The guest preacher we had this morning, just returned to the Netherlands
two weeks ago after serving in South Africa for some years. He made some
remarks about new Dutch words that he encountered. One of them was
"purple crocodiles", and expression that has been popular to refer to
excessive administrative procedures. The orgine of this expression lies
in a TV commercial, where a girl an her mother come to the desk of
a swimming pool, asking for the inflatable pruple crocodile that the they
forgot. The man behind the desk immediately gets a form to be filled in by
the lady. "But it is there", the lady says while pointing to the purple
crocodile. "Yes, I know," he replies, "please fill in the front and the
back in block letter." And when she hand in the form, he informs here that
she should come back tomorrow morning during business hours.
For some time the inflatable purple crocodile was produced by some company.
Even the Dutch Ministery of Finance adopted the term for one their project,
Wijzigingsplan Paarse Krokodil.
Some people created a movie explaining
the other side of the story,
in which a man with a purple crocodile explains to a bath superintendent
that his wife came to catch his daughter and that she forgot to take her
crocodile with her. The man asks if he cannot bring it himself. He replies
that they are in the process of getting a divorce and that he does not want
to know his wife that he sees his daughter at the pool. "O, is it already
that far," the bath superintendent replies, "now then you should go to
the men at the counter, because he has had his share of problems with his
ex-wife." Really, very funny!
While biking home from church, I saw a lonely chestnut along the road and decided to pick it up and put it in my
Dietary supplement (Part 9)
Yesterday evening, the owner of our drug store phoned to ask if we
already received the authorization for the dietary supplement for
Andy. I told him that we received it
last Saturday and mentioned that it
started on September 6. Then he explained that he also needed
authorization from January 1, 2006 till now.
This morning, I made phone call to my insurance company, and it
got some lady on the phone who told me that I would need to ask
my doctor to fill in another request. When I asked her about the
other authorizations, she mentioned that they only gave one.
I explained her that Andy has been receiving this kind of supplement
for more than eight years. Then she mentioned that some files might
have got lost with the introduction of the new insurance system as
it was enforced by law on January 1, 2006. At that time everyone
was given the choice to change to another health insuranc company,
and I decided not to change, just to avoid these kind of problems.
She told me that she would check things and phone me back.
Around noon she did phone back and told me that I would receive
an authorization for the missing period. But now I also understand
why they rejected the first request, because to them it was a new
request, not a continuation of an existing request. The whole
trouble has caused us a lot of stress in the past two weeks.
Visiting Telematica Institute
Today, I visited the Telematica Institue for a business meeting. When I arrived the
woman at the front desk asked me if it could be possible that she
had seen me on television. First I though she was refering to my
appearance on Tuesday, May 4, 2004.
But it seemed she recognized me from the few seconds that I was
visible during the broadcast of the Urumqi-Hami episode of the
Amsterdam-Beijing rally on Sunday, August 6.
She is the first person (outside my family) that recognized me.
When I biked back to the office, it started to rain while the sun
was still shining. When I looked to the left, I saw part of a
rainbow. A little further there was an
open space, which allowed me to almost see the full rainbow. I suddenly
realized that it had been a long time since I had seen a full rainbow.
This morning, I read in the September 29 edition of
that the magazine Digitaal Bestuur reported that the government has been working
on authentication for its electronic communications, but that there
is almost no attentioned payed to the problem of authorization.
And this is a big problem with respect to the privacy of Dutch citizens.
In some sense this is really shocking. But probably it caused by the
fact that hypes like "Web 2.0" and "SOA" sound so much more interesting.
I fear that few people (at the right places) realize that authorization
is not something that you can add later on, but that it needs to be
central in the design of any information system.
Model of Starship Enterprise NCC-1701-D
Recently, the 78-inch-long (198-cm) miniature of the
Starship Enterprise NCC-1701-D was sold through Christie's
for $576,000. It is the biggest of the three miniatures that
were made. It was sold for about twenty times as much
as what Christie's had expected. This was also true for many
of the other Star Trek items sold during the three day long
auction. It seems that movie props are becoming the
21th century art objects.
Using the ladies restroom
Today, I was forced to use the ladies restroom of our office,
because there was a repair man working in the mens restroom.
He was busy repairing some holes with respect to improving
the fire resistance of the buildings after it had been judged
being inadequate by the fire brigade. The restrooms are close
to one of the exists of the building.
LISP interpreter in Fortran (Part 2)
On Sunday, September 24, I
received a question with respect how to implement a LISP
interpreter in Fortran. As a reply to the answer that I
send, he wrote:
No its actually a work i had to do i had to write a program in fortran but
not being familiar with this language i thought i would write it in LISP
then switch it to fortran. the fortran i am using is f90 and yes as you said
im a novice i just started programing 6 month ago but i seem to like it. as
u said in your site i agree with that i just program for fun not for
The problem was relatively easy, and I mailed
him a solution written in C. Now this morning, I got two
emails. One asking for the meaning of "pseudo code" and
the second with the following text:
hey sorry to bother you u remember i had asked u and the list interpreter in
fortran to do the assignment concerning cards i had and u helped me by
giving me the code in C
i have another quesiton please if u could help me my situation is getting
desperate i really can't understand anything neither can my friends however
they said they could help me switch it from C to fotran
could u take a look at it and please give me a hand i know these aren't
usually requests by u're really the only person i thaught woulb be able to
help me (any tip you would give me would be helpful at this point)
tx anyway and i understand if u don't reply as you don't know me well and my
request being not very appropriate it's just that im in a really desperate
I replied with the following email:
I remember that you told me that you wrote the LISP
program for solving the problem. And now you tell
me you have problems converting the C program to Fortran.
Honestly, I find it a little strange that someone who
can write a LISP program, which is rather difficult,
because it is a functional language, is not able to
translate a C program into Fortran, which are two
low level imperative languages. I am getting the feeling
that you have not been honest, and that the LISP program
was part of the problem description you got from your
teacher. Anyway, I feel I already have helped you
considerably by giving you a detailed implementation in
C, and do not feel oblidged to help you any further.
This evening, Annabel and I
went to the university to play Go.
We arrived quite early. Juri, one of the new players, was
already waiting for us. After some waiting for others, I
suggested that we could play against each other. He only
recently started playing Go on in the Internet, but his
strength is already 6 Kyu. We decided that I would start
with an eight stone advance. Rudi arrived around 25 minutes
past eight, and nobody else came. We played an interesting
game, when suddenly Juri resigned. I had not realized that
one of his groups was effectively dead. Then Rudi explained
that another group of mine, which I had thought to be dead,
was actually still alive. They felt I had been playing a
strong game, but I apparently, did not realize what I had
been doing. I am not very good at calculating and I just
trying to develop an instinct for what are good moves. It
seems that this is a succesful strategy. I think that he
still could have won the game, if he had just continued.
Next Rudi played against Juri and I played two games against
Annabel, who then went to watch the soccer match between
the national teams of Albania and The Netherlands. I continued
to follow the game between Rudi and Juri. Juri won the game.
This afternoon, I got the telephone number of Kim Zwarts,
the photographer who took the pictures printed in the
book Maastricht 148, from
the publisher, with the message that he had seen my
webpage. (Earlier this week, I contacted the publisher.)
When I came home, I phoned him. One of the first question
he asked me, was if I had a special purpose with my
investigations. I explained to him, that I just did it
for the fun of finding the locations. We talked a little
about it, and he explained me that he has been using this
method of taking photographs more often in the past ten
years. At the end of the conversation, he gave me his
email address and told me that I could ask him questions
if I wanted to. I have promised to keep him informed about
This evening, Annabel had her birthday
party for the girls from her class. About ten came. Several disco
lights were placed around the room. Annabel gave all the girls
some glowsticks, and with the lights switched of, it looked very
interesting. They played a game called "turn the bottle", where
the one turning the bottle could ask a question to the one the
bottle was pointing at. Of course, many of the questions were
about who they were in love with. After the girls went home,
we needed about an hour to clean up everything.
This afternoon, when Annabel and I walked
over the open air market of
Enschede, Sharon Dijksma
(member of the Dutch Parlement) passed by with some red
leaflets in her hand. To somebody walking behind me she
asked: "Are you going to vote for the next elections?".
Annabel and I went to buy some presents for her birthday. We bought
a small CD player with a radio that can also play MP3 songs from
a memory stick or MP3 player. We also bought Sims 2 for her DS.
At home she discovered that the game is in English, while everything
else is in Dutch. It does indeed say on the back of the package
in small letters that the game is in English.
This morning, the temperature outside was around six degrees Celsius
and I decided to put on gloves. Up until now the temperatures have
been very high for the time of the year. The first half of the
metreological fall (September 1 till October 16) has almost been
as hot (16.5 degrees Celsius) as an average summer month (16.6
This evening, Annabel and I played
Myst V together continueing with
my game. I looked at the hints several times, and made some considerable
This evening, Annabel and I went
to the university to play Go. When we
arrived Juri and Edze were already there and talking with
each other. Edze suggested that we should play Rengo. Not
much later Rudi arrived, but we still continued with the
idea to play Rengo. Annabel and Edze played white against
Juri and I playing black. It was quite an interesting game
where also Rob and Rudi gave some comments. In the end, Juri and
I lost with half a point, while we could have won, if I had ignored
a Ko threat and gave up three stones to kill two groups.
One of those two groups was killed and the other ended in
Good Will Hunting
This evening, I watched "Good Will Hunting" (transcript and
script). I missed some parts from the beginning of the movie.
Of course, some things in this movie are not very realistic. For example,
the fact that Will says that he is bored by the problems that Prof. Gerald
Lambeau gives him to solve (not being able to solve them himself), while he received
a Field Medal (kind
of Nobel price for mathematics). But apart from these, I found the movie
rather good and interesting.
"Deventer" murder trial
On Saturday September 25, 1999, the dead body of Mrs. Jaqueline Wittenberg
was found in her house. It is generally accepted that she was
murdered on the evening of Thursday September 23, 1996. On October 23,
her financial advisor, Ernest Louwes, was arrested and after several trial
he was declared being guilty of first degree murder, and sentensed to
an imprisonment of 15 years.
He always very strongly denied to having killed Mrs. Wittenberg. Doubts
about this conviction have remained especially because the proof of his
guilt was rather slim at first.
In the past year, Maurice de Hond
(a well known Dutch opinion researcher), has started to defense Ernest Louwes
and pointed to a family friend of Mrs. Wittenberg, Michaël de J. (MdJ),
as being the killer. He build up an extensive case. He also discovered that
MdJ was the first suspect during the murder investigation and that there was
a lot of circumstantial evidence that he was involved. On July 11, 2006
he published his findings in a book called
(Judge it yourself).
Stan de Jong also
wrote a book about this murder trial.
Earlier this week, he came with the statement that he found a witness that
claimed that the murder weapon (a Global knife, according to him)
was hidden in the grave of Mrs. Wittenberg. Yesterday, the police took an
extensive statement from the former care taker of the graveyard, who claimed
that on September 24, MdJ told him that Mrs. Wittenberg was killed and that
he strongly suspects that some time after she was buried MdJ hide a black bag
in her grave. An analysis with a metal detector showed that there was a metal
object immediately under the grave stone at the location that the witness
thought that MdJ hide the black bag.
Today, it was announced that the police will start an investigation with
respect to the statement made and the claims of Maurice de Hond.
In the past week, I also read the account that Ernest Louwes wrote himself
about the whole case. If everything is true what he says, it will be rather
shocking case. There also seems to be some hint that it might be the case
that MdJ has been able to blackmail someone in the police department, because
some witness has declared that several times the police let him go during a
routine traffic check, while there were reasons to stop him.
Today, I came accross The
Titan Test. An interesting test. It is a pity that you are not allowed to
discuss answers, otherwise I would immediately start doing so.
Noodles with Sauerkraut
This evening, I fried four red unions with a red and green sweet peper.
I added some spices, some dark soy sauce, and a tin of tomato purée.
Then I added one bag of sauerkraut. Li-Xia had boiled some noodles for
Annabel and I decided to eat some together
with the pan I had cooked. I cannot remember ever had the combinations of
noodles and sauerkraut before, but it was quite nice.
NCS Mini Synchroonzwemdag
Today, Annabel went to the "NCS Mini Synchroonzwemdag"
in the swimming pool Parrel in Groningen. This is the first time that
she joined in a synchrone swimming contest for groups. There were four groups
that joined in. Her group became fourth. The duo from their club got the
first place amonght nine contenders.
Around a quarter to six, I met with Li-Xia
in "De Slegte". We looked around and
found some books about China. But the shopped closed at six and
we went to Camel and ordered the usual. Around half past six we
finished our meal. We walked a little through the city and went
into V&D apartment store. Around half past eight we went
to Muziekcentrum Enschede
for a concert by Het Orkest van het Oosten with Hans Leenders as the conductor. The concert started shortly after
eight with Sinfonia by Kees van Baaren. I found it a rather confusing, chaotic piece
of music. After a short break, during which a grand piano was moved
to the center of the stage, we listened to
Piano concert no. 1 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, where Dmitriy Onyshenko played the piano.
Its start was rather familiar, but
the remaining part was less familiar to me. Technically seeing it
is a very interesting concert, but it did not do much to me.
Then there was a big brake. We bought something to drink and then
went back in to concert hall. But when I heard that some musicians
were practicing their lines, I immediately wanted to go out.
We had come to listen to
Symphony No. 10 by Dmitri Shostakovich, my favourite symphony. Although it is
my favourite symphony, I cannot listen to it too often otherwise
I am going to abhore it. I did not
want the melodies to start playing through my head, afraid that
it would spoil my experience of listening to this symphony.
We were among some of the last people to go back into the
music hall, but the musicians were still practicing and although
they were all playing through each other, I still found it rahter
annoying and I was happen when they stopped to tune.
Not much later, the conductor returned and the performance
started and it was impressive. (Somehow, I had wished they
had played it before the break, because it seemed to me that
there were much more people coughing.) After the end of the second
movement, which is rather upbeat and ends very abruptly, a sigh was heard
in the public. The conductor was cleaning his forehead and one
of the violin players left the stage. During the fourth movement
she returned. The third movement is more quiet again, but in the
fourth and last movement there is a lot of energy again. There was
a long and strong aplaud. When Li-Xia and I came outside, it
started to rain and we had to bike back through the rain.
During the lunch break, my colleagues went to sit outside in
the sun, because the temperature was very nice. Today, the highest
temperature in De Bilt was 22.1 degrees Celsius, which is higher
than ever before in the last week of October.
Talking with Andy
This morning, Li-Xia made
Andy phone me, after they came home.
He had been staying at some holiday home since Monday and
also this weekend he will be away, so I will not see him
until Sunday. We just talked very short, but I felt it
was the first time we had a real conversation over the
This months interesting links
September 2006 |
November 2006 |