Confuzzledom

Just a place for me to gather my thoughts


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Trivia Tuesday #6

It’s quiz night again tonight, and we all know what that means… time for me to regale you with fascinating facts that will probably never actually come up in the quiz ;-)

  1. The artist who has featured most often on the “Now That’s What I Call Music” compliation series (which recently turned 30) is Robbie Williams.
  2. Sticking with music… the only person to appear at both Live Aid concerts (London and Philadelphia) was Phil Collins. He used Concorde to fly between the two cities.
  3. 5,000-year-old chewing gum made from bark tar, with tooth imprints, has been found in Kierikki, Yli-Ii, Finland
  4. The Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2013 is Selfie. 
  5. The sorceror that Mickey Mouse is apprenticed to in Disney’s Fantasia is called Yen Sid (Disney backwards)

    Epcot - Fantasia Topiary Scene - Sorceror's Ap...

    Epcot – Fantasia Topiary Scene – Sorceror’s Apprentice (Photo credit: keristars)

  6. The music duo Simon & Garfunkel originally performed as Tom and Jerry
  7. Tupperware is named after its inventor, Earl Silas Tupper.
  8. The Picture of Dorian Grey was Oscar Wilde’s only novel.
  9. The first commercially sold video game of any kind was called Computer Space.
  10. The closest country to Australia is Papua New Guinea.

That’s all for today. I hope you learned something ;-)

 


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Trivia Tuesday #5

I do plan to write about the rest of my weekend trip, but I won’t have time to sort out the photos for my next post before going to the quiz tonight, so for today you’ll have to make do with some more Tuesday trivia. Here are today’s 10 random facts.

Television in Question Marks.

Photo : Wikipedia

  1. The Sesame Street character Oscar the Grouch was originally orange. He became green in Season 2.
  2. Sir Cliff Richard (birth name Harry Rodger Webb) will release his 100th album on 11 November 2013. He is is the only artist to have had at least one UK top five album in each of the last seven decades (1950s-2010s).

    Shredder as seen in the opening credits.

    Mr. Banks, is that you? (Photo: Wikipedia)

  3. James Avery, who plays Will Smith’s uncle (Philip Banks) on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, was also the voice of Shredder in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series.
  4. Botanically speaking, a strawberry is not a berry… but a banana is.
  5. Depending on the species, a jellyfish is between 95 and 98% water.
  6. A group of hyenas is known as a Cackle – very appropriate!
  7. Kazahkstan is the largest landlocked country by area. At 2,727,300 square kilometres (1,053,000 sq miles), its territory is larger than Western Europe!
  8. The Michelin Man has a name… it’s Bibendum, or Bib for short.
  9. Tina Turner’s real name is Annie Mae Bullock.
  10. The Visitors album by Abba was the first CD to be produced, in 1982


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Happy Birthday, Train Station

I mentioned in my neighbourhoods around the world post that Karlsruhe’s main train station is turning 100 this week. And how do you celebrate such a momentous occasion? By lighting it up in pretty colours, of course. What else would you do? ;-) Here are some photos I took this morning:

Red train station Blue train station

Lighting the building up in red and blue isn’t the only thing that’s happening though. The real celebration is this weekend, with live music – Blues/Jazz on Friday night, three bands on Saturday night, including the one belonging to our quiz master and a “classic brunch” on Sunday with music from the Federal police Orchestra – and children’s activities, including a puppet show on Saturday. Exciting stuff ;-)


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Back at work

The wisdom tooth pain was much better by yesterday afternoon, so I went to watch Jan’s choir perform. It was part of a festival that was taking place in Karlsruhe’s Weststadt (literally West Town – such creative naming!) and they were singing three times. The first, and best, performance was in a bar where I managed to drink a whole orange juice without wincing too much.

♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪

English: Sable short-haired Syrian Hamster.

I looked just like him.. except less furry. And with an ice cream cone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The second performance was outdoors and the members of the choir couldn’t hear one another properly. They also sang some harder songs this time, and not all of them sounded as good as they could have. I don’t think the audience noticed though. After the performance, the choir members were offered food and drinks. There was bread with soft cheese on top (the same texture as cheese triangles, but actual cheese) so Jan give me a piece of his, which I was able to let melt in my mouth. The first time in four days that I’d eaten something other than soup or ice cream! It was delicious, let me tell you! Later, I had an ice cream and even managed to eat most of the cone (by nibbling off the bits that had been softened by ice cream then letting them dissolve in my mouth… yes, nibbling! I literally was a hamster!)

♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪

Performance three was outdoors again, at a massage practice. The program consisted of a mixture of songs from the first two performances and was a mixture of good and not-so-good. Some people had never sung outdoors before, which explains a lot. The indoor performance at the start was definitely the best of the three… even non-musical me noticed that!

♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪

By the time we got home, I was starting to feel pain again but nowhere near as bad as previously! It was annoying, but bearable. I still took a painkiller before tea though. Jan made me some Heinz Mulligatawny soup with a slice of bread in (minus the crusts) and I ate all the bread plus about two thirds of the soup. Last night, I slept all the way from 11 pm to 4:30 am – my longest sleep in about two weeks! I woke up in some pain at 4:30, but rinsing my mouth with cold water was enough to make it die down enough to get back to sleep.

*Warning: Squeamish people, skip to the next paragraph!* As yesterday went on, I found I was able to open my mouth more and more. The last few days I’ve been convinced I could feel the end of my stitches scraping on my tongue (at one point I was worrying that the stitches were coming loose!). Last night, I was able to open my mouth wide enough to actually see the stitches. The ends were indeed quite long, so they probably really are scratching my tongue! The stitches on the right are nice and neat – just one or two visible and neatly tied off. On the left, where I originally had toothache and where my tooth was almost sideways, the stitches look like a spide sitting inside my gum! No wonder the swelling on that side hasn’t completely gone down yet… The wounds looked pretty healthy though (as far as I can tell anyway, not being a dentist or anything…). they’re not red or diseased looking and there were no bits of food hanging around. No bleeding any more either, so obviously the feeling that my wound was coming open every time I swallowed was just paranoia…

This morning both the pain and the swelling were almost gone, so I decided to come to work. I took a painkiller just to get rid of the nagging pain, and so far I haven’t felt a thing. Swallowing is still uncomfortable and weird, but no longer horribly painful, and this morning I managed to eat a Milch-Schnitte.* I still can’t chew, but I was able to mush it up enough to swallow using my tongue and top front teeth. Tonight, I shall try some carrots and potatoes mashed together… if I can be bothered to peel, chop and mash them!

* For those who don’t know, Milch-Schnitte consists of two thin slices of chocolate cake with a smooth honey/milk filling between the slices. Those who speak German may be interested in this Chefkoch recipe for home-made Milchschnitte: http://www.chefkoch.de/rezepte/2027691328706900/Milchschnitte-fast-wie-original.html


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Travel theme: Play

As soon as I saw this week’s travel theme on Where’s My Backpack, I knew I wanted to join in. The theme is Play… what could be more fun than that?

The first thing that came to mind when I read the title of the theme was playing games. Then I remembered this photo that I took right here in Karlsruhe a few years ago:

Flying frisbee

Flying frisbee

A few people from the student residence I was living in were throwing a frisbee around and I managed to get a shot of it in mid-air. Not bad, even if I do say so myself ;-)

My next photo shows a different type of game… Rugby! Jan wanted to attend a rugby match, so my dad bought us tickets for Newcastle Falcons vs Worcester Warriers on 27 December 2008. The game was fairly disappointing, ending in a draw, but at least he can say he went! If you look closely at the photo, you’ll notice the ball on its way between the posts. A conversion for the Falcons!

Rugby

Of course, games aren’t the only thing that can be played. How about instruments? Here’s KT Tunstall playing in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh on 1 January 2011.

KT Tunstall and band

KT Tunstall and band

And finally… humans are not the only creatures who like to play. I took this picture at Karlsruhe zoo last year:

Looks like somebody found himself something to play with...

Looks like somebody found himself something to play with…

Cute, isn’t it?

The weekly travel theme is open to submissions until Thursday. To join in and see how other people have interpreted the theme of “Play”, go to Ailsa’s blog post.


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Stamp of Approval Staurday: Books and Music

books & globe

Photo credit: reenoreluv

For this week’s Stamp of Approval Saturday, I wanted to share this story of a woman who set herself the challenge of reading a book from every country in the world in one year. And I thought my plan to read all the books from the BBC Big Read in the next five years was ambitious!

While we’re on the subject of books, take a look at this Mashable list of 15 Young-Adult Books Every Adult Should Read. I have read two of them and naturally all the rest have now been added to my to-read list. If only there were more hours in a day…

Finally, I would like to share a music video with you. I had never even heard of the band Big Sixes until two weeks ago, then this link was posted on Facebook. The video is admittedly kind of boring, but please have a listen anyway…  they teamed up with some young musicians, and the cello player is my 14-year-old cousin!

For more stamps of approval, check out Alex’s blog,  Ifs, Ands & Butts!


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Frankfurt am Main

Continuing with the travel posts of the last few days (I’d still appreciate any tips for Ireland, by the way), I think it’s time for the next in my 30 German towns before 30 series. Today, it’s off to Frankfurt.

Frankfurt is a city with some very nice areas. Unfortunately, it is also a large and busy city (fifth largest in Germany!), so as well as the old, pretty buildings and cute parks, there are skyscrapers in abundance and lots and lots of cars. As you can tell, I’m not the greatest fan of big cities.

One of Frankfurt’s most important landmarks is the Römer (German for Roman), which is a complex of nine houses, among which is the Rathaus (town hall). The square that the Römer is located on is called the Römerberg.

Römerberg

Römerberg

Rathaus

Rathaus

The oldest and most unaltered building in the Innenstadt (town centre) district is the Eschenheimer tower. It was erected at the start of the 5th century and was originally a city gate.

Eschenheimer Turm

Eschenheimer Turm

The river that runs through Frankfurt is the Main, hence its complete name Frankfurt am Main. This distinguishes it from another Frankfurt – Frankfurt an der Oder, a small town in Brandenburg. It’s also the origin of Frankfurt’s nikname, Mainhattan – a merging of the words Main and Manhattan. The Wikipedia article for Mainhattan tells me that Frankfurt is the only city in Germany to allow the building of “Hochhäuser” (tower blocks/high-rise buildings) in the city centre.

River Main

River Main

Most of the times I’ve been to Frankfurt have been for some purpose other than sightseeing. For example, the time I took the photo of the river above we were actually there for a football match but decided to go early to have a look around. Here’s a photo of the inside of the Commerzbank Arena, the stadium where Eintracht Frankfurt play.

Commerzbank Arena

Commerzbank Arena

The match we saw was a friendly game between Germany and Bosnia.

Being a large city, Frankfurt of course has many cultural institutions. I went to see Imogen Heap at Batschkapp, a music venue in the Eschersheim area of Frankfurt, and I would have seen Incubus there but the concert was cancelled due to illness. Basically, Frankfurt is the closet possible destination for roughly 90% of the concerts I would like to see (some performers come to Stuttgart and Karlsruhe gets the occasional act that is either less famous or German, but for the most part Frankfurt is the place to be). The city is also home to The English Theatre,  the largest anglophone theatre in continental Europe (although I’ve never seen a play there).

Alte Oper - a former opera house, now a major concert hall.

Alte Oper – a former opera house, now a major concert hall.

Frankfurt is way, way too big for me to ever want to live there, but it’s always worth a visit. There’s so much to see and do, and any number of interesting cuisines in offer. The first time I went to Frankfurt was for an Open University meetup when I was doing a course with them. We ate at an amazing Thai restaurant that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of. And, as I said above, it’s my go-to-place whenever I hear that a major international performer is planning a tour of Germany. I have absolutely no doubt that I will return to Frankfurt at some point in the not-too-distant future… although the next time I’m in the vicinty, the only thing I’ll be checking out is its airport (which is like a miniature city in itself!). And speaking of airports, don’t be fooled by Frankfurt Hahn! That airport is as much in Frankfurt as Stansted is in London… and Stansted is MUCH easier to get to!


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Travel Tuesdays: Edinburgh

Since I have absolutely nothing to talk about today, I’m linking up with Alex from Ifs, Ands and Butts and Helene In Between for Travel Tuesdays. Today I want to tell you about one of my favourite places on Earth: Edinburgh.

Edinburgh castle

Edinburgh castle

I first went to Edinburgh as a child, for the sole purpose of going to the zoo (Newcastle doesn’t have one, so we traipsed to Scotland… as you do). I’ve since been there several times and actually managed to look at things other than the animals.

The most recognisable landmark in Edinburgh is, of course, the castle. One thing you really must do in Edinburgh is head up there for a close-up view. It’s pretty impressive (well, it is a castle). As is the view you get of the city from up there.

Castle entrance

Castle entrance

I can see the sea from up here!

I can see the sea from up here!

One of the things that attracts me to Edinburgh is the architecture. I’ve already mentioned the castle, of course (did you know it’s built on an extinct volcano?). Then there’s St. Giles’ Cathedral, with its incredibly intricate entrance archway.

St Giles' Cathedral

St Giles’ Cathedral

Entrance to St Giles'

Entrance to St Giles’

But even the ordinary residential buildings appeal to me. I would LOVE to live in a house like the ones below – just imagine how much light those windows must let in!Houses

Then there are all the parks and green spaces. Here’s Princes Street Gardens:

GardensAt the back, you can see Waverley Station – another example of the impressive architecture that Edinburgh has to offer. Other park areas include Calton Hill and Holyrood Park. So much green right in the city!

Apart from the many things that I will never tire of looking at, the main thing that draws me to Edinburgh is its cultural offerings. I have been lucky enough to be there both during the Fringe Festival and at New Year (Hogmanay), and on both occasions there’s so much to see and do that you can’t possibly fit it all in! The Edinburgh festival Fringe, which takes place in August, is the world’s largest art festival, and a showcase for the performing arts. Theatre, comedy, dance, music… everything is represented. We were able to take in an improvised comedy show and see some live music by two very good acts (a folk band and a blues/country/folk musician named Eddie Walker – you can check out his website here). The pub where the gig took place is now my absolute favourite place to go for a drink in Edinburgh. The Guildford Arms is located just off Princes Street, so very central but not as touristy as the places directly on Princes street or along the Royal Mile. They have ten different Real Ales on tap (heaven for my boyfriend) and there’s also a restaurant upstairs, which I’ve unfortunately never tried. If anyone out there has/does, please let me know how the food is!

Eddie Walker at the Guildford Arms

Eddie Walker at the Guildford Arms

Our New Year’s trip to Edinburgh had just as much to offer as the Festival Fringe. We took part in a torch-light procession through town, starting from the Royal Mile, took in a candlelit concert at the Cathedral and spent New Year’s Eve at the famous Hogmanay street party. Then, on 1 January, we attended the open-air New Year’s concert, which that year featured KT Tunstall plus three other acts… for just 11 pounds a ticket! Probably my favourite New Year’s celebration ever!

Torch-light procession

Torch-light procession

KT Tunstall

KT Tunstall

 

Other things to do in Edinburgh include many museums (the Palace of Holyroodhouse, The Queen’s official residence in Scotland, is interesting, as is The Royal Yacht Britannia, now decommissioned and permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal in Leith), whisky tasting if you’re into that (The Scotch Whisky Experience is in Edinburgh) or shopping. The main shopping street is Princes Street, where you can find loads of UK high-street shops, such as WH Smith, while the Royal Mile holds the more touristy shops plus any number of bars and restaurants.

Holyroodhouse Palace in the rain

Holyroodhouse Palace in the rain

Old Fishmarket Close, off the Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Old Fishmarket Close, off the Royal Mile, Edinburgh

So, in summary, Edinburgh is brilliant and you really should go there! Now hop on over to Alex’s blog for more tales of travel!

Travel Tuesdays


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Home alone!

 

Jan had to leave for his dissertation conference thingy at 5:30 this morning (yawn!), so I am now boyfriend-free for a whole week. Of course,most of that time will be spent at work, but for today it’s just me and the flat. Her are my plans for the day:

A whole pot of tea and some biscuits all to myself. No need to share!

Tea and biscuits

Two new cross stitch magazines for me to read – and pick out projects that I’ll probably never get round to stitching!

Cross stitch magazines

A selection of my favourite music playing on my BlackBerry!

Currently playing: Poets of the Fall - All the Way/4U

Currently playing: Poets of the Fall – All the Way/4U

(By the way, it’s incredibly difficult to take a photo that actually shows which song is playing rather than just the reflection of my face/the camera/the ceiling…)

Staying in my pyjamas, fluffy socks and slippers all day!

PJs

And just because it’s so cute, have a bonus picture of my teapot dressed in an owl tea cosy:

owl cosy

Later, I shall be starting my spring clean, but for now it’s time to relax and enjoy having the place to myself.
Have a great Sunday everyone!

 


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My life in music

I stole this idea from The Laughing Housewife, whose version you can see here.

Put together a musical playlist of songs that describe your life, including what you hope your future entails.

I was born in 1983, precisely 18 days after my mum turned 20 (product of a teen pregnancy. Shock, horror!)

My dad and later my step dad were both in the army, so the family moved around a lot. I got used to always being the new kid.

When I was 12, my step mum died. She was only 29 years old – the same age I am now!

A year later, I moved up North to live with my dad.

For university, I went to Nottingham (half way between my parents at the time!) to study German and International Relations. My degree included a year abroad. I came to Karlsruhe – the first time I’d left the country by myself!

After a turbulent three month relationship with an American (who I’m still friends with – he’s now married with his second kid on the way), I started a relationship with Jan. Six months later, he went of to the US while I returned to England to finish my degree.

After nearly two years of long distance relationship (after graduating I moved to Austria for 10 months), I moved back to Germany to finally be with Jan. I had been a language assistant in Austria and loved it. In Germany, it was hell and a major part of why I decided becoming a teacher was not for me! So I signed up for a Master’s in Translation instead.

While I was studying for my Master’s (online), I did an internship at a translation company, then got a job as a translator, which ended after 10 months for economic reasons, before ending up at the translation company where I work now just over three years ago.

And my hope for the future?

(Apologies if any of the music doesn’t work – for some reason the sound isn’t working on this computer).

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