Tag Archives: Writing

My German Wife Accidentally Adopts Two Monsters While Cleaning Our Office

plastic Kinder Surprise egg toyYou see that little green guy in the picture? He came from a Kinder Surprise egg. Kinder Surprises are chocolate eggs with plastic toys inside — most of which require assembly and utilize tiny moving parts designed specifically to block your windpipe.

Kinder Surprise egg uberraschungThey’re totally banned in the United States because of this choking hazard, and also because they’re classified as food items …yet they contain non-food objects completely hidden inside. It’s a semantic issue, really, and semantics are not cool with Americans. I mean, how can you have two labels applied to the same useless piece of shit? It’s just too much for us to handle. But as for choking hazards, my Kinder Surprise egg contained the toy pictured above — carefully contained within a vacuum-sealed plastic bag, which also contained a fold-out booklet of assembly instructions, all of which were contained within a plastic shell the size of a marshmallow. So if some kid managed to jam this entire thing is his mouth and choke to death on it, he was probably about to lick a light socket anyway.

Kinder Egg toy in German plastic plantThis is my Kinder Surprise toy peeking out of a plastic plant. All day long, he’s just looking at me. Watching. Judging. It’s cute I guess, but not my idea. My German wife was cleaning our office the other day, you see, and rather than let my little toy continue to gather dust beside my computer, the way I like it, she consolidated items and invited a whole new member into our family:

“This is Carlson,” said my wife, proudly displaying her ingenuity. “He will watch over you and keep you safe while you work.”

german keychain owlThis hideous little thing is the stuffed owl from my wife’s keychain. She named it Mechtild — a girl’s name, apparently. Mechtild is broken, of course, so for the past year she’s been sitting on my wife’s desk being useless. If you pinch her between your fingers, you can hear the beans inside crunch together. It’s creepy. I hate her.

stuffed own keychain in germanyHere we have Mechtild peeking out from another plastic plant; this one facing my wife’s side of the office. When I asked why we suddenly had two creatures hiding in our fake plants, my wife replied:

“Well, I was cleaning today and I thought it was super cute when I put Carlson in your plant. Then I got jealous and I wanted one too, so I put Mechtild in my plant, so now we both have one! …but I still like yours better. Mine is kind of ugly.”

plastic plants in germanyHere are Carlson and Mechtild in action. And with that, I welcome you to the new and improved headquarters of Oh God, My Wife Is German!

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American Expat Living in Germany Looks Back at Blogging in the Year 2013

funny german couple at festival

“Damn dude, you have CHANGED.” — Photo by Alex Archambault (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lostintexas/)

2013 was a big year for The Wife and I. After living in the States together, we moved to Hannover, Germany! Now, I’ll be real honest with you: it was scary at times (there may have been tears). I dropped everything, including a house, car and job, and moved across the globe to a country in which I did not adequately speak the language. Meanwhile, my wife scrambled around finding us an apartment here in Hannover, moving everything in and launching her post-university career. Jesus Christ, I think I’m going to have a panic attack just thinking about all that stuff again. Yep. It’s on. “Honey, call the Krankenwagen; my thunderous American heart has finally given out.”

2013 was also a big year for our blog. In addition to our usual denglish posts, I began writing about life as an American expat in Germany, and the culture shock and linguistic misadventures which ensued. I also started making videos and posting pictures from our travels around Germany, which brought in a lot more new readers. We were featured on The Local and several other expat resource websites. On top of all that, one of our posts was ‘Freshly Pressed’ on WordPress.com. Our readership just exploded over the past year, and as of the writing of this post, we’re about to pass the 10,000 subscriber mark!

We would like to sincerely thank you for reading our blog and invite you to take a look at some cool information from this past year, including:

  • Silly Statistics
  • Our Most Popular Post Ever
  • Where Our Readers Come From
    …and of course…
  • Our Top 5 Blog Commenters

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 320,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 14 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to view the 2013 blog stats from Oh God, My Wife Is German!

Inspirational Bloggers: Jonah Peretti, Author of Black People Love Us

Header graphic from Black People Love Us

Image courtesy of blackpeopleloveus.com

The Top Humor Bloggers Who Inspired Me to Start my Own Blog, Part 3:

Jonah Peretti, Author of Black People Love Us!

I found this parody site back in the mid-2000s, and I never forgot it. It was written from the perspective of a fictitious and wildly naive white couple known as ‘Sally and Johnny,’ who flaunt the adoration they receive from their African-American friends through satirical quotes and photographs. Jonah Peretti wrote this site with a level of sarcasm far beyond anything I’d read online before. He highlighted modern racism through characters who were blissfully unaware of it, and the results were both insightful and hilarious. I read every single page of Black People Love Us in one sitting, and frequently returned in the years that followed.

Sally and Johnny from Black People Love Us

Image courtesy of blackpeopleloveus.com

I’d never really seen such potentially divisive humor online before, and I definitely hadn’t seen it used so successfully. Using satire to highlight a subject like racism takes stones, and Jonah Peretti has great big ones. (I call them Perettiballs.) He made up these two endearingly ignorant characters — Sally and Johnny, who openly stereotype their black friends with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer — and put them out there on the internet as the poster children for modern racism. Not everyone understood his intent, of course, so the site received an impressive amount of hate mail, but Peretti showed no fear whatsoever, and I respected the hell out of that.

Some people took the site literally, and actually thought Sally and Johnny were a real couple, writing about their real black friends. I could not believe this. The hate mail left me dumbfounded. How could someone not get the joke? And how could someone fail to see the value in it? But then I realized something important; there are some serious morons out there, and no matter what you create, no matter how funny, cool, beautiful or insightful it may be, this portion of the population is going to trash it. Maybe they’ll take offense to it — maybe they won’t understand it or simply won’t like it — but the task of humor authors is to make people laugh, and criticism is part of the job. With Black People Love Us, Jonah Peretti taught me a lot about courage — about being unafraid to take chances with humor — and in so doing, gave my writing a big push forward.

Johnny from Black People Love Us

Image courtesy of blackpeopleloveus.com

Here is a quote pulled from the site’s testimonials section:

“Johnny calls me ‘da man!’ That puts me at ease. It makes me feel comfortable, because I am Black and that’s how Black folks talk to one another.”

Here is another quote, also from the testimonials section:

“Sally’s always saying: ‘You go girl!’ while ‘raising the roof’ to mainstream hip-hop tracks at cheesy bars. That’s fun! I relate to that.”

Sally and Johnny from Black People Love Us

Image courtesy of blackpeopleloveus.com

Black People Love Us was a huge internet hit when it went live, and it continues to thrive after all these years. A true internet pioneer, Jonah Peretti also wrote the massively-forwarded email thread, the Nike Sweatshop Emails, and he is a founding member of BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post. The New York Times called him a “viral marketing hot dog,” (which is a creepily-worded compliment, in my opition, but a compliment all the same). Peretti is a graduate of the MIT Media Lab and a member of the New York based artist group Free Art and Technology Lab (a.k.a. FAT Lab).

Much like The Reverand (sic) Nathan Runkel of Cartoon Girls I Wanna Nail and Robert Hamburger of The Official Ninja Webpage, Jonah Peretti was a major source of inspiration behind my decision to start a blog of my own, and Black People Love Us continues to influence my development as a humor writer to this very day.

You can follow Jonah Peretti on Twitter at @peretti, on Facebook at facebook.com/peretti and on BuzzFeed at buzzfeed.com/jonah.

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Inspirational Bloggers: Robert Hamburger, Author of The Official Ninja Webpage – Real Ultimate Power

Image courtesy of realultimatepower.net

Image courtesy of realultimatepower.net

The Top Humor Bloggers Who Inspired Me to Start my Own Blog, Part 2:

Robert Hamburger, Author of The Official Ninja Webpage – Real Ultimate Power

I found this site back in 2002, a year after I graduated from college. Listing various reasons why ninjas are the coolest and greatest beings on the planet, Robert Hamburger made me laugh out loud by listing ‘facts’ as seen through the adopted persona of a 13 year-old teenager. Through the characterization of this pseudonym, Hamburger wielded a very raw form of satire, which perfectly spotlighted the fan pages and internet homages celebrating all things awesome back in the early 2000s.

I loved the astronomical level of confidence with which he wrote. Without the slightest hint of doubt, the author would make a statement running on nothing but raw enthusiasm, throw a hundred exclamation points at it and then dare you to disagree. There was such power in his adolescent fury. He made me want to play along immediately, not only because of the boldness of his tone, but also because he reminded me of myself at age 13. I adored ninjas, monsters and super heroes of all kinds. I drew pictures of them, made up stories and played games — all with that same blind worship Hamburger imitated so effortlessly.

Image courtesy of realultimatepower.net

Image courtesy of realultimatepower.net

Robert Hamburger’s site taught me about the art of internet satire. It showed me how to form a fictional personality — to wear it like a mask — and generate boundless humor by writing about the way that personality views the world. Additionally, it taught me how to mock something by exaggerating it; to join in the chorus surrounding a certain subject and sing so loudly, so absurdly, one cannot be ignored. The Colbert Report is a great example of satire in which a fictional personality is adopted for the sake of exaggeration.

I read and reread The Official Ninja Webpage dozens of times. I had it bookmarked on my computer at work so I could read it every Monday morning, when the great machine of post-collegiate employment was just beginning to crush the life from my soul. I bought a Real Ultimate Power t-shirt — as did several of my friends — and wore it proudly for years. It was my absolute favorite article of clothing, and I wore it until the day I fell asleep too close to a campfire at the base of Mt. Hood and an ember exploded, showering me with sparks and riddling my ninja shirt with burn holes.

Image courtesy of cafepress.com and realultimatepower.net

Image courtesy of cafepress.com and realultimatepower.net

The Official Ninja Webpage received millions of hits and prompted interviews by Brown University, Citynet Magazine and Public Radio International. The site gained the attention of the New York Times, evoked countless internet memes and imitation sites, and spawned Real Ultimate Power, The Official Ninja Book, which became a cult hit, selling 35,000 copies in just 2 years. Robert Hamburger earned all of this attention and blazed the trail for other internet authors, like Tucker Max and Maddox, because he sat down one day and decided to spout off about the sweetness of ninjas.

Here is a quote pulled from the site’s introduction:

“Hi, this site is all about ninjas, REAL NINJAS. This site is awesome. My name is Robert and I can’t stop thinking about ninjas. These guys are cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet.”

Here is another quote. This one is from the Testimonial section:

“Ninjas are sooooooooooo sweet that I want to crap my pants. I can’t believe it sometimes, but I feel it inside my heart. These guys are totally awesome and that’s a fact. Ninjas are fast, smooth, cool, strong, powerful, and sweet. I can’t wait to start yoga next year. I love ninjas with all of my body (including my pee pee).”

And finally, here is a quote from the Q and A section:

Q: I heard that ninjas are always cruel or mean. What’s their problem?
A: Whoever told you that is a total liar. Just like other mammals, ninjas can be mean OR totally awesome.

Much like The Reverand (sic) Nathan Runkel of Cartoon Girls I Wanna Nail, Robert Hamburger does not update his site regularly. He does add to his news page from time to time, but not nearly often enough for diehard fans like me who started their own blogs with a massive dose of inspiration from The Official Ninja Webpage.

You can follow Robert Hamburger on Twitter at @RobertHamburger and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/RealUltimatePowerVid.

official-ninja-webpage-real-ultimate-power-link

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Inspirational Bloggers: The Reverand Nathan Runkel, Author of Cartoon Girls I Wanna Nail

Cartoon Girls I Wanna Nail Original Logo

Image courtesy of geocities.ws/CaptNish/

The Top Humor Bloggers Who Inspired Me to Start my Own Blog, Part 1:

The Reverand Nathan Runkel, Author of Cartoon Girls I Wanna Nail

I found this site back in 1997, when I was a freshman in college. Moving through scenes of graphic sexual fantasies with cartoon characters, The Reverand (sic) Nathan Runkel made me laugh by using a series of one-liners and unique idioms driven by a desperately oversexed writing style. I was shocked by his audacity — his chutzpah — and the sheer balls it must have taken to put this kind of humor out there on the internet for everyone to see. And this was back in the 1990s, mind you, when people were still learning to “surf the web.”

I immediately understood Runkel’s website was a joke; he didn’t need to tell me his site was just a gag — I got it, and I loved it. The posts were written with this kind of free-form, turbo-powered, adolescent sexuality, and they were totally unapologetic for their content. I thought to myself, here’s a guy who just went for it. He didn’t care about offending anyone or worry about people taking his writing seriously; he just sat down in front of his computer and started writing ridiculous things he thought were funny.

Runkel’s site taught me a valuable lesson about resisting the urge to play it safe. It helped me understand that if I really wanted to write the kind of humor I found funny — laugh out loud funny — I was going to have to take risks. I would need to be open and honest, because the greatest jokes always have a lining of truth beneath them. I also knew I would inevitably meet with some amount of disapproval, maybe even resistance, because the most potent humor always offends a few people. If it doesn’t, it’s probably not very funny. My own blog, Oh God, My Wife Is German, isn’t terribly risqué, and yet I’ve lost a few followers because they were offended by my content. Sites like Cartoon Girls I Wanna Nail, with its unflinching dedication to shock humor, help remind me those people probably shouldn’t have been reading my blog in the first place.

Cartoon Girls I Wanna Nail received well over one million hits in its early days. The author received numerous awards and accolades, and was invited to do interviews from people all over the globe. He received national attention in the Washington Post and Complex Magazine, and was featured in Maureen Dowd’s book Are Men Necessary?: When Sexes Collide. He even landed a job writing jokes for a TV show. All of this recognition occurred in spite of the fact that the site was rife with swear words and graphic sexual situations. (You’ve been warned.)

Here is a quote pulled from the page titled “Scooby’s Bitches,” dedicated to the women of Scooby Doo. This portion was written specifically about the character Velma:

“Another thing. She’s always wearing that huge sweater thing. I bet you underneath, she’s got these big juicy titties that I could just fall in love with. I remember as a child how I always wanted to sneak up behind her and run my hands up her sweater and just find out once and for all how huge those tits were. And while I did that, I’d slip a lil’ sumpin’ up her skirt. Yub yub.”

And here’s another quote. This one is from the page titled “The Vicious Lips of the Baroness,” dedicated to The Baroness character from the G.I. Joe cartoon series.

“Ever check out her mouth? Look at it. I would violate her vicious little mouth like there’s no tomorrow. Could you imagine what it would be like to have that mouth rinsing your meat bongo up in a frenzy until you send your love goo straight down the back of her throat? You wouldn’t be able to stop me from doing such fantastic things to that ass. I’d have to quit my job, ’cause I would never leave my bed if I was with her. I would fuck her paralyzed. That’s a promise.”

I wish Reverand Runkel would refresh his site and continue writing. I would be his most dedicated follower. Alas, the original CGIWN site is long gone, but it has been resurrected through this mirror site under the author’s new handle, The Rev. Nate Dawg.

You can follow Nathan Runkel on Twitter at @natethreepoint0

Image courtesy of geocities.ws/CaptNish/main.html

Image courtesy of geocities.ws/CaptNish/main.html

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Writing and Blogging: Results of the 2012 Expat Blog Awards – Germany

2012 Expats Blog Award - Germany - Honor

The results are in! The Expats Blog announced its winning blog selections for the country of Germany! With your help, we managed to win the Honour 2012 award. There were 3 top awards — Gold, Silver and Bronze — plus 3 Honourable Mention awards, all of which were selected from a pool of over 43 German expat blogs. This is really something! But you know what really took me by surprise? All of the support our readers showed for our blog.

In particular, we’d like to thank:

  1. The Expats Blog, who writes www.expatsblog.com, found our blog and nominated us for this award in the first place. Great site you guys! Keep up the good work!
  2. Toff Oliver, who writes www.hadafewbeers.com. He wrote an incredibly kind post about our blog and urged his own readers to vote for us. Please check out his blog and help return some of the love!
  3. Aldonna, who writes www.ahundredmiles.wordpress.com. Her blog is private, but she re-posted our nomination article and asked her readers to vote for us.
  4. Anja, who writes www.diestadtderengel.wordpress.com, gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review. She is also a regular reader and commenter on our blog.
  5. Germerican Denglish, who writes www.germericandenglish.wordpress.com, gave us 5 stars and wrote a very flattering review.
  6. Jaton’ West, who writes oldamericanladyinberlin.wordpress.com gave us 5 stars and a great review.
  7. Germany-USA Career Center, who writes www.germany-usa.com, gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review.
  8. Alex K, who gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review.
  9. Geoff Freeman, who gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review.
  10. Charlotte, who gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review.
  11. Christina, who gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review.
  12. Michael Sadowski, who gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review.
  13. PolkaDot45, who gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review.
  14. Lindsey, who gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review.
  15. Gary Casebeer, who gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review.
  16. Randy Patton, who gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review.
  17. Nick, who gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review.
  18. Netz44, who gave us 5 stars and wrote a great review.
  19. David Sale, who gave us 4 stars and wrote a great review.

If I have somehow misplaced your review, vote or tweet and neglected to list you here, please go to our contact page and email us! Also, if I have, in fact, listed you here but failed to include your website or blog, please email us as well! It is very important we promote your work in return!

And as an extra show of gratitude, I’d like to share with you one of my very favorite German commercials. It is simultaneously adorable and hilarious:

Thank you all for reading and have a wonderful holiday season!

Oh God, My Wife Is German.

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Writing and Blogging: Expat Blog Awards 2012 – Germany

Expats Blog

On December 14, 2012, the Expats Blog will determine their winning blog for the country of Germany. That’s this Friday! Would you mind leaving a quick vote for our blog to improve our chances of winning? Comments and votes directly influence this award!

To help us out:

  1. Go to http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/1129/oh-god-my-wife-is-german.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
  3. Fill out the fields under, “Leave some love for this blog.”
  4. I know it sucks to give out your email address. I did it already, and I know I can unsubscribe from Expats Blog whenever I want. If you are uncomfortable with the email address part, don’t even worry about it; just keep reading our blog and know how much we appreciate your time and attention!
  5. If you don’t care about the email address part and you actually leave us a good vote? THANK YOU! If our blog wins, we’ll likely write a special post to thank you for your time!

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful holiday season!

Oh God, My Wife Is German.

If you liked this post, please follow our blog by entering your email address in the upper right corner of this page. You’ll receive future posts directly in your inbox! No spam, ever! You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.