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About alderhill

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  • Location Niedersachsen
  • Nationality Canadian
  • Gender Male
  • Year of birth

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  1. Euro 2020 and 2021

      Ditto. Also in Italy. I once asked an Italian pizzeria worker (young guy working the till, who spoke very good English, at a small town "traditional" sort of pizza place) what he thought about pineapple on pizza, because in the Anglo world at least it was a popular badge of pizza snobbery. He shrugged and said basically even if it wasn't traditional, he had no problems, except he would prefer not to use low quality canned stuff but fresh actual sliced up fruit. 
  2. Advice regarding lying Vodafone technician

      Holy crap, I was just telling that story. Same thing! I used to live in BS and that is where it happened. 
  3. Advice regarding lying Vodafone technician

    Some years back we were visited by "air ambulance insurance" door-to-door sales-teenagers. My alarm bells were quickly triggered though. Both guys looked 16, one was extremely pimply, and the other mumbled softly and slurred so bad when speaking I had to ask him like 5 times what he had said. (I later saw he had a tongue ring.) Both were wearing oversized pilot jumpsuits with a logo on it, but the first thing they had said after opening the door was "do you care about street children in Africa" (just mumbled and slurred). Umm, what?    They kept trying to invite themselves to sit down and talk at my "kitchen table" (we didn't have one then, as I told them once I started toying with them, lol), but were unspecific about what they actually wanted. It was all very weird. I finally told them to make their case on my doorstep or get lost, that's when the bit about signing up for an air ambulance inusrance package arose. I reached forward and helped myself to the badges dangling on their necks, but both were generic, no specific info, and the flipsides were blank. I asked them for their IDs, which they then got defensive about and made excuses for not having (ya, sure). Finally, I (a bit uncharacteristically) got aggressive and told them to fuck off (in English) and get out of our building. I hectored them all the way down 4 flights of stairs. At the time, about half the building were elderly singles, and I figured some may fall for the trap, plus we had had a break in about a year prior (two guys posing as some sort of officials tricked a 90-year old to open her door, the holed her up in the bathroom while they robbed her.) I assumed they were casing the individual apartments.    These two kids had clearly answered some sort of shitty job ad, or were roped into it by their conman uncle, because they were terrible cons. I looked up the company later, and no surprise, it has lots of warning about scamming, and that if you ever did try to call on their services for an air ambulance transfer, they'd weasel out any way possible. Also, it is a weird entity, registered as a for profit charity.    As for OP, cancel the contract. You can also try your local Verbraucherzentrale, or Complain on social media, too, althought they may just as well delete your complaints and go back to botox smiles and sunshine clip art. You got scammed, but you signed a binding contract. Vodafone surely knows it happens, but it's money into their accounts, so it's your problem. And yea, German customer service here is often like this, a "fuck you, whatchya gonna do about it, loser" kick sand in your face mentality. 
  4. Create a new conspiracy theory

      Give that another 20 years for the tech to perfect itself.   On that note, I saw a real hornet the other day walking around a pond. Holy crap. Huge, yellow, brown. Not very inconspicuous. 
  5.   Yes, although ancient Greek philosophers toyed with the idea, right down to legal scholars and psychologists of the last few decades. (It is kinda profound when you really think about it -- but he should have taken it one step more: you also don't know what you don't know). I suppose Rumsfeld was trying to channel his inner Socrates, but just ended up a slightly more polished, Dubya, sneering rather than goofy.
  6.   As I was reading aobut Rumsfeld, google popped up other deaths in 2021. I know this one was months ago, but didn't notice then. Dustin Diamond's death eclipsed by far more prominent people. I wasn't a huge fan of Saved by the Bell as a kid, but my sisters were so I watched it a zillion times. Always found it tragic the way the geeky Screech's real-life wound up, and then to die of lung cancer so young. Yeesh.    But back to Rumsfeld... I'm sure plates of complimentary sweets are being passed out, with lots of horn-honking in Baghdad today.
  7. What's got you flummoxed today?

    Yea, most definitely I will not be doing any shopping or "big favours" for her. It's pretty clear that it would be a trap, once sucked in. I am sure her daughters would say the same thing, to be honest. I suppose the neighbour is trying to share the "burden" which I totally get, but I have zero desire or capacity to take that on. I can imagine her mental a bit, but not much I can do... It's just especially the pitiable "I should just die already" comments that are hard to deal with. Partially I think experience from a past relationship long ago that was full of that kind of emotional blackmail, I just nowadays have. none. of. it. My primary instict is to quip back: Na dann...      I have had private words with her daughters now and then, usually in the bike/bin shed out of her earshot. If necessary, will do again. I am sure the neighbour told them about our convo, because they also told me (later that afternoon) thanks for XYZ which I had only mentioned to the neighbour. (While on her cure, a cloud of moths in a little pantry closet off the kitchen feasted on open packages of pasta and cookies and whatever, so I tossed all that shit out.) On that note, there was also a large tin of peaches, upside down, that must have breached the seal as a slick of funky sticky black syrup was pooling on and down a shelf. I tossed that too (expiry date was 2017), but the streaks are still there.    Thanks for all the feedback, primarily needed to vent! 
  8. What's got you flummoxed today?

    Not sure if this is better in the unhappy thread or here, but I need to vent!   Our next-door neighbour is in her early 80s, and is in declining health, but also depressed.    She fractured a verterbrae several months before corona, and that has since led to several operations (spinal a few times, leg artery, heart), and an osteoporosis diagnosis. She's now on a walker. Her husband died several years ago, but her kids (and grandkids) all live locally. They are over often to help with stuff, and I've spoken to them too over the years... A couple months back the neighbour was planning to move into an assissted living sort of apartment, still largely independent, but with nurses nearby. Her daughters told me privately they were hoping she'd move in, because they were having a hard time keeping up with all her needs, practical and emotional. The daughters, who are genuinely caring and kind IMO and not just hoping to have cranky old mama out of their hair, both have their own different small businesses (well, one is quite large, a small local chain). Anyway, neighbour waffled for ages, as clearly it was a heavy decision. She told us she was going to go June 1st, but a few weeks later another neighbour said she wasn't afterall... Ultimately, I think she didn't want to accept that she was the sort of person who "needs" to be in that kind of place, when she does have her own apartment. I guess she feels she'll be parked at the bridge table in home's dining hall with a bowl of medicated applesauce at her side and that will be the end. All of this is peppered with declarations that life is so hard now, she'd be better off just dead, it should end before it is worse, she doesn't want to live her old age like this (it sucks, I agree -- she was a spritely 79 year-old, if a bit sassy in that blunt German way -- but is now, as she told us, officially partially handicapped). Corona has also killed the social lives for many, seniors included. I know the feeling. (FWIW, when speaking with her daughters I told them about her comments, and they have both said, yes, they has been a theme with her for a long time, i.e. she has always/long been depressive)   How do we all know this? She has told us! Every chance she gets. What am I supposed to do?    A couple days ago, I was working (still in home office) when she rang the bell and asked if I would come over, she had something she wanted to discuss. She has done this many times. Usually she has a pretense of a legit favour. Can I swap some heavy furniture around, fix the wires and internet connetion behind her TV as she can't bend down and doesn't know, use a screwdriver or hammer here or there. She has also gone on at least a dozen Kur and often asks us to collect her mail, water plants, etc. when she is gone. I don't mind all that at all, fine.   WELL THIS TIME, the day before she had just come back from another Kur, so I thought maybe she had made a decision to move again and wanted my input. But no. I was in the middle of working (from home, corona, etc) when she knocked, and she sat me down and said (pleaded/scolded?) that we (wife and I) need to be more social with her. Didn't know what to say at first. I mean, we try to be good neighbours. But we both work in the mornings, and I pick our son up from Krippe/daycare by 2pm. The next several hours are a whirlwind until he's asleep (9ish when we are lucky 10:30-11 when we're not, and he still wakes up often during the nights). We barely see our own friends enough, it is still corona too (she is fully vaccinated; we still not at all), and are both permanently behind on getting stuff done, both work-wise and household (don't look at our floors; sometimes I think the little sandbox on our terrace was a bad idea). Many nights we are just totally KO by 9pm.   Being neighbourly is nice and all, but what she wants is beyond our 'responsibility'. I was on the spot, and after a few moments of silence, she even said to me "Well, say something!?", I told her we can try to call in more, but we are both busy with work and our kid, and often are just tired more than anything... I tried to remain positive, but again she was constantly saying how it would be better if she just died, she can't decide anything, maybe the confusion is dementia, she is bored but she can't go anywhere easily, is a burden, etc. etc. (This is why the assisted living apartment would have been nice, non?) She kept for me about an hour, the conversation turned to a more normal catch-up after, before I could peel away. Eventually I said I needed to go to the drugstore (true, had to forget about my work checklist for the day) for TP, diapers, etc and better get going before I have to pick up my son. She then asked if I would buy her some things too, including a couple food items. Urgh. I said I was only going to the drugstore and demurred. Among all our neighbours, inlcuding her, we have traded eggs, sugar, dishwasher tabs, once a lightbulb, bike pumps and garden tools, the city's special garbage bags, etc. and that's cool. But I do not want to get in the habit of doing shopping for her. I sympathize, but I can't take that on.   Her family wants her to go to "a home" because they are at their limits. We are at our limits. She is depressed because she needs so much help, but depressed that she needs to accept that help, meanwhile she is also in pain and I suppose a late life existential panic. I feel like all this will only make me try to avoid her so I don't get roped in more. 
  9. A question for all you long-timers:

    Came here for grad studies, thought I'd maybe try a bit of work after so as not to come home totally empty-pocketed.   11 years later...   Well I found a nice job, and also met my now-wife, so here we are. We've shifted a few cities over the years... and added a child (my favourite 'souvenir'!).   @kapokanadensis I sure do not miss the 401 though, and I grew up pretty near it. I have some critique of German driving, but everytime I go home I think how shockingly bad everyone's driving is. I would not move back to TO either, simply because it has become so stupidly expensive (rent/property). Even though I miss the city a lot. My old neighbourhood has morphed massively, with condo towers replacing almost everything I remember from childhood. That's the way of it I guess. And it has gentrified to hell, too. The city I know and love is still there, though shifting as always, but at the prices involved, I dunno, meh? I need to win the lottery,    The issue then is... where? If I back to Canada, I want to be close enough to family and a few old friends, but the options (mid-size cities near TO?) in Canada are so suburban and car-dependent. Equivalent cities here are bike friendly (forget about that in Canada), and often have their own unique traditions, etc. Even though I'm from a big city, I've gotten pretty used to less grime, sirens, towers and crowds. A population around +/- 300k is pretty cozy.    My wife is open to moving out of Germany, and she has visited where I'm from. There are definitely pros and cons, but among them I don't know how well she'd cope long-term with stripmalls, 6ish months of winter, and realistically needing a car to go everywhere. I also don't think my current job would be easy to get in Canada, especially outside a big city, and I doubt it'd be quite as well paid. Ditto for my wife in her field. We'd probably find something, but there would be re-start...    Germany is where I live, but it's not home, in the "where my heart is" sense. My wife is from another part of Germany too. Even weeks where I'm content here, I never really feel like a local. I've adjusted after over a decade here, but in some key ways mz mentality is definitely not German. But yea, I am used to living here, and there are lots of things I like and genuinely appreciate. I know if I moved back, I'd probably compare with what's better here. Homesickness comes and goes, even if it is through rose-tinted glasses. Unlike Brits and Yanks though, there's also no massive fuck-ups at home that affect liveability. Just the usual political theatrics. I even do miss real winters sometimes. Four utterly pathetic months of grey skies and cold rain is a lot worse IMO. Besides, Canadian summer and fall is spectacular. For outdoorsy stuff (which I like), it's no comparison. I also think Canada is a better place to grow up for a kid (although funding and payments are way better here).    What it comes down to mostly though are jobs... 
  10.   A while back I went to a pharmacy, asking about a complaint my child had (then a year and a bit). Nothing too out of the ordinary, but enough that he couldn't sleep and was cranky, etc. I was pretty shocked when they offered me sugar balls and wondered if I had stepped into some naturopathic drum circle and incense sort of place. I mean, homeopathy is all about placebo effect, so how the f*ck is an infant supposed to believe that? How is that sponsored by a pharmacy?
  11. The Vegetarian's Dilemma

    As overpopulated as China is, for example, it will actually experience a demographic crisis in the next few decades. The one child policy and decades of abortion of female fetuses has led to a 30 million or so sex discrepancy, and the population is rapidly aging. I have read this is part of the reason for current Chinese military sabre-rattling and expansionism (HK, Taiwan, so-called Nine Dash Line), basically: to do it now while it still can. There is also a similar sexist workaholic culture to Japan and Korea (also rapidly plummeting and aging), where the women are faced with an even starker choice than Germany presents, between career OR family. An unmarried, childless woman of 30 (often well-educated) is an irredeemable 'old maid' in China, and cultural attitudes make it hard for them to start families even when they want to. Not to mention, single doctors, lawyers and businesswomen from first-tier cities (look it up) don't usually want to marry 22 year old construction workers from the countryside. There are lots of jokes, memes and cultural explorations of this in China.   Shengnan is the name for 'leftover men', the 30 million or so men who will never find a wife/partner because there are simply not enough women around.  Shengnu is the name for 'leftover women', which is less descriptive and more derogatory term for unmarried women, as explained above.    In general, the world is getting crowded, and it's worse for non-human lifeforms, but it's not truly overpopulated just yet. I think the magic figure is 10-11 billion would still be OK under the current global economic system, though a real strain. Much more than that, things will start to go downhill quickly. Climate change and various demographic crises will kick us give us a hard slap to the face soon enough. 
  12. The Vegetarian's Dilemma

      What about European-grown rice?... With every single thing I buy, I try to see where it's from. Italy and southern France, and Spain (and probably other places) have long traditions of rice-growing, which should conform to EU pollution laws.     I read once in a book about artisanal rice grown in the Philippines. A genetically unique landrace with a good nutritional profile, which were grown locally for centuries. Then Western marketeers found them and planting boomed. But it also made prices increase so much that it became foolish for the same locals to eat the rice themselves, and forget about local markets, since every kilo could be seen as $$$$$ from foreign importers.
  13. The Vegetarian's Dilemma

      My observation too, but depends on the length of one's vegetarianism perhaps. Some don't even like e.g. smokey flavours at all because it reminds of meat. If I buy smoked cheese (drool), my wife will make "ick, smells like ham" comments.
  14. I think the difference, too, in Canada, or its big city regions anyway is that:    1. Unless it's maybe upper management (...and even then), the vast majority do not care a single bit if you have an accent, or make minor grammatical mistakes. Immigrants from the last 60 years are a huge portion of the population, and a lot of slack is cut. A fair number of Germans IME are completely unable/unwilling to mentally correct the mistakes of foreigners speaking German. I have (in my early days) been toyed with, people running with my mistake and basically mocking, rather than just making the mental correction (or even informing me without mockery -- which happens too and I can appreciate even if the timing is sometimes bad) and moving on. Make a mistake and you may get totally baffled face-scrunching. I do feel that's quite different in Canada, at least in the big cities where 75% of the population lives anyway.     OK, such open hostility is not super common here in your average genteel office place, and it decreases in proportion to the quality of your German (especially when you are not a POC), and it's not as if you can't encounter xenophobes in Canada or etc either. But for sure "Leitkultur" is a thing here.   Mutual understanding is paramount, yes, but the difference is that Germany seems to expect all the adjustment from the immigrant. It's not a give and take, it's mostly take. Fine, that's how it is here, you have to accept it. But that's also why Germany doesn't really get first or second pick of the best and brightest immigrants "brain draining" their own countries... just look at us!!     2. In Canada, any immigrant can, if they wish, fairly easily find compatriots, work together and work in their businesses -- in their own language. There are tens of thousands of (small?) firms whose daily back-office language is Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Tagalog, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Greek, Russian, etc. and no one cares so long as someone can answer the phone or emails in English (or French, depending where you are). I can see that being mostly limited to cleaning businesses, construction, and döner here in Germany.   Which all comes back to the point that, yes, knowing German is vital to a worthwhile career here. A point that has been made a zilion times in the forum, but there we are. Make of that as you will, @bytex
  15. Gardening

    I built a couple raised beds a few years ago, and I do at least corn, tomatoes, beets (also for the greens), radishes, carrots and various salad most years. I like corn for fun, though I usually do not get enough for any big meals or anything. I usually do rare 'Indian' sorts that I ordered from the US, and on one variety I am on 4th generation of saved seeds. I have 9-10 stalks in one bed without crowding them too much, and each one gives you realistically 1 or 2 good ears. I nip the smaller, later ones, cause around here it's too cloudy and cool to bother letting them grow. They do need water and fertilizer attention. Sunflowers are always easy. I leave the heads on for birds into the fall. One year I got a 4m tall stalk!   Did potatoes last year. Bell peppers don't usually do well around here, but I've got a few chilli plants from seed that over-wintered and are flowering right now, looking good. I just ordered a small metal and glass greenhouse (more like a cabinet) so hopefully they will do well there. I've tried cucumber in the past, but they also don't do too well in our climate. Trying again though... Got some watermelon sprouts too, but skeptical they'll do well. Trying some calabash gourds, same skepticism, but we'll see. Trying onions this year. Got a few raspberry bushes, a couple blueberry bushes (birds usually eat them before we can) and a couple designated strawberry planters. Mint. Various flowers and some local species from seed exchanges 'back home' that my parents sent.