6.30.2011

Oops.

I made a flippant Nazi remark while in public in Germany. Yeah. Oops. In other news, I'm back to picking up some random food item not available (or only limitedly available) in the United States. While in England I focused on candies, generally speaking. You know, all Cadbury has to offer. I do realize that you can get Cadbury in America, but it's not really the same. As an example, eating a Cadbury Egg before Easter didn't make me want to vomit. Other gems that I would heartily recommend: Jaffa Cakes and Reggae Reggae sauce.

My initial purchase was an item that looked like Cheetos Puffs and had the same texture but was peanut flavored, Erdnuss Locken. I am a peanut butter enthusiast. I start many of my days with peanut butter toast. Why not try the strange Cheetos-like German peanut chips? They were that unexpected good... the kind where you just keep eating them even though it's so. very. strange. This week, I decided to up the ante. I purchased the "Mexican Style" Erdnuss Locken. I'll admit, I was afraid. This should in no way surprise: there is no good Mexican food here. And why should there be? Anyway, I do get cravings for Mexican food and I have made Mexican food as well as I could with the options available to me. But here before me, in the small German grocery store in the small German village I am staying in, were two great loves combined! Mexican Style and Peanuts! I had to buy them! And the force of their goodness compelled me toward excessive exclamations of enthusiasm! No really. They were good. I'm not kidding. Think about other glorious peanutty-spicy combination much loved: pad thai, thai peanut curry, etc. Magic. All-in-all, a total win.

Mexican Style Erdn├╝ssen

6.21.2011

the church bells, they ring

The church bells, they ring. And they ring from 6:00AM to 10:00pm*. It is the Summer Solstice and the church bells just struck the 9:00pm hour. Ringing out to scare away any heathens that might gather to celebrate the arrival of summer. Nature, from my window on the world at least, seems to be in league with the heathens; the sun emerged for the first time in days just a few hours ago.

And what am I doing? Well, I just checked to make sure that Bjorn, the garden gnome, has not fallen over. I think he likes to booze it up a little too much. I find him face down, passed out in the dirt far more than is healthy. I'm also listening to The Head and The Heart**. And I'm also waiting to see if an IT update is going to make my work-life annoying like it did the last time. Keep your fingers crossed.

One other thing I'm getting up to... I'm waiting for the crows. There is a birch tree in the meadow behind my friend's house where crows congregate at night, just after sunset. They don't stay there too long, but they gather, kind of peck at one another, make all sorts of crow noises, and then they fly away. It is the coolest thing. And I realize I'm kinda strange for enjoying crows, but whatev. I'm gonna try to get a photograph of them tonight. I may have an update for you tomorrow. Wish me luck.

* the church is literally 40 yards away, as the crow flies.
** on to the band The Civil Wars by the end of the post

6.13.2011

welcome to germany

the scythe!

I've been in Germany now for just over a week. My new window to the work-a-day world is no longer an office complex, but rather a home office filled with history books that look out into the back yard and the meadow just beyond. I like this new view. What I lost in office banter and shared lunches I get back in birdsong, church bells, and runs in the forest with a very sweet dog. It would be more fun if there could be a bit of a balance rather than one or the other, but I'd be lying if I said I wanted it to be the office.

Things to report: I attended a very traditional German party this weekend, the Richtfest. The Topping, if translated. Basically, when the the walls are up and the roof is finished on a new house, they have a ceremony to thank the builders, ask for protection, and show off the new digs. The carpenter that worked on my friends' house wore traditional dress and delivered the Richtspruch, the Richtfest speech. I couldn't understand it as I don't speak German. No matter. Also as part of this ceremony they (the builders) attached a small tree to building, drank some wine, and threw the glass that held the wine. The glass broke; a good omen. It was all very German. But perhaps not so German as what I saw when I looked up from working late this morning... a woman cutting down the grass of the meadow I look out to with a scythe. A SCYTHE. People still use those. Anyway, I didn't want to scare or startle the scythe-wielding German, so I snuck out of the office, grabbed my camera, and headed up stairs for a better view. Yeah. A scythe.

That is all.

6.03.2011

All that time wasted.

Not really. My title is merely intentionally provocative, the opening salvo. Tomorrow I'm travelling on a jet plane to Germany. Thus I present the UK in list form:

  • Tweeds really are that fun.
  • This island is really small.
  • Real Ale is a fancy name for warmish, flat beer.*
  • People dress fancy in the office. Way fancier than on the West Coast.
  • Edinburgh = AMAZING.
  • Snowdonia = Fantastic Middle Earth adventures.
  • It's all about the gravy.
  • HP sauce should be imported to the US.
  • Mind the gap!
  • I'm convinced there is a conspiracy to keep me away from Westminster.
  • "Posh" is a word used all the time with a meaning that I don't fully comprehend.**
  • The only way to survive is to not think about the US Dollar to British Pound Sterling exchange rate.
  • Bacon or sausage sandwiches for breakfast rule.
  • Proper pubs, when you find them, are magical places.

When things slow down next week I'll have some pictures of Edinburgh to offer. Until then, as Christian Slater said in the epic film "Pump Up the Volume," Talk Hard.

* Part of me really enjoys the adherence to this traditional pub fare. The other part of me just screams out for German beer or my beloved Pacific Northwest offerings.
** The British preoccupation with class bubbles up at the strangest times and in the strangest ways.