Oh wow…

by Rob on

When I just was taking care of my plants, I noticed something at the cacti that I have next to my computer desk…

Cacti

Yes, one of them is growing flowers!

It is the first time ever that a cactus that I own grows flowers. I am really surprised to see this happening.
Apart from that, it is winter! Yes sure, my house is heated when I am home, but it the period that the cactus should be in rest, I reduced to the amount of water it gets now accordingly.

Really awesome. I will keep a close look on the cactus and its flowers. And maybe I will add some more photo’s to this article when the flowers grow!

Rob
6 comments to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view them or to add a commment.

And more cookbooks…

by Rob on

Of course, everyone wants to win a big prize in a lottery. I think for many that is the main reason to play a lottery.

If the money that people pay to be part of a lottery is used for charity, culture or use it where people are in need of help, it already another good reason to play. And yes, I hear people already grumbling that the biggest of the money goes to the salary of directors and such. Please get your facts right and don’t believe every first hoax that is going around.

But if a lottery gives away small prices as reduction on tickets of concerts of museums or other small prices, it makes it even fun to play along.

Kookboken

And so I have three new cookbooks again. Yes, a small, but fun prize, in a lottery.

The names of the cookbooks are “Tosti’s met een twist” (“Toasted sandwiches with a twist”), “Eten met stokjes” (“Eating with chopsticks”) and “Pasta’s en Sauzen” (“Pastas and sauces”).
I think I will have a lot of fun in the kitchen with them. Especially the one about toasted sandwiches seems a lot of fun to me. I saw some great ideas for nice sandwiches for a Sunday afternoon.

Cookbooks 3

And these books add nicely to my still growing collection of cookbooks, with as oldest book the one that my mother got at the domestic science school (wow, that sounds so much better as the Dutch “huishoudschool”.

As said, I can enjoy this kind of small prizes very well… (which doesn’t mean I would mind a big one :P).


5 comments to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view them or to add a commment.

Okay, so why Plomari?

by Mel on

Anyone ever wondered why Rob made the decision to go the town of Plomari this year? Yes, Rob made the decision for the whole group. They just wanted to go back to Lesvos and where on Lesvos was less important (the Lesvos-virus is so contagious). Yes yes Marissa, I know that you had the demand of beaches, but I really wonder how strong that demand was :-).

Anyway, as you already may have expected, there is a small story to tell on how Rob made the decision to go on their next holiday to Plomari. :-)

It started last year when Marion and Rob stayed at my place. One evening we were sitting in my garden enjoying the very nice evening. We had the pleasure of a nightingale singing for us. Did you know that nowhere in the world the nightingales sing so beautiful as here on Lesvos? No, you didn’t? Ah, there is another story to tell, but we will do that another time.

During the concert of the nightingale Rob was sipping of a glass of ouzo. He developed quite a taste for ouzo (another reason why my grandmother is so fond of Μουστάκι, which is Rob’s nickname around here). He made a remark that he tasted at the many places Marion and he have been in Greece tasted ouzo, but this was one of the best he ever enjoyed. Of course I had to brag that it was ouzo from Lesvos and everything of our island is simply the best (I know… I know… :-) ).

One day, back in The Netherlands, Rob wanted to enjoy an ouzo again, so he went to the local liquor store and asked for a bottle of ouzo. The owner of the store remembered earlier talks he had with Rob and remembered that Marion and Rob have been to Lesvos. To the surprise of Rob he told he had an ouzo from Lesvos. There was no discussion needed any more and Rob bought that ouzo.

When in the evening Rob sipped from his new ouzo, he suddenly realized with full conviction that this was the ouzo he had at my place!

He called me on Skype and we talked. He explained to me about the ouzo, he bought that day. I had to laugh because the possibility that he bought the ouzo that I always have would be very small.
I told Rob that I have always ouzo from the Isidoros Arvanitis Distillery, Plomari Ouzo.
On the screen of my laptop I saw Rob reach out beside him. When his hand returned his hand was holding a bottle. He turned the bottle around so the label was visible for me. And there it was… Ouzo of Plomari, Isidoros Arvanitis!
Unbelievable that “my” ouzo was for sale in The Netherlands. And even more special, that is for sale “around the corner” (as Rob said) from where he lives.

It was that day that Rob decided that he wanted to visit the town of Plomari. And when “the group” made Rob in charge of the planning of the upcoming holiday in August, the destination of Plomari was set.
And they will love it. Plomari and the surrounding area is just beautiful. And of course a visit to the Isidoros Arvanitis Distillery will be on the agenda for their holiday :-)

Plomari Ouzo Mel

6 comments to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view them or to add a commment.

Today a book that I ordered arrived, “Origin” written by Dan Brown. The Dutch title is “Oorsprong”.

Oorsprong

Dan Brown belongs to the select group of writers that I really love to read. As many others his book “The Da Vince Code” was my first contact with his work. “The Da Vince Code”, the fourth book written by him and published in 2003, was his international breakthrough.

I truly love how he combines in his books facts and fiction into a fast exciting story. Mostly likely I am not the only one who has trouble to put one of his books away while reading it. I just want to know right away what happens on the next page.
By now I have read most of his books and I really like them all.

And now I will start with his newest book that was published in 2017: “Origin”. Again Robert Langdon is the main character in the story. It all seems to start at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.

And what makes it really very promising to read is the text in the beginning of the book:

“Fact: All art, architecture, places, science
and religious organisations in this book
really exist!


Later this evening, when we have returned from our dinner, we will spend some time reading… a glass of wine, some small snacks… and our books. How wonderful an evening can be.

Rob
2 comments to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view them or to add a commment.

Utrecht… and a surprise

by Rob on

Marion suggested some weeks ago to go sometime to the city of Utrecht again. Utrecht is a beautiful city to have a good walk, visit some shops and enjoy some good food.
I found this a very good idea and so we planned already a few weeks ago to go there today.

As we do very often, we went by train. No stress of the traffic, no being annoyed by other folks on the road, no parking problems and wine or beer by a dinner is no problem at all.
Marion suggested to bring along my camera, because Utrecht is, as said, a wonderful city.

Once we arrived at the central rail road station of Utrecht, Marion pulled me in the direction of Starbucks, because she wanted badly some coffee.
Maybe she really wanted coffee, but that was not the main reason to go to Starbucks. Because on the moment we walked in I saw to my surprise, Marissa and Richard sitting at a table.
It was so obvious that this was all planned this way. But Marissa and Richard are good company and more than welcome to join us on our visit to Utrecht.

After enjoying the coffee and some chatting, Marion suddenly said that we had to hurry a bit to get the next train.
At that moment I was really confused. What next train? We were already where we had planned to go.
I was just told to come along and so I did, wondering what was going on.
We got on the train in the direction of the Hague. Marissa explained that we just had to the next station in another part of Utrecht. She opened up her handbag and took out 4 tickets for “Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition”.

I was so pleasantly surprised.This is so typical Marion. I mentioned a long time ago, when this exhibition was announced, that I would like to go there. I almost forgot about it, but Marion didn’t and planned this day together with Marissa and Richard (Marissa is just as me a Star Wars fan). Really awesome.

Fun fact: When I was driving yesterday home with a colleague and I mentioned that we would go to Utrecht, his first remark was about the Star Wars exhibition. And I told him that we would not go there, but that we would visit the city itself.

Star Wars

The exhibition was truly awesome. For someone like me (or as Marissa) who really love the Star Wars sagas, this is wandering through a daydream. Maybe what it made even more special is that many of items that were on display were actually used in the movies.

Yoda

I have learned many things about Star Wars that I didn’t know. I didn’t know that eyes of Yoda where based on the eyes of Albert Einstein, to show great wisdom. And that his name was created by playing around with words. It also seemed that George Lucas and the people he worked with had trouble with designing the way Yoda would look.
Also I didn’t know that Jabba the Hutt was first a character that walked on two legs, instead of this super sized snail. And there were 3 persons in the puppet of Jabba to make him move in a natural way as possible.

Star Wars

There was an audio guide available. I must say that it was one of the best audio guides I have seen at an exhibition or museum (and I have seen some by now).
When you got close to an item that was covered in the tour, the device started to play automatically (you could also recognize these areas by markings on the floor).

It described in a very good and understandable about what makes the identity, covering some scientific and biological background. There was really something to learn. And all of course in references with the Star Wars stories.

Han Solo

To make it even more interactive, every visitor got a bracelet. Throughout the tour the bracelet could be used to store the result of questions that would determine your Star Wars identity.
I became the most cuddly creature of the universe, an Ewok Jedi. Marissa a human princess (of course). And Richard a Wookie mercenary.
And Marion? She complained that we always call her evil and so she answered all the questions in the most evil way and became indeed a Sith Knight :-).

Star Wars

The exhibition was really awesome We all enjoyed it very much.

Afterwards we had dinner together at restaurant “De Zwarte Vosch”, a place Marion and I knew already. A very nice restaurant to be with friends.

And then the time to say goodbye again. Marissa and Richard travelled back to Twente, while Marion and I moved back to North Holland. But it was a wonderful day well spent!

Trooper Star Wars Star Wars Fighter Rob
Expo Utrecht - Star Wars Identities The Exhibition
Restaurant De Zwarte Vosch

2 comments to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view them or to add a commment.

There was something that I planned already for a long time to do, move the weblog from http to HTTPS/SSL.

HyperText Transfer Protocol, that is where HTTP stand for and it is the protocol that is used by a browser (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer/Edge) to communicate with a web server. So basically this makes it possible to see the websites on your computer or any other device alike (lets not get too technically).
Already for some time there has been an adaptation of the HTTP protocol to make it more secure: HTTPS, which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocal Secure (well, that you didn’t see coming, right? *SMILE* ).
So what makes HTTPS more secure as HTTP? Well, the communication between the browser and the web server is now encrypted. The encryption of the communication between a browser and a web server protects against eavesdropping and tampering of the communication that is happening. There is a lot of technical information and discussions on HTTPS, but I think we should not go here into that here the weblog.

http https

So the whole idea behind this all was to make the weblog more safe for the people who read and write here.

I was afraid that this all would be a huge job. After all, every internal link must be changed from “http: //www.dimrost.nl” to “https://www.dimrost.nl”. This includes every link to a photo or picture stored on the same server as the weblog, every link to a page or post. We are talking about 18080 fields over 50 database tables that needed to be updated.

I reserved quite some time to do this all.

Some days ago I requested a SSL certificate and installed it. Yesterday I started with the real work with the idea to finish it off today.
I changed to configuration of WordPress so it would used the https-address, I forced that WordPress would use https by default and that it would handled redirects correctly.

I started to create SQL update queries to update all the http-addresses to https, when I read on the website Webtalis about a WordPress plugin to do this all for me. And it worked wonderful.

Yesterday evening within 30 minutes I migrated our weblog from http to https. I should have done this already ages ago!

https safe

I have checked many post/pages manually, but all pages show the green lock as in the picture above, which means the pages is secure and communication to the web server is encrypted. I also ran some automated test tools and those also showed all is fine.

https unsafe

In case the post/page is not secure, a yellow warning sign will be shown, as can be seen in the picture right above here (I changed for the example picture a https-link back to http… which I should not forget to set back to https again *grin*).
If you ever see such a yellow warning sign here on our weblog, please let me know. Then there is something wrong on that page which should be changed. Please mail the address of the post or page to me (you can use the “Contact us” link at top of the page).

Gives a good feeling that it all went so good and fast :-).

Edit: It turned out there was a problem afterwards, it was not possible to write comments to articles anymore (thank you for spotting it so fast Marissa). It turned out a plug in was causing the problem. It was not a very important plug in (it was displaying the “recent posts”-overview in a nicer way), so I deactivated and removed it.
But also it turned out that the GEO plug in was not working anymore. Not critical, just not nice. I am looking into it.

Rob

 

(Source http vs https diagram: Wikipedia)


No comments to this article yet. Press "Continue Reading" to add a comment.

The Christmas Cactus (or “Lidcactus” as it is called in Dutch) is a very popular plant for indoors. They belong to the genus Schlumbergera (part of the Cactaceae family). Its origin are the coastal mountains of Brazil.

Cultivars of the this plant can have white, pink, yellow, orange, red or purple flowers. It is an easy to keep plant with low demands.

If taken care of properly it will bloom around Christmas (hence the name) and/or Eastern.

Lidcactus

So why an article on this plant?

Well, in 2014 we had a family reunion (from my father’s side). It was very nice to meet all these people. A very enjoyable day. There was a special gift, a cutting from a Christmas cactus that once belong to my grandmother. My grandmother passed away just before I was born (March 1963).
I have to say that I was very happy with this cutting.

Lidcactus

Sorry for the low quality of the photo above, but it is the only one I have of the cuttings.

In the months after the reunion the Christmas Cactus started to grow, so it showed it was a healthy plant. And as said, I was happy to have it. Then, a few moths after the reunion, a nephew posted a photo of his Christmas Cactus with a beautiful flower. So I was hopeful that mine also would bloom soon. But no, nothing happened.

And since then, the plant was growing, but no flowers.

Lid cactus

Until a week ago, when I noticed that, the plant started to grow flower buds. Now, more as 3 years later, my Christmas Cactus starts to bloom. And such beautiful flowers!

Over the winter I will take some cuttings from the plant. You know, just in case!

Lidcactus Rob
No comments to this article yet. Press "Continue Reading" to add a comment.

As regular visitors of our weblog will know, there is an overview of restaurants of which consider they are good to exceptional (you can find that overview of Cafe’s and Dinners here.

As Marion and Rob go often out for dinner during their weekends together, I guess you can say it so kind of hobby of them, the list of restaurants grew quite some over time.
Especially around Haaksbergen (where Marion lives and Rob grew up) and Heemskerk (where Rob currently lives) there are a lot of restaurants they visit. Mind you, only restaurants they consider good or better will make it to the list.

Somewhere last year Rob opened up his weblog for his close friends and with that he opened also this list.
This leaded to more entries around Haaksbergen and Heemskerk. But our dear friend Mel also started to add entries and as she lives in Greece (Lesvos to be precise) that area also started to show good restaurants.

But there is even more to it. Marion travels very often through Europe for her work. She does not always like to eat at the hotels she is staying and eats at restaurants that were recommended to her. Some time ago, she started to add restaurants she enjoyed to the list, giving it a more European coverage. Patricia, who works as a flight attendant for a big international working airline company, followed up the idea of Marion. This made the list really international.

So some time ago Rob and I were pondering if we could not do something more with all this list of good restaurants. Quickly the idea was there to put them on a map. We both liked that idea.
But this map should be dynamic and easy to maintain. After some time we found exactly what we were looking for…

Map Restaurants

The map above is not the dynamic map, just a picture and nothing more. For the dynamic map you have to go to the actual list of Cafés and Dinners.

Restaurant map

At the top of the map there is an option to search the map. You can enter there an address, city/town or country. You can also change the way the result of the search will be displayed (map, satellite, hybrid or terrain). Next, you can select which map you want to see. Actually, we are trying to remove this because there will be only one map.
And you select from a dropdown-list the restaurants from the list. The list is sorted on the name of the restaurants.

Restaurant map

While holding the left mouse-button it is possible to move the map around, basically in all directions as long you hold the mouse-button.Of course it is also possible to zoom in and out. This can be done by holding the CTRL-key and using the scroll-wheel of the mouse. Also, there are on the right bottom of the map two buttons that can be used for zooming in and out.
Zooming in can be done to street level and where available Google Streetview can be used.

Restaurant map

When clicking on the pin that locates a restaurant, a window with more information will pop up, such as the address.
When known, it will show who of our group has been there and when. In the beginning the kind of information was not placed in the list, so there may be restaurant without this information.

Sometimes a small message may be added as the “back, because we loved it the last time” in the screenshot above.

The “More information’ link in the window will open the website of the restaurant (in a new browser window).

We are thinking about doing more with this window, but there are so many options and possibilities that we will leave it for now like this.

Not all restaurants on the list are already on the map. It is quite some work to do.
Amsterdam, to mention one, still has to be done. Rob lived for more as a year in Amsterdam without the possibility to cook. So in that time he often visited restaurants in that time. But of course, in the Amsterdam will also be added to the map.

One thing we noticed while checking all the websites on the list: Many restaurants are closed. Now I can imagine the world of restaurants is very dynamic and that it changes fast, still it is sad to see…

Anyway, enjoy the new map :-)


No comments to this article yet. Press "Continue Reading" to add a comment.

Starbucks Cup
Yesterday I was at the Central Station of Utrecht. There we decided to get some coffee at one of the Starbucks there.
Every year Stabucks has a specially designed cup for the Holidays Season. So they have this year, a colourful and bright design I would say. I really like it, but again is not everybody happy with it.

Again? It happens very often that people are not happy with the design of their Holiday Cup. And who are not happy with it? Conservative christians! Who else I am close to say?

According these folks Starbucks is supporting the LGBTQ community. First thing that hits me here right away is: And if they do, what is wrong with that?
But with the statement in my head echoing that Starbucks supports the LGBTO community and I look at the cup, I hear myself say “Wot???”.

It seems that it has been decided that the two hands holdings each other are the hands of two women. And we all know that two women holding hands are lesbians (duh, my head starts to hurt).
The thing is, there is no official statement about the gender of the hands. And I really wonder why should there be an official statement.
Even the designer of the cup says nothing about this none-issue created by people who seem to have nothing better to do. He stated: “I like the idea of hands at the center point, a symbol of connection, love and giving joy — whether it’s wrapping presents or decorating a tree, writing cards or enjoying a mug of cocoa”. And that is all there is to it.

Maybe this year’s promotional video of Starbucks is related to this controversy. There are at a certain moment two women holding hands… and yes, clearly for these people two women holding hands are lesbians (argggghhh… my head). And even it was meant as two lesbians? Nothing wrong with that I would say. Not everyone is that narrow minded and people should finally stop with pressing their own opinions, convictions and beliefs upon others. Sadly, I have say that specially religions are guilty of doing this (but not alone…).

Conservative christians having problems with the Holiday Cup of Starbucks are nothing new, It is a recurring event since 1997 when they made the cup purple! Yes, I mean purple! How can they make a cup purple? Bah, purple is a lovely colour. How can you have problems with a colour, apart from liking it or not?

You can see here all the holiday cups since 1997: 20 Years of Starbucks Holiday Cups.

And as far it concerns me: Go to Starbucks to enjoy their coffee. If you don’t like their coffee, then stay away from there. But please stop creating this kind of stupid none-issues.

Rob
Starbucks - Centraal Station Utrecht

1 comment to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view it or to add a commment.

10 Years “dimrost.nl”

by Rob on

10 years

It almost slipped by without noticing it. By coincidence, I just saw it today: Our weblog on “dimrost.nl” was in October 10 years old! On 26 October 2007 the first article on this weblog was posted. And now we are more as 10 years further.

I remember well how at first the weblog was titled “Life is there to live again”. But at a certain moment I made the conclusion that I am living my life fully again, so the title was outdated. With some other titles in between, we ended up with “The Fellowship of Friends”. The name was based on the idea that during our holiday with our friends on Lesvos and we were walking along mountain slopes towards that high mountain and someone remarked that we were as the Fellowship of the Ring. And after I opened my weblog for my friends to write here, that was the perfect name for our weblog.

Looking back over some of the articles I wrote over those 10 years, it feels like a diary without really private stuff. But very good to bring many memories from over the years.

Oh, fun fact: The 3 most used keywords that leaded to our weblog?

  1. Kruidenbitter (herbal bitter)
  2. Sexmuseum (in Amsterdam)
  3. Lucifera (a soft erotic comic from seventies)

Why am I not surprised? Oh yes, most searches came from the countries where they “should” not come from *WINK*

I have many plans for our weblog. First thing planned is bringing the weblog to SSL, which will make it all more secure. But there are more (fun) things coming.

Well, up to the next 10 years! And special thanks to Marissa, Richard, Miranda, Jennifer, Sanne, Patricia and Marion, who all made this weblog even so much better, specially the last year. Thank you all!

Rob
2 comments to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view them or to add a commment.