Another cold snap?


Here is the forecast from Google. I love the image for Saturday. The first, oh, twenty times I saw that I somehow saw frozen blocks. I was in the process of writing this up when I suddenly realized nope, it’s a tree branch with icicles. Funny how icons work.

FWIW all the sites agree that it’s getting colder this week. Only MeteoSchweiz thinks it won’t snow.

Continue reading


Stuff white people like

Update: Happy St. Pat’s. Mostly got this one right. Linking to the lyrics of Jump Around, a song that for the record I despise, is precious. This one goes in the Not Me But I Know Them category. I am not of Irish descent and interestingly I cannot recall what Guinness tasted like in Dublin but I suspect it was a pale substitute for what is served in the West Counties (see, right there I took it up a level).

I am not sure how I stumbled on this blog, probably via

I am aware this site is politically incorrect but I fully assume there is a post coming about how we tend to be able to poke fun at ourselves, ironically of course.

I spent a happy thirty minutes reading and laughing. The posts break down as:


Okay, that is me.

  • Bilingual children. Traveling. having put those two together by moving to Switzerland (quadrilingual thank you very much although the Romansch is coming along slowly)
  • Bottled water. Particularly painful since the bottle shown is one we own.
  • Standing still at concerts. Look, it’s a courtesy to others that I don’t dance in public.
  • Bicycles. I own two mentioned. Susan wants a Euro-city bike. Of course we live in a European city so maybe this is okay.
  • TV. Ouch.
  • Marathons. The post immediately before TV. Do they know me?
  • Food. Organic, check. Farmer’s market, check. Whole Foods, check. Of course they miss an important detail for Whole Foods, the free samples. You can feed a family of four for the day on the samples.

Not me, but I know them

You know who you are.

  • New York Times. I’ve tried. I like the image of sitting around reading the Times. But it turns out it’s boring. I would rather be outside.
  • Wine. Kind of like the Times. I have tried and I certainly do enjoy drinking fine wines. But I can never, ever remember the names of vineyards, regions, years, growers, etc. My great failing as a new-yuppie or whatever my class is is that I am not a gear-head. I don’t know much about the gearing on my bikes, I don’t read gear magazines, I am really bored with this stuff.
  • Gifted children. maybe could have put this into the Ouch category.
  • Wes Anderson movies. The Royal Tennenbaums sucked. Rushmore was awful. I liked parts of the Life Aquatic. But I know people who swear these are great movies. If you like deadly dull movies with bad scripts squandering great acting talent, these are the movies for you. Or watch “Garden State” which was also awful.


  • Mos Def. Guess I am old.
  • Michel Gondry. Somehow I missed the ability to like deep intellectual films like “Eternal Sunshine….” I like light romantic comedies and brain-dead action films and lord help me but I do like movies based on comic books. I must have missed the earlier memo on European movies or sensitive stuff.
  • Renovations. Huh? After living in a place a while the only reasonable solution is to move. Otherwise you have to deal with repairs and blah blah blah.
  • Oscar Parties. Really? Weird, I had no idea. I feel left out.

Update March 3: #79, Modern Furniture. Definitely in the Huh? category. I hate modern furniture. It’s usually uncomfortable. No one I know likes modern furniture. Talk about leather couches, overstuffed chair-and-a-half, dark wood and we’re onto something.


Respect Please!


This is a sign from near Lake Zurich. The lawn/field was covered with beautiful crocuses. Lovely, just gorgeous on this spring afternoon. But notice anything about the sign? One of two things was true when the city of Zurich decided on this wording:

  1. This is a heavily touristed city. 25% of the people who live here are foreigners. Maybe we better use something other than German and English is the most common second language, the lingua franca if you will.
  2. “Only a clumsy, dimwitted American would trample into a field of flowers… or maybe an obnoxious Brit or two. Better make the sign in English”

This reminds me of the time we were at the zoo. All the signs are in German of course. Except there is one sign in the waterfowl preserve which asks visitors to be quiet… written in English of course. My friend, who is a fluent German-speaker pointed out the sign. A Swiss woman walked by and said, in German “well of course they only need it in English”. Wonderful moment. I dropped litter in her cart as she walked by.


Okay I didn’t, but I wished I had.



We drove to Burgenstock* yesterday which is near Luzern. This is a lovely day-trip from Zurich. Burgenstock itself is a glamour resort (apparently). It opens in late March so everything was closed when we got there. I suspect in the real season very wealthy stroll about and enjoy the views which are spectacular. The image below is from the top of the mountain. The structure is an elevator which goes all the way to the lake (you can catch a ferry to and from Luzern).

It’s not a wilderness hike, it’s not quite as rugged as we were looking for. But on a lovely spring day when we had no plans it fit the bill nicely.


Here is the map (surprisingly Live maps found something in Switzerland. That is a first!)


  • How do I get umlauts in Live Writer? Alt+0252 should do the trick but Writer misinterprets this. So does Word of course which has it’s own key combination which I can never remember. In Word you type Ctrl+Shift+:,  then the letter and voila, umlauts. This doesn’t work in Live Writer though.

#fitness, #travel

It’s the wind!

I have a theory about the hats. Earlier this week I saw more hats than I’d ever seen before. I speculated. I pondered. But I also observed.

The weather in Zurich has been consistent (chilly and rainy) all week. Monday and Tuesday were hat days. Wednesday and Thursday were not. We were planning on buying a radio so we could listen for the broadcasters telling us which days were which; we hate to be left out.

But then walking home yesterday it occurred to me: no wind. Monday and Tuesday were really windy. Apparently on the coast (not of Switzerland, but up near the English Channel where there is a big bike race going on) the winds were hurricane-strength.

My working theory then is the Swiss are worried about the wind. Now why would that be? Even with the wind chill it wasn’t very cold, maybe dipping slightly below freezing. I have been asking but either no one knows or they aren’t saying, sort of like how no one will admit there are hollowed-out mountains with fighter jets in them.


What’s up with hats?

Having spent a winter in Zurich now I can ask “why don’t people wear hats”? It was cold at times, snowing once in a while, certainly hat-worthy weather. But nope, apart from the occasional old man wearing a cap (ears conspicuously left in the cold) no one wore a hat. Well except for me, I like to wear hats, they keep my head warm.

So imagine my surprise when Monday morning, when lo and behold easily half of the people I saw had hats on! And not just hats, frequently they had stocking hats, full-blown Heidi hats (ear flaps, drawstrings, alpine patterns), just hats everywhere. Did I mention it was a fairly mild spring morning with the sun shining and just a bit of wind?

Apparently there are something like 20 different sirens that can go off here. Each one tells the Swiss what threat is imminent and where to go (small note that none of my coworkers could identify the siren that went off a few weeks ago:-) My hunch is that either:

  1. A very quiet klaxon went off in every Swiss home Sunday night alerting the people that tomorrow was wear your hat day.
  2. Everyone listens to the same radio station here and the DJ announced it was freak a foreigner out day, wear a hat. I can only expect another day like this in the coming months called “freak out the American expats by wearing a baseball cap”.

In any event I so far have not been able to figure out why no one wears hats here. Comments?


More weather

I have written about this before. Over the weekend the forecasts all began calling for nasty weather this week. Odd, it’s been spring-like of late. Today though the models are changing and no one can figure it out.


This is the Weather Underground. Notice that -16C on Wedneday? Brr. Now over to the BBC


And finally Yahoo (which has been the most accurate of late). Yahoo had been calling for about the same weather as the BBC and WU, but has in the past few hours backed off.


What can I conclude from all this? Probably that it might, maybe, get a bit colder. And maybe some rain. Or not. Or snow, but probably not. Of course two of three claim the barometer is steady right now, one claims the barometer is falling.