Saturday, October 27, 2007
Also, just as a follow-up to the last post. I discovered another thing that makes N. Germany like America. The bars and restaurants here offer pitchers of beer, something that I have not seen outside the U.S. before. I'm happy that this wonderful aspect of American drinking culture (there aren't that many) has been adopted somewhere outside the States.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
As a warning, this post may involve some over-generalized stereotypes that some will disagree with. If you don’t like agree with me, comment or start your own blog. After such an ominous forewarning, you may expect me to write something stupid, like Nobel winner and DNA pioneer James Watson recently did. For those that don’t know, he inferred that blacks were inherently less intelligent than Europeans. Oops. No surprise that he was then suspended from his position at
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
It has been quite a while since a post…3 weeks to be exact. Those three weeks can be broken into 3 distinct phases: (1) travelling with my parents, (2) preparing to move from
After my defense, we had quite the party, as would be expected, lasting until well after 3. The very next day Ines, my parents, and I took the train from JKL to
My parents flew from
For those who don’t know, the reason I moved to Ploen is that there is a research institute located here, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology. For reasons which are still not entirely clear to me, this prestigious Institute offered me a post doc position for an undetermined amount of time. I’ll be studying the evolution of complex life cycle parasites using a particular tapeworm species as a model organism. Actually, the topic fits my interests very well and it’s related to my previous research, so that is probably the reason for their job offer. Hopefully, I’ll be able to work here for a couple years, but one can never know. At the moment, I’m just trying to stay positive in the face of all the unfamiliarity (a more positive thinker would say novelty): new colleagues, new boss, new city, new lab system, new expectations. Ines is, of course, keeping me focused on the opportunities, not the challenges, presented by this new situation. I can never thank her enough for that.
Friday, September 21, 2007
p.s. there will be no post tomorrow. Surprise.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
In an unrelated note, Ines was on TV last night (MDR) because she bought the new Harry Potter book. She was briefly interviewed (about 4 or 5 questions), but only 7 words actually made it into the final cut of the report. Too bad, she had a wild theory about how the series ends...
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Have you ever noticed how music can define generations? What would the 70’s have been without funk, the 80’s without electro and punk, or the 90’s without rap? Well, now that I’m a twenty-something, I can reflect back upon the music and memories in my life. I’ll do this theoretically. If I were to make three mix CDs that defined three of the last “blocks” of my life, here is what they’d be.
CD 1 – High school (in no particular order)
1. Metallica – As the bell tolls. Metallica was one of the first bands I discovered as a teenager, and I always thought “Ride the Lightning” was their coolest album.
2. Prodigy – Smack my bitch up. When I was 16, I tried to buy this album at NFM (for all the Omahans), but they wouldn’t sell it to me because of the explicit lyric sticker (needed to be 18).
3. Offspring – Gone away. Any number of Offspring songs could’ve made the list. I was tempted to take “Pretty fly (for a white guy)”, but thought it was too obvious.
4. Korn – Blind. The first track from Korn’s first album is a classic. I must have heard it a thousand times in my high school’s weight room.
5. Zebrahead – Get back. Some fun pop metal that today sounds, well, so 90s.
6. Reel Big Fish – She’s got a girlfriend. Ska enjoyed a brief surge in popularity in the late 90s, and RBF were a favorite in the genre (swing music also had a resurgence, with less penetration into youth culture)
7. Powerman 5000 – When worlds collide. A prominent group in the nu-metal wave with no staying-power in the long term (their second album was supposedly scrapped by the label for being too crappy).
8. Hed p.e. – Serpent boy. Of all the bands that tried to fuse rap and metal, this one probably managed it make sound most genuine. I liked to call it ghetto metal.
9. Limp Bizkit – Counterfeit. Though I can’t say it too loudly in public these days, I will admit in private to being a Limp Bizkit fan as a teenager. I had to be. They were huge. This song, their first single ever, was never popular, though I thought it described well all the phony people I had to go to school with.
10. Deftones – My own summer (shove it). Because of the chorus (“Shove it!”), I wanted this to be our class song.
11. The Urge – Liquor store. Do I even need to explain why Liquor store would be a favorite for bored teenagers?
12. Green Day – Nimrod. This is the song that turned me onto Green Day, possibly the best pop-punk band ever.
13. Static-X – Push it. I secretly wanted hair like frontman Wayne Static. Also, I always remember how a fan graciously requested this song at one of their shows by screaming “Push the F*#@ing it!”.
14. NIN – Closer. This was one of the first songs I managed to download in mp3 format (the very first was Blur – Song2).
15. 2 Skinnee J’s – Riot Nrrrd. A song written by nerds for nerds that just rocks. Besides one of the two J’s was the son of my high school counselor.
16. Korn – Falling away from me/Freak on a leash. Korn is the only band making it twice onto the list, and these two songs probably mark the peak of their popularity. I was a huge Korn fan. I had to support the leading musical alternative to boy bands like N’Sync.
CD2 – College (again no order)
1. Mudvayne – Dig (or -1). Mudvayne took over Korn’s place as my favorite band in college. I would always listen to them when I needed to vent some anger (which was often, I seem to recall).
2. Slipknot – Wait and bleed. Slipknot was around when I was in high school, but I only became interested in college when I discovered the like-minded band, Mudvayne.
3. System of a Down – Sugar. Another band I was listening to in high school. SOAD’s popularity peaked, though, when I was in college, so I think of them as a post-2000 band.
4. Ill Nino – Revolution
5. 36 Crazyfists – Turns to ashes
6. 40 Below Summer – Step into the sideshow
7. Boy Hits Car – As I watch the sun fuck the ocean. The music produced by artists 3 to 7 just fit this transitional period, from nu-metal to the more metal/hardcore that dominates heavy music nowadays. Also, these bands are rather obscure, reflecting my increasingly eccentric taste in music at the time.
8. theStart – Gorgeous. This band is a bit of an outsider on the list, but I was really into theStart’s modernized take on new wave. Actually, more of Ines’ taste than mine.
9. Deadsy – Mansion world. An electro-rock band fronted by Cher’s son, how could you go wrong? Coolest live version of the Star Wars theme I’ve ever heard.
10. OTEP – The lord is my weapon. The angriest female front woman in the world, and I was digging it in the summer of ’01, the last summer I spent suffering under my parent’s roof.
11. Primer 55 – Anti-social. Chorus: “Sorry I’m anti-social, but people just make me sick”. Yeah, I was often of this attitude, especially in the presence of suck-up pre-med students or arrogant Frat boys and Sorority girls.
12. Xandria – Child of the blue. An obscure German band I found via mp3.com. Who would have thought that I’d now be able to buy their CDs in the store…in Germany?
13. Rorschach test – Fornicator. I don’t know any other songs from this band, but this song was played now and then on the Uni’s radio station. With the hook “that’s why they call me, Fornicator!”, how could a male, college student not love this track?
14. Atom and His Package – I’m downright amazed at what I can destroy with just a hammer. Frosty’s theme song.
15. Mindless Self Indulgence – Faggot/Bitches/Planet of the Apes. MSI’s major label debut was 30 tracks listed in alphabetical order. That kind of peculiarity led to MSI being a favorite band in my circle of friends. I can’t describe the music; you just have to experience it.
CD3 – Finland and beyond
1. Dog Fashion Disco – Sweet insanity. Honestly, DFD should be on the college list. However, I enjoyed sharing DFD with unsuspecting Finns, so I put this band here.
2. HIM – Join me in death. Before I knew I was headed North, I did not know HIM was Finland’s biggest pop culture export. In your face Sweden!
3. Nightwish – Nemo. When I arrived in Finland, this song was on top of the charts. A goth-metal band topping the charts? Yeah, I had definitely arrived in a foreign country.
4. Lordi – Hard rock hallelujah. This song is ridiculous, but after winning the Eurovision song contest, the monsters of Lordi were treated national heroes.
5. Timo Rautianen – Hyvää paiva. The last Finnish band on the list is the first one I saw live in JKL.
6. Rammstein – Amerika. In Europe, unlike the U.S., this band is not a one-hit wonder. Anyways, their attempted lampoon of the U.S. always makes me laugh.
7. HORSE the Band – Bunnies. Nintendo meets death metal. They have perhaps the funniest lyrics that can’t be understood because of the screaming delivery.
8. The Blood Brothers – Spit shine your black clouds. This song is on the Young Machetes CD, probably my ‘07 album of the year (though it came out in late ‘06…can’t catch the new releases as quick as I used to).
9. Tub Ring – The promise keeper. Similar to DFD, perhaps even quirkier at times, their eccentric, creative style forms to my musical tastes. They’ve been a fixture on my mp3 player, so I’ve spent a lot of time jamming out to their music while doing mindless lab work.
10. Modest Mouse – Float on. A particular American (not me) in JKL had quite the affinity for MM, and was always willing to talk to you about how great the band is.
11. The Sounds – Living in America. The chorus “we’re not living in America, and we’re not sorry” just resonates for an ex-pat. Also, Ines regularly plays this track when she spins, usually before or after Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America”. Cool.
12. The Faint – Agenda Suicide. I was listening to the Faint in college. After all, they came from Omaha, my hometown. The discovery that this home town band had a fan base in Europe, though, rekindled my interest in this band. P.S. Ines also usually spins this track.
13. Wir sind Helden – Denkmal. This song, because of Singstar on Playstation, was the first German song in which I learned (most of) the lyrics. Also, we recently saw them live in studio, giving a radio concert.
14. The Killers – Smile like you mean it/Somebody told me. These songs will always remind me of Finland and more importantly my very special blog partner, Ines.
This is the 100th post on the blog!!! Wohoo!
Friday, July 06, 2007
What the heck has gone on the last couple weeks? The biggest milestone for me is that I handed in my PhD thesis. Yippee! Unfortunately, though, that yippee still has an asterisk next to it. The thesis needs to be reviewed, revised, and then defended before I’m Dr. Benesh (or Dr. Dan as Ines’ friends favor). Also, I’ve been going through the usual cycle of manuscript submission and subsequent rejection, so I can’t claim that my professional life is without disappointment and failure. Ines has also made some big career moves lately. She got a job working for the TV show “unter uns” (not the soap, but the talk show) finding guests and more or less keeping the whole thing organized. Right now, it is part-time, but in the fall it’ll be a full-time gig…pretty cool.
Other stuff…last weekend Ines and I had holiday. It was not a proper holiday, i.e. 2-3 weeks away from work, like a typical summer vacation in Germany. Nope, we just took a 4-day weekend, but it was nonetheless cool. We visited the Rhine Valley, saw the Loreley, tasted some fine German wines, and went inside the world’s largest wine barrel (Dürkheimer Riesenfass, toll). Perhaps the most memorable part of the trip, though, is one of the places we stayed, a village called Frankenstein. How awesome is that? As you can see from the picture, this simple fact kept us amused (ok, more me than Ines). After visiting the wine region, we drove to Kassel to check out the Documenta in Kassel, the biggest art exhibition in the world. One of the more famous “pieces” at the exhibition was from an Asian artist that planted rice fields on a hill in front of an old palace. When we saw it, the ground was completely dry and the rice plants were dying. At least these misplaced rice fields were somehow more artistic than the paintings of black lines on a white background. Yeah, I don’t understand art at all.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Friday, June 01, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I remember that in my primary education (and beyond) tolerance and appreciation for cultural diversity were major topics of societal concern. The main points were and are obvious. Don't categorize people. Do be racist. Everyone should have an equal shot. Stereotypes are wrong. Now, if I take these lessons and apply them to my experiences in Germany, then I should be able to debunk many of the common, German stereotypes. Beer-drinking, sausage-eating, well-organized, unfriendly skinheads. I'm not actually gonna address any of these prejudices/exaggerations. Instead, I'm just using them to bring me in a roundabout, incoherent way to an absolutely true stereotype: the bureaucracy in Germany is extensive and intolerable. Today, I was at the immigration office. I had been there once before to ask about the documents I would need to produce to get permission to live in this country. After compiling this mass of documents, I returned to the office in the hopes of easily procuring a residence permit. The first step was to wait 3 hours before being able to talk to anyone (when I arrived they were in the 40s and I pulled number 129). Upon finally talking with someone, it turns out that the application is still not complete. Luckily, I can send the papers without actually waiting in the office again. However, I have to wait a few months before my application is actually processed, and when it is, that's another trip to the immigration office. If Ines didn't come and vouch for me, I'm certain it would have been much, much more difficult. While this doesn't seem so bad (perhaps such bureaucracy is only ruthlessly imposed on immigrants), I think such extensive paperwork is an endemic part of German society. Doctor visits, driver's licenses, work permits, housing contracts...they all seem painfully complex to me. Oh well, you just can't fight the system.
Onto the next, unrelated topic...a short story. Ines and I watched "Bend it like Beckham" on TV a few days ago. It's a Disney movie, so it has a 99% chance of having a predictable happy ending....and that's what happened. Anyways, during the happy climax, two lead characters are kissing, lovingly but not erotically, and rubbing their noses against one another's face. Ines turned to me and said "I want to do this with you". Almost simultaneously, perhaps as the word "want" was escaping her lips, I let out a magnificent sneeze (the hay fever has been nastly of late). As I wiped the snot from my nose, I turned to her and asked if she wanted to reconsider. All she could do was laugh. What is my point? Life is not like a Disney movie, but sometimes it can be funny anyways.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
What are you gonna wear to the impending rapture? -Tub Ring
Spit shine your black clouds. -Blood Brothers
Roaring with whispers, tiny bunnies, those fucking bunnies. -HORSE the band
No prophet has ever been accepted in his own village. -Kaddisfly
Get up off this Wisconsin Death Trip. -Static-X
I was gonna write more, but some seemingly good ideas turn out to have limited substance, i.e. I can recall anything else as I sit here...
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Today begins a honeymoon phase. I came back to Leipzig from Finland on Monday and Ines returns from Bonn late tonight. We have not seen each other for over a week, which is the longest we’ve been apart since we moved to Leipzig. This time apart was just long enough to ensure that we’ll start a small honeymoon phase tomorrow. What is the honeymoon phase? It is the time in a relationship when things just feel new, good, and exciting, at least that’s my definition. The relationship between Ines and I has been characterized by numerous honeymoon phases. As with most relationships, our first honeymoon phase started shortly after we met in Finland. Because we came from different countries, different cultures, different academic fields, there was always something indescribably fascinating about our time together. Ines was studying intercultural communication at the time, and quickly found the appropriate term to define this state, i.e. honeymoon phase. According to her textbooks, intercultural relationships are often characterized by a honeymoon phase in which both persons find the other interesting and exotic simply because they come from different cultures. Eventually, the honeymoon phase ends and is replaced by more difficult stages in which cultural bridges must be crossed and communication must be more efficient. Naturally, Ines and I both experienced such cultural and/or linguistic difficulties. But on the positive side, we’ve also had many honeymoon phases. This was largely a consequence of us living in two separate countries for about 1.5 years. When we visited each other about every other month, a new honeymoon phase began. During the limited time of each visit, the everyday annoyances could be ignored and we could just enjoy each other. While this may sound tolerable, a long-distance relationship can’t last forever; moving together or breaking up are the two eventual options. Of course, I’m glad that we represent the former. But I’m also happy that there is still the possibility of some short honeymoon phases every now and then. I suppose it is like many other things in life: there needs to be a good balance. In this case, between spending time together and time apart.
Friday, April 13, 2007
And for those who are curious, Ines won the March Madness pool. My brother and I were so ashamed, but my dad offered warm congrats.
Friday, April 06, 2007
“Boy, those Germans have a word for everything.”
Homer is sure right about that. Germans do have a word for everything, at least I feel that way learning vocabulary. Too bad sour grapes isn't one of them.
Monday, March 26, 2007
The second “dilemma” is for the vegetarians and animal rights activists out there. The American bison, or buffalo, was nearly exterminated by men in the 19th century. At its low point, there were only about 1,000 individuals left; before humans settled N. America the population size was probably in the millions for several thousand years. Nowadays, buffalo numbers are increasing, but not because the great American plains are being restored to prehistoric conditions. Nope, the population is growing because people have developed a taste for buffalo meat. So the moral question thus becomes is it better for a species to go extinct than to be sustained purely for consumption? I got no answer to this one, but I did find it rather intriguing. Maybe it is a good conversation starter for the next vegetarian you meet…
Finally, as promised, the madness update. I was leading our pool through the first 3 rounds of the tournament (from 64 to 8 teams), but then everything went to hell. My predicted champion, Kansas, lost and I ended up only picking 1 of 4 teams in the Final Four (Florida). My dad is now in the lead, and Ines is in second (she picked all 4 teams in the final, unbelievable). I can’t catch either of them. I just have to hope the right teams win, so that I don’t suffer the embarrassment of finishing dead last.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Sunday, March 04, 2007
We had a party last night, so I’m not in the best condition today. Thus, instead of trying to write something interesting myself, I’m going to direct you to some cool posts on other blogs. The first is here and is about the capture of an adult colossal squid. Basically it just shows some amazing pictures, so it is good for lazy blog patrons. I’ve added a picture showing the hooks that this beast has in its tentacle suckers, and one showing what these hooks probably do to spermwhales making a meal out of these squids. What an amazing animal; a testament to out vast ignorance of what lives down in the deep oceans. The second post can be found here. It is about some of my favorite critters: parasitic worms. A new molecular phylogeny of the platyhelminthes (flatworms) has been published. Phylogenies are hypotheses about the relationships between species, and they are often built using DNA data. Here the goal was to examine the deep evolution of parasitic worms, i.e. how they evoled a parasitic life style, how they added hosts to their life cycle, and how they radiated in a staggering variety of animal hosts. For lay persons, the post gives an interesting overview of the natural history of these fascinating animals. For parasitologists, there is a surprise at the end of the post…in the re-printed phylogeny, it seems the trematodes, a huge group of parasites, are not monophyletic. I’m guessing it is due to the limited sampling of species in the study, not biological reality, but I will have to actually look up that paper to see if this is how the results were interpreted. I also recommend following the link about the discovery of tapeworm life cycles. Apparently, tapeworms were discovered by a German doctor with the name Kuchenmeister (literal translation: cake master). Good that he didn’t take up the family profession…
Monday, February 26, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
This blog is titled “parasitesandrocknroll”, but it has been awhile since either parasites or rock n roll has been the topic of a post. Well, there was a bit about R n R in the last post (i.e. nine inch nails). Anyways, it is definitely time for a post about parasites! Most people think that maintaining biodiversity is a good thing. We tend to feel bad when things go extinct, with the exception of dangerous diseases like smallpox. Cute or furry animals are especially high on the conservation list. However, if we want to conserve biodiversity as a general goal, regardless of the creature’s charisma, we would more or less be protecting parasites (and by extension their hosts). Parasites easily outnumber free-living species. That can serve as a nice anecdote at your next dinner party…”by the way, did you know that there are more parasitic animals than free-living animals?”. It may impress your friends, though it would probably kill most conversations. Anyhow, let me provide some evidence to back up this claim. Traditionally, species have been determined by noting and describing clear morphological differences between them. Sounds easy, but this can be exceedingly difficult when looking at 2 mm long worms. Nowadays, though, it is relatively cheap and easy to sequence a critter’s DNA and assess whether there is gene flow between different morphotypes (critter’s that look different). Broadly, if there isn’t any evidence of gene mixing, you can be rather sure you have different species. I have two friends/colleagues that work in parasite systematics that have used this approach. The first I knew in Nebraska and examined a particular parasite that had been found in many different fish species…suggestive that it is actually many parasite species. Well, after looking at the DNA, there turned out to be 5 or 6 new, previously unrecognized species. The other friend worked on tropical fish (snappers (pic) check ‘em out) from the Great Barrier Reef. Same story. He examined an understudied group of parasites both morphologically and molecularly, and turned up 11 new species. These stories are definitely not unusual. Parasite species diversity is just grossly underestimated. Think about it this way. There are about 40,000 described species of fish. Each fish species will probably have a few unique parasite species; some will harbor an incredible diversity of parasites. For example, in one fish species in one lake, there may be more than 40 different parasite species capable of infecting it. So how many parasites are there? No one knows, but we can be sure that most animals on this earth are parasites. Indeed, we live in a very wormy world.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
To follow up on the last post, it seems that the readership of this blog is rather limited. So if nobody reads this, I can treat this blog as a kind of lonely throne, from which I can espouse any kind of vulgary that I please. I could say the most offensive thing in the world without reprisal!! But then, the question arises, what is the most offensive thing in the world? I suppose everyone could come up with some revolting, yet slightly entertaining, idea. Just think about it…
I titled this blog “Misc.”, so to continue with that theme, I’ll move on to a completely unrelated topic: Trent Reznor is an evil genius. I was never a big nine inch nails fan, but I respected and enjoyed some of their music. Well, I have a new found admiration of Reznor’s genius, the brain behind the band. The marketing campaign for NIN’s new album, dubbed “Year Zero”, is absolutely brilliant. First, at recent live shows, fans “found” USB drives in the venue’s bathrooms. On the drives was a new track from the NIN album, and, of course, it quickly circulated around the internet. What a clever and cheap marketing campaign; no need for you Myspace. Even more scary brilliant, though, is this aspect of the marketing. Apparently, on t-shirts sold at the concerts, there is a scrambled message that leads to a particular website describing a government conspiracy to poison the drinking water. The conspiracy deepens from there. There are a whole series of connected websites which present a grim picture of the near future: no civil liberties, a brutal church state, holy war. While the owners of the website nor the label would give away any information about relations between the sites and NIN, Reznor released a brief yet tantalizing statement about the concept behind the new album. Check it out and feel free to get sucked into the conspiracy. It is hard not to admire the unbelievable creativity underlying all this.
Finally, to add to the miscellaneousity (not a word) of this post, I found this article very interesting. It seems that the emotion of sympathy is strongest when associated with a single case or person. That intuitively makes sense; a murder or missing person case of a single, high profile or beautiful person usually makes more news that the multiple larger-scale atrocities going on around the world. To quote a Marilyn Manson song, “The death of one is a tragedy”. So we can strongly sympathize with a single person, yet our feelings don’t scale up to higher numbers. The visceral reaction from the death of 10,000 people or 100,000 people doesn’t really differ. Since I’m a scientist, I’m used to looking at numbers and letting them largely determine my conclusions. So 3,000 Americans have died in Iraq, well over 200,000 thousand have died in Darfur. Shouldn’t I consider Darfur a bigger tragedy worthy of more attention? I think this research suggests that these kinds of questions are not valid. For whatever reason, human emotions are not governed by numbers, so you just can’t rank tragedies. Well, I suppose the conclusion here is that morality issues are incredibly difficult.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
There has been a serious decline in the number of comments on the blog (even those of the perverse and anonymous sort). From time to time, in my more depressive moments, I wonder about the reasons for this trend. Is there no one reading? Are the musings posted here so irrelevant they elicit no response? Did this blog already become dull and uncool? You may be saying to yourself, “c’mon man, the blog was never cool”, and you’d be right. I acknowledge this. What I am hoping, though, is that the blog can maintain a neutral level of coolness, not being described as “lame” nor “bitchin”. Is that too lofty a goal? To be average? I, like so many of us, need reassurance that my aspirations are being achieved, at least a little. Thus, the occasional comment from any devoted readers will reassure me that the blog is at least “average”, and it will keep me from falling into a deep depression induced by blog failure. So to elicit some comments, I present a topic and some examples. Here we go: Ideas that seem good while intoxicated…
-using any pickup line ever conceived
-speaking another language
-calling all the phone numbers in your mobile
-singing to your girl- or boyfriend
-opening that bottle of vodka
-quitting your job to become a freelance artist
-writing an animated novel
-starting a pet store
-loaning money to a friend so s/he can start a pet store
-stealing signs or any other kind of petty vandalism
-starting a blog
I’m sure there are plenty of other “good” ideas that are had when inebriated. Please enlighten me and other readers by posting them. And if you can’t think of anything at the moment, perhaps you aren’t in the right state of mind. That’s easily ameliorated though…cheers!
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
When I moved into my KOAS (student) flat in Jyväskylä 2.5 years ago, it was white, painfully white. The building was only about 2 or 3 years old, so it hadn’t seen much wear and tear, and the current residents weren’t big decorators. However, when I left this fall, there was all kinds of junk up on the walls; the place had taken on a personality of its own. This always seems to happen. I never have any pre-conceived idea of how to decorate a living space, but eventually, with some living, the white on the walls disappears. In other words, in my experience decorations happen, they aren’t planned. After moving into this new flat, though, I’ve realized (and been told) that this is very much a student’s approach to interior design. There can be design schemes, developed around different pieces of furniture, intended to produce various states of being in different rooms. For example, the living room isn’t just the place where the TV should be (like it was in my house). Nope, the living room should somehow have a fun, yet relaxed atmosphere created via its decorations, regardless of the presence/absence of a TV. See what I mean? Decorations are intended to produce different feelings, emotions, fung shui etc…it isn’t just about covering the white of the walls. Though I write as if I actually understand this issue, I would be quite the liar if I claimed full comprehension of the psycology of interior design. I don’t really know what colors induce what feelings, what colors go well together, how furniture may complement wall paper, etc. Think of it this way, I am that male stereotype with poor taste. Because I can’t comprehend these things, it makes it difficult for me to relate to Ines’ desire to decorate things in certain ways. When my opinion is asked, I usually don’t have one, thus my typical, unsatisfactory answer “I don’t care”. This reply is unsatisfactory because, apparently, I’m supposed to know what looks good and why. Moreover, I should have a better answer because I’m decorating my own living space, so it should have a bit of my personality infused into the decorations, right? Well, as I mentioned above, my personality seeps into decorations over time, gradually. It can’t be planned I have never put together a scheme which is somehow an expression of my personal identity nor will I probably ever. Anyways, I’m rambling as if I was charged with the complete decoration of our flat from day 1. This was not the case; it was more or less done for us by two gays friends of Ines. These guys decorated before we even moved in, and before I ever saw the flat itself. In the picture, you get a sample of the creativity they brought to this project. I was pretty nervous about the complete lack of control I had, but overall I think they did a good job (though I can’t say I’m a fan of pastel purple, see pic). From this whole mind-boggling experience of decorating a living space, I’ve learned at least 1 thing: I like symmetrical things and dislike asymmetrical things. Whether this lesson actually helps reduce the stress and confusion involved in the next design project, only time will tell.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Let's explain the title. Right now, I am watching a Jackie Chan movie on german TV. I don't understand much because everything is in German, but it isn't as if dialogue is integral to any of Chan's movies. Then again, I do miss Chan's fractured English providing occasionally unintended comedy. The point, though, is that I am writing this while distracted, which guarantees that I will jump between topics or trail off, you know how it goes...
Ines and I were talking today about how over the last month or two we have failed to communicate with any number of people we should stay in contact with, e.g. how's so and so? no idea. Though we do have a variety of things consuming our time, the primary reason (besides laziness) that we have fallen out of contact (if you want to put it to that) with different people is that we have not been connected to the internet as frequently in the last weeks (also my excuse for a slow blog). In Finland, whenever I was at home, I was more or less online. In those days, Ines was also online to talk with me. Since we were both online rather often, we chatted periodically with various people. Now, though, I am not online as often because there are other things to entertain me here in Germany besides the internet, e.g. TV, playstation, my girlfriend. And, since I'm right here, Ines can communicate with me directly without the need for messenger. So....I was distracted by a pretty good car chase in the movie and forgot how I was gonna end this post. Maybe I'll just say that Ines and I wonder how everyone is doing even though we don't ask it as frequently as we should.
Next time, I think I'll watch the Simpsons and try to write something without pressing the delete button once. Then we can see how completely incomprehensible life would be without erasers.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
We just returned from NYC and moved into a new flat in Leipzig, but instead of regailing y'all with travel tales or a description of our new flat, I'm just gonna post these two pics of us at the Statue of Liberty. Why would I do that? Because I be too lazy to write a genuine post. But I do have a topic for you, the reader, to consider...which candies are better, M&Ms or Skittles? Who wins the contest of the brightly colored, circular candies?