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Sunday at around 13h00 is a very bad time to go swimming at Mon Repos.

Two lanes are reserved for clubs/schools and so there’s only one open lane if you want to swim back and forth in an organized manner. Unfortunately, it was rather full (6-7) people and, worst of all, there were two really, really slow swimmers, who would not let you pass, when it came to turning.

Now I’m already a very slow swimmer and I can happily swim at pace of 30 minutes per km without feeling any need to speed up (though this is also slow by my standard). But these people really managed to swim at a pace of about 45 minutes per km. I don’t know how they did it. At this pace my feet automatically sink to the bottom.

Usually, slower swimmers wait at the end of the lane for about 3 seconds to let others pass while turning around. That’s certainly what I do all the time, whenever there’s a more ambitious swimmer on my lane. But oh no, not these two ladies. They sure enough did not seem in a hurry, but they would not waste a single second when it came to turning around.

Anyways, in the end I had to do some sort of interval training. Whenever there was a gap opening up for me to pass, I sprinted past them and swam “fast” (by my standard) until I bumped into the feet of another lady. Then I had to tread water until I could pass again. Really stressful and unpleasant. It wasn’t even enjoyable to look at them from behind in the water.

Punchline: Avoid the Mon Repos swimming pool on Sundays between 13h00 and 14h00.

Ah, that really made my day.

While I was running up la vallée de la jeunesse today, I was passing a group of frisbee players on inline skates. I was really thinking/hoping: “Please accidentally through it so that I can catch it.”

And this is exactly what happened! One of the guys through it to hard downhill and I could nicely jump and catch it. 🙂

Unfortunately, I slightly screwed up the “thumber” (forehand throw) afterwards as the disc was far too light for my taste (I guess about 135gr, as opposed to the proper 175gr Ultimate Frisbee weight).

Last night, we played a murder mystery with the title “Death by Chocolate“.

I have to admit, I’m disappointed. I bought 300gr of chocolate for each of the outspoken chocolate lovers, but we did not even come close to finishing it. At least this means that I don’t have to worry about breakfast/dinner for the next week or so.  🙂

The game itself was, as always for these games, extremely entertaining. If there was a prize for the best impersonation of a character, it would have to go to Irene, aka anti-chocolate campaigner Hazel Nutt, for her very creative and entertaining leaflets warning about the dangers of chocolate.  🙂

A somewhat strange side-effect is that after the game you only remember the names of the characters (and their story) but not the “real” names. For example, there’s now a girl (character: Kit Catt) who’ll always be remembered for her legendary “four finger deep tissue massage”.

Still, I really, really enjoy these games as they “force” people to interact, regardless of how shy or geeky they are. You might find yourself having an affair with somebody you’ve never met before in your life or being blackmailed by a person, whose real name you don’t even know.

Oh, a good tip which I found on the internet and which I also used last night: Toblerone works really with a chocolate fondue!

Another tip: A chocolate tasting test can be fun. Just buy about a dozen of different flavored chocolate bars, break them up into pieces, wrap them in aluminum foil, ask the participants to unwrap/eat them without looking, and see if they can figure out, which pieces are of which flavor.

Saturday 12h30-14h00 @ Chavannes.

Tuesday 20h00-22h00 @ Bergières.

Two indoor swimming pools, which are virtually deserted. I’m glad I can still swim 4km in one go, but I have to admit the last 500m do not feel as relaxed as they ought to.

Last Saturday I went to see a, well, “piece” called Vertige at the Theater 2.21.

It certainly was not a regular theater piece but more of a multimedial experience. Video screens on either side of the room. Loudspeakers spread throughout the room. Some parts were certainly not esthetically pleasing (and they weren’t meant to be), and it was also not enlightening in any way (at least not to me), but I still enjoyed the show, as it was simply very creative. For example, have a look at this picture.
It also gave me a chance to meet a former colocataire (and not colocatrice as I would have said until a few weeks ago).

I now have something that you (probably) don’t:

A t-shirt with the first part of Le petit prince printed on its front, it’s back and its sleeves. Here‘s a picture.

To read it you have to start at the left sleeve, then the front, then the back, then the right sleeve.

Can’t wait for the summer when I can wear it without a coat over it. But first I’ll have to prepare the second part.  🙂

I know what a sekt is, but I’m still not sure what a sect is. What I do know is that the non-profit organization “New Acropolis” is considered a sect in some countries, including France and Belgium.

This organization runs courses about philosophy and the (free) introductory meeting for one such course took place yesterday, here in Lausanne – a great chance to see what a sect is really like!

Given the large number of posters spread all around the city, I was surprised to find myself in a room with only 5 other “students” along with the teacher. My fellow students spanned the whole age spectrum between 25 and 75 years. The teacher appeared to be in his 50s. If I had even the slightest talent for visual memory, I’d describe the whole scenery in far more detail, but people who know me will understand that I’ll have to leave more or less everything to your imagination.

Anyways, the teacher started with explaining the structure of the course and the teaching method. The program you can find here. The method … well, it claims to be heavily based on comparative studies between various schools of philosophy, spanning the last 4000 years and all continents (… except the Arcticas). The official aim of the course is “to produce philosophers and not philosophy teachers”, meaning that it is supposed to be of very practical use and not academic philosophy for its own sake. So far nothing conspicuous. It was made clear that the organization (and the course) were both apolitical and secular.

Actually, nothing that was mentioned during the first 60 minutes gave even the slightly hint of any lurking danger. There was just an obviously very well-read person outlining methods and contents which would appeal to any curious person.

So finally, after all the nice chit chat,  I asked the teacher, why he thought that the organization was considered a sect in some countries.

Some points from his answer were that:

(i) Any way of thinking which is not in line with the “regime” tends to be regarded as potentially dangerous. E.g., the  comparative approach which also takes positive examples from the Arabic culture could cause some mistrust.

(ii) As the organization is secular it is regarded with disdain by the established churches.  For these powerful organizations it is a very effective way to get rid off competitors by simply branding them as “sects”.

(iii) [Not directly an answer but still interesting:] He said that he’d much rather follow a supposed “dangerous cult” than following the mainstream thinking.

(iv) He also said that he’d like to talk to anybody who has worries/concerns and who is thinking about dropping the course.

One thing which he said at the end (and in an apparent attempt to label me as a coward), and which I found rather cheap, was that they only want people who have enough courage to join and to live with occasional scornful comments by outsiders.

So, is it a sect? Well, according to the overall impression I got (also from other helping volunteers) the group certainly has a strong sense of identity and I could see, how there’d be a lot of peer pressure put on anybody who wants to leave. But then this characterization also holds for the local football club.

In the end, I still don’t know what really constitutes a sect. Maybe the best way to find out is to start my own sect. Any faithful apostles among you?

“On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin’ music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again
On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again,
And I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

(A famous country song and one of the favorites of my father.)

Today, after a period of abstinence of 5 months, I finally took out my road bike again for a stroll of 75km. Though it felt as if I was getting frostbites on my toes, the weather was still fantastic and I really enjoyed my first ride this year.

Most impressive sight of the day: a 70+ year old man who was swimming in a very relaxed manner in the Lac Leman. (I think the water has about 6-8°C.)

Most beautiful sight: cycling along the lake with the snow-covered mountains in the background. I forget far too often, how beautiful the landscape here is!

Fish Love was a fantastic play! It was really incredibly well done, extraordinarily creative and just very, very funny (but not in the slapstick kind of way). If you’re in or around Lausanne, I most highly recommend that you go and see it in the theater at Vidy. A bit of a shame that only one person gave standing ovation though 🙂

In fact, it inspired me to do something which I know I will deeply enjoy. But this will be a separate post.  🙂

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