Month: April 2007

For many many months now, the random link at the top of this page just below the banner hasn't been working. I decided to fix it once and for all.

First of all I redefined the link to refer to a new CGI script which I wrote myself using good old Perl. Here is how the new link is defined:

<a href="/cgi-bin/" title="Jump to a completely random place on this blog...">Random</a>

Of course the whole random magic of the situation is the Perl script itself, which looks like this:

#!/usr/bin/perl -w
use DBI;
use CGI;
use strict;

my $q = new CGI;

my $format_url = "/%d/%0.2d/%s.html";

my $hostname = 'localhost';
my $database_name = 'db_name';
my $user = 'db_usr';
my $password = 'db_password';

my $dsn = "dbi:mysql:database=$database_name;host=$hostname";

my $blog_id = $q->param('blog_id') || 1;

my $dbh = DBI->connect($dsn, $user, $password) or die "Can't connect to $dsn: $DBI::errstr";

my $sql = <<EOF;
  date_format( entry_created_on, '%Y' ) AS entry_year,
  date_format( entry_created_on, '%m' ) AS entry_month
  entry_blog_id = $blog_id
  entry_status = 2
  author_id = entry_author_id
ORDER BY rand( )

my $sth = $dbh->prepare($sql);

my $ref = $sth->fetchrow_hashref;

print $q->redirect(sprintf($format_url, $ref->{entry_year}, $ref->{entry_month}, $ref->{entry_basename}));

You can now try it out yourself by clicking on the link above, and if you cannot find it then clicking here.

Pretty amazingly magical don't you think?

I haven't anything against foreigners (hey I'm one myself), but when at my fitness center the person stands under the shower and loudly hacks up mucous and spits it into the drain, blows both nostrils of his nose intensely until no more snot can be sprayed around on the walls, and all the while acts as if this is the most normal of hygiene activities, at least that is how it is in the country from which he comes, I have little urge to go even anywhere near to that cursed shower stall, let alone taking a shower at all in the place which has been plagued by millions of germs and other mysterious organisms deadly or not. Makes me cringe and feel a little sick in my stomach, it does.

Here we have a part of the Bloemendaalseweg as I cycle back home and happen to glance sideways and slightly to the ground.

For some strange reason, I remain fascinated by these simple plants along the bike path which upon the calling of Spring jump into existence and expand in proportion to how much the sun shines balanced with the occasional rainfall.

This April has turned out to be the driest month ever in recorded history in Holland. A number of fires have spontaneously risen in various places which are exceptionally arid, and folks are becoming worried. So much for global warming and all of the unpredictable consequences which may or may not happen.

Life is dauntless in its need to keep on testing you as if nature's ultimate goal is meant to make you give up and throw in the towel.

Not unless you are a survivor.

What a way to wake up early one sunny Saturday morning. Rolling over to the side and slowly opening my eyes, there is this giant brown dog's head staring back at me, no more than a foot away. That's Luca our cute little Labrador, and when she notices that I see her, she begins to wag her tail wildly back and forth in pure glee. Hey wait a minute, Luca should not be up here on the second floor. She is not allowed anywhere in the house except for the bottom floor. I raise a sleepy voice and point my finger for her to go back downstairs to where she belongs. Luca just thinks it is some kind of game, and she jumps up and down and tries to escape from me. That dog is totally hopeless, that's for sure.

Who could have ever guessed that my youngest son Maarten would get the leading role in the school play?

Makes me feel proud but a little bit nervous at the same time.

My son the future-famous actor?

For some time now they were saying that the time had finally come and was about to happen at any moment. They being those kind wise folks who knew everything better than the rest of us.

Not that everyone was as prepared as the other, I certainly was not. The group had as a whole succumbed to the inevitability of the situation, providing a collective consciousness that prevailed in more ways than one.

Let yourself go as an individual bubble and become a better part of the whole, it's pretty much up to you. That's what they said, suggested, or whatever.

Years and years later, we can now sit comfortably in front of the fireplace late in the evening, watching the flames assuming various degrees of awareness, reminisce about old times past, chuckling softly here and there.

Still at the back of our minds we know what had happened, was bound to happen no matter, what could have happened if things were otherwise. But they weren't nor would they ever be.

Acquiring the needed individual traits over time is something for which we need not prepare as it happens naturally as long as we let it happen of course.

The real challenge is retaining as much of one's core without compromising, without giving in, and at the same time moving forward without too much worry. Good night and pleasant dreams.

That guy over there said to me that no matter what I should just hang in there and see what happens.

Not so sure that I feel comfortable with such an approach, but perhaps that is the best way to proceed at the moment.

Or not?

After only three years since I purchased my wonderful Dell Inspiron 8200 laptop (back then truly state-of-the-art), it seems to be giving way to old age. To be more specific, with all those random rows and columns of mis-colored pixelations moving across my LCD screen, it is apparent that my graphics card is suffering a slow and painful death.

I need a replacement ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 M9 64MD graphics card (part number 4U284), please. Can someone help me?

Googling all over the Internet in frustration, it seems that this specific video card is difficult if not impossible to find, unless of course I am willing to fork out four hundred forty-five euros for an out-of-the-box new card for a laptop worth half as much. Thanks alot Dell!

I called a couple places who claim to be computer experts, and when I tried to explain my predicament, the reply was always the same: "How old is your laptop? Oh, three years! Then you can pretty much forget about it..."

Who would have ever thought that after three years my state-of-the-art laptop would be end-of-life? Back in the good old days (when I was little) when we bought a technology product like a new television, it would last for fifteen years, at least.

Hopefully I can find a second-hand computer store which happens to have one in the back storage room.

Time for a new laptop? Could be.

Unbelievably warm today for this time of year, temperatures reaching a high of 28 degrees Centigrade (that's 82 degrees Fahrenheit).

"Zowel vandaag als morgen zonnig en erg warm voor de tijd van het jaar. In het zuidwesten eerst nog een paar sluierwolken. Verder is het in de middag 25 tot 28 graden bij een zwakke tot matige oostelijke wind, met op de stranden kans op zeewind."

Although it seems nice, at the same time I am a little worried about the climate changes regarding global warming and what that means for the future.

My father always refused to wear his seatbelt in the car for some weird reason, like such an extra safety precaution was unnecessarily imposing certain limitations on his way of living. That was his right, coasting around town in that gigantic Cadillac. He felt proud to uphold this strange image, no matter how illogical it may have seemed at the time.

No way that anyone is going to make me wear some boring seatbelt when I have better things to do in life. Don't touch the radio! Leave the air-conditioning alone! Everything is perfectly set and predictable, defining precisely how things will happen.

I mean really, why should one restrain oneself with such a useless strapping item, as if that makes sense and it does not?

The truth is: one accident, perhaps a head-on collision, and things would have been different now. But that never happened, nor could it have happened, so who is right in the end? Things could have easily been otherwise, but I am here nonetheless. At least I had the courage to defy my father and insist on wearing my seatbelt, so more than likely I would have survived anyway.

In that small way I was pretty independent, insisting that the seatbelt was safely in place, so that I would not be hurdled through the front windshield, re-enacting those awful scenes filmed especially for us as a warning during drivers ed. to be careful.

Sorry, but I was just a kid at the time, trying to assert myself in some unrealistic logical manner.

On my way to the fitness center on my bike I passed a young blond-haired girl on the side of the road and she waved to me saying "Hello Mr. Gish!"

I did not recognize her at all, but no matter.

People like familiar places. It makes them feel comfortable that no matter what is happening in a complicated life, they are near enough to what is known and it feels good to be there.

Let's not lose touch with these familiar places and let them happen as they are bound to happen.

This is pretty hard to believe, but I have been driving to and from Utrecht thousands of times along the very same highway, and have never once noticed it before.

Until today, that is. It was late in the afternoon, when I just happened to bend my head slightly to the right and look to the side out the passenger's window. There it was, a river called Enkele Wiericke, and it has been around for centuries with quite a history surrounding it.

Drove up to Amsterdam today to visit Oma and she treated us to a fun and relaxing lunch at Boerderij Meerzicht Pannenkoekenhuis which is a great pancake house in the middle of the Amsterdamse Bos.

I had a "Boerenpannenkoek met spek, kaas, champignons en gebakken uitjes en pittige kruiden" and it was absolutely delicious.

I stood outside and everything was nice. Nice blue sky above, nice slight breeze cooling me off, nice silence so unobtrusive, nice slightly damp feeling from the memories of morning, nice whitish clouds drifting from west to east, seagulls arriving and a bunch of cars trying to find a parking place, and don't forget that there are those leather back turtles swimming from who knows where to the Galapagos Islands, oblivious of this situation but that is for the best. Human thought versus nature's way of thinking and/or accepting. Standing outside is pretty darn good, as long as I do not get too involved with the intricacies of what is supposed to happen, or not. It will happen or it will not happen.

The journey's long
And it feels so bad
I'm thinking back to the last day we had.
Old moon fades into the new
Soon I know I'll be back with you
I'm nearly with you
I'm nearly with you.

-- Zero 7, Simple Things

Putting up a smoke screen can be a useful and necessary tactic, as long as it conceals something worthwhile.

Trying to hide vacuousness and/or so-called importance per se is not what it is all about.

Face the facts, put up the smoke screen as required, and make sure that the hidden concept is something needed in the near future.

There is no use in pretending, because when all that smoke rises and dissipates the truth will be revealed anyway.

Revealed truth is something to be reckoned with no matter what.

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

- T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men (1925)

In order to get the gnome-terminal to acquire your complete environment variables which is normally the case by default when firing up the plain-vanilla xterm program, all you have to do is add the following line to the .bashrc file:

. .bash_profile

Finally figured it out after all these years...

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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.