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May 3, 08:41 PM · from the mouth of Andy

It’s now been a month since Lisa and I left for Amsterdam. You all should have gotten your postcards by now. (Apologies to Jimmy and Sarah – I didn’t have your address!) We’ve finally sorted through all of our pictures and caught up with our lives enough that I can post. To start you off, here are a couple of pictures to set the mood:

Above you have Rembrandtplein, one of the big squares with lots of restaurants and cafes. It also includes a park with a gigantic, sculpted reproduction of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. Notice the Hoegaarden umbrellas – they had it on draft! Below is a typical canal shot. There are views exactly like this all over the city center. There are also bikers like the lady in the shot everywhere – the Dutch, particularly in Amsterdam, are very fond of riding their bikes, and they do it in a very casual way, usually in their street/business clothes. We even saw a lady in a fur coat and high heels riding a bike!

We started out our trip in Amsterdam itself. We arrived in the afternoon on April 4, a Wednesday. We spent that day figuring out how to spend the rest of our days – it was a very short trip, and we were sure we would be pressed for time. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Amsterdam is actually small and dense enough that we could walk to most of the places we wanted to go very easily. So we ended up covering a lot of ground that first day, starting at the Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam’s big floating flower market, working our way up to Rembrandtplein, then across town to the Pink Floyd coffee shop. Things took a slightly weird turn here – we were jetlagged and didn’t feel like lighting up, so we went with the “pastries” instead. They hit us hard, so we essentially had to call it a night after a VERY bizarre experience at an Indonesian restaurant and paranoia-fraught walk back to the hotel.

That said, though, Amsterdam is renowned for its Indonesian restaurants as well as its cannabis coffeeshops. We unfortunately only made it to one of each. I did quite enjoy, though, the potent aromas that drifted from every last coffeeshop as we walked by. Mmm, mmm, good!

Our second day started the hard-core touristing. We made the obligatory stops at the Anne Frank Huis, the Museum het Rembrandt Huis, and the Red Light District. We also did a canal walk laid out by our guidebook, and all before dinnertime! We capped the evening with a sunset canal tour by boat. Awesome.

Day 3 was Good Friday, and we were due down in ’s-Hertogenbosch for the wedding of my college friend Barbara the next day. We spent our morning hitting the big museums. Our hotel was right near the Museumplein which is a large, open park surrounded by many of Amsterdam’s large cultural institutions. We managed to get to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum in plenty of time to enjoy some waffles with ice cream and check out the Concertgebouw, even though we couldn’t stay for a concert. Finally we boarded our train at Centraal Station bound for ’s-Hertogenbosch:

Also known as Den Bosch, it’s a lovely town with a cobblestoned urban center – right here is the view from the steps of town hall on Saturday, the wedding day, which also happened to be the city’s market day. The ceremony took place inside, but it was probably the smallest portion of the day. Dutch tradition dictates that the groom pick up the bride at her parents’ house in the morning before the ceremony. So all of the guests first came to a small breakfast at the groom’s parents’ house. Then it was off to the ceremony – which was all in Dutch! I understood a word or 2, and people laughed a few times… but it resulted in this:

That’s Barbara (formerly de Kruijf) and Leon de Barbanson. So Barbara is now Barbara de Barbanson. Hehe.

Anyhow, the entire wedding moved on to a museum in town, where we were served snacks and tea while they took more wedding photos. Next came a trip to the town of Houden, where we had high tea. Finally, we arrived at a large (I’m pretty sure the guest list quadrupled for this part) party, akin to a raucous wedding reception, where they played techno and had an open bar well into the wee hours of the morning. It was sweet.

Easter Sunday was our last day, but we really packed it in. We went back through Amsterdam and walked everywhere we could. We took this shot just before settling down on a bench to drink in the feeling of being there:

And now we’re back. My favorite souvenir came from a random stop in a beer store there. I asked the clerk to recommend some good Dutch beer that I wouldn’t be able to get in the states, so I came home with this colorful assortment:

I just finished drinking the last of these last night. So I guess, really, my Amsterdam vacation has only just ended. I have also, of course, used my new beer journal which Lisa gave me for my birthday to record my impressions of all of these.

Congrats if you’ve read this far. Now say something!

Comment [16]

Band, Birthday, and Beer

Feb 11, 02:28 PM · from the mouth of Andy

I have 3 things to share with you all. I thought about putting them in different postings, but it occurred to me that then I’d push every other posting off the top 3, and I wouldn’t want to do that to you guys. So, explanations aside, here goes.

FIRST, In a couple weeks I’m taking the Columbia Wind Ensemble on tour to Yale, for a joint concert with the Yale Concert Band. It’s our first collaboration with another major college ensemble, so I’m very excited about it. It would mean a lot to me if you local boys could make it! It’s on Friday, February 23rd at 8pm in Woolsey Hall and will feature all kinds of great music, including one from our CRHS past: Gavorkna Fanfare!

SECOND: I’ll be traveling to CT again the weekend of March 30 to April 1. Since that’s so close to my birthday, as well as Bryan’s and Jim’s and only a month after Jake’s, I thought it would be nice to plan something with you local boys for that Saturday in honor of us getting old. Who’s going to be around? Lisa has suggested that, for her amusement, we try out a drinking game called Edward 40-hands, but I’m game for regular beering as well.

FINALLY, speaking of beer, I’ve discovered a new favorite brand with a great beers and a whole lot of character. Stone Brewing has a whole selection of IPAs that are excellent, but none as good as their basic, which rivals my favorite Dogfish Head brews in its flavor, intensity, and drunk factor. They also produce Arrogant Bastard Ale, the quintessential condescending beer snob brew for the rest of us – just the text on the bottle (think “you’re not worthy” explained in two soul-crushing paragraphs) is enough to make it worth buying. The beer itself is spectacular as well, despite not being an IPA! The 7.2% alcohol content certainly helps with that…

Anyhoo, there’s 3 things that oughta get you talking.


Another SNL Masterpiece

Dec 22, 12:31 PM · from the mouth of Andy

On a much more pleasant note, SNL has once again outdone itself with its latest Digital Short. This one features Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake as boy band hipsters giving their ladies a unique holiday treat. Here is Treat in a Box and the uncensored version

Also check out the New York Times article on the subject.

Comment [1]


Dec 22, 12:25 PM · from the mouth of Andy

So Lisa dnd I found out on Wednesday that we have a bedbug infestation! And what a pain in the ass it is. Not only do we both have bites (her moreso than me), but we essentially have to pack up and sterilize our entire apartment over the next few days. The real kicker is that she’s now in Cleveland, having flown out yesterday as scheduled. So we really did most of the packing & sanitizing Wednesday night until 3am. But it’s left our apartment a mess that I have to live with until I go back to CT, and then some more once I return home. All our clothes are in the kitchen in hermetically sealed plastic bags, and our belongings are gradually moving in that direction as I check them over. Our hope right now is that the bugs haven’t spread past the bedroom, and so far we haven’t found any sign of them anywhere else, so we’re also treating the spare room as a safe-haven for now. Unfortunately we’ll be dealing with this for a while, naturally when we’d both like to be enjoying the holiday.

So, I guess, keep us in your thoughts as we get rid of these pestiferous parasites. And then come visit once we put the place back together!

On a lighter note, see my next post.

Comment [3]


Dec 8, 05:50 PM · from the mouth of Andy

I seem to be regressing to my 12-year-old, video-game-addicted self. I REALLY want a Nintendo Wii. And now everyone’s talking about it. There’s a discussion about flying controllers in the New York Times as well as a whole website dedicated to the comedic exploits of sweaty-palmed controller flingers:

All of which makes me want it even more! Coming soon… I hope.

Comment [6]

Music for kids and grownups

Dec 7, 12:39 AM · from the mouth of Andy

First, an NPR story about kids music that grownups will also like, with a link to a blog on the subject called Zooglobble. My favorite bandname of those profiled in the story: the Wee Hairy Beasties. You’ll notice, they’re signed to Bloodshot Records!

Also, my favorite teacher colleague today sent me a link to some weird foreign site that has a large collection of Beatles videos from their entire career. Check out especially “Yer Blues” performed with John Lennon singing, Mitch Mitchell on drums, Eric Clapton on Guitar, and Keith Richards on bass!

Comment [2]

Storm King

Nov 6, 07:21 PM · from the mouth of Andy

Yes yes, I’m FINALLY getting around to posting something substantive on here! As I mentioned in the comments somewhere else last week, Lisa and I recently took a trip to the Storm King Arts Center which is about 50 miles outside NYC. The trip was essentially to see the fall colors which are now in full bloom around here. However, the real attraction of the place is the art. It’s an all outdoor sculpture garden with a number of massive works – they were showcasing Mark di Suvero (hope I spelled that right) when we went, and they had a number of other artists featured. You all would love this place – a day trip there with all of us would be one of the most fun things I could possibly ever think of to do. But enough talk – here are some pics!

This should give you a general feel for the place:

Here’s a favorite sculpture that really showed the difference between Lisa and me:

One of Lisa’s attempts at an art shot, taken through a Calder sculpture:

Finally, an example of di Suvero that I mentioned above. Check out the scale!

Bootyful, no?

Thoughts? [3]

In the New York Times

Oct 18, 08:23 PM · from the mouth of Andy

There was a great Times article today about porters. They talk about the history and recent revival of the whole porter genre, then they rank a few of them. Strangely enough, I’ve had a few of the ones that they mentioned. We brought Anchor Porter with us to Maine, their #10. I swear I’ve had the Geary’s before – that’s #1! And one of the beers they mention as terrible, the Rogue Porter, was the one I tried at Sunset Grill in Boston on the way up to Maine. And they’re right – it wasn’t very good!

They also ran a bit about the Russian download site that Tyty once mentioned, AllOfMP3 . Looks like someone wants to shut them down!

I hope everyone’s well. Who’s gonna be around for Thanksgiving?


I'm a little verklempt - discuss! [2]

Very Sad News

Aug 28, 11:45 AM · from the mouth of Andy

Jim will remember, from the trip back through CT, that my mom mentioned that Will Costello was in a serious car accident with another Durham friend sometime a couple weeks ago, probably while we were in Maine. When my mom told us, he was on life support with an uncertain future.

On Friday morning, Will died.

For those who don’t remember him clearly, I’ll try to refresh. Will was the kid with the bright orange hair. He was Emily’s year in school, and actually was also briefly her first boyfriend. He was also especially good friends with Maureen, since they were across the street neighbors. My family went to church with his family at Holy Trinity in Middletown, where Mr. Adams was the choir director. So naturally, Will was a hardcore Mr. Adams disciple. I can’t speak to what he’d been doing recently, but I do know that, tragically, he was engaged with a wedding date set for January.

I admit I hadn’t seen him in probably 8 years when I found out about this. But even so, I knew him through most of school, going back to 3rd grade or so, and he left a big impression on me, and I’m incredibly sad that he’s gone. I’ll be at his memorial service in Middletown (at our church on South Main Street) tomorrow (Tuesday) at 3pm. I’ll keep you faraway guys updated on info for flowers or anything if I find out.

I’m very sorry to post this – I hope you’ll forgive the fact that I’d rather not have to make 5 separate calls with this terrible news!

Comment [4]

Even more nostalgia

Jun 1, 11:07 PM · from the mouth of Andy

Hey boys,

This pic has been hanging on my wall for years, and I thought it’d be good to post here. Take a look!

And pardon the icky scan.

You can also find this on my brand spankin’ new MySpace profile. Love it!

How’s everyone doing? Post something!

Comment [11]

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