Friday, June 27, 2008


Every now and then you stumble on a video on youtube which is just plain amazing. One of them is the video of Matt.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Welcome to our family time ...

As my pirate of the Caribean and Princess Aurora fell asleep tonight, their dreams started to take them along the Belgian freeways to Euro Disney in the North of France. Four and half hours until they will be again in the happiest place on earth.

Several months ago, we went as a family to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. Although I have been living in California for over ten years, I never visited the magic kingdom. I did visit Universal Studios, Magic Mountain, Great America, but I saved DisneyLand for last. I am glad I resisted the temptation and was able to see the magic through the eyes of two little kids. It was fantastic.

Two days and two nights should be sufficient. That was our original plan. Luckily we choose the 3+2 days promotion package: buy 3 days, get 2 days extra. We spent day and night in Disneyland and in California Adventure. We weren't bored a single moment.

California Adventure is a new theme park, celebrating California. It includes parts of San Francisco, parts of Napa, the orchards, the aviation history of California and much more.

The true gem is still Disneyland, the park Walt Disney envisioned after having seen little FairyLand park in Oakland. Although I knew the Disney marketing machine was everywhere, it is done so smooth and not in your face that you hardly ever notice it. This place makes you smile and happy. Is there something special in the air, I kept wondering.

The park was perfect. From the moment you get on the little trolley shuttling you to and from the parking lot, happy music is playing. People smile and greet you nicely. Everybody is nicely dressed, and not in a one-size fits all suit. Custom tailored outfits matching the ride. Every ride is nicely painted. No chips anywhere, no broken chains. Lines are ingeniously hidden away.

But most of all, rides advance smoothly. I am sure I must have waited in some lines for over an hour, but oddly it never bothered me. The first 30 minutes passed by in a rush of the last ride.

  • The evening parade as the sun went under - the smiles on the kids faces as the princesses and the characters waived at them.
  • The fireworks in front of the castle
  • Pirates of the caribean
  • Inside the Splash Mountain with my son
  • Family rollercoaster in Toon Town with my little girl
  • Sorin' over California
  • Hollywood Hotel
I can't wait to see the pictures and their faces as they tell their story of Euro Disney. (I'll let you know Kate)

Welcome to our family time
Welcome to our happy to be time
This is our festival
you know and best of all
We're here to share it all

Saturday, June 14, 2008

And justice for all

... rings the Metallica song. Last week, my introduction into the American justice system concluded in a conviction. Almost a year ago, my house had been broken into. The burglars had been caught red handed, at least 3 out of 4. Originally it was believed there were only 3 of them. The look-out guy (in a car) managed to escape. Luckily all items were recovered. As far as I was concerned, with exception of some damage to the fence and the inside door, the case was closed.

Not for the district attorney of course. He had a slam dunk case in front of him. Quickly two of the three burglars pleaded guilty and got a 1 year county jail sentence. Number 3 was a hard core case, a repeat offender. A trial was going to decide his fate. I was called as a witness ("Yes, that is my stuff; No, I did not give him permission to enter the house"). A trial date was set and postponed at least four times (due to unavailability of either the DA or the defense attorney). Luckily, I was allowed to be a standby witness which means that the DA will call you when you need to appear (and it is not required to be present in person every time).

Finally the trial was on. A jury was being selected. It was getting all a little close to my planned trip to Europe. I asked the DA what could be their possible defense. He explained for repeat offenders this is often the case - they want to postpone making a decision until the very end. Standing tough. The piper would play eventually: he cut his losses and agreed to a last minute plea bargain before the jury selection was completed. He will go 7 to 9 years to jail. What a fool - risking much of his life for a couple of toy walkie-talkies and my son's piggybank full of pennies.