Mic & Mac

This little flick is actually made by a Belgian as a final project for his education to become a Graphic Designer. Ok , the CONCEPT is clearly taken from the fabulous Pixar Lamp movies , but nonetheless the storyline is infinately funny. I had a gigantic laugh with this one and  have watched it many many times. A true gem in user generated content. 

  

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Beamdown to Root-Ville.

alden biesenThe one downside in having a 256 megabyte memory-card in ones digital camera, is that it takes some time to fill up. So even at 2 mega-pixel per pop.. One still does get the “ow I forgot I had that picture” syndrome from time to time. Like last years holiday pictures still snuggled up nicely in the forgotten movie-roll on in the kitchen drawer.Holiday pictures are actually a nice analogy when it comes to the picture below. Although the “beam-down to Rootland” only lasted one afternoon… It did feel like a little bit of a holiday. A holiday in my own home town of Rijkhoven. A rustle with the bustle back home at the annual scottish festival on the castle of Alden Biesen. It was a glorious day, the first weekend of September of 2006 was like a warm summer patio where the last warmth of august refused to depart.

And then we went down south. So me and the missy went back down south to have our “wee bit” of annual Scottish atmosphere.  This being the first big bad beam-in since we “kinda secretly” got married we where anxious to get some “shifty” remarks from the townies. So we walked around the castle, not running into anyone we actually knew and just savoring the whole spectacle. But after an hour or two we had probably seen what there was to see and headed back home.But as we walked up the street, we passed one of the local pubs and suddenly heard our names called out. .. Well , not ‘our names’ but something along the line of “ Well well .. the townies !! ‘

Before I go on , let me explain what the big picture is here. I was born in a small town , I was born in this little town, and have moved away to the city of Hasselt two years ago. To some people of “Rural Rijkhoven” Hasselt is to Rijkhoven , what new York is to Alabama. That is in fact the perfect analogy. To anyone who has EVER seen the movie..    I’m no Reese Witherspoone , but I came close , story-line and everything. On with the story.“Well well .. the Townsies” we heard and froze in our tracks. Afraid for some comment where we where to be asked if “Rural Rijkhoven was not to small for our High Hasselt Taste” .. But what came next was a pleasant surprise “ Hey .. Come on .. have a seat ! “ So a few minutes later we where sitting together with some wonderful locals , old friends. Stefan, Gerry , Dirk and his wife .. Peace by peace these people are the strong fragrant colors in the painting of the town itself. People who make up the atmosphere.. Who with their wonderful personality .. make the town into what it still is today. “ We”re goin down to the Castle , Want to come along ? “ they offered us.

Back down. We of course did not say no and found ourselves amid the same surroundings we had left an hour ago .. but now surrounded by the warmth of the people of my home town . We drank, we talked , we laughed , we told tall tales of days gone by and reminisced on “how the town used to be” It was my own personal “sweet home Alabama” and I loved it. It felt like we got hugged by ancient arms, shook of the digital lifestyle and tasted the ale of how things used to be. Perhaps the   small town is no longer what it used to be. A lot of new people have moved in and the warm soul of the little town is getting watered down by the anonymity of the new arrivals. So when the “old ones” , who spiced the salad of the taste how things used to be , now get together .. we remember how great things used to be. It was a picture perfect moment, Nyana, my lovely wife together with my dear old friend Stefan ( Fellow Dj in the DYSC DJ squad for eight years) and the legendary “ Wild Gerry”

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The absence of technology.

It seems a long time ago. Somehow it IS like another world , another time. And yet, only twelve years have passed. A book review is what started it all off. My girlfriend at the time had to do a book review for school and asked me if I (since i liked to read a lot) would want to do it for her. I agreed of course and pretty soon the book “ Summer seventeen “ was on my night-stand. A book about a seventeen year old boy who bought a bike and went on a solo trip to Santiago de Compostella in Portugal. The story intrigued my .. enchanted me .. enchanted me. As the writer described the rolling hills of Belgium, the golden plain of the French massive and of course the spectacular alps. All by himself the boy cycled through an amazing adventure that was not about the destination .. but about the journey itself.

blanc nezWhen I closed the book I remember looking up and saying to myself … This is something I have to do ! Three weeks later I had a holiday coming up and just like that I decided .. I was going to embark on my own journey. True enough Santiago the Compostella was a bit far but a look at the map offered me a very interesting alternative. The coastline in the north of France offered me an interesting route from a possible starting point in the Belgian harbor town of Ostend, all the way down to the French Le Havre, just above the normandic coast. It was may 1995 and the world was mine to explore. So three weeks later I was packed. Borrowing my brothers mountain bike, packed with saddlebags full of clothes and even a tent for emergencies I was of towards the big adventure. Me .. my bike .. and the unknown.

And it where different times. The only peace of technology I had packed into my gear was a walkman and a collection of mixed tapes to form the soundtrack of my adventure. No cellphones, No email, No gps .. Nothing.. Only me… the static hiss of analogue tapes .. music and the great unknown.  

And that great unknown came to surprise me everyday , It was in the eyes of every stranger, waiting behind every rolling hill, dancing in the shadows of the morning sun. I remember the second day of my journey that took me from Calais to Boulogne, a 85 km trip along two of the most magnificent cliffs of “la Cote Opale”.  “ Vous allez a Boulogne ? “ the old man said when I asked him for directions how to leave the city centre of Calais. “Qui” I replied. “ Sa monte et Sa decent” he chuckled indicating that flat terrain was not going to me on the menu today. As he pointed his crooked finger at the red line on my map indicating “la route de la cote” the first drops of  rain drizzled down on the transparent plastic. Half an hour later I had crossed the adjacent town of Sangatte and was faced with a monstrous climb up “ La cape the blanc nez”. As the mist had rolled in from the atlantic the sight was absolutely intimidating. As far as the eye could see there was only the rolling meadows, desolate and deserted, huddled under the cold and wet blanket of the morning fog. Ahead the asphalt road twisted like a slick anaconda into the horizon. Writhing and twisting up and down and left and right in its blackened wetness. At the summit of the enormous mount stood the statue mounted at the top of Cap the Blanc nez. A gigantic black marble speer pointing into the gray abyss of  clouds and fog. Defining the very desolate and lonely feeling that crept through my bones.  I dug my head into the ground and started pumping the pedals to face this desolate landscape .. alone.

ikkeAn hour later a speck of blue was to be seen pushing its way up the deserted road , mounting the desolate cliff .. Surrounded by fog and rain. An infinite speck in natures impressive painting. My blue rain-gear had perhaps protected my from the brunt of the rain.. Whatever motivation I had left had been washed out by the pouring rain , or had been blown to shreds by the gail winds of the invisible sea.  I stopped. Almost at the summit of the cliff and parked my bike against a shrub. Shoes soaked, feed whet and cold and feeling thirsty yet drenched at the same time.. it was time to take five. I turned around to face distance I had covered and sat down on a rock because I was just about ready to give up. What had I gotten myself into. I was a good 450 kilometers from home. Amid of nowhere, unprepared for what i was facing ( I might as-well have brought a wet-suit to keep me dry) .. feeling cold .. hungry .. soaked and .. miserable. But then the beauty of it all struck me. I was there .. a mer human in a landscape that was devoid of another soul for hours to go. No cars .. no humans .. nothing.. Just the immense landscape.. the fog , the rain , the wind .. and me. And in all its desolate perversion the landscape enchanted me. Letting me feel that it meant to feel small. Sitting there with no means of communication.. No transportation except my trusty bike. An  action radius of a 100 kilometers a day .. Totally vulnerable.. isolated and .. absolutely loving it. I sensed the magic of being alive. The sensation of how ones sense of distance expands when technological means of mobility are no longer there. How ones hearing sharpens to detect the sonnet of the faintest seagull on the invisible horizon when there is no Ipod to give you tunes. How one feels in tune with the immediate world around one when modern means of communication are no longer there. At that very moment I felt in awe for the world around me .. and had found an inner peace that has been absent ever since. The raging pulse of the world today … The digital roller-coaster we ride .. the very edge of real and cyberspace .. was nowhere to be seen.  I was completely alone.. experiencing the infinite analogue experience of .. being alive on planet earth.

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Whieeeeeeeeee !

Just another great flick ! 

I know its old , but still , its darn right hilarious. I would just like to say ….

 

 

 

WHIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

 

 

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Big Apple Talk !

 

apple

 

A friend of mine at work visited New York lately and was kind enough to snap me a little shot of the new Apple Store. You can also see the full high res picture on Flicker, because this guy would not now compression if it bit him in the nose. I swear his digital camera's flashdrive must be the size of Jaba the Huts underbelly. But this also results in fantastic shots. So thanx Chris for this great shot AND the list of quotes you sent me. When in the Big Apple, Talk like in the Big Apple. A hilarious website full of real life quotes heard out and about the streets of New York. With September 11th coming up its time to pay tribute to the "Spirit of the New Yorker'. And I must say .. If everyone is that tough down there .. no wonder they are so resilient. 

 

 Some of my Favorites.

  • Bleutooth ? 

Old woman, to woman talking on Bluetooth headset: Excuse me, but are you talking to yourself?

Woman just looks at her and keeps talking.

Old woman: No, seriously! Are you talking to yourself? Because, if you are, you should be nicer to yourself.
–Central Park

 

  • Tourists !

 10-Year-Old boy, whining: But, Daaad, why not?!
Southern tourist dad: Because. And I told you before: we do not go in stores with names we can't pronounce!

–56th & 6th

  • And of course.

Guy: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to insult your computer. I didn't know it was a cheap computer. I'm sorry.
Girl: You didn't insult my computer. You insulted my socio-economic status.

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America's next top model.

 I hate TV, any form of mainstream digital entertainment that involves none time-shifting entertainment and is pre-chewed for the masses is sure to send me reeling for my laptop or otherwise nukes me to level 5 of the coma scale. Especially reality tv is extremely unnerving. But since there is only room for either my laptop OR my tv dinner , sometimes I get caught in the crossfire and have to watch an entire episode of this crap while having lunch. So enter "America's Next Top Model" where 12 arrogant good-for-nothings get selected to walk and jump around for none other then catwalk washup number one : Tira Banks. With molecular precision we are introduced to the world of the beginning model and the challenges it brings. Like for example : Living together. The daunting task of having to share a luxury apartment, (jacuzzi and all included) with other people is quite hard (so we learn)… Oh my .. model X touched the mascara of model Y, Model Z said that model A was fat , Model A said that model Z said that model U said model X doesn't know her alphabet. In short : There is more gossip going on then in an old Basic program.

 

modelBut there are more challenges to come. Riding the bus to get to a photoshoot is extremely difficult. In includes reading timetables and .. god forbid : Watching the clock. That means time lost commuting and not shopping. And of course : The hardest challenge for any model : Simply showing up on time for work … Oh my .. The horror !   And once they get there they have to " Work it " (that means: put one foot in front of the other when traversing the catwalk .. veeeerrry hard !I) Or they get other taks like ' Show us your Bonestructure'' and .. " More P-zazz honey' . Meanwhile this infamous cesspool of entertainment revolves around Tyra Banks fading career like spacedust encircles a black hole. Incredible ! I swear some of these girls are so shallow an fly could not even drown in the pools of their minds. And all along this stupid contest they get voted of one by one ( I personally think that the losers should work in a refugee camp in Soudan for two weeks straight , cleaning toilets ) because they constantly tell us (along with miss Banks) its "'soooo haaaard" being a model. If it indeed is , you would be cut out for a job at the camp in Soudan.. Here is your plane ticket ..  But the worst is … The voting of ceremony. The girls that stay have to walk up to Tira where she hands them some kind of token or picture ( to get the message across the dirty blond hair into the hollow head) and Tira sais : "Congratulations, you're still in the running to becoming america's next top model" .. Now that would not annoy me if she just said it ONCE .. NOOOOO …  The malicious model has to say it EVERY time to EVERY girl. Either SHE is autistic or I'm having problems with my short term memory. I think its the latter. People spontaneously   have a brain hemorrhage after watching 20 minutes of this .. disease of a TV show.

But .. here comes the internet to save us all. With graphic cards getting stronger and stronger, CGI machines going into near infinite resolutions , the days of the model are OVER .  Instead of having to work with the likes of Tira and here America's Top Model goons with all their flimsyness : Break out the Digital Model. She can BE however you want , WEAR whatever you want .. Work IT like YOU want it to. And perhaps she is shallow .. but thats OK. as long as she fits on an DVD. Look HERE for the fullsize picture and astound yoursellf that THIS IS  a computer generated image.  Congratulations.. you are still in the running to become America's next Digital model.

 

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An afternoon with Vic.

concrete

I'll be looking at the stars ….

What others see as a chore , I see as rest and relaxation. It can come in many forms, mostly things like , paint the garden wall.. or remove concrete from the deck behind the house. If its a task that requires physical labor but no "intellectual concentration" it might as well be jacuzzi-dipping for me. I love it ! It makes me realize just how much I have to concentrate when i'm behind computers, at my job or at home. The simple fact of being able to do something without having to focus my brain is quite liberating.

So yesterday afternoon (the first dry afternoon in a MONTH) I took out my working gloves, my hammer and my flat iron bar ( whats the English .. Chissle ?) and removed some concrete behind our house. Now this dude that lived here before us had smeared some of his own concrete on the concrete deck to "level it out" But due to hot weather and poor workmanship the concrete 'slab" (about an inch thick) started to come loose and water was seeping under it. That moisture wasn't good for our walls so it was 'beybey layer-of-crap'. 

 

 

Someday …

And what better way to stay motivated and focussed then with some good music. Now my range of musical taste is quite wide but .. yesterday I was in the mood for some big-band music. And who better to entertain me then … Frank Sinatra ? hmmm.. no .. I went for good old James Darren , Also known as the Deep Space Nine character 'Vic Fontaine'. I love big band music , I mean , Tony Bennet, Frank Sinatra .. it makes me happy when i'm stuck in traffic. So when I first heard James Darren in the episodes of Deep Space Nine I was thrilled.  There he plays the holographic entertainer called "Vic Fontaine " who plays in a 1950 bar somewhere in the Nevada Desert. And the way he sings, how he interacts with the Deep space Nine characters and how his persona is written into the last seasons of this great show stole my heart. So yesterday .. Me and Vic (or James) whatever you prefer, bashed some concrete together while I happily hummed ' I'll be seeing you' , "Fly me to the moon"  and of course .. the way you look tonight .

 

 

 

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