Another year, another blog post.

Many people — indeed, most people, are not really motivated by money.  They are usually motivated by an idealistic struggle that they really believe in — well that, or jealousy of someone who leads such a struggle.

It was this jealousy, or shall we call it “blog envy” that motivated me to finally post a new blog entry, the first one in… err… almost exactly a year.  Fitting that that last year’s entry should have been about new year’s resolutions.  In the interest of full disclosure, a pinch of exhibitionism, and a walloping of masochistic exploration, let me comment on my new year’s resolutions in retrospect —  meaning, in business speak, my personal KPI fulfillment in the previous year:

1. Re-start blogging

I may have tried to mislead you to hide the entire scope of my embarrassing failure on this one, but I’m too lazy to backdate posts.  The only lame excuse I have is I didn’t have time.  The whole year.  I procrastinated. To 2012.  And now I’m starting again.  Hope that convinced you….
Score: 0 / 10
2. Learn Sailing
Okay, so this we started, but didn’t quite get to the license.  Looking at the amount of money we sank *ahem* sailed off at the Zürichsee, I would say this one was a full hyperactive success.  We look to continue next year, perhaps with a different teacher, lake, and price plan.
Score: 7 / 10
3. play (more) violin
Do other instruments count?  Why did I put “violin”?  That’s so… limiting.  The point is I started playing piano, and… no really…
Let me compose myself.  So there was violin (one time) guitar (a few times) and piano (more times).  Okay, I admit I more or less flunked this one.  The resolution for next year will be “play (some) piano”
Score: 3 / 10
4. re-discover the art of writing (to illustrate the depth of my destitution, it suffices to say that it took me 2 minutes to properly formulate this point)
I re-discover this, every time I write a corporate e-mail.  Okay, I see that wasn’t too convincing.  I  did continue my journal, but did not make the world a better place with any more of my short stories.
Score: 4 / 10
5. attend more political events (like book clubs).
I did attend a book club, even if it was only in a representative role as MB’s boyfriend, does that count?  I can report that book clubs are no longer really political events (apart from the Nixon biography we got to take home as a very large and hitherto unopened addition to our bookshelf). 
Oh, and plus, I tried to start a book club, but nobody came. 
Does visiting a shooting club count as a political event?
Score: 2 / 10
6. focus, instead of just on input-related activities (reading the Economist, going to museums), also on output-related activities (writing, painting)
We did this, especially at the beginning of the year (painting), before we shamelessly reverted to our consumerist selves.  However, then we lapsed a few times again.  
Score: 5 / 10, not there yet.
7. refocus on core values (like living for knowledge, insight, conversation)
WTF?  Man, those old core values seem so distant now! I live for the 25th of the month, which is when my bank account gets a bit fatter. No, seriously, to my former self: “you silly, little, naive young man!!”
Score: no longer applicable. I no longer seek conversation with mortals!
Interlude: damn, why isn’t there anything here about working out??? I did work out in 2011, if my memory is correct, mostly in the beginning of the year.  Oh, and I went to the gym yesterday.  At 7 in 
the morning.  Boomyeah!
 
8. develop a certain positive attitude to work
Amm, not sure if I want to comment on this, lest someone from work find this blog…
Score: 0 / 10
9. do something crazy
 Luckily I said “something”, not “things”.  Because if I would have said “some crazy things” my abject failure would have been more apparent, considering I did not do anything really crazy the entire year.  I asked MB if she knew of anything, anything at all.  The best we could come up with: letting her drive my car.
Score: 3 / 10

10. learn to cook
Call Dani.  Ask him about the turkish dinner.  Call Gyuri. Ask him about the paprikascsirke.  Talk to MB.  Ask her about my meals.
Score: 8 / 10
11. continue to attempt speed reading
I  scored a late breakthrough with this one.  It was two days ago when I was reading a particularly boring article in the New Yorker.  I said to myself: “damn, I’m fast at reading this”.  But I still remembered the gist:  the yakuza are . 
Score: 7 / 10
12. …aaand the obligatory last point: go to the gym more often
Aha! Here it is!  I should just have read on….
Score: 6 / 10
Average: 4.73.  Result: F.  Ouch. Harsh.

So that was last year.  This year I have learned: no more resolutions…

New Year’s Resolution

For me, keeping new year’s resolutions is about as hard as getting up early in the morning on Sundays in the interest of “being productive”.

Much like getting up early, a resolution seems like a noble cause to aim for, but once the time comes, it seems so much easier to pull the covers over your ears and ignore the nagging voice in your head urging you to, at least once, live up to the promises you made to yourself, not long ago.

Thus, due to what economists call θ, or “time preference”* I will no doubt find myself, as millions of my commiserates on earth reneging on my oh so well meant promises.

Though this year will undoubtedly be no different, I will attempt to circumvent the problem by using a “shock and awe” approach: brainstorm so many resolutions, that by force of sheer statistical probability, I will be bound to achieve at least one.
1. Re-start blogging
2. Learn Sailing
3. play (more) violin
4. re-discover the art of writing (to illustrate the depth of my destitution, it suffices to say that it took me 2 minutes to properly formulate this point)
5. attend more political events (like book clubs).
6. focus, instead of just on input-related activities (reading the Economist, going to museums), also on output-related activities (writing, painting)
7. refocus on core values (like living for knowledge, insight, conversation)
8. develop a certain positive attitude to work
9. do something crazy
10. learn to cook
11. continue to attempt speed reading
12. …aaand the obligatory last point: go to the gym more often
Note the way, however, you might only know about my success at points 2-12, if I don’t break resolution 1. And, as we know, that one can be a hard enough resolution to follow
* (and what is tellingly in essence just another sort of egotism enjoyed by homines oeconomici – this time against their own future selves)

By the Lakeside

The trees there in the distance
spring into the sky
like bursts of ink on paper
that fall and quickly dry

The lakeside is as silent
as music when it stops
(though there will soon be clamor
as when the curtain drops)

Clouds on the lake reflecting
are breath’s trace on glass
twitches of your belly
are ripples as they pass

Your hips, the smooth horizon
as slumbering you lie
your dark hair is reed rustling
as carefully I sigh

I gaze at you for minutes
weaving on your sleep
like the lake majestic,
wonderful and deep

The sun’s presence draws nearer
as silently we dream
a single spark his crown casts
forms the first sunbeam

It’s as if you were dressing
cloaked in the limelight
the restless clouds throw motion
riling quiet night

The wind itself turns harsh now
feet roam the wooden floor
hallway light spills over
through the open door

Your words, they are so hasty
as if they yearned to go
the hallway bursts its bruising
harsh neonlit glow

I want to say so much now
but exposed here to the light
I watch your figure lonely
slipping out of sight

The rising sun throws piercing,
angry glares at me
leaving our lake draining
into memory

His stare is not forgiving
for creatures of the night –
those longing for the beauty
of a deep lake’s sight.

06.07.09

Very Random Comeback Post about Fitness Studios

It is my strong belief that there is a tiny lesson in each and every situation life serves up, if one just looks hard enough. Okay, so I really had to squint to make out the following observations, but it was all well worth it, for now I can present to you all the lessons that one can learn from one visit to the local Fitness Studio (name of fitness Studio omitted in fear of legal litigation / blows-of-fist from muscle-laden, involved parties).

Lesson I: Those lessons we learn as children can be valuable also when we believe that we are no longer children.
Remember all the books we used to read – or, to be truthful: look at the pictures in – as children?

For instance, the “Where’s Waldo” series?. They propagated the notion that there will always be, behind every topsy-turvy situation, a little bit of “meaning” — embodied in the fact that there was somehow, somewhere always a guy wearing a striped shirt.

Of course, little did we know at the time that this immensely simplified notion would turn out to be wildly correct, though after visiting the fitness studio for the umpteenth time, I can definitely state that Waldo does not wear a striped shirt. Instead, the real Waldo is an older, oriental-looking man with a beard much like the one I am currently touting, with short black pants and a gray shirt, whose exentric body movements automatically identify him as being present each and every time I visit the gym – whether he is powerwalking out of the dressing room, preparing to mount a “Milon Circle” machine (one of those contraptions with the bizzarre, proturding antaenne that are meant to be pumped in a rythmic fashion in a fusion of man and machine so perfectly ridiculous that I can only but refrain from indulging); or at the end, popping up at the automatic doors with his eerie smile, just as I am about to sneak out hoping not to have spotted him, just once.
Lesson II: Cute, innocent-looking girls prefer macho supermen.
Okay, so maybe some of you took less time than I did to figure this one out. I for one, grew up believing those “love is…” caricatures, where the boy and the girl are roughly of the same size, or at least of the same size category.
Alas, the cruel reality of the gym teaches us otherwise. Witness Mary and the Incredible Hulk, a staple presence at the freeweight section almost as omnipresent as Waldo.
I remember the first time I saw this duo in action, in essence a tragedy (at least from my perspective) in three acts:
Foreplay:

I go to the free weights section, chest-press 2*10kg+the bar (!), and am instantly proud of this small lift for man, giant-ass lift for someone who is essentially a boy. Enter cute blonde girl, who proceeds to said freeweight session, notices and endorses the 2*10kg+the bar with a smile thrown in my direction & I wonder whether I need to revise my preconception that I never have the luck to meet and date hot chicks from gyms.

Act 1: The tragedy takes its course
Enter giant steroid animal, who proceeds to add, to my 2*10kg, several*10kg (+the bar), upon which he receives a wonderful cooing pat from the above cute blonde. This incredible concentration of testosterone and muscle tissue now proceeds to be as rough with those poor weights as those weights are usually rough with poor me. His grunting is accompanied by general condolences ushered by said blonde chick.
Act 2: the sweaty catharsis
The WTF!8???!*20kg are now removed from the bar, and the giant belt girdling our Adonis is unlatched with the same ceremony as if it were some heavy weight boxing title. Our meat monster then proceeds to help said cute chick lift the bar several times, probably some sinister allusion to the fact that my 2*10 kg was something pretty close to what his girlfriend lifts.
Act 3: the happy ending (only for 2/3 of involved parties)
The drama closes with the two kissing, just to make her presumable conviction most blatantly obvious to me: the fact that her “partner” could snap someone like me in two goes some ways to addressing her need for that feeling of security she’s seeking in an exciting and fulfilling relationship.
Lesson III: Never, ever believe the official sauna pictures (or: actual content may vary)
Okay, it’s not like I went out and bought my fitness abo based on this:
I didn’t, because although I do still believe in some things (like the FNAC salesman who told me I needed a $125 gold-plated cable to connect my DVD player to my beamer), I no longer believe in other things, like “heaven”, or “truth in marketing”.

In real life, the sauna is built of a dark, sweat-soaked wood, more ruddy in character; and instead of young, beautiful naked women, there are old, hairy, albeit naked men.

Finally, unlike what the picture seems to insinuate, I no longer expect enlightenment, in the form of a satisfying bright radiating beam, to touch me at the sauna.

Apparently, an internet site called 123people.ch has made it its mission to gather pointless, confusingly garbled data about me for all to find and cherish as the first thing in sight when you google my name (uh-oh, so I just gave myself away…). Unfortunately, the lack of love with which the facts were assembled hints at computer involvement…. Apart from an assortment of photographs of random strangers who apparently, for some reason, come to the computer’s mind when it thinks of my name (one thing they all have in common is that they all look French and kinda sleazy), there is quite a revealing “tag cloud”, which I recommend to all of you who really want to start understanding me (it has this sort of “portal to my unconscious” flair, especially because I don’t get it, either):
Bayern Design job Eth zürich Martin Aktualität Hungary Contest Abschluss Teilw Unisg Flies Projektes Car design Blogging Graph München Austausch Best car Darst Boesch Mecon

as you can see, you were right, all along… and all those years you kept on telling me that I should just listen to that part of me that wants to burst out… you were talking… of course… about Teilw!!!

Let’s get this baby started again.

Yesterday, I was smoking a cigarillo in my bathtub with the lights out, treating* the room with Chopin from a stereo perched perilously close to the water…

In the bathtub, a little rhyme occurred to me:

In the darkness, there’s a light:
a cigarette burning in the night…

and with that, welcome to the understated, hush-hush, yet nevertheless significant relaunch
of dead flies, orchestrated, heh heh, from my bathtub.


* The wonderful German word “beschallen”, is, according to Leo, translated as “to treat with sound”

I’m thinking of getting a Harley-Davidson…

I admit that with trends in the family, it’s often like the America-Europe paradigm for us in our family: my brother seems to be ahead by 3 years or so with every trend. About that much time ago, my bro bought himself a Speed Triple.

Today, he got free tickets to the Swiss Moto 08 and I trepidatiously agreed to go with him and Ildi to check out what the fuss was about.

Amm… ehh… look behind you…
Adam and Ildi trying some Honda Cruiser
Me on the Harley I would consider my favourite. I already had infos sent home… A slight detail is that I would have to learn how to actually ride a motorcycle. I have already talked to Adam’s instructor and he told me step one is to go to a trial lesson, to see how far I am already. I think I’ll do that, once I’m in Basel and I have some time.


Road trippin’

My new flat in the heart of Basel

Tomorrow, I’m signing the documents for starting my new existence. I got real lucky, and found a charming, over 70 square meter flat in the historic city, literally 20m from Basel’s heart, the Barfüsserplatz.
Arrows point to the flat’s windows, and to the right, the Barfüsserplatz can be seen.

The staircase…

The living room, with the outjutting bay window. Im planning to buy a projector, so I can show movies on the large wall to the back 😉

The bedroom

The roomy kitchen

The kitchen panel

The bathroom