Month: May 2002

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Kiffin and Kathleen in way back in 1961.I think that I was around four or five years old at the time. I was playing in the backyard of our house in Redding, California. The year was 1961. My little sister Kathleen was there also, and right next to the wooden fence (I can remember it so clearly) she had arranged a neat row of two or three mud pies on the ground in-between the plants. She tried to get me to eat one of them. But I refused, saying that those weren't really pies, they were pretend mud pies she had made. Kathleen had placed these thin twigs or toothpicks in them to make it look like there were candles, and with this cracked plastic knife (was it pink?) she had etched in decorative lines criss-crossing the top and sides. When I looked even more closely, I remember seeing some ants scurrying across the domed top. There was no way on earth I was going to touch a single one of those mud pies! But Kathleen kept on insisting that I try one, she had worked so very hard, and they were delicious she insisted. Yes, they were real pies that was for sure. Hmmm, at the time I had to admit on closer inspection I was getting a little bit hungry. C'mon, she kept pleading for me to give it a try. So you know what I did? I actually took her plastic fork, dug it into the side of the pie on the far right, and put a big chunk of this slightly wet and crumbling dirt blob into my mouth. I gave it a chew, thought a second or two, and then promptly spit it out. That tasted terrible! The question of course is how I could be so stupid as to believe my little sister in the first place at all. She was just a kid of around three years old at the time. And I was almost grownup at five years of age. Even in the beginning of youth, I was very gullible, believing everyone, trusting their opinions and beliefs, and not (quite) strong enough to resist my more normal intentions and tendencies. Even to this day I have remained a fairly easy-going person who will give in for the sake of avoiding discussions and/or conflicts, no matter how minor they might be. I still have alot to learn and before I can grow up and become a truly successful adult type of person.

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This is my new toy...This is my new toy. It keeps me company during my train trip to and from work.

Nice tunes which relax me and put me in the proper mood to be productive and happy for the rest of the day.

And when the day is over it brings me back to life as I ruminate over the day's happenings and watch them disappear.

A neat little gizmo, my friend and companion, the technical item which seeks to encompass me.

Encompass and surround me, that nice electronic doo-dad friend of mine. I love it.

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I used to know her
I used to talk about her
Waiting for the day that she would listen
I used to know her
I used to stick up for her
Something in her smile was so bitchin'
I used to sing, I used to sing...

Veruca Salt
Resolver (2000)
Used to know her

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I hate it when all that fuzz starts growing out of my ears. It looks awful and makes me look like an old man. I happened to notice it this morning on my way to a weekly meeting when I was in the bathroom washing my hands in front of the mirror. Oh no not again and so quickly. Kind of like when you used to have that really important date and you noticed there was this big ugly pimple on the tip of your nose. Now this fuzzy growth is bad enough, but combined with the growth coming out of my nostrils I feel like some kind of walrus. I have always told Thea that if I ever end up as a demented patient in some elderly home surrounded by all those other Dutchies, if there is only one thing she should not forget, that is to trim my ear and nose hairs for me. Before it is too late. If there is no one around to take the responsibility of this chore, then I will look like an overgrown brush or bush or whatever. Not that I would really notice it if indeed I were demented, it is just the idea. Would there be so many visitors who would even notice? What would my children think? Would I have any visitors at all? With my wet forefinger I gently pushed and poked the fuzzy growth back into the right and left orifices where it belonged hoping that it would not be too obvious when I sat down at the table to discuss progress of more important projects. Slowly but surely the individual hairs would spring back to life anyway, as the tamped down wetness evaporated and the hairs dried, and in the long run poke their fun at me. Those hairs. Time to trim them again before I go to bed if I can remember such an important chore. Kind of like mowing the lawn I guess.

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Way back in the year 1848 there was this construction foreman named Phineas Gage. His job was to lead a gang of workers in digging out a pass through the mountains for the railroad in Vermont. This was done by using heavy dynamite. One day poor Phineas was unexpectedly caught off guard when an explosion went off prematurely. This long metal rod used to tamp down the pieces of dynamite in the drilled holes flew upwards like a rocket launched into the sky. The heavy javelin-shaped structure pierced his skull, entered a point just below his left eye, went clean through his brain and exited out the top of his head.

The amazing thing is that he survived, even though a huge portion of his frontal lobe had in an instant been removed completely. A brand-new person, but not quite, this poor man at the prime of his life.

So whatever happened to poor Phineas afterall? Well, he survived just fine and at least appeared to function normally in many "rational" ways. Like doing mathematical calculations, reciting complex tasks, remembering names and dates, no problem with these kind of things. However, he seemed to have lost complete control of his emotional side, or rather he had no emotional side left over. Phineas became an unbearable person with whom to be. He was extremely asocial, cussed and screamed alot for no obvious reason. Quoting from an account by Dr. Harlow: "the equilibrium or balance, so to speak, between his intellectual faculty and animal propensities had been destroyed."

So it seems that the brain is organized in such a way that emotion cannot be logically separated from even the most so-called rational decisions we make in everyday life. Even the most basic objective and factual thoughts are connected to some underlying form of emotional wave patterns. To say the least.

All this is inspired by the following book which I am reading with much pleasure and philosophical back-slaps: "Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain" by Antonio R. Damasio.

If you are interested in investigating this subject about the human mind in more detail then I can recommend you check out one or more of the following links:

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Since I had a "really" lousy time at work the last week, I searched for a much needed change of pace. Trying to do my best at balancing a hundred-and-one incompatible tasks at the same time with little success and lots of frustrations in-between is not my idea of fulfilling work. So I decided this weekend to go out and reward myself with a new and fantastic electronic toy. Out of the blue and just like that. Like a small boy going to the candy store, I had a sweet tooth that needed satisfaction, needed it badly. For awhile now, I have been investigating the various possibilities of interactive music via the Internet, and there are many many variations on the theme of portable music. The choice is an endless one, but I had the urge to get something. Now or never. Even if it meant spending a little more than I had originally planned. First I had to bring the girls to the field hockey tournament in Waddinxveen, and after watching Sabien play in the first match, I sped off in my car to Rotterdam (20 minute drive). I screeched to a halt, parked the car at a slight angle, and then I took a veritable beeline to the Mediamarkt electronics store. I got excited about all the nice gadgets they had behind glass. In no time the young and dynamic salesman convinced me to buy a MZ-N505 portable NetMD recorder from Sony. I really love the use of the OpenMG technology and the user-friendly OpenMG Jukebox program which makes checking out music a piece of cake. In one day I have filled up two mini-discs with Neil Young, Alanis Morisette, Chris Rea, The Cult and Veruca Salt. It is bad to acquire so much superficial pleasure from an external silver-colored object. For now however that is alright as long as the feeling is tempered properly with the realization that there is more to life than transferring music and letting it blare in your ears. This Monday morning it is back to work and I will squeeze myself between the many train commuters. This time I will let my mind wander with nice tunes to help me relax and prepare myself for a less frustrating week I hope.

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Rumor has it that there are more than forty thousand blogs out there already. Can you believe that? That is an awful lot of bloggers running around (aimlessly). I guess I am not alone. Seems like everyone is becoming part of the grand revolution where a giant and complex web of thoughts is slowly but surely encompassing our world and sooner or later the whole universe. Does this fact make the importance of the words I pen (I mean pound away at my computer keyboard) any less significant? I think not. You might want to read the article Attack of the blogs. I believe that blogging is not "having its 15 minutes of fame right now" but rather constitutes "the opening scene of a new thousand-year bloggian reich." All this talk about a new blogging revolution is perhaps a bit exaggerated and alot of hype. People try so hard to get into things and have such complete belief in one form or another. That is besides the point. The important thing is the general direction and the slow-motion movement of which we are all a part. Bloggers everywhere unite in order to save the world.

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There was this pinpoint of light circling overhead. I had seen it before, but not as clearly as now. This surprised me. Put me in an awe-inspiring mood. Buzzing around and around like a lost mosquito but much farther away. Ever present with a wonderful backdrop called the night sky network with so many stars just coming to life. Invisible breeze in the ensuing darkness causing the molecules in the air to move back and forth and bounce against anything that got in the way. That is why I was surprised when that pinpoint of light split into two, two pinpoints of light the exact same size. Followed slightly longer than a half second later by the distant snapping sound just like that. The original flight pattern continued onwards at a causal rate, perfectly straight and then the trajectory sliced with the clean knife of a sound. The long thin line becoming two long thin lines separating as time passed. The speed was not exceptional, yet constant and undaunted by all the other stars shimmering which just barely did not quite get in the way. Time to turn around and come back again. Start all over again. Please tell me, what could such a pinpoint of light circling overhead actually mean? Two pinpoints of light by npw that is. Turn around and come back again.

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He forgot again where he was. Again. For the life of him, he could not figure out what those things were doing over there. And in front of him, to the side right and left, just beyond his line of sight. Next to his face, just floating. Distant and close by. And then just as quickly as it had disappeared it came back to him again. That was a close one, what a relief. These uneasy moments of not knowing were becoming more frequent, and the time in-between shorter and shorter making the waits less and less bearable. Almost. What had once been an occasional lapse every week or so was now rattling by in frequency at an ever increasing rate. Here at one moment, gone at another, and then back again. Strange but true. Could it be or not? Just then when he was attempting to formalize this deep philosophical question he lost it again. Lost it altogether again. Gone. Ten minutes later. And then, fine again and then life returns to normal. No use wondering and worrying just continue life as if nothing were happening. The next lapse in the flow of time will come so do not try and push it.

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When it comes to repairing broken items and keeping things organized and straight I can be very meticulous at times, sometimes a little too exaggerated they say. Take for instance that fence of ours. It starts at the side of our house, goes back eleven meters or so before turning left to cover the back side of our garden and then after thirteen meters or so turns left again to divide the neighbor's backyard from ours. This has to do with the other side which is adjacent to the street (you see our house is on the corner). Alot of kids run around in the street and play soccer (they call it football here, "voetbal" actually). The problem is that the kids get carried away and kick the hard ball all over the place, often against the fence. They even use the fence as a backdrop for the goal which really gets me mad. Slam, slam and bounce away, sometimes over the top and into the garden where we are sitting. A couple of times the ball actually barely missed my left ear, struck the top of the picnic table between the plates and drinking glasses and bounced over to the neighbors backyard. I thought that I was on TV. Not that the noise or this risky business of balls bouncing everywhere gets me and rattles my nerves. Wherever would you get that impression? The problem is that the wooden planks of the fence get battered so badly that they fall off because of the constant wear and tear. The soccer ball as a pumped-up battering ram. Big open splits form in the fence so that the passersby can look into our garden and see us sitting there. Watch live and in person as the next soccer ball flies over, nearly slicing off my left ear lobe before bouncing off of the table. I yell at the kids again, and I act like the grumpy neighbor. This only helps for a day or two, sometimes longer but more often shorter. The kids always come back and use the fence again for the goal. Slam, slam and bounce away. Preferably when I am not around, but if they are numbed enough by my persistent grumpiness I could be standing in front of the goalkeeper and it would not matter. This weekend I put the fallen wooden plank back in place. With loving hands, caring so deeply for this cherished flatness of wood. The screws which are supposed to prevent gravity from acting and pulling them off get rusted, and the brittle screws tend to break and snap off. One fragment remaining deeply embedded in the wooden beam, never again to see the light of day. Not only do I have to pull out the four screws with a wrench and forceful twist, but I also have to re-drill four holes just above and as close as possible to the original entry points. This is necessary so that the plank remains flush to the others on the left and right, without anyone noticing that the poor wooden plank has been bashed to the ground by the thoughtless youth and their puerile kicking motions. This is an endless cycle of replacing, warning, yelling, and in the end replacing again. We have lived here in this house for four years and I think I have replaced just about all of the wooden planks on the right side at least once. Repetition makes us crazy but keeps us going at the same time.

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"Creating the unity necessary to run an effective business or a family or a marriage requires great personal strength and courage. No amount of technical administrative skill in laboring for the masses can make up for lack of nobility or personal character in developing relationships. It is a very essential, one-on-one level, that we live the primary laws of love and life."

Stephen R. Covey
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

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Are you bored? Here is something fun and amazing for your late evening entertainment. Type in some words on this page (Text to Speech) and hear a computer generated voice say them back to you!

Or click the following quote to hear Crystal talk philosophy: The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing

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pan-GLOSS-ee-un (adjective) : marked by the view that all is for the best in this best of possible worlds : excessively optimistic.

"Sarah is a cheerful young woman with a Panglossian habit of looking at the world through rose-colored glasses."

Does this remind you a little of the following? "Gibberations galore from a regular down-to-earth kind of guy who is constantly pursuing a balanced life in the best of all possible worlds..." The motto and driving force behind this future-famous weblog.

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I have those periods in my life where I have this itchy feeling that I am only blowing the little money I have down a bottomless pit if you know what I mean. Down, down, down the bottomless pit. This year we have rebuilt and added a new room, are having the outside of the house repainted in white and off white, just bought all the kids a new collection of summer attire, had modern art posters framed in museum glass (I got sucked into that one by the sweet talking art expert lady working on my so-called intellectual weaknesses), had the car checked up on and repaired, paid the yearly taxes (more than 50% of my salary), bought a new home computer, bought the necessary travel accessories etc. for the upcoming trip to California in August, took the family out to a Chinese restaurant (The Red Garden) to celebrate Thea getting the new job, and on and on and on ad infinitum. How is this possible? Will I ever be able to balance my budget at the end of the year? How about this week? Should I focus on a thriftier attitude and focus on minimal spending only at the special sales in the cheapest joints? I found myself getting overly concerned today while in town. I took Maarten to share a special father-and-son time together. Poor Maarten wanted an ice-cream cone this afternoon, but I said no. Mean father, but that is the way it is, has to be. Not because I was worried I would spoil him, he almost never asks for things, anything, and certainly he deserved some kind of treat and/or reward for having been so patient with me in town looking everywhere for the discounted offers (never cheap enough and never good enough at the same time). What the heck, I thought. I gave in to his innocent and sweet voice, bought him that ice cream cone, and a big fat bag of peanut M&M's, and that can of Coke. Mere pittances compared with the other financial burdens in life, a few peanuts. Ideas are what make you the way you are. Are they truly burdens or just an excuse to waste your life away worrying for nothing? Worrying about ideas about ideas about worrying (circle of thought). No bottomless pit for me, so let's go on through the rest of the weekend and see what happens, okay? By being poorer one has the urge to splurge. By being not poor one thinks happiness comes with euros and dollars and whatever other form of currency. That is not true. There are more euros coming so the more the better, or so they think nowadays. The truth of the matter is that the more the worse the less the better and the middle path the best, if you know what I mean. Not too much and not too little.

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Ranting and raving early in the morning as I have to rush to get off to work in time is not exactly my idea of having fun. Five times a week for one hour between seven and eight in the morning usually. It is a complete loony-toon insane asylum at the Gish abode, as each person vies for the limited resources. I am not exaggerating. One shower, two toilets, six chairs, two square meters of table space, food and plates, drinks and cups, three sinks to brush teeth in front of, a number of mirrors, the couch which can seat at most two parents or one (easily irritated) child, the doorway to squeeze through, etc. The kids get a kick out of bugging each other, more often than not for no simple reasonable, it is all so psychologically complex and subtle. As a parent you are expected to keep your cool, and with a calm voice sooth the tempers and offer guidance. Do not cuss because that is bad, do not raise your voice because that only results in an unwanted escalation of tempers and eventual war, provide a helping hand and do not accidently give the impression you are pushing, ask and do not order, but ask with a firm and determined voice. I have four wonderful wild-and-crazy kids, but they can also be a handful at times. At least they are lively and have their own unique personalities.

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So I thought I would get fancy again and make my guestbook even nicer, nicer than it was ever meant to be. However, after I had changed some of the perl stuff and uploaded it to my cgi-bin directory again it all went boom. That is if I tried to add a new entry to the guestbook and hit the good old submit button, an ugly 500 internal error flew back in my face. Ugh and oops and what? What was the problem exactly? The most obvious choice is to recheck the Perl script for possible syntax errors, but that was perfectly fine. I had only changed a few items (5), and they all looked perfectly healthy to me. When I stuck back the original cgi-script to the server, everything was okay again. Weird. Why did I have to go off and change things, try to make them better but make them worse in the end? As it turned out, the cause of my problems was this and has to do with me "trying" to transfer my development environment to my new machine. The usual hassle. I use the wonderful tool called LeechFTP (sometimes crashes and/or generates cryptic error messages in German but in general pretty dependable and I am used to it). There is this option for setting file extensions which should be automatically uploaded in ASCII-mode. Well, you guessed it. The list of extensions was reset to the default after installation (".txt.htm.html.nfo.diz") and does NOT include the CGI extension. Oops, that means that when I try to transfer the file guest.cgi to my site, it gets sent in BINAIRY mode which is bad. Bad boy. Bummer man. I now quickly fixed that by appending the text ".pl.cgi.htaccess.pm.cfg.cgi" to the end of the default list. Don't want to forget the other types of files I upload regularly and end up having the very same frustrating problem now do I? Now everything works just fine again. Again and again. No use wasting energy doing low-level debugging stuff when that is not necessary. First think, think deeply, before proceeeding to the next step. Again and again.

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Today my oldest son Lennart turned fifteen. Hard to believe. For his birthday he received a number of gifts related in one way or other to the art of war. Some books about the second world war and a sidewinder game voice thingibob from microsoft. Now he can not only read up on all kinds of battle strategies and tactics, but he can also experience them first hand in cyber space using this complete voice solution contraption. It is a headset with a microphone, headphones and voice command module. Lennart can now take part in multiplayer clan battles on the internet, and with this state-of-the-art gadget he sends vocal orders to a specific member of his battalion or broadcast to the whole group at once. "Okay Joe, strafe those guys over to the left," or "Jim, cover me!" or "Watch out for that grenade!" Amazing stuff, although it sometimes gets on our nerves when he raises his voice while in the heat of the battle. You might want to check out Lennart's clan site International Combat Federation (ICF) where he keeps track of all activities, rankings and upcoming tournaments for his clan of fine soldiers. My son must first pass the stage of cyber warrior before he goes on unprotected into the real world wherever and whenever that is.

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It is high time to treat myself to yet another new Goal-in-Life. Again? Yes, after much thought and serious ruminations, I have finally come up with a new challenge that is perfectly well-suited to my needs at the moment. It is related to my future-famous homepage which is slowly but surely getting better and better. I hope. At least that is what I try to do without letting this obsession get out of hand. Contain that monster, that creation of the mind, catch it before it escapes! This so-called new goal in life of mine is this. Make my homepage "XHTML Compliant, in other words: W3C validated, 100% procent CSS/XHTML-Transitional compliant code." That would be quite impressive, don't you think? One hundred percent and no less. An impossible task? The benefits are many, and just to name a few:

  • A painless transition to more advanced technology.
  • Cleaner, more logical markup.
  • Increased interoperability.
  • Greater accessibility.
So what happened to me then? Well, I read this article called Better Living through XHTML by Jeffrey Zeldman (creator of this fine website), and his words of wisdom inspired me so much that I wanted to change my life. Right then and there. Now or never. I will start tomorrow, and I hope to be compliant within a month (or two). I will be sure to let you guys and gals know when this achievement is finally realized. That's it. The very ironic thing is that I will have to tell you because otherwise no one will notice it. None of the changes will be visible. Is it worth all the trouble then? I wonder how many readers out there have the slightest idea what I am talking about. Well, you (true web geeks) might want to check out the XHTML/CSS Style Guide (NYPL) for more fun stuff. Spice up your life some more, and more. Until it is too late.

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What is a person to say when they have nothing to say? One may insist that the sake of saying at least something is more than compensated by the lack of any need thereof. Or the other way around. So when worse comes to worse silence is better medicine for one's shortcomings than all of the other things put together. All of them plus one. Don't you think so?

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In case any of you folks out there might be interested, I spent many hours yesterday revamping my future-famous homepage (again). Mostly minute and trivial changes which had been bugging me now for many weeks, stuff that the average visitor probably doesn't notice. But I am a perfectionist so in then end, I felt that I had been pretty productive. Closer and closer to perfection. The following new web pages have been added:

  • Martine's place - some pictures and text about my youngest sister.
  • A+ hosting - general information about the kind folks who have been hosting my domain for the last year.
  • SWiSH - describes my use of the fine Flash-like utility for multi-media stuff.
  • i-mode - everything you want to know about the new-fangled wireless technology and more.
  • Javascript - fun and games using javascript to improve my homepage even more.

Just in case you may have been wondering if I ever do anything to my personal homepage called Cyber-Gish. Have a look.

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Today is a holiday called Hemelvaartsdag in Holland. In Dutch the word "hemel" means "heaven," "vaart" means "float," and "dag" means "day." So if you are a lousy translator like I am then you might call the holiday something like the "Float-to-heaven" day. In English, we all know it as Ascension Day. This is a religious holiday, and although I am not that religious really, I can still take advantage of the free day. Certainly I deserve it, and I do not feel that bad or guilty about being free, because my beliefs are not that far away from the core faith of Christianity anyway.

So what is this Float-to-heaven day anyway? This is how I remember it being taught to me. I was only about ten years old at the time, and the religious folks at the Episcopalian Church sunday school in good ol' Turlock, California explained it to me. Since that is a while ago, I may get it slightly wrong or be inaccurate. Here it is anyway as follows:

"After his terrible death on the cross, Jesus was placed in a cave by his disciples. They closed up the only entrance to this cave with a huge boulder so that no one could get in. No one dared open up this holy place for fear of being punished. After forty days, it seems that Jesus had completely disappeared into thin air. How anyone knew this as they were forbidden to enter the cave is beyond me. The fact of the matter is that Jesus has risen from his resting place and ascended high in the sky until he ended up on the right hand of God, the Father and the Holy Ghost. From this unique vantage point next to the Almighty Being, Jesus has shed his grace on all of humanity below. This has continued to this very day and prevented mankind from getting lost. Jesus is sending the powers of the Holy Ghost downwards like an invisible rainshower, spreading love and forgiveness for all alike."

May God be with all of you forever and ever until we are no more and come back together again.

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I was standing on the platform of the train station waiting for my mode of transportation to slide by, slow down to a stop, and pick me up. That is when I noticed the tree over there. See it, the one over there? Across the rails, across the parking lot and then across the road, there was this tall and majestic tree swaying ever so slightly in the wind. Between two tall apartment buildings gray and plain. This is an interesting contrast, I thought. Nature stuck between two huge slabs of concrete. Birds and insects and other animals connected to the tall swaying tree, in a good mood, and similar activity occuring within the bowels of the two concrete constructions where people moved and roamed and did their daily chores, bored stiff. Survival on two levels, not with one above the other, but next to each other. The tree could have come first and then the two buildings, or the town council had decided to raise the appartments and afterwards decorate the space inbetween with the tree. Something was missing and had to be added. Whichever way it had really gone is not important. What is important is the combination and the intertwining of the two elements (three elements if you count the buildings as two). There is lots and lots of concrete, but the glue holding it all together is the green of nature, the trees. Like the one I saw before me while waiting for the train. When with a creak-crack-clack the train screeched to a halt, my view was obscurred by the yellow front. I completely forgot what I was thinking about, and like an automated thing stepped in and sat down. Hard plastic and mobs of commuters, some sweating. As I was swept away to the west of the land, I caught the tree again in the corner of my eye. For a quick instant I remembered what I had been thinking about, before I forgot again.

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An interesting activity is to analyze the searches that have been made on one's homepage in the last couple months. I have been an avid user of atomz which provides one with monthly reports. Here is an overview:
a summary of eva luna
angela
angela's ashes
besancon
besançon
bhagavan
child
crome yellow
eva luna
gish
immobilier
ivy
lennart web page
maarten buried in sand
map
marlies
mayday
neuromancer
norbert wiener
orris
pedo
pictures of catherine de medici
pictures of people buried in the sand
riding
snow falling on cedars
timeline
your business address
So tell me, can one find any secret messages in this mysterious list which has been generated by droplets of humanity all over the place?
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Boy did I sleep really lousy last night. Compounded with the continuous attacks by the blood-thirsty mosquitos was the fact that I kept having realistic vivid dream sequences about wires and more wires. You see, I had spent a large amount of time yesterday afternoon trying to redo all the wires behind the computers, no less than a veritable spaghetti of network, power lines and other dangling cables all over the place. First I tried to rewind the mess and extract the knots in order to have a better overview of where what went. Then I could tie together the wires that belonged together and tuck the combined fibers underneath the back of the table top where I had affixed a metal tray to hide the wires better. A big improvement over the mass of wires tangled in messy patterns on the carpet floor. Wires and wires and more wires. Tucked away at last. The whole process of wires and more wires kept on repeating itself in my dreams, and it became a hot and humid jungle of strands as the insects with long pointed beaks kept dive-bombing me. Jabbing sensations bringing me out of the much-desired dream state. This morning when the alarm went off at seven I saw a big fat mosquito above the doorway. With so much pleasure (combined with an irate and evil sense of murderous revenge which surprised even me, normally such a really nice guy) I smashed it flat, the drop of blood being squeezed out and splattered on the wall. Disgusting these creatures, but the wires kept on winding around inside my head. Like when you get off a roller-coaster and can still feel the centrifugal forces shifting you back and forth, like body-surfing the whole day on the ocean and still mentally bobbing up-and-down in the waves, like the train coming to a halt after a long ride but the mind's eye still making it look like the platform is moving. Dizzy spells and even more. Get rid of all those wires and mosquitos and get on with life for now.

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Today is Sunday and that means it is "official" trash day. Every week on this day of destiny, I take it upon myself to empty all the trashcans in the house. There are in total seven trashcans of various sizes, shapes and colors. I have to admit that while this is not my favorite activity in the week, it does give me extreme pleasure ridding the household of so much unwanted extra errata. Almost as if I am cleansing my soul, atoning all my sins of the previous week, releasing all sorts of poisons from my system, a spiritual and mental catharsis of unknown dimensions never experienced before. At least not for seven days that is. I start at the top floor and work my way downward. If Lennart's trashcan is not too full, I can use it to collect the others. I progress to the other kids' rooms, the bathroom and then to the kitchen. Finally every single trashcan has been emptied of undesirable wads of paper, candy wrappers, and other junk. What a relief, pure relief. The only problem though is that I expect it to stay this way the rest of trash day. Rule #1: "once emptied, all trashcans must and will remain pristine and unblemished for the remainder of the trash day." If someone dares breach this rule of the house, then there I am tramping up or down the stairs again in order to remove that extra paper wad, lollipop stick, gum wrapper, carpet fluff, release the house just in case. You never know, just in case. It all does make me feel pretty good, but is this perhaps a little too exaggerated? Oops, there we go again. Someone has defamed a pristine trashcan upstairs, and I have to react act in time before it is too late. There are trashcans here, trashcans there, trashcans everywhere. If you do not watch out they will overflow everywhere, and you will become submerged just gasping for air above the flotsam of the stormy seas. The cleaner my soul the better.

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Hurrah, Thea had her second interview yesterday, and you will never guess what happened. She finally got accepted!

Starting this October she will be starting her new direction in life as trainee for the Dialysis and Clinical Nephrology department at the Groene Hart Ziekenhuis.

We are all very happy for her. It was not an easy process for Thea. At first she was rejected after the first interview because they thought she could not handle combining the demanding efforts of raising four kids and of a demanding work tempo at the same time. That sure is unethical, and they cannot reject a woman because of her family life! Thea did not give up, demanded that she be given another chance, and she was invited for a follow-up interview. That was yesterday at three in the afternoon. This time she was better prepared (in part thanks to me, though I tried to refresh her with a more business-related tactics) and she was able to impress them with her unending enthusiasm.

There will be an intensive training program in Rotterdam where she will have to learn all the technical aspects of running the various machines, hooking up the tubes and that kind of thing. She will be working a full four days a week and I will be expected to take more care of the kids, bringing them to school and going later to work. But that is fine. Don't we live in the modern times? Women are also entitled to developing themselves and moving up on the career ladder, so I support her whole-heartedly.

(My father would have referred to me as a "hen-pecked" husband, letting my wife get away with all this nonsense.)

But we find ourselves in the new millennium and times are changing (for the better). Women have been repressed (by men) for too long and the husbands have been put here on the earth to help them out. So what if I might be a sad case. At least I will be getting closer to true balance.

In celebration when all went out to a local Chinese restaurant called The Rose Garden and ate and laughed and had a great time. The kids behaved themselves very well, and even Maarten finished his plate of noodles.

Isn't one of the better parts of life achieving balance in as many dimensions as possible? Yes, I firmly believe that it certainly is the way to go. Way to go!

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Everyone whether they want to admit it or not is in search of some form of infinite knowledge.

Each and every moment of our daily activities is related in one way or the other to acquiring more and more information so that we can approach the constantly shifting border that defines the point of total knowledge. But where is this border exactly? And are we efficient in our pursuit or is there alot of time wasted because we are not focusing right on the true path to take. I think that alot of energy is spent on so-called transient knowledge which in the end is not relevant.

Ten years ago I was learning as much as I could about computers for example, and even back then I could never learn enough. And where has that wisdom gone today? It has completely disappeared and fallen victim to the blur of trivial and unimportant information. As it turns out these have become totally useless today: dust in the wind. During my pre-med days at Stanford is pursuit of becoming a future-famous brain surgeon, to majoring in Physics and learning the intricacies of Gravitation and Cosmology, to variegated computer programming languages, all gone and what for? There must be some kind of knowledge that is stable, constant and pursuable you would think.

If we are to use our limited time on the face of this Earth efficiently then we should focus our efforts not on the transient but rather on the everlasting. Forget about Javascript and Perl and etc, the latest state-of-the-art technologies, the treadmill of company survival, computer this and computer that. For in ten to twenty to one hundred years from now it will all be forgotten? What are these so-called lasting and permanent tidbits of knowledge we should be pursuing then? Good question. Learning about raising your children, developing relationships, faith in God, looking within. Sounds boring but it is true.

In the circle of awareness there are four forms of energy that are channeled towards an effective lifestyle that results in true meaning. These are:

  1. wisdom
  2. guidance
  3. power
  4. security
These four independent life-support factors under grid every other dimension of life. Could this be the blueprint of the way to infinite knowledge? I think not, but a first step is better than none at all.

Please note that some parts of this entry have been borrowed and rephrased from the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey.

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This is the monthly train ticket needed to get me to and from my new work. Check out the hooligan who is covering for me with his picture:

Hooligan?


Commuting by train back and forth and back and forth again. Sometimes we are pressed together like sardines and I have to stand up the whole way. The person behind me is breathing hot air down my neck. Other times I can sit down on the hard plastic seat. I pull out my PDA or a book or a newspaper and peruse across the lines of text. Next stop Den Haag Centraal and time to get out. The doors slide open and the masses of cytoplasm burst outwards like being vomited from the train, each droplet a separate human being who scurries off to the next touch point. Criss-cross until you get there. Later in the day we will all come back in reverse motion. Separate droplets coming back together into a single mass going back home again.

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Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2291 entries and as many as 1876 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.