Monday, February 26, 2007

Park Poetry 2005

After writing the posting about the yellow books and how I hated Goethe's Faust I remembered the summer of 2005.
For a reason I forgot, some friends and me decided to learn the most famous piece of Faust I by heart. The chapter is called "Osterspaziergang" (easter walk). It tells about the first hike of the scientist Faust after spending several months in his dark office. The poem describes how Faust is overwhelmed by the colors, the sun and the happy people around.
So we learned the poem just for fun. We gave us 2 weeks as deadline. Surprisingly all four of us learned the poem. As far as I remember I used the time while brushing my teeth every day for learning some more lines.

We met in a public park in the city of Fuerth on a hot summer eve, had picnic and recited our poem.
The guys nearby really thought we were a group of actors and practising for a play. Really funny.
Later on, some of the folks we shared the meadow with asked us to join them. One of them played the guitar and we sang classic rock songs very loud (and very odd) until midnight.

The funny thing is that we created short movies with my old digital camera. I dug in my old image archive and used the opportunity to upload my very first movie to youtube. Stupidly youtube did something wrong with the aspect ratio and also the sound is not in snyc with the image.
But I want to share it with you, though:

If you don't like the out-of-sync thing: Here is the video for download as well. You need the XVid codec to watch it.

Oh, just for the sake of completeness: Here is the Osterspaziergang:

Vom Eise befreit sind Strom und Bäche
Durch des Frühlings holden, belebenden Blick,
Im Tale grünet Hoffnungsglück;
Der alte Winter, in seiner Schwäche,
Zog sich in rauhe Berge zurück.
Von dort her sendet er, fliehend, nur
Ohnmächtige Schauer körnigen Eises
In Streifen über die grünende Flur.
Aber die Sonne duldet kein Weißes,
Überall regt sich Bildung und Streben,
Alles will sie mit Farben beleben;
Doch an Blumen fehlts im Revier,
Sie nimmt geputzte Menschen dafür.
Kehre dich um, von diesen Höhen
Nach der Stadt zurück zu sehen!
Aus dem hohlen finstern Tor
Dringt ein buntes Gewimmel hervor.
Jeder sonnt sich heute so gern.
Sie feiern die Auferstehung des Herrn,
Denn sie sind selber auferstanden:
Aus niedriger Häuser dumpfen Gemächern,
Aus Handwerks- und Gewerbesbanden,
Aus dem Druck von Giebeln und Dächern,
Aus der Straßen quetschender Enge,
Aus der Kirchen ehrwürdiger Nacht
Sind sie alle ans Licht gebracht.
Sieh nur, sieh! wie behend sich die Menge
Durch die Gärten und Felder zerschlägt,
Wie der Fluß in Breit und Länge
So manchen lustigen Nachen bewegt,
Und, bis zum Sinken überladen,
Entfernt sich dieser letzte Kahn.
Selbst von des Berges fernen Pfaden
Blinken uns farbige Kleider an.
Ich höre schon des Dorfs Getümmel,
Hier ist des Volkes wahrer Himmel,
Zufrieden jauchzet groß und klein:
Hier bin ich Mensch, hier darf ichs sein!

I even found an english translation:

From the ice they are freed, the stream and brook,
By the Spring's enlivening, lovely look;
The valley's green with joys of hope;
The Winter old and weak ascends back to the rugged mountain slope.
From there, as he flees, he downward sends an impotent shower of icy hail
Streaking over the verdant vale.
Ah! but the Sun will suffer no white,
Growth and formation stir everywhere,
Twould fain with colours make all things bright,
Though in the landscape are no blossoms fair.
Instead it takes gay-decked humanity.
Now turn around and from this height,
Looking backward, townward see.
Forth from the cave-like, gloomy gate crowds a motley and swarming array.
Everyone suns himself gladly today.
The Risen Lord they celebrate,
For they themselves have now arisen From lowly houses' mustiness,
From handicraft's and factory's prison,
From the roof and gables that oppress,
From the bystreets' crushing narrowness, from the churches' venerable night,
They are all brought out into light.
See, only see, how quickly the masses scatter through gardens and fields remote;
How down and across the river passes so many a merry pleasure-boat.
And over-laden, almost sinking, the last full wherry moves away.
From yonder hill's far pathways blinking, flash to us colours of garments gay.
Hark! Sounds of village joy arise;
Here is the people's paradise,
Contented, great and small shout joyfully:
"Here I am Man, here dare it to be!"

Hmmm, I think I still can recite it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ice Surfing

Click on photo to enlarge

Today I've been to Munich to visit an exhibition with photos of Andreas Gursky. It was very amazing (except the thousands of people). As always, I was not allowed to shoot pictures inside the museum.
If you have a chance to visit the exhibition: Do it! [More information...]

Beside the museum there's a small river called the "Eisbach" ("ice creek"). It has a spot with a constant wave that is frequently used by surfers and kayakers.
Yes, frequently. Even in winter.
I saw some guys in full body neopren suits playing with the wave.
The air temperature was about 12°C (53°F) with rain now and then and I guess the water had cosy 10°C (50°C). The Eisbach has it's name not only by chance. I know from my scuba dives in flooded quarries here in Germany how cold water can be and I can tell you that my neprene suit is much thicker than the thin ones of the surfers.
That guys have my full admiration.

The episode teached me that there's almost always a way to do what you want to do - even a surf ride in the middle of a big city in winter.

I already started thinking about what "I" really want to do. No concrete ideas yet.

Click on photo to enlarge

Click on photo to enlarge

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Yellow Books

Every pupil in Germany knows these little yellow books. One has to read several of them during the years at school. The books are called "Reclam" and there is one for almost every classic play, important poem or famous novel.
I can remember reading "Faust I" from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 7th grade. We had to read a few chapters every day as homework. At the beginning of every lesson the teacher asked one person to stand in front of the class and tell about the last chapters and the lyrical feelings that reading invoked.
I really hated that rhyming stuff.
The good thing was that the teacher chose me for interpreting the very first chapter. I don't remember what mark I got but I didn't care. You know why? Our teacher, Mr. Neubig, never chose the same guy twice. From this day on I stopped reading the yellow book and felt like a free man whenever I looked at my comrades who were busy to browse the book in the last minutes before every German lesson.
Instead of reading I scribbled little drawings on the cover of the Reclam book - this task was very popular, too. Some books looked very amazing.

If you would have told me back in those days that I'd buy Reclam books just for pleasure I would have laughted out loud. Apart from that I already look forward to attend to a staging of Goethe's Faust I in summer although I already saw it.
Well, being an boring adult changes things - sometimes.
I got such a lot valuable hints for understanding literature at school and I simply didn't pay attention at all. It's such a pity to waste school lessons to kids - I had to become an grown up to be able to appreciate it. Too late.

I really have to search the attic of my parent's house for my old painted Reclam books.

Oh, by the way and just to prevent you from getting a wrong impression of me: The pile of yellow Reclam books on the photo is not my own - I simply shot it in a book store.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Panic Illumination

You are shivering, your heart speeds up, your palms get wet, you realize that you get goose flesh, you look hastily from side to side.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could just switch on your mental panic illumination to get rid of these feelings?

This switch was in a cinema in Nuremberg that is usually closed to the public. Today it was the location for a very nice modern opera-like play.
I'll tell you about it tomorrow. At the moment I'm too tired.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I did it! I survived again. Today it's the end of carnival.
One of the "funny" German songs during the carnival parties is called "Alles hat ein Ende nur die Wurst hat zwei" ("Everything has an end but only the sausage has two"). For me one end is more than enough. Now the funny time begins.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Not Funny

Today is Carnival Monday and I realized that I'm not a fun guy. Not at all.
Carnival in my region means

  • Carnival people are organized in clubs with constitution and managing committee

  • The main parties are called "Prunksitzung" (= pomp conference)

  • The party people wear uniforms (not kidding) during these conferences

  • On stage of these conferences they have desks for the management like on the annual general meeting of a big company

  • One of the highlights of such an event is the dance of the guard girls wearing a kind of uniforms and short skirts

  • Second highlight is a ballet dance of men dressed like girls - every year.

  • After each joke the speaker tries to make the band make a "tata tata tata" noise to indicate that this was supposed to be funny.

Why the hell do people think they have to be funny only because the calendar says so. And why is it funny to wear a stupid paper hat?

It seems like I missed something but I prefer to stay angry and not funny.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Completeness Daisy

Only for the sake of completeness: In a last week's posting I wrote that only a daisy is missing for the proof that spring has arrived.
Today I found it and it's small brother.

Stone View

Whenever you look through a window or an opening in general you get only a part of the world behind. The reality is restricted to the small view port of the window. All things outside your view doesn't matter .
For me it's similar to shooting photos and looking through the camera's eye.
I'm not sure yet whether it's good or bad to look at the world that way.
On the one hand you concentrate on very few things by clipping out all the visual "noise" around. On the other hand it's hard to understand the big picture if you only look at details.
Hm, I guess I stick on concentrating on the spot view - I'm not very good in understanding the whole story about life.
Although - at least I could try to widen my view whenever I see something interesting to find out whether the big picture is as fascinating as the detail.

The photo was shot through a small opening in the balustrade of an old bridge in Nuremberg.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Wash and Grow

Click on photo to enlarge

Today I walked by a dry-cleaning shop in Nuremberg and saw the big washing machines inside. I entered the shop and asked the owner whether I can shoot a few photos.
For some reason it was beyond the imagination of the owner why the hell one wants to make photos of washing machines. It took me a while to convice him that I do it only as an end in itself and that I'm not from the trade control department or even from the competition.
Mr. launderette junior was very curious and thus he ended up being shot, too.

A few years ago there were ads in the TV for a shampoo called Wash and Go. For this kid being raised in a launderette it's more like "Wash and Grow", isn't it?


A few days ago I saw a photo on one of my favorite blogs. It showed a sentence sprayed to a wall using a stencil.
The sentence sayed "It's only Love - Give it away".
These stencil things are very fascinating for me. Not only that I love sprayed messages in general, it's the fact that there are probably a lot more copies of that sentence because the creator made a stencil for it.

It remembered me of a photo I shot in January 2007 in Berlin. Also a sprayed thing, also with stencil and also about love.
I liked the fact that someone added a few characters to it using a crayon. It changed the meaning completely and I wondered whether the crayon guy was lovesick or freshly divorced or just realistic.
My only hope is that the stencil guy created more of his sentences than the crayon guy was able to invert.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Silk and Stars

A short term invitation to a Jazz concert. Me and Jazz? I was a little bit reluctant because the last time I listened to Live Jazz it was in a church and some folks played strange Free-Jazz sounds on the church organ. My ears were not used to it and therefore I didn't like it much.
This time it was completely different.
The band "Seide" (= "Silk") from Nuremberg played smooth stuff and the voice of the 23 year old singer/composer Sabine Müller was absolutely stunning - and I mean really stunning.
The location was also very special. The gig happened at the planetarium in Nuremberg.
Imagine an almost dark round room, you lean back in a cushioned chair and listen to that beautiful voice and above you there is a black night sky with thousands of stars created by a projector that looked like an alien robot.
Well, actually I'm supposed to declarate this as very kitschy. But this time I found myself sitting there with a big grin on my face because I loved every second.
The best thing was that I had my starry sky experience while it was raining outside.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The First and the Last

Yesterday my spring started. During a little walk in my lunch break I spotted my first crocus of the year. That's always a big moment for me and can only be topped by the exploration of the first daisy. That crocus already almost convinced me that the cold rainy winter weather is about to end.
Only one minute later I saw that umbrella beside the path. Someone must have thrown it away because the rainy season was officially ended after the most recent rainfall.
Damn, how much evidence does one need to believe in the arrival of spring?
I'm all set now.

To be honest, in the evening it rained cats and dogs - but the clouds can't cheat on me any longer - now I see through the big plan.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pawlow Gummi Bear Lunch

During the whole lunch my colleagues talked about Gummi Bears. No idea why. But all of a sudden I could almost smell Gummi Bears in my mouth. I didn't care about my vegetarian lasagne in front of me any longer. Only Gummi Bears counted.
On my way back to the office I stopped by an fuel station and bought a can of Red Bull. For me it smells like liquid Gummi Bears. Ice cold Gummi Bears. Absolutely delicious.
It was not that easy to deal with all the caffein in my blood during the afternoon but it was worth it.
Do you know the Pawlow dog? A scientist named Pawlow made experiments with a dog in the early 20th century. He rang a bell and fed the dog afterwards. After a few days the dog started to dribble only by the sound of the bell.

I felt a little bit like that dog. Someone speaks of Gummi Bears and I dribble for Red Bull. What kind of a human am I?

I already wrote about Red Bull in last October. My life goes in circles, doesn't it?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Perfume Music

Click on photo to enlarge

A street musician in front of a perfume store.
The mixture of decadent luxury and street musicians playing for a few coins looked very absurd to me.
The guy played wonderful music but he looked like out of this material world - like black and white in a colored perfume world.
Sometimes our civilization is kind of pervert, isn't it?

Click on photo to enlarge

I loved to look at his little sticks. They danced like hell on his instrument (no idea what it is called). His play reminded me on the flying piano fingers I told you about a few weeks ago (here is the posting I'm speaking of).

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bridge Spotting

In my previous posting I told you about the roof floor of that parking garage in Nuremberg. It's not only perfect for sightseeing but also for watching people in the pedestrian area below me.
I love glancing at the Fleischbrücke (Meat Bridge) and the folks crossing it. Absolutely no one notices me in my aerie.

Most of the times I try to find out whether the people look happy or sad or lonesome.
The guy on the first photo was probably lonesome. He sat there for ages only sipping from his beer from time to time.
I wonder how I would look like if someone would watch me.


Click on photo to enlarge

This shot was taken from one of my favorite places in Nuremberg. I love to stand on the top floor of a parking garage in the middle of the city. One has a very nice view above the city up to the castle hill, the Sebaldus Church and the old brigdes across the river. It's a pity that the roof of the parking garage isn't a mandatory stop for all tourists. On the other hand - maybe it's better to keep it a secret.

Whenever I look across the city from the roof of the garage it comes to my mind that Nuremberg once was one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. It consisted of the biggest medieval town centre in Europe with many old buildings, small alleys and an atmosphere in which you could still soak up the spirit from centuries long ago.

Well, I had to read about this in books because almost nothing is left from the old pride. Nuremberg was destroyed more than 90% in World War II. Can you imagine 90%? The city was literally whiped out.
I get angry every time I think about it. The past of this town died irrecoverable only because an a**hole with a stupid mustache and his gang of murderers started a war against the whole world.

The photo is an HDR and the result of approx. 10 combined images.

There's something more I like about this place. I'll tell you soon about it.

Inverse Gratefulness

I saw this banner on the facade of the church from the previous posting. The URL means "". Although the web site doesn't contain helpful content I guess it's about a religious campaign and about showing gratfulness to god.
Well, maybe the banner works quite the contrary.
The reason is the top level domain ".net".
In Bavarian and Franconian slang the word "net" means "not". Therefore if you read the URL out loud it sounds like "i-thank-you-not" and I doubt that this is the intention of the inventor. Probably the author of the banner has no idea about the local slang.

The banner made me smile anyway.
Just kidding - not.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Cosy Vegetables

A hike through Nuremberg on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
As always it was already too dark to shoot photos of people. That absence of light is what I hate most about the winter.
Nevertheless I strolled through the city. It was almost dark when I walked across the main market square.
The square was more or less abandoned. Only a few market stands were trying to sell their last vegetables.
The selling booth on the photo looked like an island of light lost in the middle of a dark cold evening. For a moment it seemed to be the most cosy place in sight. A good place to be if you're a tomato or a salad.

Oh, by the way: The church in the background is called "Frauenkirche" ("Church of our Lady"). Every year in advent a girl dressed like a tinsel angel steps on the balcony of the church and opens the world famous Christmas market called "Christkindelmarkt" by speaking some ceremonial words. I guess I'll write a few more words about a detail on that church in a separate posting.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Inflator Beer

What's the big deal about that wheat beer thing?
In Bavaria it's very popular to drink wheat beer out of this special glasses.
It's unbelievable difficult for me to fill the bottle into the glass. If you hold the glass wrong you end up only with white foam that wouldn't dissappear for ages.
You drink a few mouthful and you can literally feel how your belly inflates because of the yeast and all the sparkling gas in it. It's been a long while since my last wheat beer but I didn't like feeling like a balloon.
Probably it's a masculine thing to hang around with those playmate shaped glasses and inflated bellies and all the procedures to get the stuff out of your body again. OK, I have to admit, it sounds cool to order just a "Weizen" ("wheat") or even cooler a "Hefe" ("yeast").
Well, I'll stick to my water, Coke or hot lemon stuff, be uncool and avoid killing more brain cells than necessary.

Does this kind of beer exist outside of Bavaria (or let's see the German speaking countris), too? Any hints appreciated.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Single Show

Have you ever been to the movies and were the only visitor? I had my first time a few days ago.
One of my favorite movie theaters in Nuremberg is the "Roxy". I like it because it shows the movies in their original language (which is usually English).
I learned that in other non-english countries it's not as common as in Germany to have all english movies dubbed with german voices. It's almost impossible to see a movie without stupid german voices here. It kills almost all atmosphere.
OK, I get only two thirds of the plot when watching in English but I prefer that by far.
At the moment they show the film "Babel" with Cathe Blanchett and Brad Pitt at the Roxy. But only early at 5:45PM. One hasn't to be a clairvoyant to predict that the queue at the entrance would be relatively short.

Actually they were showing the movie only because of me that day. No one else wanted to see it. Whow.
I bought some cookies and I fisseled with the wrapping as loud as I could - nobody heard me. I sat as upright as I could - nobody behind me was blocked. I made loud voices when soaking the last drips of my Coke through the straw - no one cared. I shot photos of the theatre - no one was bothered by the flash.

But apart from making noises with straws I like to discuss a movie afterwards with friends - this aspect was missing.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Fridge Week - Sunday

This woman was kind of a fridge DJ. I shot the photo in a club in Chicago in November 2006.
A Live band played rock songs on stage. The band consisted only of men. Suddenly a unbelievable female voice took command. I needed some seconds to realize that the lady behind the bar fetched a microphone. The funny thing was that she didn't stop serving the customers while singing some Melissa Etheridge songs.
She had several very big fridges packed with beer behind her. In 10 second intervals she opened one of the frigdes, grabbed a bottle, fetched the cash from the customer, jumped to the next fridge and did it again - and never stopped singing.
Very cool.

This was the last posting for the fridge-week project. It was very funny and challenging for me to think about fridges every day. I still have a pool of ideas left sufficient for 1-2 more weeks. But I will stop here.

What I liked best was that during the week I found three comrades-in-arms for the fridge-project spreaded across Germany, New Zealand and Iceland. Unbelievable, isn't it?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Fridge Week - Saturday

A fridge with "geschlossen" ("locked") written on the glass door.
That's mean, isn't it?
You are damn thirsty and the bottle with cooled orange juice is just 20cm away but unreachable, though.

Well, at least the locking person wrote the word "locked" on it. It would be even worse If you want to have the juice and start fighting for hours with the frigging door because you simply don't know that it's locked.

To be honest, the fridge was completely empty. But why was it locked, then? I don't think that I will be able to solve this problem - I can live with it.

This posting is part of my Fridge-Week-Project. One refridgerator related photo per day for one week.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Fridge Week - Friday

No one is able to escape the armies of the black ones. They are everywhere - literally.

This posting is part of my Fridge-Week-Project. One refridgerator related photo per day for one week.

Backward detail

This is not a zoomed in version of the photo but the original
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Today I got my Retro-Adapter. It's just a small cheap neck ring for my digital camera. With this ring you can mount you lens to the camera in the opposite direction.
Why should one do that?
Well, this turns your normal lens into a kind of super macro lens. Very uncommon but very cool.
One has to do all the settings manually afterwards because the camera has no idea about what's going on with this back-side-front lens.

There are a lot of tricks necessary to set your lens to the right aperture value and you have to illuminate your target object with a very close torch light to see anything in the finder.

After the first few shots I thought: Hell, this is really close. I'm so exited about this neck ring that I can't resist posting one of my very first photos.
Ignore the bad sharpness and the not existing image composing.

It's a pity that I only have a few rotten bees to shoot.

This is a portion of the photo above.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Fridge Week: Thursday

Click on photo to enlarge

Today it was the icebox of my fridge. I visited the little black-white guy that lives there for a few months now. He is really pissed because his hometown is melting in increasing speed. Unbelievable that some politicians still walk around with their eyes closed.

I want to dedicate this posting to a person that fell in love with the black-white guys a few weeks ago during a vacation in the Antarctic (no kidding).
Hey you, I finally want to see your penguin pics! Get things going!

This posting is part of my Fridge-Week-Project. One refridgerator related photo per day for one week.

PS: I think this was the first time I actually tinkered something with the colored paper I bought thousands of years ago.