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Meme from [personal profile] tree_and_leaf, among others. Brought to you by the letter C.

Something I hate:
There are a lot of options here, ranging from certain kinds of Conservatism to the California-ization of American culture to cauliflower. I can post more about any of the above if people are interested.
But I think I'm going to go with caffeine addiction, because that's the one that's hit me between the eyes this afternoon.

Something I love:
Contradancing, chocolate, curry, Cherryh novels, coffee (though that last is a bit of a love-hate relationship.) Climbing things. Especially rocks and mountains, though I used to climb a lot of trees.

Someplace I've been:
Well, both Cambridges, obviously. Constance. Carter Notch.
But what I remember this week is Cologne,* which I passed through at speed almost exactly fifteen (liturgical) years ago. I saw the cathedral, I had a beer, I sadly missed the opportunity to steal half the contents of the Stadtarchiv. I experienced German breakfast for the first time. I managed, badly and with a phrasebook, to make myself understood in a bakery; my accent was good enough that the employees thought I spoke more German than was in fact the case.
I resolved that I hd to go back to Germany one day.

Someplace I'd like to go:
Catalonia. It was my advisor's region of expertise, and I'd run into it even before then: it seems ridiculous to know as much (random stuff) about a place that I have never been in.

Someone I know:
...Huh. All the people I can think of are queer, in one way or another.
C-- is one of the bellringers. She's maybe 60, lives with her partner (also a bellringer) near Foxboro, but works (I think) at MIT. Somewhat stout, very very distractable, plays some iPhone game about Portals constantly, good bellringing teacher and leader despite it all. I like her very much.

A film I've seen:
Comedian Harmonists. OK, in English it's apparently called "The Harmonists", but I watched it in German, so screw you.

More detail on some of these to follow: I should get back to work.

* I am a firm believer in the theory that, if a place has a well-established name in English, you refer to it that way in English unless the inhabitants have specifically requested otherwise. Other place's I've been include Londres and Firenz, after all.
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There are some times in this research project (and I get the impression, in any such project) where you spend ages looking through stuff that might conceivably be useful, only to discover that, in fact, there´s nothing worthwhile there.

My whole trip to Karlsruhe was like that. Read more... )
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What with the whole "Coming to terms with the past" of the Hitler-era, Germans these days are not notable for patriotic nationalism. Waving flags, shouting "Deutschland!" loudly, and dressing up in the colors of their flag are just not things they generally do.

But apparently they make an exception for the World Cup.
Read more... )
choco_frosh: Image of the Konradigasse (former {Hof-]Schreibergasse) in Konstanz, where I lived in 2005-6 (s'gasse)
- We had my Dad, and then Grace´s old Div School classmate Juliet Hyde come to visit last week. Naturally, the weather was awful. Having an early swim in Lake Constance was right out, and our hike was cancelled on account of snow. (though WHAT´S this about snow in Boston? It´s not like THEY´re in the Alps. Happy happy climate change...) But we hiked up Hohentwil (and got pictures of the Big Daddy Cafe), sent/took both of them to the castle at Meersburg, and discovered a wonderful cheep restaurant. So it was fun.

- Grace got home last Tuesday, after a week in Kiev with the Uni-Chor which apparently featured a disco, the last surviving in situ statue of Lenin, and spaghetti for breakfast.

- As a result of two visitors, Grace getting back from Kiev, and a week of wet weather, we´ve had masses of laundry hung up and refusing to dry.

- I´ve spent the last two days in Frauenfeld, 45 minutes south of Konstanz in Switzerland, working in the Staatsarchiv des Kantons Thurgau-. Since Konstanz shared control over the Thurgau for much of the fifteenth century, it was an obvious place to go. Of course, it would probably have been a good idea if I´d gotten a map of the town before I went...but I figured I could find one in the train station, and for once I was right.
Frauenfeld (which I walked around over my lunch break) is kinda like what I imagíne Montpelier Vermont must be like: a small town with exaggerated governmental importance that gives it delusions of grandeur. So its train station is gigantic, even though the town center is small enough to walk across in fifteen minutes. Anyway. The whole place burned down in the 18th c., so everything dates from then or later, except for the castle, perched on a cliff over the Murg.
It also seems to have a thing about automatic door openers. The one in the government building (yes, singular) where the archive is located wasn´t so surprising, but it´s a bit weird that the Evangelische Kirche has one too...
I walked into the building and located, in quick succession, a sign and the archive. As I was going in, a woman headed out. "Frau Stöckly?" I queried, to see if this was, in fact, the person I´d been exchanging emails with about my visit. It was a guess, but a) how many employees could there be in the Staatarchiv? and b) she had the indefinable air of the person in the office who answers the emails of clueless grad. students. Also, she somehow LOOKED like a Stöckly. And again, I was right.

- The weather was actually nice today, so I had wonderful views of the mountains from the train. Didn´t get a lot of reading done, though.

- Does anyone know what Ben Isecke´s doing these days? I haven´t heard what he´s doing in yonks.
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Two members of the Uni-Chor meet outside the Course Reserve room in the library.

J: Hi! I thought you were in Kiev.
L: That´s what I thought too. But I also thought we were leaving on Thursday.
J: Oh no!
L:...The schedule go changed around so many times, and at one point the plan was that we were leaving on Thursday. So that´s what was in my Calendar.
J: That´s awful.
L: It´s my own stupid fault. And anyway, it´s not so bad--I´ve got a lot of work to do.
J: THAT I can understand.
L: So what are you doing?
J: (wishing to avoid the fact that the sheet of paper he´s just photocopied is NOT, in fact, an assignment, but just a specimen of a really pretty 12th century hand) I decided to stay here because I had so much work to do, but ironically I haven´t gotten much done...
L: (makes sympathetic noises)
J: ...everything was closed yesterday.

Explanation and Commentary:
The Choir, including Grace, headed off Wednesday morning on a 36-hr train ride to Kiev, where they´re going to be visiting and performing with the group that visited us. Apparently, they had to bring all their own food for the train ride with them, so Grace spent a lot of Tuesday making devilled eggs and chicken salad.
I stayed home because, well, I only have five more weeks before I have to start packing. Unfortunately, what with the concert I´d been too preoccupied to figure out WHAT, exactly, I would be researching while Grace was gone. Had I been more organized, I reflected gloomily on Wednesday, I would have been boarding a train myself, so as to spend a couple days in Karlsruhe working in the Staatsarchiv and crashing on someone´s floor. But as it turned out, it wouldn´t have mattered. Thursday was Christi Himmelfahrt, so while the pious celebrated the Ascension, the employees of all the archives went on vacation. Hence the Kantonsarchiv in Frauenfeld (plan B) was already closed when I tried to contact them on Wednesday; the i>Stadtarchiv in Überlingen (plan C) was still open when I phoned them, but they didn´t think they had the manuscript I wanted. This, they opined, was probably in the Herzogin Sophie Bibliothek (gets updated to Plan C2) in the town...whose custodian is apparently off sick. And today was right out: Latin class this morning preempts any plans for trips to random libraries, and I´ve looked at MOST of the relevant material in the Stadtarchiv here...which, in any case, is open for only two hours this afternoon!
So I´ve been at a bit of a loose end. I decided to go to church on Thursday, and since I didn´t feel like facing a second First Communion service, opted for the Lutherans, who had it outside in unsettled weather. (It was, nonetheless, packed out--possibly because they brought along a brass ensemble) For the rest of the time, I´ve been working though the Regesta, and finishing up one or two books.
And yes, trying to figure out how to make the Greeks the dominant civilization in a computer-generated world.
Oh well. It´s just as well, since my Dad´s coming to visit on Sunday, and it would not be so fun for him if we were both in Kiiyev!
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Yesterday was the first real day of Spring here--it abruptly got a lot warmer, and the crocuses that had been coming up slowly for the previous week seemed to be everywhere. It also cleared up, and the view was unbelievable.
Went to the Markuskirche in the morning, mostly to find out whether it was, in fact, some small remaining bit of the medieval Schottenkloster (founded by Irish monks from Regensburg). Never got a chance to find out: the congregation (small, apparently from a breakaway Lutheran group) didn´t seem very encouraging to people standing around after the service. The wall paintings, though, looked 17th century (more by their architectural style than the figures), so it probably wasn´t. But who knows.
Much clearer was the church in Wolmatingen, these days a suburb of Konstanz but preserving a lot of the feel of a separate settlement. Medieval tower and very pretty 15th c. chancel; modern nave done (for once) tastefully and with lots of light. Oh, and 15th c. altarpiece. I´ll have to go back for a closer look sometime when I´m not disturbing a baptism. (Mental process: "Is this some kind of childrens´service?? ...Oh right. Other people normally baptise children OUTSIDE the main Sunday service...")
On the way to Wolmatingen, I´d seen what looked like ANOTHER church tower to my right, so after I´d cycled round to look at assorted half-timbered houses, I went in search of it. Turned out to be the Protestant church, but because it was locked I never DID find out whether it was Romanesque or just the best imitation I´ve ever seen. If it was original, I´d lay bets it was a castle church at some point: perfect site for one...
Meantime, I´m running out of material in the Konstanz archive, and spending too much time reading Harry Potter 5 instead of figuring out when I´m going to go to other places. Ah well...
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Warning: do not read the following if you are easily offended...

Wednesday )
choco_frosh: (Default)
Wednesday, 8 March: 11:30 AM
Those of us who were early risers were in a big nineteenth-century room in the Rotes Rathaus (the city hall, whose name we'd just been told twice had nothing to do with the city's current governing coalition). We´d just had a panel discussion on "International perspectives", from Fulbrighters who´d been flown in from other parts of Europe, on what their experiences had been. And now we got the Mayor, who gave us what was actually a pretty cool talk on the current state of Berlin, including its problems (integration of non-Germans, education policy, and of course rebuilding--construction on the Brandenburg Gate is going to stop for the world cup, but then they´ll be putting the scaffolding back up!) And of economic problems since it had stopped being heavily subsidized by both halves of Germany. Since this remains a problem (despite, as she was keen to point out, progress by her government), she jokingly told us that we'd better spend some money before we left.
I, in fact, had already done so. Like an idiot, I'd brought my computer but not my digital camera's download cord, so my camera was out of memory from all the pictures I'd taken--it had been an eventful couple of days. So I'd gone out and bought a cheep-@$$ memory card. But that was on Monday. Like I said, it had been an eventful couple of days. I'll tell the story homerikos: Read more... )
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Sunday, 5 January: 1:40 PM
The Park Inn Hotel is a late soviet-era building (now privatized and equipped with a mini casino), located on Alexanderplatz near the center of what used to be East Berlin. Alexanderplatz was apparently some major center, and still has some actually rather nice 1960s murals on one of the nearby buildings. At the moment, though, it’s mostly a big construction pit. So pretty much typical for Berlin on both counts. I arrived by airport bus, disheveled and somewhat later than I’d planned, but still before anything officially started...Read more... )
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Sunday, 5 January: 8:00 AM
By rights, I should have been standing on the platform in Konstanz, waiting for my train. That, at least, was the plan.
But when you’re traveling by plane, train AND automobile to the other side of Germany for the conference that your grant agency’s organized, the fates sometimes have other plans. So, apparently, did my sub-conscious, which added up the number of things that could go wrong with this program and decided that the prescribed one hour before my flight didn’t give me enough time to spare. As such, I woke up in a state of nerves at around six and eventually decided that I might as well get up and try to catch the 7:07 instead of waiting another hour.
There were, however, one or two factors that neither my conscious not my sub-conscious mind had taken into account... )
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Goals for this year:
-Actually finish Dissertation research (Yeah, that might be important)
-Write at least one chapter of said dissertation
-Edit at least 50 pages of the Ammanngerichtsbuch, assuming that it´s actually true that noone els has done so before (1)
-Figure out what to do with the rest of my life
-Climb at least one 2000 meter mountain )
-Cook at least two of the fish recipes in the Badisch cookbook that my landlord left behind. (I was originally going to say five out of seven, but one involves smoking an eel yourself, and another involves crayfish, which I´ve never been a big fan of, pace Seth)
-Actually learn German...

(1) The Ammann was the civil official in Konstanz, nominally appointed by the Bishop, who supervised the markets. By the fifteenth century, his court seems mostly to have dealt with debt case...including ANY major sales involving buying on credit. And whooboy, there were a lot of them. Only one book of the records, covering ten years in the early fifteenth century, survives. It´s 556 pages long and must have about 3000 entries...
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Things that are addictive:
1) Doppelkeks. Such a brilliant idea. Kinda like you crossed a digestive biscuit with a graham cracker, and then took two of them and put chocolate cream in the middle.

2) Civilization III.

3) Coffee. Our morning coffee breaks are how I became acquaited with Doppelkeks, but they also have the aforesaid bad-for-you beverage...and I've usually gotten up at seven or so, after staying up til midnight talking with drunken Romanians. So by 10:30, I'm in the mood for caffein.

4) Italian grocery stores. I miss Romeo and Joe's. Only found fresh basil TODAY...
I thought I was also going to miss my local, gay, wine merchant. Then I discovered the Getränk-Markt at Netto. Now, Netto is a pretty crappy supermarket, but downstairs, they have a wholesale drink market that would put the land of Cockaign to shame. Almost. If you had told me a month ago, that I would soon be in a place where you could buy Hefeweizen by the crate (as well as mineral water, fruit juice, and fifty other kinds of beer), and where Norman Cider would be displayed in an obscure place, with explanatory labels and marked down, I would not have believed you. Behold the glory that is Netto.

5) Grace. I'm in withdrawal...

6) Harry Potter. Frickin' Harry Potter. I bought a copy ) on the train trip to Würzburg to stave off boredom. It really is hackneyed (though C, M et al. assert that it's satyrizing the genre[s], and it does have its moments.) But I should really put it down now--and leave off LJ'ing--and figure out my presentation on Til Eulenspiegel. (As long as we're on the subject of owls...)

PS As long as we're on the subject of Rowling and chocolatey goodness: do you think the ChocoFrogs (or whatever they are in English) are a reference to the Crunchy Frog routine?
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Sorry for the long silence. We spent Sunday morning on a bus, and didn’t get our internet connections activated until today: everything here in Bavaria was closed on Monday for the Feast of the Assumption (Maria Himmelfahrt). But fear not, I have not been devoured by rampaging Holsteins!
Cut for a journal of my life. Entries on topics of specific interest to follow.

Read more... )
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So today we got a tour of the Commerzbank in Frankfurt--Europe's tallest office building, and a very cool environmental design: green roofs, passive solar, water-cooled ceilings, and interior atria with gardens, plus two-story conference room on the 49th/50th floor. The lecture by their resident neoclassical economist on the German economy was rather less exciting, but lunch after the tour was tasty, and then we got a tour of the city. It proceeded to rain periodically during this latter, but we saw some cool buildings, inc. a whole row of houses built in the 80s by the runners-up in a competition for building a new exhibition hall, and of course lots of churches. I went back after the tour to the Leonhardskirch (the city’s oldest) and the Cathedral (thirteenth century and twice rebuilt after fires since), both with MULTIPLE cool medieval altarpieces. Germany is wonderful, even when overrun with Catholic Youth.
(Less fun wonderful is all the lime in the water. And I’m going to put on several kilos if I keep eating German breakfasts.)
Also explained a reliquary of St Bartholemew to a French guy with even less German than I have. Most of my colleagues seem to have headed for cafes in search of coffee and discussion. They’re all quite nice and intelligent, but less interested in medieval architecture, so I didn’t ask if any of them wanted to tag along with me. Though we did have an amusing “Spot the Catholics” moment with the piscina.
Anyway, the computer room is currently crowded with people on the internet or watching German soaps while waiting for someone to get offline. Heh, you can do worse as a means of learning German.

Less pleasantly, I have to send my landlord yet another copy of my rental agreement. Sigh...
choco_frosh: Image of the Konradigasse (former {Hof-]Schreibergasse) in Konstanz, where I lived in 2005-6 (s'gasse)
Just a quick note to let everyone know that I made it here alive. Getting through German immigration etc. is actually remarkably easy. Sharing airplane cabin space with unhappy toddlers is not.

Update, 10:30 local time: So yeah, I got very little sleep. But after three good meals (I'm not counting airplane breakfast at 6 AM, involving a ham and cheese roll and some Lorna Doone shortbread) and some apfelwein at my local brewery, I'm a lot happier. I've met 25 other Fulbrighters, and although in orientation session 1 the program director noted that they were avoiding spending extra money on luxurious accommodation in Frankfurt, we all have single rooms with their own bathrooms. So life is pretty good.
One thing still puzzles me, though. In New York, they charge you for your baggage cart--yet still can't provide carts with working wheels. In Frankfurt de, the carts are free, functional, and possess brakes. This does not make much sense. But perhaps this only because I'm still sleep-deprived.


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