Month: October 2013

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Learning the ML programming language is a lot of fun. This is my first in-depth initiation into the exciting world of functional programming. Here's something to whet your appetite, an elegant function for appending two lists of any type:

fun append e =
    case e of
        ([],ys) => ys
      | (x::xs,ys) => x :: append(xs,ys)

Here we are passing the function append an expression e, and if the pattern matches empty string plus string we stop, otherwise we prepend the first element to the tail appended to the list.

I am following the online Coursera training by the University of Washington called Programming Languages given by Dan Grossman.

Great stuff to keep my aging brain cells oiled and running efficiently.

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Thirteen years ago today my father passed away. Had he still been alive, he would have reached the ripe old age of ninety-seven. Hope you're doing alright, by now you must have shot your age many times on that eternal golf course up in the sky.

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I started out the year with a pretty low handicap, but through practice and perseverance my goal was to lower it much further. At the beginning of the year, following a couple of stellar rounds, my handicap went down. But after that it gradually went up again. Then I had a second streak of good luck rounds and my handicap dropped again. However, since then it has been slowly going up a notch every so often. Now after a full golfing season, I am back to where I started. My handicap has remained the same.

Handicap-chart.png

Looking at things more positively, although I was not able to improve my game that much, I did manage to retain a low handicap, which is not easy. This goes to show you that the better you get the more effort it is to keep on playing that well.

Golf is like the sport called life. It's not so much about getting better all the time and becoming the very best, as it is about staying the same and enjoying this fully for what it was meant to be.

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The true leader is one who has enough courage to demonstrate vulnerability first. This means that he must be willing to risk losing face in front of the team so that others feel free to take similar risks themselves. The true leader fosters an environment in which vulnerability is not punished. Instead the subordinates are freed from the emotional shackles of fear and thereby liberated to achieve excellence.

Paraphrased from The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

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You would think that the more you practice the better you get. This month I have already played eight rounds of golf. My scores so far have been: 81, 76, 83, 76, 74, 76, 80, 84.

This morning I got up extra early for yet another day of golf. I started out so lousy that I quit after three holes. Bogie, double-bogie, bogie. I was so fed up, felt stressed and started cussing out loud to myself. When it started raining real bad I felt better, knowing that the day wasn't wasted since because of the weather I would have quit anyway.

Practicing too much is also not good. Although you need to practice in order to get better, there's an upper limit. The act of practicing should remain fun and relaxing. You also need to feel calm and hone your skills at the same time, otherwise you will not get better only worse.

With that said, I will take a two day break. Hopefully by Sunday I will be mentally prepared for the final monthly medal tournament. Soon enough winter will be here and I will have to take a longer break from golf.

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Every round of golf starts with a fresh slate. The scorecard is a virgin row of boxes to be filled in with digits: birdies, pars, bogies, whatever. It's a brand-new start and anything can happen.

This can be very exciting when you've just spent the previous half hour on the driving range hitting each and every ball pure and straight, landing them right next to the target. As you approach the first hole to tee off, you feel confident and know you will have a good day, I mean a fantastic day. You are pumped up and ready to go.

That's how I felt today at the Slotwedstrijd Heren Senioren, the final Dutch senior tournament of the year. The official announced my name and it was time to go. I wasn't nervous at all because I knew I had a good chance at shooting the course record. Yeah right, who was I kidding this time.

I topped my drive and the ball rolled fifty meters into this area of thick mounds of tundra. Hacked it out somehow into the fairway. To make matters even worse, my next shot ended up out in some meadow. I had opened the caddy book to the wrong page. Showing a par 4 first hole, but the wrong one. Dogleg to the right when in reality it was a dogleg to the left. Somehow managed to find my ball in the middle of nowhere beneath a bush, but ended up with a "lucky" triple-bogie seven.

Bad start, golf is such a very cruel sport. Chops you down when you're feeling high, should have spent my time worshiping the golf gods instead of being selfish and hitting balls on the driving range.

From one extreme to the other. After that I played erratically, had six three putts, left an eagle chip just short of the hole but tapped in the birdie, ended the last three easy holes with bogies.

So at the end of the day my struggle had left me slightly rattled. My score: 43 + 40 = 83. Better luck next year.

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The new album by Basia Bulat is called Tall Tall Shadow and it has just been released today. I downloaded it and am listening to it right now. The album sounds really great.

To quote: Tall Tall Shadow marks a sonic departure from Basia's earlier work, moving away from her long-time practice of writing songs on the guitar or autoharp and instead primarily using piano and charango. It features ten tracks that run the gamut stylistically from dark, introspective moments to danceable folk stompers, and has been called her "bravest release to date."

Tall tall shadow (official video)

Have a look yourself at Basia's handwritten note.

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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.