July 21, 2004

Things Too Small For Their Own Entry

Fortune does not, in fact, favor the bold: Monday the weather was nice, and yesterday morning was likewise so warm that I walked off to work in a short-sleeved shirt, not even thinking about packing my umbrella or rain jacket -- a mistake that I reflected glumly on around noontime, as I stared out the window at the driving rain. When it started nearing time to go home, I started watching the weather like a hawk, waiting for a break in the rain so that I could turn everything off, throw it in my bag, and dash for the bus stop. I waited ... and waited ... and finally just said "forget it", and walked off in the rain. Judging from the number of other soaked-and-underdressed people I saw also walking home, I wasn't the only one who let optimism actually get in the way of checking the weather report.

I embarass myself in lunchtime conversation: Yesterday I was only half-listening to the usual lunchtime discussion, which was rapidly moving between various themes. Eventually talk came around to Bush's latest antics: wanting the ability to postpone or cancel the Presidental election (you know, just in case), and doggedly going after Iran in spite of his current credibility gap. Someone made the comment that Bush was no doubt digging around for some new crisis/threat there in order to keep the American public distracted until November, so that he could keep himself in power. Then everybody at the table turned to me, the American, looking for some kind of comment. I, who'd been staring out the window and not really paying attention, grabbed "Bush" and "until November" out of thin air, mentally filled in the words that usually complete that phrase when coming from the mouth of a German -- "well, we'll only have Bush to worry about until November!" -- and I replied, "Hopefully!" Everybody looked at me with smiling disbelief. "What?" "Hopefully?" Realizing belatedly what I'd just expressed optimism for, I made the international sign for one-who-is-spooling-the-conversation-backwards-in-his-head-with-great-embarassment and began to rapidly backpedal -- "Oh! Nein, nein, nein ..."

Everytime I have the hubris to think that my German is good enough, I manage to put my foot in it in an entertaining way ...

A nice article about the Stadtlagerhaus, the building I work in has appeared on www.hamburg.de. Read it in the original German, or read it in a slightly confused Google translation. The article mentions one of my favorite parts of the building, the automated parking garage: in the morning, you drive your car onto a special platform; once you leave, an automated system whisks the car into a parking rack. At the end of the day, dial up your car, and it's unracked and returned to you. It's certainly more space-efficient than a traditional parking garage; the article says that our garage holds 130 cars, and looking at the outside of the building, you'd be hard pressed to figure out exactly where all of those cars fit!

Our book club hits the big time: Our book club back in San Jose made the front page of the Willow Glen Resident, baybee! (For a limited time only; I don't know how long that link will work before they update to a new front-page story.) Sandy, the woman holding the books in the lead photo, is one of our elite founding members.

Posted by Kevin at July 21, 2004 08:46 AM