Friday, September 29, 2006

Völlig geil!

For those who worked with me in Aus, you will remember, and have carried on, the lessons in SBC - The Standards of Bathroom Conduct. Today I stumbled across this ripper on YouTube. Gets a little strange towards the end, but it is worth it:

Then, for both the English speakers, and the German speakers out there, there is this ripper about Hitler's bunker at the end of the war:

And one more that I think I sent some of you before, but deserves to be seen again:



Space Blog

I gotta admit that I have, quite often, a serious case of the Tall Poppy Syndrome, and it pisses me off when rich people buy their way into things - for example, a trip to the Space Station.

But, putting all of my personal problems aside, I acutally read the blog from Anousheh Ansari (US Business-woman who bough a ticket to space), and it acutally seems like this chick has her head fair square and level on her shoulders. I think that everyone should have a read of it, and consider some of the cool things that she says about Earth as it appears from Space, especially about lack of borders etc...

PS: Sorry that this blog entry wasn't here's some dancing giraffes to make up for it...

PPS: These are another pair of Puma boots that I bought around the time of B&T's wedding...

Geil, oder?


Friday, September 22, 2006

I'm bored, so here are my shoes!

I am bored at work, waiting for our Oktoberfest Grillfest to start (sausages and beer in the office), so I took some pics of my shoes. I picked these babies up for a cool €50 in Nürnburg last week at the Puma Outlet.

Are they the Duck's Nuts or what?!?!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Landratsamt and a pain in my arse

So, on Monday we headed to the Landratsamt in Bad Homburg to try and renew our Residence and Work Permits. The Landratsamt Ausländerbehörde (which LEO translates as "public authority responsible for aliens") opens at 08:00, and we got there about 5 minutes later (because the times aren't published on the web anywhere), only to find that all the appointment numbers for the day were gone already. What a crock! Gotta come back tomorrow.

So, Bel went to work, and I went home to wait for Ikea to deliver the wardrobes that I purchased on the weekend. The guys finally came at about 15:00, and managed to drag the flat-packed things in by themselves (these puppies are H-E-A-V-Y!!!). They then left them leaning up against the wall, and left.
Naturally, I didn't want them up against the wall, so I decided to lie them down. In the process of doing the second one, something in my lower back went PING! and pain resulted.
Bel convinced me that I should go to the Physio (Krankengymnast) and get it checked out - so we went together. But, the system here isn't as simple as us getting an appointment with Dean, as you have to get a referral from a Doctor first. So, with Bin ranting about a crap system, I booked in to the Orthopedic Doctor in Friedrichsdorf for first thing on Tuesday morning.

So, Tuesday morning we trundle (who says that shit? What am I, 80 or something?) off to the Doctor. The dude comes in, asks what is up, and then checks out my back briefly (about 60sec), and they says "You need an injection". Next thing I know, I have dropped my strides, and a nurse has stuck a needle in my arse. Now, the natural questions that follow are:
  1. What did they inject me with?
  2. Why inject me in the arse, when it was my back that was hurting?
  3. Why hasn't Dean ever injected me?
Funny thing is, that after all that, my back didn't really hurt that much anymore, but my arse was killing me!

Now, with a sore arse, Bel and I trundle (there's that word again) back to the Landratsamt to get on the list for today's sitting. We got there at 10:30, and put our names on a pin-board, to ensure that we would be first on the list that would be posted at 11:30, for an appointment at 13:30 when they were due to open. What a crock!

Anyway, after many hours of waiting, I finally got my permit extended, and Bel got a temp extension until the office in Frankfurt has finished processing hers.

So, the question is, which was the bigger pain in the arse? The system, or the injection?


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Philippines (Mindanao) Aug - Part 1

Well, I know its late, but I thought a few people might be interested in hearing about how my trip to the Philippines went, and seeing a few pics....

Most of these pics make it look like I wasn't working very hard - but that's not true - it was a very busy tiring trip. 2 evaluations and a workshop. 3 full-on weeks!!

As this was my first work trip and my first evaluations (the first one my very experienced collegue was with me, the second one not!!) I was slightly nervous about how I would go, but it was great and I learnt a lot.


I spent a week in an urban project, and a rural one. Both were interesting, but I found the urban one fascinating - for people who are so poor life in a city is far more difficult than in the country - they can't grow their own food, often have no access to land to build a house on and don't have skills to get employment. In this particular project most of the people are squatters or illegal settlers - which is differnt to what we picture as squatters in a Aus, (moving into an empty building with a sleeping bag) but they find unused land (usually government land) and build a (basic) house there. This isn't a choice - there is often simply no other option. The problem then is that as illegal settlers they have no rights over the land, and can be (and are) evicted any time. The project we were visiting is facing the relocation of 6000 families out of the city so that the governemnt can widen the river and build a park. The irony is, it is called THE MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS MEMORIAL PARK!!!!! For those who don't know what that means - in 2000 the UN and world governments pledged to halve world poverty by 2015 by meeting certain goals - these are the Millenium development goals. The area the people are being relocated from is currently subject to some flooding, but under the government's scheme it will be regualrly flooded - they built the flood walls AROUND the community. In fairness, the government is helping to relocate the people - but they are being relocated far from the city so have no way to make a living (generally they make money by selling things along the streets, or other small type jobs only available in a city) there are no schools ot infrastructure, and its is land established from dredging the river (really safe!!). So to celebrate the effort to reduce poverty 6000 odd families will be placed in a situation that further empoverishes them, and gives their children no chance of education. Additionally the relocation plan will take until 2010 to be completed - unfortunately the river scheme will be completed at the end of this year - so for the next 3 years most families homes will be generally under water!!!! We had a few meeting with a number of government deperatments who were so proudly telling us about this scheme - it was HORRIFYING!!!! The consultant we had with us asked me a few times if I had any questions for the people we were meeting - but it was so awful there was nothing to say.
this is the community that has the flood walls built around it 4000 odd families will be relocated from this side of the river this side is where the park will go - in front of the wall. The homes behind the wall will be safe, but 2000 families still need to be relocated from this side

Monday, September 18, 2006

Philippines (Mindanao) Aug - Part 2


What I really loved though was the people!! They were so friendly and welcoming, and despite having no money were clearly people who were proud.

While their homes are simple they had usually made every effort to make them comfortable - with roughly constructed benchseats, tables and so on outside and other simple improvements.

they are amazing dancers and singers - these are kids performances

Out in the rural areas the roads are terrible - in this area they grow pineapples and bannanas for the big companies who pay them almost nothing, and bring their big trucks through and destroy the roads - it was seriously crazy. Our driver was a total legend though. We only got bogged once - which was an great effort!! This is it...

Philippines (Mindinao) Aug - Part 3


The people are very innovate, and make the most of what they have...

The joke here is that thes people have a balanced life - but in order to keep their balance they have to SMILE.

The scenery was also gorgeous.
This is in the rural area...

This is on a small island we visited. On the way over to this island we caught an ancient ferry, which ended up being quiet scary because it became quiet rough and we weren't sure the ferry would hold out. A huge pod (?) of dolphins was swimming with the boat, but despite taking heaps of pictures I don't get a single picture of a dolphin - just lots of empty ocean!!!
from a sand bar, looking back to the bigger island - with a volcanoe in the background this is a marker for the sunken cemetry - in the late 1800s a volcanic erruption burried this cemetry, but apparently it makes for a really interesting dive site with all the tomb stones below.
this massive church was also burried by the volcanoe - this is whats left of the roof structure, the rest is underground and then someone built this chapel inside the remains

Eine Bat-wurst

So, on the way back from Brussels the other night, I had to make "ein Pinkelstop" at one of the many rest stops along the autobahn.

I go into the toilets there - deciding to use the urinal (h8 that word) - and start going about my business. About 1/2 way through, this guy comes in and pulls in beside me (violation of Standards of Bathroom Conduct #1?). Then, rather than peeing, this guy starts having a bit of a bat, in a public toilet, with other people around! (Mother of all SBC violations, right?!?!?)

I promptly finished and got the hell out of there, and was damn glad that the autobahn speedlimit was unlimited at that point...


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dunno how, but I did it!

I dunno how, but somehow I managed to deliver a 5 hour training session on our Product, completely in German today. Sure, it probably sounded like crap, but the Customers seemed to follow it, and were happy to have it delivered in crap German instead of good English, because it is easier for them to follow. :)

Now for some stupid pictures I have taken lately on my Palm...

Found this sign on the walk back from Bad Homburg. I love it, but I think it could have done without the "details".

This was painted on the wall in my room in Basel, Switzerland. My room was painted to look like a cave, looking out on Ayers Rock. They couldn't have chosen a better room for me if they tried.

This was outside a shop near where we live. Basically the long and the short of it is, that they purchase gold used to cap teeth, as well as other gold and silver. In the fine print it says that they purchase teeth-gold, even if it still has the teeth attached! EW!

Pity that this one didn't really turn out, but I couldn't get much closer to this guy. Basically he is using a huge blow-torch to kill/burn the weeds that were growing in the cracks of the paving. There has to be a better way, right? But I am sure that the "better way" wouldn't be nearly as much fun!


Monday, September 04, 2006

One man went to mow, went to mow the meadow...

On the weekend, about 8 weeks after it was mowed the last time (rough guess-timate), I decided to mow the lawn. 'Twas also the first time that I have mowed the lawn with an electric mower, that actaully has a cord on it. I have used a battery powered one before, but they are a pain, because you keep having to run to Safeway to buy more batteries! :)

Anyway, the grass was so thick, that every lap I did up and down the back lawn, I had to stop and empty the catcher. I also got some funny looks from the two floors above us, because, up until last year, they had a Mittagsrühe (Midday silence) in our state, and that meant that you couldn't mow your lawns between 13:00 und 15:00...but luckily that doesn't exist anymore. Although, we still aren't allowed to mow them on Sundays...

As it was, the grass wasn't the only thing that was nearly cut short. A couple of times I ran over the cable, and actually cut through to the earth wire at one point. Luckily, thanks to the events of a few weeks ago, I had some electrical tape, so I was able to repair it and keep going. :)

Bel and I also took the opportunity to go to the Laternenfest (Lantern Festival) in Bad Homburg. This festival is held once per year, and they close all the shutters in the local castle, and you can tour through it by candle light. Any excuse for a piss-up, really.