August 25th, 2002

uluru

pictures

I did get my pictures back. Some of them aren't even bad, so this week I'll have to scan a few. Which free webspace should I use for storing them?
  • Current Music
    Elvis Costello - New Amsterdam
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Iain Banks - The wasp factory (02-032)

Iain Banks - The wasp factory (02-032)

Enter the strange world of Frank. It certainly is an invitation living up to its words on the backside of the book. Frank is weird, he doesn't even exist officially, as his father never registered him after his birth. Many things happened in his life, during his story he tells all the significant details of his life up until then. And when reading them one surprise follows the next, the strange mind of the main character makes for an entertaining book, although you wonder quite often if people like this really exist. Just a quote: "Three. I haven't killed anybody for years now, nor do I intend to kill again. It was just a phase I had to get through." This is a teenager speaking, just to emphasise the weirdness of it. Still this is not a book about murders, nor is it a crime novel. It is about the mind of this youngster, his family, his world. This world is a small peninsula on the Scottish coast. Frank has a brother who competes in absurdness with him, setting fire to pet dogs being a speciality. There is just too much happening, it is very difficult to put the book down. It certainly proves why Banks is one of my favourite authors. It is impossible to actually describe Frank, you just have to read the book to know. One of the best novels by Banks, which says a lot as most of his books are great.
  • Current Music
    Nena - Der anfang vom ende
emu

A small hero

It was early afternoon, the kids club was fairly quiet. A few English kids, one Dutch boy, the two girls running the club, busy to keep everybody entertained. Another English boy, a bit older than the rest of the children, sat in his wheelchair, just outside the open doors. He couldn't really participate, but still enjoyed being there. It is too hot to do something very active. Around the corner, all chaisse longs near the swimming pool are taken, in the pool some people are in the water. That's the only thing they do, being in the water. It is too hot to swim or play games, they just cool down.

At the kids club a new boy arrives, his father accompanying him. He is obviously very shy, stays within touching distance of his father. He is chubby. Not just a bit, but on the edge of fat. I guess he has school age, just learning to read and write. His walk is still normal, but you can see that should he gain a little more weight, he gets the walk of fat people, which starts resembling a duck's walk. Next to that, he has glasses. He looks exactly like the boy that is teased by the rest of the class, everybody knows who he is. Perhaps the shyness is a bit of fear as well. Although he is still very young, he is accustomed to the cruelties of other kids.

His father introduces him, one of the girls welcomes him and points to a little chair where he can sit down. The other children are all drawing, reluctantly he sits down at the table with them, still holding his father's hand. He speaks Spanish, none of the kids do, it won't be easy for him to get in touch with them. His father gives him the icebreaker: his laptop. It is a children's version of a laptop, completely out of plastic, with a little screen only. He is not Spanish, he is Bask. Their language is called Euskadi and the little machine has the ability to pronounce the letters and simple words of his language. As soon as he starts pushing the buttons, the sounds fill the little wooden shed that is the kids club. The girl patiently sits next to him, listening to him explaining his language. By the time he is halfway his explanation, his father has disappeared already. He is comfortable.

That same evening, before the big show starts, the children have a mini-disco. The two girls invite all the children on the stage with them and together they sing along with some songs, while dancing on the music. "I am the musicman" is an international favourite, as even those who do not understand English can pretend to play all the instruments the music man plays. So just watch the girls play airguitar, trumpet on their hands or touch the keys of a piano that isn't there and soon you get the idea and play along yourself.

After a few songs a few children leave the stage, the last song is a Spanish hit, the girls start their routine, they have done this a zillion times by now I guess, the children look at them and imitate all steps. However, children might not be the best word. One child does. And I have to look twice before I realise that the only child still on stage is the same little Bask boy I saw earlier that day. Hundreds of people already sit on the terrace in between the stage and the swimming pool, I'm sure several of the men are jealous of him. He is dancing with two beautiful young ladies, though at his age he probably doesn't see that. His back is to the crowds, as he rolls his arms and holds them in the air, still copying exactly the two lovely girls. He is visibly enjoying himself. He recognises a pattern and gets the moves better. Obviously, his size does bother him a bit, he sure isn't a natural, but compared to the shy daddy's boy from half a day earlier there is a confident little lad on stage at the moment. While all other children have left the stage earlier, back to the safe surroundings of their families, he is dancing in front of a crowd. Should he realise how many people are watching him, surely he would instantly return to being the shy little boy other kids love to tease. However, he is too busy doing the moves, while the music goes on: "Un movimiento sexy" has him swinging his hips as much as the girls do. The girls must be happy with him. It is always bad when you organise something and nobody bothers to participate. He saves their evening. He is a real hero.
  • Current Music
    Die Toten Hosen
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Spell check

Would there be a place where I can download the spellcheck files for Windows, at the moment I can only check Dutch and English files. I would love to be able to do the same for the Spanish and German things I write occasionally. And perhaps French and Italian as well.