Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yes, I know it's been a looong while...

...but for the time being, I wrote a review to a book on!
Will start with my ramblings again soon, promise!

Black Lace (Paths of the Spirit, #1)Black Lace by J.V.K.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Black Lace tries to create a great new refreshing view of vampires and how their world works, I was quite surprised when I picked it up for free on (eBook).

What made it really hard for me to read after all is: it's not edited -AT ALL.
I read it on my phone and/or on my laptop and on every page are about 2-4 errors, grammar and spelling.
The classic 'were' and 'we're' were not even that bad, but double r, double s, silent e were sometimes ignored, words spelled as they are pronounced, too many or not enough commas, proverbial modifiers in the wrong places of the sentence structure or twice in a sentence so you don't know where they belong.
'he' and 'she' mixed up (or sometimes there were two 'he's in a scene or conversation, which was even worse), so in some scenes you have to sift through to get who's meant when, who says what -or have to guess and go on. Loooots of syntax jumbles.
(and I'm not a grammar-Nazi, English is a foreign language to me, but I'm reading English books for years and never had so many problems understanding connections or following a story-line which took the fun out of reading it and made it more into examining someone elses term papers.)
Story-wise there are memory jumps in the middle of conversations, awkward or no transitions...
It reads like a first draft -a good first draft with lots of ideas, but still in the kind of heavy-handed, awkward
construction phase before revision and editing.

If this gets reworked, I can't wait to pick it up again -and pay money for it!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nothing tastes as it seems

The first thing ever that I ate in our brand new apartment(house!) was Sicilian pizza.
Which we ordered -a classic self made family dinner (i mean, the hubby called the place all by himself and they made our food, so it's halfway right ;D).
They told me, it had 'a bit more' dough than a normal pizza.
-I thought they meant one of those weirdly thin, cookie-ish(means rock hard and crumbly bottom), flat, tasteless New York pizzas, so I decided more dough sounded just right, right?
A Sicilian pizza is as high as our remote control is wide! And it's just the dough -the toppings are the same bit of sauce, bit of cheese yada-yada as on any other pizza!
We could have fed a whole village with that one sheet of...bread (the non eaten rest stayed in the refrigerator for ages cause no one wanted to eat it) -and then chew and swallow the whole shebang!

So I tried a plastic cup (that's what we had in form of china and flatware in the beginning: paper plates, plastic cups -and plastic forks, knives etc that tried to look like metal, at least they tried...) of tap water as I did in Germany every day and never put a thought to it.
Let's say it didn't go down that well. I thought I drank from the public pool. Chlorine has an interesting after taste.
Thank goodness we have a filter for our drinking water now.
In Germany you can drink from tap any time. Not so much here if you don't have your own well in your garden somewhere in the wilderness.
I had some nice red stinging eyes from taking a shower in New Jersey once -yes, there are worse areas when it comes to water.

Next thing was shopping for food.
We have a Target and a ShopRite in walking distance.
In Germany we went shopping about every other day, always buying fresh veggies, some meat depending on what's on sale that day. We didn't have 30 different kinds of milk there (and it doesn't need to be refrigerated, dammit!), but they have everything you might need.
Our bread came from the bakery across the street.
In the US they have something called Wonderbread (ok, there are other brands, but they all have the same kinda textures and ingredients) which is sticking to the roof of your mouth when you chew, you can't hold the loaf in one hand because it's so...'fluffy' you squish it into nothingness easily (press the whole loaf together and it wont be bigger than two packs of cigarettes).
And it's sweet! Blergh. High fructose corn syrup is usually third on the list of ingredients (after flour and water) in all breads you can buy in a normal store.
Try putting Salami on it. Blergh, blergh, bleerrrrrgh.
After a couple of weeks of eating whole wheat sugar bread (it taste almost like German raisin bread without raisins) with jam or NUTELLA (whoever exported Nutella to the US, thank you, you'll make a fortune on me)  we finally found a bread that I could -at least- live with texture- and taste-wise: Jewish rye bread.
Which goes bad after 3days in your kitchen drawer. We can't have it all...

PS: On a side note, there is rye bread and then there is rye bread. Apparently you can't just buy any rye bread because Americans think it's their duty to dump huuuge amounts of caraway seed into their rye bread dough. Tasty if you're Middle Eastern i bet, gagging if you're just little old German me.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Culture Shock part 1 -the house

So this is America.

The hubby and I moved here in early May -and I got the classic Culture shock. I still have it.
And it isn't nice.

We moved into a row home. Americans call this an apartment, Germans call this a house.
When I saw it for the first time, i wasn't that impressed, but it was OK.
The hubby was ecstatic (which I was, too, after I saw what South Philly homes usually look like -we went to a little house sale 2 blocks down, brrr).

The good thing is, US apartments have a full kitchen and a bathroom with shower/tub or both.
In Germany you get an empty room with tubes sticking out of the walls so you can attach your own electric fixtures, sink, cabinets etc (basically, run to IKEA and start buying a whole damn kitchen) and usually a bathroom with a standard toilet (doesn't have to have a lid), a sink and a tub (you can attach your own shower curtain if you think it's necessary, deal with it), shower booths are a luxury.
If there's a kitchen already there, you rent it from your landlord or the former renter sells it to you.
Oh, and washers and dryers? If you don't bring your own, you're fucked and have to look for a not so cheap laundromat in your area (haha, I think I found 2 in my city, with over 300,000 people, the student dormitories host app. 300 students each with one washroom -about 4washers and 2 dryers).
And you have to bring your own light fixtures unless the former renters left theirs behind or the landlord put up naked bulbs.

The bad thing -US walls are made of cardboard. All of them.
We went to a BBQ at friends' house and someone drunk(who weights less than me) put their elbow through the wall while trying to get up the stairs.
The wall. Has a huuuuuge hole. Because of a little elbow.
If you want to hang something on the wall -like a mirror, you can only do it in the places where the
2x4s hold the cardboard wall in the vertical, if you're lucky (I know the walls aren't really cardboard but plaster boards that are as thin as cardboard, but I'm German and we are all about cynical humor by nature, so there).

Our home doesn't a have a single 90degree angle anywhere or anything even. Not the walls to the floors, not the walls to each other, not the floor by itself, the window sills -oh, wait,the doors do.
I bet if you removed the houses next door it'd fall like a house of cards.

The locks on the outside doors would be the bathroom stall locks in a German club.
It's pretty hilarious if you don't think about people trying to break in to steal your stuff. While you're in your bed sleeping.
We Germans are all about security even if no one owns a gun. Here they have guns cause even my 14year old niece could break our door if she wanted (or the sliding windows, but don't let me get into that *g*).

This all sounds pretty bad but I start getting used to our little home. I even made the 'half-room' in the middle without any windows into my walk-in closet, so far none of the rods fell on me, but it's still not all the way done. Still thinking about what color I should paint the dresser we bought at a thrift store (the US has a-maaazing thrift stores) and how I should store my makeup and hair stuff.
Half of my book collection has found a home in the living room and I start to get used to a gas stove (fiiiirrrrre! yes, I burnt the potholders right away, doesn't everyone?)