Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stylish Carry-on Shorthauler?

Frequent business trips are part of my work life. For short-haul overnight stays, the aim is to avoid check-in luggage at all costs.

Surprisingly, I find it rather difficult to find the right choice of luggage that allows to do this with style. Most business travellers do this by choosing one of these small trolleys sized 55x40x20 cm, but honestly, they look just silly, especially when being towed by a fully-fledged man. But what is the alternative?

Knowing the requirements is essential in my job. So I try to make a list of what I want:
  • no wheels
  • big enough to hold everything I need, but small enough so I never have to check it in.
  • easy to handle at airport security
  • keeping my computer scratch- & shock-free
  • space for some files and newspapers
  • space for briefs, socks and dress shirts for next day's meeting
  • space for essential toiletries
  • space for the travel book
  • strap for shoulder on the airport "workout" routes
  • made of light-weight durable material, ruggedized enough to survive more than a couple of years of travel
  • last but not least: it has to cause envy of my taste.
But now, where is my carry-on shorthauler?

Trapped Organically

Switzerland is bipolar when it comes to grocery supermarkets. The big two Migros and Coop share about 80% of the market*. I'm a Migros shopper by choice. Coop's shops are just a tiny bit too clean for my liking (I don't like to shop in hospitals) and it is difficult there not to buy organic products (I usually go for Integrated production).

However, Migros is catching up on the organic front. Though while Coop sticks to the copper-wool-bast-tree-hugging-taliban kind, Migros goes for the European-Union-style-lowest-common-denominator kind of organic production.

Migros did this catching up by putting an identical design in earthy colours on all their organic products. Apparently it worked admirably well on my subconscious. Our fridge is stocked up with organic Migros yoghurt that cost at least 33% more than the ordinary ones with the juicy fruits print on them. And honestly, I can't detect a difference in taste. Why do I buy them?

* both Migros and Coop are customer owned co-operatives.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Swiss Army Rediscoveres 400 Tanks

During my military service I spent a lot of time in fortresses deep in the Swiss mountains. In one of them, I took me 20 minutes to get from my berth to daylight.

Apparently mountain fortresses are not an appropriate mean to defend Switzerland any more and the Swiss army has to get rid of them. Right now, the inspectors of the ministry of defence are reviewing budget and inventory. In this process they rediscovered 400 tanks which had been stored in one of these fortresses.

The inspectors also discovered that a foreign consultant company has been hired to accompany the implementation of the security policy report. The minister of defence has been cited: "When I'd learned about this, I almost bit into the tabletop of my desk".

Source: Tages Anzeiger

Saturday, October 16, 2010


A few weeks ago, we could celebrate Toño's birthday. And since Toño has a penchant for both wine and presents, I bought him a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal 2002.

Cristal has become infamous for being the American rappers favourite bubbles, but little is known by most of its consumers about the rather modern way it was created:
Cristal was first created in 1876 for Alexander II of Russia, and is viewed by many as the first prestige cuvée. As the political situation in Russia at the time of his rule was unstable, the tsar feared assassination. He ordered that bottles containing the drink be made clear to prohibit hiding a bomb within them, as could happen with a typical dark green bottle. Louis Roederer commissioned a Flemish glassmaker to create a Champagne bottle with a flat bottom. Typically, bottles made from common glass have a bell-shaped bottom (the punt) to make them strong enough to cope with Champagne's pressure. A flat-bottomed bottle needed to be made from stronger, clear lead crystal. The Champagne has since become known as "Cristal".

The orange cellophane wrapper is there to protect the exclusive champagne from the bad effects of UV rays. By the way, lead containing crystal class should not be put into the glass recycling bin.

Among many other things, Toño was also given a magnum bottle of Château Cheval Blanc 1998. We are equipped to party really big :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Une soupière et un légumier

It might be because of Martin's Sunday lunch pictures, however we are now proud owners of a légumier (left) and a soupière (right):

Toño, the man with the refined taste, bought them. It would have been nice to have them as a matching set from the same line of china, but this seemed impossible. It might be that people lost the sense for fine dining and/or service à la russe is out of fashion... in short, these things are hard to get.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

5 on the fifth - Round

This month's 5 on the fifth theme is Round.

On my way to work I cycle through the Oerliker Park, which features a 35 m high round tower:

Twelve years ago this was an industrial area and the tower should keep up the memory of the funnels that used to blacken the sky here. I though for 5 on the fifth I could - despite my fear of heights - climb the tower and take a round of pictures.