Live from Brussels

Musings from a bored analyst/project-manager.
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Thursday, June 10, 2004
Playpen Construction...

Had another 'dad' moment today after dinner, when I put my manly skills to work to assemble a second hand wooden playpen we had bought for Klaartje. Did I mention there was no manual? Real men don't need one, after all!

After putting everything together and after disassembling and putting it together for the second time (to adjust the height), I was sweating really, really hard, I can tell you. Not so much because of great effort being involved, but because we're finally having a bit of summer for the past two days.

And now Klaartje can enjoy it in her very own dad-assembled playpen. Anyhow, I love the little one like you wouldn't believe it: the way she makes cute noises, the way she sleeps on my belly, the way in which she seems to be playing the what-would-this-nerve-impulse-do? game when she's randomly kicking and waving her little legs and arms... Being dad is cool!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Got Fifteen in Belgium?

Radio reported yesterday evening that fifteen suspected terrorists were nabbed in Belgium, in different cities (Brussels and Antwerp, to name two that I frequently visit). Not many details were released by the authorities yet, but one claim was that the fifteen were possibly planning a major terror attack abroad. There also seems to be a connection to recent arrests in Spain and Italy... The arrested men appear to be members of the GICM (Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain), a Morrocan terrorist organisation that is held responsible for the Madrid bombing.

I don't think this news item is going to have much impact on the upcoming regional and European elections though: currently the story is the sixth headline on the site of the state television news, below among other things a story about a construction firm going bankrupt, the UN resolution on Iraq being approved and the news that the closing arguments in the Dutroux trial are about to begin.

Monday, June 07, 2004
Opel Zafira Quest...

Since I'm switching jobs I'm going to need a new car, as the old one was a company car. So for the past few days I've been looking for a used one with not too many kilometers on the counter and a decent price.

I've looked at some used car sites, but I must say I like the second hand car search tool at the Opel website best. Which is nice, because I have settled on an Opel Zafira for my next vehicle (I'm currently driving one and I like it very much, so why change?).

But the quest hasn't been very fortunate so far: the first potential one I saw (2 liter diesel, Elegance version) was in Mons, 100 km. from here and when I called the garage they said it was already sold.

The second one was in Kapellen, near Antwerp which is my former home town. It was a 2 liter diesel, Selection version. Only 12.500 Euros and just 28.000 kilometers on the counter. Unfortunately, after a testdrive and a thorough investigation by my brother (who is a bit of a car nut), we discovered traces of a possible accident and, more telling, a soaking wet rag around one of the tubes of the engine.

Third one I found on their site was in Mortsel, also part of Antwerp. Another 2 liter diesel Elegance version, with about 58.000 km., going for 12.950 Euros. I called the garage this afternoon to see if it was still available, and it was. But when I got there later in the evening, it had just been sold...

So the quest continues: if you happen to know a quality Zafira for sale in Belgium, preferably diesel and with a low number on the counter, drop me a line!

Quote of the Week

Actual quote of my boss's boss today: "E-mail is not a communication tool". No wonder I'm leaving the company...

(The quote came in an e-mail, BTW. A techie had sent around a mail asking why we didn't do anything about D-Day on our portal website this weekend, and a discussion ensued. The boss cut short the argument with a mail containing the above howler...)

Sunday, June 06, 2004
Ronald Reagan Dead

Just saw on Dutch televison and then on CNN that Ronald Reagan has died at age 93. Condolences to his family and to all my American readers.