30 October 2006


So while we were on vacation, we had a rental car that we rented using the rate we get from work. They made the arrangements, picked up the car, etc. like it was a car for a work-related trip, except that we paid with our personal credit card.

Well, sometime during the trip (at 10:15 am on the 23rd of September, on Maximilianallee, 250 m inside the city limit) I was "blitzed". That is, caught in an automated radar speed trap. I was going 62 kmh where I should have been going no more than 50. I saw the flash and said something along the lines of "crap". (I couldn't say much more, my mom was in the car!)

I then promptly forgot about it. Well, today the bill came in the mail - but not to me, to the finance people at work. D'oh! They were all ready to fight it, because I wasn't traveling for work at the time. How could it be me? Besides, they didn't think the picture looked at all like me. Someone who was involved and good friends with Jeannette, called her in and asked if it was me. It obviously was.

I was busted. My first speeding ticket ever. In 21 years of driving. I was going a whopping 38.5 MPH.

By the way, here's the picture they got of me.

22 October 2006

Why I Want to Live in Ancient Babylon (aka The Pergamon Museum)

After my visit to the Pergamon museum in Berlin, I have decided that I really want to live in ancient Babylon. Why? Well, let me tell you.

First off, they made gates to the city out of this beautiful blue brick and covered them with dragons and lions and bulls. That's so cool. And it gives everyone a good feeling about the place.

This particular gate was dedicated to the goddess Ishtar, and if I remember my teenage days of playing Dungeons and Dragons correctly, thinking specifically of the picture in the D&D book "Deities & Demigods", Ishtar was quite a hottie. All the more reason to move to ancient Babylon.


I didn't bother with the Audio Guide so I can't say for sure, but the ancient Middle East had lots of bird-headed guys running (and flying) around who weren't afraid to carry a purse. That's way cool. Where I grew up, a guy carrying a purse would have been ridiculed. And even more so if he had an eagle head.

Did I mention they have sphinxes? They have sphinxes all right. Any place with sphinxes, especially flying sphinxes, is pretty darn cool in my book.

And their writing was way cool. Even better that they wrote on dirt. And it lasts for centuries! I doubt if this blog will still be here in 1800 years. Either way, you'll probably forget about it in a mere 1800 seconds. Or less.


15 October 2006

Checkin' out the ol' "Double D"

I know it has been a long time since I blogged last. There has been a ton of stuff going on, and a lot of my free time has been spent going through the massive number of photos I took on vacation and since. That, and among other things, I have gotten myself hooked on this hilarious web-based RPG, The Kingdom of Loathing. So, in other words, I have been slacking off on my blogly duties, but except for that last bit, I have had a good reason for it.

As I mentioned last time, we took a two week trip with my mom and step-dad to some of the major sites in the former German Democratic Republic (DDR) -- "East Germany" to most Americans. Our first stop was the beautiful city of Dresden.

After we checked into our hotel, we tried to go to the Radeburger Brewery, in the nearby town of Radeburg. Since they use the Dresden opera building in their Advertising and web site, I drove to the wrong place. Needless to say, the people at the opera ticket booth were confused and we didn't get to see the inner workings of a brewery. But we did get to see some interesting things in the tiny, crumbling town of Radeberg.

Like this infinitely-long line of alternating green and yellow houses. (I was quite impressed that an infinite line of houses would fit in a tiny town, too!)

And this cool, but crumbling, tower next to the railroad tracks.

But enough about Radeberg, not because I have said & shown everything, but because these are the only interesting photos I have ready at the moment. So I will wait until I am ready before I say much more about Radeberg.

After the mishap at the brewery, we headed back into town. We decided to take the tram into town rather than drive, so that mom & Larry could get the hang of public transportation in Germany. They needed to learn these things, because soon we would be in Berlin, where the public transportation system is bigger, scarier (or at least more confusing) and more essential to use.

We spent two days checking out the old town, the part of town that had been obliterated at the end of WWII, and since rebuilt. The most famous of these rebuilt buildings is the Frauenkirche, which was reduced to a pile of rubble and remained that way for nearly 50 years until rebuilding began in 1993. The reconstruction was paid for by private donations - no tax Marks or Euros were used, and original stones were used where they could be. It was finished just in time for Dresden's 800-year birthday, which is being celebrated this year. Dresden, though generally nice, didn't offer us any birthday cake.

We also got to see the ultra-modern factory where Volkswagen makes the luxurious Phaeton. Unfortunately our timing didn't sync well with a tour, but it was still fun to see elevators and converyor belts move the partially constructed cars, visible through the glass walls of the building.

For people that like shiny things, there are plenty of them in Dresden. Like this Angel on top of the Saxon Art Academy.

Or this statue of August the Strong.

The cool thing about that statue is that it even stays shiny at night (and it stays crunchy in milk too, but that's a totally different story).

Most of Dresden looks good at night, too, not just shiny, crunchy horsie statues.

Dresden also has plenty of swirly balcony thingies for wives to pose behind. Since there are so many, you don't have to wait as long for other posing wives to get out of your way. Just walk a few steps to the next one, and eventually you will find a free one.

Dresden has some of the most fun graffiti too. Most graffiti will come and go (someday I will talk about my theories of graffiti migratory patterns), but this little orange-outlined blue cloud and pink lightning bolt has hung out on the 8th floor of the Verkehrsbetriebe building near Dresden's Albertplatz for over two years. It has made me smile every one of the several times I have seen it in the last couple years.

Well, that's a summary of our quick jaunt through Dresden. Beautiful city, highly recommended.

So, for those of you that read all this because I mentioned "Double D" in the title and were hoping for some bra cup size reference, sorry to let you down. As you may have noticed, execpt for a mention of Radeberg and the Kingdom of Loathing, this post has been exclusively about Dresden. And the German license plate symbol for Dresden is "DD".