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04 | May

19 | Germany is getting ready for two days of hefty thunderstorms and altogether really strange weather. Whatever your stance in regard to climate change happens to be, I cannot remember having tornado warnings in the 70s, 80s or 90s. None. Now we have them - albeit infrequently - several times a year. Add to that the (for this year) third time that tons of Sahara sand is transported all the way to my place and what we have is, whatever you want to call it, a changed situation.

18 | I was going through past bank statements and noticed that all the online accounts I have had for ages now have limited access to bank statements going back further than 12 months (some ... 24 months). Apparently, all those banks' expenses have exploded because kilobyte-sized bank statements are too expensive to keep online (/irony off).

17 | I bought a (rather expensive) kitchen radio about two months ago that I was really happy with. Yesterday, it died. It fits right into my theory that just about every product you buy nowadys has a halflife of your average housefly. No matter where you look, what you are willing to invest and what reviewers write, most of the products are ... shite.

16 | I'm looking for a music server that can handle up to 10TB of music, can be connected to my stereo and is not, in any way, shape or form connected to the Internet. Taking those requirements into consideration, the 20 million products available around the globe are limited to ... one affordable unit. I've sent a mail to the person who manufactures this rare breed.

15 | In the past weeks I restructured 108 TB of media and backup files. Even utilizing USB 3.x it took forever. And, because I do not keep one set of backup drives offsite, a single fire will kill 30 years of work. I'll risk it. Cheers!

14 | It looks like NASA's Mars lander, called Insight, will die soon. Its two solar panels are covered in dust and it will need to mostly shut down by the end of May. A storm might save it, but one of those is - unfortunately - highly unlikely.

13 | The other day I was invited to a dinner party with a rather mixed group of guests with teachers and their partners (including a freelancer or two). When I said that the fundamental problem of today's (western) educational system(s) is that a basic humanistic foundation is missing and has actively and aggressively been removed by mostly leftist ideology, it was the owner of a huge construction company that quietly nodded and, like me, did not want to pursue the matter further because the teachers and administrative folks in attendance were inwardly fuming when I attacked their very existence and beliefs. That's the 21st century for you.

12 | A lot of studios have tried, time and again, to make a killing by (re)selling the same films to their audience in various formats: video tapes, Laser Discs, DVD, Bluray and, today, 4k UHD discs (8k formats are already on the horizon). The problem is that when I read the two or three review sites that actually happen to be independent of monetary support, most of the (also often upscaled) UHD discs are simply NOT worth the money. The improvement is negligable and the only difference to past formats is the price tag which has, in some cases, doubled or trippled.

11 | Recently, I have spent quite a lot of time listening to Philip Glass' works in much more detail. Fascinating stuff. Often minimalistic, at times (intentionally) repetitive and often recorded excellently. He has frequently been criticised for flogging ideas to death, mostly by critics who failed to understand what he was and is doing. A lot of his output I really like.

10 | The other day I watched a 4K UHD version of the 1984 smash, "Ghostbusters". They filmed it in 35mm/70mm and rescanned the negatives for this version. Great, but - as is often the case - the special effects are blatantly bad, even if you are fan of early attempts to get those kinds of things right. Various early "Star Wars" films (etc.) simply blow "Ghostbusters" out of the water.

09 | I've been following the Heard/Depp trial (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you are probably the only sane person left on this planet) and I often wonder what compels people to air their dirty laundry ... everywhere. I don't belong to any of the camps but I have founded my own: I wish those two people would just disappear from the face of this earth, especiyally Amber Heard, who is just a horribly superficial actress.

08 | We had an excellent strawberry salad today. Wow! Very tasty!

07 | As is the case everywhere, prices have been rising steeply here for months now. Add to that a political agenda that has been trying to (artificially) increase prices for meat, houses and whatnot, simply because a comparatively few believe that a population must be "educated" in order to act the way they believe we should, and what you are left with is a rumpsteak that I bought today that cost a fortune and simply wasn't worth it.

06 | My wife is here and we are both hoping that after this upcoming summer we won't have to live relatively far apart anymore. Let's hope the various local governments won't treat us as Excel spreadsheet items any longer.

05 | The problem with German online shopping is that if it doesn't happen to be Amazon, it just sucks. There are exceptions, which I regularly order from, but the majority is stuck with its heads and websites up their rear ends, hoping that they can carry a mediocre 70s, 80s and 90s vibe/business plan into the third millennnium. I will never understand how management can ignore modern technology for several decades.

04 | The new Tord Gustavsen Trio CD is good, no doubt about it, but it is lacking ... something. I haven't pinpointed it yet, but the whole CD doesn't jell for me the way the others did.

03 | My prediction: gas prices will triple here this year. I have started to save money to pay for it all.

02 | If you happen to be traversing the Sahara, you'll probably have better Internet access than in many spots here in Germany. When frequencies became available, the German government threw prices of several billions at the providers who have since been trying to recover their inital investments. This country is f@cked. P.S. After 19 years, I am still unable to connect to the Internet when I visit my parents.

01 | A thought that popped into my head this morning and just didn't go away: "I'm not getting any younger!"


04 | April

30 | I really had to laugh today. Just for the heck of it, I entered the first two lines of a song we improvised on while on a late-night, absolutely freezing Danish winter walk ages ago. The title was "Three German soldiers (crossed the Rhine)" and we made extra verses up as we went along. The result (which has since disappeared) ... I re-established contact with an old Canadian friend whom I haven't heard from since the early 80s. See, he actually had the chuzpe to post those extra verses online. Glad he wasn't banned from the Internet as a result.

29 | Kasper Winding, an excellent drummer (whose wife was infamous Brigitte Nielsen, who, then, eloped with Sylvester Stallone and, today, is a prominent model for Botox accidents) debuted with an album I have always enjoyed listening to. My original Danish LP was ripped off by a "friend" (whom I visited 20 years later and in whose LP shelves I found 40 - and more - of my missing albums) and I had never been able to replace it with a mint copy since then. Well, today I replaced it with a lossless flac file and I have been a happy camper since.

28 | "Buzstop" was a band whose two LPs I religiously listened to way back when. Great arrangements, catchy melodies, fabulous horn section. I saw them live twice. Since those concerts, they had virtually disappeared from the face of this earth. I had the LPs, which were worn thin, and today I downloaded both albums in HiRes format. Bliss!

27 | By accident I noticed that Qobuz, apparently some years ago, had managed to secure the rights to a ton of excellent Danish pop/rock music from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Amongst those LPs/CDs I found there were some that had previously been almost impossible to find in any sort of digital format. Whenever I looked for the LPs, some of which I had had in the past and had lost/sold, prices were outrageous for very good+ or near mint/mint editions. Well, finally, problem solved. I'll write a bit more about that in the next few days.

26 | Today we've had bad weather fronts chasing each other. While trying to take photos of threatening cloud formations, I noticed that my Samsung S10 tries to "prettify" every single shot I tried to take of a virtually black horizon, no matter how many automatic functions I turned off.

25 | I've said it several times before and I'll say it again: there's nothing but shit coming out of Hollywood, various streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, etc. Bad films, bad scripts, hundreds of millions thrown at the screen to bore the general populace to death. It's not only the "woke" agenda inserting itself everywhere (I would not mind at all if it made intrinsic sense, which it often doesn't), but the super-lame scripts, the general assumption that your audience consists of the lowest common denominator possible and the lazy production kill every single new film within 10 minutes.

24 | Break. Judas Priest - only - today. My neighbours love it.

23 | When I returned to my apartment I noticed that all the cleaning I had done these past days and weeks on my balconies had been a waste of time. While I was gone, another cloud of Sahara dust reached us and pollen had laid itself on top of everything. It was like trying to get honey off a stone surface.

22 | Salmon for dinner. We've had it tons of times previously, but today was a highlight. Fabulous!

21 | We did some major spring cleaning, 24/7.

20 | This weekend I'm spending at my wife's wonderful apartment in Ditzingen. To start it all off, I went around Stuttgart to do some extensive shopping. They have a lot more non-generic and plenty of design shops here that I could easily spend 24 hours at (each). Nevertheless, I had to sprint through them within a few hours.

19 | It is amazing to see how many different versions are available of Hitchcock's "Vertigo", one of the most brilliant films (and one of the best film posters) ... ever. If you have ever watched that film, which you should have done by now, you probably noticed that colors play a decisive role. I have versions which are too bright or too dark, versions which have color-corrected the hell out of that film and now, finally, a version that gets as close to the original as possible. 86GB. That's hefty!

18 | I'm a huge fan of Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown", a seminal single from my early days. Today I put it on repeat. I always thought it was fascinating that the song segues into the chorus pretty much right away.

17 | Our second and last day in Bad Hersfeld, with a good breakfast at our affordable hotel and a great homestlye lunch which is becoming increasingly hard to find in our country. The trip home was also effortless, especially because trucks are banned on German highways on Sundays.

16 | Today we decided to visit my wife's grandmother in a lovely city called "Bad Hersfeld". I have been all over the map since my early teens, but this city I had never been to. And, alas, it's a place which surprised me. It doesn't often happen, but that's a city I could imagine living in. Great place, albeit very quiet (which I like).

15 | Harking back to yesterday's post, I found a bill that I had been looking for ... forever. Attached to it, I found the guarantee I would have needed a year ago. I suck.

14 | Years ago, unfortunately, I bought a huge drawer unit which easily swallows thousands of A4 bills, letters, reminders and whatnot. Today, for the first time in years, I started going through it. Scary stuff.

13 | I spent a day in Ditzingen, my wife's hometown, and, mostly, in Stuttgart, rummaging through their "Markthalle" which offers the smell of fresh food, exquisite delicatessen, exotic spices and international specialities. One of the best places in the Southwest. To boot!

12 | While backing up my collections across (today) six 18TB external hard drives, most of those reached temperatures of 52+ degrees (Celcius). Not healthy, but bearable, considering that for a backup, they have had to run 15 hours and longer.

11 | I just transferred my Star Trek series collection (I am a total Star Trek geek) and noticed how many different "fan editions" of the various Star Trek series there are. Some people must have spent half of their lifetime(s) upgrading, upscaling and remuxing these series to perfection. Example? I have a fan-edit (1080p) of Star Trek Voyager which, on a computer monitor (the only monitor I will ever watch my collection on) is pretty much equal to the official "Star Trek - The Next Generation" remaster, which cost $20 million and two years to produce. The only one with inadequate quality still in my collection is "Deep Space Nine", and the fan edit I have is still miles better than any official (streamed) release.

10 | Suddenly, 18TB Western Digital external USB drives dropped by 200 Euro per drive (I guess all those bitcoin miners got tired of mining). I bought a bunch of them and started reorganizing my music, film and TV series collection, removing files from USB 2.0 drives (35 MB transfer speed) to finally being able to synchronize drives using USB 3.0 (170 MB/s transfer speed). Pure bliss.

09 | I really (!) don't get the general geek's love for NFT art, but if it makes a 13-year old a multimillionaire ... why not?

08 | I'm really sorry, but Pink Floyd's reunion to support Ukraine has brought forth a tune that is akin to sticking a fork into your ear. But political correctness demands of all of us that we like the tune. It's absolutely horrible, despite Pink Floyd sounding good in the background.

07 | "National Beer Day" and "World Health Day" today, all rolled into one.

06 | As oil and gasoline prices have been rising steadily here, people are finally beginning to notice that there's no real resaon for said price increase. Unless you consider the unlimited profits oil companies are willing to immediately move to offshore accounts, of course.

05 | Interjection: Bucha. Civilians killed by the Russians. And, as expected, fake news all around to cover it all up. Nothing new, unfortunately.

04 | I've gotten too old for the Grammys and, rightly so, another generation has taken over, but Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak) picked up four awards, including record of the year. That stuff is still for my generation. I really like it.

03 | Germany has finally managed to seize Alisher Usmanov's (Russian oligarch) $600 million mega-yacht. They should get a reward for that because bureaucratic red tape has stopped them from seizing any of the other trillions worth of assets, real estate, and investments the other hooligans have amassed around here.

02 | Although nobody cares anymore ("yesterday's news"), I've been closely following the Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking case these past months. Today, a U.S. judge refused to throw out Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking conviction, despite a juror’s failure to disclose before the trial began that he’d been a victim of childhood sexual abuse. Rightly so!

01 | Will Smith resigns from the Academy and top imbecile Sarah Palin announced she's running for Congress. You really can't make this shit up. I think I'll go back to pen and paper.


03 | March

31 | Today is "International Transgender Day of Visibility". I'm sure Joanne K. Rowling marked it in her calendar. Sociological constructs before science. Nobody seems to (know and) care anymore.

30 | Bruce Willis was diagnosed with aphasia and is planning to step away from acting. Perhaps that explains the slew of absolutely horrible films he decided to appear in these many years.

29 | Will Smith's team spent a minimum of 48 hours drafting a totally dishonest and lame apology re his Oscar's activities. What a surprise.

28 | Yesterday, one of my faithful readers asked why I'm not writing about Russia's invasion of the Ukraine. Here's the short version: For years now, we've seen fundamental changes around the globe with fake news spreading exponentially, totally unqualified people more or less democraticaly elected into office and an ever increasing number of uneducated imbeciles taking office in one way or another, superstition dominating popular discourse more than in the Middle Ages, etc. Here in Europe, I wouldn't be surprised if, in another culmination, Marie LePen will come close to being elected president in France next month. In short, I feel bad for this and the next generation because Europe and the world are devolving into a state I hadn't though possible these past 50 years. I'm tired of writing about this shit, so I don't and I won't. There's no point to it.

27 | A little while back, I actually read Will Smith's autobiography and today's event at the Oscar's proved my initial impression: the guy and his whole family have got a screw loose. P.S.: Want to read an honest review of the book which stays away from the politically correct angle? Here you go.

26 | Yesterday, Taylor Hawkins (the Foo Fighters' drummer) passed away in Bogotá, Columbia. A sad day for music and for drummers around the globe.

25 | A while back, I added another boarding pass to my collection and "signed up" for the next NASA unmanned space mission, Artemis I, which is supposed to lauch in 2022 and will basically test the Space Launch System (SLS). BTW: NASA should offer more boarding passes.

24 | Tomorrow we are going to see "Voces8" at a church in Karlsruhe. "Voces8" is the best vocal group I have in my collection and, as Gramophone Magazine said, "The singing of VOCES8 is impeccable in its quality of tone and balance. They bring a new dimension to the word ‘ensemble’ with meticulous timing and tuning." I've listened to them a million times.

23 | Samsung's "Tab s8 Ultra" is the shit. It's (again) the best device I have in my collection, bar none. Extremely fast, ample storage space, a huge screen (notebook size) and fluid design. But, the keyboard cover (which I have for my Samsung 7+ Tab) is just to darn expensive. 400 Euro just for that? Thanks, but no thanks!

22 | I'm finally getting around to setting up my new Samsung Tab S8 Ultra.

21 | I need to clean one of my balconies which was seriously hit by, yes, Sahara sand. It sticks to everything like glue.

20 | The weather is finally brilliant again.

12 - 19 | I had to be offline for a while for health reasons.

11 | During the Covid-19 pandemic, Elton John's social media team released his "Elton John-Tonight: Live at the Playhouse Theatre 1976" concert on YouTube. I downloaded it immediately and it has since disappeared. I have tons of live concerts on my hard drives and this one is one of the very best!

10 | The "Dyson V15 Detect Absolute" is the best vacuum cleaner I ever bought. It sucks the living daylights out of everything I throw at it. That thing is magic (and costs an arm and a leg).

09 | If you happen to be "an old white man" like me, https://start.me/ is the best thing to get your Internet activities organized. It's the #1 spot I hit every single day.

08 | Damn, just shoot me already. When I found the "Samsung Tab S8 Ultra (16/512 GB)" for 400 Euro less on eBay today, I just bought it. That thing isn't going to get significantly cheaper these next twelve months. I have the "Tab S6 lite", the "Tab S7+" (with keyboard) and just about everything inbetween, but that screen size and the processor just suckered me in.

07 | I think I said it before, but my wife is the best thing that happened to me in my entire life.

06 | Whenever I fire up the social networks on my many devices, I immediately experience this severe gag reflex. I have written about this before, but I'm thinking of kicking all of them to the curb. The problem is that I love to read/see what people are talking about, the things that move them and/or get them all riled up. I love to have my finger on Germany's "pulse" and, at the same time, it all makes me sick to my stomach. As Danny Glover used to say in those old "Lethal Weapon" movies, "I'm too old for this shit!".

05 | Dust. I hate dust. If, like me, you have two balconies and a pair of doors always open to those, you are going to suffer. There's dust everywhere (not really, as some people might say, but ... for me ...) and at the moment, I am vaccuming every single day to get a grip on the problem.

04 | I've got the Samsung Tab 8 Ultra on my radar. I'm incorrigible and a gadget freak. It's a genetic disorder.

03 | February 21 will live in infamy forever, the day Russia officially recognised the two self-proclaimed separatist states in the Donbas, and openly sent troops into the territories. I'm not going to write about that here, but it just proves that the 21st century is dominated by lies, deception, info wars and whatnot. Idiocy is rampant, all across the globe. I never thought we would ever reach that stage again. But, history has a knack for repeating itself, over and over again.

02 | My better half spent a couple of hours baking an excellent cake today. What never ceases to amaze me is that women simply do not understand that an excellent cake like that needs to be eaten immediately. When it's warm.

01 | In the beginning of January, I got my "booster shot" (3rd vaccination shot) and since then I have been constantly experiencing severe health issues (devestating and constant fatigue, a reignited "Uveitis", skin problems, etc.). Altogether, all the problems of the last 15 years were kickstarted again from one moment to the next. I have been in and out of waiting rooms these past weeks and, currently, I am waiting to be admitted to a clinic that specializes in immune deficiency disorders. The problem is that getting appointments in these Covid-19 times is nigh impossible. So far, doctors have told me that August is the earliest month available for the examinations I need.


02 | February

28 | On our last day, after another excellent breakfast (they placed us in a wonderfully comfy separate nook), we headed to one of the region's most renowned baroque pilgrimage churches, "Basilica Birnau". "The church of St. Mary, known as 'Basilica Birnau', rises on the northern shore of Lake Constance in the Birnau district of Uhldingen-Mühlhofen, a resort for 7000 inhabitants. The Roman Catholic Basilica Birnau is one of the most important baroque pilgrimage churches in the region." From there, we walked a couple of kilometers to the "[...] lake dwelling settlements [which] are part of the UNESCO World Heritage [to] rediscover the sunken village of Unteruhldingen and everyday life in the Stone and Bronze Age!". Great walk, great weather and an easy trip home with little traffic. Altogether a perfect weekend.

27 | The main and only goal of today's excursion, after an excellent breakfast buffet at our hotel with fresh omlette, salmon, sparkling wine and the whole works, was Meersburg, "[...] one of the prettiest resorts on the shores of Lake Constance. The Burg above the lake is said to be Germany's oldest residential castle, dating back to the 7th Century A.D. (Meersburg also has a Baroque 'New Castle' where the prince-bishops of Konstanz lived and ruled in the 18th Century.) The word 'picturesque' has become a travel cliché, but in the case of Meersburg, it's a legitimate adjective.

26 | As promised, the weather has finally turned sunny and inviting, although the wind is still rather frosty. We chose to stay at "Badhotel Überlingen (En)" and it was the right choice. Very nice and newly-renovated room with a brilliant view of Lake Constance and a small harbour right next to the hotel. Before checking in, we spent a wonderful afternoon exploring Lindau, "[...] an historic island with a distinctive charm surrounded by a crystal clear lake and a lush environment. And in the background, the snow-covered scenery [of Austria and Switzerland] rises upwards [...]". Despite average reviews, lunch in Lindau at an Italian restaurant ("Ottimo") right next to the scenic harbour was very good and dinner at our hotel, in a pleasant atmosphere, was also excellent (and not very cheap). A good day, despite the traffic jam early on trying to get to Lindau in a kilometer-long line of cars trying to cross the border to Austria a mile or two from Lindau (which Google Maps helped us to partially avoid).

25 | Starting tomorrow, we'll be spending 3 days on the shores of Lake Constance. The weather is supposed to be sunny (but cold).

24 | While looking around for decent hotels online, we again experienced how absolutely terrible the programming for many (also global) hotel websites is. Proprietary solutions, cross-site scripting, invalid javascript, and, and, and. It is amazing to see that businesses seem to be able to survive with that kind of mindboggling crap.

23 | Putin is a raving lunatic.

22 | I'm in Ditzingen, relaxing. Today, in one fell swoop, I read Steve Lukather's autobiography, "The Gospel According to Luke", published in 2018. Some fascinating insights into his life and work.

21 | I wonder if the Ukraine conflict is going to blow up these next few hours/days.

20 | A week and a half of holidays which I'm going to spend in Ditzingen, my wife's still current hometown. The second storm of these past few days isn't any better here though.

19 | For a minute I thought of jumping on the new Samsung "Tab S8 Ultra" offer, which would have included a free and normally very pricey book cover keyboard, but after reading the earliest available hands-on tests, the only real advantage seems to be the larger screen (which is something I would love to have). So, I decided not to. Besides, why the hell does a tab like that need both a notch (enough with the Apple BS already) and a camera that is able to take photos of the adjacent two galaxies? I often get the feeling that developers are too far removed from use-case scenarios.

18 | Two years after I started my search for a better than average kitchen radio (yes, it takes that long nowadays to find anything worthwhile), I bought myself a "Pure Evoke Play", which, as usual, is a European (British) product produced in China. So far, so good. It does everything it is supposed to do, connectivity is great and the sound is not audiophile but way above average with a 40-watt stereo punch (albeit with a very narrow "sweet spot", which doesn't really matter while cooking or washing the dishes). Digital radio, FM radio, Internet radio (thousands of stations), Spotify, Podcasts, etc. Everything works as expected. Not too big, hence very portable (if you opt in and buy a relatively costly "ChargePak" for up to 12 hours of portable play), plus pleasant and relatively pure design. Let's hope it lasts longer than everything else today which seems to be limited to time of warranty + one hour.

17 | So far and so good for this area: Double storm sweeps.

16 | Eye candy: Winners of the 2021 Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest

15 | The weather models I mentioned on the 11th are beginning to be much more accurate. Whereas most models now predict a hefty storm with wind speeds of up to 140km (and more) moving through northern Germany, there's only one model left which sees the storm hitting me squarely in the face 700km away.

14 | I thought this was hilarious.

13 | When I moved a few years back, I had to sell my most prized possession, my monster Roland E-Drum kit. If I ever move into a house again, I would immediately buy one of the newer models. Currently, I think the TD-27KV offers the best bang for the buck if you just want to use it a home for fun.

12 | I love my Moneyphant.

11 | We're heading towards a major storm around this time next week. I'm always amazed at how the various models can predict these kinds of events pretty accurately. It's absolutely fascinating to watch the various models become increasingly accurate as we are heading towards the event.

10 | Besides the nifty special effects, Star Trek: Discovery is just plain bad. I have given it the benefit of the doubt all the way into season 4 and now finally gave up after the most recent episode (S04E08). For the first time with any Star Trek series, I still have the feeling - after nearly four complete seasons - that this one just lacks coherence and that the showrunners themselves don't really know what to do with the storyline.

09 | Measles cause "immune amnesia".

08 | Today, Twitter was up in arms because our (new) Chancellor apparently wore the wrong sweater while enjoying a little time off. Twitter and other social networks are just completely f*ucked up.

07 | Facebook (Zuckerberg/Meta crap) actually threatened Europe by warning the continent that they would pull out if they aren't allowed target advertising from here on out. Really? Most people I know would call that a promise.

06 | I have always been a huge fan of Grethe Meyer, one of the finest Danish designers of all time. I have been collecting and using both her "Blue Line" dinnerware and "Copenhagen" cutlery for the past 30+ years and was disappointed when "Blue Line", which used to be produced by Royal Copenhagen (and Alumina), was discontinued some years ago. By accident I found out that "Bodum" has resurrected "Blue Line" ("BLÅ") in 2021 and it's still alive and well.

05 | As my constant readers will probably know, I have a very eclectic musical taste. These past two years I have been listening a lot to Chris Standring, whose music I had never listened to before. I used to call this kind of music "muzak", but today I enjoy his impeccable sense of melody and rhythm. I put his (many) CDs on whenever I need to do menial tasks, sorting things out, etc. Great stuff!

04 | My immune system is still totally screwed up. These past weeks I have been sleeping up to 10 - or even 11 - hours per day.

03 | I have been watching the developments around the "James Webb Telescope" for years now. It is absolutely amazing how incredibly well the whole thing has been working so far. They're still calibrating, but I'd be surprised if anything goes wrong from here on out.

02 | Ages ago, "Serious Sam" was one of my favorite games. I just installed version 4 ("Deluxe") and it just doesn't do it for me. The idea is there and still the same, but the setting isn't me at all.

01 | Let's hope February will be better than January. And, on another note, I still haven't completed my "2021 in photos" page. Why? I have plenty of photos but, somehow, they are not as consistent as they were in 2021. Still ... I'm working on it.


01 | January

31 | I've just checked off January as one wasted month on my list.

30 | Away from home is - currently - better than being at home. These last few weeks I have been turning in too many circles.

29 | Currently, I am investigating how to get around 14TB of music connected to my Marantz stereo without having to rely on streaming, internet connections and whatnot. I want to have a device that I can save my perfectly-tagged music to and which doesn't need to rely on anything ... just another module much like a CD player. I think I might have finally found the one (German) company that can actually deliver this kind of media server.

28 | I was listening to Philip Sayce again today. He plays an incredibly mean (blues rock) guitar!

27 | I haven't written about it yet, but after my booster shot on January 3rd, I was hit by a massive immune system reaction 24 hours later that hasn't let up at all. Doctors are working on it but, because the Covid-19 incidence is around 1200 here at the moment (and rising), getting an appointment with the various medical experts I need is incredibly difficult.

26 | I rewatched "Wolf of Wall Street" the umpteenth time the other day and again noticed how good Kyle Chandler is in that one. There is, of course, the pivotal scene with Leonardo deCaprio, but I also love that last scene with him riding home on the subway after Jordan Belfort has just been successfully convicted. Besides Chandler and DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Rob Reiner are just fabulous in that film. There are so many great scenes in this movie that should have lead to a myriad of Academy Awards, like this scene and this one, the latter showing perfect casting down to the last role.

25 | ... and harking back to January 22nd, also check out how incredibly tight Van Halen was as a band by listening to, for example, "Atomic Punk", "I'm the One" or "Jamie's Cryin'" (or any of the other examples of Van Halen tracks without vocals available on YouTube). Great stuff.

24 | I guess I'm different because I like "The Book of Boba Fett" much more than "The Mandalorian". Then again, I have never been attached to the Star Wars universe as much as some of Boba Fett's harshest critics.

23 | Maggie Gyllenhaal is just about the only "celebrity" I follow on social networks and "The Lost Daughter" is probably the only excellent film I watched these past many months.

22 | If you want to hear how brilliant a guitarist Eddie Van Halen was, check out this fabulous playlist on YouTube, which presents the isolated guitar tracks.

21 | "The Psychology of Misinformation" by David G. Rand (MIT) is a video you should watch.

20 | I came across the fact today that the 1st American military court martial trial began in Cambridge, Massachusetts on this day in 1778. For some reason, although unrelated, it made me look up where the attempts of making an example of Julian Assange are at. I hope the High Court in London will allow Assange lawyer's to appeal to the U.K.'s Supreme Court against extradition.

19 | I finally broke down and purchased the 2011 reprint edition of "Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design" by Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham although I vowed not to buy larger books anymore.

18 | In my book, Anita O'Day was the only "white" jazz singer comparable to greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. She called herself "song stylist" and that comes pretty close to what she always did so well (presenting her material more like an instrumentalist than a singer). Reading her autobiography many years after she passed away (in 2006) is actually both depressing and uplifting. In "High Times, Hard Times" she, as honestly as possible, goes into her decade-long heroin drug addiction but also reveals what life as a jazz singer was like from early on (her tenures with Gene Krupa, Woody Herman and Stan Kenton) to much later when she traveled the globe as a solo artist. She was an absolutely fascinating personality.

17 | Every year I buy new Christmas albums in and around November. This year, there really wasn't anything exciting to buy into, so I opted for adding on to my "Ars Nova" collection.Ars Nova produced my all time favorite Christmas album, "Julens Sange", but, as I discovered through extensive research online, they also published an incredible oeuvre of classical and contemporary music. I love that choir, which hails from Copenhagen, Denmark and is often lead by Paul Hillier. Absolutely wonderful music, usually excellently recorded.

16 | Getting doctors' appointments during this pandemic has been a pain in the ass. Just like with every other public service, the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have been an excellent excuse for everyone to work less, impose absolutely ridiculous rules and, all in all, be a general nuisance.

15 | I've always been a fan of the NWOBHM ("New Wave of British Heavy Metal") and I am rediscovering many aspects surfing through three books by Martin Popoff:Popoff, Martin. Smokin Valves A Headbangers Guide to 900 NWOBHM Records. Wymer UK, March 2019.Popoff, Martin. Wheels of Steel The Explosive Early Years of the NWOBHM. Wymer UK, July 2019.Popoff, Martin. This Means War The Sunset Years of the NWOBHM. Wymer UK, October 2019.

14 | Waiting for my wife to arrive for the weekend. The powers that be still haven't decided if they want to allow us to live together permamently. Shame on them. Civil servants are just numbers to them ... to do with however they please.

13 | Right now, I need a (good) burger. I haven't eaten one of those for months. I'm always surprised how one's metabolism can be conditioned by some past food experience (by the way: the best burger I ever ate was one that was served up by some road-side diner in Orlando, Florida).

12 | For seemingly ages I have been following and watching the development and recent launch of the "James Webb Space Telescope". It is absolutely amazing to see what dedicated scientists and engineers can achieve nowadays. So many things could have gone wrong but, so far, that thing is working down to the minutest detail.

11 | The problems because of my January 3rd booster shot have been steadily increasing. No fun.

10 | Via Toto's "40 Tours Around the Sun" live BluRay and CD, I came across this incredibly versatile multi-instrumentalist, Shem von Schroeck. Besides the fact that he has a name that most people will probably be unable to unearth via Google because they can't remember how to spell it, that guy's career has been astonishing: opera singer, composer, producer and composer of film music, drummer, bassist, guitarist, lead and background singer, session and live musician on/for an endless number of recordings and bands such as Toto, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, David Paich, David Foster, Christopher Cross, Richard Marx, Don Felder, Al Stewart, Patti Austin, Stephen Stills, Tom Jones, Loggins & Messina, Gary Wright, Spooky Tooth, thriller author and martial arts expert. I was wondering how he finds the time but after a bunch of interviews the answer was clear ... that guy is just incredibly dedicated (and, apparently, a really nice guy). Check him out.

09 | The Poco phone (POCO X3 NFC) I bought last year has turned out to be one of the best investments ever. I turned it into a music player by removing really everything else on that phone and it lasted the entire Christmas weeks with music 24/7. The battery, once you trash each and every other funtion,m is absolutely amazing. After one week of constant music, I was still at 87% battery power!.

08 | Being a person who has had to deal with immune deficiencies these past many years, my booster shot has caused lots of problems. I'm not at work at the moment. Let's see how things pan out.

07 | Yes, I still have my Christmas tree standing around. I have been watching neighbours ditching each and every Christmas ornament since December 28th, but I'm keeping the tree around until the end of January. It just adds a ton of coziness to the living room on these many gray and depressing January days we've had this year (we've been plagued by endless fog for days now).

06 | I read up on Kalief Browder again today. Cases like these are absolutely depressing to study but what irks me most is that really all the people/officials involved usually make it out of their failure unscathed. Often they are even promoted.

04 | I don't think there will ever be a follow-up, but I personally do like Ridley Scott's two most recent Alien sequels, "Prometheus" (2012) and "Alien Covenant" (2017). I have both movies in glorious UHD and I did like the world- and mythbuiling he attempted here. Unfortunately, a possible next entry in the franchise will probably veer off the path completely ... again.

04 | Omicron is beginning to raise its ugly head around here but today I got my booster shot. Let's see how that goes.

03 | Marvel's "Eternals" is really one of the crappiest movies I have ever had the misfortune to watch. What an absolutely predictable borefest.

02 | Our new government took a while to jell, but one of my former students, Tobias Lindner, was made Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office. Shortly before, in the negotiations to form a so-called traffic light coalition of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) following the 2021 federal elections, Lindner was part of his party's delegation in the working group on foreign policy, defence, development cooperation and human rights, co-chaired by Heiko Maas, Omid Nouripour and Alexander Graf Lambsdorff. Although I have been highly critical of some aspects of his party, Tobias absolutely deserved this position. I have been watching his work closely and he's a very smart, educated and dedicated politician. I trust him.

01 | Happy New Year, everyone! Let's see if this year will allow us to shake the pandemic. In my case, that would make work a lot more relaxed. And, by the way, I archived last year's micro blog.


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