Thursday, June 29, 2006

Small Things



Some things in life are so small that you risk to overlook them. Watching those small things can be really fascinating.
Good that life sometimes provides markers to point out a small thing.

Nevertheless this sign looked a little bit strange to me. It says “Attention! Ants” and a few metres behind the sign stood a group of horses.
I’m sure that life sometimes also tries to cheat on you.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Flip-Flop Coincidences



Last week I shot this picture of a lost Flip Flop in the gutter on a street in Munich. The scene seemed very poetic for me (but maybe I simply was in a melancholic mood). I don’t know yet whether there’s a kind of Flip-Flop conspiracy (like the one with the gloves). But that’s not what I want to point out here.

The point is that today I got the following postcard.



The two motives look way to similar to me. I showed my picture to no one until now. What’s going on here? Can this just be just coincidence or did I miss something?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hail and Sun


5 minutes after the hail storm

Today there was a summer storm. After a sunny noon all of a sudden big clouds appeared and it started to hail like hell. We have a room in the office with glass façade exposed to the storm side and it sounded like a battle with hundreds of machine guns. It’s unexplainable to me how such icy things can develop in mid air - in summer. I wonder whether there are things like hail in sunny countries like Mexico, too.
Two hours later the clouds were gone and the sun rules the sky again. We were even able to sit outside in front of a restaurant and have dinner in the setting sun.

It’s good to see that one can expect sun even after the strongest hail storm. Maybe it might need some time but one can count on it.


2 hours after the hail storm

Monday, June 26, 2006

Trash Shoe



What the hell is going on here? The hiking boots stood orphaned beside the trash bin - no one near. Did the owner walk away on bare feet? Why to throw away boots in a public area?
I think there’s a secret behind it.
The shoes look like they had gone many many miles with their owner. A long way probably packed with experiences, new views to things and surely some draw backs. The owner can dispose the old boots but a small treasure of memories of some of the miles will remain, though.
Apart from that I don’t believe that trash is a useless thing. Trash can tell a lot about people, society and life and is often very poetic for me - like this trash shoes.

By the way: “trash shoe” sounds very similar to “treasure”. Maybe that’s no coincidence.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Soccer Love Generation


After writing the long posting about Song-Tracking I don’t feel like writing another long one now.
Yesterday I watched the match of the German team versus Sweden - like almost every one in Germany. Our team won and this was another mental Ectasy pill for the german people. We had a great afternoon and a great night celebrating. This is not the restrained Germany I used to know. The people seem to be exchanged completely. You know what? I love the new Germany much more than the old one. I hope we can preserve this spirit as long as possible - beyond dropping out of the tournament respectively finishing it.

Here are a few impressions of my day. I will upload more photos as soon as possible (at the moment I have problems with my server).




Soccer is a belly-thing


Is there a reason why all german girls are wearing shirts with
the number of Michael Ballack?









Friday, June 23, 2006

Summer in the City

There is a song called “Sommer in der Stadt” (Summer in the City) by a german band called “Spider Murphy Gang” which sings in Bavarian slang. The song is from the early 80s and terribly old fashioned. It’s one of my favorite pieces of music for hot summer days, though.
The song is about a summer day in Munich and a guy spending the day on his favorite summer time places in the city instead of going to work.

To give you an idea I tried to translate the lyrics into English. It’s a very simple translation so don’t expect any poetry in it (the original Bavarian lyrics can be found here).


Summer in the City (by Spider Murphy Gang)

I run naked through the English Garden
sit high on Monopteros Hill.
I buy a mug of beer at the Chinese Tower
and stroll with you on Leopold Street.

I sip iced coffee at the Rialto,
and check up the young bunnies.
I think my boss has to come along without me today
because I favor to lie in the grass with you.

It's summer again, it's summer again,
summer in the city.

I run through the fountain on Stachus Square just for fun,
walk dripping wet through the pedestrian area.
I watch japanese tourists
during the play of the chimes on Marienplatz.

I go by bike to the Isar river for a swim,
lie on the pebbles on the beach.
I sit in the beer garden out in the Waldwirtschaft
extinguishing my sun burn with a mug of beer.

It's summer again, it's summer again,
summer in the city.


Why am I telling you this? I took a day off on Friday and my idea was to drive to Munich and follow the lyrics of the song. The plan was to visit as much places from the song as possible. The circumstances were very good because it’s really a wonderful summer this year in Bavaria. I enjoyed the day very much. Here is my mission-log.

English Garden
One of the biggest inner-city parks in the World - even bigger than Central Park in NYC. If I’d live in Munich it would be my favorite place. Old trees, big meadows to sit on and a very relaxed atmosphere. Although it’s a official park many people use the English Garden to practise nudism. Since the 60s no one seems to be upset. I preferred to keep my clothes on, though.


The English Garden

Monopteros Hill
A small hill in the park with the replica of an ancient temple on top. I lay on the slope, watched the city silhouette in the background and enjoyed the sun.


The Temple on the Monopteros Hill


Chilling under a tree and watching the leaves.

The Chinese Tower
The beer garden around a chinese pagode is one of the biggest of Munich. For genuine beer gardens it’s common to bring your own food and to buy only a mug of beer. This makes the place much more cosy because some people bring even tableclothes. I had a nice talk with an old man painting the Chinese Tower. I liked the fact that even artists have their mug of beer beside the paint brush. For me it’s not like alcoholism but like a special way of enjoying life. I checked out several faces and came to the conclusion that everyone looked very satisfied. Not so common for Germans.


The Beer Garden Around the Chinese Tower


Bavarian Way of Life




Leopold Street
A long street with lots of expensive boutiques. After important matches of the World Cup the street is crowded by party people.


Leopold Street

Café Rialto
It was difficult to find the café the song refers to but finally I managed it. It’s not a very special place but I liked to sip my iced coffee (although I don’t drink coffee in general). The song tells about checking out girls from the terrace of the Rialto and now I know why. It’s unbelievable how many pretty girls seem to life in Munich. It was good that I had a cold drink to cool down.

Iced Coffee at the Rialto


The Fountain on Stachus Square
Stachus was one of the most congested squares in Munich. Today the cars are in the background and there’s a big shallow fountain instead tempting to walk through. There was a man on the border of the fountain enjoying the spray of water. He seemed to love it.


The Fountain on Stachus Square


Man Enjoying The Spray


Pedestrian Area
As I walked through the pedestrian area from Stachus to Marienplatz I realized that even the very catholic city of Munich is worshipping other gods at the moment - I guess the Soccer World Cup has something to do with it.


World Cup Gods


Marienplatz
The square in front of the town hall is crowded with tourists every day at noon because of the chime play on the façade of the town hall. For me the chimes were boring and I concentrated on the japanese tourists as said in the song. It was funny to shoot pictures in the opposite direction of all others.


Japanese Tourists on Marienplatz

The Beach of the Isar River
That was the only one part of the song I missed - too much lyrics, too little time.

Beer Garden “Waldwirtschaft”
I wasn’t aware that the beer garden is located in the other end of the city and it required almost on hour to get there. But my mission was clear and finally I didn’t regret it. The place was beautiful. It’s located on top of an forested valley. On the one side I had a few old men playing cool Dixieland music and as soon as I turned my head I looked over the tops of the forest trees.
I had a hard fight with my giant bretzel and it was a good end point for my mission.


Beer Garden “Waldwirtschaft” - Sitting Above the Forest

During the day it was nice to feel like a conspirator. You just look like a tourist but inside you are on a secret mission no one knows of. It was the first time that I tried to track back a song and I liked the experience.

On my way home I stopped by the Olympic Park in Munich and visited the Fan Fest. Also a very nice event but I want to spare you with details because the posting is already very long.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bruno?



Beside the World Cup there are few other topics in Germany these days. One of the alternatives is the hunt for a wild bear. Of course there ain’t any wild bears in Germany normally. A few of them live in Austria. One of them, called Bruno, wandered across the border and is now sneaking around in the Alps. Sometimes he kills sheeps, he robs beehives and last week he nearly caused an car accident. The prime minister of Bavaria stated that Bruno is a “Problem Bear” and a thread for the people and therefore can be shot at any time. The authorities imported special sniffer dogs from Scandinavia for the hunt for Bruno. Until now Bruno escaped every time the hunters got near him.

I saw a dog in Nuremberg and for a moment I thought that it was one of the sniffer dogs hunting for Bruno and that the bear was finally caught. But after a few seconds I realized I was wrong.

Hey Bruno, I wish you good luck for your bear future. I’m sure that there is a future even for problem bears like you. Take care.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

4 Days of Colored Wash




The end of my companies’ fiscal year is near. The folks in our administration are very busy with the annual stocktaking and with double checking all our monthly reports.
The girl from the administration told me that there is a mismatch between my vacation sheet and my monthly working hours sheet.
Finally it turned out that they took 4 days of vacation from my account by mistake.
That means that I now have 4 more days of vacation that I didn’t expected. Whow! That’s almost a whole week.
What to do with that days?
I think I’ll use them for something I wouldn’t usually do.
For example I could watch my washing machine working for a long time. I never did it longer than 5 minutes until now.
The short program for colored wash needs almost exactly 1 hour. Assumed that a workday has 8 working hours and that I do not change the load of the washing machine I could watch 32 whole program sequences. That’s quite a lot.
Well, maybe I just use the days for being lazy. But that would be the worst of all possible activities.
Any proposals?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Flip Flop Nation




The third Word Cup match of the German team. The opponent was Ecuador. Although the match started during working hours at 4pm we went to the Adidas Factory Outlet.. This time our two biggest bosses joined us. It’s not common that one has the freedom to leave the office for some soccer match, so I really appreciated that. It was quite funny to scream together with the big guys.
In the beginning it was sunny and very hot. 25 minutes before the end (the score was already 3:0 for Germany) a really strong rain started all of a sudden. Most of the audience hid in the parking garage but only approximately 100 fans stayed outside. Even our lot vanished more and more and in the end only 3 of us remained in the pouring rain. Although the rain stopped 5 minutes prior to the end of the game and the sun (and the rest of the audience) came out again, the 20 minutes in the rain were the funniest ones. We went wet to the bone within minutes and the drippy crowd screamed and sung all the time. My favorite action was yelling as loud as I could towards heaven “And this you call rain?”.
As I walked around after the match the wet people looked the happiest. I think this was not because Germany won but because we had the opportunity to jump around in strong rain and to get wet without being branded as complete idiots. It was like being beamed back to childhood for 20 minutes. I loved it.
The most practical piece of clothing during this water-viewing seemed to be Flip-Flops. It’s amazing how much of them you find as soon as you start concentrating on them. No I weared leather shoes. Probably I’m an idiot, anyhow.

A few more pictures can be found here... (But not much because I had to hide away the camera during the rain).







PS: Two postings about rain in a row are just coincidence. Actually these days are very sunny here in Germany.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Water Streets




A short rain on a hot summer day.
I love the smell of evaporizing rain water on asphalt heated by the sun.
A few hours after the rain I realized why I love this smell so much: It reminds me on my childhood.
In grew up in a small village. There was a very small well nearby in the middle of an tiny asphalted square. In the summer we often played around that well. I can remember that on hot days it was almost impossible to reach the well because we walked around bare foot all day and the streets were incredibly hot. As soon as we conquered the well, we created a track of water on the deserted street to be able to walk around. The water got warm within seconds and vanished within minutes. And it disappeared with exactly the same smell like my nose detected today. I just missed to put out my shoes and to walk around on a water street.
Although my childhood is gone I will look whether the old well is still there when I visit my village the next time. I’ll let you know.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Croatian Reflections




Another World Cup match at the stadium in Nuremberg: Croatia vs. Japan.
The sun was too hot to scream, the crowd consisted of 90% Croatians and the remaining 10% Japanese were very restrained and disciplined (exactly the way one would expect from Japanese). The match was boring for me (0:0) and so I shot some pics and went home again. Well, probably it’s not possible to have such a great atmosphere like Mexico-Iran or England-Trinidad & Tobago all the time.

If you want, you can click through some pictures here...

Car Conductor



While driving to Nuremberg I switched the car radio to a station with classical music. They played “By The Beautiful Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss.
Usually I don’t listen to classical music but this time it was different. Dunno why. Today was a very hot day so I opened the windows of the car. From minute to minute I pumped up the volume a little bit more and in the end I had a kind of classical-boom-car. Then I started conducting to the music with great gestures. Of course I have no idea how to conduct a waltz but for some reason the orchestra played great, though. Too bad that I only had one hand available for conducting and I have to admit that the lectern in a concert hall has some advantages compared with a car.
It was a great performance but unfortunately my orchestra got no applause because I was on my own again. I’d really appreciate to share such moments with some friends.


PS: It’s not so easy to shoot pictures with the cell phone camera when you simultaneously have to drive your car and conduct an orchestra.

Fake Punks




In general I like Punks - although I don’t give them any coins when they try to bum for money. Simply I’m not a real fan of the drunken, smelly sort of Punks.
Today I saw a group of strange exemplars of No-Future-Followers. They were very young, the girls had perfect Make-Up, their clothes looked like new stuff from a Punk mail order catalogue and they were not smelly - quite the contrary.
The hardest thing for me was that they didn’t bum for money - in fact they owned a digital camera. By the way, that’s why they don’t look in my camera on the picture. They gave the camera to a passer-by and asked him to shoot them.
It’s hard for me to stick to my basic principles of how the world works if one can’t rely on anything - not even on smelly folks with mohawk haircuts.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Facade

My favorite facade in Nuremberg. It’s the rounded storefront of a Museum - the “Neues Museum” which shows modern art. I love the reflections on the rounded glass and already shot many photos over the years. Today was the first time at night with a tripod.





Friday, June 16, 2006

Host

In these days the world is looking at Germany because of the World Cup. There are many fans and tourists from other countries here in Nuremberg.
Today it came to my mind that millions of strangers will form their opinion about Germany based on how the Germans behave as hosts. I thought about this after a walk through the city on which I had a nice talk to two guys from Scotland. Usually I don’t talk a lot to strangers, independent whether they are Germans or not. But newly it’s a little different. I like making contacts with fans from other countries.
It turned out that one of the guys even works here since one year (although he didn’t speak any German).
Hey guy - in case you read this: Contact me if you want and we can have a few drinks together (alcoholic or not) and talk about party places in Nuremberg.
You know what? I think I did a acceptable job as a host today - and that without being aware of it.


In the last few years the sign counted down the days until the World Cup.
Currently it counts the days until the finals - 23 left.

Chairs

On the market square in Nuremberg there’s a nice fountain, called “Schöner Brunnen” (= the beautiful fountain). It’s one of the very few medieval sights that survived the war. Currently the fountain is surrounded by a tower of old plastic chairs that were sorted out of the soccer stadium. It’s part of an art campaign that accompanies the World Cup.
Most of the citizens really hate the chair tower. They say it hides the old fountain and looks like a pile of trash. Probably that’s the reason why I really like it.
For me art has to provoke and to create antipodes. It’s amazing for me how trash like old chairs can mutate as soon as you put the stuff into a different context. To be honest, a lot of ordinary trash looks very poetic for me - even without declarate it as art.
Actually I walked around in Nuremberg because the night was very warm and I had no other plans. I took my tripod with me and therefore the chair fountain was a good target.


The disguise of the “Schöner Brunnen” by Olaf Metzel

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Missed

Today the fans of England and Trinidad & Tobago and I had one thing in common: we had a problem with missing something.
I watched the game in the middle of thousands of fans in Nuremberg and tried to shoot photos whenever a team missed the goal in a spectacular way.







Afterwards I strolled through the city of Nuremberg. It was overcrowded and one could hear “Engeland, Engeland” singings all over the place. Great atmosphere again and the city looked very nice with all the celebrating people. Germany sells itself very well at the moment.
That was when I missed something. I walked by a man and a woman in the middle of the crowd. The eyes of the woman and my eyes met and for some reason neither me nor she was able to look away. She was tall with very short blonde curls and looked great. She walked by and after two seconds I turned around towards her and saw that she also turned around. I walked on and after five more seconds I turned around again and so did she. I stopped, she stopped, we looked at each other, she smiled, I tried to smile, she waved with her hand, I waved back - and then I walked away.
Shit! Why did I walk away? Am I totally gaga? Well, on the one hand I noticed that she was with a guy - maybe her boyfriend. Well, actually it’s impossible that the guy was her boyfriend when she smiles at other men that way. Damn. I was insomuch surprised that I wouldn’t have known what to say, anyway. Finally I’m in kind of an asexual phase at the moment and therefore supposed to avoid such eye contacts.
Afterwards I though about whether I regret my decision or not. Yes, I do. I wont see the her again and I don’t even know whether she is German or English. Chapter closed.
But missing keeps a unsatisfying thing. At least a totally unknown woman turned her head towards me and that was a very cool feeling. I can’t remember the last time that this happened.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bad Signs



On my way from the office to my usually parking lot I pass a vendor for used cars.
Instead of license plates the used cars have signs with little advertisements like “With full service history” or “Funding right here”. I walked by this signs very often but until today I wasn’t aware that almost every sign has very obvious typos in it. Typos of the kind that make you goose skin.

The signs doesn’t look like the owner of the car shop had made them himself. I guess the signs were produced in a professional sign-shop.
A car vendor not that familiar with German spelling is one thing but a sign-maker not being aware about the bullshit he is producing is another.
Economy in Germany can’t be that bad if even bad sign makers can survive. Well, actually I don’t know whether the unknown sign shop still exists.
The car vendor looks funny and friendly, therefore I think about whether I should give him a hint. But I’m not sure yet.
In the future I will enjoy the special signs every day after work when I return to my own car.