27 February 2007

Still Here

Gaudi Window

I'm still here, I've just been busy taking pictures, as you can see from my reflection in this picture.
Actually, that's not really true. I haven't been shooting a lot lately - I have been trying to work through the backlog of thousands of photos from the last several months and uploading the good ones to Flickr. Since it has been cold & rainy the last several days, and Jeannette is away on a business trip, I have plenty of time for it.

So, hopefully there will be more soon...

19 February 2007

The 5th Season is Ending

Fasching, the 5th season in Germany, is coming to a close. This year we participated by watching a couple parades, one in Offenburg a couple weeks ago and Heilbronn's on Saturday.

The one in Offenburg was a lot of fun. The costumes seemed to be better - almost like realistic fairies and creatures that came out of the Black Forest just for this event. There was a lot of audience interaction. There was lots of confetti being noogied into people's hair (mine included - I was finding it for days afterwards) and teenage girls thrown into cages. Jeannette even got dragged off and had her shoelaces tied together with like 11 knots. On the downside, the candy distribution at the Offenburg parade was nearly pathetic.

On the other hand, the Heilbronn parade had more bands playing really fun music. Especially Ferro Tamburo, who was one of my favorites 2 years ago as well. The candy distribution was quite good, but we were too close to a bunch of grabby kids, so not much made it to us. At least Jeannette didn't get whomped by a bag of flour like she did last year.

I think the pictures I took at the Offenburg parade were some of the best action shots I have ever taken. Action shots have always been my downfall... The Heilbronn pictures weren't as good, but still not bad. There are too many to publish here, but if you are interested, have a look at the photo sets on Flickr:

Offenburger Narrentag 2007
Offenburg Narrentag 2007

Heilbronner Faschingsumzug 2007
Heilbronner Faschingsumzug 2007

10 February 2007

Master of Light and Shadow

So there is a part of town that used to be a cloister in the middle ages. More recently, it was the estate of the family of Adolf Cluss, who is best known as the architect of several significant post-civil war buildings in Washington, DC. Now, the buildings on Klostergasse house a variety of shops - there is a musical instrument store right next to a sex shop which is right next to a dance school. In the next few weeks, these buildings will be torn down to make room for a big shopping mall. I don't have a problem with that, it's not like they are tearing down the Cloister or the Cluss house now - both are long gone and replaced by post-war architecture.

But there are two things I will miss. First and foremost is Sharkey's, Heilbronn's "American Bar". Sometimes I just need a good ol' American burger, which is surprisingly hard to find in Germany. No, I don't consider McBurger Donald's King to be an option. I'll miss Sharkey's partly because I can get interesting stuff - like a very unhealthy and gigantic chili cheese burger with a plate of onion rings (proper onion rings are even harder to find in Germany than a properly made bacon cheeseburger). Partly because Sharkey's isn't a giant culture monotonizing chain. Partly because it is just a 5 minute walk from home. Partly because their cole slaw is to die for (and they only gave you a few forkfuls, which makes it even more enticing!). Partly because Sharkey's was the only place in town that I know of that showed the USA's final game of the World Cup last summer. Every other place in town showed another game, because the much more popular Italian team was playing a game at the same time. I understand, there are more Italians and fans of the Italian soccer players here than there are fans of the USA's football team. Sharkey's probably could have had a full house showing the Italy game, but stuck to their "American Bar" name and showed the USA game. Even when it meant upsetting a couple of Australians who were watching the Monte Carlo car race that happened to be simultaneously in progress.

Anyway, enough about Sharkey's. The other thing I will miss after the renovation of Klostergasse is the old Foto-Mangold mural. It is a worn and weathered black & white circle-art that reads "Meister über Licht und Schatten" (Master of light and shadow). I don't know why I like it so much. But I know that every time I go out shooting pictures, I have problems with the light and the shadows. It would be nice to master it. Like Foto-Mangold. I guess I will have to keep working at it until some day, this will be me:

08 February 2007


Today I'm feeling like a real Nostradamus or Miss Cleo or something. OK, really it was yesterday that I felt that way, but it took me a day to get around to blogging about it. Cut me some slack, yesterday was a busy day, even if you leave out all the augury.

OK, I won't keep you in suspense any longer and I'll reveal my prediction. The future I have seen, and will tell you all now. Brace yourselves, this is a whopper.

In exactly 372 days, the entry on this blog will read "I'm 37, I'm not old!"

Mark my words.

01 February 2007

Maultaschen Recipe #2

A little over a year ago, I blathered on about my 1st recipe that featured maultaschen, Schwäbisch Lasagna. Well, I am happy to report that I have another fine maultaschen dish for all y'all. And this one is much easier.

Background Nugget #1: Please see the Schwäbisch Lasagna entry if you don't remember what maultaschen are, and/or if you live in a place where they aren't easy to come by and you need to make your own. Or just do a web search - google, for instance - on how to make maultaschen. I still buy mine in the store in convenient 6-packs. Well, sometimes Jeannette buys them.

Humorous Morsel #1: The cafeteria at work serves maultaschen occasionally. They also have an English translation of their menu. They usually translate maultaschen as "noodle bags". Sounds tasty!

Background Nugget #2: There are many places that serve maultaschen fried in a pan with eggs. Someimes it is really good. Like at the Waldhornschenke. Some places it is just so-so.

I have tried to make it a few times, and, like the unmentioned culprits in nugget #2, usually it is pretty dull. But last night I managed to make it turn out pretty well. Jeannette was even happy about it. See:

Happy Jeannette

Anyway, on to the recipe...

Oil for cooking (I used peanut oil in an unknown quantity)
1 onion
1 really big garlic clove that turned out to be like 3 smaller ones in the same "wrapper"
6 maultaschen
5 eggs (if using the big honkin' genetically modified eggs in America, you can probably cut back to 4. or 3).
shredded gouda

• Heat some oil in a frying pan.
• Finely chop an onion. In this case, fine should mean small bits, not how well or stylishly you do it.
• Chuck those onions in your hot oil and sautée those babies.
• After a couple of minutes, decide that maybe garlic would help. Dig through the kitchen until you find the garlic press, squish the garlic into your onions.
• Cut your maultaschen into strips. 1 cm wide, or maybe 1/2 inch. Whichever unit you are calibrated to will work.
• When your onions are pretty soft, throw the maultaschen in. Add freshly ground pepper and salt.
• add a couple eggs. Stir it around a bit. Decide that you need more eggs, throw in another one. Still need more, so chuck in a 4th. Decide that 4 eggs is probably OK, but that only leaves one in the carton so you might as well throw in the 5th. Do so.
• Stir the eggs around until they are nicely scrambled, everything is mixed and the maultaschen are warm.
• cover with a generous layer of shredded cheese (I used gouda).
• reduce heat, cover pan and wait until your wife gets back from her jog.
• assuming cheese is gooey, serve.
• Add a bit more pepper
• eat

Serves at least 2. We were kind of piggy last night. We didn't use any sauce, but often this dish will be served with a sauce. Either runny thin tomato (as opposed to a thick italian tomato sauce) or brown.

I know I don't describe it well, but it was really yummy.