Dabbling in smartphone photography. Have no idear what I’m doing. Yet every once-a-once I nail it. Well, almost nail it. Street art from Spring 2018 Paris visit.
Dabbling in smartphone photography. Have no idear what I’m doing. Yet every once-a-once I nail it. Well, almost nail it. Street art from Spring 2018 Paris visit.
Hilarryus, dear worst-reader. Seriously. I’m laughing my ass off right now at #United Airlines gettin’ in the newz. Of course, it need not be mentioned that more than ten or so years ago, I also got booted from a United flight. The good newz is I didn’t actually get booted like this guy did. No. I never actually made it onto the plane that was supposed to connect me to my destination. I got booted from the international transfer terminal because I was so unruly at the ticket counter where an automaton United employee turned on her corporate trained behaviourist defence mode and literally shut down her station to avoid facing reality. I was connecting at Dulles Airport from London to Orlando. When I got to Dulles though there was no record of my ticket even though I had just flown from London on a United flight with a ticket that had a destination of Orlando. When I told the automaton worker that I wasn’t gonna leave the line until she did something about what was obviously her, i.e. United’s mistake, she left the counter and told the people behind me that they should find another line. Of course they all did exactly that. I stood there dumbfounded, angry, but not surprised. I was in #americant. The land of in-order-to-get-ahead you MUST fail upwards. It was/is indeed some God’s country of monopolisation or die trying (to get there).
Long story short.
It turns out that #United had actually allowed me to board in London without noticing that they had put the wrong name on my ticket. By-the-bye, this was post nine-eleven! And so… I boarded in London as Thomas (wrong-name) and flew eight hours to Dulles. When in Dulles the #United automaton said there was no record of me, according to the name on my passport, nor was there a ticket for me from London to Orlando. There was a record of “Thomas (wrong-name)”, though–as printed on the boarding pass I received in London. And because that name didn’t match my passport they said it wasn’t their problem.
“But I just flew with you from London with or without the right name. Now I’m stuck in the transfer terminal in Dulles. What the hell do I do now?”
An airport employee ended up telling me that I had to exit the terminal and deal with United from the outside. The whole ordeal cost me a night in a hotel, a missed flight to my destination and the undue stress of having to deal with corporate #americant where “corporations are people too, my friend.” (Mitt Romney.)
So it’s no surprise to me that a monopoly industry would resort to this type of behaviour in its daily activities. And who facilitated the airline industry turning into a monopoly? That’s right, dear worst-reader. You guessed it. #Americant did. Now go vote your feelings and allow the conservatives to turn your country into the politburo corporate moneyed governing entity that it was always meant to be. And don’t forget:
Make #americant greatness again. Suckers!
Links that motivated this post:
No reason to be shocked. This flight, technically, I guess, has a “price” of “20.00 €”. And why shouldn’t it? Talk about a bargain. But then again, I did fly once across the Atlantic about thirty years ago–and for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the airline–that costs somewhere around a hundred dollars. Back then that was THE BOMB. It was the coolest flight ever, too. Everybody bought their own brown paper bag full of lunch and other munchies because there was neither service or stewardesses available. There were only these nice ladies dressed in purple that would provide water because there was some kind of regulation requiring the airline to at least hydrate passengers. Since the the entire fuselage was filled with economy class seats there was nothing but the boring sound of an a nine hour flight and the crunching of plastic bags, chips & doritos, and a few cracks of beer cans during the entire crossing. I think, if you paid (lots) extra, you could get those weird tube headphones and watch a movie from a drop-down cathode ray tube. And there is one other thing I can’t remember about the past (where my expatriation began). How much “Taxes and carrier imposed fees” did we have to pay for flights back then? Nomatter. I suppose if anything does matter anymore it’s where all the money goes that we have to pay to consume to survive. And by-the-bye, the “OPC” charge is for the use of a credit card. But I digress. Rant on. -t
Never thought I’d say this. But I miss the rain. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t miss it much. But I haven’t seen cloudy skies since leaving good ‘ol Germania just over a month ago. Wait. Scratch that. Just writing about rain reminds me of how much I hate Germania weather. The sky there is always grey. The sky hangs just over your head. It’s like living in your own private bubble-like greenhouse that follows you wherever you go. Such depressing weather has to be part of the reason Germania is the automaton pseudo-democracy that it is (has become). There’s nothing else to do there but work work work. Now that I’m living in place that has too much sunshine all I think about is leaving for the middle of the ocean and sailing around the world in a fifty-foot Beneteau. But I’m off subject (again and again and again). §Speaking of Germania and automaton pseudo-democracy: how ’bout those Panama Papers, dear worst-reader? I mean, Germania is the catalyst for this world renowned data leak (sarcasm off). It started in Munich at the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and now it’s gone viral like a video of a girl in overheated spring loosing her top while trying to ride a wave at a crusty beach. But enough about Tommi’s conspiracy theory that there’s something else about leaks being leaked through Munich and from the country that has so graciously given the world Deutsche Bank. But I digress. §I reckon I should say a few things about our move to India. Or should I leave it? Here’s the thing: we’ve been here just over a month. It’s hot as hell here. I love the sunshine–on account it makes my nails grow like crazy–but I’ve never been under so much sunshine without having some water to either scuba in, dive in or just plane stick my head in while contemplating The End. The nearest shore to Bangelore is something like three hundred kilometres away. Nomatter. I’ll get there soon enough. And I hear there’s pretty good sailing in Goa, too. §Which brings me to the issue of how we’re actually getting along in our new home. Well, as you can see in the pic above, we’re prepared. I like to think of our travel tech system as a kind of godsend. During our move from Germany–in fact, right when the last few packages were being packed–I thought that maybe we could take most of our media with us because we knew that we’d be without a real home for up to three months. And since we don’t watch TV*, all we have is the digital world to keep us preoccupied in those down-brain moments of the day. The idea was to just pack up the MacMini along with an AppleTV, a mini 3TB HDD, a HDMI cable and hoopla! Unfortunately our initial hotel stay couldn’t accommodate our needs since I couldn’t get access to the HDMI ports of the hotel room TV set. And, like I said, we don’t watch TV*, which means that in the hotel we weren’t able to watch our digital world at all (unless we used my MBA). The hotel secured the TV to the wall so that all its ports were unaccessible. Bummer, eh! But when we moved to a temporary furnished apartment, we got all kinds of bingo! As you can see there’s plenty of tech to go around while in limbo–as we wait for our new home to be finished so we can move in. It’s also proof of what one can pack away into luggage. Obviously I’m a big MacMini fan and this is why. Binge watching The Closure here we come. §All in all, India is a continuing adventure. Yeah, baby.
Rant on. -Tommi
PS I’m surprised at the lack of tea in Bangelore. As a earl grey guy, I was hoping that India had more tea choices. Oh well. And as the song goes: I will survive.
*What I mean by not watching TV is that we don’t watch commercial television. TV has gotten so bad in my life-time–whether in Europe or the US or India–that I can’t bear it for even a few seconds. That so many people still watch commercial TV is shocking to me. But then again, look at how it effects people. Look at how #americant might elect The Donald as president–he’s a reality TV star. As far as what I watch from the digital world? I watch stuff that informs me, teaches me and sometimes provokes me. After that I watch shows that I choose, pay for and are without commercials. Bingo.
The first week in India has been a challenge. Not sure I can communicate it fully in this status update. But have no fear, worst-writer will try.
Rant on. -Tommi
The only thing I could think about during recent FRA > BLR flight was my little dog in his crate attached to a palette. I could see him from the lounge where I tried to drink my sorrows away with free bier, wine and nuts. Just before we boarded I could also see the ground crew shoving my dear little friend into the rear fuselage of our B747-8. Pronounced: seven four seven dash eight. The tears started brewing that moment while walking down the gangway into the opposite end of the fuselage. I tried to gather my thoughts while boarding, refocus on what’s at hand. Not even the cute, slit-skirt stewardess could take my thoughts away. I walked down the aisle looking for 11D. What a fancy plane, I thought. I then adjusted my stuff, putting carry-on in the upper bin, loosening my belt for the long haul, catching my breath. But the angst for my dog started to set in even deeper than before. Luckily take-off was a blast. I think the pilot was in a hurry because we were at cruising altitude in no-time. Did my dog feel the powerful ascension? All the emotion made my already hyper bladder want to do some business. Or was it because I had too many drinks in the lounge and had to get to the loo to wipe my eyes which were soaked during taxi and take-off–and missing my little friend. Besides, I didn’t want anyone seeing me balling my eyes out because I was worried sick about my dog–who had never been stuffed into a fuselage before. Thank goodness for all the room in business-class where I could hide my tears. Or? In fact, since we were at the end of the business-class section, there was this huge space between the back of our comfortable seats and the bulkhead that separated us from coach. Actually, let me put that another way since LH has changed seating configurations in coach over the years in the name of profits, profits and more profits, I guess. Directly behind the bulkhead was LH’s new premium economy class. It’s the class I’ll probably be flying from here on out. The only time I get business-class is when I fly officially with better-half and her company pays for it or I upgrade using her miles. I think LH premium economy is only a few hundred bucks more than regular economy and the seats look as big as upright business-class seats. The difference is that you can’t recline as far back and all the other amenities aren’t available. After flying business class a few times the past few years, I would gladly give up on “amenities” for roomier, more comfortable seating. As I was saying. Behind our business-class seats was a space big enough to accommodate my best friend in the world. Although our crate wouldn’t fit there, he certainly would have. On the other hand, even though it rips me apart thinking about him stuffed in the fuselage, I know LH took care of him and that if we were safe, he was safe. Besides, I’m sure once the hectic of take-off and ascension was over, he would just buckle down in his blanket in the crate, drink from the supplied water as he needed, and sleep till landing woke him–in eight hours. And that’s pretty much how it worked out. Except for my weeping like bitch worried sick about him. And speaking of bitches. To help cope with worrying tears, which also meant I was too preoccupied to read anything, I decided to watch a movie. Of the numerous films to choose from, I picked Black Mass. Upfront? I thought it was a pretty good movie. It was so good I don’t understand why it wasn’t up for Oscars. Or maybe it wasn’t that good. Hold a sec. (Pause.) §I love it when Johnny Depp acts and doesn’t entertain. You know, he’s done some serious big screen thuds recently. I guess that’s the byproduct of being so successful (financially) with those pirate movies. Just afford to make another movie–even if it sucks. I guess he can make any movie he wants after that. I’m always interested when I hear he’s doing a real film–as opposed to some big screen, kill two hours entertainment orgy. But don’t get wrong. I enjoyed the pirate movies Depp made. They are perfect for getting rid of two hours. Black Mass, on the other hand, is a serious film and a pretty serious story. I entered adulthood in the 1980s and I vividly remember hearing the name Whitey Bulger in the news. I especially remember, by the late 80s, when I was clearly on my way to becoming an expat, hearing about the (love) triangle Bulger had between his brother and his former boyhood friend turned FBI agent. Even then I thought the whole thing to be an unbelievable #americant entertainment story. I’m amazed that it’s not being written about more–especially the part about Bulger’s state senator brother. Does that mean worst-writer should have a go at such a story? Nomatter. §Black Mass is worth seeing and I’m planning on seeing it again on account I think I missed a few things. With that in mind, it’s no grand film-making effort and I don’t quite know why I’m thinking that way about it. As a film, it simply gets the job done. Although it won’t go down as one of my fav Depp (acting) movies, after watching it I’ve concluded it probably doesn’t deserve the accolades that my initial instincts conjured. Or? I was seriously hoping, when I saw the initial trailers for it, that this would be Depp’s time. But allow me digress on that note. Writing my thoughts about Depp only serves as filler at this point. Moving on. §Like I worst-said, I was hoping that the/a movie would take my mind off my dog being stuffed into a cargo hole–but it didn’t. Both during Black Mass and after I was still thinking about my dog. Maybe that’s why Black Mass came across as mediocre or why I found it to be unfocused. Yeah. Unfocused. That’s the ticket. Was Black Mass about Depp/Bulger or one of the other two in the (love) triangle? I hope a second viewing will change how I feel about this movie–because I’m rooting for Depp. I’m certainly not rooting for Leo who just won the friggin’ Oscar. I want Depp to win an Oscar. Why isn’t Depp winning Oscars? Oh, yeah. The movies he makes. Anywho. §After Black Mass I was still needing to get my mind off things so I scanned through other movies on the LH inflight entertainment system. Could I get through another movie–at my age? Boy, does LH have a lot of movies to choose from. And some pretty new ones, too. I considered watching a few of the ’15 Oscar nominated films but quickly gave up–nothing interesting there. Luckily, getting toward the end of the movie list, Spectre popped up. So let’s bring that one behind us, shall we? I still had six hours of flight time. §My mind was occupied with tears and thoughts of cute little dogs that grow on ya and a bit here and there about moving to India for up to three years while my wife tries to expand her career in an ever-shrinking globalised world. With that in mind, why not hit the play button. §There were two interesting things about this new Bond film. One: Monica Bellucci. She didn’t get enough screen time. Two: the regurgitation of Blofeld and how he got that scare is a grand idear. And that’s it. That’s the whole movie. I don’t know if it’s because Craig is struggling with his characterisation of the great killer-spy or if the producers are running out of writers. Heck, all the desert scenes looked like they were shot at the same time as Quantum of Solace. The explosion of Blofeld’s facility looked cheap and underfunded. And the big goon that almost kills Craig on the train? I found myself rooting for him for a sec or three. But let me leave my worst-criticisms at that. I’m just not a big fan of Craig’s blue-eyed, tough guy 007. I prefer elegance, grace, wit and hidden manliness. That the producers are able to get all these actors to play him differently is worth praise, but at some time, I think, these nuanced differences get old fast. Yeah, bring back the British navy commander who doesn’t act like he’s feeding a pack of millennial spoiled rotten babies. But then again, even if a Bond movie is bad (Brosnan), they’re still good (Dalton). §Bye-the-by, after a second film on the flight, I still had four and half hours to go. I de
cided to give in to some tears and went to the loo to have them. Rant on. -tommi
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.
Telekommunikationsgesetz §46 (Telecommunication Law)
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!
Alles wird gut!
Rant on. Tommi