Category: Stanford

I was Jeff's freshman roommate at Stanford, and although I was the goof off he was a serious and well-mannered student from the very beginning. While we never became super close as some roommates do, I remember being very impressed by his excellent performances and despite our differences he was always very kind to me. He had The Starry Night poster hanging above his bed, which got me interested in modern art in general and in van Gogh in particular. I feel sad to hear that Jeff passed away, but I am happy at the same time to hear that he led a well-deserved successful life after graduating from Stanford. We crossed paths briefly, went our own separate ways, and then many years later crossed paths again, but only fleetingly

Dignity Memorial

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

There I am bicycling with my university friend, returning from a fun and relaxing weekend camping on the beach. We are coasting downhill on our way back to the university. We come to a bend in the road and have to get off of our bikes. There is a line of cars and a group of bystanders blocking the way. As I walk with my bike in hand, I notice streams of blood flowing down the road, long elongated reddish fingers gleaming on the black asphalt. I have to step carefully over the rivulets of blood, raising my feet and lifting my bike as well. Up ahead following the rivulets slightly uphill to the source of the bleeding, there is this big puddle of blood next to a fallen motorcyclist. He still has his helmet on, his body is contorted in a terrible shape. His neck is obviously broken and he is no longer breathing. I can see his face through the visor which is slightly fogged up. On the side of the road, a man is screaming hysterically, walking around in circles. Apparently he is the driver of the car that killed the motorcyclist. He says he's a veteran of the Vietnam War. He screams something about killing all those innocent people in Vietnam, how Oh God he promised that he'd never kill anyone again, Oh God so how can this be happening to me? Why would God punish me like this, what am I going to do?! I have an urge to pause and stare and soak it all in. There's a smell of blood in the air and I'm curious what is going to happen to this poor hysterical man. I ignore my instincts and inner urge to offer empathic feelings, some words of comfort. But what is there to say? Instead, I quickly cycle away pretending that nothing unusual is happening. My friend and I don't even talk about it nor mention it ever again. I try to forget about it, bury it deep inside my memory so that I will never remember it again. After all these years, I cannot forget it. The memory comes back to me every once in awhile, each time more real than the time before. Sights and feelings become more vivid as the memory fades more and more into the past. (This is a true story which happened around 1977 or thereabouts).


So who was I trying to kid back then?

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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 2432 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.