Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ebookers horror continues...

So, last episode we talked about how calling ebookers costs more than you would ever save by buying their insurance or using their site in general (instead of other travel sites).

It also turns out that to change a flight with them there is a 50 EUR change fee with ebookers on top of whatever the change fee of the airline is. AND it turns out British Airways' change fee is not the 30 EUR or so that I expected, but 75 EUR. So much for the 40 EUR worth of insurance covering anything. I feel really naive.

Unfortunately the possible need to change the itineraries that we thought might happen, DID happen. So, time to deal with all this! Turns out British Airways' customer service desk doesn't open until 9am! God forbid your flight is any earlier than that. We can't even do anything with the flight online like check in or see if we can change it, because the British Airways booking number that ebookers gave us DOESN'T WORK.

If I could go back I would never have booked this trip - but now friends there have arranged their schedule around it, so I have to figure something out other than cancelling. I HATE FLYING!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Do not use sucks.

U sed them to book an upcoming trip that we know we might have to alter and got the 30 EUR insurance to cover up to 40 EUR of the change fees if we did have to alter it. That covers the usual change fee about exactly. Turns out, we have to alter the trip. But, we have to call ebookers to have it changed. And it costs 49 cents per minute to call the number from a cell phone. (We have no land line.)


We already spent 5 EUR on holding, waiting for them to pick up, and will spend more because we haven't gotten through yet. So, actually, we should have never bought the insurance and should have just paid the change fee to alter our tickets.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

How Yesterday's World Cup Games Exemplified the National Personalities of the Favored Teams

As nicely summarized by a friend who has lived in Germany and the UK and is very familiar with US culture:

CN Heidelberg: i thought the games yesterday could be an interesting illustration of the differences between germans and americans
Awesome Friend: i think you said it right, including about england
Awesome Friend: americans are relentless and push themselves more
Awesome Friend: germans are not too good adjusting to obstacles
Awesome Friend: and the english are too complacent. they expect results based on sheer talent and reputation but do not really push themslves that hard

Monday, June 14, 2010

What European Countries Are Americans Naming Their Children After?

Onward with the name weirdness. In the hearts and minds of Americans, all European countries AREN'T equal, if what Americans name their children is any indication. (That despite plenty of "In Europe..." commentary that seems to insinuate it's all the same.)

Among babies born in 2009, here's the name tally! Data is only available if 5 or more babies had the name.

Georgia: 968 girls (maybe it's cheating to include this one)
Ireland: 8 boys, 340 girls - plus Irelan, 6 girls; Irelyn, 131 girls; Irelynd, 14 girls; Irelynn, 105 girls
Holland: 25 boys, 135 girls - there are also Hollin and Hollyn, but I can't tell if those are riffs off of Holland or Holly
Italy: 54 girls - plus Italee, 7 girls; Itali, 9 girls; Italie, 5 girls
Scotland: 11 boys, 5 girls - plus Scottland, 8 boys, Scotlyn, 28 girls; Scotlynn, 7 girls - there are also boys named Scottlyn and Scottlynn, but I'll assume those are plays on Scott, not Scotland
Germany: 5 boys, 9 girls - plus Germani, 11 girls***
Cyprus: 10 boys
England: 9 girls
Iceland: 5 girls - plus Icelynn, 5 girls

Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine: none or fewer than 5

***Edited to add: I missed some. There were also 26 girls named Jermani and 7 named Jermany.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Beliebte Vornamen 2009 (Popular First Names 2009)

I'm a little late on my yearly name nerdery this year since I was away last month, but as in the previous three years, here it is! Data sources* are the same as in previous years, but this time I've also included Heidelberg's most popular names, which I was happy to discover on the front page of the local free newspaper one day. By the way, this year the US Social Security Administration (SSA) upped the name nerd happiness levels big time by including not only the top 1000 names in the US, but offering a download for every year from 1880 onward of every name used 5 or more times that year. It is amazing. I was dying to know that in 2007 5 baby girls were named Yunalesca. And 5 baby boys that year were named Zyquavious.

Since the SSA data does not combine spellings of the same name (meaning one entry for Sophia+Sofia, not separate), I found a list made by someone who combined them (using the SSA data). (Normally I do this myself but no time yet this year.) This gives a better picture of the most popular names than the list as presented on the SSA site.

* German data is not collected by the government and not official and probably not all that accurate. If you know of a better German source, let me know!

Maedchen (Deutschland)
1. Mia
2. Hannah
3. Leonie
4. Lena
5. Leah
6. Anna
7. Emma
8. Emily
9. Marie
10. Lilli
11. Sarah
12. Lara
13. Laura
14. Sophie
15. Sophia
16. Lina
17. Nele
18. Johanna
19. Maja
20. Amelie

Jungen (Deutschland)
1. Leon
2. Lucas
3. Jonas
4. Luca
5. Paul
6. Felix
7. Maximilian
8. Finn
9. Tim
10. Ben
11. Luis
12. Max
13. Julian
14. Elias
15. Niclas
16. Noah
17. Jan
18. Philip
19. Moritz
20. Yannick

Maedchen (Heidelberg)
1. Marie
2. Sophie
3. Maria
4. Anna
5. Sophia
6. Emilia
7. Emma
8. Elisabeth
9. Julia
10. Charlotte

Jungen (Heidelberg)
1. Maximilian
2. Paul
3. Alexander
4. Leon
5. David
6. Tim
7. Elias
8. Lukas
9. Jonas
10. Felix

1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Olivia
4. Madison
5. Emily
6. Emma
7. Ava
8. Abigail
9. Chloe
10. Hailey
11. Madeline
12. Addison
13. Kaylee
14. Caitlin
15. Mia
16. Natalie
17. Lily
18. Elizabeth
19. Brianna
20. Alison

1. Aidan
2. Jaden
3. Jacob
4. Ethan
5. Michael
6. Alexander
7. Cayden
8. William
9. Christopher
10. Jackson
11. Joshua
12. Daniel
13. Noah
14. Matthew
15. Anthony
16. Christian
17. David
18. Andrew
19. Joseph
20. Caleb
Thoughts? Lots of nicknames and short forms on the German lists, but that seems to be a European standard now. No one would want to use Cornelia anymore and they just go straight to the diminutive Nele. It's a little opposite on the American side, where parents want to have a long form for everything and sometimes in complicated directions, thinking you need a Jackson for a Jack when really you just need a John....along with Madison and Addison for Maddie and Addie, although Madeline's finally catching up and maybe Adeline/laide will too.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Mai Fest Chicago


Germany = Bavaria, right? ;)