Now that sounds bad… that it is time to clean the house? Which sounds that it is all dirty and a mess? Well, luckily that is not the case at all :-).

Thing is, normally during the weekends I do everything that is needed to keep the house clean… dusting, vacuum cleaning, the bathroom and the toilet (the later even more that once per week) and so on. During the week after a day working I really cannot bring myself to do any real cleaning. After all I have to cook my dinner and when that is done it more than about time to relax, which is very important as well.

So there are these little things that almost never gets done. Things as cleaning the two show cases I have in my living room (all that glass!!!)… or vacuum cleaning behind the coach… or dusting of the lamps on the ceiling… Things like that.
As I have more than enough holiday days for this year to take some time off from work, I decided to take a week off and do these things.

As Marion is also some days off, she is helping me. So it is kinda nice to do this together (although very distracting at times :P). Cleaning is neither of us a favorite thing to do, but together we make it a fun to do. And as long we have things to laugh about, it is not the worst thing to do. And having fun is a thing we do (as the wet cloth that was thrown at me when I made a remark about Marion’s very nice behind :P).

And no, not the complete week of is needed to do it all. Far from that. There should also be room to relax, so we spend just a few hours per day on it. And I think by Thursday everything we planned to do will be done. So there are still some days to spend on other things. Sadly Marion will be working again the last days of the week. But I am not complaining. Normally Marion has to leave on Sunday or Monday…

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I already talked here on my blog about the Hip Hop/Rap artist Blaxtar (who is also my colleague Kevin). Although his music style is not completely mine, I am very impressed by the things he does.
For example he is the man behind poetry concert “Spoken”, where text-writers, poets and other people who do magic with words present there own work on stage. There is room for questions to be asked. A very nice initiative!

Some time ago Kevin was telling about one of the next “Spoken”-performances and mentioned that Ellen ten Damme would be there. Anyone who knows me a little bit knows that I think that Ellen ten Damme is a great artist and that for several reason.
At concerts it is often not allowed to use good camera’s (DSLR’s and such). So more out of fun than serious I asked Kevin he could not arrange that I could take my DSLR along and make pictures of this performance. To my surprise he said straight away that he could.
Well, that was great, because that was still one of the things I wanted to do: Making pictures with a decent camera at an concert!!!

Tom (also a colleague and interested in photography) was also interested in this and for Kevin it was no problem that he would come along. Tom is good company, so that was okay for as well. Another advantage for me was that Tom has a nice collections of lenses. And as we both own Nikon DX camera’s, I could try some his lenses as well (which is nice because I am planning soon to buy a new lens for my camera).

Apart from Ellen ten Damme, also Ad Visser (youth hero for me because he presented way back the music program Top Pop) and Jörgen Raymann (who has a great sense of humor, but also seems to have a clear opinion on matters) performed. At least these were the artists that were known to me. But Unorthadox, Manu van Kersbergen and Eva Cortes made their presence on the stage.

The performance yesterday itself was awesome. It was great to watch these people and present their own work. A lot respect for them and the way they can handle words. Many true words were said, but there was also enough to laugh about. A combination I really like. I would highly recommend this poetry concert to anyone who love the written (and in this chase specially the spoken) word.

The taken of the pictures was not easy… little light and movement. So a very high ISO value was really needed. I had a look at the pictures I made. Some will go directly to the recycle bin, but others need a little work on them and then make it in to nice pictures. Good thing these pictures were taken in RAW (a special picture format that allows many corrections to the picture). But that will be a lot of work, which is of course not a problem as I knew that on forehand.

As I agreed with Kevin, I will wait on his okay and then I will post here some of the pictures I made yesterday. He wanted to discuse this with all that are somehow involved. Very understandable.

But as I already expected, Ellen ten Damme was signing CD’s and such. I hadn’t her last CD signed yet, so this was the opportunity. As it was not really busy, there was some room to talk. Ellen could remember me from visiting her concerts, but she had not expected me there. I explained that ended up there because I knew Kevin. And because of that we also talked a little about the work I do. Nice.

So Marion…. there it is. Another signed CD *grins*

And no, Ellen doesn’t have to worry (see below). A new show or a new CD and I will be dropping by :-)

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Today is Valentine’s Day. The day for those people who really love and care about each other.

My very logical side tells that such a day is nonsense as when you really love each other, there is no special day needed. But my more romantic part admits that such a day is wonderful to express your feelings even a bit more.

But what if your loved one is for her work somewhere far away in Southern Europe? You look for other options to talk with each other. As I write this Marion and I are talking with each other through Skype. It is good that such things as Skype exist, so that when you even far from each other you can see each other and talk with other real time. We often use Skype.
It is good to see her face and see how she enjoys a glass of wine as we speak. To see her laugh about the little jokes we make. Even to see her stick out her tongue as I tease her a bit.

I remember well that there was this moment in my life that I had decided that there was no room in my life anymore for any kind of relation. I had more then enough of it all. No one would make such mess of my life again. No more hurting, no more pain. Life would be about myself.
Then the day came this lovely lady walked into my life. And step by step she took her place in my existence. And even though it took a long time before we openly admitted our feeling for each other, I am convinced that the very first day we met the base was set for what would grown into our love for each other. And which all leaded to that wonderful Christmas Evening now already several years ago…

And of course this woman was Marion!

If you would ask me why I love Marion so much, I could mention many reasons, but it would still not say all…

It is her sweet, gentle and caring personality that makes me feel so good. But it is also her determination and purposeful way of handling important matters.
It is the lady she can be. Well dressed… skirts, stockings and high heels. Well mannered and intelligent. But at the same time she is the “brat” that I am chasing through my house because she was teasing me.
It is also the woman who loves good dinners at classy restaurants. But it is also her who can enjoy fish and chips.
It are the common interests and the eager to learn and experience new things.
It is her wonderful being open minded with almost never being ashamed of something.

It is all that and yet so much more than that.

Maybe it is because we basically see each other only during the weekends that makes us so happy when we see each other. Maybe it our desire to share things with each other. Maybe… No not maybe! There are so many wonderful and good things to mention about her.

Is it weird that I love this woman so much? Let me answer that for you: No, it is not…

And tomorrow when you arrive here at my apartment Marion, there will be a Valentine’s present waiting for you :-)

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About two month ago I bought the just release game “Black Ops II”, the latest release in “The Call for Duty” series. I heard great things about it, so I wanted to try it.
But sadly for some reason the game didn’t run on my computer (gave all kind of weird errors). My computer is way above the minimum requirements, so that was not the problem. I really have to say that the support of Activision (the company behind the game) sucks. They handled my support requests really poorly.
Anyway, about two weeks ago an update for my graphics card and for the game itself were released. So I really cannot day which update solved my problems (most likely both updates did). I could play the game and I have to admit, I liked it.

I knew that Marissa, Marion’s niece who also loves to play computer ganes, wanted to play online with a group of people she knew well. I thought that “Black Ops II” was the opportunity for that. But more about that later. Let’s first have a look at “Black Ops II” itself.

“Black Ops 2” takes us to the year 2025 and gives us a preview of future warfare where drones and computer-controlled weapon-systems are an important part of the fighting forces. But humans are still essential to make the difference.
The games has 3 ways to pay the game. The first is the solo game. Here you are David Manson, who leads the US Special Forces. The story, including flash backs to the past, tells about the attempts of Manson to stop Raul Menendez, who plans an cyber attack on the US. The story is fun to play with many unexpected plots. The storyline of Call of Duty: Black Ops II has several endings, depending on which conditions the player fulfills over the course of the game.
The second way is “Zombies” where you simply said have to fight zombies. Kill them before you they kill you.
The third way is of course online multi-player, which support all well known options as Death Match, Team Death Match, Capture the Flag, Domination and so on and on.

Is “Black Ops II” a violent game? Yes, I have to say it is. I would not recommend for young children to play it (it is rated for an age of 18+). After all there is lot of killing going around in the game.
But is it too violent? No, I don’t think so. I rate it on the same level as games as Unreal Tournament.
And no, I don’t think computer games have a (bad) influence op people. If that would be the case, more of 50% of the Facebook users would be now a farmer :P.

But as said, I liked Marissa’s idea of doing something with people we know well in an online game and thought “Black Ops II” would be grat for that. Many people who play games as “Black Ops II” take this very serious and are very competitive, calling names and such when someone makes a mistake. That is something Marissa doesn’t like and I understand that completely.
So we already arranged a group of people that know each other and wanted to join in (they had to buy the game of course and that was all done last week).

Yesterday evening I created a private game where our group logged into. Very typical was that Peter and I logged in under our own names, but the ladies had chosen to use nicknames. So we had there DeathAngel (Marissa), BlackMamba (Jennifer), Dirty Marion (after “Dirty Harry”) and “Die Hard Sanne” (no explanation needed there). They must have been plotting about this…

Because we had a private game, we knew no one else then one of our group could enter our game and that is exactly what we wanted. All of us used headset, so we could talk with each other while playing. That already gave some good laughs. First we did some practicing so everyone knew how to move and how to handle the weapons.

First we played a game of Death Match, which basically means kill everyone else. Who makes the most kills wins. My first kill was Peter. It should be right away clear who is the boss :-) We played several rounds of Death Match. The experienced players died just as much the others, mostly loud laughing. Most wonderful move I saw was Jennifer throwing a grenade… and it bounced on a wall back to her :-)

Sanne learned quickly how to move around. I saw her all the time jump on walls and through (broken) windows or was crawling over the ground. Very good. Only her bad luck on the picture was that I saw her jump on the wall. Easy prey!!!

After this we played some of the team based games like Capture The Flag and Domination. The team based games brings another aspect to the game… friendly fire (MARION!!!!). When Marion moved to the other team, I had my revenge for all the times she was firing at me (luckily it is not deadly in “Black Ops II”)…

We had a great evening with lots of laughter. It is great fun to play these kind of games with people you know personally. It is not about “killing each other”. It is about doing things together and have a lot to laugh about.

I think (we didn’t count really) had best death/kill ratio, followed by Marissa and me. But I am pretty sure Jenifer, Sanne and Marion will practice a lot. We will do this more often. In “Black Ops II” or any other game alike…

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