June 29 - July 5, 1999

The whole week was spent in the office. Lots of emails were sent, meetings were held, situation normal. I had my client from DAF up to visit on Friday. Tom Sova, one of our salesguys had a birthday this week. It is Dutch custom that the person having the birthday bring cake and treats. This is a very nice custom and one that should be extended to the US.

Saturday I staked out a couple of hair salons, checked out the haircuts on the guys that came out, and found a place that I could trust to cut my hair. Turned out really good, I'm happy with it. Boy there is almost nothing more scary than taking off your glasses and trusting your hair to someone. Maybe a new dentist. That could explain why I'm still going to the same dentist since I was 7.

I just returned from Amsterdam where we had a 4th of July party at Mark's. We grilled brats, hamburgers, pork chops and to be different - a banana. We took over the bench in front of Mark's place on the Singel. Its one of the major canals and had lots of boat traffic on this very nice summer day. Jan-Karel came by in a small boat with his girlfriend. There were 5 Americans and 3 Dutch people celebrating. Bummer that we didn't have fireworks. Claire brought home-made chocolate cake. She sits next to me at the office. She's from Chicago and speaks an amazing number of languages. I sit and listen to her and try to guess which language she's speaking.

When I was a junior at USMA, we had a British General as a distinguished speaker. He had been in charge of activities in Ireland against the IRA, and the other terrorist groups. After the lecture, we were marching back to the barracks when someone commented that West Point cadets had just listened to a British General discuss how to put down a revolution. We just lost it. That remark still brings a smile to my face. It did not happen on the 4th of July, but it is probably my favorite thought about Independence.

I watched a lot of Wimbledon tennis this week. There aren't a lot of English television shows on my television. Out of 25 channels, I get 2 BBC channels which are deadly boring. I get a version of CNN, but it is focused on Europe, particularly Serbia a lot lately. The Dutch television has a couple of English shows which are subtitled for Dutch. Which is much better than the German shows, which are dubbed over. Watching a western, with John Wayne having a funky German voice is hilarious. I get 3 different music video channels.

I think they pick TV shows according to the Stars over here. They don't have the good shows, just ones starring Burt Reynolds(Evening Shade - canceled a couple of year ago), Ted Danson (And not Cheers, but instead "Becker"), Will Smith (Fresh Prince is on daily at 6:50). These shows have been off the air in the US for quite a while. Friends is on once a week at 9:00 on Sunday.

But to make up for it there is sex and medical shows. I watched some plastic surgery last week. Rhinoplasty - Or "getting a nose job". Totally brutal. Ok, I just wrote a whole paragraph describing what I saw, and I erased it because it was totally gross. The results weren't bad though, the girl was very happy.

Sometimes in the US, I see a talk show and stop for a second, just to check it out. I always find it amazing that there will be 2 semi attractive women willing to share this horrible looking guy. There is a Dutch version of Jerry Springer that I've watched. It's in Dutch, but covers the most amazing subjects. And because this is Europe, they can show nudity and some of the most peculiar people ever. After thinking it over, I think a big part of the thrill of watching these shows is feeling superior to the people on it, and boy do I.

I also get the Discovery channel with some of the most boring documentaries, as I'm writing this there is a gripping story about whale hunting.

I sometimes watch CNNFN for financial news. What is different about this, is that it is scrambled. I can listen to it, and make out some fuzzy graphs, but the excitement when I hear about one of my stocks going up is very real. I use it to get ideas that I research the next day.

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