#newyearnewme #MMXVI

Did you just read that in the voice of an annoying 16 year old girl who spends way too much time looking at UGG boots on Instagram? Good. You’re already getting it. You won’t find these types of new year resolution here however.

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Tram 7. First stop: the 7th circle of Hell

I’m starting to think that Dante and Rodin spent a lot of time hopping trams in Antwerp, because taking one of these on a daily basis is Divine Comedy in itself.

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here

Anyone acquainted with Dante’s Inferno knows that this is the sign swaying over the entrance to hell in that story. Sadly, it’s also my exact thought every time I enter an overcrowded, jam-packed Tram 7 heading to work in the morning. Being a man of the people, I take the tram/subway to work quite often. It’s not always pleasant. Scratch that, it’s bearable. Sometimes. Not really. On one of the rare occasions during which I managed to grab hold of an actual seat, giving me the opportunity to sit like a decent human being instead of clinging to one of the bars on the ceiling and swinging upright like a drying carpet in that vertical sardine can, I remember catching a glimpse of my reflection in the condensated windows. I couldn’t help but notice the eerie resemblance between the pose I was in and the one Rodin’s Le Penseur is perpetuated in, perched on top of the doors representing Dante’s infamous Gates to Hell. The similarities between that rusty tramlike cage and the cavernous confines of hell didn’t stop there.

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Erkenntnisgewinn

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One of my favorite quotes stems from renowned American novelist Jeffrey Eugenides and goes a little like this :

“Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind.”

Ever noticed how almost everything you buy these days is preformatted in some way? Computers come with useless software bundles. Your phone comes with applications you’ll never use and can’t delete (hey Apple, thanks for making me delete precious photos and memories so that I can keep super-useful apps like ‘Game Center’ and ‘Compass’ installed) and your brand new microwave comes bundled with a dozen manuals you’ll never read in a plethora of languages you can’t even decipher. There’s no room for personal discovery anymore. There’s no room to wander anymore.

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Life Metaphors

Life hands you metaphors for the phases you’re going through in life at the weirdest times and in the weirdest forms. It’s usually a couple of times each year that you get one of these eye-opening moments. One of the greatest and most exciting things in life is the fact that you never know when life will impart you one of its next bits of wisdom. You’ll get these mini-epiphanies in the weirdest of places and in the aloofest of moments. Be it in a Chinese fortune cookie,  a poster above a strip-club urinal or on a hotelroom doorsign.

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On getting old – AF

As I’m on the verge of embarking on my 29th rotation around the sun, it has dawned on me more than ever this past year that I’m getting old. older. whatever. I’ve started noticing it in the little things. Like, the fact that I can’t go run 10k , 5k, 2k, climb a flight of stairs anymore after a night of drunken debauchery that ends with a 7am falafel and a luke-warm beer. Or maybe it’s the fact that instead of having my annual birthday rager that usually keeps the whole neighborhood awake for the night and chills our relationship with the neighbors for the coming year, I chose to spend it with friends dressed as a retired Scottish groundskeeper this year.

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Portmanteau

I have a very vivid memory of something that happened during the summer camp in my third year of scouting and that often pops back up when the centigrades reach the upper echelons of the thermometer and I’m caught in the middle of it. The sun was blazing down on our tents, peppering down on those helpless green tarps. These tents were usually poorly situated in the middle of some wide-open, cowdung-filled, bee-infested field. At noon, when the sun radiated heat that would have sent Pharaohs weeping, we holed up in the tepid shade that the tent provided, focusing ourselves on directing all our of remaining, unevaporated bodily fluids to our brain, biting down and trying not to pass out from the heat.(slightly exaggerated for dramatic narrative purposes). The entire camp came to a stop and a mandatory siesta hour-long was instored.

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The Nod

Social conventions are a funny things aren’t they?

The Oxford English dictionary defines a ‘clique’ as “a small close-knit group of people who do not readily allow others to join them”  Life is populated with these cliques, and you usually tend to evolve through them gradually, as life passes by.

Entering one of the oldest, most archaic social circles in the world was probably one of the most daunting things I ever had to do in my life. Few societies are more archaic, custom-based and relying on limitless respect for your elders as a Bar Association. Upon my first introduction to this society a few years ago when I joined the Antwerp Bar, I quickly found myself hopelessly lost in the indecipherable ocean of age-old customs, social faux-pas, unwritten rules, and mute understandings. Do I bow? Courtsy? Jump? Bark?!

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Spring cleaning the shit out of your iPhone

Depending on where you live, spring has sprung. This means there are millions of people looking in the mirror right now and realising that their summer body is not en route and that that last piece of pecan pie might have been a bad idea. Not me though, I never regret pecan pie.

If you’re anything like me though, you are constantly running out of iPhone space. Be it the decade-long hamstering of pictures of cats, cats and even more cats that you’ve got in your iCloud, the endless array of downloaded Spotify playlists (320kbps is a BITCH on memory) and a couple of apps and games later you’ll find yourself running out of disk space faster than a Goldmann-Sachs stockbroker running out of coke on a Wednesday.

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Amidst a sea of changes, Cuba tries to stay the course of a collective golden future but faces an increased longing for individualism which is bound to make things interesting

Rest assured, the rest of this article won`t be as illegible and serious as this New York Times-worthy headline, and will be accompanied by the usual logorrheic levity of my other blogposts about the slightly surreal experience that is touring Cuba in 2016.

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As I sit her typing on my iPad in the lobby of the Aeropuerto Jose Marti, waiting to board the 8mm thick aluminum tube that separates me from explosive decompression plane back home, I realize the extent of my disconnection from modern civilisation the instant I notice that my iPad is still on Belgian time, and that it hasn’t automatically adapted to the timezone applicable in Cuba, which it usually does automatically when first reconnecting to the internet. iCloud is prompting me for the umpteenth time to connect to the internet in order to back up my iPhoto collection, of which it warns me more and more that failing to do so soon might result in ‘lost files’. I don’t know if it’s a legitimate threat or a clever way for Apple to find out where I’ve been hiding for the past two weeks, not that they’d care.

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Addicted to Addiction

Plata o Plomo? 

Sleep or no sleep?

It was 3.21 A.M. Everything in the building was as silent as a tomb, except for the sound of the ventilator in my laptop which was wheezing like an asthma patient during a marathon. My eyes were fatigued by the blue, fluorescent light emanated by my laptop screen depriving me of my precious melatonin and throwing my circadian rhythm more out of whack than a smile in North Korea. My arm was going numb every five minutes from the weight of my head resting on it. My neck had given up on supporting my upper-body cerebral Kinder Surprise in this 45-degree inclined angle a long time ago, and rested in the pillow that had now permanently taken the shape of a dried taco-chip. My mouth had grown as dry as the Atacama desert, my eyes as tired as the weary doctor ending his graveyard-shift. I was just about to embark on the 10th episode of Netflix’s latest form of legal drug, Narcos. ‘Just one more, I’m almost at the end’ I pleaded with myself like a cheap crack-whore looking for a quick fix in the dark and somber alley called Bingestreet.

It was then, at that very moment in between episodes, when Netflix was purging the last bytes of the old episode and preloading the new one, that it promptly asked the completely rhetorical and self-exploring question:

Are you sure you’re still watching “Narcos?”

I’ve already told you that my biggest fear for the future is sassy programming, and now my reaction could only be summarized (in a thematically correct way) like :

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