Samstag, 24. Januar 2009

*Blue Pipes*

When I was brand new in Leipzig, I saw these blue pipes throughout the city. Since there were several new buildings going up, and the city even has its German version of Boston's Big Dig, I thought they were part of the construction. However, they're permanent fixtures!

I guess it makes more sense for repairs and building and such to have pipes above ground, but to me, it's an eyesore. Could they at least refrain from painting them bright blue? I've also seen a lot of blue bridges. How very un-Frank-Lloyd-Wright-ian.

Freitag, 16. Januar 2009

*Cheesy Things*

Another thing I can't figure out: how can a people well-known for their cleanliness, and their love of nature, simplicity, and logic be such lovers of all things cheesy?

It started with an engineer friend of mine who likes all those motivational emails and cartoon images. Then I noticed the plethora of songs and pictures with cartoon animals and such.

One day I saw a very nice, modernish kitchen with a huge, framed movie poster of Pride and Prejudice (with Keira Knightley) on the wall. It's not Branson stage stars (Grandpa, hint, hint), but it's not what I would ever allow to be posted in a kitchen that is otherwise quite normal.

Let's start with their use of napkins for decorations.
That's right. Paper napkins. Useful, but not classy.

Then the fake flowers that remind me of old grannies.

And the stickers of animals sledding posted on the sides of the tram during Christmastime.

But this cheesiness sure does make you feel good when they send you birthday wishes. Instead of the normal "Happy birthday. Sincerely, ______," it's "I want to send you the best of birthday wishes. I hope this day is very special and that the next year will bring you much joy and success." Yada yada.

Donnerstag, 8. Januar 2009


There is a German obsession with McDonald's, no matter how American they think it is. I personally haven't been to McDonald's for years and it doesn't even whet my appetite to think about it.

I have friends whose families went to McDonald's for family night, and those who will pick that as their first stop after a long train ride. But the most prevalent pattern I've seen is people giving directions in relation to McDonald's. "It's across from McDonald's," they'll say, or "you know you're almost there when you see McDonald's."

After picking up 9 strangers to give them rides during the holidays, I must say I now understand this, as I made that the meeting place in every city because there was guaranteed to be a McDonald's at the train station, and it's not like it's hard to find with that big, yellow M. This doesn't mean I'm going to start endorsing McDonald's or even start picking up a Big Mac here and there. It just means I recognize its usefulness as a meeting place since it's everywhere.

Samstag, 3. Januar 2009

*Weird Hair Colors and Butch Cuts*

I decided to take this draft out of retirement today (I checked, and it was started on the third of January, 2008) because JEM at American Dresdner wrote about it here. I would have posted it earlier as it seems like such a dominant quirk, but I was too wussy to take pictures. Lucky for me, JEM has no fear.

It is true, I see so many weird hair colors and cuts here. I think the ladies' butch cuts shocked me a lot more last year than they do now, but the color still gets to me--it's like the chunks of crimson that were in during 2002. The only thing I can add to JEM's post is that the colors people choose might seem semi-normal for punky teenagers, but to see them repeatedly being used on women over 30 who consider it respectable . . . I just don't get it. If my mom were to dye her hair purply I would not be able to keep from laughing, and she would not be able to keep from hiding from the world. But if she were to do the same in Germany, it would be normal. Weird.

Freitag, 2. Januar 2009

*Cooking Ingredients*

There's something different about the cooking ingredients here, I am telling you. I'm pretty sure it's the flour. This is what my bread dough looks like, every time, no matter how much flour I add. It is so sticky that I have to scrape it off of whatever it touches, including my hands, and it has ruined many an innocent sponge trying to clean up the damage.

You should see me trying to form it into flat portions to make scones--it's a joke. And cookies? Forget it!

Whatever I make always still tastes and looks alright, though. That's a relief.

Oh, and just a side note: I find it funny that yeast and baking powder come in little packages, and the recipes actually call for the packages instead of a measurement. Helpful when you have a box of baking powder someone gave you. A package, huh?
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