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August 27, 2009

Product line

The local hardware store has air filters and coffee makers, but not coffee filters.

(They don’t have air makers either, before you ask.)

Posted by pjm at 12:24 PM | Comments (2)

August 15, 2009

Getting recycling right

In Osaka, they were pushing recycling a lot. Inexplicably, they decided to do this by pouring each bottle into a plastic cup, and handing us the cup, saving the bottle to be recycled. So we used a lot of plastic cups.

The Berlin organizing committee has come up with a better way of keeping the media tribune clear of plastic bottles. We can get all the water bottles we wish from a volunteer in a room near the tribune. But we have to pay €0.50 for each. When we bring the bottles back, we get the money back.

“We thought there would be people searching the stands for bottles to bring back,” said one of the organizers. “But then we decided we were more concerned with getting the bottles returned and recycled than with getting people their money back.”

Posted by pjm at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2009

Amberg's spectacles

I’ve probably seen more of Germany in the two and a half days I’ve been here than I saw of China in two weeks, largely thanks to my cousin and her husband, who met me in Berlin and rambled around that city with me before driving me down to their place in Amberg (right smack in the middle of Bavaria). The best part was that they had been on bicycle tours in several cities already with these folks and wanted to do this one.

The bike tour meant we saw most of the sights of the city and covered a heck of a lot of ground in a pretty compressed span of time. (Including the beer garden stop, a bit more than four and a half hours.) Now I also know where to go back to and how to get there next week, when I’ll be working with small bites of time between morning and evening sessions.

My favorite part of Germany, though, which I’d forgotten, is the many nicknames the Germans have for their geography. The Victory Column, for example, has a small rod holding it upright, leading to its nickname, “Chick on a Stick.” The East Berlin TV tower is known as “The Pope’s Revenge” for various reasons. And now, in Amberg, I discovered a bridge arch known as the Spectacles of Amberg. The few sentences describing it in English, of course, don’t explain why. You have to look at it for a while before it dawns on you…

Amberg's spectacles

Posted by pjm at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

August 6, 2009

Once again my lack of follow-through is on display

The promised forthcoming posts will be waiting a bit. I have good excuses.

  • Got married last week. (License: $30. Justice of the Peace: $100. Absence of wedding-planning hassle: Priceless.)
  • Work is going well, which means we’re busy.
  • Getting on a plane for Germany tomorrow. (I’ll have some relevant posts about that trip here and at Flat Hills Road, if I have time.)
  • Oh, and A starts her new job outside Albany while I’m away, which means I have to pack half the house (or so) before getting on the plane, because “home” when I get back may not be the “home” I’m leaving. (Not the first time this has happened…)

Posted by pjm at 10:32 AM | Comments (7)