Long Live the Dentist
Date: Jul 12th, 2004 2:19:39 pm - Subscribe
Mood: pensive

Well today wa sinteresting as far as sleeping patterns go. I sort of continued the trend I set in France, only took it somewhat further. I didn't sleep at all last night, actually testing the greatness of wireless internet + bed combination. Pretty neat. Wound up listening to the radio (BBC Five Live and AFN), then got up around six, completed my reading of "Identity" by Milan Kundera, and got back to chatting.

Today was the day when me and my brother were supposed to visit the Dentist (yes, the DENTIST). so it wasn't a very pleasant morning. As tt turned out, the routine check was so routine that I haven't been in that chair for such a short time in my life. I was out of there in about three to four minutes, so it was all good.

After that, I listened to some Eels songs (from the Beautiful Freak album), and then decided that enough was enough, and went to bed. I slept for about six hours, and I'm pretty fit now.

Well I guess I'll just be doing routine stuff today. In a couple of days, the Mavs summer league teams start their games, o I'll be keeping close watch. I actually believe Dallas is one of the few teams who has two summer league teams competing at once, so that'll be fun. Go Mavs! This guy wrom Congo (who came to Dallas after playing in Belgium, by the way), has looked very solid against China, so hopefully he can take it to the rookies and free agnets that populate summer league teams as well. Dallas may finally have found its center.

I have little else to report that is of any good to the world, so I'd better just shut it and let you all continue living out your happy or not-so-happy lives. Take care y'all, hopefully I'll be back tomorrow.
Comments: (1)

The Diary
Date: Jul 11th, 2004 4:39:29 pm - Subscribe
Mood: angry

Below you will find all the not-very interesting and just outright boring things that I have lived through for the last week in Brittany, France. Be advised, it's a long read (and I'm hopeful limits won't stop me...). Thank you for reading.

All Quiet on the Western Front

2nd of July 2004

We have arrived safely in France. No big incidents occurred, except for the caravan almost falling apart around us. More specifically, one of the tables seems to have suffered some damage that will need fixing once we get home. If you're not careful, you'll just tip it over and everything on it will suddenly get a life of its own. At least that keeps things interesting around here.

I'm just relaxing here; it's around 22:3. Now that I have a working laptop, which allows me to listen via headphones without having to pollute the camping, I'm just listening to some Talib Kweli while I'm writing this. It's not exactly curing my headache, but it's better than listening to French soap operas. Besides which, I like all this revolutionary crap-spilling that Talib Kweli does. Or rather, it's not depressing as everything else littering the world of music. Right, that's another exaggeration out of the way.

So as to summarise today's events a little... We woke up rather late, as usual. Heck, there's a real formula to these trips, and I'm sure avid readers have discovered it already. Anyway. Woke up late, logged on to the internet, now that it was actually complying to my demands, and discovered to my great horror that Steve Nash had left the Dallas MAvericks. What a great day to start a trip to France. But all of you nice readers should rejoice, since that will be the only thing I mention about basketball, which was very adamant throughout my last diary.

So, after this grave discovery, I had to pack quickly and was hurled into the car. Surprisingly, even though I had slept for about 4-5 hours, I slept for much of the trip. This is most interesting, since often when I do not sleep at all, I will get unsatisfactory amounts of sleep. Maybe I should try this more often.

There's something new about the music situation this time around. Now we don't have to worry about the French radio stations while seeking refuge in CDs we brought from home. No. This summer is different. This summer, my brother has brought the Aventura full CD along. Boy, what a load of how dung! I mean, it's about as uninspired (and just as uninspiring) as I've heard in a long, long while. Furthermore, it sounds synthetic and just plain fabricated. So now no place is safe when it comes to music, except for my little refuge here in the caravan, with my headphones on. Speaking of which, I've just switched to System of a Down, just so as to try and speed up my typing (get it, SPEED. *cough* Boy, this sure is a slow start.)

Tomorrow will hold a light car trip of 2-4 hours. After that, it's all a mystery to me. Since I have nothing better to do, I'll try and catch the Women's Singles Final at Wimbledon, if some nice French person decides to broadcast it, but then again, perhaps they're just too pissed off that Amélie Mauresmo got knocked out. Either way, I'm sure they will be wildly cheering for Maria Sharapova. Since I'm not a big fan of Serena Williams myself, I'll just join in and pretend I like the French sports commentators for a change.

Other than that, I'm really not sure. Maybe I'll just be reading. maybe I'll be smart enough to come outside and find out that it's just as boring out there. All in all, barring any brutal walks, this week of boredom should be pretty much run-of-the-mill, and probably force me into a deep, and quite dangerous form of unconsciousness. Oh, I forgot, we have movies along this time. Heck, we even have DVDs with us this time, since this laptop can also play them back. This means... not much. I actually don't know if my brother brought his TV-out crap with him, and if not, I kinda hate watching movies on laptops (crappy sound, anyone?), and I hate it even more when you have to crowd around it with four people, that is just brutal. But, one cannot rule out anything.

So the game plan for tonight is just to sleep. If that sounds unfamiliar, you are quite correct. I guess I don't have the strength left to try anything even remotely resembling a sleepless night. I've had enough of that this year, thank you very much.

This laptop is of course also going to be used for gaming purposes. We would not be a family of nerds and class-A idiots if we didn't try our hand at that. My brother has found himself hooked playing UEFA Euro 2004, and is just not good at it at this point. I will keep you all updated on his progress throughout the trip. I myself am mostly busy playing NBA Live 2004 and generally not being that good at it either. Since I promised not to talk about basketball, I will not report on any progress that I have made (convenient, eh?)

I really have little else to say that is of any relevance. I have wasted enough time writing about nothing in particular as it is. So, I wish you all a decent night's sleep, and hopefully we shall meet again tomorrow... or the day after tomorrow.

Saturday, 3rd of July, 2004

Oh dear. Guess what, people? We have no television. Or rather, we can't receive much that even resembles a French weather broadcast (and oh, how we love those). So, what else does that mean? IT means we won't be watching any tennis OR the Euro 2004 final. That's right, we're being robbed of good sporting action here, all because this place is probably as remote as the back of my head. I can't even get a decent read on the BBC World Service, all I can get is BBC Five Live. This of course does mean that I do know who won the singles final, and am quite surprised indeed that it was Sharapova that went all the way. The crappy thing about it is that I have to listen to all sorts of irrelevant discussions like people saying "I support Serena because she's black!" Good for you. Next?

Now, tomorrow we are supposedly going to a bar to watch some football (that's soccer for all you people who prefer to watch big, hormone-infested pieces of meat bumping into each other). I'm kind of expecting this Euro 2004 final to be bland, since Greece is in it. And wherever Greece goes, it's bound to make people catch some lost hours of sleep. IF they become champs, I'll know why the NBA is that much more appealing. Even the Detroit Pistons aren't that depressing to watch. Woops, I broke my own rule there. Now that I'm busy, may I say to all the Minnesota Timberwolves fans out there that I soundly beat you in NBA Live? 84-73? Was that pushing it? Okay, next subject.

Tomorrow is not looking very promising. We're supposed to go and visit one of my dad's old friends from back in the day when he used to live around here (the navy had him working here for three years). Now I haven't seen this friend of his that much, but everyone seems to think that he's rather nuts. I will find out first-hand if that is true. I do distinctly remember their son, and I also seem to remember that I was quite irritated with the guy back when I was a kid. Seeing as I was an irritating pest myself (which I haven't shaken off as of yet), I guess I should give the guy a chance to "prove himself." Oh boy. Now, take all that into account and add one more constant to the equation. These people like to eat in a "high-class" kind of way. That always means you get all sorts of not very interesting dishes, which of course you have to eat unless you want to be frowned upon. It is at times like these when you really wish you were back home and strolling through the streets of your home town, with some fries sticking out every crevice. If you prefer freedom fries, they don't sell that around here.

I had almost forgotten how unpleasant it was sleeping above my brother. Seriously, the guy farts. I don't know why he does it so blatantly (he didn't do that a year ago), but I can tell you that it's not healthy for me either. I hope that inhaling his gases won't make me a passive farter. IS that even a word? Farter?

Now that we have arrived at our final destination, the hunt for female flesh has begun. And I am not participating. Whether that is because my ability to fathom female beauty is greatly reduced, or the fact that I have no real interest in participating in such a decadent activity it this time because of its sheer decadence, is completely up to you. Either way works just fine for me. I will just watch and laugh as my brother recounts the amazing amount of babe-a-liciousness he has discovered, and how they are all too young but all distinctly ready to be penetrated by male genital organs. Somehow that again reminds me of the food that I will have to eat tomorrow. Yuck. Let's move right along.

Perhaps I should inform of you of my brother's progress in UEFA Euro 2004, published and developed by EA Sports. I am proud to say it is getting better, but he is still rather shaky at times. Like this one time, he was beaten by Andorra while he was controlling Spain. Probably his most successful match has been his victory over Latvia using the Czech Republic. The match ended 3-2, and was quite pleasant to watch. After squandering a gazillion chances, my brother managed to hit the back of the net three times, twice using Milan Baros, and once with Jan Koller. His defense also needs to imrove though, he conceded one goal after his keeper did not manage to clear the ball out of the box, and his defenders did not seem to lend him any great help either. All in all, we might see him beating France on amateur by the end of next week.

Speaking of the end of next week, I have heard hat my brother's sailing classes end on Saturday, which means we can depart on Sunday at the earliest (which we will do). This also means that we will probably reach our house on Monday, since I don't see anyone bringing up the stamina to drive all the way to Belgium in one day.

If I can haul the laptop along with me tomorrow, I will report to y'all live from the scene of mayhem, as I sample the delicious food and drink provided by the master of the house.

Yours truly.

Sunday, 4th of July, 2004

Greece is winning the European Championship? How preposterous! That is as unfair to Portugal as it is unthinkable. With so little time left, it looks like the Greeks aren't going to give their 1-0 lead away. In fact, now that the match is over, I can tell you that Greece has indeed won the European championship. Not that you didn't know that by now, of course. But heck, I need to write something, and at the moment there's little point to talk about interesting subjects.

I should instead make you all feel assured that I have not suffered a great deal of food poisoning today. As a matter of fact, the people I met today were rather nuts (or at least Hervé, the "master of the house" was), but it was fun. And there was lots of alcohol, as is usually the custom in French households. The son was actually not the son I mentioned yesterday, it was one of their younger children. He's a bright, young lad of 14, but seems quite mature for his age. I sure wasn't that mature back when I was fourteen. He does seem rather quiet sometimes, but nothing like a loner or anything. Initially I was rather frustrated with the indecisiveness with which our dog was hustled around. My first plan would be just to let her sleep in the car, and come along every now and then to let her out and about, and give her something to drink. Hervé, on the other hand, insisted that she should stay in the house. What was even crazier, however, was that he wanted to place her behind a closed door. With our dog, that is never a good idea. So, basically that meant that my brother was tied up trying to calm the dog for half an hour.

After Hervé in his infinite goodness had shown us some local buildings, rivers and other absolutely gorgeous landmarks (please factor in the irony here), they came up with an even crazier idea. The new plan was to let the dog roam freely. I thought it would go very wrong indeed. However, the dog surpassed herself and was a good sport for a change. So, we left a good impression of our dog with at least three people, I think that is commendable.

The rest of the day was pretty unremarkable really. Except for me almost destroying (or at least knocking over) a pate filled with cheese, and again being quizzed as to my current engagements in the area of music. Again, I had to disappoint them to the extent where they probably just walked off shaking their heads in disbelief. One has to keep certain things constant, I would think. Another thing that occurred AGAIN is the distrust people having my motives. When told about my future ventures, studying English and Swedish, he quipped: "Is that for the Swedes [girls]or the language?" Intriguing question. It is a pretty risky undertaking to waste at least three years of your life for foreign women. I, being the ultimate diplomat, had nothing to say on the subject. How typical.

Now, onto other matters. Since I have a healthy tendency to comment on camping showers, I will not disappoint the masses and continue this trend. I must say that the showers at this camping are slightly below par. I mean, it all started with the shower's locking mechanism. It is one of those things that only the British could have invented. That means that I found it impossible to lock my door, which is a cause for concern. I hope to solve this annoyance tomorrow. As for the water, it is not what one would call "warm," let alone "hot." Instead, it is more edging towards cool. This would not be of great concern if it were hot that day. However, today it just happened to be cold (relatively cold), and it had rained all night and into the morning. So basically it boiled down to trying to keep yourself from shivering too much, and washing your hair as soon as humanly possible (in which I failed horribly, I should mention).

So, in a few words, there is definitely room for improvement. That said, it is nowhere near the worst showers I've had to deal with, so I can put up with it and hopefully it will not make the diary again, unless I continue to have trouble with the doors. *sighs*

I have already mentioned the large amounts of rain that we've had over the past 24 hours, but there was happier camping during the night. Apparently, a bunch of guys came with two tents to the camping, and because of all the rain, decided that it might be more prudent to sleep in the car (or maybe it was their plan all along, I'm not sure when they arrived). Either way, this experiment turned out to be very unpleasant for those sleeping nearby. The guy sleeping in front sometimes accidentally sounded the car horn. He did so twice, and twice I vaulted upwards, thinking that I had just woken up from some strange dream involving me and some smart-ass cab driver that had more interesting things to do except keeping his eyes on the road. I guess he must've had interesting passengers, or maybe he was learning to read a map. You know, cab drivers can be newbies as well. However, I rarely have the same odd dream, nightmare or whatever you will, twice in one night, so things were definitely fishy. I was quite relieved indeed when I heard that it was indeed a nearby car that had produced all that ruckus. Other than that, I slept pretty well, but for some reason I'm still tired as hell. Hopefully this will get better as time goes on.

I have also forgotten to mention that we are located at about 100-150 meters from the beach. What is even more interesting, is that in these too days of camping, I haven't even set foot on it yet. Is that a bad sign? Am I falling out of line? Should society finally give up on me and see me for the inept being that I am, and stop supporting me, preferring the homeless instead? I like that idea, actually.

Well, that will be it for today. I will continue reading "Identity," by Milan Kundera (yes, yes, I know, support the homeless), and hopefully complete it by the end of the week. Before I go, I must also reveal to you that some idiots analysing today's Euro 2004 final actually drew comparisons between the Greek system of football, and the NBA. If that worries you, you're not alone. Adios.

Monday, 5th of July, 2004

Success, my friends. With the help of my brother, I have conquered the shower locking mechanism. It was, as I had suspected, one of those things only the British could fathom, where you actually ha to test the door's durability to lock it completely. One wonders why the designers of this system could not have placed the second half of the door slightly further forward. Either way, that was not the only good news today (concerning showers, that is). The water was of a decent temperature today. So, we are all fat and happy. Now, let's see what kind of interesting things have occurred today...

The morning was rather tumultuous. For starters, I had trouble sleeping. We had our daily barrage of strange noises and smells coming from below, and the munitions were of a somewhat larger caliber last night. I should not blame my lack of sleep on that though, I guess I should've been smart and put some effort in NOT falling asleep while we were driving back from our little visit yesterday.

My brother was supposed to go sailing at around 9 AM. Unfortunately for him, the parents did not wake up when their alarm clocks went off (and neither did I, by the way). My brother had forgotten to put any sort of early warning for himself (though I'm sure he won't make the same mistake again). So suddenly, my dad wakes up at 8:30 and hurries to wake up my brother. Of course, I could not be spared from all this, so I was awake also. Since I was dead tired, and did not feel like facing my mom so early in the morning, I tried very hard to get some more sleep, and finally I did succeed. Now, it was not a constant sleep, I woke up and fell asleep again a couple of times, but that could not be avoided. So, at 11 AM I woke up due to some guy being slightly overzealous with the R&B next door. It was 11 AM of course, and I don't blame the guy, it was about damn time for me to get the hell up anyway. So I did, had breakfast, and things went their merry way from there.

For those among you who are getting rather annoyed at my lack of interest in the surroundings as of late, I have some good news for you. Yes, Didier went to the beach today. For half an hour. There's even a picture of me with my feet in some strange angle (bare too) standing in cold seawater. Heck, there's even a picture of me consuming alcohol (how that keeps happening to me per se is puzzling). At least it was good alcohol, so I have no bad feelings (as of yet). Anyway, back to the beach. I guess everyone has off-days, and my dog was the next in line, I suppose. She encountered another dog on the beach that just happened to be larger than herself, and she got rather excited. She got so excited actually, that when my brother tried to restrain her, she molested him so badly that he had scratches everywhere. Do not be afraid, his revenge was sweet. I should tell you that my dog is not particularly brave when it comes to water of any sort, especially water that flows under its own power on a surface she is standing on. I mean, she gets rather pissed off at the waves. So as she was still getting over her litrle adrenaline rush and the scuffle that followed, my brother lured her into the water and made her taste the salt, literally. Rather than launch into a frenzy, she backed off rather easily. She has been a class-A pain in the butt for the whole evening now. I'm sure it'll e over tomorrow.

Knowing me, being a pain in the butt is part of my daily life. So, when my mother and father were planning to go shopping (we do need to eat at night, you know), I insisted on not going with them. Since my brother wanted to go shopping also, that left my parents with a serious problem. Apparently, I've made such a bad impression that they must still believe that I cannot take care of myself, and thus my mother was ready to sacrifice herself and stay at the caravan, just because I was stuborn enough no to give in. Since that was not my idea in the first place, I then insisted on going with them, because I did not want anyone to sacrifice their own freedoms just so to please me. But alas, again, the point didn't reach anyone's brain cells, and I was locked in with my mother for about an hour. Don't worry, I'll manage to get it done some day. Something has to give at some point, right?

There is good news on the UEFA Euro 2004 front (that is the virtual one). My brother has cleaned the floor with Croatia, beating them using the Belgian national team. He opened the scoring with Wesley Sonk just before halftime, but after the break Sernad equalized for Croatia (the result of a corner kick). Luckily, my brother found the needed accuracy, and first Bassegio and then Emile Mpenza fired home the two goals that sealed the victory. Croatia had no answer, and Belgium was qualified for the tournament. Ah, if only it were so in real life.

Since I haven't managed to keep my own rule of not mentioning basketball intact, I shall break it once more. I have finally been able to overcome my inability to put way the L.A. Clippers. This may sound funny to some, but I've always had tremendous trouble with them. Shall I explain why? Sure, why not, I have tie, and I'll just pretend you have too. IF this all doesn't interest you, just skip the whole paragraph (or two), you'll probably fall asleep otherwise.

The reason the Clippers have always made me want to smash the screen is their running game. They love to rebound your missed shots, push the ball downcourt and slam it home. The MAvericks are a run-and-gun team themselves, but I do not like to run myself. I prefer to set up my shots (they're all quick shots, but I want to set them up anyway), using either my point guard (Steve Nash) or the rebounder (usually Dirk NOwitzki or Antawn Jamison). Now, there is an annoying system in NBA Live 2004 that automatically sets your starting line-ups, which means I was stuck with Scott Williams (former Chicago Bull), who's just too old and too slow to make much of a difference, and isn't a great jump shooter, and no Antawn Jamison, who's a great clutch shooter (shoots a high percentage, and can make the odd three pointer too).

So, I called in my brother's help (yes, he's very helpful when he wants to be), and changed the line-up so that Dirk Nowitzki would take the place of Williams at center, and Jamison would take Nowitzki's place at power forward. This way, I had a faster line-up that would have less trouble getting back down the floor if I missed a shot, remained a good reobunding team, and I also had a better jump shooting team. All these factors contributed to my ultimate victory over the Clippers.

It was still very tight. I had a 11-point lead going into the 4th quarter, but as is usually the case with me and 4th quarters, there was a certain amount of breakdown. With 15 seconds left in the game, the score was 97-95, Mavericks' favor. I had possession. The computer-controlled Clippers aren't stupid, and immediately send me to the free-throw line. This is even smarter because I cannot shoot free throws. So, I missed both shots, and hoped for the best... and got it. Dirk Nowitzki in his ultimate greatness grabbed the loose ball, and was able to go back up for an easy lay-up. The following possession was wasted as the Clippers just turned the ball over, and I could run down the clock. The game ended, 99-95, and another home win for the Dallas Mavericks, who are now 17-9 (I think).

Everyone still awake? Good. Tomorrow will include all kinds of things I do not know about, but you can be sure that I will report anything interesting (and it probably won't conclude virtual basketball action). Stay tuned, and good night.

Tuesday, 6th of July

Today had very little to offer, so I'm not sure what I should write here. I'm sure I'll think of something as we move along.

I went to the beach once more today. Except for the fact that it was outright boring, I did observe something strange. I think the beach extends for about a kilometer. Now, what is strange is that all the people tend to collect at one spot of the beach. Me and my mother walked quite a bit down the beach, and it was interesting to see that after about fifty meters or so, there were few to no people remaining in the direct area. This was confirmed as we walked even further, in the end ye ended up with no one at all. I'm not prepared to draw any conclusions, but I did find it rather peculiar.

I had another terrible night. this is getting on my nerves, but it can't last forever, so I'll just hope for the best. At least I'm having no intestinal problems, it seems a few people here have had that. Speaking of food (in the indirect sense), we had pizza today. I always find it rather amusing that one should eat pizza in France, but I'm not complaining. It gives you this sense of certainty that is sometimes missing when you try a local dish. That said, the pizza was overtly huge, and people who know me, also know that I am not exactly the most courageous person when it comes to large amounts of food. I did manage to conquer most of the pizza, but I'm afraid I just had no stamina left after that.

I'm tired, and I have not been paying much attention to anything, especially this evening. We met old friends, that I actually do remember, but I was pretty lucky to catch a question that was directed at me (luckily they were few and far between, and had to try and answer quickly yet truthfully. I think I did well enough, but I find it all rather unsettling. Of course, when people mention Swedish, you know it's bound to be about the guy studying Swedish next year (or this year, whichever you prefer). Other than that, I didn't catch much of the conversations going about, I was mostly just daydreaming, which can be quite unsettling itself.

It looks like we have a filled schedule for Wednesday and Thursday, which worries me somewhat, but it should be okay. Apparently, we're supposed to meet Hervé again on Saturday. God hep us al. I have little else of significance to relate to you, and I am just too tired to think of anything interesting. Oh, perhaps one more thing. Me and my brother both had to flee the infestation of wasps today. We're not particularly brave when it comes to wasps, and it was evident that today was no exception. One of these kind insects even had the courage to land on my hand, so basically I had to try and pretend I wasn't scared to death of what it had in mind, stand still and hope for the best. Of course, my worries were pretty ungrounded, but I just can' t help it. I made it inside without being injured (except mentally, perhaps), so I can't complain. My brother was the smarter one by leaving earlier.

So, that concludes today's diary entry. I couldn't make it much longer, since there isn't much to report that is of any interest, except for the fact that I slept horribly. Take care all.

Wednesday, 7th of July, 2004

It is already past 1 in the afternoon, but that's how long I slept. I again had trouble sleeping, but at 1 or 2 in the night I did find my eternal slumber. So, it is actually Thursday, but I have an excuse for not writing yesterday night. My brother wanted to watch a movie, and in my current state of mind I did not feel much for a 5 minute-long argument that wouldn't produce anything. I was grumpy and tired, so I just slammed the door shut and tried to sleep. Bad idea, since I couldn't, but the concept seemed okay at the time. So, except for that, what happened yesterday? Well it was certainly more eventful than he day before, so I'll have my work cut out for me trying to remember all of it.

Let's start with Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, which was absolute hell. I swear to God that I haven't slept so badly in a very long time. Basically I just couldn't get asleep, and when I finally did (probably around 3 or 4 AM), I woke up at 6 AM because of a vigorous mosquito attack. This left me with a plethora of bites and quite a bit of frustration. added to that, I was thirsty, and thus had to climb out of bed and get something. Pretty much anything would do to quench my thirst, so I grabbed the nearest can that I could think of, and ended up with some form of diet coke. Argh. I was thirsty enough not to hack because of the horrible taste, and emptied the whole thing. I took the headphones with me and decided to listen to the radio until my brother was up (so that nobody would start questioning my motives for being up so early. Of course I had no reception whatsoever on medium wave, so I was stuck with French FM Radio. This actually proved to be quite a good thing too. You see, probably the only French station that deserves any mentioning (in a good context, that is), is Europe 2. They don't just play pop music, they play tracks from bands like Muse, Linkin Park, Jimmy Eat World, the lot. They've actually improved over the years, and have become more varied in their selections during the day. Now, this station has its very own morning show, starring some guy named Coet. Some may remember him from the infamous "Poubelleman" song. Therefore, it should not surprise you that it was actually quite amusing. Their show featured a couple of prank calls that were actually pretty good, including a hilarious bit featuring the French version of "The Weakest Link," over the phone no less. Through this program, I have also learned that the Nigerians have a very interesting method of bringing Hollywood blockbusters to their people. You see, they cannot buy the rights to these movies, thus they do the movie themselves. Coet and his cronies found this absurdly amusing, and started imagining what The MAtrix or Star Wars would be like in Nigerian. So, all in all, it was pretty good.

Listening to the local news (little or no international news was available), I heard of a kind of "exchange project," where several people from the Brest area (young people, I believe) went to Palestine and vice versa. One girl they interviewed (she sounded about my age, slightly older even), said that she found this project to be really great, because: "We don't know anything about these people, we don't know what happens over there." Oh, you don't? Well, actually, now that I've discovered that there's no international news available on the radio, I can sort of understand where she's coming from. But, before I start annoying half of my readers, I'll move right along to something else.

Brittany is a very ... interesting area because of its strange weather conditions. Before Wednesday, we had had mostly sunny weather, and then suddenly, the rain came pouring down. It started on Tuesday night, and it subsided at around 1° PM on Wednesday. It was continuous, and heavy. As you may imagine, this is very annoying when you're living in a caravan, because it produces 10 times the noise it would in a normal house. So, while I was just trying to keep myself awake using the laptop, I decided that enough was enough, and I crawled back into bed. My dog had a similar train of thought, although she had been sleeping al the time anyway. I woke up about three hours later, and things went on from there.

I had time to fit another NBA Live game in, and it became another glorious victory for the MAvs. That said, I should give credit to my brother. He wanted to play the first quarter, so I let him. My brother loves shooting 3-pointers, and Dallas is probably the most effective team from that range (as a team, 3-4 players in their starting line-ups can normally hit on a consistent basis from that range). This scared me, because usually shooting from 3-point range results in something like 40% shooting, and with the MAvericks' defense, that wouldn't be enough. Thankfully, my brother took mostly good shots, and got some defensive stops in, so at the end of the quarter he had a ten-point lead, and I was allowed to take over. I pretty much cruised to victory, never letting the Portland Trail Blazers close more than 3-5 points, and ended the game with a 99-88 triumph. Whether I would have won without Dimitri's help, I cannot say. I'd think so, but it would've been a close affair.

After that, I stashed away the computer, and we went off to visit old friends. The drive lasted for about an hour (slightly less, probably), and I had the honor of keeping the dog sleeping on my lap for that time, which can get a little uncomfortable after a while. Once we had arrived, we discovered that there was quite a crowd inside (and there was more to come). I knew a couple of people there from earlier visits. I also met the widow of an American naval officer. I distinctly remember him. He visited our home about seven years ago (it was also in July, I believe), I believe there was someone else with him, but I cannot remember who that was. It may have been a British naval officer, I'm not sure. Either way, I remember us watching TV late at night, all the Naval people were drinking coffee, and there was a show on regarding the recently-finished Torhout-Werchter music festival. They show these recaps every year, although Torhout has since disappeared from the festival's venues, and it's now solely located in Werchter. From what I've heard, it's one of the better festivals in Europe, but I haven't been able to go there myself yet. It's too bad, it featured Muse this year, among o lot of other great artists. But anyway, I barely spoke English back hen, but we al had a pretty good time. Two weeks later, he died while climbing the French alps, apparently he fell to his death, together with his companion. This actually shocked me. I did not really know him, but it still left me feeling dumbstruck and sad. So, I saw his wife yesterday, for the first time. She and my dad are able to laugh about the old days now, which is nice to see. On a less serious note, it was also nice for me to be able to speak English. I just feel a lot more comfortable when I can speak English, since I'm pretty sure that people will know what I'm trying to say. I don't have that kind of comfort when I speak French. So basically I had a good time there, though I was pretty tired, so I did not feel like getting myself acquainted with all the little kids running around. besides, my brother was doing a great job keeping them busy.

After that, we went to eat at a restaurant, again featuring old friends. If I say that one more time (and I probably will), I may just start missing all the people I "left behind" for nine days. Whew. Anyway, the food was good, but I had fallen into a grumpy state by that time, and was just counting down to the time when I could revert to lying down and sleeping.

Oh, and by the way, I was again faced with the "Swedish girls" bit, and this time I could not keep myself at bay, so I just tried to talk myself out if it, which didn't work either, so I'll have to come up with a new plan, though I'm hopeful that it will not reoccur. It's getting kind of old.

I should also inform you of a slight change in our traveling plans. It seems we will be back home on Sunday, if all goes well. Apparently, we're going to visit Hervé on Saturday on some formal occasion, and we will take the caravan with us. We'll be sleeping in some government building, so I'm anxious to see what that will end up being like, probably not very exciting. Either way, we'll drive the rest of the way home on Sunday, which will probably be around 6-7 hours, maybe longer. This means that I will be home on the official ... err... day when All Flemish people can go out and drink, and say afterwards that the government allowed them to. IT is the 11th of July because back in 1302, we must've kicked serious French butt, and we like to boast about it, so maybe I'll go out that night if I can find some willing victims. Or victim.

That's going to be all for now. Tonight's update will probably be brief, since I've already told you about last night. Right, 'till then y'all.

Thursday, 8th f July, 2004

Well, as I said before, today would prove to be pretty uneventful. First my parents went out and visited an old friend who is currently recovering from cancer, while we stayed in the caravan with the dog. Then we went out and visited a bunch of old friends, most of whom we had seen already (on Tuesday). We just had a couple drinks, we didn't eat there, so basically dad just cooked up some fries for us to eat before going to bed. It's now half past midnight, and I'm hopeful sleep will come at some point, and I'm also hopeful that tomorrow will be a quiet day, since we have to move out on Saturday. Now, I've already been able to influence the schedule by sleeping long today (not intentional, mind you), so we'll just hope for the best.

A little bit of French radio goodness I forgot: they actually play "The Reason" by Hoobastank here. I haven't heard that on Belgian radio yet, but here it seems to be pretty popular. But then again, there's the problem of pronunciation. You should here how they pronounced "Hoobastank" in France, it is terrible. It actually sounds like some sort of disease, a bit like that Belgian cyclist I told you about in the previous diary. So, apart from that nothing really happened. I hope everyone is still alive and well, and I will return tomorrow (hopefully at some human hour).

Friday, 9th of July, 2004

I shall apologise right now for any incredibly stupid things that I am about to write, but you have to understand, the sway of alcohol is undeniable. One cannot escape its grasp once it has finally taken hold, until that grasp gradually becomes a bearable restraint, and then, at last, disappears. But, alas, I should not begin by telling you the end of this day's events, so I shall start at the beginning.

As usual, I had a tough time finding that elusive thing that is sleep, but once I had found it, I was able to remain asleep until 11:30 AM. I could probably have continued my slumber, but decided against it. During the night, I decided to listen to the radio a bit, since sleep wasn't coming easy. I discovered something quite disturbing indeed. You see, here in France there is this Oldies Station, aptly named "Nostaligie" (I think that doesn't need translation). Now, also on French radio, late at night, there are these ads luring young men and women to partake in text messaging... to, uh, meet new people, or something. Anyway, these services are usually presented to the listener by too young, too voluptuous women. Now, take all that information, and just imagine those kinds finding their way to .... an Oldies station. No wonder France is equally vaunted for its child rapists as Belgium is.

So, today was a bit of a sit-on-your-backside-and-do-nothing day, so that's exactly what I did. Actually, since I've always told you of my great triumphs in NBA Live 2004, I think it is only fair for me to tell you about one hell of a stomping I got by the Sacramento Kings.

I have already told you about my line-up, and the strategy behind it, and since I had already beaten the Timberwolves, I did not imagine the Kings giving me that much trouble. However, there were a couple of problems... first of all, Jamison (as I have told you before) is a terrible defender. Now, his match-up would put Chris Webber opposite him, and he isn't the best out there, but if you don't defend him, he's going to slam dunk your behind back to Dallas all night. That wouldn't be a big problem if Jamison actually brought it back down on Webber on the other end of the floor, but apparently, Webber is a better defender in this game than he is in real life. Jamison made Garnett the laughing stock of the T'Wolves, Webber did the same to Jamison.

That wasn't my only problem, however. Steve Nash, our point guard, is a great passer, a fast little guy, and a pretty good shooter when he's left open. However, just like Jamison, his vocabulary does not include the word "DE-FENSE." Opposing him was Mike Bibby, a guy who lives by the same philosophy, though he defends somewhat better. So, you can guess what happened there: Bibby exploiting Nash all night. I did not save my game, so I can try a second time. However, I do not know what I could do to beat the Kings with their current line-up. actually, the line-up I was using wasn't so bad in theory. Dirk Nowitzki is absolutely unstoppable when he pulls up for a jumper, so he's bound to draw some fouls, right? This worked out nicely at first, as the computer had to substitute Brad Miller (all-star center) because he had 3 fouls midway through the second quarter. However, the x-factor here was Jamison, and he did not produce like he used to in my pervious efforts (I believe he scored close to 40 points against the T'Wolves, and he didn't even come close to 20-25 in this one). I believe my only remaining option is either to start with the "regular" line-up, so as to try and see if Webber has more trouble with Nowitzki (and I'm sure he will), or to try and work with the same line-up, but instead of putting Jamison at PF, perhaps I could use Antoine Walker. The problem with that is, that Antoine is a poorer shooter from just about everywhere on the court, the upside is that he's a better passer and a better rebounder. I'll see about that later.

Now, to wake up the people who have fallen asleep already, we now get back to the original subject, the alcohol. We went to eat at the same restaurant/hotel as Wednesday, and I indulged myself by eating one of those lemon ice meets vodka desserts, I may have mentioned those earlier in another diary. Apparently, there is a picture of me with a glass of cider in my right hand, and the glass containing the vodka in my left hand. How embarrassing. How come I always get photographed in these disdainful poses? But at least it was good food.

Tomorrow we'll be out of the camping and going to that state-sponsored house, or something. This includes parking our caravan on the front porch, under the French flag, or so I've heard. I'm already looking forward to it.

Saturday, July 10th, 2004

I'm currently in the room I am supposedly sleeping in. It seems very good indeed. You know, I actually like this set-up more, because usually when we go home in two stages, we stay at another camping before we continue the drive home. This means reorganising the caravan (partly), but more importantly, it means putting everything back in its place the morning after. So now, our caravan is just parked outside, nothing has changed, and so we just have to pack up the computer and a couple of other things, throw them in the trunk and off we go. It's almost half past 11 PM here, so I won't be up much longer. The time I've been here has mostly been spent gaming, eating and more gaming, so as usual, I have not been terribly productive. I should be home tomorrow, though at what time that will be, I cannot be sure. It all depends on when we leave, and that isn't certain either. To put it in my dad's words: "We leave after breakfast. There, now you know as much as I do." Great.

In any case, this will probably be my final diary entry. I would like to thank you all for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it somewhat more than I enjoyed being here in France. Actually, this holiday was okay, except for the sleep, or lack thereof. I hope Belgium hasn't been destroyed by some unfortunate accident, and I will see you all in the near future. Sayanora!

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End of High School
Date: Jun 27th, 2004 1:57:42 pm - Subscribe
Mood: blah

Well, exams have kept me busier than I had hoped, but they're over now.

Tomorrow we have this "exodus" party-thing, which will probably be boring as hell, but since staying at home doing nothing at all is probably slightly more annoying, I will just tag along and see what smells and what doesn't.

I hgot a new laptop Wednesday, that actually has battery life worth mentioning and which is a real powerhouse (my previous one was good for little really, but ti was pretty old, so that is to be expected).

I've been busy checking out the NBA Draft of late. Since I'm a Mavs fan, 've pretty much on what's going on with them. There's trade talk going around that the MAvs would try and land Shaquille O'Neal. My personal opinion here would be that unless Shaq can force the Lakers into a position where they have to accept the best deal they can get (and Dallas ould still win hands down in that category), then it's not worth the cost. I don't want to see the Mavs franchise unravelled just to get some 32-year old monster with an ego bigger than his own stature. But if he really wants out of LA, nd all we have to give the Lakers is Antoine Walker and a couple of dump contracts, plus perhapsone of our rookies, well, I wouldn't really mind. Still, I think a cheaper center like Erick Dampier would suit s just fine.

Speaking of centers, the MAvs got this 19-year old Russian through a trade with Utah (the Mavs gave Utah a future first-round pick). e's a long-term project, but looks interesting surely. A more NBA-ready player would be Devin Harris. He also seems like a nice kid in general, without the sort of Kobe attitude that can end up costing you an NBA title. He probably will never be anywhere near as good as Kobe, but he looks like a possible replacement to Steve Nash in a couple of years, and will definitely be a good player.

Also, the Mavs drafted a guy from Greece, also a point guard. I know little about this guy, and the Dallas forums are awfully quiet on him. I'm not even sure if Dallas is leaving the guy in Greece for a year to develop or if he's coming to the States next season. He looks like a possible sleeper, but somehow I doubt he'll ever be a high-flyer in the league.

So now it's tim eto test these rookies out. The Mavs are plnanning to organise three games against the Chinese national team which is coached by Mavs assistant Del Harris), and Devin HArris and Pavel Podkolzine will both play. Also playing are Marquis Daniels (last year's undrafted rookie sensation) and Josh Howard.

If the MAvs can keep their team intact, then the 04-05 season looks very interesting. You'd pretty much have the same lineup (perhaps with Shaq, or if not with Dampier) starting, but Walker would most definitely be gone, and Jamison is gone already (a shame, in my opinion). That would mean that you will probably still have a high-scoring team that can play decent defense compared to last season, and that wil robably be pretty deep. Whether it'll be a championship team, I'm not so sure, but if Don Nelson can get over his centerphobia, the team's defense might win them more games than it didn last season. If so, we might see the MAvs in the finals next year.

That's all speculation, and this summer is going to be very interesting indeed. Not just from a Mavericks standpoint, but I am really excited about the Olympics. There's not just a lot of good sports going down in Athens this August, but the basketball should be pretty intense. You have a US squad that is stocked with potential talent and potential all-stars/all-stars. No "superstars" like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett or Shaquille O'Neal, but a very capable team that will still go all the way. I'm also interested in what the Russians will put on the court. With Andrei Kirilenko they have an NBA all-star to build around, and they should go far as well. There are a lot of other teams that have players in the NBA that will want to show their capabilities. I just hope I'll be able to watch some matches.
That said, I'll probably be in France when the Olympics start. I'm not sure when the first matches take place, but I may have to put up with watching the French basketball team play whoever they are playing. Not a terribly bad thing, since their team is pretty decent, but I'd much rather see some of the Eastern European teams and the US square off. grin.gif

I4ll be in FRance next week, I'll be roaming Brittany for about a week or so. It's a pretty nice area, so it should be bearable. This reminds me that I have to post my diaries of journeys past. There's some intriguing stuff in there.

That's all for now. Take care everyone. happy.gif
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The Return
Date: May 22nd, 2004 4:18:12 pm - Subscribe
Mood: lonely

Hello everyone,

I have returned at last. I am very sorry for anybody that might have found my absence upsetting, even though I do not suspect anyone did. In any case, I hope that you all can forgiee me for not posting for so long. I don't even have a decent excuse to fall back on. It just happened. It's one of several things I need to get back on track, another thing is my school work. wink.gif

I've just returned from the ever-so-jolly France. Good thing too, I was about to find the country upsetting once more. To those Americans that do hate France, let me tell you something:
First of all, if you want to hate the French, fine! I don't mind, but you have to nuance it somewhat. YUou see, in the northern and central parts of France, the people are by and large a bunch of jerks. There are exceptions, of course, but the general rule when visiting France is GO SOUTH. Of course this means you avoid Paris, which is mostly a good thing too, unless you're a culture guru. If so, the rest of France will offer you many possibilities also, though Paris has very extensive facilities to make your mouth water.

Oh, and of course, Paris will swallow your wallet before you realise it.

Anyway, the southern parts of France are choc full of people that would literally break their legs to help you. Seriously, any American that decides to hate France for whatevver reason, should visit the country and go to the south. If youdon't speak French, learn some basics. The fact is and will always remain that the French don't give a screwdriver about any other language but their own. It' just something you learn to live with. Other than that though, I challenge you to go there, come back, and tell me that the people weren't nice, nicer than your cousin in Alabama. If you don't have a cousin in said state, California might do for you. Did I mention I hate Sacramento for no reason other than the fact that they have a whining baskerball team? How lame is that! grin.gif

If you haven't grown tired of my rants yet, please read on.

I heard today that Michael Moore'sdocumentary scored big in Cannes. I'm dying to see it, I found Bowling for Columbine to be very informative and entertaining at the same time. I've heard mixed reactions to his newest movie, but I didn't expect any different. Anyone have any idea when it's supposed to be released?

David, if you're still alive and have not given up on me (brave soul), and if you happen to have a spot free in the Emocium Sports category, I would be more than happy to fill it. The NBA Playoffs are approaching crunchtime, and I've got pretty hot hands (keyboard-wise). Thanks. wink.gif

Perhaps I should leave it there for now, and type more tomorrow. Don't sweat it, I shall return!

All the best,
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Another day, another not-very-interesting entry
Date: Jan 21st, 2004 1:47:15 pm - Subscribe
Mood: relaxed


OItwould seem that this trend of me not doing ANYTHING productive at all is still continuing, and I haven't found a way to counter it. Yet. Today was like any other day, me shooting my mouth off about all sorts of things that (most of the time) didn't really interest me. Then there were the very interesting teachers, and the nuts artists we got to see in our arts class. You know, that Bulgarian, Christo, rois it Cristo, yeah probably. Whatever. This must be the biggest dimwit I've seen in a long time, how this guy hasn't gotten a heart attack yet is beyond me.

then there was hisotyr. A whole lesson babbling on about how good/bad the assignments were. Naturally, most of us got a good ramming about one or more problems. The usual peolple did well, and then there was a small selection of uberbeavers who womehow, without even taking the time to follow the news and know crap about history, got a glorifying "no extra work to be done here!" comment. I'm still waiting for my result, and I'm pretty sure it's not going to be great, that's what happens when you don't work on it until the evening before you have to hand it in.

Dutch was kind of hilarious. We had to do some presentation crap, basically we had to prepare something (err, which I hadn't) and then throw it up in front of the whole class. I haven't been called forward yet, luckily, so I may be able to do it half-decently tomorrow. The funny thing was that one of our classmates said:" Hey, what's wrong, are my pants unzipped?" right in the middle of his presentation, why exactly I don't know, and I probably don't wan to know.

Thankfully, his pants were quite the way they're supposed to be in a situation like this. The rest of th hour was spent laughing at random intervals, even though it wasn't that amusing.

Geography was its usual bland self. I so hate geography this year, even moer than last year. But whatever, at least I know where the Atlantic Ocean is.

In the afternoon, I slept for about three hours (I did need tha, thank you). It's really nice having this wireless network, it's so much easier surfing from my room instead of hauling the laptop around all the time.

And then, the usual NBA stuff? Yeah!

Well, as I sort of expected and hoped, the Mavericks didn't give their game away, they even finished with the same point differential from halftime, namely 13 poinst. The final score was 106-93. Antoine Walker recovered from his first-half slump, and Nowtzki did quite the opposite. Michael Finley got more points in too, and Steve Nash did a good job of helping the MAvericks out, even though he's not fully recovered yet. Josh Howard finished with 11 points, not bad.

Jason Kidd handed 12 assists to his team mates, and sure enough, MArtin of the Nets was the top scorer, with 28 points. There was even an article in the Dallas News that he might be considering moving to the Mavericks at the end of the season. I sure wouldn't mind having him around in the team, it would add another good shooter for Dallas' offensive purposes.

On to other games now. The big surprise for me was Sacramento's loss to Portland. Sure, they didn't play with Chris Webber, but still... Mike Bibby was a bit disappointing in his shooting though, in fact, Sacramento only made a bit mrre than 1/4 of their 2-pointers, which is pretty bad.

Peja Stojakovich did get a lot of points, 34 or 35 I believe, but it couldn't save the Kings, who went down by five points in overtime.

The other surprise for me wasCleveland wiping the floor with the Sonics, well not quite so dramatic, but still. I had expected them to lose, since I didn't expect Carlos Boozer to continue making shots all game and the other team mates supporting him, a couple of which usually ddon't start with King James and Ilgauskas around.

Boozer scored 32 points, and led the rebound stats as well, though the number of rebounds is something I don't remember at the moment.

The Celtics found it within themselves to edge over the Heat, winning 86-84. Paul Pierce played a much better game than against San Antonio, scoring 28 points. The rebounds and assists were dominated by the Heat though.

Oh, just one more thing about the Mavs-Nets encounter. IT would seem that in this game, an all-time record was set for fewest turn-overs in an NBA game. That's quite impressive, especially Dallas only suffering 4 of them, which is also a team record, I believe. Good stuff.

A lot of interesting games tonight, notably the Lakers visiting Memphis, and the Nets away to the Spurs. The Nets will be hungry for a victory in the Midwest, so I don't think the Spurs will find it easy to win this one, but they're very capable, both defensively and offensively, so Jason Kidd has his work cut out for him.

Thursday does provide the Bang of the week though, Lakers visiting American Airlines Center to play the Mavericks. I'd really love to follow the stats live and report on it, but this is really pushing it, I'd have to stay up all through the morning, and I don't really feel like doing that at the moment.

That's my NBA summary for yesterday and look-ahead to this evening. I shall try to post again tomorrow.

All the best.
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