Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pizza + Beer + FHM = PhD

I figured it was ok to post this now. Sean has completed all the steps for graduation. All he is waiting for is the 'hooding' ceremony. After that point we will all have to refer to him by his proper title - Dr. Douchebach :) Anyways, this is a photo of Sean 'working' on his dissertation at Jan's apartment in Zürich. FHM, pizza, beer - it's a tough life.

The plan this weekend is to go to
Peenemünde. It is a small city in the far far north east of Germany. Even our German friends (the non-rocket scientist ones) have no idea where it is.

Peenemünde has historical significance to our profession. It is the site where the V-2 rocket was developed by Wernher Von Braun. The V-2 rocket is essentially the beginning of modern rocketry and lead directly to the development of the Saturn series of rockets which took NASA to the moon during the Apollo missions. So, although it was a Nazi run operation, it is still pretty important.

On an unrelated note - Mmmm, I want some more
Glühwein. -Eric

Christmas Market

Yesterday after the 'freakin' kid left Sean and I went into town to get some groceries. We stopped by the bank on the way there and deposited some money into our German bank account for rent. I had forgotten, but the Christmas market was opening on Wednesday. So we made a detour and hung out there for a bit.

We got some Glühwein - that is a spiced hot wine. It is the traditional thing to drink, it is very nice on a cold day. We enjoyed it thoroughly, actually we enjoyed a few of them thoroughly.

There are small shops setup all around the old town hall and the nearby church. It looks just as you expect a small German town to look like. The shops sell all sorts of Christmas toys and gifts and things like that.

Sean and I got a brat since we were hungry, we were planning on cooking ourselves, but this was much better. After eating and drinking some more we went over to the store and finished our intended shopping. We both had to finish our conference abstracts, so we decided not to get hammered :) We were still a bit hungry, so I fried up some potatoes and onions and Sean and I finished watching the rest of 'Der Untergang,' a movie depicting the final moments of Hitlers life. Interesting movie, I had seen it before. -Eric

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I ran across this poster when we were walking through Zürich's train station. I think the direct translation is 'so near.' It reminded me of an old guy I worked with at the 'Lac La Belle' golf course back home. His name was Ray and whenever you would leave him he would hold up his fingers like this and say, "So Long." If he still lives in the same place maybe I will go visit him when I get back. He lives just down the road from my home in Wisconsin.

Speaking of home, this is my home in Wisconsin - cue the country music :) It is a real log home. We live on 16 acres of land. An acre is a weird unit, no one knows what is it. Well, 16 acres is about 12 full American football fields, or 6.5 hectares for our SI friends (who probably don't know what a hectare is, because I sure didn't. A hectare is 100 meters squared.)

Sean and I are both finishing up some work on our Joint Propulsion Conference abstracts. They are due today, yikes :) No big deal. I've been crunching through a bunch of thermodynamics and fluid mechanics and algebra verifying Dr. Flandro's latest work.

A duck in Zürich. I like ducks - who doesn't?

We had a couple guys swing by and take a look at the apartment. They were younger and one of them kept saying that the stairs were 'freaking.' Um, ok? I think he meant awesome or freaking awesome or cool or something like that. Either way, it was entertaining.

We've had this little oddity occurring lately. Whenever we ask someone if they speak English (sprechen zie English?) they usually do, however, they respond with 'bißchen' which basically means 'a little.' It's funny because we obviously don't speak German at this point. Either way, we know what it means, so we just go on conversing in English.

The odd thing about it all is that it seemed to start suddenly a few weeks ago, and now everyone says it. It is like some memo went around German telling them to screw with English speakers. I don't blame them :) -Eric

Monday, November 26, 2007

No More Elf Sex

Hey guys and dolls.

So... Eric... what's with the title. I thought of this one today while at work. There was an intern at the DLR, kind of a weird guy. His email was something like He had his last day on Friday, so today - no more elf sex. I don't know his real name.

Speaking of sex, found this poster somewhere. Sorry, the photo is turned. Fix it yourself :)

Sorry, I've had a few drinks. Don't drink and blog kids.

It snowed a bit here today, it also snowed a bit before we went to Zürich. When I took this picture I needed to use the flash so that the snow would show up, but a lady in the house across from us just stared at me after I took it. I can't remember if I was dressed or not, that happens sometimes. We don't have a refrigerator, so we put our stuff on the windowsill to keep it cold. Yesterday, or the day before, I was cooking with no shirt on (like usual) and got something from the 'fridge' and noticed the people across the way 'observing' us. If they only knew we were American too, that would make their day :) I am glad we can entertain someone. -Eric

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Hey folks. We did nothing today.

Ok, I was just going to write that and be funny, but we did go and grab a bite to eat and something amazing happened. No, there wasn't any girls involved. Well sorta. We had probably the best waitress that we have had in all of Germany today. It started out rough, we had some other girl, but then it switched over to this new one. She was cute, that always helps. She asked us how our food was before we were finished. She asked if we wanted another beer before we were done with the one we had. And she brought us our beers quickly. She even played along perfectly with our lack of speaking German. It was an amazing event.

Now we need to go back there again and hope that we get her as our waitress. This was at the 'Hamburger' bar where we have had other adventures :)

See ya later, Alligators. -Eric

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving Part Deux

Hey, a few photos from our makeshift thanksgiving meal. We couldn't find anything that was remotely close to thanksgiving food at the market here. Maybe at one of the bigger stores we could get some pumpkin pie or something. Well, we had chicken and potatoes and a few cranberries. We also had a dessert, which is something we usually never have, so it was a treat.

I was trying to do a teary photo, but it just came off some much different than that. It looks like 'bing' look at me I am cute.

Lets see, went to work Friday. We got to explain to some of the guys that today is called "Black Friday" in the states. They enjoyed that. They had a 'Florida' schnitzel at lunch a few days ago, it was pork with peaches and cheese baked over it. I told them that peaches come from Georgia, not as much from Florida. So they named it wrong. The Germans said that nobody will know where Georgia is, so that would be confusing.

This was the view from our train on the way to Zürich. The photo isn't the best because it was a dusty window, but you get the idea.

I've been working on verifying the latest version of combustion instability theory with Dr. Flandro. It is interesting trying to collaborate with someone you can only reach by email. It takes a lot more time since I need to write up all the equations and questions I have in a clear manner and then email them to him. And then wait. Normally I would just stroll down to his office and say, "uh, I have a question here" and then point to it. It'll be much easier to get work done when I am back. But what's the rush :)

Take Care folks. I miss you all. -Eric

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Uh, God, I burnt my right middle finger. It hurts to type now. I'll fight through the pain. AHHHH. What am I doing? Well, today is thanksgiving. Unfortunately there are no turkeys or pumpkin pies or cranberry sauce with can marks or sweet potatoes in ze Germany. So all in all - lame. We did our best, I cooked some chicken and fried some potatoes, we drank a few bottles of wine, including a nice chianti (I didn't eat Sean's liver,) and had some dessert. So right now I am full (check) and I am drunk (check) but I didn't watch any football (go packers) and I am not with my family (boo.) Eh, such is love and war :)

I have some chocolate here from Switzerland, who wants that? I am not a huge chocolate fan. I don't really like coffee either. I am not a big fan of bitter flavors.

We got a few photos from the gals in Cologne. Here they are.

I love this picture, it is the only good photo of me in my costume. Damn I look good :) that is a pimp hat too and the perfect tie. Gansta :)

The whole gang we hung out with. Good crew. Some good cowboy costumes. I could have done better :) the trick is the boots. You need that deep thud and clink every time you take a step. Also, a long jacket works well. Gives you that mysterious look.

Well folks, have a happy thanksgiving. Count your blessings :) ... that sounds sinister. Well punk, do you feel lucky, well... do ya?

I do. -Eric

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Drie Months

Hey folks. I remembered this before we left and forgot to write about it while in Zürich. We've been here 3 months now, well... 3 months and 4 days now. That leaves about 1 month and 14 days to go.

Sean is finishing things up with his PhD, after today he is finished. We are doing some work at the DLR. I've been going through Dr. Flandro's (the professor I work for, for those who don't know) latest theory in detail, learning as much as I can while I am here. We are putting together an abstract for the Joint Propulsion Conference in July. It is about Vortex Shedding issues in the NASA launch vehicles. Hopefully we can get them to make the changes we are suggesting and to do more studies on the topic as well. Interesting work.

Some random photos from Zürich.

We had a couple girls come and see the apartment to see if they want to rent it when we leave. They seemed to like the place. We've shown a few others it as well.

I look cold in this photo - well I was!

Other than that we are just going to take it easy here for a little while. We've had some crazy weeks and Sean has been really busy with finishing his dissertation and dealing with that crap, so it'll be nice to sit back here and enjoy a rest. I am not looking forward to writing my dissertation now, I am most definitely going to write it in LaTeX. I wonder when I will finish it, hopefully soon. I guess I am shooting for a year. I am ready to be done with school. I am really ready to be Dr. Eric Jacob :)

Yep thats me :) Take Care Folks. -Eric

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Farewell Zürich

WatchesWe didn't do anything on Sunday - just recuperate.

Sean and I walked around Zurich Monday morning before we left.

They setup for Christmas here earlier than we do, they also setup early in Germany.

Holy crap a water fountain... or as I would say, being from Wisconsin, a bubbler.

Some twisty tiny roads. A girl asked us for directions in town. She asked us if we spoke English. I'm glad I've had so many years of English lessons. We didn't know where we were, but she had a map. I literally grabbed it, turned it around 180 degrees, pointed on the map and said this is the street we are on, you want to go that way.

The swans wanted some bread, sorry pals no bread for you. Swans are jerks by the way.

We got on our train at 3pm, took a ride for 6 hours and we were back in Goettingen. I played some 'Call of Duty 2' on the train (a ww2 game) odd game to play on a train leaving from Switzerland and heading into Germany. (You run around shooting Nazi's.)

We have some more pictures on Sean's camera, I will post those lata. I feel goofy always posting blogs now, since more and more people read it that we've meet here. I am writing for Germans and Americans, an odd demographic. I kinda feel like I am blackmailing myself :)

Peace. -Eric

Zürich Saturday

Hey Folks. I haven't been feeling that great, kinda off a bit, so I haven't been in the mood to write. Here is a bunch of stuff. Saturday we went around town (in Zürich), saw the lake, and had lunch at a nice Italian restaurant. We were kinda tired from the day before. We went back to Jan's place and ate dinner and watched a movie. He has a nice setup - wide screen flat panel, good sound system, nice for movies. Then we drank a bottle of jack and a case of beer.

Hey look! it is the perfect crappy bread for a perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich :)

We met up with a guy Jan works with from the Netherlands. Where are the Netherlands anyways? Are they like Eskimos or something? Ha, I am just kidding, I am geographically knowledgeable.

We went to a bar and it was full of Asians. I was confused. Where were we? There was some creepy old guy videotaping the whole event. Boy, I just got a shiver down my spine. I have a video of it. Of the creepy guy, not my shivering spine. Why is it that whenever we think of Asians we think of Josh? We''ll I uploaded this just for you pal :) Enjoy.

[Edit: there was a problem with the video. Maybe it'll just start working?]

We went to a club afterwards. Danced around, drank a bit. We left there late... really late. Got on a train to go towards Jan's place but we fell asleep on the train, we woke up an hour later back at the station we started at. So then we got off and got on another, more direct train. I think we got back at around 7am or so. Slept till 2. We told ourselves that we were going to take this weekend easy. We've had too many crazy weekends, especially with Karneval last week. I guess that is how it goes. -Eric

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sex, Drugs and Knives

Hey guys, I am not in a talkative mood. Got on a train to Zurich. They were having strikes in Germany, but our trains were not affected. Our train was 74 minutes late though, so it took us a bit longer to get here. Mira's brother, Jan, has internet here, so we are still in touch. Oh, the picture above, swiss army dudes with their guns.

Zürich has a nice train station. They don't use the Euro here, it is the Franken.

Heineken's and brats.

Zürich is gorgeous.

Jan. We had a few drinks.

They have very blunt warning labels on their cigarettes.

WTF? MGD? ha. we drank the bottle of vodka, a case of beer, went to the club, had some drinks. Got back around 5am. Slept late. I am exhausted. I need a break.

The title... we were watching the news, that was their catch line. It was ridiculous. I bet you were interested when you read it too :) Take Care. -Eric

Friday, November 16, 2007

Leaving For Zürich

Hey folks, we leave for Zürich soon. Probably won't be out of touch though. Sean is wrapping up his dissertation, so he needs internet access. It is going to be cold there. brrrrr.

So I got wind that my German friend, Sabine, found the blog. Probably her other friends have it as well. Ah... quick read previous posts and edit :) Heh, no, I don't do that, I only edit for grammatical reasons. However, in reading some previous posts I did notice that in my discretion I sort of neglected to tell you anything about this girl. I've seen her a couple times now, so I've talked to her more than most people in the last 3 months. So her name is Sabine, she is a touch older than me, but I am a young kid :) She has the perfect red hair. Curly, long and smells great. She is a personal trainer in Cologne and she has a corny website, you can maybe find it on google. She has an older brother and a younger sister. She speaks great English, she spent some time in New Zealand, so she has an adorable German/Austrailian/English accent going on. It is great. So see, I got to know her a bit, not enough though. She says that there is a German phrase, something about meeting 3 times. Well I hope that is true and I hope it comes soon. She didn't know about peanut butter and jelly, so I had her try that, but it was on good German bread. I don't think she liked it, that is a shame. The trick to a good PBJ is crappy white bread. That is harder to find here. Well I hope this gives me some brownie points. I guess she might not know what that is, or what a brownie is. Well, it is a good thing. Take Care everyone, I'll see you soon. -Eric

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Light My Fire

Sunday Sunday Sunday.

Sunday was Karneval. We woke up super early to get ready, about 7am. We got our costumes and met up with Sabine to go to her friends place and eat some breakfast and drink some beers. A train ride and some walking and we were there. They all dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls. The girls had good costumes. We could have done much better than the guys. I think I mentioned it before, but I was a 1930 Chicago gangster and Sean was a Scotsman.

So we had some bread and stuff and then headed to the bars. Karneval officially starts at 11:11am on Nov. 11th, so we waited outside the bar until it opened at that time. We were one of the first groups in. We started drinking and dancing and such. A short time later it was packed.

One of the girls took a liking to Sean. I was told later that she had said that she liked him the night before. So yeah. Now throughout the night I was dancing with this girl too. We were having a good time, she expressed some concern to me about the fact that Sean was wearing a cross around his neck. So I chatted with her for a moment and smoothed things over. However, in doing so all the other girls, including Sabine, thought that I was putting the moves on her and get this... that I, Eric Jacob, was the ladies man trying to steal the girl from Sean who is the shy one. Hmm... these German girls don't understand us Americans.

After a little bit of work I convinced them otherwise and it was all better. Now shortly after this me and Sabine disappeared and nothing else happened.

Ok, here are a few more pictures.

Now, Sean went off with Mira and the other girls. He has some stories, like a gay dude telling him that Sean wants to f*ck him. There is another one about some guy that was bothering the girls. The guy told Sean to step back, to which Sean replied, "What!" The guy then quickly explained to the German girls that he didn't mean it that way. Heh, well done Sean, time to kick some German ass... again :)

Cute girls.

Ok... forgot to explain the title. When I go out to a bar I usually like to take a box of matches with me. Sometimes there will be a girl who needs a light and matches are just so much cooler. If I have some light-anywhere's I can do the Clint Eastwood finger snap light thing. Too cool. Also, there are some good bar tricks you can do with matches, but no one has them anymore so it is good to carry your own. Sabine was having a cigarette. Says she only smokes on the weekends. I think every girl I've ever met says that. While walking to the bar in the morning her lighter wasn't working so she asked me to light her fire. I laughed, explained myself, then she realized what she had said and laughed too. Then I lit her fire :) -Eric