Young Spider’s Christian Association has a new promotional video.



(via kfmw)

Aporkalypse: My Christmas Menu Walkthrough!

This Christmas was a calm one. On christmas eve, the main event day in Germany, we did nothing fancy. We had some good dinner with nice bread and stuff and then watched cat videos.

The next day however I invited my parents to come and have dinner with us. Uuuhh scary parents around. Luckily mine are quite uncomplicated and so I did not have to be stressed about a successful dinner. Still I wanted to do something fancy, as I like to cook fancy stuff. The only problem is that we are usually just two, and making a whole cooking dinner event just for two is a bit too much. I use every occasion to bring out the big menu when people come by, and this time it was not different.

Dumplings in Berlin

Before I let you participate in the documentation of the feast we had for Christmas, I wanted to tell you about my favourite place in Berlin to have dumply dumplings. The road leading there was a long and winding one. The first great dumplings we had were in London – where else? – at Ping Pong, a fancy place, quite pricey, but great dim sum and dumplings in all kinds of varieties, each served in a individual bamboo casket. Their drinks were particularly fancy with teas from single flowers that open during brewing. So we came back from London and wanted something similarly amazing here in Berlin.

The Taste (of german television shit)

Ich habe einen Fehler gemacht. Ich bin sehenden Auges in mein Verderben gerannt. Ich hätte es wissen können, ja wissen müssen. Ich habe das ungute Gefühl im Bauch ignoriert, habe nicht auf die schmerzenden Augen von Beginn an gehört. Ich habe mir das Finale von „The Taste“ angesehen. So halb. Am Stück und komplett habe ich es nicht ausgehalten. „The Taste“ ist eine Wir-suchen-den-besten-normalo-der-aber-was-kann show. Drölf Kandidaten mussten sich durch elfunddreißig Runden kochen, der schwächste wurde entfernt und die anderen Glücklichen blieben solange, bis sie die schwächsten waren und entfernt wurden. So weit, so unspannend.

Some cheap EU bashing

Today I stumbled across this link, explaining the new plans for the Italian tax regulations. If a company wants to market stuff in Italy and uses ads and commercials for it, the company has to have a dependence in Italy where it pays taxes.

The idea is simple: you want to sell stuff here, you have to pay taxes here. They aimed especially for the big players, google, starbucks, facebook who have their European representation in the Republic of Ireland for tax reasons. This summer the story made the rounds, that Starbucks pays taxes for the first time in 5 years in the UK. Starbucks just changed their accounting numbers legally so that all profit was taken from the UK and it looked like Starbucks had five consecutive years of losses in the UK while paying (cheaper) taxes in the Republic of Ireland for the money.

Now Italy is like „F**k you, international corporations, give us our share if you already milk our citizens.“ The new law uses the sneaky way of not touching directly the income made in a year. By forcing the companies to be actually present legally in Italy and pay taxes there it is harder for the company to just claim „Sorry, we tried everything but no one wants to buy our Latte Grande Shittocino, no income this year, sorry, also no taxes. A shame, really.“

And who fights for the citizens rights, who makes sure that not only the citizens pay the taxes, but also the global players? Right, not the European Union. They are now all like: „Nah, Italy, don’t do that. This is unfair, because companies can now only sell their products on your market when they actually are in your country. What if a small farmer from Brandenburg wants to sell his pickled cucumbers to your citizens? And wants to advertise it? Poor Horst can’t participate on your market.“ And so the European Union announces trouble should the law pass the legislation process.

That’s the good thing about the European Union. They make sure that we could trans-atlantic treaties with the U.S., that international companies don’t run into too much trouble when shifting money around the world and that all the useless politicians of the individual countries have a good outcome in Brussels and Strasbourg. Their idea of equal opportunities and rights results in companies pushing their goods into the neighbor’s markets, making it difficult for local producers. The whole European Union concept enables big players to do what they want with the small companies on the markets. Germany’s export surplus every year makes sure that there is no need for other companies to emerge and develop in the market areas. U.S. internet giants generate profits in every country but only pay taxes in a few. Protected by the European Union. Every try by local governments to act is stopped in Brussels (and Strasbourg every so often, another stupid thing in the EU concept) in the name of equality.

I once went to Brussels during school times and got introduced into the whole thing, I saw the monuments of glass and steel they built in the city centre, and I saw the vast complexes of translation offices, that take every single document, translate it into the 2 dozen languages of the EU and then print it out and put it on shelves to throw away after a month of no one picking it up. Back in the day I was convinced that the whole idea was a good one, that the people have the bigger profit and that the companies have a hard time to fulfil the EU regulations on toxic compounds, organic produce and production quality.

Today I see the regulations on cucumber bending angles that are tolerated, the strict ban of conventional light bulbs in favour of toxic energy saving bulbs (a good idea that is poorly executed, as the manufacturers are not obligated to produce better bulbs. Most energy savers live not as long as conventional bulbs, but take more time to be produced and are dangerous when thrown in the regular garbage.) and now the interference with the attempts to stop large companies from drawing local money out of countries into the company’s pockets.

This is a long rant. I don’t want to give the impression that all EU legislation is completely useless, but the whole concept of it has so many flaws that I wonder sometimes where the benefits for the people actually are. This whole thing wastes shitloads of money for travelling between two cities, for printing and translating every tiny document, for all the gigantic infrastructure. And in the end it’s not the sovereign who benefits but those who sell things to the sovereign. The governments blame all bad things on the EU while they use it to pass laws that are impossible to pass in the country itself. There is a lot of change needed before I can be happy about the EU again as I was somewhere in 2005.

I just love LaTex

My diploma thesis was done in a single sided layout. Just before printing I realized that it would be nice, to make it two sided. I thought about all the problems it would cause to transfer it in the last step, page numbers would go crazy, margins would be different, figures would bounce around the document like a bunch of three-year-olds in a blow-up castle. Everything would need retouching.
Then I remembered that I wrote my thesis in LaTex. So I added „twoside“ to my document at the right spot and voilà: My document is now two sided. With figures where they should be, page numbers how the should be and margins like I wanted them.
One day I will marry LaTex.

Ireland! Day Twelve! Flower Power in Belfast!

After ten days in Derry we kind of had the feeling that we did everything that was accessible to us without a bike or car. We did some stuff even several times already (Castlerock!). And when we first went to Belfast, the weather was shitty and the city was just too big to be conquered in just one day. So we packed our stuff, said farewell to our host and took the morning train to Belfast, which is nearly as fast as the bus and way more comfortable.

Ireland! Day Eleven! Not much!

This is a short one.

The night before we had our farewell dinner with our host at nice grill box restaurant that served really good Irish steak.

The next day we went to see Coleraine together with Valentina, as it is easy to get there by bus or train from Derry. We strolled around and had a relaxed day looking at the city. And we went to a small forest.



In this forest were the remains of a pre-medieval fort. Basically just a funny shaped hill. We strolled around and went back to the city.


We soon went home, as we had to pack and be excited about our upcoming plans: going to Belfast and being there! Woo!


Ireland! Day Ten! The Shire!

After having seen the sea for several times we wanted to some of the green forests that were promised by the guides. We took the bus down to Strabane and from the the rambler tour bus to Gortin Glenn Forest Park, a wildlife preservation park that features several paths to have a casual walk.

Ireland! Day Nine! The Town of the Whiskey!

After the exhausting pedaling the day before we decided to do something quiet, slow and indoors. So we headed to Bushmills, the place where the famous distillery is located.



They had a lot of these Potemkin facades with painted on shops and stuff. I read that the government put these up during the G8 summit to give the impression of a living town while in fact the whole area is breaking apart, no more jobs are available and a lot of house just stay empty and rot.


We headed for the Distillery tour. There were no photos allowed due to security reasons – electric appliance might ignite the faint ethanol aerosols and blow up the whole distillery. But honestly there was not much to take picture of. The interesting bits were just opened for the tourists, the real deal was going on in endless stainless steel tanks, fully automated. A single guy was checking on a dozen of distilleries at the same time.

We saw the big casks their ethanol is stored in to give a bit of flavor. We heard a lot on the benefits of not having actual flavor. Sort of.

In the end there was some tasting for everyone, one whiskey free with every admission.


Doro got the special whiskey they only sell at their gift shop. It’s supposed to taste of honey and sweetness.



I think it did not taste that much of honey.


I had the regular one, to check if it’s worth buying. Although I’m smiling, it is not great.

The guide spent a lot of time to tell us that in fact the scotch is better. Where the scots burn peat to use its smoke to get flavor into the raw mixture, the Irish use dry heat. Flavorless. Where the Scots distill only twice to preserve the taste, the Irish distill it three times to get rid of all flavor, then water it down, then put in bourbon casks to mask everything with vanilla flavor.

And the resulting taste is just boring. I might be harsh on the Irish whiskey, I only visited the big mainstream distillery. It is like judging German beer after visiting the Beck’s brewery. But still – the famous Bushmills whiskey is only okay with Cola.



We then took again the Rambler Tour Bus to get away and to the next stop. Dunluce Castle. But first: Cows.



The Castle is an old ruin, just clinging to a piece of rock over the sea. Half of it broke away, taking some servants with it. It is now a museum for its history.


Did I mention I don’t like tourists?


The castle is situated on a beautiful piece of coastline. It must have looked spectacular when it was still fully functional.


You could climb  down a slippery flight of stairs and check out the castle from below.




There was also this cave of unknown function. It headed directly to the sea.



As you might notice, the weather quickly got foggier and foggier.




I turned into spider man. Obviously.






Soon we couldn’t see anymore for 50 meters. The horizon vanished in gradient from sea to clouds. Beautiful.



I have tons and tons of pictures of basically nothing. I love this feeling so much. All the sunshine in the world does not amaze as much as a cloudy foggy day at the sea.






We then got back to Derry  using the bus. I think we were happy that this day was a rather relaxed and short day. And I was so happy because fog.