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Germany

Thursday, 29 January 2009
Last day in Munich

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Here’s another photo of the white stuff. It’s been slowly building up over the last few days. My meetings and workshops went well and it’s time to go home.

Posted by bigblue on 29/01/2009 at 06:18 PM
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Wednesday, 28 January 2009
More snow in Munich

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There is a bit more snow this morning. I think that’s our taxi waiting below.

Posted by bigblue on 28/01/2009 at 07:17 AM
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Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Bits and Peace

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In my hotel here in Munich I turned on the TV last night and was surprised to see Ne základnám (the No American Bases movement of Czech Republic) on the news. One would think that the message is self-evident, but I would in further and say that true lasting peace can only come through disarmament. 

Then this morning I was surprised upon waking to turn the TV on and find that it featured two naked women playing ping pong! I guess it could be seen as an extreme version of that popular spectator Olympic sport, woman’s beach volleyball.

Posted by bigblue on 27/01/2009 at 06:41 PM
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Snow in Munich

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I woke up today to this scene of light snow here in Munich.

It’s quite picturesque and we have a 10 minute walk from the hotel to our (prospective) client. Unfortunately we can’t remember if we are supposed to turn left out the hotel or turn right out of the hotel (and “walk straight for 10 minutes”). So do we split up or should we all take our chances together? These are the first questions of the day.

Posted by bigblue on 27/01/2009 at 07:40 AM
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Bavarian Dining Hall

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Here’s where we ate last night in Munich. Our party consisted of three Brits, one Parisian, one Finn (now living in Paris) and two Bavarians (one of whom is now living near Frankfurt.

The animal heads on the walls are carved from wood. The best food on the menu has worst[/] in it, and is washed down with beer. The portions are large and extra-large. You wouldn’t come here for nibbles.

Posted by bigblue on 27/01/2009 at 06:35 AM
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Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Coulrophobia - Fear of Clowns

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If you have ever found a more useless Wikipedia article than that on coulrophobia please let me know. At least 80% of the information in the article belongs on WikiTrivia this is it. Coulrophobia in fiction has more emphasis than an actual outline of the condition and its causes. It reminded me of those tabloids that can’t distinguish between reality and TV soaps.

A more serious discussion takes place over at the BBC in an article about research at Sheffield University which found that children in hospitals didn’t like clowns:

Prof Paul Salkovskis, clinical director of the Maudsley Hospital Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, saw a patient in Yorkshire some years ago who feared clowns as one of a range of problems.

But he believes children’s fear may be less to do with clowns per se and more to do with being unsettled by something as unusual-seeming as a clown.

“People are typically frightened by things which are wrong in some way, wrong in a disturbingly unfamiliar way,” Prof Salkovskis says.

“It is almost certainly not a reaction to clowns, but we are sensitive to things which are extraordinary, particularly sensitive when we are young. My three-year-old was terrified by Peter Rabbit at a B&Q. Peter Rabbit is six inches high, not seven feet high.”

And obviously it doesn’t take a great leap of the imagination to suppose that children in hospitals, away from home, in an unfamiliar environment and worried about their health or elements of the treatment, may be more nervous than usual.

“Being away from home or away from a carer makes children more susceptible to fears,” Prof Salkovskis says.

No sh*t Sherlock.

According to way2hope website coulrophobia is one of the top 10 specific phobias,and the cause is usually some specific childhood event.

Treatment options include medications, hypnotherapy, and various therapies designed to have us face down coulrophobia until we manage the situation more rationally.  Unless this phobia is extremely severe, it’s probably a less intrusive approach to just avoid clowns and other triggers…particularly for children with this phobia.

No sh*t Sherlock.

I personally wonder if “fear of clowns” is not a sub-category of “fear of strangers”. Incidentally I took the photograph of this advertising sticker in Berlin last year.

Posted by bigblue on 14/01/2009 at 07:45 AM
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Sunday, 07 December 2008
Model train

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I was in Berlin again this week. This is a model train in the foyer of the building of the company which makes these things.

Posted by bigblue on 07/12/2008 at 02:19 PM
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Sunday, 30 November 2008
Wings

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I took this series of photographs while flying between Berlin and London in the summer. Flying is faster, but I still prefer to go by train.

Posted by bigblue on 30/11/2008 at 10:52 AM
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