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Friday, February 29, 2008

Banana Splut

Normally, I wake up around 6.35, which is way too early to digest any food. So I wrap up some sandwiches to go and have my breakfast on the train. Yesterday morning, I stuck my hand in my backpack and felt around for the package. When I found it, it was as if there was something moist and sticky on the outside of the tin foil.

Clueless, I took a peek into my pack and discovered... a mini swamp. My magazines were drowning into a misterious goo, one was completely submerged while the other desperately held on to the inner side of the backpack. My apple was floating, bobbing on a lake of dark puss.

It was then that I discovered the remnants of what had once been a fresh, tasty, yellow banana. About a week ago. Now it was the rotting, smelly, blackened dead carcas of a banana. The skin had succommed to the pressure of the magazines and my sandwiches, and the festering mass at the inside had exploded and flooded the bottom of my pack.

At work, it took me half an hour to clean out the inside of the bag with paper towels. First, I had to get rid of the banana-corpse, which was no mean feat. It desperately clinged to the underside while I vigorously shaked the bag over the dustbin. Luckily, no-one came into the toilets, I felt enough of an idiot without any spectators.

This weekend, that pack has an appointment with the washing machine.

Posted by Bart at 8:36 PM
Categories: Public Transport Pains

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Little Clown

My little clown  

For my father, who joined the ranks of the pensionner class today, a photo of his grandson who couldn't make it to his celebration because of a bacterial infection. The make-up is tomato based.

Posted by Bart at 9:02 PM
Categories: Framed, Next Generation

Friday, February 22, 2008

Beer Bomb

'Why don't I take a beer, to celebrate the end of the work week', I said to myself on my way to the train. So I bought a can and stuffed it into the pocket of my coat. The train itself was delayed, so the Belgian railroads owe my fifteen minutes of quality weekend time. But when I lowered myself in my seat, the can dropped out and fell on the floor.

'Will it explode?', I wondered. Nah, it's not asif it dropped from the first floor of a building or something. It just slipped out of my pocket, it'll be fine.

A couple of minutes later the train entered Brussels' Northern railway station. Bewildered travellers saw the train engine pass by, then a wagon, another wagon, a 30 meter long foam sausage spouting beer foam out of every open window, vent and crevice, and then some more train wagons. Luckily I had an extra handkerchief on me, or I never would've been able to clean everything up.

My coat was drenched, my pants were soaked, there was a huge puddle of beer under my seat and in the distance I could hear some children scream when a tidal wave of yellow liquid. Given the state of the toilets of some trains, I would have panicked too.

When the people around me overcame the initial shock, the sniggering started of course. Meanwhile, I still clinged to the overflowing can – it's amazing how much beer comes out a can in such cases. There never seems to be as much in it when you actually get to drink it. A trickle of cold liquid followed the underside of my arm. It was warm in the train, so everything dried quickly. And before you'd know it, I would smell like a beerpub the morning after a five-day students' festival. It's a foul smell, and everyone will instantly identify you as a homeless alcoholic.

Actually, I don't give a rat's ass whether people think I drink too much. As long as I really did get to drink as much as they think I did. Now it was all pain and no gain.

And how do you explain reeking for beer when you return late from work to your anxiously waiting spouse?

I didn't stand a chance...

Posted by Bart at 8:42 PM
Categories: Public Transport Pains

Monday, February 18, 2008

Declaration Of Independency

Me: I am NOT a push-over. I am a strong and independent man.

Mrs.B: Of course dear. I just think you can use some assistance at being independent.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Il est cinq heures, Paris s'éveille

When you're going to become a parent for the first time, you're extremely joyfull and you can't wait to take that baby in your arms. But at the same time there's that nagging fear in the back of your head that something will go wrong during pregnancy. When the baby's born, it's a great relief for any parent that yes, the baby does have two arms and two legs and ten fingers and ten toes – not to mention the fact that he has a head and all that.

Even afterwards, you sometimes doubt whether his vision and hearing are all right, and you keep running over to the doctor's way too much 'just to be on the safe side'. Still, it's a great shock after all those months, to discover that my son has a genetic defect.

He is a morning person.

The blame is squarely on his mother, who is a morning person of the third degree. But even then, Wolf is taking it to the next level, making his mother wimper with despair when he announces that, yes, he is ready to take on the world. At 4.30 AM!

Of course, I let Mrs.B deal with it since she is the one who passed on the foul genes. Being a genuinely civilised evening person, I am physically unable to get up at that ghostly hour. My internal organs are in a state of hibernation so early in the morning. I run the risk of breaking a limb because certain parts of my brain that are responsible for stability and balance run on solar energy. My batteries last up until 3 in the morning, but then they have to recharge.

I mustn't blame all the boy's defects on his mother. Sadly, he has my hair. He will curse me for it at length when he becomes a teenager, like I cursed my father for handing me that unwieldy, sticky patch of dog's hair. Poor boy, he won't even realise then that it will only get worse once he gets older.

Genes, what can you do, eh?

Posted by Bart at 8:51 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

With The Kids In Africa

Congo (Dem. Rep.) - girl carrying a pan on her head  

Congo (Dem. Rep.) - girl carrying a baby on her back  

Congo (Dem. Rep.) - village kids playing  

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Oh Oh

I'm getting these Blue Screen Of Death messages. Windows is so helpful to explain me that this is caused by 0x1x0x0xbxlxa not being able to address 1x0x0x1x1x0xx1x1x0x0 or something like that. Thank you for that information Bill Gates, now I know at least that I need to change a memory module, or maybe the keyboard driver, or the screensaver, or one of the other fifty gazillion items that make up my computer. Thank's a lot old chump.

Better advance my five-yearly back-up scheme.

Posted by Bart at 8:42 PM
Edited on: Sunday, February 10, 2008 8:43 PM
Categories: ICT - Inevitable Computer Troubles

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The End Is Near

The poles are melting, the US is heading for a major economic recession, fundamentalism is spreading, the oil reserves are drying up before our very eyes, everything is getting more expensive, terrorists are everywhere, my bank account is emptier than empty and now THIS...

Will there be no end to this madness? Are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again? Why can't we all just live in peace and harmony? Will somebody please think of the children?

Posted by Bart at 8:35 PM
Categories: Miscellaneous

Monday, February 04, 2008

Dinner Disaster

We had some friends over for dinner yesterday. They were perfect company, so the title is not a reference to their conduct. As usual, it was our family that provided the disasters. Although I must say that three out of the six people we invited did call up to say they couldn’t make it. So much for our popularity.

It started with baby Wolf, who kept us awake all Thursday night, crying and wailing every half hour or so. We thought he was teething, a second tooth is popping through his gums. But the next day we found he had a high fever – 40.2°C which is 800°F if my calculations are correct (I never was strong at maths). In any case, it was severe and we took him to the baby repair shop. After much frolicking with needles and tubes, the doctor got enough blood out of him to determine that he had a whopper of an infection on both ears.

This medical emergency had taken us a lot of valuable time that we desperately needed to clean that dump we live in. So on Saturday we both worked hard to get rid of the elephant dung underneath the sofa and the ketchup stains on the ceiling next to the bats.

Then, Mrs.B started to feel a bit sniffy. And during the evening this progressed into a full blown fever with coughing and moaning and acute demands for blankets, medicines and attention. That night, she didn’t sleep at all and produced more wailing than a bay full of humpback whales singing the blues. Luckily, Wolf had somewhat recovered and he slept fine.

So on Sunday, our guests got greeted by the Mummy of Nefertiti without make-up. Mrs.B made it through the hors-d’œuvres, but at dinner, everything went haywire. Our guests were enjoying the excellent shrimp-omelette-tartelettes followed by a wonderful and very tasty Osso Bucco, when their appetites got hammered under the carpet. Mrs.B suddenly started to go very red and very hot – for once I’d gone easy on the spicy paprika so it wasn’t my fault – and then very pale. While everyone was feasting on slices of veal, she had a thermometer in her mouth. She saw her temperature rise to an alarming 38.4°C, when suddenly Wolf exploded!

There is no other word for it, he wasn’t just vomiting. An enormous spout of orange-yellow blubber blasted from his mouth, while two smaller jets of the same slimy liquid squirted through both his nostrils. It was like watching the space shuttle take off, with one main booster roaring and two main engines at full go. It was a rocket puke! Luckily we have a big table, or the guy sitting at the other end would have been blown through the window.

Several towels later, the flood was under control. We created an emergency centre to clean the little guy and to redecorate the room. Mrs.B was so impressed by it all that she spontaneously forgot to be ill – not for long though.

For some reason, our guests weren’t hungry anymore after all this. Which was excellent, because it meant more food for me.

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