Month: June 2002

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I looked up from the book I was reading and the person sitting diagonally across from me was staring right back at me. My instinct was to look away quickly in slight embarrassment, which I did. But as I could still sense this person's eye still peering at me, I slowly regained my composure and looked back. Still staring at me. What was he looking at that caused him to stare unwaveringly at me or in my general direction? It could have been some object in the distant landscape as the train skirted along, or he was enamored with my bald spot, or perhaps the title of the book I was reading, or something else at which he had to look for a long time in order to understand. I looked down and continued reading my book. And then I looked up again, and though the head was now slightly bent to the left and his left hand was raised to support his forehead, the staring eye was still watching me. Or was it? Then I realized the truth of the matter, and it was this. The person sitting diagonally across from me had nodded off like many an average fellow passenger does after a long and weary day. The only difference was that while this person's left eye lid was closed, the right eye lid had failed to slide down like it was supposed to. The glass eye remained exposed and for a one eyed person this was no big deal. He could not see out of it anyway. But was it really a glass eye, or was he fooling me for fun? I bent over and looked more closely. I waved my hand up and down, and then wagged my fingers violently in front of his eye. With a swift movement I then made a jabbing motion with my forefinger so that the tip ended up no more than half a millimeter from the surface of the (artificial glass?) sphere. Not the slightest motion. I noticed some other fellow passengers watching my antics and reacting a bit surprised, but I just smiled and raised my shoulders as if I knew what I were doing. So this is reality then. A glass eye giving the appearance of sight and observation and thinking when that was not the case at all. What would my life be like with only one fully-functional eyeball? In a way I felt thankful, and then I understood the meaning of all this, the meaning of life. We are all looking through glass eyes and we portray to others that we are really seeing them. But in reality we are not. Not really. When the train came to a halt at the next station, the guy woke up and got off the train, with his carry-bag dangling to the side, one eye looking this way and the other eye looking that way. I vowed to focus on the future with both my eyes no matter if I was really seeing or not seeing with glass eyes or real eyes.

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The box came in the mail just a couple of days. That was sure fast. I made the order through Crucial Technology on Sunday and within two days it had arrived.

Ran upstairs, cranked open the computer, carefully pushed in the new DIMM, closed the computer and replaced all the cables, plugged it in and turned my beautiful Dell on. Now it literally screams, screams and is super fast. When I click on [Control Panel>>System>>General] I see 1.00 GB of RAM. This should last me a couple years I hope.

This is the explanation as given by the kind folks at Crucial:

"A dual inline memory module (DIMM) consists of a number of memory components (usually black) that are attached to a printed circuit board (usually green). The gold or tin pins on the bottom of the DIMM provide a connection between the module and a socket on a larger printed circuit board. The pins on the front and back of a DIMM are not connected, providing two lines of communication paths between the module and the system."

"184-pin DIMMs are used to provide DDR SDRAM memory for desktop computers. Each 184-pin DIMM provides a 64-bit data path, so they are installed singly in 64-bit systems. 184-pin DIMMs are available in PC2100 DDR SDRAM or PC2700 DDR SDRAM. To use DDR memory, your system motherboard must have 184-pin DIMM slots and a DDR-enabled chipset. A DDR SDRAM DIMM will not fit into a standard SDRAM DIMM socket. (Information on which memory technology is used by your system is included in the Memory Selector.)"

"The number of black components on a 184-pin DIMM may vary, but they always have 92 pins on the front and 92 pins on the back for a total of 184. 184-pin DIMMs are approximately 5.375" long and 1.25" high, though the heights may vary. While 184-pin DIMMs and 168-pin DIMMs are approximately the same size, 184-pin DIMMs have only one notch within the row of pins."

In case any of the computer nerds were interested I just thought I would mention it here.

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As I felt in a really generous mood this evening, I just bumped up my donation to MovableType by eleven bucks to reach a grand total so far of $46. That means that I qualify for an additional registration key for a new blog if I wish. Not only will it appear on the donor's list, but every time I add a new entry it will also appear on the running list of recently updated blogs, wow. Hmmm, another blog. What should I do? I was thinking about doing something about my dreams ("Dream Theater"), but that sounds pretty boringly average. There is already enough boring philosophical garbage present in Gibberations, so I cannot do that either. Ideally I need to think of a new and challenging category. I will give it a think and tell you folks when I have decided what it will be. Does anyone out there have any suggestions?

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What really bugs me is when other people keep putting thoughts into my head. It is bad enough when they do it accidentally or because of an inadvertent twist of their own thoughts, but what I especially hate is when people do it purposely to get back at me. Can you believe it? I wonder what gets into the other person's mind that makes him or her want to do this. Not only is it a rude undertaking but it is also an invasion of privacy. Normally I can deal with accidental thoughts and nudge them away from the normal flow of consciousness. No problem. This is because there is no harm done and the people who send me these waves are most of the time not fully aware of what they are doing. Weak vibrations which dissolve into nothingness. However, thoughts purposely wedged tightly between my own are very difficult to extract, similar to attempting to yank out a wisdom tooth of the mind. You can pull and tug and yank all you want but the thoughts will simply not budge. When the thoughts of others start telling you what to do, then it becomes worrisome, like I am losing control or something. What kind of receiver is lodged in my head which causes me to receive these bothersome signals? Let's say I am sitting somewhere with a group of people. They say one thing but think another and then their thoughts mingle with mine. Is this an attempt at manipulation, coercion, selfishness or something just to be ignored? A thought not my own pops up and then I turn my head to look to the left side of me. I know exactly who sent that one. Or standing in front of a group of people, the same thing. On the one hand this is purely imagination and on the other hand not at all. Most people just let it happen, so I will have to do the same. Open up, allow the energies of others to flow in, inspect the new ideas and reinvigorate my own thought processes. This makes things happen, that's for sure.

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Found this really great site where you can get a good selection of MP3 music files: unlimited. Not the usual daily grind of top pop music, but really good and obscure stuff that you would never find elsewhere. No Britney Spears (ugh) here!

You've got Indie, Gothic, Ambient, New Wave, Hardcore, Garage, Ska, Inspirational, Classic, Spiritual, Experimental, ad infinitum...

The site is called EMusic and it is "a revolutionary new music discovery service that offers an easy and inexpensive way for avid music fans to download and enjoy over 200,000 high-quality MP3 songs from established musicians. For as little as $9.99 a month, you can download as much music as you desire from EMusic's catalog. All of the music is legitimately licensed from record labels and artists, so you can feel comfortable knowing that songwriters, musicians and other copyright-holders are being fairly compensated for their work."

Try it. I did and have already signed up for a year long subscription.

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I saw this dog in the window today, and for the life of me it looked so very real that I could not believe it. The dog stood perfectly motionless with its head raised slightly and very still as if it were contemplating some mysterious object up in the sky in a combination human dog-like kind of way. Upon closer inspection, I could see the detail of the fur and each individual hair, the veins on the inner-side of the floppy ear, the tongue hanging out with spittle and the tail wavering ever so slightly as if it were ready to wag at any moment. This dog sure looks real, I kept thinking and wondering. I had to shake my head and squeeze my eyes shut for a second, just to make sure that this were really happening to me. When I opened my eyes again, the dog's head had moved downwards, no longer gazing at that imaginary object but now gazing directly at me. As if it were saying "Okay Mr. whoever you are, how dare you come too close to my window. Watch out." I did not let that attitude disturb me, though I have to admit that I felt relieved that there was a thick soundproof pane of glass separating this beast from its potential prey which was me. The tail wagged but I still could not believe it, could not believe how very real this dog appeared. When the dog started barking at me, my reflexes caused me to start, not so much from the fear of being attacked and bitten as the shock my senses of reality took in attempting to believe that this was afterall not real at all. No, don't let this dog fool me now. As I stepped backwards, my left heel caught the edge of the sidewalk, and snagged off balance I nearly fell. This inadvertent lurch on my part enraged the canine beast even more. He started pawing the thick glass madly, and I could clearly hear the sound of his claws scraping the inside. Scratches appeared. Then web-like cracks, and then bigger cracks, criss-crossing all over the place, until a single triangular glass shard was dislodged and fell to the ground with a tingling sensation. Sounded just like an expensive crystal long-stemmed wine glass hitting the linoleum floor once, bouncing high with a somersault, and then smashing for good on the ground. I was not going to wait to see what would happen next. I made a one hundred eighty degree angle turn in one swift blurred motion, and I tried to walk away as nonchalantly as I could. As I continued on my way home, I was still struck by the realism I had just experienced, how perfectly real it had all seemed to me, at least to my senses. But I knew better. This had been no more real than a film on the television, a song on the radio, some kid smiling at me from over there, a leaf from a tree dangling and then falling, or whatever. The only things really real could not be seen on the outside, but rather they floated in circles and curlicues around the inside of my head. Could have fooled me. This made me feel relieved and gave me courage to continue the rest of the day until I could go to sleep again in preparation of the next unreal adventure in my life.

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There is a moment in time when the speed of the decelerating train coming to a halt matches perfectly the speed of my person walking on the platform towards the soon-to-open doors. My speed is constant while the deceleration of the train is constant in that it approaches zero. There is a fraction of a second, a sliver really according to a delta function in time, when the passenger to the left looking outside of the window could be sitting in a stationary train with me standing still, but this is not so. It is an illusion of movement. One object slowing down and the other looking for an entrance which will slide open with a pumping sound of air exuding.

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There will be no more music allowed for the common folk anymore. The Internet has been taken over by the blood-thirsty capitalists of America. Can you believe this? All of the sudden there was silence, and then I realized that it had really happened. This is depressing and a real shame. The truth of the matter is that because of the freedom to play your own music people were becoming more stimulated and allowed to enjoy an unheard of realm of all kinds of music. Because of this they were going out to the stores and actually purchasing MORE music. The truth of the matter is there are too many greedy folks out there wanting even more and more music. This is unfortunate and I am really pissed. Sorry about the language but I cannot help it. Money, money and more money. Aren't there enough poor folks out there who should be attended to rather than letting the rich get even richer?

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Once in awhile I get overly irritated by seemingly trivial matters. Take for instance this morning in the train on my way to work. I ended up sitting next to this fat guy. Not that I have anything against people who are overweight, but this guy was the sweating, burping, puffing type of obese person who is not exactly the ideal fellow passenger to be sitting next to on a busy hot Monday morning. Rather than just sitting up straight in his seat, he was turned sideways for some reason with his hefty backside rotated forty-five degrees from the more usual appropriate orientation of the body. Forget about sitting up straight, because he was slumped over and half lying. While he could easily have fit into the right half of the seat, he slouched so that his left buttock extended more than just a few inches onto my half of the cushioned property. Just enough that I was pressed slightly between the left side of the cabin and his sweating burping body. Why couldn't he just sit normally like the rest of us? You would think that he would be conscious of his massive size, and feeling slightly embarrassed or even concerned for the comfort of his fellow human beings, he would do his best to leave enough breathing space for the poor soul wedged to the left side of him. But he could care less and didn't even notice. Did he care? Sometimes he would even twist his trunk and belly back and forth banging into my right arm arm and elbow. Was this necessary? I should have said something, but what? "Excuse me sir, but your fat body is smothering me." Or better yet, something like "Could you please shift your left buttock over a foot?" Why was I so irritated? Perhaps I was a victim of the Monday morning blues which can get to even the most patient and content among us positive thinkers. Fortunately, the fat guy got out at the Zoetermeer train stop. He unwedged his person with a slight popping sound, a release of air suctioned outwards, nearly lost his balance in the suddenly unexpected release of fattiness, and left me forever. All of a sudden I had this oversized seat all to myself, and I did not know what to do with it. The reddish imprint he had left on my forearm was slowly disappearing. What a relief, I could breath again! I felt kind of guilty having been overly impatient and negative about this fat person. Should I feel sorry for him or just accept the way he is? We are all manifestations of the very same primordial form (some of us consisting of more weighty clay than others). My first morning of the week turned out to be alright anyway. No use getting overly irritated by some fat guy on the train.

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Now here's something that should really get you thinking about the whole mind-body discussion.

"The human genome (the sum total of the genes in our chromosomes) does not specify the entire structure of the brain. There are not enough genes available to determine the precise structure and place of everything in our organisms, least of all in the brain, where billions of neurons form their synaptic contacts." (ref. Descartes' Error by Antonio R. Damasio)

You see, while the genome provides a basic framework for the general idea of what each and every one of us has the potential to become, the determining factors called chromosomes are simply enablers, nothing more and nothing less. The actual glue of what holds us all together is something that formed after we were created, after our awakening called birth, and after our first conscious stimuli. There are innate forms and structures in our brains, but these are not the actual mental processes which define who we really are.

In case you were wondering what a genome is exactly then I will tell you now. The genome of an organism is its set of chromosomes, containing all of its genes and associated DNA. Check out the Human Genome Project for more scientific information.

But if we really are more than the sum total of all these zillions of genomes, then what is the purpose of gathering all of this information? Is it nothing more than collecting tidbits of information? Finding all the cracks on the walls and writing them down on paper? Perhaps such an endless list will provide guidelines and help us fight diseases and maybe even improve the physical aspects of the human species, but in the end how far will this go to improving our knowledge of the human brain and/or mind?

Time will tell, but my belief is that scientific knowledge in itself has inherent limitations and must be extended through the use of higher forms of awareness. Where and what those are and even whether they exist at all are questions that will have to be answered as we approach the limits of knowledge.

You could say that we are more than what we were meant to be, or more precisely we become through a process of striving to an end which in the end will bring us even further.

Confused? I am.

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"A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I figured out that it was Friday again when I saw him turning around the corner and approaching the building.

Sitting in my room behind the window on the third floor, I at first did not recognize who he was because of the pseudo-dream world in which I was living. No one visited me anymore, because I was old and could not speak for some time now.

When he knocked on the door I could not answer, but nonetheless I was very excited about this weekly visit. Such a fine young man around the same age I was when I first started thinking seriously about life and what it was all about.

That damn stroke had leveled me.

"Good morning." He said in his usual friendly voice. He thought I was deafer than I really was, but I did not mind him raising his voice. Made me feel like I was being extra cared for.

"And a fine morning to you too," I thought to myself, inwardly but out loud.

"We must go for a walk immediately, such a fine day for a stroll."

Being confined all week to this room was not what one would call a most pleasant way to bide one's time, even if my mind at least was as sharp as the mind of this fine young man. Body lagging behind.

That damn stroke had leveled me. Out of the blue.

He spun me around in the swivel chair in which I was sitting, grunting ever so slightly as he lifted me into the big bad metal awkward wheelchair which I hated but knew was a necessary evil. "Here we go..."

We always started out our strolls along the water, and in the beginning we just thought together in silence, as if there was some kind of mental awareness that needed to be lubricated and applied to the right places. Spiritual awakening and acclimation of awarenesses.

Whenever we reached the woods and I could hear the birds chirping in the distance, that is when the conversation picked up. At least on his side. He always asked me the same question at this point. Never expecting an answer.

"Let's see now," he wondered out loud. "We can turn left or we can turn right or we can just go straight ahead. Which will it be?" he asked me.

I thought to myself, "let it be to the left this time around."

"Okay," he echoed my thoughts out loud, "you get it your way again and it will be left this time around. Next time it is I who decides, okay?"

It truly amazed me how in sync our thoughts were, and I found it ironic that since I could not really speak to him and tell him about it that he would never ever know it. He was reading my thoughts none the less.

The sun was shining nicely and it produced the most amazing splicing of light beams through the branches of the trees above, like a Dutch landscape painting from the eighteen hundreds or so.

"Reminds me of..." the nice young man hesitated. I decided to help him out in my mind, as in my youth I had studied the Dutch masters and knew them by heart. "Frequented Forest Road," I thought out loud as best I could but without being able to move my lips.

"Yes of course, it reminds me of Jan Brueghel!" He seemed so pleased about his so-called original idea, though he would never know that it was not that original at all. Proud was this fine young man.

I was especially surprised that he had remembered the name in the original old Dutch, spelling it correctly with an "h" whereas it was more common in the educational institutions nowadays to use the incorrect "Bruegel" spelling without the letter.

He went on. "There is this painting I really like called the Forest Road or something like that. Wait, it's on the tip of my tongue." He licked his lips with the tip of his tongue with a smacking sound and a deep breath.

"Frequented Forest Road," that is what it was. Our minds mingled and intersected and we were looking at the same painting in the same segment of nature at the same moment of spliced timed. Almost.

I really liked that fine young man, even though to this day I never learned his name nor what his occupation was nor any of the more personal things like if he was married or had any children. I supposed he did, and the truth of the matter was that I knew more about him than he probably ever would know about himself. Even in a lifetime.

Too bad I never saw him again. No one ever told me why he disappeared from my life. No one in that big white building with echoes even cared if I cared. They thought I was just an old senile nuisance not caring about anything. Little did they know.

As the Fridays now pass by swiftly without the fine young man, I know that eventually my time will also come. Just like his. And when that time comes, I will welcome it with open arms, gesturing that way at least with my mind and thoughts and that kind of thing. Only then will I know for sure who that fine young man really was. Only then will I finally have the chance to speak with him myself in real-life words and sentences that make noises out loud, and I will ask him in my own courteous way. I will speak loudly as if he is deaf.

It will be a fine reunion, the three of us together at last.

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Lately I have on occasion been reminded by certain individuals (whose names I would prefer not to mention here) that I am too often lacking in certain regards when it comes to the art of communication with other human beings. This results in misunderstandings and agreements which are not quite completed. I come under fire and duck low. Saying this and meaning that where mental wavelengths do not match at the same level. This is disturbing for me to hear, especially since I am "totally" unaware of this aggravating shortcoming myself. Problems communicating? Strange, didn't notice anything. Almost like in the Hitchcock film "Suspicion" where Fontaine is the fearful wife who believes her husband Grant is trying to kill her. Is he really trying to kill her or is he just trying to make her think that in order to make her crazy? Rather than murder I am worried about communication breakdown and a possible conspiracy. Could I be getting even more paranoid that just keeping track of reality is becoming a chore in concentration? I think not. This chore of trying to keep up with the rampant changes and movements around me draining my concentration just enough that I miss out on the most subtle of implications? No one can communicate with one hundred percent effectiveness, but I had always considered myself at least above average. When it comes to the written word I am definitely alright, a-okay, though at times I tend to be too intellectual and/or esoteric. Difficult enough I must admit, for some verging on miscommunication indeed. But talking with fellow employees should be as straightforward as combing one's hair, offering a cup of coffee, throwing a quick smile or glancing in the distinctly right way. Or not? Why would communication be a problem for me and how does it effect those around me? If indeed this problem really exists. No it cannot be that bad now. Could be I am thinking that I am saying things or that I intend to express certain ideas and that they are emitted incorrectly from my visage. Words coming out okay, but the expressions on my face, the look of my eyes, an awkward motion of my hand or whatever, distracting the listener just enough so that he or she perceives chunks and disconnected impressions. Not quite exactly what I intended, not quite exactly and enough to shift out a chasm between us. Shouldn't be. Of course, I remain open for suggestions on how to improve this, but I need concrete examples in order to recognize this fault and be able to avoid nastiness in the future. Okay you guys with the comments, please provide evidence and guidance in a good enough form so that I can improve. If that is really there. See, I am unable to see this for myself clearly. I will be more attuned and ask around. Repeat myself clearly and repeat what I think others are saying to me. But that is exactly what I have been doing for quite some time now. Don't stop but keep on going. It is a communication breakdown which hasn't quite started to break down. Not yet, so there is time, time to spare. So there is still hope, I hope. This entry about communication has been communicated in good form at least. Or not? You the readers are the one and only ones who can help me decide.

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Too often it is the case that age old differences between members of the same family last much longer than is necessary. A pinpoint of a potentially painful moment in time which was meant to fizzle away the second it stopped happening. And then because of the misinterpretations and perceptions of those involved, the criss-crossing moment of time, and the after-time leading the parties away from that moment, it gets extended to live onwards for some reason. Why this must be so is beyond me. I feel that it is a tremendous waste of time. What may have happened in the distant past is over with and has very little relevance now. I am not proclaiming that one must forget everything completely. That is impossible. However, learning to accept things as they are, how they used to be and how they will never be again is the one and only way to move on with your life. Why get stuck? Otherwise we carry unnecessary weight around with us which leads to one obstacle followed by the next. More frustrations, bad feelings and emotions verging on hatred. What doesn't make sense is for some people an invisible meaning upon which they thrive and acquire incentive. A new meaning in life when there is no obvious meaning available? Perhaps. What I am saying is this. Live for the now and not for what had or may have had happened. Accept each other and direct a common vision to the future. Why wait until consolidation is forced upon us at the deathbed when it is too late? Last moments lying in a muddled awareness of regret, no that is not for me. We just do not have that much time left together to make the best of it is all.

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This is a special message for all you folks out there in need of guidance in one way or the other.






You are who you think you are...


Just in case you were wondering, this flashy message was created with the help of SWiSH.

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Today was the first official tropical summer day here. That means that the temperature shot up above thirty degrees centigrade and stayed there the whole darn day. For you folks unfamiliar with centigrade, that is about eighty-six degrees Fahrenheit. Not only was it very hot today, the humidity was fairly unbearable. Nonetheless, the human body does its best to retain homeostasis despite the increased temperature and humidity of the surroundings. An amazing living mechanism whose job is to survive changes by maintaining a relatively constant internal environment. The internal temperature must remain the same. The blood vessels near the surface of the skin dilate to release heat. Excess heat is released from the evaporation of saliva or perspiration. Just sitting behind my desk made me sweat profusely and I had beads of sweat appearing on my forehead and sliding down into my eyes. My glasses did not hold well and kept slipping down the bridge of my nose which was lubricated. The spot on the underside of my right forehand where it touched the surface of my desk was clammy and made moving the mouse difficult. So we can sit around and complain about all of this discomfort, but thanks to this natural mechanism we are still alive at the end of the day. Thanks alot sweat.

Check out the weather in Holland by clicking here.

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The human organism is a complex collection of interactions which is submerged in a universe of variegated implications. This can lead to that and that can lead to this, and all of this put together cannot be put together again. Bundles of fibers twisted tightly together. From the tip of the toes through the center of the body and all the way up to the base of the medulla. Onwards and upwards into the place where our awareness resides. Tells us where to go. Where not to go. Submerged entities further submerged in the ocean of the universe. Now I will tumble backwards and do somersaults as the waves come down and crash on me. My very own twisted fibers further twisted in the vortex of a powerful sea.

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"Even seemingly trivial things often have roots in deep emotional experiences. To deal only with the superficial trivia without seeing the deeper, more tender issues is to trample on the sacred ground of another's heart."

- Stephen R. Covey

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Today marks exactly twenty-two years ago to this very day that I first caught site of Thea and fell madly in love with her. Actually more than likely exactly to this very hour as like now it was around ten-thirty in the morning, if I remember correctly. Twenty-two years is approximately eight hundred and thirty days or seven times ten to the power of eight (followed by eight zeroes) seconds: 700000000. Hard to believe that that was nearly half a lifetime ago. But it is true and I have survived the first half of life well enough with a fine Dutch gal. Not exactly what I had expected my life to become. Thanks to her I have become what I am today. Back then on that fated morning I was leaving a corner store in Balestrand, Norway after having purchased daily food rations for the day. When I saw her walking down the road towards me, I put the grocery bag on the ledge and accidentally sat down right on top of it. The carton of yogurt broke open and splattered all over my pants. With a cute laugh Thea offered me a paper napkin to clean myself off. The rest is history, the main reason I am still living in Holland of all places. Life continues. Even to this very day I remain open to coincidence trying to seize the moment as best as possible. I am still madly in love with her, though compared to twenty-two years ago this love has taken on a slightly different, higher and more meaningful form.

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Well after having been working at the new premises now for nearly two months, I received my company badge in the mail today. I guess that makes me a full-fledged (external) worker now even if I am merely a so-called subcontractor. Does that make me any less valuable? I think not. I hope to be able to work on new and interesting projects for awhile as this is an exciting wireless technology of which I can be a part. But no one can tell the future, especially on the bumpy road of mobile telecom. Hang in there folks. Now that I have been "badged" okay it is time to go on and on.

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This evening after work there was no one home. They had all gone to watch Lennart play baseball. Checking through the zillions of emails I came across no less that two emails which were identical. This is what they had to say:

These are real proven techniques for enlarging your penis.
You won't believe the results!!
All Natural Penis Enlargement, Add 1-4 Inches to your penis now!
Size Does Matter, 100% Natural Penis Enlargement Program
Do you have a small penis? We can help!
Penis Enlargement IS Possible...Using simple exercises & Techniques!

Why do I keep receiving these kind of wonderful offers? Don't the senders of these kinds of junk email realize the breach of privacy they are causing? Something has to be done about this. Per day I receive around twenty spam emails and it is rising quickly. Please excuse the pun.

To make matters worse, there is a small note at the end of the aforementioned email which states "Note: this is not SPAM." Who are they kidding and how can they get away with this?!

It is bad enough that I am getting buried with these unsolicited emails, but when my kids receive such emails I can get really really mad. Especially when they come to me and ask what is a "porn star" or what does "Viagra" do.

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Remember when Maarten had a terrible fall the other day? We were very relieved that his injuries weren't that bad. Just cuts and bad bruises, at least we hoped. Well as it turns out, Maarten's thumb is broken afterall. Because it was on a Sunday, only a doctor's assistant had had a cursory look at the X-ray and hadn't found anything unusual. However, later this week a qualified radiologist inspected the pictures in more detail and quickly came to the definite conclusion: yes, Maarten had fractured his thumb! Albeit a small hairline break it was broken nonetheless. During the last couple nights poor Maarten was complaining alot about the awful pain, but we just gave him aspirin hoping he would shut up. Now he has a nice bright blue cast as proof, his prize, starting at the upper half of his forearm and eventually covering his thumb and hand where his fingers poke through. Now Maarten holds an all time Gish record having broken a limb twice in his life. At the early age of seven years old. Up to now the record holders were tied at one, the others being: Kathleen who at three had broken her collarbone when I rolled into her and caused her to crack her arm on the underside of the metal bed frame; and I who had broken his left tibia when Donald Conant (sic) had tackled me during a friendly football match at the Monterey Park Elementary School playground when I was twelve or so.

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At first I could not believe my own eyes. Right there in front of me just above the horizon I could see it forming slowly. What was first a solid blue backdrop began to crack as a thin and jagged line of clouds condensed and then formed a vertical line. Starting from the bottom it rose to the top of the sky. One long thin razor-sharp line extending at a forty-five degree arc along my line of sight. A moment's pause and then from left to right in the very same way, the line half as long and half as high above the center mark of the vertical arc. To my amazement it formed a cross, the two lines intersecting at a perfect ninety degree angle. Top to bottom and left to right, or was it the other way around? Actually it really didn't matter. Then just as quickly as the cross had appeared, it began to dissolve as the wind high up scattered the condensed white to one side, smearing the perfect cross downwards and to the right as if someone had smeared it across a blue canvas. With one careless movement of his hand. Who was doing that? It was not a vision nor was it a dream. It was really happening. It had really happened. And there it was: the proof was right in front of my eyes! At least until it dissolved, blew away and then completely disappeared from my life. Would anyone believe me? Probably not. I would never see such a sight again, at least not for many more years to come.

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Today is the usual laid back relaxing Sunday for me, and I have a number of chores which have to be attended to. To name just a few from my endless list:

  • Fix the broken fence again by adding green wire across the gap (done).
  • Repair Marlies' bike by tightening the right screws (done).
  • Replace Maarten's lock on his bike which shattered during his recent fall (doesn't fit).
  • Hang up the new pictures that we bought last week in Amsterdam (done).
  • Email reactions about my yearly review to my manager (done).
  • Hang up the rope on the swing-set (done).
  • Attach computers on shelves so they hang sturdier under table (next weekend).
  • Write this blog when I get the chance (done).
  • Shave carefully without producing a bloody mess (tomorrow morning).
  • Configure my new Windows XP computer so the other kids can log on also (postpone until next year).
  • Go for my second weekend jog (once on Saturday is enough).
  • Replace that torn mosquito net in our sleeping room (done).
  • Give my kids enough attention (never enough).
  • Finish another chapter of my Javascript book (read chapter 19).
  • Take a bike trip around the Reeuwijkse plassen with the family (done).
I hope that I can finish them all (chances are that I won't but that is no reason not to give it a try), but I will have to wait and see.

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Our house has been transformed. During the past four weekends the painters have been busy painting the house. It used to be a faded and peeling blue color, and now it has been reborn as a white palace bright and happy for the summer days. This is definitely a big improvement. From blue to white. During the last weekend there was a potential conflict brewing in the air because we claimed that the agreement had been three layers of paint. However, the painters shook their heads and refused to give in saying that no the original agreement was two layers. During the ensuing discussion they gave conflicting accounts and finally agreed that they had said two and a half layers. Two and a half? Now I am not a professional painter, but please tell me how one applies "half" a layer. That is new to me. I pointed out a few badly painted areas where the old blue color showed through. I remained calm and everything turned out fine in the end. They ended up staying alot longer than planned in order to finish the job, though in the end they still refused to give in. Two and a half layers. Alright it looks fine to me. They were paid in cash and left my life this time around. Sitting in the garden or returning home from a bike trip to town and there it is our nice white house. Majestic, clean, impressive and encapsulated in two and a half extra layers of comfortable white stillness.

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Today Maarten was not paying enough attention while speeding down the road on his bike. He crashed into the back end of a parked taxi cab and had a terrible fall. There he was standing at the front door explaining to me what had happened. In his own words:

"I was on my bike and I looked back just for a second and then I looked and there was this car and then I crashed into it. This is how I fell on my arm and bam went my thumb and then I went under the car and my bike skidded ontop of me and I couldn't get out. I was trapped under the car and there was this nice lady and she lifted up my bike and pulled me out from under the car and I had to cry but she was really nice to me and then..."

Indeed, when I looked at his excited talking expressions and gestures with his arms, I could see how badly injured he really was. It could have been much worse I knew. His left arm was scraped badly on its underside, he had gouged both of his knees, his left thumb was purple and swollen twice as big as normal and on the left side of his head just above his temple he had a beauty of a bump which was a black and blue dome poking out. It could have been worse, so I should be thankful, I was thinking.

So what do I say as a boring parent trying not to sound overly concerned? Just comfort him is all and let him explain it all to get the extra energy out. Just listen and nod my head and show concern. Give him a hug afterwards. I felt like asking him why he was so careless and why he wasn't looking like he should have been. But I didn't. Our conversation went instead something like this:

Me: "so then what did you learn from all of this?"

Maarten: "well I just looked back for a second was all."

Me: "yeah, but what did you learn?"

Maarten: "real quick is all and then real real quick back but the car was there."

Me: "you learned that it is not such a great idea riding your bike while looking behind you, right?"

Maarten: "just a tiny itsy-bitsy second was all not even half a second."

Me: "yes I understand, but that's all it takes now."

Maarten: "yes."

Me: "so will you be more careful next time?"

Maarten: "yes, next time I will try to look behind me much more quickly if I have to."

Me: "hmmmm..."

Maarten: "less than half a second less than half a half of an itsy bitsy second is all, okay?"

So I bent down and gave him a big hug, trying not to hurt his sensitive injuries by accidentally squeezing him in the wrong places.

He is such a wonderful and cute little boy that I would hate it so much if anything ever happened to him. But these kids have to grow up and become independent on their own with us parents trying not to get in the way too much.

Maarten: "can I have a Coke now?"

Me: "sure, if you let me have a sip."

Maarten: "kay!"

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During the average working day I sometimes find myself in situations where there seems to be some kind of mismatch in communication. This can range from the very trivial, leading nowhere which does not matter, all the way to the very critical, leading to a heated escalation of emotions. The core problem is not the disagreement but rather the misunderstanding about what one is actually discussing. Sometimes certain aspects of the problem are imagined, tones of voice implied and words and sentences incorrectly translated.

The first thing I try to do is understand what the other person does not understand and why there is this obstacle. The best way to approach this is to be open and honest. The deadliest killer of relationships is to assume that the other person understands you or keep on pretending that you understand what the other person is saying even though you sense that you have missed some vital point.

We are bizarre creatures who have the tendency to fight a win-or-lose battle when it is very likely and also to both sides' best advantage rather to seek out a win-win result. This win-win result is ironically enough easier to reach than having to fight it out. There are also much fewer cuts and bruises.

There was this guy named Carl Rogers who developed a theory called the "actualizing tendency." This theory focuses on a single guiding force where every life-form develops its potentials to the fullest extent possible. This same person also taught: "that which is most personal is most general."

What this means to me is that the more truly authentic you are and the more genuine and open in your expressions and gestures, the safer people feel and the more naturally they can express themselves near you. Especially those related to inner thoughts and personal experiences, even if it means exposing self-doubt. This so-called "actualizing tendency" extends outwards from your soul and even encompasses those near you, feeding the other person's spirit. Genuine creativity springs forth, stimulating efficient communication and eventually even producing new insights (ref. Stephen R. Covey, paraphrased by me).

So when conflict threatens to arise, this is more than likely due to poor communication which in turn has its roots in the inability to understand why and what the other person does not understand.

Sincerely try to understand the other side from your heart, balancing emotions with rational thought. This is a difficult yet noble path to follow. Put aside exaggerated emotions just enough so that they guide rather than drown you. Temper the overly rational ways of thinking with the stuff of emotions.

Open up and be genuine.

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This month I have a first class train ticket. At first I was a little hesitant about paying the extra sixty euros to be able to travel first class. Feeling a little guilty about forking out even more money for myself made the decision even more difficult. To be honest, I was sick and tired of having to stand all the time, thirty minutes each way, often in extremely crowded circumstances being pressed hard against other sweating and breathing bodies. Not that I have anything against my fellow human beings, but this was asking too much. Being pressed together like that is inhuman afterall. You would think that the train should offer an attractive service people would wish to buy. But that is not the case. Often enough I was in or near a smoking carriage which when combined with the swerving motion of the train made me feel pretty nauseas. However, now after having enjoyed the comforts of first class for three days now, I have to admit that it is a quantum leap in comfort. What an improvement indeed! So what, if you can afford it why not do it? Sitting is no longer a luxury as there is always at least one spot free. The people I end up sitting next to are far less grungy and more respectable in sight as well as in smell. I will try first class out for the month of June and come to a conclusion if it is really worth continuing. Being objective in making this difficult decision will be close to impossible as it is obviously biased by a month's experience of increased comfort and relaxation. The times just before work and just afterwords are important moments to contemplate and prepare. Time to catch the next train to Gouda.

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Here are some water lilies...My early morning bike trip to the train station takes only about ten minutes. Within that short interval of time I am able to attain consciousness at a relaxed pace. This in preparation for the unpredictable day ahead of me. If the weather is nice like it was this morning I am invigorated by the beauty of nature all around me. The water and the trees and the clear sky, reflected green in blue, blue in green and subtle combinations of the two. On the water there drift whole colonies of water lilies, an amazing sight when you are speeding along in one direction and the lilies are disappearing quickly behind you. Staying the same or maybe just changing a little bit in shape and color until the end of the day when I cycle back. Opposite direction but the same spot, the same view only slightly different. With so much water around and especially after a run of several rainy days, there is moisture in the air and a slight dampness on the asphalt evaporating at the last minute. Tiny little flying creatures and various types of insects clattering against my bared arms. Enclosing my face there is a gentle breeze, and all because of the motion I am making. The water lilies are floating and nothing more. I float with them in my mind. Nothing more.

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Here's something new to really boggle your mind. Why do people enjoy music? There is something about the melodic stream of musical notes, the background beat of instrumental support and the intertwining form of the human voice combined with the rest of the sound mass which inspires us all. How could this be? While each person has his own unique preferences, the love of music is a universal appreciation for everyone across all cultures. Is this a natural result of evolution, does it have to do with survival at its best, or is it simply a by product of the infinite energies within us? There probably is no answer for this and there probably will never be a satisfactory explanation for this quirk of human nature. Except for the music itself which inherently expresses the reason why we like the music in the first place. Kind of like a meta-awareness where music is about music if you know what I mean.

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Today was Thea's birthday, and as tradition has it we took the four kids to Amsterdam for a fun and relaxing Sunday family outing. We parked the car on the outskirts of town (to save on parking costs) and took the tram to the Centrum where we got out at Leidseplein. From there we walked and zig-zagged all over the place, eventually making our way to Kalverstraat, Spui, Singel to look at number 378 where Thea and I used to reside romantically (a monument originally built in 1630), and then we meandered all the way down to Damplein. The weather was just perfect and the sun was shining. There was this cute art market where we found a couple of nice, colorful paintings just perfect for our house. Finally we sat down and recovered at an old brown cafe called De Schutter (I used to always go there during my first year in Amsterdam and write in my journal pretending I was some kind of future famous philosopher writer). Back to the car via the tram, and lucky Maarten could stand in the front of the tram, right next to the driver who was pressing all these buttons and making announcements for each stop. We got off where we had originally got on (except it was on the other side of the tracks of course) and went back to the car, driving the last ten minutes to Thea's parents' house in Osdorp. There we had some coffee and tasty chocolates and spent an hour in idle chat. At last we drove back and made it back home in time to put Sabien and Maarten in bath and then off to bed. All in all a full day.

While Thea was shaving my head this evening, I realized something very interesting and asked her, "Do you realize that now you have known me for more than half your life?"

Thea hesitated for a second and responded with a (somewhat) surprised tone in her voice, "Yes you are right. That is hard to believe."

"For me," I said "it was all worth it." I was thinking that on my next birthday I will also have also known Thea for more than half my life. That is hard to believe but true.

To think that almost half a lifetime ago I had met Thea in Norway purely by accident during my random travels. Fate and/or chance and/or meaningless criss-cross and/or symbolic gesture from above and/or the way it was always meant to be and/or just nothing to ponder. Take your pick if you dare.

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I found this great site called Cross-Browser.com which provides a nifty library for DHTML effects beyond your wildest dreams. It is called CBE v4.10 and the best part is that it is absolutely free.

CBE is a cross-browser DHTML Javascript library or API. You download CBE to your own computer and use it to develop dynamic web applications (DHTML). You then upload your application and the CBE files to your own site.

CBE is a partial implementation of some of the W3C DOM2 Core and Event interfaces. That is, programming with CBE is similar to programming in a DOM2-compliant environment.

So go have a look. I did and now my next goal in life will be to polish up my homepage and blog with some fancy stuff I hope.

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An invaluable talent which few individuals own is the ability to listen. By listening I mean not just the laid back passive kind of listening but the skill to listen attentively and actively, thereby really understanding what the other person is trying to get at. In my daily routine, especially while involved with the very hectic surroundings of my work, it seems that people rarely really listen to each other. They only hear what they want to hear, mostly to gain their own advantage in a win-or-lose attitude. This is a real shame. We can all learn alot from each other if only we could listen to each other better. This is just an observation of mine based on my experiences during the last month. Rather than talking alot and discussing around the bushes wouldn't it be more productive listening to each other and together pursuing a win-win goal in mind? Together and not apart and many as one.

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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.