Monday Motivation

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Just wanted to share my motivation for today with you guys :)

I totally forgot to tell you how lovely the last 2 weeks had been; big bad R. was on holiday! And work has never been so much fun. But as of today he’s back and ruining everybody’s mood again. Hence the reminder to use those muscles wisely!

There’s a story to the sparrow in the pic too; here in the Netherlands, there’s a saying “iemand blij maken met een dode mus”. Literally translated it means “to make somebody happy with a dead sparrow”, meaning… Putting something awesome in prospect, which turns out to be a huge disappointment (a.k.a. the dead sparrow). However, when you mix up the saying, you end up killing somebody with a happy sparrow. This once happened during lunch break (mixing up the saying, not the actual killing ;)), and has been an inside joke between us girls. N. (the one I mentioned had a stick up her ass back when I started on the job) worked a little Paint magic, and our happy sparrow, as you can see in the pic, was born. And I couldn’t have wished for a better illustration to the text!

Now let’s hope he’ll pick up the hint… ;)

Thank you for reading :)

Love,

ML-X

Football/Soccer: UEFA EURO 2012 Finals

Tonight’s the night! The Euro 2012 finals will be played by Italy (surprise!) and Spain (not so surprise!). I think the key word for this year’s Euro’s is in fact “surprise”. Some really great teams didn’t make it into the quarter finals, others were just one hell of a disappointment (can you say Dutchies?), and I still can’t believe that Germany lost from Italy in the semifinals.

There’s one thing that has made me very, very happy: Portugal is exit! Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against Portugal in itself, but that self-obsessed, arrogant Cristiano Ronaldo has annoyed the living hell out of me. I think he’s spent more time rolling on the field in acted anguish than actually running. And then there’s the changing hairstyles every damn time… Ugh! If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, or just want to have a laugh, check out this “ode” to Ronaldo HERE.

I do have to admit that Ronaldo isn’t the only strange guy out there… In fact, there’s one in Italy as well: Mario Balotelli. Seriously, that guy is insane! But hilarious at the same time. Check this out:

I showed this video to my dad last week, and he laughed so hard, kind of waving his arm, that I thought he was going to hit me! And there’s lots more crazy shit he does. Either way, it promises to be very interesting tonight :)

As for Spain… Well, they weren’t my favourites ever, but they can play so beautifully, in that typical Barcelona style. It’s such a delight to watch them. Well, at least, most of the time. Their game against the aforementioned Portugal wasn’t all that good, in fact, it was rather boring, so I’m very curious if they’ll step up against Italy.

Despite that I’d never expected Italy to make it to the finals, I’m totally rooting for them tonight; not only because Balotelli is hilarious and Spain has won the last Euro AND World Championships, but because I have a strange fondness of the Azzuri. Whatever happens, with both of these teams I think we can expect a great match.

Will you be watching, and if yes, who’s your favourite of the two?

Thanks for reading!

Love,

ML-X

Football/Soccer: UEFA EURO 2012

After having to wait for almost two years (or four, depends on how you look at it), it’s hardcore football time again. The European Championships have finally started!

Let the games begin!

I am quite the football fan, and whilst having followed the earlier mentioned Eredivisie, the prospect of the EURO’s got me even more excited. I’ve watched them (and the World Championships) ever since I was a little girl, but 2010’s World Championships were extra special; they’re the reason me and le man are an item.

I still remember what happened; we were out in town with the company, watching The Netherlands play against Brazil on the biggest TV I’d ever seen. It was hot outside, and I couldn’t see anything because of all the people so I was standing on some kind of ledge and he was standing in front of me so I didn’t fall off. The funny thing is that despite thinking he was cute, we’d never talked all that much. Hell, I even hated his butt when he first came to work for us, because I figured he’d steal my job (long story). But he didn’t, and gradually we’d started exchanging words every once in a while.

Anyway, back to the point. As I said, it was scorching hot out there and I had my beer-cooled hand on his neck to cool him off, the game was great and against all odds… We won! Holy shit, we won from Brazil! Everybody was extatic, yelling and hugging random strangers and we… We just kissed. And that’s how everything started.

Obviously, football has been extra special after that, for the both of us. Some might find it boring, but we watch games together whenever we can and want. And when we can’t watch together, we watch seperately and text about it. It’s also our little inside joke; the other day there was a show on TV where the participants had to answer, “What’s the best place to fall in love?”, and he simply said “During a football match”. Of course, that wasn’t the right answer, but I loved it!

We’ve watched the first two games together (Poland vs Greece and Russia vs Czech Republic, although I missed the last bit of the second one), but unfortunately couldn’t watch The Netherlands against Danmark (which the idiots lost!) and Germany vs Portugal together because he had to work. Tonight we’re both off and the third pair of games will be played. There may be war; I’m an Italy fan (my current hair colour is red with black, like AC Milan!), while he’s more into Spanish football, and that’s the first game scheduled for tonight.

I do hope The Netherlands will pick up their pace after yesterday’s game, because it would be a shame if they wouldn’t go to the quarter finals. The atmosphere here back in 2010 when they did so well was simply undescribable. Yep, football beats the shit out of Queensday! And for the last few weeks, there’s been orange everywhere, and supermarket and drugstore chains have dealt out all kinds of football-related goodies with every x-amount spent. Yeah, it’s great to be here when the football craze is on!

So to all of you watching the EURO’s I’d like to say: Enjoy, and may the best country win! And to you who might want to start watching but don’t know how to; check Fiction In Crazy Mode’s post here on how to enjoy these games at their fullest.

Until next time!

Love,

ML-X

Guilty Pleasures: Eurovision Song Contest

When I was a little girl, there were two nights a year I could stay up late. One was of course New Year’s Eve, and the other was… Eurovision Song Contest night. And twenty-something years later, it’s still a bit of a mother-daughter thing for me and my mom. Traditionally, we criticize and rate every song, trying to guess who’s going to win this year’s contest. Despite having extremely different musical preferences, we still both manage to guess pretty well.

Here in The Netherlands, the ESC is seen as a “gay thing” mostly and in a way interest in it will be frowned upon. I’m not sure what sexual preferences have anything to do with a music contest, so my best guess is that the Dutch aren’t into the contest any more because they haven’t made the finals in quite a while. I’m just perplexed that they think they even stand a chance, with the absolute crap they send in. Now I do have to admit, there’s a lot of strange entires, like Russia’s this year. But they came in second! And despite not being all too pleased with that, I can understand why that happened. Russia’s entry was funny. Holland’s wasn’t (and it was off-key as f*ck, while we’re at it). They just take themselves too damn seriously, but they don’t even consider sending in any of the actually talented artists we have here. Hell, they might even be better off sending me in! ;)

All in all, I have to say this year’s ESC was pretty okay. I’ve seen quite some things that I did like, and among my personal favourites were Sweden, Serbia and Slovakia. The latter unfortunately didn’t make it into the final, which was to be expected, but I still thought it was very awesome. Sweden won this year, and Serbia took third place, thanks to the grannies from Russia! So I guess now y’all know why I wasn’t too pleased with their coming in second ;) The only thing that really bothered me this year, is the fact that the counting of the votes was boring. Sweden took the first place all the time, there was no doubt she’d win, so the counting part was quite a waste of time.

So, my European readers, have you been watching the ESC this year? Who were your favourites? Of course, the rest of you are free to comment on our silliness too ;)

Thanks for reading!

Love,

ML-X

Crazy Dutchies: Part III

Tomorrow is a special day for us Dutchies: Queensday, or Koninginnedag, as we call it. It’s one of my personal favourites, since it’s pretty much one big ass nationwide party, and the atmosphere is great. Actually, every “real Dutch” holiday/event has an amazing atmosphere. Everything’s orange (that’s “our” colour), everybody’s having a good time (except for the unfortunate ones who don’t get a day off on Queensday), it’s just great.

Now, I could try and explain to all of you outside the Netherlands what Queensday is, but that would be a really long and complicated story. So instead, I’ve decided to let somebody else do that for me:

I just love the way this guy explains Queensday. And hell, he’s not even that far off! It’s the queen’s mother’s birthday (only because our current queen’s birthday is somewhere in the winter, not so convenient for an outdoorsy kind of party), and yeah, we like to move it around a little if that suits us better. Trying to sell your shit is a very important part of Queensday, I’ve even seen people sleep outside to get a good selling spot the next day! And then there’s the parties… Koninginnenach (derived from “nacht”, which means “night”) in The Hague used to be a lot of fun, but they’ve changed up some things, amongst which is the name, and I’ve pretty much lost interest. Amsterdam and Eindhoven are other places to be tomorrow, but too busy for my liking.

My favourite thing to do on Queensday is to just be outside and enjoy the atmosphere, watch people sell their shit, maybe even buy some shit off them, that kind of thing. And the weather is supposed to be very good this year, so I’m really looking forward to it! Just hoping that the crazies will stay far away again this time; in 2009 there was an idiot who attempted to drive his car into the bus that held our royal family, killing 7 people and wounding a lot more while doing so. He came off pretty easily himself; he died shortly after the attempt because he was severely wounded. Too bad, if you ask me.

Anyway… Enough negative stuff for now. Queensday’s fun, and that’s the way it should be. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and John Fealey’s explanation of Queensday, and to all my Dutch readers; have a great day tomorrow!

Love,

ML-X

Newsflash: Fashion Police Win!

Usually, I don’t really like the news because it’s pretty much always murder, politics and other bad/not interesting stuff. But this morning I came across an item that amused me so much, that I had to share it with you! Check it out;

In Prattville, Alabama, LaMarcus D. Ramsey was given a three-day jail sentence on Tuesday for contempt of court because his blue jeans were sagging too low.

Ramsey was in Autauga County Circuit Court to enter a plea on a charge of receiving stolen property, but Circuit Judge John Bush took exception Ramsey’s pants: “You are in contempt of court because you showed your butt in court.”

“You can spend three days in jail. When you get out you can buy pants that fit, or at least get a belt to hold up your pants so your underwear doesn’t show.”

(source)

Is this shit ridiculous or what? Now I have to say, I have a strong dislike for wearing your pants like that, it just looks awful, and I fully agree with the judge’s decision to put him in jail ;) But people do it freakin’ everywhere! Here in The Netherlands we call it “wearing your pants at 6:30”, since 6:30 is when the clock’s hands are at the lowest (although I think that 5:30 isn’t that much different).

This article also reminded me of an old colleague of mine, with whom I’ve worked for a while around three years ago. When I started working there, people were calling him “pants” all the time, and it took me a while to figure it out… But when I did, I was traumatized for life. How did I finally discover why they called him that? He bent over for some reason. In front of me. And all I saw was a huge, red… Ass. Oh yeah, “pants” was a “6:30 meets tight and colourful Björn Borg underwear” kind of man. Unfortunately, he was a tad overweight as well. They say “what has been seen, cannot be unseen” for a reason… :( And ever since, I’ve had a huge dislike for both 6:30 pants and Björn Borg undies.

What do you think of this guy’s fashion crime? Is it really worth punishment, or can you come up with something worse?

Thanks for reading!

Love,

ML-X

Crazy Dutchies: Part II

Our politicians have lost their minds. Supposedly, we need to cut back approximately 10 billion euros this year, on top of the cutbacks we’re already got. I guess that makes sense, if you (as a country) spend more than you actually have. I mean, just look at Greece and the shit they’re in these days. So fine, let’s cut back on a few things. Our politicians have already made a list of stuff to cut back on or make more money from:

1. Health Care
We used to have a really good health care system. Everybody over 18 used to pay an x-amount monthly, and in return, when they get ill, a lot of the expenses were covered. This system changed a little bit when I turned 18, with the main change being the monthly rate; it went up from around €40,- a month, to €100,- a month. On top of that, they decided that the “base insurance” was mandatory; everybody who didn’t have one, would get a fine. You did get to choose if you wanted any extra insurances, because the base one didn’t quite cover everything. You could also get some money back after a year if your expenses stayed under €250,- that year. In the years after that, the monthly rate went up and up and up while the base insurance covered less and less, and they even had a new idea: a mandatory “own risk” thing. The “own risk” was a kind of threshold; if you stayed under an x amount (it started around €120, and this year it’s €220), you had to pay most of your medical expenses yourself. Everything above that amount would be covered IF it was in your insurance kit. I guess this is “good” when your expenses are way over that threshold all the time, but I, for instance, spend maybe €60,- a year, if anything. So I pay €130 a month for a year, only to pay all my expenses myself anyway. Where’s the point in that? But it gets better: To make their cutbacks possible, they want to raise the “own risk” policy with another 25% next year. All in all, the mandatory insurances get more expensive, cover less, and when you’re not terminally ill you’re screwed. Way to go!

2. VAT (taxes)
Almost every country has a certain rate of VAT you pay over everything you buy. Here in the Netherlands, it’s either 6% (on food) or 19% (“luxury goods” like clothes and everything that’s not food). As if it’s not bad enough that 33%-52% of your well-earned salary goes to the tax administration office! And now they’re even thinking of raising the VAT rates! But wait, it gets even better…

3. Salaries
They want to freeze salaries! So combined with point #2 here, we’ll earn the same money, give the same amount to the tax administrations, and then give some more to them through VAT. What the fuck? Please do note that these ideas come from people who earn what, 300K yearly. If I had that amount of money, I wouldn’t mind freezing it either. The average yearly income for the rest of us is around €33.000 this year.

4. Mortgage
They’re bitching that the economy is so bad, that people hardly buy houses/apartments any more, but they want to skip the Mortgage Interest Deduction for everybody. The MID is a small amount (approximately €180 a month) you can get back from the tax administration office when you own a house/apartment. Despite being a small amount, it helps a lot of us; without it I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills, and a lot of people with me. And now they want to quit it. How can they expect that the rate of home sales can ever rise again? Sure, for people who have 50K houses it doesn’t matter, but again, what about the rest of us?

5. Education
The Netherlands were a pretty good country, educationwise. The government would cover an x amount of schooling money, leaving us with “only” a yearly fee of between €800 and €1700. This way, everybody who wanted to go to college, could do just that. Imagine all the possible benefits coming from us being super educated! But noooo… They’re cutting back on that as well. Partly, I understand: If you seriously need 5+ years to finish a 4-year college program, you’re stupid and wasting money anyway. But if you’re smart and super motivated and want to do another college course, you shouldn’t get screwed by having to pay €10.000 yearly to do that.

Days like this, I wish I was a politician. What I would do?

1. Cut back on politicians’ salaries. They don’t need 300K if the rest of us can manage with a lot less.
2. Take away the MID for houses over 4K. Again, a lot of us don’t even own a house that expensive.
3. Don’t buy the Joint Strike Fighter. We don’t need it. Hell, we don’t even have room for it.
4. Invest less in warfare.
5. Encourage education (within limits). Knowledge is power for a reason.

Anyway… Enough for today. Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed part II of this series.

Love,

ML-X