An American moves to Switzerland

Saturday, March 13, 2010

RSS feed has moved

I am curently in the process deploying a new and updated Twissted Swisster blog site. This page and style have been retired. If you are reading this post there are two possible reasons you are here.

  1. You may be subscribed to my old RSS Feed
  2. You may have an old book mark for the homepage
RSS Feed Updated

For those readers that are currently following the Twissted Swisster blog via RSS, please be aware that the RSS feed has been moved.

To make sure you continue to get updates in you news reader please unsubscribe from the old RSS and and add our new feed. The new feed can be found at the following URL.

Old Bookmarks

Also, if you have bookedmarked our previous homepage at please update you link to

Thanks for your patients while we do some house cleaning.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Blogger FTP Publishing Going Away

I logged into Blogger today and was notified by an alert that Blogger was getting rid of there FTP publishing support.

I was a little irked by that.

As a former web developer I really liked the FTP support. With FTP that means I can host my blog on my own server, and add some customizations to it that just aren't available through the standard Blogger hosting. Good examples are the recent Baden virtual tours. Those are just not possible with Blogger.

I was reading the posts about the end of life for FTP support and blogger says that only 5% of their users are using FTP to publish to hosting providers outside of google. However, the engineering resources to maintain the FTP support were much more than 5% of their engineering staff. That may be, but I still want my FTP.

I would bet that most of those geeky nerds in the 5% like me will not settle for migrating onto the google hosted platforms. I know I will be looking for other tools that I can use that are more flexible than the existing blogger tools.

For now, I am really looking at wordpress. I have used it before with some pretty good results. I just loathe the process of rebuilding all my templates and getting all my publishing process setup again. I had so many things working well and now I am going to have to do some house cleaning I supposed. I am already creating a mental check list of things I am considering if I go to Wordpress from Blogger.

  1. Rebuild wordpress templates
  2. Rebuild Dreamweaver page templates for 'add on' custom pages
  3. Rebuild VRpano export templates for virtual tours
  4. Migrate Blogger posts to new platform
  5. Possible clean up of some existing posts formating

Good news is I did do some blog post migration testing this morning from Blogger to wordpress. It seems to work pretty well. The one glitch is I did have to go from Blogger, to a hosted blog, to a wordpress independent blog. That cost me about an extra 20 minutes in the migration process but things look okay so far.

May 1st. That is when blogger is going to turn off my beloved FTP, so I better start working on it. I've got 2 months. Be ready for a new look and feel. I think it might be time.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Good Grilled Cheese Sandwich In Switzerland

For several years now I have been yearning to find a good cheese in the land of cheese to make an American favorite. A grilled cheese sandwich.

2 pieces of 'American bread', a slice or two of cheese in the middle, all fried with a little butter in a pan. The problem was that most cheeses in the land of cheese just weren't right. They were too hard, too smelly, the wrong flavor, whatever. In short just not right.

After more than 3 years of experimenting I have found something that I like. Tilsiter cheese fits the bill. As with all replicas of American cooking abroad it isn't perfect, but it's close enough. Tilsiter has the right flavor, much milder than most. It also seems to have the right salt content. Similar to the classic Kraft American Singles processed cheese.

The nice thing about tilsiter is it melts nicely as well. Perfect for a grilled cheese sandwich. I've also used it on hamburgers and happy with the results as well.

Do you have a favorite cheese for grill cheese or a cheese burger? Leave a comment.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thoughts On Swiss Butter Packaging

I have noticed that our butter in the fridge is always tattered in comparison to what I remember in the U.S. It is as if someone had torn apart the wrapper with, dare I say it, a butter knife.

This would normally not be something I would think of but my wife mentioned that maybe the Swiss packaging is less durable for ecological reasons. The Swiss are after all more concerned about recycling. My beloved foil based butter and margarine wrappers in the U.S. would after all be shunned by the Swiss, even if they are more durable.

For now I will just have to live, knowing full well that every time I butter some toast I will further reduce my butter packaging into something that looks like it was pulled from the garbage by some wandering night animal.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Flaming Street Parade: Liestal

Crowd Cringes in Pain From The Searing Heat

I need to do a follow up on the early post about the crazy fire parade I went too, because it was just so strange. I haven't had time to go through all of the 5 gigs of photos yet, but as I am going through them I am finding more and more. I like the one above that focuses on one of the mobile 6 foot high (2 M) mobile bon fires on a cart. In the background you can see one of the Firefighters, in protective gear turning his back on the fire because it is so hot.

Just imagine for a second how hot this must be if the firefighter is turning his back in all that protective gear and that sad guy next to him is just standing there in a nylon ski jacket. If you look into the crowd all you see is backs of head, because if you face these carts of fire your face starts to burn. It is just absolutely crazy.

Although it isn't clear in the picture the crowd is probably less than 6 feet from the flames.

Man Resting With Burning Broom

One of the other traditions is something that looks like a huge burning broom. It is essentially a pile of logs strapped to a stick. The guys will lift these flaming torches and carry them over their shoulder like a hobo sack. All the while, burning embers and pieces of wood falling on their heads. Many of the men will cover there heads in wet towels or wet hats. Another popular accessory was a metal colander worn upside down on the head as a helmet.

Man Marching through the Liestal Parade with burning broom.

Did I forget to mention that the entire street is also covered in about an eighth of an inch (.5 cm) of paper confetti? It was just amazing to me that the entire town didn't just burst into flames.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Flaming Street Parade

This evening we went out to a small town towards Basel to check out something that I would have to consider as one of the most unsafe public spectacles I have ever witnessed.

This Fasnacht (Carnival) parade was a one hour show of men and women dragging various flaming objects through the street.

On the website there are warnings to wear old clothes in case you get burned and no children under 6 or dogs are allowed.

Some of the portable bon fires are so intense that the crowd has to turn their back or risk being burned. I have some amazing photographs and this is just one so there will surely be more to come.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Baden Fasnacht Light Show 2010

City Clock Tower Light Show

Our city clock tower a stones through away from my balcony has been blazing away like a cheap Las Vegas strip neon sign for the the last couple of nights. This is all to celebrate Fasnacht of course.

I posted a still image of the tower a couple of days ago but it somehow didn't capture the cheap seedy hotel feel that I get when I wake up at 3:00 in the morning to go to the bathroom and am blinded by the flashing lights across the street.

Usually, like clockwork, the spot lights on the clock tower shut off at midnight. This is of course not the case during fasnacht season. I was actually pleasantly surprised both yesterday evening and tonight as aside from the light show there was a strange calm on the streets. Like everyone is resting, waiting in the wings for the big celebration that is coming tomorrow evening.

This video is a time lapse movie shot over 1 hour. In real time the lights change about every 20 seconds.

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