Monday, December 27, 2004

Plan for the next two weeks: take a car, five people, a keg of beer, drive through half of europe to a house in the middle of nowhere. Spend a week there eating, drinking, finding out what else to do. Then buy wine, food and other stuff until the car is nearly breaking down and drive home.

So: as there will be no more posts for at least a week, have a nice new year :-)

Monday, December 20, 2004

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Cool Micro-Cars from World War II to the seventies...

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I just had a meeting with one of my local bosses here, a
"Mitarbeitergespräch". That is where you tell each other what you think about
your work, your performance and these things. Well, he thinks, I should work
more. I do work something like 40 to 50 hours per week now, in dried air,
noisy environment and you know all that because I always rant about it. I get
paid for 19.5 hours per week, I will not get my PhD for what I am doing now...
I'll stop here, I am repeating myself.

My Boss is not a bad person, there's worse on earth. But he has been working
in this big research centre now for a long time, he has basically no friends
outside work, no social contacts other than his collegues. His home is on the
other half of the globe, somewhere in the States. So all he does is working,
because there is nothing else. As do most of the people there. Most of them
are from far away, none of them have any social contacts outside work (they
are physicists, so not of the most fashionable profession). Everything they do
is hang around at work. Most of the time not really productive, but they are
there. And that is what they expect of me.

I do not want to end up like that. I do have friends outside work. I try to
have social contacts which are not collegues. I even would like to get a
girlfriend some day (not speaking of family, this is so far off, that I do not
even think about it). So, maybe I am a bad physicist. But I think this is much
more than weight up by being a human being.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I am close to explode! Just had a five minute phone call from my bosses on my mobile (I was so stupid to hand it to them. Never ever give your private phone number to your boss!). There is now a serious danger that tomorrow I will tell them to fuck off.

Our project is seriously behind schedule, we have to get an important test up and running by end of next week. I (and only I, nobody helping) started preparing that some two months ago, getting a setup which already worked in some other place. Mounted it, plugged it in, didn't work. So I started debugging, got it running quite OK, but there is still some big flaw in it. Got some "Experts" watching over my shoulder, just to get them to the same conclusion as me "We do not know. It should work..." There have been a lot of "it should..." the last few weeks.

At the same time I have to develop the read out software for the test's hardware. I have never done such thing before, I have to learn everything how to do it, including polishing my programming skill, which were slighly above the "Hello, World"-level. Alone this is a full time job. Also taking into account, that I do not know alot about electronics, I have something like two full time jobs plus learning how to do them at the same time. Sitting in a cave, 6 floors below ground, breathing dried air, having really noisy electronics around me, my desk in the office taken over by random people, the other desk which I sometimes used, when mine was occupied by some PostDoc happening to be around, is full of computers which just sit there and rot.

And today this phonecall. I left early, so that I don't go crazy down there. I did not answer the first two calls, I was busy with other things then. I answered the third call some hours later. Big mistake. As I am the personal slave, I have to be at the experimental hall all the time, work round the clock. "There could have been done so much more", they said. Well, there could. If we would have two or three people more, who actually would know what they do. "You could have done that already". Yes, I could. I could also have gone mental and killed everybody. Or ran off to brazil. Or could be abducted by aliens. Just because they like spending their entire life together with other nuts in a cave does not meen I have to. So, tomorrow, I probably will tell them to sod off. I might end up without getting my PhD for that, but I wouldn't have got it for that anyway. Experiment's policy is that you only get you PhD for Analysis. So far for motivation.

You see, I have fun, I am well and I really enjoy my life. On the positive side, two weeks from now I will be 2500km away. I will not be reachable for anyone. And I will spend that time with friends. So, there's hope...


Just had some haggis with some friends of mine. Well, two of us had haggis, the other two were to scared by the ingridients to actually try it (or one maybe to english to eat scottish food ;-) ). It turned out to taste quite good, like a mixture between Knipp and Blutwurst (this be german food, you may not know it, so this description might be useless to you...)

One of them was the girl I tried to chat up since 15 years, and to be honest, I think I am quite happy that it didn't work out. Would not have worked, either I would have turned into somebody boring, or we would have split up quite fast. Neither would be an option I would have liked.

Finished watching the first series of Coupling. I really want to see the second now... First time ever I wanted to see how a TV series goes on.

There is plenty of fish left in the toilet of love. How true...

Friday, December 10, 2004

Yesterday I wandered around the city. Shortly before christmas love and understanding spreads through the town, happy people bumb into each other and try to knock you off your feet while getting gifts for their beloved ones. Everybody has a happy "GET OUT OF MY F***ING WAY!"-Smile. Oh, how I love christmas season.

At the christmas market there was a Santa Claus pulled on a roap over the masses, blasting from awful speakers a protest song about peer pressure in reindeer groups against physically challenged reindeers, people having mulled wine with too much rhum, standing inbetween the stands like sardines, the tightness luckily preventing them to fall over from alcohol intoxication, spreading the fun and joy of christmas around. Joy and peace everywhere.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

On monday I saw I cool band playing in the streets of Altona. Some policemen where hiding behind a corner. They wanted to listen to the band (which had songs like "Fuck the police..."), but as the band had no permission to play there... One of the policemen complained, that they always stop playing and run away when he comes closer to listen to the music. This is what I like about real democracies: Policemen are people too.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Rule no. one: PhD students have to be around all the time and to be at the disposal of higher ranked members of the group.

Rule no. two: PhD students have no right to use their desk, if a higher ranked PostDoc or something wants to use it, or if storage room is needed to put things on.

Rule no. three: PhD students should not think on their own and have to notify higher ranked members of the group about any small thing they do.

Rule no. four: PhD students are not allowed have a private life.

We had a fun and entertaining meeting yesterday. Well, not really fun, not really entertaining, but you might call it a meeting. Some of my colleagues seem to believe in Voodoo. If you put needles and pins into a PhD-student, it will hurt his boss. At least this was what they tried. There is a group leader which people not really like, one of the PhD student of this group leader did a talk and he was massacred with questions which they thought he would not be able to answer and his boss would have to show his ignorance. It did not work out well...

When our russian collegues did their talks, I nearly fell into a giggle loop when a colleague started to scribble "We must wait! All your tracks are belong to us! Somebody has set us up the bomb!..." on his notepad. It was getting really surreal. But the meeting was short. So not so bad at all.

The day continued with Sushi and Sauna, so overall it was a nice day following a great weekend. Some of my friends from Erlangen had come over to HH, which made me re-discover, that most of the fun hanging around in bars comes from whom you're with. My friends in HH are not as numerous and diverse that I would have as much fun as when I'm in Erlangen...
In the city where my parents live garbage collection has been privatized. The got a new trash can, which is labeled that you could put 50 liters in, but in fact it only is 47 liters (No, I did not measure it myself, but somebody did and complained in the newspapers). The will get completely new high-tech garbage collection trucks which will be manned by one guy only, the cans will be picked up by a robotic arm, weighted automatically (you have to pay by weight now...) and then emptied. So far this sounds slightly reasonable. But: you have to place the can exactly 1.312234 meters off the road side, there must not be any cars parking near the place where you put the can, it has to be oriented in an exact angle of 87.25 degrees with respect to the street and so on and so on. If you do not manage to fullfill all criteria, your garbage stays there and you can try again in two weeks (yes, they only come every second week!).

Another example how technology helps us to get a much more comfortable and easier life. Just put your garbage in your car, drive to some quiet spot and dump it in the woods. Much easier than coping with the garbage collection, also much cheaper...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I went to a pub today here in Hamburg with some friends. The special thing
about this pub is you get a keg of beer at your table. So we had a ten liter
one with five people, accompanied by a lot of fat food. When after a couple of
hours I wanted to pay with my credit card, I had to follow the waitress to the
credit card terminal. This waitress was a good looking blonde, seeming to be a
nice person. Until I tried to pay...

I had to put in the card into a reader. So, there is about fifteen ways to put
it in, I asked the waitress, how to do it. She said "oh, like that", so I put
it like that. "Oh, well, actually, no, the other way", so she tried to get the
card out again. Which didn't work, because some little thing, some hook, was
holding the card back, as the reader was trying to access the little chip on
it. She started complaining that I broke everything sticking it in too far
(mention the innuendo...) I, not knowing anything about credit card readers,
tried to get the card out again by trying the Cancel button, than starting to
push various other buttons. She keeping on complaining, complainig to her
collegues, complaining to her boss, what an Idiot I am, putting it in too
deep, and so on and so on...

After about a few seconds I got the card out again. She grabbed it from me,
"Now I will do it, you drunken old bastard" (actually, she frased it slightly more
polite...). What an arrogant bitch. I got two liters of beer, so I am slightly
drunk for sure. But bitching about because she does not understand how her
stupid card reader works and declaring me a stupid drunk idiot annoys me. I
might sound like boasting about my superiour intelligence, but she was
amazingly dumb and arrogant...

What really wonders me is, this keeps happening a lot the last few years. A
lot of the girls I meet turn out to be arrogant and dumb. And the few of
them who didn't, think I am a really nice guy, but...