Thursday, December 4, 2008

Video Update!

I know, I know, I'm becoming terrible at this.  Here's something to convince you that I'm still alive.  Maybe it won't convince that I'm alive and well, but you can plainly see that I'm alive.  After the break, you get the same video of Phillip.  Note the beautiful camera work.  

This is the break.  Normally there would be ads here, but since nobody sponsors this blog, it has to survive on your contributions alone.  If anyone is interested in sponsoring this blog, send emails to
We'll pretty much advertise anything.

And we're back.  Hope you've enjoyed the show.  Look for some post-dated posts this weekend, and maybe even something current and interesting! 
This blog is brought to you by the Schultze family, whose internet access brings it from me to you any time it appears.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

CouchSurfing and The Looong Night of Museums

Yesterday, I decided to finally get out of the house.   I'd learnt of CouchSurfing as a way to travel and find free accomodations.  It was not until very recently that I realized that it was a wondrous social tool as well.  So, I headed off to meet some people at the Hoffbräukeller.  There I met the couple who just moved to Munich this summer and have now set their lives up here, and another "cave-dwelling" au pair, a few locals, and a girl from Ireland visiting a friend who had gone to Ireland to visit her grandparents.  We'll see more of her later.  Good food, interesting people, and I was feeling much better about Munich. 
Around eight o'clock, one of the people at the meeting asked if anyone at our end of the table was planning on attending the Long Night of Museums, and Paula, from Ireland, a
nd I responded that we were.  Julian led us out into the night and we met a few of his friends, and off we went.  Neither Paula nor I knew much what to expect from this night, so we pretty much just tailed along.  
The first stop we m
ade was to the Siemen's museum, which revolved around technology.  Most of what we saw was medical-related technology, like advanced MRI machines.  Here's Paula taking a picture of an x-ray of a skull.
After Siemen's, we left for a new museum that no
 one knew much about it.  For this museum, the city had apparently 
expected a great number of visitors, and so those who had not signed up online were instruc
ted to get a yellow armband so that the gaurd at the door would know we were
 allowed in; our regular tickets would not do.  At the time, we thought this was so that the museum wouldn't have too many people at once.  We soon learned that this reason could sim
ply not be.  The museum, it turned out, was to open in early 2009, and they just wanted to show off the pretty empty new museum they had (almost) finished building.  As much as we were annoyed to have walked through an emtpy museum, it was stupidly funny enough that we didn't really mind.
From there we went and looked at shiny things at the BMW Museum, mostly engines, cars and
 motorcycles.  Very shiny.  Also very cool.  There was one wall which had an example of basically every model of motorcycle they've ever made, and a room which included, as best as I can determine, the only two failures that BMW has ever released.  One was a sixties car, very ugly indeed, and the second was out of the seventies, and I do believe it to be the car that Steve Urkel had on Family Matters.  Neither sold very well.  All in all, an entertaining museum if you have even a passing interest in cars.  

At this point it was about one o'clock, and we still had one more museum we wanted to see, so we hurried onto the bus and were on our way.  This last was not a fun one, but somber; the exhibit explained the White Rose organization in Munich, a group which resisted
 the Nazis during the time leading up to the second world war.  It seems that the six University students who formed the leadership of the group were arrested by the Gestapo and executed.  
Most of the museum consists of the life stories of these students.  
When we'd finished there, Paula was hankering for a pint, so we found ourselves a bar, each had a half liter (sorry, no pints) and then went our seperate ways.  It was on my seperate way, at Munchener Freiheit, a large square near me, that I happened upon my friend 
Michael, here on the left.  We had a very long conversation about George Bush being a farmer and the importance of reading a variety of religious texts.  The nice young man pictured on the right, thinking me in danger or at least inconvenience, came to my rescue and picked up the conversation while I cleverly slipped away.  I gave myself away, however, to take this picture.  Completely worth it in my opinion.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Following Suit

This morning I was reading my Reader feeds, a part of my morning routine, and I came across this: (at the best webcomic in existence, in my opinion.)

I thought it fitting enough that I should find that as part of my morning routine that I should follow suit.

1. Wake up.
2. Turn off first alarm.
3. Back to sleep for twenty-nine minutes. Why do I do this? Who knows.
4. Second alarm. This time I have to get up for real.
5. Come upstairs and make breakfast. (Hot Cocoa, toast, an apple, "cornflakes" {codeword for any cereal})
6. Force the boys to eat something. Especially Oskar.
7. Make sure the boys are wearing all the clothes they're supposed to, have everything they need for school, and have brushed their teeth. This is am allerwichtigsten.
8. Eat breakfast myself while cleaning up.
9. Go upstairs and return kids part of the house to order.
10. Go downstairs and do laundry if necessary, and shower, shave, etc.
11. Catch up on the lives of friends around the world.
12. Go out and do whatever it is that I intend to do with myself today, until around two, when the boys come home.

It used to be that step twelve didn't happen until about noon, but nowadays I've cut it down to around ten. Simple tasks like these get much easier the more you do them, I've found. In less pedestrian news, today is Winnie's birthday. He's the oldest, and he's been more than half my age for a year. Do the math, quick! My present to him was to clean up after the cakes he made last night for school today. It wasn't his favorite present, but I know he appreciated it. No pictures today. And no explanations for it. Don't like it? Leave a comment. I love comments.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lost in the Woods

I thought I should start with the end, and go from there. This is where I finally came out of the woods. It made the entire ordeal completely worth it, and then some. My worry was never that I wouldn't find my way out. I knew which direction I had to go, generally, and I knew I would run into something resembling civilization eventually, even if I had to follow the water downstream. My worry was more of when I would return.

Saturday was spent almost entirely in my room in Kreuth, the beautiful town above, and Sunday I came to realize that I was headed down that road once more. I decided to change directions. Realizing that I had never traveled through Kreuth on foot, I thought I should try it. Five minutes later, I had seen all that downtown had to offer, but I had found a hiking trail. "Perfect," I thought, "I like to go up." And up I went. And up, and up, and up. And before this becomes a Doctor Suess book, I'll dig a little deeper into my vocabulary. The forest was magnificent, especially since the fall color-change is in full swing here. From within, a glimpse beyond the tress was rare, but the trees were enough to look at most of the time, anyway. I also found a stream which returned to my path several times, and some mountain bikers who were really enjoying themselves (and then five minutes later their friends, who were not enjoying themselves quite as much.)

The problem came when I realized that my goal was not a peak, but a town on the other side, which are often named for nearby mountains. This meant that I had to turn around. For those of you who know me well, you know that I could not very well simply take the same path back (despite the trail i tried to take returning me to my old path) and I promptly found myself not quite sure where the path had gone. Nevertheless, I continued skipping down the side of the mountain. (Some of you may not know that skipping is the most efficient way to move quickly down a steep embankment.) Eventually, I came out of this:
and onto the world you saw at the beginning of this post. Even in person, the town looked deceptionally close once I came out of the woods. It was still another twenty minutes before I came strolling out of the cow pastures and into the backyard once more. Once I felt I knew where I was well enough, I took a look around and tried to figure out where I had been. I've decided that I crossed over and sort of behind the landform on the left. I'm very happy with my little hike. It revitalized me beyond what I would have expected. I had no idea I needed such things. Well, now I know. I'll leave you with the image the forest left me with as I departed it.

Monday, October 6, 2008


This weekend, I took a train to Dijon, France to see Becky. Well, that isn't entirely true. I actually took four trains. Only once or twice did I feel as if I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily, I can understand French pretty well when it is spoken to me. Of course, articulating my own thoughts isn't always quite so easy. I think I now have a slightly better understanding of how it would feel to be mute. I did, however, make all of my connections, got a lot of reading done, and even made some friends. People everywhere are very willing to help. Even, sometimes, when they have no idea what it is that is needed from them.

When I found Becky, who came from Périgueux, also by train, but a bit later, we found something to eat, and then somewhere to stay, since it was getting dark. We managed to avoid this:

And so many people tell me that French is such a pretty language. Maybe they were trying to say that it was lunch, and more. I have no idea. Luckily, we managed to find good food, despite Flunch's best efforts. We stayed at the not-glorious but more than satisfactory Hotel Jacquemart, and enjoyed the market, the sights, and a chilly bike tour of some of wine country:

Yes, that is the local dump just outside of Dijon. We should not have expected better for following the path between the train tracks and the canal, but things did improve once we got a bit further from the city. If it had only been a bit warmer, we might have been able to go much further.

Our days proceeded as such, from one half-understood conversation with a French person to the next (they were indeed all very nice) and when the time came to leave, we said our goodbyes, getting on our respective trains. It took me thirteen hours, but I made it back in one piece, thanks to many helpful railroad employees and fellow customers, and the man who drove me back from Freiburg. It is much cheaper to set up a ride with a stranger than with a commercial transportation agency. Oh well, I'm sure they'll keep trying.

Oh, and for those to whom Freiburg is of import, I am happy to say that I had about an hour to wander around, and get an ice cream cone from my favorite ice cream place outside of Newburgh, NY. It is sooo good. Here's a picture of the church near where I stayed in Freiburg at night. It brings back good memories.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kreuth Pictures

A few pictures I took on a walk, while waiting for Winnie to finish his golf lesson.
The first is a church as seen from our house in Kreuth.
The second is a view of the Tegernsee, nearby, and the mountains behind it.

Third, we have a field. I really liked the perspective, and the fence. Don't ask why; I don't have an answer.

This is a flower. Isn't it purdy?

By the way, you can click on the pictures to see bigger versions. I did not know that, so I thought maybe you might not.


Ok, this was the weekend of transit and traffic. Winnie and I missed our first train down to Kreuth, but luckily the one sitting right next to it was also going there. So much for German efficiency. The train didn't take long, and was comfortable, so all was well. Now, I must not be sleeping enough during the week, because when we got there, I put my bag down in my room, and basically fell into bed, asleep. Mind you, this was five o'clock in the evening. I woke up around eleven and got something to eat (from the strangest fondue machine I've ever seen) and went back to sleep. I then slept another ten hours. I need to go to sleep earlier during the week, and that's that.

Saturday, we went on a family bike ride. Nothing that we've done together has gone so well. I could say that if it weren't for the traffic we ran into. No, not cars; cars aren't allowed on the path we were taking. I could not for the life of me figure out what was going on. I thought we were approaching a church, but we never got to it. It was a church on wheels. Almost. This church had hooves. We came around the corner upon about fifty cows, each with a cowbell at least the size of my head. There was no way around them so, for about half an hour, we moved at about the slowest pace at which a bicycle can move, dodging land mines left and right. I found it hilariously absurd, but I seemed to be the only one. By the time the cows were turned off of the path and into a pasture, about thirty-five bikes had gathered in a gaggle (I've done a little research, for those whom such things interest, and that is the correct term) had gathered behind them and now sped off at various speeds. I can only apologize that my camera sat in my backpack the entire time, at the house, and say that I've done my best to portray it in words. I also drove a car for the first time in a foreign country. Huzzah!

Today, Sunday, not only did I drive the car, I drove fast. We (Winnie and I) spent about an hour sitting in almost stopped traffic. Then, we got on the Autobahn, and things started moving a little better. Actually, things started moving a lot better. Some of you might not know this, though you really should (it's the one thing everyone knows about Germany), but there is no speed limit, so to speak, on the Autobahn. I started out not going so fast, but as I got more comfortable, I noticed that the speedometer had moved up a bit, and I realized that I was ok with going faster. For the mothers (and other worriers) out there, fear not. I was very careful. I never passed anyone at such high speeds, and I had my mind on nothing but the road the entire time I was on the Autobahn. However, I did travel at 190 km/hr. I won't translate that to a less logical system, only so that those of you who do not want to know musn't, and those of you who do can let it hit you slowly. Thinking about it, it isn't that fast, but it's certainly much faster than I ever could have found myself comfortable driving in the US.

I'll leave you with that. More happened this weekend but, honestly, nothing so interesting.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

One Week In

Ok, I've been here for a week, and things are starting to become routine. I help get the kids ready in the morning, make lunch when they get home, encourage them to do homework, make them dinner, try to get them to stop watching tv, then help them get to bed.

Writing it now, I realize that I'm a chef (and not a great one at that) who has to try to convince his "customers" that they should eat certain dishes more than others. I also cleaned the room of the little ones today. It's cleaner now than my room at home ever was, even now. At least, it was until they got home. Oh well. I should have taken a picture. Then I could have at least proved that I was capable of it. I also got to see the city in the last week. Almost all of it, too. I think, all told, I've walked a total of six hours just to get to know the city and our little part of it.

I like Munich, so far; some things remind me of Freiburg, and others of Berlin. I've also been parusing and testing all the ice cream shops I can find. (For those of you who don't know, I am by trade an ice cream man, at home, and ice cream is in my blood. Literally, sometimes.) There has only been one so far that I've really liked a lot. One had blah ice cream and a terrible cone. I won't be going back there. Pizza, also, I have vowed to try everywhere. I might even make it into the Pizza Hut, which claims to make pizza the American Way. I'll be the judge of that, thank you very much.

Today started Oktoberfest, which I will get to see tomorrow. I'm awfully excited. I started at just the right time, really. I can't wait to have a real wheat beer again. It's been so long since I had bread in a glass...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Geneva Airport

Well, I've got 3 hours in Geneva airport before I can get on my flight to Munich. I had thought that 3 hours in Geneva would be nice, but unfortunately, I was wrong. The Swiss have, as of yet, refused to submit to the European masses, and still make use of their Francs. So now I have CHF 15 and a raspberry torte that was supposed to grant me wireless access, along with no desire to spend the other 15. The five CHF coin is kind of neat. Also, why do they not have a symbol that is not CHF? I have yet to see anything but CHF ###.## without any € or ¢ or $ or even ¥. Maybe © or Ħ or ħ would work for them. I don't know; CHF seems to me cumbersome. Some of you may be able to tell that I haven't slept in what is shaping up to be twenty-four hours. Repetition and nonsense are strong indicators of this condition. More to come...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lady on the Plane

Here I am, somewhere over the middle of the North Atlantic, and I've decided that recording my thoughts is one of the best things that I could do in order to actually feel like my mind is a cohesive place. I've just finished watching the Sex and the City movie. It was that or Speed Racer, and honestly, Sex and the City seemed more interesting. I was right. Good twists, story ok, funny. Campy, but funny. Now I'm half-watching Malcolm in the Middle. It was that or Speed Racer.

I'm finally starting to feel nervous about what my life's going to be for the next year, and that's mostly because I don't know what it'll be, exactly. I know I'll be living with a family in Munich, and helping with the kids. I'm almost certain that I'll be happy, because how could living in Germany with a big, fun family not make me happy? I know I'll miss family and friends (I do already. Sara got hit by a car. How can you not miss that? [She's fine]) The Lady on the Plane wants to know if I want another bag of Fun Mix. I do.