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Four Days at a Whack


I had meant file to a blog report for every day of this European trip.  Blogging is like shaving, if you don’t do it every day, you’re a bum.  I fell down on that after my last report called A Day Where Not Much Happened.  Some foreshadowing here.  In Kiel I stay at my friend Karsten Weber’s house. One drawback is the heating doesn’t work well. It is very roomy and centrally located.  Oh, I mean centrally located in Kiel.  Kiel itself is kind of northernly. Karsten is part of Film Group Chaos along with his girlfriend Martina.  He has gotten me many gigs in Europe through his contacts and has been a true friend.   He is often on the road and I have the place to myself.  Close to the house are two grocery stores, LIDL and Sky, separated by a common parking lot.  One important thing in Kiel is the railroad station.   Near that is the post office.  Across from them is the Sophie Mall.  The Mall is several blocks long and has a good grocery store in it.  All of that is a  fifteen minute walk downhill from the house.


March 18

I slept for almost twelve hours and got up at 8:00. I must have been missing sleep for days. It takes some getting used to, to get rest while flying and taking trains places. I’d be in Kiel until March 24 when I’d go to Lausanne. I’d be back in Kiel for the premiere of the film A Synagogue for Bad Segeberg, which I did the English subtitles for. After that it would be Bern, Düsseldorf, Hamburg (two nights) and then back to Kiel before an April 8 gig in Freiburg in the Komm Kino in Alter Wiehrebahnhoff (The old train station).


The day before yesterday had I finally got the confirmation I would be flying to England on the 9th and fly home from London on the 15th. That was through the work of John Wojowski of the Manchester Film Festival. Toward that end I had to find art on line and email that, plus my short narrative resume, brought sort of up to date, to a guy named Ric, who would have me show Subversive Animation at Manchester Metropolitan University. I  wrote and posted the report on the previous day, where not much happened. Compared to today it was a whirlwind. At half past three I finally felt warm enough to go to the post office and mail Anne one hundred bucks so she could take the truck to Larry the mechanic at Hollywood Chevron on Sandy Blvd for maintenance and a small repair. On the way there I put a load of clothes in at the washomatic down the street. That cost three euros. I didn’t have the correct coins for soap so I used caked in soap at the bottom of the two cups under the coin op ports. It wasn’t a whole lot of detergent, but then my clothes weren’t all that dirty. I then walked to the post office, going through the Sophie Mall to keep warm, and arrived there to find a very long line. When I was there last week there was no line at all. The reason was there were two clerks working and one of them was dealing with a guy with some weird problem who had the posture of someone in for the long haul. The line only moved when the other clerk, also currently dealing with a long timer, had another customer step up. I counted a hundred and thirty  seconds before the line moved. A new clerk appeared just as the weird case was finished, except the clerk handling the weird case then took a break. I was sympathetic. Dealing with nut cases and hard heads can be exhausting. With two clerks working at a time the long line slowly disappeared and by the time I was served it was down to a few people.


When I got back to the washateria I found I still had ten minutes to wait. I did just that, although I should have gone to buy groceries. I put twenty minutes worth of money, one euro, for my clothes to dry and then went to the grocery store. There I bought celery (bio, meaning organic), carrots, cauliflower, and pork for stir-fry. The pork was called schnitzel, which is more of a way of cooking than a cut.   The organic celery was three bucks. I bought it because they didn’t have non organic celery. Everything together cost ten euros. I didn’t know it but I had time to take everything home and still get back before the twenty minutes was up. Instead I went back to the Washamuseum and while I waited tried to figure out how to eventually get everything into my back pack. Everything did fit except for the two dress shirts that should have been put on hangers, which I just slung over an arm, and then exited the place with the tops of the carrots, hanging out of the open top of the backpack, waving goodbye.


I then went to LIDL and bought a three dollar bottle of Bordeaux wine and then went home. Wine is very cheap here.  It was five thirty by then. I got busy writing and didn’t get around to cooking until 8:00. I made a pork stir fry. I did some more writing after dinner and called it a day at eleven. I don’t think I had really been warm all day.


March 19 Saturday

For some reason I woke up feeling fully rested at six am. I made coffee and leisurely read the Times on line and ate toast. Since not much had happened the day before I didn’t post a report on the blog. I did go looking for a space heater and found one in my room. It finally got the room warm. For my prospective book “On the Road With Bad Bugs Bunny” I wrote about Europe 1999 and the City Night Line Train episode. That train was part of long journey from Arhus Denmark to Colmar Frace.  I wondered just where it was I got on that train. My guess was Hanover. I went to the train station and made a fictitious request for a train from Arhus to Colmar for the day after tomorrow and traveling overnight. I was given the plan, which still included The City Night Line. On the way there I went through Sophie Mall to keep out of the cold. There I found a big bag of peanuts in the shell that said 95. I thought I’d get the whole bag for 95 cents and hauled it to the cash register.  My mistake, I would just get some of the bag for 95 cents,  which wasn’t much. I also bought a banana to eat on the walk home.


Elisabeth Saggau, the camera operator and editor of A Synygogue For Bad Segeberg, came over around 6:00. She brought me a one sheet for A Synagogue for Bad Segeberg and other promotional stuff. She also  brought the payment for some extra translating work I had done.  When she was leaving I mentioned I expected to see her day after tomorrow at Palenke for my Effect of Dada and Surrealim show. She said that the show would be  tomorrow as today was Saturday. Wow, working on dates instead of days of the week I’d been off by one for a while. I made a pork stir fry and worked fairly late writing. I also decided to post a singing youtube each day, making sure it was live singing and not lip syncing. I started with a really great version of You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Dusty Springfield.


March 20 Sunday

I woke up again before seven and had my now usual coffee, rye toast, and on line New York Times. There I read that they were getting rid of the free on line Times and at some un-named time it would cost to read. In the later morning I decided to check the projector that Karsten had said was in the Arab room. That is the entry room to the house which is decorated in a somewhat exotic manner.  I assumed the projector was one in smallish case, about the size of Kodak Pageant. No, that was a silent projector.


He had meant a behemoth Siemens in a big military case with leather handles. That was one I had rejected in the fall because it took a really weird jack for the speaker.


I decided to go through all the Bauer p6 projectors more carefully than I had in the fall. I was sure that the really nice one that had been the one I had used in Viborg  in he spring only needed a fuse. I ad taken the bottom off previously and not found one. This time I took off the bottom, back, and even the full electronic board across the bottom. That would let me look at what from the outside looked like a fuse holder accessible which  had repulsed all my efforts to open. There I found it was not a fuse holder at all but some weird European thing not found on any American projector I’d ever seen.  With the back off I did find six fuses scattered around but all were good. I gave up. The howling machine I had used in the fall was now dead. Two ran fine but the exciters (for sound) wouldn’t light. I tried several spares but still no sound. I then decided to further examine one that was not all dead, with a lighting exciter, but that while the motor turned the sprockets didn’t. That one had a heavy string tied to the pause lever on the back connecting it to the handle on top. I found inside it that the belt continually slipped off the spindle. It didn’t want to stay on when I put it back. I narrowed the width of tines that held it in place. I then found that the string on the back was crucial. Something was screwed up and instead of pausing things would bang around inside and knock the belt off. I got the lever tied up and the projector ran fine, although the lever had to all the way up of the machine slowed and the light dimmed. I finally decided propping it up would work better than tying it. I looked around for something suitable. I wasted time trying for find the proper size end wrench. I then settled for three scraps of wood found by the table saw. One was about size and shape of a square cigar.   Two flat pieces would support it and add the needed height. That worked. I put the pieces of the wood in the bottom of the case with the spare lamps and such. I found the zoom lens on the once howling, but now dead, projector and was set.

I posted Red McKenzie singing I Ain’t Got Nobody in 1929 with the Mound City Blue Blowers on Face book for my singing item.


On one of the Baltic air flights a screw had rattled loose and away that held one lens in place in my eye glasses.  I decided to use thread to hold the glasses together in lieu of the screw.  I got that done and took a cab to Palenke.  If Karsten were here we would have driven.  If I felt more robust I might have lugged the projector, speaker and films on a bus, but since it was Sunday fewer buses ran.    Burkhard, the owner of Palenke,  was glad to see me.   He had his two sons with him, also his ex wife and his girlfriend. Ullie, the director of A Synagogue for Bad Segeberg, Elisabeth the editor and the camera operator,  Lorenz of the Kiel Film Workshop, and the cameraman Moses Merkle, all sat at a table in the back near the projector.  I asked Moses  if he was related to Una Merkel, one of my favorite actresses. He had never heard of her.  Maybe she is related to the chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel.    I had two pints of  Guinness  and a tortellini with spinach and sausage dish. I didn’t give a real good introduction to my show The Effect of Dada and Surrealism on Hollywood Movies of the 1930’s.  My mind was on the projector. When it was time to start the show the  projector started out slow but picked up speed and eventually ran fine.

Everyone liked the show. There were signs of acknowledgement when W.C. Fields first appeared. It is funny to think of him being dubbed into German with a different voice. Ullie asked me about my traveling to Lausanne It turned out he had a free round trip ticket between Germany and Switzerland that he could get to me the next day.   The taxi home was only 6  euros.


March 21 Monday

I got up at 7:30 and found I had forgotten to buy bread. Buying groceries in Germany takes some forethought as stores aren’t open as many hours as in America,  I walked to LIDL. People were waiting for it to open at eight. I bought the rye bread and went back for my normal morning. I spent the day putting projectors away and generally tidying up. I also posted The Ronettes doing Be My Baby from The Big TNT Show and also Roger Miller doing Engine Engine Number Nine also from Big TNT. I emailed Karsten to let him know I would be back on the 23rd in the early evening and go directly to his event. He got back to me saying that he would be working in the installation but that the festival would be Friday through Sunday. When Elisabeth showed ups t 6:00 I was surprised. I had no idea how late it was. She brought the rest of the translating payment and had me sign a receipt. She also had the free train ticket. I walked her to her place and continued to the train station where I showed the free ticket to the clerk,  who looked it over, handed it back and  printed my itinerary.


I walked back home via Sophie Mall. I thought about buying more peanuts. I wasn’t sure just what the weight had been that I had paid 95 cents for. When I saw it was just 100 grams I thought that outrageous. That would be about eight bucks a pound. I got some salt herring licorice (the licorice is shaped like herrings and covered with salt) and walked home. I stopped at Sky and bought more pork for a stir fry and a bottle of French Cabernet for 2.50.


After dinner I got everything ready for my trip to Lausanne in the morning.  Using the gift ticket would mean I could go someplace completely unplanned with the extra dates now on my rail pass.  That would be fun to consider during the long train ride south.