A big thanks for my life

November 30, 2009

I was sick yesterday and did not sleep well and woke to find that I am still sick.  A big thanks for my life because I don’t have to work today.  It’s true, I could have been earning a lot of money but the semester ended anyway and so I don’t have work on Mondays until the new year.  I am so grateful that, if I want, I can stay home the whole day and recuperate.  There is stuff I can do here, like my lesson plans and organize my desk and all that jazz and since I have to go into the city to work tomorrow morning, most of the other stuff that was on my list of plans to do today can be pushed back one day.

I have not seen Franziska for more than a month now.  True, we have skyped often and I’ve even seen her on video a few times but you’re kidding all of us if you think it’s the same.  I have accomplished some important things the past month, namely gotten a photo exhibition together, organized 2 more possibly (Romania and California) and finished writing AND typing my newest novel.  This novel is definitely one of the best of the 5 I’ve written and I’m looking forward to get a second draft finished and getting it out to some people, including publishers and then I’ll also look into self-publishing.  I’ve always been a sort of DIY-guy since I was 18 and first went to college.  Part of the influence of having been a punk.  It’s funny, I wasn’t a punk in the mohawk-sense but in my mentality, how I looked at things, borders I created for what offended or bothered me. Most of those borders were extended greatly by my time in college and yet some were shrunk, namely my feelings for lip-sync.  I am completely against lip-sync in any forum whatsoever and I am bothered by it when bands do it.  But most other borders, like people’s attitudes towards things started to become more of a curiosity rather than something that would make or break a friendship.  That’s probably one thing that led me to liking psychology, in addition to Robert Moser (rip), that punk rock had somehow helped me become a more understanding person and then psychology just sort of fit then.  I’d never thought about it like that but it’s interesting half a lifetime ago to think about such things.

I don’t accomplish nearly as much as I should in life but the problem is, compared to 98% of the people I know, I have accomplished “more” than they have.  Granted, many of them have children which in and of itself is an enormous accomplishment that I think I am still a few years away from.  I’m 35 and living like 25.  Is there anything wrong with that?  I don’t think so.  I’m responsible, I get my things done and I’m still thinking about the future.

And the future is telling me that I will finally see Franziska again in less than two weeks!  I’m flying home next Friday, I can’t wait!  I’ve got an interview for an internship before that and a short trip to Holland this coming weekend.  I think this will be the fifth year in a row that I will have flown in a plane more than 20 times in a year.  That is remarkable and I would guess that besides business travellers, there are not many people on earth who flew 20 times a year the past five years only for travel.  I’m proud of that, but I also know the damage it has done to the environment and that is another reason that next year I’m going to try and fly less next year.  It will easily still be 10 times because flying home and back is often 4 and if I do that twice and then go to Romania, bam! there is 10 times.  We’ll see.



Progress on the Renewable Energy front

November 28, 2009

the internet has been cutting out staendig all morning and it’s been totally annoying.  Good thing I’ve been gone the past 4 hours. 🙂

I got picked up at. 10.10am at the Schlecker on Talstrasse across by the Treff.  There was Dr. Josef Pesch, I guess one of the professors of the ReNewMan (it’s a new word i’ve invented for the abbreviated version of renewable energy management but i think it’s got a nice ring to it) who has a company called fesa that does sustainable energy projects.  mid-40s, had just come back from giving a presentation and knowledge about solar projects to the Canadian province of Ontario, and on Tuesday is flying to Cincinnati to give another presentation!!! This guy said he wouldn’t be able to meet until dec 18, when i will be, and then wrote well, you can come on this interview thing i have to do.

So it’s him, his teenage son and 3 Japanese people: a cameraman, a director/producer and an interpreter that has lived in Freiburg for 30 years.  She also teaches a japanese cooking class at the volkshochschule.

We drive past Waldsee past the Moeslestadion to the B31 and a view from a slight distance on a bridge going over the train tracks.  I tried to take a couple of pictures and then Josef, his son and me were instructed to walk along the bridge while Josef tells us stuff about solar energy and when the project was constructed (it’s a fascinating story, 80 investors from the 79117 postal code where the solar Anlage is and of course bank capital).  We did the walk again because the japanese producer dude wanted another shot and then we stood on the bridge and Josef told us more.  Then we were all interviewed very briefly and then we went over to the electrical center that collects the energy the solar panels create/save/capture.  They took some video and then we all went back to his office.  He asked me to come back there with all of them even though …I don’t know, so I just said ok.  And then the Japanese people interviewed him at his desk for about 45 minutes, with the japanese translation of his long sometimes complex answers right after what he said.  Occasionally the director (weird checkered pants, dark sweater, sparse facial hair, bushy hair and with a slight lisp or speech impediment).  Neither of the 2 Japanese tv dudes could speak English.  I mostly spoke German with the Japanese lady.

On the drive to his office that led to this long interview the son and I more or less patiently watched happen, Josef told me about a project he is working on in Bahlingen (not the one near Freiburg sondern in Wuertemberg 2 hours away.  He said I could help him with the project (!!!) and said that at the beginning i couldn’t get paid but maybe later.  We didn’t make any specifics, I told him I could do a day a week or so and we made plans to meet the first week of the year and figure out a plan for me to do some kind of internship there!!!  Considering he is I’m pretty sure one of the professors involved in the Renewable Energy Management program that could potentially help me a LOT.

ps on the off chance that gave me this hook-up now reads the blog, thanks a lot dude.  I owe you a beer fo sho.

pss got the newest black crowes’ show from san diego from Sunday blasting in the headphones

psss bought some deer meat for dinner tonight!

Until Thursday today

November 24, 2009

So I’ve got two chapters left to type in The Newropean, Thursday and Friday.  I have enjoyed it more or less but know there are a few things that will have to be added, cleaned, deleted, changed to make the story fresher and more poignant.

I had a phonecall today with a company about 30 minutes away from here that manufactures part for solar panels. I’ve scheduled an interview with the company  http://jrt.live.avenit.de/en/profil here if you want to check it out.

Not one student came to my 8am class which didn’t really upset me because it allowed me to make photocopies for the university on Thursday and also have a coffee and enjoy the city slowly coming to life.

I’m headed to the gym (again) in a little more than an hour, then a private lesson and then an early night in bed because tomorrow I have an 8am-8pm day (with some breaks in there for sure, but I probably won’t go home between) which always kicks my ass! 🙂

How are you?

French and Forward

November 23, 2009

Two stories this time, one French and one Forward.

“French” — A French couchsurfer named Mathieu spent the weekend with us and boy did he ever!  Let’s just say that it all culminated in dancing to Britney Spears at the Pink Party (wink, wink) at 3 am.  That had been preceded by live reggae music and dancing and beers, that preceded by homemade French Ratatouille with enough olive oil in it to drown an ant hill.  Friday night when he got here, we went to Walfisch and actually had the owner buy us a beer.  I couldn’t believe it, I’d been going there almost 7 years, mofo ain’t never buy me a beer before, but thanks!

“Forward” — I didn’t have to work today in the traditional sense, which is good because the weather was crappy and i got to spend the morning having coffee and getting my day in perspective and by 10.45am Mathieu and I were walking to the spot on the bridge where people hitchhike from.  That dude was at the last leg of a trip that had been going on for a few weeks and started in southern France and had gone onto Stockholm and back.  From there, I went to the gym, a whopping 45 minutes of cardio (usually do 30) and some weightlifting, came home and made lunch.  Here’s where the Forward comes in.  Throughout the day I had been in various forms of contact with people here in Freiburg and in California.  A guy who writes for publications on energy developments, which led me to a guy who is managing a project of some solar panels out by the autobahn and I even called a company in California about their recent sale of solar technology to a South African consortium.  That lady is now potentially sending my resume to the right person in South Africa who will be doing hiring/human resources for their projects throughout southern Africa.

That’s a pretty good step forward, I’d say.  Oops, I already did.

I will Survive in the past tense

November 13, 2009

My work week is over.  It was a tough week, even if it was only 4 days long but now things are looking good for me.  I will have Mondays off until at least the new year and it will free up a day for me to get some work done, I’ll just have to decide what work I’ll do.

A shoutout to Maya in Norway whose sister just had a second child and now Maya is an aunt two times over.

This was my highest earning week of the year.

I plan to go to a concert tomorrow night.  Shaky Hands is their name and they’re from Portland, Oregon.

I inspected the photos for my new photo exhibition in 2 weeks and they look really good.  In fact, the manager asked me to order 3 more photos to cover the hallway as well!

I wrote an important scene in The Newropean that I think will push the story towards the end now.  I’m 4/5 done with the first draft.

I’ve been writing in my journal only in German since the beginning of this month. It’s going okay but I’m going to have to use some new words to get them into my vocabulary.

I’ll be in Holland in 3 weeks and I’m looking forward to it.

And you?

3.20am to 8.20pm

November 6, 2009

3.20am — picked up in a gracefully aging BMW outside the punk bar next to my place. He’s a pilot for Austrian Airlines, actually a subsidiary of Austrian Airlines, part of Star Alliance.

4.55am — we get stopped at the german/swiss border, probably because i offered with little provocation that I was off to Liechtenstein. they had our passports 10 minutes and 7 cars that came in while we were waiting just got waved through. They pulled us out of the car, more or less completely went through my backpack.

5.35am — i’m dropped off at Rorschach, Switzerland on the south side of Lake Constance.   the driver often pointed out the black hole dark lake but I could never see anything, i paid him 13 euros for the ride..  the first train for me is at 6.21am.  the station is not open yet and so i sit at the platform, watch two trains come and go before mine came. It was cold, just a couple of degrees above freezing.  At times that train, which I was in until 7.10am-ish was a full-on commuter train, but also for students.  It was shocking how packed that train was at 6.50am.

7.14am — i file out of the train with everyone else in the cold gray haze of 5 or so buses waiting to go different directions. we were literally a long golf hole from Liechtenstein at that point.

7.25am — the capital of liechtenstein, vaduz, has 5,000 inhabitants, i was the first person to walk into the main church that day, as it had been locked and then i saw lights and then went back and went in, then mailed a postcard and got a stamp in my journal, went to a cafe across the “street”, has a cafe creme and a gipfel which is nuss hoernle, weissch?  That was 6.30Sfr.

8.15am — i’m walking towards the Rhine River, then cross it in the old wooden bridge, cut south and end up walking until almost 10.30am along the river on a bike path with huge mountains on the left, snow on top and still fall foliage in the bottom third.

10.30am — i try to hitchhike from Truebbach to Chur but am unsucessful.  I miss another bus and another while discovering that the next train isn’t for 90 minutes.  I sit and wait 20 minutes for the post bus at the post office in that village.

11.33am — i board a train from sargans to chur, 19 minutes and it costs 10 USD.

noon-5pm — was shown Switzerland’s oldest city by a couchsurfer named Martina, a girl who now works at the library of her fachhochschule.  we shared a plate of fries.  7.30euros

5-8pm — sat in the passenger seat and discussed many difficult topics in german with the other three people in the car.

it’s almost midnight now, i’m exhausted but just think, in  a 17 hour stretch, that’s what I did.  I’m proud of today.

a facebook status update that wasn’t

November 5, 2009

until I copied it and pasted it here:


said quite a few outlandish things in his American Newspapers class, among them that the sooner Dick Cheney dies the better (even though I think a jail cell is a possibly much more appropriate place) and that because I think people who ordered others to commit torture should be tried in a court of law and let the chips fall where they may, that alone makes me a pinko-Liberal.  My minor was Criminal Justice.  The professors I had there taught me to think that justice is blind.  Now we know that justice must have a special handshake for those in the know.  Great lesson for our children, guys.