Rambling about political systems

Recently I’ve watched some YouTube videos from CGP-Grey about voting systems. (
And it got me thinking about my country’s (the Netherlands) voting system.
Please at least watch the Mixed Member Proportional Representation video:
My comments continue from there.

Now imagine you only vote for your favorite party and the seats are divided based on those votes only.
The whole group of parties is left to figure out how to make a majority. (Someone helps them with this though)

Last elections in the Netherlands this lasted for a good amount of time, because lots of small parties and nobody really getting a majority. (Actually parties will always have to work together as no one party gets the majority)
Basically imagine there are 2 democrat parties and 2 republic parties. The two of either side are not big enough to form the majority. So you have to somehow make a democrat/republic party to make government work.
Mind you that these are all different parties. All on different places on the political scale.

Basically people voted what they wanted, but there was no way to make a workable government out of it. There is a majority and an opposition. So you need a group of parties that agree to work together and form the majority.
1 voter votes on party A because it stands for X.
However because of the above problem, party A has to make a compromise on point X. Leaving voter 1 unhappy.
The problem is not just who represents the voter, but also what they represent.

Did I mention the Netherlands has 12 parties represented in parliament (house of representative + senate) and European Parliament? With 9 parties being represented in all 3?
Voters vote for the House of Representatives (among other bodies of government). It has 150 seats and basically represents the people, makes the rule together with the Senate (together forming the parliament called States-General) and has control over the government policy. Imagine 12 parties divided over 150 seats…. Yes some parties actually do just get 1.
Not going to get into the Senate as it isn’t directly voted for by the people.

I was doing this off the top of my head, now opened Wikipedia to add in some relevant translations. It lists the voting system, what a concept! It’s a Party-list proportional representation.

Okay so CGP-Grey mentioned the party list in his video. The idea here is that every party has to have a list of candidates, and voting can happen on any candidate and counts as a vote for the party. These votes determine the number of seats, 1/150th of the votes per seat obviously. Then people need to fill those seats, and that’s where the voting on people comes in, the people with the most votes (or in order of the list if no difference) fill the seats. Usually people vote on the first person or the one below, but theoretically it can be possible if a party gets one seat that the third person on the list gets it as they have majority of votes.

The Netherlands doesn’t just have 12 parties by the way… It’s an enormous list as you can basically start your own party if you wanted to. Doesn’t mean you can run to be in government, because you need to be registered.
Funny side note: your brother of three years old wants to start a political party in the Netherlands? There’s no rule saying he can’t. Yes even if he’s not Dutch and just three. You may need to help him with the official documents though!
There is a law involved, but my mobile phone won’t let me open it :( (what’s a computer? I use an iPad and an iPhone)

Anyway just having a party doesn’t mean you can join in the elections. There’s separate rules for that. Ok I can’t find the exact rules. But you do need money. 11,250 euro to be exact. If you don’t provide a candidate list on time you get it back, or if you get at least 75% of the votes needed for 1 seat at the elections. (Basically if you do this for fun you lose money)

Side note: to vote you don’t actually have to register if you’re a registered Dutch citizen. Which you have to be if you live in the Netherlands.
You vote for more than just the House of Representatives. 19 March we get to vote for municipals. It’s for the municipal councils by the way. Both national and local parties join in for those. My small town has a list of 5 parties, but really it’s three. List 2 and 4 are joining forces. Representing two parties this way. Also list 3 is two parties. Safe to say it doesn’t give as much choice as the national elections give me. Whether that is good or bad we’ll leave in the middle. On the national list I usually vote for the Party for the Animals. Yes there is such a thing. It has 2 seats in the House of Representatives.

PS. I have no interest in political parties or anything else political, but I get interested by the systems on top of which they work.
I wish I could say because we have more parties we don’t vote on a person, and partly this is true, but the leaders of each party are still the faces we see. And so in part it is about how they do publicly.

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Posted by on March 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Happy New Year

Happy belated new year!!

I want to breath new life into this blog again. A lot has happened since I last wrote here, and I feel ready to try again.

A new year, with new plans and ideas on how to live my life. Yeah I keep changing my plans all the time, because I haven’t found a plan that works for me yet. I tried many plans I thought off, plans others thought off.

This time I have two things. Three don’t break the chain calendars and one jar. A calendar for eating 3 meals a day, a calendar for exercising in some way every day and a calendar for writing. They’re up on my living room door.
The jar is for collecting positive things. It is in fact called the positive things jar. I want to try and write at least 1 note a day to put in there.
Today’s note will be about feeling proud for completing chores and not breaking the chain.

I’m still unsure about the direction I want to go in with this blog. As always.
I just feel my “go to work, work, go home, do chores, sleep, repeat” life isn’t very interesting to write about.
I’ve made a conscious choice to not follow the news and newspapers and TV and such as a whole. So there’s nothing there.
I am on the internet, but I’m mostly out of the loop on the latest buzz there too. As I found out on New Year’s Eve due to my parents and grandma being over and so TV happening and there being an overview of the most popular YouTube videos. I had seen only one of them.
I also don’t have Facebook, but I do have Twitter. Twitter keeps pestering me that I follow too little people.
I’m probably most active on Tumblr. Today I deleted 3 Tumblr accounts I wasn’t using anymore. My current address there is
I do read a couple of blogs though. About fitness, minimalism, and a bunch of other stuff.

I want to get into minimalism more seriously, but I can’t do without the stuff I use to escape my brain.
That said I don’t have a lot of stuff compared to everyone I know.
I still think I have too much stuff though. Maybe I can pare that down this year.

So as I continue to figure out where to go from here, I do see a wonderful year ahead of me.
I’m positive! And that’s something I haven’t been for awhile.

What are you gonna do this year?

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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Advice vs. Advice

Advice is not created equal, and often advice bumps me out.

I will be more specific, generalized advice bumps me out. And it has done so only since quite recently.

There’s something about advice, and especially generalized advice that just seems very counter productive. Thanks to my countless self experiments with advice I’ve read on blogs, I can only come to this conclusion.

Let’s go with health for a moment, as it’s the most striking example of this. Pick 10 random health blogs, or websites, or magazine, or anything, you now have 10 pieces of completely different advice on your hand. You decide to follow advice 1, but you don’t get the results you want. So you think, maybe it’s advice 2. And so on and so forth, till you figure none of the advises completely work as advertised. You go to other sources, find different advice again, and so on.

It’s simple, generalized advice isn’t going to get you anywhere, unless you’re an average person fitting whatever withheld criteria is necessary for the advice to apply.

The same goes with what to do with your life and a giant wave of other topics. Most advice isn’t an exact match, or won’t work for you and your situation at all.

That’s not to say you can’t learn from advice, but rather that following it blindly will get you nowhere.

The only thing you really can do is gather up some basic knowledge and then start to experiment and see how your body, mentally and physically react. Take notes, collect data, draw your conclusions on that. Then instead of going to the next, completely different, thing, simply adjust. Look at your notes and data, see what keeps you from being successful and adjust for it.
After all, you now have extensive knowledge about yourself, so use it to create your own path in life!

There’s also specific advice, by which I mean advice given to you specifically. And I don’t mean some one on one coaching where the coach explains his program to you and how it will fit you.
I mean sitting down with someone who gets to know you and your situation, and who then offers advice from scratch, based on that information.
Someone you can go to and say “thanks, I’ve tried your advice, but this, this and this didn’t work out for me, because a, b and c.” Someone who will then help you adjust.

Advice only goes so far. The idea is to experiment and see what makes you feel happy, healthy and successful!
After all, success is subjective! Don’t let anyone tell you what success is supposed to be, define it for yourself!

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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Social Media Silence (or overcoming the boredom that comes with it)

I’ve reduced my social media activity by 99%. Earlier this year I deleted my Facebook account, as it was just a source of stress and annoyance.
Then I returned from a trip to New York on June 23rd. And I stopped using social media as much as I had. I stayed off Twitter and Tumblr (my main platforms) most of the time. It gave me great relieve and at the time I was busy and totally preoccupied with some games on my Nintendo 3DS.

I started to get more fed up with social media and deleted my twitter accounts (2) from my iPhone and deleted the twitter app as well. Not much later I decided to delete one of my two twitter accounts completely. I had already unfollowed over half the people I was following (from 24 to 8), on my remaining account.

I deleted other accounts I had for a long time on certain community sites, but wasn’t really using anymore.

Actively I now have 1 twitter account, 1 tumblr account and 1 forum account (Nerd Fitness). Actively I’ve only really been to tumblr. I still feel the relieve of not getting bombarded with messages I didn’t ask for. Something has started to creep in though. Probably the reason I’ve been going to tumblr at all.

I’ve finished or had enough of my 3DS games. Tumblr only takes a limited time to run out of content, as I don’t follow many blogs. So then boredom sets in. All the options I have before me to fill my time either, don’t interest me, feel like too much effort, or have worn out their entertainment value, or are too passive for the moment.

I feel this particular boredom is a positive one. It is showing me how much I was glued to instant entertainment. I also feel that if I can get comfortable with this boredom, great things can happen.

If I can get comfortable, I won’t be as quick to jump back into instant entertainment, to relieve me from that boredom. I can learn to enjoy the peace and quiet again. I can pick up my abandoned hobbies perhaps, without feeling strained about doing them. When you have instant entertainment, entertaining yourself any other way, becomes a lot of effort. Why go through the trouble to take out pen and paper and come up with something to write, when you can flip a switch and have TV, or a movie, or YouTube, or video games, or social media?

What if you remove that switch? Will the feeling of “this is too much effort” also go away? I’m willing to find out.

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Posted by on July 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


The UP, a leg injury and walking every 30 min

I visited New York. I had a blast there, it was truly awesome. I went there with my mom and aunt. The main point is that my mom got all three of us a Jawbone UP. An advanced pedometer of sorts.

Upon returning from that trip, I somehow injured my leg as I got up out of the airplane seat. I had it checked out, my calf muscle is hurt and I need to use that muscle normally to heal it. I have a desk job. Using that muscle would require me to walk more often.

This is where the UP comes in. It has an idle alarm that you can set to alert you (by means of vibrating) when you’ve been inactive for a particular amount of time. I’ve set it up to notify me at 30 minutes of inactivity.

This mean that, while I have a desk job, I get up every 30 minutes at least and walk up and down the hallway. This makes sure my calf muscle doesn’t get stiff and tight, but it also seems to come with a number of other benefits.

I’m obviously more active. But also other desk sitting related problems (like shoulder pain and my hand turning ice cold) have lessened. I have a fingerless glove I can wear to counteract my hand from turning to ice and hurting, I haven’t been needing to wear it.

It’s quite amazing how a little change can have such an impact.


Posted by on July 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


My complex world theory

One day I was driving home from my parents when I realized something about fictional worlds.
Actually it’s something I’ve been slowly grasping about fictional worlds and my mind finally came to a theory. (I don’t really believe in radical change in any way, but that’s another story)

I considered this realization and build upon it my theory.

We live in a complex world, don’t we?
I don’t necessarily mean that whatever we face is complex, we just face an awful lot of things and that makes it all complex and even overwhelming at times.

I’ve read quite a few blog posts. A lot talk about changing your life, or doing x, y, z to make it better. All this type of advice and it’s all wonderful advice really. I just often miss the mundane.
Does writing a popular blog post mean that writing anything about mundane things is off-limits? Doesn’t that cut out some things that you do in life anyway? It makes things like productivity and being successful and happy seem awfully straight forward, but is it really?

That’s what my realization is about. We don’t live in a fictional world where we as the protagonist only need to worry about our one very important quest. This is especially true in the fantasy and sci-fi worlds, where making money often isn’t an issue. Furthermore, often protagonists travel, so having a house isn’t an issue either.

Wouldn’t life be great if you could just wander around, get food just because, and other supplies just because, stumble into a furnished cave by night fall and live just for getting to this evil wizard you need to defeat?

So truly if I have to implement the “Getting Things Done” method, so that all my life is out the way and I can spend it with my family…… wait……. now hang on just a moment. Who’s doing my laundry? Who’s cleaning my house? Who puts away the dishes? Who feeds the cat? Who cooks dinner?

Oh the significant other does that? Or something, because that’s the only conclusion I can make based on advice I’m getting over and over. This advice never includes my household chores. Sometimes it doesn’t even assume my job.

We live in a complex world with many responsibilities and obligations. I can tell you I’m pretty busy and I’m not at all social, I don’t watch TV, I’m barely on the internet at home. So really, what’s going on?

Well I do my household chores and then try to destress and then do some more household chores. Between that and this, I don’t really seem to find the energy to work on any of my interests.

On top of this I have a full-time job, guess what, that doesn’t leave much wiggle room.

And my significant other? Oh that person is still hiding somewhere out there, but I can’t seem to get to looking for them. I live alone, I’m responsible for everything. Often I don’t even wanna cook my food, but I still have to anyway.

All this is going somewhere, though it seems to be one big rant. It was really different when I was driving, but hey if a muse/genius/what you may call it, decides to show up at that time and not wait for me to come home, it can’t expect me to make a great blog post. (With special thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert, I’ve watched this video many times)

So my preference goes to a simple world and it’s probably the reason I love fiction so much. Video games, books, tv shows, they are all the same basic format: a protagonist and a mission. In fiction people don’t do the dishes while wondering what to do with their lives. Or maybe just in the opening scene, but after that they have a mission.

I have a mission too, but I also have a life that keeps finding new ways to block my path. Maybe I should view my dishes as a horde of goblins keeping me from the jewels they stole from my castle? Oh… oh so that’s how it works.

I’m not saying I don’t have time, I have plenty of that. What I lack is FOCUS. I can’t focus on my “one quest”, because I have to focus on other demands and often my cat steals my focus away too (though that’s often an enjoyable distraction).

In all the very solid advice I find nothing about combining my “remarkable life”, with mundane tasks like household chores. And because I’m also worrying about those I can’t truly focus.

So to work on my mission to become great at sewing, I need to find a way to get focus. More importantly a way to deal with the demands of my household.

My theory is that our lives are very complex and this complexity is stealing away from focusing on what we truly want to be doing.
I’m not even talking about obligations you may have, which just add to the complexity.
If all you had was a full-time job, and a house to keep clean, and dishes to be done, and laundry, and maybe unwind and destress somewhere in between too… then how much focus would you have for that “one mission”?

What happens if you have even more on your plate?

I call this post MY complex world theory specifically, because I don’t claim to know how anyone else’s mind works. If this theory is something you can relate to, then great! If you can’t, then great!

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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


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The “Nothing” Experiment

A lot has been going on with me and my life. I haven’t really found the energy or will to write a blog post.

In any case, I’ve something to share today. I’m going to start an experiment. The “Nothing” Experiment.

That is to say, I will experiment with doing nothing. I need to get back in line with myself.

Here’s what I plan on doing:
I have divided my evening into blocks of 1 hour for things that most likely don’t take that long.
I expect to be home around 4 pm (16:00) every weekday. So I’ve planned accordingly.

5 pm (17:00) – Exercise
6 pm (18:00) – Dinner
7 pm (19:00) – Free time
8 pm (20:00) – Clean up / cleaning
9 pm (21:00) – Bed time

Yes it’s very non specific, which is the point. For example exercising just means moving in a way I feel like at that moment. Anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour.

In the “left-over” time, I will sit quietly. I may read a book, but mostly it’s time reserved for sitting and thinking. Maybe writing or something if I so feel like it. It’s time where I won’t pick up an electronic device, don’t check notifications (they’re off for the most part anyway), and won’t, above all, rush.

I’m doing this to ground myself, to get back to a calm state of mind. To think about what’s really important in life. Important for me that is. I plan in time where I can follow my feelings of the moment, to process the day and think about what direction my life should take.

That’s just some examples I guess. I will see what will come of this, which is the point.


Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized


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