Tuesday, January 29, 2008

1632

I love a 2-minute phone call that will be worth 1,630euros. 6 days of work for 2 months' living. Hmmm, I wonder why I'm not moving back to California just because the love thing didn't work out...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

An update, if you can call it that

So I've made my first payment to the German Social Security, that you know. Of course they don't know that because they apparently have yet to receive the payment, nor the form I had to fill out explaining all my expenses per month so they could determine how much to tack onto the 195euros/month I gotta pay these (smile) SOBs. Hopefully it is no more than 50euros/month so that I can still take lovely ladies out to eat, buy someone a drink, go to concerts, allow me to self-publish short stories and organize large events and in a more extreme specific way, afford a gram of marijuana while in Amsterdam in April for example. They're small things but they make up my life, or at least what I like about it. Eating out, drinking, travelling, art, events, concerts, fun. I don't want them to take that from me. But I digress.

My passport has new pages in it, the second time I've gotten them added, the first being in Krakow, Poland in April 2005. It's so petty but I'm a bit proud of myself that I have used my passport so much in 7 years that I have neede to extra pages put into it twice. True, I don't have a jetski, a television or even a car but I got that. Anyway, my current 90-day extension to live and work in Germany expires on March 13th. I will show that by then I will have made 3 monthly payments to the German Social Security and ask for a 2-year extension. They told me I cannot have the permanent residence until all 60 months have been paid. Hmmmm, 12,000 euros paid to someone, sure, no prob, I'll have it done by the time Germany gets the World Cup again in like 30 years! hahhahah Nah, it'll take more like 8-10 years for me to pay all of that back and it pains me to think that I might have to wait YEARS before being allowed to live and work in germany permanently but it doesn't matter, I'm living in my life and I'll let them do what they need to do to answer to superiors. I don't have superiors to answer to. I have people I have to deal with. Big difference...

I'll be in California in less than 3 weeks, I cannot wait! Good weather, Boscoes, golf perhaps, beach, not to mention visiting that crazy bastard mooney for a night or two. Boy I hope he gets laid soon! hahah But then again, I should hope the same for me too...so I guess I'll meditate a bit and see what I can do.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

You know you've gotten used to living in Freiburg/Germany when...

1)You know you're riding your bike on the wrong side of the road and you don't care when someone honks and berates you.
2) You ask other people about their WG-Putzplan (shared flat cleaning plan).
3)You think 10% is a good tip
4)You actually enjoy learning strange and obscure dialect words.
5)Fastnacht (Carnival) doesn't freak you out anymore.
6)You drink coffee with someone who helped you move something heavy (instead of a beer).
7)You think it's normal for people to eat bread and cheese for dinner, even if they're not in jail.
8)You think 2 minutes late is unacceptable.
9)You complain when Tacheles (a bar) kicks you out at 5am.
10)You stop and think about which trash can a kleenex, tea bags and toothbrushes go into.
11)You don't remember the last time you won an argument with a German.
12)You know not to call someone during Tatort (like Murder, She Wrote).
13)You don't use the word 'date' because is scares girls.
14)You think it's normal for someone to never share personal details of their life with you.
15)You can't remember the last time you drove a car.
16)It doesn't bother you shops are closed on Sunday.
17)You make an appointment to hang out with a friend 3 days ahead of time.
18)You have a vague guilty feeling you should be more productive but you aren't sure how.
19)You consider sitting outside at a cafe, merely because the sun is shining regardless of the cold.
20)You start saying hurtful things to people without knowing it, because you're 'just' being honest.
21)You try and use logic when dealing with emotions.
22)You know what "Malla" (Mallorca) is and you are glad you have never been there.
23)You don't trust Schwaebisch people but you don't know why.
24)Wearing the same pants 3 days in a row seems normal.
25)You think of your life in terms of space between holiday periods.
26)You like to think that Northern German people feel as foreign here as you do.
27)You have an opinion on whether Sido (a rapper) should have taken his mask off or not.
28)You know what time your bus or tram leaves at all times.
29)You start saying "gell" or "weisch" at the end of everything you say.
30)You start telling people you are a Bobele too.
31)You don't think it's strange for a tv show to start at 6.05pm.
32)You know what a Nuss Schnecke is (a pastry).
33)You know what a Schnecke (hot chick) is when talking to guys.
34)You start saying "Was geht denn ab" (what's up?) to everyone in your life.
35)You know what Hartz4 is and you think that's what he should get.
36)You know what "schniposa" is.
37)You realize German people are just as ignorant as American people.
38)You feel annoyed when people trying getting on the tram/bus when others are still trying to get off.
39)You feel pressure when bagging your groceries at Aldi.
40)You don't think it's strange that there is a dog next to you at the bar.
41)You have heard the song "I've Had the Time of My Life" more in 5 years in German than the rest of your life combined.
42)It's okay to accuse someone of being like the Stasi if they come from the west but Gestapo is out of the question.
43)You don't think it's strange to see a sign "Im Sitzen Pinklen" (Sit when you pee) in someone's bathroom.
44)You actually look at your shit before you flush it.
45)You go weekend food shopping as if getting enough for the end of the world.

More coming soon...

Monday, January 21, 2008

6 months

So I have been officially single for 6 months today. I wasn´t sure what to think about it at first but I distinctly remember an emotion that I had yesterday while I was lying in bed hungover trying not to think at all. It was a moment of ´thanks´that she broke up with me because I have had some great times with Chick A in this time frame and not to mention some of the other interesting women I have met and been on dates on and the nights I was still out at 4am when I normally would not have been. I am going to be okay. I have got a lot to offer that a woman wants, and I am not even worried about it. Things are going well for the most part.

And I have been a lot of places since then. I went to the states for a month just afterward, then to spain for a week, london twice for long weekends, amsterdam and then california again for a few weeks. I had 4 photo exhibitions, saw some great concerts and have been on some dates, some better than others but still, I am getting myself out there. I quit one of my highest-paying jobs because of student apathy. I am now paying into the German social security system which I am not too stoked on but i do want to be here legally so that I can be as free as I feel when I walking around town drunk at 3am with nothing but possibility ahead of me.

What about the next six months? Now that is a good question. I would very much like to try and get work on A Humorous Guide to Leaving the Country done but it has been slow going. I need to focus on what the book is about and just start writing. I am going to try and organize another couple of parties, see some concerts, visit some places (california and amsterdam are the only two that are official but Easter and Pentacost are still wide open). I have been working out and eating better, and I want to enjoy the friendships I have made in the past months and basically be me. I was having some trouble in the Fall being myself for many reasons, none of which need to be repeated if you ever read this blog but it is getting better. I am getting better. It has been six months, not enough to say, hey J, you're all better now but at least enough to say, good to see you're not all fucked up still. Keep going, J, you are getting there. But don't forget to appreciate the journey along the way.

After the next six months, I have an epic trip to Central America planned but more on that later after I do some other stuff in the meanwhile. Cheers, ya'll...

Friday, January 18, 2008

27

I just bought two tickets to see the Black Crowes in Amsterdam on April 11th. I'm so excited, this will be the 27th time I will have seen them and it's like going to church for me. Tickets were a bit expensive (55euros/each) but I don't care. I don't know who is going to use the second ticket and I don't care. Either someone will come with me from Freiburg or I'll sell it to someone outside the venue before I go in, lots of possibilities.

I sang karaoke last night at an Irish pub in town. It's funny because the first song was a bit inappropriate with at least 3 university students of mine there but it was Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women #12 and 35 with "they'll stone ya when you're trying to be so good". The people were still getting warmed up to the evening and so the reception was luke warm but there were so many freakin people singing karaoke that I only got to sing one more time and it was about 2 hours later and the place was more packed and the people much drunker then and I sang Celebration by Kool and the Gang and it went over amazingly! There were tons of chicks right up front dancing and one of them got on the stage to continue singing the song with me and then I was just on the stage with my hands in the air like, check me out, i'm so fucking good at karaoke that some chick just jumped on stage to join me and her friends all loved it and then the karaoke dude came over and chastised them for singing and blah blah blah and so they got off the stage but then I brought the microphone over to them so they could sing with me. That was a damn good time. :)

Now I'm hoping to get up soon and take part of my bed back to IKEA because it sucks. They will probably try and tell me that it is more than 90 days since I received it and I just hope that I don't have to make a scene. I'll keep ya updated, cheers!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

weekending

thursday just chilled, friday night went out with other teachers and made the smart move to go home around 1.15am, just when the night could have turned into some fuller and more sinister and last night went out with some friends for a birthday party and whooped it up dancing to reggae music until after 4am. Just got back from jogging, playoff football tonight, have a bunch of shit I could do but just wanna chill, watch a LOST episode, maybe vacuum, I could do some schoolwork but I'm not motivated so it looks like the lazy dude is gonna win.

cheers, ya'll!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Today

Went to bed at 3am. Woke up off and on through 8pm, took a shower, shaved and rode my bike into town, got some papers from my cubbyhole that I never look in and then went to the university library. First I wanted to go the ATM but it had been moved, a convenient one that i just brought a special ATM card for and then had to find another one. It turned out to be one I'd never been to, didn't even know it was there. I got 20euros, went back to the library and made a beeline for the cafeteria where I bought a double coffee and pretzel for 2.30euros and hustled it back to my classroom. It was 10.01am and my class started in 14 minutes. I had more time than I'd thought.

I only had to sit on the side of the classroom while 3 students were in control of the day's lesson. They chose the smoking ban, alcohol and drugs as topics. I had to do nothing. Then had lunch of turkish burrito (yufka) in what turned out to be perfect weather and sun. My second class was a presentation on the Simpsons and I had to do nothing again but write down their mistakes, which at times is "harder work" than actually teaching/talking. Had a 30-minute break and made photocopies for the third class. I brought in the Sunday edition of the LA Times from December 30th in all its bloated glory and I had each student hold it and pass it on to show its girth. Then I opened it up and gave each of the 13 people a section of the paper, whether it was the front section, sports, calendar, travel, real estate, comics, etc. we spent the next hour with them just looking at the newspaper. i ended up switching it up so that each person could pretty much look at each section, even if some were actually boring. But they also looked at all of the ads inside, compared prices and it was actually a great experience. They were all really, peacefully enjoying the experience of spending an hour to look at a big newspaper. Their homework was to find an article or something of interest and bring it in next week.

Then I met a student for a beer at 4pm but i only drank spezi (fanta and coke). Then I went to Chick A's and for an espresso which was really nice of her because I needed it bad. She has this crazy important job competition interview in 3 weeks in Brussels and is really focusing. It's impressive, really. And then gets to go to Calfornia with moi for a couple of weeks, world, get ready for how Chick A and yours truly rock the world. We've taken having a good time with dinner and drinks to a new level and we'll show ya'll how it's done! hahaha (I'm glad I'm finally off work. Let me get back to my day.)

I then rode my bike over to a university building and had a class with 11 chicks who are students taking a pre-intermediate class. They are from Kazakhstan, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Estonia, Japan, China, Korea and Bulgaria. I'm not shitting you. It was a lot of energy entertaining them after my day but I did ok. I rode my bike home, got home at 7.40 heated up the leftover chile con carne and i am so happy to be in the nest.

So that was my day, at least until 8.30pm. I still have to do the dishes and clean my room but for now I'm here. Cheers

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Photos from Xmas time...




there are 3 to get ya started, more this week hopefully...







Monday, January 07, 2008

Neal Casal

Damn, his music gotten into my head, I can't even imagine what the new Ryan Adams and the Cardinals will sound like if they are writing music together. The two songs in particular are "Freeway to the Canyon" and "You Don't See Me Crying".

I'm hoping to have some normal sleep tonight, the past couple of nights I have been awake at 3.30am and that's okay on a Saturday night but it's aint cool on a Sunday night when I have to work the next day.

I'm trying to figure out how it feels to be back in Freiburg again and I have to say it feels okay. I think I will still just start sniffing out some possibilities of other places to live, so I can almost hold Freiburg hostage like, hey bitch, you better treat me good or I'm outta here! Just kidding, but having options is something that would be good for me so I never feel like I'm "stuck" here. I don't feel like it now but I could envision how it could be in some time if I don't feel like other parts of my life are moving forward.

I did a small workout today, had an OK day of work in Fartwanger and then came home, cooked a nice dinner of pork with peppers and couscous and carrots and then cleaned off my desk (it's already messy again) and did a bit of work on AHG (A Humorous Guide to Leaving the Country) and now I'm chatting with Maya in England. She got a new job in Oslo and is going to make a shitload more money and in her native land of the viking. Good on her!

so, that's Monday...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Differences

I spent a lot of time at home pointing out differences between Germany and the US, not slanting it as "better" but more just cultural things. Last night another of those occurred to me. I somehow pulled myself together to go out for a beer or two with a buddy. We met at the bar where a student of mine works, we had a couple of rounds and then went to another bar with this girlfriend and two other guys. we went separate directions around 1am and i went back to the first bar and the bartender was getting off work so we went to taceles and we ended up drinking and dancing until around 4.40am. I got home around 5 and slept until 2pm and have done more or less nothing today and it's been exactly what I needed. I'm gonna watch my 4th and 5th LOST episodes now...

my point? In a "small" college town of 200,000 in a somewhat conservative part of the country, we were in a fairly packed bar still at 4am and they had to kick us off the dance floor. When I was in Calfornia for Xmas, a couple of times I felt like I was just catching my groove when last call was made at 1.15am or so... see the difference?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Business Class, baby!

I got upgraded on the SF to Frankfurt flight to business class, upstairs even. I was so shocked by the whole thing, they called my name before boarding with a packed room and the guy said, here you go, and i only saw my seat number was lower. then i saw business printed in bold on the top. I had to find my seat, literally, because it was upstairs. I had champagne and Spanish red wine and crab salad and braised beef with caramelized onions, ice cream for dessert and a spanish omelette for breakfast, along with endless supply of water, meaning like half waking up and you think, that's weird, why is there water there again?

I didn't share really one word with the dude next to me who I was convinced was the air marshal or working for blackwater. We just shared a glance when a cute woman walked past at the beginning of the flight and one cheers with champagne (initiated by me, of course).

Going through customs was so easy that I actually had to wait 20 seconds or more while 3 border guards were shooting the shit even though at least one and a half of them saw me but I waited patiently and i was through. Imagine landing in LAX at 10am on a Friday and there is literally no line at like 8 passport checks.

Then my bags didn't come so I waited in line to find out where they were, all the while my initial excitment of possibly being able to catch a train an hour earlier, the lady said they should be on a different baggage claim number. We go out and look, not there. She calls and the person says they should be there momentarily. And damned if I didn't go out there and there they were.

The 2 hour train is difficult because it's the end of a long journey but then again, you're travelling in comfort and peace and 150km/hour.

Took a taxi, no one is here this weekend (woohoo!), my room is in chaos and I made my first payment to the German Social Security for 195euros. I can't believe all the shit I've been through and that's where we are nearly two years later.

But I got a phone call. My plane tickets to Central America are being dropped in my mailbox right now.

Overall an extremely positive experience door-to-door, all things considered but there was still its bullshit. It's 3pm, i'm out of it and wanna unpack but wanna look at photos and wanna eat something and wanna sleep. I like that journeys make me want to do so much at once.

Cheers...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Glorious

I somehow forgot about the weather in southern California. The thing is, I often tell people in Germany that there is no weather in southern California but I was wrong. The weather is perfect here. Today, for example, the second of January, a cold ass day in Freiburg for sure (it's 32 degrees right now, 0 for you centrigraders) and here it is 74 degrees (23 centigrade), a slight breeze, mostly sunshine, just glorious. I miss this. I've been jogging 10 times in the nearly 3 weeks I've been home, that's about how many times I went jogging in the second half of 2007 and I attribute most of it to the weather. So what can I do about that? I'm goin to have to focus on working out indoors, no matter how unglorious that is and to still get motivated to jog at least once a week, if not twice. Every 3 days to go jogging isn't so bad but the weather is unpredictable, even if it's not so unbearably cold it might be raining and I ain't going jogging in the rain, I don't love life THAT much! hahahah

Hard to believe I'll be in Germany in 40 hours or so. It's going to be an interesting readjustment period but I'm glad to have the weekend to relax and organize. My desk is a mess and it'd be good to get all those papers organized before work starts up on Monday and to be able to unpack, maybe reorganize my room a bit, give me a feeling of newness, something 2008 desperately needs. I need this all to feel new to me, not just an extension of what was but we'll see. I'm off to enjoy my last day in the sunshine for 6 weeks, have a good one!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Patriotism

I was asked by my mother the other night if I was patriotic. I couldn't believe she had asked me that. I told her that I loved this country more than anyone and that's why I talked the way I did. Last night at the bar I told some dude that I felt more free in Germany than in the States and he told me to leave then, go back to Germany. He then told the chick next to us that I said Germany was better than the States which is not what I had said at all.

And this brings me to a quote and then my point:

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."
--Thomas Jefferson

When I think of the United States, I think of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Supreme Court decisions like Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade. We are a nation of laws and the document explaining our government (the Constitution) is the oldest of its kind in the world and it's one of the things that has allowed us to become the most powerful nation on earth, not through firepower but through providing a beacon of hope to the oppressed masses who want something better, a chance to make something of their short time on earth.

We are now run by a large group of corrupt politicians and corporations whose main interest is making profit. A government should not care about profit. It should care about those people who elected them, namely, everyone. We have laws that are being broken right now and nothing is being done about it. I am not saying that this hasn't been going on for a long time but it has reached its nadir during the current administration. Now I'm sure a lot of people working for the government (probably the vast majority) are good people doing their public service humbly and to the (more or less) best of their abilities. But we have some people, and I would guess it's in the hundreds, who are higher ups in this oligarchy and they have made many decisions to help a political party. You do not work for government to help a political party, you stupid aparatchiks. And that's where we have gone wrong. Our entire federal government has been politicized to such an extent that even FEMA press conferences are staged with employees of FEMA acting as journalists and asking questions. It's the hubris of our leaders, the apparent comfort of people's lives here and the overall indifference that occurs within a fat, free society that are all mixed in to create the situation we have. The treasury is being ransacked and they've got a year left to get what they can before running out of town with hundred dollar bills flying in their wake. And yet we have the moral authority to tell other countries how to do their business?

I love America and I want it to return to how it was before all of this happened. I want the perpetrators of illegal war and war profiteering to be put on trial. I want the people who okay'd torture and warrantless wiretapping to be on trial. If they are innocent, they are free to go, but I can guarantee they will have the right to a speedy trial, unlike the enemy combatants in Guantanamo or other secret prisons around Eastern Europe. But if they are guilty, god help them, may they be punished to the full extent of the law. The law of the United States.

Happy New Year.