Sunday, May 29, 2005

Teddies Prefer To Tour II

Read Teddies Prefer To Tour fist.

Before the Teddies could go on their Tourist Trip, they had to have a proper breakfast. Somehow, they knew that there is hardly a better place for it than Gomad Balcony.

Right now, the teddy family seems to be on their way to their next of kin at the Bärengraben in Bern.

Teddies Prefer To Tour

Zürich is trying to boost tourism by putting 630 life size teddies all over the town. Today is a lovely sunny Sunday and the shop owners try to boost their profit even more by starting one of the rare Sunday sales. Of course this means that the sales personal has to work as well (Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy).

Labour union Unia is not pleased at all about this and tried to make a symbolic but clear statement by freeing some of the bears in the wee hours and sending them on a relaxing tourist trip around lovely Switzerland. Here is their first stop at Luzern:

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Life is really good to me right now. I'm feeling FANTASTIC! There is no particular reason. It's just a general feeling. Though, I wouldn't call my life GLAMOROUS - but definitely FABULOUS.

Chris Lowe's selection of 'songs about love, friendship, sex, religion, hope and despair' scores the feeling FANTASTIC! perfectly:
  • Savage: Don’t Cry Tonight
  • Mr Flagio: Take A Chance
  • Klein and MBO: Dirty Talk
  • The Flirts: Passion
  • Matia Bazaar: Ti Sento
  • Justice vs. Simian: Never Be Alone
  • Queen: The Show Must Go On
  • Celestial Choir: Stand On The Word
  • Carl Bean: I Was Born This Way
  • Dusty Springfield: I’d Rather Leave While I’m In Love
Just buy, Back To Mine selected by the Pet Shop Boys. I can't guarantee you FANTASTIC! However, I'm playing it thin and transparent - as we said back then in the good old vinyl age.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Hot Summer

My swim teacher is fabulous. She does not only scrutinise my strokes and tries to direct me to improve them, she has also provided me with four different hot chili peppers and a rare tomato plant.

She did not only once held a Swiss swimming record but seems to be a horticulture expert too. Let's hope, the plants will flourish like the daisies. Where does this plant always find new spots for the blossoms?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Some Progress

I love Wikipedia, however, sometimes it's just not in the vanguard of actuality and then it does not quite knock my socks off:
A fire-control system is a computer, often mechanical, which is designed to assist a weapon system in hitting its target. It performs the same task as a human firing a weapon, for example, an archer or rifleman, but attempts to do so faster and more accurately.
As someone who fiddles with fire-control systems, I dare to say that there should be written "often electronic". There is some progress - slowly but steady.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Gomad Mansion™

It's about time that I secure the trade mark rights on the brand Gomad Mansion. Today, Tigresa showed up with her latest creation:

Forget about FCUK. Gomad Mansion™ is the new adornment of the twentysomethings' ripe bosoms.

How To Start A Weekend

I can highly recommend the Zurich Comedy Club, which we visited yesterday evening. They improved the selection of wines, which are served, remarkably. Now they just have to change the Hausordnung a wee bit. One is still not allowed to take the glasses into the performance.

After waking up this morning, I had to learn that life is no sugus. That was just after (or before?) I discovered that my blood pressure is at a low 108/56 mmHg. It seems that I'm not fully recovered from my illness. The dizziness seems not to be an imagination, though. Whatever, I decided to:
  1. postpone any panic
  2. forgo any sport for the weekend
  3. go for a retail therapy to the market:

Can you see it? Strawberries from Thurgau are available. Not only the weekend, also the strawberry season has started!

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Music Meme Thing

mr. mac has passed me the stick to do a meme about music. He says that I'm a music buff. I think I would know more about movies than music, however, I don't want to be a party-pooper. Here we go:
  1. Total volume of music files on my computer?
    Very small: 803 songs, 205 days or 3.29 GB. I deleted most of my music files some weeks ago and started to store only to-go or to-work music on my PC and iPod. That is, no Tom Waits, Atari Teenage Riot, et al.
  2. The last CD I bought was?
    Back To Mine by Pet Shop Boys (actually only selected by the Pet Shop Boys). I know I'm totally old fashioned. I buy CDs. I like to have the whole package in my hands. I still think it's a shame that the covers had to shrink from LP to CD format.
  3. Song playing right now?
    The Poem by Massive Sounds feat. Mutaburaka. Produced and arranged by Bobby Konders in 1989. My boyfriend Gatín loves to dance to this track. It's a way of getting him here virtually.
  4. Five songs I listen to a lot or that mean a lot to me (in no particular order)
  • YMCA by Village People.
    I bought my first LP (a sampler) because of this song. Actually a song to be ashamed of, whatever, it was my first time.
  • Get Ready by Rare Earth.
    I had to buy a CD player, because the live version of this song recorded in Switzerland was only available on CD (I've got the original on LP too). It's a song of the time when one song filled up a LP side.
  • Burning Down The House by Talking Heads.
    There is no record that I played more often than Stop Making Sense (the movie version was over two years on screen in Zürich). Burning Down The House was my favourite song on it until I discovered the beauty of Once In A Lifetime.
  • When Doves Cry by Prince.
    This list can't be without a song by the Dawn. It still makes me tremble inside.
  • Blue Monday by New Order.
    It's my favourite song of the eighties and there was no song is this list, which is younger than from the eighties anyway.
  1. I am going to pass the stick to
    Stoipi, who has got a huge collection of true beauties & Tigresa, who seems to listen to a lot of R&B.

Bad Idea

I was ill for the last couple of days and had not eaten anything. This evening I plan to go to a show of Zürich's Comedy Club. My boss is a member of this institution and he might be there. That's why I showed up at work and hence went to dinner with my colleagues. This was a bad idea:
  • Bernd left without clearing his tray (it's a self serving canteen)
  • Günter Adolf explained his haemorrhoid surgery and the following reconvalescence in detail.
By the way: The spring show of Zürich's Comedy Club is Bold Girls by Rona Munro. It will not be easy for the girls, because yesterday I saw a breathtaking performance of Moliere's L'Avare at Zürich's Schauspielhaus.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I'm Intolerant

Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford farted while swearing loyalty to Queen Elizabeth I, and consequently went into self-imposed exile for seven years. After his return, the Queen was reported to have reassured de Vere: "My Lord, I had quite forgotten the fart."

For good reasons, in many cultures, excessive human flatulence is regarded as embarrassing and impolite, even to the point of being a taboo subject. I consider smoking far worse than farting. Smokers do not only stink to high heaven they also
  • make my eyes itch
  • make my clothes stink
  • make my skin stink
  • are far from kissable (excpect if one likes liking ashtrays).
Why is smoking no embarrassment and not considered impolite? Which smoker would have the decency to go into exile for smoking in the presence of a queen?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tu Discoteca Te Necesita, Señorita

Devastating news arrived this morning at Gomad Mansion. Kylie Minogue has postponed her tour of Australia after being diagnosed with breast cancer. My concern is not that the Australians will miss the enchanting of the decade but that this amazing Australian is in deep trouble. Be strong Kylie!
Nunca estas sola, sabes lo que tienes que hacer
No vayas a tu pueblo, tu discoteca te necesita
So let's dance through all our fears, war is over for a bit
The whole world should be moving do your part, cure a lonely heart
Your disco, your disco, your disco needs you!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Touring the Alps

This weekend was devoted to being a tourist in central and eastern Switzerland. Funnily, most tourists go to Lucerne when visiting Switzerland, but Swiss hardly do such a thing. Or at least I have not visited this place more than twice so far. All it took was a frantic crew.

We also made it to the Rütli, where Switzerland was founded. It was very stereotyped - a farmer was distributing liquid manure on this blessed meadow.

This weekend full of discoveries ended in Solis high above the Albula river in Grisons.

The picture credits go to stoipi.
[All Pictures]

The First Step

I admit that I am powerless over newspapers and coffee.

The picture credits go to stoipi.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Tourist in Lucerne

I'm with Gatín, Tmd, Stoipi, Obelix, Kaag und Chräbel on a project called "Tourist in Lucerne". Today we will go by a paddle steamer to the famous Rütli. This is a lovely meadow at the banks of the Lake of Luzern. It's also the place where Switzerland was founded on August 1, 1291. This will be my first visit (I'm kind of a bad Swiss, though). Hence, I'm quite emotionally aroused.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Lame Resumé?

Question: When should I use XML?
Answer: When you need a buzzword in your resumé.

No idea what XML is? Then forget about your resumé and play some Buzz & Honey.

About Her- And Himicanes

Here in northern Switzerland, we are enjoying a couple of sunny and rain free days. When one can belive the local centennial calendar, these will be only ones in May.

But we can be lucky, other parts of the world have to face far worse, i.e. tropical cyclones. These violent storms originate over tropical or subtropical waters, and are characterized by violent rainstorms and high-velocity cyclonic winds. There are many weird words for it:
  • Hurricane in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Pacific Ocean east of the dateline, and the South Pacific Ocean east of 160°E
  • Typhoon in the Northwest Pacific Ocean west of the dateline
  • Willy-Willy in Australia.
The word hurricane comes from Spanish huracán. The Spanish took it from the Taíno hurákan. This is quite simple compared to typhoon:
The history of typhoon presents a perfect example of the long journey that many words made in coming to English. It traveled from Greece to Arabia to India, and also arose independently in China, before assuming its current form in our language. The Greek word tuphōn, used both as the name of the father of the winds and a common noun meaning “whirlwind, typhoon,” was borrowed into Arabic during the Middle Ages, when Arabic learning both preserved and expanded the classical heritage and passed it on to Europe and other parts of the world. Ṭūfān, the Arabic version of the Greek word, passed into languages spoken in India, where Arabic-speaking Muslim invaders had settled in the 11th century. Thus the descendant of the Arabic word, passing into English (first recorded in 1588) through an Indian language and appearing in English in forms such as touffon and tufan, originally referred specifically to a severe storm in India. The modern form of typhoon was influenced by a borrowing from the Cantonese variety of Chinese, namely the word taaîfung,Taaîfung, meaning literally “great wind,” was coincidentally similar to the Arabic borrowing and is first recorded in English guise as tuffoon in 1699. The various forms coalesced and finally became typhoon, a spelling that first appeared in 1819 in Shelley's Prometheus Unbound.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
This is not yet the end of hurricane trivia. Did you ever wonder, why it's not "himicane"? On this date in 1978 the US Department of Commerce had the chutzpah to declare that hurricanes would no longer be named exclusively after women. Why has this been done by the US Department of Commerce? What could I declare today?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Tigresa Is Back Twice

This evening, Tigresa returned from her six day (or so) trip to Scotland and is already back at work for a late night meeting. Nonetheless, we at Gomad Mansion hope for a detailed report on the Scottish soul in due course.

Weighted With Gold

I'm wearing ashcloth and ashes and will have to eat humble pie. I've missed my brother's fiftieth birthday! It will not be cheep to make up for this slackness. I reckon, it could work with some bottles of pretty good wine.

Last Thursday, at the confirmation dinner of a niece of mine, I could serve wine from Hans Bosch in Boltshausen (I was the waiter). My great grandmother had been an offspring of this Bosch family and Hans Bosch's grandfather was my father's godfather. This makes Bosch's wines kind of family wines for us.

Although, these wines are connected with my family, they are not the best choice for this purpose. It has to be something really special. However, I prefer a Swiss provenance. My brother is a Swiss farmer and one should honor one's soil.

Luckily, Gatín is a wine specialist and could recommend me a wine from the Bündner Herrschaft by Annatina Pelizzatti from Jenins. But, you should not halloo till you're out of the wood. This wine was sold out everywhere. A small wine shop in Zürich sold 1500 bottles within a few days. People seem to weight Annatina Pelizzatti's wines with gold.

Fortunately, Gatín is not only a wine specialist, but also a man with excellent connections. He could find another wine specialist, who is willing to sell me:
  • 3 bottles of Jeninser Pinot noir Barrique, 2002
  • 3 bottles of Sorso 2003, Annatina Pelizzatti, Jenins.
Annatina Pelizzatti is a member of the Artisanes of Vines and Wines. Artisanes are skilled female manual workers or craftswomen. Truly, Gatín made the right choice.

My First Damselfly

I've thought, I saw a dragonfly on Gomad Meadow this morning at 7 am. But Wikipedia told me that it must be a damselfly. They are similar to dragonflies, but the adults can be differentiated by the fact their wings are held along the body when at rest.

Whatever, I'm pretty proud to have found a damselfly on Gomad Meadow, which is on Gomad Balcony and therefore in a city (ok - at the edge to suburbia, but I pay urban tax rates and rent). I've seem many wild animal in Zürich, such as many foxes, a badger, a marten and hedgehogs. But this is my first damselfly.

One summer, I could hardly sleep because of a couple of mating hedgehogs. Hedgehog coupling seems to last a fortnight, includes high-pitched noise and has to be performed when decent citizens are supposed to sleep. Hedgehogs don't know quickies and don't suffer from premature ejaculation. Beware of lecherous hedgehogs.

iTMS Goes CH

One of the major injustices in a allegedly globalized world has been rectified. The iTunes Music Store is now also open (since midnight) in the land where milk chocolate has been invented. The bad new is that they have got DJ Bobo.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Out Of Season

In the 15th century, French poet, thief, and general vagabond François Villon wrote I am crazy for your strawberry lips.

I fully understand the longing for this divine fruit. However, all pleasure should be consumed deliberately. Especially all fruits that are accustomed to the Swiss climate and soil should be consumed in Switzerland in their Swiss season.

I know, the magazines are already packed with strawberry recipes and deluding pictures, the shops' fruit sections are covered with strawberries, and the restaurants promote strawberry deserts. I can only beg you to bridle your desire. The strawberries, which are now in the shops, are either imported or produced in greenhouses, both by wasting far too much resources. Domestic fruits can be picked when they are ripe and the transports can be kept reasonably short. Or do you want yourself make a collaborator of the war for oil that easily?

Just as a reminder, the Swiss fruit seasons:
  • Strawberries: begin of June until middle of August
  • Cherries: middle of June until middle of August
  • Apricots: July and August
  • Raspberries: July until middle of October
  • Currants: July and August
  • Blackberries: middle of July until end of September
  • Plums: begin of August until middle of October
  • Quinces: October until middle of November.
Added later:
It's quite easy to find out when the Apricot season starts, because the prices are raised significantly. That's because it's forbidden to import Apricots during the Swiss season and Swiss fruits are more expensive without the competition.

The Joy Of A Blossoming Balcony

Since the beginning spring, I've studied how to enrich Gomad Mansion's balcony by choosing different kind of flowers, spices, teas as well as meadow flowers. Now after many weeks of hard investigation and work, this venture is close to fulfillment. Let's have a look around this beautiful spot:

These flowers are on the ground because of the terrifying storm that has blown forcefully around Gomad Mansion. In the background behind the fence is Gomad Meadow. It has approximately the size of 1 m² and is supposed to blossom throughout spring, summer and autumn. On the left and in the middle are the 16 new geraniums, which I've planted yesterday. The empty pot will be for the tomatoes. But there is no point to plant them before the middle of May. Next to the tomatoe pot are the forget-me-not, which actually belong to Tigresa. The daisies in the corner are a constant source of pleasure and water supplying duty.

The green section consists of basil, parsley, chives, sage, English peppermint, Moroccan peppermint and lemon balm. The small one on the right is a Cobaea, which is a rapidly growing, perennial climber from Mexico. Let's give it some time to grow. It can reach the lenght of 10 m and will bear large, bell-shaped, purplish flowers. The rest of this section will not be allowed to blossom in order to not to loose their powers.

The flowers are supposed to blossom and bring joy from dawn to dusk. The lovely tulips are a present from Gatín. He has picked them on a muddy flower field. After that, he had to wash all his clothes and shoes. It's far too rainy in Switzerland right now.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Running Out Of Options

Back in March, I had to quit my business relationship ship with UBS because they did not care to treat me nicely enough. Now it seems that I have to do the same with Credit Suisse, because they push the last 100 Western Pacific Gray Whales to extinction! (read about)

15 years ago, I obeyed Bertolt Brecht's advice (What is a bank robbery compared to setting up a bank?) and co-founded the Alternative Bank of Switzerland (ABS). I'm running out of options and it looks like I have to put my money there. Although, ABS refuses to invest into weapons, which is my single source of income due to the lousy stock market.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Stormy Sturmfrei

The literal term sturmfrei (storm-free) is used German, when the parents are not home for at least one night. I have a kind of storm-free condition because my flatmate Tigresa is off to Scotland until next Tuesday.

Tigresa will have the opposite of sturmfrei. The weather forecast for Scotland can be summarized with cool, breezy and showery.

I've been there once with a friend in November. We could not afford to go to a sunny & cosy place and we believed in the prejudice that it rains in Scotland anyway. Hence, it would not make any difference to make a visit in November, when it rains at every affordable spot. It was indeed cool, breezy and showery. Without a doubt, Tigresa will confirm our rain prejudice in due course.

However, what the heck is the use of sturmfrei, when it's cool, breezy and showery in Switzerland too. We can't celebrate dirty parties on Gomad Mansion's balcony under such conditions.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Cool Picture

I've thought, it's time to modify the header design of this humble corner of the WWW. The spanking new header picture has been taken by acclaimed photographer Louis Brem on February 23rd, 2003 at N 63° 12´21.7" O 142° 36´33.1". This location is in Siberia, close to Oymyakon.

Oymyakon is known as the Northern Pole of Cold, because on January 26, 1926, a temperature of -71.2°C (-96 °F) was recorded there. This is the lowest temperature ever recorded in any locality on Earth that has permanent, year-round human habitation. It is also the lowest temperature recorded for the Northern hemisphere.

Here are some more pictures, we had taken on this trip:

Farha Means Hapiness

This morning at 8:55, elephant cow Ceyla-Himali gave birth to Farha. See how the cute wee lass discovers her cage on Zürich Zoo's livecam. Mother and baby are fine and healthy.

Caught In The Act

As an engineer, I see myself as a product of the age of Enlightenment. But OMG, I caught myself reading stuff of the age of Romanticism and it even touches me. What on earth (or heaven) are Gatín and Tigresa doing with me?
Der Glückliche

Ich hab ein Liebchen lieb recht von Herzen,
Hellfrische Augen hats wie zwei Kerzen,
Und wo sie spielend streifen das Feld,
Ach, wie so lustig glänzet die Welt!

Wie in der Waldnacht zwischen den Schlüften
Plötzlich die Täler sonnig sich klüften,
Funkeln die Ströme, rauscht himmelwärts
Blühende Wildnis - so ist mein Herz!

Wie vom Gebirge ins Meer zu schauen,
Wie wenn der Seefalk, hangend im Blauen,
Zuruft der dämmernden Erd, wo sie blieb? -
So unermeßlich ist rechte Lieb!

(Joseph von Eichendorff)

Monday, May 02, 2005

Vanquished Again

One of the things I force myself every spring is to vanquish my inner swine and to go by bike for the Lägern.

The Lägern is a small ridge close to Zürich. It's summit is 856 m asl. That is an elevation of 424 m from where I live. Riding up there is hard for the first 4 to 5 times every spring. After that, my body is used to this kind of exercise and it's poor fun again.

If I'm in good shape, it takes me exactly 1 hour to get there. Today, I had 1 hour 1 minute. That is 1.67% above my own benchmark. I never had such a good start, especially considering that my swim performance has been significantly below my expectations lately and that I'm 9% above my I were take my top off on a dancefloor weight. I reckon that good start is because:
  • The conditions were perfect (slightly warm, overcast, light breeze, last rain a couple of days ago)
  • Crawl is the better preparation for cycling than breaststroke
  • I had an excellent and strengthening dinner yesterday.

Lido Longing

One of the biggest mistakes on can do in Zürich, is not to swim. There are:
  • 7 indoor pools
  • 7 outdoor pools
  • 6 seaside lidos
  • 5 riverine lidos.
Temperatures are already above twenty degrees Celsius but unfortunately, the outdoor facilities will not be open until the 14th of May.

Some years ago, I took the opportunity to take an outdoor swim on the opening day. After half an hour, I had to leave the 17 degrees warm/cold water urgently to have a pee.

Gilded Discovery

Gonzalo Pizarro and Francisco de Orellana may had failed in their quest for El Dorado. At least, I have found a little one by trying to find out more about TACOS DORADOS.

While looking it up on the web, I found this great article on the regional differences in tacos in Mexico and even the Origins of the taco (Aztecs). There are morning tacos and night tacos. Discussed are TACOS DE CANASTA, TACOS DE BARBACOA, TACOS DE CABEZA, TACOS AL PASTOR, TACOS DE CARNITAS, TACOS DE FRITANGAS, TACOS DE CAZUELA, TACOS DORADOS, and TACOS DE PESCADO. It discusses ingredients, preparation, which regions serve these and the regional differences for each type.

TACOS DORADOS, also called taquitos or flautas, differ from other kinds of tacos in that they are rolled around a filling and fried until hard, rather than being made with soft tortillas folded around the filling. TACOS DORADOS are usually filled with shredded, cooked chicken or beef. They are topped with shredded lettuce, salsa, crema and grated cheese.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Spotless Labour Day

Breakfast supposed to be the most important meal of the day. However, one should not underestimate dinner. I reckon that thanks to Gatín, I had the best dinner possible to end this marvelous first summer weekend of the year. This meal was even a quite international one. Well, at least from a Swiss farm boy's point of view.

The dinner served on Gomad Mansion's balcony consisted of Spanish Gazpacho, followed by Mexican Tacos Dorados, both accompanied by Norman Cidre Bouché Fermier. Yes, I know that I'm a lucky marten.