Sunday, June 04, 2006

never was much of a journal writer...

well, well, almost a month!

umm, zusammenverfassung:

midterms, came back with a B+ and two As.

berlin fun sort of slowing into a livable routine. strange confrontations with host over misunderstandings, but today a nice chat with him over white tea. he will be in italy for most of july, so I can do anything in the apartment than can be restored by the time he gets back.

meeting more american students in my program, and hardly any germans...but that's okay because americans can be way way cool, such as the individuals I am beginning kennenzulernen through the mural project in my art class. We are a group of five, and three of them are very close girls who have been here since last fall. The other guy is an indie kid through and through, with a nonstop ironic sense of humor. We painted the Tiefgarage wall at IES a Sky blue, and we will paint it over with themes following "The Sky over the City"--we are going to include a Reichstag dome flying through the air, a winged toaster, parachuting eggs, and other such pastiche. Our art teacher reminds of my grandad, and is full of energy for exciting, humorous, and orginal things and concepts--a perfect art teacher, very fond of American youth and defensive of the Amis, who are accepted in Germany with a strong, strong dose of ambivalence.

No major travel in the past month, but a trip to thunderstorm shaken Dresden, on the beautiful Elbe. Saw Slaughterhouse Five.

Birthday! Drank and drank and danced and gequatscht and smoked hookah and said "Today is my Birthday!" constantly. Good fun, no traditional frat excess.

Only three more weeks of IES classes. The weather has been lamely cloudy and rainy for two weeks. It is a source of collective melancholy, asburdist humor, and Enttaeuschung.

Time is going to quickly, and I will be separated from my beloved U-Bahn and the city it runs through far too soon.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

PICTURE TIME AGAIN TIME TO UNLOAD MONTHS OF MY CAMERA

Here we go!


The Frank Zappa Cafe in Budapest, near the hostel.


In the Tiergarten in Berlin.


Hey look it's a CLOUD


New haircut. Same Grease.


My friends sometimes get drunk.


This guy is jumping from a cliff. With a parachute!


Cynical comment. Actually, I love these two people very much. On the left is Stephan, an American-German-American, and on the right is Katrina, who is usually an important part of any sort of gemuetlichkeit.


Olympia Stadion, the Nazi Sport Palace.


The Hungarian Parliament, designed to look like the British Parliament. Blow it up, V!


Hostels are awesome.


I guess it's some shoes by the Danube.


Scheisstouristen.


Who doesn't love ridiculous Warsaw Pact automobiles?

What can I say? Berlin continues to surprise and delight. Wannsee, a lake in southwest Berlin, has a wonderful beach where I chilled out for 5 hours, naked. Wannsee is also the part of Berlin where the Nazis hammered out the details of the Final Solution. One cannot escape the tormented history of this place. The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin Mitte is a strange grid of black blocks rising up from an uneven floor, and Berliners jump around and play on and through it. It is such an incredible way to highlight the point that life, death, guilt, innocence, past, present, joy, and evil are always twisting around one another in an endless chase. I am amazed.

Saw two Fussball games, each played by the local team, Hertha BSC. Hertha is an average team, and lost the first 5-1, and won the next 4-2, which was an upset against the number 2 team, Hamburg. My good friend, Katrina, cheered for Hamburg.

We went to an exhibit called Melancholie, which felt like reading a Thematic Option Writing Class Symposium paper--in other words, amatuerish and laughable. However, the works on display were beautiful and fascinating, so the gallery is halfway forgiven. Saw a Max Ernst, a Hieronymus Bosch, lots from Duerer, an old copy of Dante's Inferno, and some old shit that they clearly just threw in there because it was lying around in the basement--for example, a stupid-ass stuffed bat.

Alrighty, enough. The downtempo beats of this cafe are inducing dangerous levels of chill. Peace.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tallin, Terrorism, and Tactical Nukes

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060417fa_fact

Hang down your head for sorrow, hang down your for me
Hang down your tomorrow, hang down your head Marie

Saw V for Vendetta last night--amazing. Spooky too, with all the wild predictions of the near future. Highly reccommended for orgasmic explosions and Wachowski imagery. Probably already out of the American theaters, though.

Tallinn, Estonia was tiny and pretty. I stayed in the old town in a hostel with a friend from the study abroad program. Thing is, Tallinn has the most well preserved old town, so there were beautiful cathedrals, completely intact city walls and turret towers, windy narrow cobblestone streets and huge ornate doors. We almost went to Helsinki but we missed the boat.

I got a Cuban cigar (Cohiba) there for 12 EUR.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Assholes and fascists

Last night went bar hopping, and ended up at one point in an Absinth bar. Totally full of chavvies (trashy idiots) so I won't be going back there soon. Another bar, called Morgenrot, was cool. It's right next to a leftist bookstore and there were signs all over about a counterdemonstration against an NPD (National Party of Germany--bunch of right wing anti-muslim anti-immigrant nazi goons) march. The march went right past my apartment this morning, so I went out by the church, surrounded by SPD (the mainstream left party) supporters. Among the things we shouted:

"Nazis raus!" (Der Klassiker)

"Ihr habt den Krieg verloren!" (You Nazis lost the war!), and its attendent "Stalingrad! Stalingrad!"

"Ihr seid nur ein Karnevalverein, ein Karnevalverein, ein Karnevalverein" (You're all just a Mardi Gras party club...just a bunch of clowns)

Leider habe ich meine Kamera vergessen =( ja, sehr dumm

Sunday, March 26, 2006

last week of language class

then a break. lotsa people are going to poland, so i need to find something to do over the week and a half break. maybe i can latch on to someone else's trip. i think a few people are looking into tunisia. warm weather sounds so nice. the weather here is classic portland weather--50s and light rain all day. feels like home again. wish it would feel like SC weather. pix to come soon, forgot my camera today.

I found a Thai-Viet grocery in charlottenburg (former West Berlin)! Felt like coming home, with a Thai lunch place in the back. The Pad Thai isn't that great there, but it's a step up from currywurst. Going to try a Fruehlings Roll recipe Loan made for my family once.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

leave comments and stuff

or there won't be any more pictures or something does anyone read this?

Tomorrow I'm going to the US embassy to watch a live feed of a soccer game between the US and German national teams. I think most people here are going to cheer for Germany. Amis are a strange bunch.

Monday, March 20, 2006

USD 80 later...

RIP PA-9 6G356 (my notebook's power adapter)

Your cord had been behaving erratically in your final days, not delivering the stream, as the Germans say, to my notebook. In frustration I pulled on the frayed connection and observed your desperate final flashes of light and the sad puff of smoke as your life left you.

But, a successor has been selected and is currently en route from the US. My iPod will have its battery in full form soon enough.

Enough stupid extended metaphors, jeez I go to the bars a lot. Saw a flea market in the Tiergarten, got a CD for €10 (too much). Went to KaDeWe, pretty nifty. Jaegermeister for €10, Glenfiddich for €20. Gotta mind my Ps and Qs with the booze, as it's also a drain on the wallet. Will I have any money left when I get home? Probably. Hopefully.