Sunday, 29 August 2010


Theres a crack in the heel of the neck in my Breedlove 12 string...oh dammit...Thats the 1st time i've had it out since we moved so I guess its possible something happened then.

It does not appear to be unstable and may only be a varnish/surface crack, but it is still a crack, I'll take it to a luthier and see if its a problem...dammit...

I think the household insurance will actually cover this, but I'm dam annoyed at the fact its possibly damaged


Kicked out, so make the most of it.

Bina had a girly dinner party, so I was tactfully requested to leave the building. Which is fine, as me and a few other colleagues from work had agreed to go out for a few drinks anyway..Sadly...for them, they cried off, and I ended up on my lonesome for a few hours before the 1 brave soul and his partner were able to meet up.

Time then to indulge in one of my favourite things....eating

I went to Ganache in town, its a really nice fine dining restaurant, but with no Michelin stars it's affordable. The food is always amazing, wonderfully presented and changes every week so you never quite know what your are going to be able to get. I love trying their surprise 5 course menu where its the chefs job to impress you.

Of course I don't normally do this on my own but I was hungry and had time to kill so off I went. this week was apparently restaurant week in Breda so the menu was 3 courses with a choice of meat/fish for starter and mains. All good stuff even if I have no idea what the whole restaurant week is and why it resulted in a reduced menu on this visit.

The waitress spoke perfect English, with a Dublin accent after 3 years there she told me, and offered me a selection of wines with each course, after my prosecco to get things started, I thought why not.

I ordered, Roast smoked duck starter, with a veal main course. The dessert was a ginger biscuit crusted amaretto ice cream and a raspberry sauce.

I had a really fantastic but slightly sad meal...mainly because my sense of taste and ability to move food around my mouth are still not quite 100%, excessive chewing is a little painful too.

The looks and smell was amazing, but its hard to really get the flavour when you can only put a tiny morsel into your mouth on one side....ah well its getting better so I can't complain.

The wines though...hmm I liked the starter wine, a Syrah with lots of nice earthy flavours and dryness to cut through the smokey duck, but the Medoc that came with the veal was too heavy, as was the 10 year old port sauce, but it was tasty...the dessert wine though, a Semmion/Sauvingon blanc blend, was wrong, with the bitter ginger biscuit crust and heavy amaretto flavour of the ice cream a sweeter wine might have been better...

oh hark at me the food/wine critic?

I topped it off with a fine expensive brandy and staggered out of the restaurant more than a little tipsy, which forced me to stick to coffee when I met up with my colleague and his partner for drinks the time the Martell finally got into my system I was quite pissed.

Aside from a few steak restaurants, this was my first "fancy" meal since the op and its nice to get back to normal again, even if I can't shove it down my gob like I used to..I can at least take some inspiration from the meal to do some more cooking again, which I've not really done much of, again since the op....hmmm

Making Roast Lamb for dinner today....ahh theres a story there too...I went to Ken Markt in town, which is a turkish store, to buy a shoulder of lamb after seeing a great recipe on BBC Saturday kitchen. But when I got to the counter they had none on show but they did have a single Lamb Shank...Now slow braised lamb shanks is one of my favourite dishes, so I asked them in my terrible dutch if they had 2 more of those shanks....twee lams bout..after a bit of a translation issue I made it clear(???) I wanted 2 lams off the butcher goes into the back and brings back a whole sheep...ermmm...and proceeds to chop off the back legs and holds them up for me quoting 60 euros....

At this point I realised I had actually asked for 2 Lambs Legs...whole legs...oops.. I was about to correct him when I though..bugger it, we love lamb, and it is hard to come by here, and this shop was selling a whole rear end of a sheep for 60euros...I can make a few roasts and also cut some up for curries and stews to last a month.

So I brought home a bunch of meat, and also some lemons and onions to slow roast at least some if it for Sunday dinner.

A bit of home Butchery later..I have my 2 lamb shanks for later slow braising, a few chunks of cubed lamb for curries, 4 roast joints and plenty of meat on the bones to make stock for some hearty broths...when I can find pearl barley that is.

Not bad for 60 euros..I spent more than that on my meal at Ganache.

Time to start getting my cooking mojo well as my other mojos which ran away screaming when I was ill :)


Thursday, 26 August 2010

I'm Rich!!!!!

But I suspect its only a mistake, I seem to have been overpaid by a fair margain and have had to 'fess up to the company to see how to resolve it...ahhh well...maybe they'll let me keep it ;) (positive thoughts Brian, positive thoughts, maybe its a bonus for ummm.....comic relief?)

Work is proving to be a great thing, yes I get a bit tired from it after the excitemet of the 1st day but it is really great to be back. I have been getting my head round setting up our new PS3 dev kits which of course is really strange. Fortunately I myself won't be teaching much on the PS3 this block so we have time to get it all set up and ready before the stdents are let loose.
We are setting up a dedicated secure room for all our consoles and networking them so that we can be sure the kits are not messed with or used for things we do not allow.

This of course is the Sony edu program, Nintendo and Microsoft don't have education programs and in Nintendo's case usually cite "security" issues as the reason they won't allow us to teach with their kits.

Its a problem I have raised several times and will probably continue to raise, but I think its important. We can't teach console coding to students without actual consoles.
Sony's initiative to allow universities to have dev kits is a sound and sensible decision which they should be thanked for. Nintendo, who I have always had a soft spot for with their easy to code machines, should join in...maybe one day.


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Back to work :D

Back to work today, a good full day, it was awesome and I had a ball being back with the team again.

During the holidays we also had our new Sony PS2 and PS3 dev kits delivered so I got to open up a couple of boxes and tinker away, was waaaayyy cool.


Sunday, 22 August 2010

Hello & Goodbye

Hello to this stunning little beauty

Yup a Gibson Dark of only 4000 made worldwide, part of Gibsons experiment with new electronics and auto tuning which eventually culminated in the disgusting Dusk Tiger. But the Dark fire is something of a work of art I have to say. I wanted one for quite some time but they are pricey and don't come up for sale often at all in Europe. The do show up sometimes in the US ebay but the thought of buying another expensive guitar (like Lucille),waiting months then getting hit with a huge customs bill did not appeal.

I won't say what I paid for it, but it was a really good price as its in immaculate, played at home condition with only 1 owner from new. The seller has agreed to wait till I can shuffle some money around before delivering it to my mums house, since they live in the same town and I'll pick it up next time I am over.

Sadly though, I have to say goodbye to at least one of my other Gibsons to fund this, the Explorer and/or the Les Paul studio. I have interest in the Explorer though so will see if I can shift that 1st, nice as it is, its not really my style of guitar and it needs a better home.



I thought I was in Holland but I'm actually in somnia.


bored...thankfully I still have so I can catch up on the terrible X factor auditions.

But that wee zimbabwean girl with the scots accent fom her 5 years in sconny botland, was something
There was also a strange moment with that odd G&S couple....the girl could clearly sing really well, but her friend was a total waste of could he be so deluded, and more important how come she never once said to him you can't it like this, like this........people are wierd....especially on reality pop shows eh!


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

building up to the return

We go back to work next week, around 2 weeks before our students arrive to give us time to prep our courses and get all our paperwork and other academic stuff set up and ready.

Theres a few issues with my schedule at the moment, I seem to be teaching some extra classes I am not supposed to, and also I have no work at home day which is usually allocated for marking and prep, but I am sure this will be resolved before we start.

I am really excited about getting back to work. I've popped back a few times to the office before the summer break, but have not really done anything in anger since just before my operation in April.

It's been too long to be idle. I don't object to having days off, but being physically or mentally restricted from doing much really does get very boring very soon. The few bits of DIY and unpacking I've been doing have kept me busy but its not the same as dealing with a class of students.

A few people have urged me not to rush back to work, but I'm sorry I really must, it is important to me to get back to doing something I enjoy and regain the normality that cancer has taken away from me.

Every day I am getting a bit fitter, and the discomfort levels are reducing. I can't quite speak at classroom volumes for prolonged periods but that just means I need to make my presentation slides a bit more interesting and explanitory. I'm sure in 2-3 weeks I'll have my tongue and voice back to something usable.

I really am excited about the new academic year, a whole new group of eager students with some occasionally brilliant insights into their career paths and of course the total dreamers who are convinced they will have a Ferrari next year while being quite happy to let their software be sold for free.

hehe, I love my job, getting to prick the balloons of these dreamers and at the same time see talents blossom in very short periods of time. I suppose I should go do some coding ;)


Saturday, 14 August 2010

10 years and 1 day

Yesterday, was the anniversary of the 1st time I met Bina, 10 year ago.

I wish I had been able to take her out for a romantic candle lit dinner to celebrate the event but sore mouth and tiredness from the treatment and meds made it all a bit impractical so we spent the day together, and attempted to spend a romantic evening watching for the persied meteors..which were obscured by clouds and have also resulted in Bina catching a chill...not the greatest 10 year anniversary ever..but I will make it up to her when my health and time allow.

Its been an incredible 10 years, a few low points of course as you have in most relationships, the worst caused us to split up for a year, which had the effect of making me face up to the fact I was a pretty hopeless human being without the stability that comes from being part of a true partnership.

Bina is my other half in so any ways, a calming steady voice when I want to rush in, and a force for change when things aren't right. hmmm this isn't sounding all that romantic is it? This is also where Bina is my opposite, able to express her feelings for me in ways that make it sound like she is describing someone totally different to the fat, grumpy, middle aged foul mouthed scotsman who's feeling a bit worn out and sorry for himself. She makes me feel like Brad Pitt....only smarter.

I don't know any other way to describe her except she is the 1 person in my life, who has made me feel good when I feel bad, made me feel confident when I've felt insecure, made me laugh when I was sad and for 10 years, 10 whole years...with probably much needed years break, has found me to be a funny wonderful person and made me feel truly loved.
In truth, she's the most wonderful beautiful warm person who has ever come into my life. whatever ups and downs our life has for us now I can't imagine ever being without her. I know how horrible that was. I don't deserve her, I really don't. I am nothing without her and I love her with all my heart and soul even if I have no adequate way to ever express that.

I'd like to sign up for 10 more years please with an option for 50 more.


Thursday, 12 August 2010

Garden furniture and cosy cardies

I know I am getting older, but I somehow never realised how much older I was getting. Having once again joined the ranks of the owner occupiers of the world, I am starting to look at the world differently.

Like, hmm lets get some nice garden furniture to make best use of what's left of summer. buying garden furniture?? I am getting old...All thats left now is for me to stock up on cardigans to wear while outside sat on the wicker chairs we we just bought at a local store......I did manage to haggle him down a bit though.

I must offset this tendency towards old age and retirement thinking, by buying the biggest most sophisticated BBQ I can find. I've seen a few of those gas ones with mega burners o them...oh yes...that'll do nicely.


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Flatulence has returned

I am very proud to report, that after a short and noticable break, flatulence has once again become part of my life.

I'd like to thank all those responsible for giving me back this gift to humanity, and of course to you dear reader for bothering to read this far.

Actually this is a side effect of my reducing my morphine doses and my bowels starting to fire up again. But where there's a fart, there life, so lets rejoice in that rather pungent tang while we can.


Monday, 9 August 2010

Internet, oh how I've missed you

Strictly speaking we've not really been without, there was an unsecured signal available in the area, we think from the local car dealership at the end of our street. It was weak and we could only see a bar or so when sat up in the attic holding our laptops at just the right angle, but we certainly didn't go without.
Not quite as bad as the Southpark internet is gone episode.
But now we have our own back, as well as our landline phone, so we can get our PC's, macs, and ipods all synced up again anywhere in the is good again, 20MB internet is an absolute joy when you have it.

I'll be downloading more aeroplane porn in no time.

The house is really starting to take shape now, more and more boxes have been cleared, the attic has had a couple of tidy ups and my guitars and recording gadgets now have their own special corner. I am missing several pedals and things which were in a drawer before we moved..but they've been transferred somehow and will be in a box somewhere.
My DIY efforts were not entirely successful, I simply could not drill the holes in the ceiling needed to fit the lights in the study, so we'll have to stick with lamps in there for now until I work out a solution. But the attic has light now, and soon the shed will too.

We have to get hold of some garden furniture soon, to make full use of our patio area while summer is still here, and also some shelving for the shed and attic. There's a cool outlet shop round the corner selling garden furniture and so on, but only open on weekends, so we'll pop round there this weekend.
A few more trips to Ikea are also on the cards, for a 2nd sofa for downstairs and cheap cheap cheap shelves to put my model collection in some kind of order in the shed.

I am planning to turn upstairs into a home cinema area with a large electric screen at one end of the room, but the only supplier I had lined up wants 150quid to ship to The Netherlands. Thats too much, so I'll try to locate someone in Holland or nearby, its a low priority task.

There's still some issues with our old apartment to deal with due to our collegue not taking it, the landlord has issued an ultimatum to clear it out by the 16th August or he'll fine us €1500. But we've had a word with them and they are extending the deadline till the 1st Sept, which hopefully will allow us to find another collegue who wants to take it on, or get the 1st collegue to go in and rip up the carpets and dispose of them.

Nothing very comedic happening here as you can tell, its all busy busy busy getting things unpacke and placed and seeing how things go as we settle in. We're starting to find lots of nice things we like, the afternoon sun on our balcony for example, and things we don't like, like the over abundance of mosquitoes. But overall we're really enjoying settling in.

Bina has agreed to let me have the study for the most part, and she will use some attic space for her work, unless myself or Jodie are up there disturbing her, so that seems a good compromise.

Went to the bank today to inform them of our change of address and sort out some credit cards and other essential things we need now we're officially settled in Holland.

Everything is looking good....mind you, I'm still stoned on Morphine, so its probably all really shit and I just don't care ;)


Sunday, 8 August 2010

DIY sucks

I just realised why my brothers house is always so well maintained. It's cos he's really good at DIY.
I however am not,never have been and thats why I have spent the last hour and all my enegry reserves trying to drill a 1/8" wide hole into the ceiling to mount the lights in the study. I have of course failed, since I need a hole at least 1 inch deep in which to place the rawl plugs...but I have managed to do about 1/4"....Not good, especially when you consider I have 3 more of these holes to drill.

I can't blame my tools, I bought a good cordless powerdrill with a hammer action and a full set of brand name bits, including masonery bits. But the bloody ceiling apears to be concrete re-enforced with diamond.. Man its hard work. Especially stood on step ladders holding a heavy drill up.

I am having to take a break and doing a quick google to see if I am missing a trick here...Perhaps I am. One DIY site suggests drilling pilot holes. So I will see if I can drill a smaller pilot hole any easier.

Some rooms I don't have to do any drilling, it all depends on the way the light fits. A few of them screw directly into the lighting wire casing with no trouble but some require extra support and those need drilling. If I can't get the 4 holes drilled in the study I shall have a go at the halls and attic before heading out to fit the light in the shed.

Once thats done though I think thats the hard stuff sorted. I have to dismantle, move and reassemble an Ikea shelving unit in the attic, then its up to the pro's to come in and fit a couple of walls to complete things.

Oh internet is still not on yet, I misread the text they sent, it should be on on Monday.

Anyway, better crack on, I hate DIY...wish my brother was here, he'd have it done in minutes.


Saturday, 7 August 2010

1 week on.

Having one of my late nights due to sore mouth, so been watching TV and doing a bit of internetting on my still leeched signal. We should have our own internet back on line tomorrow so no need to pop upstairs to get a 1 bar signal.

Funny how dependent we all get on the internet these days. I've even been getting into, I don't know why either, I am hoping its a fad that will fade quite soon.

Well its been a week, and I am starting to settle into the new house...mind you I have been mildly stoned the whole week and its hard to dislike anything when you're stoned :D

A small problem did crop up with the transfer of our apartment to our new collegue, who despite saying he wanted the apartment and us arranging with the landlord for him to take it, he decided when he saw it, that he didn't want it and opted for an identical, but empty apartment upstairs!!!!!
I didn't think our wallpaper was that bad, but meh!!

Not normally an issue you might think. except for the strange way things are done here in Holland, our apartment needed to be empty when we left or we had to have an arrangment in place with the new tennant to buy our stuff which we had agreed to leave.
Since our new collegue changed his mind at the last minute we no longer have a guarantee that the next tennant in our place is going to want our carpets and stuff. Even more annoying is the fact that we had to turn another home hunting collegue down becuase I promised this collegue the apartment as he asked 1st.

Oh its all a pain and complex, and might end up costing us a lot of money, but we'll have to just wait and see. There's a lot of bad shit that could happen but equally it might all work out just fine. Waiting and seeing is something I am getting quite used to now, so there's no point getting stressed out over worst case...if I did that I'd be in a helluva state with the potential worst cases I am facing.

While I am not at all happy at being put in this situation, the new collegue is equally upset about the hassle he's caused and we'll just have to try to sort it out as best we can.....might mean no more guitars for a while I suppose...oh..see there's always a silver lining.

The new house is really nice, but we do seem to be located in the middle of mosquito central, we've been getting bitten to buggery since we moved in..well I have at least. I've bought some of those plug in repellent gadgets to see if that helps, and will try to locate some of those citronel candles.
Course it could also be fleas, the last owners had a big old dog, and it might be his old guests trying to find some food....Harvey has been scratching a lot too, so maybe we need to wait for his frontline infected blood to kill them all and see what happens.

Bina and I stayed up till 2am last night, hoping to catch a rare glimpse of the Northern lights which were possibly going to be seen this far south due to some increased solar activity this week..We stood out on our balcony and looked to the skys for quite some time....then I got bored and went to bed. No lights unfortunatly despite the intense solar flares the last few days. All the same, its nice to have a balcony. I'll try to be a bit more romantic when less stoned.

Today was also my last RT treatment, as detailed on my cancer blog. So that also means a new routine to my days, no more having to work around my daily appointments. I've been warned to expect continued pain and increased bouts of tiredness over the next few weeks as part of the treatment after effects, but I think the only thing I care about is getting the painless use of my tongue back...Tiredness can always be cured with sleep or coffee :D

The Ovation guitar arrived today from the US, very nice indeed, though I am a teeny bit ticked off that its a Korean made one and not a US one...Part of the main reason I bought it was to get hold of one of the final US made ones, now that the US factory is being either closed or reduced...In fairness the ebay listing never stated US or Korean so its my fault for not checking, but it is a really sweet guitar and it will bring a lot of pleasure. I've always wanted an Ovation ever since I remember seeing Joan Armatrading play one back in the 70's/80's.
An attempt to purchase a silent classical guitar really cheap seems to have stalled though, the ebay seller is not responding to my requests to send me an invoice that includes the cost of shipping the The idea why, but if they don't do it I can't pay for it, and that deal looks like it will fold.

And finally, since I am starting to get tired. Our wonderful piece of art has attracted its 1st admirer. One of our neigbours popped round today and was checking it out. Bina was well pleased.
We have been speaking to the Artist about producing a personalised version of the updated 2010 image including a picture of us and our new house, he's happy to do that, so we are really pleased that we can get a 1 off piece of cool art that is totally personal to us. As soon as Jodie gets back from her holiday to her dads we're going to have a picture taken of the 4 of us (Harvey is part of the family) in front of our new home and then get that image included in a special Breda 2010 cool is that?

ok time for bed, this post is long enough.


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

wow....thats....ermmm hard??

I got my Ziggo box hooked up and yes its got a lot more english channels on it and the quality of the pic is much better than standard'll be cool to watch Spongebob Squarepants again in English :D (one of my guilty pleasures)

What I was surprised by though was the number of apparently free porn channels that come with the basic system. I certainly didn't order them..honest.

And when I say porn channels, I mean PORN channels, real hardcore stuff...real, real are things I did not know were possible, between men and women and men and men and men and...hang on is that a man or a woman???


I better see if I can work out how to do the parental lock on those, if not for Jodie then at least for the mothers-in-law when they come to visit..don't want them thinking we look at that stuff..often.


Monday, 2 August 2010

we moved

Move went well though took much longer than we expected, the new house is taking time to get into shape but 1 room at a time we are putting in the lights and furnishings to make it right.

No internet yet, but I am leeching some bandwidth from someones unsecured network for now to check mail and make a few posts.

Ours should be online by the 7th, maybe sooner.

I ordered a Ziggo cable TV box before we moved in, looks like I didn't need to as the basic channels already seem to be in place, but not to worry, it gives us a few more english channels while we try to sort out a satallite system.

Will update when I can, but 1st the study needs to be sorted.