Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Random Tuesday - Just 'Cause I Wanna

Let's take a ride on the wheel that is RTT. Random Tuesday gives me the option to simply babble in blog format whatever is on my mind.
Actually, what pops out of my brain is sometimes a little scary, even for me. But we'll try to keep it between the navigational beacons.

Bullets, because I can't focus people... simple as that.

* This morning I went to the American Consulate here in Berlin to get my expiring and quickly filling Passport renewed. Think airport security on a smaller scale. Oh, and you can't have any kind of electronic device on you. Don't even THINK about taking a phone inside.
* Attack life, it’s going to kill you anyway. ~ Steven Coallier
* Let me just say that after seeing the line of non-Americans waiting to get visas to visit America, I was REALLY happy to be holding that American Passport. I went directly in and did my business. When I came back out I could see the same guy was still standing in front of the same visa window. Ugh.
* I remember back to 2001 and my first visit to Berlin. For some reason I was expecting much more of a military feel to the city. The Wall was long gone, but I expected barriers or something. HA, all I had to do was approach the American Embassy (which has since moved)... Walls, barbed wire, armed guards. Yeah, this was what I had expected to see in Berlin... how proud I was to know that the only place I saw it was surrounding my country's embassy. (smell the sarcasm, people?)
Love of the drink
I think I'm getting addicted to coffee...
and NO, I'm NOT giving up
my addiction to Coke Zero.
* The American Consulate is in a residential area rather than the Embassy which is surrounded by business. But don't you think for one minute that it looks less secure. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the sidewalk a block away from the building is ALSO American Territory and is not available for scooter parking (yup, I found out the hard way). At least the Berliner PoPo (police officer in SnookerSpeak) lady was nice when she insisted that I move my vehicle.
* Does it still count as morning coffee if you drink it four hours after you get up?
* While I was walking on the non-American sidewalk where I was allowed to park my scooter, a colleague of mine stopped her car on the street and asked me if I wanted a ride. 3.5 million people in this city and she spots me. How sweet.. and strange all at the same time.
* Sweet No bought us tickets to the Köpenick Jazz In Town Festival to see the Australian "Guitar God" Tommy Emmanuel. He is magic, I must admit. And he knows his guitar! Want a sample? Check Tommy out on You Tube. Pick a song and just enjoy!
* The Berlin streets are full of people again. In late July / early August the residential  part of the city is a ghost town. School is of course out and many folks are traveling of town on holiday. Driving on the city streets is a breeze, with hardly any traffic back ups. Only the tourist areas are crazy full. Unfortunately I noticed yesterday that the pileups are happening more frequently. Sometimes I even have to wait through TWO lights! Yeah, I know... silly to complain about waiting only two light cycles, but hey... it's what I've got.
* GAWD, what is all this ruckus about a Mosque near Ground Zero? Actually I can see both sides. But tend to come down on the side of "it is just real estate". (yes, I've stood and looked into the gaping hole that used to be the World Trade Centers... yes, I felt the nauseous feeling knowing that so many people died there... yes, I was just as freaked as most Americans... no I don't automatically hate all Muslims just like I don't hate all Catholics because some nuns beat me when I was a child and made me use my right hand instead of my left - oh, and there is that whole little boy loving priest thing... and the Ireland thing... ). Are the politicos REALLY having to search THAT hard to find a divisive topic to set themselves apart from the "other side"? To be fair... we "Coalition Partners" have been building Ground Zeros around Mosques since 2003.
From our Paris trip last month
* Are you an American expatriate living in Germany? The new and cool Passport Card is NOT accepted by the German government as identification. At least this is what the guy at the Consulate told me. It is mainly for travel in North America no matter WHAT the Embassy website says about how the "passport card can be used as a valid citizenship identification" when outside of the United States. (not for international air travel, however) For real non-national identification in Germany it is best to carry your Passport at all times or to have your local court make you an official copy and carry that around with you (this costs about 20€). Perhaps this will change in the future and the Jerries will recognize the card as identification... but for now, it isn't worth the 30€ for the card. Too bad.
* Because I was going to the Consulate and couldn't carry any electronics, I left my camera at home... all day I felt just a bit naked. (the phone sat in the scooter, but it was just easier without the BA Camera - big ass camera).
* This morning right after getting up I watched a picture CD of Snooker's life which my brother put together. Since it came out of my Mother's photo collection, many of the pics were of my childhood. It is really, really weird to watch yourself grow up. Looking back at those former "Snookers", I found myself reflecting on where my life has gone since the time that little toe-headed kid was playing in the autumn leaves with her new doggie. Here I am at the proverbial half-way point in my life. What will happen to all the future Snookers? Will I look back at pictures of me in my 40's and be proud?
* "I think positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time." - Cobb in the movie "Inception". Go see it. In the theatre, now... don't wait for DVD! Trust me. It is the next jump in movie making, much like "The Matrix".
* Whoa... I was just going looking for pictures for the blog and did a search for American Consulate Berlin and my image of the new Berlin Embassy from years ago is first in the rankings... (pause for contemplation) Consulate / Embassy... oh well. In fact the forth picture in the returns is actually the British Embassy in Berlin. Don't you just love the Internet?

OK, that's enough random for now. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Are you wondering WHAT this Random Tuesday Thoughts thing is? Head on over to Keely the Un-Mom and see what she is doing.

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Tiaras said...

it is much easier w/ an American passport - my friend is Mala (Malaysian) and went to the embassy in Germany (her hubbie and kids are German passport holders) for a visa to live in Switzerland - they made her cry!

cliff1976 said...

I really dug Inception, too. A half-price matinee movie in a heatwave in the USA is a nice treat...especially when the movie is good to boot.

Anonymous said...

I think it depends what you mean by - "can't use it as ID".

No, you cannot use it as a travel document to cross a border, but if you go to the post office and they want an ID, they take the card, no questions asked, whereas the driver's license will get you the opportunity to come back another day because it's not ID. It's "just" a DL.

I carry the paper one with me when I leave town (besides going to work - they have a copy of my residence permit at the office too). Otherwise, I carry the card, which establishes my identity. Had that paper one stolen last year - not going through that again.

Anonymous said...

Wish I'd have had a camera the one and only time I've been to the US Consulate in Hamburg, but you had to give it up at the entrance, which, like you describe, is airport-securty lite.
Once past the gate and inside the consulate's opulent surroundings, the vigilance dropped to zero. While walking around - alone - in the tastefully decorated rooms off the main hall where the function was happening, I kept ticking off all the beautiful things anyone could have walked home with. Not that I would have lifted anything, but sure enough, there was no security check on the way out the door at the end of the night.
- ian in hamburg

headbang8 said...

Tommy Emmanuel: I once saw him at The Basement in Sydney (that sentence would impress Australian jazz-heads, as well as revealing my age). Utterly cool. Enjoy!

Now, Snooks. Half of all women make it to 80. That means, statistically, you probably haven't quite reached halfway yet. Does that make you feel younger?

Jul said...

That's a whole lot of thoughts for a Tuesday.

It seems so ridiculous to me that the German government expects us foreigners to walk around carrying our passports at all times. At least Switzerland issued us little foreigner ID cards.

G in Berlin said...

I had to replace my passport just before we left- didn't realize that Berlin just switched over to appointments and almost had a problem with it. On the other hand, I did order the card and I do expect to carry it around with me. Since I had a passport stolen, I never carry the original with me and no one has ever asked for it- the Post has always accepted my driver's license (although I sometimes give them a US one as it looks more "official"). I'm hoping the new passport card will be accepted as a Personalausweis, and I'll tell you whether it works out.

Snooker said...

@ Tiaras - I've heard of horrible bureaucracy, but making people cry... ugh!
@ Cliffie - For me Inception was beautiful to watch, hard to keep the brain wrapped around
@ Moose - I've lived here going on six years and never had to show ID at the post office. What is that about? To pick up stuff?
@ Ian - There were three secured doors before I even got to the building, one of them behind a doorbell. As I walked through it, an employee came up behind me in a hurry and pushed herself into the door as it was closing. So much for that security division.
@ HB - TOMMY ROCKS! (well, in a geeky, funny kinda way) Oh, and I feel like about 20... it's just my birth certificate that keeps getting in the way.
@ Jul - I'm thinkin' the Swiss are smart. I've often wondered why a country that insists I tell it where I'm living within 10 days of moving in doesn't want me to have an official German document with that information.
@ G - The guy at the Consulate actually talked me OUT of the card.

scatterlined said...

It isn't even a Mosque, they are winning by promoting their language. I prefer "Lower-Manhattan Muslim Community Center".

Also, gotta love The Daily Show, "You Can Build A Catholic Church Next To A Playground -- But Should You?"

Goofball said...

You are not restricted to tuesdays to make random bullot lists ;)

glad to se eyou blogging again though! Say hi to Frank from me

Anonymous said...

I stopped carry my passport around years ago, once I realized what a pain it would be to replace it. I used to worry what would happen if someone demanded proof of citizenship, but it never happened.

One thing about being abroad - you get express service for passport renewals. I discovered that a few months ago to my joy and relief.