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Dairy, June 2006


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Friday, June 2, 2006

Going to China

This morning, I heard that a colleague of mine is also going to China. They will fly on July 23 from Amsterdam to Beijing with a direct flight by China Southern Airlines (flight number CZ346) for an organized rount trip. I thought that only KLM was offering a directly flight, but apparently this is not the case. Maybe there are even more airlines offering a direct flight. China Southern Airlines is flying with Boeing 777's where even the economy class offers a private video screen. This really made me doubt whether we booked our flights with the right airline for some time.

Last Wednesday, my mother came to visit us and she gave us her passport so that we can apply for a visa. Today, we also received an extra passphoto over the mail. Li-Xia went to the drug store to order the Tentrini Energy Multi Fibre for Andy.


Saturday, June 3, 2006

Visas and money

Today, we decided to fill in the visa application forms now that we had all the passports, only to discover that my mother needed to sign her application form. Something we should have thought of last Wednesday. We decided to mail it to her. Hopefully she will get it on Tuesday, and we get it back on Wednesday. Then Li-Xia can go to the travel agency on Thursday.

We also decided to transfer some money our family in China to cover the cost for the tickets that they are going to buy for us, and to have some money for ourselves. We almost completely filled in the form we usually use, when I thought about the possibility to transfer the money by Internet. And yes, our bank did provide the possibility to transfer the money through our Internet account.


Sunday, June 4, 2006

Inserting a feeding tube

Today, while capturing all video tapes, I found the recording of Li-Xia inserting a feeding tube in Andy, which I made on July 7, 1999. I uploaded it to video.google.com. Please watch Inserting Feeding Tube yourself.


Monday, June 5, 2006

The great silence

This evening, Li-Xia and I watched a documentary called "The great silence", which was about two persons attending a silent retrait with Isaac Shapiro (possibly the one held from May 12-26, 2006 in Venwoude, The Netherlands). I certainly believe that attending such a silence retrait can be a great experience. But again, I thought, another clever person, who succeeded in earning a living with just being himself and doing nothing else. Yes, than life is easy.


day, June 6, 2006

666-day

For some, today is 666 day. Of course, it is true that today is one of those special dates, because the date can be written as 06-06-06, or alternatively as 6-6-6. I find it a little strange to read this as the number 666, the number of the beast. Indeed the number 666 is mentioned in the Bible, but not as refering to a date but to a person. Over the history many people have been identified with this number, the first being emperor Nero. There are Christians who believe that Satan will try to get a stronger hold on this day, and for this reason started with a worshipping campain. In the Netherlands, they started yesterday evening at six o'clock, and they will continue till six o'clock this evening. The reason they start at six o'clock is because according to the Old Testament, the day starts at sunset, which is around six o'clock in the evening. But still this is a little strange, because why do they follow the Jewish day division in combination with the calendar of the Roman Empire. Personally, I do not believe that there are any special days, and I am also not sure whether there are so many Satanic groups "praying" on this special day. And even if they were, should Christians really worship God on this special day, to counter act their activities? It has been reported by the Dutch media that Christians are worshipping on this special day. I wonder how this is perceived.


Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Applying for visas

This afternoon, we received the letter from my mother with her visa application form with her signature on it. Li-Xia went to the V&D travel agency. There she was told that passphotos for Annabel and Andy were also needed. Which meant that we had to search for these pictures. The problem was that somehow we lost the last passphotos of Annabel. (During the search, I found an unlabelled video tape.) Finally, she went back with some older passphotos of Annabel. It was okay. She had to pay € 228 for all the visa applications. This includes all the handling costs and the commision (€ 21.50) of the travel agency. The man said it would take about a week for the applications to return. We will see.


Thursday, June 8, 2006

Capturing last tape

Last Sunday, I though I had finishing capturing all tapes. But today, I discovered that the tape I found yesterday, did contain recordings from a periode that I had assumed that we had not made any recordings. I captured it. Except from the tape that we just started recording with, all tapes have been captured. I guess, we have somewhere between 25 and 30 hours of material now. I am planning on creating DVD's and making DiVX (or XDiV) files from these. From the oldest tapes, I also want to keep the raw AVI files, in order to


Friday, June 9, 2006

Flights inside China

Yesterday, when Li-Xia phoned with her mother, she heard that the flight CZ6902 from Beijing to Urumqi leaving at 14:40 was cheaper than one flight earlier (see possible flights). This flight is operated by China Southern Airlines. I heard that Xinjiang Airlines merged with China Southern Airlines, so I guess that this flight is the same as flight XO9102 that we took ten years ago, and it would not surprise me, if they still operate the same planes. We also had to decided on the return date. This morning, we decided that our prefered date for flying back from Urumqi to Beijing is Sunday August 13. That means that we will have three days in Beijing to look around all the famouse places and to visit some friends. It will be a tight scedule. My mother would like to go to Tiananmen square. I think we should also visit the forbidden city if we are to go there. I think my mother will also like to visit the summer palace and Yuan Ming Yuan. Visiting the Great Wall has a lower priority for me. Of course, we probably can visit our friends during the evening.

When Li-Xia phoned today, she heard that Mr. Ma wants to meet us at the airport when we arrive in Beijing from the Netherlands, just as he did last time. Although I cannot talk with him, I am looking forward to it.

Magnum Classic ice cream

Because of the warm weather, some collegues bought some ice creams. They offered me a Magnum Classic ice cream, and I decided to give it a try. I never had one before, but I think it is the last one I ever had. Far to much fat inside, it even made me feel sick. I guess, I am no longer used to fat.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

LR-maze

Yesterday evening and this morning, I worked on a program for the type of mazes that only have three splits, which I started to think about on May 28. You could also call these mazes left-right mazes, because whenever you arrive at a split you always have the choice between either going to the left or to the right. Yesterday evening, I worked on a random generator for such mazes, and this morning, I made a first attempt to write an algorithm to find a universal recepie for arriving at the exit, no matter from which point you start. This is the program as far as I got.

(follow-up)

Media

Today, Li-Xia and I went to the city and looked around a little bit. We bought 20 TDK DVD-R recordables (scratchproof) for about 42 Euro. We also looked at some DV video recorders: the Panasonic NV-GS 27 and the Sony HC-23. We also looked at some digital cameras: Kodak Z650, Canon A430, and Canon A530.

Solar eclipse

In the afternoon, there was a television program with a short feature about the last complete solar eclipse in Egypt. Then Li-Xia told me that she had seen a solar eclipse in Urumqi, when she was still a child. She told me that her father listened to the radio and had prepared some dark glasses. Just at the right moment they went outside, while most of the other children were not aware what was going to happen. Of course, I searched the Internet, and I found this overview of all solar eclipses in Urumqi. Although there are no total eclipses in this overview, there are to 99% eclipses, one on Friday, May 20, 1966 and one on Sunday, September 22, 1968. We could not determine which of the two was the one she had seen.

Syncronizing video and sound

This evening, I started working on creating a DVD from the first recordings that we made from Annabel. In those recordings the video and sound are not syncronized due to capturing errors, which are caused by the poor quality of the original material. To night, I discovered how I could time shift the video from the sound with Pinnacle Studio. The rest of the night I spend listening to sounds while watching the video and trying to determine the amouth of shift required to syncronize the video and the sound for the various recordings which I made.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Flying to Beijing on Saturday

Today, Li-Xia talked with her mother. She suggested that we should fly back to Beijing on Saturday August 12, instead of on Sunday, as we had thought. We decided to follow her suggestion.

Winning from Araldo

This evening, Annabel and I went to the university to play Go. Annabel did not play a game. She looked around and collected eight goose feathers. She also told me she approached an Grey Heron within about two meters (six feets) before it flew away. Araldo asked me for a game. His strength is about 1 Kyu. I felt I should be given an eight stone advance. We played for about two hours, and I won with eighteen points.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Visas have been granted

This morning, Li-Xia was phoned by the travel agency that our passports have returned and that our visas have been granted. That is good news.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

New cameras

This afternoon, I went into the city just for having a break from all time working on producing the DVD's. Strangely enough, I had this idea of going to buy some cameras. I went back to the shop (Media Markt") where we looked last week. The I discovered that just for this day, they were having a special offer for all cameras, consisting of them paying the 19% VAT. Again, many people interpretted this as the prices being 19% lower. I quickly guessed it must be something like 16% (15.96638 to be more precise). Of course, I phoned with Li-Xia, and she gave me the green light, suggesting that I should not hesitate to spend a little more. After long considerations, I decided to go for the Canon A530 digital camera with an additional 512 Mbyte SD card, and the Sony HC-23 video camera.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Watching the International Space Station pass over

This evening, I went outside around 23:18 to see if I could spot the International Space Station that was to pass. When I saw it, it was already past Jupiter (moving from the West to the East), and I immediately called Li-Xia who was inside, and we watched it together. It is traveling at about 7.7 Km per second.

(follow-up)


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Final Freedom

Today, I received an email from M. S. Treherne advertizing his The Final Freedom work. According to his description, the work contains a new teaching and can also be called the Gospel of the Resurrection. I downloaded the DPF file and quickly looked at it, but failed to discover what this new teaching is mostly about. It appears to me that most of the document, which has an appealing layout, consists of quotes from several religious sources. But maybe it is the idea of the author that you have to discover this new teaching by studying these quotes by yourself.

Playing Go and other things

This evening, Annabel brought a friend with her when we went to the university to play Go. Not many people showed up, only Rudi and Marcel. Rudi told me that both Ton and Taco were on holiday. This evening was also the evening of the soccer match between Argetina and the Netherlands. Marcel wanted to watch the match when it started at nine, so Rudi and I decided to play against each other. I was given a nine stone advance and Marcel watched us. The girls also played some game, and than ran outside to look around. After about a little more than an hour, I resigned, because I was not in the move to play the game till the end. Rudi estimated that I lost with about thirty points. Non of my groups was killed, so that was good. We shortly discussed some of the situations that occured. At a quarter to ten, during half time, we went home. At home, Annabel watched the second half of the game together with Li-Xia. The game ended in 0-0, as for both teams it was not essential to win. We also watched the ISS station to pass over again. I had gone outside with our new video camera. But after some time, I went inside, thinking that it already had passed overhead. But when I checked the pass information, I discovered that it was not over yet. We ran outside again, and Annabel was the first one to spot it right overhead. I took some video of it, but when I watched it back, I discovered that there was not much too see. Here is the page with all visible passes in de coming days from where we live.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Flight HU 7145

Today, we heard that we will take flight HU 7145 with Hainan Airlines from Beijing to Urumqi. According to the schedule on their website, the flight leaves at 13:50 and arrives at 17:45 (which is a little later than I found somewhere else before) and that we fly in a 737-800. There seems to be only one problem, and that is that we are only allowed to carry one item of carry-on bagage per person weighting no more than 5 kilo. This means we have to contact the airline to ask if we can bring the food as carry-on bagage.

Tonight, we also decided to go by train from Enschede to the airport. The bus stop is close by our home.


Sunday, June 24, 2006

Portugal defeats the Netherlands

This evening, Annabel wanted to watch the world championship soccer match between Portugal and the Netherlands. I am not a soccer fan, and I wanted to go to bed early, but I ended up watching the second half with her, after the Netherlands got behind. The final score was 1-0 for Portugal. It was quite a violent match. nineteen yellow cards and four red cards were given. The Dutch team was controlling the game more the Portugal team and also had about twice as much chances to make a goal. Now the championship is over for the Netherlands, and I guess that all the orange decoractions that many people have put up, will be gone soon. Of course, the Dutch will continue watching the world championship, if it were only to see how Portugal (and also Argentina) are being defeated as well.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Parking ticket

A colleague of mine got a parking ticket. He lives in the city center and usually does not use his car during the week. For this reason, he parks his car some distance walking from the city center. Last weekend, he found a parking ticket on his wind shield. First he thought it was a joke, but the ticket looked very real. Then he discovered to his dismay that the area had been changed into a paying zone in the past week. Of course, he is going to complain, but most likely it will have no effect. His biggest problem is that he has to find a new "free" parking place for his car.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Myst V: End of Ages

Today, Li-Xia bought "Myst V: End of Ages" for me in a shop for just € 13,48. I think it will be some time before I will try it out. At the moment I am too busy with creating DVD for our home movies.

Chewing

It seems that finally, Andy is starting to eat. This evening, he said he wanted to eat something from a raisin bin. So we gave him a little part of a raisin bin, and he started to take crums from it with his finger and put them in his mouth. He has been doing this for some time. I encouraged him to take some bigger pieces, and put some bigger pieces in his mouth. To my surprise he started to chew on them. I have done this before, but most of the time he would just try to swallow them in one piece, which would often result in him starting to vomit.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Losing big from Rudi

This evening, I went to the university to play Go. (Annabel stayed home.) When I arrived Rudi, Marcel and Taco were sitting outside. A little later Araldo arrived. Marcel invited Taco for a game, and Rudi played against me and Araldo. I was given an nine stone advance. I played rather quick, because I was not really in the mood of thinking deep. About half way the game, I lost a group. The final outcome was that I lost with 65 points. Not very good.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Early elections

There will be early elections after two ministers and one deputy minister of the Liberal Democrat (D66) party resigned this evening. ( CNN: Dutch government collapses.) They resigned because their party withdrew because their request for the resignation of Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk was not honoured. Earlier this morning (in the middle of the night), a resolution calling for the resignation was rejected by the Dutch Parliament. They were very unhappy with how Minister Verdonk dealt with the issues around revoking the citizenship of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Although, Minister Verdonk states that she feels that she cannot be blamed for the collapse of this government, I personally think it is her attitude that lead to the collapse, and especially her attitude during the debate on May 16, when almost whole of the Dutch Parliament was opposing her, and forced her to reconsider her decision. If she would have been a little more flexible at that time, and admitting the possibility that she might have reacted to quickly (something that everyone felt she did), this would possible not have lead to collapse now.


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