On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.


For Every One Good British Pop Star..

...there are dozens that should be locked in a room and made to play their one hit to each other over and over again, in a round. For every flash of brilliance, there is also a warehouses full of cheese. Stinky, veiny cheese.

This Jamie Cullum song is HUGE here. It haunts me, and I hate it. Does it make me feel any better that it was the hit song for one of the Bridget Jones movies? No, not in the slightest - especially if it was the second Bridget Jones movie because that one supremely sucked.

I first heard this song on KLM, who just had to play it every time they landed the plane (they've since switched to a depressing Stevie Wonder song - who knew Steve could be depressing). Recently I caught some Dutch TV commercial featuring a woman bursting into this song to the delight of an entire bar. Now the grocery store musak has it in heavy rotation.

I want to puncture my eardrums with an ice pick. As an aside, did you know that Frida Kahlo slept with Leon Trotsky?

Anyway... this is all procrastination b/c I'm not quite ready to talk about the abysmal showing the US team made in the World Cup this year. My hope is that by listening to that despicable song, you'll get a small sense of the real pain I felt as Italy and Ghana cheated and got away with it.

At least the Roos are still in it!



Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

We spotted this little garden plot in our neighbor's backyard.




"They" called looking for Osama's mother today. Who are these women who can't keep their phone numbers current?


Introspection Day

Where to begin... A lot has been happening lately.

I guess the biggest news is that my last day of work is June 30th. I'll admit that I had it pretty good. I got to keep my good, rewarding, decently-paid job and telecommute from the Netherlands. On paper it seemed like a super deal, except for one key issue: the hours were terrible. I work a late shift from 1pm-8pm, leaving me little time to hang out with B-, which is why I'm here in the first place.

The hours weren't the the only reason, of course, but the rest is a bit wishy-washy. In sum, it was time to go.

So, I've been setting myself up to freelance while I start the long process of finding work over here. Or, maybe I'll just freelance and make my own hours. For once, I've got options and that feels pretty good.

So, what does one do with a bit of extra time? The following is a short list of things I plan to tackle (in no particular order):

-- finish planning my wedding (oh yeah... that)
-- put half a decade's worth of photos in albums
-- take more photos
-- learn video editing
-- blog more consistently
-- cultivate my yoga practice
-- take Nigel to the beach more often
-- volunteer
-- start a neighborhood clean-up campaign
-- take a travel writing course
-- practice my Dutch more diligently
-- get involved with Democrats Abroad
-- vacuum up dog and cat hair more frequently
-- knit more

In the spirit of blogging more, I'll give you a run down of the next episodes of My New Dutch Life:

-- wuppies
-- Prof. Kaas
-- nudity, nudity everywhere
-- the call of nature
-- oranje
-- and more...



All I have to say as I head back to the Netherlands after a nice long weekend in Vermont - can it get more American than that - is:



I'm so psyched that I get to watch the first half of the US - Czech game on my soil.



World Cup Fever

So check this out, the US Men's soccer team heads into this year's World Cup championship in Fifth place, behind Brazil, Czech, Holland and Mexico. Not so incidentally, we were in fourth place two weeks ago. Still, we're three spots ahead of France who won the championship in 1998, eight spots ahead of Italy who usually make a run for the cup, and 14 spots over Germany who barely beat us last go round, but managed to make it to the final.

My inexpert opinion is that we have as good a shot as ever to make a serious bid for the prize. It's only a matter of time, if not this year.

But let's bring this home a bit and talk about Holland. The Dutch are seriously inflicted with World Cup mania. Never mind that my official Team USA t-shirt is on its way (it remains to be seen if I can muster up the guts to actually wear it out), Dutch exuberance is a bit more than nauseating -- not the least because their team color is orange. If it's not a jersey hung in a window or flags strung between buildings, it's wrapping an entire bar in orange plastic.

It's no secret that Americans are unpopular abroad. The US Team will travel around Germany in unmarked busses with half a military squad to protect them. As a fan, my concern is how to support my boys without finding more than just a bit of hair gel on my bicycle seat. My secret weapon is defender Cory Gibbs who has been on loan to ADO Den Haag since January. My strategy is to show my support through Gibbs in the hopes that Dutch people will think I'm just really into the Haagse team.

Go Cory!

Perhaps the Dutch won't even care about the US team, since we wouldn't meet them until the semi-final round. We have to win Group E to avoid playing Brazil in the second round. That's gonna be tough since we play no. 2 Czech in our first game. Crazy things could happen. With my secondary support going to Australia, there could be an upset in group F, leaving Brazil to fight it out against Czech in the second round. With Brazil out of the way, the US could actually meet the Dutch on July 5th.

Of note, The Socceroos are sporting a feisty team in their second bid to take the World Cup. They tied the Netherlands 1-1 in Sunday's friendly, sending three Dutch players to Germany with injuries. Australia meets Brazil in their second match. Here's to Australia with nothing to lose.

Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!

My fingers and toes are crossed.


BK Frogger

Red Snapper sent in this gem, which appears only to have been reported in South African press:

Frog found in Burger King salad

Seems that creepy crawlies hop around Den Haag Centraal Station. Fancy finding a frog in your sla. I'll say that the food options at Centraal Station are pretty grim, especially the dodgy joints in the neighboring Babylon Mall. My guess is the frog escaped from the sketchy Chinese restaurant. Yuk.