News

Politics Alcohol and cannabis Friday 23 March 2007
One of my main pet peeves is the arbitrary injustice of our western society's drug policy, and the ease with which a big portion of the population is brainwashed by the law.

Yet another study, published in the leading medical journal The Lancet, ranks alcohol as a more dangerous drug than cannabis, yet in most western countries anyone using the latter can be arrested, get a criminal record and have his life partly ruined, while even the worst binge drinking abuser of the former goes free. All this for no rational reason other than "the law is the law and must be obeyed".

The ranking of drugs in The Lancet is based on three factors: physical harm to the user, addictiveness, and impact on society. Heroin and cocaine rank first and second, alcohol fifth, cannabis 11th.
Language Book on Antwerp language Wednesday 21 March 2007
I just signed a contract with a publisher to publish my book about the Antwerp city language. I have to hand in the final manuscript by 15 June and the book should appear in stores in October. I will probably get to do a presentation about it on the Boekenbeurs (Flanders' biggest book fair) in November.

In this book, which will be called "Antwerps schrijven", I analyse the grammar of the Antwerp language and propose a rational spelling for it. I have permission from all the most famous Antwerp singers (Wannes Van de Velde, The Strangers, Katastroof, Hugo Matthyssen) to include the lyrics of some of their songs to demonstrate this spelling. I'll also start a web site about the Antwerp language to promote the book and the spelling.

I know it's a long shot but my goal is to introduce a standard way of writing Antwerpish and I plan to dedicate much of my energy to achieving that goal in the next year or two.
Vacation Next trips Sunday 11 March 2007
In three weeks I'm going on a 10-day car trip with Lotte to Berlin and Copenhagen. Originally it was going to be Berlin and Prague but my current car isn't insured in Czechya, so instead we're heading north after Berlin. Other cities we might check out along the way are Osnabruck, Lübeck and Hamburg. Pictures here afterwards of course!

Then in August or September I'll be making my next big journey, to Africa, but more about that later.
Movies The Illusionist Friday 2 March 2007
Entertaining movie about a magician (Edward Norton) in the late Austrian empire who uses his skills for a political purpose. That topic right there could have made for a brilliant movie, unfortunately this one focusses on a totally predictable love story. 7/10
Photos Peru and Bolvia report complete Sunday 25 February 2007
Alright I finally finished it: my Peru & Bolivia photo report is now complete with accounts of my second stay in Lima (Part 13) and my short visit to Atlanta on the way back (Part 14). In Lima the highlight was the national museum, in Atlanta it was the tour of the CNN studios.
So, that took me just under half a year to complete :) I've already started thinking about my next trip, more about that soon.
Movies Inland Empire Sunday 25 February 2007
The newest David Lynch is said by some to be his masterpiece, so as a fan of David Lynch I had to see it, but it turned out to be my worst movie experience ever. There were a handful of good moments, like the opening scene, but during the middle hour Laura Dern (looking better than ever btw) descended into a sort of hellish madness, and so did the movie. Nothing made any sense or was in any way even remotely interesting, it was all just utterly, utterly boring, and even the production value was terrible with the signal to noise ratio sometimes below 1 and the hand camera being held by someone with Parkinson's. Sitting through this very much reminded me of those 12+ hour bus rides without leg room that I have to make while traveling.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if in a year David Lynch would say "I deliberately made a movie as bad as I possibly could, just to see how many people would still pay to see it" - it was that ridiculously bad. 1/10 because Laura Dern and Justin Theroux were in it.
World News Laser Tag Tuesday 20 February 2007
Definitely even cooler than playing tennis with a Wiimote: scribbling on the entire facade of a big building with a little laser pen. How it works: a camera tracks the movement of the laser and a powerful projector projects the image being drawn - brilliant.

Photos South Coast of Peru Monday 19 February 2007
Part 12 of my Peru & Bolivia report tells about the last leg of my journey, from Arequipa back to Lima along the Peruvian coast. Along the way I flew over the famous Nazca lines and visited the Nazca necropolis, went sandboarding (snowboaring on sand) in the oasis Huacachina, and saw lots of wildlife (sea lions, penguins and millions of birds) during a boat tour to the Islas Ballestas.
Photos My hit movie Sunday 18 February 2007
As I was uploading a movie to Google Video for the next part of my Peru report, I noticed that there is a page that keeps track of how many times your movies have been watched. I discovered that one of my movies, the panorama from Kala Pattar with the view on Mount Everest, is a bit of a hit, having been viewed 13500 times in total of which 2600 times in January alone. Here's a repost to celebrate!

Movies The Departed Saturday 17 February 2007
This could be the movie that finally gets Martin Scorsese an Oscar, and it was a nice thriller, but nothing more than that - I don't really understand why this film gets so much praise. 7/10
Photos Cañon del Colca Tuesday 13 February 2007
Here's part 11 of my Peru & Bolivia report about the three-day trip I made to the Cañon del Colca, supposedly one of the world's deepest canyons. I chose the wrong kind of trip but the Colca valley has some fantastic landscapes and I have 53 pictures to prove it - and a 1-second movie of an Andean condor flying below me :) Alright three parts to go and I can start thinking about my next trip.
World News US embassy in Baghdad Tuesday 13 February 2007
It never ceases to amaze me how some stories don't make the mainstream media. Check this article about the US "embassy" being built in Baghdad. It will effectively be a fortified city within the city, with 21 buildings and a 5m thick wall around it. 8000 people will live and work there, safely sealed off from the world outside while enjoying such facilities as a private cinema, a pool and tennis courts. While the security measures and the luxuries are understandable, I think the scale of it all says a lot about the USA's ambitions in the new Iraq.
Gaming Wiiiiiiiiii Monday 12 February 2007
I finally got to try out the Wii, here are some movies...

Filip Federer vs. Tijl Sampras...

:: More... ::
Site News Gallery script improved Wednesday 31 January 2007
If you're using Firefox, as you should, you can now middle-click thumbnails in any of my new galleries to open them in new tabs instead of blowing them up. Same goes for Opera. If for some inexplicable reason you're still using Internet Explorer, this won't work, but you can right-click the thumbs and select "Open Link in New Window" now.

Try it out with these El Misti pictures.... Still to do: showing captions with the full pictures. I want a semi-transparent bar to slide into view at the bottom of the browser window and show the caption whenever a thumbnail is clicked, but I'll need to devote some time to making that.
Photos El Misti Tuesday 30 January 2007
Finally, here's Part 10 of my Peru and Bolivia photo report. This part is about my climb up the 5822m high volcano El Misti near Arequipa in southern Peru. On the summit I made a lot of pictures which, after I stitched them together, produced the best panoramas I shot on this trip. Just click these...






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