Category Archives: Thoughts

Green versus Orange

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. And as I learned from the blog community people are ‘obligated’ to wear something green, otherwise they get kicked in the ass. From Jeff we can learn some more about being colorblind and St. Patrick’s Day.

I am glad we don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Switzerland. Otherwise I definitely would have the same problems. Maybe I would once go and shop a green shirt and mark it all over with: This is green; wear me for St. Patrick’s Day; open your eyes stupid, I am GREEN. Maybe this could help. – Oh man, I need a green beer now.


Today is the day of Engadin Skimarathon. Every second sunday in march this cross country skiing race takes place in the wonderful Engadin, Switzerland. Up to 13’000 athlets are fighting for glory and personal best time at this magnificent race.

Startfield at Engadin Skimarathon

The ambitious participants show up at six o’clock in the morning to put down their skis. Before that it is not allowed and afterwards you could miss a good spot for the start. So what do you do from six o’clock till the start between 8h40 and 9h20?

An even more intersting question is: how can you find your pair of ski again before the race starts? There are uncoutable pairs in many rows lined up. And the best of all: They all look the same. Yes, really. Either they are yellow, silver or red. That’s about it. So for this time it is not only the colorblind under us which have to search but everybody. Therefore many participants choose some tricks to better find their skis again. This includes putting up their poles and attaching ballons.

And what if you can’t find your skis? Then your pulse will be higher up than during the whole race afterwards. You see many people either walking around with a terrified view or others waving with lonely pairs of ski. Anyway, in the end everybody grabs a pair, hits the snow and tries to survive the 42km ahead.

Microsoft knows about Color Blindness

…or at least the color palette inside the Microsoft Office tools knows about color blindness. I don’t know on which release they introduced this feature, but all the shown colors on the palette have a tooltip with their colorname and that is just great.

I often need to color either a text passage or a table cell. For a colorblind person this already means guessing, trying out, not knowing what you really are doing. Say I really need to have this table cell colored red. How do I know that this is really red? With my red-green color blindness I never can say it for sure. And therefore this little popup names step into the gap and are of great help for me. I don’t have to ask me anymore if I really have chosen the correct color or ask somebody else to give me a helping hand.

Wouldn’t it be great if this little bit of knowledge could be shared among others? Say: all crayons have their color name imprinted, clothes have not only the size but also the color name on the tags and even watercolors have a little cloud hovering above them to show their names. That would be heaven on earth.

Black Coffee versus James Brown

I’m sipping my coffee and ask myself: is this good tasting liquid brown or black? Who can tell? And what about Coke, the same question arises: brown or black? And what about James Brown, was he really brown and not black…

For me it is really hard to tell. Everybody says coffee, Coke and even humus soil is brown. For me it looks most of the time black, as black as black can be. And what about a pitch dark night, is it really black or not? Ask yourself.

I assume the so called colorblind people are just not involved into the agreements all others made about colors. There must be somewhere a big black book locked away with an official seal, which tells everything in detail about the colors – and within the truth about black and brown.

White is a Color

It is snowing since this early morning and according to the forecast it will be snowing until tomorrow afternoon. We already have approximately one foot on our terrace. Usually we get a few centimeters maybe ten or twenty but not as much as this. And I’m loving it.

Snow is great, wintertime just beautiful. And I think for a colorblind person it is even more beautiful. Because there are no flowers to miss, everything is white. No green, brown, yellow or red trees, they are all covered with snow. No yellow, white or blue parking lots, just a thin blanket of snowwhite on the roads. No red roofs, yellow fields, grey highways, green lawns or black nights. Everything is white.

Yes, I know: Everything is white, how boring. But it relieves for some time from being under a light but permanent color vision pressure.

Supporting a Colorblind Husband

Because color blindness is linked to the X-chromosome and a recessive trait it occurs more often on men than women. So what can you do to support your husband if he is colorblind? Here are my advices:

  • Choosing the right tie is a big problem; every single time. Helping out as it would be your daily business can be a relief from stress in early morning hours.
  • Explaining to friends what color blindness is can be a pain in the ass. Always the same stories, the same questions, the same laughs about not so funny jokes. Let it be explained by you and give it a serious touch. This will stop their asking much faster and unburden both parts.
  • Choose colors yourself and just let them be approved. Never ask a favour if there is a selection of colors included. Colorblind people never really know if it fits. They guess or learned it and don’t have the feeling for colors. And if you do it anyway be prepared for everything and accept it.
  • Stop the asking-colors game if it goes on for more than just a few questions. Some people don’t know the right time to stop asking: What color do you see here? And there? – Stop it politely and remove the burden from your partner.
  • Point out colorful things because colorblind people can sometimes just not spot them. They might be glowing for your eyes but not for the eyes of a colorblind. If you point it out maybe it can be seen and thus enjoyed as well by the colorblind.
  • Put color into your life. Just because somebody is colorblind it usually doesn’t mean he can’t see any colors at all. If you know which colors can be seen bring them in and brush up your life of colors.

This list is of course not final but something to start with. I would be pleased to hear further suggestions from you.

Olympic Wintergames Recap

The games are over. Torino is going back to daily business. Efforts to spot the difference between gold and bronze medals are diminishing. What lasts is:

  • Curling is very nice to watch. Particularly because the stonecolors for the two parties is yellow/red and not green/red, great to distinguish. By the way is great to learn and see in action the curling – well – basics.
  • Left – right – left … stands for slalom. The poles are blue and red alternately. Most of the time I can’t see which is which. But maybe it’s more because of their speed than my color blindness.
  • Ice hockey teams are tough. And I could always distinguish the two teams. I remember a time when the dresses weren’t always so far apart from each other in my eyes.
  • And short track is fast, very fast and wasn’t shown enough on our tv stations.

By the way, Switzerland finished on the 8th place counting medals with 5 gold, 4 silver and 5 gold medals.

Olympic Medals

Olympic Wintergames 2006 in Torino, Italy. Right now athlets from all around the world are fighting for medals. My question is: Can you tell the difference between the gold and the bronze medal? I never can and never ever could. You really have to watch very closely and carefully if you want to see the difference. Otherwise you just guess, read the caption or just let it be.

But anyway, Switzerland has until now 4 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze medals thats the 6th place on the medal tracker. And in about two hours it will be one more, silver or even gold for the women’s curling team. That’s pretty cool and the games are not over yet!

Update @ 16:25 : Just in this moment I hear that we have won one more gold medal in women’s parallel giant slalom. That makes 5 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze.