Month: October 2003

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Originally I was just planning to take it easy today, catching up on all the paperwork and all the other mundane end of the month administrative duties.

However.

The telephone rang, I picked it up, and then it was time to head on down to a place called 's-Hertogenbosch (also known as Den Bosch for those like myself you have difficulties pronouncing whatever it is supposed to sound like). New chances, new possibilities, unknown results.

Perhaps something positive? A change in the right direction? Whatever happens, well it was meant to happen and I will just ride the wave and hope for the best.

Just be myself, I keep telling myself.

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The Netherlands is a very flat country, very flat indeed. Alot of the endless countryside which scans its way out to the horizon like the flattest table top you could ever imagine is in fact below sea level. Green expanses which spread out in every which way and direction like an extending circle.

Extending and round and folding inward all over again.

So you can imagine my surprise while driving back home when all of a sudden I saw a bunch of mountains right in front of me over there and off to the side. At first I could not figure it out.

Upon closer inspection, and refocusing my eyes out into the right proximity and distance, I realized that the evolving and billowing whitish mass was nothing more than a reformation of clouds which had decided to assume the profile of some famous mountain range or other.

Recognition triggered inside my mind, followed by the truth of reality, and then back again.

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Yesterday for the heck of it I enabled Google Search tracking on my web log. That means that everytime someone uses Google to search for a given word or phrase and they end up landing somewhere on my web log, I record the event.

Believe it or not, within 24 hours I had already amassed an amazing 138 searches on my blog originating from Google!

Here is a sampling of the most popular phrases, a snapshot of the last twenty-four hours of distant unknowing clicks:

technology gap
swishmax
werkloosheid
kiffin rockwell
life in holland
revenge junk email
bikinis
cold sweats at night
raamhorren
meaning behind the word poppy cock
bhagavan map
how to kill aim spam bot
big toe cracking joint
duck umbrella handle
supercalifragilisticexpialidocious mp3
line height
hornswoggle
summary of eva luna
jung quotations anima
7 june 2003 meaning horoscope
download "swish file"
og mandino god manifesto
bloggers forum
"pictures of catherine de' medici"
death from holding in a sneeze
american bbq
philosophy and poetry
maslov pyramid needs
maslow's pyramid
thunderbird
5 ways to increase visibility of a shoe brand
maslow pyramid
beards itch
night sweat
category of computers
october 25, 2003 horoscope
north carolina+report info+history
how to calculate churn
redhead french curley
website scraping script
maslov
niel armstrong\
hips guestbook entry 2003
overcoming mumbling
scared of dying forum
horoscope for october 27, 2003
trillian spell checker dutch
"first memory"
print a dataview in a web form
technical talk gibberish text
the art of growing a beard
niel armstrong +death
2003 bookkeeping guestbook
clack swishmax
maslov pyramid of needs
partnership+guestbook+2003
"under the microscope" +phrases
"crack knuckles" myth
spell checker for trillian plugin
feynmann quote sake of clarity
swishmax field
venco bath
"love in her eyes" "to california" "big jet plane" meaning
pop crack pain joints knuckles
sb live dell dimension 4400
how to stop grinding teeth
human needs hierarchy pyramid "maslov"
california coastline
sixty-nine
scraping windows google
bare foot music
how to talk to ghosts?
2003 waken email directory
james wright "milkweed"
supercalifragilisticexpialidocious- definition
clammy nose
why is my jaw constantly cracking in and out of place?
what is sixty-nine?
bikinis for boys
live through a polaroid
'maslov pyramid picture'
locked in syndrome
2003 guestbook of partnership
how to get rid of smelly farts
pop knuckles fingers big
'maslov pyramid'
grrl radio
water+javascript+ripples
quotations- high fidelity
jungle of nool
aim color combinations
how do i stop my washing machine from vibrating?
spam bot
msn emotions
duck umbrella
dcr-trv19e review
2003 email contacts of guestbook worldwide
communication breakdown
javascript +hi lo game +jbuilder
real player cracked
ik zie een poort wijd open staan
grinding teeth at night
should i crack my neck and knuckles
maslov shelter food

I find the resulting list quite enlightening for some reason, although some people might consider it pure randomness and/or trivial data-mining. But for me it is entertaining enough, that I will actually dedicate a whole blog entry to it.

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After the weekly tennis match with the neighbors, we sat around the table and had some drinks as tradition dictates us to do.

Everyone was complaining that they had to go to work tomorrow morning, that wouldn't it be great if they wouldn't have to put up with all that hassle anymore.

I suggested I exchange situations with them, all three of them. They could sit home and worry and feel pretty useless, and I would be more than pleased to take over their places.

They quickly became silent and then changed the subject. Sometimes it takes a little shock treatment to set things straight again.

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Sometimes when I am running, my mind runs amok and starts thinking up the weirdest things. Maybe it has to do with an overdose of endorphins or a lack of oxygen or a combination of other physiological changes to my body, I don't know.

This afternoon I kind of lost touch with the world around me, running all alone in that vast and expansive countryside, flat as far as the eye could see, way off over there into nowhere which was the horizon. And in a flash I thought of something which seemed like a wonderful idea at the time, but later upon deeper reflection was in fact a disturbing thought. How could I think that?

--- Suppose I ran as hard as I could until I got a heart-attack and died, right then and there. Then I would be lying here in the middle of nowhere lost as an unknown being and to be engulfed by nature, that movement of nature which continues unabated as if nothing can change it. ---

Everyone would be rid of me. It would be the ultimate escape. All would be gone and I would be free at last. The ultimate freedom.

Then my last thoughts would change things, but too late. They would be that I should have never thought of that in the first place. Stupid. I would regret it, wishing that I had never wished it to happen at all. Please do not let me die here in the middle of nowhere, forgive me. Stupid me.

When I crossed the bridge, that is about the usual point when I awake from my running reverie and start thinking normal thoughts again.

Crazy world we live in isn't it?

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So that's what you get when you bury your head in an interesting book the whole train ride to Amsterdam without even looking up once out the window. Lost in thought somewhere else when there it was all around you.

By the time the train arrived I was too far north and it was an hour later in the day, meaning that the skies had cleared and the temperature had risen just enough. Nothing out of the ordinary around here.

- Sure is hard to believe?
- What is hard to believe?
- That it snowed so early this year.
- Snowed?
- Yes, snowed - didn't you notice? (look of astonishment)
- Sorry, I didn't.

Turns out that it had snowed fairly hard in the south, and an immense whiteness had blanketed the landscape for as far as the eye could see. Simply beautiful (I could only imagine).

- The earliest since way back in the nineteen twenties or so.
- Yes, pretty amazing.
- Are you sure you didn't notice it?
- I'm sure, very sure.

I had missed it because I was reading some boring book.

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"Door langzaam en vastberaden te zijn, maak je juist meer kans om de race te winnen."

- Susan M. Drake, Freelancen voor Dummies.

[By being slow and determined, you increase your chances at winning the race.]

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Alright so nature decided to drop me an early hint that winter is approaching more quickly than I had realized.

The fact of the matter is that this morning I had to scrape the ice off of my windshield for the first time this season.

This is always a memorable occasion because of the following:

  • Nature continues even if you do not.
  • A good scrape is worth the extra think.
  • A few minutes longer do not make that much of a difference.

Let's just say that the cycle continues and each and every one of us is an important part of it.

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So I told Maarten yesterday that he should really appreciate it now as much as possible, remember clearly what it was like, because tomorrow morning he would wake up and he would no longer be younger than ten any more. Batches of ten years are true milestones in one's life, important phases we all go through. Once the door opens and the decades close behind us, there is no turning back. Enjoy the pre-ten years, the single digit mode of existence, because tomorrow it would be no more.

The whole speech had been planned and prepared ahead of time. My tone of voice and gestures were pieces of artistic drama in a beautiful scene called 'My little son goes to bed and grows up (too) quickly.'

There I was telling him all of this with tears welling up in my eyes.

Maarten could only roll over in his bed and laugh at me. Giggle and ha ha ha.

So I asked him why he thought it was so funny.

Turns out that tomorrow is not his tenth birthday, but his NINTH!

I couldn't believe it. So I asked the usual challenge: what year were you born? Without hesitation he answered back 1994 of course. Quick calculation in my head, and yes nine years it was indeed. Stupid, stupid...

Could I be losing it?

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Three years ago today my father passed away. Life continues anyway as if there is no stopping it, no end in sight. And there isn't and there won't be. I wonder what he is thinking right now.

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On Monday, October 20, 2003 at 06:20:23 (PDT)
the hit-count for Gibberations is: 25000.

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I realize that it has been more than a week ago and perhaps this may not be news fresh off of the press, but better late than never. This is a video which proves beyond a reasonable doubt that yes I did in fact complete the ten kilometer Bloemendaalseloop in just three seconds longer than forty-nine minutes. This is a pretty large video (2.5 MBytes) so it might take awhile before it is downloaded and you can play it. Please be patient.

Just click on the play-button, please.

This film was created using my Sony DCR-TRV19E Camcorder together with Pinnacle Studio DV (Studio 8 with 1394/FireWire capture card). For a larger view of the same video, please click here.

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According to the NetGenesis (SPSS) Glossary of terms:

"Churn measures how much of your customer base 'rolls over' during a given period of time. To calculate churn, divide the number of customers who attrite during the given time period by the total number of customers at the end of the time period."

You can then see how important it is to track the churn-rate and if it is becoming too great then you must do something about it or else.

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Hopefully this will make the GishTeq web site more attractive, and not inadvertently scare off too many people with its interesting message. Does it look professional enough or is just too flashy?


E-business is on the rise, so be sure that you are there as well!

Get the SWiSH file here.

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About a week or so ago, after having my poor and innocent blog being bombarded with tons and tons of aggravating comments spam, I wrote the following at the Movable Type Support Forum:

I have completely had it! My blog has been being bombarded so much lately by spam comments, that I do not know what to do. I spend more time deleting comments, adding IP-addresses to my banned list, and then rebuilding my blog, that it does not seem worth the hassle anymore. HELP! Regretfully, I am ready to close down business. After three wonderful years of blogging freely in such a fine world. Sorry, but I have to go... Now this world is getting ripped apart by spam terrorists, those jerks. I hope they burn up and die, all of them.

Since then I am happy to announce that I have discovered a fantastic Movable Type plugin called MT-Blacklist.

By using this you can kill comment spam dead in its track. Try it and you will like it, I am sure. What a great feeling.

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"That is when he realized that his friend Bas had been kidnapped. Poor Maarten started to get worried, very worried indeed. When he turned around to look for Bas, that is when the dark mysterious man grabbed him too, pulling him forcefully in the car. The door slammed shut and the tires squealed. There they both were, Bas and himself sitting on the back seat of the old and rusted car. The kidnapper laughing a terrible laugh, speeding away with them both locked inside..."

I could not remember when the last time was that little Maarten had slept in the bed between Thea and me, but it had certainly been at least a couple of years ago. At least that had been the last time he had awakened from a nightmare so startling that he was too scared to remain in his own bed.

In case you don't know, it is always much safer (and more comfortable) sleeping under the warm soft covers in bed between your loving parents.

I kind of liked it too.

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Here's a non-stop action video clip I made of Marlies playing field hockey for the GMHC (Goudse Mixed Hockey Club) girls team. As you can see, she is getting pretty darn good. This is a pretty large video (1.5 MBytes) so it might take awhile before it is downloaded and you can play it. Please be patient.

Just click on the play-button, please.

This film was created using my Sony DCR-TRV19E Camcorder together with Pinnacle Studio DV (Studio 8 with 1394/FireWire capture card). For a larger view of the same video, please click here

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The almost world-famous Bloemendaalseloop 10 kilometers run has been completed by yours truly in a stellar (are you ready for this?) 49 minutes and 4 seconds (and without stopping, believe it or not). Not bad, not bad at all.

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[-- I was scanning through a bunch of old stuff this morning and just happened to come across the following --]

Although Thea has an evening shift today, all the kids went to bed tonight without any major problems. I came home around 5:15 this afternoon, and as usual, Thea had "everything" organized perfectly. Most of the kids had had a bath, and they were waiting for my arrival. Sabien was a bit tired and was lying on the couch. Maarten was crawling around with a big smile, getting into everything. Marlies came downstairs and greeted me. Lennart was still in the bathtub, pretending he was a deep sea diver.

Thea had prepared a great spaghetti dinner, which we all consumed with much delight. Of course, Sabien ate out of a "potje", but since I was sitting next to her, I could easily spoon feed her without any problems. During the dinner, Maarten kept crawling to us, pulling himself up on our chairs, trying to reach up to the table top to grab spoons and forks.

A couple of days ago, a package from Clint with his old Game Boy plus accessories arrived in the mail. During dinner, I told Lennart that I had a "verassing" for him, but only if he ate his meal and cleaned up when he was done. Marlies kept asking me what it was, but I explained to her ten times that if I told her then it would not be a "verassing" anymore. Lennart was very obedient, and I've never seen him eat so well and clean up so quickly. We finished the meal and allowed Marlies to look for the package, playing the "cold-warm-hot" searching game. In no time, she found it in the closet under the stairs. Lennart opened the package with glee, surrounded by his sisters. Yes, it was the Game Boy as he had expected.

Unfortunately, there were not any batteries included. Lennart knew right away that I could buy them at the gas station around the corner. So I packed all the kids in the car, except Lennart, who had to inspect his new gift and stay at home. I sped to the gas station. Maarten was so cute in the front seat, smiling at me and reaching over to pull at my many arm hairs. I bought the four batteries. I felt that the girls also deserved something for being so good, so I bought them each a bag of "Venco Winegums".

The rest of the evening centered totally around the Game Boy, and at times it was a real battle who would play next. Even Sabien got involved. It is a very addictive gadget, and once one of them started, they refused to relinquish it. Finally, after having brought Sabien to bed, I sent Lennart to his room so that he could play in peace. I played a game of chess with Marlies, and she won as usual, as I helped her check-mate me.

Now all the kids are sleeping as snug as a bug in a rug. Thea returns at 11 o'clock. Until then I will try to entertain myself. That means playing Civilization on my PC and vegetating in front of the TV. My back is pretty sore, but at least tomorrow morning I don't have to get up so early.

[-- Something I wrote way back in 1995, on September 1 to be exact --]

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Alright, so it's been forty-six years now. What next?

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As the Bloemendaalseloop marathon approaches quickly (it will be taking place the day after my birthday, and I have signed up for the medium 10 km contest), it is important that I run each and every day in preparation -- as well as sporting in the evenings at the Living Well fitness center for my overall cardio-vascular condition.

However, as it had been raining the whole day, I kept putting off my daily run forever. In fact it has been raining the whole darn week, maybe even the last two weeks, I don't know it seems like that.

Not now, maybe later, another time, in an hour or so, just postpone it, procrastinate.

Until I finally thought what-the-heck what does a little moisture matter anyway, it's not that bad at all. I put on my running attire, stretched and took a couple deep breaths before stepping outside.

Lo-and-behold it had stopped raining. So I ran the thirty minutes and the whole time it did not rain even a single drop. After I had cooled down a bit I walked back inside the house.

Lo-and-behold it started raining again. The second I went inside and was engulfed by the house. Was that a coincidence or not, some symbolic gesture, a spiritual message sent down through the impossible ways of nature?

Not really.

All it meant was that you have to dare the circumstances once in a while. No matter what reality they may proclaim, or irreality I should say. Go out and dare and do not care and you might just be surprised how things really turn out.

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While I may not consider myself a master film director, it is still fun anyway to play around with my camcorder. Like trying out new and exciting visual effects. Fell free to check out the following video clip:

It may look like Marlies and I are just staring into the camera motionless, but the truth of the matter is that we are spinning around at high velocity. If you look closely you can spot the background moving by.

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One of the most interesting meteorological phenomena is when it is raining and sunny at the same time. You can hear the droplets hitting the window but at the same time the sun is shining through the very same plate of glass.

Just like it is now here in my attic room of contemplation. Two opposites brought together in one simple sweep of nature.

In a way this can be viewed as very symbolic, meaning in my opinion one or more of the following:

  • The good cannot exist without the bad.
  • The bad can always be seen in a more positive light.
  • Beware that with the good there is always some bad in there.
  • Good and bad are one and the same thing.
  • Good things don't all look the same. (Stu D.)

So where do you fit in this overall picture?

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Well, this is the big bad month we have all been waiting for. The last chance, the moment of truth. To fold the business or not to fold. Now is the time to search really, really hard and desperately for a break. A much needed break, need a project or else. Twenty odd days and counting. What next?

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Don't you just hate it when you include some external piece of (javascript) code from another site, and it breaks up the layout of your web page?

This is the problem I've been having with Blogsnob. The kind folks there provide a free service for members of the blogging community, enabling you to increase your blog's exposure via simple text-based ads.

All you have to do is insert the following code somewhere and hope everything works out okay:

<script src="http://blogsnob.idya.net/ad.php?id=n"
  type="text/javascript"></script>

I have placed this at the very bottom of my right-hand margin. This margin is set to a width of around 160 pixels and it is meant to stay that way.

The only problem with inserting this piece of code is that you do not know ahead of time how much text and/or images might be thrown into your site. Now I trust the service for what it is, and most of the time it seems to be working alright. However, sometimes I get really long words containing say 50 characters in a row. This breaks up my layout. In order to accommodate this exceptionally long word, the poor 160 pixel wide margin is expanded so that a much larger vertical bar appears. You see, HTML has no character wrapping, only word wrapping at the white-space borders. My main content area is covered up on the right side and shifted to the left. Bummer, man.

So what's a poor soul like myself going to do? Well, I have chosen to solve this using good old Javascript based on the DOM-interface. Here is what I do. First of all, I bracket the inserted code above like this:

<div id="blogsnob">
<script src="http://blogsnob.idya.net/ad.php?id=n"
  type="text/javascript"></script>
</div>

Note that I have wrapped the ill-behaved section of code with another div-tag and I have labeled it "blogsnob" accordingly.

Then just right after the spot where I have inserted the code above, I add the following function call:

<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
<!--
mxw("blogsnob");
//-->
</script>

Alright, so what does this magical function called mxw() really do? Well, it looks within the div-tag that I labeled as "blogsnob", recursively parses through the nodes and child-nodes, and grabs each TEXT-element. If it then finds any words which are longer than a pre-defined maximum length, say 20 characters (mxw_max = 20;), then it will truncate this bugger to this given length. Pretty neat, huh?

Just in case you were curious what this function looks like, and assuming that you not only have a good knowledge of Javascript, but also at least some limited experience with that thing called DOM, then here it is:

<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
<!--
// Maximum allowed length of text words.
var mxw_max = 20;
//
// mxw(id)
//
// Wrapper function which checks that certain DOM
// is supported before calling recursive mxw2(). 
//
function mxw(id)
{
  if (!document.getElementById) return;
  var n = document.getElementById(id);
  if (!n || !n.nodeType) return;
  mxw2(n);
}
//
// mxw2(id)
//
// Checks all text of given node and all its
// descendant nodes, truncating each word that
// is longer than allowed length mxw_max. This
// is an extra safety valve preventing unwanted
// overrun, e.g. of sidebars and/or margins.
function mxw2(n)
{
  if (n.nodeType == 3 /*Node.TEXT_NODE*/)
  {
    var flag = 0;
      var words = n.data.split(" ");
    for (var i = 0; i < words.length; i++)
    {
      if (words[i].length > mxw_max)
      {
        flag++;
        words[i] = words[i].substr(0, mxw_max-2) + ". "; 
      }
    }
    if (flag > 0) n.data = words.join(" ");
  }
  var children = n.childNodes;
  for (var i = 0; i < children.length; i++) mxw2(children[i]); 
}
//-->
</script>

Hope you like it and find it useful for your own web pages somewhere. You're welcome.

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You see that pyramid over there? Well, it's called a Maslov's pyramid. One of the many such geometrical, intellectual, three-dimensional forms which help us define our lives. What it means is this. One can only start addressing the more esoteric and spiritual aspects of existence after the bare basics of food and shelter have been taken care of. Get it?

Kind of like what is happening in Iraq right now. The good old Americans are doing their very best to force a form of democracy on the people there, but unless they first take care of the basics like water and electricity, there is no hope in hell of even getting near to any form of success. No one cares about the merits of democracy, no matter how noble and sincere, if they are cold and wet and hungry all the time.

Of course, Americans like to force things by using military might, but that is a poor excuse on which to base a form of repressed reconstruction.

This is a fundamental aspect of human suffering which has been going on for thousands of years. History just repeating itself. I thought the Americans thought they were so smart.

When will they every figure things out?

(P.S. Thanks a lot Dave for suggesting I write something about Maslov's pyramid in my blog. Good idea.)

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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.