mysteries of everyday life



Oh Camellia sinensis!

Each time the kettle starts to hiss,

Oh praise Him! Alleluia!

Dihydrogen monoxide too,

Infuse their leaves the whole way through!

Oh praise Him! Oh praise Him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


… is driving me mad.

First, I won an e-book reader. It is actually quite handy, as you can take the equivalent of about a ton of books wherever you go (and there is a lot of stuff for free on Gutenberg project, and the like). Nevertheless, I have found myself (I am horribly ashamed to say) swiping my fingers across the (paper) pages of actual books to turn pages.

I should have known better, but, in order to sort of replace (or at least supplement) my much loved, aging Samsung 10” netbook, I got myself a 10” convertible (i.e. a keybord + tablet combination). Now, when I am not getting crazy trying to fight Windows 8 on the tablet, I am trying, in vain, to operate my netbook by fingering its (non-touch) screen. Argh!

Add to this the mental challenge of remembering which port and which cable can communicate with whom: My micro-USB-to-USB adapter plugged into the USB port of the keybord of the convertible can connect to the USB-to-micro-USB adapter of the charging cable of my e-book. The tablet and my camera, however,  have propriotary charging cables, and the tablet, unlike the netbook, has only a micro SD reader and no SD reader. If my mother’s camera’s SD card slot is somehow, enigmatically, configured in a different way to my camera’s SD slot, there is, consequently, no way for me to access my photographs during a trip without an extra mini-USB-to-USB cable, which I did not take on a trip, as it was needed for neither the tablet, camera, e-book reader, or USB stick on their own.

Do not let me get started on mobile phone SIM card sizes,or, worse, the (in-)compatibilities between mini-HD, HD, and VGA ports and plugs, respectively.

There is nothing like technological progress.

A long, long time ago (do not make me count years, it is rapidly becoming quite a shocking thing to do!) I heard in a lecture the phrase of, roughly translated, ‘opening the throttle with applied hand brake’ (‘mit gezogener Handbremse Gas geben’). This referred to the pre-winter management strategy for winter rape: you want it to be just at the right developmental stage when winter comes, but when you sow it, you do not yet know how long or how warm autumn will be. You have two instruments: nitrogen fertilization and fungizide application (which, handily, retards plant development in this case). You apply both, trying to strike a delicate balance that will get you exactly to the point you want.

I am in a similar situation: I have to write a grant proposal and neget it reaed to get it ready quite desperately, which necessiates the application of wine (to calm me down from utter PANICK!) and my super-duper-surprisingly-legal herbal infusion (ha!) containing green tea, mint, melisse(?), cinnamon, cacao, cola nut, ginseng, guarana, and paeonia. A delicate balance.

Why do Americans say ‘I could care less’ when they mean ‘I couldn’t care less’? Is it a euphemism?

How can they go from contented gurgling to inconsolable howling in the space of two seconds?

And apparently mine like acetone…

A supermarket which I , for lack of locally available alternatives, patronize, has adopted a rather silly, and, if I may say so, not entirely fortunate campaign on the general lines of ‘Every day a bit better.’ To my simple mind this suggests one is starting rather low down to keep one’s options open (ironically, this is rather fitting for the particular store I know). This is varied, according to shopping sections, to ‘Every day a bit hotter’ (with a picture of peppers in the fruits and veg section) or ‘Every day a bit more sparkly’ (with a picture of champagne in the wine section). What intrigues me is the ‘Every day a bit more up-to-date’ one in the newspaper section. If I wait long enough, will I be able to learn tomorrow’s lottery numbers?