Author Archives: tinker3333

I am interested in risk, business, physics, psychology and travel. I enjoy books and writing.

The Netherlands – Zan Schans

Zan Schans is a quaint little traditional Dutch village less than half an hour away from Amsterdam. It is characterised by windmills and little stores selling trinkets, clogs, chocolates, cheese and other little goodies. There is also the interesting Zan Schans Museum. We had a relaxing half a day out in Zan Schans. Below are a few pictures:

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Amsterdam – Canals, Boat-houses and Bikes

A good way to capture the unique sights around Amsterdam is to take a boat cruise along the many canals. I expected to see many bridges, boats and bikes – but what I found most interesting were the boat-houses along the two sides in the river. People actually lived there, and seemed to be having cozy house plants, family dinners or get-togethers and audio-equipment in them! Here are a few photos from the boat cruise:

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Amsterdam – The Heineken Experience

In the centre of Amsterdam next to the roundabout amidst a hive of activity, more beautiful gardens, pancake houses and a river, is an imposing building – the Heineken brewery. Having passed by the centre of town a few times and seen this inviting building, our curiosity got the better of us and we decided we had to have the Heineken experience.

We were given a tour around the brewery and shown how beer is made from the 4 main ingredients – water, barley, hops and yeast.

There was a section relating the history of how Heineken started with an entrepreneurial beginning and how very scientific techniques were applied to improve the quality of the beer, with many exhibits.

Horses have been very much a part of the story, being used for their strength to transport the beer – we saw real live horses in the building.

There was also a section called “Brew you ride. Be the beer.” This was a 4D experience  where we were given the experience of “being the beer”. This included a little water being sprayed on us and the experience of being shaken in the room just like beer when it’s brewed!

Here are just a few photos:

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TMM: Sometimes, you need to *stop* writing.

I was delighted to stumble upon this post. I stopped blogging for a few months and wondered if anyone else thought breaks are essential. I don’t feel as guilty now!

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum – Starry, Starry Night….


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The Van Gogh Museum celebrates its 40th year in 2013. We understood that it just re-opened it’s doors to the public on 1 May 2013 so it was perfectly timed for our visit. More can be found here about Van Gogh’s life and works.

I was reminded of a lovely video a friend of mine sent below with the famous song Starry, Starry Night, the tribute to Van Gogh. The video contains some of his well known works of art. The link is below, following the words (called VanGoghSong1). Just open it, click on slide show and enjoy.

You probably know the song “Starry Starry Night” by Don McLean, written by him in 1971 as a tribute to Vincent van Gogh. The song describes various Van Gogh paintings. In 1972, McClean’s record was No.1 in the U.K. 

For several years, the Van Gogh  Museum in Amsterdam played the song daily.

In the museum’s security safe is a copy of the sheet music, a set of  Van Gogh’s paint brushes,

the hat he wore while painting Starry Night  and various other items.

It is said that ‘Starry Night’ was painted while he was in an asylum.

He sold only one painting during his lifetime, as his genius was not recognized. 

That may be what caused him to fall into an abyss of depression which led to his suicide…….

tragic for one so gifted to have felt so non-understood.

Open the attached  and enjoy the video.  Make sure you have the volume turned up!

( if you want to print off the pictures, you’ll have a set of Van Gogh’s 32 best-known paintings.)


Amsterdam – Artis Zoo

Artis Zoo was named as one of the top ten attractions in Amsterdam, so we spent a few hours there. It was a nice day out – very pleasant. We had a good impression of the zoo. The place was well maintained and all the animals healthy looking. There were many interesting animals, a place for kids with tame farm animals that they could get close to and touch and another area, a “Forest House” with freely roaming animals. Of course, the landscaped gardens were beautiful with pretty flowers including tulips. Below are a few photos:

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The Netherlands – Heavenly Keukenhof

Before visiting Keukenhof in early May this year, I had thought to myself – “Flowers – they’ll be pretty, but well, they’re just flowers…”. While I walked around in Keukenhof however, the sights were mesmerizingly beautiful everywhere I turned. I could not help but keep thinking that this was what I could imagine heaven to look like. We were blessed with pleasant weather that day too – temperature in the low twenties and lots of sunshine. There was the pleasant light scent of flowers to top it off.

There were seven million bulbs of tulips there this year in Keukenhof, we were told. Many were on beautifully landscaped gardens; there were also fields of tulips that we could get a view of from above, standing on a windmill – seas of red, yellow, orange, white… rows of flowers one after another into the distance. Do enjoy just a few photos below.

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Happy Deepavali!

Deepavali or Diwali is on Tuesday, 13 November this year. Deepavali is also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is the celebration of the victory of good over evil according to legends. Celebrations are with oil lamps and other light, colours, decorations, fireworks and of course lots of goodies to eat!

The photos here were taken when I went to an Indian restaurant during Deepavali a couple of years ago. The decoration on the floor (known as ‘kolam’) is made with coloured rice grain. Different, very creative designs of kolam are seen in various places during this festival.

To all Hindus around the world – a very happy and prosperous Deepavali to you, with lots of light, happiness and good fortune.

This is an absolutely amazing set of videos about savants and the human brain.

Understanding and Embracing Diversity

Savants (the knowing ones) are people with neurological conditions like Autism Spectrum Conditions, who also possess incredible intellectual abilities. The videos below are about Savants with impressive memories. Watch and be amazed:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:


More on Autism:

Vote for Miss Montana, Alexis Wineman

What does Autism mean?

Communication difficulties in Autism

Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper: Asperger’s Syndrome’s Poster Boy?

Guide to parents of students with ASD on coping with the first day back to school

Inspiring People with Autism:

Dr. Temple Grandin

Jessica-Jane Applegate (British Paralympian)

Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon creator)

Carly Fleischmann

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Sci-fi: Conversations with an Extraterrestrial – (7)(ii)

7. Virtual Rendezvous in Ladinga (ii)

Sitting comfortably, Alan watched as the 3D movie rolled out with a narrative in English. Actually, the movie felt like having more dimensions than three. It was a 5D movie, at least in Alan’s mind, perhaps 10D, reaching into the unfamiliar recesses of his mind. Alan felt like he was moving, sensing with all his senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) and experiencing down to his core what was in this movie. He felt like he was living it, hypnotised by it, in a dream-like state.

Ladinga was beautiful and clean. The people were beautiful and simple. In fact, they seemed to be wearing some sort of gear with tiny solar panels that converted all their energy expended as well as the sun’s energy to air-conditioning or heating (or whatever made them comfortable) for themselves.

As Alan travelled around virtually, he noticed there were no people living in poverty or in poor health. At the same time, there were no ultra-rich people flaunting branded goods or engaging in past-times for the rich and famous as happens on Earth. It seemed utterly peaceful and intelligent. There were no arguments, bickering, crime – everything seemed purposeful and well thought out.

There were differences in the Ladingans, Alan observed. There were a number of scientists seeming to be working on high end research, he noticed a few musicians playing music that was so stirring he felt himself being buoyed to a different level. The majority of the Ladingan’s were doing more “normal” tasks. Even so, they didn’t work long hours, they spent a lot of it on relaxation and being happy. Most of the work was handled by technology.