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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Finally, An Explanation

Haha. I am a terrible blogger. It has been nearly a month since my last post.
But you know that already.
Well, I guess an explanation is in order. Let's start at the beginning:
In December 2004, when I started this blog, I had quite a lot to rant about, and no one to rant to.
I hadn't kept up with many people from the old high-school, and most of the friends I had made in college had moved quite far away from me. Basically, I was left alone in the swamp to fend for myself. I had a lot to say, though, and this blog became my tool for conversation. Along my blogging way, I came across several super-cool people who either agreed with a lot of what I had to say, or just liked reading it.
Last year was a really interesting time for me. Like most years before it, 2005 was a year of single-me. I have usually revelled in my singleness. 2005 was a good year for me to be single. I went through a lot, and I grew a lot. I matured more into adulthood and all that stuff that is probably supposed to happen, and it was great. But then, this year, something happened.
In February, a good friend of mine and I had a conversation in a coffee shop (that moved to a restaraunt, and then to a long walk around LSU).
This friend and I had spent a lot of time together over the last few years, but lately, had not seen each other. She (this friend is a girl) and I had hosted a radio show together on KLSU a few years before, while at the same time working at LSU's accounting service office together as silly little student workers, AND taking several classes together. This friend and I liked each other alot. In fact, at first, this friend liked me in a way that I was not sure if I liked this friend back. But, as this friend and I grew closer and closer, this friend began to date someone else. However, she and I stayed close, even after my graduation, though we did not see each other often after that point.
Well, in this February 2006 conversation, this friend told me that she was now single. This friend surprised me by this comment. She had given me about a dozen guesses as to what her surprise was, and I never figured it out until she told me.
Well, screws immediately began to turn in my head. This friend and I had always liked each other so very much. We had always had something extremely special, even going so far as to say that we were 'romantically platonic'. Could I have feelings for this person? I wondered.
As the night wore on, I realized the answer was, yes, most definately. In fact, I felt sort of like I had always had feelings for this person, but had for certain reasons denied them. Afterall, when she and I met, she was 17 and I was 21. This did not seem to me at the time to be, how do you say, legal? Then I denied these feelings because she was attached, and pining for things I cannot have, while fun in a slightly masochistic way, is not exactly my cup of tea.
Well, after that February night, this friend and I began to spend a lot of time together.
There really wasn't that much catching up to do. We both fell lock-step into the same chemistry and relaxation we had in each other before...but Someone started to add a little something new into the mix. However, I am a big believer in the rebound, and I most definately did not want to take advantage of this friend at this time in her life.
Unfortunately, another male (and I am not accusing this male of taking advantage of my friend because I don't think this was his intention) was also interested in her. This male did not allow my friend time to rebound, but immediately pursued her.
I wanted to fucking kill this man with my fists just a little tiny bit for perhaps a fractal of a second. I mean, seriously, who doesn't get the rebound concept? And who couldn't see what was going on between she and I (even though this male had never met me, he should have KNOWN).
But then I realized, if my special friend and I were ever meant to be, then we would be.
Well, this male person tried to start a relationship with my friend. However, this did not take. Because my friend was not in any sort of love with this person. My friend was in love with me.
However, my power animal is the turtle, the slowest of God's creatures. But I am a snapping turtle. After being asked by my friend to stick my neck out, I finally did.
And instead of cutting my head off, she kissed it.
And the other male figure dropped off of the radar--actually, the other male figure, in my opinion, was never on the radar. He really just tried to draw a blip on the screen with a magic marker, and that does not work.
Well, my friend and I both knew that we loved each other and why. We had spent entire weeks together for a year and a half, and two and a half hours of that in a dark room late every Sunday night just running our mouths. We were not really interested in dating. We knew what was up with each another.
So for the next month and half, we spent a concentrated period of time together. Much time was spent in prayer. Much time was also spent kissing each other. You see, this friend and I, though we knew we loved each other, were unsure of one thing:
Were we attracted to each other?
The answer was a quickly found YES. After finding this and several other things out, this friend and I felt there was little left to do as far as courtship and dating were concerned. Every piece had already fallen into place. It has taken us three years to get here, but we are finally here.
And now, in the wonderful month of December, I am marrying the love of my life.

And that is what I have been doing in my two month absence.

Well, I am slightly sad to say that this blog may have now fulfilled it's purpose, which was basically, to be my signifficant other. The persona behind this blog has always been: Angry, single, male.
However, I have little to be angry about, and the person I have always loved ranting to the most (and she knows she loves it) in the pre-blog days is now my fiancee.
Fortunately, though, I am still male. Otherwise, things would just be weird.
Will, I ever post again?
I think I may still post from time to time. But not in any way near the capacity that I have in the past.
Will I get back to reading and commenting on the blogs of all the lovely people I have met through this blog?
I sure hope so. I feel really bad for that area of my disappearance. I really want to get back to reading what you guys have to say, and what is up with you. SOON. I think I can handle that. But regular blogging, at least in the fashion I have blogged before, is most definately dead, because the original purpose of this blog has been fulfilled.
I feel that I have found my callings romantically, career-wise, and in my hobbies. I am perfectly content. And that makes for pretty boring blogging. So I just can't do it anymore. It wouldn't be fair to you or me.
But anyway...
Sigh. I loved this blog. It was probably my best friend last year. I dreamed about it.
But now I dream of something else.
So in a way this is a goodbye.
But in a way it is not.
Because I'm not going anywhere.
I'm just not ranting my opinion in this fashion anymore...at least not now.
Perhaps, as I enter these new stages of life, I will find new things that I must blog about.
But right now I just want to focus on my Baby. I can only have one love (you know, besides the whole God thing, but that is a different type of love).
Like I said, though, I don't want to disappear. I still want to read and comment on everyone else's blogs. I just can't post on my own anymore.
And now I am semi-rambling.
But I don't know how to end this 'last' post.
I could easily rant about the Da Vinci Code right now, I guess. But I have no desire to do so.
Sigh.
I could easily praise the beauty of Sigur Ros' music right now (again).
But I have no desire to do that either.
I am actually, slightly relieved.
Because I can't bring myself to say I will miss it.
Okay, I am rambling.
I love you guys,
Nicholas

Saturday, April 22, 2006

TV on the Radio Destroys Baton Rouge

(If you don't care at all about my TV on the Radio experience, that's okay because this is actually a commentary on race)
Last night Crystal and I ventured out to the Spanish Moon to check out NYC-based rock and roll band TV on the Radio (who are mentioned in my best of 2005 write-up under the should-have-been listed in 2004 section). TV on the Radio is hard to describe. I believe I have previously referred to them as Neo-Crooning Electro-Soul. That was a stupid thing to say.
The show was super good-times, and I don't want to ruin the memory by trying to describe it (if you want to hear what this band sounds like (and I highly recommend that you check them out) click here). I did notice something strange, though--
Before hundreds of thousands of Katrina-displaced persons (the majority African-American) moved into Baton Rouge, the city was already about 60 % African American. Four out of the five members of TV on the Radio are black. The Spanish Moon is in a black neighborhood.
Three out of about two-hundred audience members were black.
What's up with that?
I have been trying to figure it out. If I had to classify TV on the Radio in an extremely general way, I would say they are a Rock band. Do the majority of African-Americans not like rock music (even though they invented it)? Even if the musicians are black? Do the majority of African-Americans in Baton Rouge not have the resources to know about TV on the Radio? Is the Spanish Moon a "white" hang-out, despite its location? I don't know. It just seems like food for thought (Or mind-wasting thought. I can't tell).
I think I will ask someone who can tell me.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Haha, I Suck

So I have no rants to post. I did respond to all of the comments in the previous post, though.
I still need to read Paul's dream post and Slacker's Dating Odyssey post.
I don't have any thing to really rant on, but I do have a fear to share.
Does anyone else think that we are going to go to war with Iran? I think my job requires me to keep mum on political issues, but some of the rhetoric coming out of the White House is really freaking me out and reminding me of pre-Iraq 2.0. There are several reasons I would really not want to see a war with Iran.
1. My girlfriend was born in America, but is 100% Iranian, and has family there. I love her. War is stupid.
2. Pointless? I heard about this crazy thing called Diplomacy one time, and also this crazy thing called patience. A combination of these two could be wonderful. It would be nice for the current crop of up-and-coming Americans (i.e. children) to see that this can actually exist in the world today instead of stupid penis-size contests.
3. A draft. I was very scared of this pre-Iraq 2.0. We didn't need a draft then, but let's face it--the army is like a piece of iron spread so wide as to appear as cellophane. If we are going to invade ANOTHER country, there will probably be a draft, and that blows.
4. Don't we have unfinished business? Afghanistan? Iraq? Shouldn't we finish things there first? Shouldn't we have straightened things up in Afghanistan before invading Iraq? Who the hell are we, anyway?
5. War is stupid. I know I have said this already, but seriously.
Okay, that's it, I'm tired.
Oh yeah, I got a new computer. YES!!!

Monday, April 17, 2006

I am very, very bad

I'm sorry! I have been completely absent from the blogging world for more than three weeks with no warning or explanation.
Well, here is why:
I have a girlfriend now. Her name is Crystal, and she is awesome. For the last three weeks, I have been mentally unable to get myself to blog. I just haven't had the ability to do it.
But even she (who, BTW, was a close friend of mine long before she became my GF. I feel like I need more Internet shorthand between these ( ). How about ZOMG, I am so hungry!) is getting on me to make my return, so here it is. I also really need to catch up on everyone else's blogs, too--I have been a bad blogging friend!
Well, I won't post a long rant about anything now because I want to read everyone else's stuff first, but I have really been thinking about this Muslim cartoon controversy, as well as how much both political parties have been pissing me off lately--which means I will probably blog about neither of those things!
Well, blog to you later, maybe tonight.
Nicholas

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Greed, Greed, Greed--The New Indulgence for Sale(A New Nicsperiment Rant)

The other night I was flipping channels, and I saw a TV minister talking to an enormous, cheering, call-and-response chanting crowd. The minister was talking about God's will for our lives. Right on, I think, God's will is where you want to be. Then this minister gets to the body of his message and says this:
"You can't do anything unless you have abundant finances. You can't do God's will if you don't have an abundance of money!"
"WTF!" I yell at the TV. "Tell that to Mother Teresa!"
A few days later, as I was driving through Baker, Louisiana, or as I like to call it, Church Alley, I saw a giant church billboard in the front of a huge church that said:
COME THIS MONTH AND RECEIVE A FINANCIAL BLESSING! And under that:
MONTH OF MIRACLES!
The rub is that you must give these churches large sums of your own money to stir "God"'s financial pot up to a boil.
This reminds me of the middle ages.
Remember when the Catholic Church used to sell individuals indulgences to shorten those
individuals' stay in Purgatory? Of course you don't, because that was 500 years ago, but you probably know your history.
Well, the idea of Purgatory has pretty much been rejected. Real life is the stand-in for Purgatory now. Everyone is waiting on their ship to set sail and take them out of here.
But if you pay a certain church enough money, you can get out of this doldrum-heavy hellhole and transcend to a place where you will have all your earthly desires.
I say to you again:
WTF?
How did it come to this?...
Well, obviously, I am hinting in my title that it hasn't come to this, but it has been like this for a long time.
People don't like waiting around. We want what we want, and we want it now. The thing is,(truthful cliche ahead) what we want is usually not very good for us.
Thus, it seems like The Church is neglecting its duties and going after a big tempting pipe-dream.
Where does the Bible say that God wants us to have a gazillion dollars?
Methinks that selfish ministers and some deceived non-selfish ministers are tapping into the basest of human desires: power. The problem is that this abundance BS is seeping into the entire church conscienceness and bastardizing our theology. Instead of "Give all you have to the poor" we are trying to "Get all we can so we won't be poor."
And what this obviously all comes down to is:
What can God do for me?
Not, "What can I do for God?" or even, "What should I do for God?" but "How can I use God?" "What things can I do to get God to make me rich?"
I don't even feel like I need to explain to Christians why this is wrong. If you've read the Bible, even glanced over it, you see that the love of money is "slightly" looked down upon. Gee whiz. It happens over and over again.
I mentioned this in my post: Two Problems with the American Church.
I mean, how common sense is this?
God wants us to love one another. He wants us to love our neighbor as ourself. He wants us to love our enemies. He wants us to store up our treasure in heaven, not on Earth.
Why is The Church preaching that the goal of the church is to become wealthy?
How much more do we need than what we already have?
How much will be enough for us?
Shouldn't The Church take a note from our founder, Jesus Christ, and follow His teachings to do the best with what we are given? I mean, if we are pleasing God, and for some reason we need a trillion dollars, He will give it to us, but dollars are not the currency of The Church. Dollars are the currency of America, the currency of The World. The currency of The Church is supposed to be Love.
And now, someone, please, please, please, tell me I am wrong. Tell me I am wrong if you disagree with me. If you agree with me, you can tell me that, too, but if you don't, give me one instance in the Bible that tells us to store up our treasure on Earth. Tell me why any of this abundance theology is important to the Christian Church, and why it is not a harmful distraction to our true goals. Do you remember what those true goals are?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

More Scientology Drama/My Apologies to Zach Braff

In the last few weeks this blog has been getting many hits from all over the world. Like, insane amounts of hits.
"My, aren't I awesome," I thought.
Using sitemeter.com, I suddenly realized how I was getting so many hits. Apparently, if one were to type in the phrase "Scientology Beliefs" into most search engines a few weeks ago, the Nicsperiment would come up in the top ten, and for a short while, number one.
Apparently, this was because of my "Just another reason to find Scientology absolutely ridiculous" post from last November, which recapped South Park's then just aired "Trapped in the Closet" episode.
Finally, I have fallen down on the search engine lists, but I am still getting beaucoup hits from people interested in Scientologists' beliefs. CRAZY!
Well, if you've been following popculture news lately, you have seen the recent drama over Issac Hayes("Chef", Musical Genius)'s departure from South Park, reportedly due to South Parks' "religious intolerance and bigotry". The South Park creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, hit back by saying that Hayes was only leaving because the show made fun of Scientology, his religion, and that he had been fine with cashing checks while making fun of other religions. Stone and Parker then issued a hillarious indictment against Scientology, pledging to disrupt their plans to "save the world".
Now there is news that Hayes had a stroke three months ago, and someone else is making these statements in his name, and also news that Hayes loves South Park and would never have made that decision and that statement. Granted, this news came from Fox "News", so who knows where it is coming from, but the whole thing is really up in the air and confusing right now.
Last night marked South Park's 10th season premiere, which was, as usual, right on topic. The episode, titled "Return of Chef!", skewered recent events, with Chef returning to South Park from travels with the Super Adventure Club (SAC). Now, Chef, who once wanted nothing more than to make sweet, sweet love to women, wants to make sweet, sweet love to children.
That's right. The Super Adventure Club is actually a group of men who travel the world molesting children, and they have brainwashed Chef into joining them.
Chef is still voiced by Hayes, but all of his dialogue is taken from previous episodes, which is pretty disturbing and pretty funny.
The children eventually de-brainwash Chef, but SAC won't take this for an outcome and hypnotizes Chef again. Chef ultimately decides to leave South Park for good, but is immediately killed in a way I don't want to spoil.
At his funeral, which is surprisingly sad (I thought I was going to tear up for reasons I will list further down), Kyle (I think it was Kyle. I can't remember. Maybe it was Stan. It doesn't matter) says, "We shouldn't be mad at Chef for leaving us. We should be mad at that fruity little club for scrambling his brains." And I am mad at that fruity little club.
I really like Issac Hayes' music. For some reason I saw the movie "Shaft" at a ridiculously young age. I have frequently referred to Hayes as "the man." I have his Ultimate Issac Hayes boxed set. So, I highly suspect that we should be mad at "that fruity little club for scrambling his brains." In my opinion, I don't think Hayes left South Park. I really think someone else made the decision for him. It is my utmost hope that Hayes rehabilitates from his stroke, comes out to say that he never made those comments about South Park, rejoins the show, and ditches Scientology. I do not like Scientology. While I am a Christian, I deeply respect others' beliefs (as most Christians around the world actually do), as long as I do not find those beliefs to be harmful (and any casual reader of this blog knows I am just as critical to certain Christian's "beliefs" that I find harmful). I find Scientologists' beliefs to be harmful.
Want a new Wikipedia link?
Yeah, you do!
Here is the one to L.Ron Hubbard. Want to follow this man's "teachings"? Scientology really pisses me off. Why do Scientologists have to act like little bitches all the time? Why can't they take it when they are criticized? You see Kirstie Alley's letter to Rolling Stone magazine after RS's expose? You hear about Tom Cruise reportedly keeping South Park's "Trapped in the Closet" episode out of Europe?
If Scientologists don't have anything to hide, why are they acting like paranoid-schizo maniacs? As a Christian, I am not worried about the coming "DaVinci Code" movie because I know the movie and book are bullshit. I am not going to write the movie company producing it and call them "intolerant bigots". I'm a man. People are going to disagree with what I believe.
Magoo!
And on to matters where I do not piss off thousands of whiny little pussies, let me issue an open letter of apology to Zach Braff.
_____________________
Dear Zach Braff,
Zach Braff, I have always liked you as a media figure. I enjoy the program you star in, Scrubs, and I enjoy your performance in that program.
When I heard of a new film you were writing, directing, and staring in, Garden State, I was surprised and a little apprehensive to hear it being described as this generation's The Graduate. After an initial viewing of the film, I was disappointed. While I enjoyed aspects of the film, I made it widely known that I found it to be nihilistic and empty.
Well, after watching the film again recently, I must say that I was wrong, wrong, wrong, in assessing your film as such. Your film is not nihilistic or hopeless. While I do not think Garden State is this generation's Graduate (and I doubt we will have one--and anyway, I don't think you were going for that. It's not your fault people compared the two films as such), and do not think that Garden State is a great film, I think that it is a good film, refreshing to watch, hopeful in outlook, and an admirable first effort. I think you did a good job of crafting an original romantic-comedy/coming of age film, and I seriously look forward to any other films you make. You are quite good in Scrubs, and there are many times I empathize with your character, which is not only due to the show's writing, but also to your performance. I am sorry that I initially came out so aggresively against your film. I was an asshole. You did a good job.
Sincerely,
Nicholas

If anyone can get this to Braff for me, please due so. Also, if anyone knows where I can go to "Paranthesis Overuser's Anonymous" (POA), please let me know.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Spamming My Own Blog

I have two new tracks at myspace.com/nicholasloup that I am quite proud of. They are the first tracks I have posted that I have not only performed myself, but also mixed and recorded. Enjoy...?
Anyway, I realize that in the last month I have posted a travelogue, a video link, a concert review, and this.
So, some of you might be saying, "HEY! Where are the old school Nicsperiment rants!?"
Well, I definately have some brewing up. The deal is, I have been so uncharacteristically easy-going and happy these last few months, not much has been pissing me off.
There are a few things, though, so stay tuned for that.
Tentative rants include:

Are liberals and conservatives both insane?

Why can't I just be gay? Apparently my life would be perfect. and
Syrup? Food, or menace?

Get ready...?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sigur Ros, Verizon Wireless Theater, Houston, Texas, 2-25-06

Houston is a strange place. The world basically ends after Houston and doesn't pick up again until L.A. Well, not really. Taking I-10 West, one will eventually hit San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson, and Phoenix, but these are just desert outposts in the middle of what may as well be another planet. Houston is the end of civilization. Beyond is desert. If you've seen the 13th Floor (which ain't too great a film), the road out of Houston is the road out of the created world. So Houston would seem to be a great place for Icelandic band, Sigur Ros, to play.
The theater district of Houston has no coffee shops. Anyone you meet there will tell you that they do, but when you ask where, they will say, "I don't know. I'm sure there's one here somewhere." They can't tell you exactly where because these coffee shops do not exist. Looking back, I'm glad my trio of terror could not find a coffee shop, because coffee makes humans urinate, and urinating in the Verizon Wireless Theater is illegal except in designated areas from which the stage cannot be viewed.
Anima, the Icelandic string quartet (who also play strings on Sigur Ros' albums) opened up the show. Thus began one of the most confusing 45-minute clusters of time in my life.
Anima plays weird little elf lullabies, but I don't understand exactly how. The four girls ran back and forth to various stringed instruments setting loops, but their most important tool appeared to be the laptop controlling everything. I suspect this laptop is evil.
Anima played oboe, cello, violin, guitar, slide guitar, champagne glasses (by hovering hands over them) and a saw (a sharp tool used to cut down trees) among other things. Though their music was enjoyable, everyone came to see Sigur Ros, and there was quite a layer of antsiness in the air once Anima's set hit the 30-minute mark.
Thankfully, Sigur Ros and Anima shared some of the same equipment/Sigur Ros equipment didn't get in the way of Anima's set because, once Anima got out of the way, Sigur Ros wasted little time getting on the stage.
Before SigurRos began their first song, Glosoli, a silk screen stretched out, obfuscating the audience's view of the the stage. I spit that word out like a peanut butter sandwich.
At this moment (when the silk screen stretched out, not when I said 'obfuscating'), the two-hour audio/visual orgasm known as Sigur Ros' live show began.
To get a decent idea of the first ten minutes of the show, a click here may help.
Sigur Ros roared through Glosili, lights blasting their shadows all over the screen, then the silk was rolled back and the view of the band made clear--a reveal that proved indeed humans, or at least beings in the guise of humans, were playing the music coming from the stage.
Singer/guitar player Jonsi then launched into a guitar solo played with a violin bow, stripping the paint off the walls, and then the band slid into fan favorite Ny Batteri.
After an hour and a half of aural bliss (I never get tired of the term "aural bliss". I could say it all day), Sigur Ros left the stage. And that was it.
No, I'm just kidding. The band then came back out for an encore.
When I heard the first note of Untitled Eight from the ( ) album, I was immediately disappointed because I knew this would have to be their last song. If you've heard this song, you know why I knew it was going to be their last song. There were songs I wanted to hear that were not played, as is the nature of any concert experience.
However, the bands rendition of Untitled Eight washed any bad taste out of my mouth.
This track, usually nine minutes of buildup and three minutes of ridiculously satisfying catharsis, was stretched to its absolute limit and became all the stronger for it. The band stretched the song out for seemingly twenty minutes, building and building until all air had left the room. I drum on my knees, and I thought I was going to break them. The band took nearly fifteen minutes to reach the awaited sonic explosion that closes the song, and once the fuse hit the powder, Sigur Ros held the audience to the sweet, sweet fire as long as possible. Jonsi pushed his voice to limit. He is more than capable to hit the notes he does on the albums-in fact, there were times during this song and throughout the show that he surpassed them. When Sigur Ros finally hit the final crashing note, the audience exploded to its feet. I've never seen that kind of reaction from an audience. I've been to many concerts, seen many big concerts on television, been to huge rowdy religious events, been to sold-out college footballs games played by championship teams, and beaten Zelda for the Super Nintendo, but I've never seen a reaction of such fierce gratitude from an audience.
At that exact moment in time, Sigur Ros could have commanded the audience to do anything, and the audience would have done it. It is quite good that, at least for now, Sigur Ros is using their powers for good.
If they go bad, Iceland may take over the world.

If you even remotely enjoy the music this band creates and have the opportunity, I would suggest attending one of their shows. Tickets are inexpensive (under $30 before Ticketmaster fees, if you can pick them up before they sell out).

For those interested in the setlist, I can't give you the exact order, but I can remember every song they played:

From Agaeis Byrjun
:
Ny Batteri
Olsen Olsen
Avalon (pre-recorded)

From ( )
Untitled Six (A huge surprise, considering it was not played at the November Iceland show, but a welcome one, as this song was a definite highlight)
Untitled Eight


From Takk
Takk...
Glosoli
Hoppipolla
Meo Blodnasir
Saeglopur
Gong
Andvari
Svo Hljott
Heysatan

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I'll Kill Your Dog for Fun, So Don't Push Me

NOTE: NBC HAS TAKEN IT DOWN, BUT POSTED IT ON THEIR OWN SITE, SO I HAVE CHANGED THE LINK AGAIN. STILL, I HATE NBC.
Last night on SNL, Natalie Portman delivered the rap I have been wanting to hear for years.
You will most probably love or hate this video.
WARNING: Tons of bleeped profanities, bodily function gestures, and nerds.
Check it out before NBC gets wind and takes it down. I dislike them.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Return of the Mack

I am back from Houston. I will do a write up of the show as soon as I have the time.
Until then, I must make a confession.
I am feeling very guilty for something.
I have been laughing my bloody head off for about three weeks to this video
and I haven't posted it here.
This minute and twenty-two seconds rivals "Lazy Sunday"
It will make your life better.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Where am I going?

I am going to Houston today to see "this little band from Iceland". I may stay there for a few days because I kind of like it there, and Mardi Gras gives me time off.
Feel free to comment as much as you want on my ten-day travelogue. I can't guarantee that I will respond to them, but I will definately read them and most definately enjoy them.
Have a good one!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Germany, Day Ten: "Finale. That's German for 'The End'"

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We woke up real early that morning and hit the train back to Frankfurt. I later found out that Frankfurt was German for "hot dog sandwich", which really confused me because isn't a hot dog a sandwich already? And why would you name a town after one? I may have dreamed all this up, but I doubt it.
Once to the airport, we caught a 100 capacity bus carrying 200 people to our terminal. We then, in end-of-the-movie-drama fashion, lost each other and had to look around manically to find each other again--Robker was the only one who knew when we were supposed to get off.
Miracualously, we kept up and got off at the right place.
We were all very, very hungry, so for the first time on the trip, we got fast food. We went to McDonald's. It was the German McDonald's, though, so it was different, but I was tired, so I can't remember how it was different, but I'm sure the burgers had sauerkraut-covered sausages named buggerwurst or fecalwurst instead of beef. Actually, I haven't mentioned it, but any sausage I ate in Germany ending with "wurst" was really good, and again, I wish I could have bought more, but more on that later.
I got a biscuit and some O.J.--the drink, not the Naked Gun co-star, and then it was time to go.
The goodbyes with Robker were quiet and sad. I think he was going through a rough time during this period, and it also sucked to know we wouldn't be seeing each other again for a while.

And then there were two...
Stephanie and I then went through the rigors of metal detection. After stripping completely naked and having a woman in leather stuff a large ham-shaped camera into every orifice on my body, I got dressed and got on the plane.
Once again, we had an empty row each, but this time there were no movies I wanted to see.
We then suffered a major scare.
President Bush was in town.
That's not the scare. The scare was that because he was in town, all flights were projected to be delayed three hours.
We began to panic. Still suffering from PESS (Post Election Stress Syndrome), my anger was at an all time high. This seemed to be just typical, but praise The Lord in Heaven, we weren't delayed, and we got right on out of there.
The flight was...interesting.
Expecting to sleep easy this time, I was again wrong because sleep not I did.
Boo.
I listened to some Arcade Fire and some Project 86, then I started playing solitaire on the entertainment module.
I played for three to five hours.
I'm not lying or exxagerating. I admit I have done that a bit in some of these entries, but not here.
I did not win one single game. Not one.
I began to go mad.
I could not win. I tried again and again, sometimes on the verge of victory, but lost every single time. It was ridiculous.
About to lose my mind, I switched the entertainment module to the little pool of songs available. I put on "Run" by Snow Patrol and had an epiphany.
I'm not lying. An epiphany. That's what happens after you play solitaire for five hours. The revelation of this epiphany will remain private, but this was the first of two times this song would have a profound effect on me in 2005.
With more time to kill, I reflected on the trip.
Here are some conclusions:
1. The Bad
A. Low Funds: I definately did not anticipate the rough exchange rate. The small fortune of dollars I brought was no match for the Euro exchange rate. Had the rate been what it was our last two days in Germany, this would not have been as big a problem. However, if I go again, I plan on taking two small fortunes instead of one. Then I can actually try everything I want instead of skimming the surface of everything I want.
B. Three Group Members, Two Related: I could not have asked for better traveling companions in the Robkers. They are intelligent, caring folks, but there was one problem with the arrangement--they are siblings. While Robker and I have a lot in common and get along quite well, he and his sister grew up together and feel and act the same way about many things in ways that I do not feel and act. It would have been nice to have a family member or long-time aquaintance such as Charlie, Adrian, or Peterson with me, to balance things out. Someone to climb the towers with me and walk the beach with me. Someone who is as 'immature' as me. This was something that was sorely missed.
C. Lack of Planning on My Part: I really should have done more research before the trip. Robker worked his butt off picking and searching for locations, and he had to because I did not do so at all. I had no idea what I wanted to see and could only give generalizations about what I wanted to see. I should have planned more. This would have made Robker's life a lot easier, and would have made for a better trip for all of us.
2. The Good:
A. Everything Else: Germany was like walking an alien planet to me, and I like walking alien planets. I got to see Robker and hang out with him for ten days, which is always great. I probably wouldn't have the job I have now if not for a conversation I had with Stephanie in Cologne about the EBRP library. I got to taste and experience many new things, and, besides the Sauerkraut, I enjoyed almost everything. I also got to go to places that were behind the Iron Curtain, and this has always been a special desire of mine. Well, not always, considering the Berlin wall has only been down for 17 years, but you get what I mean.
I had a really, really good time, which I think this travelogue has reflected.
3. The Ugly:
A. Sauerkraut

We landed in Detroit, then connected in Memphis, where we had a long layover.
Stephanie and I found a bench, she laid down, and I sat back and listened to some NMH and Kent. While sitting there, watching countless Americans pass, two things hit me:
1. The Morbid Obesity of Americans: There were some slightly overweight Europeans. I won't lie. But I saw no morbidly obese ones. No one who was so fat, they had to shuffle. The people there were healthy looking. Not fat.
Not so in Memphis. For every ten people that passed before me, seven were morbidly obese, stomachs either hanging FAR below their belts, or bulging to the extreme that they waddled like a duck. This made me very sad.
I then put some serious thought into why things were this way, but that is for another entry.
2. American News Sucks Even More than I Originally Thought:
The top story on CNN was that a tiger had gotten loose in a rural area in California and had been shot. This was the number one news topic for the three or four hours we were there.
In Germany, the top subjects on CNN were things like the assasination of the former prime minister of Lebanon and the ensuing Middle East political turmoil it caused. While this seemed like a huge issue, I heard nothing of it when I arrived back in the U.S.
Just a dead tiger.
I then put some serious thought into why things were this way, but that is for another entry.

We flew from Memphis to Baton Rouge. Stephanie and I hugged goodbye, half of my parents picked me up, and then I rode home.
I gave my family almost thirty candy bars, which they ate in less than a week. I'm not in the least bit kidding, and you can ask Charlie. He will say, "Maybe not thirty, but it was a lot. " They were mostly eaten by my father, the greatest sweet-tooth of them all.

Well, the trip was over. I went to Houston two days later, quickly chronicled in these two posts. One. Two.
Then I had the roughest, strangest, most life changing year of my life in which I faced crisis and extreme change on virtually every front.
The Germany trip was a prelude, a white, foggy calm before
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the journey began.
And what an insane, life-wrecking, life-changing, life-affirming journey it was.
But it is a journey I completed before starting the one I am on now.
It is a journey that featured a dark-tea-time-of-the-soul summer the likes of which I had never thought would be neccessary to my life, a summer I did not post in this journal and may never reflect on here.
It was a journey where I lost friends to death, technicality, or their and my own malfeasance. It was a year I got kicked in the teeth over and over again, yet was rescued by hope and grace.
Most importantly, it is a year that is OVER,
and I am so happy to have chronicled the quick respite that took place beforehand.
I hope this travelogue was enjoyable to you, and if you want to comment anything, and I mean ANYTHING about it, feel free to go ahead, whether it is on what your favorite entry, quote, picture, or whatever was, or anything else. I did this so that my friends or even perfect strangers could have a fun read, and I hope it was that.
Anyway, thus ends the travelogue. Even the most minute change in mood could have made each entry completely different, but instead of focusing on that, I will leave them how they are (except for any technical errors I notice).
And that's all I have to say about that...
except this:







No, I'm kidding, that's it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Germany, Day Nine: "Chocolate Factory? The Place...Or the R.Kelly Album?"

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ATMs in Germany and Sarah Michelle Gellar have a similar relationship with me--they never tell me what I want to hear. When I said, "RahRah, baby, leave Freddy for me," Sarah said, "No." When I said, "ATM, what my balance be?" ATM said, "Balance? That does not compute." Then I kicked the ATM machine, and it exploded in a fiery ball of coins booming like a thousand slot machines. This is similar to the Sarah Michelle Gellar situation, except she kicked me, and I exploded in a fiery ball of booming disappointment.
The three of us finally found a bank that could tell me what was going on.
Aparently, I was rich.
The night before, the Euro had taken a startling fall, going from 28.7 trillion dollars per .1% of a Euro all the way down to like $.88 a Euro.
I then decided that I had to buy my mother a wooden mantel clock. Don't laugh, it's what she asked me to get. More on this later.
The three of us left the underground bank and emerged in the cold light of German day to the biggest freakin church I have ever seen.
Remember how I said in the day-two entry that Robker told me the Nuremburg cathedral was a small church?
He was, as always (Except in the case of sauerkraut. Come on, man, I know you don't enjoy eating that stuff!), correct. This Cologne church, the Dom Cathedral, was just as big as he had promised. Look at how tiny those folks next to it are in the above picture! And they're standing about thirty feet from the building! You could fit the entire cast of Gigli in there!
We went inside, and I was promptly yelled at. A man in a red robe ran toward me and started barking at me in a strange gutural language I later found out is called "German", though, if there are others who speaked this cursed tongue, I have not met them. He kept pointing at my head, and I suddenly realized he wanted me to take off my hat. But it was so cold in there! Like, Steve Austin cold!
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The Moria-like architectural design didn't exactly help.
Since the cathedral was so tall, I wanted to go to the top.
Of course the Robker's didn't want to, so I made fun of them and left.
Halfway up the second tallest gothic structure in the world, so big it is impossible to get in one picture, I wasn't laughing. I was wheezing for my dear precious life.
I don't know how many steps that thing has, but it is even MORE than the amount of Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street Films COM! BINED!
The view was worth it though.
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This is my favorite photograph of the whole trip.
After deciding we didn't want to pay to see the church's "treasure" we went to this sweet ancient-human-life museum. It was not cool beans because even room temperature beans are nasty, and I don't really get that expression.
It was a nice museum, though.
All except this EVIL statue that I was forced to stare down.
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I don't even have to tell you who won, but it was me.
Also, something I love about this picture:
Look at how scraggly that facial hair is! It's still scraggly a year later, but during my 23rd year it certainly filled in a bit. Sigh...someday I'll being able to grow a beard. Well, until then, at least I can gloat in my spectacular staring contest victory that I won, when I, feeling particularly verile, slapped the statue on the top of the head repeatedly until I was absolutely sure that that Mofo blinked.
You lose, dude!!!
We then walked along some river, which I am sure was transported Mississippi River water from St. Louis, along with the riverfront because it looked exactly the same.
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I love them Robkers!
I'm not sure if you can tell or not, but the wind was blowing approximately 200 miles an hour in this picture. It was crazy!!! But nothing could stop our determination because we were headed to the CHOCOLATE FACTORY!!!
OH YES!
OH YES!!
OH YES!!!
I couldn't wait to get in there, and when I did it was everything I could possibly hope for and more. Teachings on how my precious chocolate is made. Diagrams of how my precious chocolate is made. The actual viewing of how my precious chocolate is made.
And most importantly:
The consumption of my precious chocolate!
That's right, I was allowed to drink from the:
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CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN!!!
That brown stuff is chocolate! Sweet precious chocolate! The factory is on a boat in the river, and the fountain is at the head of the boat. A nice lady dipped one of those wafers into the fountain and handed it to me (I refuse to believe that she did this for anyone else). It was sooo good! I felt so completely satisfied, yet wanting so much more.
But for some reason I didn't buy any candy from the gift shop because I bought over thirty (I'm not exxagerating) candy bars in Hamburg to bring home to my psychotically sweet-toothed family.
After we left the factory, we did some stuff, and then some more stuff. I just talked about chocolate, though, so I don't have too much more to say. We ate some Donor-Kabobs and some really good ice cream, and then I went on the final mission, as, I will now reveal, this was the last full day of the trip.
The final mission was to find my mother's wooden mantel clock.
And, apparently, they don't make those in Germany. Robker, Stephanie, and I went on a mad dash for a clock, hitting every single store in sight. We looked for hours and hours, and we found NOTHING. Nothing. Finally, we found an antique shop with something similar to a wooden mantel clock. The clock was old, international looking, pretty, pricey, but not too pricey. We checked a few more places, found nothing, then came back and scooped it up. It sits upon the mantel still*.
The mission complete, the trip nearly over, the three of us went to a rave, took copious amounts of ecstasy, and fell into a textbook cuddle-puddle. We met up later and went back to the hotel.
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And if you believed that last part you must go up and down these steps six quadtrillion times or pay me three Euros.
We did buy a bottle of Apfel Liquor, which is this whiskey made from apples Robker told me to try.
By the time we got back to the hotel, I was about to pass out. I was exhausted. I was dead tired.
But I didn't want to admit this, of course.
I have always been the last to go to sleep, everywhere. On this trip, I would read long after the Robkers had fallen asleep. In Washington, all my roommates fell asleep long before I did. I am the only one awake in this house right now, and at this time at night, I always am. It's just my way, and I have a reputation to uphold, so when the Robkers wanted to let the Whiskey sit on our third story window ledge to cool off, I objected.
Of course, I didn't want to say that I was tired, so I just said I wanted to drink it then. They wanted to wait, and I didn't. So then I offered to start drinking on my own, but they told me that's what alcoholics do. I wanted to drink the whole thing and go to bed, though. I wanted to bring the bottle home for my bottle-collecting brother, and I didn't want to:
A. Bring a liquid filled bottle on the plane, or
B. Dump any of the whiskey in the sink because I paid 17 Euros for it.
So, I took a shower and did all manner of things to stay awake.
Finally, the bottle got cold, and we drank it. Steph had one glass, Robker had two, and I had about four, draining that sucker, washing it out, and leaving it out to dry. Of course, now that it was time for bed, I got my second wind.
So, after we went to bed, I lay awake, thinking about how I wished I didn't have to go home the next day, but the next day is for tomorrow's entry.


*The next week, while visiting the Wal-Mart in NEW ROADS, I noticed that an enormous selection of wood-carved mantel clocks were on sale.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Germany, Day Eight: "All Your Euro Are Belong to Us"

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Ah, the Euro.
I ran out of money. I sent a desperate e-mail to my mother to let her know that my bank account was almost empty.
Usually, I don't take handouts or expect to get any from my parents, but this was an emergency.
If I didn't get money quick, I was going to have to wash all of Europe's dishes for an eternity before I could come home, and have you seen what those people eat? I was not about to start scraping Sauerkraut backwash, so I begged. My mom had already given me a generous contribution as a college graduation gift, but between that and my own cash, which, added together, was a lot in dollars, I had uh, not so much in Euros...
Anyway, I called her collect on Robker's cell, and she went to the bank to put some money in there for me (I promise you this is the only time this has happened in my LIFE. I'm not trying to be (very) prideful, but it's the truth. Not that my parents don't help me out. They certainly do.).
Unfortunately, the Euro ATM's don't tell pathetic Americans their bank balance, so I never knew if the money was in or not. AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
With that on my mind, we did a walking tour of Hamburg.
Hamburg's streets are paved with semen.
Seriously. The world's biggest red-light district is not in Amsterdam. It is in Hamburg, and it is called the Reeperbahn, and we walked two blocks in just to see it, and I almost puked.
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Even outside of the Reeperbahn, everything I saw in Hamburg was quite filthy. Every sign had either a penis, a vagina, breasticese, or a woman performing fellatio on another woman.
Every sign but one:
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You can't have both, dude. You can only have ONE!!!
This started to make me depressed. I'm all for artistic eroticism in limited quantities, but all-out tasteless debauchery is not my bag.
This, coupled with the hotel shower straight from the river STYX made Hamburg my least favorite city of the trip.
But there were some bright spots.
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After crossing the "Field of the Holy Spirit" (That's it above with Robker and Stephanie walking across it. Does it look like "The Field of the Holy Spirit" to you? Also, that's some ridiculously tall tower WAY off in the distance. Also, to the left, I think, is where the movie "Saw" took place. I'm lying about that last bit, but seriously. Should I add something else here to throw the rest of the sentence off even more? Did you know that the Star-Nosed Mole is the only member of the genus Condylura? You did? You cheeky swimmer!), I was mentally exhausted. What a depressing city. And then, from nowhere, more snow came, and it got even colder and more miserable.
Finally, we came to an old building at the point of a V city block with the arms of the V as streets and the open space as land.

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Obviously, it was a church, but not like one I had ever seen.
Robker said it was an Eastern Orthodox church.
I was under the impression that this would be a very private place.
Nevertheless, I could not curtail my curiousity. I really wanted to look inside.
I mean, look at this doorknob:
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Like you could resist turning this thing!
So, I turned it.
We stepped into a pleasant and refreshingly warm room. It looked like a normal older church interior, but there were colorful artifacts all over the front of the sanctuary. I took off my hat.
Two women stood near the front, vacuuming the carpet. I wanted to get out of the room before they noticed us. Suddenly, one of the women looked up, then the other. I tensed, but they both smiled warmly and waved at us. I waved back, smiled, nodded. They went back to vacuuming, and we left. I don't know why, but those women's simple kindness made me feel like a million dollars, or two Euros. I have good feelings for the Orthodox Church based solely on the kindness of those two women.
After this, we headed toward some river that inspires German pride. Considering the atmosphere of the locale, I should just call it the Semen River, or in German, the River Semen.
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Anyway, we suddenly found ourselves in another nice warm pocket of non-debaucherous pleasant feelings.
First, we saw this building:
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Then we found this sweet restaurant that served all kinds of different food:
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If you know me even in the least bit, you can probably guess which of these things I purchased. I'll give you a hint: it's the one that doesn't end in a consonant.
I ate all of my food, and then, like the ravenous, Krunk-Juice Beast/Dirty White-Boy that I am, I ate the Robker's leftovers as well.
After this, we went back to the hotel, grabbed our stuff, and beat out of that town like it just weren't cool no more.
Before we did that, though, I decided to take a cheesy MySpace type picture of myself in a mirror with the flash on, and since I now use it as a joke on the Xanga site I never update and have solely to comment on other people's Xangas, I thought I would share it here:
But I just changed my mind, so I won't because it looks stupid.
Anyway, the three of us hopped a train for Cologne.
Robker and I then had a near three hour conversation on our women-history.
Surprisingly, we had not traded many of these stories before, so we had great females-suck bonding time (No offense to females who do not suck). Stephanie slept.
During this conversation, I knocked off 1200 candy bars.
I LOVE THOSE THINGS!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Germany, Day Seven: "Excuse Me...Can You Tell Us Where the Ocean Is, Cuz, Uh...We Can't Find It"

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I love the sea. We are definitely an item. I don't so much like being in it as gazing out at it, but it has always had a special place in my heart due to much time in my life spent in the since Katrina-destroyed trailer camp "Rise n' Shine" in the so-called Cajun paradise, Grand Isle. I'm not Cajun, but I like Grand Isle and ridiculously long run-on sentences. Sigh...
Anyway, I like looking at the ocean, and sand doesn't bother me very much, but the Robkers hiss and spit at sand like a cat at Clifford the Big Red Dog.
Also, if you can't tell, I like Scandinavia like 50 Cent raps about fat kids liking cake, and a visit to the Baltic Sea would put me right on its doorstep.
Early that morning we took a train Northwest to Hamburg. That's not a typo. It's an actual direction. We got there, got rid of our stuff at the hotel, then took a ride farther North to the town of Lubeck.
Thus begins my great victory over Jon Robker.
"We are going to the beach, right?" I asked on the train.
"LUBECK IS ON THE OCEAN!" Robker said nastily. I know he was thinking about all the sand he was going to have to pull out between his toes.
We then arrived in Lubeck, which is an absolutely beautiful city. I could have taken a landscape photo of it, but instead, I took a picture of this:
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Huh?
Anyway, the three of us walked toward where we thought the ocean was.
And then we walked some more.
The town began to look like New Roads (town I went to high-school and held my first job in):
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except there weren't really any black people, which is the opposite of New Roads, but otherwise, it was basically the same place with older buildings and more well-managed waterways. I can't even explain how much I missed black folks while I was in Europe. They just weren't there. Almost nothing but white folks. It made me lonely at times.
Anyway, we kept walking.
Eventually, after having to shave three times just to keep our beards from touching the ground (Except for Stephanie. She refused to shave her beard...Zing! Just kidding, Steph...don't kill me :) ?) we realized something was wrong.
When Robker stopped someone and asked them how far the ocean was, and their first response was hysterical laughter, I knew we were in trouble.
Lubeck is not on the ocean. It is near the ocean. Thirty miles near.
We walked back and got on another train.
Eventually, we reached a resort town on the Baltic Sea.
Of course, I can neither remember or spell the name of this town.
The Robkers stayed on the sidewalk while I ran around the beach like a five-year old, which is basically what the ocean, extreme cold, and twenty chocolate-vanilla Milka bars do to me. Combining these three things sent me into hyper-five-year-old-mode. And that's because:
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We left the beach and went back to the train station.
I was surprised and saddened to find that this was, indeed, the end of the line.
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It was was all very sad. Even more sad was when the three of us divied up the cost of the trip to split three ways.
Unfortunately, due to the conversion rate, all three of us would now have to sell our bodies until we died just to break even again.
That's right.
We were up for several hundred Euros apiece, or
THIRTY TRILLION DOLLARS!!!
Thankfully, we sorted things out through a tax-loophole so we could get by on what we had. Actually, we got by because the most excellent Robker thought ahead to buy a train discount card. Because of this card, we saved several hundred Euros, or
INFINITY HUMAN SOULS!!!
This more than made up for the lack of Sea-Existence in Lubeck. Plus, that walk took off some of the calories from the hundreds of candy bars I had consumed in the last seven days.
Yes!!!
We got back to Hamburg and settled into our digs.
We then went to an Italian restaurant (I needed it in a Desert Needs the Rain/Mango way). We found some place and I ordered a pizza called a "Sofia Loren". This pizza had fried eggs on top of it! I'm not kidding. And it was good.
What was not good--the shifty waiter swindled us out of about four Euros.
I don't even have to tell you how many dollars that is:
Several.
Anyway, we walked back to the hotel. Hamburg felt strange and dirty, and I REALLY wanted to take a shower.
Well, I have been promising a shower horror story.
Here it is:
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The shower was just right there in the middle of our room!
I mean, look at it. There it is.
So, you are probably thinking one of two things:
A. WHAT?!!! THAT'S CRAZY!
or
B. Uh, that's not really that bad, dude. Chill out.
Well, Mr. B, if the location of the shower isn't bad enough, check this out.
So, I get in the shower, strip naked, and hang my clothes over the side.
I get a decent wash done, and then turn the water knob.
The water does not turn off.
I turn the knob the other way.
The water burns my flesh off.
I turn the knob the other way.
The water is still burning my flesh off.
I panic.
The water suddenly gets cold.
I start yelling.
Robker and Stephanie try to help me, but I am in the middle of the room, soaking wet, cold, naked, and modest only by a thin curtain.
Robker and Stephanie start yelling out ideas, but none of them work.
I think of everything under the sun, but the water won't turn off.
The shower curtain gets sucked into the drain, jams it, and threatens to flood the room.
I put up a noble fight, finally pulling it out before the water spills on the floor.
The shower still won't turn off.
I finally can't take it anymore.
I tell the Robkers to clear out of the way, grab my towel, and dive out.
The Robkers rush into the vacant shower and attempt to turn it off.
It WON'T TURN OFF!!!
IT WON'T TURN OFF!!!
I get dressed, and it is still going.
We don't know what to do.
Time goes by.
People die, people change.
Robker turns the knob as the three of us have done a hundred times, and suddenly the shower turns off.
Ten seconds of silence.
Hysterical laughter.
I never got in that shower again.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Germany, Day Six: "Playa, Don't Jam My Flow!"

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Did you have an aunt or uncle that gave or let you do anything but didn't have the responsibility of disciplining you, making your time with them like heaven on Earth?
Yeah, me neither.
But if I had, they would have been like the manager of the hotel we stayed at in Berlin. This woman was awesome. Check that picture above the bed. It's the coolest thing ever. Check the hotel dining room:
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The whole place was sweetly art-nouveau'd. It was very pleasing and relaxing to be in, and the building was older than time and had carvings in the ceiling made by extraterrestrial beings:
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Robker is the Ultimate Ninja of Paradise City for finding this hotel. Seriously, there is nothing he can do to fall off the undisputed throne of awesome he now sits upon because that hotel was excellent. I don't care how much Sauerkraut he eats, I like that guy. Plus, his voice can bring ladies and certain men to their knees.
We spent day five in Berlin checking out the sights and stuff. We went to some museum that, of course, I cannot pronounce or remember, but it was pretty cool, and there wasn't a wait to get in or anything. Also, instead of a tour guide, or "tool guide", as I like to say, you wear headphones that allow you to enter in the display you are looking at for more information. There was an English version, which was obviously there because even the Germans who DON'T speak English would rather listen to a pleasant English voice than a 'German' one.
The three of us split up so that we could focus on our particular interests. This was a museum of antiquity, and I like old stuff, so I looked at everything.
The museum headset was very informative. It saved my life.
I was leaning very close into this statue of Aphrodite
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when the heaphone voice said in the most pleasant English ever:
"Notice the stain near the crotch area. This was made when a particularly 'fond' Ancient Roman man masturbated into the statue."
I leapt back so violently, I nearly broke the Zeus behind me. I did not take a picture of the stain. I took the above picture before I heard the "semen" story. I did not get close to that statue again.
Also, Tobey MacGuire was there:
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Don't ask me why.
It's the Germans.
I guess they like Spiderman or something.
After the museum we did other stuff. We did stuff before the museum, too, but that stuff isn't that funny, so I'm not telling you about it.
Eventually, we split up and I ended up at this underground record store because I like that, and you know it.
Look at how awesome this Mars Volta poster I found is:
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*DROOLS* It's so cool! I stared at it until they made me leave, but not before I got another precious Kent CD, their second Swedish album. Sweet victory!!!
I went on an extra jolly walk back to the hotel to meet my compadres. I stopped at a Donor Kabob shop and picked myself up a sweet, uh...Donor Kabob.
Donor Kabobs are made of turkey shavings from a giant 6 ton turkey leg. Seriously, I don't know how they make this giant "turkey leg" but there is this huge rack of pressed turkey hanging from the ceiling and the waiter, usually Turkish, gets a giant sword like object and cuts slices off for you into some type of pita bread. I wish I had a picture of the giant leg, but I was usually too scared of the Donor Kabob waiters to even look them in the eye, let alone take a photographic image of their giant hanging turkey legs and their samurai swords. They had samurai swords.
Donor Kabobs are another great thing Robker introduced me to. They are really cheap, and I enjoy that they contain only a small chance of sexual side effects and the fact that they do not taste like beaver droppings. Yummy!
I probably ate almost ten Donor Kabobs over the course of the trip. Each tasted differently, but each, like the soundtrack of the film Xanadu, saved my life.
Oh, also, I noticed that, contrary to what we have been told, the Marlboro Man did not die of cancer:
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He simply moved to Germany, where he spread the 'good word' EVERYWHERE.
You cannot escape his lasso's grasp. His spurs are made of shining steel, and his heart is made of carcinogenic love.
I then wandered into another old friend, happy walking man:
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Happy Walking Man, where have you been? HWM, where have you been when we needed you? Where were you when the children were crying? Where were you when our mothers fed their children with empty breasts?
Happy Walking Man, the Germans can figure out when to cross the street on their own. Happy Walking Man, it is time to come home.
...
Sweet Booty, surrounded by Starburst, on the hotel room leather couch:
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Hatas, you can't stop this train.
Also, the toilet of the hotel was in a separate room out in the hall. After leaving our hotel room that night and taking care of something there, I walked back by the hotel dining room. An old French couple was struggling with an expensive bottle of wine and a cork-remover. The cork was busted. With my MacGyver-like ingenuity (he is my hero, after all), I busted that hateful thing open for them. They offered me some, and even though I don't like wine, I drank with them anyway. When they asked me where I was from, I told them Louisiana. They smiled, nodded, and said they had been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I talked to them for a while, then headed back to our room, settled deep into the black leather couch and sunk into a sweet world of aural debauchery, not knowing what the future held and not caring either way.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Germany, Day Five: "Where Are All My Dark-Skinned Brothers?"

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Something became apparent to me as soon as we arrived in Berlin.
I don't look like I'm from Germany. I'm about six-feet tall and have a sweet crawfish tan and dark curly hair, but the average German male is about six-foot two, is as pale as Gertrude, the moon's albino offspring,  and has straight flaxen hair, which was an evolutionary advantage when ancient Germans hid in hay bales from Trolls. In Bavaria, the southern German region we spent our first four days, this didn't really come out.
In Northern Germany it did.
And it made me feel like crap.
Once in Berlin, Robker and Stephanie began pointing out famous German landmarks I had never heard of that had great significance to them. This made me feel even more out of place. Then I got on a bus full of pale, tall, quiet people. This made me feel like 50 Cent at Opryland.
Also, the tree behind me in the above picture is a painting. There were no green trees in Berlin. There was more SNOW, though!
I started to get seriously depressed, which probably had something to do with jetlag or the fact that my money was virtually worthless, or maybe I just remembered once again that Sarah Michelle Gellar is married to Freddy Prinze Jr. and not to me. Anyway, I needed some me-time.
After dropping our stuff off at the hotel, the three of us went to downtown Berlin.
We saw what is apparently one of the world's tallest structures, this hideous tower:
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I was not impressed, especially at the six euro, or 4.6 billion dollar, fee to ride to the top (I know the units seem to be changing everyday, but you have to realize, that's what the market does!..?)
After rambling around, we came across a giant Best Buy type store called Saturn. I suddenly realized a long time dream of mine.
In high school, I really dug this band called Kent. They only released one album in America, Isola, but they have plenty more albums available in Europe. I remembered that I wanted to find some of their CDs. I never bought them on the Internet because the prices are ridiculous, and buying CDs on Ebay just isn't my way.
Anyway, I found their second English language album, Hagnesta Hill, and I picked it up for cheap. The three of us went back to the hotel for a minute, and I declared that for the next two hours I was not going anywhere. The Robkers told me I could not do that, because not doing that is their way, and I do not hold it against them, but I told them that I could do that, and I would do that, and I did do that. Sometimes, I just need to chill.
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I listened to 70 sweet minutes of Kent and stared out the window at the Germans. It was wonderfully therapeutic. Kent is the perfect soundtrack for Northern Europe. They sound a little like Radiohead, except leave out all the fear an paranoia and add some hope and humanity. Just kidding, Radiohead, I love you.
Oh, and of course, I left the lights off.
When the Robkers returned, the three of us took off.
I was refreshed and ready to kick Germany's ass.
That is my usual attitude toward everything, so it felt real pretty to be back.
The three of us took the train to some other part of the city. I got confused as to where because the entire city is made of cranes building new things and it is impossible to tell what is what.
I'm sorry that this entry isn't as funny as usual, but I have a new Kristen Bell wallpaper and I keep looking at it and giggling, so bear with me.
Anyway, here I am in front of a piece of the old Berlin Wall.
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Look at that face. You know I am thinking that if I wanted to, I could kick all those cranes down, but I was feeling "generous," so I didn't.
We then footed it to the Reichstag, which in German means "Camel-Toe." The Reichstag is the German Capitol building. We waited in line for almost four complete months, and then were allowed in.
After a bunch of stuff I can't remember, we went up to the top. Of course, fraidy-cat twins didn't want to go up the tower portion, so I took their cameras for them and climbed by myself.
Berlin's skyline looks like this from there:
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Also, the German lawmakers keep a giant metallic-spike hanging over their heads during legislation:
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Those are their seats, directly below. They need one of those here in Louisiana, methinks. Especially, post 8/29/05. On second thought, maybe the U.S. government needs one of those, too. Or somebody. Seriously, we got screwed.
Anyway...
...
We caught a bus and headed back to the hotel.
This hotel is awesome. I can't remember the name of it, but it was an excellent little place. The building was really old, and the manager was this extremely friendly (but not in a " Hey, that's my no-touch place!" kind of way) Swedish lady. She had several daughters who were Kent fans, which was refreshing, and a topic of bonding. Sweet. She had the place decorated all crazy and wonderful, and I don't have room to post pictures of it in this post, but we stayed two nights, so more to come on that front.
Speaking of pictures, all of these photos can be found giant sized at my
PHOTOBUCKET SITE
Cool.
Coming tomorrow:
"He Did WHAT to that Statue?!"
or,
"Tales of Man/Stone-Construct Love.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Germany, Day Three: "There's a mountain range here? I'm sorry, I thought this was a Selson Blue Commercial."

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That morning, we said our goodbyes. Well, I did, because Robker was just going to be going back to the dorm when my part of the journey was over. Late the night before, I talked to one of Robker's male dormmates about German vs. American politics. Really, we just complained, and I have the sneaking suspicion he may have just been testing out his English on me (what, you didn't think I was speaking 'German' to him, right?). Whatever, though, it was a nice conversation. That morning, another of Robker's dormmates Kathrin(?) let me borrow some giant water bottle she had. I like water, so I said thank you and took it.
The three of us boarded a train heading south to a town on the alps called Fussen. Apparently, a long time ago, some crazy King built a bunch of castles down there because he was crazy. The above picture is of Stephanie passed out (and the reflection is Robker, no doubt dutifully going over our travel plans) on this train. We swung by Munich to drop off our stuff, got back on a train, and, after tunneling through six quadtrillion infinity tons of snow, we finally reached some touristy looking building surround by a stupid white fog. Apparently, a series a beautiful mountains reknowned in legend, history, and song, known as the 'Alps' were right in front of us, but I couldn't see them because of all the stupid snow. To this day I doubt that they exist.
There was a giant hill with a castle on it, though, so we rode in a carriage drug by diarrhetic horses to get a closer look.
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That pointy thing is the castle, if you were wondering. Most people who look at this picture ask me where the castle is. That is because they are not 'with it'.
The snow just wouldn't stop falling. Robker got so pissed, he punched a hole in the castle.
I'm serious.
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It did not stop snowing, but the castle did groan audibly.
We thought about taking the tour, but the castle is supposed to be really ugly on the inside, and the tour cost about fifteen euros, roughly sixteen-thousand dollars, so we decided not to take it. Robker and Stephanie rode down the 'mountain' on the diarrhetic horses. I was feeling even more awesome than usual, so I decided to foot it.
Oh, okay, I know you want a better picture of the castle, so here it is:
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Wow. It's castleriffic.
I walked down the mountain and saw this beautiful waterfall, which, so far, has not impressed anyone.
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I thought it was beautiful, much more so than the castle, but I am really neat, so just don't try to figure it out, okay. I met some Canadians when they heard me curse in English as I slipped and made a giant fool of myself, almost falling off the giant dandruff-ball...I mean, mountain.
I liked them. They had just come back from a trip to USA to see Mardi Gras in New Orleans. This started a trend I will get to later. They were really nice, though.
Finally, the Robkers' slow little carriage got down to the bottom, where we waited for a really long time for our ridiculously delayed bus to save us from an incoming blizzard. We thought we were going to be stuck up there with Ludwig van Nutjob's castles that I cannot pronounce or spell, but, thankfully, our bus finally came.
After another snowy ride, we finally arrived back in Munich.
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I love Munich, and this picture does not do it justice. This road bends around, and giant buildings like this just go on for miles. It is crazy. I have too many good pictures from Munich and I can't post them all here.
We then went to a place much lauded by Robker, the Augustiner Beerhall. Unless he is talking about sauerkraut, Robker is usually right, especially in this case.
Man, what a great place.
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See how happy we are! That place is great. I got a Liter of some thing called a "Radler" which is a really sweet beer. I would have bought another, but I only had 900 dollars left, or 0 Euros. It was not a matter of tolerance, as most members of my family, including myself, usually have the alcohol tolerance of the entire Spanish army. No offense to the Spanish army, but the truth is the truth. Robker's tolerance is equally as high, but there were no Indiana Jones' style drinkoffs because that's just not cool, right?
After a little more Muniching, we went to bed, because humans require sleep after strenously extended activity.
Before sleeping, I macked on some Corinthians, which was quite remarkable for me because I had been notoriously not digging on the Apostle Paul up to that point in my life, but as 2005 was a year for change (often painful change), I really came to love the guy.
Oh. And the bathroom at the hotel was haunted:
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By a bad shower-head. Seriously, it was unresponsive and splattered all over, but this was nothing compared to the hotel shower horrors to come!!!
Stay tuned.