Today I’ve upgraded my WP-installation to version 2.0
Let me know if anything is broken. Comments still need to be moderated, due to *#$!& spam.

Christmas 2005

As is now traditional, we celebrated Christmas with a bunch of our friends: this year there were 19 guests besides us. We had a 7 course dinner, where each course was prepared, served and cleared up by a different team. Jan and I, together with Thomas and some help from Henk, served the soup and the cold starter.

We had a good time, and a very enjoyable evening was had by all. I hope your Christmas was as much fun!

The Jonathan in a festive mood.

New website for the Friendship BnB

The website for the Friendship BnB has been completely overhauled. It was long overdue. It’s now available in both English and Dutch, the booking process has been completely built up from scratch, and I’ve added a news page. The HTML is now structured, and is almost valid. I’m working on that.

Oh, and I’ve updated my WordPress installation to version 1.5.2 – that went pretty smoothly.

Indian Summer

unseasonally warmThe weather here has been acting rather strangely lately. Yesterday, Sunday October 30, we took the Ayor out for a spin. It was 20°C (68°F) with clear blue skies and bright sunshine. Normally it’s around 10°C (50°F) and pouring down with gale-force winds. Some people say we’ll have a severe winter. It hasn’t started sofar….

In the picture: Rob, Jan D., Hank, Niels and Allan. Jan (the captain) thoroughly enjoyed himself (and our friends) touring the canals. It’s quite likely that this was the last day this year the weather was nice enough for a boattour. However, that’s what we said last month as well.

At around 15.30 Jan dropped Frits and myself off, because there was also a Saloon in the Crea Café. He then continued with a (partly) new crew, right up until sunset. Which was early, because we’ve just changed from Daylight Saving to Wintertime.

Our latest-model, state-of-the-art pressure cooker

under pressureWe had ‘stamppot’ last night. Jan decided, as autumn has arrived now, that we were ready for some solid, wholesome food. A ‘stamppot’ is potatoes, minced meat and (in this case) white cabbage all mashed up in one big pan. And if you want to have everything cooked in a short space of time, you use a pressure cooker: the higher the pressure, the faster it cooks. So behold our enhanced pressure cooker. Control the pressure by adjusting the amount of tea in the pot.

Oh, and the ‘stamppot’ tasted real good by the way.

Sail 2005

Fireworks over the IJ - Sail 2005
Today was the first full day of Sail, an event which happens every 5 years in Amsterdam. A large number of tall ships, windjammers, clippers, etc. come to Amsterdam for a huge nautical event. And everyone that has a boat comes out to see the big ships. So you can imagine it’s very busy on the IJ. Every night, there’s a big firworks display over the IJ. Tonights display was very impressive. The weather (which has been horrible for the last two weeks) was real nice, and we stayed out till 11 pm. There’s another three days, and then Sail 2005 is over – and we’ll be off to Crete for a couple weeks of vacation. But first some more boat tours.

“Straight” Ahead

Straight Ahead was the motto for this year’s Amsterdam Pride Canal Parade. And so we did. The weather wasn’t as nearly as bad as the weather forecasters led us to believe it would be, so all in all it was a fine day. It started sunny, but by 10 am the rain was pouring down. Then 15 minutes later, it was dry again. So we could install the music installation, and the red carpet on the catwalk, and the giant syringe on the AYOR.

This year the theme for our boat was ‘old misses’, or ‘faded beauty queens’. We each had titles, most of which are puns on dutch words, so don’t translate very well, but there were a few english titles: Miss Take, Miss Behave and Miss Demeanor.

At the very last minute we decided to make the boat an homage to Connie Breukhoven, who – 25 years ago – used to be the singer Vanessa. Vanessa gave a come-back concert during Pride Weekend, so we thought it fitting to name the boat: Connie’s Botox Salon. She now makes her living running a beauty clinic where rich bitches get their lifts, nips & tucks.

Because boat nr. 1 never turned up, we – with boat number 2 – were at the head of the parade. We were right behind a very late addition to the parade, a boat nr. 0, an initiative of the organising committee. It was a very simple boat, completely covered with a white shroud, and a huge picture of the two boys that were recently executed in Iran for being gay. It was a chilling picture, and a very sobering sight. Literally, a tough boat to follow.

We tried to keep a certain distance between that boat and our boat, but that wasn’t always easy. Some people had trouble with readjusting to 15 bears in tight swimsuits and sashes. But most of the crowd seemed to like us. We had a couple of songs as our them music: Julie Andrews singing ‘I Feel Pretty’ from West Side Story; Shirley Bassey singing ‘Big Spender’; the ‘Stripper’ music used in the movie ‘the Full Monty’ and ‘Que Sera, Sera’ by Doris Day. The people along the canals loved it, and it got us a round of applause every time.

No prizes for us of course, as we are not a member of the GBA (organising committee). The prize for best boat went to the April-Exit-Soho boat, who had a huge blow-up dummy of a woman. I think I’ve seen that before on the Roxy-boat about 6 years ago, only that time it was a man.

All in all it was a fun weekend again.

Another € 200 down the drain..

(from my SonyEricsson T610) the dieselpump at Scheen Outboard ServiceYesterday we went for a short boatride, to drop Paul and Jessica at ‘Strand Zuid‘, which is a so-called city-beach: a place -near the water of a canal or river – where they’ve dumped a truckload of sand, plunked down some beach chairs, and added a place where they sell imported beers and rosé wine. Definitely a ‘place-to-be’ this summer.

Anyway, on the our way to this city-beach, we went for a refuelling stop – with all these boattrips we go through the diesel fairly quickly – and dropped another € 200 of diesel in the tank.

That should see us through the summer at least – although we have Gay Pride and SailAmsterdam still to go…

It’s awfully quiet here…

I’ve just been too busy with work (and, admittedly some play) over the last few weeks. CSD Cologne, work, birthday, work, moving furniture, work, reinstalling a crashed computer, work – so much I have to do, so little time for things I want to do…

As mentioned, we did CSD Cologne: fun as ever, and a really hot day for the parade. I’ve not put up any pictures yet, but we’ve made it onto flickr: here (Timon and Jan) and here (Thomas).

I celebrated my birthday, too. I coupled it with a ‘house-cooling’ party at the Kerkstraat apartment: that has been sold, and I’m handing over the key on July 27th. The party was a succes, and I have some fond memories of that apartment. Most of the furniture went to Henk. Jan organised a ‘budget makeover’ for Henk’s apartment – Henk himself refers to it as a ‘low-budget makeover’. Either way the result was definitely an improvement.

Now all I have to get rid of is an Ikea wardrobe, and a Ligne Roset cupboard.
The Ligne Roset cupboard is for sale.

Sordid lives

Tonight we watched the movie ‘Sordid Lives’ (again). We went for dinner at Wim’s place, actually Carla cooked a fabulous Thai meal. After dinner we watched the aforementioned movie. It still is funny, even when we’ve seen it about ten times. (See the trailerhere.)

It almost makes you want to visit Texas, to see if life is really like that over there. My favourite character is Sissy, played by Beth Grant. Wonderful hair.

In a time where there seems to be an increase in violence directed at gays, even here in Amsterdam, it’s good to see people accepting ‘alternative lifestyles’.

Wim turned 50

Wim turned fifty last April, but this past Sunday we celebrated. He threw a very nice party in the “Huis met de Hoofden” (the house with the heads) here in Amsterdam. Some of Nick’s collegues came over especially, as did a few American guests. We (i.e. Jan) organised a chorus for Wim, and we sang four songs to celebrate Wim’s many qualities. I guess you had to be there.

But it was a very successful party, and I (like to) think that Wim had a good time. So now it’s on to the next 50th birthday. I think it’s Kees’ turn…

Getting ready for Queensday

Tomorrow is Queensday, our national holiday. Traditionally, all our friends come over to the “Jonathan” for dinner, after the music stops outside the Amstel Taveerne.
5 kg Pasta, 6 liters peeled tomatoes, 10 liters tomato sauce...

A 5 kilogram bag of pasta, 2 tins of peeled tomatoes of 2.5 liters each, a 2.5 liter can of corn, 10 liters of tomato sauce… We’re getting ready for Queensday allright!

Ah, but summer came early…

Last Sunday we went for a spin on the Ayor. The weather was unseasonally nice, it actually felt like summer. Several of the crew were nicely rosy-roasted.
I’ll put up some pictures soon. Right after I have resuscitated my iBook, which is suffering from a lot of problems right now….

Click the image to see the pictures.

Winter is still here

The AYOR in the snow It doesn’t look like we’ll be going on any boattrips soon. It’s been snowing steadily since this morning, and there must be about 20 cm of snow. Which is a lot in these parts. The snow acts as a kind of muffler, making everything a lot more quiet. As long as you don’t have to go anywhere, it’s beautiful. But there are probably a lot of traffic jams because of this…
Because of all the bridges in Amsterdam, snow is usually swiftly followed by gritting (and road salt-) trucks, which leads to the creation of a horrible, sooty black slush. I’d much rather have clean white snow – that doesn’t get into your shoes too much.

Sneezin’ and wheezin’

I’ve got a cold. Running around Cologne for a couple of days in just a thin layer of nylon will do that to a body. I just hope I’m well enough to go to York (England) next week as planned. Just a short trip, to celebrate my mothers birthday. It’ll be deja-vu all over again, as I lived in York for four years between 1980-1984. I expect it’ll have changed. As have I.