Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Wolf Finally Makes Me Smile

I’m on a shitty assignment here in Spain. I sweat like a pig (it's too hot for the season), I have to work on the deck of a ship under construction (think juggling two notebooks with numerous cables attached to them, while on your left a bloke is welding, on your right a bloke is painting, behind your back an angle grinder is squeezing, and you try not to be hit by an erratically swinging gun barrel), have hardly any support from home base (caring employer's IT services are in Armageddonal disarray), Toño is not here to comfort me, and I'm not even paid for this (I reached my monthly working hours days ago and my contract does not entitle me to be paid for overtime). In other words, I rather moody and sulky*.

I tried to calm me a bit today by sipping some beer, while reading some of those amazing blogs out there (when for a change the hotel's internet is not down). That's how I came to Formysake's blog, who does some community service by dedicating a video for those among us, who are experiencing autumnal doldrums. I though, wow, good video. But then there was another one on the bottom of the post and WOW! That finally turned my mood!

Here is a comparison with the original:

And finally, the story behind:

*Although I haven't got the body for it, I would probably be a good prostitute, since I endure shitty circumstances much better when being paid for it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Toño Caught Sleeping at Work

Toño called me earlier today and kindly asked me to modify some posts I made, which were related to an event his caring employer had organised.

A colleague of him had googled the event to find out how it was covered by this fabulous thingy called the internet and if some this stuff of it could make it into a press set. Well, this is what she had found:

The name of this event is now erased from these pages. Sorry Toño for bringing you into this awkward situation, but I could look at you for ages, especially when you are sleeping. ...and when I'm away, I can look at this picture.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pilar & Thierry

...ont décidé d'unir leurs destinées*, as they wrote in their invitation. This will be celebrated today in French part of Switzerland at the banks of Lake Geneva. In other words, I will be exposed all day (& night) to the standardized langue d'oïl. But I'm not here to complain, I'm honoured to celebrate with Pilar & Thierry, their friends and family.

[so much bigger]
Here, Toño is explaining to Pilar and Thierry how vertjus is made (back in July)

* Pilar and Thierry have decided to unite their destinies.

Saturday Flowers

Friday, October 23, 2009

Home Alone

I think recession finally got hold of me. But I reckon, I have to go back 2 years that you understand, what I'm talking about.

Toño's caring employer is the organizer of the award show for the cream of the crop of Swiss wines. This prize was awarded the first time two years ago. The award show was followed by a gala dinner at the 5-star Bellevue Palace in Bern. The dinner went over 5 courses and was accompanied by 10 top short-listed wines. Toño did not only manage to get me on the guest list, we also got a big complimentary room at the Bellevue Palace.

Last year, I was given a schedule: from 5 pm till 6:15 pm I had to work as cloakroom attendant. From 6:15 pm till 8 pm I was a scene shifter, changing one tasting set to another. From 8 pm till 11 pm I was tending the bar at the tasting. For all this, dress code was stricly "black". At the end I received a warm handshake, a kiss and a box of leftover wine.

Well this year, I was asked to stay at home, while Toño has to do all work alone before he will drop into his single bed at a 3-star hotel.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Language is a Virus

Associating is a fascinating function of our brain. First I read Planetx_123's experiences with TV news and then I learned from Suf n Steve that it's Dictionary Day. I guess it was the combination of those two, which lead my brain to tell the conscious part it that I haven't heard this song for years:

Apple Waie

In a comment to an apple post by MartininBroda, naturgesetz wrote:

there's no better way to use apples than in a good old fashioned simple apple pie — just apples and sugar and pie crust, maybe the lightest touch possible of cinnamon and/or a drop or two of lemon juice, if you must. But it should taste of apples, not a lot of other stuff, and it doesn't need other ingredients to make it "interesting."

We have such a dish that might please naturgesetz' palate. It is called Wähe or Waie, which is Alemannic German. But there are various names for it. I personally call it Dünnle. I only know four other people who called by that name.

Whatever, a Waie is basically a short pastry shell with shallow sides, no top crust, and any of various fillings, such as fruits, cheese or onions.

This is how I make an Apple Waie:

I like baking but I loath making short pastry dough, thus I usually buy it ready made. I like the taste of whole grain flour for this dish, but my supermarket of choice has recently replaced that with an organic white flour version. Meh.

Put the flattened pastry on a buttered baking tray, pull up the edges a little and pierce the dough repeatedly with a fork. Sprinkle a thin layer of ground hazelnuts onto the dough.

Peel the apples, remove the core and cut to thin slices. It is not essential to use a gold-plated peeler, but it feels so much better. For the apples I recommend the Boskoop variety, or any type that is rather tart and keeps its shape when cooked. Arrange the apple slices like a shutter is constructed (or how would you describe this?)

For the filling I use 2 dl of cream, 1 egg, some vanilla sugar and some ground cinnamon. Beat it briefly but firmly before pouring it over the Waie.

Bake it for 25 to 30 minutes at 250°C/480°F.

My mother used to serve tea to Apple Waie (this was the only time we drunk tea at home besides of when being sick), however, it also goes perfectly well with some champagne.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Fabulous Tasters

As announced, Toño. & I were on telly last night (see show), however, there was not much to see apart from our spotless tasting technique.

So after my elbow, another body part got some seconds of fame.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Many Thanks Indeed!

Many thanks indeed for all the well wishes to our first anniversary and the lovely present by Mr.Mac :) I hope you will get many chances to repeat this. By the way, the video I posted made Toño to contemplate taking up tango classes again.

In other news: we might be on telly tonight. No, it is not because of our anniversary. During our holidays at Mas Du Soleilla, a journalist made a portrait of our host and we were filmed tasting wine and slurping oysters. Toño even had to give an interview. The journalist filmed for three days and I have no idea if any footage of us made it into the 12' feature. If you want to find out by yourself, it'll be on Cash TV, tonight at 10:20pm Central European Summer Time (UTC+2) on the channel SF2.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Flowers - Anniversary Bonus Edition

A year ago, Toño & I used this pen... register our partnership in that room with the red chairs. Reason enough to sneak out of bed early this morning and to travel to the farmer's market to get the above bouquet for Toño :)

Celebrations we be continued at tonight's premier of Madama Butterfly at Zurich Opera House. Unlike for the market, I will get shaved until then.

Well, it's a year now and I love this song. Just ignore that it's sung in the past tense ;)

Saturday Flowers

Outside the milking parlour on the farm.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I'm just following the herd

It looks like everybody is answering these 65 questions and who wants to stand apart more than absolutely necessary...

1. First thing you wash in the shower?
First I let my body get drenched by the flow, after that I follow a top to bottom approach.

2. What colour is your favourite hoodie?
All my hoddies are blue.

3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?
Yes, and I hope I will never get bored of it.

4. Do you plan outfits every day?
Yes, as it has to be adapted to my anticipated activities of the day.

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now?

6. What's the closest thing to you that's red?
Handle of a screwdriver, which I needed to loose the brake of my bike (I think it got stuck due to the nastily cold weather) ¦¦edited¦¦ the pads were worn down

7. The last dream you remember having?
It is one I had with 5, which included 5 m high pink cats, which slashed people with blades they had instead of the usual paws. Where they passed, the ground submerged into a pink flood.

8. Did you meet anybody new today?
Not really.

9. What are you craving right now?
A working brake on my town bike. ¦¦edited¦¦ cute bike mechanic fixed them, new craving: cuddling with Toño

10. Do you floss?
I should.

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?

12. Are you emotional?
The older I get the worse it gets.

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?
I might have.

14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?
One should not bite in things than can be licked.

15. Do you like your hair?
Its' a bit of a nuisance actually.

16. Do you like yourself?
More often than not.

17. Would you go out to eat with George Bush?

18. What are you listening to right now?
The fan of my computer.

19. Are your parents strict?
My siblings had cleared the path for me.

20. Would you go sky diving?
I don't see the point of sky diving.

21. Do you like cottage cheese?
I eat it, but I wouldn't kill for it.

22. Have you ever met a celebrity?
Only D list ones.

23. Do you rent movies often?
Once is not often enough to say yes, thus no.

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in?
Do I pass as sparkly?

25. How many countries have you visited?
38, but I've never crossed the equator. I'm afraid of the sun shining from the wrong side.

26. Have you made a prank phone call?
In the army we used to call two different insurances or banks and then connected the two called on the switchboard, and eavesdropped on their reaction. We were very bored at the switchboard.

27. Ever been on a train?
I have been renewing my yearly subscription for the all-year all Switzerland ticket for 26 years. I might have been that I actually used that ticket occasionally.

28. Brown or white eggs?
To make Easter eggs, I prefer whites, apart of that I'm quite indifferent.

29. Do you have a cell-phone?
Unfortunately, and there are two of them.

30. Do you use chap stick?
During winter and always when it's too late.

31. Do you own a gun?
Not any more.

32. Can you use chop sticks?
I failed a bit when eating spare-rips.

33. Who are you going to be with tonight?

34. Are you too forgiving?

35. Ever been in love?
Yeah and it is not supposed to end.

36. What is your best friend(s) doing tomorrow?
Swimming and cuddling with me.

37. Ever have cream puffs?
*googles cream puffs* Yes.

38. Last time you cried?
While watching episode 5 of glee.

39. What was the last question you asked?
To the trough? (meaning: Do you join me for dinner?)

40. Favorite time of the year?
The beginnings of the seasons.

41. Do you have any tattoos?
No and no desire to get one.

42. Are you sarcastic?
Never, that would be such a nasty trait.

43. Have you ever seen The Butterfly Effect?
No, but butterflies affect me.

44. Ever walked into a wall?
I prefer doorposts and poles.

45. Favorite color?

46. Have you ever slapped someone?
Yes. But I strangled somebody only once (because of an Easter egg).

47. Is your hair curly?
The once I give a chance to be it.

48. What was the last CD you bought?
Touch by Yello

49. Do looks matter?
I do not mind when it comes with the package.

50. Could you ever forgive a cheater?
Officially? No.

51. Is your phone bill sky high?
I hate talking over the phone. The text part is far higher than the voice part of the bill.

52. Do you like your life right now?
Yes, I do.

53. Do you sleep with the TV on?
Snoozing does not count as sleeping, does it?

54. Can you handle the truth?

55. Do you have good vision?
A tiny bit better than the one of a mole.

56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people?
I'm bad at hating but since it includes "dislike", yes.

57. How often do you talk on the phone?
As rarely as possible, with rare exceptions.

58. The last person you held hands with?

59. What are you wearing?
Blue merino polo by howies, wifebeater by Hanro, corduroy trousers in a undefined colour, brown American Apparel briefs, wool socks, black Lacoste trainers, a watch, a ring & contacts.

60.What is your favorite animal?
Bears & cats.

61. Where was your default picture taken at?

62. Can you hula hoop?
I guess not.

63. Do you have a job?
I get paid for showing up regularly.

64. What was the most recent thing you bought?

65. Have you ever crawled through a window?
Yes. In the army we usually had to throw a hand-grenade first, and the crawling part should had been closer to a jump. Which I not really managed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Witty Opponents

I've mentioned it before, we Swiss have to decide on grave matters all the time. Like some weeks ago, we raised our own taxes to put the disabled support on a sounder financial basis. You see, sometimes people even decide in a sensible manner at the ballot box.

I've also mentioned it before that there will be two items on the ballot of the November 29 polling which are raising tempers here and now:
  1. Prohibition of minarets in Switzerland
  2. Export ban on Swiss arms.

While the second one simply would get me to loose my job, be cast out and shoved into the lumpenproletariat*, the minaret prohibition is the one that's flooding the media.

The forces behind the initiative have used the old tactic to produce a poster that is hard at the legal and moral limits (picture below on the left), causing authorities to debate whether it should be banned or not, and thus causing a lot of media fuss, which brings the poster to people's attention without the need to hang it up anywhere (I'm no better by doing it here and now as well).

A small left wing party here in Zürich finally found the right answer, by producing a persiflage for the second initiative (picture below on the right). Although, I do not condone the message of the poster, I have concede the folks significant wit and repartee, which is such a rare quality in politics.

Nevertheless, I urge my fellow compatriots to support us hard-working blue collar guys, which really only want to help the rest of the (nicer part of the) world to defend themselves and occasionally like to have a warm soup at dinner.

* I know, I prosper on the misery of the world, although I have far too many scruples to be a banker.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kylie's Chiggy Wiggy

The Bollywood underwater thriller Blue will premier this Friday in India, and Chiggy Wiggy, Kylie's collaboration with Oscar-winning A. R. Rahman is already the first ever appearance of an international artist in the Top 20 Indian Airplay charts.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Overwhelmed With Glee

Thanks to the kind support provided by Château Mac we finally had the chance to see the first episodes of this new telly series Glee and I am glad to report that both Toño and Mr. Urs are in state of joyful exuberance. In simpler words: We actually like it.

Now we must no mess it up with Château Mac to keep Glee streaming to our humble residence.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Simple Pleasures - Oatmeal Soup

It is only 7 weeks until my Swiss compatriots will decide whether I will loose my job, be cast out and shoved into the lumpenproletariat*. Thus it seems appropriate to see if there is a life beyond hedonistic indulgence. Like today, when I decided not to go for the traditional Sunday roast and made some oatmeal soup instead.

Ingredients for 4 plates:
  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • 3 tbsp of oatmeal
  • 0.8 litre of stock
  • 1 small leek
  • some bangers (which might only be permitted temporarily- to smooth the transition)

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the oatmeal and fry it for a bit, before you add the chopped leek. Reduce the heat and keep stirring until the leek has softened.

Add the stock. Season and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, add the chopped bangers and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve the soup with some bread. You should buy the bread a day in advance since people eat less bread, when it is a bit stale.

* The initiative for an export ban on Swiss arms is on the ballot of the November 29 polling. The other initiative, the Swiss will have to decide on that date is the prohibition of minarets in Switzerland. Both are amendments to the constitution. We Swiss have the tendency to put the weirdest things into the constitution. Like we constitutionally prohibited both Absinthe and the Society of Jesus, nevertheless, both have been legalized some years ago, since we Swiss apparently have gained in strength to withstands such threads to society. However, some seem to think that the Swiss are not quite ready for harmful effects of minarets, and that world peace might suffer due to my ingenious mind.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Two Pylons & Why A Duck?

Maybe it's the engineer in me, however, I'm totally fascinated by the two pylons which supply the peninsula of Cádiz with power. It could also be their spellbinding Flash Gordon like design. They are the first landmarks you see when you come to Cádiz after you passed the huge cranes of the Navantia shipyard.

The 160 m high pylon on the Puerto Real side:

The 156 m high pylon on the Cádiz side:

Here is some more trivia about the pylons.

Talking about a peninsula... this is my favourite peninsula joke. It is from the film The Cocoanuts by the Marx Brothers:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Sunset at Playa de la Victoria

(alternative title: perving at the beach)

I'm on a business trip again. Like last week I'm at Cádiz in south-western Spain.

Today, I went for an evening stroll along the Playa de la Victoria, which turned out to be quite a popular place among the young and handsome for a twilight jog :p

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Friday, October 02, 2009

Discovering Urbanity

One of the most influential persons of my teenage years was David Byrne*. However, what I did not know was that all those years, he had also been an urban cyclist.

David Byrne travels a lot and likes to take a folding bike with him. His musing, thoughts and discoveries from those urban bike rides all over the globe made it now between two book covers. So far, I only snuck a peek, but I reckon this book will be a perfect travel companion.

* Like I played Stop Making Sense thin and transparent. There is no other record I put on the turntables more often.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

I *heart* Tugs

I can't help it, but tugboats are just amazing. If I had known better as a boy, I would had wished to become a tugboat skipper. This is definitely a dream job up there on the bridge with the huge clear view screens, and sufficient thrust in the hull to push around big boys* at will. Must be an orgasmic feeling.

* sorry, big ladies of course (urgh!)