Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Assorted Recent Happenings

  • On Friday I passed my defense and oral exam, finally putting all the torture of my master's degree behind me. I was tired and distracted and don't remember much about the experience, honestly. My mark was a clear pass, but I thought it should have been higher. I think my bad week and my lack of familiarity with the exam format did me no favors. I was not interested in arguing about it because I just wanted it to be over and besides, does it really matter if the mark reflects how well I know the material? I am confident in my knowledge. However, today when I ran into my past and future boss and had to tell him my mark in person, I was kind of wishing I had argued. His surprise and disappointment were apparent.
  • On Friday night, some friends and I celebrated at Merlin. They have some pretty good specials, including salads for only 6 EUR on Fridays from mid-afternoon until 7pm. My salad was pretty good, and our waitress was so friendly I actually suspect she was American. My mojito was more on the limey side, when I prefer it more on the minty side, but it still did the job so that's not really a complaint. ;) I also had a white russian, and this was the first time I've seen one served layered in a martini glass with no ice! (Also with some of those ubiquitous cape gooseberry things stuck on top.) I've been thinking about doing a short run-down of all the places we've eaten/drank in Heidelberg sometime...but we'll see.
  • On Saturday, we met with the lovely people behind SoJo at Cafe Burkhardt. It was fun...and if you get the table in the back left of the room, try checking the drawer. ;) The service there is totally average, but they have a great wine list and I think the booths are really cute. They also have a little courtyard in the back. It was kind of cool so we didn't sit back there, but it looked oddly peaceful when I took a look out the window at it after sunset. (Oddly, because it was in spite of all the noise coming from the Untere Strasse!)
  • On Sunday, we decided to take advantage of the continued great weather to bike out into the fields west of Heidelberg. From the train you can always see people biking and walking along these trails through the fields and it looks so idyllic. We've been out there before but wanted to go more in the direction of Schwetzingen this time. We have a bike map from ADFC which turned out to conflict with posted bike route signs and we didn't exactly get lost, but we had a lot of trouble and ended up not going where we had really been hoping. Still, we had a nice ride. Tons of people were out. This time of year is just really beautiful here. Just stepping outside the door, you can smell flowers in the air even when there aren't any nearby. Everything is blooming! Also, out along the Neckar near Wieblingen we heard the bird that says, "Cuckoo!" (Is it just called a Cuckoo?) It sounds just like the clocks. ;)

  • Last night we went with a couple of friends to see a documentary playing in the Cine Latino film festival at Karlstor. The documentary, Mi Vida Dentro, is in English and Spanish (subtitles in one and speaking in the other, alternating), and covers the trial of an illegal Mexican immigrant charged with murdering a boy she was babysitting in Austin, TX. It's not clear from what is shown whether she was guilty as charged or not, but parts of it are pretty painful to watch. Not least was the scene where the state prosecutor, who is totally grating every time she appears, questions one of the witnesses and asks, "Is it true that even though she comes from Mexico, the defendant is very intelligent?" Anyone still want to claim that Germany is more racist than the United States?
  • Today at the grocery store the woman in line two people ahead of me was a pain in the ass. She was bagging up her groceries slowly and the checker was already checking through the next guy's stuff (the guy ahead of me). Then she decided she wanted to pack the rest of her stuff directly into her bike basket, so she left to go unlock her bike and roll it over to pack the rest of the stuff in it!! She still had her shopping basket and could have put the stuff in there and taken it to her bike, but no! By the time she was back and packing up the rest, the guy ahead of me was trying to pack up his stuff too and it was my turn. The checker started tossing my stuff through and it got mixed in with his. I only realized later he made off with my can of tomatoes!! I'm sure it was an accident, but grr! I only noticed when it was too late! All because of the bike lady...please people, be considerate of each other at the grocery store.
  • Upcoming stuff you might want to know about if you live in the area: this Saturday, May 2, is Heidelberg's Lange Nacht des Einkaufens, long night of shopping, where stores will be open until midnight (later?)! This is super-luxurious since everything usually closes at 8pm. Plus there's usually a Feuerwurst stand in the Bismarckplatz - yum. Friday, May 1, is the wine walk in the Hessische Bergstrasse, which we did two years ago and hope to do again this year if the weather cooperates (so far it looks like it will). You can start the trail in Heppenheim or Zwingenberg or pick it up somewhere in between. Also, the night before May 1 there's usually a ginormous party on top of the Heiligenberg at the Thingstaette. I can't say I've ever been up there for it, but if you go take a flashlight or something. I heard it's hella dark.


  1. Hey, maybe we'll see each other at the Weinwanderung :-)

  2. April 30th is always "fun". Apart from the thing at Thingstätte - where you have to walk all the way up the mountain, police puts up checkpoints at bottom - there's also e.g. the Antifascist Street Festival on Uniplatz (with lots of plainclothes domestic intelligence officers as usual), so expect a lot more punks in Heidelberg that weekend than usual.

    Oh, and one could always go to the Maimarkt in Mannheim this week still. Will probably be packed next weekend.

  3. Congrats on your thesis! I've been wondering where you were and figured it had to be studying. I'm proud of you!

  4. Congratulations on passing your defense and oral exams! Whatever the mark, that is a huge achievement!

  5. Congratulations on your thesis! (Even if it did not turn out as you expected.)
    I still remember the relief after being done with mine. :)

  6. Your picture of the "Wieblinger Wehr" captures a very unique perspective of Heidelberg. If you were to make it available as a high-resolution file, I'd love to print it as a poster and hang it on my walls.

    Your description of the supermarket "incident" proofs that you have arrived in the Fatherland: mind, body, and soul! Less experienced compatriots of ours in Germany would have blamed the cashier (!) for rudelessly continuing when this poor customer lady had to get something. NOT YOU! Instead you identified the customer as the problem when the cashier was only doing her assigned job very efficiently!

    Well done. Willkommen in Deutschland! /M


  7. Thanks again for meeting up with us last weekend - we had fun! I'm also embarrassed to admit that was one of only a handful of times we've been out in Heidelberg at night. We're thinking that's going to have to change!

  8. As a capstone to you MS, how about a post on swine flu. Is this really something to be worried about? I can't tell if it's a serious disease, or just a widespread one.

  9. Martina: Cool! Email me from my profile and I can send you my cell number if you want to text and see if we're at the same place ;)

    Kato: Thanks for the further info on local stuff!!

    MIHH: Thanks!

    Mandi: Thanks!

    Sarah1976: Thanks!

    Mo: Thanks! I'm not sure which is the bigger relief - not sitting through any more class/slogging through any more homework - or not commuting to Mainz!

    M: I think the version of the photo that you get when you click on it is as good as it gets, unfortunately :/ It might be good enough quality for a small print that you could mat :)
    So am I totally mean now that I thought the customer was wrong? ;) The cashier was thinking of others: all those people lined up behind me who were waiting. The bike lady wasn't thinking of anyone else at all!

    Sarah: I like the atmosphere in HD at night - it seems a bit more relaxed than in an American city, where you can't walk out with your drink, and people get a little crazier when drunk there, it seems. :)

    Mary: I don't have much to say but posted a little about it today!


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