Month: October 2002

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Every morning after the kids are gone to school and I have cleaned up the mess they have left behind, remade the beds, aired out the rooms, ad infinitum, the first thing that I do at around eight-thirty is read all of my email. Here is an example of one of my favorites:

Geachte heer Gish,

U hebt aangegeven dat u regelmatig op de hoogte wilt worden gehouden van het vacature-aanbod. Hierbij zenden wij u de zoekresultaten van onze e-mail service over de afgelopen 1 dagen. Het aantal resultaten is ingesteld op maximaal 15. Zowel frequentie als aantal zijn instelbaar.

Aantal gevonden vacatures: 0.

In case there might happen to be any readers out there who are unfamiliar with the Dutch language, basically this is a daily email notification which says that there are zero openings available at this time. So much for my job search.

For the last two weeks, this magical number called nihil has not changed. Hey nihil, how are you doing today? I guess you could be positive about it and say that at least it is not getting any less, what a nice round number. Oh well, I will keep my fingers crossed. For the time being, I will just finish off going through my piles of emails (I am so very popular).

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So who am I trying to kid these days? Last weekend I was feeling a little sorry for myself, and I decided to go out and splurge the few euros I have left over. I purchased the newest computer game called Medieval Total War, probably about the most complicated simulation strategy game I have ever seen in my life. This is an innovative new war simulation where you can reenact amazingly huge medieval battles in full three dimensions. Here's a full description which I am taking the liberty to quote:

"Massive in scope, but intuitive in implementation, Medieval: Total War allows players to take control of one of twelve world powers as they attempt to rewrite history through a mixture of trade, diplomacy, resource management and wars of conquest. Featuring an incredibly powerful 3D engine, the game supports real-time 3D battles of more than 10,000 troops and more than 100 unique unit types, including knights, infantry and siege engines, in terrain as varied as deserts, forest, plains and mountains. Players will utilize authentic battle strategies and tactics as they unleash their forces against medieval castles and mighty fortresses with an arsenal of battle-field weapons including long-bows, muskets, cannons and catapults which can pound castle walls and buildings to rubble."
Am I really expected to be able to figure this thing out? Or am I just getting too old for this kind of stuff? Like I have unlimited time, energy and patience to figure out how NOT to have my faction killed off within the first generation (even in "easy" mode). So far all of my battles have resulted in the generals galloping away and most of my peasants getting slaughtered. Very very frustrating at times, if you know what I mean. A number of gaming sites like Avault and Gamers Europe gave great reviews so I could not resist. Something to keep me occupied and still productive for the coming days and weeks. Cannot be expected to be a house father, do fitness, send out job applications, and learn Java with JBuilder all of the time.

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A wonderful sculpture or just a mess?After the now famous and deadly storm had briskly left our area as quickly as it had invaded it, the time had come to venture outdoors and assess the damage. Since our house is located on the street corner, the shape of the driveway combined with the hedgerow on the right creates a kind of one-way funnel which collects and keeps any loose items which tend to fly around and near it. Now after the storm which had blown everything every which way, our driveway was filled with these mountains of leaves and sticks and twigs and mulch, millions if not tens of millions of leaves had collected into mounds, some of which were easily two feet in height. This was indeed a miracle of Nature, random sculptures molded by the shaping winds. Much like an expansive desert where the winds rush along the surface to produce the moving dunes and other shapes. Except that this was at my doorstep blocking the entrance and oozing its way indoors between my feet. And all of this for our amusement and awe. Well, these mounds were all fine and dandy to look at, and in a certain way I was also in awe. Unbelievable awe to say the least. What intricate mathematical laws of fluid dynamics had combined to create these natural wonders? Surely, my old friend Johann Bernoulli would have known how to figure it out if he were alive today. Just like that. Inside the house on the kitchen table Thea had left me a short note. On it she had hastily penned a friendly request to sweep up all the leaves and get rid of the mess. Let me repeat: mess. Was it a mess or was it a beautiful sculpture not to be touched, to be glorified, to be contemplated for its extreme magnificence? If Nature were truly random, then the millions of leaves would have formed a mess of constant height evenly distributed over the surface of the driveway. So this could be seen as a kind of proof that Nature was not random in its ways. If I were still familiar with his formulae of fluid mechanics, I would be able to create a neural simulation in my mind.

Bernoulli equation...

Nature is strong, but my wife is even stronger when it comes to convincing arguments. No I am not a hen-pecked husband. Just trying to come up with a lousy excuse is all, that was what I was doing, of course. I put on my winter coat, pulled out the containers, the broom and the dustpan, leaving my slippers on, sweeping from the one end of the driveway to the other and up to the garage door and back to the middle of the driveway again. The separate mounds had become two bigger mounds, and then there was one gigantic volcanic mound which had arisen in the middle of the driveway. Ready to burst forth with fumes and lava. Individual leaves would occasionally rise up, revolt and escape, but the extra work and attention required to keep them in place was not worth it. So I just let them go, go back to Nature where they rightfully belonged. At one point I was tempted to take a running leap into the volcanic pile like a little boy, but as a respectable neighbor adult I resisted. Did not want the volcano to explode prematurely now did I? Fortunately, leaves are highly compressible and I was able to smash down this mound into a little less than two containers. Rounded mounds of mulch reformed into rectangular volumes with a lid on top. The lids closed, the wheels creaked, and then the two containers were brought back to the side of the house. The sculptures had been destroyed and removed. Sorry about that, but my wife made me do it. But I knew that Nature would figure a way to get back at me before the end of the week. Leaves all over the place and more.

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I think that now after more than two months I am beginning to resign myself to the fact that this unemployment thing will be much more difficult to kick than I had originally expected. So what is an honorable man to do these days? Well, I will continue my active search for new and interesting jobs, but without getting overly excited and crossing my fingers all the time in the hopes that something will materialize by the next week. That only leads to frustrations and letdowns, which after awhile makes even the strongest at heart begin to question themselves and their supposed professional qualifications. In order to continue receiving my unemployment benefits (measly pittance that it is), I have to apply to a new job at least once a week. This should not be that hard, as up to now I have done much much more than that. I need to accept things as they are, relax and hope that my money does not run out too quickly. I have called up the unemployment services on a number of occasions, asking and pleading for the financial support I rightly deserve and have yet to receive. They keep apologizing and claiming that there are too many poor-soul unemployed folks like myself at the time and not enough workers there to dig through the reams of paperwork piling up. I will just have to wait and get poorer at the same time. So let's see, what next, prepare for the doghouse.

(Just to show you that there is still hope when you least expect it, about ten minutes after I finished this entry I received an email inviting me for yet another interview. Strange twists in the world in which we live.)

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What a storm, what an amazing storm, what a beautiful storm it has become. Wind force 11 and gusts blowing at 130 kilometers an hour. Jeez, I am in awe but kind of afraid at the same time. All this uncontrolled force from the mighty gods up there getting back at us. Sorry about that. The house is creaking on every side, leaves and twigs and other cardboard-like items are flying around in pure panic beating against the outer walls and windows almost breaking them. Outside the trees are bending about as far as they can without snapping, and the sky is getting pretty dark, thicker than thick until pitch black.

The experts claim that it is the heaviest storm in twelve years. Already two unfortunate souls have had their lives swept away in an instant. Because some falling debris happened to intersect their paths at the wrong place at the wrong time. Watch out (oops too late). The flames in the fireplace sputter, snap and crackle as if worried they might be extinguished by that the storm who is trying to enter through the chimney. The television goes on, spitting streaks and lines across the screen, and often going out altogether to reveal a darkish blue nothingness, fading pinpoint of light in the middle, smaller and smaller and then all gone. There, did you hear that? I wonder what that loud noise was, perhaps something falling. Another poor soul dying?

"...op dit moment is er zelfs overal boven land sprake van storm (windkracht 9) en dat is uitzonderlijk. Op zee is nu sprake van windkracht 11. Aan de kust zijn windstoten gemeten van 130 kilometer per uur. Boven land zijn die windstoten iets minder maar ook daar kunnen die snelheden bereiken van 120 kilometer per uur. De wind wakkert nog steeds aan. Pas als de luchtdruk boven land daalt, en dat is nog niet het geval, komt de storm op z'n hoogtepunt, aldus een woordvoerder van Meteo Consult."

I think I will stay indoors today and let my house bear the brunt of mother nature trying to punish us for all the sins mankind has committed in the past. It is just as much my fault as anyone elses.

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In the article MS in blog parody takedown, bloggers worldwide shiver in their boots as once again they are confronted with the hard reality. Watch out or else. This is a blatant example of why we bloggers always have to remain alert to the inherent dangers of writing stuff that could possibly be used against us for reasons unknown. It happened to me once before, and it will more than likely happen to me again. Seems that no matter how innocuous the content may appear, no matter how naive our intentions, there are always folks out in the big bad world who perceive things differently and crave to get you in trouble. Is this a breach on the fundamental right to express oneself?

Related articles: The Ellen Feiss of blogdom? and Back in the Bloghouse.

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So I received an honorable mention in this week's issue of Lockergnome Webmaster Weekly. Felt really good that I could contribute some small tidbit of wisdom (and maybe even show off a little) concerning the wonderful world of web design. So what is it exactly that I said? For those of you interested, this is it:

"More accurately, the correct attribute to use is the TITLE-attribute. Internet explorer actually implements ALT like TITLE, whereas all the other browsers use TITLE as it is properly specified and might ignore ALT altogether. For the sake of browser compatibility I think it is a better idea to use TITLE instead of ALT."

Impressed or what? To think that I am referred to as a "qualified professional" from one of the finest around. Thanks alot Mike for the mention and the link to my homepage. Curious if I will suddenly get more hits.

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For fun and boredom I was surfing around the Internet as usual when I came across a site where I was able to create the following truly amazing piece of modern Internet art:

10111110011011101011010001101100001100110100001110 01100111000011111111100011001010001001101111111110 10110101001011000101111101100001010011001101010110 11110110100111011010000001111110001001010110010000 01111011010011000001111101010011010110001111110111 00010111000011000100111101100110010101011110111001 11010011111000101111101100111011000011011101111101 01101111010011001010010111111011100010110011101110 01001110111111111101101101001100100010100001011110 11100100010110111100011010001011001101100000011100 01101101011010010110000010111010000011000011001011 10100100000111000010000101011111010111010110001010 01001101100100101001000110100010001110110000001101 00100101101101001101111010011100111010111000000011 11000100101110101100110001110001110111010001001110 00000001111111011110110110101011110101000010100010 10001001101110101101010110111000000000010110010100 01101000010001001111001000101100110100111001111101 00101010010110111011001111000010010010101100010111 10001001011011000110000110110001110101100011101101 01000011110110100111110011001101010010001101001011 11011011011001110100101110101010010101110100101000 00100011001001111111111110100010011000100100010111 00110100100010000101010110101000000011000101001001 01010010010101100011110011100011011011000110101100 01011010111001011000000111011110010110101111110010 01111111001001011110011011101010001101011101100010 10110001100101100001100010111001000000010001110101 11100011101001000101101101011010110110111011011010 10101011011110010000101110110010110000101010111001 11010110010101010100010000010110010100100001011101 01100010000001110011110000111100111010000110110111 11101010010111100100010100101111000101000110111011 01010001000011100111101111101000010010110000110001 10111011010000001110101001010101100000011100000110 10000100101001110110110101101110111100010110000111 11101010011101001110001101111110101100000000111010 00110000010110010001011110000011000110100110001111 01110100001101010001000010011111110000000000001110 11101000111001111111000110100000000000011011010111

Courtesy of TEXT-IMAGE.com where for free you can easily generate cool text-images from almost any picture you have on your computer. You can also select the portrait to get an even more interesting affect.

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Today was my cleaning day again. However, one wonders whether or not there is a more efficient way to keep one's house spic and span. For example, in order to be able to vacuum the kids rooms, all the junk has to be removed from the floor and preferably returned to their rightful spots. That is exactly what I did. The most work was taken up in Maarten's room, because there were still a number of half-opened boxed and packages from his birthday party yesterday. Alright easy enough. At last I could run the vacuum cleaner along his floor, make his bed and arrange his furniture back to where it belongs. All in a days work you might say. Well, two hours later I returned to his room to see how it was going with his playmate and him. My chin dropped and I almost fainted. The room had gone back in time, the exact time being this morning just before I first entered his room to clean it up. In other words a "complete mess" to say the least. Shock and dismay and I wondering all the time if I was really cut out for this cleaning day stuff. The more efficient way would have been to wait until the very end of the day before cleaning the room. Perhaps the chaos might have been slightly greater, but at least one round of cleaning activities would have been sufficient. But one thing I have learned is that no matter what point in time you choose there will always be ten more points in time just a little later when actions are negated and it is time to start all over again. Do not clean thinking that it is final, not even for an hour, perhaps for a minute but not much longer. Words of wisdom from a pseudo trainee house-cleaner kind of guy. Tomorrow will be yet another day and another turn of the dial which cycles around and around.

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So I had yet another interesting interview this morning. Much like the others, but this time around I felt more positive about the results, a gut-feeling that things are indeed picking up speed for me. As it turns out, the potential job position is an international one at a relatively young company which is looking for more senior folks to strengthen its leadership. A half-American and half-Dutch person is required, one who is tempered between the two cultures. Like me one might say. The problem with these short one hour discussions is that your perception is superficial and it is difficult to get a true grasp on the type of work and what is expected from you. All I know is that I remain open and flexible for interesting opportunities as long as they overlap to some degree with my knowledge, background and career preferences. No use jumping on the bandwagon unless you are absolutely certain of the consequences, salary and benefits being just one of many aspects.

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Maarten's eighth birthday morning excitement threatened to become a complete disaster when everyone started arguing and yelling with each other about the most unimportant trivial matters. The parents stood by helplessly trying to remain calm and fearing the worst. Finally, the happy birthday boy could not take it any longer and became unhappy. All within five seconds or less. Maarten had risen out of bed extra early that morning, because he could not wait, getting his hopes up so high, and then all of this nasty yelling and cussing. Tears came to his eyes, and finally poor Maarten ran upstairs crying. What a shame. After consoling him for fifteen minutes or so, the temptation of the colorfully wrapped presents and chocolate birthday cake was too much for him to resist, so he came back down for a second try. This time it was good, really good, and we all forgot about the near disaster which is a regular occurrence for a family of four wild-and-crazy kids.

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The way I remember it, the shining sun was beating down on the bleached sidewalk just outside the hospital, and the sun-rays were reflected back up from this glistening surface in such a way that the pinpoint rays caused sharp jabbing pains in my eyes. Sure it was a hot and beautiful day which imbued a sense of inspiration despite the extreme sadness I felt as I walked hand-in-hand with my sisters to the car. We would escape the sadness of reality by driving to the beach for a long and pensive stroll.

It is hard to believe that my father died two years ago. I think that by now I have "almost" recovered. I do not think that any son fully recovers one hundred percent from the death of his father, but that is part of the ways of nature. Carry on the torch so to say. In tribute, I include the following quotation which I think my father also liked.

"To die is to have a mind that is completely empty of itself, empty of its daily longings, pleasures and agonies. Death is renewal, a mutation, in which thought does not function at all because thought is old. When there is death there is something totally new. Freedom from the known is death, and then you are living."
- Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known (Chapter IX: Time-Sorrow-Death).
My father was also at one time or other interested in this kind of stuff, because he had a modest collection of books by this fine philosopher of life. Whether or not he really read the collection seriously or really believed in it I am not sure, but still I find this quote more than appropriate to the situation and the way I feel about it.

If you are interested in reading the complete chapter and learn more about this stuff, then I invite you to visit my Krishnamurti page.

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The job fair was not very successful. In fact it was "almost" a waste of my time. Most of the available positions were for dynamic and hard-working young bucks, not old-farts like myself. What a bomb. Had some interesting talks though with a number of individuals, but when I mentioned that I was keen on more senior roles, I was greeted by droves of heads shaking back and forth. No sorry no sorry see you later. I found this very strange. You see, each of the booths had a number of colored stickers on the side telling the passersby what kind of positions were available. Red meant marketing, blue meant finance and green mean IT (information technology). So this is typically how it went most of the time:

"Hi there, I see that you are looking for qualified IT professionals," pointing to the green sticker over there. No we do not have any positions for you available at this time. "So why the green sticker over there then?" Oh that sticker, well that was the situation four weeks ago. Things have changed. "Oh I see, so it is not going that well with your company anymore." Not well? You must be kidding. It has never been better! "Well, do you mind if I leave my resume behind just in case?" No not at all, that would be very nice, thank you. "Yeah, thanks alot."

Why do people have to lie in order to keep giving the false impression that everything is going along so well? Seems that in times of economic stagnation, companies are not willing to hire more experienced professionals like me because of higher salaries. The truth is that hiring a bunch of young bucks, while at lower salaries, will in the long run cost them much much more. Inexperience combined with required training combined with lack of leadership can cost a company an arm and a leg and another arm. Alright, so it is time to go and continue elsewhere. Time to start looking around for something else to do in the meantime. Fixing the washing machine, replacing lamps and ironing my shirts, bringing back the latest video before closing time, and other similar activities.

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For some strange reason, the whirls and whorls below his bare feet were driving him completely crazy. Not as if he were forced to look at them and agree, because if he really wanted to, he could easily look the other way. No problem really or at least one might assume and hope. However, when he attempted to raise his head, turn his eyes and focus on some other inanimate object over in the far corner, some invisible attractive force pulled his view back down and "made" him look at the many whirls and whorls. Again and again, and they were moving he was sure. Mesmerized he saw movement whereas he knew that there was no movement at all. No way that that was possible but it was. And yet the intertwining shapes and patterns and convoluted curves were exactly the reason for his catatonic fascination. Let us just say that he would rather look at them than not at all, it had become an addiction of the mind. There was no inbetween, just extremes to be dealt with, a prison cell to get used to and make more comfortable than it was meant to be. The perseverance and dedication required would take nearly a whole lifetime, but in the end it would be more than worth it. He had been at it for some time, and it seemed like he was getting closer to the end, closer and closer as the time passed him by so swiftly. The hidden messages were meant to be unraveled, the mystery exposed, the answer acquired, and by gosh he would find a way to accomplish this undeserved miracle one way or the other. He was the chosen one. He knew it and I knew it but no one else did nor even cared. Look at all the other people in the room doing nothing, and to think that they too had the very same floor beneath their feet. Though not bare like his. I tapped him again on the right shoulder, this time a little harder than before. In order to wake him from his dream world. He did not budge or seem to notice or seem to care. So I did what I had to do. I purposely stood in front of him in order to obscure his view and hopefully jar him awake from this magnetic quality which had entrapped him. The prison cell which had to get used to. For a few seconds it seemed not to help, but at the exact moment when I was ready to give up all hope completely and leave him until the following day, he sighed ever so slightly while raising his head. "Alright, what is it this time?" he asked me with a robot-like aggravation and slow movements to match. I tried to explain it to him all over again, by now about the hundredth time, but he just did not ever seem to get it. "What do you mean exactly?" he asked. By now I had all but given up every tidbit of hope, but the fact that he had even ventured to pose this simple-mannered question was enough to make me think twice. Make a double-take. The people in the room noticed this and started to stare which gave me an uncomfortable feeling like they were a bunch of soulless fools waiting to pounce on us. And they were. I asked him if this time around he indeed really was interested to know and if he wanted me to show him the way, the one and only way. Not salvation, but a grand escape nonetheless. He spoke ever so softly, as if he were afraid that some passerby might happen to overhear our secret conversation, those other people in the room "You know how I feel about it." To be honest I didn't, but I nodded in affirmation just in case. "You do?!" Of course I did. This made him quiet again, and the silence lasted for some time longer. Perhaps five or ten or maybe even fifteen minutes. At the point when his vision became blurred and the mumbling sounds began, I stepped out of the way. It was time once more to allow the whirls and whorls to take over his life again. I would see him again in a couple of days and give it another try.

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Tomorrow it is off to a job market congress in Utrecht to find out if there is a way for me to better myself in life. Busy, busy, busy and walk around alot. I have printed out a number of copies of my resume (in color) in order to impress those fine folks who might just be interested in my qualifications (who knows). Shake hands, pat shoulders, brag alot and in the end stand out sufficiently from the rest of the crowd. Be the winner, grab the trophy and get out of there. I am the hunter and those fine professional-looking people on the other side of the counters are my potential prey. I will dress up nicely, but I refuse to zip myself up in professional attire, eg. suit and tie and whatever. Okay nice slacks and shirt and polish my black shiny shoes to reflect the light and glare. Let them know who I really am. There are a number of workshops to offer hints and tips, and I will certainly focus on soaking up words of wisdom from those fine guest speakers who have succeeded so well in life and want to share their secrets with others. In order to better myself, you see. It almost feels like going to a last-minute sale, you know where all those desperate housewives dash into the store and fight each other off to grab the last items on sale before it is too late. Clothes and shoes and bras and pots and pans go flying all over the place. Before that meteorite strikes our planet or that black hole over there gets too close or the tree falls over exactly at the spot you happen to be walking by. Then it will really be the time to shake it off and get a job like any respected individual should.

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"Classes and objects are not the same thing. A class is a type definition, whereas an object is a declaration of an instance of a class type. Once you create a class, you can create as many objects based on that class as you want. The same relationship exists between classes and objects as between cherry pie recipes and cherry pies; you can make as many cherry pies as you want from a single recipe. The process of creating an object from a class is referred to as instantiating an object or creating an instance of a class."

So as you can see I am well on my way to mastering the wonderful world of Java with the long-term goal of becoming Java/J2SE certified. That way I will be balancing my life between housemanship and web technology expert and hopefully increasing my availability for new-and-improved forms of employment.

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There were these two guys sitting in the back seat lost in esoteric discussion about this or that. Whether or not reality was really there or if it even mattered that much. Hard to say. The driver had his two hands firmly gripped on the steering wheel at ten to two. His hair was flying in the wind because the side window was rolled down. Wide open to all the noise and congestion and other myriad vibrations. The automobile hit a bump, but the conversation in the back continued undisturbed. The next turn was pretty sharp and the wheels screeched and the dust went flying, but the two pseudo-philosophers in the back seat just continued to chat and babble and say a million things while at the same time not saying that much really. Whether or not reality was really there and whether it mattered that much was the tone of voice which mimicked the vibrations outside. The driver turned left. He did not see it, but then again it was too late anyway. Abruptly in all of the excitement there was silence, after the huge crash of course. You see, the poor dog escaped unscathed with only a slight limp, but the large oak tree caught the philosophical discussion and the weary driver in its grip, splitting the car sideways and hurling the minds and bodies every which way. It did not matter any more whether or not what they were talking about was important or not. Strange how things can happen so unexpectedly this way or that. Reality was there just waiting for it all to happen.

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Believe it or not, intuition plays an important role in even the seemingly most logical thought processes, you know those cold yes-or-no decisions based on hard facts. The truth of the matter is that without some form of underlying intuition, it would be impossible to make any decision whatsoever. Too bad that folks do not heed more to the voice of intuition. Probably the main reason that I received yet another rejection this afternoon. As if I was less suitable than the other two candidates, when in fact I was the only viable option for "true" success. Unfortunately, the interviewer was swayed the other way by the more obvious, a slight gust of wind, and while he certainly made what seemed the right decision for himself and his upcoming company, I was left out in right field. To wait for awhile and catch the long hits that might become home-runs by jumping back to the wall at the very last instant before it is too late. His right field will just have to remain empty and open and vulnerable for now. I choose instead to go with my intuition and let things rest as they may in the hopes that something will pop up in the not so distant future.

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That stone figure over there seems to imply this...She has had many previous lives, more than the average person, which is quite unusual for someone with her background and personality.

The facts did not match. The reality of the situation was not there. There must be an obvious reason for this, the so-called scientific investigator thought, but did not know what, did not have the slightest clue. He scribbled a couple words down in the little notebook he carried with him everywhere. Put it back in his shirt pocket for later reference. He would show it to her when he felt she was ready. Something to do with funneling and then collecting hidden energy to be directed towards a noble cause. The future towards which things moved. Something like that. However, she was focused on one of the most recent previous lives. Well, she was not quite sure if it was the most recent one or not, but that was not important for reasons all her own.

These were the words which stuck in the mind if one listened carefully. Old house. Dark. Mom. Waves, high waves crashing. Show or not to show. Never. Hurt, terrified, and fighting. Stupid, not stupid. Let's go.

The scene opens up somewhere in the Northern hemisphere, windy climate, dark winters. Warm house from within, happy family, activities and love. It is not she who is terrified and/or hurt, but those around her who she observes and for whom she feels much empathy. She is old and gray. She is some kind of community helper, a seer or maybe even a spiritual healer, someone important but not seen. This woman is a strong disbeliever in the current religious attitudes which she finds oppressive, impossible, not right, unnatural. Near to the water, perhaps even an ocean with waves upon a rocky shoreline. Rocks that can be climbed on scrambled across if one is willing to take the risk, of being swept out to sea by an unexpected wave crashing down. Or it could be that these victims had let it happen to them, on purpose. Sometimes storms, seagulls which scream, poor souls falling in the boiling waters of white foam. Farewell and see you in the next lifetime. The time frame would be 1100 AD give or take a hundred years, wouldn't it? Celtic? That stone figure over there seems to imply this.

She is a grandmother and had achieved much for a woman of that period. She is well respected by almost everyone in the community, but she still has too many hidden grievances. These nearly break her but not quite. Cuts and bruises that need to heal first. The dried remains of blood which has coagulated many years before. She regrets not having had the time nor the energy nor even the courage to do what she would have liked to have done. This was a shame, but needed and inspired all the same. Silence is better than nothing.

"How quickly the splinter of one's lifetime passes by and then it is almost too late, almost."

If that splinter falls into the water it will be swept away, that is for sure. If it becomes wedged somewhere within a crack or an elongated opening, then it will stay there on the rugged rocks for a long time, a very long time. Even the rocks have become wet with time and effort. In the long run, the splinter will become dislodged, somehow and some time. She knows it and the scientist knows it also. According to the complicated laws of the universe which can only be explained by esoteric and complicated mathematical formulae chalked endlessly on the blackboards which are longer than the horizon, this is so. This is so.

She believes in the afterlife and the ability to redeem, maybe even come back. Why anyone in their right mind would want to do that is beyond her and does not make sense. But it will come as it may, just accept it. The scientist who is checking this all out with his expensive metallic machinery is not quite sure yet what she has come back to finish, to redeem, but he has a strong inner feeling an intuition that it has alot to do with helping others. Gadgets galore to test his hypothesis. Oscilloscopes beep and produce ragged greenish lines vibrating. Nothing to do with the reality of the situation, but it can help nonetheless. That is what he has been taught. Lots and lots of energy and respect from others which she could easily use to her advantage, for the good of humanity. If only she could rekindle that energy she has collected during the most recent previous lives. It is all inside there somewhere.

One more thing. The so-called scientist has something interesting to say. An abrupt question to pose that may reveal some crook or cranny deep within. He says: "Have you ever looked at yourself in front of the mirror holding up a smaller mirror in front of you? There is an endless corridor of repeated reflections disappearing into the distance. You know what that is? It is infinity, but in reverse. This can be compared to the many previous lives you have had, all leading up to this very moment in time."

He takes the scribbled note out of his shirt pocket and hands it to her. She looks up as if she had been expecting this for a long time now. She reads the words which have been scribbled down with a nervous hand. High waves crashing down.

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Alright, here's a trivia quiz for all you fine readers of my blog out there in the real world. Please read the following quotation carefully and give it a good think:

You reckon ill who leave me out
When me you fly I am the wings.

The million dollar question is: who wrote it and where does it come from? For those interested in making some good old extra bonus points, give me a good interpretation. Good luck.

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Alright so what if forty-five seems at first glance to be a nice round number? Divisible by nine and five and three and one. It comes in cycles and it is an interesting experience to be that old yet again. Half of ninety which defines about the end of the cycle whereas nine is only the beginning. A mid-point between nine and ninety, about. At least that is what I have been told.

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This graph tells the whole story...According to the weekly Dutch newspaper I subscribe to called the Automatiserings Gids, the number of job openings in the wonderful world of information technology in the Netherlands has decreased ever so drastically (again). In fact, they write that it has reached an all time "dieptepunt" which is a dutch term meaning "low point" falling below the three thousand mark. At the beginning of 2001, there were nearly eleven thousand jobs available, almost four times as many as today. Bad news, at least you might think. Good news might be that the challenge is even more attractive, that if in fact one does land a job somewhere and sometime, the feeling of accomplishment is even that more sweeter and fulfilling considering the lousy situation. Or am I just kidding myself? One cannot afford to shoot and spray buck-shot any which way, hoping that one meager pellet manages to hit some target out there. The key is to focus, take aim and then shoot. I am still in the process of figuring things out so that the act of focus will provide a more well-defined target. In the end this soon-to-be defined target will be easier to hit, I am sure.

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One might not expect it at first, but actually the act of vacuuming can be alot of fun. That is, if you put your mind to it and realize that such a so-called simple activity can afterall be very fulfilling indeed. All those tiny crumbs, particles of things and specs of dust being sucked up into oblivion never to be seen again. The sound of the larger objects rattling against the metal tube or ricocheting as they pass through the ribbed hose, and then nothing more. At first, everywhere you look there are irritating irregularities on the floor. Just try walking along the surface in your bare feet and you will know what I mean. All those soggy irregularities stuck to the bottom of your feet and inbetween the toes. I choose the more logical (boring) approach of following parallel mental bands, over which I vacuum, much like mowing the imaginary lawn. On the linoleum floor one must adjust the angle of the end-piece such that there is a slight wedged-up opening through which the larger particles can fit through. Otherwise if you press down too hard it is just like sweeping the particles away rather than sucking them up inside. In the end, I think I much prefer vacuuming the carpet. Not only does this give one a smooth and pleasant return on the sliding arm movements, but just the sight of that woven fabric first resisting and then popping back in place is enough to cause goose bumps and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The wonderful art of vacuuming the place. Hopefully some day I will become an expert vacuum engineer, but that will take years of practice.

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For some strange reason, every evening before my Sunday tennis match with the neighbors, I always get a bad case of the farts. In Dutch the nice way to describe this ailment is to say you have a case of "winderigheid" meaning "windiness." Having to fart during an important tennis match can be quite the disadvantage. It is not like I know these people that well that we can fart together on the same court and just laugh about it. So I just hold it in the best I can and play as if there is nothing wrong. At times it just slips out, especially when I make my stellar diving attempts to return a near ace. Or I can do it tactfully by wandering to a so-called strategic position at the back corner of the court and let it loose. My intestines begin to rumble and the excess pockets of air coalesce to form a veritable balloon of extraneous gas which has to be emitted. Therefore emit it with gusto, but as politely as possible. If you stand close enough to the net, you can use this tactics to form a cloud of gas which nearly knocks out the opponent on the other side. Or better yet, a smoke screen behind which you can volley unpredictable balls or slam them straight at the gagging enemy. That is most probably why we won last night, so farting does not have to be that bad after all.

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As it turned out, it was the wrong way to go. He should have known that well in advance, but he had not heeded to the warning signs way back there a couple of miles ago. Or was it ten, twenty, perhaps one hundred or more miles ago? Rather than turning back at this point, the more obvious thing to do was just sit down, think things out, and then when it started to get dark lie down and sleep. As if that could be possible at a time like this. There were a number of options, some better than others, but there was no option one could view as a clear winner above the rest. Soon enough he fell asleep after it became darker, and that night he had a dream, a very realistic dream. They had taken control of his brain stem, more specifically the area known as the medulla oblongata. You see there a number of natural processes which are controlled here. Breathing, the heart rate, swallowing, the startle response, sweating, blood pressure, digestion and bodily temperature. Things like that. Intertwined and elongated neurons which affect the level of alertness, the ability to sleep and the sense of balance. A very important part of the inner brain to say the least. For some unknown reason, they had implanted this alien object just below the auditory and visual reflex centers. When viewed on the x-ray it was a thin, metallic sliver of various colors. This was confusing to him to no end, but because he was sleeping they would not allow him to wake up when it was time to continue further. Actually the brain stem consists of the mid-brain, the pons, as well as the medulla which are all located deep in the posterior part of the brain. So who were they trying to kid anyway? Upon waking and when allowed, it was time to go. No more reason to think things out nor retrace the steps which had already been taken the day before. Just shake it off and continue onwards.

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A natural and necessary part of growing up is for kids to become independent from the shackles of the home-front. This is often enough accomplished by feeling overly embarrassed by one's parents or by thinking that everything they say or do is unbelievably stupid. As a parent, you should not take this personally and realize that they are simply growing up. This is indeed hard at times and you wonder how much more patience will be required before you blow your stack completely. I mean really, what are they trying to prove? In the olden days I think that children were not allowed to be so impolite and sarcastic to the parents, but nowadays such behavior is considered normal. Too bad this effort at severing bonds has to take on such an unpleasant extreme, but it is part of the whole process. The ironic part of the whole matter is that as an adult you have already lived that phase more than once, and the wisdom you have acquired would be so useful to kids growing up nowadays when life is not easy. History has to repeat itself I guess.

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Well, as it turned out, being sick today was just the right medicine for me. Lying in bed, I had time to recover, think about things, relax and do nothing, watch an occasional film or talk show on the television, and read some more Krishnamurti. As I am getting sicker I am getting better at the same time. Purge all those poisons from my system. To recover from the ills of every day life it is often a good idea to get sick first. Like today, not that I had much say in the matter. It just happened. Most of the time this is the body's way to grab your attention, and it will do each and every person much goodness to heed to these warning messages and do nothing for a couple of days. Hopefully for my interview tomorrow afternoon I will not talk too much like some snot-ball kid sniffling all over the place and hacking. Just call me the hacking professional on his way onwards.

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Since my birthday is coming up soon, I decided to order two more books from Amazon in the hopes that my shipment will arrive in time for the big event. They've got less than nine days, but so far I have never had to wait more than a week. Now I will tell you which two books I ordered if you promise not to make fun of me. The titles are:

  • The Java Programming Language by Ken Arnold et al.
  • Effective Java by Josh Bloch.

I figured that I have pretty much learned enough about HTML, Javascript, XML, CSS, Perl and CGI that it is time to take the next jump into the most obvious domain about which I need (would like) to be more knowledgeable. I have heard so much about the wonderful world of Java and at the same time know so very little about it. Time to expand my knowledge another slight click. Is this a sign of getting senile, crazy, too old for this stuff or am I simply a born techie guru type at heart? Take your pick. Any way, the books will add a pleasant counterweight to whatever it is I am planning to do in the not so near future.

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This is how I spend my time sometimes trying to be creative during my prolonged periods of idleness. Check out my positive thinking page for your late night entertainment. Hope you like it.

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Trying to take an objective view on current affairs concerning the impending war with Iraq and the irrational way people often react, I found the following quote very appropriate.

"All outward forms of change brought about by wars, revolutions, reformations, laws and ideologies have failed completely to change the basic nature of man and therefore of society. As human beings living in this monstrously ugly world, let us ask ourselves, can this society, based on competition, brutality and fear, come to an end? Not as an intellectual conception, not as a hope, but as an actual fact, so that the mind is made fresh, new and innocent and can bring about a different world altogether? It can only happen, I think, if each one of us recognizes the central fact that we, as individuals, as human beings, in whatever part of the world we happen to live or whatever culture we happen to belong to, are totally responsible for the whole state of the world.

We are each one of us responsible for every war because of the aggressiveness of our own lives, because of our nationalism, our selfishness, our gods, our prejudices, our ideals, all of which divide us. And only when we realize, not intellectually but actually, as actually as we would recognize that we are hungry or in pain, that you and I arc responsible for all this existing chaos, for all the misery throughout the entire world because we have contributed to it in our daily lives and are part of this monstrous society with its wars, divisions, its ugliness, brutality and greed - only then will we act."

- Krishnamurti, Freedom From The Known

This is certainly something to ruminate when trying to understand why things have to happen the way they do and what we as simple individuals can do to change the things we would prefer were otherwise.

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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.