Link to Profile Semperoper, Dresden Sieg (auf dem Siegesäule), Berlin Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Skyline, Frankfurt am Main

Monday, February 23, 2009

Podcast Overload

It starts with one or two, then it cascades into many, some lasting for minutes, others for hours. I started watching/listening to podcasts ages ago (Remember the Jenni Show?), but with an hour commute to fill each day, they took on a larger role in my life. Now I have too many podcasts to listen to and an insane need to listen to them, which means I have been going to the gym for two-hours on three days a week just to fit more in.

You see, some good does come from the internet. Thanks Al!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Night With Der Auslander

This tag cloud is from a post made back before I took my current job. Sigh ... more and more people dreading the pink slip every day, and I kind of miss being un-employed.

A Typical Day With Der Auslander

This is a tag-cloud of one of my earlier posts. I would challenge anyone to figure out exactly what was blogged way back then from this collection, but it certainly is intruiging to see the word-salad that circulates in my brain. Hmmm. Makes on wonder.

Dear Deutsche Telekom
See closing comment to Deutsche Post in prior post below"

Every time I think I am getting closer to having first-world technology in what used to be a technology-leading country, I am reminded where I am. I can update Twitter with my phone, but for reasons unknown to me Twitter SMS updates cannot be sent to my phone. Probably because I refused to sign up for the outrageously priced data service packages, which, by the way, do not allow for VoIP ... If I'm going to pay a fortune for a data packet, I want the freedom to use VoIP so I can avoid the outrageous charges for individual telephone calls. Oh yeah, I forgot where I am. This is standard fare in Germany, where the customer should remember that he is only the customer and is only given the privilege to buy products and services to keep otherwise useless bureaucrats employed.

Deutsche Telekom executives: Please see the Al Goldstein video below.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Deutsche Post to Germany
"You didn't really want to mail that, did you?"

I decided to mail a birthday card to someone in the US ... As usual, the Partnerin chose a number of birthday cards the last time we were in the US so that we could have a stock of english-language cards on hand for such occasions. The problem is that American greeting cards are a bit bigger than the standard German cards .... about a centimeter or so. I counted on being charged a bit extra for this since, in Germany, no good deed goes un-punished.

At Christmas this meant paying EUR 3.00 per card rather than the EUR 1.70 per card. Today it was EUR 6.00 ... yep, some bureaucrat has decided that an oversize card should now be nearly four times as expensive to send to the US (though I note that one can now send as much as a half-kilogram for the same rate ... that seems to me like nice card-and-letter-sending Germans are being asked to subsidise bomb-mailing terrorists, if you ask me).

So I ask the clerk how much smaller it needed to be, and she takes out a pen and draws a line across the envelope ... OK, that is annoying. But, as if to make things better, she offers me a pair of scissors so that I can then and there proceed to cut the card down to size.

So to go along with what must surely be joke, I ask "Yeah, but what about the envelope, which will need to be re-sealed?" She offers to let me use her tape.

So, to this point we've wasted about EUR 25 of my time and EUR 6 of hers and perhaps another EUR100 of the rest of the people in line, and my card is still not going to be mailed because I cannot stomach paying EUR 6 to mail a single greeting card.

But it gets better ... like many post-offices around the world, none of which seem capable of making money doing their bread-and-butter job of delivering mail, Deutsche Post has a selection of greeting cards sitting in racks about two meters behind me. Does the friendly psuedo-civil-servant suggest that I buy one of those for roughly EUR 2, which would have me ready and out of there for less than EUR 4?

No, not a passing thought to that. But scissors and tape were free for the taking. Some days I just love Germany. This is one of those Al Goldstein "Deutsche Post, F___ Y__" moments.

Note to self: see if you can find an Al Goldstein "F___ Y__" video on YouTube. Oh yeah, here's a good one ...

Caution, contains explicit language and disturbing images (mostly of Al himself)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ginger or Marianne?

If you ask that question of just about any German you will meet, you will be met with a blank stare. Gilligan's Island just didn't make it here. Neither, for that matter, did Seinfeld (it was pulled off the air for, of all things, Hogan's Heros). So, what does register with Germans?

Well, setting aside that legend known as David Hasselhof, there's Chuck Norris. My colleagues yesterday were discussing Chuck Norris and his ability to do / achieve / conquer just about anything. So after hearing about 20 minutes of Chuck Norris adoration (yes, really), I ask in the tradition of the SuperFans (e.g. Ditka or Jesus?),

"Who would win ... Chuck Norris or McGyver?"

Now that lit the fuse. Turns out Germans really love McGyver. Some of these people were only in their early 20's, and last time I looked McGyver was an '80s show, which means it pre-dated them. Nevertheless, they all knew McGyver. One even had the McGyver theme as a ring-tone on his handy (that's a cell-phone for you all back across the ocean). Who would have figured?

By the way, it will always be Marianne.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lovin' from the Oven
Happy (Belated) Valentines Day

OK, not as artistic as most of the cookies, cakes and other delights you've seen on the other blogs, but hey, it's not so easy to make a good-looking, heart-shaped pizza. But the Partnerin said it was de-lish, and it made her smile, so it was worth its weight in gold.

Who is John Galt?

I never thought I would really see the scenario of Atlas Shrugged play out in real life, yet every day another CEO begs for government help, every local government needs help, the "needy" need more help. Where is all this help ($2 trillion and counting) coming from?

Rand essentially asks the question, "What if Atlas shrugged ... decided the weight of the world was too much, and simply decided to drop the weight from his shoulders?"

I guess we will see.