Relax. Life's too stressed out.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Another edition ...

Posted: 2005-10-05T15:12:35Z

... of "Fortunately-Unfortunately"! />
Fortunately, the electrician came. AND the plumber. AND the landlady. AND the building maintenance lady.

Unfortunately, the pump is broken.

Fortunately, it can be fixed.

Unfortunately, not until Friday.

Fortunately, there's a laundromat in the Stephansplatz.

Unfortunately, we can't find it.

Fortunately, our landlord/whatever is paying for all of this, since it's his fault for having told us, "oh yeah, go ahead and install a washing machine!"

Other fortunate things:

Josh got his BahnCard and bank PIN number - not a moment too soon, as we discovered that the Bürgerbüro had received the necessary documents and was ready to give us residence permits (for which payment in cash or Eurocard was required). Hooray! We now have fancy documents pasted into our passports (I have to keep up with my sister), and Josh can matriculate, get a student bus card, a library card, and a Uni Konstanz email address (for university-based wireless).

The Fulbright money is finally in the right account, so we can pay our rent.

I got an INSANELY cheap fare on Virgin Atlantic for coming back in January and then going home in June - like, more than $300 less than I paid to come over here and go back on Jan. 2. And I booked it on Jan. 12 so I can get to Boston to see Ariel!! Anyone else in Boston want to hang out in the second week of January before I get on the CT Limo at one in the morning?

I'm going to spend the week of the 17th on a German organic farm with COWS! That I get to milk by HAND!

Other unfortunate things:

The registration cost 50 euros.

The Beamte put my name down as "Grace Martha Burson". I now have three different names in my passport. This will probably cause me to be detained at the Swiss border, like my mother in Ottawa.

I can't find out a damn thing about the mysterious Babybat network - google merely turns up screen names on Goth discussion boards.

The only other wireless access point in Konstanz is at the ABC hotel, almost as far away as the uni.

I have to use the extremely unreliable Deutsche Bahn website (which routinely sends you to places you would never dream of going on trains that don't exist) to figure out how to get to the farm.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Now I'm really going to bed.

Posted: Mon, 12 Sep 2005 02:12:21 GMT


My pirate name is:

Red Anne Flint

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from

Northeast Sees Worst of Heavy Rain End

Posted: Sun, 16 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Source: WORCESTER, Mass., Oct. 15 -- Severe flooding swept away cars, uprooted trees and forced evacuations as the Northeast endured another day of driving rain Saturday. But in some places, the sun was shining for the first time in a week.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bulletins from the Niederburg

Posted: 2005-10-04T12:28:11Z


so after another enormous, late and sausage-filled barbecue in Haus B on Friday night, we came home, moved the bed into the living room and the futon into the bedroom, made it up with the two single duvets, and collapsed. Unfortunately, in the process of moving, we have misplaced a bag of white sugar, a bag of brown sugar, a can each of thyme and parsley, a bottle of dish soap, and my summer bathrobe. Extremely mysterious.


Click on over to Josh for an account of his adventures on Saturday, including the Great Washing Machine Flood of 2005. While he was engaged in purchasing said washing machine and having the Iranian guy install it, I got up at 6:30 on Saturday and caught a train at 7:36 to Schaffhausen via Singen for a short "pilgrimage" with some folks from St. Andrew's, Zürich. From Schaffhausen (which is in Switzerland, but north of the Rhine, in one of those funny bulges that the border makes in this vicinity) we crossed the river and walked along the south side of the Rhine to Diessenhofen. The actual walking took about 3 1/2 hours; we also stopped at monasteries in Schaffhausen (now a parish church), Paradies (the church is a parish church but the cloister is the offices of an ironworks company) and St. Katharinental (now a rehab center), and twice to eat. The second part of the trip was in a nature preserve. From Diessenhofen we took a ferry to Stein-am-Rhein, a Swiss town that straddles the Rhine, where we drank Most (new wine) in a thousand-year-old brew house belonging to a monastery of equal antiquity (it's now a museum, and the town is celebrating its millenium this year) amid gigantic wooden brewing equipment engraved with initials and dates in the 18th century. Then we walked back across the river and took a footbridge to Insel Werd, on which is a Franciscan friary (still in operation, with a ministry to drug addicts) where we had Evensong in a 10th-century chapel.

It was pretty foggy and overcast for the whole trip and at several points it rained heavily. One of these was while we were on the ferry, which must make the owners of the ferry company happy because it means everyone is inside buying coffee rather than up on deck watching the view. During the ferry journey I got drawn into a fairly predictable argument about gays in the church with a Welsh evangelical (who, to give him credit, is at least literate, unlike many US evangelicals). The chaplain, who was also at the table, clearly agreed with me but I got the sense he was staying out of the conversation, possibly to see what I was made of. I talked to some other people as well; I was the only American on the trip, but there were also British, Welsh, Scots, Swiss and the leader comes originally from the Ukraine.

We made it to Stein am Rhein train station in time for the others to catch their train back to Winterthur/Zürich; my trip home was a bit more complex. I had bought a Tageskarte (day pass) for the area north of the Rhine and west of Konstanz, but though Stein am Rhein was within that area, the most obvious way home (via Kreuzlingen) was not. I ended up going BACK to Schaffhausen and then retracing my morning trip (which included the cutest little one-car commuter train) - and I was darn lucky there were no inspectors on the trip from Stein to Schaffhausen, because I don't think I had a valid ticket.


Having spent Saturday with St. Andrew's folks, I didn't feel the need to go to Zürich the following day, so Josh and I went to the Lutherkirche. We walked into the middle of the "Kindererntegottesdienst" - harvest festival service, dominated by small children in sunflower costumes. It was kind of cute and certainly seemed to bring everybody out of the woodwork (the church was packed), and the kids sang quite nicely and acted out skits about God and nature and growing things, which was nice, but there was no sermon and the congregation's role consisted of singing a couple of songs, the intercessions, and the Lord's Prayer. However, it did allow me to claim an experience so far unique in my life: hearing an accordion orchestra in church. When they struck up the processional I kept having to stop myself from looking around for the carousel.

We followed the crowd to the Gemeindesaal because we thought there was lunch, and indeed there was lunch but it turned out to cost money, so we went home. I started bread and we ate our lunch, and then headed out to the Rosgartenmuseum, Konstanz's city museum. The permanent exhibits were free, so we passed up the special exhibit on "Family Ties" and just looked at old pictures, manuscripts, skeletons, maps, dioramas, kitchen implements, etc. Josh was very excited at being in the wood-panelled late medieval room where the Butchers' Guild used to get drunk together.

For the rest of the afternoon we cooked for Josh's birthday party. Unfortunately, although we though that at least five people were definitely coming, only two ended up showing up. We had a nice dinner, and now we have gigantic amounts of leftovers. We also learned that when buying local wine at Kaufland you have to investigate the bottle carefully: both the Oberrotweiler Weiß and the Pfalz Rot we bought ended up having screw tops. Ick.

Incidentally, yay for the Red Sox making the playoffs, boo for the blipping wild card. We should have taken the division. And Big Papi IS the MVP. So there.


was a federal holiday (German Reunification Day, the fifteenth anniversary in fact, though nobody seems particularly happy what with the 20% unemployment in the East and the political gridlock). Therefore, the guy who might fix the pump in the basement was unavailable. So we had a pretty slow day, the chief event being finding out who owns the wireless network that our computers pick up - a guy with a design company in the next street over. Maybe he'll take pity on us and let us pay him for a network key, since the other wireless network (the same one I picked up in my dorm room) continues to be a snare and a delusion.


This morning I set out on an epic shopping trip:

Bauernmarkt (Farmers' Market) in the Stephansplatz: veggies, apples, cheese
Lago (temple of consumerism across from the Bahnhof): find out that organic supermarket no longer exists, but discover small "Reformhaus" (apparently means organics/neutraceuticals shop) and buy parsley, milk, mustard and shampoo. Word of the Day: the German word for hair conditioner is "Spülung".
Kitchenwares shop across from the Lago: duck in, look around, say good morning to the well-dressed saleslady, realize the place is WAY too high-end, get the heck out.
Indoor Bauernmarkt in Hussenpassage: chicken thighs and a baggie of bay leaves big enough to last until I die.
Karstadt (inconspicuous but useful department store): excessively cheap iron (€10), excessively cheap alarm clock (€6.50) that it took ages to locate, and batteries for the digital camera (the right kind this time).

When I got home, I discovered that the digital camera now works (hooray!) but I had gotten the wrong kind of mustard. Also the basement pump guy is coming at 11 tomorrow. Hallelujah.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A Video iPod with Mouse Ears

Posted: Wed, 12 Oct 2005 17:32:06 -0800


No, you don't have to attach an old school analog antenna to your new video iPod... but the device appears to come with mouse ears in any case. Mickey Mouse-ears that is.

Om Malik's Broadband blog notes Business 2.0 presaged today's video iPod announcement by suggesting a partnership between Disney and Cupertino.

Today it finally happened, and has become the cornerstone of the video push being undertaken by Apple.

Charles at MetroBlogging San Francisco takes a closer look at the "iMouse" connection.

Apple also unveiled a deal with Walt Disney Co. – the company behind ABC network – to sell the ever-popular television shows “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost,” and others in time.

As part of its deal with Disney’s ABC network, iPod users will be able to download five shows including ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost.” Current-season episodes of the series will be made available at the iTunes music store the day after broadcast. The television shows cost $1.99 per episode, without commercials.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005


Posted: Sat, 10 Sep 2005 00:08:48 GMT

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Holly being cute.

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Me. The flash always makes me look shiney.

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Me knitting.

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Lucy's pirate outfit.

My pirate outfit. I think I maybe look more like a hobbit. Now that I look at it I also think I was falling out of my bra but never mind XD

And some of me and Lucy....
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Some of them are blurry because we kept laughing at ourselves.

'Deep Throat' Gets First Amendment Prize

Posted: Sun, 16 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Source: FULLERTON, Calif., Oct. 15 -- Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who was jailed for protecting a confidential source, presented an award Saturday to perhaps the most famous confidential source -- the man known as "Deep Throat."