Monday, July 31, 2006

Perfect boiled egg

hihi, British scientist have found an ink that is sensitive to heat and they can stamp it on eggs so it becomes visible when your egg is perfectly boiled.
In the fall, the first eggs should be for sale in the UK with the stamps on it, but then you need to determin already at the moment of sale whether you want soft, medium or hard boiled eggs :p.

I wonder : would they then bring out mixed packages for families with mixed tasts: 2 eggs soft, 2 eggs medium, 2 eggs hard. And how can you then distinguish them? with an extra visible stamp?

And those scientists, ... who would have funded them to work on this discovery?? What a world changing research huh :p....

The idea is cute though, but is it that hard to time your eggs? Maybe we heat up our boiling water irregularly? Or would the ink really feel the condition inside the egg?
I think those researchers should now continue to work on a voice enabled stamp that tells you when the egg is ready and that yells if you don't take the egg out of the water soon enough!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

End of heatwave in Bokrijk

All of Belgium is relieved right now. I am relieved right now, so is Jan.... And if we listen well, I think I can hear the grass sing....yeah I think I can even hear the bushes and trees sing.
You wonder why?? Well it rained last Friday, it rained today and it seems to cool off!!

The thunderstorms had been prediced already from Wednesday on but it remained hot, just a bit more cloudy. Same thing on Thursday. But on Friday the light and sound show hit Brussels and Leuven. On my way back from work I saw people on bikes again dressed for +30C weather but looking like drowned chickens now. However, 2 hours of rain gave us a bit relief but at the end of the day it was hot again. Fortunately because we went to 'Beleuvenissen' : the concerts downtown Leuven each Friday night in July. The theme was 'Tropical' in this last 2006 edition so we enjoyed lots of salsa rhythms and people dancing out on the streets.



Saturday proved hot again and so it was today. Together with my cousin, her husband and her 3 sons, Griet & Wim and little Stef we went to visit Bokrijk. That's an open air museum about our countryside history: old rebuilt farm houses, old professions, some actors doing plays.... a bit comparable with Fort Steele.

The kids al had fun and enjoyed the different animals and some old games. Unfortunately it started pouring rain again after a while and by the time we went home, we were all soaking wet. But the rain was welcome. Next week will be less hot.


I have a new bike!

As a teenager I was riding my bike everywhere into town. Even when it was raining hard and my parents offered me a ride to school (they were teaching in the same school) I didn't want to get into the car, but I wanted to feel the rain. At university in Ghent I rode my bike to the trainstation in Deinze and in Ghent I rode a blue thirdhand bike. That bike needed repair in the second year and after repair I needed to bring it back to Ghent. It always got postponed and I started to walk in Ghent.... and I kept on walking in Ghent and my blue old bike remained in Deinze. I actually started enjoying walking just as much as I just to ride my bike.

Once I started working professionaly, I got an own car and I didn't even ride my bike anymore to go to the trainstation neither to go for drink with friends...

Since I live in Ghent itself I don't even have a bike anymore. The old blue one is still in Deinze and really needs repair which never happens. Every summer I think about it because I just live a bit too far from downtown to walk all the time and too close to take car or tram all the time. So a bike would come in really handy. 2 years already that I am planning to get me one there and there still isn't one there. shame on me. But it's more on Sunday's when I go for a walk with Jan somewhere that we miss a bike for me the most. Since I didn't really have one, jan couldn't ride his as much as he would like too. And walking is fun, but there's always a limit of distance you can cover. ..well I suppose that counts for any vehicle, but you know what I mean.

So after a couple of weekends talking about a new one, riding my cool sister's bike to test, and knowing that my sister and her husband and Jan would take their bike on our vacation and I'd be left out... we headed for the Decathlon. I ended up the exact same one as my sister since he's so cool and a really good deal. I probably still will fix the old one and move it to Leuven anyway. This is a studentcity and lots of bikes get stolen: for small citytrips where I have to park it outside for a while without being too scared that it's (partly vanished) when I get back.

So now I have this nice hybrid bike: the b-twin 5, good for city but also some excursions in leisure time. Yipeee.


I rode it to church in Leuven for the first time this morning. Much to my shame I have to say I found it very tiring. Well, let's hope that practise will improve my legs and my poor sports condition soon. If not Jan will mock me too much. I don't think I am ready for long trips in France yet though. We'll see in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Coup de Boule

The entire world cup passed by without me mentioning anything about it here on my blog. That doesn't mean I wasn't following it. On the contrary, I quite enjoyed watching some games although some were extremely boring. Naturally I could only watch those in the evenings and in the beginning of the tournament I was still working late. So I didn't see that many, but I kept up to date to scores most of the time thanx to sms en internet :)

Belgium did not participate in the world cup for the first time since 1980! Well, our team isn't that good, so I guess we didn't deserve it after all. Or like I said to my French colleague after the first 2 French games " At least we know when we shouldn't make a fool of ourselves". It was quite fun bugging my French colleague. In June I still was a in a platform in the south of Belgium , near the French border. It's an old mining area so there is also a lot of Italians living there, who came to Belgium in the 60ies when we needed men to work in our coal mines.

Gosh after every Italian game the area just went crazy. Parades of cars throughout the city with people hanging out of the window waving big Italian flags, people jumping up and down their sidewalks, flags haning out everywhere. There was more noise and partying going on then when Belgium itself would win important games ! They were even dangerous, jumping with their flags in front of my car!

After bugging my French and Libanese (but since he studied in France, French feeling) colleagues a lot, I slowly started winning some sympathy for France as their game improved. But the fact that they came in singing the Marseilleise with their hand on their chest, was a bit over the top guys!!! Portugal was rather disappointing. Fortunately the Netherlands didn't get far. Their game to Portugal with the record amount of cards was just a big parody. I am also happy Germany didn't get into the final. Too bad non of the Latin-American teams got further than they did. A bit of samba fans is always fun!

Anyway, the final was their and Italy won. Good for them.

And now our summer is cheered up with this parody song on a song that the French had been playing all tournament. Orginally it was "Zidanne il a marqué"...(= Zidane he scored). Now it has been converted into "Zidane il l'a frappé (= Zidane has hit him). It makes fun of the entire French team but merely about Zidane and his stupid hit at the end and Trezegué missing a goal. Great song even when you don't understand the lyrics.
And it's top that the French made this song themselves. Good humor guys!! For all of you across the ocean....have you heard this song yet???


http://loiclemeur.podemus.net/Audio/coup_de_boulela_plage.mp3 or

http://www.lexpress.fr/mag/sports/dossier/mondial-2006/dossier.asp?ida=442855


This is the text: it's up to you all to translate it yourselves :-)

Attention c’est la danse du coup de boule
« coup de boule, coup de boule »
Coup de boule à droite
« coup de boule, coup de boule »
Coup de boule à gauche

Allez les bleus allez
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé
« coup de boule»
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé
« coup de boule»
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé
« coup de boule»
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé

Le rital il a eu mal
Zidane il l’a frappé
L’Italien ne va pas bien
Zidane il l’a tapé
L’arbitre l’a vu à la télé
Zidane il l’a frappé
Mais la coupe on l’a raté
On a quand même bien rigolé

Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé
« coup de boule»
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé
« coup de boule»
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé
« coup de boule»
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé

Trézeguet n’as pas joué
quand il a joué il a raté
Il a tout fait capoter
la coupe on l’a raté
Barthez n’a rien arrêté
c’est pourtant pas compliqué
Les sponsors sont tous fachés
mais Chirac a bien parlé

Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé
« coup de boule»
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé
« coup de boule»
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé
« coup de boule»
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé


Attention c'est la danse du coup de boule
coup de boule, coup de boule
Coup de boule à droite
coup de boule, coup de boule
Coup de boule à gauche"
coup de boule, coup de boule
Coup de boule avant
coup de boule, coup de boule
Coup de boule arrière
coup de boule, coup de boule

Et maintenant penalty, attention il va tirer
Un, deux, troiiiiiiiiis
C'est ratééééééééé

Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé

On a quand même bien rigolé
Zidane et Trézeguet
La coupe on l'a raté
Zidane et Trézeguet
On a quand même bien rigolé
Zidane et Trézeguet
La coupe on l'a raté
Zidane et Trézeguet
Et Trézeguet Et Trézeguet Et Trézeguet, gay, gay
Trézeguet
coup de boule, coup de boule
Et Trézeguet
coup de boule, coup de boule
Et Trézeguet
coup de boule, coup de boule
Et Trézeguet, gay, gay
coup de boule, coup de boule
TrézeguetYéh, yéh

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The morning after

Yesterday was another good day of festival in Ghent. We started a little earlier (also to flee from the paralysing heat in my appartment) and this time I guided my Libanese collegue around for his first portion of Gentse Feesten.

We started off the wrong track by visiting a play of the International Puppetbusker Festival. I had never seen one of their activities and it's supposed to be quite good. But not what we got to see. A Greek ensemble brought a very chaotic storieless collection of "showbizz" puppets, supposedly a parady on Greek/Arabic showbizz. Pff it was mostly chaotic and looked very unprofessionally improvised. After 30 minutes we decided that we had been polite enough to stay that long and we left. What a waist of energy to fly those people in from Greece.

Afterwards we went on a guided tour through Ghent with the theme "Crimineel wijs" about stories from criminals in Ghent through the ages. Nice although it gave my libanese colleague a bit the impression that there were unusually many criminals in Ghent :p... Hmm maybe we have to pick another theme next time we take somebody for his first visit in Ghent . Hihi.

After a good and healthy dinner at some of our friends place, we dived in the in the mean time much more crowded nightlife of the festival and enjoyed some "tropical" concerts, energetic covers or the Dutch rock singer/writer The Lau.

We came home with tired feet again and despite the heat we all had a good sleep. This morning, woken up by a very welcome shower outside cooling off our overheated country a bit, we all have difficulty to get started though. Hmm, let's just have a lazy slow day... Doesn't that sound like a good idea?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Gentse Feesten

Despite my plans to already go to the festival in Ghent in the afternoon, I was of the many people who stayed away because of the heat. There is considerably less people downtown during the day because of the ongoing heatwave.

Not that my appartment is any better rescue resort since temps rise here as well easily above 30-31 C! Pffhew.... It's hard to sleep like that. Well, I sleep, but I get up frequently to open the widnows a bit more, to close them a bit more when there is noise outside, to drink, to go to the toilet, ....

After a sweaty and unproductive afternoon in my appartment (I took the day off), I headed downtown. There I enjoyed watching the people, street animation like a crazy band, a good turkish group in the mirror tent where some other "migrants" of Ghent started dancing, observing a salsa initiation (I always arrive late and then I don't dare to join in), ... It all was relatively quiet until 8 PM. All of a sudden, from the entry roads downtown lines of people started walking in and soon all the streets got pretty crowded. It was much harder to get across the city or to find a nice terrace where we could sit down, but we still enjoyed some parts of concerts across the city.

At the end of the evening I felt deadly tired though and we had to wait for a bit for a tram...I was so lucky when I saw my bed...in my hot appartment.

Tomorrow we go again!!

Salsa initiation in Baudelopark

Optreden "Duizend en 1 nachten" in Spiegeltent, Baudelopark

The beautiful spiegeltent (mirror tent)

The fanfare (band) of de "Vieze Gasten"

The New York Ska Orchestra at the Pole Pole tropical festival

Concert of "les truttes" under the cathedral and a big crowd

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bluesfestival

My company does not often give tickets away for free, so when they do I try to enjoy the advantage.

For the second year in a row I got tickets for the "Belgium Rhythm and Blues festival" (www.brfr.be). Although I am very much blues illiterate, I had a good time last year and I was looking forward to going again. It's a fairly small Belgian festival (20000 visitors for entire the weekend) but that makes it quite cosy. Children are running around, getting their faces painted, etc.

It was incredibly hot outside (this is the second heatwave of the summer going on...period intermediate had temperatures of 25-28C...I love this summer!!!). The concerts took place in a huge open tent but there was no spot available anymore in the shade so we spread our little picknick carpet in the sun and enjoyed the music with the necessary sun screen on. Fortunately a little breeze came to help now and then....blowing more dust on my sweaty arms and legs making me look very dirty! I thought I had tanned a lot, but it all washed off in the shower at night :p.

It is always fun to observe people and on a festival like this you see all kinds of them passing by. i was trying to group them into categories, but I started to have so many categories that I kinda lost track. I guess that's good, people shouldn't be categorised like that, but it's fun to do that anyway just for once without paying too much attention to it. Here are some of the most common ones.
* the "trucker" types seemed to be the biggest blues fans: big moustaches, optional leather jacket (yes in 30 C!), jeans or dark pants, boots or big shoes but sandals are acceptable as well, lots of tattoos, a bit older, always a beer in the hand, T-shirt of a truck/motorbike or bluesclub.

There is also a trucker/country mixture: the boots are definately cowboy boots and they put a head on (and probably if it would have been colder, wearing a long jacket).
I add up all the people wearing torn jeans.

Besides there aren't too many woman in this type.

* The outdoor types : zippable "outdoor" pants, hiking boots, sports T-shirts, ... They are more brand and fashion sensitive but comfort goes above all.

* The posh types: most of them woman, wearing "fashionable" clothes that are totally not suited for going to a music festival such as high heals (!!), white linnen skirts, beautiful fashionable tops that get dirty easily or that are not comfortable in this weather.

I guess I'll put the women with beautiful bikini's in this category as well as I assume they like to get seen.

* The hippy types. they show up at all festivals. They seem to be hiding most of the year but all of a sudden they pop-up every where in the summer. Wearing colorful long dresses, patch skirts, knitted bikinis (yes!?), sandals, braids or dreadlocks, piercings all over, bandana's in the hair.
I must admit, there weren't many of them. I see them more often at the Pole Pole section of the festival in Ghent (world music) or at Dranouter (folk music) where they are at the front row dancing and jumping around. Maybe the hippies aren't quite into blues music as much.

* The slops, just wearing whatever, probably because it's comfortable and it can get dirty. I am making that assumption because I kinda count myself in this category when I go to a festival. I look for clothes that can easily be washed and that are comfy : old shorts and tops :p.

Anyway, I don't want to push people into little categories but it was fun to observe them and you automatically come up with these analogies.

My company Alken-Maes had a good publicity stand with huge ice cubes on the field in which tickets were hidden for a contest. In the late afternoon, the cubes had sufficiently melted down and everywhere on the field you started seeing people running around or chasing each other with chuncks of ice to cool down. I took a little piece myself to melt in my neck for cooling. Nice! Good publicity guys! You want a refreshment...take a Maes ;-). or an ice cube from Maes :p.

What was the best music that we heard: it was a guy playing on a "singing saw"... playing the violin on a flexible saw. It wasn't quite blues, but I really loved it. But also the bluessingers playing harmonica and having a really long breath were nice.


The thing I regretted was the food stands: there was no healthy food choices there. I guess it doesn't go along with a blues festival, the festival where the most beer is consumed per visitor. But in 30C I would have enjoyed different choices from fries, pitta, sausages and hamburges, fried fish (Dutch stand :p) , pizza and some oriental noodles and loempias. I would have paid so much for a fruitstand with big melon chuncks. It would be really profitable because they usually charge you a few euros for a piece !! In the festival of ghent which is oging on right now, there are always fruit stands as well and in folk festivals like Dranouter and world festivals like Couleur Café are known for their healthy, fair trade food stands etc... In dranouter there is always soo much fruit salad, a stand where you just can get bread, soup stands etc next to the usual fast food crap. Since this bluesfestival is comparable in their family friendly approach and their cosieness, I had just expected some more exotic and healthy food choices. I guess not.

Anyway, in the mean time the festival of Ghent is going on at full speed and I've booked in next Thursday and Friday to go. yihaaaa.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hikups

All afternoon I am getting waves with the hikup. That's so annoying, especially because my colleagues laugh at me. And I often breath through my mouth, which makes the HIK very loud!

In Dutch we say that someone is growing when he/she has the hikups. But this is not a good moment to be growing since then I don't fit in my clothes anymore and the sales are just almost over to buy new summer clothes ;-).

HIK

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tired already



one day back to work and I am so tired already... Life isn't fair, why do people need to get up so early?

I went to see my sister and my little nephew was sure boosting with energy in contrast with me. He had just made an exciting trip to the zoo with daycare (unfortunately he cannot tell us his experiences yet). But he was trying hard to run around with our help, and is venturing more and more to attempt to walk alone along the furniture and seems to be tempted to make those few unsupported steps to cross to some other strechted arms or furniture.









And yes Griet, look what your son can do with his spoon when you weren't looking :)


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

End of loooooong weekend

this is the end of my long weekend. I took 3 days off, Friday, Monday and Tuesday and so I enjoyed a 5 day weekend. It didn't seem that long at all: in summer it is so natural to sleep in, go to the market in the sun, cook a bit, clean (with lots of water: mirrors, the car, washing floors, ...), read books in the sun, have a barbecue, go see friends and go and see some concerts. I guess that would be a lot to do in a normal weekend, but it was pretty relaxed in those 5 days.

Some friends came over to Leuven to check out the kitchen and go for a walk to the nearby Abbey or to "Beleuvenissen": a festival each friday in downtown Leuven. Last Friday were 7 concerts in the different squares with folk music and a lot of people outside. We ate downtown outside. Very very enjoyable as always! I also could enjoy a bit our "garden" (piece of earth still) in the summer sun with a good book. Lovely.
And I also had the discipline to touroughly clean my appartment in Ghent! What a perfect combination.

It is hard to imagine now that tomorrow this will be over. I should become a teacher really to have a longer summer vacation. But that's a lousy reason to become a teacher. I know I wouldn't enjoy it. So I'll stick to my job. 3 more days and it's weekend again ;-). Yoeeehooeee! Summertime

Positive taxes

yeah, just filled my tax application in online and I would for the first time get some money back from the tax administration. Yeaah, that's good news, usually I have to pay some extra.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Welcome in my appartment

I am melting

Gosh ...it's too hot to work.
I have sooo much difficulty to concentrate, we are all sweating here and drinking water and looking for ways to cool off, but it doesn't cool off. So I might as well add a little note to my blog.

When I get up, I slip in my shoes because I have sweaty feet and there are wet lines visible on my T-shirt. pfffffffff :( . I wanna go home and sit in the shower. The afternoon is just crawling by tooo slowly. Why do we all stay here and pretend we work, while we all have a lot of trouble working efficiently anyway. What's the point?

zzzz, I feel sleepy. One more hour and I am out of here, in the torture of my overheated car (yesterday it took quite a while before the airco started having an effect and before it did, I got a big headache).

On the other hand, in hot weather it always feels like vacation doesn't it? This weekend I couldn't quite imagine that I only had 2 days off. I felt like childhood where the summer lasts for months and you can do fun stuff, or be lazy or do an excursion and stay up late and the next day again and the next day again and the next day again. On the roads you see all packed cars driving in the direction of the South, or on the roads you see groups of kids walking by to a playground or something. I wish I was a kid again so I could have 2 months of "playtime"!

Summer music festivals are part of summer as well. last weekend it was the 32nd edition of Rock Werchter, the biggest rock festival in Belgium that currently lasts 4 days (80000 people a day). i was more interested though to go to Couleur Café this weekend in Brussels: a colorful world music festival with lots of activities next to it. We were ready to take off Sunday after lunch when I read on the internet that it had sold out. 32000 people were already on site and they did not admit any more people. Pff that was a disappointment. I had never been to Couleur Café but it is supposed to be really good and some good groups were coming. Since last year I wanted to try to discover a new festival each summer. But so it wasn't last weekend.

Oh well, i'll get tickets again for the Belgian Rhythm and Blues festival in 2 weeks. That was fun and cosy last year. And that weekend starts the festival in Ghent again.

Hmm despite the heat which is a little exaggerating right now, I love the summer!

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Summer in the city

Fantaastic, it is so hot and nice outside :-). I love it.

And we picked exactly this day to look for gasfires/heating for our living room :p. The irony was just great, except in the one place where the heating was actually turned on. Yikes!

Tonight we went with some friends to a lovely little Italian restaurant "Aperto Chiuso" in the migrant neighbourhood of Ghent. I had read positive comments about in on the internet and it was absolutely fabulous. We could sit outside in the little courtyard and I sooo loved the cold cucumbersoup with mint and my ossobuco. Mmmm.

Challenge will now be to fall asleep with a tooo full stomac in a very hot appartment.