Category: Miscellaneous

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The word "alot" does not exist. It is often mistakenly written instead of "a lot" which is the correct spelling.

This was drilled into my head all through elementary school, just like it ain't proper to say ain't, but for some reason I keep wanting so bad to use it that way.

A lot as one word feels more normal to me, just like many, much etc. which are all also one word and not two. So what's the big deal?

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The following email which I received this morning looks really authentic, so should I respond in order to find out more?

I am Captain Ted Anderson of the US Marine Corps (U.S.M.C.) On a Monitoring and Peace-keeping mission in Baghdad-Iraq. Please there is a serious business I have for you. There's a consignment I want you to receive on my behalf. I shall give more information when I hear from you.Thank you and keep it secret.
Regards, Capt Ted Anderson

Well for the time being I'm not really up to any so-called serious business, sorry.

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Kiffin_painting_dakkappel_1.jpg Kiffin_painting_dakkappel_2.jpg Kiffin_painting_dakkappel_3.jpg

What could be funner on a beautiful and sunny day than painting the dormer? In Dutch it's called a "dakkappel" which when translated literally means "roof kappel."

As you can see, this activity is not without risks considering the height and the occasional gust of wind which can surprise those unprepared for disaster.

By doing it myself, and perhaps risking a broken bone or two, I am saving us alot of money, so it's worth it.

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Today was a bad luck day because of the following reasons:

  • This morning when I was in a hurry to get to work, I hastily tied my shoes with too much strength and both of my shoelaces snapped;

  • This afternoon on my way back home from work, I fell asleep in the train and missed my last stop, so I had to get out at the next stop and come back, wasting about an hour; and,

  • This evening when I finally arrived at my destination, I went to my bike which should have been parked at the back of the train station where I always leave it. That's when I realized I had inadvertently left my key chain in the lock in the morning, meaning that someone had stolen my bike along with my keys (bike, home, car and work cabinet) and my nice rain gear snugly packed in the side bag.
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There he is again that guy I have been telling you about all along.

He is walking down the stairs and will continue his journey back up again and finally along the street which leads to the center of town.

After that I am not quite sure which direction he will choose, but that does not matter.

At least not for now.

What really matters is when I will see him again, that moment in time when our paths intersect.

This will probably not happen within the next few days, but more than likely I will see that guy again next month or so.

When that happens.

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Those kinds of pants are the ones I really like, because they stretch nicely over your belly giving you the false impression that you are not really getting fat at all.

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When you think that you have nearly arrived at your destination, stop for a couple minutes and look around.

What is it that you see?

More than likely it is not what you expected, but you will continue to the end no matter how slight this last obstacle in your path may appear.

They said at the beginning that it would not be easy, that one should not take things lightly, as if it didn't matter when it really did.

Whatever you do, do NOT turn back.

We are not quite sure why not, why this innate desire to make it all the way has been drilled into our minds, but we listen anyway. Not only do we listen, but we do it as well.

The couple minutes have passed, so please continue.

(No matter what)

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I am beginning to look like a reborn hippie, so I will have to go to the local barber and get all of my golden locks chopped off leaving just enough hair on top of my translucent dome so that I don't end up looking too bald.

When I called up to make an appointment, the soothing female voice on the other side asked me the name of the girl I preferred.

I couldn't remember her name, but I said that I knew what she looked like (she had long blond hair, average face, some makeup and not too thin).

"What does she look like then?"

I didn't want to say that she was that one, so I hesitated slightly thinking how I could describe her best without being perceived as rude.

"Does she have black hair?"

"No, she has long blond hair, and ..."

"Oh then you mean ... then?"

Yes, that's the one.

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Once you are sitting in the train you are accepting totally that it will take you somewhere, preferably to the specified destination. Call it faith, call it surrender, belief in the unknown, or whatever. So when you wake up, you are not quite sure anymore what is happening, where you are now, what you should do next. Of course, no one is preventing you from getting out at the following stop. If you are impatient and feel a little adventurous, you can always crank down the window and jump out (though this is not recommended procedure). But if you choose to do that then what next? It all depends on the velocity and direction and the general orientation of things.

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This cannot be true. Or can it?

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Perhaps this year around I will finally have to give in and attend my class reunion. You know, check out all the old acquaintances, reminisce about the good old days, and catch-up on lost time.

Too bad that Maarten's birthday will be at the same time.

I will have to make a difficult choice, though I already know that my son's birthday is a thousand times more important than some old folks get together.

--

Favorite memories: "Jogging in the foothills, firing golf balls with my 3-iron down Donnor hallway, the epic journey, Neil Young, Dr. J, the Oasis, getting into SAE, getting rejected from medical school."

Student activities/clubs: "SAE fraternity, golf, beer-drinking, ad infinitum."

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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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This was a short article I had written for the Contact Jong Bedrijven Rotterdam newsletter in which I reviewed the workshop "Klantegerichte Offertes Schrijven" which I attended on June 12th. In a somehwat comical and (hopefully) original way, I attempted to mix up English and Dutch idioms and expressions in order to make the article more appealing (and/or distracting). So as not to confuse the reader too much, I have "italicized" the Dutch words. Just place your mouse cursor over these words to see the translation into English. By "offer" I mean a said "quotation" for a given amount of work to be done.


--- KORT EN BONDIG IS NOT ENOUGH ---
As an American setting up his business in Holland, I was curious what the workshop "Offertes Schrijven" had to offer. You see, by nature Americans think they know it better, that they are the best at everything. I was pleasantly surprised during this gezellige avond to learn that the Dutch approach is net zo goed − if not better. Americans have a lot to learn. The Dutch weten precies what they are doing, and they do it pretty darn good: simpel, bondig en pakkend, met persoonlijke aandacht.

Take the wonderful "kunst der offertes" for instance...

Writing a half-decent offerte is veel moeilijker than you might expect. We aren't talking about your plain-vanilla offertes. You know, where a bunch of numbers and figures result in a totale prijs, alstublieft meneer klant de koning. We mean a pakkende, professionele offerte which completely bowls over the potential customer. One look at it and he chooses you right away, zonder twijfel. Een goede offerte is erg belangrijk, maar niet zo gemakkelijk te bedenken.

With much enthusiasm and spunk, Suzanne Meijles of ProTaal gave us an excellent avondcursus "Klantgerichte Offertes Schrijven" as part of the now famous CJB Rotterdam Workshop series. De opkomst was fantastisch! I counted more than 20 jonge ondernemers of various ages, backgrounds and areas of expertise. There was much to share. Met interactieve oefeningen, Suzanne helped us be brutal with heated kritiek, but she also guided us in a professional, stylish way to exchange courteous ideas and learn from each other. Dit is de ware kracht van de CJB Rotterdam Workshop series.

For some reason, one easily forgets how important a good offerte becomes. Often we hate doing it and put it off until the last possible minute. Zo veel tijd en energie has already been spent leading up to this important moment. So when you think about it logically, why not crown your efforts with a masterpiece of creativity, really make it happen, and with gusto?

That is exactly what we learned to do during the workshop. Je moet in de schoenen van de klant staan in order to understand him better. The price is not always the most important issue. Stijl, uiterlijk en presentatie can become the true success factors.

Here are just a few of the (honderden) hints and tips that we picked up:

The workshop was not about discovering the secrets to writing de perfecte offerte. In fact, there is NO such thing as de perfecte offerte, and there is no ONE way to create offertes. The most important message from the workshop, I think, is that writing offertes can be lots of fun if you do them right! By seeing it as a kreatief proces, like writing a book or an entertaining article, a way of expressing your business in a colorful and convincing way, you greatly increase your chances at catching de grote vis die de klant heet. Getting rich was never that easy, anyway.

At least now one American jonge ondernemer out there has learned a good lot during the gezellige avond from his Dutch compatriots. Bedankt, you guys.


I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I had fun writing it.

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Here is some very sound advise for you: "When in doubt, rearrange your furniture." That is what I did the whole day. One can take this advise literally as well as figuratively. The act of change is good for you, and with the pieces of furniture reshuffled in new-and-improved positions you feel like something good has been accomplished. The stereo (musical thoughts of relaxation) over there, the television (myriad of new and challenging ideas) in the corner, the couches and chairs arranged in a cozy circle (creative and stimulating conversation), and the glass cabinet (enclosed yet visible to those who choose to look) up against the other wall. Upstairs is just as important as the downstairs. Of course, rearranging the furniture cannot take place every single day, but once in a while does wonders to your well being, if you know what I mean. Do not underestimate the fact that this so-called sound advise applies equally well to the physical as well as the spiritual.

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Since I have nothing else left to do now, I decided to organize my life by creating a pseudo-checklist of important things that should be done (some time in the future). So-called structure and a twisted form of guidance that will provide me with those normal goals and purposes that everyone entertains these modern days with pleasure. New purpose that is. Here follows my to do list:

  • Get the vacation pictures copied and sent to everyone back home.
  • Write thank you notes to all the fine people who were so cordial and accommodating to us during the vacation.
  • Paint the inside of the two doors white (one in the garage and the other in the kitchen).
  • Send off millions of cover letters and resumes to find work where possible.
  • Read the tremendous backlog of books I have collected in the last year or so.
  • Spend more quality time with my children.
  • Fill out the unemployment papers and forms so that I will be able to receive (very limited) compensation some day.
  • Relax and enjoy my late evenings with Thea just being together reading and talking.
  • Learn more and more about Internet and how I can improve my homepage and blogs.
  • Fix the backyard patio stones which have collapsed into a hole ten feet by ten feet after a tropical deluge which washed away all the dirt.
  • Start getting healthy again.
  • Join a fitness club called Getting-Well.
  • Stop munching out on sweets and no more desserts, just resist.
  • Take up jogging three times a week (hopefully my back problems do not come back).
  • Learn to relax, meditate, and perhaps even take Yoga classes.
  • Finally unpack and clean up all the rest of the luggage lying around since we returned from America.
  • Play more video games on our Playstation2 to get even better and ascend higher impossible levels of expertise (the games sure cost enough, so I might as well use them).
  • Call a number of acquaintances and other individuals to assess the employment situation so that I can focus my efforts better, aiming for the areas where my chances are the greatest.
  • Just live day by day and hour by hour as they come along, go with the flow
That sure is a long list, not exhaustive, but still a bit too long I would say. It is not my intention to do every single thing, but rather just to create some form of organization in a life which is pretty darn unstructured and unpredictable at the time. Cast some light rays into the darkness ahead.

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What is a person to say when they have nothing to say? One may insist that the sake of saying at least something is more than compensated by the lack of any need thereof. Or the other way around. So when worse comes to worse silence is better medicine for one's shortcomings than all of the other things put together. All of them plus one. Don't you think so?

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Today I have a really bad case of shin splints. In a feeble attempt to make time go backwards and make myself believe I am actually getting younger and not older, I have been running almost every day now for the last two weeks. In twelve of the last fourteen days I have paced off my six kilometer route in under thirty minutes. My shin splints are killing me, but I just had to run again this afternoon. Had to run again. In order to release extra tensions and energies. You see, today wasn't the best day at work. The economy sucks right now and the chances of finding an assignment in the wonderful world of mobile telecommunications is not that great at all. I was given sound advice to shape up or ship out. Oh well, I will keep on running until I attain what I deserve. Be productive and bring in tons of Euros for my company. Live up to the expectations of others. But what about yours truly? No shin splints for me, not this time around. Keep on going. I am actually getting younger.

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There was this older guy on the news this evening, and it got me thinking. Some ancient politician of one sort or other was trying to explain some economic quagmire to the public without putting them to sleep. Completely lost with where he was trying to get at, my mind wandered and I watched the motions of his facial musculature. I couldn't stop noticing the various warts covering his face (about five of various sizes and shapes) that were moving while he spoke. There was also a globular bump atop his bald scalp looking like a volcano ready to erupt.

How come older people who have these big awful-looking warts and other protruding bumps on their faces never get such tasteless masses removed? Are they attached (pun not intended) to these life-long friends? Or after years of ever so gradual a growth rate has it never caught their attention that these little friends have sprung into existence? Because they have slowly grown and therefore never been noticed? Or could it be that by hacking these cellular masses the old folks would feel like they were tearing off a vital part of themselves, some piece of their being, an extension of their inner selves?

All right, let me be objective about it all. I will now try and understand their predicaments in a more rational way, I hope. Take my nice-looking nose of which I am very proud. Beautiful isn't it? Assume that my beautiful nose were to grow at an average rate of approximately 0.137 millimeters per day. Now that is hardly noticeable, not even a slice of a cell width so small it is. Assume also that this growth rate, while ever so minute, is constant over a good portion of my life, say about fifty years. I would barely notice it, and if you were sitting in front of me for all those years, I doubt that you too would even notice it. But after fifty years my nose would be two and a half centimeters longer (50 yrs x 365 days x .000137 centimeters = 2.5 centimeters). The law of physics which states that the distance travelled is equal to the velocity times the rate: d=vt. That's the same as one and a quarter inches! Now, would I want to cut off that extra protrusion? I think not. My case has been proved and it is now officially closed. QED.

The moral of this story is do not become fixated on the protrusions of sorts of others while they are discussing interesting matters which my just well change the course of history. Another moral might be to treat those with warts and other protrusions like you would treat yourself if your nose too were growing at a rate of approximately 0.137 millimeters per day or thereabouts.

I feel really really creative today. Can you tell?

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In case anyone out there just might happen to be reading this entry on this very special day of the year (what's wrong? bored? looking for inspiration? escape from your parents-in-law? just something different? miss me? whatever?) this note is especially for you. A very Merry Christmas and a very happy two-thousand-and-two filled with many days of pleasant blogging and other successful endeavors.

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After all these years of dedicated service and unending dedication, my poor Opel Corsa was relieved of duty. I had tears in my eyes, but I am also boringly sentimental sometimes. Had it for more than seven years and driven more than one hundred thousand kilometers. Brought me effortlessly from here to there. Each and every season. Still runs just fine, in fact it purrs. But it also rattles alot over the slightest bumps in the road, and it has two large holes in the chassis which have been eaten away by rust. Getting old and sick. So I brought it to the garage where it will be passed thanklessly onto the dump. Oh well, I will miss you.

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This morning I woke up and it was gone. My beard that is. All right, so I finally decided to shave my beard off. So many people were complaining about it that I couldn't take it any more. No way. Broke down and allowed their unfound opinions get the best of me, again. It was indeed a slightly messy process, removing all of that growth from my face. I was too impatient (and perhaps also a little mad that yet again I was letting all these other people define my life and what I should look like) and just started hacking away. Shave, shave, slice, shave, oops. Some accidental gashes and lots of blood. Feels weird, like all of a sudden I got naked in front of everyone. The cool winter breeze has become even colder on my exposed face. Nothing more to hide behind. Will have to be myself from now on. Happy?!

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Late in the afternoon and I was driving back from the shopping mall where I had just purchased yet another Radiohead cd. Around five in the afternoon it is already dark, dark enough that my headlights were on and I was driving extra carefully. When I looked both ways I knew it was okay to leave the parking lot, or that is what I thought. I drove out and slammed on my breaks before even realizing it. Some kid on his bike almost crashed head on and swerved off to the side. His blond-haired girlfriend was sitting on the back, and she jumped off with a start. Stupid idiots! They had not turned on their bicycle light and that is why I had not seen them. Dammit you [#$%@] watch out [%$@*&] dummies! My adrenaline (a hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla in response to stress, trade name Adrenalin, stimulates autonomic nerve action) was pumping and I become unbelievably irate, cussing out loud. Strange, I could have killed them and I was mad. I should have been thankful that they escaped injury. Could go on living. Grow up and get married. Have tons of children, future leaders of the world. Yes, I had changed the course of history thanks to my quick instincts. Nature at its best, not quite under my control but to some small insignificant degree affected by my physical reactions. A sense of relief. Then I drove home, went upstairs to write this entry. Listening to the new cd. Thinking that I am some fine writer exaggerating the actual situation in order to have something to write about.

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Me in ten years.
Me in ten years.
Growing a beard can be a new and interesting challenge in life. Stubbles and itchiness, followed by a full flowing covering of fur to keep you warm and hide your mug. There are advantages, but there are also disadvantages. Here is a list to help you compare and decide for yourself.

Advantages:

  • looks really cool and different.
  • you do not have to shave every morning.
  • distinctive look and wise visage.

  • gives one confidence to confront issues.
  • hides your ugly mug pretty well.
  • nice change of appearance.
  • covers up pimples and blemishes nicely.
  • a new image and philosophy in life.
Disadvantages:
  • extreme itchiness, at least in the beginning.
  • grey spots make you look old.

  • shocks some people.
  • collects food crumbs without you knowing it.
  • not very representative of the company.

  • you look like a criminal.
  • comes across as hostile or antagonistic.
  • repeated taliban jokes behind your back.

There is no clear winner between the advantages and the disadvantages. Weighing both sides of the issue and putting them in perspective should give you a better indication of whether or not it is a good idea for you too to grow a beard. Seriously now. Have you ever truly wondered what a beard is by definition? What are the common beliefs centered around the phenomenon called a beard? I have, endlessly of course. I stole the following official definition from Dictionary.com site:

beard(bîrd) n.

  1. The hair on a man's chin, cheeks, and throat.
  2. A hairy or hairlike growth such as that on or near the face of certain mammals.
  3. A tuft or group of hairs or bristles on certain plants, such as barley and wheat.
  4. One who serves to divert suspicion or attention from another.
  5. Printing. The raised slope on a piece of type between the shoulder or counter and the face. Also called neck.
tr.v. beard·ed, beard·ing, beards

  1. To furnish with a beard.

  2. To confront boldly.

[Middle English berd, from Old English beard. See bhardh-- in Indo-European Roots.]

beardless adj.

Okay, that's pretty much it for beards right now. Getting carried away again. I will keep my readers updated on the future of my beard. Itch, itch.

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Another grubby beard.
Another grubby beard (enlarge).
I thought it would be a good idea to change my image again, for the sake of variation in this otherwise boring life. Grow a beard. Ever-changing chameleon in the so-called world of persistence and resolution. I think it is starting to look nice and grubby. However, everyone else hates it and they keep reminding me day in and day out to shave it off. There are all these gray spots in it and that makes me look older, more experienced, wiser, distinguished, just plain old. Well, those are the compromises that must be made in order to pursue change every once in awhile. Grey patches in an otherwise smoothly evolving growth. The worst part is that after three days it gets very very itchy. Scratch, scratch, scratch. Later, when the hairs extend themselves and become long strands, I will have to resist the urge to pull at them and curl the hairs by twisting them between by thumb and forefinger. Having to dress up in a suit and tie and visiting important customers with my grubby beard is an interested exercise in accountability. To be representative and at the same time not representative. Some people claim that I look like a criminal. Would you trust this person? Experienced telecom expert, allow me to introduce myself. My beard and I are happy to make your acquaintance. Scratch, scratch, scratch. Just another every day down-to-earth common sense grubby beard. At your service. Helps me think and concentrate better. A good idea.
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Why do I keep on biting the inside of my left cheek when I am sleeping? I have had this sore spot (sometimes more painful than other times) for a couple of years now, at least that long if not longer. It never goes away. What could I possibly be dreaming all the time that causes me to grind my teeth in such a way that I keep irritating this spot which is therefore never allowed to heal? Strange. Probably all my daily frustrations getting in the way and trying to express themselves at night. Grind, grind...

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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 2288 entries and as many as 1877 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.