30/03/2013

Life is there… to play chess

by Rob on

During Easter is Sanne, a very good friend of Marion and me, staying at my place. Sanne is always a welcome quest. She is fun to have around, good to talk with and always helpful.

Already some time ago when Sanne was also here at my place, she noticed my old chess board standing beside the couch. She asked about it and I told her that when I was younger, I played often chess. Even on competition level.
Sanne knew the basic rules of chess, but she would love to learn more about it. So we took the chess board and chess pieces and sat down to have a closer look at the game.

It was fun for me to be busy with chess again. And Sanne loved it and really wanted to learn more about the game. So we decided to play “chess on distance”. We both placed a chess board in our living rooms and sent each the moves by mail, text messages of things alike. I think I can say that we both enjoyed playing chess this way. And thing is, Sanne is a very good student. She picks things up very fast and was soon a good competition for me, which I really liked.

But now with Sanne here in Heemskerk, we decided to play some “normal” games of chess.

With some nice snacks, a good red wine for and Sanne and for me some beers, we played yesterday evening two games of chess. The first was stalemate and the second one was won by me. Both games we more than challenging. And I only won the second game because I managed to recapture a queen.
As said, a great way to spend the evening. I enjoyed it very much.

Another nice thing is that Sanne brought one of her dogs around (a “Drent”). So apart from the normal walks that dogs needs, we also will go (if the weather allows it) one of these days for a nice walk to one of the beaches around here. Fun for dog and human :-)


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Finally it has arrived! Mijn new macro lens. To be very precise it is the “Nikkor AF-S VR Micro 105mm f/2.8 G IF-ED”, but that is rather a mouth full (and I have no idea if that is a correct English saying at all :P):

For some time I was wondering what kind of lens I would buy first. A wide angle lens? Or a replacement for my old (really old!) 70-300mm zoom lens? A macro lens? Or some other kind of lens?
The solution was simple and came from the side of Marion. With her very straight forward logical she said that out of 10 pictures I make 3 are of people as Sanne of herself, 2 of landscapes and buildings and 5 of plants, flowers, (small) animals and objects. So a macro lens would be most logical.

For which macro lens I listened around. Decided after talking with people once or twice for another lens. And finally I made the decision to go for the Nikkor 105mm.

Some nice features of the lens are “Vibration Reduction” (correction of camera shaking), “Silent Wave Motor” (auto focusing of the lens is very silent), “Nano Crystal Coat” (minimizing ghost and flare effects), “Extra-low dispersion” (reduces chromatic aberration at high magnification)… which sounds all very cool, but basically it all together says that this is very nice lens to have!

This lens gives me a lot to learn and try again. Read up stuff about making macro pictures. Which will be fun and also nice now Marion is away for 3 weeks.
The pictures I am posting with this blog are just simple things I tried with more good luck as knowing. The knowledge will come later.

As said, a very lens to make macro pictures. But wait a minute… someone told me that this lens also very nice to make portraits. Which might be something I will be using this lens also a lot for.

The picture above is taken very closely to a fossil of a fern that I own.

Of course I also bought a protection filter for this lens. Rather damaging by accident the glass of this 30 Euro filter than the glass of this 700+ Euro lens. I simple way to reduce risk I would say. I know that there are also folk who don’t do this, but that is up to them. If I can prevent bad things with 30 Euro then I will.

So what next to buy for my camera? I was thinking of buying a decent flash, but those I see rather often for a very friendly second hand price. So that is something that can wait.
A wide angle lens is something that I would like to have one day, but it will be not something I will be using very much (at least as far I can say now).
I do have a 70-300mm zoom lens, but it is very old one. It has no AF or VR. Although it can focus with the motor in the camera itself, but this is slow. And of course the “glass” of modern lenses is much better than that of my old lens. To that I was happily surprised by the price of a new replacement for my old lens. With in mind that I get some money back from the taxes and that in May there will be holiday money, I think I will go for this. But as they say, nothing so easy to change as the mind of a man :).

Something else that needs to be changed is the bag that I use to carry my camera stuff around. It is simply to small now. I think I will go for one these nice backpacks.

Anyway, I have something to play with while Marion is away :-)


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Every now and then some of the folks of the team where I work in go somewhere to have some beers together, often combined with a good dinner. It is good to share time with your direct colleagues outside the company and have some fun. And of course other colleagues are welcome to come along if they like to.
In the past we often went to the Irish bar Mulligans, which was always fun. But it is good to visit other places as well. So this time we went to , a beer cafe in Amsterdam.

“De Zotte” is a nice place to be. Their collection of beers is very nice and I enjoyed some of the triple ones. And I saw the others have some very interesting beers. So there were enough beers for future reference.
One of the very nice things I like about this kind of evenings is that the conversations end up on very surprising subjects.

I cannot speak for the others, but I really enjoyed the steak I had at “De Zotte”. It was good and just as a medium steak should be. Same could be said about the Irish Coffee I had afterwards.

I love to drink some beer, even stronger beers, but luckily I know when to stop. As said, I love to drink some beers or a good whisky, but it not worth to me to feel bad next day or have a hang over. So I stopped with the alcohol and switched over to cola.

Like I said before, “De Zotte” is a very nice place. But it was so busy there yesterday, that at a certain moment all the noise of the talking people and the music made it hard for me to follow the on going conversations. Seemed I was not the only one. So the last of us (Menno, Gerben, Tom and I) moved to a more quiet bar at “Het Leidseplein”. There it was much better to have some talk and discussions.

Anyway, Tom and I left close to midnight to catch the last train in the direction of Heemskerk and managed to prevent that we had to walk from Uitgeest to Heemskerk (what happened some time earlier). But it was a nice evening spent with colleagues.

Once home, I found that Marion was already asleep. And right she was, no reason to stay up as it was very unclear at what time I would arrive home. To my surprise Sanne was already there as well. I expected her to arrive today, but a good friend as Sanne is always welcome at my place. Both of them were already deeply asleep, so very quietly I also went to sleep.

On a side note, yesterday it was women’s day… but today is my women’s day. Tonight I will have 4 women here staying at my place for the night (Tanja, Marissa, Sanne and Marion)… Oh what? That isn’t the meaning of women’s day??? Oh darn… :)
Anyway, the 4 ladies are going today to Amsterdam to shop and I stay very wisely away from that, but I wished the weather would be better. It is raining and that is not very nice for shopping I think. But I am sure the four of them will have a good time in Amsterdam.
And for tonight I will take care that there is something nice to drink and some good snacks around. It will be a nice evening. I am sure of that.


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