Losing weight

I have to admit that I did have some unhealthy habits the last few years. Almost every day I ate some sausage, or some cheese, or a couple of nuts. A few days a week I would also drink a beer (usually after running), and these habits were a bit to much. Luckily these habits were reasonably easy to change.

A few weeks ago I was still close to 80 kilos. I then set my target to 75 kilos (which is my usual weight), but as I am getting closer to my goal I am thinking that maybe it would be better to have an even lower goal of around 68. This seems to be the perfect average BMI, and it will leave me with some extra leverage and maybe even with some extra health benefits.

I somehow doubt that for me this is really an obtainable goal, because the last time I weight less than 70 kilos must have been literaly in the previous century but if I don’t try I will never know. If I manage to do it I must treat myself to a good gift. Maybe a new Dell laptop.


FrameMaker 5.5!I used to be a FrameMaker expert. My first job after finishing university was all about FrameMaker. I learned a lot in that job and even trained other people to use FrameMaker. Sadly it was only for a short while, a couple of years later my career grew in a different direction. Still, I am still reminded of my FrameMaker time whenever I have to make a document that’s bigger than one single page. FrameMaker used styles, page templates, and frames through which the text flowed. It worked! It simply worked, and it always worked, flawlessly. Even with huge documents of 1000 pages or more the software just worked, without any problems.

FrameMaker was bought by Adobe and at the moment that was no problem, in fact, people hoped for an impuls where FrameMaker could be much bigger as part of the adobe suite. The impulse never happened and the product development was moved to India. Suddenly it became a product for which you needed a subscription. Pay each year. A terrible progression, but for me it was not an interesting tool anyway. For a couple of documents I could never justify a price-tag of around 400 EURs (not sure about the price though). Now with the subscription approach I cannot even find the price, so that does not bode well.

I was working on a new book project, and once again I ran into the usual problems. Word just does not work. OpenOffice and LibreOffice don’t work. Working online with google Docs is even worse. They all work, but just not good enough. Maybe I am spoiled, but I want to see what is going on. See picture anchors, see the frames where the text will flow. I want to know which styles are available. I want to tweak the master pages. Maybe it is possible, but to achieve these simple things you need to figure out almost the core of each program, and it never works intuitively. In the end small tweaks costs lots of time, and big tweaks… better forget those.

There is still hope for me! I found a new tool, which makes me think about the old FrameMaker. Affinity Publisher which only costs around 50 euros! A bargain it if really works. I will give it a try.

Too good to go

Too good to go!Too good to throw out. Toogoodtogo is an app that makes an effort to reduce waste. When a product is still pretty good a company can decide to toss it in the trash, or sell it with a big discount (or give it away, but that sometimes conflicts with the business interests). I installed the app and we have tried it twice!

Chinese foodFirst experience (4.99)
There were some left-overs available at a local Chinese restaurant. This felt like quite a risk, because what are you going to get? The left-overs from the buffet? Still we took a gamble, and what we got was unexpected. Four containers with freshly made Chinese food. Nothing to good to go, just normal Chinese food, with the only exception that we could not chose the menu. What we got was pretty good. White rice, rice with chicken, noodles with chicken and croquet’s. All very tasty, but not something that was at risk of being thrown away.

Meat!Second experience (3.99)
The second time we rescued a package from the trash from a big supermarket. This time we got lots of meat. Bacon, bacon pieces, sausages, yogurt (8x), and three apples. All the meat was from a pig. The best-before dates were all on the current date. Not bad, the products all looked pretty good, and we received a big amount of food. I spend the evening frying the meat and even though I would normally avoid pig-meat out of personal preference it looks like the next couple of days I’ll be having pig for lunch.

It is really a gamble. You don’t know what you will get, and you don’t know what state it will be in. I don’t think we will use this app a lot more. The food you get is cheap, and it can be a lot of food, but it is still a gamble. It is unusual to get something you really need. In our case it is much easier to simply pay a little more and get exactly what we want/need. As a game/gamble/surprise it might be fun to get something with friends.

For the company it is an easy way to achieve something. In the case of the Chines restaurant I think they used as a new way to advertise. A random menu for a low price, to maybe get some new customers. In this case I think there is a high probability I would try this Chinese place again, just to see what I will get next time. In case of the supermarkt the app clearly achieved its goal. Avoid throwing away food that was perfectly fine.

Companies that can really benefit from this app are companies that deal with perishable foods. Fruit, vegetables, bread, meat, fish, etc. These shops can avoid throwing away things and get some new potential customers at the same time. For the customer there is the potential for cheap food, but with a risk in not knowing what you are going to get.

Super-easy cake recipe

Ingredient and measuring cup!A couple of days ago I made another cake and I wanted to share this extremely easy recipe. You use one yogurt cup for all the measurements, so there are almost no dishes to clean!

– One small cup with yogurt (lemon or vanilla taste, or whatever taste you like)
– 2 eggs
Use the empty yogurt cup (no need to clean it) to measure the next items:
– about one cup of sugar
– about 3 cups of flour
– about half a cup of olive oil

Throw everything together and mix with a spoon until it is a somewhat smooth mass. Afterwards you can optionally add some extra ingredients like:
– extra pieces of apple
– extra pieces of chocolate
– extra pieces of walnut
– extra pieces of banana
– extra pieces of rasped lemon peel

Put everything in the desired shape. Put in a preheated oven around 180 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool, and you’re done.

Insect hotel

Our birdhouse showed us we that we had set our goals way to high. Our objectives were unobtainable. Maybe it was caused by the heat, or the general lack of birds in our area. We don’t know, but it is clear that after more than half a year we haven’t seen a single bird getting near the birdhouse we placed outside of Alex’ room.
We needed to refocus to something a bit more realistic. There are lots of insects, so why not make them a home, and see if we can get some results here. An insect home should be easier to make, and insects are probably less picky compared to birds.

Step one: With a couple of pieces of wood we made the basic frame
Step two: We pained the basic frame the same color as the wall, so it will not stick out so much
Step three: We collected a couple of sticks and some bamboo, which we cut in lots of pieces of 3 centimeters
Step four: All the pieces were glued inside the frame.
Step five: Leave to dry, and hang outside.

Now we only need to be patient. Maybe some insect will find the hotel and visit it for a while. We shall see.

Birthday 2022

A salvador dali painting of an email with a professors hat and a cake with candlesAt work we are around 100 people all occupying a giant office. When it is someones birthday usually the person celebrating his/her birthday will bring a big amount of candy. This candy is placed in the kitchen, and everybody who passes by just takes what they like. Usually the birthday is accompanied by an email send to everyone in the office telling everybody there is candy. This ritual happens quite a lot, on average around twice a week.

This year I send a creative email.

Subject: Here we go again!
Another day, another year. The hands of the clock that mark our place in eternity keep ticking without pauze. Minutes become hours, which turn into days and years. Today, once again the inevitable has occurred and my natal day has arrived. To celebrate I am following the uncoerced tradition set by so many of my esteemed colleagues; I brought a sugary treat for you all to indulge. Please feel free to release your inhibitions, take what your heart desires and enjoy the sweetness!

Naturally I don’t want to exclude anyone from this celebration and I know some of you are still in the process of perfecting your mastery of English vocabulary, so in order to be sure this messages reaches all of you in good order I will add a Spanish translation which should cover most, if not all of the emotions I am trying to convey with this email.

¡Es mi cumple, hay dulces!

Kind regards,

Fly El Hierro – Alan

Alan is just five years old, but that is enough to have some very clear ideas. He also has a bigger brother that serves as a perfect example. When Alex takes flight with a paraglider, it is clear that Alan will do exactly the same. Alan flew up to over a kilometer high, passing right through the clouds. Then flew around for a while checking out the scenery and went back down to earth for a very smooth landing.

Preparation, equipment check, double check, patiently waiting for a breeze, take-off, flight, journey into the clouds and, very important, the landing were anxiously watched by Alan’s parents, but Alan also had some very special attention! The instructors daughter (already an experienced para-glider herself), who made sure everything was okay and Alan was in good hands :).

After Alan’s journey he told us he had a great time, but once his flight outfit was removed he almost ran to a nearby almond tree to pick some Almonds. It made me suspect that Alan was still a bit to young to realize the value of this experience. Something which was clearly different with his bigger brother.

Alan’s flight resulted in a great experience for him, and some great photos and videos for us. If you want to float across the valley on El Hierro you can do it with Ondrej from Fly El Hierro. A massively experienced professional who provided a great experience. Highly recommended when jumping with kids!

Fly El Hierro – Alex

Alex is only 10 years but that did not stop him from conquering his fears and making a big jump. We are so proud of him and he had a really good time. As a preparation we first went to just look at the whole process. Everything involved from preparation, gearing up, checking and double checking everything. Getting ready, patiently waiting for a good breeze, take-off, flight and, very important, the landing at the end.

The first day we only observed. Alex had started out a bit anxious, but quickly became more and more confident as we got to know the instructor a bit and familiarized ourselves with the routine involved. The next day Alex was the first who wanted to go. He took off to the skies and went up to over a kilometer high! He dived into the clouds, and got to handle and turn the para-glider. After a bit of sightseeing from the sky he went back down for a smooth landing. After Alex showed the way his little brother Alan also ventured into the skies.

Alex was very happy with his jump. His instructor told us that Alex was really enjoying himself up in the air. It was a great and valuable experience for Alex, and together with the preparation we did a day earlier it is easily the best experience Alex had during his holiday this year. He has really grown because of this experience. Adapting to a new situation by first observing, gaining trust, and shedding unjustified fear is a lesson that can prove valuable for the rest of his life. For Alex it easily won over his other experiences like the boat trips, Loro park, Siam park, the encounter with an octopus, the watering of lizards, various swimming pools, forest walks, the bbq, etc.

Alex is already planning his next flight. The next time he wants to do something special. Solve a Rubiks cube while up in the air! We are still evaluating if this is something we are confident with. Alex’s instructor Ondrej on El Hierro is literary one of the best para-glider in the world, but paragliding is still an inherently dangerous sport (hanging in the sky at a huge altitude with nothing but a couple of strings connected to a big sheet == clearly dangerous, even if the instructor is packing a backup parachute), so we need to see if this is something we want to repeat closer to home.

Alex’ flight resulted in a great experience for him, and some great photos and videos for us. If you want to float across the valley on El Hierro you can do it with Ondrej from Fly El Hierro. A massively experienced professional who provided a great experience. Highly recommended when jumping with kids!