Weather catastrophe

Yes, that’s what happened some days ago. I’m still not used to the continental climate! The temperature fell literally overnight from 28 Celsius to 1 Celsius. The next day’s minimum wa at -7 Celsius *ARGH*. How is this supposed to happen??? Such a weird weather here. And the worst thing is that it did not recover yet. It’s getting slightly warmer though, but it’s still beyond 10 :-(.

But a thumbs up: I posted the pictures from better times in California!

I hope it gets warmer soon *brrr*.

Summer start!

Yeah, I love Bloomington. The weather is amazing, and I appreciate the A/C in my car :). It’s 27 Celsius and the sun is shining and everybody parties (I’ve seen 4 beer-pongs going on on my way through the city). Nice! And I just refueled my car for $26 – $2,56 per gallon, that’s about 0.509 EUR/liter) :). And that even seems expensive (I’ve seen $2,35/gallon around).

And I made an incredible deal on rice today! 20 pounds for $9! And it’s Thai rice, not gene-manipuated US rice :).

Yeah, I’m heading out with my macbook to work on the porch!

Update: wahhh, my macbook just died :-(. It switched off in the middle of typing and switches off after some seconds every time I try to switch it on again :-(. Exactly the right time to die … on a Sat evening when I head out for a conference on Sun morning *argh*

The stairmaster

Anju convinced me today not to run outside but to use the “stairmaster” in the SRSC (Studen Recreational Sports Center, the gigantic gym at IUB). This is a hilarious device. It simulated stairs (seriously, look here). We did the Aerobic mode with intensity 15 (of 20) for 30 minutes. This thing killed me!!! It was so good, I thought I would die. I did not know how hard it can be to climb stairs :). It burns more than 1000 calories per hour and I did about 150 storys (World Trade Center?). It was just great, but I doubt that I can do it tomorrow *g*.

And I learned today that you can buy “Nutella” here. Seems to be a good fit for the American wonderbread ;).

My first american car ;-)

Yes, I finally bought a new (used) car. It is a 1999 Saturn SL. It’s not particularly fancy (looks like an Open Astra) but the 1.9l engine with 124 horsepower and its incredible torque turn it into a little beast. I think I made good deal (it was about the same price as the MacBook ;-)).

Some random facts:

  • it’s a second generation SL
  • Saturn is actually a brand of General Motors (a truly american car :))
  • oringinal list price: $11.995 in 1999
  • mileage: 116360
  • engine: 1.9l, 4 cyclinder L4
  • KBB private party value today: $2400 (I don’t tell you how much I paid)
  • 5 speed manual transmission (yeah, I love the stick shift)
  • very spartanic (no power steering, no cruise control, no automatic locks, no nothing :))
  • at least dual airbag, A/C, heater
  • 6 month insurance is about $200 (and covers nearly *nothing*)
  • title + tax + license plate at the BMV in Bton are about $100 (valid for 1 year)
  • one is allowed to drive a car for two working days after purchase without a valid license/insurance in Indiana (weird!)
  • I’ve got two license plates in the car currently *g* – the old one is hard to remove
  • reviews are pretty twofold, but most seem to be satisfied
  • it’s weird, there is nothing like the German AU or HU aka TUEV *hmm*
  • I don’t even have a document that compares to a “Fahrzeugbrief” or “Fahrzeugschein” with the technical specification (i.e., I can modify the car as I wish and no policemen can ever say something???)
  • it is also weird that the BMV is going to (hopefully) mail me the title later. I.e., I do currently not have *any* proof that I own this car (weird). And a friend of mine told me that she is still waiting for her title (since August last year!!!!). Hmm.

Anyway, here are some pictures. I still have to figure out how to mount the German license plate at the front without destroying too much. But I think it’ll be an electric drill and pure brutality :).

What I like/dislike about IU

Just arrived at IU, after being abstinent for 5 months. There came some random facts to my mid that I want to share. I like:

  • there is lot’s of stuff to do here (e.g., public recitals at Jacobs School of Music, Theatre, Festivals like the Chinese New Year on Sat., Events at the International Center, Movie Screenings at the IMU, working out at the HPER/SRSC)
  • the sports facilities are really nice (especially the SRSC)
  • IU was ranked at No. 4 party school in Playboy 06/06 😉 (Cit. Playboy: “Best Homework Assignment: Watching porn at the Kinsey Institute”)
  • ranked as No 1 party school in 2002 (too bad, that I don’t have too much time to party)
  • The Kinsey is interesting in itself 😉 (yeah, you can make a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality I guess)
  • the male/female ratio is also nice
  • and, last but not least – the Ballroom Dance Club seems pretty active 😉

and I don’t like:

  • the current weather (and the way the sidewalks are constructed)
  • there are no “good music” clubs
  • some people define friendship completely differently than I do (ok, that happened in Germany recently too)
  • I’m missing my bike (it’s locked in a shelter)


  • weather is much better (sidewalks still suck though) 🙂
  • you can find decent music (if you try hard)
  • I got my bike! (yeah! It has still no breaks)

    First days back in Bton

    Hmm, I made it. It was not easy though. I was stuck for 6 hours at the Chicago Airport because all flights to Indy have been cancelled. Anyway, I made it! It took me only 24 hours to travel here, and I went out for a nice 45 minute run at 11pm in -18° C *brrr*. The temperature was actually not bad (I dressed up warm), but everything was frozen and slippery and the winter service in Bton seems to be non existent. Anyway, I’m alive and I was able to meet many old friends here. I’ve been invited to Chinese New year yesterday and made delicious chinese dumplings with Peiwei and friends :). Thanks to you all (but Marina :-)) for providing me such a warm welcome (see picture).

    US Visa issued

    Hui, I got my US visa today. That was really fast – I applied on Friday in Berlin and found my passport this morning in the mail. And the visa is even longer valid than my new passport is :). My only criticism is that they destroyed my passport by stapling the I-20 *through* the front!

    The odyssey of packets between the US and Germany

    A company tried to send a packet via TNT (originating near Los Angeles). The first shock for us was that TNT was not able to verify the address of our university! I guess that we’re, with more than 10000 students and 5000 employees, the biggest institution in Chemnitz :). But ok, they’ve been able to resolve this issues (probably), and sent the packet at Dec 4th. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that this is an Express packet.

    The tracking log showed that the packet arrived at Dec 7th at Cologne Airport. It stayed there (in the customs) until Dec 21st when it was forwarded to Dresden (it nearly made it). Reviewing the tracking log today unvieled that the packet was sent back to the originator *argh*. We complained via the web formular and TNT called us immediately. It turned out that the customs office did not know what the contents of the package are :-(. And the packet is on it’s way back to the US.
    Why don’t they send it to us and require us to open it in front of a customs officer? That’s the usual procedure if the content is unclear. Ohohoh …

    We’ll see – I sent a parcel to the US today via DHL. I’m wondering when/if it reaches its destination :-).