Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snowed In


We can now consider ourselves as being snowed in. The VW Beetle can no longer leave or enter the parking garage, due to all the snow. And as for the Suzuki GSXR, heh heh... it would be a stunt worthy of airing on the jack ass show.

The first photo shows our apt building as viewed from the Burrard bridge. I marked our apt with a yellow arrow. The second photo shows the entrance at Beach Avenue. It's tricky to keep the apt warm, as it is electrically heated. I think I will add some insulation.

Also, Robbert's Xmas gift arrived today: a Digital Versatile Disc containing spoofs on Star Wars. That is pretty awesome Robbert... Thanks!

Monday, December 22, 2008

White Christmas

I am pretty sure that Vancouver will see a White Christmas this year. The roads are clogged with snow, and day-time temperatures are below zero. It makes driving in the city a tricky business. There are a lot of steep hills down town, and cars are struggling with it. Driving on the highway is easy, but all smaller roads are treacherous. The picture was taken with my iPhone around the corner by our office.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Beat the system: pre-paid iPhone 3G

I consider myself a Libertarian, yet some government laws I can only applaud. In Italy it is illegal to sell a cell-phone that is locked to a provider. In Canada, there is no such law protecting the consumers. This means that if you want an iPhone in Canada, you end up paying more than 3000 dollars in fees to Rogers in 3 years. And that is the best case scenario. It may end up being much much more.

Well, I am happy to announce: I beat the system! I got my iPhone from ebay, imported to the US from Italy. This means that my iPhone (the fancy white one with 3G) will work with any GSM provider. I now have a rare commodity in Canada: an iPhone that works on pre-paid vouchers.

I Sincerely hope that Rogers is punished severely as soon as possible for their nasty business practices. I did my part. I hope the rest of Canada will follow.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The bastardization of Saint Nicholas

Today, the downtown area was closed off by police for the parade of Santa Claus. Santa Claus is a big thing, also in Vancouver. Santa Claus has his origin in the Dutch culture, and is derived from Holland's Saint Nicholas. It found its way into American popular culture through the Dutch Immigrants in New York (or New Amsterdam).

It's a bit sad to see Black Pete replaced by an elf, and the white horse replaced by reindeer. Some interesting trivia: pre-war Holland only had one Black Pete. The Canadian liberators wanted to reinstate the festivities for the Dutch kids. When doing so, they decided to have multiple Black Petes, which is how the festivity is celebrated today.

I guess Dutch culture is a fluid concept. The quick assimilation of the Dutch abroad probably helped in replacing the Saint with Santa.

And on an unrelated subject: I am finally officially licensed to operate a motorcycle on the public roads of British Columbia. My third road-test was successful.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Selling

It's been a stressful period getting the game finished.But now SOCOM:Confrontation has finally been released. It had it's share of troubles in the first week, with many unhappy gamers. But both the servers and the game are being improved, which should make them happy again.

But it was a pretty proud moment to finally see my game on display at Wall Mart. And guess what... it turns out we are the biggest selling ps/3 game at the moment. Hoorah!

I still have to make some nice pictures of my new apartment, to share with the people back home. Hopefully this weekend I can make some. I moved in last saturday, and unfortunately missed my ground school that day. Tomorrow another ground school though. The first postcard I received at my new address was from Oma Stolk. On the phone she told me to say hello to Amy, from the Oma she has never met.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Housing Bubble, Credit Crunch

The housing bubble explained. Damn, this guy is good. Be sure to watch all 4 parts of this video on youtube. He makes some very valid points. And the facts back him up. I used to think that an Amsterdam house at the canals would have been the best investment ever. Yet, if you look at it over the long run, it's different. From the 17th century until now, guess what the price development was of these houses? It's exactly equal to the inflation rate.

Also, I learned what Negative Amortization is: very scary!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Aernonautical Navigation

Yesterday I had my second day of ground school. I learned to navigate and plan a flight. In aviation, the emphasis is on safety. This means that protocols are pretty sacred. It also means that the people in aviation are pretty conservative. They are unwilling to abandon their tried and proven methods.

That is why I am currently educated in the use of obsolete technology. And I am expected to demonstrate my affinity with technology that is so old, it predates world war II.

For example, consider Automatic Direction Finder, or ADF. It allows you to determine the relative direction between a radio transmitter and yourself. This technology is so old, only in the most remote parts of the world it is still used.

The successor to this technology is called VHF Omnidirectional Range or VOR. It stems from the 1950s.

Of course, all this technology has long been superseeded by a system that is far more advanced, far more accurate, cheaper and easier to use: GNNS. Everybody is familiar with the US implementation of this, called GPS.

Why burden young pilots with this ADF and VOR stuff? Surely, GPS is the tool to use.

Beach Avenue


Amy and I have found an apartment to house me, her and two cats. So my bachelor days of a single-household are over. I'm looking forward to living with Amy. Finding the apartment was tricky, because 9 out of 10 apartment buildings downtown have a no-pet policy. Yet, we managed to find something really nice. We'll be having the yuppie lifestyles with our new apartment. It is again on Beach Avenue, but this time on the other side. It is close to the Burrard bridge, and has a gorgeous view. Amenities are pretty special too, as there is a pool, a gym, a squash-court, a sauna and a hot tub, all in our building and free for us to use. We will be moving into 907 Beach Avenue pretty soon. And with two bed rooms, we will be able to house a guest as well. Parking will be pretty good too, as we get two parking spots, and a third one for visitors.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Charlie Foxtrot Whisky Alpha Pappa

This is your captain speaking. Today I had my first flying lesson in Canada. I had one in Lelystad earlier, in a Cessna. This time, I flew a Diamond DA20-A1. My instructor Aaron did the landing and take off, but I did the aerobatics (oh, ok, turning left and right, going up and down) and some taxying.

I signed up for ground school, which starts tomorrow. I had to choose between a private pilot license, and a ULV license. With the former you can fly to the USA, and take more than 1 passenger. However, I think that ULV will suffice. Also, the ULV craft that the school owns is much more modern: a brand new state of the art aircraft. So I think I will go with the Evektor Sportstar instead. Getting a license seems to be much easier here than it is in the Netherlands, and pretty affordable. The airport I will be using is half an hour drive from my home. However, CZSB is one of the busiest airports in Canada.

After 25 hours of flight, I hope to get certified, so I can rent a plane, and fly to the Yukon Territories with Amy. It will probably take some persuasion, as she is scared of small aeroplanes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Northern Sights

My friend Goran has took the time to put a selection of images up on his photo album. It gives a good impression of what we encountered at our epic road trip to Northwest Territories. I do not have a camera myself, so I think that I either have to buy one or build one. So far, I have been depending on Amy and Goran to document my trips. When I was 7 years old, I built my own pin hole camera, and had my own darkroom for developing B&W pictures. In my late twenties, I enjoyed shooting with a film based SLR. Everything was manual, and you had to keep logs of shutterspeed/diaphragm/lens of each photo you took, and only weeks later you could see what you did wrong or right.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Territories in the North West of Canada


Yes indeed! That little figure perched on the edge of the waterfall is none other than yours truly. Although I was nicknamed "Abel" after Abel Tasman the explorer, by my travel companion Goran.

Last week, Goran and I did a major road trip. We explored the North West Territories and some parts of Alberta. To do this, we drove more than 6000 km in 7 days. From Vancouver we headed east towards Banff, then Jasper followed by the northern part of Alberta. The trick is to top off your fuel tank every chance you get, as fuel opportunities are few and far between.

The weirdest thing happened in northern Alberta. As we did not buy an Alberta map, we went by a very coarse scale (1:1000000) overview map of BC which showed part of Alberta as well. Only major cities like Vancouver, Victoria and such were printed on this map. And also a place called "Steen River". If a place shows up on a 1:1000000 map, surely, it must be a sizable large community. Well, I just checked in google maps, it is not even listed there. I think it is abandoned, or maybe only inhabited a small part of the year. We had to backtrack to High Level to get more fuel, and a motel.

Canada is composed of Provinces (like BC) and Territories (like Yukon). One of the territories must have been so insignificant, they did not even bother to properly name it. It's name is simply "North West Territories". It's as big as the half of Europe, but with only 50000 inhabitants, many of which live in Yellowknife which was our destination. After merely one night in Yellowknife, our trip home started.

There are not many roads in North West Territories. The few they have are often littered with potholes, or just gravel roads. Some of them are winter-only roads, because they use frozen rivers as roads there. Transport of choice is the bush plane, or boat plane.

We took a side trip, over the Alaska Highway to Liard Springs. It was recommended by us by Brent, the owner of the Bannockland B&B we stayed in while we were in Fort Simpson. Fort Simpson was very remote, only reachable by air of ferry. The people have it hard here. There is a grocery store, but it did not have any fresh produce, other than some spoiled strawberries, and two carrots, imagine that.

Our trip was in the spirit of: "It's about the Journey not the Destination". And during our journey we saw some impressive sights and wild life. We encountered Bison, Moose, Cariboo, Wolves, Black Bears, Foxes and Squirels. Especially the Alaska Highway to Liard is of stunning beauty. Some call it "the arguably most scenic ride in North America". We tend to agree. And the locals told us: "Oh, you will be back, all of them do."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cell Mafia

Why is it that those stories about astronomical phone bills are always related to Canada? There is this 85000 dollar case, and now this 20000 dollar case. Man, this country needs a consumer uprising. It's because of stories like this, that I stay with my 25 dollar prepaid vouchers. The most an evil corporation can steal from me is 25 dollar.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

No turn on red

Damn! And again, I failed my motorcycle test. Here is Canada, you can turn right even if traffic lights are red. It takes getting used to for a Dutchman. However, turning right on red is not always allowed. In Richmond BC, I encountered this sign when doing my test. I failed to see the sign. On a positive note: doing the test is pretty cheap. I payed 50 dollar, which gets you: one car to follow you, one driver for that car, and one examiner that is a passenger in the following car. Two people, one car for one hour and it only costs you 50 dollars. Wages must be low.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Two way left turning lane

Sigh.... I failed the ICBC road test examination for my motorcycle license. I thought that I did very well, but the examiner disagreed. I did all the shoulder-checks, but he wants me to do the right shoulder check as the very last thing when turning right. Also, I did not use a two way left turn lane. Both were enough reason for a fail in their own right. This really sucks. 16 years motorcycle experience, two advanced rider courses, an "excellent drive" on my car road test here in BC, and still they manage to fail me. I'm convinced their driver training system is pretty broken. That's what you get if you give government tasks to commercial companies.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Patronising the Customer

The larger the corporation, the more disconnected it is with the customers. Take Suzuki for instance. Their patronizing attitude towards customers is very annoying. They sold me a top of the line sports bike. On paper, a 185 horsepower beast. In practice however, it does not come close to the Aprilia I used to ride in the Netherlands. Why is this?

Well, it turns out that not all GSX-R 1000 bikes are created equal. Those to be sold in North America have been neutered. This is probably because of the liability obsessed society. Now sure, I have no problem with a 300 km/h speed limiter they put on the North American bikes. It is unlikely I will ever hit the limiter. But then again, is a 310km/h bike so much worse than a 300km/h bike?

Far more worrying is what they have done with the ignition. To limit the power output in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear (the gears where you could be surprised by an unwanted wheelie), Suzuki changed the ignition timing.

Well then, a changed ignition timing. What is the result? A bike that runs rough, sounds unhealthy, picks up badly, and occasionally chokes or sometimes even stalls. It's very American to sell you the bad-ass hard-core image. But underneath, you have simply been sold an underachieving, rough running engine. Oh... and the icing on the cake: it will cause more polution, and use more petrol.

The Internet is the helping hand for the suckers like me, that got duped by Suzuki. It turns out that you need to fool the bike. By adding a single resistor to the wiring harness, you can dupe the bike's computer. It will think the bike is always in 5th gear. The 5th gear is the gear without any restrictions: normal ignition timing, and no speed limiter. The downside of this is that the gear-indicator on the cockpit always displays '5' or 'N'. I can no longer check what gear I am in.

Today I installed the Timing Retard Eliminator. And yes, it works. The bike is more lively, and picks up immediately. If you close and open gas, power is instant, where before it used to choke and sputter. This means that for tomorrow, I can do my motorcycle license examination on a proper sports bike. I'm pretty woried about it. It will be unlikely that I ace it, like I did my car license.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The youtube generation

Some people are so talented. In 1680 Johann Pachelbel composed his Canon in D. In 2005, a Korean kid named funtwo puts up his performance on youtube and hitting 46 million views. He does a very good Vivaldi's Summer as well.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Second Canada Day

Today, I celebrated my second Canada Day, together with Amy. It commemorates the forming of Canada. I got a paper flag out of it, both years. There are also ceremonies were new citizens are sworn in. Unfortunately we missed that one. Maybe one day I will be pledging allegiance to the Maple Leaf. Amy ate maple syrup on a stick, which is a traditional Quebec treat. I settled for Grandma Lee's sandwich.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Channel 9

Watching television here can be an ordeal. Euro 2008 games are broadcast live and uninterrupted fortunately. But other broadcasts are littered with a barrage of commercials. A nice relief from this is the public stations that are funded by private donations. I just saw a very interesting Frontline documentary on channel KCTS9. When googling for this station's name, I stumbled upon this hilarious video. It shows a pledge drive for the station. And remember: the station KCTS9 is on channel 9. Enjoy....

Monday, June 16, 2008

Where the Internet was born

I knew that the Internet was created as a defense initiative by ARPA, now called DARPA. What I did not know, is that the very first message ever sent over the network was from UCLA to Stanford. A student at UCLA decided to trace down the history, and find out what the actual physical location was, where the historic event happened. In what building, in what room, did it all begin? Room 3420 or room 3424?


Finding ARPANET: The First (Physical) Site of the Internet from Brad Fidler on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Nieuwe Blogger

Voor de reisverhalen van Bram senior en Els, kunnen jullie verder lezen door te klikken op Bram senior's eigen blog. Er is inmiddels een artikeltje gepubliceerd over Granville Island en eentje over het Maritime Museum in Vancouver. Veel lees plezier op http://bramstolk.blogspot.com.

Orange lion rides the GSX-R

My mother brought me a little orange lion mascot. It is now riding along with me on my crotch rocket, with the manes in the wind. I watched parts of the first game via sopcast. I must admit, I did not wear an orange jersey to work, but that 3-0 really got me in the mood for this tournament. Slant Six Games is very international, at least half the programmers here have a non Canadian background. This means that there is some interest for soccer here.

Road side entertainment

Last sunday, breakfast was interesting. While devouring the eggs and bacon, we had some nice road-side entertainment in the form of a Triathlon. It made up for those week long road closures around my building. A few weeks ago, Amy did some cycling in Stanley Park as well. In the picture you see her with our friend Slavica in the elevator, getting the bikes down to the street.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Geland in Vancouver

Tijdens onze succesvolle vlucht verrast met een mededeling van de cockpit dat NL met 3-0 gewonnen heeft.....geweldig zelfs de stewardessen in het oranje... dat is nog eens een voorbereiding.
We zijn nu in Bram zijn apartment en bekijken al zijn spulletjes... leuk hoor en een mooie buurt... alleen het regent nog al.

Ons hotel is hier 5 minuten lopen vandaan, we rijden rond in een Full Size Dodge...

Toen we onze bagage hadden en naar de uitgang liepen, stonden Bram & Amy ons op te wachten. Heerlijk, na een jaar elkaar weer te zien en heel fijn om kennis te maken met Amy. We zitten nu gezellig te kletsen en ik (els) heb natuurlijk de nodige vragen. Je kent dat wel van Rayman is laat...: wie is je vader en wie is je moeder? Nou Amy vertelde natuurlijk over haar Ned. wortels (haar moeder komt uit Wijk aan Zee, haar achternaam is Heusdens).

Groetjes van Bram senior en Els.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Safari

I went to Whistler on Victoria day. Victoria day is a national holiday, which means a Monday off. Whistler is a nice resort in the mountains, and will be a primary venue for the Olympics. It is a 90 minute drive from the city. While driving up the mountain, we saw a bear at the side of the road. This was my first bear sighting. It's pretty amazing to see, wandering around so close to civilization. In the city centre, just outside my apartment building, I got to see skunks, raccoons and squirrels. But the bear beats them all.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

24 heures du Mans

For the first time ever, a Dutchman won the 24 hours of le Mans for motorbikes. Congratulations to Barry Veneman. See the press release of his team. And what do you know... he did it on my bike! This means that the GSXR1000 is officially the fastest production motorcycle in real-life conditions.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Baseball bat

This morning I picked her up. I was a little concerned whether the insurance guy would let me register and insure it on my Dutch license, but he did. Convincing him that I am a very experienced rider, with 14 yrs no claim and 80 percent discount took more effort. In the end he would give me a 40 percent discount instead. Well, at least it is something. I had my Dutch insurance company make a statement in English on my history. Insurance is very expensive over here. Maybe because there are more accidents in Vancouver than in Amsterdam? With the discount, I still had to pay over a 1000 dollars per year for simple liability only. I bought two heavy duty chain locks. In addition to this, I bought the most expensive motorcycle alarm that I could find. It even has a 2 way radio connection. If someone touches my bike I will be notified if I am in a 1 mile radius. I will have to get a baseball bat or a gun to deal with the low lives that try to take away this baby.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Road Insanity

Oops... I did it. There is no sane reason for it. It makes no sense what so ever. It will be utterly unusable. It is an unnecessary luxury. But boy oh boy, what a magnificent machine. Yesterday I bought this 2007 GSXR1000.



It's the pinnacle of motor sport, in the very exclusive category of 1:1 power weight ratio. It weighs 170kg, and it produces 170hp. To protect inexperienced riders, Suzuki put 3 control modes on the bike. So you can ride it with 50hp less when it rains. I am pretty confident that I can handle it though, thanks to my years of experience, and the two advanced rider courses I did with KNMV on the racetrack in Lelystad.

The bike I bought was a demo model, used by the dealer. It has 3000km on it, but the warranty will start the day I bought it. I intend to pick up the bike next weekend, when I will have received my leathers and helmet from the Netherlands. I have to look into insurance now. Fortunately, I had my "royementverklaring" from the Dutch insurer put in English, stating my 80% discount. I hope they will honour it here. At least the low tax of 12% made it a sweet deal. Buying a bike in the Netherlands will result in 19% sales tax plus 19.4% BPM tax.

All in all, Bram is now officially the fastest thing on the roads, here in British Columbia. Let's hope I have all the self-restrain that is required of me now.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Road Trip

The American North West is a beautiful place. That is why Amy and I chose it as the rough destination for our road trip. We had a 4 day weekend, and wanted to unwind. The variety of landscapes in Washington alone is impressive. The weather varied just as much. We had a hot sun, heavy rain, hail and show. It depends on which side of the mountains you are on. And the most impressive thing of all: we had a direct hit by a Dust Devil. It looks like a small tornado. The path of it crossed the path of the car, and the timing was exactly right. BANG on the hood of the car. It was less scarier than it sounds though. At first we tried to cross the mountain range at the far north in the US. However, after driving up the mountain, we had to go back again, due to a closed road. The map said "closed in winter". I guess April 5 is winter in these parts. In the first night we stayed in Wenatchee. The second day we visited Spokane. It is a very beautiful city. Check out that awesome bridge. Also we took a picture of Abe and Abe. We spent the night in Coeur d'Alene in Idaho. The last night was in Yakima. Don't go there, it is boring, and you cannot find any restaurants there. The roads were awesome. There are a lot of back roads, most of them with no traffic on them. It really helps me relax driving there.


















Friday, April 4, 2008

Asylum

What an amazing story. According to the Dutch Justice Department, it is impossible for Americans to get asylum in the Netherlands. Yet, one woman with her children is the living proof that it has been done. Her daughter tells the story. Sadly, the Dutch neighbour was browsing the FBI website 14 years later, and called in the feds. It must have been the reward money or maybe he did not like his neightbours?

Friday, March 28, 2008

New set of wheels

No, I have not yet acquired a motorcycle here in Canada. Yet, my special order from the United States has arrived. My Landyachtz Spud longboard has now a new set of wheels. The quadline wheels have a larger diameter, but are much more narrow. They look more like inline-skate wheels, than skateboard wheels. The diameter and tyre width make it that they have very little friction. Also, I removed the spacers, so that even though wheel diameter increased, ride height has been lowered. It was a bit of an experiment, but it paid off. I get some really smooth sailing now on my board. And silent running on some top notch ceramic bearings.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

tax season

The tax season has started. The Canadian tax forms are due April 30th. The Dutch forms are due April 1. I have been studying on my taxes, and I am puzzled by the following.

Both Canada and the Netherlands decided to return large sums of money to me. Why? just because of the sheer random fact that I moved in june. Because I moved half-way the 2007 tax year, both countries consider my income to be low, as I worked only half a year in each country.

Yet, both my Dutch employer and Canadian employer have been deducting taxes as if I would be working a full year, gaining a full salary.

Had I moved in january, then I would have payed more tax in both countries. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the curse of progressive tax systems.

Progressive tax rates are in my opinion sheer nonsense. I understand that taxation is not by a fixed amount, say X euro per citizen. It should be relative to the wealth, so a percentage is more appropriate. Say every citizen X percent of his income. This is a flat tax system. Yet, both Canada and Holland have different rates for different people. This does not make sense.

It is my believe that every citizen, earning more than minimal income, should pay the same percentage. A third of your income would be psychologically a nice percentage. One third to the state, regardless of income. The 52 percent that Holland is taxing the wealthy is unjust. Why should the state get the bulk of the money you make?

The current system is broken. Dutch millionaires flee to Belgium. Dutch billionairs flee to Monaco. Canadian top earners are probably relocating their assets to some pacific tropical island.

Would there have been flat-tax in Canada and the Netherlands, then it would not have mattered when I would have moved in januari or on june. As it stands now, I have the burden of dilemma. Do I spend my tax return on an Italian V2 or Japanese Inline-4?



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Where is the cable?

What do a maglev train and a San Francisco cable car have in common? More than you would initially think. Conventional motorized transport, be it a ship, motorcycle, automobile, train, or aeroplane, all have one thing in common. All those vehicles lug around their own engine. Why not leave the engine behind, and just move the coach and useful cargo? And that's exactly what a cable car does. The engine stays put on top of the hill. No energy is wasted in moving it about. The same goes for the maglev, where the engine is essentially the magnetized track. So when I was attending Sony's Game Tech Conference 2008 in San Francisco, I wanted to take a closer look at the Cable Car. I did not see the cables, and was puzzled. But I think the cables are below ground, and not above, where I expected them to be. Unfortunately, I did not get to ride the car.
While we are on the subject of city transport: those left wing radicals running the Amsterdam city council just banished my car from the city limits. They did this just because it is older than 1992, and supposedly I pollute the city with it. The bastards! My car uses the cleaner-burning propane fuel, but they do not seem to care about that. Foolishness like that makes me glad I am in Canada now, where common sense is not shunned.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

And the award goes to....

What an experience last night! My boss had a spare ticket for the Elans award ceremony. It is the Canadian counterpart for the Oscars, targeted to Games and Animation. Slant Six had two nominations. And the ceremony was hosted by Seth McFarlane. He is the creator of Family Guy. Since I moved to Canada, I have been watching a lot of Family Guy, and have become a fan of the show. I was excited to attend this. I dressed up as good as I managed, as it was formal dress. Luckily I brought my bow-tie from the Netherlands. I managed to get a cab, which is always tricky in Vancouver if it rains during rush hour. When I arrived at the venue, my cab pulled up behind a limo. So when the greeter opened my cab door, and welcomed me, I was right behind some celebrities, and got to walk the red carpet in style. There were a lot of photographers, and the flashes went off. I don't think they were aiming for shots of me though. Heh Heh. Cool stuff!

Seth did a great show, very funny stuff. The ceremony itself was plagued with technical screw ups though. Nothing worked or cued at the correct time. It got so bad that I suspected a prank. However, it was un-intentional, and just very embarrasing. It was a very enjoyable night none the less. And what do you know... we won both our nominations. Slant Six is best new game company, and Tactical Strike is best handheld game of 2007. For the first Elans, I joined the crew and went onto stage to get the statue. How cool is that? Pete and Dave did the acceptance speeches. After the ceremony we attended the after-party. I got an extra ticket for that, so I called Amy to join me. Amy and I were hoping to catch Seth on the after party. Amy is a big fan of Seth as well, but we did not see him at the party, unfortunately. Oh well, the drinks were free, and we had a great time.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy new year.

Last week the Chinese new year started. We are now living in the year of the rat. There was a big parade in China Town this weekend. A lot of dragons, drums, cimbals and firecrackers. Today I hit the slopes of Cypress Mountain, on the Alpine Skis, together with Goran. I still had it in me, and after all these years since I last skied, I could still do green and blue slopes. Even though we had snow and rain, I had a blast.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Pappataci

Gisteravond hebben we de Vancouver Opera bezocht. Er was een uitvoering van L'italiana in Algeri. Het was mijn eerste opera bezoek. Met boventitels was het goed te volgen. Ik heb me goed vermaakt, alhoewel ik niet had verwacht dat de humor zo simpel zou zijn. Maar zoals Goran al zei: Sommige operas werden voor de keizer geschreven, maar andere operas voor het volk. Voor Goran en Slavica was het extra bijzonder, want ze zijn nu een jaar getrouwd.
Vandaag moet ik op zoek naar een manier om live naar SBS6 te kijken. De tragedie/thriller/klucht rond Natallee, geproduceerd door Peter R. de Vries is ook hier actueel. Het lijkt er op dat Peter het mysterie heeft opgelost. Dat zou een enorme prestatie zijn natuurlijk. Ik kan niet wachten tot maandag, dus ik hoop dat er Internet streaming is, of op zijn minst een bittorrent.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

snowskate

Too much fun! After playing some Forza Motorsports at Goran's I went home at midnight. As always, I commute by longboard, but tonight it was snowing. Hmm... skateboarding on the deserted streets of downtown vancouver at midnight. Simply too much fun. It was a good night, winning the poker game again at work. I won the 2007 season of Poker at Slant Six by the way. They fear me now. Tonight was primarily luck though, not skill. I just kept getting dealt really good hands.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sculpting

While living in Lelystad, I took a sculpting class. In this class, I created a concrete sculpture of a figurine sitting on top of a flight of stairs. I made a cast using plaster, and then poured the concrete. It stands 80 centimeters tall or so, and weighs more than I can carry. When Amy and I were on the Island visiting Amy's mother, she showed us her kiln. So I asked her for a sculpting seminar, which she generously gave us. The result is a follow up on my Lelystad piece, but this time in clay, and it will be fired in a Kiln. Sculpting real matter is a lot of fun, and a nice change from creating objects in Virtual Reality.