Thursday, July 26, 2007

A little bitch

Just wanted to have a quick little bitch about media reporting of the Tour de France.

Yeah, we all know about the crap that is going on in cycling, as has been going on for ages, with respect to various forms of performance enhancing through drugs, hormones, and blood doping (blood transfusions). The media is actually doing a fairly good job of reporting the happening with respect to this during the Tour this year, but they keep on blaming the Tour. They keep saying that the Tour is corrupt, and that the Tour is in ruins etc. But here's the thing - the problem isn't with the Tour, the problem is with professional cycling. If anything, the Tour and it's organisers are taking a stand, and trying to get the cheats out of the event, and out of the sport. The Tour got riders to sign binding statements at the start of the event to say that they were clean, and if they got caught, that they would forfeit 1 year's salary, and would be handed over to the drug investigation squads.

C'mon guys - give credit where credit is due, and make sure that you point the finger in the right the riders, managers, and doctors of the teams, and not at the Tour itself.

That is all.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Es ist mir Wurst

The Germans have a saying "Es ist mir Wurst" (it's sausage to me), which means essentially "it's all the same to me". But here's proof that sausage ain't sausage ain't sausage, and that they apparently need it at all hours...
That's right! That is a vending machine in the subway in Frankfurt that delivers different types of sausage and other processed meat products. But you have to be patient, as you have to wait up to 45 seconds for your purchase, so that the machine can heat it up and deliver it to you.

I wonder if the little mouse we saw running around the bottom of the machine is that patient, or if he can reach the coin slot...


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Roger Cicero on fire in the summer heat

After returning from 2 weeks of continual and relentless rain in Ireland, during which the weather in Germany was equally as bad, Belinda and I attended an outdoor concert in front of the old Opera Building in Frankfurt. We were worried that the concert was going to be rained out, but this turned out to be an awesome summer day with plenty of sunshine to go around for the 1000s of ppl that came along.

The gig was from Roger Cicero and Big Band, who were Germany's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest (but don't hold that against him). This guy does Swing music in Germany, and has a voice that would have lifted the roof off the Opera Building had we been inside.

Roger and Band played the majority of the tracks of his debut album "Männersachen" (guys' things) as well as a few that will be on their new album, due for release in October. They also did a swinging cover of "König von Deutschland" (King of Germany), which is a very well known song here, that has also been used recently in ads for Media Markt (tech store). During this rendition, he got the crowd involved with the guys singing the line "König von Deutschland" followed by the girls replying "oder Königen" (or Queen). It was quite funny, and I gotta say, that as a crowd, we sounded pretty good.


All aboard the Mukka Express to Cow-ppuccino town!

While we were in Ireland, we went into a coffee shop in Kilkenny to get some tea and coffee. In this store we saw a funny little coffee maker that claimed that it could make cappuccino on the stove top...on Thursday we bought one on sale in Frankfurt.

We have used it twice so far, and are quite impressed with it.

It works as follows:
  1. Water goes in the bottom black section
  2. Coffee goes in a filter between the black part and the cow part
  3. Milk goes in the cow (goes against the grain somehow)
  4. Whole thing goes on the stove
  5. Water in the base gets hotter, and the pressure pushes the water up through the coffee, and out into the cow section at the top
  6. When the pressure gets high enough, the button on the cow pops, and the pressure is then used to automatically froth the milk that is in the top section
Very cool.


Camera frustrations

I will get to the posting about our holiday in Ireland and visiting Chis and Bec in Bath soon, but first I want to bitch about some camera stuff.

Firstly, just like 4 years ago when we were in New Hampshire, our Kodak digital camera decided to crap out in the middle of a holiday again. Last time the lens wouldn't come out, and the camera had to be replaced under warranty with a newer model. Luckily we had my SLR with me on that trip too, so we were still able to take some pics.
This time around it was halfway between Dublin and Kilkenny, and this time the lens won't go back in. I don't know if this is actually the problem or not, because the damn camera won't turn on any more. Now it is stuck looking like this permanently.

What made it worse this time around is that I currently have no idea where my SLR is, so of course it wasn't with us to save the day. Luckily we were able to purchase a new camera in Kilkenny and continue with our holiday snaps, only losing 1 day worth of photo opportunities.

My second frustration is with the fact that most digital cameras take photos in a 4:3 format, which matches the format of a computer monitor. 35mm cameras (film cameras) take photos in a 3:2 format, which is the classical format that we are used to seeing, and have a lot of frames and albums for.
So yesterday we go into a place here that has a digital photo printing machine, where you stick in your memory card and print the photos. Now, you could be mistaken for thinking that because it is a digital machine, that is set up for digital photo printing, that it would print the photos in a digital photo 4:3 format. WRONG! The machine automatically crops your pictures, that you spent a lot of time framing, into a 3:2 format and prints them.
The good news is that our new camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX01) supports taking photos in 3:2 format so that we can frame them for printing if we want, or switch into 4:3 format or even 16:9 format for normal or widescreen pc monitors.