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Back from Istanbul

As I wrote in an earlier post, I had to go to Turkey for a business trip. At first I was a little bit scared. Foreign culture and all that stuff. But now that I'm back I must say it was a real pleasure. And our business partners were very nice. We spent most of the time with two people from the Turkish company we were visiting, and they also invited us for dinner every night and showed us the beautiful city after work.

I took many pictures, but with my cell phone. But my co-worker took some with his camera and he will send them to me. I might publish some more as soon as I get his.

On the first and second picture you can see the area where our hotel was. And here we also had our first lunch, and the first traditional Turkish food. Yummy!


I had eggplants and Kebab (like turkish BBQ). For dessert we had candied fruits with a very thick and sweet milk cream. At least I thought it were fruits. But it turned out it were candied olives, eggplants and tomatoes. And also candied whole walnuts (with the shell, by the way. Yes, you can eat it when it's candied).


Then we drove to the Bosporus and had a coffee at this place. By that time we and our host were still like strangers. You know, these awkward silent moments when you think you should say something, but can't figure out what.


But that changed very soon. On the next picture you can see Hüseyin and Gökçe. They were our fantastic hosts and the people in the Turkish company we discussed everything. After a short while they felt like very good and close friends. They were really amazing.
Our workdays were very productive and efficient, but after work they were like good friends.


Here we went out together with their friends, and I'm fortune telling to Osman by reading his coffee grounds. It was a very funny evening and we laughed so much that my cheeks were hurting.


Ok, some tourist stuff. This is inside Hagia Sofia (Ayasofya Camii Müzesi). 1400 years ago it was the most important ortodox christian church, later it was the most important islamic mosque. And today it's a museum. It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until the completion of the Medieval Seville Cathedral in 1520.


Inside Hagia Sofia you can find Christian and Islamic symbols, which looks quite uncommon. Here for example a mosaic with huge parts made of gold.


This is Hagia Sofia from outside. Unfortunately it was raining that day.


This is inside the Blue Mosque, which is also quite famous for Istanbul, but it's still a mosque.

This is outside of Blue Mosque.


This is Blue Mosque from a distance.


That was the view from my hotel room in Kadiköy, which is on the Asian part of Istanbul. Istanbul is the only big city that is on two continents. Our hotel was on the Arabic part, not the European.


This is a famous breakfast area in Istanbul. At least that's what Hüseyin said. We had a very nice brunch on Saturday right at the sea, together with some friends of our hosts.


This was on the market. Which was also very impressive.


Here is a picture from another part of the town.


It was a very pleasant trip and we had a fabulous time (well, except the sweet custard-like dessert that also contained chicken breasts, called Kazandibi). In fact, they want me to come down for two weeks in May to finish the project. And I'm actually really looking forward to that. I hope it's gonna happen. They also tried to hire me for good. "Write down what you want. House, car, office, ... you'll get it". I was laughing. "That's not a joke. I'm serious. Just write it down ..."

I am dreaming of a White Christmas Easter

Christmas Eve is the most important part for children of German Christmas celebrations. It's the first day with the X-Mas tree in Germany, and the perfect X-Mas Eve is a white X-Mas, with snow. When I was a child, Christmases usually were white. Alas, I think the last 15 years have been without snow.

However, today is Easter Sunday. Perfect would be green grass, daffodils, tulips and sunshine. Yesterday was cold, but no snow. The picture has been taken this morning. It really was a big surprise for me.

I guess Easter is much more important in Germany than in the USA. It's also a big holiday with presents and good food. And of course with huge family gatherings. Since I overslept last Christmas sick and with high fever, this feels much more like Christmas today. And for the rest of you without snow: Happy Easter!

First Day of Spring

The Spring-Queen wishes everybody a marvelous and delightful spring and Happy Easter Holidays!

For the curious ones: This picture has been taken on last year's gay pride in Stuttgart, in July 07. I like the raw manliness punctuated by the lei, and the masculine hand posture. We alpha-males really are the butchest. ;-)

Exorcism. Or: Not the Best Day For Microsoft

I'm so happy right now. I bought a brand new laptop today and I really love it. It had Windows VistaTM installed, of course, but after my experiences with VistaTM on my desktop PC, I didn't even wanted to bother with it. So currently I'm expelling Vista and replace it with my new best friend: Linux. My desktop PC works so perfectly well with Linux, so I decided there won't be anything else for me in the future.

At about the same time, my friend Julia messaged me. She got a new laptop today herself. Funny coincidence, isn't it? She and VistaTM met for the first time. She messaged me to tell me how much VistaTM sucks. Like I never said it before.

Does Microsoft realize that VistaTM isn't doing them any favor?

The one about Christmas

I was sure that everybody has abandoned me--or my blog. But then I got a mail from a fellow blogger wishing me a nice Christmas and asking how I've been lately. I'm very delighted about his mail. Thanks a lot!

Ok, so here how I spent Christmas...

In Germany we put up the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. I ornamented it whily my Mom was preparing dinner. And after dinner my Mom, her BF and I played Monopoly. And my mom got a MacBook from him, we also played around with it. Oh, by the way, in Germany you get all gifts on Christmas Eve. Getting presents on Christmas Morning is quite uncommon here.

But on Christmas Morning, I suddenly became very sick. Some stomach/colon infection. I spent the entire Christmas Day in bed, I was sleeping most of the time. And I had a high fever. And missed most of the day.

Today it's Second Day of Christmas in Germany. Still a holiday. I feel better, at least I can stand up. Currently I'm on the couch in the living room, watching TV and surfing a little bit with my Mom's other laptop. We wanted to visit my Grandparents today. It's like a tradition. Each year the entire family meets up at my Grandparents'. Alas, this year I have to stay at home, I don't want to infect anybody else ...

I hope you all had a better Christmas! And I will be posting again soon.

Rent

I'm just coming home from watching the musical "Rent" on Broadway. My friend got me good tickets and I had a very good time. Actually, I think I should have bought the CD as well.

I spent the rest of the day in Brooklyn Heights after I've been walking around in Downtown Manhattan and crossed the East River on Brooklyn Bridge. I know, I'm a tacky tourist. However, my friends lived in Brooklyn Heights for a while years ago, and I love this area since the first time I visited them in their beautiful apartment. It sounds weird, but Brooklyn Heights was so familiar from the first moment ... like I had been living there in a former life. So, being there again was very nice.

Yesterday the happy couple left town, and they are in Georgia now. The goodbye was quite interesting. They said goodbye to our friends where we stayed, but ignored me completely, although I was sitting at the table with my friends. I think that I've taken my magic to a higher level--I can become invisible.

During the last year I've developed a "walking reflex", and I spent most of my Sunday walking--up on Broadway, and down right next to the Hudson. It clears the mind. When I was down at Christopher I decided to have a drink at the Dugout, were I ran into Ted again (he seems to be everywhere). And I think I saw Addaboy and probably Joe.My.God, but l'm not really sure. I was too shy to ask ...

New England

What have those states in common: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusets, Vermont, (Upstate) New York? They're all having an occurrance in my road trip. (Because Jim's into cars, and I know he will ask: Dodge)


I drove up at the shore to Boston, and Cape Cod, and another highlight was Providence (see picture), the city of H.P. Lovecraft, where I saw all the houses he used in his stories. And I enjoyed the colored leaves everywhere.
Oh, I love New England. The typical houses are so beautyful. I would move to this area without any hesitation.

Currently it's 8.50am, and I'm in Cock Suck Coxsackie, NY. Outside there are winds, and it's raining, but I'm still in my warm and compfy bed, writing this on my PDA, and in a few minutes I will have some pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns ...
I'll be back in New York City tomorrow.

She sells sea shells ...

This fall in New York so far is much warmer and nicer than summer in Germany this year. I spent the entire day at the beach in Coney Island. We really didn't have a summer in Germany this year, so I enjoyed the warm sun, and the beach, and the artificial Italian "home-made" ice cream. Where I live, there are no beaches. We have "beaches" in Germany, but it's far in the north, and even during a hot summer it is quite cold and rather unpleasant, and it's at the opposite side of Germany, my state itself has no beaches at all (and neither our neighbour states nor their neighbours have beaches). So for me it's exciting and beautiful. I love the smell of the sea, I love the sand, I love the water. And I rescued a stranded jelly fish--you can thank me later.

Yesterday I was at a street fair near Christopher Street. And I was ignored by almost every guy. So, I have to say, NYC feels more like home than ever.

I was already heading to the subway, when I suddenly heard someone calling my name. An old friend recognized me. He knew that I'm in town, because I left him a message if he wants to meet up, but yesterday he ran into me by pure accident. We decided to meet up tomorrow evening.

Back to stable

Do you know how it feels when you come home after a long time, when some of your friends got married recently, and the neighbors refurbished their house? It feels strangely familiar and yet unfamiliar at the same time. Well, I have that feeling with my computer right now.

I wrote in my last post that the days of Pearly Spencer VistaTM will soon be over. Too many times I had to reboot the entire thing. So, last weekend there was the showdown. This is my first post I'm writing on my Linux Computer.

Jebus, Linux has changed a lot since I last used it at home a while ago. I mean, my computer at work is a Linux PC, but it hasn't any cool features switched on, and our administrator configures everything. But at home, back then it took me days to get my sound card working. More days to get my printer working. Weeks to get my scanner working. You get the idea. In the beginning when I was a novice, each change in a system setting required lots of googling, reading, trying, praying, and confusion. And, to be honest, windows looked more beautiful.

Well, things have changed a lot since then. I had a running system (printer, webcam, soundcard, etc.) in less than an hour. It configured all devices itself, I didn't do anything. It looks cool, doesn't crash, is easy to maintain, fast, and much fun. And it feels like coming home after a long while.

Here's a video of how it looks. I'm amazed. I'm sure I will switch off some of the effects after a while. I think they will get annoying after a few days. But currently I enjoy them. Say hello to my new love...



I didn't create this video, I just found it on youtube to give you an impression how Linux looks today. By the way, the video calls the composition manager "CompComm" as this is a early preview. Now they found their real name, it's "Compiz Fusion".

I hate Vista

I hate, hate, hate it. My old computer died two weeks ago, and I had to get a new one. Since you can't find one without Windows VistaTM installed, I'm the "proud" owner of a Vista Computer. Yeah!

I never was a big fan of Windows, I used to use Linux on my systems. But then I tried XP when it came out a looong time ago, and I really liked it. My old computer had XP running when I bought it, and it was very stable, it never crashed. I was so happy about XP that I switched from Linux to XP back then.

But now??? Vista is worse than crap. I haven't rebooted my old XP in five years as often as I did with Vista in two weeks. It often freezes during start-up. I often need to reboot after "highly sophisticated tasks" like launching Excel, or sometimes even minimizing just one window.

How dare you, Microsoft, to ship such crap? I'm a Software Engineer myself. If I sold a program as unstable as Vista, my client would sue me, and as a justified punishment a deathsman would behead me on a public square behind the castle in front of a cheering audience. Only Microsoft can get away with that.

I'll switch back to Linux as soon as I have enough time for the installation. I'm sick and tired of Vista. There, I said it.

I'm here and I'm queer. Get used to it.

Well, each Blog needs its own hate comment writer. I finally found mine. I was really concerned because I didn't have one. It's like, "Hello, don't I deserve some harassment as well?!" Then, this Sunday, a Rian from Australia finally delivered.

Hi, I am Rian.

Please cease and desist from your flamboyant lifestyle, or failing that, change your name so as not to elicit confusion.

There are plenty of great names that would suit an individual of your sexual preference, "julian", "bruce" or "lance" These names would allow for your posting of what some would consider lewd material without the associated defamation incurred by all Rians.

Kind Regards.
Rian - of the Australian Chapter of Rians.


Oh Honey, I can't believe you call my lifestyle flamboyant. Nobody ever said this to me until yesterday. But I'm really delighted you think so. It makes me feel so special and twinkling. I'm already thinking about putting it on my business card.

And ... uhm ... changing my name ... great idea. However, I won't do it, Darling. So, could you please change yours. Your bigotry is a shame and besmirches my name.

German is a difficult language

Dear Sat.1 (German TV station),

I understand that German is a difficult language. Unlike in English, words change depending on their context. For example, we inflect nouns into one of four cases: nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative; one of three genders: masculine, feminine, or neuter; and two numbers: singular and plural. So there are many different endings for words. But for a native speaker older than 6 or 7 it should be no problem at all.

Few days ago I saw this question for a raffle after one of your TV shows (Asterix):

Wem gehören diese Schilder?
a) Römer
b) Gallier

Not to mention that your questions are always very stupid, which freaks me out all the time. However, I won't rant about that today. But could you please, please, please at least use correct German. There are just three nouns, not a single one is correctly inflected. That's a big fat F.

Here's how it should read (in case nobody on your payroll is able to do it correctly):

Wem gehören diese Schilder?
a) Römern
b) Galliern

To bike or not to bike, that's the question

July 18th, Wednesday night, about 3am, Paris.

We've spent two amazing days in Paris, eight more to come. We've been to the touristic places--of course--but we've also managed to see "the real Paris". It's actually easier when you visit somebody who lives here.

We've been walking almost all the time, we haven't used the public transportation so far. TheGuy is very athletic, as we all know, so no problem for him, and I was able to walk as much as he does. Big change compared to last year. Yeah!

Also, we both enjoy riding a bike, and in Paris you can rent bikes from a venting machine at almost every corner. We decided to get one (for each, of course), but we didn't succeed. We've been to at least 40 stations, but they're either not having bikes at that moment, or the bikes have a red light switched on (which means you can't rent it, or the station lost connection with the server, or there are only two bikes left, but rent by the straight couple that were faster than we, or the renting machine dies while you try to rent a bike, or it wouldn't accept your credit card (which works everywhere else). After many serious attempts we just gave up. You see hundreds of people riding those bikes, but it just won't work for us.

Eight

I've been tagged by Devious Steve O a few days ago. How dare you! :-)
Anyway, here we go.

The Rules: List 8 things about yourself. At the end of the post, tag and link to 8 other people. Leave a comment at those sites, letting them know they’ve been tagged, and asking them to come read the post so they know what to do.

  1. I'm very generous, but I get very upset and bitchy when someone draws on my generosity.
  2. I think that if everyone would be a little bit less selfish, world would be much better.
  3. I fight for other people's right without any fear of reprisals. However, I can't stand up for my own rights at all.
  4. I wish I could speak Spanish, Italian or French.
  5. I wish I could meet some of the people that are on my blogroll.
  6. My favorite TV show was "Friends", runner-ups: "How I met your mother", "Golden Girls", "The Nanny".
  7. I haven't been in a McDonalds, Burger King, or similar establishment in one entire year.
  8. My most recent obsession is my bike. Biking is sooo much fun. I wish I had discovered this fun earlier.

I'm not obeying by the rules strictly, I'm not tagging anybody, since almost all bloggers I would tag have already been tagged by someone else. If you want to do this meme, feel free to do so.

I believe I can fly ...

This evening I did a strange thing. Well, there are thousands who are doing it all the time. I'm sure my readers do it regularly, at least some of them. I suppose more than a million people in the world are doing it this very instant. But ... you know my "situation", and that I haven't done it in a long time.

But I'm still excited. It was so much fun. Now I understand why people literally get addicted to it. It was fabulous. But now my butt really hurts, but they told me it happens a lot when it's the first time. Well, it's not my first time, I did it avidly when I was younger, but I didn't do it in a long time. And now I'm wondering, why does something sooo lovely and enjoyably hurt so much afterwards. But they told me that you get used to it quite quickly. I hope they're right.

What?! I heard that!

Get your mind out of the gutter. I was talking about the cool new bike I've bought today. It was WAY more expensive than what I wanted to spend, but it's a fabulous bike and totally worth it. I wasn't riding a bike in almost 7 years, but I decided to start again, and it is sooo much fun. It's almost like flying.

A friend once said that he wanted to be buried with his bike. Now I understand what he meant. It's really great. I'm a little bit scared by the traffic, since I grew up in a small lovely village in paradise the mountains, and there was no traffic at all.

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