Saturday, May 27, 2006

Snail intruder

This tiny fellow tried to get inside my refuse bin today:

The snail-shell was very beautiful, mother-of-pearl and amber bands. I think was either a White-lipped snail (Cepaea hortensis) or a Grove snail (Cepaea nemoralis).

It was difficult to make a clear close-up: snails may not move fast, but they move! This is the best I could do:

Friday, May 26, 2006

Do I want a butt like JLo's?

I had my "date" with one of the trainers in my fitness club today. (Remember my "run the Cologne half-marathon in 1:50" plan? This was the third bullet point of "measures taken".) She was really nice and took a lot of time to find the right excersies for my needs. She replaced some of the old ones with something more efficient or - in some cases - more interesting. She also corrected one workout that I had not been doing properly. No wonder it didn't feel too good. So now I am all set to get into shape.

There is only one thing I am not sure about. When she demonstrated the use of a machine that, amongst others, strengthens the
Musculus gluteus maximus, she said that it would make my butt look like Jennifer Lopez'. Wait a minute... Is that desirable?... Do I really want one like hers?... I don't think so. No offence, Ms Lopez! But the size of mine is fine. It's just... a little flabby.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Running through the night

The good news first: I finished.

The bad news: 00:58:47 for allegedly 10.6k.

My excuse: A hurting ankle. (Still hurts btw.)

The truth: Not enough training (excuse No. 2: too much work) and too many crisps (prawn cocktail flavoured; my favourites; have never been anywhere near a prawn, hence suitable for vegetarians like me).

Why "allegedly" 10.6k? The official advertisment said 10.16k, but when Anna and I were waiting in the start area, a loudspeaker voice informed us that the race was actually going to be slightly longer due to a building site that we would have to run around. Anna thinks they said that it was 10.6k. I didn't care. The only thing my mind heard was: "it's longer"! And it immediately despaired. Mentally I was prepared to run 10k and 10k only! So all along the race I pretended that it was indeed just 10k (it gets a bit difficult at the end, when you have passed the 10k marker and the finish line is nowhere to be seen...).

General question: Why is that? You are prepared to run let's say 10k and at the finish you feel any additional meter would have been impossible. But if you run 15k, it's the same thing. The 10k marker then is only a point where you take an interim time, but not where you feel ready to break down (ok, sometimes you do, but that's a different story). But come the finish line again you feel you couldn't possibly go on. Is it mental? Or do we really use up our energy so well timed that we truely cannot run any further?

There are no pictures on the internet yet, but I will add them once they have been published. A night run is something special. It wasn't dark when we started at 9:15 pm, but an hour later when I crossed the finish line, the sky had turned into various shades of dark blue. Like something out of a painting by Turner. Beautiful.

It's a holiday here in Germany today. But the sky is grey and it's raining. We will stay indoors and lounge.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bob Dylan...

... is 65 today. Unbelievable. Tonight on television Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home.

I have to record it, because I am running tonight (3. Galeria Kaufhof Nachtlauf). I don't think that I am going to be fast.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lost in Translation

Interesting article about the German language and the German sense of humour (yes, we have one!) in The Guardian today.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Lilac Time

Sunday, May 21, 2006

This and that

No long run this morning. Instead I did some speed training on the treadmill: 81 min / 10.2k in total, run in intervalls of 3 min fast and 5 min slow. My "fast" and my "slow" that is. Uli would probably call it "slow" and "snail pace". No, that's wrong. He would never say that! He's much too kind.

The reason why I am transforming myself into something chipper (hah
chiefbiscuit!) is a 10k race coming up next week. It's a night run and takes place on Wednesday evening. It will be the first test to see how much of my fitness and speed I have already lost due to lack of training.

In other news

  • Finland has won the Eurovision Song Contest 2006. The band is called Lordi (click and look at them at your own risk!) and they were a feast for the eyes!
  • The tax authorities have already sent back the supporting documents that go with my tax return. I hope that means I will receive my money back soon!
  • In last week's workers' council election Anna again got most of the votes. Well done, mate!

Mr Cat hates it when he doesn't take centre stage:

I don't think he knows that the paper I am reading is not quality but tabloid of the worst sort (yes, it's the Express am Sonntag and the BamS; I only buy them because of the extensive coverage of sports of course!). He just sat down on it, because my attention was diverted from him. His message is clear in this picture:

I love you cat, but you can be a pain in the neck sometimes!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A new countdown

I have just checked the Flora London Marathon 2007 and they have put up the new countdown. Right now it's

11 months 1 day 17 hours 33 minutes 40 seconds

to go. And I have become a couch potatoe! Things have got to change again and soon!

"One of these days...

... one of these fans is going to change your life" is what the duffylovers' Stephen Duffy Tribute Album is called. And this is what it looks like:

My copy arrived today and my first impression is ... what a talented bunch our group is! I am not worthy to be part of it. Stephen has written a note for the album and contributed the song "An Open Book". My contribution was ... not contributing. After all it's a tribute and not a spoof and the only thing I could have recorded would have been a William Shatner version of "Kiss Me". (If you don't know what William Shatner sounds like when he "sings", go here: William Shatner - Has Been and listen to his version of Pulp's "Common People"!)

Stewart is the mastermind behind the album and if you read my blog regularly, you'll know that I think the sun shines out of his behind anyway. But now I will build a little altar to worship him for getting this together and out so quickly!

You can buy it here:

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Harald and us

For his last birthday Matthias had asked for tickets to be in the audience of a television show. We got him tickets to see Harald Schmidt. There was a catch though. He wanted all of us to come along. I am not keen on being on telly, but he is an old friend, so tonight we met outside the studio in Cologne. That is, all of us met apart from Matthias and his wife. They were nowhere to be seen and he did not answer his mobile phone.

We got slightly neverous, because the ticket system is bit strange. One order can only be for up to 4 tickets, but a person can place more than one order for the same show. There were 7 of us in total, so Thomas had ordered a set of 4 and a set of 3 tickets. If you don't pick up the tickets personally (you really need to bring identification) by 5:45 pm and bring everyone else along, they are given to someone else. Time was running out and Thomas had already picked up the set of 4 tickets. At 5:40 we decided to lie and tell them the other 3 had also arrived and were waiting outside in the sun. I went along, so at least one other person's face would support the story. It work and when we reunited with the rest, Matthias had finally arrived. They had been stuck in traffic. Why he did not pick up his mobile phone remained unclear.

It feels like the recording was over before it even started. Everything went so quickly. You go inside, sit down, someone points out escape routes in case of emergency and gives other general information. The band arrives one by one and then Harald Schmidt appears for bit of "warm-up" chat. The show is 30 minutes long and recorded in one go, apart from a mini break to bring in the guest's instruments. (The guest tonight was someone called Peter Licht; never heard of him before; didn't care much for the song either.)

Afterwards we had some dinner and drinks. Some of us used to work for the same company, so conversation quickly turned to old collegues, business etc. Must have been incredibly boring for the others.

The show was broadcasted later tonight and I have recorded it. We were sitting at the back and if you don't know where we are, you will not recognise us. *phew*

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Divine Comedy

Carmen and I went to see The Divine Comedy in a small club in Cologne yesterday. I felt like we had only just been to see them play in the same club, but Carmen insisted that it was over a year ago. Time flies when you are having fun.

Carmen and her boyfriend Franck (who sadly couldn't make it to the concert yesterday) are the only good thing that came out of the dreadful "J. episode" (may he rot in hell - am I still bitter? me? no way. what makes you think that?). Before the concert we met in a Mexican restaurant close by. Happy hour. 1l pitcher of Strawberry Margherita for two. Gossip. A fine night.

My one eye looks funny because it had one of those "red eye" effects that you sometimes have when you take a picture. I tried to get rid of it in Picasa, but now it looks like the one eye is blue and the other brown(ish).

The concert wasn't overwhelmingly good. Not The Divine Comedy's fault. It was the sound that was dreadful. I really like the song "Alfie", but if we hadn't had the set list I wouldn't have recognised it.

I am always impressed by the controls. This is the guy, who was responsible for the sound of the opening act. He knew what he was doing. The other guy didn't.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Glenn Gould weekend

It's Glenn Gould weekend on arte. Yesterday they showed a documentary, which was very good (it will be repeated on May 15th at 3 pm, if you missed it). And the cat and I have just enjoyed 45 minutes of Glenn Gould playing J. S. Bach, his favourite composer.

He wasn't a very attractive man even if you consider that his glasses were probably fashionable in the 70s and 80s. But he was very charismatic and an exceptionally gifted pianist.


Here I am again after a dreadful week in the office. I won't go into detail, but it was work and no play all week long. Apart from the Belle & Sebastian concert on Thursday, of course.

Which means I have gone from something like 50k per week to 0k. I felt that was a bit drastic (and in light of my half-marathon ambitions suboptimal). Therefore I headed for the forest again this morning to run the red route, that you can see on the chart below, twice and thus have at least 20k on the clock for this week.

The weather has been brilliant all week long, while I was stuck in my office. But come the weekend, the grey skies and drizzle was back. Oh, never mind. We are not made out of sugar, are we?

A killer fungus! It has eaten up this tree and now it's moving over to the next one.

Yesterday was the final day of this football season. It has been certain for a couple of weeks now that my club is relegated to the 2. Bundesliga (Germany's second football league) ... yet again, I have to add. This is the club house, which is located in the forest:

Playing in the 2. Bundesliga means that for one season (and yes, I believe it will be one season only!) we will be playing such exiting clubs as FC Erzgebirge Aue and FC Paderborn 07. I can hardly wait! But until then, the training football ground is closed:

Have you been asking yourself why this post is called "Outch!"? Well, I am coming to that now. I had just started on the second round, when I spotted some nice coloured plants. Actually, I think they are weeds, but I am not entirely sure.

So I knelt down to make a close-up...

... and when I got back up... OUTCH!!! I had twisted my right knee. I am not kidding you, it hurt like hell. But as they say: "nur die Harten kommen in den Garten", a saying which apparently has been included in Spiegel Online's "Enzyklop├Ądie sprachlichen Grauens" (the encylopaedia of linguistic horror of the Spiegel online magazine). And so I hobbled on. Snail pace. (The 20k took 2 h and 25 min.)

I wonder who is living here:

I stopped for a bit to rest my knee and enjoy the view over the lake:

This is the probably the worst part of the route: The bridge across the street. Can you see just how steep it is?

Maybe it's better from this angle:

Right, here is a question that has puzzled me for a while now. How do other runners manage to smell good even after they have run for quite a while? Today... again... I have passed a lot of runners, who looked like they had been out and about for a while, but smelled like they had just stepped out of their bath. Me, I smell a bit like a skunk after 30 minutes max. What exactly is their secret? Do they carry deodorant with them or is their washing powder stronger than mine? Better soap? Hardly possible, since I am using Karen's Lilac Time soap right now. Any ideas, email me at sabine_1969 at gmx dot de. I would like to smell good too! Really, I would.

At the little lake the first ducklings have hatched. They whizz about so fast that it was impossible to take a picture that was properly focused:

And on the meadow the Cologne Crocodiles were playing God knows whom:

Now I am back home listening to
Kings of Convenience Riot on an Empty Street:

Markus recommended them (nothing he's ever recommended turned out bad) and when I found the cd on special offer, I took it home with me. They are from Bergen in Norway. On their website you can listen to some of their songs.

I bought new grass for Mr Cat yesterday and he puked his little heart up all day today. No problem, it happens every time he gets new grass. But why can't he do it in the hall on the tiles? So excuse me now, while I go and clean the living room carpet. Next milestone in my project "Home Improvement" - replace carpet with lamination.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Belle & Sebastian

I went to see Belle & Sebastian in concert in Cologne yesterday. It was great. No unnecessary bling bling, just brilliant music. They played something old, something new, nothing borrowed, something blue. The stage was packed with instruments and musicians. I counted eight people, also the band officially currently has seven members.

If they come to a city near you, go and check them out. It's excellent value for money.

Here are some crap pictures I took with my mobile phone:

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sign of life

I have been here all the time, but my DSL line hasn't. It died last week. Germany's T-Com reanimated it. Buta fter a couple of hours it died again. Now another reanimation has taken place and here I am again. God knows for how long.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Bank Holiday Monday

The predomination impression running through the forest today: It has turned incredibly green!

There were only very few specks of colour:

The sheep were back, but they had moved to a different area. And they have grown.

I saw a bird of prey, but couldn't quite make out what kind it was. I would love to make pictures of the birds in the forest, but they are all very camera shy. And the few times that I managed to get my camera out without them flying off, some other runner/walker/biker came by and scared them away. The only one that stayed put was this blackbird:

At the little lake someone was fishing. I didn't know there were fish worth fishing for in this lake at all.

I wonder what he is trying to catch here? A rare type of fish that lives in trees?

Do people still communicate this ways in times of email and text messages?

Fu has asked about my diet. Mmmh, I don't eat anything special. Lots of pasta, because I like it. And vegetables. Today I stayed with the green theme of the day and had spinach.