Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Monday, July 28, 2008

Vertical Gardening

It's all the rage in Lausanne right now. Point in Case: The new Metro-station Lausanne-Flon. Although I suspect watering might be a pain...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back from Training

in the mountains of the Perigord.

I have a couple of pictures to show - although not too many, because mostly I was training and not snapping photos. I sustained no major injuries (except to my pride, sometimes), but more of that tomorrow.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Last sketch

for a while, promise!

My take on Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, of the webcomic Girl Genius.

Friday, July 18, 2008

More sketchiness

I like the hand and the face on the bottom of the page - not too sure about the girl, though

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ahem... more sketchbook

I know... boring. But what can I do? Nothing, that's what, since I am sitting in St. Julien-de-Lampon, and the don't have internet here.

Anyway, a couple of half-naked girls, and my take on Lara Croft, although I did not draw a gun.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yet another page of my sketchbook

Proof that I also draw other things than big-boobed, half naked girls - I give you Iron Man!

Well, sort of

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A page of my sketchbook

Yep, this will be a week of inept drawings, while I am away getting pummeled in France. Sorry 'bout that...

Monday, July 14, 2008

The artist while drawing

I am drawing more and more these past weeks, here is my first self-portrait.

(Mechanical pencil in my sketchbook)

I am not at all satisfied with my right hand, but at least the face turned out not half-bad.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bollocks to this...

... I am of to the Perigord, France.

There I will train in applied violence (Võ-Vietnam) for a week.

There will be some posts, but don't expect any response to comments - no internet in our camp!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Short Review: Indiana Jones IV

Well, the girlfriend and I finally went and saw the new Indiana Jones flic. And the verdict is: eh. I mean, it is a fun movie, in a switch-of-your-brain sort of way. But some scenes are too over the top, too "look how clever I am" to maintain the suspension of disbelief. And don't get me talking about the end! In the prev ious three movies, the McGuffin never was shown much, and Indy at least made an effort to figure out what's going on. But in the new movie, he is just dragged all over the place, and we see that ridicoulous crystal skull (which looks like plastic with some aluminium foil bunched up in it) all the time.

That is not to say that you can't enjoy it as a movie, parts of it are really fun. It's just not outstanding, is all.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Doppler weather RADAR images

I continue to play around with Google Gadgets. My newest creation is a very important addition to my sidebar: A Doppler weather RADAR image of western Switzerland. There is precipitation in Switzerland right now, or you could see it show up as coloured dots on the map. This not only helps me tell whether it rains or not without having to bother looking out of the window (a very important goal in and of itself), but can also help me decide when to ride my bike home.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Description of me

"You're a hideous four-eyed freak who crams his brain with fairy fiction using his two extra eyes."
And she doesn't even know me. Uncanny, that is.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Yes I know, it's not. Also, I am not at all happy about it's head. But then, who would be happy about a pseudo-raptor's head? Nobody, that's who.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Japanese Style Kitchen Knife

Yes, yet another blade on this blog. A while ago I waxed poetically about a small kitchen knife I bought at Migros. It was very expensive, very sharp, and very good. And now I proudly present you it's big Japanese brother. Bigger, Sharper, Better.

It is really quite awesome, and cutting onions has to be at least 2 seconds faster per onion than before!

Monday, July 7, 2008

New favourite tea

Is one my girlfriend got from her chinese flatmate, and which I subsequently stole (the tea, not the flatmate - or the girlfriend). It's an Oolong, from the famous Wuyi Mountains. Like all Oolongs, it should be brewed at about 90° Celsius and is good for multiple infusions.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


It is fair to say that I am not a patriot. In fact, I consider patriotism a remnant from ye old, uncivilized times, only one step removed from bashing the other guy over the head with a rock.

Part of the reason I feel like this is upbringing. My family comes from all over Europe: My father from (then) Yugoslavia, my Grandmother from the Sudetenland, etc. etc. My big sister was born in Germany before my parents moved to Austria. Furthermore, in Austria it is mostly (at least in my social circle) considered bad taste to be a patriot - we have unfortunately shown the world where that leads if taken too far.

But the biggest part of the reason I detest patriotism comes from (I hope) rational reasoning. The Merriam Webster's dictionary defines patriotism as:

pa·tri·ot·ism \ˈpā-trē-ə-ˌti-zəm, noun circa 1726: love for or devotion to one's country

So in effect, patriotism means being proud of having been born within the arbitrarily drawn borders of a patch of land. Congratulations!

To expatiate: I do not think that one can or should be proud of something which one achieved by chance. Happy, yes. I am quite happy to have been born in Austria and not in Sudan, for example. But proud? Am I proud of myself if I find a hundred Euros on the street? Am I proud of the hundred Euros, for having the good chance to be found by me?

I think not. I think patriotism is a vulgar sentiment, which only exists to bolster our feeling of superiority about those others, those foreigners. Patriotism makes it easier to close our borders to the unwashed masses, easier to punch those bastards who have the audacity to support the team of their own country instead of ours, easier to shoot those not of our tribe.

Humans of all nations should do well to remember that nations are first of all constructs of organization - there to collect taxes, build roads and protect us from the horror of GMO's or radiation or whatever the scary technology of the week is - and not some mystical entities imbued with all that is good and holy.

So when you are waving your countries flag while swilling beer on your nation's national holiday, think about all those billions of foreigners who have the same feeling of superiority as you do, even tough their flags sport different colours. They are in the majority, you know.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


A word frequency cloud of my Research Plan:

Wordle is a wonderful way to procrastinate on a Friday afternoon...

Friday, July 4, 2008


Update (06.07): added nicer photo (on the left)

Yup, that's a smokestack, right vis-à-vis from my balcony.  And that's a tree, growing right out of it.
And that's an aerial, right in front of it - but that really has nothing to do with anything except that I couldn't get a better angle from my flat.

I wonder why that house hasn't been raided by the bureau fédéral des ramoneurs (i.e chimney sweepers) yet. It could happen anytime...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Can't win them all

Update (many days later): Finally uploaded the photos. 
Update (0921h): Grmbl, for some reason my pictures did not upload, and I don't have copies here at work. I'll upload them in the evening. 

In December, my most excellent little sister brought me an Exilim EX-V8 from Japan, a move that saved me about 80 CHF.

Hm, I just wanted to link to the post where I told you all about it, only to discover that I never wrote one! Well, suffice to say that it is a very good point-and-shoot, with electronic image stabilisation and a 7x optical zoom, without any outer moving parts!

Unfortunately, the inspired -Japan-move means that I have no warranty (unless I ship it to Japan), and of course now something has gone wrong with it. It seems I should have been a bit more careful in shlepping it around:

According to the manual, "Lens Error 2" means that I knocked it around too much, and something in the lens assembly has moved. I can still take pictures, only the image stabilisation does not work anymore, which is a real shame, because it gave me almost two f-stops more.

Well, what do you do as an upstanding physicist if something is broken? Of course, you take it apart to try and  fix it:

 ...and then you see how complicated it looks, and immediately chicken out. I was just too afraid of irreversibly breaking something if I took it apart further. Because it still works, and I am sure it wouldn't after I was done with it.

And what do we learn from this story?

Exactly, I will need a new point-and-shoot by Christmas.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008



Continuing the theme about the blithering idiots that call themselves football fans, let us today examine the idiocy that is doubleflagging. Doubleflagging is a word I have just invented, (no hit's in Google), so I get to use the "words"-tag  that I have sadly neglected.

Anyway, double flagging is defined as:

The practice of simultaneously displaying the flags of two different nations in the context of an international competition. Source: http://borislegradic.blogspot.com/2008/07/Doubleflagging

Let us examine the example shown in the photograph above. The owner of the car is clearly a fan of the German team. He could also be simultaneously be a fan of the Swiss team - which would lead to rather schizophrenic moments should said teams ever play each other - or he is a mealy-mouthed coward.

Because you never see (in Switzerland) a car sporting, say, the German and the Russian flag. Or the Italian and the Dutch flag. No, it is always Swiss and one other.

And the reason for this is that the people who are doubleflagging are saying: "Yay (flag displayed) for the win!". But then they remember, that they are not actually in their home country! The horror! What if somebody takes offense? Or worse (if they have Swiss citizenship), what if they get mistaken for a foreigner? So they quickly put up a Swiss flag, as well. Phew! Close one!

Only, what they are now saying is: "Yay, (flag displayed) for the win! But I am Swiss, you know! Switzerland is cool too! Both are cool! I hope both of them win! I am not a foreigner..."

You know, If you have to destroy the aerodynamic shape of your car with a stupid flag, at least grow a pair and stand to your choice. Doubleflagging just exposes you as the recreant you are.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Football Fans

At the beginning of the European Football Championship my feelings were ambivalent: I don't really care about football that much, but I don't outright hate it.Now I do, especially it's fans, and most especially it's fans from the southern part of Europe, who should be all rounded up and locked into deep dungeons without balls.

Why? Let me explain: For some reason fans from Italy, Spain and Turkey find it absolutely necessary to share their joy about their national team winning a match by driving around in their cars until two o'clock in the morning, whilst reassuring themselves about the continuing operation of their horn, by, well, operating it. This leads to my continuing state of irritation. And aggression. Indeed, I found myself rooting for the German team of all things, a nearly unthinkable act of treason for an Austrian, just because the Germans leave their bloody cars at home when celebrating.

I also don't understand why the Swiss police, who sent me a fine for going 4 km/h over the posted speed limit (50), wouldn't arrest and execute all those blithering, noisy idiots so I could catch some sleep. If I ever happen to be in the same country as some major football championship, I will build some kind of contraption capable of producing a focussed electromagnetic pulse and proceed to fry any and all honking cars in the vicinity, while cackling madly. I am serious about this, I have already started to practice cackling.


Today I added the new BlogList on the right, which shows the blogs I have on Google Reader and thus read daily. Enjoy!