Monthly Archives: May 2010

Selective memory

On days where I try to convince my brain to remember Spanish irregular verbs, I wish I had more control over what it actually keeps. I assume most of us have a selective memory but wouldn’t it be nice to have something like a remote control that lets you decide what to delete and what to save? Instead of this handy tool, my brain is perfectly capable to recall irrelevant conversations from months if not years ago but I have to force it by endless repetition to be able to conjugate saber in all times.

I realised that kept memories are most of the time linked to some form of emotions: laughter, surprise, disgust, rage or even mild irritation. The question is now: how can I use this for the past tenses and el subjunctivo?


Surrealism is the new reality

“Voters wearing chicken costumes will be barred from polling stations in Nevada.”

Full story from BBC. Douglas Adams, various surrealists and people who always suspected that there must be another form of reality out there might have more of a point than I thought.

Population increase

It is still the same and doubtful if it’s ever going to change during my time in BXL – long may it last. Whenever the weather is beautiful, there is this urge that it needs to be used. A sunny Saturday – forget shopping go cycling. A beautiful Sunday – forget about laundry and go in a park.

Of course it is worth it. Brussels by sunshine is a whole different city. I just wish that all the other stuff I needed to get done during the weekend had silently and kindly disappeared. But again, having a choice between ducklings and getting things done; there is no difficulty choosing.

Les plaisirs de tous les jours – fin de série

It started only in January and is now officially cancelled after 7 episodes. Even though I enjoyed the exercise in looking more carefully over my day and see if there wasn’t something beautiful, worth remembering or simply good; it doesn’t feel worth being eternalized blogged. There was always the danger of repeating myself but on top of this, I don’t remember some of the things I thought worth remembering in April…

Maybe it was only a wrong approach because the one sentence policy did not allow me to place the comment in a context. And though this is a blog (in case you didn’t notice) and I write about my life, I don’t feel like sharing everything either. Hence, the decision to go back to the ‘old’ style. Little posts, thoughts, trips, ideas, nonsense, observations and the usual chit-chat.

Feel free to visit.


Could it be that the bad weather in the last couple of weeks was in some way related to this ash cloud?

If anybody is working on this, I’d like to know more.

Wenn einer eine Reise tut

  • The Deutsche Bahn is finally replacing human announcements about how welcome the travellers are on board – and which most of the time sounded like “I couldn’t care less that you are here but my company obliges me to read this stupid announcement” – by artificially cheerful recorded welcome message.
  • When crossing the train bridge over the Rhine to get on the left side of Cologne, there are plenty of padlocks* hanging on the fences – a few hundreds I would say. Does anybody know why?

* Vorhängeschloss, cadenas

How to make visitors feel welcome

today: Russia

I admit: it was my fault. How could I assume that being at the Russian consulate at 9 in the morning and having all papers would be enough?? Somehow, my memory must have been influenced by my experience at the German embassy: walk in with all papers, walk out 30 minutes later, done.

Not so here. First, one has to find the Consulate, then, they have you waiting outside – temperature this morning: 8°, but hey, it wasn’t even raining – letting 1 person at once inside. Only that it takes roughly 10 minutes per person. With 20 people in the queue, some were there as early as 8:00, and closing time at 12:30, hope was going down as well as body temperature.

After one hour, I saw this well hidden ad from an accredited agency doing the same job in a shopping centre nearby. And yes, they did have a well heated waiting room and even chairs. What the ad had not mentioned was that they almost doubled the price for a simple tourist visa. But after one hour in this &*ù$_ç( cold, it was worth it.

Now, I feel really reassured travelling to a country where I don’t speak the language, where the notion of service seems even less developed than in Belgium and where paying more suddenly makes life much easier. I should probably take some additional cash with me…

Ce qu’il reste

Monsieur Pingouin had the kindness to forward me a mémé whereby I’m invited to think about and share the eventual results of this tedious exercise what I would do if I had a time machine. Before you say physical laws and not possible; learn french, read this and come back discussing afterwards.

Now, where in time would I go? I like the present, very much even and the past is left best where it is. However, I’d love to see what life will look like in a 100 years from now. A 100 years ago, aviation and cars were becoming popular though weren’t affordable, penicillin wasn’t discovered, the welfare state in its infancy, colonialism the norm, women weren’t allowed to vote, etc., etc.

Nobody could have predicted the century that lay ahead and I somehow keep on hoping that the surprise would knock me out of my shoes when seeing 2110. Maybe it’s because I hope that humankind still gets it right. Quoique…

As with every good mémé, I hereby invite:

  • Olli and Anton because they haven’t been writing a lot lately
  • Umwalker to catch a glimpse of what the future might look like in the city of Rubens
  • Lydia and Korie to complete the Euro-American-Australian point of view.

We’re getting there

The swallows are back in BXL. Can someone inform the season called SPRING that they wouldn’t mind to have some sun and maybe a bit more warmth?



Could it be that the most creative solutions solve problems that do not exist?