The bible is so much fun. not.

Just read the chapter in THE HOLY BIBLE about King Joram of Israel and his fight against king Moab of somewhere else. Joram is forcing Moab to give him thousands of sheep and wool every year. For not breaking their faces. At one point, Moab says “Screw Joram, I’ll keep my sheep!” and Joram says “Screw Moab, I will break his face and everyone else’s face!” He gathers the other Kings (how many were there?) and heads towards the lands of Moab. They run out of water, because they didn’t bring any. So Joram speaks to God, and God answers: “I give you lots of water, but only if you kill everyone on Moab’s side, burn their house, cover their lands in rocks and just generally be a dick towards them.” Joram nods and says “Ok.” He then heads away and kills and murders and rapes and destroys the land. When they approach Moab, he desperately sacrifices his son for protection. Joram is disgusted by the sight and everybody goes home. Leaving a trail of blood and death. In the name of THE LORD.

Great story.

Golm at night

Yesterday night in Golm. I just loved the atmosphere there. Reminded me just a tiny little bit of one day in Ireland. I will come to this in a later post.

The only recipe you’ll ever need.

Dear Sir/Adam,

it came to my knowledge that you were in need of special information concerning the creation of what is known as cake icing with the help of the tears of lemons.

To achieve this noble quest Thou shalt do the following, in this precise order. Any and all disturbance during the process will result in unforeseeable consequences that might quite possibly destroy the earth. Don’t be fooled by your eyes and senses, use precise measuring equipment and you shall succeed.

To begin you face the most difficult challenge. Acquire powdered sugar, a metric fuckton shall suffice. Be sure to get your hands on powdered sugar and not on powered sugar. The latter holds the risk of electrocution when whisked with a metal spoon. One shall always use a wooden spoon with powered sugar.

Put several large amounts of powdered sugar into a container that is suitable for this purpose. It is meant to be large enough to contain all of the powdered sugar and small enough that it is possible to stir the sugar without just pushing it around like a pile of sand in a warehouse.

You can give yourself a rewarding pat on the back if you are now at the stage of standing in front of a container containing an amount of powdered sugar. We’re almost there.

Now search for the oranges that are yellow and are called lemons. If they are green, they are limes and not made by the Almighty Shiva for this precise purpose of icing cakes in combination with powdered sugar. Acquire said lemon and cut it open with a sharp object. You might want to just hit it with any blunt steel object to get to its delicious core, but scientific men have proven over the last decades that the use of a bladed tool is key here. When the lemon lies in front of you, showing you its precious interior, you have succeeded.

Remove the juice from the lemon by applying pressure to both sides of it. Make sure that the tears you press out are collected in jar or bowl or well sealed trunk of a car. Do so for as long as you like or until you find the amount good.

The next step will sound like sorcery to most, but evidence has proven it to be nothing more than a simple magic trick that can be purchased from most wizard shops or learned from this very description. Take a spoon, wooden for powered sugar, metal for powdered sugar, and spoon about one spoonful of extracted lemon essence into the mountain of sugar. By following concentric circles start stirring the lemon tears until a paste as smooth a baby’s skin after a good beating is formed. Adjust the amount of added lemon tears to get a paste as runny or sticky as you wish.

You may now apply the paste or icing, as the knowledgeable call it, to any baked good of your liking. Remember to let it lose its moisture before engulfing it with your cakehole. Some say that they heard of others that saw once someone who directly and discreetly absorbed the icing through his facial openings without applying it to any baked cake. It is not advisable to do so as the moisture in the icing will create painful holes in your small and large intestine that cause the icing to leak out and be free. One must never set the icing free.

Apricot couronne

I got quite obsessed with the show “Great British Bake off”. Not only is the British version the only one without stupid judges, stupid contestants and stupid drama, it makes you want to bake so so much.

This is my take on the Apricot Couronne recipe by Paul Hollywood. And what should I say? It tastes so so good.

It is a sweet enriched yeast dough, filled with dried apricots, walnuts and raisins, with a glazing of apricot jam, powdered sugar and almond flakes. The whole thing is twisted to give several layers alternating with dough and filling. The bottom gets crispy, the center juicy and the top is nice and sweet with the glazing.

I stop now and get myself another piece.

Ireland! Day 7! There might be giants!

When we came back from Castlerock, I started to tell Doro about the sea.

“Doro, did you see the sea?”

“Yes, I saw the sea.”

“Yeah, but did you see the sea?”

“Yes.” *grumpy face.

“But the sea! There was sea! Everywhere! Did you see it?

slaps my face

After an hour or so of telling her how amazing the sea was and is and will ever be I could convince her to come with me on another trip. To the sea.

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This picture is a hint of where we were heading.

But first: Cows.

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We took the rambling Causeway rambler to the Causeway. What Causeway you might ask. The Giant’s Causeway of course, the one tourist attraction that is in every tourist book about Northern Ireland. The rambling Rambler is a scenic bus route that stops at several tourist sites to spill out tourists on the sites. It is a good choice for those who are as immobile as we were.

We had a beautiful day.

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When arriving at the causway all the streams of tourists are directed into the tourist information center. Basically a fancy gift shop. That costs 8 pound entry fee. To spend afterwards more money on gifts and food. We thought “No thank you, but you can not make us pay this amount of money we’re Germans and we only pay for good value and also this is our land now.” Or something similar.

When you avoid the big signs pointing at the Tourist Point entrance you can actually find the way around. And then you directly get to THE CAUSEWAY!

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Well not directly. That’s not The Causeway of the Giants. We followed a natural occurring road to the area of outstanding beauty. Did I mention there were tourists?

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They were brought there in big buses full with old and slow people. They poured in large groups onto the area, clutching to their audio guides they rented for horrendous amounts of money because the tour guide said so and wanted to avoid telling the stories actually himself.

We just took it slow, and slipped between two waves of touristy beasts.

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Hah. People are awful.

Did I mention how beautiful the day was?

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If I remember one thing from Northern Ireland it was the huge green cliffs. Every centimeter is covered in moss or grass or bushes. And everything is so green it looks like someone messed around in real world photoshop.

Black volcanic stones surrounded little ponds of seawater for the first bit of the way to The Causeway.

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Sea. Did you see it?

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Maybe I do not hate these people. They are calm. And they enjoy the sun. A rare sight in the Norths of the Irish Island.

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We’re getting close to THE CAUSEWAY!

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There it is. The beginning of THE CAUUUUSEWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

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But first: a pond.

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The Giant’s Causeway! A Causeway for Giants!

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Okay, this person is kind of tiny.

Sea. See?

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The Causeway. Known for its hexagonal basalt columns. They are all over the place!

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The cliff and the Causeway in front. Luckily with only a few of invading tourists. The people in red are guides and guards from the tourist center that make sure that all questions are answered and no one dies there. It’s a good place to die.

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The patterns are indeed quite impressive.

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Doro standing on the face of the Causeway like a Boss.

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And the very tip of the Causeway. Ending in the sea. SEA!

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At this point you might wonder: Why does the Causeway consist of this hexagonal basalt columns? Who put them there? Is it even legal? Where is the construction license? Which form do I have to fill in if I want my own Causeway in the garden?

Fear not, Answers are near. Maybe not for these questions, but hey, take the answers or leave them, I don’t care, I just answer and I only do as I’m told.

The legend says that the Causeway was constructed ages ago by a giant named Finn MacCool. Really. Finn MacCool was so cool that he wanted beef with the next giant in Scotland, named Bennandonner. So Finn constructed the Causeway as a bridge spanning the waters between Ireland and Scotland. But when he approached Bennandonner for a good beating he realised that Bennandonner was stronger and bigger than him. He hurried quickly back home and hid there. His wife Úna saw the whiny giant and had an idea. She dressed him up as a baby and when Bennandonner arrived, she opened the door smiling. She offered some giant’s tea and told Bennandonner that unfortunately he can’t beat up her husband, as he is out of town. Only Úna and her son are at home. She then pointed to Baby-Finn. When seeing the giant baby, Bennandonner got struck in fear, that the father must be huge, when his baby son was already nearly a full grown giant. He then ran away, destroying the Causeway behind him to avoid being hunt down by Finn. That’s why only a little piece remains today of the whole Causeway.

Finn and Úna then got into some weird role playing, but that’s another story.

As interesting as this story is, it is unfortunately not entirely true. The boring reality is, that a bazillion million trillion lightyears ago a volcano erupted. It is not know if it was also a Sharkcano. A huge stream of Lava was running down the country and as it began to cool, it cooled quicker on the outside than on the inside. The outer layer contracted and similar to drying mud in the sun, a hexagonal pattern emerged. Some of the columns eroded but quite a bit remained and can be seen today on the Giant’s Causeway.

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Just as we left the central area a huge wave of tourists and whole class of children splashed on the site. We hurried away.

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This is stretch of the Causway reaching into The Sea.

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The people gave all kinds of silly names to different structures. This one is “The Organ” although a keyboard is clearly missing.

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This is one rare flower known by the name of “Brown dry flowery thing”.

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A bit of red stone a the far edge of the cliff.

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This is the whole Causeway seen from above. It is actually quite small. The area to the left and right are made from similar volcanic stones, but they are washed to round shapes and therefore are considered uninteresting by the tourist folks.

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The bus carries the lame and lazy to the Causeway, let’s them take their photos and brings them back to the starting point where they buy their postcards and get back on the bus to continue touring the land.

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Doro.

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I present you: Me presenting you the Cliffs.

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Ah, these cliffs. Sheep are running around on the cliffs. They probably taste delicious.

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Some tourist offered us to take a picture. That’s why it’s focused on the stone and the light is bad. But hey, evidence that I was with Doro. Look how German we look.

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A herd of japanese tourists. Not on the phone but listening to audio guides. Better suit up when going into the nature.

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Beautiful skies.

We went into the tourist info point through the back entry where there is no check for tickets. We used their bathroom and had a look at the kitsch they were selling to the tourist people. Nothing really interesting. So we went on.

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We then headed back to the rambler bus and went to Bushmill were the famous Irish whiskey is made. But we couldn’t make the tour, as they closed quite early.

We took another bus and I forced Doro to get off the bus in Castlerock. Because Sea. We spent an hour walking on the beach looking at the Sea. I like the sea.

When the sun started to set we headed back to Derry. Unfortunately there was no more sea to see.

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Ireland! Day Six! Beaches, sand, dunes and sea!

After the excitingness and rain of Belfast we wanted to relax a bit. What is more relaxing than a walk on the beach? That’s right, nothing.

We passed Castlerock already after our horrible horrific walk from bellarena to magilligan point and I desperately wanted to go back there. I said pretty please and could convince Doro and Valentina to go there.

We hopped on the train, and more importantly hopped of the train in Castlerock and in front of a cloudy sky we saw an ice cream vendor.

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We longed more for beaches than for ice cream so I pushed the ladies in the direction of the relaxing woooooosh sound produced by several mole of water hitting elongated stretches of sand. 

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Doro.

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Although it wasn’t freezing it also wasn’t exactly warm. The chilling wind made us be glad for our windstopping jackets. But those guys did not really care.

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It’s hard to tell from the small tumblr image, but they actually wear only swimming shorts and strut into the water like the men they are. Strong Irish men probably laughing at the German sissies hiding in their rain coats.

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I fell in love with this place. The sound of the waves hitting the beach, the sky, the dunes, everything just made me smile. Like a little honey pie horse, as we tend to say in Prussian.

And it’s Doro again.

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Valentina had to take her shoes of because reasons.

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The partly blue sky changed to a rather grey colour complete with rainy bits and other forms of water falling from above. Did I mention we had raincoats? And more importantly, I had my new raincoat. The water was forming little spheres on my coat and I just shook myself like a dog and the water was gone, I was dry again. I only showed this a few dozen times to Doro. I think she appreciated it.

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Who is the handsome fella? Did he fall out of a vogue cover shoot? Or was it GQ? I don’t know, but the trail of girls following his footsteps made him really look important

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Into the dunes!

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We climbed some minor dunes, feeling completely immersed into the spiky green grass and the sand and then we reached the top. To the right was the sea and to the left – of course – a golf course. They are the cancer of the region, there is hardly a strip of land without golfers. I think they are quite easy to grow in these harsh conditions, with a lot of rain and hardly any sun. The sign warns from the dangers of being hit in the head repeatedly with a golf ball, a faith happening to those dreaded who enter the lands of the golf.

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Flowers!

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As the sun switched back on, I allowed the girls to have some ice. I am a gentle and loving master. And the ice cream was especially good. Made from happy cow’s udder secretion. And the waffle was covered in chocolaty chocolate.

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This is actually a Presbyterian church.

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Keep calm and be original.

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Om nom nom, house was eaten.

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How more Irish can a cottage get?

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We came to see these bungalows overlooking the area. They looked so nice and cozy, facing the sea.

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But then we continued and we found that they are actually part of huge settlement of bungalows. They have wheels underneath so they can easily be moved elsewhere. Not so lovely any more.

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My homage to Hiroshi Sugimoto.

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This little library/dome/bishop’s porn stash is on all of the postcards.

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I just love the Irish weather for this. You see Malin’s head on the other side in the light.

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Any postcard company who wants to pay a bazillion pounds for this? Thanks.

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I also like to live dangerously.

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Everyone went away. Again. I had to do the selfies all by myself.

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There they are, far ahead, about to cross the valley of kind of harmless effort.

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The shallow lake of mediocrity.

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This castle’s ruins are quite ruinesque. This is a word now.

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The ruins were open to everyone, also to the rain, as the roof was partied away.

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And that’s it already. Just a million pictures of the beach and the skies and the beach and the dunes and the beach. We went back to Castlerock and took the train home.

I really really really love this place. It’s so calm and relaxing and beautiful. I will return!

Where you should go: Boros Collection.

Doro organized through their student association a visit to the famous Boros Collection. I was so lucky to be invited as well and on a grey Sunday early afternoon we went to the old bunker that is situated between friedrichstraße and oranienburger tor. On top of the grey mass of concrete the Boros couple built their huge loft. The 5 floors under that loft are filled with contemporary art from the last 23 years. 

The tour is 10 EUR (6 for students) and you get welcomed with a glass of water and a brief overview on the history of the place by a nice tour guide. Ours was a young student who was involved quite a lot in the setup of the place.

We learned about the history of the bunker, it served as a air protection bunker during the second world war and was then used for prisoners of war by the russians and then by the GDR as a cool and dry storage for fruit, veggies and fabric. They could not destroy this bunker as they did with most of the others because of its unique location in between a lot of other buildings that probably would not survive if the bunker with its 1.5 m thick concrete walls would have been blown up. So it stayed. After reunification it was used as a techno club with “the hardest sex and fetish club of the time” just above. Some of the darkroom’s paint is still visible in the building.

We then started with the tour. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos. So you have to trust my descriptions. I will keep them short as you should go there yourself and see it with your own eyes.

The art consisted of a bit of photography, some painting but mostly installation art. Our guide gave us valuable input on interpretations, intentions and overall understanding of the artwork. Even without having any background knowledge I could really enjoy the installations just because of the good explanations. The tour takes about 1.5 hrs, which is quite a rush for approximately 100 different pieces of art on 3000 square meters. But you can ask questions any time, and it gives you a good reason to come back and discover different aspects of the works.

So go there. You have to book in advance over the website, small groups have to wait about 4 weeks, larger groups a bit more to find an empty slot. The tours are held in german or english.

You should go there.

Ireland! Day four and five! We went to Bel and fast!

On day four we mostly planned our stay in Northern Ireland. We used our mobile internet traffic to browse the interwebs for things to do. We spent the afternoon on a walk to Prehen Woods, a small patch of forest 30 minutes on foot south of Derry. The way there was marked by a beautiful motorway and a boring residential area. The forest itself was completely lacking people which was a good thing. Not the most exciting forest, but relaxing nonetheless. All the pictures were done on analog cameras, they might follow once I cleaned my dev stuff and got some development going.

The next day we got up early and took the bus service to Belfast. We saw a church thing that might actually not be a church but more of a thing.

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We went on a saturday. Which brought the big advantage of being able to visit a lovely food market. It featured some grocery stands but mostly freshly prepared food. And fish.

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And lovely baby clothing.

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We ate breakfast/lunch (someone should invent a word for that) consisting of a beef steak bap (which is like a regular burger) and some paella. Both dishes were really good. Unfortunately there was not so much space available to sit down, which was a bit of a downer. But then again a great band played some relaxed jazz/reggae/rock.

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And so many cupcakes everywhere. Note the boxes on the side containing another truckload of fancy decorated cupcakes that drown in colored icing, silver pearls and colorful sprinkles. Of course we didn’t buy any as we both preferred taste over looks, and sugar icing and sugar pearls and colorants just don’t taste that great.

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As we went back outside to stroll around the city, it started to rain. Constant, annoying, wet, pouring, mean rain.

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Not even a giant herring could cheer us up.

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As an emergency solution we did a boat tour of the harbor with this lovely tiny boat.

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The boat instantly pleased by being kind of indoors and with chairs.

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This are the Titanic Studios, where Game of Thrones is made. Also a lot of the exterior settings are actually located somewhere in Ireland. A good choice by HBO to produce the series on this beautiful island.

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The harbor looked like a harbor, with docks and stuff. Somewhere in this harbor the Titanic was built by Irishmen before it was sunk by an Englishman, as the locals never cease to point out. “She was fine when when she left us.”

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I am enjoying myself so much. And my raincoat was basically useless as it just soaked up all the water and kept it around me.

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In this dock the Titanic or the sister ship Olympic or maybe some completely unrelated ship was built. The guide was fun, I guess, as we could hardly understand him. But he sounded nice.

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Doro has a bit more fun than me as she actually brought proper rain clothing to the land of everlasting rain.

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Navy seals hiding on the bank.

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They built an impressive giant thing that was quite big. I have about a million pictures of it, but I only show you this one because I am a good person.

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And by the end of the tour the sky cleared up and the rain stopped. Big success.

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We enjoyed the little tour a lot, not only because it provided shelter from the rain, it was also interesting to see the docks, the size of the machines and hear a bit about the story of the harbor. We saw “THE TITANIC EXPERIENCE” (yes, it has to be all caps and be read in a deep dramatic voice) which is just a fancy wording for museum that features stuff around the Titanic. The interesting thing about the building was, that the top edge of it was constructed in a way that it would be exactly the height of the nose (technical term for the front thingy of a boating machine) of Titanic. The building was quite tall. But I did not find a picture of it in the folder. Can’t be that interesting then.

We said goodbye to the lovely boat people and their boat and went on.

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We then finally did some city strolling. Unfortunately Belfast is quite boring on a saturday night if you are not interested in spending a lot of hard earned money on beer in small bars full with people. The shops close at very early, the pubs are expensive.

We saw this cathedral. Its tower has been blown away by the IRA and was not rebuilt. Instead, to appease the situation a sky needle was constructed.

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Before the shops finally closed we jumped into an outdoor supply store and looked for a rain jacket that would actually repel rain instead of sucking it all up and using it to chill the body down to cozy 12 degrees Kelvin. We were so lucky to find a big rack of jackets on sale and after trying on several different options Doro bought me a very nice Northface jacket that I then wore for the rest of the holidays.

After nightfall we got on the bus to Derry and went home.

That was absurd

Today I had one these bizarre meta-moments were you look on what is happening closely around you and you realize how absurd all that is. I am still shaking my head in disbelief.

I was called by a company doing market research and consumer studies. They had my number because I took part several years ago in a study about McDonald’s. I got some pocket money for it, so I was fine with being in their database in contrast to all those telemarketers who steal 1 hour of your time to ask you about the benefits of thermostats. No joke. I worked in a call center and annoyed people after 9 pm and asked them if they wanted a thermostat that was regulated when they talked to it.

So this company from back then called me again. They did this already twice before but I never fitted in their profile of a young man using a specific brand of shaving mousse.

This time it was about sweets and I eat sweets and apparently I named the right brands, which I fortunately remembered from having them seen in shelves. I usually don’t care about brands. They offered my 50 EUR for 2 hours of my time and I said yes.

So I went there, I watched a TV commercial mock up, answered dozens of questions with a digital thingy that wirelessly transmitted my choices to some people behind a one way mirror and was already a bit puzzled about the effort they put in this. But I was in a room with 20 others, we all looked at three big screens and so I thought they get quite good value for money through large scaling.

Then we were finished and a few chosen, including me, were asked to stay for the group discussion. We got some sandwiches, some drinks and then talked about the famous world of this one variety of branded candies. We talked and talked, we rewatched the mock-up commercial, twice, and speculated on brand identity, interpreted the spot, discussed the poor choice of context and generally dissected every bit of the awful commercial. Then we discussed the design of three new boxes, that have half the number of sweets and a new design, that looked like mid-fourties targeted mid-twenties with the design language of the late 90s. We did not cease to discuss the shape and color and general appearance of the box and its price and its target audience and whether or not you would give this box as a present (we really discussed this for long and several times and with different premises and perspectives and ….) and at this precise moment I had an out of body experience.

Well kind of.

I looked down on the room. 8 people sitting around a table, one guy in front leading the discussion. One in the back typing the protocol. A camera facing the table. Two microphones dangling from the ceiling. A one way mirror hiding who-knows-how-many people watching our discussion.

10+ people spending 3 hours in total discussing a stupid ugly box of candy and an awful commercial that is so generic and boring and stupid that people won’t remember it for a second. All that for a company that thinks optimizing their crappy product will give them half a percent more in sales, probably not even outside the error bars. Countless hours and resources and money invested into this project to tickle out another position behind the comma.

All this is happening every day in so many places at the same time. What a waste of human life time. What good could be done with all this energy.

The longer I thought about it, the worse it got. Most commercials try to increase the market share of a specific brand. And they take this share from another brand of the same company. And then the executive of brand two gets angry and spends even more money to get his share back from the other brand from the same company.

If one day all commercials would cease to exist people would still buy products. Maybe they would rather buy the stuff they need but that is not a bad thing. All those people involved in TV and print ads are a waste of time and resources and energy. Science is struggling to get funded and companies pay companies to pay people to discuss whether they give a box of chocolates to neighbors or colleagues. I got 50 EUR for analyzing a stupid box of candies. This is madness.

Douglas Adams proposed to put this useless middle part of modern society, the part that is neither “thinker” nor “doer”, in a big space ship and let them discover a new home planet. While they believe in being the pioneers of society, the rest stays behind and enjoys a life without telephone sanitizers and advertisement agencies. Unfortunately in his version the world is eradicated from a disease transmitted by infected telephones. This idea was too good to work.

Random Berlin pictures

Berlin, 2013

strolling around Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg with the guy from down under.