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Dairy, May 2005


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Sunday, May 1, 2005

First summer day

Today, we had the official first summer day. A summer day is defined when temperatures reach 25 degree Celsius at the nation weather institute in De Bilt, a small city near Utrecht in the center of the country. In some areas in the South of the country, temperatures even reach 30 degrees Celsius. This is extremely hot weather for the time of the year.


Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Simultaneous Game

Tonight, Annabel and I went to the University to play Go only to find that the building where we usually play was closed. In front we found Rudi waiting. We went to see if Fanaat was open. And there we found Martijn. I informed Rudi and he got the boards and stones from his car. We decided that Rudi would play a simultaneous game against the three of us. Annabel played three games, the first two she lost, the last one she won. Martijn also won, but I resigned when I lost one of my corners, and concluded that the loss would be to big.


Thursday, May 5, 2005

A special day

First of all, it is one of these special dates, because the date can be written as 05-05-05. Secondly, it is national liberation day, because 60 years ago, World War II ended in the Netherlands. Thirdly, it is ascension day, the least celebrated Christian holidays. The local tradition is to get up early and go biking. The sky was clear, so I woke up Annabel around a quarter to six in the morning. We left around half past six. First we biked to Usselo, next to Boekelo, and half way to Beckum, we saw a pheasant in a field (at least that is what we thought it was). In Beckum we stopped a little, and then we continued to Delden, a long straight road. On top of the bridge over the Twente Canal we took some pictures. We biked through Delden, and around a quarter to eight we were standing before Twickel Castle. There we ate something and I took another picture. Then we continued to Borne where we arrived 8:10 and then Hengelo, where we visited some friends. After having drank some cups of tea, we took their daughter with us and biked back to Enschede where we waited a long time for the liberation parade, which consisted of drum bands and about a hunderd World War II vehicles including three tanks. And of course there were Canadian veterans traveling on the vehicles as well, which were welcomed with a lot of clapping.


Sunday, May 8, 2005

First Go tournament

This afternoon, Annabel and I went to Amstelveen, so that she could join the Kunwa Childrens Go Contest, which was part of the Amsterdam Toyota PandaNet Tour. Fourteen children joined into the contest, which were divided into two groups. A group of six children played on 19x19 boards, and the other eight played on 13x13 boards. Annabel was one of the stronger players on the 13x13 boards. We enlisted her as 20 kyu, but later had to correct this to 22. She won 4 out of 7 games and reached the fourth place. All children received some price. Annabel brought home some "Go-sweets" (zwartwitjes from Venco) and a clown doll on a swing.

(follow-up)



Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Winning with one point

When Annabel and I arrived this evening at the University to play Go, Martijn was already there. Because he had carried six sets, we could start playing again. I won with one point, but would have lost, had he not warned me twice during the end game about some move that was going to cost me a lot of stones. Afterwards he said he had not made any "elephant" moves, which are moves that are not going to work, but confuse players like me so much that we start to make mistakes, because we do not know how to deal with them. Martijn remarked that he must have done something wrong, because I ended up with one large group. Annabel played a game against Ton, and at the end of the evening, a game against Wouter, a student that came by for the first time. He had only played Go on the internet for about seven times. Annabel lost with a few points, so his strength must also be around 22 kyu. If he joins the club, I am no longer the weakest player, but it would not surprise me if that is not for long.


Saturday, May 14, 2005

New computer

Today, Li-Xia and I went into the city to look for a small and handy vacumclear. We found one at Media Markt, but we also decided to have a look at the computer section. After some considerations, we decided to buy a new computer.

Kingdom of Heaven

In the afternoon, we went to see the movie Kingdom of Heaven at Alhambra theater. The movie started at 15:30. It was very quiet. Besides us, there was only one other man in the room. We picked chairs C-8 and C-9. Coming Wednesday, I will be in chair C-7. When they showed the Star Wars III trailer, I closed my eyes and made a huming noise as not to see all the little spoilers. I nevertheless heard some things. It is difficult to switch off your brain, especially if the sounds are so loud. The movie was interesting to watch. It is interesting to see how the "battle" between Christians and Muslims has been going on for so long, and how Jerusalem has been a focual point throughout history.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Turning the living room inside out

Yesterday, I spend the whole day dealing with the security issues with respect to our computers. On Saturday, I failed to connect the new computer to the old one through our router/modem. Yesterday, I discovered that this was caused by Zone Alarm on ester being set to "Internet" instead of "Trusted". This was the proper setting for when it was still directly connected to the Internet. I changed it to "Trusted", but then I had to make sure that the firewall in the router/modem was working properly. A Security Scan did reveal some problems. I spend the rest of the day dealing with this issues. I did upload some new firmware into the router/modem. Today, we decided to put the lixia, the new computer, on the computer desk in the living room for the time being. The last days it had been standing on the low table in the living room. (I borrowed the monitor from andy from the room of Annabel). But we first needed to clear the computer desk. In the past months it a large number of video's had been accummulated. We decided to move a part of these video's to the cupboard near the television, so that it would be easier for Andy to access them. And to move the rest upstairs to some place. But then that cupboard also needed to be cleared. So within a few minutes the living room turned into a mess and we spend the next four hours trying to rearrange everything. We succeeded in doing this, but not without creating some additional mess in the rest of the house.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Piano man

When I read the story about the Piano man, I got the idea that the man might be a Savant, a highly functional autist, who learned himself to play piano, but who is not able to communicate in a normal way, or only to a select group of people. This might also explain why all the lables were removed, as a type of obsessive behaviour.

Mysterious chestnut disease

On the Dutch Youth News there was an item on a mysterious chestnut disease that is spreading out over the Netherlands and killing many trees. For some pictures of the symptoms see the Dutch page "de werkgroup Aesculaap". I wonder whether out little chestnut trees will be affected.

European Constitution

This evening, Li-Xia and I watched a discussion program about the Referendum for the European Constitution that will be held on June 1 in the Netherlands. I am more and more becoming convinced that I should vote against the European Constitution because I believe that Europe should not become a political union like the United Stated of America. I don't want a United States of Europe. Our government wants us to vote for such a consitution. They recently invested a lot of money for a new campain, to make us change our mind, now that the polls report a growing resistence against the European Consitution. Almost daily some member of the government makes a bold statement that something bad is going to happen to our country, would we vote against the European Consitution. But even if the majority of the people would vote against it, it is still the government that has the last vote with respect to whether the Netherlands will agree with the consititution or not. I believe that under the European Consititution democracy will not be improved, because I believe it will result in an even stronger concentration of power in Brussels (where the headquarters of the European Union are), and it is known from history that any substantial concentration of power reduces democracy. That is also why I think that the USA is less democratic than the Netherlands, although they have the right to vote their president and we do not have that right.

(follow-up)


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Too stressed to think?

From www.scienceblog.com:

Bush was almost killed by grenade

Today, the news came that the grenade which was trown close to President Bush while he made a speech on May 10 before more than 100.000 people in Tbilisi was active and not inactive as reported before. It only did not explode because it first struck a girl. If it would have exploded it would have killed many. I was really surprised that President Bush gave a speech in such a dangerous country near such a large cloud. Just days before he visited the Netherlands to remember the american soldiers that died during World War II. During that time their were very strict security measurements, and he was kept far away from any public. High roads were closed and planes were forbidden to fly over the province where he was staying. Many people complained about all the security measurements that were taken. In the weeks before groups of people even had tried to declare him an unwanted person because his governement is not obeying the Geneva Convention with respect to people held in Guantanamo Bay. We live in a strange world indeed.

Revenge of the Sith

Tonight, I went to see Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith in the Alhambra movie theater. I arrived early and was the first person to enter the room when it opened twenty before eight. I had seat 7 in row C (third from the back, downstairs). About then minutes after eight, the owner of the theater climbed on the stage before the screen and held a short speech, explaining that this was the first digital projection of a movie and only one of seven theaters in the Netherlands showing the movie with a digital projector. He told us that they watched the movie last night and that the lamb shutdown three times, but that they now had a new lamb and that the problem would be solved. He also explained that they would start with an introduction explaining the reason behind the better quality of digital projection. When we were about two minutes into the movie (no trailers were shown), the screen became dark. About two minutes later they started it again, repeating about 10 seconds. Luckily, it did not happen again.

(follow-up)


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Star Wars

Today, I came across the intersting article "Star Wars" despots vs. "Star Trek" populists by David Brin. When I think about it, I do not fully agree with his arguments. I think that most people do not view Anakin Skywaker (Darth Vader) as a kind of "Hitler", as the source of evil. Rather they view him as someone who felt in the hands of the emperor (the true "Hitler" of that time). Of course, one can conclude that it was Anakin himself who submitted to the emperor, however, it is clearly that this emperor made plans years a head to make Anakin his personal servant and plotted him into submitting to him, knowing his greatest weaknesses.


Friday, May 20, 2005

Special date

According to the Dutch date notation, today is 20-05-2005. Reason for many people to marry on this date. It is not only twice the number 2005, but the date also read the same in the mirror when using "digital numbers":

This is the first of such "digital" mirror dates.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Go tournament Apeldoorn

Today, Annabel and I went to a Go contest in Apeldoorn. We arrived there around twenty to eleven. The contest started around half past eleven and consisted of five rounds. We both won one out of five games. Annabel was asked by someone to take pictures with his camera. Something she liked doing. Annabel played another three games outside the tournament. For me it was the first tournament that I joined. For Annabel it was her second tournament, but in a sense it is also her first "real" tournament, because two weeks ago it was just the one who won the most games that got the first price, while with this tournament it was the person who came out strongest who one the first price. The first price was won by Rudi, the strongest player of our club. Second price went to a Chinese guy from Zwolle, who played his first tournament in the Netherlands. Official web page with results and pictures

(follow-up)


Monday, May 23, 2005

What are you doing here?

This afternoon, the teachers of Andy came to bring us a visit. They told us that Andy's often askes in a very surprised manner: "What are you doing here?". They thought it was very funny, and they even started using the phrase amongh themselves.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Opportunity Mars Rover

I have been following the progress of the Spirit and Opportunity Mars Rover in the past year. At the moment Opportunity is stuck in a sand dune and only slowly making progress with getting out. Today, I found an interesting movie showing it progress. At the moment they are just reversing through the track. And that is good. However, the rover also needs to get out of the track again. I wonder whether they are going to succeed in doing this.

(follow-up)

Playing Go

This evening, Annabel and I went to the Go club to play Go. I played against Ton and we decided I would start with seven stones ahead. After about twenty moves, he invaded a corner, and it looked like he was going to live in it, and kill my group. I was ready to resign. I had made a little cut earlier on, and decided to push at one of his groups that surrounded my group and see what would happen. After about ten moves I saved my group and started running. Then he took some risk, and I killed a group with the group that he almost killed. Then he was considering to resign, he told me later. However, I made some unnecessary moves, which alowed him to gain some territory. About that time, some lady came over, asking us about the rules. (She had seen the game being played in 'A Beautiful Mind'.) We suggested that she would play with Annabel, who at that moment was still playing against Taco. She played two games against Taco with a nine stone handicap. She lost them with 19 and 14 points, which is a very nice result if Taco had been playing strong, but I guess he played easy. Later she told me that she thought that the tournament of last Sunday helped her with playing better, and that she wanted more at tournaments like this. After finished her last game, she played two games with the woman on a 9x9 board. Both of them she lost. But the first because she let her win, and the second with a few points. I won with a few points. Then I watched a little with Rudi and Marcel finishing their game.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hot

When I came outside this afternoon, I was hit by the heat. This is the first hot day, this year. Tomorrow it is going to be hot again. The forecast for Saturday says that we are going to get thunderstorms and a drop in temperature.


Friday, May 27, 2005

Tropical birthday

Today, it is Li-Xia's birthday. It was also the first tropical day of this year. Everywhere in the country, even along the sea, the temperature was above 30 degrees Celsius.


Monday, May 30, 2005

Non

The Frence have voted against the European Constitution. I am planning to vote against it as well when we the Dutch are going to vote next Wednesday. It looks like the Dutch are also going to vote against it. At least the argument that we are going to be the only country that is going to vote against is not going to work anymore.

(read on below)


Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Nee

All polls indicate that the opposition against the European Constitution is growing in the Netherlands, and that there will be a clear NEE (NO). However, I am not always happen with the reasons that people give why the vote against this constitution. I feel that André Rouvoet from the ChristianUnion has the best arguments against the European Constitution. He is generally recognized as a good politician. Last year he was elected as "best politician" of the year by the press, and praised for his balanced view on many issues.

From a on-line poll that was filled in by 10,524 people (77.9% men), 61.5% still wants to vote against the European Constiution. 28.8% votes yes, and 9.7% is still not sure what to vote. 88.5% feels that our government should accept the result of this referendum. On the question whether our government should step down in case of a No the views are balanced. Reasons for people to vote against are very broad. Many people vote no because they are against the government. Many people also feel that the Netherlands should stay the Netherlands. 48.9% is against the introduction of the Euro but still 20.2% is in favour. 60% is against Turkey joining the European Union. Strangly, only 32.6% feels that the European Parlement should get more power. 50% precent things that the economical situation will not improve when the constitution is accepted. More than 70% feels that we will have to paying more to Brussels. And almost 60% feels that this constitution is coming to early.

(follow-up)


This months interesting links


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