Sunday, November 27, 2005


My way back from Malaysia was full of reading. First, I finished Tolstoy's War and Peace in the restored original version, which I started reading in August 2004. Then I opened Jamie O'Neill's first published novel Disturbance, which turned out to be a real page-turner. I interrupted my reading only for a massage, the boarding and a nap. I managed to finish it five minutes before the plane touched down in Zürich this morning.
In the back of my mind, I knew, I was fiddling with something close to a madness. I had a notion to tamper with the jigsaw. Just, say, a quarter of a quarter of a corner of it. The idea was outrageous. Disrupting all that beautiful symmetry. My fingers tingled with the mere conception.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Ho Let His Hair Down

This week we passed the acceptance test of the first patrol vessel in a project that I joined six years ago. When Ho, our head of the local team, started his work here at the ship yard, he arrived with a crewcut. From that day on he stopped cutting his hair until the day, we passed the test:

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Plunging Bird's Nests

The bird flue scare is also taking heavy toll on traders of bird's nest in Malaysia. Prices have plunged by up to 35%. However, the price of top-grade bird's nest "harvested" from caves is holding up at RM 12000 per kg (over CHF 4000).

Monday, November 14, 2005

Huge Tumble Turnover

I've been practicing front crawl for quite some time, however, I've never managed to do a proper Tumble Turn. Finally last Friday, I started practicing. The first attempts were horrible and included:
  • water in the nose
  • breathlessness
  • giddiness.
In the course of the weekend, I made over 200 tumble turns. The movement is still far from perfect, but at least I got rid off the above problems. Nevertheless, I'm still not quite able to do the following in a swift and harmonic movement:
  • Swim to the wall quickly
  • Forward somersault when you see the "T" on the bottom of the pool
  • Tuck your head in tight
  • Put your feet on the wall approx. 0.5 m under the surface
  • Stretch arms out before you push away from the wall
  • After a brief gliding phase, start with either a flutter kick or a butterfly kick before surfacing no more than 15 m from the wall.

As you can see, there is no "T" on the bottom of the pool. But I don't think that's the problem...

Friday, November 11, 2005


The Christmas gift bringer in Southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein is the Christkind (Christ Child). This has originally been invented by Martin Luther. However, this relieved St. Nicolas (Santa Claus) from this task and we assigned him a new one. His feast day is December 6, presumably the date of his death. On this day, St. Nicolas is handing out presents on a per-behavior basis to the children. But he threatens to put bad children in a sack and take them back to the Black Forest.

My friend Sirpa is celebrating this day in another way. She allows the ladies of her fitness class to bring their partners along. I just made her the flyer for this year's Chlausfitten:

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Jackson's Wedding

Mr. Jackson Lim Jan Shin & Miss Chee Su San are solemnizing their Sacrament of Holy Matrimony today. We from Gomad Mansion™ are sending our warmest congratulations to you both and wish you a lifetime of happiness and prosperity.

I will deliver the official present from the ON Zürich Office first thing next week to Malaysia:

We will provide our lovebirds the perfect Champagne for the occasion: Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs 1995 by Taittinger.

We can be grateful that there are archetypes, monuments, and values, to which one can still adhere. The 95 Comtes de Champagne is one of those. Even more mature, creamy and lascivious than we were used, fresher, more aromatic and complex, incomprehensible, finally at the acme.

Our Simple Life

Although we're literally swimming in money at Gomad Mansion™, we still know how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life:

In Bed With Mammon

It's cold and rainy outside. Nevertheless, my face brightened up while reading the stocks section in bed this morning:

One of my mutual funds has passed through the 50% earning level this year. This gives plenty of cash that can be used for worshipping Bacchus and Dionysus.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Foiling Fear

Terror does not only brighten up my résumé. It is also a great motivator in design, as an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art shows:
SAFE: Design Takes On Risk, presents more than 300 contemporary products and prototypes designed to protect body and mind from dangerous or stressful circumstances, respond to emergencies, ensure clarity of information, and provide a sense of comfort and security. These objects address the spectrum of human fears and worries, from the most mundane to the most exceptional, from the dread of darkness and loneliness to the threat of earthquakes and terrorist attacks.

Becoming an Expert

I had to fly abroad to attend a task force meeting with representatives of a government agency to discuss options and means to protect their naval forces against asymmetric threats. Moi, who can hardly tell the difference between a gun and a toaster*, had to talk about the effectiveness of guns and ammunitions against terrorists and their potential collateral damage. I somehow wiggled my ass through and can now at least add a new line to my résumé: Expert on asymmetric threats and counter-terrorism.

* both are loaded, charged and eject something really hot.