A Holiday Post

Now that I’ve been enjoying my holidays for a while now – they’re as good as over – I thought the time had come to let you know what I’ve been up to.  Like any good holiday, it’s been a mix of fun and household chores which had been postponed, waiting for times like these…

The Chores

Let’s start with the though part: the household chores.   These are not really my favorite occupation but sometimes they just need to get done.


One of the larger tasks at home was mounting bookshelves against the walls in our children’s bedrooms, six in total.  To get a  bookshelf mounted, I first needed to mount a piece of iron on the wall.  This required drilling four holes in the wall, per shelf.  The largest challenge was hanging three bookshelves under each other, all straight and at a similar distance from the wall and each other.  As it just requires math and a spirit level (djeez, what a name, in Dutch it’s just called waterpas, spirits are not involved ;-) , that went quite okay using my regular electrical drill and its hammer function.

To finish off I had to shove the wooden shelf over the mounted iron and fix it using two screws that were part of the package.  And that’s were it went wrong, only slightly, just one screw has been messed up, but wrong it went.  Here’s the evidence:

A screwed-up screw

So, what happened?  Well, lazy as I am, I usually use the battery-powered drill shown above to put screws were they need to go.  However, the iron screws that came part of the package were not up to the power of that drill.  This resulted in a total mess for the first screw (indicated as BAD).  The head is totally messed up which means I can’t even get it out of there without possibly damaging the shelf.  So it’ll just have to stay like that.  The remaining eleven screws were fixed using my manual screwdriver, with a perfect result.

The morale of the story here is that it’s important to use the right tools for the job.  The more experience you’ve got in a particular task, the better your initial choice will be.  Just like with SQL Server, you need to think about what needs to get done and then select the tool to do it.  You need to quickly add a couple of fields to a development database?  Hmm, what tool would you use?  sqlcmd.exe?  Or the Management Studio?  Both would do the job and probably with the same result, but which one would be the fastest for you?  I would go for the SSMS, as I usually already have it running anyway.

Enough about those chores, let’s get to the fun part.

The Fun

Holidays also mean having fun with the kids.

Theme Park

One of our yearly daytrips is a visit to the Efteling, a theme park in The Netherlands.  I’m always looking forward to seeing (and trying) the new attractions.  This year the newest attraction is called Joris en de Draak (George and the Dragon).  It’s a wooden rollercoaster with two trains running simultaneously on two separate tracks.  The blue one represents Water and the Red one is Fire.  And they’re having a battle.  The winning train arrives first.

Joris en de Draak

I had to try out this attraction and was able to convince our oldest daughter – six years old – to come with me.  Luckily she was tall enough to be allowed on the attraction, but only just.  We had to use the carts in the middle part and she had to be accompanied by an adult – no problems there, I’m okay with the middle part :-)

I let my daughter choose the color, and thus we went for blue.  Once the train started, I must admit that I was a bit shocked by its speed.  According to Wikipedia its top speed is 75 km/h (46.6 Mph).  Obviously speed is not the whole story here.  After the first couple of turns, there’s a huge drop down which results in the funny feeling in the tummy (not sure what it’s called) due to the G-force.  And that’s not the only time that G-forces are playing with you.  I can’t remember any other rollercoaster in which the experience was similar.  Again according to Wikipedia, the largest G-force exercised in this attraction is 3G.

If you’re a bit afraid of heights – the coaster is 25 meters high – don’t worry about it.  This thing goes so fast that you won’t have time to even think about how high it goes, plus you’re fixed really tight in your seat.

In total its length is 810 meters (per track) and the ride lasts for two minutes.  It can process 1700 people per hour.

Later the same day, me and my daughter went for another ride, and she again chose blue.  Blue lost the battle this time, and the first time as well.  Ow, and here’s the attraction’s official site.

So, if you have the chance to visit the Efteling, try out this new rollercoaster, the after-effect is just great ;-)

Have fun!




  1. Jason Thomas’s avatar

    I was just 30 minutes away from Efteling and I couldn’t make it inspite of being in Oosterhout, Netherlands 5 times last year… Maybe next time :)


    1. Valentino Vranken’s avatar

      Hey Jason,

      That’s indeed not far from Kaatsheuvel, the city of the Efteling. I had to check the map though, I’m not really from around there either. It’s a drive of about 1.7 hours from my place.
      But in any case, it’s a small world isn’t it? :-)



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