Stanley Portier - Personal

Monday, August 20, 2007


My last post in this section has been a little while ago. This one is something I wanted to post a long time ago. This morning I was triggered to write this down, due to one of my road experiences. I drive a lot of kilometers on the Dutch highways (app. 70.000 a year) so I see a lot of things going on. This morning my attention was drawn to a van that had trouble keeping it's own lane. Sometimes it looked like he wanted to take a chicane, only there was none. Usually there are two sorts of explanations for this way of driving behaviour. One is too much drinking, the other is that the driver is doing something else (reading the newspaper, looking for something under the passenger's seat, or indeed: making a phonecall). The driver of the van made a phonecall, but not with a handsfree facility. He was holding the cellphone to his head. Despite the fact that you can get a ticket of € 136,- this doesn't seem to impress a lot of people. The chances of getting caught are not that high of course. Why, I ask myself. If you don't want to install or buy an expensive carkit, ok, but it's so easy (and far cheaper than € 136) to buy a handsfree headset.
What's even more surprinsing to me is that I ofter see drivers of expensive cars who don't use a handsfree facility. I think that most of these cars have an integrated handsfree facility, so use it! But no. What's their philosophy? Being reckless, nonchalant or just showing off ('who can hurt me, I have no problem to pay € 136)? About two years ago a young woman (19) was killed in a car accident on her way to work. Just a few kilometers from work she crashed into a tree. When she was found she still had her cellphone in her hand....

Monday, April 30, 2007

New dobok

As a part of achieving their black belt a lot of taekwondoka's also acquire a new dobok (taekwondo uniform). This has both a practical reason (your former dobok is probably a few years old now and is ready for renewal) and a esthetic reason. You can take a better quality and you may wish to add some 1st dan characteristics such as the black border on the bottom part of your dobok shirt. In combination with your brand new black belt it looks great. It takes some days before your new dobok arrives, but here it is.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

1st Dan, yes we dit it!

It has been some weeks since my last post in the personal section of my blog. This was mainly because of the intensive preparations for the 1st dan exam in Taekwondo which was held on April 15th, 2007. The last six weeks it meant literally seven days a week of training in hyongs/tulls, stap sparring, self defense, and last but not least the breaktest of a hard plastic beam (kyepa). Moreover, one needs to know about the theory and historical background of teakwondo. The exam was an exciting event. The final training last tuesday didn't go that well, so I was a little tense before the exam started. The first part (hyong) went well, which brought a lot of relief already. The stapsparring and self defense were also quite ok I believe. The most stressful event (at least for me) is the breaking of a beam/plank. For some guys it's no problem at all (they seem to do it with their eyes closed), other (like me) have to concentrate in order to perform the right technique. Using the right technique means that you hardly feel the impact on you arm, hand or foot. If the timing or technique is not right it might cause some pain or even more serious injuries. It was a big relief to me that the breaking of the beams went very well this time.
A special dimension of this dan exam was that I did it together with my 13 year old son. I am convinced this will be one of those father-son lifetime events that me and my son will still remember in 30 years. It was an honour to me and I am truly proud of my son, who sometimes had doubts whether he should continue in Taekwondo. Maybe it was the fact that I joined the club that motivated him to move forward. When I started Taekwondo (at the age of 37) I never thought I would be able to achieve a level that is good enough to become a 1st dan (black belt). Today, more than 5 years later I can look back and say that I managed to achieve quite a challenge. It's a great feeling, achieving a sort of milestone, almost to be compared when you achieve your final exam in secondary education. On the picture (from left to right): Atmane Qoubbane, Andrew Portier (my son), Sabum Ad Dekker (our trainer) and me.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Minus 6 weeks

In my post from Nov 7, 2006 I mentioned my ambition to achieve a black belt in Taekwondo in the near future. The examination was already planned for May 27th, so I would have precisely 3 months from today for my final preparation. However, last week the examination date was rescheduled and moved to April 15th, which is six weeks earlier. That puts a little stress on the preparation because there are still some issues that have to be excercised thoroughly, e.g. my hosinsul techniques (self-defense) need to be improved and I need to work on a couple of new series of so-called step-sparring. It's good to know that I'm not the only candidate at our Taekwondo School. There are two more (one of them is my 13-yr old son). Fortunately, there is a lot of help from fellow taekwondoka's who achieved their black belts earlier. They are helping us to get through the exercises and provide us with useful feedback. The parallel with education is obvious. If you have to figure it out all by yourself, the learning process will be much slower compared to the situation where you have a role model who also gives immediate feedback on what you're doing. It is mainly for this reason that I am still confident that we will succeed on April 15th. Our trainer is also confident, which gives a good moral support. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Telephone terror

Is it also bothering you that much? A phone that seems to ring the whole day, taking away the attention of what you're doing at that time. A caller who automatically thinks that you have nothing else on your mind, besides picking up the phone and have a conversation with him/her. The mobile phone made it all worse. There is a sort of moral obligation that you need to be available at any time, any place. The famous television commercials 'So Hi' (in the Netherlands) want to make you believe that you're really cool, oh no, not me. The last couple of months I have developed a sort of resistance against this telephone terror. Modern technology is great! It's good to have a profile on your phone called 'silent' or 'meeting'. When you look at the display (by coincidence of course), it's my decision whether or not to answer the call. Another great advantage is the possibility of displaying the phone number of the caller. Beware the fool that dares to disengage the number recognition mode on this phone. Anonymous callers have a great chance that their call will be neglected. I have answered too much telemarketeteers trying to sell me an insurance for my funeral or a new mortgage for my house. Is number recognition put on, then I always try to identify who is on the other side. In case that person is also in your contacts list, it's easy because you see the name of the person. A nice help to decide whether or not you want to talk to this person. In case of no name, there is a 50% chance that I take the call, otherwise it will disappear in the black whole called voicemail. Because it can really be a black hole in case a person neglects all his voicemails. You give someone the impression that he has reached you, the way Minister Rita Verdonk once did, trying to call prime minister Balkenende, but it strongly depends on the way how someone deals with his voicemail. A collegue once told me: well you can leave a message on my voicemail, but why bother. I never listen to it. Sometime you see people start running when their phone starts ringing. Not me, too late, well sorry, try again when you're house is on fire. In case I forget to put the phone on silent mode, there is always that little red button on top: shut down that miserable thing. Well you know, it really helps. A strategy of 'hard to reach' causes the number of incoming calls to decrease dramatically. A sort of out-of-office assitent effect. When someone has the feeling that you can't be reached anyway, there is a considerable chance that he won't send you a message.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Armin van Buuren

You may have been wondering what this post is all about. Well it is an embedded object from Radio Blog contains a huge amounts of music links that can be listened to in their own webpage, but you may also want to embed it as an object into your own webpage. The disclaimer states that " is a free software exclusively designed to offer a promoting tool to musical artists and/or any member of the music and entertainment community". One can create track lists. Radio Blog can be compared to You Tube in the sense that all liability is for the user: Any individual, group or company using for the purpose of transmiting, distributing, storing any musical content represents and warrants to Mubility that, among other things, they have the rights, licenses, clearances and/or permissions necessary to do so, that the titles, lyrics, music, artist names and marks under which the Content is promoted do not infringe any third party's copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property rights and that all Content available for use through do not infringe privacy or moral rights, neither is defamatory, obscene, threatening, abusive, or hostile. The owners of Radio Blog explicitly state that they typically do not own musical compositions, musical recordings, artwork or visual images of third parties that are available through For the end user it is an interesting site, if you happen to have that title or artist's name, you get a big chance that you can actually hear the song. Although looking for some older songs, you might get disappointed. Try for example "The Way we Were" from Barbra Streisand. I couldn't find it. Justing searching on the songs name gets me 1132 hits, a bit too much at this time of the day. A little bit odd is that you have to click twice on the embedded object before the song starts playing. I like the small size of the embedde object and you can also make some colour changes so it fits better within the design of your web page. In general the quality of the sound is rather good. An interesting idea is that you can create your own playlists just by creating a list of embedded objects. That's great, but of course when one of the objects is removed from radio blog (for whatever reason), your object won't work anymore.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Hit and run

A woman runs into a 14-year old boy on his bike. The boy falls and is injured. The woman gets out of her car, inspects the damage on her car and then goes off without even looking at the boy.
A 7-year old girl gets hit by a car. She suffers a complicated fracture in her upper leg and literally has to crawl to a nearby house to get help. The driver did not stop to see if the girl needed any help, and simply drove away.
These are just two examples in one week about hit and run accidents in the very neighbourhood of my home. The 7-year old is the younger sister of a girlfriend of my daugther's, so it makes the impact of the latter accident sort of personal. In my opinion the two accidents illustrate a more general trend towards avoidance of responsibility. I don't believe anymore in explanations calling these events 'incidents'. There are just too many occurences of incidents nowadays. Individualistic behaviour (me, me, me, materialsm, hurry, "I want it, and I want it now") are key drivers. There is trend in society in which only indivdualism is the most important thing. If people can't get it soon enough they become frustrated. In the last 10 years I had to make a lot of kilometers on the highway (about 60.000 km a year), and it seems to become a jungle more and more everyday. People trying to "push" you from behind (even in a traffic jam), overtaking by using the right lane are daily practice. There is no consideration of consequences and lack of responsibility seems to become the default modus.
I do not consider myself a preacher of morality or anything like that, but it's a f.... disgrace that some adult people think they can hit a child, run off and leave it seriously injured on the street. The girl could have been run over by another car when she was crawling on the street. Yes, hit and run is considered a criminal offense, but the problem is that you have to catch them first. The only thing we know is that it concerns a white-coloured car.
As a psychologist I try to imagine what makes the decision to hit and run. Is it indeed this lack of responsibility I was writing about, is it a panic reaction, or is it something else like the driver had no liability insurance? Whatever the reason was, it's no excuse. Even if in panic, you could at least make an anonymous 112 (911) call for help.