Thursday, January 27, 2005

Back to our regular programming

So I haven't updated in a week, not because nothing has happened, but because I haven't really felt up to dealing with the world. It's been hard enough pulling myself out of bed in the morning.
But after a big chat with Berlin-based Flea, I think I'm getting stuff back under control again. All a matter of focus and perspective, y'know?

Anyway so today I woke up to snow. Admittedly not thigh-high drifts, but hey, this is Hamburg. And it was enough that my 30min walk to work took almost an hour cause I had to stop every few meters and make snow balls to throw at fences. Joy!

For all those who are not aware (which is probably none, as everyone who reads this seems to be Aussie), yesterday was Australia Day. My English boss celebrated the occasion by looking up Australian slang on the web (for example here and here) and putting on a fair version of my accent while repeating them. The following took the cake, amusing not only him and half the people I work with, but also is rather reserved English mother whom he rang last night just to share this with her:
(to someone who has just farted loudly) "A bit more choke on that and you would've started"

Friday, January 21, 2005

Mmmmmm meat

Ever since staying at his carer´s while we were in Oz, Leon has been getting fresh meat instead of the normal canned and dry dog food with which he was previously fed. Now he gets cows stomachs (still with grass in them), liver, intestines, chicken necks, hearts, and on and on and on. While we were waiting for the next delivery of the meat woman, we were getting it frozen and sorted from the pet shop down the road, which made the whole experience not much worse than normal dog feeding.
However we now have had the large scale FRESH delivery. A large shopping bag full of chicken necks (which look suprisingly like small penises (penii??)), another of their ribs and bts, and a HUGE red box of everything else. Damn lucky I´m a trained biologist cause I thikn some of the hardiest stomachs would have swooned as I chopped it all into meal size chunks, bagged it and attempted to freeze it.
And guess what? Our freezer isn´t big enough. So now I have a box on the balcony (thank god its below freezing now) which looks like a serial killers stash and means that the dog has spent the last hour with his nose pressed to the glass just BEGGING to be allowed out.
Meanwhile I´m trying to air the flat (below zero degrees remember) because you have NO IDEA just what the insides of a cows stomach smell like.

Just a dream?

Now I think this was set off by reading The Age yesterday about the new leadership competition for the Labour party Downunder, combined with the US Presidential inauguaration, but I woke up this morning from a very odd dream in which I was elected as Prime Minister of Australia.

I´m wondering if perhaps my ego is running away with me a bit.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Sicko Poo Flag Prank

No really. Thats the title. Quality journalism.
However I find the story quite amusing and I must say, it really is VERY Berlin.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Awaiting the evening train

So Friday night is the night when I can usually do nothing as I spend most of the evening waiting for Dr H on his weekly train trek from Berlin. It should now be a lot faster as the Deutsche Bahn now has high speed trains (3rd generation InterCity Expresses I think) which take only 1 1/2 hours from Berlin to Hamburg, as opposed to the 2 hours 10minutes that it was last year. But that of course depends on Dr H not working longer hours as a result.

Anyway, so I startedl ooking into this whole train thing a bit more (I mean, you try and come up with a new Google search criteria after a day of boredom at home). And after looking into some train enthusiasts webpages, I discovered that in the 1930s a train called the Flying Hamburger (and no, I´m not joking) could do the trip in 2 hours and 18 minutes. Interestingly, when I first started journeying by train in Germany, that trip took considerably longer.

I must say that I´m impressed. They were so far ahead of their time that it took 70 years for them to reach that standard again.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Somebody read this!!

A very large thank you to the two who commented. I never thought I needed it, but it is so very rewarding to feel that the shite I dribble has been noted by someone out there, if only for a second.
And on an aside : Fort, you better get your arse over here. I've got a March plan for Paris and an April plan for London so I need dates! (and now that it is published for all to see, all the more pressure for you to do it!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Barbie on Steroids

just have a look at BootyBabes. Talk about extreme Barbie dolls.

In conjunction with this topic I thought I´d post this article:

International Journal of Eating Disorders. 1995 Nov;18(3):295-8.
Distorting reality for children: body size proportions of Barbie and Ken dolls.
Brownell KD, Napolitano MA.

Using hip measurements as a constant, calculations were made to determine the changes necessary for a young, healthy adult woman and man to attain the same body proportions as Barbie and Ken dolls, respectively. Among the changes necessary were for the female to increase 24 in. in height, 5 in. in the chest, and 3.2 in. in neck length, while decreasing 6 in. in the waist, and for the male to increase 20 in. in height, 11 in. in the chest, and 7.9 in. in neck circumference. Like adults, children are exposed to highly unrealistic ideals for shape and weight.

Now I´m not sure about how others feel about that but I feel that a 3.2 inch longer neck on me would look just slightly freaky, and should Dr H increase 7.9 inches in neck circumference his head would disappear.

Oh the pain

I think I should have a whole section set aside for my many and varied health complaints. It´s getting ridiculous.
Last week I caught the mandatory coming-back-from-Oz-should-work-hard-but-oh-i-feel-ill bug which had me in bed all day Thursday and ensured that I ensured no sleep for Dr H on Sunday night by hacking up my lungs until 3am when I gave up and moved out onto the couch.
Today I managed to do my back in while rearranging the shelves on my new lab bench. I´m now doped on muscle relaxants and am reasonably suprised that I made it all the way upstairs.
Sorry Boss. I promise you I´m not doing this deliberately. I also know I only have 5 weeks to get results so I´m not looking forward to the overtime I have to put in as a result of this little day of enforced TV watching.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Enjoying freedom from single-motherhood-dom

Which of course is refering to my dog, and not to any of my own biological offspring. Due to the somewhat large amount of stress which can be created in trying to get my dog outside to pee at least 4 times a day while working a job with somewhat longer hours, I decided to farm out my little pee machine for 3 afternoons a week.
Oh the joy, the release from guilt I now have, that Leon is no longer at home with crossed legs, waiting for me to let him out of our 2nd floor flat. And how amusing (and cute) it was that when he was dropped back last night, he brought all his little doggy friends up with him and ran around the flat with them, looking for all the world as if he was giving a tour:
"And, and here's where I sleep, and, and over here thats where She sleeps, no, no, get down, not allowed there, and over here, no over here, is my water bowl, and if you smell here........"

Three cheers for Doggy Daycare!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Attempt to fufill Resolution #2 disrupted through small children and old woman

So the first resolution went really well. Not only is the entire study now reorganised, but I ALSO managed (with a little help form Dr H) to get my self-designed desk finally sanded, stained, oiled and waxed. This bit o´ wood don´t know what hit it baby.

But last nights attempt to start on the path of goodness that was resolution #2 (ie. increasing general level of fitness to that slightly above a seventy-five year old oak tree) was kicked in the proverbials due to the extreme age ends of the german population in a swimming pool.
Ok, so this isn´t a new bitch. Most people who´ve known me for, say, longer than 30 minutes will have heard this already. But for those out there reading this who hasn´t had the pleasure of meeting the boiling lava that is me after an attempt at swimming in this country, I´ll explain.

German swimming pools don´t have lanes. Or rather, they don´t have fenced off parts of the pool so people can swim laps at a particular tempo without being disturbed (and last night I was even in a SPORT club and theys didn´t do it - huh?). No. Every german will get in the pool, choose a black line on the bottom (and remember, there are usually only 7 or 8) and charge hell bent on getting down the pool ON THIS LINE, no matter who is in the way. Then, get this, they will TURN AROUND and come back up the pool STILL ON THE DAMN LINE. What?! What particular brand of intellect works out that thats a smart thing to do? What happens to the people swimming behind them? Do they think of that? NO! They still charge straight at them until the whole attempt at swimming relaxing, fitness-improving laps turns into a continual game of chicken with the old lady bearing down on you with a breaststroke pace of about 50metres per 15 minutes.
And thats the other thing. No-one seems to be able to swim freestyle here. Its all breaststroke. And just in case there is a young german reading this right now think about this: it doesn´t matter how buffed your bod is, how young and sexy you might be, you get in a pool and start kicking those little frog kicks and pushing out your arms as if you´re afraid to get your hair wet, YOU LOOK LIKE AN OLD WOMAN. Be a man and learn how to hold you breath underwater without it going up your nose. It´s not just Thorpy who can do it.
But back to the main gripe. Last night, not only was the pool covered in people swimming breaststroke, not only was one side of the pool given over to aqua aerobics pumping out some godawful crap music which reverberated through the water at a frequency about set to pop my eardrums, BUT they had also sectioned off the whole shallow end of the pool for the kiddies to paddle in. So my 25 metre laps were about 20 metre laps and I had to try and stop in full swim in the middle of the pool and turn around. Try doing that every 12 strokes and trust me, you´ll understand EXACTLY what kind of mood I was in when I got out of the pool.


Ok. better now. spleen vented.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Living it up in Resolution Land

Like everyone else, I´ve made my list, I´ve checked it twice and I KNOW that if I stick to it I WON´T be nice.
New Years Day started with a wonderful sleep-in. Thank god for being kept awake on New Year´s Eve, I wasn´t lying awake staring at a dark ceiling at 5am this morning. As a jet-lag cure I highly recommend it. Then it was on for young and old with all the zestiness associated with those first breathtaking hours of "YES I will DO IT this year!!". The twelve and a half piles of paper (yes I counted) which had been cluttering up my desk, lounging around on the floor and taking up precious hallway shelf space have now been reduced to three and I have increased the number of A4 folders of Important Stuff from two to nine. I am practically glowing with purposefulness. Really. It´s almost scary.
But now I must get back to those last three piles (see? I´m VOLUNTARILY giving up time-wasting, procrastinating web-playing). And I can do it while watching dear Russell strut his gladiator-butt.
Happy New Year Everyone!!

Due to popular demand, a photo of the dog, Leon. Note the freakishly short legs compared to the size of his head. Posted by Hello

Barking in the New Year

Well we´re back in grey, cold miserable Germany, just in time to ring in the New Year with severe jet lag. Our dog is back home with us, but a bit uncertain now who he should be listening to. I seem to have lost my hard earned spot as alpha animal in his pack since being gone, but Kerstin did a wonderful job looking after him and dealing with the injuries acquired taking on a dog bigger and stronger than him. Thanks Kerstin!!
After being flooded with invitations for New Year´s bashes (well, two), we decided that our jet-lagged state would probably not be up to heavy partying, so instead took part in a small dinner evening with a few dog-owner friends. Luckily one friend had another party to go to and took her 3 dogs with her, but as it was, with 5 adults, 4 dogs and a cat it was squishy in the kitchen and standing room only around the fondue set. Yes, fondue and Raklet (a small table top grill thing where you put vegies etc on little trays and cover them with cheese and the grill it) make a party and I can see why they were so popular in the 70´s. Although this was just an oil fondue (and I can see why they were so unpopular in the 90´s), plans exist for a chocolate fondue at the next dog-orientated event.
The boy and I managed to prop our eyes open until after the stroke of twelve and took part in the German tradition of blowing things up (Fire, I need fire!!). However in my overtired state I was wishing most passers-by a Merry Christmas.