June 12, 2007

Brussels, Belgium
"Belgium, Man! Belgium!"

I left my laptop on the train this morning.

We were pulling into Brussels from Paris. The train continued on to Amsterdam. The computer was on the floor between my feet.

I called the station in Amsterdam as soon as I realized (the nice folks at Nokia gave us an N93i phone to take on the trip). The guy at the station called the conductor and he grabbed the laptop before the train came into the terminal. It is now waiting for me in Amsterdam, where I had no intention of going on this trip.

Fifty people are expecting to see me dancing in Cologne tommorow. After that, Munich.

I don't know how I'm going to get my laptop back, but that's about four major dillemmas away right now.

The displaced device, since you asked, is called a FlipStart. It was given to me by the nice folks at, well, FlipStart.

People sometimes give me things. It's nice.

I sometimes lose things that people gave me. It sucks.

Here's what's so cool about the FlipStart: it weighs around 2 pounds. That's about a third of your average laptop.

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It's adorable.

The thing has everything a real laptop has, does everything a real laptop does. It runs XP, Vista, has Bluetooth and wifi, touch pad, light-up keyboard, 30GB hard drive. The only thing it doesn't have is a DVD drive -- cause where would you put it? But there is very little left that I need to put onto or take off of a DVD. The world has moved on.

They did a bunch of little tweeks to make it usable at its teeny tiny size. The main change is that you hold it like a videogame controller; one thumb on the touch pad, the other on the mouse buttons. This allows me to make use of a lifetime's worth of training.

You type like it's a blackberry, but it's a bit larger and easier to deal with than those things. Once you get used to it, the result is quite liberating. I no longer need a flat surface to write. I can use it in a car, on a train, on a plane. in a cafe, lying in bed...

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...you see why this is kind of a handy gadget for a fella like me.

And now I am without it. And my fingers are like ballerinas in a library; devoid of purpose, unable to perform.

I went on the picture tube today in Belgium. A show called Plug TV aimed at the young people who watch the internet. Did a semi-live interview with a Flemish translator. I don't know how this happened. It just did. I show up in a place and the TV people are there, waiting.

I said something coarse about the Belch once on this site. It really wasn't about the Belch. It was about the two guys I had, to that point, encountered who were of Belgish extraction. They were both obnoxious asses. Throw in Jean Claude Van Damme and that makes three.

If I had really been paying attention in life, I'd know that if three asses come from the same place, all it means is three asses came from the same place. It does not mean the place they come from is an ass factory.

I have now met many warm and kind and generous people who are from Belgium. I must correct my earlier suspicion of localized ass specialization.

Okay, that's out of the way. So we danced. A freelance photographer named Philippe Geenen was there taking pictures. I don't know how he knew to be there. He just did. And he took some really good pictures.

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Afterwards, the TV people, Olivier and David, took us out to a restaurant owned by a friend of theirs. I drank what is becoming my big European discovery: a combination of lemon soda and beer. It's called a penochet (or something close to that). In Spain they called it clara con limon. I'm told in Germany it's a radler.

I will have to try a radler tomorrow.