Monday, December 17, 2007 Found

As CNN and everyone else is reporting, a giant rodent has been found in Indonesia. It is 5 times the size of a normal rat.

Yes they've been found. Really and Truly live ROUSes.

It's the Princess Bride quote brought to life:

"What about the R.O.U.S's?"

"Rodents of Unusual Size - I don't think they exist"

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Staring at the Ceiling

We bought an apartment a year ago. It has a vermiculite ceiling. In the USA they seem to be called popcorn ceilings. I just call them ugly. We've been getting some quotes on how to get rid of it.
Our choices seem to be:

- Live with it. I don't like that option.
- Paint it. Everyone I know who has done that says it takes lots of paint. They sell a sealant that's supposed to mean that it drink in the paint. People say it looks much better but you can still see the shadows.
- Rip up the ceiling - we're on the top floor so we wondered whether if we could just put in a new ceiling all together. We've been told that because we're on the top floor we have to have a fireproof ceiling which would be more expensive and possibly would need an inspection. The advise of the people coming in for quotes was "Oh you wouldn't want to do that".
- Put in a drop or false ceiling. This looks like the only option. It won't be grey and ugly but we'll lose some height. We can do the normal fixings which lose 10 cm and put in downlights (environmentally friendly ones obviously) or we can tack it on the existing ceilig and only lose a few centimeters.

At the moment we're still waiting for the quoters to send us they're quotes. They we have to get decide what we want and get it aproved by the body corporate. The next meeting is February. I thought we'd be irritated waiting for so long. Fortunately it appears to take so long to get quotes that we'll probably be lucky if we have the whole job planned out by then.

Whatever happens the ceiling MUST GO.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I went to the dentist today. I hate going to the dentist. I had been avoiding it for ages and then I started feeling tender around my gum. I finally rang up to make an appointment this morning. I thought it would be a week or two until I could get an appointment. Instead I got one for 3pm. I was mildly worried all day and was expecting nasty and painful things to happen.

Instead I got a cleaning and nothing else. I didn't even come out with sensitive teeth. Now I don't have to feel guilty about not going to the dentist for another 6 months.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Solaris Patches

I'm making a solaris patch for a package. This has been a very educational experience.
Either Sun haven't documented this very thoroughly or I'm just managing to miss the current accurate howto document. Looking at other people's posts it looks like others are in the same boat.

Some notes on what I've found:

- All solaris patches have a unique id. They have to be of format XXXXXX-YY where X is a 6 digit unique id identifying what your patching and YY is the version. It also allows you to put capital letters infront which means you can put your company infront and not have to worry about clashing with anyone else.

- read the /usr/lib/patch/patchadd script - it contains the error codes information like the allowed version id format.

- If you doing a patch add and getting something like:

The patch or patch_list 123456-01 cannot be found in

Check your error code you are getting error code 34 which is "Incorrect patch spool directory". It may mean that like me you haven't added a .diPatch file.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Weather Culture Shock

We've been back 2 days now. Since then it has been grey, rainy, chilly and other blahy Sydney winter things. It's kind of like a grey Switzerland Autumn day. We just left summer.

Well we just left summer from a country a long way from an ocean with excellent central heating so 15 degrees there means put on a jumper when you go outside unless your doing exercise. 15 degrees here means where thick socks and a thick polarfleece inside. Weather Culture Shock.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Originally uploaded by bristley
We went to Paris to see the last stage of the Tour de France again. We took the new TGV - 4.5 hours Zurich to Paris. For July 29th we were standing in the rain on the loop of the final laps. Lots of fun as usual.

We're Back

We flew back to Sydney yesterday. We arrived in Zurich at the beginning of March for what was supposed to be a 2 1/2 month trip. 5 1/2 month laters we're back. I finished work on the 3rd August and we then went on a small cycle tour from the Bodensee to Salzburg.

On Saturday we left our serviced apartment with our bikes and small backpacks and rode to the Zurich Hauptbahnhof - that's the main train station. Our previous cycle tours have been on mountain bikes with slicks and racks with our gear in panniers. For this trip we had road bikes and so we're carrying clothes on our backs. An interesting experiment for us.

For Dear Reader's birthday I had selected a cycle tour book from the German "Bikeline" series that was around the right length for 10 days and we'd decided to start with that. It was the "Bodensee Koenigsee" ride. That's Lake Constance to a lake in Germany about 20 km from Salzburg.

Our first challenge was to get to the Bodensee. We really wanted to get to Lindau but on inquiring at the train station, because it was Saturday in the holiday season - August all the bike reservations on the direct trains were taken. Instead we caught the train to Romanshorn which has a bike carriage - childrens playground on the top level and half the carriage for bikes on the bottom level. From Romanshorn we caught ferry across the Bodensee to Friedrichshaven. Then we rode about 20km around the lake to Lindau and the start of the ride.

A friend at work in Switzerland had described riding on the Bodensee Rundweg (the path around the Bodensee) once - saying that you needed to book a slot to fit in. There were so many people riding this route it was unbelievable. Some people were out for day trips - others were riding with massive panniers and giant tents and sleeping bags on the back. Groups of friends and solo riders. Old and young. When passing through some villages there were more cyclists than anyone else. Even after being in Switzerland - it was a lot of bikes.

More exciting tails to come :-)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This is the second time I've been in Zuerich on the day a Harry Potter book was released. Like last time, we went to the English Orrel Fuessli and joined the queue. They were crowds and quite a few non-Harry-Potter buyers were looking at the crowds and leaving which was strange because we were in and out in 5 minutes. You had to pay at a cash register and then go upstairs to collect the book. Someone said the downstairs register was not buys so we went down stairs, paid in 1 minute, told the lady advising people where to pay that the downstairs register was empty and then went up and collected the book.

We continued shopping for a few hours - which I though was most restrained of me. I had been talking about going for a bike ride later but luckily the perfect excuse for staying in turned up. It began to rain heavily and didn't stop all evening. Finished the book at 1:30 am.

I really enjoyed it. I was laughing out loud at some of the jokes and not wanting to be interrupted in the tense bits. It was very well done. I'm very impressed that J. K. Rowling managed to create a book that could stand up so well to so much anticipation.

Obtaining and reading the book made me remember what it was like going to see the last Lord of the Rings film. A sense of a ritual ending. For the previous 2 Christmas periods we had joined lots of other people to see these movies and this was the last time that this would happen. Reading the book was like that. This was the last time I would ever read a Harry Potter novel for the first time.

Very cool :-)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cold In Sydney

Classic Quote from the Sydney Morning Herald about a very cold day in Sydney

"You know it's cold when your Australian cattle dog is whining for you to dress her in her hooded fleece doggie jumper and refuses to go outside in the morning," she said.

from Tania Liebenow

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Originally uploaded by bristley
Yesterday we went to the train station with our bikes to catch a train to Geneva so we could ride to see the Tour de France. Unfortunately, things didn't go quite as planned. It was the first day of school holidays and there were power problems in Fribourg (I think it was there - began with an F anyway). The 9:30 train didn't go and the 10:00 and 10:30 which were supposed to be ICs turned out to be ICNs for which bikes needed a reservation and they were all taken. So we randomly decided to go somewhere else.

We hopped on the train going to Chur after they managed to find the last two spots in the luggage van for our bikes. We got off at Chur and after looking at the various bicycle route signs, chose the two north. Shortly afterwards this became non-sealed. We always get strange looks from the other cyclists when we ride these routes on our road bikes- but they're not too bad.

The route followed the Rhein through the valley - into a head wind of course and after a while detoured into "Heidi Land" - Maienfeld and Bad Ragaz. Very pretty views. It started getting hotter and we bailed out at Sargans. It was 12 degrees earlier in the week and yesterday it was at least 30. It's a bit of a shock to the system.

We caught an IC back. The last carriage was one of the bike downstairs, play room upstairs carriages. The bottom was filled with bikes - all the official spaces were taken and they were 4 deep against the walls. Luckily it was express from Sargans to Zurich.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Glass of Wine

Glass of Wine
Originally uploaded by bristley
We learnt an important lesson today. It can be important to know the properties of the mystery wine you have bought. Otherwise you end up with bubbly wine all over your toes :-)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A very nice view

A very nice view
Originally uploaded by bristley
This is a photo from our walk near Luzern. There are some very nice houses on the lake like this. Later there are houses with high hedges around them and "privat" signs so that you can't see the houses - or the view.


Haven't blogged in a while. I've been busy working. Still in Switzerland. We went to Luzern yesterday and started walking along the edge of the lake.

According to GMaps Pedometer we walked about 11 km. This is our route. Actually it would be a bit more than that because we had to backtrack a few times when we lost the Wanderweg signs.

The Vierwaldstaettersee is very pretty. For quite a section of the walk we weren't along the edge of the lake because of a lot of people have "Privat" on the roads going into areas having I assume bought up the lakeside property. There are quite a lot of townhouse like flats along the edge quite remote from anything - but there is of course a bus because this is Switzerland.

For one part of the walk it was right on the edge of the lake. We were passed by normal swiss rollerbladers who were using the excellent quiet roads to go somewhere. We were also passed again and again by this same pair of odd rollerbladers. This particular pair were just going backwards and forwards on the same 2 km stretch of road. They weren't racing rollerbladers. Maybe they were from somewhere other than switzerland and hadn't caught on to the idea of "touring rollerbladers".

Today we entergetically went for a walk/run in the forest around the base of the Uetliberg. How extercisey of use :-)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

i am a secondlife newbie

I've been wandering around secondlife a bit lately. I'm still in the newbie stage.

I've changed outfits a few times - free dove is a wonderful place - sample freebies from kind designers in second life - clever advertising for them and a great way to start to look at bit less newbie like for newbies like me.

I've seen some amazing places - Amsterdam was cool, very life like. I've seen some lovely gardens, underwater caves, mountain but I am definitely still in the newbie stage. I'm still exploring and finding lots of empty space. I've had a few fun conversations but I'm still flitting from place to place. It's kind of like being in a new country. I think the more extroverted you are the easier you will find it - also like being in a new country.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tail Strings?

My Swiss "there must be a good reason for this" moment for the day. I was flicking tv channels and there I see a Swiss cow barn. Swiss cows will bells round there necks in a barn eating hay. Fair enough - I get that bit.

The puzzling thing - each cow had a rope attached - descending from the roof to the end of its tail. The ropes were reasonably tight so if the cow was lying down the end of the tail was sticking up in the air.

Why was this so? Fly strike prevention, cleanliness, a kind way of making sure the cows have to share there food. Why is this so?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Triple J in Fast Forward

Maybe it's just me. I use Google reader to look at rss feeds. I've got Dr Karl's podcast (science and funny) from Triple J as one of the feeds. I clicked on play just now and got Dr Karl as a chipmunk. For some reason all his podcasts were double time :-)

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's the Eurovision Song Contest

I have achieved a life long dream tonight. Ok it's wasn't really a dream - more something that I've never been able to do before (ok I just didn't think of it last time) and I'll never be able to do again (probably). I voted in the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final.

Australian's don't get to vote - unless you happen to be living in Switzerland :-)

Amazing. Everyone looks so happy to be there as though most people know that it will be the biggest audience they will ever perform to. It probably is too - people all over the world have Eurovision Song Contest parties - often with sequins.

Switzerland disappointingly did not get in.

Friday, May 04, 2007

May Day

Haven't blogged in a while. Busy at work and lazed around the house on the weekend so not much to say. The only exciting thing was May Day which is a public holiday in Zurich. We stayed in till about 6pm and then went for a walk over the hill.

At one point I thought I heard a roaring crowd not to far away. This was probably because while we were lazing around watching Blue Brothers 2000 in German (it works better) there was a crowd of people wandering around Zurich breaking windows, burning a few cars and being shot at with water canon, rubber bullets and pepper spray. Even better it seems that this is traditional. May Day and rioting seems to happen every year... I vaguely remembered hearing people talking about getting down wind of tear gas by accident and luckily linked with May Day which is why we didn't wander into town.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thinkpad Wireless Switch

I was really tired, had been at work all day on a Sunday, booted up the Lenovo Thinkpad X60 and no wifi. I kept getting this message when I tried to enable from the wifi icon it that it was switched off in the Bios or on the wifi switch. What wifi switch I muttered. After about 10 minutes of looking in the Bios, checking drivers and swearing I had a look at the warning message again. It had a little icon on it that looked like the wifi icon on the F5 key. Slowly my brain switched on.... I looked at the top of the notebook, on the sides and finally turned it over.

There's a slider switch on the lip of the notebook. If you look down at your keyboard, in the middle of the closest edge to you is a slot which the lid clips into. If you look under the notebook in the same position, there's a slider switch. One side has the little wifi icon - the computer with the little curvy things round it. The other one doesn't have the curvy thing. If you slide it from one side to the other it enables or disables wifi. Who new...

Maybe you all knew that but I didn't.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I was checking my sitemeter logs because it's fascinating to me people find this blog. There aren't very many but it's amazing to me that anyone reads my meanderings. It also makes me feel useful when answers to technical problems I've had are helping other people.

One of the searches today was for Ghost_k. As I blogged earlier when I put my 2 minute swan building a nest file on youtube I used Blue Mix by Ghost_k for a sound track. It was on ccMixter and had a creative commons licence.

Anyway someone has found it and linked to it on the ccMixterblog. Which is cool. My use of their track goes back to the mix site where other people might watch it and then think "what crappy footage of swans but I really like the song" - which would be really great because I really liked the song too :-)

Thank Goodness for Intermission

We went for a walk today and ended up at Sihlcity at about 8pm. We thought we'd see a movie so we looked at what was on in English and by default chose 300. I asked Dear Reader if he knew anything about it and he said he'd seen some blog posts where some people really liked it and others thought it was historically inaccurate. I asked the truly important movie question:

"Did anybody say that they wanted that part of their live back" and he said no. The blogosphere failed me. What were these people thinking - it was a terrible film. Bad acting, bad script, bad editing and not enough of it, unnecessary sex scene, bizarre digital effects - it was just bad.

For once we thought the Swiss practice of having intermission was great because we went outside, asked each other if we wanted to go back in and then left.

So yes I want that part of my live back but at least I only need back 1 hour.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sechselaeuten Bonfire

Sechselaeuten Bonfire
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We turned up late to Sechselaeuten. We missed the burning of the Booog but it was still fairly spectacular. Lots of people in costumes, big fire and afterwards mad people rushing up to the bonfire with long shovels picking up coals to cook sausages.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Red and Yellow

Red and Yellow
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went for a walk in the Cemetery today. Actually we often do because it's just across the road. It's the Sihlfeld Friedhof. It is a lovely peaceful spot. A lot of the space if empty fields of grass and flowers. At the back in a away from the graves where they won't disturb visitors, people have quiet picnics. Now the weather has become Spring, there are people reading books or couples on a lot of the benches.
The graves have flowers on them in mass plantings. Really very lovely.

We took the SLR for a walk with a 50mm prime.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Cycling in Switzerland Links

I've decided to collate some of the links we use when we're working out where to go cycling in Switzerland.

  • Swiss mapping site
  • - - excellent swiss map site. Tram timetables, restaurants etc.
  • Cycling in Switzerland
  • - these are the wonderful people who've put the cycling route sites all over Switzerland. You can buy their books too.

I'm still hunting for links to local ride route descriptions with more detail.

Update: just found a site with lots of descriptions in German: - this actually has routes with descriptions and maps, heights etc. Looks interesting. The descriptions for the Swiss routes I looked at were all German but even if you couldn't read any German the maps etc would make sense.

Flowers in the Grass

Flowers in the Grass
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went for a bike ride yesterday. We rode to the Zugersee and then down the side of the lake. By the time we got to Kussnacht it was dark and so we skipped the last 10 km to Luzern and caught a train home.

This picture was from a field just near Zug. It's so pretty in Switzerland at the moment. There are flowers everwhere. It's about 25 degrees but as there's no cool wind it feels much warmer. Most people were in short sleeve t-shirts or singlet tops yesterday.

I can't believe that only 3 weeks ago there was snow in Zurich.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Zimmers

I just found The Zimmers.

Filmed for a documentary for the BBC at Abbey Road. Beautifully made and edited - and of course well performed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


The Sydney Morning Herald had an article on immunisation today. As usual they had a quote from the Australian Vaccination Network. Whenever they have an article about immunisation they quote this "anti vaccination lobby group". I suppose they have a PR person who is always ready for a quote. It's like talking to the "Australian Pedestrian Council" if there's a car accident but a lot more misleading. The Australian Pedestrian Council is not a lobby group against pedestrians.

I really hate it when a lobby group gets quoted without stating what they lobby for. Especially when they've chosen a name so that they sound like they're a government group.

I wrote a letter to the editor which will probably never see the light of day - not for any nefarious reason but because the editor receives a lot of letters so here it is:

The article "No immunisation, no job: public health policy" (April 11, 2007), contains yet another quote from the Australian Vaccination Network. Whenever there is an article on vaccines there seems to be a negative quote from this group never stating their background.

Hunting on the web to find descriptions of this group I found the most succinct statement in your sister paper the Age: "The president of anti-vaccine lobby group Australian Vaccination Network... " (Doubt cast on vaccine February 22, 2004) scare I think context should be provided for statements from any group - especially official sounding lobby groups

These lobby group are favourites of the Australian Skeptics Association among others. The Australian Skeptics group is a lobby group for people not being idiots. See - I provided context.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My New Bike

My New Bike
Originally uploaded by bristley.
I finally uploaded my photos. This is my new bike. I suppose it's not really pretty - it's a bit mean looking. It is very weeeeeeeeeeeeee.

So this photo was taken at Au. At the bus stop that says In Au. Au it hurts. Au the pain. Au Au Au. Actually I hadn't gotten my cleat adjustment right on my right shoe and so my right knee was a bit sore - so Au Au Au. It was ok the next day.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Swans Nest

We went for a walk along the Zurichsee and saw a Swan building a nest. I filmed it with my digital camera and made my first youtube video.

I found a creative commons licenced mix: Stop (blue mix) by Ghost_k and used it as a soundtrack.

I found it on ccmixter which describes itself as a
a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons
. Another very cool site.

Easter Weekend Books

I've been reading a lot over the weekend. I'm up to my fourth book and its only Sunday.

My favourites have been by Meg Cabot. Size 12 is not Fat and Size 14 is not Fat Either. Those are the Fictionwise links as I just discovered that Amazon doesn't list the 2nd one as released yet :-)

They are fun light fluffy mystery books by the author of The Princess Diaries. I saw the movie of this on tv not too long ago and Dear Reader and I both ended up enjoying it - which I didn't expect.

Our murder solving heroine is a ex-Avril like popstar whose Mother has absconded to South America with her money and other similar misfortunes left over from the end of her popstar days. She is now 28 and has just recently gotten a poorly paid job as an Assistant Directory of a Dormitory - sorry - Residence College in New York. Several murders ensure and all the other expected trimmings of the genre.

It's fun writing - love the main character and her calculation of meeting recommended exercise requirements by the walking necessary to get from her favourite cheese shop to her favourite bakery etc.

I kept reading little bits to Dear Reader that really appealed to me. It was funny and entertaining.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Watching Twitter

I was checking the Twitter timeline today for a little bit. It's worryingly addictive. Someone posted something like "just sent boyfriend out to shop for more cheese". I was checking back looking for the matching "buying more cheese" post but if it turned up I missed it.

I justed twittered that I was blogging about twitter and Dear Reader just got it as an SMS :-)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Online Music Stores

As I said in my last post I read review of online music stores. On Sunday we bludged around the house and I went to visit some of the DRM free stores they mentioned. Most cleverly promote themselves as iPod compatible :-)


At the moment emusic has a great big logo on the front and most things you click just have a register screen. After clicking on various of the smaller links at the bottom of the page I finally found a way to browse the site. I don't think that's a good marketing plan - how will I know if I want to register if I can't see the site.

Once I got to it's browse tab I thought it provided a lot of different ways of categorization of their music - genre, era, regions etc. I'm not sure I liked the idea of a subscription model. Although having 25 free downloads as their hook in is fairly clever - they you can get addicted before you have to pay any money.


Amie Street is the one I decided I'd probably most likely use. It's pricing model is quite cool. Tracks start as free and then go up in price based on how much they are downloaded. People can make recommendations and if the track becomes popular get credit. The recommendations becomes reviews on the songs. I think it would be a fun game.


Magnatune has a "pick your own price for an album" model. The bottom price is $5. So this is a more an honesty system. They had some very nice classical albums. Magnatune is a also or actually a record label. They provide good statistics on their sales.

They also do a good business in licensing of the music. They've got really great non-commercial terms for web-sites and podcasts and also have a really easy way to licence music for commercial use. My only reservation with this model is the guilt - what is a fair price. The angst.


It's similar to the model mentioned on the Freakonomics blog in the article on "How much is that song? It's up to you which was about SongSlide. SongSlide said they were doing a minimum price per song but at the moment had only low volume.

My Favourites So Far

I thought Amie Street had the most immediately rewarding sales gimmick - you could buy tracks for free but still help the artist - free stuff plus warm happy glow from immediate gratification - very nice :-) Plus I liked most of the sample music I clicked on.

Magnatune had a lot of different ways of promoting their music - encouraging sharing of songs, encouraging podcasts, easy licensing. That was cool - it said somewhere on their excellent write up on their statistics that 40% of their sales (ish) were classical even from people who came looking for something else.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Online Music and DRM models

There was an interesting review of online music stores posted on slashdot today.

It was a review of some of the popular online music stores and their approach to DRM.

I find it interesting that I buy books online with DRM for my palm pilot but I won't buy DRMed music. I prefer Baen's model which is DRM free. Plus they've got their free library where they put some back catalogue book. This model has sneakily gotten me to buy a lot of their online books of authors that I would probably not have read otherwise.

For other publishes, I do get mobipocket and palm reader DRMed books normally at

I think my internal logic is if I want ensure an artist gets at least some money with my purchase and it's music, I can buy the CD, rip it and get it into my preferred format - and we're both happy. The CD isn't very big.

Books are different. I don't have enough room in my bookcases for all the books I read as it is. At the moment I'm in Switzerland. Each time (twice now) we've returned home we've had to post back books that we wanted to keep that we've bought for going on planes or trains. Plus I like reading on my palm pilot - I don't have to carry a book around, I don't have to worry about finishing one because I can always have some more. I can always download them from the site again.

So I download a lot of books. The only way to download a book and ensure that the author gets at least some money in most cases is to get a DRMed copy. Plus the DRM on mobipocket is based on my palm pilot ID and as I've had palm pilots since about 2000 now, it's not been a major problem for me.

I was talking about that with Dear Reader yesterday and hadn't manage to formalize my reason. I feel better now :-)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Ghost Map

I read the Ghost Map on the weekend. It was quite enjoyable. I'd heard the outline of the story before. I've read and seen reports on the London sewers and they normally at least mention the London cholera outbreaks and the way in which it was first linked to water transmission instead of Miasma. This was a much more thorough coverage of the events.

It was a good read too - I knew the ending and yet I didn't want to put it down.

I was struck by a few points - one of my favorites being infant mortality dropping due to a rise in tea drinking.

I went to the site about John Snow maintained at UCLA which is mentioned in the Ghost Map's references. Lots of cool stuff there.

Cycling in Zurich

We got road bikes a couple of weekends ago. Weeee. At lunch time yesterday I came back to the flat by tram and then I rode to work. Rode home, and then rode to work again today.

It's quite different from Sydney. There are so many people riding bikes here that car drivers are much more polite. I've noticed that as a pedestrian but the Swiss drivers are even polite to cyclists.

There are a lot of cycling facilities. Most are quite low key - a sign and some paint suddenly saying bicycles can go this way. Not that you can't go elsewhere just that the sign painters think that you might like it more this way. Sometimes there will be a short cut marked on a foot path. Lots of contraflow cycle lanes. Takes some getting used to but here the road won't be too busy so it seems to work.

I keep getting lost on the way home following a cyclist onto what I think is the right cycle route and ending up on one going somewhere else. There are so many.

Quite different from Sydney's limited facilities, painting lines on roads with bicycles in them that are also supposed to be used at the same time as car parks. No one has actively tried to kill me at all. Amazing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Music and Lyrics

Just got back from seeing Music and Lyrics. It was lots of fun. Warning that the link goes to the official site and it starts singing at you straight away :-)

I thought the 80s film clip was very clever - spot on for the era as was the creation of the current era pop star. I was surprised at how good Hugh Grant's voice and piano playing was when I saw in the credits it was him. I actually thought they'd got someone to do the singing but looked it up on the site and he actually learnt to sing and play piano for the movie. He kind of reminded me of Tim Friedman from the Whitlams.

Seeing it in Switzerland of course we could select our seat and there was an intermission.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Blog Camp

We went to blog camp today . Only briefly as we slept in and missed registration. We went to an entertaining talk from Nicholas Berg from He talked mainly about how peoples timeshare of media had changed to incorporate the internet. I liked his jokes.

Crowds at Sihlcity

Crowds at Sihlcity
Originally uploaded by bristley.
This afternoon to the first Saturday of Sihlcity. I think half of Switzerland did the same thing. The trams were standing room only and there were massive crowds everywhere.

Sihlcity is a new shopping centre in Zurich with a cinema attached. It was packed.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

View from the Window

View from the Window
Originally uploaded by bristley.
It's been snowing overnight for the last two days in Zurich. I was going to work looking at daffodils on the way and now I'm going in snow.
Instead of green grass and flowers this is my view out to the Uetliberg.

The other times we've been to Zurich we've always been away when it snowed. I didn't expect my Zurich snow experience to be at the end of March.

Even stranger by lunch time both days it's been sunny and the snow is all gone.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Chicks Dig

We were at the bar after work on Friday and there was a classic.

Coworker A said - When I first saw the t-shirt "Chicks dig UNIX" I thought it was one of the funniest things ever.

Female Coworker B who is Swiss asks is this funny. I explain it is a pun - Eunuchs - UNIX.

Coworker A says - Ohhhhhhhhhhhh. I didn't think of that.

Now that's one of the funniest things ever :-)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cool Furniture

I was reading Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald and they had an article on designers crossing over to furniture design. They had a long list of links at the end of the article. A few of them were actually incorrect which must be upsetting for the companies involved.

Anyway I went to the first one which was Anibou and saw some stuff I really liked. I know I won't remember which ones they were so here are some of the links:

I really liked this Artek Stool

Love the Wishbone Clothes Ladder by Caroline Casey.

Particularly liked the Stackable Stools by Jon Goulder.

There now I'll remember to go back and look at these pieces again when we're back in Australia and finally doing up our flat.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went to Locarno on Sunday. Dear Reader had a saw ankle so a train trip as an outing seemed like a good idea. We saw people in shorts and people wearing ski gear. In some areas there were flowers in the grass in others snow was still lying everywhere. It was a very clear day and the mountains were lovely.

We also had a very nice gelato. We were sitting outdoors at a cafe having a cold drink and kept seeing all the adults walking passed eating gelato. This seemed a good sign and it was excellent.

Treo 680

Just before we left Australia I got a Treo 680. I've had a Treo 600 for several years now and was now getting crappy static all the time. Well I wasn't the people listening to me were. So I got myself a Treo 680 and I really like it.

Dear Reader instantly took my old Treo, looked on the net, opened it up and wrapped some aluminium foil around the bit that needed shielding and now it works like a bought one. Well almost.

I'm glad I got the new one. It's easier to do things to the insides of your toy if it's not the only one you've got :-)

Things I was particularly pleased with:

- the upgrade of the software worked fine again. I have data in my palm dating back to 2000 and my Vx and it's still there.
- I like the new screen and the keyboard and phone quality.

I'm Back

Well I've been a bit lazy about posting. What has happened since I last wrote.
We finished our holiday. We flew back to Australia. I went to work on the Monday and there was a mail that said:

"How was your incredibly long flight? Would you like another one?"

So we are now back in Switzerland after a 3 week interlude in Australia.

We are in a serviced flat again. This one is a bit older and for the first few days we were very unhappy. This was because at 6am every morning an alarm clock started. We could hear it from the bedroom and it would wake us up. It would continue for 2 hours.

I finally discovered by walking into the stairway in my pajamas that it was coming from the flat below us and the serviced apartment people got it fixed for us. Now we don't mind the flat as much :-)

The weather is strange - 10 degrees and there are flowers. So much for seeing winter in Switzerland.

Monday, February 12, 2007


We're in Brussels now. Much of Europe had an amazing storm on Thursday. Part of the roof collapsed in Amsterdam's central station stopping all trains till the next morning. Germany still had no trains in the south on Saturday.

As we had no set plans Dear Reader wandered up and asked where we could go. He saod this seemed to make them very happy.

So we are now in Brussels. I'm still getting over a cold which is a slight cramp to touristic enjoyment. We've had some very good food and the old town is nice. My cold has led to us staying in nice comfy hotels which is good.

I've decided that if I have to be sick, I'll enjoy the fact that when I do go out, I have somewhere nice to go to.

Sent from my Treo

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Subject: Amsterdam
Date: 16 Jan 2007 19:52:50 -51601
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"
Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable

I'm on holidays for a couple of weeks. We've started off in Amsterdam.=
Of course because I have started a holiday I am now sick. It is =
obligatory. I have a cold.

Amsterdam is nice. We've been to the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijks =
Museum. We plan to seem some modern design in the next couple of days.=

We have seen some already just by looking at the amazong rooms you can see=
in peoples apartments where they have put in floor to ceiling windows.=
All of them seem to have these amazing modern design features. They =
obviously are happy living there lives in these rooms in public - a girl=
reading a book in a spotlit right next to the window - a mother and two=
young children in the kitchen. These rooms make me think of an Ikea =
display room except real people live there.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

I just found Drawn and from there saw this amazing art installation.

Cai-Guo-Quiang wolves.jpg

It's called Head-on and it is by Cai-Guo-Quiang. It was shown in Berlin. Unfortunately for us, the exhibition finished in October. It would be a perfect inspiration to go to Berlin.

We have just under three weeks from next Saturday to travel with no obligations in Europe.
After yesterday we're now including skiing in there somewhere. We start in Amsterdam meeting up with friends.

So much fun planning what to do. We could have a themed holiday - visiting exciting art installations or castles or anything.

Entry to a ski lift.

Entry to a ski lift.
Originally uploaded by bristley.
We went skiing on Friday. I went on the school one week ski trip when I was in grade 12. Sven has been told that he skied when he was 4. We had a shared private lesson. Amazingly some of my most basic skills came back quite quickly. We stayed in the children's training area for the lesson and I felt kind of ok.

After the lesson, we made it over to wear a t-bar for a beginners slope was but I didn't feel confident to go up as I need more refreshing on going down a steep slops and turning. Dear Reader did a spectacular stack as he was having difficulty stopping but he was ok.

We had lunch and then walked back up the 100 metres or so to next to where the Kinderschule was and practiced walking up hill and skiing down for an hour. By then it was after 3 and we were getting even more knackered.

We handed in our rental gear and hopped on the cable car/gondola thing that went to the top of the mountain. Lovely view and much colder and windy at the top. It had been about -1 and sometimes even a bit sunny at the bottom.

Lots of fun. We're going to try and go to Arosa and get another lesson tomorrow :-)