September 28

Linguine & Wisdom

A couple or so weeks ago I posted about going to Bochum with S and having lunch at a place with uber ambitious waiters, asking every 2 minutes what we wanted. Back then we both had ordered Linguine in a spicy coconut/curry/ginger sauce and instead got Linguine in tomato sauce. Which tasted good, but it wasn’t what we wanted.

Today we were back in Bochum and went to the same place and the waiter (this time it was only one who waited our table) was almost as uber ambitious as the ones the last time. I’ve never had my beverage brought to the table after I’ve ordered it SO QUICKLY. Jeeeeesus.

Anyway. This time I ordered again the curry Linguine… and got them (S had decided to eat something else). Gotta say that it tasted very good, but like so often, the curry/coconut was combined with fruit. There were small pieces of pineapple and banana in there, too, which made it all a tad bit too sweet-ish for me.

Also… it was so RICH!!! I felt so FULL afterwards. Ugh. It doesn’t even look like it’s so much. Whatever… I’ve tried it now and will order something else the next time.

The Quote of the Day for today on the receipt says “The will opens the door to success.” So true. If there’s a will, there’s a way.

September 26

Upcoming Weekend Trip Alert

Alexander Knappe is a German singer/songwriter that we saw for the first time at the end of 2014 when Lee opened for some of his shows. Because Lee’s (former) manager knows Alexanders tour manager we were lucky to get photo passes and were allowed to photograph not only Lee but “three songs no flash” of Alexander’s performance.

I think, all in all we saw 4 or 5 shows, bought his two albums, and liked his music more and more, the more we listened to it. It’s not often that I’m into German music. It’s very popular for a while now and there are some artists here that are highly popular and on every radio playlist in this country. Alexander is not one of them and the reasons for that are really not clear to me.

I’m not a person who’s totally into the lyrics of an artist, normally. With him it’s different. So many songs of him have such GREAT lyrics that totally speak to me… I also like his voice and he’s a great live performer.

He has played shows with a classical orchestra before and it was always a great success. He’s doing this again now and when I saw that he’s playing a show in Hamburg on a Saturday, there was really no reason to not go. Every reason to go to Hamburg is a good reason anyway. And so we’re driving to lovely, beautiful Hamburg in roughly two weeks and (hopefully) have a great concert evening and a wonderful time in one of my favorite cities.

That photo, btw, is a screenshot from my large monitor, taken with my phone. I was glad that I found anything to take a pic of for today. It wasn’t easy, I can tell you.

 

September 25

Pool & Movie Day

Friday was the day I set my foot into an IKEA after years. Today was the day I set my foot into a public pool after years.

I’m not an avid swimmer and I’m not really that fond of public pools. Then again I need to be active and S suggested that swimming is a great and healthy and effective way to be active.

I did her the favor and so we went. 10am on a Sunday morning.

To my suprise I actually enjoyed it… at least the swimming part. Not so much the other things you have to endure when being in a public pool. Like… the changing rooms and all the other people …

But at least I’ve enjoyed it enough to plan to go more often now. We’ll see how that works out.

Of course I couldn’t take a pic inside… that would have been creepy.

Totally random pic, taken while looking out of my kitchen window and seeing this poor fellow who once must have been a shiny new dark blue VW Polo. I hope that whoever was in that car when happened whatever it was that happened, is ok.

Oh, and before I forget, we also went to the movies later. First we saw Tschick, a German movie adaptation of the novel with the same title (that I haven’t read). It’s about a 14 year old boy who’s a bit of an outsider in school. He’s a sensitive boy with a great talent for drawing (which only plays a minor role in the movie though) with an alcoholic mother that he dearly loves and cares about, and a stupid idiot father who works in real estate. The boy, Maik is his name, is secretly in love with a girl in his class and hopes to be among those who will be invited to her birthday party, but as it turns out he’s the only one from the class who isn’t invited which breaks his heart. In fact, the new guy in class is also not invited. He’s a kid from Russian immigrants who looks like he lives in a trailer park and doesn’t have any contact to anyone but for some reason befriends Maik. One day, when Maik’s mother is once again in rehab and his dad takes off on a “business trip” (which is really a nice getaway with his mistress), Tschick (which is the nickname version of his complicated Russian surename) shows up at Maik’s house with an old stolen Lada and the adventure begins. They both take off on a road trip and get from one crazy situation into the other and what follows is “the best summer anyone can have”. Along the way they meet a homeless girl and she’s in for the ride… at least for a while. Everything seems fine until the inevitable happens: a car accident… and nothing stays as it was.
We both loved the movie very much. I can see why that novel was already a great success. Not that I plan to read it now because I don’t read novels after I’ve seen the movie… but I liked the story of these two outsider boys and their amazing friendship and their summer-boys-adventures. There was some solid acting from these kids!

Second movie was Snowden. I wasn’t sure about that one… this could have been some snoozefest… turned out it wasn’t. But not because the real story of what happened with Edward Snowden was so full of drama. Director Oliver Stone has made clear from the start, that they have added some drama to the story to make it watchable as an entertaining movie. Which doesn’t mean he didn’t have the facts straight. Or at least I hope he has the facts straight.
I don’t want to go into a political debate here about right or wrong. But I see why Edward Snowden did what he did. And of course, for the US Government, he’s a traitor. I don’t think he is! A whistleblower yes, but not a traitor. He must have know that he put his life into danger by making public what’s really going on behind closed doors of the NSA and the CIA.

However: I’m also not one of these people who screams bloody murder when she learns about the fact that governments are spying on practically everything and everyone. How can it even be prevented? If you don’t want anyone to find out about what you’re doing, stay away from computers, smartphones and the internet. We live in a world and a time where you can’t protect yourself from these things. If you’re online, you have to be clear that someone… be it the NSA or whoever else… has at least the ability to check what you’re doing. No system is ever safe! I’m not saying this is right. It’s not! But what can you do about it really? Staying offline and never making phone calls. Do I think that the NSA is totally interested in what I’m doing? No, I don’t think so. But that doesn’t make it right for them to check out my privacy either.

Do I think that the NSA is doing everything they are doing to “keep us all safe from terrorists” and are the Good Guys? God Lord NO! That “whatever keeps us safe” bullshit is bullshit! It’s in their interest to let us all know that they are totally protecting us from the evil when in fact the interests behind all that are economic, power, money, power and more power. But we also have to see that the times have drastically changed. We live in times of war, but war these days is not just throwing bombs on Syria (which is horrible enough). War happens in cyberspace as well…
I’m really not intelligent enough to write a profound essay about Snowden and deeper politics. I may be wrong in everything I think about this topic. All I can say is that I don’t blame Edward Snowden for informing the world about what’s going on at the NSA and CIA and about corrupt governments and how they lie to the people who voted them. But I’m also not surprised about all this. And we are surely all clear about one fact: it’s not just the USA spying on the world. Every government on this planet is a spy in their own right.

A word about the acting: Joseph Gorden-Levitt (Incepion, (500 Days Of) Summer) was a dead ringer for Snowden and did a great job! I also was surprised to see that Nicholas Cage actually got a job in a decent A-list production rather then some typical C-list Nicholas Cage movie. His role was small-ish but he did a good job. Maybe because he IS a good actor, if you give him the right material to work with and not some shit-flick. Too bad that the guy needs all the money he can get and acts in everything that brings a few bucks. It was good to see him in a decent role again. Shailene Woodley (Divergent, The Descendants) wasn’t as irritating as she usually is, and Zachary Quinto (Star Trek), who played journalist Glenn Greenwald will always and ever be Mr. Spock to me now. How could that happen?

Lastly we saw The Magnificent Seven (aka: The Wild West Avengers… a title that was of course totally made up by me). That movie can be described with one word: FUN!!! I’m sure I must have seen the 1960s version with Charles Bronson, Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen at some point, but have zero memory of it. Doesn’t matter: I loved this remake so much! It helps that I love me some good Western every now and then. The story is probably well known: 7 tough guys: the bounty hunter, the gambler, the outlaw, the sharpshooter, the assasin, the warrior and the tracker – each one for their own individual reason – come together to help protect a little town from a bad villain and they come up with some creative things to fight against a large number of bad guys. I’m not a #1 fan of Denzel Washington movies but I absolutely loved him in this one. Chris Pratt (Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy) was charming as f-ck, and the rest of the cast (Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, to name a few) was awesome as well. Lots of humor, great Western action… two hours well spent! Someone recently wrote that this was the movie that Suicide Squad wanted to be. Agreed!

 

September 23

Köttbullar

It’s been a while… years! … that I’ve been to IKEA. Nothing against IKEA, it’s just that I don’t shop for furniture all too often. And for the other useful and deco stuff they have… I prefer to buy that in shops that are closer in my reach and that are not exactly the huge furniture shop that all IKEAs are.

But S wanted to look for something specific and so I stepped into an IKEA after what seemed ages.

Of course we ended up in their restaurant. And of course I had to try Köttbullar. Because… believe it or not.. I’m probably the only person my age who has NOT eaten Köttbullar ever! I know, it’s unbelievable.

The nice thing in an IKEA restaurant is, that they tell you how many calories each of their meals have. And so I was glad to learn that Köttbullar with broccoli and mash had only, um, 945 kcal:-/ Yeah. S and her Schnitzel with fries came in at a skinny 500+ kcal. WTF??? Schnitzel with fries has almost half the calories that some meatballs with sauce and mash has. Interesting.

That only meant that if I chose Köttbullar, that’d be it, eating-wise, for the rest of the day. But hell… who knew when I would be back at IKEA again and I couldn’t leave without eating these damn meatballs at least ONCE.

And let me say that I can now totally understand why they are so craazy popular. Because they taste awesome!!! I was surprised at how well that whole meal tasted. For some reason I expected the broccoli to be cooked to death and soft and the mash to be tasteless. But far from it. Everything was so very tasty! And those little meatballs were truly excellent.

I was so stuffed after I had finished, there wouldn’t have been any chance to eat anything for the rest of the day.

Good news: I didn’t gain any weight from it. Yay!

If you happen to shop at IKEA and are one of those rare species who hasn’t tried Köttbullar yet, you really should change that. It’s highly recommended.

In Sweden, köttbullar [ˈɕœtːbɵlar] are made with ground beef or a mix of ground beef, pork and sometimes veal, sometimes including bread crumbs soaked in milk, finely chopped (fried) onions, some broth and often including cream. They are seasoned with white pepper or allspice and salt.[8][9] Swedish meatballs are traditionally served with gravy, boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam, and sometimes fresh pickled cucumber.[8] Traditionally, they are small, around 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.[10]
                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks Wikipedia