Spotify – premium account without visa

Since i became a real fan of Spotify, i wanted to buy the premium version. Using Spotify on my mobile phone is great (thanks to Mobile Vikings for the 2gig data plan a month). But apparently, if you don’t have a visa or mastercard, one can not buy Spotify premium. Even through Paypal, it is obliged to have you visa/mastercard linked to the paypal profile.

After some googling i found this dutch website which sells spotify premium codes. Payments can be made to regular bank transfer. I did not try it but i will next week.

In Holland, there are already prepaid cards in stores like Albert Heijn. I don’t know any stores in Belgium that have them but it is said that it will come…

UPDATE: Ordered and a couple of days after, i received a gift coupon with a one month premium subscription. Worked out great :)

Belgian “stoofvlees” – Belgian Stew

If you want to eat a typical Belgian dish with french (belgian) fries, then you should definitely get some “stoofvlees”. The fries are often eaten with just the sauce of the “stoofvlees” but it’s actually a dish on its own and super easy to make. Although the normal dish is made with beef meat, i prefer to make it with chicken meat (less fat).

Here you go: get yourself 3 big onions and cut them in little pieces. Get a big stew pan and put in some (real) butter. Frie the onions until they turn glassy. Meanwhile get a sticky frying pan and frie the chicken till it looks brown. Put the chicken in the stew pan together with the onions. Add some laurel, pepper and salt.

Get back to the pan where you baked in the chicken and set the temperature to the maximum. Now is the fun part. Poor three (of the same) strong brown Belgian beers in the pan (best results with St. Bernardus Abt 12, Chimay Blue, Westmalle Dubbel, or Rochefort 10). Make it boil until most of the alcohol has evaporated. Fun thing to do is to hang above your boiling beer and inhale (very healthy ;-) ).

Once most of the alcohol has cooked out of the beer (5-10 minutes), poor the beer in the big stew pan. Get three slices of bread and spread them with mustard. Put the slices of bread in the stew pan with the mustard downsides. Raise the temperature a little until the whole is boiling lightly (leaving the mustard-bread on top). Put on the cover and let it boil for a while (15-30 minutes) until the chicken is cooked sufficient. After 15-30 minutes stir everything and season to your norms.

Serve with french fries and have a good beer with it (preferably the same beer that you poored in the stew). Enjoy…

MS OneNote for Android

Starting today Microsoft OneNote is available for Android users. With up to 500 notes for free users, this is quite a leap for the Android community. MS Windows in combination with MS Office is still the market leader in office software so i think this might be a success story. At least, one doesn’t have to invest some money in other applications, for example Evernote. I haven’t quite tested it yet but i assume some neat synchronisation with the desktop version is one of the key features.

On the other had, there is still need of a windows live account. That’s one of the downsides in my opinion. Being a google services user for a long time, i don’t see why one wants to have a live account next to google. So i’ll pass on this one…

Spotify – Streaming Music

How sceptic i was when i first heard about “Spotify”. I thought of some kind of sketchy application which surfed upon the waves of legality and illegality. Also, why would I want to have all my music files in the cloud? What if the service isn’t available anymore or even worse; what if my internet connection fails.

Anyway, I thought to give it a try. I was quite impressed by the extensive music collection. I could find almost everything (also local bands). Except if you are searching the most “trve” black metal band lurking in the depths the Norwegian forests. But then again, they only release trve tapes…

Since I installed “Spotify” I am barely touching my own mp3 collection, because it’s so easy to search and play the music. I also installed the application on my android cellphone. Fantastic, now I have all the music on the go. Unfortunately, It’s only 48 hours for free on the phone but prices are very fair (9.99€). So fair, I’m going to order my account this week… and maybe deleting my mp3 collection.

However, I always ask myself: what if this service disappears? I guess there will be a lot of other companies coming out with alternatives but still.

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70000 tons of metal

Imagine, a floating, 5 day, 4 night bright weather metal festival where you can meet the bands, have a talk at one of the zillion bars or check out a performance at 4 in the morning. Oh wait, sounds like Wacken Open Air on a cruise boat? Yep, it is.

It’s the second year in a row now, we’re watching this festival pass by. It must be a blast to be there but it’s a real pity the boat is leaving from Miami. Coming from Belgium, this adds a small 1000€ to the total price to book flight tickets to and from Miami. And that’s just too much. Although the prices for “70000 tons of metal” are quite affordable.

Well, maybe we will get there ever…

but remember, the alcoholical drinks are NOT included in the cruise fee :)

First snow

Finally the first snow in Kortrijk, Belgium. Was lying in the couch when i watched outside. Snow was falling from the sky. The first pictures :)

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Roosbeef

Thanks to “De Laatste Show”, a Belgian late evening talk show which always ends with a musical guest, I discovered a new great band called “Roosbeef”. They performed their single “Iets te veel wij(n)” and it was a long time ago I heard such refreshing music.

Although the lyrics are in dutch (Holland dutch) and they play some kind of “Kleinkunst”,  so easily categorized under “old people”-music, this band was different. They mix there “kleinkunst” with some kind of soft postrock which makes it already interesting. But what makes it really special are the lyrics of the singer Roos: quite dark, emotional, pessimistic,… all sung with a, by moments, kind of fragile voice.

It surprised me to see them on Belgian national television. I checked youtube and apparently one can listen to the whole new album “Omdat ik dat wil” there. I must say I’m impressed and they have reached another fan.

Oh.. and she isn’t quite ugly too :P

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Snus

A couple of weeks ago i remembered the times i was in Sweden for a scholarship. I also remembered the smoking prohibition that was introduced there much earlier (since 2005) as in Belgium but also the fact that not so many people smoke over there. As a substitution to smoking cigarettes (or cigars,…) they use something called “Snus”.

Snus  is some kind of steamed tobacco and used quite a lot in scandinavian countries. The sacks(little portions like a little teabag) or loose tobacco has to placed underneath the upper lip. Leave it there for about thirty minutes to two hours and it will mix with your saliva. It will give you a boost of nicotine and a special taste in your mouth. “Snus” is supposed to be more healthy than cigarettes since you don’t have the burned tobacco and paper inhaled.

In Belgium, the smoking law has kicked in too and I hate smoking outside but what can you do. Indeed, you can take a snus and the need for cigarettes (nicotine) will take off. That’s when I thought to start using snus instead of smoking, or at least try to use it as a manner to smoke less. Apparantly in Belgium, snus is not sold or can’t be sold due to some European law. I found a quite interesting view on the snus-prohibition in Europe.

Still, everyone can buy snuss online. I bought mine through “northerner” and within a week I received my order of four snuss cans. If anyone wants to try it as a starter, I would advice to order a mix of different kinds. There is a huge variation in snuss going from really strong to light fruity tasting snuss. If you’re a smoker and looking for some alternative, I can recommend snus. I bought mine at northerner.com but a little googling can give you tons of snus ordering sites.

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