Netherlands and more

Blog about life in Holland (and a lot of other stuff)

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Now official: Shodan Jul 18, 2016

And here we are, almost four months after the exam I officially possess a Shodan Aikido Aikikai:

Shodan certificate.

The diploma has been solemnly granted by Marc Jongsten (who also took the exam) during a short ceremony at Aikido Centrum Leiden.

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Sun Caged Farewell Show Jul 17, 2016

Quick links: Marcel Coenen & Friends · The Barstool Philosophers · Sun Caged


I've finally nerved myself to tell you about a sad development for prog lovers.

I first learned about the Dutch prog band Sun Caged when I came to Holland back in 2008. Shortly after I've even seen them playing on Walhalla. I must say I was impressed. But three years later, in 2011, the band has released The Lotus Effect (which also happened to be their last album), I was totally blown away as this was absolutely a masterpiece of progressive metal. I can't even explain why, but I deem this album one of the best rock works ever, and I seem to be able to listen to it endlessly.

But nothing lasts forever. I reckon the band has had a bumpy ride, which is none too uncommon considering personalities of creative people.

The American singer Paul Adrian Villarreal has decided to return to his homeland, the USA. Which meant Sun Caged had to disband.

Paul Villarreal.

Another important point is that he also wrote all the lyrics, and it is impressive. I doubt a non-native English speaker would be up to something like this:

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Packaging overdone Jul 15, 2016

I already happened to receive things packaged in an oversized box, but this one beats all imaginable records.

An online store sent me a Bosch jigsaw blade kit in this box:

Packaging done wrong.

Ambient backlighting for Samsung LED TV Jun 12, 2016

Being quite happy with my 75 inch whopper Samsung UE75HU7500, the only thing I wanted to do about it was giving it ambient backlighting. When watching TV in complete darkness your eyes get quickly tired because of the stark contrast between the bright screen and its dark surroundings. Even though this device features an ambient light sensor, which is used to automatically adjust the screen brightness, the contrast is still all too harsh.

And when the wall behind the TV is lit, the boundary between the picture and the darkness is blurred, and that's definitely a relief for the eyes.

The final result.

More details and geek porn are under the cut.

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Ever wondered why I left Russia? Jun 10, 2016

Here's one of the reasons:

The most worrying part is that in Russia that is considered a funny minor incident.

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Amersfoort Marathon 2016 Jun 5, 2016

I'm just back from Amersfoort where I've quite successfully finished a half marathon, 21.1 km.

Medal of the marathon.

The day's been a scorcher with 27 °C (81 °F) in the shade. On the Dutch scale it's a lot, and with a clear blue sky you feel like being roasted.

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