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.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Did you know that the Beatles have been the most succesful band in 2001? Did you know that Britney Spears and Pamela Anderson have been the most searched women on the Internet, and Nostradamus and Osama Bin Laden the most wanted men? Google presents selected information of its search patterns through its Zeitgeist section on a weekly basis. Moreover they do yearly summaries (2001) or special reports for days like the 11th September. It's an intersting part of history. Check it out!

By the way, Zeitgeist is a german word literally translated as "time spirit". And with more than 150 million searches on Google everyday this selection of the most popular search strings can be seen as a mirror of our time.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

The day of the last exams for this semester had come, so partying will be the main activity in the evening. I have to go now...

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Elvis to appear at the Wimbledon finals
In today's SPIEGEL Online there is a new proof that the British are somewhat different from the rest of Europe.

Ian MacMillan set five pence (8 Eurocent) on the fact that Elvis will appear in London on the running horse "Shergar" and compete against Lord Duncan in the Wimbledon finals. If everything turns out well, he'll get a million pound (1.6 million Euro) in return. Well, you can believe that Elvis is still alive, but the Lord Duncan has disappeared in 1974 and the running horse has been kidnapped by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in 1983. So the chances are a bit reduced, isn't it?

Anyway, the British bookmaker William Hill took precautions and limited the bet to 5 cents while the unemployed Ian MacMillan wanted to wager 10 Pounds in order to get 200 million in return. Now tell me, which one of the two is more insane?

No matter what, that's the stories we love the British for! If you like to read such stories, check out Bill Bryson. He wrote books about several countries and tells really unique stories (UK / USA / Europe / more...).

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Commuting is fun
When people hear in which dormitory I live they sometimes commiserate me for its far-off location. I think Germans are very fastidious when it comes to commuting to work. Very few people accept a way longer than half an hour. And most people want to avoid getting wet on a bike or having to walk to the next bus stop and therefore choose the car, complaining every day about the traffic jam.

For me commuting is fun. Especially if you can do it on bike or skates. During my last years in school I had to bike 5 km to school. I just used the bus when I broke my finger once, that's it. My first year in Ingolstadt I also moved a bit outside to the city in a village. For me biking is a nice way to relax and to think, especially on my way back I use the time to race a bit, sometimes making a detour.

The white-gloved gods of the street
In Korea I also lived a bit distant to university. On good days I used my scooter to reach Dangsan-subway station. There I bought a morning newspaper and waited for the train. I departed in Shinchon, being in the middle of hundreds of students. It was fun observing the people and read the paper in the morning. It gave me the feeling of adventure every day.

When it was cold or wet I used the comfortable option, the bus. It departed directly in front of my flat and also stopped on the back entrance of Sogang university, that meant less than 200 m walk to the classroom. Well, it took longer than the scooter/subway option but it was quite the same fun as there was a lot to see on the way. I followed the construction work on Yangwha-bridge, the food-stands in the streets, the chaotic traffic, new fashion trends of the younger generation and so on.

Also it is exiting to be part of the daily bus race. If you never experienced a full brake application at the bus stop followed by a kickoff start, I recommend you should go for it when you're in Seoul. These white-gloved gods of the street are the most devoted (professional) drivers I've ever seen. And if you're lucky, they tune in some nice melodies, too.

O.K., to be honest, it can be a bit inconvenient if you go peak time as the buses are crowded and will probably get stucked in a traffic jam. But don't worry, the race experience will be the same, as the driver still does his kickoff-launch and full brake every time there are some metres to advance. Take it as a challenge and try to be the last one being darted through the bus.

Well, the bottom line is that I enjoy commuting. Anyhow, it should be less than an hour I or so. Sometimes Korean commute 2 hours one-way. I think that's really too long then to make fun.

The facts
By the way, here are the facts for my "far-off" located dormitory: :)

Going to university on bike:
  • Distance: 2.96 km

  • Time: 7:54 min

  • Avg speed: 22.51 km/h

  • Max speed: 37.6 km/h

  • Motto: No-sweat-zone
  • Gong back on bike:
  • Distance: 2.96 km or more

  • Time: 6:14 min or longer

  • Avg Speed: 28.7 km/h or faster

  • Max Speed: 50.8 km/h

  • Motto: Race, race, race

  • Monday, July 22, 2002

    The Thorn Tree
    The Thorn Tree (&copy by, I got lost in dreaming about travelling. From time to time I check the Lonely Planet website. They have the best and most up-to-date information about any place which is worth visiting (and the others, too). But the best on this website is their forum called the THORN tree. It is divided in over 40 categories and has more than 100.000 registered users and many more anonymous ones. They have own forums for bike travellers as well as for special destinations. So if you have any question, this is the place to get a response. I am mostly in the North-East-Asia, Western Europe or Biking section. It's great fun reading stories of travellers or giving some tips.

    You can also use this while travelling, as many people are doing. When I was in Vietnam, I checked there to find the best way to the Dalat Mountains, and travellers who just went there, answered me. It's nice to check out facts or common frauds. Have fun travelling...or at least dreaming about.

    Sunday, July 21, 2002

    Asam Church (&copy by Johannes Beck)I got up a bit earlier to go to church. No, I'm not that religious, but every Sunday noon there is a organ matinee at the Maria de Victoria-Church. I never made it there til now, but it's a wonderful thing. The church is very beautiful because the whole ceiling is one fresco with a stunning 3D-effect painted over 250 years ago by Cosmas Damian Asam. The weekly concert is for free and today it was even special as a brass quintett called "Schutzblech" joined the organist playing Haendel, Grieg, Rossini and others. A wonderful experience to start the day with, I will definitely go there again.

    Bird perspective
    In the night I assembled a mosaic of aerial photographs taken by the land surveying office. So now you can see my hometown Schwerin in Mecklenburg with its many lakes. Aerial view of Schwerin (&copy by Landesvermessungsamt Mecklenburg-Vorpommern I am actually living where the small red dot is. The village is called Wittenf?den and is located a mile west from the city limits. The lake between the Schwerin and Wittenf?den is called Neum?ler Lake and is around 5 km long. Click on the photo for a bigger picture.

    Saturday, July 20, 2002

    Jolle skating (&copy by Johannes Beck)Skate School
    Today was a really nice day. So I decided to slalom skating :)

    I think with a little more practice it should look all right. Up to now I just can do a little forward parallel and criss cross as well as backward criss cross. But I'm improving. Later Julia and Kai will come and we'll have a glass of whine. So, now I better get my clothes out of the washing machine.

    Friday, July 19, 2002

    Armstrong racing down the Pyrenees. (&copy by Reuters)The fastest down, the fastest up
    Armstrong again: It's incredible where he takes his power from. Again he raced down the hills at first place, went them up at first and finished at first on this exhausting mountain stage, stealing over a minute from his biggest rival Beloki (3rd today). Well, obviously Armstrong has the best supporter in his US-Postal team with Heras, who fininished on second place a minute later. The question remains, who can stop him? I think it's all done already. But at least the fight around the green jersey is at its best with McEwen shortening the lead of "uns Erik" to just 1 point by winning an interim sprint. Tomorrow there will be some more, too. Huaaah!

    For me, I'll go home now and check a bike dealer for new tires on the way. Later I'll meet for a board game & Cocktail night with friends. Hope it'll be fun. Have to read a bit more, too.

    Thursday, July 18, 2002

    Lance Armstrong winning the 11th stage (&copy by Reuters)Today was the first difficult mountain stage of the Tour de France, and therefore the first real test for the ONCE-equipe and its leader Galdeano. But Lance Armstrong was again the strongest and won the 11th stage in front of Beloki (also Once) and his own teammate Heras, taking over the jellow jersey earlier than expected. But it was also a happy day for the Germans, as "uns Erik" (our Erik) Zabel won back the green jersey as the best sprinter.

    Another biker had also a steep experience today. Scharping (pronounced with his own low voice as Schaaaaaaa-ping), Germanys minister of defence, has been fired by the chancelor. It's no good time for the newest of his scandals, just 2 month before the general elections. So now he got enough time for biking, eeeh?

    But it's a bit rainy at the moment for that as half of Germany is fighting against the water. Rivers are flooding cities. In one place it rained a 155 liters a day, the most ever since we started recording the weather.

    Yeah, a lot happens. Just me, I am sitting at home reading for my thesis or cleaning the kitchen. But the day will come...

    By the way, our new defense minister is also a biker, but this time a motor biker. Let's take it for a good sign.

    Wednesday, July 17, 2002

    A true mirror site
    Well, skating home in rain is a bit shaky event. After having almost lost control about a dozen times I managed to reach my shelter without any bruises, but with the conviction, that skating in rain isn't really worth trying it.

    I found a nice Mirror Site today. Mirror Sites are complete copies of a website on another server in order to reduce network traffic or download times. But this Mirror Site of Google takes it all too-literal. (You also have to type in your search words in reverse order to get the original search results.) Try it, it's fun!
    After 27 sleepless hours I finished my exam in eCRM (eCustomer Relationship Management). I choose the questions about web content management and personalisation, putting the weird e-shop questions aside. After a long lunch at the cafeteria I relaxed a bit adopting comments template to the site.

    Todays weather was really nice, so I went to college on my skates, it's wonderful. I love travelling that way. But now I have to hurry a bit to get home as dark clouds are appearing and the wind is getting stronger.

    Monday at the meeting of the computer lab staff I was scheduled for 122 hours work during the holiday season. So a bit more money is coming my way, puuuh. And working on my thesis means sitting in front of the screen anyway.

    Tuesday, July 16, 2002

    Today I got some more stuff to prepare for tomorrow exam. Outside its raining like in tropical Asia, so sitting inside and study is not that bad choice.

    Monday, July 15, 2002

    Copyright &copy 2002 by Johannes BeckAfter the exam today and some work at the lab I will go to bed now. But first I need some vitamins. Good night!