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I have never skated on ice

Just like eating a raw herring well over a year ago, Lena has often reprimanded me for being a poor Dutchman for never having skated on ice.

Near the end of last month, we were having a few days of anniversary fun with the Albert Heijn discount on activities. On one of the days, we decided to go ice skating at De Scheg, a swimming pool, kart track and ice skating course just a short walk from our home. There, I had my first experience on the irons.

It was a bit scary at first. I had imagined that it would take me fifty falls before I would even be able to stand up. But it turned out much easier and before I knew it, we were going around on the skate course.

I’d say it was a decent work-out and I did fall once, but I fell into the inflatable railing around the course, so nothing really major. But above all, it was a lot of fun. And to think it’s so close to our house. We definitely want to go again!




I have never played with VR goggles

Wow. Just wow.

A little background on this: a few weeks ago, Lena and I were invited to a weekend in Center Parks with the committee of Hearth’s Warming Con 2016. In general, it was very fun, especially to see Opaque from Denmark again!

But one of the activities of the weekend was particularly awesome. For a long time, Lena and I have been wanting to try out VR goggles. It just so happened that our friends Melanie and Diederik recently bought the VR goggles for Playstation 4 and brought it along for our weekend.

So last Friday, we had a shot at playing actual VR games! And it was awesome!

It’s everything you can expect from it and more. I started off in a sort of demo room where you could look around at all the things going on. The weirdest thing was being able to actually move closer to the little characters while the game actually zoomed in on them. It was so immersive, I wanted to touch them!

I also played a strange game where I was a dinosaur wrecking a city with my head (yes, by head-banging!), and a shooting game demo where I had to manually reload. I loved it.

This is definitely something we both want to get. Now we just have to wait for it to become affordable (after we get Nintendo Switch!)

Here’s a bonus gif of me shooting:


I have never crossed the Afsluitdijk

Last month, I promised something big going to happen this month. Unfortunately, due to temporal and financial constraints, the thing that we had planned for this month had to be postponed. However, this month has plenty of opportunity for things I’ve never done.

Lena’s mother had offered us to watch over Medley for the weekend, which meant that Lena and I had some time for ourselves. We didn’t have anything in particular planned, so we decided to spend the day hunting for Pokémon, as we usually do with our spare time.

We were considering going to Kijkduin, the Pokémon capital of the Netherlands, where legends foretold would reside numerous wonders like Blastoise and Lapras. However, we also feared that parking would be a problem, and we were unable to obtain cheap train tickets in time, so our plans were moved to Hoorn instead, which was suggested in some comment on some website somewhere.

As we were staying at Lena’s mother for the night (Friday-Saturday), this decision lead us to cross the Afsluitdijk, a 32 km connection between Friesland and North Holland, which forms a barrier between the North Sea and the man-made IJsselmeer.

It wasn’t quite what I had expected. I knew of the existence of this crossing, but in my mind it looked like the bicycle bridge from the Pokémon anime. Instead, it was actual land with a road on it, and even a few stops to the left and right. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the North Sea, but the IJsselmeer was quite a sight too. And though I expected this to be the case, the Afsluitdijk can also be crossed by bike: something I’ll definitely do!



Ok, so onward to Hoorn. Our research found a place to park for free not too far off the center. However, our search in town was very disappointing. We managed to grab a few Pokéstops, but aside from the Ratata-Pidgey junk we find at home, nothing valuable showed up.

So, we made the best decision we could make that day: we decided to drive to Kijkduin and just gun it. After our second hour-and-a-half drive, we found that the parking problems were grossly exaggerated and we found a spot without effort.

As we walked towards the promised land, the first signs of success were already showing: Voltorb appeared in the sightings list, shortly followed by Electrode. And before we even made it to the Deltaplein, the hotspot of Pokémon Go the Netherlands, we encountered and caught both of them.


Feast yer eyes on this!

The hotspot itself was beyond anything I could have imagined: a small center with five Pokéstops , with at least 15 more stops in the near vicinity, with at least 7 or 8 lures active at any given moment. There was not a single time that there weren’t any Pokémon to catch. The sightings list couldn’t even keep up with the amount of Pokémon. And the people! There must’ve been at least a hundred of them.


I saw pictures of twice the amount of people from someone who went the day after.

The Pokémon that spawned here were also of the rarest kind. The regular Pidgeys and Ratatas have been replaced by hordes of Voltorbs, Magnemites and their evolutions. Every once in a while, a very good Pokémon would spawn. We managed to catch Jolteon, Omanyte, Kabuto, Hitmonlee, Muk (though it ran away for Lena), and even an Aerodactyl (we were leaving and decided to do one more round when it spawned).


Mwahahaha. I have an Aerodactyl!

But there are more stories about the place, and I have found them to hold some level of truth as well. People living in the surrounding area complain about the noise coming from the gathering of trainers. Aside from the occasional children yelling, the people present were not that loud, but the sheer number of them caused a constant humming of conversations, which I can imagine is very audible for the nearby flats. It’s not something you can blame a specific person for, but the collective group still brings that about. I hope it won’t cause repercussions against the spot though, as we will certainly come back to this place!

P.S. I would have loved to write an I Never about watching the sun set behind the horizon, but a layer of clouds prevented us from seeing it. Another reason to come back and try again!

I have never mixed cider and rose wine

A few days ago, I realized that because we had been so busy with our new car and my birthday, I had not done an I Never yet. But we also started working with a tighter budget this month, which meant that I couldn’t do anything too expensive. That’s why this month’s I Never is sponsored by the people who left cider and rose wine in our fridge after my birthday party last weekend. I mixed them. It tasted horrible. The end.

That’s three kind of meek I Nevers in a row. Next month we have something better planned, so stick tight!

I have never had a horror movie night

Though Lena and I have a lot in common when it comes to what we like, there are also big differences. The biggest difference is probably that Lena loves watching horror movies, and I don’t care for them at all. So, in light of doing things I don’t usually do, we decided to watch the first three Saw movies in a row last Friday.

Before we started on it, I wasn’t very much looking forward to it. Friday a week ago, I called in sick for work. Over the weekend, I started feeling a lot better, but after working a full day on Monday, I felt horrible. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I called in sick again, instead staying at home with high fever and general miserableness. On Thursday, I wasn’t fully recovered, yet I got back to work. I did work from home to take care of Lena, who by now also was sick, and Medley (and also to prevent disease from spreading at the office).

After a week like that, I wasn’t really interested in spending all night watching movies I wasn’t at all in to. But, we did do it.

Warning: spoilers and poorly written reviews ahead.

The first movie was written pretty decently. Two men are locked in an old and dirty shower room with no clue as to why they are there and how to get out. With the help of clues around the room, they slowly puzzle themselves towards a hopeful release. While going through the game, a series of flashbacks shares what the prisoners know about their captor, a serial killer/kidnapper called Jigsaw, and why they specifically were selected. Meanwhile, an ex-cop obsessed with the case of this serial killer slowly zones in on the truth of the matter. The story converges to a chase scene where the ex-cop meets an unfortunate ending. However, the two captives do manage to overpower and kill their captor, only to find out that he was as much a victim as they were. The real Jigsaw, who had been pretending to be a victim who committed suicide before the start of the movie, stood up and left the two men for dead.

I enjoyed most of this movie. The setting of the imprisoned men was created very nicely, and the flashbacks were a good way of filling in the details from before this ordeal. However, the scenes with the ex-cop were somewhat frustrating to watch, as there were plenty of moments where I as a viewer was certain he could have easily taken control of the situation, but each time he just messed it up. Of course, the person he was chasing turned out not to be the actual serial killer, but still. Anyway, this movie has an amazingly executed ending, where pretty much everything we were lead to believe turned out to be completely different. I can’t say I saw any of that coming, so kudos for that. In the end, this movie was well worth my time.

The second installment was similar but different. The confinement of two men in a small room has been replaced with a group of 6-7 stuck in a mansion. The setup this time: the prisoners have about 2 hours until the toxic fumes in the house will kill them, but there are antidotes spread across the mansion which will allow them to walk away safely. This time however, the evil mastermind has practically invited the police over to watch his schemes unfold on a set of monitors, following the prisoners. The father of one of the captives, detective Matthews, eventually manages to “convince” the kidnapper to take him to the place. As with the first movie, nothing turns out to be what it seems, as it is shown that the monitors the police were following are actually recordings, meaning they never had any chance to prevent what they were watching from happening. Furthermore, one of the prisoners, Amanda, was actually conspiring with the serial killer. She overpowers detective Matthews as he searches the building for his son and leaves him there instead.

The first movie was brilliant in the simplicity of the setting: two men in only one room. This sequel expands on that, making it feel similar to the Cube movies, where a group of like-fated individuals navigate through a series of rooms and corridors. Unfortunately, I feel some elegance and uniqueness were lost in this change. Nevertheless, just as had happened in the first movie, this movie saves everything with some amazing twists right before the end. Though not as enjoyable as the first one, this movie was also well worth my time.

Then came the third movie, with again a different setup. It starts by cleaning up some of the loose ends from the last movie: detective Matthews freeing himself from his chains by pretty much fracturing his foot and a researcher who knows too much about Jigsaw ending up in his grip and not making it out. We are then brought to the main story of the movie, again consisting of the path of a prisoner through a series of challenges and his captors watching on monitors. The victim in this case is Jeff, who lost his son to a drunk driver and has his mind set to vengeance. His challenges bring him to meet a witness who did not testify, the judge in the case and the driver himself. Unlike the previous movies, Jeff is at little risk himself, but it’s up to him to forgive and save the other victims. He tried for all three, but only manages to save the judge, who he later accidentally kills by triggering a trap while it was aimed at him. Meanwhile, Jigsaw is dying of cancer. Amanda has kidnapped a surgeon Lynn, who she made to wear a necklace that will blow up the moment Jigsaw’s heart rate flatlines. Lynn manages to keep him alive, but Amanda chooses to shoot her anyway, leading to the plot twist of Jeff being the surgeon’s husband, and he in turn kills Amanda. Not knowing of the bomb necklace, he also kills Jigsaw, which in turn kills his already-dying wife. The movie ends with Jigsaw revealing he also captured their daughter, which should probably be a good setup to the next movie.

While the first two movies were pretty enjoyable, this one was often a pain to watch. Even the pretty decent plot twist did not manage to save the hour and a half leading up to it. The biggest problem I have with it is that it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do. It had to tie up some loose ends from movie 2, but doesn’t seem to build on that. There were a lot of flashbacks to things that lead up to the first two movies, but they did nothing to support the plot in the current one. And the plot of movie 3 had a far greater divide between what was going on inside the game and outside of it, making both stories feel really short. Not to mention Amanda, who was written to be some kind of attention-desperate wannabe Jigsaw, made each scene with her in it feel like a major drag. The first two movies were solid, this one felt like a scrapheap of stories.

In retrospect, though we had a good night, I don’t entirely feel like I did a horror movie night. The Saw movies in my opinion are more like thrillers with some pretty gory scenes, so I’m not sure whether this should activity qualifies as completed. However, it was a very enjoyable night, which is much better than I had expected at the start of it. I might continue the series, though I don’t have really high hopes after the last one. I might also one day do a proper horror night, but we’ll see when the time calls for it.

For now, I’m done writing this review. Good night!

I have never made lemonade with sparkly water

This is one of those I Never posts that’s partially about something I never did before, but mostly about all kinds of things that are going on.

You see, for this I Never I originally planned to write about visiting the Deventer op Stelten festival. Deventer op Stelten (Deventer on stilts), being one of the largest events in Deventer, is one of the things I should attend at least once in my life. So, Lena and I planned to go there on Saturday a week ago. Medley was staying at Carolyn’s, so we were free to do as we pleased.

But before going to the event, we decided to grab a movie. We noticed a lot of good movies about to be released, so we both got a Vue Movie Pass, which means unlimited movies (as long as we can find a baby-sitter) and a discount on movie snacks (so come with us to the movies)! Anyway, we went to The Legend of Tarzan. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a major mistake, as it was one of the most boring experiences of our lives. Wouldn’t recommend at all.

So we left during the break. However, this left us with the problem that it was way too early to go to Deventer op Stelten. And, only a few days earlier, we got hooked on a new game: Stardew Valley.

So we decided to switch up our plans and do what we wanted to do most: enjoy an evening of gaming without having to deal with a crying baby all the time.

Which brings me to this simple I Never. Not a big experiment, but something I did wonder about for a while: what does lemonade taste like if made with sparkly water. The answer: not too special, but a refreshing change nonetheless. I’ll definitely try this with different flavors as well.

Anyway, that’s it for this month. Nothing huge, but I can’t only do huge projects.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my farm is waiting.

I have never attempted the sugar break challenge

After last month’s bugs burger, this month is again about health. I’m not sure if it’s because I became father, or I’m just trying to be healthy in general, but I really want to improve myself in this area.

So why the sugar break? This one caught my attention when I saw a news article in our local newspaper, mentioning that a nearby supermarket would organize the sugar break challenge. Of course I seized this opportunity and applied. I hope that following through will result in an increased energy level, which should also come in handy as a new parent.

Tomorrow it’ll start with three days of cutting down, followed by seven days of the challenge itself. I’ve been working towards it by checking some of the products I’m using and found that it may be more difficult than I thought. There are way more products with added sugar than I expected. But still, I’m going for it!

If you want to keep up with my progress, check back here. I’ll try to post daily updates on here. You can also follow this Facebook post to receive updates.

Day 1

So as it turns out, the challenge does not actually start on day 1. Instead, the first three days are a sort of introduction with some tips and background information. Also, I set a goal for myself, which is to consume no added sugars, except for special occasions: in this case, Lena’s birthday will be during the challenge, for which I will allow myself a piece of cake.

But yeah, nothing so far.

Day 2

Today there’s even less to report than yesterday. Basically, the challenge hasn’t started yet. I’m enjoying some sweet, sweet sugar before it’s time to say goodbye.

Day 3

The final day before the challenge begins. I would have expected to take in excessive amounts of sugar today, while I still can, but I haven’t done so. I guess I’m not such a sweet tooth after all. Still, I did realize that certain things I consumed today would not be on my menu for the coming 7 days.

Wish me luck!

Day 4

Today was the first day of the actual challenge. I already failed. Twice. But both times with a valid reason as far as I’m concerned.

It started off pretty well. I got up early to feed Medley, had a good breakfast and started working. Aside from my coffee, which I’ve been drinking black for many years already, nothing of interest happened.

At lunch though, I was checking the ingredients of some of our bread toppings, when Lena asked me whether the meat I was eating was allowed. I thought I’d checked it. Apparently I hadn’t checked thoroughly enough. Strike one.

I continued working. The few times I went downstairs to get something to drink, I walked past the candy bar jar without taking something. It didn’t feel bad. I guess I’d usually eat candy because it’s there. The one time I did get the munchies, I went for an apple instead, which is something I haven’t done in some time either. My lifestyle is already improving!

After work I took a quick trip to the supermarket to stock up on things I will be allowed to consume during this week: eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, salted peanuts and chips. Especially the last one is an important one in dealing with stress when sugar is not an option. Let’s hope I won’t need it.

During dinner, I had a second strike. We had shawarma, but I technically wasn’t allowed the pita bread. Still, they come in packs of six and Lena can eat only so many before they go stale, so I decided to help her out on this one. That is one of the things about this challenge: it’s difficult to deal with products we already have bought. I’ve been thinking about how I’ll continue after the challenge. On the one hand, I don’t want to throw the results away, but at the same time, there’s still a lot of things we have that would be wasted if not consumed. I guess I’ll have to wait and see how I feel about it after this week.

Day 5

Today was chaos. I had chips for breakfast and more of them for lunch. Went back to bed at about 12 and got up for work again at 2. Taking care of Medley today was stressful, which reflected in my eating habits.

It got better though. After some more resting and a shower, we had a good dinner and some Wii U fun with friends in the evening. Only challenge today was to not grab anything from the open bag of Doritos everyone was eating from. I ate a kiwi instead. I’m proud of myself for eating fruit.

The hard days have yet to come however.

Day 6

We’re almost at the half-way point and it’s getting difficult. Today I had sugar twice again. Both times were again a mistake.

It started with the consultation bureau, which is an agency helping parents take care of their children by offering advice, paid us a visit to see if we could do anything about Medley’s restlessness. Their advice was for us to be strict about her feeding schedule: at least three hours between meals and only one meal between 11 pm and 5 am.

Medley did not agree with this. Her last meal was at 9 pm yesterday, which meant that there were 8 hours to bridge during the night with just a single meal. Medley started crying after only 3 hours. So the objective became to quiet her for another hour.

We went outside. Earlier, we had found that placing her in the car seat and driving around could calm her down. So we went to McDonald’s to also make our little ride enjoyable by mom and dad.

Unfortunately, because it was so late, I had barely slept the night before and Medley’s crying was again stressful, I forgot about the challenge. Lena reminded me after eating some chicken nuggets with sweet and sour sauce. And after we got home and took care of Medley, I took some sips from our cola.

Ah well, mistakes can be made.

Today I know beforehand that I won’t have a sugar-free day, as it’s Lena’s birthday and I promised her I’d have a piece of cake.

But you’ll hear all about that tonight.

Day 7

I went way overboard today.

It started off okay. Like I said, I had a piece of cake this morning (afternoon actually, got to sort of sleep in). I genuinely enjoyed it. It wasn’t like I needed to chow down on it. I could slowly consume my treat and enjoy every bite.

But then in the evening, things turned around. Lena and I went out to all-you-can-eat sushi. I expected it to be mostly sugar-free. After all, it’s mostly fish and rice, right?

I’m sure some things had sugar in them. I’m pretty sure mayonnaise of the salad had sugar, and some other things as well probably. I’m not one to ask for each and every possible dish whether it had added sugar or sweeteners though, so I just ignored everything and ate what I wanted.

Then came the dessert. After checking the available options, I planned on skipping it. However, while Lena went to the bathroom, I asked one of the waiters whether we could have sparkles, as it’s Lena’s birthday. They said yes, but seeing how I didn’t know which dessert Lena would go for, I decided to simply take the same dessert she did, so she would always get the right dish with sparkles.

She picked ice cream and two brownies. Screw it, I thought, it’s an all-you-can-eat dinner. I counted it as a special occasion.

In the end, Lena ate my second brownie. I was full beyond reason.

Though I did manage to avoid carbonated sodas, so partial success for me?

Day 8

We’re nearing the end of our challenge. I’m not craving sugars, but I do feel like I’m missing out on a lot of things. For example when Lena was eating some Ben & Jerry’s today. Or Carolyn’s chicken stew, which is so delicious, but contained broth with added sugar, which meant I had to say no (though I did have some before I knew the ingredients). There’s probably not that much sugar in it, but the challenge is to have none at all.

Things like the chicken stew will probably find their way back into my menu after this week. On the other hand, I have no desire for things like candy or soda pop, so I’m happy with that result.

Day 9

I feel like I failed the challenge. Today, I again had various things with added sugars, but to be honest, I don’t feel like there’s a point in avoiding them altogether any longer. I’ve had too many mistakes and sins this week to consider the challenge a success, and these last two days also have plenty of moments where sugars are part of the occasion. I guess I’ll just accept that as it is, and enjoy these moments.

But though I failed the challenge, the challenge did not fail me. I’m taking enough teachings from this week and bring them into the future. For example, I’m reducing sodas to when there’s literally nothing else to drink. I’m also quitting sweet snacks during the day. Instead, I now prefer a piece of fruit. And the moments I do get to eat a sweet treat will be more special now.

So that’ll be it for this week and for I Never this month. Thanks everyone for the interest and the support. See you all again next month!


I have never tried bug burgers

There are many reasons why one would eat bugs instead of regular kinds of meat. It’s healthier and more environmentally sustainable. With a kid underway, I feel responsible for making sure these two values are maintained.

So for May’s I Never, I agreed with our friend Heidi to try out bug burgers.


Heidi inspecting the burgers.  We had some friends over for the finals of the Songfestival (which were moderately disappointing), so don’t mind the mid-party mess.


Insecta burgers! Made with buffalo worms.


Preparation of our meal.


And the result!

The big question of course is: how was it?

Well, it wasn’t bad. From time to time, there was a crunchy bit, which caused me to pause and wonder whether I just chewed the head of a bug, but I managed to convince myself that wasn’t the case and made it through the entire burger.

When it comes to taste, there isn’t much to it. It was actually kind of bland. We decided to add some ketchup to make it more interesting. Someone should invent herb mixes for bugs.

But the biggest problem I have is the price. We paid 3 euros for 2 burgers, which is significantly higher than what we usually pay for our meat. Though I find environmental sustainability important, it needs to be financially sustainable for ourselves as well. This will not be a regular thing.

Now to hope Lena will allow me to kiss her again soon.

Gotta Sketch ’em All

We did it! Over the course of the last 30 days, Lena and I drew a total of 151 different Pokémon! Like always, there were highs and there were lows, but I sure can look back at this project and say it was a good one. When looking back at day 1, all the way through to today, the quality of the pictures is somewhat improving. I also feel like learned a lot over the course of drawing. For example, I learned that most Pokémon have a total of three claws per leg. I also learned that for every Pokémon, there are at least 3 fan-made Mega evolutions (seriously, why?). And I think I’ve seen a real-life version of every single one as well. And, in the end, I think I learned some things to improve my drawing skills.

The Results

Also check them out on our DeviantArt: Lex and Lena.

The first drawings are made by Lex and the second drawings are done by Lena.

1 – Selfie Time!

01 - Selfie Time! 01 - Selfie Time!

2 – Dressed as a Princess02 02

3 – Chibi Pokémon03 03

4 – Easter0404

5 – Light and Darkness0505

6 – Happiness is…0606

7 – Pillow Fight!0707

8 – So Happy I Could Cry0808

9 – Snowball fight!0909

10 – Lost in Space1010

11 – There’s Something on your Face1111

12 – Board Game Fun1212

13 – Giant Pokémon1313

14 – Over the Rainbow1414

15 – Carnival1515

16 – Thunderstorm1616

17 – Crazy Weather1717

18 – Autumn1818

19 – High on Coffee1919

20 – Food Fight!2020

21 – Dreaming of Flying2121

22 – New Years2222

23 – High Up In The Sky


24 – Swimming in Chocolate2424

25 – Diving in the Ocean2525

26 – Different Emotions2626

27 – Robot Pokémon2727

28 – Halloween2828

29 – Yarr, Pirates!2929

30 – Summer3030

We have never sketched 151 Pokémon

There’s not much to say about this challenge. Lena suggested it a while back, and I’m going to try this out throughout April. The idea is ludicrously simple: randomly sort the list of the original 151 Pokémon (because drawing in order has been done to death) and draw 5 each day. And to mix it up even more, each day we have a random theme from one of the Artist vs. Artist challenges from the most recent Hearth’s Warming Con.

Execution is definitely going to be tricky, as I’m not a great artist and this is a large amount of Pokémon I have to draw in all sorts of poses and settings. Still, I won’t back down! Luckily, I have Lena to support and accompany me (yes, she’ll do the same challenge much better).

So, as of tomorrow, you can expect daily pictures from the both of us.

Follow our progress over on my DeviantArt and Lena’s DeviantArt.