Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A hyphenated citizen am I?

Recently I´ve stopped tracking what happens in the Australian media, simply because it usually makes me want to scream, cry or give up my citizenship. Truly. It upsets me that much sometimes. As a quick check list in case you haven´t been keeping track:

Australia is not the centre of the world.
Australia is about as politically important on a world scale as Easter Island (except for providing cannon-fodder for the US the way it used to for England)
Not everyone wants to live in Australia.
"Queue-jumpers" is a disgusting, fake, bullshit political phrase which allows far to many people to display their xenophobia with pride.

Of course I´m not going to give up Australian citizenship, for the simple reason that after almost 7 years in Germany, Australia is still my home and I´m not going to let anything get in the way of me being with friends and family there again. But if the German government relented on it´s own xenophobic idea of having to give up other nationalities to take on German citizenship I´d do it in a minute. I live here, I work here, I pay taxes and support the economy and yet I´m not allowed to vote and must still provide evidence of my right to be here at all times and to all authorites.

So when I found this (well written and thoughful) piece from a few weeks ago which informed me that Australia is questioning the loyalty of dual citizens to Australia and whether the Australian government should be helping evacuate Australian-Lebanese because they aren´t among the truly faithful. Something which would not be under question if they were Australian-British or Australian-Israeli.

You know, I´m really not sure I want to go home at the moment.

Monday, August 28, 2006

All the world´s a meme

Wouldya looky at that? I got tagged by OurManInTokyo

1. Three things that scare me:
Horror films
Very large waves
The existence of scientology

2. Three people that make me laugh:
My german husband trying to be ironic
Scientologists
Janet Evanovich

3. Three things I hate the most:
Cheap people
Nuts in cakes and biscuits
The existence of scientology

4. Three things I don't understand:
String theory
The existence of scientology
German tax law

5. Three things I'm doing right now:
writing this
Skyping with Dad
Worrying about my future

6. Three things I want to do before I die:
hangglide
Volunteer in Africa
Look at the earth from space

7. Three things I can do:
Embroider
Genetically engineer things
Take over any conversation

8. Three ways to describe my personality:
Loud
Slightly too dorky for normal social circles
Totally impatient with frustratingly stupid or ignorant people

9. Three things I can't do:
fix car engines
Run a marathon
Sit through an entire film without getting up and doing something else

10. Three things I think you should listen to:
Older people
Wir Sind Helden
Any book on tape read by Rufus Beck

11. Three things you should never listen to:
Bitter people
Finn The Eskimo
Scientologists

12. Three things I'd like to learn:
Tango
Astral projection
To blow dry my own hair

13. Three favourite foods:
wasabi (I don´t really need the sushi, I´ll eat it on it´s own)
Flammkuchen
Any shellfish

14. Three beverages I drink regularly:
Strong english tea
Cheap red
Caipirhinia

15. Three shows I watched as a kid:
Astroboy
The Goodies
Degrassi Junior High

16. Three people I'm tagging (to do this):
Kilowatt hour
Twelve Two Two Fondue

ScienceWoman

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Playing professional

I spent all of Monday afternoon/evening playing photographer´s assistant to SuperCool Matti for a shoot with the Berlin bag designer In July. So if you check back on their webpages in a couple of weeks and see a tall, thin Russian model called Ivana who has freakishly small and pointy breasts and an aggresive pout, you may marvel at the gentle reflected light from the left created by little old moi who threw out her neck holding that GODDAMN REFLECTOR for 3 hours.

Today I had another photoshoot with SuperCool Matti, but this time for ME. It was mostly product and stock photos for my business webpage, but we also took some of me for the About/Company/StressedOutChick page. As you can see, you should never tell me to relax and look gorgeous:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Later on, going through the alcohol cabinet

"Hey this bottle of Tullamore Dew I bought when Anke broke up with me! It´s still here."

"When ANKE broke up with you? And you haven´t managed to finish it?"

"It´s been sitting there for eleven years then. That was at the start of my Diploma year."

"So then you were single for a full year before the next one? Not a one night stand? Not a quick kissy-kissy with some chick in a bar?"

"Ahhh. No."

"You know that whole multiplication thing earlier? I think that explains it."

Alright it´s the last day he´s 36 BUT STILL

"It´s a good number though. 36. It´s 3 times 12. Isn´t there a 9. Yeah, 9 times 4. And 2 times 18. Hey! It´s 3 times 3 times 4! Or even 2 times 2 times 3 times 3. How good´s that? Oh, and 6 times 6. How could I forget 6 times 6?"

"Well 37 is a prime number. Isn´t that much more special?"

"No... I like multiplication."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

It makes me wonder what my subliminal influences were

Craftzine has an article today on dorodango, polished balls of mud made by japanese school children. They´re pretty and shiny and smooth and I like them a lot, but the freaky thing is that I spent my childhood doing the exact same thing on the beach. Actually my siblings and I all did, much to the bemusement of others who would say "WTF?", although probably with less swearing as it was the 1980´s and there were children present.

In fact, as proof, here´s a picture DrH took of some of my sandballs in Latvia.



Okay, these weren´t perfect, but I was on holiday.

but really, much of the steps involved in the mudballs we replicated in our sand balls - the finding the sand of the right wet consistency, removing most of the water by tossing it from one hand to he next while turning it to form a ball shape, polishing it with dry sand to get it smooth. Of course, being sand it wasn´t ever going to be shiny, but hey. We were Aussie kids and we came up with it on our own. That´s sufficiently freaky to wonder where the japanese influence came from. In those years I don´t remember any contact with Japan at all.

Friday, August 18, 2006

When childhood ghosts hit you in the middle of a crowd

I was walking down Ku´damm this afternoon when I saw a poster for the film Lady in the Water, with big wet footprints over a wooden floor.

When I was young I read a ghost story about some children who, when staying with a distant relative, come across strange wet, muddy footprints in one of the old buildings on the property. They belong to a young girl whose old-fashioned dress is soaked through, weeds clinging to her and who is, quite clearly, dead. Her story is that she was sent away by her family to marry, her mother sewing the dowry in jewels into her hoop skirt. Her steamer sank in the Mississippi and the survivors walked. Here is where I no longer know what happened - either she survived but was weak and ill and was carried, or she was already dead and her body was being carried by a man off the boat. He decided to remove the hoops to make her lighter, found the jewels and ended up burying her on the property where these children were now staying. Right under a small post that marked the path to this outbuilding.

Now I know (now) that this film is about something completely different, but that story left major marks on me and the film poster made me stop suddenly in the middle of a crowded footpath, heart pounding. If anyone can offer me any ideas what it was - if they´d heard it before - I would love to track it down. I think I read it in a compendium of ghost stories (including another about a man who had a fever and was buried alive because they THOUGHT he was dead and his ghost kept appearing with it´s back to everyone saying "Turn me over" and when they dug up the grave they found the scratch marks and I think he´d chewed his lips off, but that may have been yet ANOTHER story).

Actually, looking back on it, that book may explain a large number of childhood and early teen nightmares. The first fifteen minutes of Nightmare on Elm Street explain the next fifteen years of them.

I don´t do horror well. Oh no, not at all.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

If you didn´t know I was gorgeous before, you better believe it now.

Friday I spent several hours in a hairdresser pampering myself for my birthday and coming out with the first haircut with style I´ve ever had. Yes, STYLE. It gleamed, it schwinged, it was a banner of sophisticatedliness. People stopped in the street to stare at my new look, asking themselves if I was a celebrity because otherwise HOW ON EARTH COULD I LOOK THAT GOOD.

So you can imagine my shock and horror when after washing it I couldn´t reproduce the look at all. NOT ONE BIT. Somehow a small amount of water and shampoo has turned my awe-inspiring cut into a mop that looks like it was attacked with hand shears. What´s a girl to do? I´ve blown, brushed, fluffed, tossed, moussed, treated, gelled and waxed and it looks worse than ever.

DrH calmed me down last night by INSISTING that I go back to the hairdresser for a wash and dry so that I could find out how it was done this time. And if that doesn´t work, well a wash and blow-dry isn´t that expensive is it? My minimum budget can stretch to that a couple of times a week. Is he just a legend or what?

So I´m heading out now to be made gorgeous again. I´ve seen the otherside, there´s no going back now.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Listen in, it´s free.

Everyone´s favourite ManInTokyo, Marcus, has got a new travel podcast, Don´t Drink the Water (sound advice in almost every situation). The first episode is up, concentrating of Tokyo of course, but he´ll be going on to many other travel destinations in the future... and if you hang around for a while maybe I can convince him to let little ´ol me do a bit on Berlin. Of course you could always email him and tell him that DrJ should ABSOLUTELY be a special guest star ´cause she rocks, albeit in an amazingly nerdy way. Don´t tell him I told you to though.

YouTube for the nerds in us all

Continuing the YouTube extravaganza (also known as And How Does She Spend Her Weekends, Huh?)

Finite Simple Group Of Order 2


If you´d like the lyrics (and I know that each one of you has a large enough dork inside) they´re here.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The end of the big 3-0

Well, I´m now 31.

31? Really? You don´t look a day over 26!

Awww internet, I know you´re just saying that.

Over our reltionship DrH has always ushered my birthday in with champagne and birthday cake at midnight the day before. I´ve always found it a bit strange and anti-climactic; I´m normally too tired to appreciate any more than half a glass and then I go straight to bed, and, well it feels like it´s over already. My family always started a birthday with everyone piling into my parents bed early in the morning, the birthday kid in the middle of mum and dad and the other two leaning on the posts at the end of the bed. The carefully wrapped presents would be gathered from my parents wardrobe, the family would sing Happy Birthday (including the special DrJ family extra verse), and then one by one the presents would be handed over with a kiss.

Of course I haven´t had that since leaving home thirteen years ago, but THAT´s the way a birthday should start.

So last night we skipped the bubbly and cake at midnight, instead drinking it all at 10pm in celebration of DrH´s ninth first authorship of a scientific paper. This morning I woke up to fresh croissants and hot chocolate to dip them into - because those French know how breakfast should be - and my presents were delivered to me in bed. I don´t know how he does it, but he still manages to pull out the perfect gifts.

TICKETS TO CIRQUE DE SOLEIL!

If you haven´t seen this, do it. Do it now. Get a flight to Berlin. It´s on here for September. It is absolutely incredible.

At least once per year the TV station ARTE shows Cirque de Soleil and that, along with the Youth Circus Performers Spectacular, is one of the most amazing things I´ve ever seen. And now I get to go in person.

I can´t wait.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Updating my travel map

Well it´s now time to update my travel map. As you can see there are still some damn big gaps: no countries in South America, only Egypt in Africa, only Singapore in Asia and I didn´t bother to fill in my two hours in an airport in Dubai. Airports don´t count.



create your own visited country map

So Europe is starting to fill up nicely now, I just need a tour around the new south-eastern European states. Then I better start concentrating on some other continents... I wonder if DrH can get a transfer to Japan?

And the band shall be called Underwear Explosion

I adore MAKE magazine blog. Where else could you learn how to weave a LED rug, etch your own computer boards and build a spy submarine? If you haven´t added it to your blogroll and check it at least three times daily DO SO NOW.

Done? Ok.

A few days ago came the ultimate in air guitar. A play-along with your keyboard called Frets on Fire.

And Oh My God do I just ROCK.

Eyes closed, head moving up and down, fingers flying over the F-keys.

DrH laughing hysterically at me.

I need a drummer and a lead singer. Post your auditions on YouTube.

Friday, August 04, 2006

It happens every morning as well

Since getting back DrH and I have been keeping rather irregular hours. He gets up anywhere between 6am and 8am, whereas I`m from 8am to 10am, and we go to bed somewhere between 10.30pm and 1.30 am, usually heading towards the latter.

When we do go to bed we try and be fairly quiet because it`s the middle of summer and we and all our neighbours have our windows open. Living in this type of apartment building – 4 stories high and enclosing a central courtyard - can be a rather intrusive lesson in how others live.
First we have the young couple with the baby. I`m not sure exactly where they are, but it`s probably in the back house on one of the higher floors, judging by the particular acoustics it lets out at 6am. Next we have the two elderly gentlemen who spend at least half an hour every morning at around 7am discussing loudly across their windows the state of the weather, their plans for the day and The current price of potatoes. I`m not sure exactly what the fascination with tubers is, but it appears quite regularly and they`ve now started intruding on my early morning dreams. Yesterday a large potato kept ringing my doorbell and insisting on taking the dog out for a walk. It appears I´m rather susceptible to subliminal suggestion while sleeping. I´m trying to keep this from DrH however, as I´m worried he´ll start whispering in my sleeping ear such loving suggestions as “You want to give DrH a blowjob at every possible opportunity.”

In our last apartment, which also had windows opening into the central courtyard, summer would witness an amazing nighttime chorus of snores, grunts and whistles. This reached it`s pinnacle when my parents visited a few years ago and managed to set up a tag-team snore spectacle with the middle-aged lady who lived below. It was like listening to a group of four year olds trying to sing Row,row,row your boat in a round without ever having heard the tune before.

Needless to say the reverberating acoustics of such a building can put quite a damper on your sex life and I´ve gotten a lot of use out of the discretion skills you learn in shared University accommodation. Or on Big Brother. It´s pretty similar.

But the current neighbour who´s been giving me the most distress seems to be stalking us, as regardless of what time we go to bed they have timed their evening ablutions to coincide. Most nights now, after I turn out the light, roll over, close my eyes and start drifting quietly off to sleep, the silence of our back courtyard is broken by a rasping hacking. It sounds like someone is trying to bring up a lung, and judging by the solid Thwack we can hear as the fruits of this labour hit the side of the basin, I´m fairly sure they´ve partially succeeded.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The day she becomes Dr Business

An hour ago I was at the Gewerbeamt and officially registered my business.

I came out of the office really quite frightened. I´m not sure exactly why - it cost me exactly 26€ to register so it´s not like I´ve just floated a company personally risking 100 000€. But for some reason it terrified the pants off me, that now it´s no longer just fucking around here, but that I have to now put out. So to speak.

DrH came with me just incase there were any language problems (official offices are really good at throwing a word at me I don´t know - No you need a Goobledygook before you can even think of doing this). He wasn´t quite sure about my reaction and spent the drive home a little confused. So when we got in the door he looked at me, face grinning, eyes sparkling, fists clenched and said, " You know what we need to celebrate? A cup of tea."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

WWWs?

Can someone please tell me why so many bloggers are using the word internets? It has always been internet, to the best of my knowledge, and makes more sense to me (isn´t it just one world wide web?).
So grammer geniuses (genii?) and Oxford Dictionary editors (who of course hang out here in their lunch breaks for a few laughs) enlighten me.

To Die, or not to die? Harry, is the question.

Apparently J.K. is getting requests from other authors not to kill off Harry in the last book. This I find a little weird, as I can´t imagine Stephen King himself submitting to the wishes of others instead of dictating his own endings of books.

So now´s the time for the big question: Is Harry going to Die?

Now, personally I don´t think so. My bet is that after all this Neville´s going to be the one to snuff him out and cark it himself in the process. Of course I could be wrong - J.K seems quite upset at the idea of others writing seqels with Harry, so maybe she will kill him just to prevent it.

Or maybe he´ll ride over the sea in a ship with the House elfs, never to be seen again and will prompt a new generation to start plastering signs of Harry Lives! over New York.