hot and slimy

I’m not talking about the weather!

Hot & Slimy Noodles Sarah’s at her weekly voice lesson. I’m hungry. Really hungry. I don’t want to eat (just yet) any of the things that we bought today while out shopping. Perusing our shelves, I find some glass (rice) noodles and our substantial selection of spices and sauces. I zero in on Pearl River Soy Sauce and Garlic Cholula (thanks Dad, good idea bringing that one over). What might be missing? Chinese (white) pepper. “This will be my masterpiece,” I think. “This is going to be even better than that rice dish I invented.”

Well, maybe not. I made more than one bowl of it, but I think that was because there just wasn’t enough in the first batch to sate me. Now the sound of the washer doing its slow tumble reminds me of the way my tummy feels.

First picture taken of me (not by me) with the new camera In other news, Matthias snapped this picture of me this morning at Kaminski. Apart from my usual morning hair, I think it actually looks OK (maybe it’s the enormous boutonniere). Which is odd, given the recent comment by my Mom.

It was good to be back there for breakfast as Tom, our ever-gracious host, recited our usual items to us. It’s nice when all you have to do is nod and your stuff comes out exactly the way you want it.

See, he can smile!

Matthias 2

Sarah and I went out to a Greek restaurant this evening for dinner, mentally prepping for our cruise, and happily Matthias had absolutely no medical emergencies, business trips, or really any reason not to join us. So he did. I think it was good for him. It’s normally hard to capture him photographically without getting a goofy expression*, but this time, it seemed to work.

I got a new camera

I’m pretty happy with it so far.

Fotohaus Zacharias has been running a special for about a month now on an Olympus E-500, two lenses (14-45mm and 40-150mm), 2 UV-filters, an extra set of rechargeable batteries, a 2GB compact flash card, a Samsonite-branded camera bag/pouch, and a somewhat goofy backpack (for what exactly? Not sure – it doesn’t seem camera-specific, but who knows – I can always keep it around as a spare) for the low-low price of 700€.

So, with Sarah’s permission and our upcoming cruise as motivation, I finally sprung for a new camera.

I like that on the first day, I was already able to jump back into SLR-mode, playing around with aperture and shutter-speed priority. I still gotta figure out how to get the ISO settings up above 400 — apparently this camera can do that, but I haven’t figured out how yet.

Here, fresh off the flash card are the first ones I’ve taken which seem worthy of posting:

zoomed in the Dom from our skylight skyline fossil the Dom, of course Everyone photographs the Dom Yuck zoomed in zoomed out zoomed in zoomed out zoomed out

“Did he tell you his name was ‘Mary?'”

Looks like we’ll be rollin’ on the Danube all day today.

I’m very surprised the locals have apparently suspended their weekend / morning noise ordinance for the *Bürgerfest*. I recorded this


5 minutes ago out of our skylight window. It’s like one giant wedding reception out there, and the weather looks like it’ll hold, so we can expect no meteorological respite.

I guess there’s nothing to be done except pass the mostaccioli.

enough with the cruise teasing already

We actually intend to set sail this time (other times, [or here, or here], kind of petered out). We plunked down. We’re working out the logistics, but this looks doable. We were looking at at slightly longer and cheaper cruise out of Savona, Italy that touched land in Alexandria and came back, but getting to Savona without a car was going to be a major hassle (the usual: planes, trains, and automobiles) and we’d end up bookending the trip with overnight hotel stays on both ends in Genoa en route to Savona. No thanks. Going out of Venice, we’ll most likely train it down and back with less hassle.

another cruise?

Here’s a link to a rough Google Map I made of our route, and if you have Google Earth, you can check it out using that software, too.

Being cruise newbies, we are already learning from others’ experiences. For instance, our pal Kim convinced us to stick to the cable car when coming ashore at Skala and scaling the cliffs up to the town. You can hike it, but it’s the same route the donkeys take, and they smell pretty bad.

What Med-cruise tips can you offer us? We’ve already got “Frommer’s European Cruises & Ports of Call” to help us research our trip, but — as always — we value input from “real” people much more highly than from the contributors of these travel books. Help us out!

audio tour of tonight’s Bürgerfest selections

The Bürgerfest is Regensburg’s biggest strictly-summer — not beginning of summer, not end of summer, just summer — festival.

Jugendblaschor Dingenskirchen
Rednecks follow you everywhere

It’s so big that they only do it once every two years. Since *everyone* comes out for it, there are some pretty good people-watching opportunities. Anyway, there was quite a smattering of available tunage this evening. Not all of it was bad, and some of the bad stuff was entertainingly bad. You’ll find a range genres from marching band (without the marching) to Spyro Gyra-style jazz to angsty rock to ska to lousy pseudo battle rap* to crummy ’60s covers. It’s all good. Just shows the range that Regensburg has to offer, right?

Particularly good were the Jazz Police whose samples you’ll hear in the very last part of the audio track below. I’d like to hear more cool jazz covers from them and fewer Elvis-crap covers, but to their credit, they were playing to the crowd, who gave it an 88 because it had a good beat and they could dance to it.


let the FESTivities begin

Jahninselfest Alert readers will remember previous descriptions of the various reasons to walk around outside with thousands of other people — and during the summer, it’s at the drop of a hat around here. Not that I’m complaining. We did our first fest of Summer 2007 today, kind of by accident.

We strolled around a bit after dinner at Exil, trying to justify the dessert we’d planned on getting. And that’s when we stumbled upon the *Jahninselnfest* — a two-day just-for-fun festival of food, drink, and music taking place on one of the islands in the Danube. After a little people-watching, Sarah and returned to the task at hand…getting dessert. We decided on Diba, which we consider the best ice cream in Regensburg. It’s one of the reasons we’re always trying to get people to come visit us Dibaover the summer (up til now, only Sarah’s cousins have made that work; everyone else who’s visited has come in the Fall, Winter or Spring). They offer very interesting flavors like Cinnamon-Coriander and Chocolate-Ginger and the like. We strolled over to their store near Haidplatz, and while inside selecting our flavors, a little “Dibamobile” rolled up. I wonder if they can do deliveries in that thing…

smooth transition from home to work and back?

gutenbergplatz_cafes The other day I came home from work just a little earlier than normal (don’t worry, I still put in a couple extra hours of work from home — no slacking here). I noticed a Segway at an outdoor cafe on the Platz nearest us; snappily-dressed people appeared to be having a meeting and one of them apparently arrived on it.

That got me thinking: could I use one of those to get to work and back?

I don’t want to give up the exercise levels I get from my self-powered daily commute, despite the disadvantages that come with precipitation and, well, my pores (suffice it to say that I still smell better than many at work and I keep an emergency stick of Old Spice® at my desk which I do not lend out, although sadly, no one has asked, either).

But the concept was tantalizing because Segways still seem so darn cool to me.  We’ve been meaning to try them out for a couple years now while on vacation in Mexico, ever since we heard about my dad and sister having such a good time on them. Wikipedia reports that they have questionable status here in Germany, though the dealer page sounds pretty confident:

The Segway HT is designed to operate in any place that you can safely walk. It will transport you over any surface where the wheels can gain traction, such as roads, sidewalks, grass, and dirt. In many cities you’ll be able to take the Segway HT any place that you are allowed to walk. Please talk with your Segway dealer to find out if any national or local restrictions apply for your place.

With a range up to 38km, I could certainly get by on two charges per week. But the initial investment is pretty steep, and I really like my bike ride to work and back. Besides, where would I park it? I wouldn’t want to haul 105 pounds of Segway up to and down from our apartment every morning and evening, but I could see myself via the elevator directly into my office via the elevator and parking at my desk.

Malgerian Puttanesca

Secret family recipe from the Malge, but maybe not so secret since they got it out of a book and his mom hooked us up with her hand-written notes on it. The flexibility with regard to ingredients and flavors is nice; you can make with meat or without or to varying degrees of spiciness by playing with the chilies.

Serves 4-6, but we’ve seen it done at factor 500%, which generates a large batch suitable for deep-freezing and thawing when you need it.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
6 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 medium onions, coarsely chopped
3 small hot green chilies, coarsely chopped
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

and these are the hand-written ingredients:
artichoke hearts
black olives
green olives

our_first_sauce.jpgIn a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon, garlic, onions, and chilies; sauté only until the bacon begins to brown, 5 to 7 minutes [note: if you overdo the bacon, you’ll have to add extra sugar later to compensate for the bitterness of burnt bacon]. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands, then stir in tomato paste. Stir in remaining ingredients. Gently boil until thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve over cooked pasta.

culinary close call / getting my web feng shui on

We had a little near-emergency this evening in the kitchen. Sarah and I were preparing our dinners (mine Thai, hers Indian) when she was about to drain my glass noodles into the colander in the sink and the handle to the pot of boiling water and noodle came off in her hands. Fortunately this happened while the pot was still over the stove and not a drop splashed out of the pot. But it could have been a disaster, and not just for our wooden kitchen. The worst thing to come out of it is that tomorrow we’re going cookware shopping.

The other thing I wanted to mention was a little creative endeavor of mine. Web-wise, I have always been lousy with the colors and fonts and placement on the page. So I recently decided to practice. I took a stock install of WordPress and started playing around with the style sheet and layout. I’m pretty happy with the results so far. Check it out my bloggy impression of Rémuzat if you like. I found that the stylesheet also worked really well with an image of the bridge I shot at night last winter with very few modifications necessary. See for yourself.. If anyone wants to use either of these as a WordPress theme, let me know (make a comment here). I don’t think they’re 100% ready to find their way into those giant themes directories, but I think they’re to close to being there.