Wednesday, February 11, 2009

From the Be-Careful-What-You-Wish-For Department

Hey, another post!  All right, I know that I've been blathering on about Winter a bit much, but this one I gotta share.  I'm at work checking the weather forcast, seeing if I can take the bike tomorrow.  Well, according to it, it's snowing as I sit.  I scoff a little, as it was mostly cloudy when I came in this morning, and those weren't even the type of clouds that you would expect parcipitation from.  The sun was peeking out intermittently, so I guess the better description would be partly sunny.  Whichever, though, it certainly wasn't snowing, and it didn't look like it would be any time soon.

So imagine my surprise not three minutes later when I look up and see it snowing outside.  Now mind you, the sky was the same as it was, and in fact the sun was shining at this particular moment (the first thought I had was, is there such a thing as a snow-rainbow?).  We've got a pretty good panarama of the skyline out of the office, too, so we could say with a fair degree of certainty, hey, this shouldn't be happening, should it?  I mean, where was it coming from?  But as much as you know that I loooove Winter, this was pretty cool.  It reminded me of something, but I was having the hardest time figuring it out, since I have virtually no experience with snow (besides the fact that if it snows, you are required by law to buy all the bread and milk you can, and you must drive down the road doing 10 mph at most, or risk instant death and mutilation).  And then it hit me.

I was in a snow-globe.  I can't really describe it any differently.  There was a pretty good wind swirling around, as well, so that the snow wasn't just coming straight down, so that added to the effect nicely.  About fifteen to thirty minutes later, it was snowing normally again.  By that, I mean gray, overcast with a low ceiling, and kind of dreary.  An hour or so later at around lunch, it had quit, and now it's back to sunny again in the early afternoon.  When I lived in both Oklahoma and Carolina, there was always the joke, if you don't like the weather just wait a few minutes, but they got nothing on this place, let me tell you.

Anyway, that's it for now.  Nothing special, really, I just thought I'd share.  Like I said, be careful what you wish for.

Monday, February 9, 2009

What's Happenin'

Okay, so maybe I've found a way to post in a more timely, or at least frequent, manner.  Apparently, my muse shows up after I've been to the bar for a few beers.  Or at least she did tonight.  Who knows, we'll see  next Sunday when Nürnberg has another game and I go back.  

In December just before the end of the first half of the season, I found an English pub that shows Bundesliga matches and they even added my favorite local brewery's beer on tap recently.  Now, you might say, wow, what a shock - an English pub that shows soccer.  Well, there are about five English pubs in town, and really, only one of the others even shows football, and they only have the English Premier League.  So if I want to watch the Bundesliga, I've got to go to this other one.  And I do.  I mean, come on, I'm in the Germany, why would I watch English football?  Plus, at this bar, all of the staff, regulars, etc. speak German.  

Well, yeah - it's Germany, you say.  And you're right.  At the other place, they do as well.  But just because they can speak German doesn't mean that they do.  Basically, this other place is a little piece of Britain.  And I love the place, I really do.  The food is great, the beer is good, and the people are really cool.   But if I want to immerse myself in German culture, that's not the place I need to hang out at.  It's more of a place for a temporary escape (and since they also have monthly golf outings...  you better believe I will).

And I need the German atmosphere.  I don't really know what the problem is, but I am having the worst time learning German.  And it's not even learning German, per se, it's hearing it and understanding it.  I can say quite a bit, even though my vocabulary is pretty limited, and I understand most of the grammatical rules and such that I've come across so far, but damned if I can catch what anyone's saying to me unless it's the simplest thing, which means conversations are out.  Possibly, it's because I don't have a television in my house, so I get home, and I'm right  back to the English-speaking world, since, of course, it's just me and my English language TV shows, DVDs, and books.  But on the other hand, I don't really want to get a television.  I have a bad history of just plopping my lazy ass down in front of it, and I definitely don't want to do that, plus it would just be one more thing that I wouldn't be able to bring back to the States with me, and I'm trying to keep those items to a minimum.  So this place may be my new hangout, or at least for one day a week.  I can watch sports, the beer's good, the people are pretty friendly, and maybe, just maybe, I can improve my language skills.

Other than that, there's really not that much going on right now.  The weather has been back to a good level, temp-wise (although it was snowing again tonight on my way home, so it'll be the bus to work tomorrow), the German lessons are on-going, and we've even started back up having practices with the baseball team.  Mainly, it's just conditioning and minor throwing and hitting drills, but it's something, and after four months without any practices and a month plus without even being able to ride the bike because it was so damn cold, I need it.  I was shocked at how much I missed the torture machine, but I think that besides the occasional rainy/snowy day, I should be able to ride it most every day from here on out.  As for the conditioning... well, I'm still old and out of shape, so that sucks, but hey, I've still got a few months before the season starts.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Screw Mr. Snow Miser

So I've bitched before about the snow and cold, but I've gotta say, I was actually getting starting to get used to it.  Every morning for while there, I'd go to work on the torture machine thinking, 'Okay, surely this will be the day that I decide that it's just too cold to do this', but I'd get to work, and it just wasn't that bad.  And when it was, it was usually more about the precipitation than it was about the temperature.  It's a pain in the ass biking down the road not being able to see anything because the snow is getting in your eyes.  But snow really is a pretty sight when it's covering everything, and not melting immediately, thus making things even messier than they are already (above is the view from the office overlooking one of the parking lots in the complex).  And it's even more enjoyable when you realize that you don't have to shovel one bit of it.  That part I especially like.

This part of it, though, can kiss my fat behind.  I finally reached the point of "screw that" about a week ago last Tuesday, just before the New Year.  When I got to work, my face felt like it would shatter into a million pieces at the slightest touch, and this was with this thing wrapped around my chin and ears (not an ear-warmer, per se, but some piece of cloth that folds/twists/scrunches into everything from ear warmers to a toboggan - very handy) for warmth that had been quite effective in temps right around freezing.  And that was last week, the beginning of the Arctic snap.  This week it's been colder.  Pictured above is the three day outlook including today.  I would have done the seven day, but it's supposed to actually get back up to around the freezing point next Monday or Tuesday.  And let me tell you, never have I looked forward to "just" freezing as much as I am now.

And just in case you think I'm being a whiny bitch (which... okay, maybe a little), even the Germans think that this is too cold.  They're used to cold and having it last for months at a time (you know, actual seasons), but like I've mentioned before, usually things hover a few degrees below freezing and pretty much stay there.  So even they don't like it much, which made me feel a lot better.  Then again, I saw a surprising number of people on bicycles today, and even a couple of people out jogging.  Insane.  

But, hey, who knows.  Now that I'm not going anywhere for a few days, maybe I can get a post or two done.  Of course, it's taken me a week to expound on "Damn, it's cold", so we'll see.  Bis nächstes mal.  Tschüß!

P.S. - And since I don't want to be accused of being a tease, for those of you hoping for this from the post title, enjoy.

Just as another way for me to feel sorry for myself, and to prove to you that I'm not crazy, check this out, and if you're looking at it any time after I'm actually posting this, just reference today from the various graphs (letzten 24 stunden is last 24 hours, woche is week, and monats is month, and jahres is year).  Right now, it's -15.7℃.  That's less than 4℉.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Frohe Weihnachten

Merry Christmas to everyone.  I've been having a good couple of weeks here across the pond entertaining Mom, showing her the sights, sampling the local fare, exploring various towns and their respective Christkindlemarkten, and generally tooling about.  We took a few days last week to visit Paris, because, well, if you're going to come to Europe, I think that's one of the places you've just got to experience.  My opinion only, I know, but hey it's my blog, too, so there.

Anyway, this is just a quick note to extend everyone my fondest wishes during the holidays, and to wish you all the best for the New Year.  Hope all is well, and have great day.  Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go put in "A Christmas Story" and start watching it over and over, just like I would if I were back home.  


Oh, and P.S. - If you hadn't figured it out yet, the post's title is German for Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Procrastinate - \prə-ˈkras-tə-ˌnāt, prō-\ - verb: to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.

Now, as anyone familiar with the Kitchen Saga knows, I am a natural at this particular activity.  But the hows, wherefores and other rules of the practice have always eluded me, as I've never needed to question them.  A thing that is innate often does not get explained because that would require thought where none is needed - it just is.  And don't worry, I'm not about to get all philosophical on you and try to figure things out now (or at least, I'm not to going to torture you with it).  Suffice it to say that instead of studying for my driver's test, I'm doing this instead.  

(Okay, I've been sitting here for like 20-30 minutes trying to think of a good segue from that last paragraph, and I just can't do it... here)

So as it snowed all last weekend, I think I can say that winter has officially come to Germany.  For two weeks now, the temperature has been where it seems to have been all last winter whenever I checked it, and that's right around freezing.  Starts out just below, goes up to just above, and pretty much stays within that small range the whole time.  I hope so, anyway.  I think my blood thinned out too much over the ten years I'd been in Carolina, but maybe it'll thicken up a little bit now.  

I'm encouraged by the fact that the only jacket I'm wearing is a thin running-type jacket from Add!da$.  I love this jacket.  Retains my body heat very well, and doesn't let very much, if any, wind through it.  Like I said, it's right at freezing every morning, and by the time I get to work the only body part that's cold is my face.  In fact, when the temp was still in the mid- to upper-single digits (celsius remember), I had usually worked up a little sweat by the time I made it to the office.  You get some funny looks when it's fairly cold outside and you've got a fan turned on you in the morning.

Well, that's really all I've got for now.  I know, it ain't much, but hey, look at the date just below this and realize, well, it's something at least.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh my God! A Post!

Yes, I'm aware that I've been remiss in my posting.  I don't know what to say other than there really hasn't been shit going on over here.  Or at least not that my limited writing skills could put across in some way that doesn't induce a coma, and that wouldn't be good for anyone.  

There are two or three items that I've wanted to write about, but my Muse has been conspicuously absent of late, which just adds to my lack of posting.  And now of course that I actually feel like writing a little, a buddy of mine is coming for a visit starting this weekend, and I'm busy planning and getting ready for our week of fun, adventure and, most likely, massive beer drinking.  Can you say, "Oktoberfest"?  

So I promise, there's (hopefully good) stuff to come, so just bare with me.  To give you a hint of things on the horizon, the picture to the left is from a short little day-trip I took yesterday to an area north of town called the Fränkische Schweitz [Fraynk*eesh*uh Shvites], or Franconian Switzerland.  It was absolutely gorgeous - just as pastoral and picturesque as you could want.  So there's something for you, right?  Hang in there, more to come.

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's Not Always Murphy

So I've been here for just short of three months now, and my language skills are nowhere near what I'd like them to be.  I'm not even half way through the first level of my Rosy Rock program (and not even using it every night like I should), nor have I signed up for a sprachschule ([shpraH*shoe*la] language school) yet, even though it would cost me nothing.  That being said, yesterday I had a very expensive lesson, all for just one word - schlüsseldienst [shlew*sel*deenst].  The meaning of this word?  Literally it translates to "key service", but it is understood as simply "locksmith".

Yep.  Locked myself out of the apartment.  So if stupid is as stupid does, well we know what that makes me, don't we?  Now in my defense (no I don't believe there is any, but what the hell - gotta keep true to my Devil's Advocate self), it's not as hard as you would think, as the door to my stairwell requires a key to enter.  It's not a knob that locks and unlocks, it's just a door with a lock, and if it shuts behind you and you don't have the key, well you'd be as screwed as I found myself.

Now, being the eternal optimist (don't laugh), I figure that the silver lining to this is that by the time I get back to the States, I'm going to be really good at the game of charades, 'cause that's what you're left with when the answer to your question "Sprechen Sie Englisch?" is "Nein".  I've actually kind of had fun a few times playing this game, but it pretty much sucks when you know that it's the only way you're getting in to your house short of demolishing a door.  And I didn't even want to try that, since it's a pretty solid door and my foot is just now getting better from the earlier incident of me pretending to still be young.

So that was my very expensive language lesson for the day, although it could have been more.  Seems that the price on some services over here goes down when you don't need a receipt or some other form of document that might prove that a transaction occurred.  Ah, good times.