Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Mime A Minute

Hi, this is me at our recent Valentine's Day Show

I did this act to the tune, "Venez Donc Chez Moi"

I really got my work out!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cheese Map of Switzerland

Cheese is such a part of Switzerland that this map is entirely apropos. In the morning we woke up and had tea and cheese with some grapes and dried beef for breakfast. Then lunch was a salad with cheese in it, and dinner was more cheese slices, plus some baked cheese, and a salad and some dried meats. Snacks were slices of cheese with jelly on them, and dessert was ice cream with double cream on it.

Each town is a kind of cheese. We went to Gruyere and had Gruyere cheese. (Which I have now become addicted to.) We visited Neuchatel, but didn't have any Neuchatel Cheese while we were there. (It's sort of like Cream Cheese.)

We didn't have any or even see any "Swiss Cheese" while in Switzerland, which is ironic, considering how much Swiss Cheese we ate, but none of it had any holes in it.

In Provence, the only cheese I saw was a big variety of goat cheese.

Switzerland has started growing wine grapes on every available surface now, just like California. But unlike California, the hills are so steep in Switzerland that's it's impossible to harvest some of them mechanically. We were there right at harvest season, and there were families out on the hills picking grapes the hard way.

Provence had the best Cote Du Rhone wine that I have ever tasted or ever hope to taste again unless I go back to France. (I guess this isn't news to most people.)
In Valance there was an apertif with a name that sounded like RinTinTin. I can't remember what it was really called, or find it on the internet, but it was local to the Valance area, and was quite interesting and delicious.

Of course, in Switzerland, I had the best Hot Chocolate (Chocolat Chaud) I'd ever had, and they served it everywhere.

So, by the time I got back home, I was completely spoiled for cheese, wine, cream, hot chocolate, and dried meat. I couldn't really find the dried meat around here anywhere, and I barely drink alcohol, so I went on a dairy-products rampage.

If I get over it, I'll let you know...

Until then, Bon Apetit!

Monday, November 12, 2007


In Switzerland, we stayed with a family of artists. Cows are really big in Switzerland- in two ways. They're a big deal, but they're also GIGANTIC! We saw cows the size of mini vans. There were horses across the street, and they looked small and scrawny- sort of like dogs, compared to the giant, gentle-looking dairy-cows grazing serenely on the rich green grass.

So, it's no surprise that cow art would be popular.
This cow is called a Tetra-Vache.

Danny has a lot more at

And this is a sculpture by Sarah.

After staying in a midaeval-looking town, with a castle and a moat, in an apartment with a bunch of fanciful, fun-loving French-speaking artists, filled with sculptures of fairies and mythical creatures,
one could start to believe in magic.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I don't know why I was satisfied just to put up some photos and call that an adequate travel-log for a 10 day trip to Europe. It looks like nothing happened, but that we just drove around and took pictures.
It may be because I was in a blank fog after two weeks of trying to get along with nothing but French. I hadn't experienced being spoken to like an idiot child very often in my life, but that was the total conversation while I was there.
Why? Because we went to a part of the world where they consider you are illiterate if you don't speak French. Saying "I don't speak French", is equivalent to saying, "I don't speak."
I did study French for years in High School, but that turns out not to have helped for three reasons
1)It was in High School, which was basically before the dawn of time
2) My high school French teacher was old and reactionary even back then. So, of the French I could remember, the words and phrases were almost like, "Prithee, hast thou an idea of the nearest loo?"
3)The main other languages I've been hearing and attempting to speak since then have been Spanish and Chinese. Example of me trying to speak in Switzerland, "J'aime le comer, merci beaucoup, pero je n'ai besoin de mas. Hao de, hao de, tout est bien."

More next time..

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Yes, this is really what Switzerland looks like.

This is me at the castle at Gruyere.

Here are some more views of Gruyere. It is an old-style town built around a castle. It's right down the road from Bulle.
Ellen will be going to a campus in this location for the second half of her training.

We took a trip to France on the weekend, and stayed in a great town in Provence called Valence. This is the hotel we stayed in there- the "Hotel de France"

From Valence, we drove down the Rhone until we got to the Mediterranean. This was Marseilles.

Then we drove back up through Provence to Switzerland. We rented a car for the week, and drove all over. I had a lot of fun driving an Alpha Romeo through Switzerland and Provence.

But when I drove too fast (over 140 kilometers an hour) the car talked to me in German and told me to slow down.

This is the view from our hotel room in Valence at night. We stayed there on the way down, then on the way back up again. This was the most delicious place in the world. We ate at a fine restaurant that served great Provencial food and local Cote du Rhone wine, and on Saturday morning went to a Farmer's Market, which was what every Farmer's Market in California wishes it could be.

And then we got back to Switzerland, with its green hills, cows and peaked roofs.

This is the town we stayed in: Yverdon. It is a little North of Lausanne, on the South end of Lac Neuchatel.

The first school we visited was in Lausanne. Here are some photos of Ellen and me at the lake (which is called "Lac Le Mans" although for some reason people call it Lake Geneva) in Lausanne.

But the school she decided on is Glion in Montreux. It's actually on a hill overlooking the town, which is why it's called "Glion-sur-Montreux".
Did you know they have a statue of Freddie Mercury in Monteux?

Anyway, this is the sidewalk in front of the school. You can see it on the right.

And here are some views from the school cafeteria:

Monday, September 03, 2007


Here are a few more New York photos.

This is the library, not a museum, believe it or not.

Relaxing in Central Park.

Enjoying a delicious dessert.

And a final attitude for this entry.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New York jobs

I recently went to New York for the first time and I was really struck by the variety of jobs there are in New York compared to other cities.

For one thing, each apartment building has a doorman 24 hrs a day who knows every inhabitant and watches over them like your mother. So thats 3 door men per apartment building times 100s of apartment buildings in New York. There are also people selling things on every corner. People passing out fliers, actually selling newspapers in piles on the sidewalk corner like you see in movies, selling flowers, tourist items, or even old used books.

Then there are transportation workers. Each street is completely full of taxis and limos in Manhattan- almost no privately driven cars. There are also a lot of buses and a huge number of subway stations, lines and cars.
Here's a picture of Grand Central Station, which is just one of the subway stations (although it is the biggest)

Speaking of touristy things, there are a huge number of jobs relating to tourists. People selling tickets to go on the Empire State Building, the top of Rockefeller Center, or ride the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and to go to the top of the statue of Liberty (see picture).

And here is a photo of Kyra in Battery Park, where there are people making their living from tourists, including selling food and drinks, painting portraits, playing the saxaphone, driving ferries, making un-sympathetic announcements about how everything is sold out and don't even try to get on the ferry, and maintaining the bathroom facilities. But this photo shows the big NO sign: NO skateboarding, rollerskates or anything else. Although there is a lot to do in New York, it generally is a place of no sympathy.

There is a HUGE retail business in New York, such that every other store I've been to pales in comparison. And in every store there are a zillion different jobs, including running the Ferris Wheel in the Toys R Us in Times Square. This is a picture of Ellen riding on it.

Then it seemed to me that any musician who is any good has a job waiting for him in New York, or can create one. Everywhere I went had live music- every street corner and in the many many theatres. Here is a picture of a concert in the park at Lincoln Center.

One job in New York City, that you can't find too much in other cities, is working in a museum. They have a whole street lined with museums, and each museum has 100s of rooms, and each room has a person standing in it to answer questions, give directions, and tell you to keep your hands off the objects.

And of course we can't forget the job of buggy driver- there are probably at least a hundred of these. Most of the guys I overheard who were lined up ready to take people on a drive seemed to be Irish. Don't know why that would be, but I guess Irish buggy drivers can find a position in New York.

Another job you can't really get anywhere else is working for the UN. There also seems to be an embassy for a different country on each block.

There are a lot of others, including the Stock Market, and every type of support job for the stock market and banking and investment. I could almost feel the current of the world's money flowing through the veins of the city. And there are public safety and support, firemen and policemen who actually stand around looking helpful and will give directions and be friendly. As well as the antithesis of every type of illegal activity you can want, including shifty salesmen on the sidewalks selling shady shades out of briefcases.

Of course, there are religious workers from every religion there is, including priests working at some of the most magnificent cathedrals in the world.

So overall, I was favorably impressed with the city, and glad to have met and seen at work the people who make it their home.