The project is live…

by Rob on

At the company where I work we do quite some projects. And some projects are really big. So it is a great moment when a project is finished and goes live. Sometimes the project-manager is so happy about this that he or she does something nice or fun for the people who worked on it.

So today project “ECRS” went live (I won’t bother you with what project “ECRS” was about). To celebrate that the project-manager brought M&M’s with special texts on them. I must say that I didn’t know that it was possible to have M&M’s created with your own text on them. But really I like the idea very much.

Costum made M&M’s… How cool…

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Check mate and about cactuses

by Rob on

This weekend Sanne was visiting us. For those who don’t know, Sanne and Marion are already since they went to school very close friends. And nowadays I am happy that I can also call her a very good friend of mine.

Sanne and I share a passion together: Chess.

Now several years ago Sanne asked me to help her to raise her skills in playing chess. In the past I played chess on competition level, so that is why she asked me. So I did.
Over the years Sanne turned into an opponent to be reckoned with. Something I really like, because that makes a game of chess so much more interesting.

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So when Sanne visits us, mostly we will sit down for a game of chess. And so we did yesterday evening. So while Marion enjoyed herself with a good book and a glass of excellent wine, we played our game of chess. It was a good game, exciting to the end. It looked for the longest time that Sanne would sweep me from the board, but then she made a small mistake and everything changed. I was able to restore my defence and opened a new attack. The result was that I could force Sanne to a check mate. But this only because of this small mistake she made and this is exactly what I like about the chess game: Nothing is set until the very end.

When Sanne and I play chess, we agree on forehand on a reward for the winner. If I would have lost, I would wash and clean Sanne’s car. But luckily I didn’t lose and now Sanne will be my guide on very early morning photo-trip into the “Haaksbergerveen” (The “Haaksbergerveen” is a large and beautiful moor in the eastern part of The Netherlands and Sanne knows her way very well around there as she lived for the most of her life almost next to it).

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Also Sanne bought a small gift. She overheard me saying that I needed a new plant for on the coffee table. She also know that I always liked cactuses and nowadays they are quite popular again. So when she saw the this scale with cactuses at a local store she bought it for us. And I have to say that I really like it. It looks very nice on the coffee table.

And so we had a very nice weekend with the three of us. Of course we did a lot more than only playing chess. We had dinner a very good steakhouse here in town, we made a nice long beach walk and we had many laughs together.

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Rob bought beautiful flowers for his dinner-table again. He really has a great taste for that. Without any problem he picks the flowers that fit well together.
I fully do agree with him that flowers add to the atmosphere of the living room.

Anyway, another thing I want to mention is that I really like the idea that Rob opened up his weblog for his closest friends and allows them to post here. At first only Sanne and Marissa were interested, but now our complete group of close friends showed interest. And that makes it an interesting mix of people.

The current “crew” will be:
Marissa, my niece (daughter of my father youngest brother). She works at an law firm and is studying law. I only can call her naughty and very playful.
Richard, the boyfriend of Marissa. Works at a garage as an mechanic and is very passionated about cars and sailing (and about Marissa of course :P). Good relaxed guy with a great sense of humour.
Miranda is the partner of Jennifer. Miranda is working as a chef cook, a profession she handles with great passion. Apart from her work, she enjoys volley ball a lot.
Jennifer, as already pointed out, she is sharing her live with Miranda. She is taking care of their house and garden. Flowers and plants are her greatest hobby. She can be very often be found in the garden or in the greenhouse behind their home. Parts of the garden and the greenhouse are dedicated to herbs, which she takes great care of. This of course is something Miranda is really enthusiastic about as she can use these herbs for the food she prepares.
Sanne is working as a teacher at a public school. Apart from teaching she is very skilled in Taekwondo. A sweet and caring woman. Strongly believes in the equality of humans, no matter what or where they are.
Rob is the owner of this blog and above my all my partner in crime and love. He is working as a software developer for international operating company in the payment business. He has many hobbies and interests. To name some of them: Science Fiction & Fantasy books/movies, photography and cooking.
And then me, Marion. I am working as account manager for an pharmaceutical company. Although the title account manager doesn’t really cover the job I do. Anyway, I love travelling and can enjoy a good book. Good wine and good food have also my interest. Rob and I like to go out for dinner and that we do quite often.

That as basic introduction of everyone. They can add more to this themselves.

So there is quite some different people with even more different backgrounds on Rob’s blog. And that is what makes it very interesting, I think. I am sure there will be many amusing and funny articles written, but I expect also that interesting and handy to know things will be place and also that at times very serious subjects will come up.
And no, I don’t expect that everyone will write very week an article, but it will be fun!

Funny thing is that I just realize that we all have one thing in common: We are all convinced atheists! Oh duh… :-)

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“Ik ben vies”

by Marissa on

My first entry here will be about a laugh we had during our vacation on Lesbos this year.

As may be known, we went this with a group of very good friends to Lesbos. We had a wonderful time there.

One day we made a very nice walk to the east of the town of Petra. The small roads would take us up into the hills.
On a certain moment we noticed an old and abandoned car aside the road…

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We were making all kind of silly jokes about that car as “Well, that one will not go very far anymore” and “Who needs a cheap car?”. Richard was even claiming that the car was even not in a real bad shape and that he was convinced he would be able to get it riding again (and I am sure he can, after all it is his job! For those who don’t know, Richard is my boyfriend).

Then Miranda, who has been clearly with her mind somewhere else, turned towards the very dirty car and pointed at the “drawings” that were made in the dirt on the windows. Making remarks about not too clever Dutch people with the need to write things on the windows of cars and such.

I was standing with my back in the direction of Miranda, listening to her comments, with the dirt of the car window on my forefinger. I slowly turned in the direction of Miranda, showing the dirt of my forefinger clearly, asking her what she said there…
As Miranda knows me rather well, she looked at me and warned me to hold back!
Too late! I jumped towards her and flicked my forefinger quickly over her noise, leaving a nice trace of the dirt there.
With a very well-played angry voice Miranda set she would get me. This all leaded of a nice chasing me by Miranda around that old car.

The others were laughing loud, especially Rob who was almost rolling from laughing on the ground.

When finally Miranda “caught” me, it resulted in a friendly hug and telling me that I am a naughty brat, but a lovely sweet naughty brat, which was loudly agreed on by Richard (I will get even with him.. *TONGUE* ).

It are small events like these that make life so worth living!

(ps. Thank you Rob for allowing me to use the photo of that old car!)

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“Het omgekeerde land”

by Rob on

Today when I did my groceries I noticed that a new album of my favourite comic-hero’s Suske and Wiske was available. Of course I had to buy it. The title of this new album is “Het omgekeerde land” (in English: “The reverse land”) and it is issue 336 in the series (first print 6 September 2016).

The story…
Wiske is very jealous when Willy is having a new playmate. To blow off steam, she makes a long walk in the woods and there she meets a special bat. The bat suggest to make her a new playmate and t to itself to create a new boyfriend and takes her to Wonderland for this. It is there very gloomy and the fairy-tale characters do not seem to be themselves. Moreover, her new boyfriend, princess Elisa, seems to have two faces. She decides to keep Wiske forever with her.
And to make it al even worse, Wiske gets under the influence of the terrible curse that hangs over Wonderland…

Looking forward to read this album :-)

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A change to my weblog…

by Rob on

Something will change

Until now the articles on my weblog were written by myself (and every now and then an entry written by Marion). This will change. I have given editor rights to Marissa and Sanne, so they can publish here articles here.
On their own request they want me to review their articles before these are published. Not really needed for me, but if they like that it is fine with me.

Marissa and Sanne are both close friends of Marion and me.

Marissa is a niece of Marion (daughter of her fathers youngest brother). She is working at law firm that once belonged to Marion’s father (who is now retired). Beside her work she is studying laws, which is a great effort to do.
She is, just a me, a gamer (I always call her my “gaming vriendinnetje”). In multi-player games we often team up and this not without success.

Sanne and Marion know each other from the time they went school. They have been close friends ever since. Over time she has become also a close friend to me.
Sanne is working as an teacher at a public school. One of her biggest passion is Tae Kwon-do, a martial arts form she is really advanced in.

Welcome ladies, I am looking forward to your contributions.

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by Rob on

Recently I received the book “Wonderwaan EdgeZero 2015” by mail (Amazon France for a Dutch book? Okay…).

“Wonderwaan” is a magazine about Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror written by Dutch writers. The magazine contains quirky themes and equally quirky editors who push writers to share the best of themselves with us.

“Wonderwaan” publishes fantastic stories, each release is about a different theme. Most stories are original Dutch and are carefully selected from a wide range of entries and award-winning stories.

“Wonderwaan” is published four times a year and has an average of 26,000 words (40 A4 pages with illustrations). Members of the NCSF (Nederlands Contact Centrum voor Science Fiction/Dutch Contact Center for Science Fiction, of which I am member) get Wonderwaan sent home in a paper version. As of 2016 Wonderwaan, a few months after the paper edition, as well as electronic publishing made available for free on most ebook platforms.

“Wonderwaan EdgeZero 2015” is a wonderful read. Once picked up I could hardly stop reading. The quality of the stories is great again. The jury that picked the stories for this edition did a great job.
The edition of “Wonderwaan” contain stories written by well-known and not that well-known writers, but all the stories are awesome and deserve all to be in this edition. The 15 stories in “Wonderwaan EdgeZero 2105” are written by Rik Raven, Marcel Orie, Jan J.B. Kuipers, Jorrit de Klerk, Mark J. Schlimazlnik, Ben Adriaanse, Jaap Boekestein, Frank Norberr Rieter, Mike Jansen, Killian McNiel, Tais Teng, Jeffrey Dionet, Peter Kaptein and Tom Thys.

I really recommend “Wonderwaan EdgeZero 2015” to anyone who has an interest in Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror…. (and who can read Dutch *EVIL* ).

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by Rob on

Two days ago we were informed that during the last night completely unexpected Jose Lopes passed away. Jose was an colleague of mine who was working as tester in the IT department where I also am working, although he worked for the Front Office and I for the BI/Middleware team.

The news stroke us very hard. Specially those that have worked close with him or knew him already for a long time. As said, his passing away was completely unexpected. The day before I have been talking with him. And now? Never again…

Jose was only 46 and that is way too young to pass away from life. I know hat Jose was suffering from diabetes, but I don’t know if this was of influence. But that is not really important to know.

At moments like this I would hope that there was an enjoyable afterlife, but my stupid brain starts to tell me directly why there isn’t.

Sad. Extremely sad….

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When we are going on a holiday we always take something to read along. A good book helps with the time in the plane, but it also very nice for a quiet moment in the evening. This year on our holiday back to Lesbos I took “The Ultimate Hitchhaker’s Guide to The Galaxy” by the late Douglas Adams along with me.

Years ago I read teh Dutch translation of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. Over then I was already told that this book should be read in the not translated English version as many parts are just not possible to translate without losing the great content.

Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, scriptwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist. His most famous work was indeed “The Hitchhiker’s Guid to the Galaxy”. He also wrote, among other things, 3 stories for the TV series Dr. Who.
Adams was known as an advocate for environmentalism and conservation, as a lover of fast cars, cameras, technological innovation and the Apple Macintosh, and as a “devout atheist”.
Sadly on the age of 49 in 2001 he passed away by an heart attack. And 49 is indeed way too young.

So when packing for our holiday I added the “Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” to my things. Finally I wanted to read this book that I had already for some time. This book contains the next novels:
– The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy
– The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
– Life, the Universe and Everything
– So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
– Mostly Harmless

So during our stay on Lesvos, as the Greek call their island themselves, I spent now and then on the terrace of the bar or the terrace of our studio some time reading this wonderful book. Mostly with a good glass of beer to it (Mythos beer is awesome). I really enjoyed at times not to follow logic and playing words by Douglas Adams.
These novels should be on the “must read”-list of everyone!


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The Castle of Molyvos

by Rob on

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During our vacation to Lesvos (as the Greek call Lesbos themselves) we visited the Castle of Molyvos. Last year we also wanted to see this castle, but we went on a Monday. Monday is the day that many things are closed in Greece, including the castle. With that lesson learned we visited this year the castle on another day.

Lets correct one thing right away: Molyvos is not the official name of the town. The correct name is Mythimna. The name Molyvos was used during the Ottoman Period (1462-1912) and is still used often. I always compared it to that many people call The Netherlands Holland, which is basically incorrect (we have to provinces called North Holland and South Holland, but the are 10 provinces more as those two).
It is said that the people of Lesbos prefer the name Mythimna because the name Molyvos reminds them of the 450 year occupation of their island.

The castle on top of a hill, surrounded by the town is a sight to see. It makes the town a place that is loved by visitors and tourists. It is said that the castle is one of the most impressive castles of Greece.

The castle was built during the Byzantine area, but there has been an earlier castle that, according the stories, was besieged by Achilles himself during the Trojan War.

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Throughout the years the castle has been repaired and renovated, and today it’s considered to be one of the most well preserved fortresses in Eastern Mediterranean.

As already said it was built during the Byzantine era on the ancient remains of the fortification for the defense of the locals against the Turkish and Frankish invasions. Because of its important strategic position, the castle of Molyvos could control the north passage to Adrammitynos Bay.

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The exact date of its founding is not known. It was probably built after the mid-13th century and it obviously belongs to the series of the numerous forts that were constructed in that period by the Lesbians, in order to render the defense both against the Turks and the Franks possible. In 1373 it was restored by Francisco Gateluzzo A´. Additions took place during the period of the Turkish occupation (1462-1912).
Restorations commenced in 1976 and up to 1981 a number of strengthenings, rebuildings and joint-fillings in parts of the walls took place. In 1993 a crack in the south bulwark was restored and up to this day consolidation works are carried out in parts of the fortress that bear signs of damage.

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During the summer there are all kind of cultural event in the castle. Many well worth to visit.

Apart from visiting the castle self, it is very nice to walk the path around the castle. The outside of the castle is awesome to see, but so are the views of the area around the castle.

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