December 31, 2007

End of the beginning or the beginning of the end?

2007 has only got a few hours of life left in it. Some of my friends reflected on their year, and some of them seemed to have had a very good year. I wish I could say the same. Unfortunately 2007 has not exactly been my favorite year. It had its moments, but not many.

Good things:
* A380 into service! Definite positive milestone. It has been a challenging project, and I am glad I was able to do my share to this behemoth of a project. No doubt many will remember the occasion for a long time to come.
* New car. Sounds strange but it has been the most reliable car I have had here in england. Ofcourse it is japanese. Its fast, its furious, and strangely, it's also the oldest of all cars I have had so far! hahaha!!! I guess they just don't make cars like they used to, heheh.
* Re-acquainted myself with some friends long lost, back in Holland.
* My dad's retirement. The man deserves it!

Bad things:
* Lost some friends. Always sad.
* The prospect of having to sell my house.
* Constant DIY
* On the last week of 2007 I managed to get the first cold I had in a decade! And with a vengeance!!!!
* ... >>censored for legal reasons<<
* ... >>censored for legal reasons<<
* ... >>censored for legal reasons<<
* ... >>censored for legal reasons<<
* ... >>censored for legal reasons<<

Most, if not all the bad things are all stress related. Stress that affects me personally (so not "high work loads" or "challenging deadlines". Those don't cause me stress, they just make me work harder...)
Well, in a few hours time the record will be wiped clean, and at least half, if not all of the bad things of 2007 will be solved in 2008. I have no doubts about that!
2007 may have been a very bad year for Tigers (I'm not the only tiger who had a bad 2007), but 2008 has got a very promising view! And I think all Tigers can expect a very prosperous 2008.

In any case, 2007 is now done and dusted. After midnight I will sleep soundly with the thought that 2008 has begun, and new chances await me!

Finally, I'd like to wish all my friends and family, and colleagues all the best for the new year!

December 28, 2007

Black 'n white mayhem

Another update...
Seems like my updates always come in groups rather than one every week or every two weeks or so.
This time I have included some B&W pics. 2 are of my idiot brother, the rest is pretty much travel related.
Since I make my photos in RAW, it gives me more control over the conversion process. Sometimes I do set the camera to B&W, but if you only take RAW, this is pretty much useless, as the RAW image will take literally the RAW data from the camera, uncompressed and unprocessed. This means that when you upload the image to your PC, all the settings you used, will have been discarded. A little annoying, which is why I prefer to make JPEGs with the RAW. Especially since I prefer a minimum amount of post processing, this method gives me the option of choosing an unprocessed JPEG or a RAW that I then process in Photoshop.
Anyway, enjoy these new entries...


steffen portrait.jpg

roof to panorama.jpg

plants in waterBW.jpg

martyr shrine  003.jpg

martyr shrine  002.jpg

martyr shrine  001.jpg



Rolls Royce.jpg

December 26, 2007


Well, actually it was earlier this month that I made the progress.
I worked hard on my house and downstairs is finally getting close to being finished!
Below are some pics of what it now looks like... What an improvement compaired to what it was before!!! There is actually harmony in there!





I have to say, I made some small additions since these photos were taken. I added 2 cupboards in the dining room. I still need to do some doors for the cupboards, and I also need to do teh skirting boards, but that shouldn't take more than a few days.

However, it will have to wait because I managed to get my first cold in 7 years!!! Boy, I forgot how much I hated having a cold...

October 23, 2007

High speed chase

Tonight I was caught in a high speed chase, and I lived to tell the tale!!!

I was driving home on the M5 after having done some last minute shopping after work, when suddenly I was taken over by an old Ford Escort. For a fraction of a second I was thinking :boy, he's anxious to get home", when a second later there were 6 police cars in high pursuit chasing this guy! Then 30 seconds another 3 or 4 police cars followed. Interesting was the mix of cars the police used. It wasn't just the blue/yellow marked cars, but also quite a few civilian cars with sirens and lights.
From their pursuit pattern you could see they were preparing for a standard box-block. And that is also how they caught him. As it happens they caught him next to the exit I usually use to get off the motor way.
I don't understand these guys (speeders). I know they have something going on otherwise they wouldn't run from the police, but seriously, you don't enter th emotor way! It's a free ticket go to jail! Entering the motor way will make it so easy for the police to grab you. They can call in a helicopter to track the offender, and they can easily block off the motor way. Th epolice usually tries to captur ethe speeder very safely. What they do is, they try to get one car behind the offender, one car in front and one car (or two, depending where on which lane the guy is). They drive really close so the guy has no exit, and then they slow to a stop. Works like a charm. Getting someone in front is the difficult part though...

Something completely different (though in some twisted way remotely related to idiots, like most subjects, heheh), I read an article about women in Holland. Apparently women in Holland are not very ambitious, but they are very satisfied about their life, unlike other European countries. On average women in Holland give a 7.8 (out of 10) to their life, but on average only 37% thinks a career is important. The survey was done by 2 women's magazines. One is for house wifes, the other for feminists. And ofcourse the numbers vary between the two magazins. The chief editor of the feminist magazin said in an interview that she considers such women "brain farts"! She was actually slacking off her own readers!!!!! How dumb is that??
Interesting is that teh dutch government seems to have its mind set on equalising th eposition of the woman compared to the man in business life and career wise. Strange that they didn't realise that only 37% of the women actually cares about such plans. So Feminist editors don't care about their own readers, and the government doesn't know what their people want (which is actually pretty much standard for any modern government...)

October 02, 2007

Space, the final frontier....

A mate of mine pointed me to these photos. Needles to say (for those who know me) they are not mine, so all credits go to the original photographer (That's NASA I guess...). However, I found them rather beautifull, and thought I should share them with the world...







September 21, 2007

Belgium for sale on eBay

On auction site Ebay Belgium has been for sale for a while. Ex journalist Gerrit Six is responsible for the joke. He offered his country for sale, with the notification that the item concerned a kingdom in 3 parts. In addition tthe sellerr stated that Belgium could also be bought as a whole, but that this was not recommended, and that the product was accompanied with a state debt of 300 billion dollars!
Six opened the auction with a bid of 1 euro, but very quickly itt turned out bidders considered belgium more valuable. After a bid of 10 million euros the administration of eBay decided that the jjoke had taken long enough and put an end to the auction.

September 01, 2007

Old car new car

I sold my Passat...
I was a bit sad to get rid of it as I put blood, sweat and tears in that car. But on teh other hand, it was giving me problems on a regular basis.
I now decided to buy something that was classified as very reliable.
I have been looking around for:
Nissans: Primera, very reliable, very dull...
Mazda 323: interesting car, very reliable, nice shape, but most of them are horribly light green metallic! And most of them have fairly small engines (or too big...)
Honda Prelude: Old coupe, very sporty, not too powerfull though if you get a 2.0i, but the bigger engines are often used as boy racers.

My first viewing was on thursday. I went to a small village south of Bath to look at a Honda Prelude. It had been taken off the road so no tax, but it had a full year MOT, and full service history.
Then I found out that the owner had bene driving it for less than 10 miles in 2 years time. Literally just to go to the garage to get it services, with the last service nearly a year ago. It had been standing outside, so it had a bit of rust. Actually, it was pretty stupid of the previous owner to not drive it. Now all the seals have dried and rotten away. A car needs to be used to stay lubricated. Standing still for 2 years has pretty much killed it.

The second viewing I had was of another Prelude, near Portishead. It was a bit older, but in perfect condition! Paintwork perfect, interior a bit old and slightly worn, but the car is 12 years old! Mechanically it looked and sounded good. Service history log is complete, but it seemed like a copy. Price is very good though!
Chris wants to look it over first though.

The third one I looked at was a mazda 323 2.0 V6. That was quite an interesting trip! I drove to Stroud, but on the motorway, when I wanted to take the exit to Stroud, the police just blocked it, and I saw a car being consumed in a sea of fire! I was about 50m away when I drove past it, but I could still feel the heat inside the car! There were a few younger guys (and girls) sitting nearby, one of them crying: obviously the driver upset about loosing the car. Strangely there didn't seemed to have been an accident. It was a Fort Ka, but there was no sign of another car being involved. Maybe the engine blew or something...
When I got to Stroud I couldn't find the place where I was supposed to meet the owner of the Mazda. He had to find me at some point!
The car was fair. Maintenance had been done by "a mate" and the guy had zero receipts. The car itself was in an ok state cosmetically. Outside was as to be expected for a 10 year old car used daily. The inside was absolutely perfect. However, technically there were quite a few issues. Airco had to be recharged, there was a rather large oil leak due to a head gasket not being replaced properly. The engine sounded rough, and the drive itself was no more than OK.

I decided I wanted to go for the Prelude, and I already told the guy. But Chris wants to look it over first before a definite "yes". the guy might be a bit upset about that, though I hope not. He should be fine if I do buy it though. If Chris advices me not to buy, then the guy could get dangerous I fear...

Lets wait and see...

August 27, 2007

Asta la Vista baby!

Quite literally I can say! A few months ago I got a new PC with Windows Vista.
It occasionally crashed with a blue screen of death, but not too often. Just bugs as with all new products.
Until at some point I started getting the message "graphics driver stopped responding and recovered successfully". The message appeared more and more frequent, until I got to the point I had to start up my PC in safe mode, otherwise it wouldn't start. After some searching on the internet, it turns out this is a major problem that affects both NVIDIA users and ATI users alike! Not only that, it is a problem since the beginning of VIsta!! Some people claim it's a hardware problem, some it's a software issue. Some people said they fixed the problem by returning their graphics card, which was found to be faulty. New driver versions don't seem to solve the issue so far. Other people seemed to find a solution in removing on eof their 2 RAM chips. Yet others found solutions in UNDERclocking their hardware...
Recently my graphics card died I think, because I did a complete reinstall, with Vista, and the problem still occured. Then I installed XP, but it could no longer finish teh installation, and my PC kept restarting.
To ensure it wasn't my motherboard, I tried it on my old PC, and sure enough, it was dead!
So basically Vista killed a perfectly good graphics card!
What I think happens, is that Vista tries to drive graphics cards beyond their specifications, resulting in some sort of overload.
Some people will think that's bollucks, but lets face it: those same people use SOFTWARE to overclock their PC. The fact that some people need to UNDER clock their hardware to get a stable system, seem sto indicate that indeed Vista drives it beyond specs (underclock plus overdrive=normal operating levels roughly...)
So, I'm gonna sell my Vista disk. Interestingly Microsoft plans to stop support for XP soon as well (because of Vista). Well, I think they will see a massive migration of people switching from Microsoft, to Apple and Linux etc...

Good luck Microsoft, lawsuits are forming and you are in for the ride of your life!

As a follow up, I bought a new graphics card from Novatech. I bought a Sapphire 2600XT. The guys at Novatech suggested me to upgrade my PSU to something "branded" so they sold me a Jeantech PSU of 450Watt. Turns out the PSU is only 425 Watt, which is a massive 5 Watts more than my current PSU (420 Watts)! Not only that, I installed it, and after letting my PC run nominally for a while (no gaming, jut switched on...), it decided to overheat and turn off my PC. I doubl checked by reinstalling my own PSU, and it started just fine.
So I'll be returning that PSU to tehm tomorrow, and ask them for a generic "unbranded" 600Watt PSU for half the price of this "branded" PSU...

This reminds me I need to return my LCD as well ( because it is sometimes starting up with a foggy white screen. I need to turn it off and on again for it to display properly. So it goes back and I want a different one. Maybe I'll try to get a slightly bigger one for slightly more money...

July 31, 2007

It's worse...

Yeah, very disappointing... Had my birthday thursday last week... Well, you could have fooled me!
In total there were about 5 people that actually congratulated me on that day, none of which are family!!!!!!!!
Some people had a fair excuse though: My brother was on holiday in Norway and didn't have reception with his phone, and Chris next door had to go to the hospital as his father was taken in (luckily nothing too serious).
Then again, maybe the others also have a good excuse: they don't care...!
Even my dad forgot!!! He called me the next day, and started talking liek it was a normal day. Of course I was grumpy like hell, and he noticed this. I didn't say anything though. Later in teh evening he called again, as he finally realised he forgot something!

Well, I say bullocks to all! Guess there IS only me myself and I on this planet...

July 21, 2007


Some good things: The electrician came by, and approved my handywork in the bath room. He was quite impressed he said.
Not so fortunate on the other hand, is that I have bene struck by a light flu. That's teh result of 10-12 hours a day's work, and then DIY when I get home. So unlike my plans, I was unable to do anything significant today, and most likely I won't be able to do anything tomorrow either. That sucks doggy dick!
I hope I can at least prepare the bathroom, so I can start plastering during the week. Then paint by the end of the week, and in the weekend start tiling. Having said that, I do need to order a bath first, and place it, together with the plumbing!
I'm not planning to tile underneith the bath tub!

Well, better get some sleep, so I can actually do something useful tomorrow... Maybe I can sell some more stuff on eBay.

June 19, 2007

It's time...

I need a change... Lots is happening and my future is a little uncertain at the moment. I'm praying to absolutely every deity I can think of, and I'm even sacrificing small goats to obtain some positive results.
I'm trying to get to China through the company.
I dearly hope my application will be successful. Lately I have been feeling tired, very tired. Stress at work is eating away at me, the one week holiday was definitely not enough! I need a change
I'm feel stretched thin, like too little butter over too much bread. I need a change.

I discovered "hyves", a dutch community web thingy, that allows you to find old friends long gone, and new ones. Its mostly dutch (although the interface is english ofcourse). I found friends I tried to stay in touch with, but due to lack of recent email addresses have not been able to. That has changed now.
The world around my friends is changing. They are all getting married or already married. SOem are having children. Yet here I am...
I need a change...

June 17, 2007

revamped face

Well, I decided to revamp my blog a bit.
I started looking around for templates to use with blogger. I found loads of them, but they weren't all that brilliant. I found one that looked good, so I grabbed it, and hereby thanks to the guys that made it. I tweaked it a lot and it doesn't look that much like the original.
I also will need to adjust the header still. Although I like the pic etc, I don't like the frame around it that much and I need to figure out how I can create my own frame around a box or column or whatever.
Actually I'd like to work more with flash, as I really like what you can do with it. Unfortunately I have two left hands when it comes to programming and related stuff, so not sure if I will able to pull anything off...
Some links in this template I still need to address as they point to things from the original designer. Well, I guess he won't mind for the moment as the site he uses to explain how to use blogs, plus he gets some credits as well, etc.
Another thing is I would like to add some pics to the side of the text, or mix them decently with text. Not sure how to do that yet.

Someone I know uses MS word to edit his website. The guy is into art. He made a few semi abstract paintings, some better than others, and he has made "paintings" using tin cans and bottle caps as well. Very creative! But honestly, his website leaves much to desire. I don't want to tell him what to do though. It's his web site and he should do with it what he wants. Interestingly he says he doesn't like painting or any of that art stuff he is doing. He just does it to obtain the result. Kind of a necessary evil he says...
That reminds me, I still haven't told Donny on what to do with his website. He has a good basic design, but for a pro photographer he really needs to be more selective as to what he puts on his portfolio.

I may post more later. I think today I'll do some photo editing and putting up those pics on flickr.