Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Free At Last, Free At Last, Thank God I'm Free At Last

It's been a few hellish weeks, but "Wuthering Heights" is out of my life forever. I plan to drink myself into a coma in the hopes that the brain cells that die will be the ones with with my memories of this steaming pile of crap. I don't see how it's considered "great" -- it's a retarded soap opera filled with 1-dimensional characters. On the bright side, I now know that the "romance" dialogue from "Attack of the Clones" was clearly based on a "classic" of British literature. In case you can't tell how much I disliked it, here's a list of the 3 worst surgeries I would prefer to have than reread it:

1. Wisdom teeth extraction -- in 1871
2. Kidney stone removal -- in 1662
3. Prefrontal lobotomy -- anytime
Two YouTube Gems

Courtesy of the Sports Guy. The question is, is Welles drunk or just acting drunk to annoy the director/crew?

I loved Quincy as a kid. This makes me laugh.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Got a Song Stuck in Your Head?

German has a word for EVERYTHING. Most of them aren't anything special (like the last post), but some are (i.e. Schadenfreude). A new one I learned today is Ohrwurm -- when you have a song stuck in your head (think of "The Imperial March" from "The Empire Strikes Back"), you have an Ohrwurm (literally, "ear worm").
More Fun With German

In an email yesterday, we had these two gems: "berufsgenossenschaftlichem" and "Augeninnendruckuntersuchung". Talk about a mouthful. Feel free to throw these into a conversation -- the real meaning is irrelevant, who's going to challenge you?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Little Delay

"I do not know the exact date - assume it will be first decade of May." You know your project is delayed when you're not sure if this is a typo or an accurate statement.

However, I do know that I won't be working any more weekends! The project has been delayed for a few months, pending "developments". While it hasn't been confirmed, a safe bet would be that these "developments" are related to rumors of Citi selling off its German operations.

However, rather than heading home for a few days to mull this, I'm thinking it might be time to use some of my comp days for some euro travel -- probably somewhere in the former Yugoslavia (which, when you think of it, is like referring to a man as "the former Mr. Liz Taylor").

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mmmmmm... "Art"

After the Louvre and Met Museum of Art got them, every museum thinks that it needs a giant statue of a rodent.

Clearly from the contemporary K21 collection, this one has "meaning"

I've seen these at bars & restaurants made from Corona bottles, but this one was HUGE.

I had a door that looked like that after my last Halloween party.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGH! Just because it's in an old access tunnel doesn't mean it's not art.

Last night was the annual Night of the Museums. This year it was me, Margaret and Barbara. We hit K21, the postmodern art museum for some pretension, then tried to go see the "Radical Advertising" exhibit (the line was ludricrously long -- still 50+ people waiting outside at 11 pm), then hit the French Institute for food, wine and electronica, then finished the night with the art tunnel.

More photos at jtingermany.shutterfly.com

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Try Not To Be Too Disappointed

While the sale of Citi Germany plows forward (based on the "no news is good news" theory), my Summer of Fun will have to wait. Rather than allowing us to take advantage of one of the 3 holiday weekends in May, the powers-that-be have decided to have me work on each of them. This means the hoped-for (by me) trip back to Texas will be delayed until the fall, at the earliest. On the bright side, this way I don't have to worry about overindulging in mexican food.

Any complaints can be mailed to Vik Pandit, Citi CEO.
Next Stop:

I found my first grey hair yesterday. Sure, they'd popped up in the goatee, but I thought I had cured this whole aging problem by shaving. No dice. My youth was fun, but now it's over. If anyone wants to go shopping for canes with me, just let me know.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Big Rumors

I've told some of you, but not all. Apparently Citi's Germany consumer business (you know, the one I work in) is on the auction block. A month ago this rumor was immediately refuted in the press; this time around Citi has been oddly silent on the matter. We now have new regional leadership, and there are other rumors of Citigroup having a pretty bad Q1. So, if it were to happen, what would happen to me? Short term answer: probably nothing. It would likely take at least 6 months after a sale was announced for cuts to get to my level (whew). Since I'm a local employee, they'd have to follow German laws in laying me off, which means I'd get enough severance to at least cover me for 6 months or so. Either way, this gives me plenty of time to find another job, if I need to. I will, of course, be accepting donations to my unemployment fund in the meantime.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Venice S.W.A.T. Team Requests:

A few things:
1. You don't need Rule 2 if you have Rule 1.
2. Even if you have Rule 2, I don't think I saw anyone in Venice eating a burger.
3. What, exactly, are they afraid of happening that is covered by "soil"?
4. Is going naked breaking or obeying Rule 5?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Welcome Back!

So, Italy can't get enough of Silvio Berlusconi. If there's one things Italians love, it's a sleazy douchebag. The guy has been repeatedly indicted for corruption, he owns a soccer team that was punished for bribing to get preferred officials to ref their games, and his last act in office the previous time around was to change election laws to make it almost impossible for his opponents to maintain a majority coalition. And they wonder why their economy is growing at one-fifth the euro average.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Nothing Wrong With Pandering

I have to admit, this is a fabulous photo of my wonderful nephew Noah. This photo also represents about 22% of the time he spent in Italy NOT eating gelato or pizza.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Is It Just Me Or...

does coming home from work at 3am make everyone feel like they should have to count their tip money?
The Bright Side

As much as I dislike working Saturday night at 11pm, I do find it's a LOT easier to get up in time for work. It's also nice to have a beer before work in a completely socially acceptable setting (my boss in Dallas was a real hardass about this sort of thing).

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Big Word Bluff

Today I was talking with friends and I referred to someone as "androgynous". It felt good when I said it, even though I wasn't 100% certain it really meant "having both male & female traits" (and, no, it wasn't self-referential). The key to pulling it off was showing complete confidence in what it meant (though I didn't have much). Since my friends had heard the word but weren't sure of its meaning, they bought my usage. It has really inspired me to intentionally misuse obscure words and see if I can get away with it. Of course, this is closely related to my dream of blaming a delay in a project on "the Coriolis Effect" in a meeting -- and getting away with it.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Training Tips

For those of you looking to get into the swing for ultimate, I have to say that taking 6 months off is not the best choice. Sure, you think you'll be rested and rejuvenated, but really you're just going to suck. I found this out, to my complete lack of surprise, today in Luxembourg. Lots of fun, unless you were my teammate. Ouch.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

This Is Why Europeans Say We Have Bad Beer

You go to a great beer bar in Brussels, and these are the US beers they have trays for: PBR and Hamm's. Why not just stick a sign over the urinals reading "American Brewery" with an arrow pointing down? They did have an Anchor Steam Beer bottle hidden away, but Hamm's? That was too crappy for poor college students -- it's distilled homelessness.
Missing Dallas

Well, my washer. The one I have here blows. It takes roughly 3 days for a cycle, and then the clothes are super-saturated. It's not unusual for me to take a load out and in so doing trigger a rainstorm. True* story.

*Except the untrue parts.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Obama's European Headquarters

With its location in the heart of the European Capitol, the Hotel Mozart is a strong choice for the Obama campaign's Euro HQ. Of course, announcing such a headquarters would smack of pandering to foreign elements, so instead it's been cleverly disguised as a small hotel with 50+ campaign posters of Obama on the walls. In the lobby are Joe & Marilyn R., from Nacogdoches, Texas. They were searching for their son of indeterminate age who was last seen in Brussels gutter (Brussels' streets were replaced with oversized gutters in 2004 to make room for the EU delegates unable to hold their Chimay).