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Diary, October 2006

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Sunday, October 1, 2006

Purple crocodiles

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 pocket.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

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.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

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.

Wednesday, October 5, 2006


This morning, I read in the September 29 edition of Automatisering Gids, 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.

Monday, October 9, 2006

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.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

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: 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: I replied with the following email:

Playing Go

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.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Kim Zwarts

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 my progress.

Birthday party of Annabel

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.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sharon Dijksma

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.

Monday, October 16, 2006


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 degrees Celsius).

Myst V

This evening, Annabel and I played Myst V together continueing with my game. I looked at the hints several times, and made some considerable progress.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


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 Seki.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

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.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Lees over de twijfels in de Deventer moordzaak! "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 "Oordeel Zelf" (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.


The Titan Test

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.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

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.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

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.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


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.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Summer day

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.

Friday, October 27, 2006

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 phone.

This months interesting links

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