Home > Germany, Personal > Working Hard, Working Out, Getting Published, Give a Shout

Working Hard, Working Out, Getting Published, Give a Shout

Written Friday but published Monday due to WordPress issues:

Foreign can jump out at you from nowhere. Sometimes the trickiest bit is just telling apart which of my own thoughts, habits, and actions are universal, part of Western culture, purely American, or entirely personal. Take following rules for instance. As any of my friends would hastily attest (sometimes insultingly hastily) I’m not one to rebel, at least openly. Yet in Germany, with their honor system trains, newspapers, and vending machines, not to mention their rigid adherence to obeying walk signals, I constantly feel like Kevin Bacon in Footloose, a real outlaw (except that sometimes when I see Germans dance I want to ban dancing like that town did, at least until they get lessons).

The gym I recently joined exemplifies this fondness for structure and authority. My first session was with a personal trainer, whose main purpose seemed less to train me in the use of the exercise equipment, but in how to use the high-tech electronic key that I must use to check in and out of the gym and plug into every machine I use, where it tells me what settings to use, counts my reps, and even guides how quickly or slowly I move in the rep. At the end, it even calculates how much I’ve done in terms of energy and weight and compares it to what it thinks I should do. On the one hand it’s like having my own trainer, on the other hand, it’s not much given to variations and change, and would force (if I followed it all the time) a real rigidity on my workouts. The trainer told me it was a hugely popular idea in Germany, a surreal moment.

In other news, work is progressing nicely now that I have more real writing to do. I wrote a theme page for the International Astronomical Union about Careeers in Astronomy that you should all read, which goes along with the first press release I helped write, and the ESOcast (basically a video podcast) about the Orion Nebula for which I wrote the script is up as well. Please read/watch them and send nice compliments about them to me and ESO. None of them are what I would call perfect, but they’re a start.

Yesterday being Thursday, I went to Toytown, this week at Cafe Am Hochhaus, near Sendlinger Tor. After work Ross and I went to the Italian restaurant under my apartment (food wasn’t great, but not bad either) and though I tried to convince him to come, he wasn’t interested. Still I wasn’t too upset as both Barbara and Morgan had told me they were coming. Alas, as I learned too late, they both ended up not appearing. Still I had a nice time, the bar was interestingly decorated (apparently nude men adorned the women’s bathroom) and the beer was cheap. When I walked in, the only people I recognized were Lydia and Brooke. Lydia’s accent was amusing as always and I told her about my brother Zack being in Melbourne (where she’s from) and she said he is sure to have a great time (unsurprisingly). After a brief foray outside to talk on the phone with Kristyn (who wanted to know where Morgan was) I went back in find that Jessica, another Australian, her German boyfriend, and his roommate had also arrived. It was a mellow evening, chatting about Australia, things to do in Munich, and how Lydia apparently couldn’t remember much from the night at Jaeger’s. I also learned the funny story of her first week dating her current boyfriend and his doctor’s note. A fit of yawning hit me a little after 11, and as it had been a long week and I had to rise for work the next day, I took my leave, and made my way back to the apartment. Now it’s Friday and I expect much mayhem and merriment from the weekend, though the specifics are a trifle vague right now.

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Categories: Germany, Personal
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