Monday, September 29, 2008

What I think about while running

1) I really wish I wasn't running.
2) Ouch! Am I getting shin splints? Maybe I should stop. No, I'm just being a wus. Keep on trucking.
3) What on earth is my iPod thinking (I've discovered this new function called "shuffle."), playing The Clash, then Miles Davis followed by Ratatat? Or, wait. Maybe that does work?
4) Is my form okay? Do I need to think about form?
5) I wish I were swimming right now. Swimming is so much better.
6) I really wish I wasn't running.
7) Breathe!
8) Are they looking at me? Stop looking at me!
9) My face feels red. I hope it's not red. Crap, it's probably beet red.
10) Almost there. Almost home.

This week-end was:
aachen and friends, dancing, belgium, maastricht, clear skies, a catherine visit, girl's night, stars, an apple, anarchists, vegan brunch, afternoon on the rhein, conversing, reading and amazingness.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Remember that one time she did that Raw thing?

I love putting warm things in salads. Like peas or corn off the cob or grilled tofu. Last night I put warm peas on top of my salad and it felt friggin' great. So, as you may've guessed, I really didn't like the raw thing. I'm not saying that it's not a good thing, it just wasn't for me. Going into it cold turkey may've not been wise, but that's how I roll. I think that Raw would be a healthy way to live, but you'd really need access to all the materials: good books, fancy kitchen equipment (like a dehydrator, a food processor), fancy foods, time for food prep....

Here are some things that I struggled with:
* You know, I don't like raw veggies very much! I love salads, but I like them with beans and tofu and grilled eggplant.
* Acidic fruits! Tomatoes, apples, grapes... these are all things that I love, but my sudden increase of them in my diet or perhaps the lack of balancing them out with whole grains and not so many veggies, my throat started to hurt. I dunno. It was just real uncomfortable.
* Trying to make things spicy to warm up my body without warm foods or beverages also made my throat hurt.
* Everything felt bland. That'd probably be different if I had things like nori flakes or raw tahini in my pantry. At any rate, eating felt like a boring task, which I viewed as sinful.
* No nooch.
* I thought being a social vegan was tough!

Here were some things that were good:
* No processed foods!
* DIY is cool!
* I wore my new, sexy apron a lot.
* Felt thinner because of all those reasons in the first list?

Maybe if I did stuff like this guy!
ps- you have freakin got to look at that link.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fatty, Sugary, but in a good way.

I feel that's like saying, "I'm a facist, but the good kind." But really, that's what I've done. And what I've done is raw brownies! They were basically 1c walnuts, soaked overnight, 1c dried dates, and 1/4c cocoa powder, which should've been carob powder (cocoa powder isn't raw, but carob powder is?), but what can you do?

three little things

I thought that my trusty immersion mixer could handle the task at hand, but I nearly killed my very favorite kitchen utensil. A food processor would be best for this kind of blending job, but I don't got one. Next time, I'll probably chop up those dates and walnuts as best I can with our newly sharpened knives and then bring the hand blender to hell and back again.

a little gooey, but real tasty!

Question of the day: How do you like your banana?
a) green
b) brown
c) wet
d) other

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Raw: a photo essay

I made an almond pâté. I got the idea from one of the recipes on this website. I soaked my almonds for about 18hrs. They got big and fat and purty.

the veins! they're awesome!

sitting in a fancy bowl.

Here's a funny story:

On Monday the doorbell rang, so I went and answered it. An old man was there, holding a bunch of big, sharp knives and asking where Katja was. Despite the minacious weapons at hand, it all didn't seem too out of place and as he began stepping through the doorway, I nearly let him in, but then something clicked in my little mind. I thought, "Knives, sketchy old man, kids in the house, I don't know...." So, I stepped in front of him and told him that Katja was at work. In truth, I'd no idea where she was, but at the university seemed like a good guess. Then followed some senseless banter because I don't think that either of us knew what the other was talking about. (Before you start getting any ideas, that doesn't happen to me that often.)

"Where is she?"
"At work."
"But where?"
"Where she works!"

Finally, I see Katja running up to the house; she seemed to recognize this bedragled character immediately. She'd hired him for some gardening work and he'd also sharpened our knives with some of his fancy tools.

I switched out for lamb brains. can you tell? me neither.

I also made this other pâté, basically. It's supposed to sit in your mushrooms and you're supposed to dehydrate them for 4hrs. Raw foodz is complicated.

this photo makes me feel like such a poser, but I like it.

Simon and his mom are the US this week. I miss the little dude already! The house is quiet and I'm the only one making a mess.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Raw Regrets?

I know that some real raw foodist probably wants to chop me up like a fresh tomato for my ignorant statements made here, but the chances seem slim, so oblivious raving away!

Here is a kinda gazpacho thing that I made yesterday. Basically carrots, tomato and some other stuff ground up in the blender. I tried to make it spicy by adding some fresh pepper things that I got from our local Turkish market. It was tasty, but, you know... cold.

My goal this week is to make raw brownies. There's instructions out there somewhere for that.

appetizing? or is this what it'd look like if an alien burst out of your stomach (minus the garnish)?

I got lots of nuts at the store today. I know that you can make some really nice, rich sauces with pine and cashew nuts. They aren't roasted, but I'm sure that they aren't officially raw. I bet they were boiled in the process of removing the shells. I read that it's pretty impossible to find raw cashiews, for instance. But honestly, how much can one be bothered? This kinda shiz is expensive, too.

I also know from that silly vegan forum that I visit that lots of raw foodists are not 100% raw. A lot rest around the 80% mark of consumed raw calories. I'm allowing myself somma dat and drinking coffee and tea, otherwise I think I'd die. I'm an addict and proud. No (more) beer, though. That's just not fair. Sometimes, though, life is unfair.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dates are my new best friend

I made this zucchini bread yesterday. I'd had so much stuff for my Sunday planned... I was gonna meet some CSers in Düsseldorf, teach this aupair that I know how to ride a bike, go to Aachen, study German, bake bread.... Well, the last two things got done.

Someone on theppk gave me this recipe and it really appealed to me because there's a bloody plethera of zucchini involved, but, just as she warned, it doesn't stick together very well. I'll give it another shot next week.

pig fork! I really wish I had a manual focus camera.

You know how when you tell people that you're vegan and they think that all you eat are twigs and berries and maybe some bark, if you manage to scavange it? Okay, you probably don't, but I do and what's more is that this is how I imagine raw foodists eat. For the moment, dates are my new best friend.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cake Bake Betty

I like the music of Cake Bake Betty. There is no other reason for that to be the subject of this blog post.

Okay, I have goals for this coming week:
1) put 0.20 Euro cents in a jar or bag every time I talk out loud to myself. Even when I'm alone. I don't think it's a good habit.

2) put 0.10 Euro cents in a jar or bag every time I swear. I said the fuck word today in front of my host mother and Simon while on the phone with someone. Don't worry, that wasn't 10cents (yet).

3) I'm finally going to do a raw week! I'm determined! There's all sorts of cool, raw recipes out there that I've never tried because I don't do the raw thing. Like zucchini pasta. I bought some healthy kinda things for it today, but mostly I'm probably going to eat boring stuff like what the Meerschweinschen eat. Still, I may get a chance to cross "Green Smoothie" off my Vegan's 100 list.

And now this is published, so I can't go back on my word.

What's the part of a lab procedure that you guess what is going to happen? Is it simply titled the "hypothesis"? Well, here is my hypothesis for numbers one and two of my goals.
1) €7.80
2) €1.40

I'm not sure what's crazier; that I talk aloud to myself that much, that I'm stupid enough to tell people that I do so, or my method of trying to break this habit. Hopefully it's just entertaining. That's what we Americans love to do: entertain.

And what will that money go to at the end of the week? I'll consider the matter as the days pass by, but it'll probably end up being spent on beer.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Vegan's Hundred

I was going to bake bread to impress y'all, but that won't happen 'till later today, so I'll probably blog about it tomorrow. This little list started on The Bittersweet Blog.

1) You're supposed to copy this list to your own blog, but whatever.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!(or not)

1. Natto
2. Green Smoothie
3. Tofu Scramble I have had this!
4. Haggis
5. Mangosteen
6. Creme brulee
7. Fondue
8. Marmite/Vegemite like ambrosia
9. Borsht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Nachos
12. Authentic soba noodles
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Gyoza
20. Vanilla ice cream
21. Herloom Tomato
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Ceviche
24. Rice and beans
25. Knish
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Caviar
29. Baklava
30. Pate
31. Wasabi peas
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food french fries
41. Raw Brownies
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
43. Dahl
44. Homemade Soymilk
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more champagne counts, right?
46. Stroopwafle
47. Samosas
48. Vegetable Sushi
49. Glazed doughnut
50. Seaweed
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Tofurkey
54. Sheese
55. Cotton candy
56. Gnocchi
57. Piña colada
58. Birch beer
59. Scrapple
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Soy curls
63. Chickpea cutlets
64. Curry
65. Durian
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu and I pass it by in the biomarkt all the time! what gives?
69. Fried plantain
70. Mochi
71. Gazpacho I am gazpachio- oh! I am a summer soup- Mm!
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies
73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can
76. Pomegranate
77. Fauxstess Cupcake that was a great thanksgiving
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
79. Jerky oh! I miss Wildwood and the vegan jerky!
80. Croissants
81. French onion soup
82. Savory crepes
83. Tings damn you, Andreas for eating my gift from CA!
84. A meal at Candle 79
85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and “cheese”
88. Flowers
89. Matzoh ball soup Tim, do you remember this?
90. White chocolate
91. Seitan
92. Kimchi
93. Butterscotch chips
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti
97. Potato milk
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee ?
100. Raw cookie dough

EDA: so, I've officially gotten almost nothing done today. damn those days with little to do!

Also, I feel like I should get bonus points for having made a lot of these things from scratch. Like seitan and donuts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Two Poems

The Man He Killed

Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because--
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like--just as I--
Was out of work--had sold his traps--
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown.

-Thomas Hardy

photo because there should be

I really love this poem. I was thinking about it recently; don't know why. The last stanza reminds me of "All Quiet on the Western Front." I really love the stuttering explanation at the begining of the third stanza. Also, as per usual with Hardy, I adore the language that he uses. What do you like about it?

yup. pretty much
next to of course god america i
"next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn's early my
country 'tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"

He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water
-e. e. cummings

This one is also an old favorite. Cummings' use (or rather lack therof) of grammar gives his writing a unique tempo. The ending is so sharp and tough in comparison to the heart-felt lines above.

I really don't know why I've been thinking about these two poems. Now that I've re-read them, I see how similar they are in subject. Well, what do you think? Do they speak to you? And if so, how? Do you have a favorite line from either?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sex! Now I'm just two people short of a ménage à trois.

We get this weekly magazine at home called Der Stern. It's kind of a middle/ right wing news magazine that covers relevant topics in a digestable manner. So, lots of pictures. This had this as a cover:

Here is the article featured on the cover.

One morning, I came upstairs, still foggy-eyed, and sat down at the dining room table with my host father, the boys, and my tea. Somewhat blindly, I reached out in front of me for something to read between hot sips of Earl Grey and there it was: a family magazine covered in illustrations of tiny naked people demonstrating positions in the Kama Sutra. I was appauled that it could be sitting in plain sight of a child and teenager, recieving no discernable attention from anyone at the table.

When tidying up later that day, I piled up the newspaper, mail and magzine so that the magazine rested inconspicuously underneath everything, but also so one could see the logo in the top left corner. That way, I thought, if anyone wished to read about John McCain, the new VW Golf or, you know, SEX, she could. Later on that evening, I saw that same stack, but with Der Stern clearly sitting on top of the pile. I'm sure that at the sight of it I blushed, but there was no one around to see.

This last week's Stern was just another assurance that "Yep. I'm in Europe," and also a little kick in the ass reminding me that I'm not as Euro as I'd like to think myself to be.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Today in Deutchkurs we talked about cultural things as we're all from different nations around the world, but mostly from countries in the middle east and eastern europe. (I'm, yet again, North America represent!) One thing that all the arabic folks have in common in regards to cultural taboo is the necessity of respect towards elders*. They love to reference this in contrast to Deutschland, where they believe all the German children are terribly ill behaved. It came to my attention today, however, that our teacher, who is definately older than all of us, is always fighting to speak over the same group of women, all of whom don the muslim headscarves.

*I first spelled that "eldars," but caught it in the proof-read. All the same, respect your trees as well, kids!

Friday, September 12, 2008


the rain lightly falls
on the grass, sidewalk, steps, street
kids will track in mud

delicious hummus
no one else will enjoy it
all the more for me

rode bike through torential rain
soaked completely through
simon changes pants at school

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Die Meerschweinschen

Neither I nor Simon can pronounce the name of the pets that we own. I think it's pretty amusing when they become a topic of conversation. The other day he told me very matter-of-fact that his mother had killed one accidentally back when they lived in Austria because she left it in the sun too long. I know that's not funny, but I laughed. I always laugh when I'm not supposed to.

The Meerschweinschen are like guinea pigs, but cuter. The mom (black and white at the top) recently had babies. She was fat, but now she's skinny again and drinks a lot of water. I first saw the babies when they were only a day or two old and they were already pretty big and covered with fur.

Look! They eat what I eat!

They have a cool cage with levels and stuff. [Remember that one episode of Seinfeld when Kramar did the levels in his appartment?] In the photo we've put them out on the grass so they could eat it and stuff.

EDA: Damn. If I weren't blogging I would've never known that today is the anniversary of that thing that happened seven years ago. Another reason I'm glad to not be in America.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I feel so vegan.

I made salad for lunch. In college (I say this like it was a long-term thing. ha!) I ate salad at least once a day. By the end of that wretched stay, I'd had my fill of salad. With my new host family, though, there's been a lot of salad-eating. My host mother and I usually make one for ourselves for dinner. It feels all healthy and other BS like that.

picassa didn't work, so this photo kind of looks like poo.

I've got this new salad dressing craze. Actually, allow me to be more precise and say that I've a general obsession with tahini (seasame seed paste). It's filled with good things like calcium and calories. I like to make a dressing with tahini, a little olive oil or pumpkin seed oil (mmm... omega-3s...), salt, herbs from the garden, fresh squeezed lemon and a teensy tiny bit of maple syrup. It's really good.

decimated pepper

I also roasted a pepper in order to make hummus or something else with later. Roasting a pepper is something easy that you can do. If you've a gas burner, you could have pepper roasting parties, if you've got an oven with a broiler, that'll do just as well. Basically either hold it over your gas burner or shove it in the oven (no baking paper! or it'll burn just like the outside of your pepper! let's pretend I didn't learn this the hard way.) and then... veganyumyum describes this process a lot better than I.

You could use roasted red pepper in a dish like this or this. okay. that last one is supposed to link y'all to a good basic hummus recipe. there's about 89thousand out there on the internets, but I won't be satisfied with just any one. and I refuse to give mine because I'm afraid it might be weird (and I don't measure). yeah, so there'll be a link there later.

ps. damn I'm wordy!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

La Braderie de Lille!

Lille is located in northern france, in the region Nord de Calais, I think, but I'm too lazy to check out wiki right now. I learned that they have their own language in this region! Not too many folks speak it but old people and kids, apparently, but lots of folks use some common words in daily conversation. The word for "house," for instance, is often said in this regions' dialect. I can't help you out on what the word for "house" is either.

Lille seemed like kind of an older city. It looked as if it had once been elegant and decadant, but is now delapitated and in disrepair. All the same, I thought it was really beautiful.

About 150 CSers showed up at this meeting. During the day on Saturday, some of us partook in a scavenger hunt. We had to find things like a blue thread and 20 beer bottle caps. Each group was also given an item and were intructed to trade it for something interesting. We had this raggedy, but very soft scarf. I traded it for a snow globe. One of the participants in my scavenging group was positively thrilled over our success in the trade. She kept the snow globe.

Where we met to begin the scavenger hunt

There was allllll kinds of junk and really gorgeous crafts at the braderie. Over a million people (apparently) came into Lille, which already hosts a population of approximately 1mill. I was on a mission for a good eyebrow ring, but alas, nothing satisfactory was found. I did not end up purchasing anything except for food and beer, which were expensive because it was France. It made me realize that I do like Deutschland for some things. I did have this frickin' amazing tofu dish at a take out chinese place. I did not take a photograph of it, but it made me take a mental note to work with silken tofu more often in the future.

duck! Simon knows this word in English

I brought Simon to kindergarten about an hour and a half late today. Yesterday he was in an exceedingly crabby mood and I deduced that it could be because he gets really bored at Kindergarten. I don't believe that they provide very much in way of organized activities for the children. So I thought "screw it" and we played for a while this morning and talked and stuff because he's a really awesome kid.

ps- My grammar and diction are really bad in the entry, but I don't care to go through and make it better. Now we all know that I'm aware.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Lille and Belgium fun

Hello! Was in Lille over the week-end for the world famous Bradierie (a huge flea market). It was pretty fun and really adored my host and some of the other people I saw there. Some were old, some were new, all were great. Then Sunday night I stopped with my driver in Belgium to visit some other CSers in their quaint little home that also hosted the Maastricht Summer CS meeting. It was really neat to get to have some one on one with these charasmatic fellas. This AM we went hiking in some cool areas around Belgium. Now I'm back and not a lot of time to include details, but more in days to come! Tschü!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Getting sick. Guacomole.

I think that when you're starting to feel a cold coming on, you should up the liquids and switch to raw foods. So bread wouldn't be a good choice, but I needed it for decoration. My neighbors have got to think I'm a little whack by now what with all these photo shoots I've been doing on the front porch.

What's in it? An avocado, two small tomatoes (don't bother me with species...), a very little bit of onion, some fresh basil leaves. Blended with the best kitchen utensil ever: the emersion mixer.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Tandem

Me and Simon ride a tandem bike to school. Well, it's not really a tandem, it's more like a small bike attached to a larger one. He doesn't have to stear or pedal, but sometimes he does and most of the time it's entirely unhelpful. For instance, when I'm slowing down for traffic, he thinks to himself, "Why aren't we going faster?" and proceeds to pedal (something that he did not help with when climbing the hill just before this intersection) and I have to break harder while asking him to stop pedalling. He then very promptly obeys my command and we halt unexpectedly fast.

Simon also likes to stear the bike, even though his handle bars are there for support rather than to help the driver manuver. I think that he likes to pretend that he's in a race car video game when we're going down hills because we'll start swaying in one direction or the other once we get going pretty fast. Then I'll say, "Simon! Was machst du?" What are you doing? And he'll simply respond that he's helping me stear. Somtimes, however, he does admit that he's trying to throw me off the bike. The other day, when I was having a particularly rough time driving on accounta him, he gasped through fits of laughter that I had no idea what direction he would turn next. True, Simon. Very true.

Simon has recently learned how to ride a bike by himself. I think this may make our mornings a little easier.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Soup is people too!

Obviously I can solisit more of a reaction from y'all with bombardments of sweet treats than with my existential crisis of how to be a mountaineer.

So today I made potato leek soup, which came out being just okay, but when I have soup, especially something so comforting as I recall potato leek soup being, I expect it to be orgastic. Maybe it was the carrots. I've never been much of a carrot supporter.

the very ugly potato leek soup that was in need of its carrot garnish

And just to get y'alls attention back, I also made Lemon Gem Cupcakes from VwaV, but without soymilk because it's a total waste for me to purchase an entire liter. I never was much of a milk drinker (vegan or pre). The only thing it's good for is cupcakes and black tea. I put in some water mixted with cornstarch where the soymilk shoulda been. I've no idea how that changed the cupcake, but they look fine to me. there are one or two lemon cupcake that I'm not giving to the family. if anyone would like one delivered in the next 24hrs or so, please let me know.

I just wanted to make use of this cool-looking plate

It's come to my attention of late that I really don't care for speaking German. It was my intention in coming here, however, to learn the language thoroughly and to be able to speak it like a German. My skillz are adequate. Yesterday evening, for instance, I met with a friend in Neuss and we spoke German for the first hour and it was fine. I know my grammar isn't great, but I'm understandable. I guess I thought, back in early 2007, that I'd get all immersed and involved in the "culture" here; I do like parts of it, but a lot of it gets on my nerves (the Germans' closed mindedness and coldness being at the top of my list).

This is a stark contrast to my feelings about the French language. I bought a small book in French over the week-end to read for pleasure and I'm going to Lille for the week-end with the intention of practicing their language. By this I can tell that it's not foreign languages that I dislike, it's just... German.

Hopefully things will change when my Deutschkurs begins next week and my mind will be opened up to some new literature or grammatical nuances. I also won't have so much damn freetime to brood on these sorts of things. In the meantime, I'm going to keep enjoying switching to English.

I'd love to hear some of your sentiments on the foreign languages you might've learned (or wish you had).

Tomorrow will be a funnier blog post, I swear.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Coconut Lime Cupcakes.

I think that my friend, Catherine, snuck crack into the frosting.

I think I had about 8. In retrospect, it was not a wise decision, but at the time it felt so right.

Monday, September 1, 2008

To be a mountaineer...

When performing a quick google search for "Jon Krakauer" just to check the spelling on accounta a previous blog entry, I saw the first line about him on Wikipedia and it read, "Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer..." and I thought to myself: Wow. A mountaineer. it'd be so bad-ass to have that at the top of your resumé. I mean, you could have the lamest job in existance, but tag "mountaineer" to it and you'd be the bees' knees to just about anybody. Imagine if you were Mr. H. Smith, chartered accountant of Stanford, Massachusets. Dull as your unkept silver cutlery, right? But Mr. H. Smith, chartered accountant and fully qualified mountaineer... woo! Sign me up! But now I feel like I'm walking into and episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, so let's change directions ever so slightly.

After chartered accountant mountaineers, I wondered, what could be an even less respectable, more unexpected career pairing? I then thought: prostitute-mountaineer! That'd be a sight to see! The Swiss would surely dig it.

Desperately trying to find a way to tack this on to my own resumé in a relavent manner, I realized, "Hey. I've climbed mountains before. Loads. Fuck, I've even climbed an Alp!" Then I wondered, How did this Krakauer character get "mountaineer" tacked onto his name? Okay, he did climb Mt. Everest and wrote a book about it. It's called "Into Thin Air" and I read it* a number of years ago. It's hard work, that, even if you've got all your Sherpas and gear and oxygen. But wouldn't a ton of people like him (including myself) climb such ominous precipices as that if allotted the time and vast sums of money? How high does the peak have to be in order for you to achieve such a level of coolness? I'll continue to remain bemused about this injustice until I come to the bottom of it. The bottom being the end of this blog post.

*read: listened to it on tape

EDA: omg. this must be set on US time because I wrote the post about the Dom last night and this one this morning; not each on Sept 1. even though it doesn't say, I have written a post for Sept 2.

Aachener Dom

The Aachener Dom (the cathedral in Aachen) is the freakin' best. Whenever I evaluate the beauty of a cathedral that I'm visitng, it has to be more beautiful than All Saints in Sewanee. The Aachener Dom is much more magnificent.

It's cool because the 1st part of it was built in 700AD by Charlemagne (charles the great or whatever) and it was built in an octogonal shape. There's other cool additions to it that are really pretty. The inside has this cool black and white marble thing going for it in the arches and there's lots of fun stories to go with the whole thing. One being that the black and white marble thing was used when modeling the throne room of Minas Tirith in the Lord of the Rings. No, that's not on Wikipedia. I learned that from watching LOTR extra footage DVDs. Yes, I know I'm a dork.

black and white arches like in Lord Denathor's throne room.

The chain holding the chandalier in the center of the octagon (pictured above) looks like it's the same size going all the way up. That's because each link is made a little thicker and a little stronger to give it that illusion (and to hold it up, I'm sure).

Here's my favoirite story about the Aachener Dom:

When the Dom was built, it was apparently so expensive to build that the people of Aachen had to make a deal with the devil in order to get it built. The devil was promised the soul of the first person who entered the completed church. Because it was a catherdral, it would be christened by the bishop and for the ceremony, he must be the first one to enter. Of course the devil thought that he was getting a great deal out of this bargain. But the people tricked the devil and sent a wolf into the church first. The devil was furious and ran to the church, but the doors were shut just in time.

It is said that the devil's thumb got stuck in the door and when you look closely at the doors, you can find his thumb. In the huge door handles, there is kind-of a thumb contructed from metal hidden where you would need to put your hand in to open the gigantic doors, if they were open-able.

Wikipedia has a lot to say about der Aachener Dom, too.

The Dom is totally pimped out with gold.

I was pretty efficient today. There's this thing called Schützenfest (an old hunting festival that's now all lame march parades. as you might guess, I'm not interested in celebrating it.) going on right now, so the kids didn't have school. The mom stayed home, though, so I didn't have to look after them. Instead I did about 5hrs worth of laundry and ironing (the fam's, not mine!). I also made two collages, went on a run, read some book (I'm reading "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer. It's really well written! and also Le Petit Nicolas en francais, bien sûr!!) and I didn't fuck around on the internet except for a few e-mails answered, but that's all. Okay, maybe I wasn't so efficient, but the laundry really was a lot.

Do I use brackets too much? I could try footnotes. I like footnotes. It always feels like I'm finding something while reading.