No big bites today; just a few snacks.
The sushi the other night was great. This guy Rolf has definitely learned some of the real hard stuff, like making the rice the ideal consistency so you can work with it, how to use nori, and how to choose fish. I'm not particularly surprised, since definitely one of the best sushi places I've ever eaten at was the old Mäcky Messer on Mulackstr. here. The guy who ran it was from Hamburg ("so of course I understand fish," he said -- and indeed a common friendly insult for a Hamburger is "Fischkopf," or fish-head) and although I never found out where he'd gotten his training, he was great. One of his little tricks was razor-thin slices of daikon radish in the shape of a shark, the eye having been made by a pinhole. Last time I was in there, a young but clueless Korean couple was running it, using pre-sliced frozen fish, and it was as bad as most of the other places here. The space is now a not-bad Vietnamese restaurant. No idea where Herr Fischkopf disappeared to.
The weather continues to suck. I harvested all my cilantro yesterday and got about a tablespoonful. It was all skinny stems, and the leaves were turning a reddish brown before drying up. I have no idea whether it's the weather or not, but I'm going to plant another crop. It managed to struggle up to 61 degrees today before it rained. The basil on the windowsill is probably developing roots carrots would envy, but the shiso in the pot out in the garden seems to have sprouted. Now if we can just avoid a killing frost...
If yesterday's mail is anything to go by, I'll be seeing Lutz again. Lutz is a huge man, nearly spherical, with a big round red face and tiny eyes, and the mien of a drinker. For all that, he's a nice guy, and he sighs when he talks to you, possibly because his job is collecting for BEWAG, the local power company. If he is a drinker, no wonder. I'm €325.31 in arrears to them, and it's unlikely that any money will arrive before Lutz does. There'll be about half of that to pay if I want to keep the electricity on -- and believe me, I do! -- but I'll be given about 48 hours to find it. Again, I'm not even optimistic about that. But Lutz is a reasonable guy and we even duzen each other -- call each other by the familiar du. Jeez, when you know the name of the guy who shuts off your power and are that familiar with him, something's wrong.
Not that it'd do much good, but this all reminded me of Jungle World (and if you think I'm going to provide a link to them, think again). In September, they contacted me about doing an obit for Johnny Cash. Trouble was, they needed it overnight. Fortunately, I was in my usual state of poverty, and I could provide it that quickly. The editor, one Andreas Hartmann, thanked me heartily, did a good translation, and that was the end of it. I've been trying to get paid -- and folks, we're talking about a whopping €60 here -- ever since. I dropped him a line yesterday to remind him. Maybe you can remind him, too...
Of course, it's a hard-left magazine, and although you wouldn't expect it (if you're at all sympathetic to their politics, anyway), they're the worst at this sort of thing. When I first came here, I wrote a piece for the venerable lefty mag Konkret (also about country music, which seems to be a lefty obsession here). Not only did the translator -- a friend of mine who worked for them -- change some of what I wrote because he disagreed with it, it took them a year to pay me. Apparently the left in Germany is only friends with some working men. Those who work for the left, they apparently feel, are okay to screw. But then, most of them have never had jobs, so what do they know?