Saturday, June 30, 2007

when we revisit an old favourite

How´s this layout do it for ya? Bit simpler, easier on the eyes? Yes, I heard your moaning and saw its problems and I promise not to fuck around with it too much in the future. Hopefully it´s working properly in all browsers, let me know if you´re having problems.

July´s header is in honour of DrH, renowned for his ability to slightly misinterpret the uses of the English language in certain situations. This line is now a standing one in our house. You would be surprised the number of times it can be used.

"DrJ, you haven´t cleaned up the clothes basket. Again."

"Yeah? Well under YOUR skin you´re all bloody. Who´s criticising who here, huh?"

Maybe not the best example, but you get the picture.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

regrowth (self portrait thursday)

Yes, okay, I´m playing with the camera far too much. I´ll try and stop I promise.

In my old profile I alluded to the fact that I had a few grey hairs. Actually, I had a few grey hairs when I was nineteen. At almost-thirty-two I have a posse, a gang, an invading army of grey. My part shimmers in the moonlight and can be used to lead lost bushwalking teams to safety. I have no doubt that the sun reflection off those silvery strands has caused temporary blindness in drivers.

However, I´ve decided that this year is the year to let my natural greyness out. I want to see what it looks like. It has been suggested I could try and get a modelling contract for anti wrinkle cream, if it really looks as ageing as everyone assumes.

And when I get sick of it, I´m thinking bright red.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

the pencil is mightier than....

That wrist pain I complained about last week hasn´t gone away. I think I may have RSI/Carpal Tunnel/tendonitis/something for all the typing I´ve been doing on the world´s next blockbuster Harlequin romance. I`ve started bandaging it for a bit of support, which works wonders, but the only way to make sure it´s held tightly enough is to either make it so tight that my fingers turn blue or stick a few pencils in it to act as a splint.

I went to bed with it on last night and, rolling over, managed to jam the pencils into DrH´s side.


"Oops, sorry."

"The woman with pencils strikes again"...dramatically lowered voice..."Don´t worry, if Pencil Woman had wanted you dead, you would be!"

"I´m going to blog that you know."

"Oh, yes. PLEEEASE."

"I mean it."

"Should I go and get some paper so you can write it down before you forget?"

"Don´t worry, I´ll remember this one."

Monday, June 25, 2007

to prove I wasn´t making it up

when I posted that my eyes are a different colour above the pupil than below. In high school they both cut off in a definate 1/3 arc which was really cool. Now the relative percentages of green versus hazel changes occasionally, but the colour difference is still there. Click on it to make it bigger if you can´t see what I mean.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Reason to love Germany #13

We went and saw Hot Fuzz last night in the Sony Centre. Great film! Although that bit with the church roof....yuck. That´s one image I´m going to be processing in some ugly dreams for a while.

But before the film we were standing at the snack bar:

DrH: "What´s the thing with popcorn and movies?"

"I dunno. Guess it´s quick and easy and cheap to make."

"Yeah but it´s so LOUD to eat. And in a film! Why would you do that?"

Good point.

So we left the popcorn, bought our drinks and wandered in. DrH with a bottle of beer and I with a bottle of wine and a real wine glass.

Friday, June 22, 2007

So I´m not as hard-core as I thought

Apparently the word 'sex'is enough to turn me from general viewing to PG-rated, although they didn´t pick up on 'love sword' or 'phalli'. Which goes to show that the bodice-rippers would certainly be considered good for a young audience, just as I had always thought.

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

let´s see how many search hits reach this page now

In my new role as wannabe writer (WW), I´ve been researching various markets, groups, newsletters, chat boards, you name it I´ve popped my uncomfortably large nose in at some point recently. While perusing the ebooks available to help WW´s (and, I cynically assume, help the pay checks of others) on one particular site I came across this one:

It's a Dirty Job: Writing Porn for Fun and Profit

It´s a widely known secret that I think I could write a bodice-ripping Mills and Boon. In fact I´ve gotten a few chapters into two of them already. Personally, I reckon a few well placed love swords make any work of fiction into a masterpiece.

So you can imagine my surprise that my recent (and very serious, not titillating in the slightest, no, definately not) research has shown that these series romance books are heading rapidly for full on porn. Gone are the 'hot steel of his lust' and the 'damp secret of her desire'. Nope now it´s full on raging hard-ons slamming orifices left, right and centre.

Now, I ask you, where´s the poetry in that? The beauty, the prose, the coquettishness? The challenge for a skilled word-smith to describe sex in detail without ever using a word that couldn´t be brought up in a normal dinner conversation?

I´m not saying I couldn´t rise to the new demands of a modern reader´s preferences. In fact, I think I could do pretty well at it. Now that I don´t have to stretch my imagination to new and interesting descriptions of phalli. Maybe I should get the ebook after all.

You know, I´m young. And I need the money.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Oh, the ARM thing!

As you can see by my Flickr account, I´ve been taking some photos recently which are of a slightly higher quality than they used to be. I´d like to say that this is because I´ve become a better photographer, but it´s actually because SuperCool Matti sold me one of his old pro digital cameras. In this case the equipment maketh the woman.

I took the camera with me in the Grunewald when we walked the dog yesterday. I spent a happy hour and a half snapping hundreds of things which I thought looked interesting and running after DrH, to whom I stupidly said "No, don´t wait for me, I´m just fooling around. You go on." I made a lot of photos of him disappearing into the distance.

Now, back when I was at Uni I had a boyfriend called Patrick. Aside from being one of the most charming smooth talkers I´ve ever had the pleasure to meet, his other great claim to fame was the ability to lift our not insubstantial combined weights on a single arm. I don´t think I need to go into that in too great detail, but suffice to say that he has been forever immortalized amongst my friends as "Oh, the ARM thing." Somewhere in our very short, albeit athletic, relationship he shared with me his father´s concise but informative introduction to sex:

Boy, you better learn to take all your weight on your wrists.

Now after lugging that camera around the forest for a while I´m beginning to sympathise with all guys whose fathers didn´t put them into training at age 13. My wrists are killing me. I think I need to strap them. Before I wander out to take photos again I´m going to invest in some highly technical carrying equipment. Like a caddy. Preferably a young and sexy one. With strong wrists.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Flickr censorship bollocks

Flickr has launched a German site. Yay! Cool! Germans can now have it in their own language! Happy Days!

However when they launched it, along with China, Korea and some other countries, they have included an inbuilt censorship. Normally Flickr allows you to chose a SafeSearch don´t want to see nudity - not a problem, click it to moderate or high and you can look at photos of flowers and puppies with nary a breast to see. You want to see the nudity that´s there, you´re free to do so.

BUT the German version is being automatically censored and you can´t turn it off.

This is one of the oddest things I can imagine. Germany is one of the most liberal countries I know of. It is written into the constitution is that censorship is illegal. There is no legal reason that Flickr is doing this. Currently they are saying that they´re trying to resolve the issue, but I don´t get it. Just change the bit of coding which makes the SafeSearch permanently on. Easy. So what are they still going on about?

The idea that I, as a 31 yr old, am being told I am not allowed to view something is offensive and against my rights. I am pissed off. Flickr should be ashamed. And worse still, I can only imagine that more of this is going to happen in the future.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Life in a fishbowl

A year ago we moved into this flat, leaving behind a cute one room flat with awkward mezzanine levels and deadly stairs. Note that I said one room. Only one. Not one bedroom. Just one room. Spending six weeks living in the two square metres of a VW bus was noooo problem for us, we´d had a lot of practice.

So we hunted for a larger flat. One equipped with doors and walls. To our great surprise we discovered that - hey, most flats seem to come with them! Automatically! At no extra cost! Who´d have thunk it? We took a flat we fell in love with immediately because it is extremely long and therefore feels more spacious than it actually is, has 3.6metre ceilings and a bizarre round walled kitchen jutting onto the servants entrance stairwell. Helllloooo, servants entrance. How could I turn that down? I send DrH out that way to throw out the rubbish because just making someone use it while doing menial chores makes me feel as if I´m swanning around in floor length dresses and demanding mint juleps on the balcony.

Several people tried to talk us out of this flat because it is on the ground floor. To which I would point out, actually no it´s hoch paterre, which puts it a whole half a storey off the ground. That way people can´t see in quite so easily, but man do I see a lot of hairstyles bob past the windows. Don´t forget that it isn´t as if we have front gardens here. The footpath is directly in front of my windows.

My desk is in the window of one of our street facing rooms and sitting here all day I have the chance to see some of the finest examples of modern Berlin life. There´s the old guy from the back house who comes out every morning and stands in front of my window smoking a cigarette for ten minutes before disappearing with his shopping trolley. There´s the old woman from across the street with the amazing collection of hats who walks her cat on a lead twice a day up and down the street. There´s the DHL delivery guy who I´m almost on first name basis with as I end up taking all the deliveries for those who aren´t home at 2pm. The second floor across the street has a teenager who spends a lot of time on computer games and directly him below is a middle aged couple who´ll have dinner on their balcony even if it´s sleeting.

And I imagine they know me quite well. I´m the daggy woman across the street with the mutant dog and permanently messy hair who sits at her computer and watches the street all day. You know, the one who really should buy some curtains because we just know waaayy too much about what happens in her life.

Les fatals picards

If you read through my live blogging of the Eurovision song contest, you´ll have read about the funky French band that performed that I really liked. Well here they are. If you go to the second video (the one with the chandelier), thats the one they played at the eurovision.

Now watch it and tell me it doesn´t make you all warm and happy inside.

Ahh, and here are the lyrics, if you want to sing along.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday morning around ten

bloody lungs and baby seals

I have the cold from hell.

It hit me Tuesday night in the space of an hour. Wednesday morning I was a snotty, dribbly, coughy mess and spent all day in bed or under my doona on the couch watching daytime crapvision. By 11pm however I was feeling much better and thought that was it.

Ahh, but that would be too simple. Since then the damn thing´s been holding on like a tenacious police dog with teeth firmly embedded in the buttocks of a G8 protestor. It´s moved into my chest and set me coughing which, as anyone who knows me in real life is aware, is a tragic state of affairs. A bout of croup as a youngster and a hospital stay which has scarred me for life about being bathed by strangers, ensured that when I cough I sound like a seal being clubbed to death.
Only not as melodic.

I lay in bed last night for an hour and a half coughing like that. Poor DrH lay beside me and didn´t complain. He got up and brought me glasses of water and extra cough lollies. He asked me if he should belt me between the shoulders. I said No. But the thought was there. Eventually I managed to suppress the coughing long enough to get to sleep.

This morning I woke up and I was spread across the bed, the extra pillows I´d demanded in the wee hours taking up most of the space and DrH curled onto his side with about 15cm of room. The poor man. The things you have to put up with with a sick wife.

If this keeps going I´ll start coughing up blood again. And we really don´t want that to happen.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Hold me back

This is brilliant.

Must. not. think. about. it.

Do. not. want.

Ticked Off

Summers come round again and that can only mean one thing – Ticks! Yay! Those ugly, crawling bugs with tiny wriggly legs and heads stuck on the end of a bloated, blood-filled sac have invaded the country and my nightmares once again.

I´ve been paranoid about ticks since moving to Germany. They weren´t on my list of known dangerous creatures and I didn´t know how to deal with them. Sure give me a redback, huntsman, brown snake and march fly and I´m all there, I´m over it, I so TOTALLY know how to deal with those suckers. But a tick? Those little things which lurk unseen in grass and, to the best of my knowledge, take dive bombs out of trees on unsuspecting passersby? They´re scarier than drop bears. These things will spend ages crawling all over you before they decide to bury their head somewhere in your flesh and suck your blood AND YOU DON`T EVEN FEEL THEM DOING IT. That´s just sick, man.

Since owning a dog I´ve had to learn how to treat the little bastards. Luckily this far north the wonderful associated diseases like boreolis aren´t much of a problem, so all I have to do is get them out. I´ve bought special tick tweezers. I´ve learnt the spin and pull procedure to get them out heads and all. I´ve stopped shuddering when looking at their freakishly little body parts compared to their giant abdomen. Well, almost stopped.

Until I dropped my jeans at Rock am Ring to use the facilities and discovered one hanging off my knee.

It was out within minutes. It´s body was flat and empty so it obviously had barely started. But still. I´ve been feeling like tiny creatures have been crawling over me all week. I go to bed at night and have to keep putting the light on because THERE! That was one! It had to have been a crawling biting thing! I could feel it! No? Hmm. Now THAT was one! I´m sure of it!

This week I´ve taken six of them out of the dog. None on me yet, not since the camping incident. But it´s just a matter of time. Oh yes, I´m playing with fire walking through the forest of an evening. Fire I tell you, with nasty tiny bitey parts.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

One small step for man, one giant leap for DrJ

I´ve been living a very temporary life for the last eight years and it´s time that stopped. When I was in Australia in February I made a decision to move us back there. DrH would just have to search for work there, even though the possibilities are nowhere near as good as in Europe. I´d been waiting too long, I´d decided. I wanted to go home.

Where everything would be alright again.

But this, I´ve come to realise, was wrong. Being in Australia wouldn´t fix my problems, it´d just change their geography. My problem is that I´ve been having a shit of a time working out what I want to do with my life and implementing it. Because I´m hung up on this idea of respect.

It appears that I am not one of those people who can say “Dang what they think, I´m doing something different.” I thought I was but, well, nope. I´ve always wanted the respect of others, something which came almost automatically with the title of “Scientist”. That´s a difficult drug to give up, especially when others around you are asking when you are going to get a real job and use your qualifications again.

So over the last year I haven´t taken myself seriously. Sure, I´ve started My Personal Projects, as I have called them here, but I haven´t even told half the people what they are for fear of being sneered at or dropping a few rungs in their esteem. It appears the proud feminist has a very large weak spot after all.

This has all become clear in the last two weeks talking with Permanent HoliDave and OurManInTokyo, two people who´ve also followed a different route and also get the pressure of “When are you coming home” and “How about getting a real job?” But rather than wallowing in insecurity the way I have, they´ve ignored it and gotten on with their lives.

They have great lives and they are very, very, very good at what they do. And I respect them both immensely.

But back to me (my favourite topic after all). Here it comes: I don´t want to be a scientist anymore. I´ll happily continue with freelance crystallographer work if I get it -it certainly helps pay the bills -but I don´t want it full time. Nor do I want a full time job in tech transfer. Not right now at least. I give myself the right to change my mind about that in the future.

Nope, now I´m going to be doing what interests me, the things that I actually CAN get myself out of bed at 6am for. I have a small business doing alternative-style embroidery designs. That is fun and creative and I think I´m good at it. I´ve had designs published in embroidery magazines and one coming out in a book in November. And I write. I write an embroidery column, I write articles for a refugee organisations newsletter, I´ve had several articles published in print media and I´ve submitted short fiction to various magazines. I´m going to keep writing because it excites me.

And I´m going to stay in Germany because, although it can get up my nose at times, it is more home than anywhere else these days. Here my husband is happy and I think I will be too now that I´ve accepted it as permanent. Here I have freedom I probably wouldn´t have in Australia.

So there. The impressive international scientist is gone, replaced by me. Just me.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Part two of my trek....

Back in Germany I met up with DrH who´d driven the Bulli (Combi, Minivan, VW Bus, whatever) down from Berlin. We picked up Permanent HoliDave and headed west to the Rock am Ring music festival. This is held at the Nurbürgring, one of the big famous racing track thingies that men get all excited about for some reason. Big engines, fast speeds, compensating... This is a blurry me on the track with the finish line behind me:

The people behind me were unconscious, but I checked and they were still breathing.

A few out of focus, from a distance, usually seen only on the big screen photos of bands:

Linkin Park

Die Ärzte

Wir Sind Helden

The Smashing Pumpkins

When we weren´t rock´n hard we spent the time in the campsite recovering. Note to self: in campsite of 80,000 people, don´t camp near the stretch of forest where all others take their toilet paper for walkies.

Ahh yes, the aging rockers partying hard.

But when push came to shove, we could pull it out with the best of the youngsters.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jack and Jill went up the hill

I´m back! A quick recap of the first part of my sojourn abroad.

I met OurManInTokyo in Frankfurt for about 36 hours of solid drinking. This is him at about lunchtime- AS WE STARTED.

Jetlag can be a killer. We recreated the pub crawl of three years ago through Sachsenhausen, albeit this time with more Caipirinia´s. Gotta love the Caipi´s. Surprisingly (well, to me at least) he pulled up much better than I did the next day:

At this point in time I´d managed 3 mouthfuls of my brunch and couldn´t go any further. But Mr ICouldn´tEatAllThis!WeHaveMuchSmallerServingsInTokyo! not only polished off his meal but the rest of mine as well.

After the Caipi marathon, OurManInTokyo popped off to Tübingen for a photography workshop where he apparently recovered, although didn´t cheer up it seems. Ahh yes, coming down off the whirlwind social scene that is Time With DrJ. How can you follow that, really?

Next we have sunny Cheltenham, land of the rolling cheese:

Did I suggest I may take part in this ancient festival of bravery? I don´t think so. No, couldn´t possibly have. After seeing that hill....I´m sorry, but are you all INSANE?

That is a 1:1 slope. 50%. There were concussions. There were broken bones. And we haven´t even started talking about the competitors yet. Apparently in one recent event the 20lb cheese came barrelling down the hill, slipped around the barrier and smashed into the leg of an innocent bystander, breaking it in three places.

There was a reason so many people started drinking the night before. I don´t think most felt the uncontrolled fall.

One last quick snap of everyone climbing UP to take part in the next race (there were 4 I think).

Here´s 1-Degree Grant and I. I think we bear a striking resemblance to his slightly more famous cousin and wife. Whaddya reckon?