While sorting through my mother’s estate, I came across the “Öko-Knigge” ecological etiquette guide (unfortunately not translated into English). Rainer Griesshammer’s book was published in 1984, and I gave it to her sometime in the 80s as a birthday present – which proves that the admonishing index finger was not only pointed from mother to daughter, but also vice versa.Continue reading “Nostalgia and sustainability – The Eco Etiquette”
In the course of my working life I have participated in many – and different – office/company Christmas parties: with tea and cookies in the office, with pizza and games in the canteen, at the sausage stand at the Christmas market, in a specially rented small theatre (including performance) and at the big ball in an “exclusive location”. The number of guests has varied between 5 and several hundred, and as far as dress was concerned, anything from jeans to evening gowns.
But one thing all Christmas parties had in common was of course the speech by the management. Often this address has weighed on the shoulders of the selected (or coerced) managers since the previous October. And it also entails different strategies, depending on whether the previous fiscal year was successful or not.Continue reading “Lukewarm champagne and tepid speeches – the office Christmas party”
Having repeatedly reported on the Dutch people’s preference for deep-fried delights on harlekin.blog, I would now like to address the issue of how the citizens of my adopted country manage to keep fit despite these temptations.
From my observations, I can say that this must partly due to the fact that cycling is still extremely popular in the Netherlands, even in sub-optimal climatic conditions. All manner of more or less roadworthy versions of child seats, child trailers, etc. are to be seen often with mothers or fathers and three small children distributed around the bike.Continue reading “Fitness the Dutch Way – the “Vierdaagse“”
With the start of the new millennium, conditions for mobile work got better. The number of Deutsche Telekom DSL connections grew from 0.6 million in 2000 to 13.3 million in 2008. The introduction of Skype in 2003 by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis made it possible for the first time to make video calls without having to pawn house and home. So I (finally) had video at my disposal in addition to telephone and email, which had become prevalent by then. My laptops became lighter and more powerful and had integrated modems.Continue reading “My Life as a Digital Nomad”
It’s not as if I’ve always wanted to become a “digital nomad”, but it just happened. How do you come to mutate into a digital nomad at the age of 58 and how does this life feel after 2 years?Continue reading “My Life as a Digital Nomad”
Recently I was asked for a holiday recommendation, to which I unhesitatingly responded: Asia. ”Ooh, nah, it’s hot and dirty there” was the reaction.
Our recent experiences in Japan proved the exact opposite. The first thing that strikes you as you speed into Tokyo on the high-speed train is how clean the place is. Crowded, yes, what do you expect if you cram 38 million into a city? But the houses are spotless and well-tended, no graffiti is to be seen, and the streets free of litter, chewing gum and dog souvenirs. They say they had to remove all the litter-bins after the sarin attack on the underground, but that alone cannot explain such cleanliness.Continue reading “The Land of the Rising Lid”
…or how I learned to stop worrying and love Big Data.
For the last couple of years I have been dabbling with genealogy. My family in England has always been convinced we were related to Jack Cornwell, a 16-year-old Naval recruit who died a heroic death at the Battle of Jutland in the First World War. My mother was German so I was curious about that side of me too. Most of my relatives are dead, so I had just a few recollections of family anecdotes and a handful of old photographs to start with.
Internet to the rescue! Mormons in Salt Lake City, whose mission in life is to find salvation for their forefathers by genealogical research and ordinances performed by proxy for them, run several online sites to help you “discover your family’s story.” The story goes that before and after the Second World War dozens of Mormon researchers photographed and transcribed huge numbers of church and public records in Europe long before anyone had thoughts about data security. There are now millions of records on their databases.Continue reading “Big Brother is alive and living in Canada”