Happy New Year 2019 – and some links

First of all, a happy new year to everybody who reads my blog! My 2019 bring you health, happiness and success!

Here in Germany, 2019 is already a little more than three hours old and so far, the year is looking good. Not that it had much chance to cause trouble yet.

I’ve done the party thing and the “standing on the market place in the cold, while people randomly launch fireworks all around” thing in the past, but these days I prefer a quieter new year’s eve. And so I went to a local Thai restaurant for dinner with my parents. The place was pretty full, mostly with elderly people, and the staff was very busy. Nonetheless, everybody seemed happy except for the guy at the table next to ours.

Honestly, this dude was a pain. He was clearly trying to impress his date and get into her knickers and he was incredibly annoying about it, too. Kept bragging about all the places he had supposedly visited and rattled off facts about the hotel Bayrischer Hof in Munich, which he had clearly found on the internet. Honestly, the dude was showing his date pics from the hotel website on his smartphone. He also took exception to the Mai Tai he and his date had ordered at the restaurant (“Too much alcohol” – Dude, it’s a bloody Mai Tai. It’s supposed to contain alcohol.) and kept telling his date how wonderful the Mai Tais at the Trader Vic’s restaurant in the basement of the hotel Bayrischer Hof were. Now I have no doubt that Trader Vic’s knows how to mix a Mai Tai – the drink was invented there after all (not at the Munich branch, though). But if the Trader Vic’s in the basement of the Bayrischer Hof in Munich is so great, why didn’t he take his date there rather than to a suburban Thai restaurant in Bremen? Probably because he’s never actually been there and only learned about it from the website. I honestly considered tripping him up by launching into a discussion of tiki bars, especially since I’ve actually been to one, though that was a long time ago.

But his bragging wasn’t the worst thing about the guy. No, he was also rude to the wait staff, which should be a huge red flag for everybody on a date. You see, the wait staff was too slow for his tastes – on a busy new year’s eve – and one of the servers, not a regular, got confused about who had ordered which wine. In short, the sort of hiccups that happen on busy days. I honestly hope that his date didn’t fall for his crap.

But now, let’s take a look at the food:

Tom Yum Soup and spring rolls

Here is the starter: Tom yum soup and spring rolls.

Thai food

The main course was, from left to right: Vegetable coconut curry, pork in xa-cha auce and crispy chicken with peanut sauce.

Lychees with ice cream

And here is dessert: Baked lychees with ice cream.

By half past ten, we were home. I spent the time until midnight at my laptop and then we had the traditional champagne and fireworks.

So have some more photos:

Clover and good luck charms

A potted four leaf clover plant and two pigs, a toadstool and a chimney sweeper for good luck.

Champagne and bottle

A stiking blue champagne bottle and three glasses waiting for midnight.

Champagne

And here is a glass of champagne for a hearty “Prosit Neujahr!”

My parents live in a fairly quiet suburban neighbourhood, but nonetheless the neighbours (well, some of them, at any rate) pulled out all the stops regarding fireworks.

Fireworks

New year’s night fireworks in our neighbourhood.

Fireworks

More new year’s night fireworks.

Fireworks

And even more fireworks. The folks living a bit down the street had a lot of fireworks batteries.

Fireworks

Another fireworks battery creates a spectacular display.

Fireworks

This was one of our rockets, which I managed to capture in the moment it exploded.

Fireworks and smoke

One thing that’s easy to forget about fireworks is that they generate a lot of smoke. Here the smoke, the streetlamp and the fireworks combine into an unearthly blue glow.

I also shot a short video of the fireworks in our neighbourhood. You can see it below:

But I also promised you some links and here they are. For I’m not just posting on my own blog tonight, I’m also elsewhere on the web.

At the retro science fiction blog Galactic Journey, where 1964 has only just begun, I have a review of Andre Norton’s 1964 (according to the copyright date – it apparently was published in late 1963) science fantasy novel Ordeal in Otherwhere up today. Believe it or not, this was my first Andre Norton novel, since her works were not easy to come by in Germany when I was younger. I enjoyed it quite a bit. In many ways, it felt surprisingly modern for a 55 year old novel – a competent female protagonist, a male lead of colour, some positively psychedelic scenes, commentary on gender relationships – in others it felt very old-fashioned with rocketships straight out of a vintage B-movie and a curiously sexless universe. If you want to know more, hop over to Galactic Journey and read the full review. Oh yes, and if you’re a member of either WorldCon 76 and WorldCon 77 and therefore eligible to nominate for the 2019 Hugos, consider Galactic Journey for best fanzine.

But I don’t have just one article at Galactic Journey today, I have two, because I also share my grandmother’s vintage 1960s recipe for spaceman’s punch a.k.a. Raumfahrer Bowle. There’s even a delightful Frank Kelly Frears illustration to go with the recipe. I said I was going to share more family recipes and what better way to start than with a crowdpleasing punch? Coincidentally, after all the talk of Mai Tais at the neighbouring table tonight, I noticed that Mai Tai and spaceman’s punch actually share quite a lot of ingredients.

What is more, issue 11 of the botanical themed poetry and art zine Umbel & Panicle also came out today. The theme of the issue is “Hybrid” and it includes poetry by Casey Williams, F.E. Clark, Kelly Heard, Lisa Kiew, Tiana Coven, Emma Cairns Watson and me and stunning photos by Paul Weimer, Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Harshal Desai. My poem, “The Mystery of the Compost Heap”, is here. But read the whole issue and enjoy the poems and photos.

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