29 June 2005

War of the Worlds

The best thing about the crappy Tom Cruise-vehicle "War of the Worlds" that has just been released? The fact that we get to hear the beautifully remastered "soundtrack" by Jeff Wayne.

Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of "The War Of The Worlds" was released June 9, 1978, entered the official UK Album charts, and stayed there for over 6 years. The re-release has just entered the charts at no.8 and is set to go to no.1 again.

I had only ever really heard the song "Eve of the War" with the catchy keyboards and the phrase "The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one," he said."The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one - but still they come!"

But BBC Radio 2 is obviously very happy with the new release of the entire soundtrack as they play different tracks for it every day. So now I have the whole album to listen to and it is fascinating stuff. Well worth listening to. Fascinating to find out that Wayne had simlpy been looking for a book to turn into a concept album. He apparently also thought about Aldous Huxley's "Brave new world".

Of course this album is based on the book by H.G. Wells and when I was studying journalism & masscommunication, Orson Wells's radio play was used an an example whenever we discussed mass hysteria caused by media. I am just about to finish downloading an MP3 of the original broadcast from 1938. I can't believe it has taken me so long to fully explore the story behind this work of art. it has so many facinating sides to it. I suppose the final step is to actually read the book that started it all off.

28 June 2005

Laugh of the Day Award

Today The Sun publishes a story about how Princess Diana is supposed to have had a one-night stand with JFK Junior. The paper is serialising a book released by Simone Simmons, a psychic who claims Diana used to talk to her for 10 hours on the phone and confessed she had sex with JFK Junior and tried cocaine with him.

Of course all the other papers, who do not have this 'scoop' are trying their best to discredit this woman whom they accuse of being a money grabber. Of course it does not matter that it is painfully obvious that these papers would all not have flinched at the chance to serialise the book themselves if they had been able to. But since they can not, they have taken to trashing this woman's reputation. Of course this woman is talking out of her arsehole. Diana was a mentally unstable woman who probably told people her fantasies and passed them off as real. Something we all do to a lesser extent but I think Diana just had a very blurred line between THE truth and HER truth.

Anyway, the Laugh of the Day Award goes to The Daily Mail for the following quote:

The claim is made in a new book, currently being serialised in a downmarket newspaper

Since when is The Daily Mail an upmarket newspaper?
Pot? Kettle? Bitter much?

24 June 2005

This could be his year...

1999: This could be Tim's year
2000: Maybe this year he will do it. He has had great preparation
2001: Could Tiny Tim finally make good on his potential and be the first since Fred Perry?
2002: He is getting a little older now and there are young guys entering the circuit. Maybe it is a little too late for him. But never rule him out for a surprise win.
2003: This is going to be his year. If anyone can do it, it is Tim.
2004: We said it last year but this year has been fantastic: Tim can win it. He reached the semis in Roland Garros, he had a great pre-Wimbledon tournament.
2005: If he wants to do it, he needs to do is soon because he is getting older.

And all this optimism is based on what exactly? Tim Henman has never won a Grand Slam. The poor man has the weight of a nation on his shoulders. He has never said he can win Wimbledon but people all tell him he SHOULD win it because they feel he can. And so with every step he takes on the court, he carries an entire nation on his shoulders. If he were to win the French or Australian Open, they would be happy for him, but they would be annoyed with him as well. For winning a tournament that is not Wimbledon.

Just as well that he will never win a Grand Slam. Tim Henman. A great tennis player. But some of them just never win a Grand Slam. And yet he has reached as high as number 4 in the world at some point. But for Britain, that is just not good enough.

Thankfully there is now a New Tim. Andrew Murray. But there is a small issue with that: he is Scottish. So the English tennis fans now have to shift their attention to a Scottish guy to perhaps win Wimbledon sometime soon. Because he really has the potential to win it. He has reached the 3rd round already this year. That is further than Tim. So maybe this is his year. Could he go all the way as a surprising outsider? If not this year, than surely next year. Next year could just be his year...


Yesterday could have been one of the worst days in the year. But it passed without any major problems. I got a 2.1 which is what I wanted and which is plenty to see me into my MSc.

The biopsy results were slightly useless in that they couldn't determine the type of tumour but that they could say that it wasn't high grade (malignant). The consultant told me after surgery that he was pretty sure it was benign but it is still nice to have that confirmed. So no further treatment for me. Except for anti-convulsants for the rest of my life as they don't know the exact tumout type. Yay!

So life continues as normal for now. There is a possiblity that it could change into a malignant tumour but there's no point worrying about that. I'm just getting on with life.

22 June 2005


Degree results at 3.00pm tomorrow.
Biopsy results and meeting with consultant and 'the other guy who deals with these types of things' at 3.30pm tomorrow.

This really sucks.

Do I deal with this with copious amounts of alcohol at lunch tomorrow or just suck it up and soldier on?

It's ok when I just have a bad day (I tend to have them quite a bit). It's diferent when you know that tomorrow will be a bad day. Is that being overly negative? Am I just preparing myself for the worst by believing it is a bad day so that I won't be too disappointed?

My mind is racing with all of the possibilities. Early death with no chance of getting the job that I want because I have a shite degree classification? Early death, good job? Shite job, alive for longer? Argh.

I'd like a switch in my head to flip when I get like this.

21 June 2005


In your company there is a manager. This manager leaves and the MD takes over the tasks of this manager as there is no budget to replace this manager. Over the weeks/months that follow, the MD comes to your desk and asks you to do little bits and pieces of the work that the previous manager used to do. 5 - 10 minute jobs. Have a look at this, tell me what you think of that, can you please give me this, can you book me that and so on. Nothing major. However, they are things that are not part of your job description and you are not getting paid anything extra now that you are taking on parts of a job someone else used to do. On top of this, you are getting paid less than what you were promised when you were hired in the first place.

The question is: Should you refuse to do the work as a matter of principle? The MD has already told your direct team leader that you are only asked for 5-10 minute jobs with no responsibility so there is no reason to pay you extra. The issue is not that you are too busy to do the things requested (You have plenty of time to do the jobs) but simply that you feel already undervalued at the job you are currently paid to do and now they are adding things to it without rewarding you for it or even asking you if you are prepared to do them.

What would you do in this completely hypothetical situation?

Would the answer be different if the things you are asked to do are actually much more fun and interesting than the job you are currently doing? Would you still stick to your principle?

18 June 2005


Guess who won the award for 'Most Improved Player 2004-2005'? Indeed. Me. I won an award. For a team sport. A sport I had never played or even seen on TV before I joined Old Leamingtonians WRFC. Wow. I have never won anything that made me feel so proud I think. I am feeling a bit smug. But very proud.

When the Captain mentioned that they were all pleased that JD had stuck with the club even when she could no longer play and that they were all happy that she could attend the awards ceremony after her surgery, everyone stood up and applauded. She felt really embarrassed but I felt so proud of her that I had tears in my eyes.

I joined the rugby team to make new friends. I never expected to find around 25 new friends all at the same time AND find something I feel proud to be a part of. Thanks girls!

13 June 2005


Hi everyone. I'm at home and have been since Thursday afternoon. Naturally it has taken me ages to get round to blogging but I have been even more restrained than normal as too much time at the computer would be bad.

I'm feeling really good at the moment. So much better than I thought I would. I'm still taking a raft of drugs but my dosage is reduced all the time.

Thank you for all of your kind words of support for myself and Marieke. I'll write more after I have the staples out today. Wuhoo!

08 June 2005

Tumour Diary: Day 4 - Going home

Today was a good day. In fact, today was a perfect day. JD was feeling much better and walked around. Her face is a little bit bloated from the bruising but nothing major. We went for a walk around the hospital and when I arrived for visiting hour this evening, she was all happy because the doctor has told her she can go home tomorrow!!

Can you believe it? they hack a piece out of her brain on Monday afternoon and she gets sent home on Thursday? Of course we are totally and utterly happy that everything has gone so extemely well. I don't know if they made it all sound horrible at the start so that it would all look much better and easier once it was all actually happening. Or maybe JD is indeed recovering extremely quickly.

Either way, the next step is waiting for the results of the biopsy. But tomorrow is a nice day for the two of us. I got champagne, roses, a clean bed, tidy house, croisants for in the morning....did I forget anything?

07 June 2005

Tumour Diary: Day 3 - Afternoon

I am home for a short while to get some laundry done, have some food and get JD some clean clothes.

Nothing has changed since this morning so it is all still very good. Nothing has changed. Apart from me having read the letter she left under our bed in case something would go wrong during the operation.

Nothing has changed since this morning. Apart from me having gone from a composed partner to a teary mess, sitting at home with a letter in my hand, crying my eyes out.

In the envelope was a letter and another envelope. I have not opened that yet. And I don't think I will. I will ask JD to open it for me this afternoon. If she does not want me to open it, she can throw it away. Or keep it safe for when it is needed. She told me I could read the letter so I did. If she had told me I couldn't I wouldn't have read it.

Just the thought of her not surviving. "Perhaps you can hear my voice or see me standing next to you when you read this...". I pictured myself reading the letter after her death or after something really wrong had happened. And I just cried and cried and cried. Like I am when I am typing this now.

I would be absolutely destroyed if something ever happened to her. I am nothing without her.

Can we please never have to do this again. Please. Pretty please.

Thank you.

Tumour Diary: Day 3 - Good morning

JD has had a nice and quiet night sleep. That is according to the night nurse. According to JD herself she had a reasonable night sleep with headache and interruptions. She seems quiet this morning but fully awake and talking. She had breakfast and some bananas. She asked her mother for a digital camera so she can see what she looks like in hospital.

I am feeling ok but of course i am anxious about any possible changes in her personality or behaviour that may have come from the tumor or the surgery. I have to learn to ignore it every time i think: would she have been like this before the surgery as well or is this different? We will be ok i am sure. I love her to bits even with her newly acquired comb-over.

06 June 2005

Tumour Diary: Day 2 - She is fine

A quick mobile blog to let you all know jane has had the surgery. It all went fine and she is looking really good. No bruises in her face yet and they did not have to shave her entire head either.

Tumour Diary: Day 1 - She's in

Do I care if anyone reads this? Not really. Just makes me feel better to write something, no matter how short.
I took JD to the hospital yesterday afternoon. We were reasonably cheerful until JD was appointed her bed. Right opposite a little old lady with her head in a full-on metal frame. Obviously she had some kind of spinal recontstruction done on her. Just not a cheerful sight. JD's mood changed instantly. It obviously started to dawn on her this was all really happening. My heart just melted when she sat there in that chair that seemed to grow biger every second.

The nurses seem nice so that is good. We just waited around and did a Sudoku. We found even the easy one to be extruciatingly hard on a day like yesterday. Surgery is today (Monday) at 1pm so remember to send your positive thoughts. You can pray if you like. it is nice to know that eventhough we are not religious, people take the time to pray for us and ask their God, who they feel is all powerful, for help in JD's name. Thanks guys.

I am about to go to the hospital to say good morning (If the nurses will tolerate me outside visiting hours of course) and then during surgery, I am not sure yet what I will do. Wait in the hospital for 4 hours? Or go for lunch with my parents who have set up camp on a campsite near the hospital? Don't know yet.

Risks of the surgery include seizures, anurisms, heamorages etc. Nice thought. They can not remove the tumour completely so they will try as much as they can and the rest will have to be treated by monitoring it and operating again if it grows again in a year's time or so. Or they give her radiation. But that can turn benign cells into malignant cells so they are not too keen on that unless it is the only option.

I love her so much. It is unfair.

05 June 2005

See you later

JD had a fabulous party yesterday. Almost all her friends came to a BBQ we organised. The weather was great and there was lots of fun, alcohol and volleyball. It is nice to know JD has so many friends who care about her. My folks had come from The Netherlands to be there as well which made me happy. People brought their own personal message for JD that I put in a big Friends-book for her to read when she is feeling down after the surgery. I am about to take JD to the hospital and then tomorrow, hopefully, she will have the tumour removed and we can start putting this whole mess behind us. I actually think the hardest bit is yet to come. Up till now, JD has had no symptoms at all so as far as we are concerned, nothing has really changed. After the surgery, her head will have a scar, her head will hurt, her face will be bruised and treatment (perhaps radiation, perhaps chemo) will start. So in fact for JD, it will be worse AFTER the surgery that is supposed to heal her, than it is before it. Weird.

We are both scared but I am very confident that things will go OK. We have been lucky so far: if she had not hit her head during the rugby game, back in January, she would never have had the MRI and CT scans that showed the tumour. She has been treated with respect and care by the NHS staff. Everything has gone really well and fast. I have nothing but praised for the NHS so far. Let's hope it stays like that.

There will probably not be much posting here for a few days. Just leave me your positive thoughts, either here or in your mind. We will need them.

02 June 2005


It is finished. The last exam was this morning and I am done-diddly-done!


Most of this afternoon was spent drinking in the piazza with my uni people and now i'm exhausted.

Hmmm. What to do next? I keep thinking that I should be doing some revising. I haven't let go of all that tension yet...but i'm sure that in a few hours i'll be fine.

Jane, welcome to the rest of your life...:-)

01 June 2005

No to Europe

Today Dutchies get to vote against (or for) the EU constitution. I doubt anyone has bothered to read the document but the No vote will win here as well. I have not received a ballot paper. Perhaps they know I would vote No anyway so they don't want my vote.

On this site (in Dutch) my friend Titia picks apart some of the 'arguments' of the Yes campaign. Basically they have not used any arguments. Only fallacies.

Ad Hominem (Playing the man, not the ball) by suggesting the Dutch people should not be voting on this issue, suggesting they are not smart enough to understand its importance.

Ad Miserecordiam (invoking sympathy) by the Prime Minister when he suggested he would look like a fool if he has to go back to Brussels to explain the Dutch No-vote.

More Ad Hominem when politicians accuse each other of not having 'the right' to speak about the issue because they used to have a different opinion in the past, therefore their opinion today is not valid.

The No-campaign started campaigning weeks, if not months, before the Yes-campaign. They Yes-campaign assumed the Dutch would vote Yes. When they noticed the danger coming, they started to fight against the No-campaign. They did not start fighting FOR THE CONSTITUTION. The result is that The Netherlands will vote No today. And the referendum will, just like in France, not be about the European Constitution but about dissatisfaction with the current government.