Friday, February 26, 2010


I think everybody who is risking his neck for a few coins every workday and is not self-employed is suffering from crappy organisational structures. Or at least so do I. Thus I read the statement by a business consultant, trying to sell his organisation improvement method, with a tiny bit of satisfaction:

For works councils and labour unions threatening with work-to-rule has become an effective leverage, because everybody knows that nothing gets done if everybody sticks to the rules of the organisation.

That's it for work till Monday. Me - out - now.

Saturday Flowers

by Royal Copenhagen

Whoops, that was not supposed to show up till tomorrow. Well TGIF, so don't complain. I wish you a fabulous finish of the work week :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

México is Calling!

My former flatmate Tigresa gave Toño and me a yearly subscription of Du, a Swiss magazine on culture, as a Christmas present. Today, we received the March issue, a special about 200 years of México's Independence from Spain.

Coincidentally yesterday, Toño was chanting...

Banderita, banderita.
Banderita tricolor,
Yo te doy toda mi vida
Y también mi corazón.

... because it was Mexican Flag Day. And it was only a week ago that we booked a trip to México for Easter. A niece of Toño will be baptised. So far, 300 guests have been invited. We were asked to share the cost for the band. I happily agreed, though I did not know yet that it will be Banda music. Not really my favourite kind of entertainment. But I reckon, it will be 1 against 299.

We will only be in México for a couple of weeks. Toño signed up again with his former employer, and they will be in the middle of the relaunch of their magazine. It was even difficult to get this break.

So till then, I should get a chance to read this issue of Du. I only breezed through it, and it looks really promising. Many thanks, Tigresa.

Update at 11:30pm
  • Toño's sister Silvia gave birth to a cute girl in Morelia.
  • Toño is right know on the phone with relatives in Los Angeles, and what I understood from the Spanish conversation, we will spend New Year's Eve in L.A.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pomodori Pelati

I'm quite a snob when it comes to ingredients. Freshness rules. There is an almost complete ban on cans in our kitchen. However there is an exception that proves the rule: peeled tomatoes.

In Switzerland it is impossible to get full flavoured tomatoes between September and July. Luckily, some producers harvest these kind of tomatoes in places that are blessed with more sun, monder them and put them with all the flavour into cans. I'm so grateful they do this. How would we get through September to July without them?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Catching a Glimpse of Spring

Sometimes changes are a bit too steep. Only last Friday, I was wading through snow in North Jutland, and today we already enjoyed our first balcony lunch of the year in short sleeves and shorts (6.3°C/43.3°F, blaring sunshine).

And yes, we have already some disagreement on this year's planting scheme, although there are still 3 months to go until the Icy Saints, which usually mark planting season.

And yes, there is also a bit sorrow, when I think of all the books I'd planned to read during the long and cold winter nights. But I should not count the chickens before they are hatched. Snow might come back any time.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

I can't help it...

...but I consider ships like this one oddly fascinating.

... but I never quite trust double themed restaurants.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How was your commute today?

Well, our tug was one and a half hours late...

... and it was a bit like riding through a gin & tonic.

There was a firing planed but it had too much ice in the firing range and we came ashore a day earlier. Today, all flights are fully booked, thus we will spend the night at Frederikshavn and I will return to Toño tomorrow afternoon (as originally scheduled).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Down-to-earth Passion

A week ago, I dragged Toño to the cinema in the middle of a Saturday afternoon to see The Woman with the 5 Elephants, a documentary about Swetlana Geier, who is considered the greatest translator of Russian literature into German. The last 20 years, she spent translating Dostoyevsky’s five great novels, known as the "five elephants", hence the title.

At one point the 86 year old lady says one doesn't translate this with impunity. And while ironing aprons, she is explaining the affinity between textile and text and the metaphor of white snow in Melville's Moby Dick. The film draws most by observing Swetlana Geier doing her chores and doing translations. First, she dictates to Frau Hagen, who scrutinises first what she hears before she is typing it. Swetlana Geier then lets the text read by Herr Klotz, a musician. Their collective love for accuracy and Swetlana Geier's restless passion is what touched me most - yes, there were tears in my eyes.


Well, and it was then this post by Martin, which reminded me that it was Dostoyevsky who was the first to cast doubt in me on the benefits of the Enlightenment, with his believe that there is no objective that would justify wrongful means. Rationale reasoning has to be handled with so much care.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Inspired by Don Draper

I so got inspired by Mad Men's Don Draper.

No, I did not take up smoking again, hoist a few in the office (openly) or commit adultery. But I started to have a one week supply of pressed shirts in my drawer.

Well it's already Thursday, so I'm down to two shirts.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Swisscom, I accept your apology

It took them almost two weeks, but Swisscom just sent me an apology. In addition, they have reactivated my a-side email account. Many thanks indeed, I will immediately stop holding a grudge against Swisscom.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Swisscom is synonym for lacy bunch of liars

In November last year, I decided to go 3G on my mobile service and to get rid of my landline. I went to a shop of my (not so) service provider Swisscom to get my questions answered and the transition processes rolling. One of my questions was if I could keep my email address if I went forward with these changes. The shop girls answer: Yes, you can keep it forever. I should had recorded this. The question was particularly important to me since this is my main a-side email address.

A few days later, one could not reach me over my landline any more, although I had to pay for further two months. I didn't mind, since I did hardly used it anyway and did not complain. However, when the landline service finally and officially run out, the email account was blocked immediately too.

On the same day, I went to their webpage, and filled the appropriate form to complain. I got an acknowledgement of receipt and since then absolutely nada.

By the way, it took Swisscom more than three weeks to swap my mobile service to 3G.

To look a bit on the bright side of my Swisscom experience, this is the landline hardware I got rid of:

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

My Year of the Tiger

A Chinese friend from Malaysia has sent me my (Goat) horoscope for the Chinese year of the Tiger:

Good Year

There are 4 lucky stars and 4 bad stars. There is an even number of stars this year and the good stars are indeed very good like Tian Xi and Tai Yang so as to give you changes this year but things are a lot smoother than last year’s.Everything is a lot more stable.

Money & Work
You may find it hard to save money this year and it may be an important issue to you. However do remember that we have a method where we save money every 1st day of the month and then spend the rest. Try saving your money in your favourable colour bank then observe if the money stays there and grow.


This year, your health luck is not so favourable but then better than last year’s!

Love & Family

If married, be mindful of your emotions and watch how they can cause quarrels even in a stable relationship. If single, there is a little romance and there may be a little arguments with your parents though.

The Metal year of the Tiger will last from February 14, 2010 till February 2, 2011.