Germany

German Reading Project: Die Tribute Von Panem by Suzanne Collins, Chapter 6

A pretty srs bsns chapter here, where Katniss first meets an Avox. It’s kind of tiring to have to follow her constant mistrust in a second language (what if Peeta is bluffing? What if he’s trying to undermine my self-confidence? What if somehow he’s trying to gain some mysterious advantage?), but I’m really appreciating the tightness of the story and random little moments I probably took for granted when reading in English. I always find that everything seems more meaningful when I have to work at it that bit harder, perhaps because there’s an element of puzzles about it, and the answers to puzzles are always valuable in some way.

Favourite words:

blaffen: to snap or bark at someone

pummelig: chubby

German Reading Project – Die Tribute Von Panem by Suzanne Collins, Chapter 4

(Translated by Sylke Hachmeister and Peter Klöss.)

Should hopefully have everything typed up and ready to post by the end of the weekend, but let’s not make promises here.

Another double entry!

Favourite Hunger Games-themed word:

das Pfeilkraut: katniss. I have to wonder why German changed her name here! Who wouldn’t want to read the story of brave Pfeilkraut and her adorable sister Primel? For that matter, Collins missed a trick not calling Katniss Duck Potato or Wapatoo, amirite?

Favourite normal daily use word:

die Sauferei: boozing. Looking up the definition of this also introduced me to the amazing (and real) English words “crapulousness” and “crapulence“, which I’m going to have to fit into my daily vocabulary as much as I can from now on.

Well, just be glad I didn’t give you all the vomit words from the beginning of Haymitch’s Sauferei in this chapter.

Frankfurt Sneak Statistics III – Sn3ak

Here we are again. Another year of OV Sneak Preview – the showing of a random new movie each week at Frankfurt Metropolis cinema. In 2014 and 2015, I collected all the statistics of the films we saw and did a bit of maths. Now, let’s do it all again. This time, we also have statistics for how many films passed the Bechdel test, provided by the lovely Dove.

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In praise of… the adverts for Frankfurt’s municipal services

The twenty-first century is a weird time. The word “phone” now refers to small computer that you poke. People can devote themselves full time to swearing at celebrities. And everything needs a brand.

Luckily, Frankfurt’s municipal services are more than up to the task. Here are some of the best.

Here’s VGF, Frankfurt’s transport company. A classic. All you really need to understand is that everyone who’s shouting is a Frankfurt fan, and the lonely guy in the striped shirt is a Bayern Munich fan.

Oh, and “Alle fahren mit”? That means “Everyone rides”. Wonderful.

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Frankfurt Sneak Preview Stats – The Sequel

Another year, another… year of films? Anyway, here are some stats about the Sneak Preview films we had at Frankfurt Metropolis Cinestar. You can see last year’s here, and compare with what happened this year. Get ready for some movie statistics!

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Frankfurt Maths 3: The S-Bahn to St Ives

By Roje, Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

After weeks of work, the S-Bahn is running properly once more! To celebrate, here’s one of my favourite little maths problems. It’s something I first noticed during the torturously long wait for a Merseyrail train before the timetable improvements. I haven’t a clue whether it has a real name, so for now, let’s call it the S-Bahn Paradox.

Suppose you want to go from Frankfurt West to Frankfurt Süd (this was the limit until the building work ended). Well, there’s a train precisely every five minutes during the day, and the journey takes almost exactly 15 minutes (more like 16, but let’s say 15). As you travel, you’ll pass trains travelling in the other direction. Supposing you leave just as the next train is coming in, how many will you meet along the way (including the ones at the start and end stations)?

15 minutes, a train every five minutes, that means that there are three five minute periods, and (not forgetting the train you meet at time zero), you meet four trains altogether, right?

Well, not quite.

Let’s do this the easy way, with pictures. Here’s our train line, straightened out and with the stations removed (as well as trains that don’t travel the full distance between West and Süd). Our train is on the left hand track, facing south. Each tick represents the distance that the train can travel in one minute. (It doesn’t matter that this distance may vary as the train speeds up and slows down – all that matters is average speed)

As you can see from the number on the right, we’ve just met one train, and there are three more waiting for us. The four theory’s looking pretty good right now. Let’s see what happens if we bump the clock along by one minute.

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Lego Frankfurt: Hauptwache

Hauptwache! It’s not just a smelly railway station!

Back in the days when Frankfurt was its own semi-independent Imperial city state, the Hauptwache and its partner the Konstablerwache (about five minutes walk down Zeil, Frankfurt’s main shopping street) were the centres of Frankfurt’s martial might. The army and police (not that there was any real difference in those days) worked from these buildings, and they also served as armouries. This meant that it was a target for revolutions, such as the uprising of 1833, and for enemy countries. When Prussia annexed Frankfurt, they shut down the Frankfurt army and converted Hauptwache into a jail.

These days, the Hauptwache (reconstructed after being bombed) is a pricey cafe. It’s normally surrounded by parasols, planters and benches, which make it rather hard to actually see the building. I’ve stripped these away, so you can hopefully see the lovely architecture better. And yes, there is really a suit of (carved) armour over the entrance, sitting on a pile of shields and spears – the one reminder of its time as an armoury.

Lego Frankfurt: Eiserner Steg

Next on our whistlestop tour of Frankfurt in Lego, der Eiserner Steg!

The Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge) is almost certainly Frankfurt’s most famous bridge – it even has a top 10 song named after it. Unfortunately, building it out of Lego makes it look rather chunky, compared to the real, rather elegant bridge. It probably needs to be constructed on a larger scale, with a more gentle slope on the arches.

The Eiserner StegAlso, try as I might, there’s no way of crafting that Homeric Greek inscription in Lego…

Lego Galluswarte Turm

Following last week’s S-Wagen, here’s another Frankfurt landmark in Lego form: the Galluswarte!

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Frankfurt Flexity Tram in Lego

Wow, long time no blog.

I recently discovered Lego Digital Designer and, immediately after, the Lego Digital Designer to POV-Ray Converter. With these two tools, you can create basically any Lego model you like, for free, without having to hunt for pieces, and then render a realistic image of it. So that’s neat.

So, here’s a model I created to try it out.

Render of the Flexity Frankfurt model.

It’s a Frankfurt tram! To be specific, a Flexity Classic! These are a) mostly low-floor and b) bogied, which makes them a bit of a pain to model within the limits of Lego Train sets, since these are all designed around high-floor mainline stock. I’ve cheated, and attached the wheels straight to the body. Hopefully this way of doing it looks OK. Other caveats: the doors are the wrong colour (they should be azure, which is the closest I could find to the Frankfurt Straßenbahn green in Lego, but there are no azure window pieces. Luckily, the window frames are meant to be black) and the articulation is rigid. Although you can’t see it here, I actually went to the effort of making sure all the transformers and air conditioners on the roof were accurate. Front probably needs some work too.

Other than that, there’s nothing too complicated about it. I thought the wing mirrors would be tricky, but modified 1 x 4 offset plates (4590) work pretty nicely!

Stay tuned for more Frankfurt-y Lego things…