Chronicle 2013

Once again it is time for the Berg-kroniek, a brief recap of the past year. It was a strange year for us because in April I left my family in Spain and I started a new job in Leiden at Naturalis. It was a very difficult choice, but it was necessary because we were confronted with a situation where I was unemployed and Ana had contracts that lasted a month. A situation with a lot of insecurity that we solved by splitting up our family.

Palmitos park - November 2013!In Holland I could stay with my parents for a couple of months. Working at Naturalis was nice and I helped create a lot of websites and a mobile app, the dierenzoeker. Still it was hard being away from my family. I worked from home a couple of weeks, and spend all my holidays there, but saying goodbye every time was hard on Alex and even more difficult for his father.

A medical error caused Ana to have quite a bit of problems with her eye sight. Hopefully her eyes will get a bit better but it will take months before we know for sure. For Ana there was also good news. After six years of temporal contracts her contract has finally be changed into a fixed contract. Finally the job security she deserves.

Alex is doing very well. He is growing very fast and he is already going to school a few hours every day. His mother thinks that his character resembles his dads character. He is a happy kid who like a little bit of mischief every now and then. If Alex wants something he’ll get it, or he will make life hard for his parents. A typical two year old kid and a typical Berg. Just as you might expect from the lineage holder.

We wish everyone a great 2014!

Marry Christmas!

Alex - Christmas 2013!
The year is nearing its end but first we celebrate Christmas. The lights on the tree drive out the darkness and the warmth in our hearts drive out the cold. During Christmas we dream of a better future for everyone. Together we share the desire to shed light on the dark parts of our society and warm the cold relations that sometimes exist between ourselves.

We are lucky. We have our own little star right at home. A star that sends his warmth directly into our hearts. We wish everyone a very marry Christmas!

The pope, the church & the future

Pope!The church. We all know this enormous enterprise. Whether you believe or not, you cannot avoid seeing all the work the church has done to contribute to the society we now have. But time waits for no-one and it looks like the church is slowly losing its touch. It’s importance is dwindling. It might take a hundred or more years but the church is heading towards a future where its importance will be negligible. It will stop being the spiritual anchor for our society.

There were my thoughts, until I read some recent quotes from the current pope.

Paus Franciscus said:

“I prefer a church which is dirty and hurt for being on the streets helping to a church that is unhealthy for sitting inside holding on to the status quo”

“Priests need to get out onto the streets, into the mud and not be a passive sour prune.”

Could it be true? Might there be a future yet for the church and will the pope manage to have an affect on the enormous bureaucratic organisation the church has become? Will he really manage to reform the church from being a place to worship and a place to go if all else has failed to a place of hope offering support and help to those who need it and a place to go in order to improve yourself and help others?

The pope was elected to be the man of the year 2013. It seems a good choice. The wheels of change are set in motion and slowly seem to be starting to move towards a better future.

If he manages to change the church it will be a change for the better. No longer will the association of your actions be lost. Donations, confessions, lectures and singing will suddenly have a direct result. A donation is for giving help directly to someone who needs it. A confession is not for getting your soul clean but for getting advice. A lecture is for getting general advice and the singing together is just for enjoyment together. Stop with the bread and wine. Make the church into a place that is a nice place to be. Turn on the radio, have hobby afternoons, parties for volunteers, help afternoons, open the church for professionals providing help, social training, education, bridge tournaments, chess-events, revalidation help, you name it. Start to fight the individualism and focus on the force of the many, exactly as Jesus tried to show us more than 2000 years ago.

Change the story behind the cross. Stop it from being a symbol for a crucifixion of a man, but make it into a symbol of being together. A symbol that shows that personal beliefs are important but are less so that helping each other and working together to make our world a truly better place for those who are to follow in our footsteps.

Eerste optreden

Alex has had his first performance. It was very strange for him and in the beginning he was shaking on his little legs. Quite normal because suddenly hundreds of people were watching him. Still he did very well indeed. For us there was no doubt, Alex was the star of the event.
20131220-101353.jpg
(Alex is the fourth from the right)

Spam

Spam sucks so I made this dynamic post! Click to experience the spammers-revenge.Daily Spam!Every blogger knows the problem. This blog receives more than 4500 comments per month. Of all the comments less than 6 are from actual persons. Almost all spam! All these comments are filtered and thrown away automatically, but still it remains a never ending steam of data. Around 210 useless comments a day, where the author advertises gold, pleasure-enhancers, DNA analysis, burberries, medicines and you name it. Usually in English, but also in French, Chinese, German or Russian.

I have participated with these practices from the wrong side of the fence. I was the (kind of) sender of huge amounts of spam. After a very short while I have see the light and stopped these nasty practices.

Spammers use a range of automated systems and usually a new post on this blog is directly followed by a number of spam comments. To make the comments more difficult to identify usually the text is a combination of different ever-changing sentences. This way every comment seems to be a unique text. The result is usually very bad, but sometimes the spam gets through the layers of protection and then the goal is achieved. If 1 out of 12700 comments is actually published the objectives of the spammer are reached.

Now it is the time to fight back! I have created this F.U.-post with a ever changing content, and lots of links to itself. If will be difficult for a spam bot to see it is the same story all the time, and they will just keep on spamming, which eventually will cost them just a little bit more then usual. If this dynamic post cost the spammers 1.09 cents more my job is done.

Revenues

Thomas and Valentine - Revenues!The end of the year is nearing, and I was suddenly surprised by the revenues of our book that I received. I will give 99.5 percent of the revenues to a good cause, an ONCE stand near my home in Las Palmas. I’ll even double the revenues and make a donation into our son’s college fund. The revenues were not so impressive though, just a mere EUR 5.02. Just enough to buy a Spanish scratchcard.

Today I suddenly received the notification about the profit made from our book, ‘Thomas and Valentine‘. I was amazed because I did not realize it was still being sold, but apparently Amazon is managing to sell a few copies. The numbers are even improving… last month a total of 3 copies were sold. In the entire year almost 10 copies were sold!