Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's Official

i guess Speed Racer production has finally had enough of me, i got my marching orders, and i will officially be returning to the US and A on the 1 of August. WHAT!? yes, that is just 7 days away. and, though i'm sad to leave Berlin, i'm . . . uh . . . looking forward to a more normal existence . . .? ah, who'm i kidding, LA blows/is awesome.

well, don't get too excited, Los Angeles, cause here's my plan: i will go to UT immediately, and stay there for a couple of weeks (since my apartment is still sublet for the rest of the month), then i'll be hopping on the ol' bad motor scooter, and heading up to Yosemite with Andy and Dan and maybe Morgan (c'mon Morgie, your job is gay . . . come hang out with a bunch of dudes instead).

and, after that, i'll be back in the city of angels, and back to work. my life is dedicated to the Speed Racer for the next couple of months.

and there you go.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

MELT! and the Reformation

so, near the end of the day on friday, Andy came by and put forth this proposition: want to go to MELT! tomorrow? ummm . . . . YES! well, truth be told, i was exhausted, and dont really like festival type concerts, but the interesting lineup, combined with my over whelming desire to NOT stay in the city again this weekend, and the proposed laid back nature of our journey won out.

so i saw Harry Potter 5 with a bunch of the work peeps (loved it) on friday night, and woke up late on sat. (around noon) because of my week long exhaustion. andy and i had planned to figure out MELT! around 1, so, about then we started making plans.

we figured out how to take the train, and then thought: maybe we should just rent a car and drive? so, we attempted that option. however, due to the sunnyness of the weekend (finally), all of the rental cars in the entire city of Berlin were rented. seriously, all of them. we talked to 5 different rental car places. how, you may wonder, could EVERY car in a city be rented? well, no idea. but, thats the way it was. so, we took the train.
the train was cool. we met some guys on the platform that were trying to get a group together for a cheaper ticket. apparently, a ticket for one person on a regional train costs about 20 bucks. a ticket for 5 people costs 33. . . soooo . . . . hooking up with random tain buddies it is!

we took the train to Dessau, the bus to Ferropolis, and our feet through the door to one of the most excelent venues i have ever witnessed.
the place used to be a mine of some sort, but now they have made a lake out of the quarry and built concert stages around the big leftover equipment. seriously, it's one of the coolest places i have ever been. i love big machinery, i love lakes, and i love music, so, put that altogether and what could go wrong? apparently nothing.

we had perfect 85ish degree concert weather, and we arrived just in time to catch the Shout Out Louds finnishing up, and from then on it was killer bands all night long (litterally)
we saw:

Shout Out Louds
The Rifles
Hot Chip

Werle & Stankowski
Mouse On Mars

Polarkreis 18
The Horrors
The Presets


plus some others that i cant remeber. everybody was excellent at what they were doing. The Horrors were dumb, to my disappointment, but the music sounded great. they just acted dumb. too much of an "act" , felt forced. and Tocotronic was totally lame, and Kelis was just out of place.

Andy and i sat and listened to Tocotronic for a few minutes between other band sets, and we came to the conlusion that they were A. lame and B. would have been relevant 12 years ago . . .maybe. an anecdote: when i told Mohen, Berlin native, about the fest, he was interested in the fact that we has seen Tocotronic making the comment : "yeah, the were big here, like, 12 years ago . . ." when talking to Keith, he was stoked on Tocotronic, saying that he loved them, like, 12 years ago . . . apparently they've come out for some sort of nostalgia tour . . .about about that . . .context. . . ha. funny. funny cause its bigger than a normal size hat . . .
there were a couple of cool things about things about this particular fest. for one, it seems like at any fest type scenario or flea market or whatever, you can always find some thai curry. i had a delicious bowl of chicken and eggplant in milk curry. yes, delicious at a concert is relative, but it was actually pretty tasty. and the fact that i could get it, and for less than 5 bucks, seemed crazy.

also, all of the soft drinks came in bottles. this may seem strange, but its pretty cool for a couple of reasons. they say, or, imply that its for the environment. recycling at all, but here's how they do it. you buy a 2.50 soda in a bottle for 3.50. they give you a little "deposit" chip (this also happens at a lot of concerts and bars), and you get a buck back when you bring back the bottle and the chip. well, you gotta take the bottle back, cause if you want, say, 5 drinks through the day, you dont want to blow 5 extra bucks on 'em. so, if you are always bringing your bottle back, there is alot less trash lying around. also, this is good for the retailer, cause if you dont bring it back, they make a lot of cash.

now, the only reason this really works, i think, is because of the other reason that i dug this fest - it was really small. the main stage maybe had the capacity for a crowd about the size of the GA floor at the Wiltern in LA. now, there were some concrete "bleachers" around, but this made the main stage still not quite the capacity of the Wiltern, so even for the "big" acts, you were still really close to the action. the whole fest was really small. you could walk to each of the three stages and back before the band even finnished their song. so, that was pretty awesome.
well, around 4 am i was partied out, so i found a nice place on the side of the lake, put on my sweat shirt and rain coat . . . and went to sleep. i crashed out for a couple hours while Andy partied all night. that guy is a machine. i was only disturbed one time by some guy who i think had mistaken me for someone he knew. he woke me up and wanted to talk about something. i tried to explain that i dont speak German, but after he got over the initial surprise of not recognizing my face, he carried on with his story or whatever it was. i just went back to sleep. maybe i was in his spot. (thats a little joke, see, cause i was in the middle of a big open area with no one around. . .)

andy came back around 8 am, and we had a swim in a lake colder than the pacific ocean - i guess we hadn't had enough sun in the last couple weeks to warm it up - and then made our way through the tent city to the bus stop.
we caught the bus to the train stop, where we struggled to understand the German train system. Luckily, we met Chris, an freelance software designer specializing in voice recognition software, who walked us through buying a ticket, and explained that the German train system is rediculously hard to understand, even for the Germans who use it on a daily basis. well, it was nice to know that we weren't completely retarded, and then we got to split the ticket with Chris. not bad.


well, on the way back to Berlin, i noticed a cool church tower, it turns out that it was the place where we had to change trains: Wittenberg.
you may think that sounds vaguely familiar, and if so, you're doing better than me, because i had no idea that it was where Martin Luther lived, taught, and wrote his 95 thesis' and hung them on the church door. Luckily, Chris, our new German train buddy pointed this out for us.

having an hour or so till our next train, and noticing that the trains were running on 2 hour increments, i, having the history bug, may have talked Andy into going into town to check it out. now, Andy, though raised Catholic, is fairly areligious, and keeping in mind that he had just partied at a festival all night, i was a little surprised that he agreed to go. but he did, and we were off!

we checked out all of the major historical landmarks (of which there are approximately 3) and all of the minorly relevant land marks (of which there are . . . approx 3 or 4 - luckily most of them are on the same road. hey, the town is small) ate lunch, and made it back to the train in 3 hours (though we did cut it a bit close there).
for me, the highlights included Luthers house, including some of his actual furniture and a table where his "table talks" took place - informal theological discussions recorded by some of his students. yeah, i touched it while no one was looking. it was pretty cool. and seeing only surviving copy of the second edition Luther's hymnal (no first editions are know to exist) which was the first time his hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God appeared.

a funny story about that room - it has basically been preserved since his death in the same state is was when he was living. i guess its sort of a big deal. when Peter the Great came through the house on a tour, he totally signed his name on the south door of the room. they didn't offer any explanation for this, but the signature is protected under glass. its a short mark (not many characters) made with chalk, i guess. it looked more like a tag. Peter the Great totally tagged Martin Luther's house. hahahah. "Peter was here." you know he totally went home and told all his buddies and they all had a laugh . . . i wonder what else old Pete tagged.
saw the church where Luther used to preach as well as the one where he hung his Theses. unfortunately the original doors and much of the original building were destroyed at some point or another, but some new bronze doors were given, by the Elector or something, that had the theses engraved on them.

it was very cool to see the birthplace of the Reformation. it was a beautiful day to walk around a quaint town, and explore what may constitute the most significant religious rift in the Christian world.

slept on the train all the way back to Berlin and called it a day. er, weekend.

what did YOU do?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Beef Patties

well, after 3 months and some change, i finally did it . . . i ate at Burger King. i've been threatening to do it ever since i got here. but some co-worker inevitably talks me out of it. or, its just not convenient. the reality of it is, why would i eat there when there are so many tasty Doener's, Schwarma's and Curry Worst's around?

well my friend, curiosity is the answer. and tonight, as i walked into the grocery store at the Freidrichstrasse station, i saw the big BK sign and suddenly wanted a cheezeburger, but i though: "no, no, why would i do that? i'm going to the grocery store to get some real food. and as i walked out of the grocery store, with a back pack full of fuits, lunch meats, cheezes and health tasty bread. . . curiosity won, and i gave in to the need for some flame broiled goodness. and i have to tell you . . . it was . . . THE SAME! and by the same, i mean, the same as in America. yeah, you probably already knew that. i mean, thats the point, isnt it . . . but still, dont you just have to KNOW some times? of course you do. admit it. stop fooling yourself.

no, i haven't eaten at McDonald's yet. i've only stopped there for cold tasty bevereges on occasion. but, lets be honest, it's only a matter of time . . . and i've still got two months. after all, i have been to Dunkin Donuts several times. (mmmm . . . donuts . . . )

however, tonights burger experience brings me to another point i've been trying to get to: the Best Burgers in Berlin.

and the Best Burgers in Berlin can be found at . . . . BURGER KING!

HAHAHAHAHA! just kidding, Morgan (i know you choked on your own spit just then. i hope you didnt have to call the nurse.)

in reality, the best burgers in Berlin can be found at: The Bird.
started a year ago by two American guys that, for some reason, found themselves in Berlin and in need of a good burger, the Bird has, possibly, one of the best beef patties i have ever had anywhere. i know you Americans at home can't possibly believe that this could be true, but it is. these burgers are better than 5 Guys, and even better than Brians Grill . . . (i miss you, Brians Grill). and the fries are fantabulous, and they even have malt vinegar, and roll's of paper towels on the tables.

no, Morgan, i have never been to Fathers office. my one attempt was thwarted by its penchant for only being open after 5pm. but i dare say that these burgers may be better than The Counter. . . . i'm not sure, i'm just saying . . . .

as a side note, after work, a bunch of the peeps and i frequented the Bird for a low key fourth, with some quality American fare and some pool on one of the crappiest tables ever. its part of the ambiance.

so, for Morgan: in my limited experience, having only had burgers from 5 places in Berlin, they rank like this. included is a scale of 1 - 10, for relative comprehension. 1=barf, 10=beefy heaven

The Bird (10)- see above. a little pricey for Berlin, but you get what you pay for.

The White Trash (5.5) - dont be confused by it's catchy name, this punk rock location done up in Chinese decor offers quite a menu of "American" food. the burgers and fries are pretty good, for "not America" , except they put some kind of sauce on the buns, resembling mayo (that travesty of a spread), and the couple time's i've been there, they seem to refuse to take it off. . .

Burgermeister (4) - located under the U-band in Kreuzberg, this place was recommended by a local friend. though the burgers are cheap, again, you get what you pay for.

Burger King (3.5) - flame broiled goodness. as a "fast food chain" it can't really be in the running, but it sets up the worst burger ever . . .

The Oscar Wilde (0) - yeah, the place is named for an English guy (or was he Irish), so could i expect a good burger? probably not. but it was by far one of the worst burgers i've ever eaten in my life, only to be surpassed by the absolute worst burger experience of my entire life, and maybe the only time i could not bring myself to finish my food when i was starving - the fast food burgers in the airport in Manaus. not even the suplemental bacon and cheeze could save this poor excuse for a burger. i guess i should have gotten the fish and chips. and the soccer game that Steve and i went there to watch was boring too. oh well . . .

Friday, July 06, 2007

My Computer is Killing Me

i dont know if its actually my computer, or if its Maya. . . but either way, i feel like i'm hurting to get things done today. and even though i've gotten a few shots "squared away," i should be well into the completion of a certain sequence . . . . son of a B*#$% !! (note my excessive use of the exclamation point!)

and, nearly all of my friends have been slacking on blog updates, i have turned to a few of my favorite web comics to help pass the time. like this one, from The Perry Bible Fellowship.

do you need help passing the time? here you go.

The Perry Bible Fellowship

Sunday, July 01, 2007


i hit it this weekend, and it was great. my sister would be proud that i didn't keep it secret like i often do. one year i hiked a whole mountain with my uncle on my birthday, and i never got around to telling him. hey, i just wanted to hike a mountain for my birthday, big deal, right?
the celebration started on friday nigt, with Karaoke Friday. a whole lot of the work peeps and i met at Knaack, where we proudly and energetically sang the limited catolgue untill 4 am. it was great. i offered up an excellent version of You Give Love a Bad Name, in the style of Bon Jovi; Whip It, in the style of Devo; a duet of Space Oddity, with Gian, in the style of David Bowie; Baby One More Time, in the style of Britney Spears; and Wind of Change, with Thomas and Kyle, in the style of Scorpions.
Some of the highlights included Gian's rendition of LA woman, in the style of The Doors; Andy's rendition of a song who's name i forget in the style of Editors; Thomas' rendition of Minnie the Moocher in the style of Cab Calaway; and Scott's rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody in the style of Queen.

Other hightlights included the two hot german chicks, and every song they sang with their 8 years of classical training. The mutant tall guy and his short budy, in matching dress doing something indescribable, and John Goodman doing a fantastic version of Ring of Fire.

all in all it was an excellent night.

Sat included waking up late, watching Die Hard 4 at the theater, and a killer show by Daft Punk in the evening.
Daft Punk was great, as i suppose they usualy are. Their light show is fantastic, and the music is just so dancable. one of my European adventure goals was to catch them, if possible, and how excellent that they played ON MY BIRTHDAY! the show was not long, maybe an hour and a half, max, but every minute was rocking.