Journal
 

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Robi-Spielplatz

Many things that Americans do privately and as amateurs, the Swiss professionalize and communalize.

Thus, in the suburbs of Falls Church, many yards were adorned with treehouses, rope swings, tire swings and the like; in Switzerland, we have the Robinson-Spielplatz.

This is, in American terms, like a Parks & Recreation program where kids are given hammers, saws, screwdrivers, wood, tires, and pipes and get to build their own playground. Which, over the years and generations, grows... and grows... and grows...

As Wikipedia has it, "Oft entstehen dabei ganze Hüttendörfer, die einem ständigen Veränderungsprozess unterworfen sind. (Often the result is an entire village of huts subject to continual tinkering)"

Indeed:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14

This is around the corner from our house.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Changing of address

So how exactly does one go about sending off a change of address email to a 941-contact Gmail address list? I'm reasonably sure that if I just stuff all my contacts into the "to:" line, it will get eaten as spam by most filters. Right?

And even that will probably miss many people and annoy many others.

Do I have to laboriously compose emails in batches by first letter of contact name? Or is there, in 2007, a better way to do this?


Update:

Well, I went ahead and just emailed every address in my addressbook that could plausibly be valid and interested in my relocation. I had to do it in two batches (and for the second batch, I forgot to bcc -- sorry, people whose names begin with M-Z!)

As a result, my gmail account outgoing mail privileges are revoked for 24 hours. Man.

But anyway, if you didn't get the change-of-address and you should have, let me know.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Interviews and such

A few interviews and articles on yours truly for your befuddlement, delectation, whatever:

  • One in which I discuss Bizarro, reality TV, and a small boy lying on my head with DJ of Transmissions from Wintermute
  • One called "'House' is Post-Human Narrative".
    Wouldn't it be great if this was a reinterpretation of the Fox TV show? But, no, it's just me nattering on again about 'The House Beyond Your Sky'. John Joseph Adams was good enough to condense a great deal more nattering down into what you see here.

  • Partially but not entirely a reprise of the same article, this very interesting Italian article.
    Google translation here, with all the usual magic of Google translations. I am very glad to be useful for the occasion in order to face the topic of “post-umanesimo”. Lord knows what we would do on such an occasion otherwise!



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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Arrival

Okay, actually we've been here a little while.

But in between the new jobs, the new apartment, the trips to IKEA, the ordering of intertubes and tele(phono)tubes, the greeting of family and old friends, the wrangling with cell phone interfaces, the registering with the State, the general freaking out about changes big and small, the spot of touch rugby, and the biking of the weeks' compost bin to the little composting nook, open Mondays 18.00-18.30, where the old woman chides you if you feed the goats...

Between all these things: the blogging, it has not happened.

But now it shall, say I!


Our first evening here was kind of magical. We were expecting to come home, carrying our 400+ lbs of baggage1, to a dark and tiny apartment in the vaguely remembered concrete border precincts of the Basel suburb where we live; a three-room apartment with an attic space in which adults could not stand up, but perhaps kids, were they hardy, could play. We'd never seen the apartment; we rented it over the internet and phone, with our Swiss family doing the legwork.

(Aviva, it should be noted, was dead set against the apartment, until she had a prophetic dream in which it was revealed that the apartment contained a table which would genie up any food you desired on command, and a slide in the foyer upon which any dolls you accidentally flushed down the toilet would reappear, miraculously dry. After this she became optimistic. The attic, however, she reported grimly, was dangerous and full of splinters.)

Aviva was partly right. The apartment had indeed been furnished for us by unseen hands. There were mattresses. There were tables and chairs. There were dishes and spoons and forks and knives. There was food in the fridge, and candy, comic books, and rivella in a bright yellow box in the living room. There were handdrawn cards wishing us a good homecoming, and little handdrawn coupons inviting us to the park and to jump on trampolines.

We felt very welcome.

The apartment was much bigger than advertised. In addition to the living room, our room, the kids' room, the kitchen(1 2), the bathroom (1 2 3 4), and a central hallway, there is a big enclosed balcony we eat on (kids setting the table: 1 2 3 4) with a view of the city and the backyard (1 2).

And the attic is big and not scary: 1 2 3 (and from the pig's perspective)

View from the attic: 1 2 3 4 5

Plus, the vaguely remembered concrete turns out to be one block long, and a different block. It is pretty much all crazy red-tiled gabled rooves and stucco on our street.


That same first evening, Noah and I went for a walk and fell down a muddy slope, almost into a stream, and saw a little wooden city built by children, and broke up a fistfight.

But those are stories for another time.


1: I kid not; 4 people x 2 checked bags each x 50 lbs max per bag. That's not counting our overstuffed carryons. We seriously stood on a scale with them when we packed them, playing blackjack with 50 pounds.

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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Expatriating

Tomorrow afternoon we are moving to the suburbs of Basel, Switzerland.

It's a seven minute ride to the train station in one direction, a seven minute ride to forests and farmland in the other, three minutes to the Little Cousin and ten or so to the Big Cousin... all by bike. We won't have a car.

I'll be coding three days a week, on-duty parenting the remainder, and writing mornings with Mr. Moles at a coffee shop.

I think it'll be nice.

But I'm going to miss the people here somethin' terrible.

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