Über Health Insurance Money To Burn Equals Butcher Doctors Galore

doctors recommended treatment
The doctor post-it treatment recommendation.

About ten years ago I got a nasty tick bite between my big toe and my pointer toe on my left foot. I was doing some garden work visiting family in my beloved #americant and I wore sandals when I should have worn boots. Although I managed to get the tick off without much hassle, the swelling and puss coming out of the wound that was left behind became unbearable by the next morning. I jumped in my rental car and drove to a wal-mart-like clinic in town that my sister recommended. When asked by the receptionist if I had insurance I told her I did but that I lived in Germany. Looking at my insurance card she said, “Oh, I don’t even know where to begin with a language like that.” I then told her that depending on the cost, I’d rather pay directly. “Oh, ok then,” she said. “I need a credit card.” I gave her my German credit card and took my place among the many in the waiting room and filled out the patient questionnaire. Eventually a young Indian doctor helped me by opening the tick bite, cleaning it out and giving me some antibiotics. “Within a day or two you will be right as rain,” he said. Upon leaving the clinic, the receptionist charged my credit card eighty dollars.

I got hit in the knee by a van in the early afternoon last Thursday while riding my bike. The pain and swelling made me go to a nearby emergency room that same evening. Hoping only to get an x-ray to see if I had broken anything, I entered an ordeal that ended up consuming days, hours in waiting rooms and numerous doctors that confused me more than when confronted by Pam Anderson speaking Chinese. As of the worst-writing of this worst-post, I’ve had x-rays, CT scans and even my first MRI. I’ve been given crutches, a leg brace and even some sodium-something-or-other that I’m self injecting to prevent thrombosis because I’m not supposed to move my left leg.

anti thrombosis injection

As you may or may not know, dear worst-reader, Germany has a fairly decent national healthcare system. If you were to ask me if I utilise that system I would answer: fcuk no! Reason for the expletive is another post. Reason that I’ve always been a skeptic regarding national health insurance systems will be dealt with in the rest of this worst-post.

Indeed. After all the care I’ve been given regarding my knee in the past few days only two things stand out about the whole ordeal.

  1. I will not see a doctor bill for all the care I’ve been receiving and I wish I could/would see it.
  2. No one. And I mean no one in this (sarcasm on) amazing (sarcasm off) healthcare system has asked me once about how it came to be that I was hit by a van while riding my bike.

But before I get too deep into bitching & moaning about Germans and how the only thing they have to offer the world is über-priced luxury mass produced cars driven and designed by idiots, let me just say this: the German national healthcare system sucks! It sucks batballs. It blows horny goat-mules that have herpes on their penises. If German healthcare were a duck I’d shoot it with my twelve gauge and cook it up in a witches pot only to throw it away and bury it to prevent others from eating it. Then I’d gorge on self-pity-candy till I throw up unicorn puke. Oh. And I hate things.

Or maybe not.

I warned my better half after the initial emergency room visit after that fcuking van hit me that I would have to be careful regarding my care. “I’m not worried about the costs, honey, of course. But I am worried about what THEY could do to me,” I said. My better-half laughed and smirked as only a well-off German, spoiled by the spoils of The Marshall Plan, can. By the end of my initial emergency room endeavour things were clear: there was a limit to how much care I would get and, more importantly, on whose terms that care would take place. And so, they took some x-rays of my knee. From the x-rays they thought I had a tibial plateau fracture but said, because of lack of personnel, I would have to come back in the morning to get a CT scan, which would show more bone detail. I returned bright and shinny the next morning and, without much wait, got my CT scan. Conclusion? No fracture. Then the doctor in the hospital recommended a MRI scan to see if there was soft tissue damage. When the doctor tried to arrange the MRI she came back saying that I would first have to go to a regular doctor. Obviously the hospital had booked what it could off my insurance up to that point and obviously reached a limit. In order to get the further care–that they were recommending–I would have to go to another (different) doctor. Yeah, that makes sense. Or? They either work like a team or they work in collusion. I found a local orthopaedic doctor online. Let the circus begin!

The orthopaedic specialist, without even examining me, gave me a prescription for an MRI of my knee. Should I be thanking the heavens now, I thought. Because of demand, though, I would have to wait till June 20 to get the MRI done. Oh really! Luckily my neighbour was a radiologist and could squeeze me in at her hospital the next day. I only had to wait till Monday to return to the orthopaedic specialist with the new pictures. Bright and early on Monday I waited a full hour and a half in his waiting room. When I finally got to see the doctor–again without ever even touching my knee–he was reading from the MRI report–he never even looked at the pics–he recommended an operation to fix some minor cartilage damage.

Whaaaaaaaaa!

“But doctor, don’t you even want to look at my knee?”

He arrogantly pointed to the document from MRI doctor. At the same time he was massaging the back of his throat with the temple tips of his rimless glasses. He sat down in the exam room while I remained standing.

“But doctor, when I was younger I didn’t treat my knees well as I wasted a great deal of intellectual time playing highschool sports in suburban hell #americant and chasing girls. Till my mid-thirties I regularly jogged five to eight miles three or four times a week and also ran away from girls. I had to give up jogging because of a bone cyst that had developed on my left achilles which I got from an injury when I was young–running away from girls. By my early forties I had learned that my left leg was two centimetres shorter (or longer?) than my right leg–and this was caused by marriage and no longer running away from girls. Since my late forties I’ve been limping regularly, especially after heavy rains and three divorces…”

“Wait. Please, please,” the doctor said. “I would recommend two doctors for the operation on your knee. One of the doctors might be a problem to schedule because of your insurance. You don’t have good insurance. The other doctor will do it but it may take a year before he can.”

Whaaaaaaaa!

Let’s be clear here. I have the right as a blogger and useless eater to bitch & moan about everything. Yet why do I favour paying eighty dollars at a wal-mart-like clinic than having a system pay thousands upon thousands of Euros for care that ultimately has nothing to do with caring? Obviously it’s not right to compare a tick bite to a meniscus injury. So I guess what I’m really getting at is the fact that I have great health insurance yet when I consider what it is that doctors do with that insurance I get pissed off as though nothing is… right as rain.

Without even touching my knee or asking a question about how I felt or even how I got to his clinic that morning the only thing the doctor with the fancy Porsche could come up with was that I needed an operation.

Butchers. They are all fcuking butchers.

doctors parking spot
You know what they say: someone’s gotta pay for the priority parking of the doctor’s Porsche.

Would you believe that at his clinic there are no parking spaces for patients but he has a lone spot near the front entrance of his clinic. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t care what kind of car a doctor can afford to pay interests rates on. I’m seriously not a class fighter here. I’m just pissed off at the fact that a national healthcare system is ultimately nothing but a conduit for money transference galore.

Oh. As far as my knee is concerned. I can walk but I’m not ready to run. I can pedal a bike no problemo. There is still some swelling so I hope I don’t have an issue with water-on-the-knee. There is no acute pain only some stiffness. I’m wearing one of those fancy (and expensive) compression bandage/stockings that really does the trick.

Stay healthy, baby.

Rant on.

-T

Links that may or may not coincide with the post:

Glass Cliff, Glass Ceiling Or How Her Corporate Soul Is Made Of As Much Nothingness As His

glass shattered

I’ve always had a problem with motherhood being on a pedestal. Is it because I was hatched? Procreation is more of a disease than something worth a baby shower and the happy wonderland consequence that is the lie of family life. I suppose that could mean I’m only partly misogynistic or just General Schmuck. Anyone remember Schmuck? He was the undersecretary of the military that served in Patton’s underpants and it is said he was lost behind a tank that made a wrong turn while hunting Rommel in North Africa carrying both a victory flag and roll of red, white and blue toilet paper. Then again, I’ve got no prejudice in my life because loss and Victoria, a grand ole bitch I’ve been fcuking for years, won’t leave me till I’m dead. And you know what they say, eh, dear worst-reader? It takes two to blame one in this game of touch and feel and everything is ok. I mean, come on, would we (men) really go for the family thing if given a choice these days? Trust me. Hatching the future is definitely worth a try. Or would we rather run off to some war-of-choice with the booty of expensive gas to cruise our broken streets in our broken and never-paid-off cars? Oh, isn’t it obvious how we ( men?) have been tricked? Played? Jerked ’round? Obviously males did go for this back in the day. Back in the day when dragging multiple wives into caves by their hair and our knuckles was a worthwhile undertaking. An undertaking that is reflected so clearly in how the world works today for the corporate state. But I’m off subject. Or maybe not.

Oh yea–we were worst-discussing my prejudices.

And so #1a

I simply hate everybody and almost everything. With that in mind, there’s no reason to feel special if I call you out for a having uterus–and a mind incapable of dealing with it–especially considering how the outer part of the feminine sells that uterus.

And so #1b

I do not hate the perfect balance between man and the uterus machine–if it can be achieved–especially in that which is manifested in a perfectly tuned turbo-charged V–8 that when given the gas it presses uterus (Her) so completely to the back of the passenger seat that breasts poke out and beg the driver-male to play another game. Hence youthful if not teenage sexuality aloft in the sky full of your candy clouds. I also find perfection in pistachio ice cream slowly blended into Napoleon ice cream after fcuking the entire day while laying in a field of daffodils and quaker oats mixed in real maple syrup. Beyond that, I gladly and openly live the life of a humble and powerless cartoon-like monarch-god that is angry and bitter and ashamed–for the sake of shame. I only blame part of what I am on the other sex because of Her desire to lock males into the uselessness of romantic love run amok in a world where pornography earns more than (insert your industry of choice here). Pornography, btw, isn’t as profitable as it is just because men want to spank it all the time. Indeed #1.

And so #2

At the behest of my better-half, the Vladimir Putin of my life, I am a man destined, like Russia, to be ruled by two-bit dictators with tits. For that, like many Russians, I am thankful because I have been endowed with

  1. a well-careered wife and
  2. a society that couldn’t save itself from itself–if it had to.

And so #3

This life that has been chosen for me because society (or is it sobriety?) has no choices left. I consider this (life) as an endeavour that is not without career and corporatist leanings. Indeed #2. We are all a slave to something. I see first-hand the unjust behaviorisms that influences not only mine but my better-half’s life–and the life of so many around me that must or are so willingly employed by the man. But enough about alter egos, wishful thinking and the admiration I abhor of those who are have-mores in the corporate world of their have-choice. And so…

I came across a new piece of feminism v emancipation yesterday: Glass Cliff. Would you believe, dear worst-reader, I had never heard of the glass cliff–until yesterday? I’ve heard of the glass ceiling, thanks to you-know-who. But the glass cliff…

The glass cliff is a term that describes the phenomenon of women in leadership roles, such as executives in the corporate world and female political election candidates, being likelier than men to achieve leadership roles during periods of crisis or downturn, when the chance of failure is highest.

As far as the origin of this nonsense?

While reading an article about the demise of Uber the other day, i.e. a corporate tech entity that is nothing if not a smart-ass corporation to join all smart-ass corporations. It’s being said that a female might be picked to help them turn things around. Seriously? Hasn’t the industry learned by now? What? Marissa Mayer not enough? What about Carly Fiorina? Should I even go down the list of female superheroes that save the world and the men around them? No. Defiantly not. So here’s the thing.

Uber should be about connecting people with immediate mobility and thereby utilising the simplicity of modern technology. Instead it is a platform–a middleman, if you will–that tries to take advantage–or as corporate smart-asses like to put it: disrupt–the taxi industry. The platform on which this money is exchanged is the genius of Uber. Yet, like most who make money on a platform, they have forgotten that the platform must also have a purpose–other then their own greed. And I’m really rambling now.

When I discovered the term glass cliff my heart lost two more beats. I’m so sorry that the feminine not only has to deal with my bull$hit but also that of others–who are so much more than worst-moi.

Good luck, ladies.

Rant on.

-T

Links that motivated this post:

This post was created w/ writing software that utilises markdown and then uploaded to this blog; what the hell that means I have no idear. Good luck.

Random Moments Of Consumption Galore Or How To Get Your Kicks While On Route To 666

route us 666

Moments I recall that are all–must be?–part of today’s #americant opioid problem galore (see links below). The funny thing about this little list of recollections is that all the parties involved had something to do with Vegas. …I think.

Moment #1

While drinking a beer and waiting for an international flight at PHL a few years back I’m sitting between Cutie and Young Gun at a pub. Cutie asks if I’ve got any Speed because she doesn’t want to fall asleep on the plane before she arrives in Vegas.

“Speed?” I ask. “The last time I heard someone your age use that term I was working post production on the movie Vanishing Point?”

There is a pregnant pause while Young Gun on my other side rummages around in his shoulder bag and Cutie frivolously contemplates my response by turning her head to the side like a pug.

Cutie can’t be more than thirty-five and is dressed in expensive clothes that look as though they might come from Über-GAP. She’s thin, tight and probably walks on heels as though they are tennis shoes. She’s got a beautiful leather shoulder bag and one of those small Tumi rolling suitcases that’s glossy black. Since I’m on an evening flight to Europe I’m wondering why, with a five hour flight to Vegas, that will put her there in the early evening, she needs to be awake. Nomatter.

The pause is over and so is my mix with Cutie. Young Gun answers her question.

“I’ve got some Ritalin,” Young Gun says.

Cutie smiles and, as if I’m not even there, reaches across my face, the hair of her forearm is thicker than mine, and takes two pills out of Young Guns right palm. The pills have a dove engraving on one side and a sideways 8 on the other.

Moment #2

While visiting family in rural Virginia I’m out grocery shopping for the family dinner. I’m having a hard time finding wet mozzarella cheese in the huuuuugeness of the store. I make my over to the deli counter and stand in front of the glass next to a few people hoping I could get some answers and/or directions to what I’m looking for. Three clerks are desperately slicing and packing deli stuff behind the counter when I over hear two people waiting in line next to me, who obviously haven’t seen each other in quite a while, chit-chat.

Pseudo-Friend 1: It’s good you’ve been well. You look great.

Pseudo-Friend 2: Yeah, not always the case. But thanks.

Pseudo-Friend 1: Say, do you still have any of that… (I can’t make out what she says).

Pseudo-Friend 2: Sure. Got some right here. You want?

Pseudo-Friend 1: Oh. You’re a doll-baby. This is my day!

One of the clerks is talking to a customer she just gave sliced honeyed ham and mentions how she, unlike most people in the store that she is obviously referring to, isn’t gonna inherit anything like everybody else is. I can’t help but catch a glimpse of the clerks rotting teeth as she talks to much making other customers wait. I think to myself, this is 2015 America! Who has teeth here like our dentally challenged inbred cousins in Engaland? Deli clerks do. Obviously. Oh my. Should rotten teeth be in/around deli meats?

It’s Pseudo-Friend 2’s time to order. While rummaging through her purse she belts out the ounces for honeyed-ham, spiced turkey, salami and a few others. When she’s done ordering and the rotten teeth clerk goes about gathering it all, she finds what she’s looking for in her purse but before she takes it out she turns to me.

Pseudo-Friend 2: Bit nosey today, eh mister good-lookin.

Smiling at me she pulls a small plastic pouch out of her purse that is sealed with a twist tie. The pouch is filled with what looks like white crumbs mixed with powder. She then notices her error.

Pseudo-Friend 2: Oh wait. Wrong one.

She returns to rummaging in her purse but then pauses and puts one hand on the shoulder of Pseudo-Friend 1.

Pseudo-Friend 2: Don’t worry, I’ve got it. By the way, when were you last in Vegas?

Pseudo-Friend 1: Funny you should ask. I’ll be there tomorrow afternoon. I’m just buying my kids some supplies for the weekend. They just love the ham from this deli.

I notice Pseudo-Friend 1’s shopping cart is full of chips, frozen hamburger patties, paper plates, hotdog buns, relish, frozen pizzas, pickles, plastic containers full of potato salad, ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc., etc. Her cart alone is a fourteen year old’s dream. I guess.

Pseudo-Friend 2 removes another plastic pouch with a different colour twist tie. The pouch is full of at least twenty or so green pills. She hands the pouch to her pseudo-friend and then turns to me again.

Pseudo-Friend 2: What’s the matter, good-lookin, never seen the white rabbit before.

Pseudo-Friend 1 holds up the pouch for a few seconds so that I could inspect it. The pills all have the indentation of a rabbit.

Moment #3

Friends of my mother are having a family crisis. Because of an illness their son has been transferred to a hospital in Baltimore. When I hear them say that they are afraid to make the drive (they are very old) I volunteer to drive them. They are grateful. After I drop them off the hospital I park the car and proceed to take a walk around the city. I eventually find a coffee shop (yea, you know which one) and order a double espresso, a bottle of fizzy water and an oatmeal cookie. I find a window seat where I hope to take in the scenery of my beloved #americant and the vibrance I’ve been missing since becoming an expat a quarter century ago.

Within moments of sitting down, just after my first sip of espresso, two young people (mid-twenties maybe) sit at a table near me. They both have über large paper cups of what I guess are lattés. One of them has brought the sugar dispenser from the condiments table with him, including three or four wooden stirrers. One guy grabs the sugar dispenser and begins to fill his über-cup as though there is no tomorrow. The other takes one of the stirrers and stirs his latté with the same vehemance. The guy with the sugar has filled his cup so much that the frothy milk begins to overflow, dripping onto the table. I’m waiting for the other guy to grab the sugar dispenser but he doesn’t. He just stirs and stirs and stirs.

Sugar: You need to be there for brunch on Sunday.

Stirrer: I told you. There are no more flights. I’m on standby but you know how it is with Vegas on the weekends.

Sugar: Why didn’t you book earlier?

Stirrer: Come on. I’ll get there. I’m leaving for Miami tonight. I should get there Saturday evening. Worse case, I’ll arrive Sunday morning and rush to the hotel.

Sugar: Yea, right.

Stirrer: By the way, how’d it go the other night. You like the new mix?

Sugar: It was good. I’m not sure I noticed much of a difference to last time. But it was good. You got anymore?

Stirrer puts a small pink envelope in front of Sugar. Sugar looks in it. Sugar smiles.

Rant on.

-T

Links that motivated this post:

Hit By A Van Almost Down By The River And It Was Obviously My Fault. #Hooray!

hit by a van
It’s true. Behind the tall building in the background is the Rhine River.

What an exciting afternoon in good ole Germania. Have I volunteered, dear worst-reader, what I actually think about my expat host country? Well, there’s no time like the present to NOT volunteer such things. With that in mind, I was hit by a van today while riding my new über e-bike through the city. As you can see in the pic above, I was on the reddish bidirectional bike path and the van was blocking it while trying to rush into traffic. After using my bike’s bell and giving off a whistle, the female (in the pink/purple sweatshirt who was in the passenger seat) looked me right in the eye as I approached the van. Then I noticed, to my own detriment, that the driver of the van, the guy on the far right with the striped short-sleeve shirt, didn’t even bother to look both ways before entering traffic. Without very little consideration on my part–or being a bit brain dead as only I can be while riding a bike–I proceeded to continue on my route thinking (blindly hoping?) that the eye-contact I had with the passenger-chick was enough, so I proceeded to circumvent the van from his front. Obviously (obviously?) that was my error. And allow me to reiterate: The driver never looked to his right–even though he was blocking a bidirectional bike path. And so. Just as I was in front of the van the driver proceeded onto the roadway hitting me on my left knee and knocking me off my über e-bike. Fortunately I caught the fall with my right leg and didn’t body slam the road. I then limped off to the side as a young man–the thin guy with the shoulder bag and the blue jacket–came from around the corner and picked up my bike (not pictured but you can read about it here). The young man then proceeded to start asking me questions as I was dealing with the pain that the van had shoved into my left leg.

left leg hit by van
Those other scars below the current skin abrasion from today’s van are from another brain-dead bike fall last year after which I always ride with a helmet now!

“Are you a doctor,” I asked the young man.

“No. I’m a medical student,” he answered.

“Should I call the police,” I asked the young man.

“Not really sure. Don’t know if they can do anything,” the young man said.

“Aren’t you supposed to always call the police in a situation like this,” I asked.

“Not if it’s not serious,” the young man said.

“Was this situation my fault,” I asked.

By that time everyone had come together, see top pic. As soon as I uttered the word “fault” everyone, EVERYONE, Germans one n’all, answered:

JA!

eagle in van that hit me
American steel doesn’t want me dead. Yet.

And so, dear worst-reader, heed this as you bitch & moan about #Trumpism and the world of greed you have created: there are only two things that mean ANYTHING today–especially in good ole Germania. One, of course, is money. The other is The Automobile and all that that entails. And so. While traversing through Germania make sure you watch every possible way and direction from where a car/van can hit you. Because even if you are hit, it WILL be your fault. On the other hand, if you do get hit, I hope you too will be hit by a car from your home country that has an American Bald Eagle in its grill. Yeah, baby.

Rant & Ride safe.

-T

PS I’m fine. Just a bit of knee pain but I’ve got it wrapped as I worst-write this.

PSS The down by the river thing:

“You kids are probably saying to yourself, “Now, I’m gonna go out, and I’m gonna get the world by the tail and wrap it around and put it in my pocket!” Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re probably gonna find out, as you go out there, that you’re not gonna amount to jack squat!” You’re gonna end up eating a steady diet of government cheese and living in a van down by the river!” -Matt Foley SNL

Pseudo Review #2: 1000KM On The Charger GX Touring Or How To Spend Stupid Money Smartly (I Hope)

R-M Charger GX Touring Rhein 2

Part 1 of this pseudo-review is here.

Update: day after worst-writing this I was on my über e-bike and got hit by a van. But it was my fault, I guess.

Summary:

  • Heavy bike that feels light due to motor and balance.
  • Although GX tires are loud on the road, they are also smooth and agile and don’t feel like off-road tires at all, even in turns.
  • Brakes are nothing less than fantastic.
  • The motor makes carrying full Orlieb side bags, easily pushing 25kg limit, and six bottles of wine strapped to the front rack, feel as though I was riding through the park, down a hill and the wind was in my back.
  • The dealer where I bought this e-bike is definitely below par (even though one of the guys that works there is great at explaining stuff).
  • The kickstand is very durable and stabile–even when loading full side bags to the rear rack.
  • Not sure about the wide and oddly shaped handlebars; still evaluating.
  • Replacing dealer issued cheap pedals with real pedals (to burn more money) a must!
  • I can’t actually say that there’s a whole lot of “measuring” going on–as claimed by Bosch & Co.–between pedal cadence, speed and pressure. The motor just seems to push when I push–even from a stand still, which is kind of strange and requires some getting used to. The bike will literally lunge ahead of you from a stand still and I’m getting used to making sure that I don’t start the bike from a stoplight where the pedal is in the up position.
  • Even though one can adjust the power settings at will, I’m finding it imperative to have the bike in the right gear when starting from a stop.

Disclaimer: Probably as I worst-write this worst-post I’m just now surpassing the 1000km mark on my new e-bike. With that in mind, are you asking how it is that I can ride an e-bike and chew gum at the same time, i.e. worst-write a/this blog post about it? Wow. What a great question. To that I can only answer…

The Bike.

R&M Charger was the right choice–for us. The other bike/brand we considered, i.e. Stromer, is as good a build as R&M with the difference being utility and, perhaps, the cool factor (the Stromer wins that one). The Charger offers the most robust, durable, useful, confidence I’ve ever had on a bike. With that in mind, I better stop inversely-lamenting before I cum all over this post.

charger gx touring on bike rack
Maintenance is mainly keeping the chain and derailleur clean.

Two Chargers.

Did I mention that we bought two Chargers? My wife has the Charger Mixte Nuvinci. Since she (still) works for the man, she’s the one that continues the sinners life and uses a car most of the time to get to work. After initial research and a bit of trial & error, though, we’ve also found out how she can use her Mixte to replace her car. Of course, she’s not an all-weather biker. When it’s not raining or too cold and her busy management schedule allows it, in the morning she’ll ride her Mixte to our local (regional) train station, about 5km. There she’ll board the train where the bikes are allowed and ride (about 25km) to a train stop near her office campus. From there she’ll proceed the remaining 10km to work. After work she rides the whole way home, about 45km.

Charger Mixte Nuvinci for the wife
Other than handle-bars, stem and seat, I love the Mixte, too!

Purpose.

  • The perfect grocery-getter and general errand runner.
  • Trek on or off-road to city centre of Düsseldorf (20km) or Köln (45km).
  • Great for picnics, country side or even travel to nearby cities and villages. The huuuuuge difference here to conventional biking is the fact that we can double or even triple (more?) the distance travelled.
  • Combined Euro-trains, I’m hoping that these things will be an even robuster car replacement than we originally thought.

Range

  • Longest ride so far: ca 75km.
  • Still had 2 out of 5 bars of battery life when I got home.
  • Battery charge time between 2-4 hours.
charger gx touring locked
How I lock my bike when I’m in town, shopping or collecting bribery fees.

One key, two roles.

The Charger GX comes with an Abus folding lock and it’s own carrying case that is attached to the bike’s rear rack. The key to the lock is the same key that secures the battery–which, I guess, is a good thing. I have no need to remove the battery, though. I suppose, if I lived where the bike would be in a cellar or basement that has no electric socket, let’s say, in an apartment house, then I would have to take the battery with me to charge it, thereby requiring me to unlock it from the frame. As of yet, I have no use for the dual role of the Abus key.

The Abus lock.

It’s taken a bit to get used to the folding lock but I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m still worried how it bangs on the thin spokes of the wheels as I usually insert it through the rear wheel and the frame. Although the lock is too short for securing the bike to a pole or fence using it, I’ve added a steel cable that I also feed through the front wheel. At the least I’ve got both quick lock wheels secured. I would never use this method to lock the bike somewhere in the city overnight but I do feel secure about it while I’m in the city during the day. Btw, I store the cable along with various tools that I always ride with in one of the rear bags.

That rack (in the front).

I was skeptical about the front rack after I picked up the bike. I even contemplated removing it after the first few rides. But I’ve since come to my senses. Rated, according to the owner’s manual, at only 3kg, I’m sure I’ve carried at least 6 to 10KG on it so far. I’ve already used the front rack to deliver cake (while visiting friends which was stored in a heavy plastic container and wrapped in one of them big, blue Ikea shopping bags and then attached with bungee cords). I’ve also used it to carry home a month supply of toilet paper and kitchen paper towels. The front rack can easily hold six bottles of Rioja Reserve that I picked up a local wine dealer. The other day I also used the front rack to deliver a Rhine River alligator to a friend who payed me righteously to catch it for him. Please don’t ask me for pictures of the alligator because, if you don’t already know, it’s not quite kosher to ride a bike with a live alligator attached to it via bungee cords–let alone catching the damn thing. ;-)

charger gx touring rear rack scratch from bags
Waterproof Ortlieb bags doing a number on my new rear rack.

Bags.

I use ten year old Ortlieb side bags with the rear rack. So far these bags are scratching the hell out of the paint. The rear rack is rated at 25KG and that’s probably more than I’ll ever need. I usually only fully load the bags when I go grocery shopping. When I’m running around to get fresh groceries, which I do three to four times a week, I certainly don’t need to carry that much weight. But like I said previously, one bag always has my tools, tire repair kit, etc. I do plan on eventually getting that fancy Ortlieb office bag. That way I’ll feel safer carrying my laptop to work or to meetings. The rubber bungee cord that comes with the rear rack I’ve not gotten much use out of but I’m sure I will eventually. One other good thing about the rear rack is that I use it to manoeuvre the bike in my basement. It’s the best handle to pick up and move the bike.

91.4KG on a bike seat?

Btw, It’s not a seat. It’s a saddle. I was skeptical about this Brooks “saddle”. On my sporty cross road racer I have one of them fancy, comparatively cushy bike seats with the ergonomic (and prostate saving) split down the middle. (For two hours of leg work that split really does work!) The first few days on this old British designed horse saddle did leave a bit of blood in my undies. Once that cleared up, this is the best f’n bike seat (saddle!) I’ve ever experienced. Obviously there is no cushion and even the thudbuster doesn’t help when it comes to those knots in the road you can’t get around while riding. But there’s something about how my/a a$$ just fits in/on this thing–and it’s only just now starting to break in. I’ve been using mink oil on the underside of it to treat it hence the discolouration in the middle. (Remember, less is more!) I’ve also changed the rubber on the thudbuster from middle to soft and plan on trying hard soon. So far soft is too soft and middle was too hard. Does that mean hard will be…? Nomatter. Even after four or five hours on this saddle, I’d still take it over any other seat I’ve ever had. Where other seats hurt you in the inbetween, this one does NOT. It just hurts your whole a$$. I know that might sound weird but to me it’s kind of a relief. Will I put a saddle like this on my cross racer? Probably not. But I did read that Brooks has a sportier and lighter offering for race bikes. So far this B17 is worth the hype!

charger gx touring brake and shift mount cluster
Great parts don’t always work well together.

False ergonomics?

The right brake leaver (rear brake) and the gear shift mechanism do not fit on the handlebars. I’ve moved them here and there over the past few weeks and can’t find the right position for either. They are both in each others way. I can’t adjust the brake leaver height to where I want it because moving it means it will collide with the shift mechanism. That also means I can’t get the shift knobs in the right place in order to utilise a triple downshift with one push. Bummer!

charger gx touring rear gears

Love the chain.

The gears and the derailleur are top notch on this bike. There are moments where the sound from shifting is pretty scary, though. The derailleur has a switch on it that stiffens it. This is supposed to stop the chain from moving too much while on rough terrain. When the switch is “on” and you shift it sounds like a hammer hitting an anvil. I’ve not found much use for the switch so far. Who knows, maybe future mountain biking will change that. The only downside to a chain and derailleur (compared to the fancy Rohloff or my wife’s fancy-pants Nuvinci) is the mess of keeping it clean. My maintenance routine is to simply wipe it clean after every other ride with lots of WD-40. (Aghast!) I only use oil on my bikes chains when they are not in use for more than a few days–i.e. when I have to leave town. For those who don’t know, extended use of WD-40 alone will lead to rust on a bike chain. As far as lubrication goes, WD-40 is more than sufficient and as good as oil–on a per ride basis. If you ride off-road or in dry, dusty conditions, whether oiled or full of WD-40, you have to clean the chain regularly anyway.

charger gx touring water collection under battery
See that little water collecting crevice just below battery charging port?

Even though I prefer a battery that is better integrated in the frame (Stromer!), I’ve become accustomed to R&M’s minimal but functional design choice(s). With the battery kind of hanging there, I wondered if it would remain tightly mounted. I’ve heard stories of people not properly snapping-in their battery. A few of these bikes have been returned because customers didn’t snap the battery in properly and it was damaged rolling down a road. But that’s not the least of my worries. It rains a lot in Germany, don’t you know. See that little crevice under the battery and next to the frame? Guess what else is right there? That’s where the charger cable connects to the bike. Water collects in that little crevice. Yeah. Water plus a 500w battery and a charging port… No issues there. Or? Nomatter. After every rain-ride I’ve gotten used to checking for water before plugging in the charger cable.

Knobby tires galore.

It’s too be expected that after a 1000km the rear tire shows more wear than the front. And to be honest, I’m not sure the rear is gonna make it to 2000km. The question is, with the amount of off-road riding I do, can I replace these tires with those fancy Schwalbe Big Bens or do I stick with knobby tires? I’m thinking I’ll go with one more rear knobby and after that move to the more street oriented Big Bens. We’ll see.

Chain guard?

Two things about a chain, oil and keeping things running like a well tuned killing machine. The chain is scary close to both the frame–where the Bosch motor is attached–and the tire. Even though their is a rinky-dink guard around the front sprocket, as you can see from my pants leg, it doesn’t do much good. This is the price I’m willing to pay, though, I guess. Did I mention that I love this chain and derailleur setup? It’s so much more valuable to me than having spent almost a thousand Euro more for an over-engineered, over-kill Rohloff.

charger gx touring service indicator

Ok. Ok. I get it. The dealer has to make some money, too. Right? But what do we do when the dealer is… useless? I hit the first service interval within a week of owning this bike. When I asked the dealer when they would service it they just laughed. “It’s spring time and everyone’s buying bikes,” they said. “We’re too busy for your silly service,” they added (or the like). And so. I don’t get a service appointment until the end of June. Did I mention that I’m already at 1000km? Come on. Give me a break. Bike ownership shouldn’t be like Apple Computer ownership. As in… come on dealer, can’t I just give you my money?

Rant & ride on.

-T

 

Germany And Why #Trump And His Ilk Hate That

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This is just a list (bullets followed by minor worst-explanations) I’ve been putting together in my head since reading that #Trump thinks Germany is bad, bad, real bad. I guess, in a way, I’m kinda jealous of Trump–you know, his bullhorn is so much louder than mine. Still, that’s why the tech-gods gave us all the capacity to have cute little blogs. Or? Anywho. Below is a list of thoughts (bullets) why Trump and his followers hate Germany. And remember, dear worstreader, this type of hate isn’t so much a fcuk-you-hate but instead you mean nothing hate w/out your autobahns and cars… Hate. In other worst-words, keep in mind, when reading this (and other worstwriting), especially when it comes to comparing my beloved #americant with my golden cage, Germania, I will never be a German, don’t want to be one and will gladly pass on without being one of them dipshits that immigrated here (by mistake and got stuck) and took it up the a$$. Or didn’t you know that Germany is a club, a collective club and if you’re not born into it you’re not in it. (Thank God!) Whatever that means. Oh. I’m off subject again.

  • Germany is a politically functional country–that over engineers everything–even government.

Compared to my beloved #americant, the Germans actually do things with government that don’t just benefit one part of society, i.e. the 1%. Now don’t get me wrong. In general, Germany (and Europe) still has a feudalism problem. Luckily, because the aristocrats of that feudalism–made up of both the children and grandchildren that gave us WW2–have been so pacified by what their parents and grandparents actually did, they don’t have much of a voice to manipulate politics–as is the case of the winners of WW2 in #americant and Engaland. (I mean, come on, Dick Chaney, Margerate Thatcher, Dipshit Dubya, #Trump, do all seem to hold a grudge–for winning.) The wealth of aristocrats in Germany is used in part to maintain the structures of the country and, especially, the Mittelstand. In other words, if left up to their own doing, the aristocrats that own Germany would sell it out just like the rich have sold out America since the 70s, culminating in today’s globalisation. How long the Germans can hold out–with austerity n’all–is anyone’s guess. But that’s another issue. Trump and his ilk hate that.

  • Germans love their green aka environment–even though places like Cologne are unGodly ugly and there’s snot everywhere.

I’m always complaining about there being too much green in this country. I read somewhere once that of all European countries, Germany has the most trees per capita. Think about that. If Europe was a house, Germany would be a guest toilet in it–and it still has the most trees of all other countries–per capita. And speaking of guest toilets. Get this. I have never been anywhere in the world where so many people have alergies, the sniffles, soar throats, etc., day-in, day-out–all fcuking year ’round. Trees, grass, …shit in the air NOT from cars–and people are as sick as three legged dogs that eat too much icecream. And I often go to these people–many, many people–with their über coughing and über sneezing, snot running down their allergy faces, and say: why don’t you get rid of some of this fcuking green? Do you have any idear how f’n polluted your air is with all the dust and pollen and spores that all this green sprews out? Of course, as usual, they just look at me dumbfounded. Indeed. German government do get itself some green! Trump and his ilk hate that.

  • Order, timing and efficiency are all lies not worthing revealing and always garner a smile or three but if you book a train early enough to your destination it’s also really, really mega cheap–and they serve real beer on it.

Everytime I fly internationally, I get to FRA using a train. When I visit family in the north, I use a train. When I go to Paris… Why anyone would fly to France from Germany is a mystery to me. Anywho. When I was a kid and first started traveling to Germania, people back home would always mention, in passing, and based on their knowledge of The Old Country–The Huns–that the trains all run on-time. Now. Let’s get something straight. Although the DB (Deutsche Bahn) is pretty good compared to other European and American train systems, it is far from an efficient or on-time. In fact, when using it, I can’t remember the last time a train was on-time or without some major outage–as in the train has to stop and let out all passangers at a trainstation prior to its original destination. I would still rather take a train in Germany than drive a car, though, that’s for sure. Oh. And by-the-buy. The entire train system here is paid for by government. Trump and his ilk hate that.

  • Health Care and my gold teeth.

No. Seriously. I don’t go to the doctor. Don’t go to a dentist either. Or do I? My philosophy is: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. My German wife’s philosophy is different. That said, I’ve had minor surgery (ten years ago), all of my teeth fillings and caps are in gold, I’ve had very large German fingers check my prostate (twice!), I’ve had my eyes examined, my ears poached, my knees bumped (with one of the rubber hammers) and my tongue checked by a nurse that looked just like Pamela Anderson–at least the part of her that I could see looked like Pam A as she leaned over me and begged that I say “Ah”. And you know what, dear worst-reader? After all of that, I have yet to see a doctor bill. “Whaaaaaa,” you say. Seriously. I have never seen a doctor f’n bill in the over two decades that I’ve been an expat. Now ask me if I laugh at my brethren in #americant as they bitch & maon about healthcare. Ha. Ha. Ha. Suckers. And. Trump and his ilk hate that.

  • Germans are pro business without being anti-social.

This is a bit of complicated issue. So let me address it from the other side. The thing that’s obvious about my beloved #americant today is that it’s lost its ability to be creative in business. Probably since the 1970s, the US has been riding on the industrial laurels of the past. This in part is due to generational issues–as baby-boomers secure their retirements–but it also has to do with a skewed sense of what the American Way is all about. Indeed.  The generational issue, i.e. baby-boomer greed mongering galore, cannot be underestimated here. The simple truth is, while Americans jockey around in their inability to self diagnose and/or think independently–thanks to faux newz–they also find themselves swimming in a cesspool of political lies and untruths–all to their own personal detriment. Hence, to worst-moi, the fact that faux newz is even on the air says everything about where Americans are politically and mentally. But let me come back to this side of things. Germany has yet to idealise their politics like Americans have with faux news. What is said politically in America cannot be said in Germany. And that’s not because it’s not allowed to be said. Put another way, it’s not that the bull$hit of right-wing propaganda can’t be said as much as it can’t be heard because there is no one to listen to it over here. Oh yeah… The German government is very pro-business without being anti-social. Everybody and every business has to pay its share to make things work/function here and they all seem to do it willingly. Trump and his ilk hate that.

  • All bankers are a$$holes but German bankers aren’t a$$holes and suckers.

Alright. Here’s an open can of worms for ya. As I’ve tried to post here and maybe here, my best-worst-guess (as an arm-chair pseudo economist) is that one of the reasons Trump and his ilk are pissed at the Germans is because the Germans saw through the bull$hit of the real-estate bubble that was being promoted by the US Federal Reserve and US Treasury after 9/11, 2001. The Germans, especially Deutsche Bank, literally bet against the bubble and won. (Two other German banks lost.) I mean, even though it all kind of sounds complicated with the bull$hit that comes out of Wall Street, you know, financial engineering, CDOs, sub-prime mortgages, etc., it’s really not. It’s all more akin to being a casino. Within the casino there are different “games” being played. The difference to a real casino, though, is that after years of playing these games, all the participants, being used to one another, resort to other means to get ahead. You know, lying, cheating, manipulating, coercion, etc. Therefore the roulette table has its hidden buttons, the blackjack dealer has his price, the slot machine maintenance staff tighten the levers this way or that way, etc. The only problem is, what to do if a player decides not to play on the terms of The House. In the film The Big Short, the bank that bet against the US real estate market was Deutsche Bank. Oh, I said that already. Trump and his ilk hate that.

  • Education is practically free.

I guess I have to use the word “practically” because there is some cost involved in getting an education in good ole Germania. The difference to my beloved #americant education, though, is that here schooling isn’t treated as a business–as neo-liberal economic idealogy dictates it be treated back home. In other words, you can’t turn student loans into an industry here. Trump and his ilk hate that.

  • Technology can’t be monopolised.

This could be another can of worms–but I’ll go with it. The thing is, compared to my mom’s house on the eastern shore of Maryland (that I miss so much), I have the choice of at least three ISPs for my internet connection where I live in Germany. Not only that, but if I want to have a landline phone, which I don’t, I could chose from various services for that, too. As far as net-neutrality goes, it’s not much of an issue here because, well, media streaming is already offered through a variety of delivery systems. Then there is the issue of free speech, which German only has as long as that speech does not promote hate. Trump and his ilk hate that.

That’s about it for now. Will keep it all in the back of my worst-mind and update as required.

Rant on.

-t

Links that might have something to do with this post:

Exercise In Translation: Is #Germany Bad Or Evil And What To Do If Someone Wants Both?

Go ‘head, dear worst-reader. Ask me. Ask me if I care how many German cars are sold in my grand and beloved united mistakes. Indeed. I don’t care. All I know is this: I’ve been driving Audis (in Germany, on German Autobahns) for most of the time I’ve been an expat. FYI, I’ve also been driving these vehicles at speeds that would make most of my brethren rednecks back home cringe–especially those who are Nascar fans. Worswriter and a 140mph? No problem when the Autobahn 3 is open between Neuwied and Wiesbaden. I think I topped 150mph once when driving between Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven. Yeah, baby. That’s what company cars should be about. Unfortunately, it’s not.

In fact, because of the various benefits of a relative functioning corporate nation-state collective social market economy–yeah, that’s kinda what the Germans call it here–and because of Germany’s love of government subsidies–that literally keep the German car industry afloat–I get a new Audi every four years. Ask me, then, if I like the A5? Ask me if I liked the previous A4 All-Road? I did not like the A6 with Bose stereo we had ten years ago. Indeed. These cars that are part of the German functioning corporate collective economy blah blah blah are overpriced, over-engineered and over plastic pieces of mega-krapp–which I love-hate to drive. In fact, the whole government subsidised company car leasing bull$hit that goes on here, is really a fcukin joke. But hey! It works for the Germans, eh.

But get this. German car makers have so marginalised this car industry subsidy to their own benefit that even though a company car can feel fancy–because you can get a new one every four years–you can never get one “loaded” because, well, gee, the government doesn’t subsidise the coolness that buying/renting a car should be all about. Indeed. The government only wants to subsidise four wheels, the fuel and the hearts & minds of the aristocratic families that still own everything–and thereby allow the pions that work for them to have the feeling that they are actually achieving something in this life. But so is our modern world, eh worst-reader? First-world problems abound in Germania these days. Which means we must all, somehow, consume a car. Such privilege should leave the pions happy. Happy indeed. Otherwise an aristocrat might get itchy again (in history) and start jockeying numbers and banks and tax offices and right wing propagandists….

Here’s a little pseudo-review of how I’m starting to get wise and am moving away from rolling pieces of metal that guzzle too much stuff that causes too many wars and ain’t worth the effort anymore.

In short. I think all über-expensive cars that people waste so much of their money/lives on are stupid. It’s why most expensive things should no longer have a price tag on them. I mean, come on, we’re well into a time when ownership of stuff just ain’t gonna happen anymore anyway. So. Instead of price tags on krapp there should be stupid meters on all consumables. The stupid meter will tell consumers–based on information stolen from their Facebook profile–how stupid they are for adhereing to the mantra: consume-to-survive. Or maybe not.

Which brings me to this blog post.

The other day when dip$hit #Trump said that the Germans were bad, very bad, for selling so many über-priced cars in #americant, I laughed. I didn’t laugh at the amount of cars #americants buy but instead at how Germans, once they read the headlines and then start looking in their Dudens and/or German > English translation books, will all get the translation wrong. German news is publishing #Trump’s bad as the German’s Böse. Among the great German words that translate multiple ways into English, Böse is one of them. Reason? Böse means not only bad but also evil. Which one it means all depends on how it’s used–or how you want your girlfriend to dress after you watch German porn. You know, context is everything.

So. Did #Trump say Germany is evil or just bad? Gosh, since Trump likes to be peed on, I’m kinda hoping he said/meant both. And then he should finally try some German chicks after he’s done with #3 Malania. German chicks are a blast–and not because of their porn. But then again, they aren’t the happy-marrying type on account they don’t take much $hit from men. But if you need gaskets changed on your John Deere, or you need a place to park your car (see vid link above), or maybe you need a New York cheese cake to dine on before happy-time, they can almost do it all. But before I get too far off subject….

Rant on.

-t

Links that motivated this post: