Thursday, October 23, 2008

Moved On

Friday, June 13, 2008

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Jo just marched downstairs with a kettle of boiling water and her welly boots on, to try and kill the maggots in her bin. So I figured I'd take a moment to write this random last post...

After much debate, I've decided to close down this blog. It started 3,5 years ago as sheer procrastination. Somewhere along the way, I formed an allegiance with it. Looking back on the 500 posts, I feel happy about the time and energy spent on it.

But I feel I've turned a corner. Rather than let the identity of this blog dissipate, I choose to call it a day and preserve it as it is.

If I feel compelled, I may someday start afresh elsewhere. But it won't be LePew. It won't be beyondflutterby. Although by nature, any writing on this web, will of course be... ubiquitous.

Friday, May 09, 2008


It's funny. The less frequent one blogs, the fewer things seem relevant enough to be blogged about. The more one blogs, the more trivial occurrences suddenly seem worthy topics. Anything becomes blog-able if you blog frequently enough.

For me it seems that life is getting in the way. I'm too busy living to blog about it much. It is very much a two-edged sword. My blog has become a diary of sorts. A means to process things. To ensure it becomes a memory, in this increasingly scattered and forgetful mind. So, naturally, when I don't blog, I miss it immensely. But my life is accelerating, and I love immersing myself in it.

And I've come up with a story I want to write. Been doing research, developed characters, a plotline. Spent a few lazy sunday mornings snuggled up to my girl in bed recounting my ideas, soaking up her feedback doused in kisses. And in between the moving, the housepainting, the admin, the working and the playing, my leftover energy is drawn towards someone else's story. A fictional one that is becoming ever more real to me, with every day that passes.

It's made me realise that everything in life is about story-telling. Wether it's keeping family memories alive, processing our own feelings and thoughts by dramatising it to others over a coffee, a boss passing on stories of wisdom to teach his team, a marketer luring you into the world of his product, a photographer conjuring up a thousand neologisms with one image... life is about storytelling. That in itself could be an interesting topic for a book/script... but if I recall correctly, it's been done before. And better.

Stories are the most effective vehicles for thoughts and ideas, if they succeed in engaging their audience. Maybe the world cannot be changed with Politics or money or guns. Maybe stories can.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Illegial Alien

When you move to the flatlands from a foreign country, you have to report yourself to the Belgian "vreemdelingendienst". To help Jo out a little, I filed the initial report online and called staff at the foreigners' department to arrange an appointment for her.

On the phone, they had asked me for the reason for Jo's move to Belgium. Since Jo's a citizen of a Shengen Country, any reason is pretty much a valid one, but I decided to stick to "an appealing job offer" rather than the "cuz she's head over heels in love with me!!" reply.

So, all seemed to go pretty smoothly. I'd decided to guard Jo's bike and wait for her outside the department later that day, thinking it'd just take a few minutes to get the necessary stamps. Some 50 minutes later, Jo finally strutts out, admitting she'd cocked up slightly.

When she first entered, the lady had asked her whether she knew this "Sarah" person. Jo being Scottish, thinks my name is "Sera". So when the lady pronounced it the Flemish way, it didn't register and Jo swiftly replied: "Erm... no, I don't think so."

When the lady, a little puzzled, tried again: "You don't know Ms.Xxxx"? Jo, finally recognizing my surname, said: "Oh her! Yes, I know her! Yes."

But clearly the damage had been done. In the mind of this lady, I'm now some dodgy trafficer and Jo needs to be subjected to a significantly lengthier round of questioning. Next time I take my girrel anywhere, I will be sure to remind her of my name.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Ladies & Gents,
while wasting my own creative efforts in BlogLand, my dad managed to write a book. It's been published *applause* and on Sunday May 18th, it will be presented to the public in the Hotsy Totsy in Ghent, at 4pm.

You're all very welcome to visit, and for those of you who can't make it to the event, do consider supporting the "Pew Family Pension Scheme", by buying the book here. Much appreciated!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I may have mentioned this before. (I am after all, 2 years shy of 30, which means my "repetition allowance" is on the increase).

My girl talks in her sleep. In fact, she doesn't just talk. She sometimes unevokedly bursts out laughing in the middle of the night. What with her laughter being several deliciously sanguine decibels louder than my noctural heartrate is accustomed to, it's a surprise I haven't cardiac arrested in my sleep so far.

I was just about getting used to the inadvertent glimpses of her midnight dreams, barely bothering to throw a sleepy "what?" her way, when she had another somniloquus episode and I was quite rudely awoken by a matter-of-factly uttered "Bestiality!".

This time, I DID turn around and inquired a rather shocked "Excuse me?". To which she replied perkily "Bestiality". I couldn't get anything more out of her beyond that. She conveniently forgot about her dream when she woke up.

My interest with regards to her somniloquy has steadily risen since.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


I don't often participate in these taggings, but Frau Genau has only just started blogging and it'd be a damn shame to nip her efforts into the bud ;-) She tagged me, and I'll comply. Although you may regret it.

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 (or more) pages.
Counterknowledge (or how we surrendered to conspiracy theories, quack medicine, bogus science and fake history) by Damian Thompson

2. Open the book to page 123 and find the 5th sentence.
"How can universities and other public institutions get away with promoting counterknowledge so brazenly?"

3. Post the next 3 sentences:
"One answer is that in some respects they are still as powerful as ever. The revolution of the 1960s and 1970s may have persuaded them to surrender many of their traditional responsibilities, but it left much of their internal bureaucratic authority intact. Universities, government departments, local education authorities and publicly funded broadcasters are still run along autocratic lines, though that autocracy is disguised."

Told you you'd regret it.

As tradition goes, I now have to tag 3 others... here goes:

Pathological Procrastinator - because she'd thump me if I didn't tag her
Soundscapes - because she probably has some equally weird book nearby
Sanne - because she needs to blog more

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A different way to party

What with Jo being in-between two jobs, she has heaps of time to scour the web for fun things for us to do. A couple of weeks ago, she came across Motel Mozaique, and promptly suggested we get tickets.

It's in Rotterdam and while it seems to have a decent line-up, what drew me in was the promise of a non-traditional festival experience. Instead of camping out in tents on a festival field, festival-goers are guided to somewhat unusual sleeping locations.

Previous years, sleeping locations have included treehouses, shopwindows, churches and trainstations. Last Friday, this year's theme was announced: Healthcare. Locations are likely to include hospitals and healthcare institutes. Special beds will be created for us by the young artists of the Observatorium and breakfast is included in the tickets.

Here's to hoping we won't have to be put on saline drips ;)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Question your motives

Businesspundit recently commented on the delights of trading the RSS feeder for real books again. I share his sentiment.

These last few months, I've placed several large orders on Amazon and it's been refreshing to immerse myself into specific topics a few days at a time for once, as opposed to the snapshot reporting style of the RSS feed. I swear the whole www thing just adds unnecessary ADHD tendencies to my already scattered mind.

Ever since the last Harry Potter though, I've had difficulty hunting down entertaining novels. In fact, ever since puberty, I've struggled with the adult fiction section of bookshops. As a child and teen, I simply devoured any book I got my hands on, but the transition to the grown-up section was a tad harder. A lot of adult fiction topics simply don't interest me. I had a few moments of saving grace with Douglas Adams, Douglas Coupland, Connie Palmen, Philip Pullman and JK Rowling, but I generally stick to non-fiction.

These last few months, I've been gradually working down my list of "want-to-knows" and it's been nice to look into things in more depth for a change. I have to admit there's an underlying motive. Call it... "a research project". But it's a refreshing and welcome change nonetheless.

One of the last books I read was Affluenza, by Oliver James. Before you add it to your wish list though, beware that the book is badly written. I watched Oliver James's documentaries, and his writing style is no different from his documentary-making skills: flat, repetitive and barely skimming the surface. At 529 pages, you'd be justified demanding a little more spark and depth.

However... Oliver James has dug up an interesting subject. The often unfulfilled feeling that results from an unsustainable addiction to "more". An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness.

He briefly brings up the concept of pick-n-mix personalities. Stating that more and more people now use material goods to help define who they are. The easiest example perhaps being Apple (iBook, iPhone, iPod,...). Although the first Apple users admittedly were the mavericks and creative rebels of the geekworld, these days Apple is merely another consumer-oriented brand, relying heavily on that old image, and tapping into our darkest desire to be "cool".

It irritates me beyond belief when people assume that ownership of an iMac suddenly implies them to be creative, early-adapting and what have you not. Or that buying ecological/organic clothes would suddenly suffice to label yourself an ecowarrier? The blog-o-sphere too seems increasingly inundated with this behaviour.

But I have to admit that I too am guilty of pick-n-mix tendencies. I too am brandwashed, despite secretly hoping I am not. Oliver suggests questionning your true motives upon your next purchase and to try find the link with moments in which you feel a certain hint of malaise. On a personal level, it's been quite revealing.

I increasingly feel part of the "rat race" and resent it hugely. But since reading the book, I have sat down, and compiled an overview chart (and map) of personal goals and desires. Listed things I want to experience, material goods I hope to one day own, destinations I hope to one day arrive at. And I did so whilst thoroughly scrutinizing my every answer. What was the motive for wanting each list-item? Do I want to build my own eco-house because I really want to, or because it would be "cool". Why would I want to own an Audi? Am I really interested in Thailand? Do I really need to save up for a big family? I struck off every item of which I concluded I didn't really want it for the right reasons. And what was left was a huge list of experiences and travels, rather devoid of material goods, of which there were only 4 left.

And suddenly life seemed more achievable. The malaise has eased up somewhat. I roughly know how much time and money I require to work my way down that list. So if I manage both carefully, life oughtn't be a rat race. And if Jo agrees to stick with me for another 60-odd years, then I think I'm also set in terms of the person I want to share it all with. Though that may be a bit of a struggle once she sees the level of geekiness that went into color-coding and push-pinning the chart...

Friday, April 04, 2008

You know you're getting on a bit when...

New Kids On The Block make a come-back.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I struggle with weekends. Or rather, the mornings. I find myself trapped by two highly conflicting desires: getting the most out of my free time, by kickstarting my day early or having a lazy snuggley lie-in.
As a result, I generally spend a half an hour struggling with a decision, before I get up to start my day, wishing I'd had a lie in.

It would appear the grass IS always greener on the other side...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Toothbrush Boycot

I just calculated that if one follows the Dentist's advice and brushes one's teeth twice daily for 3 minutes, you actually spend 106.5 days brushing your teeth, if you're lucky enough to live to the age of about 70.
Surely that's a bit excessive???

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Couch Potato

I don't own a TV. Not one that works at least. I realise this is quite a shocking statement in this day and age, but it's a mere matter of self preservation. Whenever I am faced with a TV screen, I turn into a drooling catatonic. It's not an appealing sight, I can assure you.

What worries me is the indiscriminate nature of this behaviour. Whether it's Panorama, Oprah or the shopping channel, I simply get suckered in. Total addiction. I dread to think how many months of my life I have wasted on staring at an electrontube.

To try and regain control, I decided to bin the TV when I moved into my new flat. It's been 6 months now since I had regular access to the tube, and I am increasingly left out of lunchtime conversations at work. I have no fucking clue what Phaedra Hoste is doing with her life, but it seems to help others live vicariously, because it's all the lunchtime talk. Do people really care? Or is it the easiest way to spend their evening?

Good riddance, I'm thinking. My girrel and I just ordered 20-odd books on Amazon on topics we've always wanted to read about but never had time to, a pair of warm sofa-socks, a couple of DVD-documentaries and films, and a proviand of Green & Black's Chocolate Milk. Since the TV left my existence, I've regained some control over my time. My mind is a lot less restless and there's arguably less crap in it.

The only downside is that the effect of the tube on my behaviour seems to have increased disproportionately. Whenever I find myself near a TV, be it in a pub, or at the parental home, catatonia sets in within nanoseconds, excessive drooling not far behind.

So do me a favor. Next time I come around yours, please leave me my dignity and switch off your TV? Much appreciated.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nine Lives

I have a tendency to attract weird afflictions and maladies. Last week, for reasons unbeknownst to me, my ringfinger got infected. The doctor had to stick two large needles in it to drain it and I was put on antibiotics. Without them, she said, I would surely have lost a finger.

That made me think. Without modern medicine, where would I be right now? If I had lived 400 years ago, surrendered to basic botchery and witchcraft, would I still be alive at the age of 28?

Assuming I hadn't been burnt at the stakes for lesbanism and heresy, would I have survived the medical afflictions I've had these last 28 years, if there had been no modern medicine to remedy them?

Let's see shall we:

Age 4: Chicken-pox.
Age 5: Measles.
Despite immunization, I still got both kiddie diseases, and survived. If it hadn't been for the healing ointments though, my face and body would now be riddled with scars and spots.

Age 6: Reflux and excessive need to pee.
Highly survivable, because it was stress-induced. A 6-year old with stress. Yes. Survivable.

Age 8-9: Series of ear-infections. High fevers.
Potentially lethal without meds to bring the temperature down. However, my mum's a good one, and she would've probably dunked me in a bath of icecold water to bring the fever down, so odds are I would've survived even without meds.

Age 13: Mystery disease.
Doctors never agreed on the diagnosis. Some said rubella, but never confirmed. If by some miracle I would have pulled through, I would probably be baren now, and scarred.

Age 15: Cluster headaches.
Not lethal, but people would probably have assumed I'd been possessed by the devil or was suffering some mental illness. So even without heresy and lesbanism, I would have ended up in the nuthouse or at the stakes.

Age 26: Accute Mononucleosis.
Without medical intervention, this would most certainly have finished me off.

Age 28: Infected finger.
Without antibiotics, I would now be a slightly challenged lesbian lover, as I'd have to rely on 9 fingers instead of the usual handy 10.

SO... it seems like modern medicine has turned me into a cat with 9 lives, because I would have died twice over, been burned at the stakes once, heavily scarred and 9-fingered.

I think it's time I go thank my doctor...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Other Lesbians

As a lesbanim* whose social circle DOESN'T largely consist of other lesbanims, it's always a bit of a buzz to spend a night in total queerness.

We went off on a wee jolly to Brussels this week, to catch Tegan and Sara at Le Botanique. They are by far some of the best live performers I've seen in a while. The surprise of the evening though, was their supporting act Northern State. When I first walked in, I thought someone had resuscitated Salt-N-Peppa. I'll skilfully dodge the question of whether that was a source of initial excitement for me or not, but after a while, it dawned on me that they were more like a very lesbian version of the Beastie Boys. I felt distinct urges to do a pop-n-lock....

Musical goodness aside, the evening was interesting for a whole other reason entirely. My average day is spent in a relatively "straight" fashion. I don't socialise with a great many other lesbanims. For starters, my base of friends naturally grew over the years, without a definite "gender" or "sexual orientation" selection process. Basic statistics means that if you don't go looking for other lesbanims, you've a 5% chance of bumping into one. And even then there's no guarantee you're on the same level pegging. "Being-A-Lesbanim-Too" is hardly enough commonality for a friendship. I'm rambling now...

At any rate, Jo was struggling to keep my attention, the minute we walked into the Botanique. There is a very peculiar dynamic when lesbanims gather. In a very strange way, it's like a minor homecoming for part of my identity. But what struck me this evening, was the abundance of teenie-bop lesbanims. It catapulted me back to when I was 16.

There has been a definite shift in culture and lesbanim identity these last 12 years. When I was 16, the Lesbanim Icons I had available to me to identify with were the Indigo Girls, KD Lang and the creepy Lesbian DanceTeacher everyone freaked out about at school. I once managed to get hold of a gay magazine. It stated that queers wear one earring in the right earlobe to identify each other, so I got my right ear pierced. Let me tell you, it drew in squat. The first time I met "another out lesbian", was when I was 18 and signed up for Gay Camp. I kid you not. "Holebikamp" they call it here. The week's theme tune was Viva La Diva by Dana International, and that about sums up Gay Camp.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, that lesbanim teens these days thankfully have many more Icons and Examples to help define their own identity. And an identity it most definitely is. Regardless of the judgement we wish to pass upon "Lesbian Culture", we have a very distinct one. It might not be entirely recognisable to others out there yet, but it's there. And whilst I'd hate to live in an entirely lesbian society, every now and then, I like my lesbian self to come home and touch base with it.

*Despite being out of the closet for 10 years, I still struggle with the word L-E-S-B-I-A-N.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Nasal Phonetics

The downside of having a blogger-girlfriend is the incessant race for "the scoop". If your blogging other half happens to be in-between jobs (i.e. freeloading) whilst you yourself are committed to a full-time professional career, there is simply no competition. She gets all the scoops first.

In other words... if you want a full account of her move over to the Flatlands, I suggest you direct yourself to her blog. She's developed a wee obsession with her statcounter anyway, so it may give her a few kicks if you do ;-)

As for my account of the ordeal: it went very smoothly. My flat is far too cramped for two people and their respective carry-on, but I love having her here. Jo on the other hand, is ever so slightly suspicious of my claims to "being perfectly happy", because I spent the last three days in bed. Struck down in the prime of life by virus and exhaustion. I think she assumes it to be a symptomatic manifestation of some inner turmoil and malaise caused by her moving into "my space", but I seriously doubt that having "my space" invaded would cause snot to run from my every orifice.

Moving on.

A consequence of these last 3 days of bed-ridden snottiness, is that I've been at home when she comes back from her Dutch class. She snuggles up on the bed next to me to tell me all about her new adventures, and then tries out her new vocabulary. I make attempts at teaching her the correct pronunciation but it's very difficult to phoneticize your words when you've got a head full of snot. So, quite unintentionally, my Scottish girlfriend is now going around pronouncing all her dutch words like she's got two peas stuck up her nostrils.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Weekend in London in 11 pictures

Stared at London Bridge...
Did an evening of Dirty Dancing...

Watched Catherine Tate in a London Cab...

Jo bought me a wee gem of a guidebook...

and took me to remote corners of London...

for a stencil hunting adventure...
Humbled by Congolese art at the Tate...

Gaped at the cool kids ...

Celebrated the Chinese New Year ...

Drooled over a few window displays ...

And took Jo The Vegetarian, to Ed's Diner for a burger
because "she needed iron"...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What the Bleep does anyone know really?

I have to blog tonight despite it potentially damaging my credibility as both a scientist and a rational human being. A few years ago, I watched the documentary "What the Bleep do we know?"

It features interviews with several scientists (physicists, neuroscientists,...) as well as the infamous JZ Knight, otherwise known as the channel of Ramtha. (Bare with me on this). The film is a strange blend of spiritual concepts and scientific theory and whilst the storyline is rather lame, at times, the documentary comes across as highly empowering, stating that how we perceive reality is largely up to us. It goes on to say that life is therefore our own responsibility entirely, and that by tweaking our inner self, and tapping into this particular conciousness, we can shape our own realities.

On a intuitive level, I like this interpretation. But the scientific theories presented as "proof" are downright fishy. I am aware that science isn't the begin all and end all of things, but it's in my nature to at least try to figure out arguments in favour of a theory or idea. I checked many of the references of the documentary, as well as the backgrounds of the interviewees, and the whole documentary soon lost all credibility.

Apart from feeling frustrated with the misrepresentation and manipulation of science, I also struggled with the fact that I can feel so empowered by an idea that feels intuitively right to me, yet feel so entirely deflated in the absence of sound scientific proof of it?

It comes to a point where I feel almost embarassed at having nearly fallen for an idea that is so scientifically unsound. It unsettles the scientist in me. Yet, at the same time, my own rejection of the intuitive side of me, leaves me somewhat puzzled and confused.

Discussions about religion aside, when you strongly believe in something that is not scientifically sound, do you feel the need to justify it to yourself? And how DO you justify it to yourself? Does it make you feel slightly out of whack with your rational self?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Locution and Location

On the way back from our favourite pub last Friday, Jo was reading out all the street signs, by way of practicing her budding Dutch. It’s an act that rarely requires my input, and more often than not, her mutterings simply provide a soft familiar background sound against the usual humdrum of city noise.

“Sint-Pietersplein (Saint-Peterspline), videotheek (videotek), vegetarisch (vegietarisj), broodjes (broedjes), vooruit (fooruut), ontbijthuis (ontbiethows)..."

And then I heard her mutter to herself: “mijn niederlands is ech goe” followed by a wee self-congratulatory giggle.

Foreigners can be so damn cute.

On another note... We need your input. For pratical as well as sensible reasons, Jo and I will not be moving in together. We're struggling to decide which city would be the best option for her to live in. We've established a few candidate locations that are close enough to her job (Tessenderlo), yet reasonably commutable to both my flat (Ghent) and my own workplace (Turnhout). But we're stuck. So, we'd appreciate your vote.

Which city should Jo live in?
Free polls from

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Right then. The Scoop.

My girrel's got ants in her pants. And that, ladies and gents, is the essence of today's Big Scoop. But let me go off on a lazy sunday tangent.

We've all got our wee nickity pickety "wars" to battle in life. Mine's probably intrinsic antinomicity. How does one successfully enable co-existence of one's intrinsic contradictory needs, wants and beliefs? How to satisfy, for instance, a want for chaos but need for stability? How to merge the longing for novelty with the need for the familiar?

If we were one-dimensional creatures it'd be complicated at best. Take into account the multi-dimensionality of our existence and the fact that sometimes, different aspects of our lives seem to evolve at different speeds, and it's like trying to figure out a rubic's cube when colour blind.

Since I've met Jo, it's like that rubic's cube has developed a will of its own. The more I try to force it, the more it unravels. But if I simply lay out my options, and probe my way around with an open mind, the planes magically appear to line up. Things start making sense. That's a rather unnerving discovery for a control freak like myself.

I've been restless. I know I need to hang fire here in Belgium to finish this particularly steep learning curve before I can take the next step in life. But I have an urge to skip ahead. Dive into that next comfort zone. A clash of a need and a want. Meeting Jo, at first, seemed like the ideal escape route. An excuse to skip ahead. But when her and I are together, it's like an entirely new dynamic emerges. Whenever we feel like speeding up, skipping ahead or get entangled in a war of two opposing wants, needs or beliefs, it slows us down. Forces us to focus on what we would otherwise fail to notice. And every time we let it, the planes of the rubic's cube start lining up. Not always correctly, but ever closer to a solution.

After weeks of charting both our options, struggling with our own and each other's antinomicity, the dynamic suddenly gained unexpected speed. Circumstances changed and Jo decided to quit her job in England. She's been successfully unemployed for 4 weeks now and last Thursday, she landed herself a wonderful job in... Belgium.

It will bring chaos to the stability, novelty to the familiar. And chocolate waffles to the wee Scot. It might bring out the best opportunities for both of us, blend opposing wants and needs. In any case, we're about to cross over into a new comfort zone in at least one life aspect. And suddenly... I feel surprisingly calm.