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Jul. 19th, 2008


Perforated Spheres

Last saturday, Barb and me went to see Death Cab For Cutie at Große Freiheit. It was a good show, alas it felt a little weird to attend a kinda big show after all the gigs in small locations I saw lately. The venue was sold out and we were standing somewhere in the back, because we arrived late. It felt somewhat unpersonal to be inside an anonymous mass of people, though it was a nice crowd. I mentioned that the audience in Hamburg mostly acts reserved, but it was different at this show. It was a nice atmosphere; the people were cheering and the band seemed to be pleased with the warm reaction of the crowd and played a great and energetic set. The show had many highlights. They played most of the songs from their latest album 'Narrow Stairs' and classics like 'The New Year' and 'I Will Follow You Into The Dark' (the last one I enjoyed immensely). They played two encores including great songs like 'Twin Sized Bed' and 'Marching Bands Of Manhattan' (another one of my favorites). The song I was mostly looking forward to was 'I Will Possess Your Heart', the absolute highlight of the latest album; an eight minute epic rock song. They released it as a single in a lame, edited three minute version and I was afraid they'd play this mutilated corpse of a great song, but gladly they didn't. The version played wasn't as good and long as the album version, but it was nice enough to please me. They ended the set with 'Transatlanticism', another of their eight minute songs and only slightly shorter than the album version.
the atlantic was born today and i’ll tell you how:
the clouds above opened up and let it out
I was standing on the surface of a perforated sphere
when the water filled every hole
and thousands upon thousands made an ocean,
making islands where no island should go
oh no

After that, Barb and me were having dinner at a tourist joint on Reeperbahn. Sadly, Barb decided to go home after that, because she was tired after a very hard week and didn't join me to meet up with Opp at Knust; another venue, where the Eldorado festival took place. This so called festival was a showcase by local bands. I couldn't care less for most of the bands playing there, but the Honeyheads were on the bill, so we decided to go. This was very, very different from the Death Cab For Cutie show, because it wasn't that crowded and again, I could stand in front of the stage, watching the band. They played a nice set and it was cool to see them with a good PA and a decent sound. They played some of my favorite songs like 'Out Of Marseille' and 'From A To B To See You' and we had a little talk with them. Again, they seemed to be somewhat stunned, that they really have fans and not just friends attending their show. On the other hand, they seemed to be kinda uncomfortable with the attention they got. Well, that's their problem I guess. But again I really liked it to be able to talk to the band after a nice set and to tell them they rocked. Here are some pictures I took with Opp's cam (I left mine at home because I was afraid that the bouncers at the Death Cab For Cutie show would cash it):

Oh, and here's me enjoying the show and a cool beer. The girl to the right in the background seems kinda pleased as well...:)
Me @ Eldorado-Festival, Knust, July 2008

All in all, it was a nice evening with two great but very different shows. I can't remember when I last saw two good shows on one evening (besides festivals) and I really enjoyed it. Opp and I had nice talks, laughed a lot and I got home at four in the morning; slightly drunk and pleased by a very nice evening. Well, if Barb would've joined me for the Honeyhead's show, the evening would've been perfect.

When you follow the..uhh...following link, you can find Honeyhead's 'Abhela Mestra'-tapes, early mixes of songs originally released on their now sold out EP on Cloudberry. I like these version much better than the Cloudberry stuff, so please listen and enjoy!
Honeyheads : 'Abelha Mestra Tapes'

Jul. 7th, 2008


Nothing's Shocking

It's about time to spotlight an album that I've listened to a lot within the past weeks (besides Murmansk's still fantastic 'Chinese Locks'): Jane's Addiction's perfect album 'Nothing's Shocking'. This album is great in sooooo many ways, that it feels impossible to mention every aspect that makes this an absolute classic. The year was 1988, and the door for alternative rock was about to be blown wide open by an extremely talented punk-goth-progressive-any other genre you want to call them-band called Jane's Addiction. The alternative rock band consisted of Eric Avery on bass, Stephen Perkins (who happens to be the best drummer ever until Jimmy Chamberlin of The Smashing Pumpkins showed up), virtuoso guitarist Dave Navarro and the most intriguing prescence in the band: Perry Farrell, the lead singer who screeched his angry, frustrated passions out through a voice like no other. Opp mentioned an interview where someone said that Farrell sounds like "a creature". Yay! Together this unique, original band created one of the greatest alternative rock albums of all time: their arguably finest recording, Nothing's Shocking.. Unlike other albums from this time, it still sounds modern and totally timeless! I stumbled upon the band in around 1992 as I saw one of their videos on MTV (I guess on 120 Minutes or Headbanger's Ball; both shows I enjoyed back then). I can't recall what clip it was, but I went out and bought 'Nothing's Shocking' the following day. It was on heavy rotation for months and the sheer power of the songs, the highly creative songwriting and the awesome sound totally blew me away; despite the crappy stereo I owned back then. I remember lying on my bed in my room under the roof of my mother's house in the hot, hot summer of 1992, sweating and listening endlessly to this great album with headphones on. I don't know if there's ever been an album cover as ironic as this one. I would think that if naked adult siamese twins with their heads on fire isn't shocking, then indeed nothing is. I believe this is one of the truly outstanding albums of all time; one that changed the face of music. It's only appropriate that it should have such a great cover. Most of my friends didn't like the band and preferred to listen to the other great albums of this year. It was a great year for alternative music. Nirvana's 'Nevermind', Pearl Jam's 'Ten', White Zombie's 'La Sexorcisto : Devil's Music Vol. 1', Kyuss' 'Blues For The Red Sun', Nine Inch Nail's 'Broken' & 'Fixed', Pavement's 'Slanted & Enchanted', Lemonhead's 'It's A Shame About Ray' and Rage Against The Machine's debut album all got released this year (besides numerous other great, great albums). Who am I to blame them for refusing to listen to an album that got released in the dark ages (musically speaking) of the 80s? So, 'Nothing's Shocking' was my secret treasure of awesome music I had all to myself in these days. I was very pleased to see one of the best songs from the album in Oliver Stone's 'Natural Born Killers'. It's 'Ted, Just Admid It' and it's played in the scene where Juliette Lewis seduces the mechanic at the garage. Wow, perfect scene... (how I wished to be the mechanic back then...:) )

I rediscovered the band anew in 1998, when I bought the album on CD. The vinyl had long worn out then...
Now I rediscovered the album again, because Opp and I talked about it on the evening of the Secret Shine gig. I can't remember how we came about it, but we listened to 'Up The Beach' and I instantly got hooked on it again. I listened to it on Barb's wireless headphones while cleaning the appartment the next day. It was so great! The huge walls of searing and roaring guitars Dave Navarro fired at me really blew me away. My ears were fine after the gig the day before, but after listening to 'Nothing's Shocking' twice, I had a ringing in my ears...:) And I realised again, that this is an awesome, nearly perfect album. There's only one weaker song on it; 'Idiots Rule'. It's not bad, but it's clearly weaker as all the other songs on it. But it's nearly impossible to live up to classics like 'Ocean Size', 'Ted, Just Admid It' and 'Mountain Song'. 
'Ted, Just Admid It' is propably one of my favorite songs ever. It's great in soo many ways. It has an amazing, sexy bass, really unexpected and exciting breaks and damn good lyrics. Many scources claim, that it's a song about serial killer Ted Bundy, but I blelieve it's about Ted Turner, founder of CNN and the man that made news a voyeuristic experience. Perry Farrell, leadsinger and songwriter of the band, captured this in a perfect way. Well, maybe it is a song about both Teds! This would be even more genius...:)
Anyway, here's an excerpt:
Camera got them images
Camera got them all
Nothing's shocking...
Showed me everybody naked and disfigured
Nothing's shocking...
And then he came
Now sister's not a virgin anymore
Her sex is violent...

The T.V.'s got them images
T.V.'s got them all
It's not shocking!
Every half an hour someone's captured and the cop moves them along...
It's just like the show before
The news is just another show
With sex and violence...

The band's calling card is really Perry Farrell, and he's the kind of thing you sort of like or dislike straight off-- his kind of punk-meets-Queen vocal approach, very much over the top the way Freddie Mercury was, but filtering out much of the technique in place of passion and a raw wail. Jane's Addiction was an innovative band and there are only very few bands around that were ahead of their time like them. Hell, they played alternative rock before there was even a name for this style! I believe that bands like Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson wouldn't exist (or, at least, sound like they do) today, if Jane's Addiction hadn't been around. I was amazed how influential they were on the modern music scene when I listened to the song 'Stand In Silence' by ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (it's on their latest album 'So Divided'). This song essentially IS Jane's Addiction! I listened to it right after 'Mountain Song' and it fit so well, that it could've been another song from 'Nothing's Shocking'. I don't know if the song is meant as a nod to the band, but it certainly sounds like it. From the opening bludgeon of 'Up The Beach' to the staccato aggressiveness of 'Pigs In Zen', this album never lets up. Even the cheeky 'Thank You Boys' is delivered with impish delight that could only come from the mind of the half-mad, feral Farrell.
So, if you ever stumble upon this album and have money to spend, just buy it! It's worth every cent in my opinion...
This is one of the very best rock albums of all times; a true classic.

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead : 'Stand In Silence'

Jun. 24th, 2008


Nothing But The Moon

I'm totally excited about a band I recently discovered: Murmansk. Yes, it's a crappy name... But their music is just great, marvelous, exciting! I can't stop listening to their album 'Chinese Locks'. The band is from Finland and I stumbled upon them on one of the indie- blogs I frequently read. I downloaded on of their songs, 'Nothing But The Moon', to check them out (like I do with most bands that seem to be even slightly interesting), listened to a part of the song and filed them under 'okay' first. But like I do with every new song I download, I put it on my iPod and listened to it in detail while being outside. I think I already mentioned that I'm listening to music almost every time I leave the house alone and I use to check out newly downloaded songs then. Well, listening to 'Nothing But The Moon' on the Pod (and not on my crappy PC speakers) really blasted me away. I instantly knew after half of the song, that this band deserves to be huge. This assortment of heavy, searing guitars, fantastic and pumping bass lines, an angelic voice and a powerful drumming that would put even Slayer to shame instantly hooked me and never let me go since then. This is great, great music. 'Nothing But The Moon' instantly made my top 5 of new songs this year and if my iTunes is correct, I listened to it about 80 times since I first gave it a chance last thursday. Okay, I have to admid, I've listened to nothing else since then. The song is so great, that it doesn't even get boring to listen to it again and again! If you listen to it, please pay close attention to the awesome break at 1:16, that urges me to jump up and frantically bang my head against solid objects every time I listen to it. Okay, don't be afraid, I so far managed to resist this urge... :)

I was afraid that the rest of the album couldn't live up to the expectations this great song generates, but felt relieved when I first listened to it last weekend. This album, 'Chinese Locks', is an amazing, powerful piece of art. 'Nothing But The Moon' isn't even the best song! It's just impossible to describe the sheer brilliancy of it. It leaves me nearly speechless every time I listen to it...
The band describes their style as shoegaze with an aggressive edge, but, in my opinion, there's much, much more to it. Sure, they're clearly influenced by great shoegaze bands like Slowdive, but there are other very exciting elements included as well. Their dramatic drumming and frequent use of the double bass puts them on par with great metal bands like Slayer or White Zombie (in a cool way!) and their energetic bass lines remind me off the fantastic 'Without You, I'm Nothing' album by Placebo. The female vocals (like with Secret Shine, there's both. A male and a female vocalist alternating from song to song) sometimes remind me of Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. All this comparsions with known bands shouldn't suggest that the band just copies anything from the mentioned bands. They definitly don't! Their sound is highly unique and original and I'm only comparing them to be able to describe their sound. I'm not that good at describing stuff without referencing to already known things. Anyway, it's pure awesomeness! Classic indie rock hooklines pair up with wave and even hardcore in a very refreshing way! And there's not one weak song on the whole album. It's amazing! An instant classic! I haven't listened to a multifaceted band like this in quite some time. I can't even remember which band managed to exite me like that in the past. Every song is very different from the others, but at the same time they're highly recognizeable as Murmansk-songs. Awesome!
Please, oh readers of this page, give this awesome and wonderful band a chance and listen to the following song. It's more than worth to listen to.
Murmansk : 'Nothing But The Moon'

You can listen to more songs on their MySpace page and can download the opener of the album, 'Chinese Locks', there:

Jun. 16th, 2008


Beyond Sea And Sky

Sorry that I didn't post for quite ome time...
I've been really busy in the past weeks, but there's nothing to complain about!
My new job is just great. It's really interesting and sooooo different from the stuff I previously did. It's challenging as well, because I have about no experience with this kind of work, but I'm getting along fine. I have to learn a lot and I'm reading up on certain topics nearly every day, but for now, my boss is quite pleased with the things I do. The job is really demanding and I have to do a lot "behind the scenes" (i.e. researching), but it's in no way as exhausting as the work in the damned hospital has been. And it's even more fulfilling. It's exactly what I hoped this job would be and I can imagine doing this for quite some time. Barb is helping me a lot. She has lots of experience working with the mentally ill and gave me lots of useful advices or explained certain aspects of behaviour to me. Even if she gets back from a hard day at work, she takes the time to answer my questions and is really patient with me. I'm really thankful for this. It would be much harder for me without her help. Thanks, my love. Secret Shine German Tour 2008

Last weekend I went to a really cool concert with my friend Opp. The british shoegaze band Secret Shine performed at a really small club and we were looking forward to this gig for months. We had a shock last week because the venue they were scheduled to perform at, announced that the show got cancelled because the club preferred to show games from the european football championship. This was a huge letdown (and an incomprehensible decision) for us, until the venue announced, that the show will take place at another club. Yay! The club was really small. With hundred people attending, it would be really crowded. Sadly, there were only about thirty or fourty people there. It was cool to saw them performing in such an intimate setting, but on the other hand, a highly talented band like Secret Shine deserves better. In a perfect world, they'd play in front of hundreds frantically cheering fans. But, as we all know, this world's far from perfect... So, they had no choice but to settle for Opp and me dancing and cheering them on. The reaction of the other people was kinda restrained. But I believe that it had nothing to do with a band. It's always like this in Hamburg. The first shows that Barb attended here after moving to the city, she was kinda shocked that the audience acted like this. I don't know why it's like that. Many people say it's because of the buttoned up northern german mentality, but I'm a native myself and I always like to party, to dance and to cheer for a band that's performing great. I saw a lot of shows here in Hamburg, but I can only remember a few, where the audience really went ballistic. Strange...
Secret Shine @ Astrastube
Secret Shine @ Astrastube II
Secret Shine didn't bother though and played a great gig. They had lots of energy, performed really well and were in a good mood. The sound could've been a little louder, but the venue was really small and the PA wasn't that good. But this didn't prevent us from really enjoying the show. Opp and me demanded to hear one of our favorite tunes, 'Hit The Ground', but they said that they didn't practice it for some time and refused to play it. That was the only (very minor) bummer at this great, great show! It was nice to have a few beers (in Opp's case a few too many...:D) afterwards while talking to the band. They promised to play 'Hit The Ground' the next time they'll play Hamburg. Nice guys! We had lots of fun!
with Kathryn of Secret Shine
(That's me with Kathryn, lead singer of Secret Shine and shoegaze icon!)

Sadly, Barb couldn't join us, because she had to work late and couldn't pull herself together to meet up with us after a twelve hour shift. Oh, and afterwards there was one of these coincidences that can't really be coincidences. After I parted with Opp at the metro, I pulled out my iPod and (as always) started it in shuffle mode. To my surprise, 'Hit The Ground' blasted into my head. Well, I have about fourhundred songs on the Pod. Isn't it nearly impossible, that, of all things, this song got played first? Strange². 

Well, I hope to be able to post more often in the future. There's lot to write about regarding my new job, breaking news regarding my roleplaying group, football and many, many great (and free!) songs waiting to be posted!

Jun. 2nd, 2008


Weekends Without Make-Up

I had a fantastic weekend! It was the first real weekend in months, because I started to work at my new job a week ago. So, for some months weekends were just days where the shops are closed, but from now on weekends will again (hopefully!) be there to recreate and to have some fun. On friday I met with Olli, an old friend from my hometown that I haven't seen since 2001. He contacted me a few weeks back and this was the first time that we met. And it was really cool! Sometimes it's a little awkward to meet people that you haven't seen for a long time, because people change a lot within seven years. So, sometimes you just lose the conection to each other, because both are actually different persons now and meeting again can feel disenchanting. Gladly, this wasn't the case. We connected to each other as if no time had passed and we had a nice evening at the beach. We talked and talked, laughed a lot, drank some beer and had some weed and went to my place after sunset. There we just continued to talk, drink and smoke and we listened to 'Sky Valley' by Kyuss, an album we listened to a lot back in the days. It was so cool to talk to Olli again and to listen to this great, great album. It's on repeat since friday.

On saturday I slept until 11:00 in the morning and had a nice breakfast on the balcony (while listening to Kyuss, of course). Since the end of april, the weather in Hamburg is awesome! It's sunny every day and really warm and it feels like summer. Hopefully, this will go on for a few weeks. When the weather's nice, I can't imagine a better place to life than this beautiful city. In the afternoon I met with my friend Opp in St. Pauli (the district surrounding the semi-famous Reeperbahn) and we both went to a new record store (I can't remember it's name though...) to see a cool band performing there. This band calls itself The Honeyheads. It's funny, because I mentioned these guys here back in april, after I discovered one of their songs on a music blog I read regulary. On there, the author referred to the band as Honeybeards and didn't even mentioned, that they were from Hamburg! As Opp called me on thursday to ask me if I knew the band Honeyheads I said that I only know a band with the somehow silly name Honeybeards. Opp sent me a link to check out the Honeyheads and I was baffled to discover, that these guys were the already familar Honeybeards! I knew that the Honeybeards/heads weren't a band from the UK or US, because you can hear it when listening to their lyrics, but I thought they might be scandinavians. Never would I've expected them to be from the same town as me! Woohoo! That's so great! They're actually the first cool band to come out of Hamburg! It's funny that Opp and me had a conversation on this topic a few weeks back in which we complained about the fact that there aren't any interesting local bands around to support. This seems to have changed now... I was quite angry at the idiot from said blog that seems to be too goony to write a bands name correctly and that even forgot to mention where they're from. I wrote him an angry mail because of this and he corrected his entry without further comment. I won't correct my own original entry out of lazyness and because I'm somehow afraid to mess with the past...:)
Honeyheads II
Well, the gig was awesome. They were loud and had a nice trashy and fuzzy guitar sound. With the gig being played in a record store, there was no stage nor a professional PA, but they just rocked! There were maybe twenty people there to see them (mostly friends of the band I suppose) and we stood directly in front of them. I think the band was a little bemused because I took photos of them. They don't seem to be used to getting attention. :) They played several songs, but tried to end their gig without playing my favorite tune, 'Out Of Marseille'! Opp told them that they can't just leave without playing this song and the band seemed a little frightened because Opp demanded the song in such a vehement way. They played the song and another and we were very, very pleased with their performance. Sadly, they didn't have any of their recordings on sale, but promised that there'll be songs to download soon. I'll post the link as soon as I got it, because this band just deserves to be promoted! We talked a bit with two guys from the band and they were nice folks. We'll certainly try to see their next shows too. Below are some photos I took at the gig. Please note their dresses!
Honeyheads III
Here you can find their awesome song 'Out Of Marseille' (right click, save target as). Enjoy and spread the word.

Saturday continued in a nice way. After the gig I picked up Barb and we went to my friend Henning's place. It was a day before his birthday and his girlfriend invited us as a surprise for him. He was a little irritated to see us, but was really happy too. We ate together, talked a lot and drank lots of beer (after I already had two beers in the afternoon with Opp!). What a nice evening. Sunday I spent with Barb. It's soooo nice to have time together and to devote it to the nice things couples do...:)

As always, I'll round up this entry by posting another photo from this awesome city.
Alster Lake
Oh, and this is me at Mar Y Sol. Barb took this picture a week ago and it turned out nice enough to post it:
Me @ Mar y Sol 

May. 26th, 2008


Narrow Stairs

Time for an update...
I've been ill for the past two weeks. I got crushed down by a terrible flu. It was gross... I can't remember to have ever been ill like that. Looks like I threw a critical fumble on my saving throw vs. diseases (wait, saving throws against diseases is 2nd edition, if I recall correctly...). I had fever for days, staggered around like a zombie (didn't have appetite for brains or anything else though...), coughed like I had adult-type tuberculosis etc. . The worst was the weakness. I couldn't do anything. Even sitting in front of the computer writing felt exhausting. This is what HIV must feel like... This was the worst flu I ever had and now I can imagine why old and otherwise weakened people can actually die from it. When I was younger, a flu didn't last longer than three or four days, but this one was extreme! Barb got ill too and she suffered in the same way. Gross.

Okay, enough of the whining. I feel slightly better now and I can't afford being ill any longer, because today my new job begins! Woohoo! I'm looking forward and am feeling slightly panicked at the same time (hmm, this sentence feels wrong somehow...).
I'll certainly blog about my experiences with lunatics and the mentally insane. :)
But what I find even more exiting right now is the new Death Cab For Cutie album 'Narrow Stairs'. It is a great album and without doubt the best album of the year until now. Well, the best albums are traditionally coming out in autumn (don't ask me why, but it's true!), so it seems a little early to drop a statement like this, but on the other hand it shows how much this album excites me. I never was a huge Death Cab For Cutie fan, though I always liked their music with few exceptions.  I liked Ben Gibbards side-project The Postal Service much more than Death Cab For Cutie, though they only released one (brilliant) album. Death Cab For Cutie recorded many good albums like 'Transatlanticism' or their last album 'Plans', but they never managed to blow me away. This changed last saturday when I listened to 'Narrow Stairs' for the first time. The first song, 'Bixby Canyon Bridge', is a good opener, because it shows how the band evolved. Most of the songs on their last two albums were simple (but good) pop songs with nice but simple melodies, seldom longer than four minutes. This has changed. Death Cab For Cutie's music is more complex than ever before. They have long instrumental parts for the first time and boy, these are great! The second song on 'Narrow Stairs', 'I Will Possess Your Heart' shows their new direction in a light of sheer brilliance. It takes four minutes until the song builds up to Gibbard's first vocals and it lasts for nearly nine minutes! That's cool, because I like long songs! The song is fantastic. It has great drumming, a cool base line and Gibbards vocals (being even more annoying than on the last albums) are super cool! The whole album is fantastic, but this song is clearly the best and the most creative one. I expect it to make my top 5 songs of the year list. They have released 'I Will Possess Your Heart' as an edited version and released it as a single. This is a really lame move in my opinion. Of course, it makes no sense to release a 9 minute song as single, but there are other potential (and shorter) singles on the album. The cutting of the first half of the song is a serious crime, because it robs the song off most of it's magic. The slow building of the song is sooo great. Cutting this might make it a good single, but makes it a somewhat ordinary song as well.
I recommend giving 'Narrow Stairs' a try if you're into cool independent music. It's fantastic and I can't stop playing it. Oh, I just realized that the album entered the US charts on #1! Wow! Anyway, I'm too old to shy away from popular music, as long as it's as good as this one. Seems like I have to hurry to buy tickets for their Hamburg show in july then. Hopefully they won't change the venue because of their success! They're supposed to play at Große Freiheit 36 which is a medium venue (capacity for about 1200 people I'd guess) and I hope that it doesn't change because the bigger halls in Hamburg are somewhat crappy.

I couldn't find a free mp3 of one of the songs on 'Narrow Stairs', but I found this:
Death Cab For Cutie : 'Champagne From A Paper Cup' (Live)
Death Cab For Cutie : 'The Sound Of Settling'
As always, these are free and legal mp3's provided by the artists or their labels.

May. 6th, 2008


When The Music's Over

On April 29th my iPod headphones decided to refuse serving me any longer after over two years of flawless servitude. This was the beginning of a terrible silence that lasted for exactly a whole week and made me realize, how used I am too be continuously blasted with (great) music from the moment on that I leave the house. Don't get me wrong, when I'm going for a walk at the Elbe river or around Alster lake, I don't carry my iPod with me; except when I'm in the mood for it. I don't know, it feels like some kind of sin to my to be in the great outdoors and to be simultaneously being blasted with roaring guitar riffs. But when I'm "out on business"; doing shopping, having appointments and the like, I carry the Pod with me and listen to great tunes. These are boring activities anyway, so why not spicing these up with a little entertainment. Mostly I listen to music but sometimes I'm listening to cool Podcast regarding topics I find interesting (see profile...). But, to get back on topic, the whole joy of being entertained was over on the day my technical equipment so shamefully abandoned me on April 29th. A time of seriously boring and endless feeling bus rides in public transit, being irritated by the constant traffic noise and the odd presence of fellow citizens was the result of said sad treachery. I couldn't afford to replace the phones due to my current financial condition and was grudgingly accepting my fate, until a good friend of mine helpfully gave me a spare pair of headphones! Woohoo! We were at the cinema to watch 'Jesus Christus Erlöser', a documentary on Klaus Kinskis "performance" of the same name at Sportpalast, Berlin, on November 20th 1971.It was a good movie, I can highly recommend seeing it. After we parted, I pulled out the iPod and listened to music while waiting for the bus and riding home. It was so cool! I listened to great new songs. I still fed the Pod despite it being off little use to me at that moment. I'm a good daddy! ;) So, I got to enjoy some nice songs, which I haven't listened too that much within the last week and discovered a few gems I'd like to share. The joy continued this morning as I had to get up early to take my daughter to school. No, to clarify: I didn't listen to anything when I walked her to school (I was tempted, though...:) ), but on the way to pick her up and after I dropped her off at school, I was constantly blasted with great, great tunes. I just got in from the balcony. It's finally spring around here (more like early summer, though) and I was sitting in the sun and listening to music. And as if the Pod somehow tries to make up for the recent lack of servitude, it was throwing an awesome mix at me. First was Choir Of Young Believers : 'Riot', , a tune I instantly got into. It isn't catchy or simple, but it has such an interesting sound and structure, that I instantly loved the song. It's how I'd expect a modern incarnation of Aphrodite's Child to sound like. Enjoy! The song was followed by 'The Architect' by dEUS from their latest album 'Vantage Point' 

This is a really good album. I used to listen to it while cooking and doing dishes the whole last week and it gets better and better each time I play it. There's no fee link available, but I recommend buying the album anyway. Despite a review in german music mag Visions I can't agree with 'Vantage Point' being better than 'Pocket Revolution'. The latter has clearly the better songs on it, but the new one is still great. 'Eternal Woman' is a kinda lame single in my opinion(don't get me wrong, it's a good song, but a lame single). 'The Architect' would've been a far better choice. It's catchy, and groovy and it might grew annoying after the fiftieth time, but as of now, I really, really like it. Alas, it's not my favorite tune from 'Vantage Point'. The best one is, in my opinion of course, a song called 'Slow'; presumably the title track according to the lyrics...
The last song of the mix, 'Hit The Ground' by Secret Shine, is another really, really cool song. I can't find it as a free download, but I found a very nice live recording of their song 'Catch The Sun' Secret Shine : 'Catch The Sun' (Live) . They're performing at Grüner Jäger on june 13th and I'm soooo there! :D

The next is a song I have on my iPod for nearly a month now, but I just got into it lately. The New Division freely admit by their name that they're strong influenced by Joy Division. Sadly, the take as much from Interpol and the Editors; both bands, that I don't like that much. I know, I'm probably one out of maybe ten people in the whole world that doesn't like Interpol. Yeah, sure...
The New Division : 'Rome' The song sounds awesome when using the iPod's bass boost mode.

This one is another grower. I found it fiddling and boring the first few times I listened to it, but was too lazy to delete it yet. Now, I'm glad I kept it, because it's actually a really nice song. And, as a friend noted lately, I am fond of female vocals. :)
New Found Land : 'Leave It Behind'

So, hopefully you enjoy these great songs as much as I do. All songs can be saved when clicking right and using "save as...". All of these songs are freely provided by the artists or their labels and are legal downloads.
Traditionally, I added a photo of Landungsbrücken, that I took on April 27th. Landungsbrücken

Apr. 30th, 2008


Heaven Help The New Girl

Okay, I haven't updated my blog for quite some time. Why? Probably lazyness paired with slight frustration. What started as a cool way to improve my english and to fuel my narcism turned into just another commitment. But it's somehow nice as well and I won't delete my account because of certain feelings I know too well... It would be cool being able to claim to be busy, but I'm not. Not really... But I finally got the job I was applying for lately and it's a job I'm looking forward to. It's at a small institution that offers rehabilitation for mentally disordered persons. No more nursing, no more hospitals, no more people dying, no more serious suffering. Okay, the last point might be an illusion, but I believe that the suffering I'll witness working there is somehow different. If it isn't, I don't care. I've gotten used to seeing people suffer within the last years and I've got the ability to cope with this. Well, mostly. The new job will be something entirely different from my previous job, which I find refreshing, tempting and frightening; all at the same time. Yeah, maybe I could use some psychic rehabilitation myself. I'll have to do much more therapeutic stuff with a clientel that's known for highly unpredictable behaviour. But I find it very interesting and I don't have to work shifts anymore and am able to plan my own schedules, with regards to the needs of the clients of course. I'm starting doing twenty hours a week and will start working thirty hours in august. This is cool, because I expect to have to look up much stuff in my spare time. I used to work with mentally disordered in my previous job too, but there they were only a minority of the patients and my therapeutic responsibilities were cursory at best. So, this will be very challenging to me. Besides the work with the clients my duty will be to help the owner with administrative issues. They're planning to expand their business and there will be important negotiations with reimbursement companies and representatives of the health authority. Yes, boring stuff, but of important matter. (I just realise that I have huge problems to translate the german terms for stuff like this into english. If there are native english speaking persons out there reading this, please let me know, if it's understandable).
Okay, enough of this.
What's really, really good is that the days of insecurity and lazyness will be over then and that there'll be a steady income again. I don't have to feel like a useless parasite anymore and it will (hopefully) have a serious impact on my self-esteem and my mental state. Barb tells me that I come across somehow depressed in the last weeks and I refused to acknowledge this, but now I have to admid that she's probably right (and has been right all the time). I hope for more energy, more motivation and more straightforwardness in my daily life. Amen.

Ohh, and I forgot to post that we managed to find a date to game in the meantime and that we...*dramatic tush*...were able to wrap up the campaign! Yeah! That was a good day! I didn't expect to get to the end that fast, but our last session went that well and everyone played smart and concentrated and we wasted no time. Maybe everyone was keen on gaming after the long downtime. I wasn't that pleased with my DMing (due to lack of practice), but the players were thrilled and enthusiastic. They were surprised by some revelations in the last session and it was cool to see them so curious and expectant. I have the feeling that, besides our problems in finding dates, they really digged the story and were eager to know how everything turns out in the end. Exitement like I saw in their eyes and behaviour the whole evening can't be faked. It was great and very joyful and fulfilling to me as DM. We played the campaign for nearly three years, with players coming and going and deaths of beloved characters and it felt like an accomplishment to finally end it. This was the first mayor campaign I really finished and that wasn't abandoned or suffered any other kind of unanticipated end. It was the best campaign I ever ran and I will always have fond memories of it. It was a blast. I'm glad that we have a (nearly) complete journal of this epic campaign to read through some day in the future. I don't know, how and if we'll play further with a new campaign at the moment. The players are eager to continue with a new campaign and I'd like to continue DMing for them, but not under the given circumstances. Well, I explained my frustration in an earlier post and the situation hasn't changed then. A compromise would be, to run pre-published adventures and modify them to our homebrew so that I won't suffer that much frustration anymore because of the serious imbalance of input on my part and outcome (like players being unable to remember previous sessions, trouble finding dates and so on). I posted requests to join other gaming groups and even offered to DM on several german RPG message-boards, at the local university and two gaming stores, but with no reaction, so just forming or joining a new group seems more difficult than I expected. And this city claims to be a cosmopolitan city! Yeah, sure...
Oh, I took some photos at the last session, but I'll only post one, because I don't know how my players feel about being "published" on the net. Not everyone is an attention whore like me...:)
So, this is me perfectly happy while DMing:
Me DMing
You can see the maps used in the game on the table in front of me. The map on the graph paper was the destroyed emperor's palace where the final fight took place. Beneath it you can see a part of the big map of Inspirandor, a metropolis in our homebrew. Right in front of me are my trusted Monster Manual, the Critical Hit Deck and dice. The dice I'm holding in the pic is the infamous black d20 known (and feared) by my players as the "black fay". It's the oldest die I own (it came with the base set of "das Schwarze Auge"-RPG that I got in 1982) and the most deadly. It loves tormenting players, likes drama and is highly sadistic. I've never seen a die that rolls natural 20s as regular and well timed as this tiny, evil thing. Players begged me to exclude it from our games several times and, of course, I always refused. How will I know where the spirit inhabiting the die will look out for victims if I don't offer it player characters on a regular base?! We currently have the agreement that I only use it in important, big boss fights and that was the case, as you can see above. And it didn't fail to please me, alas, there was no PC death in our final session. Thanks to Mantis and CloudBoy (and to everyone we lost during the ride) for endless hours of joyful gaming!

Apr. 17th, 2008


My Life In Music

It's been a while since my last entry and there isn't much to write about nowadays. So, to prevent anyone from thinking I won't write anymore, I decided to post a list of the albums that shaped my musical taste. The following albums each had a certain impact on my taste in music; some more, some less. They're in no particular order and to some of these, I haven't listened to in years. I'm very sure I forgot some important albums, so maybe I'll update this entry some time in the future. All of these are great, great albums in my opinion and are worth checking out.
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If I had to limit the following albums to my ten most favorite, I'd have a hard time. The list might look like this (with the exception of MCIS, all in no particular order):

The Smashing Pumpkins - 'Mellon Chollie And The Infinite Sadness'
My Bloody Valentine - 'Loveless'
Ride - 'Going Blank Again'
The Decemberists - 'The Picaresque'
dEUS - 'Pocket Revolution'
The Smiths - 'The World Won't Listen'
Sonic Youth - 'Goo'
The Cure - 'Disintegration'
Kyuss - 'Sky Valley'
Adorable - 'Against Perfection'

I'm sure, I'll feel the urge to change the list in a week.

Oh, and as promised, another photo from my hometown:
Alster Fountain 

Apr. 10th, 2008


William, It Was Really Nothing

I just wanted to post a funny picture I found over in a thread at the Sinister site. I'd go and buy Killogs any time. 
Mmmhhh, the taste of seaweed and salty sailors...
As Barb is highly addicted to potatoe chips (I'm glad she doesn't look like it though), we tried many unknown stuff as we were in Thailand back in february. It turned out, that seaweed is one of the most popular tastes there. But we didn't try seaweed-flavour. Barbs love for potatoe chips only include the (in my opinion) lame kind like Natural, Salted or (if it gets exotic) Paprica. Gladly, this conservative view doesn't affect any other parts of her personality..:)
So, while trying new stuff wasn't that pleasing for Barbara, I had a blast with crawfish-flavoured chips, something called 'international dish' that tasted somehow...uhh..strange and (my favorite) black pepper steak chips. The latter Barb found most disgusting as these things really tasted like grilled meat and made the hotelroom smell like a barbecue grill within seconds. Nice...

Well, to give a little update of my life: not much happening.
I'm still between jobs (or, to phrase it a little bit more realistic, unemployed) and I have job interviews, am writing application letters (for jobs I really don't want) and so on and on.
My mood got a little better, since the weather turned sunny within the last days. It's still chilly and I never leave the house (if I do so at all...) without my trusted scarf. I'm trying my best to get as much as possible done for my RPG project, but I'm not even half through and I guess I wrote about hundred pages last week alone. But it is a good thing since it gives me something to do; something I consider meaningful. Certain people won't agree with this though. It feels a little like a job to write most of the day and now I get an idea how real freelancers live (with the slight difference that I'm doing this for free and "fun". Whatever that means...). No word from my gaming group, no posts on our campaign boards. Bastards... :) It looks like we get to play late april, but I won't get my hopes up until the date is set in stone. Well, I'm not even keen anymore to play with these guys. They're nice and good friends and all, but the whole time-issue saddens me that much that I'm thinking about quitting the game with them at all. It doesn't make sense anymore, because with these gaps between dates I can't tell the stories I want to. They can't remember much of the previous session when we get together and to me it feels like giving someone the third book in a series with only brief informations about the first parts. I don't know if this example makes any sense... Propably not. It makes me feel bad and I'm starting to get angry at those people that care so little for our hobby and show so little respect for the stuff we created. But I desperatly want to finish the current campaign. I want it badly, because it is the best I ever ran and I want to wrap it up. Leaving it unfinished would sadden me even more. But I propably won't start a new campaign with these guys as I had mentioned earlier in this blog. This wouldn't make any sense. I love to game with friends, but when these aren't avaiable, I have to look for strangers to play with (and hopefully make new friends as well). Well, I'll keep you updated. :)

Oh, and I got a nice reply by Zak, a member of The December Sound, regarding my entry yesterday. He appreciated my praise and mentioned that they'll try to come to europe in fall or early next year. Cool.

I took many photos of my hometown in the past weeks (just out of the feeling that I won't stay here much longer...) and I decided to put them up here from time to time. I'm not really good at taking pictures, but a few turned out quite nice and capture the mood of the place.

Kieler Straße 

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