Saturday, January 14, 2012
Things I'm still working on:
1) Memorizing my German phone number. Not that it rings more than once a week, but regardless it would be good to be able to rattle it off the top of my head for all of those potential friends who would be so eager to hang out with me.
2) Playing the guitar. I've been practicing for about a year now and it still sounds like I'm strumming with my teeth.
3) Mastering Dance Central on X Box. In truth I've only ever played once and that was at Johannes's (singular of possessive of my brother's name? I still don't know it....just like my phone number) apartment over Christmas. I played against Christine and let me just say, that that is one little lady who's got the moves. It was a slaughterhouse and I was the bacon. But somehow in spite of my loss, I felt that calling to dance deep within me and I've been practicing in my apartment, sans X box and sans competition. It's a pretty big self esteem booster and come summertime I will be Applebottom jeans boots with the fur like you can't even imagine.
Things that are going well:
1) My roommate is the sweetest person ever.
2) My school was in the news. Check it out: http://www.swr.de/landesschau-aktuell-rp/-/id=233240/did=9132262/pv=video/nid=233240/14jn3xw/index.html.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Self confidence has just gotten the better of me (Pause: this is kind of a bewildering expression. Does it imply that there’s a better of me? If so, that firstly gives the phrase some theologically pleasant undertones and secondly makes me rather upset. Why don’t I get to know anything about this better me? I am rather entitled to it, I would say. Though as I write I am starting to wonder if maybe I am interpreting the entire phrase incorrectly, due to falsely applied parts of speech, due to the fact that no one in the Massachusetts Public School System seemed to think grammar instruction was a necessary entity beyond the 3rd grade thusly rendering both me and my peers to be English-incompetent and unemployable products of education. ) Returning to the story of my self overconfidence, I have just dyed and entire load of laundry yellow. Actually, it is more of a tea color which was produced by a yellow towel. It happened because the refusal to sort ones laundry by color is one of the modern youth’s most prevalent methods of asserting her independence. Example: Your mother tells you to sort the laundry and so you do, knowing that if you do not something very bad involving a tea towel or a pillow case will befall you. Nevertheless, it is a habit that you drop immediately upon entering the college phase of life, a time in which you not only have to pay per load but are also trying to be a bit rebellious but not so rebellious as to not revert to the old sorting method when you go home for Christmas. Somehow the not-sorting habit maintains a strong grip on your post college life. Maybe this is because you fear that your landlord will ask you to pay the difference in the water bill, should you do too many loads and therewith draw her attention. Maybe it is because you do not have children, eliminating the audience in whom you (as did your mother) could be instructing in the ways of the Sorting. Or maybe you are just still self asserting; you are still in your watch-me-and-tremble-as-I-place-this-yellow-towel-next-to-these-white-underwear-and-then-turn-the-water-on-the-hot-setting-phase.
The true issue of the matter is as follows: Would laundry sorting belong to the better of me or the worse of me?
O the questions we semi-adults must answer.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
I have been rather a busy bee because the Big Boss and Queen Bee, Christina Buchanan left the hive and came to visit me and Lydia! Since, however, a picture is worth a thousand words I think you might rather see these, than read my 4 million words:
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Amongst all of my not-blogging last week, I whittled away the stick of time by questioning the underlying messages behind German advertisements. This was not-so-difficult because said messages are not-so-subtle. In short, one could summarize marketing as so: creepiness sells.
I've attempted to gather photographic evidence for you, my two fans, but didn't have much success. Exhibit A (below) is tiny and fuzzy so I will have to recreate it linguistically.
In this is a Deutsche Bahn advertisement, an Alec Baldwin doppelganger rides a train happily in the adoring company of a much younger Anne Hathawayesque lady. Conclusion of Deutsche Bahn's marketing goal? Make all potential customers cringe at the creepiness of the poster and therefore come running eagerly to buy train tickets and, by direct association, secure the affections of an older businessman.
(This next add was pointed out to me by a friend, just to give credit where it's due.) At first shifty it looks like a normal, gray, colorless high fashion advertisement. At second shifty (this is your cue to take a second shifty everyone) you notice a creepy old man wearing young man clothes and lurking in the background next to a car. You see him? And then you begin to notice that anywhere you travel in Mainz, this old man is lurking in the background of every advertisement, always wearing the same sunglasses! I couldn't find the ultimate display of his creeptasticity, which is a poster of him sneaking up behind a young brunette who's strolling down a dimly lit street. But regardless of the fact that the old man is the designer, he has no right whatsoever to creep on the wearers of his clothing. Once he sells it, it's no longer his.
So wherein lies the marketing goal? Herein: Make young women fear that if they purchase famous designer clothing, the famous designer comes with the purchase.
Not exactly in linear relation, but still in the theme of marketing are the following photographs of my favorite sights of Mainz.
It says "Pain Center". Of course, upon reading it for the first time, common sense kicked in an I walked in the opposite direction at top speed.
This one is my favorite; a package of cookies in the grocery store.
It reads "Hearts without stuffing". Empty hearts in Germany. How tragic.
I shall now conclude with one final wish for you:
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Today I would like to record a previously unrecorded phenomenon: middle aged women and teenage boys are, through some combination of nature and social construct, drawn to the same hairstyles.
The reason I have yet to determine. It could be economic (eg- middle aged women are often mothers and therefore have a predilection for less costly mens barber shops), genetic (the effects of a gene that comes to fruition earlier in males), or social (these two demographics are the most efficient and therefore can't be bothered by cumbersome hair) .
I venture by no means to criticize. When I am a middle aged woman with sons, I will certainly opt for saving a few precious shillings at the family haircuttery over lounging in long-haired luxury at the salon. In fact, I make this same choice every time I get my hair cut, only thus far I have managed to escape Pro-Cuts with my dignity semi intact.
This similarity between the male 12-16's and the female 40-50's was first observed in the place where, I am rapidly discovering, all observations are made. Yes, that is right; I gathered my data on the train. There was a woman sitting across from me and underneath a bowl cut. Her bowl cut was made all the more alarming by the fact that her bangs were parted down the center, each respective half swept towards the two sides of her head. Perhaps, she rode her bicycle to the train station in the wind? I, surreptitiously natürlich, regarded and then promptly forgot the event until two hours later when I was standing in front of 7th grade English class discussing New York City. My course of thought was thrown completely off track mid-Macy's Day Parade when I had the shock of encountering the bowl cut again. Not able to believe that two such hairstyles could exist in this world, I asked myself what on earth my train friend could possibly be doing in the 7th grade. But was it truly her? A closer peer revealed that it truly was not. This hair belonged to a pupil whom happenstance had lead to the same unfortunate barber shop.
However, one datum does not a theory make. Further evidence was collected through my surveillance of a mother waiting in the school yard. Her choice de friseur was the infamous "European Neck Fluff". This not-style occurs when instead of small tufts of hair on the front of the head (bangs) one strains against fashion and grows small tufts out the back of the head and onto the neck (neck fluff). This neck befluffed mother stood until the bell rang and a swarm of youths burst out of the building in glorious freedom and out onto the street. And of the swarm, several members sported neck fluff.
I may have earlier reported on the distressing Mainzer trend of small dogs in strollers. Did I? I can't recall. Regardless, today I have only to add to the topic that the category of canine should be extended to include rodents. I am a recent witness of the fact that hamsters do indeed make travel companions. To what caliber of companionship they provide, I cannot speak. I only saw them waiting at the bus stop in a cage held by a young woman who then mounted a bus which I was very glad to not be riding.
Two of the streets in my neighborhood commemorate the heroes of the German automotive industry. They are the Gottlieb Daimler Strasse and the Carl Benz Strasse. I have a friend on the Gottlieb Daimler. She is the mother-in-law of a teacher at my school and today she gave me a bicycle and a handful of raspberries from her garden. It was friendship at first fruit and she had a very lovely haircut.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Yesterday on the train I sat next to a school girl who had not yet discovered how hairbrushes work and whose nose was buried in a novel entitled "Warrior Cats". Of course I had to undertake further investigations at the book store. The results yielded a series large enough to rival the babysitters Club, each cover featuring a cat more colorful and fierce than the former. I plan to begin with book one as soon as possible. ASAP in this case, means as soon as I can read another promising German sci-fi series, "Die Rache der Zwergen" (aka The Rage of the Dwarfs). Both of these fantastic displays of heretofore undiscovered German creativity are a much needed balm for my morning commute, which has been quite a trial. Every day I take the tram from my house to the train to Ingelheim, the town where I teach. It's rather pleasant and involves lots of people watching (hence the discovery of Warrior Cats). But this week the Deusche Bahn workers on the regional trains went on strike. According to the newspaper, the miraculous and punctual DB has still kept 70-80% of the local trains running. The difficulty comes in the 20-30% of trains which are not running because you never know that the said trains are not running until you're already at the train station. As a result you yourself, instead of the train, beginning running, to try a catch the train that leaves in 30 seconds from the other side of the train station, because yours has been canceled and the next one to Ingelheim doesn't leave for 45 minutes. Three cheers for democracy!
On the matter of Ingelheim, it is the richest town in Deutschland. Who knew? Not me and I've been there every day this week. You certainly can't tell. The main street is under construction and there are teenager boys with rat tails and over-sized sweatshirts traipsing around the piles of construction debris which gives the village more of the ambiance of the Big Dig minus the graffiti and plus a few bakeries.
Final subject for today: I have discovered the logic that led Forbes Magazine to select Angela Merckel over Hillary Clinton for the world's most powerful woman. Let us look at the following photos:
Except for the fact that they're wearing the same outfit (take notes girls: if you want power, wear white jackets) these two share approximately zero characteristics. Think about it; if you fell and scraped your knee who would you want to help you bandage it? Look at the pictures. Look into their eyes and think "who do I trust?".
Answer: Angela. Duh. Hillary looks more like an evil stepmother who would force you to rinse off you knee with peroxide.
Ok next question. If you're unemployment rate was climbing to new heights and your stock market was an intractable and unpredictable (from what I can tell) monster, upon whom would you call for assistance?
I think we already know the answer. Forbes certainly does. Angela all the way! Just look at her sparkling smile.
My only question is this: Did Forbes take and Asian female economists into account? Because they would truly be the women to watch out for.
So in conclusion, these are the reasons why Germany is the place to be:
Culture- Warrior cats, the great European literary masterpiece
Politik- Home of the world's most powerful female, who is very likely single-handedly holding the EU together through pure maternal instinct
Health and Wellness- Sprinting, train strikes help you stay in shape