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Diary, August 2001

   Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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     5   6   7   8   9  10  11
    12  13  14  15  16  17  18
    19  20  21  22  23  24  25
    26  27  28  29  30  31

Sunday, August 5, 2001

Feeding Andy in the car

Today, we went to my sister to get
Annabel, who had been staying with her for a week. While driving there by car, we decided to try to feed Andy in the car while driving. To our surprise he did not give much resistance. He realized that it was something new, because he clapped in his hands everytime when he finished a tube.

Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Glenn Doman

Li-Xia brought home the book "What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child" by Glenn Doman, which I had ordered some time ago. Of course, I immediately started reading it which much interest. Today, I decided to see if I could find any critical materials about this book. And indeed, I did. There are two I would like to mention: Both are extremely critical. Actually, they do affirm some of my initial fears about Glenn Doman and his ideas. On the other hand, I do have to admit that his book sounds very convincing, and I simply cannot believe that all the stories he presents are purely made up. I suspect that the truth must be somewhere in the middle.

Saturday, August 11, 2001

"Het Heiderbos"

Yesterday afternoon, we arrived at the Centerparcs park "Het Heiderbos". In the evening, I decided to try out the wild water course again. But it was very busy, and I did not find it as relaxing as last November. (follow-up) During the night, Andy got us awake, because he decided that he didn't want to sleep any more after twelve. This morning we decided to go the tropical swimming pool, called Aqua Mondo which is on the park. I took a picture of Li-Xia with Annabel and Andy together in the pool.


This evening we went for a dinner Last nights dinner was not a great success, because when the food arrived, Andy decided that he didn't want to sit at the table anymore. He had been happily playing with the spoons. So we had take turns driving him arround in his buggy.

Sunday, August 12, 2001

The Jungle Dome

This morning, we went rather early to the Jungle Dome. It was shortly after they opened at ten that we arrived. There was almost nobody there. All the birds and squirrels had come out, because they were waiting for their food. This was rather special, completely different from the last time, when it was only after about an hour that I found out that there were actually some special animals in the Jungle Dome. Last year we had even trouble finding a place to put our coat because it was so crowded.

Cottage 636

This afternoon I went walking with Andy in his buggy. I decided to walk to Cottage 636 where we stayed last November. To my surprise, Andy recognized the cottage immediately when we stood in front of it. So, he does have a good memory. Some way, this cottage has a very special meaning to both of us, because it is the place where we saw my father (his grandfather) for the last time alive.

A romantic night

Because dinner was not a great success yesterday, we decided not to eat together this night. Around six Annabel and her grandmother went to Harold's family restaurant to have dinner. At the same time, Li-Xia and I walked Andy around the park, and went to see cottage 636 again. After Annabel and my mother had returned from their dinner, and after Andy was in bed, Li-Xia and I went to Harold's for a quiet dinner. We first had some tomato soup and then Li-Xia had some dish with fish and I had the Fajitas de Carne again.

Then afterwards we decided to go to Aqua Mondo and we stayed in a hot tub for about twenty minutes until they closed at ten. Li-Xia felt very relaxed afterwards.

Monday, August 13, 2001


After yesterday experience in the hot tub, we decided to go swimming again while
my mother was going to go walking with Andy and feed the ducks. Li-Xia and Annabel went to the hot tub, and I decided to give the wild water course a try again. I went down the first, rather slow, part at least ten times, and finally, after going down mindlessly, I began to enjoy it as much as I did last year.


Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Andy upside down

This morning, when Li-Xia went into Andy's room, she found him standing in a very funny way. He stood with his head very close to his feet with his bottom in the air and was turning his head slowly. We have no idea how he managed to get standing like this. Li-Xia really had to laugh about it.

XML sucks

XML is a real hype at the moment and even Microsoft makes any attempt to promote it. This afternoon, I read some notice about Microsoft XQuert Languages (or XQL for short) and went to a site dealing about it. This languages hasn't been made into a standard yet, but it is clear that Microsoft is promoting it. When I looked at the languages, I got the strange feeling that something was wrong with it. The languages did not look very clean to me, but rather as a mix of all kinds of rather arbitrary language constructs. Somehow this also pointed the finger at some problems with XML itself. XML itself is not very clean. It is really not what it pretends to be, namely a way to convey self-contained structured data. One problem, I think, is that it does not make any difference between sets and lists. Also, it only has one basic data type, that of the string. Another problem is that it does not explicitely specify how internal reference are made. Furthermore, it does not have any good motivation on why attributes are needed, and when they should be used. And as a last remark, I would like to add that the notation is rather verbose for what it wants to express. It seems that the very old S-expression of LISP can do the same that XML can do, but with much less characters.

To be honest, XML seems not to be a good candidate for an international standard for exchanging structured data. I rightly admit it is better than SGML and HTML, but I think it could have been much better yet.

(A good alternative and
Thoughts on software enginering.
Also read XML in the Real World
and XML Alternatives.)

Thursday, August 16, 2001


When I stepped outside this morning, I saw a partial rainbow to the North-West. I could see it almost all the way to my office until the sun hid behind a cloud. When I came close to my office, the sun reappeared and it started to rain a little. On that moment I could see a complete, but not very bright, rainbow. A colleague of mine reported that he had seen a much brighter rainbow while riding to the office.

Twenty minutes later it started to rain cats and dogs.

Saturday, August 18, 2001

The miraculous healing of Nita Edwards

Yesterday and today, I read through a book which describes the story of a Sri-Lanka girl called Nita Edwards, who was healed in a very special way. Today she is the director of
Asia Alive. The book describes who she slowly became paralized from an appearenly insignificant fall from some stairs as the result of a spinal infection. Then one day, when she had given up all hope of walking again, God spoke to her that He would heal her on a specific day. Later He even gave her the hour. And indeed at that specific day and hour she was completely healed in matter of seconds. This happened on February 11, 1977 at 3:30 PM in Colombo, Sri-Lanka.

Just days before she met Anne van de Bijl, a famouse Dutch Christian, director of an organisation for supporting oppressed Christians all around the world. He was one of the few who were informed about the miraculous healing before it took place. In 1982 or 1983 Nita Edwards came to the Netherlands and visited our church during one evening. There I heard the story from her own mouth. It was also around that time that I read the book for the first time.

Friday, August 24, 2001

Contacting former colleagues

Today, I contacted my former colleagues
again. I heard that my last bug was solved, but I did not hear how. For the rest it seems business as usual.


I have finally decided to make an attempt in materializing all my ideas with respect to specification languages and implementation languages as opposed to programming languages. I have called this project
"Meta-Meta" just because I cannot come up with a better idea. See my article "The Art of Programming" for some of my ideas.

I haven't written out all of my ideas yet, but it seems that I do have the following:

There are also still some unresolved issues: Whenever you have a language, you need some parser. To night, I have been thinking about how I could extend an interpreting parser that I wrote some years ago, such that it will be able to link all the identifers and such. It actually comes down to adding some additional information to the resulting structures, and running a relatively simple tree walker, which will perform all the neccesary stitching. I might have it return the representation of expression that I talked about above. We will see!

Tuesday, August 28, 2001

The Gospel according to Mark, Chapter one

While biking to my office, I read the first chapter of the Gospel according to Mark, from one of the little books that I bought some time ago. I found verse twentytwo the most striking, where it says: for He taught them as one that had authorithy, and not as the scribes. Yes, it is easy to preach something from the Bible, as it is a book full of interesting stories, but to teach something with authority is something completely different.

How could Jesus teach as someone with authority? As it is a Jewish custom to study what we call the Old Testament, it is not unlikely that Jesus, now being around thirty years old, knew large portions of the Scriptures by heart. Even nowadays there are people who know large parts of the Bible by heart. It is just a matter of what occupies your heart. But still we do not read anywhere that Jesus often spoke in the synagogue before His public ministry started.

Earlier in the chapter we read that Jesus was baptished by John the Baptists. It was immediately following this that the Holy Spirit descended on Him, and that there was a voice from God out of the heavens saying: Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Did Jesus not already know that He was the Son of God? Why did He need an audable voice? This raises the question to which extend Jesus knew things. It also raises questions about what it meant that He was both God and man and the same time. I think, He in His heart knew God, but at the same time needed an external confirmation of this, and the power of the Holy Spirit to be equiped for His ministry.

And then, the first thing that the Spirit did, was to lead Him into the wilderness to be tempted. Only after this did He began His ministry.

To sum it up, I think that His authority was based on an inner conviction, which was build on many years of studying the Scriptures. Then this inner conviction was affirmed by an external proclamation and the annointing of the Holy Spirit. Finally, it was being tested by a time of temptation.


Friday, August 31, 2001

"Beertje Pom"

Annabel brought some bear home this afternoon. She told me that it was "Beertje Pom" (Beertje means young bear in Dutch). He was going to stay with us. He had brought a little suitcase with his pyjamas and his toothbrush. There was also a little book with it telling about all his other adventures staying with the children of the class. It seems that every weekend and holiday, another child may take him home to stay. A very good idea, I think. I made a small home page for him in Dutch. But if you cannot read Dutch, you can still look at the pictures.

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