Month: June 2013

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I was rushing to be on time for my tee off slot at 13:58 when I got a telephone call from the caddy master. He told me that I was late for my flight which was ready to tee off at 13:18. What?! That's in just six minutes. They had shifted the times around because of various cancellations and my time had been rescheduled. I rushed inside and changed clothes as fast as I could. Completely out of breath, I ran to the tee box. Don't worry, we put you on the later flight at 13:36, so you have time to catch your breath and settle down. Not enough time to hit any balls just a few quick putts to get a rough feel of the greens, that was it. I was going to play and that was all that mattered to me.

What seemed to be a hectic start turned out to be a fantastic round of golf. Golf is so unpredictable that way. You arrive early and hit a couple buckets of balls perfectly, but once on the course it's a different story. Other times I hit balls and half of them are shanks, but the score at the end of the day is much better than expected. This time around I was in the zone, fresh from work with no chance to stretch or prepare myself mentally. I hit almost every ball down the middle of the fairway, my irons stuck close to the flag or just off the green for an easy chip and one putt, I felt very confident. Great stuff. Too bad I had a double-bogie five on that easy par three. Can't have everything.

Turns out that I not only made the cut and qualified for the weekend tournament, but amazingly I had the lowest score of all and placed first for the morning round, five strokes ahead of the nearest competitor. A good feeling. Now I am that new unknown American guy who torched their course, getting to be the talk of the town. This means some extra pressure to perform in public and amaze my fans by playing another stellar round.

Thanks to this lucky day my handicap plummeted to a 4.2 which is the lowest handicap I've ever had since my teenager years.

If things don't go according to plan and I choke or have a bad day or just miss out on the following cut, who cares. It was fun while it lasted and a great feeling I will remember with fondness. We'll see what happens, fingers crossed.

Qualification round results

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Unfortunately, although I kept qualifying for the next round, my scores became steadily worse. I survived all the way to the final round on Sunday afternoon and came in at a respectable nineteenth place. I felt gung-ho this morning and got up extra early to hit balls on the driving range and focus on my putting, but so much golf in the last week (five rounds total) took its toll in the end. I'm not as young as I used to be, and the first part of my game that started to get worse was my general control of the ball and estimating distances to the green. Bad drives, lots of sand traps, lousy putts and a couple fluffed chips.

Final scores were: 74+76+80=230. All in all I feel honored to have been able to complete this fine tournament, better luck next year.

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A third barrier to the full knowing of another lies not in the one who shares but in the other, the knower, who must reverse the sharer's sequence and translate it back into image – the script the mind can read. It is wildly improbable that the receiver's image will match the sender's original mental image.

Translation error is compounded by bias error. We distort others by forcing into them our own preferred ideas and gestalts, a process Proust beautifully describes:

We pack the physical outline of the creature we see with all the ideas we already formed about him, and in the complete picture of him which we compose in our minds those ideas have certainly the principal place. In the end they come to fill out so completely the curve of his cheeks, to follow so exactly the line of his nose, they blend so harmoniously in the sound of his voice that these seem to be no more than a transparent envelope, so that each time we see the face or hear the voice it is our own ideas of him which we recognize and to which we listen.

Quoted from the book Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin Yalom.

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Terraces in back of the hotel with view.

We had a truly wonderful time in Tuscany where we spent the week having a fun and relaxing break away from the chaotic world. The week passed by quickly, but we were able to experience the surroundings intensely as well as balancing activities with a sound spiritual peace, for example long reads and/or naps in the terrace gardens behind the hotel.

The climate was agreeable and the food was excellent. We stayed at the Hotel Bellavista in a small village called San Baronto. It was located way up in the hills with an awe-inspiring view of the valley below, about a one hour drive north of Florence.

Our host was Giuseppe and he was a cordial person, always positive. He did his best to spoil us with various tasty pasta dishes and a healthy sense of humor.

We rented a putt-putt car. Like typical wild Italian drivers, we sped across the countryside, zipping around steep mountain curves, zig-zagging through the complex labyrinths of medieval city centers, and seeing amongst other places: Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Viareggio, Prato, Vinci (birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci), etc.

Have a look at the photo album to get a better appreciation of our stay.

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The longest day of the year is June 21st. This day is officially known as the summer solstice. With so many extra hours of sunlight, it is the ideal day for a golfing marathon. For the true golf fanatics among us, it's a good enough excuse to take up the challenge of completing three rounds of golf within a single day. That's no less than fifty-four holes. For me, this is something that I haven't done since the good old days when I was a healthy and energetic golfing Californian boy. For the others, a seemingly impossible challenge ready to tackle.

That is how the first annual Zduhac 54 hole marathon was born: a truly historical moment in golfing history. We were a part of this fantastic event, a proud moment to share with the world. Now is our biggest chance to become famous.

We started at the crack of dawn and we were unbelievably enthusiastic about embarking together on such an exciting adventure. The first drives were all down the middle, with many drives to come. Would we survive, could our aging and feeble bodies handle such extremes, how about the mental stress dealing with so much pressure? Turn the clock fast forward. Nearly fifteen hours later and we somehow managed to finish just before the sun went down. From 7:00am until 9:30pm, we golfed and golfed, and when we started getting tired we simply golfed some more, only taking two short breaks between the rounds for a quick lunch and dinner.

We made a fun and relaxing tournament out of it, keeping to the fine spirit of golf. Sport for gentlemen, the thinking man's sport. For the sake of competition and making it kind of official, we kept score (gross and net scores, most birdies and sandies, fewest putts, skins, etc). In the end, there was a designated overall champion. Congratulations to Eric van Mieghem. However, by simply completing this enormous task at our age, we were all winners in the end.

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Final hole teebox (almost done).
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Finished at last.

Let's forget about the next two days when we could barely stand up any more, let alone bend down to tie our shoes. Our vertebrae seemed to be glued together; the bottoms of our feet were badly bruised. True challenges to prove ones manhood and virility are not without risks, frustrations and much mental as well as physical pain.

For the sake of the history books and all those curious readers, the fearsome foursome consisted of the following fantastic golfers, in order of the net scores: 1st - Eric van Mieghem (221), 2nd - Bernhard Kordic (235), 3rd - Kiffin Gish (242), 4th - Michael Pentowski (249).

Hopefully this fine event will live on in as a proud golfing tradition, maybe even becoming a famous golf tournament someday. Next year I hope to enlist more enthusiastic and crazy golfers to join in our noble cause. For sure, the four of us will be there again.

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Great artists attempt to communicate image directly through suggestion, through metaphor, through linguistic feats intended to evoke some similar image to the reader. But ultimately they realize the inadequacy of their tools for the task. Listen to Flaubert's lament, in Madame Bovary:

Whereas the truth is that fullness of soul can sometimes overflow in utter vapidity of language, for none of us can ever express the exact measure of his needs or his thoughts or his sorrows; and human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.

Quoted from the book Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin Yalom.

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I was hoping to play better during the club championship this year. The feeling was that slowly but surely I was reaching an optimum performance, peaking out at the right moment in time. Last week I had some really good practice rounds and I was mentally fit. I was hitting the ball very cleanly and felt confident with my putting.

Unfortunately, playing under pressure in an important tournament is a whole different story. I ended up having three so-so rounds: 80+86+82=248. Only one birdie(!), too many double-bogies, and once even a nasty nine on the par five twelve hole (I crunched a perfect drive down the middle of the fairway and then proceeded to shank my second shot out-of-bounds). I missed too many easy putts and kept pulling the ball slightly to the left, especially on the short iron shots to the green.

That's why golf is such a great sport. Golf is not only about your skill and peak performance, but also requires a dauntless and fearless frame of mind to pull you through those difficult moments.

All in all I ended up winning third place, received a nice little trophy and gift certificate, as well as a polite applause. Better luck next year.

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I went with Thea to see Neil Young play at the Ziggo Dome, and it was truly an amazing experience. We had great seats and had a nice view of the stage, and although at times the music volume was unbearably loud, I was pretty much rocking out the whole evening. With still so much musical energy emanating from his soul, Neil is getting on in years but his guitar licks remain youthful and electrical. In twelve years I will be as old as him now.

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Neil launched off the evening by blowing everyone away with Love and Only Love. After that the most impressive numbers according to me were: Walking Like A Giant (amazingly surrealistic and noisy end), Powder and the Finger, Cinnamon Girl, Hey Hey My My, Fuckin' Up, Heart of Gold, Ramada Inn and Like A Hurricane. I was slightly disappointed that he didn't play my favorite number She's Always Dancing from his latest album Psychedelic Pill, but I will happily forgive him.

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To celebrate my wife's birthday, I surprised her with a nice and romantic boat tour of the Reeuwijkse Plassen. I rented a "fluisterboot" (in Dutch meaning a "whisper boat") and traveled for three hours over the various connected lakes, from one end of the recreation park to the other.

I was the proud and courageous captain, navigating across the expanses of water and negotiating the slight waves and wind very confidently. With my wife safe at my side I felt like a brave soul scanning the horizon for interesting landmarks to explore.

At one point I took a wrong turn and found myself blocked by a narrow passageway that led to nowhere. So I turned the boat around and retraced my route back to the open waters. I felt a bump and the boat bounced up slightly and then stopped moving. Oops, I had run aground on an invisible "veenhomp" just under the surface of the water.

We tried to rock the boat back and forth, and there was this low hanging tree branch that we pulled on, without success. We were completely stuck and I was ready to bail out and swim to the nearby shore or call for help.

Fortunately an older couple lying on their lawn heeded our calls for help and gave us a hand. They threw a rope our way and we tied it to the boat. They kept pulling real hard and we continued rocking the boat, thrusting the motor first in reverse and then forward. This episode lasted forever without the slightest budge, and we felt pretty embarrassed.

At last we were jarred loose and thanked the kind couple for their help. We made it back to shore and as a reward for surviving our near disaster we ate a fancy dinner at 't Wapen van Reeuwijk.

For those wondering what a "veenhomp" is, one can best describe it as a broken off slab of peat hunk.

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In his book Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace, Ricardo Semler has some very interesting and challenging ideas about the definition of the modern company and what needs to be done in order to survive in the chaotic and unpredictable world.

"Technology was gone through the roof, but quality of life has gone down the drain. All we have done is accelerate our malfunctions and increase the intensity of our mis-communication."

"The truly modern company avoids an obsession with technology and puts quality of life first."

"No company can be successful, in the long run anyway, if profits are its principal goal."

These are indeed some very great words of advice, but going about implementing them in a commercial and hard-pushing environment is very difficult if not impossible.

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For Oma's eighty-eighth birthday celebration, we were treated to the traditional Chinese meal at the fancy restaurant next to the Sloterplas in Amsterdam. The kids were looking great and we all had a fun time. The food was fantastic.

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Maarten, Sabien, Lennart and Marlies

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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.