Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm in the process of moving...

http://jasonconga.wordpress.com/

I'm in the process of bringing my blogspot blog over to wordpress. I think it's got more features that I like, including the tag cloud which you'll notice to the bottom right. So check out the site and soon that will be your place to get your 24/7 Jason updates, that is, until I get off my ass and get my own domain.

Friday, October 17, 2008

In the works

hey all,
It's weird but having free time and getting older will make you do. No, no, I didn't buy a ferrari but I started thinking that I have to supersize this blog I have. I have found a voice for it but I don't always use it. I want it to have more access to my art and have the blog be only one aspect of it. I'm thinking of going over to wordpress and buying my own domain name. I'm not going to tell you so one of you 3 wiseasses swoops in to buy the domain name from under me. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure but one of you could even do it! hahaha

Anyway, I'm hoping to relaunch the website for the new year. I'll still be blogging on this one but hopefully I'll have something new for you, give you a chance to see more of what I've been doing with my life the past 10 years.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stopping slowly

Damn, two classes I'd hope to have this semester are not going to happen. That does open up my schedule but it means money that I won't have in the spring. I guess I should pick some pretty cheap holidays to do in the spring then, eh?

What am I thinking about, anyway? Well, I've had a lot on my mind lately, about me growing up (slowly), deciding that maybe I want to save (slowly) so I can buy an apartment in Freiburg and also what holidays will I go on next year.

New Year's -Hamburg/Denmark
February - Morocco
April (Easter) - Sardinia?/Israel?
May (Pfingsten) - NW Spain?/England (to visit Franziska's brother)?/Lichtenstein?
Summer - California/Hawaii

It would feel weird for me to stay home for a week that is technically "holiday" here for students. It's generally accepted that I am "allowed" to leave for that week, whether it be Easter or Pentacost or whatever but the point is, someday in the future my life won't be like that. That's another reason why I've been trying for the past years to squeeze as much travel in as possible and I feel it is my duty somehow to achieve an amazing feat, that being 100+ days of vacation for 5 years in a row. This is the fourth year. Can I somehow do it one last time before deciding to act like an adult? I think I can but the money from those lost classes will not help. It means that I will have to live more cheaply (which shouldnt' be hard because I used to go out and eat and drink all the time) and lately I have been eating at home more. I will also look for some new work in January but I guess for now my best bet is to think about where I want to go, decide I'll be able to afford it somehow and continue to write my novel and enjoy the hell out of my hammock. Any questions?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Starting slowly

I gotta tell ya, it's been great starting work slowly after 9 weeks off. I only work 2 days this week and 3 days next week and that's working me into soft and easy. Many people wonder how I afford to live without working so much and while I can understand their questions, the answer is pretty boring. It's somehow cheaper to live here. I'm able to earn a larger percentage of my rent in a day than I could earn in the States. I don't work as much but I can earn my rent in a day sometimes. That type of rent percentage is just not possible in America for most people.

I also live pretty cheaply. True, I do waste money here and there and I travel a lot and I spend a lot on photographs and eating and drinking out but still, it's cheaper here. Not having a car or having to pay for gas or insurance is a big thing.

All I know is that I have enough money in my account to not earn a penny for the next 6 months and still be able to pay all of my bills. That is a good feeling. It allows me to feel relaxed. I am grateful for my life here.

Today, by the way, I earned nothing. :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cardinology

The name of Ryan Adams' band's new album is Cardinology. I've heard about 8 of the 11 songs so far and am really excited about it. In fact, I've just pre-ordered a copy of it from Amazon, along wth a biography of the company Blackwater and a book by Naomi Klein called "The End of America". It should be interesting.

I'm bummed that Ryan isn't coming to the Continent for this tour, only the UK in November. Maybe in the new year, but I'll tell you, the show of his I saw in November last year in London was superb. I would definitely travel to see him play provided it worked out. But in November my parents are visiting and we're going to Barcelona together and so that is out.

He's playing in LA 8 days before I arrive in December. This happens often with my travels, but it's okay. Those are the breaks of being a jet-setter. No, I've never ridden in a jet (that I know of) and I'm no much of a setter but I am living that life, albeit in miniscule imitation. I have flown more than 20 times this year, for the 3rd or 4th year in a row. Only once was in business classs and that was a random upgrade. I will have visited 13 countries on different continents. My 4th year in a row with more than 100 days of vacation.

Granted, I've slept in some pretty awful hotels (Panajachel, Santa Rosa de Copan, Leon, Antigua, etc)and had some strange sleepng arrangements (Amsterdam, Brasov). I've eaten a lot of crappy food, and I don't just mean fast food and oreos. I'm talking about food of unknown provenance and cleanliness, nearly unbearable bathroom facilities and blah blah blah. That must all be taken into account. It's true, I "jet-setted" into somewhat undesirable areas but hey man, you don't always know where you're landing, right?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

5 pages

I'm not sure if I mentioned that I'd starting writing a new novel. Probably I have. Did I tell you I started the novel with the word 'fuck'? I don't know, I thought that gave it a modern twist.

I wrote 5 more pages today, mostly dealing with the protagonist teacher getting through a boring beginner english class and musings on the English and German languages. I know, I know, it sounds like I'd need pictures of naked chicks to make that sound interesting, I don't think it'll be that inaccesible, even to my mentally, uh-slower friends, heeeeeelllllllllllloooooo to you my friends.

Sorry for assuming that more than one of you was mentally slower, just going by the numbers of probability.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Paranoia = Reality?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/07/AR2008100703245_pf.html

Am I the only one who thinks this is disturbing as hell???

Here's an excerpt:

The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects, the state police chief acknowledged yesterday.
Police Superintendent Terrence B. Sheridan revealed at a legislative hearing that the surveillance operation, which targeted opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war, was far more extensive than was known when its existence was disclosed in July.
The department started sending letters of notification Saturday to the activists, inviting them to review their files before they are purged from the databases, Sheridan said.
***
But Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore County) noted that undercover troopers used aliases to infiltrate organizational meetings, rallies and group e-mail lists. He called the spying a “deliberate infiltration to find out every piece of information necessary” on groups such as the Maryland Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the Baltimore Pledge of Resistance. When Hutchins called their members “fringe people,” the audience of activists who filled the seats in the hearing room in Annapolis sighed.

The internet tubes

I'm sure I don't use the internet to the fullest extent possible. I'm not even sure that I would want to but there are some things that make it the best thing in the world. I'm referring to getting music from the Internet and getting it into your computer or even just headphones with very little effort and just some time.

Right now I'm listening to a My Morning Jacket show from Chicago 2005 that sounds pristine. I used to have to send blank tapes to people and wait a couple of weeks to get some new live music or I'd make a copy onto tape of some live show I had. The shit was time-consuming but there was a slightly human aspect to it. Now it's just attaching to a newly formed nipple of information and suck at will.

I have been going gaga over some new Ryan Adams stuff (found on archive.org) from just in the past week. You can't imagine how close you feel to the whole world when you download a concert that had just ended 36 hours ago on the other side of the world and it is there for your perusal and or just file it away with other live shows until it's time to listen to some new ones. It could be overkill but it's like a huge sugar vein and it's not that easy to stop.

A disclaimer: I am only referring to downloading live music for my own use, not studio-released material. Nor am I selling anything. It stays on my computer.

Sorry for that disclaimer. I know I'm not that interesting but with the way information is sucked on, not being interesting can still be enough to start a new FBI "assessment" of me. I know it sounds like I'm exagerrating but this

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080913/POLITICS/809130315/1022/rss10

is a problem. I can't believe I've "become" such a far left person, just because I care about the Constitution and rule of law.

Anyway, more good stuff about the internet there. I can have more access to information and so my curiosity and thirst levels and nearly always satified by the internet. Don't get me wrong, I like reading and doing other stuff too, but I like feeling connected to the rest of the world, even if in brief moments.

So, now that the weekend is here :) what is on tap for the rest of the day?

*I'm going to work on the 3rd installment of the new novel I'm working on, "The Newropean" or the "The Neuropean".

*I've got to start on the Central America digi photo album. It's time consuming and only later rewarding in those moments when you get someone who will look at photos for 20 minutes.

By the way, I've added some new links to the right, places where I get a lot of my news. Some of you might wanna check it out.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Muthafucka's hammockin!

Sorry for my foul language, I just could find no other way to express how absolutely decadent I feel lying in my hammock and blogging with my wireless internet in my room. It's true, I don't have a car, a nice TV or even a nice apartment, but none of that matters (to me). I'm a relatively simple guy and apparently wireless internet and a hammock will suffice.

The McCain campaign have gone off their rockers, sorry to make an old person joke but you gotta be kidding me. In a speech yesterday, to McCain's rhetorical question, "Who is the real Barack Obama?", a person at the event yells out "Terrorist!". At a Sarah Palin event, as she's telling her parishoners that Obama is "palling around with terrorists", someone yells out, "Kill him!". Now I do not hold McCain or Palin responsible for what some yahoo yells out at a campaign rally but the disturbing things are threefold:

1)McCain clearly heard the guy yelling "Terrorist!". McCain should have, in that moment, said, "Calm down, people, this is about his policies. Barack Obama is not a terrorist and you know it."

2)McCain, with nothing left in his tank except for bile, has decided to use it. He is going to drag America through the gutter in an attempt to Hail Mary his way into the White House. Not to mention that he has been wrong about so many key issues that are crucial to America. He's just going to say that Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko show that Barack Obama has poor judgement. There's no way that McCain wants to go down that road. For every Bill Ayers and guilt by association, there is a Charles Keating who is a guilt by guilt example.

3)Sarah Palin has some answering to do on a number of issues. A vice presidential nominee is not allowed to simply not hold ONE press conference before the election. She is also not allowed to, in my opinion, run for higher office when her husband will not even honor a subpoena in a highly relevant case, namely how she deals with subordinates and dissent. And finally, she has to answer some questions about having 60,000 dollars in per diem while AT HER HOUSE and then not claiming them on her tax forms. I was wrong, there is a fourth thing. I am not one to suggest that Trig Palin, the newest of the Palin clan is not Sarah Palin's child. But she should be more than willing to provide documentation that he is. There is no record of his birth at the hospital. We have not seen her medical records. This is all a sham. If there is no accountability, let's just go back to continental Europe in the 1700s when the monarch had absolute power. Then at least we'd know to stop asking questions.

ps I started writing a new book last night.

Monday, October 06, 2008

ruh roh

www.keatingeconomics.com

Just published by Obama today, a 13-minute documentary about the Keating 5 Scandal, something most of us are too young to know that much about...

William Kristol

It took me awhile to realize that Billy Crystal and William Kristol where not the same person. Well, not THAT long but long enough...One is an actor and the other is a hack. And the latter doesn't act so I'll let you figure out which is which...

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/06/opinion/06kristol.html?ref=opinion

Sarah Palin, who has been as protected from the real world as a Jewish mother's only son has spoken. Sort of. She has been the Republican Vice Presidential nominee for all of nearly 6 weeks and has given 3 interviews (Gibson, Couric, Hannity) and had one debate. It was a train wreck from the beginning but after her first couple of interviews, when it became clear that this woman was STUDYING to become vice president of the United States, her handlers (as if she's a defector from the Soviet Union) thought it better for her not to do any interviews with, ya know, journalists. We can't have her out there being insulted by people without deference for her, they said. DEFERENCE. This press corps has allowed the Constitution to be shredded under their very noses and Palin's handlers want they more deferential. It's like a rookie on the baseball team expecting respect instead of going out and earning it.

Well, lo and behold, she takes a phone call from Republican hack William Kristol. The guy wouldn't be so bad if he weren't so bad. I mean, he has some ideas, but regardless they are completely seen through kool-aid infested Republican glasses. I have no problem with Republicans in general. Hell, my parents are Republicans and they are two of the finest people ever to grace this earth but this guy cannot see things as they are. I know how difficult this is. I also care a lot about this election. But for him to have the chance to have the elusive dodo bird, er, Sarah Palin on the phone, he can come up with nothing except for: wow, what about those Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers guys? Do you think it shows bad judgement by Obama? What is this, Pravda magazine?

Is this really where the McCain campaign wants the last 4 weeks of this election to go? Guilt by association? Because both of the people on the Republican ticket are just as guilty of this if not more than that muslim-sounding dude. McCain would have to become reminded of Charles Keating and G.Gordon Liddy, two pretty infamous people from the last quarter century of America history. And what about Palin? Her husband was in a secessionist party from Alaska? Their leader, before being killed in a plastic explosives deal gone bad, damned America and cursed the flag. Don't you think that your husband being in a political group whose goal is for Alaska to become its own country rather troublesome when you are running for vice president? Or what about HER pastor, a guy spouting ya-ya about witch doctors?

Is this really where they want to go? And the answer is yes. This is where Karl Rove has had the biggest impact on Republican politics of the past years. Take something you yourself are engaged in and accuse the other side of doing it. It puts them on the defensive and of course no one suspects that you yourself are guilty of it. Voter fraud, anyone?

Anyway, read this article and tell me again if you think the NY Times is "liberal media". Yes, they are against the war now but doesn't make me liberal? Maybe I'm a fiscal conservative and I don't think the costs are worth what we are getting for them. Hell, we could pay for probably nearly 10% of the bailout just with the war profiteering from the Iraq War...

Back to your regularly scheduled program...

work

Tomorrow I have to get up around 8:30am, take a train and a bus out to an intersection and then walk two minutes to a company where I will teach 2 classes. I taught one class there in June and was ecstatic that they asked me about teaching a second class there, especially because my best paying school has their head up their ass and might not need me this semester. So this is a huge help.

I still have not hung the hammock, not sure how exactly I'm going to do it but want to have some expert help before I put my slightly overweight body on that thing. Falling down on a parquet flooris not exactly copacetic with a hammock.

I've been cold lately, mostly because it was hot as hell in California before I left. I have been havig trouble getting motivated to work out and/or jog because of the weather but I think something is gonna happen today.

Something else important that will happen today most likely is the beginning of a new book. Franziska is coming over later and will have some work to do so I am going to do some work of my own.

I turned in all the negatives from the Central America trip that I want to get enlarged. There are approximately 60 photos and I'm hoping to use 15 of them for an exhibition. I had an idea this morning to do an exhibition for Valentine's Day with hearts but who knows if I'll get around to that.

There is a new Rolling Stone article on John McCain that is a must-read. It's pretty damning and delves into things that have been largely overlooked by the mainstream media.

We are 4 weeks away from hopefully having a chance to turn the United States around and bringing it back from the abyss but who knows, maybe we're already too late.

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 03, 2008

I went to france today

Was tired as hell, got picked up by Franziska and her parents about 10am, cold and windy with some hope for sun. I get into the nice mercedes and almost immediately told that I can call her parents by their first name, that's a big deal in the German culture. I then proceeded to make a joke that they were only offerring me that because I brought their daughter back in one piece from Central America. Doesn't matter, I'll take it...

We went to Colmar, then a new place for me called Eguisheim which is amazingly pretty, we had some local food (tarte flambee), and then her parents bought 4 cases of wine from a winemaker and we drove through another village and then over to Staufen for a coffee.

We went to a nice cafe there and had coffee and the girls had cake and her dad had a chocolate milkshake and for some reason my carrot cake never came. It worked out fine in the end because I had some of Franziska's. It was a little funny, the waitress was horrified that she'd forgotten, an unusual experience that tell you that's what kind of place it was. Anyway, they gave me a mini tiramasu and then her folks dropped me off. We'd only been gone 7-8 hours but I'm exhausted.

I'm listening to some Jack Johnson bootlegs I downloaded today, very nice...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Drinking with Colleagues

Last night was the first night I had gone out with colleagues in more than 2 months and did we make the most of it. The boyfriend of one of them was visiting from Wales and he added to our discussions with serious ruminations on police reports and "transporting language", whatever the hell that means! We ended up hitting 3 places, all of us surprised that it was already 1:30am as we were leaving. But I had a great time, talking about Burning Man, various scenes and moments from Central America and childhood.

It's raining now and I'm not too motivated to do much today, the most important thing I have going on is a private lesson at 7pm. I also get to see Franziska for the first time in a week and a half. She's driving down from way up north with her folks.

I also picked up the photos from Central America yesterday. I wasn't too happy with the photos but there are definitely a few good ones in there. I'll be lucky to find 15 that could be used in an exhibition. I have to learn some more stuff about cameras and want to take a class or hang out with some more knowledgeable photographers because my zoomed shots were often grayed out for lack of light I'm guessing.

I had a phone call this morning with a company out somewhere (don't remember the name of the town) but they would like to have now a second class with me until Xmas. That is enormously good news, that means every Tuesday I can earn 120 euros in a few hours out in the sticks. That's 480euros/month until Xmas which is the foundation for most of my bills. I like...

It's now noon, I guess I can clean up my room some more and try and organize some stuff but I'm caught up in reading news and wondering whether I could stay up late enough to watch the Vice-Presidential debates tonight, it'll be on like 3am my time...