Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cat is Out of the Bag

For the 1 follower of my blog and the few that stop by to read it, I have to apologize for the infrequent posting. I will try to write more but won't promise.

This post is going to be personal and I ask for those friends of mine who read it to offer what advice you can.

Things here in Germany are good. I have a job, a (small) nice apartment, a girlfriend and have settled into a very comfortable life where I can work 6 hours a day and live. I'll never be rich, but I can live here.

About 4 months ago, the girlfriend and I had a fight. In this fight, she triggered a reaction in me that made me look into coming back home and to study photography - something that I have always wanted to do. When I was home, I applied at RIT for the visual media program "just to see".

I was accepted.

So now I am standing at a crossroads. I have told the girlfriend about what I intend to do. The reasons I gave were mainly my family, but also my culture, friends, language as well as more opportunity.

She argued that I could be a photographer anywhere and that I was just running away.

Perhaps she is true but I can explain.

She and her mom bought a villa in her home city. It's a "fixer upper" and they have been working on it for almost 3 years. The thing that kinda irks me is that remaining in this situation would have me ending up living with the mother-in-law. Never any privacy, never really feeling like it was "my castle". (bear in mind that they have their own floors, separate but never alone)

Well, the house is almost finished. Anytime I go visit her, it's not so much that we see each other but more she puts me to work - or wants to. I resist sometimes.

What I see for the next 10 years or so there is gardening (hate it!), housework like stripping paint or shoveling coal and never ever feeling that I have my own comfortable place. She has tried to include me in the decision making processes but all in all I cannot change the living situation.

So, if I stayed with her, I'd have to move to another country (again), learn another language (again), not be understood or not understand anything for 4 months (again) and I am tired of it.

I am tired of fighting simply to do daily things that are normal to everyone else on their culture.

I care about the girlfriend but I am looking at the rest of my I wrong for being a little selfish? Maybe even a lot selfish?

She told me that she'd live in the US with me for a couple years while I study but then intends to move back to her city. Reasons?? Family, opportunity, friends.

Right: she won't do what she expects me to do.

So I am bordering depression mulling this whole thing over.

Aside from that, I hate my job. HATE. Over the last 3 months, I have learned that my company does not care about the actual quality of the work but only that the paperwork is filled out correctly.

And I don't want to do what I am doing forever.

So, I feel that I am languishing in my situation. I feel that I can have a more fulfilling life if I move back home.

I am choosing between relative comfort here, to being closer to my family and having more opportunity.

And that is probably why I am hiding in my stupid game so much.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

GZ and DPS

Hello all.

It's been a while. And do you know why? If you couldn't tell from the last few posts, I'll tell ya:

World of Warcraft.

Yep. I am officially an addict. It's not uncommon in my life though. I lost a whole summer to Starcraft 10 years ago.

Now, I have no excuse for staying in and only playing this game except it's so much fun!

But, as with many new things, I need to get used to the lingo. Maybe some of this is normal for some of you, but for me I had to ask silly questions to which a reply would be "die noob!"

Noob (or nub) = noobie =  a new person
TY = simple: thank you. (used when you help another player slay a beast or if you give them healing or water)
NP = the reply to TY and it is "no problem"
LFG = looking for group
Tank = a type of player who "tanks" his way into a group of enemies"
Healer = a player who heals said tanks
DPS = "damage per second". That is my character's strength. I stand back and blast them with ice :-)
CC = crowd control (I can  turn one enemy into a sheep, reducing the menace a bit.

I am getting the hang of all the lingo but it's not easy. 

And why am I blogging and not playing??

Weekly maintenance every Wednesday til 12.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

World of Warcraft vs. My Girlfriend

Taken from here. By Tyler Curry.

I've had a lot of time to think about our last conversation, particularly since you ended it by ramming a keyboard through my monitor. I understand that we were both upset at the time and perhaps we said some things we didn't mean. Well, maybe you more than me, considering I mostly just listened to you shriek and cowered in the corner.

I do not think I am, as you so eloquently screamed, "addicted to World of Warcraft." I have, however, made a number of unfortunate mistakes, for which I would like to apologize.

I'm sorry I was so late picking you up from the library. I didn't know they locked the doors at 8, and I'm sorry you had to stand outside alone for two hours. If it makes you feel better, despite its reputation to the contrary, that portion of the city does not have a violent-crime rate significantly above the national average.

You have to consider the position I was in. I was healing for a party with five players in it, all of whom were counting on me to help them defeat Mekgineer Thermaplugg and liberate the Gnomish city of Gnomeregan. Those are the needs of five people, in contrast to just yours, alone. (Note that I'm not even counting the needs of the Gnomish people here, Ashley.) As Spock once famously said, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one." You were that one.

Had I looked outside and noticed the freezing rain, I may have made a different decision. Probably not, though.

I'm also sorry I posted those pictures of you on my guild forums, the ones I took when you were passed out. I had no idea they could Photoshop your bra off. That was poor judgment on my part, and I freely admit it. I also should have told you before the chain letter went out. On the bright side, you hated working there anyway.

I also have some things to say that I think you should hear, and, since you forgot to pause long enough for me to speak before your charming little bout of property damage and subsequent stormy departure, I would like to say them now.

Ashley, you have never been willing to accommodate my World of Warcraft needs, or even to compromise the slightest bit.

Last month, when your mother was in a car accident, you called and not only demanded I drive you to the hospital but insisted I stay there to provide "emotional support"—despite knowing full well that I had booked that evening off to fight forest trolls in Zul'Aman. When I suggested you take a cab and that I join you in three to four hours, you unleashed a string of expletives that even my therapist found disturbing. You also refused to wait until we finished off the eagle boss, the one who drops the helm piece I have been trying to get for months.

For the record, she turned out fine anyway. Many paraplegics lead rich and rewarding lives.

Also, what you stumbled upon me doing with that Level 64 blood elf in the back room of the Silvermoon City Inn was neither "sick and perverted" nor "cheating on you." We were role-playing. That I called you by her character's name later that evening was just a weird coincidence. I do not wish your body looked like that. You and I both know that it's physically impossible for humans to have those proportions, at least while retaining all of their internal organs.

However, in the midst of your raging diatribe, sandwiched between the curses and the flailing limbs, you made some very good points. In fact, the words you spoke about commitment, loyalty, and "being there when someone needs you" have sort of inspired me.

Ashley, when I gave you that ring and pledged to spend my life with you, what I didn't mention was that, eight months prior, in the Level 10 quest "For the Horde," I had already pledged eternal fealty and service to Warchief Thrall.

Now, with the gates of Ahn'Qiraj opening and the threat of the Silithid invasion looming over Azeroth, the call has gone out for all able-bodied members of the horde to band together in the great war effort. An event like this only happens once in a server's life, and I cannot honorably abandon my online brethren in this hour of need. I understand that you need me to be there for you, but, Ashley, the truth is, right now, the horde just needs me more.

WoW 2

Spending a week with laryngitis and hacking up phlegm left me little choice as to what to do with my week of paid sick time.

I spent almost all of it playing World of Warcraft.

It's sick, I know. But it's fun! It must be if 11 million people subscribe to the game.

I am now hooked.

Hence, the sparse posting.

Back to playing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I am Celm...

For quite a long time I was averse to World of Warcraft.

I had a problem with a subscription service game—having to pay 14 euros a month to play a game.

Well...I now know that WoW is the crack cocaine of games.

I downloaded the 10-day trial and decided to give it a go.

I'm hooked.

So...I'd like to introduce you to my virtual personality.

I am Celm. Mage. Healer. Herbalist. 

LOL. I'm such a loser.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I know that it's not gonna change over night.

I know that there is a lot of work ahead.

But: I am SO happy that Obama won.

Reganomics? Gone. A retard as president? Gone. A crooked administration? Gone.

Hopefully we can dig ourselves out of 8+ years of shit that Bush has thrown on this country.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Life this past week has been mediocre. It's been rainy, and fall is finally here. A couple points of interest from my side:

  • I got to see the German Chancellor land at the airport
  • I met the mayor of Dresden

That's really it. Hopefully I'll write more soon...when I have something to say.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More Tits!

More photos of tits: a very cute, and extremely shy bird.

My First Night Time HDR PHoto!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quoting Christopher Hitchens

I think Christopher Hitchens is a brilliant man. Yes, he has flaws, but he is brilliant.

He recently wrote an article on

He wrote about McCain:

The most insulting thing that a politician can do is to compel you to ask yourself: "What does he take me for?" Precisely this question is provoked by the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin. I wrote not long ago that it was not right to condescend to her just because of her provincial roots or her piety, let alone her slight flirtatiousness, but really her conduct since then has been a national disgrace. It turns out that none of her early claims to political courage was founded in fact, and it further turns out that some of the untested rumors about her—her vindictiveness in local quarrels, her bizarre religious and political affiliations—were very well-founded, indeed. Moreover, given the nasty and lowly task of stirring up the whack-job fringe of the party's right wing and of recycling patent falsehoods about Obama's position on Afghanistan, she has drawn upon the only talent that she apparently possesses.

I know that no human, let alone politician, is perfect. But I have to agree with most of what he wrote in his article.


I am proud that my country has the right to free speech.

But this is sad. It's false. Not that politicians don't lie, but that this sign somehow ties Obama in with terrorists. Huh? 

And it's a smear. 

Stupid should indeed be painful.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I See the Light!

I have to admit that I know nothing about lighting.

Ok...maybe a little but not nearly enough to say I am confident.

So, I am going to spend the next couple hours doing experiments with my 2 speedlites. I have really nice ones, I may as well use them...right?

Starting off:

4:29: going to try to do some "low key" photography. I bought a 1 euro spatula to see if I can do it.

Off I go!


Not quite what I wanted but not a terrible start.


More to come.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

VP Debate

I am in the middle of watching the VP debate. (I know, a bit late, but I have to see Biden tear apart Palin)

Can someone please tell me why Palin is saying that Iraq=success?


Sorry, I am trying to be fair, but this chick is bat shit crazy. Her eyes just glaze over during any answer she gives...just like a typical fundie.

Man she is crazy. And Biden keeps stuttering.

In any case, anytime Palin speaks I just can't stop thinking about Fargo.

Oh, you betcha, ya!

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Stupid, it Burns...

I got this from another site I contribute to and thought it sums up what I feel when I listen to Sarah Palin speak.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Who Wants To Be a Millionare??

"there is nothing like getting a million dollars and then being told I am a lying, thieving adulterating, blasphemous sinner"

I was sitting at dinner in a nice Thai restaurant when it happened.

My friend pulled out a million dollar bill and put it on the table.

I'd heard about these things from other websites and podcasts I listen to but this was the first one I've ever seen.'s not real money. It's a jesus-freak-turn-or-burn tract.

This one is done by the newest boob of the fundies, Ray Comfort. Ray is a little, seemingly friendly man from New Zealand and he is, as far as I can see, Fundamentalist Christianity's shining knight. He's partnered up with the most saccharin of actors, Kirk Cameron, to try to convince other fundies to do what they do.

He's also an antagonistic blow hard who thinks he can prove the existence of god without using the bible (he can't, either way) and thinks that demeaning people will make them want to love god.

When I blurted out at dinner "oh this is one of those Ray Comfort things", I got a delighted response "Oh, you know who he is!".


Do I like the fact that I know who he is?

Not really.

But aside from all that, this million dollar tract really gets on my nerves and I don't quite know why. Maybe it's because back in my fundie days, people were using something similar to tip waitresses (substituting the actual tip) and really pissing off the hard working wait staff. Or maybe it's because it looks too much like actual currency. Or maybe it's a really weird way to try to convert people. 

I could go on and on about how much of a boob I think he is, and maybe I will someday, but right now I want to go eat dinner.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Someone in My Life is a Dweeb

For you, the public, as my jury:

When I was back home there is a certain person in my life (who I will keep nameless) that stopped talking to me for some reason.

I say some reason because while this person has told other people why they(the indirect pronoun) stopped talking to me, I still have not been told directly.

I can speculate however.

And here is my side:

After deciding not to call this person anymore after being hung up on when I tried to call my first day home (one hour before they normally wake up) the only time I ever got a request to hang out was when I could do something for this person. (Fixing computer, etc)

Now, I have no problem with this at all. I am simply saying that to hang out "just to hang out" was never implied.

Now let me digress just for a moment. I am a morning person. And with jet lag, I was REALLY a morning person. I was up at 5 or 5:30 and by the time 8 rolled around, I was totally stir crazy.

I met my friend Lou for coffee some of the days because his hectic lifestyle has him up and going to work at 7:30.

Perfect for me.

But when 9:00 came, I was on the other side of the city, often running errands, and for me to "just" come over (the computer thing) wasn't really possible.

Now, this person could have gotten up an hour early once or twice in my 10 days in the U.S.. If I am expected to just drop what I am doing when they want me to, they'd better be at least willing to do the same.

So the last day we spoke I was already on my way out to run some errands and I got a call from them. They asked me if I could "come over to fix the xyz computer problem". I said I was already out on the other side of the city but would call when I was done and could then meet up. Well, the errand took way longer than thought and I missed the chance to meet up with them. So, I went to a wonderful beer store and spent 10 dollars on imported german beer and left a message that we could meet up when they finished work for a beer or two.

No call.

I tried the next day. No answer.

The next day, no answer.

Now...passive aggression is not the answer to anything. How am I supposed to know what I did if I am not told??!!

Plus, this person is over 30, so I can't understand that either. Grow up...hello??!!!

Now, I know I am not perfect. Far from it, actually. But how anyone can tolerate this behavior is amazing. 

I was informed that they thought my friends ran my schedule (hello???...when did you ever plan anything with me?) and to a point that may be true. Once I was stir crazy, if I had other people to meet, and I was already out, I did it. Shit, I was hung up on once and their "normal waking time" maybe isn't from time to time. Am I supposed to wait around for a call that may not come? Is that fair?

I feel emotionally manipulated...or at least that I should feel guilty for something that I really feel isn't my fault.

I know that there are 3 sides to every story, I tried to be fair and balanced with my story.

What do you all think?

In any case, how they are acting is really dweeby.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

R.I.P. Starbucks Greece

I remember about 10 years ago when it was first opened.

Hell, I'd even worked there a couple times to help out.

It's a shock that "the Borg" has decided to close one of its stores and it happens to be the closest one to my house. I could walk there in 20 minutes or so. 

The Starbucks in Greece has closed. I had to go there on their last day to get one last coffee there. I met my friend Lou there as well. He felt just as obligated to snag one last latte.

It's sad, really, when a neighborhood institution like a café (any café, not just a huge corporation) closes down due to the fucking paralyzing construction on the busiest road in the world.

Other companies have moved or closed down as well.

I'll miss the familiar neighborhood café, but gladly, there are 2 more in the area. Sadly, however, I'd need a car to get to them.


Back Home Safe and Sound

I'm home now.

It's quite amazing how much of "the German" you can tune out when you have an iPod on. I didn't have to worry about anyone talking to me. It's ok, the Germans are usually pretty "hands off" anyway.

I tried to stay awake til my normal bedtime but couldn't. I went to bed at 8 and woke up at 9AM.

That's 13 hours. And if you know me, I can never sleep more than 8. Amazing.

But I had a strange dream that kept going even after I woke up to pee: I was somehow convicted to death because I shot someone (but didn't really, I was framed). It went right up to the moment where I had to go to the chair (at least that is what I was telling myself in the dream because I didn't actually see it) and somehow escaped (someone raided the jail) and was on the run for the rest of my sleeping moments (but not really because I met friends to play pool).

Then I woke up to realize I was in Germany. I have no idea which is worse.

I have no idea if that is a metaphor for my life here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Back in Sausage Land

Hey all.

I made it to Munich at least. I am sitting here waiting for my 11:25 flight staring at a 9:00 flight to the same city but alas, I cannot get on due to my luggage being checked in for the 11:25 flight.

*sigh* welcome back to the land of the inflexible,

And, to get a wonderful internet connection, I have to pay 8 euros for an hour of internet.

Welcome to the land of nothing ever, ever, being free. I already miss free wifi everywhere in the USA.

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Ironically, there is a free "coffee station" where I can get unlimited coffee and tea. So I can't complain about everything...just that it's not Starbucks coffee.

Surprisingly, I am not that tired. I was able to sleep for about 6 minutes on the plane and the flight seemed to go quickly. The sunrise view from the plane was amazing. It looked like a rainbow in the horizon.

I already miss what routine I had developed in the states. But I have my own here and that should be good enough for a while anyway.

I can say that so far, I enjoy the tameness (if that is a word) of the Germans. Compared to waiting at a gate in the US, they are much more reserved and quiet. I can do my own thing and it's not a problem not to talk to anyone.

Having said that, I had a really great conversation with 3 people at a restaurant in JFK where I paid almost 40 dollars for 2 beers and a meal. But the conversation was worth every cent...and the food and drinks were also good!

Well anyway. I will definitely write more later and post some photos. I just wanted to write some things here while my thoughts are semi-fresh and partly cohesive.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How Time Flies...

It's my last full day in the states.

It's been a great time this time. The weather has been really great and I have been able to meet up with some friends.

And eat.

My god, have I eaten a lot. (Pete, I need a squash game or 10 to get back into shape!)

But, I have enjoyed every minute of it.

On Monday, my parents and I went to Niagara Falls. I haven't been there in a long time and since I wanted to try out my new camera, why not go somewhere scenic?

The place has changed quite a lot in the last 20 years. They have really renovated the strip right along the falls. I remember it being kinda dingy and now it's not so dingy anymore.

At my protest, my parents dragged me onto the Maid Of the Mist—a steamship that takes you basically into the falls. I had never been on it before and thought of it as a tourist trap.

Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. It was the best thing I have done here. I cannot do the feeling justice by putting it into words (but I'll sure try). Once the narration finished talking about the statistics of the falls and who tried going over in a barrel, etc, they steer us to horseshoe falls and the boat driver just sits us next to the falls and you hear "ladies and gentleman, this is Niagara Falls" and then you are surrounded by the sheer force of nature. Powerful. Indiscriminate. Beautiful. The narrative stops and the falls speak for themselves. It was absolutely amazing and I was on the verge of tears because of the beauty.

And I have never, ever, been that emotional about nature before.

I had the wonderful opportunity to help my friend Lou shoot a wedding as a 2nd assistant. He had a main assistant but let me come along to see how it's done and to try out my new camera and lens. It was probably the most humid day of the year—probably in my life— due to the hurricane. Yes, we feel the hurricane even way up here. But it was quite interesting and fun to see the power you have if you carry around a huge camera. The bride feels like a rock star and the guests made comments later that the 3 photographers were impressive. Nice.

I saw only one movie so far: Batman. I saw it in Germany, but dad hadn't seen it yet and they were playing it in an IMAX theater. I am glad I saw it because the picture and sound were so much better than in Germany.

I got a chance to see my brother's band as well and I am glad I did. He gave me his CD and the content kinda sounded all the same. But the live stuff was quite good and more diverse. I am looking forward to the 2nd demo.

I am a bit disappointed in the nightlife here. There are things to do but not many people get out really unless they are die hard fans. I hope it gets better someday but I don't know how since people have to drive everywhere and therefore cannot drink. (public transportation...hello?)

Anyway...I wil be sad to go tomorrow. I'll have to get back to my normal life in Dresden but at least I'll have had a nice time here and can bring back a new camera and lens!

Monday, September 15, 2008

What I and My New Camera Can Do:


And at the request of my buddy Dan, here are the numbers:

Aperture: f/32
Shutter speed: 1.6 sec
ISO 100
Tamron 17-50mm at 17mm
Canon 40D

Processed using Aperture2


Thursday, September 11, 2008

USA Day One

Hey all! Well, I am here! After all the traveling and all the sleeplessness, I am here and it's great to be home so far. I had a few things waiting for me already and here they are:

Yup, I am so happy to have a new camera and lens. Crazy, actually, that I have bought such a "professional" camera. Now I almost feel obligated to try to make money with it.

So far my trip as been really great. I started my time here out with a delicious steak dinner, visiting some old friends and going down to the beach to try the new camera out after visiting my brother.

On a sad note: the Starbucks right near where I live is closing. Sure, there are 2 more right near it, but what am I supposed to do??

More to come later.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Heart of the Matter

I don't know why it so scares the shit out of me.

Heart attack.

When I was a kid and was at school, we often loved the "movie classes" at school. The custodian wheeled in the movie projector (that dates me, huh), fed the film through the projector and fired up the lamp to show is some "wonderful" film. Often, it was great because it gave us a break to just passively sit and take in something. (like I didn't do enough of that at home in front of the TV )

Well, the one I remember most is a heart health movie where it has a happy daddy-type man getting up and innocently getting ready for his day. He does everything from taking a shower with him switching quickly form hot to cold to shock his body, to short sprints to the car, etc.

I don't remember much after that except for him being wheeled into a hospital on a stretcher moaning in pain.

Of course, he lives. (Thanks to the USAs *ahem* stellar health system)

But I can't get that out of my mind.

Anyone care to tell me why?

I mean, it could be that I am just a scared weenie.

Or, I had a former life and that is how I died (if you care to consider reincarnation)

I dunno.

I had a moment of silence that needed to be filled.

So there it is.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I was riding home two days ago and saw a really nice sundog.

I had to take a photo of it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Another Nail in the Coffin...

The girlfriend didn't like my dessert sushi.

It was banana and raspberry sushi with a chocolate drizzle.

Sure, it had rice and seaweed, but still...

Now I wonder if we can ever be together.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

15 Plus a Dog, and a Social Experiment

How does one begin a birthday blog? With a frog?


Karen made me a cake.

Me blowing out the candle.

See the gifts on the table? I found out later that they were wrapped in WALLPAPER. How cool is that??!

There is always a slight panic in my mind when having a party: how much food to buy, how much beer to have handy, snacks, etc...but it worked out wonderfully! Once everyone got to my place it turned into a nice party.

I got a coffee grinder and a gift voucher for amazon. (Thanks again!) I spent the morning tweaking the settings on the grinder and almost had caffeine overdose!

And the gift certificate has already been used.

I was a bit ambitious with the amount of people invited. Since I have a small apartment, I knew I couldn't invite everyone, but I tried. I found out the limit to what my apartment can hold comfortably: 15 people and a dog. I was counting on good weather so we could also use the balcony but that didn't work out so it was a good thing that everyone knew each other and that the beer and wine flowed the whole evening!


Danielle and Jule

Hendrick and Delphine

Karen and Desiree


Karen hiding behind her glass

Jessica, Torsten and Desiree


Well, 15 people, if a few go outside from time to time on the balcony to have a cigarette. (or to be the grill master)

Thanks again, everyone for coming to the party and celebrating with me!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Day In The City

What does one do when there is a whole day to spend on anything and no significant other to take pictures of you in the city?

Bring the cable trigger!

That's right. I took my tripod out and experienced what a long exposure on a windy day can do to exposures.

(hint: nothing good)

But I was able to sneak a photo of myself on the Augustusbrücke. I was getting looks from people who acted like they wanted to help, but then relieved when I said I was ok.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lil' Sunday Morning Entertainment...

For those of you not holy enough to go to church, here is something "else" to watch:

Freakiest few minutes EVER.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I'm Just Sayin;...

It's no secret that I have an irrational fear of bees.

Yes, I was stung once when I was little and it has psychologically scarred me.

Yes, I don't like icky insects butting into my life.

I'm just sayin': if I stumbled into their nest, I'd be stung mercilessly.

I'm returning the sentiment.

Bring it on.

One is German "let's-be-sensitive-to-mother-nature-and-wasps" chrysanthemum blossom spray. (it's cruel, actually - it kills the wasp slowly) The other is American "scorch-the-earth-while-killing-the-nest" spray.

Either way, I'm ready. I refuse to close my windows. I refuse to change my life to live in fear of these disgusting, useless*, intrusive insects.

*I know they are not useless. I just think they should all die.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bust Out That Scotch!

The other night I stumbled across a video on the internet and decided to grab myself a drink and watch the 2 hour free video. (link given after a verbal bitch slapping from Toby)

It was of "the 4 horsemen" who are Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, a group of 4 scientist/philosopher/free-thinkers who have all written books about science, religion, philosophy and rational thinking.

I recommend any of the books from any of these authors. Maybe at the end you'll disagree with what they say, but they are extremely intelligent and make a really strong case.

Anyway, I decided to bust out the Talisker and have a drink with my current idol Christopher Hitchens. He's as smart as he is witty and I love his take-no-crap way of arguing.

If only we all could be so critical in our thinking as these men.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Some Of My Duckies In a Row...

2 Weeks without the girlfriend can be interpreted different ways. I can sit here and be sad and feel lonely, or I can try to proactively do something new.

I am inspired from a co-worker's site (I hesitate calling him a friend at this point only because of the German definition of friend being that we've "had a beer together" keeping me from saying it. Come on, Toby, let's get a beer together sometime!) and while I am essentially as strong as a wet noodle, I want to try to do 100 push-ups. Here is the site.

While contemplating the whole "will my bad shoulders handle the stress" question, I also went out with my snazzy bike computer (attached to the bike, of course) to map out a nice 5KM route to try to jog 4 times a week. (I popped the back tire and had to walk almost the whole way) I am quite sure I can do 5KM, it doesn't seem that hard, but I'd like to get up to 10KM. Who knows...this whole thing may be delusional but I want to try it.

The 70-200mm lens is up on ebay. I want to buy the next best version: the Image Stabilization version.

I'm thinking of selling the Fender guitar because my teens-through-twenties pipe dream of becoming a rock star is over. I could use the money for camera stuff...and by "stuff", I mean a new camera body.

While I'm at it, I have a question: the camera body I want is only about 100 dollars more expensive here but that includes a 2 year E.U. warranty. Should I just buckle and get it? Whaddya all think?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

South Bohemia

Did another bike tour on the weekend. This time, we went to Prague and had Ivana's best friend and her boyfriend come along with us.

We had a car this time. More mobility. :-)

We started off in god-knows-where and was quickly told about the controversial nuclear power plant: here

It's a Soviet station with American technology...weird mix.

Anyway, we got to our B&B and biked around for a day. We started off in Hluboka nad Vltavou, a small town with a nice castle.

Then we went to Holašavice where there was a street festival going on. 

The bike ride along the countryside was really relaxing and quite what I needed.

The next day, we went to český Krumlov, another UNSECO city and, I might add, quite a nice city.

After that, we went back to Prague for the trip home.

This weekend, the girlfriend is off to be a tour guide in Scotland. That means I can rest for a couple weekend. I need it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Chat...

Monday, July 21, 2008

45 Miles, Saddle Sore, and Knees Hurting... how I came to Ivana's birthday celebration on Saturday. It was at her Grandparent's garden in the middle of nowhere. (Everyone in Europe seems to have a garden area somewhere near where they live and they often celebrate parties there)'s no fun going to a family party when you don't speak the language. At all. None. I mean, I can say: "my name is...", "give me please...", and other survival phrases, but that quickly becomes obsolete when trying to enter into a political conversation.

And this is what I find funny: these wonderful language learning books have so many "useful" phrases such as "the cat is on the mat" or "the monkey is on the branch" and it's really hard to use them in any conversation.*

Them: "Bob, when going into a store in America, do you have to pay with a credit card?"

Me: "Uh, the cat is on the mat?"

So, I felt kinda like a piece of furniture they lug around during a family visit. 

But the good thing was that I spoke to her grandparents in German (80 years ago this area was a part of Germany so most people that age can speak it) and that was ok...all 5 minutes of it.

The garden was quite beautiful and I was able to take some nice pics, and tried to get a picture of a bee in flight but it turned out to be much harder than I thought. Those wily bees!

* This is Eddie Izzard. I cannot claim originality to this situation, but I can relate!