Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts

March 8, 2012

Make Kony famous

Watch "KONY 2012" on YouTube

Act together on April 20th 2012 to make Kony famous and get the attention on him so he can be stopped.
26 years of child killing is enough...

December 23, 2011

Canada Photo Book

Downtown Toronto
The photo book of our trip to Canada is online available, if you're interested. We made 700+ photos and made a selection of 300 of the best ones. About 250 of those are in the book. It's a great book of a great trip and truly shows what Marianne and I did in Canada. One the best vacations I ever had!

October 31, 2011


I've managed to find some more time to work on the 700 photos from Canada. I had already made a selection with Marianne and got it down to 296 but these still needed editing and correcting. Out of these, I've uploaded 50 to SmugMug. The whole selection is going in a blurb book so we can revisit the trip any time. :)

July 14, 2011

Chesapeake Retrievers

I absolutely adore these dogs! :)
Chesapeake Retriever (Chessie). Cute. Loving. Active. Strong (willed). Like myself :) Haha
chesapeake bay retriever

May 9, 2011

SmugVault: Safe Backup

I just rescued 30 GB of important documents and pictures off of a friend's USB disk. I just want to point out that a USB disk is not a backup medium. It is not an archive. It is merely a spare copy of a (set of) files. A USB disk only stores what you put on it. If you don't refresh or update the USB disk regularly, it is outdated. And if your USB disk crashes, burns in a fire or get flooded with rain, coffee or water, you will loose every single file that's on it.

That being said, there are a number of ways to help yourself using USB disk to make copies but it will never be a true backup or archive without rigorous discipline and additional measures. So, please, store important documents in a trusted place online. If want to be sure, create a ZIP archive locally that compresses the files and encrypt the ZIP with a strong, secure password. Then, copy them to any number of places: DropBox, Google Docs, MobileMe or whatever. That way, when disaster strikes, you can access these media from your new computer or a friend's laptop and have all your important files back.

For pictures, being up to 10-20 MB each these days when you shoot in RAW, I recommend using SmugVault: Safe Backup. You can't use Flickr or Picasa because they don't store your original files (not without paying extra) and even then don't always accept your RAW files. Only PNG, GIF or JPG versions. That maybe sufficient, but make sure!

As I said, I just rescued 11 GB of photos off of a USB disk. Making a secure, trusted, online, archive of these on SmugVault would have cost my friend:
* 11 GB x $0.22 = $2.42 for the storage each month
* 11 GB x x$0.30 = $3.30 for the initial first upload of the whole batch
* $1.00 overhead charges each month

So having a reliable online and secure archival copy of all the pictures would have cost my friend $6.72 for the first month and $3.42 for each consecutive month. In case of the disaster (dropped USB disk), to download the archive again to a new USB disk would have cost: 11 GB x $0.50 = $5.61 as well as a few hours depending on download speed. But the peace of mind my friend would have had and no stress about losing all those pics would... have been priceless. Indeed.

April 28, 2011

Maffrecourt 2011

I spent a few days around Easter away in the Champagne area. The Manoir de Maffrecourt was our place of residence for 3 days. It have always wanted to visit the area this time of year for it's splendid scenery, views and colors. And of course the Champagne!

The Maffrecourt 2011 gallery holds my mobile pictures and is now also updated with my DSLR pics.

Update: Added 100 pics from DSLR to gallery.

March 14, 2011

Wedding Albert-Jan and Roos

They are now in Indonesia on their honeymoon trip but 2 weeks ago I shot the pictures for the wedding of Albert-Jan and Roos in Clingendael. It was a beautiful but chilly day early March and the sun was way to high, but I tried my best to get decent photos. Mental note to self: always use fill-in flash when shooting portraits between 12pm-3pm! It's a pain correcting the dark areas afterward.

Now I have 250+ photos left from the wedding itself and the reception. :) But they're not back yet... And Albert-Jan reads my blog. :D

Update: I've added the pictures of the ceremony to Smugmug

March 1, 2011

Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking

I really REALLY wanna get this book: Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. It's one of those once-in-a-lifetime books on food, science and biology. In other words: everything around cooking and eating.

January 28, 2011

Rooting the Nexus S

Today I rooted my new Nexus S Android phone. It's great. The Galaxy S hardware from Samsung is a dream compared to my old trusty Acer Liquid's Quallcomm Snapdragon. Sure, the Nexus S runs on 1 GHz compared to 768 MHz for the Snapdragon. But newer is better in this case. It also helps that Gingerbread (android 2.3) is optimized for the newer hardware.

However, I need root. I want root. I hate running into something cool and nifty, only to be stopped by a pop-up screen saying "Unable to XYZ, your devices must be rooted". So I did. Mainly to install the battery saving JuiceDefender and UltimateJuice. They make my smartphone last 2-3 days instead of just one measly day. Really!

So I tried my Windows XP laptop from work, but it wouldn't recognize the Nexus S. It found it, but then failed to find drivers. Turns out, the Android SDK supplies these. But that also needs the Java SDK (78 MB). A bit much for just drivers. So I tried my Mac Mini running Snow Leopard (10.6.6) and the Nexus S appeared just fine.

Now it took just a quick visit to ModaCo's Nexus S forum and I was done. Here is exactly what I did:
  1. Connect phone to computer (OSX for me)
  2. Download Paul's Superboot tool, unzip and have it ready
  3. Power off phone
  4. Boot to Recovery Mode (press Volume Up and Power simultaneously and hold)
  5. Unlock the bootloader (as Paul suggests, Recovery Mode says "Lock state: Locked") first: ./fastboot-mac oem unlock
  6. Phone reboots.
  7. When back in Recovery Mode, bootloader now unlocked (in red), run Paul's root script: ./
  8. Upon reboot, the phone is rooted automatically. Note the large unlocked padlock at the bottom of the boot screen!
  9. Done!

Want to check if it's rooted? Try an app such as setCPU, or simply open the app drawer and you should find an app called superuser...

January 25, 2011

Dorfchalets Kaprun at the Kitzsteinhorn

Just got back last weekend from a week snowboarding in Kaprun, Austria. I was invited to go with former colleagues who work at Oracle, whom I joined last year.

Our stay was great, even though it was fairly warm in the beginning (10C). Half way through, we were blessed with 30-60cm of fresh powder on the mountain Kitzsteinhorn. The valley was less fortunate, but up on the mountain it was heaven!

We stayed at a wonderful B&B in Kaprun, Dorfchalets. It is a brand new place with various separate apartments in varying sizes. From 2-8 people, I think. Very well equipped, free WiFi (at 8Mb!), DVD player and TV. Small kitchen and dishwasher and enough decent kitchen appliances and hardware. I highly recommend them, if you are thinking of going to Kaprun or Zell am See (just 5km drive). They even have a preview book made using using Blurb, that you can view online: Dorfchalets Kaprun Guest Information Preview.

Oh and if you are in the area, please treat yourself to a delicious and wonderful dinner in the restaurant/hotel Orgler. Great chef! Excellent regional dishes and specialties and friendly, attentive service.

January 14, 2011

Book: Turbo cuisinier/gastheer

I've edited the photobook that I made as a way to remember the great time I had during my course at the academie voor gastronomie last year. January 24th is our very last day as well graduation. I honor of that fact, I've made a few alterations to the book and added a few pages. You can still preview as well as order a copy of the book on Blurb: Turbo cuisinier/gastheer | Book Preview.

December 13, 2010

Wijncertificaat SWEN II

Yeah! Today I heard that I passed my exam on wine. It's a voluntary part of my course at the Academie voor Gastronomie in de Echoput near Apeldoorn. It is nothing big but a basic knowledge of wine-making and tasting, grape varieties and origins and stuff. Getting the SWEN II certificate qualifies me for starting a real Sommelier course, but I won't as it is truly insane on studying and takes a long time.

For now, I'm satisfied. I learned a huge deal on wine. From making it to storing it to aging and tasting. Different wine countries and their pros and cons. Classifications, styles, varieties, biological techniques for growing grapes and being more aware of the soil (terroir) and crops and its natural defenses. Amazing! I also learned of wine-food combinations and how to improve on either of the two with the other. My book will last me a long time because we hardly covered a third of it.

December 4, 2010

5-course Menu d'Aquitaine

As part of my exam at the "academie voor Gastronomie" in de Echoput near Apeldoorn, where I took a course all of last year, I have to create a 5-course meal with accompanying wines. At first I only had random ideas of things I like to eat or know how to make well. Then I had trouble figuring out an overall theme to the menu, something that ties all together. Then I could think of a theme or common idea but had no clue about the wines to go with the food.

And then it dawned on me: the region where my parent live, where we used to go on vacation when I was a kid and the Bordeaux region is sometimes referred to as L'Aquitaine region! So... that will be my theme. I can make canard from the Sud-Ouest where my parents are. I have the wines from that region, but also the Bordeaux-like wines from Bergerac. And I have the dishes and seafood I used to eat while on vacation on Ile d'Oléron with the fabulous Pineau de Charente. So I set out creating my courses and used seasonal vegetables of regional combinations and sauces that I like. And the result is on Google Docs. Sorry folks, it is in Dutch. If you'ld like a translation, just contact me. I'll be happy to explain. But wait until after Monday!

In the end, finding the wines was the hardest. What I did was decide on which type of wine would go with a dish and then I'ld search on Internet to find wines in that category, appélation (AOC, AVA) or château. It was surprisingly easy finding an actual bottle that matched my description. At first I had chosen the Bordeaux Clairet to go with the terrine of duck liver. But I couldn't find a good white Bordeaux to go with the "ris de veau". Until realized I could match the Clairet with the "ris de veau" and simply pick a good white for the terrine. I chose an AOC Bergerac. The red (La pie Colette) that goes with the "magrêt de canard" is one I actually bought and brought with me, after doing my intern at Restaurant des Deux Lacs last Summer. So that one was easy and fixed. 

Now wish me luck for Monday! And oh, I only have to make one dish, not all. I choose the Moules Charentaise and I practiced them tonight. Went well. Found a solution for the runny sauce. ;)

October 29, 2010

Armin van Buuren feat. Susana - If You Should Go

Isn't it ironic?
When I was at Armin Only! in Ahoy in December 2006, and Susana performed If You Should Go live on stage, I got chills and really enjoyed the song. I imagined what I would do if she really would go and leave me. Two years later, around the same time of the year as when I was at the party, she did just that. Isn't that ironic? Song still gives me chills though. Love it!

September 11, 2010


R.I.P. Freddy Mercury

September 2, 2010

Photos Rockit and Dance Valley 2010

I have updated smugmug with photos from RockIt festival in Utrecht and Dance Valley 2010. Both events were a bit rainy, notably Dance Valley, but because this meant that newbies and pussy fans did not come, only the true party people and dedicated dance fans remained, it was even better! Yes we got wet, but on a hot day you sweat loads too, so what's the difference exactly...? :)

September 1, 2010

August 22, 2010

Internship at les deux lacs

Well, my internship at restaurant des Deux Lacs (formerly known as "restaurant les Deux Lacs") turned into a little vacation as well. That is both good and bad. I had hoped to work full-time in a restaurant learn from that what it would like to have a place of my own. I know it'll be hard, but how hard? I know I will be tired but how tired? I expect a lot of things to have to deal with, but what exactly?

I learned some but not all of these things. I had a great time! I worked 4 days straight and was beat when they themselves went on their first vacation in 3 years. :) That gave me a pretty good indication of 'how tired exactly?'. :) The chef, Frédéric and his girlfriend, Magalie, and I got along great. Especially considering we'd only met briefly in May and for a second during times I'd had dinner there before. Fred and I worked well together as if we'd been working together for ages. I went shopping with him, something I love and he hates, so it was fun for both. Imagine going into a Toys-R-Us with a 5 year old: that is me going to food 'n delicacies wholesaler! I'll buy enough food to feed a transatlantic cruise-liner if no one stops me! But it is always infectious, so we had fun.

Lunch was all days nicely busy, dinner during the week was brief but perfectly timed. French people arrived predictably around 8pm and - this being a small town in a quiet area - left after their meal. Everything well executed. Weekends were different. That is when they go out, celebrate or dine together, and when they dine, they dine well. So we'd start the mis en place at 930am, have a quick warm lunch before noon, handle lunch, clean up, go home between 3-6pm, finish the mis en place for dinner, start dinner at 8pm sharp (not a second sooner, you barbaric Americans :) !) and finish the last desserts around 1030pm. Clean up, close up and have a supper ourselves around 11pm so we could drop dead in bed by midnight. Rinse, dry, repeat. Isn't that great!?!?

Needless to say I had a ball, but mostly the talking in French all day long, listening, searching for words, answering, stumbling over words and thinking was so grueling that by 9pm I'd be so tired, I'd simply nod, smile or say yes/no. Having to formulate a grammatically correct, meaningful sentence after working 8 hrs was simply too much effort by that time. :) And since he and I were "locked" together in the kitchen practically all day long, we talked all day long too about anything. Life, love, food, recipes, the academy were I'm doing my course, vacation, Holland vs France, TV, ads about this or that, travel, computers, Internet, websites (theirs sucks but I'll be working on that), produce, meat, fish, vegetables, DSL routers, WiFi and security, repeaters, Telcos, smartphones, iPhones, Android (they have an HTC Desire which they now adore after I showed them what mine could do) and so on.

But it was great! They gave me a culinary going-away gift packed with gourmand goodies and I was baffled. I took home wine, cakes, cantaloupe, duck breast fillet (canard) and cheese. And half of the fois gras we both made by hand. That's 500+ gr of fois gras de canard (not the gross, cruel kind, please, give me some credit!). And to top it off, Fred said that if I ever wanted to open a restaurant he'd be honored to work with me and offered to partner up together. Of course, it would have to be in France, but they are visiting The Hague in the Winter and maybe I'll be able to talk some sense in him. ;)

update: photos online

August 9, 2010

An introduction to my "cooking" course

I had been playing with the idea for a while already when the owner and founder of the Academie voor Gastronomie approached me and asked if I would like to help out. They had seen my pictures of each day in class and were wondering if I'd be willing to lend them for publicity purposes. They thought it would make a great promotion for the course and give a clear idea of what went on. I thought about mini-websites, blogs and other fancy shit, when finally ending up at a clean and simple solution: a book! Online for candidates, hard copy for classmates.

So I agreed and put together a Blurb book with pictures from the first 12 lessons and added some explanatory text. Check out the preview:

July 26, 2010

Moo Business Cards

Totally forgot about this until just now: Moo Partnered with Smugmug. MOO, a UK-based printing service prints business cards, Postcards and Greetings Cards based on one or more of your Smugmug photos. :) Given the partnership with Smugmug, you are assured of an excellent quality. Best of all, instead of choosing one photo for your business card, you can choose up to 50 and get a different image on each of the cards. :) For all of us who simply can't decide, a life-saver!

Update: I got them the other day and they're awesome! Very good paper, thick but not too much. High quality print, crisp colors and good feel. Recommended!