woensdag, juli 28, 2004

mijntje en nijntje

ze wedder

finally.. summer's arrived in the city of bruxelas, were **insert company name here** has put up it's desk and computer storage place where i go to every day.. happy i'm not expelled to bangalore, or what was the name of our new site again.. for those selected / appointed to transport their brains to bangaleud as from september: they don't have a brussel bad, or a zuidkermis.. saw the beach today, kermis is planned for friday evening.. life is beautiful, people are happy and caipiriña's a plenty..

some acts of management efficiency: nothing but meetings today, one timing more strict then the next one, tempted to go out into the sunny streets between havenlaan and the royal palace.. someday, i may become the official bruxelas sandwich lunch guide, spotting the coolest walks, best sandwich stores, and funkiest coffee houses.. last week, i visited a maybach store on zavel by coincidence, to name but one of the many surprise visits featured in my guided walks.. (the audio guides are in preparation, now don't get pushy!)

for the concert lovers among you, i **do** boterhammen in het park, ab, turn and taxis, botanique, passage44, and many other selected places for public performances..
for the sandwich and / or coffee addicted: sandwiches can be ordered 'faites maison', coffee house selections are accompanied by personal opinion on waitress dress code (free of charge)..

for specific requests, please send me a quick note.. at your service..

maandag, juli 26, 2004

sausalito man

thought i'd give you blogsters a picture of myselves, in sausalito harbour.. at least it's really me, and the boats shown are really not mine.. for those who like this little village: you are so right.. for those who have never been there, but would like the same experience in the €-zone: go to portofino, cinque terre or venice, probably some of the most satisfying places on earth.. for those of you who may never get to venice: go to vegas, they have a real venice, too, only its cleaner and road conditions are better.. for those who may never see the strip in vegas: see movies such as leaving las vegas, or oceans eleven, which should give you a good idea of the place.. ocean's eleven's plot reads very much the same as the italian job, which starts out in venice.. now that's a coincidence, right?

terra cotta

action plan

in order to attain my SMART objectives, i should focus on the deliveries in my various action plans, so that by target date, two days ahead of deadline, and two weeks before implementation date of my proposed quick wins, but after first provisional signoff date, i have a clear commitment from the stakeholders or actionnees from which i am dependant.. i should also take care not to commit on projects to which my MD investment would be of little added value, especially if payback is over two months.. i'd best scrutinise the defects appearing on my ctqs through a thorough root cause analysis, rather than a ballpark estimate of the underlying actors..
in the short term: words to use are challenger (mind the french pronunciation!), sponsoriser, and focusser.. further more, be sure that you have 'a working plan', in which the various 'actionnees' are clearly input..

zaterdag, juli 24, 2004


small side effect of the daily job: analyse analyse analyse, even the blog put up for fun..

here we go:
* lay-out did not get much attention yet.. a pity, but hey, life is short..
* frequency of posting: irregular, but a couple of times per week as a good average
* size of blogs: varying, from too long to too short
* style of blogs: none whatsoever, which i see as a positive point.. i like to think i can still surprise myselves by using yet another style - or no style at all - depending on the post..
* finally a medium were i don't need to put capitals, and were i can finish my sentences with .. good i got that uni degree in langkwuage and litteratjur then..
* as many topics as i have blogs, (apart from the genuine, and the pistolekes, and the business critic on ** insert company name here **), so no need yet to start categorising my thoughts..
* what if someone would really read all that stuff - should i pay for the medical expenses incurred?

keeping the dream alive

a threefold stroke of genius
- the name of the group: 'freiheit' immediately links to not being free at all.. in germany, it surely calls back memories of the ddr (but then, oh irony, the full name used to be münchener freiheit, which is just about the richest city in former western germany...)
- the real close harmony in the first couple of bars is like a spoonfull of the worlds best sjokko on your tongue
- the lyrics of this song themselves, and a very 'plastical' title - which makes me think of the way that also 'a picture paints a thousand words', well this title does, too

tonight the rain is falling,
full of memories of people and places..
and while the past is calling,
in my fantasy i remember their faces..

the hopes we had were much to high;
way out of reach, but we have to try..
the game will never be over,
because we're keeping the dream alive..

no need to hide, no need to run,
'cause all the answers come one by one..


as you all swamped me in feedback on recipes to make overheerlijke pistolekes - thanks you guys, i love'd that - i found a book in our local library that should provide me with a somewhat offical version of the pistolekes formula.. if any mom, grandmom or mother-in-law has ever successfully seduced you with pistolekes of her own creative bakery-experimenting, you may still forward such historic receptje to denjames..

vrijdag, juli 23, 2004

casual fridays

we used to have casual fridays.. to cut a long story short: we don't have them anymore.. (well, strictly speaking, we still do.. but then again, we now also enjoy casual mondays, tuesdays, wednesdays and, oh yes, véry casual thursdays..)

now for the long story: what's that problem denjames has with casual fridays? let me take you back in time, to a time when casual fridays were still something people were cheerful about on friday mornings (for some it even started late thursday evenings!!).. it was back in those days, when internet access still had to be signed off by your division head, and when you still had access to the one magical email address through which you could send a note to all of your colleagues in one go.. (some wiseguys had added "for business purposes only" to the address, just to make sure it wasn't abused...) before business cards for everyone, and free seating areas for the staff, before the restaurant was opened to commoners.. enfin, more than three years ago..

in those good old days, you did not stand before your wardrobe for half an hour every morning: a shirt, a tie, and one of those three greyish suits was all you needed to get ready for work.. during the lunch break, you could easily go for job interviews, because nobody would notice your formal dress.. during summer, you could distinguish the interns and students from colleagues or contractors.. you see: it were much simpler times for a guy like me..

but then, that fatal day end of june, an HR representative used the generic email address (for a business purpose of course):
the results from our 'casual dress fridays' being positive, we are glad to announce an extension to the entire week for the duration of the summer period: starting monday, july 3, 2000 and ending friday, september 1, 2000.

In smaller letters, they addeda small caveat:
as a company we must ensure that our professional image and attitude are not compromised
followed by some guidelines, and then
we count on your diligence to ensure that your attire is appropriate at all times for our professional environment

as you may have sensed in your smallest toe (that's an expression were i come from), HR would not stop there, oh no..
"smart casual" dress - extension of test up to year-end
during the summer we tested the "smart casual" dress policy on a continuous (all week) basis...
and then they extended it to year end, as promised in the title of their little document..
The real defeat for local formal dress dealers came somewhat later in the same year:
it has been gradually introduced, treated to a big applause (sic), and finally commonly accepted: the casual dress.. this dress policy stood the test without downgrading the high standards of our company.. that's why ** insert employers name here ** will continue its casual dress policy..

need i go on? some situations from current corporate life:
in the morning, you choose which t-shirt may/may not fall within HR definition of "smart casual".. a shirt with vertical print, as was fashionable lately, would HR be offended? those designer sports shoes, of which you would not think they were sports shoes (and if you ran down the street with them would be ready for recyclage?), would they pass the judging eyes in the morning elevatorride together with members of the management team?? when going for lunch , will i dare to look down the elevator buttons (to press the 0), when a steep valley disguised as a summer dress tactically positions herself between me and the button board? (i'm not often suffering from vertigo, but some dresses make me want to check my parachute, just in case my eyes start falling ...)

at the end of this summer, why not give the formal dress a short revival? it'll give you girls an opportunity to show off those pretty blouses and skirts only worn during the annual company ball, or to learn you it boys how to iron a shirt.. it'll give the shoe-repair-men a wonderfull incentive, and in the evening when you get home and take off your tie, you know your working day has ended.. relax.. blog.. surf.. think about which shirt to wear tomorrow..

ciao raga

maandag, juli 19, 2004


even though that is not what i did today, current post will need to find its way under the pejorative 'procrastinating' title..  it used to be the favorite of my isifa-colleagues, so as an honour to them i must have at least one post under this magical word..
two thousand ideas popped into my head today.. so exhausting.. when i saw our brand new minister of foreign affairs drive by - busy on his cell phone, as joesoewal!- i thought 'must drive Porsche Cayenne S' someday..  (confusing ideas with hopes and dreams here, you'll see more of that happening)  then, only briefly after spotting one of belgiums most powerful men, i thought 'need to get some take-away coffee from that wonderfull place where they have all that designer food and the delicious desserts'.. which i consequently did..  yes, you have to give mr de gucht that: he has absolutely no effect on people at all, except wanting to forget him asap..  a small excerpt from his website today:
aan al mijn kiezers : alle 159.332 voor het Europees Parlement,
alle 70.884 voor het Vlaams Parlement.
Het sterkt me in mijn intentie om te blijven ijveren voor een liberaal, degelijk bestuurd Vlaanderen en ik verzeker u dat ik daarvoor mijn beste krachten zal blijven aanwenden.

so he takes up a position in the ... yes indeed: federal governement!!... (you have just won a test drive with his tax-payers Porsche Cayenne).. redelijk.. onverzettelijk.. my foot..

other randoms things today

a bomb alert in antwerp train stations.. nothing on the news, of course, this only affected thousands of commuters, it's not as if another political nobody did an **exclusive** statement about a flower shop they opened today..  for those who were lucky enough to have noticed: small kontich station today saw the simultaneous visit of several trains, amongst which a TGV, a double decker intercity, several interregional and other trains banned from entering berchem..  it must have been the first time since the inauguration of platforms number 3,4,5 and 6 back in the 1920 s that these tracks were actually used..  don't you just love the spontaneous and creatively opposite messages spread through the speakers of adjoining trains whenever such random things happen.. 

felt strange today, maybe through overdose of delightfully strong takeaway coffee, or absence of colleagues, or hungry feeling waiting in train too long, or lacking focus..

aaaaargh.. 'lacking focus'..   must.... open ..... post...... on ..... management....... blahblahstuff........
 (and i know where those things come from):

"dear students, near the end of this one-month long, hyper-expensive management course in the pictoral surroundings of corporate verweggistan, please remember the following expressions, so people back in your respective companies will actually think this training has actually trained you at something: 'this meeting is lacking focus', 'can we continue this discussion off-line', and 'let's increase the roadmap'..  from previous attendants to this overrated course, we have learnt that this is the part that they will actually use.."
so much for the office - let's continue this discussion off-line, shall we, because we are lacking focus here..

woensdag, juli 14, 2004


i never said i would be a regular poster, so why does post-post-post pop into my head.. articles i read say this may happen after a couple of years.. but two weeks.. the fear to write words that will be public, even with hardly anyone knowing they are there..

does google employ psychiatrists to look into this type of side-effects of their creations? (or should i say 'blogger?') there are so many things you can investigate - what if i were at university again? i sure wouldn't be so difficult anymore to choose a thesis subject.. Shakespeare did alright, you won't hear me complaining.. but this blogging? a whole new genre in literature, how often does that happen? the endless research possibilities..

and a whole new vocabulary.. tried the spell-checker those whizzkids built into this blogger-tool: guess which words popped up as unknown: google, blogger, blogging.. how crazy is that? it's not in the dictionary, or what? so, did i learn them these words? or is a private spell-checker now kept at google-building for denjames only?

i l*o*v*e* evolution, but i don't always get it..



is a pretty thing..
pretty annoying when thoughts go faster than your fingers can type..
pretty beautiful when the thought of "writers' block" alone paralyses you..
pretty frustrating when it's absent..

so many ideas, so little time

or wasn't i going to be philosophical today?

maandag, juli 12, 2004

blogging software

almost two weeks old now.. not too many blogs, as i've just being enjoying some olli daiz.. as most of my potential readers are.. flemish guys and girls, enjoying the wet summer yet?

documenting myself on the blogging thing, i came across some more experienced writers.. oh my god.. is everybody designing a proper piece of software to run their website? cockfights about whether to use MovableType or wordpress.. the basic idea i got after a couple of hours touristing these blogs was: either the website has performance issues, one is redesigning it, they just did a transfer from this platform to that one and are still experiencing some bugs.. my goodness: is computer hell unavoidable when blogging? the endless list of add-ins, snippets of code, scripts to use or plug-ins to develop is probably needed to generate more of these fantastic ideas and stuff like the google and the blog and the hover image and the rasterbators... but the wining about all of it is so tiring....

try molly's website for example.. next to her pieces on gender, she goes on forever on whether or not her publishing company will be pleased with her using this or that piece of software to structure her thoughts.. it may not be a good comparison, but let me offer it anyway: dear molly, do you think all factory workers of porsche's go home in a shiny 911? of course not, and i don't think their bosses will be upset either..

hope this helps :)


zaterdag, juli 10, 2004

free toilet guide

now there's a promising title, i hear you think..

well, it's an interesting idea as well.. [please research whether it was launched before -- i know you blogger-community-people do that type of stuff, try to find who was the first to launch an idea] let me not worry about that for the moment and go on explaining what i'd expect to read under such an entry

how often does it happen to you that, right in the middle of a shopping spree with the misses, you suddenly have to go, urgently.. !{ as she has already spent most of what you've made in the last four months, you think 'what if my finding a bathroom shouldn't cost me another euro on top of the visa for today?' aha! if you'd browsed my website before leaving for the city or shopping mall, you'd know where to go!! pee for free, now there's a slogan!

just to give you an idea:

In Antwerp
* there is a public mensroom on the groenplaats, the giant square next to the cathedral (not too far from FNAC or Bilbo, two of my favorite destinations..)
* near the Schelde, go to the second street behind the city hall, where you can find the alternative cinema.. as the cinema bar in the basement also has toilets, which are not visible from the bar, you could quickly pop in and not have to drink something (which is quite unusual for cafes: normally, they only let you pee whatever you bought at their own bar)
* all university buildings and public libraries, even polytechnics feature well maintained equipped installations for your comfort..

get the hang of it?

now, for some general tricks and hints:
in almost all of the world, you could try to locate universities, schools, tourist offices, official buildings where no entry pass is needed (in the USofA: forget it...), such as public service buildings for taxes..., hospitals, waiting areas for medical practices

of course, the list is endless, but when you're in a hurry, best to have some alternatives (i know that goes for me, anyways)

my pleasure..

maandag, juli 05, 2004

genuine - exhibit 2: isifa

got a call yesterday.. from an italian friend celebrating a mutual friends' wedding that day.. too many kilometers from where I was, as I should have been there..


we go way back, we happened to be in the UK during an Erasmus exchange at the same time.. with a group of friends, we felt very connected, and hung out all the time..

even though he was probably very 'droenk' yesterday (partying all day long.. on an a sunday, indeed, as they do at italian weddings..), and even though it had been a while since we had spoken, we understood each other very well..

life goes on after university.. some people find a job, some are forced to perform X months of 'service', others keep procrastinating as they did on university, others start teaching.. some people move to spain, some to a boat cruising half of the world, some go to india to undergo a different culture and learn to appreciate the things we all have and never dare to question..
some people vanish into a kibboets, never to be heard of again.. intelligent people holding umpty degrees in all types of sciences, only to get stuck with a lousy job in Pays Basque or South Africa, far away from home and the ones they care about..
some try to cheer up children in hospitals by dressing up and performing magic.. some start at the bottom of the food chain in an international supermarket company or an international settlement house.. some get married, some get children, some simply don't and enjoy that just as much..

but they were all so genuine.. people you can count on..

life goes on, but it is worth looking back from time to time, remebering those who have made your life so much more valuable.. so much more fun.. so much more raga, fuffa, giobba, galiba, ...

thanks you guys, for being genuine..

vrijdag, juli 02, 2004

genuine - exhibit 1: Klein Jowanneke

anybody familiar with Klein Jowanneke? you should read his columns somewhere (suggestion: zone03).. in this weeks' issue, De Wereld Is Veranderd, he starts like this:

Waarom stemmen de mensen op het blok; een afdoende verklaring door Klein Jowanneke, helder uiteengezet in elf punten.
my guess is: he'll bundle the columns and get them published before the end of next year.. if he's not: Jowanneke, bundle your columns, and see they get published before the end of next year!! now, if he does not, you may actually have to move to antwerp to read about his adventures in zone03 every other week..

Klein Jowanneke: genuine!


as I am currently owner of the recipe for the worlds best sjokko, I would still be looking for ways to create the worlds best pistolekes slash sandwichkes.. these two combined would allow for the worlds best Sunday morning breakfasts to be held on a pillow near me..

ask you mum, your pastry-chef, your friend who's following a catering evening class.. I promise to send you a specimen of the above mentioned worlds best sjokko..

for those in the US of A or the UK: sjokko freely translates as peanut butter, but then with chocolate.. if you don't know what pistolekes are, you cannot help me anyway.. (thanks for considering, though.. I appreciate it..)

olli daiz

finally, some olli daiz.. busy period coming up, lots of stuff planned for a couple of days.. caring, shopping, thinking, designing, cooking, you name it..

writing - I almost forgot..

so when did blogging get this popular? asset der zelfs inde kliks overebbe!

ever suffered from a writers block because you had so many IDs you didn't know where to start? painfull.. time passes by so quickly..

blah blah 200.000 blah blah

jobs they wanted to create.. I don't think I saw a deadline next to that number when politicians in expensive suits announced it with pump and circumstance.. a course on six sigma anyone?

a couple of months down the line.. confusing messages: **insert provider here** cancels IT projects because it cannot find the required staff - not even through consultancy houses..

you don't read about that in press-releases..

donderdag, juli 01, 2004

+ 01/07/04°

ever noticed how closely good news and sad news are related.. how people meet in hospitals for good and bad reasons.. how news about the birth of a baby and the death of a (grand)parent often reaches you only minutes apart..
extreme emotions are so difficult to deal with: what do you say to a friend, if you're not sure whether he's crying from sheer happiness or sadness..

I'm happy to have met Laure and Sam today.. sad to hear from Bompa..

with you guy's (what's there to say?)..