Mar 042012

I can’t remember when I first heard about Justice. I think a buddy of mine told me who they were after hearing ‘We are your Friends’ for the first time somewhere back in 2007/2008. By now that hit single has been remixed and played so many times that it isn’t that special anymore but when I heard it the first couple of times, I was screaming out the words at the top of my lungs and just couldn’t imagine that there was anybody in the world who didn’t like that song.

I then downloaded the live album, A Cross the Universe and I don’t know how often I’ve listened to it but for sure it’s in my top5 on ITunes. It’s non-stop fast paced electro and reminded me of Daft Punk, only the pace is way faster. I bought tickets for a dance-event in the Heineken Music Hall (still talking about 2008), one of the biggest music podia in the Netherlands. The event was at a Saturday evening during summer, I wasn’t playing professional poker back then and had a different reason to be excited that Saturday since I could play one of my first Supernova freerolls on PokerStars! That was something that in 2007 still looked like an impossible achievement and a freeroll like that was something I didn’t want to miss for sure. Around 23:30 my friends left to go to the show, I was still playing in the freeroll and decided to keep playing. Around 01:00-01:30 I busted for $100 maybe $200. I was happy to win the money, especially back then but really disappointed that I had to miss Justice. I always felt that I had missed the show of a lifetime, everybody who went to see them somewhere in 2008 came back with stories about how unique and awesome Justice was live at stage. There were two other performances planned in the Netherlands in 2008 but both shows were sold out and it was impossible to get tickets. From 2008 till 2011 they didn’t release any new albums and didn’t perform in the Netherlands at all.

I kept looking if they planned any new shows or albums and finally in 2011 they released a new album, Audio, Video, Disco. It’s not a live album so you can’t really compare it to A cross the Universe but it has some good songs but as long as they are not mixed into a live performance they aren’t that special. I didn’t listen to it that often but when they planned a show in Paradiso – Amsterdam I was sure to go there, it was sold out in 10 minutes! They played Tuesday evening, not a perfect day to go nuts but I was really excited. The doors opened at 20:00 and there was already a long line of people waiting outside. The crowd was pretty young, I had expected people like me who were a fan of Justice for 3+ years but most people were probably between 19 and 24. DVNO started the warm-up which till about 21:00. The young crowd seemed to be ready for a party, I was just happy to be there.

Lights out, spots on and Justice walked to the DJ booth. They started with the intro of A cross the Universe and from there it was just one big rush. The crowd was really there to party, everybody was jumping up and down and going completely nuts. I started somewhere in the middle of the dance floor and at the end of the evening I was all the way in the back. It was extremely hot inside, everybody was soaked myself included, even my jeans were wet! Nobody seemed to care, party, party, party! The music had so much energy and everybody used that to go berserk. An incredible party, really hard to describe but unforgettable. It’s live just so much better, those “okay” songs become gems when mixed in with other awesome songs. 1,5 hour, non-stop dancing, non-stop screaming, just crazy. I tried to shoot some movies but when the whole dance floor started to bounce I had to quit filming because I didn’t want to lose my phone. Still I’ve made some good shots, check them out below. If you like this kind of music and ever have the chance to go and see them, make sure you do (and let me know so I’ll come with you)!

 Posted by at 3:21 pm

The time of my life: Part 2

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Feb 142012

So in Part 1 I left you when I was leaving the Bahamas. My trip continued at Aruba where my girlfriend was already waiting on me at the airport. We had two weeks of doing “nothing” ahead of us. First one week at Aruba and then we flew to Curacao for another week of relaxing.

On Aruba we had to walk 100 meter from our apartment to the beach, now that’s what I call ideal. I brought the Game of Thrones books, Song of Ice & Fire and we had a pretty simple daily schedule: Breakfast, Beach, Lunch, Beach, Dinner, Bed and repeat!

Aruba is a beautiful Island with great beaches and big “American” style hotels. We had a more cozy low-rise apartment (Amsterdam Manor Beach) because I always prefer an apartment above an hotel but there are plenty of good resorts to choose from. It’s 30 degrees all year round and because there is almost always a breeze it’s just so nice to be around the beach all day long. The food was great at most places as well although pretty expensive. We had two great restaurants attached to our resort and around the high-rise hotels there was a big variety of restaurants to choose from. The best restaurant we went to was Blossoms, a Japanese & Chinese Restaurant in the Westin Resort where we had one of our best Sushi ever.

Unfortunately the next day around diner time I got really sick. I have no clue if it was because of the Sushi but it was a sort of food poisoning for sure. I had to visit the toilet more often than a person would like during and the worst thing was that we had to fly out to Curacao the next day. At night there would have been no way I would have been without a toilet for more than 30minutes but in the morning I felt a little better luckily. Still I had to “survive” a trip to the airport first and then later on the flight to Curacao. I opted to delay my flight for one day, waited till the last possible moment before going to the airport but I figured that feeling sick on the day I was flying anyway was better than any other day. At the airport I strolled around a little bit and when I walked over to the gate I didn’t see a plane at the gate. I never heard of Insel Air so checked out what logo their planes had and when I found out I saw this tiny aircraft a bit further away from the gate. Trust me, when feeling miserable this wasn’t what I was hoping for!

The plane fit 15 people but only when piled up in a specific way. There was no stewardess, no safety instructions and that worst thing of all, no toilet! The flight only took 30 minutes but we still had to wait a little before taking off. I also expected a lot more turbulence in such a small airplane and since my stomach really can’t handle turbulence I was pretty nervous. In the end this 30minute flight was probably the best flight I ever had. The plane stayed pretty close to the ground so you have a beautiful view of both Aruba and Curacao, we had zero turbulence and when I landed on Curacao I felt really relieved.

Unfortunately on Curacao the weather wasn’t as great as on Aruba but for a rainy day I had downloaded the TV-Series Homelands and some movies. We finished Homelands in one day (I would recommend it!), watched Crazy, Stupid, Love (brilliant movie) and I finished the first book of Song of Ice & Fire. I’m about halfway now in the second book and I just can’t wait for the new season of Game of Thrones! Unfortunately I have to wait till the 1st of April (no joke!). I had already visited Curacao before and the hotel (Lion’s Dive) we stayed in is just such a relaxing place. The Dutch Olympic Swimming Team were staying in our resort as well, training twice a day in the official 50m pool which was pretty fun to watch. These 3 weeks were really fantastic, I doubt I ever felt so well rested and spending two weeks away with my girlfriend in such beautiful places was really an awesome way to start the year.

Stay tuned because on Thursday I’ll post another blog with a lot of Poker related updates!

 Posted by at 5:36 pm
Sep 112011

For the coming 6 months I promise to:
– Not drink any alcohol
– Not drink any other drinks then water, milk, cola light and occasionally lemonade
– Not eat any ice-cream
– Not eat any candy
– Not eat any cookies
– Not eat any chips
– Not eat any cake
– Not eat any pastries
– Not eat any chocolate
– Not eat any appetizers
– Not eat any deserts
– Work out as often as possible

Most of you will either say I’m crazy, since 6 months is a long time while others will say I’ve mentioned to lose weight before, so why fool yourself again? However I’ve worked towards this for the last 2 months and I’ve done it before. I’ve talked about my previous “big diet” a couple of times before so I’ll keep it short. In 2007 I’ve followed my self-made diet for 41 weeks, lost 41 kilo’s and went from being overweight to almost light weight.

Back then when I started I was 133kg and after I was done at 92kg, I promised myself to never go above 100kg again. Since May/June I’m above that 100kg and I’m now at 103/104kg. If you really want something you should do it immediately is something most people say but I think timing is essential as well. Coming Wednesday is my birthday, coming Sunday is my last cycle tour of the year and 6 months after that I will have to cycle 150km during the Amstel Gold Race. I’ll enjoy myself at my b-day, drink one last beer after the tour on Sunday and then the fun will be over.

I need to do this for a couple of reasons. The most important reason is that I can’t be arsed to buy any new cloths and I don’t fit most any longer already. I want to feel fit again, especially considering I’m turning 29 now. I’m not worried about turning 29 but I do know that every human being is bound to get more injures in his thirties. If I don’t put a stop to gaining a kg a month now, it will be a lot worse again in 2/3 years time. Probably the best motivation is that when I lose some weight it will be much easier to scratch off a couple of items on my cycling bucket list.

I think the most important part to losing weight is to create a plan upfront, make it clear what you are trying to achieve and keep track of it on a daily/weekly bases. Based on my personality I can’t just take it easy with things like alcohol and food. It’s just like somebody who tries to stop smoking, once that person takes his first cigarette again telling people it’s just 1, you already know that person failed again. You don’t however have to punish yourself by having no joy at all any longer. I’m also not a person who can suddenly only take shakes and eating fruits and salads while I’m normally not. I believe any diet which is almost opposite to your lifestyle is bound to fail as soon as you quit. I try to keep as close to my normal habits as possible, cutting out some unnecessary “fat” products.

The reason for cutting on alcohol is simple. Alcohol makes you fat, alcohol also makes you not want to go to the gym next day. It makes you want to eat bad stuff before you go to bed and even worse food when you wake up. Juices contain vitamins but also plenty of calories. If you like you can drink some but better take a vitamin pill. Water all the way will reduce 300/400 calories a day into to 0 and that’s an easy win. I do drink some Cola light (0 calories) and Lemonade (just for the taste), but it will be mainly water. Except milk during diner, I just can’t life without it 😉

Morning (Breakfast)
Two slices of bread. Roast beef, roasted chicken, fricandeau, salmon or just whatever you prefer as long as it’s low in calories. Best to eat something at during breakfast and then 2,5/3 hours later again. Take some yoghurt or fruit for example.

Afternoon (Lunch)
Basically the same thing as during breakfast. You could eat an extra slice in case you don’t take those “in-betweens”. Having one of those in-betweens again 2,5/3 hours later is the best way to make sure you don’t buy a candy-bar on your way home.

Evening (Diner)
No appetizers, no deserts but I do eat a normal diner. With normal I mean, I eat just about everything I would normally eat. I’ll try to eat a little less, maybe replace the fattest products with the light variants but if we eat pancakes, I eat pancakes, if we want to go out for diner I just do. Just the main course, nothing else, no excuses. If I would have to eat all kind of things I rather not eat there is no way I will last for 6 months. I need to look forward to eat at least 1 meal a day, else there is no way I will be able to pass on all those tasty things out there.

It’s okay to make some exceptions but you should plan them beforehand. It shouldn’t be an impulse decision at the spot, since that’s the beginning of the end. I’ve planned 3 exceptions up front:
1) The last weekend of October, boys weekend where I probably drink just alcohol and nothing else.
2) Christmas, not that I really care about Christmas but there is always more food around then on an average day.
3) New year’s eve, champagne and hopefully champagne only!

These are probably the only exceptions I’m going to make but in case on of my buddies get married I’ll just have to enjoy myself at his bachelors as well of course 😉

I’ll work out as often as possible, I don’t have to tell anybody why. As long as I take less calories then I burn my body will do the rest. I’ll keep track of it in an excel sheet on a day to day basis, the more you are aware of what you are doing, the better it is. The hardest part will probably be the first couple of weeks when I go out for a drink with my buddies. Normally people don’t even ask what I’m drinking but as soon as people around me are used to it as well, it will be a lot easier.

My goal is to get below 93kg again, anything extra is just a bonus. It’s just 10/11kg and 6 months is a pretty long time so it should be pretty simple. The fact that it looks pretty easy upfront is probably the biggest threat. On the 14th of April my 6 months are up, that day I will be cycling the 150km Amstel Gold Race and hopefully feel like I’m flying. That first beer after will probably be devastating, I can’t wait!

 Posted by at 7:35 pm
Aug 082011

It’s Friday and I’m at work. My sister calls and I turn down the call since I’m in a meeting. Within 1 minute she calls again so I’ll take the call and tell her that I only have time when it’s really important. Unfortunately it is, grandpa has inflammation of the lungs, deadly to somebody of his age.

Grandpa is my only grandpa I’ve ever knew. He isn’t the father of my mother but that doesn’t make any difference for me. He was a cab driver in Amsterdam and always had great stories to tell, if he told a story you wished you would have been born earlier. He spent all his money enjoying life when he still could and he was fit for most of his life. Last year we saw him getting old really fast and during the last months it was cruel to see somebody almost getting worse by the day. He didn’t had any concrete disease but he lost about all functions in his body 1 by 1.

Back to Friday. I rush from work and meet my family at his room at the nursing center. He is still awake but is barely able to speak any words. He recognises everybody right away, his body isn’t willing anymore but he knows exactly what’s happening. The last couple of weeks he already wished he would die, there was no chance on recovery anymore. We need to say goodbye, he is awake now but as soon as he gets morphine he will probably go to sleep for the last time. It’s the first time I can really say goodbye to somebody who is dying and it makes it even harder because he understands exactly what is happening. Till the end he didn’t lose his sense of humor, he still makes jokes but each word cost loads of energy. He says thank you, he says goodbye. We say goodbye and he says: “As long as I’m awake, I can’t die”. He is just to tired to stay awake, it’s time to leave, it’s time to let him rest.

The next morning at 05:30 he breathe out his last breath. The only things that remain are great memories.

Rest in peace

 Posted by at 11:41 am

Enough is enough!

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Mar 212011

Last blog I was complaining about missing goals for this year and nothing has changed really. I just need something to hold on to because if I just live my life it results in bad behavior. I don’t do drugs, my life ain’t a big mess and I still value my family & friends the way I should. That means that I might be making a big point out of something that some people would consider as minor problems and I’m not saying that isn’t the case but I’m still unhappy with the way things have been going lately.

It isn’t all poker related but everything relates with each other. Discipline has been one of my greatest assets the last years but that wasn’t always the case. If you live your life from day to day it’s hard to by disciplined. To be disciplined you need to look at a bigger picture and when you have long term goals, it’s easier to think in a bigger picture. The first time I used this was when I wanted to lose a lot of weight. I’ve mentioned this more then once in my blog so I won’t go into that but from that period onwards (2007) I’ve always managed to reach my goals, whether it was poker, cycling or my health. Lately I have been enjoying life way to much. It already started in the summer of last year when I stopped looking at what I was eating and gaining a bit of weight on a monthly basis. I always enjoy summer a bit more then any other period of the year and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. This year however it didn’t stop in September, I kept gaining weight every month and basically used the SNE chase as excuse to not pay any attention to it. My poker discipline was of course superb in that period as I managed to reach my poker goals so it wasn’t all that bad.

This year however I’ve already written twice in my blog I would do something with the extra weight I’ve gained but up till now I haven’t done a thing. I’ve been going to the gym, I’ve been cycling a lot more the last 1,5 week but that’s not going to cut it. In 2008 after I finished my weight loss goal I was 92kg(coming from 133kg), I made a promise to myself to never go above 100kg. Last December I already reached the 100kg threshold and was under the assumption I would fix that as soon as I got back from the PCA. I’ve been working out but didn’t cut my eating and drinking. If I continue like this I will probably gain 1/2kg each month and maybe a little more during the summer. For the coming 12 weeks I will enforce some discipline upon myself again. I’m going to eat less, eat more healthy and stop drinking alcohol except the weekends I planned to go away with friends and two other occasions. It would be better to not drink at all which I normally did so I’m already half assing it but this is a calculated risk. The 12 week period ends at the 6th of June, the day I leave for Las Vegas. Since I’m going to Las Vegas with my poker buddy (and not my party buddies) I doubt I will gain a lot of weight there and that means I should be fit when I return from Las Vegas to look good on the picture’s of my mother’s marriage at the 24th of June. Today I’m at my 3,5 year high of 103,6kg and hope to get it down below the 95kg. I will keep track of my weight in the same excel sheet as where I keep track of my VPPs for this year, which should help a little as I’ll be confronted with it on a daily base.

Now this might sound like something that has nothing to do with poker but it actually has. I drank a lot of alcohol on Saturday evening but felt okish on Sunday. I even went out for a ride on the bike but it still affected my play on Sunday evening. I couldn’t focus enough on my game and was looking for excuses to quit playing all the time. I extended my break for 45 minutes and already quit my grind at 02:40. I wasn’t really losing loads, I didn’t feel sick but my mental state just wasn’t good enough. That has everything to do with alcohol and the way I’ve been “managing” things lately. I’m not the best player around and being 80% just doesn’t work for me. My mental state should improve when I feel more fit and when I don’t drink. The fact that I’ve been writing about this for the last months just says a lot. It really ain’t that bad yet but I’m stepping in before it does. After the 6th of June I will allow myself to enjoy life a bit more again as it’s summer when I’m back from Las Vegas. It’s fine to enjoy life, I think everybody should but it’s also important to balance things out. Some people can do that within the week itself, some people balance things on a monthly base and others don’t really have to think about balancing things but for me it just doesn’t work that simple. It’s not like I won’t enjoy life at all the coming time, I’ve just been overdoing it during the last months and now I’ll have to pay the price. I’m actually not that happy with writing all this stuff down but I think it’s necessary to commit myself to it.

Next to complaining about the good life I’ve been planning what SCOOP tournaments I want to play. Since I’m not a tournament player I think the “High” tournaments are out of my league so I will only be playing the Medium and low tournaments. To bad there is only 1 Fixed Limit tournament which is 6-max as well, a Full-Ring Limit tournament might be the only “High” I would have played. Sure there is a good reason for this as the Full-Ring Limit Tournaments were never the most popular ones. For now I’ve made the following schedule:
– #2 Sunday 8th of May, NL Hold’em Low $22
– #2 Sunday 8th of May, NL Hold’em Med $215
– #9 Wednesday 11th of May, Mixed Hold’em [6-Max] Low $22
– #9 Wednesday 11th of May, Mixed Hold’em [6-Max] Med $215
– #19 Sunday 15th of May, NL Hold’em Low $22
– #19 Sunday 15th of May, NL Hold’em Med $215
– #20 Sunday 15th of May, NL Hold’em Low $22
– #20 Sunday 15th of May, NL Hold’em Med $215
– #27 Wednesday 18th of May, Razz Low $22
– #27 Wednesday 18th of May, Razz Med $215
– #29 Thursday 19th of May, 8-Game Low $33
– #29 Thursday 19th of May, 8-Game Med $320
– #31 Friday 20th of May, NL Hold’em [1 Rebuy, 1 Add-on] Low $22
– #31 Friday 20th of May, NL Hold’em [1 Rebuy, 1 Add-on] Med $215
– #32 Friday 20th of May, NL Hold’em FL Hold’em [6-Max] Low $55
– #32 Friday 20th of May, NL Hold’em FL Hold’em [6-Max] Med $530
– #36 Saturday 21st of May, HORSE Low $22
– #36 Saturday 21st of May, HORSE Med $215
– #38 Sunday 22nd of May, NL Hold’em Main Event Low $109
– #38 Sunday 22nd of May, NL Hold’em Main Event Med $1050

I’m not sure about the $1050 Main Event yet but I should be playing all the others. I really like Razz and think I’m not really bad at it. HORSE & 8-Game or more for the fun of it and of course the regular NL tournaments should be fine to play. Have a look yourself:

I’m looking forward to the coming period. It starts in two weeks with playing live tournaments in Venlo and it ends with the WSOP 2011 in Las Vegas. Next week I will go into the results of March which haven’t been that good but I still hope to finish in the green, tonight’s session should be a good place to start.

 Posted by at 2:15 pm