Thursday, January 24, 2008


Wuppertal -- it's not a town. It's actually 5 towns in a valley (of the Wupper river), connected by a monorail. What brought me to this pentagonal industrial wasteland? An art exhibit. Wuppertal actually has a fairly good art museum for a town (well, collection of towns) of 250,000 people. And they had a Renoir exhibit with a decent collection.

This is one of the galleries. I just like the picture.

A rather huge Pollock-esque painting. It's 10 feet or so wide. The paint was a good inch and a half thick off the canvas at points.

Me as part of the art.

After checking out the museum, we headed to a local brewery to sample the food and beer. Both were fabulous -- they had 4 beers on tap, all great, and quite tasty (German) food.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Since two of my friends have recently sprained ankles, I figured it was the least I could do to sustain an injury of my own. SO I took one for the team and pulled a calf muscle (due to German privacy laws, I can't say which one). Voilá! Anonymous pals (if you're not sure if you're one of them, you're probably not) , I share some pain for you. Quick recoveries for all!
She Finally Found Me!

I'm pretty excited! Finally, after years of searching, the woman of my dreams has found me. How, you ask? The Internet. Feast your eyes on this email, with the original formatting:

Privet, my dear friend!

I've been looking for you for most of all my life. But you were so hard
But suddenly I decided to come here, and I lost my mind when I saw you.
Everything I want now is loving You, caring You and being with you.
Everything I want is becoming your second half.
We are still far from each other, we don't have memories and romantic
But just imagine how many dates are waiting for us in future, what
memories we will have.
If you are tired of empty relations, of empty trials to build happy
life in love, I will give you everything you need and miss: love,
care, tenderness, and comfort of sweet home.
I hope that I am woman of your dream, and you can find me if you look
at here

Have a nice day
Sabri B

Do you hear that? The "comfort of sweet home" and she will "caring you" to me! She even knows I loathe correct grammar! The next time I post, I may well be a married man.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I Hate to Mention This

There are certain issues one shouldn't discuss/complain about to stateside friends. These include:

1) What do do with all these vacation days -- HUGE issue here. Friends in the USA are going to bitch at this one incessantly. Best to act like you care and/or sympathize
2) How hard it is to choose the next weekend trip -- they NEVER want to hear how hard it is to decide between Amsterdam, Prague & Paris
3) Complaining that this year there are 2 fewer holidays because a) All Saint's Day is a Saturday and b) Christ's Ascension falls on May Day. My complaints that we REALLY needed those two days fall on the deaf ears of the staunchest Catholic.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Resolutions 2008

Since no one asked, here are my resolutions, minus the standard, "lose weight", "get in shape", "stop serial killing" ones that everyone makes.

1. Fake my own death
2. Ignore all election coverage outside of The Onion & The Daily Show
3. Mend fences with my exes
4. Stop throwing my exes under the bus to mutual acquaintances
5. Escalate blaming of exes when talking to anyone else
6. Try dental tape instead of dental floss
7. Alienate more friends & family before their birthdays, reconcile immediately afterward
8. Swear less in English
9. Swear more in German
10. Drink less at home
11. Drink more at work
12. Look into switching to a more respected career -- organized crime, oil industry lobbyist, etc.
13. Wear chaps more often
14. Keep caffeine addiction to a manageable minimum
15. Discover whether or not San Marino is, indeed, a myth.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Do Not Read "Gravity's Rainbow"

I'd heard annoying, goateed pseudo-intellectuals (who doesn't dislike those jackholes?) raving about it since college, and now I've finally finished Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow". Wow. What a steaming pile off crap that was -- complicated for the sake of complexity, filled with pretentiousness and unneeded fetish sex, it really sets the standard for post-modern craptacularity. Don't read it, and if anyone ever claims to have liked it, punch them in the back of the head.

Just a friendly warning.
Reading List 2008

I started the year with "The Zombie Survival Guide": a drily funny, yet very serious look at how to survive a zombie outbreak. I may not be ready now, but with 5-10 years of training and relentless preparation, I should be able to survive an outbreak of the undead. If you're interested in joining my team, let me know.

On the list for 2008, at least tentatively:
At Bat: "Salt" by Mark Kurlansky
On Deck: "Get Shorty" by Elmore Leonard
Later in the Order:
"Prague" and "The Egyptologist" by Arthur Phillips
"When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World" by Hugh Kennedy
"The Club Dumas" and "The Flanders Panel" by Arturo Perez-Reverte
"Baudolino" and "The Name of the Rose" (reread) by Umberto Eco
"Ulysses" by James Joyce

Any recommendations are definitely welcome. Especially if you know of books set in the champagne region, the former yugoslavia, or anywhere else I might travel this year...