Friday, December 24, 2004


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Wheel pt. 2

So I thought, hmmm, I'll bring it to a garage and let's see them suffer trying to change my wheel. I did and went to a garage. I watched while the guy was unscrewing the bolts. And my jaw just hit the ground when he undid my wheel in less than 3 seconds. He just gave it a kick while pulling it and did it in one go. I tried the same thing and it didn't work. WWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYY??????!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had to call up my mate and tell him what happened and we both felt our manliness is questionable at best.

And from today I'm officialy on holidays. Two weeks without having to work. Now that is nice!

Monday, December 20, 2004


At the end of summer I bought used winter tyres from a colleague who was leaving the country. I thought I had a bargain when I bought four 16' winter tyres with aluminium rims. For the first time I will be using winter tyres during winter. At least that's what I thought.

A week ago I went to the garage to get my tyres changed. The guy looked at my winter tyres and said that the tyres are gone and that I need to buy new ones. He said it will be slippery if I don't. What the fuck is that all about? I just left the place and decided to put them on myself. How hard can it be?

So on Thursday I parked my car in the parking lot and started to change my wheels. I changed 3 of them easily without a problem (in about 20 minutes) and then I came to my rear right. For some reason it just wouldn't come off. I unscrewed every screw and it is still stuck. I tried kicking it, it still won't come off. So I sprayed it with a healthy dose of WD-40 hoping that it will come off soon.

Yesterday me and my mate tried taking it off again. We used hammers, hot water, everything else imaginable, and it still won't come off. It's as if someone superglued my wheel to the disc. Unbelievable. So now I have to bring it to a garage to get them to do it. One thing is for sure, I ain't going back to the first garage.

"All the lonely people, where do they all come from?"

Thursday, December 16, 2004

It’s that time of the year again. The time when music magazines like Q and Rolling Stone are listing their Top albums of 2004. And me being a music fan myself, I want to contribute and give a list of my own. It probably be more or less the same as Q as my music taste doesn’t differ much, but at least these are my own words about the music I like in 2004.

So the best 10 albums of 2004 (in alphabetical order because I just cannot rank it) are:

American Idiot – Green Day

Ten years ago Green Day was just another punk band. Three guys who play punk and do stupid pranks like any other punk. Billie Joe Armstrong was more famous for
getting naked on stage than for being a smart man. But apparently time has
changed these three men and they have grown-up from being punk boys to men. The result is American Idiot, an album that cannot be defined as punk anymore. It’s
a political statement. It’s a rock opera. It’s a concept album. It’s the real
Billie Joe Armstrong. Turns out that these three punks are more than that, they
are three able musicians with something they believe in.

Armed Love – The (International) Noise Conspiracy

This album mixes ideology and pure rock & roll. They are surely leftists and
they do sound leftist but the music will make everyone dance and rock, whether
left or right. I love the sound and the feeling it makes and these Swedes are
sure a good thing. If only more bands were like them.

Destroy Rock & Roll – Mylo

Every now and then there is a dance album that changes the dance/clubbing
scenery. You had The Chemical Brothers mixing big beats up with Dig Your Own
Hole. Then there was Fat Boy Slim. And now there is Mylo. A Scottish DJ whose
album contains the example of what you will be hearing in clubs for the next two
years. Definitely a must if you like dance music.

Final Straw – Snow Patrol

In the year when Coldplay didn’t do anything, somebody has to ‘fill up the
vacancy’. While Chris Martin was busy making Apple with Gwynnie, Gary Lightbody and friends stepped forward. It’s actually Snow Patrol’s third album but this
time they definitely learned how to do it. It’s filled with songs about
relationships, songs that make you sing-along and songs that make you feel.

A Grand Don’t Come For Free – The Streets
Mike Skinner has gotten better second time around. He still sounds high and
smells like kebab and he is still a geezer but this time the geezer has a story
to tell. It involves a thousand quids and his TV, surrounded by his mates, a
relationship, gambling, holidays, break-up, and everything else in a life of a
geezer. It’s almost impossible to listen to just one song of it, you have to
listen to the whole album but Dry Your Eyes definitely stands out.

Greatest Hits – Goldie Lookin’ Chain
They are doing to rap and chav what The Darkness did last year to 80s hair
metal. These Cardiff boys are definitely taking the mickey but it is funny as
hell. How can you go wrong with a song entitled “Your Mother’s Got a Penis”? I
still laugh every time I listen to it and Roller Disco reminds me of my youth.
And better, I’m good friends with someone who used to go to school with Adam
Hussein (and most of GLC actually).

Hopes and Fears – Keane
Tim Rice-Oxley, the pianist and songwriter of Keane, is buddies with Coldplay.
He went to UCL in the same year and at one point was offered to play piano in
Coldplay. He didn’t take it and for a couple of years had to see his buddies
rise to fame. He made his own band, forgot about a guitarist, and now he has
made it big. The songs are lovely and beautiful and Tom Chaplin’s chubby face
adds effect. Good thing Tim didn’t join Coldplay otherwise we would have never
heard Keane.

Hot Fuss – The Killers
I’m really into 80s music. The new wave sound. And last year the new new wave
has started and everyone is trying to sound 80s. Well, these boys from Las Vegas
have showed how to sound 80s. Put this album next to Duran Duran’s Rio and you
will not hear a 20 year gap in it.

How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb – U2
I wrote about this album already on my blog. Just go down a couple of entries
and you will see what I have written about this album. No need to write it

Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters / Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
I couldn’t decide on the tenth album so both these albums are there on the 10th
spot. Both have made a huge impact, one by going out camp with MOR pop songs and one by being art school rejects doing new wave. And both were wearing tight
pants, albeit for different reasons. Franz Ferdinand made an album where you can
dance to (“rock music should make you dance” – Alex Kapranos) and
Scissor Sisters covered Pink Floyd as if they were Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
Not sure what can top that.

So there it is. Ten – actually eleven – of the best albums of 2004 in my HUMBLE opinion. Go out and get them!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Drinking is Good!

An interesting article in the Guardian today about drinking, with the following excerpt:

"Drinkers, it seems, feel generally happier about their health than abstainers. A study in 2001 of 19,000 adults found that wine and beer drinkers were more optimistic about their health, however much they drank, which is probably enough to make anyone raise a glass. Still, as the late evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould said: "We ought to be enormously suspicious of ideas that are enormously comforting.""

Now where was my bottle of beer???

Friday, December 10, 2004


A recent traffic study showed that Geneva tops the Swiss traffic jam chart. This means that people driving in Geneva are stuck in traffic jams longer than in any other city in Switzerland. Lausanne came second and Zurich came third.

It's no surprise actually that Geneva has lots of traffic jams. There aren't many roads to go from one side of the lake to the other and there are a lot of motorists. What did surprise me is the amount of time people are stuck in traffic on average over the past year. 5 hours. That's it, five hours. Three-hundred minutes.

And of course the Genevoise complain about this traffic. About spending five hours per year in a traffic jam. It's only five bloody hours!

Back home I once spent five hours in a traffic jam in one day. That's right, in one day I spent five hours in traffic. Stuck. And here they do that in a year. No wonder I like driving around here, traffic jams are hard to come by.

For people who live here, by now they should now that driving on saturdays is usually cause for traffic. Also a bit in the morning. Or when they are doing some roadwork. But for the rest it's safe from traffic jams.

But 5 hours? Come on... That in my experience, my friend, is nothing.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Race of Champions

I went to Paris for the weekend to watch the Race of Champions. If you like motorsports then this event is not an event you would like to miss. Seeing Michael Schumacher racing it out against Sebastien Loeb is always a nice sight. And of course seeing Heikki Kovalainen take that special title: Champion of Champions.

Paris was very cold. When I was sitting in the Stade de France it was freezing. And stupid me, I forgot my hat in the hotel. At that moment I wished they have done it in Gran Canaria (where they did it in previous years) because it is still nice and warm out there.

On sunday I went to the Champs-Elysees to watch the Ferrari parade. At first I thought the police would block the road about an hour before the event. When I came out of the Metro at 10.30 (when it should have begun), the traffic was still as usual. Until suddenly a police bike came out and moved the traffic out of the way. Then people started pouring upon the streets. Police bikes came again to push people out of the way to let the Ferraris pass. And just a couple of minutes behind the Ferraris was normal traffic. Amazing and unbelievable how the French police dealt with that.

Before we went back we passed Lafayette to look for some jeans. Turns out to be a nightmare as everyone was doing their Christmas shopping. Too many people!

On another note, the more I read Planet Simpson the more I realize how smart that series is. I need to get season 4 of The Simpsons.

"Stop talking French, it's room eighty-one right?"

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Do They Know It's Christmas Time?

About 20 years ago Bob Geldof went to Ethiopia. Seeing all the poverty and famine, something struck his chord. He decided to do a charity. He wrote a song together with Midge Ure and then asked pop/rock stars to help sing/play in it. The result: a single called Do They Know It's Christmas Time? with lines sung by Bono, Sting, Simon Le Bon, George Michael, Boy George and Bananarama among others (Phil Collins was playing the drums). It became an instant Christmas hit which you can still hear in department stores around the world during christmas time. Geldof continued this with Live Aid. On the other side of the pond, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie penned We Are The World. All in all the generated ton loads of money and helped relief the famine and poverty in Ethiopia.

Cue back to now - twenty years later. There's famine and hunger in Sudan and Geldof thought of renewing his single together with releasing a DVD of Live Aid as part of the 20th anniversary. Since Bananarama and Phil Collins aren't available anymore, Geldof asked current popstars. The result: an eclectic mix of 'stars' doing a remake of Do They Know It's Christmas Time?.

On the current single, only Bono and Paul McCartney are the remaining ones from twenty years ago. The rest have been replaced by the likes of Dido, Jamelia, Justin Hawkins from The Darkness, Joss Stone, Sugababes, Robbie Williams, Busted (!?!) and that bloke from Snow Patrol. Some of these popstars weren't even born yet when the single first came out twenty years ago.

The result: It's shit! Honestly, it's shit. I always liked Do They Know It's Christmas Time, especially when George Michael starts singing, continued by Simon Le Bon, Sting and then Bono. Can't beat that. And it's not just the popstars, it's also the arrangement. What's up with the double guitar solo in the middle? Somehow I prefer Phil Collins drum ruffle. It's a bit weird coming from a track produced by Nigel Godrich.

Oh well, I bought the single so I have done my deed by donating a few cents to Darfur.

"Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you"