September 29, 2008

well, I WAS sleeping pretty well and then somehow at 2:57am, I was kind of awake. Now I’m sitting here, putting Central America photos onto a cd so I can take them into town this morning to get some printed up, thinking about watching a couple seasons of The Office or maybe even a Westwing. What do you think?

I have to work from 9-3:30pm, not a bad schedule but there is stuff I would love to do in the city before work, namely dropping off my 23 rolls of film, buying some deodorant, getting some money, ya know, normal stuff.

I have to work the same schedule tomorrow, Wednesday just 9:30-10:30am and Thursday 7-8:30pm. It’s a good warmup schedule for just coming back. But I’m happy to be earning money again, I have to, if I want to keep travelling like I have.

Which reminds me. We bought our return ticket from Morocco to Basel. We paid a bit more for it, about 100euro/person for the one-way flight but it was pretty much the day we wanted to return, late on a Saturday night for a total of 13 days there. Franziska was right in the respect that 2 weeks would probably be enough there, especially after our intense ordeal that was the adventure of Central America. 13 days will probably be plenty to get a taste of it.

I threw out the suggestion of going to Norway for New Year’s Eve. Franziska had suggested Denmark and I would be totally okay with that but if we don’t do that, Norway is a possibility. Then again, we’ll see. I’ll have just come back from 2+ weeks in California and might not have the umph for more flights/”major travel” or simply have too much stuff with me to do it. 🙂

Is it too early to think about Easter and Pfingsten next year??? 🙂


A shout out

September 25, 2008

Well, this is my last full day in the States for about 2.5 months until I come back for Xmas in mid-December. I’m sure that time will fly but still, I have to try and squeeze in all the American stuff I want into today. What will that include? In-n-Out Burger with my buddy Chad, doing some last minute shopping for DVDs (Chuck Season 1 anyone??) and also buying some more clothes with a gift card I have for JC Penny. I’m also going to BBQ with my folks and meet my buddy Zach to possibly watch the Dodgers clinch the division tonight.

And that leads me back to my shout out. I just wanted to give a shout out to my folks, who have always been there for me, supported me, even in the midst of decisions they weren’t totally sure about, i.e., moving to Germany, going to Central America, etc. etc. etc…But they are so generous and caring and even though we are on different sides of the political spectrum for the most part, they are still good people! hahah, just kidding, of course they are. Anyway, this is just a little reminder for all of you out there to make sure to tell the people that mean something to you that they, well… mean something to you.


Morocco and Posse Comitatus Act

September 24, 2008

Two big pieces of news to report: Franziska and I just purchased two tickets to go to Morocco in February! We’re going to leave just after the next semester ends, leave on a Sunday and probably spend about 2-2.5 weeks there, starting in Fez and most likely making our way to Marrakesh, perhaps checking out the Atlas Mountains. It could be a great photography trip for me and, I’m happy to say, my first foray into Africa!

Second, a relatively disturbing pieces of news:

Apparently some military is going to be deployed to the Homeland, somethat that has not happened really since the Civil War, the only exceptions being things like Hurricane Katrina and the National Guard, etc. Here are some of the main excerpts:

They’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.
They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack. . . .
The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”
The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.
“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body”. . . .
The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced “sea-smurf”).

Glenn Greenwald’s analysis:

For more than 100 years — since the end of the Civil War — deployment of the U.S. military inside the U.S. has been prohibited under The Posse Comitatus Act (the only exceptions being that the National Guard and Coast Guard are exempted, and use of the military on an emergency ad hoc basis is permitted, such as what happened after Hurricane Katrina). Though there have been some erosions of this prohibition over the last several decades (most perniciously to allow the use of the military to work with law enforcement agencies in the “War on Drugs”), the bright line ban on using the U.S. military as a standing law enforcement force inside the U.S. has been more or less honored — until now. And as the Army Times notes, once this particular brigade completes its one-year assignment, “expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.”
After Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration began openly agitating for what would be, in essence, a complete elimination of the key prohibitions of the Posse Comitatus Act in order to allow the President to deploy U.S. military forces inside the U.S. basically at will — and, as usual, they were successful as a result of rapid bipartisan compliance with the Leader’s demand (the same kind of compliance that is
about to foist a bailout package on the nation).

I’m sure they’re going to protect the First Amendment, right? 🙂

ps I have no idea what is going on with the above news but it would seem that this is something that should get some traction with the news, but of course won’t.

pss McCain wants to cancel the debate on Friday to help with the bailout. Uh huh…They won’t let the media have access to Sarah Palin and now he wants to have even less exposure to his ideas…This all makes me sound cynical but…

Thanks, Diarreaha!

September 22, 2008

Believe it or not, this is NOT about me getting the good ole Montezuma’s revenge.  We just had a wonderful afternoon in North San Francisco around Fisherman’s Wharf, shopping and eating and walking and seeing sea lions  and then we were in the parking structure, in the elevator going to our car.  The elevator was full of Germans, middle aged ones from the middle of the country most likely.  As we were getting out on our level, I said in German, “Schoenen Abend noch!” which means, “Have a nice evening!” and one of the guys answered, “Danke, durchfalls.”  This may not seem funny to you but here’s why it is… Normally one would answer, “Danke, gleichfalls” which means, “thanks, likewise” but this little joker made a play on words into, “thanks, diarreaha”.  I’m pretty sure he didn’t know that I would understand him.

I had a  nice breakfast with my aunt’s friends, Caroline and Dozer, a lesbian couple who have a 5-year old son.  Super nice people, really laid back and their son was a riot.  The place we met was called The Fat Lady and it was an instant classic.  A review from Zagat’s on the wall in the hallway started with “Experience a bordello without committing a sin…”  I loved it so much I bought a shirt from the place.
Last night we had dinner at my mom’s cousin’s and he cooked us some goooOOoood food.  It started with a antipasti platter with salami, prosciutto, and serrano ham, and figs and some bread and some olives.  Then we had some pasta with homemade pesto.  Then we had some amazing bbq’d chicken with succatash, grilled artichokes, onions and mini eggplants with tomatoes.  We also had an amazing tomato and mozarella-like salad that rocked.  We had cheese and bread and figs and walnuts and honey for dessert.
I’m driving home with my folks tomorrow and will have 4 more nights at home before having to go back to Germany but I’m looking forward to it, it’s been two months!

Can I have $2,333 dollars from you to spend as I wish without a receipt?

September 20, 2008

Apparently, the Treasury Secretary any day could be given 700 billion dollars to spend as he wishes without oversight. He’s going to bail out Wall Street, I guess without making major changes to the regulatory aspects to these grand institutions that cannot afford to fail. How he spends this largesse can never be reviewed for its legality, as it says in the current draft of the Act that’s being written.

How did corporations become more important than human beings? People all over America are losing their homes, foreclosures in August of this year up 27 percent from August of 2007. The people who brought us to this ruin are now going to be bailed out or what, or some dark unknown frightening thing will happen. It was the same as the “preciptious withdrawl” from Iraq, we just don’t know what will happen when we leave, we don’t know if it will be precipitious but we can’t do it, we just can’t. And here, with the Bailout, we have to, we can’t question it or think about it or try and get the best deal possible for all of the worthless securities and mortgages and who knows what else we’re going to purchase. Hell, we bought the largest insurance company in the nation, now what? Do premiums become cheaper now?

Maybe we should privatize healthcare like McPalin, because they’ll run it into the ground and then the government will have to buy it up and then voila, we’ve got socialized health care.

We are now privatizing profits and socializing losses. Capitalism has lost, just a mere 18 years after Communism lost. Maybe there is something to that evil socialism thing…

p.s. That 2,333 dollars is the per person cost for the Bailout…enjoy! 🙂

The Bay Area

September 20, 2008

This is my second time to the Bay Area this year, the first time in March and I’ll be here one more time in December. I have grown to love this area, even though the Giants and 49ers are here. It is a big city with a West Coast feel, good Mexican food, hell good all kinds of food, last night I had an amazing burger with guacamole and jalapenos, it was delicious.

We’re going to do dinner at my mom’s cousin’s place tonight, David and Carole with whom I stayed in March. David can cook like a madman and I’m looking forward to it.

It’s a bit strange but last night was the first night in 2 months that Franziska and I didn’t spend together. We have spent essentially every moment of every day together that whole time and we haven’t gotten sick of each other… that’s a pretty good sign, eh?

Anyhoo, I’ll be back in Germany in one week and you’ll start getting more blog posts with more photos from the trip, including some stuff from the Monterrey Bay Aquarium.

On a side note, since when did the government start using taxpayer money to buy up hundreds of billions of dollars worth of bad debt? Were “the People” conferred with at all? I guess this would be the last statement on the success of a “free market”…

Another video along the road in a village in Guatemala

September 16, 2008