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…

German with Olli – Just German stuff!

If you read my blog, you might be aware of the #GermanWithOlli twitter feature I’m running three times a week. This is part of it.

You can check out the previous tweets if you want to!

As you see, German has some awesome words, and we’re really good at naming stuff.

And we’re in love with the word for stuff. The German word for that is Zeug. We love that word so much we use it in compound words all the time. Some really official, some a little colloquial, but they’re all legit.

Here’s a few examples:

vehicle = Fahrzeug = drive-stuff
airplane = Flugzeug = fly-stuff
ship = Schiff. Wait, that doesn’t belong here.

But there’s more: our word for toy is Spielzeug. Yup, play-stuff.
The less official ones might be Waschzeug = wash-stuff. Or toiletries. Like the kit that you take with you on vacation, camping or an overnight stay.
Bettzeug = bed-stuff = bedding. Linens, pillowcase, etc.

Schreibzeug = writing-stuff. If we tell you to get your Schreibzeug, we are talking about pen and paper to take notes.

That’s it for today, I hope you enjoy #GermanWithOlli

I hate selling stuff.

Considering my line of work that might be a bit weird. Well, it’s not the sale as such that annoys me, but I don’t find a  lot of fun in negotiating, dickering, haggling. That part annoys me.
I’m the “give me a fair price and I’ll buy/sell and be done with it” type.

The good news is: working in b2b sales for about ten years has paid off a little. I don’t react like a deer in the headlines anymore when people try to push the price in either direction.

Still, I despise having to go through the process of selling anything in my free time. The stories my sister told of selling off some excess stuff before moving to Kuala Lumpur in August confirm that, and right now I have a new adventure in selling stuff on ebay and the likes. Not exactly like this one, but still.

I’ve come by a smart watch for Android phones recently. Won it in a sales promo directly from the manufacturer, sealed, original packaging, never used or even opened. Practically fresh from the factory.

So I put it up for sale. Description lists a few features and confirmed that it’s the real deal, unopened and all. I put up pictures of the unbroken seal on the box, too.

Asking price was about 5% below the cheapest legit retail price on amazon at the time.

First offer: “Would you be willing to swap for a <type of android tablet>?”
My reply: “Sorry, not interested in that sort of stuff.”
Then I did a quick research and was thoroughly annoyed when I find out the price of the tablet is about half that of the watch.

Second offer was “swap for a smart watch of a different brand”. I didn’t even look it up before I declined. I’m not much of a wrist watch person anyway and I don’t really need or want one with additional features that requires daily recharging.

I didn’t even reply to the third offer, which was almost 40% below my asking price. Or the one who offered 30% off but is in a different country.

One decent offer – price wise – arrived, but unfortunately he didn’t want it shipped, lives about an hour away and I’m not really scheduled to be near his place in the next few weeks. Or months, for all I know.

The following dialogue annoyed me a little, but I’d also had a few beers *cough*.

Them: “Hello, I’m interested in the watch, how about [15% off asking price] including shipping.”
Me: “No, sorry.”
Them: “What did you have in mind?”
Me: “I negotiate enough in my day job. I didn’t put up an asking price in a classified ad just to sell it for 15% less including shipping”

Yes, I was pissed. Another one amused and annoyed me equally, and I’ll probably sell to that guy in a few days.

“Hey, is the watch still available?”
“Yup, still here. :)”
“Well, it’s mine if it’s still there on May 1st!”
“Okay, I’ll let you know if I sell it before then, can’t make promises.”
“Of course. We’ll have to talk about the price first. I can get a new one for 5% more on amazon.”
“Correct. Or you could have a new one from me for 5% less than amazon.”

 

Pro tip 1: If you want to push the price down, don’t state your intention to buy in a way that could be read as “I’ll buy it. 100%. Unless you give it to someone else.”
Pro tip 2: Don’t use a negotiation point that goes both ways.

Let’s see what happens. I don’t depend on the money, but I’d rather give it to a friend for half the price or give it away for christmas than sell to someone who is almost impertinent. I’m willing to sell for less than I asked (grudgingly) but jeez, be nice or reasonable.

Home in your dreams

This one came to me when Sara Amundson tweeted a pre-flash-fiction-reading selfie of her at home, stating that was “where the Murdercorn wig lives”.

It, quite obviously, can be sung1 to the tune of Home on the Range

Oh, give me a home where the Murdercorn roam
And the gore and the entrails, they spray
Where often is heard a bloodcurdling word
And the children cry out in dismay.


Chorus:

Hunt, hunt in your dreams
Where the gore and the entrails, they spray
Where often is heard a bloodcurdling word
And the children cry out in dismay.

The peace it was pressed from the place you get rest
It’s not likely it’ll ever return
To the dreams in your slumber where monsters now lumber
And everything to nightmares they turn.

Chorus
But don’t be afraid, someone comes to your aid
To put an end to the monsters you dream
They hunt the jabberwock all around the clock
To make sure the human race is safe.

Chorus

My brain works in mysterious ways.

What is that all about?

Well, Sara Amundson, the original Murdercorn and mother of monsters ((whom you should totally follow on twitter)) is working on publishing her Urban Fantasy trilogy Dreamer.
It’s all about monsters coming alive from nightmares. Some of those exist as flash fiction2 and some even as video readings.

You know the mother of dragons:

 

where are my dragons

But do you know the mother of monsters?

where are my monsters

Footnotes
  1. more or less []
  2. and you can totally request your own. I got one! []

No school today!

Because it has been an awful week1 I’m giving you a day off from Olli’s Saturday School.

Instead I’m providing you with this entertaining twitter conversation that probably tells you more about me than I care to admit.

Antje, Kiera: I love you guys!

 

Footnotes
  1. and because I’m too lazy to think of a lesson right now []

Let it flow!

So I tried to pump out some parody lyrics for today’s blog. First I wanted to turn “Baby got Back” into something brass related. I like big brass and I cannot lie. But I don’t even like the song.

So I decided to fall on my backup plan. Turn “Let it go” into a pee-song.1

Halfway through I realized I wouldn’t even have to change that much and stopped. So have this bit and a few gifs.

The lake glows blue in the valley right,
Not a toilet to be seen.
No room of isolation,
and it looks like I’ll be seen
The flood is pressing like this qushing spring inside
Couldn’t hold it in;
Heaven knows I’ve tried

Don’t let them in,
don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel,
don’t let them know
Well now they know

Let it flow, let it flow
Can’t hold it back anymore

Let it flow, let it flow
Go right in and slam the door
I don’t care
what they’re going to say
Let the flood stream out
The wet never bothered me anyway

See?

Footnotes

  1. Yes, I’m immature. []

EFF YOU! – Check who you send your mails to.

The following happened at work a couple of days ago. The whole mail exchange was German, of course, translated for your convenience.

Names changed.

Email from Ray Etherhall, purchase department, around 1500 hours to sales dept: Please make sure to check all important orders in time, I’ll leave at 1640 today.

Tim Shaker, sales, replies to him and several others in sales: Elvis has left the building, huh?

Ray, replying in a local dialect: Thou basterd!

Tim: That’s bastard. With an a.

More coworkers join in the playful email banter, prodding Ray…

Ray sends a mail to all of them, in 72 point font, bold:

EFF YOU!

He literally wrote EFF YOU!

Everybody in the sales office starts laughing. Everyone but Tim.

 

He hadn’t gotten the mail. Ray had manually typed the adresses, but autocomplete hat made TS into Tom Sure. Tom Sure is one of our three CEOs.

So Tim went into Ray’s office, just to catch him typing frantically, apologetically1 and very very pale.

No worries, though. Everyone involved kept their jobs, no hard feelings. Not even from Ray who was actually kidding with the mail. Nothing unusual, really.

Just remember to proofread your emails. Even the to- cc- and bcc- entries. Be always sure who you’re telling to go fuck themselves, even if you abbreviate it.

 

Footnotes
  1. something about the horrible derailing of stupid banter []

Olli’s Saturday School – The Wayne Train

We all have been in that situation, when some obnoxious person you can’t really tell to sod off is talking to you. They’re talking about things you just don’t care about. You’re not interested.

Good news: We have a couple of phrases in Germany that exist solely for that purpose.

Say Hier ist ein Groschen while handing someone a small coin.1

This translates to: Here’s a dime.

Wofür? – Why? What for?

Für die Parkuhr! – For the parking meter!

Hä? – Huh?

Für einen Groschen hört die dir eine halbe Stunde zu. – For a dime it will listen to you for half an hour.2.

In short, you’ve told that person to go away and tell their “interesting” story to the parking meter because nobody else cares. Feel free to adapt, change coinage, shorten or whatever.

Another way of stating your obvious disinterest is the following.

Kennste Wayne? Wayne interessierts!

The translation Ya know Wayne? Wayne cares! only makes sense if you know that Wayne sounds like the German word Wen, a form of who. Wayne interessierts = Wen interessierts? = Who cares?

This led to the following fun phrase, blending German, English and puns together.

Tschuu tschuu!
Hier kommt der Wayne-Train zum Mount Whateverest. Nächster halt: Miregalistan.

Choo choo!
Here comes the wayne-train to Mount Whateverest. Next stop: Idontcaristan.

Or maybe ask them: Wo ist der Bus? – Where’s the bus?

Welcher Bus? – http://www.ollicrusoe.net/?p=749

Der Bus voller Leute, die es interessiert. The bus full of people who care.

What? You don’t care? Fine, I’ll go tell it to the parking meter.

Footnotes
  1. Groschen was the German equivalent of a dime, back when we still had the Deutsche Mark as currency. []
  2. of course this isn’t true anymore []

Olli’s Saturday School – The fifth season

Somehow Germans ended up with a reputation of being humorless. Part of that might be, because we put aside a certain time of the year to be funny.

While neither is true, I’m not here to debunk both myths, I’m just trying to shed a light on what we sometimes call Die fünfte Jahreszeit – the fifht season

Karneval
Fastnacht (Fassenacht, Fasching, etc)

Both words seem to derive from lent starting right after it. Karneval is often attributed to the latin words for meat and farewell, while Fastnacht can almost literally be translated to lent-eve. Or, if you want to pun: Almost night.

It is celebrated in most catholic reagions of Germany, namely the Rhineland. The most well-known and widely spread variation is the Rheinische Fassenacht (Rhenanian Carnival) with the biggest celebrations in Cologne and Mayence.

The season traditionally starts on November 11th at 11:11, or am Elften Elften um Elf Uhr Elf. The eleventh eleventh at eleven past eleven. The number 11 is considered a wacky number in Germany, the first Schnapszahl1 and plays a big role in Karneval. It also has sort of history roots especially for the rhenanian Carnival, related to the French Revolution. Elf. E-L-F. Ègalite, Liberté, Fraternité.

The first parties and celebrations start then but are suspended during Advent and Christmas until February and the Carnival week starting with the main events on Weiberdonnerstag (Wench Thursday) going through Rosenmontag (Rose Monday)  and Fastnachtsdienstag. (Carnival Tuesday).

During that time the Elferrat reigns. This committee of eleven with a president at the top and in most places the Prinzenpaar (the prince couple) are the rulers of the carnival activities and will often judge comedic performances at the carnevalistic sessions. Their costumes and those of their gards and pages are often a mock-up of late medieval and Napoleonic or Prussian uniforms and clothing, closely related to the tradition of making fun of the government during the season.

Each village and city in the region has their own Elferrat, their rulers and Prinzengarde or Funkengarde and of course the Funkenmariechen (Sparkling guard and Sparkling Mary) trailing them and dancing during the celebrations.

This is what they look like performing a mix of dancing and acrobatics at a carnival session:

Depending on where you are the uniforms look pretty much similar, but the color scheme can vary. Red is traditional in my home area.

 

In addition to their costumes pretty much every village, town and city has their own carnevalistic battlecry and using the wrong one, especially in rival cities is a very serious faux-pas.

The most well-known and wide-spread are Helau! and Alaaf! but the list is pretty much endless. Just look at these examples.
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrenruf#Deutschlandweit

Now in the primetime of carnival people tend to go wild. During celebrations a lot of people take time off, businesses in the active areas often just close shop and people exhibit a What happens in Vegas attitude. If you join the activities try to retain some common sense though. Don’t go assuming anything when you get a Bützchen (a kiss) from a total stranger at a Fastnachtsparty in Cologne.

A big part of the tradition are the Kappensitzungen, sessions named after the Narrenkappe (the fools hat) worn by the Elferrat and Karnevalsprinz (see picture above). Sometimes they can also have other names, often mock-militaristics due to the Napoleon/Prussia-merrymaking.
Those sessions are basically big comedy shows with music (we have our own genre for that thing), acrobatics and comedy. A bit like a themed circus. A lot of brilliant political cabaret was born in carneval.

A big carnevalistic comedy tradition is the Büttenrede (tub-speech).

Someone enters the tub (a decorated speakers pult) and delivers a comedic, mock-poetic speech with bad rhyming, usually bitterly sarcastic and centered around current events and politics. The punchlines are usually marked by the traditional Karnevalstusch.

But there’s more.

There’s Weiberdonnerstag when women storm the city hall, cut off men’s ties and generally go apeshit. Just like men during that time.

The climax of the whole season is the Rosenmontagszugm the Rose Monday Parade (usually neighboring cities, town and villages time it so some are actually on Saturday, Sunday or Tuesday, so groups and spectators can go to more than one).

Orchestras, clubs, carneval associations form up a parade and throw candy (Kamelle!) , hand out oranges and snacks, fling confetty and paper streamers. Well, not the orchestras, those play music. And the dancing groups dance. But you get the pictures. Mind you, this is not an official holiday. But in most places where it’s celebrated, business just close down for the day or a couple of hours, because nothing would get done anyway.

How big is this? The largest one in Cologne has been around since 1823. The parade is more than 4 miles long. Yes, 4 miles of parade floats, groups and orchestras one after another. They hand out about 300 tons of candy, snacks, flowers and little presents. About 12.000 individuals are involved in organizing it, there’s about a million spectators. In 2014 there were 82 orchestras, four of them riding on horses. In 2014 the parade was longer than the path it took, so the first group was already done when the last one hadn’t even started.

Here’s an example for a parade float (and it’s actually a pretty small and cruddy one, compared to what you occasionally see) critizising a German Cardinal opposing abortion.

You get all kinds of stuff on the big ones. Polititians, church figures, TV scandals, literally NOTHING is safe from satire on a Rosenmontagszug.

And now, to wrap things up, I give you THE traditionall carnevalistic music, the Narrhallamarsch. The March of the Fools Hall, which is played by orchestras on the parades, wherever the Prince is due to appear or when a new performers enters or exits the stage on one of the sessions.

Footnotes
  1. booze number, a number considering of all the same digits []