Thursday, 29 July 2010

Big Move

Big move happens on Friday, exciting times, Bina's been organising everything to death in her usual way and getting stressed out. I've been a chocolate fireguard most of the time, between being too tired to give a damn and too stoned to know what to do; I've not been pulling my weight. But it looks like the combined efforts of Bina, Jodie and me, in that order, have finally pulled it off.

Pretty much everything is in boxes and ready to go, van's booked and our friend oscar is going to do the driving and new house is empty and ready for us to move in.

Going to be sad to leave this place, it has been a good home, and of course our 1st "home" here in Holland.
But exciting times ahead, a new home, a new start and with a bit of luck an end to the cancer crap.

Internet may not be available for a few days after our move so not sure if I'll be updating for a while.

But where there's a will there's usually a group of greedy money grabbing relatives.....or summit.


Monday, 26 July 2010

heart still ruling head.

We found a 2009 version and indeed a 2010 version but we are not so keen on the 2010 becuase he superimposed the famous Valasquez painting over the image, see here it didn't work for me. We contacted the artist directly and he's happy to supply us with a 2009 version at much less than we paid the gallery.

We're debating whether to have it as a standard framed print or as an interesting idea he suggested of printed on metal and covered in liquid glass....we have no idea what that is,but he is going to send us an example to let us consider it.

eh by eck, this art lark is quite good fun i can feel the sophistimication levels rising daily :D


Saturday, 24 July 2010

heart rules head

We bought it.

There was a twist, The internet pic was the 2009 edition of his work, it appears he updates it every year, and includes new landmarks and things he missed before.. Ours is a 2006 edition, which has some missing details, especially some of the modern art and the new Must See cinema.

That does not detract at all from the beauty of the work though, and now I am going to try to hunt out a 2010 version to buy and make it a comparison piece :D


Art that moves you

Bina and I are agonising over a decision to buy a piece of art thats on display at a local art shop..we're agonising because its stunningly beautiful and also quite expensive...not Picasso expensive but nearly a grand is a lot for us.

What do you think? Though looking at it on computer is just no substitute for viewing the real thing, it is stunning and large, over a metre wide, its a limited edition of 15, fancy digital collage of photographic images of the landmarks around Breda mixed brilliantly with period sketches and drawings. The more you look at it the more you recognise pieces of the town, from the imposing old Church to some of the wacky modern art.

there's a more detailed zoom in view available here

We're going to sleep on it and see if its still available tomorrow, Bina tried to haggle over the price but the lady in the shop would not budge as she has others interested..if thats true, we need to make a decision tomorrow.

hmmm hmmm hmmmm I suppose it makes more sense than buying a guitar ;) And it would really look fantastic in our new home, a fantastic representation of our new city.

We'll see if hearts overrule heads in the morning, or if fate will make the choice for is when we wander past the shop tomorrow.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Morphine... :)

As a result of the near crippling pain from the sores on my tongue I reluctantly accepted the doctors offer of some low grade morphine for the pain.

Nice warm fuzzy feelings as you would expect.....especially when mixed with JD and coke ;)

Nah in truth I'm only having a drink tonight because the pain has been quite extreme and the mix of morphine and jack has been quite effective, it has not made me all stoned as I expected, but it does have an impact, I am a little woozy which is quite pleasant and detached which is not quite so pleasant. Talking is still painful but due to the effects of the morphine I am able to speak now, which today was just agony.

Side effects of morphine are interesting, It kills libido and gives you changes there from normal then.

Never been quite sure why people enjoy drugs, the high it gives you is so artificial, and I actually dislike that sense of detachment and control that opiates have on you..grateful for the pain relief of course, but am really hoping I can drop this morphine in a few days once the source of the pain clears up.
It has also had me sleeping most of today and indeed its time to got to bed again....toodles


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

arrgghh silver surfers.........grrrr

Ok. I followed your instructions on your Blog but there is no anonymous box to tick. There is a profile list that goes like this: Google Account, Live Journal, WordPress, TypePad, AIM and OpenID. So still can't leave a comment and I think that's where Ann has difficulties. Never mind, I tried. Mum

Thats because you clicked on a specific blog entry...try just going to lifegamesandflatulence and scrolling to the blog post you want to commetn on then clicking on the 0 comments does give you an anonymous option, and also asks for a word verification.


Monday, 19 July 2010

Not a lotta things happening

I am updating my cancer blog daily with all sorts of juicy bits and bobs of pain and depression, but this main blog is getting a bit neglected.

Mainly cos there's not much happening. Well thats not quite true, the move is currently our big focus. Bina, organised as always has a white board listing all the tasks that need doing and for quite some time those with Brian beside them have steadfastly refused to be cleared off.

Thats mainly due to the need to wait 2 weeks before moving before informing the utility companies, which resulted in me navigating through some incomrehensible flash heavy websites to register as a user and finally tell them we were took a while but its done.

We were going to use a professional house mover, but my god they are expensive, and also not so many of them in Breda, which is a pain since they charge you travelling time to Breda. Not on really.
So we have roped in a few students and one or 2 people who are not going on their hols to helps us..I dunno at this point what my physical condition is going to be since its right at the tail end of my treatment when side effects are expected to be severe, but we'll have to just muddle through as best we can. At the moment as long as I can drive the van I will have some useful purpose on the day.

The van is booked, we're packing things every day in preperation (though I'm not packing as much or as fast as Bina wants...there's still 12 days) and everything is set for the off. It should be a fairly painless process, since we don't have a lot of stuff here in the apartment, but something is bound to screw up.

Very exciting...oh and I bought another guitar...I'm adding this in here at the end so that I can honestly say I have mentioned it when Bina asks why theres another guitar was a bargain..honest ;)

Steps away and turns quetly whistling to himself as he fades into the background.


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

End of the Academic year and now for holidays

We had our end of academic year BBQ when all the IGAD and IMEM staff get together and eat large amounts of meat and drink lots of beer and wine. I wasn't able to drink much but I had a few glasses of wine..which tasted terrible..not becuase it was (though it may have been) but becuase my sense of taste is extremly strange at the moment.

As indeed am I, I had to shave off my beard when half of it fell off from the RT, but I decided to go back to a teen look and have my moustache...ermmm I dunno..I look like a fat German or a fat american depending on who you ask..I might just get rid of it all until I can grow a beard again.
I am definitly having an image problem!! I may have to buy a stick on beard, and perhaps some sideburns ;)

It was nice to see everyone at the party, though I have to be honest I'm getting a bit tired of people asking me how am I? I know they mean well and thats why I've not been rude when replying but after a dozen times or so it starts to wear. I need to get a T-shirt.."Am fine, having RT, some bad days, might not speak, but doing well and looking forward to coming back to work"....hmm not a bad idea.

But of course the flip side is that they are all really concerned about me and that feeling that people care is probably worth all the minor irritations that come along, it really is nice to feel that I belong to such a tight group of collegues.

Emotionally I'm also much much better, the events of the sad today posting were a bit of a setback, but I am definitly feeling much more happy and secure in things now. I can't do much about the fact that 1 person seems to dislike my loud brash persona, but its only 1 person, out of 100's of others I've got to know in Holland, and that 1 person is simply balls to it. Why should I change what I say and do to please one person!

See thats much more the Brian I am used to being. No more stupid crying at the drop of a hat. I'm back baby.


Monday, 12 July 2010


We lost.

And it was a crap game...they really didn't deserve the win.

It was sad to see so many thousands of orange clad dutch fans shambling home through the streets of Breda from the town centre which was absolutly packed. Bina and I and several work collegues camped at a bar just outside the centre where some seating could be had.

One thing though..sad though they were, they took their loss well and didn't start any riots, it was nice to see that, sad, but nice.


Saturday, 10 July 2010

Orange Football Fever

Tomorrow there is a soccerball match happening in South America or somewhere.
Apparently the Dutch have a team competing and are doing rather well, It seems they've got to the final..well done them.

I thought it might be a good idea to pop into town tomorrow to help support the poor unknown dutch team and see if we can perhaps persuade a bar in town to maybe put the game on one of the screens.
A few collegues from work have all agreed to come with me and to help us stand out from the crowd and help show our support we agreed to wear something orange.

This is my effort.

The big silly hat is unfortunatly required since I can't really expose the skin thats being exposed to the Radiotherapy to the sun...So I had to go out and buy a big stupid hat..

I am of course dreading the fashion critique I may get when they see me in said big hat, contrasting with my nice tasteful Dutch Lion Tee shirt with mouth roaring flap feature ....I'm nothing if not stylish :)

And here's a close up of me, now minus my precious face fur pet, which fell off really it did....well half did I had to shave the other half off to match it...all thats left is the tufty bit under my lip...very Jazzzzz ...hmmm Niiiiiice

Mind you considering the incredible thunderstorm and rainfall thats going on right at this moment a full set of orange plastic poncho's might be a wise investment for tomorrow night.

Hup Holland Hup


Closer to god?

Someone asked me, quite recently in fact..."has cancer brought you closer to god, or humility."
This was a comment on a post I put here, I decided not to publish it, as the rest of it was a bit of a mad rant.

Bit of a strange question but then again the person asking it is a bit strange.


Now you have your answer, I think it might be wise to keep your god questions to yourself becuase I have no interest.


Wednesday, 7 July 2010

PC or Mac?

I bought one of thse gadgets on ebay (my favourite shopping place) for less than a tenner.

To let me have a try at hooking my guitars up to the PC and experiment with various audio/recording packages.
It arrived pretty quick, and is a simple enough toy. I used it on my Mac 1st because it comes with Garage Band already installed..a bit of fiddling later I had Frankie hooked up and wailing away through the really was impressive and I'm quite sold on GB.

This morning I installed the drivers and other stuff on the PC...downloaded some packages those suck...the PC has some kind of issue with latency resulting in a very long (though adjustable at the expence of quality) delay between plucking a note and hearing it.

Why? I mean really...Garage Band has no noticable latency, even though I am sure some signal processing is taking place, but still, you pluck, you hear.. On go make hear.

Rubbish. My 1st real tangable example of a Mac (lower CPU power than my PC) clearly outperforming a PC.

I shall be using the Mac to experiment with computer sound recording from now on, not even going to bother with the PC.


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Ik ben trots om een Nederlander te zijn

wow, how cool to be in Holland when they get into the final of the world cup...I didn't go into town for the game cos I thought it would be busy and rowdy Yes I am sure it is.....But I am going on Sunday for sure. It will be an amazing party if they win.


Monday, 5 July 2010

Via the medium of mime

Although I don't want to dwell too much on the cancer thing in this blog, I thought I'd put down a little note on whats going on at the moment, but in true not concentrating style I posted this in the cancer blog by here it is again.

I can't talk at the moment. The Radio Therapy I am having has started to kick in with its side effects, at the 2 week mark as promised pretty much on schedule.

As side effects go, its not too bad, and tbh I can cope with just not talking for 4-6 weeks..I'm sure it will meet with everyone else's approval :D as they get a word in theres the bonus that anything I say won't be misconstrued and turned into something nasty.

But it is a bit strange, funny and frustrating. I "can" talk if I have to, it just hurts like hell when I form certain sounds which are a bit random and too painful to experiment with. Today is a little easier than yesterday but fact is I have another RT treatment later today which will kick it back in tonight and subsequent treatments will make it progressively worse. So silence is the other of the day now.

I'm kinda dreading this weeks sessions though since the dreaded sore throat from hell is due to make its appearance any day now.

Of course the worst thing is, while its perfectly possible to indicate you can't speak with a few hand gestures..I think its pretty much impossible to say, I can't speak, can you speak to me in English!!!!

I am thinking of getting a few t-shirts printed up, but can't think of anything funny enough to put on them, I'll probably just have to carry a card round with me, "Sorry can't speak at the moment due to medical treatment, please speak to me in English..thanks"...need to be a big card, might just hang it round my neck.

and maybe take up mime classes ;)


Saturday, 3 July 2010

Getting back into it.

Ok finally, my PC is up and running again, sadly no quad core, but I did buy a decent E6550 on ebay and its increased the performance index in windows 7 by quite a bit.

I've also installed and set up all the gadgets and those I don't want/need/or don't work, will go on ebay.

Time now to make a start on some coding work I've had on hold for some time, as well as giving myself a refresher course in coding to plan my courses for next block.

I've got my PSP and DS dev systems in place as well, the PSP one was giving me a lot of grief, until I realised its IP address was conflicting with the wireless network.

Its not as silent as my old beast..but its certainly a nice PC..Windows 7 is very impressive and I really like the new Office 2010 suite which I will buy when the trial runs out.

Aside from some issues with IE8 not accessing work webmail I've had no problems at all with Win7. A huge huge improvment over Vista. But I do wish I could figure out how to get the cool Aero desktop to work on it..It worked with my spare keyboard which had a specific key..but not with my new split keyboard which does not have such a key.

My ex Sister-in-law thinks my blog is hilarious....not sure you'll find this entry very funny though ;)


Thursday, 1 July 2010

simple things mean a lot.

One thing that strikes me most about Holland, at least this part of it in the south. Is the near constant friendliness of the people, and also their honest trusting nature.

I mentioned before about beign caught without cash in the pub and finding they didn't take my pin card, they just point you to the nearest cash machine

Today also, in Tilburg, I saw more evidence of this basic capacity for honesty and trust. The buses in Holland have been switching over to a type of prepay card called an OV a result less and less people buy tickets. But today there must have been a rush on them, as the driver of my bus to the Verbeeten Instituut had run out of Dag Kartes, a day ticket most people buy that lets them get around.

As usual I asked for en dag Kartje alstublieft, and got a reply in Dutch that said something like, no tickets, blah blah blah..Oh thinks I, in my usual UK brought up way..I'm stuffed and have to get off...

As I am turning round he repeats the last part again and I then had to own up to not understanding..Quick as a flash, in perfect English, he explains, he's run out of day tickets, but I'm welcome to ride on the bus and buy a day ticket on the way back.

Wow...just such a simple little show of trust and faith from a bus driver...can you Imagine that in the UK?? I know I can't.

I thanked him and took my seat, on my return journey I did indeed bay a dag kartje, even though I could have got away with a single at half the price....But trust should always be maintained and repayed. Thats why Holland isn't full of miserable cynical tossers who hate their lives.

Life here is just amazing.