Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ryan Adams Rapping

Unbelievable. The dude has like an eight-minute rap on the main page of his website. It's hard to describe, but he did just shout out, "one and a half stars, oh shit, my record went balsa wood in India or some other country I don't know", with the rap beat behind him and the metallic monster background vocals of "go to motherfucka". No exclamation point there, I'll let that one sit there.

It feels good to be home. 10:49pm. My train from a town twenty minutes away was about 10 minutes late and I missed my normal tram. Another would come in 15 minutes. Should I walk down to the pub for one and catch a later tram? Nah. I had left the house at 7:25am, not the earliest time to be leaving the house for work but at least a time that couldn't be sniffed at. I huffed it with beanie and gloves, took a tram for 5 minutes and then walked 30 seconds and connected to another tram for one stop. I didn't have to take that tram but when the timing works out, it saves me a couple of minutes of walking. Then made some photocopies at the company while two interns were making colored photocopies of things like mugs and can openers that they then taped into the small kitchen they have on the 4th floor, really just a fridge, a sink, a large, out of date calendar, a dishwasher and one very important fresh coffeemaker. I had to admit, I have been going to that building for the past 3.5 years and never once really (a birthday or tailend of something might be on the list but...) seen some chirpiness, especially at such an early hour and it was somehow refreshing. I also had a second cup of coffee before my class started at 8am.

There are 4 people in the class: two women and two men. The women are about 50 and 40 and can't improve their passable English to save their lives. I gave them a kickass handout I got from a buddy that is basically two columns going down a page. The two columns, from left to right are: I said AND I should have said. They didn't use it the entire class after I had prompted them a few times that this would help them stop making the same inane mistakes over and over. The two guys are about 60 and 37 and while they're not much better, they definitely are because the older one is a travelling maddog, not doing the kind of travelling I like to do but the dude in the past 3 years has definitely been to Thailand area 4-5 times, South America 2 times, Australia and the other guy has two young children but they try. They try and to be honest, what more can you really ask of someone? So I just sort of encourage them as best as possible and thank them for continually allowing me to end the class 15 minutes early so I can get to my next class 50 meters back up at the corner where the trams go.

It's a nice building with an amazing interior and there I (normally but not today because they were busy) have 4 students, all male lawyers between 42 and 27, two partners and two associates. Their English is excellent and we discuss a wide range of topics with them supporting their beliefs quite well in English but me always having a sense of the upper hand because it's my language. It's a joy to spend with those guys, and they always have free coffee and I usually open up one of the little orange juice bottles they have in the small conference rooms. The fourth of them probably earn a combined 700euro (900bucks!) an hour between 'em. And I like them. And they have an interesting relationship to my work permit problems because one of the associates had helped spoof up my letter to the foreign authorities back in May of last year. But since they weren't specialists in that type of law, they weren't going to stick their necks out about it. Fair enough, no problem.

Then I walked 10 minutes through the main gate at the entry of the old town and turned right in the direct center of town and then bought a Danish-type thing (Nussschnecke) and about 60 more steps brought me to the next class, a group of about 15 students in their early twenties at a "Kultur Management" university where I teach American history.

Today they learned about the following:
*Charles Lindbergh - his flying across the Atlantic to Paris in 1927 was the probably the largest event of the 1920s
*Herbert Hoover - I gave him a good rendition, making sure that they had an idea of just how amazing Herbert Hoover's life really was, organizing post WWI emergency supply logistics and earning millions in mining, helping to keep a revolution in China to overtake the town he and his wife were in, sending a simple telegram that said "safe." after the siege was over. It's just his inability to see that the government wouldn't recover from the Great Depression that history has decided to paint him as the fall guy for an event largely precipitated by the old fat white rich guys propping up stocks to make a shitload of money and then selling them to idjits.
*FDR and the New Deal, stressing importance of the alphabet agencies (google them)

I went home after that and had lunch with my girlfriend and roommate, fishsticks, some fried veggies and some french fries from the oven. Then I chilled hardcore, youtubing for a couple of hours, reading the New York Times and Washington Post, and read more of Joe Wilson's autobiography, also known as Mr. Valerie Plame, the woman who was outed as a CIA agent by Bush administration officials in retaliation for Wilson's NY Times op-ed article in July 2003 that said we were perhaps deceived by our leaders about why we went to war in Iraq, most definitely the largest mistake the United States has probably made since I was born. That would be 32 years for those still alive and counting.

I got dressed again, took a train to that aforementioned place 20 minutes away and taught two business english classes. In the first class we learned how to take effective phone messages and also a small quiz about business small talk. The second we learned about innovation and vocabulary like: pioneer, prototype, entrepreneuer, things like that. I'm meeting both classes in a pub for our last class next week, really looking forward to it. It's almost always really enjoyable to meet with one's students in a public place and reassociate your thoughts about your environment and who you're with.

So now I'm home. Assiyeah is reading John Dos Passos' "Manhattan Transfer" for a class. It's like a 1920's harlem "Great Gatsby" poorly described. Always aksing me bout words that no one ain't said since who knows whence, ya know?

So now I'm listening to Ryan Adams online, not the rap but some straight up country: I miss all those girls at the bar all loaded like freights, he just sang. One shot, one beer, and a kiss before I go.

So now I am.



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