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Archive for April, 2010

Tumult and Tumble

I get knocked down, but I get up again. Chumbawumba may be more a theme of my middle school years but it’s definitely apropos for the tumult of the past week both at work and elsewhere.

Work wise I have for what feels like the billionth time moved computers and rooms. Ostensibly the computer I am at now is faster than the one I was at before but I have been having issues with it crashing programs, not to mention that it is a Mac and thus inherently not as good as the PC I was using before (plus it doesn’t have Freecell to keep me busy when I am bored). The new more active interest in what I do continues with mixed results as it is nice to be able to ask for new assignments without worrying too much about getting dull tedious tasks but at the same time it is hard to be productive when a boss stands right behind you silently watching you work.

The tumult outside of work has been different, in some ways more stressful but still a pretty good week. On Monday I went to a pub trivia night (done in both German and English) with Kathleen and her friend James. We decidedly did not win (who knew that Borneo is claimed by three countries?) but it was a lot of fun regardless and interesting to hear about Munich from a couple of Americans who have lived here for a few years and how they’ve adapted, or not, to life here. Though tired, I still went out Tuesday night to Shamrock. It was the night of a big Bayern soccer match and every bar and restaurant has screens tuned to the game, with the patrons cheering or booing as Bayern proceeded to stomp the opposing team. The victory chants could be heard all over, an eerie thing to hear in German.

Inside Shamrock I said hello to Lydia and Fred and Michael and Charne I was also pleased to see Adam was back from England after a volcano delay had kept him there longer than he intended. The largely German crown there for the game trickled out as the game ended and karaoke began. As usual the karaoke singers mixed good and bad in both talent and song choice but at least I didn’t hear any Coldplay this time. Rather randomly I heard someone call my name while I watched a duet of Total Eclipse of the Heart, and turned to find Luisa had come into the bar with a friend of hers, yet another example of the strange small-town feel Munich can sometimes have. It was nice to see her especially not studying as the way she talked made it seem like that was pretty much all she had planned that week. Other than that the Shamrock night was par for the course, albeit with some fascinating bits enlightening me on things like Read more…

Categories: Germany, Personal

Telling Tales, Writing Stories

My favorite part of going out in Munich is that somehow, no matter how many people I meet, I still somehow make new friends, whether its people new to the city, friends of friends I’ve seen around but never actually been introduced to, or just random strangers whom I happen to find myself in conversation with. It’s very nice, and this week was a particularly good example, with new people at almost every event I went to, not to mention fun events in general.

With Simon quitting the internship, my several supervisors have scrambled to repair the issues he had, to my benefit, with a lessening of the menial chores that were dragging on me to just twenty percent of my work week (instead of the sixty or seventy percent they sometimes reached) and streamlined the system of giving me assignments, so I’m hopeful that the remainder of my internship will be much more pleasant. Now if I could only find a job for afterward, everything would be perfect.

On Tuesday after work and a stopover at home, I made my usual way to Shamrock (not, as I had always mistakenly thought of it, Shamrock’s). I didn’t see anyone I know at first but had just settled down with a Strongbow when Lydia (accompanied by a visiting Australian friend who went by “Colonel”) came in. She regaled me with the sordid recent drama of her life (clearing up several misconceptions on my part) which kept me amused as others I knew started to arrive, like Michael, Kerre, Brooke, Chan, and others. Lydia sang several songs as karaoke night went on, going from getting shushed by some audience members to being invited to take part in the karaoke world championships, a definite upgrade. I met Kathleen, a friend of Brookes who sat next to me while I winced at yet another rendition of Coldplay sung in a strong German accent. Our conversation consisted mainly of mocking those who went on stage so I counted it a good night already, especially when she mentioned that one of the German guys ruining some classic or other (possibly “Free Electric Band”) had a light saber under his bed, giving his performance that extra touch of the ridiculous that makes karaoke night so fun.

Kerre and Brooke alas didn’t stay very long (for once not even drinking a lot) though as always, their conversation and the way they know everyone added to my fun. Besides Kathleen, I met Tawny (first person I’ve met whose non-stage name is Tawny), and almost met someone whom I’d seen around a lot but never spoken to named Amy, but Kerre decided to hold off on the introduction after she realized Amy was rather focused on finding out how long she could hold her breath, using the kissing her boyfriend test, and nearly stumbling over several others in the bar as a result. Once Brooke and Kerre were gone, my own fatigue came back with a vengeance so I followed out not long after to go home and face work as the only science writing intern once again, albeit with more clearly understood responsibilities.

My original plans for Wednesday fell through so I stayed late at work and got a bunch done, going to bed fairly early so I could cram even more work in on Thursday, part of my plan to build up extra hours so I can take a day or two off to travel whenever I want. But of course Thursday after work was Toytown so I wasn’t too fussed over trying to be productive beforehand. This week, the vote had come in for a place called Martini Club, a new one for me. Walking in, I saw a very fancy bar, with interesting colored mood-lighting, couches and stools that looked comfortable without actually feeling very comfortable, and an obsession with prohibition including (no kidding) an endlessly running PowerPoint presentation on the subject especially as related to organized crime. Lydia and her Colonel were there so I sat with them, and was pleasantly surprised to see Sebastian come in and join us as he is German and thus less likely to come to these kind of things. While the bar was interesting (to me at least) and the drinks tasty, they were also outrageously Read more…

Categories: Germany, Personal

Sunday Afternoon Hijinks

On Sunday I woke up around ten, surprising since I went to bed not many hours before, but the sunlight and birdsong made it difficult to stay asleep. Originally, Jamie and others had talked about doing some sort of picnic outside, but after the shenanigans of the night before (and there were oh so many) most people weren’t feeling up to it, feeling “broken” as Jamie usually puts it. Luckily for me, at this point in my time in Munich I have enough friends to find usually be able to arrange alternatives.

In this case, I went to meet Brooke (whose birthday it was) and Kerre at Fruhlingsfest. Unfortunately I got there just as it began to rain. Kerre, Brooke, and Charne (whom I hadn’t realized was also with them) said we should Read more…

Categories: Germany, Personal

In the Cage: Part Zwei

It’s kind of flattering to see that I had so many visitors on the blog yesterday even though I of course hadn’t posted anything about the weekend yet. It can be rather daunting to try to capture such a crowded time period, but as with all my writing, I can only do my best. Of course I don’t know how many of those readers (and the readers right now) are merely searching for their name, reading whatever I write about them, and immediately leaving, missing out on the rest. Ah well, that’s the way it goes for writings like these.

After work on Friday I was far too tired to go out, so I ended up just staying in, watching Seinfeld and reading. Not the most exciting night ever, but relaxing certainly. For once I was able to sleep in, not waking up until noon, and spent the afternoon wandering around in the gorgeous, sunny weather and otherwise taking in the day. As the sun began to set, I showered and got myself ready to go out to the oh so classily named “Rape Cage II,” the sequel to the one held in February that was the source of so much craziness, and also the birthday party for Mauritz, Sven, and Sorcha. Mauritz and Sorcha’s birthday was actually that day, and they coincidentally shared the day of their birth with several others I know.

I arrived at the apartment a little after 8:30 and had to take a moment to appreciate the incredible scene before me, even early on and without many people there yet. As before, plastic tarp covered the floor, taped down to hold it there in anticipation of the inevitable spills and mess attendant upon any party, especially one with as many people (perhaps as many as 50 or 70) as this one expected. The sign on the door with the name of the party went well with the black lights set strategically about the room (with all normal lights off or disabled for the duration) lit up the walls painted at the last party in ultraviolet paint otherwise invisible, and a similar paint pen hung from an as yet untouched wall, ready to be marked as a monument to whatever would happen tonight. On the floor, painted directly on the tarp, I (heart) RC was painted in vivid colors, crafted by Jamie, with help from Eva, the night before. In the kitchen, among the staggering amount of beer and other beverages, a variety of cakes and cupcakes sat on the counter, many with charming messages like “Sven is old” and Read more…

Categories: Germany, Personal

How Strange a Laugh, How Long a Sigh

Work has become increasingly frustrating, but Toytown was fun this week.

On Thursday Roberto and I were driven from work a little early to see our new place. While it is not too far away from where we are now and has a very modern feel, it’s not perfect as we are back to the small couch beds and sans a balcony or veranda. After quickly unpacking and showering I headed off to Toytown, once again at Café Am Hochhaus near Sendlinger Tor. I was rather pleased that this time I didn’t get lost along the way and in short order headed in. I saw Sara and Ellodie (with what turned out to be a chinchilla in a pouch around her neck) but no one else I really knew. Getting a beer from the bar, I turned and saw Molly, the lacrosse coach I had met a few weeks earlier come in. I chatted with her and met Annika, one of her players and Annika’s boyfriend, chatting with them for a bit before, Charne and Fred came in together and joined us. I heard about the swimming they had done after the Isar.

I went outside with them while they smoked as I didn’t want to stand alone, and Ellodie (with he chinchilla) joined us. I really liked the pet although I still couldn’t believe she brought it to a bar (apparently it’s a real party animal).

While we were out there, Fraser and Jamie came along, followed not long after by Sara, accompanied by a couple of really tall (like six and half feet) guys, one of whom, a Welsh fellow, coincidentally knows and goes to school with Sorcha, small world indeed. We soon went inside and I had fun at the bar chatting with Fraser and Jamie (soon joined by Roel) and all of us trying to convince Sara to come on Saturday. Jamie horrified us all with stories of the mumps (apparently no vaccines in Scotland?) and I did my increasingly normal work of translator of the Scottish accent for Charne and Sara, whose South African and Swedish understanding of English apparently made understanding sometimes difficult.

I was close to leaving when Kerre and Andreas came in, apparently having come from pregaming, so I stayed a little later to chat with them but ultimately got anxious over catching the last train and made my farewells, while Kerre and Charne planned an excursion to Kultfabrik (though later I learned they didn’t leave, lazy partiers alas). When I started to walk away, Molly caught up with me, heading to the train to, though in the other direction. We waited together until my train arrived; talking about lacrosse and how she thinks Annika is the best player and “perfect person.” When my train came I went home to my new place, not even getting lost and today got up for work, eager for the weekend and the party tomorrow.

Categories: Germany, Personal

All Around Town: Jaeger’s Beach 38, M-Park and More

April 12, 2010 1 comment

Work has been really stressful this past week. My boss has me doing this stupid project uploading images to Wikipedia and then putting them in appropriate categories. This is not what I as a writer should be doing with my time. I could complain to human resources as one colleague recommended, but I think I will just tough it out and use it as leverage to get better assignments later, by which I mean more writing. On the plus side, some of my work has been released online. It can be seen here, here, and here.

On Tuesday after work instead of going to Shamrock’s as I usually do I went once again to Jaeger’s. Cris invited me, saying that there would be karaoke. There wasn’t but I had a good time anyway. I hung out with Annabelle (heroically drinking despite her sickness) and talked briefly with Cris who was rather busy working. There was a soccer game on and people watching but frankly it bored me. I stayed a while anyway, leaving a little before midnight and waking early for work so I would be able to leave early if I wanted at some point.

Wednesday I took it easy, just relaxing at home after work. Thursday was Toytown, this week at Beach 38. On my way there I ran into Brooke and her friend Jacki who used to live in Munich. They had somehow found a Rewe banner and were taking pictures with it, which was admittedly pretty funny. We headed over to the bar, which turned out be pretty much exactly what it said: a warehouse full of sand and beach implements, even a full beach volleyball court on a lower level. It was a very German approach to wanting a beach, but effective and a fun place I think. I met some cool new people including a Slovakian named Jana and Casey, a North Carolinian (like Ellen) from Winston-Salem and yes she smokes of course. While I was chatting with Casey I felt a hand run through my hair and turned, unsurprised to see it was Jamie, with Fraser next to him. They had both gone back to Glasgow over the long weekend so it was good to catch up with them. I find it amusing that despite their staunch “anti-social at Toytown” stance, they still meet new people all the time there (though admittedly generally through those they already know like me, or Barbara or someone else). We sat down in the low, comfortable beach chairs set in the sand and before too long were joined by Barbara. Others arrived piecemeal throughout the evening. Kerre came, her usual tart and smiling self. Others I recognized but don’t know well like Lydia, Fred, and Michael (with whom I had a lively discussion about the highlights of Austria) also circulated. It was a lively night. I saw Roel, and Kristyn and Katherine showed up later too, but I didn’t get a chance to say much more than hello to them. Despite the short week, I was feeling rather tired and left at half-past eleven, earlier than I normally do.

Friday was rough at work between frustrating writing and the inane projects. Luckily the day ended reasonably well and I got my work done then headed home for an early night, though I did somehow stay up until two in the morning reading. I don’t care what people may think of me, Tamora Pierce is a great writer, especially her recent stuff, just really riveting.

Saturday I was originally supposed to go to the Ludwig castles with Ally, but she was keeping out of the sun on doctor’s orders so instead I went to the Isar River on invitation from Kerre for a sort of ad hoc picnic and get-together. I got there around one in the afternoon and walked across the bridge over the river near the zoo and down the slope to the rocks by the bank of the water. When I arrived, only Kerre and Andreas were there, drinking beer and praying that the weather, already getting chilly, wouldn’t get any worse. I was only there a few minutes before others showed up. We moved to slightly better spot by the river so the group would have more space. Prashant, Becky, and Fred were there, along with Charne, South African girl I had heard a lot about but never met, and Jessica, an American whom Facebook had been trying to get me to befriend for weeks, a happy coincidence meeting both of them. Unfortunately the weather only got colder, leading many to shiver despite their attempts to counter the chill with beer.

Our chatting ranged from playing Prashant and Becky’s ukuleles (hers was pink) to teasing Charne for her accent, which had funny effects on words like bulls and bowls. Fred had brought a bunch of German whip cream cookies coated in chocolate called Dickman’s and coincidentally as Charne was telling Kerre and I about her lack of peripheral vision, smashed one into her face, with hilarious consequences. When we were leaving and there were more of them left over, it was perhaps inevitable that they would get Read more…

Categories: Germany, Personal

Easter Weekend: Nuremberg, Jaeger’s, Relaxation

The four-day Easter weekend kind of snuck up on me. I’ve been so caught up in work and living a very day-to-day social life that I unfortunately did not plan ahead for having both a Friday and a Monday off. Part of that I blame on not celebrating Easter, Passover took up my thoughts instead as it happened to be this past week. Nonetheless I decided to make the best of the situation and spontaneously do an overnight to Nuremberg, a city I wanted to see, but didn’t feel the need to wait for others to come with me. Roberto coincidentally and very conveniently was renting a car for the weekend to go to London and get the rest of his stuff that he’d left there when he had moved. He offered to take me up on Thursday since Nuremberg was on the way and this way he could have company for part of his lengthy drive. Saving fifty Euros on a train ticket sounded good to me and I happily accepted.

Roberto left work early to get the car and I left around two to meet him at the apartment where he was coming to get his bags. He ended up being a few hours late because a construction crew near the main train station uncovered a bomb from WWII, that luckily was inactive, but caused quite a traffic snarl downtown. Eventually Roberto managed to get back and pick me up and we drove to Nuremberg using his handy GPS device and listening (and singing along) to music from my iPod played through his radio with another handy electronic device.

We arrived around seven in town, close to where I was staying, and I said goodbye, grabbed my backpack and walked through the gates of the medieval town wall, down a narrow alley to my residence for the evening, the amusingly named Lette’m Sleep hostel. It was a very nice hostel, designed for backpackers, nice especially considering the less than twenty Euros a night it cost to stay there. I dropped off my bag and hit the town, enjoying the cool night air as I took in the sights that I would explore more thoroughly the next day. Thanks as always to my handy Rick Steves book, I found a cool restaurant where famous artist Albrecht Durer used to eat for dinner. The food was tasty in a Bavarian way, and the Franconian beer was quite good. I wandered around some more after that before heading back to the hostel and falling asleep quickly, despite the sounds of my many roommates in the hostel room.

I woke up early the next day, eager to see the sights, and promptly got lost on the subway, not once but twice as I negotiated my way to the train station to get my ticket home ahead of time. I even got stopped by the subway police, but they were rather friendlier than their Munich counterparts, so it wasn’t too bad. After getting the ticket I went to the tram stop and hopped on the tram to the Nazi Documentation Center, the largest collection of Nazi documents in Germany, located at the site of the famous Read more…

Categories: Germany, Personal