September 2009


Random Tuesday Today Thoughts

I know that Snooker in Berlin participates in the weekly Random Tuesday Thoughts—and to be different, I’m doing it on Wednesday—but only because I have a crap load of thoughts to get out. I could try and break down the thoughts into more complete individual blog posts, but none of these thoughts really deserve that much attention, if any at all.


Not parched.

Except the first one: Tomorrow afternoon I’m heading south to München for the Whiney Expatriate Blogger Unmissable Meetup, aka WE-Bum! I’m really excited as this is my first time to really explore the city. My work colleagues have given me assessments of the city ranging from “Best City on the Planet” to the blanket statement “Bavaria Sucks and München is the worst part.” For those of you within range, it’s not too late to join in the fun.

In other random things:

  • For a month or two, I’ve been thinking about buying a t-shirt being sold by the Weimar tourist offices—it caught my attention because although I understand what the t-shirt is trying to say, if one doesn’t know the context, it ends up making a rather existential statement. I’d tell you more about it, but I’m planning on wearing it either Friday or Saturday at WE-Bum, and I want it to be a surprise for my fellow expatriates.
  • I had to call one of my banks in the States today and upon reaching them, the voice said, “Please listen carefully as our menu has recently changed,” before continuing on with the various options. Not that I call the bank all that frequently (today might be the first time in two or three years), but in my 11 years with this particular bank, I can’t recall the voice ever not telling me to listen carefully; the menu items must change every few days.
  • This gets me onto a customer service rant—after making my selection, I was subjected to a 45 second advertisement/announcement telling me to ask about online banking, followed by 10 seconds of insipid and loud hold music, followed by an announcement that I could apply for a car loan on the phone, if I so wished, followed by more insipid and loud hold music. Is it too much to ask them to turn down the hold music volume and cut out the advertisements?
  • I’ve been aware that non-US citizens are now required to provide both index fingerprints from both hands when entering the US. I’ve always assumed that any organization with such requirements would have a policy for people missing index fingers, or hands—I don’t know what the specifics are, but if I were writing a policy requiring fingerprints, my second paragraph would be the one outlining how to work with the fingerprintless portion of society. Apparently Bank of America, which requires thumbprints from non-customers to cash checks, does not have a policy for the thumbprintless individuals—like Steve Valdez, who actually has no hands. After showing two forms of identification, the bank rejected his efforts to cash a check written by his wife, who maintains her own personal account at the bank. He has no thumbprint and, consequently, no money. (St. Petersburg Times via Obscure Store)
  • The set of Liszt replacement heads (perhaps better known as “iron masks”) I posted on my blog a couple days ago was woefully incomplete. It turns out that Weimar’s statue of Shakespeare was also blessed with a Liszt-head, until the head was stolen. I never saw the statue with the head, but there’s a great photograph of Shakespeare as Liszt (scroll to bottom) on the pèlerinages website. I have to say that on Shakespeare, the head looks freakishly large and creepy. I’m sorry I didn’t get to see it before it was stolen.
  • The last few times I’ve worn light colored shirts, I’ve immediately spilled food on them: I don’t remember what I nailed my Canada Roots polo with, but while it was in the wash, I managed to dribble something down the front of my cornhole t-shirt—no, not Santorum; coffee. Everything’s been washed, save for today’s target, my bright yellow Wyoming Cowboy’s polo which some how got ketchup on it during lunch today—no clue; I didn’t notice it until colleagues at the office started asking questions.
  • Meanwhile, I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes “meta” blog stuff in the last couple weeks—I owe debts of gratitude to both PapaScott and the Regensbloggers. There will be a big reveal sometime in the next couple of weeks, once I finish ironing out all the kinks. That said, if you view the site on a mobile device, like the iPhone, you have already seen the special mobile version of the blog. Please let me know if you run into any problems with it.
  • Of course, in about a month I will be on vacation in Wyoming—I’ve set aside planning for a couple of weeks while focusing on my meta-blog issues (there is a connection there, believe it or not). As it happens I will be in Laramie for Homecoming, which is exciting, but since I’m by myself I’m not certain I want to go to the actual football game. I might wait and see what the weather will be like; I’m more excited about the homecoming parade.
  • In German class, I was trying to express my one fear about the upcoming trip to Wyoming: an October blizzard–a not completely unknown occurrence. Our instructor could only offer me der Schneesturm. While our pal Leo suggests that der Blizzard is an option, apparently it’s not common. Nor are, apparently, long lasting snow storms that drop off a meter of snow in one fell swoop.

I think that’s it for now…

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