21 November 2010

A new site!

There are some changes afoot in the online world of Kurt!

I've created a new site which will be the focus of the majority of my web publishing. Don't worry though, it's got an address that I'm sure all of you will be able to remember: kurtmuehmel.com.

Why a new site? I found that the purposes of this site and eandus.com were starting to get a bit mixed. Eandus was supposed to focus only on energy issues, which I now find too limited. On the other hand, this site was supposed to collect other interesting thoughts as well as provide more personal updates to family and close friends.

The new organisation will be as follows:

Furthermore, to allow me to comfortably post more personal information, this site will no longer be publicly accessible. If you'd like to continue to have access to this site, just send me an email. If you don't have my email address but you think I have interesting thoughts on various subjects, it's best to direct your attention to kurtmuehmel.com

I plan to make the change around the New Year. Let me know if you have any questions!

04 September 2010

Greetings from Berlin!

Currywurst at Checkpoint Charlie, 2010

25 July 2010

Apartment sought, apartment found

Following about six weeks of searching and four visits, we've found a new apartment! It's the first time that we've gone through this process and from what everyone tells us, we got off easy. That said, the quantity of documentation required to rent an apartment in France is worthy of its own post (to be written shortly).

The new apartment is about 50% bigger than our current place, is in a better situated neighborhood and, most importantly, has a balcony along its entire length. The entire process went extremely quickly, with Esther calling in response to an ad on Thursday morning, her visiting Thursday afternoon, me visiting Thursday evening, the owner choosing our dossier on Friday afternoon, and us signing for it on Monday evening.

It's entirely empty (except some cabinets in the kitchen and the bathroom) so we're very quickly going to be in full furnishing mode, doing our best to avoid IKEA and to bring some character into the house. Given that it's a typical 1980's construction, "charming" doesn't come to mind when viewing the building from the outside, but it's well laid out inside and has wonderful views on the Haussmannian buildings across the wide, tree-lined boulevard. We will have plenty of space inside to organize it intelligently, it's just going to take some time to fill it all in.

Naturally, pictures will follow as soon as I have the chance to take some!

14 July 2010

Hiking in the Vosges

A little behind on this one, but better late than never. In mid-May, Esther and I took a long weekend to go hiking in the Vosges Mountains in eastern France, near the border with Germany. It's a beautiful part of the world, though not always known for its beautiful weather, an aspect that we got to experience first hand. Despite getting lost in the fog on one of the days, it was a great few days hiking around and experiencing the local culture (an enjoyable mix of French and German).

Here is a brief collection of photos:

Hiking in the Vosges

23 June 2010

How bad is BP's disaster in the Gulf?

Having a hard time imagining the scale of BP's disaster in the Gulf? Nothing like a few images to give you a better sense.

Here's the spill superimposed over Paris (and reaching from Le Mans to Belgium):

And here's the spill over Rochester, MI, reaching from Illinois to Toronto:

Beyond words, really. Have a try for yourself at http://www.ifitwasmyhome.com/.

22 June 2010

Le Mans

I had the opportunity to take in the spectacle that is the 24 Hours of Le Mans again this year. Unlike last year, I was able to stay throughout the entire weekend.

The noise, the scale, the drunken Europeans, it was everything that it could possibly be. As usual, the pictures tell the story the best. Of the nearly 600 photos that I took, the most illustrative 115 are in the album below.

Here are a few samples:

Le Mans 2010

01 March 2010

Economists: Stay away from my car!

I'm reading an article by an economist about how consumers incorporate fuel economy into their vehicle purchasing decisions. I was first skeptical when I read this:

"a. Model

Automobiles are purchased for the travel services they provide."
Really, is that all? What about style, image, fun?

Then I read this:
"Performance is measured by turning circle..."
That was it. Her one measure for "performance" was turning circle. Wow. It's no wonder that real-world buying decisions haven't been exactly what (most) economists have predicted.

07 February 2010

A New Job! (February 2010 Edition)

I'm very hopeful that this is the last time that I'll be posting that title for a long time. After about 8 months, my time with UNESCO has come to an end and I'll be starting a new position tomorrow as an environmental consultant at BIO Intelligence Service. Very briefly, BIO helps public and private sector clients make  well-informed decisions about new products, services and policies by analyzing the relevant, environmental factors. As a consultant with them, I'll be doing research, writing reports, and generally geeking out on all things environment. Needless to say, I'm excited.

In all, my time with UNESCO was a very positive experience, though it certainly had its ups and downs. The United Nations System certainly needs competent, motivated (and young) people to fill its ranks, but there are a lot of barriers which prevent it from being an attractive option. That would be too much to get into now, but suffice it to say that I take my current professional transition as a positive career step.

Time to choose my socks for the big first day tomorrow...

16 January 2010


For over a month, this poster has been plastered all over the Paris metro:

Needless to say, it was pretty unsettling to see that every morning, especially when the review blurb on the right-hand poster reads "We love to hate Esther." Hey, that's my wife you're talking about!

Thankfully, they're now all but gone, only a few stragglers remain, waiting to be covered by a poster for Alvin & the Chipmunks 2.

10 January 2010

Catching Up

The bad news is that it's been a few months since I last posted anything here. The good news is that ti's been a pretty busy period meaning that I've taken plenty of photos. Let's do this chronologically:

Thanksgiving in Michigan

Thanksgiving in Michigan 2009

Esther and I went back to Michigan for Thanksgiving and enjoyed not only ten (more or less) relaxing days but also several gustatory delights including Thanksgiving dinner (of course) as well as Lazybones Smokehouse BBQ. Hands-down, the best BBQ I've ever had. It's enough to turn a vegetarian.

Christmas in Paris

Chistmas Breakfast 2009

Normandy - December 2009

It was a quiet Christmas in Paris this year. Esther and I enjoyed a delicious brunch at our house (first album) before heading out to Normandy for a few nights. In the larger town (Deauville) near the village (Villerville), there was something of an inexplicable parade. It had to do with the 150th anniversary of Deauville, but I have no idea why there was a guy riding a giant carousel horse. It made for interesting pictures though.

Day Trip to Strasbourg

Travels - Strasbourg 2009

While I had the week between Christmas and New Year's off from work, Esther did not so I had to keep myself busy. One way of doing so was to enjoy two of my favorite things about France, the high-speed trains and the diverse regional cultures. I booked a round trip ticket to Strasbourg (on the border with Germany) leaving early in the morning and returning late in the evening. The two-hour train ride was blissfully uneventful and much quicker than the four-hour drive (and with my young person's reduction card, a wash in terms of cost). I really enjoyed the city and the photos are all fully captioned, telling the whole story.

Into 2010
The new year has started without much change though it has been the occassion to think about my mid-term plans. As those develop, certain aspects will certainly be shared here. I'll do my best to keep this updated more often and wish everyone a very Happy New Year.