Die Nummer Eins am Main sind wir

Posted on 15 October 2008 in:

OF Offenbach um 1750 03.jpg

On September 24, I returned to Germany from Reading. Bureaucratically speaking, this will be my third period of residency here, having been previously domiciled in the Federal Republic for eight months in 2001–2002, and for four years from 2003–2007. I missed Germany tremendously while living in England, preferring almost everything on the continent to the island. I took every possible opportunity to speak my awful version of the German language with Yvonne, although I don’t recall speaking all that much German with Michi. Too bad! In retrospect, it would have been interesting to learn more Viennese.

Until the end of January, I will be living in a shared apartment rented by two product designers at the HfG Offenbach. Offenbach’s art academy is a delightful institution that I attended between 2003 and 2005, and I’ve always had a soft spot for its suffering students. While planning my return to Germany during my final months on the MATD course at Reading, I had hoped to split my time between Offenbach and Berlin. Sadly, I report that this is proving frustratingly difficult.

Berlin Pull the Plug Spree

Immediately upon my arrival at the Frankfurt airport, I attempted to purchase what is called a Mobility BahnCard 100. This is basically a yearly pass to the (almost) entire Deutsche Bahn rail network. The card may either be purchased in one go (€3500) or as a monthly subscription (€320/month). Customers who pay the single sum have their cards issued quite quickly. Those like myself paying by the month must wait at least 25 days to start riding. I still haven’t received my card in the mail, but I should be able to travel with it after the beginning of November. The benefits of this card are worth the hassle, though. With it I can travel in almost any high-speed ICE without additional fees. I will also be able to use it on public transit in Frankfurt, Offenbach, and in Berlin’s zone A. Since I get to work with S-Bahn commuter trains, I won’t need to buy tickets or monthly passes for this, either.

As I haven’t any rail pass at the moment, I have to buy individual tickets to travel to Berlin. This is sadly outside of my budget. I’ve been twice so far, but could not go last weekend or this coming one.

Since the beginning of October, I have been back at my old job at Linotype. I haven’t ever really blogged much about my work there, although at least two of my colleagues do with some regularity (in German and Japanese, respectively). Rob Keller, who filled in for me during my year at Reading, has written about our position in a bit more detail on his own site. Go visit him! And them bookmark his RSS feed.

Vista's vistas

My MacBook Pro was not as happy as I was to return to Germany. Her keyboard, already once replaced, broke again. Aside from the brilliant television programing in the UK, my MacBook Pro ushers in the second thing that I will truly miss about life in England: the Apple Store on Regent Street in London. My laptop is still under Apple’s one-year guarantee, so all repairs are free. However, Germany does not yet have any Apple Stores. Instead, I took my MacBook Pro to Gravis, which is about as good as it gets in Germany, I guess. On Rob’s advice, I avoided the Gravis store in Frankfurt. He reported that they sent their computers to Berlin for repairs. I opted to take my laptop to the source, and dropped it off in the capital. However, Gravis just isn’t as speedy as the Apple Store: my repairs—simple as they may be—will take at least a month.

A month without a laptop!? This means that I have absolutely zero access to the Internet at home in Offenbach. In Berlin, I have an old iBook that Anke has been using as her primary computer for a year, so at least I can be connected there. But this does me little good elsewhere. At work my Mac desktop tower is long overdue for an update. I’ve got my fingers crossed for one of the new MacBook Pros unveiled yesterday.

Another side effect of my laptoplessness is that I can’t do any real work, either. And work to do I have in spades: it is time to start working on Martel again! My dissertation is behind me, and there is no excuse. As Gerry reminded us in St. Petersburg, it is best to release our typefaces quickly, and then move on to bigger and better projects. Aside from innumerable corrections, I still need to draw the dreaded Bold Italic. Also, the family needs and new name before it can be released.

Last on my plate is a long overdue summary of the MATD class of 2008’s experiences for ILoveTypography. I hope that this is almost finished. Johno has probably mentally buried the project, but I swear that it is still in progress. I’ve passed my draft of the text along to my fellow authors, and have collected many of the necessary images.

In the mean time, if I ever felt the need to feel more melancholy and reminiscent, I need look no further than flickr and my RSS-Reader. The MATD class of 2009 has begun their studies at Reading in earnest. Lots of goodness is sure to come from them; the first link of theirs that I have to pass on is Antonio Cavedoni’s blog: Dispatches from Reading.

P.S.: Ever on the search for more ways to waste time in hopes of somehow magically increasing my productivity, I’ve begun twittering! Interested parties may follow me there.