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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Twinnies CDs!

I saw something on my Facebook newsfeed the other day that my blog audience might enjoy.  Franziska Pauli's Facebook page posted a photo with the caption "Look, what I've found! People told me, that the TWINNIES album isn't availabe at amazon anymore... Few days ago I discovered, that I still have some of them at home. So, does anybody want one or more of them with a personal message for each 15,00$/15,00€ + shipping? Just send me a message! Maybe you still need a christmas gift..."

Considering that my original post about Die Twinnies (from 3 and a half years ago!) is still my most popular post, I thought there might be interest in this sale.  I'm tempted to buy one if any are left!

I couldn't resist commenting on the photo when I saw it:

And to my surprise, Franzi liked my comment!

Lucky me!  So, go buy that album!  And, for a "where are they now" post about Die Twinnies, check out my post from last September.  I'm sure they've been up to a lot since then.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Filme Friday: Das Millionenspiel (1970)

This weekend is the premier of the last Hunger Games movie. Unfortunately, once all us fans see it, there's nothing else to look forward to!...right?  There are two popular themes that the audience seems to love: dystopian future and twisted fight-to-the-death reality show.  I'm one of the many who love it.  It's not really a new idea, even if it's been done in a lot of different ways.  For example, it you like "The Hunger Games", you might enjoy the 1970 Austrian movie, "Das Millionenspiel."


The film follows the finale episode of a tv show called "Das Millionenspiel" where the contestant must avoid being killed by the Köhler gang for a month.  Bernhard Lotz is the 15th contestant and he only needs to survive one more day to win the 1,000,000 DeutscheMark prize.  The movie follows his last day as some try to help him win and others try to bring him to the killers.  Just like other films in this genre, human nature is examined and whether murder is still immoral when it's legal.

The style of the movie reminds me a lot of "Series 7: The Contenders", which I highly recommend (I watch it every couple of years and like it more each time).  It's meant to make the viewer feel like they're watching the actual fictional reality show.  The movie viewer sees what the tv show viewer would see.  "Das Millionenspiel" even includes filler segments of interviews and performances by singers and a colorful dance group.  Think of how shows like "Dancing with the Stars" and "America's Got Talent" have special star acts between the meat of the show.  "Das Millionenspiel" also includes fake commercials that fit with the kind of society that would condone such entertainment.  They're a good way of adding commentary without going outside the overall style.


Maybe it says something about my age, but I feel like I have a short attention span for a lot of movies made before the 1980s.  I'm not sure why, but I get easily distracted when the movie feels "old" (I'm sure the generations younger than I am feel that way about movies I grew up with).  I don't know what it is honestly.  This movie managed to hold my attention for the most part, partially because I was watching to review it.  It also moved quickly enough that I didn't get bored with any one scene.  

It seems like the film was intended to be more of an alternate reality than futuristic.  This reminded me again of "Series 7: The Contenders" and also of "Battle Royale".  Side note: If you like "The Hunger Games", but you've never seen "Battle Royale", stop reading right now and go watch it.  Or read it. (Well, finish reading this first).  The book and movie are both Japanese, but the English subtitled version is one of my favorite movies.  I will admit that I have yet to get through the entire sequel though...some movies are better standing alone.  All three could be visions of the future just as easily as they could be alternate realities.  Yes, "Battle Royale" is set in the future, but, these films aren't as futuristic sci-fi as others like "The Hunger Games" and "Running Man".  I like them all, but prefer something somewhat easier to relate to.  Maybe it's similar to how I tend to prefer horror movies where the monster could be real.

Bad news:  No more Hunger Games Movies.
Good news: I just gave three great recommendations in three different languages to fill that void.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Steuben Parade 2015

Today is the 2015 Steuben Parade in NYC! It goes up Fifth Ave from 64th to 86th street. It's a ton of fun and you can see a lot of groups from America and overseas. This year, there are 3 grand Marshall's, including:
Klaus Wowereit, a German politician, member of the SPD (Social Democratic Party), who was the Governing Mayor of Berlin for 13 years from October 2001 to December 2014. 
Contessa Brewer, a nationally recognized Emmy award-winning television news anchor and the host of MSNBC’s primetime series “Caught on Camera.” 
John Ratzenberger, a multi-Emmy nominated actor and accomplished screenwriter, director, producer and author who may be best known for playing mail carrier Cliff Clavin on the long-running NBC sitcom “Cheers.” 

I'm excited about John Ratzinger. I loved watching Cheers growing up (on Nick at Nite) and he's a talented voice actor as well. He's had a role in every Disney-Pixar movie ( Plus, he's from Connecticut, my home state!

Can't make it to the city? No worries.  You can watch the parade streaming live on the website. It starts at noon today:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Musik Monday - MfG by Die Fantastischen Vier

Musik Monday is back!  And this week is one of my favorite songs.  I have about 10 songs on my phone, and this is one of them.  It's so clever and fun to listen to and sing along with/mess up many of the lyrics. 
Die Fantastischen Vier (Fanta 4) have been around for a while - officially since 1989 to be exact.  They are a German hip-hop group that was the first to really reach the top of the music charts in 1992.  Their music employs a lot of comedy, but later in the group's career, some of their songs became more serious.  Fun fact: they voice the Penguins in the German-dubbed Madagascar films.  

The group is still making music, but this song is from 1999.  The song is MfG, which is an acronym for "Mit freundlichen Gruessen," which translates literally to "with friendly greetings"; it's a way to end a letter before signing your name, like "sincerely yours". *Warning: Some adult themes*

If you know the German alphabet, it might sound a little like random letters being rapped then a chorus of actual words thrown in.  It's not random at all though.  First, the title itself is "text speak" and a way that people shortened words to make things quicker and easier.  The other letters in the song all go in groups of 3 as well, and each group of 3 stands for something.

Going even further into the song, each line of 3 acronyms is its own grouping.  The sets of 3 all have something in common.  I took a Deutsches Popmusik class when I studied in Heidelberg and we had a worksheet where we had to try to fill in each group of 3 letters while listening to the song.  Then, after we reviewed those, we tried to figure out what each acronym stands for.  Some were easy, because they're used in English as well as in German.  Others we knew because of learning German.  But the remaining ones were total guesses if we put anything down.  We started seeing patterns though, which is extremely interesting.  I'd urge anyone to try to figure out what the acronyms are before looking at the chart in this link.  I'm a bit of a nerd, but it's kind of like a puzzle and really fun:

While some groupings immediately make sense (i.e., EDV, IBM, and WWW are all computer related), some require a little research or additional knowledge to understand.  For example: KMH, ICE, Eschede refers to the Inter-City Express trains (ICE) known for their speed (KMH), one of which crashed in a town in Lower Saxony (Eschede) in 1998.

This is a great tool for teaching adults who are beginning to learn German.  It could also be useful for high school students, but there are some PG-13 themes in the song that a teacher might not want to explain to younger students (or their parents).  Most of all, it's a fun, clever song.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

My Ritter Sport Ranking

A list from Gawker has been going around the internet this past week titled, "Ritter Sport Varieties, Ranked".  I love Ritter Sport chocolate. Every time someone is visiting from Germany, I always request a bar or two.  When I came home from studying abroad, at least 3 pounds of my luggage was Ritter Sport.  I didn't go to the main headquarters in Waldenbuch, Germany, but I've been to the mini-museum in Berlin.  The former is on my list of places to visit.  So, I decided to do my own list*:

26.  Rum Trauben Nuss – Milk chocolate with rum-soaked raisins and hazelnut pieces (Crimson Red Wrapper)
25.  Trauben-Nuss – Milk chocolate with raisins and hazelnut pieces (Carmine Red Wrapper)
24. Schoko-Duo – Plain milk chocolate and white chocolate (Royal Blue Wrapper with chocolate bar on outside)
23.  Ganze Mandel – Milk chocolate with whole almonds (Dark Green Wrapper)
22.  Haselnuss – Milk chocolate with hazelnuts (Green wrapper)
21.  Karamell – Milk chocolate with caramel filling. (Orange wrapper)
20.  Voll-Nuss – Milk chocolate with whole hazelnuts (Brown Wrapper with Hazelnut-Pattern)
19.  Knusperkeks – Milk chocolate with a butter biscuit (Brown Wrapper)
18.  Noisette – Hazelnut-flavored milk chocolate. (light green wrapper)
17.  Edelbitter – Plain dark chocolate, 71% cacao (Pink Wrapper)
16.  Dunkle Vollmilch – Plain medium dark chocolate, 40% cacao (Azure Blue Wrapper)
15.  Nugat – Milk chocolate with hazelnut-nougat center (Midnight Blue Wrapper)
14.  Neapolitan – Milk Chocolate with neapolitan wafers, made with a hazelnut cream filled wafers and praline. (medium dark orange wrapper)
13.  Karamel Nuss - Milk Chocolate with butter caramel cream dropped hazelnuts and crispy rice (Golden yellow wrapper)
12.  Knusperflakes – Milk chocolate with corn flakes (Golden Yellow Wrapper)
11.  Alpenmilch – Special milk chocolate with high alpine milk proportion (Sky Blue Wrapper)
10.  Vollmilch – Plain milk chocolate (Royal Blue Wrapper)
9.  Olympia – Milk Chocolate with yoghurt, honey, and glucose. (Gold Wrapper)
8. Halbbitter – Plain dark chocolate, 50% cacao (Burgundy Wrapper)
7. Marzipan – Dark chocolate with marzipan center (Red Wrapper)
6. Erdbeer Joghurt – Milk chocolate strawberry and yogurt filling (Light Pink Wrapper)
5. Dunkle Voll-Nuss – Dark chocolate with whole hazelnuts (Dark Brown Wrapper with Hazelnut-Pattern)
4.  Cappuccino – Milk chocolate and cappuccino cream (Amber Wrapper)
3. Feinherb à la Mousse au Chocolat – dark chocolate filled with chocolate mousse (Bistre Wrapper)
2.  Joghurt – Yogurt (White Wrapper)
1. Pfefferminz – Chocolate with peppermint filling (Caribbean Green Wrapper)

Flavors I have yet to try:

  • Weiße Voll-Nuss – White chocolate with whole hazelnuts (White/Cream Wrapper with Hazelnut-Pattern)
  • Williams Birne Trüffel – dark chocolate filled with Poire Williams pear brandy mousse
  • Cocos – Milk chocolate with flakes of coconut in the center (Silver Wrapper)
  • Kakao-Keks – Dark chocolate with cookie center. (Brown Wrapper with cookie background)
  • Kakao-Mousse – Whipped Cream Cocoa in Alpine Milk Chocolate. (Brown Wrapper)
  • Voll Erdnuss – Milk chocolate with whole peanuts (Orange Wrapper)
I really, really want to try the coconut one.  Guess I have a bit of taste testing to do!

Bottom line, Ritter Sport chocolate is amazing and if you're in Germany, you should eat as many flavors as possible...and bring some back for me!

*Note: I know not all the flavors are here, specifically seasonal ones.  I used the list of varieties on Wikipedia, like the original post.  Also, not all the flavors are available as the typical 100g bars; some only exist in mini or cube form.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Crochet Shamrocks

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Even though I'm The Crafty German, I've got some Irish blood in me, so I have to celebrate and remember to wear green. But, it can be easy to forget, especially on a work day, so here's a quick crochet project to get in the spirit and ensure you'll have something green on you.

Last year, I had only been working with my company for a little over a month on St. Patrick's Day. It was a small company though so I was already getting along with my coworkers. Apparently a coworker hired a month before I was had the same idea as me, because she brought in pins for all of us and I brought in these crochet shamrocks. 

I modified a pattern I found to make flowers for a hat to make some 3-leaf clovers.  I used 1 piece of yarn instead of two pieces and repeated step 2 for three petals instead of five or six.  Then, I finished with a chain of 6, turned, and single crocheted in each chain stitch.  Lastly, I did a slip stitch into the ring to finish.

They came out really cute and hardly take any time to make!  You can even sew safety pins to the back to make them wearable.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Nerdy Valentine

I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's day, except for the chocolate and the excuses to get crafty.  I also like getting stuff for the Tall Guy (who is the one getting me the chocolate) and coming up with some creative ideas.

Chocolates and Nightmare Before Christmas.  He knows the way to my heart.

I try to buy or make something he'll like, which often tends to be nerdy.  Last year, I made a card based on something I found on Pinterest.

Mario is Red, Sonic is Blue

Will you be my player 2?

It definitely took a while, but totally worth it.  Who wouldn't want a Nintendo valentine with Mario and Sonic?  I took out some fine-tip colored markers, printer paper, graph paper, and pictures of Mario and Sonic.  I'm nerdy enough to know that Mario is 8-bit and Sonic is 16-bit (originally), so each pixel for Mario would be four for Sonic.  Unfortunately, the squares were too big on the graph paper I had to do four squares for each Mario pixel, so I colored Sonic a quarter of a square at a time.  Each Mario pixel was one square and each Sonic pixel was 1/4 square.

Easy level

Hard Level

I sat at my computer staring at pictures to try to get it just right.  Of course, printing would be easier, but I was out of colored ink and too cheap to buy any.  Plus, as tough as it was, it was really fun.  The controllers were also pretty easy, but I had some difficulty drawing the wires in a heart shape.  Also, I used crayons, which worked, but pencils, pens, or fine-tip markers would have been easier.

Crayons: something every 20-something year old needs

He liked it, but he was definitely more excited about his cookie dough oreos.  Can't really blame him!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Filme Friday - Schlussmacher

Since Valentine's Day is next weekend, what better time for a romantic comedy Filme Friday?  This month's movie is "Schlussmacher", which roughly translates to "The Break-up Man."  I wasn't sure what to expect and was hesitant to watch because the poster on IMDb looked to have more romance and drama than comedy.  It turned out to be a lot like American romantic comedies, with a little bit of a "The Hangover" feel to it.  Another lesson in not judging a book by its cover!

The bottom poster works a lot better
(Source: [top] IMDb, [bottom]

The main character, Paul (the handsome blonde on the posters) works for a company that specializes in ending relationships.  Paul's job is to break the new to people that their significant other is dumping them.  He remains professional and does what he can to give them their "happy end."  He's great at what he does, though it's clearly affecting his personal life.  He can't fully commit to a relationship, which causes the woman he's seeing to doubt whether they should be together.  His own romantic relationship is put on the backburner for most of the movie though as he deals with his latest client.

Paul and his "girlfriend", not as perfect as they seem (source:

Paul is faced with his most important job yet.  If he is successful, he will get a huge promotion and become a partner in the company.  After he thinks this job is finished, things start falling apart.  His girlfriend says she's not happy with the way things are, and he realizes that Toto, the man who was his latest break-up victim, is a little crazy.  Trying to smooth things over, Paul gives Toto a ride, and loses his drivers license in the process.  Not wanting to tell his boss, and not having anyone else to turn to, Paul uses Toto as a way of getting around.  He's faced with trying to protect, control, and console Toto, and ends up lying to him a lot.  The two men have many misadventures, many of which are hilarious.  Of course, as is the case with movies like this, they learn some sort of lesson along the way.

Not being able to sleep alone: one of Toto's many quirks (source:

The movie is more of a lighthearted comedy than anything else.  It's fun to watch and not a chick-flick, despite being a romantic comedy.  There is violence, profanity, and sex in the movie, so it's at least a PG-13 rating, if not higher.  Parental discretion advised.  I watched without subtitles, but there are definitely versions with subtitles out there.  You don't need to be fluent in German to follow the story, but you might miss a few jokes without a translation.  It's a great date movie or one to watch alone for a few laughs.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Chase the Chill

I'm a crocheter, as evidenced by earlier posts.  So, I love seeing articles about crocheters and knitters, especially when they're using their skills to do good for others.  That's why I was excited to see this article about a group called "Chase the Chill."

Scarves on every tree (source:

I'd read about the group about a year ago, and had it in the back of my mind since then.  Apparently the group (which has a facebook page) started this "yarnbombing" event in 2010 in Eaton, Pennsylvania.  The group collects handmade scarves and then hangs them up around the community on places like trees and statues.  This isn't just to display artwork though; each scarf includes a tag that says it's free to anyone who wants it.  While the group's goal is a nontraditional form of charity, where those struggling to stay warm in the winter can find a free scarf, anyone who needs or wants a scarf can take one.

Even includes washing instructions (source:

I've donated scarves before and wanted to make prayer shawls, but doing something like this is tempting.  Maybe I'll look into starting a Connecticut chapter!  The article explains that people started a group in Georgia and included hats as well.  I just need to find some interested knitters and crocheters in Connecticut!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

H&R Block "Nein nein nein" Commercial

I love commercials (and anything else) that use foreign languages for comedy.  The other day, I saw one of many new H&R Block commercials advertising filing state tax returns for $9.99.  The message didn't click (I missed the end of the commercial because I was laughing) until I saw a different commercial, but it's hilarious example of false friends.  Hope it's as funny for some of you as it is for me!