...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

First post of year 2007

Hello friends, and welcome to the future...


We took that picture here Mannheim, Germany, where Marcus and I are currently spending our winter break (still snowless BTW) with Liz, Rob and baby nephew Ian. So far, the year has been good. It has been half a week of city-hopping, candy-eating, and giving in to our newfound addiction, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA)--a gangster game where the point is to vandalize, take over "hoods", steal objects (including cars, weapons and even a rap-rhyming dictionary), and kill rival gang members. It certainly brings the "bang" to the new year, and am pickin' up sum real bad gangsta vocab on da way, ma man!

.... Just kidding. Hahaha!!! (Hmmm, though today at Heidelberg, I did fantasize about stealing parked motorbikes and sportscars ala-GTA, driving them into fences, on pedestrian lanes and up stairs in high speed, and getting away with the deed. And Liz wonders if all the gangster background music will turn little Ian violent. >;-D )

Anyway, back to reality... :-) Marcus and I have long been fascinated with the German urban landscape. Factories, power plants and pylon poles are everywhere, even so close to housing that you wonder if their residents don't get a jolt of electricity from time to time. I realized that I've turned like a nature-loving Swede, when it felt odd seeing industries and chimneys pass at the train windows instead of flat countryside of rapeseed plants and rocks. Not that Sweden doesn't have energy lines and all that; they just prefer to bury them underground, and keep their factories in remote, sparsely-populated areas in the north. It's to keep a rustic, vulnerable-to-nature look, I guess. I would say that you could get the same feelings from looking at modern German and Swedish architecture too. Even new houses in Sweden look "old", and painted in the same color (i.e. "Falu red", the shade of metal primer) as they were generations ago when Swedes couldn't afford expensive paint and thus used the red iron byproducts from mining. Maybe I'll write more about that some other time. For now, other futuristic pictures taken in Germany:

The philosophy student in me wished I had read Martin Heidegger more closely. Somewhere he writes about Nature and Technology, and how the pursuit of technology for its own sake has obscured us from Being (something to that effect; good thing I don't have to write a test on this!) He was a German after all, and I wonder if he had these ideas because the German landscape already looked like this in his time. Anyway, I think that his ideas are interesting and important, even though he writes them in such a dry, jargon-filled German-philosopher way. Maybe when I get old and get more patience (and also begin to reminisce about how it was "back in my time" in 2007, still without robot-servants and nitro-cars), I can read him again.

More on Germany on my next post. Auf wiedersehen!


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