Februar 2006

Hooray! Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras is one of my favorite days of the year. Don't get me wrong, I'm not into carnival at all, but today's the last day of German carnival--which had started more than 4 months ago. Tomorrow it'll finally be over! Yippee! Ok, i have to confess, Ash Wednesday (tomorrow) is even better. Actually, I'm lucky to live in Stuttgart. Carnival isn't really a topic here, maybe that's the reason why I'm not really liking it. It's way worse in Colone or Mainz.

I know, this is just another entry that makes you think "What the hell is wrong with that dork?" I'm not sure either. I rather prefer to celebrate Halloween, that's big fun when you're hanging around with nice people. Thanks to my friends in New York City for last year's Halloween; it was amazing. And I just loved hanging out with you guys.

Oh, there is one thing I like about carnival:

Subway Service Gates In A Nutshell

After some troubles I'm going through I've decided to supply my readers with valuable information about how to use the undocumented subway service gates with a bunch of luggage in New York City, because usage isn't intuitive to tourists, and using them in ignorance might work, but turns out to be very expensive. And don't forget: The way something works in your country doesn't necessarily be the way it's done elsewhere!

  1. No matter what Subway Card you've bought, you have to swipe it! Even if it's an unlimited ride ticked and technically you'd be allowed to ride the subway 24/7 for 4 weeks.
  2. You could leave your luggage unattended in a busy and crowded subway station, ignoring the announcements that you mustn't leave your luggage unattended, enter through the turnstiles after swiping your card, open the service gate from inside, pray that nobody's stolen your luggage, get your luggage through the service gate.
  3. Or you could enter through the service gate to bring your luggage in. Then you have to leave through the service gate again, leaving your luggage unattended in a busy and crowded subway station. After praying that your luggage is still there, you swipe your card, enter through the turnstiles and walk to your luggage.
  4. Or you can block out and wait in front of a very busy turnstile and wave to an MTA officer until he's watching you. Then you swipe your card, turn the turnstile without entering through the turnstile. After that you can enter through the service gate.
  5. I don't want to stress it too much, but you have to swipe your card, no matter what Subway Card you've bought, you have to swipe it! Even if it's an unlimited ride ticked and technically you'd be allowed to ride the subway 24/7 for 4 weeks.

I hope this made it much clearer :-)

The most expensive subway ride in my life (so far)

I was in New York City last October, and I bought a 30-Days-Unlimited-Ride ticket. It costs about $70. Actually I didn't really need it since I wasn't in NYC all the time. I was staying in Princeton many days as well. Anyway, I was holding it in my hand when I entered the subway with my luggage through the service gate. A police officer stopped me and issued me a fine for entering the subway without paying the ride. I showed him the damn ticked but to no avail.
I couldn't go to a personal hearing, so I sent them a letter where I explaned what had happened, and wrote something like "if I don't hear from you, I consider this case setteled".
Today I got an reply--after 4 months. And besides the fine they've also issued me an additional penalty for not responding. I think I have to learn a lot about American bureaucracy. In Germany I would have been able to defend myself. I'm sure I wouldn't be in that situation if it had happened here. I'm really pissed ...

Thommy (again)

This picture was taken today. And I promise this is going to be the last cat picture for a few weeks. I don't want to bore you too much :-)

Gimme5 about Fish

This week's questions on Gimme5:

1. What do you like more - watching fish or eating fish?
A friend in Jersey City has a saltwater aquarium. It's awesome; I'm hooked on watching it. Nevertheless, fish also tastes delicious ...

2. Do you have an aquarium?
No. But we had one until we've moved when I was 7.

3. Do you have a favourite fish? What does he looks like?
I don't really have a favourite fish. But clownfish in my friends aquarium are the cutest.

4. Do you remember a scene of a movie, where an aquarium plays a role?
Well, there are A Fish Called Wanda and Finding Nemo.

5. Would you taste blowfish?
Blow what? Oh ... "fish" ... I guess not!

The Gold Capital strikes back

Today I took a train to Pforzheim, the capital of gold and jewellery, where I had been to school many years ago. I grew up in a very small, beautiful village, about a 20 minute drive away. Currently I'm visiting my Mom, and we've been downtown in the afternoon. It was the first time for me being in Pforzheim since I had moved out more than 6 years ago. Wow, it surely has changed. Pforzheim, which had been completely destroyed in WW II., was quickly rebuilt in the 1950's--and that was exactly how it looked like. I hated it. But I have to admit, they've been doing a good job. They've errected many new buildings and neat malls downtown. It's like another city. I'm quite impressed. Maybe its reputation as capital of gold and jewellery, which in fact it has been in the past, will become obvious again.

Belle and Sebastian: The Life Pursuit

... is the title of the new Belle & Sebastian album that was published last week. It had made its way into my CD player earlier, but it took some repeats until it showed its brilliance.
After we've clicked I can't get enough of this marvelous piece of music. It will stay in my player for a while--this will help keep the paper-CD-case clean. :-)
If you're a Belle & Sebastian fan, you should really get this cd. Well, if you're a fan, you might actually already have it...

Meet Thommy, the furry waesel

This is my Mom's tomcat, his name is Thommy. I know, he looks funny with his big ears and the skinny body. A friend of mine named him "Thommy, the weasel". This picture was taken last June. He has grown up since, and I swear, he looks like a regular cat now!
He's a nice and cute tomcat and likes to play a lot. I can't see him very often, only when I'm visiting my mom every three or four weeks. But I'm always looking forward to seeing him.
He's the weirdest cat: He doesn't like meat, fresh fish or canned cat food, and he doesn't like sausage either--although my mom's always trying to feed him that stuff in case he has changed his mind. He only eats dry cat food, and he's also into dairy products and very smelly cat treats. Yuck!

Can't survive without it ...

Well, this might be the most useless blog in the whole wide world and its web. Anyway, it's going to be my blog. I'm gonna be a publisher. Yeah!

Actually, it's my second attempt to blog--I was too lazy last time. I hope I won't give up this try.

For your convenience I've added my old blog entries to this blog. They're German.

The new entries might be a mix of either one--German and English. As you can see easily, English isn't my native language. I know my English sucks. This is also a toy for me to improve my language skills. Be aware! I don't want to be liable if your eyes pop out because they can't stand it any longer. Tell them they're still lucky! Your ears would also have to catch my bad German accent.

Anyway, since I want to move to the USA soon (and since I have nice friends there), I want them to be able to participate in all exciting moments in my hilarious life. And I know, the German folks can read English as well.

I'm gonna write about rather boring things like my life or how university sucks. And I guess I might mention my friends every now and then--or what friendship means to me.

I keep this one short. I might need the space here for more boring stuff to come.