Wednesday, February 22, 2017

More Nordic Skiing in Vaud

Depeche: Walking In My Shoes

Over dinner last night Marcus failed to get sympathy from friends with a complaint that almost every muscle in my body seemed to be aching. I explained that the 2 hour plus Nordic Skiing session at lunchtime was quite tough today.

So more seriously,  we are grateful for all the Winter Sport opportunities that Lausanne and the environment here in Canton Vaud Switzerland provides. 

With temperatures hitting an all time high this week, I would say there is an obligation on all athletes to get out there before the big melt ...

Running Chalet a Gobet

Which route shall we choose today?

I know, perhaps I should try a little harder

And Nordics

 Today Marcus is not on Childminder duty

With Global Warming and Old Age to come, the time is now to get out and exercise.  Don't delay.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Geneva Motor Show: Who is With Me?

Geneva Motorshow Buildup

Even though with Palexpo halls being about 40 minutes drive away I could be considered a tad biased, I honestly feel that Geneva Motor Show is one of the best Motorshows of the year.

In fact I'd say the best

So what do you need to know?

- 09 to 19 March 2017 at Geneva Palexpo Halls, Geneva Switzerland

- The official website is here 

- The Exhibition halls are actually physically walking distance from the Airport

- Easyjet flies to Geneva Switzerland

- For dumbos, please remember Switzerland is not in the EC !

- Flights permitting you can easily fly in, Do a full day of Show and fly home

- For those with deeper pockets I'd spend a full weekend or even a few days at the dhow

- Obviously at weekends, or after working hours the show gets impossibly crowded.  Best avoid if you can

- Our home town of Lausanne is about 45 minutes away by Train.  If you were booking a hotel then you could consider Lausanne not Geneva, we'd like your business here, it's much more beautiful, and cheaper too.

- You can book online for 16 CHF here

- This is the Autocar preview here

- This is the EVO magazine preview here

If you are interested in cars, or in fact just looking at cars and not buying a new one  (far cheaper!) then I can heartily recommend Geneva.  What are you waiting for?

Monday, February 20, 2017

In Sweden

You look at what's happening in Sweden

If you can bear it the full speech is here

2 things appear to be quite clear

- No terror attack has been reported in Sweden on Friday as was stated by Donald Trump in his speech

- There was however a Fox News report about troubling issues related to Immigration into Sweden

I have to conclude that since no Swedish Government source can confirm any Friday terrorist attack and that no US Government spokesperson could confirm it either, then it seems likely that Donald Trump is indeed getting his World news update from Fox News.

You really could just not make this kind of thing up, could you.

To me what Donald Trump has directly spoken, and please check these other sources,  really qualifies as fake news

In Politics those caught in a lie are normally dismissed or resign.  Just ask Michael Flynn.

Socratic Paradox
Plato's report of Socrates "I know that I know nothing" or what I shall corrupt to "I know that there is a problem" is a phrase to describe Donald Trump's vision.

To Marcus it is undeniable and clear that the USA and much of Western Europe does have major systemic problems in regard to Jobs, Immigration, and I would argue false entitlement  (societally: we deserve it), and delivery  (Governments and Individuals will borrow to afford it regardless).

Listing problems is easy,  but fixing problems is not so simple, especially if

- the 'others' you have targeted as principally responsible, are not
- In fact a 'complex solution' to obvious problems is all that can be attempted.
- And that even complex solutions may not work
- And that nothing works quickly in the realms of International Trade and Tarrifs.

To take a lesson from the UK's BREXIT.  Extracting the UK from the European Union must be done (by law) in 24 months after article 50 is triggered.  Most UK and EU sources believe this is not time enough.

Simple solutions belong in the playground with the Children, not on the Interconnected World Stage


Sunday, February 19, 2017

This is the Modern World

The Jam: The Modern World

I shall be brief because Marcus is travelling back to Switzerland.

In fact I am writing this from the quayside at Dover, England.

But I am far from alone

If you click to zoom in you will see that on my makeshift table, my wonderful Lenovo U430 laptop is pumping Iron with  3.5MB/sec average download and 2.5MB/sec Internet connection.

To Marcus, simply astonishing.  I've told the story before, but whilst working on a contract in Krakow Poland, our entire Office of over 100 employees supporting a large Manufacturing plant had a private leased 0.5MB/second link to support the Intranet. And now I have 500 times the speed per employee, and over a mobile link.

Yep, Bonkers.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Body Positive

Louis Rossmann: The Body Positive

The back story is that I recently sold an Ultrasonic cleaner to a nice Swedish man living in Switzerland.  We both have a passion for computers and he mentioned that for Apple repairs I should seek out the YouTube channel of Louis Rossmann.

So YouTube then
We now have over 300 YouTube subscriptions with varying levels of content.   So it is no exaggeration that instead of tuning into [Internet streamed] TV channels; much of our daily learning comes from watching daily updates.

And I can do this whilst on the Metro, on my SmartTV or even on a spare monitor on my server, whilst I'm otherwise working. [As I am writing this article in fact!]

Louis Rossmann is most recently famous for his Apple repair tutorials.  And know how difficult it is to shoot and edit anything, whilst solo, and actually do something useful, his content is absolutely frikking amazing.

But the above video is all about something completely different.  In a nutshell taking time to keep in better rather than worse shape.  Daily exercise,  not eating Crap all the time,  for those without medical issues: not accepting obesity,  and not inventing medical issues!  Not rocket science.

So I subscribed.   It is great.  So great.

Friday, February 17, 2017

President Trump Holds a Press Conference

A Press Conference

Firstly, if you care about World Affairs then I'd recommend that you do subscribe to the White House YouTube channel.

Once subscribed you then have the option to watch some of the videos.

And, oh boy, the one shown above, unimaginatively titled:

President Trump Holds a Press Conference

is well, quite extraordinary, but not I feel in a good way.  I've watched and listened to American Presidents talk, and whilst I've not always agreed to what they were saying,  at least it was well structured and made Logical sense, as opposed to

- Unstructured
- Rambling
- Reeking of Paranoia

I cannot begin to say how shockingly inappropriate I found this display of quite frankly Ineptitude.   Quite honestly I hope that you don't believe my words and want to refute my statements with your own counter point.  So then please start at the hour (60 minute) mark, and watch the next 90 minutes,  because I f*****ing had to.  It was my duty as a citizen of the world, acknowledging that America's actions have a profound influence on my European world and in fact that of the whole world.

Bingo Card
To keep you awake, you can all play a tragic game of Bingo.   I wrote down some of the more unusual (yes, I am that diplomatic) parts of the speech.   Your challenge is :

  1. Gather some friends and family
  2. Watch the above video
  3. Tissues and Refreshments are optional
  4. Every time one of the following phrases from the speech is heard you can shout DONALD
  5. The winner is the person in your group that gets the most DONALD calls in first.
  6. Score Double points if you find more astonishing lines.  

You know what uranium is, right?

The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake, because so much of the news is fake

Flynn did nothing wrong

Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars

Nuclear holocaust would be like no other

I've done nothing for Russia. Hillary Clinton gave them 20 percent of our uranium

I’m not ranting and raving

I'm really not a bad person

I didn't divide this country, it was divided when I got here

There are two Chicagos - one is posh, safe; one is crime-ridden

I'm the least racist person, least anti-semitic person around

The whole Russian thing is a ruse

Just one More Thing
Here is the transcript  (annotated)

22.00 Update

The eloquent Trevor Noah now of the Daily Show adds his perspective on the speech too

Thursday, February 16, 2017

England: Just too Easy

Father Ted: Charades   (Too Easy)

Indeed,  today Marcus realised how living in the UK, as compared to Switzerland can sometimes be so, so, so easy.

 Marcus drove to a UK shopping centre.  Coming back and about to enter on the drivers side I noticed that the front wheel had what looked like 2 nails embedded into the tyre.

In such a situation

DONT remove the nails!   Our motorhome and it is typical does not have a spare tyre, and even if it did,  no scissor style jack would be strong enough (so they don't supply a jack either).

Instead using my excellent Smartphone and 3 SIM I googled Replacement Tyres sellers.

0.7 miles away, and open at 17.00.

I drove over

Less than half an hour later all was done.  I would expect that the replacement tyres and labour would be frighteningly more expensive and I'm pretty sure the number of shops in our home in Lausanne who can change commercial vehicle tyres is between small and zero.

So thanks GB.   You were great.  So Great.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


For many years Marcus experienced a solitary Valentine's day experience. I recall one particular close family relation who used to ring up and say (sic): "Poor Marcus, ..." . I used to think, don't give up your day job to become a Standup Comedian.
And so, now I'm happy to report, yes well Feb 14 2917, it was far from solitary, but that Agata and Marcus had another brilliant Valentine's day

7 deadly sins run #1

Our initial plan this week was to run at least 5 races. But we are really , #really busy this week.  So all I could encourage Agata to run today was a trivial 1/2 marathon.

Ragley Hall Tour

Marcus put in a bid to receive valuable Husband credits by booking a special Valentine's day tour of our local Ragley Hall.

Rumour has it that they can see our house from their house.  

Valentine Cream Tea

Cream tea, and it turns out a whole tower of additional goodies.   Rather nice.


Let me say, we shopped responsibly with restraint

And finally

When you finally have a partner that loves you back, and makes you feel great,  it becomes so easy to reciprocate.  We hope those reading this have found or will find their match forthwith.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

America: Lessons Learnt

SNL: cold open

Exactly one month ago we arrived back from our wonderful trip to North America.  So looking back on our trip and return:

We arrived home on January 14th and had so much Washing,  Filing,  Bill Paying, Apartment based administration, well, it was not at all pleasurable.  We realise our fortunate position  without children or an early Monday morning work commitment, but doing everything to perfection: takes time,

We came back from the USA (oh and Poland) with a host of new equipment that will all have to be carefully evaluated and tested.   What works best will be documented here .. when we have the time

Planning and Execution
I try to reflect on what it takes to make a successful non coach-potato vacation.

First I'd say that a /coach-potato/ vacation suits many people.  You pay a lot of money,  somebody arranges everything, and it's normally a simple flight somewhere, you stay in one place, doing as little as possible, then fly back.

Not really our thing.  We'd prefer daily activity and exercise. Seeing sights and interacting with local people and sampling what is best, well best within our budget.

To make it all work I find

- Agata spends tens maybe hundred of hours researching the possibilities
- Our research always includes what sports events are available, walking and running trails, weather analysis, local attractions
- Nearly all our planning is heavily Internet Dependent
- For every 1 week of planning we'd reckon on at least an equal 1 week of prior research.
- We also realise the importance of AirBnB and Uber  (or similar accommodation and Taxi services).
- Tough but realistic time planning.  Make it tough but not impossible 
- Have a contingency plan in case of Injury
- And finally Money.  If things really goto shit: Perhaps a Robbery,  Serious Injury, Dramatic World events. In this or same, be prepared and be able to spend big to get yourselves out of trouble.

American Motorhomes

A great introduction to US Motorhomes and it was everything we expected in contrast to our current European Motorhome.   A full post to follow, but summarily

- Small US motorhomes are 7 metres plus
- A slideout(s) are commonplace and provide huge improved space and hence livability.  This would be a tremendous plus for longer term Motorhome living
- The Waste Water and Toilet systems in the USA are totally superior to Europe
- Ability to connect to Mains water at campsites is also a US benefit
- US motorhomes typically  have a Generator, so off grid camping is basically painless since you can AC power all your appliances.  Again a big plus.
- It's commonplace to have a propane tank to power the stove and heater(s).  Again, far superior to Europe.
- The typically 'Colonial American' interior of most US motorhomes is to us a total and utter turnoff. It is 2017,  not 1897 people!

In the USA the larger size of roads and parking spaces and space attitude enables a comfortable 7 metre plus motorhome with slide and that allows for many features that are just unavailable on European homes.

Our first Consumer Electronics Show.  We had a thoroughly good time.  Why?
- It was new, and so we learnt the format
- We had good discussions with many trade suppliers
- We saw the differences between Large Exhibitors, Eureka Park Startups,  Asia Sector
- We learnt a lot about Home Automation in 2017
- We came away with knowledge of announcements and trends in 2017

LongBeach and LA

Above is the nicest waterfront house we found in Long Beach California as we participated in a New Years Day Marathon.  I did some research and came up with a 1.2M USD price tag.

Unless more draconian measures are announced by Mr Donald Trump, Europeans are entitled to spend no more than 6 months per year in the USA and so to this cost would be added full-time US property tax, security, utility bills and services if we proposed to live there.

An expensive n+1 property we surmise, perhaps the current government could be more sympathetic to couples wanting to invest their life savings in the USA and provide a legal way for us to reside there 12 months of the year.

And So to Close

Thanks so much America for giving us the chance to visit you, experience the Wilds, and Technology side of America, and talk to the locals, and to spend our hard earned savings with you.

We hope that your future is bright and that the good guys will win in the end

SNL: People's Court

Monday, February 13, 2017

Back to Los Angeles

George Michael: Outside

Today Marcus and Agata report on the closing phases of our wonderful adventure in the US of A.   In the events of January 13 we are moving back from Mohave Spacepark to Los Angeles

Leaving SpacePort RV
We arrived to Spaceport RV in the dark and it was pretty basic.  In the early daylight the situation did not improve.

 It must be said that the best thing found at the site was a friendly kitty.

No staff were around so as we left early in the morning, with great honesty we put the daily campground fee into an envelope and posted it into the Administration office, and left.

Exotic Feline Breeding Centre
Agata managed to Google a local point of interest to us, a Wild kitty breeding centre.

We arrived early and came to the entrance.  Closed!  So we set about on a small walk of the area.  The shacks we saw made for depressing viewing.

An shed made from a Railway carriage.  Great idea, but has seen better days.

Finally we walked all the way back to EFBC,  paid up and despite the rain got a grand tour.

 Most of the animals were hiding from the rain.  There was consequentially almost nothing to see. Disappointing.

Journey to LA
The drive back from Mojave to LA was nice and uneventful.  This is our penultimate day of our tour so we had to stop to fill up with propane.

So the propane gas powers the Hot Air heating system and the cooker.   We have used the heating extensively on this trip.

European motohomes almost without exception don't have a refillable fixed gas tank.  Instead for heating they use interchangeable Gas cylinders.  In our Swiss Dethleffs motorhome we have 2,  Super light, refillable Plastic Cylinders.   The refillable tank is a superior solution not implemented in Europe primarily because there is not a European-wide network of propane stations. 

Walnut RV Park

Our last night will be spent here in Walnut RV park.  There is just time we hope for some last minute shopping, some walking, and it will turn out some local talking ...

 This is a very friendly and well equipped park, with pool and games room though it's too cold right now to swim or be outside in a swimming costume.

Most of these rigs are full size Coached sized homes with multiple slide-outs.  Many of the residents are contractors working in the seasonal Hollywood film industry.

Now it is time for another first.  Mains sewerage.  Another thing that is not available to Motorhome users in Europe.  Here you actually connect up the Black (waste) and Grey (Kitchen/shower) exit pipe to mains sewerage.

Additionally connect the mains water to directly connect to your sink and toilet.

Once connected you just flush your waste tanks and then leave connected.  And inside your motorhome with mains water your toilet and shower operate just like at home. This is a totally different way of living to European motorhoming!


Apart from some rather over the top sights we walked our neighbourhood in search of valid last minute purchases:

We are currently considering converting our European home into a Smart Home.  A first step is to buy the Google Home device which is not available in Europe / Switzerland.

Some talking
 Marcus got talking at night to the amazing 75 year old plus lady who checked us in earlier today.  It quite made my day and had Agata subtly kicking me as a signal: Stop talking to her,   she must be getting so bored of your questions.

Personally I wanted to know why she was still working into her late 70's and some background on the park, oh, and almost my favourite topic with American citizens: Hilary and Donald and the Presidential election.

It was honestly enlightening and so interesting to have this worldly woman's perspective.  I tried to listen without judgement and understand her views which were so different to mine.

Finally we had to get back to our Motorhome and sleep one last night in America.

Back to George.  Too funky.  Yes, we are.