May 23, 2009

A New Post

Upon popular demand from Deuce, here is another blog posting.
Not much new.
Our friend Annie is visiting us from Seattle, and we're currently in Puerto Viejo, on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast. I'm in an internet cafe and sweating profusely, for some reason. It's not a good motivator for blog writing. Other than that, though, her visit has been great and the Caribbean is a wonderful paradise, especially compared to Costa Rica's over-touristified Pacific Coast.
So things have been great, though, and even greater news is that --apparently-- we might be able to get INTERNET in Berlin! This is super-big news, and I'll keep you all posted.
In any case, my fifteen minutes of free internet time (and thus my fifteen minutes of fame) are almost up, so I'll check in with you all later.
Abrazos to everyone!

365: Picture a Day Project    365 Leftovers    All My Pictures    Sitzbook

May 14, 2009

Sweet and Sour Pork Flu

Let's start with the bad news first:

The Sour:
--I got gradually sicker last week, and on Wednesday I couldn't talk. The doctor sent me home from work, and to stay home and rest on Thursday and Friday, also.
--I couldn't do any blog posts for quite some time.

The Sweet:
--I didn't have pig flu, as I originally imagined I might.
--I was able to rest up and recover, and by the time the weekend rolled around, I was feeling quite a bit better.
--I've mentioned my love-hate relationship with Costa Rican bureaucracy before, but the health system is pretty great, at least if your company has a private doctor. That's how I was able to get something equivalent to sick days.
--I read a lot.

In any case, I've not written too much lately, but I'll try to remedy that as soon as possible. We're having a get-together/housewarming party on Saturday, and then next Thursday our friend Annie is visiting us, so things will be busy. That means that I'll eventually have something interesting to write about, but it may take a while.

In the meantime, check out this video:

The weirdest thing about this video is that in my first internet visit in a week, I spent most of the time watching cooking videos in German. I absorbed them like a Brötchen sitting in a bowl of Weisswein. In any case, right after I wrote the title to this blog, I saw that the very same cooking video series actually had a recipe for preparing sweet and sour pork! Hopefully you like the video. Even if you don't speak German, it's strangely hypnotizing...

365: Picture a Day Project    365 Leftovers    All My Pictures    Sitzbook

May 8, 2009

Funny Joke

The other day I somehow came across a sort of random blog called "Jewtah"... which is a great name, by the way. It really is about a Jewish woman in Utah.

In any case, there was a pretty funny joke in one of the posts, and I thought I'd pass it on for a bit of Friday fun:

Two guys are sitting in a bar, having a few drinks. One guy says to the other, “Ever since you left for college, I’ve been doing your mom four times a week.”

The other guy says, “Dad, are you drunk?”

365: Picture a Day Project    365 Leftovers    All My Pictures    Sitzbook

May 5, 2009

More Fake Bands

After my post a few days ago about my fake band Iffeldorf, I got a few more fake bands and albums from some friends. So, I decided to share them with everyone.

Here's the original that got me started from the band, Osnat Elkabir, fronted by my friend --and bandmate from another side project, Faded Sky Gods-- Annie. The album is called "statesmen and philosophers and divines":

Next up on the list is my friend Bus Drivin' Krista, who probably doesn't even drive buses anymore (but to be totally accurate, I don't either). Her group is called Heronina, and their newest album is entitled "For he shall never be disappointed." You can see the album cover below (the name of the group and album is only written on the spine of the CD case, of course:

It's definitely a solid effort, and after the whole band's group stint in rehab, the lyrics are less Emo, surprisingly, yet still life-affirming.

Next, we've got a married couple, my friends Dustin and Samantha. They have worked together on albums in the past, but they've decided to pursue solo careers to expand their own personal musical horizons a bit more. Rumor has it that Dustin was wanting to take the group in a more ABBA-pop direction, but Sam wanted to stick closer to their original thrash-metal roots. So from Sam's venture Downsouth, we get her debut solo album:

Powerful stuff. Speaking of powerful, Dustin's album cover picture is powerful... powerfully depressing. I give you Clozapine's debut, "First Requisite to Great Undertakings":

He says it's supposedly "medicine rock," but to me it just sounds like Counting Crows, but with an extra keyboard.

In any case, thanks for the submissions, guys! Happy fake listening!

365: Picture a Day Project    365 Leftovers    All My Pictures    Sitzbook

May 4, 2009

I Take Back All The Bad Things I Said About The MOPT

Well, at least I take back most of the bad things I said about the MOPT the other day. If you recall, that's the Costa Rican equivalent of a DMV. And I had to renew my license there last Thursday.

The amazing thing? I got in and out of the office in about 5 minutes. Yes, that's right, friends, it's no typo: five (5) minutes!

How in the world could this be, you may ask? I'll tell you: I knew the secret password. It goes a little something like this: "Buenas, soy el yerno de Honorio" ("Afternoon, I'm Honorio's son-in-law"). Once again, in Costa Rica, it's not about what you know, it's all about who you know, and in this case, my father-in-law happened to be friends with the guy who prints the licenses. So, quick hi, an introduction, presentation of some documents, quick flash, and I'm out the door.

Contrast that with the first time I got a license here, when I had to go all the way to San José, taking a whole day off work. I went to the dilapitated central building in a sketchy part of town and got in line. I was about the 130th person (I counted). I waited over two hours, standing in line and reading my newspaper, and when I was about the 25th person or so, they made the announcement that "the system was down." We could all get a piece of paper with a stamp on it, and we were welcome to come back the next day.
After inquiring and realizing that the stamp meant nothing, and not wanting to take another day off of work to stand in line again, I just stood there. I asked to talk to a manager and was directed to an enormous woman talking on a cell phone. I walked over to her with another guy who was also pissed off about the situation (turns out he was from Miami), and when the woman saw us coming towards her, she went into her office. We waited outside her office with our arms crossed, talking shit for about a half hour. It was about 3:45, I believe--close to closing time!--when a girl came up to us and told us she'd try to start up the system again.
She flicked some switch, and whatever was wrong before was now right. They took our documents and our picture, and our licenses came out about 3 minutes later. So easy!

In any case, you can hopefully understand how I was quite skeptical about my upcoming MOPT experience last week but, as I said, it went wonderfully quick, and I must admit that I was quite wrong. In fact, the shock on my face in the picture basically says, "Oh my God, is this seriously happening?!"

Good work, MOPT. Now I just need a password like that to use at the Ministerio de Migración.

PS - As you notice, in my picture I'm growing out a rather objectionable "protest beard." I'm doing this to protest against the junta de agua de Berlín, which is the entity that was shutting off our water every afternoon around 4 or 5, until the following morning, for four months or so. But that's another story. And for some reason, every time I think of the phrase "protest beard," I get Bob Marley's song Redemption Song in my head, but the chorus now goes like: "All I ever wear / protest beard / protest beard / beard of freedom."
The pig flu seems to have hit my mind first...

365: Picture a Day Project    365 Leftovers    All My Pictures    Sitzbook