Thanksgiving Shopping

After this years dinner, we decided to go shopping early with Thanksgiving. How about 10pm at the Toys’R US? Every year Black Friday shopping starts earlier. For the stores it’s the biggest day of the year, but their revenue gets eaten up by the run on Internet shops. To be able to compete, stores open early in the morning, or even late at night.

We had to stand in line for a long time. The people in front of us must have been there at least for two hours, which means they left the dinner table immediately to go to the store. And while it was cold, we “only” had to wait for 45 minutes to get inside.

The bargains were not that good, lot’s of plastic junk from China. At least we were filmed for the local news by NBC.

Next year we just stay at home, and shop online. No rush, no cold and get a good night sleep :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Party City Customer Parking Only

Every Sunday I go to the Farmers Market at Kooser Road, at Meridian Ave in San Jose. It’s a popular destination for those who like to shop for organic fruit and vegetables.

Since the market is taking up a decent amount of parking spots, I’m sure the stores around the parking see some sort of impact, as parking gets more difficult during the Sunday shopping. However, there might be more potential customers walking by their stores in the way to the market.

I took below picture this morning, as I’ve been asking myself if the store in question actually can do this from a pure legal point of view. What if I park my car in these spots, which are reserved for only 15 minute parking. What if the security man is telling me to move the car, as the parking spots are for Party City customers only.

party city san jose customer parking only

Don’t I pay taxes of which these parking spots are being maintained? Can a store just reserve these spots during the Sunday Farmer’s Market?

Delft Pictures

After 3 weeks vacation back home in The Netherlands, I am finally back in the US with some time to post some nice pictures of pure Dutch sceneries. Here are some pictures from Delft.

Het Konings Huys Delft toilet doorsDelft is the place where William of Orange was murdered. Still all the royals from The Netherlands are buried in the royal tomb in the big Church on the main square. Delft is a perfect place to go if you would like to avoid the large tourist groups in Amsterdam or Utrecht.

Because of the strong band with the Dutch Royal family, you can find a number of unique Dutch Royal family souvenirs in the stores on and around the large central market square. On that square there is the cafe/restaurant “Het Konings Huys”, where you can find the interesting toilet doors pictured at the right here. If you are a lady, you take the door with the picture of Princess Maxima, if you are a man, you take the door with picture of crown prince Willem-Alexander. 

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Picture above: City Hall of Delft

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Picture above: Grote Markt Delft

 pictures on the wall of "Het Konings Huys"

Picture above: Pictures of the current and past Dutch Royal family at the wall of “Het Konings Huys” - Delft

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Picture above: Typical Dutch houses in Delft

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Picture above: Typical Dutch Canal in Delft

Roy Lichtenstein Style Graffiti for Hair Salon

How do you draw attention to a hair salon that is situated lower than the road where everybody passes? Right, a large graffiti on the side of the building! Check out this Graffiti in the style of the well known artist Roy Lichtenstein. The woman in the Graffiti says: “Oh, Jan, your hair is wonderful

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This picture is taken in Delft, The Netherlands.

Holland World Cup

OrangeI’m having a well deserved vacation back in my own country The Netherlands. And I’m very happy I can watch all the games of the world cup.

The World Cup is much bigger in Europe than in the US. Whole streets are colored Orange in Holland, where all commercials are World Cup oriented. All stores have windows that focus on the soccer crazy people.

Some of the billboards you would never see in the US. See below the billboard for a lingerie brand Sapph.

If you ain’t got the balls. You won’t get the score

Lingerie-soccer-billboard

Student Curb Service Real or Scam?

Last week, we got a notice our number of the house was newly painted on the curb stones at the street again. The notice was from Student Curb Service, where they highlighted the curb stones were freshly painted for convenience of police and fire department in times of need.

student-curb-service

All sounds good right? Your house need to be identifiable when needed, and students need to know what an honest job feels like…Like they say:

Curb numbers are used by police, fire and ambulance, as well as delivery men. Most addresses cannot be read from the street at night. Freshly painted curb numbers are easily seen by the headlights of a car.

Because this service is not offered by the city, we provide it for everyone on a donation basis. Since we cannot find everyone at home during the daylight painting hours, we paint the addresses for all residents. Your donation for this service is strictly voluntary.

Only, we got the exact same notice only 3 months ago in our mailbox, where I don’t see any changes to the paint of the number on the curb stones. Is this a scam or legit? So far we have not paid anything, but should we pay these poor students or would our money be spend on all other things except on education?

Anybody know if this is a legit operation?

Update: some more research showed more suspicious people (source):

''Students'' have shown up at my door roughly every four or five years collecting for painting my number on the curb. And I used to give them money. Not any more. That's because the roots of the big eucalyptus in front of my house have pushed up the street just enough to allow an occasional puddle to form, which covers and discolors the number. But you don't have to pay for this service which, most likely, is conducted illegally.

The other day I came home and there was a note taped to my door saying that as a service to the residents, numbers will be painted on our curbs. This is nothing new, but because I have large, clearly visible numbers on my house, I have never wanted the number painted on the curb.
The last time they did this was probably a few years ago and when they came to collect (donations), I told the man that I had not wanted it painted and, therefore, would not be paying for it. He was visibly irritated but left without saying anything. When I saw this note I decided to call and tell them ahead of time that I did not want this service. They say it has a value of $15 and that they will take all contributions and to make your donation when the ''student'' calls at your door. I can tell you for sure that the person who was collecting last time was no student!

Positive Thinking

Are you thinking positive? Are you really? Thinking positive goes beyond the cliché of the half glass full or the half glass empty. Thinking positive is a state of mind, and showing insight to yourself and other people even without thinking about it. Thinking positive will make other people smile, be more productive, get the most out of people, lead people to accomplish wonderful jobs, encourage people to do whatever they haven’t done before and most important heal sorrow or losing somebody you love.

Just the other day, one of my best friends texted me. The situation with her father has gone down hill, and it would not be long for him to say goodbye to his loved ones. What can you say at such a moment to your friend you have known for over 22 years. What can you say at the moment she is about to loose her father. What can you say from 5,00o miles  distance.

Sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to look at things. Just today somebody said to me, "I spend the coldest days ever in Amsterdam. It was back in February two years ago. It was so cold". I responded: "You are lucky you were there in February, you only had 28 cold days". He laughed and said: “Dennis, you are always so positive”. And before I knew it, I did it. I’d sent some positive energy into the world with the simple words of wisdom meant as a joke.

I hope I can soon tell this joke to my friend and we can laugh together again. It probably won’t be for a couple of weeks, at least not until we meet again when I travel to The Netherlands. But I’ll make sure I send her this post if the time has come. I know one person deserves some positive energy right now! I hope she can share it with her family…

Silicon Valley Roller Girls

Hot-August-Fights Saturday evening, time to get out of the house. On upcoming I stumbled on an event I have never been: Women's Flat Track Roller Derby. San Jose has it’s own team, the SVRG, short for; the Silicon Valley Roller Girls.

A roller derby is exciting. The two teams try to score points and block the other team at the same time, to avoid they score any points. As the girls are on roller skates, and the track is fairly narrow, you can be sure that there are one or two casualties in a couple of rounds.

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I didn’t know the rules, but in the book I could find the general rules.

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All players had interesting names and funny helmets.

Silicon-Valley-Roller-Girls 008Silicon-Valley-Roller-Girls 060

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The Derby was not close at all, SVRG swiped the floor with their opponents.   

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Before you go sit somewhere, make sure you check if the seating is not dangerous. You might want to sit somewhere else if you see this sign on the ground:

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7 Year Old Car Thief

Imagine you are just 7 years old, and you don’t want to go to church. What do you do? Right, you hijack a car, and get involved in a car chase with the police. Problem solved, I bet the boy didn’t went to church, rather he went to the police station to be questioned.

A 7-year-old boy put his life and the lives of others at risk Sunday morning when he decided to skip church and go for a joy ride in a stolen vehicle.

You can’t make these things up. Only in the United States this can happen!

He ran a stop sign and almost hit another driver before turning into a local high school and then turning around to drive home. He made home to the driveway and ran into the house to hide. The reason for the joy ride? It sure was better than going to church.

Amazing. I’m just asking myself how the hell this little boy could see over the steering wheel, while he was driving.

Zurich Trip

Summer in Zurich is awesome. Although winter is not bad either, as I was there last December and it was not that cold or rainy at all. Last week rocked in Zurich Switzerland! The first three days the temperature was over 30 degrees Celsius, which is approximately 90-95 Fahrenheit.

With a Monday night dinner at the shores of the lake, and a boat trip on the lake on Tuesday, the weather gods has blessed our journey. The rain didn’t fall until Thursday!

With a busy schedule, it was hard to see something of the city itself, but I did got the chance to sync up with some old friends who I already know for years now.

Some pictures of the trip are below.

The view from the restaurant where we had dinner outside. The city of Zurich is in the background.

 Zurich-Switzerland

A nice billboard to remind us where our food is actually coming from. From ducky to Xmas dinner . 

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Some nice meats at the BBQ on the boat trip on the Tuesday.

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Some nice view on an old piece of Switzerland

Switzerland-old-style

With a nice sunset at the end over the lake of Zurich

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On Thursday a brief visit to the Google office. Inside, it was not aloud to make any pictures, so only a photo of the name tag in the lobby was possible.

Google-Zurich-visit

And my taxi back to the airport was completely covered with advertisement stickers in some bright colors blue and pink.

Taxi-Advertisement

A good week trip to Zurich for just a week.