Looking at that mangled mess when I drove by hit me hard and really got me thinking. About how short life is and how it is over an an instant. The burnt out frame of distorted metal had been blackened so badly that it barely resembled the automobile that it had once been. The driver flamed into non-existence without a chance. You see, one moment you are there and one moment you have disappeared, perhaps one last instant of awareness just before the inevitable happens. I could not stop and think much about the event and just continued with the regular flow of traffic onward to who knows where.
For those of you interested in exploring the coast of California, that wonderful sunny state where I grew up, check out the California Coastline Project web site.
Highlights for me were the following hotspots:
You can click along the whole Californian coast and discover the rest of the pictures yourself. Have fun!
A couple weeks ago I placed an open advertisement (plea) in the Dutch Werk.nl web site for the unemployed folks who might be looking for my kind of work, e.g. e-business related activities. The volume of responses is unexpectedly huge, and I have been barely able to keep up with them all and still respond in a personal way. Here is the text I chose to use:
I'm looking for enthusiastic e-business visionaries who're ready to tackle the next phase in their careers.
If you are sick & tired of hanging around waiting forever with a WW-uitkering, unable to find work, then this might be right for you.
Take the challenge with me. Develop & fine-tune a product portfolio for e-business solutions. These tailor-made, total solutions are geared towards improving business processes of organizations wanting to sell products & services via Internet.
MISSION: to enable & facilitate e-business opportunities for service- & product-oriented organizations through measurement, analysis & process improvement.
As an upstart company I have NO FUNDS yet to hire. I'm open to discussing creative compensations with you. Bring in projects & financial rewards are aplenty.
Why sit around doing nothing when there is so much to do? Who knows what the future will bring!
Don't worry, mijn nederlands is goed genoeg.
Note: The use of the ampersand (&) in place of "and" was needed to get the length in characters below the maximum allowed. "WW-uitkering" is the Dutch unemployment compensation scheme. The phrase "mijn nederlands is goed genoeg" means "my Dutch is good enough" (so that I would not scare away the Dutch-only speaking folks who might not contact me because they were embarrassed about their English -- although most of the Dutch speak almost perfect English).
You see, right now I cannot really hire anyone, but I felt that there are so many creative and willing souls sitting out there bored stiff, that perhaps some would be interested in sharing my wonderful endeavors and helping me make a success out of it. Alot of people read over the part about me not having funds to pay a salary, even though it is capitalized (NO FUNDS). Wishful thinking I guess. So whenever someone emails me and/or calls the office, I make sure I repeat this clearly just in case, before continuing too far.
But there have been many people willing to talk and meet with me over lunch, even fairly high-caliber managers (believe it or not) who see some potential at least.
Well, it is alot better than just sitting around doing nothing and feeling sorry for yourself, don't you think?
The following picture was taken at the most recent general meeting of the Association de l'Escadrille La Fayette, Souvenir Thenault - Rockwell:
This is a yearly ceremony given to the fallen heroes. A speical thanks go to Claude Louvigné (front right of the picture) for being so kind to send me this great snapshot.
You might want to check out my special tribute to Kiffin Rockwell for more information.
You might be curious to check out the 13 Nieuports on display.
Now that summer vacation is approaching quickly, I gave in and let my wife trim off all of that excess fur of mine. You know, all that hair I have on my chest, arms, neck and back.
[An aside. I do not mind having so much hair at all, but it sure bugs the heck out of my family (for some strange reason). I kind of like the feeling of that flowing, grayish hair rising as a thriving bush above my chest and flowing forth from my open collar. Although the hair is curled inward and does not seem at first glance to be that much, if I pull at a single and random hair just right, one is amazed to watch the strand stretch taut at no less than about six inches.]
"You have got to get it shaved!" they keep yelling at me. "Alright, do it then," I succumbed to an attack I could no longer ward off. Wads and wads of the fluffy fur were sheared off in single strokes of the mad machine, butchered into non-existence, falling like globs of leftover spaghetti, on my lap and then on to the ground.
Now that I have been transformed into a somewhat acceptable vision of a father, I can feel better wandering around the swimming pool knowing I will not be embarrassing my family (too much). I feel relieved that through exercise and diet at least my last year's pot-belly has all but disappeared. Otherwise who knows what means would have been necessary to shear it off also at the last minute!
Right now, my upper torso is itchy, terribly itchy and unbearably so. It is driving me crazy, but in a few days it should get less.
It sure feels good to be sheared for good reason, I mean measure.
While I was taking a leisurely whizz early this afternoon, I was just minding my own business. I was standing there craning my neck so I could look out of the window above which was slightly ajar. When I heard a slight and quick tap-and-snap on the tiled wall to my left, I awoke ever so slightly from my reverie of whizzing. That quick tap sounded like a small pebble had been thrown in through the open window above me, coming right out of some dream world, and this tiniest object of objects had ricocheted twice before landing in the toilet bowl water right in front of me.
The ripples were spreading outward, and I bent down to look.
Upon closer inspection, I saw that the blackish pebble was not made of stone at all. It was floating. According to the laws of physics, a pebble would sink and disappear. And it hadn't. My mind started working and thinking and figuring things out, slowly but surely. Wait one minute! The thing was moving around slowly. There was a set of six tiny legs flapping around desperately in an attempt to turn the tiny pebble back over again. No it was not a pebble, it was an insect, a beetle kind of thing. A beetle. The little beetle had no hope in hell, and I could have flushed the toilet and put it out of its misery.
The natural thing to do, survival of the fittest, or not?
I decided that it was not the time for survival of the fittest nonsense, for something greater and more historical was in the making. Via this fluke of circumstance, nature had purposely challenged me. React you fool and do something, or else! So that is what I did. I ripped off a small section of toilet paper, reached down into the bowl, and lifted this tiny wonderful creature up and out of the ocean of water that was just about to swallow him up. Swallow him up forever and forever. And no one would have ever noticed. Except me, of course.
Who did this giant being think he was saving an innocent insect-soul for no reason at all? It was the beetle effect, that's what it was, the beetle effect. And it was about to make the biggest difference in the world.
Confused and wet and shaking all over, this beetle recovered very quickly indeed. Like nothing had ever happened in the first place. What had I done? The beetle was ready to jump off this throne of tissue right back into the ocean I had saved him from, but I wadded my fist shut to save him (again). I raised my hand to reach the window opening, shook the piece of tissue outside the window, opened my hand. Off he went, that little wonderful crazy beetle, the insect-soul.
I had saved his life, and the beetle would continue to do something. Something that he would have never been able to do had I not been awakened by nature's calling, challenging me to do something out of the ordinary. This might seem crazy, but it was not. That something the beetle was about to do would lead to something else and then to something else, on and on for who knows how long. The beetle effect, all over again. While not the first, I had made my mark within that sliver of time, and I had changed fate, all my own. Some day that new current of time would glance off of another glint of time and would come back to thank me with even more goodness.
Something small had changed and it would lead to something big, bigger and bigger.
[Note: The "Butterfly Effect" is the propensity of a system to be sensitive to initial conditions. Such systems over time become unpredictable, this idea gave rise to the notion of a butterfly flapping it's wings in one area of the world, causing a tornado or some such weather event to occur in another remote area of the world.]
By nature I am a very curious person indeed. You see, I love learning new things and am pretty much interested in anything that at least appears challenging and refreshing. The only problem is that there is a limiting factor called time which prevents me from splitting off into a thousand and one different personalities to absorb all this information.
Because I have been forced to live inside a single personality I cannot do this. Still I try and often get fixated and frustrated searching all over the place.
If I knew what information would lead to the best results then I could focus better on one area. But what area of knowledge is this? Some people just let it happen, but I need to know. Should I concentrate on what I think is the most interesting at the moment and hope that it leads to positive results in my life? Or should I wait before delving into one or more areas, do some serious research, and only after concluding which areas offer the highest chances then choose the most appropriate path?
The only problem is that even if you can successfully conduct exhaustive research you can never predict the future with one hundred percent accuracy.
So the best choice seems to me to choose what I think is the most interesting and hope it turns out for the better.
Isn't that how fate works anyway?
GishTeq extends its product portfolio by joining the partner reseller program of Gladior, the most successful Dutch company specializing in search engine optimization. Web site exposure is increased effectively, resulting in a dramatic improvement in the number of 'quality' visitors. Advanced optimization algorithms focus on search words and phrases on a per search engine basis.
More information can be found at the Gladior Product page.
Check out the news archive.
Over there a couple of meters from where I was sitting I saw a single Blue M&M poised ever so perfectly on the floor of the train carriage in which I was sitting. There it was right exactly in the middle of the aisle screaming for my attention. Amazingly enough, it appeared to be hovering perfectly in place no more than a fraction of a millimeter above the floor surface. Maybe it was even less than a fraction of a millimeter for all I knew.
As the train bounced and shifted from left to right or came to a stop and started again abruptly or initiated a slight curve, the single Blue M&M just stayed there in place. It did not move, it refused to budge. This was against all the laws of physics I had ever learned in school. You know, where it is a proven scientific fact that objects in accelerating and/or turning vehicles will succumb to the centrifugal forces of nature by flying off to the left or the right depending on the changes in velocity. The causal observer would have expected the Blue M&M to roll over to one side or the other, but it did not.
My mind was boggled in place, and then I realized that I was observing a miracle of which no one else in the train was aware. Yes, it was a miracle.
To make the miracle even more of a miracle, at each train stop where droves of passengers got on and off the train, passing along the very aisle upon which this vulnerable Blue M&M was located, not a single stepping shoe crushed nor even barely touched the hovering candy treat. That crazy Blue M&M just stayed there unharmed and unchanged as if it were always meant to be.
For the next thirty minutes or so, all I did was watch with much joy and awe this miracle of nature taking place. I stared and thought about how interesting it was that I had been chosen to observe this and no one else.
Finally it was my time to get off the train, but a couple hundred meters before the stop I got up early and ran over to the spot where the amazing Blue M&M was drifting in a frozen dimension of space and time. Trying not to be too obvious, I bent down nonchalantly, placed my knees on the ground and inspected the little miracle up close with peering eyes. The casual observer must have thought that I was in prayer.
No my eyes did not deceive me, though the Blue M&M was not exactly hovering -- still a miracle nonetheless.
What was really happening was this. The curved under-belly of the slightly flattened spherical shape formed a perfect tangent with the infinite flat surface of the train floor. A single dimensionless point held the two surfaces in tight contact, as if they had fused centuries before. The Blue M&M had been able to affix itself like a parasite, because of a random coming together of natural processes: moisture, gravity, shape, sound, the angle of light and the coming of time.
I was tempted to extract this little wonderful blue miracle from its throne, and I could have taken it home with me as a souvenir of my amazing experience. I did not because it would not have made any sense to do so. It was not meant to be.
All of a sudden, the train shuddered to a complete stop. The many passengers stood up to get out. One old man carrying a walking stick accidentally pushed me to the side when the momentum of his weight carried him forward due to the abrupt train stop. With his walking stick flailing in the air, he was just able to regain balance by absorbing his collision with my left shoulder, and at the exact same moment firmly stabbing the train floor with his cane at the correct angle.
That is when I heard the crunch and then the silence. Oh dear.
The rubber tip of the walking stick had come down "exactly" on top of the Blue M&M and crushed it in a millisecond. No it was less than a fraction of a millisecond. A perfectly thin two dimensional object whose length was approximately one meter and a half intersecting exactly a one dimensional point on the infinite surface of the train floor. The impossible had occurred, yet another miracle on top of a miracle on top of the first miracle. The innocent and unknowing Blue M&M had been caught right in the middle of this meeting of unequal dimensions. What were the odds of this happening, exactly at the same moment when my eyes were glued on the little blue sphere?
I suddenly felt nauseous as if I had witnessed a most terrible accident, a tragedy of human existence.
The tip of the cane raised up and it was true. Tears welled up in my eyes and my throat became dry. I could not move. The single Blue M&M which had been hovering perfectly in place for centuries upon centuries had now been flattened into non-existence.
I followed the old man out of the train, but I could not blame him nor have any ill-feelings. I could have saved that Blue M&M and brought it home as a memento, but I hadn't. That also had a reason.
Tomorrow would bring me to other more interesting miracles and amazing feats of nature.
Today is the last day before we set off on our three week long adventure through France, our long awaited for summer vacation. We have been looking forward to it for some time now, and while it may not be as exotic as our trip to America last year, it is a much deserved break which we will certainly enjoy to the fullest.
July 12 - July 13 : Nancy, stay over night in a Formule 1 hotel.
July 13 - July 18 : Murs-de-Gelignieux, camping Ile de la Comptesse.
July 18 - July 28 : Frejus, camping le Frejus.
July 28 - August 2 : Vesoul, camping International du Lac.
See you all in three weeks or so. Off we go...