Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The Efteling in winter
My little niece Hebe in the arms of Pardijn, one of the theme park's mascots.
The Efteling has a wonderful collection of antique merry-go-rounds. Some of them are still powered by steam engines.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Santa's gonna bring me a really nice present!
I just can't wait. So excited!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
No More Work
No more work, well at least not this year. Thirteen whole days of peace and tranquility. By that I mean of course that I won't have to do the daily commute to Brussels. Because there will be other work. There are ceilings to be installed in the bathroom and the room adjacent to it. And then there's the Christmas shopping, I still have to buy most of my gifts. Of course we also have to visit my parents and Mrs.B's mother and her godmother and then there's the New Year's party for which some friends of ours invited us.
All in all, I'll barely have time for myself.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
A Wee Little Incident
There is a reason why people don’t take cows into their house as pets. They would piss and poo all over the floor. But who would guess you’d run the same risk with your toddler’s cuddly toy cow?
The other day, it was a bit hectic when we all came home. I was busy in the kitchen making the evening meal. Mrs.B was on the telephone with her sister. Meanwhile, Wolf was happily playing along with his little friends: Bear and Horse and Booh. They were the children and his was the parent, teaching them to use the potty. An innocent game, you know how children imitate their parents.
But then, someone who shall remain nameless and who was too busy calling with her sister had forgotten to empty the potty after Wolf had done a wee. So when Booh went on the potty, Booh’s bottom became wet. And when Wolf noticed that his little friend had dripped all over the floor and living room table, he decided to clean it up himself.
He is such a clean little boy, I don’t know whom he gets it from.
So he used Booh’s pee-soaked bum to rub it all over the living room floor and table. Meanwhile, Mrs.B who was still talking on the phone just looked at her son play and didn’t notice that something was wrong.
It was only when I came in to set the table that I noticed that something was very wrong. It was as if someone had mopped the floor. Then I realized that Mrs.B hadn’t mopped the floor. Then I noticed the potty and the wet trail leading from it. And then Wolf showed me Booh and I could feel that Booh’s bottom was very very wet and very very smelly.
So in the end, Booh went into the washing machine, while Wolf’s negligent mother mopped the floor and cleaned the table - with water and cleaning agent.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Today, we celebrate the fact that I'm one year closer to senility, incontenence, loss of hearing and gray hair. I'm already senile and I don't listen, so I guess I'm halfway there. And I'll probably loose all my hair before it even has the chance to turn gray. So one day soon I'll piss on my shoes in a public toilet and drop stone dead in the act.
As old people tend to spend more and more time napping, I got pijamas as a birthday present. Wolf and Mrs.B practised singing 'Happy birthday' for two weeks, but when the cake came out he refused to sing it.
We went to a child-friendly restaurant in Antwerp this Saturday. And indeed it was child friendly, but the food wasn't that great. I had pumpkin soup with partridge as a starter, but there was so much pepper in it that I didn't taste the fowl - although it didn't taste that foul (please forgive me for that piece of old git humour). Mrs.B had something with speculaas, but again the speculaas was overpowering.
We both ordered the 'saddle of hare with autumn vegetables'. The meat itself wasn't bad, just a tad too well done, but the vegetables were a bad choice. All in all, it wasn't exactly the kind of quality you'd expect for the price we paid, and in the end Wolf was so tired that he never got to play with the other kids in the play area.
As you can see I'm really getting the hang of this old-fart-grumbling thing. Give me another couple of years and they'll glue me to a chair behind a window of an old pensioners home before I'm fifty!
PS: if you really must know: 38
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Dad Is Nowhere To Be Seen
Ok, I confess: guilty as charged.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Well, SOMEONE must have been good this year, because Sinterklaas visited our house on Saturday night. So this Sunday morning...
Chocolate! And biscuits! And candy! And more biscuits! (And mandarines)
Someone's going to school in a couple of weeks
Thursday, December 03, 2009
When uploading the previous post, my ISP’s server chocked on the many pictures. Again. You see, in this beautiful but retarded country of mine, the two main ISPs (*) still maintain strict limits on downloading, server space, scripts you can use (in my case: none) and so on. Some well meaning idiot tried to fight this policy by hacking the Belgacom servers and publishing a bunch of users’ logins and passwords. But he got caught, because even the police use computers these days. His trial starts next week.
I’m looking into less drastic alternatives to get around this ban. Of course I could move my weblog to Wordpress.com or – cough hack – Blogger – hack cough – but I like to keep things under control. And I don’t want to be entirely dependent on free services, that can change their policies any time. Such a thing happened to me recently with Gliffy.com, a free service to draw flow charts online. They changed their ‘free’ policy from an unlimited number to five charts per user. So now I have to throw 25 diagrams away or cough up $5 a month. I don’t want something like that to happen to my beloved Bartlog.
So I’ve been tinkering about with Drupal, a free content management system that allows you to create any kind of site: a webstore, a weblog, a forum, a photo collection, a simple one page website,… you name it! And that is precise its problem, because to create something like a blog you need to gnaw through tons of documentation. Drupal is developed and maintained by a dedicated community, and that is another one of its problems. Forget easy-to-follow step-by-step beginners manuals. You’ll be bombarded by so much information that it’s very difficult to keep focused. Oh, and then there is the panoply of extra modules that you need to install to get anything working. Want something exotic like images in your posts (imagine that, eh!), why you only need to install five extra modules for that. And then the real fun begins, because all those modules have settings that need to be changed and they are absolutely all over the damn place!
I guess you can say this thing has a steep learning curve. There is a simple explanation for its complexity: its made in Belgium (well, it started here, now it’s a worldwide community really). But on the plus side, you really can tinker about and tweak this thing to your geek heart’s desire. So if all goes well, expect a new, flashy and dynamic version of Bartlog any time soon. Like in 2020.
(*) Two, yes two as in 2. There are other ISPs, but there are only two separate networks, which means you can write off any free market principles. Internet is expensive here, service is lousy and their idea of internet security is blocking all customers from doing anything else but surfing and making old-school websites.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
A couple of weeks ago on a rainy day, we crossed the border to visit Amsterdam. It must have been almost twenty years since I've been there the last time, but not that much had changed: the canals were still there.
Amsterdam is a very Bart-friendly city.
The Kalverstraat - Amsterdam's main shopping street (for non-hallucinogetic items).
Wolf with his cool Siberian winter hat
Guess who had hot cocoa?
Somwhere underneath this pile of bikes lies the famous Damplein.
I first saw these elephant statues on Invader Stu's blog and I was so pleased to see them for real. Wolf loved them too. They are scatered trought the city and painted in all sorts of colours and themes. This is clearly an Indian elephant.
Mrs.B was feeling peckish and wanted a little something. Yes, it's the 'Walletjes', Amsterdam's famous red light district. Wolf liked it too, because there were a lot of shops with 'balloons'. That's when we decided to set another course.
The local cuisine is simple but delicious, if you like raw herring with bits of onions that is.
Social welfare in the 17th century: it's pretty clear who the clients were.
Canals, more canals, with boats, and more boats. And many, many more boats.
You have 'champignon de Paris' and you have 'champignon d'Amsterdam'. Do not serve the latter in a cream sauce with your steak.
Time for a snack, after such a long walk. Do they have hot cocoa here?
Ok, the VERY last picture of a canal.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Clogged up nose – check
Blocked ears – check
Sinuses under high pressure – check
Stinging headaches waking me up at night – check
Aching joints making me climb up stairs like an arthritic old goose - check
Coughing like a fifty year old Russian diesel engine somewhere in the Siberian tundra
Check and double check
Yep, it's definitely autumn...