Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Trauer um Soul-König James Brown

This is how I found out that James Brown has died. On the front page of the Münchner Merkur that I saw on the free newspaper stand in the airport. I'm actually broken up.

This is probably because I saw the news (without sound) and figured out that Gerald Ford died. That was expected, but honestly, I hadn't been paying attention to the health of James Brown. Literally, I didn't even know he was sick.

It is less that I really loved the music or the man, but more that my best friend from high school really loved him. Part of me being all teary is that I can't call him right away and go get blind drunk on Hennessy with him.

For the moment a shot of whiskey will have to suffice (and boy did that surprise the kid behind the bar - a beer *and* a whiskey. Sweet Gibralter, y'd think I asked for the blood of a virgin.

So here's a toast to James Brown and here's a toast to Dirk, my friend. I missed meeting up with him in my hometown over Thanksgiving and coupled with a month away from familiar things and friend to shoot the shit with, I miss him.
(Oh, and the Munich Airport has free wireless that's better than my dorms' anyday.)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Memories

Not mine, mind you. But here's a gallery of children who are scared of Santa.

Praise be to Respectful Insolance for posting this originally. It was a lot funnier than the series of "I insist on saying Merry Christmas and I don't care who is offended" emails from folks I know who are one of the following: a non-practicing Christian, a non-practising Bhuddist and an Atheist.

Monday, December 18, 2006

My name is Skawt

The other night some of the young folks (early 20's every one of them) were having a little party in the common room on our floor. Since the dormitory where we live is all concrete walls and ceilings and the floors are tiled, it's like living in an experimental speaker system at the Bose factory. Knowing I would not be able to sleep, I dropped in. Over the salsa music the Argentinean students were, one girl asks me my name.

"Scott Moore", I reply. She gave me a puzzled look and I thought perhaps the music was too loud or I was being too quiet. "SCOTT MOORE", I repeat. Again a puzzled look, but with a head shake meaning, "I am sorry traveler of the stars, but these vocal sounds you are making don't even sound like language to me". Exasperated, I simply say, "Ich heisse Scott". Here eyes light up and she says, "Oh! Skoht!", but with a very, very short "oh" like everyone else in Germany pronounces my name.

This reminded me of being in Germany last year when I met an old follow in a pub and upon hearing my name pronounced very distinctly, "Scott. Moore. I. haff. never. heard. this. name. before!" Sigh. My name is so common in English, you can't actually google me unless you add "phoom" or "online community" and there's still another Scott Moore who blogs about online community.

So, on a sleepless night, I mulled this over. Is my accent *that* bad? I repeated my name to myself over and over. Then I thanked the fates that I didn't have a roommate who would surely be cowering in a corner wondering why the hairy mad-man was whispering his own name. Then I realized that I pronounce my name with a longer "ah"ish kind of "o" as in dog. Not dohg, but dawg. How very American of me.

Sometimes it's easier to accept what is around you than struggle against it. So from now until I leave, I will be "Skoht", but my friends can call me Skawt.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

How to surf in a landlocked German city in the Winter

Last weekend, as I left the Bavarian National Museum and headed toward the Englisher Garten to eventually get somem Gluhwein to warm me up, I spotted a crowd watching local surfers. In Germany. In December. In the cold (about 40 degrees F) . In the middle of a city in the middle of a land-locked state.
(Click the image to see the video)

If you do a google search on surfing the isar you will find longer videos and better pictures.

Class Picture

Back Row: Don from Chicago (now living in Germany), Me, Joseph from Canada
Middle Row: Suhail from the United Arab Emirates, Aies (sp?) from Greece, Frau Schwalb our teacher, Dan from Rumania
Sitting: Sarena from Italy, Ines from Spain, Roberta from Italy, Sarah fromm the UEA.
Not pictured are Thomas from Spain and Stephano from Switzerland.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lots of pictures, not many descriptions

Although haven't been typing much, I have been uploading the pictures I take to my flicker account. I haven't been typing descriptions because I haven't found a tool that will allow me to create titles, descriptions and tags for each picture offline and then just batch upload them to flicker. For now, I pull them from the camera onto my laptop and then fromm the laptop, I can upload them (only when I have a fast stable connection) and then I have to go through them while online to change titles, add descriptions.

So, if anyone knows of a tool that let's me add metadata to my photos before I upload them to flicker (and will do it as a batch, not individually through their email service), let me know. In the mean time, enjoy this night shot of the back side of the city hall.

Aw, maw! Do I hafta blog?

Wow, I didn't realize it's been two weeks since I last posted. Basically, it's because I'm too busy getting through my day to have any desire to write. Heck, I still have postcards to write and those are mostly along the lines of "No snow yet. Hope this makes it by New Year's."

So here's the 5 minute catch up. The things that have been taking up most of my time and energy has been schooling, public transportation and food.

I'm not being a super-great student, but I'm improving. I will be far from fluent when we I am done here.

When I am not sitting and doing exercises or practice tests, I'm going fromm one place to another. While the public transportation here is really great (light rail trams, suburban trains, subways and busses every few minutes), it still soaks up time waiting and sitting on the train or taking a tram to the central station so you can take a subway a slightly different direction. and it's not like it's a commuter type train where I can whip out the postcards I haven't written yet or squeeze in some homework. Nope. You just sit or stand in often cramped spaces waiting for your stop.

And finally, food. While there are a gazillion sausage stands because of the christmas markets, bakeries literally on every corner and plenty of places to just grab somem food, finding actual vegetables or fruit at the these places is darn near impossible. I wind up stopping by various small markets every couple of days to buy some water (the tap water at my dorms really is drinkable, but kills the goodness of food when you cook with it), some veggies and some fruit. It seems like I am constanly loaded down with some little this or little that. My first weeks here were trying to build up a decent larder just to cook with: olive oil, salt, pepper, basil a kitchen knife and cutting board.

When I first arrived, I bought somme fresh dates. Not dried dates, but crisp, full dates. I have never eaten fresh dates and I'm not sure why I thought it was a good idea to get a half-kilo of them. After two days of eating fresh dates, I got tired of them and had to figure out what to do with them. I checked the mighty intar-web for recipies and found lots. Lots that would require me to buy all kinds fo spices and such that I would use only once. Instead, I dug into my memories of ordering bacon wrapped dates at a tapas bar and then improvised:

Scott's Use-up-these-fresh-dates-now Recipie
- A couple handfuls of fresh dated (pitted, duh)
- A couple of crisp apples (I used a couple Galas I had)
- A couple of ounces of fatty bacon (or what passes for bacon in germany)
- Roqufort or blue cheese

In a small thick-bottomed sauce pot (the kind issued to students in my dorm), fry the bacon so the fat is all nice and melted. Cut up your dates and apples into slices to they cook quickly. Toss them in with the bacon. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve on to a plate and crumble an ounce ro two of cheese into the mix and let it melt some. Serves one. Besure to eat in a common area where a girl from South Korea can wonder with either awe or disgust at your culinary skills.