Germans and Bavarians LOVE a Little Chaos


Good stuff.
While I wouldn’t explain these things in exactly this way, I’ve certainly noticed the same things.

Originally posted on Laptops and Lederhosen:

Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Bavaria, not a stone out of place. Not one single stone.

Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Bavaria, not a stone out of place. Not one single stone.

The Germans/Bavarians desire for order is legendary, and rightfully so. Few cultures place so much emphasis on punctuality, tidiness and ‘the plan’. Meetings are held to decide when the next meeting will be, begin promptly at 9am and end almost an hour later. They would end exactly an hour later but don’t because the next group has booked the meeting room for 10, and it would be impolite to have them begin at 10 with stale air and warms seats.

But there are a few instances when all of the ideas and rigidity of structure are lost like a scooter in a New Delhi traffic jam. The reasons for this lapse are very vague or possibly reside in a den with a Wolpertinger*. Either way, they seem as inexplicable as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity or what…

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Near and distant future with Augmented Reality

I’m heading out to an Augmented Reality event today that’s being hosted by Metaio, and for multiple reasons I’m going to be writing more about this field. First of all, what is AR?

Well, here’s how Wikipedia defines it:

‘…is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.’

There are plenty of videos showing the real world applications of Augmented Reality, and this one is a bit dry, but it does show off some of the most practical uses one might have. Check it out:

Plenty going on in the world of Augmented Reality, which is what this event today is showcasing, and my plan is to spend a few blogposts talking about the different ways this field can impact our lives in the near and distant future.

Sea and sky twenty years later

I feel like a castaway but I’m not afraid
You and me and a couple of dusty volumes
I wanna be your Messiah but there’s no way
I feel the tide roll in around us

You be the sea and I’ll be the sky
I want you with me now don’t wonder why
You be the sea and I’ll be the sky
Endeavor with me now don’t wonder why

This love’s like a labyrinth but I’m not afraid
You and me and a strong sense of forever
Like the old Swiss Family Robinson let’s drift away
If we go down at least we’ll drown together
(I can’t forget you)

You be the sea and I’ll be the sky
I want you with me now don’t wonder why
You be the sea and I’ll be the sky
Endeavor with me now don’t wonder why

It’s a little like this
It’s a little like being afraid
It’s a little like yesterday
Though I don’t mean to invade

Clouds rolled in front of your face
Your tears became the rain
I heard wonderful thunder
As you murmured
As you murmured my name
(Take me far away,
Teach my soul to feel that way
You take me far away
It’s wonderful, wonderful)

Roll away
Roll away with me
You be the sea and I’ll be the sky

It was only a few decades ago, but sometimes it seems like yesterday. When their music comes up on shuffle, I’m twenty something years old with big dreams and little experience. The band I went to hear on Friday nights at Sudsy Malone’s in Cincinnati were first acquaintances and then friends. Well, friends of friends at least.

Over the Rhine still exist as Karin Bergquist (vocals, guitar and other instruments, I think) and Linford Detweiler (bass and piano and pretty much any instrument he set his mind to playing) and various musicians complementing them for tours and recording and whatnot.

Back in the proverbial day, the band was a quartet with Karin, Linford, as well as Ric Hordinski (guitars) and Brian Kelley (drums). I enjoyed quite a few local bands when I lived near the banks of the Ohio River, but Over the Rhine I liked the most.

This song perfectly describes the male-female dichotomy. Mother Earth…Father Sky.

Something about these beautiful autumn days made me think about their music. ‘It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play‘. Taught them to play, indeed.

Getting back outside


Deep into the fantastic autumn we were promised, and now that the Oktoberfest is finally behind us we can get onto the real heart of the season.

For mid October we’re having a genuine heatwave in Munich. It’s too late to call it Indian Summer, I believe. It’s warm and gorgeous in the daytime and not much cooler at night: it’s an Autumn Wonderland.

There has been leaf kicking, as well as plenty of conversations about how this is the best time of year. I wouldn’t bother getting into a discussion about it if you disagree. If you prefer summertime, you’re simply on the other team.

Winter? Well, that way of thinking has its place. I’m always up for a long dog walk in the snow, and huddling up in front of a fire is an exquisite pastime. Everything’s in a sort of hibernation, which appeals to my desire to ruminate and reconsider all of the things.

What about springtime you ask. Hmmm, you could probably make a case for that most tempestuous of seasons. I’d even entertain your arguments to be clear, whereas I’d ignore whatever the summer and winter folk had to say.

Nevertheless, I still find my mind wandering back to the fall. When you know everything’s dying, but it’s so beautiful while it’s doing it. The feeling that this moment in time is so precious and so fleeting – it reminds me to savour the now.

In the back of my mind I know the long, dark nights are just round the corner. Impatient and grumpy travellers on public transport we’ve got to look forward to and the once white snow getting increasingly dirtier and mushier. We’re not there yet, but it’s definitely coming. Encroaching upon our cheery last gasp of warm wind.

Don’t get me wrong. Aside from writing about it here, I’m not thinking much about the cold. Too busy revelling in the red and then yellow and then golden leaves. Even scrawling it here is keeping me from getting back outside.

Germans Love a Day off, even if the Reasons Behind it are Uninspiring


Hmmm…there’s a lot more to this. Not just the costs.

Although it’s been quite expensive, most here seem to generally support the idea of Reunification. I think the criticism has been with how it was handled and that the costs continue to this day. It’s seen as a bureaucratic boondoggle, and if you question it, then you’re somehow a stingy bastard.

Originally posted on Laptops and Lederhosen:

2 GermaniesThis morning the sky was grey, I think. It was difficult to see though through the even greyer fog. Tis the season of grey, which is exactly how many Germans view their country’s Einheitsfeier, or Germany’s Day of Unity, which takes place today (3rd Oct).

Here in Bavaria the feelings of blaise are even more acute.

The following conversation I had with a Bavarian is by no means an absolute representation of ALL Bavarians, but it is a fair gauge of many Bavarians. (The conversation took place in German, over a coffee-not a beer.)

Me: “You’re too young to have understood fully the significance of the end of communism, what did your parents think?”

Fritz: “Well, I remember my father watching the events on television. He was transfixed. When the demonstrators clammered up the wall, I distinctly remember him turning to my mom, shaking his head and saying ‘this is going…

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in your autumn sweater


It’s seasonal, I’m sure. The air gets cooler; those around me start whinging about it. Those of us walking dogs get our parks back and needn’t share them with fair-weather nature lovers.

People’s social media feeds are filled with photos and posts about leaves and Pumpkin Spice hot beverages and the like. Some who’ve had enough of their revealing summer clothing relish breaking out their sweater collection. I’ve lived places where one didn’t need a sweater collection. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Another change of season – who cares, right? We’ve got other things on our minds. You dig autumn. We get it. Anyway, what’s there left to say?

I’m getting to that.

For some reason, I hear Yo La Tengo singing,

‘…we could slip away
wouldn’t that be better?
me with nothing to say
and you in your autumn sweater…’

I’m one of those people who finds himself oddly restless while easing into fall. There’s that window between summer’s burning and winter’s solitude, and I want to relish it. Not necessarily fleeting, and it has been known to come in waves, autumn flirts with us as late summer still makes momentary appearances.

A cold, cloudless day has people huddling in the few beams of sunlight. We know it’s a diminishing resource, so we cut the fingers out of our gloves, pull on that jacket that still smells of the mustiest part of our closet, and soak up the rays.

It’s going to be a beautiful autumn. I can already tell.

Confessions of an Oktoberfest Hater


Thanks for this Albert. Good stuff.

Originally posted on Laptops and Lederhosen:

A young man tossed this before being tossed by security, at 11:15 in the morning!This post is a guest post from my good friend Albert Mooney, who sums up succinctly what about half of the people in Munich actually think about Oktoberfest.

It must be like living in Rio and hating Carnival. Or being a Dubliner who dreads St. Patrick’s Day. Or a citizen of Nero’s Rome who has long grown bored with the repetitive tedium of watching Christians being thrown to the lions. I am part of a beleaguered minority of Munich residents for whom the final two weeks of September is something to be endured, not enjoyed. Ours is the Loathing that Dare Not Speak its Name.

I hate Oktoberfest.

I hate the noise. I hate the crowds. I hate the back alley stench of stale alcohol, sour breath, and undigested meat that wafts through our streets as if a drunken giant had just belched. I hate the febrile atmosphere of borderline mania that…

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