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.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Rant Soon but First...

The Georgian Prime Minister came to school today. I got to ask him a question about the treatment of ethnic Georgians in Russia. I got to drink superb Georgian wine. I got interviewed by Georgian television. Then I got to have my picture taken with the Prime Minister.

It was a good day.

(even if the old guy who took the picture cut off my ear)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My Women

Do my women improv characters just suck that hard? Really, I would like to know. Whenever I intend to be a woman in a scene I get made into a a gay man or a drag queen. It could be a scene where everyone is saying 'I sure hope mom would get here soon, there has been a nuclear fall out and we are the only people alive,' then I enter and say something like 'Paul it is I your mother , who survived nuclear fallout and have returned to you.' And then the response is 'oh hi gay Phil, goodness I didn't know you survived the nuclear fallout, you can sit with me while I wait for my mom.' I then sob and die a little inside.

I am just sad because while trying to teach improv today I got turned gay many times over in pretty much the situation above. It is just that if I look like the picture above in a scene I would like to know.

So seriously, people who have seen me improvise or have improvised with me, do they suck that hard?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Contest Sort of Thing

The Prize: I will rant for/or against a topic of your choice on my blog. Want an impassioned rant about the merits of using children as a source of clean burning fuel? The evils of Canada? About how Hitler and Stalin were actually gay lovers and war broke out because it was Hitler's way of dumping Stalin? Now is the time. You can also specify a historical/fictional personality who I should be when I rant.

The Task: To tell me where the following quote came from. Using google is no longer cheating. The Winner is the first person to get it right, so guess often and put the topic of your desired rant in your comment.

The Quote:
You're a man. I'm a woman. We're just too different .

The contest has been won (see 'comments' for details) I am now eagerly awaiting my rant topic.


Wait a minute, does this mean we all suddenly turned gay?

Fun With Austrian German!

There are so many reasons why it is nice to be a native English speaker. That being said, there is one particular problem for non-native speakers have that I am glad that I don't: having to keep British and American English straight. This isn't true everywhere (Japan and the Philippines are two exception), but the majority of people learning English in the world are taught British English in school and then are bombarded with American English in movies, television, and music. The two tend to get a little mixed. It is a problems for people studying things involving English at university because while both American or British English are accepted you can't mix and match. Then there is the added factor that if you tell me about the 'fancy dress' you bought for Halloween and not the 'costume' I am likely to either be bewildered, laugh at you or both. Perhaps because of this good Christian tolerance of difference I have been rewarded with Austrian German, which has oh so many different word, word that are likely to get you laughed at in Germany but that are the only words used here.

And now a list:

English German Austrian
Steps Treppen Stiege

Gyro Döner Kebab

Roll (bread) Brotchen Semmel

* Federweisser Sturm

potatoe Kartoffel Erdapfel

Idiot Ö–sterreicher Deutsche/Piefke

Tomato Tomate Paradiser**

Muzzle Maulkorb Beisskorb

*I don't know what this on is called in English, it is very young whine from the same year, sweet , and surprisingly cloudy (thAustrianns word means 'storm' or 'tempest)

**So I like the name Paradiser, it has the word 'paradise' in it which I thought was pretty cool, but my German friends hate it. Apparently a slang term for a condom is 'Pariser,' which just sounds a little too similiar.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Коммунизм Зомби!

I think Zombie Communism is the best idea ever. I know the guy hitting the table isn't a zombie, but imagine how much better it would be if he was! Just imagine zombie Lenin, Mao, and Castro! Okay..well we already have zombie Castro, but imagine if the Soviet Union hadn't just been the evil empire, but the evil zombie empire. First of all, they would have one the Cold War since we all know radiation makes zombies, it doesn't kill them.

Zombie Communism is an idea I came up with Edward back in the day, and I still think it is wonderful I like the idea of zombie armies bringing about the world wide communist revolution, freeing the workers, and then eating their brains! Then there would be the collectivization of brains, the five year brain plan, and long brain lines as the zombie Soviet Union fell apart. Just imagine the op-eds and the starving zombie children of the USSR who have barely enough brains to get by and Zombie Communist slurs like 'Pinko Brainguzzler' and 'filthy zommunist!' Basically I would like a zombie communism themed harold.


Things As of Late

Oh goodness there has been a lot going on. I don't really have enough time to organize my thoughts so this will probably be more of a horribly misspelled rant than anything else. The long and the short of it is that I am doing better (homicidal urges calming down to normal letters). Things started going better yesterday when I had my Russian essay class. The teacher is wonderful, friendly, helpful and doesn't think I am an idiot. That made me really happy. Then an Austrian I had been talking to before class asked me if I wanted to go for a drink after class. For those that don't understand, that is amazing! People don't do that here. After twenties years of knowing you people might not ask that, so to have that happen after the first was great. It was really fun, he was nice and also came from a small village so he had a different perspective and also spoke a bit of a dialect, which was fun if challenging to listen to.

The weekend before all of that happened was a bit difficult. For one thing because a friend from Berlin was visiting I slept on the wood floor in a sleeping bag for three nights. Fun. We did some of the tourist stuff I had been meaning to do (including going to a really fancy Viennese cafe), but it was just a little rough because she didn't get on to well with some of my friends here because they were sort of disorganized and some of the girls were a bit flighty. That is all fine and well but she couldn't' hide it too well, which made me feel awkward because as the host I felt rather responsible for it all. It worked out okay but it was more stressful for me because I was trying to make sure my guest was happy while at the same time trying not to be a jerk to my new friends here. I am not sure how successful I was.

So in other news French stuff continues. I am trying to be civil about it though instead of taking my normal Holy War approach to bureaucracy. I sent an e-mail in English, got a response in French telling me she would evaluate me more closely and that I could meet with her (a mixed blessing as she will only talk to students in French and I am not sure how well I could express myself). So we'll see what happens but at least I got my concerns off my chest. In other news apparently the Belarussian students at the academy just got their visas and have arrived so I got to speak some Russian, and the nicest one in my neighbor.

Other than that somehow I ended up leading a theatre group tonight and teaching them improv. It isn't Klaritin (which looks amazing this year!) but it was fun and it relaxed me. I could laugh at life again and all was well.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pretty much my Life

Guy on the Left: Shark! Shark!

Guy on the Right: Tiger! Tiger!

details to follow...

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I am in real bad mood. I know I did it to myself by staying up to late and then having French at 8:30 this morning, but it is still everyone else's fault, especially the French teacher's. Oh it was terrible. Last night I thought I was about to go to bed there was just a quick form I needed to fill out online...or so I thought.

For applying to law school I need to get what is called a 'Dean's Letter,' amusing not written by your Dean, but rather by random people in the pre-law office it is just suppose to say that you didn't have any disciplinary issues while at Columbia and they don't think you are too messed up in the head for law school (possibly an advantage for a lawyer in my opinion). But because they don't know you they want you to fill out an online form. It was way too long for what this letter is going to be. I had to list every job, internship, club, and organization I had been involved with since freshmen year giving the exact dates of involvement, whether or not I was paid, what I did, and what my title was. It wouldn't it have bothered me as much if I hadn't already given this information at least twice already in the form of my resume and actual app. and if they had put it in a form where I could have cut and pasted the info, but that sure as hell didn't happen. No, it took forever and I know they won't use even a quarter of it. Then at the end was I was burned out they wanted two paragraphs asked why I wanted to be a lawyer. Now that may seem, fair but most law school don't even ask that and IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LETTER, which they explicitly say is not a letter or recommendation.

So it was after all of this that I got up to go to French. Not the best mix. I already have an axe to grind with the French teachers here because of the placement test. I hate placement tests that are super hard followed by classes that don't teach you anything that would help you to do better on that test next time around. Case in point, for our placement test we had to transcribe a report on a conference of Francophone speakers in Budapest and write an essay about the right of the Berlin opera to put on a controversial play, but then for the first two weeks of class we are asking each other what we would take with us if we were stranded on a desert island. WHAT? Also, somehow the French teachers can't understand a word I say, especially when it is the right answer. All of this might be fine, despite making me want to curse out the teachers in Russian, if I hadn't had the best pronunciation and speaking ability in my summer classes. Yes I am a pompous ass, but its true. Hating France so bad (shakes fist). Basically to reenact French today you should picture me with the most irritated, frustrated look on my face you have ever seen plus me glaring at the French teacher the whole time. The truce between me and France is over.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Lemming: I'm already dead inside.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Battle Lesbian

This was a t-shirt they were selling at the Green Party's election tent. I wanted one. Kampflesbe means 'militant lesbian,' but literally translated it means 'battle lesbian.' So much better! I picture zords and softball bats. I wanted to ask them if they had it in men's' sizes because I figured of all the parties the greens were the ones that would...

Good Times and the Bad

This past weekend in Vienna was great. There was a graduation for last year class (dull stilted speeches), but it was quick and followed by a very tasteful reception. Then things got taken down a few more notches in the Academy's bar where there was dancing and drinking well into Saturday morning. I have to say I had a really good time. The people are really interesting and good natured. I kind of knew everyone already so it was just great feeling like you knew everyone but had an opportunity to get know people better in a less formal environment. Also, I found me a Kazakh and got to brandish a little Kazakh and then speak in Russian for a while.

Then Saturday was 'the long night of the museums,' basically just a night when all of Vienna's museums are open till 1:00 am and there is one cheap ticket for all of them. A group of us hit up seven of them, including the Esperanto museum, Royal Treasury, and Modern Art Museum. It was really fun and it was great to have so much cultural activity on a Saturday night (it would be amazing if New York did something like this).

Then on Sunday the academy took us out into lower Austria for a wine tasting. It was pretty and there was a lot wine to be had. They have a drink called 'Sturm' (Federweisser in Germany), literally 'Storm,' which new wine that is still fermenting and is very sweet, very good. Again though what made it wonderful was the people. It was just nice to have a scenic backdrop for talking to people in the different programs. The academy is small (only 120 students) but right now it makes everything intimate (as opposed to incestuous) and it has been great. You can say I've been being wined and dined. I'm a fan.

Today though wasn't fun. I had wasn't able to sleep much and was up at 7:45 for French. Even worse is that I had had a crazy dream playing on all sort of subconscious anxieties, the type where you are happy to wake up and find out it wasn't real. So basically I woke up tired and grouchy and then had to sit through three hours of French class, never a good mixture. Have to admit I am still not such a fan of the French teachers here, though, my gripe of the moment is that they don't seem to hear me when I give an answer and get the same answer from someone else three minutes later. I would speak louder, but they told us not to talk forcefully. Also French phonetics sounds like you are being verbally assaulted and you feel dirty and violated after having certain sounds made at you. So yeah I was getting pissier and pissier as time went on, and then afterwards I got to race across town to go to a Russian class, switching language gears completely from English/French, to Russian/German since a number of the students in the class weren't comfortable speaking entirely in Russian. It was a good class though (thank God! The teacher was from Southern Russian, I'm not sure but I think they are my favorite).

Do you read long blocks of text like my last paragraph? I don't, hence the new paragraph. So that was good and then I got to race back to the Academy for an Economics class, and then just and hour and a half later race and then run (literally) back to the university for another Russian class. Now I might mention this was four o'clock and I hadn't had time to eat today, didn't sleep well, had a bad dream, been switching language gears like crazy, and running across time, and when I get to my Russian composition class do I get a nice leisurely discussion about stylistics? No. I get an hour long timed essay. It was terrible and I wanted to die. I seriously hope the teacher doesn't think I'm not an idiot. Again, even in English I don't think I write timed essays worth reading. I certainly don't like writing them and I think that's the general spirit I put into those works.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


A Quick Tangent


How Ian Became Vaguely Philosophical and Bored Everyone to Tears

So I'm not so sure I have such a strong sense of homeland. When I am out of the US for a while I do miss it, if only because I miss knowing how things work, how to approach situations, and well my friends. Mind you, right now I am all excited to be in Austria and speaking German again so all is well. What I am trying to say is that even when I miss the US I don't really think of the US as my homeland.

I think the US is tricky because pretty much in the country has roots elsewhere. No one is really American in the way someone is Japanese, Ethiopian, or German. There is always a connection to somewhere else if people don't choose to pursue it. You can be an American citizen, but ethnically you have to be something else. I have always had great respect for Americans who are heritage speakers of another language, because of the sense of connection they have to a different country. It's the same reason I respect the French Canadians and think that it is wonderful that Canada subsidizes cultural centers so that even third and fourth generation Canadians speak the languages of their forefathers.

I don't really speak the languages of any of my forefathers. You could say English as I am part of Catholic Northern Irish, but that was really an imposed foreign language no matter how dominant it may be today. Now I know all of my Italian ancestors spoke dialects, my Ukrainian Grandma speaks an old Western version of Ukrainian, but I would love that connection to a region! My mom has a semblance of that with Italian and I wish I did too.

What I am getting at, is its these places where I know I have roots that I think of as my homeland, granted its a very Romantic idea of 'homeland.' Though never having been to Ukraine, I feel a very strong connection and am very much a Ukrainian nationalist even though I only speak Russian. It is the same in Italy (though no one ever thinks I am Italian) and Switzerland. I would love to speak the dialects in the areas my family is from and where I still have relatives. Though dialect is often looked down upon, it is a sign of connection to a place, a sense of connection often lost in America, where fairly interchangeable suburbs take the place of ancestral villages.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gummy Bears with Convictions

So yeah, the Austrian general election was this week. Before that, there was a lot of campaigning going on, campaigning that made Austria seem a lot smaller than it is. First my friend Scott met the Chancellor Schüssel, who was seeking re-election. Yes, good old Schüssel gave Scott an energy drink that said "the power Chancellor"on it, with his picture on it, not tacky at all.

Then came the finance minister. Now living in New York, you get used to walking by pretty much anyone trying to give you something on the street. Green Peace? I don't think so. Orphans in disaster ridden country? Not falling for that one. So that was pretty much the mentality I had walking around Vienna, except this time the person giving out stuff was the Austrian finance minister. I blew right by him. It was only ten feet on when I realized the hand-out Scott had accepted from said creepy man on the street was actually a signed picture of the guy who gave it to us with the caption 'Austrian Finance Minister' on it. I, like I'm sure any of us would do, ran back to embrace the minister and get my own hand-out. He was delightfullyly creeped out.

So for whatever reason, around that whole block there was loads of free stuff being given out. There were free balloons, gift bags, and of course gummy bears:

Yes, I can honestly say that these are the first political gummy bears I've seen and eaten. For some reason I am not sure of, they seemed to be rooster heads. The back says 'Vienna's strong Party,' its funny because they lost.


Really? No one likes the penguin cartoon? I like his expression (the one under the cactus). Maybe I just feel like I am the sort of penguin that would be crushed by a cactus. Maybe I just feel like I have that expression all the time. Oh yeah, I think everyone here thinks I am fifty.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


It was my toughest case...


Oh yes, and in the last section (about who I would choose to be the chef) my nose started to run uncontrollably, so apparently I am allergic to the lsat. My proctor have me a tissue though.

The Lsat

It went okay. I don't think I bombed it and I don't think I aced it, so what Actually happens will depend on how well I did on the stuff I was less than 100% sure on. I am kind of weird and think that if I think I did well on something as punishment I won't (as some sort of punishment for hubris) so I am preparing for the worst. I've also decided that I would rather end up doing better than I thought I would, so I am trying to convince myself I did really terribly to make that a little easier.

The actual test was pretty funny. I don't remember the name if it, but it reminded me of a film people usually watch around Christmas time in Germany (yes, yes, I know Germany, again). It's black and white and it involved a butler setting a very long table a serving multiple courses of a very formal only one woman. I felt like the old woman because I was taking the exam in a big lecture hall and all the instructions were meant for big groups, but it was only me. So we had to do things like the id check, even though the proctor was the head of academic studies and knew me. It did take some of the pressure off though.

I think my proctor was pretty amused by America's draconian test taking procedures, involving finger printing, numerous verbal threats in the instructions, and a law school admission test that has nothing to do with law. My writing sample was on who I would hire to take over as a personal chef on a cruise ship. God bless you lsat! God bless.


I love diplomacy, -sigh-, (pocked with a stick from behind), become a diplomat today and you too can have a great sash just like mine...