Netherlands and more

Blog about life in Holland (and a lot of other stuff)

A Winter Evening with Stream of Passion — 2015 Jan 19, 2016

If you think I pay too much attention to Stream of Passion, I can tell you I've seen a man on the show for whom that show of the band was the 94th.

Moreover, with the ticket price of €14 it would be stupid not to go.

So just before the New Year's eve, on December 27th, Marcela Bovio & Co played a traditional winter gig.

Anneke van Giersbergen (clenching her fist) and Marcela Bovio.

Just like two years ago the show was hosted by a small and cosy club in Utrecht called Tivoli de Helling. The concert featured an impressive list of guest singers:

  • Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering, The Gentle Storm)
  • Lisette van den Berg (Scarlet Stories, Epic Rock Choir, Karmaflow)
  • Dianne van Giersbergen (Xandria)
  • Merijn van Haren (Navarone)
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The first snow! Jan 17, 2016

Today, January 17, 2016, the nature has made an unexpected move. Last night a very thin layer of snow lay on the ground, for the first time in this winter.

The first snow.

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The Aristocrats at De Boerderij Jan 16, 2016

My personal concert season open by the Nightwish fellas is at its climax.

I was fortunate to see a very popular (yet kind of underground) band called The Aristocrats on December 9th. The band is playing some mindbogglingly complex tunes ranged from Jazz Fusion to Heavy Prog.

The Aristocrats is a supergroup founded in 2011. Last December they were presenting their third studio album Tres Caballeros.

The Aristocrats, left to right: Guthrie Govan, Marco Minnemann, Bryan Beller.

Unfortunately I can't share much of it with you this time.

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On the subject of running Dec 29, 2015

The year is coming to an end again, with so much left to run. I can't repeat my 2013's record of 800 km this year—in 2015 I've only run some 600 km. Not because I'm lazy, but due to being more active in aikido.

Houten's "bike avenues" are great to run on, also because there are not so many bikes using them at the time when I'm running, that is in the evening and during the weekend.

First few months I would run a five-kilometre pentagon route resembling the old Soviet quality mark. It follows a bike path that goes along an embankment, each side is almost exactly one kilometre.

Houten 5-kilometre quality mark.

The only annoying thing was that it's 300 metres shorter than the required five kilometres, which I always had to "top up".

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Nest Protect 2 review Dec 2, 2015

Quick links: Intro · Nest Labs · Nest Protect 2 · Specs · Unboxing · Initial setup · Mount · My experience · Conclusions


There was a moment when my smoke detector, which is as old as the house it's in, had to be replaced.

And I did that with pleasure, because at that moment it started chirping regularly in a very annoying way. First once every five minutes, a bit later once a minute. And that would not be a big issue had this not been happening at 5:00 AM. And, of course, the chirping was so loud that no human being could ignore it. Just like in that scene from "Friends".

Usually chirping means the battery is running empty, but that couldn't be true as I had replaced it a couple of months ago.

Since the bastard was double-powered (power-line and batteries), I had to pluck it from the ceiling and remove the battery. The detector said "chirp" for one last time and held its peace ever since (unlike the one in "Friends"). It turned out later the device expired a decade ago, so most likely its radioactive source has simply deteriorated.

To be honest, I never liked it, firstly, for being annoying and secondly, for its ugly look. Smoke detectors are one of a few areas which stay out of reach of modern design trends, and they all look like ill-shaped plastic boxes with numerous inexplicable slits.

That is, with a nice exception I came across. After some deliberation I've bought a Nest Protect 2, a "smart" smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

Nest Protect 2.

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Nightwish, Arch Enemy, Amorphis at Heineken Music Hall Nov 28, 2015

Quick links: Amorphis · Arch Enemy · Nightwish

It's now Movember (a.k.a. Musical November), which means — showtime!

And today's report is about the Finnish symphonic metal legend Nightwish.

This Nightwish is on fire.

The lads were rocking the scene on the 19th and 20th of November at the Heineken Music Hall, in Amsterdam. They were supported by a couple of other big names: Amorphis and Arch Enemy.

So let's start off.

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