Sunday, April 29, 2007

What Mooney doesn't know

could fill a blog post.

What he does know is this: He is flying September 12 from Los Angeles to Frankfurt, Germany with Air India. He's going to arrive in Freiburg around 6pm on Thursday, Sept. 13. The next day we will fly from Basel, Switzerland to Malaga, Spain at around 6:20am. We will have one day without a place to stay (somewhere north of Malaga?) and then on Saturday afternoon we can check into a 5-star property (Club Sunterra Los Amigos Beach Club) that we will have for the week. We have a car rented for approximately 22euro/day (less than 30bucks) for 8 days. We will either fly back on Saturday or Sunday, September 21/22. That will give them Sun/Mon/Tue in Freiburg with a daytrip in Swtzerland. Sounds like a sweet trip, eh?

He's still asleep here on Sunday morning and I just booked him a hotel, a flight and a rented him a car and he has no idea. What's what Mooney doesn't know.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Brainstorm

Here is a five-sentence version of the brainstorm I just had, notwithstanding this one.

1)I could do a photo exhibition while I'm home in California for two weeks in August.

2)I could do the exhibition at a friend's bar (Boscoe's in Lake Forest).

3)I have contacted the Ron Kobayashi trio, these guys I met in Dana Point like almost 10 years ago to come and play at the show.

4)I had the idea that they could put together a cd of some of their best funk music and do like a small cd-release party at the aforementioned friend's bar.

5)Now I gotta think of a theme.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday evening free!

It was pretty incredible. My last university class today is called American Newspapers and we didn't talk about newspapers at all today. We discussed the perceived freedoms in Germany and America, paying for national television in Germany and whether it is "right" or not, and then it got good. I made a statement of this nature:

"I think that the Declaration of Independence was the most important piece of paper in the world."

A student close to me on the left said:

"That is so typical American."

And then the conversation got good, with me asking the 17 or so students what other pieces of paper might be more important.

The Magna Carta, someone said. Excellent answer, I said. What's that, a few students asked. And then the student said something about the Pope splitting up the new world between Spain and Portugal and I corrected him in saying that was the treat of Tordesilla in around 1480 or so. I explained that Magna Carta, from what I understood, forced the king to recognize the power inherent in the people (the rich) and also the right of habeas corpus, whereby you have the right to ask in front of a court what you have been charged with, something that the Military Commissions Act last year temporarily (or is still) gave the President to suspend the right of Habeas Corpus in time deemed exigent or some other silly word.

95 Theses from Martin Luther, a different student said. Maritin Luther is my favorite German, I said, and the girl talking about the television tax scoffed at the idea that I might think that. He was so pious, she said.

This was probably the first time that I kept the students over a few minutes, making sure we could finish our discussion without just leaving it hanging there.

The student who had said it was typical American said I was indoctrined: haha, I corrected her in class when she said indoctrinated and I just looked in the dictionary and she had used it correctly. I gotta tell her next week.

Anyway, I told her that she didn't know me and she had no idea what I was indoctrinated with. And where did she think I got my information and knowledge from? From school or from books? After class, she just came to have a last sentence with me and I showed her the book in my bag, "The Founding Fathers". We shook hands and class was over.

I got paid 42.60euros for those 90 minutes. Hell, I couldn't almost fly to London and back for that 90 minutes of work. Yet another perspective that shows how my standard of life is better here, or no, that I have more opportunities. It helps living in an old country with an American perspective. Everything seems quaint and old-fashioned. But after awhile, like ya know 4 years, you realize that there are good reasons for how it is.

It's one of the first times that a class discussion was something that was still gnawing on me hours later. It's good work stress.

7.55pm now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tuesday evening free!

Man, it's amazing how life works out. I quit my lowest-paying work at the Volkshochschule for this semester because it wasn't worth it for me to earn 70euro for 3 full hours of work. That's approximately 31 dollars an hour and that's too low, it's amazing how different things are here than in California. Anyway, I figured it was worth losing the 1000euro for the semester if I could have some of my life back. Well, then I got an email from a woman who also teaches at the university here and she asked me to teach a Tuesday evening class, something that would have been out of the question the past 3 years but because I had quit my Tuesday evening classes (further away from home mind you, getting me back around 9:20pm), I could accept. Well it turns out that the 90 minutes for this new company is about 10euro less than the 3 hours working for the VHS! Me gusta!

Me and the guys are hoping to go to an NFL Europe game in Frankfurt in the next two months. We are all big NFL Fans (Rams here, Giants, Broncos, Bills, Bears and Bucs are our affiliations) and I am trying to talk them into getting the Schoenes Wochenende ticket which allows 5 people to travel on all slower German trains for a full day. It would take us 3.5 hours there and back probably but completely worth it, allowing us to drink on the way and no one will have to worry about getting us home safely, well, besides the train conductor.

This was probably about the 10-11th day of perfect weather. This reminds me of southern California actually, it's uncanny.

The girls are watching Desperate Housewives, I'm reading some political news blogs, watching comedycentral highlights of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and thinking damn, I gotta get up and go to work in 9 hours. But you know, that's okay because while I don't particularly like my morning job at 8pm, the pay is okay, it's in the center of town and the people are nice enough, just a tad sort of boring. But that's not their fault. Or is it? Nah, don't think about that, it is work and I must approach it diplomatically...hahahahah

Monday, April 23, 2007

Coming together...

Since we last spoke, some big changes have come. Number one: I am going to be in the States for all of August. I hadn't planned on going home before Xmas but my mom bribed me in order to see me before then. This was the first year in 4 years when I hadn't had anything really planned for the summer:
Summer 2004: CA for a few weeks and Spain/Portugal
Summer 2005: 8 weeks in the States
Summer 2006: 9 weeks in South America

And for awhile I was glad but also vaguely "worried" that I didn't have anything planned this summer. I was looking forward to maybe chilling around Freiburg for part of the time and then perhaps flying into Thessaloniki, Greece and spending about 3 weeks making my up through the new EU countries of Bulgaria and Romania and seeing some more of the Balkan countries but that's okay, instead of that I'll be visiting: Home in southern California, San Diego, LA, Portland, Maine, Boston, New York and Philly. Those are some damn important places to visit and I think I will try and do a photo exhibition in New York this summer, try and get some more exposure.

Number two: my aunt is coming to visit me in October! It will be her first time to Europe and she will come with two friends and they will be here for Assiyeah's birthday! Of course that is almost 6 months away but any of you old enough know that time flies by way to fast, ya know? Just ask my folks, who just spent 2.5 weeks here in Central Europe and they had a blast. And I had the opportunity to finally pass my age in countries visited, hitting number 33 (Hungary) and 34 (Austria) with the folks. It's funny, I visited 20 countries in my first 30 years of life and my goal was to hit 20 more in the next 5 years and after coming back from my "birthday" trip in late May/early June, I should have another 2-4 countries (Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia Herzogina) added to the list. Hell, I am almost gonna hit 20 more countries in 3.5 years but I should be able to make it. Why do I care? I don't know, I guess it's fun to catalog new experiences because our brains are made to catalog and categorize things and while spending a month in Greece in Spring 2002 is a lot different than just a week in Ireland in Summer 2005, they were completely different experiences and worthy of note, even the short ones.

Number three: My buddy Mooney and his girl are planning to visit me in September. He is planning on becoming only the 4th person to visit me more than once from California (my folks and Corrie being the others). If the plan works out okay, they will arrive and then almost immediately, we (hopefully with assiyeah too) will fly down to Malaga, Spain and have a week in a timeshare relaxing, seeing some old cities, drinking beer on the beach, throwing the frisbee, all that stuff.

Number four: I got my tax return, I don't have to pay so much and in fact I just paid it immediately so I can put the whole thing behind me. Being self-employed and doing taxes adds a certain stress-level because you can't always know if something is really a write-off or not but I write it off anyway! hahaha

Well, that's enough for a Monday evening, I have my second 6-day work week in a row and I'm already pooped!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

And just like that...

August is booked. It had been the first time in a few years when the summer break wasn't already accounted for early on in the year. But this time I made it all the way into mid-April before I blocked out a larged portion of the time during the summer equinox.

Here it is:

July 31 Frankfurt to Orange County 2 stops
Aug 16 San Diego to Manchester, NH red-eye 1 stop
Aug 28 NYC to Frankfurt overnight

It will be my first time to see Portland, Boston, New York and Philly in what will be two years. I'm so stoked to go back. It's a bit rushed with 11 nights for the 4 places but I get to see the Black Crowes for the first time in what will be 18 months.

I'm at a moment of heavy relaxation, watching the Simpsons with Maya and drinking a beer. I just worked the last 6 days. My folks flew home today and I am so happy, we had an amazing time, more or less perfect. We saw some great places, ate some great food, had great weather, and I have tomorrow to go jogging, write a test for one of my universities, grade some tests and prepare for next week. I've got a lot to do but I cannot believe I will be all of August in the States, I can't wait to visit and see a bunch of old friends...carry on.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Jacques is gone

We're back in freiburg, an amazing 11-day journey through Central Europe with the folks. Speaking of whom, they are currently in the movies here in Germany! We got back around 5pm and they are without chaperones until monday after work! :) Man, what an amazing time we had in Frankfurt, Berlin, Budapest, Vienna and Bratislava, major cities in Europe, catching a different vibe in each place, getting better and better weather and of course it's super cool to travel with the parents, it's a little like travelling on clouds because of course we get to eat better, sleep in better places, travel around more comfortably and so on and so on, it's amazing how different it is than our hospitalityclub travelling, we're very lucky.

We lost Jacques in Budapest. He's a stuffed animal frog I got for Assiyeah almost 3 years ago. That little guy had been with us in pretty much all of our travels since then, and that means he has seen quite a few places for an inanimate object. And we came back after our first full day in Budapest and he was gone. We checked with the housekeeper and the front desk and nothing. It bummed me out for a few days, like our pet or something was gone. We're gonna have to replace him soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

bootypest

hey all,

We're in Budapest, leaving tomorrow for Vienna, I got too much sun today but we had a nice walk and a huge meal at a restuarant late this afternoon. Just wanted to let all 4 of you know that I'm still alive!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

saturday before easter

sorry i have been incommunicado, this will continue the next couple of weeks as my parents are in europe visiting. We picked them up in Frankfurt two days ago and took the train to Berlin where we are now. On Monday we are headed to Budapest, then Thursday to Vienna and then spending Saturday night in Bratislava before flying back to Basel on Sunday. My folks will be in Freiburg that whole week and I will have a lot of work but you can expect to hear more from me on a regular basis in about 2 weeks. I might be able to blog a couple of times in between but in the meanwhile read some old blog entries, there must be enough to keep you busy for half an hour, I hope!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Wuh chu tokkin bout foo?

i wanted to write some silly stuff and pull an April Fool's on some of my readers, all 3 of them but figured it would take them too long to come here and find out so I'm gonna hold off.

There's a Canadian guy whose been working on a 6-month UN spatial planning project in Mostar, Bosnia Herzogovina. That just happens to be a city that came into my life on Friday, around 3:50pm when I bought a return ticket from Dubrovnik to Muenchen for June 3rd, a Sunday. That meant that, instead of travelling from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo or Belgrade or Thessaonliki I would return fly out of the same city that I'm flying to on May 25. After buying the ticket I knew that I would I would make some kind of loop for the 9 days. Here's how it looks as a concept now:

may 25/26/27 Montenegro
May 28/29/30 Sarajevo, Bostnia
May 31 Mostar, Bosnia
June 1/2 Dubrovnik, Croatia

It's all a brand new area for me, I'm really interested in the history and culture of the Balkans, caught between the fanatiscism of Islam and Christianity for two thousand years. It's encouraging me to learn new things about new places so I can actually talk to the people I meet about their history, about their culture, to learn while I'm there. That's actually a major aspect of my travelling, but I don't usually think of it that way, that I learn when I travel.

That would be an April Fool's joke, telling the German IRS that travelling should be a write off because I learn things that I can talk about in my English classes....april fool's