May 2005 Archives

Traffic, it is fun, I tell ya!


As I left for work I was under the impression that things were going quite smoothly, so I happily took a spot in the very slowly moving traffic jam that the ringway around Antwerp has become. By the time I passed the Kennedy Tunnel, I had already lost 10 minutes when compared to my regular schedule, but figured I would be able to make up for it and still arrive in time. Boy, was I wrong!

Right after the tunnel, the exit I needed was completely saturated and then a nice sign above the highway announced an accident in St-Anna. Shouldn't be too bad, once I can get myself on the left hand side of the road I can pass the others that are blocked by the accident. So I carefully and gently move over to the left side, and then I notice all the blue lights. The accident ain't in the direction of St-Anna, but in the direction I have to go! Crap!

To make things even better, the firedepartment and cops decided to close the road down completely, forcing everyone off in the wrong direction (at least for me) and more trouble was brewing - I just didn't know it yet. When I finally get of the expressway, I start figuring out what route to follow to head back in the right direction. Sounds quite easy : follow the exit, take the first right till the traffic lights, go left, cross road and off we go. Well, first of all you can't do that when a route can swallow about 100 cars an hour and now has to deal with 700 cars an hour. The figures are probably wrong, but you get the idea.

So I slowly continue and then suddenly we're blocked again. A truck attempted to take a left hand turn and got stuck, blocking half of two roads. More joy! To make an already long story short : I arrived at work 45 minutes late and after 2 hours of travel. I hope things will be better tomorrow.

I just put Skype to the real test : I called Ash in the USA, on her mobile phone. I first tried the home phone, but she replied to a chat message that it has been disconnected for like a year, which explains the "this number is being checked for trouble" message that I got. So I switched to the mobile and a couple of rings later, I had Elise answering the phone. (Hi Elise!) You know what? Skype works. The connection wasn't always superb, but what do you expect from a call spanning something like 3000 miles, originating in Belgium and connection to a mobile phone in Michigan?

Why is tax law so difficult?

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I finally received my taxforms, so I took a quick look at all the documents required to fill them out correctly, or at least attempt to do so. It appears to me that each year things get more difficult instead of easier. This might also be due to the fact that I think I'm still missing some things, or I might have misplaced them although I don't think so.

Usually when official documents related to taxes etc comes in, I file it in the correct dossier right away, to avoid having to hunt it down when the deadline tightens. Could it be that I'm still missing a paper from my current employer in regard to what I was paid last year (document 281.10) as well as an overview of the mortgage payments for my apartment? I'll give it another week to see if they come in or not, and if I don't have them by then, I'll verify with colleagues. After all, I've got about 30 days to complete this task, and unfortunately, there is no option called "should you choose to accept this mission" in these matters.


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I actually planned on being in bed 30 minutes ago, but apparently that failed. I'll try to get to it before midnight ;) - OK, forget that... I just got Skype'd by Hilda)

I started watching Open en Bloot on Ka2, but it soon turned out to be a rerun, which sucks as I've seen most episodes when they first aired. And all the theory is really getting on my nerves, it's practice I need, lol!

Three days of work now, then two days off, and then we start another 5 early shifts. Before I know it, it'll be the end of December!

Hanging from a white oak tree

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I just got back - which reminds me to check some of the pictures on my mobile phone - and got myself two new toys. Well, the first one is a toy, a logitech USB headset to do some VoIP with (Skype anyone?), and the second one is not really a toy, but hopefully fun nevertheless.

I got the A Man Called Horse DVD. Ain't seen it yet, but should be interesting, as it has a Sun Vow ritual depicted in the movie.


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I just went outside to shop for fruit and veggies and it's still bloody hot. I got myself some mellons (gallia and cavallion, 8 total), 2 kilo of oranges, a kilo of apples, 4 lemons (and when I came home I noticed I still had quite a few), 4 cucumbers and... that's it I believe. Anyway, my fridge is loaded now, yet still I need more stuff. I still have carrots but will purchase more of the orange goodies, bananas are on the list too if they're ripe and ready to eat. I usually buy them in a state that requires them to lay around for 2-3 more days before you can eat them, but as I'll be juicing them, they should be ready to process this time around.

I'm off to Media Market now, see if anything catches my eye and hope the temperature is better inside. When I get back I'll shop for more food. If you wonder why I'm eating all that healthy stuff, the reason is simple : I following some "conscience/awareness" diet (although its not really a diet) that requires you to cut back on meat, sugar, candies, alcohol, drugs etc. I rarely drink alcohol, don't do drugs nor smoke so those things are instant accomplishments. Cutting back on meat and candy is harder though. Last week I did 2 no-meat days, this week I should do 4 I believe. I don't eat that much meat anyway, mostly I eat poultry (chicken, turkey, stuff like that).

Oh, I killed someone, big deal!

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What goes through the minds of drivers that do a hit and run? I really wonder, but it almost seems as if it has become a new sport in Belgium. Yet in most cases the drivers are apprehended only days later, if it takes that long. Don't they realize that running after an accident just proves immaturity, a total lack of responsability and respect?

Even if you were drunk, or have something else to hide, do you really think fleeing helps your case? I'd say it certainly doesn't, but hey... what can you expect from someone dumb enough to drink and drive anyway (the same goes for people under the influence of drugs, medications or whatever...)? I think I'll have to drag my ass into politics and propose a new law :

If you are involved in an accident and flee the scene - and don't give me that crap reason "I panicked and didn't know what to do" - your license is automatically revoked for 90 days. After you pass an exam, you can regain your license. If you get into an accident while under the influence, and run, you'll be a pedestrian for at least a year, no exceptions. Maybe that'll teach people to think twice before doing stupid shit and endangering others.

Bloody hell!

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Why can't the weather be normal in Belgium? One day you're freezing your balls off, next day they melt! A temperature of 23 degrees Celsius is just fine for me, I'll even go as high as 25 if it's summer but anything above that is plain torture.

The heat just seeps into your place, and then hangs around for days on end, even if it cools down again at night. It makes sleeping quite impossible when you wake up and think "damn, I've got a leak in my water bed" and then realize you don't have a water bed! Bloody insane, I tell you...

Full force ahead

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I'm leaving for work in a few minutes. The weather is gonna be super hot tomorrow, I just hope it doesn't prevent me sleeping during the day. If this lasts till saturday, I think I'll head off to the park during the day, and catch some rays.

I don't have any plans yet for the weekend, although I do want to do fun things, it's my first real long weekend off in weeks, if not two months.

Help needed


As you probably know, I despise household chores such as vacuuming, doing laundry, ironing or mopping floors. I find no joy whatsoever in these tasks, or if you prefer, just call me lazy. Whatever fits.

Now, for the laundry and ironing, I could get a hot maid to do all that stuff while naked, but it turns out that I've got a quite exquisite taste so to say. Thus for the time being I'll be stuck to doing that myself.

Vacuuming on the other hand, can be handed off to these little robots : the Electrolux Trilobite, or the Roomba SE. The Trilobite being the rather expensive solution, I'm really looking at the Roomba SE and wondering if it does its job well. So, my question for you, dear reader, is this :

Do you own a Trilobite or Roomba SE, and if so, are you pleased with it?

I've read reviews, but I'd rather hear firsthand :)

Heatwaves and jetplanes

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Last night I was messing about a bit on the computer when I got the idea that the temperature of both the processor as well as the case itself was running quite hot. The Pentium 4 (2.53Ghz) was running at 68° Celsius and the case temperature was up to 36°. It had been fluctuating a bit over the past few days, but I decided to check it out anyway. All fans are working as expected, so I didn't really have a clue as to what was causing the higher temperatures. I took off the left hand panel and this morning the core temp was down to 64° Celsius and the case cooled down to 31°!

Was it possible that airflow was so bad? When I woke up this morning around 1PM I took my dremel out and started widening the air sleeves on one panel to improve the flow of fresh air into the case. Let me tell you that a dremel may not exactly be the right tool to cut through computer cases, but somehow I got quite a bit done before my cutter was reduced to nothing but a metal rod. A quick removal of leftover metal bits - never wise to have those around computer equipment - later I took the vacuumcleaner out and got rid of as much dust in the case as possible.

I just replaced the panel and the case temp is already back up to 34° Celsius, which is still 2 degrees better as previously. Core temp is at 65° right now, although I expect it to rise to 66°, possibly even 67° again. If the little mods I did don't solve things, I may have to take it a bit further. Adding another fan is always an option, but I prefer to avoid that to keep noise levels down. The damn thing is sounding like a jetplane as it is!


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As I was zapping through the TV channels tonight, I stumbled across the Rammstein concert in Berlin, airing on La Deux. I doubt that it will suprise anyone if I say I didn't zap any further but instead enjoyed songs such as Engel, Du Hast, Du Riechst So Gut and Rammstein.

Doing a quick mailcheck now and then I'm off to bed around 4 I think... while doing so, I'll play some more Rammstein.

More tits


Since I've been having a steady flow of visitors looking for Blue Tits (although they quite possibly were looking for another type of tit) I'll post a quick update about the little ones : Today as I stepped outside, I heard lots and lots of chatter coming out of the nesting cage, and mom and dad were flying in and out of the cage all the time. It seems these little creatures are quite hungry. Now I know why :

3 Blue Tits growing fast (1)
3 Blue Tits growing fast (2)

Fart. Oops. (and raising kids)

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I've got no clue what the night will be like tomorrow, but as I've just finished a rather large can of red kidney beans, it could be fun! Luckily my farts don't smell that awful - I think. I'll tell you all on tuesday, in case my colleagues ran for the full face masks, grin!

Nothing much to report on today, went over to Joco's place to drop off a CD and pick up some DVD's I loaned him earlier, as well as a book. Played with the kiddo's in the garden and had much fun even though Alex decided to throw a fit and act all angry when he wasn't allowed to grab a ball Michael was playing with. Quite funny to see him be all mad and of course we made fun of him for thinking his temper and dirty looks would change things.


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I gotta shop for some food, then head off to work, where it could be a rather interesting day, depending (as always) on how things pan out. If anyone has been following the news the past few days, they may have read an article about Jan B. and his May 21st revolution. According to the article, we're a possible target for action. I guess we'll see what happens.

I got a phonecall from an old colleague yesterday, who had interesting things to say. I'll probably be meeting with him somewhere next week to get more details.

Off to shop now!

Song : Neikka RPM - Here's your revolution (Diskonnekted Extended Club Mix)

Shock and Awe - splat

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As I've got nothing terribly interesting to say today, I leave you some things that really fit : Two public service announcements and a game ;)

B(l)ow down my sonFisting is good for you

Save that kitten - or don't (Game)

Remember... if you ain't seen it here, it ain't real!

A loose screw

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Strangely enough, I feel the sudden drive to work out. I tried sitting down and waiting till the feeling passed, but that didn't work. If I still feel the same in the morning, I'll take my gear with me and use the gym at work after my 8 hour shift. Yeah, I'm a real hard ass like that, grin!


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I just took a quick look into the nesting cage I talked about earlier. I'm sure I mentioned that a Blue Tit was nesting, and I took two quick photographs in order to disturb as little as possible, but when reviewing the pictures they were quite unclear to me.

I saw lots of nesting material, but no eggs, nor little blue tits. I grabbed a chair and very cautiously took another peek, and then it dawned : there are at least three to five little birdies in the nest, although they are largely surrounded by nesting material. It seems mum and dad created some sort of a cocoon for the kiddos to live in. Hence the somewhat confusing photo (101kb, 1024x768) below.

Little Blue Tits are born at FK!

And suddenly things went BOOM!

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Today was rather interesting at work, so to say. What started off as a pretty regular and slow day turned completely when I found myself in the middle of a drill, that was totally unannounced. Well, clearly some people knew about it in order to set things up, but both my colleague as well as I were not in on it. Which in itself is a good thing, because in real life situations, you don't get a call upfront either : you just find yourself in the midst of a situation and proceed from there.

Thus I think we all learned something today, and after the drill ended, our customer asked me for a full report of what happened, what problems I ran into and how everything went. Less than one hour after my final report I received a reply and a small change was already made to existing procedures to prevent wasting too much time, and get more efficient at dealing with the emergency we trained on today.

All things considered, I'm quite pleased and hope to have more of these things thrown my way, as it'll allow me to familiarize myself with procedures quicker, and get more experience under my belt. Which is something I still lack, although that's not suprising if you know I've been in this job for just over a year, and in this specific position less than 4 months.


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Lol, I know spammers don't care where their spam ends up, but this one is really not meant for me I think :

Are you Christian? Are you Single? We have the solution for you! At "nameremoved", you can meet like-minded Christians that are also single! This isn't an ONLINE dating site full of fake profiles! These are REAL PEOPLE just like you. Click the link below and meet someone REAL today!


This service is only for Christian Singles, so you are sure to meet others who have the same perspective on life as you do, visit us today.


Are you tired of sifting through thousands of profile and NOT finding anyone who meets your standards? We are absolute Romance Professionals! Let us solve your problem! We guarantee to find your PERFECT match.


Don't delay, your perfect match is only ONE click away!


Besides the fact that I don't believe in anything but myself and that I dislike religious nutcases with a passion, they are clearly targetting their spam at a computer challenged (not to say illiterate) audience. Why else would they include 4 links? Afraid they didn't "get" it the first time?

Appropriate song to go with this post : The Cocky Sticks - I'm a catholic girl of course I suck

Now, in that case...

The fox jumps over the VPN crypto

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I don't know how I managed to miss security update 1.0.4 for firefox, but I did. It was released on the 11th, and fixes the following issues :

MFSA 2005-44 Privilege escalation via non-DOM property overrides
MFSA 2005-43 "Wrapped" javascript: urls bypass security checks
MFSA 2005-42 Code execution via javascript: IconURL

It also fixes some DHTML errors, although those are not security related. The other three though, are classified as critical, so if you haven't updated yet, this would be a good time to do so!

Unrelated to firefox, but still security news : If you happen to use VPN to connect remotely to the office, it may be a good idea to to point out to your administrator that some setups are vulnerable and much less secure as they appear. I don't have any real VPN experience, but it has got something to do with cryptographic weaknesses used in sub-keys. A technical explenation along with proposed solutions can be found at the NISCC website, or you could read the article at The Register for a less technical overview of the problem.

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

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Today was proof that no matter how "normal" the day proceeds, everything can change in a matter of minutes. Something unexpected happened today, and while we proved that security is much more than just a cost to a company, we also realize "mistakes" were made. Well, I wouldn't call it mistakes, but things we can improve on next time, or take into consideration.

Hopefully our client will allow us and assist us in reviewing the events step by step as they occured, and see where we possibly went wrong or made an incorrect assessment of the situation. However, one must take into consideration that it's quite easy to point out "errors" afterwards, whereas during events often split second descisions need to be made and those are then based on all available information at the time. Which is often significantly less than what is available afterwards.

All things considered, I think we handled things the best we could, but with room for improvement. As always, no more information will be made available, unless things are somehow made public by other parties involved.

Not again?!


I've just mailed our payroll departement to get clarification on some things. Wait, who am I fooling here? I just want to know 1 thing : why the fuck is there no cash on my bankaccount? After months and months of problems with paychecks, it seemed to be getting a little better, and now this? Call me paranoid and extremely sensitive, but the least respect you can give your employees is to pay them on time and correctly. If that seems to be impossible, keep them informed and preferably do so in advance.

Depending on the answer that I may or may not get, I'm pondering whether or not I'll go to work tomorrow. While I know that not getting paid is not a legit reason not to show up for work, I've had it with salary related issues and I'm not taking shit from anyone anymore.

If no answer has arrived by noon, I'll call my chief, or the assistant chief and see if they have more information. Then I'll take it from there to see what needs to be done.

Update : My mail from 09:27 has just been read (10:50). Awaiting a reply...

Update 2 (13:00) : No answers so far. Just talked to a colleague who confirmed that others had the same "problem". However, he also said that it could be due to thursday being a public holiday, payroll probably taking an extra day off on friday to have a long weekend, and then sunday being a public holiday again. That can all very well be, but pardon me : it's bullshit. You know these public holidays are coming up, so you should get ahead, not postpone everything. If I have bills to pay - which I do - and a public holiday is coming up, I have to take that into calculation as well. I won't leave this as such...

Update 3 (13:30) : Just checked with my bank - it seems a payment has arrived. Still in doubt though whether or not I'll pursue this issue further.

I just got a video message from my godson Alex - it made my day!

As I was reading Sex, Lies and Politics - The Naked Truth, I came accross this and I smiled :

Because I have been self-programmed all my life to tackle the things I can change, but not to dwell on thing I can't do anything about.

For those wondering, that's Larry Flynt talking about how he feels about being in a wheelchair. The man has the exact same attitude as I, and I think that also may be the reason why I just finished reading his book as we speak. Other quotes include : Today, I don't believe in anybody but myself. I don't talk about "God's will" or use the expression "it was meant to be."

I just got a mail from Marianne where she kind of confirms my statements in my previous post. There was some even more important news in that mail though : Dimi has a job a new job since he was hired as a programmer, starting on the 17th of May. Congrats Dimi!!

Sniff, snotter, ache


I'm not feeling all too well - snotty nose, headache (again one could say?) and quite tired. Not good if you gotta leave for a nightshift in 30 minutes. I don't know what it is with me these past week(s), but I just can't seem to get it under control. Maybe I should get away from everything for a while? I wonder how I should accomplish that...

What I think is going on is this : due to the new work schedule we have effectively zero recuperation time, whereas earlier on we worked a long 7 days shift and then had minimum 2 maximum 5 (in very rare cases 7!) days off. That allowed us to "step away and not think about work" for a while. Now we've got 1 day off, sometimes (although rare) three. In this "off" period we're usually switching shift which mean adapting to a new sleeping schedule.

Mark my words : if this doesn't change soon, we'll start seeing people either leave or call in ill, possibly for extend periods of time, which then of course only results in more load for those that remain.


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So much for an easy day at work. I can't say too much about it, but there was enough tension, not to say a little too much. If you combine the title of this post with a popular hit from The Pointer Sisters, you may have a clue as to what happened. If you're clueless, too bad...

Newsfeed outrage

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I think it's about time I reacted to some of the current or recent headlines in the news. Where possible, I'll link to the article in question that I'm reacting on, so everyone can decide for themselves who is right or wrong.

Bush can visit Holland without fear of being arrested

Apparently a group of concerned Dutchies had filed a complaint with the courts to have George W. Bush either denied access to the country, or have him arrested for multiple violations of the Geneve Convention. The court ruled that the visit was a political matter and should only be decided upon by politics, rather than courts or citizens. Which just proves the fact that when one brakes the rules on a grand scale, one makes history, instead of committing crimes. Kill one person, go to jail. Kill a thousand, or bend (and break) regulations/conventions as you see fit : Hail our Leader!

Treating myself...

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I just made a little purchase order on some DVD's I was planning on getting for quite a long time. First on the list was a gift that should have arrived a long time ago, as it has been ordered from Fnac for weeks if not months, but it just doesn't seem to come back in stock. So, Dimi, you should get your Gattaca DVD (superbit edition) after all.

Other movies ordered were Natural Born Killers, The People VS Larry Flynt and Team America - World Police. If the last one surpises you a bit, I can understand. However, I've always loved Thunderbirds and Team America is a similar puppet movie, but with even better cracks and jokes. I downloaded Team America earlier and was just watching it, but it turned out to be incomplete. I enjoyed the first 50 minutes or so, thus I decided to order it on DVD. Now, who says internet piracy is bad for business?

Changes in the schedule

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I just made a few changes in my schedule, so if you happen to have it written down, make sure you verify your notes. Thursday the 5th I'm working an extra late (sunset) shift, which is good since it's a public holiday and everything will be closed anyway. I'd rather work those days and make some extra cash instead of being home and not doing anything. Then on the 21st I'm working another extra late shift, because a colleague asked for a day off, and I'm taking his place. Two more days should compensate the 45 minutes lost when I arrived late on monday, wouldn't you say?

The new schedule puts me over 185 hours for the month, which means a nice pay check next month. If my tax reimbursement and holiday pay comes in as well, that should mean I can both save some cash as well as do some things I've been thinking about for a while.

Gotta go answer some mails now, so were sent recently (less than a day or two ago) others should have been taken care of last week but I "forgot". (Read, didn't feel like replying at the time)

My cozy bed

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I managed to sleep in this morning - well till 05h45 that was, when my phone rang and I had a colleague on the line that wondered whether I was coming in to work today. Oops! Of course I was coming in for work, but it seems I slept right through my alarm, or turned it off and laid down again, resulting in arriving 45 minutes late. That in itself is not such a disaster - although far from pleasant - but that also meant my colleague had to stay longer after doing a night shift. Sorry dude, I'll try and make it up to you tomorrow by getting in earlier.

One more early shift tomorrow and them I'm off a full 2 days, on friday I start 3 graveyard shifts and by the time those are done, I should have been paid, and the month is already getting shorter. Time flies, time flies.

Life is a song

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Borrowed this from Asurfael. I added a slight variation to the questions though : the first answer is a pretty accurate one, the one in italics is either past, present or future. Or maybe just funny. Make of it what you want :)

1. Are you male or female?
- Björk - Venus as a Boy
- Kajagoogoo - Too Shy

2. What are you like?
- Culture Club - Karmachameleon
- Connie Francis - Stupid Cupid

3. What do other people think about you?
- Die Krupps - The Technician
- The Shangri las - Leader of the pack

4. What do you do for living?
- Epsilon Minus - Safeguard
- Ray Parker Jr. - Ghostbusters

5. Where do you live?
- Nine Inch Nails - Home (Bonus Track)
- Lords of Acid - Heaven is an orgasm

6. How are you feeling?
- Aïboforcen - Not Unique (Implant Mix)
- Pink - Missundaztood

7. What would you like to do at the moment?
- The Clash - Rock The Casbah
- The Klinik - Touch your skin

8. Where would you like to go?
- Future Sound Of London - Papua New Guinea
- Robert Palmer - Best Of Both Worlds

9. What is your girl/boyfriend like?
- Paul Oakenfold - Starry-Eyed Suprise
- The Cure - The Perfect Girl

10. How are you as a lover?
- Front 242 - Body To Body
- Rammstein - Amour

11. Say some words of wisdom.
- Salt N Pepa - Let's Talk About Sex
- Scooter - How much is the Fish?

Quick Post - The Sequel

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What seemed to become a more relaxed day turned out to be rather eventful after all. A few minutes to ten, a call came in about an injury that needed our attention and thus starting up related procedures, something that always causes a bit of extra work that needs extra concentration. Then the phones started ringing like crazy for people trying to reach each other, but not having a clue where the others are. Sometimes I feel I'm doing more telephony work as I'm doing security, which to be honest, sucks.

I wonder what they've got up their sleeve tomorrow?

Quick post

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After coming home yesterday, and blogging that last entry I crashed. While my intention was to lay down in bed and read some more in my Larry Flynt book, as soon as I set foot in my bed, I decided to sleep for two hours instead of reading. Set my alarm clock and dozed off pretty much instantly.

I was woken up by a phonecall from Joco, which was good coz I slept right through my alarm anyway. Spent a while on the phone while firing up IP for a couple of turns. After the phonecall I felt rather hungry, but sleepy as well. Went back to bed around 20h20, only to realize that the hunger was more prominent as expected. Not feeling like spending too much time in the kitchen to prepare a solid meal - I had everything in the fridge - I raided it instead and drank the rest of my vitamin drink (freshly mixed cucumber, orange, lemon, carrot and banana juice), and ate two bananas as well.

Went back to bed and slept for a few more hours, and finally woke up again around 2PM, sweating like hell. That's when I knew that the health issues (headaches, being tired all the time) of the past days were not just imaginary - I was coming down with something and it finally broke through. Instead of throwing off my blanket, I wrapped myself in it tightly and started the good old "mummify and sweat it out" approach. When I woke up this morning I was feeling much better although not yet 100%. I was hungry like a lion though, but as I got up rather late I just threw some food in my backpack and went off to work. It's quite probable that I'll do the mummy again tonight and sweat out the last of the nastiness.

Combined with more freshly made juice - I'll pick up some more fruits and veggies on the way home, if the store is open as I just realize it's May 1st and a public holiday in Belgium - that should hopefully do the trick.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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