Archive for the 'Germany' Category

Where does the time go, that’s how much, imminent movement.

The Wandering Nerd October 25th, 2007


Three month mark! And it snowed here last Sunday…

*grumble* Clearly it is time to begin moving on. I leave tomorrow and head into Switzerland. The rough plan is to stop in Zürich for a few days and then go on from there. So the posts should become a bit more regular.

I’ve never been one given to sentimentality…okay that’s a blatant lie, but I cover it well. I don’t do goodbyes well. I think it may be genetic.

It’s been a good run here in Schwäbisch Hall, the course was well worth it; the people I’ve met and friends I’ve made will be well remembered and ideally visited or hosted in the future. Except for that one guy…

Last night was the big “Goethe Party,” the farewell shindig for those that are leaving and a celebration for those who are staying having completed their next section. Much hilarity ensued and a chicken hat made the rounds the entire evening.

So to all, Tschüss wann auch immer!

standing alone my senses reeled
a fatal attraction is holding me fast
how can I escape this irresistible grasp?
-pink floyd

Massages to go, should we press our faces to the glass, and the murder of many trees

The Wandering Nerd October 20th, 2007

I have returned! If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you people missed me.

I was in Frankfurt for the “World MBA Tour.” It sounds quite a bit more impressive than it really is. I interviewed with a few schools, talked to a few more and got to sit through a lengthy presentation from another.

When I signed up for this thing I figured it would be a laugh, get to talk to some of the schools I was interested in, meet some people who were trying the same thing, generally just have a lark. Then the emails began… If I ever need an ego boost - unlikely, and probably not safe for the environment if I get one - I’m gonna’ go back over reading those. One of the questions asked on the registration is how you did on the GMAT - quite possibly the most obtuse, bass-ackwards and needlessly convoluted standardized test in existence. I’m not sure I would classify it as hard in and of itself. It certainly is difficult, but the way the questions and problems are worded are actively designed to mess up the taker. Perhaps it is a good indicator of success in deciphering what the root of a problem really is when awash in the sea of business buzzword bullshit. I did well on the GMAT and got flooded with emails to meet with members of X, Y, and Z institutions - either that or they all know just how fantaschticalicly awesome I am. Have one of you been talking to them about me?


Friday night was the Wharton program reception. Call me crazy, but when I think, reception, specifically reception in the context of an MBA program wanting to attract prospective students, I think of alumni, some punch and pie, maybe some booze. When said reception is supposed to take place on the 60th floor of the MesseTurm Tower - which is the only building in Germany with it’s own bloody postal code - I was expecting a rather extravagant reception. A two hour presentation encompassing the entirety of the glossy material on the school’s damned website, followed by free water and what was described as a ‘plate of little green things’ does not a good reception make. That’s more like a shitty Amish middle school prom - though at least the Amish have the common goddamn decency to not use PowerPoint.

Overall there were probably 50 institutions represented, many of which I’ve never even heard of. Other program in which I was only vaguely interested in jumped to the forefront, specifically IMD. Looks like I have an additional place to hit when I’m in Switzerland. Have no worries, I’ll still go to the chocolate watch factory. Also, as a little teaser, I’m planning on some excitement while I’m there. In this little town called Interlaken. You’ll see.

The last minute interview with McDonough School of Business went pretty well I think. I had only vaguely been interested in them as a school but I was impressed with the spiel and the interviewer sold it well and referred to it as plucky, fiesty school. I think I can safely be labeled as plucky and/or fiesty, and more so every day.

I know what I need to work on from a business school. From an interpersonal communication side, I need to work on learning the business appropriate way to say, “That has got to be the most asinine bullshit I have ever had the unfortunate pleasure of filtering through my hear-holes you tit!” I think it would go something along the lines of, “I don’t feel that that would be the correct course in our present situation.” But I ask you, where is the poetry in that?

From the more practical standpoint, I need to get a handle on all of the fiscal and accounting portions of doing business. The thing that really gets me with these interviews and talking with all the suits, there seems to be an underlying expectation by many of the schools that an applicant knows essentially every aspect of business anyway. I was rather rudely asked today, “Don’t you know how to read a case-study?” I said, “Yeah, from left to right, do you know how to recompile a Kernel?” That’s actually a really funny line if you’re a nerdly type, just laugh along so the regular audience doesn’t notice you not laughing.  If I already knew all of that stuff, why would I need to be going to a business school?

From what little I got to see of Frankfurt, I liked it. There’s a pretty massive red light district - massages to go, yeah seriously, I saw that written on a sign - right out in front of the main train station (hauptbahnhof). There are internet cafe/strip clubs. I’m not sure if that’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard of or tantamount to dipping chocolate in peanut butter. Imagine, World of Warcraft and live nude dancers…you’re welcome. :)

Okay gang, I’m off to crash, enjoy the images from Frankfurt.

the selfish gene in me has finally come into being
he’s teaching me how to be mean
-ned’s atomic dustbin

Make fast please, look, just take the damn word, and drink ‘em if ya’ got ‘em.

The Wandering Nerd October 15th, 2007

Woohoo Stootgard! Much beer was drank, much fun was had, many volks were fested! I had a much shorter time there as the dirty bastards in the DeutschBahn did go on strike Friday. I had to wait until Saturday to head out.

Since I was still in town I went to the ‘Geothe-Pub.’ It’s where they provide a relatively cheap selection of booze - and sadly in this case a cheap selection of music. None of the students (nichts) seemed suitably impressed and everyone (alles) sat outside and just drank and gabbed. They gabbed in six different languages so it was basically the ‘Steps of Babel’. More concerning was the fact that each faction had it’s own specific drink, i.e. (zum Beispiel) the Spanish students were drinking Sangria, the Germans beer, the French wine, the Mexicans tequila, etc. I, being the ambassador for peace and goodwill throughout the world, and being a generally social guy, got offered a large assortment of fine beverages. Of course, it would have been rude for me to turn anyone down.

Only after a goodly number of drinks did we all move to another bar and I ended the evening talking - quite fluently apparently - in German, to a number of people. Well either I was speaking coherently in another language or we were all so incoherent that language itself was an unnecessary intrusion into the overall sense of drunken camaraderie (Kameradschaftsgeist). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - I awoke looking and feeling my best.


I made it to Stuttgart eventually and met up with a friend I’d met in Prague for the volksfest. First though, we hit the Mercedes Museum. The Mercedes brand has never really struck a cord with me. I know that it’s a fine brand, very high quality - and prices. Take, for instance, this Mercedes Mclaren, which can be yours for the low, low price of 500,000 Euro, and if you do want one, be prepared to wait, as they only make them on demand. I suppose when you get performance numbers of 0-60 in 3.5 second and a top speed of about 210 MPH you should expect to pay a bit more. I kinda’ wanted to spend a few quiet moments alone with that car. Either that or the one Mercedes that I have always liked - ever since Need for Speed III - the Mercedes-Benz McLaren CLK GTR. That car does things for me…warm, thrilling things that we should not speak of.


The museum was very impressive, it felt about like the Heineken Experience, it seemed that they generally wanted to present to the people who enjoyed the brand an in depth look at the history and mythos of the brand. They make all sorts of stuff that I wasn’t even aware of. They make the Popemobile - and yes it’s actually referred to as The Popemobile. They make even more esoteric things, giant touring buses, police, fire and rescue vehicles, etc. But they also make little one off things whenever they need them, like a testing vehicle with an umbilical cord that can follow and record data from another car - this was in the ’60s. Though the funniest line of the day goes to Claire who upon seeing this thing here, said, “That must be how baby sports cars are made.”

Here’s the full gallery from the Museum:

On to the festival! I really wasn’t expecting the number of amusement park style rides they had. These Europeans love their oddball machines to sling them about to and fro’. I have this thing about fair rides. I don’t ride them.

It comes from growing up in the middle of nowhere Kentucky. They have county fairs every summer in the states, with horse shows - gods the organ music still haunts me - and all of those great Future Farmers of America livestock shows. *shiver* They also have amusement park rides put together by guys named “Hank-Joe” with mullets and a penchant for drinking too much wives and beating up their beer. I don’t trust those guys to find a right handed screwdriver so I’m not about to put my delicate frame in some contraption they put together between Pabsts with names like “Plummet Summit” or even worse “Kentucky Rumbler.” Sorry pal, keep your tickets for little Jimmy, I’m keeping my shins - you’ll note that was also in Kentucky. I feel like my reticence is justified. We ended up going on the ferris wheel - after I had consumed a number of liters of beer. Some people call it ‘liquid courage’, I find it to be closer to ‘liquid stupid.’ If nothing else it offered some good photo ops of the whole layout of the festival, though I did damn near freeze my tuckus off.

I also spent some time having a minor language lesson with some Germans. They are really not okay with making up new words for giggles. I make them up as I need them and feel that human communication must evolve and I’m all about helping it along. Hence things like ‘Asshat’ which I have now officially transitioned into the German Lexicon:


And - as has been pointed out - since I’ve been neglecting the Brois a bit, I’ve officially passed this on to the Germans:


It really seemed completely antithetical to one of the guys that it’s possible just to make up words, but the girls seemed all for it. Strange. They took the napkins and promised to spread both words as far and wide as possible throughout the land. So there ya’ go.


The beertents are pretty self explanatory, giant tents full of beer, food and people on top of tables drinking beer and swaying back and forth - sometimes even on purpose or to the music. I’ve heard of people ‘quaffing’ a beer before, but really only understood it in that abstract way. It’s a new and different thing when you see a couple of German girls that are maybe 5 foot tall quaff a liter of beer. That’s right a liter of beer in one mug. Remember kids, if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. I didn’t clean up the later photos in the series, as I feel it presents a much more accurate portrayal of the event.

I need to get heading out. Tonight is when the students all go to a local pub and talk in German and drink beer. So that’ll be new. Enjoy the pics gang and remember, do not try this at home. Come to wherever I am at the moment…. :)

if you choose not to decide, you still haven’t made a choice.
you can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
i will choose a path that’s clear-
i will choose Free Will.

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