Feb. 20, 2014: Day 5 of the Belgian Adventure
Filthy weather brings the return of filthy guests. Keith and Bob each do the Sudden Cold Water Dance during morning ablutions. Wonder if water temperature would improve if we wore motion sensors. Optional early start for group reveals code keeners at breakfast at regular time. Perhaps just concerned about getting fresh chocolate croissants. Naithan presents Angelique with rude birthday card that neither can read. We avoid bus algorithm and walk to lab, stopping to support the local patisserie.
Coffee machine continues to dominate the research environment. Group is quite comfortable with it now, and with taking over every available room/space in the lab. Begin to suspect regular researchers look forward to return of regular oxygen and caffeine levels in lab. Nicolas takes group members on shopping expedition for interface parts: seems to be the Red Green of the lab — more duct tape please. Introduces us to Hadfield’s Canadian Tire song. Another important cultural exchange.
Various performance problems solved today, including washing pieces of clothing. Successful expedition to Lav-Net results in large database of information about costs, processes, and detergents. Possible research paper out of this — very applicable. Return to hotel, picking up cake on way. Enjoy being able to completely understand patisserie owner’s French: because of this wonder if she is really French.
Group heads to Grand Place to celebrate three birthdays at pizza party. Simon immediately heads to Cologne to celebrate birthday. Probably a smart idea. Restaurant owner enthusiastically sends us upstairs, away from all other patrons. Probably a smart idea. General frivolity ensues as group attempts to sing happy birthday, read menus, and order beer and pizza in terrible accents. Unordered examples of beer and pizza arrive at table mixed in with desired orders. Wonder if owner does this to add to bill. Probably a smart idea. Bob hands out glow stick wristbands. Some group members unsure where wrists are and wear sticks wherever possible. Probably not a good idea.
No real gifts for birthday people. Group thinks about giving the gift of congeniality and friendship, but could kill appetites. Probably not a good idea. We don’t do it. Angelique and Kiran forced to participate in ritual fire suppression, driving away encroaching old age by extinguishing birthday candles. Old Keith and Ancient Bob look on jealously. Wonder if we can create same effect by setting napkins on fire and extinguishing them. Probably not a good idea. Likely cause a three-alarm fire that would seriously age us even more.
Rest of meal includes avoiding pictures and building an 8-table animated glow stick model of a sound wave. Waiter seems pleased with his glow stick wrist band. Possible future laptop orchestra member. Party breaks up as old guys head to hotel and some group members head out to continue their comparison of Mons cultural icons. Arrive at hotel which has both hot water and internet. Wonder if I should phone Mons newspapers about this incredible discovery. Wonder if I can sit in hot bath with computer. Wonder if I’m out of my mind. Probably not a good idea. Decide not to do that. Probably a smart idea.