Friday, December 28, 2007

Back to Dresden

Today is the day I go back home.

Well, my other home anyway.

It's been an interesting trip home and I have had a good time, but I am happy to be going home again.

I have to admit that it hasn't been the most amazing trip home like it was last year. I guess the circumstances were different last year and I was expecting much more this time.

I dunno. I am a bit let down. But that's life.

So today, I do the reverse trip and hop on that plane for 12 hours and fly my ass back to Dresden.

I hope that all my flights are on time (who doesn't??) and that I get home when I am supposed to.

That's all. I'll check in when I get home.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lou and Sophie

Lou is my mentor as far as photography is concerned.

He got me into the DSLR thing, and he got me into the whole world of composition, post-processing and all that comes with digital photography.

So, it's no surprise that when we got together, we did some studio shooting. He's got a studio in his basement, so, using each other as "models", we did some shooting.

It was a lot of fun!

Towards the end, his daughter came down and he picked her up and posed for the camera for about 10 seconds.

This is what I got.

I love it.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hi, I'm a Mac.

I just have to say it.

I love Macs.

I am a Mac geek and probably will be til I die.

I have a new MacBook Pro now. It's got all the bells and whistles I could want.

It's shiny and new and I love it.

That's all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

For a Limited Time Only

I love it.

I hate it.

Being home this time of the year definitely brings out the consumer in all of us, but when I am in a different country most of the time, I really see how much we consume with fresh eyes, so to speak.

You can't just go to the store to get "x". No. It's "x-times-2-at-50%-off-the-original-price-for-a-limited-time-only".

And in some cases, I love it. But then it gets me thinking about the attitude I see in a lot of people (myself included). And that is: "I'll get 2 just in case I need it".

But the real question is: do you really need it?

And: do you really need 2??

I overheard in a cafe someone who cannot afford their rent this month but wanted to get a Nintendo Wii because it was "at a good price".


I was at the movies with my dad yesterday and he got a drink. It was enormous. I think it was a liter. I made a joke that the drink he had in his hand was a small and he ordered the large (trying to be funny).

He said he won't order a large one because the cup holders in the theater—listen to this—can't hold the large cups.

I was shocked. I thought what he had WAS the large! Who needs to drink 2 liters of soda?

But, it's not all bad. They have these offers with useful things, too, for example: shoes, underwear, glasses and so on.

But for the simple everyday stuff like potato chips (buy one 2 pound bag, get one free!) it's a bit silly.


That's why I love it and hate it. 

Monday, December 17, 2007

USA part 1

My first few days back in the US have been good but also unexpected. Yesterday, a snowstorm swept through and pretty much rendered going outside impossible. We got about 18 inches of snow here and I was antsy yesterday towards the evening and it occured to me: I haven't done any type of exercise since I arrived.

So I tried to go out for a walk.


There are wonderful sidewalks here but no one uses them, so no one cares for them.
Sad, In Germany, everyone uses them and they are poorly maintained at best.
But...I am having a great time so far. I'll check in again in a day or so. 

Friday, December 14, 2007

Back in the USA

13 December

4 AM comes so early! I was terrified awake by my alarm after trying desperately to fall asleep—so often this happens: you want to sleep but are afraid you won't wake up.

The taxi driver was quite friendly to me, he tried small talking but I was just too damn tired for German and kinda let the conversation dissolve. I had to. He also liked to stop at every yellow light...nore money for him, I guess. I didn't care.

So, here I am in the Dresden airport. I'll try to write every step I take. Hopefully my flights will be on time and in 20 hours, I'll be home!

The appetizer:

the 45 minute flight is not even worth talking about. I had barely enough time to drink a cup of water before we started landing. I guess it's a nice warm-up to the 9 hour "main course" I"m about to go through. I am excited. I am happy. I am happy to be on the way, finally, even if it's just a small least I am on the way.

I got stopped by a surveyor who asked me questions about my advertising viewing habits. It was really cool that I understood 8 of the 10 questions completely, and the other 2 she needed to ask me in a different way. I understood the words, just not the overall meaning.

I think I am coming down with a cold. I've managed to doge the bullet so far, but the day I leave for the US?? Come on!! I didn't want to stay health til now. Really. I was hoping to be sick a few weeks ago so I wouldn't have to endure some cold while home.

I hope it's a cold and not the flu. Shit...that would suck.

Boarding begins in an hour and I am surprised at how few people are here. Isn't New York a popular city?? Don't people want to go there? Of course there will be a last minute push and I probably will be sat next to either an obnoxious person or a really big person. Or a really big obnoxious person.

Such is my luck.

9 hours on a plane is a lot. Ok, I know it isn't Sydney or San Francisco, but it's damn far enough! I hope it's only 9 hours and not the 14 hour drama that happened last year. I won't speak German on the plane. I am officially on vacation. No German. No intellect.. Just unadulterated stupidity and least to Lufthansa. :-)

But really, I CAN speak to them in German when it benefits me. Typical how I always weigh the benefits in a situation. Don't we all? Well, I use my English to keep them on guard. It's my turn to relax and not think. Really. I don't want to do any unnecessary thinking!

50 minutes til boarding. How much more can I write? I bought a book about a bounty hunter. I have no idea if it's good yet. It was something to read. I probably won't even open it on the plane. I always do this! I think: "yeah, I'll read a book on the plane" and NEVER do.

Fuck, the plane is overbooked! What the fuck is that??!!

The main course:

I got the flight. Yes, it was overbooked, but since I was up at 4:30 checking in, I had a seat. Way in the back. The flight was pretty typical except for the nice fact that I slept for just a little bit. It's funny how you can divide time when you have nothing else to do on a plane. I kept making up strange math equations for how long it'd take us to get to New York. (there was a status update and told us, I just had to do the math to make sure)

Getting into New York was fine, no problems at all and I even got rebooked to an "earlier" flight with jetblue (for no extra money, thank you very much, American service!)

The dessert:

The problem was, and I think that God hates me, was that New York State was sacked in with a snow storm. Last year was fog, this year snow, next year fire and brimstone...So...the earlier flight wound up being only 45 minutes earlier. But I got in to Rochester at 9:15, my parents were happy, and I slept like a log til my body woke me up at 4 (that's when I am writing this).

So...unlike last year, I got in on the same day, and I am a bit tired, but overall happy to be here for Christmas.

I'll try to write more. I just wanted to let those who do care know that I am alive and everything is okie dokie.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Things I am looking forward to:

  • Seeing my family and friends
  • Going to a bookstore and all the books are in my language
  • SHOPPING (I know it could be a woman thing, but the service in the US is better)
  • My new laptop
  • Starbucks
  • American Pizza
  • Sleeping in my old bed

And if all goes well, in 36 hours most of it will be fulfilled!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Zen and the Art of Pumpkin Bread

I don't know where this entry will go.

I don't have any kind of plan.

But, I was thinking a bit recently about selling one of my electric guitars, you know, since I don't really play in a band now and it's senseless to have two guitars.

Then I even went further and thought about selling both my electrics.

But I can't.

Follow me here for a second, I am not going to say that I am SO good and fate, or whatever you call it, has shown me I should play guitar.

But that is kinda what I am going to say.

See, there are many things that I have tried in my life and few I can say I have loved.

Guitar playing is one. Making coffee is another. So is photography.

"Bob the graphic designer" doesn't sound right. Neither does "Bob the housekeeping guy"

Or the "cookie guy". Or the "trombonist" (although now that I think about it, I regret putting it down...the trombone, not the cookie)

I really cannot imagine my life without a guitar playing some part in it. I am not a guitar god, nor am I good enough to be a working musician. I just like what I play and I have been fortunate enough to have had some really great experiences in bands.

I think of some of my friends/musicians and I can say that THEY are x (x meaning the master of the instrument they play).

I have a friend who was a talented drummer and he sold his drum set and walked away from drumming. That was a sad day because he was a really talented drummer. And I played with him in a band.

I dunno what it is. Maybe my playing guitar is a metaphor for my clutching at my youth, not wanting to let go of it. I have been tinkering with the thing for 18 years, why give up now?...

Maybe I don't want to grow up. Or: I don't want to grow up that much.

I buy into the Buddhist idea that we should be like children in life and look at everything as new and wonderful as I child does. I agree that we try to constantly compartmentalize everything we experience into one thing or another...good/bad/funny/serious/etc. To be a child at heart always. Always young. I like that.

This reminds me of the pumpkin bread I made today. I gave some to Ivana and she told me right away that it is like "somethinginherlanguageIcouldn'tremember" but it tasted totally different and it was shaped different. And I thought that this was funny. She was struggling (not really struggling) to identify with what I had made—something new to her—and she was trying to put it into a box that she knows. Something comfortable.

We all do this. I think it's human to do, but I also think it robs us of genuinely experiencing something truly wonderful.

Like my pumpkin bread.

But I digress.

I guess it's like this: is my giving up guitar surrendering my youth? Or is keeping my guitar denial of my mortality?

Did any of this make sense?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dead Man Walking

My mom came to Germany bearing gifts.

Some books—autobiographies, actually—from people who survived fascism during World War 2.

Amazing books. Both of them.

I have so many feelings while I read these. The first feeling is: how could people do this to other people??

Really, I read about these accounts of torture and unsurmountable odds these people faced and I have no doubt that they have been changed for life during these times, but I think that I may have contemplated death over trying to live knowing that every day is a fight to survive.

The other feeling is that I would have been one of the dead ones.

Dead as a doorknob.

I'd have been one of those extras in movies that gets killed right away. No starring role. No heroic comeback.

I am about to finish reading "The Long Walk" about a group of men who hiked from Siberia to India. Through the Siberian winter and the desert and death and no food and no water.

I'd have been the first dead guy. I am simply not built for that kind of suffering.

When they go 13 days with no water.


When they hike across the desert with no food and water.


It makes me think that my life is pretty damn good when my biggest problems are the silly ones: what to wear, what (of the many possibilities) to drink...

I am more grateful, now, that I have a good life. And we should all feel this way. Should we?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Another One Just for the Hell of it!

It's me again.

2 posts in one day.

Well, I had to: tomorrow is Thanksgiving and although you can take a person out of America, you can't take the America out of a person! I have to do a little Thanksgiving something or another...

So without further delay, here is my thank you's for this year!

  • The Dresden Foreign Office for giving me a 3 year residence permit
  • Mom and Dad for coming to visit
  • My shoulder for finally healing
  • Ivana (no explination necessary)
  • My family
  • My friends
  • Music
  • My camera for not breaking yet
  • Old friends coming back into my life

I am sure there is more, but for the moment that is all I can think of.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

A Useless Holiday

Today in Germany is a funny little holiday called Buß and Bettag. Basically, it's a day of repentance for all the religious people in Germany. Well, Saxony actually. The rest of Germany voted it out of the paid day off plan. Saxony decided to keep it for the church goers.

Too bad most—about 90%—are atheist.

So we have this paid day off in the middle of the week and it's ok. I can fix some photos, sleep in and just be a couch potato. I like it. Plus, I get paid for it!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

3 More Years

I just wanted to say that I got my residence permit extended.

For 3 more years.

Woo hoo.

I have no idea why they gave me 3 years and not the usual 1, but I am not going to complain. I am happy they trust me enough to let me stay here longer.

Either that, or they are sick of me reapplying.

Either way, I'm here.

Monday, November 12, 2007


This could be a reason why all German students hate small talk:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lufthansa. No Vaseline.

I don't care what Germany does to spite itself.

I still like living here. And I am determined to like it.

No matter what illogical bullshit they swallow as "normal".

No matter how complacent they are as a people.

I went online to check my flight status for my flight home in 4 weeks (fuck yeah!!).

With my experience from last year I cannot be too careful.

It showed my return flight as 2 different flights: one from JFK, the other from Newark. I didn't book 2 flights. I didn't book a flight from New Jersey.

So I called them.

Them: "Oh right, your flight was canceled. Is the Newark flight okay for you?"

Me: "Um, no! I have a domestic flight into JFK. I ABSOLUTELY have to fly from JFK"

Them: "Ok, can you fly out one day later?"

Me:"Will Lufthansa pay for a hotel room?"

Them: "Ok. So you need to fly out from JFK on the day you booked."

Me: (thinking: WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON??!!) "Yes"

And so on....

I got my ticket for JFK. I had to rebook my jetblue flight (65 dollars, thanks Lufthansa), but I got everything under control.

What pisses me off more than anything??

That they didn't email me to tell me. They probably just expected me to bend over and take the dry fucking I'd have gotten if I'd just shown up at the airport because it would have probably been too late and I should have known/read Lufthansa's mind/checked my flight status before hand/someotherlameexcuse.

And honestly? I am surprised that it was that easy to rebook my ticket. I was expecting some stonewalling.

Good thing Lufthansa depends on the USA for revenue. Otherwise I'd have been flying from Newark.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

180 Euros Later...

O2 didn't cancel my contract. Needless to say, I won't be renewing again next time. In fact, I found out it was my phone. The signal in my apartment is so weak on the older generation system that I need a newer phone to use the newer system.


So, because I want to do this right and have a warranty, I bought a new phone.

It works, and I really like it. But come on...don't give me a phone that doesn't work on your network! That is just silly.

But they are 180 Euros richer!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Why I hate O2 (and by O2, I mean the German system)

I have had a cell phone contract with O2 for a long time and I have been happy.

Til 3 months ago.

3 months ago, I started getting these really weird errors in my connections at home—and only at home. Everywhere else, I got great reception.

My apartment is the O2 black hole.

So in my best aggressive German (think of a 6 year old complaining), I went into O2 and complained.

I tried my other newer phone.

They called the technician who swears there is no problem

They gave me a new SIM card.

Still the same problem.

So with the help from a friend, I wrote a letter of intention to cancel my contract.

This is what you have to do in Germany to get anything done. Threaten with cancellation of a contract. I am in my legal right to do this.

I got a letter today from them.

I am not allowed to cancel my contract because they are not responsible for "holes" in the network.

So then: who the fuck IS responsible? Me??!!

I am sick of this. Really. What the FUCK can you do in this country??!! The consumer has no power at all to voice an opinion of dissatisfaction. You simply have to bend over and accept the dry fucking you get.

And anyone I talk to thinks it's crap. They all want change. All the Germans agree with me.

So why the FUCK don't they change the system? I know for an American reading this you may not understand the situation. Let me try to give you a summed up example:

Me at the hospital having an asthma attack:

Me: hello, I cannot breathe.

Doctor: why did you wait until now to come in?

Me: (because, uh, I couldn't schedule an earlier time to have problems breathing, asshole) Uh, I could breathe fine til an hour ago.

Doctor: if you could walk here, you can breathe.

This really happened.

Mind you, the care I got after telling the doctor I wasn't a child and I was there for a valid reason was really good. You just have to crack the nut to get it.

And O2's nut it a 200 mile thick son-of-a-bitch to crack.

But I have had a small victory: they loaned me a newer, shinier phone to try. Troubleshooting. I like that.

And it seems to be working.

And just like all things in Germany: when it works, it's great. When it doesn't your whole life in on hold and miserable til the one person gets off their ass to help.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Freaky Picture

Anyone ever see "The Ring"?

Well, in the movie all the people who were going to die were blurry in photos.

Well, here I am in a photo from when my parents were here.

Kinda freaky.

I don't want to fly home for Christmas now...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

From The Archives!

This was dug out of my old iWeb entries and reposted due to popular request. (also for memories' sake) I may add another entry to this series only because before I got together with my girlfriend, I had a few more experiences...

Back On The Horse!! (Dating in Bob’s World, Part 1)

Since my dream of a supermodel gymnast nymphomaniac with a low self-esteem knocking on my door and begging me to marry her won’t ever come true–regardless of how long I wait and hope—I’ve taken the advice of my friend and enrolled in a “dating website”.

So...if it’s a disaster, I am holding him responsible.

I figured that talking about my dates (if I have any) would be a good subject for blogging. After all, who doesn’t like reading about someone else’s triumphs and tragedies??

So...after week one, I am happy to report that I had my first official date in 8 months!

And it was about as sterile and lifeless as any first date with 2 people totally filled with expectation only to be let down when they see the other in person.

But I was a gentleman. I stuck it out for 2 hours...over a walk and coffee. (this is not easy as I was desperately thinking of things to suddenly come up)

See...this whole chemistry thing is complicated. In theory, any 2 people should be able to date with no problems. But, when you factor in language differences and the fact that she was totally uninteresting, it makes it difficult to pretend to stay interested. (“oh...look at the rain!!” I kept saying at one point) Plus, I had the feeling that she wanted someone to take care of her

I think I may ask my friend to be my “out” next know: the phone call strategically placed an hour into the date so that I can say that someone is hurt or dead just to get away from the hideous experience that one has to endure while trying to “find the right person”.

And I am insane enough to be single enough to endure this!

She wasn’t evil or anything. She was just a bit too “Dresden” for me.

Psycho, Ugly, or Both (Dating in Bob’s World, Part 2)

Maybe I am approaching this thing from the wrong angle.

But: how intimate can one be over an internet a foreign language?

This girl has been chatting with me and she is a bit of a complicated person. Why, do you ask? Because she wants, it seems, a full on commitment before she sends me a picture of what she looks like.

What does that tell you? It tells me either she is really ugly and she is afraid to show me a picture until she is sure that I like her, or she is really beautiful, afraid that someone will only like her for her looks, and she is afraid to show me a picture until she is sure that I like her.

I’m guessing the first. I’m a pessimist.

Here is an example of the conversations we’ve been having:

Me: How are you?

Her: Fine. Do you have any questions for me?

Me: (thinking: why hasn’t she given me a picture yet) What is your favorite color?

Her: Blue and green. Any more questions?

Me: (thinking: why hasn’t she given me a picture yet) Do you like your job?

Her: Yes...(short explanation of job)...any more questions?

Me: (thinking: why hasn’t she given me a picture yet) Can you send me a picture?

Her: Not yet. I don’t trust you enough. Any more questions?

Me: (thinking: why hasn’t she given me a picture yet AND she must be ugly) Do you like puppies?

Her: Yes. What are you feeling at this moment?

Me: (thinking: why hasn’t she given me a picture yet AND she must be ugly) I feel tired. And you?

Her: I feel excited and I am looking forward to another chat with you!

Me: (thinking: why hasn’t she given me a picture yet AND she must be ugly) That’s nice.

Her: Any more questions? You can ask anything!

Me: (thinking: why hasn’t she given me a picture yet AND she must be ugly) Why did you and your last boyfriend split up?

Her: That’s too personal. Any more questions? You can ask anything!

Me: (thinking: why hasn’t she given me a picture yet AND she must be ugly) Do you like music?

Her: Yes...(short description of music she likes) Any more questions? You can ask anything!

Me: (thinking: why hasn’t she given me a picture yet AND she must be ugly) You said you still cared for your ex. How long have you been single?

Her: That’s too personal. Any more questions? You can ask anything!

Her (again): What are you feeling right now! I want you to tell me!

Me: (thinking: why hasn’t she given me a picture yet AND she must be ugly) I feel tired. (from trying to interpret everything into English)

Her: Do I annoy you? You don’t seem interested in me!

Me: (thinking: no shit! You have 5 pictures of me and you are partially interested in me because of how I look! Why won’t you let me see how you look!)

And so on.

Looks do have something to do with attraction. And until I see what she looks like, I am simply not gonna commit any more energy to this person.

Maybe I am destined to be single. Maybe I did something in a past life and I am really paying for it now. But these are the people I have to have contact with.

And the saddest thing? When she’s online, I still chat with her! Maybe I am hoping she’ll be a nymphomaniac supermodel gymnast with a low self-esteem. It’s a tall order, but you never know—dreams can come true.

Sleeping On a Straw Mat Isn’t So Bad... (Dating in Bob’s World, Part 3)


Oh yeah—I cut my losses and ran.

What precious knowledge have I gained from the month of “web dating”?

Don’t ever do it.

Seriously, if you have 2 choices: web dating or giving up completely and traveling far away to “marry God” in some convent or monastery, size yourself up for a robe and get ready to eat only bread and sleep on a straw mat.

Let’s see...I never found out what the psycho chick from Leipzig looked like...I’m guessing she was a heifer. I’m betting on it, actually. regrets, no remorse...I just would rather keep my money and try actually MEETING people the old fashioned way.

Stalking them.

Really! I had a really nice chat with a female friend the other night, and she told me that you really need to be that way with “the woman you want to be with”.

Here’s what she said: her current boyfriend didn’t interest her in the slightest when they first met. He was interested, but she wasn’t. So what did he do when she wouldn’t give him her number?

He got it from a friend of hers. And called her. And sent her messages. She replied to “a couple” as she says, but she still wasn’t interested.

(This is where I’d have collected what dignity I had left and went elsewhere to nurse my wounds. But oh no - he persisted)

So, after being ignored, he shows up at her work with flowers.

Long story short: they’re together.

So, apparently, I need to stalk the person I am interested in make myself look like an idiot and disregard any signals of disinterest. As she said: “you need to set yourself apart from the average guy”.

Yeah, right.

Whatever happened to boy likes girl, girl likes boy, boy and girl meet over coffee, boy finds out girl is a nymphomaniac gymnast with a low self-esteem and is madly in love with boy, boy and girl live happily ever after?

“...hey, I’ve got this friend...”(Dating in Bob’s World, Part 4)

It’s official: I am one of THOSE people who gets set up by well-meaning friends.

Don’t get me wrong—beggars cannot be choosers, I just wished that a date would come naturally, in fact, that I wouldn’t even have to do anything to get the date.

But that’s not gonna happen.

Enter “the set up”.

It sounds ok.

“Hey Bob, my girlfriend’s got a friend who’s looking for an intelligent guy.”

(Looking around) “Oh! You’re talking to ME!”

“Yeah, so what do you think?”

(what do I think?) “Is she cute?”

...and so on...

Stay tuned...
Will You Help Me With My Bags? (Dating in Bob’s World, part 5)

A conversation between me, my angel on my shoulder, and my devil on my shoulder:

ME: Hmm...this girl they want to set me up with has a kid.

ANGEL: How interesting! You handled this before, it’s no big deal.

DEVIL: SHUT UP! Don’t listen to him—you won’t have any fun!

ME: He’s got a point, Angel. I do want to DATE, and not simply take the place of a father. I want to go out and have fun...

ANGEL: You can! Maybe not every day, but then you’d appreciate the times you did go out.

DEVIL: Yeah...”Kids pay 1/2 price”. Get used to that...

ME: Hmmm....I see your point, Devil.

ANGEL: Yes, but you shouldn’t judge HER because she has a kid.

DEVIL: she puts out. You have proof.

ANGEL: What does that have to do with anything??!!

ME: Yeah! What DOES that have to do with anything?

DEVIL: You know...her friend said that she was cute and took care of herself. She’s probably hot.

ANGEL: Looks aren’t everything. The personality is important, too.

DEVIL: Yeah—after you’ve done the nasty and can’t move! He’s right, you may have to stick around and actually talk to her.

ME: WOAH WOAH! Take it easy here! I just want to know if her having a kid is gonna bother me.

DEVIL: Well, she puts out.

ANGEL: Well, maybe you should meet the kid, too, and see if you hit it off with him/her.

ME: That’s not a bad idea.

DEVIL: Sure, if you like that kind of thing.

ME: Oh, now what does that mean??!

DEVIL: Nothing. I’m going to get a beer.

ANGEL: He really shouldn’t drink so much.

Friday, October 26, 2007

On Notice...

Ok blogosphere:

You've all had your chance.

I did not subscribe to your blogs for you to sit there and write nothing.

You are all on notice!

Get yer tooshies in gear and pump out an entry!

Seriously. I'm gonna start naming names soon.

You have been warned.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Great Tits!

I know what you are probably thinking.

But it's NOT true.

There is this bird, the great tit, and it is not easy to catch with a camera. They are surprisingly shy: I can't get more than 40 feet away from them and they scatter.

And it is my mission to take as many pictures of tits as I can.

Photographing great tits.

Oh sweet...I can't make this up any better!

Great tits are...well, great!

I love great tits!

Great tits are wonderful in the morning!

And in, it says this:

"...most Great Tits do not migrate"

Finally! Tits that don't migrate!

LOL!!! Come on!!! You know it's funny!

Monday, October 15, 2007

What Do I Love??

I was talking to this friend online, and was telling her how I feel uninspired at the moment and I feel like all the photos I shoot are dumb.

She said I needed a muse.

She then asked me what I loved. (So I could shoot what I love)

I said the first real thing that came to my mind:

  • my coffee
  • writing
  • being alone first thing in the morning
  • waking up with the world

That was list. The first things that came to my mind.

It's not a bad list. It's surprisingly simple.

I had no idea that I loved writing.

See, I have this ritual in the morning that involves writing 3 pages of anything into a journal. It helps clear my mind and I have come to really need it.

But to love it?? I am surprised.

But it was good to find this out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Am I the only one who reflects, and sometimes, yearns for the past?

Not necessarily wanting it ALL back, per se, but maybe about how different my life would have been if I'd made different choices.

I talk to this friend, and he sometimes jokes about how I'm so free and single and I can run all over Europe, while he's settled and married. I envy that, too.

Or if I had "played my cards differently", I would still be in Rochester, settled. Or a rock star. Or suffering in a job where I felt powerless and my boss just backhanded enough to keep me there under his thumb.

And sometimes the silliest things trigger this feeling: a song I haven't heard (and didn't even like) since that time, the smell of vanilla that will always bring me back to that time with that particular ex, the music I made that I drag out and listen to sometimes with a pang of regret (even though the singer was a narcissist and it took me seeing 2 sets of other band members leave before I saw the writing on the wall) that had we stayed together, we may have become something.

I am happy about where I've "landed" and I am satisfied with my life. But I sometimes stop and reflect on the decisions I've made (or haven't made) and wonder how differently my life would have been.

And similar to the feeling of that job you leave even though you know you could have stayed there to "tough it out", or the excellent lover you leave, or leaves you, and deep down you know you'd be better off, or not joining that band you tried out for and accepted you with no issues because you wanted to go a different (and ultimately unsuccessful musical direction)–that what if? feeling–is the opposite, but equally powerful feeling is the feeling of accomplishment.

That feeling of moving to Europe and staying here on my own. Setting up a life here on my own. Perusing a passion/hobby that I absolutely love even when I don't think I do. Having a few really good, close friends whom I can really talk to.

And yes, sometimes it's about the "what if?".

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

When you haven't got anything to say...

No news is good news?

Seriously, I have no idea why I have avoided blogging about anything. No issues; no comedy.



I dunno. I spent last Sunday evening taking pictures of candles to try out my new flash setup and when you get done and all the busy-ness of it wears still have pictures of candles.

And not good pictures, either.

Mediocre at best. And I'm ok with that really, but what kind of life is this for photographers?? A few will become famous for that landscape photo or that funny one with the politician flipping off someone, but most wind up in their homes doing still life or photos of cans of cat food or something else as stimulating.

There are the rich and famous anythings, and then there are the working somethings.

Rock star. Studio musician.

Famous fiction author. Poet.

Movie star. Theater actor.

Sure the line can be blurred from time to time. But you have to, sometimes, swallow your dream along with your pride, shut up and fall back into line.

And get back to photographing candles.

Monday, October 01, 2007

My Fate

I have this meeting tomorrow in Berlin.

I decided, since it was a holiday here in Germany the next day, to visit a friend and come back the day after.

And I want to try to get a good picture in Berlin. Just one picture that takes my breath away.

But it's not easy.

And it's supposed to rain.

I hate it. Why can't the weather be nicer for me??

Happiness is:

Holding a 3 week old German Shepherd puppy.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Parents

Well!!! What a crazy couple of weeks I've had! My parent's visit went well and I want to write a bit about it.

I was happy that the flights were on time. I got there at 12:52 and they landed at 12:57. Nice. I was a bit worried that customs would give them a hard time with my guitar they brought over (my 2001 red Fender Strat) but no problems and they were as happy to see me as I was to see them!

I have to admit that they were handling the whole "just-arrived-in-Germany-and -how-dare-you-cart-us-off-to-Berlin-the-next-day?" attitude quite well. I think landing in another country after a 12 hour trip and then having to wake up at 5 the next morning would kill me, but they did it!

We were able to book train tickets (fuck the Deutsche Bahn!) in 1st class. For whatever reason, 1st class was 100 dollars cheaper than 2nd class. So 1st class is how we travelled! We didn't sit in 1st class the whole time, we went into the dining car to have coffee and mom pretended to be on the Orient Express. Silly woman...

We arrived (gasp) on time and headed straight to the Reichstag, or more accurately, the souvenir shop next to it so dad could get the elusive Berlin baseball hat that mom wanted to get for him but didn't. the poor guy had to wait 2 years to get the hat he/she wanted.

So, after the souvenir shop, we went to the holocaust memorial. The memorial is a combination of an unmarked concrete pillars with an exhibit underneath talking about the nazi's atrocities. If you get to Berlin, this is highly recommended. A funny bit of trivia: the company that was responsible for making the zyklon B gas that killed the Jews is the same company that made the concrete pillars for the memorial (and they are having problems with the concrete crumbling already!)

So from there we went to our hotel and checked in. Not an interesting story, so I'll skip writing about it.

We then spent a good part of the evening looking for a fan for my parents. Now, my parents are really great and I love them to pieces, but the older they get the more like children they become! Seriously...we had to go to an electronics store to buy a fan for white noise. Of course, we then have to cart the thing back to Dresden. So, needless to say, I inherited a fan. Wonderful.

The next day we met up with my friend Friederike. It was a very short meeting, due to us having to get to our train on time (which was again on time!), but nevertheless, it was really nice to see her.

The next few days were filled with typical "touristy" stuff. I had to get used to my parents being "about a notch" slower than I am. I always started out with them and then managed to be about 50 feet ahead of them. So, if you had been here to see this, it would have been funny to see me slowly creeping ahead only to turn around, roll my eyes, and then wait for them. I wasn't mad—or maybe I was mad at myself for walking so quickly.

We went to Pillnitz, a Japanese style palace. The weather could not have been any better!

We then went to Luisenhof, a cute café place on a hill that offers a great view of the city. Dad had his cake and tea (something he quickly got used to and will probably try to continue it back in the States) and we were all quite happy.

The next day was rainy, so we did what any American does: shopping.

Moritzburg was on the schedule. It's a palace built simply for hunting and the king at the time used it for about 2 weekends a year. *sigh* It must be nice to be the king.

We went on a Steamboat ride on Saturday. It was really nice to finally do something that I was always curious about. I highly recommend anyone take a ride. It was really pleasant and they served beer! ;-)

The last night they had here, we went out through the city and I was able to take some pictures. It was really nice.

And the next day, it was off to the airport. It was bittersweet for me because I was sad to see them go but happy that I can have my normal life back again.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tomorrow is the Day

Tomorrow at 1PM, if all goes well, my parents will arrive in Dresden.

I haven't done a thing yet to organize and clean up my apartment. I have tried, but without success. I have other "better" things to do.

So, for the next two weeks, I'll be a tourist in my city and I'll be, hopefully, having a lot of fun.

I'd write more, but I'm not inspired at the moment.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

6 Years Ago

I haven't ever done a "where were you when...?" entry about September 11th, or any event for that matter.

So now's the time.

Where were you when "it" happened?

Where were you when:

  • you first realized what exactly was happening?
  • it sunk in that it wasn't a stupid drunken idiot hitting the twin towers with a small one person plane?
  • TV showed the towers collapsing?
  • you saw Bush sitting there with that stunned look on his face instead of getting off his ass and running the country?
  • you felt uncertainty for what the future will hold?
I was at work at the old ad agency and got a phone call from a photographer saying what had happened and we all went out to the lobby of the building to see the news on the teeny TV set that Dan (the pizza man as we called him) had in his little area.

We were all stunned and didn't know what was going to happen.

I was nervous. My boss closed the shop up early and I went directly to my (at the time) girlfriend's place to "make sure she was ok". Of course she'd be ok.

And I remember the headlines in the paper the next day. The world was different somehow even though it was the same. I remember everyone buying an American flag to
"stick it to the enemy" (how silly was that idea?? It was like: "I'm MAD and to show you, I'm gonna just head over to Wal-Mart and buy a flag.") Soon thereafter, some Arab guy accepted the blame and we were invading an area "over there" to make us "safer" in America. We had to. It was what we all thought.

Now I am not getting on a soap box and placing blame or anything. I hope not, anyway. I can say that I am a different person than I was then. Less idealistic; less optimistic; less sure of the future. Probably not a better person.

Yeah, I live in Germany now. Yeah, I have lived here for a while. But I can say that even they feel it here too. The world has changed, even if it's not entirely the way we thought it would.

So blah blah blah...what point am I trying to make?

No point. Just reflecting back to where we were and maybe you can as yourself if you have become a better person since then. Even in a small way.

I think America will always use September 11th as a marker. Maybe the way I have used when the Challenger exploded back in 1986. I was in 7th grade. I remember so clearly.

And I don't ever want to forget.

And, thanks to political gain, as well as propaganda, I never will.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


What did I do this past weekend?


Now, before you sickos get all perverted on me and thinking mushrooming, as well as chimping, are disgusting acts that involve throwing poo and, well, mushrooms, you are not entirely right.

A group of us went hunting for mushrooms in a forest. (Isn't that SOOOO European??)

Sounds easy, doesn't it? I mean, they are not really dangerous and it's not like they're mobile or anything. But it's harder—much harder—than you might think. See, there are lots of poisonous mushrooms out there mixed with the good ones and if you are an American who doesn't know his mushrooms from a hole in the ground, mushrooming can be quite *ahem* tricky.

Plus, all the Germans who really take mushrooming as a way of life are out in the forest at 5AM.

Well, that is NOT gonna happen with me, so we had to dig through the mushroom carnage from the ones who were there before us. But we were lucky and managed to find some!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


It sounds like a wonderful Zen topic.

Something peaceful and something holy.

But I am not talking about your soul.

I am talking about some photos and lightroom.

The new update includes this little slider called "clarity" and I didn't really pay it much attention till the other day when I was farting around with my Italy photos.

The difference was amazing!

The picture went from this:

Nice, huh?

to this:*


*I also boosted saturation, but this clarity thing is amazing!

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Weekend

Hey all. I was quite busy last weekend. A little physical and mental all in one fun filled weekend!

I got the idea that I needed a new board game to play. Yeah, a board game. Really, they are fun: and you sit around and talk and drink and, hopefully, win.

And it's cool that Germans love board games and have so many cool ones to choose from. (most I've seen are about taking over the world...I wonder why...)

So I got this one called "Pillars of the Earth". Designed to follow the book by the same name, the object is to, well, win. You have to build a church and there are resources and bonuses and so on to collect to get points and to, well, win.

The instructions were in German only (of course), and it took a bit of translating and on line searching for English instructions or, at the very least, a description of how the game is played. One was found (thanks,!)

So the game was played many times and I tried really hard to, well, win.

I won once the whole weekend. I sat and suffered through hours of this game to win ONCE.

Well, that was the mental side of the weekend. Now comes the physical.

I took a bike ride to the Pillnitz Palace. It was about a 30km ride altogether and it was a nice enough day to do it. I was surprised that one of the bridges that I had to cross, the "legendary" "blue wonder" bridge was closed for some odd reason. And, as a funny note, it seemed that the whole city was out and walking across the car-less bridge! I felt so caught up in the moment that I had to snap a few pictures:

Are you impressed?

Thought not.

Anyway, the palace was really nice. I heard that they want to start charging admission soon so I hope that it's not until after my parents come to visit in a week and a half.

I guess that is all for now.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just a Cool Sunrise Pic

Took this one morning a few weeks ago and thought it was cool.

Last Weekend

So what does one do in the Czech Republic on a weekend?

Why, go drink beer at a gypsy music festival, that's what!

I'm not saying gypsy in a racist way, it's just how it's labeled.

(And I don't have any attachment to the word gypsy, so before you PC people jump down my throat, I don't mean it in a negative way at all.)

But I haven't heard anything positive about gypsies.

According to all the stereotypes, they lie and steal and milk the system for all the money they can.

But isn't this stereotype in all countries?

Anyway, it was a festival hosted by the national gypsy union (go figure they'd be unionized) and it was, for a lack of a better word, underwhelming. There was beer and food and mediocre music. Really mediocre music. And, I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but can bands PLEASE not sing in English?? Really: they just paste together the pop phrases and most of the time they make no sense.

Really. Sing in YOUR language. It might even be fun!

The wait for beer was at least 30 minutes—not because there was a long line, but when one person in line got to the counter, the 30 other people (mostly family) associated with them came up and ordered as well. So what seemed to be only 10 people in line turned out to be about 100 in reality. Not a bad trick, really. I'd do the same.

And it was messy there. I'm not saying that gypsies are typically messy, but it was a palace garden and I'm sure it was much cleaner before the festival started. But maybe the palace is growing plastic garbage bottles.

But, it was an interesting experience and I left with all of my belongings—which is a positive thing.

The wonderful festival area.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Poopiest Week

I had the shittiest week ever last week.


I don't even know really why. It could have been my job, my personal life, or both.

But I hated—HATED—work last week.

I blew off band rehearsal, twice, and just sat home and "licked my wounds".

I'm better now.

In case you were wondering.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Guess Who???

Check this out:

See that guy on the left??

That's me in 1992.

I was a hair farmer.
Woohoo!! Memory lane...gotta love it!


What the HELL happened in the few years since I've been gone??!!

I am so impressed. American TV is GOOD again!

I am hooked: LOST, My Name Is Earl, Desperate Housewives, Prison Break to name a few.

They have got to pace themselves with this writing or else I'll become a couch potato again.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

This F@%#ing Guy!

I don't really want to complain.

That's a lie. Of course I want to complain!

This guy, here:

Drives me insane. All he did the last 6 weeks is saw wood on his table saw.

Sawing wood in the courtyard—where all the sound bounces all over...directly into my balcony window and into my ears.

6 weeks, 6 hours a day of:

And I thought it was over. Done. Completed.

Well, he's moved on to a grinder (as pictured here).

It'd be nice to think that he's renovating something in his apartment. But I think he is just doing it to get away from his wife. (who, by the way, was using a plum peeler last week in the courtyard. Nice...So instead of the table saw sound, for 2 days it was "CLUNK...CHUNK...POP...PLUNK!")

There is nothing I can do. I can close my window and hope he dies soon. That's all.

So I'll blog about it instead.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Photographing Lightning

In theory it's really easy. You set the shutter to be open for 10+ seconds, set the timer and go!

Well, it's harder than it seems.

It went kind of like this normally:


So, in 30 minutes of trying to get a lightning bolt, this is all I could get:

I'll try again some other time.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What Do I Want? (Alternate title: A (Mostly) Shameless Plug)

That is the question I have been getting, and since it's my birthday, I can understand people asking.

But I have no idea what I need or want that is less than 1000 dollars.

(Shameless plug coming!)

So, if you want, go to and look through my pictures. If any of them speak to you, buy one.

That would be cool because it'd give you something as well, and it'd boost my ego a bit—even for a day.

And even if none of them look good to you or you don't want to buy any, the site will look good because more people are visiting it than just me constantly checking to see if others are looking.

And that would make my day.

I'm out.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Quickly Approaching 34

34 is coming this Monday.

Frankly, I am not impressed. 33 wasn't that great. 34 can't be any better in my opinion.

Not that I have a bad life, mind you, It's just I have had a rough 33. My shoulder is still injured, and not sleeping correctly because of it in 8 months can take its toll on a person.

But enough of that.

34 is this Monday and I have no desire to celebrate it.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Message To All You Bloggers


Hey, all you bloggers, I have a message for you:

Friggin' get writing!!!!!

What is it with all of you??!!

Don't make me name all know who you are and you are all a bunch of slackers.

I can make time and find a shred of inspiration—so can you.

Get moving!

(I didn't spend 10 minutes subscribing to all of your blogs for nothing. I have a vested interest now!)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Jedi Master??

Share the love.

That is my feeling on Photography.

I'm no pro—far from it actually—but I know enough to help another.

So that is what I am writing about. I took my colleague/friend out today to shoot some photos. We ditched his "not so super" lenses and gave him my macro 100mm. I hope that he shows off his pics.

His project? Manual exposure.

That's right: the poor dude has taken 10000 pictures with his camera and has never shot in Manual.

So his project was 3 pics of each subject: one with f2.8 , one with f5.6 and the last with f22. This was so he could see the difference and get used to manually setting the camera for exposure.

At one point, he called me his "yoda".

And we reflected about how to describe the day:

"What did you do today?"

"I took pictured of bees and flowers in sets of 3"

This is something I wish I had help on when I first started, but I think I did fine with what information I had.

And I am happy to have helped. At least I hope I helped!

Monday, August 06, 2007

This RSS Thingy

I have finally tried the 'ol RSS subscription feature.

Not bad. Now I don't have to visit sites all the time to see what is updated.

Or, more often than not, what ISN'T updated.

Whether or not it saves me time has yet to be seen.

Friggin' A!

My first Canon battery died yesterday.

It just won't charge.

A year and a half after I got my camera. I am a little shocked, but I did take 11000 pictures with 2 batteries. I guess one's bound to die.

So I went and bought a new battery...then to the guitar shop and dropped 50 Euros (about 60 dollars) on strings, a capo, and a new guitar strap. (I just don't like my old one)

Spending money is fun!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hostel 1 & 2

I can't believe I saw both Hostel movies.

The first one made me curious to see the second. And I don't know why.

But I am still not happy about it.

I mean, it was a horror movie and the goal is to make people afraid or send shivers up the spine, but this was extreme.

I remember a long time ago, I went to see Seven with my friend Lou and after the movie he said "don't ever take to a movie like that again". It was pretty shocking but I thought the story was good.

Hostel wasn't that good. The story was weak and I didn't like that it made backpackers victims—especially since I do a bit of backpacking.

But in part two it was really wrong, in my opinion. It had an idealistic, naive, innocent girl brutally murdered and more than leaving it to our imagination, it SHOWED the gore and the you could hear the sounds.

I know it's a story, but I feel really bad for that character.

And to be fair, if a movie invokes an emotional response, then maybe that's all that matters.

Seven, Fight Club, Exorcist, Hostel, Life as a House did it for me...the list goes on.

So how can I completely criticize a movie that made me feel SOMETHING? It's far better than the benign crap that pervades the cinema.

The story was crap but it made me feel.

But I wouldn't let children see it. But that is why it's restricted to people over 18 even though I think that is still too young.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Oh Boy...

I looked online at my credit card statement.

They raised my limit by 7000 dollars.

Not a great idea.

Back To Square One

I don't think of it as defeat.

In fact, I think it was a nice experiment.

I am going to dump the .mac account and email address and start using my gmail account and blogger again.

I'll also host my pics from

It's just cheaper* and I can store unlimited photos there plus the opportunity to request backups, should something terrible ever happen to my computer.

Plus, as supertiff said: "didn't you lose all of your bloggings and such, and have to start over after a year? that would kill me."

So y'all can update your bookmarks now...I'll slowly but surely switch everything over. Again.

That's all for now.

*I have nothing against .mac or iLife/iWeb. It just doesn't let me upload hundreds of pics if I want. And I pay 100 dollars a year for it. Doesn't make much sense, does it?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Checking In...

Hello everyone. I am now trying to see what would be better: redirecting everyone here for my posts and using an external photo host here and trashing my .mac account.

Saving money is always good.

Whatddya think?