there is so much else to the city (architecture and history being two of the bigger things), but I suppose that’s just not my style, yo.
I took photos of buildings and ish like that, but haven’t looked at them since. Those are things that you really need to see in person to get the full affect. Photos just don’t do the buildings justice.
So, my advice? Go there and see it all for yourself. You won’t be sorry.
And that’s the end of my posts about my trip to Prague. Too-da-loo!
Because we like to take it international, folks.
There’s also one of me naked and drunk in front of the hotel room mini bar, pointing gleefully at a small bottles of Bailey’s and Jack Daniels, but they shall never see the light of the Internets. I know I am great at oversharing with you people, but some things must be kept sacred, no?
For being such a beautiful place, Prague was peppered with grim reminders of the darker side of Bohemia’s history.
There were plenty of moments to make me stop and go “Hm.” as a chill crept up my spine.
(For more on the jewish folklore about golems and Rabbi Loew’s golem which was used to protect the jews from persecution in Prague, check this article.)
New Jersey, 1994. I’m sure you remember this too. We were walking from school to my house, and I had one of those mini-tape recorders. It was the year after ‘Benny & Joon’ came out, and this song by The Proclaimers was playing everywhere. You couldn’t escape it. And we loved it.
So that cold autumn day as we walked that long country road to my house, we recorded ourselves singing this song in our pre-pubescent girl voices, alternating the parts perfectly in fake Scottish accents (or so we thought) and throwing everything we had into that part that goes “da da dahn dada duhn dada duhn dada da da da!“
We also recorded ourselves singing this song, although god knows why we thought we could pull this one off.
“In your heeeeeeaaaad! In your heeeeeeaaaad! …. Zohm-BE-E!-E!-E!-Oh!“
The funny thing is that I’m pretty sure we thought our voices were decent. Otherwise I don’t think we would have recorded ourselves.
And then we played it back so we could listen to our brilliance, and weren’t we in for a shock! It was so atrociously rotten, so ear-splittingly horrible that I’m pretty sure we both cracked up and cringed at the same time.
And right that very minute two tiny dreams of being world-famous singers were dashed in the brisk autumn air.
I found that mini-tape player this past weekend when going through some things at my mother’s house along with 4 mini casette tapes and quickly ran through them all hoping, praying that the one of us singing these two songs was still there.
Unfortunately it wasn’t, so our singing is (somewhat) safely under wraps for now. But I still crack up when I hear those two songs (totally not appropriate if you think about what “Zombie” is referring to but I can’t help it!), and girl….if I ever find those tapes I am so posting them onto the blogosphere, so look out!
Breakfast time in this house is a special time for everybody.
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What a coincidence. Three Years Ago Today I also posted about feeding my dog. That time it was pineapple.
I know this is totally not an original idea for a post, but my blog search stats are sometimes the highlight of my day.
If I could reach out and personally speak to some of the people that stumble upon my blog for the following searches, this is what I would say:
To those with less than vanilla appetites in the boudoir:
Wow, I can only imagine the disappointment you must have felt when you searched for the above and clicked through only to find my little ol’ blog here, with not even a whisper of a fetish in sight. Because I don’t like to disappoint, I’m going to refer you over to the OTHER Amanda who might be able to help you with those latent sexual desires that are just itching to be released…Have fun!
However, if you like the idea of dogs wearing clothes and me pointing at small things, then feel free to relax, kick off that gimp mask and stay awhile.
To those who are shameless:
Have you no shame? No? Neither do I.
To those who apparently know me well:
True, but I swear I don’t use tongue! Unless they ask for it.
To those that probably don’t know me quite as well:
I really hope you weren’t searching for me specifically, because I have this fear of being mistaken for a man….
To those with a serious question:
The small ferocious kind that eat your liver while you sleep. You’ve been warned.
To those with a dream:
It’s really, really great and then they fire you without warning. Good-luck-with-that.
To those that were there with me?:
I actually found this interesting, because there were only 4 of us there that night, so was it one of you three? Also, this is an upcoming blog post, but I think this is the article you were looking for.
To the like-minded:
Ah, bless. You’ve come to the right place, my friend.
To those that hate Spanish people:
I’m not proud that this is a recurring search directing people to this blog, but at least I don’t feel so alone! My “hate” for Spanish people is actually a running joke with me and some of my friends, stemming from my days of barwork. Seriously, for all their friendliness and warmth, Spanish people are a pain in the ass to wait on. And apparently they just looooove to come to Amsterdam- lucky for me that I worked in a popular tourist bar for a year!
To those that are being bullied, or have been bullied:
Might I direct you to a very funny way to release that anger?
To those that are hurt:
First of all, as for what to do, here is what I did: sat around all day and whined and moaned about the pain, and then coerced people to go and buy me ice cream and sweets while I laid in bed watching crappy reality TV. When they obliged and came back bearing ice cream and sweets, I thanked them by whining and moaning some more. I also whined and moaned on my blog, taking my pain into the blogosphere and beyond.
As for how to make a sling…well, not to toot my own horn or nothin’, but…TOOT! (The Hug Yourself Sling- patent pending)
To those that can’t spell:
I think you mean “kiss my taint“, and not tonight dear, I have a headache.
To those that want it bad:
Alright, but next time I want to hear a “please”, mister! I swear- the manners on people these days!
To the slightly mistaken:
I do believe that ‘Amanda’ is sung by Boston. I know this because my name is Amanda (Surprise! Who didn’t see that one coming?) and I swore when I was younger that I would marry the man that used that song to woo me. Then one day along came a man that used that song to woo me, and he asked me to marry him. I said yes. And then we broke up, he threw my clothes out onto the street, and I moved to Amsterdam.
They just don’t make romance like they used to. Such is life.
To those that were given the Facebook shaft:
Sucks! I feel you. Was it your overwhelming righteousness when debating the particulars of bullfighting that got you deleted too? Let’s get together over coffee and hash out the indignation that we both feel so deeply.
To those that need a hug:
If distance wasn’t such a bitch, I totally would. However, in times such as these, (PRODUCT PLACEMENT) there is always the Hug Yourself Sling! Meant for broken arms, but totally adaptable to people who are just lonely and need a hug when the only arms within huggable distance are their own.
To the few, the proud:
Congratulations! Next up: how to tie your own shoelaces! “Make a teepee. Come inside. Pull down tight so we can hide. Around the mountain… here we go! Here’s my arrow. Here’s my bow!”
To the aggravated:
To this I say: Kick him in the nuts! If it’s a girl, kick her in the nuts too. Trust me, it hurts us just as much.
To the perverted:
That’s just fucking sick.