Tag Archives: switzerland

Bilirubin: Advanced Commuting.

Should you ever have lived in a a suburb, chances are you also have commuted. This activity where loads of people called “commuters” or “fucking idiots,” depending on your point of view and the time of day, share vehicles of mass transportation to move from a point A to a point B on a regular basis has long been a point of discord among human beings.

For some, commuting is the bane of modern society, reason enough to finally move into the city or way out of town and buy a fancy new car; for others, it’s the only way to watch girls and get ignored, bump into girls and get ignored, feel girls up in the crowd and get an ellbow rammed into the solarplexus, and all the other things that are part of a healthy heterosexual upbringing.

Generally, only very few commuters really enjoy the daily routine of missing the bloody bus by thirty seconds or enduring the chatter of hyperactive house-wives. So, here are a couple of things that might come in handy next time you’re waiting for your connection, or you are in a particularly bad mood to begin with and don’t really feel like having half a dozen people intrude yoursquare-metre of condensed homicidal rage.

Commuting can be exceedingly boring. Unimaginative commuters will wear headphones or read the newspaper, but no later than when both batteries and reading material run out due to your coach being stuck in yet another traffic jam you will realise the importance of being capable of amusing yourself with no tools at hand. Now, before you ask: no, I don’t advocate masturbation in crowded places, but it can make a slow train-ride this much more interesting if you fantasise about having sex with everybody in your surroundings. Just be sure you don’t wear your wide pair of boxer shorts, there’s a good boy–otherwise, you might be forced to balance your back-bag on your lap, and we all know what people say about guys balancing back-bags on their laps.

Another option is to imagine interesting ways how to kill the passengers on your particular ride. You can make it more difficult if you restrict possible murder weapons to parts of the potential victims’ clothing or the contents of your briefcase. Be creative, try to find new uses for that orange and the thesis you were working on over the week-end, rather than being a spoil-sport and fetch an electric chainsaw in your gym bag, no matter how handy it might come in should that group of teenagers decide not to shut the fuck up in the next ten seconds.

If you insist on your musical breakfast, be it to finally wake up or to dim the incessent chatter of the hyperactive house-wives sitting opposite you, make sure not to waste a perfect opportunity for an ironic statement. One of my fondest commuting-related memories is of that day when I was standing in the bus, listening to the Matrix soundtrack, while pedestrians walked by waving at us because the bus hit a snow drift. Generally, the more dynamic, fast, and up-front the music, the more you will be able to laugh about missing the job review, and save your puny little sanity from being shredded to bits while freezing your weenis off waiting for the replacement bus. Clearly, proper music choice is important in such situations. Propellerheads and Fear Factory: good. Type-O-Negative and Switchblade Symphony: bad.

More socially minded commuters will try to incorporate one or more fellow passengers in their distractions. Turn commuting into an experience. The direct, unelegant approach would be to stare at one passenger and mumble under your breath while knotting your fingers Ninjutsu-style. This works especially well in the early mornings, as the rings under your eyes will make you look more sinister. Pick one passenger at a time, and give him or her the stare-treatment for a week–if you’re good, the person in question will have fallen ill by that time. If you are VERY good, your target will avoid that bus in the future entirely. Don’t look at it as simply being pointlessly mean–on top of acting a major league asshole, you are also doing the public a favour by re-distributing the flow of commuters on different shifts. You are a hero of urban society. You can be proud of your torture techniques, especially when dealing with accountants.

I hope that these few hints will help you to come up with own ideas should you be forced to commute in the future. There are many more things you can do to pass the time, such as softly singing along to something happy-sounding like “I Want to Fuck You in the Ass” or “Waving my Dick in the Wind,” explaining to the guy next to you the advantages of Satanism over Kali-worship, or simply head-banging to the rhythm of the bus hitting the speed-bumps (you will gain extra-effect if wearing a suit and tie while doing so). Try identifying people that sit five seats in front of you by smell, or eat a banana the “special” way.

You see, there is no reason to sit around as if you were a vegetable and let life pass by at 30mph. And always remember–if worse comes to worst, there’s always the Black&Decker in your gym bag.

Yes, another rehash. This article was originally published on 7-3-2001 (or 3-7-2001 if you’re from that place beyond the sea), but I figured, well. Enjoy.

Public service announcement: How to be a rebel.

One would think that Switzerland’s orderly and somewhat overly clean society made it easy to be A Rebel: Just do the opposite from what signs and common sense tell you to do. In reality though, the Swiss find it exceedingly hard to disobey orders, both direct and inherent ones. Not because they were a particularly bland type of sheeple, but because most of them rules seem sensible inside the bounds of social contract.

So we’re lost, our puny attempts at anarchy stop short of using the wrong fork at a gala dinner. Thank goodness I’ve had the opportunity to observe a selection of touristes étrangers while staying at hotels up in the Alps. As a service to my readers, I’ll share what I learned re: proper misdemeanor.

  1. Driving on the right is for wimps. Make sure to steer your Humvee clear of any street guides and use the middle of the road only, especially if it’s one of them curvy, narrow mountain pass roads leading to the resort.
  2. Assume everybody on hotel grounds not only understands but also speaks your particularly weird Flander dialect. Get riled up at noticing this ain’t so.
  3. Variant: Assume no-one in Switzerland speaks English, French, or Italian, and crack rassist jokes at the top of your voice.
  4. It might be a pool shared by all lodgers, but you’re in love! So boink your significant other as much as your loins permit.
  5. Bonus points if you use the kids’ inflatable banana float while doing so.
  6. A propos pool area: If there’s a single shower next to the pool – to cool off prior to jumping in – and more showers in the changing rooms settle for the former to do your weekly body scrub. Take your time.
  7. Cigar butts decompose easily stuck into lobby flower pots. No need for trash cans or, Gods forbid! ash trays.

I hope this short list will become helpful once you decide life’s too old and boring. Kant’s a cunt anyway, so forget about the Golden Rule and just be yourself. Everybody else will look up to you as a prime example of human egotism self-expression. And what’s a bit of love juice between friends?

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None shall pass.

The best way to deal with your driving anxiety is choosing the passage over the mountains rather than the tunnel road. People race through tunnels, a passage is far more relaxed and quaint.

Never mind pass roads still are considered highways here in Switzerland. Thus there’s both a lower and upper speed limit, the latter the same as many tunnels’, i.e. 80 km/h. Hey, you’re 68 years old, live in the hilly Canton of Nidwalden, and you have half a century of driving panic under your rather taut belt. Neither serpentine corners – secured by flimsy posts marking the divide between the road and a 300 meters drop – nor irate bus drivers tied to a schedule which doesn’t allow for forty kilometers at 20 mph, nor possibly intoxicated tourists riding their BMW race bikes will make things worse. Will they?

Call it confrontation therapy if you may.

For maximum therapeutic effect, never use one of the abundant sightseeing platforms to swerve off the main road, letting them two dozen irritated drivers behind you pass. It’s passage, not pass, after all.

Also, constant driving speed is overrated, especially on roads where cows might stumble onto your path. The cue of drivers behind you won’t mind to adjust their driving speed by plus/minus 20 km/h to your insecurity and every whim. No, never. What a novel idea.

For Chrissakes.

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Switzerland: the most perfectest democracy on Earth.

Switzerland has the most democratic form of democracy currently implemented in democracies all over the democratic world. And as long as the average turnout remains at a tad more than one third of all entitled citizens, everything is fine. After all, the majority of the Swiss obviously trust this Third to voice their shared opinion at the ballots.

So it’s no wonder many Swiss laugh at concepts such as representative democracy or funky shit like constitutional courts. The citizens have to be in charge! Without any intermediaries, without undemocratic structures as seen e.g. in the European Union! Without advisory bodies that may say: “Dudes, the ballot has to comply with international law, too.” No way! That’s what our forebears fought for! Our freedom! The true rule of the people, not the rule of aristocrats in funny hats!

Yes, true rule of the people. At least about one third of ’em. Who also happen to be easily influenced by the loudest voices, i.e. advertisements by certain political parties.

As long as, say, 55 % of 38 % of all potential voters follow the call of their shepherds reason, this is clearly a majority rule and far from any ideas of feudalism or pre-Kant society. Naturally.

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Of wolf and man.

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The Swiss Parliament decided it needs to be easier to kill wolves. Prime amongst the suggestions being “well, if the shepherd sees one, he should be allowed to shoot it down.” The motion went through the Nationalrat just as easily as through the Ständerat, with 92 to 79 votes by 10 abstentions.

What the fuck?

I’m not Green, before you ask. I’m a Liberal, and member of the Swiss Pirate Party. I’m a pragmatist in most things, idealist in others. But I simply can’t stop laughing at the arguments put forth by them wolf haters both in parliament and the media:

It’s something we still can influence, they say. Lots of sheep die due to lightning and other shitty natural stuff – but the wolf? That we can control, they argue. Wolves aren’t indigenous to Switzerland, they claim, so it’s okay to get rid of ’em buggers at slightest emergence of a stable canis lupus population.

Now, after playing too much The Path I am conditioned to agree with putting down wolves of all kinds. Then I remember that we’re talking about a nigh-extinct race here. One that got nigh-extinct by upright Swiss citizens shooting stuff from the late middle ages onwards, resulting in craploads of horror stories about wolves stealing kids, both human and goat. As they had to enter villages and stuff to survive be evil during a hard winter’s time as abovementioned upright Swiss citizens “harvested” most game in the woods. For, again, the abovementioned hardcore winter.

The Valais is somewhat of an inside joke in Switzerland already. While we Swiss have dealt with about four of them buggers in a decade, wolves are abundant in northern Italy. How do they deal with these bloodthirsty monsters? Sheep dogs. You know. Just as sensible people have done for centuries. Now we have them harking the potential losses if more wolves enter Switzerland, while at the same time admitting they lose about 10 000 sheep each year due to negligence and, well, bad weather.

10k dead sheep. You’ll need shitloads of wolves to even appear in Dead Sheep Statistics™, in relation. Wolves in our hemisphere are the descendants of them anxious, paranoid bastards that did not go near Valais citizens to get killed.

Sometimes, I wonder who the real Wolf is.