Food & Drinks, Simplify


Yesterday, D and I went to Puur Vlees at Wakken with the intention of checking out the place and to buy some meat. And what you know… it was open-stal-dag (open stable day). In Flanders, open-door-days often mean freebies. We had some free beers, ate several bite-sized appetizers, visited the stable of the Limousin cattle, and bought a kilogram of beef!

In the next few weeks, I will be doing some research and then have fun cooking different types of beef dishes.

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…


Carrots & Radishes

I moved the potted rosemary outdoors this morning. Preparing it for transplantation to a sunny spot in the vegetable patch. In the afternoon, I sowed carrot and radish seeds. Carrots will need about three weeks before they germinate and sprout. Radishes a bit faster. I will be preparing to plant some sweet peas and purple string beans in the next few days. Planting season is officially open!

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.
Belgium, Events, Movies, Books & TV Shows

FACTS 2018

During the 90s when I was a student in Kalamazoo Michigan, I got completely hooked on The X-Files. I watched the series faithfully every week until I left the United States for Malaysia at the end of 1994. Fortunately for me, The X-Files was so popular that it was also broadcast back home, with only a one-year lag. My youngest brother and I watched the series together. We often got freaked out, quite confused, but loved every bit of it. M left for college in the late 90s and I went back to college for the second time in 2001. Our college lives simply made watching TV a low priority activity and something that we no longer have time for. Nevertheless, my fascination for the series and its characters never wane.

Today at FACTS, I attended the Q&A sessions of Manu Bennett (Crixus from Spartacus), Joe Keery (Steve Harrington from Stranger Things), Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark from Game of Thrones) and Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully from The X-Files)! This year’s FACTS was fun, interesting, entertaining and all that. But at this moment, only one thought burns in my head – Holy crap! I just saw Agent Scully!

Human Nature, Quotes


The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.
~ George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

Health, Movies, Books & TV Shows

Repotting & Reading

For the past two weeks, I have been experiencing mild lower back pain. The culprit is known – my science fiction e-books! To read, I have to sit. And to read long intense stories of space adventures means sitting down way too long.

So this morning, I made the decision to not read even if I have the chance to do so. Instead, I occupied myself with some light household chores. I also took on a task of transplanting and repotting some of my house plants. I planted the sad looking pansies into the flower bed under the bird house, knowing that it will probably die anyway. The potted Chrysanthemums I got for free were planted next to the hibiscus. These stand the chance of surviving spring and summer. I moved my young avocado plant into a bigger pot. Also did the same for the tough little Christmas plant.

Time to reward myself now. Time to finish up the first book of a Chinese science fiction trilogy: The Three-Body Problem.


Ability To See

The following paragraph is taken from a WIRED article entitled What Are Screens Doing to Our Eyes—and Our Ability to See?:

But of course now so many of us read all day long. And I opt to flood my field of vision with the merry play of pixels and emoji rather than the less scintillating, brown-gray “real world.” This means wearing the reading glasses, even on the street, and affecting blindness to everything but my phone.

I only needed reading glasses when I was in my mid-forties – to read the fine prints and food labels. Despite all the books I have read and the ridiculous amount of screen time I have logged-in, I am rather fortunate to still have normal and relatively healthy eyesight. I have stopped myself from reading in the dark in a laying down position, but I do need to gaze out once a while to stop or even reverse this modern day disease of deteriorating eyesight.


100th Lokaal

Yesterday, D and I biked to Lokaal in the afternoon to participate and celebrate the 100th time of the farmer’s (local) market. We bought a loaf of bread, a box of apple juice and had two beers each. After spending a pleasant time with D’s mom and some acquaintances, we biked back home.

Belgium, Travels

Hello, Robot

This afternoon, D and I went to the Hello, Robot exhibition in Gent. I would describe the exhibition as ‘compact and concise’. It provides the necessary information and awareness in the form of posters, leaflets and videos. Aside from the original R2D2 display, there are really nothing really mind-blowing or new to me here. I had wished for more interactive or virtual reality displays, but they probably had a limited budget after paying for R2D2’s plane ticket.

On the other hand, we got to visit our beloved Gent on a sunny day. That is always good.