Archive: blog entries 2009   /   2010   /   2011

2009 blog entries:

Wednesday 30.12.2009  

Our new favorite place for having a drink. Leydicke in Berlin, Mansteinstrasse is worth visiting. Click on the picture and enjoy a time travel to the beginning of the last century.

Leydicke was found in 1877 and the interior is predominantly from the early 19th century. and according to the German Wikipedia entry it is one of Berlin's "Kneipenklassiker" and a tourist attraction - Do not believe it: when you go there it is like being part of one of Berlin's best hidden secrets. There is also a small 1999 article from the Berliner Zeitung , but not much in English on the web. A nice little entry you'll find at Berlin.unlike with the funny titel: Leydicke: From Proletariat to Revolution and Back Again.

Not much time for writing. The next movie is coming up soon. Yesterday a disappointment with "Where the Wild Things are" - a picture caringly made but boring in the end. At least when you have read the book to your kids a thousand times. But Bright Star (original version in the wonderful Odeon Cinema at Hauptstrasse) was a real breathtaking experience. I hated "In the Cut" and even more "Holy Smoke" but this brings Jane Campion in my eyes back into the list of outstanding filmmakers.

Tuesday 29.12.2009  

From left to right: Bo (the cook), Yulin (the accountant) and Nic (the speaker). They are Sabrina's Chinese exchange partners visiting Lohr. More pics when you click on the picture.

Christmas holidays are finally over. Deutsche Bahn savely beamed us in under 6 hours to our Berlin refugium. After 8 wonderful but exhausting (cook around the clock) holi days at home there are the two of us in the dark streets of Berlin. It's like coming home: Two bottles of French red wine, Gebirgsjäger (better knowns as Bulletten), Schrippen and cornichons from the nice Turkish shop around the corner. A wonderful fresh glas of Berliner Kindel at Leydicke until the flat is warm enough for having supper. Leydicke is a gem in the rich world of Berlin pubs - I'll tell you more next day or so.

Back to China: Nic, Bo, and Yulin are Chinese exchange students of visual arts from Shanghai spending a semester at the HFG in Offenbach. Sabrina - who will be in Shanghai next year - has invited them to our house for a treat of German cooking and German country life. I prepared the savoy casserole we enjoyed in Augsburg - but for the lack of lamb meat it was not half as good. We had a wonderful night with these great guys and with them taking care of Sabrina in Shanghai Renate is less worried. Mission accomplished!

Thanks to all of our family coming together Sabrina could finally hand the wedding present on to Katharina and Roland. For me the chance to put it at last into Sabrina's virtual Gallery. They were not the only ones made happy by Sabrina's artwork. Renate got a painting of me as a chubby-faced cook (also shown in the family room of the gallery). Renate sees me more as a poet and the original titel (Richard's Verhältnis zu Kunst und Weiblichkeit) proves her right. The grandparents got one of Sabrina's self-portraits. Below you'll see Sabrina providing a living picture hook for it.

Tuesday 22.12.2009  

Holiday season is tough for the would be blogger - Instead of smoking, sipping coffee and playing with the code there is shopping like the next famine is hours away, cooking daily more and more with the kids arriving, long nights which almost emptied our wine cellar, and long sleeps: the natural thing to do in the dark days of the year. I'm not complaining - it's fun. But there is so much material for this little blog: I'm way behind. Don't think retirees have no stress - they attract it. In addition I had stylesheet issues with the scrollbar disappearing and with it most of the content. Hence you will have to wait for the report about the three nice Chinese students in Lohr.

Anyway, last weekend we had the fabulous treat from Udo and Anne-Marie in Augsburg. I put some pictures above (just click on them) which give some impressions. Udo turns into a fabulous cook and we enjoyed the savoy casserole and Anne-Marie's wonderful créme citrone. Renate does her grading in between and even enjoys it - the setup for a perfect weekend trip.

Seeing Udo is alway talking about and planning for the Ballmertshofen Filmfest . There are thousands of film festivals in this world but none like this one. Have a look at its site or watch our private pics from 2008 (last year we just enjoyed it so much, we hardly shot any fotos) on my picture page

Wednesday 16.12.2009  

“Hexenhäuschen”: This is a picture of the one Sabrina made in her former life as pastry cook in Berlin. Grandma used to make gorgeous ones when the kids were little – unfortunately there is no photo left.

This morning I was helping grandma baking the Christmas cookies. “Weihnachtsplätzchen” is one of these famous German traditions. A must in the pre-Christmas season – otherwise nobody would take on this challenge in addition to all the other chores this time of the year has to offer anyway. We missed Sabrina desperately (she is not only our family painter but also a gifted baker) when Oma Edel and I were struggling with clingy dough and only the absolute must of having the self made cookies under the tree prevented us from throwing the stuff in the garbage can and having a nice cup of coffee and a chat about the injustice of life.

In the end we managed somehow (the cookies look so crumbled – even a blind could tell they are hand made), snowflakes (just a few) danced outside, and that reminded me of the “Hexenhäuschen” (Hansel-and-Gretel-house) - another German tradition.

I put up two more articles on Katharina’s page. I was struggling with the stylesheet again. That really is trial and error: Change something and (I wonder what happens… [don’t miss the famous flash series from Majus]) see what has changed! This time the paragraph spacing drove me nuts.

Katharina wants me to add comment functionality for the readers (are there any I wonder?). She argues a blog is not a blog whithout the reader's chance for revenge. So it's a good idea – Let’s see what it takes to get it to work.

Sunday 13.12.2009  

That's right - we woke up this morning and it was white and light all over. Snow is rare in Lohr and a beauty like this needs to get preserved. These two fotos are the ones Renate likes most. When you crave for more have a look at the picture page.

Later this morning the streets were cleared and we made our traditional trip to Karlstadt for the matinée in Burg Lichtspiele. "Salami Aleikum" sounds like a silly German multiculti comedy. But it is actually a nice multilayer love story (a little bit to multi sometimes with the Persian butcher and his sensitive son saving the sheep from his pa's knife, the old GDR family eager to revive the "Volkseigene Betrieb" and their shot putter daughter falling in love with the Persian "prince"). I actually liked the musical interludes with Gondry-like settings.

Last but not least: Sabrina sent new pics out of the painter's workshop. She is into "stereo painting" (two or three paintings of one topic painted simultaneously) - it's addictive she tells us. The bigger pictures you'll find at the Painter's Workshop.

Friday 11.12.2009  

A day of Ups and Downs again. Renate's desktop started to act funny days ago (display looks like on a 1989 Windows PC) and I decided to upgrade her Ubuntu 8.04 (code name Hardy Heron - I never get used to these funny names) to 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex - whatever that means). The upgrade went smooth and I had the leisure to practice a little bit of French while the machine next door scrambled tons of code. After the final restart the display was worse then before - actually no display at all. The monitor told me "display out of range" and that was that. I had to do the shopping, the cooking, and now a newly installed machine with a black screen added to my plate - definitely a DOWN!

Rule number one: don't panic!. Rule number two: be persistent. Rule number three: never buy a new monitor when you can fix the old one. I really was tempted to go buying a new high resolution monitor. To make a long story short: after a lot of googling (learned a lot I'll probably need when I have to fix Udo's machine next week) and after correcting all my spelling mistakes (there is no such thing as copy & paste between two machines) the light came on and I finally could revert - Obama likes words with "re" - to hanging up paintings in Sabrina's virtual gallery. UP! There are still topics for more "rooms" left - but for now it has to suffice.

Renate has discovered our little link page - big UP - and enjoyed reading more than grading (what a surprise!). While James Wood's perception of Auster isn't that favorable (The void is all too speakable in Auster’s work. The pleasing, slightly facile books come out almost every year, as tidy and punctual as postage stamps, and the applauding reviewers line up like eager stamp collectors to get the latest issue.), Renate found a praising review of his latest book "Invisible" and I had to add a link to the NYT review from Clancy Martin.

Thursday 10.12.2009  

With Katha finally visiting and Renate's birthday yesterday, playing with my beloved Winter Web had to be low priority. As Renate had to work at her day, Katha and I celebrated with the grand parents, with Sahnetorte (cream gateau), and with watching slides from the old days (Katha with Bergliot, with big eyed Sabrina, with curly-haired blond Claudio, and I hardly recognized myself with an awful mustache!). Rich - a former colleague from Chicago - came by last night and I had an easy cooking, as Katharina graved for Kraut! No need to put that on the recipes page.

With the need to present Sabrina's paintings in a reasonable form I was diving a little little bit deeper into the vast ocean of web design. While in the beginning it was mostly copy & paste combined with a lacing of trial & error, I now start to have a slight idea of how things are connected and begin to develop own concepts. Every day some tiny feeling of success - great!

Have a look at Sabrina's gallery. Not yet perfect but so far every layout bit typed with html code by my own hands -:) It's just the beginning. I will load up more paintings shortly and hopefully Sabrina keeps up her diligence. "A painting a day keeps the boredom away" - not funny, I know!

Sunday 06.12.2009  

Last night mirror gate was resolved. Elisabeth and Klaus came to dinner. I prepared my favorite dish "Geschnetzeltes". In case you wonder I finally started a recipe page. Klaus brought an old batik picture of his and we put it on the wall. After dinner even the tiniest aspects were discussed and illuminated. We passed the sentence that beyond a reasonable doubt Klaus’ artwork is the perfect solution in all aspects of interior design. See for yourself:

Elisabeth and Klaus run a wonderful ceramic and batik workshop in one of the oldest parts of Lohr. When you ever end up in this little town in the middle of nowhere you must visit the Keramikatelier Lohr

Despite dozens of “Deutschschulaufgaben” waiting for grading we made it again to the Burglichtspiele. “Sturm” from Hans-Christian Schmid – a terrific account of Europe’s struggling with their war criminals – was shown in the matinee. We were the only guests. Hope the movie guy keeps up the matinee show – we just love it to start Sunday with a pic after breakfast.

Friday 04.12.2009  

Today I have added another section into our cosy Winter Web - you think it will get to the 0.2 level soon? The new page is for Access stuff. So far it contains only one sample database including some kind of documentation (gosh - writing documentation really hurts).

Programming is my real passion I finally can enjoy it in the intermediate retirement phase. That is besides reading, watching movies, housekeeping, gardening, and cooking. The latter kind of develops into a new passion, due to Renate always praising my dishes. You become hooked on appreciation - but where to stick the warning label? Yesterday’s buckwheat casserole stuffed with minced beef, red peppers, and tomatoes was a big hit. Maybe I do a page with recipes some time too.

It’s getting a bit too cosy I thought – and miraculously Claudio’s promised term paper about Wieland and Dürrenmatt hit the inbox. That is serious Germanistik stuff and finally something in German. It probably falls into the category “das liest wieder kein Schwein”, but it will boost the nerd index of this site dramatically. It took me a while to get everything formated properly in html with links from the tables of content to the chapter. At least regarding the annotations Word did a great job converting it to html with hyperlinks to the annotations and back to the text. Anyway "Der Prozess um des Esels Schatten bei Christoph Martin Wieland und Friedrich Dürrenmatt - ein Vergleich" is up and ready for discussion

Tuesday 01.12.2009  

Went straight to the carpet dealer yesterday complaining about the disassembled mirror. He's a "no problem" man - came by in the afternoon and collected smilingly the culprit. I'm curious how we'll get it back. Renate got scared and dreams about falling mirrors hurting our not yet born grandchild. Not sure whether she is happy with hanging such a dangerous object up the dining room wall again.

I'm having fun with the site. Kids probably think about applying insanity. Put up a Link page a collection of family links (so far family consisting solely of Claudio).

In the meanwhile I'm working on my first Access sample database (tough to get stuff cleaned for general use!) which hopefully will be up "The day after tomorrow" and not "2012". I'll skip the latter one - Roland Emmerich seems to repeat himself. Tommy & Elena's account of it was probably funnier than the movie itself: world collapsing meters behind the fleeing crowd & people taking their time - catastrophe just seconds away. Reminds me of the B-Western I watched as a kid: hero kissing his beloved with the bad guy around the corner - it drove us nuts.

Sunday 29.11.2009  

Day of ups and downs, normal day so to speak. UP sun in the morning, soft boiled egg was perfect, walk to the Karlburg before the movie, gorgeous view. Watching a movie in the day is always an up, even when “Disgrace” was a bit boring, accurate re narration of the novel, but Malkovich great as ever.

DOWN fatal attempt to hang a mirror. When trying to get it straight the frame just disassembled itself. To be expected when buying a mirror from a carpet dealer? At least the new carpet is great and there is always an option Sabrina painting a couple of square meters dining room reflection. In the snapshot below the guilty mirror leaning innocently to the wall.

Didn't find the scary drive through the dark woods of the Spessart yet, Katharina has approved of publishing, but UP I found the funny article “I came to China for the food” which already was published in a Chinese paper and then I just don't ask. Apropos food, Szegediner Gulasch is simmering on the stove and that hopefully will end UP the day.

Definitely a DOWN again the cake from the bakery. Where are all the famous German pastries gone I remember so clearly from my younger days? I need to get off of that stuff!

Friday 27.11.2009  

Thanks to the wonderfully efficient support of Markus Burkardt (a support guy at Loomes AG who is doing the tickets for Kabel Deutschland) I finally got our family web page "on air". As usual this is due to multiple reasons coming together at one point of time:

First, I tried to get my grip on Java. The big goal being to convert Access database applications to something I can use everywhere, not only on Bill Gates' famous OS but also on my beloved UBUNTU Linux. This works best with a browser as GUI … you'll have to learn html.

Second, I wanted to store some pics for family and friends. Let's quickly activate your homepage package and let's go ….. don't laugh, I'm naive like that.

Third, there was an article about German director Rudolf Thome turning 70 in the FAZ. They mentioned his site ( and it made me curious. I admit I'm not a Thome fan (except “Rote Sonne der Rache” was one of the must see (at least 10 times) back in 69) but I really like his site. It's funny, individual and despite tons of information it is very well arranged. I confess: I stole quite a bit of his layout and learned a lot analyzing the source code of his site. At least I ordered his latest film PINK from Lovefilm and recorded DER PHILOSOPH. Maybe by revisiting I'll change my mind.

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