Monday, December 20, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Schornsteinfeger wuz here

I have gotten two bright red notices on my apartment door about the Schornsteinfeger. the Schornsteinfeger has come by twice now, and is increasingly urgent about visiting my apartment. what the f is a Schornsteinfeger? i ask my german manpanion who can only come up with cryptic clues like, "he is the man in black" or "he comes down the tube" and all i could think was that a Schornsteinfeger is a santa claus in black? well  according to google übersetzer, that is a chimney sweep. i do not have a chimney, therefore i do not need a chimney sweep, correct? wrong.
manpanion says "he comes to check the poison in your radiator, he is here to save your life!" poison? i gather this is some sort of carbon monoxide test or something? (why would they only do that once a year?)
so, fine, i stay home from work to wait for the Schornsteinfeger, because apparently, the 4th time he comes you must pay. this is a free service, this Schornsteinfeger.
well, just like an american cable guy, he did not come within his alloted 3 hour time slot. he didn't even come 2 hours after his alloted 3 hour time slot. i knew that as soon as i would leave my house (perhaps make it to work before the end of the day?) he would show up. lo and behold, at 2:30 pm, there is a long-haired man at my door.
he wipes the snow off his shoes like crazy. uses both doormats. he is about to untie his boots when i say, it's kein problem. he is so polite, this Schornsteinfeger. i really should have offered him coffee, then again, i didn't know this whole procedure was going to take hours. he goes up to my bathroom, where the gas heater thing is, and i'm certain he must have sat on the toilet to make a caca or something, because seriously, he was up there a while. i'm putzing around, with my coat on, waiting for him to leave any minute. 
finally he comes downstairs with the paperwork. always paperwork. of course i must sign somewhere. i must agree with his assessment that only 4.7 parts per million poison are emitted from my bathroom gas heater! no need to worry! as it is under 1000 ppm. only then, do you worry. he has saved my life! my gasburner is in excellent shape! we are holding hands and jumping! no poison!
the Schornsteinfeger, now showing off that he speaks near perfect english AND french tells me that i will leave to see another year - that is, until his next visit in 2011 when he will return once again in order to reassure me of survival.
i thank the Schornsteinfeger, he asks for my number.. my number? to call you next year! of course! so you don't have to wait around! so polite. and then gives me a momento, a good luck charm if you will. why it is a little ramoneur, no larger than 4 cm, a man in black, with his rope and ladder.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

the secret movie theater

i could tell you where the secret movie theater is, but then it wouldn't be secret anymore would it? and they probably wouldn't let me in next time. so no, you don't get to know where the secret movie theater is.

my manpanion invited me on a secret evening, he wouldn't tell me where. it's a secret. we were wandering lost, in the falling snow, when he finally said "here it is!" and knocked on a window of some dimly lit apartment that appeared to have a bar in it. they open the window and you climb onto a box and then into their little living room. lots of dim red lighting, strange people and weird furniture (a chair made out of a shopping cart) and all very quiet, i felt like i walked through the window of a stanley kubrick film. we paid 8 euro total for 2 tickets and 2 large beers for the evening's showing of Inception with Leo DiCaprio.
we enter throguh a curtain to the back room and there is actually some sort of stadium seating, with random movie theater chairs/church pews and couches on various levels. i wanted the comfy couch, but it appeared to be fully reserved by the small shaggy grey dog who snarled when i approached. we grabbed our seats instead in one of the 4 rows uneven, were handed an ashtray and some peanuts and pulled out some packages of haribo candies frm ourbag. the old guy next to us was smoking some rather pungent weed.
the theater set up is a mess of electronics in one corner, and a projector on the ceiling pointing at a sheet. my aunt's theater room in her new bethesda townhouse is far more fancy than this. (hint to babs: start your own speakeasy movie theater!)
there was a lot of commotion between the "employees" a ragtag bunch of longhaired druggies with black hooded sweatshirts with dragons on them. there was a new dvd playe r, but someone had misplaced the remote. is it under your seat? at the bar? in between hte cushions of the couch - hey dog, move. so we were then asked to vote: we either watch the movie dubbed in german, or wait 5 minutes and use the old dvd player, which doesn't work so well. the other french moviegoers adn myself voted for takin the risk with the old dvd player. and thank goodness, because i am not sure i would have understood the whole level 3 dream within a dream within a dream concept in german.
so i viewed the whole movie through a mist of smoke, people knocking over beer bottles and the growling dog, but i must say, it might be the best movie theater ever. and they show old star trek episodes every monday. if you want to go, just let me know, i might be able to get you in...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Münchener weißwurst: love

i don't really know what it is Münchener weißwurst could have intestines and ligaments, i don't care, because it's delicious. and with sweet, sweet mustard, it can be my breakfast lunch or dinner. you're supposed to eat it with your hands, suck out the meat and leave the skin in a gooey mess on your plate.
they saying is a weißwurst never hears the stroke of 12 noon - as they are made in the morning and eaten only a few hours later. well, in modern times you can buy the pre-cooked variety full of preservatives and chemicals so they'll even last the 7 hours train ride back to berlin. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

time for christmas markets!

all november, people were announcing the approaching christmas markets coming like it was the messiah..."in december, we will be drinking glühwein, enjoying winter..." and they were so right!
in every city, village, small town, even train station these little cheesy log cabin stands sprout up all over germany, selling reindeer skins, olivewood spoons, bratwurst, potatoes, and of course, glühwein. though if you're a little sadistic, and really want a headache the next day you order the Feuerzangenbowle, which is glühwein lit on fire with a rum sugar cube like it's absynthe or something.
anyway, the typical thing is after work to go get plowed on some hot beverages and eat fries and sausages and crepes and such with your friends or coworkers. the places close down at 9pm so you best get there early, stake a spot next to a heat lamp if you can. people just hang around in these little makeshift bars with their parkas and fur hats and moonboots, it's wonderful. sometimes there is live music, lots of dogs. if you are in munich, of course, it's the mega huge christmasmarket that is more like decemberfest. 

dinner of champions - 2 weisswurst and sweet, sweet, mustard
each glühwein hut has their own mug. sometimes they are shaped like little boots, or have little winter scenes on them. you pay a deposit up front on the mug, and you can either return it, or buy it. germans are brilliant. i have an excellent little mug collection now. 
but no christmas market is complete without the nativity scene! 
thumbs up for baby jesus

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

new file format: save a tree. save as WWF!

Das WWF-Format ist ein PDF, das man nicht ausdrucken kann. So einfach können unnötige Ausdrucke von Dokumenten vermieden, die Umwelt entlastet und Bäume gerettet werden. Mit Ihrer Hilfe. Bestimmen Sie selbst, was nicht ausgedruckt werden soll, und speichern Sie es im WWF-Format.
The WWF format is a PDF that cannot be printed out. It’s a simple way to avoid unnecessary printing. So here’s your chance to save trees and help the environment. Decide for yourself which documents don’t need printing out – then simply save them as WWF.