Baked lamb

by Rob on

Of course I made a nice dinner for Marion and me now she is back from her holiday in Hawaii. It is nice to have her back again.
So I wanted to make something nice…. now I know that Marion loves very fine meat, so I decided to go for some nice lamb.

The lamb was baked in a mixture of butter and olive oil. First on a high fire and later on a lower fire so the inside was nicely done.
On the lamb I places some slices of Brie, with the idea that it would melt over the meat. But that didn’t happen…. Miranda just explained on the phone the meat is not hot enough for that, but that there are some kind of “small flame-thrower” to do that for you (Miranda named them other as flame-thrower, but I cannot remember the name she used). I have to get one of these!
To the meat some baked oyster mushrooms.

As vegetables those very yummie round carrots and snow peas. Apple-sauce is always a good addition.

Some mashed potatoes with small pieces of baked bacon to it all. Nothing beats home-made mashed potatoes :P

Some nice ice as dessert…. I just love this kind of ice. Some whipped cream and cocoa to make it perfect!

Tonight Marion and I will watch the movie “Stardust”. Heard it must be a very nice movie… And well, some wine, some good snacks…. It will be very nice :)

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Today Marion arrived back home again from her holiday on Hawaii. And of course I am very happy to have her here with me again.
The idea was to visit my mother today (who lives on the other side of the country). But Marion was suffering a lot of the jet-lag. It would have been irresponsible to let her drive that long distance while she was so tired.

After we spent some time together, Marion crawled into my bed and took some hours sleep to rest. Meanwhile she was asleep I finished off some work (I was working from home). After she waked up again, she still did’t felt capable of driving to Haaksbergen (which is very understandable btw). It would be better to go there tomorrow.
But Marion also did not feel after staying all evening at home. So I came up with the idea to go to a movie and that idea she liked. Just this week a new movie was released that I was very interested in… “Sucker Punch”. After a little persuasion from my side, Marion agreed to go to that movie.

The main story is about a young girl (Baby Doll) who is locked away in a mental asylum by her wicked stepfather where she will undergo a lobotomy in 5 days time. Faced with unimaginable odds, she retreats to fantastical world in her imagination where she and four other female inmates at the asylum plot to escape the facility. The lines between reality and fantasy blur as Baby Doll and her companions battle various creatures and enemies to retrieve the 5 items they need that will allow them to break free from their captors before it’s too late…

I really liked the movie. The actors did play very well and the special effects were great.And yet after the movie I heard some younger guys complain that the movie was awful.
While Marion and I walked relaxed to KFC (when we go for a movie at Pathe Amsterdam Arena, we always go to KFC) we disused this.
We came to the conclusion that some of those that complained about the movie didn’t see the underlaying story. They came for an exciting some kind of horror movie…. and that they didn’t get. For us (and yes, this is open for everyone to have an own interpretation on) is about fighting when there seems to be no hope, trust, love and courage. And in the end it was all about sacrifice.

This made me think back of an online game I used play called Ultima Online. Marion really liked when I told her about the text below (and when I showed her later home the exact words):

“As many long-time fans of Ultima Online will tell you, one of the most unique features of its gaming world is the fact that they center around philosophical morality issues. These issues, as designed by Richard “Lord British” Garriott, many years ago consist of three Principles – Truth, Love, and Courage. Derived from those Principles Lord British came up with 8 Virtues in which he wanted his players to learn and understand. From Truth we gain Honesty. Love leads to Compassion. And from Courage grows Valor. By combining Truth and Love we get a better understanding of Justice. Love and Courage combined is Sacrifice. Truth and Courage is Honor. All three principles together brings us Spirituality. And the lack of all three brings pride, the opposite of which is Humility. This philosophy has come to be known as the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom.”

It seems to me that the movie Sucker Punch is also around these Principles and Virtues of the game “Ultima Online” (who said games where only about violence, slaughtering and death?).

As so often in real life, even when it seems there is no way out… there is always a solution, but one just has to see it. And that is very nice rephrased is the last lines of the movie:

You got all the weapons you need!!! Now fight!!!

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A new computer…

by Rob on

Already for some time I have the feeling I am in the need for a new computer… and today I ordered one.

A “Dell” again. After my sidestep to HP for a laptop, I am returning to Dell with main reason the terrible support of HP. And a desktop again and no laptop. I am going for power…. and for real power a desktop is more preferable.

Of course I want to show off with the desktop I ordered, so here some specs..

  • Intel Core i7 2600 (3.40Ghz, 8Mb)
  • 8Gb memory (1.333Mhz Dual Channel DDR3)
  • 1Gb ATI Radeon HD 5870 Graphic card
  • 1.5Tb Sata harddisk
  • Windows 7 64bits (Home premium)

Of course apart from all this nice stuff, all the standard things as a CD/DVD-writer.

I have chosen for one year at home support. With that they will run for you and come for every hardware problem to your house to fix it. I had this once before with a desktop I bought from Dell… I loved it.  So there the reason why I go for this again.

One thing though…   I paid for the desktop through iDeal. iDeal is a Dutch payment-method which makes it possible to pay directly with your bank-account for a online purchase. iDeal is very popular and I have to say that I really like it too.
So I entered all the screens to authorize the payment and then the logo of the company that will process the payment showed up… !!! I have been sponsoring my own salary again :).

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A walk on the beach

by Rob on

Today Sanne (who visited me this weekend) and I made a nice walk on the beach. When Sanne is here, she mostly likes to visit the beach. I really can understand that, because when you far from the coast (as she does) the beach is something special. I live here now more then a year close to the beach, but it is still very special to me…

We decided to go by train to the beach of “Zandvoort aan Zee”…

The beach of “Zandvoort aan Zee” is very easy and within reasonable time to reach. That is most important reason why we went there.

The weather was nice. The sun was shinning and I had the feeling that I could already feel the spring in the air.
Many people had the same idea as we had. But it was nice this way, not too crowded and enough people to make it all alive.
Of course I did bring along my camera. I just love to take pictures of the beach and the sea. I also made some nice pictures of Sanne (but by her own request they are not placed here on the public part of my blog).

As Sanne had one of her dogs (or rather one the dogs living at her father’s farm) with her, she had dog cookies with her. Just as humans, dogs work the best by a positive reward :P. And of course the dog did anything Sanne wanted to get such a cookie…

But as we found out seagulls also love dog cookies. Sanne got by that fact a nice idea. She lured the seagulls with little pieces of a dog cookie. The seagulls reacted on that very quickly and gathered in great amounts on the places where Sanne did thrown the pieces of the cookies. There were so many seagulls that I really had to think of the movie “Birds”. But this way I could make some very nice pictures of the seagulls…..

Sanne is very good friend to Marion and me. I am happy that Sanne and I get along so good. After Sanne and Marion go together back a very long time (they went to school together, that should say enough :) ). Sanne is also a very good person to talk with. She listens very well and very understanding. It always a pleasure to talk with her. During the walk many subjects passed. Some that made us laugh, other were more serious. It is good to able to talk like that.

Before we returned home we ate some fish at a stand near the beach. It was delicious. I like fish, but as it turned out Sanne loves fish even more. The baked mussels and shrimps tasted also great.

It was a great spend day…

Edit: Although I like the pictures I made today. But I was wondering why they were not as sharp as usual. I just found out why… the ISO setting of my camera was set to the highest value and that is no good for taking pictures outside during the daytime. One more reason to visit the beach soon again :)

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“Bornsche Kruidenbitter”

by Rob on

Well, what does a man do when his beloved one is far away and he misses her very much… He starts drinking!!!

Just kidding. Of course I miss Marion a lot, but as said before she really needs this holiday. And almost every day we chat a bit on MSN or Skype (whatever is available at the Internet café she visits). I also get many e-mails.
And over a week she will be back home again.

But that is not what I wanted to talk about :). Last week Patrick visited me… and arranged some jars of my beloved “Bornsche Kruidenbitter”. For me it one of the best “Kruidenbitters” around.
I think that the anise in it gives a different taste then all the other “Kruidenbitters” that I have tasted before.

As the label on jar tells us… this “Kruidenbitter” stimulates the appetite and is a good treatment against the inconveniences of the winter (which is not weird with 32% alcohol :P).

It is nice to taste this very nice “Kruidenbitter” again… specially here on the other side of the country. And it brings back to good memories of the time that I lived in the town of Borne… yes, there are good memories as well about that time!

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Yesterday Patrick dropped by in Heemskerk. The plan was to visit a metal Paganfest in the “Melkweg” (Amsterdam). Now I know that heavy metal is not really my thing… but as I always say, you have to try everything (and keep amazing people :P).

Anyway, Patrick arrived early. He wanted to visit “De Bazaar” in the town of Beverwijk. “De Bazaar” is a huge marketplace where you can buy almost anything.

After some coffee we went in the direction of Beverwijk.

We walked around “De Bazaar”, amazed again about what there is all for sale. I wanted to visit the Asian market “Toko”, a place where you can buy the nicest things for cooking. I bought some herbs and stuff I needed. I also bought some very nice rice bowls (see later in this article).
I also bought a very big Chinese fan (such a fan made of paper). Apart that I really like those, it is in a way for Marion. In my bedroom I have not really something to cover the window. And although my apartment is on the 4th floor and there is no way that someone can look into my bedroom, Marion feels a bit uncomfortable to change clothes there. So I will place this huge Chinese fan in front of the window… I think it even will look very nice.

After “De Bazaar” Patrick and I went to my house for a beer.

We took the train to Amsterdam. After all Patrick also wanted to be able to drink some beers. When we arrived at “De Melkweg” the Paganfest already started. And I already knew that this would not be exactly my style of concert. Music may be hard and strong. Also voices may be strong. But it should be singing and not just making some not further understandable and undefined making of noises.
But I have to admit, one band I saw I liked in a way. I mean metal in the Dutch language? And that I could determine that it was Dutch meant it was understandable (and with that meaning something… at least in my opinion :P). So yes, I liked this metal band called “Heidevolk”. For the rest.. ah well, everyone his/her own taste. And I will not deny that I was happy that we left in time. But I have been there!!!!

On our way we dropped by KFC and that is always something good. As I already said more then once… I love KFC!

Back at my home, Patrick and I had some more beers. We had some good talks. I always enjoy my conversations with Patrick…

But as always, time flies…. and the day was gone before we knew it.

Anyway, the new ricebowls I bought yesterday? I wanted to try them today and I made myself some nice Lemon Chicken

Hmmm, maybe it was not that clever to make the picture of the ricebowl on a dark background. But it will be clear enough.
BTW eating with chopsticks goes better and better, but I am not confident enough yet to have a meal public with them :)

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Vonder & Bloom

by Rob on

When I travel home from work (Hoofddorp to Heemskerk) I sometimes I have to change trains at Schiphol.
Some time ago the train I was on was late and I had to change at Schiphol. And because that train was late I missed the next train.
I wandered around on Schiphol, when I suddenly heard some very nice music. I went to look where the music was coming from. I found two very attractive young ladies making this music and I really liked what I heard. Very good music!!!! When I walked away I decided that I would try to get their CD.
At home I ordered at “bol.com”, but Bol made a mess of it (so they could forget about the order). Good old loyal iTunes gave me music within minutes :).
I really enjoy the music… on my iPod, but also at home (I can connect my iPod to my media centre and play the music through it).
Lots of people who I let listen to the music said they liked it. Marion also bought the music through iTunes for her iPod. Patrick also said that he really liked it.

So today I missed again the train at Schiphol. Normally I would grumble at the Dutch Railroad Company, but today I was grateful to them. This because I heard this very nice music again… I walked up to the two ladies and listened to them playing. After they finished a song I asked them if they would be willing to sign a CD if I would buy one… and they said they would….

As some know, I like it to have signed CD’s from the artists I like.

And oh, Marion…. The two ladies had a world map standing behind them and everyone who is travelling and bought their CD can mark the place where they will bring the music of Vonder & Bloom to. Now is my Heemskerk not that interesting, but as you have the music on your iPod as well, I marked Hawaii for you!

And Marion… it is an signed CD *grins evilly*

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A note from Hawaii….

by Marion on

During the day I got mail’s, SMS messages and even some phone calls (*snuggles Rob, Sanne and her parents*) to hear if I’m all right and if this Tsunami that threatened Hawaii today was of influence for me.

All rest assure, there is no danger for me at all. My main luck was that I chosen the main isle of Hawaii to stay this year. And I am not at the North side of the isle (the tsunami came from the North). On the smaller isles it might have been another story.
Here I only needed to make sure that I could leave fast if something really would go wrong.

As far as I have heard the damage done by the tsunami to Hawaii is luckily limited. If I am well informed the most damage was done to a sailing club somewhere.

So no worries… I am fine and I will continue to enjoy my vacation here.

Miss you all,

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Just read on Patrick’s weblog his article about good and interesting books to read. And that gave me the idea to write something about the book I am currently reading. It is a book that was given to me by a colleague at work…

Before I even say a word about the book, I won’t tell again that most hackers are honest people who just have deep interest in certain processes and that most care a lot about important matters as privacy. I also won’t tell that it is just small group of hackers who want to do damage to systems and who misuse their deep going knowledge for their own benefit…. script-kiddies, crackers and such. I neither won’t tell that media gave hackers a bad name because they had no idea what they were talking about….

Darn, now I just did what I said that I wouldn’t do :)

Anyway… to the book. The book describes a number of attacks on systems. Every thing about the attack is added…. the what, where and how… the logs… everything. And all is written in a very enjoyable way of writing.
The task of the reader is to determine where things really went wrong. What could have been done to block to the attack…. or even better, what should have been done to prevent the attack in the first place.

As said the book is written is a very nice way… A pleasure to read.

A number of the scenarios described in the book were not unknown to me. Some times I could put a finger directly on the weak spot(s). With some I was very close to the solutions and other times I overlooked something completely….

As said, a nice book to read. Even when it is already some years old, I learned from it. A book that I would recommend to people with interest on the subject.
On the other side it is kinda sad to see, that things that are already known for many years are so often these days not cared of…. Really sad.

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One year…

by Rob on

Just brought Marion to Schiphol Airport where she left for her holiday to Hawaii. I will miss her, but as I already wrote in my article of yesterday, these holidays are for her to rest and regain power again.
When she is back again, I will take a day or two off so we can spend some time together.

But also it was today exactly a year ago that I moved from Haaksbergen to Heemskerk. Something that I really never regretted. It was a very good decision to do so. It is very good to have my own place again. Don’t get me wrong, the room that I rented in Amsterdam for more then a year was good and Gambheera helped me a lot by renting it to me. But here in my own house I can do almost anything I want, invite anyone who I want and change things like I really want them. And of course this house gives me so much more privacy and that is of course something that is very important.

I still can remember very how we moved all the stuff from Haaksbergen to Heemskerk. Patrick with his orange “feuerwher” Volkswagen bus with trailer… and Hans who drove all the way from Haarlem with his car and trailer to help to move my stuff.
And Mic, Menno and Tom who helped in Heemskerk to unpack the cars and trailers. I still really appreciated what they done over then for me.

Sure, there need things to be done to the house. For example the kitchen needs to be replaced and that is something I have planned for next year. Also I want a wooden floor (“Laminaat”) instead of carpet. But that is something for the future. I have all the time of the world.

Suddenly I have to think back that I was very afraid that my bed wouldn’t fit into the bedroom of the apartment. My bed is kinda large (2m40 x 2m40). It just fitted…. but I am happy that I have two doors to my bedroom (one from the living room and the other from the bathroom). The is not much room left to walk behind the bed :).
Anyway, Marion is happy that the bed fitted. At times I move a lot in my sleep and in a smaller bed that would wake her up when she stays with me.

The apartment is for me alone big enough and even when Marion is here it is big enough for that. And most of all, I feel comfortable here.

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