| Work and play

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I work on the 12th floor at the KPN Rotterdam Office.

| Work and play

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Yesterday afternoon I took a look out of the Rotterdam office window, and this is the inspiring view that greeted me.

| Television

There is nothing wrong with your television set... Do not attempt to adjust the picture, we are controlling transmission... If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume... If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper... We will control the horizontal, we will control the vertical... We can roll the image, make it flutter... We can change the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity... For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear... We repeat, there is nothing wrong with your television set... You are about to participate in a great adventure... You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to ...

THE OUTER LIMITS!


I remember very clearly when the first episode of the television series The Outer Limits came out. It was called The Galaxy Being and I was six years old (1963).

This episode was my very first contact with the genre of science fiction, and boy did it scare the holy moly out of me! That strange alien was something way beyond my youthful imagination, and it gave me nightmares for a very long time. Perhaps even subconsciously to this very day.

Downstairs in the cellar, we had an entertainment area which had white walls and a smooth linoleum floor. In front of the old-fashioned black and white television (back then we only had 3 stations), there was this fifties-design chair with thick cushions you could sink into.

However, when the alien first appeared with it's eerie metallic screeching voice, I jumped from the false comforts of that chair and hid behind it, peaking from the side, I stayed in that position for the rest of the show, and even thirty minutes after that before I had mustered up enough courage to go back upstairs. Mommy ... I'm so scared, the alien is coming!

Because it was evening, it was dark outside and for some reason the windows downstairs didn't have any curtains. This meant that should the alien come my way, it would be able to look inside and upon spotting my reclined body behind the chair, would dispose of me with it's heat x-rays, as he did to the other victims on the television.

At the end of the episode, the poor alien was forced to disintegrate itself in order to save humanity, although on his planet in another faraway solar system there was no such thing as death. As a child, I hadn't yet heard about this foreign concept called death, so I had to ponder about it for a few moments. Pure darkness and silence. Before disposing of himself, the alien gave some powerful words of advice to humanity, pleading everyone to avoid violence and love each other.

I felt very sorry for the poor alien when he disposed of himself in an explosion of sparks and smoke. Part of death I guessed.

The episode ends with everyone breathing a sigh of relief and going back to their daily lives as if nothing had happened.

Then the narrator fades back in and ends the show with the following reaction:

"The planet Earth is a speck of dust remote and alone in the void. There are powers in the universe inscrutable and profound. Fear cannot save us. Rage cannot help us. We must see the strange in a new light, the light of understanding. And to achieve this, we must begin to understand ourselves, and each other."


We now return control of your television set to you, until next week at this same time when the control voice will take you to ...

THE OUTER LIMITS!


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"Adventurous radio station operator contacts a fellow experimenter in another galaxy. The operator locks in 3D communication, but a DJ who wants to impress his girlfriend with the station's range, boosts the signal all the way up, unknowingly sucking the alien, who's composed of electricity, into the remote desert town."

Watch The Galaxy Being.

| Nature and universe

Today I practiced my omnipotence by saving the life of a humble spider. The poor insect had been stuck in the corner of the ceiling behind the door, waiting patiently for days now in its little web for an unknowing fly to get snagged there.

The odds of ever catching food in that bare corner were pretty close to zero, so I decided to do him a favor. Or it might have been a her, I don't know.

I grabbed a chair and slid it underneath that corner of the room. Then I stood up on it and placed a glass carefully over the spider, shaking the glass slightly back and forth until the spider fell into it.

I put the palm of my other hand to cover the opening so that the panicky spider would not escape.

Then I walked to the balcony, turned the glass upside down, and then let gravity take care that the little spider fell and gently floated in the wind down into a the vegetation below.

The odds of survival have been increased drastically, and I feel very confident that the spider will find better prey amongst the branches and leaves.

You're very welcome little spider, let's keep in touch.

| Computers and stuff

My expensive Iiyama ProLite XB3270QS monitor got stuck and no matter which button I pressed, the stupid error message "OSD Locked" kept appearing and I could not adjust the settings any more.

This has been going on for days now, and I had finally accepted the fact that I would have to switch my two computers manually to the monitor by using separate HDMI cables, what a pain.

Turns out that the solution is pretty simple. According to the online manual, "The power switch lock will be deactivated by pressing the front buttons MENU and about 10 seconds."

Lo and behold, it works!

| Vacation

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We have been to Greece many times, but for the first time we decided to explore the more rugged terrain of the Peloponnese Region where many ancient ruins and wonderful little towns could be found. We did the so-called fly and drive routine which means that for a total package trip you rent a car and stay in fancy hotels on a pre-defined route along the coast and through the mountains. We preferred the serene countryside to the bustling and dusty city of Athens, but we experienced a good mix of various locations and scenic countrysides.

See the photo album 2022 April in Greece.

| Way of life

Why is it that older people get grumpier and more negative as they age? You see this happen all the time. They complain about this and that, usually about fairly trivial items having little importance in life and yet absorbing all their energy and focus. The bubble of awareness contracts more and more until the only thing that matters any more is their sorry selves and how they are victimized by outside forces beyond their sphere of control. They go on and on endlessly about their problems which are unfairly caused by this person who is either dishonest, stupid or careless beyond means. Mostly this seems to be caused by the changing society and their complete inability to adapt to change, ironically change for the better. The work floor modernizes, new technologies evolve and society comes up with newer and more efficient practices. These are all good improvements to the way of life, compared to the so-called good old days. Back when society was structured and predictable, almost to an extreme, comfortable but limiting. After sixty or so, it is high time to pause and reflect on the positive sides of life. Be very thankful for what you have. Do not thrive on gossip or feelings of distrust, hatred and isolation. In ten years, two years, a couple months from now, or even tomorrow, it will all end anyway. At that defining moment of truth, how much better would your final thoughts be were they to be happy, thankful and positive. Welcoming the end with open arms and total acceptance of what is or what isn't to come. That my friend is the true purpose of life, so good luck.

| Golf

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The golf competition season has finally started again after waiting patiently two years for the corona pandemic to recede, and our Heren 1 (27 holes) team is looking pretty good. I am the short guy to the far left with the wrinkled pants, also known as the team captain. From right to left: Erik, Paul, Ed, Reinier, Jeroen and me.

| Family and friends

While rummaging through a bunch of old dusty boxes in the attic, I happened to come across this old picture. Hard to believe that it was taken nearly forty-two years ago. Much has happened since that wonderful year way back then, when existence was a romantic adventure and there was still so much to learn in life.

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| Work and play

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My latest assignment as full-stack developer is at the exclusive KPN Technologies high-rise office in Rotterdam, and the view of the Erasmus Bridge from my desk on the 12th floor is pretty amazing.

| Family and friends

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We finally celebrated my belated birthday gift which was delayed because of everything being closed due to the Corona lockdown. While it might not have been a world record, we were able to complete the Escape Room challenges in seventy minutes, the official limit was sixty but the guy was nice to us. Afterwards, we all went out and had a fancy dinner in town, and it was great fun for me to be with the whole family for fun and relaxation.

| Childhood

I remember in 4th grade we were goofing around, on this occasion tossing a little rubber ball around in the classroom behind the teacher's back. The ball bounced around between the desks, and rolled down the aisle right between me and my friend who was sitting at the desk to the right of me. Both of us grabbed for the ball at the same time. I had a sharpened pencil in my hand and accidentally stabbed my friend in the hand with it. The tip of the pencil broke off cleanly and remained deeply embedded in his palm. He had to go to the hospital and get a tetanus shot. I felt really sorry about that. Funny how we remember such minor details in life. I guess at the time it made quite an impression on me and stuck in my mind for nearly sixty years.

| Childhood

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Have a look for yourself: El Gabilan 1975.

| World affairs

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We try our best to get on with our lives, but the awful Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused everyone much stress and anxiety. For awhile there life seemed to be getting better, but then came this stupid war.

We are praying that the war will not spill over into other European countries, that someone will take care of (assassinate) Poetin before it is too late. He is an insane murderer with no regard for human life.

Millions of people have fled Ukraine so far, and all western countries including the Netherlands are doing their best to accommodate the masses of people crossing the border. Towns and cities are being blown away to smithereens and thousands of innocent people losing their lives, including children and babies.

Asides from some hefty sanctions, no one is doing much to help defend Ukraine. Everyone expresses their concerns. but we are all afraid of this madman Poetin, that if he is angered he will attach us or even worse start dropping atomic bombs on us.

Let's hope that there is peace again soon, but I am not getting my hopes up.

| Golf

One birdie, four bogies and the rest pars. Thirty-seven on the front and thirty-seven on the back. No double-bogies, no water balls, two saves out of the sand trap, and not a single lost ball. This is what playing golf is all about, once in awhile everything clicks, the long putts fall and you get lucky a couple times. My handicap has dropped from a 6.8 to a 6.3 in one sweep. Let's not allow this to go to my head, tomorrow is another day, so let's enjoy this great feeling while it lasts.

| World affairs

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What's happening in Ukraine right now is an atrocious act of insanity by a complete idiot and needs to be stopped no matter what. Please donate right now by clicking on the image above.

| Internet

This blog is more than twenty years old, can you believe it? I was one of the first pioneers in those days who dared explore the rough seas of the emerging Internet by setting up my own personal website. In all that time, I have been able to sustain things just fine using an old version of Movable Type which back in those days was quite the hype and advanced tool.

Since then much has happened in the wonderful world of Internet, but I have never felt a need to change anything about this old-fashioned blogging tool. Built, configured and up and running. It's been working just fine, so why change it?

Famous last words. A couple weeks ago, my Internet savvy daughter warned me that this website was not safe. She noticed that the lock icon was missing. Still using plain vanilla http as it was meant to be back in the good old days. Now we have to be overly cautious and secure everything we do on the Internet, especially including websites.

I ignored her warnings (sorry Sabien) figuring that no one would want to hack such a boring website like this. But lo and behold, no more than two days later it happened, hacked and broken real good.

Okay I get the hint now, so it was high time to do something about it. The big bad world of Internet is going to pot.

Purchased and installed an SSL certificate, and as you can now see by the little lock in the url, the connection is secure and the certificate is valid:

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I managed to find an old article (2010) explaining how to do this, which was very helpful. Without this archaic information, I'm sure that I never would have been able to figure it out on my own.

See: Secure the Back End of Movable Type 4 (or 5): SSL and Mod Rewrite.

| Philosophy and poetry

"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone."

– Blaise Pascal

See: The Problem with People

| Computers and stuff

Some of you might have noticed that since November 16 this website has not been available. Turns out that somehow this blog was hacked. Took me awhile looking around for anomalies and searching through log files.

After a few late night hours, I finally figured it out. Somehow someone had breached my root directory and added an errant index.php file which blew everything up.

Don't ask me how this is possible, but it happened. I guess I should feel honored that some hacker out there took the time to mess around with my simple and insignificant blog. Better yet I spoofed him back which feels really good.

Take that you awful and scroungy fool of a fool!

Kos

| Vacation

Thea and I had a fantastic time on the Greek island of Kos. The resort we stayed at was super deluxe and we even had our own private jacuzzi. Since we were there outside of the tourist season, most places were pretty peaceful and relaxing.

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We had rented a small car so could travel around the island, seeing pretty much most of the important small villages and other attractions. We loved the beaches and nature and took a number of extended strolls so that we deserved fancy dinners when we got back.

The weather was pretty good, mostly sunny and sometimes a bit on the cool side, although we did have a couple days stormy weather and one evening even an impressive lightning storm in the distance (we sat in bubbling in the jacuzzi watching it from a safe distance.

See photo album

| Golf

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As the proud captain of team Old (Oud), I am pleased to announce that finally after three years we beat team Young (Jong) in the traditional yearly match-play championship.

The young whipper-snappers were cocky and with their massively long drives they felt confident that they would win hands down yet another time, but we pulled it off with our wits and perseverance.

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Above, the winning captain giving the celebration speech, I could not have ever done it without such a great team of old farts behind me.

Here is the entertaining article I wrote for the club magazine:

Jong tegen Oud 2021

Every year in September, the generation gap is celebrated for a day when the young bucks and the older folks come together for the annual Jong tegen Oud matchplay championship. Over the years this contest has grown into a fun-filled tradition, and for the first time due to the popularity the team size was increased to twelve against twelve.

On the last Sunday of the month, it was a fun and challenging time where the two teams conduct a friendly battle for the much coveted trophy. After the wake up call and early morning coffee, the nine holes greensome match takes place, and after lunch the afternoon singles eighteen holes is launched, followed at the end of the day with the traditional borrel, celebration BBQ and prizes.

Team Jong was lead by Ralf Mulder who did an excellent job as captain bringing the team together into a fortified unit, inspiring them to take the challenge with renewed energy and confidence.

The young whipper-snappers were cocky and with their massively long drives they felt confident that they would win hands down for the fourth year in a row. Well no matter, the older and wiser folks managed to pull off the win with a unique combination of skill, perseverance and lots of lucky breaks.

Sure, being able to drive the ball three hundred plus meters looks impressive and can be intimidating, but in the true tradition of golf the match play format is a true equalizer. The short game from bunkers, chipping from off of the green, recovery shots from behind the trees, and sinking long birdie putts was the name of the game. Yes indeed, the Team Oud had their act together in that regard.

Though slightly disappointed, the Team Jong displayed the true spirit of golf by accepting their loss gracefully, and were not the least daunted in calling for a re-match next year to win back the trophy.

As the winning captain, I want to thank everyone for making this a great success and look forward to continuing this fine tradition next year. We will not make it easy for the youngins, that's for sure. Let luck be on our sides again.

- Kiffin

| Golf

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Chipping went really great this afternoon, from ten feet off of the green most of my balls ended up within a meter or two of the hole. Sure, playing an actual round of golf is a completely different story, but knowing at least that I can chip well makes me feel more confident out on the course.

| Computers and stuff

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Purchased a new video card and installed it in my gaming computer. There is currently a huge shortage of video cards on the market, meaning that they are over-priced. The base price is quoted at €495, but I was desperate for some reason and bought one anyway via an online scalper for €600.

See: AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT Graphics

| Health and happiness

That's how far in kilometres that I have driven in my car. That's more than five and a half times around the world, or more than half way to the moon. Of course, that may sound pretty impressive, but it took around 12 years travelling time to accomplish such as amazing feat. At this rate, I should finally arrive on the moon in about 11 more years. That'll be interesting.

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The car I own is an Open Astra Station Wagon, and except for a few small scratches and a couple minor dents, it has held out pretty well. Perhaps I may look like an old geezer driving slowly on the highway in the right lane: honk, honk. But as long as it gets me safely in one piece to the golf courses and back, I will keep on going.

| Golf

Played nine holes today for the first time at a golf course called Midden Brabant. On the first hole I chipped in from 50 yards for a birdie, and on the ninth hole I made another birdie by sinking a massive putt from one side of the green to the other. Too bad for the double-bogie, trying to hit over a tree that was too close for comfort. Ended up with a thirty-nine which is nice.

| Dreams

There are many people out there with various phobias and fears. This can effect their quality of life significantly. I'm a firm believer in confronting fears head on, bear it out and get over it quickly. Not the slow poke take it gradually from afar and one small step at a time until who knows when, maybe never. The cure is simple, put that spider in your hand and let it creep up you arm and under your shirt. Let it wiggle around touching you, and after about five minutes of this you should be cured.

| Games

Started playing around with kaboom.js which is an elegant yet simple javascript game engine, and it's loads of fun.

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| Life in Holland

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We met each other exactly 41 years ago in Norway, and married exactly five years later. For our wedding anniversary we went to Drenthe which is a province in the east of Holland. This is where Thea's mother grew up and most of the relatives on that side of the family have stayed there. So on the one hand it was a kind of family reunion and on the other it was a romantic couple days alone cycling and walking through the countryside, relaxing at a quaint little hotel in the middle of nowhere.

| Golf

I was hoping to break eighty during the monthly medal tournament this morning. With only one hole to go, all I had to do was shoot a bogie for a seventy-nine. Instead, I three putted for a double-bogie and ended up with a round of eighty. The only other bad hole was number eight where I choked with a triple bogey after hitting my drive into the water. Not necessary, the putt was only a couple of feet uphill. You could look at it more positively and say that I only had two bad holes out of eighteen. But those lousy two holes cost me five undeserved extra shots. Better luck next time, and when I break eighty I will be even happier than before.

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| Meaning of life

During my daily walks through the countryside, I come across natural wonders which catch my attention. Sometimes the object results in a fleeting thought or a mental distraction, and other times I become frozen in time philosophizing about the this and the that.

Take for example that small stone at the side of the road. Until now it has been enjoying a relatively peaceful existence minding its own business. As I approach the small inanimate object, I wonder if I should let it continue lying there motionless for years to come with no will of its own, or better yet release my free will in such a manner as to disrupt the future as it could have been.

From one instant to the next, I decide to express my will power and disrupt time. With a perfectly placed kick of my toe, I send the small stone sliding across the pavement where it hits a slight upramp of the road at the edge of the canal, whereupon the rock is launched into the air, flies several meters and splashes in the exact middle of the water. A miniature splash sends it its way to the depths of the canal, settling to the bottom to remain there for the next thousands of years.

All of this was triggered by some random thoughts in my mind and the laws of nature took over. Here we are, again.

Random entries

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Golf Handicap

Information

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 2449 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.