Eric D. Schabell: August 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ik ben een Nederlander!

As of yesterday I have received Dutch citizenship. After 15 years in the Netherlands, many hassles with the Dutch Foreign Police for my stay permits, and the last adventure with City Hall (as described here) it is a fact.

They had a nice ceremony at City Hall and even a reception with a band afterwards. The Mayor did the official presentation to each of the new Dutch citizens and we even got our group picture on the front page of the local section of the Brabantse Dagblad.

Friday, August 24, 2007

USMC Rules For Gun Fighting

Passed my desk today and I found the rules to be a bit funny, but sadly enough to contain a grain of truth. What do you think?

Rules of engagement
  1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns. Bring their friends who have guns.
  2. If you can, make friends with those on the crew served weapons. Bring them as well. Borrow money from them, it gives them an added incentive to protect you.
  3. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.
  4. Only hits count. Close doesn't count.
  5. If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough nor using cover correctly.
  6. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)
  7. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.
  8. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived and who didn't.
  9. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating (calling for arty or air support), reloading, and running.
  10. Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting is more dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the gun.
  11. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. "All skill is in vain when an Angel pisses in the flintlock of your musket."
  12. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
  13. In combat, there are no rules, always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
  14. Have a plan.
  15. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work.
  16. Have a back-up, back-up plan in case CentCom or SecDef finds the first two plans "unacceptable".
  17. Use cover or concealment as much as possible. The only visible target should be in your gun sights.
  18. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect your flank.
  19. Don't drop your guard.
  20. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.
  21. Watch their hands. Hands kill. “In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them.”
  22. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.
  23. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.
  24. Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
  25. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
  26. Your number one Option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.
  27. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a "4."

Army Rules for Gun Fighting
  1. See USMC Rules to gun Fighting.
  2. Add 60 to 90 days.
  3. Hope the Marines already destroyed all meaningful resistance.

Navy Rules for Gun Fighting
  1. Adopt an aggressive offshore posture.
  2. Send in the Marines.
  3. Drink Coffee and eat donuts.

Air Force Rules for Gun Fighting
  1. Kiss the wife goodbye.
  2. Drive to the base in your sports car.
  3. Fly to target area, drop bombs, (try not to hit the Canuks) fly back to your home base.
  4. BBQ some burgers and drink beer in your back yard, and talk shit about the Navy, Army and Marines.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Prep work for Dutch citizenship

As stated earlier I am currently in the process of becoming an official Dutch citizen. As study material before I am allowed to become a Dutch citizen, I thought it would be a good idea to learn the national anthem. It is called the Wilhelmus and goes as follows (original and translation):

Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
ben ik, van Duitsen bloed,
den vaderland getrouwe
blijf ik tot in den dood.

Een Prinse van Oranje
ben ik, vrij onverveerd,
den Koning van Hispanje
heb ik altijd geeerd.

[Listen to the song]

English translation:
William of Nassau, scion
Of a Dutch and ancient line,
I dedicate undying
Faith to this land of mine.
A prince I am, undaunted,
Of Orange, ever free,
To the king of Spain I've granted
A lifelong loyalty.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Big ride yesterday to Boekel

Yesterday off to the Ronde van Boekel to watch the semi-prof men's cycling races and the women's pro tour cycling races. This gave us a destination for our weekend trip and we made a nice long trip of it. We went through s-Hertogenbosch, Oss, Uden, Vokel, Boekel and then back via Erp, the Zuid Willemsvaart canal to s-Hertogenbosch.

Along the way we watched the cycling races, drank some coffee and also had some nice strawberry pie to keep the blood sugar up for the total of 89 km's we ended up cycling. It was over a period of 3,5 hours and we had a bit of head wind on the way out, but wind behind us on the way back. There was enough sun that we both got a little burned and just managed to get home before the rain caught up with us.

All in all, a good weekend ride on my bike since having it serviced. I have new handlebars, new gears on the back (were worn out) and a new chain. Not bad after 3600 odd km's and one fall! ;-)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Austin Mini gets electronic ignition

I took my Mini into the shop for some needed work that I am unable to take care of myself as I have no garage. The front windscreen has been leaking for some time now so had the seals replaced and windscreen refitted. It now has a wider rubber seal as there is some rust starting on the bottom half of the windscreen area.

I have also been thinking about upgrading the ignition to an electronic version instead of the original contact points. I have been having problems with jittery rides a different speeds and at different temperatures. Yes, I can adjust various things to fix it, but have been getting tired of this ongoing game. So I took the plunge and let them install an electronic ignition. What a difference!

Finally, I had them troubleshoot and fix a problem I have been having with the electrical wiring on the drivers side. Intermittent loss of hazards, dome lighting and back windscreen heating elements has continued to escape my attempts to locate the cause. It seems that it was a few in-line fuses that were pretty bad and some of the wiring in the firewall that was corroded. They replaced some of the wiring and included some newer waterproof fuses.

Weekly overview

This week I was forced to cycle to work every single day, no matter the weather. My mini was in the shop for some needed upgrade work (electronic ignition and new front windscreen seals as it was leaking like crazy). Diverse routes taken and was able to keep dry by cycling between the rain showers with a total of 75 km's.

The hard part was that this was on my small folding bike as my racing bike was in the shop for some much needed repairs and overhaul. I am over 3500 km's on the bike and had a nasty crash last summer. The repairman was surprised that my handle bars were not broken off yet, ouch! It will be finished Saturday, so next week I am back on track for some faster rides to work. ;-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My code is compiling!

(credit where it is due:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A US Flag with meaning

Today we got a package from my best buddy who happens to be on his third tour in Iraq as a US Marine. He had sent a few presents for my kids; two bears dressed in camouflage with t-shirt text of "Greetings from Al Asad Iraq", play dough kit and a small box containing a US Flag.

This last one was for me and I thought that it was really a neat idea as I can't just go down to the store and buy a flag to fly here in the Netherlands. I opened the box and pulled out a 3x5 foot flag. What really made it special was the other contents of the box...

It contained a certificate that this particular flag had been flown over his air base:

"This is to certify that this National Ensign of the United States of America was flown atop the Expeditionary Airfield Bunker, Al Asad Air Base Al Anbar Province, Republic of Iraq on the 4th of July in the year of our Lord 2007."

This is not just any flag and I am sure that I will be keeping this flag in a special place. Wow, you have made my day Jody!

I do get a lot of questions about proper flag etiquette, so follow the link an you will know all there is to know. Here is some history on the Al Asad Air Base and some images of a sandstorm hitting the base.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Still searching for a good cycling route to work

From home to my new job it is about 10 km one-way, almost exactly on the other side of the city where I live. The problem with cycling straight through town is that I get hung up in other cyclists (that are going much slower) and have to stop for all the traffic lights.

The idea is to find a nice route that takes me outside of town and with a minimum on stops. I tried a new route from work to home that took me around through Rosemalen, but that ended up being 18 km's one-way to home. I guess I will keep looking.

Having only cycled once this week due to being a bit sick (throat infection, taking antibiotics) my total distance was only 28 km's.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

AbTLinux - coding month reduces failing unit tests to 18

I finally found a few weeks where I could spend some time almost daily on AbTLinux and made a real good coding push. I finished up last time with 27 unit tests failing. After this coding push I am down to 18 unit tests to go!

This coding push involved some major refactoring, included a migration of the file names, method names in all classes, and general unit testing cleanup. This all involved turning my 'java-ish' code into a more 'ruby-ish' look, something pointed out to me by some of you. I checked each of these changes with the fine people that hang out on irc at #ruby-lang. Outside of this work, here is a list of issues that have been implemented:

  • able to purge sources for packages not installed.
  • a simple single word search of package descriptions available.
  • the verification of installed package files (are they installed) implemented.
  • able to view install, build, integrity, configure logs from an installed package.
  • able to generate a list of installed packages.
  • source packages are validated for sha1, currently not allowing failing checks to install.
  • implemented reinstalling of a package.
  • implemented removal of an installed package.
  • can remove build directory (unpacked source tree) or not, configurable in abtconfig.rb.
  • added ipc package source tarball to packages directory, used for copy to correct location instead of having to download sources. This speeds up unit testing.
  • diverse small bugs found along the way.
Over 76 separate code commits over a three week period. We have 46 unit tests running with 54 assertions, 18 failures, and no errors. Things are starting to shape up and I really need a package file generator soon to expand the testing. Things are starting to shape up nicely for the abt framework! ;-)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Are they blocking your GMail at work?

I am not looking to advocate circumventing security measures at your work, so will only be showing the single solution that gives a very limited access to your GMail here. At least you can read and write mails through your GMail account.

  1. search for gmail lite via
  2. login to one of the sites you find (such as
  3. you now have a simple HTML interface to access your GMail account.