September 19, 2009

Blog moving house

In just a bit over a month, I will need to renew "". After thinking things over, I decided that this will be the last time that I renew this domain.

This domain name is a remnant of a time and place past. I reclaimed and used it, only because the domain name I have now was not available. Since registering, there is no real need to hold on to this old domain name, there is no intrinsic value in it, not any sentimental value.

As the first step in this process, this blog moved from to further steps will include disabling of the email capabilities between now and the coming 6 months.

If I decide to pursue any commercial activities in the future, I'll register another more meaningful domain name.

I sure hope this first change goes well.

September 15, 2009

Mistaken Relationship

A couple of months ago, I wrote how I had met this wonderful guy who  summarized all I have been missing in my previous relationships.

I just realized that I forgot to post any update on that.

I guess life wanted to teach me yet another lesson, namely that it doesn’t matter how many boxes someone ticks. Without love, it just doesn’t work.

There’s not much I can say about what happened. We had a wonderful time while it lasted. Unfortunately, it just didn’t last. Now we’re back to square one and trying to build a platonic friendship.

Having gone through the realization that it wouldn’t work, did cost me a lot of my self-esteem and caused some setbacks. But in the end, I had to remind myself that my happiness was not dependent on anybody but myself.

In no way am I saying that this was easy, it cost me a lot of energy and pain, but I’m getting there.

I do ask myself why I never learn. The thing is that, no matter how much I try, I can not enjoy being intimate with someone I don’t feel some connection with. I guess I must be old-fashioned or something.

This blog is short and has no real reason for being, just me rambling on a bit. Hope you liked it anyway.

September 11, 2009


It’s been a while since I sat down to write something to for my blog. While I had a lot to say, not much of it had any relevance for people other than myself. This last week I finally found something worth voicing my opinion about.

As a member of the couchsurfing community, I’ve been following a thread about whether we should tell our guests that we’re gay or not.  There are nearly as many different opinions on the matter as there are participants in this whole thread. This thread was started over a month ago and is still going on.

This had led me to ask myself my personal reasons for volunteering personal information or not. When do I tell someone my nationality, ethnicity, age or sensual preference?

It has taken me over a month to finish writing this blog, because I couldn’t answer abovementioned question for myself. I kept coming up with different answers for different situations.

In the end I remember something my mum taught me. I am who I am, and those who don’t like it can take a hike. This in no way means that I set out to antagonize. I still think it would be foolish to go into a highly bigoted country, or city, and rub my sexuality under their nose. The same goes for people. People who are very bigoted or highly judgmental, don’t go past being acquaintances.

By no means do I kid myself into thinking that alert people will mistake me for being straight, I’m too much at ease with myself to hide my true self. I *do* turn my head to look at hot guys, just like a heterosexual man would turn and look at the ladies.

On the other hand, I’m sure that this might come as a shock to some of my readers. I’d say, you have to be pay more attention to what goes on around you.

In the end, my conclusion has to be that you have to be yourself and don’t allow anyone or anything to pressure you into any uncomfortable situation. It also takes some courage, to get the hell out of dodge when things start going pear-shaped.

July 11, 2009

The planning of a trip

It seems my ordeal on the bus on the way to Dortmund wasn’t enough to turn me off. I just booked a return ticket by bus to visit another city in September. I must be crazy or a glutton for punishment. (wink wink, nudge nudge.) Actually I’m neither. I just don’t want to pay more than necessary for my travels.

In the past year, I’ve become quite adept at planning trips, at least in Europe. So how do you plan such a trip?

When planning a trip, I use three criteria to help me determine my methods of transport. Efficiency, cost and comfort.

Being my efficient self, I checked the duration of the trips and the amount of changes needed for each trip. Both the train and bus would take nearly as long at around four and a half hours. But if I took the train, I’d have to change trains. This made the bus more efficient. The only down-side is that the bus can get stuck in traffic. This leaves cost  and comfort to compare.

Not counting the mishap on the last trip, I think the bus wins on comfort. The seats are nicely padded and recline so you can have a nice kipper. Another issue for me as a lone traveller is luggage. On the bus, my luggage is stowed away so I don’t need to constantly keep an eye on it whilst travelling. Not needing to change busses, for this trip at least, means no chance of missing any connection. This translates into less stress. The air quality on the train wins on long trips. This is especially true if there is a window you can open.

Pricewise, the bus wins again. The cheapest fare I found with the bus was one-third the fare with the train. This leaves me more budget to spend in the city I’m visiting. I guess I can treat my hosts to another round of drinks. Here, I found no redeeming factors for the train.

The transport side of things taken care of, I needed to arrange accommodation. As I’m going to a couchsurfing meeting, I decided to hit the couchsurfing community and try to find a host for the duration of my stay. I was pleasantly surprised when, in less than an hour, I found two couchsurfers willing to host me. Either I was very lucky, or the CS (couchsurfing)  community there is quite strong.

Where are you going? I hear you ask.

I’m going to enjoy the Braderie de Lille! Are you coming too?

You have a whole month to plan! ;)

July 6, 2009

Are you happy with your life?

I had a nice and enlightening phone call tonight. You know, those calls were you talk about anything and everything, trying to get more depth out of each other. In the middle of this call, I got dealt this curve-ball of a question. “Are you happy with you life the way it is now?”

Before answering this question, we have to define the idea behind the question. Did this person want to know if I’m:

  • contented and complacent,
  • happy with the way my life turned out,
  • or did he want to know if I’m leading a happy life?

I’m not willing to spend the rest of my life like this, in the same routine. I guess this means that I’m not complacent about my life. I want more out of life than what I have now. It’s not my life ambition to look back in 30 years and see a life spent alone, going from one “relationship” to “relationship”. At the end of the journey, I want to be able to say that I made a difference in at least 2 people’s life.

Am I happy with the way things turned out? Hell yeah! I mean, it could have been a lot worse. When I decided some nine years ago to migrate to the Netherlands, I had no concrete plan, no saving, no job and no place to live. What I have achieved so far, I’ve done it myself. With hard work and determination. There have been ups and downs in the past years, but I’ve weathered the storms so far, with help of friends (and family). I may be a stubborn bugger, but I know when to ask for help and when to accept that helping hand.

The biggie is: Am I leading a happy life?

Why not? I have a job I’m happy with. Have (good) friends and am in relatively good health. Why should I dwell on the things that can be improved? Like my late grandparents would say “every house has its cross.”

My belief is that  we need to take our lives in our own hands and at least make a real effort to change the things we don’t like. Not in a loose cannon kind of way, but by investing our energy in things that are worth our while.

I’m not a praying kind of person, but I find the Serenity Prayer to be a good thing to keep in mind.


God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference. …

June 30, 2009

Antwerpen, stad naar ZIJN goesting

Een tijdje geleden heb ik Johan belooft dat ik zijn tweede boek zou lezen en recenseren. Zodoende bied ik je de eerste recensie aller tijden op mijn weblog, tevens mijn eerste blog in het Nederlands.


In zijn boekAntwerpen, stad naar mijn goesting” biedt Johan Peters ons niet alleen zijn visie op Antwerpen stad en België, maar ook een blik op wat hij heeft moeten meemaken sinds zijn verhuis. Als migrant zijnde, herken ik vele van zijn ervaringen en de onrust en stress die bij zo’n stap horen.

Dit boek is als een gesprek tussen de auteur en de lezer.  Hij balanceert en danst als het ware tussen stereotypen, tegenslagen en route-beschrijvingen zonder zich mee te laten slepen. De schrijver boeit door persoonlijke anekdotes op te nemen in zijn schrijven, zonder al te persoonlijk te worden. Hij weet de minder leuke kanten zodanig te presenteren dat ze niet deprimerend zijn. Ik ben ook niet anders gewend van deze schrijver.

De voor Johan kenmerkende irreverentie, droge humor en doortastendheid komen weer terug in zijn schrijfstijl. Kortom, hij is een Rotterdammer. :)


Was er niks aan het boek wat ik minder vond? Jawel. En dat heeft meer te maken met mijn traditionele visie over boeken dan met dit boek zelf. Het is even wennen om emoticons en stukken uit weblogs terug te lezen in boekformaat.

Doen deze punten afbreuk aan het boek? Mijn antwoord daarop is een volmondig NEE. Johan’s schrijftechnieken geven het boek juist zijn luchtigheid.


Met “Antwerpen, stad naar mijn goesting,” presenteert Johan een luchtig doorleesboek, perfect voor een middagje in de zon (of een regenachtige middag.)

June 23, 2009

People with weak bladders shouldn’t travel by bus.

At least that’s the impression we got on the bus from the Netherlands to Germany. There was a toilet on board, but it seems they were hell-bent to keeping it clean.


Due to an operation as a child, I don’t always get advance warning when I need to “pass water.” So for me it’s important to have know where all the closest toilets are.

On a train, there’s always a chance of finding the toilet out of order, or flooded. But on a bus, they’re always nice, clean and OPEN. Not so last Monday.

I left home around noon so I could be on time for me bus leaving at a quarter past one. I walked past the toilets at The Hague Central station since I went at home and didn’t feel the need.

Once on board and in route to Amsterdam, still no need. In Amsterdam I know where they have the toilets, but still no need. And so we continue to Utrecht, by the time we get there it’s been three hours since I last visited the facilities, but still no need. Twenty minutes outside Utrecht, I feel the need and walk the few steps to the on-board cabin. Only to find the door locked. Not a disaster, I think, all I need to do is ask them politely to unlock the door.

I get a rant in a language I can not understand about why I didn’t go in Utrecht, too bad he doesn’t speak English or Dutch. As if I would know where the toilets are in Utrecht. Anyway the second driver is so kind as to open the door anyway for me. As soon as I finish, he inspects the cabin and locks it again.

Three hours later, I feel the need again. Not wanting to hear the driver rant again, I decide to wait till somebody else need to go. And yes, an hour later, a young guy needs to go and asks if they could open the door. He doesn't come back, but goes back to his seat. A quarter of a hour later, another guy needs to go, but is sent back to his seat too.

Some time later (my eyes are swimming by now), we arrive at the bus yard in Essen and I see the portable toilets outside. Do they think of stopping so some people can have a bathroom break? No way! As nobody is getting off and no one is waiting, they just press on to Dortmund.


Once in Dortmund, I can’t tell you how grateful I was for the American fast-food restaurant they have there. It was €0.50 well spent.


If the trip back home is a repeat performance, I will have to start taking the train. It would be a pity as I like the bus-ride otherwise.


First of all, I’ve missed writing for my blog. And now I will try to set aside time to regularly update.

The past couple of months, I’ve been busy with so many different things, that I’ve lost all balance in my life. Not a good thing to do, but in the past 6 weeks, things have started to normalise. At least, as much as they can normalise for me.


DSCF3127 On the professional front I can say that one of the most influential projects we’ve been working on, has finally taken place. We virtualized nearly all our servers and moved them off-premises. It took a lot of thinking and planning, but it’s been worth it.

In my private life: I’ve met a guy that summarises all I have been missing on my previous relationships. From long meaningful conversations to just lying together quietly on the beach. It’s helped me bring my life more in balance. Whether this grows into something more than a good friendship or not, at least I’ve had a calm period to ground myself again.


I still have some big projects at the office and my different life projects are still on ice, but I’ll get there.


Next Monday, I will publish a long overdue review of the book “Antwerpen,  stad naar mijn goesting”  written by my ex-colleague Johan Peters. The book is in Dutch and for once so will be my blog.

April 2, 2009

On moving away, moving on and "going for it"

It's been a while since I sat down and took the time to write another blog entry. But the timing is right. A lot has been happening and a lot will happen. Today I have really been taking about how we choose to live our lives and what we do to make our dreams come true.

Professionally these have been the busiest couple of months in year, they've also been quite fulfilling. And once this years projects have been delivered, I'm sure I'll be proud of what I've helped achieve.
As always there has been a price to pay. I haven't had the enough time nor energy left to spent with my family and friends.  Some family members moved away, others passed away, but that's life.

Moving away

Eight and a half years ago, it took me three days to decide to migrate to the Netherlands. I bought my ticket, we packed up house and moved "away."  This coming April 15th, it'll be 8 years since I arrived here in The Netherlands in search of a better life.  Things didn't turn out the way we had planned, but if life deals you lemons, you better learn to make lemonade. I still haven't achieved what I had planned back then, but I'm still working on it.

Moving on

Many of my fellow countrymen, come to The Netherlands to study and afterwards the go back to the island to live and work. Due to the whole crisis situation worldwide, people are taking jobs when and where ever they can get them. That's exactly what my best mate just did. After having been unlucky for the second month in a row, he got a job offer back home. We're sad to see him go, especially since it was all rather unplanned.  He hardly had time to say goodbye on the phone to most of his friends. Even so, he's moving on and we all wish him all the best. I guess I better start saving so I can attend his wedding in a year or so ;-)

Going for it

Had a very surprising and pleasant encounter today with the "King of Lemonade." A man who could have taken the easy way out and just at home and demand that everything be delivered to him on a silver plate. But he didn't and he doesn't. We used to work for the same organisation and I always admired his drive and his will to be a lot more. Journalist, writer, traveller and since may 2006 "gastarbeider" in Antwerp. Leaving the known behind and getting to grips in a whole new world. He just published his second book called "Antwerpen, stad naar mijn goesting"
I got myself an copy of this book too (and made him sign it.) In the near future I'll let you all know what I think about this book.

March 9, 2009

The devil you know?

The Netherlands Antilles is being dismantled. After years of feeling bullied by Curaçao, the other islands have decided they want out and to have their own position within the kingdom. The negotiations are going on steadily and all parties are trying to get what’s best for them and for their islands.

Nonetheless, every time they grumble they are reminded that THEY chose for this process and that most of the money is being put up by The Netherlands.

Reading the news about how this whole process is going, I ask myself if they shouldn’t have stayed with the devil they knew.

February 10, 2009

Godspeed and welcome back.

I’ve been quite busy with work this past month, maybe as a way to keep myself busy and to try and forget. Well, it’s not working. How can you forget someone who’s loved you so dearly for so long. Someone who’s always been there for you?
One of the sad facts of life, is that children don’t appreciate what their parents are trying to teach them until we’re old and (hopefully) wise. Growing up, I remember all the fights with my grandmother. I remember being mad at her. Pressuring my poor mom into taking me to live with her, even if she could neither afford it nor had the space for me. I can’t but imagine how much my rejection must have hurt her. And even so, she took my back with open arms when it didn’t work out. I stayed there for another 5 years, before moving out, but never leaving her.
This lady, whose wings sheltered and protected me for 17 years, passed away. Yet she never left me. She’s in my heart and in all the wisdom she passed on to me.
Different people, teach us different things in life. Sometimes we don’t realise this until it’s too late to say thank you.
Say thank you to those around you who make a difference in your life. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
The closing lines from Garth Brooks’ song “If tomorrow never comes” says:

So tell that someone that you love
Just what you're thinking of
If tomorrow never comes.

I think that’s sound advice.

February 5, 2009

Choices and paths

Or should I call this just mid-life crisis?

All through my life, I’ve stated that I don’t regret any choice I made nor any path I took. And deep down I still believe that I shouldn’t regret choices I made. Those choices, and there repercussions made me the man I am today. We learn from every step we take and from every choice we make in life. I will apologize to people who got hurt in the process but I can’t honestly say that I regret the choice, only that (not so) innocent people got hurt in the process.

As I’m reaching the age at which I’m finally allowed to have a midlife crisis, I look back and ponder all the things I’m “missing” because of choices I made in the past.

When I go on social networking websites like hyves, LinkedIn, and face book and I see (old) friends and what they achieved and I ask myself why I didn’t make the same choices. The same is true vice-versa. People see what (little) I have achieved and say they would like it too, without pausing to think about the price I’ve had to and am still paying.

Before we go envying what others have, we should ask ourselves: “Do I want to pay the price they had to pay to get what they have?” I remember the wise words of my late grand-mother: “kada kas tin su krus” (every house has its cross to bear.)

I for one, will choose to have wandered my own path. On the path of life, only our starting point is pre-set. We make our own path by walking (Cantares, Antonio Machado)

If you think that the paths others take influence our own path, you’re quite right. But even then, it up to us, to choose how we react to these changes. Sometimes we choose the easiest road and forget that it’s not always the best road on the long run.

And yes, in the macro-vision of the world, we can’t always directly influence the overall picture of  our life. But I believe in the grassroots principle and in the butterfly effect, whatever we do on a small scale, will eventually influence the big picture. I feel compelled to believe it. Without that belief, life just wouldn’t be worth the effort.

So my dear reader, I challenge you. Go out there and think small in order to make a BIG influence. But think about more than just yourself, don’t forget that your lot is influenced by the lot of people around you.

And if life deals you lemons, you pretty damn better learn to make lemonade.

January 27, 2009

When it rains…

It frigging pours!!

Just imagine this:

  • you start work 8:30
  • it takes you
    • 45 minutes to an hour to get to work.
    • 30 minutes (at least) to wake up and ready

What do you think happens when you wake up at 8 am in the morning on a working day?

Well, I get up rush to the train station and get tickets in time for the 8:32 train… And the fucking is delayed. Not only was this train delayed, the next one too.

In the end, I end up rushing in 45 minutes after I was supposed to start working.

All because I didn’t hear any of my alarms go off.

Maybe I should just tape one of them to my forehead ;)

Today I just wanted to rant a bit.

Blogger Labels: tardy,delay,train,rush,work,station,wake

January 26, 2009

Think and choose

These past days, I’ve been trying to write an article about an issue that’s near to my heart. I’ve been trying to write about so called “Freedom of Speech” but without real success. During this process another I stumbled upon a question that has to be answered first.

Should it be freedom of speech or should it actually be freedom of thought?

As individual human beings are entitled to our private thoughts. It’s when we plan to share these thoughts with others that we have to stop and think about the influence these thoughts can have on them. The more influential we (think) we are, the greater our responsibility to stop and think before we speak. Think before we act.

Sometimes, when I read or listen to the rhetoric of politicians and other people who adjudicate themselves the right to speak for others, I ask myself if they ever pause to think about what they are communicating.

Populist and xenophobic rhetoric has always been part of human society. As individuals and as nations we are inherently self-centred. Even as a race we humans are self-centred.

It’s always:

  • me against them
  • we against them
  • our kind against those people

We often times have gone as far as to say things like “If you’re not with us (me), you’re against us (me).”

What sets us apart from mere animals, is our ability to think through our actions. In the course of history, our darkest moments were when we willingly refrained to listen to that last vestige of humanity called decency. How can we expect the human race to survive when there is not a lot of humanity left?

The myth of Pandora’s box states that the only hope was left in the box. I think that the first two that flew out the window were decency and humanity

And when we willingly choose to act out on our thoughts, we must be decent enough to realise that we can and will be called upon them.

We live in time of reactionary, knee-jerk rhetoric that I find quite scary. Not only the fact that that our so-called spokespeople are spouting such things, but more so that so many people seem to agree with them. The fact that once again we as a society choose not to think through our acts.

As with Pandora’s box, there is still hope for humanity. The hope that as humans, we all will demand that all these so called spokespeople be called upon to stand for their unthoughtfulness. Let them be called upon their lack of basic decency, for willingly wanting to plunge us once again into our darkest and most shameful periods.

- an ye harm none, do what ye will -

January 24, 2009

Too much information?

If we are to believe everything we hear, computers are the best thing since man discovered how to make fire. And the internet is the best thing since sliced bread. But is this really so? Has humanity change for the better since the discovery of these powerful twosome?
As an IT-professional, I'm supposed to wax lyrical about how the IT really helped humanity. But it's not a view I blindly share.

The influence and the possibilities offered by the Internet can be equated to those of the printing press and moveable type. It allows for the interchange of ideas on a global scale. The accumulation and processing of huge amounts of information. But, just like books could be knowingly printed with false information, the internet can also be manipulated. In fact, the information available on the internet is constantly being edited, filtered or tampered with.

Through the centuries, we have learned to question and weigh all the information we find in print. But with the advent of this new method for mass dissemination, it seems like humanity is growing more and more gullible. It seems that we get fed the information so fast, that we are unable to process it, to weigh it on it’s value. All we have time for is to just consume the information. We take so much on face value and stop thinking. Unfortunately, this seems to be bleeding into other areas of our lives too.

The Internet is also reshaping the way we communicate. Nowadays, we can communicate faster then we have ever been able to. Making it far too easy for us to say things that we will surely regret later. A letter could always be put aside to be reread later before sending. While using our email programs, very few of us save an email as a draft and reread it before sending.

When used responsibly and thoughtfully, these new means of communication can be highly useful. We should just remember never to turn off our minds when we press that button to turn the computer on.

Just remember my dear reader:
There is no light without darkness and there is no up without down.

January 21, 2009

Presenting Cabubu

Today, I'm going to use this space to shamelessly plug the band of a good friend.

In my July 12th 2008 blog, I already posted about the band Cabubu. Now I have more news about this band. They will be having a series of performances in Rotterdam. If you are in the possibility, come and listen to them.

The different dates are:
Singer Sweat Shop, HGH
Hoogstraat 170 around the back

Beukelsbrug cafe' [try-out]
Beukelsweg 9a

Café de Santekraam
Van Speykstr. 194

I’ll do my best to be there as much as I can.
See you all there.

January 20, 2009

Goodbye sweet grandma

We're born, we live, we love and we say our goodbyes. No matter how much we theorise the cycle of life, death is always a shock. Loosing someone we love is never easy.

Most people say that mother there's only one. They are wrong. When our parents couldn't, you stepped up to the plate and raised many of us as your own children.

On the 6th of January 2009 around 9am EST, the dreaded moment came. You went to be with your sons, daughter, brothers, sister and your beloved husband. We were left without our matriarch, a family without a leader. Your life was not in vain. You leave behind a big legacy. You and Tai had 13 children, 26 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and 7 great-great grandchildren.

Many more mourn your passing. Many went to pay their last respects. I couldn't be there, but our goodbyes were already said, kisses already exchanged.

Dear mai Chola, a few days after your 84th birthday we said our goodbyes. We both knew it would be the last time we would ever meet. I'm really grateful we got our chance.

You might be gone. But you will never be forgotten.

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