Thursday, December 26, 2002

The Beck Christmas Tree 2002 (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)Christmas with Jolle
On Monday I went to Rostock to pick up my grandparents for the Christmas celebrations on Tuesday. Wednesday we went to my uncle for tea and to make some house music (not this type -but the type where several members of my family try to generate sounds with their instruments, quite successfully by the way). Today I was visiting a friend and played badminton.

Moreover I played some rounds of ice-hockey with my cousins on a frozen lake during the last days and read the wonderful book of Patrick Süßkind: Das Parfum (The Perfume) which I will probably finish tomorrow.

Oh yeah, tomorrow, I have to pack and buy some groceries for my skiing trip. We start half past 11 here and meet Kai at his home in Hamburg where we'll go to Austria in his car. If everything works as planned we'll be there around 9 am and ready to ski. By travelling at nigth we'll avoid the usual traffic jams on Saturday, the day when all ski tourists start or end their vacation.

And also answer the usual question these times: I got some money for skiing, a nice LED flashlight, an electric foot bath (don't laugh, it was my wish) and some other things. Enough presents for one Christmas.

Friday, December 20, 2002

I HATE shopping
Tuesday I worked the last time this year, Wednesday we finished the barbecue-season on Kai's terrace, and Thursday was the day to go home. I took the train 'cause hitchhiking with a big backpack and a violoncello wouldn't be so easy. Anyway, the train ticket was quite cheap, thanks to the nice train clerk, who cannot even calculate with his computer. I paid 37 € including the added fee for the fast train type ICE. Moreover I was so lucky to find a TV seat which made the 8 hour trip even more comfortable.

Why did I leave yesterday? 'Cause today is the last day all the offices are opened in this promised land of customer service. And I urgently need a new ID card and a drivers licence as well. I needed just 2 hours for all the procedures. Not that much, if you take into account, that 2 different offices with more than 40 km distance had to be visited.

During lunchtime I helped my father with his christmas mailings for his clients. Later I tried - yes tried - to shop a bid for the remaining presents. But all I found was not so satisfying, or far too expensive. I hate shopping, so I finished the city trip with a visit at the hairdresser.

Monday, December 16, 2002

Weekend Report
Thanks to Kai I who gave me his old but comfortable Audi 100 I startet on Friday afternoon to meet Steffi in Waldshut near the Swiss border. But because of the bad weather I was behind the schedule and we adapted our plan and met in Schaffhausen, where the famous Rhein falls are to be seen. Around 8 the only thing between me and Steffi was the Swiss border. Maybe I should have been a bit nervous, 'cause I had no drivers license and no car registration documents with me (I can't find my license and Kai can't find his car documents - what a team we are).Zurich by night (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck) But you'll never been asked for that at the customs, truly believed. But today of all the days, the friendly Swiss customs official wanted to see my passport and my drivers license. I instantly said that I forgot the latter one which knocked him out for some seconds. But then he recovered and told me to park the car and wait. So I did. He made various phonecalls and I was just praying not to be returned, 'cause it would take me more than one hour to drive around this piece of Switzerland to Eberfingen where Steffi lives. Not to forget, that Steffi was still waiting at the Schaffhausen train station. But after some minutes the official came back, still not really sure what to do with me. I guess he confirmed with the German authorities that I at least possess a drivers license. Moreover I think he didn't want to send me back, but still it wasn't everything in an correct order, so he started small talk. Where I want to go, where I come from, what I will do in Switzerland and so on. I answered and finally he seemed to have a solution. It was a full scale inspection of the car. He asked me kindly if I would allow him to search in the car. What irony, as if I had a chance to resist.

Around 10 minutes later he seemed to be satisfied and gave me back my passport, not even advising me not to forget my papers next time. I drove off quickly, but not fast, as the speeding fines in Switzerland are heavier than you might imagine. Steffi was still waiting and we went to the so famous Rhein falls. Actually the Rhein falls were a "Reinfall" (learn German to understand the joke!!!), 'cause the fog destroyed any chance of seeing something. On the other hand it is quite impressive to listen to the daunting sound of flowing water. Maybe it was good that way and the falls look better in my imagination than a real picture can be.

No need to think about it further, Steffi and me drove home back to Germany, this time using an unofficial border crossing not to get checked again today. Saturday morning she gave brunch for some friends to celebrate her birthday. In the evening w went to Zurich in Switzerland to meet my cousin Lothar and visit the town. The christmas market was a desaster, some tiny huts stacked in a concourse, not very romantic. Anyway, the old town with its narrow alleys and multicultural flair has something. We went up to the university to get an aerial view over the town and the lake. Later in the evening we went back home. We crossed the border for 4 times for this small trip and they just one tome they wanted to see my passport. Things are normal again.

On Sunday I started early, half past six. It was raining and the temperature was around zero, but I made it to the Arlberg in Austria in less then two and a half hours, 'cause I could use the alarmingly empty autobahn. I met Geli and her friends at the parking ot of the ski-lift. They had just arrived some minutes ago, what a timing. I really enjoyed skiing for the time this season, I missed it. And now I'm looking eagerly forward to our skiing trip around New Years Day.

A small annotation to the picture. It's a building in Zurich decorated for Christmas. Not that nice, if you ask me, but it remembered me of the Korean style of overdecorating things.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Photos from Nuremberg and the Xmas prom
The weekend in Nuremberg was joyful. We visited an old prison in the centre of the old town, then the castle and the xmas market. Later we played some games at Marc's home. On Sunday morning Marc and me went to the Albrecht Dürer museum, later we had a delicious lunch cookedby Marc's father, and afternoon tea at Feli's home "in the mountains".

Go to my Pixum site to view the albums or click on the selected pics at the former entries. If anybody has some more digital photos of the prom, please give me the link by adding a comment.

Friday, December 6, 2002

I'll visit Nuremberg this weekend with Marc and Felicitas, who will show me around a bit in their hometown. I'm especially looking forward to the Christmas market "Christkindlmarkt" in the centre of the old town. I've been there already last year. Have a nice weekend, too.

Update: Click on the pics below to see all photos from Nuremberg.

Nuremberg visit (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)Nuremberg visit (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)
Nuremberg visit (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)Nuremberg visit (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)

Sunday, December 1, 2002

X-mas prom
Saturday evening was this years christmas prom of the university. The first time really big and glamorous. Normally not the kind of event I like, but this time it brought some fun.

I made just a few pics, but there have been lots of photographers, so I'll give some links later when they appear somewhere.

Monday evening will be the next time we'll go ice-skating. We'll be at the ice rink between 7:30 and 10 pm. Just join us.

Update: Click on the pictures to see all photos I made.
2002 Xmas prom (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)2002 Xmas prom (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)2002 Xmas prom (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

New Website
I made a new website for a friend today. Very low tech, but enough for the project. Visit it here. The Nicaragua site is the new one, the old Istanbul site I made some month ago.

Now it's time to go home.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Red Dragon
Saturday I was cooking with Georg in his flat. Actually he was cooking and I just ate it, but anyway, it was delicious. Later we watched some of his pics from Singapore and went to the movies. He wanted to see the Red Dragon, the first chapter of the Hannibal Lecter trilogy.

I almost couldn't resist sleep at the beginning, but later the movie was really terrifying enough to keep me awake. Especially Antony Hopkins plays wonderful.

If you enter the Official Red Dragon Homepage you'll not be able to come around some short messages saying: "Rated for violence, grisly images, language, some nudity and sexuality". This pertty much sounds like a horror movie, but there were just two or three scenes to test your nerves. I'm really not a fan of horror movies, but I liked this one.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Quote of the day
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art...
It has no survival value: rather it is one of those that give value to survival.
(C. S. Lewis)

Thursday, November 21, 2002

New Photos
I uploaded the new photos from Monday's birthday. Go to Pixum.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Young Jolle and Mom (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)The family united, for the first time in years
On Monday all our family gathered for my grandpa's 80s birthday in a wine restaurant ("Weinhaus Wöhler") in Schwerin. It was the first time in years that we've been all together, Grandpa, Grandma, their two children and 8 grandchildren.

What else did I do on the weekend? Not much. I listened a lot to my CDs and LPs which I left at home together with my nice Sony stereo and subwoofer. I love to turn the volume up, but I can't use it in my dormitory here, so I left it all home.

Young Jolle (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)On Sunday I took some digital photos from old photo albums (like these two with Jolle at the age of 4 months). I wanted to have some selected pics on my computer, but scanning takes too much time, so I just used my digital camera, even the quality is not that great.

I went back to Ingolstadt today morning around 7:30. Daddy had a vocational training in Kassel which is half way down to Bavaria on the western route, so I joined him, driving his Audi with top speed. He dropped me on a service area of the motorway near Kassel, where I continued hitchhiking with 3 different cars. The last one, an older couple from Munich's high society, were especially nice and drove me all the way home. So here I am.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

At home for the weekend
I went home for the weekend, cause my grandpa turns 80 on Monday. I started hitchhiking on Friday afternoon and came home around 11:30 with a trucker. I needed to change the car for 4 times which seems to be the average for this 700 km trip.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

By the way, do you know Googlism?. It's an engine that finds descriptions on the web for names, places or any other words. And, 'cause you wouldn't expect it from the name, it uses Google for its search. :)

The result is quite funny in most cases. For Jolle it finds the following:

jolle is the last house on the left
jolle is leaving today so the last days it will only be magnus
jolle is a con artist with the face of an angel
jolle is almost finished with her residency and is making more enemies than friends
jolle is my self chosen name
jolle is ranked 15 and has played for 1h50m in 14 days real name
jolle is dan weer een klassieker die nieuw gebouwd wordt door hd yachtbau uit hüde
jolle is op een symposium in rotterdam vandaag
jolle is toteutti järjestelmät federal express
jolle is te koop
jolle is an actor
jolle is ranked 114 and has played for 49m in 14 days real name
jolle is an 8 th grade social studies teacher at taylor road
jolle is quite large
jolle is ranked 137 and has played for 2h16m in 14 days real name
jolle is the nestle executive in charge of the championships
Ice Skating
I'm going skating today for the second time this season. On Friday or Sunday I'll go home for some days to celebrate my grandpa's 80's birthday. Wow, I wanna get that old, too.

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Upload finished
The pictures from the weekend in Freiberg are ready now. Find them here. CU, Jolle!

Monday, November 4, 2002

I'm back
The Heiko ashtrayIt was nice to be back in Freiberg again. We arrived Friday afternoon and went swimming in the brandnew swimming centre with Karl and some of his friends. We also had our first beer there.

In the evening was the big party where we met old college fellows, drank a lot and did some other things people do at parties until 7 or 8, when I fell asleep in the back seat of the car. Georg and Tim had already occupied the front seats some hours ago.

As soon as we woke up we organized a breakfast in the famous Café Hartmann. Then we started drinking again and spent the time until the evening giggling over stories of the past and present in Evi's and Kaetho's flat with Georg, Tim, Marc, Kaetho, Evi and Heiko. Dinner was taken late in the Kartoffelhaus, a nice potatoe restaurant in Freiberg. After that we went home for sleep, being quite exhausted and tired. Except Marc. He wanted another beer and woke up in the morning under the bed table with a kitchen towel as a blanket.

The photos are coming later, I'll give notice at the Freiberg board. Thanx again to the P7-crew for the cool party. The decoration was exceptional, just see this wonderful ashtray on the pic. And also thanx to Evi and Kaetho for the place to sleep, even we preferred the car on Friday.

Friday, November 1, 2002

Freiberg 2002 - the second
I'm off to Freiberg in some minutes. I'll drive with Georg in a rented Renault Clio back to where we both studied some years ago, meeting old friends and so on.
It'll be a lot of fun. See the pics from the last time in Spring this year.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

The storm is over
The worst of the storm is over. It has been a heavy one, taking more than ten people to heaven, in Germany only. I could see trees aching, umbrellas dissolving into parts, car drivers trying to dodge swirling garbage etc.. I had a lot of fun skating the downwind, reaching easily a frightening speed. Finally, autumn has come.

Madame Butterfly
Yesterday evening I've visited the opera, Madama Butterfly from Puchini was scheduled. I've never been a fan of operas. Why should I watch people running from on eside of the stage to the other, singing Italien which I wouldn't even understand if I yould speak the language? Hell, I don't know. Anyway, I decided to take another attempt towards operas on Monday. And I must conlcude: I still don't like it. The music was fine and the Polish actors all right. But still it doesn't entertain much in my opinion. I'd better watch a Shakespeare play or something. There's more action and you don't have to read the plot before going there. - Over and out!

Sunday, October 27, 2002

American pride
I did know that Americans are pride of their country. But must they do EVERYTHING with pride? Even packing a package? See the photo, I had a big laugh when I received it. Anyway, I really like the adress of this guy: Whirlpool Street in Niagara Falls, what a name.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Travel dreams
Today is the big student party of this semester, so I'll leave soon. But that's not what I wanted to tell.

I finished a book from a 60-year-old German traveler who went through South America on his bike. It's a book I got from Steffi and it's amazing what he experienced on his way from Buenos Aires to the Cerro Rico in Bolivia. First he went a long the Rio Uruguay, then making a short side trip to the Iguacú waterfalls. But the really interesting part of the journey was the way through the Gran Chaco in Paraguay, a countryside so hard to live in and with so much German history in it. He didn't succeed coming through til Bolivia because of the worst floods in a long time there, so he had to cycle back most of the way to Asuncion and take a flight to Tarija. From there he mostly pushed his over 50 kg heavy bike over 4000 m Anden-passes to the rich silver mountain near Potosi. This mountain is one of the UNESCO's cultural heritages. The Spanish conquerers took thousands of tons of pure silver from the mountain, letting the Indios work for them. An estimated 8 million Indios died here from bad working conditions. "Potosi is the city which gave most to the world but owns the least." (Eduardo Galeano). The working conditions aren't much better today, but there's almost no more silver to be found.

There is a moving description about an expedition into the mountain with a miner in the book. It's worth reading. I don't know if it's available in English, too. The German title is "Vom Silberfluss zum Silberberg" from Christian E. Hannig.

I also finished a book called "Die Franzosen pauschal" which is not that good. It pretty much handles the usual predjudices which is sometimes funny but mostly studpid. By the way, it's the translation of a book called "The Xenophobe's Guide to the French" from Nick Yapp and Michel Syrett.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

"The loss is entirely ours" (or: The story about Australia)
I recently finished Bill Bryson's book "Down under" about his travels through Australia. It's not common travel literature but gives insight into unknown stories about this huge continent. The most puzzling experience was that we really don't know anything about this place.

Culture: Australians are the biggest gamblers on the planet. The country has less than 1 per cent of the world's population but more than 20 per cent of its slot machines. Theyspent over 2000 Australian Dollars per head a year for various games of chance (page 34)

Australia's imported animals: Did you know that out of Thomas Austin's 24 imported rabbits in 1859 had become millions which almost entirely overrun Autralian territory, changing the green landscape characterized by lush groves and emu bush into deserts? In the 1960 they tried to kill them all with a special virus which showed to be succesfull in 99.9 per cent of the cases. It took a while for things to get rolling, but the surviving one rabbit in a thousand was enough to bring Australias rabbit numbers back to over 300 million today, climbing fast. The damage to the landscape, much of it irreversible, goes on (page 152).
But rabbits aren't the only imported animals. For examples camels were imported for use of the building of the railway between Adelaide and Alice Springs. "Today 100,000 of them roam the central and western deserts. [...] There are so many introduced species, in fact, that the red kangaroo, once the largest animal on the continent, is now only the thirteenth biggest" (page 185).

Australia's gigantism: "So unyielding is the land that ranches have to be vast to support a single operation; the largest of them, at a place called Anna Creek, is bigger than Belgium" (page 323). Or take the "School of the Air" in Alice Springs. "It has a catchment area of 468,000 square miles - that is an area roughly twice the size of France - the Alice Springs school has just 140 pupils spread between kindergarten and the early teens. (pages 347-348).

Unknown secrets: Australia is not just vast in size, but also rich in natural wonders which haven't even been discovered. Take this example: In 1989 in Sydney, "scientists found an entirely new species of tree called Allocasuarina portensis. People had been living around these trees for 200 years, but because they weren't numerous - just ten haven been found - no one had noticed them before" (page 360). If you even find such wonders within the biggest cities, what about the remote territories? There are thousands of such stories. Another funny one is about Gerard Krefft who caught two very rare pig-footed bandicoots on an expedition in the nineteenth century. On the way back home he grew so hungry that he ate them, destroying, as far as anyone can tell, the last of the species (page 341).

Bryson travelled most of the country. He comes up with a very pointing wordplay: "What a preposterously outsized country this was. But that is of course the thing about Australia - that there is such a lot to find in it, but such a lot of it to find it in" (page 393). His conclusion about the country: "Australia is mostly empty and a long way away. Its population is small and its role in the world consequently peripheral. It doesn't have coups, recklessly overfish, arm disagreeable despots, grow coca in provocative quantities or throw its weight around in a brash and unseemly manner. It is stable and peaceful and good. It doesn't need watching, and so we don't. But I will tell you this: the loss is entirely ours" (page 394).

Well, I agree and I am happy to have chosen this book. It's a part of the world we should at least know something about. And I'm sure, one day I'll travel there to see it on my own. The pages refer to the UK paperback edition from 2001.

Bill Bryson: Down Under, 2000
Deutsche Ausgabe: "Frühstück mit Kängurus"

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Successful weekend
The touring car race at the 'Nordschleife' (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)It was a great racing weekend. After a night at my aunts house in Wiesbaden our team won its first touring car race on the famous "Nordschleife"-circuit at the Nuerburgring on Saturday with an edge of just two seconds. Saturday evening we drove our third Bonnfinanz Team Cup race this year which me and my race partner won. Moreover I got the most overall points from the 3 races in 2002 and became Team Cup Champion 2002. All in all, I had much more luck than expected this weekend. To see race reports and pics, visit the Bonnfinanz Motorsport Homepage.

I came home around 8 pm due to a stop in Göppingen near Stuttgart where I went out to a cafe with Geli. The trains were awfully crowded, I didn't even get a seat and had to sit on the ground. Anyway, it were some nice three days.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Out for the Weekend
I'll leave tomorrow morning to Wiesbaden to visit my aunt. On Saturday I'll go with a team mate to the Nuerburgring racetrack for the final showdown of this years Karting season. The last race of the Bonnfinanz Team Cup is held. I'll be back on Sunday evening, after a short break in Stuttgart to visit a former fellow student.
Photo Upload
I've been diligent uploading my photos at last. Ít took some time and effort, because I don't have no CD-writer, no broadband Internet and no working network card. So I transfered the pics with my camera via USB to Kai's computer, burned them on CD, and finally uploaded them in the compter lab at university. It could be all so easy...

Anyway, I created four new albums now. See the links below.

> Oktoberfest album: 98 photos from the Oktoberfest in Munich and the smaller version of it in Ingolstadt. Read the blog entry from Oct 5.

> 24-h-Geisenfeld album: 38 photos from the running event. See the report at Sept 17 or the official website for more infos and photos.

> Schweiz/Liechtenstein album: 81 photos from the weekend trip this summer. You can find the detailed travel report including a selection of the pics in the travel section of my website.

> Belgium album: 73 photos from a short trip to Brussels in Belgium with Kai.

See all my albums at That's it for the moment. Next time I'll be faster.

Saturday, October 5, 2002

Oktoberfest & Ingolstadt Volksfest
As already announced I went to Munich on Thursday with Kai, Andrea, Christoph, Frank, Silke and Andre. We had some food, much more fun and unequally more beer. The Oktoberfest is not a must see in my opinion, it's just big. And you'll hardly find a place with more drunken people. Anyway, the athmosphere in the beer tents was great, as well as the rides there.
Oktoberfest Ride (&copy 2002 by J. Beck)Ingolstadt Fair (&copy 2002 by J. Beck)

My cousin Lothar and me at the Ingolstadt Volksfest (&copy 2002 by J. Beck)Kai, Andrea and me missed the last train to Ingolstadt because Andrea's purse was stolen which took some time for arrangements afterwards. But fi you got some beer already, you can sleep anywhere, also on a train station. I came home Friday 7am.

My bed could count on me at least til the evening when my cousin Lothar (on the left pic with me) was scheduled for a visit. He's a joiner on his tramp southwards. So I had to shop some groceries and so on. In the later evening we met again in the beer tent of the local brewery Herrnbräu with Kai, Andrea, Steffi and her brother and cousin (see the pic on the right). Steffi was leaving today, so it was kind of a farewell party in a bavarian style. Family Eisele on tour (&copy 2002 by J. Beck)

After 2 days of beer and party we had a somewhat alternative Saturday. Getting up late, playing beach volleyball at the Baggersee with Kai and watching TV in the evening. Tomorrow it's definitely time to go on work again.

Photos: I'll upload the photos of the Oktoberfest and lots of others soon, gove me some more time. I'll post the links here. Good night!

Thursday, October 3, 2002

Auf geht's, gsuffa wird...
Today afternoon I'll leave to Munich, the Octoberfest will be visited with some friends. It'll be hard to find some seats in the beer tents, as tomorrow is also the reunion day, Germany's holiday number one.

Wednesday, October 2, 2002

Bladelight® - a revolution for skaters
Yesterday I got my Bladelights® by mail. I had ordered them almost 2 months ago, way too long to wait for such a cool gagdet. A student invented that innovative light system for Inline-Skates last year. They still don't produce in big scale, and they are quite expensive. That may be why I've never seen anybody skating with them.
Bladelight® (picture © 2002 Johannes Beck)

Anyway, I am convinced of the system. You have 2 blue LEDs in the front and one blinking red LED on the rear of each skate. They are surprisingly bright and so you're not just perfectly seen by others but you can also see where you're skating on. It's a phantastic feeling, and the people look like they have seen a spaceship. I went for a two-hour ride last night, it's just fun. See the pics. I should get a camera with a longer exposure time, I think you could make photos with nice lightworm effects.
Bladelight® (picture © 2002 Johannes Beck)Bladelight® (picture © 2002 Johannes Beck)

You wanna have such a light system, too? Order them at or see my I ordered two sets, so I am selling one.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

Weekend Fun
I played miniature golf for the second time in my life today. Ingolstadt Fair (&copy 2002 by J. Beck)Even Steffi and me haven't both been champions, but it was fun anyway. I needed 57 shots for the 18-hole golf course.

In the late afternoon we went to the Ingolstadt fair which is roughly the same as the Oktoberfest in Munich, just a lot smaller. It's party time in South Germany right now, there are fairs in a lot of places. The Oktoberfest is the biggest and most famous but not the only one here. Two years ago I missed the chance to go to Munich, the next year I've been in Korea. So I guess this year will probably be the last time living that close to the bigest fairy on earth. And I may use it. I MAY, I'm not sure right now. Actuallly, I don't really think it's that good as people tell. The one here in Ingolstadt has the same fun rides, the same luncheonettes, the same beer tents etc.. The only difference is the smaller size and price here.

I played a game called camel derby with Steffi, and won. I chose a coupon so that I can return next week and win two more games to get something nice. Well, I've to finish now, Julia, Kai and Christoph are coming to watch some DVDs...and drink...and...whatever.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Bush's authority
The German-American relationship isn't at its best at the moment. Schröder shouldn't have talked too much during the election campaign. Even I agree that we shouldn't follow the US into war, the total exclusion of this thread was not very clever and helped Saddam in a way. Additionally, our ex-ministre of justice should have also been a bit more diplomatically and honest. But things can't be changed now. The damage is done.

Actually I don't feel that pessimistic about is as the press does. There is no strong anti-Americanism in Germany. We like the American country and its "cultural" exports like McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Hollywood movies etc. We also like the US as a travel destination or work place. - It's not Anti-Americanism, it's of an Anti-Bushism. The new ultra-conservative government with its "you're my friend or you're my enemy"-attitude is not our style. Friends can have different opinions and even we owe a lot to the US, that does not mean we have to follow their orders.

I remember the days when I was praying for the Democrats to win the election. Well, Al Gore got the most votes but Bush the better lawyers. I have been in Korea at that time and could see firsthand how Bush destroyed the new and succesful sunshine policy of (the South Korean) president Kim Dae-Jung by putting North Korea on his "axis-of-evil"-list. Contacts between the two countries flew in pieces immediately. If anybody isn't able to act diplomatically on sensitive issues, than it is Bush. His conception of a relationship is quite one-sided. It's a misconception, in my opinion.

Moreover Germany's chancelor isn't the only one critizising Bush's Iraq-policy, even he may be the most prominent one. But Chirac in France, the opposition in the UK, the former US vice-president Gore and, not to forget, almost all nations in the middle East, strongly oppose a war without an approval from the UN. Not even his own dog seems to follow his instructions as can be seen on the pic (see the German comment to the pic at :)
Not everyone is following Bush (&copy 2002 Associated Press AP)

If you're on the topic, see also the editorial "The German Problem" from William Safire in the New York Times (free registration required). A good article about the irregularities of the 2000 US president election can be found at "More evidence Bush stole the election" by Bill Press. By the way, the inquiries on that election stopped at September 11 last year when the illegitimate president "united" the country.
The Korean way of auctioning
Koreans like animations. It's the most effective way to get attention on the web. The problem is if there are too many of them on one site, the result may disappear and the site may get annoying.

I think that's why doesn't allow gif-files in the gallery listings. Everyone would compete in having the most eye-catching animated pic. On Korea's biggest auction site,, it is allowed. The result can be seen on the left which was a pic for a dvd-player auction. Not that bad in my opinion. Compare for yourself by following the two links to the respective dvd-categories of and Personally, I like the Korean style more.

By the way, is also an ebay company. When I was studying in Korea last March, the CEO of ebay, Meg Whitman, came to Seoul and held a presentation at Ewha Woman University (next to Sogang University which I attented). She spoke to us about the ebay marketing strategy and her expansion plans in Asia. As we could later read in the news, the purpose of the visit has not been giving lectures but purchasing Korea's biggest auction site,

Friday, September 20, 2002

I got a mail from Holland yesterday from another Jolle explaining two new meanings of the name to me. So I got three up to now. Anybody out there with another suggestion? Please write me!
What Jolle means (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)

Thursday, September 19, 2002

News on Korea
Here are my news sources I read from time to time to stay up-to-date on what's happening in Korea. The best on for an introduction is The Economist with its abundant country data and statistics. The CNN special about the reconciliation process is also worth seeing. They have also have the best search engine on daily news. The 2 Korean newspapers, the Herald and the Times, give you a very nice insight on what the Koreans are focused on at the moment. This is sometimes quite different from the selection of news that reaches Europe.

To explore the country with a more touristic attitude you'll better visit the Government homepage, the brilliant city homepages (e.g. Seoul, Busan) or the KNTO (Korea National Tourist Organisation).

  • The Korea Herald
    Big English language newspaper in Korea

  • The Korea Times
    The other big English newspaper in Korea

  • The Economist (Country Briefing South Korea)
    One of the best and most reliable information available; factsheets, economic data, forecasts, news, links; includes news from North Korea as well

  • CNN (Korea Special)
    CNN's Korea special about the reconciliation; also provides a link to a big source of daily news on Korea

  • Korean Government
    Features everything from daily news to tourist information

  • Korean Cities (Seoul | Busan)
    All big Koran cities can be reached by the internet site of the structure  ""

  • KNTO
    The Korea National Tourist Organisation homepage (8 languages)
Our cup
For the WFI-Team members. Unfortunately we just got one cup, so here's a digital version. A higher resolution version (1.4MB, 2000 x 3000 pixel) is also available. I can also make a pic with you and the cup together if you pass by. :)
Get a high resolution version (2000 x 3000 pixel, 1.4MB)

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

The Geisenfeld Experience
The 24-hour-run in Geisenfeld is over and my legs recovered already. Stefan cheering at the start / 24-h-run Geisenfeld (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)We started with 10 people, the smallest team in the field. Overall it have been 29 teams with 727 runners, an average team size of about 25 people. So our chances of finishing on the top were quite small.

Arnd, Caro and Philipp started the race on Friday from 5:30 to 8pm. From 8 to midnight Klaus, Kai, Stefan and Steffi were running. At that point we had a good feeling and we thought a top ten place is within reach. But, as we got to know later, at that point we’ve been already the third last. The others are so fast. They rotate every 2 laps and have a lot more woman, children and old people who get an extra point lap by lap.

At midnight I started running. I wanted to run a marathon distance for the first time and til 2 o’clock it went quite well. I had already 24 km. But then the hammer hit hard. I was freezing like hell. The temperature lowered to 6°C and I had opted for shorts and t-shirt, a wrong decision. Every lap I passed the hot showers and my motivation rapidly decreased, especially when I realized I wouldn’t make the 42 km in under four hours. At 3 am, Stefan and Kai, the 2 other scheduled runners for the night shift, came back to the track. Stefan took over and I took my towel and went to the hot showers on my scooter. My legs hurt, I couldn’t move much. I didn’t knew before how many muscles you have in your legs, but nowJolle sleeping Saturday morning / 24-h-run Geisenfeld (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck) I could feel every single one. A little later hot water rinsed down my body, but I was still shivering. I showered for about 20 minutes, eating chocolate and energy bars, before I went back to the track. Stefan had run for an hour followed by Kai. Klaus, the enthusiastic motor cyclist who works at Audi’s product definition department, was scheduled to come at 6 in the morning. This was the point with the least motivation in the race, because we were all tired, cold and urgently needed a pair of fresh legs. Cause I didn’t stretch my muscles after the last run, I had big problems even to walk right now. I needed half a lap to regain my ability to put one feet in front of the other without cursing this run loudly.

We rotated til quarter to seven when Klaus was coming back. Kai, Stefan and me didn’t sleep at all the night and we were all totally burned out. Not just that we all ran far too much this night. No, the outlook for the day was not that good. We had just 3 fit runners to come for sure today, Johannes, Philipp and Tim. But the race still lasts over 10 hours. That meant a lot more running for us. Kai couldn’t run anymore, and Stefan and me got a bit worried. Later, when Philipp and Johannes were running and the sun came out, I slept for a while on the bench, wrapped in a big blanket, dreaming about a hot tub, a massage and new legs. Because Philipp had to leave a little after 9am and Johannes around 11, we ordered (kindly asked) Steffi and Caro to come asap.

Klaus and Stefan bridged the time til the arrival of the two. A little later Tim was also coming and doing a phantastic 2 ½ hour run. So Stefan, Caro, Steffi and me had just an hour more to run til Arnd was coming. He helped us by taking over the last hour. Our doubts in the morning were proved wrong. We finished the 24 hours with just 10 people, running a total distance of 258.4 km (152 laps à 1.7km). Arnd and Tim after the run, with the cup in front / 24-h-run Geisenfeld (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)Everyone of us performed better than expected and most even better than they thought they can. Johannes ran 11.7 km, Caro and Steffi 13.6 km, Philip 18.7 km, Kai 20.4 km, Tim 22.1 km, Arnd 32.3 km, Klaus 34 km, Stefan 44.2 km and me 47.6 km.

After showering and eating noodles we had to wait too long until the results were presented. It seems that they calculated everything by hand. Had anybody told them of this miraculous software called Excel? The other teams were enjoying the time, but we, especially Stefan, Kai and me, were just tired and wanted to go home. Anyway, after some hours we cheared loud for our expected last place. We got a cup and an ice cream voucher. Moreover we haven’t been that bad as the result might say, because we were not the team with the fewest km. There was a team I just call „Fleischwürste“ who had 2 laps less. But because they had more woman in the team, they've got more points and finished second last leading with the small margin of just 13 points. The team with the most kilometres ran 207 laps, but also didn’t win. With just 2 women in the team we must have ran at least 204 laps to just reach the top ten. You can’t win this race without women, children or old people. A team with 27 woman ran just 3 laps more than us and finished ninth. I think this is the only place on earth were men are discriminated :)

But this race was not about winning. It was about finishing and experience your real abilities. Your body can do more than your mind thinks it can. Regarding that it was a nice event. I’ve made some photos which I’ll upload later. See the results at the Geisenfeld run homepage (click on "Teilnehmer").

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Edmund Stoiber's Bavarian legacy
There is a brilliant, unemotional article in The Economist's (7th Sept edition) Europe section about the German elections. It's relatively short but very informative. They look closer on Stoiber and analyze what he wants and what he might be able to do, looking at his his past achievements in Bavaria. They conclude that "Mr Stoiber might well be prepared to do more than he is at present willing to reveal. But there is nothing in his record to suggest that he would be any more of a radical reformer than Mr Schroder." You need to subscribe or pay-per-view to see the article or use a database like ProQuest. Maybe it'll be free to access by next week when the new print edition comes out. / 16.Sept: Now it's available.
Yippi yeh!
Got my result for the exam in an economics class. It's a medium one but I'm happy cause I thought I'd fail. Well, that would have been very unlucky, if I would have failed the last exam I wrote. The other result of the eCRM class is still not out, but I'm sure I've passed, so this must have been it. Just my thesis is still missing. Therefor I better go back to work!
Team Logo
Our team logo is finished and the t-shirts will be printed tomorrow. The weather report is absolutely brilliant for the weekend. We'll have fun!!!

Birthday Party
Tuesday evening I made a small grill session with a few friends at Kai's flat. That's all, just in case you wondered what I did on my 25th birthday. I don't regard birthdays as important days. Christmas is much more important as it has a special athmosphere. The year is almost over, the family gathers together, it's warm inside and cold outside...

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Beer for Cycling
Sunday morning was the day of final judgement. Some time ago I made bet with Kai that I can cycle the 25 km from Gerolfing (near Ingolstadt) to Eichstaett in less than 1 hour. To make it short: I won! I needed 46 min which is an average speed of over 31 km per hour. My benefit was a crate of beer, so i don't know if it was my own power or the reward that drove me that fast. Anyway, in the afternoon Kai, Astrid and me went water-skiing to relax a bit.

Saturday, September 7, 2002

WFI - White Feet Ingolstadt
Yesterday I registered our team for the 24-hour-run in Geisenfeld which is near Ingolstadt. Our team now has 10 members: Steffi, Caro, Kai, Christoph, Philip, Stefan, Arnd, Tim, Kaan and me. Moreover we'll get 2 others who are still looking for a team. That makes us 12 runners who have to run in average 2 hours.

We call ourselves the WFI - Weiße Füße (White Feet) Ingolstadt, cause most of us are coming from the Ingolstadt Business School which name is WFI. Not that funny? Maybe, but the other options have been "Inkognito" and "Shpedoinkle" and "Stumblestones Ingolstadt". So it can't be that bad either.

Friday, September 6, 2002

Fuck the German tv
Germany won against Spain and will play the semifinal agains Argentina on Saturday 8 pm German local time (GMT +1h). What a thing. But we won't see it live in tv, because the stateowned channel ARD who holds the broadcasting rights decided to show the match only after it is finished. Don't ask me why they bought the rights and payed tax payers money for it. Absolutely stupid. First they didn't even wanted to show any match of the world championships, even most of them were around midnight in German time and at this hour the tv program is normally a big pot of shit.

But then fans and some politicians protested and they decided to show at least the matches with German participation, presumably hoping that these won't be that many. But our team was much better than expected and now we're in the semifinals. Isn't that enough? Instead of showing us a world championship semifinal the first German tv channel will show a qualification soccer match for the European championships 2004. All right, it is also interesting, but there are 14 other state-owned tv channels in Germany, 10 regional and 4 nationwide ones. All of them could show the live match, but instead we're getting about six f...... music festivals, a report about old the German chancelors, stories from Ground Zero and lot of other boring shows I've never even heard of.

Well, I think this sucks, it really sucks. I don't know who is responsible for such a waste of taxpayers money. There is just one thing that makes up for this. It's that the Americans also won't see their semifinal match, cause they have been thrown out of tournament by the Yugoslavian team last night. Over and out!

Thursday, September 5, 2002

Two more records for my record
A sensational intermediate round ended today night at the Basketball World Championshis. Sport history has been written. Argentina defeated the US team which is been traded as the favorite for the title, almost unbelievable. But the second record is even better for me, Germany reached the quarter finals for the first time ever defeating Russia with a grandious 103 to 85. Tomorrow we'll be playing against Spain and if we win, a medal is so near, huahh!

Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Foreign minister in Ingolstadt
Today Joschka Fischer, our foreign minister and most important person in the Green party, visited Ingolstadt on his election campaign tour. I was expecting Joschka Fischer, German foreign minister (&copy by Laurence Chaperon) >>> Link to Chaperons Websitea truly polemic and demagogic speech, and I haven't been proved completely wrong. Badmouting the opponents and blandishing his own policies is the first lesson to learn for every politician. Avoiding factual arguments is the second.

Joschka did learn the lessons well. And he slagged the conservatives around Stoiber down for more than 15 minutes. But then, to my delight, he changed his style and summarized his major policies, telling his goals in reforming the tax system, in phasing out of nuclear energy, in reforming the agricultural sector and so on. Well, he didn't stop dealing side blows at times. But at least this wasn't the major part of his speech.

The audience here in Bavaria was quite enthusiastic. Just when he spoke of the need of integration and the Eastern enlargement of the EU nobody applauded. The market place stayed deadly silent. He tried to explain it more and more, shifting the focus not to economic but security gains, but that didn't help much. It seems that Bavarians care a shit about the EU. It even seems that they don't care a shit about Germany. They are Bavarians. Anyway, I was satisfied with what I saw. And for me Fischer is the most charismatic person in German politics at the moment.
September 11 photo
I found an Sept 11 photo of Manhattan on the NASA site, too. From the TV cameras the fire and smoke looked so huge, and the damage was definitely big. But if you see it in the perspective of the city, it looks like a small incident. Incredible. You can also have a high resolution picture (4.2 megapixel, 2.26 MB, JPEG).
Satellite view of Manhattan on Sept 11 (&copy 2001 by NASA - Visible Earth)

Tuesday, September 3, 2002

Visible Earth by NASA
I found a nice site today from the NASA. It's a database with satellite photos and animations from all around the world. You can browse or search by countries, by regions and many other categories. Chiese dust storm over Korean peninsula (&copy by NASA - Visible Earth)The quality of the photos is exellent. They always have a low and very high resolution versions.

You can find pictures of big fires anywhere in the world, and also recent shots from the floods in Germany. Overall they have more than 3700 pics. Koreans should be pleased to find more than enough evidence against China and Mongolia, from where giant dust clouds spread over the region from time to time. It's a big issue in Korea, as these clouds are believed to contain toxic particles from China's bustling industry. Experts approve the fact, but it is definitely not that toxic like some Korean believe when they tell you to use an umbrella in rain because the dust is coming down on your head and the hair will be damaged.

Anyway, check out the pics at: NASA - Visible Earth (Country Index / Korea / Germany).

Well, at the moment, the people will definitely not think about dust storms, as the worst typhoon in 4 decades has hit the peninsula at the last weekend. Here some early numbers from the Korea Times: 138 dead, many more missing, property damage over 1 trillion won (800 million Euro), 70 000 people evacuated, 28 000 houses swamped, over 200 roads and bridges damaged. And these are not the final figures from the 15th typhoon this year called Rusa. See the whole article from the Korea Times.

At last I want to wish these 15 North Korean refugees, which escaped to the German embassy in China, the best. Hopefully they are allowed to leave the country to anywhere except North Korea. It's a shame how China handles this problem and how they treat reporters on that issue.
Package from Korea
Got a package from Korea today including some newspapers frmo the times of the World Cup. It's nice to read the Korea Times again, after more than one year of abstinence. Korean English newspapers have their special style. I'm looking forward to read them in the next days. Thanks Yoojung.

Friday, August 30, 2002

Go to Jolle's Switzerland siteTravel site finished
I finished my short report of the hiking weekend. I posted it below. If you click on the picture, you'll be lead to the same report including some photos.

Friday: Stuttgart
In the afternoon I went to Europcar to pick up my rental car. I had ordered a Volkswagen Lupo some days ago, for the cheap price of 63 Euro (Friday-to-Monday-rate) including all mileage and insurance. If this is not cheap enough already I got a free upgrade to a Volkswagen Golf and therefore left the station smiling. Back at home I packed some things and started off to Enzvaihingen near Stuttgart where an old schoolmate of mine, Katrin, is living in a shared flat at the moment.

In the evening we made a short trip to the ruin Blankenhorn in the nature reserve Stromberg-Heuchelberg. It got dark before we reached it. We almost missed it walking through the forest in complete darkness. The ruin is situated on the slope of a mountain and you probably have a nice view from here, if it would be daytime. So we rested for a while and started the adventure of descending the mountain. I had to use my camera flash light to look for the path from time to time. Otherwise we wouldn't have found back.

Saturday: Stuttgart > Lake Constance > Appenzeller Country
We had to start early cause of the long way to Switzerland. So we hit the road shortly after 7am reaching lake Constance, the biggest lake in Germany, around 10am. In Constance we also crossed the border to Switzerland and refilled our car with fuel, which is one of the very few things that are cheaper here in Switzerland compared to Germany.

In Muensterlingen we rested for a while to eat breakfast at the lake, then started again with the destination Appenzell, a small city famous for its cheese. The sun was gleaming and we drove through a land of hills so green that it can hardly be imagined. It looks like an artificial creation for a model train scenery. Passing St. Gallen we reached the countryside around Appenzell. Here we are, just on the verge of the higher reaches of the Alps.

Our final destination was Bruelisau, a small village at the foot of the "Hohen Kasten", a 1795 m high peak of the Alpstein range. We took the funicular to the top where a 360° view awaits the visitor. To the north-western side you could see the outskirts of the Alps with Appenzell, to the East the Rhine-valley. The rhine is completely straightened in this area which makes it a bit less attractive to the nature lover. But you completely forget this when you shift your eyes to the south-west. I tell you: this is one of the best views I've ever seen in the Alps. You look into a smaller valley including two beautiful lakes. You can see this one on the picture on the left.

And the best is that our route followed along the rim of that valley, passing the Stauberen and the Saxer gap. Cause the path mainly went along the western side, we had this view for most of our walk. Just sometimes, when it went on top of the rim, we could additionally see the Rhine valley.

It was very hot, no shadow and quite steep for a rim walk. But luckily the more we walked, the less crowded it was. Every one who came across greeted with a friendly "Gruetzi mitanand", the typical local greeting. The Swiss German is a quite funny accent coming directly after the Swabian on my list of favorite German accents. It sounds really funny, a bit like a coughing German. It's hard to take them seriously when they speak that way. I like it!

At the Saxer gap (1649 m high) we bend off to the right, descending from the rim to a lake called Faelensee where we took another rest before following down the valley we have seen so much today. Before it got steep again on the way down to Bruelisau we were passing the Saemtiser lake. It is quite an exhausting descent, because the tour follows a road with a continous and steep incline, not offering any recovering for your feet in between.

As soon as we arrived Bruelisau we drove towards the Schwaegalp pass, where a cable car runs to the top of the Saentis. On the way we luckily found a hotel for just 28 Swiss Franc per person including breakfast. It was the first hotel we asked for a room and it was definitely the best bargain in the region, especially if you take into mind that there was a big traditional sport event going on the next day.

Before checking we continued to the pass and went on top of the Saentis with the funicular around 8 pm. With 2506 m it is the highest peak in the Appenzeller region and therefore definitely a sight, even its beauty can be denied. If you like the Saentis or not definitely depends on what you are expecting to see there. In my case, I read about it before, so I did know what's going on above the Swiss clouds. The view was phantastic even though the clouds couldn't resist to conceal parts of the mountains. But if you're a freak who likes undistorted nature, this is not the place to go. Swiss Telecom set a mark on top and there is almost no space left to built something more. At least it's not the typical Telco style but looking like a big spaceship paired with a oversized lunchbox.

There are always two sides of the story. As the sun set down the clouds were colouring in every tone between red and blue compensating for the earlier lack of view. It was a mystic feeling.

Sunday: Vaduz (Liechtenstein)
As the first thing in the morning we went up again to the Schwaegalp pass where this traditional festival was already on full run. You could not see the wood for the trees, that means the mountain for the cars. It really seemed to be popular here. I forgot the name of the strange sport, but the next similar thing would be Japanese sumo wrestling, I guess. Just the ringers were a bit less well proportioned. We didn't spent too much time there, gazing more at the vintage cars than at the event, and started towards our next destination Liechtenstein (Official Homepage of Liechtenstein ).

a small independent principality between Switzerland and Austria. This little place in the Rhine valley houses the huge mass of 33,000 people on an area of 160 square kilometers. Even an American might mock that Liechtenstein is no bigger than a fair-sized Texan ranch, I wouldn't dare to name this is a crowded place. Moreover you can return that joke by betting a month' salary that they won't find Liechtenstein on the map in less than 60 seconds. :)

The capital Vaduz has a stunning 5,000 inhabitants, almost. This suggests that it is not more than a small mountain village. But it isn't. It has everything of a city, luxury stores, restaurants, cafes, a theatre, a 14th century castle, a multistory Palmers store… All right. I'll stop here. If you didn't get it until now, that this is a nice place, you won't get it at all.

Liechtenstein's secret to wealth and success is its tax heaven status. Almost every big financial company, trusts and lots of multinational corporations have an affiliate company here. So if you walk through the streets it's normal to see ten or so company signs at a normal family house.

Being quite a bit impressed we walked towards the 14th century castle where the principal family is still living. That's also the reason why it is completely closed to public. Anyway, you can have a nice view over the city, pardon village, from there. By the way, guess what agriculture means in Liechtenstein? It seems to be equal to growing wine in your extensive garden. Yeah, they know what life is about.

And surprisingly, I found here was the accumulation of people with the family name Beck. There is a Beck taxi company, a Beck bakery, a Beck architect and so on. Even some street are containing my family name. Stefanie told me beck means baker in Swiss German. So this may be the origin of that name. Anyway, it's a bit strange that so many of them flocked together here.

In the afternoon we went back, not beck (what a hilarious joke), to Constance, driving again through wonderful Switzerland which still looks like a model train scenery.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Update II
I finished Lance Armstrong's book Tour des Lebens (English title: It's Not About the Bike), which I got from Katrin by mail some weeks ago. His style of writing is far too much patriotic and the German translation a disaster. Anyway, the story is moving and you certainly experience a different perspective on life. You can find a full German review on my website.
By the way, I got the letter of refusal from Lufthansa some days ago. It consistet of a simple and plain letter just 8 lines long inlcuding my application folder. How sensative. That forces me to enjoy my time instead of going to work. Oooh, how poor I am. :)

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Delicious dinner experience
For today, I am soooo hungry. All day I was looking forward to my delicious dinner, I have nice meat in the fridge. But at 7pm the case of emergency entered. Booooooze! Electricity turned off!

I went to the hall and watched out for the fuse box. I closed the circuit again and...boooze! Something was wrong, really wrong. I tried to close the individual circuits of my apartment and found out the one with the problem. Looking on circuit diagram, which was luckily showed within the box, I found out that the problem must be with my electric kitchen stove. I protracted the jack and closed all circuits again. booooze came. Everything was in perfect order. Except that my hot, delicious evening dinner became a cold bread and cheese meal. :(
Hamburg Fish Market
Yesterday I've been with Steffi to the fishmarket. It is one of Hamburgs attractions and on tour at the moment. It's a good mixture of selling shows and food stands. Banana-Fred, Eal-Kai and some others were showing off their selling talents. It was funny to see again, but the food stands were much too expansive in my opinion.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Ebay auction
If you should need an altimeter for skydiving by chance, check out my site at ebay.
Again again again again again and again...
Hansa did win its match today, the third of three this season, the best start ever in its team history. Moreover it was the biggest away victory in the premier league with 4:0 goals. Absolutely unbelievable. I'm out of control!!!

Jolle going crazy (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)

Friday, August 23, 2002

Good or bad guy?
Germany is in the midst of an election fever. In mid September the question will be: Schröder or Stoiber? Schröder is the chancelor that leads our country since almost four years, taking over the reins from the former Helmut Kohl. I think it will be a close outcome between Schröder, the socialdemocratic party leader, and Stoiber, at the moment prime minister of Bavaria, and the leader of the conservative union. Schröder and Stoiber (&copy 2002 by cannot avoid the topic at the moment. Politics is everywhere, newspapers, magazins, TV, radio, street ads etc. A new trend is definitely touring the cities in big trucks or buses, every party has these coloured vehicles. Moreover the Green party has something special to offer, daily jogging with our foreign minister Joschka Fischer.

Another premiere is a TV discussion of both top aspirants this Sunday, like it is been known to Americans since years. For Germany this is really someting new.

Today I saw a report from NYC. A German TV reporter was interviewing passengers on the street about the election overseas, asking them the simple question: "What do you think about Gerhard Schröder?". The usual answer was: "Who?". Nobody knew the name of the German chancelor. Is nobody interested in international politics there? Or is the outside-America-knowledge of US citizens really as bad as the world assumes?

Maybe there is hope. Some of them did say more than "who". Here a short example:
Reporter: "What do you think about Gerhard Schröder?"
Passer-by: "Yeah, the Japanese one is good looking."
Reporter: "Koizumi?"
Passer-by: "Yeah, he is good looking."
Reporter: "But what about Schröder?"
Passer-by: "Oooh, who?"

OK, not that clever yet, but at least he knew the Japanese one. Another passer-by requested more information to evaluate "this Schröder". He was asking the intelligent question: "Is he a good or a bad guy?". Well, this sounds very much like typical American rhetoric. There's just good or bad. Bush is good, Saddam is bad, Great Britain is good, North Korea is bad. And Schröder is... Who is Schröder?

For all those Who-people I recommend the website of the American Institure for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS). They have an 2002 German election special informing you about the battle of "the Nordlicht (northern light) vs. the laptop leader in Lederhosen (Bavarian pants)", Schröder vs. Stoiber.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Go to the result tables at SoccerAssociation.comHansa rulez
What a phantastic start into the season. After two rounds my soccer club, the FC Hansa Rostock, is on second place in the German premier league called Bundesliga, followed by Schalke 04 and FC Bayern Munich. The first match in Munich was won with 2:0 as well as the second match at home against 1.FC Nuremberg. Hansa Rostock, which was long time the only first class club from East Germany had always problems to stay in the premier league. But now the hope for a better season has been aroused by these first results. If we can win the coming Saturday match in Cottbus against the second Bundesliga team from East Germany, it will be a record start in the clubs history. Let's hope for it!

If you're interested in soccer you better visit as they provide results from all major leagues worldwide and also show interesting club statistics. Hansa's players are an average 26-year-old ethnic mix of 8 countries whereas 14 are coming from Germany and 6 from Sweden. Why so many Swedish players? Well, I guess they're very good and quite cheap on the transfer list. But if you count for the fact that parts of Mecklenburg, the North-German state Rostock is situated in, has once been under Swedish rule (from 1648 til 1805), the close relationship might be just natural. Sometimes Mecklenburg is ironically called South Sweden.

FC Hansa Rostock Official Website (German)
Soccer Links:
Worldwide: Results
Bundesliga: Results, Squads
Hansa Rostock: Results, Squad, Statistics, Transfers

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

View from the 'Hoher Kasten' on the Saemtiser lake in Switzerland (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)
Work is progressing
I got up early - for my standards - and went to the library. From 3 pm I've been in the lab to work. I ordered my photos from the weekend yesterday and started to write. I'll finish it soon if I keep writing for some minutes a day. Here's a pic showing the sight we had during the hiking trip on Saturday, it's soooo beautiful.

We went along the whole left rim and then descended to a lake behind the lake you can see on the photo. From there we hiked down the valley passing the lake on the picture and continued to were we started in the morning.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Back in track
I came back Sunday late night and definitely needed some sleep. Today, the same as yesterday I was working on my thesis. If I find some time soon, I will give you a description of my hiking trip including some of the photos I made. I have been to the Alpstein-range near St.Gallen. There we climbed the "Hoher Kasten" and saw a sunset on the Säntis mountain. On Sunday we went to Vaduz, the small capital of Liechtenstein.

Now it's time to go home. Stay cool, Jolle!

Friday, August 16, 2002

So, stop working today. I have to get my rental car and organize some other stuff before leaving to Stuttgart. Saturday/Sunday will be hiking time, hopefully in Switzerland. Pfiat's Euch!

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Mariä Himmelfahrt
Enough of the floods. The weather here in Ingolstadt is sunny and hot. We have our summer back. But therefore Eastern Germany is sinking. It is already the worst flood there since 1845 and it's getting wors for at least 4 more days before it's North Germany's turn to be the victim of the water. So a lot more news coverage to come next week.

For me, I don't believe anymore in the Lufthansa job as 2 of our group have been selected already on Wednesday. Congratulations to Astrid and Natalie. I think I have to enjoy Christmas and New Year without work :). Today is a holiday in Bavaria called Mariä Himmelfahrt. Don't ask me what for, i'm not a Catholic. But I think it's good for me, so I won't complain.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

We got our flood, too!
The situation got worse but at least the rain stopped so that the situation will ease soon. In Ingolstadt nothing happened to the city because they flooded the recreational area around the artificial lake, the Baggersee. The whole area is is a river lake now. We tried to go further into the area, but the current was too dangerous that we had to turn around. I hope there won't be too much damage as the whole area has just been valorized in the last years, with beaches, table-tennis, beach-volleyball-fields and so on.
On the photo below you can see me in this area near the original lake.
Jolle in flooded Ingolstadt (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)

Monday, August 12, 2002

Old district of Passau (&copy 2002 by ddp)Europe under water
It was raining the whole night, so I went to the danube river in Ingolstadt today. Some waterside paths are flooded, but it's not really critical here in Ingolstadt as we have two weirs near the city where they can control the water level of the river. Other cities in Bavaria and Austria have more to stand. On the left photo you can see the old town district of Passau where I have been some weeks ago. It's already flooded and the worst is still to come. They expect a water level of 10,50 metres, the highest in over fifty years.

Even worse is the situation in Austria where some villages are cut off by flooded streets or mudslides as you can see at the pic below. In South Russia more than 50 people died already in the newest floods. Let's hope the weather is getting better. We want our summer back.
Flooded Rottenengg in Austria (&copy 2002 by ap Associate Press)

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Another rainy summer Sunday
Not a weather to go out in the park, so Stefanie, Christiane and me went to the cinema for watching "Buena Vista Social Club". I love the soundtrack but I didn't see the movie up to now. It's a great one and the old Cuban musicians are unique and show such a positive attitude towards life. At the end when they visited New York and staged at Carnegie Hall it was just moving to see them fulfilling a dream. These people are really legends.

Later we went to a bar. My order was balck tea with rum and a piece of Sacher cake. Delicious. The way back home was even more wet than before, but I like cycling in the rain.

Saturday, August 10, 2002

The Friday-Frankfurt-Day
The day started early around 4 am. I tried to get awake and went by car to Nuremberg airport. Because they told me to be at the check-in one hour before departure I was there at 6 o' clock. They told me I can also take the 6:20 plane. Aha, check-in and boarding can also be done in 20 min. So next time I'll know this and can sleep a bit longer. I landed in Frankfurt an hour too early, so I took some time to relax before walking to gate 21, the visitor entrance. I had to deposit my drivers licence and changed it into a visitor sign. With that I went to the right building 303, 5th floor where approximately 20 other applicants have been wainting already for entrance. We were lead to a waiting room and I got into small-talk with 2 other guys. Later some others including a German girl studying in Maastricht, Henriette, and another German girl named Astrid joined in. They all seemed very easy-going and nice people.

A bit later half of the crowd was lead away, they were applicants for check-in. So we were just ten people for today's Fly-Along-Agent assessment round. It started all with an introductory presentation of the Fly-net project, made by 2 people of the project staff, 2 psychologists from the recruiting department as well as an American working for Connexion (a Boeing company). We were told the details of the project, our tasks, the conditions, the incentives as well as the schedule for today. Following the presentation was a 2 1/2 hour computer based test including the typical questions from which they hope to gain some insight knowledge of the applicant. I don't believe too much in these tests, but anyway, I think I'm not the worst in this, so I don't mind.

After that I went for lunch with Henriette and Astrid. Then we went back to the waiting room. Now it was a much more relaxed mood. We were all talking and joking. It wasn't a bit a competitive situation. It was all very friendly so that I wasn't nervous at all. I was really relaxed. If you looked a bit closer at the people, they were all quite different. People from different nations, people with different mother tongues, in ages ranging from 21 to the late 30's. And people with completely different backgrounds and education. It was interesting to see, but that was also the reason that nobody of us really knew, what person they were looking for.

After a while we were divided in two groups for a team-work-assessment. We had to sit around a table and were given a some handicraft task and a manual. Around us the assessment troika (psychologist, fly-net, Boeing) took notes of our behaviour. So we divided the 2 handicraft tasks and somebody read what should be done. It was a quite difficult work and I think we didn't act that organized. But at least Astrid finished one of the tasks succesfully in time.

The rest of the afternoon we chatted waiting for our individual interviews with the assessment troika, lasting around 45 minutes each. I had mine around 5 pm. It went better than I expected. I could answer most questions and my English was fluent. Definitely I could have done better, but you're never that cool in front of 3 people trying to get something out of you. I found the day interesting. And even if the chances of being selected are small, I learned a lot today.

Back in the airport I found that a plane just left and the next one gav me 3 hours time. So I called Marc and we met in the city centre of Frankfurt to eat some Pizza. The next table was taken by a Chinese group. Oh my god, their behaviour reminded me so much of Korea. It was nice to see. Frankfurt may not be a nice city, but it's definitely an international place which makes it interesting enough to live in.

My plane departed at 9:10 pm and the clouds had vanished which ermöglichte a night view of the city. I came to Ingolstadt around 11 pm and went to Kai to return his car. I met him in a beer garden with some friends.

...nothing special on Saturday. Just another visit to the beer garden and a lot of rain...

Friday, August 9, 2002

I came home in the afternoon at Thursday and - see see - the letter from Lufthansa has arrived. I have an interview in Frankfurt at 8:45 the next morning. That means getting up a little after 4 am to get a plane in Nuremberg. Thanks to Kai who gave me his car, no train is going there that early.

Now guess what I left home on Wednesday. The thing I need most tomorrow, my passport. There was no way to get it til Friday morning, so my parents faxed it. Thanks again. I hope this will work at the airport. If not, I'll be the fool of the week, I guess.

Now I better go to bed. Otherwise the first thing in the morning will be the sight of an alarm clock showing 9 am or later. Wish me luck for the interview.

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Just in time
On Tuesday I went to the city centre to buy a present for my uncles birthday and got the biggest teapot ever seen. Hope he'll like it. Later I got my hair made and in the evening I went skating with my mom in our village.

At midnight I drove to my cousins in Schwerin and we sat on their terrace for some hours chatting before I went home to get 2 hours sleep. At 5 am I had to get up again in order to get my train to Ingolstadt. It was a nice journey as the trains haven't been so full and I had a long sleep from Hamburg to near Ingolstadt. I was also glad to find my flat so clean and orderly. Normally when I arrive it's all chaos and disorder.

Since 3 pm I am sitting in the lab and "work".

Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Tuesday morning blog
I called Lufthansa right now as they didn't send a letter yet. They told me I am invited but they still don't have a date yet. So I'll return to Ingolstadt tomorrow morning to be on time for work.

PS: The sun is back. Let's go out!
Monday killing trip
Following another night of fighting for Egypt I woke up pretty early to bring my mom to her work in the hospital because I needed the car for the day. At noon my granny went to the train station to return to Thuringia and I left for Rostock. It's about an hour drive through villages with beautiful avenues as well as on the brand new Baltic Sea freeway.

I ate lunch in the old hanseatic city centre which seems to change its face every time I come here. There has been done so much restoration and construction work since my family left Rostock eight years ago. It's fascinating.

A little later I picked up my cousins Friedemann and Christian which both study here and we went to Warnemünde at the Baltic Sea. It's the mid of summer and the only time I'll be here for this year so I wanted to go swimming, no matter what. The sea was around 19 to 20°C and therefore warmer than the outside. So we stayed in the water for quite a while. It's been so nice. Then the rain stopped and we went to the pier at the old harbor to eat something.

Later I brought them back home and went to my grandparents in the southern part of the city. I stayed with them til 11pm watching photos, eating and talking. Then I hit the road to go back to Wittenförden.

Rescued toad (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)As soon as I left the freeway it was a terrible drive. I couldn't see much as the highways in this rural area are ligned by trees on both sides and are therefore very dark. Moreover it was raining and the toads (or frogs) have been on their way to somewhere. There have been thousands of them bouncing over the highway and you couldn't avoid killing dozens of them. It's an awful feeling to be such a cruel killer. But what can you do!

We also have lots of toads getting lost in our basement and dying for lack of water and food. But from time to time we find these cute animals early enough and rescue them like the little one on the picture which was taken seconds before his return to freedom on Sunday evening.
Sunday: Photo session IIFlower in our garden (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)
It hasn't been much different today, except for the weather which was not that sunny anymore. I took some more photos, Teresa still wanted to win this board game (and won every 7th game), we ate a delicious apple cake made by granny and played badminton in the rain. In the evening we had one of my favorite snacks, Hawaii Toast.

So all in all, it's been a nice and relaxing weekend.

Saturday, August 3, 2002

Caesar vs. Cleopatra
Butterfly in our garden (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)On Saturday we made a family day, getting up late and staying in the garden all day playing badminton, taking photos of flowers and butterflies as well as trying out a new board game called "Cesar vs. Cleopatra". It's a strategy card game for 2 people with a lot of strategy but also some amount of luck in it.

This plant on the picture has dozens of butterflies at all times on it. They seem to love it. The photo with the bee is taken in the garden. I wanted to try my macro function and it worked out pretty well I think.

In the evening my mom and me went inline skating at the industrial park in our village. There is a nice and straight street going downhill where you can gather quite a lot of speed. The nigth was under the shadow of Cesar's and Cleopatras's war in Egypt. Teresa didn't want to stop as she was losing most of the times.
Flower and bee in our garden (&copy 2002 by Johannes Beck)

Friday, August 2, 2002

Hitchhiking Report
I went to the autobahn (freeway) on my rollerblades at noon and put my thumbs up. It took less than a minute to find the first driver who took me some miles to the next filling station. From there I went with 2 Portugese construction workers and a dozen techno tapes to Bayreuth where I changed into a car with two army sergeants from Lower-Saxony. With them I survived some havy traffic before I was picked up by a guy who went home from his job in Bayreuth.

My fifth driver was a grandpa from Berlin who wanted to pick up his granddaughter some miles off Hamburg. He dropped me at the right freeway exit. Than I had again much more luck than expected. I found a man living in my village who brought me home.

The whole way took me a little less than nine hours, no record, but not that bad either because we had 3 traffic jams on the way. Even I had to change the cars five times, my overall waiting time was not even an hour. Hitchhiking is definitely easy, safe and cheap.

Now I am home again. Moreover my granny from Thuringia is on visit for the first time in more than 10 years.
Night Talk
Yesterday afternoon I fell asleep in the library before going home. The evening ended in the same way as the day before, drinking wine and playing a board game with friends. After midnight a discussion about different society models arose, getting hotter as time passed. There's a lot to argue between business and history students. Now that they are gone I will pick up my stuff to hit the road as early in the morning as I can.

Thursday, August 1, 2002

Wake up
Got up at 8, took a long shower and snatched up my things. Went to the computer lab by nine to start "work" - puuh! The morning is nothing for me, definitely. Maybe it was also the bottle of wine Kai and me shared last evening.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Going home - yippie ye!
Applied as a "Lufthansa Fly Agent" in the morning. Spoke around 20 minutes to a personnel manager on the phone. He asked about my personality, IT-knowledge etc, changing between German and English during the interview. I didn't have such a good feeling afterwards, but let's see. If it was not that bad, I'll be on a recruiting day next week in Frankfurt.

Wanted to book a flight to go home on Thursday and go back on Tuesday next week. Lufthansa has been offering 77 Euro-specials (including tax etc.) for any return flight within Germany, if you book until today. But because I don't know at what day I have my possible recruiting event next week, I couldn't fix a date for the return flight.

That means I will go home hitchhiking on Friday. My record hike was 6 1/2 hours from Ingolstadt to Schwerin, which is about a 700 km distance. It'll be hard to beat, especially because I don't have anybody to take me to the first petrol station on the freeway. I have to start in the city. "Thumbs up" isn't working well in Germany. You better ask drivers at the petrol stations. It's the only way to get a fast lift. And it's more secure as you can choose the people you ask.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Wisdom of the day

A woman marries a man expecting that he will change, but he doesn't. - A man marries a woman expecting that she would never change. And she does!

Thanx to ppangi for this everlasting wisdom. The weather was great today, again. But I spend the afternoon in the library reading Buzacott and Shantikumar. No, you don't have to know them, and they aren't worth reading if you do not explicitly like stochastic modeling of manufacturing systems.

Monday, July 29, 2002

Swamp (&copy Artwork by Dmitry Savinoff)Dmitry Savinoff
Hey, I found this cool graphic genius from Russia on the web who creates phantastic pictures full of light. He founded his own studio and does lot of webwork ranging from company logos to backgrounds for computer games. Check out his website or click on the picture to go directly to his gallery.

Two more personal things: Got a new neighbour some days ago. First impression was fine, but he is one of these "How about my subwoofer?"-types. Well, I'll get over this somehow later. If not, I'll simply get my own subwoofer from home and fight back. :)

Secondly, I've changed the position of my TV-set from the centre of the room into the drawer. So now I can't watch TV from my bed anymore and it is less convenient to watch. It should result in additional working hours, at least I hope so.

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Enjoying the day
At noon I went again to the matinee at Asam church. After an introduction of the organist a string and brass band joined by an hapsichord and a soprano were playing Bach and Mayr. It was nice, but not that good like last Sunday.

After the concert I went to Mikhael who is leaving off to Russia at the end of the week. Later after a bit of reading at the Danube waterside I went to a quarry pond to play table tennis and swim with Steffi and Christiane.

The evening was not that good with the bad news of the Tour de France. Erik didn't get his green jersey in the end. Well, let's hope for the next year.
Korean Dogs
Some days ago I got this pic from Steffi as one of her funny world cup pictures. Well, I think the owner has a bit of British humor. I am not sure if a dog wants to associated with the Korean flag as some countrymen like to eat his relatives.

During the world cup there has been the usual outcry in the media about Korean dog restaurants, as it has been during the Olympics '88 or any other big event in the country. Korean (patriotic?) dogPeoply find it cruel to kill dogs or cats. But it's just because they don't understand the difference of cultures. First of all, Koreans do not eat normal pets but dogs which are specially breeded for that, just like we breed cows or pigs.

Secondly, critics state that they are being butchered cruelly. Well, that may be and I wouldn't like that, but we Europeans aren't better in this way. Look at our laying batteries for hens or the French tradition of using pipes to force food into the throats of geese and enlarge their liver. We shouldn't be an upholder of moral standards which we are not even applying to ourselves.

By the way, Koreans aren't the only nation eating dogs, the Chinese, Philipines, Senegalese and Polynesian are doing the same. The only legitimate critic on Korea could be its indetermined policy toward the issue. Officially the selling and eating of dog meat has been banned in 1988 to please the audience for the summer olympics. But on the other hand it has never been enforced and will never be enforced, as a 1500-year-old tradition is hard to break. In my opinion this was simply a typical tactic of problem-solving in Asia: Please the one side, do not harm the other.

For a more in-depth review of this issue see the Korea Times article from May 2002.

To come back to our photographed doggie, he'll be allright by now, sitting in the tiny home of his Korean lordling watching his world cup pictures or dreaming of his next visit to the dog saloon. Yes, I found some of them in Seoul, hair stylists, restaurants, hotels, all for dogs and cats. The Korean attitude toward dogs is as ambivalent as ours toward fishes. Some are being used as pets, others as food. Whatever, we don't have to wait long for the next outcry as the summer olympics in China are coming soon.