Tag: mago

Sunny Suebia

I use a friend’s computer in Suebia. I came here on Sunday and my friend greeted me sniffling & coughing. It was a good decision to skip work on Monday and Tuesday. So I went for errands, bought food & cooked healthy things like a vegetable+noodle+egg-soup, and generally spread positive happiness – “No, darling, I don’t think it’s a sign of cancer, it’s just the pickles fighting the yogurth in your stomach, all will be good !”
This morning my friend had to leave for work, there is an important meeting looming that needs some preparation, and next week is already stuffed to the brim with dates for this & that. I think I’ll stay here in my role as good Samaritan & housewife until Sunday, the engine of my vehicle starts Monday morning again.
It is a bit strange in Suebia. Today is Ash Wednesday, and usually people would stagger into the next church, get their ashen cross on the forehead, go home and sleep it off. Especially the Chapel of Our Lady of the Stripey Pants enjoys a large clientele. Or, if they must, people drag themselves into work, fake it and go home as soon as possible. But around here I don’t even know where to get an ashen cross – they don’t do these things in the holy land here, those Protestants & Pietists. You can’t even find an open church on a normal work day, something that astonishes me every time again.
Faschingsdienstag, Fat Tuesday, is a normal working day here ! In Franconia, and other civilised regions, everything shuts down on midday of said Tuesday, and nobody is expected back before Ash Wednesday’s late morning or Thursday, when it’s all back to normal just without smoking – or whatever else you give up for Lent.
Of course I caricature a bit, but on last Sunday people in costumes were on the bus and on the streets in Franconia, even in small towns I passed through with the train. Nothing like this after the border to Suebia. Here they wear grey and the streets are clean.
And now for something completely different : If you partied hard over the last few days, you probably need some brake and a little treatment for well-being and general recovery. Maybe one of the following treatments is the one for you ? Sadly there is no mention of the classic arsenic-butter-stick-treatment by MsScarlet and The Infomaniac House of Beauty.

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Sunday Music

Here I sit in my dusty and cold book repository. Dusty because I simply did not get meself to hoover the rooms for some time, what I regret now, because I do not want to have silly small “things” on the soles of my feet when I go to bed. Cold because I switched off the heating sometime last week when it became over 15° C and more outside, I forgot to turn that thing on again. Over the next days we will see the temperature drop to the freezing point again. I felt pretty cold & damp when I came back home this evening. Of course I had been travelling to Suebia again.
A quick glance in the fridge showed me cold white emptiness, such must be Canada on a bad day. With the notable exception of a piece of cheese that was heroically stinking against all and everything – I never thought that a piece of run-of-the-mill-brie would develop such a personality.
Among tons of nonsensical emails was one that made all too much sense. My old professor sent me the draft for an obituary on his colleague. We came in contact some weeks ago since he had recovered from a severe illness, and this necrology is overdue.
I studied under the deceased, and now helped to piece together this part of the institute’s history, name old colleagues etc. And en passant opened a can of worms of memories. Memories I do not want to have, things I want to forget, images of persons I am not in contact with anymore, and – GOd ! – a long list of people I knew and who already have died.
Sometime in this week I will walk over to the institute and simply drop by. There is a new head now, a new ruler, I do not know much about her. I only hope that she wants to stay, and make the whole operation her own, regardless of her scientific or philosophical position – these are things to be discussed – , but what the whole thing needs is another long streak of continuity. As it was under my old prof for 25 years, and his predecessor for nearly the same long stretch. After the master’s retirement people came and went, it was no good.
In one case I went out in anger, literally fuming, I made no secret about my feelings. Not that this had any “impact”, I never was in a position to have any “impact”. But … well … The guy, who caused this, already drunk himself to death. Again successors fumbled on and off : It is time for a new Queen Now !
And no – I am not speculating on a position at the new court, seriously not !
Madame scientia (pretty much like her sister fortuna) is a damn – insert your curse word of choice for an alcoholic lady with dubious moral settings. I learned some time ago that I am not fit for this. “This is what losers say” you may mumble, and perhaps you are right. But honestly, the kind of infight I watched among “civilised” people in academia was enough to drive me away. I do not regret this, even when the other things I tried were not as successful as I had wished and hoped for.
What counts even more : The university I studied at, and where the seniorissimus and the deceased were employed at and spent their academic lives – this university is dead. After 1989 something happened here – I speak about the Western Germany university, even the whole educational system. The whole system changed.
It is not precisely explained with the slogan “Bologna Process” and what is connected with this, it is more. I have only a faint idea about this, and I seriously do not want to think about it now. It may be connected to my observation that I’m kinda “out of time” now, I do not fit in any more. In earlier times I could vanish in the herd, simply go unseen, this is nowadays at least more complicated than it was. But there is always the possibility that I am just plainly mad.
Anyway, the obit the seniorissimus sent me needs some touches – some wording & phrases are too strong. There shines something through I’d not want to be shown. Of course I know that he never shied away from confrontation, but I also liked the man who brought me into this science, and under whose guidance I finally reached my academic grade. And yes, I am proud of this grade.
It is an irony of history that a) nobody nowadays really knows what this grade means (hey, after all i received an official document from the philosophical faculty where they describe what they think of me & what I am possibly capable of, with seal & all !), that b) there is basically just one institute left (this one here !) that still carries the name of the science or field in its name, and that c) a nearly ninety year old man and a bus driver write the obituary of a philosopher who more or less by accident slipped into a unique role at a German university’s institute.

Strange days. Now I’ll gulp down a strange beer, a “Nordic Porter” by Störtebeker (with 9.1 % alcohol), and then fall into my bed. Tomorrow in the not so early ddm* (Copyright by Savannah) it’s job-as-usual. Sooner or later it will be necessary to Break On Through, here in a version by Mark ZITTI e I Fratelli COLTELLI – I hope you enjoy the music. Let’s hope for a quiet and peaceful week. And let me tell you – avoid philosophical faculties, it’s been the ruin of many a good man …

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Sunday Music

Oh dear, that’s how a zombie must feel.
Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat that hurt when I swallowed, and someone had stuck an axe through my head. The axe removed itself within some hours, thankfully, and the payne in the throat became lesser & lesser. I even used salted water. But of course, as it seemingly must be, these two uninvited guests came back in the evening. Now my throat was also swelling, what caused a mild panick attack. Some years ago I already had had the pleasure to sit upright through a night coughing, wheezing and gasping for air, with a swollen throat and a stuffed nose – it left a lasting impression & is really nothing I want to repeat.
I should not have worried, because I could not fall asleep anyway. When my bed became uncomfortable and started to feel like a bottomless pit, like the groundless mud in Flanders 1917, ready to swallow me, to let me vanish in Poe’s maelstrom, I crawled out and sat on my sofa. I switched on a small, red glass lamp, and found the warm light comforting. This two-seater sofa is great for sitting, but bad for recumbency, it is simply too short. So I pulled over one of the arm chairs, and folded me in. Here I nodded off, thankfully.
I finally gave in at five in the morning, the usual time to get up any how. I had a cup of coffee & some toast, and read in my Lichtenberg (Ger., Eng.) until I could not follow anymore – then I slept soundly for some hours through the morning until midday. Interestingly the swollen throat went back to nearly normal in the early hours of the morning – these mucosae seem to have their own rhythm.
A rhythm of his own surely has guitarist Stèphane WREMBEL (Eng.) as you can hear in today’s Sunday Music titled Blues Mineur. (If you are interested, the full session is here.)
I hope you like the music. May the next week be easy & stress free for all of us.

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Admin

Through my life I had to deal with different types of administrations in different roles. As someone who worked for them or with them (never in them), and as someone outside who wants something. I hate the word Kunde in this context, what means “customer” : I am not a customer of an official stately administration, I am a citizen. And btw the word “Kunde” itself has some not so nice connotations, but this is not a seminar in German linguistics.
I had to deal with school and university administrations, I worked for an institute at an university ; I had to deal with different public authorities like the employment office, the finance authority, different municipal authorities, the federal state in some forms.
I always had to deal with humans, with people. The employment agency was totally useless, their efforts were not worth one shot of powder (this is the translation of the German expression nicht einen Schuß Pulver wert sein, what means simply it’s worthless as a blank, just bang, smoke & nothing), but the people were friendly, and explained to me what they were trying to do. Even when I could name webpages specialised on jobs for fools like me they never had heard about, the case handlers were interested when I could show them something they did not know. Of course they never had a job for me. With one exception I’d like to forget.
I never had problems with people in the finance authority, no matter in which role I had to deal with them. As you may know now I am hopeless with numbers & maths, I grindingly understood the basics of bookkeeping, but taxes & stuff ?
I always asked, and got useful answers in a friendly way. I wanted to understand the principles of the procedure and the file, and it was explained so that even my numberwise four-year-old-self could follow and fill out the correct forms etc. They even told me how to avoid to pay too much, what I could claim or plead. Frankly I think one does not need a “tax specialist” even for a small fortune, the people in the finance administrations know exactly what to do : Just ask them in a friendly way.
At the university and in municipal administrations I learned what is possible “if they want” – wenn sie wollen, dann können sie auch, if they want it, they get it : It is always a miracle to see what a seal works. You hit this thing under a piece of paper, and all of a sudden this is not just a simple contract or a declaration of something, it is a tool, and – depending on the seal – it may be a powerful tool.
The only administration I never had a successful relation with is the social services department. Frankly, they should all be shot. I never have met such a bunch of unqualified & mean idiots before, and I hope I will never have to deal with them again.
I once was “invited” to a talk to the head of one of their departments after I had complained about their decisions. One would expect a dialogue, an exchange of arguments, but I was given forty minutes of crap. This guy warbled on and on serving one stupid platitude after another while I sat with big eyes. After ten minutes I tried to intervene, but was brushed off briskly ; after another ten minutes I gave in, it was absurd theatre at its finest. To the end he looked down into a file in front of him and ganz nach Gutsherrenart barked “Ah, yer academic …” and for the first and last time in my life I was ashamed of my degree. I walked down to the entrance and when I reached the street I was ready to strangle Bambi with my bare hands.
Anyway – this is long years ago, what is it now ? I have to get money from them. There is no effing discussion about this, it is all clear, not even the meanest inch-pincer of them all can deny it.
And I spent the whole day, since I returned from my morning drive until I had to leave for my late afternoon work, with futile attempts to reach someone in this rotten administration who can do what has to be done. It is basically simple, just a bank money order – it is like trying to nail a pudding to the wall : No one is responsible, no one is reachable, some react as if I’d have touched them inappropriately – and yes, I think one should grab them by the balls and squeeze the Jeezas out.
Wish me luck, tomorrow is another go. It’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll