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Ehm…

…yeah…

I just don’t have the drive to blog any more.

And I’ve come to an internal agreement with myself that being grownup does not depend on being financially independent. My new definition is not so easy to articulate. It still has to do with responsibility, but more along the lines of “taking responsibility for your own actions” than “supporting yourself”. Impulse control is in there somewhere too. I know it when I see it.

Thanks for reading. But I’m afraid there won’t be anything more written here.

Training

I embarked on a fairly intensive training program about a week ago. Well, it’s intensive for a couch potato* like me, at any rate. One of the muscles in my right calf hurts whenever I use it. And I can’t decide whether this is my body telling me to take it easier, or my lazy bum whining that it doesn’t want to exercise.

The difference? Oh, one I’m supposed to listen to, and the other one I’m supposed to ignore.

I’m sure you guys have seen the magazines too, the ones where one article tells you how to get over the hunger pains and avoid breaking diet, the next how to listen to your body better, and the one after that gives you tips on how to score against your own laziness…

* Admitting to being a couch potato, when gainfully employed, is mildly embarrassing. Admitting to being a couch potato, when unemployed, amounts to social suicide. NOT FAIR.

I think he has a point

Because honestly, that is what “native” means…

It’s a bomb!

They’re renovating the train station in the town where I live. Today they found a bomb. Poor little foreign me thought it was a bad joke at first. You know, some teenager calling the police and claiming there’s a bomb, just for the lulz. That’s what it would have been in Sweden. And at first it didn’t seem so bad. We were supposed to have taken a train at half past eleven, and at that point they had only evacuated the station itself, and we were told that they didn’t know when the trains would run again, but at any rate not before twelve.

So we went for lunch and came back at half past twelve, and then there was some serious stuff going on. Buses rerouted, shops closed, residents evacuated from the blocks surrounding the station. That’s when we found out that there actually was a bomb, not just a report of one. And not a terrorist bomb either. An old one from the second world war (just like my husband had said it would be, but I didn’t want to believe him). Appearently you still have to count on finding one with every bigger construction project, almost seventy years after. How many tons of explosives did the Allies throw down here, I wonder?

UPDATE: The bomb has been defused without incident now.

Lose, lose, win, don’t care

I applied for a job today that I don’t have any chance of getting. I don’t have any of the desired skills, and only some of the required ones.

So I lose another portion of my self-respect, plus the half-hour spent cutting-and-pasting together an application from old application letters.

The company loses too: they have one more worthless application to glance over and throw, before winnowing the pile down to the applicants that might be able to do the job.

It’s a good thing for my Arbeitsamt overseer, though. I do what I’m supposed to do according to Arbeitsamt rules, so she doesn’t have to do anything about me.

And the higher-ups who decided on the rules? They don’t care one iota what I did. And I’m sure they still think that all unemployed are lazy parasites.

Individual humans – there’s fewer than you think!

My husband recently got himself a new bank card. With the card came a flyer on how to set your own PIN code, apparently a new option. It was marketed with: “The PIN of your choice – as individual as you are.” Hm. It would appear that according to the bank, there are only 10 000 individuals. The rest of us must be clones.

Ah well. It’s not quite as bad as that time when a mobile phone, available in different colours, got marketed with the same phrase: “as individual as you are”. Yeah. It was a couple of years ago, so I don’t remember exactly how many colours they had, but it was a one-figure number.

Taking responsibility

Paul Krugman at NYTimes is upset that nobody wants to take responsibility and end the financial crisis. The article is mostly written against the Federal Reserve, whose actions I know next to nothing about and so won’t comment on. But Krugman starts with claiming that the German government is refusing to take responsibility for ending the Euro crisis. And this I very much take issue with.

Merkel & Co. have different ideas on what ought to be done than Krugman. That still doesn’t mean that Germany is “abdicating” its responsibilities (as Krugman puts it). Actually, it’s debatable whether Germany and the other financially healthy Euro countries are to be responsible for Spain and Greece at all. The original agreement to have a common currency explicitly stated that no country should have to pay the debts of another country, much less the debts of another country’s banks. Still, that’s exactly what Krugman demands. That Germany bail out the Spanish banks. Since Merkel opted to bail out the country of Spain instead, Krugman claims that the German government is not taking responsibility.

He compares the current financial crisis to the start of the Great Depression, where the precipitating cause was a bank crisis in Austria 1931. Stronger European governments could have prevented it then and could prevent the worst now, he claims. Krugman is seriously asking for a “strong government” in Germany. Am I the only one who gets the shivers from that phrase?
Meanwhile in Germany, the government would like nothing more than to act strongly. However, they have multiple times been sued in the Constitutional Court for trying to bypass democratic procedures and safeguards. Ever heard about that democracy thing? All power coming from the people? Yeah, the people of Germany are not very interested in throwing money into the twin black holes of Greek and Spanish finances. If a public vote had been held, no bailout money at all would have been awarded. And I have a feeling that the “don’t give them any money”-vote would have come in at more than 80%. It’s a miracle (or a scandal, depending on your preferences) that our government has achieved what it has.

I find it a serious insult to claim that Germany is doing nothing to solve the crisis. He can claim we’re doing the wrong thing all he wants, but not that we’re not taking responsibility. That’s my tax money that Chancellor Merkel promised to Spain. Without my permission. If that’s not being a strong government and trying to solve the crisis, I don’t know what it is.

Taking responsibility: it does not mean what Krugman thinks it means.