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I have never received a new name

Today was a special day. Even though we just met, Lena and I have taken big steps together, starting with moving in together in February 2015, buying a house together in September and finding out Lena’s pregnant that same month. Today, we combined all that into our next step: we got a civil partnership (geregistreerd partnerschap)!

First off, don’t worry if you weren’t invited to the proceedings. We went for the budget (read: free) option of Monday morning, 9:00 am, with little more than the bare necessities in terms of a ceremony. In this setting, we were only allowed to bring up to four people, who would be our witnesses. Because of the nature of the day, we each had our both parents accompany us.

The reason for this minor celebration is that we decided on getting a civil partnership to make sure everything was taken care of when our child arrives. Not that we don’t love each other or are not sure we would stay together: nothing is less true. But we do want to have that big wedding and a big party and a honeymoon right after. That takes money, and money is tight.

So, just half an hour today, with a small group. Though luckily in the expensive wedding room, as the free room was being renovated XD

Anyway, this post’s title relates to the major decision we had to make in this story: one of the reasons behind our civil partnership was to make sure that Lena, our child and I would be able to have the same last name. But: what name would it be?

There were four options: Lena’s last name Poortvliet, my name Utama or one of two combinations: Utama – Poortvliet and Poortvliet – Utama.

We quickly decided on not taking a combined name, because that would be too complicated. In the end, we decided on the Poortvliet name: it’s less error-prone (more often than not, people mispronounce Utama) and, sad as it may be, there is a higher chance of discrimination with a foreign-sounding last name, now more than ever with the ongoing refugee crisis.

It wasn’t easy to do this. By the Dutch regulations, I will keep my original last name, while being allowed to use Poortvliet as well. But still, it felt like giving up a part of myself. I guess it kind of is. However, in the end it feels like the right thing to do. And I will have a famous person related to me ^^

As for today, like I said at the start of this post, it was a special day. Somehow, nothing changed while everything changed. The big change is that instead of being boyfriend and girlfriend, we are now husband and wife. Sure, we promised to support each other and stay loyal. But with our love, that was a given anyway.

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Luff you bby <3

I have never missed an I Never post

Even though I had an entire week off from work this February, I failed to do anything for I Never, which in itself is something I’ve never done, so you’ll have to make do with this late meta post that has nothing to do with I Never.

The reason for my lack of time last month is of course Hearth’s Warming Con 2016. After the resounding success of HWCon 2015, we came back for a second wind and with an expanded version. Instead of the evening + Saturday we did last year, this year we extended it to an evening + weekend. Needless to say, this had its impact on the amount of work required. Even with the experience we got from last year, there was enough to be done to fill more than a full-time job.

But we did it, and judging from the first responses, we did it pretty well. Of course, there were many things that could have gone better and we have again learned new lessons that we can take to the future. In the end, almost any event will have its struggles. The important thing is that most of these problems stay within the organization and do not impact the visitor’s experience. It seems we managed to contain the chaos sufficiently.

So what was my experience of Hearth’s Warming Con 2016?

For me, the real deal started on Friday evening, when we set up for the pancake eve in the Pancake Pavilion. As we expected, this evening was fairly simple to setup, requiring us only to check for tickets and to enjoy our own dinner. Just like when we visited with the committee before the con, I took a Dame Blanche pancake, which was again divine. This day, I also had the pleasure of meeting M.A. Larson, who’s not only an interesting guest for what he does on the show, but also a great guy to simply have around. He interacted with his fans very well and people were very happy he attended the convention. But most of all, I enjoyed seeing some friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while. Stargaze, from Germany, prepared a care package with some goodies for our upcoming child, having had a daughter himself a few years ago. If you’re reading this, thank you so much again!

Saturday was the big day. I got up at 6:15 and left the hotel for the venue at 6:45. From that moment on, I was pretty much working all the time. Bringing items to the convention, picking up M.A. Larson and fixing any small issues that arose throughout the day: the life of a committee member is one of running around non-stop. It was probably around 18:30 that I found the time to sit down and eat dinner. During this break, I listened in on the party that was starting. I think MC Arch, or Oceanbolt as he is known in the Dutch brony community, is worth mentioning here, because he really nailed it. I wasn’t just surprised, I was overwhelmed. Though rap is not my type of music, he does know how to get the crowd going.

Anyhoo, after the party I took to hosting pony pictionary, which basically meant I had to hold a whiteboard up for people to draw on. It wasn’t very crowded, but we did have a lot of laughs. And just before heading home, I ended up assisting a group of bronies changing a flat tire. Not what I expected to do as committee, but we’re there to help in any way we can.

Sunday was easier. We had our setup still from Saturday, so we didn’t have to do much about that. The Sunday events largely took care of themselves. It was quieter, because some people had a long night of partying. And in general, it felt as if the staff got into the gist of the convention and were cruising on auto-pilot.

Because of this, we had more free time. I even managed to join the cosplay dating show, where I had to play Apple Bloom who tried to score a date. Turns out Apple Bloom is too young to date, and Baree playing Twilight Sparkle got to be the lucky winner. The event was a big success though, and I’d like to see it again.

Another highlight of that day was the Skype call with Claire Corlett (Sweetie Belle) and Chantal Strand (Diamond Tiara). I was on duty as audience question screener, so I managed to follow a lot of the panel. Everyone was enjoying the panel, and even more so when M.A. Larson sat down behind the laptop to ask them some questions.

But time flies, and almost straight after the Skype call, the con came to an end. We’ve been working for a whole year to put down three days of fun, and I’d say we did a great job. People were happy. People were sad it was over. And even now I see people online talking about how much they enjoyed it.

I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I mostly expected to feel relieved after the convention, but there is also a big part of after-con blues. Despite the enormous amounts of stress, I did enjoy it a lot.

Still, the convention being over opens up new opportunities. I’ll be working on the finalization of this year’s Hearth’s Warming Con, but there are other things on my path as well. I’ll be a dad soon, and I’m going to dedicate a lot of my time to that. Maybe there’ll be a next Hearth’s Warming Con as well. Maybe not. Time will tell.

Until then, I’m going to enjoy the quiet.

I have never lived like a vegetarian

This post was started on Wednesday 13 January. Unfortunately, due to a busy schedule, I wasn’t able to finish it until today. As it stands, I find that concluding an I Never activity with a blog post is taking me longer than I’d like. I’m considering a change in the format to decrease the reporting time and focus more on the activity itself. To be continued.

For now, enjoy this month’s I Never!

I don’t envy people who choose to be a vegetarian, but near the end of last year, Lena told me this would be a good I Never. I didn’t really see a reason not to do it, so here we are.

Now, I’m not planning on going the rest of my life without meat. After all, this is about the experience, not the life choice. I’m not even doing the entire month, basically because there’s two people in our household, and I don’t want to burden Lena with going an entire month with relatively little meat.

A week it is. I initially planned on starting the Monday morning, the first week of the year, but we had so much meat still in our fridge, that we would have to throw some of that away, which would be a waste.

It wasn’t until today that our meat supply more or less ran out, so I started today at 18:00. Why not start at 0:00? Mainly because there’s a vegetarian eating at our place tonight, and I don’t want to miss this opportunity to get a head start. And I guess it will be more fun to be awake when I complete the challenge and can eat meat again.

One thing to note is that my vegetarian diet will include no meat, but also no fish or bugs. If it’s an animal, I won’t eat it. Milk and eggs on the other hand, I will consume, because though I respect vegan’s life choices, I see no point in doing that.

During the challenge, I will maintain a log of what’s going on. The log won’t be published until I’m completely done, but it should give you an idea of the timeline.

Day 1, 21:47

The first few hours went by as well as they could, I suppose. We had guests for dinner, one of whom is a vegetarian, so Lena made a vegetarian curry, which was delicious. But I was also faced with my first challenge, because I was about to get some prawn crackers when Lena reminded me of what I was about to do.

I guess it’s harder than I thought.

Day 4, 12:32

So far so good. Last Thursday (day 2), we ate at some friends, one of whom is also a vegetarian, so that wasn’t so difficult either.

Yesterday (day 3) was even easier. We had leftovers from Wednesday, so I ate more of the curry, while Lena went for some nasi. Lena wasn’t satisfied with nasi alone, so later we ordered a half/half pizza: tuna on her half, vegetables on mine. I may have gotten a slight bit of tuna on my side, but eh… Nothing’s ever perfect.


It’s quite long after I did the actual I Never, so, the details are a bit hazy. I do remember that we bought vegetarian schnitzel with spinach, of which I ate two on two separate days. Basically, it highlighted the problem I have with vegetarian meat-products: they all taste the same. Even this schnitzel, which could have tasted like spinach, tasted like meat-replacement, which is a real shame.

In the end, it’s clear that a vegetarian lifestyle is not for me. Besides having to miss out on a lot of very tasty things (yum, spare ribs), you’re constantly checking everything for what it contains and it almost always tastes the same. That said, I am not against substituting meat for non-meat in things sauces, like the curry I ate. That taste is all about the sauce anyway, so I didn’t feel like missing out much.

Turn of the Year – 15/16

As of about April last year, Lena and I had a physical 2015 calendar. We had been living together for a while by then, and we thought it would be a useful addition to our home. As is to be expected, we bought a kitten calendar.

As the year drew to its end, we agreed on the usefulness of the calendar and we decided to buy a new one. However, it took a while before we finally found the perfect calendar, which is why as of yesterday we have an awesome Simon’s Cat calendar.

One of the things we did was filling it with all important birthdays this year, which involved me going through our old calendar. Although we only started it in April, there are a lot of good memories I associated with the various appointments.

Which brings us to this post. About this time last year, I  took a look at the year that had just passed and what I expected for the upcoming year in my first Turn of the Year.

Oh, how much I planned. And how much plans change during a year.

Let’s take a look at what happened, and what didn’t happen, this past year.

Early February: Lena moved in. Officially, it wasn’t until April that she was registered as living here, but as I got the entirety of February off, we thought it would be cool if she stayed over for a while. Turned out a while became a lot longer than we thought. It’s strange to imagine that at the start of 2015, we were still living apart. I’m very happy like this.

February 8: Onesie-cinema meet. We went to watch Spongebob The Movie in onesies. That was brilliant. Onesies are insanely comfortable and most people react very nicely (though some are just plain rotten). The movie was incredibly funny. All in all, a good meet.

February 20-21: Hearth’s Warming Con. Something that started all the way back in 2013 finally came to its conclusion. I’m glad to say that we were successful enough to have another go. Check for everything about Hearth’s Warming Con 2016.

April 27: Lena officially moved in!

May 23: Eurovision Song festival. The first time I watched the entirety of the finals. I gotta admit, I’ve listened to a lot of those songs at work since then.

June 6: First visit of our new home. I remember this day. We were going to visit a friend for her birthday, but we decided to check a house first. The weather was beautiful. It was our first visit to a house, and we fell in love with it. But we didn’t dare imagine it would become our home.

July 30: Galacon. Another time visiting Galacon. It was good meeting old friends again, and I enjoyed my time as a volunteer. The Gala was amazing, with Lena and I “dancing” for the first time.

September 2: keys to our new house! Lena and I became home owners! It’s a big responsibility, but it comes with even bigger rewards: a place to completely call our own, as well as a solid investment in our future.

September 5: start of my week off of work. We originally planned to go hitch-hiking this week, but plans change and we put all our efforts into moving to our new home. We hoped to go hitch-hiking another time, but that may also change…

September 20: my birthday! There were many guests who visited us in our new house on my birthday. Both my family and a part of Lena’s family came over, meeting one another for the first time. They hit it off quite well, while we enjoyed the last barbecue of the season.

September 21: the strangest birthday gift I have ever received. On this day, we found out Lena is pregnant. We’re at week 19 right now, expecting to become parents either late May or early June. It’s very exciting, but also stressful. We thought owning a house was a big responsibility, but it pales in comparison to what’s ahead of us. But as long as all three of us are happy, everything will be fine.

September 30: the final day of Groenewold 222. Even though it was my first time living completely on my  own, I don’t miss it. I got a house of my own in return. A house that I am happy to share with my amazing girlfriend.

October 5: my first week of 5 days. Well, actually… My first week of 5 days was the week of October 26. October 5th was the first week of getting paid for a 5-day week.

November 30: my first week as scrum master at work!

December 14: our first real vacation together. I really enjoyed Hamburg!

December 20: Christmas dinner. We invited friends over for a Raclette dinner (gourmet for the Dutchies), which was extremely fun. Definitely something we’ll host again next year.

December 31: first New Year’s in our new house. Again, with friends over. We have a small patch of grass behind our house, where we were able to see over all the houses and enjoy the fireworks everywhere we could see. We had a great time, even though I didn’t have much time off from work.

Looking back, I did do most of the things I planned to do, but the big things this year were merely the groundwork for what’s yet to come. Our new house, a baby underway… Our lives are rapidly changing and won’t stop changing in the upcoming years.

There will definitely be difficult times, but it will be worth it. I’m ready for the next year.

I have never visited a Christmas market

Sometime around November, Lena and I realized we had never been on a vacation together. Sure, we went to Galacon, but that was also partly working as volunteers. So we did what any sensible couple would do: we bid on a vacation auction. The result: a three-day trip to Hamburg, including a stay at a hotel.

After some minor hassle getting the right date (we planned on going for a weekend, but were only allowed to go in a midweek), we flew to Hamburg for our first vacation together.

It was fun! A friend from the Galacon volunteer team gave us some advice on what to do beforehand. Our main activity: visiting a few of the Christmas markets.

Neither of us had any idea what Christmas markets really would be. It turned out that in Hamburg, it mainly revolved around lots of different types of food and drink, with drink meaning mostly Glühwein. With Lena’s pregnancy, she lost most of her appetite, so this was pretty much lost on her. We did eat some kale (boerenkool for the Dutchies), which was tasty (though not as tasty as in the Dutch cuisine).

And despite there being mostly food, we also found some nice stalls. We did have a good time.

Have some pictures of our adventures.


Lena eating boerenkool.


Though the center of Hamburg looks pretty nice, our hotel was in a bit of a slum part of the city. Here’s us walking to our hotel.


Glühwein! Not for Lena though, she had cacao.


I also came across this gem. 😀

I have never cleaned up my Facebook friends-list

I have 282 friends. At least, that is what Facebook tells me. In reality, a lot of these “friends” are people who I met only once, people I knew for a while but never really have a connection with or even some people who were involved in bullying me long ago.

Why are all these people in my friends-list then, you ask. It’s because I’m very lenient on accepting people’s friendship request. What if they really care and are interested in how I’m doing right now? Wouldn’t it be a bit harsh to remove them from my friends-list?

Maybe. But I feel that I’m just fooling myself by keeping these people there.

Earlier this month, Lena and I were checking our friends-list in to see how many of our friends adopted this profile picture (we didn’t by the way, but that’s a whole different story; should I write something about that?)

Anyway, I came across one person on my list with this flag who caught my eye. I wondered why he was on my list. And I removed him.

Thus far, there have been no repercussions.

So it’s time to extend this. Right now, I’m going to go to my friends-list and start cleaning it up.


Well, it’s done. From 282 to 232, and with 22 likes less as well. This wasn’t easy. I feel I was still pretty lenient on who I allowed to stay, but for now I’m pretty content.

If you got here from Facebook, congrats on staying. If not, I guess it’s time we get to know each other better.

I have never tasted fresh milk

Sometimes, there’s a major event in a month that is most definitively the subject for that month’s I Never. Sometimes, I really want to do something I have never done before. Sometimes though, there’s a lot going on, but nothing that I really want to comment on.

October is turning out to be one of the latter types.

There have been a bunch of different events that were completely new, both positive and negative. For example, some time ago, we got to play Assimilation, a game similar to Werewolves or Mafia, but with greater potential in bigger groups, I feel.

Also, being an upcoming parent also with a lot of new things too. A major item this month was that Lena and I got to see our child for the very first time on an echo. And today, we found ourselves in the Prénatal store in Deventer, a place we did not expect we would visit. But there we are.

None of that warranted its own post.

Neither did my fresh milk experience, but, hey, at least that one’s got pictures!

Long story short, Lena and I spent the night on the farm she grew up on. This farm happens to be a dairy farm, and Lena found out I have never had milk fresh from the cow. Time to fix that!




I had a tour of the barn the night before. These pictures are from the next morning. Cows are creepy.


Lena fetching the milk from the tank. Not in this picture: the tank valve opening very quickly and milk streaming on the floor (a bit).


The final product. A mug of glorious fresh milk.

It’s taste? Basically the same as milk from the supermarket.

The only difference I noted was that I felt sick until the afternoon that day. Turns out you can’t drink milk full of bacteria if you’re not used to it.



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We have never slept in our own house

This post was originally written two days after we got the keys to our new house. With the amount of work involved in moving to our new house, as well as the impact of finding out Lena’s pregnant, I did not find the time to perform a final edit. You may see this as my “I Never missed a month of I Never”. You won’t have to miss anything though, because I’ll run an October version of I Never as well.

Well over a year ago, I posted my first I Never entry. A lot has happened since then.

Back then, I just started living on my own, having only recently been a student living in a shared apartment and at my mother’s house for a few months. In terms of furniture, I had just a bed, a desk, an office chair and a television. My mode of transport was my trusty bike and public transport for anything outside of the city, with occasional access to my mother’s car. My house was my own house, for the first time ever.

Months passed, and my life expanded. It started with no longer living just by myself. Public transport got replaced. I Never became We Never. And earlier this year, the love of my life moved in with me.

But that’s not where it ends.

Our home had some downsides. A few neighbors had frequent, loud quarrels. One of the neighbors across the street modified a bicycle to hold a huge stereo installation and did not hesitate to play his awful music at maximum volume at any time of the day (or night). Two cars have been set ablaze just this year. Our living room becomes a sauna throughout Summer. The list goes on and on.

For me, these issues were not a big concern. During the day, I was at work. In the evenings, I was mainly gaming with my headset on. And on my free days, I was away to events all over the country.

But when Lena moved in with me, things had to change.

So around June, we started looking for a new place to live. Our first step was to apply for rental houses, but waiting lists for Deventer are around two years. Though we cannot remember how we decided to try for it, we started looking at buying a house.

We fell in love with the first house we visited. But, being careful, we decided we would visit some other houses first, so we can compare. After a few weeks, we had visited a whole lot of places, including a full day of visiting 10 different houses.

Our conclusion: the first one was the best.

After checking on our financial options with mortgage advisers, we scheduled a second visit, where we would make a bid.

But someone beat us to it. The house was sold. We had to start looking again. It was rough, because none of the places we visited were as good as that first house.

But then, near the end of a Friday in the middle of July, we got a call from the sales broker. The buyer was unable to get the funding they needed. The house was once again for sale.

There was no hesitation. We scheduled a visit for the very first possible moment: Monday morning at 9 o’clock. We placed a bid and the very same day, we had an agreement with the selling party.

We went through all the paperwork: requesting the mortgage, signing contracts, forms and documents going everywhere, eventually reaching its peak on September 2nd, 14:00.

At that moment, we signed the final agreements and got our keys. At that moment, we officially became home owners.

After the final documents, we finally were able to go to our new house. We already had some people lined up for that day to help us move in. Our goal was to sleep in the new house the same day. We moved in three beds, two couches, Lena’s television, a washing machine, a furnace and small fridge. In the evening we moved Kira, Jolie and Levi over.

Basically, from day one, we lived there.

The start was a bit rough. Both Lena and I were pretty stressed with moving , so we were also a bit on edge. Our new house, though much better than our old one, still has a few short-comings, such as the top floor walls being very thin. It won’t be a problem for most of the time, but we’ll have to get used to the sounds and being quieter when guests are over. And when there’s light on in the room next to ours, we can’t sleep, as both doors have glass above them.

But the important thing here is that this is our own house, and if we want to do something about it, we can do so.

And it’s not like it’s a bad place. We’re very glad to be there. Both floors are extremely spacious, with enough room for ourselves and our cats. The neighborhood is a lot better than the one we come from. And we’re also more easily reachable by public transport, living only a 5 minute walk from Deventer Colmschate train station.

In the end, moving is not a great time, but I look forward to our years in this house.

We have never danced

Almost a year ago, I wrote about my adventures in Germany. Two weeks ago, Lena, Baree and I headed off for another go at Galacon.

This year was different, of course. The biggest difference was a shift in our responsibilities. Last year, I managed about 18 people and 5 different cars in an attempt to get everyone a good trip to the convention. And on top of that, Lena, Moontune and I were responsible for staffing the Hearth’s Warming Con stand near the main entrance of the venue.

This year, we only managed our own car (and it was mostly Lena doing that, who did a very good job getting that sorted). And Hearth’s Warming Con did not have a full booth, but only a voting box (also great work from Lena) and some flyers. Ok, a lot of flyers.


To make up for this sudden large amount of freedom that I would not be able to handle, I decided to apply as volunteer for the convention, with Lena joining me for volunteer duty. Lena got assigned to guard a set of panels, while my main task was to assist during the signing sessions, as well as some tasks at the registration booth in the early moments of the convention and some miscellaneous vendor help.

For me, as always, I liked being among people. Having played increasingly big roles in the conventions that I have attended, I have earned the privilege of experiencing that moment of “I recognize your face, but where did we meet again,” while for others I ran into them yet another time. I particularly enjoyed meeting and working with Stargaze and Sundance, whom I haven’t seen since Galacon 2014, and only for just a brief moment back then.

On the other hand,  I like that there’s always new people you meet at these big gatherings. Being a volunteer, you get to work with cool people, but as a signing session guard, I also got to meet some special guests,  specificallyJayson and Jocelan Thiessen, for whom I recorded the amount of signatures they gave out. We talked about various things and I learned that there is particularly good food in Vancouver. Remembered for later.

The absolute highlight this year, however, was the gala evening. Originally, I had a volunteer shift during that event, but Stargaze was so kind as to let me enjoy the evening with Lena. The performance of Michelle and BlackGryphon, which was good, but not as appropriate for a gala evening, was followed up by MLP-themed piano music.

Right then and there, for the first time ever, Lena and I danced. It may have appeared as shuffling while hugging to an outsider, but for me, none of that mattered. That night was our night and we were enjoying it to its fullest.


I realize this may be a bit of a chaotic I Never post, but it was just an awesome experience, especially when compared to last year’s Galacon.

I’m looking forward to our next con.


P.S. Lena wants me to mention our height difference. It is quite a gap, isn’t it? Not enough to stop me from loving her though ^^

I have never hosted a Livescream

So, it’s now about 20 minutes after my first adventure of livestreaming games. That was something.

The past week, every time I would be reminded of my impending journey, I kind of looked forward to it. Sure, it was scary, but it was something I’d never done before and the idea of it was pretty cool.

Earlier today, while setting up the stream and watching Lena create an awesome banner (see above), the fun part was at its peak. It kind of made me feel like the professional streamers you see these days, which was very awesome. However, all good things must come to an end.

A few hours before the stream would start, joy turned to fear, as I was mentally preparing for all the jump-scares I would no doubt have to endure. This feeling peaked too, this time after the game started, before the game’s first serious scare (when opening the door where the dead (and dying) guards are.

At that moment, the bar for jump-scares was set and I was pretty sure what to expect. That’s not to say I didn’t have my share of jump-scares after that, but I could more easily shrug them off and continue the game. The game turned out to be somewhat predictable in terms of objectives and challenges, so continuing on was getting increasingly easy.

But still, in general, the experience was enjoyable for me and I hope my four viewers thought so too. I’m planning on continuing this series, but next time completely alone (due to our logistical situation, two people were watching my scream on the television right behind me). Also, after checking the recordings, we figured we should improve the audio quality, which is something to improve on. For those reasons, my next session will be quite a while later. You’ll hear more about that soon…

For now, if you missed it, check out the recordings of my very first Livescream.