Friday, March 20, 2009


In a Swissy place far, far away
It is permitted and OK
to open your beercan wide
to enjoy and drink it ... OUTSIDE

Its a funny thing you see
In our homeland of the "free",
Inside and hidden, your beer must ever be
Public drinking not allowed -- It's policy!

So on the beerwalk we begin.
A half hour's walk to get thin.
While drinking all the while
Staying buzzed, that's the style!

As we near the halfway point, over 2 kilo-meters
We finish off our first one; that's 50 centi-liters!
Into the convenience store for a jiffy resupply
Beer is so cheap here, maybe even I will buy!

Halfway through the trip, the jokes get even better
Talking, drinking, loving this nice spring weather
We speak and chat and gossip about a friend named Heather

Far from homeland, where everyone fears the booze
We don't even use a paper bag, like those dirty wine-os dudes.

As we turn the corner, nearing the train station,
I look to the clock, and note with consternation,
That we have walked far with too much relaxation
I missed my train, now I must wait, I am never patient.

What should we do, we all concentrate and ponder.
We could drink more beer and maybe even wander.

Where to find cheap beer, we both know where its at
My companions say the COOP

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Once a Week, at Least

I have this nightmare at least once a week. It probably says a lot about how I treated life at the University. It's also a good reason why I probably will never go for a Post-Graduate program, even though I know a lot more useful tricks that would get me a good grade in any post-grad program.

(click to embiggen)
I think I the reason I keep my diploma by the bed, in the bottom drawer of my nightstand, so I am subconsciously reassured that I could pull it out and verify its existence when dreams like this call it in to question.

No, Seriously!

"Look at that girl's HAIR!" Waves of that uncomfortable unease immediately grip Stacy and me. Joey is really loud at his comment. "No Seriously, Dad! Look at that girl!"

It was an increasingly uncomfortable scene on the #6 Tram in Zürich. Several people were giggling out loud, and Stacy gave me that look -- well I can't exactly say "that look" because I don't think I've seen it before. It's that look of "We need to put a stop to this" and also a look of "Let's see how this plays out" and also simultaneously a look of amusement.

"Look at that girl, Dad! She has blue hair!" Joey said in a loud voice, loud enough for the whole tram to hear. In Bern, we can usually get away with speaking English, and most people don't understand, or don't act like they understand, especially when we speak with thick American accents, or speak quickly or use lots of slang. In this case, the inhabitants of Zürich usually know English far better than their Bernese or Fribourgeois counterparts.

"Yes, Joey. She has blue hair. I actually think it's kind of cool. " I calmly replied in a hushsed voice, trying to get Joey to switch the subject. The two punk rock girls who got on to the tram were laughing. I am sure they have heard this before, probably in Züridüütsch, instead of English. Maybe the novelty of it being in English was enough to amuse them to the point of giggling.

"Turn your head and look, Dad!", Joey, 4, was really concerned that I wasn't making eye contact with the two punk rock chicks who boarded this tram. I definitely saw them before they got on the tram, and maybe even secretly admired that blue hair style, combined with multiple facial piercings.

"How do they make them like that?" Joey continues at loud volume.

"Like what, Joey"

"With all those things in their face".

"Those are piercings" The volume ratio is still identical. Joey loud, me responding in the lower volume that hopes to guide the next sentences into ever decreasing levels of volume. Joey is hypnotized. Judging by his unwavering gaze, and out loud comments, there is no doubt this is a new phenomenon for him. In Switzerland, sure there is the occasional grown woman who has the streak of purple in her hair. But in Bern, we have yet to see the girl who has gone all blue to the hair.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Kindle Has Arrived

I am so very excited, as my Kindle 2 from Amazon has arrived today. Right off the bat, I uploaded the 30 e-books that I got for free of the Internet, of old classics whose copyrights have expired. I have also test-run the purchase system to allow me to buy actual books off of their website, and my first purchase was Neil Stevenson's Snow Crash.

Jake took a quick look at the Kindle, and found the free e-book of the King James Version of the bible. He tried to page through the opening copyrights and such, and it froze up. Locked up hard. I was so embarrassed. I tried a few tricks to get it to come back to life, but to no avail. I eventually connected it through the USB cable, and deleted some of the books off of the Kindle through my computer. After that, nothing was readable. Never fear, a factory reset got everything back into working order again.

Apparently, My Kindle 2 is some sort of heathen that has no interest in reading the Bible. Well I should cross it off my list too. There's no telling what weird things in there I'll start believing if I read it.

One of the other cool features I unlocked was being able to upload pictures to the Kindle. I uploaded a few of the pictures the family took when we visited Geneva a few weeks ago to visit the American Market there. I should write about that afternoon, too.

Another arrival in the mail shipment from America is my replacement Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. I have been stuck using a stupid QWERTZ keyboard, Switzerland style for the past few weeks. Of course, I convinced Windows that it was actually a QWERTY keyboard instead, so I didn't have to get thrown off by the parenthesis being shift-7 and shift-8 instead of shift-9 and shift-0. So long as I didn't actually look at the QWERTZ keyboard, it felt like a typical keyboard that we Americans are used to. EXCEPT: The \ key is in the wrong place. and so is the / key. Maddening! I would have to stretch my left pinky waaaay over to the left to get to the shift key, and sometimes, if I didn't stretch far enough, I got the / key instead. When hitting the Enter key, if I didn't stretch my right pinky finger waaaaay over to the right, I would get an extra \ where a linebreak should be. Maddening!