karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Default)
Tonight's Walpurgis Night. Specifically in the area of Germany I'm from this is celebrated by lighting bonfires and the event is called Besenbrennen (the burning of brooms) which combines the "out with the old, in with the new" idea with chasing out the spirits of winter with fire. Obviously, these days nobody uses bundles of twigs or straw as brooms anymore, the fires are mainly fed with old bits of wood, crates and other stuff.

Fun family anecdote: It's also my dad's birthday so when I was little he claimed that the fires were lit in his honour.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Default)
I'm at my parents' in Upper Franconia, Southern Germany at the moment and this is how much snow we had overnight on our entrance path. Effectively, it was about 5cm but there's always wind that blows snow around so you get some more in some places.

Overnight Snowdrift
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
Al Murray's German Adventure on BBC4 was a well presented and thought out programme, much better than the one on Germany Paul Merton did a while ago.
Murray managed to avoid most pitfalls and there wasn't a single pair of Lederhosen in sight, not even in the segment on Munich. Instead, there was a bit on Karl Valentin (the V pronounced like F, very important), one of if not the original German comedians. I actually didn't know that Charlie Chaplin considered Valentin one of his heroes.
If you're interested in an unbiased look at the artistic and cultural heritage of Germany, I can only recommend this programme. It's still be available on iplayer until Wednesday next week.

Mentioning Germany, lots of snow again back home. I hope the weather will have calmed down a bit by the 20th.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Blofeld)
Some of you might have seen me explode on twitter yesterday and I wanted to put a slightly more elaborate explanation here:

I am not defending the Pope in any way because he has commited enough atrocities (mostly by inaction rather than action) but if you bring up Ratzinger's membership in the Hitler Youth you do the same to every single German male of his generation. I have no love for Ratzinger but I'm German and this hurts.
He was conscripted in 1941 when membership was not only already mandatory (since '36) but also enforced by police (since '39) so you or your parents didn't have a choice, you'd be taken by force if necessary.

To those who say he could have protested or refused, I say this:
Imagine you are 14 years old, the totalitarian regime of the Nazis has been in power for 8 years, so pretty much all your conscious life. There has been nothing but Nazi propaganda and doctrine in your school curriculum, the newspapers, the news reels at the cinema and on radio. Books that might provide alternative views have been banned or burned. Almost every week there's a classmate or at least schoolmate or maybe a neighbour missing because the parents had been Jews, communist sympathisers or because of any other made up accusation. Your cousin was taken away and "euthanised" because he suffered from a disability.
What would you do? Would you speak up and say no? No, you would tag along, keep your head down and participate as little as possible but enough so you don't draw attention and you bloody well hope they don't stick you into a tank and send you into the war. Remember, you are only 14.

Now if he was ten years older, had joined in the late twenties when it was set up, gone up through the ranks and then had a military career, you could have an argument.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Naked chef)
When I'm back in Nuremberg this summer, I'll have to go here (BBC article). Looks like fun and is a (IMHO) fantastic combination of the old and new. The food (high quality, many organic ingredients, even many drinks are organic etc.) is prepared by human chefs but everything else (ordering and serving) is fully automated.
They're offering traditional local fare (even the menu is written in the local dialect) with a modern twist.

English Version of the restaurant website.

An Goudn!
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Knackered)
I got in just before 10 and probably won't last long, considering how late/early it was last night/this morning and I've got to work tomorrow.
In short, the NYE party with some old friends and quite a few new ones in Nuremberg was great. A relaxing affair full of food (fondue), drink and handmade music. There were fireworks accompanied by medieval music on midnight and much clunking of plastic champagne glasses. Someone had the bright idea to start a "short scenario" of Descent at just past 2am. With a slightly alcohol-addled (wine, apple wine which was almost like cider, a redcurrant liqueur and some sloe gin) and sleep-deprived brain it wasn't that easy to get into but it's a fun and simple dungeon crawl. We were finally finished just past 6am (the players having won) and then collapsed into our sleeping bags.

I got up at 12:30, had breakfast, chatted with the leftovers and then got a lift to Nuremberg station where I met up with E, a friend from Uni. We spent the afternoon at the Brown Sugar (one of the oldest rock pubs in Nbg) where we were a bit disappointed that the smoking ban (in effect from today in Bavaria) was ignored by both patrons and staff but we didn't mine too much as there weren't that many people there and it was bearable. We chatted about old times, travelling, friends, stuff and more stuff. A really lovely afternoon with a good friend I don't see often enough.

I bought lots of music and a few DVDs incl. Black Sheep, which just came out on DVD in Germany. Anyone in Cambridge(ish) fancy an evening of baaahing Zombie sheep mayhem? We could watch some BloodRayne, too.


13 Feb 2006 10:20 am
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Der Sinnende)
While it looks like the weather here is on its best way towards spring, it's deepest winter in Bavaria (click the links to see the photostreams). It's not as bad in Northeast Bavaria where I'm from but it's still a lot more snow than we got in the last two decades or so. I actually can't remember having that much snow since the 70s when my dad helped me (or rather, the other way around) build an igloo in the garden.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Default)
This photo was taken from our back garden at 200mm. The webcam from the earlier post is on the large grey tower (former military listening post into the East), the small tower in the webcam pic can just be seen to the left of the big tower in the large photo (where the trees in the foreground come up to the slope of the hill). 10, 15 years ago, you wouldn't have been able to see the small tower because of the dense trees. Now many trees are dead like elsewhere in central Europe. Acidic rain and bark-beetles being the main causes.

Larger version )
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Default)
Webcam pic from a hill/mountain (depending on your perspective, it's 827m high) near my hometown.
I'm looking forward to my holidays. Hopefully, the snow will still be there then.

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