Audible.com

April 27, 2009

I came upon audible.com, a website for buying a downloable copy of audiobooks, something I have been marginally into for the past 5 years but it’s been picking up speed in the past two years.

I gave my credit card number.  I have two weeks to cancel for free.  In exchange for signing up, I get to download one free audiobook.  I almost got a Richard Zacks book called The Pirate Coast that is amazing but I decided I wanted something new so I chose: For Liberty and Glory, a book about Washington and Lafayette and their lives during the Revolutionary War.  It’s like twenty hours long and I could have it for free.

If I decide to not cancel in the next two weeks, my credit card will be charged $14.95.  For those 15 dollars (which will be charged monthly), I am given an audiobook credit.  Surprise surprise, an audiobook credit is basically always worth one audiobook.  First off, that’s a good price for an audiobook but also the ones for sale seem to be cheaper than others.  I might just get one more audiobook for the 14.95 but we’ll see.

I just spent the last 90 minutes (before Audible) organizing a bunch of work papers, saving some time later in the semester putting order to life.  It’s amazing if you organize before things get under way, you have a much better chance of having an influence on the direction things go.

I also cleaned the bathroom, took me a half-hour.  I tried to think of Franziska telling me that cleaning is therapeutic.  I didn’t agree with her last night and I still don’t but I at least see her point of view.  Still though, it was defintely my turn and I did it.  I also had a small workout, did some lesson plans and now, finally, at 3:49pm, in the hammock and about to listen to Robin’s news on the Howard Stern show.


Productive, as far as that goes

April 6, 2009

I left the house by 8:45 this morning and missed my tram and had to wait 7 minutes.  I couldn’t buy the boxes I wanted to buy.  The lady said they didn’t have me anymore and sent me to the other store they had a 5-minute walk away.  I got there and they didn’t have them.  Later today, when I went back into the first store to buy a peppermill, I happened to see the very boxes I wanted in the middle of the store.  It’s silly that I didn’t see them but for that chick not to know that they were in her small store is pathetic.  There were way too many people at 3 different haircut stores, like 5 people waiting at each one and so I said, F-it.

I went to the cheap supermarket and got all kinds of goodies, including a bunch of “Be Light” food which they don’t seem to have too much of at the supermarket next to me.  I got low-fat sausage, salami, cheese, ravioli, yoghurt.  I bought red grapes.  My fruit variety has not been too good the past years, mostly apples and bananas, sometimes oranges or a kiwi.  But I want to start eating more fruits and vegetables and so I was stoked to see some Dole red grapes for a good price.

I went for a jog, not to my normal route along the river but this time to the gym because I thought I had left my mp3 player there but I didn’t so I had the whole jog back without music too.  I almost always take music with me when I jog.  This particular jog was 30 minutes but normally I do 35-37.  I have now done some exercised 4 of the past 6 days.  I’d like to keep that going.

I found my mp3 player, somehow in a nook of a corner in my new work bag (I told you it was too big! haha) that I had already searched twice.  Earlier I returned a phone to the electronics store.  I’d bought it on Friday thinking that I wanted a new cell phone but then decided that mycurrent phone deserved to live its life.  This is something I have learned living in Germany.  I don’t necessarily buy a new version of something until the old one breaks.  That’s somethign I used to do without thinking about it but I haven’t bought a vaccuum, toaster, blender, dvd, or tv in years.

I cleaned out my closet, the lower part that had piles of clothes for different seasons.  I put them in the new boxes I bought and my winter jackets and and beanies and gloves and scarves (I found a lost scarf when cleaning the living room, it was a Xmas gift a couple of years ago, so stoked to have it back.  I also typed a few pages of Chapter 3 The Newropean.  I’ve got the first 50 pages of my new novel finished.  I’m stoked on that.

Dinner will be a salad with iceberg lettuce,  red pepper, pickles, green beans, and tuna fish with some steamed carrots on the side and a baguette.  But now it’s time for some grapes!  And it’s not even 3:50pm.  And right now the news is starting on Howard Stern, live.  I love it.


George Takei

March 4, 2009

George Takei, of Star Trek fame, is on the Howard Stern show all week.  I had a good ole belly laugh about 20 minutes ago listening to the show (at 7:30am NYC time) when, after George has been very open and honest with this answers about his personal life quite a few times on the show (this is not his first appearance on the show), listens to Robin being button-lipped about a part of her relationship, said: “I think I have been too forthcoming on the show” with a nice big laugh of his and it was a classic moment.

I’m starting to get excited for San Francisco. It will be my 4th time there in the past year.  I’m planning on doing some writing on The Newropean, chilling in cafes, perhaps catching a concert, doing a bit of vintage clothing shopping, go to Alcatraz, and maybe even do a photo exhibition there…that’s an interesting idea.  I could find a El Salvadorean restaurant in the Mission District and do a small Central American photo exhibition…hmmm


Weekend

January 8, 2009

I taught 4 classes today at the university.  In the first class we learned how to write a summary about a euthanasia debate article and their homework to read an article about urban sustainability that they will summarize.  The second class we heard a presentation about a charity in France and then we discussed a political comic strip.  The third class we learned about how to understand headlines in American newspapers better.  The last class was a beer with one student and we discussed his family problems but it was a nice enough time.  After having studied psychology it’s nice to hear people able to speak of personal things.  That might sound funny but living so far from the nest, momentary intimacy with other human beings is important.  And I got paid for that.

I actually did some work for almost an hour this evening with a Beck’s in my hand.  I pulled some articles off the internet about the Valerie Plame affair that I’ll use in next week’s newspapers class.

I’m listening to Howard Stern interview Perez Hilton, a gossip columnist.

Going to dinner with some friends tomorrow night.

Saturday? Grade papers, hike, make a hearty dinner.

Sunday??


grump

November 10, 2008

It’s pretty funny, I was a little grumpy this morning, just didn’t sleep enough somehow.  I had a slow but productive morning, did some writing, my lesson plans, called the Deutsche Bahn, made some photocopies and took my lady out to a (very cheap) lunch. 🙂  We did some shopping after that, buying my roommate’s birthday gift (season 7 and 10 of Friends, don’t worry, I don’t think she’s ever been on this page before), buying ourselves a few dvds (I got The Kingdom I think it’s called, with Jamie Foxx in Saudi Arabia or something) and then went to a nice Swiss supermarket where Franziska bought 3 different mustards for my dad for Xmas, I hope he likes them.  They have a lot more mustard varieties here than we do in the States.

My parents are coming tomorrow.  We are going to Barcelona for a long weekend on Friday.  Then I will have 3 full weeks of work and then I’ll have 3 weeks off.  It’s only fair to keep my head down and get through it. I can’t believe I’m just 7 weeks from New Year’s Eve in northern Germany, maybe Hamburg or Kiel or who knows.  Still hoping to have a 1-2 night stay in Copenhagen around January 2.

Then I’ll have to work 5 weeks and then I’ll have 2 weeks “off” in Morocco.  And before you know it, it’s March.  The time has been going by so fast lately that I find myself purposely enjoying moving more slowly so that the days move at a speed I can understand. 🙂

Listening to Howard Stern do a commercial for Klondike right now.  I’m downloading the Ryan Adams show from 2 nights ago in Dublin.  I think it’s going to be an epic show but I need 2 more hours to download it.  Now I’m going to news in the hammock and listen to Stern.


Still floating

November 5, 2008

Ok, I’m dead tired but loving listening to Howard Stern and the gang talk about the election and Robin had a classic line: “Bush fucked up so bad these last years that he made the way for a black guy to become president.” hahaha

Work went well today, a beginner class learning restaurant vocab, then a one-on-one with a lawyer afterwards, then a quick cup of coffee with franziska (i didn’t actually have any because I’d just had two cups of coffee and she actually had a capuccino), then a train to the next town, taught two more classes, another about restaurant vocab and then a 90-minute discussion about the election, german politics, stereotypes. I was entertaining but exhausted.

I took the train to the edge of freiburg and then wanted to take a tram instead of going all the way to the main station.  But the tram never came. That never happens.  It leaves on time or within one minute of leaving but it never came.  There was an old university student standing next to me and I told him that no tram had come for 15 minutes.  Oh, probably an accident he says, let’s hitchhike. It took 10 minutes but a girl gave us a ride into town.  She was actually on the way into the city for her final exam ever as a student. She was really nice and hyped up because she had planned on taking a tram but it never came so she had to get her car.

I then went to the supermarket, bought some pork, tortellini, spaghetti sauce and some yellow roses.

Franziska came over and we chilled out for a bit and then I realized that I had made a stupid mistake when booking train tickets for my friend Chad who is coming soon.  I designated the tickets to be sent to california when they should have been sent to me here in Germany. I had to book new tickets for him and felt stupid and was mad at myself.  I hate putting myself out unnecessarily.

Anyway, then Franziska left to go see the Freiburger Orchestra and I’m in the hammock chilling and planning to be up until 10pm and then brush my teeth and try and sleep until 8:40pm.

All of my university class plans have been changed.  We’re going to read the following two articles from the glorious Onion.  The second article is one of the prescient things I’ve ever read but the first piece below is more serious than normal Onion pieces:

Nation Finally Shitty Enough To Make Social Progress

November 5, 2008 http://www.theonion.com/content/news/nation_finally_shitty_enough_to

WASHINGTON—After emerging victorious from one of the most pivotal elections in history, president-elect Barack Obama will assume the role of commander in chief on Jan. 20, shattering a racial barrier the United States is, at long last, shitty enough to overcome.

Faced with losing everything, Americans took a long overdue step forward and elected Barack Obama.

Although polls going into the final weeks of October showed Sen. Obama in the lead, it remained unclear whether the failing economy, dilapidated housing market, crumbling national infrastructure, health care crisis, energy crisis, and five-year-long disastrous war in Iraq had made the nation crappy enough to rise above 300 years of racial prejudice and make lasting change.

“Today the American people have made their voices heard, and they have said, ‘Things are finally as terrible as we’re willing to tolerate,” said Obama, addressing a crowd of unemployed, uninsured, and debt-ridden supporters. “To elect a black man, in this country, and at this time—these last eight years must have really broken you.”

Added Obama, “It’s a great day for our nation.”

Carrying a majority of the popular vote, Obama did especially well among women and young voters, who polls showed were particularly sensitive to the current climate of everything being fucked. Another contributing factor to Obama’s victory, political experts said, may have been the growing number of Americans who, faced with the complete collapse of their country, were at last able to abandon their preconceptions and cast their vote for a progressive African-American.

After enduring eight years of near constant trauma, the United States is, at long last, ready for equality.

Citizens with eyes, ears, and the ability to wake up and realize what truly matters in the end are also believed to have played a crucial role in Tuesday’s election.

According to a CNN exit poll, 42 percent of voters said that the nation’s financial woes had finally become frightening enough to eclipse such concerns as gay marriage, while 30 percent said that the relentless body count in Iraq was at last harrowing enough to outweigh long ideological debates over abortion. In addition, 28 percent of voters were reportedly too busy paying off medial bills, desperately trying not to lose their homes, or watching their futures disappear to dismiss Obama any longer.

“The election of our first African-American president truly shows how far we’ve come as a nation,” said NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. “Just eight years ago, this moment would have been unthinkable. But finally we, as a country, have joined together, realized we’ve reached rock bottom, and for the first time voted for a candidate based on his policies rather than the color of his skin.”

“Today Americans have grudgingly taken a giant leap forward,” Williams continued. “And all it took was severe economic downturn, a bloody and unjust war in Iraq, terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan, nearly 2,000 deaths in New Orleans, and more than three centuries of frequently violent racial turmoil.”

Said Williams, “The American people should be commended for their long-overdue courage.”

Obama’s victory is being called the most significant change in politics since the 1992 election, when a full-scale economic recession led voters to momentarily ignore the fact that candidate Bill Clinton had once smoked marijuana. While many believed things had once again reached an all-time low in 2004, the successful reelection of President George W. Bush—despite historically low approval ratings nationwide—proved that things were not quite shitty enough to challenge the already pretty shitty status quo.

“If Obama learned one thing from his predecessors, it’s that timing means everything,” said Dr. James Pung, a professor of political science at Princeton University. “Less than a decade ago, Al Gore made the crucial mistake of suggesting we should care about preserving the environment before it became unavoidably clear that global warming would kill us all, and in 2004, John Kerry cost himself the presidency by criticizing Bush’s disastrous Iraq policy before everyone realized our invasion had become a complete and total quagmire.”

“Obama had the foresight to run for president at a time when being an African-American was not as important to Americans as, say, the ability to clothe and feed their children,” Pung continued. “An election like this only comes once, maybe twice, in a lifetime.”

As we enter a new era of equality for all people, the election of Barack Obama will decidedly be a milestone in U.S. history, undeniable proof that Americans, when pushed to the very brink, are willing to look past outward appearances and judge a person by the quality of his character and strength of his record. So as long as that person is not a woman.

Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’

January 17, 2001

WASHINGTON, DC–Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that “our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over.”

President-elect Bush vows that “together, we can put the triumphs of the recent past behind us.”

“My fellow Americans,” Bush said, “at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us.”

Bush swore to do “everything in [his] power” to undo the damage wrought by Clinton’s two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

“You better believe we’re going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration,” said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. “Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?”

On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.

Wall Street responded strongly to the Bush speech, with the Dow Jones industrial fluctuating wildly before closing at an 18-month low. The NASDAQ composite index, rattled by a gloomy outlook for tech stocks in 2001, also fell sharply, losing 4.4 percent of its total value between 3 p.m. and the closing bell.

Asked for comment about the cooling technology sector, Bush said: “That’s hardly my area of expertise.”

Turning to the subject of the environment, Bush said he will do whatever it takes to undo the tremendous damage not done by the Clinton Administration to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He assured citizens that he will follow through on his campaign promise to open the 1.5 million acre refuge’s coastal plain to oil drilling. As a sign of his commitment to bringing about a change in the environment, he pointed to his choice of Gale Norton for Secretary of the Interior. Norton, Bush noted, has “extensive experience” fighting environmental causes, working as a lobbyist for lead-paint manufacturers and as an attorney for loggers and miners, in addition to suing the EPA to overturn clean-air standards.

Bush had equally high praise for Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft, whom he praised as “a tireless champion in the battle to protect a woman’s right to give birth.”

“Soon, with John Ashcroft’s help, we will move out of the Dark Ages and into a more enlightened time when a woman will be free to think long and hard before trying to fight her way past throngs of protesters blocking her entrance to an abortion clinic,” Bush said. “We as a nation can look forward to lots and lots of babies.”

Soldiers at Ft. Bragg march lockstep in preparation for America’s return to aggression.

Continued Bush: “John Ashcroft will be invaluable in healing the terrible wedge President Clinton drove between church and state.”

The speech was met with overwhelming approval from Republican leaders.

“Finally, the horrific misrule of the Democrats has been brought to a close,” House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL) told reporters. “Under Bush, we can all look forward to military aggression, deregulation of dangerous, greedy industries, and the defunding of vital domestic social-service programs upon which millions depend. Mercifully, we can now say goodbye to the awful nightmare that was Clinton’s America.”

“For years, I tirelessly preached the message that Clinton must be stopped,” conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said. “And yet, in 1996, the American public failed to heed my urgent warnings, re-electing Clinton despite the fact that the nation was prosperous and at peace under his regime. But now, thank God, that’s all done with. Once again, we will enjoy mounting debt, jingoism, nuclear paranoia, mass deficit, and a massive military build-up.”

An overwhelming 49.9 percent of Americans responded enthusiastically to the Bush speech.

“After eight years of relatively sane fiscal policy under the Democrats, we have reached a point where, just a few weeks ago, President Clinton said that the national debt could be paid off by as early as 2012,” Rahway, NJ, machinist and father of three Bud Crandall said. “That’s not the kind of world I want my children to grow up in.”

“You have no idea what it’s like to be black and enfranchised,” said Marlon Hastings, one of thousands of Miami-Dade County residents whose votes were not counted in the 2000 presidential election. “George W. Bush understands the pain of enfranchisement, and ever since Election Day, he has fought tirelessly to make sure it never happens to my people again.”

Bush concluded his speech on a note of healing and redemption.

“We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two,” Bush said. “Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there’s much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation’s hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it.”

“The insanity is over,” Bush said. “After a long, dark night of peace and stability, the sun is finally rising again over America. We look forward to a bright new dawn not seen since the glory days of my dad.”



Executive Privilege

July 16, 2008

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.