German Spam
June 2008

 
Had a fantastic, brief trip to the USA. I spoke at a conference in Chicago and decided to build a larger visit around such, taking Stefan for his first visits to my hometown of Henderson, Kentucky and to my spiritual hometown of Austin, Texas. It was quite a whirlwind tour. Highlights of the trip: Photos from Henderson (not many; we weren't very photo-oriented this trip for some reason).

The surreal moments

The downsides/disappointments It was a very big deal for me to take Stefan to Ginny's Little Longhorn in Austin because it played a role in our first meeting: I learned about it from Kirsty of Ireland, who I knew from Postcard2. When we met face-to-face for the first time, she chastised me for living in Austin and not knowing about Ginny's. A few months after I moved to Germany, I went on a vacation to Ireland and stayed with Kirsty, who urged me to go visit New Grange -- and that's where I met Stefan. So I felt like I should take Stefan to Ginny's to bring the journey full circle. It was a very special evening.

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

I know you are all wondering what I thought of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. If you haven't seen the movie, skip this, because there will be MAJOR spoilers:

First off, there is no better high than the 20 minutes before I see a movie I am dieing, dieing, dieing to see for the first time. I am in a state of utter ecstasy. And if the movie turns out to be good -- I'm in a state of nirvana for days.

I'm sad to say that my euphoria disapated oh-so-quickly while watching this film... I thought it was really, really lacking in most of the elements that made the first and third movies so awesome. And I'm sure we have George Lucas to thank/blame for that, just like the last four "Star Wars" movies. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull lost its way early on and got more and more outrageous and far away from the original Indy "myth."

It was great to see Harrison in the outfit again, I thought the guy who played his son was good, I loved seeing Marion/Karen Allen again, and I *loved* how Marcus still got to do something in the movie even though the actor who played him in the first and third films is dead -- Deholm Elliot deserved that. I loved the college campus scenes too. I thought the opening was solid, and I loved the Ark reference. But that's all that I can say good about the film.

So, now Indy's an international *spy*?!? When did THAT happen? Please... Give me a break. I loved how Cate Blanchett looked, but she was a lackluster villian. She should have been a rival to Indy, someone he was truly competing with, and someone who was truly *evil*, so that when she came onto the screen, each time, you went, oh no, what awful thing is she going to do? So many, many dumb scenes: Blanchett's character trying to do a Vulcan mind meld (wtf?!), Indy looking into the eyes of the crystal skull (Why? how did that further the plot line *at all*?!), and the Tarzan scene (STUPID). The British guy sidekick -- totally not needed, useless to the story, didn't add anything to the movie (that's not a reference to the actor, who I like very much).

But for all these constant misfires throughout the movie, the endng was the total sinker. "Interdimensional beings"?!?!? Insert huge amount of eye-rolling here.

Once again, George Lucas doesn't understand a myth of his own creation -- he forgets (or maybe never, ever understood) what made it work in the first place, and instead goes off on a crazy, unrelated tangent. What a shame. What a HUGE shame.

Harrison Ford and the aliens from another dimension -- I'm giving it a thumbs down.

Stefan, however, liked it.

Please let the next X-Files movie be better...

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

In the middle of June, we went to a weekend gathering for about 300 Honda Africa Twin riders.

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

Listening to Van Lear Rose nonstop. I stumbled onto a clip from Letterman on YouTube of Loretta Lynn and Jack White singing something from it and burst into tears. It was the most original, sincere thing I'd heard in years. So when we were in the USA, I bought the CD from Waterloo Records in Austin (I never did find a reliable, easy place to download it). And now, I can't get enough of it.

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

Most of the electronic junk mail I get via email comes from people -- friends, families, strangers -- who don't have up-to-date anti-spyware on their computers. I know this because I have one email address I never use for anything except emailing friends and family (not for ecommerce, not to sign up for anything, etc.), and yet, it gets junk mail. And now, I'm getting German junk mail. I'm learning all sorts of saucy German phrases as a result.

If you don't have anti-spyware software on your computer, or you don't regularly update your virus software, may I beg you to please do so? You can get help at TechSoup.org.

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

I'm getting regular emails from various people about to embark on jobs in Afghanistan, per my blogs about my own experience. It's particularly gratifying to know I've helped several women who have not been given very specific info about what to wear, how to act, etc.

One guy, from Austria, wrote me in May for some follow-up advice, but had some bad news for me as well: Afghan Fried Chicken burned down. Yes, the little food sanctuary that kept me (and Kabul Kitty) oh-so-happy on oh-so-many occasions is no more. It wasn't attacked -- someone just got crazy with the fryers or something. Sigh. Such a loss.

L'Atmosphere is also closed. Kabul is going to be hard to survive without L'Atmo... and now the press won't be able to write the usual "oh the foreigners go so wild at L'Atmo" story -- they won't know what to write now.

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

My former Afghan assistant was in the USA from March through May, studying through a special program at a university in Washington (state) for her Master's degree -- it's a program that's set up specifically for future leaders from developing countries, and she is one of a group of Afghans who made the journey. We stayed in touch during her visit, and on the day she was leaving, I wrote her an email of encouragement, hoping she had a good time, asking about her mother (she's very close to her mother), telling her to keep studying hard, etc. She sent me this just before she left the USA:

Thanks alot for your kind mail and wishes for me. I am so happy and sad today to leave here. You know I am leaving here with lots of memory that all of them is good and not one bad action from the people. Right now I am crying when I am writing for you because after two hours I will leave here. The people are really lovely and they support us alot. I wish I could see you whenever I was here but unfortunately I couldn't. Hope to see you when I come for the second time.

Last week when my mother called asked me weather I visit your mother or not I told her that I am in a different state and its very difficult to visit them. She is always asking about you and have good memory from you and everytime pray and wish you good things.

At the end please pass my regards to Stefan.

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

I sent this link to Stefan and, being a guy, he really liked it: 9 Ways To Start a Fire Without Matches

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

The German slang for McDonald's? McDoof. It means "Mc Idiot."

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

Somehow, I stumbled on to the 1943 German version of the movie Titanic and, wow, what a film! James Cameron owes royalties big time. Tsk. Tsk. Check out the user comments and message board for the film on IMDB if you want to learn what makes this film so special. And the women's outfits are to DIE for...

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

I went to London for a day and a half for a conference, and spent the morning before my flight home walking around Covent Garden with a colleague. The late morning on a weekday is the perfect time to go to the artisan shops there; no crowds, easy to browse. Ofcourse, that's my theory about everything in London: for anything you want to see, go early on a weekday.

I always get this sense of empowerment when I navigate the Tube and trains of London. This feeling of, hey, look at me, I can do this just like someone who lives here! Well, almost... I smile too much. Very un-London of me. I love the city on many levels, and am always reminded of how much I wanted to live in London in my early 20s. I understand why it appealed to me then, but now... no way. I love to visit, but I love to leave.

But I'm so ashamed that I haven't made a point of going up to London at least every other year only to go to theater. Shame on me.

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

In Germany and in London, everyone wants to know what I thinks of the election. Everyone is split between Obama and Clinton. I'm fascinated to hear from foreigners about what appeals to them about either candidate. No one is for McCain.

Friend Tommy Womack wrote a song asking Hillary to leave the Presidential election. And the next day, she did! Tommy is magic... but I'm still angry over the blatent misogyny in the media.

Wouldn't it be amazing if the rest of the elections could be about ISSUES and POLICY APPROACHES?!? Not rumor or innuendo, not "gotcha" moments, but strictly on where the candidates stand and how they will address various situations.

 
   Vote Obama
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

How can schadenfreude be the English word of the day?

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

The song "I'll Melt With You" (performed by Modern English and the theme song of my days in high school) makes me wish I'd played drums.

The song "Let's Live Together" (by Robbie Fulks) makes me wish I'd played fiddle.

The song "Don't Be Cruel" (as performed by Elvis and the boys) makes me wish I'd played stand-up bass.

The song "Bohemian Rhapsody" (as performed by Queen, ofcourse) makes me wish I'd played piano.

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

Fark linked to a story that says that the Pope now sends text message prayers. Here's what Fark thinks one will look like:

to: god n hvn: u r kool. we want kool & 4 earth 2b like hvn. giv us food 2day & 4giv r sinz like we 4giv sinz. lol save r souls, cuz we kno u r tight, u r strong & u r kool 4evs. werd
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

"Scientists are always probing the strengths and weakness of their hypotheses. That is the very nature of the enterprise. But evolution is no longer a hypothesis. It is a theory rigorously supported by abundant evidence. The weaknesses that creationists hope to teach as a way of refuting evolution are themselves antiquated, long since filed away as solved. The religious faith underlying creationism has a place, in church and social studies courses. Science belongs in science classrooms."
-- June 7, 2008 editorial from The New York Times

Amen.

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

Not sure who chose 50 Greatest Commercial Parodies, but I really enjoyed them. I will never forget when my brother and I saw the Bass Omatic when it originally aired. But the Robot insurance is, I think, even better.

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

Still haven't drank a Coca Cola... I'm not convinced I've given it up forever. Oh, the longing... when will it end?!?

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

Books I was reading during this blawg:

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

I support the:
National Education Association, great public schools in the USA for every child
Thank you, NEA, for being there for me and ensuring that I got a great PUBLIC education.
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

Keep the wild in your heard, not in your home; make no wild or exotic creature a pet

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

If you have read this blawg, PLEASE let me know.
Comments are welcomed, and motivate me to keep writing --
without comments, I start to think I'm talking to cyberair.


Essays home page | My Germany home page | contact me


This is a personal non-business-related page

The personal opinions expressed on this page are solely those of Ms. Cravens, unless otherwise noted.