Archive for March, 2001

March 31 2001

Saturday, March 31st, 2001

Reading

Finally, after finishing my thesis, I have more time to read books. In England, I bought and read Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them by Newt Scamander and Quidditch Through The Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp. I liked that the first book is an exact copy of the one that Harry Potter owns, and they even printed what Harry and Ron Weasley (who is using Harry’s copy because his fell apart) scribbled on the pages.

I also bought Generation X by Douglas Adams, which I wanted to read since I saw it on Mr. and Mrs. Simmons’ Favorite Books. I started reading it on the flight back from England.

And yesterday, I visited my favourite bookstore in Bonn – and found they already had a few copies of Otherland IV – Sea of Silver Light! 922 pages, and it was only DM 33,10. Surprisingly, it seems as if the book is not available elsewhere. Amazon.de Amazon.de and Amazon.com list it to be published in April 2001 (and for almost twice as much money, but that’s the American hardcover edition), and Amazon.co.uk says it will be published on April 3. The book is £14.39 there, which is about DM 45,30. I wonder why prices differ so much for the same book.

I can’t wait to start reading the final part of the Otherland series – I’ve been waiting since finishing part three a year and a half ago.

And what does the author think about the book?

“It’s finally over. Five or six years of writing, perhaps more, living with this story for a few years in my head even before I started, and now it’s about to be published. Characters I have lived with longer than I’ve lived with either of my children. (And who have been more of a plus in terms of income, as well.)

… I’ve read this book about six times in four months – all 1100 pages of manuscript. I’m completely sick of it. I have no idea if it’s any good or not. I need someone else to tell me, because as far as I’m personally concerned, it’s the most boring, unnecessary book in the history of this part of the galaxy. If I never had to look at it again I’d be perfectly happy – no, delighted. Of course, I’m desperately hoping that there are readers out there who will feel differently.”

Spring

Yay! Spring has arrived in Bonn! Since yesterday, it’s mostly sunny, it’s quite warm, the birds are singing, and it smells like spring. The temperatures are going to reach 20°C tomorrow and on Monday, says the weather forecast. Wow!

March 30 2001

Friday, March 30th, 2001

Community

Gute Besserung, Al! Hope your legs get better soon!

Hope you’re feeling better soon, Garret!

Susan, I just love your colourful reflections and blurs photos!

Lange Museumsnacht

Morgen abend findet die 3. Bonner Museumsnacht statt. Ganz so spannend wie in Berlin wird die wohl nicht sein, allein schon, weil es hier weniger Museen gibt, aber ein paar interessante Angebote gibt es schon:

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Web Trip to England

Since I don’t have any photos of my trip at the moment, I looked up the websites of some of the sights we visited last week.

On March 21, we went to Plymouth harbour to welcome the HMS Cumberland, the ship on which Pauline served during the last six months.

The next day, we went to see Buckfast Abbey, “which is the home of a Roman Catholic Community of Benedictine monks in Devon, England. The first monastery was founded in 1018, but was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1539. It was refounded in 1882. The Abbey Church was rebuilt by the monks themselves. Buckfast  now welcomes almost half a million visitors each year.” The church was basically built by six to eight monks in about 32 years!

After that, we visited the Buckfast Butterflies and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary. Since it was early in spring, they didn’t have any butterflies, but since there were only few visitors, we were able to feed the otters.

On Friday, André and I explored Plymouth on our own. We went to the National Marine Aquarium, which was very interesting. However, we were a couple of days early for the Jewels of Plymouth Sound.

Afterwards, we went for a walk to the Hoe and the inner city.

On Saturday, Pauline, her brother and his girlfriend wanted to watch a rugby game in Penzance. André and I went with them, but went for a walk on the waterfront instead of watching rugby. Penzance is situated at Mount’s Bay, famous for St. Michael’s Mount, which we didn’t visit. (André has been there a couple of years ago.)

Sunday was Mothering Day in the United Kingdom, so we visited Pauline’s parents who live in Princetown, in the middle of Dartmoor National Park, which is closed at the moment because of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. However, you are still allowed to drive your car on the main roads, so Pauline and I went for a one-hour tour around the moor in the afternoon.

On Monday, Pauline, her mum, André and I went to see the Eden Project near St. Austell, Cornwall. Since the weather was very cold, windy and rainy outside, it was a pleasure to escape into the tropical climate of the greenhouses. In the afternoon, we had fish and chips in Looe before heading back home.

Tuesday was my last day in Plymouth. We had planned to visit Buckland Abbey and The Garden House, both of which are not far from Princetown, but Buckland Abbey was closed because of foot-and-mouth. The Garden House was open, and it was wonderful! Of course there were not many flowers yet because it was so early in spring, but the gardens were spectacular nevertheless, and I enjoyed our visit.

On Wednesday, my plane from Plymouth to London-Gatwick (via Newquay) left at 10:35 a.m., and I made my way home to Bonn in seven and a half hours and without any problems or delays whatsoever.

March 28 2001

Wednesday, March 28th, 2001

Catching up

Just making my usual weblog round…

Some odds and ends:

Sorry I’m late: Happy Birthday Brent!

Mollie is going on hiatus. Hope you’ll be back soon!

And Martin seems to be in semi-hiatus. See you some time or other!

I really do hope that your flight is better than ours was, David!

The Mandelbrot Monk (see March 18) was a hoax, says Hal. Sorry about that. But the story was cool, wasn’t it?

(I seem to have picked up the “wasn’t it/hasn’t it/isn’t it” thing in England. Heh. )

Someone once said: What goes around comes around. Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching. Sing like nobody’s listening. Live like it’s Heaven on Earth.

Thanks, Garret.

Gunk Dunc. Look at those photos!

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Back from England!

Yay, I’m back and in one piece, and my luggage didn’t get lost! I’m really surprised about this because our flight(s) from Frankfurt to Plymouth was horrible! (The way back today was fine, thank you.)

Last Tuesday, André and I arrived at Frankfurt Airport at 3 p.m., about two hours before our flight was scheduled to take off. We went straight to check-in and learned that our flight to London-Gatwick was cancelled because the computer system of British Airways had been down for a while. So they had to do all the check-in by hand, ticking passengers off from lists and writing the boarding cards and luggage tags by hand. Yay.

Fortunately, BA had already put us on a later flight to Bristol and from there to Plymouth. And we would be less than half an hour late. So we had some time to kill at Frankfurt Airport, but that was not too bad. We phoned the parents of Pauline, André’s friend, who were supposed to pick us up at Plymouth Airport, that we would be a little late.

Finally our flight was called. It was half an hour late because it was snowing heavily in Bristol. We checked in and made sure that someone in Bristol knew we wanted to catch a flight to Plymouth so they’d be waiting for us.

But after ten or twenty minutes, they moved us out of the waiting area at the gate because they wanted to start boarding for another flight. Twenty or thirty people, most of whom wanted to fly to Bristol, now sat outside the gate and waited for boarding. When nothing happened, someone went to ask the ground staff what was going on, and he came back and said the flight was cancelled altogether. But we never heard this on the loudspeakers or from a staff member.

After a little while, all passengers to Bristol were asked to proceed to the gate next to the one at which we were waiting, but there was a flight going to London-Heathrow and the staff at the gate knew nothing about passengers to Bristol – let alone Plymouth. The computer was not working (remember?), so someone started making phone calls. It turned out that the flight to Bristol had been cancelled ages ago – after all, the plane had never left Bristol, and they should have told us that hours earlier. All passengers for Bristol were now booked for Heathrow, departure at Frankfurt airport 8:30 p.m. At this point, we already were more than three hours late. We asked about our luggage, which we had last seen at 3 p.m., going on its way to Plymouth. Someone made a phonecall and had our luggage rerouted to London-Heathrow because nobody knew whether there would be a plane from Heathrow to Plymouth, or maybe ground transportation, or a hotel room and a flight the next day. Because the computers were not working. Next phone call to Plymouth: We will definitely go to London, but we don’t know if or when we will be in Plymouth.

At 9 p.m., we left Frankfurt Airport on board of a plane that headed to Heathrow and surprisingly arrived there one and a half hours later without any problems whatsoever. Because of the time difference, it was 9:30 p.m. in London, and after we retrieved our luggage (which surprisingly had been in the plane with us!), the dozen or so people who originally intended to go to Bristol managed to get someone from British Airways to help. The poor lady knew nothing about us – we began to wonder if not only the computers, but also the telephone was not working here – and after an hour she had most of the people on their way to Bristol. That left four people, one of whom took a taxi to a hotel in London.

The other three, including André and me, wanted to go to Plymouth, and the lady from British Airways got us a taxi. We phoned Pauline’s parents again and told them that we would be delivered right to the doorstep of Pauline’s flat. And a little before 11 p.m., we were on our way to Plymouth. It rained, and around Bristol it still snowed, and I was tired. No way would I have liked to drive a car in such weather, especially not at that time of day. The poor bloke who drove us would spend almost all night on motorways!

We arrived in Plymouth at about 2:30 a.m. and found the neighbourhood of André’s friend with the help of that other man who shared our taxi, then phoned the friend’s parents one last time to tell us where exactly to find the street. We were in bed before 3 a.m., ready to get up four hours later to make it to the harbour in time for the HMS Cumberland, which was scheduled to arrive at 9 a.m.

The ship, which belongs to the Royal Navy, arrived almost in time and was greeted with due celebration. There was a band and dozens of relatives who had not seen their husbands, fathers, daughters or sisters for six months! We had a quick look around on board, then we all headed back to Pauline’s flat for a hearty brunch.

Photos of the arrival of the ship and the rest of our time in and around Plymouth are soon to come. My camera (and all the photos) are still in Plymouth with André, who will return on April 6th.


On to March 21.

March 19 2001

Monday, March 19th, 2001

Just a quick posting… I had a wonderfully relaxing weekend and now feel fit for our little vacation in Plymouth! facehappy: Unfortunately, the weather has turned horribly cold (though not as horrible as further in the North), but maybe it’l be better in England in the next couple of days.

Five years ago, on March 19 1996, André and I met for the very first time! Back then, I was still living in Hanover, and he spent a couple of days at his parents near Celle (quite close to Hanover), so I invited him for dinner. Having known each other only via email, we spent the day getting used to the idea that there was a real person behind all those emails, chatting, drinking tea and going to the movies in the evening.

And today we are going to celebrate both the anniversary of our first meeting and the fact that I survived writing my thesis by going to a very good Chinese restaurant.

After that, it’s time to start packing, and tomorrow we’re leaving for the airport a little after noon.

Have a great day, everyone, and in case I don’t get to post something tomorrow, expect me to be back on Thursday next week!

March 18 2001

Sunday, March 18th, 2001

The Weekend

As you may have guessed, I had a Sw/oC yesterday. I spent the whole day lying on the sofa, read a book cover-to-cover and enjoyed that I didn’t have to do anything else. In the evening, I cooked one of my favourite dinners: baked potatoes, bell peppers and zucchini. With fresh rosemary! Yum.

Today will be a bit more busy. As André wrote the day before yesterday, we’re going to Plymouth, England to visit a friend he knows from school on Tuesday. They haven’t seen each other for years, and I’m looking forward to meeting her for the first time. And although parts of Devon and Cornwall are closed because of the mouth and foot disease, I’m quite sure we will enjoy our stay. And it will be a great way to relax from the thesis, so I will be fresh for the text task at hand: preparing for the written exams.

So, today we start with the preparations for our trip. I’ll do some washing and generally catch up with household tasks that were neglected during the last busy week of thesis-writing.

Speaking of my thesis: On Friday I went to two libraries and returned all of the books I’d borrowed for the thesis, about 17 or 18. It felt really great to get the load off your shoulders in such a symbolic way: I carried all the books in a backpack and dumped them on the counter at the library. Free at last! Now my desk is back to its neat and empty pre-thesis look.

30 Jahre Maus: Happy Birthday!

Die Sendung mit der Maus (hier ohne Flash-Intro) feiert heute ihren 30 Geburtstag!

In Köln ist eine große Geburtstagsparty, die man auch im Internet verfolgen kann (Webcams, Stream).

Auf der Website der Maus kann man die Geschichte der Maus nachlesen, und einige der Sachgeschichten lesen und anschauen.

Die Maus ist schon älter als ich, hat sich aber besser gehalten, finde ich. Früher habe ich sie immer im Fernsehen geschaut, jeden Sonntagvormittag.

Die Sachgeschichten finde ich noch immer klasse, und auch die Sachgeschichten auf der Website sind sehr gut gemacht. Meine Lieblingsgeschichte? In einer Sendung wurde im Zusammenhang mit Atomkraftwerken der Begriff Kettenreaktion verdeutlicht: In einem Zimmer waren hunderte gespannter Mausefallen und Tischtennisbälle aufgebaut. Dann hat entweder Armin oder Christoph (siehe auch http://mauschristoph.de/) einen Tischtennisball hineingeworfen, und los ging die Kettenreaktion…

Im Web: Die Maus erklärt das Internet.

Und in der aktuellen Zeit gibt’s gleich zwei Artikel zum Maus-Geburtstag:

Fernsehen: In Saus und Maus. “Seit 30 Jahren sorgt sich Armin Maiwald um die ‘Sendung mit der Maus'”.

Leben: Die Maus, die alles weiß. “Gratulation: Die heimliche Volkshochschule des deutschen Fernsehens wird 30 Jahre alt. Und was haben wir von ihr gelernt? Zwölf dankbare Schülerinnen und Schüler antworten”.

Math

Ray Girvan: The Mandelbrot Monk. In the 13th century, a monk named Udo von Aachen seems to have known about the Mandelbrot set.

Link via Hal.