• strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 744.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 159.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 24.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.

Auto-pilot

I don’t know if it goes for all models, but this particular model Bart comes with an auto-pilot. It allows me to mentally drift away to other places and events in my head, while still keeping the right course and avoiding any collisions with objects, buildings or people. Or for instance to converse with my fiancée while driving a car: my auto pilot even takes care of saying ‘yes dear’/ ‘no dear’ at the right moment.

It does have some drawbacks however. It seems to work with predefined tracks towards regularly frequented destinations that are stored in my memory. When I go to the backer’s, I take this street. If I want to go to the nearby supermarket, I turn left at the corner and take the underpass at the subway station. But I can’t count the times that I actually wanted to go somewhere else, but ended up in front of the backer shop or the supermarket. I can tell you it is very annoying when you ‘wake up’ when the shop lady asks you what kind of bread you want, while you’re kitchen closet is stuffed with bread, you don’t have any money on you and you get a very red face when suddenly realising what a moron you are. If I inadvertently switch from one track to the other, the system gets confused and I can end up anywhere but at the right place.

Yesterday, for instance, I took the escalator in a shopping mall, going from the electronics shop at 4th floor (that’s the fifth for Americans) to the exit at the ground floor. The auto pilot guided me safely from one escalator to the other, avoiding advertising panels and people moving in front of me. When there were no more escalators, it woke me out of my daydream involving my fiancée, our wedding night and some nice lingerie I saw passing the third floor. I couldn’t find the exit and it took me a few seconds before I realised I had ended up in the basement. Ooooh, the shame when you have to take that escalator back up!

Auto-pilot Mode isn’t good for my social life either, especially when combined with Pondering Mode. This is when I start to have deep thoughts about philosophical questions, the purpose of the universe, how to establish world peace, how to end world poverty and how my fiancée would look on our wedding night in that nice lingerie I saw when passing the third floor in the shopping mall. At such a time, my higher brain functions are completely cut off from the outside world, which means I effectively put my life in the hands of the auto-pilot. At such a time, I’m completely oblivious to anyone calling me, even repeatedly. Until they get so annoyed with me ignoring them that they start to yell my name out loud.

One day, this thing will make me loose a friend, or my life.

Blasphemy in Belgium

Even Belgium didn’t escape the worldwide frenzy of Muslims protesting against the alleged blasphemy against their prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper. Yesterday, a spontaneous protest march crossed Brussels, gathering momentum and people as it went along. It ended at the buildings of the Flemish and French-speaking television channels, where the protesters demanded both stations to stop emitting the infamous picture. Meanwhile, all their protests have made many newspapers across Europe take over the picture in which Mohammed is depicted with a turban or headscarf in the form of a bomb.

It’s strange to look at this global attack on all things Danish and Norwegian – the second country where the cartoons were published. ‘Provocative’ and ‘controversial’ are not exactly the first words that pop into one’s mind when these countries are mentioned. Meanwhile, I pity those poor people working for the Danish/Norwegian embassies in the Muslim world. EU buildings are also a prime target, and in several countries, people have called for a boycott against Danish/Norwegian/EU products. This included Palestine, which made me wonder if those countries would also call for a boycott on EU subsidies and aid assistance.

The demonstration in Brussels on the other hand was peaceful and relatively calm, despite being unauthorised. This stood in sharp contrasts to events in many other countries, which shows that Muslims in Belgium are integrated quite well and have taken over some of our lethargy.

 

Belgians react in a much calmer way to blasphemy than some people in the Middle East. When Belgium’s largest brewer InBev (the former Interbrew) announced that it would increase the size of the beer glasses with 2 centilitres, going from the traditional 33 cl. to an unheard of 35 cl, no-one started to fling bricks and iron bars towards buildings. There was some protest from the pub owners, because these two centilitres don’t make much difference for the customers (they claimed), but on a whole barrel it does make a difference for the pubs. And it’s difficult for them to raise the price of beer, because already less and less people are visiting pubs so more and more of them go bankrupt.

Interbrew reacted by saying that the idea wasn’t that the glasses be fuller, but that the foamy top of the beer should be made larger to a full two centimetres, because that was ‘what the costumers wanted’. Let me immediately intervene here in the name of the Belgian beer drinkers and state clearly and officially that this is bullshit! Granted, we don’t like those English froth-less beers where the glass is full but the beer is flat and without energy. But that’s no reason to turn our beers into a Parisian coffee with whipped cream on top and a biscuit on the side.

In any other country, such blasphemy would lead to a full scale revolt in which rulers get hanged, buildings get torched and public morals sink to an all time low making it possible to get a free shag on every street corner. But not here, reserved, law-abiding and calm as we are (triple ahem). You don’t see us throwing stuff through windows and raiding other people’s embassies.

Now if someone were to draw a picture of a pint of beer with the foamy top shaped like a turban shaped like an old-fashioned bomb…

THEN things would turn ugly!

The 11.16 Pee

in

When I was young – way before I became a 34-year old fart – I loathed people that lead a completely unoriginal, repetitive and predictable life. You know, dragging yourself to the same office every day, doing the same repetitive job tightening nuts and bolts or dragging documents from one stack of paper to the other. I vowed this would never happen to me, I would lead a rich and varied life and become the very epitome of originality.

Despite having a career that involves occasional travelling to strange and exotic places, I must confess that I spend the very large majority of my time dragging documents from one stack to the other. I too have become a slave of reports, memo’s, proposals, budgets and the like. And when I finally do escape from the office, my trips very rarely – if ever – include searching for hidden treasures, fighting pirates, flying on dragons, discovering strange worlds where time stood still, kissing beautiful princesses and savagely taking away their virginity while they’re chained to the wall of a dark dungeon with a rubber ball stuffed in their mouth.

As if to rub the monotonous predictability in to the point where I get blisters, my bodily functions have started to take on a very strict routine. More precisely, this has developed into a clockwork-like urge to pee at the exact time of 11.16 PM. Not 11.13 or 11.18, but exactly one minute past quarter past eleven in the morning. You can set your watch to that. A minute earlier, and I’m happily working along without a worry on my mind. On minute later, my bladder threatens to explode under the enormous pressure my kidneys start to generate in a matter of seconds. And don’t think I can postpone it for a minute; a huge tidal wave would flood the city if I didn’t make it to the toilet within the next thirty seconds or so.

More annoyingly, several of my colleagues in the building seem to have a similar problem, although it seems their bladders are less accurate than mine. So every time it’s a race upstairs to the toilet in the hope that this time, they’re late and I get to occupy the toilet before someone else does. This race does add a bit of suspense to my daily routine but…

…I’m sorry; we’ll have to continue another time. Writing this has set some things in motion. I have to pee.

Accordeon Attack

When the train entered the subway station, it was the usual hassle at the doors to get in. When they opened, I heard the distinct sound of a drunken git playing the accordeon in an attempt to rob some fellow travellers of their change. He turned around, with the big instrument hanging over his belly, and looked me directly in the face with a big grin.

Bloody hell’, I muttered.

I ran for another door and just managed to get into the next car before they closed. I had a relatively quiet ride, only disturbed from time to time by the blood chilling cries of the people in the next car being submitted to the dreaded ‘accordeon-in-a-tunnel’ death ride. When I finally arrived at my destination, I saw the accordeon guy leaving the other car… alone, with a deadly grin upon his face. The silence in the railcar was eerie. I tucked my scarf into my coat and hastily left the station, without turning around.

Terrorist Toddlers

It is said that the general population in this part of the country – the Flemish part that is – is turning into a bunch of sourpusses. This means that everyone thinks he or she is the most important person in the world and thereby entitled to do whatever (s)he wants, while the fellow countrymen should abbey all rules to the very letter. If not, they are liable to prosecution.

Picture This

For our wedding invitations, we thought it would be nice to make a picture of the two rubber duckies we got recently. He-Quack is dressed in a tuxedo, while the she-duck has a wedding gown and a necklace. The idea is to take a picture of the both of them surrounded by loads of white foam.

Honeymoon Dreams

It’s freezing cold here, the Russians aren’t coming but their weather is. Hello Siberia! So what better means of psychological resistance than ordering one’s honeymoon trip to a tropical destination?

Mister X

A couple of months ago, I read an article by Jacob Nielsen about the 'Top Ten Design Mistakes' of weblogs. And guess what? I failed completely on design mistake number 1: no author biography.

Well, this shameful situation is over, from this very minute. Those of you who are so curious about the genius behind this blog: I'm sorry, but you'll simply have to do with MY profile. I know, I should have done this long ago, but I was just too lazy to add another page.

Cell Phones For Dummies

A couple of days ago I got stuck in that twilight zone of numbness that takes over your television between 6 and 8.30 pm. A camera crew that wasn’t the slightest bit interested in the global war on terror or the financial scandals in Japan followed a social worker who was supposed to help children with learning problems.

Requiem For My 'Bomma'

in

My grandmother died yesterday, at the blessed age of 94 (yes, ninety-four!) My mother called me in the morning to tell me the news, but it wasn’t really a surprise. She hadn’t been well lately, in the sense that she didn’t eat anymore. ‘Of course she died’, you’ll say, but eating to her wasn’t a vital activity. There are nurses and intravenous fluids to take care of that problem. No, the worst thing by far was that she didn’t speak anymore. That was an absolute first in her full 94 years of existence.

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