Saturday December 24, 2005
Yesterday, we did a 22.5km hike. More than half of it was over old, mediaeval quays. Since we have had a lot of rain the past weeks, the quays were very muddy, which made that the hike was a lot harder than it usually would be. But it was all worth it. We say thousands of birds, swans, ducks, several species of geese, common coots, great tits, birds of prey and more. Surprisingly many considering the season. Beside birds, there were rabbits, hares, sheep, and hunters. And we came across some lamas
The weather wasn't too bad for hiking. About 7 C, light wind (mostly from behind). No sun though. We didn't encounter any other hikers.
We will do this route again; probably during spring or summer, to see the differences.
Wednesday December 21, 2005
With my SO out tonight, I set down with my cookbooks and drew up the menu for Christmas. Here's a preview.
- We'll start with a green salad with dried sausage, raw red onion and an apple syrup dressing.
- Followed by banana-chili soup.
- Next course are feta (Greek cheese) pastries with caramalized red onions.
- As an 'amuse', quail eggs with three different types of salt.
- For the main course:
- Quail with chocolate sauce.
- Potato shells with chestnuts and mashed potatoes
- A fennel and apple salad.
- Walnut pastries with icecream.
Tuesday December 20, 2005
My Christmas break has started! I have vacation for the rest of the year. Things to do the next 11 days:
- Sign the contract of my new employer and mail it back. Take care of some more paperwork.
- Clean up my desk.
- Finish the Christmas dinner menu. Shop for the dinner. Prepare dinner.
- Survive Christmas.
- Visit the sauna.
- Read books.
- Shop for a new phone, new camera, hometrainer.
- Plan New Years Eve dinner. Shop for it. Prepare it.
- Beat my friends mercilessly while playing games at New Years Eve.
- Sleep. Lots of sleep.
- Go to the cinema.
I figured that I since I never had goose before, it would make an excellent Christmas dinner. So I informed at the local shop. "Very hard to come by this year. We may have two by Friday. And it'll be 24.95/kg". I guess the goose has to wait till another year. Quail it will be this year. Found an interesting looking recipe - quail with a chocolate sauce.
Monday December 19, 2005
Starting Feb 1, I'll have a new employer. I had two job offers to choice from. One job involved Perl programming, the other system administration (Linux/Solaris/AIX) and database administration (Sybase/Sybase Replication Server). Guess which job I took? Right, the system admin job. Right in the middle of the centre of Amsterdam - a city I absolutely loathe. There are some book stores with a decent selection (well, 'decent' for a Dutch book shop, their selection is dwarved by even the smallest Barnes and Noble) nearby though.
Book review: "Op dun ijs"
This weekend, I finished the book Op dun ijs, het verhaal van Peter Mueller
(On thin ice, the Peter Mueller story). Peter Mueller is an American speed skater and coach. The book tells the story of his (ice) life, first as a speed skater (he won the Olympic gold medal on the 1,000 meters in 1976), then as a coach. As a coach, he started with small countries like Austria and France, then moved to the Netherlands, first as a coach for the national team, later as trainer/coach for one of the commercial teams. Nowadays, he's trainer/coach of the Norwegian national team.
The book lets Peter kick against anything and anyone that crossed his way. For Peter, there are only two kinds of people in this world: people that are loyal to him, and bitter enemies that backstab him. There doesn't seem to be a middleground, and unfortunally the book focusses more on negative things than on positive things. The book is interesting in the sense that it lets Peter do all the talking - but that's also the greatest weakness of the book. A lot of accusations are made, but there's no room for anyone else to tell their side of the story.
Recommended for anyone interested in speed skating. The book is in Dutch, and I doubt there will be an English translation. But outside of the Netherlands, and possibly Norway, who's really interested in this sport?
Friday December 16, 2005
I bought two new books yesterday.
100 mannen (100 men) by Mart Smeets. Mart Smeets is a Dutch sports commentator, with cycling as one of his specialists. This books contains 100 short articles, about 100 different cyclists, who all have in common that they participated in the Tour de France. From Djamolidin Abdoujaparov (did you know he has a band named after him?) to Alex Zülle. (EUR 1.99 at some discount book store)
The other book I bought is the Dungeon Master Guide II, for the Advanced Dungeon and Dragons game. (EUR 39.95 at the American Book Center)
Thursday December 15, 2005
So, here's that job description....
Some recruiters are weird. I'm looking for a new job, so I have to deal with them right now. Most of them are pretty OK, but some.... Today I was contacted by a lady, and she send me a couple of job descriptions. All in different formats. Plain text (good, all that's needed is hitting the return key before column 80), word (yikes), and, JPEG! One job description spread out over three different JPEG images.
Wednesday December 14, 2005
"In Her Shoes"
We saw the movie In Her Shoes
tonight. It certainly wasn't a bad movie - if you want to see a movie without action but with character development (and some romance), I can recommend this.
Just make sure you're not sitting in the neighbourhood of a flock of teenage chicks who can't eat candy without making a lot of noise.
Tuesday December 13, 2005
Today I got the results of my latest blood test. All figures were in black (which is good, red is bad). Most important value (for me), HbA1c
or GlycoHb, clocked in at 5.9%, which is quite good.