Since I´m now hanging up my proverbial hat in another country, I must unfortunately sell my precious car, The Boobaru. It´s a 2005 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport SE, which is a hell of a name for a hell of a car! If you or someone you know is interested, I´d encourage you to look at my ad on Craig´s List: http://denver.craigslist.org/car/303802759.html Since I´ll be in Colorado from April 2-8, then´s the best time to see it. -Ryan
Thought For The Day: I was hearing a fellow teacher say the other day something like, "When you´re a teacher, people only recognize your failures, and all the blame goes to you. No one really knows it when you do your job well, and if they do, they certainly don´t acknowledge it." And I thought, "Isn´t that the same thing they say about the CIA?"
Here are a few photos that I've been meaning to put up on the blog for a while but just haven´t had the time or occasion to do so. Hope you enjoy them, or at least don't NOT enjoy them:
Here is an example of a serenade. I hired these three guys to sing some songs for Angela on Valentine's Day. The guy on the right is Mario, my regular taxi driver. The other guys are Jorge and Don Victor. They kicked some major ass, and I was lucky because I was able to take a photo at the exact moment that Jorge and Don Victor spontaneously combusted!
Here's Angela eating a fruit called a "cas." It's tasty, as evidenced by her smile, which indicates:
Here are a few pictures from my birthday, when Angela gave me a cake. It was as delicious and as decadent as Tsarist Russia.
Here's me pretending to cut my cake while flanked by Angela and a fraction of my 200 beautiful new in-laws (although this is a rough estimate).
Here's me pretending to blow out the candle on the cake, since I had already done so before the picture was taken. Because at Ryan Sitzman´s blog, we get you the picture, even if we have to falsify evidence to do so!
And finally, how come Turkey gets to be in both Europe and Asia at the same time? C´mon Turkey! Shit or get off the pot!
The other day, for my birthday, Ángela made me a man. That's right: she gave me my first machete! She thought I was totally weird for asking for a machete for Christmas, so she didn't get me one. But when I asked for the same thing for my birthday, she finally gave in and scrounged up an old one her dad wasn't using. Although she still thinks I'm weird, and she also made me promise not to cut off my leg. But it's easy for her to cop an attitude since she's not the one that will have to protect our new family from snakes. I am. So, in traditional redneck style, I decided to pose with my weapon in front of a flag (a Costa Rican one...they kind of have rednecks here, too). Here's me Livin´ La Vida LETHAL!
I was just thinking about language lately, and something strange has come to mind. See, me and Angela have to take some courses in the church in order to get married in a religious service, so of course the classes are in Spanish. I can understand them pretty well, but still, one thing keeps causing me trouble: Jesús. That's right, kids, with accento: Hay-SOOS. Not like "Jesus" in English, and pronounced differently. And still even less like the German "Jesus," pronounced YAY-zoos. So, my question is, how can so many people throughout the world claim that one person is the son of God and worship him and pray to him, if they can´t agree on a name? And wouldn´t he get annoyed that at least some people are saying it wrong?
The other day I was watching a disaster movie marathon on TV, and it occurred to me that in every disaster movie, there seems to be a scene where someone peers into a space with a flashlight and shouts in a manly voice, “Everyone OK in there??” Anyhow, besides crap like that, I’ve not had much of a chance to watch many movies lately. I also haven’t gone to my local video store to rent a pirated DVD lately, so I’d say the best movie that I’ve seen in a while has to be “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.” “Whaaaaa??” you might be saying, “Isn’t Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” a video game? Damn right it is, and what a video game! I’ve never been the biggest video game fan out there, but this one has it all: wonderful graphics, a well thought out story that in terms of quality surpasses most of what qualifies as entertainment these days, and, being a video game, it also has women with racks so big that if they were really alive, their spines would snap like pretzel sticks! U.S.A! U.S.A! I figured I’d also mention a few other pieces of media I’ve consumed lately, in case you’re looking for something to read, watch, listen to, or play. I realize that my brother Paul did this just recently, but I had intended to do it for some time, so he was obviously reading my mind. The sneaky little devil. Anyhow, on the book front, I’ve been pretty successful. Depending on the count, I’m currently reading about 16 different books for the classes I teach right now, but I don’t even really count those. I’ve been reading novels and other stuff like a madman lately. Since I got here in August, I’ve read between 20-30 books, so I figured I’d point out a few of the best ones. Before I left Colorado to return to Costa Rica in January, I was met with flurries of snow and book recommendations. I therefore spent lots of effort shovelling that white shit and looking for books to read. As for novels, two of the best ones I read were John Kennedy Toole´s “A Confederacy of Dunces” and Johnathan SafranFoer’s “Everything Is Illuminated.” If you enjoyed books like “Catch-22,” “Confederacy,” which my friend Katie recommended me, is probably up your alley. “Everything Is Illuminated” is also a great work. I believe that either Bobby or Davey Majzler clued me in to it, so thanks boys! It’s about an American kid that travels to Ukraine--armed with only a photograph—in hopes of finding the people that may or may have not saved his grandfather from the Nazis. It’s got a slightly confusing start due to the many voices and points of view that the story employs, but if you make it past the first 50 pages or so without getting too confused, the last 225 or so will breeze by. The book is humorous and heartbreaking, and as a bonus it also gets kind of Borat-y at times, if that makes any sense. Speaking of foreign-talking stuff, another great book I devoured was by a woman named only “Christiane F.,” called “WirKinder VomBahnhof Zoo.” It´s the first-hand account of a 13-year-old girl in the Berlin of the 70s. After trying heroin on a whim, she eventually gets hooked on it and turns to prostitution to fuel her drug habit, even as she sees the same habit systematically destroying her friends around her. It’s enthralling, gritty, and heart-wrenching to read, and you obviously have to be able to read German to understand it (or else at least be very entertained by looking at German words on paper for 270 some-odd pages). Once you get past that very real hurdle, though, you’ll not be able to put down this book (nor will you be able to pick up your heroin spoon, either) until you’ve finished reading it. Also in the non-fiction realm, I also read the shit out of a book called “Don’t Get Too Comfortable,” by David Rakoff. It was recommended to me by my friend Chris, and I thank him for it. The book is a collection of essays, and if you enjoy David Sedaris-type humor, you’ll also dig Rakoff. Finally, on the music front, the well has been a bit dry. I have no interest in a music style called Reggaeton, which is hugely popular here. It’s kind of like a more-bastardized mix of hip-hop, R&B, a bling-heavy lifestyle, rump-shaking dance music, Spanish lyrics, and a few possible STDs. Think Shaggy (“Mr. Boombastic”), but even more mind-numblingly terrible, if such a thing is possible. So, while I was in Colorado, I at least filled up on music that I was able to get from Bobby and Davey, as well as Dustin and Sam. Much of that is great, especially the heavy and hair metal music, which I seem to be getting more and more into every day. But the song that has most thoroughly captured my attention recently is one that I bought on itunes on a whim when I wanted to finish off a gift card: Meatlof´s “Paradise By The Dashboard Light.” One time Andy and I were talking, and we decided that one of the coolest things about Radiohead´s song “Paranoid Android” was that it was essentially three songs fused into one. So, going by that benchmark, “Dashboard” is pretty much the holy grail of rock music. I can conservatively count 6 or 7 different possibilities for breaks in this single song, and it’s simply got everything! It has spoken-word dialogue between a man and a woman, a baseball announcer calling the shots in an innuendo-filled broadcast, and (a presumably younger and less-rotund) Meatloaf trying to seduce his girlfriend in the back of his car. It goes on for something like 7 minutes. By the end, when you hear the (admittedly pretty good) line “It´s all that I can do / Praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you!” you feel as though a sweaty Meatloaf has seduced your ears and made sweet, fumbling love to your brain. THIS, my friends, is music. They just don’t make it like that any more. So, hopefully this post has inspired you to go out and read a book, or at the very least, to make a meatloaf for supper. As for me, I’m getting mighty hungry, so I’m headed home. Have a good one!
I was thinking about the song "Summertime Blues," which I incidenly don't like (and I especially don't like the version sung by Alan Jackson...by the way, Mr. Jackson, if you're "not sure you can tell me the difference between Iraq and Iran," then you're probably not suited to songs of a political-commentary nature). Anyhow, sorry about that. It's just that I used to like Alan Jackson, but after he and Toby Keith (aka "The Antichrist") released their post-September 11th songs glorifying supposed terrorist ass-kickings to come and elevating simple-minded, ignorant hick-ness to an art form, I just couldn´t hear "Tall Tall Trees" in the same way anymore. Wow, I had meant to talk about summer here. I think the real summertime blues are to be found in any place where you need to be inside a school building when it's summer outside. On wonderful days like the ones they have in the Costa Rican "summer" season (which is now here), I just feel sorry for the kids that have to stay in the school rooms all day, longing for the beach. But not that sorry, because I have to be there, too.
I just wanted to tell how me and Abuela rescued a cat that was stuck between the ceiling and the roof last night. I guess it'd been there for like 3 or 4 days, according to Abuela, because her son Mauricio had heard its footsteps above him a few times. God knows how or when he got in there. Anyhow, there's a space in the ceiling of Abuela's kitchen that's about 5 centimeters wide and two feet long. Now, I know that cats aren't that smart anyhow, but still, you have to be pretty stupid to want to get up there in the first place, but even dumber to not just come down the same way you got up there. This cat seemed to be both stupid and dumb, then.
Abuela and I were sitting around drinking a beer in the kitchen after supper when we thought we heard a thud in the front room (actually, it turns out that neither of us actually thought that there was a thud, but instead both just assumed the beer was working). So we kept on talking until about 30 seconds later, when we heard a sad and plaintive meow from above! I was able to use a chair placed on the refrigerator, a hambone, and a dash of English profanity to coax the cat down, but when I tried grabbing it, it jumped back into the ceiling!
After comforting it with more profanity and another tantalizing bone, I managed to convince the cat to come down again, when we threw a towel on it and took it outside. The little guy was really skinny and seemed really grateful to be out of the ceiling, so I decided to give it some rice that I had poured some ham fat on. He dug it.
Anyhow, that was our good deed for the day. And the title of the posting is also the title of a Prince song, so it's not dirty.
I was about the leave the internet cafe, since I've been here almost 5 hours doing all sorts of emailing, test writing, and housing material research, but then I found the following advertisment on a Craig'slist.com posting for Craig's List Costa Rica: "Bar-Restaurant-Brothel for sale - $250000" You can see the ad here: http://costarica.craigslist.org/for/278178492.html Anyhow, I just thought that was interesting. So, if you were thinking of coming to my wedding and wanted to make a business transaction on the side (not that kind of transaction, pervert!), then this place might be just up your alley. According to the ad, the brothel license is still active, too, so you've basically got a turn-key business on your hands here!
Hi everyone, I´ve been pretty busy with a lot of crap for school, but the Steve Perry song "Oh Sherrie" just came on the radio here at the internet café, so I guess things aren't that bad. Anyhow, there´s really no point in complaining to the world about my workload, so instead I had some special pictures in the hidden vault that I decided to finally throw out to the wolves. We all know that Ángela´s great, but there´s a darker side to this beautiful woman I´m going to marry. Observe:
Here we see my dear bride-to-be smirking confidently as she force-feeds a helpless me. It´s all part of her plan to fatten me up for the kill.
Exhibit B: Although at first glance this picture seems to show a caring aunt embracing her two nephews, Michael (left) and Martin (right), upon closer inspection, one can actually see that she is literally squeezing Michael´s neck until his head shoots off with a violent "POP"!!
Finally, the most damning evidence of all: A Tom Cruise poster in her room! In the meantime, she has taken down the poster (ostensibly to "paint the walls"...paint the walls with what?? Nefarious plans?!?). She literally burned the poster, but believe me, my dear: you can´t escape your past.
Nor, for that matter, can you escape your future, with a weird-ass husband who loves you very much.
Anyhow, for everyone else out there, I hope you´re staying above water. As the truckers say, keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down!
49. The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
48. Pygmy - Chuck Palahniuk
47. I Suck At Girls - Justin Halpern
46. Demian - Hermann Hesse
45. Casino Royale - Ian Fleming
44. The Seventeen Traditions - Ralph Nader
43. We Are All Weird - Seth Godin
42. SuperFreakonomics - Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
41. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
40. Freakonomics - Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
39. Around the World in 80 Days - Michael Palin
38. Evolving in Monkey Town - Rachel Held Evans
37. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
36. Peter and the Starcatchers - Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
35. The Force is Middling in This One - Robert Kroese
34. The Big Short - Michael Lewis
33. Riding The Iron Rooster: By Train Through China - Paul Theroux
32. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk - David Sedaris
31. The Dirty Parts of the Bible - Sam Torode
30. Earth (The Book) - Daily Show with Jon Stewart
29. Moneyball - Michael Lewis
28. The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch
27. Lamb - Christopher Moore
26. Breakfast At Tiffany's - Truman Capote
25. I Am America (And So Can You!) - Stephen Colbert
24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
23. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlosser
22. The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabon
21. How To Sharpen Pencils - David Rees
20. Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen
18. W.A.R. - Mick Wall
17. Thunderstruck - Erik Larson
16. Narcissus and Goldmund - Hermann Hesse
15. A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson
14. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
13. Bicycle Diaries - David Byrne
12. Animal Farm - George Orwell
11. Life on the Mississippi - Mark Twain
10. 2666 - Roberto Bolaño
9. The Omnivore's Dilemma - Michael Pollan
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
7. Tokio Blues: Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami
6. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
5. Self-Reliance - Ralph Waldo Emerson
4. The Old Patagonian Express - Paul Theroux
3. China Survival Guide - Larry and Qin Herzberg
2. Jesus Wants to Save Christians - Rob Bell & Don Golden
1. Quicksand - Nella Larsen