My Name Is Prince

MNIP posterBeing a huge Prince-music lover, (not just his own songs, but a lot of the related artists like The Time, Vanity, Wendy & Lisa as well, and also projects like Madhouse, New Power Generation or Mazarati) I could not skip the exhibition in Amsterdam about him and his music. It was already prolonged to the first week of August, there wouldn’t be another change…
I saw some reviews from people who have been there and found it not to be too exciting. I saw another bunch of people writing about the VIP tour and they were loving it… That we needed to do! And yesterday we did.

We took the train to Amsterdam, walked across Rokin to de Beurs van Berlage to take the VIP tour. Turned out that it started just a couple of minutes after we got there.

We were invited in the VIP lounge to wait for the tour to start.

MNIP poster 2The difference between the regular exhibition and the tour are that you CAN AND MAY take photos during the VIP tour, while during the exhibition you have to hand in your phone. VIP guests get a photo book at the end of the tour, regular visitors have to buy one. During the tour you get to hear great stuff about his guitars, costumes and other stuff. And to top things off, we got to hold one of his acoustic guitars!!!

We strolled through the “Backstage-Area” for an hour and a half while listening to Bob telling us about what guitar Prince used during what show or video clip. Bob had his own encounters with the man and told us all about it! Including his “evidence”; he had pics of him on stage during Prince’s after show in Paradiso, where he picked up a plectrum Prince played his guitar with. Also a pic of that one and the concert ticket…

Handschoenen aan.jpgAt the end of the backstage tour, we sat down at a big screen where we had to put on white gloves to hold Prince’s guitar!
It was an acoustic, purple one, Duh! What I found strangest about it was that the neck was way heavier than the body; I have my own guitar and never noticed the weight difference. And when someone would talk, you could feel the voice resonance going all through the body!!

guitar 5.jpgWhen all 7 people on this tour held the guitar, it was time for 1 more exclusive item: the showing of 2 clips of Prince’s “21 Nights” closing night!

The final piece he played was Purple Rain, and yes, it is a great song, but that is not the one doing “it” for me…

I guess that everyone has their own special song that reminds them of Prince the singer, Prince the guitar player, Prince the movie star, Prince the Songwriter, Prince the drummer or perhaps Prince the Entertainer…

We thanked Bob for sharing and telling and went into the general exhibition, WITHOUT CAMERA… Luckily we already took a bunch of pics backstage!!!

The general exhibition took us through Prince’s career with some nice pics, guitars, costumes and related stuff.

Some stuff from Prince’s make-up and jewelry, handwritten lyrics to Another Lonely Xmas and a copy of the original mix table that is still at Paisley Park…

 

Sometimes You Must Dare To Jump!

You cant always wait for the perfect timeBefore I got laid off in 2014 I already made my decision to look for something else; although I got fired before I could find another job. I never could have imagined being unemployed for over 2 and a half years, with 25 years experience as baggage…
At the same time Danielle got suckered into a contract renewal that she didn’t want to serve out, but with a mortgage, family of 4 with 2 teenagers, me being without a job and all, she stuck with it… For a couple of months.
Then her manager threatened to kick her out, if she didn’t accept another new contract for a 40 hrs. this time.

LifestyleThat, my unemployment and a seriously ill family member was enough to tip our scale: we were stressed out, sleeping bad and a load of other stuff going on.
Our friend Corrine wanted to help us and told Danielle to get the Premium Starter Kit from Young Living, an essential oils company to help with life’s issues.
Danielle ordered the kit, without telling me, because she already knew I would be OK with it: we had been choosing healthy alternatives for several things in and around our home & life and this was another step in that direction! We got rid off the chemical options like Aspirin and so on. We instead are using Stress Away oil to let go of stuff, Peppermint to mellow our stomach, Joy to lift our mood, Lavender to ease into a good night’s rest.

Danielle has always shared her favorite products and shops with the rest of the world and so did she with Young Living oils. She shared so much that she would eventually get paid* for referring people to buy Young Living products. With the referring also came the education of people on alternatives for issues in their lives. And with those two came the decision to go “all the way”: she quited her full-time job, even though I was still unemployed, to network market the products of Young Living as independent distributors; we became our own little company called Oiled by Nature. The day she was saying goodbye to her job, was the same day I found my new full-time corporate job.

Danielle worked her butt off to earn a decent income*, and I helped her out from the sideline. I made a website, did loads of marketing materials in Photoshop, took care off the kids, went along to workshops, meetings and conventions, told anyone that wanted to hear about our alternative for big pharma’s solutions, but also did a big part of the choirs about the house.

Last year we came to a crossroad in our lives: we made enough income* to support our family, too much work to be done in the time we had and me being in a job that didn’t give me the satisfaction it was supposed to. Sometimes you need to follow through on your plans. Plans I made years ago.

In February 2017 I decided it was time to make a change. A change in my professional life. I informed my manager that I wanted to take a sabbatical for entire 2018, a year off to dedicate supporting Danielle in pursuing our independence from corporate life! That year was not allowed, so i handed in my notice…

December 15th., 2017 I took my leap of faith and started to work alongside Danielle, 24/7 from home, on making our venture a major success. It’s been a challenge: opinions clash, but always hearing each other, and even financially. All of a sudden we had to live of what we were making with Young Living, but guess what? We manage*! And that was what it was all about: FREEDOM. Freedom from corporate life, freedom from schedules, financial freedom*, freedom to travel the world to see things we could never imaging.

*As I am talking about income and finance, I must show you the income disclosure of Young Living™.
Income disclosure OBN NL

 

 

 

 

Opportunity Is Life’s Reward or OILR for short

It doesn’t all have to do with baseball, sometimes it can be something completely different.

Ed OilrI occasionally buy a cap that has that “something completely different” feeling to it, something I have a great feeling about. Like this one!
OILR is the website of Johnny Drop & Victoria Williams, whose motto is:
“Opportunity Is Life’s Reward” or OILR for short. Johnny & Victoria want to pay it forward with the help of selling apparel on their website. One of the causes that they pay it forward to is SOLE HOPE. And now let SOLE HOPE be a cause that I feel greatly for, as it is one of the causes that the Young Living Foundation is supporting…

I ordered this cap in the USA and I had to get it here somehow…

It was brought here by a lovely woman that is one of my heroes, not because she saves people from burning buildings or stops street-robbers or whatever.

Melissa is one of the many people we met through Young Living and she is paying it forward by putting in her spare-some free-time to help those in need. In Uganda…

Ed & Mel OilrMelissa is a mother of 8, wife to Nick, and still finds the time to volunteer to fly (at her own costs) to Uganda and help the locals with hanging hundreds of mosquito nets so the people of Uganda can sleep safe without getting infected with Malaria. Or help the locals with building shelter or housing, so they have a roof over their heads to get through the nights. What about buying large amounts of chickens to support the locals not only with food, but also an income from either selling eggs, chicken or chicken-meat. But what I admire about her most of all: she helps the people of Uganda with dealing with JIGGERS

A jigger is a small (nearly invisible) flea-like parasite. It burrows into skin and latches onto blood vessels. Within days the jigger becomes a 1000 times the size it was, while continuously laying eggs. Those eggs hatch, mature, and lead to an infestation.

The results of jigger infestation are pain, itching, and infection. Children can no longer walk to school. Adults can’t care for their families. The elderly become captive in their homes.

Worst of all, due to widespread cultural beliefs, people infested with jiggers are often shunned for the “curse” painfully visible upon their body.

So can you imaging that you have to use a razor-blade to cut into someone to pry out a parasite with a needle? Sometimes even TIMES 30 or more per person! And what if that someone is a kid of 3 or 4 years old?
No anesthetics, just you, your razor-blade and a needle. THAT’s why Melissa is one of my heroes. For being the humanitarian she is! God bless you, Mel! (and thanks for bringing the OILR.cap).

Pitching is the name of the game

Another blog, another story about another cap of mine… This is about my EPA-cap.

Every once in a while you have people entering your life, that you cannot get rid off…
Eric de Vries is one of those people.

Pioniers-Ned-kampioen-hoofdklasse-1997The first time I met Eric, sometime in 1997, he was coaching the pitchers  for Hoofddorp Pioniers. We just moved to Hoofddorp, when I went to the ballpark to watch a game. We had a talk after the game, but I cannot begin to remember what it was about…

In the next couple of years baseball was plan B, until my sons became old enough to pick a sport; we had to figure out what they would like.
Luckily for them I do not play soccer (never have) nor am I a big fan of a soccer-team, I just support AJAX Amsterdam as I am born and raised in Amsterdam and to piss off others… You will never find me or them on a soccer-field in rain or shine.

While we were searching for a club, one friend of ours’ son just started playing peanut-ball at Badhoevedorp; a small town close-by. We went over there to watch a game and I guess that is when we all fell (back) in love with game. Just watching these munchkins in their uniforms and big bats & helmets… Another friend of mine’s daughter started playing peanut-ball in Hoofddorp, which was even closer, so we went over there to watch and ended up with 1 kid becoming a member, 1 kid whining to please-please-please also wanted to join (but was underage) and 1 dad becoming trainer/coach for the team my kid was going to play in. Eventually the youngest also joined!

Baseball-against-cancerMy kids were both really loving the game and especially the clinics that were giving by the big boys from the Hoofdklasse / Dutch National Team and even the Big Leaguers Rick van der Hurk brought to the Netherlands. During these Wintertrainings or clinics I was more than once asked to lend a hand, and I generally ended up helping Eric de Vries (with Swen Huijer) with the pitchers. You see: we live in a small world!
EPA logoDuring the last 10 years Eric and me bumped into each other every once in awhile, but always with big smiling faces, hugs all over the place & loads to talk about. We go about things in a very similar manner: not just in a baseball way but also in general life. On one of the KNBSB catchers training during winter, Eric brought me a cap of EPA: ERIC’S PITCHING ACADEMY… Eric started his academy in 2008 as he was already training so many kids, he was gonna make a living out of it! And boy, he did!!!

LadybucsEric and me even got to play on the same team once, during the KIKA Marathon against Cancer that was organized by the LADYBUCS of Amsterdam – the only All-women team in seniors competition. Every team wanting to play against the ladies, had to pay! Every player on the “All-star team” had to pay as well and that was the team we played in together with a great number of players of the Hoofdklasse!

Last season my eldest son no longer wanted to be a catcher and choose to play outfield for the major part of the competition; needless to say that I (still trainer/coach – just different club) occasionally needed him behind the plate, which he did without complaining. During the last part of the competition we had 3 others on the team that would rotate catching, so he could play just outfield. BUT, during the last games of the season I ended up with just 1 pitcher, so I asked of him to pitch a few innings.

E&E1Since Eric is on the staff of RCH-Pinguins 1 as pitcher coach, he offered to help the youth out as well with his guidance. My son was in the bullpen several times under Eric’s wings: he had the speed, but lacked the skills. He loved Eric’s lessons so much, he asked if he could go train with Eric during off-season.

This season I am no longer a trainer or coach to the team my son plays in, but I still go to all his games, and then some… My son is now the regular starter for his team, I guess Eric taught him enough to get out there. To makes things even sweeter: How about making your debut in the Overgangsklasse and pitch your first strikeout while the Freezer is watching???

Even though the season is not over yet, he already asked to enter into Eric’s winterschool again.

Lowell Spinners

I have quite a few baseball caps and there are some nice stories to some of them…

Lowell_SpinnersThe cap I want to tell you about is the Lowell Spinners cap. Lowell Spinners is a Short-Season A New York-Penn League Minor League baseball team affiliated to the Boston Red Sox.
As an European, I do not have a deep rooted feeling for Minor League teams, but since I have been a Red Sox fan for quite some time, I also became a fan of the Lowell Spinners as of some years ago…

 

swen_huijer_contract

Swen signs his deal!

April 2008 a young man named Swen Huijer, from my club at that time (Hoofddorp Pioniers), was being watched by scouts from some pretty big Major League teams from across the Atlantic ocean. The New York Mets and New York Yankees were already interested in this 6.9 feet gentle giant. He got offered a deal by the Yankees to come play in the Dominican Republic.

He was smart enough to wait for the next big thing: while playing an invitational tournament in Italy (organized by MLB), scouts from Boston saw what he could do and in the next few day offered him a contract with the Red Sox organisation.

When you sign a contract, you are (generally) placed in a team that is in the lower Minor Leagues, so was Swen. He started his American Dream in the GCL (Gulf Coast League) Red Sox in Fort Meyers, Florida. He played there for 3 seasons in the so-called Rookie level.

Swen Huijer Lowell SpinnersWe were going to spent a long summer vacation in Florida in 2011, traveling the state, see all the Disney & Universal parks & of course a couple of baseball games; so I also scheduled a stop in Fort Meyers to go see Swen in his hometown… But Swen was doing so good, he was promoted to the next level:  Short Season A. He was to pack his bags and move to Lowell, home of the Spinners, just a short hour from Fenway Park but 1400+ miles from Fort Meyers. Thus we never got to see Swen play in Fort Meyers. As a peace offering he brought me THE Lowell Spinners cap. It turned out to be Swen’s final season in the Leagues…

Swen came back to the Netherlands at the end of the 2011 season; he retired from professional baseball. He played for the Dutch Major League (Hoofdklasse) team of Hoofddorp and started his “Baseball Against Cancer“-foundation. During off-seasons he taught kids the basics of pitching with the help of his brother, Lars.

swen&edWe run in to each other every now and then, we live in the same town, we both coach Little League (Swen coaches the Littles, I coach the Seniors, both for the same team – Kennemerland), he organizes the BAC, I was one of the coaches of the BAC-team. I have a soft spot for this tall guy with his big heart, I still wear my Lowell Spinners cap often… WITH GREAT PRIDE!

Baseball Against Cancer By Night – Part 2

Still on a natural high of all the good vibes I picked up during the entire event… On the other hand I am on an emotional roller-coaster; tearing up and hearing my voice break every time I see or hear something that gets to me.

To get back to the BAC By Night: we ended up playing 8 games, instead of 9, because we had to take an hour out of the schedule due to a rain-delay. We had to let the All Star Game (final game of the night – with a lot of the instructors) slip, because we wanted to let all our scheduled opponents play.

UmpsA BIG shout-out to the umpires: Edwin Louisa (Left) & Michael Toet (Right) for umping. We all had a change to interact with these umpires on a different level, as nice guys, almost human… hahaha! Thanks guys for being with us and for making this a success!!!

And a massive applause for Roy van de Wateringen (Centre) for umping all night, all 8 games!!! You’re the best, Roy!

Also a huge “thank you” to Lars & Maarten Broersen for the maintenance of the field during the night.

Swen

Swen Huijer taking the mound

A major shout-out to all the parents and other supporters that were there throughout the night, with food, drinks, applause and a word of comfort every now and then…

During the different games we had a couple of guest players; some dropped in and played along! So a big shout-out to Danny van Ewijk, Glenn Bakker, Dè Flanigan, Theo Geerman, Thom van de Snoek & Damian Melis!!!

But the biggest shout-out goes to the man behind Baseball Against Cancer: Swen Huijer. Swen pitched during our third game, against the Pioniers III. But he was also there a greater part of the night for mental support to the team!
Lange, you know you are the best!

And finally thanks to the entire team for your absolute dedication and commitment!!!
Top: Daaf – Arnoud – Merle – Famke – Teun – Jaycy – Ward – Jules – Joppe – Giancarlo – Ed
Bottom: Barend – Timothy – Thomas – Lucca – Shaquille – Steve – Michael – Luc – Bob – (Marlon)

IMG_0409

Baseball Against Cancer By Night

logo BACAs you might know, I am a bit of a baseball nut… And I am a sucker for charity. So when you have a charity AND Baseball, COUNT ME IN! Not just donating, but also attending as 1 of the coaches of the hosting team.

This is the first lustrum of Baseball Against Cancer, which started in 2013. Swen Huijer, former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox organisation, together with Joey van Ruth came up with the idea to host a baseball clinic for kids, to fund their participation in the 2013 Alpe D’huzes. They found themselves (with a lot of volunteers) hosting the first event for over 200 kids, with a total proceeds of over €4.000!!!

Each year after that, the venue grew and attracted  more people and attention: not only did the US Ambassador Timothy Broas threw the first pitch at the 2014 edition, but Dutch National Radio 1 reported live during the 2015 edition. More events were added like the Zumba against Cancer, BBQ against cancer & Softball against cancer.

In 2017, to celebrate the 5th anniversary, Baseball Against Cancer By Night is presented: an 17-hour marathon hosted by a youth team playing all through the night against 9 different teams with several celebrities joining and attending!

The schedule for May 2nd-3rd (for now) looks like:
– 16:30 – 18:30 Onze Gezellen Junioren 1
– 18:30 – 20:30 Portland Poema’s
– 20:30 – 22:30 Hoofddorp Pioniers Heren 3
– 22:30 – 00:30 DSS Rookies
– 00:30 – 02:30 Storks Junioren 1
– 02:30 – 04:30 Nuenen Junioren 1
– 04:30 – 06:30 Nighthawks Junioren 1
– 06:30 – 08:30 Ad-M-Visie Hitmanics
– 08:30 – 09:45 Allstar Team

Feel free to donate, or come and visit us during this night! We need all the support we can.

On behalf of:
Joppe – Timothy – Thomas – Michael – Luc – Shaquille – Ward – Teun – Lucca – Jaycy – Steve – Giancarlo – Famke – Merle – Bob – Jules – Arnoud – Barend – Ed.

Prince & Wrecka Stow

wrecka stowWOW! Can you believe it’s been a year already since his untimely departure… 1 year without his musical ingenuity, 1 year where there has been so much hassle about the legacy without a will, or maybe there is a will, without heir, or maybe there is a heir, the taxes that needs to be paid before any clarity on what will happen to all he left behind.

I am a HUGE prince-fan (have over 200 media – 12″, LP, CD) ever since late 1981, when he came up with “Controversy” and a couple of months later he dropped “1999”… Back then I was in my Heavy Metal period, long hair-leather jacket-denim, patches & studs, when this strange dude came out with his mix of Rock, Pop, Funk and the awesome way he played his guitar!!! One of my classmates was like: “you stepping away from the metal to listen to this guy strutting on stage in thong and stockings???”. I told him that this guy was gonna give us what Jimi Hendrix did in the 70’s: INNOVATION IN MUSIC! And boy did he do that! He is the main reason -I strongly believe- I started listening to many different types of music, to find such beauty in so many of the songs, I would not have otherwise listen to.

Every new single, album, side-project, protégé he came up with, had something new to it. The people he was surrounding himself with made him out to be the “PRINCE” of everything, not the Godfather of Soul, not the King of Pop, but the Prince of Music! I every once in a while still buy something I never saw or heared before (Yep, it can happen). For example, last Xmas I bought the last 2 albums (HitNRun Phase 1 and 2) on vinyl – even though they are never release officially. A few months ago I found a promo with Rihanna on one side and Prince’s “The Greatest Romance Ever Sold” on the other side. So I still dig crates and keep an eye out for gems that I need to have. Hahaha vinyl-Hoarder…

RSD2017Which brings me to Record Store Day 2017! Several RE-releases of Prince singles, which I still own from way back, so I will not buy them. But my local Record Store, Northend Records in Haarlem, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a small party and some special release. So in a couple of minutes I will be dragging my wife and 1 of my kids along, on our way to buy something in the Baseball store, to pick up my RDS2017-stuff!

Have a great weekend!

The story of the Longhorn Baseball Cap

Over the years I have build a nice little collection of caps, and not just any caps, but caps of teams I feel a connection with… I hear you thinking: Yeah yeah, so you buy a lot of caps, so what?

No, I have a lot of caps that have a story to it! Every once in a while I will tell you about one of my Special Caps and the story that goes with it!

First one is the latest addition: Texas Longhorns.

What does a Dutchie got to do with wearing a Longhorns cap? I used to play basketball in the late 70’s, early 80’s when the Longhorns dominated the NCAA! Most of you perhaps do not know what NCAA is: National Collegiate Athletic Association. This is THE steppingstone for young athletes to get into NBA, WNBA, NFL, MLS, MLB and so on.
texas-longhorns-BWzPeP-clipart
I do not know whether it was the logo or the color or the combo of both that made me a Longhorn fan, but I rooted for them!!! Years of rooting, but no cap… How would a NCAA cap get to the Netherlands? Even nowadays it is hard to get it delivered…

BUT: My wife and I won a cruise to the Caribbean (Tampa-Honduras-Belize-Tampa) and before we took off everyone on that cruise was able to join a Facebook group to get to know one another. People where sharing their stories & pictures and I saw several people from Texas joining… I was excited enough to boldly ask if someone might bring me a Longhorns cap, so I did!

A lot of people commented that they would love to bring me one, and what kind would I like to have? For me, any would be fine.

Evan was coming to the cruise as well and he was gonna bring me a Longhorns Cap.
This is a picture of Evan & me, when we first met on board & he handed me my Longhorns cap!

Evan Gremont

Evan & Me

I have been wearing this cap for most of the cruise and lots of people asked if I was that guy that wanted the Longhorns cap in the Facebook group… That was nice, since we got to know so many nice people on that cruise with Young Living… And not just because of the cap!

Oh and by the way: I paid it forward!!! That shirt I am wearing in the pic? There was a girl on board (with a broken foot); we met her and her father in the elevator and he commented on my shirt that I was going to be his daughter’s newest best friend. So I asked him why. He said – pointing at my shirt – she plays Softball!!!
Later on I looked her up at the swimming pool deck and I gave her my shirt. So she now has a shirt that was never available outside the Netherlands. ENJOY!!!

Evan, once again: Thank you so much for bringing my cap! I will wear it with pride!!!