Curating for @I_amGermany and reminded why I used to enjoy twitter

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Quite a week here in Munich. The Oktoberfest is waiting impatiently at the gates like heathen hordes. The skeptical and easily spooked locals are sure terrible things are going to happen at this year’s Biggest Beer Festival in the World.

All the while, I’ve been curating the @I_amGermany account over on twitter. I don’t talk much about this platform here on my blog for quite a few reasons, but the biggest is this:

The people on twitter already get it. Those who aren’t there can be weird about it and often react to its being mentioned with bafflement. However, they have clearly seen twitter mentioned as a source in the media.

It’s the folk who’ve set up an account over there, taken twitter for a test drive and found it a big disappointment…with these people? It’s been best to avoid the topic entirely. I’d try to compare them to former smokers being the biggest anti-cigarette crusaders, but I’m not prepared to wade into that one.

If you’re one of my readers in the last category, you might want to come back for the next post. Not that I’m going to go on about twitter necessarily. Well, not more than I already have.

However, the week I’ve had over at @I_amGermany has been so enjoyable that I felt I had to make some mention of it. If you’re so inclined, go take a gander. Oh, you want a link? Go here: https://twitter.com/I_amGermany

Here’s what a guy in Berlin wrote after his experience doing it a few years back: http://www.uberlin.co.uk/tweeting-for-germany-what-i-learned/ He describes some things I can undoubtedly relate to.

Why did I used to enjoy twitter, though, and what has this week reminded me of? It’s more than just the immediacy of it, but that’s a great advantage. In this case, I’ve connected with seemingly limitless people here in Germany, or who are somehow interested in Germany, and I’m skeptical we’d ever have *met* otherwise.

I’ve rattled on elsewhere about the meaningfulness of meeting such people virtually, so I won’t go there again…not now at least. Might dig back into that soon.

In the meantime, there’s the little local beer festival I mentioned above. The heathen hordes I mentioned are ever closer. The smell of their breath enters my nostrils and I can sense it’s going to be an eventful few weeks.

My beautiful heathen

 

drinking tea with My Beautiful Heathen

 

Nearly as long as I’ve been blogging, I’ve been trying to avoid talking too much about twitter. For one thing, it’s incredibly boring if you’re not already there. So many people with whom I interact in my daily life ridicule the medium, and I gave up long ago any hope of changing their minds.

I did have a blog before twitter and like many blogs, it simply died on the vine. I had some decent content there about living abroad and whatnot. Curiosities and my personal take on anything that struck my fancy – the blog was read by very few people and I suppose that’s the nature of many people’s first forays into blogging.

Then there were a few years where I primarily blogged about tea. When people hear that, they often give me an incredulous look and ask if that’s even a thing. Indeed, it is. There’s quite an active community of tea bloggers the world over, and because of the above-mentioned writing, I know a good number of them, albeit virtually.

Tea people didn’t read my tea blog for information on tea. As a matter of fact, my writing very rarely provided any useful information on the subject. I was specifically writing to the non tea drinkers to attempt to lure them over to the leaf. And my unorthodox approach to tea blogging didn’t hurt me in that community either. There were plenty of informative blogs about how long to steep your tea; I was offering something entirely different.

Because of the stereotype of little old ladies drinking their afternoon tea, there was a rather whimsical moment in which a fellow tea blogger struck upon the idea to aggregate the musings primarily of us more masculine tea lovers. Without consulting us, he created a page called the Beasts of Brewdom. It still exists if you insist on going and looking for it. You might even find some of my long lost posts over there.

Oh, look. I found a link: Beasts of Brewdom

Recently, I was asked to contribute something and here I’ve finally gotten round to it. It was a writing challenge, which I didn’t entirely understand, but my challenge came in the form of a tweet. Here it is if you’d like to see the original:

The offending tweet

If you couldn’t bother to click through, it said, ‘…ohh Beasts! I challenge @lahikmajoe to write with ‘My Beautiful Heathen‘.

Well, if you know anything about heathens, you know they shouldn’t consume too much caffeine. My tea cabinet is almost devoid of any herb tea, but this is one of the only exceptions.

Hamburger Schietwetter Tee…for an ugly rainy day. A perfect opportunity to stay indoors with just such a cuppa.

There. Challenge accepted and fulfilled. For those of you who might be confused by this blogpost, I’ll be returning to the regularly scheduled Miscellaneous Blog in the next several days.

the best red dogs on the planet turn eight today!

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doing what they love most…Ella and Louis will definitely spar like this at some point on their birthday

On 13 January 2005 the best red dogs on the planet were born. I went into detail about all this last year at the same time, but I just wanted to share this photo. If I let myself, I’d blog about their love and what an honour it is to take care of them on a daily basis.

My heart doubles in size when I see Ella and Louis playing. These dogs have quite simply been the single most reliable thing over the last several years.

Am thrilled that photos of them bring joy to so many people I know only from the internet. I’ve been using the hashtag #EllaandLouis for a while over at twitter if you’d like a sampling of the joy they bring. Have at it.

starting and ending in the front room on the Tottenham Riviera

sometimes you gotta pack up all your stuff

The trip to London is like a huge chunk of molten ore from which I’ll be mining blogposts for a long time to come. Were I to show you my itinerary, you’d be astounded at how much I packed into such a short trip. Big ups to @elaine4queen for meditation-related help and conversations of the highest order.

I got some business taken care of, and there’s big news on that front when it’s more concrete. Don’t count chickens before they’re scratched, or whatever. And I met Robert Godden, who’s also known as The Devotea in teablogging circles. That was an event. To say the least. Here’s a document of that auspicious occasion:

Whatchyou talkin’ ’bout Robert?

If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Robert either online or in person, you know that he’s passionate and just the other side of sane. It’s one of the myriad of reasons we get along. I also met the infamous Lady Devotea, but was sworn to not publish the photos I took of her. Perhaps once she sees the way I respectfully portrayed her gent, she’ll relent. But until then, I must respect her wishes.

Then, I was introduced to Bloom Tea, which I’ve already mentioned over on the teablog, but bears repeating here. They have five different blends for different times of the day. It’s a clever way to sell tea, so I’m sure I’ll be talking more about this brand in the near future. Here’s a photo of the sample I was given:

the five phases of Bloom Tea

The mornings in London were exactly like they are back here in Germany for me. I get up relatively early, so I can plan my day properly. It means that when others get out of bed, I’ve already been at it for several hours. It’s all rather disconcerting if you think about it. Because I know my level of energy can be a bit off-putting, I attempt to tone it down as best I can – with varying results.

afternoon tea with some of my favourite people who I’d not previously met

Finally, I’d like to share one of the best photos of last weekend. It’s got some wonderful characters in it, innit? I’ll not bother listing them all, although I should at least make a passing reference to a certain Vic Darkwood, who you’ll see on the far right of the shot. Purportedly, he’s an artist of some renown.

I’m just glad to say we now know each other on twitter. I hope when he gains international fame and glory, that he remembers us little people.

Like I’ve said, I’m sure this isn’t my last London-themed blogpost. There’s tonnes more to tell.

 

Shadow of a Doubt

An offer on twitter of a free ticket to see a Hitchcock film that I was sure I’d already seen. Little did I know – it was one of the middle period Hitchcock movies, and I was in for a treat. I had not only not seen it, but it has one of my all-time favourite actors in it.

Cotten. This guy’s a dream.

Apparently, he was in three world class directors best-known masterpieces. This one was dear Alfred‘s, The Third Man was Carol Reed‘s, and Citizen Kane was Orson Welles’. Not too shabby, eh?

Actually, lemme let Wikipedia explain what this film is:

 is a 1943 American / directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten. Written by Thornton WilderSally Benson, and Alma Reville, the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story for Gordon McDonell. In 1991, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.’

What an evening.

The day had started with a visit to The Idler Academy of Philosophy, Husbandry and Merriment and then a trip with one of my closest friends and his 9 year-old to The British Museum, which we sailed through in record time. Not that I’m proud of that. The whole point was to spend time with them. What we did was irrelevant. The British Museum was as nice a place as any for us to go, and she’d never been.

To imagine seeing all of those things through her eyes, I walked through the exhibits covering the ancient world. Saw the Rosetta Stone and the dude from Easter Island. What must it be like to be nine and wander through those rooms.

My goal?

To try seeing all this – this life I’m knee-deep in – from a nine year-old’s perspective. Certainly can’t hurt.

Lyle and that thing on his arm

pinkies up, yo!

After finishing music school, I moved back in with my parents…temporarily. it was so embarrassing that within a few months I was already living most of the time at my girlfriend’s and soon enough (when she was sick of having me there all the time) I found a place of my own. The Valhalla House.

The story of the Valhalla House is a long and glorious one. Perhaps I’ll tell it another time. It’s certainly entertaining enough, but I came here tonight to tell you about Lyle and that thing on his arm. He already had the thing on his arm when I moved into the Valhalla House, but I didn’t see it till much later. By then it was too late.

We were living in the shadow of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and yet here I was living with a guy who believed the thing on his arm could be healed with alternative medicine.

I’ve got nothing against alternative medicine, for the most part, but if you’ve got a weird growth on your arm whose colour and shape are changing…well, go to a doctor. A real doctor. With a degree. A medical degree. Not some looney tunes madman who suggests you rub an herbal salve on your skin cancer. Are you an idiot? No? Well, then go to a damned doctor.

You’re asking yourself, ‘Why is lahikmajoe so worked up about this?‘ Good question.

The first part of the answer is that Lyle died within six months. You might think he died of skin cancer. I prefer to think he died of ignorance and stubbornness.

The other part of my answer is that for the last few weeks I haven’t been sleeping because of a similar thing. It’s a mole on my leg that I’ve had since I was a child. It’s been the same shape since I was a teenager, and in all likelihod it’s been the same since I was a kid…I don’t know for sure. I didn’t know anything about skin cancer until my roommate died of the godforsaken thing.

But enough people have said over the years, ‘You really should get that thing checked out.‘ So finally I did.

The doctor said, ‘I’m going on holiday soon, but we’ll take a sample and then you can call next week on Thursday before I leave. By then we’ll have the results from the lab.

Sounded good. Well, not good. But it sounded like the best plan under the circumstances. So I tried not to think about it. Couldn’t sleep. Played music at weird hours of the night. Annoyed people on Twitter during times I should normally be off to dreamland.

It wasn’t pretty. I’m a terrible patient. Impatient as hell.

The next Thursday came, I called in the morning, I called in the afternoon…no response. I called again Friday morning, but by then the doctor had fucked off on her holiday. Really.

Look, doctors have hard lives. I’m not being sarcastic. Most people think doctors earn a lot and don’t work very hard. It’s not true. Some are lazy, but some people in any profession are lazy. Except ukulele players. They’re NEVER lazy.

For the most part, in my experience, doctors earn the money that they deserve. It’s a demanding profession.

But this doctor? Let’s just say she wasn’t my favourite human being for several days.

More insomnia. More cursing at the heavens.

I can be a prima donna with the best of them. No one had ever experienced anything as woeful as this in the history of history. Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s my damned blog. Deal with it.

After lab results and another doctor and spending most of yesterday in that doctor’s office, it turns out it was nothing. 100% non cancerous…the thing on my leg. Still not happy with the first doctor, but that emotion is slowly dissipating.

The moral of this story.

Never date a ukulele player. That’d be really stupid.