Tag Archives: die Mannschaft

Die Mannschaft pictures part 1

Thanks to the wonders of the internet I didn’t have to wait until tomorrow to see Die Mannschaft again and to have my own copy of it. I have a copy that is of a much better quality than mine would have been. Here’s hoping for a blu-ray release soon, I know one with English subtitles is very unlikely, I just hope it has German ones like Deutschland: Ein Sommermärchen did.

Some of my favourite pictures from the film, in the order they were taken, not in order of how much I like them:

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Die Löw Sammlung – the Freiburg update

Post 100 – could only be about der Löw-mann.

As well as getting last week’s issue of Bild am Sonntag I also got three Freiburg posters, plus some collectible cups, a Stuttgart card and the main attraction, a EM 2012 shirt complete with Khedira on the back and the EM patches and Denmark v Germany on it:

Joachim Löw - SC Freiburg poster 1Joachim Löw - SC Freiburg poster 2Joachim Löw - SC Freiburg poster 3

I have all of this and yet all I can think about is that damned book, I’m getting a copy of it, but not the one they showed on TV, the gigantic one. The gold one with the black slip case, how can they justify charging £80 for a book? I know I should be grateful that I’m getting a copy at all, when I checked the DFB website before daybreak, the link didn’t work, you couldn’t place an order for it, and amazon weren’t at all clear about whether they have any stock left. Luckily I found a seller on eBay who can guarantee exactly that. I hate that about obsessions, they are never satisfied. Earlier I saw a shirt on eBay, not just a  Löw-a-like but an actual one from the Löw collection. Trouble is it’s an auction and it starts at about 40 Euro. I know I should be happy with the one I got, that I won for only 1 Euro and to be honest, apart from the label looks exactly the same as the more expensive one (I spent at least 15 minutes comparing the two). It’s crazy but I actually tried to figure out if I could afford to bid on it, I couldn’t find a way. Which I think is probably for the best. Besides it’s not like I can’t look for one later. And anyway since I already have a white one, I should really get a navy blue one next.

It’s a little insane, I’m talking about how I hate that about obsessions and yet I’m already making plans for my next crazy schemes. And doing so without knowing how long any obsession will last and how soon or not all of it will be rendered meaningless. I finished reading The Yiddish Policeman’s Union earlier, a very strange and somewhat crazy book, alternative history, Jewish culture and dark humour, what’s not to like. The quote below, seems very appropriate:

“Then you know,” she says, “how that wolf can run in the middle of the air. He knows how to fly, but only so long as he still thinks he’s touching the ground. As soon as he looks down, and sees where he is, and understands what’s going on, then he falls and smashes into the ground.”

So essentially, everything is fine as long as you lie to yourself, as long as you shield yourself from the truth and reality. But how then are you ever meant to do anything? Or should you even bother trying to do anything? I may be having a conversation about that with someone soon, someone who is supposed to be able to assist me in providing some guidance. How they are meant to do that I don’t know. It’s the pieces that are the problem, they never come together. I’m always focusing on one piece or another and forgetting completely that they can be put together to form a whole picture. I don’t know how to fix that. Or if it can even be fixed or improved in some way. I keep wondering when I’m going to feel like a grown up, sometimes I think the question I should be asking is when I’m going to feel like I’m really alive. When this will all feel real and not like a film or something.

This feels a lot like the chess problem that Menachem wanted solved, the one where the opposing player is forced into a situation where he has to make a move, but all the moves are to his disadvantage, every one of them will lead to his losing the game. Of course he can’t not move, you can’t skip a turn in chess, he is forced into action knowing it will cost him the game. It’s called “Zugzwang.” I don’t know it it’s made up or not.

It’s not just the pieces that are the problem, it’s the patterns that are repeated time and time again. In relation to certain special interests, I think the exact same things with each one and despite the repetition, never get any closer to figuring any of it out. This time it was partly sparked by watching the Spain v Germany post match show, it probably didn’t help that in the process of making the video, taking screen-caps, studying Jogi Löw and then Mehmet Scholl (now I think he’s awesome too, because that’s exactly what I need right now, another German to get obsessed with) I must have seen parts of it five times or more.  What I was thinking about was how easy it looked, the three of them standing there, interacting with each other. They all know where to look, how long to look at the other person for, when to look away, they all look relaxed and comfortable. The conversation flows so easily (well except for when they asked Löw what his favourite picture was, he really stumbled on that question).

The other familiar and related thought was about social connections and “webs”, that is all of the people that someone interacts with regularly. It always surprises me when I find out how many people that other people know, because I know and talk to so few people in real life. I think that’s why I like characters like Saga and Detective Goren, I don’t have to envy them because their social life (not the way in which Saga picks up men obviously – I’ve never stepped foot in a club and have little intention of doing so) mirrors mine, it hardly exists. If I was truly happy by myself then it wouldn’t bother me when I read stuff about people I like having friends or whatever, it wouldn’t bother me to think about that stuff.

image8-e1416490606187Joachim Löw - Stuttgart card - frontJoachim Löw - Stuttgart card - backimageimageimageimageDenmark v Germany, as soon as I saw the flags, knew I had to have it, regardless of the cost. Two of my special interests on one shirt:

imageAnd these two didn’t arrive today, but I only now got around to taking photos of them, my long awaited four star Müller shirt and my goalkeeper shirt:

imageimageimagePlus I got some new stamps for my collection:

German stamp1

The shooting one would be very funny if I still liked Christoph Waltz, that unforgettable scene in Inglourious Basterds where he points a gun at Shoshana running through the fields but doesn’t shoot her, “au revoir Shoshana.” That never gets old. The second would be funny too. The cat video, a Christoph Waltz classic, that video is still one of the funniest things ever, “Hans Landa chases his cat.”

German stamp2 German stamp3 German stamp4

Joachim Löw/Die Mannschaft/Bayern München clippings

Joachim Löw - Bild am Sonntag - Sport - front cover1Joachim Löw - Bild am Sonntag - Sport - front cover2Joachim Löw - Bild am Sonntag - Sport 1Joachim Löw - Bild am Sonntag - Sport 2Joachim Löw - Bild am Sonntag - Sport 3Joachim Löw - Bild am Sonntag - Sport 4Bild am Sonntag - Sport - Die Mannschaft film 1Bild am Sonntag - Sport - Die Mannschaft film 2Bild am Sonntag - Sport - Bayern v Frankfurt 1Bild am Sonntag - Sport - Bayern v Frankfurt 2Bild am Sonntag - Sport - Bayern v Frankfurt 3Bild am Sonntag - Sport - Bayern v Frankfurt 4

Spain v Germany – post match – The Löw Highlights

Pictures from the interview and also some of the photos that are in the “One Night in Rio” photo book:


One Night in Rio:


Spanien 0 – Deutschland 1

I’m extremely happy right now. Jogi Löw’s first victory over Spain as coach of the national side (if I’m remembering correctly). They deserved it, they had plenty of chances, they kept chipping away. They more than held their own, as did Zieler in goal. Shame about Müller having to go off so early obviously, but they did fine without him.

For the game I wore my Löw-a-like white shirt. That will become a tradition now. It’s proven luckier than the Müller four star shirt.

The first thought on my mind throughout the game was if Germany win this, certain critics of Herr Löw will say that it doesn’t really count because it’s only a friendly, yet those same people would have been the ones who said that Germany didn’t deserve to win the World Cup and that they got lucky because Argentina beat them in that friendly.  So when they want to prove that he’s not up to the task, a friendly means something and when they want to belittle his and the team’s achievements, a friendly doesn’t mean anything.

I’m very happy also that I got to watch it live, thank the gods for the internet and for Toni Kroos. And not only did I get to see the game but the post match show and the interview with Jogi Löw. The presenters had the One Night in Rio photo book that’s being released on the 24th. I had no idea it was so big and impressive looking. Well worth the £23 it will cost, a bargain. Of course I had to figure out a way to get it faster, to get it as close to the day it comes out as possible. So I had to cook up a plan, a plan so complicated I needed to make notes so I understood it, let alone the person who’s lending me the money. All because I can’t wait two days.  I know the answer now to when does an obsession truly become an obsession, when you cancel going to the cinema because of it.

Some random thoughts I had whilst watching the interview with Jogi, does he really sound that strange or different? I don’t know what sounds strange or normal in English, let alone German. I can’t stop obsessing over this, not just him but Swabians in general. Another thing I was thinking about was eye contact, I was watching them during the conversation, seeing who looks where and for how long. How do people know how to do that? How do they know how long to look at someone for and when the right time is to look away?

I wish I could stay up and screen-cap the game, there’s some great stuff there for pictures and for a video too, including some material for my “Jogi in the rain” video. But I’ve been up for 33 hours already, enough is enough.

Dressing rooms and political secrets

Golden Key

You’ve been given a key that can open one building, room, locker, or box to which you don’t normally have access. How do you use it, and why?

Naturally my first (and entirely selfish) thought goes to die Mannschaft, I mean who wouldn’t want to witness scenes like this in person:

Jogi clipping8Die Mannschaft clipping

My real choice would be to use it to gain access to the office of a certain government minister who is intent on making the lives of disabled people in this country a living hell. I would use it to find out what he has on the party leader that allows him to stay in office, he must have something on them, he’s so incompetent and such a political liability, he’s still around for a reason. And also to thwart his plans for the rest of his evil machinations.

I know it says a building, room, locker or box but if you had a key that could unlock absolutely anything, I would want to use it on people, on their minds, to find out why such divisive and hate filled politics appeals to them. To find out what it is that makes people turn on each other like that, and more specifically, what is it that makes people turn on the weakest in society.

Geburtstag Geschenke

My mother loves to embarrass me by telling how when I was a small child I didn’t care about my presents at Christmas, I just liked the boxes. Well this year that is continued in a way, though how could it not be? I have a box from Germany and Jogi Löw wrapping paper, forget about the presents, that’s enough of a gift in itself. Note to people, don’t want me to be bugging you about keeping the boxes and envelopes, then don’t buy presents from Germany. You’re asking for trouble and you know it.

Also an unbeatable gift (of sorts) is this:

Geburstag e-mail aus DFBThe box in question and pictures of the gifts that came in said box, plus the Jogi wrapping paper:

DFB box

Es ist dein Spiel

It’s your game!






Jogi wrapping paper

With paper like this, it doesn’t matter what the gift is.


My very own pair of Hansi.


Manuel, here at last.










hat and scarf

And Jogi to join them, that is the scarf. Jogi should never wear a hat.


If Hansi is the gloves, and Jogi is the scarf then I guess Oliver has to be the hat.














How many Müller’s can a Müller make?

Ready, Set, Done!

Our ten-minute free-write is back for another round! Tap away on whatever comes to mind, no filters attached. (Feel free to edit later, or just publish as-is).

“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?” – That phrase has been stuck in my head and repeated by me at every opportunity since I heard it on South Park last week late one night when I couldn’t sleep.

“How many Müller’s can a Müller make?” is going to be my new phrase of the week, one of my own creation this time.  On Saturday against Frankfurt, he got one classic Müller goal, the kind he specialises in like no-one else. A second chance opportunity, gained by being in the right place at the right time, it didn’t look beautiful but it was effective and elegant in its own way. Much like Müller himself, a little awkward looking but the most natural thing in the world to him.

Jogi, Hansi, little football players coming to life, Manuel the lone Fußball Spieler, I have plenty of ideas to work with and keep me busy. Which is good because I need it, I have some great packages coming in the mail from Germany and all I can think about is the fact that Die Mannschaft is released in cinemas in Germany today and I won’t get to see it at the cinema. I feel much cheated about that, Jogi und Hansi and all of them on the big screen.  In addition writing the Jogi und Hansi adventures has made me miss Hansi all the more, I thought I was getting a little closer to getting used to the new state of affairs, now I’m right back at the beginning.

It’s not all bad, Germany v Gibraltar tomorrow night. Hopefully the gods will be good and there’ll be some good material to make another Jogi video in glorious full high definition. And please, please, please Joachim do not play Kramer. Don’t let that cursed son of a gun anywhere near the game.

I’m such an idiot when it comes to other people and what I think the right thing to do is, in this case I let a Jogi related story blind me to the reality of the situation. What one person finds amusing is not necessarily what another person will find amusing. This is possibly going to be one of those things I look back and wonder, why would you ever think that was going to work. I can partly blame sleep deprivation but only partly. Right now I would almost consider trading Jogi Löw for a good night’s sleep, to be more specific, for several uninterrupted nights of decent sleep. I’d throw in Manuel Neuer too if I could make it a week without having one sleepless night.

Imagination/Too close to reality

Impairments in imagination:
1. Lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play appropriate to developmental level
2. Inability to tell, write or generate spontaneous, unscripted or unplagiarised fiction
3. Either lack of interest in fiction (written, or drama) appropriate to developmental level or interest in fiction is restricted to its possible basis in fact (e.g. science fiction, history, technical aspects of film)

The above is part of the criteria used for diagnosing adults with Asperger’s Syndrome. In my diagnostic report it says that all three of them apply to me (only one is required for a diagnosis to be made), though fails to explain to my satisfaction why that is. Unusually for me I can’t recall what the person in question said at the time, I can remember that I argued vehemently against this, I was insulted, I argued that I’m creative, I can write fiction and I like reading fiction. I can’t disagree with the first one being true, but at the time I definitely thought they had got it wrong on the other two.

With my interest in film, it’s not so much restricted to its possible basis in fact as it is to my current special interests which do tend to be based in fact. For example I like to watch films about Nazi Germany or the DDR. Large chunks of my film collection can be traced to a special interest of some sort. It’s not so much that I have an interest in film itself; it’s more that films are merely another aspect of my special interests.

I didn’t have the understanding of myself and the self-awareness that I posses now to see that they were dead on. They saw what I didn’t or didn’t want to see. Sure I like to read fiction, but I if I were to look back over the books I read recently, not only would I see a definite bias towards non-fiction but I would see that every single piece of fiction I read is directly connected to a special interest. Not only that but certain books connected to a special interest get re-read too many times to count.
I recall fondly my Star Wars books (my first foray into fiction) and how battered and beaten they were. I probably could have recited them word for word. Yet despite their terrible condition, I would not allow them to be replaced with new copies. They would look the same but they wouldn’t be the same, they wouldn’t be mine. That liking for familiarity again, both in holding on to those books and in re-reading them so often, it’s no wonder I quickly progressed to reading to myself as a small child. Besides the fact that no-one ever went fast enough for me, they were probably sick of reading the same book over and over again.

On the subject of writing fiction, it was not only I who disagreed with this characteristic applying to me.

A good friend disagreed with this as well, pointing out that I had lots of great ideas for stories and scripts. Then somewhere in the last year, for the first time they actually got to read something that I’d written. Their first comment was “too many references.” It seems I am worse than Tarantino on that front. But I can’t take out the references, without them the piece wouldn’t exist. If someone knows my interests and reads something I’ve written, they’ll be able to connect the dot and see all of the not so subtle influences. My English teacher thought I had a fantastic imagination and said so at parents evening; he changed his mind about this somewhat when we got talking one day about all the TV shows I liked to watch. Then he knew where my fascination and knowledge of law enforcement came from and where all those wild tales involving rogue FBI agents, prison breakouts and drug kingpins came from.

How I could have ever argued against this being true of me is a source of amusement now. I mean, my words, phrases, gestures and mannerisms are “borrowed” from other people, why wouldn’t this apply to everything else as well?

I’m not saying people with AS lack imagination, not entirely. I just think that it must work differently on some level. More real than real is what I always say about my special interests and alternate universes. In the book Multicoloured Mayhem, his mother said that Luke once called AS “a more extreme version of real life.” I get that in a way, everything is louder, more powerful, feelings and passions are stronger. Like with special interests, a strong passion in a NT becomes an all-consuming desire in an autistic person. The ironic thing is that the one thing that isn’t real to me is reality. It doesn’t feel real at all. Maybe because there’s too much of it? I don’t know, but I like what Ben said about in Young, Autistic & Stage-struck:

“Asperger’s in a few words, widens your imagination, sort of widens your brain power but it also severs your fantasy-reality bond severely”
I don’t know if he was talking about AS or his anger but he said that he felt like something had a hold on his soul and wasn’t letting go, or words to that effect.

I feel kind of the same way, that something has a hold of me. There’s a line in a film, Ben X, I didn’t like it when I first saw it, now I see the line is perfect. Ben (in the film) says I had autism, or rather autism had me.

It’s not the autism I feel owns me, just the obsessions, but then they wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for that, so it does in a way. I used to say obsessions were a good thing, they keep me occupied, they fill the space that should be taken up with social stuff. Do the obsessions exist because I can’t connect and make lasting friendships with people, or is it the existence of obsessions that prevent that from happening?

Some people would no doubt misinterpret what Ben said, maybe they would be thinking of some kind of mental illness that involves delusions or delusional thoughts. That’s not my problem. I know what is real and what is not. It just doesn’t feel real to me. My problem is that fiction and my alternate universes feel more real to me than reality does.

It does bother me a little, how disconnected I seem to real people. It’s been pointed out to me, how little I appear to care for other people’s feelings and the fact that those people don’t know if I even feel anything for them. I want to explain to them, I do, but I have no idea how and what good would come of it.

There is one person I talked to about this once, I said bluntly to them “I like you, I enjoy your company, you’re my favourite person in this dimension to talk to, but I’m happier in my alternate universe with alternate Christoph” (this was during my Inglourious Basterds/Christoph Waltz/Quentin Tarantino obsession) and their answer was “if someone else had said that, I would take offence, but knowing you, I don’t, I know what you mean.” I wonder how they knew what I meant, or if they really meant that, because as usual I had no idea what I was saying. The thing that scares me is that this doesn’t scare me, or at least it didn’t until recently. I think with this recent interest in Joachim Löw and the Bundesliga I may have gotten a little too close to reality. I have a special interest for the first time ever that is not rooted in fiction. There are no characters to obsess over and analyse, there are only real people.

I also think that getting too close to reality thing may have something to do with the impulse I’ve had lately to start digging things out from my childhood, as if I want to go back to then, when obsessions and everything else were much simpler. When I had zero or close to zero self awareness. When my world consisted of Pokemon, Championship Manager, the WC 2002 PC game, video games in general, Star Wars, riding my bike and playing football.  Back to when I had so little interest in other people.

It’s funny that I’m writing about imagination right now, since I just got a new idea for a story which has the working title of “Zwölf kleine Fußball Spieler.” It’s about a set of football figures (the kind that have tiny bodies and oversized heads) that come alive at night. The set of course comprises of Jogi und die Mannschaft. There is one of Hansi too, but he is introduced later, he’s not one of the original twelve. There are additional ones as well, the subs bench, Roman Weidenfeller is there of course. But there are twelve for a reason, it’s a special number.

The idea of course is partly inspired by The Unbeatables and Toy Story. I have for a long time wanted to write something inspired by Toy Story, acutally I wish Toy Story were real, but of course I wish the toys would be alive in the presence of humans, I would like someone to talk to sometimes. The title is a reference to a very funny song  Everything is from somewhere else.

The video that served as a source of inspiration:

This probably is somewhat rambling, maybe even more so than usual. It’s a combination of being unsure of exactly what I’m writing about, a lack of sleep (partly because of the impending government visit and partly because of a Löw related crisis – well not a crisis exactly but something of that nature, the documentary Die Mannschaft is released in cinemas in Germany today, and well all I can say is, it’s one of those days when I am extremely unhappy that I am not a German – to the point where I feel like I would rather not exist than not be a German) and being in a somewhat hyper state.

I think a quote from another abandoned show (Criminal Minds) and former special interest sums up all of this quite well though:

Spencer: I know what it’s like to be, to be afraid of your own mind.

Fußball am Montag

Unsurprisingly the original title of this was Fußball mit Joachim, if that had been the case the day would have been a lot more dreamy. Plus I would have spent a lot more time picking the ball out of the back of the net had there been one.  As it stands there were no Germans in sight, merely me and a friend I had somehow roped into the enterprise.  Instead of spending Monday in much the same as I always do, that is watching films and playing Playstation, I instead went outside and played football.  The weather was cold and wet, yet miserable I was not. There’s little better it seems than spending three hours on a rain-sodden and muddy football pitch, kicking a ball back and forth and occasionally pretending to be Manuel Neuer. There is no sweeter sound in the world than that of a boot hitting a football.  Other than Jogi’s southwestern German accent that is.

The football part was good, felt a little weird after not having played for so long but that was to be expected. The conversation side of things, not so good. I wish I had not brought up some of the subjects I did. I got no sleep the night before, I’m sure that fact that I was hyper because of that made me a little more talkative than I would have liked. On one particular troublesome subject, special interests and why certain things become special interests and others don’t, from what he said in the first part of the conversation, I thought that he understood what I was saying, later on when resuming the conversation, he gave the impression that he didn’t.

I’m annoyed with myself for feeling as if I wanted him to understand how it all works, why certain things (in this case Jogi und die Mannschaft) become special interests and why they are so important to me. I don’t know why it seemed important that he understand any of it, why I would think that was important.

I can’t help but think of what a very wise person said about a previous interest of mine, in relation to the same topic but referring to a different interest, they said that I wanted him to feel threatened by my new interest, that I wanted them to understand that the interest came above all else.

There are two new things I learnt from the day as well, one of which I probably already knew but now I have confirmation of it. The first is that I can’t talk about football with anyone in real life, especially not the person referred to here. I know this after boring them for ten minutes detailing Borussia Dortmund’s latest form and how this affects the bottom half of the Bundesliga, especially in relation to Stuttgart. The second is that I’m no good at being anyone’s friend in real life, on the internet I can handle it, as long as there’s no conversation in real-time because I am hopeless at back and forth conversation. And I think he knows this too, he asked at the end of the day “did I talk about my interests?” He did talk a little about them  and I tried to listen I really did, but when someone talks about something I have absolutely no interest in, my mind completely switches off. I don’t think about anything else, not even Joachim, my mind just goes completely blank.

I think it was in a book I read this, about should a person with AS find another person with AS to be friends with, and one of the problems with this identified was that if one of the two loses interest in the special interest that binds them together, the friendship may come to a swifter than imagined end (if that sounds familiar it’s because it’s from Inglourious Basterds). And with some people with AS who change interests with a somewhat alarming frequency, it would be an even bigger problem.

Right now I do have less interest in the things we usually talk about, not only that I don’t feel particularly social either. I think it’s always the same when a new special interest is in the process of being formed. It’s not the first shift in obsessions during our friendship, it is however the first one that has posed any challenge to our friendship, by virtue of it being totally unrelated to any of the topics we share a mutual interest in.

It’s funny, I was attempting to explain to him why I prefer “imaginary friends”, and I can answer the question in the context of explaining the problems with our friendship right now. I can’t give him what he wants, I can’t be the kind of friend he needs, he’s a very emotional person, I can’t deal with that stuff, with people who express their emotions so openly. Just being around other people is so exhausting, not even talking to them, just being near them. All of this friendship stuff is so complicated, I have no clue what I even want, if I even want friends. When someone doesn’t e-mail me for a while and we don’t spend anytime together, it doesn’t really bother me, as long as I have things to keep me busy I’m quite content. Equally I can go all day without talking to another person, I think I prefer that, a day of total silence.  What do you do when “imaginary friends” aren’t enough but you can’t stand to be around real people or can’t form any kind of connection with them?

Not that everything is all doom and gloom at the moment, there are three great things right now, first is that in a few days I’ll have copies of all of Germany’s games from Euro 2012, secondly there’s only nine more days left on the Jogi und die Mannschaft countdown and finally I found out that a blu-ray is being released of all Germany’s WM 2014 games.