More Black And White

I have had a good few days photographically speaking…..at least I think so.

There is the dragon I saw used as the spigot of a fountain in a small shinto shrine in Shinagawa near Tokyo a few weeks ago. To me this is the way I imagine dragon to look like – fierce.

Then there is another image of Scripps Pier in La Jolla north of San Diego.  I took the image from the Glider Port at UCSD just after sunset, when the sun was still illuminating the cliffs a little – exposure time was 4 seconds, I think. I have spent many hours on top of the cliffs watching the ocean and the setting sun – pondering life. I have also spend many most excellent hours at La Jolla Shores Beach, next to the pier surfing, watching dolphins and seals as well as suffering some very memorable wipe-outs.

As mentioned in Tuesday’s entry, I spent some time in GearWheel Alley in Bangkok’s Chinatown again. I really love it there, because of all the “engineering stuff”. Everytime I am there I go through the mental exercise of a cost-benefit analysis of working there instead of the expat life I lead right now – Happiness with dirt under the finger nails vs economic strife.

And, finally a twin shot of the abandoned little Fiat 600, hidden in a back-Soi in Chinatown.

So there you have it. Two posts in one day before 6:00AM – you need to thank the damned jet lag I am still suffering from. I hope my sleeping pattern is sorted out by the weekend.

Take care and perhaps, read up on the Moorsoldaten song (Peat Bog Soldiers) I mentioned in today’s fist blog entry. Think about the courage and defiance these guys showed in a place build on despair and hopelessness. And how many more Peat Big Soldiers do we want to tolerate in the world – in Syria, in Congo, in Rwuanda, in China, in Mali, all the other places where people are prosecuted and suppressed.

Markus \m/

Deutschstunde Mit Den Toten Hosen – German Class With The Toten Hosen

One of my favorite German bands, Die Toten Hosen (the dead pants) have released a new album. Not just A new album, but one to celebrate their 30th band anniversary. Part of the new album is a second disk that contains covers of popular German songs over the last 70 years or so.

Among them is a song that we used to sing in music class when I was in sixth or seventh grade, called “Wir Sind Die Moorsoldaten” (We are The Peat Bog Soldiers). Back then, I guess I was too young to understand, but I did not like the song. It is a fairly slow song consisting of six verses with a simple chorus, no bridge or anything. But the song was originally composed by prisoners in a German concentration camp and was sung by the prisoners on their way to the bog, where they were forced to work.

When I saw the song was on the album, I remembered all that and I went into listening to it with a preconceived notion. But, alas, age brings maturity – even for me. Instead of listening to the music itself, I listened to the lyrics and now I see why this song struck such a chord with the fellow prisoners and generations afterwards. The power of the song became so evident, that the concentration camp leadership banned the song.

The lyrics describe how the prisoners love their mother country Germany and how the Nazis have brought winder and despair to the country and the people. The song describes how the prisoners go off to work and their daily suffering. But the last verse is a triumph of hope and was very moving to me. I am glad, that sometimes things come full circle.

If you want to know more about the song follow this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peat_Bog_Soldiers

The new Tote Hosen Album – :”Ballast Der Republik” (Ballast Of The Republic) and the second disk containing the covers – “Die Geister, Die Wir Riefen” {The Spirits We Summoned) are both outstanding. Both titles have a historical connection to Germany. Ballast der Republik refers to the burden of the cruelties that happened between 1933 and 1945. Obviously the concentration camps, arbitrary annexions of smaller European countries and the ultimately the war. But the reference extends beyond 1945 to how the victors eventually split Germany arbitrarily into two parts that created its own perversions. The West became prosperous with everything available – especially Coke, while the East decayed and gnawed on concrete walls with shortages on everything as the standard.

“Die Geister, Die Wir Riefen”, is an allusion to a very famous (also very long – we had to learn it by heart in 4th grade) poem by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, called “Der Zauberlehrling” (the magicians apprentice) – not of Nickolas Cage fame. It tells the story of how the apprentice toys with doing magic all by himself, while his master is out and about. Eventually, the spirits he summoned he cannot control anymore and mayhem ensues, until the master return home to rectify the situation.

Anyway, the albums are great, I can only recommend them and they are available on iTunes.

Markus \m/

SoCal

I know it’s been bits and pieces recently. I have traveled on business an on leisure and haven’t either had the time or the internet connect to post anything. But that changes NOW.

Before we get to my recent trip to my old stomping ground San Diego, I want to share this image with you. I call it “The Three Differentials”. Differentials are a single speed transmission used for automobiles to balance the slower speed of the inner wheel compared to the outer wheel as a car makes a turn while both wheels are powered by the same engine (Simple explanation). Differentials are a great, yet under appreciated engineering achievement. So here we go:

Yes, I took it is Bangkok’s Chinatown, in Gearwheel Alley. To me, that place should be on the curriculum for any mechanical engineering program in the world: “Because this ,ladies and gentlemen students, is what you are studying for.”

On half way around the world, shifting time by 14 hours. We are stopping in Oceanside, in the north of San Diego County.

Surf wasn’t great there. But I didn’t expect anything. The season is essentially over. In the winter that’s when the Pacific coast takes off and the surf is good – nonetheless, bestir than a flat ocean. I saw a few stand-up paddle boarders and it looked like a lot of fun. They were paddling in and out on their 15 foot “aircraft carriers”, catching even the slightest undulation in the ocean.

Ansel Adams made it famous, UCSD marine biology students learn there and I surfed there – Scripps Pier at a very late sunset.

Alright, more soon. I will make an effort to return to a more regular posting schedule.

Until the next , stay sharp ad look out for life, it may pas you by without you even knowing.

Markus \m/

Something With A Glass House And Stones

What’s up dudes a dudettes? As I was roaming through Bangkok on Saturday afternoon, I walked past a building with this brass sign attached to it. And I could not help but to see the humor in the image. Needless to say I had to take it to share it with you.

20120514-174930.jpg
Now you can sleep in peace tonight, because we have a head office here of the WDRO.

Calmly and worry free
Yours Markus \m/

Think Outside The Shower

It’s Saturday. I went for a swim this morning. The swim was good, but not great. At least not great compared to the swim I had on Tuesday (’cause I was on fire) or my epic butterfly sessions I have had on Wednesday and Thursday evening. Granted I cheated a bit, wearing a big ass mono fin, but I ripped…Jesus H. Christ I felt like Flipper’s cousin, not removed at all. Getting back to today’s swim, after which I took a shower and that’s when inspiration struck me. I was looking from the shower into the window of our shower. I did what every little kid does with shampoo in the hair (…not cry, not that small of a kid) I was eyeing different foam hair-doos, when I saw the Bangkok skyline behind me as a reflection in the glass pane in front of me. Then Barbara came in – and this is how you take a picture: Subject: check, inspiration: check and someone who can get you the camera when you don’t have it with you: check. Hands dried off, camera in hand, shampoo in hair I captured this multilayered shot all in one, no layering in post-processing. So walk with open eyes through the world and your life and capture analog, digital and mental images.

And because it is Bangkok, I will throw in one more in color.

So there you have it.

My big Saturday morning accomplishment – and totally PG.

Now go and soak up life.

Markus \m/

Think Outside The Shower

It’s Saturday. I went for a swim this morning. The swim was good, but not great. At least not great compared to the swim I had on Tuesday (’cause I was on fire) or my epic butterfly sessions I have had on Wednesday and Thursday evening. Granted I cheated a bit, wearing a big ass mono fin, but I ripped…Jesus H. Christ I felt like Flipper’s cousin, not removed at all. Getting back to today’s swim, after which I took a shower and that’s when inspiration struck me. I was looking from the shower into the window of our shower. I did what every little kid does with shampoo in the hair (…not cry, not that small of a kid) I was eyeing different foam hair-doos, when I saw the Bangkok skyline behind me as a reflection in the glass pane in front of me. Then Barbara came in – and this is how you take a picture: Subject: check, inspiration: check and someone who can get you the camera when you don’t have it with you: check. Hands dried off, camera in hand, shampoo in hair I captured this multilayered shot all in one, no layering in post-processing. So walk with open eyes through the world and your life and capture analog, digital and mental images.

And because it is Bangkok, I will throw in one more in color.

So there you have it.

My big Saturday morning accomplishment – and totally PG.

Now go and soak up life.

Markus \m/

Unnamed

Buon Giorno girls and boys. You may have noticed, I have just used one of my lame title jokers – Unnamed. But, nothing better popped into my head – it’s still early. I noticed recently, that in Sept 2010, I created a category called “Books I Read” and realized, that I should rename this category to “Books I have read” because I have only used this category once, despite the many books I have read. Man, I am rambling.

Alright, I’ll shut up and show some images:

Hill tribe women in Sapa, northern Vietnam taking a break to chat. These women sell pieces of clothing they make in their villages in the mountains. That is the official story, but I think that is not possible. Either these women manufacture product at an incredible rate or – and I suspect this – they outsource the stuff they want to sell to the tourists to neighboring China.

I mentioned it before, Sapa is this beautiful mountain village with fresh air, no noise and simply miles away from the business of the Hanoi.

The locals terrace the hills where possible to farm the land. However, even though the terraces are reminiscent of rice paddies, there is no rice agriculture in and around Sapa. I think in general that mountain villages anywhere I have been thus far share a common trait – that is they have a special charm. Besides having mountains all around, the food is usually simple, but perfect with a local twist. One can usually find a cafe to enhance the travelers relaxed state of mind. And finally, I think it is the clean air combined with the fact that the air is thinner. The clean air is a vacation for the sense of smell while less oxygen slows the “flat-landers” down, so that we are forced to relax.

Take this image for example. I took it in a cafe in Sapa, afar we had liked to the southeast of Sapa for 5km down the hill. Since there was not much shade and the sun was shining down nicely, we were looking for a place to hang and chill. I sat so comfortably on the couch (think Homer Simpson comfortable) that I really could not manage to move my butt off say couch. I let my eyes wander through the place which had been nicely decorated with enlarged pencil sketches, like the one you see above. I saw the images with the wooden beams crossing through it  and the cups in the lower right and thought at that moment :” That’s what relaxation, to me, looks like right now.”

The walk that got us into this cafe, yielded another photo of the serene environment.

And this concludes our little early morning stroll through Sapa. No go have a good day and do that one good deed a day – try it before noon.

 

Markus \m/