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.