Monday, August 29, 2005

I really love bunnies.
Last night I had a dream of my 2 bunnies, Wee and Waboose. Maybe I'm crazy, but I really miss the little guys. Sometimes I have anxiety dreams about them that something horrible happens to them, and this was another one of those. Last night I dreamt that I went to my bunnysitter Ron's house to pick them up and Waboose was missing! Wee was hiding under the bedding so I couldn't find her... The whole situation made me really sad.
Then this evening, on my bike ride down Lang Road, I saw 4 cute little cottontail rabbits! They were a bit smaller than mine, so I think they were still babies, all brown with dark brown eyes and white cottony tails!
Today has really been a day of bunnies, because I was also honored with a comment on my weblog from none other than Merlin! Merlin has a really great weblog, probably the best I've ever seen. Check it out here:

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Our Michigan Wildlife

These are all signs I saw while riding my bike down my road. I guess they must be to protect the wildlife, or maybe the property, or most likely the liability of the property owners.

Maybe Jane will come after you if you trespass on her property. I wouldn't want to mess with her...

We've got lots of bees buzzing around preparing for the coming fall. This one is at my brother's house in Canton.
Here's a pretty butterfly I spotted while walking back in the forest behind my parents' house.
Doc Hopper, seen above, also lives behind my parents' house in the pond.
These deer were just standing there behind the house, eating the buckwheat, as I was leaving to take a bike ride.
This is my nephew Iggy, who lives in Canton. Unfortunately, we don't have iguanas running around the forests of Michigan, though, just in pet shops and houses.

Friday, August 26, 2005

My First Baseball Game

Last Sunday, my brothers, sisters-in-law, niece and I attended a Detroit Tigers baseball game at Comerica Park in Detroit. I must admit, I was skeptical at first since I'm not much of a sports fan, but it was pretty fun. And the Tigers won for the first time this season!

This is our view of the city from our seats in the stadium. Pretty nice view from far away, but sadly the city is really run down. There's just no life on the streets because all the people and businesses have moved out of the city. Instead of really fixing up the buildings and making the place liveable, they're putting up false fronts on the buildings to make it look nice. Interesting approach...

This super cool giant baseball ferris wheel definitely made the game more interesting. Not only does the stadium contain the actual baseball diamond, but also a ferris wheel, a carousel, a beer hall, and many different snack stands. So you can't really get bored there.

Here we are inside one of those giant baseballs. Fortunately none of us threw up!

American Food

As promised, photographic proof of boba tea. It's so delectable!

And other delectable American sundries...

American Graffiti

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

next of kin

I found the book hidden in the woods beneath a sheet of plywood, its cover torn away and the pages damp with mildew.

Brock and Bonnie Rivers stood in their driveway waving good-bye to the Reverend Hassleback.

"Good-bye," they said, waving.

"Good-bye," the reverend responded. "Tell those two teens of yours, Josh and Sandi, that they'll make an excellent addition to our young persons' ministry. They're fine kids," he said with a wink. "Almost as fine and foxy as their parents!"

The Rivers chuckled, raising their hands in another wave. When the reverend's car finally left the driveway, they stood for a moment in the bright sunshine before descending into the basement dungeon to unshackle the children.

The theme of the book was that people are not always what they seem. Highly respected in their upper-middle-class community, the Rivers family practiced a literal interpretation of the phrase "Love thy neighbor."....

No, unfortunately I neither wrote the above passage nor did I find such an interesting book on my bike ride down Lang Road today. This savory little literary tidbit comes from an essay in David Sedaris' book "Naked", which I hope you go out and get immediately if you haven't already read it. They even have German translations in the Stadtbibliothek in Dresden, now you have no excuse. Or you can borrow my English copy when I'm back in Dresden. What made me think of this was a big soggy box of sunbleached books I found in the ditch on my bike ride this evening, but they were lame romance novels and stuff like "The Clinic" or something. Yawn.

You guessed it, I'm in Beaverton, my hometown and the place which one of my friends dubbed as being like a "Siberian prison". Or was it "worse than a Siberian prison"? I can't remember, but it's really not that bad. Unfortunately, though, I can't upload any pictures right now, but will on Thursday. Just a hint of what's in store for my dear readers: pictures of me drinking boba tea, frolicking at a baseball game in Detroit, even some majestic whitetail deer! But definitely no pictures of my parents' cats, because I don't want to upset my bunnies and worsen the psychological damage they are already experiencing due to my absence!

Monday, August 22, 2005

How Taco Bell ruined my summer vacation...
or: is my memory failing me?

So today on the way to Beaverton, MI, from my brother's house in Canton, we stopped at Taco Bell to get a little dinner. OK, probably not the healthiest choice, but quick, and as my memory told me, also very delicious. Well, I was in for a most unpleasant surprise as my nachos arrived. I got a bit thing of chips with a big pile of meat on top with some sour cream and cheese. Ew. I don't eat meat. So I went back inside (we were going to eat while driving) and asked "What is this?" The guy said it was the nachos I ordered. But the nachos I used to get had beans and guacamole and sour cream and all sorts of delicious fattening things on top. And I was informed that there is no such thing. So I checked the Taco Bell website. My nachos should've contained:
A large platter of crisp, freshly prepared tortilla chips covered with hearty beans, seasoned ground beef, warm nacho cheese sauce, diced ripe tomatoes, fresh green onions and cool sour cream.
Well, okay. I guess I forgot that I used to order them without the meat. But otherwise it was still wildly incorrect.
So because I couldn't eat the nachos because of my meat issue, I ordered one of these. Which was also okay, but not nearly as good as I remembered it. Have my taste buds changed? Am I now a picky eater? Maybe I should boycott Taco Bell, as so many hip people do because of their unethical farming practices. I think the world and my digestive system would be better places for that.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Michigan: Great Lakes, Great Times!

This is what the Welcome to Michigan sign says south of Detroit when you enter the state coming from Toledo, Ohio, and boy is it true! It's really nice to be home, or at least in my home state. I arrived yesterday following about 20 hours on 2 different trains and a bus from Boston, Massachusetts. That should have only lasted 17 hours, but took longer because we got stuck waiting for 3 freight trains and one passenger train to pass us and free up the rails so we could enter the station in Toledo. The trouble is, the rails that Amtrak uses are owned by a freight company, and the freight company isn't terribly considerate of the passenger trains. I suppose it's economical that everyone shares the rails, but it's not so good for people who actually need to get somewhere somewhat punctually.

So far here in Canton, Michigan, I've been visiting my brother's family. This involves playing with my niece, eating the best nachos I've had in about 2 years, relaxing by the pool, biking around the neighborhood with my niece, and visiting their lizard Iggy who is in puberty right now.

We also watched a movie this evening, which I highly recommend. It's quite the take on small-town high school life in America. This gem of a film is called Napoleon Dynamite, and had me cracking up like crazy the whole time. I wanted to watch it a second time right after we finished, but since I fell asleep in front of the TV last night and then fell asleep and slept all night with the light in my room on last night, I thought I should be a little more sensible today and maybe just watch this movie again as soon as I wake up in the morning.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Willst du immer weiter schweifen?
Sieh, das Gute liegt schon nah.
Lerne nur das Glueck ergreifen,
denn das Glueck ist immer da.


This is the name of a chain cafe where you can get boba tea. What is boba tea? It's this sweet, smoothie-like drink with 1/4 inch tapioca balls in it! It comes with a straw twice the diameter of a normal straw, and it's quite an adventure to drink a delicious creamy tea with balls! You drink, you chew, you have fun! It's a hugely trendy drink here in Boston, Patrick and I haven't seen it elsewhere.

this website should answer any further questions you have about boba drinking fun!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Finally, some pictures of our fun!

A bit of street art in Brooklyn, a funny coloring book page in the really cool vegetarian diner where I had my really delicious first American meal in about a year and a half-it involved gratuitous amounts of tofu!

And as you probably already read, we visited Lady Liberty...

...and had a look at New York City.

Then it was on to Boston...

...where there are lots of red brick houses and American flags. (We spotted 7 from one vantage point.)

And just yesterday we had the perfect, fun-packed, American summer day, featuring a banana split...

...time at the beach on Cape Cod, including some sandcastle-building and burying Patrick up to his knees in sand...

...some time at a little carnival we found on the way to go mini-golfing, featuring rides on the scary, rickety ferris wheel of death, the sizzler, and and 2 back to back rides on the octopus, after which I felt like I was going to vomit...

...and finally a dinner at the most confusing Mex-Italy bistro, where we got really bad service, and some food that was neither Mexican nor Italian, and to top it all off, a rousing 18 holes of mini-golf, also known as putt-putt golf or goofy golf in other regions of the United States. Then we drove back to Boston, during which Patrick and I promptly fell asleep, leaving James to drive us back without our witty commentary. A big thanks to James for chaufeurring us around all weekend! (and putting up with all of our Beaverton stories)

The Bunny Quotient

In Brooklyn, I believe this is a sign for a restaurant. Do they cook little bunnies in suits there? Do you have to eat them with your bare hands?

I love this bronze Boston bunny so much! He's in front of the Trinity Church right near the John Hancock tower, posed together with a tortoise. If only I had a garden of my own, you know what would be in it...
Can you spot the bunny here? The Star Laundry also seems hip, like our Crazy Waschsalon in Dresden.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Museums and, surprise!, a movie

Harvard University, located in Cambridge, which is easily accessible by the Boston public transportation, has a lovely campus full of red brick academic buildings and has some excellent museums. Wednesday was museum day for me, and I overdid it a bit. First stop: Arthur M Sackler Museum, with its collection of Asian and Greek art, as well as a small Degas special exhibit. Next up: the Fogg Art Museum and Busch-Reisinger Museum, housed together in one building. The Fogg collection is very nice and well rounded with lots of international as well as American art, ranging from the very old to the modern. The Busch-Reisinger collection was a special treat, as it is composed of art from German-speaking countries. Continuing my tour down the street a bit, I came upon the Peabody Museum, where I really just wanted to see the glass flowers created by the Blaschkas from Hosterwitz, near Dresden. The Blaschkas were talented glass workers, and were commissioned to make these incredibly realistic botanical models for Harvard. Around 4,400 models of flowers, leaves, and plant parts belong to this collection, of which about 75% is on display. You're probably thinking "glass flowers, great", but these are really impressive, they look like real flowers with the exception that they are made of glass. Considering this, and the fact that they are about 100 years old, and the fact that these incredibly delicate models were transported from Saxony to the United States, makes this a worthwhile stop on any visit to Boston. Thanks to Colleen and Antje for the tip! The Peabody Museum is also interesting for other reasons, the glass flowers are just a tiny slice of what they have to offer. There is also a large exhibition about the Native Americans of North America, a large display of mounted birds, lots of dinosaur bones and fossils, minerals, and many things I didn't even see, as I showed up only an hour before closing time and spent most of my time gaping at the glass flowers.

Finally, exhausted from so many exhibitions, I continued on to the Museum of Fine Art, where Wednesday evening was free, and was also family night. So it was like a giant party in this huge museum, which ordinarily requires about 4 hours to take in, but which I, in my drunk-on-art state, viewed in nearly 2 hours. The atmosphere was perhaps more interesting to me than the exhibitions, there were just so many people, and so many kids, and it had the feeling of a big art celebration, which was fun following the sober afternoon in much more serious surroundings. The special exhibition here were the quilts of Gee's bend, Alabama, made mainly of old work clothes by African American women. These quilts were interesting in the combinations of materials and techniques, and that they didn't really follow any patterns.

And a movie. After all that culture, yesterday was a bit more relaxed. Visiting 4 museums in one day is exhausting. So I went on a photo mission yesterday, photographing every Dunkin' Donuts and bagel shop I could find, and I saw a movie, Murderball. This is a documentary about wheelchair-bound rugby players. It's really inspiring, and not just about the sport, but about the stories of the individuals featured in the film. I even learned that rugby was developed in Canada and was originally called murderball.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Seeing the sights

Yesterday I did some heavy duty sightseeing, with the lofty goal of taking the Freedom Trail, a handy red line that leads tourists past most major sights in the city, in its completion. This failed miserably, as the Freedom Trail was lost to road construction about halfway through. I did, however, come across some interesting things, such as the Granary Burying ground, where such historical figures as Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, Crispus Attucks, and Mary Goose are buried. Then it was on past some meeting houses, the old town hall, the oldest tavern in America and then a Holocaust memorial. This is an impressive monument, consisting of tall glass columns inscribed with the concentration camp numbers of Holocaust victims as well as quotes from Holocaust survivors and soldiers. Sadly most visitors to this rushed through, either uninterested in the statements or rushed by their bus drivers. I hope it's the second problem. Later I happened across the Boston Public Garden, a beautifully landscaped place with lots of ducks, swan boats and lovely flowers. I think the most interesting sight in the Public Garden was, however, the Asian jogger wearing a t-shirt proclaiming "I speak jive". Brilliant! Following this interesting turn of events, things got even more interesting, as I got my ass grabbed on the subway, was instructed to "Express your opinions!" by a man at my stop, and heard an angry midwesterner in Walgreen's complain that she thought there were 2 lines (there was just one and two checkouts, with each customer going to the next available checkout), and being rather venemously informed by a non-native English speaker "First come, first serve!" God Bless America!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Dinner and a Movie

That pretty much sums up my time in America so far, food and films. But these were two of my favorite things when I lived here, and still are two of my favorite things, so why not indulge? I'm on vacation!

I arrived last Wednesday at JFK in New York City and was a bit scared that my luggage was lost, because while I was waiting in London for my connecting flight there was something about a fire somewhere in the airport where it sounded like there could be baggage. But no, my giant backpack was just one of the last to come rolling down the shute to the baggage claim. Whew. My superfriend Patrick was awaiting me, and we hopped into a yellow cab and took a ride into Williamsburg, a part of Brooklyn. We stayed there for 2 nights at a friend of Patrick's. New York was much friendlier than I expected. I'd never been there before, but you always hear that it's a cold, tough place. Compared to a city like Berlin, New York is incredibly warm and friendly. On Thursday we walked around Brooklyn a bit and saw some places that are probably better avoided after dark, and had lunch at a little vegetarian cafe. I had a vegetarian club sandwich, made with tofu and fake bacon (facon, as Patrick dubbed it). Very delicious. After this, we went into Manhattan, did some more walking around and finally went to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty and then on to Ellis Island, where the immigrants used to enter the country. Later on we went out to dinner with some friends of Patrick's at a Thai place. Mmmm, I had forgotten how delicious spicy food is! The next day we went to Times Square, which is incredibly touristy and filled with commerce, so we ducked down a side street and got lunch at a little Irish pub filled with what seemed to be locals. There I had a gigantic veggie burger, which was also superb. During the evenings we watched DVDs, on Wednesday Bollywood music videos and on Thursday 13 going on 30. They changed my life. Then on Friday after lunch we hopped on the Greyhound to Boston.

Friday evening after arriving and dropping off our stuff at the apartment, we went out to eat again. This time Indian food, which was also really great. I forgot that you automatically get a tall glass of ice water upon sitting down at a restaurant here, which is constantly refilled as you empty it. I like that. Then came the weekend. On Saturday we went out to eat again, this time at a little hipster place called the Other Side, I think. Here I had a delicious tomato mozarella salad, and was impressed that the staff played Sonic Youth's Murray Street in the restaurant. Then we visited the public library, which is an impressive marble construction, across the street from IM Pei's shiny blue John Hancock tower, which soars above the pretty Trinity church. From this square I could see seven American flags flying! Then we met up with yet another friend of Patrick's and spent the afternoon walking around the Boston Commons looking at ducks and squirrels, following the Freedom Trail sometimes, and also going into North Side, which is an Italian neighborhood which was flooded with molasses in 1919 I think. Apparently, a silo of molasses burst, flooding the streets and killing around 20 people. In North Side you can also see Paul Revere's house. Cool! Later on we went to Elevator to the Gallows, a French film from the 1950's which has been rereleased. I can recommend this film, it's quite engaging and entertaining. Then (you guessed it) we went out to eat! This time at a yummy falafel place. Following all this excitement we went home and played some 20th anniversary edition Trivial Pursuit and watched the Golden Girls.

Sunday consisted of relaxing a bit. We went out for brunch, then strolled around a bit. Next we went on a mission searching for donuts, which isn't hard in Boston, as Dunkin Donuts was founded not too far from here. There are Dunkin Donuts all over the place, and we stopped at one. Mmmm, donuts. In the evening we went and strolled around Harvard, browsed at the Harvard book store, and of course, went to eat again! This time pizza, but not just normal everyday pizza, but gourmet grilled pizza made on a pita. Again, mmmm. Surprise, later we finished watching Drop Dead Gorgeous and rented Shaun of the Dead, which was better than I expected. Of course we ate some Ben and Jerry's ice cream topped with gummy bears while watching the films.

Now it's Monday, and I'll tell you what happened today later!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Dear Dresden,
you’ve shot an arrow into my heart. I can’t imagine a better place to live with nicer people or more beautiful scenery. Though the first half of this year brought some troubles (especially with my optimistic little New Year’s prediction of 2005 being the best year ever), things are looking up. Work is rewarding and fun, studying is fulfilling, and I’ve found that I have made some very good friends here in the last 2 and a half years. I’m a little sad to take off for a month, but I’ll see you in September!

The White RabbitWee Man, also known as Little Wee

No, I haven’t developed a nasty little coke habit like the title of this blog might suggest. This is the little white rabbit, who, like this city, has shot an arrow into my heart. This month is her second anniversary of living with me, and she’s just about 2 years and 3 months old.

(the name is from the Ojibwe language, it means rabbit)

And this is her partner in crime and boyfriend, sitting in his favorite place under the sofa in the corner of the living room. He moved in 10 months ago, shortly before I moved into my new apartment. He' s just over a year old. The arrival of a new rabbit (and a younger man at that) upheaved Little Wee’s world a bit, but after establishing her dominance, everything was okay again.

Another Fun Weekend
This weekend I was lucky enough to tag along on not one but two motorcycle rides! Originally, the plan was to go to a biker party, but then we got word that it might really be some kind of Nazi party. Hmm, probably a good one to avoid. So instead we went to the beach on Saturday, then on Sunday to the Sächsiche Schweiz, a national park not too far away from Dresden. We had a really cool hike among cliffs and rocks and uprooted trees following the violent thunder storm on Friday night. It’s rather humbling to walk along those narrow little paths where you can see how a couple days before a giant rock came crashing down the hill, smashing trees as if they were toothpicks. And that rock is just hanging there below the path, waiting for its next opportunity to free itself. See you in America, or in September!