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Seven Things – Tagged By Ivo

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I don’t like pyramid schemes, but if both Matthew Weier O’Phinney and Ivo Jansch are participating, who am I to stop the trail? So here’s my list of seven(ish) things you may or may not know about me (likely the latter), after receiving a tag from Ivo Jansch, who in turn got tagged by Matthew Weier O’Phinney, who got tagged by Keith Casey, who got tagged by Tony Bibbs, the root of all evil the one who started this all.

  • Although both shops and calendars tend to try to tell you when christmas season begins, my christmas season starts as soon as I see the Coca Cola Christmas Truck commercial on TV. In the netherlands, they usually start airing after December 5th (Sinterklaas presents eve). But the moment I actually see it, is completely unpredictable. For some reason, even unknown to me, I don’t get the ‘Christmas feeling’ till I see that commercial. That commercial always creates the spirit for me, no matter when or where I see it. I just can’t decorate my house or make christmas plans till I’ve seen that commercial. And I never get tired of seeing it, even if they air it after christmas. I really have no idea why it does to me what it does. Maybe in some hidden away part of my brain it connects it to the best christmas I ever had so far, 13 years ago, which was at a family where I also saw TV for the first time in my life (my mom is conservative christian, so we didn’t have a tv). However, thanks to Graham Christensen, I now have the christmas spirit all year long, as I’m now the proud owner of three original Coca Cola Christmas Truck Limited Edition Collectibles (the ’98 Holiday Caravan Truck, the ’00 Holiday Gold Caravan Truck and the ’06 75 year Anniversary Truck)
  • Since I don’t live in the States, I don’t have a real connection with any NFL team. Yet, I like the sport a lot, and watch a lot of games. I pick the team to cheer for, based on the colors of their outfit. 8 out of 10 times, this is a winning pick (feel free to contact me for my pick, dr. Lou), even though I have no idea who plays in the game, or what happened in all the time before the game starts. Over all, my favorite team has been New Orleans. Gold and black, with an added fleur-de-lis (which also used to be the symbol for the Sea Scouts when I was a sea scout during my teenage years) is the most good-looking combination, I believe. Unfortunately, the Saints are also most often the reason of a losing pick.
  • My first development was on a VTech Precomputer (looks somewhat like this one), a toy ‘computer’, at the age of 10. Besides having calculus and grammar games (aimed at elementary school students), it had a simple BASIC interpreter. With only 2 lines of 26 characters, I learned VTech Basic on it, and made my very first ‘programs’ (well, it executed :P). Shortly thereafter, I got an old MSX-2 from my 6th grade elementary school teacher (age 11), on which I learned a lot more. At age 13, I got an old 80386SX, followed by a 80486DX2 and my first own purchase, an AMD Athlon 1000MHz. After a lot of QuickBasic development, this opened the way to Visual Basic. I started web development in ASP VBScript , coming from VB this made a lot of sense. I’ve programmed ASP for 2~3 years, until I figured out that the fact that we weren’t running on an IIS host in production (external hosting) hurt development. Since the server was running on LAMP with a component to emulate ASP, and I heared about this thing called PHP, I decided to give it a try. Ported all ASP applications to PHP with a script called asp2php (which actually worked quite good for us) in a day, and started maintaining it. I’ve never looked back at ASP, kept going in PHP, and became a Zend Certified Engineer a bit over a year ago, although my original life plan specifically said ‘MCSE’.
  • My first employer was an american, who just came back to The Netherlands, and opened a computer store. Besides quite some computer techniques (like hot flashing a BIOS), he taught me what is important in life, and in business. Even though the job ended after 18 months, this guy is still a MVP in my life, and I still regret never being able to tell him what he mean[t/s] to me.
  • I managed a small computer store at the age of 22 for a period of 9 months. I was supposed to just work there as a technician, but realized within a week that the place was going bankrupt. The owner agreed that it couldn’t hurt if I tried to get it back on track, and I liked the challenge. After having the place profitable again, and made it able to get a positive balance in another year, the owner broke in to the store (his own), emptied the safe, and fled out of the country. At that point, I locked the door, and walked away. Although this period wasn’t very profitable for myself, I do value what lessons I learned, and I’m still amazed at what one can achieve if there’s a strong will.
  • I got my current job due to people I have/had never met in real life, nor did they ever meet me. I found a dream company where i wanted to work, I didn’t believe my C.V. was convincing enough to show that I was worth considering, so decided I needed to get a ZCE certificate first. While ordering the exam voucher, I had some issues with the online shop, but managed to order after all, and I passed the exam. While waiting for the certificate to arrive, and prepping for the job interview, Ligaya made Cal Evans aware of the troubles. He got in touch with me, and over-compensated for the troubles in an excellent way. During some small talk, I explained to him why I wanted to get myself certified, and he asked me to keep him posted on the interview. After being rejected at the interview, I told Cal, and he offered me to work as a moonlighter on some DevZone stuff. Apparently, my work impressed him so much, that he told a lot of people about me, which resulted in a FTE contract with Zend (on the eBiz team, as independent contractor). Although I met Cal Evans in real life 8 months later, I still have to meet Ligaya in real life, but I do owe them both big time, as this is the best job I have had in my life. The name of the dream company is intentionally left out, as it turned out later that something didn’t happen as it was supposed to, and I currently have a friendly relationship with the company, and a lot of its employees.
  • I thought a long time about the next one, as it does reveal quite a bit of my past. Then again, I don’t see any reason for people not knowing it, and it simply is a part of who I am, nothing to be ashamed off. So, I merged the desktop-development and web-development history, to not exceed the 7, so here it is as a bonus: The name most people know me as, Remi Woler, is not my official name. At age 17, while being ‘running away’ from a so-called ‘family replacing care home’ (a normal house where professionals provide a home for small groups of people who can’t live at their own family for whatever reason, in my case: my mom couldn’t handle the stress of 4 kids in puberty on her own), I was thinking about an alias I should adopt for my online life. I had read several books about cyberspace, and it was explained clearly in those books that you had to have an alias, so nobody could ever connect the dots to your real life. Of course, that was mostly for hackers and phreakers, but if everybody was doing it, I needed one too. Since I felt really abandoned at that time, one of the reasons for running away in the first place, the link to Remi (one of the main characters in Hector Mallot’s novel ‘Sans Famille’) was easy. The second part was more difficult. After some thought and pondering, I decided on one of the cool things I was exploring in Physics (the school subject), which was the way electricity works: taking the path of least resistance. Since in dutch ‘way’ is a more common way of saying it instead of ‘path’, it became Way Of LEast Resistance. Shortly thereafter, I made my first steps on IRC, need a nickname, remembered it, and haven’t stopped using it ever since. The feelings changed, but this is what it originally stands for, and how it got it’s meaning. Today, it’s just a more english-friendly alternative for my official name, as those native english speakers really have issues with those hard G’s and R’s (I have 5 of those in my official name :P).

The people I tag (in no particular order):

  • Nili Gafni – My favorite distraction when at work, you can distract me any time
  • Juliette Reinders, aka JRF_NL – For all the work she does for PHPWomen in the Netherlands and Belgium, and the endless energy she seems to have (couldn’t find a blog, so no link)
  • Dolf Schimmel, aka Freeaqingme – For being around at the odd hours when I’m still cracking at things, and often approaching issues from the most unexpected angle
  • Jeff Jones, aka Tetraboy – For being my saviour in my domain management, and still being a friend, even though I ask so much of him
  • Henk, my younger brother – For being a best friend and just being you whenever I rant about something again
  • Mark van der Velden aka Dynom – For thinking he could get away with it by just going offline for a couple of days
  • Rein Velt– For the endless effort you have done, and are continuing to do, to give the dutch PHP usergroup at least some kind of guidance. Without you, prolly nothing would have happened.

That’s only 6, everyone I can think of apparently has already been tagged. I’ll update if I think of someone else(update: found the 7th).Here are the rules for my fellow bloggers, to keep this alive:

  • Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post – some random, some weird.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter.

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Released: on Jan 03, 2009 under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs (CC-BY-ND) licenseCC-BY-ND

Comments (10)

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  1. Cal Evans says:

    In my career I’ve hired a lot of developers. Looking back at the teams I’ve built, there are 3 developers that stand out in my mind as great finds. Finding developers is easy, finding great developers is hard, finding truly talented developers who don’t have an ego bigger than mine is rare. You were one of those three. While I’m sad for the loss to your dream company, I’m glad that Zend sees your value and keeps you happy.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, u have studied and expressed ur self in a good way.. Interesting..

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Share seven facts about yourself in the post – some random, some weird.”

    Hey, interesting entry. Here are some random facts about myself: I just bought a Transformers collectible to add to my collection and a Transformers decepticon logo car sticker. I like the NFL and I can’t go to sleep without a cup of coffee.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have seen the Coca Cola Christmas Truck Rail one time and it was totally disappointing, because it did not even came close to my imagination about it when I saw it on the television screen. I almost screamed because I was so angry that it just looked that cheap and irrelevant.
    To my mind this whole Christmas scenario is so exaggerated and unnecessary that I do not even go out shopping for Christmas presents anymore. I hate all the people around m pushing and pulling me. Really that is so annoying. I just shop for the

    Tammy, Ars Logo Design says:

    You have writing skills as well…it seems that you are a gifted person, whatever you do. Your computer shop story had me ROTFL.

  5. billig fliegen says:

    I know this Coca Cola advertisment and like it very much too. It brings happyness and shows me that christmas is near. Nevertheless I can not follow you with the feeling that christmas starts with this ad. For me christmas time starts when the first of 4 advent candles burns. I do not know if you are familiar with this custom – in Austria it is tradition.

  6. Vic Austin says:

    For me Christmas comes when I see those commercials with the Budweiser Clydesdales. I just love those horses pulling the wagon…it’s so Christmas! Of course I also love that one where they are kicking snow balls at the others and the one horse goes over and nudges the tree, causing snow to engulf the others…priceless!

  7. Woody says:

    Seriously, get a team. It’s just way more fun that way as you’re able to follow the evolution of the players and coaches etc. If you’r unsure about which team to pick: GO COWBOYS ;0)