Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

People are waltzing in Vienna so we all know what that means:

Happy New Year!
С Новым Годом!

Einen guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr!

Bonne Année!

Happy New Year everybody! Here's hoping its a great one.

And now, because I can, a flash of random Russian New Year's images (WARNING: New Year's IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION BASICALLY LOOKS LIKE CHRISTMAS ANYWHERE ELSE):

Saturday, December 30, 2006


In the search for a picture to fully capture my airport hijinks, I found this one. It doesn't really apply, but I still sort of like it. I can't even really say why, maybe it is the 50's moxie. With the execution of Saddam Hussein I feel I should give the picture a really deep reading like, "today more than ever it is clear how Bush has derailed the pursuit of true justice and freedom in Iraq like a stewardess who incompetently botched a drink order," but I've got nothing.

Also, another random image search shows bush does have Moxie:

The Joy of Travel

Flew back into Vienna today (not via Athens in a time traveling lay over as my random picture choice may have you believe) with the fam after under six days back in the states. The same, however, can not be said for my bag, which made it to London and has not been seen since. I am still sort of bitter about all that. Not only did I not have any gifts to give people, but now I have to wonder if I am ever going to get the stuff in my bag back (oh sure there are important things like the cable and charger for my camera, but there are also just pleasant cushy things like my favorite pair of pajama pants, the slippers I wanted to take home just to keep my feet warm, and the nice jacket I got from H&M). Grumble, grumble. You are a marked man British Airways!

The baggage area for British Airways in JFK is a complete mess. There is just room after room of people's baggage with none of it seeming to be sent out to people in the two days I looked through it. People have no idea where the bags are and random bags are still being tossed to flights from London. What was also really frustrating is that no one even apologized. I am not looking to take out my frustration on some poor employee, but BA obviously messed up and not only have they not tried to fix it, but they aren't even taking responsibility for it on their website.

The only thing I did realize from the whole experience is that Lost is much more realistic than I first thought. Especially around Christmas time, not only could live for years off of the stuff people have in their bags, but in the lap of luxury. Just imagine all the electronics, chocolates, and festive alcohol. Well at least the mole people in Heathrow will be happy with my gift selection.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Krampus One Step Further

The improv side of me also likes to imagine a world where Krampuses were a real Austrian minority. Oh sure they have huge horns and terrifying faces but they work office jobs like anyone else. Maybe there would even be affirmative action programs to get more Krampuses into fields where they are under represented like modeling, trauma counseling, and gynecology. Sure they may look terrifying, but they can do so much more! They shouldn't just hold positions where their terrifying appearance is an asset like in rerurns, the DMV, and debt collection, they should be free to do what they want to do!

Krampus Emancipation Now!

Austria Around Christmas Time

Look people, meat, MEAT! Marvel at the sheer Germanic glory of it all!

So around Christmas around much of Europe Christmas markets start to pop up. They take the form of cute little cabins that pop up in squares and sell various things. In Germany they are called Weihnachtsmärkte (literally 'Christmas market'), but in Austria the are called Christkindlmärkte (literally 'Christ child markets,' which is misleading since they do not actually deal in the buying and resale of children). Now I hear you saying, 'But we have Christmas markets in America too! This is of no interest to me!' Well, I can give you one reason why European Christmas markets are infinitely better than their American equivalent: alcohol. Yes, because of a lack of open container laws and lack of a certain puritan fringe, European Christmas markets serve a plethora of alcoholic punches and malted wines. These are delicious and make Christmas markets a place of youth and activity into the late evening, reclaiming them from nick nack hunting grandmothers.

Another Austrian tradition are the Krampuses, who have their own 'runs':

Talking to Austrians about Krampuses is very amusing because it simultaneously evokes feeling of great joy and extreme terror. The basic myth is that demonic creatures come out before St. Nicholas comes at the beginning of December and punish those who have been misbehaving. In reality there are clubs that have the furry costumes and terrifying wooden masks (only the lower picture is a real crampus) and dress up as Krampuses and run around town intoxicated beating up pretty much who ever they feel like (called a 'Krampus run'). What is amazing to experience is the glee that is an Austrian's eye when he or she tells you about the Krampuses while at the same time seriously trying to convince you of the life threatening danger.

While I was in Veinna I got to see a rather sedate Krampuslauf outside of the city. The friend who took me and another American got us all worked up and fearing for our lives for what turned out to be the Disney version of the thing, no beating, no abduction, and the children seemed to be enjoying it. It was funny, and the guy in a giant demon squirrel costume summoning the Krampuses was apparently the mayor.

I was amused, but my Austrian friend, who had been telling us how horrible the things usually were, was deeply disappointed. Immediately after the thing she called her mom to tell her that in Vienna they didn't know how to do a proper Krampuslauf. Having conferred with her mother she established that what we had seen was a poor shadow of the Krampuslauf in her town, where the drunken Krampuses had attacked the police this year. Apparently that was the proper way of things. If a Krampus isn't life threatening he isn't any fun.

I like the Krampuses. I even wrote a poem for my German class about what I would do if I was one.

I love this!

I know this has nothing to do with the holidays, but I saw part of this skit on E! (I amoften very out of touch with pop culture and their lists are like crash courses) and it cracked me up. My mom wears mom jeans.

Yes I realize the cliched glory of posting youtube links instead of actual posts, but I am trying to get my post count up before the end of the year. Yeah mom jeans!

Holiday Nichtlustig

Lemming: Maybe it's the book we wanted.

Holiday Nichtlustig

Hippo: I have a hat on and I am building a snowman, aren't I great? Hello? Say something.

Holiday Nichtlustig

Santa: Okay, maybe it will work this way. Just at least watch where we are going.
Hippo: I have a hat on!

Holiday Nichtlustig

Lefter Most Reindeer: Somehow I just don't feel good about just up and leaving like this.
Righter More Reindeer: Nonsense. Relax. Just don't look behind you.
Santa: Help!

Holiday Nichtlustig

Giraffe: Psst, you're facing the wrong way!
Hippo: No I'm not, Mecca is that way.
Duck: You're a Muslim reindeer?

Holiday Nichtlustig

Santa: Don't leave! Please! I hate holiday temps!
Giraffe: He could yell that a little quieter.
Hippo: After all, my feelings.
Duck: Just ignore him.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Holiday Nichtlustig

Santa: You want what?
Reindeer: Christmas off.

Holiday Nichtlustig

Yes... yes, he wasn't good after all presents...just beat the brat black and blue...last minute correction.


So after surviving finals, a trip through befogged London, and the venus flytrap-like JFK I am at home. It has been a funny couple of days. Okay, not all so funny as British Airways did lose my bag with all of my clothes and Christmas presents for people (now if I hadn't actually bought stuff for people it would be a great excuse, but I did so having my bag in airport limbo with some sort of fragile stuff is a bit disconcerting), but it is weird being with family.

The holidays are stressful. I know this, yet when I was little I had an exclusively positive view of it all somewhere along the lines of: toys, cookies, lights, yeah! I still really like all of those things, but what has become clearer to mean in the meantime is that for most people holiday gatherings are less than 100% enjoyable. I don't mean the kind with friends or co-workers, but the exclusively family kind. Families are well...odd.

As the old adage goes "you can choose your friends, but not your family," and it is true because the people in your family you would never choose. What tends to bond families together more than shared interests is shared experience as a family you have gone through so much together that you haven't gone through with anyone else. That, however, is a two way street. You can understand each other better because you have experienced so much together, yet at the same time tempers are quick to erupt because there is so much mutual background (on the negative side including disagreements, spats, just things that have gotten annoying over the decades) and with the informality of family there is just less politeness cordiality laying around.

I just think that it is funny that there is this huge pressure to spend the holidays with family, where for so many people it is hardest for them to really have a good time and relax when they are surrounded by crazy uncle Larry, gossipy aunt Veronica, or a curmudgeon of a parent. It really makes you think [cliched irony of phrase intended].

Sunday, December 10, 2006

This Amuses me Immensely


So I am drowning in work at the moment. What has been rather frustrating for me the realize in the last few years that getting work done is a mixture of three things: 1. time 2. will and 3. energy. The first two I can usually manage, but the third is always the problem. Today and yesterday I have just be exhausted, it has been really hard to get work done and when I have exercised in the gym here I have just gotten tired way too easily.

Now this is usually when my mother tries to convince me that I have mono (if that were true I would have had mono for about half a decade now) or some other such things (by thing I mean horrible disease), but I don't know. It will be rough week either way. I have two final exams and a lot of homework (mainly for French so of course it takes for ever). Then there is the fact that I will probably hear from Columbia law this week. Ugh. I can think of reasons why they should accept me and reasons why they shouldn't, but at the end of the day I just can't tell which way it will go and that has been driving me crazy, I'll just have to wait and see. There is also the added awkwardness that when I get bad news that I tend to be the type of person that likes to hide it for a bit and just not deal with it for a little while. The letter, however, is going home, and though I love my parents if everything does go poorly I will just want to deal with it on my own. Sigh, it should be an interesting week.

It is funny though. For me it is never one thing that I feel like I can't deal with but rather the barrage of all things at once. It will all be fine it is just one of the moments when I would like to fast forward through one of the overly dramatic moments of my life like a bad chick flick.


So I learned last night that neither Russian nor German distinguish between a "pun" and a "play on words." They use "play on words" for both of them. I don't know, in my head there is a pretty big difference between the two. A play on words has a double meaning but I would dare to say is usually smart, where a pun is a play on just one word and is dumb, so dumb, but can still be funny (okay "herring aids" not so much). Also, if you are told that someone makes a lot puns it is more of a warning not to stay around that person to long (You hear: Yeah uncle Larry makes a lot of puns, you understand: stay the fuck away from uncle Larry if you know what is good for you!), where if you say someone is very good at playing with words it makes the person sound intelligent (the person not only knows words but can play with them too! Eligible bachelor, eh, go talk to him).

Am I the only one that thinks there is a big difference?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Fun With Russian Slang!

Лысого в кулаке гонять [Lysogo v kulake gonjat’]
To masturbate. Literally “chase the bald one through the fist”.

Such cumbersome slang.


So I have not been getting much in the way of responses to my bombardments of pictures lately, so let's try some text.

I went to see a play tonight with a classmate from my Russian class. I really liked it. The Berlin Russian Theater had come to Vienna (they were performing in German) and put on a piece about Mozart's sister. Long story short, she had a pretty awful life, she was older and used to perform with him while they were little but never had the same opportunities. He got to go off to Vienna and she got stuck in the Austrian boonies, he accumulated massive debt and she was married off to some old man rather than her true love because the old guy would pay his debts. Fun, and it is pretty much all true. Makes you see Mozart in a different light.

I really liked the play because it was very modern, quick, and physical. The play started off with Mozart's sister and wife being on a talk show arguing with a host about who knew Mozart better, saying things like "It is quality and not quantity!" then all of the cast member introduced the others by reading their biography, finishing with their death date, which would be wildly applauded, and then the person would come out. They also had Mozart's parents treating their kids like musical monkeys, even arguing about the best way to market them (Mozartkugeln of course!). Mozartkugeln deserved to be mocked. For those that don't know, they are the Mozart's candies that are super popular here, though because of them if you didn't know Mozart before coming to Vienna you would swear he invented chocolate or something. Any way, they mocked Mozartkugeln (in addition to serving them during intermission!), did some crazily intense physical stuff, and put on a pretty dark piece of theater that used actors as furniture. I like.

Then I went to a party at a Bulgarian church that looked like a bunker. I got to talk to people who went to elite private school next to the diplomatic academy, which was interesting.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Dinosaur: He says he's from the future and want to show us something. He said we should follow him, all of us.

The Glory of Advent

So it is Christmas time here at Barbarossa, something I am sure you can all tell from our festive holiday 'red' theme. After surviving the onslaught of the viscous krumpuses (more on that later) we have moved into advent. Advent is a wonderful time of year, eagerly awaiting Christ's coming and such, but ESPECIALLY because one of my friends here gave me an advent Calendar.

Look Everybody! Me with something Russian, how incredibly unlike me!

Thank you God for the best type of Russian wife...a chocolate non-nuclear one.


Matryoshka: Actually...I'm more like Polish
Me: Devychka, that is so not cool.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fun with German...Translation!

Quote from the Vienna Tourist Board Website:

An especially high homo-density can be found at all the gyms of the inexpensive Club Danube chain, at the exclusive John Harris gym, the BodyStyle fitness club located in proximity to the Gay District and the two Elixia gyms. Now get the weights, girls.

Homo-density. Wow, what an amazingly awkwardly translated word. So scientific and so offensive all at the same time. A delightful improv suggestion.

I also like the idea of TV commercials like the ones that come on TV around 10 asking "Do you know where your children are?" Except asking, "Do you know your homo-density?"

Sunday, December 03, 2006


The idea of having a blog backlog greatly amuses me, firstly because trying to say "backlog blog" ten times fast is a pretty good tongue twister, and secondly because it is exactly what I have.

So Michael was here last weekend for four days of crazy and Thanksgiving. There are pictures where we both look normal, but those are no fun and this one is more bad ass. I am all about the bad ass. Wow that sounds really bad, eh. So a brief summary of his visit:

There was plenty of Funk!

(funk is actually just the German word for radio, though if you are doing something over the radio in German you are doing it 'through funk,' which is awesome).

Modern Art!

Man Eating Refrigerators Masquerading as Art!

amusingly, the refrigerator was on, dripping water on people's heads and the whole was pretty small and threatening not to let people's heads out again.

Crazy Romanians in 30's Dress!

And Pretentious Art Pictures!

though the idea of having post-communist peoples in anything read themed, like the bar in the picture above always amuses me.

So all and all a very nice Thanksgiving. We even got to play mafia with a big group of Americans for Thanksgiving. If Thanksgiving isn't about being with good friends and countrymen, breaking bread around a communal table, and trying to kill each other than I don't want to know what it is about.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Budapest, At Last

So it seems a bit strange to finally be getting around to writing about Budapest almost two weeks after having been there, but things have been busy and it is worth some attention.

So yes, Budapest is great. I have to say the architecture really impressed me. There are certainly some similarities with Vienna, but Vienna is much more about Art Nouveau and Baroque (Austria was run by a girl for a while and she built a lot of pretty pink things, its true and it shows) where Budapest is much more about Gothic Revival. I really like the Gothic Revival style. Okay, so we all know I have my imperial fantasies so it isn't really that surprising that I would like building in Gothic style but built on a much grander scale to show imperial grandeur, but I do, so there. If I were to build a city there would probably wall to wall impressive imposing buildings and not one supermarket, I'm practical like that, but I digress.

So the architecture was amazing and when I was walking around Saturday the weather was beautiful, but what really made my trip fantastic was the family I stayed with. They were just amazing. Now of course, staying with people from the country you are visiting is almost always nice because they can tell you how to do things, help you with the language, and give you the run down on things you should do, but I was just blown away by the musicality and multi-lingualism of the family I stayed with. Almost in the whole family from a 9th grade on up could express themselves fluently in English, German, and of course Hungarian. But even the younger kids could talk, they weren't just passively listening they were expressing opinions and not just nodding along (something I know I have done). The one exception was the great aunt who is in her nineties, she couldn't speak English (not exactly the easiest or most important thing in communist Hungary), but her Grandparents were from Vienna and she had always spoken German with them and her German was excellent. Then came the music. They would sing grace before and after the meal in Hungarian in beautiful harmony. When you were having a conversation someone would sit down and just start playing something fantastic on the piano, but would get upset if you stopped talking, it was meant to augment the conversation and I have to say that because of that the moments were all the more memorable. Even the great aunt when I was waiting for my friend to some over would play the piano when she felt things needed to be livened up. The things is, she couldn't read the music anymore and would just play the most amazing pieces from memory. It made a very big impression.

So once again I found I have written a big old block of text and wondering if anyone is still reading but I'll continue anyway, what really impressed me was the degree of culture, multiculturalism, and music from the days of Austria-Hungary that can still be seen in Central Europe. The family I stayed with was obviously a musical one, but in Europe at least traditionally the approach to music is different. You didn't just pick up an instrument in school, music and songs were passed within a family from generation to generation, imparted as a part of family heritage. That for me is something very Austro-Hungarian. It certainly wasn't the only place that valued music in that way, but it is something I associate with it, Vienna was, after all, the music capital of the world in its day. My Bulgarian voice teacher also cam from that sort of a family, but the only American families I have known like that have been Jewish, which would at least to seem to make sense as many American Jews have their roots in Austria-Hungary. What also struck me was the surprising diversity of Central Europe. If you look at statistics for Austria or Hungary they make the countries look very homogeneous, but once you start talking to people you find out about how they are half Croatian, Czech, Slovakia, or any of a number of a number of other nationalities but were forced by laws or circumstance to cover up that diversity in the years after World War I pretty much to the fall of communism. Food for thought.

To Review



Also, there was this poster for an electronic store:

I have no idea why they are all men and in really bad drag, but I liked this guy:

Who one of my friends pointed out is pretty much dressed like Freddie Mercury in this music video. Funny.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Budapest is Amazing

Budapest was amazing.

More on that later, but for now I'll just say I got a taste of the old Austria-Hungary.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Me Meeting the Ambassador

So we had the reception for Fulbright students tonight at the US ambassador's residence. The residence is an enormous Bauhaus building tucked away in a very unassuming part of Vienna (it is just funny because all the most expensive parts of the city just feel like little villages).

On the whole I would say it was a lot fun, once we got past the ridiculous security we got to enjoy the free booze and horderves. I really like the other Fulbright students so it was nice to get to chat.

The ambassador, however, looked less than thrilled to be there. What was great was when she was telling us how important the program was to her and yet couldn't seem to even half-heartedly read her speech without stumbling over her own words.

Anyway, at 7:30 she disappeared without excusing herself and never returned. All of the Fulbright students were supposed to get a picture with her. Obviously with her gone we couldn't do that and I was hurt. So to keep me from tears Scott played the role of the ambassador and I played, well, me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Oh Those Austrians...

So this a photo I took back at the Vienna Central Cemetary on All Saints Day.

It says 'Kontner: Yard Work and Grave Cleaning' and it has a picture of a gleaming grave.

These things were all over the cemetary. Kind of how like in the US landscapers or contractors will put signs up on your lawn when they are working on stuff to advertize, here they do the same thing except with graves. I just like the idea of people walking around and saying 'what a lovely grave, honey? I wish our grave would be clean like that! Let's hire Kontner to do our grave cleaning!."


Man: Could it be that you just sold me something from your bottom?

Dog: Which one of us do you mean?

Time Flies

So things have kept me busy as of late. I had a American friend from my Berlin days visiting this past weekend. I can't believe Berlin was almost two years ago. The visit was fun and made me do more stuff than I would normally do over the weekend (went to the opera here for the first time, finally made it to the Belvedere museum, the one with all the Klimts right next to me, and saw the inside of the Staatsoper). It is getting colder and grayer here though, and that does not please me [shakes fist].

Then on Monday I had to debate whether or not the WTO is a capitalist monster. I didn't win, but I spoke well so I was happy. I am learning, however, that I speak at the speed of light (not sure if in general or just when speaking publicly) which made things a little tough for the non-native speakers. Gotta work on that. It was amusing too because I am friends with everyone who is debating, but apparently everyone else in the debate thought you had to be dismissive and mean to the opposite side. I smiled a lot, though, I made some choice comments.

So then the marathon that was Tuesday rolled around. I had class from 8:30 until 6:00, which is bad enough except for some reason I could only sleep for four hours that night. I also had a big presentation in French (any presentation in French is a big deal for me) that day on Iraq and the referendum in Southern Ossetia (I am annoyed that in French there is no easy way to say 'speaking' as in 'Georgian-speaking,' you can say francophone, anglophone, russophone, but it doesn't work with all languages). Then I had Russian at the university, it was good but I am fairly certain the professor has decided I am an idiot. She wanted me to present some article she found to the class, so far so good, but it was so weird. It was about a skinhead at a California university who had seen a Russian girl cheating on a test and was upset the professor wasn't doing anything about it. The article was just a collection of the e-mails the skinhead had sent, including the last one which was him asking the professor for extra credit on the last exam since he had been too busying sending the professor e-mails to study.

What the hell?

So I jut said I thought it was strange and wasn't typical of America. The professor seemed surprised. Then she thought I hadn't understood it and summarized what the article said. It was the same old weird story. She seemed sad though when I told her I didn't think our universities were full of Russian-hating skinhead with anal tendencies regarding the punishment of cheaters. But then again she also has us translate texts about submarines into Russian.


So after that I had micro and then the diplomatic history of states in German. I was a little tired after all that.

Eh, that is about the size of what is going on. There is a Fulbright reception at the US embassy tomorrow so I will be going to that. On the weekend I will be heading of to Budapest (excitement!). And other than that I am really excited because I learned that in the Congo they do speak French the funny Belgian way (which I prefer) by saying septante for sevetny instead of soixante-dix (sixty-ten).

Yes I am a huge nerd.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Because apparently I complain too much, here's another complaint

Somebody has been messing with me and I am not happy

I traveled for half an hour tonight to get to what was supposed to be an open improv jam. I really miss improv, especially with people who have some experience doing it. When I got to the building where it was supposed to be it was an apartment building down a dark alley. There certainly wasn't a theater there. So then I spent a lot of time wandering around in the cold and asking people if there was a theatre nearby, to no avail.

So when I came back I checked all the information, which was right, and then found more directions which literally said to go down the dark alley. What the hell? How can they not mark things or at least give you an apartment number? I am annoyed but also wondering what the heck kind of improv practice group makes you pay 15 euro to perform improv down a dark alley.

Also, they were getting rid of all the old furniture from the bar here and me and some others thought we could just take it since other people had been allowed to. I got a crappy old couch, it reeked of smoke, looked like something out of a seventies bachelor pad, and was really beat up, but I liked it. It made me happy. And now I have to give it back. Not happy. I already febrezed the couch and everything.

I am a very petty vain person, BUT FEAR MY WRATH!!!

also, I have already noticed my English going to shit again, but this time with no real improvement in my other languages. It should be fun to watch.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Creative Lemmings

Saturday, November 04, 2006


So I really liked the borat film. I am not so sure I would really want to defend it to my Kazakh teacher or host mother, but I liked it. I just thought it was a really well done funny movie (I loved the New Yorkers telling him to fuck off, oh New York directness, how I miss thee). I want to call it a feel good movie you could take your whole family to, but I know that isn't true. The funny things is that really is making much more fun of America than Kazakhstan. Honestly I just think Kazakhstan should be happy to be the first 'stan' to have a stereotype. I have to say I really enjoyed the movie even more for the few things about Kazakhstan that were true. Uzbeks, assholes? That is true. There is a real rivalry there and Kazakhs do think they are better than Uzbeks. Wife abducting? You know, when he tries to put Pamela Anderson in a sack? That is real. It isn't really practiced in Kazakhstan anymore (way to keep that one alive Kyrgyzstan), but there is truth to that. At the end of the day the young people in Kazakhstan thought it was funny and I think that says something. Next on Sasha Baron Cohen's list? Bruno's Austria. You'd think he was following me.

P.s. The Kazakh woman who takes care of my grandmother was very upset that they didn't show any Asians in the movie. Kazakhs are Asian people.

Friday, November 03, 2006


So this is my second year of being forced to celebrate Halloween outside of the US. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I honestly think New York is the best place in the world to celebrate it. I have to admit I was pretty bumbed not to be able to take part in Nella and Edward's Halloween festivities. Halloween in Europe (and in Kazakhstan for that matter) is just different. It is much more commercialized (hard to imagine I know, but it only has the commercial dimension) and is really only for young people going out to bars and clubs (I love that in the US there is stuff for kids, young people, and older people). It makes me sort of sad, but at the same time I felt I needed to try and make up for Europe's lacking Halloween traditions and so I went and put together a pretty cool costume (as seen above and below). It was pretty cool and had the amusing double association of wealth Austro-Hungarian nobility and also the sleazy guys who wear a pretty similar get up and sell tickets to the opera. All and all Halloween was okay though there will have to be some sort of grand homecoming when I finally can celebrate Halloween in New York again. More importantly, as I now own this costume and I both look like Mozart and the guys who sell opera tickets what mischief/performance art should I get up to? Suggestions?

So I forgot

So I was in Salzburg over the weekend. It was really cool. For those of you thinking 'Hey, I know of Salzburg, why?' it is probably because of The Sound of Music. It was set here and parts of it were also filmed here. Salzburg is very pretty and quaint, but very much a victim of the seemingly standard European urban development strategy of 'hmmm, we have this beautiful historic town what should we add? I know, something incredibly modern and ugly!' Still very pretty, just some moments of wtf.

It was especially cool because Scott, the other Fulbright scholar here, had spent a year in Salbzurg and was able to take us around and show us the coolest stuff. We went up a mountain which was cool in a lot of ways, one of which being that my cell provider counted it as crossing the border the Germany and sent me a welcoming sms. The message made me realize how close to the border we were. Then I thought, 'well of course, in the sound of music they climber over the mountain to escape the Nazis.' Yes Ian, they crossed the border with Germany to escape the Nazis. Brilliant.

Eating at Me

Vaguely concerned that I freak out everyone with my rant. Again, just vaguely concerned.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Dog: Are you still eating that?

Beaver: Why are you asking? You don't want to wouldn't...oh God.

The Rant

The Challenge: Imagine you are a Japanese geisha in the year 2025. Globalization is fully realized and foreign white devils are starting to take away your business. The worst of it is that wacko tourists who speak with terrible accents from countries like Kazakhstan are starting to commodify you. Deliver a rant against global economy from your perspective as a practitioner in the art of private nonsexual entertainment who is in danger of losing her job.

The Rant:


I can’t take it. If I see one more Ukrainian prostitute walking in traditional geisha dress and wooden sandals I will kill every Ukrainian prostitute in Kyoto! I don’t care how long it would take!!! Gaijin Toro! [cough from other person in the room] sorry, I am not usually like this with clients. It may seem unfeminine, but I assure that language is but a sharply pointed tool, a tool as able to carve the final glorious curl on the emperor’s bust as to castrate a swine. Of course the art of my words is lost on you. You are just another Kazakh tourist who came here looking to get lucky. In Japan for the first time and too dumb to realize that the Japanese word for no is the Kazakh word for yes. I’ve had enough Kazakhs here to know. For the record I said I wasn’t going to be having sex with you. That’s it nod, nod like you are agreeing, it will be fun to work out later especially since I used infrared scanner hidden in my hair pin to record and charge your pension account the moment you entered.

Hah! The Japanese men are no better, GAISEN! We only have the Ukrainian prostitutes because those are the only ones they will go to! How am I supposed to compete? Who will pay to talk to me when they could pay half as much to go and fuck someone who is naturally as white as the color I paint myself? Even by tricking you into coming here I am still under quota. I wouldn’t even have a quota if the latest tax decree hadn’t lumped the street walkers in the same category with us and forced us all to pay the same monthly ‘licensing fee.’ Their Tajik pimps must have called in a lot of favors. Isn’t world wonderful? You can buy whatever you want and whatever it is comes to you. Only to have what I need to get what I want, I need to make you want me, not cherish or love me, just want me. Come here you stupid octopus, look at me as I talk, imagine being able to let your tentacle slither all over me. Even if I let you couldn’t squeeze anymore life out of me. I am dry.