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It’s Friday, it’s hot as hell, and every able bodied Dutchie is out in the streets! The Netherlands soccer team just beat Brazil to advance to the semi-finals. I’m shocked. Brazil was one of the favourite teams. Everyone here in Amsterdam I talked to was cheering for the Lions, but figured that Brazil would take it. I went out to the Museumplein where a giant screen and about 10,000 other fans went to watch the game. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It must have been what Canada was like when they won the hockey Gold in the Olympics.

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Bare with me here, because I’ve had to find out about this through translated news articles, but from what I can gather one of the more popular gay clubs in Amsterdam, The Cockring, was raided for drugs earlier this month.

On Friday June 11th, over a hundred police officers raided the club. The roughly one hundred patrons there at the time were brought to the police station where there were searched. A couple of people were arrested for trafficking, and a couple more for possession. The club is still closed because of the incident.

I originally heard about this through word of mouth, and I couldn’t believe it. Amsterdam has had a rough time recently living up to its gay tourist destination reputation. There have been a few incidents of attacks on gay men over the last month. Also, a couple of popular bars on one of the main gay streets shut down due to bankruptcy. With pride happening in a little over a month, violence, fear of police searches and another club closing down ain’t great.

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Vacation in Madrid

In: Behind The Cast, Topher, Travel & Leisure

I went on a little pre-summer vacation to Madrid a while ago. It was my first time to Spain and to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect. One of my old friends from University proposed the trip a couple of months ago, and I said yes without knowing much about the place. I was disappointed to eventually find out that it was in fact inland, and not on the coast as I had originally assumed.

Even though there was no beach time, I had a pretty good time. I was only there for about 4 days, just enough time to see some of the city, do some shopping and eating, and relax.

I stayed with friends in the north of the city. We flew in to Madrid Barajas Airport, and took the subway to where we were staying. First thing I noticed was the the public transit there was exceptional. Buses, trains, and subways combined provide you with multiple inexpensive routes to your intended destination. Cabs are really cheap as well.

Once we got settled, we went into the city for some tapas. While in Spain, you must have tapas I was told. I was also told that tapas is really more of a touristy thing, and the locals aren’t so obsessed with it as foreigners are. Tapas are basically small dishes intended for sharing. We ordered 6 or 7 between the four of us and chowed down. The iberico ham was the highlight of the meal. It’s this really thinly sliced, salty, cured ham that they put on crisp bread with a little olive oil. I could have ate that for the whole meal.

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File this under the pleasantly surprised category. Yahoo sports blog “Puck Daddy” (which has some gay overtones itself) is reporting that this years Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks will be present in this year’s Chicago pride parade, due to take place on June 27th.

Homosexuality pretty much doesn’t exist in popular North American professional sports, unless a player comes out after they’ve retired or it’s the butt of the joke. In one picture released from the Chicago dressing room moments after they won the cup, Pronger’s name is written on the board next to a clearly visible “gay”.

Hockey seems to be leading the way of sorts for acceptance of other sexualities. After the death of Toronto GM Brian Burke’s openly gay son Brendon, many players and hockey employees came out with statements of their support. I hope it doesn’t take any more untimely deaths to make any more progress.

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E3 is on this week, the big game developer conference that houses most of the year’s major gaming announcements. I’ve always been a lover of console gaming, I guess that comes with the territory of being an only child, but of the current generation game consoles, I only have the Xbox 360.

Microsoft just finished their 90 minute conference showcasing all the new games and features being unveiled over the next year.

Most of the show centered around the Xbox 360′s motion controller system, Kinect. You may have heard about it under its old code name, Project Natal, but as they announced today, Kinect is the official name. The system allows you to use your body and voice as the remote control. You can control games, movies and music simply by moving your limbs, or speaking simple commands.

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It’s all finished. Congratulations to Patrick Kane, the game six overtime goal scorer and the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks for winning the 2010 Stanley Cup. Such a young team, built almost from the ground up.

Also congrats to Philadephia for making it all the way to the finals. At the beginning of the season, I think I predicted them or Pittsburgh to come out on top in their division (it ended up being New Jersey, so what do I know), but I don’t think many people would have thought at the beginning of the playoffs that they would go all the way. Taking the series to six games is quite a feat.

And Marion Hossa. After three consecutive final appearances he finally gets his ring. Playoff poison no more.

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Movie Review: I Love You, Phillip Morris

In: Movies, Topher

Finally!

After almost a year since I saw the trailer for Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor’s gay love story I Love You, Phillip Morris I finally got to go see it in theaters. Even after the success of Brokeback Mountain, gay themed films are still having trouble getting distributed.

Morris was originally supposed to be released on April 30th in North America, but due to some supposed “graphic sex” scenes the movie was indefinitely postponed. Luckily, distributer Consolidated Pictures Group has decided the film should see an North American release on June 30th. I say North American, because the film has already been released in Europe (one of the many advantages of living abroad, he he).

Mark that day down in your calendar, because this movie was great. The film ultimately boils down to the love between two men, and how far one will go to make the other happy. It’s very sweet.

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NHL Stanley Cup: FINALS!

In: Sports & Health, Topher

Well, that was a short round, wasn’t it? Chicago swept the Sharks with relative ease, and goalie annoyer Dustin Byfuglien had a couple of important goals (one per game) including three game winners and the overtime goal in game 3. Philadelphia showed Montreal who this year’s all-star goalie is by knocking them off in five games which included THREE shutouts. THREE! Michael Leighton is a monster!

I faired a little better with my predictions last round, going 2 for 2. It’s a little bittersweet that Montreal is out. I still hate them for knocking out the Penguins, so I’m glad to see them gone, but to have Philly in the finals is just weird. Not that they don’t deserve it. They’ve played some amazing playoff hockey so far. They stuck it out while some of their top players were out with injuries, but now they’re back with almost full strength.

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