Month: September 2002


Upside Down Figures by Joan MiroThere is this wonderful painting to which I have always felt a special intuitive attraction, and it has been hanging in our house since the first day we moved here. Everyone says the same thing the first time they see it. Politely, as if they are knowledgeable and I am a sorry ignoramus they tell me, "I think you hung that painting upside down." Whenever I try to explain to them that that is how it is supposed to be, that in fact the title of this famous work by Joan Miro is called "Upside Down Figures" they just shake their heads back and forth as if I am crazy. Strange how people often think that they know things better while at the same time they are being limited in their openness for new and creative ideas. Too bad for them. I will leave the painting just as it is and was always meant to be.

In my never-ending struggle to make my homepage the "best homepage" in the whole wide universe, I regularly review the many web pages I have collected over the years, improving certain non-perfect aspects even more. Before you realize it you have collected a multitude of hidden blemishes which must be taken care of before it is too late. Not that I seriously believe there are so many people out there who really notice these improvements in the end, but it is more for my own self-centered yearning for satisfaction. At the end of the day or weekend or week or month of sweating and improving I can give a sigh of relief and pat myself on the shoulder. There you go. As if I am approaching some esoteric form of interconnected web perfection but never arriving there. There it is, I can see it. For those of you who might be interested, the two items which have been finalized and formalized as official new-and-improved pages are Trip to America and the Official Webcam Page (now with amazing slide show which I wrote in Javascript - just click the blue start-button). I invite you to have a look. Better late than never.

If we keep our eyes looking ahead of us we will get nowhere. If we look around as we walk we will bump into many unexpected objects. Some might be pointed and dangerous while others are soft and soothing. By not looking around, the path remains pretty predictable, but at the same time we never suffer any unforeseen objects which just happen to get in the way. However, there is a fine line between watching everything and focusing on those relevant objects within reach. Some kind of middle path or balanced existence or whatever you want to call it. So where do we go from here? Well, that is pretty much up to you.

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The very first time she saw one was when she was only three years old. In her memory it was still crystal clear as if it had happened just a few moments earlier. As she grew up, the visions became more regular until it became a daily occurrence. As the years passed by, they no longer came alone but appeared in groups, which became larger and larger. Until they were everywhere. First it was one ghost and now there were many. Of course, no one believed her, but she knew for sure that they were real. Real because their presence symbolized for her no lesser presence than all the other people around her. In fact, as she became older the ghosts actually became more real. More real than all of her friends and family put together. The so-called real people were no longer to be trusted. Their words no longer made any sense whatsoever. Sure the ghosts made sounds, and these sounds combined with her thoughts like different colors of paint coming together to produce the most amazing landscapes one could imagine. Other people tried to help her. They believed that she had been taken over by demons, that repressed childhood memories had swelled in her psyche to form massive psychoses, or that there was some slight chemical imbalance somewhere deep in her brain's gray matter. The ghosts just laughed, and she could only laugh with them. They knew better than these one dimensional people who were living one dimension too little in order to understand fully what the real benefits were in believing it all. People had faith in God without having seen one iota of truth and still they believed and prepared themselves for death. She had actually seen and touched and talked with the ghosts, so for her they were logically more real than the unimaginable sayings of all the church goers in her vicinity combined. They said she was a bad person, an evil spirit. She figured that if being bad meant she would have to be surrounded by all these ghosts the rest of her life then she would rather remain bad. Ghosts come and go. God is everywhere but no one has ever seen him. He could be a she for all they knew. Near the end of her life, she started to see fewer and fewer ghosts. No more groups greeted her every morning as the numbers slowly diminished. Finally there was a pair of them for a couple of weeks, and then only one. A single solitary mumbling voice whose presence became like gossamer disappearing in the wind. Her time had come and she knew it. She was prepared to let this ghost whisper the last words into her ear as she lay waiting. The time had come for her to become a ghost herself. Time finally to start where she was always meant to begin things.

One could say that being interconnected, I mean "really" being interconnected, could very well be one of the ultimate (next) goals of mankind's evolution. At least in the near future that is. Imagine this: getting any information you desire any time, connecting to anyone or anything wherever he or she or it may be at that very moment, exchanging ideas without the unnecessary obstacles caused by times and distances and cultures and ages. This is not a vision. This will happen because I have seen it. The truly wonderful thing is that each and every one of us will be a part of this immense web of awareness and expanding energy. The age of the Internet is only the beginning, but it is opening up about a thousand new doors every minute. Maybe millions or more. If only each person had equal access, then this would grow even more quickly. It is not about computers or fiber optics or communication protocols or microchips or all of that physical stuff (which are really the limiting factors at the moment). It is about much much more, and even more than that. The potential is immense, and in the end there is a whole new dimension of thought hidden in myriad crooks and crannies of mother earth, eg. in the third world countries where many thriving minds are waiting to join and be connected. If only we could reach out and help them also. Maybe this is the answer. The whole world and the whole universe, inner and outer and inside out. Unfortunately, I feel that I am more than likely too old already to witness this revolution. Bummer man. I will probably "just" miss out on the big quantum leap. An aside: as a ten year old boy, I was always convinced that by the turn of the century we would all be astronauts floating around in space, that we could fly to the planets, and that droves of robots would be serving our every whim and desire. But at least I entertain a sense of satisfaction by knowing that in my own small way I have contributed a little to this potential energy expansion, as it is bubbling up now. My children and my childrens' children and the children of others and all the rest of the (unborn) children all over the world will carry on the tradition and make it all happen. Afterall, each generation is improving, isn't it?

"God will not suffer man to have the knowledge of things to come; for if he had prescience of his prosperity he would be careless; and understanding of his adversity he would be senseless." - St. Augustine (345-430)


Now is the time when all the formal rejection letters start rolling in, like a cool slow tide trickling in. Your bare toes curled into the sandy beach as the sea water squeezes its way between your toes. Most of these thin envelopes are opened only to reveal terse statements like: we regret to inform you, unfortunately there is no relevant position available, you are over-qualified for the function, and other blah-blah type of stuff. This trickle is to be expected, coolness coming along, but it is difficult nonetheless. Sinking slowly into the sand. I think that rejection is no fun, even for the strongest personalities. The art is resilience and an undaunted ability to continue onwards. You get mad, at the world around you, at the shortcomings of your own skills and experience, at the unfair way the dice have been thrown this time around. You feel like cussing and slamming your fist on the table, which I confess I have been doing alot lately. But there is nothing to do about it except hang in there, keep your nose above the surface of the water, and emanate trust and goodwill. Just move along.

Today we pay tribute to Kiffin..."No greater blow could have befallen the escadrille. Kiffin was its soul. He was loved and looked up to by not only every man in our flying corps, but by every one who knew him. Kiffin was imbued with the spirit of the cause for which he fought, and gave his heart and soul to the performance of his duty. He said: 'I pay my part for Lafayette and Rochambeau,' and he gave the fullest measure. The old flame of chivalry burned brightly in this boy's fine and sensitive being. With his death France lost one of her most valuable pilots." Exactly eighty-six years ago to this day, the twenty-four year old WWI hero Kiffin Yates Rockwell met his fate and gave me my name to carry his memory into the future never to be forgotten.

Alright, so it is finally time for me to prepare myself for the (near) future. In other words, Thea will be starting her new career move one week from this upcoming Tuesday. This means that I have all of next week to be trained in the fine art of housekeeping, taking care of the kids and other more generic activities required to keep my fine Dutch abode intact. My training will be intense, and there is alot for me to learn. By waking up early every morning with Thea, I will receive from her a hands-on course covering such topics as: getting the kids ready for school, cleaning the house, doing the groceries, preparing meals, ad infinitum. What all the rest of the activities will be is still a mystery, beyond my comprehension at the moment, but I hope that it will not be too much to handle. Wait and see. I was thinking about taking notes during this training course, but Thea is confident that I can remember most of what she explains to me without any problems. Oh yeah? We will have to wait and see. At least now I will be producing some more productive energy geared towards holding down the fort and preparing first-hand my four wild-and-crazy kids for the big bad world outside. As the time passes, I will indeed be readying myself for the (far) future. Like expanding my experiences, building up confidence, honing leadership skills and strengthening character. My male side will mesh and then fuse with my female side. Not that adding this to my resume will increase my chances of finding useful work. Actually, I would more than likely be laughed away by those macho business men who make important decisions, eg. whether or not to hire house fathers like myself. Combining this new life with job searching, fitness and meditation should make me a more rounded and balanced individual. Or not.

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Why was that bug bothering him all the time like that? Just buzzing around his head without stopping. He tried to swat the bugger a couple of times, but this fine creature was smarter than you might think. The insect's time scale was accelerated so that one second of human time was approximately ten seconds of bug time. As the hand came down close, the bug just waited for the last possible instant. Purposely to make fun of this person even more. Just a little more. As the shadow came over him, he sprung to the right side. And then to the left. Over there to the window and back again. The man was getting desperate because for some unknown reason this simple creature had taken over his life. Nothing could be done now until the bug had been taken care of. That is, either obliterated to kingdom come or with sly movements coerced out the window that had been opened just a small crack. For about ten minutes, the noise had disappeared, and it seemed that the bug had gone its happy way for good. But when the man finally sighed with relief it was back again. On purpose just to bother him even more. Alright he thought that he had had enough of this game and it was time to do something serious. Very serious, if that were possible. In any way within the stretches of the imagination. First he had to think up something clever, more clever than clever, the cleverest thing he had ever thought of in his whole life. And then he had it, he knew exactly what was to be done. A daunting challenge, but still (barely) possible nonetheless. He had seen his dog do it a couple of times, and with success. Snap, crackle and pop. So he waited and waited, until just the right moment. It was time, wait and wait, slowly open his jaws wide and wider, now! With a swift snapping motion he caught the aggravating visitor right between the top and the bottom rows of his teeth. Quite similar to those slow motion films one often sees on shows like national geographic where the patient frog hurls his elongated tongue way out there to snag the insect in a wink of the eye. Except that it is in slow motion, a different time frame. You see, otherwise the frog's tongue is too fast to see. But for the man there was no elongated tongue, just a quick snapping motion of his jaw and then a crunch. Time elapsed showmanship, that's for sure. And he had done it also, just like the frog but even better he had to admit. Isn't the human mind an amazingly creative organ if used properly? Of course, not everyone is capable of this amazing feat, he knew. Next comes the complete obliteration, as promised. One gulp and the little creature was no more. Feeling pretty proud of himself, he decided to go to bed early that evening. Tomorrow would lead to new adventures, and he needed the rest.

There's that guy over there again. For awhile he has been looking better, but this week he seems to have fallen into a slight dip again. So I approach him and pat him on his right shoulder. And? Well, alright I guess, at least for now. You see, the last time he climbed over the fence it took them almost a whole week to find him and bring him back. Bring him back to the place where he really did not belong. They should have been more respectful when they dragged him back. Yes, I could understand perfectly well. Dipolar syndrome, they kept saying. I removed my hand from his shoulder and started talking. Talking just about anything, it did not really matter. When they brought me back, they didn't have to do that. Going up? I agreed with him, but there was no real way to comfort him anymore. Except through words, trying to explain what is real and what is not. You see, that has been his problem for a long time, a very long time. I am losing touch with the boundaries and how to define them, he says looking directly in my eyes but not really looking in them. Well, it is not that important anyway, I answer. Going down? You know that. Yes, he did but did not at the same time. That was the dilemma really. There was something in his hand, a piece of paper which he had wadded up and made all sweaty. Obviously something had been penned on the now crumpled note as the blue ink was or had been dripping due to body warmth or other natural causes. Something important I was sure. Is there something you want to show me? No, not now. Maybe another day in the not so distant future. I will have to wait then until I see that guy again before I find out more.

Dad smiling...You would have been eighty-five years old were you still living today. I send you my warmest happy birthday greetings, old buddy. I still miss you, Dad. Have fun and see you later.

As a young man on the dole who is desperately seeking employment in a competitive world, it is easy to be naive and fall victim to those questionable folks and their deceptive practices.

Just the other day I was called up on the phone by someone who claimed to have found my resume and was impressed with my skills and qualifications. I should of thought twice when I heard that one. Caught off guard I let myself get invited to some (secret) presentation where I could meet other successful career seekers and discover the fantastic concept which was awaiting me. Chuckle, chuckle. Normally I request company information like brochures or electronic documentation so that I can first study the organization and then decide if it is what I want. But this guy (probably trained extensively in these kinds of coercive one-way conversations) had a way of talking which somehow made me say yes. Dumb, dumb, dumb, but there is no way changing what has already happened.

So what was this so-called mess I had gotten myself in? Well, this company fosters the idea that by doing less you can make more. What is this all about and what is the secret? Well, it's called multi-level marketing (MLM) and be careful the next time you hear about it.

The following definition is taken from an article I found called The Mirage of Multilevel Marketing.

"Multilevel marketing (also called network marketing) is a form of direct sales in which independent distributors sell products, usually in their customers' home or by telephone. In theory, distributors can make money not only from their own sales but also from those of the people they recruit."

All you have to do for a small initial fee (about $100) is give away samples of a good product to your family and friends. Once this catches on you start asking for money, but those closest acquaintances can "join" your so-called company for special discount. If you get at least six to eight members recruited, you are promoted to a higher position. Each higher position means an increased donation way and above the initial $100, but since the money is now flowing in non-stop this extra charge is just peanuts. Now comes the good part, all these underlings are working to push the product and it is up to them now to recruit more folks into their sub-companies. Before you realize it, they in turn create revenue which is funneled back and you receive what they refer to as "residual profits." Kind of like a pyramid scheme, wouldn't you say? Well, they claim emphatically throughout the presentation that this is NOT a pyramid scheme, but I got to wondering. Wondering and calculating in my head and figuring out where the saturation point would be for recruitment in a given geographical location.

"Assuming an average of eight members in each layer. The numbers expand by the multiple of eight with each full cycle of payment. 8; 64;512; 4,096; 32,768; 262,144; 2,097,152; 16,777,216 and so on to numbers beyond the population of the USA and then the entire earth! At some point, a lot of people were going to lose, guaranteed."

I got the shakes and left. It was almost like I was inadvertently being abused to join some cult, and once I started investing money I could never escape. A bit scary and I preferred not to take any chances. Especially with a wife and four kids and a house etc. How could I have been so naive? During the hour long drive back to the safety of my own home, I had to wonder in the car to myself : is MLM legal?

Of course, after this interesting adventure, I did alot of research in order to discover for myself what this multilevel marketing crap is all about. Whew, that was a close one for me! You might want to read the article Ten Big Lies of Multilevel Marketing which explains alot of the untold story.

I feel like a survivor and I want to stay that way. Who wants to get stinking rich anyway? As if that is the most important thing in life. I am no fool.

It's been a long time waiting, but the wait has been really worth it. This is one cool piece of instant messaging software, that's for sure. If you are into communicating with the whole wide world via a universal interface, then I can highly recommend considering Trillian Pro which has just been released. This program is a generic messaging client which allows you to chat with AOL, MSN, ICQ and Yahoo via the very same program interface. Cerulean Studios has come out with a real winner. They have extended the product with all kinds of nifty doo-dads, including easy integration of plugins. So far there is a POP3 plugin (be notified when email is available on mail servers), an RSS-feed plugin (keep updated with latest news like: Slashdot, Wired News and Lockergnome), and finally there is even an Winamp plugin. This is truly amazing and I love the new toy of mine. To make things even better, I received the pro version absolutely free. Yes, you heard it right: free! This is because in the past I had once donated money to this upstart group of techies which at the time I believed in. So in thanks, I automatically get a complimentary version from them. Good stuff. I feel that the Internet was originally meant to offer an ideal medium for this kind of stuff.


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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At the rate I am going now, the whole house should be mosquito free within about a week or so. Yet another "raamhor" (mosquito screen) has been constructed and put perfectly in place. Bought it at Gamma and it turned out pretty good. The great thing about these Doe-het-zelf (Do-It-Yourself) stores is that they make idle and insecure-feeling men like myself feel better and more confident (eg. more macho and manly), building up their deflated egos, as if they are true carpenters at last, every kid's dream. These boxed kits are so easy that even a child can do it. That is, at least if you are willing to follow the directions like you are supposed to. Of course, the first thing I did was cast the confusing two-page instructions over to the side. Juggle the pieces of metal and various connectors around in the hopes that it would somehow magically fit together. Nothing to it, a piece of cake, there you go. Lo and behold I did it, I did it, look at me Mom! At least that is what I thought (more accurately: "hoped") at the time. Actually, the frame had been put together by me inside-out instead of the other way around. By yours truly: the junior apprentice carpenter. Dummy. That is when I decided to inspect the instructions better, concentrate and study the cryptic Dutch language. Try and make sense of it all. Pulled everything apart and put it back together again like it was supposed to be. So now I know how it is to be done, for the next time. And the next next time. Until the house is completely enclosed in a green criss-crossed network. Time to package and encapsulate the house completely from floor to ceiling with every imaginable mosquito preventive screens and various other intricate meshed cages. No I am not compulsive. My childhood dreams of becoming a true blue carpenter are here, alive and kicking! Yes, another goal in life has been attained. Next week I think I want to become a policeman for a few days.

Time to time it until the very end.There they were
the two of them
continuing down and up again.

Cooling water with ripples
leaves afloat
slowing down along the way.

And then the others
also wanting a place
just missing to the end.

Time to time it
until the very end
where music splits the air.

Breaking through.

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It is going to take some getting used to but I feel confident that matters will be better under control in the not so distant future. Sort of just moving along now like it wasn't really meant to be, but doing it nonetheless. There is now one mosquito screen less to put up. Computers up and running and talking to each other and the Internet at the same time which is a great relief. Some sore muscles from yesterday's work out, and it was not even a full sixty minutes. The recent run left my left ankle feeling somewhat wobbly as if it had fallen off and been put back on not quite right, oops forget that metacarpal over there. And then there is the afternoon in the sun reading Krishnamurti and Ambrose and some computer newspapers. Two more IT congresses to attend, getting my hopes up so let's see. Is it already Friday again? Having less to do means having even less time left over to get done what you want to get done, get done. Thanks alot for calling me up Mom, you do not need to worry about me. I will be fine, like I have been my whole life up to now. Just fine.


At this rate I will have nothing else to do in about a week or so. I never would have expected that I could have been so overly productive during times of extreme idleness, that is living the shameful life of not having an honorable job. Even in my free time I am overly efficient and use my time too wisely. Just in the last week I have finished repainting the four doors, reinstalled the computer after the hard disk crash, and starting tomorrow I will be making the mosquito screens and hanging them up. Need just a few more days to do all the measurements, cut the metal frames to size and attach all the pieces together according to the instructions. I hope that the contraption does not fall apart upon completion. Once this is all done, what else will there be to do? I cannot sit around reading all day, because I am sawing through all my unread books at an accelerated pace.

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Glorious lights where it used to be... When it first happened I could not believe it was really happening. Afterwords, I was in such deep shock that for weeks I could not believe that it had really taken place, such an awful tragedy. And then time passed, but my disbelief became greater. Rather than the usual acceptance of the ways things were always "meant to be" since the beginning of time. One year later, it seems just as unreal as the moments of the dreamlike aftermath. Should we accept it with surrender or should we seek revenge? Perhaps a tempered combination of the two? Even if it is an impossible task and might take forever? If we surrender then that is a signal that evil can get away with anything. If we pursue justice then evil is per definition acknowledged for what it is, therefore continuing to destroy our lives. Let's not get overly fixated in the extermination of all evil everywhere. And on the television and the radio and the whole day long all that pseudo-patriotic mumbo-jumbo which is very worrisome. Sure we must remember the victims and their families, but it is incorrect using the emotions of those concerned to instigate a policy of revenge. Violence is not best fought with equal and opposite violence but rather by pure and complete surrender. This is strange but true, but I am afraid that civilization is still too immature to believe in this logical law of the universe.

This is a big fat slug...There were thousands if not millions of them all over the place. This morning when I took my walk around the Reeuwijkse Plassen (The Lakes), after several days of heavy rainfall which caused a good portion of moisture and muddiness, all those slugs were making their way from one side of the asphalt path to the other. The very same path upon which I was attempting to pursue my walk of meditative glory lost in revelry. Now these slugs are not your everyday type of "average" species found in most household gardens. These are the big fat juicy kinds which grow to be four inches long. Zig-zagging patterns of mucous drying up in the sun and barely discernible movement. Almost squished a few of them while lost in thought, but at the last downward moment of my right or left foot was instinctively able to jerk my shoe just in time to miss the slimy creature. Sorry, excuse me. Oops, pardon me again please. My gosh, where were they all coming from? Much to my despair, many of them had already been flattened by a passing hiker, skater, bicycle and/or motorcycle. Messy, but they should have been aware of the oncoming disaster. For all I know, these advanced creatures were more than likely aware of the impending doom, just before impact. But because of their inherent slowness, these poor souls were not able to get out of the way in time. Nature in all its glory. There were also other slimy creatures smashed in various poses of last second demise. Little frogs and big frogs, long thick worms, a dragonfly, and even an unhatched baby bird with fragments of shell and all. But still, not a fraction of the uncountable number of slugs dead and alive, a veritable multitude of mis-formed cytoplasm. Nature can be brutal, and it continues no matter what. Perhaps I am just as insignificant as all these other beings of lesser size. If I do not watch out, I too may be smashed. Will I be able to jump out of the way in time despite my inherent slowness? I think so, but you never know.


So it happened. All of a sudden the much feared blue screen with the simple message that drive C: could not be found. The smell of something burning and a few wafts of chemical smoke rising from the front panel. What?! Rebooted the computer just in case, seemed to start up alright until it boomed out with the contrite yet powerfully straight-forward message:

Cannot find operating system.
Oh dear, something is wrong, terribly wrong. Probably the hard disk has died. Take control of my life you lousy piece of hard- and software. Time to call up the fine folks at Dell technical support. But gotta wait until tomorrow (could only happen in Europe - customer support being closed the whole weekend). Fortunately we have the another (newer) computer, so I will be able to survive today.

In the meantime, I decided to open up my computer and investigate what was happening. Turns out that the motherboard was just fine as I can normally boot up into the BIOS setup screen. Further diagnostics indicate that there is no hard-disk in there responding. Drats, looks like it has deceased and no longer functions, poor thing.

I opened up the primary drive bay and pulled out the hard-drive. Smelled kind of funny, like burnt chemicals coming out. I flipped the drive over, and on the circuit board I could see it clearly. Looks like some thin hair or wire or something threadlike (razor-thin about seven millimeters long) fell on the surface of some chip component, burning a nice sharp crevice on the black square circuitry. One quick and deadly slice across a vital artery. Bummer, but that's life.

The fun part is that I got to order a new replacement drive Maxtor/Quantum DiamondMax Plus D740X (40GB 7200 rps) through Internet, and it is supposed to arrive within 24 hours they claim. Too bad I have to reinstall everything all over again. But at least it will be a pure and unadulterated system again.

"They should stop overdoing it like this. I mean really, this is finally getting completely out of hand! Just look around and you will see what I mean..."I looked around with a half-serious gesture and then sighed. This same discussion had been repeated at least a hundred times in the six months. But this was my job, to get him fixed, put the pieces back together, get him back on the street where he belonged. Hopefully retaining my sanity in the process and not sacrificing too much of my own individuality.

"Take yesterday afternoon for example. Walk past the tree and there one is. Open the door and there is another one. Pay for the groceries and it is in the change. Look at those birds, of course. Now even home is not safe any more. Mirrors all over the place..."I just let this person continue.

"Messages from God, they really do speak to me. But not through some masterful spiritual transformation, no. They have to do it through these crazy contraptions. Jeez..." My patience had been used up long ago, and I had learned that listening was often enough to ease the struggle. Repeat and then nod, pull it out of him and let him see it in the mirror, one of the mirrors he always referred to. Hopefully.

"Just look at this. Another one of those microscopic video cameras..." I followed his finger which was pointing at a distant spider dangling from an invisible thread up in the corner of the ceiling. Bouncing up and down.

"Very sophisticated, truly amazing! They go to such extremes only to displease me. For some fabricated sins that I have never committed, never ever..." Once in awhile he would get into the variegated concepts of so-called committed sins and then get distracted. Time for atonement, it is never too late.

"Why is that bird looking at me that way? I cannot stand it..." No bird for miles around, not in this God forsaken territory, the mind of mirrors. Not even the almighty thunder-birds, no other birds here, no way.

"Come over here and look in my mouth..." I slid my chair over to his right side and gazed into the side of his mouth which he had pried open with his thumb and forefinger. Just puffed up gums and crooked yellowish teeth. There was a speck or a pinpoint or something curious.

"Now put your ear close by and tell me what you hear..." I did as he asked, waited thirty seconds and heard nothing. Just as I had expected, already had seen in the mirrors.

"No like this..." And then he motioned a twisting flip of his right hand as if he were turning up the volume of some invisible knob in the air. That is when I heard it, the sound, and it was a human voice coming from very far away. He noticed that I had noticed and then came the grin of understanding. Both of us at the same time.

"Now didn't I tell you before? You got to believe the meek, you must. I am here for a reason..." It was a voice, almost singing, and there was some musical beat causing a very gentle throb as if echoing this person's very heartbeat. A twang of a guitar string. Some voiceless throbbing that was meant to be understood somehow, Sirens of the sea.

"The heart will echo the mind and we will understand it someday." Then the voice stopped and the music died away. I wrote down what he had said because I thought it very appropriate for the new day ahead of me. Hitting a emotional chord within me, twang.

"Same time tomorrow?" I nodded and slid my chair back to its original spot in the bare room. The hour was over with and it was time for me to depart. As I opened the door for my daily exit, I saw a metallic glint from the corner of my eye. Right over there where the spider was hanging. Better go now.

Where was my mirror?


"To reach the Western Lands is to achieve freedom from fear. Do you free yourself from fear by cowering in your physical body for eternity? Your body is a boat to lay aside when you reach the far shore, or sell it if you can find a fool... it's full of holes... it's full of holes."

- William Burroughs (1914 - 1997), The Western Lands.

Seldom do I come across a good piece of literature that I thoroughly enjoy as much as I did reading the newest novel by Ian McEwan called "Atonement." This fine piece of fiction was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2001 and is the last in a series of subtle and powerful books by the author. I had never read anything from him before, so this was my first (successful) attempt.

The book is written from the viewpoint of a woman who as a young girl has witnessed a so-called terrible crime. Afterwords, she spends the rest of her life trying to come to terms with the way she reacted then and the resulting unpleasant consequences of her actions. Unpleasant for herself as well as for a couple whose perfect love was stolen from them for no good reason.

I will not go too much into detail, because I would just be giving away the intriguing plot which you do not really understand until the closing pages. The novel is divided into three sections:

  • Part One takes place in 1936 at an English country home where the so-called crime is committed.
  • Part Two describes the retreat of the English to Dunkirk during WWII and the experiences of a nurse tending the wounded at a London hospital.
  • Part Three is a fast-forward to the year 1999 during which the girl-turned-author has reached the last couple of years of her life and attains atonement in an unusual way.
The first fifty pages or so are by far the most difficult in that not much really happens. The descriptive texts go on and on to build up a complete picture of the situation as seen through the eyes of the young girl witness. Once you get past this (hang in there because it is worth it), it becomes good reading from then on. The speed picks up quickly and carries you to completion.

This book gets a very high score from me. I recommend it highly for anyone who likes to get lost in floral prose and gossamers of confused reality. Through patience and understanding, the reader is rewarded as the facts crystallize to become clear, and the fragmented picture dissolves into a coherent story.

Each reader will have his on interpretation I am sure. You might first want to check out the Gaurdian Unlimited Review to get more ideas whether or not this book is for you.


Why do men always have to prove themselves? Or at least "think" that they have to? Society raises its male counterparts as if they are being prepared for a life of leadership and responsibility. Work hard and maybe you can be the best. As if that is something so great. Historically this has always been the case, while more recently these pressures "seem" to be getting less. But I am not so sure about it. Be strong, bring home the bacon, make difficult decisions, raise your children with a stern hand, that kind of stuff. Personally, I find it extremely difficult to follow this role model, be it a watered-down version. Even subconsciously men nowadays have an ingrained urge to achieve, at whatever level, whichever way, no matter the costs. This can be uncomfortable for those less inclined to pursue such (artificially) high ideals. Let it be, and then see what happens.


This evening I received a truly amazing email from someone I just happened to come across perusing my way through the web someplace, everywhere and/or nowhere. Truly amazing. I take the liberty now to include this email here for the readers' late night entertainment.

Subject: No problem, dude...

Mr. Kiffin... Lemme explain sumtin' here: As you know, or can probably realize, I, too, am a mortal sinner. And I was 15 when my girl passed-away. However, I'm like Jeremiah (Old Testament) in that I had NO IDEA what the Trinity wanted from me and I still don't. But, I'm trying to live a good life in preparation for Heaven, I go to a Roman Catholic church (almost) daily, I teach (NOT PREACH - nobody wants that) through my URL ( <--- that's a URL if you don't know: Universal? Resource Locator), and try to find my Way home in this Finite Existence, walking along the narrow path to Utopia. Life, as you very well know, is quite finite. And we're put here to see if we follow God. God's very, very, very forgiving: The Trinity wants us ALL in Heaven, but Satan only wants us puny mortals to worship him, thus, he puts roadblocks in our Way home to lead us down. But, if we say NO, Satan, "I DON'T WANT NONENA YOU, ya sacka dung" and repent, as I did today, whoa... dude, you've made it. And if you shall fall again? No problem-o. Just repent B4 a priest again. Why? Age old question: Why am I a mortal? And why do I sin? Mr. Kryptonite, that's the mystery of God: If you stay true to God your whole life, as I can't (but, I try), you'll make it to Utopia. How do you stay True? Another letter. I'll shall pray for you. Don't worry, be happy and true to God. Pax Vobiscum (Latin: Peace Be With You), friend. And I expect to see you Upstairs.

God bless you with discernment, friend.

One thing is sure. You got to check out this guys site. If you leave a message in his guestbook he will answer you within about a minute or two. Now this person could be completely crazy or he could be a total genius, or yet again he could also be a unique combination of the two. He could be sitting up there right now on the upturned palm of God's right hand. Or then again.

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Once in awhile you read an article on the Internet that really hits the spot. Such is the case this evening when I randomly came across a great piece. For those future-famous web writers like myself, you might want to check out 10 tips on writing the living web. This is a source of inspiration for those (like me) who find that it is a tremendous challenge writing on the web.


This is me at the Orioles ballgame...I'm Marlies (my webpage here), and Kiffin asked me to write something in his blog. So I'll tell you what I think about Kiffin!

Now kiffin is sitting next to me on the other computer, so I'll tell you only the nice things what I think about him...

America is Kiffin's fatherland, and I'm proud of it that I'm also half American. So this summer we went on vacation to America. If you know Kiffin well, then you can really notice he has a much better mood there, then usually in Holland.

Kiffin also has a very nice website, very big. If you want to know something about him, don't ask him, but just look on the webpage, and you can find everything about him. Actually, if I read his blog, I'm also more up to date about Kiffin. He really wright more in his blog, then he tells personally.

Today we went Golfing in "Moordrecht". If you compare the golf course with golf courses in America this one was very small, but for here in Holland it was a nice one. It was fun, Kiffin bought golf shoes and a golf glove in America, and he also brought his golf clubs back from America, so he was all set.

I don't really know more things to write so that's it!

~~~Written by Marlies Gish

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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 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.