Monday, February 29, 2016

3 days on the Slopes

Marcus and Agata just spent 3 days on the slopes  (Well a lunchtime and a Weekend).

Thanks to our wonderful personal trainer Kathy our Enthusiasm for wintersports has been rekindled.   (Again, if you live in Vaud, we really recommend you call Zimfit to book some coaching)

The end of Day 1.  We've realised despite the hot weather conditions that a decent resort is about 45 minutes away for Nordic Skiing.

So not taking advantage is pretty criminal really.

Question:  On the way home we noticed these small fences.  Are they to keep hedgehogs away from the roads?  Anybody

Day 2

Another resort and this is also less than 1 hour from home.   Now this is getting embarrassing!

Whilst the snow is thinner, it is still there

We are delighted that our Nordic Skis, poles, and boots and a change of clothes all fit nicely into the baby Audi TT. Such a fantastic car.

Day 3

We are meeting up with friends.  Another resort less than 60 minutes from home.  Who knew?

We find that the snow a little unconvincing and so snowshoes are left in the car

The avalanche rating was 3 out of 5   (where 1 is okay and 5 is all-closed).  Without naming names, a vote was taken to turn back.

I know, I am ruining the mystery of Snow Angels

Time for lunch ....

We are making a note for later this year to return for the famous Swiss Cow fighting.

Sandra's famous Granola Bar slices are really delicious.

We stop first for lunch

And then on the way home.  The Artisan shop has lots of choice but rather pricey produce.  

Switzerland:  Really Beautiful

Some learning Points

- Wahoo, we have some new fancy Nordic Skis for the remainder of the season.  We must go and use them!

- Marcus refused to participate in the drive down back from the mountains faster than you unofficial competition. The specialty of boy racers.  I just pull over. And probably catch you up in a few minutes when you hit a wall of traffic.

- Artisan shops are addictive.  Go in with a budget

- Though this 2016 has little to no snow, we can find something  within a 45 minute drive from home in Lausanne. 

- On a Sunday it's fun to go out for a nice relaxing walk / snow shoe in the mountains.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Leap Year 2016

Clean Bandit: Rather Be Live

So we get an extra day in 2016 this year.   A leap year. I suppose in absolute terms I will not live 'an extra day'.

Nevertheless,  I dedicate today to a celebration, to all who read this and the fact that personally I am rather glad to 

Rather Be

as opposed to Rather Not Be


But Why is this a Leap Year?

Is this a Leap Year?

=IF(OR(MOD(A1,400)=0,AND(MOD(A1,4)=0,MOD(A1,100)<>0)),"Leap Year", "NOT a Leap Year")

sub IsLeapYear { my $year = shift; return 0 if $year % 4; return 1 if $year % 100; return 0 if $year % 400; return 1; }

int isLeap (int year){
return (((year%4==0)&&(year%100!=0))||(year%400==0)) ;

And back to a Celebration of Being alive in 2016

Sigma: Redemption

LMFAO: Party Rock

ThePianoGuys: Paradise

Sculpting the Wind

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sunday Sermon: The Other Religions

Oh, those other religions

Boy George: My God

Homer confronts Pascal

Which God is the most likely? But choose wisely, Gods are unforgiving in this respect.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Double Blind Test

Subtitle:  Do try this at home

Whilst this principled Scientific experiment uses Chocolate as the test substance, other materials are available :-)

Still Eating Chocolate?
Although technically off the list of consumables due to a healthier living lifestyle for 2016 race preparation, Marcus has made an exception in the name of Science.  Seems fair, right?

The Costs of this Experiment
At our local Swiss supermarket, the Lindt 100 gram milk chocolate bar is 2.60 CHF and the Coop house 100gram bar was 0.5 CHF

Experiment Goal
To see if Marcus can detect and prefer the top shelf expensive Lindt Milk chocolate over the very cheapest Supermarket brand.

What is a Double Blind Test
This means that neither the subject of the experiment Marcus, nor his skilled experimenter Agata know which chocolate bar is which (during the test).

To do this though, Marcus has to be literally blindfolded in the test. Had there been 3 people, this would not have been necessary.

In this Test
Marcus is doing the eating
Agata is doing the feeding to him and noting down his reactions and test data

Are you sitting Comfortably?

Good then we shall begin

With Agata well out of the way Marcus opened both bars of Chocolate

 Now both milk chocolate bars are slightly different in colour, the chunk sizes are slightly different, and on one side is a recognisable logo.

For this reason Marcus is going to be blindfolded during the test so he can only use his taste buds to tell the difference.

Marcus prepares two sets of samples.  The Coop house chocolate is on the left, marked 1, and the expensive Lindt is on the right marked 2.

[Postscript: in order to ensure that the taster cannot distinguish brands based on size, an extra step would be to cut the chocolate squares into randomly shaped sizes. ]

Marcus gets ready and asks Agata to come in.  She does not know which chocolate is which   (the logos are face down) and she is asked to choose a random order to feed me chocolate squares and write down my comments.

 I know,  I'm making this look too easy

Hopefully I am holding up the results, not some idiotic message, I can't see anything yet

Okay, now I get the wrappers out and I had numbered on the other side the 1 and the 2 so there is no dispute

There are the highlights of what I said, transcribed below.

Agata's Randomly selected order and Marcus Comment


D.1  Tastes Good
E.2  I think this is the same chocolate as 1
C.3  This is slightly less sweet, so first 2 must be Lindt, this one is Coop
B.4  This is the same as first 2, ie creamier, it's the Lindt
D.5  I like this the best so far, this one. Not sure which brand it is though!  Surely the Lindt?
E.6 This is creamier, than the last.  Must be Lindt.  Wait, this means 4 Lindt, so I must have got one wrong.  Oh No!


- Marcus did not correctly identify the 2 different Chocolate varieties all of the time

- He then chose, the Coop house chocolate as his favourite (D.5) and also simultaneously mistook it for Lindt!

- From a taste and even packaging point of view there is really very little in it

So for Marcus' staple milk chocolate it looks like he could be more economically served by the Coop, store branded chocolate.

And that dear friends is a Double Blind taste test.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Shopping IRL

Pet Shop Boys: Shopping

Subtitle:  We went outside to Window Shop

At the lower than,  please park my Ferrari in the Hotel parking and I don't care about the cost class, Switzerland can be an extremely disappointing place to shop.

Sure, I can buy Watches here.  But when it comes to Consumer Electronics, Clothes, Food and other staples, the choices for Marcus and Agata are limited, certainly for Physical Shops, with displays.

The Internet Mail Order marketplace is both more competitive and better stocked, so normally we'd shop there.

But this Thursday, with some time on our hands at lunch, we thought:  What the hell.  We'll actually try to visit shops and look around.  Not even with a specific agenda.

I know:  call us the Spontaneity twins or what....

We found a shop to actually look at a monitor we might want to actually buy.  Amazing.  Though I found Digitec is 25% cheaper :-(

Although their Chromebook pricing was so hysterically bad Marcus was almost in tears.

 Porridge choices in Switzerland are plentiful

Save Porridge we have weaned ourselves away from all 'commercial' sugar laden, hyper advertised breakfast cereals. But I feel sorry for parents with young children entering this isle


Marcus is a honey connoisseur and Agata suggested I investigate trading up from my bottom shelf (literally) bargain basement branding.

So the Italian honey from the same company is 60% of the cost of Swiss.

I studied the astonishing prices. Top shelf  (again literally) Swiss honey is more than 700% more expensive, and I didn't dare to try and find the Manuka.

The Samsung S7 spaces are literally reserved.  Not just Swisscom but positively all retailers I know are pushing Samsung S6 out at clearance prices.  I even saw one at Aldi!

I played and lusted over a number of high end Windows 10 mobile phones.  The ones with top quality cameras.  Except the one above that had crashed so badly it would need a battery removal except this would also set off the store theft alarm. So I just walked away, just a little sad.  For a price of over 600 CHF I had expected something more.

Learning Points

- It was actually quite fun.  IRL - In Real Life, yes, we could get used to this. Slow though :-(

- Going to shops means, they do more of the work, you let your eyes and senses do the receiving

- The Electronics shop InterDiscount actually had some good prices & some really bad ones.

- Everybody is trying to get rid of their stocks of the Samsung S6 Smartphone.  Buy one now, if it fits your needs.

- Swiss honey is freakishly expensive,  I feel a taste test coming up soon.  Maybe we will use science to help us.