Monthly Archive for December, 2005

Don't Click, Just Surf The Net

We’re used to click our way through the net. There’s another way:

Pictures of 2005

Here’s a wonderful batch of pictures about this year:

Momentaufnahmen 2005

WordPress 2.0RC

The next version of WordPress is almost ready – a release candidate is available for download. I’ll upgrade my blog today, keep your fingers crossed. I’m thinking about importing all my other blogs into this one, also the ones that weren’t public. Next February, my blog is going to arrive at his final destination,, it’d be a good opportunity to merge all of them.

update: Seems to be working, but the admin section has white text on white background…

Cought Red-handed

Every parent has to go through this, I’m sure. A time comes when you have to find out something about your child you didn’t know before and certainly didn’t expect to, or not that early. As it just happened this evening, I went to the bedroom to look after Jun. The lights in the bedroom were dimmed. The door was half open, I sneaked inside and found him lying halfway hidden under the blanket on the bed. There he was, focused on himself and totally immersed in the act. It seems he felt unobserved and avariciously used the windows of opportunity when he was alone for a short time… it’s the first time he didn’t use his whole hand, but managed to find his thumb and suck on it alone. Two months and five days old, I didn’t expect him to use his fingers and thumbs that well before christmas.

A Word about Personal Firewalls

This one’s for Tiltman: Why your firewall sucks 🙂

New Tabacco Laws

Taxes for cigarette-sticks in Germany are going to be leveled with the rest of tobacco products. People will have to pay the full tax, no matter the size or form. That’s another incremental step into the right direction, but what we actually need are Irish anti-smoking laws. They’re strict and effective – and I have a lung to protect:

  1. Signs against smoking (which already exist in Germany but are often ignored) would have to be displayed in all affected areas
  2. If you break the law and smoke away you’re fined up to €3,000
  3. Environment Health Officers are hired to enforce the ban and conduct regular checks

The reasons why Germany should and can introduce this law is self-evident. If it works for them, it can work in Germany, too. The sooner our lawmakers learn from the Irish experience, the better. Don’t get me wrong, if somebody wants to smoke, let them – but give me the same freedom of choice to not to be exposed to it.

No Taxbonus for cigarette-sticks

Two Months

Jun is now two months, twelve hours and twelve minutes old. He’s been fun to take care of so far. About the sleep deprivation that’s scaring off most young people when they start thinking about kids, I have to say I pretty much got used to it.
A few days ago I’ve met Alex, a good old friend from school times who came over from Ireland to visit friends and family. Her husband, David, asked what’d the biggest difference between being having a baby and having none be. Beside the aforementioned point, it’s something you usually don’t read about in books about parenting. Never in my life I had to put up with so much excrement. All a baby does is sleeping, eating (actually drinking) and filling diapers while growing so fast you can almost feel the difference from one day to the other. In the first weeks, you change diapers seven to eight times a day, now it’s about five to six times, tendency dropping. But then, like with the sleep deprivation, you get used to it fairly quickly. Back to the difference having or not having a baby. Before, we had comparatively lots of time, even more than was good for us since we’re both students. Looking back I wonder how ineffective I spend my days since now the center of our lives is this little baby, asking for 100% attention, love and breast-milk – but we still manage to get everything done. About social life being limited by parental duties, I’d have to say if you’re focusing on your family and your family alone, you can do that, but nobody pressures you to do so. If we were visiting friends before more often, now we invite them over, and it works just as well.

The little guy grows for about two and a half centimeters per month and gains between 150-200 grams a week. In Germany, you have regular check-ups for babies, six of them in the first year. We had three so far and now he’s at 58 centimeters and almost 6 kilograms. Some of the clothes he wore at the beginning are too small now – luckily we almost didn’t buy anything but got most of his stuff by friends and family (1001 thx to everybody!). In a recent discussion with an American living in Germany for quite a while now, I mentioned some of the benefits parents recieve for their first kid and how medical care is still free for children. He was surprised, a good social net is quite welcome when it’s needed and recieved by the right persons – but it also needs to be upheld by the whole society. Germany is going to change much more compared to the incremental reforms we witnessed in the last decade, I really hope the new social structure is not going to be a plain “everybody fights for himself”.

Back to Jun: He started to respond to sounds and answers when being addressed to. It’s not more than single vowels (and “aguu”), but we’re slowly getting there. I also was surprised when he joined in waving goodbye towards the white paper sea-gull above our bed. How does he percieve the sea-gull, does he understand why we wave? Self-perception is another point I’m dying to find out about. We’re sometimes holding him towards a huge mirror. Usually he’s only aware of mine or Heejoo’s presence, he’s started to look at himself as well. His reactions so far were: surprise, laughter, amazement and startled in no particular order. Can’t wait until he understands that who he sees there is really him and not some other surprised, laughing, amazed or startled baby.

We haven’t been much outside with him as the weather was bad as usual for this time of the year, but when we did, I prefer the baby sling over the baby car anytime. Carrying him is easier than cruise around with his car, it feels great to have him close and it’s even healthy for his development, the hip angle can be improved by carrying him in the sling, if neccessary. There’s another difference when walking around with him – people often look or smile and are friendlier and by far more helpful, whereas when we’re walking down the street alone, I noticed that there’s a tendency to not look and just walk by as if there were nobody. I’m used to look my counterpart into the eyes out of curiosity, a habit I had to regain after coming back from Japan. Returning to Germany, all those people who stared when talking to me were a vexing, but temporary experience…

Jun just woke up, more about him later.

American in Düsseldorf

James Ashburn moves to Düsseldorf, so does his weblog. I’ll add him to my blogroll – I’m just curious why he moves from San Francisco here? Since yesterday night, I’m thinking about California. Another job opportunity opened up, but I haven’t sent my application yet.

Unbelievable: Death Row for Self-Defense

Reading The Peking Duck, I find this story:

It’s in the middle of the night in Mississippi. A black guy, the name’s Cory Maye, never had anything to do with the police, is alarmed by intruders in the middle of the night. He shoots one of them out of angst for his baby daughter and himself. Turns out, the intruders were the police who broke into his house by mistake and the intruder killed the son of the police chef. The police were on a drug raid but got the wrong guy. A (mostly) white jury sentences him to death since the police rather chose to change their story about drugs, saying they found traces of it in Maye’s possession during the raid which they first concluded wasn’t the case.

If the facts are as reported, this was self-defense. I don’t have a gun at home and never would want one, but I’d be crazy if I don’t defend myself against any intruder who endangers me or my family. Maye gets the death penalty. Unbelievable.

I’ve written before about capital punishment, and my opinion didn’t change at all since then. In the contrary, almost every news item I read about capital punishment confirms my conviction that a flawed system must not be allowed to execute irreversible decisions about life and death.

Battlepanda: Outrage

Asian Emoticons

A short introduction and lists of Japanese, Korean emoticons and even some official from North Korea. If you regularily use more than a handful of them, check this out. If you want to know who’s responsible for online communication being pervaded by myriads of emoticons, offers a quick historical overview.


My Favorite Newssite: Goodle

This is too good to miss:

Goodle Good News

Loose Cannons?

As mentioned before, private contractors fight instead of nations, the number of innocent lives taken is gradually going to increase the more private security guards replace the average G.I. Joe. No transparency, no accountability. What’s worse, in an area where people have little or no trust towards the occupying forces, a handful of loose cannons has a bigger impact on the people’s security (feeling) that a complete battalion. You don’t win people over by killing their friends and family out of kicks. The way the Iraq war was started was a disaster, the way the fighting is being continued is not much better.

Private Security Guards in Iraq Operate With Little Supervision

Challenge Intelligent Design

There’s a lot of people who don’t think much of the ACLU, and there are others. But – in the case against Intelligent Design a.k.a. Creationism they’re doing 100% the right thing, no doubt about it. Combat it on all fronts, fight back, don’t let it pollute the hearts and minds of children. If this fails, another American key freedom is in dire danger.

The ACLU Challenge to Intelligent Design

Kushibo-e Kibun

Added Kushibo to the blogroll. Don’t rush through his blog, there’re too many good articles you’d miss out on.

Japan Focus

Via the formidable H-Japan mailinglist: Japan Focus is another website you’ll not regret to visit. Their articles are detailed as well as well researched and, not that common on the net, they often feature a list of references. The site includes translations from Japanese and reprints from newspapers. At the moment, the archive holds 642 items.

Japan Focus