alderhill

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About alderhill

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

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  1. Higher rent because of home office?!!

    How is your German?    As your sense of German legality is low, I'm guessing the landlord can smell "naive" all over you. And yes, there are no shortage of slimy landlords who will rip you off, lie, cheat, stall, stonewall, mislead, casually omit information, or wiggle out of responsibilities (assuming they even understand or care about those), all the more so when they sense Johnny Ausländer doesn't know any better. Been there myself, thankfully now many years ago.   I currently know a friend of a coworker who is new-ish to Germany and being hosed, strung along and lied to by his landlord, re: malfunctioning gas heater that apparently hasn't been serviced in years (very illegal). Other electrics (plugs, switches) were not working when he moved in, and the landlord managed to convince him that he had to pay for both parts and labour to get them fixed. (I advised how he was being hosed, steps he should take, etc. but you just can't convince some people.)   So yes, Mietverein first of all. Second, don't be so quick to pull out your six-shooter and shout laywer, because that only results in yet another gun draw on the other side of the saloon. Of course, threatening to charge you more for "commercial" because you have two screens is hilarious. He can't. He's trying to spook you out. Frankly, rather than a senseless legal battle, I'd just look for a new flat/room that's not rented out by a sleazy douchebag. If this is the beginning, what else do you think is waiting for you? Save yourself the aggro and move on.
  2. Cyclists are 3rd class in Germany

    I certainly remember when e-bikes were not common. On the one hand, I suppose it's good more are out and about in places, getting some of that good ol' fresh air and exercise they might not otherwise. But the downside is lots of people who very obviously haven't sat on a bike in 40 years are now doing so. Too many do not seem to have a "cyclist mentality", much less etiquette. But they are also pretty handy sometimes, I've rented them on holidays.   The grey-haired ebike gangs are a real thing (with no disrespect to any grey-haired cyclists here). Worse are those who travel at top speed in all situations and expect everyone to instantly make way, as if they were on Autobahn left lane. I have a child seat on my bike, and my son often in it, and still I have been ding-ding-dinged with classic German impatience by some (usually!) old fart directly behind me, even at points where the bike path narrows due to trees, driveways, fences, etc.    Some neighbours in our building recently bought new expensive e-bikes (€5000 range when I googled the brand/model -- they already had a pair from a couple years prior that were still fairly new-looking IMO). Thicker-than-average frames, thicker-than-average wheels. I've had to scoot my bike around them in the bike shed, moving their bikes an inch here and there, and they are bloody heavy. There's no way you're going very far without the e-motor, nor pushing them. They use them on the occasional nice weekend Ausflug (loading them on to the car), or sunny weekday task, but not on any regular basis as far as I can tell. The husband does bike to work sometimes on a standard bike, in fair weather... but really, these expensive things basically just sit there unused 90% of the time. They recently bought a second car, too. What pandemic economy, right?     Some years back, on a morning cycle to work, late summer, I passed by a residential intersection and saw a little boy of about 4 years old (seemingly alone, no parent) bawling and wailing on the sidewalk corner, with a face full of blood, and soaked all over his shirt. A gash on the forehead, and probably bashed up mouth, as I clearly remember his totally reddened teeth. Pacing sheepishly nearby (not helping!) was a pot-bellied man in his 50s or so, with his e-bike propped against a fence. I didn't witness it, but from the scene, with hedges and fences as they were, there would be no visibility round the corner. So I assume the e-biker took the corner at speed (on the sidewalk!) and hit the kid who was playing. The kid had some sort of toy truck or tractor on the grass (and I assume lived just there, there was a short driveway and house just behind him -- maybe the parents ran inside, I still wonder at that...).   It must have happened just a minute or two before. I stopped for a moment, but two other adults also did just before me, and one said she was calling an ambulance, and the other took out some kind of cloth to hold to the kid's face. I wanted to help and felt angry too, but rode on as I had a meeting to get to, and there wasn't much more to do just then. It's pretty ghastly seeing a small child's face literally covered in blood, but from a glance the cut did not seem large or deep... just an unlucky spot.
  3. What's the issue with dual nationality?

      Ah, there's your classic xenophobic take. If you live somewhere long enough (for Germany: 8ish years give or take) and jumped through all the hoops so that you acquire citizenship, why is your prior (and still-held) citizenship any special limit on your ability to understand and make decisions on local matters? It isn't. Locals don't always agree on things, and don't always make "the best" informed decisions either (plenty of evidence there). I don't see why those born outside should be arbitrarily excluded (after a long enough waiting period, some proof of understanding language, civics, etc.). You can't really express any other reason either, from what I've read, apart from literal xenophobia, Blut und Boden.   
  4. Ausbildung als Erzieher/in - anyone done this?!

    In my opinion, they should all (Krippe and Kita workers) receive a permanent salary/wage top-up from the federal government. 1. They need and deserve it. 2. It's affordable (if priorities are set!)  3. It will make the profession just a little more attractive, and help staff retention and improve adult-to-kid ratios. 4. Related to point 3, it will hopefully spur more realistic operating hours (for Kita at least) that will allow Germany to finally move its concept of "appropriate" working hours for mothers out of the 1950s. And maybe it will stabilize the plummeting birth rate and allow women to both follow their career aspirations and be mothers. (In whatever permutation and combination suits a particular family best.)   On point 2., let's explore it. There are apparently 442,387 (year 2020) "Erzieherinnen und Erzieher in Kindertageseinrichtungen beschäftigt" (pasted wiki link kept in for your convenience). I suppose some Krippe/Kita staff, perhaps directors or senior 'queen bees', may do 40ish hours a week. But, IME that is not the norm. Let's assume 30 hour work week for all, which is certainly inflated because not all those 443 000 (rounding that up for fun too) in the profession work that much on average. At least, I think it's less but let's go with 30 for the sake of argument. And finally let's then propose a modest 3 euro per person top-up on their current hourly wages.    443 000 * (30 * 3) = 39 870 000, or a €39.8 million top-up. But gasp! you say, how ever will the country afford that! Well for a country like Germany running surpluses in the double-digit billions for a while now, that really is chump change in budget terms.   Let's also take that the average wage (google told me) is currently €21 per hour. So let's make it €24 now. (24*30) * 4 weeks = 2880 brutto. Using https://www.gehalt.de/einkommen/brutto-netto-rechner and plugging in some average values for tax class, let's say 1 child, no church tax, you get €1940 netto. Which is still a bit below the average in Germany , but much more comfortable than 1200 (as written above). (I know, calculating this with average wage is a bit faulty, as many make more or less, but you get my point I hope in that it's a modest but fair increase).   Play with the numbers as you like. I'm no mathematician, so this is just back of a napkin stuff.    Anyway, it's fun to think about although I know this will never happen. Why not? Because let's be real: it's "women's work" and it's not taken that seriously. Germany will drive off the cliff before it releases its death grip over its attitudes on this...
  5. What's the issue with dual nationality?

      Freudian slip? lol, but I like it too! Actually, even more shameful to admit... I am so used to using a German layout keyboard for work that when I switch back to a proper corn-fed American one, my umlaut keystroke game is off.
  6. What's the issue with dual nationality?

      Not true, as @engelchen says.   I knew an ex-German citizen who had 'fled' (GDR) just as the wall was coming down. He was a fresh teenage sailor, and this was his freighter's first trip outside Eastern Bloc borders. He fled at the first opportunity, got asylum. Travelled all over, lived in a few countries, never returning to Germany, and eventually ended up in Canada. Lived there for the next 15 years or so, and acquired Canadian citizenship. He never told the German side, and once his passport expired, he by then had Canadian passport, so didn't bother to renew the German either.    Later, he took a volunteer job in Brazil, ended up living there for a couple years. Met a local lady, had a child, and thought to introduce them to the aging German grandparents. Went in to the German embassy to get a new German passport, and they discovered his black, wicked truth: that he was Canadian too!! On the spot, they asked him to decide, and he chose Canadian (which he said he never wanted to give up), so they served him "you are no longer a citizen!" papers.   When I met him here in Germany, he was now living here, and had a temporary work visa on his Canadian passport and had to go through the Aliens line at the airport, deal with the Ausländerbehürde, etc. which was a bit of a mindfuck for all involved, but he loved telling stories of flabbergasted German bureaucrats. He could probably get his German citizenship back if he wanted, but that's a process to, and not without losing Canadian again.
  7.   Likewise. Everyone has their tastes and all, but his oddball, meandering, deadpan delivery (of sometimes intentionally corny jokes) was, for me, hilarious. There are few comedians who could roast and cut to the bone like him. His appearances on Letterman and Conan were always highlights, and I generally followed his podcast and Netflix stuff too (now I will finish them!). I don't care about celebrity much, but Norm MacDonald's death is a big hit. RIP.   There are endless clips to reminisce with, but here he is, earnestly discussing his take on disease publicity -- at a time when was deep into his cancer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAp-igcRhMQ
  8. God and the German School

      Many years back, I was travelling with a good friend of mine. He is Indian (india) background, but Christian. In fact, his family have been purely Catholic for 400 years or so, from Portuguese influence and intermarriage (Goa and a few other places). They all have Portuguese last names, and some of his relatives (I've met a bunch) have quite light skin, and blue or green eyes are not unheard of either. (I'm technically Catholic and had to go every Sunday, no missing, till I was about 18, but just about fully lapsed these days.)   So we were in Istanbul. I'd never go to a Mass/service by my choice, much less on holiday, but my friend was back then kinda semi-religious. We figured we could check out on old (Roman) Catholic church that is otherwise not open for tourism, the icons and frescoes and what not, so eh, fine. I normally made a point of not taking communion even if I were dragged into Church (yes, my parents hated this when I was a teen, lol). My friend nudges me into taking communion so he didn't have to go up alone. So, our turn. In goes the body of Christ. Next my friend... but the priest hesitates and shakes his head. My friend has brown skin, and many people in Turkey assumed he was a Gulf Arab. Well my friend is just kind of waiting, awkwardly, and then nods. The priest again is hesitant and after a few more seconds makes a sign of the cross and a questioning kind of gesture with his hands, also glancing at me, as by then I had stopped to the side too. My friends nods and says 'yes yes Christian' and signs the cross too. The Priest is still hesitating, and then whisper-asks very unsure, 'Christian??'. My friend nods again and finally gets his communion, though the priest looked very unconvinced. We laughed about it after.
  9. When did German TV decline?

    I barely watch TV, except for news or a docu or (passively) little kid cartoons. Most of what I want I find on youtube, when I have time. Yes, there is loads of crap on YT, but also plenty of high-quality niche programming... outdoors stuff, DIY, travel, science, etc. I have found it a lot more rewarding and informative than the paint-by-numbers watered down versions of everything on the classic 'terrestrial' broadcasters. Even on my actual TV screen, I 90% of the time watch youtube channels.    There are a few gems from German producers now and then, and I also liked Deutschland '83 (though I think it followed in the coat tails of The Americans). But German TV never does anything out of the mold IMO, it's only ever following the main trends. I know that is an accusation that all advertisement-pushing mainstream broadcasters can take, but with German TV, it's especially so IMO. 
  10. 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. 
  11. 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. 
  12. 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 https://www.verbraucherzentrale.de/beschwerde. 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. 
  13. Create a new conspiracy theory

      Give that another 20 years for the tech to perfect itself.     https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/uw-micro-camera   On that note, I saw a real hornet the other day walking around a pond. Holy crap. Huge, yellow, brown. Not very inconspicuous. 
  14.   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.
  15.   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.