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Diary, January 2004

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Thursday, January 1, 2004

New year

Annabel and I went outside to ignite all the crackers that she had found last year on the first of January. After this we wished the neighbours a happy new year, and watched all the fireworks that someone at the end of the street was firing. Not the kind of fire works you can legally buy here in the Netherlands. I heard some rumours he bought them in Germany. Must have costed him a small fortune. When we went inside again, we discovered that Andy had woken-up. Li-Xia told that she at first had not heard that he was crying. But he soon became happy, and when he saw some fireworks outside, he was excited.

Black lips

Since some days now Andy has black lips as a result of him peeling of some dry skin from his lip. Around his bottom there are many red spots right under the skin. I am getting the impression that the platelet count is dropping further. So, maybe, the idea from last Monday about the positive effect of vitamin C, just has been wishful thinking.



This morning, there was visitor to the New Year service in our church that gave us a word from God. He prophesized that God would start to do great things in the coming year. He compared us to a catapillar in a cocoon that was at the point of breaking out and becoming a butterfly. He told us that we should all make ourselves ready for the blessing that God was going to poured out. He also said that God was going to heal people, release many from demon possession, and even raise people from the death. He also said that we would have to start thinking about a place where we could build a new church as we soon would need one. He also encouraged us to seek God, that we would be ready.

I have to admit that I am a little skeptical, yet on the other hand, I also want to open my heart for what God wants to do, and be ready to serve Him, when He is asking me.

(More faith related entries)

New world order

This morning, the Pope was speaking about a new world order. He said (English translation, I presume): I do not know whether this is taken out of context, but to me, this sounds more like a statement made by a humanist, then by a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, real peace will only come when Jesus Christ returns to reign on earth, and that mankind will never be able to achieve peace on earth. But I have to admit, that even I, often think as a humanist with respect to solving the problems of the world. Although, I was born as a Roman Catholic, I no longer recognize the Pope as the head of the world wide church of Christ, as he sees himself. Actually, because I believe that I am saved by grace alone, I already have been condemded to hell by the Roman Catholic church, according to the Council of Trent.

(More faith related entries)

Saturday, January 3, 2004


This morning, Andy's lips were bleeding when we got him out of bed. It does not look like his condition is improving at all. We were very worried and brought him to a doctor, who felt that the situation was not very urgent. The bleeding had stopped. We will have to wait till Monday before any blood tests will be performed to affirm our deepest fears. We already informed the elders of our church about his condition, and I know that they already have been informing others, because some friend phoned us asking for some more information.

Sunday, January 4, 2004

Dancing in church

This morning, I have been jumping and dancing in our church during the service. I was sitting on one of the chairs in front of the translation booth in the back of the church, just in case someone would show up who needed translation. Right in front of these chairs there is some space. Annabel was sitting with some friend, as she usually does. Li-Xia was at home taking care for Andy, who looked a little better this morning.

Last night in bed, Li-Xia and I shared our feelings, emotions and thoughts about Andy's condition, and we even talked about our deepest fear, namely that he might die in the coming weeks. The simple thought of him dying scares me. I know I would miss him the rest of my life. It seems that losing a child is far more terrible than losing a parent. In a sense, I would not be very sad for him, because nevertheless all the problems he has had, he seems to have had a happy life. I will miss his joy and sheer enthousiasm most of all.

This morning, in church, I accepted the possibility of him dying. Yesterday, I explained to Li-Xia, that he does not understand why they have to take blood from him. He cries every time. We as adults, we do not cry anymore, because we know the reason behind it. Likewise, we will cry if he would die, because we would not understand it. But God would know the reason. And just as we suffer as parents when we see our children suffer, likewise, God is suffering. God loves us far more than we love our children. I simply have to trust God, like Andy trusts us. I think that is what Jesus meant when He said that we should have the faith of a child.

Twice during the service, we sang a song that always makes me want to dance. And both times, I did exactly that. Yes, you can express your faith by jumping in the air. Because I was in the back of the church, and we have a concrete floor, not many people noticed what I was doing. But I really do not care what they would have thought about it. And besides this, I was not the only one doing it. It is not something I do every Sunday. Sometimes, I even don't have the desire to stand up during the singing. But I was very encouraged by what was shared during the services. I know, it will still break my heart if Andy would die, and make me feel very depressed, but I it seems I do at least have faith at the moment, that I will be able to make it through, with the help of God.

This afternoon, Annabel and I went to a concert by "Het Orkest van het Oosten" and directed by Jaap van Zweden. I did enjoy the concert, but not as much as the singing and dancing of this morning. I believe that God gave us music so that we would be able to express our feelings towards Him. It was ment for worshipping.


Monday, January 5, 2004

Platelet count doubled

This morning, we got the news that the platelet count of Andy has gone up to 34. That is more than double the number of last Monday. Good news!! We did not hear from our pediatrician, which means we just have to continue like before.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

The difficulty of reducing spending

In the past months our government has take many measurement to reduce spending, but it seems that it is not that easy. For example, people who receive home care because they are disabled now have to pay much more from the start of this year. In the past days, thousands of people already have told their home care organization that they want to quit home care, or at least reduce the number of hours. They now have to ask help from neighbours and friends. You will see that before the end of the month, home care organizations will have to fire some of their employees, which than will receive unemployment benefits. Besides that an increase in unemployment, reduces consumer spending, and thus slow downs the economy, it is clear that the net reduction in spending is much lower than the intended reduction. And this is just one of the many examples. It seems that most people, including politicians, have a hard time believing that local cost reductions produce global effects.

Midlife crisis in brain

Neuroscientists Pinpoint Midlife Crisis in Brain Circuitry as Key To Brain Aging and Onset of Alzheimer's Later in Life. A novel model of human brain aging developed by a UCLA neuroscientist identifies midlife breakdown of myelin, a fatty insulation coating the brains internal wiring, as a possible key to the onset of Alzheimer's disease later in life.

Thursday, January 8, 2004

Reduce medication

This morning, Li-Xia went to the hospital to reschedule an appointment we had on next Monday for Andy, because at that day his class will go to the Zoo in Nordhorn. She met our pediatrician, who told her that we should stop the Prednison by reducing it by 5 mg/d every three days. Li-Xia told him about that we gave Andy vitamin C, to which he responded that he never heard of it having any effect. But I did find this protocol (in Dutch) from the academic hospital, which includes vitamin C as part of the therapy. We will see how it will go.


Strange bangs

About every two minutes a low bang sound can be heard outside. Not knowing the source of this sound is the most frustrating part of it. I still associate these kind of noises with the fireworks disaster that took place three years ago.

Saturday, January 10, 2004


Last Wednesday, I recorded the movie "Magnolia" when it was shown on TV. This evening, I watched the last two thirds of the movie together with Li-Xia. I think it is a great movie. I downloaded the Draft script of "Magnolia" from the internet, and have been thinking presenting it in such a way that you could untangle the many relationships in the movie, by being able to follow each of the separate story lines. I am aware of the fact that this draft script differs from the movie, where the greatest difference is that the character "Worm" has been removed from the script. I do not find the solution for "returning" the gun very convincing, but I can imagine that removing this character is the best way for shortening the movie to three hours and eight minutes.


Coping with the death of a child

When the "Magnolia" video tape was rewinding, we saw some program about how parents deal with the sudden death of a child. It turns out that parents (especially the mothers) have a strongly increased chance of dying early. The chance increases when the death came more sudden. It also did not matter at which age the child died.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Flash MX

Yesterday afternoon, Annabel borrowed the book about programming for children with Flash MX. It contained a CD with a 30 day try-out version of Flash MX. When we came home we worked through the first four chapters. This is the result:

I reallize its potential for teaching children to program. Today, she played with it during the afternoon. Just extending on the above sequence with her own ideas. So far, we have not done any programming, but I will try to work through the book with her. She is really attracted by the idea that you can make animations with it, and loves to investigate all the possibilities. It is a pity that Flash MX is so expensive. I still might consider to buy it.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Sorry mom

Yesterday afternoon, Li-Xia was making some remarks to Andy about how he should not mess-up his videos, when I heard him say "Sorry mom". He is such a cute and intelligent boy notwithstanding his mental handicap, which gives him a non-verbal IQ of only 50. His verbal IQ has never been tested, but I suspect it to be around 70. There are certain things you cannot fool him with.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


I just got the great news that the platelet count of Andy has gone up to 109. That is very good news, especially if you realize we have been reducing his medication since last Thursday. Strange, but the last week, I have not worried so much anymore about his recovering.

Teacher shot through the head

This afternoon, a teacher was shot through his head at the Terra College by an expelled student. This is first time this has happened in the Netherlands. Last year a report has concluded that violence at school has not increased and that extreme violence is rare.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Hans van Wieren

Hans van Wieren, the 49 year old teacher that was shot yesterday, died from his wounds around ten o'clock last night. The 17 year old Murat D. you shot him in the middle of the canteen of the school, gave himself in just shortly after nine that same night. Today, the three largest Dutch web logs retecool, volkomenkut, and geenstijl are showing the same black screen with picture and message for the whole day, because these sites are visited by teenagers a lot. The messages ends with the sentence: "conflicts are resolved by discussing them, not by using violence".

Technology Museum Heim

This morning, Annabel went to the Technology Museum Heim in Hengelo with her class. She was really looking forward to it for some days already.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Snow on the grass

This morning, I noticed that there was some snow on the car and on the grass. It must have snowed a little last night. Last Tuesday, the temperature went up to 10 degrees Celsius during the day. It is not really cold at the moment as well. The snow is bound to disappear before the end of the day.

Swimming under water

This evening, Annabel went to the syncro swimming course for the first time. During the training they had to cross the swimming pool in the length (25 meter) while swimming under water. Annabel was the only one who managed to do this, although she did not really swim under water for the last part, but she did not take a breath.

Friday, January 16, 2004


This morning, Li-Xia first took Andy to the lab for getting some blood from him. A quarter past nine we had a regular check-up appointment with our pediatrician. For the first time, Andy wanted to stand on the scale all by himself, and even seemed to look at the red numbers (his weight) being displayed on it. Before we always had to carry him, while standing on the scale and do calculate the difference. He was not very happy, especially when he saw the instrument for looking into the ear, and did not like it when being examined. Later when he had his clothes on, he walked to the doctor, and it even looked like he wanted to kiss him, which he didn't. Li-Xia left to bring Andy to school, and I talked with our pediatrician for almost half an hour. It has been a long time ago we talked this long, and it made me happy. Of course, I also told him about the genetic findings with respect to Kabuki. He did genetics before he became a pediatrician. He also gave me the previous lab result printout to keep as a memory, and I gave him a hand coloured black/white printout of the graph I made with respect to the second ITP.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Sparks in the microwave

This evening, when I was heating some sliced tomatoes in the microwave, I noticed some yellow light with some sparks. Two slice of tomato had black spots where they were touching each other. It thought that only metal objects could produce sparks. The pieces were laying in a circle. Apparently the tomatoes do conduct electricity enough to create sparks.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Alpha particle X-ray spectrometer

Yesterday press images of the Spirit rover make mention of an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. I suppose that this instruments measures X-rays produced when a sample is hit by alpha particles produced by a radio-active alpha source. I guess that the peaks in these kind of spectrograms are the same as with XRF, which used high energy X-rays to produce characteristic X-rays through fluorescence. Makes me remember my time with a previous employer.

Annabel involved in an accident

Around half past four, Li-Xia phoned me to tell me that Annabel got an accident. I understand that she was hit by a car. I do not exactly understand what her condition was, except that one of her teeth (one of the ones that broke-off last month?) had fallen out, or at least was very loose. Our own dentist was out of office, so I had to find another one (through an emergency number), phone the dentist, and explain Li-Xia how to get there. Spelling the street names was not really working, and Li-Xia just decided to go and ask directions while going there. So far no progress report. At the moment there is not much I can do, except wait for further news.

16:12: Li-Xia phoned me to inform that they are going home. She will phone me from home to tell the whole story. I am happy that they found the dentist, and that he could do something.

17:19: It looks like it is not all too bad. It appears that the one of the broken teeth broke-off again (partly) exactly on the old breaking line. As I understand it the car came from the left, and the driver should have given way to Annabel. Most lucky there was a witness who saw the whole thing happen. For the rest it seems that there is no permanent damage. I wonder how our health insurance is going to deal with this.

(follow-up on teeth)

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Who is the driver?

Up to now, the driver of the car who knocked down Annabel has not identified himself. This morning, Annabel and I went back to the spot where it all happened. According to the signs, she was allowed to bike on the bus-turn loop, which if forbidden for all traffic except city busses and bikes. The car was coming from the left, and driving on the middle of the road. She felt down on the other side of the road. Her bike has not been damaged, except for the cover of the handlebars. The strange thing is that the right side of the handlebar is damaged, while her face is wounded on the left side. It looks like she was hit on the back. The bus driver waiting with his bus at the bus stop, opened his window and made shouted to the driver that he should have given her way and that she was allowed to bike there. Somebody else who saw it happen, said that the man should not drive so fast anymore. It is a 30 Kmph road, but many people drive 50 Kmph. The driver brought Annabel home, and was saying it was her fault, stating she was not allowed to bike on the bus-turn loop, which is obviously not the case. He did not give his name or address, but said he would return later to check on Annabel. So far, he has not contacted us, which is a shame I think. He said he lived in the neighbourhood, so maybe we will be able to locate him.

(I should remark that Annabel only discovered that her tooth was broken after the driver had left. Later we found out that he got the impression that Li-Xia had not wanted his name and address.)

License plate number

I was just phoned by the bus driver who saw the accident. He wrote down the license plate of the car. So, now we can track down the driver for sure, even if he would not live in our neighbourhood.


Driving through the snow

This evening, when we came out of the swimming pool, Annabel (yes, she wanted to swim with her swollen lip and red cheek) exclaimed that it was snowing. It looked liked it just started, but it soon became stronger. When we arrived at the car (which had rolled out of the parking lot, because I had forgotten to put it in gear) it was covered with snow. It kept on snowing the whole way home. At one road we had to stop because of a convoy of six gigantic silos being transported by trucks and escorted by police.

(Later I found out that these were beer brewing tanks being transported from the old Grolsch plant to the new.)

Happy Chinese New Year

I almost forgot, but today is the first day of the year 4701, a monkey year, according to the Chinese calendar.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Police contacted the driver

Yesterday evening, I wrote a long letter about the accident that Annabel got two days ago. Today, Li-Xia brought it to our local police office. They contacted the owner of the car and told him to go to us and fill in a "European Accident Statement" form together with us.


Company meeting

This afternoon, we went with the whole company to Bistro Navet in the center of Deventer. I never had been in the center of Deventer, and I was surprised about the large number of small "hobby" shops. We first had two hour company meeting, and then we had a dinner till eleven. We had the menu of the day, which was really good for what it costed. It consisted of three main dishes, every time a choice out of fish or meat dish. They served a different wine with each of these dishes and we also got three mini-dishes, one being a mango milkshake in a 30 ml glass.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Snow and painting

Just before we wanted to go to the city this morning, it started to snow. While we were in the city it continued, but the snow slowly changed into rain. By the end of the day no snow was left. They have predicted some substantial snow in the middle of next week.

There was a sale in the bookshop Broekhuis. Many books were sold for half the usual price. Still to expensive for many of the books I looked through. In one of the books I found a picture of a painting by François Morellet called 4 double tranes minces (4 Double Meshes Thin Lines) that I once saw in Amsterdam (during the summer of 1987?). It looks completely irregular. Of course, my mathematical mind immediately asked the question whether it was, and if so, if there would also be regular meshes, and how many there would be. I remember that I answered both question the same day, and that later I spend some time calculating the values for many regular grids. I even remember copying a square mess on a number of transparent sheets, and playing with them. Also wrote some PostScript pages to print some of the regular meshes. We will see, if I can dig up some of these things from the past.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Talking with the driver

This evening, I talked with the driver over the phone. I should make it clear that he was not aware of the broken tooth of Annabel, and was under the assumption that she only had minor injuries. And for the matter, even a broken tooth can hardly be considered as major injury, except that the life long costs that are involved tend to exceed the initial costs for "repairing" it by far. He felt that he had done a quite good job of taking care for Annabel, giving her his shirt to stop the bleeding, and walking with her to our home. He was rather surprised that we only contacted him after three days, because he was under the impression that Li-Xia didn't wanted his address. Luckily, during the conversation we cleared all the misconceptions that had arisen from the chain of events, and expressed our will to be cooperative in dealing with this accident.

I wonder how this is going develop further, because there are now six different parties involved with this one broken tooth, three families and three insurance companies, all with their own interests that they want to defend. This can take years before every thing is resolved.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Event oriented GUI programming

It seems that many programs with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) are based on an event oriented framework, which is user-interface oriented. This sometimes leads to very unexpected chains of events. At the moment I am wrestling with a case where a document is closed. This destruction of the data object representing the document triggers one of the child windows of the Multi-Document Interface (MDI) to be closed. As a result of the window manager (MS Windows in this case, but I think it is a general problem) activates another window. This window happens to be a view of the same data object that is in the process of being broken down. The activation causes an selection event, which triggers one of the tools to execute a query on the data object. The execution of this query finally results in a run-time error.

This is not the first time that I have encountered such a strange chain of events leading to a crash. And I think that everyone who has done some serious programming in an event based environment has encountered these kind of strange conditions. This really raises some serious doubts about how event based GUI frameworks work. I am getting the bad feeling that many problems arise from the fact that those frameworks are too much build around the hierarchy of visible windows of the interface. Often problems arise when the user-interface is updated while the data is still being updated. Not the user-interface should be leading but the data structure. However, most frameworks are user-interface oriented instead of being data oriented.

Because at the moment I am not in the position to develop a completely new framework that does not have these kind of problems, I am afraid I will have to implement a fix to prevent the chain of event to happen. This is going to be very hard, because there are so many places where I could implement a cut, and each cut could have unexpected side effects again.

When I encounter this kind of problems, I always wonder why we still have not implemented frameworks in which they cannot occur. If you do not implement a water-tide solution to a problem, you are going to encounter it over and over again, and no temporary fix will solve the problem in the long run. I am afraid that the problem with most water-tide solutions are that they degrade performance too much. The bad thing is also that the not completely water-tide solutions work 99.9% of the time. It is the 20/80 rule that pushes software development projects in the wrong direction. Fundamental problems only become visible when the system is pushed to its limits, and then it is often too late to address them.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Prednisone and myelin

I am more and more becoming convinced that Prednisone has a positive effect on Andy. Yesterday his teachers complained about his behaviour becoming worse again. Sunday, I noticed that his walking has become worse again. Today, I found information about the use of Prednisone in the treatment of Autism, which makes mention of meyline. Might it be the case that Andy's adrenal glands produces too less cortisone?

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


When we woke up this morning, there was a little layer of snow. When I went outside to clean the car, it was still snowing, although it felt like rain. There was some ice under the snow on the wind shields. The weather report says that it is going to snow heavily at the end of the afternoon. We will see.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

White world

This morning, the world was white with snow. It was only yesterday evening late that it started to snow. The Dutch meteorology service had announced a weather alarm for heavy snow. So far we got at most one inch of snow. It were warned for 2 to 6 inches of snow falling in a relatively short period. It seems the rest of the country got more snow, as this morning there were a lot traffic jams. I am afraid that by the end of the day most snow will be gone.

Swimming in the snow

This evening, while Annabel was taking her syncro swimming class, I decided to go swimming the recreational pool of the Aquadrome, which has a connection to open air. While I was swimming there it was snowing a little. Although there was more snowing today, by the end of the day almost all had gone due to the higher temperatures that we are having now.


Saturday, January 31, 2004

Book sale

De Slegte is already having their anual book sale for some weeks. But today I noticed some very interesting book. I bought two books: Het besturingssysteem Unix (a translation of The design of the UNIX operating system) by Maurice J. Bach for € 1.50, and Quarks, Chaos en Christendom: Vragen over wetenschap en religie (a translation of Quarks, Chaos & Christianity - Questions to science and religion) by John Polkinghorne for € 0.50. I bought these at 14:04 according to the ticket.

Red kidney beans

This evening, Li-Xia and I made a dish with red kidney beans. We used two cans of red kidney beans, one can of peeled tomato's, some unions, some leek and some garlic. A very healthy and nice dish.

This months interesting links

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