on the balcony

Kind of laid back.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Last Meal

Last night on ARD they showed the movie Monster's Ball with Billy Bob Thorton and Halley Berry. Near the beginning of the movie it shows Sean Combs or Puff Daddy or Diddy or whatever the hell he calls himself these days being served his last meal before he is supposed to go to the chair. Simon and I were talking about what it would be like to know you were going to die for sure, like waking up and knowing that this is the last morning, this is the last light and so on and so fourth. I asked Simon what he would ask for for his last meal and he said a big steak with potatoes au gratin, bacon and green beans, and chocolate ice cream with whipped cream. For my last meal I would definately have the carlic and cheese grits with blackened catfish, veggie collard greens, and blackeyed peas from the Delta Cafe in SE Portland. Oh man, just thinking about it now and how far away I am from it is going to kill me. Greatest thing ever. And for dessert I think a crepe with vanilla cream and fresh fruit would be nice, like a peaches and cream crepe or something. For sure.

On another note...here is my quote of the day:

"FUCK THE HEN!!! What a GOAL!"

Simon was watching the Sportshau and they were showing the highlights of this weekends game of his club the Vfl Bochum and he got excited about a goal they shot. HAHA. For just one night Bochem was FIRST OF THE BUNDESLIGA. Sweet. I'm sure they'll come in second overall. Simon is not so sure. I guess we'll have to see.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls...

Ingmar Bergmen. What to say...what to say. He was definately one of my favorites, dealing with all my favorites, z.B. existence, lonliness, death, sexuality, faith, morality. The human condition. Although I have liked all of his films that I've seen, though I definately haven't seen them all, my most loved is of course The Seventh Seal. How un-original.
Really though...A man comes back from fighting the Crusades to a plague-ridden homeland and meets death. The man plays chess with death! And the dialogue!

Antonius Block: "I want to confess as best I can, but my heart is void. The void is a mirror. I see my face and feel loathing and horror. My indifference to men has shut me out. I live now in a world of ghosts, a prisoner in my dreams."

The dialogue!!

Jöns: "Our crusade was such madness that only a real idealist could have thought it up."

The dialogue!!!

Jöns: "Love is as contagious as a cold. It eats away at your strength, morale... If everything is imperfect in this world, love is perfect in its imperfection."
Blacksmith Plog: "You're happy, you with your oily words. You believe your own drivel."
Jöns: "Believe it? Who said? But I love to give pieces of advice."

Of course, it is originally in Swedish, who knows what is lost in the translation, but I feel it! I feel what he is saying.
What I think I love most about his works are that they contain a message, however ambiguous it may be, and everything is always so existential. And I love that. I hate watching all of these blockbuster romantic comedy, action, marketing movies that, even if there is a message, it could be easier found by banging ones head against a wall. Well, anyways, I'm not going to get into that. Whenever I open that can of worms I usually just say the same thing over again anyways, which is that capitalism provides us with the anomalous phenomenon (okay, perhaps anomaly isn't the most true word to use, but it is an anomaly to me) of art without a soul, mock art. I highly disapprove. Let it be known.

Back to Hr. Bergman. Another thing I think is interesting about him is that I guess he grew up in a religious family, Lutheran, but lost his faith when he was at the ripe age of 8. Seriously. At 8 how could you even know? 8 year olds, dude. Respect it.
So now we live in a world without Ingmar Bergman. I wonder if death was everything he imagined it would be? Or, I guess, that is silly. Anyone truelly in touch with the concept of mortality knows that death is nothing concrete beyond it's mere factuality. It is just that, a fact, and the rest is noise, is personal, and thats that. (Three 'that's in one sententce, whew!)
When Hunter S. Thompson went, I felt afraid. Find me another genius of such magnitude that can freak out about politics in such a real, informed, way. And a journalist no less, one that people actually pay attention to. He was a victim of the modern age if there ever was one. I blame the Bush administration.
Then Kurt, my boy. When he went, I felt regret. I think that towards the end, after such a life, living with such a mind, he was also a victim of the modern age. Kurt Vonneguts sci-fi style was the only kind of sci-fi lit that I have ever appriceated outside the dystopic.
So how do I feel now? Hmm, that's tough. Nothing negative, this time. I guess this is because, considering what his work meant, or meant to me...it all seems so much more complete. He has been human and now he is dead, and where he goes, nobody knows.
R.I.P. Ingmar, and thanks.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bright Eyes Cleans Up in Essen

Last night Simon, Pj and I caught the Bright Eyes show at the Weststadthalle Essen. Of the all the shows that I've seen of theirs/his, I will come close to saying that this is the best one I've ever been to. I think that Conor, though I am much more attracted to him with shorter hair...really personified his music. He played tracks from the new album Cassadega as well as tracks from his last 3 albums (not including Digital Ash) as well as some tracks from releases with other artists including the stong Southern State, which I adore!! and I Will Never Be Happy Again. Anyways, they had a really great preformence, not playing the tracks exactly as they sound on the album recordings but using many different instruments, and adding a little jazz flavor. In light of this, I found it so hard to describe the music to Simon's mother...I don't know, folk-country-rock-pop-...jazz? Well, lets just say it's very American-Independant sounding. Hmm. Whatever, it is good. Conor complained about German food and told stories of tagging shirts and 'smokin a lotta pot', trying to relate to the industrial district of Germany. He also made the announcement that if he ever went broke (which I don't see happening anytime in the remote future unless his assumed cocaine habit gets out of hand or he starts spending his money at the same rate as my brother) he would come to Germany and start an air conditioning company and supposedly 'clean up'. We'll see Conor, we'll see. So, all in all a fantastic, entertaining show, a real crowd pleaser. Now, hopefully I can convince Simon to get off the couch and go see the Decemberists in Cologne or Bonn or wherever it is on the 23rd. I haven't heard their new album yet -gasp- but I'm sure they will put on a good, though perhaps not equally as good show. Ironically I have never seen them play live, though they are currently based out of my home town and have played more shows there than I think Mike Jones has said his own name. The video for Sixteen Military Wives was shot in my effing old high school for christs sake.
In other news...I have finally cleared up the visa situation here and have been told that it won't be a problem for me to stay here in Germany on my tourist-soon-to-be-residency permit for another 3 to 6 months. Though this hasn't been finalized yet it is such a relief. So I won't have to push the proverbial envelope with my residency allowance in order to stay here until I can score a study visa. Oh yeah, I will be moving to Frankfurt in August. Simon got himself a 1-year contract to start a traineeship program at the Royal Bank of Scotland, which it exciting, that starts in september and includes 1 month living in LONDON. I'm not sure if this London business includes yours truely, but I can always dream. We are looking at apartments in Sachsenhausen (no, not the death camp!), a stadtteil (neighborhood) of Frankfurt that has, supposedly, a lot of nightlife and museums and culture, etc. and even it's own kind of alcohol! Apfelwein! Or Appelvoy! The former is what it is and the latter is how I have heard it said, So I guess it's both, and by the way it is a king of hard cider, which to me sounds like a headache, but that is to be seen. Nonetheless, I am looking foreward to Frankfurt life. Before that I think that Simon and I may pay a visit to Hopfen in Southern Bavaria where is family has a house, it is near the Neuschwanstein castle, or perhaps go somewhere else for a couple days. Well, that's it for now I think. Take care.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What was I before this?

Just a small thought, something that came to me as I was reading Everything is Illuminated by Johnathan Safran Foer, that is, what was I before this? A paper was mentioned, one written by a character in the story, with a title something along the lines of "To the Dust: From Man You Come and to Man You Shall Return." I have to look around myself, in light of this, and wonder, how much of this dust around me was human before, and what kind of life did it lead? Did it create anything? Did it love? Where was it and what was it before it was here? Within all that exists around us lies the secrets and the history of all time, since the beginning, whenever and whatever that was. We all know, of course, that nothing is either created nor truelly destroyed, and that everything around us, and we ourselves, have always been, in some form or another, and will always be. I, for one, find comfort in this.

Beyond that, there was another, similar case in which I was reading a paper on the Philosopy of ecology that was sent to me by a friend in which a paper was mentioned, written by a Norwegian, that claimed that Man is the most tragic of all creatures on this earth because "he has learned enough about the Earth to realize that the Earth would be better off without the presence of humankind." I thought at first: So ture, so true! Then of course I reflected for a couple moments on how much of Man really realizes this? Does it really matter to them if they do? Our period of experience on this earth is so finite that people get too greedy to care. I.E. the bush administraion (a.k.a. the US oil lobby) claiming that global warming is just a myth. Which it is. I mean...what?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Time Goes By. So Slowly...

Well, slowly but not like an old lady crossing the street. Slowly like the days feel like years but a year feels like no more than three months. Time only truely passes with action, when it can be looked back upon and remembered. Otherwise it is a void with monotany as the vacuum and the dark matter as those things that were accomplished but without any other purpose but obligation and necessity.
I finally finished my bachelor's. I am know a Bachelor of the Arts in Psychology. For some reason or another, though, I feel as if I have come out with less than when I arrived. I have definately matured and had a variety of life changing experiences, but something is now missing that was raging before. My theory is that this place, a place I will be escaping soon hopefully for the rest of eternity, has leeched some of that lust for life I had before I came here. This place takes far more than it gives. I got an education here, but I am now have a huge debt hanging over my head. Of course, I wouldn't be who I am today without Eugene, but do I really like who I am at the moment? Not really.
I have no motivation here. It used to be a lot easier to get into the party scene, get high, get out and walk through the beautiful scapes that surround this place, but now I know that there is so much more to this place I have called home for the past couple years. If you take a step back and look around you here, this is what you'll see: Poverty. Street kids, homeless, disabled people that look like they have no one in the world taking care of them, elderly people walking the streets when it is down near freezing who look like there is no one in the world caring for them, huge trucks, SUVs, cars, cars, cars, overpriced goods, drunken kids in bars and on the streets who don't seem to know who they are or what they want, who hide from themselves like the plague. Even when you climb up a butte or walk through the forest or out onto a frozen lake, the distant rumbling of cars, the highway, leafblowers, what have you, lurks in the valley like it is the troposphere itself. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel that this place, in it's own unique way, lacks peace. Not in a traditional sense or in any way related to noise or violence in a tangible sense, but in the way it sits with the soul. My life is no Ritz, and I would say that 80-85% of the people I see here every day have far less than I do. Not necessarily materialistically, but I think these people, from the ones pushing shopping carts in the grocery store to those pushing them down alleyways and filling them with empty cans, I think this place is lost. Even if you have something here, a nice house, car, condo, whatever, you are surrounded, I think, by spectrum of desperation that reaches from one horizon to the other.
That is why I'm getting the hell out. Once I finish my business with Eugene, it's ciao bella, may you rest in peace. The first step may be Portland, but it looks more and more everyday that I will be booking myself a flight to the Old World and leaving the homeland behind. I'm shooting for Berlin but perhaps Frankfurt or Cologne. It won't be easy, mein deutsch ist nicht so gut, but I know I can make it. This is not, contrary to what one may assume, a grass is greener on the other side scenario. I have been to the other side and to me it is much more worth my time to explore than these shores at the moment. I don't share the American dream. America is too small. Literally, maybe not, but our culture revolves around itself and we are isolated in a world that any enlightened person with and ethical soul must resist in order to feel that they will make it through the gates in the end. Our American world is so diluted by the media, by pop politics and vanity and a horribly mindnumbing list of priorities that, though I consider myself a strong willed person on many levels, I simply can no longer accept or be among so many that do. I must succumb to the fact that this is not a level I can tolerate for much longer without falling into the grips of somehting rediculous like nihilism. So for me, it's got to be Get Out or Bust.
My boyfriend Simon has been here for almost three months looking for a job and thanks to the inadequacy of our system, he will be flying back to Germany on the 29th of this month. He had some hopeful chances, but only through family friends and one a couple of interviews with a connection made through Monster.com. The frustrating part of this situation was that the failure was seemingly due to (1) the flakyness of American organizations (companies, universities, and various other institutions) and (2) the utterly incorrigable American Immigration and Visa system.
There are 45,000 work visas for the US issued every year during the month of October. Companies that wish to acquire them must get them at this time. The larger companies gernerally buy them all up and they are ALL GONE within 2-3 days. There is a high demand for them and not only that, the process to hire a foriegn national will cost a company roundabouts of $500-$600 for EACH VISA. We have 300,000,000 people and we only issue 45,000 visas. Germany has 82,000,000 people and they issue upwards of 200,000 visas which can be acquired at any time with something as simple as a letter of intent. What are we doing? What image does this send to the world. What do we really have that other countries don't that is so desirable? The freedom to drive out fucking trucks on beautiful beaches? The freedom to take basketweaving and study hall and still get credit for an education? The freedom to distribute horribly racist, borderline propaganda on tv shows that are cut with 30 second clip after 30 second clip of jingles and colors and lies that let us know no one will every be complete? The ability to not have a say in who runs our country or how they run it? The ability to work 70 hours a week on two jobs and still not have health coverage and enough money to buy your kids school clothes at anywhere besides Goodwill, Ross or Tjmaxx? The freedom to let Walmart be our downtown? I could go on but there is a point where I will get too bitter and then I am in a bad mood for the rest of the evening.
Tonight Bill O'Reily will be on the Colbert Report and I can't wait to see how it unfolds. He is a man that contributes to all that is ugly and degenerate in this world. He should be thrown in jail for hate crimes and crimes against humanity. I really hope that Stephen rips him a new one like he did will the Dub. I guess we'll see.
Alright, well this post has been going on for long enough so I hope that I have caught at least something up here about my life, where it's been since last time and where it's going. I will be posting a lot of new pictures on my other site Catholic Guilt and Grenadine, you should check them out if you want. Until next time, take care and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ninjas and Pirates Agree: Cowboys Suck!

Wall Art in Barcelona, Spain. Posted by Picasa

"...But though American Anglo-Saxons as a nation may conquer or dominate lesser breeds and nations, the new order of industry will also require a division of power and privilege between different classes of Anglo-Saxon in which some of the ruling race will sink to the level of "Poles or Huns or Russian Jews." The critical problem for the American ideology in this period of transition is to reconcile the principle of Anglo-Saxon superiority -- the ideological basis for imperialism abroad and for the subordination of some classes of Anglo-Saxons to others.
" This is one of the themes of...The Octopus (1901), the epic novel based on the "war" between farmers and railroad interests that ended in the Mussel Slough "massacre" of 1880. The embattled farmers of The Octopus are (for the most part) classic embodiments of the Anglo-Saxon drive for progress and domination. Yet they are defeated because under the new regime of commerce the race-gifts of pride, ambition, will, and aptitude for violence are not enough by themselves toensure dominance. Their expression must be consistent with the requirements of "the market," whose operations [are represented in the novel] as a law of nature, as irrisistable as the sex drive or the processes of natural fecundity. In a fully incorporated industrial order, when giant monopolies contend for worldwide markets, the future belongs to those (anglo-Saxons or not) whose racial gifts can be modified to find expression through a powerful corporate entity."

Damn you dime novels and your bigotous philosophies! To understand the present, look to the past and you will always find someone or something to blame for the stupid shit being played out today. And there's nothing you can do about it.
Hence, existentialism. Sweet, sweet existentialism.

-excerp taken from Richard Slotkin's Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth Century America. READ IT!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Whose Fault is It?

Ruhr District, Germany Posted by Picasa

This is a photo that I took in the Ruhr District in Germany, where the US National soccer team disgraced our nation with their complete lack of performance today at the World Cup against the Czech Republic. These "players" showed us today that they would rather go out giving nothing than risk losing after giving their best. I think that they showed a very selfish side.
So, on that note, I hope Ghana can kick some Czech and US ass and make it as far as they can, perhaps get the chance to show what they can do against Brazil, because our team doesn't deserve that chance.
I suppose if they redeem themselves by showing what they are really made of against Italy, which if they really tried they may even be able to pull off a draw, then they may gain back my respect.
It upsets me that the US, as far as most group sports go, are just a larger than life cliche of that group of kids that was popular in high school and did their best for the rest of their lives never to let go of those times. Inside the US, for the "world" series, the NBA "world" championships, in the NHL, our players boast about how immortal they are on the court or whatever, then when they are presented the opportunity to go out and show what they are made of in the international area, they are just shaking in their boots. I say that they are afraid of going anywhere where their reputation hasn't already been established. (Like the group of 'popular' kids that STILL only hang out with eachother and talk about the good old days even though those times were over 3, 5, even 10 years before.)
They are a burden to our national integrity, and I think that they need to understand this. Ally those basketball players that won't play in the Olympics because they don't get paid enough, or all those soccer players who put more energy into digesting food than into winning a match, should no longer get credit that they don't deserve. It's like boasting to have the best, most free and opportunistic society and then insisting that it ought not be shared with anybody unless (they sign a contract with Coca-Cola, Bud Light or Halliburton or something, of course!). What a shame what a shame.