Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

first bilingual email

Subject: server
Importance: High
Auto forwarded by a Rule

De server moet herstart worden.
Sla je werk op.

The server needs a restart.
Save your work.

Beautiful like a Haiku!

OK I admit it, I am a bit bored. My stalker didn't call this morning. I wonder if he will make his call this afternoon. Kidding... I don't have a stalker. I may, however, have ticked off one telemarketeer too many who then put his computer on "redial" every day twice a day for the last couple of weeks.

I am working at home today and the highlight of my morning was the First Bilingual Email I got on this job. They have resisted very long. But now, we have a Pole. Considering unemployment in Poland is about twice the European average wheras unemployment here is rougly half the European average that is all very natural. It He is a very good Pole collegue. He's been with us for about four months and he is the only one who understands my methods. That is because my methods are crazy brilliant.

To clarify: I am a Solid Edge engineer. I draft 3D models of machines. I do not always understand how the machines work, but my models "work". They work in the sense that they are flexible to modify. Changing one part, results in automatic adaptations of the separate parts joined around it. Not even many of my coworkers understand. But the Pole does, which is nice because it means my models don't break when he handles them and I look less like a fool.

One thing he doesn't understand however, is Dutch.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

the Book

I finished the manual. The Book of Method. It has forty-four pages and a couple of "minimize peer to peer relationships in order to keep the number of iterative calculations under the max"-es. I shall call it: How to Engineer ANYTHING at all, no matter wether you Understand the Way it Works or not. The Wondrous Book of Mysteriously Adaptive Machine Models. Now I want to translate it, publish it in hardcover, sell it all over the world and get filthy stinking rich.

Maybe I should throw in a joke or two.

It does have lots of pictures.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

it's a... (looks like a)

Foundation machine!

(Because I can.)

Seriously, why not.

Do you have any idea how UN-boring my life would be without these mud mashing monsters?

Besides, I can show it to the income taxes bureau and tell them I have been using my camera for professional purposes. They don't know that I have been writing all sorts of things except manuals. They don't read my blog. Either.

OK .. so maybe it is not a foundation machine. Just testing.
Fortunately I am a better draftsperson than I am a knower-of-foundation-machines.
But they DO look similar.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ooo MSO and strawberries

Differences between OpenOffice Calc and MSO Excel

VBA: OOc does not open new windows. Doors yes, windows no. I have not been able to reproduce the same batch conversion routine to convert Lotus.WK1 files to xls that I made for Excel. It can do lots of stuff with VBA in OO but opening new windows is key. Maybe I just haven't found how yet. But I Googled. And Googled. And everything I found is not what I want. It can open a FilePicker and let you select a single file in a specific directory, but I'm talking hundreds. In different directories. So the FilePicker is out. And it needs to be done without starting up and shutting down the whole program. So the script with the "hidden" switch is out. Also without the need to specify which character set to use each single time a file is opened.

For simple spreadsheets: OO is BETTER!!! You need to get used to inserting a new row ABOVE the selection vs Excel BELOW, but then: OOc keeps copies of cells in memory, where in Excel they are only available till the next different command. Sweet!

Seriously, I can live with it. It's good enough for private use. I won't need to go to jail for keeping lists in Excel, and typing my recipes and love letters. in Word. No more. I'm clean.

OK so that was boring. How about.. food. Today in the supermarket I saw a new premade salad, you know ( blog, you know what I mean, blog? ) the ones that are sold premade, precut, prewashed ( I hope ) and premixed.. basically the ones that are totally bad for the Environment. I buy a lot of those. I do, because sometimes I try to better my life and buy loose separate salad and tomatoes and cucumber vegetable items and end up having to throw half of everything away because it takes too long to finish and they go rotten. There's a yellow cucumber now staring at me from the lonely fruit basket in a decidedly abject and accusing manner. My excuse is thus: I waste less of the premade salads and besides the transparent PET and PE of the packaging make excellent fuel for the municipal waste incinerator.

Um kids..? There is this new salad. It is a mix of greens, pasta, soft Brie cheese and.. STRAWBERRIES! It also has this transparent red jellyish kind of sauce. With pips floating around in it. Basically it is vergetables you cover in thin strawberry jam. With whole strawberries in it too. Whole entire strawberries, including the little green crown. The superkid loves strawberries and so I did not hesitate to buy a bowl of this wonderful strawberry and cheese pasta-salad. When I got home and ( eventually ) put it on his plate, however, his enthusiasm was surprisingly minimal. Even showing him the wrapper from the store, proving that this strange combination of food stuffs was not one of my inventions, strangely failed to convince him. Since the day I made him and a visiting play friend eat a creation that I baptized "Harry Potter Troll Snot" ( and they ate it! ), which was a thin green slippery goo of watery overcooked spinach and mashed potatoes, he has somehow lost all confidence in my cooking. When arguing that this was obviously something that OUGHT to be, since it was bought premade in a store, didn't help, I played the emotions. I acted out my enthusiasm at finding this wondrous new strawberry dish for him... He Who Loves Strawberries, ...followed by my great disappointment at experiencing that he refused to taste it. He lifted his fork. He shoved in a mouthful of the greeneries dripping with the jam. He exclaimed "UGH.. SWEET!". Imagine a facial expression that clearly indicates the monosyllable "sweet" being used here in it's most definite pejorative meaning.

The Harry Potter Troll Snot had long thin Spanish sausages for wands.. you know when Harry sticks his wand in the nose of the troll and vanquishes him. It was brilliant.

between boat and board

It says it's for sale. Hey.. a girl can dream. Can't they? (Answer: No they can't.. they're too old and wise.) I'm having carpenters over for breakfast lunch and hopefully not dinner tomorrow. Not that I don't like them. But they are messy, come to speak of it. Uhm, that was a joke. It should look a lot better here when they are gone. I'll probably be the messy one, with paint and brushes and spilling coffee over everyone.

I really don't have anything better to do. For work I have to write a maintenance manual for a model I built. As it appears it works fine when I handle it, then when I am gone people mess it up and it doesn't work any more. I can take the whole week for writing the manual. I wonder what they will do to me if they still don't get it after I am done, keelhaul me? It is really very simple but if they still do not understand after all my verbal explanations I am not sure what else to say...

Always check if the sketches are healthy. The sketches are your skeleton. Don't make too many, make three. That's it. And go back to them always. Do you understand?

Do. You. Un-der-stand?

DO YOU UN-DER-STaaaaaarghgh... splash


Sunday, September 21, 2008

just another day

Sunny but cold. I got some work done, just the regular.. checking if all my sketches are healthy, getting ticked off at things people have changed in MY drawing while I was away sort of thing, deleting some jittery relationships, flipping some others... but my computer was damned slow. Maybe because of the mediaplayer in the background but I need the distraction. I had the window open and the back door into my own private 2 by 2 snail- and spider-infested jungle. Trying to catch a bit of the feeling of being outside where the life is going on. What would have made it perfect (read: less imperfect - almost nice) is a big fan in the window blowing hot air inside. Warmth... gimme some, you selfish gluttons you know who you are, hoarding it all for yourself while people are freezing here. I finally gave up fighting this injustice and put on socks instead. Tried to avoid being distracted by the pitiful sight of the window frames which are in screaming need of a late summer paint job. A little bit of entertainment is cool but that sort of thing is just frankly disturbing.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

not a lot

A field full of geese, two swans, sheep, goats, horses. Angry kid, a chance meeting with a friend, ice cream, happy kid, the same horses, goats and sheep in the other direction, although the sheep were all huddled together because there was a big bulky black but innocent looking dog jumping around in the field.

And my wooden shed is totally rotting away. I don't really want to think about it. Or talk.

This and this is what I keep wanting to be able to photograph on the mornings that I drive through the fields at an early hour, when the rising sun makes clouds appear from the damp earth. I wish I could catch it. A water colour painting of light.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A- A-utodesk A-pology - and A slight new problem

A startup problem, to be precise. The A program has changed from A exe to Acad exe. Some commands and add-on customizations may not load correctly. Continue anyway?

And there's no "STOP ASKING ME THAT YOU BLOODY THING" selection box.

Now I remember why I wanted to stick with R2006 in the first place. My VBA didn't migrate. The good news is, that unlike R2007, in spite of it's self-doubts R2008 does appear to load and execute all my customization files correctly.

And I got an Autodesk apology. Someone called to say they were not actually out to get me. If they had visited and caught me running my ILLEGAL R2006 they might have let me off with just a slap on the wrist.

Why oh why they called the minute I was finished removing R2006, installing R2008 and discovering the portable license utility? after also just having dumped my cracked Dabbler Max Flare copies, exchanging a number of illegal Windows installations for Ubuntu, exonerating some redundant Microsoft Office, embracing Go-OOo, ... I guess we will never know.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Autodesk Software Audit

Three months ago I installed Inventor series 2009 for which I had obtained the licence during the period I had been a subscription customer with Autodesk for - untill April this year. After discovering solid Edge for 3D modelling early the previous year the only single Autodesk product I ever use is Autocad, and I really don't care much about any version after 2006, and so I decided that paying good money for software that I didn't need was overkill and to stop paying the subscription fee. Out of curiosity I did install Inventor 2009. That was a mistake. After installing it, my Solid Edge software - incidentally: Solid Edge is currently the most dangerous competitor Autocad/Inventor have - developed a problem and crashed every time accessing the materials table. On the internet I found evidence of half a dozen other users who suddenly had the same problem after installing Inventor Series 2009. Solid Edge UGS responded with a software update, which unfortunately didn't work. Autodesk did nothing.

Removing Inventor series 2009 did not solve the problem, but clean reinstalling Windows - for which I had to buy a new license especially for this occasion - and going back to Series 2008 did solve it. Now the next problem arose: Being a non-subscription customer, I had forfeited my right to go back to a previous version of Inventor/Autocad by activating version 2009. For three days I have had to wait, try and convince Autocad employees, contact my reseller, wait again. How lucky for me that Autodesk software is not my main source of income. After three days I got my 2008 activation code. All is well that ends well.

Three months have passed. A letter arrives from Autodesk. What is their response to this unfortunate series of events? Have they finally found the bug and seen the error of their ways? No boys and girls, the letter did not contain an apology. Autodesk's final answer to the problem is going be... to target me with a software audit for requesting too many activation codes in a short time.

No questions. Thank you.

Oh, maybe just one question: If after this audit my installation proves to be clean, will Autodesk be liable for any damage they have caused here?
Did anyone ever sue Autodesk?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

familiarity breeds contempt


But I still like this city.

I probably don't know it very well yet.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

first swim

It didn't rain, much. I think I amazed the Silversurfer by remembering which side of the board was up and much of the time staying there. (Right?) Now maybe I'd feel like a REAL surfer if only I could learn how to steer... luff, jibe, waterstart... waterstart, again... kick water... ok for god's sake climb on the board and pull the sail up... call the coast guard... (let's begin with the steering).

I mostly amazed myself by being able to get out of The Suit virtually painlessly afterwards. And it wasn't cold on the water. It was cold standing around on the shore. On the water it was nice.

It was also the first time I went swimming this whole summer. And it will not be the only time. Tomorrow we're going again.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Liquorice lunch

OK I admit it, I shouldn't be here. I should have left an hour ago. And a half. But it is raining, and sixteen degrees outside.

Just when I was finally resigning to the fact that I am here and starting to like it. Indian summer.

In the morning the light of the rising sun through the transparent grasses and the reeds, turning even the strips of asfalt to golden silk, in the evening the same, in the opposite direction. I really didn't want to be anywhere else but here, for a whole three days. Then today all turns to mud again!

I should have left two hours ago. I've missed the opening of the new school.

I should leave in half an hour, if I still want to pick up the little van. I need it to go surfing tomorrow. It will be 15 degrees and it will rain. The last time that happened I just drove down, had a hot cocoa in the pub, and drove back again.

I better go now.

Get on yer bike lass!

Demadesco-bundi te salutant.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


zelfportret (self portrait)

zelfdeportret (same portrait)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


a duck's view, originally uploaded by thymeline.

There was something I had to do in Gouda. As it seems I almost missed summer and it was today after all, I just took advantage, the whole day off, my bike and photos.

I still have the bike and the photos.

Monday, September 8, 2008

911.. WTF?

I just watched 911, the documentary. I am stunned. That documentary is blow after blow. There's something wrong with it. Primarily the act of terrorism that it is about, but there's something more wrong. I'm not really sure why this upsets me more that the terrible fact of the event itself. The documentary makes it look even more premeditated.

First it hit my emotions. To see the firemen enter that 110 story building and ask if the elevators are working! What about rule #1... never use elevators in a burning building? OK, but maybe the makers of rule #1 didn't think of buildings 110 stories high, so this rule does not apply in Manhattan. Lacking elevators they start walking up in that burning melting chimney, with their heavy gear.. one story a minute, that means it will take them 70 minutes to reach the burning top. Was there no-one there who could have told them that a burning building will never withstand over an hour of fire? They will be too late, and worse! I paused the tv to search on the internet if they had all died, because I couldn't stand the suspense any longer, and I found that 343 firemen died in that event. With my mind somewhat at ease because I already know the worst, I continue watching.

Then the second tower gets hit, it gets hit in a much lower elevation and as a result the structural integrity is more weakened and it collapses first. As soon as the second tower collapses the commander of the men in the first tower pulls them out. Not a minute too soon. None of them die. Miraculously, they all survive and you're starting to feel as though you are watching a Disney movie.

It is crazy. I confess that I cried. But then, I started to think.

Did they ever find gas at that supposed "gas leak"? And.. OK.. so what if one of those firemen was a professional actor. Those two brothers were movie directors, they normally would add some professionalism to the documentary they were planning to make by spiking it a little with an undercover insider, I get that. But .. one or two coincidences will help me feel there is a God. Many coincidences will make me think there has been tampering.

If this were staged, all of it.. it would be so enormously, terribly monstrous, I can hardly believe it. Then again.. not that much more unusual than war.

Here's an older link, the same but with some more info.

Captain Dennis Tardio (1:22:09) : "I can't believe we all made it out. How did we make it out of that building ? Thirty seconds — another two flights higher — why am I alive and so many others are dead ?" An interesting question. Of the 343 firemen killed that day, 95 came from Division 1, the five Manhattan battalions closest to the Trade Center,* and of those five, the highest death toll (25) was from Battalion 1 — but none of them were from Duane Street. Only three other houses in the division recorded zero deaths — Canal Street, Henry Street and East 18th Street. Duane Street, however, unlike them, claimed to have supplied some of the first firemen into the tower (Pfeifer was the first chief — 27:56). Somehow, the first-in-last-out rule seems not to apply here. "A firefighter in full gear carrying 60-something pounds of hose and equipment takes about a minute to climb one flight of stairs": Hanlon (29:55). Which means that if Engine 7/Ladder 1 started climbing as soon as they arrived — say, about 9 a.m. — they could have been something like 50 floors up by the time the South Tower collapsed just before 9.59, presuming they could sustain that speed indefinitely, which is highly unlikely.

change in the weather

I miss it! The bush walking, the warm air, the smells, the sounds, the birds, everything.

My sister just informed me that things are starting to heat up there again. Here they are cooling down. She is sitting at her computer breaking out a sweat. I am shivering, my hands are developing blue spots and I know that I should be putting on socks because my throat is starting to tickle, but I am holding it off as long as humanly possible. I hardly break out a sweat cycling 18k to Rotterdam. And back.

Their world heats up, the smells become more intense, too hot to work, everyone understands, the best thing to do is to sit back and relax. Nine months of the year.
Our world cools down, becomes uptight, smells become faint, what prevails is the smell of garbage, sewage, traffic exhaust, washing detergent and cooking supper. Smells of people moving to and from work. Smells of people eating dinner after getting home from work. People washing, people cleaning. People working.

It is unfair.. UNFAIR... completely and utterly injust. That there are three months of the year where their climate resembles ours and our lives touch and those are the three months of their cold season, and the three months of our summer. And they coincide. After which all move apart again into our respective climates.

I won't have it any more. Something has to be done. This has to change. Seriously.

Oh and another thing... THEY GOT BOGGED! In a Hilux! Ha. Ha. Ha. Well allmost. The same sand heap that we got stuck in at the Mouth of McIvor and they bloody gt stuck in it too. They had to reverse not once, not twice, not three times, no.. FOUR times all the way to the beach to get through it. AND they let air out of the tyres.

Argh, little sister! Tell me AGAIN that my car has the same clearance underneath that the Hilux has.. I DARE YOU!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

little kitesurfer

Nostalgia... this was in August 2003. Isn't he cute? We were all pretty cute in those days if I may speak for ourselves. (That was long ago!)

It was cloudy that day and a bit cold. I had two sails, one 4m2 and one 5m2 and there wasn't a lot of wind. This friend brought a very small sail for the superkid to try, but it was still too heavy for him. Besides, he is chicken on the water. If it's a bit wobbly, he sits down clutching the sides of the board and absolutely refuses to get up.

If anyone is interested in a full body kiddy size wetsuit .. Sola Vision Titanium - for a child 120 - 130 cm tall... once worn, never been in the water... I'll take any acceptable offer.

Here's a little slideshow of that one time.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

it's ON!! (but it's tight)

I had a friend over for lunch. Friend, I hope you read me, because the answer is YES. I managed to get into the suit(s). Both of them, even the hot one. I'm still a bit breathless from the sight. Of everything. The sight of everything took my breath away in that suit. And my hands turned blue after a couple of minutes is that normal?

Anyhow, I am ready to go windsurfing this winter. It's on. Everything but the last bit of the zipper in the back. I managed to raise my arms and take a few steps about the room, and getting on the board and falling off again looks like a definite possibility now. But I am going to need to borrow someone's husband to help me dress and undress and I hope you know who I am thinking of.

Here's a photo. God, the bloody suit makes me HOT!

Friday, September 5, 2008

il a la voix qui mue

The Superkid is 16 and lately he has the beard in his throat. To have the beard in his throat is a Dutch expression which means that his voice is breaking and changing from his usual childish high-pitch to a deep male bariton. Maybe not quite that deep. I couldn't find a translation in English, but in French the same means: "avoir la voix qui mue".

He was telling me a story in this voice which was going up and down and I told him to make a decision at last, what do you want to talk like, high pitched or low pitched. And he put up a really high squeek and peeped "LOW PITCHED". With that made me laugh so hard.. it was one of those moments that I know and IQ of 70 is not the same as stupid.

Later he commenced to persuade me that his yellow T-shirt is actually bright green. I showed him that it wasn't that different from the canary-yellow cupboard in my room, only lighter. And then it was his turn to laugh at me, because, according to him, there is no such thing as light yellow. Yellow is a light colour, so light yellow does not exist; something can be either yellow (like the canary cupboards) or green, like the vanilla or sandy walls.

In fact he just revealed to me that actually everything in my house is this same colour: light green. The different shades sand coloured walls, the vanilla woodwork, yes, even the creamy white ceiling is light green.

I will have to have a talk with him about this some more tomorrow. I may have the next Vincent van Gogh right here on my hands.

I'm still standing ..

.. in a puddle ...

I'm holding on. I refuse to give in. I won't stay locked inside. I force myself to go out every day. But it's only just September. Imagine the rain, the cold, the useless homework and the useless creativity yet to come.

This really could be worse.

I might not have had my raincoat.

Or I might have gone surfing.

go w/t flo

Yesterday morning just driving calmly along the road, only 15 minutes behind on schedule, behind a big truck. At a crossing, suddenly a motor cop pops up redirecting the truck and me in my turn to turn off onto a different road. No explanation. Probably an accident. Let's go with the flow. Trust.

You've got to know, the country roads around there parts are very narrow. Two little cars can barely pass. Canals and reeds on either side, and then the fields. And here I am behind this truck, driving merrily along this little strip of asphalt laid down in the wet green ...

Miraculously all goes well for about 5 km and I am enjoying the green scenery. Wet and muddy too, the scenery. There's this early-morning freshness about the flat country with the sun just rising over the horizon and the light reflecting through the transparent flowers of reeds, I like it. It is one of the positives of getting up early and driving to work, this time of the year.

Just when I am thinking it is a pity that I can not stop somewhere and take a photo, because there is a line of cars following me and the truck, and we're all trying to get somewhere in time, and we're lucky all is going smoothly so far and we'd prolly best get off this narrow road barely wider than a cycling track as soon as possible, we encounter another truck. It is standing parked facing the other direction. It carries a sign on the front bumper, saying "CONVOI EXCEPTIONNEL". I pass it half way. And that is when everything stops.

I turn my engine off.

I have just passed a little bridge. The guy behind me turns on to the bridge. A glimmer of hope, is there a way out? Then he turns his car facing the rear of mine again. Bummer.

My car is jammed between the convoi exceptionnel and the canal. I get out of the car. There are others behind me as far as I can look.

About fifteen minutes later the motor cop arrives. His face bears a guilty expression. A few more cops arrive, but the first one has somehow disappeared. The fire brigade appears on the bridge, they are probably returning from the accident scene and trying to get back home. One of the cops goes to inquire with the truck drivers and comes back saying "this could be a while". All the cops and the firemen get out and stand watching with their arms crossed.


Walk up past the first truck.

See that there is a third truck parked on our side of the road in front of it.

Walk back.


Call the office.

Ask one of the firemen where we are.



Half an hour later, the line of cars on the road behind me has shrunk to about ten. I ask the man in the third car if he can roll back and out. He does, and suddenly all turn round. I am free. We are all free! Yay us! Duh the stupid coppers for redirecting thirty trucks all on a little country road.

That evening I go back to check if everyone has gone, and yes, all clear.

Non-verbal output during adventure:

Grin at the fireman.

Glare at the policeman.

Raise eyebrows in questioning manner at the truckdriver.

Shrug at first driver behind.

Wave thank you to third driver.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wednesday drivers

I hate them! I don't have anything against good professional drivers, especially not the ones who can park their truck backwards and it is 80 meters long, and they do not hit anything with it. Nothing. It's those other ones. The ones that have got one single diploma: their DRIVERS license. So, they are a DRIVER. It says so. They have a license, you know. And they are driving a bigger car than mine. And when I am trying to get past a line of parked cars like these here (or twice as long - with three more cars illegally parked at either end) I am on THEIR side of the road. So they are not stopping when I have nearly passed all the parked cars with only one car to go and they've just come scooting round the corner at 80k, because I AM ON THEIR SIDE OF THE ROAD. They OWN it. They got the papers to prove it.

So I move backwards in my lil car. I can drive backwards in a lil car, along a long line of parked cars, if I have to, without knocking their mirrors off. It takes some effort, but I can. It is those idiot little knee-high concrete blocks strategically hidden in parking lots that I can't do. With or without pebbles in them. They usually get me. Mirrors are not my problem. But next time when I catch that fucker on MY side of the road, guess what I am going to do?

I think would stop anyway. Because I am a better driver than that! >:-(

I bet it was them who knocked my mirror off the other day and drove off without telling. Those F#^*%g A$$#@%#s!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wet love

I was just blown completely off my feet. Or rather: wheels.
And when the wetness came there was no stopping the sensation.
My skin was tingling, glowed all over.
The muddy grayish spray sent shivers through my spine.

The rhythm beating down on me relentlessly
against the force unceasing,
My muscles flexed, my thighs were heaving
My breath got deep and fast.

There's no escape and I'm not dreaming
I better love this; autumn is here to last.

Once more.. it is time to appreciate all the various shades of grey this country comes in.

Oh, and green, of course.

And cycling in the rain.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Archer point

Guess what I'm working from home today. No that's not easy. It's hard. The boring-ness of the little endless hugely precise and important task I have been assigned overwhelms me more here than when I am in the company of other victims of society and able to distract myself a bit by watching them suffer.

Too much is never enough... and thus, not satisfied with just one job, I went to look for another on the internet.

And look what I found!

No, not a job. But it is a nice lookout.