Monday, 30 April 2012

The Adorkable Hipsterness

Zurich like most cities appears to be having a bit of a Hipster outbreak at the moment. Husband and I frequent Kreis 5, the old Industriequartier and so far the most common sight to see is the trendy Hipster on the fixed gear bike with their bike lock draped across their shoulder, skinny chinos rolled up on one leg and an air of indifference. In fact Kreis 5 closely resembles East London or Kreuzberg in Berlin but maybe with more money.
Old factories converted into the new cool venue or trendy pop up restaurants with the outside wall usually tagged in sometimes inspired graffiti.

Amazing Street Art near the Viadukt
The main thing I wanted to share with you all was something I saw on a sign when Husband and I were out enjoying the recent good weather. Some thing so cute but ultimately so hipstery.

Look Closer

I can't help but wonder who took the missing slips and what they did with them, I'm sorry if this is not your thing but as a child reared on Disney I found it incredibly adorable. More please.


Sunday, 29 April 2012

Pronounced with a Silent J?

As part of this Swiss Life, I have decided to get out, get fit and make the open road my gym. This jogging malarkey has always been a bit mystery to me, especially in Ireland. I mean what tortuous bastard wants to run in the rain? Sure you’d still need a gym membership anyways all year long. I figured since Switzerland actually has a summer I could forgo the the eventual gym subscription fee until the frost sets in and hopefully I would have found gainful employment by then to cover the cost. 

So on our first Sunday morning living together in Zurich Husband and I got our training gear on and went for a jog. Please understand that if you actually knew me personally you'd know that the words ‘Sunday’, ‘Morning’ and ‘Jog’ are thoughts never materialised until now, let alone acted upon. New life, new me. They are a far cry from my usual staple of ‘Sunday’, ‘Evening’ and ‘Face-sore’ after a Saturday night of habitual binge drinking. Yay, I am growing as a person.

Husband maps our route, we are taking the scenic route along the river, looping back at the island in the middle and then home. A distance of five kilometres and the added bonus that the island is actually a  nudist bathing area. Sure we’ll have a goo*, I thought. After the stretching and checking our start time we began this jogging thing that seems to be the hip hobby du jour in Zurich.  I started well, not too shabby, I was thinking, yeah I can do this, not a bother, sunny morning, getting fit, well hello fellow joggers, welcome me to your ranks, I am one of you. I was starting to feel tired and my breathing was getting heavy so I checked my watch to see how long we had been going.

Two minutes, we had only been jogging for two minutes!

Oh dear, it was a little disconcerting to say the least. I managed to last five minutes before I finally admitted to Husband I was in absolute agony.  His response:

Husband: ‘Walk fast, keep your heart rate up, feel the burn’

Who the hell are you, I thought. Of course you are fitter than me, you are alway slightly better than me at most things, except talking shite for I have recently completed my doctorate. Fine Husband, I was kinda expecting this even though I’ve been hitting the gym more than you lately.  Fit I have never been, thin, in shape yes but fitness has always been slightly out of reach for me. I’m more of a quick fix kinda guy anyways. Metabolism pill to keep you in shape, yes please science.

The lengths between jogging and slowing down became shorter and shorter for me. My slowing down to a walk usually saw Husband jog back to me with a smile and: 

Husband: ‘Come on, walk fast, don’t lose the pace, keep your heart rate up’

I wanted smack the smile off his face but in reality it was my lack of fitness I was really frustrated with. First time, it will get better, just gotta build up to it. Yeah, well tell that to the stitch in my lower back. We get to the island and it was as Husband described choc-a-block full of naked people. The nudity did make me feel better, tee hee. 

I pretty much walk most of the way back, with a few short jogs here and there. During one Husband turns to me smiling (how does he do it) barely breaking a sweat:

Husband: ‘We’re nearly home’

My response: 

GBM: ‘I’m nearly dying’

I was being an overly dramatic sweaty mess, if jogging had a face I would have punched it at that moment.  I will master you jogging eventually, this was the first battle but I do not give up so easy (except at, Zumba, dance classes, heterosexuality, anything hard).

After five K, seven whinges, sighting three penises ( penii?) and one boob in 60 minutes I looked like this.

I’ll get there eventually.


* a look, a stare, a gander  

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Friday, 27 April 2012

The Swiss Life

So I’ve arrived, yay me. This whole emigration thing is all a bit ambivalent for me. On the one hand I’m screaming ‘Wohoo’ in my head, I’m am free, I am living the the romantic dream, my job is my art, my art is my writing (if you can call it that) I am kept now about start my new life in a new country. How amazing? Then my other duality takes over, I’m jobless, I’ve yet to secure a single interview, my German is still very basic, oh woe is me.

Calm it down GBM, it will come, it will come.

After what seemed like the wettest week in Irish history and the possibility of a weekend of 25 degrees in Zurich I can’t say I was too sad to leave my beautiful green isle. Yes Ireland I won’t miss the weather, your complete lack of summer over the last 5 years has pushed me to this state of abandonment. You left me no other choice. I will not miss your constant drenching. That said you will always be my shire for you shelter and house the majority of the people in this wee life o' mine that I love the most. I’ll give you that, I’ll give you that. Fare thee well mine shire, I will always love thee but it’s time for this new Swiss way of life. Given I’ve just arrived I can not really detail yet what Swiss life entails.

Calm it down GBM, it will come, it will come.


Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Spell Chequer and Eye

Ahhhh spelling, you elusive whore, where to begin, my Achilles heel, my Waterloo, my Zumba class. I've never been a good speller. There, it's out, you know now. I sometimes fare no better with punctuation but spelling will always be my nemesis (the bollox!). So what possessed me to suddenly start writing? Why, sure doesn't everything have 'Spell Check' nowadays. No I mean, I know it's my problem and eventually I might take up a class or something to correct this wrong (it would be more imperative for me to learn German at the moment however).

For now I will have to make do with the humble 'Spell Check' to set me on my path to righteous wordings. It also doesn't help matters that I spent the years after I left college, bastardising the English language, my wordplay became one of (and still is), double entendres, merging of words to create new ones, repetitious ramblings, numerous new words for poo and melding popular entertainment quotations into everyday situations. Nerds!
An example of which would be when a friend of mine began to refer to her the top of her boyfriends butt-crack as his ‘Poot’, a word I decided to take on with relish as it was incredibly fun to say. To my detriment, as eventually I managed to work the word into my day to day (don’t ask me how) with people who weren’t in the know. Suddenly I would be presented with two paths to take and a bemused looking face. Take the blue pill, continue down the rabbit hole and try to explain the meaning of ‘Poot’ to my conversee or take the red pill, stay in Kansas and brush it off like it never happened.

GBM: 'No I said I want you to rub my Boot, feel the quality of the leather' (nice save)

Another thing I occasionally do is begin using words or popular slang in an ‘ironic’ way for laughs only for the words I intended to mock or belittle to become my norm.

I once decided, wouldn’t it be indeed incredibly ‘ironic’ if I started using the word ‘tubular’ constantly to denote when I thought some thing, one or a situation was great. The irony being that it was 2008 and the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ had not been popular for over 10 years. I was bringing it back, con sarn it. It was ‘most amazing’ in 2006 (who was I Bill S. Preston, Esq) but my current ironic foible is possibly one most horrid. I am currently having an ironic love affair with the semi-word, ‘totes’, short for totally for anyone not under 16 years of age. I know, I know it’s so awful but what’s worse is I am genuinely beginning to fall for this irksome put. I mean the face alone Husband makes when I use the word in public is priceless to my twisted sense of humor (a kind of, nose squish of disgust) and then on special occasions if I really want to get a kick from his reaction I unleash the one-two sucker-punch of ‘totes amazballs’ (his eyes once rolled so hard they actually almost popped out of their sockets).

The point being is that because of this bad linguistic behavior, my spelling appears to have gone to pot. To reiterate I’ve had to develop a trusting simpatico with the ‘Spell Check’ of most computer miscellany but he can’t always save me from myself.

So yo check this (again being ironic, don’t actually speak street at all), new job, customer facing role, business to business and one where I usually would send almost a hundred emails a day to important business clients. I kicked ass at this job, excelled and I managed to work on and nip this spelling malarkey in the butt....................................................................... or so I thought.

Two years in, I’m shooting the shit in the staff canteen with my Closest Work Colleague and she decides to drop the mother of all bombshells.

GBM: 'My spelling is atrocious but I think I am managing'

CWC: 'Oh yeah I’ve seen some of your emails, ha ha I’ve always found the way you spell morning hilarious.'

GBM: 'What ever do you mean?'

CWC: 'Eh you spell it with a U, as in ‘MOURNING’, as in grieving some ones death.'

GBM: 'Fuck off.' (Irishism, non-aggressive use, similar to Americanism ‘Shut up’ or Get out’)

CWC: 'No seriously you do.'

Every email I’ve ever sent containing the offending article suddenly darted across my mind like a conveyor belt of shame.

• ‘Good Mourning Sir’
• ‘I will have those reports over to you first thing in the mourning’
• ‘Apologies for the delay on this, I’ve been up to my eyes all mourning’
• Worst of all I once left out the ‘the’ from one of my sentences and sent this sacrilege ‘I’m very sorry I cannot answer your query, our systems are down and in mourning’ (the rest of the sentence did go ‘they might be back online’ so the context may not have been lost but Jesus God man)

GBM: 'Oh my God two years, two years, why are you only telling me this now?'

CWC: 'I guess it only now just clicked into place to mention it to you.'

At this point I let out a mighty loud gasp of desperation and fetaled into mortification.

At what point in my life did I begin to add this extra u? I bet that all of the clients I dealt with on daily basis have an image of me as a depressed nutcase who always dresses in black, forever grieving a lover lost out at sea.

I’ve learned from this mistake and do spell morning correctly but I now live in a sort of fear that I may never be spared from future embarrassment until the day a ‘Contextual Spell Checker’ is invented. One that knows that a ‘mourning’ cannot be in fact ‘good’ for this is a contradiction in terms, unless you are a member of ‘The Adams Family’. The day it is ready for release I will be first in line.

Utter shame meltdown.


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

GBM loves Music: Dark Dark Dark @ el Lokal 16/04/12

So whilst on a visit to Zurich to see Husband before I finally make the big move we decided to check out our first ever live gig in the city. Dark Dark Dark an American band from Minneapolis were playing a small venue called el Lokal on Gesssnerallee next to the river. Hearing a band live for the first time or the sight of a cool, ascetically pleasing new music venue can fill me with all the awe and wonderment of a child's first visit to the zoo. El Lokal did not disappoint.

Once through the main door you are greeted with the first floor bar and a breathtaking N-shaped staircase the encumbers much of the rear wall of the building. The venue itself has an interesting vibe with stickers, pictures and graffiti covering it’s walls, toilet doors similar to those flapping doors of an old time western saloon and random roads signs and brick-o-brac scattered throughout. The stage is tiny and not too high off the ground giving the feeling the band is right amongst the crowd, heightening the intimacy. Ascending the stairs we notice each step is divided down the middle by white line, the purpose of which became apparent once the band graced the stage and people began to seat themselves on the staircase. Each right hand-half step now became the best seats in the house whilst the left hand side was left free to avoid fire hazard, something I’ve noted for my next trip back. At the top of the stairs we are greeted by a very cute and friendly barmaid who responds to my ‘Sprichen Sie English’ with the warmest of smiles and a heart warming ‘Yes’. We order our reasonably priced beers and take a seat near the edge of the ledge with a great view down to the stage below. It is then that Husband points out to me the incredibly huge human model skeleton hanging from the rafters. Yes, I do think I might have begun a slight love affair with el Lokal.

It was a cold dark rainy night, none more better suited to ‘Dark Dark Dark’s’ somber and beautiful style of music. The band land on the stage at 8:30 and it’s an unusual sight. Five very individual looking people, no cohesion in style, looks, a mish-mash of flavors and tastes that doesn’t look like it should work when altogether. That’s the beauty of music however because as soon as they begin to play it’s perfect unity and cohesion and then I get it.

As an avid gig goer it is incredibly refreshing to see a band tour with lesser seen instruments and so it was thoroughly enjoyable to listen to the delicate resonance of the flute and the accordion. In fact the accordion player is a revelation, at times giving me goosebumps with the Parisian sound he bought to the auditory ensemble. Then there’s Nona Marie Invie’s lead vocal, hauntingly beautiful with element’s of ‘Regina Spektor’ in her voice. When she begins to sing the band's cover of their ‘friend’s’ Elephant Micah’s song ‘Wild Goose Chase’ the hairs on the back of my arm begin to stand on end.

It’s at this point I realise how amazing the sound setup is at el Lokal. Scanning the crowd I get the sense that for the majority of the attendees this is their first taste of ‘Dark Dark Dark’ as I appeared to be the only person who was singing along (though this could be a very un-Swiss thing to do) but by the end of their set the crowds’ reaction was such the called for not one but two encores (however the first one seemed very planned as we on the second floor balcony could see the band come off stage walk up the stairs and stand at the top for a few seconds only to return back to the stage). The first brought one of my favorite songs of theirs ‘Bright Bright Bright’ in all of its eerie pleasantry. The second encore saw Nona Marie return to the stage solo, to preform a Kate Bush song to finish off the proceedings. A fine end to mine and Husband’s first live music experience together in Switzerland.

Standout Songs: ‘Celebrate’, ‘Bright Bright Bright’, ‘Wild Goose Chase’ and ‘Daydreaming’

Wish they had played: ‘The Hand’ and ‘Make Time’

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Why I will never be a Dancer

I may have mentioned before that I have delusions when it comes to my dance making ability. When I'm out and I've had enough booze to loosen myself up on the dance floor I can at times turn in to a dance megalomaniac. My natural freestyler takes over and suddenly I enter into some serious dance-offs where I aim to make the competition feel like a soiled wig with my break-dance, pop 'n' lock and grindability. All self taught of course. In fairness, for most of these drink induced dance fight clubs, I vaguely recall being declared victorious but that said I am not sure if this is anything to go by. My judges are usually some drunken Irish rabble who's idea of a champion is usually the person who inhibits the ability to make the biggest tit of themselves, something that I know I am highly capable of as I literally have no shame when it comes to the dance floor. This might be something I need to tone down for my new Swiss life.

Anyways after many years of convincing myself I was the next John Travolta I decided to put my money where my mouth was and partook in a dance workshop with my ex flatmate Mimi that was being was being put on by non other than Jennifer Lopez herself (in reality she is actually another Jennifer Lopez also from New York and not THE Jennifer Lopez, but I must say she was prettier than the real JLO in my opinion). Husband was supposed to accompany us to this spectacle but had come down with a serious case of severe hangoveritis. There was a bit of an outbreak going around at the time considering it was Christmas party season.

Jenny from the Block was teaching a workshop based on the music video for Lady GaGa's 'Bad Romance'. If I'm being honest I would've preferred Beyoncé's 'Singles Ladies' but what are you gonna do.

The warm up was intense, I felt every muscle in my body expanding and contracting. The positions she was contorting her body into were not coming naturally to me I had to admit. I had been on the fitness buzz for a while but I've always had rather big legs and they were not designed in a way that the splits could be done without an intense amount of effort on my part.

I looked at Mimi and could see she was feeling it too and we began to giggle. Jenny began by individually teaching us each of the different moves in sequence to bring it all together once we'd 'locked them down'. There was the 'Thriller hand gesture rip off' move, the 'weird mini shuffle with complex Macarena' move, the 'fake pregnancy' move, the 'how could you' move.

It was really good clean fun I must say, refreshing to finally let sobriety and my love of dance finally mix. That said I could not shake the feeling that the moves were not coming as organically as I lead myself to believe they would.

Jenny: '1, 2, 3, 4, Left, 5, 6, 7, 8 Right'

I fared even worse when we had to bring all movements together in sequence to the music. The only other guy in the group (who was straight by the way, dragged along by his girlfriend) was an absolutely fabulous natural. I instantly hated him. What was I doing wrong?

Jenny: 'Step 1, 2 Right, 3, 4 Left, Right Right'

I was slow, stumbling over my feet, frequently turning the wrong direction. Balls!

Jenny: 'Stretch to Right and pivot back to your Left'

Left, left, left; it echoes in my brain and just then it dawns on me. I CAN'T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEFT AND RIGHT!

Suddenly I flashback to my childhood, I'm four years old in primary school drawing pictures in the classroom with a peer.

GBM: 'I drewed a house, I made it green cuz I like the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles'

Peer: 'That's nice, I drew my Daddy, I need the blue crayon on your left can you pass it to me?'

I stare back at her blankly

Peer: 'Your left, your left'

I look to my right.

Peer: 'Do you not know which way is left or which way is right?'

GBM: 'Now that you mention it'

She points to the hand I am drawing with.

Peer: 'That's your left hand see, and the other is your right. I guess if your not sure you can go by the fact that your hand with the wart on it is your left hand'

I had at the time a tiny wart (ewww) on the stretch of skin between my thumb and index finger on my left hand and from this moment onwards a directionally dependency was entrusted solely to this little fella. If I was ever ensure which direction was left or right I would just rub my index finger of my left hand on warty and he would tell me the correct way to go. It was the most perfect symbiotic relationship, I evolved to a child who could understand directions and the wart was allowed to continue to exist for it had a purpose in life. Even though the wart has since moved on to the wart graveyard, I still to this day rub my index finger of my left hand on that stretch of skin when my wart used to be whenever I'm unsure of my directions.

I guess you are all now thinking I'm completely mental at this stage but what I mean by saying 'I can't tell the difference between left and right' is that it was never inherently obvious to me from the off. I mean I can tell the difference now but I think it takes me a couple of milliseconds longer than most. God this is actually so embarrassing.

I returned to Husband later that day smelling of failure but luckily it was overpowered by his stench of booze. I explained the situation. His solution?

At this point I began to both laugh and cry at my sorry state of existence.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

My own Private Flatpack Nightmare made Public

So Husband has departed for pastures Swiss and I’m left here in Dublin to pick up the relocation pieces. Nothing I can’t handle or at least that’s what I thought.......

The relocation company arrived this week and the build up to this day brought out in me what can only be described as stress induced alopecia, either that or I was tearing clumps of my hair out in my sleep. It’s not that I am completely useless and can’t do things by myself, it’s just that Husband and I have created this intricate partnership and it's hard to adjust to this new found level of independance. We usually bounce ideas off each other and make sure the other is doing the right thing. One thing we’ve never done separately is navigate the intricate flatpack labyrinth of IKEA. What was usually a therapeutic shopping Mecca filled with warm feelings of self satisfaction was about to become a giant sandstorm of despair and failure.

Timing was of the upmost importance to my success. With the movers coming to take everything we own to Zurich, I had been preparing myself for my inevitable minimal existence. I convinced myself I could live like Moby but I would need a bed to get through my final months before becoming an expat. With the movers coming on the Thursday my plan was simple:

IKEA on Wednesday
Purchase bed
Next day delivery
Movers take furniture Thursday morning
Bed arrives Thursday afternoon
Build bed

What could possibly go wrong?

I had pre-chosen the exact bed I wanted online before I had even arrived on that faithful day. The 'Brimes', 140x200 with 'Sultan Harestua' sprung mattress. I had my printed shopping list in hand showing me exactly where each component of my potential purchase would be located in the storeroom. Piece of piss.

When there and after scoffing my usual staple of meatballs and Diam cake, I bee-lined to the store room.

Sidebar I must admit I’ll miss the slight onset of giggles caused when a North-Side Dubliner working in the IKEA restaurant utters the immortal line

“D’ya wan lingonberry jam with dat?”

upon the request of the 15 meatballs main dish. Totally worth the 25 mile trek outside the city centre alone for the experience.

I bounced around the storeroom with my trolley and trusty map of ingredients to make the perfect Brimes bed. One huge lashing of Sultan Harestua mattress found on aisle 29, location 31 , a dollop of Brimes bed base made ready for me at the collection point, 2 tablespoons of the Skorva mid-beam on aisle 29, location 06 and a pinch of the Sultan Luróy slats found on aisle 31, location 9. Convinced I was the IKEA seasoned pro by this stage I strutted through the checkout credit card out with a smug look of self satisfaction on my face. My plan was coming together and nothing could foil me now. Why I was letting myself stress out so much over this?

Moving day came along with 2 chipper Northern Irish laddies hell bent on boxing everything we own into a freight bound for Zurich. The morning flew by with relative ease. I kept back only enough clothes to get me through the next 2 months in Dublin. The only slight panic arose when I incorrectly thought my passport had been boxed off into the crate only for it to turn up in the bottom of my wardrobe.

Once my new found friends had departed with everything I owned in the back of their large truck (luckily by that stage we had established a certain degree of trust with each other) I got stuck into erecting my flat-packed catcher of Z's. I'd never built any flat-pack this big before, let alone one that had 5 different flat-packed sections. I was rocking this bed, I was the bed master, everything going so amazingly, that was until I went to open the mid-beam flat-pack only be greeted with some slatted bed base for a single bed. What the what?

I grabbed the receipt for my purchases only to see I had actually bought the Sultan Lodingen instead of the Skorva mid-beam. I franticly retraced the steps in my mind-tunnel to find out where it all went wrong.

Cut to me standing at aisle 29, location 6. About to reach for the mid-beam only to get distracted by a female IKEA employee who closely resembled a moose wearing fake tan and giant hooped earrings (I shit you not). I made a mental note that the IKEA uniform clearly is not flattering on anyone other than gangly males and reached for the flatpack on 26, 12 directly above the mid-beam.

I believe I invented a new explietitive at this very moment or at the very least joined five together to create a new super-curse, The ‘Travelling Wilburys’ of cussing if you will. Without thinking I dialled my sister and luck would have it she was in Dublin still and free to take me back out the dreaded yellow and blue fortress of Swede. A quick in and out mission. I knew where the fucker was now and I was not going to screw this up again. It was probably the quickest trip in the history of IKEA. That's how the bastards suck you in, trapped in their one way system of design and affordability.

Back in the apartment I fashioned the penultimate part to my bed base, mid-beam me up Scotty. I began put the final pieces in place, bed nearly made and I would still have time to cook my dinner. I unrolled the bed slats and could almost hear the brass band playing a triumphant song of success in my head when it be came apparent that I was missing a Sultan Luróy. You were supposed to buy 2 of the God forsaken things. I collapsed into a sea of cardboard and frustration a yelled the worst curse I could think of.


With IKEA now closed for the evening and the sudden realisation I would have to sleep on a mattress for the night (ah this took me back to my crack den days), I turned to Husband on Skype to admit my failings. Luckily Husband knew better that to hit a man when he had reached the lowest pit of despair. I had pretty much decided to give up on the bed until the next week as I was due to make my way to Zurich for a visit the following day. Husband bolstered me up and convinced me to take one last stab at it. Race to IKEA first thing in the morning and get the final puzzle piece to literally put this mother to bed. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

So in the end after 3 days, 3 trips to IKEA, 2 servings of Swedish meatballs, 1 tearful breakdown, I finally had a place to rest my weary head at night.

Shame spiral narrowly averted.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Blog Bomb: Your third hand entertainment news, told wrong

Hello, its me! I am not he. I am a she.

So Ginger Blog Man has stupidly allowed some creative freedom to someone else on his own blog.

I am here to guest troll every so often, as and when Ginger Blog Man prompts, I feels like it, a huge global event occurs etc.

I am currently attempting to steer away from mainstream media, my current channels of interest being a paleo health blog and the WHO site. When one is undergoing such a purge of mental muck, all references to current 'entertainment' related information becomes very pointedly opinionated very swiftly due to a lack of 'information'.

I am here to talk about Danni Minnowgie and Simon Cowbell*

What a pair of dirty slags. Why did she let him into her sleeping bag (nice term, yes? I am trying to introduce it into society, apparently if it's used in another continent it becomes a part of pop culture. Why thank you Asia!). He wears very small shoes, yesh?

I think what I heard (second hand from a reliable friend) is that they held hands in a car, she got a job on his telly show, Sharon Osbourne got angry and bought 50 dogs which led to her daughter becoming a drug addict and Louis Walsh started seal clapping due to stress, a habit which he has been unable to break. Oh the humanity! Look how one single indiscretion with two single people can lead to such dire consequences. Thank god the covers of all those newspapers were able to yell that story to everyone who entered a shop on that fated monday when the story broke (was vomited onto paper?).

One must remember, in the world of media, these things never die.

Once something is committed to the interweb, it has the potential to follow one around for a life time.

Oh hello, Africa, no you cannot come into my sleeping bag. Har har har.

Trolls who play together, eat each others faces.

Blog bomb!

*Names changed to protect mine and Ginger Blog Man's identities

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Zurich and I'm Poor

One of my worries with the whole relocation thing is the quite large possibility that I will be moving over the Zurich sans employment and furthermore sans cash monies. Husband has assured me what's his is mine but the idea of total dependence is not sitting very comfortably with me and I can't help feel like I will be penniless. Zurich has recently officially become the most expensive city in the World, cost of living wise and whilst I am trying to find employment, I seem to be at a disadvantage as I only speak English. Me no speaky the German sehr gút (but I am learning). Part of the reason I decided to Blog in the first place was because of this, I thought it would give me something to do should I remain stuck in an unemployment limbo. I won't deny that the idea of being kept or a man of leisure is not appealing for a while but in the long run it just isn't maintainable. Thing is I am a bit of a stickler. I like bargains, good deals on restaurants, entertainment, clothes etc and Zurich brings out the worst of my inner stickler traits. In my 3 short visits so far I have yet to buy one luxury item, this is unheard of for me when I am on holiday. Travelling to another country usually has me spending compulsively in various stores, vintage coats, latest gadgets, graphic novels and shoes for Husband but my stickler won't even entertain the idea in Zurich. It's like I've a tiny accountant in my head going:

Tiny Accountant: ‘Why would you buy those shoes when you can get them cheaper at home? Why would you pay 40CHF for jeans in H+M when you can get them for €20 at home.’

And so on and so forth, yada yada yada. Problem is, I've grown to trust my Tiny Accountant wholeheartedly. By listening to him where it matters like weekly food shopping in ALDI on the cheap meant I could splash out on the things that I really loved like trips to Italy, music gigs and eating out in great restaurants. Dublin is by no means a cheap city to live in, in fact at one stage the cost of living was outrageous but it's all about how you play the system. There are cheaper café's, shops (hell a whole street dedicated to discount stores on Talbot Street) where you could go when you were on a budget. I'm struggling to find these cheaper alternatives in Zurich. When I mention this to any of the residents I usually get a response along the lines of its all relative and when you have a Swiss salary it will not matter as they are quite robust. That may be, tiny expat community I've only just met but I don't have a Swiss salary. I will have Husbands spare credit card that I am terrified of using. Maybe I'm wrong about all this, readers (if I have any) if you any of you out there are Zuricans and know how to work the system let me know. Tips please!

I mean just the other day I went to a hipstery café out in Kreis 5, the type of place the blogtard and creative community go to tap away on their Macbook Pro's (guilty as charged), I ordered a bowl of soup and a cappuccino. Dublin equivalent this would of set me back about €8 -€10. Here I paid CHF18.30 works out as about €15, granted they were both delicious but why the mark up guys? Can we just assume for a second that everyone here isn't loaded (I think I can hear boundless Zuricans laughing at the very suggestion in the distance), how do you even get tourists to visit this place, backpackers destination it is not, affordability wise. I fared no better in the local MacDonalds or Burger King, given the universally lacking standard and quality of the food I assumed the cost would not differ country to country. How wrong was I? 15CHF (€12) for a medium burger meal in Burger King, Dublin price bout €8 max. If I hadn't stumbled upon Bretzal street vendors during my time in Zurich I actually think my Tiny Accountant would have had an embolism (CHF6-7 for a cheese and salami filled Bretzel and a taste heaven in your month).

I don't know what I'll do, cut coupons, shop in Goodwill, is there even a Goodwill in equivalent in Zurich? Maybe education is the key? Add some more strings to the bow and get the language down. I could fund this by being a stripper at night with a heart of gold. Or maybe not as I don't think I have the pecs for that job.

Whatever happens I know it's all part of the adventure :-)


Sunday, 15 April 2012

GBM loves Music: Visions by Grimes

Claire Boucher aka Grimes is a bit of an enigma, a strange little hipster girl who makes even stranger music. Yet given that strange, odd or quirky is the character trait that usually draws me to a person in the first place I can't help but feel absolutely enamoured with Grimes and this album that doesn’t fit the mold of a specific genre. This music is electronic yes but not quite dance music, has elements of the past but ultimately feels fresh and other worldly.

One of the first images that came to mind upon first listen was this was the music of a Japanese computer game character with the opening two tracks very much evoking an oriental feel for me (having grown up playing the likes of Final Fantasy series of computer games this fills me with feelings of warm) . In fact unusually in this Youtube age, I heard Grimes well before I ever saw her so it came as quite a surprise that she was a cute little white Canadian girl and not the Asian manga heroine I had so pictured. Visually is where it all comes together for Grimes (take lead video for Oblivion below) her style and look is is effortless cool but very much individual and her own. It’s clear that she understands the power of image and how to use it to her advantage as an artist. She is the whole package for me and I crave to find out more, if there is a Grimes newsletter I can subscribe to then sign me right up. My obligatory Wikipedia search on her throws back the below exert  under her personal life.

‘In 2009, Boucher and her then-boyfriend from Tennessee constructed a 20-foot houseboat, named the "Velvet Glove Cast in Iron," with the intention to sail it down the Mississippi River from Minneapolis to New Orleans. The cargo included chickens, a typewriter, 20 pounds of potatoes and a gifted copy of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Boucher and her companion adopted the names "Varuschka" and "Zelda Xox" for the trip. Due to engine trouble and subsequent harassment from the Minnesota police, the journey was cut short and the houseboat and chickens were impounded’

Accuracy of Wikipedia aside if true, color me absolutely fascinated with Miss Boucher and I predict an amazing 2012 for this young rising star. A blindingly original album made in her parents bedroom by a clear pioneer of creativity and style.

Song tracks can take on the bizarre with titles such a ‘Vowels = Space + Time’ or Symphonia IX (my wait is u) and when you actually can make out what exactly she is saying there are elements of terror to this pretty sounding music (Extracts from Oblivion: ‘If someone could break your neck, coming up behind you, always coming and you’d never have a clue’). The chill you feel down your spine when she softly  coos the words ‘see you on dark night’.

I think it goes without saying that I might have a bit of a girl crush and Claire Boucher now has one more fan to add to the would be masses she is about to accumulate.

Standout Tracks: Genesis, Oblivion, Circumambient, Vowels = Space + Time and Skin

Stream or Buy: Buy all the way

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Zumba: For men too? Apparently not

In my usual quest for the ever elusive perfect body with minimal effort, I began to rave on to Husband of my intentions to start taking Zumba classes in our gym. To me this was a no brainer, super fast, high energy, calorie burner coupled with the fact that I love to dance, it was win win in my books (now understand when I say that I love to dance, this does necessarily mean that I am very good at dancing, although usually with enough alcohol I can convince myself that I am a god on the dance floor). Husband does not share my love for all things dance and decided to abstain from my Zumba extravaganza, his loss. In fact Husband has never been very supportive of my delusions towards all things dance related and usually tries to pull me back down from the clouds when it comes to the actual ability of my twinkle toes. This of course just sends me into a tizzy as the last thing a person who has been convincing themselves for 14 years (since adolescence) that they are in fact the next Baryshnikov (or break dancing equivalent) is that they are in fact, in his words 'not very good' (grr).
Again his loss I say.

Anyways after harping on about it for 3 weeks I finally managed to find the time for my first class. I should've seen the warning signs from the beginning when I asked the receptionist of my gym the week beforehand if I could go to the class on my existing membership.

GBM: ‘Can I take a Zumba class on my membership or do I need to pay extra for it?’

R: ‘Yes it is included on your membership, but you do know……..’

She leans in looks me in the eye, dead serious

R: ‘The class is full of women’

Den den duh. Not WOMEN! Ha Receptionist clearly doesn't know about my trump card, for I am a GAY. Women love me and my kind.

GBM: ‘That's not a problem’

So I return the following day to Zumba, all decked out in what I felt was Zumba appropriate exercise clothes.

I looked real street, yo! Holla! I arrive into the large indoor basketball court which for tonight will be the scene of my triumphant Latin salsa infused exercise success. It is as the receptionist foretold, full of women and I appeared to be the only boy (I kept telling myself this does not matter for I am a GAY) . I stood at the back as I was a newb. My instructor was a young short Spanish lady whos boundless energy and appearance resembled that of a wiry cocker spaniel. Her name was Maria or something and it would have appeared by her attire that a rainbow or a lucky charm leprechaun had vomited all over her. My black and grey ensemble was now feeling very un-Zumba.

It looks like class is about to start when suddenly I realise my instructor is speaking directly to me. She must have been speaking at a pitch that only females could hear, probably not used to the injection of testosorone she was now presented with.

GBM: Come again?

I lean in to try to make out what she's saying.

ZI: 'Hey Man in Black, I didn't get a ticket from you.'

GBM: 'Oh sorry, I don't have one, where do you get them?'

ZI: 'At the reception desk'

Off I plod to the reception desk

GBM: 'Eh, one Zumba please?'

I say meekly, the receptionist looks at me like I am an idiot and hands me a pink ticket that says Zumba, of course it's pink. No matter. I return through the large framed doors of the auditorium. I am greeted by the Instructor with a slight look of shock on her face.

ZI: 'Oh, we did not expect you to return'

I hand her the ticket and return to my original position at the back. Some of the other ladies in the class look at me and begin to giggle. What did Zumba Instructor mean by that. Had she made a comment when I was absent to the entire class. Was I now their personal joke? I shook the thought from my mind and waited for the class to begin.

It felt like an age before the music began probably because I was now feeling a little self conscious. I launched into it regardless and whilst I defenately wasn't a natural, I did have some groove. It was as I hoped, bags of fun. Zumba Instructor kept making these random noises now and then that sounded like some marmosets copulating but the class seemed to respond to these bizarre screeches and I tried to follow suit. Zumba code!

It was all going so well too and I was beginning to feel accepted when I turned the wrong direction with a high flying kick right into the face of some unsuspecting Zumbette. I did not make contact but I could see the absolute terror in her eyes as she narrowly avoided my size elevens. I quickly made my apologies but she gives much such chronic bitch face that I know I would never be forgiven. She edges as far as she can away from me.

After a while I begin to notice all the girls within my vicinity beginning to keep their distance. It was like I had Jean-Grey Like force field around me that kept each lady at least 8ft from my range. Surrounded by so many woman but never felt more alone.

(please forgive my crude drawing but you get the idea, right?)

I did manage to shake off these feelings and enjoy the last 20 minutes of the class. Apart from the sense of isolation, Zumba for all intents and purposes had been a success. It was fun and I sweated buckets. Everything I wanted from an exercise class. Despite my shortcomings I was going to return the following week.

That was until when walking to the locker room to get changed I overheard two of my classmates speaking.

Girl 1: 'Great class, huh?'

Girl 2: 'Not for me. I got stuck down the back next yer man.'

My heart sank. I think Girl 2 was Chronic Bitch Face. I slinked my way home to Husband with my tail between legs.

I never Zumba'd again after that day :-(


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Tranny Mannies?

After stumbling upon the above sight on one of the more colorful of Dublin's back streets I'm left with the musing:

'Is this in fact a window display of clothes designed specifically for the transgendered community or the work of one of the worst visual merchandisers of all time?'

I prefer to not know the answer to this and let my imagination run wild.



Sunday, 8 April 2012

Man-boy vs. Logic Vol. 1

So I had been given a simple task to do by Husband. We decided to invest in a printer for our apartment, so we can print photos and the like. My mission was researched based, I had to navigate the perils and pitfalls of modern printer living to come up with the absolute best fit for our busy urban existence. No easy task I tell you as the Internet Explorer on my work computer had yet to be updated past version 6, which seemed to give Google narcolepsy. I mustered on however, I had to, this was my area of expertise and Husband was depending on me. New fangled technical doodads were always my stick. It was my duty to find us the most excellent printer the world has ever produced. Google don’t fail me now:

“best printer on the market”
“best reviewed printer”
“best printer for under €200 euro”
“best all in one printer”
“gay friendly printer” (I may have been overreaching with this one)

It seemed to be unanimous, the clear winner was the 'insert printer name here' (I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the the thing to be honest, maybe a HP; what I do remember was it was 4 in 1, printer, scanner, fax and photocopier, it could probably do the dishes and walk your dog too if you would let it, for clarity it will be from here on referred to as “Incredaprinter”).

I was beaming with pride, thinking Husband would be so happy with my success. We met in the city after work for the purchase of ‘Incredaprinter”. There were a couple of places we could go but each one we visited did not give me what my heart desired. Husband would show me alternatives but I couldn’t even entertain the idea. I needed “Incredaprinter” like the way a recently outed gay Dubliner needs to speak with a lisp. My focus had narrowed to that of a darkened tunnel with the light at the end showing “Incredaprinter” illuminated in all its glory.
Only once we reached shop number 5 had Husband realised exactly what was going on because as usual I was light on details due to my single minded focus, that’s just the way my brain works. He grabs me by my shoulders, looks me in the eyes and tries to reason with my madness

Husband: “Why do we need to get this particular printer, hun?”

I laugh at this ridiculous question in my head.

GingerBlogMan: “Because we need it, its the best on the market, it does every thing, it was the best reviewed one on the internet.”

Ha, that showed him.

H: “What does it do exactly?”

Silly husband, he’s wasn’t to know, he wasn’t the one who spent the whole day researching “Incredaprinter”.

GBM: “Well its a 4 in 1, printer, fax, scanner and photocopier, it’s even got a tray to feed paper into when you want to copy multiple documents, wifi connect-ability and onscreen display that can be removed like a tiny tablet computer”
That showed Husband, how dare he speak ill of “Incredaprinter”, no wait it looks like he wasn’t convinced.

H: “Yes, but do we really need all that from our printer”
GBM: “Of course we do, it’s an awesome printer, best one on the market”

H: “Yes but do we really need a printer that has a fax machine”

What is Husband saying, no! Suddenly my singular focus begins to expand, I start to see a couple of different printers beside “Incredaprinter” on my brain-shelf.

GBM: “But the internet told me to get this one, Husband”

Not my best defense I must say.

H: “I’m sure it did, and I’m sure it is a great printer, I’m just not sure it’s the one for us. Who do we even know that actually has a fax machine?”

Noooooooooooo, damn you and your logical thought process Husband, of course you are right.

GBM: “But why would the internet lie to me”

Probably shouldn’t of said this out-loud. Husband looks at me an laughs

So in the end after talked me round we went for a cheaper printer, a printer that yes unfortunately was not able to give you a brazilian wax but was exactly what we needed. That said I couldn’t shake the feeling I had wasted half a day (I had).

Husband Logic 1 : Man-boy 0

You may have one this battle Husband Logic but this not the end,mark my word we shall meet again in the sequel and you shall rue the day you ever messed with my brain tunnel.

Mwah ha ha ha ha ha.


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Greetings and Salutations

Where to start?

I'm a 20 something redheaded Irish boy currently residing in Dublin, who's about to leave it all behind; job, apartment, childhood friends, and relocate to a new country with Husband.

Husband’s promotion and relocation package sees us reposition ourselves to the Financial Services capital of Switzerland otherwise known as Zurich or as I like to call it the city that likes to empty my wallet.

The city is so money and it doesn't even know it! No but in all seriousness it does seem like an amazing place to set up shop even if my inner stickler would rather tear my hair out than pay 5 Francs (about €4.00) for a small bottle of sparkling water.

Husband assures me his new earnings will be sufficient to support us both should I not secure work over there straight away, he will be the daddy to my need for sugar, which to be honest is a very strange situation for me to be in. I've always worked; ever since I've left college so this new found level of almost parental dependence will come as a bit of a shock to the senses. It might never happen, I might even get a job before I follow him over, you never know but I am at a slight disadvantage considering my grasp of the German language leaves a lot to be desired. According to something called the European Framework I'm at level A1A, sounds great huh but think the opposite of your Leaving Cert. I think this puts me at the grading equivalent of signing my name.

The move has me absolutely terrified and exhilarated to varying degrees (I have the emotional stability of a child at Disneyland who has lost his parents).

Overall my desire to dive into the swimming pool of new adventure and experience won over my practical need for stability (giving up a job in this economy, blah blah blah). Oh yes and the other big factor in my decision making would be the that crazy little thing called love, which I will now speak no more of out of fear of making you all barf and the risk of enlarging Husbands already inflated ego to the point that his giant 'Jake Gyllenhall' head can no longer fit through the doorframe.

So I'm diving in; in to the high cost of living, to being an expat, to the land of chocolate, to learning a new language, to Lido bars, to snowboarding, to a renters market, to more money than sense, to possible joblessness and subsequent poverty, to being a house husband, to being a kept man and to finally tasting fondue.

So I guess I'm asking you to come along for the ride, I'll try to make it funny and interesting but no guarantees. I can however guarantee that I will always be a big goofy ginger Irish 'man-boy' regardless of where I call home.

Ta ta for now