Friday, 19 December 2008

Happy Holidays

Brussels is cold in winter and usually it rains.

That happens in all seasons, but at least in winter it makes sense, which, for a land in which nothing is logic, is quiet the achievement.

For a Christmas lover like myself the market in Square St Katrien still holds its magic and I try to go there each year.

It is a starting point for your own Christmas, not the one of the food slaughter, of the due presents and of the obligatory toasts.

If you, as me, still have good memories of that particular season of the year it is the moment to close your eyes, to control your breath and search inside yourself

Search for that smell of pine and cinnamon, that cold broken by your warm house walls, the sound of laughters and the light of the candles reflected in the eyes.

It is the moment to search for the one that you love.

Even if you know that you did not give them all you had this year, it does not matter, go to them and let them know that you're happy to have spent a year in their company and happier that you will be able to spend one more.

It is the moment to close the world outside and, in that deafening silence, look inside yourself, and find that, be it as it may be, there is at least one person that wants to stand by you in that cold winter night.

Open your eyes and go.

That person is waiting for you.

Merry Christmas to all of you.

Sunday, 7 December 2008


Reading this blog you may be under the impression that I'm some kind of Monk, sleeping eating, decorating when I'm not working.

Nothing falser than that and if I was as such, considering I live in one of the more party going town in the world, that would be an unforgivable sin.

Finding a way to spend the night is not difficult and, in fact, you only have the problem of choosing, so this is how I treated myself with a good Party

St Nicklaus.

A party for St Nicklaus? why not :)

What? It IS his fest no?

Nath's Radio organized a huge party yesterday night and I thought it was a perfect way to spend the evening.

Nath is one of the more beloved members of my Brussel's family and if she is in need of help " no" is not even considered an option.

So since a couple of years, each time the radio organizes this event I'm behind the bar through the night.

I have fun, I spend a different evening, I dance, I drink (not much in fact, being behind the counter somehow dampens your passion) and watch funny events unfold.

So, around 23, as I promised, I entered the Pathe palace ready to rumble.

HA! Tom Cruise can kiss my butt!

Tactical Briefing

Party opens always at 20 and till 23 you do not pay to enter (allowing thus a huge number of people to enter already the party) thus when I arrive at 23 the party is already in its full swing.

There are two dance floors, the first is the one at the basement were the bar is.

There I spend my night and the music is a mix of classic dance with some disgression to Rock, Punk, Ethno, Garage, Reggae, world and all that jazz.

First floor is a more modern kind of dance hall with a mix of Techno, Trance, Speed, Goth, so, long story short , all the kind of music that gives to a disco a bad reputation.

The floor console is placed right of the bar counter and this allows for two things.

First, we can give our thirsty Dj's something to drink, second one is that you get your ears well and thoroughly drummed.

When I leave the Palace at 6 AM I'm that deaf that I have to take extra care on the streets going home (I swear that if a truck came at me I would not be able to hear it ^_^).

To pay for your drinks you pay using special tickets that are to be bought at the ticket boot, first floor. This fact is quiet important because I assure that I spend a third of my night sending back people that arrive to the bar and want to pay with money.

They protest, huff, puff, swear, curse, then climb the stairs, get the bloody tickets and order like everyone else . Oh the humanity...

We work in a team trying not to trow too much fluids at each other nor step on each other's feet on a floor that, going on with the night, becomes unbelievably sticky ( I once saw a barman fall flat on his nose, she got glued to the floor).

Around 4 the floor is so sticky you fight to walk, from the other side, gum of your soles have an aderence that would make an indy pilot jealous.

Customers are your best clock, from their faces and reaction you can understand what time it is more precisely that using your watch: between one and two in the morning they start to falter, around three they hesitate a second in giving you the tickets ( they are considering which of the three hands is the right one) .

At five they directly put the tickets on the floor ( Bloody counter moved, I swear mate) and after six they are in such state that even beer has a second of repulsion before surrendering and passing their gullet

Girls are even sweeter, when the party is starting they smile while ordering, later the night they offer their... Ah... Huge tracts of land a bit too liberally and in the morning they just put their proud chests on the counter and pretend a barrel of beer in exchange of a single ticket because they are giving you the otpion to look-but-not-touch.

B- cup? C-Cup?.... D-cup!!

Couples are a particular case though, if one of the two gets drunk before the other you have one of the behaviour I just listed.

That said if they arrive to synchronize themselves, in front of the counter you suddenly find yourself in the middle of Inspiration point.

Problem is that they cannot really control their bodies at this point and thus you assist to scenes like the one yesterday night in which I saw some guy making out with his beloved one and losing it, drooling all over her gray pullover.

She has looked at him for a second, repeated to herself that she loved him (took, I think, all of the three minutes she used) and decided to overlook the little incident.


Radio Campus has seasoned veterans that never let you down.

Sadly Pierre was sick yesterday thus we missed him at the gears, that said there is a moment I look always forward to and it is when my friend Tristan, aka Dj Xogn ( You cannot pronounce that? Who cares?! HE IS GOOD!)

Koulgraouuuuul! :)

Tristan is not your average Dj, his music is full of rythm certain, but rarely it is plain dance music.

He puts together a mix of rock, pop, ethnic and God only knows what else in such a skilled way that you do not find strange that you're dancing to a senegalese music followed by the Clash then Screaming Jay Hawkins to end up with soul music ( Soul? BLOODY HELL! I'M DANCING SOUL??).

After he is over it is almost impossible that the floor is relaxed and it was a mortal sin that after that yesterday night he gave us an exceptional workout some random gal opened her Mac book, connected to the console and gave us some trashy techno jam session that would not have been out of place in a belching competition.

Floor got gradually empty as people bought their drinks, and left the room searching for some good music.

Meanwhile the idiot was completely lost in her self creation and did not care whatever happened.

I had the longest hour and half my entire life and have to admit that never, NEVER in my life I went so close to ( pardon my french) shit on a Mac book.

Curtain call.

Thanks to said idiot, evening ended quicker than usual and around five, me, Fred and Nath decided that we had enough of that and left.

I arrived home, hungry, tired, with aching feet, stinking like an ash tray (no smoking allowed in pubblic places? Let me laugh) deaf and in need of a shower more than of air.

It is always good to take part to a good party :)

To next year!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Primary needs

We did not yet speak about some natural primary issues like eating and... okay I think it's clear.
As a matter of fact bathroom and bedroom were the easy part of the works.

The bathroom.

I repainted the room using the same paint of the kitchen thing that gives me quiet the creep when I consider that I clean up myself and eat in the same scenario.

Work was relatively easy considering that I had to play the trained monkey doing acrobatics on a foot over the tub side (because the ladder was to big to enter the small room) and paint over a water resistent BROWN colour ( which required three layers to be covered acceptably)
I did not really put much effort in this room since as soon I have enough money I plan to smash it to pieces and rework it completely.
That just for the pleasure of getting rid of that HIDEOUS bath tub -_-''

The bedroom.

Till now I almost did not touch the bedroom.
We just installed the parquet floor ( Ikea floors I suggest those to everyone)

This is just for the net, I assure you that mom loves it ^_^

The PC desk has ben created using a standard Ikea table, rearranging the feet and cutting it so that it could be shaped in a L.
It will be extensively reworked soon.

The pinnacle of geekiness.

My mother ( God bless her) in spite of her natural hate for sewing did for me the best set of curtains one can hope for.

As I said the bedroom needs more love.
Walls has to be repainted, pictures be put on the walls, I'm thinking about a furniture behind the bed and I'd like to create a frame for the bed as well.
I would love to put shelves and change the door to a sliding model.
When will I do everything?
Come on dear friends, being in love does mean that time is on your side.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Cuckold pasta

Well, it is useless to slave over a kitchen if said kitchen is not used, isn't it so?
So I'll stop for a moment just to pass along a recipe, thing that, you're warned, I'll do often.
Because there is little in my life I value as much as good home cooked food.

Cuckold Pasta

Cuckold pasta is a recipe that comes from Livorno, big port city in Tuscany.
The curios name is in fact the reason of the easiness.
This in fact was a recipe that the husband could cook while his wife was enjoying someone else's embrace and, seen the usual male clumsiness in a kitchen, it is kept child easy.
I warn you though, it is by no means light and, seen the ingredients, well, I would not advise to use it for a romantic dinner.

Ingredients (4 people):

Pasta 500Gr
Olive oil 6 tablespoons
Garlic 4 to 6 cloves, depending of the size
Chili powder
Pinch of salt
Parmigiano or Grana grated cheese 150Gr

- Put the oil, the chily powder and the salt in a bowl and mix till the oil is nicely red.
- Crush the garlic cloves and mix the to the oil in the bowl.
- Fill a pot with water and add a handful of salt, then boil it *
- When water boils pasta in and cook till "al dente" **
- Drain the pasta and put it in the bowl, mix quickly
- Put the cheese on it and mix again
- Serve hot

* Which pasta is better? Long or short? We could write books on it, but let's keep it short by saying that if you go for long pasta ( spaghetti, tagliatelle) you should consider putting more oil, since this type absorbs more.

**"Al dente" is not a measurement, it is a philosophy of life.
It is the exact moment in which the pasta has stopped to be hard but a second before it goes marshmallowy soft.
Training is the best advise I can give, but do not stress too much, because this consistency varies greatly from person to person.
In the end you alone know what you like, so, have fun ^_^

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Hell's Kitchen

How hard can it be to build a kitchen?
It depends from many factors, it depends you start from raw or go for pre-built.
It depends from the materials.
It depends from physical space and from everything you want to put inside.
It depends if your materials are locally present or imported from Saturn.
Mainly, it depends from the people that build it and if they are pros or wannabes.
After those premises I suppose you’ll have understood that things did not exactly go well, right?
You’re wrong.
They went worst than that and everything that could go bad turned in a disaster.
One thing at the time though…

Technical premises.

I love my dad.
Should I live a thousand, I could never learn the half of the things that he knows or imagine the technical solutions he comes out with.
He is experienced, has knowledge, technical eye and intuition, he is a master.
That said , on the construction site he is bestowed with a ill temper that waves between choleric and depressive.
My father knows only two ways a work can be done, the right one and his and they are the same thing.
He’s the site master, but explains himself with the clarity of a Kandinsky painting and the tact of the third Panzer division in holiday in Poland.
My father is the one that while has a lintel balanced over his nose and is drilling a hole with his left hand extends his right hand at you and order “give it to me.”
As you can imagine NOBODY has the slightest bloody idea of what “it” might be ( except my mom, but the reasons I’ll detail later), thus unrepeatable cussing ensues against the ignorant helper ( which usually I have the honour of being).
A certain mental discipline is needed to class the entire universe as “it” , but nothing beats the uncanny skill of asking a screw driver instead of a tongue, a hammer instead of a drill and a saw instead of a coke can.
After more that thirty years of marital life, my mother has developed some latent telepathic skill and has a master degree in “godly patience”.
If there is someone that can understand my father, it is usually her, problem is that my father, sometimes, is too much for anyone and there, the real problems start.
It seems that to build something you need , first of all, good tools.
And it was so that Gengis father, Dalai mother and unworthy me started their quest on the path of kitchen building…

Cool down, measures first…

How difficult can it be to measure a wall?
If it is my kitchen we are speaking off, it is almost impossible.

Okay, let's start...

The walls of my Kitchen are inflatable and that might be the only explanation to the fact that 300 measurements gave us 300 different values.
During the works, I’m sure that the kitchen has changed form at least three times, thing that, if you are planning some stone counters, is not practical.
I hear you already scream “Ye gods lad, count the tiles!”, well, we did, but even that basic operation gave us different results each time, as if they moved around in a very gost- buster- ish way .
Three weeks later we had the final measurements and the stone cutter could go to work but still yet, I swear to the gods that each time I enter the kitchen something seems quiet not right…

Stone? Metal? Human skin?

I come from an island that is basically a single block of granite.
The only logical explanation of the geological situation of Sardinia is that our Lord found out that he had still a stone left over, when he had finished creating all the mountains in the world.
To us granite is a life philosophy and it is that common that we could make dishes from it.
Naturally the idea of having a stone counter was appealing to me, because the cold sensation of the smooth material under my hands has a special place in my hearth.
Problem is that if you live in Belgium, whose more resistant stone is the limestone that lies in the Ardennes Mountains, finding good prices for granite is quiet the feat.
After talking to all the artisans in town (who did look at us quiet perplexed, from behind their gravestones) we found a company in the outskirts.
Said company made us pay for the stone, the cuts, the works, the colour, the weight, density, height, width dept, the air moisture level, the yearly production of beer, the cost of chocolate and God knows what else!
Final point, I still do not get how there could be a ravine in my wallet yet.
And problems had just started.
The main counter’s weight was not short of 140 pounds and could not be brought up the stairs, thus had to be brought up through the window, the day I moved.
The fear that it could break in pieces was evident, because you have to know that granite is extremely durable once set, but crystal like while moved.

What? Thought that 140 pounds of granite floats, didn't you?

The other pieces were badly cut and we had to do alone using the big mechanical grindstone of my father (we had black dust in our noses for two days after that).
When we were finished, a couple of pieces still stuck out in a strange way (bitch moved again probably) but we decided to have a look , like, “later” and we brought our attention to more pressing matters ( like in which box we had misplaced the can opener)

Not bad uh?

The pleasures of decorating.

Some small details remained.
Details that brought us three in and back from IKEA and BRICO quiet more than once.
We were there that often that clerks in both shops saw us arrive and started shaking their heads in a resigned way.
Anyway, long story short…

… The wall’s colour.

That's a manly colour by Jove!

… The wall units

I know, I know, I'll be at the doors immediately...

… The hood

Uh.. Dad? I have a doubt there...

… And the wall between kitchen and living room with its tip-up tables .

While we were cutting those, we found a conceited metal bar inside. So in the end they are resting in my cellar right as we speak ^_^''

Little note, if you plan on wood counters, get yourself some wood floor protective painting, three coats later you’ll have some tempered, wood colored glass surfaces.

That said, be careful to open the windows while painting it on, or you’ll need new lungs once per coat.
I advise as well to do the coating in spring or summer, when opening the windows will not bring loud protests even from to the food stored inside the fridge.

Final lap.

The kitchen is nonetheless not yet finished.
Many solution has yet to be found, two furniture and a oven are still missing ( but that, I admit it, is my wallet’s fault), tiles have to be repainted and replaced in certain spots.
But it is all right, I can d it slowly, step by step.
After all, were would be the fun if I did it all in one go? ^_^’’

Thanks dad :)

Saturday, 25 October 2008

“My name is Luka/ I live on the second floor”

It is not like I found it, sometimes it seems to me that it was my house to find me instead.
My parents were visiting me and they found this ad right the street after my flat.
In that time I was starting to look around for a new flat, seen that my three years contract were running to an end and I was about to have to choose if sign up for another three years or resign and search something else.
I loved my flat, mind me. It was little, cozy, center placed and cute as a button.
Besides after three years work it worked like a clockwork and seemed like a well tailored suit on me.
Nonetheless I felt like I was somehow wasting time with it and I felt that each penny I put on it would have been wasted in the end, seen I would not own it never ever.
So I started half heartedly to see if there were other possibilities.
After a couple of faux starts ( remember me to tell you about the flat with the star shaped corridor ^_^'' ) my parents came back with a number.
A couple of phone call later I was entering it, to find this.

Front view (guess what? It's the second floor)

The Living room window

Kitchen outside

Kitchen inside ( admire the ruins)

More ruins...

Entrance to the corridor

The engine itself :)

The horrible bathroom

That's some serious closet space!

Bedroom window

The rear garden ( not mine sadly :( )

The previous owner has left in a hurry ( bad tenant, I was told) but not before giving herself the pleasure of smashing the house to pieces.
The kitchen was a ruin, the heating system dated from the 60s ( 66 to be precise), the bathtub and sink were both broken and, in a vulgar display of cruelty the precedent tenant had stolen the door handles.
A bad ( can you spell bad? Do it) paint job did the rest and I rememeber looking in horror at all the door locks jammed by the white thick paint.
But we clicked immediately nonetheless.
I sensed the potential of this house immediately. Sure it would have been a battle, that I knew immediately, but the price was good ( very good indeed), it was in the middle of Brussels, entirely built in concrete ( the static structure of this house amazes me every time) and with a configuration that was quite peculiar for my adoptive town.
The “engine” that powers up this house was in the long alleyway that connects the living room to the bedroom and cuts the flat in the middle.
At the end of this two large windows a couple of large windows litterally drown the house in outside light, thing that , in this dark lands , is a asset never enough commended
The rest of the house is straightforward, logically built and was it not for the bathroom ( with its dumb placed bath) you could class it as visionary for somehting built in the late 60s.
I was in love, I was from the moment I saw the light cut through me and arrive to the window from the other side of the corridor.
I spare you the details of how long it took to finally sign the sale act ( On request, it is quiet a funny story... NOW) .
I rememebr though what my mate Fred told me the day I signed.
“Me and Nath are happy for you lad. Honestly, we could not stand to climb to the fourth floor of your bloody actic once more. Now visits will be more beareable.”
Good point my friend and, as if I needed some prophecy, Suzanne Vega already wrote a song on it.
Now it was only the small matter of moving and doing the basic repair to the house.
Matter that, I can assure you, would have showed us itself as not being small in any way.