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Monday, January 16, 2017

Blue Monday? No, Happy Monday!

Listening to music can really bring you into a good mood. Especially when they're playing your favorite song.

That's why the radio makers of Radio Two (the most popular station in Belgium) decided to play only those records that were requested by their listeners, to make a happy day out of this Blue Monday (festivities are all over, our wallet's empty).

A fine conclusion to a great weekend, even despite the nasty winter weather (it began to snow and grew quite cold over the weekend). As mentioned, we spent this weekend in Antwerp. We went to see Jesus Christ Superstar, which was a really great show. Ted Neeley - despite his advanced age (72) - still had it in him and made a good Jesus. Also those actors who did Judah and Mary Magdalen were great singers.

And of course, because of the sales, we went shopping on Saturday morning (tried to restrain myself but ended up buying, of course) and made a walk through hail and ice-rain in the streets of Antwerp, discovering places we've never been before.

The evening ended with a visit to a restaurant not far from our hotel - De Peerdestal - where we ate very well.

The coming weeks will be a bit calmer. No more trips in the near future - but counting off to our trip to Argentina in April.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Discovering your own country

Don't you agree that most people tend to explore places outside their own country?

While I live in Belgium, there are many places/towns/regions I haven't yet visited. I've been to most European countries, North and South America, Asia and Africa but for instance haven't seen the Gallo-Roman museum in Tongeren.

That's why we are going to do some exploring when in Antwerp the coming weekend. Our grandma hailed from this city (where inhabitant think they're a bit better than most other Flemings, and where they just call it 'the town') but when marrying our granddad, she moved around quite a bit.



Of course, we've done school trips to Antwerp. But that was always on the quick, and frankly I don't remember a lot of it anymore. You were way to busy watching the students than actually seeing what you visited.

There is the house of Pieter Paul Rubens, for instance. Never been there. And the MAS (museum of modern art) - just the same. The only places in Antwerp I know well are a restaurant (Horta) and the city theater and opera house.

A visit to the theater is mainly the reason we're going to Antwerp. The performances (of Jesus Christ Superstar, with Ted Neeley) are only in the evening, and when you live in Dendermonde there is no way you can get back home that evening. Our trains don't run late at night. So we had to book a hotel room and figured we could make a weekend out of it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

If I'd believe...

... everything that was sent to me by mail, I'd be a billionaire already! Or or world-famous author with world-wide sales.

Really, the junk you get by mail! Every day tens of mails for penis enlargement (now I wonder, don't they know I'm female?), to give up your passwords to your bank account (there's a problem with your online account....), friendship requests (by men who prey on older women).

But the best are those where you're promised thousands, millions of dollars or euro's. Sometimes it's about an inheritance (of that distant uncle who left you his hidden capital), or better still, a request to transfer crime money and you'll get a percentage. And then those so-called lotteries by Google or Microsoft, where you are the only winner of a couple of millions.

Roughly calculating, I'd be a billionairess when I'd believe all of this. Can't imagine there are people who fall for such silliness! But there must be, otherwise the criminal minds wouldn't be sending around these mails.

When I receive such a mail, it goes right into the junk. I don't even open it. And what about you?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cold is coming our way

The east of Europe is already 'blessed' by extreme cold. That's not surprising in countries such as Russia or Poland, but even in Greece and Italy it's super cold and are there lots of snow!

And it looks like this cold weather will also come our way. Luckily enough, they don't predict too much snow for Flanders (I must admit I hate it when it falls here, because with all the salt they put on the roads it soon becomes a mash that ruins your shoes). But in Wallony they'll get even more snow and there will be skiing and sledriding during the weekend.

It should freeze as of next week. That I like! Against freeze you can dress: a warm pullover, socks, warm coat and a hat. And then you can bear any cold. I've experienced up to -35° Celsius, years back in either the US or Canada during winter. I never felt frozen, even ate an icecream cone once when it was that cold.

Freeze would be a good thing for all those people who now suffer from a bad cold. My sister is one of the victims. You should see her face - looks like she's been boxing. And they should put a tap on that nose, it just keeps running. Poor girl, she has to work in this condition. And I who am at home, I don't even sneeze.

Guess cold agrees with me. And with you?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Flash Crash

Please welcome author Denison Hatch today. Denison is doing a promo tour to launch his thriller Flash Crash. For this occasion, he is giving away a copy of Flash Crash to a randomly drawn winner during the tour. Please us the following link to place your comment:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2100



Blurb

When a rogue quantitative programmer intentionally crashes the gold index, it seems that Wall Street's worst nightmare has come true. In truth, the crisis has just begun. Across town, an armored truck filled with $120M of gold bullion is hijacked by an ingeniously crafted electromagnetic crane and seemingly driven into thin air. Programmer David Belov discovers that his virtual "Flash Crash" was simply a required stepping stone towards the largest physical gold robbery in history, and that's he's been framed for the resulting chaos, the lives of his beloved wife and son on the balance... With brooding, hardboiled detective Jake Rivett and the NYPD's finest operators from the Major Crimes Division actively seeking to locate and arrest David, and other, darker elements nipping at his heels, David is forced to confront his own past in order to have a future.

Excerpt

At the time, David was running because he couldn’t stop himself from waking up before dawn. Every single morning, by five o’clock sharp, his entire body was strung out with the anxiety. Life was an immensely stressful puzzle. He’d spent a few years slowly pulling his way up by the bootstraps. While living in a tiny walkup apartment with his girlfriend Marina, he studied for his undergraduate math degree, followed by his masters in computer science at Stony Brook in Long Island. During that period, David found it hard to stop thinking about what would happen if he failed. The weight of said pressure would seize him each and every morning. It would fling him from his bed, into his shoes, and out the door. The run provided more comfort than sleep ever could have. He craved the consistency as he curved right along the park and was greeted by the looming skyscrapers of Gotham. The buildings were the most beautiful creatures he’d ever seen, and he could even make out the open oval at the top of Montgomery Noyes’ headquarters at the bottom of Wall Street. When the sun finally ascended midway through his run, David wouldn’t actually watch the sunrise itself. He would watch the sun’s reflection off the buildings in the city that he aspired to matter in, and he wouldn’t look away until his route forced him back home.




Author bio and links

 Denison is a screenwriter and novelist. He has a number of feature and television projects in development, including his original screenplay, Vanish Man, which is set up at Lionsgate. A graduate of Cornell University, he lives with his wife and a big dog in a little house in Hollywood. He is presently working on the third Jake Rivett thriller.


Website: www.denisonhatch.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/denisonhatchauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/denisonhatch

Purchase Flash Crash on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Flash-Crash-Denison-Hatch-ebook/dp/B01CYVI68A/

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Shopping can be exhausting!

We have spent a couple of days in London and this is the first time I feel my legs! I love to go shopping, but today I'm nackered.

London is a town where you never feel  bored. Every time we're here (and we've been doing tbis since 1972) we discover new places and new things to see. This is such a great town - I could really live here if I had enouvh money.

We saw two great shows: 'School of Rock' and 'Aladin' and we've done a lot of walking (I love the South Bank)  but shopping is not really for me. I like to buy new things, but going in and out of shops is not for me anymore!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hectic days

This holiday is quite a busy one (that's why they name it 'holiday'!). First, we've been to Budapest for a couple of days - a very nice trip, to a city which I can certainly recommend as a must-see. Because the city is divided in two by the river Danube, it has a certain charm. I liked it better than Vienna, which is also along this river.

On returning home, we spent one night there and headed towards the coast the next day. That was because we like to celebrate New Year's Eve there, in our trusted restaurant where we know almost everyone. And now we've come home once more, to spend another night before heading to London.


I always like to spend some time in the capital of Great-Britain. There is so much to see and do, there are great shopping venues (especially now, with the winter sales going). And of course there are the many shows and theater plays! We're going to see 'School of Rock' and 'Alladin' this time.

By now, we're quite experienced in packing (and unpacking) a suitcase. We now perfectly well what to take along to be dressed well, but at the same time we never take too much. As long as you can carry your suitcase, you're fit to travel, I think! Even on longer trips, we travel relatively light. Most hotels have laundry service, so no need to take too many clothes with you.