lethargic_man: (Default)
2017-10-16 12:49 pm

What is important

On the day after my wedding, I gave blood; later Andrea and I went to help sort clothes for the asylum seekers project at the New North London Synagogue.

At both places, people said to me, "What are you doing here on the day after your wedding?"

I would have thought the answer was obvious: Doing what was important to me.
lethargic_man: (capel)
2017-09-12 09:27 pm

Wedding report

As I mentioned in my last post, the reason I've not been on DW much recently is because I have just got married (and spent pretty much all my free time during the previous six months planning my wedding*).

* If you're going to get married, try to leave yourself more time. All the preparations went through all right, but ended up being completed at absolutely the last moment. And we only ended up completing getting the cake ordered the day before the wedding!

Before the wedding was even over, there was a stream of photos of it turning up on Facebook. Here's a report of the wedding put together from our wedding guide book and a selection of those photos. I've omitted a lot to make this, but (a) it took a lot of time getting the photo URLs out of Facebook (and they'll only be valid until the next time Facebook changes the way it works), and (b) this post is long enough already, so I think this will do. (If you want to read more, [personal profile] liv wrote a very nice report of the wedding and some of its ancillary events on her own blog.)

Read all about it! )
lethargic_man: (reflect)
2017-08-17 09:26 am

Enjoy the silence

If any of you have been wondering why I've not been posting much lately, it's because it's my wedding in a week and a half, and I am very busy preparing for it.
lethargic_man: (Default)
2017-07-16 08:53 pm

Dapper attire

On the left, (presumed) family members, (presumably) late nineteenth century. On the right, me today. Not an awful lot changed in the last century and a quarter, then.

View piccy )

lethargic_man: (computer geekery)
2017-06-22 01:06 pm

REWE Marktplatz

For anyone who's asked me in the last year what I'm doing at work, and I've tapped my nose and said, "I could tell you, but then I'd have to employ you," here's the answer.

Summary for anglophones: The supermarket chain I work for is launching something like Amazon Marketplace for products which are just outside the scope of what it sells in its supermarkets (e.g. pet food, specialist wines, kitchen equipment), to allow external vendors to sell through its online shop.
lethargic_man: The awful German language (Mark Twain's words, not mine) (Die schreckliche deutsche Sprache)
2017-06-22 01:05 pm


lachen = to laugh; lächeln = to smile
niesen = to sneeze; nieseln = to drizzle

Draw your own conclusions about what the ancient Germans thought God was doing when it drizzled.
lethargic_man: (reflect)
2017-06-02 04:25 am

P.G. Wodehouse

In the mid 1990s, someone commented on Usenet, citing what I believe was newly discovered evidence that P.G. Wodehouse had been payrolled by the Nazis during the time he was broadcasting for them. At the time I had never read any Wodehouse myself, and decided I wasn't going to.

That is actually still the case now, but my thoughts on the subject have been changed by a session of Rafi Zarum's I went to at Limmud a year and a half ago, in which he talked about Shlomo Carlebach as "an amazing man [who] did some terrible things. It was very difficult when he was alive, but once he had died, the music and the good could live on its own. His music and his tunes became global only at that point. His death was his salvation."

On reflection, this made sense. After all, I didn't have any problems going to see a performance of Doctor Faustus by the same man who wrote The Jew of Malta. Marlowe was dead; he wasn't going to get any royalties from me or even just bask in the glory of ticket acclaim. Admittedly, being dead four hundred years isn't the same as being dead twenty, but somewhere there's got to be a cut-off point, so why not follow Rafi Zarum's suggestion for it?

(Well, maybe it's different when it's not something historical for oneself; it remains to be seen how I'll feel about listening to Rolf Harris's music once he's dead, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

So anyhow, now I've decided to stop forbidding myself from reading what by all accounts is a considerable comic talent, the only question remaining is where I should start. (By comparison, consider the Discworld books: one could (as indeed I did) start with the first one, but I would rather recommend a newcomer to try the series out with the fourth (Mort), written once Pratchett had got into his stride.)

Suggestions from afficionados?
lethargic_man: (Berlin)
2017-06-02 03:50 am

Cyclist-kindergarten coexistence

On Dresdener Straße, there's bollards either side of Alfred-Döblin-Platz preventing motor traffic from passing, but permitting cyclists to go through. This is in front of St Michael's Church, where there's a kindergarten and a few children always playing outside on the very same stretch of tarmac when I pass that way a little before 6pm.

This is one of the strangest things to me about living in Berlin; in the UK there'd be parents up in arms about this, demanding railings separating the cyclists' route from where the children play (and probably cyclists demanding children shouldn't be let play on a public right-of-way), but here I've been going this way for a year and a quarter, and the two just seem to get on fine, the numerous cyclist commuters just slowing down a little and taking care to keep a wide berth between them and any child who might run in their way.
lethargic_man: (linguistics geekery)
2017-06-02 03:29 am


"What's the opposite of abwesend?" asks my teacher. To me, it's so obviously paralleling "absent" that the only thing I can think of is "adwesend".

(This is likely to leave anyone who doesn't know both Latin and German scratching their heads...)
lethargic_man: (Default)
2017-05-27 11:20 pm

The Long Night of Religions

Six years ago, I put on my list of things to do before I turned forty attending a service of another religion (other than Christianity); but it remained not done well into my forties, because I didn't have the contacts to achieve this. (Actually, I suppose if I'd really wanted, I could have used work colleagues as entry points, but didn't.)

Then last week [livejournal.com profile] aviva_m got me off my tochus (and overcame my fear of not understanding enough German*) to participate in the Long Night of Religions, in which different religions open the doors of their houses of worship up to the public.

This is such a good idea; I look forward to exploring other religions in subsequent years, but if I just say that I came back not just edified but very well fed, can you guess which religion's house of worship I ended up attending?

* I prepared for only understanding two-thirds of what I might hear by reading up on the religion I chose in advance. I'd guess my poorer German at the time is the reason why I didn't take advantage of this last year.
lethargic_man: (Berlin)
2017-05-01 11:32 am

Changes in Berlin seen from an old map

When Laurie WinoDW gave me my birthday present, he wrapped it in a (reprint of an) old map of Berlin (that seems to have been intended for use as wrapping paper). Me being me, I opened the present carefully, ironed out the creases in the map, then put it on my wall.

View map )

The map seems to date from around 1930; among the differences it shows from the present is that one of the canals I cycle along on the way to work, the Neuköllner Schifffahrtskanal, is reduced to a mere ditch, the Wiesen Graben, which, instead of connecting to the Landwehrkanal at its western end, originates instead at a pool labelled Wiesen Br[?unnen].

This is interesting, because the curve where the former bank of the Landwehrkanal ran, and where it now turns into the Schifffahrtskanal, is precisely the point where the iced-over section of the canal (i.e. the Schifffahrtskanal, but not at all the Landwehrkanal, which I didn't until I got this map realise was even a separate canal) began last winter.

I still don't know the reason why. Maybe the Schifffahrtskanal is shallower; maybe there's less flow along it.

You can see other interesting differences in the bit of map I'm posting here: present-day Sonnenallee and Karl-Marx-Straße were then Kaiser Friedrich Straße and Berliner Straße; the interesting thing about the latter of these is that it was in _west_ Berlin, i.e. it wasn't the communists who renamed the street after Marx!

(The other notable difference that you can't see on this segment of map is that there were lots more synagogues than there are today. :-()

I wonder what the lack of grey for built-up areas towards the outskirts of the city mean. Surely they couldn't have laid out so many streets with no houses yet? And surely Berlin can't have grown so much since just 1930?
lethargic_man: (Default)
2017-03-29 10:09 pm

Blue sky

About ten years ago, [livejournal.com profile] compilerbitch posted a photo she had taken of [livejournal.com profile] doseybat leaning on a balcony and looking out over... a seascape, I think. It was black-and-white and had a grim look to it. Then I happened to see the colour original, and was astonished at the psychological effect the blue sky in it had on the feeling of the photo.

That gave rise to an Idea (which, like all of my best ideas, sat around in the back of my mind for years before becoming reality), of making a similar photo, in which like clouds drifting past, patches would drift across the photo, only these would be patches of full colour on a greyscale background; and then eventually one would come that was large enough to encapsulate most of the photo and bring life to it before departing again.

Doing this idea proper justice, i.e. at a high enough frame rate to look smooth, would involve convolution matrices and be at the limit of my technical ability. It would also involve more time than I am going to have this side of my wedding; so here, to give you a taster for what it would be (and probably scratch my itch enough that the full thing never happens now) is the work of most of an evening instead:

See piccy )

lethargic_man: (Default)
2017-03-23 08:44 pm

Rabbit emails

The addition of coloured emojis to the Unicode character set makes it easier for our less literate rabbit friends to send emails...

View piccy )

lethargic_man: (beardy)
2017-03-23 07:32 pm


I couldn't resist getting one of these as a little present for my father-in-troth Florin:


(A florin, for those who don't know, was a two-shilling British coin; at the time I was growing up predecimal one and two shilling coins were still in circulation as 5p and 10p coins (this continued until these coins were replaced with smaller ones in 1992), but I had to go back to older ones to find one with the word "florin" on it.)

lethargic_man: (beardy)
2017-03-22 10:28 pm

Rabbit chuppah!

Thanks to the talented Sarah Behrnd, the rabbits are now more prepared to get married than we are! —Thanks, Sarah!

View piccy )

lethargic_man: (Default)
2017-03-08 08:39 pm

Ding dong

A little daily ritual in the [personal profile] lethargic_man/[livejournal.com profile] aviva_m household (featuring Ginger the rabbit, so-named because she arrived in the household at the same time as Fred the fish).

Link to video on Facebook.
lethargic_man: (Default)
2017-02-28 10:01 pm

Arnie plays Beethoven

[livejournal.com profile] aviva_m and I were in the Beethoven Museum in Bonn last weekend (in the house where Beethoven spent his first four years—it's the only house he lived that still exists)—and my parents-in-troth got us this beautiful little piano music box as a souvenir.

Arnie the rabbit seems to have really taken to it; I don't know where he learned to play so well!

See video (I don't think I can embed this).

...although possibly this explains something:View piccy )Right, that's enough excitement for one evening; time for bed:View piccy )
lethargic_man: (Default)
2017-02-26 11:11 am


For the benefit of the few people who are friends of mine here but not also on Facebook, [livejournal.com profile] aviva_m and I got engaged on Saturday a week ago.