Thursday, 6 August 2009

At work

I finally got a new camera, an updated Sony Cyber-shot like the one I had before. This one does even better with night-time pics!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Thursday, 9 July 2009


Regensburg, December 2008

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Window shopping

Regensburg, December 2008

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Monday, 6 July 2009

Window faces

Regensburg, December 2008

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

It s another hangover Tuesday with the weather to match: gray, dreary and very snowy. This morning everything was covered under a white carpet, and the snowing was still going on strong, winter having a comeback.

What I enjoy very much is reading on my bus rides to work and back. My bus line is usually not that frequented - at least not at the times I take it - so I always get the same seat. I manage 5-8 pages per ride depending on traffic. Sometimes I forget everything around me, and it's like waking up all over again, when it's time to get off the bus.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Looks like I won't manage very well posting a diary on a daily basis. Nowadays I sometimes just fall asleep in the evening way before my usual time.

In the last week there was quite a lot going on for me: went to Munich to see Emiliana Torrini in concert. On Thursday my Dad celebrated his 70th birthday. This Saturday there will a short Tv documentary about him on Bavarian TV. Yeah, that picture up there is him, and no, he isn't an Indian, but he sure wishes he were. He has been accepted as participant at official pow-wows, and he does all his clothes and all the ornamentation himself. Yeah, my Dad is a bit eccentric.

I am also working on my other blog more and trying to get my posts more varied, so you'll see a lot more going on over there. I'm including posts on nearly every movie I have recently watched (which usually is a lot), and inspired by the short prosa texts of John Cage's Indeterminacy series I thought I'll try a shot at that. So keep an eye on my posts there called Vignettes with which I'll be telling small anecdotes.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Friday, February 6th, 2009


These days I'm a bit busy and won't be able to post any entries till Sunday again. Wednesday night I was out as usual at the pub and met an old acquaintance. There's a nice funny story to tell.

Tonight I'm invited to a dinner party, so it'll be fairly late again.

And tomorrow we're going to Munich to spend the day there, and in the evening we'll see the Emiliana Torrini concert. We'll also will be meeting a MySpace friend there, so it will be an exciting day!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Today's another especially foggy and dreary day, we have that quite often.

Sometimes I imagine that the weather stays like this forever, and we'd live without sunshine for the rest of our lives, a kind of post-apocalyptic Regensburg. At night it would hardly matter, the fog has a certain romantic flair to it in the dark. And since I'm much more a nighttime person than daytime it'd suit me fine.

By the way, the house we live in is situated right between the cathedral and the old stone bridge.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Tuesday is always the day after my round table at the pub, so I'm always a bit hungover.

I hope yesterday's post didn't sound too much about complaining. I only wanted to describe the differences between living here and in New York.

Maybe I can explain this visually. Life in Bavaria is like:

In New York it's:

In the States it'd be New York and nowhere else for me. Here are some of the appealing factors:

- NYC is something like the 'center' of the world; there's always substantial going on there, and you feel as if you were a part of that.

- It's a true melting pot where your origin is much less important than anywhere else. You're instantly a local.

- NYC is not as anonymous as it is often said. I'd have a lot of friends and contacts in no time.

- The city never sleeps. You can shop, go out to eat or have a drink anytime you want.

- You don't need car.

- The ocean is always near.

- You step out the door and you're instantly 'in it' (have that in Regensburg, too, though).

And I especially like the people in New York, there are so many peoples mixed there, which is not at all so in Europe. And you have Jewish culture which is as good as extinct in Europe and especially in Germany. Visiting New York I can sense the tragedy the Third Reich has pressed upon Europe for all times. In a way, in New York the world is still alright, a bit like Europe should have been. John Updike calles the way of life there “New Yorkerese,” a style that he described as “sort of big-town folksy.” That pretty muchs puts it correctly, it's not really as cosmopolitan as you might imagine, it's somehow 'folksy'.

Updike himself couldn't stand New York, in the end he moved away very early.

“Once I got here,” he said of New York in the 2005 interview, “I realized that immense as the city is, your path in it tends to be very narrow. I only knew people I went to college with and other writers, and felt I wasn’t really getting a fair picture of America here. And there were too many other writers and editors and agents and people who were willing to give me ideas of what I should do with my life.”

I guess his dreams were a bit more idealistic than the city was able to fulfill. All our paths are narrow, but in New York they cross ways more often than anywhere else.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do this. It's not that I have nothing to tell, it's more like I could write about a lot of things. And these days there's been a lot going on in my life: trouble at work and the prospect of massive layoffs this year, not winning the giant jackpot in the German lottery, or some great movies I've seen these last few day (Benjamin Button, Cashback) and the books I'm currently reading (I'm always reading several at a time).

But what has been going on in my mind lately is: New York! After having visited the city (and the States!) for the first time in 16 years I have grown kind of homesick to living there.

And this weekend I came across an article in the New York Times on John Updike and New York called:

Thoughts on the City by a New Yorker Writer Who Avoided New York

Reading this got me all started over again about living in New York. “I loved the idea of being in New York, and having an office that looked out on skyscrapers, and living in the West Village, and riding the subway every day and always going in the right direction,” he said. “All this meant a lot to me.”

And to me, too! I've been spending my here in Bavaria since 1971, and after a long phase of homesickness for the States in my teens I though I had overcome that feeling. Several trips to the USA, 2 of them long journeys through the whole country, didn't really revive that feeling either.

But last October Ursula and I spent 7 days in New York, our hotel was the Chelsea, and 3 days in Philly, and this time it was like a true homecoming. It was not only by the fact that we were meeting close friends. Right from the beginning stepping out of the taxi and into the Chelsea's lobby it and getting a overwhelming greetings it was like the city had been waiting for us.

I don't think this is an irrational notion either. All through my life here in Bavaria I never did feel like I was fully accepted as a 'citizen'. It may have to do with me and my status as an immigrant, but also with the general German mentality of keeping a certain distance to your neighbors. Of course, I have lots of friends and they are great and I could never complain about that. It's more than you are in a way a foreigner in your own land and being governed by a state whose representatives you never were able to vote for. All you have to do is to return to here from a trip outside the country and the customs officer will be sure to ask you what you're intentions are to being in Germany...Most often I've been living in this country longer than the officer himself!

Although the Big Apple will always be described as the archetype of the big anonymous city, the metropolis, it really isn't that way at all. Of course, it is busy and people are rushing on their ways as in any other larger city (and no different than in Regensburg), but anywhere you go you can sense the possibility of communication, it can always happen that you will be confronted with some kind of friendly conversation, with some unexpected courtesy or just the complicit feeling that you are one among all the other 'real' New Yorkers.

Of course, that's an American characteristic. Believe me, though, here where I am it is quite uncommon to be cordial with strangers. In fact, you very much need to prove yourself to others in order to be considered 'acceptable'. This probably results from the fact that in Europe, and very especially in Bavaria, life is very much steeped into an ancient cultural heritage into which you must have grown to be really a full part of. If not, you are considered as alien and treated so, too. On the other hand, those locals who act more upfront will be smiled upon as 'eccentric'. I'm not really complaining, it's just a different way of life. For example, visiting a remote Sicilian village, you can't expect to be treated as 'one of them', but yes you can expect some helpfulness.

Once, still a shy young teenager, I was at the big local bookstore browsing around. 2 American tourists appeared at the cash register and enquired in English about purchasing a map of the town. They encountered gruff rejection and were more or less thrown out of the place by the female supervisor. Afterwards an employee asked her if that hadn't been a bit too snippy, the supervisor replied. "No, not at all, if they want something from us they'll need to learn German first". You might call that a singular incident involving one mean old lady (which she was) and you might possibly experience that anywhere else in the world, but to me that always exemplified the way it is in this part of the world. Local or alien, the German procedure is to check you from top to bottom when they encounter you, and you're always being evaluated. Step into a pub or a restaurant and everybody already present will register your entry. You can nearly feel such an inspection physically.

(to be continued)

Sunday, 1 February 2009


Since my initial blog has turned out be more image-laden than wordy I decided to create a second blog which will deal more with my thoughts than with pictures.

Primarily this will be a diary, but, I admit, one with quite irregular entries, since much too often my time is limited, and then I might not always have anything interesting to say. Nonetheless I'll try and make short notes as often as I can.

My main intention for this blog you can find in Montaigne's preface at the top of this page, I could sign every one of those wonderful words. I do have a second intention though, too: living in a foreign country and speaking a heavy local Bavarian dialect I want to keep up with my mother tongue, which is English, and keep my writing skills in practice.

So just writing a simple diary won't do, I'll need to force myself to put down my thoughts in coherent words. I therefore have decided to irregularly write a short essay based on each chapter of Montaigne's essay book, one by one, all through the book.

I'm not putting a time limit on this project, I'm just going to read this book one essay at a time, and I won't continue reading before I haven't published my thoughts on every specific topic here.

A side effect will be that in the end I not only will have read a complete book, but will have written one as well.

It'll be less profound, of course, but who knows?