All knowledge I had regarding the Jackdaw, was the german diminuitive “Hupfdohle”, which I translated (possibly wrong) as Twinkle Toes, although that seems far to nice and tame in regards to the german word.

It never occured to me that the jackdaw is actually a very intelligent bird from the family of crows and if this would be the new edition of my WWF funded happy go lucky duh stuff about meh animals, then i would write what I initially intended to. But as I didn’t continue to write the text, as I really couldn’t think of a remotely funny connection between jackdaws and twinkle toes, I took a break and came back to it and to my senses a bit later.

So don’t worry, you are not going to learn about the incredibly intelligent jackdaw, nor will i indulge us in a prolongued discourse about the similarities of twinkle toes and “Hupfdohle”.

During the time I spent in Berleburg, I wrote quite a lot, but nothing that would remotely qualify as a blog post, bar the small rant on radio alarm clocks. The other texts were sort of self reflections in a personal journal fashion. I did however note down some things that seemed interesting enough to be developed into posts.

On the day I encountered the jackdaws there were 2 words on that list, one being the stupid bird, the other casemates and a speech impaired tour guide.

Now the latter will be definitly covered in post, being the highlight of that day. The birds? Uhm…..errr…I am still not sure how those birds made the list and the only explanation I have is …. dizziness.

Those little f******s made their home in the old castle wall drainage holes (hundreds) and looking up there, watching the fowl shooting into and out of those wall holes really made me dizzy.

Thinking back to that day in Dillenburg, there definitly were other memorable moments, excluding birds and the fabulous casemates.

Here is a short list of stuff concerning our Dillenburg trip, that are way cooler than flying shitters.

The magic of numbers ending in 2 :

The trips we did before consisted of five people filling 1 car and therefore making planning and car pooling a no-brainer. For this trip the number of people interested in tagging along, rose to 7 and even as many as 9, hinting for the need of a second car. Funnily enough, 10 minutes past departure time that saturday morning, Peter and I were standing alone in the parking lot. The otheres nowhere to be seen. Made us the 2-guy-road-trip (we still had a lot of fun).

Dillenburg:

Historic carcass timber framed city center, around 10-15 houses with a historic protestant church which made me loose faith in christianity a little bit. Why do you have your church closed in plain daylight? On a sunday?? Really??? A Tower in honour of William the Silent, Prince of Orange, who lived in one of the largest fortifications in middle europe in, yes you guessed it, Dillenburg. Castle gone, Tower built on the hill, now decorated with a nice statue and tulips, planted by her majesty, the dutch queen Trixie, herself. Nothing else.

William the Silent:

He was dutch, orange, had two lions for a short time, married to Anna van Egmont and wasn’t fond of the spanish and Jan Rubens at all.

Jan Rubens:

Father of Peter Paul Rubens, lover of Anna van Egmont and tennant of a prison cell near William the Silents lions.

Siegerländer Krüstchen:

Tasty verbal challenge for english native speakers, consisting out of a  famous Schnitzel on toast with a fried egg on top and paired with chips, mmmhmmm yummy.

Imperial eagle wine:

Wine bottles with an eagle on the lable looking very much like the eagle being used in germany for 12 years in the last century. Arian grape juice? I was gobsmacked.

So with this variety of attractions, that made the visit to Dillenburg a memorable one, I don’t have the slightest clue, why the jackdaw stuck in my mind.

Reading: The gunslinger – Stephen King

Music Suggestion: Weekend Rapture – Bright White Lightning

Ok, to start with, I am not a morning person, never was, never will be.

But, when I have to get up at a pre-defined time, there are certain factors, which have to be taken into consideration.

One –Don’t set the clock to a time prior to the designated wake up time and then snooze your way to the finish line … This Isn’t cool in any book.

Two – Don’t choose a terrifying sound as your wake up tone. Nobody will have the slightest rest of good humor, will or mood in its body, if woken up with a 120db fire horn or the screeching sound of a metal grinder.

Three – On the other hand, a soothing, mellow and unintrusive sound won’t help you either. While this will most certainly ease your oozing daytime day time tiredness, plaguing you lately, it also will most definitely be bad for your blood pressure, because there is going to be a lot of rushing, once you wake up not because the alarm clock told you too, but because you just drifted out of late morning dreamland. Huh? Alarm?

Four – Use simple beeping sounds … you know? Those minimalistic analogue dial clocks, black body, white dials, light and yes, a snooze function, you can use by pressing down the whole clock, are great little wake up helpers. I, myself own one of those. Or simple and short instrumental riffs, should you be part of the mobile phone alarm clock crowd… (da dada da dum da dum da dumusuallydoesthetrick).

Five – Don’t, really don’t, under any circumstance , I really beg of you .. don’t use radio alarm clocks.

Why, you ask? I’ll tell you why.

They are shit.Pure evil. Honestly. Not your regular awwwww, look, a radio alarm clock … they are a bit silly, aren’t they?

Nooo, as innocent as they may seem, thy really are the big shit. They provoke anger, aggression and hatred within everyone indirectly affected. They really do.

If there would be anything, you could compare them to, it would be the malevolence of conscious snoring! Yup, snoring on purpose to piss other people off. That’s how bad they are.

Why you ask? I’ll tell you why.

Too many variables, that’s why.

For further clarification and to prove this is not just some random ranting from my side, let me give you this little example. I didn’t make this up or just overheard it somewhere. No, Sir. First hand experience ftw.

Let me first state, that the baddie in this story, aka the owner of the radioalarm clock, is a really nice guy and in every other aspect a really polite person. Secondly, I snore, sometimes more sometimes less, but mostly I do  and am profoundly sorry for doing it.

Currently I find myself in the situation, having to share my room with a person I don’t know. We will have to share this room for several weeks (and before you get any stupid ideas ….I am in a hospital not prison).

In this hospital, there are rules, one of them being, you don’t go to bed when you are tired, you go to bed at 10.30 … no questions asked. Before we dive into the matter at hand, lets meet the contestants.

Right Corner, me, big guy, 45, good natured with a knack for alternative rock, armed with one of those design classic Braun alarm clocks. In the right corner, well, the other guy, 58, sales man, football (soccer) enthusiast armed with the radio clock of evil.

Variable 1 : Musical preference

There are different tastes out there and when two people of the same age meet there is quite a big chance, while sharing the same age, they don’t share the same taste in music. When two people from different generations meet (13 years difference is a considerable amount of time), it is even more unlikely, that they like the same music.

Variable 2 : Daily rhythm

Wandering around on this planet for some years, doing the job you do, doing the things you like, will lead to a distinctive daily rhythm and as you get older, the individual variance gets bigger, totally normal.

Variable 3 : Sleeping preference

Some need to wind down before they sleep …others are so wound down they don’t need to. Something similar is true for waking up. Some get up at the first beep, some snooze once and others have the thing going for hours, while playing dead.

If you take those 3 together and mix in the 2 contestants, it either results in murder or separation.

The latter happened to us. I got a single room after 3 weeks of audible torture and we managed to stay friends.

So do yourself a favor and just smash that thing in the trash before it sparks actual violence directed at you!

Music suggestion:  Sixteen Saltines – Jack White

Reading at the moment ; The Gunslinger – Stephen King

As I am not sure, how or if I am going to write about my visit to Bad Berleburg last week, here’s a little joke from the past.

After my studies of medicine ended prematurely , I started to learn Information Technology at the Uni in Fulda.

It was supposed to be a temporary stepping stone and I never planned to finish the course. That plan was executed to perfection with my move to the UK.

At the time though, 3 1/2 years after the german re-unification, this area, which in the good old times of the cold war and the shadow of the former iron curtain still visible in our thoughts, was, despite actually bordering on former east germany, rather more like the forgotten outskirts of germany, than the epicenter of hippness.

I found myself stranded there, 200 km away from the cozyness of my parents and grandparents places and had this small recording device, my girlfriend gave me to capture random thoughts and ideas for a story (Can’t remember in which order).

While cleaning up my study, I stumbled on this little microcassette recorder, I used at a time, before the internet, mp3, facebook and Iphones.

It was an Olympus Pearlcorder S926. Don’t ask me about the specifications, but it had a cassette in it and after inserting 2 AA Batteries it sprang to life and gave an insight to my younger selfs midnight ramblings, beginning of the 90s.

Please be kind in judging them, as I was young and terribly bored.

I am typing these as spoken on the tape, in German. So here is the transcript of my unedited ramblings from the former Zonenrandgebiet:

Entry#1 –

Wenn das Tun das Handeln bestimmt und das Handeln vom Tun bestimmt wird, warum wird dann heute noch mit Thunfisch gehandelt?

Entry#2 –

Welch merkwürdige Verflechtungen ergeben sich. Man drückt den einen Knopf und ist der festen Überzeugung, dass es funktioniert, doch wenn man es später genauer unter die Lupe nimmt, stellt man fest, dass man grossen Mist gebaut hat und nämlich gar nichts funktioniert hat. Eigentlich wollte ich die Geschichte von kleinen Leuten und ihren Einlegesohlen erzählen, äh, wenn man dieses Thema eingehender betrachtet, könnte es einen stundenlang beschäftigen, denn kleine Leute wirken dann nur gross wenn sie Schuhe anhaben und tragen sie diese Schuhe immer und überall. Und sind, äh, solche Schuhe nicht wahnsinnig unbequem? Solche Schuhe müssen ja innerlich tiefergelegt sein, damit man es von aussen nicht sieht.

Entry#3 –

Eine ganz andere Sache sieht man bei Uhren. Uhren, unglaubliche Betrüger, die einem nie die genaue Zeit anzeigen, d.h. sie zeigen sie schon an, man sieht sie aber nicht. Es ist eigentlich die reine Zeitverschwendung auf ein Uhr zu schauen, da die Zeit die man auf einer Uhr sieht, in diesem Moment vorbei ist, d.h. sie liegt in der Vergangenheit. Uhren zeigen einem nur, wie spät es war und nicht wie spät es ist. Um die genaue Zeit zu sehen, müsste man eine Uhr haben, die ständig vorgeht, so dass wenn man auf die Uhr schaut, im Moment des Wegsehens, die Zeit eintritt, die man auf der Uhr gesehen hat. Dann hätte man aber eine Uhr, die nie die richtige Zeit anzeigt. Ein verzwickte Problem…..gibt es eine Lösung?

Entry#4 –

Es gibt Tage da glaubt man an Weihnachten, und zwar in dem Moment an dem einem auffällt, dass man nicht genug Zigaretten gekauft hat. Normalerweise, wenn so etwas passiert, fängt man an seine Taschen zu durchsuchen und findet natürlich überhaupt nichts. Dann muss man raus in die Kälte, den nächsten funktionierenden Zigarettenautomaten finden, was nicht unbedingt so einfach ist. Doch manchmal gibt es Tage, da schaut man sich einfach um und sieht so ein halb angebrochenes Päckchen, welches wer weiss wie lange schon vergessen dort herumgelegen ist, da man die ganze Zeit immer genug Zigaretten hatte und wartet eigentlich nur darauf, angeraucht zu werden. Das ist auch genau dass, was ich jetzt in diesem Moment tun werde.

Entry#5 –

Mir ist auch aufgefallen…..aaaah…Mir ist auch aufgefallen, dass…..ahhhhhhhmmm … Faden verloren

Entry#6-

Wenn ich mich anstrenge, beim Sprechen auf das Band nicht Äh zu sagen, verliere ich andauernd den Faden…….Äh…..mein Gott es gibt Schlimmeres

Entry#7-

Oh, blasser Schimmer, es ist 20 vor 6…. wie konnte das so schnell gehen? Schon wieder bin ich älter geworden.

To be continued……

Reading at the moment: Vladimir Nabokov – Pale Fire

Musical suggestion: Don’t stop – Foster the people

This post is a bit of a cheat, as I wrote this for a picture I posted on Flickr today, but as I wasn’t quoting anyone, I guess it’s fair game. So if you already stopped by my Flickr stream, turn away! This isn’t the blog post you are looking for.

This picture was taken last summer at the medieval fair in Silves, Portugal.
We went there at a time when there still was light and being mid August it was very hot with the fair spreading out through the old town up the hill to the castle.
For this reason I wanted to go light and didn’t take lenses to change with me, as I learned from a “non-photography” experiment I did 2 years ago it can be great fun to limit yourself to one lens and make do with what you got.
That evening I decided to go with the 24-105 to be able to zoom but also allowing for wide angle capture. As it is a F4 lens, i knew I would get in trouble later at night, but we didn’t plan to stay too long … wrong, we stayed much longer and I was stuck with that lens in the middle of the night, when we encountered these brilliant firedancers.
So out of desperation, I got this unique picture in my collection. The only ISO5000 picture I shot with my 5DMk2 so far.

Not too shabby.

Reading at the moment: The flying sorcerers – David Gerrold

Musical suggestion: Life’s a beach – Django Django

So this is the first time I am writing on the ipad, auto correction turned off, civil wars playing from my playlist and me, ten thousand meters bove the english channel.

It is somewhere around six or seven depending on the timezone you want to be in, the origin or the destination,  anglian or teutonic. In the end it doesn’t matter. Taking off at dusk has a special charm. If you squint, you can still make out some things, but lights are already lit and details just blend into the background of a common evening haze. You can see London stretching below, a sea of lights, suddenly thinning and then almost completely disappearing, the only ones left, are the lights from the ferries carrying heaps of people over to Dover. The channel a breather before the lights of Calais and Oostende signal the shore of the european mainland, funny expression that is, mainland Europe…like if England is a side dish. The flight time is really negligible, just over an hour, but this night view of our old continent is always stunning.

As this was a midweek business trip, i didnt have much choice and flew to london on tuesday morning, just had one night stay at the Heathrow Hilton and tonight i am going to be back to Germany. And although it was a lot of work and almost no downtime apart from the lovely dinner in windsor and the time at the airport today, it felt like a breather. There were the short encounters, carried by genuine, and now there is such a big choice of possible descriptive words that i think i just pick friendliness, genuine friendliness, sometimes affection or just spending time together, that was refreshing.

It is odd, none of the physical annoyances i am fighting with, suddenly disappeared….they are all still present and annoying as always, but…. They just matter a bit less. and do you know why?Not because they are less annoying or not as frequent, no, they didnt change, but my perception changed. Rather than fighting them and seeing no end, fearing that this is how it is going to be from now on, which is a frightening thought, i think, yes i have to fight them and things are going to change for the better. There is going to something else and it is going to be better, or not, but different.
I had a really good talk with Christian about writing the blog and of course he hinted at things that instantly set me off….damn you, man.
It is so odd, I hinted at it in the past articles, when i was writing about thoughts and dreams, in a certain sense I am having more and more the feeling of waking up in regards to a lot of things. I still am always tired, but my brain is sparking all the time, so many things to think about. It tends to get really overwhelming and i guess my recent sleep troubles also are linked to this. It is totally uncontrollable at the moment and there is also quite a wide emotional range to all of this, but that is something i might pick up on later. At the moment there is no real direction to it, and definitly no utter brilliance envolved, but somehow i’m changing back …from cosumerism to productivity. I dont know if it is going to be something of general interest, if i manage to channel it or even keep it up or if it is just my private pleasure, but it is sort of exciting. I am not going to edit this and do this midweek post as i am descending to frankfurt now.

Goodbye England and guten Abend Deutschland.

Reading: you guessed it ,still metarmorphoses from ovid
Musical suggestion: From this valley – The Civil Wars

Sent from my iPad
Addendum: I planned to post this yesterday evening, but couldn’t, because things just happened that showed me how volatile and unstable my current states of being are.

Or in other words, here is yesterdays post and I am glad I had this period of positiveness yesterday.

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