Category Archives: Atlanta, GA

Lords of Acid USA Tour 2017

15 years after getting to know the music, hanging out with several band members on countless occasions and seeing Praga Khan live dozens of times. FINALLY I got to see the Lords of Acid live.

I have to admit, I was nervous and concerned. The band is mostly new, so not really sure what to expect. On top of that, I’ve only done a handful of concerts here in the states, and the atmosphere has always been very different from what I used to know back in Belgium.

Anyhow. Concert in Atlanta at a place called the Masquerade. Though there was a shooting there a few weeks ago, it seemed like a pretty decent club that night. Bought my ticket some months early and with the concert getting closer, tried to meet up with some old friends. Turns out my old time buddy Don came over to Atlanta and had a spare VIP ticket, which I happily accepted. It was an amazing night. The concert was great, full of energy. Great band, good sound, and the best seat in the house. Meeting up with the band was awesome. Praga even recognized me when I walked in, which was cool, as it’s been a decade since we met last time.

Great evening! Thanks all involved, and looking forward to all the pics. (on Facebook, not here!)

Eclipse 2017

August 21st 2017. The first total eclipse in a century moves from West to East over the USA. 2min34 seconds of darkness at 2:34pm EST. We drove towards Greenville, SC for this event. Leaving at 6:30 am from Atlanta for fear of traffic. It was my second total eclipse. My first experience was obstructed by the northern French clouds ~15 years ago, so expectations were high.

Unfortunately, a cloud blocked the sun for about 10 minutes, including the 2’34″ of totality. Another missed chance!

Moral in our road trip gang did not improve during the 6 hour commute back to Atlanta. 3x longer than the drive up to South Carolina.

It was fun, and exciting. The darkness, cold wind, and confused animals; are worth it. But next time seeing the corona during totality is preferable. Let’s make sure to go somewhere with a 0% chance of clouds.

The US gets another opportunity in 2024, who knows where I’ll be then…


July 2017 Road Trip

One of my project trips got postponed, which unexpectedly opened up my agenda. What does one do with an open agenda? Once checks out something to do, and texts some friends to go on a road-trip. Goal: Attending the July 2nd Space-X rocket launch at Cape Canaveral, about 8 hours of driving away.

I decided to leave for the road trip and was on the road no more than 2 hours later. We decided to do a quick visit to Savannah, booked a hotel between Savannah, GA and Jacksonville, FL while on the road and it was quite nice (and hot). Savannah has a lot of (slave) history and being one of the largest ports on the east coast, there is quite some activity there. No high-rises, lots of parks and feels old and nice.

Day two, on our way to Cape Canaveral (Rocket Launch window opened around 6:30 pm) we made a detour into St Augustine, which is supposedly the oldest Spanish town in the USA. Including a fort with a daily cannon shooting exhibition around 2:30pm. It was so hot, reminded me why Americans don’t typically visit Florida in summer time. Quite nice town, again, but I was filled with anticipation for the rocket launch later that day. Every hour I was more excited to finally see a rocket launch… the timing was great, weather was good, what could possibly go wrong?

By the time we arrived at Cape Canaveral, parking on a small island between the lakes, with a great view on launch pad 39A, we realized we did not think this through. We did not bring decent cameras (other than phone), no binocular, no chairs or anything to bring some shade while waiting in the Florida heat. The closer we got to the launch window, more cars arrived and there was quite a crowd (~40-50 cars) by 7:30pm. We started following the livestream and the countdown began… Everything going well, 15,… 12, 11, 10, 9,… 0? Nothing… the computer aborted at 10 seconds into the launch. After waiting another 15 minutes, with thunder storms coming in from the north-west, it was clear the launch would be scrapped and very disappointed we drove off towards Orlando where we planned to visit Sea World the next day.

Sea world is always nice. The killer Whales (Orka’s) are awesome creatures, so are the Penguins (the only place to get closer to Penguins must be in the wild). While we were at Sea World, Space-X announced that there was a new launch window this day, July 3rd, at the same time as yesterday. Since the launch was the primary reason to make the trip to Florida, we decided to drive back to Cape Canaveral. This would add another 2 hours to our trip, but so be it. July 4th is a holiday so no issues arriving home deep into the night. While driving to the launch site, we got into a pretty bad storm… unfortunately the storm seemed to be going the same direction as we were… When we arrived at the same place we were the day before, the storm looked pretty bad, and Space-X decided to move the launch about half an hour. People started to come in again, and an even larger crowd then the day before gathered. While we turned in disbelieve to sky, thinking “oh don’t let this stop the launch!”, our weather apps predicted the storm would simply evaporate. Not move in any direction, but evaporate. Ground control moved the launch to the very last minutes of the launch window. Then something amazing happened… the sky started to clear up. Where a storm was just 10 minutes ago, now there were beautiful clear blue skies! We started getting excited again… this was finally going to happen!… The webcast started, countdown started, 1 minute, 45 seconds, 15 seconds, 10, 9,…. NOTHING. ****** NOTHING again!!! The computer aborted again at 9 seconds into the countdown. The launch being at the very end of the launch window was automatically scrapped. We jumped into the car and started driving back to Atlanta.

It was a long drive back, arriving home around 4:30 am. Nice road trip, but we missed the spectacle. The only consolation being that by the time we hit the Georgia state boarder, Space-X had already scrapped the launch on July 4th to further investigate. We ended up watching a successful launch and 1st stage recovery on TV July 5th.

Next potential road trips:
- August 11th: Space-X launch from Cape Canaveral Launch pad 39A
- August 21st: 100% Solar Eclipse just 2 hours north of Atlanta (Atlanta should be 90%)
- November TBD: First Falcon Heavy launch from Cape Canaveral Launch pad 39A with attempted recovery of 3 first stage boosters. (Low chance of successful launch, but a spectacle no matter what!*)

*If it launches

The story of a Belgian in America: Company Blog Post

We’ve published 4 blog posts about my expat experience the past weeks. Please follow the following links to read the 4 posts.

I’ve had generally very good feedback on these, and many LinkedIn requests. However, I’ve also had some remarks that I’m not very positive about the USA in my writing. I’m sorry to say, but the people who understood that from the blog post, completely missed the point. The blog was not meant as a glorification of America. It is about the experience, the transformation, of a person moving abroad and integrating/assimilating into the “foreign” society. It is not meant to be about America, it is meant to be about the expat, the person. Things you experience, things that are different, roadblocks, etc. Immigrants are a different breed. It is something people that never lived abroad for an extended period of time will never understand. I’m not asking for understanding or (dis)approval. My intention is to give people who are willing to take the jump, an idea what to expect. Do not give up while waiting for your visa, do not stop your life while waiting. Pay attention on remuneration, comparing is difficult, it is OK to miss things, but don’t get homesick. Understand you will change as a person in every way possible and understand the people around you will most likely not understand. Just like Steve Jobs was nervous every time he had to go on stage to show the latest Apple product, so does the expat feel nervous every time he/she ends up in a new situation. And just like Jobs, the expat will come out of the situation stronger and a step closer to perfection. But, and this is a big but, it is not for everyone. You need to be the type of person who wants to be nervous about things, who wants to be put out of your comfort zone. THAT is the point of this 4-series blog post.


1) How it all started
2) The paperwork struggle
3) Discover the people, discover yourself
4) Atlanta is Home



When snow hits the Atlanta region, things get ugly. Georgians are petrified by the idea of snow, especially those that experienced the 2014 snow apocalypse. It was comically compared with the Walking dead season 1, which was located in Atlanta as well. Click here to see…
Office close at 11 AM, Schools close sooner or do not open at all, libraries close the doors, bars shut down at 11 PM and everyone hits the highway at the same time making Georgia-400 become an even larger parking lot than it already is on a normal snow-free day. So while the east coast is actually hit pretty bad with snow, Atlanta acts as if it is in crisis due to the weather. It still strikes me as hilarious.

My company is going to post a 4-part blog on the company website about my experiences moving to the USA. I will post the full article here as well once it is published (over the course of the next months).

Enjoy the weekend, and keep warm. :-)

Moving to Atlanta

It’s time to move. I’m getting closer to my team and move to the Atlanta, GA region. Over two years ago, that was the original plan, but I ended up making a detour to Dallas, TX. I’ll be back Texas!

Prices are high, quality is low, traffic is crazy, winters are cold, crime is everywhere and the office is in the suburbs where a pub has not been invented yet. It is only after spending 3 weekends visiting over 20 leasing offices in the Atlanta region, that I realize what a great place I currently have in Dallas. I’m sure I will like Atlanta as well, but it requires a mindset change. I’m getting there, but not there quite yet.

Interesting things I noted… Leasing offices are a LOT nicer and honest when a “couple” is looking for an apartment. When one of my (female) coworkers joined my apartment hunt, there was an actual change I noted on the leasing office side. Very weird, but it opens the door for some social experiments that I would love to conduct (would we get the same prices, rooms,…?), but I’ll leave that to people with even more time on their hands.
Second weird thing is that all “luxury” apartment complexes in Atlanta have washer and dryers in the apartment. Some of then actually refuse to take them out, which means I would have to sell mine. Now I find this really weird, but I would be able to get over it should they actually put nice stuff in the apartments. But they do not. I will never accept a top-load washer to be categorized as “luxury”, no matter how expensive that thing is. They are NOT as hygienic as the front load washers and I do not understand why anyone would ever buy one of those, other than to save money. Having furniture and equipment adds an additional dimension into moving, that I never considered before: You need to find a new place that fits your furniture. Last time I moved to Dallas, this was not an issue as I moved with 2 suitcases. Any apartment could fit that. My colleagues are already making fun of me for having so much trouble finding a place I like. They say “I’m difficult and picky”, well that does define me… kinda. Choosing a place to live is an important decision, not to be taking lightly. I do not make big decisions lightly.

Moving cross states is insanely expensive. The last quote I got was $ 6,000. That makes no sense as I would be better off selling all my stuff and buying it new in Georgia (that would solve my washer/dryer problem too). Not sure how that will turn out… I should probably sign a lease first and get that part over with :-)


Never a dull day

Lots of things happening in the USofA. Media and people are going crazy over Ebola, midterm elections coming up next month so lots of political hilarity to be found there and fights with terrorists in the middle east. All in all, great times for shows like the “Daily Show” and “Colbert Report”. I was very disappointed, however, in both shows during the whole Scotland Independence Referendum. Sure, they mentioned it, but when the President gave support to the English prime minister, neither show even covered that. I felt it was a very bad move for the president to give support to the English. I get it, the UK is America’s greatest ally, but still the best move would have been to just shut up about the subject. Or if something had to be said, it should have been support for the democratic process. The US did gain its independence from the British, after all. It is kind of sad to deny other regions the same.

Anyhow… I’ve been travelling a lot for work the past months and with weather being as weird as it was, I got to experience some interesting things. There is always the ‘normal’ delays, of course, but we also had a direct flight from Atlanta to Dallas landing in Austin to refuel. Last time I checked, Austin is not on the way to Dallas… Another flight from Dallas to Altanta, ended up flying west instead of east (see photo). That was kind of weird. The new American Airline planes have GPS tracking with interactive maps, so all the frequent flyers were playing around with the new screens, taking pictures and joking around. This is obviously something that does not happen often.

Flying west instead of east.

Flying west instead of east.

I also visited the doctor, and just had to take this picture…

Ebola protection masks at the doctors office in AtlantaEbola protection masks at the doctors office in Atlanta