Friday, 29 June 2007

Hours of fun...

A couple of days ago I was directed to this site. It basically allows you to create SouthPark caricatures. It's totally addictive and we had great fun at the office recreating everyone.

It has been a bit slow at work (yeah, I know what you're thinking) this week, so I had alot of time to give this site a go ... Most of them aren't post worthy (I'll show you the office one's after I have left), but these 4 are. (One of which was not done by me.)

For those of you who don't recognise them, these are 3 of my closest friends.


And this is supposed to be one of me (By J) entitled "Amy, I need a holiday".

ps: If any of you have some you would like me to post here, send em on and I'll create a gallery.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Vertigo... Finally

It has happened!
You can finally experience the "Closest thing to fly".
Tech specs can be found here.

I'm guessing the Corporates in Wavre must be breathing a huge sigh of relief this week as finally the public get to try out the new attraction. Albeit only 400 people per hour. (Compared to 760/hour for the Cobra and 1040/hour for the Vampire)

They chose to open the attraction with limited capacity rather than leave it closed while they figured out how to enable the maximum 800 person capacity that is advertised (This was a good move on their part I think, in theory). To reduce queueing times, a "Pass" system has been put in place - much like the Disney Fast Passes. This system tends to work quite well - but it remains to be seen, how the Belgians deal with such a complicated organisational task!!!!

Walibi is notoriously quiet when it comes to the media and very rarely do they issue press releases. We have been blessed with one this time around (most likely due to the fact that they actually had good news to share). It's in french but you can find it here.

They have posted some rider's comments which suggest that the thrill factor (it is marketed as a family ride) is secondary to the view and the flying sensation (but that's OK because while there's the Turbine, nothing else is needed!). However, the ride seems to run smoothly - This is a selling point as sometimes the coasters can be a bit rough (especially at the start of the season).

Even the ever so static and slightly boring website has got it's own Vertigo page... though I've not yet been baptised as a Vertigonaute so it seems I can't have access to the top notch site.

Add this marketing stunt to the other they have going on all over Brussels (Kangaroos reenacting the "I want you..." slogan that was used by the U.S Army) and it seems the people at Walibi have finally grasped the concept of Marketing and are trying to make the rest of the 2007 season more successful than start.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

The paper clip thieves

This was the title of an article on yesterday's BBC news website, which looks at middle-class criminals in England.

(...) Subjects were given a list of 10 petty crimes to choose from, including paying in cash to avoid tax, taking something from work, and exaggerating an insurance claim.

Presumably, that 61% would be higher still if the list had included a wider range of crimes, such as downloading music and copying software illegally. (...)

Some of you will be amused that for once it's the middle-class that is targeted...

(...) "It's no surprise to see that these crimes are widespread in the middle class - we ought to know that having more money doesn't make you more moral," says Mr Northcott.

"In fact, the crimes are largely about hanging on to money, and the middle classes are better at that. That's what makes them middle class." (...)

(Love it!)

It goes on to talk about employees that help themselves to office supplies (I remember a certain conversation with friends on this subject not too long ago).
Now this must happen in EVERY office, using photocopiers for personal stuff, printing out a cv on the colour printer, and taking the occasional sugar lump home because you didn't make it to the GB last night and you need your cuppa in the morning. (ok, that's just me then, but it's not stealing, it's a good investment, ensuring I'm in a half decent state and mood when I turn up to work - and trust me that's worth a lot more than some sugar!!!)

At the end of the article, there are four what-would-you-do? questions. If you vote, you get the results. just a bit of fun.

Anyone feeling they want to fess up ?
The confessional is now open...

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Bernard's Adieu

Last night, the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie put on a concert in thanks to the outgoing director, Bernard Foccroulle. My uncle.
A friend of mine, Rudi (who wished to be named) and I were fortunate enough to get last minute tickets. And while I wasn't that up for going initially, I am really glad I went.

I'm not an opera fan, it has to be said (though I don't tend to voice this opinion during family dinners). While I do generally like parts of a performance, I will invariably come across that point (usually during a Soprano solo) when I'm too hot and uncomfortable or want to sleep. What is happening on stage is no longer enough to keep my concentration. Most times, I have managed to get back into it, but going to the opera is more something I do because I feel I should rather than because I want to.

There has been the occasional piece I have liked enough to see twice. And I find that (as with most music) once you start to recognise the music and get to know it, it becomes a whole lot more enjoyable.
I worked for a while behind the bar at la Monnaie during college, and even got the chance once to work at the canteen (no white hat and plastic shoes though!) during Carmen that was being played at the Cirque Royal.
The show ran for at least a month and I was there most days and for the rehearsals before that too. It was great fun (and hard work) and for a short period of time, I got to see the Monnaie behind the scenes. Suffice to say, if there is one Opera CD I have in my collection, It's this one.

Anyway, tonight's concert was amazing. A mix of every different kind of music and expressed in many different ways (solos, duets, dancing, speeches...). I knew some of the singers, lots of the music and there was some sort of emotional charge in the theatre that made it captivating from beginning to end.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening!

And a little extra twinkle, tonight I got to see my cousin sing on stage with José van Dam.
Now him, I could listen to for hours (and watch him too, this man's charisma just oozes!)
Beligans are very proud of him and rightly so.

So I guess tonight marks the end of an era in my life. It would take too long to explain but it's been a big part of my life, even if not because of the music.

Now I must give this saxophone playing idea some more thought.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

The swallows

Nifty little feature that's just come out on Blogger. Turns out I'm an early adopter!!
A draft version gives us access to posting videos. (Ok, so i know that's non news to most of you, but I'm still new to all this and beyond my expectations I'm still here keeping you vastly entertained!)

Anyway, I was thinking of a way to show the beautiful sunset scene on my balcony - wouldn't work in a photo. If I get a chance, I'll film the swallows and post the result.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007


I am forever pissed off when I publish a post and the typography sucks. It's my job and i'm slightly anal when it comes to orphans and widows, kerning and legibility.

small parentheses: Readability and legibility are often confused.
Readability is most often and more properly used to describe the ease with which written language is read and understood – it concerns the difficulty of the language itself, not its appearance. It is a psycholinguistic rather than a typographic issue. Factors that affect readability include sentence and word length, and the frequency of uncommon words.

In contrast, legibility describes how easily or comfortably a typeset text can be read. It is not connected with content or language, but rather with the size and appearance of the printed or displayed text.

Anyway... If I had the time and patience I would either look for a better blog editor to make my posts "look" better or rework each post manually. I have tried to do this before, but I realised that my formatting gets creative once I click the publish button. GRR.

So in the meantime, I shall try to remain detached from what my blog looks like and try and concentrate on the content... which no doubt could do some with some help :)

The quasi-finished kitchen

So, it's not totally finished, I still have to do a couple of things:
- sand down the not soo straight edge of the worktop so it sits flush with the wall,
silicone the joints of the various worktops which will make washing up a lot easier. (That's my excuse for the dishes piling up - these were strategically placed out of sight while taking photos),
- find a shelf or two to hold various 'ready to use' articles,
- sort my appliance to plug ratio and insert multiplugs where possible being careful not to overload fuses which would result in darkness. Not useful while cooking of chopping onions :)
(or alternatively, get an electrician in and ask him to insert new plugs).

Did my first laundry load though and to my great relief, did not end up swimming in kitchen.

anyway, here's what it looks like now (and yes, I like my dutch tilts!).

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Ceramics for Breakfast

OK, I know a few of you have been on at me for a post, so here it is!

And... I've finally figured out how to use links here without having to delve into the depths of my brain and remember my basic HTML knowledge. (Once again, being a Mac and Safari user, the direct and easy option was not available to me - However I have found that it does on Firefox.)

I will get around to posting pics of newly installed kitchen but here's something very cool to distract you in the mean time. This toaster is stunning!

It's from and for those interested in design, it's pretty amazing the stuff that can come out of people's brains.

Here's are a couple more not so shabby ideas I came across...
A very nifty Daisy vase made out of a biro
A stunning Astor phone which I would find hard to put down.

For the Artemide fans among you - maybe a few you haven't seen before.

And a small PS. to those who, like me, like the occasional RC. Thank god for safety regulations nowadays!!!