13 May 2005
Please note that text in red indicates comments and changes to the original 2005 text that I made in June 2008. Enjoy!
We woke up on Friday pretty early--we had an appointment at the Audi manufacturing plant, and we didn't want to be late! After eating a very quick breakfast, we piled into the bus once again to make our way to where Audi was. For whatever reason, I was one of the last students to get on the bus, so I had to sit in the front with someone I hadn't yet met, one of the--gasp!--German students! Her name was Rebecca (sp?), and I enjoyed talking to her very much. The ride to where Audi took about two hours, when all was said and done, (which means that I guess we Pennsylvanians would say that Audi is two hours away from Augsburg. How many miles/kilometers? Who knows? :) ) so it wasn't bad. I found that I really ejoyed talking to Rebecca--her accent reminded me of Ireland, I think, which was pretty strange. She also had a curious way that she used her words. For example, instead of saying, "When I went to Milan and tried on all of these clothes, I looked so good!" she would say, "When I went to Milan and tried on all of these clothes, I looked that good!" She was fun to listen and talk to both. Rebecca also introduced me to the phrase, "Four wins!" You see, in German "high" schools (they just call it "school" as opposed to "university"), students do not receive letter grades. Their grades are numbers instead. Roughly, the grades break down this way:
|American Grade||German Grade|
Disclaimer: Please do not make any decisions based on the contents of this table. It is for approximate reference use only!
Rebecca and I are in this picture. I look tired--Rebecca looks nice. Perhaps my priorities were out of order? This is another of those "self-portrait" shots I'm such a fan of. Mom says they make me look fat due to the way that I bend my neck when I take them. Perhaps next time I'll elevate the camrea so that I'll have to turn my head up and not down. (It appears as though I knew the dangers of the double chin but chose to ignore them. Interesting.)
As you can see, the best grade in Germany is a "1", and a "4" is only a bare minimum passing grade. I think "Four wins" is a quaint if slothful saying. :) I enjoyed learning it. (to Ryan and my other high school friends: this reminded me of the " 'D' never fails--it only passes, except for in Math!" phrase that we used to say during the Knowledge Master Open. Does anyone else remember this? E-mail me if you do!)
At any rate, I had a lot of fun.
An additional note: I have recently received information about how university grading goes. It's similar to the above system. Let me put it into another table for you.
|American Grade||German Grade||Approximate Pitt %|
And so on and so forth. Again, if I'm disasterously wrong, drop me an e-mail.
I don't even remember getting this, so again, take care in relying on this information
When we got to Audi, the first thing we did was view a small presentation about Audi (where beverages were provided!), and then we were shuffled off to the Audi car museum. One of the first exhibits we saw was an entire collection of famous movie and TV cars, including my personal favorites, KITT (from Kinght Rider), the DeLorean (from Back to the Future), and the Audi RSQ (from I, Robot). These were all really neat cars. For me, the rest of the museum was less exciting--we spent a lot of time learning about Audi history. While this wasn't bad, it wasn't a thrill-a-minute. (see below for additional pictures.) (Apparently, I'm quite hard to please. From what I remember now, it seems like the museum was a pretty darn good time. I suppose it wasn't as awesome as the manufacturing floor, though.)
After our museum tour was done, we had lunch and then we were toured the factory. The factory we toured was producing the Audi A4, I think, which was really interesting to see. We got to see how great big stacks of sheet metal (some sort of anti-rust treated steel (It's pretty obvious that I hadn't studied materials science at all by this point, isn't it?)) were made from 4000m long rolls of sheet metal, and we got to see how the sheet metal was pressed into parts for the cars, which was really interesting. In the next building we saw scores of Kuka robots at work--they were everywhere! At least for the production of this car's body, everything was done by robots--well, about 98% was, anyway. It was truly impressive to see all of Kuka's mighty machines working side by side with unerring mechanical precision. In fact, this experience was much more exciting than seeing the Kuka factory was in the first place. (!) Seeing the Audi plant was really cool. It's too bad that no pictures were allowed. :(
We had lunch back at Audi, including a Bavarian delicacy: a butter sandwich on pretzel! Yes, that's right--we had sliced pretzels with butter as the filler for lunch. The butter was so thick that we originally had guessed that it was cheese (cheese is very popular in Bavaria as well), but we had guessed wrong! The butter tasted very salty, but then again, the pretzel had a lot of salt on it. It was interesting, at any rate.
After a while, we left for Augsburg. Rebecca had said at an earlier time that we would sit together on the return trip, but it didn't turn out this way, which was probably for the better anyway. Instead, I had the pleasure of sitting with another German, a male student named Gernd ("pronounced" (?) Gert, sort of (Ah, yes--the intracacies of German pronunciation!). We spent most of our time discussing American movies. It turns out that most of the German students we met with really loved to watch American movies, especially in their original language, English. Why in English? Some jokes, Gernd said, were really not able to be translated. We discussed several movies including Indiana Jones (the trilogy. Turns out most of the German students had seen them and they enjoyed them. I had expected this to be a difficult topic for obvious reasons, but it turned out to be just another conversation. ), Star Wars (a couple of us were even planning to go see Episode III on our last day in Augsburg, but it didn't work out (probably for the better)), Air Force One (a personal favorite of mine), the Matrix (the trilogy--also extremely popular in Germany), and others. Gernd and I had much to talk about, it would seem!
Rebecca drove a couple of us (Peter, Scott (little), Herr Fock, and I) back to the Uni so that we could check e-mail and whatnot. We all went and had a good time. Rebecca was quite an aggressive driver--she ran her little car as hard as it would go! It was a lot of fun to ride in her car, though, because we got to go directly to the university that way. :)
Later on, at about 11:50 PM, I went to my street corner (ha!) in order to meet up with Bernd, but he never showed up--I was there until at least 12:30 AM. Alas! Good luck to you, wherever you are, Bernd! My guess is that we just miscommunicated somehow.
Nothing else of important happened for the rest of Friday, I don't think.
Check the pictures below.
I saw this license plate and just about died. Depending on your use of mental punctuation, it can be taken two ways. 1) The Christan Way: "FU, 666!" (a rude thing you might say to the antichrist) 2) The Antichristian way: "FU! 666!" (a rude thing you might say to a Christian (or anyone, really) and a declaration of your allegiance to the Beast). Are you over the age of 17 and don't understand? e-mail me and I'll do my best to politely explain. lawl! I kill myself!
This was the Aston Martin from the first James Bond movie, I think. This particular car actually has all of the fake guns and missiles built into it. If you zoom in, you can see one of the gun barrels prodtruding from under the passenger-side (American reference--on the car, it's actually the driver's side. Heh) headlight.
Meet my new friend, the title character from "I, Robot." I don't recall if he has a name (and I don't feel like looking it up), so we'll just call him "the robot from "I, Robot"," I think. At any rate, he's a really great guy--he helped to save the world! UPDATE: A helpful reader later wrote in and notified me that the name of this robot is "Sonny".
Was it something I said? Maybe Will Smith's character was right to hate these dastartdly constructions of pure evil!
I kid, I kid. . .
You can see my computer bag off to the left--$3,000+ is a bit much to leave lying around just anywhere. (Brag, brag, brag. Sometimes I wonder how I have so many friends if I sound like this all the time. But then there's a part of me that misses the heady rush (You're probably thinking that this is an exaggeration, but it's not.) of loving a laptop so dearly. You were my First, lappy!)
This was a neat Audi car that was on display. According to the sign (which was in German, but I was able to decode it! Bwah ha ha!), it had a "5,995" liter capacity. Note on German punctuation: when writing numbers, ',' and '.' are transposed from how we use them in America. Ha ha! I still don't really get this. It must make international numeric correspondence a bit annoying sometimes, I think.