Exception to the rule

Every year, I have the same problem: people ask me what I would like for my birthday. Every year, I’d be damned if I knew.

Indeed, it’s a luxury problem and hardly worth breaking my pretty head over. I just take it as an indicator that I’m not doing too bad at all. And that’s good enough a present for me.

If we would know

Earlier tonight, I was watching the documentary Als we het zouden weten. It’s about the neonatology department of the UMC Groningen — the intensive care for children that are born too early — and the decisions and questions about life and death they have to face there. Can we decide for a very small child that the quality of life is so low it isn’t worth living? What is quality of life, for that matter, and should that be left to doctors to decide? At what point should you stop treating an incurable patient?

Having witnessed such a situation from the sideline (the son of two very good friends was born 13 weeks too soon) made it lot harder for me to watch this documentary. There is no sense of disconnection, it isn’t a ‘far from my bed show’ (as we would call it in Dutch), it just hits and hits and hits. You can’t help but imagine that it isn’t some anonymous kid lying there. Which makes me appreciate the tough job that those doctors and nurses have to do even more.

Update: you can now watch the documentary online (in Dutch).

Some statistics

My new website went live just after I moved to my new apartment in June. This time, I’m keeping track of my esteemed visitors. Here are some numbers.

  • There have been 1,207 visits from 620 unique visitors, resulting in 2,109 pageviews.
  • People have been visiting from 39 countries, covering all six continents. The five countries with the most visits are
    1. The Netherlands (no surprise there)
    2. United States
    3. United Kingdom
    4. Germany
    5. Italy
  • Of the search engines, Google is sending the most people my way. 118 different keywords have been recorded, and of those, ‘http://www.evilnickname.org/’ was the most popular, with 57 visits, all from Italy. Grazi! ‘Crapdamned’ and ‘evil nickname’ share the second place (8 hits), before ‘evil nicknames’ (6) and lolsecretz (4).
  • Overall, there are a lot of Loaf/Steinman related keywords. The most random keyword was ‘breskens p0rn’.
  • Latest report from the browser wars:
    1. Internet Explorer: 67.85% (IE7: 55%, IE6: 45%)
    2. Firefox / Netscape / Mozilla: 29.82%
    3. Safari: 1.66%
    4. Opera: 0.66%
  • I’ve made 62 posts, of which the following were the most popular:
    1. On the Faster than the Speed of Night singles
    2. Did I play that?
    3. Public appeal (and guess what? no reactions whatsoever)
    4. So, I’ve been to Budapest (quite popular in Hungary, too)
    5. You can slice it any way you want it
  • Four people (including me) left 17 comments.
  • As of today, more then 800 comments were rejected as spam.
  • My download-directory logged 9.4 GB of trafic.
  • The five files that files that wasted the most bandwidth are:
    1. MeatLoaf-(ItHurts)OnlyWhenIFeel.mp3 (1.1 GB)
    2. OverTheTop-(ItHurts)OnlyWhenIFeel.mp3 (644 MB)
    3. MeatLoaf-ImGonnaLoveHerforBothofUs-(vinyl_rip).mp3 (455 MB)
    4. BonnieTyler-ItsaJungleOutThere-(SpecialJimSteinmanRemix).mp3 (291 MB)
    5. BonnieTyler-TOOT-RalphisSoftDub.mp3 (270 MB)
  • And the bottom of the list:
    • VinnyAppice-DrumSolo.mp3 (17 MB, 3 downloads)
    • KvK11-DeKerstezel.mp3 (22 MB, 5 downloads)

Then, I have this almost complete archive of Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman lyrics. Since it’s a mess of frames and static html-pages, adding Google Analytics isn’t happening anytime soon. So I can only go by what the server logs tell me:

  • Bandwidth usage: 286 MB of html, css and the occasional image.
  • A grand total of 23605 pageviews by 8934 visitors

The number of visitors seem to be increasing every month, and even though Google does not love frames, I’m getting some search engine love anyway. Yahoo seems to send more people to the archive then to my weblog. I know I probably should redo the whole site as a database driven, dynamic website, but that’s an awful lot of work. Don’t keep your hopes up.

As always, I’m open for suggestions, and feel free to leave a comment anytime. Thanks for stopping by.

At last: a list

Ever since I kept a weblog, I’ve summed up my year in music, books and stuff in a list. This year, likewise. Small change though: albums and song of the year don’t necessary have to be from the last year, as long as they were new to me this year.

  • The List of my Favorite Albums of the Year:
    • Dream Theater — Systematic Chaos
    • Dusty Springfield — Dusty in Memphis
    • Bruce Springsteen — Magic
    • Jenny Owen Youngs — Batten the Hatches
    • Muse — Black Holes and Revelations
  • Most Disappointing New Album of the Year
    • Iced Earth — Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part 1)
  • The List of Songs I Dug a lot this Year:
    • Dream Theater — The Dark Eternal Night (and I’ve made an edited version to kick you in the butt)
    • Ellen Foley — Beat of a Broken Heart
    • Rainbow — Stargazer
  • The List of Songs I don’t Have to Hear ever again, because They were Played to Death this Year:
    • Delilah from the Plain White T’s
    • That annoying ping-pong song
  • The List of Musical (re-)Discoveries of the Year:
    • Ellen Foley
    • Jenny Owen Youngs
    • Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow, Sabbath, Heaven & Hell)
    • Marillion
  • The List of Live Performances I’ve Seen This Year:
    • 2007-12-29 — Krezip, Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam
    • 2007-12-09 — a balladeer, Paradiso (kleine zaal), Amsterdam
    • 2007-10-09 — Dream Theater + Symphony X, Ahoy’, Rotterdam
    • 2007-07-01 — “Vámpírok Bálja”, Pesti Magyar Színáz, Budapest, Hungary
    • 2007-06-27 — Meat Loaf + Marion Raven, Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam
    • 2007-06-16/17 — Fields of Rock, Biddinghuizen
      • Iron Maiden
      • Dream Theater
      • Heaven and Hell
      • After Forever
      • Delain
      • Slayer, Type O Negative, Dublin Death Patrol, Life of Agony, Motörhead, et al.
    • 2007-06-14 — Meat Loaf + Marion Raven, Kölnarena, Cologne, Germany
    • 2007-04-10 — Rocket Scientists and Lana Lane + Dial, De Kade, Zaandam
    • 2007-03-30 — Delain + NovAct, Gigant, Apeldoorn
    • 2007-03-19 — Bløf, Muziekcentrum Frits Philips, Eindhoven
    • 2007-02-10 — “Tanz der Vampire in Concert”, Raimund Theater, Vienna, Austria
    • 2007-01-30 — Bløf, De Flint, Amersfoort
  • The List of Concerts I had Tickets for but did not Attend:
    • 2007-11-20 — Meat Loaf, Ahoy’, Rotterdam (cancelled)
    • 2007-12-15 — a balladeer, J.M. Fentener van Vlissingenzaal, Utrecht (scheduling conflict)
  • The List of Other Cultural Events I’ve Attended This Year:
    • 2007-11-21 — Brigitte Kaandorp, Zo. (try out), De Lieve Vrouw, Amersfoort
    • 2007-11-10 — Dolf Jansen, Geen Oudejaarsvoorstelling, Stadsschouwburg, Utrecht
    • 2007-04-28 — Lebbis, Het Kwaad, De Flint, Amersfoort
    • 2007-02-15 — Jenny Arean, Wende Snijders ea, Het Verschil, De Flint, Amersfoort
  • The List of my Favorite Performances I’ve Attended this Year:
    1. 2007-06-17 — Dream Theater, Fields of Rock, Biddinghuizen
    2. 2007-06-16 — Heaven and Hell, Fields of Rock, Biddinghuizen
    3. 2007-07-01 — “Vámpírok Bálja”, Pesti Magyar Színáz, Budapest, Hungary
  • The List of the Most Disappointing Performances I’ve Attended this Year:
    1. 2007-06-14 — Meat Loaf + Marion Raven, Kölnarena, Cologne, Germany
    2. 2007-06-27 — Meat Loaf + Marion Raven, Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam
  • The List of Books I’ve Read This Year in Reversed Chronological Order:
    • H.P. Lovecraft — Tales of H.P. Lovecraft ( selected and edited by Joyce Carol Oates ) (still reading)
    • Susanna Clarke — The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories
    • Miranda July — No One Belongs Here More Than You
    • Stephen King — Rose Madder
    • Terry Pratchett — The Light Fantastic
    • Neil Gaiman — Smoke & Mirrors
    • Richard Dawkins — The God Delusion
    • Stephen King — Christine
    • Diederik van Vleuten, Erik van Muiswinkel — Verzamelde Mannen
    • JK Rowling — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
    • Richard Bachman — Blaze
    • Russell Kirkpatrick — The Right Hand of God ( Fire of Heaven Book Three )
    • Stephen King — Firestarter
    • Carlos Ruiz Zafón — Gaudí in Manhattan
    • Stephen King — Cujo
    • Sir Thomas More — Utopia
    • Evert Hartman — Niemand houdt mij tegen, een avontuur in de 22ste eeuw
    • Philip Pullman — Lyra’s Oxford
    • Stephen King — The Dead Zone
    • Jan Siebelink — Knielen op een bed violen
    • Terry Pratchett — The Colour of Magic
    • Russell Kirkpatrick — In the Earth Abides the Flame ( Fire of Heaven Book Two )
    • Maria Goos — Leef!
    • Stephen King — Lisey’s Story
  • The Best Three Books I’ve Read This Year:
    1. Jan Siebelink — Knielen op een bed violen
    2. Richard Bachman — Blaze
    3. Stephen King — Rose Madder
  • The List of Books I didn’t Quite get to in 2007:
    • Rich Wilson — Lifting Shadows, The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater
  • The List of Most Disappointing Final Book in a Series of Novels:
    • JK Rowling — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • The List of Comics I Endorse This Year:
  • The List of Things I Could Really Get Worked Up About Again:
    • He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-Because-He-Just-Wants-The-Attention (But-Has-a-Weird-Hairdo-All-the-Same)
    • People complaining about the impending ban on smoking: it’s your dirty habbit, so suck it
  • The List of my Favorite Photo’s of the Year:
  • The list of Countries I hadn’t Visited before I Visited them this year:
    • Austria
    • Hungary
    • Andorra
  • The List of Places Where I’ve Spent the Night This Year:
  • The list of Waddeneilanden I visited this year:
    • Texel
  • The List of Things I Really Did See, Hear or Do of My “Things I Really Want To See, Hear or Do in 2007” List:
    • Did not quite port my website to PHP, but got a new one all the same
    • I have not messed with perfection.

See you on the other side.

First Lines: The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories

As it is said in the preface, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories, aims to throw some sort of light on the development of magic in the British Isles and create a sort of primer to Faerie and fairies. As she shew us in her novel recounting the history of the (Glorious) Revival of English Magic, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Miss Susanna Clarke has a remarkable talent for telling fantastic stories of men and faeries.

Last year, Strange & Norrell ended on the third spot in my annual list. One of the reasons for that was the kind of language I tried to emulate in this first paragraph. That book was flowing over with it and dense with descriptions, subplots and footnotes. It build a 19th century England to which Magic returns. This collection of short stories expands that world in the same language. These stories are just as good.

Book read
Susanna Clarke — The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories
First line
Above all remember this: that magic belongs as much to the heart as to the head and everything which is done, should be done from love or joy or righteous anger.