July 6, 2004

Still out

I'm sorry, but I'm still away from my blog. I apologise to all my collegues at AFOE. The stressful part of IVF is not over and I have to get my research done by the end of the month.

By the way, today is the tenth anniversary of the first time I met my wife and the fourth anniversary of our marriage. Happy anniversary, honey!


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July 26, 2004

Writer's block, Amish Paradise and forshadowing the end of Anglo rule

Belgium is hell in July.

The Belgians, of course, know this instinctively. I don't quite understand how a nation can continue to function when the entire population is on vacation at the same time for a whole month. The trams get cut back to the point where they're useless out in the eastern suburbs of Brussels and the weather isn't much to write home about either. I still have to wear a jacket in the morning in late July.

Of course, I have this extra problem: allergies. Something in Belgium sprays its pollen in July. Something that just about kills me every time. And every summer, I tell myself, next year. Next year, don't forget to take your goddamn vacation in July like every one else, and get as far from Belgium as you can! And every year - this is my third year here - I have to be in Belgium in July for some reason.

This year, it's the final report for my research in translation automation. The work is done. The results are excellent, spectacular even. In another year, under other circumstances, I would feel tempted to find some venture capital and see if I can revolutionise the language industry. Instead, I've spent the last week wheezing in bed, taking hits off my Duovent bong, popping Tylenol and Claratin, and snorting this foul-smellng shit my doctor gave me for hay fever.

I'm suffering from the most profound writer's block I think I've ever had. I can't remember ever having felt so unable to organise or express my thoughts. I have tons to blog, and vast quantities of material on how to profit from the statistical properties of the lexicon, but I can barely bring myself to read my e-mail. Writing this paper is like having acute constipation. I push and I push and it hurts like hell, and all that comes out is a little bit of crap.

But, I'm back at work today and that brings me to my e-mail, specifically a pair of letters pointing me to articles on the web of interest:


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July 27, 2004

Bricolage in a new age

Being offline so much means missing a few things, like Crisis on Infantile Earths, over at John and Belle have a blog. The post quotes me, so naturally it drew my attention.

I can't actually read the post on my Solaris box, due to some damn bug in Netscape for Solaris, so I'm reading it on the adjacent Windows machine, which speaks Dutch and uses an AZERTY keyboard. AZERTY hurts my fingers. Plus, I'm a week late. But let me make a few brief points.


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