26 March 2006

Epoxy Bubbles

On friday night I went to my first rock and or roll concert in Germany. It was an American band, the Epoxies at a local club called Stereo Total, or as Rainer calls it, "The Stereo". The opening band was a local act called "Mr. Bubble B".

Both bands were quite good. I recommend them if they are ever in your neighborhood.

As an aside, the beer was good too.

19 March 2006

My Influential Blog

Apparently, the two sides of the public sector strike here in Germany read my blog, and my last blog post about trash piling up and looking ugly convinced them to work out a solution. Because the day after my blog post, a truck was outside our apartment picking up the branches that were trimmed 6 weeks earlier, the day before the strike started.

Six Weeks Ago:

(BTW: Jeannette took this picture, so tell her how excellent it is.)

The Day After My Last Blog Post:

All it took was me to say something, and there were people out there, doin' the claw, picking up the sticks that had been sitting around for weeks. This weekend I visually inspected the Fußgängerzone, and all trash cans had been emptied as well, and everything was generally pretty again.

I am not sure if this is a permanent end of the strike, I haven't seen it mentioned in the newspapers (and I have been a bit lazy on the checking it out side of things).

But now I know that my blog is being read by important people, and they listen to what I say.

I will try to use my power only for good.

15 March 2006

This is one of my many smells...

The Dead Milkmen sung, in their song "My Many Smells", after several stinky sounding things, "...other times I smell like a city garbage strike". I have been thinking of that song lately, mainly because of the current public sector strike in Germany. It seems that the garbage collectors are the public sector employees that are making the most impact with the strike. According to the reports, if I understand them correctly, and I know sometimes my comprehension of the news is lacking, Heilbronn is not affected as much as other cities, such as Stuttgart or Ulm. Apparently the piles of trash bags are quite vast in some places. In Heilbronn, most public trash cans are overflowing, and some, such as those in the downtown shopping area, are supplimented by extra trash cans. But there just aren't big bags of trash everywhere, like some of the pictures I have seen. There seems to be a lot more loose pieces of trash on the ground than usual, blown up against fences or in corners. It is starting to get ugly. And make me realize how much garbage really is produced by people in cities. And how little it seems my wife and I do, since most of the stuff we dump is actually of the recyclable or compostable variety. It leaves very little actual, landfill-bound trash.

So far, the Dead Milkmen song is merely a whimsical thought. The trash isn't smelly, probably because it has been way too cold for the helpful bacteria to really get workin' on the stuff.

I have a feeling that this whole strike thing will be old news by the time the 1st World Cup game starts in June. But until then, it just might get stinky around here...

Here are some pictures from people on Flickr that are documenting this.

12 March 2006

Something the Germans Do Better than the Americans

24-hour clocks.

It is so nice to have a clock radio that has a 24-hour clock. No more worrying about whether that 5:00 alarm you just set is in the morning or at night. No more trying to decide if the little red dot means "alarm" or "PM", a difficult task when ones eyes are as bad as mine.

PS: Sorry about the crappy picture.

09 March 2006

A Little Chunk o' History

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I moved into a new office. During that move, I did a lot of cleaning out of drawers of old desks, making sure we didn't throw away any important documents or other stuff. Deep in the back of one desk drawer was a coin. At first glance, I thought it was merely a recent 10 Pfennig coin that was all over the place before the Euro came along. Then I noticed the date (1949) and the words (Bank Deutscher Länder). This coin is from before the current Germany existed! Cool!
Here are pictures, with a more recent "Bundesrepublik Deutschland" 10 Pfennig coin, of the front and back of both. The differences are quite subtle, at least to my untrained, non-coin-collecting eye.

Barely any difference.

The difference is quite subtle.

Trivia about Allanimal

Thanks to Jeannette for this.

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Allanimal!

  1. Allanimal has a memory span of three seconds!
  2. Czar Paul I banished Allanimal to Siberia for marching out of step.
  3. Olympic badminton rules say that Allanimal must have exactly fourteen feathers.
  4. Plato believed that the souls of melancholy people would be reincarnated into Allanimal.
  5. The state nickname of Iowa is 'The Allanimal state'!
  6. The ace of spades in a playing card deck symbolizes Allanimal!
  7. There are six towns named Allanimal in the United States!
  8. Owls cannot move their eyes, because their eyeballs are shaped like Allanimal.
  9. The Eskimos have over fifty words for Allanimal.
  10. Allanimal never said 'Play it again, Sam'.
I am interested in - do tell me about

07 March 2006


It's been snowing a lot here.

06 March 2006


I just found out that the distance from my house to the point that mapquest calls Berlin is the exact same distance from my house to what mapquest calls Paris.

Vienna is less than 10% farther. Rome is just a smidge more than twice as far. Madrid is darn close to 3 times as far.

Of course, this is all driving a car. Trains, or birds, may have different routes. [Birds with the bird flu may have a completely different route as well.]

Can you tell we're planning vacations?