shutdown -s now


As the people who have read my About page might know, I have a background in information technology. I have a master’s degree in computer science and have grown up using SunOS and Sun Solaris machines. Although I do not call myself a true programmer (or hacker), writing shell scripts was something even I did on an almost daily basis. It’s so deeply ingrained into my brains that it represents real world events with shell script and vi commands. Manager replaced? %s/old manager/new manager/g. Project stopped? kill -s 9 0. Want to know something? man something.

I already wrote about my doubts on throwaway weekly on the companion blog. Throwaway weekly has outlived it’s usefulness, and my brain’s representation for the next step is shutdown -s now. In the unix world this is one of the commands that will put a machine to sleep.

Until someone wakes it up again.

(b.t.w. why the heck is Zemanta coming up with International Longshore and Warehouse Union as suggested tag???)

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A heinous grin

A heinous grin

The route from my home to the shopping mall is about 2 kilometers. To amuse me, the municipality has scattered it with colorful sculptures. In thanks for their effort I passed this chap at least four hundred times before noticing him. The thing, which holds the middle between a chair and a playground slide, is in front of something that appears to be a kindergarten. Like Steven King’s Charlie the Choo-Choo it appears friendly enough at first glance. But you’ll have to admit this grin is decidedly evil…

The nameplate for the sculpture: The play chair (1992) by Jan Snoeck

Update january 2012: I skipped the usual factoid section for art objects because I didn’t have any hope of finding anything about this sculpture anywhere. Again I had been looking with my nose, as right in front of it there is a huge nameplate. DuckDuckGo helped me with the rest. Jan Snoeck (1927) is a Dutch sculptor who has sown a plethora of bright sculptures all over The Netherlands (and France).

For all pages below: Dutch alert!
His own  website
Dutch wikipedia entry
Entry in a Dutch artist database

A similar chair as depicted above is apparently for sale; no price mentioned.

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On trucks, being stuck behind

Truck, truck, truck, truck, truck, truck, truck, truck

Truck, truck, truck, truck, truck, truck, truck, truck

Don’t tell anyone, but currently I have the greatest job in the world. The only drawback is that I have to travel about a marathon to get there, which means getting stuck in traffic once in a while. As anybody who has ever stalled in a queue of cars on a highway, far the worst position to be in in is directly behind a truck This is, of course, because in this spot you advance the least (anyone pointing out the cars behind: yes they advance at the same speed, but they also arrived later). For one reason or other it is always me getting stuck there. This picture collection is my witness.

Truck, truck, truck, truck, truck, truck, truck, truck

Truck, truck, truck, truck, truck, truck, truck, truck

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A wet posterior

Airplanes are chock full of signs instructing he reader what to do and – more often – what not to do. This is a logical consequence of the security culture within the airline industry.

  • Press handle to open door
  • Caution! Luggage may fall out when latch opened.
  • Only open in case of an emergency.
  • Keep closed in case of an emergency.

The one in the picture above is in the toilet. When I first saw it, I laughed out loud, and when I flushed, kept watching what happened. Suffice it to say the warning is not in vain at all. Imagining what would have happened when I would have remained seating left me grinning during the trip back to my seat.

20111125-185552.jpgWhen I visited the John on another flight, in exactly the same type of plane, with the same airline, I automatically checked the spot above the flush button… It was empty.

That flight, for the first time in my life, I regretted not sitting close to the lavatory…

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Cobblestone in sunlight

Strangely, the best pictures I take seem to be guided by chance. It happened with this one and this one, and last Tuesday it happened again.

I’m having a week off right now. A week, to just relax and do as little as possible. Read a book. Walk a bit. Do some shopping. This Tuesday I hit The Hague, in search of a fitness mat;  I’m doing my sit ups on the wooden floor, and my back threatened to go on strike when I would keep doing that. On my search I happened across The Hague’s old town hall, which was blazing in the low winter sun. I flipped out my camera and started FARTing, which in The Hague still makes heads turn around in surprise. Especially when it looks like you’re hugging the town hall…

Cobblestones - inadvertently shot

Inadvertent shot

After I was done I pointed the camera to the cobble stones and inadvertently pressed a button. I looked at my display and wondered. Not a bad subject. Certainly not in that sunlight… Hmm. All it needed was a little more FARTing.

I imagine some more eyebrows elevated from their resting position when I got on my knees, my head to the west, with a small, beaten old phone in front of me, to closely examine the cobblestones. I took two pictures and when later that day I saw them full screen I was well pleased with both of them. The one above is the most dramatic of the two.

And so, by accidentally pushing a button, I was led to take the best picture of that day. Will there ever be a day when I take a worthwhile shot without having to rely on chance?

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Thrown away

As you probably noticed already, the header that graces this blog is an outtake of this picture; the contents of a trash can after a meeting.

When I was looking for what to study, I visited several universities. On one of those, at the faculty of chemical engineering, one of the prospective students asked the professor
“Doesn’t the environmental damage caused by all the heaps of plastic produced by the chemical industry weigh on your conscience?”

“No,” the professor answered “it doesn’t. Because it is not a chemical engineering problem. It’s a behavioral problem. It’s the way society handles the beautiful things, created by the chemical industry. The material the cup you have in your hand is made to last for  hundreds of years. Still, we have become accustomed to throwing it away.”

I’m not sure I completely agree with his point of view. He had a point, though. We have our own responsibilities too.

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The measuring nail

Measuring point

Measuring nail

As a small boy I always walked with my head down. Diminutive, to be sure, and the school doctor didn’t approve either. I either didn’t understand him or didn’t heed the advice, because I kept bringing picked up stuff home. Pens. Cigarette lighters. Coins. I once even came home with a pocket full of broken glass (from a car window) which – in my magical world – would contain at least some diamonds.

While learning to walk straight up, the quantity of collected odds and ends dwindled and I started to note other things. People, for instance. This is also why I have absolutely no idea when the things in this picture started to show up in the streets. In The Netherlands you see them everywhere, nowadays. It turns out land surveyors pound these into the ground to mark points they have measured.

As I have been cramming out posts on this blog for half a year now, it is time to pound a nail in the ground as well and evaluate. As promised, I won’t do this here, but over at the meta companion blog.

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