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Diary, January 2009

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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  4   5   6   7   8   9  10
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 25  26  27  28  29  30  31

Friday, January 2, 2009

Thin layer of snow

This morning, there was a thin layer of snow on the ground. The layer is so thin that it did not even cover everything. We just have a cold week behind us with the temperature dropping as low as 12 degrees Celsius below zero, and although temperatures are around zero now, they are expected to drop again next week. It for the first time in many years that it has been possible to skate on ice outside, which already has led to some casualties of people falling through the ice. Here a small graph of the temperature profile from the closest weather station of the last week.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


This morning, when I went outside, I heard the cracking sound of snow under my feet. There was about half a centimeter of snow on the ground. But not on the trees and plants. During the day there was some more snow, but because the temperature is above zero, the snow also started to melt away.

In the evening, we got some more serious snow, about one centimeter, which also stayed on the trees and plants, and thus turned the world white.

Monday, January 5, 2009

White world

This morning, the world is white because of the snow that fell during the night, about two or three centimeter. During the rest of the day, it did not snow any more. Because the temperature rose barely above the freezing point of water, the snow stayed for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A little snow

In the morning there was a thin layer of fresh snow and this afternoon there was some more snow around Enschede, which I did not see, because I was out of town. A lot of the snow from last weekend and Monday is still here, because the temperature mostly stayed below zero degrees Celsius. Especially yesterday evening, it was rather cold. When I biked home yesterday from the Alzheimer Café the temperature was around -14 degrees Celsius. It dropped even a little further, but after midnight, when clouds came in from the North-West temperatures rose. Just before sunrise the temperature was around -6. There was also an interesting temperature profile during the night where the South-East part of the Netherlands was almost 20 degrees Celsius colder than the North-West part of the country.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fog snow

Today, we had some very light snow falling from the fog that was present during the day. In the evening, when I left the office, I saw millions of ice crystals glitter under the streetlights. All the thin branches of the trees became white, which also is a beautifull sight.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cold week

The above graph shows the temperature from noon January 4 till noon today from the closest weather station. (In the figure the evening and night have been marked with grey.) Today, it is the first time in six days that the temperature comes above the freezing point. As a result of this, the snow that fell last week, is still present. It is still unclear whether the cold will continue next week.

Peeling potatoes

This evening, we had to peel potatoes for a califlower oven dish. We needed 700 gram potatoes. Annabel wanted to weigh the potatoes before peeling, but I remarked that about 10% would be lost during the peeling. Annabel did not believe this. We decided to perform a measurement. One potato weigh 136 gram and we calculated that after peeling it would weigh 122 gram. I peeled it and when we put it on the scale it weigh 114 gram. She argued that during that I had both peeled the skin and remove the pits, and that most weight was lost by removing the pits. We did another experiment. We started with a potato that weigh 190 gram. After peeling the skin it weigh 166 (a loss 12.6%) and after removing the pits (spots where the roots grew out) it weigh 160 (an additional loss of 3.2%). The first potato had lost 16.1%, which is only 0.3% more than the second. So, clearly, the first must also have lost more than 10% of the weigh by peeling.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Playing Go

This evening, I went to the university to play Go. It has been more than a month ago. When I entered the building, I already heard music, which was coming from the open stage evening organized by Apollo. During the night, one after the other band wound get on stage and perform for some time. Not long after me, Taco arrived, and we agreed to play with a seven stone handicap for him. Araldo also arrived and watch us play. At one point, my group in the left down corner got into trouble, and I soon felt that it was lost. I still made some desperate attempts to save it, but when I was convinced that it was lost, I resigned. Then Taco showed me how I could have saved it. Araldo asked (shouted) if any of us wanted to play, and I suggested that he should play against Taco. After going to the restrooms, I watched their game. Araldo had to resign. Although it was already late, I asked Taco if we could analyse our game, we did make a start, but after 35 moves we were not sure about the next move, and decided to quit our analyses. (Game record)

Saturday, January 17, 2009


This afternoon, I arrived around a quarter to four at bookshop Broekhuis to discover that they now had a 80% discount on all the books that were on sale. The shop was filled with people some of them big piles of books under their arm. Soon, after started searchin, Li-Xia found me. She was also in the shop. I selected the following items: Li-Xia helped me carrying the books I selected. She also gave some advice, and suggested that I should buy Fleur. I had seen the book by Bart Chabot last sale, but later regretted that I did not buy it. I was very happy to see it again. We left the shop around a quarter to five and went to bookshop "De Slegte", where she showed me a book about Chinees defense structures. Quite an interesting book, especially now that I am following the Great Wall on Google Earth, but it costed almost 60 euro, which I found a little too much.

Shoe laces

This afternoon, Annabel bought me some bright orange Mr.Lacy flatties shoe laces. In the evening, we put them on my walking boots and I took a picture. Annabel has a group, called Ruilen van veters, on a Dutch social network site about (ex)changing shoe laces. It already has 450 members including me, so I felt I had some obligation to change my shoe laces.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Curry pea soup

Li-Xia often fries some peas for me, because I like to eat some when I feel a bit ungry in the evening. Early this morning, she also fried some, but they turned out a little sticky. When I looked at them, this afternoon, I felt like making a pea soup out of them. I looked around the internet a little, because I never made some pea soup myself, and decided to give it a try. I added some water to the deep frying pan. Next I added two thinly sliced carrots, two chopped unions and one chopped potatoe. Also added about two teaspoons of turmeric mixed with some other spices. (Picture.) I put it on a low fire and let it simmer while often taking a look and stiring a little. At first I was afraid that had added too much water, but after about one and half hour the soup became quite thick, and I declared the pea soup ready after I tasted some. (Picture.) Li-Xia also enjoyed eating the soup (picture) and even Annabel gave it a try. She did not like it very much.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Today, the court decided that Geert Wilders should be prosecuted with respect to his statements about Islam and his film Fitna. After the attorney general declared that there was no reason for prosecution, some people started a procedure to fight this decision.

The court decision contains the following sentences:

The translation of this into English (according to the official press statement) is:

In the past months there has been some debate about the abolishment of an article of the law with respect to blasphemy. But the government, represented by Minister Ballin, wants to extend article 173c, which speaks about offending groups of people, such that it also includes statemenst about the faith or convictions of groups of people. So far, Wilders only has made statements about the Islam in general or about the Quran, never about Muslims. Now it seems that the court has already adopted the extention, which is regarded by many as a grave restriction of the freedom of speech in the Netherlands.

Update: It seems that The Wall Street Yournal also has noticed this: Silencing Islam's Critics: A Dutch court imports Saudi blasphemy norms to Europe.


Playing Go

This evening, I went to the university to play Go. Because I left a little late, I found Rudi and Huub talking. We talked a little more, before Rudi played simultaneously agains Huub and I. Huub played slightly faster, and lost with 19 points. Rudi had a seven stone handicap while playing against me. I made some mistakes in the last part of the game, and was quite sure I had lost. But Rudi said it was close, and when we counted, we discovered that we both had fifty points, and Rudi exclaimed: Jigo. As far as I can remember it is our first game that ended like this. (Partial game record.)

Friday, January 23, 2009


This morning, I finished reading the book Zibaldone, which is a translated anthology by Frans van Doornen of Zibaldone di pensieri by Giacomo Leopardi. I bought this book on Saturday, April 26, 2008 from bookshop De Slegte for 4 euro. I started reading it on May 2, 2008. It took me a long time to finish this book, because it is not very easy. For some time, I just put it down and read other books. About a month ago I picked it up, and finished reading the latter half of the book rather quickly. I don't know if this is because the second half of the book is easier to read, or for some other reason. It is not a book I would recommend to everyone to read, as some parts are hard to grasp. But once in a while, he makes some interesting observation. Generally speaking, his view of life on earth is rather pessimistic, or "realistic" as an pessimist would say.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Rubber bands

This afternoon, I discovered that I am not the only one who collects rubber bands. I found this bike, with at least one kilo of rubber bands around the handle bars. I could not resist taking a picture.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chinese New Year

Today is the first day of the year 4706, the year of the ox, according to the Chinese calendar. This is both the year of Andy and I, meaning that this year we will have our 12th and 48th birthdays, respecitively. The Chinese also believe that your year is good, so will be the next eleven years. Today, also the Spring Festival started, the most important holiday for the Chinese.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Playing Go

This afternoon, I got an email from Ton, with who I used to play Go often. He is now very much into playing Hex and even had a website about Hex boards. This evening, I arrive quite late at the university to and I found Rudi and Huub already playing a game. I watched them play. Rudi had got a nine stone handicap, but he won with about thirty points. Next, Huub and I played a game where I got a four stone handicap. At one point I felt I should resign, but Rudi made a suggestion about a move that looked rather innocent. I immediately understood the idea behind it, but Huub did not see it, and I could connect a group of mine that was dead. Then I also managed to create another living group. But it was obvious that I was obvious that I was a lot behind. I lost with more than fourty points. (Game record as I recalled it.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rubber bands on fire

Today, when I went into the city, I came along the bike that I photographed last Saturday with all the rubber bands around the handle bars. But now it looked a little different because someone had set the rubber bands on fire.


Andy has not learned to use a handkerchief to clean his nose, and simple uses the sleeve of his left arm. The past week he has been suffering from a cold and some of his nasal mucus was sticking on his cheek. Both Li-Xia and I had made some attempts to remove the dried-up mucus, but he strongly resisted us. This afternoon, Li-Xia wanted to make another attempt, and again failed. But then she got a mirror and showed him his face. The funny thing is that Andy immediately requested Li-Xia to remove the mucus.

This months interesting links

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