Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bollocks to this...

 I'm off to St. Julien de Lampon, France, for some kicking and punching.
Back in a week.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I ran out of shelf-space again (see also: Misusing Benno), so I gave Ikea some money and they solved my problem.

New spice/stuff shelf in the kitchen:

And a neighbour for Billy & the Bennos (to the right, above the radiator):

Unfortunately there is now a new problem:  I've run out of shelf-space...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Creux du Van

In an effort to defeat the summer slump (23 days since my last post? Or is it... 23 days later? dum-du dooom!) here a few quick words about last weekend's trip.

We went to the Creux du Van, a funny semi-circular cliff near Noiraigue, Neuchâtel. If you start of at Robert's Farm, it's a short, easy three to four hour hike:

I used my iPhone to navigate and record our track, but it took me a while to notice that you can't use "Trails" in sleep mode, i.e. you have to leave the screen on. This is why coverage is a bit spotty for the first part.

The view is spectacular, but we really should have gone at six in the morning, instead in the afternoon (ha, as if that would ever happen), because in the evening most of the wall is in shadow:

(as you can see, I selected the wrong white-balance for this shot (and many others) - my credibility as a very amateurish photographer is in tatters.)

At the top, it was all bucolic alms

and frolicking cows:

Searching for the right wight balance (sigh) in the fading light:

and heading home.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Step lightly

around me, for I am following a new course here at the EPFL: Impact of environmental pollutants on human physiology by Dr. Caroline Vandevyver, or, as I like to call it: How to poison somebody and make it look like an accident.

When we did the whole introduction/why am I here-spiel I said: "I want to learn how to poison people, just in case."

Dr. Vandevyver's reply? "I can teach you that no problem!"

I love PhD-courses!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

True Atheism

or: why I wanted to build an iBible, and why the bible is not a real book.

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine (hey Chruss!) married. And he and his wife-to-be had a religious as well as a civil ceremony. Since I was invited, I had about two hours of hymns (sung badly by the mostly non-religious guests), sermon and ceremony to look forward to - catholic weddings are an involved affair. Naturally, my atheist mind turned to how to avoid being bored out of my mind, and thus the idea of the iBible was born - a hollowed-out bible where I could hide my iPhone in, thus pretending to follow the ceremony or something while reading something more interesting.

Unfortunately I did not have enough time to put my nefarious plan into action, so I had to suffer like the sinner I am. But, last weekend, I decided to build the damn thing anyway(read all about it here), because you never know when the next wedding will sneak up on you.

My plan was to buy a nice hard-cover bible, and hollow it out, so I went to the local flea-market to look for one. Unfortunately, they were fresh out of bibles. Loads of excellent-looking, antique hard-cover books, but no bible. So I turned around to leave, thinking to myself: "It's a pity there are no bibles, I really wanted to build a book with a secret compartment. But I wouldn't want to destroy a real book for that!"

Then I stopped, and started laughing in the middle of the flea-market. I haven't ever been religious, but even non-religious people seem to have a certain respect for the holy books. Not me though - although I love books, I only seem to love the real ones, you know, like fantasy novels or somesuch.

In the end, I did buy a real book to cut up. I tried hard to chose something of no real value, literary or otherwise, and of course ended up destroying the œuvre of the first nobel price for literature, Sully Prudhomme. Some days, you just can't win.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oh, the shame

The "book of bad French poetry" I cut up for my iBook Mark I? I just googled the author, a certain Monsieur Sully Prudhomme. The first winner of the nobel price for literature, for, and I quote:

"in special recognition of his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect" 

Oh, the shame...

image: wikipedia

iBook Mark I

A couple of weeks ago I had occasion to want a way to read a book on my iPhone discreetly (catholic wedding services are looong), and thus the idea of the iBible was born. Unfortunately I did not have enough time before the wedding, so I had to suffer through the sermon, but more on that tomorrow. This post is about how to make your very own iBook (couldn't find a bible at the flea-market), or just a book with a secret compartment.

Thisis also described in the Make weekend project 12

You'll need:

Wood glue and a book - hard-cover is best. I got this one for five francs at the flea-market last week-end. Next, dilute your wood-glue with water, about 50-50 should do. You want it quite runny, but still thick enough to glue the pages together.

Decide on the depth of your secret compartement, and put a blastic sheet between that and the rest of the book. Apply the wood-glue with a brush on the sides of your compartment. Then put some weight on your book (so the pages don't warp) and let dry.

Next, open up the book, get an exacto-knife and cut out your compartment.

Get your trusty glue again, and glue together the walls of your compartment  on the inside. Let dry under weight again.

Here is the end-result, the iBook! Now I can pretend to read bad french poetry from the 19th century, while secretly reading the latest fantasy-trash. This is of course only a first try, I still haven't given up on making an iBible!