24/03/2012

John Carter of Mars

by Rob on

This evening I have been watching the movie “John Carter of Mars”.

It was already the plan to go to see this movie with some colleagues, but not a date was set. So last Wednesday I said if this week no date was set I would go see the movie this weekend. This because I really wanted to see this movie in the cinema. No final date was set, so as said I went tonight to see the movie…

I loved the movie. Great story-line. Awesome special effects. And enough humour to keep it entertaining. And of course is Lynn Collins (who plays Dejah Thoris) a lady that pleases the eye very well.

Now I have to admit that I read the books of John Carter a very long time ago, but as far as my memory allows me, I see great differences between the books and the movie. Not that this is something bad, just something to notice and nothing more than that.

That brings me to the most stupid comment made about this movie (as I already posted on Facebook before): “This story of this movie depends so on Star Wars and Avatar!”. The person who said this has no idea what he/she was talking about. The book “John Carter of Mars” was written in 1911/1912… Get it?

The book was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who also created Tarzan of the Apes.

At the cinema I noticed that there are some very interesting movies coming our way…. Battleship (from the people behind The Transformers), The Avengers, Men in Black 3 and The Wrath of The Titans. So I think I will visit the cinema quite often the coming time. But the next times I hope to go together with Marion. Yes, for a good movie I will go alone. But with someone close it is so much better!!!

And yes, it is very nice to have a good cinema so close by (10 minutes on a bicycle).

Edit: Already some people pointed out to me that this movie is a flop. As far as I can see it is only a financial flop and that says nothing about the quality of the movie. And yes, the movie got rather some bad reviews. But there is one thing I am 100% convinced of, these reviews are way from objective. This is the world of the big money and the lobbies. And that has its effect on reviews given.
I said it before and I will say it again: If a movie got real bad reviews I have to see the movie. Big change that is a wonderful movie!


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Swimming

by Rob on

As I already told here before on my blog, I go often for a swim on Sundays. I like swimming. It is fun to do and of course it is healthy to do. I always go swimming at “De Waterrakkers” in the town of Heemskerk.

When I go alone, I just do some exercising for an hour or so and then go home.

Because of all the things that happened recently it has been some time that Marion went along we with me. But today she wanted to join me again. So we took our bicycles and made our way to the swimming pool.
I have to admit, swimming together is much more fun. Unlike when I am alone, with Marion we also enjoy the other things that are offered at “De Waterrakers”.
First we did swim a nice number of tracks along the length of the competition pool. This is also what I do mostly when I am alone. After that we spend some time in the whirlpool, which is very relaxing after all those tracks we have done earlier.

At the shop you can get all kind of things, but we did go for some tea. I like the tea, although it was very normal tea. But I did miss the honey I always have in my tea at home. Somehow I don’t like normal sugar so much in my tea. But I can understand that they don’t have honey at a place like this.

After we finished the tea Marion challenged me that I would not able to catch her. I accepted the challenge of course. It must have been a fun sight… me chasing her, both being very careful not to slip or running against other people. I managed to catch Marion in the outside pool (which is directly connected to the other pools). As reward I stole a cuddle and a kiss.

We did some more tracks in the competition pool. I have to say that I started to feel my muscles react on all the labour they had to do. But that was not a bad thing at all.

They have there also these wonderful “herb-baths” and luckily these tubs are big enough for 2 persons. The water is of a very nice warm temperature and in the water there are nice smelling herbs that seems to be very healthy. These herb baths are very relaxing.

I do like “De Waterrakkers”. Only little thing that is a bit a pity is that it easily gets busy. It is not as big as “De Wilder” in Haaksbergen for instance.

When we left “De Waterrakkers” Marion asked if I would like to go the sauna (which belongs to “De Waterrakkers”). We have been before to this sauna and we both like it very much. And as we had no other plans for the rest of the day, I thought it would be a good plan to go there.
After all the tracks we did swim, the sauna was awesome relaxing. It makes you feel comfortable, dreamy and sleepy. I like that a lot.

And there, a big part of the Sunday spend in a very nice way together! And oh, I have decided to go Wednesdays after work swimming as well. This is very good for me.

BTW I love your new bikini Marion :-).


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Checkmate

by Rob on

Congratulations, Sanne! This was an awesome game of chess. More checkmate then this you could not get me :-).

I really enjoyed this game. It was a balanced and challenging game. Until the very end it was not clear who was on the winning hand. And I think we both gave each other some very nice surprises.

I take my lose as a gentleman and as said, next time when I am in Haaksbergen I will do the windows of your apartment!

I will keep the reward for winning the next game of doing the windows of my apartment (they really need to be done). So please choose the reward in case you win! :-)

The board is set up again. I am expecting your first move :)


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Patrick’s blog

by Rob on

This morning I read on the blog of my friend Patrick that he will stop with writing on his blog. That is a pity, but I can understand him.

As he wrote, when he started his blog in 2007 it gave him a way to express himself and he needed that over then. But now this need is gone and so the main reason to maintain his blog.

As said, I can understand Patrick’s reasoning.

Me? I will keep writing on my blog. Of course I also use it to express my feeling, emotions and opinion. But it is more for me some kind of public dairy. I can write there the things I like to share. Browse back in its history. And use the private part for things that are not meant for every ones eyes.

So yes, I will keep writing here on my blog.

Patrick, thank you for the pleasure I had for reading your blog for some many years. It will be missed….


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Spaghetti with codfish

by Rob on

As Marion and I have been away most of the afternoon, I was not in the mood to make a complicated dinner that would that a long time to prepare. But still I wanted to make something nice…

I had some codfish (Dutch: “Kabeljauw”) in the refrigerator and that remembered me of a recipe I have read somewhere. Could remember it exactly, so there is some personal input :P.

First I cut the codfish is smaller pieces. Rubbed the pieces carefully with some salt, pepper and parsley. Each piece got packed into a slice of ham.

Meanwhile I boiled a pan with water. Added some salt and olive oil. In the boiling water I cooked the spaghetti for 12 minutes.

In some hot olive oil I fried some sliced courgette. Added some garlic and lemon.
At the same time I baked the in ham packed codfish (of course, also in some olive oil).

I mixed the spaghetti with courgette. Placed the baked codfish on top of it.

To finish it of a Hollandaise sauce with some parsley on top of it all. I admit, the Hollandaise sauce was from a packet :-).

Simple. Easy to make. And yet very tasteful :-)


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Some ponderings about software…

by Rob on

Yesterday Marion and I talked about software and more precisely about the use of illegal software. This because I bought a license for “TextPad” (a very enhanced notepad. Which makes notepad feel like something from the pre-history :p).

Marion stated that using illegal software as programmer/software engineer (and directly related professions) is like stealing from your own income. I partly agree with that. At the same time I can understand when you, as a private person, are not very willing to buy a software package of € 500,00 or more.

BUT I am convinced that in most cases there are cheaper or free to use packages available with basically the same functionality. Specially when talking about Open Source there are some awesome packages. And one thing I like about Open Source is the community around it, that ensures software of high quality without things like back doors.

Some examples? Outlook (Express) can be fully replaced by Thunderbird, an extreme flexible Open Source mail client. Nice thing is that Thunderbird is not vulnerable to macro viruses and doesn’t use Internet Explorer to display mail.

PGP, a commercial encryption package, is no better than the Open Source GNUpg. Talking about encryption, TrueCrypt (also Open Source) can encrypted data in the most secure way (up to complete hard disks). Specially on this matter you don’t want back doors.

When talking about normal photograph processing… Sure, Adobe Photoshop has more functionality than The Gimp. But how much of this functionality will one use for normal photograph processing? Not a lot. The Gimp holds a feature set that is way big enough to do some very nasty photograph-processing. Basically you can do anything with The Gimp that is needed. A complaint that is often heard is that The Gimp doesn’t support CMYK. Not correct, there is a very good working plug-in to handle that. Same can be said for automated/batch processing (another complaint you hear at times). And yes, The Gimp doesn’t support 16 bits channels (and up) yet (is planned for version 3.0). But is there for normal photograph processing any need for this? No, there isn’t. 16 Bits and up are needed when your images will be processed and printed on professional equipment for mass publishing. That rules out 99.8% of all the people who process pictures privately.
UFRaw is an excellent RAW conversion utility that can be used standalone or as Gimp plugin. For Nikon users (which I am) UFRaw has the advantage that it can read the camera’s tone curves. Even if you don’t own a Nikon, you can still apply a Nikon curve to your images.

But the list is a lot longer… Of course there is Firebird, the Open Source browser. There is FileZilla (server and client) for FTP file transfers. And we have Open Office as fully compatible replacement for MS Office. 7Zip for compression management…. and a lot more. The list is long, almost endless. There is even a Open Source Bible Study tool (for who ever may have need for that :P).

As said, I am convinced that for most commercial enclosed software there is an Open Source or Freeware replacement that will do the same trick(s).

And then there is the software that cost €20.00 or €30.00 for a license. And even of those we think we have the right to use without paying. I think here is the point to ask yourself some questions. While it is understandable that you are not willing to pay €500.00 or more for a program (and don’t want to use for whatever reason the Open Source/Freeware replacement), it not for these cheap programs. People tend to forget how many hours were needed to create and maintain these programs.

But in the end everyone has to make there own decisions on this matter. For me it is simple, for these cheap applications that I am using a lot, I will pay without any hesitation. For the more expensive software I will find a Open Source replacement.

Some examples of software that I have official licenses for:

WinZip (and I just noticed that I will have to get an upgrade some time soon… there is already a version 16)

TextPad:

Book Collector Pro (and Movie Collector Pro):

And there is a lot more. A search through my folder with licenses gives some nice hits (although not all is used anymore) ZoneAlarm Pro (FireWall), Trilian (Messaging), WiseBar Advance (a Menu-utility I used on my old PDA), DBViewer (a database program I used on my old PDA), VisualRoute (IP trace util), gSyncIt (util to Sync Outlook Calendar with Google Agenda), FastPictureViewer Codec (to view RAW pictures in Explorer) and so I can continue :-).


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About photographing objects….

by Rob on

Photography is about many exciting things and making pictures of objects is one of them.

I like to make photographs of objects. Doesn’t matter to me if it is inside or outside. And mostly it doesn’t matter what. Many objects can be beautiful enough to make pictures of. And some times it is not beauty what you are after.

But I do like to make these pictures of an object “as it is”. I mean, the pictures I make will be of the object as it was standing or laying there. So no moving of the object around to have a better view on it. No moving or placing things around the object to make it look better. So really “just as it is”…

I know that other people will play around with the object and the things around it so they get what is a good setup. Everyone each own way, but to me that feels a bit as tampering with reality. I do know that there is a lot of faking in photography (specially in these modern times), but for me this is just a little step too much…

So when I waked up this morning and I walked from the bedroom to the living room, in the morning sun entering through the window I saw Marion’s high heels standing there…

Nothing special one would say, it was exactly where she left them yesterday evening. But some how I liked the view of it. So while Marion was shaking her head I grabbed my camera and made some pictures of it.

What I like about the pictures I made of these shoes, is the coincidence how they ended up in this nice position after Marion took them off somewhere last night. More coincidence how one of her stockings must have fallen from the couch and dropped next to the high heels.
All together given an impression of something that didn’t happen in that way. Specially that last I like. It is simple by moving some objects around and setup some decoration to create an image of something that might have happened… But here it is pure coincidence how it ended up like this and that makes the image it creates even stronger…

So worth to be stored as photograph….


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An unexpected evening…

by Rob on

Today was a weird day. Not strange by the way, we all are shocked by the not unexpected, yet sudden, passing away from Marion’s godmother (or “peettante” as we call it in Dutch). Of course there is a lot of sadness with Marion and her family, but it is also keeping me very busy.

So after a rather busy day I travelled very tired home by train. Close to the town of Santpoort my iPhone started to ring. It was Sanne calling me and she said with a happy voice: “Hi Rob, I am in Haarlem now!”. And I thought something like: “Sanne? In Haarlem… what the heck is she doing in Haarlem?” And then as a lighting striking by daylight: “Oh shit… the concert of Ellen ten Damme for which we have tickets.”

When I heard that Ellen ten Damme had a new show I wanted to order two tickets for Marion and me. But for Marion it is hard to get time off from work on short notice if there is not a real reason (logical all the plane travels, hotels and appointment have to be planned very much on time). So I hesitated to buy those tickets, after all they were are € 40,00 each. Then Sanne came up with the idea that if Marion for what ever reason could not make it, she would go with me to that show. A great plan…
Of course Marion is right now really not in the mood to visit a concert or something alike, so spontaneous as Sanne always is she jumped in her car and drove to the city of Haarlem where the concert would take place.

At first I didn’t know if I really wanted to go to the concert and instead invite Sanne to my place. But Sanne convinced me that to relax a bit would be good for me as well. So I got out of the train at Santpoort and travelled back to Haarlem.

We had dinner at the “Nieuwe Koningin” which is very close to the “stadsschouwburg” where the concert would be (so handy such an app on your smart phone that tells you all nearby restaurants are). Absolutely a very good and cosy restaurant. The food was the delicious (on that Sanne and I both agreed). And not expensive at all. Only thing is (and I noticed that often before) when you as woman and man are having dinner somewhere, they automatically assume that you are a couple, which we are not. Anyway Big thumbs up for this restaurant.

The show of Ellen ten Damme was great. It was a try-out for her new show “Spitz”. I truly loved it. There were parts I just closed my eyes and listened to music, forgetting all the wonderful things happening on the stage. What a wonderful and strong voice this lady has. And of course the dancers, the band and all the special effects where wonderful. A great show. I am happy now that we went to watch it.

As always Ellen ten Damme has a signing session after her performance and normally I always buy something to be signed by her. But tonight we skipped it. Neither of us were in the mood to move into a busy mob of people and act happy while we are not. And to be honest, I think I have all CD’s she released already signed by her.
But 20 april she will release a new CD. Then I will try to get a signed copy :)

After the show we drove back to Heemskerk (of course Sanne would sleep at my place… no driving long distances late at night). And yes, I am glad to be home again. Sanne took a shower and while I am typing this she is doing her evening exercises. And wow, this lady is so agile… it is really a sight to see. Honestly :P.
I will make so small snacks for us which we can enjoy with a some beer. And after that it is bedtime ..

It was a good evening! Thank you, Sanne…


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Out on my bicycle…

by Rob on

Marion stayed this weekend with her godmother, who is very ill. As I have to work tomorrow, I had to travel back to Heemskerk. To be honest, I rather stayed at Marion’s side. But well…

Even when I was alone at my apartment this Sunday, I didn’t want to stay all day inside. So I took my bicycle and went for a ride.

Without any special reason I went in the direction of Beverwijk. There close to a brook I saw something that indicates that spring is really about arrive…

I really like this little snowdrops. It is always to see them appear when the weather gets softer again.

A bit further into Beverwijk another surprise was awaiting for me…

This used to be a customer of a company where I worked in the past for. This a training centre for construction workers. The company I used to work made software for this kind of centres. In that time I have been here to install new software and do updates. They company I worked in that time for was located on the other side of the country (where I used to live in that time).
Very funny to run into such a place again.

I made my way out of Beverwijk and before I knew it I was in the dune area again. Made some picture there

Soon everything will get leaves again and all will look so different. To be honest, I cannot wait for it :).


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Another book that I own already for a very long time and that I been rereading.

The book is about Deidre, a young priestess Living in a medieval world dominated by men. Deirdre learns what it means to be an outcast, after she leaves her monastery without seeking permission in order to see her father one last time before his death. Her family rejects her, so she is forced to earn money as a deckhand in the city of Chelle. Due to her advanced education, she is one of only few women who are able to read, write and do number work, so Deirdre manages to establish a successful enterprise consisting of the capital of the many poor women living in the large city. However, some wealthy business men do not approve of the new competitor and start an intrigue that brings Deirdre not only to court, but she is also sentenced to serve as a prostitute in a local temple. After a long time of indignity, she is bought free by a mysterious abbess from a distant desert monastery beyond the Lavender Sea. She explains to Deirdre that she might be the long sought ‘Bidahinne’, the woman who was mentioned in a prophecy and who will bring freedom between the known world and the distant kingdom of Lure, where powerful women reign, who possess weapons much stronger than any of those known to men. An adventurous journey begins for Deirdre and the delegates of the monastery, beyond the mountains, to a mysterious land that no man of the known world has seen in millennia.

The book is written by Wim Gijsen, one of the best Dutch Science Fiction and Fanasty writer. Other books/series written by him are “Iskander de dromendief” band “De eersten van Rissan”
Apart from Science Fiction and Fantasy Wim Gijsen also prose, books for children and books about the death, afterlife, meditation, yoga. His first Science Fiction book he wrote in 1980.
Sadly Wim Gijsen died in 1990, we lost a great writer with that.

I really like the books of Wim Gijsen. He has a great style of writing that is very lifelike

I would recommend his books to anyone who loves to read.

Some facts:
ISBN 90 290 2484 4
Published by Meulenhoff 1983
299 Pages


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