Monday, June 26, 2006

Every Bleeding Summer

This bloke looks quite harmless...

...nonetheless, every bleeding summer, this allotment gardener starts his two-stroke cycle water pump at exactly the time when I'm trying to have a few quiet moments on my balcony. I live close to a busy airport and there are about seven railway lines at spitting distance. However, none of those makes a fraction of the noise this tiny little pump does.

Go Southwest

Last week I was in northern Germany, this week I will travel in the opposite direction. To Cádiz actually, the coastal city in southwestern Spain, which was founded by Heracles after killing Geryon.

Unfortunately, neither La Playa de la Caleta nor de la Victoria nor de Santa María del Mar will be among the places I going to spend some quality time. Never mind, I don't like sand anyway. What really bothers me is the fact that I'm going to miss Eels, Massive Attack and Franz Ferdinand, which are performing on Friday evening here in Switzerland.

Just coincidentally, a revolt that started 1820 in Cádiz lead to the imprisonment of King Ferdinand VII of Spain. Of course, this is nothing compared to the things that started after Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. Not that anything of this has anything to do with me going southwest.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Summer Salads

This was a perfectly relaxed weekend. The weather was gentle (besides of the thunderstorm) and we did things one does on a relaxed weekend, such as paying the Fabergé egg exhibition a visit. On the culinary side, we went for checking out a wide range of different salads.

Lukewarm Chicken Salad with Lentils

It's easy, scrumptious and you will not starve after this.

Rag Soup

The red and white radish and the cucumber are marinated in the vinaigrette. This makes them a bit floppy, and thus this salad is probably called Rag Soup. Add sufficient Tilsiter cheese and serve it with boiled potatoes and you can't fail.

Lukewarm Oven Potato Salad

This was the most time consuming salad. It took about 40 minutes to prepare. However, it was also the most nutritious choice we hade.

Summer Salad with Green Omelette

This one took only a tiny little bit longer than making an omelette, but it's much more delicious. It was the most summery choice of all. It's fast luscious and lets you plenty of time for the important things in summer.

A Sparrow Among Hawks

Some weeks ago, I've been offered a position in another department. I'm supposed to make a decision by this Monday, but I've still haven't made up my mind. It would be a job in the Naval Systems Product Management and among my tasks would be to supervise my current department (Naval Systems Development). What are the odds?
  • Plus: It's the winning team in the limelight (at least for now).
  • Plus: I'm a bit bored right now (I'm always bored when I know the ropes)
  • Plus: It's strategic
  • Plus: Shorter business trips
  • Negative: Responsibilities are fuzzily defined (i.e. not at all)
  • Negative: It's more meetings and paperwork and less tangible
  • Negative: About the same amount of travel but no sailing on warships anymore
  • Negative: More suits.

But things got more complicated on Friday, when my boss gave his notice. He has some sever health issues and thus has to adapt his life to them, i.e. he is moving to Denmark. He recommended me to his boss as his successor. Nontheless, the changes for getting actually appointed are slim. Our company is in a deep leanfleshed kine period and people are not hiding their knives. We had loads of lay-offs lately and there are a lot of under-worked middle-managers (why are they always sacked last?). I don't think that they will choose the youngest candidate at hand, with very little political connections.

Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Han Hecho Un Gran Esfuerzo

... but unfortunately México did not prevail against Argentina.

May Zee Germans choke on Argentina.


Tomorrow, Toño and I can celebrate our 18 month anniversary. But somehow, we just couldn't wait and have already begun with the festivities...

By the way, this is my 500th post on gomad's experiences.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Noble Present

Both my beloved Toño and I were on business trips this week. While I spent time in northern Germany on a pointless meeting, Toño could travel to Geneva for an exclusive wine tasting. But Toño did not only choose the better trip, he also behaved far better than I did by bringing me a present:

It's a "Caran d'Ache Varius Ivanhoe Metal". Truly a knightly present with it's stainless steel coat of mail, silver-plated and rhodium-coated body, cap and trims. Bring in the contracts. I'm ready to sign.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Soundtrack of Verano

One of the most delicate things to choose every year is the soundtrack for the summer. It has to match perfectly with the personal groove and the spirit of the current summer. Every year, we have to deal with a different combination. Searching for the perfect tune is hopeless. But you have to be open and ready to catch it when it enters you life.

Lila Downs' new release La Cantina is my soundtrack of this years summer - especially El Relámpago, a son del a tierra caliente. Lila Downs entered my life like lightning (relámpago) and her music matches with my whole range my feelings from impassionate to melancholic. The vibes are correlating.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


According to popular apprehension, labour unions are a workplace, where workers interests come first. I thought the same. Forget about it. This is just a fairy tale view of the world.

My former flatmate Tigresa works (or better worked) with one - it's called UNiA. Solidarity and handling employees' matters responsibly are not among their brightest qualities. To call it a snake pit would be an insult for snakes.

Word came through that Tigresa was severely mobbed. What did her boss, the asp she was nourishing at her bossom of success, instead of standing by her through thick and thin? He was sleuthing for the hidden truth behind the nasty backstabbing. It looks like Tigresa will have to move ahead to a brighter place.

I dare to say that it was written on the wall (Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin) or what would you say to an organisation (i.e. UNiA) that force their attractive employees to walk in scandalously unattractive and shapeless cloths in public:

Friday, June 16, 2006

Coming Clean

...or how pink Martini got me on an Ambulance.

We've decided to follow the invitation of an old friend of mine and behave far younger than we are. In a fortnight, we will go to the Openair St. Gallen to get our share of Woodstock for the year.

I thought that I had to use this opportunity and inform Toño about a dark spot in my past, which is related to an Openair St. Gallen many many moons ago.

The Openair St. Gallen is infamous for being rather muddy. It's always raining. Like it was in 1996, when, despite the rain, we were in a rather good mood. Of course, we had a couple of drinks. If my memory does not fail me, I had several litres of beer and almost 1½ litre of Martini, when, while King Changó were performing, I decided to call it a day. This was probably a tine little bit too late. Right in the middle of a really muddy area, I stopped and put myself to rest. Here stops my memory. My friend told me that he feared that I would suffocate in the mud. He asked some staff for help and they called an ambulance to get me out of there.

The weird thing was that when I finally woke up on a big plastic sheet on the floor of the first aid tent, I did not even had a hangover.

This picture was taken at the Openair St. Gallen four years ago (or six years after the incident). I publish it, although the Macs have good reasons to not like the bloke in the back anymore.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A New Level

Whoever happens to drop by this site frequently must have noticed that I lost my heart to Toño. To my luck, he's reciprocating my feelings more than I ever deserved. We hooked up about one and a half years ago and it took not a long time until things got very serious. Our sleeves were sucked in (to use a Swiss metaphor).

Nonetheless, things are evolving rapidly. Not a long time ago, we've discovered that we are starting to connect on a telepathic level. E.g. out of the blue I start to talk about a subject, Toño was just thinking of. Or today, I sent him an email, telling he should visit a webpage. Toño did it after I had sent it, but before he read my note.

Where will this lead to? What will come next?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Button On Fire

I'm working on a new promotion button for the fabulous The Rover Company. The working theme of the coming-up image campaign is roveri ferveri. This is Latin and translates fervid rovers. Hence, the button should express great passion and intense emotions. Further it is supposed to arouse extremely hot and burning associations.

In my first attempts I added a heart or a rose to logo of The Rover Company. That didn't work. These versions were as meek as a lamb. Then I started to play with the fire and published a version with a fire from the top in the background. It failed, and not even admirably. People thought that it shows a pizza.

This is my latest version. I hope it transmits the message.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Toño, ¡feliz día de tu santo!

Today is the feast day of Saint Anthony of Padua, this makes today also the namesday of my deriously beloved Toño!

Everyone who is blessed to know Toño clearly understands, why Saint Anthony is one of the most beloved of saints.

Toño, many happy returns of the day!

Watch TV!

This is a reminder to ensure that you watch the game tonight! Understood?! Yes, The Frogs vs. The Swiss. Toño and I need the pool all for ourselves.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Relaxing At Work

What a weekend! Perfect weather, good friends, food and wine. What more does one need? Nevertheless, we found some things to fill the gabs between the above mentioned:

Turning 8 kg of tortillas into tacos dorados and mixing loads of different hot and even hotter salsas:

Making over 200 fruity sticks:

Setting up a buffet:

Frying tacos:

Bailar all night:

Laughing in the woods:

Rafting down the river Rhine:

Although of a reported water temperature of about 16°C/61°F, I could not resist the temptation and spend over an hour in the river, swimming and floating around the raft. So totally refreshing.

A brilliant but tough weekend. I'm glad that I'm back at work to relax.

Friday, June 09, 2006

First Century S/W

If you want to be pushing the envelope, you're supposed to have daring, young and dynamic engineers on your team. We work in a quite different manner. There is actually none younger than the magic 38.5 on our team (I'm the chicken). But it's not all gloom and doom, there is still a lot to learn from these old guns, who claim that software was already invented before Java was born in the early 1990s. They like to ask tricky questions, such as "Why are computers booting?"* or "Why do we have to deal with endians"**.

Whatever, one of my senior colleagues has brought me an article*** on Heron of Alexandria. This Greek engineer stored programs on pegged cylinders to control the scenery shift of theatrical performances. Heron lived in the first century. I reckon even he relied on the work of predecessors.

* see Baron Münchhausen
** see Gulliver’s Travels
*** W. Walther, "Die Gespeircherten Programme des Heron von Alexandria" [The Stored Programs of Heron of Alexandria], Elektronische Rechenanlagen, Vol. 15, No. 3, 1973, pp. 113-118.

Ensuring a Hot Summer

Here in northern Switzerland, we are enjoying a couple of sunny and rain free days. When one can believe the local centennial calendar*, there will not be many until the middle of July (sorry folks).

At least for now, it's getting hotter day by day. Nevertheless, I do not want rely solely on the untrustworthy weather. Thus, I've got myself a reassurance for a really hot summer:

I've got this six chili peppers from our swim coach (she's a jack of many trades). There are all kind of different varieties: hot, mild, sweet and even one with a touch of lemon. I can't wait to taste them.

But if my green thumb fails, I still can rely on Toño. That means, it will be a Hot Summer against all the odds.

* Appenzeller Kalender 2006 SG/TG/SH/GR

Thursday, June 08, 2006


We're on the eve of the FIFA World Cup and people are closing ranks behind their teams. I could not care less. It's just another of those games that involves balls*. Nevertheless, this bloke has chutzpah to display a German flag in Switzerland:

In Switzerland you can barrack for anything but Zee Germans. We would rather cheer at Turkey or Iran, if they scored a goal. We've broken with Zee Germans for good and all, when we had defeated them in the Swabian War of 1499!

* I'm crap at any ball game, except the ones that can be summarized as horizontal limbo. But there I prefer the terms huevos or cojones.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Laundry for Dummies

  1. Fill dirty clothes into laundry machine
  2. Add detergent
  3. Close door
  4. Connect hose to the tap
  5. Put other hose into the tub
  6. Choose program to start the process.
It's not that difficult and I did it many times before, however, something went terribly wrong between step 4 and 6. Luckily, I still haven't installed that socket and use an extension cord. The connector on the bathroom floor let the fuse trip before the entire apartment was flooded. And again, the world was saved by procrastination.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Chilling Out at Solis

We used the Pentecost weekend (which, in Switzerland, includes Monday) to do absolutely nothing but enjoying some good food and wine with some friends in the pleasant atmosphere of Solis in Grisons.

On Sunday, just to keep up appearances, we made a ride to Juf, the highest perennially inhabited village of Europe (2126 m or 6975 feet asl). On our way back, we stopped at the Rofflaschlucht and took a walk under the river Rhine.

However, now it's over with abandoning ourselves to idleness. We have to catch up with our chores and running errands.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Spanking New Speedos

I failed big time, I promised to bring Toño's swimming gear, when the Katalin Sharks (our swim group) went to the pool yesterday evening. But I brought only mine. I tried to make good for my egoistic behaviour by buying Toño a spanking new pair of Speedos in a nearby store. I could not resist the temptation an bought me one as well.

We went to the downtown indoor pool, a.k.a. "City". The chickens (aka Katalin Sharks) were just not keen to go to an outdoor pool, because it's still freezingly cold. So we had to squeeze ourselves into the narrow and tense lanes of the City. I was kicked everywhere but my head. The most scaring area of the City are the showers. It's a sordid place, but heaven for both exhibitionists and voyeurs.

A change of scenery is planed for the Pentecost weekend. We will go to the mountains with some friends. This is a picture Stoipi took of me up there last year:

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Language is a Virus

The only way to get into a foreign culture is by learning the language. The great thing about this is that you not only learn a language, but also get loads of new inspirations and knowledge as a side dish. We me, this unfortunately failed with French (I had to learn it at school but it was an absolute disaster. My mother still rolls her eyes when you bring up this subject). However, it worked pretty with English and the weird Anglo-Saxon world and with Russian. Right now, I'm working on Spanish.

In yesterday's Spanish class we had to read a text about the Reconquista, when we had one of those side dishes. Did you know that Alcohol is of Arabic origin? When I recall correctly, Alcohol is supposed to be prohibited their religion. Here is an extract from a dictionary:
The al– in alcohol may alert some readers to the fact that this is a word of Arabic descent, as is the case with algebra and alkali, al- being the Arabic definite article corresponding to the in English. The origin of –cohol is less obvious, however. Its Arabic ancestor was kuḥl, a fine powder most often made from antimony and used by women to darken their eyelids; in fact, kuḥl has given us the word kohl for such a preparation. Arabic chemists came to use al-kuḥl (الكحول) to mean “any fine powder produced in a number of ways, including the process of heating a substance to a gaseous state and then recooling it.” The English word alcohol, derived through Medieval Latin from Arabic, is first recorded in 1543 in this sense. Arabic chemists also used al-kuḥl to refer to other substances such as essences that were obtained by distillation, a sense first found for English alcohol in 1672. One of these distilled essences, known as “alcohol of wine,” is the constituent of fermented liquors that causes intoxication. This essence took over the term alcohol for itself, whence it has come to refer to the liquor that contains this essence as well as to a class of chemical compounds such as methanol.
More about yesterday's Spanish class at Cocinar con Chilo.
By the way, you can brush up your French with a Dirty French Lesson.