Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Decemberists at Batschkapp, Frankfurt

After a pretty lazy weekend where I mostly vegged (Daniel was more active - and we did have Daria over for lunch on Sunday), we ventured out once again last night to that hot, loud concert venue, the Batschkapp (we saw the Lemonheads there a few months ago, you might recall), to see the Decemberists - an indie folk-rock band who just had their major label release "The Crane Wife". We don't have that CD, we only have "Her Majesty the Decemberists" and naturally, they did not play anything from that album. But I have to say, these guys put on an entertaining show. Even though I did not recognize a single song, I still had a really good time and was very impressed. Daniel also really enjoyed it and we'll definately be getting some more of their music.

The lead singer was also really talkative and funny. Here's a quote - "Thanks for coming out tonight. It might have been embarrassing for us if you hadn't. Of course you'd have been a lot more comfortable at home, sitting on a sofa. But we're glad you came."

The setlist (I might have missed a song or two):
Oceanside (***)
Close to you (short, playful cover of the carpenters song - incomplete)
July, July (***)
We both go down together (****)
Engine Driver (****)
Shankhill butchers (****)
Crane Wife 1 + 2 (***)
Island (**)
The Perfect Crime #2 (**)
O Valencia (***)
Sixteen Military Wives (**)
After the bombs (***)

Glacier Bay (cover?)
The Mariner's Revenge (**)

**** Exellent - going to buy on itunes now - I recommend you check it out
*** Very entertaining live and will probably buy
** Good song but probably wouldn't listen to it very often

It's always inspiring to see great shows - whether it be concerts, art exhibitions, book readings, etc.

Oh - I also finished a book this weekend - Michael Palmer's The Fifth Vial (Thanks Linda!). It was sooo exciting I didn't put it down until it was finished. More fodder for those organ harvesting urban legends :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rudi and Nicole's Wedding

Let me tell you a few things about German weddings (I have now been to a few). There is always someone who is organizing activities for the guests that have to do with giving something to the bridal couple. The most popular activity is the guest book picture album. They set up an area where attendees get their picture taken, usually with a theme (not something the bride picked out, don't worry) and "fun" costumes.

Can you guess the theme at Rudi's wedding from this picture of us?

Another popular activity is the "postcard a week for a year" where each attendee takes a postcard and sends it to the couple on the week indicated so that they can remember the joy of their wedding the whole year long. This time, we even got a blank postcard that Daniel can draw on.

A couple of times (including this time) we've gotten to do the "wedding time capsule" in which everyone is given a questionaire about what the bridal pair's future life will be like. Then, responses are locked away in a box and the couple opens it years later and presumably hilarity ensues.

What else? Oh there are the speeches given by the parents with pictures of the couple as kids (we did this too - Daniel's father is German after all!). And if "scouts" are guests, then the couple is serenaded for anywhere from 10 minutes (the length of last Saturday's concert) to more than half an hour (at Craig and Heike's wedding).

Not at this wedding, but I have also experienced puppet shows, belly dancers and an amateur painter activity.

This was the 3rd wedding we've been to that was done as a two for one with a baptism. Rudi and Nicole's daughter is named Sophia Nora, is 6 months old, and has an awesome stroller with cup holders (bought in Canada - where they've been living the past 3 years). She is such a sweet baby. Here's a picture of her with her cousin Jaron:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Farewell to Steve

So we've said goodbye to many good friends over the past couple of years...

Jeremy moved to London, Chris moved to Cologne (and maybe we'd even see him more often if he wasn't always going to the Congo), Heather moved to D.C. in January, Kelly moved to D.C. this summer and now Steve is going (to D.C. of course, you did see that they got married?).

For his last evening, we went to the Greek restaurant near his place in Dornbusch which he calls Giorgio's (not the real name). Giorgio got so excited when I recited the "bean soup poem" my mother taught me in Greek - it was so cute. Anyway, we had good food and great conversation. We're going to miss you Steve!

See you in D.C. at the end of October...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tax time

Been busy sorting everything out for my German taxes the past week (due at the end of the month) as well as working and polishing all the wood floors. Very exciting stuff!

Just finished Two Caravans (a.k.a Strawberry Fields in the US) by Marina Lewycka. Charlotte gave it to me for my birthday this year. It's about exploiting illegal immigrants in the UK - a hot topic these days - and focuses on several characters of various nationalities and their experiences in different industries (the poultry industry especially is not shown in the best light - it's almost enough turn me off chicken forever...). The plot is a pretty convoluted and a lot of sad events are described in an almost comical tone which can be a bit off-putting, but it is a page turner and worth a read. I can also recommend the movie "Dirty Pretty Things" which is on the same topic and quite a thriller.

We're off to another wedding tomorrow! This time it's Daniel's cousin Rudolf and the location is Bonn...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Craig and Heike's wedding

We know Craig from the Zentropy Partners days (also where Daniel and I met) and though he lives in Chicago now, we keep in touch. He came to our wedding last year, so you might recognize him from there (if you were there). He actually married Heike 2 years ago in the states, but they wanted to do a church wedding in Germany for her family and friends so they organized an event in the Bodensee area (extreme south of Germany on Swiss border) where she is from.
We drove down with Felix (also from the ZP era) and Sara, and though we thought we had plenty of time to get there, we got stuck in a long STAU (traffic jams common here) and were not doing well on time at all. We ended up changing our clothes for the wedding at a wooded rest area and arriving at the church about 20 minutes late. Not that we missed much since it was a catholic wedding and nearly 2 hours long (included a baptism for their 2 1/2 month old daughter Zoe).
They had a great getaway car - a 1930 Ford! We were lucky enough to also get a short ride around town in it. Here are a couple of pictures:
Felix in the front seat
Daniel, Lenore and Sara in the back
The reception was in a church that instead of being restored was simply made into a banquet hall. It looked really cool. And the food was amazing. I was full after the appetizer course, but since the main course was veal with spatzle and chantrelle mushrooms - I ate even more. And then the desserts!! Dancing started around midnight. We left about 2:30 am but Felx and Sara stayed til the end, about 4 am.

We also got a chance to walk around the boardwalk at the lake which was nice. It's an area that's worth going back to, for sure.

The mini-ZP reunion picture