Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Happy New Year's Eve and a Happy New Year to all of you! I had a great time this year and I am looking forward to the new year 2006.

Maybe we will have:

A new job
A new house
A new baby

Isn't that more than we can expect? I'm exited anyway.
Enjoy yourself and have a good time. Live is the best that can happen to us. Let's get the best out of it.

We will have a Fondue tonight with Catrin, Tina's little sister. See you soon!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Music - Favourite albums of 2005

Here is my personal favourite list of albums in 2005. It was not the perfect year for me to be up to date with new releases, but I tried as best as I could:

1. Bright Eyes: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

One of the most unconventional and most courageous intros of great albums, followed by 10 breathtaking indie/folk/Americana songs. Conor Oberst established himself as one of the greatest artists of our times. Songwriting and musical implementation were of such outstanding quality that with first listening to the album there was no doubt: A classic.

2. Adam Green: Gemstones

A nonchalant-animated rollercoaster ride of intello-pop. 15 songs in 30 minutes. Ideas of lyrics and melody to abound, rapid speed and dynamic changes, sarcastic and absurd stories. The singer / songwriter, entertainer, poet and crooner remains true to himself. Big, big pop music.

3. Ben Folds: Songs For Silverman

Just having had the output of the fabulous "Has been" of William Shatner, the next big thing: Songs for silverman.
Labelled as the return of Ben Folds five. But that's not really true, but there is a band and contributes to the relaxed sovereignty of his second (and respectively third) solo album, which rose to be unspectacular and set to be a gorgeous bunch of timeless, soft melting, melancholic pop songs. Highlight: "Late", the obituary to Elliot Smith. One of the most beautiful sad songs of the year.

4. Eels: Blinking Lights And Other Revelations

Mark Oliver Everett has never been reserved, but such a show of strengh was not to be expected even of him. A double album about everything, with all means, at any cost. Too much is programme here, someone wants to pull out all the stops, say everything, get rid of everything. Blinking lights and other revelations is a rich, colourful compendium of the Eels' cosmos, a puzzle of bubbling e-piano, singing saw, the grunt of Tom Waits and the saddest guitar of our planet. The Magnum Opus of E, a definite and exhaustive work. What will Mark Everett have more to say?

5. Death Cab For Cutie: Plans

Death Cab For Cutie can't complain about missing attention. They broke through in the States and made their way into many hearts in Europe, where Nada Surf already resided. But still their missing appetite for spectacle is used against them, most of all in this British wriggling year 2005. But there is barely any other pop music, that is resisting less to be very close to you - without showing too much skin. Each song a promise that is kept.

And now, 10 honorable mentions

Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger
Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
Gorillaz - Demon Days
The Cardigans - Super Extra Gravity
Sufjan Stevens - Come On Feel The Illinoise
Ryan Adams and The Cardinals - Cold Roses
Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow
Wir sind Helden - Von hier an blind
Tocotronic - Pure Vernunft darf niemals siegen
Element Of Crime - Mittelpunkt der Welt

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas.......

to all my fellow family, buddies, friends, bloggers out there. I had a good year, this is my 101st post this year!
Have a perfect time and all the best for you and your families. I'll be back soon.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Close to Christmas

Only two days left......

I'm at home since Monday, because I've caught a bad bad cold. No way of thinking to work this week. But it's getting better now, hopefully at Christmas I will be okay.

What's happening at the moment?

  • Wrapping Christmas presents
  • Creating of Christmas calendars of Emma for our parents
  • Sending Christmas letters (with a little poem, I will publish it here)
  • Catrin wil arrive from Canada today
  • My sister arrived with her three boys at my parents
  • My older brother will arrive nowhere :-)
  • Driving home for Christmas on Saturday to Tina's parents first, then afterwards to my parents
  • Hoping not to get too fat with bratwurst, goose, meatloaf etc. etc.; especially because I'm not able to do sports at the moment
I'm will have a list of the best CDs of 2005 coming soon here.
Maybe some highlights of my first blogging year. It was fun for me. Stay tuned.

Here comes the Christmas poem. It's German naturally:

Was ist in diesem Jahr passiert?
Die Russen sind nicht einmarschiert.
Emma kam in unser Leben
verursachte ein schweres Beben.

Lebensläufe umgeschrieben,
nichts ist wie zuvor geblieben.
Doch es wuchs mit ihr, Stein um Stein
ein neuer Sinn in unsrem Sein.

Wir haben ja so oft gewacht,
Augenringe - nicht zu messen.
Hat sie dann nur kurz gelacht
war schon der Rest vergessen,

Die Frau strebte der Arbeit zu,
war zuhause nicht zu halten.
Für Emma und das ist der Clou,
kam die Nachbarin zum Walten.

Ersten Hochzeitstag begangen
auf der Reise zur rauen See.
Keine Krabbe biss in den Zeh,
hat auch nicht daran gehangen.

Dem Wachsen sah man förmlich zu,
dreiundsiebzig Zentimeter.
Lässt uns schon wieder keine Ruh,
der kleine Mensch, nun steht er.

Die Eltern auch ein bisschen weiser,
der eigne Schritt ein wenig leiser.
Wollen wir die Zukunft meistern
soll das Glück den Weg uns kleistern.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

This was her day......

We had a good time yesterday, with Emma's grandparents, two aunts, one uncle, one nephew, one niece and of course proud parents.
Emma was in a very good mood, all day long. Starting with letting us sleep till 7.45 a.m. Kind of a record.
Of course she received too many presents. But she likes brand new toys. And dolls! She's a girl and a cutie.
All the best for everything that is yet to come. Te queremos, Emmita!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ticker to Emma's birthday

Our darling is turning one year tommorow. I will post pictures, of course.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

From dawn till dusk

I'm leaving home in darkness, I'm returning home in darkness. What kind of life is this in winter?
If I wouldn't leave the office during my midday break, I wouldn't see a sunbeam.
I sometimes wonder whether I'll mutate to a bloodless pale creature in the artificial light in the office. If this will last for a longer time I fear this will come true.
I feel like my hands are already getting kind of transparent when I write these lines.
My eyes are burning, maybe they are white and bloodshot. My hair gets kinky and straggly. Do my nails grow faster than they ought to be?
Why do my colleagues look at me in a strange way? Are they already afraid?
Look out, I will be after you...........

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Modern physiologies - adolescent

Forever young (Alphaville)
Who wants to live forever? (Queen)
Only the good die young (Billy Joel)
Young blood (The Beatles)

Everybody wants to be young. Especially everybody wants to stay young. In Germany we talk about the "Jugendlichkeitswahn" (juvenile delusion).

Not for nothing plastic surgery has increased in Germany, too.
Pay your surgent very well to break the spell of aging. Celebrity skin, is this your chin or is this war your waging? I like the lyrics of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Californication).

Sports, sports, sports on the other hand. Nordic walking, Nordic inline-skating, nordic whatsoever......
I wonder why the poor people of the North serve as trendsetter for every stupid new sport?
How about Nordic soccer, Nordic baseball, Nordic surfing (on icebergs?)? Why not the hell leave the ski poles to cross country skiing?

Good evening surfer, do you have to surf on every wave? How do you do?
At the most as second, third or fourth you follow every trend. What a heavy dreariness. You turn with the wind like a weather vane. You do not mind where the wind comes from. The main thing is, it is the latest wind. What remained of you?
Listen surfer, not everything sucks. It almost looks like this, but - maybe - we can change some things. But they way you behave right now, you fit perfectly in the concepts of people, who wanted to have you like this - a dweeb.

I think it's nice when you are thought to be younger than you are. Why not stay in shape and feel good with it. Go and work out, you will not regret it. But not as a end in itself. Only if you like it. Otherwise it will be pain, and it won't help you look younger.

Trust your genes. I think people like Cher (nothing against Cher, I like her) will look scary when they get really old. There is a point where people normally grown old look far better than the operated ones in my opinion. They do not have to behave hyperactive and nervous to pretend youthfullness. I like old people who radiate calmness and composure. My grandparents were and are like this. Hopefully a role model, that will not die out.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Soccer World Cup 2006 - Final draw

Not it's set. The final draw for the Soccer World Championship in Germany next year took place last Friday in Leipzig.

Good luck for Germany - we will not be in a death group, at least concerning the FIFA world ranking of the teams.

Germany (ranks 16th) will be in group A, together with:

1. Costa Rica (ranks 21st)

In recent times, Costa Rica have become a regular sight at the world’s top tournaments, and the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany will be no exception. Although their qualification was far from plain sailing, Alexandre Guimaraes’s (the coach) side came good in the end and are now preparing to embark for Europe in a bid to upset the established order.
Germany 2006 will be Costa Rica’s third appearance at the World Cup. It would be no exaggeration to say that both their previous appearances – Italia 1990 and Korea/Japan 2002 – were memorable, with the Central Americans surprising the world with their uninhibited play and supremely talented individuals.

2. Poland (ranks 23rd)

Even the most diehard Polish supporters were pleasantly surprised at their team's success in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup in advance of their last group match away to England.
The venue of the 2006 finals has been a happy hunting ground for the Poles in the past, as the East Europeans sealed the greatest triumph in their footballing history on German soil with third place at the 1974 finals, a feat they were to repeat at Spain 1982.
The current team coached by Pawel Janas lost home and away to England but won all their remaining eight qualifiers, and are now determined to open a new chapter in their country's football lore. As keeper Jerzy Dudek declares: "We want to make new history."

3. Ecuador (ranks 37th)

Ecuador were unquestionably the revelation of the South American qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup Korea/Japan. For a side with a modest football pedigree, their second-placed finish (a point ahead of Brazil) in a fiercely competitive region was a remarkable achievement. Four years on, Luis Suarez's team have done it again, qualifying for their second successive World Cup hot on the heels of Argentina and the 'Samba Stars'.
The coach Suarez is fortunate to be able to call on a balanced and tactically aware set of players, including outstanding young performers like Christian Lara, Luis Valencia and Franklin Salas, who surely have a bright future on the European stage. Ecuador's hopes of success in next summer's showpiece rest on these young stars as well as the wise old heads of Ulises de La Cruz, Ivan Hurtado, Mendez and Agustin Delgado.

There could have been worse luck of the draw for Germany. The fear was to have the Netherlands in the same group, the archenemy and threatening opponent. But fortunately they were drawn to the real death group C, with Argentina, Côte d' Ivoire (with Didier Drogba) and Serbia and Montenegro.
Another interesting group seems to be group B with England, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and Sweden.

I hope I will get tickets for one of the matches in Nuremberg. There will be these matches:

England : Trinidad and Tobago
Mexico : Iran
Ghana : USA
Japan : Croatia

I have a ticket claim for Ghana vs. USA, Japan vs. Croatia and one game of the Round of 16 (second winner group C vs. winner group D). I hope I won't get USA. Probably Tina wouldn't accompany me.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Gone but not forgotten - John Lennon

It's 25 years now, since he has left us. The right hand of every guitar player in the world, the head of every unconventional thinker. Mr. John Lennon.
I have read an article about his murderer Mark Chapman last weekend. How he got to the idea to kill John Lennon. Just because he wanted to be relevant and not to be a nobody. What a meanness and what an outrage.
I don't think that it is a comfort that many legends died young. I miss the songs and ideas he could have given us in the last 25 years.

I recommend the CD "Acoustic" who was released last year. He played the guitar from his heart. That's what I try to do as well.

I love the song "Luck of the Irish" from 1971:

If you have the luck of the Irish,
You'd be sorry and wish you were dead
You shold have the luck of the Irish
And you'd wish you was English instead!

Klaus Voormann had an interview at the Bayern 2 radio station this morning. He is the famous and almost "fifth Beatle". I will go and get his book. You can have a look at his homepage:

Viva, John!

In today's feuilletons - Pro-Washington stance of the Ossis as a knee-jerk reaction to their communist past?

In a full-page interview in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on conflicting political models in the USA and Europe, British historian Tony Judt has absolutely nothing good to say about either the USA or Britain.
And as for the new German government which is seeking reconciliation with the USA, he comments: "I think Angela Merkel distorts the picture because she's an Ossi. It makes no difference whether you take the daughter of an East German pastor, a Polish intellectual like Adam Michnik or the son of the Czech bourgeoisie like Vaclav Havel – they all have the same instinct, and this is basically the reversal of the old communist instinct. It was clearly observable in the Iraq War. In the East, there is this instinctive desire to believe in the good in Washington and to presume that anyone who is critical of Washington has dishonourable motives. The argumentation is always that if you believe in human rights and freedom, you have to be for the invasion of Iraq. Havel insisted that it was an inseparable unity, he had to support the overthrow of dictators as a matter of principle, otherwise he would be betraying Prague's own past."
I hope the Social Democrat part of our government will withstand the old reflexes of the East. I like the "Old Europe" approach of former chancellor Gerhard Schröder who had the courage to brave the US concerning the war on Iraq. Until the US policy will not change, Germany foreign policy should not change as well. Not a bit.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Breaking news - Michael Ballack changes jobs to Real

The best German soccer player Michael Ballack will be crossing the Alps.
For a long time it has been a rumour. All Spanish newspapers indulged in Michael Ballack's contacts with Real, the royal soccer club. Now it's a matter of fact, double-checked at the homepage and with a cast iron proof:
Michael Ballack has left the building (Bayern München) and has reported for work at Real. What a sensation!

Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

Monday, December 05, 2005

The return of the Steve

Steve Smith is back. He returned to blogging due to my sister-in-law Catrin's threat of abstinence. At least he told his fellow readers so.
I heard he will come to Germany next summer visiting us. I'm looking forward to it. Catrin will be back for Christmas. A three sister family reunion.
What else about family news? I became uncle for the sixth time some weeks ago. My elder brother and his wife received little Clara Charlotte, their third child. The first female baby besides our Emma. My sister Katharina has three sons.
So there are (in order of the age): Jonathan (6), Leander (4), Julius (3), Valentin (1), Emma, Titus and Clara (all 0).
Seven grandchildren for my parents. Not bad I think.

I think there will be no big pressure on me, concerning further children.

Emma started scrambling last weekend at my parents. Some first "steps" after crawling for some, I'm not certain concerning the distinction of the German words "robben" (on the belly) and "krabbeln" (on the knees), I will add two pictures maybe you can help me out? I don't know if crawling and scrambling are correct.

Tomorrow we will have the next family reunion my dad turns 66. In Germany there is a famous song "Mit 66 Jahren fängt das Leben an" of Udo Jürgens. Life starts at 66, this is your chance dad!
We will meet at the Olive, a very good Turkish restaurant.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Worth living list II

  • advent season
  • beeswax candles
  • Saint Nicholas Day (6th of december, my dad's birthday as well; I'm sad I do not receive present anymore on this day)
  • convalescence of your child (after three days of fever)
  • jeans at work ( it's my personal casual day today)
  • starting work at 2 p.m., what I did today as well
  • Andalusischer Hund, my favourite bar in Nuremberg
  • waiting for an interview
  • not thinking about christmas presents up to now
  • electricity; you learn to appreciate it, when other people have a breakdown
  • summer in winter, oh how I'd love to be in Australia right now
  • weekends at my parents, that will take place from tomorrow on and I'm looking forward to it each time
  • Cortado, the strong Spanish coffee version
  • to hear your nickname
  • the new CD of Jack Johnson
  • Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg with mulled claret
  • get sore fingers while playing guitar

For Dirk Fans like me