Thursday, May 07, 2009

Developments in D-Land

Big doings. Much progress. And Joy.

Doings: I have a routine now. Up at 6:30, breakfast of hard dark bread and marmalade, with tea. Ride the mighty (fully tricked out) Gbike into the University. Trip takes 8-9 minutes, door to door. Usually cold (4-6 C) in the morning. (This morning it was 9 C, about 50 F). Make tea. Have most excellent darjeeling, and officemate Helmut just brought more. About 1.5 kilos of it. We should have enough tea for a while.

Teach on Wed and Thurs. Students happier, I think. Less readings, more talkings. Students have broad diversity of background and interest. Some are very, VERY good however. Impressive.

I have been to groceries, bars, restaurants, and coffee shops. Successfully purchased things. I know just how proud you all are of me.

Did loads of laundry. Very handy to have washer/dryer access in the apartment. Shared with Dr. Ludwig and family, of course, but that is a huge help for me. I'll let Mittwoch be wash day, so as not to interfere with the family. (Three kids=lots of laundry).

Much progress.
I internet connection. It took more than ten visits to OIT, 5 different signatures, plus the signature and a very official stamp from the Lehrstuhl. But I am now the (temporary) owner of an actual static IP address, which I can use to connect to the wonderful interwebs.

Before that, as the lovely Ms. Mungowitz can attest, I was often relegated to sitting on the dirty floor in the stairwell in the basement of the OIT building, 10 meters from the HelpDesk. The reason was that that was literally the only place on campus that the VLAN actually worked. There were signals at other places on campus, but you can't connect. I asked the students about this, and they claimed that the VLAN* is actually a ruse. The university can save on bandwidth by having a network to which no one can actually connect.

I mentioned that this was kind of a shame for a university whose ostensible motto is "Advancing Through Networks." You have to HAVE a network before you can advance through it. The students said they didn't know that the university HAD a motto, and that having heard "Advancing Through Networks" was the motto that they now felt much more energized and motivated to advance. Mottos can DO that for people, you know.

Any way, danke to Herr Bieber of the HelpDesk, who ran interference through the bureaucracy and got me connected to the interwebs. It sure does help!

Joy! I went to the farmers' market, and shopped around for some spargel. This is not your mama's asparagus. I had some last week, at the MLS, as I wrote about then. But I thought I would take a shot at actually preparing some.

One booth had a special, 3 kilos for 16 euro. (that's almost $3.25/lb., for a vegetable you still have to PEEL, by the way). But I couldn't remember the word for "three" in German. (I should have remembered Schultzie trying to get the guys to march on Hogan's Heroes: "Ein! Zwei! Drei!" But I panicked, okay?). So I oredered two kilos.

And the "farmer" says, in perfect American English, "That doesn't make any sense. Noboby orders two. We have this special on three kilos." (It was 6 Eu per kilo, or 3 for 16).

I didn't admit that I just couldn't remember how to say 3, and pretended to change my mind. Turned out the guy was a cook for part of the time he had lived in the States, going to college. Now he worked selling vegetables, and also as a cook in the evening, cooking some of those same vegetables.

He gave (gave!) me some spices, and lots of advice on cooking spargel. The classic way to serve it would be boiled/steamed, with hollandaise sauce, with some slices of salty ham and boiled new potatoes. Serve with side of butter.

But he told me a soup recipe. I'm going to try to make it tonight, and if it works, I'll report back. (I still have 20 spears left, even after sharing with the Ludwigs).

In any case, after the market I just went home about 2 pm and peeled and steamed about 10 spargel spears, and then took them out and put them in a bowl, with a little salt, pepper, EVOO, and balsamic vinegar. I let them cool and soak while I went back to the office.

Didn't get home until about 10 pm, so I was glad that dinner was ready. Just put the spargel viniagrette on a plate, with some hard brown bread to boonge up the juice, and that was a mighty fine supper. Spargel has a lighter taste than green asparagus, and the texture is very nice. (It can be woody if it dries out, or is prepared badly. But this was that morning fresh, and I got lucky on cooking time).

Finally....the EYM is coming soon! He'll be in Germany on Sunday. Joy!

*Vireless LAN. (yes, that's a joke about accents)


Jeff said...

Ha! I was about to make fun of your misunderstanding the whole "Vee-lan thing".

I still call it that back in the states, much to the puzzlement of everybody.

Anonymous said...

Funnier than you think, there is a VLAN in (English) networking, IEEE 802.1Q: the "virtual LAN". I kid you not.