All about them scales (parody lyrics)

 

I’ve always enjoyed parodizing things when I had a fun idea, so here’s another one based on “All About that Bass”

I’ve got more here and here.

 

Because you know I’m all about them scales
’bout them scales, no feathers
I’m all about them scales, ’bout them scales, no feathers
I’m all about them scales, ’bout them scales, no feathers
I’m all about them scales, ’bout them scales

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no cockatoo
But I can roar it, roar it like I’m suopposed to do
’cause I got that rough skin that all the birds miss
All the right claws and all the sharp teeth
I see the scientists, making up stuff and shit
We know that shit ain’t real
Come on now, make it stop
If you got teeth and claws just tear ’em up
‘Cause every scale of you is perfect
From the tail right to the top
Yeah, John Hammond he told me he spared no expense at all
He said, dinos don’t quack, chirp or produce some other bird calls
You know I won’t be no pigeon or stupid ass budgerigar
So if that’s what you’re into then go hug a mosasaur

Because you know I’m all about them scales…

sonnet 18 – Shall I compare thee to a pizza pie?

Inspired by the lovely and awesome and kind and funny and witty Jolene Haley

It’s kind of a hack job, but I’m reasonably happy with it, so without further ado about nothing… ;-)

 

Shall I compare thee to a pizza pie?
Thou art more sav’ry and delicious:
Hot oven bakes on temperature high
And pizza’s smell reminds to do the dishes.

Sometime too hot the peperoni burns
And often is its cheese complexion dark;
Yet for its taste my palate often yearns
Hunger, or everchanging app’tite, hark!

But thy eternal savor shall not wane,
Nor lose the toppings of the pie thou art
Nor shall thy dough be ever dry or plain
For ev’ryday you are lunch of my heart

So long as men can eat or nose can smell,
So long tastes this, and this gives taste to thee.

Olli the house builder

Yes. House. Me!

Well, I wont build it myself, I’ll have it built. But yes, I decided I want to get my own place, move back towards where I grew up and, OH MY GOD THIS IS HAPPENING.

Ok, breathe, Olli.

Here’s a timeline of what happened. About 6ish years ago I moved away from the place I grew up and into a rental appartment with my then girl-friend. It was the right thing to do, I don’t regret it. GIrlfriend stuff didn’t work out, but living alone was pretty neat. I was happy. Had you suggested to me to get my own house or buy a condo or something, I would have laughed it off.

Then, one weekend, I had a head cold and took a long bath with essential oils, eucalyptus, camphor and that stuff. Looking around the bathroom, I had my first epiphany.

“Hm. It’ll probably be difficult to get the landlords to renovate the bathroom.”

Followed by thoughts like “Well, I should probably at least consider not renting for the rest of my life” and “If I had my own place, the kitchen wold be a lot nicer.”

That same weekend I messaged my sister1 to see what she’d think about building a two-unit house to save on infrastructure and stuff. She liked the idea but their plans were already pretty fixed and wouldn’t have allowed for that. Starting with the building lot being too small for that.

I put my plan to rest for a bit, but it didn’t leave me. Then, when my toilet broke2 and I waited two weeks for my landlords to get it fixed, it broke out again.

I thought stuff like “if this was my place, I could’ve had it fixed by my dad or just called plumbers until one of them came in”.

Next I found myself researching construction companies, architects, loan conditions, central heating technologies and boom, one weekend in fall 2015 I told my nonplussed parents about my plan.

A few days after that I actually found a suitable building lot via local classifieds. Agreed on a price, started planning possible house layouts with a construction company.

Then the bank stuff began. I had a first loan offer, a panic attack, a second loan offer based on the reduced price of a slightly different house layout (original idea didn’t fit on the lot), more panic attacks when trying to find out if I could afford it.
Turns out I can.

Loans got approved by the bank and now I’m waiting for various paper work so I can finalize the land purchase, get the building people started and the kitchen plan finalized.

WOAH!

 

Footnotes
  1. who currently lives in Malaysia and will get her own place with her boyfriend when they’re back in a few years []
  2. no big deal, just inconvenience []

Olli the writer

First of all, sorry. I neglected my blogging duties far too…wait, does anyone even read these? Hello? Anybody out there?

Eh, whatever.

I stopped blogging regularly in September 2015. Which is weird, because there’s one blog post I actually wanted to do. I suppose I got caught up in stuff.1.

Many things happened. I did stuff, got to know awesome people, travelled some more2.

And, in September, I got published.

Here’s how it happened: Ages ago, I got inspired to write a story. I put it on my blog, asked people to read it, got some pretty nice feedback. Then I went on my infamous West Coast US vacation. On my first day I met up with Jennifer Brozek who I first met as a web comic character, then as a poster in a forum, then … well, things escalated and I think we’re friends now! :-D

We had dinner at the Space Needle, and as these things go, we chatted about writing. I mentioned the story and, guess what, Jennifer said: “Ooh, I think I remember that story. Is it the one where…?”
Me: “Yeeees?”
Jennifer: “Submit it. Maybe I’ll buy it.”
I submitted it when I returned and boom, a few month later I was a published author.

You can read “The Rescue” here.

Since then I’ve written two more stories inspired by various conversations, things and showers, and I’ve submitted both to various markets, with mixed success. I did get a few very encouraging personal rejections, and my writing got called “super super cute” among other things.

Since I’m not really a regular, an established writer or anything else but a hobbyist with a lack of discipline and a full time job, the rejections didn’t bother me that much, but I was kinda eager to get at least one of my stories, “Pads for his throne” out there.

Chance had it that I talked to Ivy Tara Blair, who loved the story and expressed interest in it.
She’s aweome. Get her audio books and listen to them. Special recommendation for A.K. Makansi’s “The Sowing”.

Anyway, that and the endless support and encouragement of other friends made me consider self-pubbing somewhere else than the blog.
I was hesitant, still am a little because it’s less than 4000 words. But one idea followed another, so here’s the current plan/status.

  • find editor, have story edited – CHECK
  • find illustrator and cover artist – in progress
  • create amazon author page – tbd
  • publish illustrated ebook – tbd
  • publish print-on-demand illustrated short story/coloring book – tbd
  • have audio book created – tbd
  • publish audio book – tbd
  • strike things of bucket list I never thought I’d do – tbd

 

Watch this space for news as events progress!

Footnotes
  1. lazy. I got lazy []
  2. yes, again! []

Cable storage tip!

Long story short: I found a bag of ziploc baggies of various sizes while looking for a certain USB cable.

Cables are pesky. Very. They tangle up on themselves and with each other, and you never find the one you need, because it’s knotted up with one that you don’t. So here’s a little idea:
Get a bunch of ziploc bags of various sizes. Spool up your cables. Dump them (and any small gadgets like USB wifi adapters, small chargers, etc) in a ziplop each, throw them all in the same drawer/box. Repeat whenever you find a cable/charger lying around that you’re not using within the next 24 hours.

– You’ll always know where to look
– bags are transparent, so you’ll always see what’s in them, easy to locate that ONE cable
– no tangling, easy rummaging

Family history

I don’t know much about my family history beyond my grandparents. I don’t even know much about that, it’s never really been a thing. But sometimes, at family gatherings, holidays, etc. stories get shared.

As some of you know, I am half French. My dad is German, my mom is French. I’ve been raised bilingually, spent many school holidays in France, up to four weeks at a time.
There’s more to it, though. My grandpa on my mom’s side used to be German. I knew he was from Husum, northern Germany, but that’s it. I never really asked, he was one of those impressive and a bit scary but also loving grandfather of 26 grandchildren1 in his lifetime. He wasn’t a huge person, his built was average, but his voice, demeanor and strictness scared most of us grandkids. He did have a soft spot in his heart for the German ones2, though.

He died a quiet death in his bed in 1997. I can’t remember if it was then or a few years later when my dad told me the story pépé ((French, affectionate word for grandfather)) had told him one night out on the porch, sharing a few beers.

Grandpa Rudolph was in the military, a stoker/machinist on a German submarine. Well, of course, he was born in one of the northern-most cities in Germany. I don’t know anything about that time in his life, except that the submarine was captured in Lorient, France, when the harbor was taken by the English. He ended up being a prisoner of war, tried to escape three times.
His first two attempts ended up with him being caught in a rowboat on the atlantic, and brought back into camp. On his third attempt he actually got all the way home, but the Mayor – who was a friend of the family, but still – had to send him back because he couldn’t produce any discharge papers from his prisonership. So he got taken back to France. That when he said “Fuck it”, and after being released he just stayed in France. By that time he must’ve gotten a fair command of at least French and English, so he made do with being a day-laborer.
At one point he ended up staying with a peasant for a while, essentially being a farmhand. The guy took a liking to him and in the end tried to marry his daughter off to him, so he’d have someone to pass on the farm. Pépé apparently didn’t like what he’d told my dad was one monster of a woman and fled during one night.

He later married my grandmother Gisèle and did a lot of different jobs from building to being a trucker, which got him to drive from Spain to Russia, from Sweden to Italy and pick up all sorts of languages. My mom apparently got some of the restlessness from him and spent time as an au-pair in London and Berlin, as a late teenager. Then she ended up spending some time in a tiny village in the Moselle valley, working as a waitress in the restaurant/bar my dad and the guys from the orchestra frequented at the time. He was 28ish, she was about 21. He asked her out, she went along to one of the orchestra gigs at a wine festival and nearly got scared off by the guys from the neighboring village telling her: “What? YOU WENT OUT WITH ONE OF THEM?”
In the end all went well, and when my dad told his mom that a) he was gonna be a dad and b) they were gonna get married anyway, she first freaked out and went: “I knew it! It was bound to happen, you always laid with her back in your room! I’m not gonna tell your grandma, that’s up to you.”
To which my dad replied: “FINE!” and went to his grandma, said: “Granny, I’m gonna be a dad!”
My great-grandma’s reply was classic: “Oh. Good. But you know, at your age this didn’t have to happen to you!”3.
My parents married in June 1981. I was born in October that year.

Footnotes
  1. my mom had 12 siblings []
  2. there’s 5 of us, my sis, 3 cousins and me []
  3. as in, don’t get stuck with a kid, you should be smarter than that. but not in a mean way []

Lonely.

What do you call an introvert that seems like an extrovert when around people he’s really comfortable with?

Nothing. You don’t call him, because apparently you assume he’s busy being a crazy social butterfly, fending off people wanting to spend time with him.1

Today was just one of the days I realized this.
I got the crazy idea to text a group of people. Five couples, to be specific. A few guys I went to school with and have known for more than half my life plus their significant others.
It’s only been a few hours, but I am not really hopeful, for some reason.

I first asked if anyone had time to go have dinner on the weekend of my birthday, in two and a half weeks.
One of the couples replied that they were busy. Their acoustic trio has a gig the day before and tickets for a musical on that day. Fair enough.
After realizing that the weekend before would actually be better for me, since my birthday weekend also is the weekend of the wine festival my orchestra organizes.
So I suggested going for that weekend instead and offered to kill a few bottles of wine with whoever joins me on the actual birthday weekend.
Couple 2: We won’t be available on your birthday but probably could do something on the weekend before.
Couple 3: no reply yet. I know, it only has been a few hours, but I don’t really expect a timely response anymore. I really like them, and it’s mutual, it’s just that they’re notoriously bad at replying to text or picking up their phone, something that hasn’t gotten better since they had their kid a year ago. I still tried. You never know.
Couple 4 and 5 I only added just in case they happen to be in the area. They live 200 respectively 700 or so kilometers away, but who knows, I might get lucky.

That’s just one occurence, I know, but it feels typical.
People seem to assume I’m busy or something even if I tell them I’m usually not. Hell, I’d probably jump at ANY opportunity if someone texted me and said “hey, let’s go get a burger/movie/ice cream/go bowling/throw rocks at stupid people.” I’d drive an hour for any of that.
People don’t.
“Why don’t you reach out?”
When I was a kid, my parents described me as shy. I guess I kinda am. Once I warm up to people, it doesn’t show in conversations. Certainly not on twitter. Some of you have met me, have had dinner with me, played Cards Against Humanity with me, went to the zoo with me, even travelled with me for a bit. You’ve met me at my best and happiest. Among people who wanted to spend time with me and made it clear.

Sure, I meet people every week(ish) at orchestra rehearsal, but I don’t count that as spending time with friends. It’s a thing I do, but that’s mostly it. I also have tons of coworkers and usually have fun with them, but work is the focus then. That’s it.
On any given working day, the average number of words spoken to people I don’t somehow work with or that I buy food from is zero-ish.
Usually, I get home from work and spend the rest of they day talking to people on twitter and IRC, maybe watch a tv show or movie on bluray or netflix.

I used to meet up with couple 3 a lot, before they had the kid, for regular board game nights. That died down after a while, when more people we played with got busy and parts of their own lives (university, job) changed.

Sure, I could ask them, the other local friends or some of the coworkers that don’t live two hours away from me to do stuff, but it’s not that easy to me. They do have lives and partners and other friends of their own. They have other stuff they do regularly that eats up some time. And there’s the little fact that I already feel imposing when I ask some coworkers if they mind me tagging along on their lunch break. I know they don’t mind, I’m pretty sure they’d tell me if they did. But still, it’s how I feel, can’t change much about that. I occasionally do join them when time permits, but if that sometimes feels awkward to me, imagine how difficult it is to be the one to constantly have to ask people to spend their free time with, if almost nobody else ever initiates.

A former coworker who’d moved away is now back in the area, only a 25 minute drive from where I live, less from work, we already met up for dinner once, vowed to do that more often, I guess that’s something, and I’m really glad.

Other than that: sure, I have my “social circles” on twitter and irc and other people I mostly talk to via the internet, but having some of your closest friends being anything between 200 and 10.000km away, I still sometimes am really fucking lonely.

Ok, that’s enough, brb, gonna go donate to Syrian refugees. If you can afford it, think about doing it. I suggest this place to start: Pat Rothfuss’ blog with a link to his worldbuilders fundraiser

 

 

Footnotes
  1. Another acceptable answer would have been: Lonely. Really fucking lonely. []

German with Olli – Being sick

Hello class! [pause] Aw.

Looks like you’re all krank.

Krank is the German word for ill or sick. A sickness/illness is Krankheit.

If you’re too sick to go to school or work, you might need a doctor’s note, or Krankmeldung. A sick-report. It’ll state that you are unfit for work until a given date and can be extended if necessary. They are on yellowish paper, which is why we also call them Gelber Schein or yellow slip.
Interesting enough, playing hooky, skipping school or work without legitimate reason, is called blau machen: to make blue.

Being krank is won’t usually ruin you in Germany. We do have mandatory health insurance, the providers are called Krankenkasse. Something like sick-bank.

So you don’t really have to be afraid of THIS reason if an ambulance or Krankenwagen (sick-car) picks you up and drives you to the Krankenhaus.
Over there, nurses will take care of you. Or as we call them Krankenschwester (sick-sister, or rather sister to the sick) if female and Krankenpfleger (sick-carer) if mail.

I’m pretty sure the sister thing came from when the sick were primarily cared for by nuns in abbeys, their title being Sister. That’s why the head nurse of a hospital still is called Oberschwester, a mix of, well Schwester and Oberin (Reverend Mother, from which you could make the link to matron, or hospital matron).

There’s also:

Krankenakte – sick file or medical record
Krankenbett – sick bed
Krankengeld – sick-money, benefits you get paid when you are hospitalized past a certain threshold. For the first six weeks of being sick, your employer HAS to continue your pay, after that your Krankenkasse takes over.

 

So, yeah, our language might be a bit brutal, but being sick wont really kill you. Uh…unless it does. Sorry.

German with Olli – Pigs!

In today’s German lesson I shall ramble about naming animals again.

Turns out there’s quite an abundance of pigs in Germany.

Our word for pig is Schwein.
A piglet is a Ferkel.

We call guinea pigs Meerschweinchen which translates back to little sea-pig. Their bigger relatives, Capybara, we call Wasserschwein. Water-pig.

Then there’s Seeschwein which translates to sea-pig as well. See is our word for lake or the sea depending on context and gender. Der See is the lake, die See is the sea. Seeschwein is a rarely used word for Dugong. Sometimes we also call it Seekuh = sea cow.

We also have stinger-pigs, Stachelschweine. Those are porcupines!
Finally there’s the Schweinswal. Pig-whale. You probably know it as harbor or common porpoise.

So many pigs. Man, I could totally do with a sausage now.