Thursday, January 17, 2008

Climate Change!

I don't really know why everybody is talking about climate change all the time. Maybe it's interesting for them, but the thing I especially don't get is why they talk about it like it's something bad. Personally, I don't consider it a bad thing when I can safely ride my bike to work in the middle of January, without having to worry about ice or snow on the streets. I also don't mind being able to wear a light jacket when I go out for a little walk in the middle of winter. My son doesn't mind either, because all that winter gear he has to wear really gets on his last nerve. He can hardly walk, turn his head or move his arms with all those snow pants and thick coats and hats and layers of warm clothes. So what's the problem? Really, think about it: the dinosaurs died off because of climate change, glaciers melted because of climate change, lakes and rivers formed because of climate change. And this was always just the natural cycle of the earth! The dinosaurs didn't have cars, and whatever was living when the glaciers melted sure wasn't using lots of gas and oil and emitting carbon. This is just the natural course of the earth, and just because people haven't written anything like this down in the history books before doesn't mean that it's all our fault, or more specifically, all America's fault. But, if you want to give it your best and speed it up so we can all enjoy a few more warm winters in our lifetimes, go to this website about how you can control climate change, and just do the opposite!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I love shopping at the Plus Markt

Well, okay, I really don't love shopping at the Plus Markt, because it's just full of ridiculous characters who are pushy and don't say excuse me, one of my biggest pet peeves in this country anyway, as well as all of my rude neighbors who I don't ever want to see, and then there are the beggars who sit at the entry and huff the gas from various hairsprays and spray paints, their spinach is expensive, even though they claim to be "insanely cheap" in all their ads. But yesterday, Plus exceeded all of my expectations. We were doing some last minute emergency shopping just before the stores close until Monday, and were standing in the dreary line at the checkout. There was a small Asian woman ahead of us, probably a young student. She paid, started packing her purchases, and her phone rang. She answered in her native language very loudly, and this struck us as somewhat comical. We tried to supress our smiles and giggles, and the cashier noticed this as she was scanning our diapers and cheese. And then, with a sly smile, she imitated the Asian woman's speech. Just a couple syllables, and went back to scanning as if nothing had happened. No smile, nothing, just scan-beep-scan-beep... And we stared at each other, first shocked, and then we just lost it and cracked up. How inappropriate is that? I'm ashamed of myself. But still, though it was so incorrect it was also so hilarious. It was as if I was in a dream.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Well, maybe, just maybe, all that poop on the street could someday serve a useful purpose...

Dog Poop Shoe Prints Lead to Arrest

Thursday, January 10, 2008 12:25:18 PM

Dog isn't this man's best friend.

Josue Herrios-Coronilla, 18, drove his black Camaro on the wrong side of the road Wednesday and crashed into the yard of man who owns four dogs, police said.

Police found crushed bushes, a damaged fence, an inoperable car -- and a fresh shoe print in a pile of dog feces.

Following an odoriferous trail down the street, Sgt. Dale Gunter noticed a white van driving toward him. When he asked the passenger to step out, he noticed the smell of alcohol on the man's breath and evidence all over his shoes.

Herrios-Coronilla was charged with driving while impaired and drinking underage and released

on $1,500 bail. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2007: the year in review

2007 was quite a year, with lots of long trips, big events and funny happenings. There were also some not so funny happenings, like the untimely deaths of the 2 sweetest bunnies ever, Wee and Waboose. But here I'm going to focus on some of the quotable quotes and crazy situations that I just happened to either overhear or be right in the middle of.

February: "Kriminalpolizei Peine, Schneider ist mein Name." -an undercover cop who showed us a metal "Kriminalpolizei" keychain as ID. We were pulled over because the taillights on the car were out. There seems to be a short circuit which only has problems in cold weather. It turns out you just have to beat the dashboard until it goes back on.

April: A part of Albertplatz was renamed Jorge-Gomondai-Platz here in Dresden-Neustadt, in honor of a man from Mozambique who was killed by skinheads near there. The man behind us on this very square said, in thick Saxon German and in an exasperated flat tone: "Das war so ein Schwarzer, der von angeblich Rechtsradikalen aus der Strassenbahn geworfen worden sein soll und dadran ist er dann gestorben." (That was a black guy who is said to have been thrown from the tram by supposed skinheads and died.)

July: In Puerto Santiago, Tenerife, Rico said dryly to Bettina: "Das glaube ich dir, Bettina," (I believe you Bettina) after Bettina excitedly pointed out the existence of a large supermarket nearby our hotel. This has since become my very favorite thing to say in any situation.

Imagine the biggest, hairiest British soccer thug, and imagine him saying "I'll never go back to Turkey again!" This guy was hanging out on the street, talking over the hedge to some people in a restaurant in Los Gigantes, Tenerife. I don't know why he'll never go back to Turkey, but if he's not there, it's just one more reason for me to go!

"Do I look like a f***ing c**t?" This question was posed by my travelling companion, also in Tenerife, in the city of Las Americas after being asked about ten times if he was from the Netherlands or England or other exotic far away places by people on the street wanting to sell things. They left us alone after this.

November: "Arsch hoch!" (Bottoms up!) -Willy. He says this if he even sees a diaper, because he knows that when you get changed, you have to put your bottom up!

More car news: for nearly the whole year (until November) the engine had been rattling and sounded like it was about to give out any second. Well, before a long drive, the driver decided to check the oil, and surprise! There was none! After pouring in one quart still nothing showed on the dipstick, another quart, just a tiny drop on the tip of the dipstick. Another quart or so and everything was okay, and the rattling was gone forever. It had been at least 2 years since the oil had been checked.

December: "Scheiße." (Shit) -Willy

"Das ist mein neuer kleiner Ständer." (That's my new little "tripod.") A certain colleague of mine said this in a certain vacation location about his new tripod. "Ständer" also has another meaning in German: erection.

"Do you have dolphin?" This is a question I wanted to pose in Los Cristianos, Tenerife, when we were walking around looking for something to eat. Usually people standing outside the restaurants bother you when you walk by, hoping to lure you into their tourist traps. Unfortunately, they amazingly left us alone. Maybe because we had a kid with us, maybe because we were fully clothed, as opposed to all the other people strutting their fat rings and saggy body parts in swimsuits or just their underwear. Or maybe I just looked so fed up with everything that they thought it better to leave me unspoken to.

The man who changed from his swimsuit to his regular clothes IN A RESTAURANT, at his table, right in front of me. This was also in Los Cristianos, after we had found some food. I wouldn't complain about it if this man had been somewhat young or in any way attractive, but he was neither. He was old and had a belly the size of Texas. He had the decency to put a towel around his bottom half as he slipped out of his swim trunks, but after he'd put on his tight white underwear, he removed the towel. I'll admit, the underwear were new shiny white, but did he really have to adjust his scrotum right in front of me while I was eating? (He really did, and with pleasure.)

"Temperament!!" -some Gomeran in San Sebastián. Of course he was talking to Willy, because he was pretty spirited during our vacation, to put it nicely. But I have to give the Spanish credit, they don't get nearly as wound up about a loud kid as Germans do! They take it with ease and come talk to him and ask him what's up ("Que pasa?"), they don't just sigh and roll their eyes and look at me like I'm abusing and/or neglecting my child.

"Na dann." (Well then.) -Willy