Saturday, December 31, 2005

All the best for 2006

Went for a long walk through the snow (or rather what is left of it) to get some of these for the ones I love:

Have a happy new year!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Another visit to the vet

We have been to the vet again and she is very pleased with the way the paw looks. It's healing well and the haematoma is already much smaller. The tooth I found is indeed from the cat's lower jaw. But the vet thinks, that it may have been loose anyway. If you convert the cat's age into human age, he is approximately 65! Now we only have to go back to the vet, if something doesn't look right. Fantastic news!

Karen has told me the secret behind her beautiful close-up pictures (, so next year I will try and make some nice ones too. Maybe I can make a close-up of the cat's ears, so you can see that he used to be a streetfighter.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The fatal radiator

Hi Anonymous Anna, here is a picture of the corpus delicti:

Was it an accident waiting to happen? The slots are not wide enough for his foot to get stuck in them, but his claw did. If anyone knows, why he stepped on the radiator instead of using his scratching post, please let me know.

Toothless tiger

The cat used to sleep on a pillow in front of the fatal radiator (I posted pictures of this on Christmas day). He has been avoiding that part of the living room since the accident, so I decided to move the pillow in front of a different radiator (it worked; he is lying on it now). But when I picked it up, I found a tooth that he must have lost yesterday, when he panicked. You can imagine the effect that finding had on me!

It also means that my friend is turning into a toothless tiger. A couple of months ago the vet had to pull a tooth that was bad and he had already lost a couple before he moved in with me (he is quite old, you know). Do they make dentures for cats?

The cat was lucky

We have just come back from the vet. Looks like the cat was lucky! The toe is swollen and bruised, dark violet and red. He may not be able to retract the claw properly in the future. But the vet thinks, that's not a problem because he stays indoors all the time. She says, it's healing well and a cast will not be necessary. He got another painkiller shot in his behind and I should have ask her for some Valium for me. I am still shaking all over.

I hope that next time he thinks he's Luis Trenker, he will constrict himself to climbing this mountain:

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

In shock

The cat is hurt. He got entangled in the central heating with one of his claws, when he jumped off his lookout. I did not hear him scream at first because the window was open and the dust-cart was making a lot of noise emptying the dustbins. He had been hanging headfirst for God knows how long, when I finally came to his rescue! I wasn't surprised when the vet said, he had dislocated the toe and torn the ligaments in it. His 10kg weight had been put on this one toe! The vet gave him a painkiller and we have to go back tomorrow for a check-up. I don't want to think about that something like this could have happened on a working day. He is alone than until the afternoon. I feel bad.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Cat heaven

This is the cat's idea of heaven...

He is sleeping on his pillow in front of the central heating. The pillow is filled with styrofoam that stores his body heat. This way his bum is kept warm by the central heating and the rest of him by ... well, himself.

A couple of hours later in cat heaven at least parts of him have moved...

Eventually he moves over to the coach...

... and listens to Vashti Bunyan's "Lookaftering". A perfect Christmas Day.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy holidays

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all of you out there!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Coffee & cake

A friend invited us for coffee & cake at her place this Sunday afternoon, which was the fourth Advent. I have always thought, coffee & cake on a Sunday afternoon was mainly something for old people. Something we had, when I was little and the grandparents came to visit. So when the invitation arrived I asked myself, am I now officially old?

I still ask myself that, because I enjoyed the afternoon; the cake was nice, the coffee tasty and the company good. Maybe I was wrong and coffee & cake is something for everyone, if it is done the right way? Which brings up the question, what is the "right" way? Ah, before I get too philosophical, I will leave it there.

Anna has just bought this pyramid, which is a typical Christmas decoration in the Ore Mountains of Eastern Germany. The heat from the flames moves the propeller at the top. This can have a hypnotic effect...

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Like in real life some of the people you meet on the internet are complete twits and make you hope, your paths may never cross again. But there are also some people that make you feel glad, you joined this vast virtual community.

One of the latter is Stewart from the far far away Canada. We “met” because we have a common hero (yes, the name is Duffy, Stephen Duffy). Stewart offered Stephen a helping hand with his website and Stephen accepted. (Stewart, what exactly did you do to get Stephen to email you back??? Do you think, he needs actuarial or accounting advice? Alas, that's about the only helping hand I could offer him.) Their acquaintanceship turned into a musical collaboration and the result can be heard on “Waiting”, the first album of Stewart’s band Brittlestar,

I am not a professional musician, only a “consumer” of vast amounts of music. And from that point of view I cannot but recommend the album. The eight songs on it are all very good, I would even go so far to call some little pop pearls. The lyrics mostly deal with that old classic "love" and its pitfalls. There a beautiful catchy melodies and fine guitar riffs aplenty.

My favourite songs are the rocky “Gasoline” and the more melodic "The long weekend" and “For you”. If you listen carefully you can hear Stewart’s wife Shannon say a couple of words in German on the latter! A Canadian with an Irish name speaking German. I like that. And “Waiting for you” features Cécile, one of the masterminds behind Aztec Moon, the elaborately made fanzine dedicated to The Devils/Stephen Duffy (mentioned a couple of times on this blog already). Which proves that Duffy fans are all incredibly talented people. (Apart from me, of course. I am a more or less talent-free zone, but there is always an exception to the rule, right?) The albums weakest song is probably "Passion is a hard thing to conceal". I don't really like the way it starts (the female vocals somehow don't sound quiet right) and I guess that sets me against it.

There are two bonus tracks on the album, which are remixes of “Goodbye” and “For You”, done in what I would call a funky dance style with techno (?) beats. Sorry Stewart, that’s not my cup of tea! Maybe they will improve if I listen to the album more often?

Apart from Stephen, Stewart has also managed to enlist the help of Stephen's girlfriend Retts Woods (she is an amazing photographer; she managed to make pictures of Pete Doherty, which made him look good! and Stephen's brother Nick Duffy ( for the photography and art work on the album. (What did Chris say? “I obviously don’t sleep with the right people”. Welcome to the club, dear!)

I was a bit worried that with all this "Duffyness" the album may turn out a failed attempt to sound like The Lilac Time. But it is definitely not. I don't know how big Stephen contribution was, but from the result I would guess that he had an advisor's role rather than a composer's. The music of Brittlestar has been compared to The Killers' and I can see where that comes from. There is a certain resemblance. But at the end of the day, Brittlestar sounds like ... Brittlestar.

Thank you for sending me the album, Stewart! And apologies if my amateur descriptions are not to the point (I don't even play an instrument, let alone speak the music business jargon). I promise that when you are a huge star (and that’s a “when” and not an “if”), I will not sell it on Ebay. Even if I am completely broke then. It’s autographed, I could make a fortune! :-)

It's snowed again

It snowed again today, but it disappeared almost immediately after it touched the ground. Makes me wish again I lived in Scandinavia or Alaska... Do the people there wish themselves away to a warmer place? Is the grass really always greener on the other side?

I bought a new washing machine today. My neighbours complained about the old one. Something is broken inside, so it moved about during the spin cycle and bumped into the ones that belong to my neighbours. They said, my machine was aggressive. I think, it just wanted to play. Well, I caved in to their request and bought a new one. It will be delivered on Monday.

The cat enjoyed watching the snow flakes fall. He has to stay indoors, because he is FIV positive. FIV is the feline equivalent of HIV. His roaming days are over until someone invents a cat condom or finds a cure. Does he remember what it was like to be out and about?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Rat Pack

We went to see the preview of The Rat Pack at the KölnArena tonight. Can I recommend it? Well, the KölnArena is NOT the Sands Hotel, however hard they try and however often they say it is during the show! The atmosphere is what it is in a large venue like that, even if they put up dinner tables in front of the stage. The show itself is very entertaining. They have found three performers who actually look the part. They even sound almost like the real thing. Alas, only almost! On June 6th, 1993 I had the great pleasure of hearing Frank Sinatra perform live in Cologne. I did not actually see him, because being a student I couldn’t afford the ticket. But it was an open air concert and standing behind the barrier, the sound was perfect! And so was Frank. Ah, those were the days…

Back to the show: In-between songs there is a lot of banter going on on stage, most of it is about Dean Martin’s partiality for alcoholic drinks. There could have been less of that, I felt. The choice of songs performed is fine and the band is very good.

So, in a nutshell: If you have a chance to see The Rat Pack show, do go. But be prepared to come out of it with a melancholy feeling. *sigh* Oh yes, and make sure that there are no drunken twits sitting in front of you, singing along loudly! Kind of ruined “My Way” for me.

There is a full moon and I do not sleep well. If there is an increased growth of hair I will have to find a silver bullet to end it all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Nipper, sit! Good boy!

Every morning on my way to work I walk past Nipper. I just had to take a picture of him. He is huge!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

4 months, 11 days, 9 hours and 54 minutes

Right now I have 4 months, 11 days, 9 hours and 54 minutes to get ready for the marathon.

My trainer has increased the number of training units to four per week, with a fifth optional one for weeks when I have nothing else to do.

Today's unit was 110 minutes at 09:02/km. That amounts to 12,2 km, roughly 29% of the marathon distance. Ooohhh...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The office Christmas party

This year for our Christmas party, my collegues and I first came here

to have a couple of these (yes, it is hot red wine with spices served in mugs that are shaped like boots; is that the sound of the world sniggering I hear?)

underneath a huge Christmas tree and and next to the cathedral,

which put a smile on our faces

and made us very hungy. So we ended the evening in a fine Thai restaurant. I am still full!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

If you want to get your hands on my favourite cds, you have to get past him first! A feline cerberus.
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This is the dawning of the age of digital photography

Today I finally got my Canon IXUS, so get ready for meaningless photos complementing my meaningless words. Yes, this is a threat.

The camera was intended to be a Christmas present for me from the family, but we have decided that this year we will close the door in the face of commerce! No presents for anyone! So I went and bought it myself. Commerce won after all.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Car-boot sale

I have been to a special car-boot sale today, one that is restricted to records and CDs. Oh yes, and DVDs for those over the age of 18. What a combination!

I was not looking for "Chainsaw Massacre 12" but for rare stuff by The Cure and other CDs that are out of sale at Amazon (like some of the older World Party CDs I'd like to have). But I have not been very successful. Will check on Ebay. I have bought a number of good CDs there lately and was lucky that everything arrived safely and was in good condition. I wonder, when I will have my first "bad buy".

On duffylovers there is currently a discussion about how people found rare records and CDs in pre-Ebay days. Ebay can be fun and quite exciting. But I prefer hunting for the things I would like to have in car-boot sales or flea markets or whatever you call them.

Oh yes, and the re-release of "Duffy" has finally arrived! It has a new cover, the previous orange one replaced by a new black-and-white picture. It shows Stephen, 10 years younger and in dire need of a haircut.