Letters from Lausanne

Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


The fabulous F. gave me an Aquarium last year, and now something quite exciting happened, our Ancistrus pair, Imhotep and Nefertiti are hatching:

they generally hatch in dark and hidden nooks, but fortunately for us they chose a place that is quite easy to see, if not easy to photograph...

What an excellent piece of news to start a new year!

Monday, December 3, 2012


Since January I have been singing with the choir Laudate here in Lausanne. Yesterday we had our biggest concert yet, CEP Bach's Magnificat and Mendelssohn's Vom Himmel Hoch. Both were in collaboration with another choir, and an orchestra, who also played Mendelssohn's Die Hebriden. In all we were more than a hundred people, and the church in Lutry where we were performing was packed, with people having to stand for lack of seats. Suffice to say it was awesome, especially the Solists, who, unlike us, are professionals. I can't wait to hear the recording, but that will have to wait, as I am now sitting in a plane to Amsterdam. For business, not pleasure, unfortunately.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tools Of The Trade

I am progressing slowly with watercolours, thanks to F., the best girlfriend of them all, I now possess a Rembrandt aquarelle travel set, which is quite a step up from the small selfmade set filled with children's watercolours I used before.
With a bit of whittling I was able to fit a number 0 chinese brush, a 00 brush and a number 6 and 12 flat brush inside.
The colour quality of the Rembrandt is amazing as well, here for example is my most recent work, which took me about two hours in the train from Lausanne to Basel.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bollocks to this...

... the fabulous F.  and my own good self are off to South Korea.  Oh frabjous day!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I've been singing in the choir 'Laudate' since January, and last weekend we had our first concert. Rachmaninov op.15 (very Russian, especially the first piece, 'Slava'), and 'Les chansons des roses' by Lauridsen. It went quite well, although I think us tenors could have been a bit more daring...

I recorded the concert with my new Zoom H5n digital audio recorder, an ingenious little device that produced, in my amateurish audio-barbarian opinion, an excellent stereo recording. More on this maybe in a later post.

Anyway, I put some heavily compressed mp3s online here - 112 kbps to keep the file-size somewhat reasonable.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Unwanted insight

The Canon 50mm 1.8 is an excellent lens. Cheap, light, fast, very good image quality. But, and this is important, do not drive over it, or else you will get some unwanted insight into the inner workings of said lens:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

40 minutes portraits

I haven't been posting much lately - it is amazing how much time an interesting new job and an excellent girlfriend will take.

Since my morning commute involves a 40 minutes train-ride between Lausanne and Neuchâtel, I have been busy sketching more victims subjects in watercolour pencils. Above on the left you can see a guy from an ad in the newspaper 20 minutes (a swiss comedian, I think?) and on the right L., who was, for some weird reason, impressed with my sketching and asked me for a scan.

By the way, if you want to see how this kind of sketches are supposed to look like, take a gander over at Gurney Jouney, especially this or this .

Coming soon: Fishes

Hydrofluoric footrest

I have been using this convenient cardbord-box below my desk as a footrest for about half a year now. A few minutes ago a colleague asked me if I knew what was inside, so I had a quick look...

... four litres of buffered hydrofluoric acid, hooray! I guess I'll go and carry them over to the lab now, where, funnily enough, we ran out of HF two weeks ago.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Drawing and painting

Two recent works I did in my drawing course:

The first is a quick sketch: the assignment was an old clown with one leg, holding an axe. I drew this without any references in about one hour, and am quite happy about it, even though I got some of the anatomy in the shoulder of my one-legged clown wrong. I do like his expression though, which is the exact level of grumpiness I was going for...

The second took me probably about 8-10 hours. The assignment was to paint a woman with child. My first try with Colorex watercolour ink, which I hate, hate, hate. It looks like watercolour, but behaves differently enough that I was fighting with it the whole time. You can tell that I started with the left leg of the woman, it is just awful.

I restricted my palette to Marine blue, turtle gray, natural sienna and Sanguine - my first time painting with a restricted palette, and I liked it very much. Last time I am using Colorex for the foreseeable future, though.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Post - apocalyptic swans

From my photo archives. Playing with Vignette on the train, trying out a few filters. Too kitschy?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Public service announcement

If you happen to use floats from the NumPy-module in your python program instead of the built-in floats (by, say, using a function like a Savitzky-Golay filter a kind soul has posted on the net instead of writing your own), your program will run 5 times slower: See also here.
Took me quuiiiite some time to find this out...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Socks drive me crazy. I try to avoid them whenever I can, but now that I am gainfully employed, and in the clean-room almost every day, I can't just show up in thongs anymore. Oh heady days of academia!
Well, my pitiful pile of socks consisted of about six mismatched pairs, with variously sized holes in them, in differing shades of faded black. But no more! Behold, the solution of my sock problems: I ordered a motherload of the slippery little devils from the sock-shop. And not just any old kind of sock, but nifty embroidered dragon socks. Dragon socks! It bears repeating. Having thrown out all other socks, I will never again be afflicted by mismatched pairs, and if my girlfriend steals some, I shall know. Equally I shall notice if I take some of hers, for while the size difference of six whole points has been proven insufficient in the past, the lack of dragons will tell in the future. I hope. The sockless girlfriend is a terrifying thing...

Friday, September 9, 2011


This is either a bio-terrorist, or me after a holiday, in the clean-room of the company I now work for. Yes, it's true - I have sold my soul to the industry. More to follow.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bollocks to this...

... I am off to Croatia for two weeks, with the lovely F. Blogging will resume after we are back,  dammit.