It’s entertaining sometimes to skim over the shipwrecks of social networking sites—Web 2.0, and find abandoned or severely neglected homepages, blogs and photography collections. I’d like to think most of these things, like my inactive mySpace presence, littered with unread posts, die these quiet deaths because they’ve served their purpose or have been made obsolete. I hope people give up because they’ve found their perfect match and aren’t much interested in braving the wilds of the Internet dating-scene anymore. Those posts and comments do keep coming in periodically, unread but loyally broadcast for holidays and birthdays by a small tribe of true-believers (those hold-outs for landing the dream job or landing the right person by the merits of their profiles), which seems like sad, vindictive graffiti peppered on some forgotten monument to a forgotten cause or decorating a dozing relative with Christmas garland.
Monday, 29 December 2008
Saturday, 27 December 2008
Though I missed seeing any of the usual Christmas specials this year, my mother showed H and I a mash-up clip of the excellent Merry Christmas Charlie Brown. I love that little show--the Peanuts are like psychoanalysis in classic comic format, and whenever I hear Linus explaining the meanining of Christmas--I think that's the only incident one can still find that makes mention of Jesus--it just kills me. I think I can dredge for all those special memories on the Internet, though. Instantly, after seeing this and thinking about the original, a non-sequitur memory swept over me, which at the time I didn't deem appropriate to share. For starters, it was my secret deciding factor to attend the university that I did. I might have gone to Harvard, if I really applied myself during my senior year, or to a good school in state, through I shudder to imagine how that would have screwed with H's and my space-time continuum. When I visited as a prospective student, there was a big party in the dorms (as per usual) and as I took in the view from the head of the hallway, the guys and girls were dancing just like on Charlie Brown, breezy and doing their own things, not caring how they looked.
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Long before Wikipedia, textbooks, almanacs, wherein the most miniscule trivia can be tracked down in a more or less systematic manner, ancient Chinese scholars essayed the whole of scientific knowledge, arranging articles in a sort of science-dictionary format. Entries were set by order of importance, which seems rather subjective to my modern ears, but I suppose an alchemist would find a logical order to things, know to look up the Sun before Moon and Wind before Fire. It's sort of like reporting the news--in the order of importance with sports, weather, and celebrity gossip tacked on the end. Wikipedia is sometimes criticized for being a catch-all, having no sieve and mirroring fan-sights--that there is a longer entry for the Klingon language or Rankin & Bass Christmas specials than for Samuel Pepys. Personally, I like that about Wikipedia, since I feel above wading through fan-sites and nerdy anthologies to find such things and am pleased when I can come across such things at random and within the same gallery as serious, academic matters. It might be more didactic to wade through the whole compendium of human knowledge to get at the minutia, but the ability to become a subject matter expert on The Golden Girls or Kim Fields, and bypassing physics, rhetoric, geomancy and the Illiad, is certainly a remarkable thing, as well. Incidentally, the number one entry in the Chinese science-dictionaries was for the Dragon.
Friday, 19 December 2008
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Whenever I'm confined, grounded at home sick, like I am today, I'm reminded how pathetic and puny it's possible to feel. I've noticed I have no memory for pain, that the slightest winding-down that comes with a regular, unremarkable cold can cause the most expanded fears and debilitating discomforts, just like the occasional lapses I have concerning lack of sleep and skipping meals that makes me wonder too. I always feel a little bit guilty over truancy and for not being optimal. Rather, I suppose I'd like to be present and accounted-for but grumpy and sub-prime. There's always a bit of time for refletion during the day, something that I forget about as well whenever I make the decision to remain at home, whenever I don't feel proded to push the necessary thing to the end of the day, after work, or dredge them up for first thing in the morning. There's time to re-visit head-colds past and the inactivity that goes on in my little village when everyone has stolen away to work. The same is applies when it comes to recovery, and I have a hard time gauging how good I ought to feel--whether it's a lingering illness or the evanessence of a passing hang-over. I except to feel better than I did before I got sick.
Saturday, 6 December 2008
A popular Christmas decoration motif in Germany seems to be of the rag-doll Saint Nikolaus scaling a ladder, dangling from the eaves of a building. I don't like this particular ornament so much because of its patent theological falseness: Santa does not need to break into one's home with a rope ladder, like a common criminal, since he has that magical sleigh and eight flying reindeer. And although, Saint Nikolaus visits, ostensibly with stocking-stufffers and minor gifts, a bit early here--though I think the major archana of celebrations and big presents are reserved for the three days of Christmas--Germany doesn't differ much from the true tradition. Not like France, for instance, whose children are filled with the heresy that Christmas chocolates are flown in by the bells of St. Peter's, hence the phrase, "And the bells have flown to Rome."
Thursday, 4 December 2008
I have noticed since modernizing their logo, AT&T smacks of the Death Star in Star Wars. I wonder if when big corporate entities become the embodiments of evil, faceless and with an uncomfortable reach, that that is when something unreal called market-sentiment can really take rule. Big businesses have done a bang-up job of arousing suspicion and distrust, and naturally that's why governments see fit for this orgy of money-tossing. Though everyone is jagged for their slice of bailout-pie, it's these etheral corporations, who deal in invisible forces like banks, quasi-financial institutions like credit card companies, and any of the other concerns that bought into easy credit that are queued up for their share. Maybe it's because of this unreal, intangible aspect that such corporations are more prone to market hysteria. And though that has never before been charge for protectionism, except during times of overblown nationism and prejudice, the bundle of ventures that is the United States of America need to be safe-guarded from the whims of mood and sentiment first and foremost. Though auto-manufacturers and the like may have been sullied in the whole ordeal, what's called fundamental--that is, making things, should not be facing such a peril.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
The weather has been drizzly and miserable (umbrellas, fo'drizzle--I saw that on a t-shirt once) and we've had some snow, but it's that shitty kind of snow, the sort that Jewish kids would get for Christmas, the spotty, sloppy and wet snow that makes for stress in traffic with the commuters reacting as if it's first time it has snowed north of the Alps. And maybe that it singles a time to call in favours, like a snowball's chance in Hell... I want blustering, orchestral snow-storms, the sort that bring about an amber or a red level to the road-conditions. The Army are wimps, sot of, in that regard, closing down operations for a blizzard that I am sure any German who is beyond his seasonal-driving amnesia would shrug off, but at least it's color-coded, like Threatcom and the Terror-Threat. We'd all have a jolly old snow day, like the kind that they used to grant for schools. As I recall, though, I always managed to get myself in trouble on snow days.
Monday, 1 December 2008
Monday, 24 November 2008
catagories: holidays and observances
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Over the weekend, H and I visited the rather remote and unsung ruins of castle. The site was pretty impressive and a grand castle like that in this area must have surely been a site to see. I misread or rather didn't fully comprehend the information board by the entrance, and announced that the castle was destroyed during the War. After asking what war and my answer of World War II, H read the board and told me that that because an American army officer was killed in the surrounding village, friends suggested that
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Thursday, 13 November 2008
Monday, 10 November 2008
Either staying close to home or ranging far and wide, it seems that most weekends were spent exploring and sometimes discovering jewels of castles, churches and ruins. I felt like I had not done that, relaxing and rambling down a tiny road, getting lost, for quite some time, but H and I spent a shortening day doing just that. We hadn't sought out any special sites since we were considering renting this storied-joint but decided against it,after piquing the count's interest, for practical reasons. Also, I could imagine the peasants revolting and coming after us with pitchforks. There is a lot out there to be discovered--heresay is gainsay over a navigation system, which seems to take the fun out of getting lost.
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Monday, 3 November 2008
Friday, 31 October 2008
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Now McCain is playing dismissive with calls that his thrust is falling short and ignoring polls that show him slipping further and further behind. Maybe--Pepsi Choice sponsored by PepsiCo is an invitation to a little white lie: some responders may be too embarrassed to admit to a pollster that they want to vote for the ticket with the only candidate with executive office experience, but will do so in the privacy of the voting-booth, or to tell a stranger that they won't vote for a black man.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Monday, 20 October 2008
Saturday, 11 October 2008
HP Lovecraft once wrote, "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age." Maybe we are becoming too inter-connected, too smart for our own safety, peeking at the whole tawdry, moth-biten tapestry.
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Thursday, 2 October 2008
I understand that you should not touch or move a person during an out-of-body experience, otherwise he might never find his way back to his body from the astral-plane, sort of like disturbing a sleep-walker but seemingly much more traumatic. I have been helping re-arrange offices these past few days and it seems that company computers have the same temperment. Network printers seem especially prone to getting lost and displaced PCs grope for them like scratching phantom limbs. Not deigned to have special administrative-rights, I remain puzzled by this phenomenon--I suppose in the same way a non-initiated doctor would react to a suddenly catatonic patient with no mundane diagnosis. I suppose I ought to leave the heavy-lifting up to the professionals.
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
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Monday, 22 September 2008
Friday, 19 September 2008
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Friday, 12 September 2008
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
Having retrieved the miraculous car from the garage, I've had some time to reflect on my own injuries, lick my wounds, so to say. It's funny how we two, the car and I, are generally twained. The car is running hot and angry any longer, but, and H would agree, being in a stellar mood and of sound health should not be a prerequisite when starting off to work. Or should it? I sustained a terrible burn on my forearm, while trying the state of the boiling raditator--not that it was steaming so dramtically when I pried the cap loose. I thought I had waited long enough for it to cool down, but the cap blew off and was lost with a hot torrent of sticky anti-freeze that clung like Napalm. Of course, the burn should have been he top priority but I was not in any pain, and hours later, catching one glimpse of the ugly blister that hung off my wrist like more reverend testicles, H arranged for a doctor to see me and fix me up. Of course, after several days, it is still healing, though still without any pain. The blister skin peeled away in one great wet scale, revealing the partched, new skin below, blotchy white and pink and plasticene. The lesion, hard and smooth, reminds me of the things around the house made of Melmac and Bakelite, which I think are leagues better than modern, tawdry plastics, and Bakelite and the like are far superior in certain ways, like for insulating and heat resistance. I'll show it off, my arm, and people squirm, insisting it must hurt a lot. It doesn't though, and I wonder at my high threshhold for pain. It certainly contributes to my shoddy record of taking care of myself--I don't dislike the idea of potential pain or bad news from the doctor but moreover the bother of it all. Looking at my resined arm, I wonder if tolerance like that is purely mental, bloddy-mindedness, or is also some measure of material property. Like Mohrs scale of hardness (diamond--err, that'll be a ten and baby powder, we'll make that one), I am sure it would be very subjective.
Saturday, 6 September 2008
Friday, 5 September 2008
Thursday, 4 September 2008
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Sunday, 24 August 2008
Each toting one defunct famously pad-based and portion-controlled coffee-maker, H and I must have looked rather odd proceding to the village recycling center. In fact, we're generally only seen there doing such odd-looking tasks, twice-twinned. Both these coffee-makers had given up the ghost, so to say, and though I tend to horde such things in hopes of sponetous resurrection, I had since gotten a non-portion-controlled coffee machine (which was, by the way, identical to the one H had at his home) and felt it was acceptible to retire them to the bin. There was, after all, a little old man who fished around in the broken electronics and transferred the whole lot to his barn to tinker with. I said good-bye to the pair as we dumped them in, because, like the little old man, I was a firm believer in the transmigration of the souls of machines. Perhaps they'd be reborn as blenders. I paused a second after that thought, and said to H, maybe my coffee-makers, both bought and went defunct in quick succession though no neglect or misuse I swore, had had a crisis of identity. Maybe they themselves were former toasters or plough-shares had had glimmering memories of former lives while brewing my coffee.
Friday, 22 August 2008
In an effort to disrupt domestic German food production, these insects were air-dropped over the fields. The story seems even more plausible given that I have only found such large accumulations on and around US Army bases, which were mostly created from occupied German army installations. The story never concluded that this bit of biological terror was very effective.
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
I thought I should make mention of my miraculous automobile. For several weeks, I was having an intensifying condition while, wherein my motor would bog out if I accelerated too quickly, really anything above 3000 revolutions per minute would kill the engine. The car would then slowly coast to a halt as the oil indicator and cruise-control lamps came on and the power-steering go out. It was probably a more pressing problem than I could be bothered with this past month, but I kept putting off taking it to a shop and managed to limp dangerously along the Autobahn to and from work, convinced I could ride the slip-stream of the slow truck right ahead of me and save gas--possibly a tendency to coast to save on gas started this problem in the first place, but I formulated quite a few theories in the meantime. Besides, the car generally restarted right away and I could creep back on to the Autobahn on a conservative 60 kilometers per hour and I was going away on holiday in fancy rental car. H could have beat me for being this irresponsible, especially after a couple trips in the passenger seat, on the fenders on service vehicles and trash trucks, watching me concentrate to keep the gears from shifting higher. Cruising at 60 km/h is not stately, even for a big, old sedan. Though I formed my own theories about what expensive things could be wrong with my car, while on a vacation from driving it, I figured most problems resolve themselves. They tend to do that, and I was already convinced my car ran on holy-ghost power.
Driving back to work the first time, I could feel the same studder and stall and drove carefully. The motor did eventually bog out again but this time, even after a few minutes' rest, the car would only creep a few meters along the shoulder before giving out again. The tow truck driver was witness to this obviously major problem and pronounced it to be either an electrical or fuel problem. Those were pedestrian explanations, I thought to myself, having had time to theorize my own complex reasons. Looking back, I am glad the driver spoke to the mechanics once we arrived in tandem at the garage, since apparently I have a very vivid imagination. Or my car has Munchausen Syndrome by proxy. After a full battery of inspections with computers and a team of mechanics, followed by a vicious test drive with one of them where I gave it full gas and pushed the car pst 200 km/h, there was no shutting down and they could nothing wrong with the car. Perhaps my car just needed to mount a tow truck, and the mechanics weren't exactly dismissive but sent me on my way.
It reminds me of my old Mercedes, which had a busted odometer that was stuck just above 300 000 miles driven. During a Vermont winter, I discovered when it was bitterly cold, just above absolute zero, apparently the odometer could register sub-atomic vibrations and began again to function. I told people of this, but disbelieving, no one was ever tempted to come out in the cold to witness the miracle.
Friday, 15 August 2008
H and I are back from our latest adventures: we stole two weeks away from work to go marauding through Normandy and Bretagne (Brittany) in a rented convertible, racking up some 3610 kilometers. It was a simply beautiful time and we saw some of the grandest works of nature and of man, as well as some poignant battlefields and memorials. Here is a small sampling of pictures below, mostly to H's credit.
Our indirect route took us from Kitzingen, in middle Bavaria, to Landstuhl, near the Eifel region and location of the largest US military hospital overseas, to Reims via the Autobahn on the periphery of Paris to Vernon in the Mesnil region; DAY TWO we traveled from Vernon along the Seine River valley to Les Andelys, the ruins of a fortress built by Richard the Lionhearted, through Duclair and Rouen, then Jumigeres, Motteville and Yerville, camping at Saint Aubin sur Meer; DAY THREE leaving the camp site, we drove along the Alabaster Coast to Fecamp and Etretat and Le Havre, and next we went through Honfleur, Houlgate, and Sallenelles before stopping in Caen; DAY FOUR from Caen, we proceded to Arromanches, then over Gold and Juno beaches to camp at Vierville sur Meer at Omaha Beach, exploring the villages of the Calvados region, Grandcamp Maisy and the Pointe-du-Hoc and the Operation Overlord memorial; DAY FIVE decamping, we explored Coutances, the Cerisy Forest and Saint Lo, we stayed in Granville, and crossed the flats to see Mont Saint Michel from across the bay at Genets and the medieval town of Avranches; DAY SIX after Mont Saint Michel, we followed the Cancale Coast, leaving Normandy and entering Bretagne, and visited the corsair (pirates, yar!) town of Saint Malo, and on the Cape of Frehel we saw Fort La Latte, Hillion, Yffiac and Saint Brieuc and Etables sur Meer before coming to camp at Paimpol (the small village of Ploubazlanec) on the Armour Coast; DAY SEVEN was devoted to the Island of Brehat, the beach, and the quiet towns of Bretagne; DAY EIGHT was spent on the pink granite coast surrounding Perros Guirec, which seemed like the ends of the earth and this was the denoument when we turned to head back to Germany, traveling through Lannion to Rennes, the region's capital city; DAY NINE from Rennes, we toured the Forest of Paimpoint and Fougieres before hitting the Autobahn in earnest, heading home.