Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I live in a country that is not part of the European Union but is landlocked by other European Union countries. All the lands around this country are part of the Schengen accord, which rules that inhabitants of these countries (not citizens) have the right to move freely to other Schengen states.

However, the country I am in has just voted to be part of the Schengen accord (a small victory, only 52% voted YES). So currently the movement of the inhabitants of this country has to adhere to the regulations between this country and the Schengen states. And the regulation says that people like me should have a visa to go to a Schengen state. Even though I have been here for 5 years. Even though I have a valid job and a proper work permit. Even though I have never been convicted of a crime (euh, well not yet).

So every six months I have to make an appointment, fill in forms, make photocopies of all my documents, stand in line, pay some money, stand in line again, answer questions and then wait 2 weeks before I get a visa. Sounds like a hassle ain't it? Well it is a hassle. And only so that I can cross the border and have some fish and chips.

My visa expired last week and yesterday I called the consulat for an appointment. The earliest they have is end of July. So I won't be going anywhere until at least mid-August. Stupid visa regulation!!!

If only my country allows dual citizenship...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Batman Begins

One of this summer's blockbuster is Batman Begins. Although there were 4 Batman movies before, this one is not Episode V. Nor is it a prequel. It's just a way to re-start the whole Batman franchise again. Or in everyday English: a smart way to get more money from a hero we all know.

Christopher Nolan is directing this one. He did very well with Memento and him directing actually follows the path of other 'indie directors making comic book movies' like Sam Raimi (Spider-Man), Ang Lee (The Hulk) and Bryan Singer (X-Men). So what can Nolan do that Joel Schumacher can't? It must be pretty hard to top Batman & Robin (I'm being sarcastic, okay).

After stepping out of the movie yesterday, I have to admit that Nolan does indeed what Sam Raimi did to Spider-Man. He gave Bruce Wayne and Batman character. Christian Bale is very convincing as both Bruce and Batman and he might have done better than Michael Keaton. Then there's Alfred, played brilliantly by Michael Caine. And with Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman and Liam Neeson backing up there's almost no flaw in the acting bit. Well, except for Katie Holmes, but her nipples made up for itr.

Instead of starting the movie with Batman fighting crime, we get to see what drives Bruce Wayne into becoming Batman. We get to see how corrupt Gotham City is and how the thugs have the city in their hand. We see how Bruce and Alfred made the batcave. We get to see where all the gadgets come from. We get to see a human Batman - he bruises and is clearly human which is the case in the comic books. All that was lacking in the first 4 movies even though it is essential. Originally in the comics, Batman is a dark crime fighter unlike Superman. He walks the thin line between crime fighter and vigilante.

The ending was a bit too much, but I guess Nolan had to give way with what the big boss wants. At least it wasn't done by Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer.

And honestly I wouldn't be surprised if we get to see Batman Begins 2 with the Joker again. It's that good. Although they should make a Batman movie based on the 60s TV series (with Adam West and Burt Ward - remember?). Now that would be excellent.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Caribana 2005

And here it begins. The start of the music festival season. With Caribana at Crans. A small and lovely festival to prepare ourselves for the bigger ones. And with names such as Moby, Natasha Bedingfield and Morcheeba playing, it's a good one as well.

Moby was the big name playing on Wednesday. In fact for the first time in it's 15 year history is Caribana starting on Wednesday. Normally it's Thursday. It was weird seeing a big star such as Moby play this small festival (limit is 5,000 people). But he was having a blast and so did we. He sang and played most of his songs and did it with the energy that you expect from Moby. The new arrangement for Natural Blues was really good. Hopefully I can get hold of that version.

Then on Saturday I came to watch Natasha Bedingfield and Morcheeba. In spite of always being compared to big borther Daniel, Natasha actually is able to prove that she is an able pop star. She does have the looks and has a voice to go with it as well. And on top of that, some of the tunes are catchy as hell. All the ingridients you need to become a famous pop star. All she needs is more songs, because singing Maroon 5's This Love to get the crowd going is not what I wanted to hear. She might as well sing some of her brother's stuff.

And then came Morcheeba. For some, Morcheeba is almost identical with Skye. Apparently, Skye left Morcheeba and the Godfrey brothers looked for a new vocalist. They found one in Jodie and she sounds almost just like Skye. Unfortunately Jodie is very shy whereas Skye used to ooze with confidence. When Skye was singing "I thought that you were wise, but you are otherwise" it feels like she just stabbed a dagger into the heart of the guy she was hoping for. When Jodie sang the same line, the effect wasn't quite like that. I'm sure that Jodie is an able vocalist, it's just that the shoes she is filling are huge.

All in all Caribana was a blast. Nice ambience, good weather, nice caipirinha's (very strong, very recommended) and good music. And on top of that it's so easy to get to.

"Lift me up, lift me up, oh la la la la"

Friday, June 10, 2005

It's Mine Now

After 4 years and 48 payment installments, the black Golf IV GTI 1.8T is finally all mine! Never expected to have this car for such a long time, but it has lasted very well. It's still runs smoothly.

It's been through 67.000 km. Trips to Amsterdam, Milan, Maranello, Barcelona, Monaco, Hockenheim, Nevers, Canterbury and all over Switzerland. I already changed 6 tires. Two electric components for the windows. A wheel bearing (front right). Two brake pads and a brake disc. All the services up to 60.000km. A pair of windshield wipers. Three lightbulbs.

It got stuck in snow a couple of times. Hit the kerbs. Hit a car. It has scratches here and there. Hit other objects.

It has been driven not just by me but by my mates, my cousin, my girlfriend.

It has reached a top speed of 230 km/hour.

It's the car I used to do my license test in Switzerland.

I think I might wash the car today.

(image is of my car, taken when it was very very new)

"So remember when we were driving, driving in your car
Speed so fast I felt like I was drunk"