The Bletchley Circle: My German Wife Identifies the Murderer, Then Promptly Insults Him

creepy-skull-bletchley-circle-serial-killer

“What do you want to watch tonight, Honey? Something involving gratuitous amounts of rape and murder? Of course you do.” — Image Credit: David Russo (https://www.flickr.com/photos/daverusso88/) — Subject to CC Generic 2.0 License.

My wife loves a good murder mystery, especially gritty crime dramas involving serial killers. (Morbid fascination seems to be an inherent trait of all human beings, though I’ve found it to be far more developed in the German psyche.)

Together, my wife and I have watched quite a few murder mystery shows on Netflix: Twin Peaks, The Killing, Damages, Top of the Lake, Bloodline, Broadchurch, and, most recently, The Bletchley Circle. (Note: Most of these shows are worth watching, but Damages is by far the best, and we proudly award it with 5 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany

Anyway, The Bletchley Circle is also pretty fun to watch. It is a British TV crime, drama and mystery series set in the early 1950s in London, England. It begins seven years after the end of WWII and follows four women who worked together during the war as cryptographers at Bletchley Park. When a series of similar murders occur in London, the four women reunite and use their unique codebreaking skills to identify the murder patterns and track down the killer. (Unarmed and without the assistance of the police, mind you, like four women with the combined testicular mass of Jupiter.)

So as we were finishing up the last episode of The Bletchley Circle one Saturday afternoon, we finally discovered the identity of the serial killer. The moment he was revealed, my wife recoiled in disgust and pointed at the TV screen, exclaiming:

Who? That milk face?*

*From the German word, “Milchgesicht,” which figuratively translates to “baby face,” but literally (and hilariously) translates to “milk face.”**

**My wife has used this term often over the years, but until now, I’d mistakenly assumed “milk face” referred to an individual of revoltingly pale complexion.


Graphic Designer in Portland, Oregon and Hannover, Germany - Grafikdesigner Illustrator Copywriter

The Top 10 Funniest (and Most Bizarre) Google Search Engine Terms Used to Find Our Blog

funniest-google-search-engine-terms-nerd-at-computer

“Delete. History. NOW.” — Image Credit: Libelul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/libelul60/) Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Until recently, I assumed people came to our blog for a quick laugh. Maybe to read one of my wife’s Denglish quotes, or perhaps to read about the culture shock I’ve experienced as an American expat in Germany. What I did not expect, however, was the sheer number of people who’ve accidentally stumbled across our blog due to misdirected Google searches. (And oh holy Christ, the Internet really is fueled by porn, isn’t it…)

For this post, I’ve taken screenshots of the latest search terms used to land people on our site and highlighted my favorites in yellow. Please click the first thumbnail image below to start the slideshow. (WARNING: Many contain sexually explicit or otherwise hilarious terminology):

… and of course, way down at the bottom, is my favorite search term of all time:

All-Time-Funniest-Google-Search-Engine-Terms

Summary:

I have to give it to our accidental blog visitors; they do find creative ways to find us. There’s at least one every day who makes me laugh, and for that, I must award these Google search engine terms with a strong 4 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany

What about you? Which search terms put a naughty little smile on your face? The comments section is open as hell.


Graphic Designer in Portland, Oregon and Hannover, Germany - Grafikdesigner Illustrator Copywriter

Seeking a Change of Scenery: My German Wife Orders Tickets for the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ in Hamburg, Germany

Phantom of the Opera - Hamburg - Neue Flora Theater

“Get ready to watch a twisted circus freak smash some dudes with a chandelier.”

I am a huge nerd. I sit in front of my computer every day designing logos, making websites and creating original illustrations for my clients all around the world. My hobbies include reading, writing and avoiding social interaction at all costs. Given the chance, I will remain hidden in the shadowy corner of my home office and never allow the sun to touch my tender, vampire-white skin. The noisy hustle and bustle of the outside world makes me cringe in fear, and the laughter of children is like shards of glass exploding in my eardrums.

My wife, however, is a beautiful, outgoing, social supernova. She’s a Gymnasium teacher, you see, so she has no problem whatsoever spending every day among the noisy, smelly, repellant savages running amok outside the safety of these four walls. She even enjoys venturing out into the chaotic unknown — especially for cultural events occurring in other cities. In fact, she has the excess energy to drag me along with her, even as I hiss and claw in impotent rage: “Oh please take us home, Mistress Extrovert! Take us back into the sweet embrace of darkness and silence from whence we came! Oh God, the light — it burns my eyes! The heat — it sears my flesh! Look there! I see humans! Horrible, ugly humans with smiles on their faces and happiness oozing from every gaping orifice! Sweet Christ, into what sort of nightmarish hell have you thrust me, woman!?

Phantom of the Opera - Hamburg - Neue Flora Theater

“I appreciate the effort, honey, but these cultural excursions are starting to feel a lot like something out of a Hellraiser movie.”

So anyway, knowing her misanthropic husband needs to get out of the house from time to time, my wife ordered tickets to see the Phantom of the Opera at the Stage Theater Neue Flora in Hamburg — 2 hours north of our home in Hannover, Germany. A week later, the tickets arrived in our mailbox and my wife held them proudly aloft, announcing the fact that we would be spending the following weekend watching Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theatrical spectacular in a strange and unfamiliar city:

“We will go to Hamburg and then we will see
some different wallpapers!”
*

*From the German expression, “Dann haben wir einen Tapetenwechsel,” which is a hilarious way of announcing the fact that you’re about to experience a dramatic change of scenery.

 


Graphic Designer in Portland, Oregon and Hannover, Germany - Grafikdesigner Illustrator Copywriter

Best WhatsApp Messages: The Top 10 Funniest Messages Between an American Expat and His German Wife

WhatsApp Free Smart Phone Instant Messenger

“Hang on honey, I’m sending you a super romantic picture of my junk…” — Image Credit: downloadsource.fr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/downloadsourcefr/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License

You’ve probably already heard of WhatsApp Messenger — the free instant messenger app for smart phones — but you may not fully appreciate it for the worldwide savior of long distance relationships it is. (After Skype, of course, but nobody likes a smart ass.)

Only those of us who have fallen in love with someone living too far away to visit on a regular basis know what heartache really is. (Unless your lover is in the middle of some god-awful war zone on the other side of the world. Then you should probably be watching the news instead of dicking around on your iPhone.)

For the rest of us, WhatsApp is the magic spell which keeps the cold, wretched fingers of loneliness at bay. And once you’ve beaten the longing and outlasted the heartache — broken through the distance which separates you from your loved one and managed to begin a real life together — you can start using WhatsApp for an even more noble purpose: dick and fart jokes.

What follows is a gallery of screenshots taken from messages exchanged between my German wife and I over the past few years. Click one of the thumbnail images below to start the slideshow:

Summary:

Although I HATE the fact that WhatsApp is now owned by Facebook, I have to award the instant messenger service itself with a grudgingly-deserved 4 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany

What about you? Are you a WhatsApp user like us? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!


Graphic Designer in Portland, Oregon and Hannover, Germany - Grafikdesigner Illustrator Copywriter

Why American Expats Like Me Should NEVER Become English Teachers in Germany

Bad Teacher

“Do you have a learning disability? Because you should just KNOW this shit.” — Image Credit: Patrick Bell (https://www.flickr.com/photos/druidicparadise/) – Subject to CC 2.0 License.

As I’ve said many times before, my wife is German and she is a Gymnasium teacher here in Hannover, Germany. As such, she teaches two primary academic subjects, but she is also required to conduct elective classes. These classes are usually fun things, like arts and crafts, sports or cooking. (But not beer drinking. I checked.)

Not long ago, my wife was tasked with teaching an elective baking class to a bunch of snot-nosed 8th graders. They were going to make a Black Forest Cake, also known as a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. Now, I don’t know why, but my wife wanted the recipe to be in English, so she downloaded one from the internet — which had clearly been translated from German into English — and asked me to proofread it for spelling and grammar mistakes.

What I found was an absolute clusterfuck of linguistic crimes, any one of which would — in an ideal world — warrant death by hanging. (Followed by the deceased author’s body being dragged through the streets and beaten with rubber mallets, then thrown into a pit of acid-spitting vipers which reduce the corpse to rendered lard, thereby enabling it to be molded into tiny, adorable birthday candles.)

Below is the Black Forest Cake recipe from the internet, complete with my edits indicated in red. ***WARNING*** Contains swearing and one rather graphic illustration. (Click image to enlarge.)

German and English Language Editing - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) Funny Recipe Corrections

Summary:

Look, if the situation were reversed and I had to write this cake recipe in German, I would fail so hard I would have to throw myself off a cliff. Still, I cannot excuse such heinous linguistic crimes. This is why I must award this recipe with a despicable 1 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany

Would you be a good English teacher? Have you ever had a particularly good or bad language teacher? We’d love to hear all about your experience in the comments section below…


Graphic Designer in Portland, Oregon and Hannover, Germany - Grafikdesigner Illustrator Copywriter

Rehydrating After the Gym: Why Popular Sports Drinks Fail to Impress My German Wife

Gatorade Sports Drinks v.s. Evian Water

“Wait, so sugar and salt work BETTER than water? That totally makes sense.” — Image Credit: Anna Hirsch (https://www.flickr.com/photos/antigone/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

As you probably know, I’m an American expat and freelance graphic designer working from my home office in the city of Hannover, Germany. Like a lot of self-employed creative types, I am a spiteful little shut-in with introverted tendencies and a general sense of loathing for the bright, colorful world outside my nest of shadows. (Imagine a black-cloaked Nosferatu-type cringing in pain from the merciless gaze of the sun: “Hissssssss…”)

When I do manage to gather the willpower necessary to leave the house, it is only so I can go exercise at our local German gym. And since I make my own hours, I can do this whenever the hell I want. My poor wife, however, is a Gymnasium teacher; she’s gone all day long, and then when she’s home, she has to plan lessons the rest of the evening. It’s a tough job, so when she finally has time to go to the gym, she considers it a luxury.

My wife considers clean, abundant drinking water a luxury as well, and cannot fathom the attraction people — especially Americans — have for popular sports drinks. Sports drinks are supposed to help athletes replace the water, energy and electrolytes they’ve lost during training or after competitions, but I think we all maintain a little skepticism regarding their effectiveness. Even German people are skeptical about them, which I find rather contradictory, since they also believe herbal tea with honey is a panacea capable of curing all diseases and prolonging life indefinitely.

Anyway, the other day, when my wife came home from the gym, she set her bag down and took a long pull from her water bottle. She looked at it closely, then turned to me and asked in her adorable accent:

THE WIFE: “What do all the sport people drink again? Jen-er-ate?
ME: “…Gatorade.”


Graphic Designer in Portland, Oregon and Hannover, Germany - Grafikdesigner Illustrator Copywriter

The Top 5 Weirdly Specific, Totally Irrational Fears and Phobias of an American Expat Living in Germany

crazy-mad-scientist-nerd-funny-lab

“…and THIS, children, is the face of insanity!” — Image Credit: Okko Pyykkö (https://www.flickr.com/photos/data_op/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

We’re all afraid of something — spiders, heights, confined spaces — these are all common phobias. And while they scare the everloving shit out of me too, I have an additional set of fears which are far weirder and less rational than the rest. Fears I have always had, but which have been made far worse since I became an American expat living in Germany.

Phobia #5: Getting Lint in My Pee-Hole

fat-penis-funny-gummy-germany-peehole

“Things way flow out, but NEVER in.” — Image Credit: Marc Diego (https://www.flickr.com/photos/132739655@N07/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Few things are more sacred than my urinary meatus. It is the very keyhole behind which my soul is locked, and therefore, never to be sullied. Still, I have an intense fear of getting lint — or any other foreign object — lodged inside it. I cringe at the very thought. In fact, I am cringing super hard right now.

I suspect this fear stems from a moment in my childhood when I was at the playground near my house. Like most playgrounds, this one sat atop a thick layer of bark dust. I recall finding an unusually long piece of bark dust, then proceeding to run around swinging it over my head like a pirate. Soon enough, I needed to climb the play structure in order to better command my swabbies, but I only had one free hand. Thinking I was the smartest pirate ever, I jammed the bark dust into the waistband of my shorts and started climbing. By the time I got to the top, what was once a sword had exploded into a thousand merry splinters, one of which worked its way into my tiny piss hole. “Yarr, Matey! Batten down the hatches and–HOLY FUCK IT STIIIIIIINGS!”

What does this have to do with Germany? Well, I refuse to sleep naked. You see, occasionally, the summer months in Germany are actually hot, and air conditioning is a very rare indulgence in this country. Even though it is obviously the greatest thing ever, Germans tend to see air conditioning as wasteful and, in some cases, even unhealthy. Since my wife and I don’t want to be the only assholes on the block with an A/C unit sticking out the window, we must escape the heat through a pair of oscillating fans and our own nakedness. But therein lies the problem: As I’ve already explained, I am irrationally afraid something will find its way into my glue chute. That I’ll roll over while I’m asleep and crush my boner headfirst into a pile of sock lint, resulting in a massive infection and a trip to the emergency room, where my inflamed bongus starts shooting out whole socks like a malfunctioning clothes dryer.

Phobia #4: Sitting with My Back to the Door

sitting-with-back-to-the-door-phobia

“Someone is sneaking up behind me right now. I KNOW it.” — Image Credit: Ralph Daily (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphandjenny/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

I’m just a nerd who sits at home all day making pretty on the computer. I am not a secret agent. I am not a criminal, nor am I an assassin, so realistically, no one is out to get me. I have absolutely no reason to fear having my back to the door in public places, and yet, it still bugs the holy Christ out of me. Restaurants, classrooms, offices — really anywhere I must remain for longer than a few seconds — are all spaces in which I am compelled to position myself so I can see exactly who is coming through the door at all times. Sure, I can white-knuckle my way through dinner at a sushi restaurant with a steady flow of foot traffic behind me, but I’ll look over my shoulder so many times my wife will eventually throw down her chopsticks and switch seats with me just so we can both relax.

This anxiety is all about control. I have no control over people when I can’t see them, and that makes me feel vulnerable. When I can see them, I feel as if I at least have a chance to protect myself and my wife from danger — even if I don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell. Like, if some halfwit marches into a cafe and lights the place up with an assault rifle, at the very least I’m going to throw a salt shaker at him. Maybe even a dinner plate or something. Bang, bang, bang… “Fuck youuuuuuuu!” SMASH! …NEWS FLASH… American Expat in Germany Saves Dozens of Lives by Incapacitating Gunman with Fennel Caprese Salad.

What does this have to do with Germany? Well, public transportation in German cities is pretty sweet. My wife and I don’t need a car; we ride our bikes, take the bus or hop on the U-Bahn. You know what sucks about the U-Bahn though? There’s always a door behind you. Unless you want to stand up the entire time at the front of the train with your back pressed against the driver’s booth, staring the other passengers in the eye like some creepy homunculus, people are going to be entering and exiting right behind you. It sucks, and that’s why I always ride the U-Bahn with a tiny canister of pepper spray in my pocket — my thumb hovering nervously over the button — just waiting to ruin someone’s day.

Phobia #3: Drain Cleaner

drano-drain-cleaner-pipe-unclog

“Pictured: The burning tears of Gomorrah.” — Image Credit: Mike Mozart (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Chemical drain cleaners are scary as hell. Have you ever used one, like Drano, Liquid-Plumr or Rid-X? God damn, that shit will eat through anything, and it’s not exactly discerning; It’ll burn through the wad of soap scum clogging your shower drain just as easily as it will your wrinkled scrotum. With this in mind, I handle drain cleaner like unstable dynamite; delicately tiptoeing my way through the house, keeping the bottle at arm’s length and my face turned slightly away while wearing an expression of dainty horror. Basically, like the world’s biggest pussy.

I am deathly afraid of getting drain cleaner on my skin, and I am 100% convinced it will somehow, magically, wind up in my eyes and blind me for life. Like, the fear itself is so strong it could blow a fuse in my brain, short out my instinct for self-preservation and replace it with the impulse to pour heinous amounts of acid directly into my eyes and mouth. This, in turn, causes more fear, which makes the impulse seem even more real, resulting in a thought loop from which I cannot escape, and proving — once and for all — I have lost my goddamn mind.

How does this relate to Germany? Well, renting houses and apartments — rather than owning them — is much more common in this country. Lots of Germans rent their homes their entire lives, but the universal problem with renters from any country is they rarely care about the place they’re renting. They don’t own it, so fuck it, right? On top of that, cheapskate apartment managers never fix things when they break. You’ve got to handle problems yourself, and that’s where drain cleaner comes into play. See, if your wife has long, sexy German hair like mine does, your shower drain will clog with hairballs at regular intervals throughout the year. This will force you to either buy a plumber’s snake (yeah right, that’s gross) or resort to the use of chemicals. And since my wife has deemed all things pertaining to clogged pipes as “icky” and “a man’s job,” I must regularly face my fear of drain cleaner — or as I have come to call it, “Cowering in Fear of the Devil’s Hot Acid Ejaculate.”

Phobia #2: Dogs

cute-pit-bulls-in-funny-costumes

“Oh, how cute! A pretty princess and a handsome gentleman… with razor-sharp knives in their mouths.” — Image Credit: Pets Adviser (petsadviser.com) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

I used to love dogs, man. When I was younger, I had no fear of them whatsoever. But that all changed back in Portland, Oregon, in the mid-2000s, when I made the ingenious decision to try and break up a pit bull fight in my underwear.

You see, I was renting a room in a house owned by a woman with a pit bull. There was another renter living there too, and he also owned a pit bull, but neither of these two idiots had the slightest clue how to raise dogs like these. So, I woke up one Saturday morning to the unmistakable sound of dogs fighting over food in the kitchen, but it wasn’t just the usual snarling and barking; what I heard was two pit bulls trying to kill each other.

Not my problem, I thought to myself, rolling over and pulling the pillow down over my ears. But the bloody murder just got louder and louder, until it was clear one of the dogs was about to die. I jumped out of bed — out of anger and annoyance, not heroism — grabbed the canister of bear mace I kept (and still keep) next to my bed, and walked into the kitchen wearing nothing but a pair of thin, blue boxer shorts.

There was dog food, blood and hair all over the kitchen floor, and the woman who owned the house — whom we shall refer to as Muffinbrain McTouchedinthehead — was trying to bodily heft one of the pit pulls up and out the back door. She wasn’t strong enough to pull this off though, especially since the other pit bull had locked its jaws on the dog’s hind leg. I got Muffinbrain’s attention and offered to use the can of mace in my hand, but she insisted I try and pull the second dog away and separate them instead. I don’t know why, but I went ahead and grabbed the dog’s collar and yanked it back. It worked, but stupid goddamn Muffinbrain let her dog get away, and it charged across the kitchen and sank it’s teeth into the second dog’s neck. Of course my fingers were in the way, and to this very day I have the scars to prove it.

Anyway, it was at that moment when I absolutely lost my shit: I was basically naked — my exposed flesh vulnerable from all angles — bleeding and pissed off, so I pulled the safety guard off the canister and bear-maced the holy shit out of pit bull #1. Not yet satisfied, I firehosed pit bull #2 for good measure, then gave them both a few departing shots as I walked back to my room. I got dressed and left the house, but not before seeing Muffinbrain still in the kitchen, coughing and gagging on the atomized pepper spray in the air, and the two pit bulls standing there with vacant looks in their eyes — like nothing happened. In retrospect, I think the mace had temporarily blinded them, but they handled it calmly and professionally, like the purebred assassins they are.

How does this relate to Germany? Well, Germans like to bring their dogs with them everywhere. Restaurants, cafes, department stores… even the U-Bahn. You can’t get away from the filthy little beasts, especially here in Hannover. And every time one gets close to me — even if it’s just a little Pomeranian puffball — I am convinced it will bite me and I must resist the urge to punt that little fucker like a football.

Phobia #1: Young Men

drunk-teenagers-boys-party-funny

“We cannot be hurt. We cannot die. And together, we will bring an end to all that is good and decent in this world.” — Image Credit: fakeyoursmile (https://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeyoursmile/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

I ask you, is there anything more dangerous than a group of bored young men between the ages of 16 and 25? Having been one myself, I can confirm, yes, they are, in fact, the most dangerous species on the planet. (And they stink too, secreting a perpetual musk of assholes and armpits.)

Young men are selfish, loud, rude and oblivious to the people around them. Of course there are exceptions; I’ve met many kind and considerate young men. But the vast majority have brains which are not yet fully developed — like half baked lumps of monkey shit — so they literally cannot imagine how their actions today might result in negative reactions tomorrow. This is why they get obnoxiously drunk, drive too fast, get into fistfights and think of little else beyond finding girls willing to smooch their he-chicken.

What does this have to do with Germany? Well, I must admit, I do feel a bit safer around young German man than I do American ones. This is probably because Germans are far less likely to own guns, but also because they just don’t seem quite so… aggressive. But then you have young, German, frothing-at-the-mouth soccer fans, and being trapped in an U-Bahn car with these drunken idiots after the big game makes me feel about as safe as a fat-tailed gerbil in a sack full of cats. “So, uh, has everyone already eaten today? How about them flea collars, eh? Itch like a real bastard, I bet! Heh heh… oh my God please don’t kill me.”

Summary:

I have to say, given the morbidly obsessive and wildly irrational specificity of my phobias — especially as they have been exacerbated by life in Germany — I must award them with a solid 4 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany
However, this is not a perfect score: If you think you can top any single one of my fears in terms of overall weirdness or potential to incapacitate you as a human being, the comment section is wiiiiiide open…


Graphic Designer in Portland, Oregon and Hannover, Germany - Grafikdesigner Illustrator Copywriter