October 31, 2011


I originally had combined this post with the last post about the Animal Sanctuary, but it became really huge so I divided them since they're not related, anyhow.

I put a message on Twitter the other day talking about an app called Box giving away 50 GB of cloud storage to iOS 5 users. I've not got an iPad or an iPhone, but I'm sure a lot of you do. Still, I do have an iPod touch, which is basically like an iPhone without the phone (and with a crappier camera, unfortunately). Nevertheless, I downloaded the app and I indeed have 50 GB of free cloud storage now. It's a pretty good backup option for documents and pictures, quite similar to Dropbox in many ways. In any case, if you're interested, check out this link. It does say that it'll only be doing the free 50 GB offer for 50 days, which means there are probably 40 days or so left. I don't get anything if you do or don't go for this deal, but I thought I'd share it since it seems pretty cool.

So, that's it for now... We'll have a Blogtoberfest wrap-up in a little bit, though!

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Wild Animal Sanctuary

I recently saw this picture on Stern.de:

At first I couldn't figure out what it was, but then I read the caption:

"Keenesburg/Colorado, USA. Noch feiern die Amerikaner zwar nicht Erntedank, Truthahn gibt es für den Löwen aber trotzdem schon. Der gerupfte Vogel wird dem Tier im Wildtier-Schutzgebiet serviert, in dem rund 290 Löwen, Tiger, Bären, Wölfe und andere große Fleischfresser leben. Das Gelände ist das älteste und größte seiner Art in den USA."

That more or less means:

"Although Americans aren’t celebrating Thanksgiving yet, the lions already have turkeys. The bird is being served in a wildlife reserve area, in which around 290 lions, tigers, bears, wolves and other large meat-eaters live.  The reserve is the oldest and largest of its kind in the USA."

I noticed the Keenesburg, Colorado part and I realized that it was talking about a wildlife reserve where my dad volunteers sometimes (he's a veterinarian). I found their page online and it's pretty interesting. I thought I was going to just look at it for a minute, but there's so much information that I spent about an hour there, and now I'd really like to go visit the facilities next time I'm in Colorado. You can check the website out here if you want: The Wild Animal Sanctuary. (It's also got more information if you're interested in visiting).

My dad also mentioned that the reserve has trouble keeping things running since it's a pretty expensive type of place to operate. We always complain that our two cats (aka Our Little Crap Factories) are expensive to maintain, but I can't imagine how much it must cost to keep a bunch of wild tigers, panthers, and bears.

I considered making a donation, although when I checked it out more I saw that they also have an online gift shop, and the products are pretty cool (I like this picture of a lion that looks eerily similar to 1980s Steve Perry, and the lion in this poster reminded me a bit of our old cat Cucho... with Steve Perry Lion behind him). Even better, the proceeds from online purchases are tax deductible and support the Sanctuary. Or, if you're so inclined, I think it seems like a good place to make a donation. I myself bought an item in the store and made a donation to help out the Wild Open Spaces project today. That's a program to buy land surrounding the reserve to expand it and build the "Mile into the Wild Walkway." It seems like a great idea because it combines animal protection and expanded open space, both of which I strongly support. It'd be cool if you'd consider it, too. Thanks!

That's all for the moment, but now that I've asked for your help, in a few minutes I'll put up a link that may help you!

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The Ghosts of Halloween Costumes Past

They don't really celebrate Halloween here in Costa Rica. Well, I guess they do have some parties, but since it's not part of the cultural background here, it feels a bit like forced cultural imperialism. But in this case, it's strange because the country is forcing the cultural imperialism on itself, if that makes any sense. As long as they don't try to adopt Thanksgiving, possibly my favorite holiday, I'll probably be OK. But Thanksgiving is ours, man!

But hey, Halloween's OK by me. We didn't go to any Halloween parties this year, but I have been to some pretty fun ones in the past. In fact, one of Angela's dreams is to be in the U.S. for Halloween so that she can wear a costume. We'll see if we can get that done one of these years. But in the meantime, I thought I'd show a few pictures of my favorite Halloween costumes that I've accumulated through the years... enjoy!

This is from Halloween 2008, I believe. I was working as an English teacher at a call center outside of San José, and I figured that I should at least dress as something, so I decided to go as "My Arch-Nemesis, Bryan Fitzman." That bastard! In any case, one of my students took this picture, and I liked it so much I decided to use it for my Sitzman ABC site's logo.

I think this is from 2004, when I was a grad student. It's at the faculty party. Obviously (can't you tell??) I'm going as Axl Rose. I also had a very similar costume a few years before that, when my roommate Himal went as Slash. It's a cool costume, but all too literally... we went out afterwards and I was incredibly cold walking around in the late October snow.

For all those in the know, my 2005 costume was Prince, but a few thought I was a pirate. Their loss. In any case, it was much more comfortable and warm than the Axl costume, but on the downside I had to put some kind of makeup on my eyebrows and skeezy facial hair... eyeliner? Whatever that makeup's called that women usually use on their eyelashes. That was the stuff.

I happened upon this one when looking for Halloween pictures today. It's me and my friend Miss Thang (now Mrs. Thang) in Regensburg in 2001. I can't remember who took the picture or how I got it, because people didn't even use digital cameras then. It must be scanned. In any case, I think I just wore random crap and called it a costume. I know I borrowed the wig from Matt (thanks) and the shirt from Miss Thang (also thanks), and then called it a day in terms of costuming. As usual, I also included my "Smart Guy Glasses," which are actually construction goggles I got a long time ago.

This was 2004, I think? I think I also wore a costume in that house where I dressed up as Tom Cruise's character from Risky Business (it's probably better I couldn't find a picture of that costume, since its main components were sunglasses, a dress shirt, double-bagged tighty-whities, and a smart-ass smile). But time-wise, my math may not work out. In fact, this may have just been a costume party, and not actually for Halloween. Who knows. All I know is that Jesse, Zach, and I dressed up as the undercover cops from the Beastie Boys' Sabotage video (I think I'm supposed to be "Vic Colfari as Bobby, 'The Rookie'":

Now, prepare yourself...

Finally, we come to my favorite costume, "Sitz-man"! I think the idea of this picture is that I've just saved Cowgirl Katie from some kind of danger. It's my favorite costume because it's the most original thing I've probably ever come up with. Plus, due to the long underwear it was really warm, one of the two prerequisites I've come to adopt in my Halloween costumes (the other apparently being a wig). It took me about an hour and a few drafts to color in my chest insignia. I then found a baby blanket, some long underwear, and some blue underwear, and I even put together a pretty awesome utility belt! The very next year after wearing this costume, I was in Costa Rica, so maybe subconsciously I recognized that my costuming had reached its apex, and I semi-retired after that. 

Anyhow, if you're going out tonight, have fun and be safe! Eat some candy for me!

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Swissta Rican Quiz Answers!

I meant to post the answers to the quiz last night but our power went out a couple times over a few hours. If you've not checked out the quiz, it's easy: all you have to do is decide whether 9 pictures were taken in Costa Rica or Switzerland. Go here if you still want to try it.

So, here are the answers:

1. Switzerland

 2. Switzerland

3. Switzerland

4. Costa Rica 

5. Costa Rica 

6. Costa Rica 

7. Costa Rica 

 8. Costa Rica

9. Costa Rica

So, how'd you do? Thanks for reading, and check back later today for more Blogtoberfest fun --it's our last day of Blogtoberfest, after all! 

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October 30, 2011

Swissta Rican Picture Quiztravaganza!

After the post from the other day talking about the similarities between Costa Rica and Bosnia-Herzegovina, I felt like I should mention that at least on the surface, there are some similarities between Costa Rica and Switzerland. So let's have a little quiz, shall we? I'll put up some pictures, and you decide if I took them in Costa Rica or Switzerland --it's just that easy! But remember that looks can sometimes be deceiving! Check back tomorrow evening for the answers. Good luck!










So, do you have your answers ready? If so, great! If you want you can leave a comment with your guesses, or you can just check back tomorrow (Sunday) night for the answers.

Thanks for reading and guessing! Have a good one!

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October 29, 2011

Not Feeling So Hot

I had planned on writing a longer blog post today (it's still Blogtoberfest for three more days, after all!), but I'm not feeling too good right now. I had a bit of a sore throat earlier, but now my teeth and eyeballs have started hurting, and that's never a good sign. So for now I'll leave you with this picture, which previews what I'm about to do:

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October 27, 2011

Costa Rica: The Bosnia-Herzegovina of Central America

Can I just say something? This flag is awesome.

I came to Costa Rica in 2006 and it wasn't long before I heard one of Costa Rica's unofficial nicknames: "The Switzerland of Central America." 

"Hmm," I thought, "That interesting." Coincidentally, the only time I had been to Switzerland was just a few months before I got here, and I was curious about the comparison because frankly, I didn't see it. (See here, here, and here for more details and ideas about this nickname). I asked a few people and apparently it got this reputation because both countries are sort of peaceful and democratic in areas that are frequently neither. And both have lots of mountains and cows. Sure, I agreed with those points but beyond those, I didn't see many more similarities to Switzerland. A safe haven for banks where trains run on time? Not exactly. A reputation for transparency and efficiency? Yeah, right. Watches? No. Pocketknives? Well, they do have a lot of machetes here, but they're hardly discreet. Yodeling and shit? Try again. The more I thought about this, the more I became convinced that it was just a ploy by some Costa Rican tourism agency.

But then one day while eating cereal I was reading the statistics in the back of my atlas (as I like to do) and I noticed something: Bosnia-Herzegovina and Costa Rica are almost the same size (Bosnia is the 127th-largest country and Costa Rica the 128th). Then I started noticing a few other similarities. Let's break a few of the main ones down, shall we? I found some general stats for each country on Wikipedia (Costa Rica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Switzerland). We'll consider it a contest-- the closest country to Costa Rica for each category wins!

Costa Rica: 19,653 square miles (128th)
B-H: 19,741 square miles (127th)
Switzerland: 15,940 square miles (133rd)
Winner, Bosnia vs. Switzerland: Bosnia-Herzegovina!

POPULATION (2010/2011 estimate):
Costa Rica: 4,608,426 (123rd)
B-H: 3,843,126 (129th)
Switzerland: 7,866,500 (95th)
Winner: Bosnia-Herzegovina!

GDP* (Per capita, nominal, 2010/2011 estimate):
Costa Rica: $7,843
B-H: $4,702
Switzerland: $75,835
Winner: Bosnia-Herzegovina!

Intentional Homicide (aka Murder, 2008, per 100,000 people):
Costa Rica: 11
B-H: 1.8
Switzerland: .71
Winner (aka Loser): Bosnia-Herzegovina!
(Sad Fact: The USA's score was 5.4 on this)

Costa Rica: 3
B-H: 0
Switzerland: 9
Winner: Bosnia-Herzegovina!


So, as you can see, Costa Rica may have cows, but in the end it's got more in common with Bosnia-Herzegovina than the famously-neutral watchmakers of Switzerland.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

*As indicated, this is using nominal GDP, not PPP GDP; if PPP were used, neither Bosnia nor Costa Rica would look as impoverished on paper... but I don't really know much about PPP since I'm not an economist.

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Fast-Talking Explanation Videos

If you remember a recent post about coffee, then you may remember an interesting video in that post. It basically explained more about the whole coffee production process. It turns out that the guy who made the video, someone named Grey, has made some other videos that I think are pretty cool. I actually put this one on Sitzman ABC since it explains Daylight Savings Time (they don't do it in Costa Rica, and it's a weird thing to describe or justify to classes sometimes):

And I also liked this one about continents, which is incidentally another controversial topic in my classes here:

The reason it's a controversial topic is because, as the Grey notes in the video, in the US they generally count 7 continents (North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica). However, in a lot of Latin America, Costa Rica included, they count North and South America as one continent, and from there the confusion begins.

Anyhow, I thought they were cool videos, so have a look if you'd like. Grey's YouTube page also has some explanatory videos related to the United Kingdom and different electoral systems, most of which are fast, entertaining, and educational. Have a look!

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

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October 25, 2011


This picture shows the telephone jack in one of the rooms in our house. As you can see, for some reason it's being swarmed by hundreds of little ants. In fact, many of the outlets in our house are currently being swarmed by ants, and we can't figure out why. Most of them seem to be carrying and/or laying eggs, too. It's pretty depressing.

At least with some plagues like cockroaches, crickets, and millipedes, the animals are easily identifiable and so is the solution (step on them and/or just clean your damn house), but in this case, we're baffled. We cleaned the outlets with a mop to get rid of the ants but within about an hour they'd somehow swarmed to other outlets. Of course, it all somehow happened when we were at work, and when we came back our friend Gina was with us, since she's staying at our house. Now she probably thinks we're just filthy.

It's sad living here sometimes.

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October 24, 2011


With only two options per question, you wouldn't think I'd have gotten so confused.

A while ago I was talking with Bobby, and he said that Chris had mentioned something about a "Keirsey" test. That sounds very similar to the name of a town in eastern Colorado that I don't have a very good impression of, so I was skeptical at first. But Bobby explained that it was a sort of personality test, and that Chris had correctly predicted what category Bobby would fall into.

For me, "personality test" also calls to mind images of Scientology, although it's not like that at all, either. In fact, you can take the test for yourself. I thought it was pretty interesting in the end, although some of the questions were very confusing for me (but maybe that's just part of my personality--getting frustrated at weird questions on personality tests). Here's a link to the site, and here's a link to the test. Here's a link with a bit more of an explanation on the different "temperaments." 

Just so you know, if you do take the test, it'll get you into a temperament, but not into one of the 4 specific categories in each temperament. I guess you may have to buy the book if you want to do that, but Chris (a "Rational Architect") has had quite a lot of experience with the test (you know, party tricks), so we were quickly able to nail down the fact that I'm an Idealist Counselor, or an "INFJ"--just like Alec "Obi Wan Kenobi" Guinness! Angela then took the test and discovered that she was an "Artisan Composer," aka "ISFP" aka "just like Michael Jackson"! 

For me the most interesting part was to consider how much Costa Rica had affected my personality, or at least my own perception of it. For many questions I was saying things like, "Well, for Costa Rica, I'd be ___, but for the US, I'd be the complete opposite." I also didn't see the logic of many questions, and many of them didn't seem to offer two conflicting answers. It was a good thing that I had Chris to talk me through it, and it's a good thing that Skype calls are free!

Well, I thought it was kind of cool, so check it out if you're interested. Thanks for reading, and don't worry, Blogtoberfest is continuing, no matter how much crappy weather or bad internet Costa Rica throws at us!

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October 21, 2011

The Dead Pants

I know I've mentioned Die Toten Hosen on this blog before (here's the post to prove it), but I wanted to put up a few of their videos because they're still one of my favorite bands in any language. Their name, as the title of this blog indicates, means "The Dead Pants," but "toten Hosen" can also mean that nothing's going on somewhere (maybe like "the boondocks" in English?).

When I was looking around the internet doing "research" for this post, I also came across this. It's got a good general overview of the band and it's in Spanish. It also seems that they actually came to Costa Rica in 2009! I wish I had known about it, but then again, I'm not sure I'd have gone, since my concert-going days seem to largely be a thing of the past.

Anyhow, here's the video I put up in the other post, for "Steh auf, wenn du am Boden bist," which means "Get up when you're on the ground." It's actually a pretty motivating song, and I played it in my German class this evening. My students seemed to like it:

But wait, that's not all! Here's "Walkampf," a sort of play on words that literally means "Whale-Fight." It's definitely one of my Top 5 German Punkisch-Rock songs featuring a bagpipe. It's not necessarily got a positive message or anything, but it's fun to listen to and the video's pretty cool, too:

This one definitely doesn't have much of a message at all, except for that the Bayern München football team is crap. Die Toten Hosen are from Düsseldorf and they're big fans of the local team, so the chorus says, "So many things can happen, so many things can occur, only one thing I know 100% for sure: never in my life would I go to Bayern!":

And they even have some pretty good songs in English! This is one of my favorites:

So, there's a very basic primer to this group. If you like the songs, I'm sure you can find more just by following the YouTube links at the end of each video, or you can also go to their website to find more information about them.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

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October 20, 2011

I Now Officially Have Plans For This Evening...

As one of the YouTube comments says, "You´re wrong, this movie are too much complex to your limited mind."

Happy watching!

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October 19, 2011

El Regreso

This afternoon Angela and I went to the movies for the first time in... well, in a long time. We saw a movie called El Regreso:

As you can see, it's actually from Costa Rica.* It's the first Costa Rican movie I've ever seen, although it can't really be argued that there's a huge catalog of them to choose from. It's about a young writer who comes back to Costa Rica to visit his ailing father after living in New York for 9 years. For the first 10 minutes or so I had some strong doubts about the movie, since it seemed to highlight all the things I find annoying about the country (an abundance of bars on the windows; overweight, fruit-eating bureaucrats; the general shittiness of San José; and family members completely freaking out and overreacting to everything). Plus, there were some people in the movie theater that wouldn't shut up at the start (another thing I don't care much for here). But after that point it seemed to shift and get better, the people in the back shut the hell up, and Angela and I both ended up enjoying it.

Angela and I were picking apart some of the details, and we think that it was pretty accurate when it came to depicting the capital, the weird shifting of address forms between Usted and vos (but never tú, of course!), and the strange abundance of Dos Pinos products. We joked, though, that the most implausible part was that not only was the protagonist a writer (in Costa Rica!), but that his father was also a writer, and a popular writer, at that! Also, there's one thing that occurred to me about two hours after we left the theater: the movie's got a lot of similarities with Garden State. I'm going to have to investigate this more and watch Garden State again, but I can say that there are also enough differences that it's far from a rip-off.

In any case, if you happen to see this playing at a movie theater or a video store sometime, it's worth checking out. It does shed some light on Costa Rica's positive and negative social aspects, and it's pretty entertaining, to boot.

Thanks for reading!

*Not Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico can ram it.

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October 18, 2011

October Rain

I've mentioned in a few posts and emails that it's been raining a lot here, but we should probably be thankful that we're in Costa Rica, since it's been a lot worse in other parts of Central America. As this article notes, it's been especially bad in Guatemala and El Salvador, and around 90 people have died. It's even washed out bridges and houses in a lot of the isthmus. So, maybe keep the people here in your thoughts. I also wanted to post a few rain-related pictures, although they're all older pictures.

On the upside, the rain has slackened today, at least in Berlín and the nearby area, which is a good sign. 

A picture from last year. These types of landslides are unfortunately common in the rainy season.

I don't have much else to add today, but since it's Blogtoberfest, I wanted to make sure I posted something today. Thanks for reading, and have a good one!

A picture that Dustin took when he and Sam visited a few years ago.
When I see this, I realize how remarkably the Formerly Crappy Casita has transformed.

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October 17, 2011

Wait, 10 Blogs?

As I was writing yesterday's post to commemorate Sitzblog's 700th post, I mentioned that I had 10 blogs. That does seem like a lot, so I thought I'd explain.

Blog 1: Sitzblog. This blog.

Blog 2: Sitzman ABC. The up-and-coming whippersnapper in the Ryan Sitzman internet conglomerate. It's a blog that I've set up mainly for my students' benefit, and I post things related to language learning there. I've also mentioned this blog here a few times because I sometimes post about cultural issues.

Blogs 3-7: Class Blogs for my Advanced Students. (Levels 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6) OK, this is cheating a bit, possibly, since I usually never have more than one going at once, and in fact none of them are active at the moment, but I still put some work into them. I can also use them as an example for other teachers who are looking to start class blogs. I guess.

Blog 8: Sitztoast. This blog is still active, although I've not posted to it too frequently of late, since I've been concentrating on Blogtoberfest (and work, I suppose).

Blog 9: Gringiticasa. I made this blog when we were building the house, and it actually has quite a few posts. Now it's mainly got a slideshow of the construction process from start to finish. I guess I check it out every few months to reminisce.

Blog 10: Gringo + Tica = Love. I started this mainly to give information about our wedding, which was upcoming at the time. As a result there's not too much there.

Bonus! Website: ryansitzman.com. I've not updated this very recently, but I'm hoping to do so in the near future. But you know what they say about good intentions...

Anyhow, that's it for today! Thanks for reading, and have a good one!

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October 16, 2011

The 700 Club

When I think of Sitzblog, I think of this picture José took of me in Argentina.
But when I thought about it, I went to Argentina after I started the blog, so it must 
have been a later addition. Anyhow, it's been the Sitzblog "mascot" ever since. 

Wow, this is Sitzblog's 700th post! When I saw that this milestone was approaching, I went back to some of my earlier posts to see how in the world I could have held on this long. Maybe I have a bad memory --OK, not "maybe," I do-- but it was actually a lot of fun for me to read through the old entries. 

I started this blog at the very beginning of 2006 with a not-so-promising one-line post ("So this is a blog, eh?"). In fact, looking back, I probably was confused when I wrote that and genuinely didn't know what a blog was. How much I've learned in the years --I now have 10 blogs, believe it or not! I also don't know why I even started the blog in the first place, but I'm glad I did. I know that it's not as personal as a journal, since a blog is by its nature open to everyone, but it is a nice way to look back and reminisce. 

It seems like in its early stage I mainly used the blog to complain about buses and people on them (here and here) or else to tell true stories (like picking up a hitchhiker). The weird thing is when I read most of these old posts, I have almost no recollection of ever writing them (and some of the events I've even forgotten, as well). So I guess it's nice to have some kind of record. Plus, the blog really seemed to hit its stride and take off once I got to Costa Rica. It was especially fun to re-read the first posts I put up about Abuela and Angela.

Anyhow, thanks to everyone who's read this blog through the years--I appreciate all of you! In this case, you're literally the reason I do this because if no one read my blog, there'd be no reason to have a blog. So thanks!

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October 15, 2011

More GNR

A sign I saw in Portugal.

I know I wrote about Guns N' Roses a few weeks ago for the 20th anniversary of the Use Your Illusion albums, but they've come up a few more times lately and I thought I'd mention them. 

First of all, thanks to Eric for tipping me off about this article called "Sweet Pie of Mine." Apparently Axl's been packing on the pounds recently, although who really knows. In the pictures he's wearing a big yellow raincoat, which I can't imagine would be very flattering for anybody. Although it may be just an unfortunate picture angle, the coat does make him look creepy, if not necessarily fat. 

Also, I recently happened upon this article from a series in Decibel called "Justify Your Shitty Taste." It defends Chinese Democracy, the latest Guns N' Roses album, which came out in 2008. I wrote a post with a much briefer statement of support back in 2009, and it was nice to know that I wasn't alone in my sentiments. Obviously, the current incarnation of the band hasn't got all the original members, but I definitely agree with the author that it was actually a good album that was doomed from the get-go because it could never live up to the expectations that had built up over so many years. As one of the article's commentators said, if you want to hear Appetite for Destruction again, go listen to Appetite for Destruction (and keep in mind that Appetite is one of my top 3 albums of all time).

Anyhow, that's it for today--I've got an appetite for some Rooibos tea, so I'm gonna cook up a cup. Thanks for reading, and have a good one!

Another picture, this one promoting a GNR tribute band in Spain.
"Gansos y Rosas" means "Geese and Roses."

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A Nightmare On... Wait, Streets Here Don't Have Names!

I'll haunt your dreams if you conjugate your verbs incorrectly.

I got this sweater last year in Germany, but for some reason it wasn't until I put it on today that I noticed something: "Whoa, I kinda look like Freddy Krueger!" I brought this sweater back to Costa Rica because I may need it in Argentina, where it's likely to be a bit cooler. I hadn't worn it here, though, since it's always too hot to wear anything more than a T-shirt. But the weather has been awful lately with near-constant rain and wind (which knocked out the internet for a few hours, hence the late posting... but I'm not sure anyone cares anyway).

Anyhow, to prevent colonies of mold from forming on it, I decided to wear the sweater to my evening German class, and the first thing that my friend Lidio said to me was, "You look like Freddy Krueger!" So when I got home I scrounged up some Freddy-like accoutrements for the Picture of the Day. I know with the hat and work glove I sort of look like a fisherman version of the famous movie killer, plus my face and sweater aren't quite as tattered as gnarled his, but oh well.

So, thanks for reading! Wind, rain, sleet, hail... ALL of these can definitely slow down Blogtoberfest and keep it from performing its duties, so keep your fingers crossed for nice blogging weather for the second half of the month! Have a great day!

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October 13, 2011

Your Challenge, If You Should Choose To Accept It...

I DARE you to try to find something about this video that isn't awesome:
(Note: "Like all good things, it must eventually come to an end, and that isn't awesome" doesn't count) 

You're Welcome.

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October 12, 2011

Kitsch Close Reading

I mentioned yesterday that I was going to do another duck-related post today, and I wasn't joking. Look at this picture:

I took it back at the end of June, but I've been wanting to comment on it since then. The more I look at it, the more bizarre it becomes.

First of all, what are you looking at? Answer: It's a wall decoration / plaque thingy hanging in our TV room. It was given to us recently by my grandma. It's made of gold-colored plastic mounted on wood. To be honest, I thought it was strange when I first saw it, but Angela loved it (but wouldn't she, though??). But I have to say it's really grown on me. Why? If you look closer (click on the picture if you want a larger version), you start to notice really weird stuff:

1. The deer. Two deer, right? Wrong! There are three. The third one is hiding below the one on the right. What is it hiding from? Could it possibly be hiding from...

2. The duck. I don't know how they roll in the forest, but it seems to me that this duck is scaring the shit out of the deer. I just imagine the one deer saying to the other, "They found me... I don't know how, but they found me... Run, Marty!" But what is the duck doing, anyhow? Could it possibly be trying to escape from...

3. The hunting blind. Yep, maybe this scene isn't so tranquil, after all. I'm not certain that that thing on the right is a hunting blind, but it sure looks like one of those towers that hunters hang out in while they wait for animals to kill to come along. And maybe it's just because a possibly distant relative worked on the Zapruder film, but I can swear I see the shadow of a rifle against the golden glint of the pine tree. Oh, and speaking of the pine trees...

4.  The stumps. Sure, it's got trees, but I also count four stumps-- how about you? I'm starting to think the title of this might not be something like "Idyllic Nature," but rather something along the lines of "Deerpocalypse."

Suffice it to say, this is probably the coolest decoration we have in our house at the moment. To quote the end of the Guns N' Roses video for "Don't Cry": 

There's A Lot Goin' On.

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

October 11, 2011

Nice Weather...

When I was a kid, I think I must have seen a T-shirt, Happy Meal joke, billboard, or TV commercial that said, 

"Nice Weather... if you're a DUCK!"

Because every time the weather gets as crappy as it's been the last few days, that phrase always pops into my mind. It's been raining so much it's hard to be motivated to do anything except sit around inside. I guess that's bad (and really boring and repetitive) for my Pictures of the Day, but it's probably just as well for Blogtoberfest!

So for today's post I'm gonna put up some duck pictures. I was looking for a picture to illustrate this post and I came across a couple that I liked. Plus, ducks are pretty cool and funny. Additionally, it's 10:20 PM as I type this and I want to get this posted by midnight.

So first we have the picture above. I took it on a trip to Stockholm in 2005. It's not as nice as the next picture, but it's more reflective of the weather and the mood here today. Next!

I took this picture in the outside garden area at Domo restaurant in Denver on a recent trip to Colorado. It's a great place to eat. I guess technically this isn't a duck, but rather a "ducky," but oh well.

Finally, we have my favorite duck picture, taken of a statue in a fountain in Regensburg, Germany:

You can sort of see from this picture that the front of the statue is a priest, preaching to a flock of ducks. But it turns out he's really just a wolf in priest's clothing. That's how I feel about Costa Rica's weather this time of year. When you think "Central America," you think, "Ooh, nice, warm, sunny, etc.," and that's true for a few months of the year, but once it's got your interest, it grabs you by the neck and rains for months on end.

Anyhow, it's not that bad, but I had to blog about something, since it's Blogtoberfest, after all! Stay tuned tomorrow for another Blogtoberfest duck post!

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

October 10, 2011

Jon Beyoncé Jovi

I've been talking about conditional tenses lately on my Sitzman ABC language learning blog. If you're curious, I've talked about both first and second conditionals, and you're welcome to check them out. But that's not why I'm mentioning them now. I'm mentioning them because of Beyoncé: 

The reason I used this video on the ABC blog is because it shows really good and interesting use of the second conditional tense, which is used when you talk about something unreal or unlikely (like Beyoncé being a boy). It's interesting, because I've had students use this video in two different presentations lately, but I'd not heard the song six months ago. I guess in addition to living on top of a mountain, I'm also living under a rock, apparently. The song's lyrics, grammar, and message are good, and Beyoncé's looking pretty good as a cop, I have to say! That girl could slam me again a police car and beat the crap out of me with a nightstick any day! Wait, that doesn't make any sense...

Also, Bon Jovi and/or Jon Bon Jovi have come up multiple times in both student presentations and textbooks, strangely enough. One student played this song (but not the video... I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, though):

Alright, never mind, it was definitely a good thing she didn't show the video. I remember thinking even in 1994 or whenever this video came out that it was ridiculous and frustrating and that it didn't make any damn sense. Is the point supposed to be that if you're a cheating jerk, you should also be a hypocrite and go blow up your ex's new boyfriend's apartment? Because that's what it seems to be about.

Don't get me wrong, I really like both Bon Jovi (the group) and Jon Bon Jovi (the lead singer's handle when going solo), but they were best around the time of New Jersey and Slippery When Wet, when they seemed more like a trashy, glammy, East Coast version of John Mellencamp times four or five (evidently I like Bon Jovi, but not enough to know how many people are in the band).

Hmm, where was I going with all this? Oh yes, music and videos in class. Well, guess I got off on a tangent there, so I may as well put up a few more Bon Jovi videos. Here's what I'm talking about:

And here's the video for what's probably my favorite Bon Jovi song. If you're feeling like a Monday (and today is a Monday, after all), then it's got some good advice for you, my friend:

I guess my second conditional phrase of the day is this: "If I were Beyoncé, I would call up Bon Jovi to collaborate on a concept album about a rocket-powered Chevy full of single ladies rocking in space."

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

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

October 9, 2011

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Mold, Either

I took this picture of Angela just a few days ago:

She was cleaning one of the drawers in her part of the closet because some of her clothes had gotten mold. In the past I've written about the myriad things around here that have gotten mold, so it's hardly worth mentioning at this point, except that when I was reading more of Paulo Coelho's Brida this afternoon I came across the following quote from p. 138 (It also shows how weird written quotations are in Spanish-language books, as the only two quotation marks are ones I put in):

   "...Wicca le preguntó si usaba todas las ropas que poseía.
   --Claro que no --fue la respuesta.
   --Pues, a partir de esta semana, utiliza todo lo que esté en tu armario.
   Brida creyó que no había entendido bien.
   --Todo lo que contiene nuestra energía debe estar siempre en movimiento --dijo Wicca--. Las ropas que tú compraste forman parte de ti y representan momentos especiales. [...] Las ropas siempre transforman emoción en materia. Son uno de los puentes entre lo visible y lo invisible. Existen ciertas ropas que, inclusive, son capaces de hacer daño, porque fueron hechas para otras personas y acabaron en tus manos."

I don't know about you, but that seems to me like a pretty clear justification and argument for my Ryan's Patented Clothes Rotating System if there ever was one!

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

October 8, 2011

Ouwraight Poudafinga!

About five or six years ago my brother Paul went to Australia for a while. I only say "my brother Paul" to set the stage, and so you know his name. I've not got any other brothers. Anyhow, I think Paul was in Australia escaping the law or hunting wallabies or something (I guess I truly am not my brother's keeper), but the gist of it is that he was gone for a year or two. He did come down/up to Costa Rica for my wedding, though, which is pretty great, considering that he had to fly around 138 hours to get here, and he had to layover in Atlanta three times for some reason.

OK, I jest a bit. But he did go to Australia for a while and he did come to our wedding, and when he got here, he gave me an mp3 CD of various music. One of the albums that was on it was Tea & Sympathy by Bernard Fanning. There are about four things that seem a little weak about the album title and the singer's name, but I assure you that it's a great album and has become one of my favorites. My favorite song on that album is probably "Sleeping Rough," but since it's not got a video, here's the video for "Songbird," so you can have something to look at (you'll have to watch it on YouTube, since embedding has been disabled).

Good stuff, right? So I told Paul I really liked this guy's music, and he told me about Powderfinger*, Fanning's band. Apparently they're from Brisbane, which is really close to where Paul was living/ hiding out. He mentioned that he should let me listen to some of their albums, since he had a few, but we kept forgetting about it every time we were together in Colorado. So I started checking them out more by myself on the "Internet." If you've not used it before, it's a really neat place for music and stuff. I'm really liking Powderfinger, so I thought I'd share this nice video from their last album (from 2009):

It's a great song, a great video, great lyrics... all in all, it's pretty, um, "lovely"(?) Is that what Australians say, or is that British people? Lucy, you're the only Australian I know: can I get a little help here?

Anyhow, I'd highly recommend both Fanning and Powderfinger if you're looking for some good music. Unfortunately, they're no longer together, but they did leave quite a few good songs and albums to check out.

Thanks for reading, and keep your eyes open for more Blogtoberfest to come!

*Powderfinger: OK, maybe "Powderfinger" is some kind of drug reference, an Australian slang word, or an Australian slang word referring to drugs, but did anyone else think of skiing and powdered snow when they heard this name? Or is it just me because I come from Colorado?

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

October 7, 2011

Some Flaky Puns

We ran out of cat food last night and there's obviously nowhere in Berlin that sells it. What to do, what to do? I wonder if cats eat cereal?

They do! Or at least Chubby does!

In fact, he turned out to be a veritable cereal killer!


Too corny

Too flaky

Was that pun a catastrophe? 

I myself thought it was purrfect!

A pun you could really sink your teeth into.

I chuckled so much that now I'm feline fine!

Just try to stop meow!

Only don't be catty--there's no claws in the blogger contract that prohibits puns.

OK, I'm done.

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