Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sabine 10, Blogger 0

I have finally done it! I have beaten the Blogger and uploaded all the pictures from the Toronto trip.

It's the end of the time warp.

Berlin is everywhere

This morning the Berlin marathon took place. A quick look at London Marathon website revealed that my second marathon is 6 months and 27 days away. My current fitness state is still best described as "couch potatoe ahoy". But no reason to panic, all is not lost. So this morning, I gave myself the long overdue kick in the butt and went on a Sunday morning run in the forest.

And due to popular demand the stats of the week are back:

Total running time this week: 1 hour, 11 minutes
Total distance run: 10 k

You are not impressed? Neither am I. But it is a start. And it included time for taking pictures...

Did you know trees can grow in cascades?

Is that what I think it is???

Yes, it's the first signs of autumn! I cannot believe I have missed the forest in summer completely. But there is no mistaking it, autumn is back.

And so is the runner's natural enemy: the common Nordic walker. This group was especially annoying, because the where of the kind that drags the sticks behind instead of swinging them properly. This way it may be safer for the runners and less lives will be lost, but... why bother if you aren't doing it properly?

My feathered friends at the little lake are also still here. It's good that some things don't change.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Paper tiger

This morning I took Mr Cat to the vet for a routine inoculation. My "Mr Cat and a half" as Chris called him recently is a big male (currently weights 10.4 kg), he is approximately 14 years old and you can tell by the way his ears look, that he was been a fighter in his youth. This impressive animal was reduced to a trembling heap of fur by the sight of a nice lady vet, who did nothing more then check his teeth and give him a jab. Like all stressed cats he immediately developed lots of dandruff and tried to hide in the corner of his transportation box. Man or mouse? Mouse, obviously.

(He is ok again now, snoring on the table.)

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Stephen has resurfaced and he has blogged about our little duffypedia again. We are getting more intense by the moment, he says. Is that good or bad?

Confusing smoke signals

If you have "blogrolled" me, then you may receive some confusing smoke signals saying that I am blogging, but apparently without new posts appearing. Well, I AM blogging. But in a time warp fashion. My struggle with Blogger to upload the Toronto pictures continues and I am still adding posts for days gone by. I have just added "Toronto islands" for August 31st. But there is really just three more posts missing and who knows... I may even finish them tonight, if Blogger lets me.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Snail pace indeed

Hooray! I have finished the 15.2k and I did not walk... ok, apart from once at 10k when they handed out water to drink in plastic cups; I just can't drink out of them while running. The water ends up all over me, but not in mouth.

My official finishing time: 01:37:01
(My own timing was 01:02:27 for 10k, 01:35:50 for 15k and 01:35:37 for 15.2k)

Snail pace indeed, but I have not trained since the half-marathon in Leverkusen. And that was on June 11th! Which means I have not trained AT ALL for 3 months. No running, none, zero, rien. I went on the treadmill in the hotel in Toronto 30 minutes, but the machine was old and I wasn't motivated. So I went swimming instead.

Therefore I am glad, I made it today. I have a blood filled blister on my right foot (diameter of blister (not foot): 3cm) and my ankle is hurting again. But I loved it and the running bug is back in my blood.

I am also glad, I survived the fight for free beer after the race. One of the sponsors is a German brewery and afterwards they hand out alcohol-free, vitamin-enriched, calorie-reduced beer. I was at the front of the mob when a new crate of beer was opened. The stampeded nearly threw me over. Never get between a German man and a beer is the lesson learned.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Racing again

This is probably the last warm and sunny weekend of this summer. Tomorrow is the annual Br├╝ckenlauf and I have registered to run. Since I haven't trained properly for ages, I will have to run in snail pace. My main target is to finish. A far cry from my ambitions just after the completion of the marathon, I know. But I am hoping that normal training can resume from next week on, so that I am back in shape for the half-marathon in Cologne next month.

This morning I went to pick up my runner's number at the new starting point of the race, the sport and olympic museum. How adequate! They have also changed the track again, so this year the distance to run is 15.2k

I walked along the Rhine to the museum.

Is it art?

Sailing boat, bridge, modern tower:

Once again I am struck by just how beautiful this city is. Granted, there are ugly parts too. But this area is just lovely...

The curved construction over the roof of the arena on the other side of the river looks very small from here.

The closer I get to the museum, the more people I see with telltale white plastic bags. The bags contain the runner's number, a free t-shirt and promotional flyers. Tomorrow they will be used as kitbags and most likely contain the runner's clothes to change into after the race and maybe something to eat and drink.

I was a bit weary about the race, but know the old pre-race day excitement returns. I am starting to look forward to tomorrow, even though I know I will not do well.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Cure overdose

I am happy tonight. The deluxe editions of The Cure's "The Top", "The Head on the Door", "Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me" and The Glove's "Blue Sunshine" have finally arrived! Each album comes with a second CD full of bonus tracks and rarieties. I am especially happy about The Glove, which was a collaboration of The Cure's Robert Smith and Steven Severin of Siouxie and the Banshees. I have just checked Steven's website and was shocked by how old he looks. In my mind I still had this picture of him from the early 80's with extremely blond hair.

By the way, I am still uploading the pictures from my trip to Toronto. There are many more, but Blogger clearly hates me and yesterday I only managed to upload a handful of them. So keep checking the older dates, some may appear long after you have read this post.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Going home

Friday, September 01, 2006

Brittlestar rock The Horseshoe

In the evening I am off to the legendary The Horseshoe Tavern to see Brittlestar live for the first time. The show is the launch of their brilliant second album "Secrets" (which you can buy for a fair price right here: Cantunes).

Stewart had put my name on the guest list and I feel just a little VIP. He told me that they would play around 9.30 pm, but there is a couple of other bands playing that night, so I go there early to catch some more music.

When I arrive, I am having a
Blues Brothers moment: "Oh, we got both kinds. We got country *and* western." It's hard to imagine Brittelstar in here, but "The Horseshoe Tavern" is a good name for this place.

The venue is almost empty and I settle down at a table, drinking some local beer. At the table next to me the average age is about 60, which surprises me a bit. One of the elderly gentlemen keeps staring at me. Finally he leans over and asks "are you a friend of Mark's?". Eh, no. Who is Mark? Apparently I look like someone from the first band's entourage. I think the band is called Wrecked or something like that and they play... loud. It's schoolboys pretending to be Megadeath. The table next to me cheers. They must be family. My ear-drum fractures several times before they leave the stage. Maybe I should have come later?

Next is a band that is slightly less loud and plays what I would characterise as popish cover music. The venue is full now, they must be local and popular.

No sign of Stewart. I am wearing a Peanuts t-shirt, so he can easily identify me (yes, so I didn't really grow up). He promised to wear his Snoopy costume, but there is none to be seen. Finally I spot someone who does look a bit like him. I am sure, it's not Stewart but it could be his brother. I am tempted to just ask him, but then recall the "Are you a friend of Mark's?" episode from earlier that evening and decide to wait for the man himself to make an appearance.

Ah, there he is, putting his guitars on the stage:

Alan is here too. He plays the guitar, you know.

This may look like he has only just bought this one with the price tag still attached, but it is actually the spare guitar he very sensibly takes to concerts:

Stewart sees me wave and comes over to say hello. He is just as nice as I thought he would be. Strange to meet someone you have communicated with for a while and who went out of his way to help more than once. But he makes it easy and places me next to his "entourage". I talk to his wife Shannon until the concert starts. She has lived in Germany for a while, so that explains the German backing vocals on "For You" (an excellent track on the excellent first album "Waiting").

Good thing I did not approach that guy who looks a bit like Stewart. Shannon tells me that he is indeed from Stratford but no relation. In fact... *gasp*... he has English ancestors. Stewart is very proud of his Scottish family roots, so the two would probably deny being related even if they were.

Then it's finally time to enjoy some really good music. Modest man that Stewart is, he does some expectation management upfront by saying that they only rehearsed the new tracks four times. But I am not worried. It's without a doubt going to be the best hour of this trip.

(Unfortunately I do not have really good pictures to go with the excellent music. Sorry.)

After the show I talk to Alan at the bar. The next band has already started playing and they are again very loud, so we have moved to the front part of the venue after shouting into each others ear wasn't communicating much. Jay and Ryan, who managed to escape my camera lense, joins us and he really looks the part. He is wearing the perfect "drummer in a band that rocks" outfit. Such a shame I do not have a picture. A very nice guy too.

They have to leave way too soon and when the Brittlebus has departed for Stratford, I too make my way back to the hotel. Tomorrow I am flying home.

Royal Ontario Museum

My last day in Toronto. The morning is spent in the office, the afternoon in the Royal Ontario Museum.

The museum is a bit of a disappointement. It is under heavy reconstruction and a lot of the exhibitions are closed. I decide to concentrate on "Canada: First people".

I thought that only spoilt poodles wear clothes, but apparently sledge dogs like to dress up too:

The exhibition is not very big and so I move on. The museum buiding itself is quite nice and as an interesting ceiling.

The Art Deco exhibition is closed, so I have a look at some warriors' armour, both modern...

... and historic...

After less than 1.5 hours I leave. Will I come back when reconstruction has finished? I don't know.