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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 interpreted 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 led 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 led to collapse now.
May 2006 |
July 2006 |