Author Archives: Dennis

Job: Week 10

Another small update about my job situation: I survived my probationary period. Hurrah!

So far, everything is going wonderful, and I’m getting quite a bit of satisfaction, as well as education out of the deal. I’m coding like there’s no tomorrow, and even though the coding environment is not the best, or most widely accepted in the world, it’s still doing my skills a lot of good.

So far, people are very happy with the work I’m doing, and even happier with the input I’m providing them. Most of my colleagues aren’t very knowledgable about the Internet, and all it’s possibilities. And while I’m far from an expert on the subject, I have done more web-developing than any of them put together, and I’m an expert, from a user-point of view. I’ve been living, and breathing the Internet for the last 8 or 9 years or so.

The last week I’ve been having some concentration difficulties. Old fashioned concentration difficulties, like the ones I was having at my former employer, and all throughout my unemployment. I have come to realise that I have trouble concentrating when I’m really not happy, but that’s not entirely the case – “not entirely,” but certainly not “entirely not.” The problem is that I’ve been working on this one project since I started working here, and though the end is almost upon me, it’s still wearing me down. I really can’t work on projects, or on things for very long, without a break, something to distract me, something that allows me to take a step back.

Anyway, I’m rambling. This was week 10.

The Second Rule of Thermodynamics

I have never been someone with a lot of friends, by choice rather than by necessity. I use the term “friend” far less easily than most people, so when I talk about my friends, I am talking about five or so people. The second tier I have some trouble giving a name; they’re all people that I’m very fond of, and I can count on to help me out when I’m in a jam…but I don’t feel comfortable enough to tax these “friendships” too much. That will probably change in a while, though.

I suppose the difference between first tier friends and second tier friends is a matter of time. Currently, I count Wai, Marco and Eva amongst my first tier friends. I count Richard, Dennis and Samantha amongst my second tier friends. And I don’t want to give people of exceptional importance a place in this structure; my parents, my girlfriend, etc.

Anyway, I was just sitting here, looking forward to a nice weekend, and I just realised that I wish I had more time to hang out with my friends. They make me so happy, they’re such good, trusted people.

According to the Second Rule of Thermodynamics, it’s only a matter of time before entropy fucks things up in a system. I feel that this is true for friends and friendships as well. And that’s so unfortunate, so saddening.

Well, at least tonight I get to spend time with one of my friends.


Everyone who knows me just a bit knows that I have notoriously light-sensitive eyes – though I have to admit that I’m getting more and more used to the light-induced headaches. I got these really cool sunglasses from a friend of mine called Josh. A pair of “DV8” sunglasses. They were a bit surfer-boy, but they kinda looked good on me.

I was very happy with these because I have a head that is shaped like a punching bag, and I have, like, the least favourable shape for sunglasses. All my life I have been looking for sunglasses that look reasonable on me. And to Eva’s great dismay I’ve hardly ever been able to find any. So, when I broke it almost exactly a year later, I was terribly upset. However…Josh was with me at the time – which is remarkable since he lives an ocean away – and he galantly offered me his other, similar though not identical pair of “DV8” sunglasses. Yay for me.

Now, I crashed my car. It had to be repaired. I always keep sunglasses in my car. I got my car back. I’m really happy. I can’t find my sunglasses.


So I called both the garages that my car has been at for the repairs. One of which says that they usually take stuff out of the car when it’s kept in their parking lot. That way nobody has a reason to break in. Good thinking. However, the guy who usually does that is on vacation. More days until I can get closure on this.

The Power of Smells

Yesterday, as I was walking from the trainstation to my house – a trip of about three minutes – I walked past a chinese restaurant opposite of the station. This restaurant has probably been the largest and most hallmark restaurant in the area I live in for the past thirty years or so. Until recently it was owned and exploited by the parents of a guy who used to be one of my closest friends.

And incidentally, it’s a restaurant that I, and many of my friends, have worked at from the time where we could pick up a towel or a broom.

As I walked past the restaurant, I caught a scent of charred meat, the meat that “Uncle” – a cook at the restaurant for the past 20 years or so – used to relinguish to us when, dressed as comboys and indians, we came to stick him up. I was nine or maybe ten years old at the time, and it was a time where everything was simple.

Things became very complicated in my life shortly after that, and though it stabalised at times, it really hasn’t become more pleasant. I feel like I’m in a state of limbo, where there are so many loose ends that need to be tied up. Loose ends that will take a lot of time to tie up. At the moment I see many of my friends making plans to move away, without showing too much concern about those they leave behind, and my instinctual reaction to that is to claim immediate, emotional bankruptcy and cut them out of my life; better to get the pain or rejection over with.

Yes, I know that’s not very healthy.

My car has been repaired, and as soon as I’ve paid them the ungodly amount of money – which will add to the already outstanding debt I’m paying off – I can pick it up. I suppose that’s good, though the financial consequences won’t be an easy burden to carry. I’ll manage, though.

My girlfriend lives half a world away, and that won’t change until she’s done with her education. 18 months of college to go, and perhaps a year or two of internships that, most likely, won’t be anywhere close to where I am. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if I had some money to squander, to hop up and down to New York, you know? The thing is, she has – on various occassions – came to a point where she needed to see me, and where not seeing eachother would mean a bust relationship. I suppose I can’t blame her, but she knew what she was getting into when we decided to try this out. It’s proving to be harder on her than it is on me. Can she last for another two years? Should I stiffle my natural reaction to cut her from my life for lack of tenacity? No, of course not…but I can’t give her what she wants until I’ve paid off a large chunk of my debt, and I don’t want her to give up before I can give her what she wants.

Which of course raises another question; how big is my responsibility in all of this? Shouldn’t she bear some of the burden? Yes, I think she should, but it’s not realistic since she’s not allowed to work in the United States on her student visa, and the first money she can, and does make goes to lighten the burden on her parents, which I find completely commendable.

At least I have a job that I’m enjoying.

Public Transport + Reading = Teh Win

Since I started my new job I have been taking public transport again. Of all the things I hate about Dutch public transport – many, many things I hate…but hey, let’s be real, it’s better here than it is in most places in the world – there is one thing that I love about it, and public transport in general. It is something that I touched upon in a conversation with my friend Claus, a Danish student that most know as Van Der Litreb, or “Veed” for short, is that you have plenty of time to catch up on reading. Like my homework when I was still in school, reading almost always takes the backseat over more important things I can do while at home. Like going to the bathroom, picking my nose, and watching the ceiling. Not to mention Neverwinter Nights – I swear to you, that game is crack on CD-ROM. Anyway, so I’ve been reading a lot, here’s a breakdown of what I’m reading…concurrently.

“Hacker Culture” by Douglas Thomas
This is a book I happened to stumble across in Strands Bookstore on 12th street in New York City when I was there a few weeks ago. This is a used bookstore, and I visited it after spending three hours at the Barnes & Nobles on Union Square. When you walk in there, it looks like a mad-house, with really high-reaching shelves crammed with old, used books. Sometimes the books are still in mint condition, but most of the time you stumble across old and manky books, stacked high on the shelves of this maze-like store. It’s not for me, really…but still, it’s sort of humorous when the first thing you look for when picking up the book is the year of first print. Anything before 1980 on the topic of computers I ignored, and I was left with this book, in mint condition.

It’s a dissemination of the hacker culture, and its evolution since it first sprang up during the Second World War. Even though the author gets caught up in far too much psycho-babble for my tastes, I have to admit that the guy did his homework. It’s a comprehensive look into the world, the culture and the identity of hackers all over the world, and how that image and culture has changed over the years. It also touches upon how the media, literature and cinema have helped shape the hacker culture into what it is today, and what drives hackers to hack, and phreakers to phreak.

“Universe in a Nutshell, A Brief History of Time”, By Stephen W. Hawking
I don’t have a big brain for physics, but I think it’s extremely facinating, especially theoretical physics. Now, I know a little bit about a bunch of things regarding physics, but not enough to tie it all together in a consistent whole, you know? So I thought I’d bone up on some general principles of physics. To fill the gaps, so to say.

I have to stand in line to praise Dr. Hawking in the wonderful way that he can make the most complicated matters in physics transparent for even the most neophyte reader. Amazing, informative and educational.

“Cryptonimicon”, by Neal Stephenson
This is a novel, written by critically acclaimed author Stephenson, who is responsible for such books as “The Diamond Age”,“Zodiac” and “Snow Crash”, and is a good primer in cryptological principles.

In good tradition Stephenson manages to combine both historical information, with information technology by having two timelines running concurrently; one is set in the middle of the Second World War, where cryptology was first used in such an intense manner that it became the foundation of what it is today, and the second is set in the modern day, where people are trying to start the world’s first real Data Haven, an almost utopic idea in which computers are free from tampering and everyone can store any information on it, without censorship, without having to fear persecution.

I keep jumping from one book to the next, but I’ve already promised myself that I would focus on “Hacker Culture” first, until it’s finished. I have my work cut out for me for the next few weeks.