Sunday, November 12, 2006

We're leaving this for history, or a return to Frankurt/Berlin. For more on us

Friday, September 01, 2006

Real-time News Update

Icelandic Air Flight 631 from Reykjavik to Boston is delayed an estimated 2 hours. While we celebrate the free wireless network, this man is incessantly complaining at the counter:
He must have left his hardware at home.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

We've just now crossed September and are flying back to the MA in the afternoon. Aside from the Schwarzwald venture, August was a cloudy month and we need a few days to sleep it off. The apartment's clean and we're all packed.

We're leaving Germany and we'll miss it. D's been to a few of these so-called European countries, and I made it to 5 while I was here, but I have to say I was most impressed by this place. Of course, I had the chance to live here and get to know the people. Nonetheless, here's a 11 point list of what we already long for without one step back Stateside yet:

11: Hauptbahnhof as the central operating structure of us-without-cars

10: Apfelsaftschorle, as in the drink we'll experiment with and start selling to the Davis Co-Op.

09: Proper beer with the proper drinking techniques. These Germans can use almost anything to open a bottle (I swear I saw one harness and use a sparrow's beak), but when it comes to
consuming you gotta run the etiquette right.

08: Pedestrian Friendly gegen Street vs. Sidewalk. All these pedestrian only zones around the Old City and shopping districts are great, and the old excite-o-meter jumps a notch when an occasional car comes meandering down a cobblestoned lane.

07: Feldrenner, DM. Here's to great athletes, fun people and reinforced arms!

06: Lebanese Food, its singing chef and Moussaka.

05: Students letting me know how they'll "become a car next week." Diesel or unleaded?

04: You have to realize that the best ice cream place in Mainz has this super grumpy woman working the scoop and you'd think that if you were in such a position as to give out so much joy (and joy is what I feel each time I walk away with a cone), you'd be really happy and proud but this woman really scowls so much that you think she hates Christmas, the cold, and just wishes that everyone were a bit more lactose intolerant so that they would just stop but woman, I will miss you!

03: Alles muss Raus! That one bookstore in Mainz that was always having a going-out-of-business sale just, it seems, to prove the point that man is always "going-out-of-business." How mortal.

02: The Mainzer Dom, especially in the early summer when the sunset lights him into a bright brick hue at 10:00pm. This central figure was the pivot point of our directionless darts around town.

01: Our friends here, from co-workers to teammates to singing Lebanese chefs and grumpy ice cream ladies (I miss you!). Everyone was and still is great, and we can't wait to come back and meet again.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

And then:

And then:

As of Friday, it's been a little easier to type with two hands now that the doctors have given me a half-cast from the elbow down. And for those who aren't aware, I'll refer you to here in order to spare myself the little discomfort I still have. Basically, I laid out for a huck, kept my arms out in front while landing on my chest and then hit a rough spot in the grass with my left arm, causing it to be caught under my sliding body, dislocating my wrist and audibly and undoubtedly breaking a bone in my arm. 5 hours after the crack, I was on the operating table under the care of some great doctors and nurses who made my adventure as pleasant as possible.

Then came the most boring few days of my time here in Germany, the monotony broken only by some teammates who broke me out to watch us win the Finals. Other than that, I read about 5 books during my stay and will never go to another tournament without a deck of cards just in case. D was great, by the way, taking care of the insurance and making sure work knew I needed time off. If you know my parents, you should ask them about the ordeal, as they had an entirely different perspective on the timeline of events. The rest goes like this: 4 weeks from now and back in Northern California, I'll get this cast off, start physical therapy, take up Disc Golf, and plan a return to a Sacramento Ultimate field in late winter.

The last few weeks here have been filled with medical treatment (had to stay in Cologne for a week after the surgery) and work, with a short foray to the Black Forest which we'll up date you on in a coming-soon post. Otherwise, that's as much of a Nationals report as I'm able to share, and I can't wait to play with Mainz in the future--maybe again at Rimini, and we'll see about German Nationals another year.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

All of Europe, nevermind the US, has been sloshed with heat of late. Are we in Death Valley or is this the Amazon? Is it my trendy Euro super-diesel engine, or should I sweat through that protest of those polluting, American capitalist dogs across the Atlantic?

Ah, but no. We're in Deutschland, and there are more important problems brewing in this weather.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Just as we're heading into the homestretch, here at Dotde, new neighbors arrive next door! And boy are they friendly--they come by on a regular basis, have no compunctions at interrupting us at anytime, they chatter non-stop, and they rudely try all of our food and drinks. I tell you, between living next to a beehive and suffering through the heat wave, I'm beginning to think that winter is the best season here in Deutschland.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

After the whirlwind visits from M and P, then K and D, and then the Klamkas, J! and I decided to take things easy for a bit, and stroll over to France to see what was going on there. M and the Colonel were doing some "work" in Paris at various prison-related archives, so they invited us to crash at their lovely 5th floor apartment for the weekend, which we happily did. J! had never been to Paris, I'd never been there during a season while the fountains were running, and M and the Colonel desperately needed a break from the dust and cramped handwriting of trial transcripts, so it worked out well for all of us. We spent most of Friday cruising around the major stops (the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, St. Sulpice) , and then hung out on Saturday at the catacombs (twice), the Parisean sewers and the cemetary. Sunday was, of course, devoted entirely to Le Tour and the Champs Elysees.

J! may disagree with me on this one, but I'd have to go with the sewers and the cemetary as the highlights. First, they were easily the coolest places in Paris, apart from the freezer section of the local 2Go grocery store. The sewers, I admit, had a bit of a "musty" smell, but not nearly as bad as one might expect, given that there is an actual sewer (big surprise for me, at least) that runs through the "museum." Said sewer also comes with a few warning signs not to eat anything during the guided tour and to wash your hands upon exiting. Sage advice.

The Paris sewer system, as it turns out, is enormous. There are 1,312 miles of sewer pipes below Paris, an old pneumatic tube system (for carrying top secret messages), telecommunications pipes, and about 4 million rats. I was a little disappointed not to see a rat, actually. According to our tour guide, rats are very communal creatures and each pack of rats has a leader. If "water" starts seeping into a rat pack's group, the oldest rat in the group will drink as much of the water as possible, swelling up like a tiny rat balloon, thus allowing the younger rats to all escape. Personally, I have a hard time imagining this, but that may be in part because my own childhood pet rat (RIP) only swelled up once in her lifetime, and that had more to do with babies than flooding.

The history of the sewers, including how they cleaned them (think knee high boots), was all really interesting but I have to admit that the best part of the tour was the video reenactments at the end, in the gift shop. The Paris sewer system has a 24 hour crew that drives around and rescues objects from the primary and secondary sewers. So, if you drop your car keys down the street gratings (or, in the case of one sad woman, a pack of cigarettes with a "really important phone number written on it"), you need only to call the sewer hotline number and there's a 90% chance you'll get your belongings back. Of course, only Parisians know about this, so all those poor tourists whose passports and credit cards have found their way down the drain, are just out of luck.

The cemetary, while not quite as cool as the sewers, smelled considerably better and furnished no end of comments from the various members of our group (mostly consisting of "ohhhh, he's buried here?"). We visited Balzac, Delacroix, some poor guy we thought was Charlie Chaplin, Gertrude Stein, Imre Nagy, and several important French people whom I don't remember. My personal favorites were Oscar Wilde, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Heloise and Abelard. Just before closing, we were making a run for Baron Haussmann (after a detour to visit Jim, of course) when we got caught by the security guards and were forced to leave.

On Sunday, we avoided the touristy spots and headed straight for the Champs Elysees, to set up camp for the afternoon next to the barricades. We were later joined by S&S, with delightful J and A in tow and made a day of it trading places at the barricade so that we could all watch Le Tour cruise by. The race was great and even better was the victory lap, although I was disappointed not to see ALG not pop a wheelie. Landis looked happy as he rode by, but that was before his drug test results were revealed. Despite the sour beginning and ending to this year's Le Tour, I still had loads of fun watching it. I can only hope they clean up the sport for next year's race.

M and I at the Louvre. Awwww!

J!--blind hunchback from Notre Dame or little known dance member of Dieter's Sprockets?

Lunch with the Eiffel Tower.

As though we could possibly avoid using the bathrooms while in the Paris sewers. My final opinion--great water pressure, could use some cleaning.

The Colonel gets a drink from one of the free, clean water fountains in Paris.

The "Rose Line" in St. Sulpice. The church had notices posted explaining that despite the assertions of a "recent bestselling novel," this particular meridian line has nothing whatsoever to do with pagan cults, goddess worship, or the Priory of Sion.

A bulletin board in St. Sulpice, refuting claims made in The DaVinci Code.

Some prime real estate next to Georges Perec, in the Crematorium.

Oscar Wilde's grave--although clearly beloved (hence the lipstick kisses all over the stonework), the grave also has a small sign asking visitors not to desecrate the monument. Sadly, some guests obviously cannot read. Legend has it that the angel's tender bits have been knocked off several times by angry mourners, and that the cemetary curator uses them as paperweights.

J! and cycling legend Richard Virenque (the dark-haired man in the white shirt, seen in profile).

The Champs Elysees, just before the race.

The maillot jaune!

Lap 1 (I think).