31 October 2006

Photos from Agueda and Daniel

My Mexican friends, Agueda and Daniel, have put their European tour photos online. The lucky sods made it to Oktoberfest amongst other places in their three week tour of The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

Arab Strap

I went last night with the disco twins to Rotterdam to see a band called Arab Strap. No not that Arab Strap but this Arab Strap. Seems like Rotterdam will make a for a great return trip when it's not dark...

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30 October 2006

Another DWD write up

Casper is keeping his sponsors happy by writing an article on doubleyouess.com about the DWD opening weekend.

29 October 2006

Antwerp gets the thumbs up

So another packed weekend. Friday night party at Nina's for her and Jeremy's flat warming. Then an early rise to go and meet Roger and Kate in Antwerp. The poor sods got stuck in a traffic jam for three hours! So that gave me plenty of time to wander round and take the following photos. I really liked Antwerp and can easily see myself returning at some point. I bought some Belgium chocolates for when Emma arrives with Kate on Thursday. It'll be a real test if I can make them last that long! Saturday night was a party in favour of Sandra's birthday and I really enjoyed the extra hour in bed today - but still did not get up till 3pm!


Last Friday, Sophie introduced me to a website called Last.fm It's a means of sharing your music taste amongst friends so I registered and you can now see to the right of my blog a list of songs I have recently listened too. You can also see all of my recent songs and a summary of my favourite songs by looking at my Last.fm profile here.

How it works is that it's an application the runs alongside your media player (iTunes, Windows Media Player etc.). In time it should suggest other music to listen too and display people with similar music tastes. I've only had it running over the weekend so will give it a wee while longer before I pass judgement. But if there are any other Last.fm users out there then feel free to add my ID "whereismal" as a friend.

whereismal's Profile Page

26 October 2006

Better than Teva's?!

One thing I noticed last weekend was the popularity of these daft looking shoes. They are called Crocs and I am told they are really comfy apres boating gear originally from the States. That doesn't stop them looking weird but I will reserve judgment until I try a pair. They will be hard pushed to beat my Teva's and I fail to believe they are odour free - especially not for my feet!

DWD opening weekend a success!

Wow what a weekend - my best yet over here. The Dutch freestyle kayakers know how to have a good time and welcomed me with open arms. I've left the weekend with 4 different people’s phone numbers to go kayaking with in the future and met lots of others that I will no doubt meet again on the water somewhere.

This will probably be another long post so get a coffee or something before reading. I suggest you read my previous post about the plan of action for the weekend just passed cos it pretty much so came true. Are you sitting comfortably then I shall begin...

I ducked out of work early on Friday at 2pm to get to DWD on time for my judges briefing. Most of the freestylers were on the course having a practice in the main hole so I took a few photos. The hole was a little like a sticky looping pool but when going for a big loop some people were occasionally hitting the bottom with their nose of their kayak. But no-one was spanking their tail on the bottom when completing a loop so it wasn't that bad. Cartwheels were fine and stable in both directions.

I volunteered to be a Judge for the final round of the Dutch Playboating Cup. I got off lightly with the judging as I was a scribe, so all I had to do was confirm what the other judge was seeing and write it down. The guy I paired with was Florian a junior member from the Swiss team from ticket2norway fame. He reminded me of a younger Dicky - absolutely obsessed with kayaking and he had a sweet sponsorship deal with Adidas. The other judge was Stephanie (I think Bank? also called herself sonny?), a chick from the German team who was sound. She called the Dutch the crazy dutchies - a phrase I think I will adopt! The variety judge was a nutter called Kaas also I think from the Swiss team but joined me in swigging some Belgian beers supplied by the variety scribe, Gianni - Cheers!

Judging was quite a funny affair, slating all the muppets, cheering the one swimmer and slagging off the good people when their attempt at a difficult move flushed. A few phonix monkeys were attempted but none stuck well enough to score. So the big scores were gained by huge entry moves, loops and super clean spins/cartwheels. Being able to perform a move both ways really bumps your score up. The was an interesting insight into an area of kayaking I've never really been keen on before.

I only got a few pictures of the training as you can see at the end of this post. There was no time to take piccies or video whilst judging as it was quite fast paced to get all the heats done whilst the main stage was sound checking in the background. I made good use of the free red bull type drink called go fast.

Here's a very brief video of the main stage lighting setup:

The freestyle competition was won by Casper, who seems to be the main man over here. He's how I managed to blag my way into the weekend - George from back home put me in touch so thanks a zillion George. It was a close final, Casper’s entry moves were the biggest but some other finalists were closer to nailing phonix and trickies. Casper banged out the cleans both ways tho so was a deserved winner. Here's a rather dull video of the awards ceremony for the senior Men. Comically, Casper was stripped to his boxers and ended up in the drink afterwards but I only have that in photo format at the end of this post.

After the medal ceremony we headed back to the local kayak store housed in an outdoor centre called Outdoor Valley. A wicked place with a huge climbing wall, a mountain bike track and a kayak ramp. And this was where the fun began, the beer flowed and the crazy dutchies took it in turn to hurl themselves off a purpose built kayak ski ramp. Checkout the footage below:

The shop owner guy also showed a video of all the playboat cup venues and I must admit although the Dutch get utter rubbish conditions for white water they sure do make the most of it. I look forward to seeing if I can convince some of the brits to come over for some of the events next year. It's a smaller community of paddlers here that it appears everyone knows everyone and there is no real cliché that feels like it is present in the UK sometimes.

The partying continued well into the night. For once I called it quits before the end as I knew I had to be paddling the next day for the opening ceremony. Having said that I still managed it all the way until 6am and completely battered - damn those €1 beers! At 6am I left the crazy dutchies singing karaoke and staggered off to the comfort of cuddling up in the back of my car with my kayak. But not for long as only 3hrs later I had to get up at 9am to head to DWD for the dress rehearsal for the TV shows.

So naturally, still drunk and with only 3hrs kip my first run down the course was tentative! I crossed too low on the entry ferry glide and got nailed in the cushion wave against the first wall. It was at that point I decided I wasn't going to drop in on the big hole for some ends. I made sure I gave an extra boof to get through that bad boy. But just round the corner was my favourite wave - a corner wave a little bigger and steeper than what used to be the pyramid wave at HPP. A perfect spot for some sweet blunts. Well I stuck to spinning due to my current physical state swiftly followed by a flushing. Around the corner another sweet wave with good kickflip over potential (again only wave wheel for me!). The eddy for this wave was a bit of a pain in the arse to catch. Then it was down a big chute punching through a huge V wave. This wave has the potential to be pukka with a little thought into the design – at the mo it’s dauntingly a little shallow. Finally a couple more waves and a small hole, HPP 2nd pool size, before ending up in the bottom pool and a short paddle to the conveyor belt. Wow what a luxury and a well needed rest before run 2.

The real opening event started at midday and to be honest was quite spectacular. They had certainly splashed some cash. First two go fast dudes skydived and were supposed to land on the roof of the Flow Wave building. One guy missed and got a right royal piss taking from us waiting to launch our kayaks down the course. The poor guy had to run all the way around the course back to as close to the roof as possible. Then along came a rescue helicopter that winched the guys off the roof into the entry pool where they collected Hydrospeeds and bobbed down the course. They were shortly followed by 10 other Hydrospeeds and then us freestylers a hooting and a hollering down the river to the few hundred big crowd. Then last were the rafts and some ringos. We all then repeated the run for a second time. It was absolutely knackering; imagine paddling HPP but playing on every feature trying to perform the best crowd pleasing moves. I am certainly not paddle fit anymore!

We didn't hang around much after that as we went to the beach to go surfing. Not much surf to write home about but something to get wet with. At least those who could not be arsed getting outta bed for the opening ceremony could have a splash about. It seems the ocean is where most of the Dutch team get their practice and that will probably be the case for a while until DWD lower their prices and fully understand their kayaking market.

I skipped the blof concert, someone told me the band was soft rock - err no thanks then I'll pass! But a good night’s sleep was needed before repeating the opening ceremony without the helicopter on Sunday. My performance was a little better and I braved the main hole getting a few cartwheels and loop attempts though never landed a particularly good one. Later on Sunday there was supposed to be a freestyle demo just in the main hole rather than down river freestyle. Casper politely said he had enough people for that and I wasn't needed - fair play I knew I was the weaker paddler! But Michel came down to check the place out and I hung out with him. It rained a little later on and the freestyle demo was actually cancelled and free rafting was offered to the spectators so Michel had a go. I was too knackered and not quite up for it so left Michel to it and got a few snaps.

We also checked out the flow waves and I can't wait to give those bad boys a go. Here's some footage of the bodyboarders in action. Emma is here in about a week’s time with Kate and I'm going to book us all an hour each so I'll let you know if it's as good as it looks.

So all in all, a blinder of a weekend and I hope to have more with the crazy dutchie paddlers! Checkout the photos below and I hope I can find the TV footage online to post later.

I'll leave you with one last titbit of info. The course has been designed with the idea of adding another channel in the future purely to create one massive wave. Hidden away is another pump to push water back upstream up a new shortcut channel to create a monster of a wave. As much as DWD is currently a rip off and not very supportive of the freestyle movement, let's hope they make enough money to dig out the new channel!

Oh and one last thing, when you bringing your ducky over Matt? They will let you on here with it no worries!

21 October 2006

La Plagne last season

Stu is far less of a slacker than me and has got round to editing last years footage of our snowboarding holiday. Top effort Stu :-) We went to La Plagne in France and had a pretty good week despite some shite snow. Checkout the footage below but make some time for it as it's over 30 mins! I'm the one in the white snowboard pants:

20 October 2006

Mathie on TV?!

So this weekend I may be on TV as part of the DWD opening weekend. Thanks to George back home, I managed to blag myself some free tickets by popping by DWD this afternoon and name dropping. However, I think I may have over blagged it this time!

Now I may be able to handle myself resonably well in a kayak. I've paddled a few tough rivers all over the world and surfed some pretty big waves and waterfalls. But I still don't know my Phonics Monkey from my McNasty when it comes to performing the latest tricks. So I think I may well be in a bit of trouble as I've commited to the following to get my free tickets:

1) On Friday I will be a judge of the Netherlands freestyle canoeing championships (let's hope I'm a variety judge, not a technical judge as some of the moves I can't even spell!)

2) On Saturday I will be part of the opening ceremony downriver demonstration to be broadcast on TV (Eurosport and probably local/national news)

3) On Sunday I will be joining in with the freestyle demonstration (I can count the number of tricks I can perform on one hand so I hope it's short!)

Bugger - perhaps instead of updating this blog I should've been out on the canals practicing?!

Ah well, I really looking forward to it. I'll take the camera and hopefully put up a good report here when I get back for all you HPP'ers. I can't remember the last time I had the chance to chuck the sleeping bag in the car and head off for a weekend to meet new people with no idea what's going to happen. So should be good. I've packed some Grolsch just in case so I'm sure I'll make some friends regardless of my kayaking ability!

18 October 2006

Skype me

So I've jumped on the Skype bandwagon, all those users of Skype can reach me at my ID which is malcolm.mathie Never heard of Skype? Well it's a means of speaking to each other over the internet. Checkout their website for more information.

<div><a href="http://not-a-real-namespace/http://www.skype.com" target="_blank"><img src=" http://share.skype.com/show/flash/?id=30" border="0" alt="Share Skype" id="skype-banner-img" width="468" height="60" /></a></div>

I've also purchased a SkypeIn number which basically means I have a UK number that redirects to my computer. If my computer is off then you can leave me a voicemail instead and I will be notified of your message next time I turn my computer on.

I bought the SkypeIn number so friends back home in the UK can call me really cheaply if not free. It's the same cost for the caller as phoning a UK landline so included for free with most mobile phone plans. Try it out, send us an email and I'll let you know my number and whilst I'm at it you can have my Dutch Mobile number for text messages. Marvelous this modern technology!

My status

17 October 2006

Buff Mathie

Shock horror, I have joined a gym! No not to get buff like this guy but more cos the gym is at work and only €€15 a month from my gross salary. Plus I hope that my body can become a little more resilient to crashing on my bike, snowboard, kayak or whatever else I have a go at! It's starting to get painful after every time I abuse myself with the sports I enjoy so let's see if something regular in the gym will keep me a little more subtle. Peach - insert your YBG comment here....

Comically enough according to my "fitness instructor", I have too high a body fat percentage and am also unfit on the bike test they made me do. Now I admit to the fat bit, but I am not going to give up the beer for that. However, the bike test never broke me out in a sweat nor was I out of breath? For those that have played squash or similar with me will know that is unusual! It was easy!

So who knows how much of that is because they want to show you how much you improve and therefore keep taking your money?! Who knows, who cares...

The Bicycle Bar

Olaf sent me a link to the following video clip so I thought I'd post it here. If I ever see it out and about then I'm going to see if I can steal it. Can't be that difficult as all the riders will be drunk right?!

15 October 2006

The Charlie weekender

No not the white powdery stuff but Charlie from Notts was here last weekend. And my blog update is so late because I am well and truly knackered from the weekend jollies. It went a little something like this...

Charlie landed Thurs and it would've been rude if we didn't have a few welcome drinks. So off we trotted on the tram to Leidseplein, the cheesy touristy area of Amsterdam. Kinda like Leicester Square of London. We found a bar selling beers at €€1 each but we wanted portions larger than the thimbles offered so we didn't hang around there long.

In our quest to find some bars of decent quality in that area we stumbled across the Amsterdam Ultimate Party. Sucked in by the name, we tagged along at the end of their group in the hope they would know some decent bars. No such luck so glad we didn't pay for it! However, we persevered until 3am. Work was a struggle for me on Friday, whilst Charlie took a few snaps of downtown.

Undetered by the lack of decent bars we also hit the town on Friday. Including a visit to the Red Light District - the first time for me since I moved here. But surprisingly, I could remember from Peach's stag do where the good lookers were and also where the mingers are. Of course we took a look at both for comedy value!

Charlie's memories of the Red Light District will be more of a nightmare than pleasure. We thought we'd checkout one of the peep shows and the particular booth that Charlie choose was, well.....hmmm....how do I say this without offending anyone?! Let's just say there was some evidence of a previously entertained guy left behind in the booth!

More beers to calm Charlie down, so much so that we kinda thought our drinks were spiked at one point. But perhaps it was just theconcoctionn that we had already had that caused those thoughts! Another night prancing about in Winstons was had with the disco twins, Sandra and Sophie, plus flat mate Mickael. Night two @ 3am

Saturday we went snowboarding to Snowworld which is bigger than the place I've already been to. Charlie had never been before and I also hooked up with a Kiwi friend Jonathan that I met through an internet forum I used when flat hunting. We all had a good blast, Charlie seemed to enjoy it even though he had never been before. He got on well, linked a few turns and even managed the button lift all the way to the top of the big slope. He hid his fear well whilst hurtling back down the slope much faster that I though he would but he later admitted to being completely out of control. That probably had something to do with the eventual face plants!

Jonathan was also keen and bought a new board. Hopefully, we'll sort out a few weekends on real mountains this winter. I've been looking at viamichelin and it's only 8.5hrs drive to St Anton in Austria - one of the places on my todo list. If we head East into the likes of Austria then there is more time spent on the German Autobahns so should be able to make 8.5hrs in under 7 ;-)

But back to the weekend just gone. Although knackered from snowboarding, we met up with Jonathan and a few others from the same forum in the pijp (pronounced pipe) area of Amsterdam. An area I had briefly spent some time in with the Mexicans and was impressed. It was a very varied night and went a little like -> posh bar, kebab house, salsa bar, dodgy bar, posh bar. The latest night yet with a return home at 4am!

The latest night was unfortunately followed by the earliest morning. We were up and out by 10am to go meet Michel and friends at a theme park called Wallibi World. A cool theme park owned by the Six Flag group. I'd say it was like a cross between Blackpool, with loadsa rollercoasters, and Alton Towers with the latest rides. So a good combo. Checkout the shaky cam video footage and pictures below:

After the theme we tortured our bodies one last time with a mcsatan and I dropped Charlie at the airport. I didn't have any trouble sleeping afterwards! Cheers Charlie for a top weekend and spread the word back home - The Dam(n) Mathie tourist service is now accepting new guests...

11 October 2006

See you soon A&D

Agueda and Daniel returned for a brief one night before heading home back over the Pacific to Mexico. It was great to see them again and we ate in a supposedly Mexican restaurant at the beach and played a few games of pool afterwards.

I hope to see them again somewhere in the world, even if that means waiting till the 2012 olypics when they hope to visit London again. But Mexico was a wonderful place when I visited in 2005 so I may well be back there before 2012.

10 October 2006

Emma's first visit

So Emma was here for the first time last weekend. We had a great time as you can see from the few photos I've added below.

Emma arrived on Thursday and as it was bucketing it down with rain we spent the evening in a cosy French restaurant recommended by Mickael - Cheers!

The rain continued throughout Friday but I skipped off work early so we could checkout some car showrooms for my new car. It wouldn't stop raining so the delights of the local take away were experienced and a night in watching a movie.

Again it rained it the morning on Saturday but that didn't dampen our spirits. We donned the waterproofs and I introduced Emma to Betty. I don't think it was jealousy, but they didn't seem to hit it off like Betty and myself. Probably due to the fact that Betty is about twice the size of Emma! But nevertheless we peddled our way all over the city including the northeast docks area which would've been lovely if not for the wind! At least the rain stopped quickly and the sun was shining warm.

A few friends came over for Saturday night and there was a bit of a welcome me gathering in the flat. Cool bunch of people from all over the place, French, German, Dutch. Neither of us two can remember falling asleep but it was a late one!

Sunday we got to the beach for some nosh and a stroll to get rid of the hangover. It's getting quieter at the beach now and it looks like all the beach bars get dismantled and stored for the winter.

Monday night we went to Paradiso which is a concert hall to see Jurassic 5. It was class, a wicked little venue that I look forward to frequenting many a time in the future. DJ Nu-Mark was brilliant twisting dials and tweaking knobs to make some quality beats. They other guys were great at getting the crowd going and the sold out crowd were well up for it. Glad they played some of their older J5 and Quality Control stuff as well as their new Feedback album.

Big name acts sell out here quickly. I've tried and failed to get tickets for Badly Drawn Boy, The Killers, The Kooks and Razorlight so far. Tickets go on sale at 9am Saturday morning, a time which I think I have yet to see in Amsterdam!

Emma flew home this morning, but we've already booked the next flight out for the weekend of 4/5 Nov. It's also a weekend Mickael is away so if anyone would like to come over and join us then feel free. I'm also heading back to Blackpool for the 9/10 Dec for Barry's 40th - looking forward to that messy one! And whilst I was in a flight booking mode I also booked my flight to Whistler for the end of Feb to see helm boy Smith and the massively dangerous Jimbob. Watch out the Mathie Canuks - I'm coming to invade again!

Mexicans tomorrow, Charlie on Thurs - it's all go at the mo!

Oh and before I go I nearly forgot to apologises to pea for stealing aunty emma away from what was the expected pea arrival date. Best wishes to Nic and Dave for when pea does arrive :-)

04 October 2006


Jimbob is over in Alaska at the mo, cuddling up with the teddy bears and on a walkabout. He posted an article linking to whereismal? on his website. So I am returning the favour - go checkout his website here.

Pratting about

I thought my real baby would be getting jealous of Betty so I went for a bit of a prat about on my bike last night. I think my addiction needs this t'shirt. I returned to the Amsterdam Bos where I spanked it the other week and took my digital camera with me to experiment with on my PC when I got back. Checkout the video below, although not quite Redbull bridge jumping.

The above clip took me a good few hours on my Windoze PC where as using iMovie on a Mac would be much easier and quicker. Roll on January when I will splash out on a new Mac Pro :-) Microsoft Mover Maker is possibly the worst piece of software I have ever used :-( It crashed 9 times when I was putting together the following compilation and the output quality is appalling. I can't install any other official video editing software like Premier or Avid on my Windows XP work laptop but if anyone knows of any open source alternatives to WMM them please let me know. Even QuickTime Pro on it's own won't let me mix speeds of video in the same clip.

So what else is new? My Mexican friends Agueda and Daniel where here last week and are currently touring around Germany before I catch up with them again next week. I have a picture of them that I took in Mexico but I hope to get a copy of their pictures in Amsterdam shortly. I forgot my camera :-(

The DWD opening sounds like it is going to be a busy time for me as I've found out there is also a major dance music festival in Amsterdam that weekend. Dancing till 5am and still going boating the following day may become challenging. But dancing till 6am at the Krafty Kuts album launch then going to work is going to be even worse! There's an awesome line up of DJ's, checkout the full 300+ list here. I wanna see the following, so already I have to compromise. Anyone else recommend other DJ's to see?

Wed 18 October / 21.00 - 03.00 / the winston ade pre party
Thu 19 October southern fried records party
Thu 19 October / 22.00 - 05.00 / dave clarke presents
Thu 19 October / 23.00 - 06.00 / against the grain (krafty kuts album launch)
Fri 20 October / 21.00 - 02.00 / beatbattle 06 a real-time producers competition
Fri 20 October / 23.00 - 05.00 / finger lickin records party
Fri 20 October / 23.00 - 05.00 / vonyc session
Fri 20 October / 23.00 - 06.00 / cocoon goes amsterdam
Fri 20 October / 23.00 - 05.00 / major league
Sat 21 October urbantorque label night
Sat 21 October / 17.00 - 18.00 / demolition part XI

But before that crazy weekend I am stoked to say Emma is here on Thurs for the long weekend. So I'll have loads more pictures to add next week I hope. If the weather is good then first stop is the beach again for some dinner. But it has been raining recently so I have a few restaurants in the city in mind instead. I really liked the Pijp area of bars and restaurants that I checked out with Agueda and Daniel. Then I'm looking forward to being a tour guide for the weekend and also checking out many of the sights I have not yet seen. Saturday night we'll have a few friends over for some more beers on the balcony which seems to be the "norm" over here.

Charlie joins us the following weekend for a break inbetween old and new jobs. I can imagine the establishments I visit with Charlie will be a lot more seedy than those I visit with Emma! But will be good to neck a few beers with a British buddy. I have plans to go snowboarding again that weekend with a kiwi friend Jonathan and also to the Walibi theme park with Michel from IBM.

So busy times ahead, watch this space for more updates. But before I go I wanna know who is the lucky sod in Switzerland at the moment?! I am using this cool website tracker called statcounter out of curiosity for how many people are reading my blog. It also records loadsa other stats like the country where the website reader is. So here is the current picture and I can account for everywhere except Switzerland - so which one of you lucky buggers is it?

02 October 2006

DWD update

Finally some freestyle news about DWD. Loving the conveyor belt!