Month: October 2001


"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream by night."

- Edgar Allan Poe, Eleanora, 1842.

Eye in the sky.
Sunset in Holland.
Now that winter time has kicked in and thus the time has officially been moved back an hour, it gets darker much earlier in the afternoon. In fact, when I cycle back from my work at the end of the day, that wonderful orange ball called the sun is low along the meadows, almost touching the horizon. Quite an amazing site when you begin to think about it. Because the sun is so low it gives the illusion of being much larger than normal, in fact the lower half bulges downwards as if the fluid ball is attracted and thus distorted by the gravitational attraction of the earth. Two heavenly bodies reaching out to touch each other. Grazing, glancing, scraping, gone. The orange color is not restricted to the sphere of the distant sun, rather it's energy is scattered across the whole sky, a diluted watercolor spreading out and engulfing everything in the way. And that's me, just a struggling little speck, down there doing its best to proceed so silently, headlong against the wind. Time passing, sun falling, night coming.

They say that when the father passes away he not only takes a piece of his son with him but he also leaves a piece of himself within his son. This is very true.

"When you repeat your triumph perfectly each time, it's more than just luck. Libra enjoys a heightened use of their essential skills. Accept praise without feeling vain. You deserve this, and you know it." So tell me then, where has the praise been for all these years?!

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Technology companies worldwide are laying off employees. Other companies are simply going broke or just closing up business. Of course, since this is such a sensitive subject, no one wants to talk about it hoping that by ignoring it that it will go away. Lots of questions and people wondering, getting upset and that type of thing. I have decided not to get worried and just see what happens. What I cannot figure out is why things either go super great or really bad, the pendulum swinging from one extreme to the next. Humanity never seems to learn from its mistakes. The Internet craze is another example of foolish fixation pushing things to the extreme. Wasn't it supposed to be some panacea making us all unbelievably rich? And thus happy. A Nirvana. Now look what is happening! Better to live one day at a time, and if I get laid off then let it be. Am I sounding too passive?

This morning my proposal for a new service portfolio for IQUIP was approved by the committee assigned to oversee internal research and development projects. I wasn't that nervous, but having to present my views in front of the group was certainly not a very easy task.The name for the new service portfolio I wish to pursue is: "Dienstenpalet gebaseerd op eTOM." Translated into plain English, this means something like: "Service Portfolio based on eTOM." The eTOM model is a worldwide standard, a framework for describing business processes. Sound interesting? Basically it means going out to potential customers and offering to help them improve their business processes. For the last couple of years most companies like telecom operators have been very technology oriented, more interested in forcing the latest technological advances down the throats of the consumers without considering whether or not there is a market for such products. So much hype and cut-throat competition has brainwashed the world for some time now. But now with the lull in the economy and the ensuing crisis, these companies are realizing that they cannot serve the huge customer base they have unknowingly brought upon themselves very well. That's where I step in, introduce myself, slap a few faces, and reposition these poor souls so that they become customer-driven. Let's redefine the interfaces within your organization, check out the processes and work-flow management, ad infinitum. For a technical nerd like myself this is new and challenging ground to discover. I feel like a pioneer, but it is not easy groping ones way through the unknown.

So Maarten is now officially seven years old. Yesterday we celebrated his birthday in style, and after stuffing ourselves with lots of cake and letting the kids run around the house like complete maniacs, we drove to "de Sniep" which is a tropical swimming pool nearby. Where do those kids get all their energy from? Constantly moving, running, jumping, climbing. Non-stop. Thea and I just sat there calmly in our plastic chairs like good parents should, pretending to have the situation completely under control, at least being available for personal conflicts and other so-called emergencies. I figured that if one were to harness the energy from all the kids that afternoon, then you could probably have enough to light up the town of Gouda for a couple of days, at least. As adults we have lost much of this youthful spontaneity, carelessness, just being naive and unknowing. We are all just children of artless grace and simple goodness. To be more accurate, I should say that this is true only on the outside. Within each of us there still lives in one form or another that child we once were in the distant past. Some people are more sensitive to this presence than others.

Exactly one year ago today my father passed away. Even after all this time to accept things as they really are, in my heart I am still not one hundred percent convinced that he is "really" dead. Where is he then? Strange but true. I will not dwell on the matter here, as I have spent enough time and energy collecting my thoughts on the death of my father. I just felt that a short entry in my blog was a necessary tribute to my father who still means alot to me.

Cyber-Gish webcam?
Cyber-Gish webcam?
Okay, so I think I am getting really good at this game called web design. So what? I was able to implement a fancy little Webcam Console which appears on the upper lefthand part of the screen. Pretty neat, I have to admit. This Internet stuff is getting exciting, once you start figuring how things work. I am still not too old to be a geek. If you want to see what I am talking about, click on the picture to the right.

"Once upon a time, I, Chuang-tzu, dreamt I was a butterfly, flittering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly...suddenly I awoke... Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man."

- Chuang-tzu, Chinese philosopher

Eye in the sky.
Eye in the sky.
Everyone has experienced one or more events that have completely changed ones attitude about life. For myself there are a number of happenings, some major and some quite trivial, that have effected my way of thinking as well as my approach to the way I live. A slight jolt, an insight, or just plainly some loving words. Actually as I am such a sentimental person always drawing truth from past experiences, I can recount a myriad of such events. But for the sake of avoiding endless rambling and due to the natural limitations of space and time, I will only jot down the most important. Just so I will not bore away the last remaining fans that wait anxiously for my next entry in the ever-growing diary of mine. Okay, here they are in no particular order:
  • Division in math. Discovering for the first time what division was. In 2nd grade, I had this really nice teacher whose name was Miss Bell. She motivated me greatly and was a fine coach for a curious boy. I had enthusiastically skipped through the math workbook and came to the final chapter. There I came in contact with a new and bizarre symbol, which looked like this: (÷). Yikes, what could that possibly be?! Miss Bell just smiled and explained that it was the division symbol. It could be used to chop up numbers into an equal amount of other smaller numbers. Hmmm, fascinating.
  • Metaphor. In high school we had to read the book "The Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens. Boring for most people, but of course I was a real geek and found it a challenge discovering new literature. We had this really strict teacher whose name was Mrs. Lukavich. She got angry alot, but she taught quite effectively. I will never forget the day she asked us all if anyone knew what a "metaphor" was. Of course, no one had the slightest idea, not even I. Then she explained it: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another; making an implicit comparison, as in "All the world’s a stage" by Shakespeare; one thing conceived as representing another; a symbol. I became engrossed with such a concept, how the human mind could be so creative in processing thoughts in such an abstract and wonderful way. That is when I got hooked on reading books. From that day onward I I have remained an avid reader of books, all kinds of books, piles and piles of books.
  • President Kennedy has been shot. For those of you alive at the time, who can ever forget where they were when they first heard about this awful news. I was six years old on the day sitting in the classroom. It was a gloomy day. All of a sudden, the principal came on the PR-system and said, "Our president has been shot." We were all excused from school and everything seemed dark and sad. The black-and-white scenes on the television set of the burial procession with the US flag draped over a wooden casket with wheels pulled by a horse are about the clearest memories of my youth.
  • Meeting Thea. Seeing this attractive blond-haired Dutch gal for the first time in Balestrand, Norway. What can I say, except that this random rendezvous changed my life forever. Starting all over again in Holland, building up my life from scratch all over again. And all for the sake of love. Despite the many impossible obstacles, it has turned out to be a relationship that has lasted. I hope it stays that way. Dearest Thea, thank you so very much for having entered my life. Was it a coincidence, a quirk of fate, or something deeper? For more details, please click here.
  • First man on the moon. Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon's surface as the first man on the moon. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. I was sitting in the back seat with my sisters, my parents driving back home from a visit at Jeanine's I think. We were at the fly-overs right before San Jose when this was announced on the radio. I felt like mankind had pulled off a miraculous achievement, and when I grew up I would like to be a part of it. Wow. Now every evening I could gaze up at the moon and think that someone had actually been there.
  • Accepted into Stanford. Getting into Stanford University, hurrah! The rest of my life was taken care of, or at least that is what I thought. Boy, was I ecstatic at the time, with the whole wide world open to me. I would become a future-famous brain surgeon some day. So much to learn, so much to experience within those four short years. I still often dream about this time in my life, which goes to show you how much this phase has influenced me, subconsciously. For more details, please click here.
  • Reality an illusion? Does reality really exist or is it all an illusion? In reality there is no way to prove or disprove this. The mind might be creating reality or just dreaming or observing a bunch of mechanical robots. That tree over there? This person I am talking to about whether or not reality is an illusion, a book. Actually, it was my mother who brought up this tantalizing concept one evening. Probably a casual sentence to trigger me into thinking. It worked. I am still thinking about it. Hopefully in a couple years I will come up with the answer.
  • Lennart born. The birth of my first child, listening to Mahler's 2nd Symphony in the car on the way to register his birth at the town hall in Amsterdam with tears in my eyes. I had become a father for the first time in my life. Time to become responsible.
There is much more, but it is nearing midnight, time to go to bed. I will come back and continue this off another time, I hope. Perhaps this could be an interesting theme for yet another web page? We will see.

Note: since this entry was written, a new page has been added to my homepage at Life changers.


Are you often preoccupied with the past wondering what your life would be like now if things had happened differently? Certain events had not occurred at all or at a slightly earlier or later period of your life? Events which had never occurred for some reason but should have anyway but didn't? Trying to live in the now is that much more difficult because we are all carrying the baggage from the past along with us. By nature I tend to collect everything and refuse to throw anything away, even the most trivial and useless object that I have become sentimental about. This weight is heavy and unnecessary. However, unlike what seems to be the trend nowadays, I do not adhere to the new hype that we should only live in the present, forget about the past completely. This is impossible. We have become whom we are today because of what has been happening to us since the day we were born, even before. No use to look at this wonderful wealth of information, love and energy as some negative quality. Actually it is quite light, not heavy and burdensome at all. Then keep the past in good, balanced perspective and let such wisdom guide you in the following steps. The past, the present and the future form a triad with the self as the focal point, right exactly in the middle of the equilateral triangle. Perhaps I should have become a philosopher king had I been born at an earlier age and I had not decided to live my life as it has turned out. Crazy but true.

This is a mosquito.
Lately, the droves of mosquitos are becoming quite gregarious creatures at Bieslookgaarde 2. At night they buzz around your head endlessly, and just when you are about to fall into a deep comfortable sleep, you are rudely awakened by yet another jab in the skin: an exposed finger tip, ear lobe, or big toe hanging out of the bed covers. What bothersome creatures, mechanical organisms whose only purpose in life is to search out and feed on your blood. During the day they like to hide in dark corners, inside closets, behind the bed, wherever. I have the feeling that these so-called creatures of nature are becoming more intelligent lately. Perhaps due to an accelerated form of evolution. I remember the good old days when a simple swipe aimed carefully was enough to finish off this menace. Now they hide and congregate, waiting patiently for the right moment to pounce, planning and conniving. A swipe in the general direction is no longer sufficient. They fly with determination, avoiding the giant hand coming down (often at the last possible moment, purposely to ridicule and taunt you), rarely hit except at exactly the wrong, unexpected moment, coincidence. What is a human like me to do?

For those of you who might happen to be reading my blog, this is a special thanks for the people who thought of me on my birthday. Thanks go to: my wife Thea and the kids, my mother, my sister Kathleen and Martine, my aunt Jeanine, my cousines Gail and Sue, my parents-in-law Mr. and Mrs. Karssemeijer, my new boss Wim Hofland, family friend and psuedo-aunt Tante Rina, Lennart's friend Sander Enderink, old Stanford buddy Kevin Kearney, and a friend Koosje van Laarhoven.

Forty-four years old!
Nice round
Forty-four is a nice round number, I would say. It is symmetric. It is perfectly divisible by my favorite number: eleven. Eleven was a really great year for me, one fourth of my lifetime ago. Furthermore, we all know that eleven is a prime number, which makes it even more special. The number eleven fits four times into forty-four. Four represents another symmetry in that it is divisible twice by the number two. So we have two times two times eleven. Not that I am a fan of numerology, I am not at all. However, one may freely use numerology to acquire certain insights. Which is what I am doing now, and nothing more. To continue, half of my lifetime ago I was twenty-two. That brought a major change in my life, because I ended up coming to Europe and growing up finally. Following such a trend, it makes sense that forty-four will also allow positive change. I look forward to the rest of my life, as I have not yet even passed half of it yet.

I am a little bit worried that I am turning into a lazy bum. During the day I do work hard, but in the evenings and weekends I tend to do very little. What energy I have left over is spent on the kids and the computer, and of course my wife. I hit the bed early (especially when Thea has an evening shift) and become glued to the television, flipping endlessly in order to become distracted. I go to sleep past midnight, and I get out of bed way too late the next morning. Never before seven thirty. Even during the week I have to be shaken awake so that I can hastily take a shower and cycle to work in time. I plan to improve myself shortly, but first...

Hurrah! Maarten finally passed his swimming test this afternoon for the first so-called A-diploma. An amazing feat, of course. Just in time for his seventh birthday. Seven years old already? We are very happy, and relieved. All those tiring mornings over the last year, his crying fits, poor Maarten struggling and feeling frustrated, swimming laps back and forth, etc. has turned out to be well worth the hassles. He can now officially swim on his own. That is good in a country with so much water everywhere. Though he doesn't show it, I am certain that he is now more confident about himself and his abilities.

The magic number divisible by my favorite number divisible by no number is prime...

The Cyber-Gish homepage keeps getting better and better, or so I hope. This project is taking up more and more of my time, and currently I am running the risk of getting completely engulfed in this amazing technology. I do not want to become fixated on making things better, but never good enough. My family is complaining even more that I sit behind the computer too much. The more I learn about the possibilities, the more about new and different technologies, scripts, protocols, ad infinitum in which I come in contact, the more accelerated this weird process becomes. In one way it borders on insanity, addiction, mental escape, or whatever you want to name it. The hard part is that I get so much satisfaction out of the Internet and everything related to it that I can better relate to the world around me. Or at least that is what I make myself believe. One still has to think about those around you, family members, the rest of society. Striving to follow the middle path is probably the best methodology to follow now. Or so I will try.

Endless hallways...
Endless hallways...
Oh yeah, another dream I had last night. This has alot to do with my new work environment and how I am (subconsciously) adapting to it, after having worked at my new employer now for four weeks. Four weeks, already? This is the dream. I am walking through the building, down the hallways. Every person I meet, tells me the same thing. They say that I look like I don't feel like anything, a bit lethargic and uncaring, almost unmotivated as if I could care less. This is very strange, as the truth is I can really get super-involved with projects and by nature I am very perseverant until I reach my goal and even overshoot it. That was my dream. So why did I dream this? More than likely because now after having overworked myself so much the last several years, only in the end becoming overly frustrated and feeling letdown, now I have decided to approach projects with a more realistic view. Not so perfectionist, and not overly expectant how "really fantastic" it is all going to become. Normal and healthy. However, compared to how over-optimistic I have been in the past, much to an exaggerated degree, subconsciously I still feel guilty not completely dedicating myself to my work. It will take me a while not only to wind myself down on the outside, but also to convince myself totally on the inside that this no-nonsense commonsense way of handling things is the correct path to follow. A new challenge in life. Why must everything be a challenge? Okay, call it a relaxing stroll in the woods along a slightly different path. Not next to or even on the highway, but quietly along the quaint trickling stream. And then?

Discovered another interesting website called Collected Thoughts, a Website For Curious Minds. The site is an extensive and impressive showcase of great ideas from thinkers of our past, and a forum for the free discussion of those ideas. Much discussion, papers and many quotations which make one think. A typical such quotation is the following. "Scientists are used to this. We know that it is consistent to be able to live and not know. Some people say, 'How can you live without knowing?' I do not know what they mean. I always live without knowing. That is easy. How you get to know is what I want to know." - Richard Feynman. All done by a young buck psuedo-philosopher only twenty-six years old. I can highly recommend this site, so check it out.

The Lowlands of Holland are exceptionally notorious for the windy climate. This is especially evident while one is trying to ride a bike across the flatlands that are wide open and completely exposed. Ironically, no matter in which direction you are cycling nor given the time of day, it is a fact of life here that the wind is always blowing against you. This is strange but true, every Dutch person will admit it. However, this early Monday morning on my way to work, it proved to be a pleasant exception for me. Something I certainly deserved, now into my fifth week of biking back and forth to my place of employment. Unexpectedly, the smooth gusts of wind swept up behind me and blew me and my bicycle at exceptional speed along the bike path. What a relief. And it didn't even rain a single drop. This must be symbolic for the fine day ahead of me, so I will now take advantage of it. Yes, and good luck.

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Golf Handicap


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 2498 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.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

My mother passed away 3-27-2018 ago.

Started Gishtech 04-25-2016 ago.