Thursday, March 31, 2005

Not Ripped Off

Gatín has chosen a Fill del Temps Gran Seleció 2000 for dinner. A wise decision.

This Spanish wine comes from the Terra Alto. As this name implies, the vineyards are planted at high elevations. In the southwest of Catalonia, it comprises 12 munizipalities located in the western part of the province of Tarragona. Production is mostly carried out in co-ops, who are attempting to expand their production of bottled wine. The mainly variety is Garnacha, supported by Macabeo, Parellada, Chardonnay, Cariñena, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Ull de Llebre, Merlot and Tempranillo.

The summers are very hot and the winters cold in Terra Alto's mediterranean climate with contionental influences. The lanscape is rolling hills. Most of the vineyards are planted on low slopes on brownish-limestone soil with little clay and very poor in organic matter.

The Fill del Temps impresses with a dense Pomegranate red colour, and aromas of wet wood and ripe forest berries. The well structured acids harmonise with the tannins and an average body. The varieties are Garnacha, Cariñena, and Cabernet-Sauvignon. The Fill del Temps is a pleasant everyday's wine, ready for consumption within the next three years. Reading the label is a bit tricky - it's written in Catalan.

The Fill del Temps is produced by Cellar Cooperatiu de Vilalba dels Arcs. Available in Switzerland at Ibervinos SA in Schlieren ( One bottle costs CHF 19.50 - truly a bargain.

Ripped Off

Today's rip off at the canteen was a Käseschnitte for CHF 15.20. The ingredients for this dish cost less than an average British school meal:
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 gulp of Fendant (dry Swiss white wine produced from the Chasselas grape)
  • 100 g Raclette cheese
  • 1 egg
Fry the bread in a pan; soak the slice with the wine; lay the cheese onto the top; put everything into the oven (220 °C) until the cheese is melted; serve with a fried egg on the top.

I had the Käseschnitte with a small salad and 2 dl of water. However, this still does not justify the price. The thing didn't even taste acceptable.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

No Leafs - No Problem

My colleague Sämi has reached two further milestones in his quest for a leafless world.

Our knight's motto is "No Leafs - No Problem". This is fully understandable, given the leafs underhanded ability to jam lawnmowers. Unfortunately, his brave pursuit will have to rest until next winter. The trees are already full of sap.

Guitar Pest

Clapton's birthday reminded my that there are only two Guitarist I really admire:
  • Tom Morello
  • Prince.
I consider the rest a pure nuisance as soon as they dare to leave the background.

Chocolate Health Trivia

I've nicked this from Domori's page:

Cocoa butter and cardiovascular health
Cocoa butter, comprises essentially stearic and oleic acids, together with a smaller percentage of palmitic acid and a few traces of several other fatty acids. The data show consistently that fats with a high content of stearic acid are consistently less cholesterolemic and atherogenic than are fats containing the other common long-chain fatty acids, namely lauric, myristic and palmitic. The research studies also suggest that absorbability of cocoa butter is reduced, probably due to its high stearic acid content.Stearic acid boasts a unique position in the saturated fatty acids class, resulting from its neutral cholesterolemic effect; it does not affect total or lipoprotein cholesterol levels even when absorbed at very high levels. With respect to thrombosis, stearic acid does not have an adverse effect on platelet function and it seems to play no role in thrombogenic events.

Many people think that at least some of the protective effects of plants depend upon these antioxidant compounds. We know already from early work on cocoa, both raw and fermented, that it has a high content of antioxidants. Cocoa is a treasure chest of compounds with potentially beneficial effects on human health. It will be very interesting to watch the development of the field of phytochemicals, and to learn its implications for cocoa products.

Cocoa and chocolate have a very high percentage of minerals, definitely more than almost any other food. However, it is still unknown to what extent these minerals are actually used by the human body.

The contribution of cocoa and chocolate foods to the average daily intake of caffeine in both children and adults is very low. While the theobromine content of chocolate foods is at least ten times higher than that of caffeine, the physiological effects of the former are generally weak. Recent scientific studies have shown that moderate consumption of methylxanthines from any food source does not cause adverse physiological or health effects.

There is no available evidence proving that the consumption of chocolate causes obesity. However, chocolate could contribute to weight maintenance in the obese, by providing a highly palatable, readily available and energy-dense snack food.

Chocolate products are usually very energy-dense foods and should therefore play a minor and yet pleasurable and guilt-free role in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes.
Active individuals with type 1 diabetes can afford a larger consumption of chocolate as long as blood glucose and lipid control remain within desirable levels.

Dental health
Chocolate causes moderate caries, and this is probably related to the cocoa fraction of chocolate, which contains chemicals inhibitory to oral bacteria.

The research studies suggest that chocolate probably doesn't cause headaches in the majority of suffering from headache.

Chocolate is by far the most commonly reported food item that is craved. What is its secret? Definitely its taste. Sweet, fatty food items have a pleasant taste; chocolate approaches the ideal combination of sweetness and fat content. Pleasant-tasting foods induce the release of endorphins in the brain.

There is no link between chocolate and acne.

Chocolate does not affect liver and kidney. Only on patients who are susceptible to reflux esophagitis chocolate leads to serious heartburn, such as smoking, alcohol, caffeine and high-fat products.

Cacao Cult

Max Küng, an author of Das Magazin, has searched for the best chocolate manufacturer in the entire world:
  • It's not the French Valrhona, which started the trend of dark chocolate in Europe.
  • It's not Amedei in the Toscana, which secured the complete production of a mystique plantation in Venezuela.
  • It's Domori from the Fiat city Turin. Domori's mission is the Cacao Cult.

Swiss Chocolate Trivia

  • Switzerland uses more milk to fabricate chocolate than to produce yogurt.
  • The Swiss consume 12 kg of chocolate per head and year.
  • In 2004, 47.1% of Swiss chocolate was sold in Switzerland and 52.9% was exported to more than 130 countries.
  • Switzerland imports only 1% of the world's cocoa beans harvest.
  • Swiss doctors recommend up to 50 g of milk chocolate or 25 g of dark chocolate per day, because chocolate contains a lot of polyphenols. Polyphenols have been shown to be strong antioxidants, which prevent cardiovascular diseases.
  • Two major inventions in the 19th century set the cornerstones of the Switzerland's chocolate industry:
    • In 1875, milk chocolate was invented by Daniel Peter, a butcher's son. He succeeded in combining chocolate with milk, an obvious but difficult move.
    • In 1879, Rodolphe Lindt developed "conching", a process which created the world’s first "melting chocolate". Conching involves heating and rolling chocolate, a refining step designed to break up large particles to produce a smooth creamy cocoa mass that will melt on the tongue.
  • In 1980 a story of chocolate espionage hit the world press when an apprentice of the Swiss company of Suchard-Tobler unsuccessfully attempted to sell secret chocolate recipes to Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and other countries.
  • In 1982, I worked for one week in a chocolate factory. Because I still liked chocolate after this week, I've decided to pursue for another "career".

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Serendipitously Discovered Serendipity

One of the highest wattles the English have built is the rich vocabulary of their language (English approx. 500'000 words, German 185'000). This makes it exceptionally hard to master the English language (besides of my lousy spelling abilities). On account of the affluent word-hoard, the English language is also a source of fortunate discoveries by accident. My serendipitous discovery of today is Serendipity.

The English are indebted to the author Horace Walpole for the word serendipity:
". . . this discovery indeed is almost of that kind which I call serendipity, a very expressive word, which as I have nothing better to tell you, I shall endeavor to explain to you: you will understand it better by the derivation than by the definition. I once read a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of: for instance, one of them discovered that a mule blind of the right eye had travel led the same road lately, because the grass was eaten only on the left side, where it was worse than on the right--now do you understand serendipity?"
Some serendipitous discoveries and inventions:
Do you know more examples of serendipitous discoveries?

Monday, March 28, 2005

Deriously Loved Up

Somebody might call me obviously deriously loved up, however these were the happiest Easter in my whole life. Just a dozen of the things happened:
  1. I had the best langouste ever
  2. I learned something dramatically new about my father
  3. I met some really nice Australians (no irony)
  4. I drunk the best Bordeaux of my life (Chateau Talbot, 1999)
  5. I learned a lot about the processes of cleaning grain in order to mill it
  6. I wandered through the impressive Masoala hall for the first time
  7. I made my best tomato soup
  8. I made two dünnle (rhubarb & apple)
  9. I never spent so much time with my flatmate since we're living together
  10. I've never been so much in love in my whole life (I might sound like a teenager, but it's the truth and nothing but the truth)
  11. I've been eating all but my own Easter bunny so far.
  12. We drunk some Chinggis Khan (best Mongolian vodka).

Hard Decisions

I was lying on the settee, munching crackers and flicking through a magazine when I discovered an article featuring abs. I was told that perfect abs would improve my sex life, besides of distracting from the worn out speedos:
  • Increased Stamina
    The thrusting power I have to generate during sex has to come from the core. Strong abdominal and lower-back muscles give the necessary strength
  • Better Erections
    Increased fat equals decreased bloodflow, decreased bloodflow equals softer (or no) erections. Avoid this downspin.
  • Increased Length
    The fat at the base of a man's abdomen cover up the base of his penis. Losing fat will add up length.
Unfortunately, my father did not inherit all of his features to me. He's in his eighties and has been told by his doctor that he's got still more muscles than most twenty year old blokes.

Sounds like a lot of work is waiting. No more cracker munching and lying around on settees. Or shall I just give up the magazine flicking.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Alemannic By Chance

Without knowing that I'll rediscover my Alemannic identity, I baked something truly Alemannic for lunch: Dünnle.

There are a lot of different names for the same dish (Wähe, Waie, Waije, Dünne, Fladen or Kuchen). If it can be compared with a dish from another couture, it would be quiche). There are salty or sweet variants. I made a sweet dünnle.

At first, one needs a dough:
* 400 g flower
* 125 g butter
* 125 g soft curd cheese
* salt
* some white wine or water
mix well, cover with a towel and put at a cool place for an hour.

I did it the easy way and bought the dough ready made in the shop.

Then one has to butter a baking tray, roll out the dough and put it onto the tray. With a fork, one has to make some small holes in the dough. Depending on the juiciness of the filling one should to scatter grounded hazelnuts onto the dough.

This time I uses fresh Rhubarb for the filling (800 g, chopped to small pieces). Actually, the rhubarb season is April to June. This one came from Holland, probably grown in a green house with huge amounts of natural gas from Russia. I compensated this ecological nightmare by using KAG eggs (from extremely happy chicken) for the cream to be added (2 eggs, 1/4 l of cream, 2 pinches of sugar, vanilla sugar & cinnamon). Baking takes 30 minutes at 250 °C in the preheated oven.

I prefer tea to accompany my slice of dünnle.

Finding Identity

Wikipedia is truly a surprise package. I've discovered that Wikipedia does also exist in an Alemannic version - that is, my mother tongue.

This excellent service brought also to light that I'm actually speaking High Alemannic. This is the version mostly spoken in Switzerland, Vorarlberg, and in the southern parts of the Black Forest in Germany). But there are further variants of this language:
  • Highest Alemannic (e.g. Walser German in the Canton of Wallis or dialects of the Bernese Highlands (Berner Oberland) and of Fribourg).
  • Low Alemannic dialects, among which are also:
    • Alsatian (in Alsace, France)
    • Alemán Coloneiro (in Venezuela - therefore not on the map)
  • Swabian (mostly in Schwaben, in Germany)
All this has happened, because I try to find out the gestation length of cattle (it's 285 day, e.g. bit more than 9 months).

Friday, March 25, 2005

Struggling With Art

My lovely flatmate is planing to enrich Gomad Mansion with additional art. This is truly a intention, which deserves encouragement. Nevertheless, there is a problem. One of the shortlisted pictures displays a dog.

I have a problem with dogs since Fido snatched my nose when I was about five years old (I had been throwing wooden building-bricks at him for half an hour - Fido was probably the most patient dog ever). Dogs are far to slavish and have a despicable odour. Cats are an example of grace and dignity. Why does it have to be a dog? Of course, a cat would not work at all, that's far to rolfknieish...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Ms.Mac For Ever And Ever

There are strange competitions going on, like blog of the month or whateva. What an ephemeral contest! We should crave for eternal excellence, nothing less. Luckily, wonderful things exist that are made for eternity and can't be beaten.

One of which is ms.mac's meanderings. In my humble opinion, this is the most inspiring and wittiest blog ever. Ms.Mac is not one of those heartless blog machines, who write only to satisfy a despicable narcissistic urge. Ms.Mac is a loving mother and wife, living in an alien environment (chapeau for anyone who can survive in Bäretswil). Of course, there are frictions in this universe. However, Ms.Mac handles these with charm and knows to write about them with wit and repartee.

I reckon, you know these centre of afflatus and I'm carrying owls to Athens, as we say in German. Hence, I stop my gabbling and reveal the award:

I Confess

I think it's better when I confess it right at the beginning: "I went into a fair trade shop and bought something from Vietnam handmade by adults."

The are some points I dare to state in my defence:
  • If one buys vases oneself or as a present, one tends to buy tall ones that look nice on the shop's shelf
  • There are several tall vases at Gomad Mansion
  • Not all flowers have long stems.
  • There are rarely any small and medium vases at Gomad Mansion
  • I was deluded by a flower shop into buying a bunch of daisies (in my greed, I bought all on display)
  • Daises have small to medium stems.
  • I was walking home not knowing where to put them and there were only two shops on my way: a bakery and the fair trade shop.
  • The mean fair trade shop had the perfect vase in the window.
I know, I'm weak. In addition, I confess that I bought some bars of this delicious Compañera chocolate with honey as well. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone!

The Big Not Yet Read Pile

A weakness of mine is to not resist the temptation to buy books. As a rule of thumb, I say that I have got a constant pile of 3000 unread pages. I'm going to list now the books on the Not Yet Read But Ambition to Read Pile to check this figure:
The sum is 11342 pages! I should not trust my rule of thumb, though.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Personal Trainer

My job might go to blazes and I'm filling my home with new interior furnishing, but this is far from enough. Today, I had a lesson with a Personal Trainer, generally thought to be a commodity afforded only to the rich and famous.

Thursdays, I go to a swimming class, which is devoted to crawl, the rapid swimming stroke consisting of alternating overarm strokes and a flutter kick. Sometimes, we have to perform exercises involving other swimming styles like breaststroke, backstroke or butterfly. These exercises brought to light that my breaststroke's leg movement is an absolute disaster. The only cure was a private lesson with our trainer (my butterfly is considered incurable).

Private lesson means no hiding in the masses. Every tiny little movement of my precious body was under constant scrutiny. No excuses allowed, but exhaustion guaranteed. However, for one hour I could feel how it is to be rich and famous.

Word Du Jour

The word du jour was ¡A otro perro con ese hueso! (to another dog with this bone). This is a Mexican expression and means "I don't believe you". I will try hard not to provoke this line again (no fingers crossed).

Perfect Trinity

It is a wisdom among my friends that this trinity can not simultaneously exist:
  • perfect apartment
  • perfect boy friend
  • perfect job.
Apartment: There might be better flats than Gomad Mansion, but I feel pretty comfortable and my flatmate is almost perfect (greasy grating the other day!). Boy friend: I've never been so much in love in my whole life as with Gatín. I'm praying hard not to mess it up.

However, it's the job where the Sword of Damocles might be dangling over me. The job is almost perfect. Of course, there is some work involved but the wage/pressure ratio was never better and I'm not as bored as some of my colleagues. It takes only ten minutes to commute (which is bad for tax discount) and there are several swimming pools close to the premises. The bosses are complete wankers. Whatev, that seems to be the definition of management.

But my caring employer has BIG problems. The Art of War might be almost as old as mankind's memory but it's the means that change. The means provided by my employer seem to be outdated big time. We are still great at what we do [overstatement], nevertheless, no army (our dear customers) seems to care. Last year, we received only about 25% of the orders we should have to maintain the workforce (never hire any of our sales reps, they are not good at what they do [understatement]). In addition, some work had been moved to other subsidiaries, which are better at it or/and have (more) customers in these fields.

Rumors say that something big will happen by the end of month. Everything is hush-hush. Even the employees' reps are kept in the dark (you have not read this here, ¡comprenda!). I'm expecting a big job chopping.

April 1st was supposed to be a party day (Kylie in Switzerland). I hope that I'm completely wrong. It's not Beware The Ides Of March but the end of March. Bugger! I'm on holiday. I don't wont to think about work, or even worse about not to work. All I want is the perfect trinity. Do I ask for to much?

Омуль For Me?

There are few things besides of Gatín that increase my heart beat as much as Siberia - well, it happened again.

On Monday, Hausi sent me an offer for a pioneer white water rafting trip to the river Омулёвка. (transcripted: Omuliovka). The name of the river is derived from the word Омуль, a whitefish. The river is also known as самой красивой и сложной реке северо-восточной Сибири (the most beautiful and most complex river of northeastern Siberia).

The trip would start in the middle of July, which is known as the peak of the mosquito season. But I'm still highly tempted. I've got goose bumps due to the excitement while I'm typing this...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

We Add Nuts & Bolts

Again, Ms.Mac was right, Gatín & I are in a domestic bliss. Today, we saw the following items being installed:
  • 1 socket
  • 1 shelf
  • 1 kitchen cupboard
  • 2 ceiling lamps
  • 1 towel bar
  • 1 mirror
  • 1 new plant
... and there was another shopping round - this time at Interio. We went there for new bed sheets. Proudly, we can add nuts & bolts to the screwing...

Roaring Back

On recommendation of my caring boss, I'm reading The Roaring Nineties by Joseph Stiglitz, an account of the boom/bust economy of the 1990s. By coincidence, I had a related experience with Swiss bank UBS the other day.

I tried to sell my shares of a mutual fund. Back in the roaring nineties this was done by a simple phone call to my assets manager, not lasting more than a couple of minutes. This time I was put on hold three times and I had to identify myself four times to different bank clerks. The last of which told me that I can't do this via phone. It must be in writing.

I wrote the requested letter but did not only list the one mutual fund but all my assets on UBS accounts. UBS is history for me, they can me whatev...

Boosting The Economy

I've reckoned that it was high time to be a good citizen and do something for the struggling Swiss economy:
  1. I've reserved a Mobility car. Mobility is the Swiss car sharing system. Mobility cars can be booked via the Internet at least half an hour before they are requested. The central computer sends the reservation to the car of choice via GSM. After that, I can access "my" car with the Mobility card. There are 1'700 cars at 950 locations in 400 municipalities. I've realised that I've not needed a car for more than a year. Poor fellow drivers on the street.
  2. Gatín has helped me to load all the bulky household refuse into the Mobility station wagon in order to drive it to the incinerating plant.
  3. From there, we drove straight to IKEA for an extended shopping to fill all the empty space at Gomad Mansion.
We're still screwing... but it's supposed to be good for the economy, I've been told.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Groove Of Holiday

Since yesterday, I'm on holiday and right in the morning I made an impulsive but in retrospect wise decision to switch my radio to Couleur 3. Although, this is a radio station of the Romandy and I hardly understand any of the DJ's comments in French, Couleur 3 sends an intelligent but groovy sound into the Aether. I think, I stay on this wavelenght. Right now it's in perfect harmony with my own vibes.

Blossom Time

Forget about the meteorology or astronomical definition. Last night, Spring began at the Night Of The Flowers party. This was and is the ultimate millstone.

Originally, this night had been produced by æra which, unfortunately, closed it's doors last summer. But the crew know what they owe to mankind. They brought truckloads of flowers to the Dachkantine and one of the longer queues in recent times showed that clubbing is not dead at all. Spring still does start with a good sweat, so that we can blossom for the rest of the year.

Style Watch

This week's issue of Das Magazin run a feature about the FREITAG® saga. The feature brought no new aspects, only a new term. And this already in the opening sequence. The journalist used the term Proletensolidaritäts-Look to describe the must apply dress style of the young Central European males. I've heard this the first time and it does not sound nice at all.

As quite usual in German, this new substantive is constructed by connecting other substantives together. In this case Prolet, Solidarität and Look.
  • Look is already English and stands in this case for a distinctive, unified manner of dress or fashion.
  • Solidarität is solidarity in English.
  • Prolet is a bit difficult to translate due to it's connotation. It is derived from the term proletarian but is better translated as cad or twerp, but then it looses the lefty connotation.
Is this a hint not to try to be hip and young anymore and to dress a bit more distinguished?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Don't Beware The Ides Of March

On this date 2050 years ago*, Julius Caesar was said to have been assassinated. Again according to William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar received the warning "Beware the Ides of March!" from a fortuneteller in the play Julius Caesar. Later in the play, he is assassinated on the ides of March (March 15).

Neither I'm Caesar nor do I consult fortunetellers. Hence, I' reckon that this day bears no harm to me.

* There might be an error in this figure due to the mix up between the Gregorian and Julian calendar.

Monday, March 14, 2005

It's Time For A Time Theme

I try to start the new and hopefully entirely spring like sunny week with a theme, which I reckon is appropriate. I hope it's not to pretentious to chose a quote by Albert Einstein: "The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."

Sunday, March 13, 2005


What a wonderful Sunday and to be in love with Gatín makes it even better. An hour ago he gave me a foot massage and since then I'm like walking on clouds. My whole body is kind of enchanted, my mind is clear and I feel safe and sound like a child in his mother's arms.

But life is still not just a frosted cake. Right now, there are two things about me that are going on my nerves:
  1. Things piss me off that are not worth it. I should start to ponder the thoughts of Cicero, Seneca the Younger, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus a bit more. Calmness is a virtue, which I admire. But to live it is not as easy as it seems.
  2. My back is aching. I guess, that's due to a combination of to much work and to little sport. I have to find the balance again.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Señor Manzana

Because of my fruit charts, Gatín calls me now Señor Manzana. In addition, he disclosed to me that le gustan mucho los kiwis y los mangos. But I'm confident that our love is strong enough and will come through this test without a scratch.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Call Me Mr. Fruit Machine

A thing, I can't grasp, is that there are obviously people out there who have a problem with fruits. I can't live without fruits! The lack of fruits is probably the only thing, I don't like when I'm in Siberia (besides of the mosquitos in summer). Here are my personal fruit charts:
Note: Please consider that a) I live in Switzerland, b) there are seasonal fruit limitations, and c) long distant transport impairs taste & texture and is just un ecological
  1. Apples
    I was brought up on a farm in a area that is called Cider India. A life without apples would be cruel. I suffer in July and August, when last season's apples are not good any more and the new one's can't yet be picked. Consumption: 2-4 kg/week
  2. Bananas
    Although imported, the cornerstone of my breakfast. It's the PowerBar of the fruits, delivered in the perfect wrapping. (there are Max Havelaar version available - just for the conscience). 1.2 kg/week
  3. Oranges and Mandarins
    Citrus fruits are the reason why winter is a lovely season. Especially, I like the white stuff on the inner side of the rind. 2-4 kg/week (winter only)
  4. Grapes
    My favorite dinner in September and October. I wash a big bunch, lay on the couch and eat it along with a Gold Bürli (Zürich's best bread roll with a hard crust that makes the jaw hurt). Did you know that grapes constitute approximately 50% of all fruit grown in the world? 5-6 kg/week in Autumn
  5. Pineapples
    Probably the most delightful fruit at all. Forget the canned version. They are dawned in sirup. Unfortunately, the unwrapping is tedious and really good ones are exceptionally expensive. 1 per month.
  6. Peaches
    So sweet, so delicious, but I can hardly manage to bring them home from the shop without squashing them. If I mange to do it without, they are neither sweet nor delicious. I try sometimes
  7. Grapefruit
    I would like to eat more of it. They are deliciously sour. But my body says stop after one piece. 1 per month in winter
  8. Lemon
    I eat every slice I (or my friends) get with a drink. Consumption depends on my bar visits (fluctuating).
  9. Kiwis
    I can't understand what supposed to be so special about Kiwis. They taste like water and are tedious to peel. Consumption almost 0.
  10. Mangos
    Unfortunately, my taste for Mangos has been tainted for good. In 1980, Swiss retail giant Migros used a national scout jamboree for a add campaign and distributed tons of Mango juice to the camp. I drunk to much of it and can't stand the taste of it anymore. Please, don't eat mangos in my vicinity. Consumption is 0.

703 Years Ago...

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
According to William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet were married on this date in 1302. Children, don't try all of this at home.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Men Of The Day

My man of the day is the postman. He brought me three brilliant CDs of three extraordinary men & musicians, which I ordered on recommendation only. And I can tell you, man, all three are already shortlisted for discovery of the year after their first time on my B&O:
By the way, Miguel Bosè knows what to do with flowers if one is short of vases:

And now my man forever is requesting a bit more of my attention.

PS: The new one by Jack Johnson (In Between Dreams) is a must have as well. But that one arrived earlier this week and is not a new discovery, though.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Warning! Working for a weapon systems manufacturer can bring one into the line of fire.

This post, as well as many other things in life, may offend you. Note that no electrons were harmed in the creation of this post. It is made from 100% recycled bits. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Hand wash only, tumble dry on low heat, do not iron.

Monday, March 07, 2005

A Lesson In Box Design

My cordless phone had stopped to provide me with any telephone service at all. Hence, I've decided to replace it with a more willing model and went to one of these expensive Swisscom shop in order to buy a new one.

At home, I've opened the flashy box. The sight was impressive. Every tiny little piece was properly stored in individual holes and slices of a complex cardboard structure. But I couldn't find the charger in any of the places and there was an empty one.

This morning, I went back to store and asked for the missing charger. The shop girl opened the box and removed the complex cardboard structure. There it was.

A Lesson In Humility

This weekend, my loved ones showed me that it's not enough to be handsome, attractive and intelligent. It's also important to stand by each other and help with the little things in life to get along just a little bit better. Now, one has not only be willing to learn but to be taught as well.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

I Prefer To Be Galvanized

Inspired by an American commemoration of working women, the German socialist Klara Zetkin organized International Women's Day in 1911. Women's Day founders Zetkin and Kollontai took part in the most famous International Women's Day - the March 8, 1917, strike "for bread and peace" led by Russian women in St. Petersburg. The February Revolution, as it became known, forced the Czar Nicholas II to abdicate.

Nowadays, the March 8 is the most important public holiday in Russia. It's also the only day of the year, when the Russian men treat their women like they are supposed to the whole year. In Switzerland we are far from celebrating this day. Even the demonstration is preponed to today (14h, Hechtplatz, Zürich).

Tigresa, my poor flatmate, is forced to participate by her employer. I'm lucky to be born with a pecker. I can stay home and keep Chemical Brother's new and hypnotising Galvanize on heavy rotation.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Hard at Work

I have to admit that I've nicked this strip from Stoipi. But it's Friday and the day to look back on another week devoted to creative, efficient, effective and hard work for the benefits of our caring employer. Does he really value our work as he is supposed to?

Please click on the strip to see it in full size:

Or should I consider Georg Christoph Lichtenberg's words a bit more: "Who has less than he desires, should know that he has more than he is worth."

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Stop Breathing - Start Smoking

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the low temperatures in Switzerland (they are rising). On the other hand, Malaysia is facing a heat wave.

Word has come through from my friend Jackson Lim that Malaysia now is covered with haze (thin layer of smoke from the forest fires around Malaysia and Indonesia). Now its more healthy to smoke than to breathe in Malaysia. (see article)

Update at noon:
Jackson Lim: "Well, unfortunately for the smokers, some rain got through and now the haze is much lesser now, almost back to the normal level ( then again what's the normal level???? ) Back to paying RM 5.50 to get a fix again....."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Tough Language

I've always been under the impression that Spanish is a romantic language. Today's Spanish class definitely opened my eyes and it seems that I have to face the brutal reality: Spanish does not belief in eternal love!

If it would, one could say soy enamorado. But love will go to blazes, eventually - hence, one has to say estoy enamorado.

There are spoilsports everywhere, who have to rub it in your face as soon as you're able to grab just a tiny little bit of happiness. Ёб! as the Russians say... I guess that asks for a special session of Doctor Zhivago.

Black Foot Discovered

Yesterday, Gatín received 24 bottles of Pata Negra Gran Reserva 1997 from Valdepeñas in Spain. 1997 was not the best Spanish wine year. However, this wine is an exception. The first couple of bottles are already gone.

We've discovered this wine in a Chinese restaurant in Zurich. Sometimes, things have to go around the world to be discovered.

The restaurant:
香港 Hong Kong
Seefeldstrasse 60, 8008 Zürich
+41 44 251 82 02

Flowery Overkill Leads to Crises

A couple of months ago. I mentioned that one of the biggest changes in my life this year are bunches of flowers all over the place. Yesterday evening, we reached a new climax. I did the numbers:
  • 41 red roses
  • 6 orange roses
  • 20 tulips
  • 19 flowers of unknown kind.
We're running short of vases!