| Travel | 0 Comments

I received yet another email alert from the Consulate General from which I quote certain relevant parts.

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da'esh), al-Qa'ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests. This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da'esh return from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis. Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services. In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali. ISIL/Da'esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events. U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities. Persons with specific safety concerns should contact local law enforcement authorities who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.

I do not think that even the most effective form of diligence is any good against a group of crazy folks carrying AK-47s and bomb vests.

| Life in Holland | 0 Comments

Everyone around here is getting very worried. Rumor has it that Holland could easily be the next target. They say that it's inevitable that there will be an attack here, especially taking note that the Dutch Air Force is actively bombarding ISIS in Syria. It's best to avoid crowded places and large cities, but I guess it could happen anywhere when you think about it. There were a bunch of young students killed and even some Dutch people were injured at the concert and the other Paris attacks, so it all hits home that much more closely. I keep having nightmares that my children easily could have been there when it happened.

Brussels is indeed very close by, a little over an hour and a half drive from here. They've pretty much locked down the whole country in pursuit of the terrorists. Sporting and music events have been canceled, and the police and military are on extra alert. You'd rather not think about it and go on with your own life some how. Ironically I could care less about myself, but I am very much more concerned about the welfare of my children. Unfortunately, they need to travel by public transportation which means the busy train stations are unavoidable. As young students they also still go out to crowded concerts and busy restaurants, despite the boring parental warnings.


To make matters worse, millions of refugees are pouring in everywhere which is becoming a serious problem in Europe. Every day thousands of exhausted folks arrive here at the Amsterdam train station with nowhere to go. They just jump off of the train carrying their remaining belongings on their backs, children at their sides. It's quite a heart-breaking and emotional scene, many people get really sick and even die during the long trek. Winter is coming and there's nowhere for them to go. People are volunteering their homes and I just read that Ikea will donate some housing for them at three locations.

And then you have those conservationist racists who are against letting foreigners in and have violent protest marches demanding we close all the borders. Now with the terrorist attacks this might be the only possibility. Closing the European borders would be a disaster since one of the most basic tenets upon which all of the EU is based is an open border policy. Very messy situation indeed, wouldn't want to be entwined in the busy world affairs these days.

I'm sad to see that politicians like Trump are gaining in popularity, he is such an idiot. They don't know anything about the situation here, and it's so easy to rant and rave in order to win more votes. Crazy system, when will the people ever learn that that is very far away from what our founding fathers envisioned.

Just live one day at a time and see what comes our way. Enjoy the moment while it lasts and try not to get too upset about world affairs.

| Golf | 0 Comments

Looking around me, I can see millions of leaves all over the place. Not only heaped up in the rough and behind the greens, but also scattered thickly across the fairways. Where did all these leaves come from?! While part of nature and beautiful to see, they ruin my golf game. Even my best drives down the middle of the fairway risk getting lost and never found again. All it takes is a single willing leaf and the proper circumstances like wind and angle of entry, and the ball will roll underneath the yellowness and never be seen again. A good reason not to use your best balls, but I cannot play well with second-hand ugly balls (they have to be nearly brand-new). When I miss the fairway there's an even bigger chance that the ball disappears right in the middle of a heap of leaves. Kicking around endlessly with your feet is like looking for a needle in a haystack. In this case, a golf ball in a pile of leaves. Can't wait until next year Spring, but in the meantime I will just have to deal with it like a mature and accepting person.


| Life in Holland | 0 Comments

Whenever my wife has a night shift, I get to take the dog out for a long walk in the evening. Now that she (my dog) is slowly getting older, we cannot go that far anymore. So I take it slow and easy, letting her sniff her way around and explore the grass. We are the perfect couple, man and beast.

This evening was no different from the others. For November the climate is quite agreeable. I can look around and breath in the fresh air. If you take the time to look closely enough around, you'd be amazed at the myriad of interesting things out there that are just waiting to be discovered.

The evening sky for example, what could be simpler? There's that subtle sliver of time when evening turns into night. I tried to capture the fleeting moment on film. Actually, using my phone camera. Not the best resolution, especially when it's getting dark. Still, it does have something important to tell us.

What do you think?

| Meaning of life | 0 Comments

I have serious concerns that the so-called modern society is becoming overly protective when it comes to raising our children and fostering a perfect society which isn't so perfect.

Parents, friends, family and society tend to think that it's best to preserve at all costs a "pristine moral world" in order that our fragile future leaders are not put into harms way.

After all, we do NOT want to scar them psychologically for life and end up breeding drug addicts, wife-beaters and serial murderers.

The TRUTH of the matter is that REAL life is not a bed of roses. The earlier we realize this and learn to cope with disappointments and seemingly harmful experiences the better.

Goofing off and inadvertently doing stupid things is a freedom that youth should be able to enjoy fully. Parents are there only to correct and guide, provide a solid example, and certainly NOT to enforce with draconian rules and regulations.

Especially not to the degree of making a religious crusade out of it, because that is very hypocritical when you look in the mirror and realize that the imperfections of your earlier life are exactly what have made you the person you are today.

That is something each and every one of us can be proud of.

We were the "Raiders of the Night"

| World affairs | 0 Comments

As honored members of the older generation, we have a moral responsibility to encourage youthful resistance to authority when appropriate.

For those instances where the border line is not so clearly defined or visible, our duty is to foster open dialog in a professional and honest manner from both sides of the fence, the younger versus the older, right versus wrong.

Nowadays society has become way too strict and brainwashed in its attitudes towards the moral fiber of those youthful thinkers (we once were). History is an endless repetition of this ridiculous we-are-better-than-you attitude. High time to abolish this.

Looking back on those days of the past and the things we did for fame and pleasure, according to today's mindless rules and regulations we might all still be in prison to this very day. Times are changing, but not always for the better.

Though in the long run we were somehow able to achieve relatively successful and respectful lives despite despite our many youthful shortcomings. So what difference does it really make?

We are not any better at all.

| Family and friends | 0 Comments

Had he still been alive today, he would have reached the ripe old age of ninety-nine years old. Still hard to believe that he passed away fifteen years ago.

| Golf | 0 Comments

The great thing about golf is that no matter how well you are playing, there is always some new personal record to be made. After hitting a couple of buckets on the driving range, and then chipping a bit, I head on up to the putting green. A bit drizzly and cold, but good climate for honing my short game. The goal is to complete one round of nine holes without a single three putt before being able to go home. Sometimes I make it through two rounds or two rounds and a bit before that disastrous three putt ends my dream of perfection. This afternoon was different, totally unexpected. Not two but three rounds without a single three putt, and a new world record to boot. When you think about it, that's quite a worthy accomplishment to feel proud about. Three times nine is twenty-seven holes times three balls per hole equals eighty-one attempts with only two putts and more often than not one putts. I didn't keep track of all of the one putts so not sure how many under I was but it was alot.

Where it all happened, the new world record.

| Travel | 0 Comments

Commuting by train every morning used to be a social activity among fellow travelers who were cordial and polite. The early chit-chat of spontaneous conversation filled the air, variegated voices and motions creating a peaceful background for the high speed swoosh of the train's movement along the rails. Not uncommon was the occasional smile, a glancing stare, meeting eyes and a polite gesture of anticipation and offering.

Nowadays just sit together in a quiet bubble of unawareness completely isolated from the real world. Whatever that may be. People sit hunch-backed in their seats staring at smartphones, glued to the colorful movements on tiny displays. There is no conversation, limited gestures and pure silence. Swiping hands cannot get enough and fingers typing away erratically produce slivers of meaningless. No one looks up, not a soul.

For the older generation of passengers who have happy memories of the good old days of the old-fashioned commute, an eerie emptiness fills the train carriage. All those young folks and their lost souls. Even an accidental bump will not displace glaring eyes, for that other hidden world is too addictive.

No excuse me, no sorry eyes, just aggravation as if every single second glued to the device will never be enough.

| Books | 0 Comments

Nowadays it's easy to buy new books, much too easy. Just click a button and then download. Oh yeah, and don't forget to fill in your credit card details. I've always been in love with books, the old-fashioned kind that you could hold, feel and smell. My more modern collection of ebooks is growing in leaps and bounds, and I'd be too embarrassed to admit the titles of the majority of books I have yet to read. I read a couple chapters of the one, and then I am distracted to purchase and download a couple more. Or even three or four more. Maybe it's a mania, an addiction or just plain craziness.

There is still much too much to learn, and there's more and more coming.

| Books | 0 Comments

Do you like my hat?
I do not like that hat.
Where are those dogs going?
What is up there on top of that tree?
A dog party!
A big dog party!
And now do you like my hat?
I do. What a hat!

— Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman

| Golf | 0 Comments

We squashed the European Team and won the coveted trophy.

| Dreams | 0 Comments

All I had to do was remember that five digit number when I woke up. If I did, then something truly amazing was going to happen to me or my family or the world civilization maybe even the whole universe.

What this truly amazing something was, I can no longer remember. All that mattered was that I memorize the five digit number no matter what.

I kept on repeating the five digits over and over again. I had to make sure that by repeating it enough times, I could not possibly forget it.

In my excitement, I could feel the number slowly but surely fading away. I repeated the number out loud, louder and louder until I was shouting. Please do not let me forget it, please.

Of course when I woke up I forgot the number. Don't all dreams end that why?

However, I did remember very clearly that it was a "five digit" number, and I'm pretty sure now that it started with a two followed by a five. Though if I had to bet my life on it, I cannot be a hundred percent sure.

Too bad, no truly amazing something this time around. Will give it another try the next time and figure out a better trick to remember.

| Golf | 0 Comments


The yearly Jong tegen Oud (young versus old) tournament took place for the second year. We the old fart golfers proved that we could beat those young whipper snappers.

| Life in Holland | 0 Comments

Boy that was sure a close call. I was almost hit by a bus this morning. There I was minding my own business and deep in thought about the various meetings and other chores I was going to have that day at work. Automatically I always check to look right and left for cars on the regular roadway, but at this intersections there's a middle strip reserved for public transport. I would say it's dangerous and I wonder how many near misses have occurred there up to now. Fortunately the bus driver saw me in time. What's that old idiot doing?! I can hear him thinking as the bus barreled down on me at high speed. The sonic honk almost gave me a heart attack, but reflex made me jerk backwards out of the way of certain death. The driver barely braked and nonchalantly swerved the vehicle sharply to the left to avoid hitting me. Just barely. In an instant I could have been killed, just like that. But I wasn't and life continues normally like nothing ever happened.

| Travel | 0 Comments


What are the odds of being able to capture this historical moment on film? That's the equivalent of having driven my car more than three and a half times around the world. Funny how after all that time I seem to keep ending up at the very same place.

| Golf | 0 Comments

My handicap has reached a new low of 4.1 despite a terrible score of 86 on Sunday after shooting an 81 and 77 on Saturday during the sixth Rijnmond Open.


| Golf | 0 Comments


On the first day I had two good rounds: 81 and 77. I played with two enthusiastic young bucks combine age more than twenty years less than my age.

| Golf | 0 Comments

I chose my 52-degree wedge, took the usual practice swings, and then I hit the ball crisply right on the sweet spot. The ball flew straight as an arrow with a nice high arc falling down wind directly at the flag. Right down the smoke stack as we used to say. Not sure how it missed the hole. Looking at the direct line between the ball mark at the front of the green and the ending position of the ball right behind the flag, it doesn't seem possible. Oh well, better luck next time.

The 14th hole at Liemeer

| Computers and stuff | 0 Comments

This is a very interesting video which gives you a taste of the things to come with the Phoenix web framework and the new web.

Web developers have typically been presented with a choice between performance or a productive development environment. With Phoenix, developers can have both while enjoying a wonderful set of abstractions for working with the new web, making streaming data to browsers, native mobile application or embedded clients a breeze. Finally, we will see how Phoenix leverages the Elixir language and the Erlang VM for writing maintainable and scalable code.

| Life in Holland | 0 Comments

Whatever you do be sure not to take the very last slice of cake. Even if it has been lying around on the plate the whole day.

The Dutch are very traditional in many ways, and being very polite when partaking in another person's birthday cake is one of them. Just like during lunch or dinner you are expected to have good manners, not talk with your mouth full, eating slowly and partaking in relaxed conversation, and not gulping down your food greedily. The cake is offered to you as a gesture of kindness, and you are expected to display a keen sense of thankfulness. You wait until offered and that's just the way it is.

The last slice is sliced thinner and thinner.

One of the unwritten laws is never ever take the last piece of cake. This rule also applies to cookies or biscuits during coffee or cheese or a bowl of nuts or whatever. The last bonbon must remain like some artistic decoration. So at work it was a colleague's birthday and he treated everyone to cake. One slice after another was made to appease the eager cake lovers who stood ever so calmly in line, until there was just one slice left.

So what do you do if you really would like some cake but do not want to be cast from society for having grabbed the last piece? Well you take a very sharp knife and carefully slice this piece in two and take the half. Depending on the number of people and the size of the original cake, the last remaining piece of cake can be bisected several times until there is a paper thin slice left on the plate, mostly balancing ever so precariously on its side.

Since I am a boring and impolite American without proper manners, I waited until most people had gone home and the room was nearly empty, checking that no one was looking when I grabbed the thin slice and gobbled it down. It was so thin that it melted in my mouth, but it still tasted great.

| Golf | 0 Comments

Rumor has it that a golfing maniac has escaped and is wreaking havoc on random golf courses.


Have you seen this person? If so then proceed with caution as he is armed with a sand wedge and dangerous.

| Programming | 0 Comments

The speed of feedback is very important in order for the product developers to do the right job.

Developers depend on feedback in order to make the right choices at the right time.

Feedback also allows developers to realize their mistakes and incorrect assumptions early on in order to recover before it is too late.

Proper and timely feedback allows one to operate the product development process effectively, especially in a very noisy and erratic environment.

By analyzing and reacting to feedback early, one adapts efficiently to unpredictability, and one is more flexible and dynamic to ever-changing business needs.

Unfortunately, current orthodox beliefs view feedback as the evil cause of undesirable rework loops, stubbornly insisting that rework is to be avoided by designing things right the first time (as if this is ever possible).

Of course we all know how foolish such an unfounded belief is, history has shown us too many failed projects which have fallen victim to this stubborn way of thinking.

Feedback gives one new and valuable information that can be used to freshen our viewpoints and make better economic choices.

| Golf | 0 Comments

Hurrah, I've qualified to play in the 3e NGF Maandbeker this Sunday at the Golfclub Cromstrijen. My lousy handicap has been slowly increasing so it's high time that I shoot another low score in order to bring my current handicap (4.6) down a couple of notches where it belongs.

Startlijst - 3e NGF Maandbeker op Cromstrijen
Aantal deelnemers - 55
Complete list.

Sunday, July 19
As it turns out, I had a stellar round with three birdies and no double-bogies and finished with a 75 which was 10th place. Not bad against all those youthful whippersnappers who can hit the ball a mile. I was by far the oldest one there, at least twice as old as the average player, and one of the players in my flight was nineteen years old believe it or not. Still a golfer who is young at heart.

Uitslag voor Heren - 3e NGF Maandbeker
Complete results.

| Programming | 0 Comments

There's an illusion going on out there, and it's best to avoid it with all your might. Just because you are in a hurry and think it's expedient to throw important requests over the wall into the development team as quickly as possible, does NOT mean that you are following the shortage route to getting it done. Done, done. Not done by development, not done by testing and not done as in "delivered" to the customer and curing his headache. That's really the moment of truth when the customer benefits from all that effort (money spent), when profits start rolling in. Repeat, does NOT. Too many people fail to understand this simple concept, because they are blinded by the glitter of money (so-called) and the individual bonus. In truth, injecting random tasks without proper preparation will in the end take much longer to actually get to the happy customer. Think about best practices. Follow the rules of thumb, and you will avoid being consumed later by the nightmare of endless after care and all night bug-fixing marathons (which will eat up any short term profits in no time). Here is what you should do with these request first. Analyse and localize, provide a structured and high-level description, prioritize, and then wait. Waiting is the hardest thing to do, especially in a commercial world where we the greedy ones are pressured to make a quick buck, or else. Or else the competitors will jump in front of you at your slightest hesitation. No, be wise and wait until the last possible moment, wait through that incubation period until the time is ripe. Decide when you are just still in control, just at furthest point within the window of opportunity, right before the moment that the decision will be forced upon you.

| Programming | 0 Comments

RESTful Rails Development by Silvia Puglisi

I couldn't resist the great book offer that the kind folks at O'Reilly emailed me, so I splurged and purchased the e-book called RESTful Rails Development by Silvia Puglisi.

Although I may fool myself into believing that I am some kind of expert and this is already all very familiar material, it's always good to refresh one's mind. Perhaps even discovering new information or coming across eye-opening code snippets. Rails, REST and Ruby, yeah sure I already know all that stuff. Or do I?

Coding years on end without keeping track of new stuff can be compared to driving a car your whole life and thinking that you are perfectly competent when actually you have unknowingly become a bigger danger on the road than you realize.

Be careful before you accidentally kill your fellow developer who is pair-programming next to you. Like I always say (sorry if I keep repeating myself too much), I am never too old to learn new stuff.

The book is still the early release raw and unedited, but I still found that there were way too many errors and typos. Sure the price was right and I should not have high expectations, but when you get into the flow of reading and are regularly disrupted by unclear and misspelled words, it's a bit of a hassle.

Especially when code fragments are wrong, I hate it when there are code typos. You never know if that is how it's really supposed to be or if it is an error, until you fire up irb or vi, type it all in yourself and (if there are no syntax errors) running it.

For example, seeing '{ :product_id => 2 }' all over the place instead of '{ :product_id => 2 }', now that's pretty aggravating.

Although the English isn't fluent, the contents and descriptions are done quite well and the story-line is very complete. I just hope that in the coming newer releases that the errors will be fixed and the sentences made to flow better.

| Golf | 0 Comments

Somehow managed to make it past the cut and qualified to play in the final round of the International Dutch Senior Open.

Not that I played that great, made many stupid mistakes but managed to hang in there and at the end pulling though with a streak of pars on the final four grueling holes.

My scores were just good enough to squeeze through, I shot a 43+42=85 and 41+42=83 (2 birdies, 5 double-bogies and 1 triple-bogie).

Complete list.

Saturday, July 11th :
Turns out that my excitement was short lived. Had a terrible third day. 45+43=88 with only 4 lousy pars, two double-bogies and a whole slew of bogies, very frustrating. Better luck next year.

| Golf | 0 Comments

Last week Friday afternoon it was an honor and a pleasure being able to play on De Pan which is one of the most prestigious golf courses in Holland.

Since I will be playing next week in the International Dutch Senior Open, I qualify for one free practice round. Normally the green fee is one hundred euros and you can only play if you are invited by one of the members.

Thirteenth hole par four at De Pan.

Hopefully next week I will play better than I have recently (pull my iron shots badly to the left or drive duck hooks off of the tee), but most importantly I will take the next few days to relax and prepare myself mentally.

| Golf | 0 Comments

This is how it all started, little did I realize the consequences of my carelessness.

Last week Thursday, I was late for the train home and ran as quickly as I could to try and catch it. Normally a brisk fifteen minute walk, I dashed at full speed and covered the same distance in half that time. This turned out not to be a very great idea. Carrying my heavy leather bag dangling from the right shoulder didn't help things out either. At the last possible moment when the train doors started to slide shut I hurled myself through the opening. My back was jerked out of place in a split-second forceful thud of gravity as my left foot landed inside. Oops and ouch.

Not being able to get out of bed is a bizarre and slightly frightful experience. Fortunately, I have a fantastic nurse for a wife who knows all the ins and outs of patient care, including the helping hands pulling me out of bed as well as the administration of the proper types and doses of pain killers.

Of course I was in complete denial. I'm alright just a little stiff is all. You see, all year long I had been looking forward so much to playing in this famous Rotterdam Open Golf Tournament. I was even entertaining exotic fantasies that I could very well win this thing, and was not about to let some stupid back problem get in my way.

Little did I know then that I'd never finish because of stupid back problems.

Didn't play that great, but considering the situation (could only swing with my arms with severely limited back rotation) I managed to make the cut by shooting a conservative 39+37=76 (one double bogie but no birdies).

That evening proved to be fairly unbearable, and even my macho brain had to give in to the pain. After all, you need to listen to your body's warning system and accept things once in awhile. Or not?

In the end, it was very hard for me to give in but I was forced to cancel the round with tears in my eyes. Let another happy and healthier soul from the reserve list take my place and appreciate it.

Next weekend is the second most important golf tournament of my golf club, and I do not want to risk missing that because of my being too hard-headed and stubborn.

Hopefully I can get out of bed tomorrow morning and make it to work.

| Golf | 0 Comments

Looks like I've qualified to be able to play in the International Dutch Senior Open this year.

The tournament will take place July 9 - 11 at the prestigious De Pan golfclub, one of the nicest golf courses in The Netherlands.

Here's the email invitation I received today:

Dear players,

Hereby you receive the participation list for the International Dutch Senior Open 2015 at Utrechtse Golfclub de Pan.


We are looking forward to a great tournament!
Met vriendelijke groeten,

Can't wait to play.

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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 2208 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.