Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I've been trying to connect with my German heritage much more. Usually, immigrating to another country forces you to focus on the new language and culture. But, having been in Germany quite a few times last year, I started to miss the language and culture. I wish I could live in Europe for a while, connecting with the culture, living a more European lifestyle.

This is not to say I'm not happy with my life in the US. But it feels as if some part of me doesn't get the American lifestyle, doesn't get the whole culture and sometimes I'm just shaking my head, thinking: 'WTF'.

Since a move back is not in the cards, I started to connect with German culture again, read more German online publications, speak more German and listen to more German music.
One of my favorites has been and still is Herbert Groenemeyer (You might recognize him from 'Das Boot') He doesn't have much of a voice and not the biggest charisma. But he gives you an insight into the German soul.

The song below was written in 2002, 4 years after the death of his wife, Anna Henkel. The lyrics tell the story.


I can no longer see
Don't believe my eyes
any more
Can hardly believe
Feelings all turned around

I'm much too lazy
To give up
Besides it would be too soon
Because there's always a way

We were bound together
Would have died for
each other
Bent the rain into a bow1
Lent each other our trust

We tried to
Turn while
Nothing was too late
But much was too soon

We have shoved each other
Through all the tides
We got sidetracked together
Loved desperately

We denied the truth
The best we could
It was a piece
of heaven
That you exist

Every room you
Flooded with sun
Every frustration
You turned around

Nordic noble
Your gentle goodness
Your untamed pride
Life isn't fair

Danced the movie
In a silver room
From a golden balcony
We stood in awe of eternity

Helplessly sunken, drunken
And everything was allowed
Together in time-lapse
Midsummer-Night's Dream

Every room you
Flooded with sun
Every frustration
You turned around

Nordic noble
Your gentle goodness
Your untamed pride
Life isn't fair

Your confident stride
Your true poetry
Your serene dignity
Your unshakeable

Your destiny
You defied
You never betrayed
Your plan for happiness
Your plan for happiness

I'm not leaving here
I've extended my stay
New time travel
Open world

I have you safe
Inside my soul
I'll carry you with me
Until the curtain falls

I'll carry you with me
Until the curtain falls

Thursday, April 30, 2009


When we went to Coachella, my little devil was taught by our friend Daniel how to use my iPhone as a camera. And, off she went. I love these images because of the totally different perspective she brings to taking pictures. She doesn't care about main objects being in the middle, doesn't focus on the obvious. And, more often than not, her foot is part of the composition.

I love this image. It's the background on my phone.

Friday, February 13, 2009


We were two detectives,
hats low over our faces
all streets endless
there were no barriers for us at all
You and I, that was
simply unbeatable
a couple like lightning and thunder
and always on a burning hot trail.

We were such true friends
for eternity, it was obvious after all.
We didn't see the clouds
on the horizon until it was dark,
and then it happened,
I didn't get it.
It all went too fast,
but two people like us
can't ever lose each other!

Beyond the horizon things go on,
a new day
beyond the horizon on and on,
Together we're strong,
things with us went so deep,
that can never come to an end.
Something so great just doesn't pass by.

You and I, that was
simply unbeatable
a couple like lightning and thunder
but two people like us
can't ever lose each other!

Beyond the horizon things go on,
a new day
beyond the horizon on and on,
together we're strong.
Things with us went so deep,
that can never come to an end.
Because two people like us
can't ever lose each other!

Beyond the horizon on and on...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 random things about me

Well, I can't stand memes, I can't stand people asking me to do memes but I'll do it this one time because my wife tagged me and I'd be happy to make an exception for her.

Okay, so here are 25 random things about me:

1). I'm a re-trained left hander: I do everything with my left side (Kick balls, open doors, drink, etc.) except for writing. My mother thought it was a good idea to train me to write with my right hand. And, yes, I can't draw because of that.
2) My first pet was called: Chirpy-Chirpy-Cheep-Cheep. He died a few days later.
3) When I go to Starbucks or Coffee&Bean, my name is Bob. Who can pronounce Uwe?
4) I'm a Gemini. I like to do 10 things at once.
5) I wrote 3 screen plays. One was made into a TV movie in Germany. Nobody important to me has ever seen it.
6) Providence is my favorite restaurant in the world. Gary Danko is a close second. I'd do almost anything to have a good tasting/wine pairing evening there.
7) We still sit on the same couch in our living room that I purchased for a few dimes 13 years ago. I feel like a student.
8) I get up each day at 4.30 am. And stop working around 9pm. I'm crazy.
9) I can't sleep unless I'm listening to talk radio in my headphones. Call me weird.
10) Even though I didn't have contact with my father for more than 10 years, I miss him a lot. There's a huge difference between not communicating and being dead. I have no ways of connecting with him ever again. And that's a heart breaker.
11) My dog has allergies, stinks and is annoying. But I love her to death.
12) I love my daughter so much, it hurts.
13) I used to play games for hours. Flight Simulator, Civilization, Donkey Kong - whatever. I can't even remember the last time I played a game.
14) I think is one of the most unique voices out there. You should consume everything he produces. I also love that he lives in Alpine, TX.
15) The worst thing that ever happened to my life was the commute. It drains all the life out of me to drive to work and back each day for more than 2 hours. What a waste of energy. And life.
16) I love, adore and respect my wife. I hope she feels the same way.
17) I never thought I would become a marketer. I always believed I would fly planes or heal people. To make up for my sins as an advertiser, I'm focusing on Social Marketing.
18) The first time I visited Los Angeles I couldn't believe anybody wanted to live here. Now I've been here for 13 years
19) My favorite drinks (in that order): Nonfat Latte, Dirty Martini Ketel 1, Syrah.
20) Losing weight was easy. Staying below 160lbs is a daily battle. I'm winning.
21) I miss a few European things: Walking, interacting, city layouts. I don't miss the European mentality of thinking that the future will be worse and we all should just shut up and endure. I always loved how Americans grabbed the bull by the horn. Or the bear, to stay in the current economic scenario.
22) Basically, I stopped watching TV. Yes, a bit of Weeds, Lost, Survivor and Mad Men. But TV has lost its draw. Everything is digital.
23. I still feel an emotional connection to music. But it's being drowned out by constant flow of information.
24. Cleaning my teeth at night takes at least 10 minutes.
25. I feel misunderstood.

The most astonishing piece of creative

You think Ogilvy, BBDO or even W+K could create this? Almost 900,000 views on YouTube, try topping that. The acting itself is pure magic.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The audacity of hope

"It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!"

Barack Obama, 2004

Sunday, January 18, 2009

8 years of Bush - What has changed

Click here to get the full map.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Outdated. And so good.

Iggy Pop playing Candy. With lyrics like

Candy, candy , candy I cant let you go
All my life youre haunting me
I loved you so

Candy, candy , candy I cant let you go
Life is crazy
Candy baby

you can't go wrong. Cheesy, lame but so cool. Never got Iggy Pop; always thought of him as the guy who cuts himself. But this song rocks.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wave of Suicides

We're starting to see a wave of suicides from executives involved in the financial crisis: Adolf Merckle, Kirk Stephenson and Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet. Japan is bracing itself for a massive wave of suicides. 

The father of former girlfriend told me years ago that he went bankrupt in the 50's and when he went to church after the filing, many churchgoers asked him quietly why he didn't commit suicide since he brought shame to his family. This was in the 50's in Germany and I thought we were over this kind of thinking. I guess, I overestimated our culture.

Your job, your income, your bank account should not be tied to your self-worth. What you make doesn't make you a good or a bad person. Yes, it is embarrassing, frustrating and depressing to lose your job, to lose all your savings, to have to start all over. Maybe even stop at the jail for a while. But how far have we gone with our love for money and status that when both disappear, we want to disappear as well? 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bittersweet Symphony

During Live8, Chris Martin invited Richard Ashcroft to perform 'Bittersweet Symphony' with Coldplay as the backup band. Coldplay's Chris Martin introduced Ashcroft - "this is probably the best song ever written and the best singer in the world, Mr. Richard Ashcroft." A pretty big statement coming from one of the most successful bands of this year.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Johannes Mario Simmel

Johann Mario Simmel died yesterday. I'm sure no American has ever heard of him. He wrote a few German/Austrian classics, none of them will be remembered as literary jewels. He was a mainstream author, accessible to almost anybody willing to read. I remember him fondly because he was one of the few authors that kept you interested in an 800 page book from front to end. Not many authors have that gift. And I read a lot of his books when I was in my early teens. His themes were fascism and the fight between good and bad. By selling more than 73 million books, he can compared to bestselling machines like Grisham.

But, I don't want to diminish his work. Too many times do we negate the work of an artist just because they are extremely successful: If everybody likes the book, it can't be good? As he said: "The easier it is to read a book, the harder it is to write it."

And about death: "I'm afraid it could go on after we die. (...) When I die, I want it to be over."

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My year in music

This first song stands for the first 5 months of the year: It felt new, we saw Santogold at Coachella in April, the world was a very happy place for us: Astrid started pre-school, Rose a new career, I was planning my next chapter.

Then life happened. Or better, death. Both of my parents died within a few months. I travelled to Germany three times for a funeral, to see my mother for the last time and to find some closure. Surprisingly, my father's death hit me harder. As a mother's boy, I expected the opposite but sometimes we don't know ourselves that well.

A weird choice? Absolutely. After I saw my mother for the last time, I visited a dear friend in Hamburg, his kids were carrying around small speakers from McDonalds with this song on. Listening to it reminds me of these few months where old, scarred wounds were opened and I just felt raw. Observing my kid playing with his kid gave me a lot of hope and the necessary strength to deal with whatever was thrown my way.

Shortly after that, the economy tanked. I was in New York a few times during Lehman's bankruptcy, saw people leaving offices with boxes and plants in their hand, felt the despair in the air. And while everybody was frozen in fear, I started to feel hope. Sure, the Obama election helped. But, it was more of a personal feeling. Hope that out of the bad will come something really good. Something amazing. Something new. I don't really know yet what it will be but I'm confident about the future. Sure, 2009 will be a tough year but it's our job to seize opportunities: Opportunities to become closer with our family and friends. Opportunities to be helpful and add value to people's lives. Opportunity to make this world a better place. As Obama said: "This is the time." 2009 is here. Let's make it count.

A few more tidbits:

- Best movie I saw this year: Slumdog Millionaire
- Best performance: Richard Jenkins in The Visitor. Such a subtle performance, showing how one single person can change one's destiny. The last scene when contemplates about what could have been and takes it from there to make it his own is just brilliant.
- Biggest physical achievement: Dropping my waistline from 34 to 31
- Biggest personal achievement: Staying sane
- Best concert: The Police at the Hollywood Bowl. They finally delivered what they promised when they reunited.
- Best meal: Birthday surprise at Sona.
- Best purchase: A puzzle book that kept Astrid entertained for hours while traveling the world with her.
- Best book: Lush Life
- Best TV moment: 8pm PT, November 4th. Enough said.

Time to take in the last few moments of 2008. And create new memories.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Why I love to travel

It gives me perspective. About the events shaping our lives. About the things that seem so important at home and ridiculous a thousand miles away. When I travel, I step away from myself and take a fresh look around. It's good for your mind; it opens you up to new experiences. The goal is to keep that openness around as long as you can. Even after 10 hours in the office and 2 hours on the freeway.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My favorite Christmas moments

- When I was around 6 years old, I was asking Santa Claus to bring me a train set. When we unwrapped our presents, I realized that there was no big package for me and there would be no train set. It took all my strength not show my disappointment or even start crying. My father asked me if I could get him a bottle of wine. While walking to the kitchen, I heard the faint sound of a train zipping around in circles. Yup, my father had fooled me. I can still smell and feel the heat of the train and how much fun I had with it.

- Going to midnight mass in the snow (happened just a few times) and walking through the quiet and empty city at 1 am.

- Going to the library and leasing the biggest books they had (War and Peace, Ulysses) and actually reading them.

- Extension of a Christmas holiday due to an ice storm. We couldn't go outside for days, there were inches of ice and people were breaking bones left and right.

- Stollen!

- Hearing my father's bad imitation of a Santa Claus voice, asking my mother: "How did the kids behave this year?" And, even as a teenager, awaiting the answer with anxiety.

- Reading Herman Hesse's 'The Glass Bead Game' at the age of 12, not understanding everything but comprehending I read something really amazing.

- Wir warten auf's Christkind (We're waiting for Santa Claus), a TV show that ran around 3pm on Christmas Eve, especially designed for kids impatience awaiting the presents. (In Germany gifts are opened on Christmas Eve.)

- The lights.

- The worst Christmas record ever: Slow, boring and so perfect for Christmas Eve.

These are just some memories that I came up with while waiting for my wife and kid to come home. Just to create more memories. I hope yours will be very positive this year. We all deserve it.

Merry Christmas.