Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The GEMA, loading... or not!

Basically the GEMA is the copyright police. If you watch a lot of Youtube videos and you live in Germany a fair percentage of your search results will result in this:

I read that even Psy's Gagnam Style video was not legit in Germany... and he still got the most views of all time on Youtube! It is now accessible for all you Germans that missed it, you probably missed a lot of other stuff too! I was made aware of proxies such as Prox Mate that will bypass the blocked media and play it for you on Youtube, Last FM, Spotify, Groove Shark and all the other popular streaming sites/apps. Didn't find too much info on the legality of using such proxies but someone's certainly working on it! Use at your own risk.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Different

The Good:

In Germany, you can drink alcohol pretty much anywhere you can think of. You can have a beer on your way to a bar or a party no more pre-binge drinking at a friends place before going out. Road beers are the way to go. You can drink on the street, in a park or garden even in the car (as long as you're not driving or biking). Until recently you could drink in the tram and bahn (subway), it's still tolerated from what I understand but we should try to be discreet about it. You can also leave your empties on the ground next to a trash can for easy pick up by homeless people.

The Bad:

You can spill beer in your girlfriend's car because for some reason VW doesn't make the coasters big enough for a regular sized 50cl bottle of beer... and that makes her sad! (Tip: green onions seem to mask the smell of spilt beer in a car.) Take note that as much fun as have a few drink on a long road trip this will certainly add a few stops to... um... take a piss.

The Different:

Those who know me know I love beer, why else would I move to Germany? Oh yeah, maybe one other reason. Although I live in the indisputable beer heaven region of the world the Reinheitsgebot (German beer purity law) makes it difficult to find beers similar to IPAs and high IBU beers. I have barely scratched the surface of hefeweizen, dunkel and in this moment "stark bier", a strong beer made especially for lent. It would be nice to be able to get a taste of home every now and then. Wish me luck on finding a Hoser bar otherwise I'll have to make my way back to Belgium for a bitter taste.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Let me tell you a thing about kitchens...

In Germany when you rent an apartment, it is likely to be empty, as in, without a kitchen. Not only will you not have a fridge, you won't have an oven, a sink, cupboards, or a dishwasher! So the dilemma is, should you buy a really expensive kitchen and bring it with you OR try to sell it when you move.

The problem is that it all depends on the person moving in to your apartment. They will either already have a kitchen which means you have to remove/unmount/unscrew/move your kitchen and try to make it fit in your new apartment which might not be the same size as your previous apartment.

They might want you to leave the kitchen there and they will offer you part of what you paid for, which is less trouble than moving it but you lose some money off of the initial price.

And if you do manage to sell it, it means you'll either have to buy the kitchen that is already in your new apartment (if you are being offered by the previous tenants) or by a new kitchen and move it/mount it/ and screw it!

We chose the later and I hope it's the last kitchen I'll ever buy. We got a good price for the whole thing but had to spend an incredible amount of time at, you guessed it, IKEA! After being told it would take 3 hours to process our order we decided to come back during the week, couple of days later it was delivered and the mounting began.

On another note, if you buy your kitchen anywhere else, you're likely to wait 4 to 8 weeks for your kitchen to be delivered.

We had a lot of help with fixing the cupboards to the walls and cutting the counter and I can't thank the ones involved enough for all their time and expertise!