December 2006 Archives

Wow!

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Driving a smart in a serious storm - wind speeds of over 100 km/h - is definitely exciting. I got home safely though, and that's what counts.

Just a random quote I found entertaining :

(from TV)
Man filling out crossword puzzle : Man's best friend, three letters?
Woman : Tit?
Man : Tried that...

Yeah, I'm cheap like that. Throw tits or ass into anything and I'll buy right into it :p

Did you know

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that a common parasite (Toxoplasma Gondii) can - according to an Australian researcher - make women prettier and men dumber?

Women infected with Toxoplasma Gondii tend to "be more outgoing, friendly, more promiscuous, and are considered more attractive to men compared with non-infected women." Men on the other hand, are reported to "have lower IQs, achieve a lower level of education and have shorter attention spans. They are also more likely to break rules and take risks, be more independent, more anti-social, suspicious, jealous and morose, and are deemed less attractive to women."

I always thought it was "nature" that caused men to like "friendly, outgoing and (more) promiscuous women", and women to be attracted to "higher IQ, high education, social and open minded men". Apparently it all comes down to a parasite. Excellent excuse for the morons on this world - but there's only a tiny chance they'll actually learn about this research, don't you think?

Geek

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I admit, I found this article interesting : Computer Warming a Privacy Risk. If you're even more of a geek than I am, you can find the presentation in PDF format here : Detecting temperature through clock skew (5.6MB)

There's one problem with this technique if you ask me : if tor servers are not dedicated, they will be used for other tasks as well, and the intensity of these tasks will also affect the amount of heat produced, thus resulting in fluctuations not caused solely by this technique. Even when attacking a dedicated tor server, others use the same server and the load and temperature will change frequently. I'm not a security researcher though...

Externalities and management

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This story may not seem quite interesting to any of you (Mitchell Wal-Mart employees upset bomb threat didn't lead to evacuation) but I suggest you read Bruce Schneier's comments on the story here : Wal-Mart stays open during bomb scare.

Who gets to make the decisions about what threats are serious and how to react to them? Can management disregard the recommendations of police officers and not evacuate? Is it acceptable that if it goes wrong, management can externalize the cost of the damage? Would it help that if management decides to go against the recommendation of government agencies, and certain damage occurs, that management has to absorb these costs?

I assume there will be little to no feedback on this issue from most of my readers, but I urge you to think about it, because it'll affect you sooner or later.

Dying inside

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A foul stench is spreading through the apartment, even though I flushed the toilet right after I was done. My intestines must be rotting but I feel perfectly fine. That's the only reasonable explanation for the poisonous cloud I can come up with.

Went shopping, got some things I needed but couldn't find everything. Found a new toy for Tai and what's his reaction? A look that shows "What the hell am I supposed to do with this?!" or "Should this be fun?!".

Ain't pets lovely?

Great

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I've just had a full week off from work, and now I realize I've prepared nothing at all to file my paperwork in 2007. I usually prepare everything upfront, so it flows from one year into the next without any problems, but this year I simply forgot. It's only when a bill arrived that I'll be paying in 2007 that I figured out something was amiss.

I'll pick up some color coded files tomorrow and label them to ensure a smooth transition. I did manage to get my electronic filing extended till the end of 2007 and the overview can take data up till December 2010.

New clothes - for work

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I just finished opening a quite large parcel that I received about a week ago containing my new work uniform. Much to my surprise, everything fits quite well. I've prepared three return parcels containing my old clothes, but won't send them out till January 1st as that could make things unnecessary difficult. If only they had put instructions on how to wear the tie in the box, that would make things easier. I know quite well how to tie a tie, but these are clip on ties and they don't have a string as the earlier ones, but just a clip that is supposed to fit in (?) or over (?) something. I'll check with my colleagues tomorrow, maybe someone figured it out :)

Oh, I managed to throw my puffy in the dryer so I'll sleep warm and cosy tonight!

Frozen : new hit entry

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I'm currently wearing two t-shirts and a thick hoodie yet am still cold to the core. Yesterday - in my cleaning frenzy madness - I decided to not only wash the sheets, but also the puffy (dekbed). When I tried putting it in the machine, I quickly found out that it wouldn't fit, so creative as I am, I took the manual route and threw it in the bathtub and washed it myself. Hot water, washing powder and my own feet. After about 15 minutes of imagining I was squashing grapes to make wine I had to rinse and repeat. I ended up with a much cleaner puffy which was the idea after all.

While transporting it outside, I wet the complete apartment (yikes!) and thought I'd let it hang out to dry overnight. Being the one who rarely suffers from cold temperatures, I wouldn't really need it, as I had put up some clean flannel sheet and covers on my bed. Man, was I ever wrong. I woke up around five feeling quite cold, and I was already wearing a t-shirt. I usually sleep naked, summer, winter, that doesn't matter. I got out of bed, took a pee and closed the bedroom window. I grabbed a pair of socks and some shorts and headed back off to bed. No way I could sleep comfortably in these temperatures.

Sure, I could have closed the window and turned on the heating, but that would be too easy, wouldn't it? I never turn on the heating in the bedroom and I'm not about to start now.

To end a long story : if you wish to wash your puffy, do so during summer time. Or make sure your laundry machine can handle it. Or use a commercial laundromat as they tend to have larger machines. Don't do it on December 25th :)

December 25th frenzy

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Most people are probably regaining conscience after yesterday's x-mas celebrations, but as I was partying on Saturday, I did that yesterday. Which leaves Monday December the 25th for other things to do, doesn't it?

Later today I'll head out to see if the car starts - if not, I'm certain the battery is as dead as a reindeer that crashed into an Airbus 320 - and I've commenced cleaning out the bedroom. Yesterday I was flipping through the Sien & Maria book and after the attic, they suggest starting off with the bedroom. As I live in an apartment, I don't have an attic so I moved right on.

I gave it a quick vacuuming - which they suggest doing after you're done dusting and cleaning, but I figured it would be a good idea to do it before. That way I can clean easily and when done, vacuum it once more. You see, I know myself when it comes to cleaning : I get easily distracted. Using my method, at least the vacuuming part is out of the way :)

Working my way through old clothes and piles of laundry as we speak, and throwing out a whole bunch of things I no longer need, or never use. If I keep this up, one room will be sparkling and new around five PM. Hey, it's a start, right? Once I'm through the laundry, I'll be cleaning the mistress mattress with a damp cloth (water and vinegar) and then iron it, flip it over and put fresh sheets on. I'll sleep like an angel (in disguise) tonight!

A quick look at the news :

James Brown is Dead (YouTube Video)

Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island

Interesting!

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That's the least you could say about last nights x-mas festivities. When we arrived a couple of clochards were hanging around the carport and it then became clear that the theme was that of the homeless for this year. Every detail was there : the burning fires, warm gluhwine, cold temperatures.

When we moved inside later on - after a short incident with one of the four legged companions, which in the end turned out less serious as we feared at first - the details just continued. Appetizers were served in recycled tin cans, not a plate or glass on the table was the same and there were various brands of wines around. Very well done Hilda!

By this time the party of three that had left for a quickie to the graveyard - lol - was back and patched up and joined the "festivities". There were tons of gifts and once again the way to distribute these to the intended new owner was quite fun : we had to open up walnuts which contained a number and then head out to search for the corresponding gift.

It's a good thing that I've got a few more days off from work because I received wonderful gifts. As I'm writing out this entry, Missy Elliott's Respect M.E. is blasting through the speakers, and then there's the "The Cookbook" album - her newest - waiting my attention. A bunch of DVD's will result in me laughing for days : "Best of Smack the Pony", "Alex Agnew's Kaboom!", and if I want to color my life rose, I can pop in P!NK's European Tour DVD. Splendid!

After all that entertainment, I'll have to clean up the place and what's better than Sien & Maria's Schoon en Meedogenloos book for some tips?

If I have to head off back to work, the Laïs Documenta 3CD collection will certainly accompany me to bring peace and relaxation. And all this will be done while enjoying an original HIL painting for which I'll find a good spot. If you'd like to take a look at it before I have the chance to make some photographs of it, look here : Scheepjes for the original blog post by the artist containing a picture of the painting.

Goth Special?

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I a couple of hours I'll be off to celebrate with the family. I got up this morning and put the battery back in the car, and it started right away. Took it for a drive - had to fill up the tank anyway - and it showed no sign of problems at all. I still called to the smartcenter and will be going in on tuesday so they can give it a quick check.

When I look outside, it doesn't look like x-mas at all. No snow, not really that cold. Where's winter gone? The fact that I'm listening to DJ Morgana's Distorted Circuitry 2005 Halloween Goth Special doesn't help I suppose. But the music sure is good!

Hard Ca$h

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Ask pretty much anyone in the world what the gambling center of the universe is, and the answer will be Las Vegas. Even though you may have never been there yourself, you can close your eyes and see the strip, the Luxor, the flashing lights and non stop entertainment. I'm not sure I would like to live there, but if I had the chance to visit, I certainly would.

You however, may be looking for some Las Vegas real estate? Are you a pro gambler, or just a lucky citizen with enough money in their pocket to get yourself a nice place in Nevada? Real estate is less of a gamble as pulling the one armed bandit for hours on end, and if you really want to relax, where can you that better than your own home? Hotels are fine, but nothing beats the trusted walls of your own place.

Hold it! If you want to get out and buy right now, I suggest you first take a look at the Million Saver website, these people know everything there is to know about Las Vegas real estate. Working with professionals beats the odds of you winning a poker game, that's for sure. And it'll probably cost you less as well :)

FK Challenge 2006 - The End

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This entry officially closes the 2006 FK Challenge. The last question was once again an interesting one - going by the answers that came in.

Hilda, Marianne, Jess and Joco were unanimous : Annelien Coorevits
Nadia didn't send in an answer, so you were all... wrong :)

Farah Pincé did something for me - she was open, to the point and honest. Adrey Henrot looked like a "tuttebel" and my oh my : she can't sing yet she did. I do admit that Annelien's cooking performance was original and her explanation even more so "I can't sing or dance, but I can and do love cooking." It may be unconventional, but I found it refreshing. Halima did nothing at all for me - nothing positive, nothing negative and Elise Van den Branden was a total baby on the body board if I recall correctly.

So, the one and only correct answer was : Farah Pincé!

Let's take a look at the scores with this new information available :

Hilda : 12(-2)
Nadia : 12 (no answer)
Jess : 9 (-2)
Marianne : 7 (-2)
Hans : 5 (no answer)
Ash : 4 (no answer)
Joco & Eef : 2 (-2)

So, we've got a tied first place - which I was kind of fearing. However, as Hilda answered all questions and Nadia failed to answer the last one, I declare Hilda aka Kuifje the winner of the 2006 FK Challenge!

She wins a voucher* worth 25 euro to spend at any online retailer she picks.

* Such a voucher does not exist - I'll purchase online whatever she wants and pay for it ;)

Smarts are cool - if they start!

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Joco was feeling bored and when we met on Skype, we decided to head off to the sauna. I never got there because the car wouldn't start. After a quick call to Joco to say I probably wouldn't make it, it turned out the place was much too crowded anyway.

After several attempts to get the car started I gave up and called my first aid line : the dealer that sold me the car. After describing the symptoms they thought it was the battery that was dead. Beats me, but should be happening on a car less than 2 years old. Unless the battery doesn't get charged while the engine is running, but with recent cars there is no way to check. I can call back in tomorrow if needed, their chief technician will be in.

I then called my second aid line - for more practical problems : dad. And as usual, he came to the rescue. First we hooked up cables and surprise : the car started up right away. He brought his battery charger so I just took the battery out and it's charging as we speak. I wonder if I'll be driving my car in the morning? If I get it started, I'll head over to the smart center anyway so they can check out the battery and if it's dead, explain to me how that is possible.

While removing the battery, I discovered something else : glass. Underneath the carpet there are particles of glass, so I guess that the previous owner got his window broken. I'll ask about that as well ;)

Time to clean out your machine

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It's been a while since I pointed out some security concerns, but today I'd like to take some time to do so. With the holidays and festivities coming up fast, loads of people will be out of the office the next week or two weeks. Security and systems administrators often fall back on a skeleton crew, or are only available on call. This situation is quite an opportunity for people with less than good intentions to access your system, don't you agree?

I should not have to ask you if you have already patched the recently announces vulnerabilities in Windows, because you should have done so by now. Patching and keeping your operating system up to date is one thing, what about all that other software that resides on it? Do you have the latest version of winamp, java sun, winzip, filezilla, outlook express, adobe flash player, adobe reader? The list goes on and on and is quite diverse as it depends on what's installed on your machine.

Here's my suggestion for the day :

Click on that button once you're done reading this post. It'll bring you to an online tool that'll check your machine for vulnerable versions. Click the "start" button and sit back. There is no need to select the "thorough system inspection" unless you are truly paranoid. It'll run for a couple of seconds/minutes and then give you a nice list :

Detection Statistics:
0 Applications Detected in Total
0 Insecure Versions Detected
0 Secure Versions Detected

At a first scan, I ended up with 11 total applications, 4 insecure and 7 secure. And - as you probably know by now - I'm quite security aware. I wonder what results you'll get. I've since resolved the issues presented and am now up to all secure (within limits of the scanner).

If you find insecure application versions, scroll down for pointers to new or patched applications. It sometimes will take some effort to get rid of old and insecure programs even if a newer version is installed. If that's the case, tell me next time we meet and I'll take a look at it. I for instance had some trouble getting Flash player 4, 7 and 9r16 off my system, even though I had installed 9r28.

ServMe Nakamura reports

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Ouch - There is not other word to start this entry with. I went to bed around seven AM after spending entirely too much time - and money - in a virtual place titled SL. The drink I had while "playing" probably didn't help either. I seem to have become a land owner in SL. Who knew?

I just got out of bed after less than 5 hours of sleep and it shows. My head feels like it's about to explode and I had to think very hard for more than 20 seconds before I could remember what's the password to log on to this machine. Bad, really bad.

Second Life

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I'm now roaming the Second Life world as well, where I'll set up a blogging empire. Not unlike the real world that is I presume :)

Well, I certainly hope Real Life doesn't crash as often as SL, because I've been exploring for 2 hours and I'm up to my third Second Life Crash Logger entrance. Avoid crowded places, or so it seems. Off to give it another try!

Oh, in case you hang out in SL as well, look for ServMe Nakamura, I'm the hot chick :)

Clearing things up

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Apparently, some people are having a bit of a problem with the "rules" used in the TV Challenge. Here's Marianne's view on things :

"I do not agree about the Tragger Hippy thing: I included that one as two separate programs. You didn't mention this in your rules and on the other hand this makes it 22 programs listed and not 21! I feel a little disappointed about that. On the other hand six correct is not that bad, is it?"

I have to admit that I was under the impression that the two Tragger Hippy shows were the same, that's why I figured no one would list both of them. Seems I made a mistake, it were indeed two different shows. The final answer lists Tragger Hippy twice, and if you got both correct, you'll get two points. If only got 1 correct, you obviously only get 1 point. After checking and verifying things, Nadia also listed TH twice. Two points for her as well it is!

"Question about Friday 08/12: how could you see/record so many programs on Friday, as you were going to a quiz with friends? I included that information in my list, you know. Was that also a set-up?"

That wasn't a set-up in any way. Let me point you to the comments made on the original challenge :

Do you mean the programs that you actually do or did watch? Or is it just the programs you would like to watch, without considering your working schedule. (Posted by: Hilda at December 11, 2006 8:12 PM)

Programs I'd like to watch, disregarding my working schedule. (Same as the lists posted at various other times on this site) (Posted by: ServMe at December 11, 2006 11:44 PM)

If you were under the impression that I'd only pick shows I could watch, but weren't sure about it, you could have asked. You'd have gotten the same answer as the one that Hilda got, which was posted online for everyone to see. I've never taken the fact whether or not I'd be able to see something into account. The TV lists are "what I'd like to see" lists, because they reflect my interest in topics and subjects. Unfortunately for you, I'm not ruling in your favor on this account.

You still got 7 correct, which is very much considering you pretty much disregarded Friday. Consider yourself the unofficial winner of challenge #4, but unfortunately I can't give you points for it :)

Finally, the answer!

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Here is the answer to FK challenge #4 :

Friday 8th :
Flandersui gae (Barking Dogs Never Bite) - Canvas
Spy Hard - VT4
Cinema 2 : Hapiness - Nederland 2
QI - BBC 2

Saturday 9th :
I didn't know that - NGC
Samurai Sword - NGC

Sunday 10th :
Panorama - Canvas
Over Leven : Toumai le nouvel ancêtre - Canvas
Tragger Hippy - Kanaal 2
The Sex Inspectors - Kanaal 2
Police Academy 3 : Back in training - VT4

Monday 11th :
The Sketch Show - Canvas
American Wedding (American Pie 3) - VT4
Tegenlicht : Purple Hearts Revisited - Nederland 2
It's not easy being green - BBC 2

Tuesday 12th :
Are you being served? - Een
Wrong Turn - Kanaal 2

Wednesday 13th :
Tragger Hippy - Kanaal 2
3000 Miles to Graceland - Kanaal 2
Nip/Tuck - Kanaal 2

Thursday 14th :
Rare Streken : Journey of Life : Land Grab - Canvas

Some of you score rather well, others were less successful. Apparently, people spotted Coupling on BBC 2, and - learning from previous challenges - checked that off because Sarah Alexander was numbero uno in my "Hot Chicks" list. Beep! Unfortunately, my list didn't have Coupling on it. I own the complete Coupling series DVD's and can watch it anytime I want.

Let's cut the crap and get down to the scores, shall we? (current score/scored this round)

Hilda : 14 (+8)
Nadia : 12 (+7)
Jess : 11 (+3)
Marianne : 9 (+7)
Hans : 5 (+0/no answer)
Joco & Eef : 4 (+0/no answer)
Ash : 4 (+0/no answer)

Note : this post was updated on Wednesday December 20th at 16h00 to reflect some genuine concerns brought forward by Marianne. Scores have been checked and rechecked and should now be correct. I made this challenge way too difficult for everyone - including myself.

FK Final challenge (#5)

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We started this little contest with women, and the last challenge is about these sexy creatures again. Check out the Miss Belgium website if you need to, but the question is simple :

Which one of these - 5 finalists of the 2007 contest - stunning women is my favorite (looks, attitude, the whole package) :

Elise Van den Branden
Farah Pincé
Annelien Coorevits
Halima Chehaima
Audrey Henrot

Answers to the dedicated e-mail address you should all know by now. The results of challenge #4 are delayed till tomorrow, I'm too tired to count scores now.

Important : I'm looking for just 1 name, not a list. A correct answer scores 3 points. An incorrect answer scores... minus 2. Better get it right! (evil laughter)

FK Challenge #4 closed

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The FK challenge #4 (TV) is now officially closed. Most of our participants played along, though Joco & Eef failed to enter this challenge. Most of you found this challenge quite a difficult one, and I'm not surprised... it was really hard indeed. The good thing is that most contestants scored some points, and I learned of lots of new programs people think I'd like to watch.

Give me a couple of hours to tally all the scores and I'll post the correct answers, and how everyone did. A new and final contest will be posted as well. Keep your eyes open!

One crap shift

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You know the adagio that is something looks too good to be true, it usually is?

I'm on leave from friday the 22nd till tuesday the 26th. Normally spoken I had to work tomorrow, but I found a colleague eager to take over my shift, and it resulted in a win-win situation : he had extra time, and I got rid of a crap shift, and would have 2 extra days off from work.

Today the assistant chief called me - while I was looking forward to being off for almost a full week! - and asked if I could come in on thursday. To work the same crap shift I just got rid off on wednesday. I'm not pleased at all, and even though I can flat out say no, I know where this'll probably end : me working on thursday.

I hate myself for feeling so damn responsible and willing all the time, especially because there will be nothing coming my way in a way of appreciation. Sure, I'll get a "thank you for covering this hole in the schedule" from my direct supervisors, but I'm getting tired of being a puppet on a string. We are short on personnel and things ain't improving. I have already covered a shift for someone this month, I don't intend to do that again and again.

I'm well aware that my supervisors are not to blame (completely) as they also just have to play the hand they got, but it's pissing me off. I'm seriously considering saying no and - insert idle hope here - make things difficult so they have to come up with a more permanent solution.

You can only jerk people around so long, at a certain point the string breaks or becomes quite inflexible.

Help Levenslijn? Not anymore!

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Can anyone explain to me what is incomprehensible, offensive or inappropriate about this site? I decided to sponsor the Levenslijn actie by sending an SMS message to a special number, and in return my message would appear on the Boerentoren in Antwerp.

Great - or so I thought at first - way to help out and promote the site at the same time. So, I entered the message www.friedkitten.be and sent it off. Notice the .be extension that I used, to make sure the "message" would be more localized and fitting to the audience.

The "screener" which according to the rules published on the site is an independent person, didn't approve my message. They gladly accepted my money though!

I can't help it but feel a little ripped off by this whole thing. Maybe I shouldn't have tried to get something out of it apart from just the knowledge that my text message/money could help others, but that's not how things like this work for me. I'm perfectly fine doing things for free for people I love and care about, but when it comes to multi million euro non profit organizations, I expect something in return. No more sponsoring Levenslijn for me, that's for sure.

Notice

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On December 18th the server used to host FK (and various other sites of mine) will be retired and all accounts moved to a new and upgraded server. While I know it may have an impact on some levels, I have not yet had the time to check out all the details. If you see the blog become unavailable or throw an error of some kind, please keep on trying for at least 24 hours. After that time, by all means, let me know about it so I can look into it.

I'll be monitoring the process and try to fix things as soon as possible. I don't expect too much of a problem, but one never knows.

Behind the scenes

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I got up before eight and have been working behind the scenes of this blog since. Several tiny alterations have been made, though most if not all will be unnoticeable to you. It ranges from adding alternative descriptions to the videos posted recently, to replacing deprecated html tags with their css counterparts. Nothing spectacular yet it should make the site more accessible to people with a handicap or using text readers.

It takes a little extra effort to get these things right, but there are several tools to make your life easier. Today I used the Readability Test to get a first impression, then Watchfire WebXACT was used to verify the page, and I also ran it against the Cynthia Says content accessibility validator.

I admit there's lots of work to be done - especially if I want to go from the current W3C WCAG P1 level that the pages gets now to a Priority 3. On the other hand... how many individual webmasters do you know that actually care about these things? At least I work to improve the accessibility of this blog.

Look, a squirrel!

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Jess has submitted her answers to the TV challenge, Nadia and Marianne are also still playing along even though everyone is terribly busy these days it seems. I went over to Hilda to take a look at her PC problem. It was mostly a disk space problem and most of it is taken care of. She only needs to get rid of a ton of old mail and everything should be fine.

As I started working on her machine, it turned out somehow the network printers were no long functioning, so - read this, dad - I deleted the old printers and standard TCP/IP ports and re-added them. The internal IP address of the network server is 192.168.168.254 and remember the port numbers are 9100 and 9101. No, I don't know why they stopped working, I should be asking you, shouldn't I?

While fixing the printers and the disk problems, I performed routine maintenance as well : windows updates, new versions of Quicktime, Acrobat Reader, Sun Java... All of these programs had security advisories released over the past 2 months, so update time it was.

friedkitten goes borat

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Check the new splash page : www.borat.be.

Too Early

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I got up a couple of minutes past seven this morning, which is too early if you ask me. I'm forcing myself to have something to eat and I drank a few glasses of water as some doctor will probably ask me to piss in a cup in less than 2 hours. Yearly medical checkup by Mensura, which is in addition to the 6 month checkup I take at work. I've never been checked and tested so often in my life!

Anyway, got off work around ten last night, got home around eleven, went to bed a few minutes past midnight. Up at seven, medical from nine to ten, leave for late shift at quarter to one, work till eight, then work a shift including giving N. training on the job till nine at another site. Hopefully home by ten.

Tomorrow up early again, off to Hil to check her PC - diskfrag problems once again - then sauna at one on friday with Joco. On saturday it all starts over when I wake up at four to prepare for work, leave at five, start at 6.

This post was written while a hairy four legged creature tries to steal my attention :)

Note : the FK Challenge #4 seems to be quite intimidating - so far only Hilda has completed and sent in her answer!

FK contest challenge #4

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I don't know, but this one may prove to be the hardest challenge so far. In the past, I've posted what programs on TV seemed quite interesting, and I'm going to ask you to do the same. Using this weeks Humo (but you can use whatever guide you like) I've selected a number of shows/movies that I think I'd like to watch. It's your task - if you choose to accept it - to name as many of these correctly.

To make things easier, here are some pointers : The first date I've selected from is friday December 8th, the last date is thursday December 14th. Every day at least one program was selected. Furthermore, here is a list of all the TV stations that show something I've marked, and between brackets are the number of shows in total :

Een [1] - Canvas [5] - Kanaaltwee [6] - VT4 [3] - BBC 2 [2] - National Geographic [2] - Nederland 2 [2]

Scoring : each correct answer (name of show + date + TV station) is worth 1 point.

Important notes : Think movies and documentaries, as there are very little soap's or series in this week's list. For instance, Beauty and the Nerd or Schoon en Meedogenloos have not been marked! Over the course of the week (friday to thursday), 21 titles have been marked. When this challenge appears, you'll have a minimum of 3 days (72 hours) to send in your answers, because I know this one will cause frustration if you try hard to get them all correct.

FK Challenge #3 : the answer

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I really wonder why I've got much trouble sleeping lately. Must be something in my system that doesn't agree with my current life cycle. At the start of the week I suffered from a headache for two days, then it was a runny nose, but both symptoms seem to have gone AWOL.

Oh, we had some good news yesterday at work : a colleague called in around 00h30 to proudly announce the birth of his son! Finally, one could say, as the little kiddo refused to be born ;)

Now, for the FK challenge number 3... Surprisingly many people knew the answer to the three questions, or had a very lucky guess. Here are the answers :

My dream car is the Audi TT Coupe, in orange. The first car I ever purchased and owned myself was a blue Austin Mini.

In fact, everyone should have gotten the first two answers correct, as it was right in front of you : Current Wallpaper. I can understand how one thinks that image was put online to confuse you, but it's been my wallpaper at home for close to two years, and it's been online at this blog for months as well. It pays off to look and read everything and check all the links.

Let's see if this challenge results in a new ranking :

Jess : 8
Hilda : 6
Nadia : 5
Hans : 5
Joco & Eef : 4
Ash : 4
Marianne : 2

And sure enough it does! Hilda is catching up quickly and she's the only one who got all three answers correct. Hans saw me in a red Audi TT, Nadia in a silver gray TT Roadster, Ash pictured me in a Black Audi TT Coupe S Line (quite specific). Joco & Eef also went for the silver gray TT, while Marianne would drop me in a black BMW X5 or the Z4 ("In case you have the big dog").

The Austin Mini proved a little more challenging, as it wasn't mentioned on the blog anywhere and some people thought a white Volvo was my first car. Or a Peugeot with a dent in the door ;)

The next challenge will be posted somewhere on or after monday. The weekend is too busy to come up with new blog challenges!

Cell Phone(s)

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Today I went to the WSC to find out if that call from a Base representative was baloney or real. It was real and without any hassle I exchanged my ancient Coca Cola Sagem phone for a Siemens A62 cell phone. Pretty much a basic phone, but with color display etc. Things the prehistoric Sagem phone lacked. Pleased with myself, I decided to look further to see if I could find a nice new cell phone - after all I had spent quite some time looking online for reviews and ratings.

I was thinking about getting the Motorola SLVR 7L or the Motorola RAZR V3i. First shop I checked had the RAZR V3x - the EDGE version of the V3 - but that was priced at close to 300 euro, way more than what I expected or wanted to shell out for a new mobile phone. After the disaster with the Sony Ericsson V600 - great phone, but unfortunately broken - I set a hard limit at 200 euro. No way I'll ever spend more money at something that breaks within 2 years of usage.

I came across a Phone House and got an incredibly sleek and sexy RAZR V3i for 189 euro, and if I manage to get them to accept the old V600, I get 20 euro back. I should have exchanged the V600 for the A62, since Base didn't check the old phone, but I didn't know that in advance :(

Off to a quizz now - with the colleagues, the same ones I see 6 out of 7 days at work. I must like them fuckers ;)

FK Contest Challenge #3

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We've dealt with women, pets, so what's up next? Why not cars? Each correct answer scores you one point. As always, answers only accepted on the FKcontest e-mail address and open till the new challenge is posted.

1. What car is my "dream car"?
2. In what color would I buy it?
3. What was the first car I ever purchased and owned myself?

As this goes up, the previous challenge is closed. Here are the results of the Belgian jury :

The answer was "Dog" person and pretty much everyone knew that. Some of the comments that went along with the answers :

Marianne wrote "So my answer is: you’re a doggy-type! I know you love animals (any of them), and I think the only reason you have a cat now is because it’s more convenient when living in an apartment. You love him none the less, no doubt about that at all! But a dog’s friendship is more your thing."

Ash answered "Ideally, I'd pick neither of those and say you're a ferret person. Since that wasn't an option, I'm going with dog person. And I'll qualify that further by stating that you're not a small dog person, you'd prefer a larger breed, 50 pounds or more in size."

Both of you ladies are totally spot on. I like dogs and especially large dogs. I have a cat right now - with whom I've got a love/hate relationship - because a dog in an apartment is not an option.

The current ranking is as follows :

Jess : 6
Nadia : 4
Hans : 4
Joco & Eef : 3 (answer after deadline)
Hilda : 3
Marianne : 2
Ash : 2
Olivier : 0 (no answer)

And who gets stuck with the bill?

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I'm getting more and more pissed off at recent decisions made by our current government. Today it was announced that in order to close a 600 million euro gap in the budget for 2006, they are considering selling 62 public buildings, which then will be leased back from the new owners. Especially since the whole operation needs to be completed before December 29th, the potential new owners are getting a superb deal as there will be no margin to solicit higher bids.

In short and normal words : "How do we replace a medium financial hole in 2006 with a huge financial gap in 2007 till the end of time?" Very mature and solid political thinking.

Now, I wonder how can we do something about it? Any ideas?

FK Contest, an overview

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Thanks for all the entries on the first contest challenge, people! Two more players entered the field (Jess and Olivier) with interesting results! Before I give you the current ranking and the answer to the challenge, let's take a look at some of the comments people had :

Joco & Eef : "Easy ;)"
Ash : "I'm basing this on the following knowledge: I know you prefer small breasts to large ones. I think you prefer dark hair over blond. You seem to like those Icelandic cheekbones."
Jess : "Difficult, even though I know what you're looking for"

What was quite surprising is that everyone - and I mean everyone - put P!NK in their top 5. People, people... P!NK is not in my top 5. Yes, P!NK is a hottie, yes I love P!NK, but I like her music even more than her looks. I guess the tattoos and piercings confused people. I like tattooed women - hell yes - but it's not a prerequisite.

Let's take a look at what I wrote back in 2003 : "I prefer my girlfriends witty, intelligent, and with both feet on the ground. Looks are less important as attitude, although I tend to fall for slim, average length women with small breasts and eyes to drown in. A smile, love for animals and no fear of breaking a nail or working hard are a definite plus. Non smoking. Age doesn't really matter although I feel most at ease with women aged 25-35. Geekiness appreciated but not required." I admit things change over time, but generally speaking, this is still true.

Ash, I don't think there was anyone in this contest with Icelandic cheekbones - I did live Björk out, didn't I? - but I think I know what you mean.

I had thought Joco and Eef to score highest on this - somehow Eef is superb at picking out the correct anwsers - but they've been beaten by none other than... my sister. Congrats Jess, you're in the lead with 5 points!

Here is the answer, and the score of those who played along :

Sarah Alexander
Andrea Croonenberghs
Hilde De Baerdemaeker
Tanja Dexters
Jessica Biel

Jess : 5 points
Joco & Eef : 3
Nadia : 3
Hans : 3
Hilda : 2
Marianne : 1
Ash : 1
Olivier : 0

Feel free to comment, I know this first challenge was a difficult one, but fear not... I may come up with even harder ones in the future :)

FK Contest - Entry #2

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Ok people... here's the second entry :

Am I a Cat or a Dog person?

One should answer this question completely independent of current or future housing options - it's a theoretical question based on ideal circumstances.

This post means the previous challenge is closed to answers, I'll figure out how well - or not - everyone scored and make a nice and entertaining post tomorrow announcing who is in the lead.

Nice!

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I'm off to bed in a matter of minutes, but with contest answers flowing in, I'm very happy that a number of people are playing along. Ash has sent in her answer, and Nadia & Hans have taken a guess as well. You can expect a new - and probably shorter - contest entry being posted in the next 48 hours.

Answers to the first entry were interesting to read, but I'm not going to reveal anything because maybe more people will play along before the new one is online.

Change of plans

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Luckily I got out of bed late today, or I'd have been forced to say no. I got a phone call from the dispatcher on duty about an hour ago - I took a shower and shaved before starting to write this entry - asking if I could work a night shift today. As I start my regular night shifts tomorrow, I figured "why not" and agreed to do so. When I inquired as to what job I'd be doing, the dispatched had no clue. However, when he told me the name of the colleague that had fallen ill, I knew what would be expected of me.

I'm not really surprised that said colleague has suddenly become ill - it's not the first and won't be the last time. Off to grab something to eat now and then prepare for work.

FK contest challenge number one

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This is the first challenge in the FK contest launched on December 2nd 2006. Let's give a quick recap : answers are only accepted by e-mail to [email protected] One answer per person, multiple addresses not allowed. Cheating will result in disqualification.

10 women, in alphabetical order. It is your task to come up with my top 5 of sexiest ladies.

Andrea Croonenberghs (photo's) - Cameron Diaz (photo's) - Hilde De Baerdemaeker (photo's) - Jessica Biel (photo's) - Karina Lombard (photo's) - Mia Kirschner (photo's) - Peta Wilson (photo's) - P!nk (photo's) - Sarah Alexander (photo's) - Tanja Dexters (photo's)

Every name correct in the top 5 is worth 1 point, ranking them correctly guarantees another point per name. If you can get the complete top 5 ranked correctlu, you get 12 points (5+5 and 2 point bonus).

Update : this contest closes when a new one is posted. If you want to score, play now!

A little contest

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I'm curious how well you, the readers know me, whether it's based on the information they've gathered on this blog, or from real life. Over the next three weeks, I'll be posting various multiple choice questions, images and such and the idea is that you guess what my answer would be, or what my preference would by. The first "challenge" will be posted tomorrow, the last one will be posted on December 21st. On the 22nd I'll wrap the answers of all the contestants up and announce a winner.

I will not divulge upfront how many challenges will be posted (minimum 5, maximum 12), nor what the prize for the winner will be. This "contest" is open to the world and young and old can enter. Answers to the contest can only be sent to [email protected] One entry allowed per person, if I find people trying to scam the contest (submitting from various e-mail addresses, fake addresses, you name it) they'll be disqualified immediately. Ready? Wait till tomorrow :)

Cause and Effect

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It's getting late and my eyes are pretty much going into "auto close" mode, so if this entry makes little sense or is full of typo's, sorry.

Back in 2004, Greenpeace made accusations that during the renovation of the European Union HQ in Brussels, illegally obtained timber was used. The EU Commission claimed this was not the case.

Today the Commission admits (Dutch) illegal timber was used (English) indeed, and one company has been fined 750 euro.

Put in a 1000 square meter wooden floor using illegal timber, get fined 750 euro 2 years after. That will really deter any offender from using, selling and supporting illegal logging! At least the Commission made the - wise - decision not to remove the current wooden floors and replace it with FSC labeled timber, as it wouldn't undo the damage already done.

I think a proper fine would be to calculate the cost for completing the project using FSC wood and to double that to get the final amount to be fined. That would take out much the gambling or desire to risk using illegal hardwoods.

Before you shrug it off as a faraway from my bed subject, try looking at it from a global perspective : Illegal forestation -> less forests -> less water retention -> earth slides and barren lands -> poor economic and social conditions -> refugees -> immigration to the rich Western countries. Where you probably are located if you're reading this on your computer, in your nice cozy home.

Before anyone steps up and claims I'm cutting corners in the above sequence of cause and effect, you may very well be correct. I'm trying to make a point here, not prove it scientifically. If you're interested in the cause and effect of things, do some research.

Pussy Power

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Marisa (lawyer, muse, blogger, superwoman, cauliflower and columnist) recently said she loved the My Puss video by Margaret Cho. I just watched it and indeed it is good. Watch and Love!

PS : My Puss is a tribute video to Mickey Avalon, who created the My Dick video.

Just so you know

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I just created a disclosure policy for this blog. With some advertising being included every now and then, I figured it would be the right thing to do and be open about. Anyway, the blog will remain as controversial as is ever - or never - was because I refuse to endorse products, services or anything I don't feel neutral or positive about myself. In other words, the chances are slim that you'll see advertising for cigarettes, drugs or gas guzzling cars here.

I'm quite convinced that by now most of you regulars know exactly what you can expect and what you can't. I blog the same way I am in real life : open and quite to the point, refusing to cut corners or accept things that go against my inner guide.

The new disclosure policy can be found here : Our disclosure policy. This is a first version, created using www.disclosurepolicy.org, and it'll be fine tuned and altered to fit my exact needs over the time to come.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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