30 March 2005

Back in the USA

We're back in the USA on a tour of Eastern Iowa visiting family and friends before we make it to Brigitte's wedding. So I have been a bit too busy to blog much... Here is a rundown of what we *have* done.

1) Got to Chicago. Got a rental car after waiting for way too long for the bus to take us to the rental car place. Drove to Janesville, WI to see Brigitte. There is no CD player or cassette player in the car, and the only radio station we could find after leaving the range of Chicago radio seemed to play only an extended remix of Sir Mix-a-lot's "Baby Got Back".

2) Hung with Brigitte & Randy. Ate fried cheeze curds at a place called somthing like Hggrprhms. Someone needs to do a vowel drop on that one. While the girls went shopping and visited the spa, the boys played video games. Watched a couple of stupid silly movies. Slept.

3) Drove to Aurora to see Greg & family. Brought B&R's FM transmitter for my Old Skool 1st Gen iPod so we never heard the end of the extended "Baby Got Back" remix. Hung with Greg & Martha and the two way-too-cute kiddos. Went to the park & the zoo. Saw some woman get yelled at for "teasing the elk" (sounds kinda like a sexual innuendo there...)

4) Drove to Shellsburg to hang with Dad, Jan & Steev. Hiked along the Cedar River. Saw what were apparently plundered native american burial mounds. Got a sore throat, and now for some reason I am producing snot at an alarming rate.

Tomorrow we will head towards Bettendorf.

19 March 2005

Help pay my Friend's Ransom!

Though it has been 15 years or so since I have lived in the same town as Greg Stolze, I remain friends with him still today. Sure I don't get to see him as much as I did in high school, but we keep in touch and visit on occasion. Heck, his first kid was concieved at my wedding. That's what I call a friend. Uhhh.. Ok, that sounded bad.

Why do I bring this up? Well, I figure he's the closest thing to a famous person I will ever know personally. A lot of you (that aren't family & mutual friends, that is) may not know who he is, so let me tell you. He's an author. He mostly writes gaming materials but he has also written several excellent novels (at least one of which is available online). The point is you can see his name in the big print at a book store. And that's cool.

So there is this new game he has written, called Meatbot Massacre that is being distributed in a rather unique way. The hows and whys are best explained at the web site, but to sum it up, you pay what you think is fair and/or can afford and if they get their "ransom" by September 1st, everyone who paid gets the game, but also the game will be released into the public domain. Read the description on the web page, and gaze upon the cover picture below and tell me it isn't worth a few bucks at least. And you get that good feeling that the creators actually get the money, not some middleman.

PS. Greg didn't ask me to do this. I'm sure he can advertise better than my pathetic blog can (notice the ransom isn't too far from being met). I'm writing this because I think it is a great idea, and an excellent experiment in how the internet can change the "old way" of business models.

18 March 2005

What a difference a day makes...

Ok, not a day, but 2 weeks. The first part of March was the coldest in Europe in recorded history, or something like that. I had the pleasure of going to München (Munich for you Americans) for work the 1st week in March. So, exactly 2 weeks ago, I was freezing my butt off, taking snowy pictures of München. (Sorry, you have to wait a paragraph for them).

Anyway, getting back to what I said earlier, "What a difference 2 weeks makes". The last two days in Heilbronn were completely wunderschön - warm, sunny - near perfect weather. We spent one night on our balcony sipping wine and looking at the river, and last night at an outdoor cafe. I think I am going to like this country, totally set up for a perfect the outdoor relaxation & beer combination called the Biergarten! (Too bad they don't open until April...)

Icy München
A nicely frozen fountain, yet it continues to spew forth water.

Snowy Münchener Lion
A snowy lion.

Snowy München
The famous München landmark, the Frauenkirche, with snowy domes.

Münchener Frauenkirche with Snow
The Frauenkirche with snow.

Kid playing in München.
It wasn't too cold for this kid to ride a fish!

Fountain in München
Another fountain. Not so icy, in fact there's a lady checking the temperature. (She was skinny dipping a few minutes later.)


The Superdickery web site shows how Superman can be a complete jerk sometimes.

Jeannette doesn't think these comic book covers are real. I think they are.
Either way, it kept me laughing for a half hour or so.

14 March 2005

Heilbronn in Music

One of my favorite German bands is the punk band Die Ärzte (the doctors), and today I was listening to one of their albums (13) when I thought I heard Heilbronn mentioned. So I checked the lyrics for "Ein Lied für dich" and sure enough, it is in there. I kinda feel like what Iggy Pop was talking about when he mentioned the "V.I.P. Reflection Effect".

So, here are the lyrics:

Dies Ist Ein Lied Für Dich, Weil Du Immer In Der Ersten Reihe Stehst
Ein Lied Nur Für Dich, Weil Du Immer Mit Uns Schlafen Gehst
Dies Ist Ein Lied Für Dich, Weil Du Stundenlang Zuhause Sitzt Und Brennst
Ein Lied Für Dich, Weil Du Alle Unsere Texte Kennst
Kommst Du Aus Hamburg Oder Aus Berlin,
Kommst Du Aus Zürich Oder Kommst Du Aus Wien
Kommst Du Aus Bielefeld, Aus Dresden, Aus Heilbronn-
Egal! Irgendwie Haben Wir Dein Herz Gewonnen
Wegen Dir Können Wir Schon Seit Jahren Erbarmungslos Punken-
Und Dafür Wolln Wir Uns Bedanken!

Dies Ist Ein Lied Auch Für Dich, Weil Du Uns Schon Immer Scheiße Fandst
Ein Lied Auch Für Dich, Weil Du Uns Nicht Leiden Kannst
Sind Wir Zu Kindisch? Aber Hallo! Niveaulos Sind Wir Sowieso-
Na Und? Dafür Sehn Wir Besser Aus!
Und Unsere Reime Sind Auch Nicht Von Schlechten Eltern!
Mit Dir Können Unsere Fans Sich Nach Herzenslust Zanken-
Und Dafür Wolln Wir Uns Naja...

Dies Ist Ein Lied Für Euch
Denn Der Rod Hat Mir Gesagt, Daß Er Euch Liebt
Ein Lied Nur Für Euch-
Ihr Seid Der Grund Dafür, Daß Es Uns Gibt
Wegen Euch Sind Wir Beliebt Beim Finanzamt Und Bei Ausgesuchten Banken-
Und Dafür Wolln Wir Uns Bedanken!

12 March 2005

Awesome Stuff

I have had a Squeezebox to stream my digital music for about 4 months now and it rocks (literally and figuratively).

With open source server software, and some spiffy hardware, I am tempted to get the new and improved version announced recently. But I can probably live with the one I've got.

Highly recommended for anyone with a digital music library.

Sorry this doesn't have anything to do with Germany.

11 March 2005

Language Lessons on the Streets of Heilbronn

Anyone that is easily offended might want to skip this one. It contains some naughty language. Really naughty. You have been warned. That means mom, please stop reading until I say it is OK again.

So today Jeannette and I were walking home from work, on the same path that we go almost every day. As usual, we were discussing our work day adventures, and at the time of this story, Jeannette was in the middle of a rather lengthy discussion of quite interesting things that subsequent events which I am about to describe have since caused me to forget.

Anyway, we were passing the Jugendzentrum (kinda like the YMCA) and two "youths" were standing outside. I noticed that they seemed very interested in the fact that we (well, actually only Jeannette at the time) were speaking English. After we passed them, one of them said "Hey! Fuck You!". Yeah, in English.

Wow! How orginal. We just ignored them, and Jeannette continued her story without a pause. After getting no reaction, the little punk said "Hey Bitch! Suck my dick!".

I was infuriated. How dare the little asswipe talk to my wife like that! of course, I knew that the little fuckstick was just trying to get a reaction out of us, so we didn't bother giving the little shitstain the pleasure. Jeannette continued her story, again without halting.

A couple blocks away, Jeannette was finished with her story. And we had to comment on our new little admirer. We pretty much agreed that we are quite impressed with his vocabulary. And if that's the best he could come up with to say to a random person on the street, than I guess my German language skills aren't so bad, becuase I could definitely get someone's attention without resorting to obscentites.

OK. I have vented. OK, Mom, you can start reading again. The naughty part is over.

I hope someone at the Jugendzentrum chucked a full-speed handball into his nuts.

07 March 2005


I consider myself a geek, and I'm an enginerd for a living.
Today I was doing research for work and came across this web site, where a guy made a chess set out of RF connectors.

Checkmate! I have to hand my geeky enginerd award over to him.

06 March 2005

The Best Songs of 2004

Ok, so I am a couple months late to cash in on the end of 2004 and the obligatory "this is what was great and this is what sucked" sappy remeberance crap. But oh well, I'm going to do it anyway. So here goes, the best songs of 2004, according to me (with links to band web sites & videos, assuming I can find them).

Please note: Since moving to Germany, I have been overwhelmed with the amazing music in this country that never made it to the states (and never will because some record company exec thinks it won't sell there). So much so, I had to make it a 2 CD set.

Disc 1

1 - The Lyre Of Orpheus • Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
2 - Guten TagWir sind Helden*
3 - Get It Right Back • Hanson Brothers**
4 - Take Me Out • Franz Ferdinand
5 - Willkommen Rosenstolz
6 - TroyDie Fantastischen Vier
7 - Leaving New YorkR.E.M.
8 - Dein Leben • Söhne Mannheims
9 - Perfekte WelleJuli
10 - Who the Fuck?PJ Harvey
11 - Crashing Foreign Cars • Helmet
12 - Ich, roqueSportfreunde Stiller
13 - This Fire • Franz Ferdinand
14 - If Your Kisses Can't Hold The Man You Love • Rasputina
15 - United States of Blöedsinn • J.B.O.
16 - Everything You Know is Wrong • Chumbawamba
17 - AmerikaRammstein
18 - The Empire Strikes FirstBad Religion
19 - An Open Letter to NYCBeastie Boys
20 - Bush Must Be Defeated • Dan Bern & The IJBC

Disc 2

1 - Ist das so? • Wir sind Helden*
2 - Get Ready For Love • Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
3 - Surgery • Helmet
4 - Dirk, wie ist die Luft dort oben? • Sportfreunde Stiller
5 - My Country II • Dan Bern & The IJBC
6 - Bring It Back • Die Fantastischen Vier
7 - Los Angeles Is BurningBad Religion
8 - Geile Zeit • Juli
9 - Wenn du schläfst • Söhne Mannheims
10 - Los • Rammstein
11 - Perpetuum Mobile • Einstürzende Neubauten
12 - I Did it For Alfie • Chumbawamba
13 - Das gelbe Monster • Rosenstolz
14 - The LetterPJ Harvey
15 - High On Life • Rasputina
16 - Come On Home • Franz Ferdinand
17 - J.B.O. wird niemals sterben • J.B.O.
18 - WalkampfDie Toten Hosen
19 - Time to Build • Beastie Boys

* Although I didn't hear it until 2004, this one is from 2003. So sue me.
** This one is from 2002, but not heard by my ears until 2004. Also, not to be confused with the boy-band Hanson. Please.