Jibber Jabber

Keep Pedalling

This Sunday afternoon, D and I cycled around the lake Gavers to get to a café owned by a small brewery. After two local brews each, we decided to take a different route home. At one point during this trip, the path got a bit rougher, the path was dotted with sizeable rocks and pits. All I could think of then was ‘please don’t fall, please don’t fall…’. In order to stay on my bike, I recalled one of Einstein’s quote and kept on pedalling like crazy. This helped me maintained movement and balance. It worked and I survived the bike ride! But oh my poor thighs!

Jibber Jabber

Aerating The Lawn

This afternoon, D aerated our lawn with his father’s aerating machine. Together we raked up all the dried moss and dead bits of grass, filling up two bags. Although it is a bit late (and too warm) in the year to be aerating the lawn, D and I decided that we would not wait till autumn. We had to remove the two-year-old thatch build-up so that our lawn can grow and recover.

Jibber Jabber

Fan On

It is only the month of May and I have already used the fan several times! I am really concern about global warming. What is going to happen to us with the current and future climate changes?

Jibber Jabber, Simplify

Winter Survivors

Today will be the warmest day of the week. Ideal weather for me to tidy up the back yard a bit. First task I did was picking out the dead ivy leaves from the hedge. It may seem like a pointless task to most people, but I find it strangely therapeutic. Then D and I planted out two tomato plants which were given to us by his father. After watering the tomato plants, D went back into the house. I stayed on to manually removed dry moss, unsightly weed and dead grass using a special turf rake. Because it got too warm and I was sneezing non-stop from grass pollens, I only managed to clear out a small patch next to the terrace.

What amazed me the most today was finding, in my vegetable patch, plants which have survived a not-so-mild winter. A bunch of garlic greens, one lovage plant (lavas in Dutch), a few dill plants amongst my strawberries, corianders (wow!), and lemon grass (double tropical wow!). Winter survivors…

Jibber Jabber

Want Beer!

This Monday afternoon, D mowed the lawn while I removed dandelions and unsightly plants which do not belong. After D had loaded the car with a very full bag of yard clippings and an empty beer crate, we first stopped by the library so that I may borrow a book which has finally became available. Next was the pharmacy where I did my thing while D stayed in the car. From there, it was to the recycling park to toss our yard clippings. We then made a quick stop at a budget grocery store because asparagus is fifty percent off! Our last stop before heading home was a drink centre where we stocked up on beers and tonic water.

It was supposed to be 10°C cooler today, but it sure does not feel like it?! Damn, I really want a beer now, but it is no-alcohol Mondays. Bleh…

Human Nature, Jibber Jabber

Radio Silence

D and I both grew up in homes where radios and music filled our days. Every morning, it is a ritual and habit that I turn on the radio in our home. To have the radio playing on for almost an entire day, is simply normal.

This Saturday morning, I decided to run an experiment. Today, at least for the first part of the day, we shall have radio silence. I want to know if D and I can benefit from this period of silence. To use it to get in touch with our inner selves maybe? How comfortable are we without the constant feed of our daily background noise? Can we deal with just the sound of our own thoughts, and each other’s occasional voices?

Different people operate on different frequencies. Identifying our own unique wavelength will probably help improve our communication with other people.

Jibber Jabber, Simplify

Elephant Paths

Not too long ago, I read a Dutch article explaining how modern society can benefit from the reduction of car usage. We are all encouraged to create ‘elephant paths’ – unpaved trails created by foot steps or bike tires.

This morning, I made my way to the grocery store via a paved and familiar elephant path. This is a path I have known since moving here. Destinations may vary from the bus stop, the train station, the pharmacy, banks, the post office, the city hall, the grocery store, or my beloved library, but the path remains the same.

At the individual level, I do what I can to leave behind a smaller carbon footprint. I try to eat less meat, walk more, not use harsh chemicals, reduce, recycle, reuse, repair, have fruit trees, a flower bed and a vegetable patch. In some small ways, D is also affected and have gradually become greener. One person may not be able to do much in this big wide world. I believe that there are like-minded individuals doing whatever they can at their own individual levels. Add us all up and maybe we are making some kind of impact.

Belgium, Events, Jibber Jabber

Friday Thirteen

I woke up from a bad dream and got up at 4.30am this morning. In the utility room, I found a strange water leakage from the boiler. I wiped up the water and dried the floor in no time. Then proceed to work off my restlessness by roaming about the living room – quietly. I drank a coffee, put away the dishes and crawled back into bed for a sublime 2-hour morning nap.

In the afternoon, D and I went to the recycling park to drop off some plastic packaging, a water filter, and our lawn clippings. We then proceed to Kortrijk to check out this year’s Paasfoor (Easter Fun Fair) and ate some fried dough.

After Kortrijk, we went home to pick up crates of empty water bottles. The supposedly brief visit to Lokaal for a drink and some quick purchases ended up longer than planned because we met an acquaintance of D. Some strange and interesting information turned up in our conversation. We live in a small world!

Our last stop of the day before heading home was to a nearby Carrefour to stock up on sparkling water and drinks. Well, that was my Friday 13th. I am probably going to pass out on the sofa later this evening…

Jibber Jabber

Phone Spy

The following is an excerpt from The Guardian entitled Are your phone camera and microphone spying on you?

When a user grants an app (WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Viber) access to their camera and microphone, the app could do the following:

  • Access both the front and the back camera.
  • Record you at any time the app is in the foreground.
  • Take pictures and videos without telling you.
  • Upload the pictures and videos without telling you.
  • Upload the pictures/videos it takes immediately.
  • Run real-time face recognition to detect facial features or expressions.
  • Livestream the camera on to the internet.
  • Detect if the user is on their phone alone, or watching together with a second person.
  • Upload random frames of the video stream to your web service and run a proper face recognition software which can find existing photos of you on the internet and create a 3D model based on your face.