Archive for the 'Rambling' Category

17
Mar
13

Pre-filled wine glasses

I was in a Sainsbury’s in London not long ago and completely amazed by this:

A glass of wine sold by itself.

A glass of wine for around £2.49. Chilled.

In a way, it’s ingenious because it’s for those who want a glass of wine instead of opening a whole bottle. On the other hand, for £2.49 you might already be able to buy a whole bottle. I wonder if you can keep the plastic glasses afterwards. Or is that tacky?

At any rate, this is apparently a “packaging revolution” and will finally put an end to wine being consumed out of a tumbler. Amazing, right?

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14
Aug
11

Cheap living

I recently thought about how when my parents were my age, they hadn’t been paying rent for years. I’ve not only been paying rent ever since I’ve had a job, but I’ve also spent most of my savings when I went to Australia for a year. Now I pay rent again and it bothers me, because even if I lived in the same place for 20 years, I’d basically have spent over 100.000 EUR on rent without getting anything in return. Or well, what you get in return is a place to live, but the money basically just goes out the window.

At any rate, I’ve looked for cheap ways of living now, and one i particularly like is living in a cheap concrete tube, like this one (via Freshome.com):

Concrete Tube with a bed in it

Concrete Tubes as hotel rooms in the TuboHotel.

A concrete tube is probably no more than 200 EUR, so if I had three of them (bedroom, kitchen, study) we’re looking at, say, no more than 1000 EUR including delivery. (I’m making all of this up. It’s an estimation.) I’d need a place to put them, so I’d have to rent a little garden somewhere for maybe 30 EUR/month which should have water from a garden hose and hopefully a community toilet. Of course, it might be semi-illegal to live in a little garden you rent. Plus, without insulation, I’d freeze to death in winter (and in summer, with the summer we’ve been having…)

Next option would be to get a tree house. One with electricity and a shower and all sorts of stuff, like this one (as seen on baumraum.de):

Baumhaus

They write on their website that they’ve built tree houses for 12.000 EUR to 150.000 EUR and I don’t want to think about what price range this one has if it even has a bathroom and electricity. But if it were only 12.000 EUR, it could quickly be paid off and then of course all the money you earn is yours alone. And if you get tired of living in a tree house, you can sell it to someone else, along with the land, and spend all the money you made on something bigger later.

Ideally, of course, you’d live somewhere without having any expenses, that means usually your parents’ house, but of course then you have to answer to them (“as long as you have your feet under our table” etc.) and you get asked to put on your slippers and make your bed.

Oh well, the things I think about on a Sunday afternoon. :)

Here’s some YouTube links about houses and tree houses and all sorts of stuff:

Peter Bahout interview (this has a great tree house)
Tree House Living for adults
Garbage Warrior
(about Earthship houses)
Permaculture – True Way of Life

05
Feb
11

Rambling: Apartment Hunt

I’m currently looking for an apartment, and let me tell you, it’s not fun. Don’t do it! (Heh.)

Seriously, it’s very frustrating to look for an apartment, especially in Frankfurt, as there is a lot of demand. I could of course pay a real estate agent to find me an apartment, but they usually want 2,38 times the rent for their services. So basically you’re supposed to give them about 1000 EUR so they unlock the door for you, let you look at the apartment and then give you a paper to fill in with all your personal details (like how much you earn). Crazy.

I looked at a place last week that I actually quite liked – especially the beautiful dark wooden floors. Not that they match any of my furniture, but that’s beside the point. The apartment is above a restaurant, so of course noise becomes a concern. Plus, I do recall the staircase up to the apartment being strange and narrow. So I told people that it was strange and narrow. And meanwhile I don’t even recall how strange and narrow it was, so it’s become warped and twisted in my mind, a staircase out of an Escher painting, even though it probably wasn’t even that bad. I’m probably overthinking it.

Another highlight of the apartment hunt happened today, when I spent almost 15 EUR on public transportation to and from an apartment in a suburb. When I got there, the guy who was supposed to show it to me didn’t show up, and the cell phone number I had written down didn’t work. So I stood around in the cold (and it was really cold) for about 40 minutes and eventually left. It didn’t help my general mood.

What did help my mood, howver, was Felicia Day. I recently downloaded the first three seasons of The Guild for my iPod. They’re short episodes, maybe 5 minutes long each, and they’re about this quirky guild of World of Warcraft players. I’m at season two, and the episode made me laugh. They get better and better. I will buy the show on DVD once I have an apartment.

Well then, let’s hope next week will bring me a lovely apartment with moderate rent, where the toilet is actually inside of the bathroom (as opposed to in a separate room), where the bathroom doesn’t have any pink tiles, where it’s quiet and the subway station is really close by.

10
Sep
10

Oz: Dinner at The Old Fitzroy Hotel

Today I’d like to write about The Old Fitzroy Hotel. My sister and I are currently staying at the Asylum Hostel in Kings Cross (I’m resisting the urge to add an apostrophe), which is very convenient because not only do you get free breakfast (toast or cereal), but you also get a food voucher that’s valid at the Old Fitzroy Hotel just down the road. As we’ve been here for a few weeks now, we’ve eaten there almost every evening during that time. Their food is yummy!

First of all, you can get a free meal for the voucher, but then it’s a very small meal: sausage and chips, satay rice or a small laksa, which is basically a spicy noodle soup. Like I said, it’s small – but it’s free.

The other option is to upgrade your meal for $6 to anything on the menu, which is pretty cheap, as dinners go. Their cheeseburger is lovely – in fact, I’m having one tonight! Just once in all the time I’ve eaten there the bun was slightly burnt, as they apparently toast it. They also have the Fitzroy Burger, which is with bacon, cheese and egg. I suppose that’s what other places would call a burger “with the lot”? Of course, it’s beyond me why anyone would want an egg on their burger, but to each their own.

The other highlight on their menu (apart from the cheeseburger) is the Gado Gado or the Bean Curd Curry. They are two different dishes, as one is with peanut sauce and the other has a curry sauce. But otherwise it’s the same – rice and lots of vegetables (beans, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, tofu, etc. Wait, is tofu a vegetable? Who knows..).

Apparently, the Old Fitzroy is famous for its laksas, and while they are indeed pretty yummy, I’m not that impressed with the thin noodles they put in it. Also, it’s hard to eat and all the spiciness (spicy-ness?) happens at the bottom of the soup. So I hardly ever take that.

They also have rump steak which my sister likes, they have pretty yummy fish&chips, decent calamari rings, their prawn fried rice is also very good and, if you like chicken, there’s chicken schnitzel, chicken sweet&sour and satay chicken, all of which has been approved by my sister.

The only thing the Old Fitzroy could improve is their salad – many dishes come with a small side of salad, you see, but it doesn’t come with dressing. Apart from that, no complaints, just praise!

17
Jun
10

Oz: Rain in Melbourne

It’s raining in Melbourne today. For some reason it seems to me like nobody here really expects rain, at least not the city administration. It rains for 10 minutes and all the streets are flooded. As it turns out, my shoes are not water-resistant. It’s cold, too, and windy, and while most people are wrapped tightly in big coats and scarves and Ugg boots, some still walk around in shorts and T-shirts, or short skirts, hoping that summer will come back. Well, good luck with that. We will probably move on to Perth soon, and I hope it’ll be at least slightly warmer there. And drier. We’ll see.

11
Jun
10

Oz: Still in Melbourne

It has been forever since I’ve last written into my English blog, as you no doubt noticed, but what can I say? I used to get paid for translating stuff, so I’m not too keen on doing it in my spare time! Well, I’m just too lazy and most of the people following my exciting adventures in Australia do speak German. So you’re out of luck. However, there’s always Babelfish. :D

There isn’t too much to report. I had work for two weeks, earning some money as a milkman (or milklady). It was a cool experience, even though I really wasn’t crazy about the job itself. Instead of delivering milk, I had to go from door to door to try to convince people to get their milk, bread, eggs and other fresh produce delivered. It is a great concept, actually, and it does help Australian farmers and all, but door to door sales aren’t fun when people are mean. Now of course, if everyone were lovely and friendly, it would be a cool job. But some people were mean, like that one woman who just said, “No, no!” before slamming the door shut and who then, AFTERWARDS, put a handwritten note on her fence saying, “No hawking or canvassing.” Like I’d knock on her door twice that same evening. Because my first encounter with her had been so enjoyable. Some people…

However, there were others that were nicer, like the lovely family that made me a hot chocolate while I took their order. The old lady who let me in for tea and biscuits because, according to her, I was “such a nice Irish girl”. The Canadian-born woman who didn’t order anything, but who thought I was Canadian, too. Or the guy with all the Ned Kelly paraphernalia, who ordered something because he pitied me, and who offered me a beer or a cognac, neither of which I accepted. But those people were the nice ones, the ones that made the job fun.

At any rate, I quit when my base wage ran out, as I wasn’t particularly good at selling stuff, so it wasn’t exactly profitable. And now I’m back to square one, looking for another job. Maybe we’ll leave Melbourne by the end of June and have a look at the west coast, see if there are any jobs there, or just travel. Life is good. The world is my oyster, the road is my home.

02
Feb
10

Rambling: The couch is gone

My sofa. 2003.

My sofa in 2003.

Worn brown leather, two seats. This grainy photo was taken when I first got my very first couch. I got it for free, used, from a family that lived about two blocks away from where I lived. They advertised it at my university. They had a two seater couch and a three seater couch just like it, but I liked the two seater couch. I put an ad up that I was paying 25 EUR to whoever could transport it to my flat, and someone called and two people ended up carrying it all the way, up three flights of chairs. Let me just say, they deserved every cent of that money. I gave them something to drink and we small talked before they left. Then I took this grainy photo with my Pencam [source].

I studied on my couch and I watched movies lying on my couch, and I napped on my couch (often times when I was supposed to be studying) and I had people sleep over on the couch (I wonder if that was comfy) and then I moved my couch to my parents’ house, only to move it to Frankfurt later, where I neglected it.

Then, I met another couch. A friend’s big couch that could be turned into a bed, that was comfortable and had a comfortable back rest and I started thinking, hey, maybe I can better myself and get me one of THOSE couches. Because after all, when you do have people sleep over, it’s cooler to just pull on your couch than to a) pump up your air mattress for 40 minutes and get blisters (or you could, as I do, tell your guests to pump them up so they get the blisters!), or b) switch on the electric pump that makes a loud loud noise for 8 minutes (and therefore probably makes all your neighbors hate you).

The couch in its natural habitat.

The couch in its natural habitat.Click for a larger version.

So, now that I moved, I decided to say goodbye to my couch and instead get a new one in 2011, when I’m back from my travels. I had two people interested in my apartment and they said they would like the couch very much, but then both of them decided against the apartment (and therefore, against the couch) and so my sad little couch had an uncertain future. In the end, I decided to say goodbye and I discarded it (oh, the guilt!) and put it out to the curb for the bulk collection.

Now comes the uplifting part of the story. That’s the part where we left to go to Starbucks, and when we came back, past the curb, the sofa was gone. Someone had taken it to give it a new home, and I can only hope it is a good one. A good home for a good couch. Yes, I dumped it after about seven years, but I’m glad it got rescued and I hope it found a nice home where it is appreciated again.