Presumed Guilt

My syntax teacher, Valia, is quite a hoot.
The other day, she was asking us to be more vigilant in closing the doors to the Seminarraum when forgetful professors or lecturers fail to do so. She then informed us about missing items from CoLi. “Ah, but you know, it’s a reality,” she said, in her famous Greek chanting voice, “cause, I mean, people are always going to need things. I was a student once, too.” Like a copier from the CL foyer, a projector from the Seminarraum, dishes and silverware from the Mensa cafe…

Speaking of which, I couldn’t help but reflect on the flaws of this system. At the Ausländer Cafe, they charge you a 1 euro pfand for the cup every time you buy coffee. You get it back, of course, once you return the cup. Which means you never know if someone’s going to swipe your empty cup and turn it in for your euro. On the other hand, having been unceremoniously plopped into the “poor student” status, I must admit that the idea of furnishing the kitchen cabinet in this manner had crossed my mind. After all, 1 euro is a fair price! That’s probably not what they had intended by that, but then again, I never liked laws/policies that presumed the client guilty. In the end, Ikea’s prices reigned over all, and I simply keep a wary hand over my cup when I’m there, and dutifully turn it in when I’m done.

Lingbats in Cabins

I just wanted to explain the title of a previous post for those who are interested.

As my flat consists of several geeks, we all decided that we needed a really good name for our apartment. So one morning, Tobi put up on our front door a poster of some communist politician from Kerala with a yellow stickies post-it bubble bearing the title-of-the-month, and a footnote with the words:
*We share bread, milk, and revolutionary ideas.
There is some writing in Malayalam, but I like to think it is just an advertisment for dish soap.

Oktober: Welcome to the Lingbats Pad
November: Welcome to Uncle Noam’s Cabin

I will keep you posted for next month’s moniker.

Primitive Living

Still no internet, two months later.

As I have come to understand it, our landlady subscribed for DSL from a third-party provider, rather than Deutsche Telekom. However, since Deutsche Telekom has a monopoly over the phone line infrastructure, our provider is stuck having to rely on them to activate the line for DSL service. But of course, since they are a monopoly, they are incredibly inefficient, to the tune of losing 5,000 customers a day. And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it: no consumer abuse department, no class-action lawsuits, no bitching on the hot-line (since they never answer).

Long live government-protected industries.

Game Night at Uncle Noam’s Cabin

One of the interesting points of German culture is their love of board games. One of the Canadians in our group, has a passion for board games, even to the extent of visiting Board Game Expos. In any case, a game night is a great way to get people together for something friendly, innocent, and fun, and so that is what we did last night. Twelve of us or so, with wine glasses and munchies, gathered at our kitchen table or on the floor for Bohnanza and San Marco.

Which brings me to some interesting topics in International Drinking Theory:
1) If the wine bottle empties in your glass, you must make a wish, blow it into the bottle, and close it up in there with the cork [Russian/Ukranian]; and 2) If you are drinking Weißbier, not only does one chink their glass from the bottom (as opposed to the top rim with other beers), the men cheer the men first, then the woman [Bavarian]; 3) It’s bad luck luck to light a tea candle from another candle [French].

Memorable quotes from the evening:
A propos Apfelkirsche – “Did we buy church juice again? Church juice is so much better with mosque..”

UPDATE: Matthias took some great shots of the evening. You can see them here.