Thursday, March 29, 2012


I was sitting in the park yesterday evening, having a beer and chatting with my Freund. There was a beautiful clear sky and so far only the moon and two bright stars (actually they were Venus and Jupiter) were out. I was telling my Freund that I had been seeing these stars for the past couple of weeks, and it felt odd now to see them up there in the sky but without the TV tower also in view. I had been near Alexanderplatz a lot lately after dark and had only been noticing them when I was in that area. Right near the TV Tower.
Well to cut to the chase. I didn't know quite how to say that and learned a new word.

das Blickfeld - field of view/vision, range of vision, horizon and more.

There are quite a few meaning to this word, all related but with subtle differences. The root word Blick and feld though themselves have a few different translations as well.

der Blick - glance, look, sight, vision

das Feld - area, domain, field, span, zone

The Picture is not from a park bench in the evening, but I thought I would throw it in here since I has the TV Tower in the Blickfeld!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


This word is most often recognized as 'Call.'

der Ruf - call, cry, shout

I learned this very early on in school and have recently learned that it also can mean 'reputation'

der Ruf - reputation

I am not sure of it's roots, but it seems to make sense. It makes me think of the English phrase, 'calling card,' what you are known for, your signature move, your reputation.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Udo Lindenberg

Since I threw in a song from Udo Lindenberg to Friday's post, I thought I would make him the subject of today's post.

Udo Lindenberg is one of Germany's most famous Rock Stars. He started off in the music business as a drummer back in 1969. He play with a few different people and released a few albums. His breakthrough came a few years later, in 1973, with the songs 'Alles klar auf der Andrea Doria' and 'Cello.' 'Cello' has recently been updated and re-recorded with the singer Clueso. The music video for this song is further below in the post. Here is 'Alles klar auf der Andrea Doria.'

Udo was the first mainstream German rock artist. His style and use of the German language reached a wide range of fans. In 1978 he and Horst Königstein translated mainstream English language rock music, from musicians such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stone, and released the album, Lindenbergs Rock Revue. Speaking of the Rolling Stones, Udo Lindenberg reminds me a bit of a German Mick Jager.What do you think?

His most famous song is 'Sonderzug nach Pankow.' This is a song he wrote in protest. He wanted to have a concert in the DDR, in East Germany, and his request was denied. The title translates as 'Special train to Pankow.' Pankow was in East Berlin.

It is so interesting to hear these things and then to realizes that I travel at least once a week from my apartment in Neukölln, part of the former US Sector of West Berlin into Pankow, formally a part of East Berlin. This trip takes me 22 minutes by Subway with no transfers. How the times have changed.

Udo Lindenberg seems to have been quite busy in the last year or two. The musical, Hinterm Horizon, premiered towards the end of 2010. It tells the story of two lovers from East and West Berlin using his music. Think German West Side Story set in Berlin.

He also performed and recorded a session for MTV Unplugged in 2011. It was here that he paired with Clueso and released the remake of 'Cello' that I mentioned above. Here is the video mash up for this song. It is a beautiful song and you really get to hear Udo's voice. I really like how it sounds here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Überhaupt Nicht

Not at all!

I have a little trouble with this phrase, in subtle ways. I was using this phrase for the longest time in place of 'auf keine Fall', 'no way'. That was wrong. Überhaupt nicht is stronger then 'nicht' and I think of it as a more exasperated no.

überhaupt nicht - not at all

überhaupt - at all, even

For example:
If you ask someone, if there is any of their delicious pie left for you to try and there is non! They can answer you 'Überhaupt nicht.' or You have been waiting for a call. 'Did you hear from Dad?,' Nein, überhaupt nicht!'

Überhaupt nicht, seems to have more to do with not having something or not receiving something.

Where as, auf keinen Fall, has more to do with not doing something or not wanting something.

I am not sure if that last bit was helpful or more confusing.
I'll just leave you with a song. Udo Lindenberg and Ich lieb dich überhaupt nicht mehr.

Media Monday post to come, maybe. . . .

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tischdecke vs Tischdecken

So I know what Tischdecke means. It means table cloth.

die Tischdecke - table cloth

der Tisch - desk, table

die Decke - blanket, cover, spread

So it was funny this weekend because I got totally confused when someone mentioned Tisch decken. I thought they were talking about table cloths, but in fact they were talking about setting the table.

die Tisch decken -  to set the table, to cover the table

It just doesn't have the same effect I think written out here in a blog as it does to just hear it. Written out you already can see the difference but when spoken it all sounds the same.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hut Hoch!

New Phrase!

'Mir geht der Hut hoch'

This phrase is used to express that you are real angry. It is directly translated as, 'My hat goes high.' Though it sounds better translated as 'My hat went/flew up.' It sounds weird, but it is more of a metaphor, you were so angry and mad that you got hot and the heat off your head made your hat rise. This is at least what I understood to be the explanation.

der Hut - hat

It is interesting to note that in English we talk about steam rising from someones head when they are mad. Same idea right.

This is not important, but I keep getting a visual of this kids book, Caps for sale. The one where a guy sells caps and walks from town to town with them stacked up on is head.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ad: Converse

Check out these ads from the weekend. They are for Converse. They are under the train tracks that head into the Alexanderplatz Bahnhof. On the north side of the station. I guess they could actually be one big advertisement, because the space between the ad boards were also decorated with strips of colored tape. It must have been quite a labor intensive ad to put up.

Can you tell what they are made from?

Still no idea?

Can you see all the stuff on the ground? It is confetti!

das Konfetti - confetti

der Papierschnipsel - confetti, paper snippets

So Crafty Cool! I will have to check back in on it soon. These photos are from Saturday, I am sure it is almost gone by now.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Jennifer Rostock

As requested today's Monday post is about the band Jennifer Rostock.

Just like last weeks post and this post there are a noticeable number of German Bands with female names. Jennifer Rostock is another one of these bands. The band's name has an interesting story.

When the Band was recording at a studio, here in Berlin, the staff would address notes and messages for the band to 'Jennifer Rostock.' The lead singer's name is Jennifer so that is clear. The 'Rostock' must come from the fact that some of band member met at a workshop in Rostock, before coming down to Berlin. Either way the band ended up accepting the name and decided to keep it.

The band didn't start performing under the name Jennifer Rostock until 2007. They competed at the Bundesvision Song Contest, the preliminary to the yearly Eurovision Song contest. (Which is mentioned a bit towards the end of this post but I have yet to talk about it in all it's glory.)

They got a lot of attention and play from MTV Germany. On air and through the MTV Campus Invasion concerts. This is where I first learned about them. Their song Feurer is a great rocking jam. And the video is fun too. The whole singing from the back seat, mini road trip set up, win me over.  Here is that video.

The other thing about this band that continues to grab my attention is their lead singer, Jennifer Weist. She is tall and swan like with in your face (on her face) piercing and an ever spreading display of colorful tattoos. She started off with long black glossy hair and has since changed it to strawberry blond. So totally different but both shades looked great on her. Here is one last video with her black locks rocking a sexy little red riding hood look in the first scenes. Here is Himalaya.

The band has been active in the music scene since their start in 2007 with four albums. The latest, Mit Haut und Haar, reached 4th on the German charts. In their latest single, Mein Mikrofon, tattoos are clearly the visual focus. I wasn't so sure about her new chest tattoo, when I first saw it in a still photo, but she look quite beautiful in this video with the red hair to complement the body art. Here is Mein Mikrofon.

One thing to mention. When I first heard Jennifer Rostock my German language skills were pretty bad. So I don't really understand much. Now a few years later my German has really improved, but I still have to say their music is not the easiest to understand. Mostly do to the speed at which things are sung. Though at first it would frustrate me. Now, I like to listen and challenge myself to see how much I can understand without looking up the lyrics.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I was racking my brain for a post topic for today and an anonymous comment inspired it.

The comment was on the Axe Body Spray Ad post. I learned a new word and was reminded of another.

The new word:

der Misthaufen - Dung heap

Which brings me to talk about the word Mist. Mist is used like we use the word, Shit. It can actually refer to a waste product or it can be used as an expletive. "Oh, Mist!"

der Mist - crap, dung, manure, shit

Cussing in Germany is very minimal compared to the plethora of expletives that the English language affords us. I will have to go into this topic in more detain at another time, it is quite different here as it is back home. So until then, this Mist is going to have to do.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Here is a useful word I learned here in Germany.

abholen - to retrieve, to pick up

I babysit a kid and I often have to pick him up from Day Care.

Ich muss ihn abholen. - I have to pick him up.

Sometimes I have to get some paperwork or something from my Job.

Ich muss etwas aus dem Büro abholen. - I have to retrieve something from the office.

It is a fun word because you play with it a bit in the sentences. Like, if I am asking the kid's parents if they are picking him up I would say, "Holt ihr ihn ab?' or they could as me the same question, "Holst du ihn ab?"

I enjoy using this word. I always feel so smart and sneaky when I separate the ab from the holen. hehehehee. . . This word is a perfect example of why I like German.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Auf jeden Fall!

Of course!

I learned this from my friend Sam. He used it all the time. I couldn't help, but pick it up from him.

auf keinen Fall - no way, by no means

auf jeden Fall - of course, by all means

der Fall - circumstance

You can use it by itself as well as in a sentence. Like if someone asks, "Do you want 1000 dollars?'  . . . "um, auf jeden FAll!"

You can also change it up a little to mean, 'in this case.'

in diesem Fall -  in this case

Monday, March 12, 2012


Also spelled Mia, and pronounced like the girls name, Mia and not the individual initials M I A. I was again confused and mislead by this band and their name. Just like with Frida Gold, I thought it was the lead singers name, that she was the main act and the band was secondary, I was wrong. The whole group is Mia. Why o why are these names so misleading. Anyway I have since been set straight.

Mia's Webpage

The band Mia, came on the scene in 1997. They first called themselves 'Me in Affairs', but quickly shortened that to just MIA. Now a days they do not consider there name to mean just 'Me in Affairs,' but it can also mean,' Music ist Alles' (Music is everything).

In 1999 and 2000 they released two singles, 'Sugar my Skin' and 'Factory City.' It wasn't until 2002 that they released their actual Debut Album, Hieb &StichFEST. Then came Stille Post, Zirkus, and in 2008, Willkommen im Club, this is the album with the songs that I first heard.

On this album were the singles 'Mein Freund' and 'Mausen.' Mein Freund was my jam back when it first came out. One of the main lines is "Komm hier and tanz mit mir!" "Come here and dance with me!!" I was singing that to all my friends every time we would hear some music!

Here is that music video.

Mia. - Mein Freund from Jenne Eidinger on Vimeo.

In Mausen, the lead singer is rocking an 80's side pony tale and huge silver looped earring. Love it! Check out this video below. It has more of a rock sound to it then the last single.

MIA - Mausen from reprorene on Vimeo.

I hadn't heard anything from them in a long time. Until this week. They have a new Album coming out, Tacheles. I don't know anything about it yet except that it has a cool looking cover.

I can't wait to listen to it!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Empty Ad Space

Check out the ads at the Rosenthaler Platz Subway station. They are all so white and clean and spotless. I guess they are just waiting for some new ads to be put up. I am surprised these boards haven't been all covered in Graffiti and Tags.

Speaking of Tags, someone out there has tagged my name on the wall just around the corner from where I work!! One of my co-workers pointed it out! I really like it. It makes me smile every time I see it.

P.S. There has been a little correction to the post auf den Laufenden.

Friday, March 9, 2012

auf den Laufenden

Correction: I wrote this phrase incorrectly. It is not 'auf den Laufenden' rather, 'auf dem Laufenden.' It has been corrected below.

                                    .                   .                    .

I am covering a sick coworkers shift and have to run, so here is a super quick post for today's dose of Deutsch!

Ich halte dich auf dem Laufenden  - I hold you to the runnings.

Yeah, directly translated it sounds kind of weird, but it means, 'I will keep you informed,' 'I will keep you in the loop.'

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tipping in Germany

After writing about Portmonees and mentioning how you pay at restaurants in this Post, someone asked me about tipping in Germany. That is a big topic, at least bigger then what would fit in a simple response, so instead here is a whole post about Tipping. Thanks oh anonymous person out there for today's topic!

First some background information:

In Germany the waiters are paid a full hourly wage. So when they receive tips, they are actually receiving tips! In the USA waiters are not paid a full wage. In fact, they are paid less then the minimum wage, because the 'tips' they receive are considered to be a part of their income, and after taxes, it is often the only money they actually take home.  

Here is a quick example from my experience as a waitress in Chicago back in '05 to '07.
We were paid $3.60 an hour and this money ended up covering our taxes so it was rare you would actually have money in your paycheck.

We had to claim our tips at the end of each night as income to pay taxes on. We had to claim at least 8 percent of the food we sold. (We also had to pay 2 percent of our tips to the Bus Boy and Dish Washers.) The thing is we had to pay taxes on the food other people ate. If they didn't leave you a tip or at least 8% of what they spent on their food, then we would end up paying out of pocket. We would in a sense pay for them to eat. (Which happens more then you would think!) That is why in the USA we consider a standard tip to be 15-20%. That way the servers can actually make some money.  

Tipping in Germany is not as sensitive an issue as it is in the USA, for the reasons mentioned above. That means that the servers wont give you the evil eye or curse you under their breath if you don't leave a tip or tip them very little. They are getting paid to work already. On a side note, that is why service in Germany, for lack of a better term, Sucks Ass. They don't have to hustle for tips and so work at a relaxed and leisurely pace.

I consulted my German friend about tipping in Germany and he said 10% is a good tip. But then he reminded me not to stress out about it. It is only a polite thing to do, but not expected and unofficially mandatory like in the USA. Something funny I learned is that German's seem to think that US Americans tip for everything. One of my friends thought that we even tip at McDonald's. hahahaha!

Here is an example of how to tip here in Germany. If my bill is under €10, so €8.40 then I just round up to €9. If it were, €8,70 I might still just round up to €9 or maybe €9.50.

A key thing to note brings us back to the Portmonee, (If you haven't read about the Portmonee yet, here is your chance). So, the waiter has brought you the bill and they are standing there waiting for you to pay. This is your final transaction with the waiter, they are going to settle the bill right there. They don't walk of and come back with your change, this is it. And you don't leave the tip on the table for the waiter to pick up after you leave.

What you do is as you are handing over the cash to pay the bill, you tell them right then how much to make it. So if the bill is 8,40 and I want to add a tip, and make it €9,  I say 'Neun'. Then the waiter adjusts the change accordingly. Done! Bill payed and waiter tipped!

This took me a while to get used to. It was too fast and I felt pressured with the waiter just standing there. I was always trying to think about percentages and what was fair and what was expected. I had to learn to relax. Just round up and add a euros for ever 10 euros spent. So a bill of €23.40 I would say €26,  €2.60 tip. But it would also be fine at €25, a €1.60 tip. 

Like I said before, a tip in Germany is exactly that, a tip. In German, tips are called Trinkgeld, drink money or money for a drink. So think of it that way. You are giving them enough to cover a drink.

das Trinkgeld - tip

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ad: FOM Hochschule

This Ad caught my eye mostly because of the color and simple style. It is advertising the school FOM Hochschule and going to school while still working. Studium neben dem Beruf.

Berlin bietet mehr als Politik! Berlin has more to offer then politics!

The tag line is good. I like it because you can apply this to many things. Berlin has more to offer then just politics, it has art and style, music and theater, restaurants and shops. There is so much more to Berlin then stuffy boring Politics!

bieten - to bid, offer, have sth., to possess sth

der Beruf - career, job, profession

das Studium - Academic Studies

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Here in Germany when you go to a restaurant you most likely will (have to) pay in cash. The waitress will come to the table with the bill, lay it on the table and then wait there with her wallet open. Then you give her the money and she gives you the change right there. One of the things that make this style of paying easy is that all the waiters have huge wallets, called Portmonee.

das Portemonnaie or Portmonee - wallet, change purse

Note: This word is pronounced, 'pot money' and is another example of the use of French in the German language. Which was discussed already a bit in this post.

This wallet is awesome, at least for those who have to handle cash transactions. In my job, I have to deal with a lot of cash and I love these Portmonees. It reminds me of a little accordion. There are little pockets for each bill. 5 Euros, 10 Euros, 20 Euros, and then 50 and 100 Euros bills. The pockets are actually ascending in height to accommodate the increase of the bill's size as the worth increases. Because Euro bills are not all the same size, like the US American Dollar.

Then there is a huge open pocket space for all the change. There are 2 Euro and 1 Euro coins as well as 50 cent, 20 cent, 10 cent, 5 cent, 2 cent and 1 cent coins. They all get thrown together in this big back pocket, but it is quite big and so it is easy to see the coins and easily pick out the correct change.

Here is a shot of one of my co-workers Portmonee with some Money! The grey blue 5 Euros bills are in the left most pocket, the pink 10 Euros bills are in the middle and then there are some blue 20 Euro bills. The last slot is empty, I guess no one had any big bills and then you can see some coins in the change pocket. Very cool invention! If I ever move back to the USA and work as a waitress again, I am for sure going to use my Portmonee!!

Other German words for wallet are:

die Geldtasche
der Geldbeutel

das Geld - money 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Peter Fox

As promised, here is Peter Fox!
Peter Fox's Webpage

Peter Fox is one of the lead singers of the Berlin based group Seeed. He released his debut solo album, Stadtaffe, which translates as City Ape, in 2008. The album is one of my favorite.

Playing off the title of City Ape, the orchestra in his video for the single 'Alles Neu' and the drum line are all wearing Ape masks. Which gives the video an interesting look. Peter Fox's use of a drum line in a few of his song, give his music a signature sound that just sounds good. But I am bias, cuz I love college drum lines.

Other singles from this album, are 'Haus am See' and 'Schwarz zu Blau.' Here is Haus am See.

Before he ever released his solo album Peter Fox collaborated with Miss Platnum on her single 'Come Marry Me.' He also directed the music video for 'She moved in' (which can be viewed on this previous post) and has a cameo as the street cleaner at the very end.
Here is the video for 'Come Marry me'

MISS PLATNUM & PETE FOX - Come Marry Me von FourMusic

Peter Fox has recently announced that he is putting the solo career aside and going back to Seeed. Apparently the fame and stress of the Solo career was more then he expected. Well I hope he rests up and get back out there with Seeed or solo I am a fan either way.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Since I was sick in bed last weekend and missed the Monday post I thought I would throw in an extra Media Monday post today!! We can call it Seeed Sunday!! Today's post is all about Seeed!

Seeed's Webpage
Seeed is a group from Berlin. It is a mix of a Horn section, a DJ and three singer. They have a strong Reggae sound and are also classified as dance hall, though I would think of it as more like Reggae meets Modern Big Band. They are a lot of fun and can really get the crowd to move!

Here is Dickes B, their first hit in Germany. The video is cool because it was filmed all over Berlin.

The group has been around since 1998, and released Dickes B as a single in 2000. Due to it's success they soon released a full album in 2001 called "New Dubby Conquerors." Their Second Album "Music Monks" started to bring them international fame. Here is the international version of the single Music Monks. This video's style reminds me of a few Busta Rhythms and Method Man's videos.

Seeed has collaborated with a few different artist from Jamaica and the more mainstream artist, Cee-Lo. I really like that Cee-lo sings here with the guys and that the song is still mostly in German. This is the first song I ever heard from Seeed. I was hooked right away.

And watching this again I noticed someone else in the video besides, Cee-lo. Miss Platnum! Or at least I think it is her. It seems she is just in the video as a friend and extra but still it's her. You can see her clearly at the 1:28 mark and then later in the Party scenes toward the end. See if maybe you can spot her too.

Get a good feel for these guys cuz tomorrow is the main event, Peter Fox! He is the red head singer from Seeed and he has distinguished himself as a solo artist!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

"You so Crazy!"

Have you seen this yet? It is really quite an interesting graphic depicting the difference between the systems of measurement the USA uses for distance and temperature, and how we order the date, and the systems the rest of the world uses.

I am a little embarrassed to see just how crazy our beloved systems of measurement are. Maybe we should really consider converting and joining the rest of the word. They seem to have figured it out.

The system by which US Americans measure distance, the Standard System, is random. Where did we get all of these units of length; inches, feet, yards, and miles, what a family of misfits. Well, apparently it was brought over from England to the colonies and it has never been replaced. The British system as it is also called is a product of the whimsy of the British Royalty. A very nice article from NASA and NIST discusses the history of it's development.

The simplicity of the International Metric system vs the 'Crazy' that is the Standard system.
Sorry for the x-large size, any smaller and it is hard to read.
Seeing this makes me laugh! We have to memories in school that a mile is 5, 280 ft. and a yard is 3 ft. and an inch has 2.45 cm. It is really hard to do mental math and convert from inches to miles. Though with the metric system we know there are 100cm in a meter and 1000meters in a kilometer. Everything is divisible by 10. It is so nice and easy to work with.

The second graphic depicts the temperature scales. The are two common scales for measuring temperature, Fahrenheit and Celsius.

Sorry for the x-large size, any smaller and it is hard to read.
Again the graphic clearly depicts the 'crazy.'

Fahrenheit was originally developed by the German physicist, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, in 1714. It has a 180 degree difference between the freezing point of water 32°F and the boiling point 212°F. This of course was all based on the temperature of the Human body. What? Yes people the human body, though at the time the average temperature of the Human body was considered to be 100°F.

The Celsius scale was invented not to long after by a Swedish Astronomer, Anders Celsius in 1742. He based his scale on the freezing temperature and boiling point of water at sea level and scaled it to a 100 degree difference. So that freezing point is 0°C and the boiling point is 100°C.  So clever!

And the last bit of 'crazy' How we order the date. This is a minor thing, but watch out, when two people meet who don't uses the same order, mayhem can ensue!!

In the USA we write January 6th 2012 as such , 01.06.2012. However in Europe they would see 01.06.2012 and read the First of June 2012. For what ever reason we always start with the month and not the day. The Europeans think that is silly since the day is the shortest increment of time and there are many days in a month. It is best to have the day first since it will be the number that changes most often. Ok, point taken.

I am not too concerned about this. It doesn't change anything really. January 1st is still the first of January. Though in the name of order and less confusion I would say, why not go ahead and change it too. That is, of course, if we ever decide to change all our other 'crazy' and join the rest of the world.

Really! It is laughable that we are the "Global Leader" and we still hold to Fahrenheit's body temperature and The Crowns rules of measurement (by the way the British use the Metric system, at least officially). We get laughed at for this and rightly so.

We so Crazy!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bleib Locker!

Stay Cool!

I like this phrase. You hear it  often on Cop shows. When the officer is telling the bad guy with the gun to 'Stay cool, man!'  I originally thought 'locker' sounded more like a word for crazy, maybe because of it's similarities with 'loco', Spanish for crazy, and Loki some crazy god of myth. 

Locker bleiben -  to stay cool

locker - easy, informal, loose

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ad: Axe Body Spray

This ad I have seen all over town. It is for Axe men's body spray.

Such dir ne Stellung als Missionar
Look for a position as a Missionary

It is not necessarily super funny, but it keeps attracting my attention and making me smile. Because there are two kinds of Missionary Positions, one where you actually work as a missionary and the other, well we all know what the other is, right?  

die Stellung - job, position, posture

der Missionar - missionary

Note: The 'ne' is short for 'eine.'