Wednesday, July 30, 2008

shots

i'm going to get the last immunization shots before my trip to central america today, not to mention an overdue dental check up. tomorrow will be our last day in the States for 6 weeks, an adventure is beginning.

We went to the pageant of the masters last night, an "tableau vivant" art exhibition with real people in famous paintings standing still so it looks like the original. It's been going on for 75 years now and is probably one of the oldest art exhibitions in the world (one of, I said).

Today Franziska will finally get a chance to see what my local dive bar looks like and hopefully meet some more of my friends before we take off.

How are you?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

the dreams

So, a bunch of little things have happened as of late.

Still getting up earlier than I want, 7am this morning. My buddy Gino Casino was here two nights ago and we went out with my buddy Roman to Boscoes and then to the Spectrum and saw Stepbrothers, the new Will Farrell movie. he took off yesterday for san diego.

Franziska was supposed to come in last night but she got delayed in Newark, oh yeah! hahaha but I went down to San Diego today to pick her up. We visited Old Town in San Diego, had some Mexican food and then got through some traffic and finally made it up to the OC.

We did a bit of shopping, went to dinner and then came home to chill out. We were just in the jacuzzi for a bit and are now chilling out watching "Girls Next Door".

Oh yeah, the reason for the blog post title is that we booked at least one night in Costa Rica on the beach in a place called Los Suenos which is spanish for the dreams....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

4.32am

You know, that kind of time usually means I had a pretty good night but in this case it's because I'm jetlagged.

All things considered, the trip from freiburg to california went pretty smooth. Of course the first flight left two hours late but with a bit of stress and some luck, I was able to make my connection in Chicago and then 4 hours after that I was waiting for my bags, getting some Mexican food and watching the Dodgers win a 3-2 ballgame, then went to bed around 11:30pm but found myself up at 2:30am and again now at 4am.

As usual, I have good problems...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sorry, more politics

This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.
---- John McCain, yesterday


I was going to print a reaction to this but I'll just give you a couple of links that break it down:
http://www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/07/mccain_meltdown.html

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/superprick-by-digby-this-is-clear.html

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The weekend with Maya

Wow, what a great time with Maya this weekend! She was visiting from Norway and we were busy:

Thursdy night, hung out for a couple of hours after midnight after she arrived.

Friday night, met up with a bunch of friends and we got wild, with some of us still with drinks in our hands at 4am.

Saturday night, went to a buddy's dj gig of electro music and were there until 2am.

Sunday we didn't do much because the weekend had been taking its toll and then...

Monday night we went to the Ben Harper show which was epic. I had a great time and the guy has some amazing energy.

How was your weekend?

I'm leaving in less than 3 days for the rest of the summer, woohoo!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A typical Thursday

it wasn't.

I had to go to a meeting 45 minutes before class about money.

I sat in a cafe for my first class.

I talked about aliens possibly building the Egyptian pyramids in the second class.

I administered an exam in the third.

It started raining like all hell just minutes before my 4th class started and people were running for cover.

The last class of the day went about as normal.

I bought 18 euros worth of stuff at the market and ate some meat.

I have a long, stressful and rushed week and then I have 9 weeks off.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Executive Privilege

The President apparently has invoked "executive privilege" to keep the Vice President's interview with FBI investigators shielded from public view. The interview was about his role in the leak of former undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame. The Vice President's former aide Scooter Libby was found guilty of 4 felonies. Bush commuted his sentence, somehow better than a pardon, though the 4 felonies remain. It was better because by commuting the sentence Scooter Libby was not allowed to testify before Congress so his secrets remained just that.

I'm listening to Donald Trump being interviewed by Howard Stern and they are talking about how Bush lied us into war. Stern just asked him:

"Would you put Osama bin Laden on The Apprentice?"
"Would you put Hitler on the show?"

Now they're talking about Paul McCartney's pre-nuptial that fell apart.

You see how easy it is to get sidetracked.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A modern handwritten letter nearly 5 years old

(this became current again with Feith's and Sands' testimonies for the subcommittee of the House Judiciary, this about one of the leading Democrats, one of only 2-3 Democrats who were briefed about "enhanced interrogation techniques", wrote about what he saw and experienced. Think about that while reading this. This was a handwritten note)

http://www.democrats.org/a/2005/12/senator_rockefe.php

Senator Rockefeller's Hand-Written Letter to Vice President Cheney
July 17, 2003

Dear Mr. Vice President,

I am writing to reiterate my concern regarding the sensitive intelligence issues we discussed today with the DCI, DIRNSA, and Chairman Roberts and our House Intelligence Committee counterparts.

Clearly the activities we discussed raise profound oversight issues. As you know, I am neither a technician or an attorney. Given the security restrictions associated with this information, and my inability to consult staff or counsel on my own, I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities.

As I reflected on the meeting today, and the future we face, John Poindexter's TIA project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the Administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveiliance.

Without more information and the ability to draw on any independent legal or techical expertise, I simply cannot satisfy lingering concerns raised by the briefing we received.

I am retaining a copy of this letter in a sealed envelope in the secure spaces of the Senate Intelligence Committee to ensure that I have a record of this communication.
I appreciate your consideration of my views.

Most respectfully,

Jay Rockefeller

Douglas Feith

The guy could be a war criminal who advocated going against the Geneva Conventions when it comes to enemy combatants. He's on www.cspan.org now testifying about his work. There's another guy on the panel who has written a book about how the Bush Administration and how torture came about. Feith is currently calling the guy a liar. This should be good. The opening statements of the witnesses is now and I have another hour I can watch/listen before my private lesson comes over.

Why can no one be held accountable? Some low level soldiers were convicted of torture and abuse the administration said it was just those bad apples but now it's clear that this was discussed in great detail by the most important people in the Bush Administration.

Monday, July 14, 2008

In 2 and a half weeks

Franziska and I will be in Costa Rica.

I've been doing research the past weeks, slowly but surely and a route is beginning to develop. It looks like our 6-week trip to Central America will look something like this (while being totally open to change at all times)

week 1 - NW Costa Rican beach town (Playa del Coco?), and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
week 2 - Ometepe Island and Granada
week 3 - Leon and Eastern El Salvador
week 4 - Gracias, Honduras and Copan ruins
week 5 - Rio Dulce and Tikal, Guatemala
week 6 - Huehuetenango and Antigua

There are plenty of openings and uncertainties along the way, namely:
*how will we get from Leon to Eastern El Salvador?
*should we fly from Flores (Tikal) to Guatemala or take a bus?
*which town should we spend the first days of the trip in?
*which national parks and natural reserves, volcanoes and Mayan ruins should we visit?
*where should we couchsurf and where should we get hotels?
*what is our budget?

Our budget has not been discussed yet but here's a basic idea:
42 days *** prices in dollars
transportation 400 (10bucks/day)
accomodation 850 (20 bucks/day)
food/drink 600 (15 bucks/day)
museums, etc. 450 (10 bucks/ day)
misc. 600 (15 bucks/day)
---------------
2900 dollars (70 bucks/day)

70 bucks/day as of today's exchange rate (thanks http://www.xe.com/) is: $1.58 = 1euro.

That means our projected budget is 45 euros/day as a couple. I'm sure that it can be done for less than that but you also see that I have made the budget as if we stay in a hotel/pension every night, and 15 bucks/day for miscellaneous, whether it be mosquito repellant, an extra bottle of wine, a nicer bus or room, probably won't be used every day but you never know. We will most likely spend a couple of hundred bucks on souvenirs as well.

The beautiful thing is that I already have all of that money for the trip sitting in my bank account. I won't have to go into debt to do it. That is a GREAT feeling. I'm going to try and rent out my room for the two months I'm gone but even if I have to pay the rent for those two months, I can afford it. That is a good feeling. I live a pretty low key lifestyle, with my crappy, hand-me-down television, old and beat up apartment and no car, but I'm totally okay with that. This is the sacrifice I make and now we see what I sacrifice it for.

1pm -- productive enough?

I have gone jogging, showered and shaved, cleaned my room, organized my papers, boxed up some stuff, made a hotel reservation for my parents for November and now I'm listening to Howard Stern. Artie is telling his stories about being in Afghanistan doing a comedy show for the troops, some crazy stories to say the least.

This is my last full week in Germany until late September. There is still tons to do but I did "enough" today so I feel like that I can watch another episode of World at War, maybe take a nap and chill. I know, I got a tough life, but someone's gotta do it!

If I do anything else of interest today, I'll let ya know...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Be careful what you say to me

...if you're in America, THEY might be listening now without going to a court first...

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/07/09/fisa_vote/index.html

goodbye to one part of the 4th Amendment

I am so disappointed in Obama...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

McCain = Bush = ...

McCain = Bush = trespassing ticket at public event?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lyaMrS0hzk&eurl=http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/

I guess you should watch the video before thinking too much about it but let me ask you this:

1)Bush is fundraising for McCain.
2)McCain wants to make Bush's tax cuts permanent.
3)McCain is the big surge backer.
4)They are in the same political party.
5)It was a public event.
6)Who is in charge here? A representative from the Secret Service made the guy in the white suit get a policeman to give a 60-year old librarian a trespassing ticket. Is there no accountability for who exactly made that decision.
7)Did McCain know about her being removed?
8)Was it his decision?
9)If he knew nothing about it, who decided she could not stay on public property?
10)How has McCain reacted to this?

That's a good start I guess... check out the video!

Monday, July 07, 2008

4th of july party for 38 seconds

Making the most

Man, the past 2+ weeks have been great. There was great football and then only mostly working on Wednesdays and Thursdays after some of the other classes' semesters had ended.

Take today for example... I woke up sometime around 9, went into the city with Franziska where I made copies of an exam I needed, I bought two new leather necklaces because the two I have now are getting old and I want them to be good for the trip. I also went to the ATM to try out a new bank card that I want to take to Central America. In fact, the last bank statement I got from them has turned into a "ticket to Central America" for me because as soon as it hit a certain amount, ~2700 euros, I knew that I officially had enough money to leave Freiburg for two months this summer. I got that about 6 months ago and it's been taped to desk so I would always see it and now it's in my box that is slowly overflowing with stuff going to California and Central America.

After doing those things, I came home and went jogging, took a shower and shaved and then went down to the supermarket with my roomie to get some things, namely apples, pudding, some schnitzel and egg noodles for dinner tonight.

It's now 2:28pm and I have the rest of the day free. I'm jamming out to some live Crowes from Philly from July 2nd and going to watch some more WWII documentary in a bit...

I guess you could say that I like my life here (again).

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunday afternoon

I woke up at 9:44am, Franziska still asleep for awhile, went and got some breakfast that we could have with some coffee and then graded some exams and chilled out for awhile.

Now it's 3:44pm and I'm listening to the Black Crowes playing Remedy from a mere 3 days ago. Franziska and I just had an interesting conversation about their music. At first she used the phrase "very mediocre" to describe their music and of course I couldn't let that sit there but in the end, it's okay, so we like different music, big deal. It's not like we're different religions or something...oh wait, nevermind.

The 4th of July party was a great time, about 7 Americans and their entourage took up two standard orange benches with a plastic American-themed tablecloth. We had ribs and fries and salad, there was some country and then some funk music with a dude getting down to the tunes.

One of my "friends" who shall remain nameless apparently did something which was quite foolish. As we were all getting ready to leave, he put some lighter fluid on one of the flags and tried to burn it. I didn't see all of this going down but just put it together afterward. It was a shocking moment for me and something that I totally disapprove of.

People are free to express themselves as they wish but within reason, right? I think I of anyone could make a case for being upset about many things happening in America and I could express many of them calmly and thoroughly but that kind of behavior is just straight up unacceptable.

So, Franziska has gone to a movie with her roomie, I think Fox and Oli will come over in a couple of hours to make dinner and then later the ole ball and chain will come back over... just kidding baby! hahahaah

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Weekend and grading and ...

quickly:

1)I've downloaded the first two shows of the Crowes new tour, from 6/28 and 29 from Hampton Beach. A new sound for them, not ideal but I'm digging it.

2)The weekend is here baby, 8:16pm on Thursday! Next class is 8am on Tuesday!

3)The exams came a week early but that's good! About 50 exams to grade from this school is one of the last 10 BIG things I MUST DO BEFORE LEAVING FOR CENTRAL AMERICA... I'll fill you in on the list later after I eat some chili con carne.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

1/2

2008 is half over. What are you doing with your lives? Seriously, a half of a year is gone and what do we have to show for it? I had one measley photo exhibition in Romania, have done no writing virtually with the exception of journaling, and have done some travelling. Ok, well, maybe more than a little but... And I do have a new girlfriend, that is definitely something. I have a new job (a private company that signed up for 6 weeks at 40euros/hour).

But what, really? In a way, I totally wasted the first half of 2008. In other ways, not at all. If I had no artistic inclinations, I think I would feel even more satisfied about my life but there is this constant quiet nagging (no, not the girlfriend, haha) saying to me things like:

*hey dude, why aren't working on "A Humorous Guide to Leaving the Country"?

*hey dude, why don't you finish "Selling to the Norwegians"?

*hey dude, when are you going to get all your negatives organized and make a portfolio?

*hey dude, when are you going to try and send some of your photos in to be published in magazines?

*hey dude, why aren't you taking pictures of Freiburg and the area in order to practice technique?

Those are just some of the questions that keep coming into my head but here we are, 2:26pm on a Tuesday and I have the rest of the day off, here's what I want to do:

*watch some WWII documentary
*drink something with ice cubes in it
*have dinner with my girlfriend
*go to bed at a reasonble hour because I have to get up early tomorrow

But hey, I enjoy this moment, it's necessary, I need the downtime because often I'm on the go A LOT and it's nice to being here and relaxing. God knows this summer I'll be on the go enough...