March 2006 Archives

Phew

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I just got home after my shift. Well, thruth be said, my shift ended at two but then I headed to the gym. That's one of the benefits of working for a large company/client, they have facilities such as a gym on site. And we're allowed to use it, so today for the first I actually did so. The original plan was that two of my colleagues would join me, but one claimed he didn't know we were going to work out today (yeah, right) and the other one had all his gear with him, but had to head home unexpected. My teamleader had to work later, so couldn't join me either, but I didn't let that deter me and I worked out.

I started off with a ten minute rowing session, followed by 20 minutes on a bike (15 kilometers), then I lifted some weights, did a short walk (1500 meter in 20 minutes), another weight lifting session and 10 more minutes on the bike to cool down. I certainly feel the effects already - my back aches, and I'll probably feel even worse tomorrow, but it's all for the better in the long run.

After the work out, my team lead was done working as well, and we headed off to D5 for a drink. It was fun but not as much fun as on sunday. There is still a professional barrier when having a drink with people who you work for indirectly. It was nice to meet people in another setting, but I doubt they'll ever become friends, and think that is a good thing. I think it's good to keep a certain distance in my line of work.

Tomorrow Jess & Mark are coming over to meet Tai, on sunday I'm off to Amersfoort for a Tattoo convention. If all goes well, I'll be meeting Marisa, Dan and Irma for sure. Should be good :)

Boogers

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I feel like I'm getting a little ill, snot if flowing freely, I just hope it doesn't come between my plans for the weekend. Yesterday I visited Bob & Hilda, that was fun - as always - and they had my birthday gifts, which was also fun. The excellent Laïs CD Douce Victime (I had an "illegal copy" but liked it so much I wanted to own the original, so who says piracy doesn't help sales?), and three books : Freakonomics (in Dutch), Snakes and Earrings (in Dutch) and Deadly force encounters (English). I'll know what to do!

My Amazon from Hell wishlist is updated to reflect these new received gifts. It's only a couple of minutes past four, but I have already updated that list, paid some bills and approved some for payment in April. When I get home later - after work and meeting that is - I have to answer mail from Jess, send mail to Joco and read/answer more mails.

All of that while snot is dripping and seemingly appearing out of nowhere in large quantities. The joy!

TV week : March 31st til April 6th

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Based on this weeks Humo, here are some of the TV programs I'd love to see, if I had unlimited time. If a serie is new, I'd like to see it once to know if it's good or not. Most series or movies I know or I've seen before :

Friday March 31st :
Het leven zoals het is : Planckendael (20h05 - Eén) [Animals]
Comedy Casino (22h15 - Canvas) [featuring Alex Agnew]
Debby and Nancy Laid Knight (22h15 - VTM) [Comedy]

Saturday :
71° Noord (19h20 - Kanaaltwee) [Interesting]
Air Crash Investigation III (21h00 - National Geographic Channel) [Addictive]
Love Soup (22h50 - Canvas) [New, looks promising]
Girlfight (23h35 - Nederland 2) [Movie featuring Michelle Rodriguez]
Good Morning, Miami (01h05 - Kanaaltwee) [Comedy, fun!]

Sunday :
De Pappenheimers (19h55 - Eén) [Quiz]
Le jardin extraordinaire (20h10 - La Une) [Nature : The Northpole]
Over leven : The Ghost in your Genes (21h05 - Canvas) [Science]
GI Jane (21h05 - VT 4) [Movie, excellent]
Fightclub (23h50 - BBC 2) [Movie]
NYPD Blue (00h00 - VTM) [Serie, top notch]
The West Wing (00h40 - Kanaaltwee) [Serie, superb]

Monday :
3rd Rock from the Sun (19h30 - Ketnet) [Comedy]
Het leven zoals het is : De Zoo (20h05 - Eén) [More animals]
Lost (21h10 - VT 4) [No comment]
Little Brittain (23h05 - Canvas) [Never seen, could be good]
NYPD Blue (23h55 - VTM)
Good Morning, Miami (00h40 - Kanaaltwee)

Tuesday :
3rd Rock from the Sun (19h30 - Ketnet)
71° Noord (21h15 - Kanaaltwee)
It's not easy being Green (21h30 - BBC 2) [Environment, Reality TV]
Keeping Up Appearances (23h25 - Eén) [This is the lady of the house speaking]
NYPD Blue (00h05 - VTM)
Good Morning, Miami (01h05 - Kanaaltwee)

Thursday :
3rd Rock from the Sun (19h30 - Ketnet)
Patrouille (20h30 - VT 4) [Cops in Belgium, probably a re-run]
Vinger aan de poot (20h40 - VTM) [Vets in practice in Belgium.]
Megastructures : Tau Tona - City of Gold (22h00 - National Geographic Channel) [Addictive]
McLeod's Daughters (22h15 - VTM) [The views, the freedom, the land and the ladies]
Terminal Velocity (22h30 - VT 4) [Movie, ain't seen it yet]
Queer as Folk (23h15 - Kanaaltwee) [Serie]
Keeping Up Appearances (23h20 - Eén)
NYPD Blue (00h05 - VTM)

Friday April 6th :
3rd Rock from the Sun (19h30 - Ketnet)
Antwerp Taxi (20h35 - VTM) [New]
Rare Streken : Feast of the Giant Sharks (20h50 - Canvas) [Animals]
Keeping Up Appearances (23h20 - Eén)
How Art made the World (23h50 - Canvas) [Documentary, promising]
VPRO's Import : The education of Shelby Knox (23h55 - Nederland 3) [Documentary]
NYPD Blue (00h00 - VTM)
Good Morning, Miami (01h20 - Kanaaltwee)

TV Channels most watched based on that list :

VTM/Kanaaltwee : 17
Eén/Ketnet/Canvas : 16
VT 4 : 4
National Geographic : 2
BBC (all) : 2
Nederland (all) : 2
Other : 1

Techy things for today

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Today's plans include downloading Knoppix (4.02 CD version, just over 700MB, happening as I write), building a more up to date version of VPM (including Tor 1.0.17, and Firefox 1.5.0.1) and installing that on the USB stick. The build on the VPM page contains slightly outdated programs, so I'll be attempting to get a grab on linux, and build my own tarball. That'll keep me busy for the day I suppose.

I'm doing some laundry in the mean time, and I've soaked and washed two pillows already, as Tai didn't like me staying out late last night and pissed on one of them. He did the other one earlier last week. I tell you, he's an unforgiving bundle of joy, that cat of mine.

Update : over 3 hours later, I've booted and shut down Knoppix about 5 or 6 times, and didn't get any further than "cannot change ownership" while doing some tar operation on libevent-1.1a.tar.gz. I did however learn how to mount and remount a USB stick in read/write mode, and that *nix systems like "CR" and not "CR/LF" like windows systems. Did that help me get my VPM up to date? Not in the least, but I feel like I've learned something...

Update 2 : Tai is a damn whiney cat. Always wanting attention, cuddles and miaowing away. If I wanted that much attention or responsability, I'd have kids! All I wanted was a silent presence, and now I'm stuck with an omni-present clingy furry creature that hates being left alone. I love him, but come on... this is getting ridiculous!

D5

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I got home about twenty minutes ago, so I guess that says enough about how enjoyable our little drink tonight was. We started about quarter past ten, and left around twenty past two. No more explenation needed. Off to bed for a good nights rest now, I start early shifts again on wednesday, thursday has a meeting after the shift, friday is working out - first time at work - then a drink in D5. Hopefully as good as today was :)

Sunday, blog day

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Tonight, after our shift ends, were going out for (a) drink(s) in a little pub close to the office. Dumb idea we had last night, and while I look forward to it, I also am a bit wary as to what it'll be like. I'm not really a pub going person, and this pub just looks "sleazy" for lack of a better word. That's just a first impression though, and based on looking at the outside when I drove by a couple of weeks ago.

What else? I got up this morning, replied and read a bunch of mails that were long overdue - sorry people! - and entertained Tai a bit. Or was it the other way round? Next week is work, meeting(s), and general things I have to do at home.

Yesterday before I left for work, I've been toying around with Virtual Privacy Machine, which basically is a Damn Small Linux running off an USB stick, coupled with a Tor desktop. I'm sure I don't have to introduce Tor anymore, I've written about it plenty by now. The amazing thing is that it all boots and runs off my USB stick, loads under Linux or Windows XP, doesn't leave a trace on the guest computer, and provides total anonymity while surfing the internet. The disadvantage is that it's a bit sluggish when it comes to speed, but that could also be due to my slow laptop. Suprisingly it picked up my wireless connection straight away, and I was impressed.

Positive thinkering

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It's close to eleven already, which means I've got about an hour before I have to leave for work. Gotta come in early today because I have to see the doctor before I start my late shift. Every 6 months we have a mandatory medical checkup, so it's nothing special.

One of these days I'll have to add some spam countermeasurements to this blog - yes, even more - even though little gets through as it is.

It is sunny outside, so I'm gonna open the curtain completely and let the sun flood the livingroom. Free heat, free light, what more can I want?

Move da ass

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Tai is following me writing this entry very closely, after he noticed the mouse pointer move around on screen. Within seconds, it became prey, as he followed the trails on the screen and swat his paw against the laptop in order to catch that magically moving beast. It probably entertained him for 30 seconds before he went back to his regular "block the line of sight" game, which means most of this entry was written catfolded*.

Catfolded = blindfolded by means of a cat.

Medical checkup for Tai

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I'm trying to write this entry while Tai is settling himself on my chest, effectively blocking my line of sight. I just got back from the vet and here are the results of the Belgian jury :

- Overall health : very good
- Age : close to 6 months old (easy to determine by looking at the teeth)
- Teeth : one tooth is chipped and unfortunately it is a final one, not a baby tooth :(
- Ears : clean
- Hearth : very good
- Nuts : 1 set of two, present
- Sign of fleas : present as well. Frontline treatement started to cure.

Right now Tai is watching the Simpsons, while I was having dinner. Now I'm gonna run to the other computer and grab my camera, shoot some photographs and upload them. By the way... funny how people immediately start talking when animals are involved. I stepped into the vets waitingroom and within seconds was talking to two other pet owners.

Tai

Meet Tai

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Not fried and not a kitten. And no photograph yet, but the new king of the castle since a few minutes past eleven. A male predator, approximately 5 months old - although the vet may adjust that a little - and curious but very friendly. I was thinking about finding a kitten somewhere, but then came across someone who had Tai (I don't even know what his former name was) and it clicked right away.

I'm gonna pop by the vet tonight to have him checked out and hopefully get a clean bill of health, and this afternoon I'm gonna pick him up some things such as a flea collar, something to play with and possibly a scratching pole. My chairs are ruined as it is, but still... maybe one day I get new ones and then I don't want Tai to tear them up.

Update : As Tai has only been here a couple of hours, I have yet to find out how intelligent he is. If he takes after his new owner, he's probably a sort of genius, but in an awkward way. And modesty... let's not go there ;)

One more night to go...

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Yesterday evening I went over to Jess and Mark to deliver some snail mail, have a nice dinner - Mark is a pretty good cook - and chat. I also received two wonderful gifts for my birthday : 1000 Tattoos by Henk Schiffmacher and The Complete Wok Book because they know I like making wok dishes. Thanks for these gifts, I'm going to enjoy reading and using them!

Their three tigers (cats) were around as well, so I played with them for a while. During dinner, we talked about Hattrick, the 95B Cup we're playing amongst friends and how the league games are progressing. Some of us are looking forward to promoting with almost mathematical certainty, others will have to fight for every point, and some are drifting around somewhere in the middle of the league. With the upcoming reorganization no one knows for sure how everything will pan out, but one thing is clear : we're all hooked :)

33 going on 32

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A year older - 33 already - and nothing much has changed. I don't really attribute much importance to birthdays, as it is something that just happens. What exactly are you celebrating, surviving another year? The attention and gifts and fun is enjoyable, but a birthday in itself means nothing.

What did I do today? I sifted through a bunch of paperwork, filed it in appriopriate places, checked some financial things, paid bills and generally caught up with things. Now I'm gonna take a bath, read my recently arrived CT Magazine, and head off to work later tonight.

Over the next days I'm going to file charges for spamming against a belgian spammer, that is after I checked and double checked everything, to make sure the case will be accepted.

In and Out

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So, I've been home for a couple of hours and I'm off again. I've had 2 full days off of work, and I'm working hard to make as much of them as humanly possible. I'm about to leave and go to the movies - yesterday I had to wait too long before a new screening started, so now I'm gonna head over to Metropolis, have something to eat and catch Memoirs of a Geisha. I've already seen it and it's on pre-order on DVD as well, but I think it's a movie I have to see at least once on a big screen.

Thanks

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For all the birthday wishes by phone, mobile, mail, instant message everyone. I'm very pleased with them and will be sending everyone a personal thank you. I'm sorry if you had a hard time reaching me, but it seems I missed at least 3 calls during the day, and my mobile was still on "meeting profile" so I didn't hear that ring either.

I didn't want to be disturbed while having my beauty sleep - 10 hours and no improvement yet, what's up with that? - and when I woke up I was too busy to pick up the phone, thanks to Joco and Eef's very interesting and exciting gift : 2 Rikku lookalikes. These girls sure know how to partay ;)

I'm out and about now, so try calling me again in a couple of hours, or on the mobile if you want to get in touch.

Not pleased

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I received a letter today informing me that I own 250 euro worth of stock in BeauVent, a local windpower project. That in itself is not the problem, as the project is doing quite well. The amount of stock owned is a problem, as I was under the impression that I owned double the worth quoted in the letter.

I just finished checking my investment file and sure enough, it lists a second purchase on April 12th 2005. Yet, when checking the bankstatements I couldn't find any match for that transaction. Damn! The other bankaccounts didn't show any transaction match either, so I can only assume that I planned to buy more stock, and marked it off as done, yet forgot - or decided against - it.

So I scheduled a new investment to be done later today. I hate it though, knowing that I just missed about one year of opportunity to maximize my return in an evironmentally friendly way.

Burning Waga Angel Mama!

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I was happily sleeping today when my phone rang. I jumped out of bed - interrupting some weird dream that happened somewhere in Asia (Japan possibly) - and when I got to the phone it had stopped ringing. Ah well, back to bed it is. 30 minutes later, it rang again and this time I was in time to pick it up. It was a colleague from work who asked if I could come and work a night shift tonight. I stopped working an early shift yesterday, will start nights on friday, so I said no. I can't just jump and work whenever I'm called upon.

Around seven I jumped on a tram the headed off to Antwerp to grab something to eat. I decided upon the always excellent wagamama, and this time I had a chili dish which was a little bit too potent and sharp for me, but then again I'm not a fan of really spicy. Food that is ;)

I also treated myself to the wagamama cooking book, with all those yummy recipes, so I can do some superb cooking at home as well. I stopped over at the UGC cinema to see if there was something interesting playing, and I noticed Hostel (the new tarantino) that seems interesting. However, it was only 20 minutes past eight, and the new showing wouldn't be til ten, so I went back home.

When I opened my mailbox I found a package coming from the USA. My Joanna's Angels DVD (by Burning Angel) arrived - I'll know how to spend a few hours tonight, grin.

Big Brother

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Today wasn't worse than yesterday, but equally hard I'd say. Busy, but I kept things under control, and got through the shift. I'll be glad when it's tuesday afternoon though! The next days and weeks promise to be very interesting and exciting but I'll write more as and if I can. After all, there are things I have to keep confidential, as that's a requirement in my line of work.

Sunday you call this?

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Even though today and yesterday were "weekend" I worked them both and they were much more exciting than any other normal weekday. Yesterday there were some technical problems that occured, but as they were scheduled, it wasn't too bad. We had extra people on site to deal with things as they happened, and in the end we didn't even need them. I bet though that I they hadn't been there, things probably would have gone up shit creek.

Today everything was happily running when we noticed some thing out of the ordinary and took immediate investigative actions, assessed the situation, made notes and reported to the correct channels. I can tell you that my stress levels rose considerably for a while, til my colleague and I got things under controle as much as it was possible. I hope to hear more tomorrow as things are investigated further and others make enquiries as well.

It was a busy two days, and I hope somehow that tomorrow - in less than 2 hours that is - will be less demanding.

Someday...

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I've been keeping myself busy with these things lately - especially reading up, comparing, gathering information, asking questions :

- Fedora
- Tor and #tor on irc.oftc.net
- Dell Poweredge 1850

Eventually, these things should go on the box as well (if I ever decide to go ahead and get acquainted with a *nix system, buy that server, get a colo, maintain it and get it up and running) :

- freenet
- Mixminion Type III anonymous remailer

NGC

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I blame National Geographic Channel for my very obvious lack of sleep tonight. I was flicking through channels and landed upon a documentary that was about to start. The subject : honeybadgers. An hour - or was it even longer? - later it ended and I've been watching it, amazed by these wonderful animals every second, every minute. NGC is soo addictive...

This is March

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When I looked outside earlier, it did notice a very dark sky approaching quickly. It just started snowing, but that didn't last long : it has become a full hailstorm now with little frozen drops bouncing all over the place. Wind has picked up considerably as well, so this may mean I'll have to leave early to work, so I can take traffic jams into account. I also have to fuel up the car and pick up some fruits and veggies.

Now I'm gonna reply to some mails.

Priorities, grin

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When I woke up this morning, I looked outside and noticed it was snowing. Snow? Was that predicted? Not to my knowledge, but hey, I may just have missed the announcement. Anyway, I stared out for a couple of minutes, taking in the impression of the flakes and thinking it all looked nice. Then a second though struck : "snow??? How will this affect my hattrick match later this afternoon?" I just checked and I think it won't affect the performance of my team, which I will be telling to play it cool (PIC) anyway, so I recover faster from last weeks MOTS against Lîch.

Off to walk through the snow now and get some bread.

Through the lens of my phone

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Aquatopia - Fishy Aquatopia - Loads of fish
Aquatopia - Impressive Aquatopia - Spikey!
Aquatopia - Colorful Aquatopia - Shark

Pisces on the tram

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I just finished reading my newspaper - I don't usually buy the paper version, but rather read it online - and I was especially interested in the election polls they published as I was one of the 1997 people they called during their research. Unfortunately, the future looks dark, not to say very dark.

Enough of that now, I'm heading off to test ride the newly opened tramline 5 to the center of Antwerp, where I'll then visit Aquatopia. I was planning on going sooner or later, but this months promotion (free entrance for Pisces) is an excellent opportunity to go today. I just hope the real life visit of Aquatopia is better than their website, which needs some manual tinkering to enjoy in Firefox. Some people just never learn, do they?

Review : The new tramline is pretty nice. Less to see though, as it travels underground for a large part of the journey, but faster to get to your destination. It was very crowded, but I take it is due to the weekend, the fact that it's the first day it's running and no one had to pay to use it today. The old line 12 used to be crowded as well, but even with the new and longer wagons on this line it was difficult to squeeze everyone in. To be reviewed again on a weekday.

Now, Aquatopia... I was in and out in less than an hour, and I found it 'interesting but disappointing'. Crowded, small and thus hard to get past people that blocked the pathways for minutes. Kids - and there were lots of them - found it fascinating though, so I suppose I just wasn't captivated by the magic it must have. I got in free, yet was disappointed. What if I had paid 12,5 euro to zip through it? I made some photos with my mobile phone, they'll be posted in a future entry - mobile phone photography blogging is the new black, ain't it?

I walked in the sun today!

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I got up this morning around ten, and opened the curtains wide to let the sun in. It's been a few days since I've seen any sunlight up close, so it felt good and I suppose I needed it as well. In fact, I even forced myself to go out because I wasn't feeling like it, but I did anyway. Saturday morning there's always a market out in the square, and I walked over there, in the mean time getting some more fresh air and sun, and seeing some people besides the colleagues at work.

I should have known better than go to the market while hungry, but I did and that resulted in getting a hamburger somewhere before I continued my stroll. I got some french bread (a really long baguette if you have a hard time imagining what it is), a bunch of different cheeses (brie, port salut, chaumes and something I don't remember right now) and while browsing through some books I decided to pick up a Tom Clancy (contra-commando) and a Hägar cartoon book. It's not as if I don't have enough books yet, but none of those left are "entertainment" and I felt like something a little less serious now. There's only so much you can read in a year about improving the world, globalization, psychology, remote viewing and things like that. I haven't reached that limit yet, but for now, I need something else.

Off to have my nice cheese and bread meal now, while reading some Clancy.

This was my morning, how has yours been?

Mailservers are the devil

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Lol, helpdesking over the phone is so much fun. My dad just called me to see if I could figure out why his mail stopped working. He could still surf the web, so the link itself wasn't totally dead. We quickly went over some account details, but it all checked out, yet no connection to the mail server.

A telnet session to the server failed as well, even though I had no problem connecting to it, coming from an IP address that doesn't even belong to the provider my dad uses. When I asked more questions as "what caused your mail connection from failing" and "did you change anything lately" the answer I got at least gave me a clue : oh yeah, I used some tune-up utility to get rid of old crap and make my machine faster.

I told him to have the program undo whatever it fucked up and then try the telnet connection again. There is little point in reinstalling his mailprogram if even a basic function like telnet ain't able to get a connection. His next computer comes with only webmail, I joked ;)

Groomed

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Showered, shaved, trimmed, washed, cut, sliced, diced, brushed, and inspected : ready to date. Ow, wait.

Crap. Work.

Home

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I just got home safely after it has snowed quite hard all night long. Elsewhere in the country the situation seems much worse with already 15 accidents happened in the French speaking part of Belgium. The highways were drivable as long as you stuck to the right line, yet there were some rascals that sped on the left lane as if it hadn't snowed at all. As if the 5 minutes - if that much - gained can make up for the time lost when getting involved in an accident. Fools!

Off to bed, as soon as I've finished setting up my team for today's friendly HT match against S.C. Mariaburg. Go Red Hot Beavers!

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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