Another Solitude Moment in High Dynamic Range

I finally converted persuaded my BF to start photography and he's really getting into it. Now we can take pictures together and we really enjoy it a lot. On the last Sunday of February we visited Solitude Castle again for taking photos. Since I have taken so many pictures of Solitude Castle already, I tried to focus on some new HDR shots. Here they are ...

Solitude HDR

I think it is hilarious that this small castle has a bus stop right in front of it.

Castle with bus stop HDR

15 Elves in the Christmas Bakery

Yesterday, my BF and I were invited by another gay couple for their traditional "Zimtstern backen" (baking of traditional swabian star-shaped cinnamon christmas cookies). Some other straight couples and friends where there as well, and we were baking different christmas cookies together.

Another "task force" was decorating the living room, and another team was doing some magic in the kitchen downstairs and fixed a dinner for all of us. And after dinner we sat together in the beautiful living room and ate our cookies and drank self-made egg liquor (we had to get rid of all the spare yolks) while the first snowflakes this winter were silently falling down outside, in the very cold night. When we went home, the hosts gave every couple a delicious traditional sweet yeast loaf with fruits and almonds.

I'm in such a christmas spirit now. That was just a perfect afternoon / evening / night.

Long time no see

Today I was doing research on the Internet for my master's thesis (roughly about fuzzy search). I found a company that obviously is the market leader in that area. What a surprise that this company is just a few miles away. Even a bigger surprise: The person who is responsible at this company was the student sitting next to me during high school. And not only that, he's also been a very good friend, and I've even been his best man when he wedded his beloved wife quite a while ago.

What a pleasant surprise. I sent him an email right away. And after about 10 years without much communication, he will be coming to Stuttgart on Monday morning to meet up with me. I'm really looking forward to meeting him again.

Pink Martini: Splendor in the Grass

I might have already said that I just love Pink Martini. But I can't stress it enough: Pink Martini is awesome.
I can hardly wait until their new album "Splendor in the Grass" will be published in a few days. I've already fallen in love to this album by the three preview tracks on Pink Martini on MySpace.
Not only that Thomas Lauderdale, the creative head of the ensemble, is also openly gay, and China Forbes is an awesome singer, they're also so inspired and amazing, and the "background story" of the band is very interesting, too.


Rigi, Rings, 3rd of October and other things

Ok, I admit, I've been neglecting my blog a little bit lately. But here's a quick catchup for the very few regular readers left...

Last Month, my BF and I exchanged rings as a sign of our connection and love. I've never been in a relationship that serious, but it feels very good.

This week, we've been hiking on the Rigi, the place on top of the Queen of the Mountains where I've been so many times in my youth that it actually feels like home. And I was happy that my BF liked it very much as well. We had excellent weather and a great time. On the Rigi there are no cars allowed, so the air is clean and fresh and it's like paradise.


On the second day we walked to a nearby village. One part of the trail is the "Felsenweg", where you have a beautiful view over the Vierwaldstätter See (a very beautiful lake in the valley).

This was the view from the balcony of our room at the harborage.

On the way home we made a stop at the beautyful city Lucerne.

There was a fair in Lucerne and I found a beautiful reflection of the ferris wheel in the windows of the art museum.
Fair in Luzern

Today, it's 3rd of October, it's the German 4th of July. Except it's not that cool. However, my dad turned 60 last week and celebrates it today...

Tethering from your Nikon to your Linux PC

If you're using Windows, you can buy some software from Nikon to have Photo Tethering (I guess it's called Tethering). I.e. you take a picture with your camera and it pops up on your computer screen. It's used in studio photography and very useful. I missed it very much during the last three days of product photography.

I wanted to have that on Linux as well. There is an excellent library called gphoto2, that can do half of the trick (i.e. it can download a picture right after the shot), but it can't display it. So I played around a little bit and wrote that script:


case "$ACTION" in
        pkill qiv
        qiv -l -f -m "$ARGUMENT" &
        me=$(cd ${0%/*} && echo $PWD/${0##*/})
        gphoto2 --capture-tethered --hook-script=$me

To "install" it, place it somewhere on your path.

To use it, connect your Nikon camera to your computer via USB. Go to an empty folder in a shell and just start it:

rian@thunder:~Pictures/example$ tether

Then take pictures. They will be displayed on your screen and stored in your current folder.

For this to work, you need the image-viewer qiv (or use any other viewer and adjust the script) in its most recent version (older versions don't support the -l switch which autorotates the image), if you're using ubuntu jaunty, you need to install qiv from karmic.

And you have to install gphoto2 to access the camera as well.

Anthem of Wuerttemberg

When you compare ancient anthems of different states, you'll see that about 99% of them praise the landscape, the prosperity, the victories, etc. But they're usually not about the state's habitants, nor about the advanteges of other states. Well, our anthem is different ...

Der Reichste Fürst

1. Preisend mit viel schönen Reden
Ihrer Länder Wert und Zahl,
Saßen viele deutsche Fürsten,
Einst zu Worms im Kaisersaal.

2. Herrlich, sprach der Fürst von Sachsen,
Ist mein Land und seine Macht,
Silber hegen seine Berge
Wohl in manchem tiefen Schacht.

3. Seht mein Land in üpp'ger Fülle,
Sprach der Kurfürst von dem Rhein,
Goldne Saaten in den Talern,
Auf den Bergen edler Wein!

4. Große Städte, reiche Kloster,
Ludwig, Herr zu Bayern, sprach,
Schaffen, daß mein Land den Euern
Wohl nicht steht an Schätzen nach.

5. Eberhard, der mit dem Barte,
Württembergs geliebter Herr,
Sprach: Mein Land hat kleine Städte,
Trägt nicht Berge silberschwer;

6. Doch ein Kleinod hält's verborgen:
Dass in Wäldern noch so groß
Ich mein Haupt kann kühnlich legen
Jedem Untertan in Schoss.

7. Und es rief der Herr von Sachsen,
Der von Bayern, der vom Rhein:
Graf im Bart! Ihr seid der reichste,
Euer Land trägt Edelstein!
The richest Prince

1. Praising with many beautyful words
The worth and number of their lands,
Many German princes sat,
Once in the emperor's hall in Worms.

2. Wonderful, said the prince of Saxony,
Is my land and its might,
Our mountains bear silver
In many deep mines.

3. See my land and its luxuriant wealth,
Said the prince elector of the Rhine,
Golden corn in the valleys,
On the mountains noble wine!

4. Big cities, rich monesteries,
Ludwig, prince of Bavaria said,
Make that my land
Has not less treasures than yours.

5. Eberhard, the one with the beard,
Württemberg's beloved ruler,
Said: My land has small towns,
Does not bear mountains heavy of silver;

6. But a treasure it keeps hidden,
that in forests yet so big,
I my head can boldly lay
into ev'ry subjects lap

7. And there said the prince of Saxony,
The one of Bavaria, the one of the Rhine:
Count in the Beard! You are the richest,
Your land carries precious stone!

Graf Eberhard im Barte (Count Eberhard with the beard), Württembergs beloved ruler boldy resting in a subject's lap

Solution found: nvidia 180 dkms build failed

I couldn't switch to 2.6.28-13-generic Kernel on jaunty because the nvidia graphics driver kernel modules couldn't be compiled by dkms:

Examining /etc/kernel/postinst.d.
run-parts: executing /etc/kernel/postinst.d/dkms
* Running DKMS auto installation service for kernel 2.6.28-13-generic
*  nvidia (180.44)...nvidia (180.44): Installing module.
.....(bad exit status: 6)
Build failed.  Installation skipped.

Today I finally had time to inspect the problem, and found out the reason, and a very simple fix as well. This happened because "patch" wasn't installed.

So, typing those two commands fixed all problems:

sudo apt-get install patch
sudo dpkg-reconfigure linux-image-2.6.28-13-generic

In case anyone is stuck in the same place, try it out and let me know if it worked ...

The Boat That Rocked - Ooops, I did it again ...

I have a confession to make. Tonight I went to the movies again to see The Boat That Rocked again. I can't help, but I really like this flick. And the BF enjoyed it as well. I remember that I didn't want to go after I saw the Trailer before another movie. But I did. And I'm so glad I did, this movie is lovely and just great.

No, I don't get paid to promote it. However, if you're a representative of Universal and want to pay me for promoting one of your films on a blog that has no readers, get in touch. :)

The Boat That Rocked

Yesterday I've been to the movies to watch "The Boat That Rocked", or ("Rock Radio Revolution", how it's called in German). It was amazing and hilarious. It's a confession of love to pop and rock music of the sixties.

Being a radio host myself, I obviously enjoyed a flick about a pirate radio station on a boat near the coast of Great Britain. They were broadcasting their own 24/7 radio program, because the official public radio station refused to play rock and pop music in the early years. However, 25.000.000 people in the United Kingdom were listening to the pirate radio and loved it. The radio DJs became famous and stars themselfes. While the government tried to get rid of them, they became even more popular.

Go, watch it, it's very entertaining and some parts are hilarious. By the way, the Boat "Radio Rock" never really existed, but the plot is based on true stories. If you liked "Notting Hill", "Love Actually" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral", you'll definitely love this one, too. It's made by the same creatives.


Twittering? Tweeting? Whatever ...

I've been thinking about Twitter a lot lately. Particularly because there is all that fuss about it. I was talking with my co-workers often about the phenomenon of Twitter. They didn't get it either. I mean, it's not a very sophisticated web application, it seems to be very trivial, and I just started to understand its actual purpose today, however, it's very popular. And suddenly everybody seems to be twittering, even my friends, and I didn't want to be left behind.

So I dove into the unknown waters of Twitter, or, should I rather say, I swung up to the branches to tweet the things nobody cares about?!

Bottom line, @rian76 is twittering. Or is it called tweeting? Microblogging??? Hell, just follow me!

We've been themeparked

Yesterday, the BF and I went to Tripsdrill, a theme park very close to Stuttgart. It's the oldest amusement park in Germany, it was opened in 1929. It's not a very big park, but everything is done with love and everything fits into the theme of the park wich is "Swabia 1880". So everything looks like ancient and how it might have been in this area about 130 years ago, and since it's in a famous German wine region, very much is about wine somehow.

The village road at the entrance of the park showing some typical swabian houses.

A typical south German custom a long time a go was "Fensterln" (lit. translated "windowing"), where a boy climed up a ladder to his graceful maid to confess his love (and to bypass her parents). In the park there is a house with a ladder. And when you climb up different people apper at the window. E.g. the angry father. ;-)

This wooden roller coaster is less than one year old. It's big fun and the first part of a new themed area at the park.

This castle has a fast roller coaster and also a log flume with the highest and steepest decline in Europe (where I, by the way, got really wet)

The last dry spot on my clothes went away after riding this rapid rafting ride.

After the park had closed, we drove to a small city nearby to have dinner. We went to a very nice restaurant, sat outside at this street and had some great food. It didn't feel like just a weekend, it felt like a vacation. And especially during dinner I felt like being in France, while the BF insisted on feeling like being in Italy. A quarrel that couldn't be solved ;-)