Sunday, December 18, 2005

How to be a snobby chick in Zürich

Some of my faithful readers might have noticed a faint mysogynistic undercurrent on this blog. Not so, I say. I just happen to live in a big city in a rich country, which brings out the best and worst in people. And what with everything in Switzerland being so close by, so it's nigh unpreventable that the rich and the poor congregate. For example on Zürich's main shopping/banking street, the Bahnhofstrasse. Here one can watch the mainly rich people go about their shopping business, and laugh about them. Here's some of my observations:

Facial expressions, or lack thereof
The most important part. As faithful reader of this here blog, you will know that Swiss people in general, especially in Zürich, just Do. Not. Smile. This is practised to perfection by snobby chicks doing their shopping in Zürich. Not only do they Not Smile, they add a well-trained scowl to their face.

You'd have thought that the female power-suit had died a well-deserved, slow death somewhere towards the end of the 80s, but it's back in somewhat updated form. As long as it's bulky enough to get the "I Am A Woman Get Out Of My Way You Bumbling Idiot" message across, you're golden.

One would have hoped that Ugg boots would have gone out of fashion two years ago, but no, they're back with a vengeance, and ug(g)lier than before. Every tassle one could imagine is now part of this particularly hideous member of the shoe family.

Eating whilst on-the-go
If you're female and don't have time for eating at a restaurant (which can happen, sometimes), most of the time you'll go for something that can be held in your hands. Duh. But here's something very specific to Zürich: Eating bread-stuffs (croissants, for example), you hold the bag of bread in one hand, and, making sure NO-ONE can see the bread inside said bread-bag, you tear off a piece and eat it. Mostly excercised by women teenage to mid-thirties. I suppose it's something that one grows out of.

So. I hope you enjoyed my observations. Welcome to Switzerland, enjoy our invisible bread, and don't forget the all-important scowl!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Meeting challenges

Wa-hey! Back in Z-Town after visiting my babe in a far away country. Long distance relationships are difficult, but not impossible. A "challenge", one could say. Which brings me straight to the topic of this entry: Work environments, and the language used therein. I'm HEARTILY sick of the use (and abuse) of the English language in offices across Switzerland. Just because you're trying to make your employees jump thru hoops of fire whilst juggling yapping puppies, does not mean you can beam your stupid smile in my face and call something a "challenge" (or, as some linguistically lobotomized individuals that have their own ideas about pronunciation would have it, "ä tschällääändsch").

It seems the art of straight talking is lost, maybe it's never been found. Woah, that was almost precociously "deep". In any case, managers, superiors and other sub-human lifeforms seem strangely drawn to the english language, as if it were a light source, a beacon of hope in the deepest depths of the office ocean. The german words "Konferenz" or "Sitzung" have all but left the corporate lingo: "Meeting". An english word, said in all shades of the swiss-german dialect. Like a cheesegrater on naked skin, with a healthy dollop of salt thrown in for good measure.

So, to the managers sitting in their leather chairs (making those god-awful sounds that make other people think you just farted), an informal request: Take that idiotic Star-Trek-Uhura-bluetooth-cellphone-thing out of your ear, and refrain from using english words. You're fooling nobody but the ditzy blonde secretary.

Monday, August 15, 2005

STFU Poster advertisers, round 2

To update all my faithful readers (all two of you) on the goings-on in the engrossing poster advertising scene here in Zurich:

The 1st August poster campaign was finally revealed. It was for a famous swiss beverage. No, I'm not gonna spell out the name. Except it rhymes with "Gee, bella". This advertising campaign is just insulting to one's intelligence: Build up all that "anticipation", yet in the end it's just some dumb Swiss "stars" (some of which aren't even Swiss, such as Boris Becker) with excruciatingly dumb marketing slogans superimposed over their heads, speech-bubble-style.

Why am I even mentioning this? Well, there's a new campaign that's been plastered all over town, of course! This time, the marketing twats have been even more inventive: Full-width poster, bright orange background, with a cellphone number in big white lettering. Am I going to call it? Am I fuck. And neither should you.

Marketing twats of the greater Zurich area, two words for you: Drop it. You know full well that people will learn to "switch off" these ads sooner or later. And when they do, and your clients go "Heeey, we were told these things work, why aren't they?", do humanity a favour and NOT go down ye olde swiss "delegation of blame" road. Also, do us all another favour by NOT acting all surprised, even if it does seem the most natural way of reacting to you at that moment in time.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The lords of the land

I've been wanting to get out of my current flat for various reasons (noise being one of them), so off I trolled to various websites, looking for a nice flat. While I'm not sure whether it's the right "season" to go flat-hunting, let me tell you one thing: landlords in Zurich seem to be on drugs. To quote some doddery old dude talking to some dumb-ass farmer boy a long time ago:

"You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainry."

As it is, they seem to think that they can charge the world for little one-room flats, assume that anything situated in North Zurich (Oerlikon area) is "central" (it is NOT) and thus jack up the prices accordingly, or that writing "Live in the trendy part of town" gives them a licence to print money.

So, dearest landlords of Zurich: Lay off the smack, please. It's all going to come crashing down on you sooner or later. The housing market, that is. Not the houses themselves. Well maybe those, too, if you keep patching up the flats and driving the prices up although it's all crumbling behind that beautiful new stucco wall.

In any case: If anybody has a nice flat going close-ish to Zurich main station that is modern, not next to the railway lines, a main bus/tram line or in a neighbourhood filled with "Amir B."'s or, shall we say, ladies of the night, please leave a comment. Oh and in the CHF 1,500-2,000.- price range. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Poster advertisers, please shut the fuck up

Ah yes, poster advertising. Can't switch it off, can't really not look at it, can't evade it. The latest trick that swiss poster advertisers have come up with is "watch this space!" ads, where they promise to reveal something after a certain length of time. Well, they've been doing that kind of advertising for about 2-3 years now from what I noticed, and it's.... grating. Nothing good ever is revealed; imagine non-stop cliffhangers that come out shoddy. And people are beginning to realize, and forget them.

Case in point: First one that I can remember came out about a year ago. Showed a bald, good-looking guy sitting on what seemed to be a throne, with the tagline being "Would you like to meet a real prince?" and a cell phone number below it. Plastered all over Zurich. Super-annoying, it was the talk of the town (congratulations to you, stupid advertiser), but I can't remember what the outcome was.

Next one, more recent: white background, with a stylized "1" in red. Everybody was wondering what the hell it could be. Turned out to be THE FUCKING POSTER COMPANY ITSELF, doing some brand-awareness brain-washing.

Latest one are posters showing various celebrities (Boris Becker) and swiss "celebrities", with the tagline "On 1st of August, I will show my true colours". STOP. IT. I'm not interested. The show's over, and I don't care what is revealed on the 1st.

Then again, I'm just adding to the advertiser's happiness by talking about this... ARGH INFINITE LOOP!


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Spoilt Liechtenstein Chick

As I was walking home from work the other day, I had to cross a fairly busy road. It had just rained about an hour ago, and in the distance, barreling down the road towards me, was this strangely wrecked-looking car. Only as it came closer did I realize it was a Porsche convertible, in the act of "converting". Except that because of the speed, the roof was having trouble folding up. This chick (who couldn't have been a day over 20), was putting the pedal to the metal, WHILE the automatic convertible top was trying to fold into the space between her and the boot. Just as she was passing me, she gave me the evil eye (cf. previous post on scowling people in Zurich), which I obligingly returned.

All this from a bleach-blond Liechtenstein girl, and the reason I'm actually posting this semi-rant against spoilt women drivers is a book I read about in this weblog. For those readers who don't read german, it's a mini-review of a book written by a woman living on Zurich's gold coast (an area on Lake Zurich's northern shore that takes it's name from the many, many, MANY rich people living there, and the amount of sunshine it gets). The book excerpt from that blog post translates roughly as follows:

"I love my jacked-up SUV, a black 4x4 with a huge, chrome'd bumper. Almost all my female friends have such rides. They claim it's for the safety of their children. I say: In these cars, we full-time housewives and permanent mothers feel as important as we want to be. In any case: You can look down on all the other drivers from this kind of car, and the thought of being able to crush that Mazda driver under my Range Rover amuses both me and my best friend Mona to no end."

You scowling, arrogant, ignorant women drivers of expensive cars are the scourge of humanity.

Attention citizens: Do Not Smile.

My girlfriend was here for the last two weeks. Coming from a foreign country, she immediately noticed something: Nobody in Zurich smiles. "Everybody looks like zombies", she remarked.

And it's true. It's as if the people got up in the morning and practiced their scowling in front of the mirror. Think "1984" with mean facial expression routines instead of fitness routines every morning. It seems to be the Swiss Way™, at least here in Zurich, and something that really put me off dating swiss girls. They have perfected the act of giving people the evil eye, and treating you like you're invisible. I suppose it's to do with the fact that in such a big city, with everyone so focused on making money and looking cool (at least in appearance), the effort to smile is just too much to ask for.

OMFG Fist Prost!

So this friggin' blogger thing won't let me edit stuff in the wysiwyg thing using Firefox... *sigh* And in Safari, it doesn't have any wysiwyg functions at all! Well OK, that figures since Safari doesn't support that stuff as well, yet. Well actually it does, but I guess has to go by the lowest common denominator. Who's complaining? Not I.

Oh well, welcome to my blog! Here I'll post all kinds of wondrous stuff about Zurich and my adventures therein.