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March 24th, 2011

My view on the Libyan Intervention @ 02:45 pm

When the people in Libya started to go out on the streets and Khadaffi started to respond, I felt my blood run cold with the realization that the west, the USA leading, would again volunteer to intervene in an Arabic country.

In my humble opinion ever since the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan have clearly shown that any involvement by a pre-dominately Christian nation in the internal affairs of an pre-dominately Arabic nation is doomed to grief and misery: Afghanistan (twice), Iraq (three times), Iran, Yemen, and now Libya. And I'm probably forgetting several cases.

With Libya, the world cried out for someone to intervene and everyone agreed, then made doe-eyes at the USA and the rest of the western powers. And instead of asking the Arabic countries to get involved, the US, UK and France (and others) stepped up and got involved.

You can't convince me that the neighbouring Arabic country (two of which ought to be feeling close to their neighbouring rebels) can't find enough airplanes to match what the US, UK and France have been sending in.

My message to the western powers:
Stay out of it. Let others get involved and support them.
It doesn't always have to be you. It really doesn't.
The world does not revolve around you, it never has.


February 23rd, 2011

Amazon Kindle Pricing / Currency Trick @ 12:48 pm

Recently author Linda Nagata tweeted about a discount on one of her ebooks at Amazon for the kindle.
She named a price, but after following the link I was rather dismayed to see a higher price then she gave.
I noted this toher, but we couldn't figure out why that would have occured.

Yesterday I figured it out when I was looking at a $9.99 eBook, which was listed for $13.79:
I used a currentcy converter to see €9.99 converted to $13.66!

After sendig the link to the book to some people, I found out that people in the USA saw $9.99 on that page, while people from the Netherlands and Portugal saw $13.66 (or €9.99).

Which suggests to me that Amazon using the same price but a different currency.

Amazon's answer to my query was that the difference in price could have several reasons*:
[1] Publishers grant different eBook rights, which may include pricing.
[2] The initial publisher can set the price. The text "This price was set by the publisher"will appear.

* These are my interpretations of the email.

They also refered to the page "Using Kindle If You Live Outside the United States" (http://www.amazon.com/kindleinternationalsupport) which unfortunately doesn't say anything about this issue.


January 21st, 2011

Gerard de Geweldenaar (21 Jan 2011) @ 02:09 pm

Current Mood: sad

Mijn naam is Jan Hendriks.
Ik signeer altijd met JHG.

Als mensen vragen waar de G na de JH van Jan Hendriks opslaat dat vertel ik hen dat dat staat voor "de Geweldenaar".
En daarna dat het staat voor Gerardus, mijn peetoom.

Een aardige, vriendelijke, behulpzame man.
Grote fan van voetbal, zonder ook maar ooit één wedstrijd te hebben bijgewoond.

Pianosjouwer, magazijnmedewerker, koster, vrijwilliger.

Hij was niet de meest opwindende man, maar in mijn ogen toch een Geweldenaar.

Getekend, JH

**** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** ****

I wrote this post first in Dutch, since Gerard couldn't read a word of English in his life, so I thought it fitting to do so.
Also "Geweldenaar" doesn't translate properly into an English word starting with a G.

Gerard the Grand

My name is Jan Hendriks.
I always sign as JHG.

If people ask me what the G after the JH of Jan Hendriks stands for, I usually reply "the Grand".
Usually followed by that it stands for Gerardus, my godfather.

A nice, friendly, generous man.
Great fan of soccer, without even having been to a single match.

Piano mover, warehouse clerk, sexton, volunteer.

He wasn't the most thrilling person, my in my eyes he was a Grand man.

Signed, JH

January 11th, 2011

2010: An overview @ 08:29 pm

Current Mood: Tired/Depressed/Worn-out
Current Music: The Ledge - The Replacements

To get the basics out of the way:
- I worry. A lot.
- I'm a pessimist, an
-I din't like myself very much.

These things have had an impact upon all I'm going to mention, about 2010.

The year started of with lots of snows and low temperatures. Both which I dislike. Also, I worried that my house would suffer from the frost period.

February saw the annual, although maybe last, family trip to an holiday park over Carnaval. We started rhis tradition back when my brothers kids were young and my parents wanted to escape the yearly alcohol-imbibement festival.

In recent years we stayed close to home due to my father's increasing infirmity. This week is usually filled with socializing with my kin and playing (too many?) games.
Keeping up this level of socializing, whilst sharing a room with an irregular sleeper, is tiring for me.

March saw the highlight of the year for me, when I and two of my friends went to London to go see Satyagraha, an opera by Philip Glass. It turned out to be the best theatrical performance I've ever seen. Also, I love London, it's shops and musea. This year I 'discovered' the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

During May and June plans were made to swap my job for another one, although at the same company. Some higher echelon managers started to panic at this, but the transfer was deemed too important for myself. The transfer was set for October, which left September free for my summer holidays.

Then the end of June came and my year crumbled into despair, when I received the call that my dad had suffered a stroke. Physically he pulled through quite well, but his existing infirmity increased. Probably because he spend months in bed or is wheel chair. To which he is consigned for the rest of his life. Mentally he suffered worse, culminating in a meeting with my dad, his medical staff and my brother and myself. This was not a fun meeting; very intense and emotional.

The rest of the year saw me visit him a lot, eiher at he hospital, the rehabilitation clinic or lately at the nursing home.

At work, my transfer moved forward to September, and with my brother's holiday in August, that meant no summer holiday for me.
In September I started training for the new job,which forced me to work 5 days per week instead of my normal 4 day week. I was able to keep this up for eight weeks ( with one Friday spend hurrying around Spiel ), but after that I switched back to 4 days. Note that my commute is three hours. Four during the first two months.

At the beginning of December I left work, only to return today. The first week was mostly spend dealing with dad-related issue and installing my new PC. The second calling around in a blind panic, because my dad needed to a place at a nursing home, which have long waiting lists and time was short. The third week was spend preparing for his move to the nursing home: one nursing home had a room free earlier than expected....
The fourth week ( and fifth, but that's a 2011 week ) was spend clearing his old apartment.

But I also managed to get some time to myself. I planned a three day trip to a friend of me, who decidedto celebrate his 40th birthday ( my 45th, btw ) on the 30th of December at his house in Germany. Due to a misunderstanding I though he was celebrating it on both the 30th and the 31st ( our birthdays ), but he and his family were gracious enough to entertain me on the following days too. Dear, dear friends.
Too bad, people kept calling me about my father even in Germany.

- diabetes: up and down, and lots of appointments cancelled due to training and my dad. I kept worrying about my eyesight, but the overdue annual checkup turned out just fine.

- physical: I haven't done any serious exercises since my dad's stroke, so I assume it is not that great. At least I'm not dead yet. Nor blind, or handicapt.

- mental: As previously stated I'm never far from being depressed, but the second part of 2010 saw me often near the breaking point. Friends, family and the lessons I learned during my major depression some years ago helped me not to break.

I rediscovered that me and my brother can get along just fine, without any altercations during my faher's illness.

I owe a debt of gratitude to my friends for keeping me sane, or at least as sane as I can be. In person, at work and online; gamers, authors, designers, collegues and other riff-raff. Thanks.

Unfortunately, due to my training and my dad, I had to tone down my work for Steve Jackson Games, both as MiB and MBT member. Hopefully 2011 will see improvements.

That's it for now. Feel free to comment on this post. I might even answer any questions you might have. Like best book, movie and such.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.


December 24th, 2010

Main Mode of Transport @ 09:42 pm

Winter 2010-2011
Originally uploaded by JHG Hendriks

This is my main mode of transport.
Up to 10 km; 20 if I feel restless.

It's a bit tricky to ride in the atypical amounts of snow that we have had.
Luckily bicycle paths are a higher priority for gridding then roads are.

The yellow bag is a typical Dutch shopping bag.


December 17th, 2010

Car on fire due to a blown fuse @ 02:26 am

Car on fire due to a blown fuse
Originally uploaded by JHG Hendriks

Warning: the car's horn is LOUD. VERY LOUD. Especially at 2am

Few pyrotechnics, though.
First to arrive was the press, followed by the police and the fire brigade who went to the wrong address at first. But did an excellent job.


December 9th, 2010

Parental Update & Such @ 12:16 am

location: Home
Current Music: Paula Cole - I Don't Want To Wait

Two weeks ago we were told that my father's physical abilities will be improve much more than they are today.
This means that he will be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of his life and will have to go to a nursing home.

This didn't come as a big surprise as his health (especially his strength and coordination) was failing him before the stroke anyway, although it was disappointing.

To understand what the option open to us are my brother made an appointment with the care helpers today.

We were given to understand that we were rather late at starting to process of placing him in a nursing home due to long waiting lists. This came as a bit of a shock to us, since it was the first time someone mentioned possible problems.
Due to it being rather late, and waiting lists being long, it might turn out that he could get a temporary (of undetermined length) place in any nursing home which has a place available. And first place open is what he'll get, not necessarily in town, nor in the direct region, maybe not even in this province (although that seems unlikely).

On top of it we, or rather I, will have to phone up all possible homes to register my father on their waiting lists. And go to view homes to see if it is a good one for permanent residence.

And then there's his house. It will be need to be sorted out, and everything move out.
We are planning the two weeks around Christmas for that.

I think I failed to mention that last Friday my 5-week holiday was supposed to start.
Unfortunately, my work needed me to come in, and he last couple of days and the next couple of weeks will all revolve around my dad.

And here I was planning to go see places, buy a new computer, get my bike repaired, go visit a friend's birthday party in Germany, rest up and go back to work refreshed on the 10th of January.

However, with my dad's being evicted on the 16th that seems unlikely.

On a side note, I did already get an awesome birthday present from a friend (I wanted to write Best Friend, but I'm not that mushy): The D-Day, Battle for France compilation slipcase for Flames of War.

Also, yesterday on BBC 'scientist' showed a Christmas Happiness Equation were he told us that giving is an important part of happiness, so I was rather glad that I had ordered a nice birthday for a mate of mine, which I gave to him today.: The D-Day, Battle for France compilation slipcase for Flames of War.
I think he deserved it after he gave me a Flames of War Army Bag last year for my birthday.
I leave it up to the reader to guess what my gift to him was.

The only things left to ponder are:
21" or 27"?
Empty the bottle of Rivesaltes, or not?

November 28th, 2010

Dutch, Netherlands and Holland - My view @ 11:57 pm

Recently, somewhere, someone said that she didn't get the entire Dutch, Netherlands & Holland business.

My view here:

During the time of the Holy Roman Empire the people and the language in it's northwest region, which were known as Deutch. Over time this evolved in the languages Deutch (German) and Nederlands (Dutch).

The duchy of Burgundy was seperated into two part: the one around it's capital and a part at the estuaries of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt rivers. The parts around Burgundy itself was referred to as the upperlands, the far away lands at the estuaries the netherands. Similar to Upper and Lower Lorraine.
During the Dutch independence struggle the rebels called themselves "The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands" which later resulted in the "Kingdom of the Netherlands", the current name.

Of old there used to be a county called Holland (or wooded land) in the west of the country.
During the Dutch independence struggle teh county of Holland played a major role in the struggle, and after the dust settled the cities in Holland led the new country into it's golden age.
My guess is that this is why the name "Holland" became synonymous with country.

- As far as I know the majority of Dutch people doesn't know nor care that Holland isn't an official name for the country.

- Most Dutch folks will chant "Holland" at sports matches. I guess it's easier to chant than Netherlands.

- A lot of Dutch people divide the country into Netherlands and Holland as a means to deride others.
For example, for me, everyone north of the Meuse might be called a Hollander. While I might be called one by the inhabitants of Maastricht (far to my south) or Groningen (far to my north). I guess that people from Enschede would call anyone west of their city limits a Hollander.

Please ask.


November 12th, 2010

JHG (tm) @ 10:45 pm

JHG (tm)
Originally uploaded by JHG Hendriks

Ahhh. The perfect cup o' soup.


Does this bear look sinister? @ 09:44 pm

Bear with Me
Originally uploaded by JHG Hendriks

Or is it just me?