Monthly Archives: March 2010

Bilan cinématographique trimestriel

  • Le Concert***
    First movie of the year; funny, sad, moving, great.
  • Up*
    Nice and not bad but below Pixar’s usual level of entertainment.
  • Avatar***
    Those images…
  • Mr. Nobody**
    Weird, long, not bad. How many different lives fit in one and why we are not always masters of our destiny. Or shall we say, hardly ever?
  • The Third Man**
    A classic; Orson Welles, no happy end.
  • Invictus***
    Not a Clint Eastwood master piece but a true story about how sport can bring people together, even blacks and whites in South Africa.
  • A Single Man**
    By all means not an action movie. A calm, beautifully shot film. A bit less of the music would have been more but all together a good moment.


I always turn out the lights and switch off electricity when leaving my place. I remind my colleagues to shut down the computers when going home. I think that the lights all along the Belgian highways are a gigantic waste of energy.

Maybe it is the way I was brought up that Earth Hour seems ridiculous to me. Maybe because it is just so obvious: if you really want to make a change, switching of the light for one hour once a year isn’t going to do the trick. Just do it every day, every time you don’t need it. Et voilà!

And even though I understand that a beautifully lighted inner city is a tourist attraction; I don’t see why switching off those lights after 2 am would do any harm.

Resistance is futile

I remember that summer in Hungary. Our time was mainly spent swimming, playing and eating. Our favourite food – besides ice cream – was this fresh fried bread. Crispy on the outside but all soft on the inside, it was topped with cheese or garlic butter or both.

Today, I saw Lángos being sold here at a market in Brussels – with sour cream and cheese…

And the moment’s gone

It’s stupid when you know that you have to do or say something but the right thing doesn’t come to your mind. Until roughly 5 minutes after it is too late, leaving nothing but a lost opportunity.

Oxymoron of the old days

Organic food

Les plaisirs de tous les jours – la série

1. March – Getting lucky twice at the German embassy – once for a paper I didn’t have, once for paying.

2. March – Pasta with my new favourite tomato sauce including capres and lots of green olives.

3. March – Tortilla de spaghetti

4. March – 45 minutes walk home through an area I hardly know enjoying the rest light of the day.

5. March – Red wine and antipasti

6. March – Sunshine and cupcakes

7. March – Ticking of most of the stuff on this weekend’s to-do list

8. March – Un croque-monsieur pour me rendre heureux.

9. March – Escaping the madness for a few minutes at least…

10. March – Getting everything done in time. Unbelievable.

11. March – Out of BXL for four days!!

12. March – Austrian red wine.

13. March – Sightseeing at it’s best – nice people, nice city, nice food!

14. March – Very kind police man taking down my declaration after my wallet decided to change owners at Gare de Midi. Stupid mistake of me met with a lot of understanding and support.

15. March – Castillano – siempre no me cansada de mi curso. Empezamos con el subjuntivo y naturalmente no es el mismo como en francès.

Published late due to the wordpress poltergeist.

The Madhouse Tower

The Narrenturm is a rather special museum to visit in Vienna. Special in the best sense of the word. The building as such was one of the first psychiatric hospitals and very advanced for the late 18th century. Advanced meaning that there were no windows (for the fresh air) and that the main treatment was to wrap patients in wet towels…

This rather shabby looking tower is full of knowledge, history, facts and artefacts. I don’t think to have ever seen a stuffed human being. Well, in the madhouse tower, you can see one. Along with all other kinds of:

  • Human and animal dry preparations of bones and other body parts with pathological changes – it’s frightening to see what the simply lack of Vitamin D does to our skeleton
  • Human and animal cadaveric parts with pathological changes, preserved in formaldehyde – lungs filled with coal dust compared to which a smoker’s lung looks healthy for instance.
  • Moulages, i.e. castings of pathological body parts in wax or paraffin – those were taken as long as the wound or infection was fresh so that the students could learn almost as if they were there. For those seeking treatment in the AKH (general hospital) that meant that they would have to endure a longer pain even in case of scalds…

Especially these castings are not always beautiful to see; I’m glad we arrived just on time to join a guided tour which made the museum a lot more accessible and insightful going beyond the ‘freak show’ it otherwise risks to be. For those interested in seeing something totally different from the general museums of art, history, etc. it’s a worth-while address!

And counting

Besides giving a pretty precise approximation of Π, the exhibition (or permanent installation, no clue) all along the underground exit following the direction “Secession” of the U-Bahn stop “Karlsplatz” is displaying all kinds of mixed, diverse and irritating numbers. The spending on defence world-wide next to the number of people in love in Vienna, the number of Schnitzel eaten since 1 January next to people unhappy with their job in Vienna (more than those who are in love). Not knowing who’s work it is neither the purpose, I can’t give much credit besides: I think this is cool.


What can I say about Vienna that hasn’t been said already? Well, here’s a try:

  • Vienna is best to be visited from April to November. A snowy, cold and windy mid-March weekend does not do justice to the city. Best is probably June as there is a maximum of daylight and hence sight-seeing time.
  • One day trips are to be avoided. They only lead to frustration as they give a good idea of all the things that are to be seen but for which is not enough time.
  • Watch The Third Manupon the day of your arrival, at the latest the day after. Then go sightseeing and try recognising the monuments, corners and sights. Adds a taste of paper chasing to the whole visit. After four days of sightseeing, watch the movie again.
  • Go in one several of the numerous wine/beer bars or restaurants.  Enjoy the Austrian wine and the Austrian beer – yes, this is a country that can do both – and the food such as Gulasch, Powidltascherl, Golatschen. Complain regularly to the people you visit the city with that you don’t have the time to taste everything and that you will have to come back for the food. Never mention sights worth seeing during those conversations.
  • Visit the Karlskirche and take the lift up to the dome. Thanks to the on-going restoration, it is possible to have the 17th century frescos at almost your fingertips.
  • Make sure to see the front and back sights of historical buildings. As hard as it might be to believe, it really makes a difference, especially for the Rathaus.

Smoking flights

Coming back from Vienna today, I noticed the captain making this announcement: “This is a non-smoking flight”.

Are there still flights in this worlds where you are allowed to smoke??