Games

Forge of Empires

by Rob on

Forge of Empires
As with every holiday there are these “empty moments” when nothing is going on and nothing needs your attention. Mostly it is early in the morning, late in the evening or when the ladies were getting a tan.

For these moments I loaded a game called “Forge of Empires” on my iPad (well, you are a gamer or you are not 😜).

The game is about building a city and taking it from the stone age way into the far future.
You have to build houses for your citizens. Create an army. Conquer land. Defend your city. Produce all kinds of goods and much more.

Luckily, you don’t have to be present all the time. You can just quit the game any time you like and look hours later what all happened. New goods may be produced. More money may be collected. Other players may have visited your tavern or repaired your items…. or your city may have been attacked 😮.

Of course the idea behind this game is that you buy for real money in-game items that will help you to process faster and easier in the game.
Apart from a few euro when I was completely stuck in the game, I will not spend real money on this game. And for the most this is not needed at all, just some patience is needed.

I think I will keep this game loaded on my iPad. May be nice for traveling by train to work and back home again.


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Two days ago (19 May 2017) a new issue in the series of “Suske en Wiske” (or “Spike and Suzy” as they are called in English) was released: “De Planetenvreter” (which freely translates to “The Devourer of Planets”.

De Planetenvreter

The story…

When Suske and Wiske discover a spacecraft that was frozen for millions of years in the pool ice, Professor Barabas is extremely enthusiastic. Specially when it turns out that the crew of the spacecraft is still alive. The two pilots appear to come from Mars and were on Earth for an investigation when their spacecraft crashed in a storm. When the professor tells them that the planet Mars has become uninhabitable, one of the pilots becomes rebellious. Very soon it shows that their mission to Earth was not as innocent as they claimed. The pilot is looking for a chest that they lost them during their crash.

With this new release there is something else new. Suske and Wiske (and some of the other characters in the comic) got a new look. Maybe “a new look” are some big words, their appearance is slightly modernized. I like it. But there are people crying a river claiming that the comics maybe by Willy Vandersteen are ruined now, but they don’t realized that the Willy Vandersteen already passed in 1976 the Suske and Wiske series to Paul Geerts and since then others have been working on it. As said, I think the change is good.

Suske & Wsike

And of course I have now something nice to read on a quiet moment this weekend.

Rob

 

 

Credit pictures: Standaard Uitgeverij)


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The meaning of the Greek flag

by Mel on

Greek flag
For my Greece loving friends, here some explanations why the Greek flag is blue and white *SMILE* .

The Greek flag is the symbol of national pride and patriotic virtue. In this Greece is nothing special compared with many other countries. I think for many countries around the world their national flag is an important symbol.

Greek Flag

The Greek flag goes by two names: ”The Blue and White” or ”The Azure and White. The official width-to-length ratio of Greece flag is 2:3.

It is said that the cross in the upper quadrant of the flag represents the major religion of Greece, which is the Greek Orthodox Church.

Other source tell that the stripes represent the nine syllables in the battle cry of Greek independence during the Hellenic Revolution against the Ottoman Empire, “Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος” (“Freedom or Death”)

Muses

Another theory which seems to believe that each of the nine stripes corresponds to each of the nine muses from the Greek Mythology.
As for the white and blue colours is said to represent the contrast between the sky and sea of Greece.

Most people don’t realize that the current Greek flag was just adopted since 22 December 1978. Before that there were several designs with few similarities but despite the changes of designs throughout the years, Greece never remained without a flag.
The Greek Flag Day is on October 27.

Below a video about the many flags Greece has know in its history. Yes, there were many. But as said before, Greece never remained without a flag!

Mel

 

 


(Credit photo Greek flag: Public Domain, see Public Domain Pictures
Credit picture layout Greek flag: Wikipedia
Credit Muse-picture: greekmythology.com)


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Leipzig

by Marion on

Europe has many wonderful cities, but some are really special. These are beautiful cities as our own Amsterdam, but also Vienna and Prague. And for me the city where I am right now, Leipzig.
I have been here now several times for my work and two times together with Rob (as extension of a working week here for me). And Rob has here been also once with a friend for an concert. But I have strong urge and desire to be here soon together with Rob again.

Leizig

Leipzig is the largest city in the federal state of Saxony. Leipzig has been a trade city since at least the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The city sits at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important medieval trade routes. Leipzig was once one of the major European centers of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing.

Since the reunification of Germany, Leipzig has undergone significant change with the restoration of some historical buildings, the demolition of others, and the development of a modern transport infrastructure.
But still you can see in Leipzig a very modern new building next to an old dilapidated ones. It is an unique sight and I never have seen it as in Leipzig.

Trivia fact: The “Grote zaal van Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam” was based on the great concert hall of the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, destroyed during the Second World War. This in terms of design and materials used.

Leipzig

Leipzig is such a beautiful city to make long walks and enjoy the old and new buildings you can see all through the city. There are small architectural wonders.
There is a lovely, very modern zoo. This is still one of the places that I would love to show Rob.
There are some great shopping malls with shops for everyone. And lets not forget the many very nice shops at the Hauptbahnhof.
Also this is the city for concerts, for modern and classical music. But specially here I love to go to classical concerts, it is like the whole city is breathing it. One day I will be taking Rob to a piano convert here. He will be wearing a smoking and I a very nice gala-dress. And we will have a very special evening together. One of my own little silly dreams.

Leipzig

Leipzig is one the cities that owns a little part of my heart.

Marion

 

 

(Credit photo’s: Marion)


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I have added a new category to the weblog: “Photo’s we love”. The idea behind this new category is to create an collection of photo’s made by the authors of the articles on this weblog that has a special meaning to them.
This special meaning can be because the photo is of very high quality, a very special location where the photo was made or anything else that makes the photo special.
It is not important with what kind of device the photo was made. DSLR, system camera, iPhone/Android phone or whatever. It is the photo that counts, not the manufacturer of the device that was used.
The quality of the photo should be reasonable. Some photo’s that means a lot to someone are just not of the highest quality. That is why.

Apart from what is said above, there is one import rule: The person who posts the photo (which are the authors here on the weblog) must have made the photo themselves.
And they must explain why this photo is so important for them. Just explain why or tell the story behind it. All is fine.

And so I will start myself:

This photo (on which you can click to zoom in) was made in 2015 during the trip Marion and I made to the Greek isle of Lesbos. The location where the photo was made is the beach of Eftalou. The beach of Eftalou can be found in the North of Lesvos, as the Greek called Lesbos themselves, close to the town of Molyvos (Mithimna). You can see this on the picture below.

The beach of Eftalou is amazing. Beautiful rock structures along the land side of the beach rising high in to the sky. The rock structures have the most wonderful colours, I suspect that is caused by the volcanic origin of the island.
The beach itself is a pebble beach. A beautiful area to make long walks after of course having visited the well known hot springs of Eftalou. Nearby a restaurant where you can get delicious fish dishes. When you look over the sea you can see in the distance the coast of Turkey. As said, an beautiful area where can quickly forget everything around you.

Eftalou

But Eftalou has been in 2015 and 2016 (in 2017 a lot less) for another reason in the news.

The distance between the coast of Lesvos and Turkey is at Eftalou very short (less as 6 kilometres). And it is here were many Syrian refugees travelled from Turkey to Greece to find a better and most of all a saver placed to live.

We have seen them arrive at Eftalou, desperate people who have left everything, apart from what they could carry, behind. Many of them tired and weakened. And yet, happy they made it this far.

During our walk on the beaches of Eftalou we saw many evidences of the arriving of refugees like rubber boats, life jackets and many personal belongings. And we found this drawing of stones on the beach…

This drawing made a deep impression on us. We assume that is made by a child that just arrived on the beach, displaying his or her family with the shining sun above them. Now everything would become better, now they were safe…
Very ashamed we were thinking that this was not the end of their journey. Now they had to travel through an Europe where for many they were not welcome. Where there is even pure hatred against them, very often by misinformed people and maybe driven by fear. There was very often no real welcome for the refugees in Europe.

I could now dive into a social and political analysis about the status of refugees in Europe and how the government and the public reacts and handles towards them. Maybe one day I will do that here on my weblog, but not now. It would take away the focus from my photo with the drawing made with stones.

At least we hope that this family are now somewhere in Europe on a safe location rebuilding their lives and looking forward to a brighter future.

Rob

 


(Credit photo: Rob
Credit map detail: Google Maps)


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Visitors to this weblog

by Rob on

Just for the fun of it. Below a map with the locations of the last 200 visitors to this weblog. It is interesting to see the origin of the visitors.
If someone visited the weblog more than once, there will only be one marker on the map.
Also be aware a marker on the map may be a little off the real location.

200 Last visitors

It is also interesting to see from which area’s there are no or just a few visitors. For some area’s there is a logical and obvious explanation, but others make me wonder. Well, I leave it to everyone themselves to have an opinion on that.

Rob

(Source map: Detail Google Maps)


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GemberHow does one get the idea to write an article on our weblog here about ginger (or “Gember” as it is called in Dutch)? Well simple, you walk in the kitchen and look at the shelf were Miranda keeps all her herbs and spices that don’t need special storage. You see there a ginger root and you notice something special about this root. But more about that later in this article.

Lets have a look at the plant that gives us the ginger root. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or simply ginger, is widely used as a spice or a folk medicine.
It is a herbaceous perennial which grows annual stems about a meter tall bearing narrow green leaves and yellow flowers. Ginger belongs to the family Zingiberaceae. Ginger originated in the tropical rainforest in Southern Asia. Although ginger no longer grows wild, it is thought to have originated on the Indian subcontinent because the ginger plants grown in India show the largest amount of genetic variation. Ginger was exported to Europe via India in the first century AD as a result of the lucrative spice trade and was used extensively by the Romans.
Ginger produces clusters of white and pink flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers. Because of its aesthetic appeal and the adaptation of the plant to warm climates, it is often used as landscaping around subtropical homes. It is a perennial reed-like plant with annual leafy stems, about a meter tall. Traditionally, the rhizome is gathered when the stalk withers.

Apart from the fact that ginger is a very tasteful spice that can be used in many wonderful ways by the preparing of all kind of dishes, there are many other reasons to use this spice.

Chronic (hidden) infections underlie many of nowadays chronic diseases. Often, you do not feel these but they slumber in your body. Ginger is known as a powerful anti-inflammatory inhibitor and can help you with a wide range of chronic complaints and diseases. This active ingredient in ginger is called 6-gingerol.

It has been a herb for many years has been used for all kinds of pain including menstrual pain. Ginger also proved to be a good remedy for muscle ache after sports.

A lot of people get somewhere in their life problems with their joint. Research seems to find more proof that isn’t related to age, but chronic inflammation. Ginger helps to counteract these chronic inflammations, but also combats the pain.

Ginger improves the efficiency of insulin and your insulin sensitivity. It is able to increase the absorption of glucose from your muscle and fat cells, which will decrease your blood sugar levels as well as the insulin content in your blood faster

Ginger stimulates the pancreas to produce certain enzymes which stimulates the digestion. It increases the contractions of your stomach, allowing your stomach contents to go faster to your intestines. This will stop a bloated feeling. Ginger also improves the peristaltic (contractions) in your intestine, which can reduce flatulence.

Flu and a cold can be cured faster if you use ginger. It has also been shown that ginger can slow down the growth of the stubborn bacterium Helicobacter Pylori. This bacterium is present in your stomach and may be the cause of gastric cancer. There are several bacteria and viruses that are sensitive to ginger and like to clear the field if they come into contact with them.

Ginger has traditionally been used to improve memory. In a study involving 60 middle-aged women, a daily extract of ginger improved their reaction rate and concentration and thinking ability. There are many studies with rats that show that ginger can provide protection against the deterioration of brain functions in ageing, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This probably has everything to do with the anti-inflammatory action of ginger.

One warning though: As ginger thins your blood, you should be careful when using blood thinners.

Gember Loot

Well, the thing that I noticed on the ginger in our kitchen was that it is growing a green shoot. And yes, you can grow your own ginger plant and harvest its root.

Just go to a shop and buy a ginger root. It has be a dry solid and undamaged root. Place it with the buds up in soil. Remember that ginger is a tropical plant, so it is need a warm spot. Give it every day water. The soil should be wet, but not too wet.
The plant needs some care, but not real special care. Watch the plant grow and enjoy the flower of the plant. Then during the winter when the plant is in rest, dig up the root. You will see that the root really has grow. Take the best buds to grow new plants and use the rest of the root in kitchen with some delicious dishes!

The ginger root on the photo? It is now in our green house and hopefully it will start soon to grown and give us in the winter our own ginger.

Nothing so nice as to grow your own spices and herbs :-).

Jennifer

 

 

(Credit photo’s: Jennifer)


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Pasen
For us Easter is always a moment to relax. Maybe with a close friend as Sanne, but no big crowds. In our every day life, Marion and I are often surrounded by quite some people. So some days as Easter are perfect to be for a little away from that. This year we have even chosen to be just with the two of us.

So we took this morning a long and enjoyable breakfast. We spent almost 2 hours at the breakfast table. Talking, laughing, enjoying the good food (see the photo at top of this article with al the nice food). Both of us just one egg, we both don’t like eating a lot of eggs as some people do with Easter.
And of course we were not eating all the time. As said, most of the time we were talking and enjoying tea or coffee.

So really time for us.

Easter flowers

I do know that Easter is for many Christians an important festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion.
And that is perfectly fine with me. As said, as long one respect that someone believes other things that are not in line with you own believes and can live and act in full freedom to his/her own convictions (within the laws and such of course), then I support freedom of religion.

But, as yesterday on a forum, someone claims that I should be not allowed to celebrate Easter because I am an atheist, I will explain calmly that Easter originally had nothing to do with Christianity, but it was the celebration of Eostre, who was the pagan goddess of fertility. The rabbit was her sacred animal and the egg the symbol of rebirth. And there we have it again, Christians use very pagan symbols for their celebrations and that is something that is not allowed according the bible (Not that I care, it is their bible. Not mine).

My point? Very simple… every one should celebrate Easter in their own peaceful way!

Rob

 

 

(Credit photo’s: Rob)


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The danger of fake news

by Rob on

Lately there is a lot going around about fake news. The Internet is an incredible resource for news and information, but unfortunately not everything online is trustworthy. Fake news is any article or video containing untrue information disguised as a credible news item.

Fake news is dangerous as it may influence the opinion of people about certain matters and even may lead to have them make decisions based on wrong information.

Recently I saw the picture below on the Internet. It claims that on certain American schools the students were forced to do Muslim prayers…

Fake news

The moment I saw that picture I , and luckily many others with me, noticed something strange about it.

Muslims always pray in the direction of their holy city Mecca. The children on the picture are kneeling down in two directions! That is not how Muslims pray.

It turned about very fast that this had nothing to with the Islam or Muslims. These children are training how to act in case of a tornado. This is a so called tornardo-drill and nothing more as that!

In this case the attempt to spread resistance, and maybe even hatred, against the Islam was very easy to look through.

Sadly more often fake news is very hard to recognize as being fake. And that makes it of course very dangerous.

An example of this was that in 2015 the news was spread (including by the official media) that the island of Lesbos was overcrowded with refugees coming through Turkey from Syria.
Marion and I almost cancelled our holiday to Lesbos because of that news. Luckily we didn’t. During the 2 weeks we were there the refugees were never a problem and the island was absolutely not overcrowded with them. And the refugees we met were very nice, friendly and thankful people.
Many tourists cancelled their holidays to Lesbos and are still not considering to go there again. The people of Lesbos, who depend on tourism for a big part, are still suffering from that.
The same happened to other Greek isles close to Turkey as well.

The message here is clear: Don’t believe everything right away. Check the source of the news, is it a reliable source? Has the source spread fake news before? Can the news be checked on other reliable sources? And above all, does it sound believable!

Don’t believe everything you hear or read…

(Credits of the photo in this article are with www.greenvillegazette.com)

Rob
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Artis, zoo of Amsterdam

by Rob on

Yesterday Marissa, Marion and I visited Artis. Artis is a zoo located in the city of Amsterdam. The weather yesterday was extreme nice, which added greatly to the mood of our visit. Because of the good weather it was also quite busy at Artis, but luckily not too crowded. It was very nice to wander all over the zoo, sitting down at some places to enjoy a certain view. Have something to drink at the right moments. Or a ice cream or a nice snack.
The ladies gave me a compliment that managed to share my attention between them and my camera in a good balanced way. At time when I have my camera with my I tend to focus to much on my camera. I think that the recent trips to Greece helped to find the correct balance in this.

On this page you can read about the history of Artis, which is a interesting read as Artis is old zoo. When you look around during a walk over the zoo you can see that the zoo is an older zoo. But luckily it is also very visible that they are very busy to change a lot to to the benefit of the animals.

I think I made some nice photo’s during our visit to the zoo. Please find below the photo’s I like best. You can click on the photo’s to see a larger version of the photo.

Enjoy!














Rob

 

 

(Credit photo’s: Marissa & Rob)


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