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small white square Five things I really like about travelling in German-speaking Europe:

  • All the blue and yellow neon (in contrast to the predominant American orange, pink and green)
  • The snug, airtight precision with which household fittings work
  • A sink in every hotel room - generally of a pleasant, wide design (sometimes with Art Nouveau bulges), complemented by the mirror, shelf and light fixture over it
  • The thrill of discovery whenever a bathroom is entered - what will this one be like? <1> I like the little metal fweeper over the toilet paper roll, too
  • A bakery on every block (and a meat and/or cheese store every other block)

small gray square ...and three things I dislike:

  • "Döner Kebap" this is the generic for (and usually part of the specific name of) the too-numerous gyro stands run by former "Gastarbeiters"
  • All the Graffiti!
  • The standard symbol for Ice Cream. This is a cone with three scoops: one a lurid magenta; another a day-glo, algae-colored green; and the third a chocolate brown which is oftentimes faded to a butterscotch tan. Sound appealing? Yecch! And it's frequently an ancient, flimsy, free-standing stamped-plastic affair that's set out on the sidewalk, in front of a shop. As far as I'm concerned they should all be dragged just a little further, on into the gutter for disposal.

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small yellow square Hung around the house for a long time this morning, procrastinating the eventual return appearance on-the-job. I'd visited the base <2> briefly yesterday, just to see that the move had occurred on schedule (never assume anything) and the old office-trailer was vacant, so I feared the worst - our meticulous plan had not been followed, and instead my desk had been set up in the Men's Room. Couldn't verify anything yesterday since the new building's locked and I have yet to be issued new keys. So instead I called up B, who's advised me in email that the project she's at in Los Angeles (which I worked on too, but not in seven years) may finally be staffing up again. I'd go back there, I think, but they'd hate to lose me where I am. The big boss in New Jersey is talking about increasing our own staffing from two to ten bodies, which means I could be in a real good position here, but we'll see (I don't think I want that position). Generally I would prefer SoCal living - the media's superior down there, and the (better) airport wouldn't be so far away.

small cyan square Finally I could put it off no longer (although I did wash my car on the way in) and everything's fine! As I expected, in the clinch the forces that be tried to discard our design for something simpler and more generic, but my coworker-supervisor was able to persevere, and we generally got what we wanted. It's cramped in there, however - all these cubical-partitions in a space approximately twenty feet square make for an oriental Feng Shui. Everything's still real slack - nothing's connected in our room yet, no phones even; so everything must happen in the lab, where resources are limited.

Gastarbeiter - Guest Worker (traditionally from Turkey)
SoCal - Southern California
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<1>How will the toilet be activated? Oddly-hinged button on the side of the tank? Discreet round button on the wall, or perhaps a big square metal one? And will it be one of the weird shelf commodes?

<2>Moffett Field / Ames Research Center, where I work