Carnival in Aalst

Yay. Soon it’ll be Aalst Carnaval, a so-called cultural feast. I rather call it a drunkfest, since there’s actually very little culture and loads of drinking going on.

The cultural part are the processions, made with styrofoam about events in the world. They’re usually fun and wellmade. Unfortunately, there’s also the other part, where people behave like pigs, trash everything they can (even the ceilings of the train stations have to suffer and be utterly destroyed), drink themselves to hell, let their kids alone home even though they’re not even 5 year old, etc etc. I can’t say much good about it, I find it a horrible waste of taxpayer money and wish they would either make the people that want to attend it pay a fee, or scrap it all together.

Also, don’t think of going to Aalst during carnival season with a bike – unless you’re a fan of punctured tires because of all the glass that’s all over the place. Best time to go back is around a week afterwards – then the smell of puke and pee will finally have gone from the place.

Here’s a nice pic of the trainstation of Aalst, all dressed up for the occasion:

Aalst Train Station

Can’t you tell I love carnival?!

Fuckin’ NMBS

The Belgian National Railways (known as NMBS/SNCB) really totally suck. Completely and utterly.

Today, yet another strike in Brussels South station, causing endless delays and cancellations.

Do you think the managers of the railways notice this? Ofcourse not. They might even get another bonus for ending a strike without having to give anything to the employees. The only ones who suffer are the travellers, who after a long day of work just want to get home.

I support the right to strike, but they’re really stretching it. No more sympathy from me, strikers!

My ISP – Part deux

An update after my previous ISP post:

  • July 2007
    • Increase of data transfer for netconnect to 75gb
  • October 2007
    • Increase in prices :( BOOO! Well, only with a few euro’s, but still… :(
  • November 2007
    • Change in newsservice, now allowing more connections and dedicated text-news server ;)
  • December 2007
    • Increase of data transfer for netconnect to 100gb, netconnect + boostpack to 120gb
  • January 2008
    • Increased upload traffic in all accounts to 448kbit
    • Increased data transfer with the boostpack to 150gb
    • Increased download speed (2048kbit) on mediumband with boostpack
    • Started delivery of Cityconnect – a new ADSL2+ product line (available in Leuven only sofar…)

Needless to say, I’m still a very happy customer ;) But I am going to cancel my boostpack, since it no longer has use (I need the upstream speed, not the data transfer..)

Trains and the lack of being on time

In Belgium, if you want to get somewhere on time – don’t take the train.

For the third year counting, the trains have been even less on time. According to the NMBS/SNCB, 89.3% of all trains arrives on time (this is 1.5% less then last year). This is a very wrong way of calculating, since this doesn’t take into account:

  • delays up to 5 minutes
  • cancelled trains
  • missed connections

If you take all that into account, only 47% of all the trains in 2007 was on time!

(source: vrtnieuws.net)

Out of personal experience, I can say that this the 47% is way more accurate – in the 1.5 months I’ve been taking the train, not half of them were on time. Usually you either depart too late and arrive later, depart on time and arrive late, miss connections, suddely stand still in the middle of nowhere with no reason given. On average I’ve been 10-15 minutes late getting somewhere. The top is 45 minutes, thanks to a missed connection (because of the first train being too late).

And yet they keep on saying that the train is the best medium to get somewhere… sure, if you don’t care when you get there.

Thank you for polluting

I’ve often wondered why people insist on letting their cars run when:

  • they’re in a shop, noone in the car
  • waiting in front of a bridge that’s up or a train crossing
  • standing still in a huge traffic jam
  • waiting in a closed (underground?) parking lot for someone/something

Don’t they get that they’re polluting like hell and wasting tons of gas? (And definitely in closed areas, it’s very unhealthy) And then people complain about gas prices, about pollution.. but doing _anything_ to help a bit? Naaah, too hard.

Meh, humanity. Doomed we are.