Hidden canals #5: Spanning the Röstigraben

Continuing the series, this is a very interesting snap for two reasons and three directions!  The first reason, direction to the left, denotes where the German speaking half of Switzerland begins. The first reason, but direction to the right, denotes where the French speaking half of Switzerland begins.  And the second reason, direction down under, is a hidden canal you cannot see!

But to prove there is really a canal here, as is my usual custom, I simply turn 180 degrees and take the following snap:

The boundary between the German speaking and French speaking sections of Switzerland is often known as the Röstigraben. Rösti (the Swiss version of American hash browns) is a famous dish in the German section of Switzerland, and Graben is a very old German word meaning moat.

The Old City of Jerusalem, from the Mount of Olives

The Old City of Jerusalem, with the bright golden dome of the Qubbat As-Sakhara mosque (also known as the Dome of the Rock) as seen from the nearby hill called the Mount of Olives:

The many stone graves are supposedly on a waiting list to be buried, and if you look hard enough you can see little pebbles on the top of them, which is a Jewish custom akin to putting flowers on a grave. Interestingly, nobody really knows where exactly this tradition developed or what exactly it means.

The amazing Chapel of the Ascension

Jerusalem is an amazing, amazing place. Just outside of the Old City, on the Mount of Olives, sits the Chapel of the Ascension,

This building, also called an Edicule, covers a small rock outcropping that the Christian faithful believe to be the right footprint of Jesus, etched into the stone as he ascended:

 

FAKE: Royal Mail sentinals guard an English village

Just for the record: the photos I post are never in any way retouched or enhanced or changed – except for cropping.  A tiny point-and-shoot camera is my only axe, so as a photographic artist I do permit myself the indulgence of cropping the images.

But in this series of blog posts entitled FAKE I publish some rather interesting images I have enhanced in some way.

I’m continuing the series with this image of what looks like two mailboxes in the quaint English village of Welwyn Garden City. I transformed it using an incredible iPhone application called MRRW (“mirror”):

Pause powers performance

A friend of mine is an IT engineer-turned-HR-consultant, and he summed up leadership in a single word:  SEXY:

  • S = Strategy
  • E = Empathy (for others)
  • X = Execution
  • Y = Yourself (know yourself)

My take on this, not his: S and X are up to you – but E and Y are what‘s in you and probably beyond your ability to significantly influence.

I‘m not a big fan of self-help books about leadership, precisely because E and Y are so out-of-reach, but recently a colleague at work put me on to a book written by a friend of hers. This is Kevin Cashman:

And this is his book, The Pause Principle:

In a nutshell, quoted from the book: The Pause Principle is the conscious, intentional process of stepping back, within ourselves and outside of ourselves, to lead forward with greater authenticity, purpose, and contribution. This book focuses on X (Execution) and not one of the SEXY attributes more difficult or impossible to control. In many ways it reminded me of the survivalist Ray Mears‘ advice if you get lost in the woods: don’t panic or take immediate actions but rather sit down, use your bushcraft knife and firesteel to make a fire and brew up a nice cup of pine needle tee; and only then think about what you‘ll do next.

FAKE: Face in the soup

Just for the record: the photos I post are never in any way retouched or enhanced or changed – except for cropping.  A tiny point-and-shoot camera is my only axe, so as a photographic artist I do permit myself the indulgence of cropping the images.

But this series of blog posts entitled FAKE I publish some rather interesting images I have enhanced in some way.

I’m beginning the series with this image of a bowl of soup. I transformed it using an incredible iPhone application called MRRW (“mirror”):

Harrod’s

This is, believe it or not, a snap of the world famous department store for the ultra-affluent, Harrod’s, although you can only see a very tiny bit of it, in the far, far center:

Interestingly, I stopped into the perfume selection with the intention of buying myself an expensive bottle of cologne.  Money was no object – I was in the right mood, I had the money, and I fully intended to walk away with a little bottle of something famous from Harrods.

However, when I saw that every counter was covered with dozens of bottles, and that each and everyone one needed to be opened to smell, the barrier to selecting a cologne was so high that I walked away empty-handed.

I wonder if Harrod’s is aware of this usability issue?  Or maybe (more likely) their customers really don’t care, and they just buy cologne fragrance unsmelled?

Bubble architecture – 6

The French have finally done it better!

Continuing the series, this is the bubble enclosed railway station of King’s Cross in London,

As you can see from my blog post here, this attempt at bubble architecture falls considerable short of what the French were able to achieve in Strasbourg, a masterpiece.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: as global warming causes temperatures to rise, we’ll see more and more examples of this, just like frogs boiling to death in water that is very gradually heated.

It’s not about the Albanian’s!

Every year there is a street festival in Winterthur called the Albanifest. Here’s a snap, but it really doesn’t do the festival justice:

In fact, the Albanifest is the largest yearly street festival in all of Europe! There are well over 100 stands from local restaurants, dozens and dozens of temporary halls for music and dancing, and it’s visited by well over 100,000 people!

Interestingly, I originally thought this festival was to honor the population of Albanians who live in Switzerland. In fact, it’s name honors this fellow:

That’s St. Alban, one of the patron saints of the city of Winterthur!

English Food Trucks

Well, I’ve only ever been to England a handful of times, so I am no expert. But each time I was there I remember being very impressed by the food trucks that park close to office buildings and provide lunch for the workers.

I spotted this one in Welwyn Garden City – just north of London:

And what’s always impressed me the most about these trucks is the large selection of things you can order:

 

Yes, there is a Platform 9-3/4!

The last time I was at the King’s Cross railway station in London was not that far after the 7/7 terror attack, and I believe this was some time before the Harry Potter movies. In the first Harry Potter movie, we learn that the Hogwart’s Express calls at King’s Cross, but at the very magical platform 9-and-3-quarters,

Since then it’s been on my bucket list to visit King’s Cross and look for what I could find.

Well, I was recently there – and it turns out that the great marketing forces in the universe have taken full advantage!  They have recreated this track, and – at least when I was there – there was a long, long line with children waiting to get their photo taken, as this snap shows:

Just next to this “platform” there is a Harry Potter store, and the queue just to enter the store was filled with hundreds of people and in fact it snaked outside of King’s Cross station!

Rook’s Close

I liked this sight in a local village just north of London, because the street sign says Rook’s Close, and the mailbox reminded me of a rook:

To be honest, it also reminded me a bit of a Dalek, but thankfully most Daleks are not red.