Month: October 2020

Slowly but surely it has become harder for me to hear what people are saying, especially in groups when everyone is talking at the same time. The Dutch language at which I have become fairly fluent at is becoming a bit of a nightmare for me trying to discern certain subtle differences between sounds common in that language. It can be stressful struggling to understand. One can ask "what did you say?" only a certain number of times before it gets irritating. Not understanding can cause you to make embarrassing mistakes and people complain about your poor communication skills, as if it is your fault.

Initial tests indicate that at higher frequencies my hearing becomes poorer. All letters consist of a range of frequencies from high to low, the distribution of which allows the human ear to distinguish which combination of characters a person is speaking. This is known as the acoustic property of consonants and vowels. Some letters have a larger ratio of higher to lower frequencies, and those are the ones that I especially have difficulty discerning.

Some letters are harder for me to distinguish, like between 'k' and 't' or 'sh' and 'f'. In Dutch for example, 'v' sounds very similar to 'w' and 'p' is nearly the same as 'b'. Which makes it only worse since a given word might take on a completely different meaning than that intended. This throws you off of the course of conversation and prevents you from active participation. Sometimes you can just throw in the towel and give up, but that is not good.

Hearing drops sharply at higher frequencies.

Getting a good hearing aid is a viable option for me. At first I was in complete denial and refused to believe that it was my hearing. The others were mumbling, talking too softly or too quickly, speaking in the opposite direction so I could not hear them, or so I thought.

Next week I will go to the hospital and have a professional analysis done. We will discuss what the possibilities are for correcting this impediment and I will make the appropriate decision.

I was making my way to the gym today, when I suddenly heard a faint voice calling in my direction. "Mister, mister, can you please help me?" On the other side of a street stood an elderly lady bent over her walker. "Please help me, it is very important."

I crossed the street and approached her. She looked about eighty years old but could have been older. "I need to mail these letters, but I am out of breath I can't make it any further." She reached into her purse and pulled out two envelopes with handwritten addresses on them. "Would you be so kind as to mail them for me?"

It really touched me that she was trusting some total stranger. At the same time, I felt blessed to have become the chosen one who fate had decided to put there. It was a fortunate twist of the elements. I could have been any uninterested passerby who'd just end up throwing the letters into the ditch not wanting to be hassled.

So here is what I did. Although my destination was in the opposite direction, I made the detour to the nearest mailbox, and when the time came I lovingly pushed the two envelopes into the mailbox. Indeed, they would reach their destination in a day or two. Thanks to me, and no one would ever know it.


This is what I learned about life on this planet. We are a tight-knit society of randomly placed human beings, and we depend on one another to do the right things. In times of need, we should not be afraid to reach out to the random passerby for help. It is a complicated fabric of society which holds us together, and what makes it strong and durable is our trust and love of each other.

Suddenly this morning when I woke up it struck me, something clicked inside of my mind and it made perfect sense. I am now convinced that Trump is a secret Russian spy whose mission is to destroy the American democracy once and for all. Now that he realizes he will more than likely lose the upcoming election, he is doing his utmost to disrupt society while he still can, by spreading confusion and instigating chaos. He will go to any extreme to disrupt the lives of innocent Americans. Just like other dictators have done in the past, he is willing to take down the rest of the country with his own demise no matter what it takes. Hopefully in the end civilization will survive and life on Earth will become better again.

Last night I joined an online video session with my old bros from the SAE fraternity, and it was a blast. Most of these folks I hadn't seen in more than forty years, so what a treat it was talking and laughing about the old times long gone. Joking about the past and all the crazy things we did and catching up on news from the last four decades.


Since there were nearly forty attendees present, each of us had only one minute air time to say whatever we wanted to say. I am sure that if we had more time, we could have rambled on endlessly for who knows how long. There were so many funny memories to share and so little time. It struck me at how much older we all looked, a bunch of old men blabbing nonsense, some looking older than others, myself included. However, when each person spoke, I was transported instantly back in time and could see through the surface into the essence of who we really are. Our souls have been only slightly tinged by time and the essence has remained untouched. Funny how not much has really changed in that regard.


In preparation I had taken some notes and put on paper the most important things I wanted to say. Of course, I diverted from the script but was able to cover much territory in the limited time slot. Here is what I wrote down and attempted to read off:

"Having to condense four decades of life after Stanford and SAE within one minute is an impossible challenge, but I'm up to it. I have my trusty notes at hand in order to keep me focused, so here I go.

After Stanford, I found myself in a bit of a depressing limbo. Not getting into medical school, despite an honorable 3.65 grade point average, made me feel like a failure, and in the eyes of my parents I was a big disappointment I am sure. I lived at home and worked hard for a year saving up some money. Having been prepped for adventure at SAE, I decided to do something with my life, expand my horizon by travelling to Europe, discover my soul and my true purpose in life. With my grubby backpack and "Let's Go to Europe on $5 a day" book, I went to Europe and traveled around. While in Europe, I eventually hooked up with my good friend Kevin, and we traveled north. That is where I met my wonderful Dutch wife in Norway. The rest is history.

Currently I live in The Netherlands, more popularly known as Holland, in a city called Gouda. That's the same place where the famous cheese comes from. Gouda is located just east of Rotterdam and about an hour's drive south of Amsterdam. Together with my amazing wife we raised four beautiful children: two boys and two girls ranging in ages from 26 to 33. They've since flown the coop, so it is pretty peaceful at home now. My wife is a nurse and she's good at it. With the pandemic and all it might not be the funnest job in the world, but she's an amazing woman in that regard.

When the kids were older, I took up golf again and really love it. I play as much as possible, practice regularly, and take part in tournaments, including the Dutch senior amateur tour which is great fun. Around eight years ago. I realized how important it is to be healthy in the later years. I gave up alcohol, fatty foods and meat, and in addition to golf I work out at the local gym two to three times a week.

So I've been living in Holland since 1981 and have a dual citizenship. I ended up going to a university again and graduated with a degree in Physics and Computer Science, after which I started my long career in the wonderful world of software development. Most recently I've worked in the fields of telecom and Internet. Right at the point when I was seriously considering early retirement, I met up with some medical professionals with a startup in healthcare and joined the team to work on their product platform. It keeps me occupied and challenges my brain which is good.

The pandemic here in Europe really sucks and has severely impacted everyone's lives. People are urged to stay at home and only travel when absolutely necessary. I work mostly from home, and once in awhile go to the office for the change so I can talk face to face. Masks must be worn inside stores, on public transportation and in crowded public places. Unlike in the States where many people make a big deal about wearing masks, here in the Netherlands people generally adhere to the rules that the prime minister lays down. As this is a small country, people feel more close-knit and concerned about the collective well-being of the general population."

Check out the video Stanford University - Sigma Alpha Epsilon ("SAE") - Virtual Party

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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.