New Monster

December 31, 2008

We went out for drinks last night and boy, that was a shock to the senses.  The four of us, Franziska and I, her brother and his girlfriend, went into the city.  Our first stop was cut short when there were some young men playing and yelling in the street.  Franziska and her brother were like, ok, back in the car, come on.  People get shot in this town.  Come on, lets go! It was pretty funny and an auspicious beginning to my girlfriend’s hometown.

We then went to a place called Post Keller and it was a bar for men who are in their 30s and 40s and may be unemployed and they like to smoke. It felt a little uncomfortable in there and did little to help my impressions. Then we went to Kontraste, a nicer place but it was nearly empty except that Yogi, Franziska’s brother, knew 2 people in there so he did not want us to keep using the real names of people we were discussing because maybe one of their friends would be there.

We wanted to go to Klatsch after that but it was closed at midnight so we went to Viviano above the Subway sandwich shop. We actually had to walk through subway to get to it and it was closing and they didnt want to sell us drinks but then he acquiesced and insisted we should have a free shot as well.  We drank our beers and then came home, where Franziska’s parents had also just arrived.  We had another glass of champagne and went to bed around 2am but didnt fall asleep until 3am.

I woke up at 11.50am and had breakfast and now we are chilling in the living room. We are going to a public party tonight to celebrate the new year. I will let you know how it went!


Neumünster

December 30, 2008

I am in northern Germany, my friends! I have never been this far north in Germany, just a mere hour from the Danish border.  I am still jetlagged but am chilling out quite warmly in Franziska´s parents´house.  I landed on time yesterday, everything worked out well except for not having a seat for the first 2+ hours of my 4.5 hour journey and sat in the hallway of the train car.

Franziska and her pops picked me up at the station and drove me to their place, a bit out of town but on a small lake with some strange-looking large animals out the window. They are the size of cows but with very shaggy brown hair and huge horns.

Her brother and his girlfriend are makign some mussels for us (but not for Franziska, she doesnt like seafood) and I am excited to try them out.

Not so much to report but wanted to let ya’ll know that I am safe and sound in northern Deutschland!  By the way, it is only about 27 degrees outside right now!!!


Going home

December 28, 2008

When I’m in Germany, I talk about “back home” and I mean California.  When I’m in California, I talk about “back home” and I mean Germany.

This time going home means Germany. I’m flying with Lufthansa from Los Angeles to Frankfurt direct and then I have to catch a train for nearly 5 hours up north to Franziska’s town, Neumuenster.  I’ve never been to NW Germany and I’m excited to have a chance to visit Hamburg.  Her hometown is about an hour from there so we’ll check it out one of these days.

Our new year’s plan?  Apparently we’re goin to have to filet mignon with her parents and brother and then whoop it up a bit. I’ve decided that I want some convenience meaning that I want to be able to get home immediately after the night is over.  What I don’t want is to be drunk at 3am and having to wait 90 minutes for the first train from Hamburg to Neumuenster so I think we should just hang out in her town.  I like her brother so I’m sure that we can have fun no matter where we are and what we’re doing.  That’s one of my favorite things about about Franziska: I have a good time with her no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

Last night I went to dinner with a lot of people for Oli’s and Corrie’s birthdays. Corrie’s parents and my parents were there, and my aunt, and Cengiz, Chris, Aaron, Nate, Eric, Amy, Oli, Fox.  It was a big party.  Oli and Fox and I got home pretty early and got into the jacuzzi for awhile.  Those crazy Germans were still in the jacuzzi when I went to bed around 12:45am! Crazy Germans…oh wait. I’m flying to a country of 90 million of them today. Wish me luck!


Happy Holidays ya’ll!

December 24, 2008

So, barely any good weather in the 12 days since I’ve been home but I’m still grateful for so much. My mom is healthy and so is my pops, I have basically everything I want and even some I don’t want! haha I hope you all get everything you need for Xmas.  This isn’t a Xmas for what you want, this is one for what you need.  It’s important to be happy with what we want but even more important to be happy with just what we need.


A can of whoop ass

December 24, 2008

 

This country needs a can of whoop ass.  I have noticed what seems to be a slow disintegration of the country. It’s hard to explain but can be noted in these point:

  • the bathrooms at the movies last night full of piss. Either people didn’t flush or the toilets weren’t working. Either way is unacceptable.
  • Shitty service at every restaurant I go to.  These people should be working to serve us and it’s like they are doing us a favor bringing us another drink.  I always bitch about the service in Germany but at least you don’t have to tip 20% for shitty service.
  • All that matters is profit for companies.  Income disparity has gotten to a point where a CEO makes upwards for 300 times what his workers make.  60 years ago that number was more like 20 times.  Now this isn’t at every company but we are talking about the companies that are taking money from the government.
  • We have nationalized losses while keeping profit privatized.  That is straight up bullshit.  The banks are getting billions of dollars and they are “declining” to tell us how the money is being spent.  Can you believe the gall of that? It gets worse.
  • Bank of America has received more than 20 billion dollars.  They spent 7 of it on the purchase of a Chinese bank. And they announced last week that they are planning to lay off 30,000 workers.  Let me get this straight. You’ve taken billions of taxpayer money and you’re using it to fire your workers? Our children are paying their future taxes in order to have their parents laid off? Do I understand this correctly?
  • And apparently the application form for money from this bailout is 2 pages long.  TWO pages long to apply for billions of dollars??? If want to get a car loan for 10,000 dollars the application form is longer than that.

And this is what I mean.  The past years have been very good to a very small percentage of people and the rest of us, financially speaking, it’s been crap.  People are worse off now than they were 8 years ago.  Our parents had a better chance at making a comfortable living than we have.  And how are we dealing with it? Giving money to banks with no oversight and then they fire us to increase their dividend payments… Uh huh.


Back “home”

December 22, 2008

Man, was that the longest long weekend in San Francisco!

Got there Wednesday night, had a great dinner with cousin whose 54th birthday it was and then the next day found Oli and Fox at their pretty nice hotel (though their room stunk to high heaven and had beer cans strewn about!) to the good enough hotel that was close to the Fillmore that I had booked.  We went to Fisherman’s Wharf, IHOP, and then back to the room before we went to the Fillmore to wait in line to see the Black Crowes.  They boys were real troopers, waiting in line and having a beer or two with me but they didn’t end up goin in because they didn’t have tix.

As with all 3 nights of the Crowes, I didn’t go down to the floor but rather was up in the balcony so I should see the whole band well.  They played their hearts out, and in the 3 nights they did not repeat one song which in and of itself is a pretty impressive feat.

The second night the boys did go, as did my cousin, and we had a pretty wild night ending with David making us some quesadillas around 1am.  That was nice of him.

Saturday we checked out Oakland a bit and then checked into our hotel at Geary/Van Ness again and I went back over to the venue for the last night.  Saw a lot of old Crowes fans from many years back and it was a reunion of sorts and was a good experience.

Sunday, we were slow, it was raining but Oli and I  went back to Oakland and had a nice brunch with my cousin and his son Willy and my aunt at a place called the Fat Lady.

Oli and I got to the airport 90 minutes before our flight left, a reasonable amount of time if our plane hadn’t left 3.5 hours late! I also had a beer spilled on me at the bar while waiting for our flight.  Fox was waiting for us at the Long Beach airport when we got in and drove us in his newly rented Jeep back to my parents’ house with me goin to bed around 2am.  It’s 9:45am now, I’m exhausted and looking forward to a couple of low key days before the holidays really start!

ps Our plans of goin to Morocco have changed.  It’s hard to explain but not just for me or for Franziska, but Morocco was starting to look less and less like what we wanted for our holiday in February.  It was goin to be stressful and difficult in ways I think we were not mentally prepared for again and so with whole hearted approval of her folks 🙂 we booked our tix to go to Portugal for 10 days.  I have not been to Portugal since September 2005 and it, besides London and Amsterdam and Malaga in Spain, is one of the few places that I will be going back to visit again. I’m really excited, it’s a beautiful country and the food is pretty good and of course the weather is pretty humane, something that is nice to have in February so…


Shoes

December 16, 2008

So a dude threw shoes at Bush at a press conference in Iraq. I don’t think he should have done it but I cannot say he was totally without cause.  He should be processed through the justice system as attempted assault.  Should he be tortured or his family killed for what he’s done? Of course not.  But the problem is with moral relativity.

If it is such a violation for this guy to have thrown shoes at Bush, what about the injustices we have caused in that country?  Yes, women can vote now and the politicians are elected by the people, I will give you that, but at what cost? Has that really been worth the lives of 4300 Americans and more than 30,000 maimed and the the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis? What about all of the young women who have been forced into prostitution after their families fled to Jordan?  What about the increase of power to Iran? What about our national treasure, and spending 10 million dollars/hour in Iraq? With 10 billion dollars a month spent there, we could bail out many of our important industries in the United States.

We have tortured people, used illegal rendition, listened in on phone calls we shouldn’t have and suspended habeaus corpus.  Am I some crazy liberal for wanting to follow the Constitution?  And what is the big scandal of the day? Obama has been asked to wait by the US Attorney prosecuting the Blagojevich case a whole week before producing his report which says that no one had indecent contact with Blagojevich.  Now, i wasn’t intimately involved in the media scandalisation that was Clinton’s second term but Obama has yet to take office and there are already people doing everything they can to undermine him.  I’m so glad that “my” side playing by the rules is going to be reciprocated by the other side.

I don’t think the dude should have thrown shoes. 5 years ago they were beating the Saddam statue with shoes and now it is the man who liberated them. Maybe we should stop and ask a couple of questions of why that is. We never seem to stop and think anymore.  We just react.