Just kidding. I actually got more oreos and made another cup of earl grey to go along with second read of Matt Taibbi’s brilliant article. Things in this article that tickled me most:
Hunks of recent political history that #americants should know. (But then again, if we knew them we wouldn’t be #americant.)
Taibbi rips apart the Bush family and I can’t think of a family that deserves it more! Although Taibbi doesn’t go after those who voted for the Bush’s. Or does he? “Dinkley McBush.”
Making the comparison between Trump’s wrastling persona and the reality that #americants actually believe in wrestling means that Trump is the perfect presidential candidate for republican blue-collar voters.
The author mentions the German word backpfeifengesicht that is used by a psychologist when asked to describe Ted Cruz’s irritating face. It means: a face you want/need to slap.
Definitely worth a read once or twice along with worst-writer’s POV that Trump is what #americant has earned–not what it deserves.
Moving company arrives to begin packing. They’re an hour and half late. I order them sandwich rolls from local bakery and also get them some Cola. After a few hours of boxing, rolling glasses, listening to the screams of packing tape, I surprise them with an offer to buy lunch at a Greek diner a few doors down. They reluctantly accept but when they return they are very pleased. After that they immediately start working again. Six and half hours later about three quarters of our stuff is either packed or taken apart or prepared to be packed–except for our Ikea kitchen. That night we moved into an apartment-hotel in centre of Köln as there’s no way to sleep in our place.
The movers arrive in the morning on-time, a little after eight. They stayed the night in a local worker-hotel and by the sound of the foreman’s voice they splurged the money they saved by not having to buy lunch Wednesday. His voice sounded like expensive Aldi Schnapps. Yeah, that was part of my generous plan. More on that here. They finish packing all the furniture and deconstructing the kitchen. I’m amazed at how little damage the kitchen has sustained considering my cooking art which includes but is not exclusive to excessive alcohol priming. Of course, the floor is a mess.
Another very important thing happened on Thursday. We got the required paper work for Beckett, the killer pug–a huge relief–that allows us to import a small dog to India.
Another important happening: During the chaotic packing and apartment removal, we heard from our new employer in India that they changed our temp housing in Bangelore. We’ve been moved from the outskirts of the city to a hotel in the city centre. Reason for change? According to sources it has to do with the first hotel not willing to accommodate us for such a long stay. Either that or our company started to consider the bill of staying in a five-star hotel for up to two months. The good thing is, they moved us to another five-star hotel. So that doesn’t make much sense. The bad thing is, it’s the middle of Bangelore and that might not be good for walking Beckett, the killer pug. Of course, all of that is mute if we don’t find a place to live fairly quickly. Who knows how that will work itself out. We’ve been warned that in India things move rather slowly.
And while we’re on the subject of places to live, luckily there’s lots of info available on the Internet about housing and there seems to be plenty of houses, townhouses and condos to choose from. In hindsight, we should have had housing arranged or at least picked out some objects to choose from before our arrival. It would have been easy to do after our visit last November. Of the places we looked we could have directed our Relocation Officer (that’s right, such a job title exists) to pick out a few houses so that we pick from them as soon as we arrive. Oh well.
Be lazy. Have a cocktail at 11am. Worst-write. For example:
During the next few days we’ll be cleaning up our flat, prepping it for return to rental company on Monday. Btw, in Germany there is no clear legal distinction between landlord and renter. This is due to the simple fact that Germany is a collective. It is also a socialist, pseudo communist state. But that political ideology nonsense is neither here nor there. What’s important is that the collective state of Germany’s first priority is to offer the appearance of égalité. The Germans don’t even bother with the other parts of the French idear. The appearance of égalité is enough for the powers-that-be to keep the hard-working, BMW-driving riffraff at bay. Indeed, the German Mittelstand (middle class) is a passive and submissive bunch. Where the lie does shine, though, is when you move out of a rental apartment. For you see, dear worst-reader, (sarcasm on) in Germany, a landlord should not have any costs when it comes to owning real-estate–other than, of course, the costs it must pay to reimburse the bank for loaning money to buy the unit (sarcasm off). When you move out of an apartment in Germany you’re supposed to leave it renovated, hence the burden of ownership cost is transferred to the measly (riffraff) renter. This is reminiscent of how much of the German economy actually functions–or should I worst-write dysfunction? At the least, Germany is not the efficient machine that it projects to the world. If, on the other hand, the burdens/costs of the rich can’t be put on the shoulders of the Mittelstand riffraff or the poor, then all the collective does it raise taxes. That’s how Germans cook their books and pay for pensions and free university and tax havens in… wherever. So. There you have it. Germania explained. But before I get too far off track…
There’s also some paper work that needs to be done for Germany i.e. cancel GEZ (German compulsive TV tax), cancel land-line phone and ISP and also cancel cell contracts. In fact, once we got our Abmeldung (unregistration) notice (which was a pain in the ass and worth a separate post) and forwarded copies of it to all to these for-profit agencies, we promptly heard the following.
The land-line phone company and ISP immediately accepted the cancellation.
We’re still waiting on GEZ and will be notified while in India.
Vodafone immediately told us that they won’t accept our cancellation. Cell phone companies are a bit nit-picky, aren’t they? And that brings us to our next bureaucratic dilemma.
The Germans passed a law not long ago that if a cell company can’t maintain the original contract when someone moves, they HAVE to let the customer out of the contract. Since Germany is a collective state, i.e. everyone is tracked and watched and observed, it’s easy to know if a person HAS to move and under what circumstance. Even the German collective sees the burden of the riffraff having to deal with stubborn and greedy cell phone carriers. This in part relates to what I write about above regarding Abmeldung (deregistering). It works something like this:
You are required to register when you move from one residence to the next. I suppose the equivalent of this in the US is when you have to get a new driver’s license moving from one state to another. The difference though is that German residence is decouple from a German driver’s license. Of course, it doesn’t matter if you move within a state. So allow me to reiterate this very, very strange dystopian reality of the German collective. Whether you move from one corner of a city to another or from one part of the state to another you have to register at a state registration office notifying the collective of what you’re doing. The information you provide, though, is not just about your new address. You also have to provide proof of a rental contract or home ownership, proof of a job and income and proof you have children, if applicable, etc., etc., etc.
How this relates to a new telecommunications law is the following: As Germany struggles with globalisation, which equates with riffraff workers having to both work & live across large distances, too many people were getting screwed as the cellphone craze took shape. Buy your phone with company A in city A but then move or work in city B and find out that your phone service suddenly sucks bat balls and you screwed. Obviously Vodafone can’t fulfil our contracts where we’re going so we want out. Or can they fulfil them? I suppose non of that matters because cell phone companies, for whatever reason, seem to wield a lot of power over getting money out of people–and thereby doing very little for those people. Our situation will probably be something like this: Vodafone is already delaying our request because our contracts run out in July 2016 anyway. Unless we fight them through legal means we don’t have any chance of making them stop collecting money from us. And don’t get me started on bank transfers that are controlled by the cellphone company. Oh well.
Say goodbye to family, drink heavily again.
Finish prepping old apartment, final clean, discard/throw-away plants no one wants, clean mess/floor left by kitchen deconstruction, fill holes on walls from hanging stuff, and put throw-away Ikea stuff on the street where I ordered special trash pickup for Monday, etc.
Even though I’m writing this on Saturday night and Sunday morning, I’m gonna go out on a limb here. After our last weekend in Germany, sweating paperwork and bureaucracies and worrying about Beckett, the killer pug, and how he’ll handle the eight hour flight in a box, I’m finally getting the jitters. Ok. Maybe I’ve had them all along. But we’ve been so busy doing krapp, it hasn’t had time to sink in. Or? Anywho. All we have to do during our last hours in Germany is turn over our apartment, turn in our company car (goodbye Audi A5 Quattro and that shitty transmission!), turn in work assigned computer equipment and then spend our last night staring at the Kölner Dom!
The movers finished yesterday around 17:00. Paperwork followed and I eventually signed. My wife asked that I double check the list of packed stuff before signing it so I did that first. Of the hundreds of items listed on about six sheets of paper I only took notice of whether or not my office equipment, especially my Mac, was on it. It was. My wife asked if something of hers was on the list but I can’t remember what that was as I’m worst-writing this post in the wee-hours a day later. Nomatter.
Everything is on its way to India now. Well, it’s kinda on its way. Other than a lamp the movers forgot, we also got notice that the Indian authorities haven’t approved our shipping container for arrival on their shores. It’s just like when you board a plane from PHL to FRA. Airline at PHL has to get consent from FRA before it can even start. “A slight delay,” is all we got from the moving company. “Normal procedure,” they added. Oh well.
Since we don’t leave for a few more days, we’re staying at a corpo apartment hotel in the centre of Cologne. A very compact, one bedroom flat. It has a full kitchen but no dining area–which means meals from the couch and its “coffee” table. The last two nights we’ve come home pooped, opened something fancy to drink and rolled around the couch listening to music or reading. Of course, as usual, WIFI sucks in the hotel but then I noticed two ethernet jacks on the wall above the desk. Since I try to travel prepared, I whipped out an ethernet cable from the plethora of tech equipment I’m taking on our flight to India, where we’ll stay in a hotel for up to two months, or until our stuff arrives from Germany–and we’ve found a place to live…
Full stop. Breath. Start thought anew.
I plugged the Ethernet cable from my MBA into the jack. Btw, there are two jacks available and they are both labeled DV26. Jack-left is labeled A534, jack-right A673. Quickly I found out that jack-right doesn’t work. I plugged my cable into jack-left and got an immediate IP address. A few configurations on the hotel homepage–which doesn’t know the difference between WIFI and Ethernet–and we are up-n-running. Cool! Moving on.
No. Wait. Something more about ethernet jacks. Luckily this hotel has plenty of electrical outlets. When I joggled plugs for charging this or that device I noticed, next to an electric socket that I found under our bed, another set of Ethernet jacks. That’s strange, I thought. Why would a hotel suite have more than one Ethernet jack? The jack under the bed, btw, is on the floor, not on the wall. I then proceeded to look around the suite for more jacks. Surprise. There’s a third Ethernet jack under the kitchen sink. I looked more. There’s a fourth Ethernet jack in the closet, behind the safe. This boggled my mind for a few minutes. But then I looked to my wife and said, now I know why this suite is so oddly shaped. It used to be an office. Yeah. They converted an office building in the middle of Cologne to a hotel. But enough of my useless discoveries that are of interest to worst-minds.
Let’s worst-write about the movers and while doing so I’ll try to work up the courage to tell a really, really politically incorrect joke!
We pay movers a krapp load of money to move our stuff. In fact, part of our stuff goes in storage for up to three years in Germany. The rest is being shipped to India. Unlike a “normal” move from one German town to another, everything has to be packed and prepared for either storage or shipping. Hence it took two complete days from 8:00 to 17:00 to get it done. There were a total of four men working round the clock. Two to four more men came depending on the truck that was being filled. I have to admit, all-in-all, the mover’s logistics, i.e. timing between packing and moving stuff into trucks and vans, is worth commending.
All of the men were Polish and only two of them spoke broken German, one spoke broken English.
At around 12:00 yesterday they had finished all the packing. Our eighteen hundred square foot flat was full of boxes, wrapped furniture and two crates with a flatscreen TV and a our only original painting. I’m a little nervous about that constellation. At 14:00 the flat slowly began to empty-out. At 15:15 there was mostly dust and four years of grime–and a few things undone. The foreman was finalising papers that we would sign so they could finally get down the road. They were obviously eager to leave. The only problem was, undone things bothered me.
Moi: (to foreman) When we picked your company we were told that you would not only move everything out of this place but you would leave nothing behind. What’s that? (I point to a curtain rode hanging above the terrace entrance.)
Foreman: Not job.
Foreman: Not job. Nicht mein Arbeit. (He mimics me pointing to curtain rod.)
Can you believe it, dear worst-reader! They thought they could leave the friggin’ curtain rods on the walls. The one over the terrace entrance wasn’t the only curtain rod still hanging.
Moi: Come on, dude. You’re not finished yet. I’m not signing any papers if you don’t finish the job. There’s two more curtain rods upstairs and, btw, you haven’t removed a wall cabinet from the upstairs bathroom.
Foreman: Part of bathing room.
Foreman: Upstairs. Oben. Toilet. Cabinet part of bathe room.
Moi: No, it’s not. Remove it. Oh, and there are still some items on the terrace that ned to be packed and shipped.
Foreman: Work done. Here sign. (He points to papers and tries to hand me a pen.)
In the mean time, one of the young apprentices is up a ladder cursing in Polish at the curtain rod over the terrace entrance. I deduce that he stripped out a screw and is now complaining that he can’t remove the screws from the anchors in the drywall. Seriously? I stood there dumbfounded.
Moi: You do realise that you’ve packed all my tools and my ladders. If you don’t remove those curtain rods, who is going to remove them? By the way, we don’t own this flat, we rent it. Our landlord requires that when we move out it be returned without curtain rods and lights and all, I mean ALL, screw anchors.
Four Polish adult males and a lot of broken German starred my way during a long, thoughtful pause. I put my hands together like a mother-teresa and told them that I’ll not be signing any release forms until the bathroom is done, curtains are removed and…
Moi: …that broom, that bike trailer (for my dog), that silver flower pot are packed and all, I mean, ALL screw anchors–Dübels!–are removed.
Someone cursed in Polish but in a few minutes electric drills where working, aluminium ladders were being unfolded, the forgotten bike trailer was being put into the last remaining moving van. When I finally signed the papers releasing these men from their/my burden, I walked around the flat one last time. Would you know it, in the entrance foyer they forgot to remove a lamp from the ceiling.
With that in mind, dear worst-reader, I’m gonna go out on a limb and tell a really, really bad, politically incorrect joke that I learned when I was kid. But first, full disclosure. I was raised by a first-american born Polish stepfather. I experienced a lot of the Polish world in America during that time. This is just a joke.
Question: How many Poles do you need to change a ceiling lamp light bulb?
Answer: Three. One holds the light bulb and the other two turn the ladder.
As I’ve worst-said before, #americant doesn’t deserve #Trump2016 but it has earned it/him. With that in mind, dear worst-reader, I really enjoyed reading the news this morn about the Bush family dropping out of the 2016 race. For that I’m forever grateful to The Donald. And here’s my (ir)rational as to why I’m grateful. As far as I can tell, the Bush family has done at least two generations of damage to my beloved #americant. Alone dipshit Dubya’s tax cuts for the wealthy–an astonishing political achievement when one considers who, i.e. blue collar white people, voted for this guy (twice). The reason two generations are screwed is because–along with these batshit tax cuts–we are stuck in a perpetual war in the middle-east. The reality of paying for both has yet to even be approached. If millennial’s are angry about their future because they are ridden with student debt and can’t get jobs valued enough to pay-off those debts, well, that’s screwed generation #1. Screwed generation #2 is anyone under sixty working for a living. “Prosperity” for the masses who work for a living is simply non-existent. Of course, since I jumped ship over twenty years ago where I said out loud that the results of Reaganomics is an unmitigated disaster, I’ve learned to live a life of comfort, be a father to my son, take care of my hard working wife and live comfortably within rational, debt-free means. Does that make me better than anyone else and worthy of the feeling I’m trying to transcribe in this silly blogpost? Of course not. But it does make my 30k foot flight over my beloved #americant that much more painfully sweet. I found refuge in socialist states on pastures that are less green and thereby the whole time kept peeking out that fuselage window to the grand happenings below–always with tears running down my face because of how much I miss home. And so. All I can (still) say is this: how the hell do the same people that elected dipshit Dubya twice, i.e. angry white blue collar workers + greed monger baby-boomers, now think that The Donald is gonna save them? Seriously? Really? (Short pause.)
I’m just glad that this morn some pretty bad people with a track record of being awful and ugly and evil and war-mongers and murderers… are gone. Hopefully it’ll last and the evil womb of the Bush family can fade away. Go Donald. Go Bernie. Go Hillary!
As usual, dear worst-reader, worst-writer is shocked. (But I’m not surprised.) I’m shocked that #americants once again just don’t get it. I mean, come on. Do you really believe that Blackberry died such a tragic death because the Canadians are so bad at managing a corporation? Or could the whole demise of Blackberry have something to do with the fact that it lost its edge in security? Ok. Ok. I have absolutely nothing to substantiate a claim that Blackberry went under because it lost-out on the secure-phone game. But I can say this: the fact that Apple has to answer to the US government because it made products that are secure enough to prevent a multi-billion-dollar funded security apparatus from cracking customer passwords…. Yeah. ‘Nough said. With that in mind, let’s do a worst-writer run-down of what’s happened here so far.
Yet another horrific murder spree takes place in San Bernardino, CA, USA. This murder spree is different than any other murder spree because, well, it was committed by… (wait for it) “terrorists”.
One of the murderers possesses an iPhone, which, btw, was issued by his US employer.
After the murder spree and during the subsequent criminal investigation of it, it’s determined that the culprit shut off the auto back up settings of his US employer issued iPhone.
When the US authorities discovered that a few days of backups were missing they decided that they needed that information in order to further their investigation.
The US authorities, via court order, requested that Apple provide a means to crack the security settings of their iPhones. In other words, Apple has to rewrite its iPhone operating system so that US investigators can attempt to re-install the new operating system on the phone they want to crack. If that works, then US investigators will attempt to “brute force” cracking the iPhone and its user’s access password.
Brute-forcing a password means nothing more than being able to submit millions upon millions of password inputs on the phone. Preventing multiple inputs of passwords is the fundamental means of securing the device.
Ok. I’ll stop there. But if you get a chance to see the video I’ve linked to in this post (see above), heed this: the entire conversation about this issue is wrong. The fact that Apple’s security methodology is being discussed means nothing more than the US has failed after it has invested multiple trillions of taxpayer dollars into a system that was unable to do anything about… the Boston bombing, 9/11, London, Madrid, Paris…
Once again, #americant and the automatons that are part of its hugely expanded government protection apparatus have failed. But then again, failing upwards is winning. And so. While failing all one has to do is tap into the ingenuity of corporatist that don’t fail (as much) and all that taxpayer waste will be fine. Or maybe not. Good luck suckers. And…
Actually I prefer Mehrkornbrötchen but every once-a-once I splurge and have a (regular) Brötchen smeared with a minimal amount of Nutella. Minimal! The splurging on my diet, though, will change soon because in India there is no Brötchen. I’m sure there’s plenty of Nutella. (Aghast! Short pause.) Oh. And. No! Bread Rolls are not a substitute for Brötchen. Remember: what the baguette is to the French, Brötchen is to Germanins. As far as this Amii living in Germania goes, I have to admit–even though I’ve refused to go 100% native during my twenty-plus year here–I have grown to adore the incredible assortment of bread. I will miss it.
And while I’m on the subject of grandland Germania…
Due to early rising and the gloom of forever bureaucracy I missed my Brötchen by spending the morning at the Cologne registry office (Meldebehörde) trying to get de-registered. That’s right, dear worst-reader, in the grandland of modern Germania one has to register with a register office in order to live–or leave. That is, if you don’t register:
No bank account
No landline phone
No cell phone contract
No this or that and more of NO to everything.
The problem is, since we are leaving the country for a few years we have to also de-register because, well, we want to stop paying all that money for services that we no longer need (see bullet list above). Problem? The only way to cancel these services is by proving that we no longer live in Germania. Problem? The only way to prove that we no longer live in Germania is to de-register at the Germania registry office. That’s a pretty simple concept ain’t it? No. It’s not.
Obviously the bureaucrats of Germania have their reasons for this level of civil control. (And, yes, that’s exactly what registry is.) It’s just that when bureaucracy exceeds what should be a certain level of decorum on the part of automaton administrators of that bureaucracy, how is one supposed to react? The experience of de-registering was so bad this morning that I thought I was going to die because of over-heated blood. But before my blood starts to boil again by simply recalling what we went through this morning, allow me to share my (in)ability to type properly while I tweeted something as my wife (better-half) took care of things.
Moving and proving move are two different things for German bureaucracy. Add to that a move abroad. Germans don know how to handle it. …
We sat in front of a mindless automaton this morning attempting to de-register from Germania. This entails being able to “prove” that we are moving out of our apartment. In order to “prove” such a thing we must have a document from our landlord stating that we’ve moved out. But get this. We are leaving before our lease runs out–two months before it runs out, to be exact. According to the rules/laws established by Germania and its registry offices, legally our landlord can’t prove whether or not we’ve actually moved out before the end of our lease.
Let me put that in other words. Our lease is up at the end of April, 2016. We move to India March 1, 2016. Actually, we move out of our apartment Feb. 25, 2016. But none of that seems to matter to anyone in the register office. Nor does it matter that we are required to pay two months rent to our landlord although in that time we will not be living in our apartment. Yeah, that’s our problem, as well. Keep in mind, notice of our move was given in January 2016. Because Germanin laws protect landlords (and, of course, stiff renters) we’re screwed out of two months rent. Who cares about that at the register office. But you know what? That’s not even the worst of our troubles.
As stated above, Germania, for whatever mindless reason that can only remind one of a world transcribed by Dostoyevsky or Gogol, we have to get proof of our moving out in order to stop paying for things that we no longer will be using (see button list above). But we can’t legally get proof because we’ll already be in India when our lease runs out. According to Germania law, our landlord can’t say we’ve moved out if our lease isn’t up. You got that, dear worst-reader?
When we sit with the automaton to clarify this, does she offer us a solution to the problem of moving out before the lease is actually up and getting proof of our move? No, of course not. Using a demeanour reminiscent of a scrooge or an evil stepmother, she insists that our problem (proof of moving out) is not her problem. The good things is, while all this mindlessness goes on and my blood boils and I almost die, my (Germanin) wife–who is facing this level of her own country’s bureaucracy for the first time–handles it well. Indeed. Just before I was about to explode, my wife–using the skills that obviously rocketed her career to where she is today and where she’ll be in India soon–was able to convince the automaton across from us to wake the fuck up. A call was made to some dipshit high-level automaton at a bigger registry office in the city centre. All the while yapping and zapping goes on and on and we sit impatiently. (Or is it just me that lost patience?) After about thirty minutes of yapping the news comes back that an exception will be made. Well good for us, eh.
There really is little positive I can say regarding my experience as an ausländer in Geramania. Alone the bureaucracy and rudeness I’ve faced is worth all my wrath. But I stuck it out for two reason and two reason alone. One is my wife and the other is my son. Now that my son made it to the ripe and legal age of eighteen and he’s in the process of ending his studies, a better time couldn’t come for trying some new horizons. Hence, India here we come. Indeed. And btw. I will not only miss Brötchen. I can’t wait for my son to come visit us in India asap.
Rant on. -Tommi
PS I know. I know. But we can only hope that the bureaucracy in India that we will face is a bit more human than that of Germania.
Got this message today when I tried to access my site in order to… rant on. My first thought: What the hell! Then all enthusiasm went asunder. Getting the rational part of my brain to shrug off all the booze I’ve been drinking, I googled the problem and quickly realised it is a common problem among those naive ones who decide to host a wordpress site on AWS. As usual, when these type of tech messages come my way I freak out. Why? I hear Walter Sobczak from The Big Lebowski during these moments.
“Shut the fu*k up Tommi! You’re out of your league!”
Luckily a bit more googling brought me to an easy solution (the ringer). Well, it is the solution for the time being. Obviously with an “error” like this one can never know what’s really going on in the confines of server darkness. Till then the solution is thus:
sudo service mysqld restart
Once I did that, worstwriter was up and running again. Of course, I wish it would just work. You would think it should just work. But I suppose this is what we moochers have to deal with in a world of glorified typewriting. Or?