Oktober 2006

Happy Halloween!

I hope all of you have a scary nice Halloween! Unfortunately we don't really have Halloween here, but tomorrow is at least a work-free holiday.

No need to say that I love Halloween and I'm sad that we don't really do that here. There are some little parties in some clubs, but there's no "trick-or-treat", no pumpkins, no dress-up ...

Last year I was in New York for Halloween, and I was celebrating with my friends. We had dinner together in a fancy restaurant next to the parade in Manhattan. We watched the parade and had drinks from the restaurant. That was really cool. And I miss my friends so much. One wrote a card to everybody else with a personal wish, that was so sweet of him.

Anyway, I hope your Halloween is better than mine, have a great evening, and may your tricks always treat you nice!

Granny's Birthday

Thursday Granny got 80. Unfortunately my Grandpa had to go to the hospital again, he couldn't celebrate with his wife. My Mom postponed all of her clients, and we went to see Granny very early in the afternoon and stayed for the rest of the day. Her other children (my aunts and uncles) were working and dropped by for just a few minutes each. Today we're gonna have a big dinner with the entire family in a fancy restaurant. And of course I don't have real internet access here, only my cell phone. I'll be back on Sunday.

Hogwarts: Enrolled!

After I've posted about magic, Micha (the friend who also does magic) asked if I was up to practice magic together with him regularly. We both hadn't been practicing much lately, but we both wanted to. Now we're meeting every Monday evening. This is really cool. Doing card tricks together is much more fun, you can leverage from the experience of the other, you can try things in front of somebody who knows the secrets and who can tell if the effect is good and done properly.

Last Monday was our first meeting and it was really fun. We learned some new moves and I'm practicing much at home again. I'm really happy about that.

Oh, please, no puns or jokes about Siegfried and Roy. He's not a queer fairy like me :-)

The Power Of Magic

I've been writing much about nearly everything important in my life. But I didn't write anything about magic yet, although it's one of my biggest passions. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in real magic or supernatural powers. But I love to act like I really did. Especially with kids this is big fun.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone out you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

-- Mark Twain

Once, I was near Montreal together with my friends from New York for a holiday. They own 4 cottages at a nice lake. Some Canadian friends where there as well so all 4 cottages were occupied by friends, and her family lives just 10 minutes away. We were a bunch of people, we often had BBQ at the lake and it was just like paradise. One of their friends have a little daugther, she was about 5 years old. There were no other kids her age so she was bored. The little girl only spoke French, I wasn't even able to talk to her. I'm usually carrying a deck of cards, a rope, some rubberbands and a red silk scarf with me every day. I showed her some tricks. And she really loved it. From that moment on, she was my biggest fan. Her eyes were as wide as truck wheels. Her mom told me the next morning that all she's talking about is "Le Magicien". Whenever she saw me she smiled and treated me with awe and respect.

For those who believe, no explanation is necessary.
For those who don't, none will suffice.
-- Joseph Dunninger

I love to remember that trip. The girl's happy smile was the best reward for a performance I could ever get.

Or there was a 3 year old boy, he's the nephew of a friend. I was invited to his birthday (as a guest, not as performer), and I decided to show some tricks after dinner. He had to go to bed, and I just did three or four tricks with rubberbands before he had to go. He desperatly wanted the "magic rubberbands" on his nightstand. All the big gifts he got from his family could stay in the living room. But two ordinary rubber bands were the things he couldn't left.

I love the reactions of other people when they saw something they're actually refusing to believe. You can see they have no explanation for what they saw, and they're trying hard to come up with one, but don't succeed.
A coworker got really angry because he wasn't able to figure out a trick I've showed him with rubberbands. He tried for hours, then he got very angry, he stood up, threw his rubberbands on the floor and shouted, "I even couldn't stand that back in kindergarten when I didn't figure out a trick."

Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.
-- Tom Robbins

I started doing magic when I was very little, but the tricks I did were quite ... ordinary. You know, the stuff nearly everybody knows. I was known for performing some card tricks every now and then in my youth, but I wouldn't say it was something special. Then there was a break where I didn't do any magic for some years.

Suddenly a friend (who's also a fellow blogger) started to do some "real" magic. You know, the things not everybody knows. I liked it very much and my interest in magic grew. During a trip to New York (of course, which place else ever had an impact on my life?) I found a magic store and bought a good book. I was sitting in Central Park and was reading in that book. On my way home I bought some decks of cards in a CVS and practiced in the evening. That's when I really cought fire. Since then I've spend quite a lot on professional books and instruction videos. My passion are the tricks with ordinary everyday objects that require slight of hand. There are some moves I'm practicing for weeks before they're ok. But it's fun. I even like to do magic for myself, sometimes even I am surprised when and I see the effect. I'm even tricking me although I'm the one who's doing it.

Using words to describe magic is like using a screwdriver to cut roast beef.
-- Tom Robbins

I had a coworker who loved the tricks, and I enjoyed doing magic to her very much, she was a perfect spectator, and she was always asking for more. So we had a deal, every Tuesday and Thursday I was supposed to do a trick in her office. It didn't take long and other coworkers joined the little magic sessions. I once did a trick to a girl where I made her make a fist. I said something about voodoo, rubbed ashes in my palm until it had vanised, and when she opened her fist there were ashes on her palm although I didn't touch her. She was surprised and shocked. The next day she came into my office and said with a calm voice that she needed to talk. We went to a conference room. She was very shy, she looked at me and said, "Please don't think I'm stupid. I was thinking about that thing yesterday. I have absolutely no explanation. I know you didn't touch me. I felt a heat in my fist when you rubbed the ashes in your palm. Was that voodoo? I really would believe that it was real magic. You don't have to tell me how you did it, but please tell me: is it a trick or was this real magic?"

Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart, and they both take practice.
-- Nora Roberts

Ok, now you know a little bit more about one of my hobbies. Unfortunately I didn't practice much lately, but I'm sure this will change again soon.
The picture is (of course) not real magic, I set this up just for the picture, although I can really do something very similar with just one card. No gadgets involved, just my hand and a card. But when I was practicing it, I injured my hand severely and I had to stop doing magic for some weeks. I can still do it, of course, but every time my hand starts hurting for hours. I just did it while I'm writing this paragraph, and my hand hurts again. Magic can be dangerous. Children, don't do that at home. :-)

Welcome to the City, Jim

I wasn't good in keeping up my blog during the last week, I know. I was busy with work for a client and some shit in my life.

Anyway, today my friend Jim (who's reading my blog regularly) moved to Stuttgart. He was living about one hour away, thus we couldn't meet often. But today he moved to Stuttgart, even to my district, and in walking distance to my home.

Right after the movers had left he called me with his new phone, he wasn't able to set up his internet connection, and he was starving. So he picked me up, we grabbed a bite to eat and drove to his big, cool new apartment. On the way I showed him some important places, like the district's community center where he needs to register with his new address and get new license plates and all that stuff.

Of course it was no problem to set up the internet connection for a pro, so we spend the rest of the evening with talking and watching some pictures. I hadn't seen him for three months, so it was very nice hanging around together. And it feels good that he's in the city now. So ... welcome to the city, Jim.

Creepy Conversation

Last year during my visit in New York I had a rather creepy conversation with The Guy. My problem is that I love him but I didn't fess up yet. One evening after he had a stressful day he wanted to go for a walk in the night. We were walking next to each other for about one hour. Neither one spoke a word. When we arrived in his street again I thought "Oh man, I love you so much." I swear, I didn't say it, I was just thinking it. And I didn't say it silently, it was really just a thought.

Right after that he said, "I know." Loud and clear. It's been one year ago, but I'm thinking about that moment so often. We didn't speak for about an hour and then he suddenly says "I know" as an immediate response to my thought. Did he "hear" my thought?

And what the hell does "I know" mean? It's obviously not a "I love you too". But it isn't a "I don't love you" either. And what would he have responded if I said it out loud? Was this answer even intended for me? Was it coincidence? If I only knew ...

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving / Happy Columbus Day

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving. I spent this day in the last few years together with my friends in Canada at their beautiful cottages at the lake. Celebrating with their families was always very nice, and I had a absolutely great time there. Here's a picture of their view to the lake

I'm a little bit sad that I can't attend this year.

Anyway ...
And for the rest of you: Happy Columbus Day!

A Sunday In The Parks

Today when I woke up I saw the beginning of a very beautiful fall day, a blue sky, no clouds, and much sunshine. We had much rain during the last few days and I was thinking that the nice days this year are already over. I didn't want to waste one of the last sunny days by just sitting at home, so I decided to walk "Das Grüne U" (the Green U). Stuttgart has many parks in the middle of the city, and they've been working from 1920 to 1993 to connect some of them by bridges. I've been to some of the parks before, but I wasn't visiting all of them in one day, so this was my plan for today. I like the fact that there are huge areas of green just in the middle of the city.

But before I could get to the beginning of the Green U I had to cross two other parks. I spend the whole day in many different parks. And here are some pictures of the parks and of Stuttgart. I know, this has already been the topic of many other posts, but my blog is more like a diary, and that's what I did today. So, if you're not interested in pictures of parks, you probably want to go to the next blog in your blogroll...

The Green U starts at the New Castle in the center of Stuttgart, it's about a 15 minute walk from my apartment to get there. At the end of my street there's an ancient graveyard. It hasn't been used for 130 years and has nice headstones, most of them are from the time of 1800. It's next to the city campus of my university, and crossing this graveyard is a shortcut to get to the campus, or to the center of the city. But I'm never taking this shortcut when it's dark or on halloween.

Cannstatter Wasen, which is over by tomorrow. You can see the Ferris wheel from up here. The wind was coming from that direction, the smell of popcorn and candy was everywhere.

This is Rosenstein Castle. Note to myself: If I ever construct a house for myself, I want an entrance like that.

And this is a part of the rose garden behind the castle.

And this is the ancient English garden.

It's unbelievable for me that these big meadows are in the center of Stuttgart.

Leibfriedscher Garten
The next park is the garden of former Villa Leibfried that was completely destroyed during WW II. They've restored the garden, and included the ruin. But I didn't take any pictures there.

Next park was Wartberg with its trick fountains. It's a great place, I've never been there before, but it's really cool. There are many trick fountains, and the entire area looks different every other minute. A fountain there, then there, suddenly everywhere ...

More fountains

Now we've arrived at the Killesbergpark, and somebody was waiting for me.

Ok, we've already left the Killesbergpark, this is the way back to my apartment. This isn't in the middle of Stuttgart anymore, this is outside of Stuttgart. I really like nature. Well, I grew up in a small village, I'm a country bumpkin ...

And I like forests, too.

Ok, we're at home again, I hope you're not too tired after 4,5 hours of walking. Please excuse me for a second, I need a shower ...

Hohenheimer Botanischer Garten
When I got out of the shower I got a call from Felix, the photographer of our gay magazine. He asked if I was up to go to the botanical garden of Stuttgart-Hohenheim University together with him. That was funny, he has never done that before, and we've never spent time together (except when we worked together at a project for the magazine). But he's nice, they have many tropical flowers and trees there, and because I wanted someone to talk to I agreed, so there was another park to see, and of course another castle: Hohenheim Castle.

I didn't take many pictures because I felt strange next to a professional photographer, and I guess you had enough pictures today. Anyway, I had a great time. It was a fabulous day, but now I'm really tired. Good night.

Good things come in groups of three ...

Here's a meme I found at Ric's. I'm not a big fan of memes, but I've decided to do this one today...

3 smells I love:

  • meadow
  • ocean
  • lovage

3 smells I hate:

  • brimstone
  • mold
  • mushroom

3 jobs that I have had in my life:

  • programmer
  • teacher
  • callcenter agent

3 movies that I could watch over and over:

  • Drei Männer im Schnee (engl. "Three Men in the Snow"), but only the movie from 1955, the one from 1974 is crap.
  • Big Business
  • First Wives Club

3 days of fond memories:

  • first day in the USA
  • when I got my pre-degree
  • when my stage play was performed in front of real audience

3 jobs I would (have) love(d) to have:

  • Software Engineer at HP
  • Stage Director / Movie Director
  • Journalist

3 places that I could live:

  • New York City
  • San Francisco
  • Boston

3 things I like to do:

  • blogging
  • magic
  • reading

3 of my favourite foods:

  • Vermouth chicken
  • Burbon pork tenderloin
  • Tiramisu (so tacky :-) )

3 places I would like to be right now:

  • New York City
  • in Bed
  • somewhere at the ocean

3 websites that I visit daily:

  • Blogger
  • heise
  • spiegel online

If you feel like doing it yourself ...

Happy "Tag der Deutschen Einheit"

Today is Germany's national holiday, called "Tag der Deutschen Einheit", which means "Day of German Unity". What's typical for this day? People often go on hikes and enjoy fall season. But today it's raining.
What am I doing each year? Studying for exams, because every year there is at least one exam one or two days after this national holiday. And I'm also studying today, which reminds me to go back to my books. Have a nice day, I'll be back after the exam tomorrow ...

Happy German Thanksgiving

Today it's German Thanksgiving. Very early, huh?

Thanksgiving in Germany is completely different than in the US. Ok, here's some infotainment about the fabulous and mysterious festival called German Thanksgiving. We don't have turkey dinner, we don't have family gatherings, we don't have apple pies, blueberry pies or pumpkin pies. Actually it's a sunday like every other sunday. If I hadn't read it in my calendar I wouldn't have known it.
Except when you're attending a church service. That is slightly different today. The alter is usually full of fruits and vegetables. Other than that ... just a regular day. Sad.