Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Classic

Had to start with tulips of course, playing around with the camera and lighting.

Next up is hopefully some urban shots around Amsterdam.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Upgrade - Better Late Than Never

I've been a standard point-and-click photographer for the last 20 years but have finally decided to indulge a long-hidden interest by purchasing my first ever SLR camera.

I trawled through a lot of review sites and spoke with a few friends and decided a good starting point is the Canon EOS 1000D.

So hopefully as I start playing around with some of the settings I'll be able to start uploading some more interesting pictures than I've been able to produce to date.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Casual Gaming

Most Internet users these days are probably casual gamers without even realising it.

If you haven't wasted a few months weeks hours minutes playing one of these then you should give it a go.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Optimum Change

Here in the Netherlands pocket change seems to be a very important part of day-to-day life (especially at the supermarket!). We can hardly pay for anything in cash without being asked if we have the exact change. I'm not sure if there's a shortage of change or it's just what people are used to, but each to their own.

After seconds of intense research one morning I determined the optimum amount of change to put in my pocket and I felt a discovery of this nature must be shared with the world!

The smallest coin that generally gets used here now is the 5 cent coin, so it's important to have one of those, also 2 x 10c, 1 x 20c, 1 x 50c, 2 x €1, 1 x €2. And for the notes preferably 1 x €5, 2 x €10, 1 x €20 and a €50.

"Why?", I hear you roll your eyes and ask? Well this enables you to produce any combination from €0.05 to €99.95, with 5c increments :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Metro Tickets

We found ourselves spending New Year's eve heading to our friends place in Amstel. We took the Metro from Nieuwmarkt and the guard was already at the machine helping everyone out with their tickets. We'd done it many times before so we started doing our usual purchase: 4 x 1 Hour tickets (one each for the outbound journey and one each for the return trip since it would be more than an hour before we'd return).

The guard then told us that the Metro would be closed 8pm till 1am, which we were surprised to learn, and he also told that we only needed to buy 1 ticket each as long as we checked out properly at Amstel... because the tickets last for an hour of usage, NOT an hour from when they were purchased... so we've thrown away a dozen or so usable cards over the last year! Ah well, at least we found out now rather than after another year of living here!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Perfect Fridge

Well you have to hand it to the Dutch, they certainly know how to create the perfect fridge!

This is our deck this morning.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fietsen! (Bikes)

Well we finally managed to get some bikes! Living and working centrally has kept the priority low but we decided to take the plunge and get on to two wheels with the masses in Amsterdam!

We bought one from Fietspiraat that was quite good but unfortunately needed repairs to the pedals two weeks later (that they took care of for free) and a second one from Recycled Bicycles which we strongly recommend. They have 5-10 second-hand bikes at any one time and the guys there are really friendly and restore the bikes well before reselling. Most of theirs come from reclaimed bicycles from the police so they get a new ID number which makes it easier to track if stolen.

We got the standard rear-wheel circle lock and the secondary front-wheel/frame mega-lock, but we're thinking of getting a third. (Recommended by the locals!)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

No New Zealand is not part of Australia

New Zealand is not on the same continental shelf and so is not part of the continent of Australia but is part of the submerged continent Zealandia. Zealandia and Australia together are part of the wider region known as Oceania or Australasia.

Just so we're clear :)

The usual argument people falsely cling to is:
As a cultural construct, the concept of a continent may go beyond the continental shelf to include oceanic islands and continental fragments. In this way, Iceland is considered part of Europe and Madagascar part of Africa. Extrapolating the concept to its extreme, some geographers take Australia, New Zealand and all the islands of Oceania (or sometimes Australasia) to be equivalent to a continent, allowing the entire land surface of the Earth to be divided into continents or quasi-continents.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BBQ @ Amsterdamse Bos

My work team had a BBQ at Amsterdamse Bos park this evening. It's a lovely huge park with bicycle and horse tracks everywhere. We arrived about 6pm and started cooking around 7. Everyone else seemed to be playing some kind of sport or doing some kind of fitness activity so we enjoyed watching.

We took the 170 bus from near our work, but it also goes from Centraal Station, you can also get the 172.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Amsterdam Library

We decided to visit and join the Amsterdam library on our walk today. We can sum it up in just one word: wow.

However, just a few more words:

Open every day from 10am till 10pm, with 9 floors of books, DVDs, CDs and wireless free Internet access!

Sign-up was easy; at the front desk with passports and proof of address we had our cards in under 5 minutes from the very friendly and helpful staff. We then paid our yearly contribution of 25 euros at the payment machine (one on every floor) and headed upstairs to explore! Computers all over the place for searching and browsing the Internet made it easy to find the books we were looking for... this time books on Copenhagen and Bruges and a couple about Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general.

Signing the books out was so easy too, machines on every floor where you place your card on a desk, the computer scans it and then you place the books and it automatically scans their chips... you press yes to confirm the titles on screen and then it prints out an invoice and you're done!

Plus they have a great restaurant on the top floor with a wonderful view over Amsterdam that we plan on going back to... probably next weekend!