Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year's Eve celebration and a healthy and happy 2006 (except, of course, for my enemies, upon whom I wish syphilis and overwhelmingly fetid flatulence). Because I know many of you (both personally and in the biblical sense (female readers only)), I am providing, courtesy of, this Survival Guide to Drunken New Year's Eve Sex (yes, I know it's small, click on it to make it bigger).

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Fighting Crime

I know that I often times write about myself, NegativeMode, and my partner in crime (and European traveling), PostiveMode, but that many of you don't know what we look like. Well, here's a picture of us in our crime-fighting outfits. I, of course, am wearing red with an "N" on my helmet for "NegativeMode". PositiveMode is wearing blue with an "S" on his helmet for "SuperPositiveMode" (his full name). It's hard to tell from that angle, but I just want to point out that even though PositiveMode is much taller, I have a much bigger package. Also, we're Asian. Enjoy:

Thanks to NicoleMode for taking the picture. She was wearing a yellow version of the outfit, but unfortunately, we don't have that picture.

Edit: In winter, when it is too cold to wear our crime-fighting outfits outdoors, we put on our exo-uniforms, grab our little poking sticks and poorly constucted chairs and slide across frozen lakes. It passes the time:

Friday, December 23, 2005

I Hope Santa Has a Decent Salary

According to Reuters, whose reporters are apparently looking for things to do this time of year, Santa Clause most likely lives in Iceland. This revelation is based on the fact that 1) Santa must live somewhere north, and 2) when written to in eight countrys, the only response from Santa came from Iceland. Makes sense to me. How could he write back from Finland or Sweden if he's in Iceland? Fool proof.

This begs the question, of course, how much does Santa make? As those of you who have read NegativeMode before know, NegativeMode has been to Iceland (read about that lovely trip here and here, with pictures here), and let me tell you, it is the most expensive place on Earth. I won't go into that again, because I know I've mentioned how expensive it is there at least 15 times on this blog, but really, how does Santa afford it? He's not salaried that I'm aware of. My only guess is that he drives the $80 "supersaver" shuttle from the airport to Reykjavik. Now that's quite a racket. No way he's getting that fat in the land of $30 pizzas and $20 chicken breasts without a cushy, well-paying job. Also, I'd like to point out that I didn't see Santa once when I was there, but that's probably because according to the Reuters article, he lives in Dimmuborgir, a remote area of northern Iceland, that I did not have the pleasure of visiting.

Finally, I'd recommend reading the article, if for nothing else than to laugh at the silly Nordic nations that are a fussin' and a feudin' as to in whose country Santa actually lives (even though St. Nicholas actually lived in present day Turkey).

For those of you that can't read, here is an image of a South Korean postman Santa that has nothing to do with the story, but that Reuters decided should be on the same page (I do admit, it's an amusing picture):

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I'd like to introduce a new link to NegativeMode . . . Kabulog. It's right there to your right, first link in the list. Don't be afraid to touch it. Kabulog is a blog written by a friend of mine (and of many of you) who recently (September) relocated to Kabul, Afghanistan to work (and write blogs). Kabulog sort of chronicals his experiences (although, Q.A., I think that you could use more chronicaling and less pseudo-political bullshitting) and thoughts about moving to/living in a new mileau. Anyway, you should read it, as it's a lot more thoughtful than the crap I post up here (although definitely not as uproariously funny, and certainly less scatological).

Speaking of which, I know I've been slacking with the posts, but I've made a Christmas resolution to start posting more regularly. The problem is, I have some standards, so I don't like to throw any crap up here (which it may seem like I often time do). I'd rather sacrifice quantity for quality. Also, I'm busy running the Commonwealth.

Finally, I've never mentioned the link to your right entitled "NegativeMode Map." It is exactly that: a map of where my readers are located (along with mustachioed pictures). Take a second and click on the link and put yourself on the map. Better yet, add a picture of yourself with a mustache. They're funny.

That's all. Read Kabulog and come back here often. I know you're bored anyway. Oh, here's a picture I stole from Kabulog because I know that many of you can't read and just like to look at pictures:

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Knights of the Round (Night)Table

In case you're thinking of attacking me while I sleep, don't. I keep a bat under my bed. If I hear you so much as crack open my door, I will awake instantly, and in one smooth, cat-like motion, grab my bat and pound you on the head. You don't want that, do you?

For those of you who may not have the reflexes and speed that I do, I'd encourage you to purchase James McAdam's bedside table. Why? Because, Mr. McAdam's table is no ordinary table. Rather, it is a club and shield to provide you with a medieval defense against intruders (I don't really know what to tell you if they have a gun. Pray?). Just look at it:

Pretty awesome huh? No way you're going to get robbed or attacked when you swiftly disassemble your table and attack like so. I'm 99.8% certain it's better than a gun.

Product page here.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Some Sex Advice

For those of you who were planning on having sex at the speed of light (DJ Skuggs?), please read this post in its entirety first. According to Dr. John Marshall, Ph.D., it is probably not advisable to have sex at such a high velocity. Who would have thunk? Here is his list of the Top 10 Reasons Why Sex at the Speed of Light is not an Advisable Form of Procreation (this is just the list, to read the reasons, which are pretty amusing/disturbing, click here):

10. Penile Length Contraction
9. Penile Black Hole Formation
8. Penis Vaproisation
7. Relatavistic Flaming Semen
6. Time-Dialated Necrophilia
5. Lack of Visual Appeal
4. Religious Values
3. Property Damage
2. Deafening Sonic Booms
1. Excessive Dietary Requirements

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Oy Vey

At my bar mitzvah, I had a band. They were pretty good. Everyone had a good time. I got lots of presents. That's about all I can remember. Elizabeth Brooks, on the other hand, had 50 Cent perform recently at her bat mitzvah. I guess I can't really knock her as that's pretty cool. I don't even like 50, but I think I would have let him perform at my shindig. Then again, I don't know for certain, but I'm 99.99% sure my dad didn't spend $10 million (yes million) on my party. It's all good though.


"Go Shorty, It's Your Bat Mitzvah." "We gonna party like it's your bat mitzvah".... Recently 50 Cent followed in enemy Ja Rule's footsteps by performing at a posh bat mitzvah. The party which was held at The Rainbow Room in NYC, was thrown by David H. Brooks, CEO for DHB Industries, a company that manufactures bullet proof vests. According to the NY Daily News' Lowdown column 50 was paid $500,000 to perform 5 songs for Brooks' daughter Elizabeth. Meanwhile during his act (where he actually did switch up the lyrics of "In Da Club" to "go shorty it's your bat mitzvah") 50's bouncers reportedly blocked party goers from taking pictures, as well as Brook's personal cameramen. One witness said that the Queens rapper "and his posse smelled like an open bottle of Hennessy," while also adding that he spotted a naked woman waiting for 50 in his limo as he exited the club. Oy vey. Curtis "Interscope" Jackson wasn't the only performer that night, R&B rookie of the year Ciara, and celebrity DJ AM also made an appearance along with sets from classic rock legends Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mack, Tom Petty, Don Henley and Joe Walsh of The Eagles, Aerosmith, and smooth jazz OG Kenny G. Brook's paid an estimated $10 million for the event.

Also, here are pictures from the bat mitzvah. NO WAY those chicks are 13 (check out some of the pictures at the end). I'd say A LOT more, but I'll limit my comments there for fear of jail time (seriously, look at those pictures).

Check out My Fish Sausage

Apparently mad cow disease has been good to the makers of fish sausages in Japan. The delectible sausages (made of fish, hence, "fish sausage") are making a comeback in the Land of the Rising Sun. I didn't see any when I was there, but they come in such awesome flavors as strawberry milk flavored fish sausage, cod ovum, fruit and vegetable, and tuna grits. Sounds tasty. Read about them here.

Also, from the obvious column, it may be a bad idea to engage in oral sex when you have braces. True. It also may be a bad idea to keep razor blades in your underwear. Who knew?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Motorcycles and Firearms

Most NegativeMode readers are familiar with this site's proprietors' stated enthusiasm for all things motorcycle. You may not be aware, however, of our second collective obsession: weapons, guns specifically. Finally, a learned scholar has produced some fine advice for those seeking to combine the two. Christopher Lee offers some sage wisdom on the fine art of riding with a firearm:

With the growing popularity of personal firearms carry among motorcyclists, it's important to find the weapon that best meets our rather specific self defense needs. On occasion, a drunk driver or a car driver experiencing road rage will purposefully ram a motorcycle, which never works out well for the motorcyclist.

Use your superior agility and acceleration to evade the car if you can. However, because the driver is attacking the motorcyclist with a deadly weapon (the car), the motorcyclist is legally entitled to defend him or her self with lethal force, probably a firearm. Will you ever be in this situation? Let's hope not. But should you be, here are some suggestions that might just keep you alive:

My favorites are points 5 and 6:

5. If you decide to fire, FIRE AT THE DRIVER, NOT THE CAR. Obvious in retrospect, make sure you decide to fire at the driver before you engage to avoid time-consuming, and therefore dangerous, mistakes.

6. Once you hit the driver, get away from the car! The car could go ANYWHERE at that point, and the farther you move away from it, the less likely it is to accidentally hit you.

Read on here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thoughts on Meat

I think that if I had to do it all over again, I'd be a butcher. In my experience, butchers are nice people -- very helpful when it comes to making tough choices about meat. There's a certain amount of respect that comes with being a butcher. Maybe when I retire.

From the ironic files: Two men in Manchester, NH have been charged with stealing from a Wendy's restaurant. One of the men's name -- Ronald MacDonald. Article here.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Pat Morita, who starred in The Karate Kid (and also appeared in several TV shows, including a handful of episodes of M*A*S*H (I really just wanted to type the name with those asterisks (because it looks kind of cool), he had many roles more notable than M*A*SH) has died.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Very Special Holiday Treat

Both because it's that holiday time of the year, and because a lot of you haven't heard this FANTASTIC song in about a year (or, for the very unlucky, never at all), I felt the strong desire to repost the link to my favorite holiday song here.

I'm not going to describe what song it is, because the surprise helps to add to the joy. Suffice it to say, it's my favorite holiday song out there. Don't forget to click on the link to the remix at the bottom of the page, it's simply brilliant. I only hope that I can listen to this song from Hell. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

JoePa and the Lions are Big Ten Champs!

Since this space has previously been used to praise the accomplishments of various sporting teams, I can't, in good conscious, let another minute go by without congratulating the Penn State Nittany Lions on winning the Big Ten Saturday night with a rousing win over Michigan State. As many of you know, PSU hasn't been playing at the level that most Penn State fans have become accustomed to over the years. This year, lead by a group of seniors who just wouldn't quit, the Lions turned their fortune around, going 10-1. Save the two seconds mysteriously added to the clock against Mighigan, and this team would be undefeated. Either way, I don't think many people, if any, predicted a 10-1 record and a trip to a BCS bowl. Congratulations guys on an absolutely fantastic season. WE ARE!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Is it Breezy in Here?

Webster University student Misha Sulpovar has been charged with indecent exposure. Why? Because his "performance art piece" consisted of him walking up to random people with his twig and berries hanging out of his pants zipper. He claims he wanted to see the people's reactions. Hell, I'd want to see their reactions too. In one instance, he walked up to a table at Webster's career fair "with [his] genitalia exposed through a pant zipper. After inquiring if there were any job openings with the company, . . . the suspect then colored on his genitals with a highlighter from the company's table." Makes sense to me. Maybe I'll try this next time I'm looking for a job.

Misha himself gave his reasons in his blog (I recommed that you read his blog, which is interesting to say the least): "
I go out to a populated, neutral, public place with an unzipped fly and what appears to be scrotum-like flesh hanging out. I would walk around seemingly unaware of this detail and note peoples' reactions." Why not. Oh wait, I know, because it's illegal. I mean, who wouldn't want to walk around with his (or I suppose, in today's times, her) scrotum-like flesh hanging out on a hot day? You just can't though, just like you can't rob a bank. Oh well, sorry Misha. Full article here.

Also, read about the history of beer-pong here, in part two of the Dartmouth's three part series on the evolution of beer pong.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Apparently Satan is an Inventor

I don't have any comments on this other than explitives. It makes me mad. Reagan SMASH:

Capton’s Beverage Tracker system is an innovative liquor monitoring system that helps bar owners increase their liquor profits by providing real-time wireless liquor consumption data to help prevent against shrinkage. Our system help you identify over-pours and drink giveaways. Think of it as an electronic journal of everything that happens within your bar operations. Remember, you can’t manage what you can’t measure!

* - Free-Pour Spout
* - Real-Time Pour Tracking
* - Wireless Transmission
* - Accurate To 1/10th Ounce
* - Engage/Disengage Switch
* - Increases Bar Profits
* - Reduces Over-Pours
* - Reduces Theft
* - Tracks Par Stock
* - Reduces Liquor Costs

Beverage Tracker® takes complex technology and creates a simple and manageable way to track each and every ounce as your bar staff free-pours liquor. Electronics and a battery are contained in each spout. As the spout pours liquor it wirelessly transmits how much in real-time to software which captures each and every pour.

Your patrons will never know you’re using something besides a regular pour top. Your bartenders will be conscious that even though they are free pouring they are still accountable for what they pour.

Wireless Spout
Beverage Tracker uses wireless free-pour spouts, allowing bartenders to pour liquor without restricting flow or limiting quantities. Each spout contains a unique microchip that transmits pour data via radio frequency to the receiver. Each microchip has a unique code, enabling each spout to be tracked individually.
Thanks to RealTechNews for the article.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'd Go With Pink


Seeing red? It may be your law firm

What mood is your law firm?

A study of the country's 200 most profitable firms found that more than half of them -- 116, to be exact -- have blue logos, websites, business cards, and other advertising materials.

Why blue? Maybe because it's what's known in the marketing business as a ''low arousal" color, one that elicits a sense of calm and relaxation. Blue also projects an aura of royalty and authority.

Red, in contrast, is an adrenaline-pumping, ''high arousal" color that exudes excitement, action, and aggression, says Tom Simons, founder of Partners + Simons, the Boston ad agency that did the study.

Red has even been shown to raise blood pressure, which may be why only 19 percent of the law firms surveyed chose it for their brand identity.

For Choate, Hall & Stewart, arousal may be a good thing. The firm recently ditched its blue motif and now features a bright red chili pepper on its website. The switch was driven by client feedback that described the firm as warm, intense, and dynamic, says Betsy Huntley, Choate's marketing director.

Just 8 percent of the firms picked gray, the color of overcast skies, perhaps wanting to avoid a dour, serious image.

Two percent selected green, nature's color. That may be a shade law firms avoid, Simons said, because it's also the color of the greenback (although others could make a case that's exactly the message lawyers want to send).

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Study: The Efficacy of Aluminum Foil Helmets

Since I know that most of you out there reading NegativeMode are fairly off-centered, I would not be surprised to find out a good number of you at some point have worn aluminum helmets around as a way to thwart government mind control devices. I'm pretty sure that PositiveMode wears them on a semi-regular basis. Well, as a service to you, my insane readers, I present you with this study conducted by four M.I.T. students on the efficacy of those aluminum mind protecters you've been wearing. According to the research, the helmets can actually amplify certain frequencies used exclusively by the federal government.

Here's the study abstract:
Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We theorize that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.
The entire study can be found here. Time to find some new protection.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sentencing Trial Comes to a Head

Follow up to my April 28, 2005 post regarding the Norwegian woman charged with raping some man because she blew him while he was asleep:

The 24-year-old woman found guilty on Thursday of forcing sex on a sleeping man has been sentenced to eight months in prison by a Bergen court.The woman was sentenced according to rape laws, for having obtained sexual access to a sleeping man. This was the appeals trial, after she had been sentenced to nine months for the same offense.

The assault took place at a post-party gathering in a Bergen apartment on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2004. The woman admitted to taking the man's erect penis in her mouth but claimed that he was awake and approved.

The man awoke and became extremely upset and has had psychological difficulties as a result of the incident. The appeals jury again found in favor of the man's version, the woman having suffered a severe loss of credibility by changing her story just before the first trial began.

She had originally denied that any sexual contact took place, but then said it was consensual after a DNA report emerged.

This is the first time in Norway that a woman has been convicted for rape as the sole assailant. There is one prior case of a woman being convicted of being an accessory to rape, along with two male co-defendants.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Some Thoughts On Modern Pant Trends

I think that men's pants manufacturers have been too slow in adapting to today's waist-line trends. More specifically, men are wearing their pants an inch or two lower these days than was the case in the past. While some jeans manufacturers have addressed this problem by moving up the crotch (more specifically, decreasing the distance from the "waist" to the "crotch"), far too few dress slacks manufacturers have followed suit (no pun intended). Perhaps this is to reduce intraoffice romance, so men's pants are not as compact in the crotch region, thus eliciting a carnal response in the fairer sex.

I've thought a lot about office-pants length, although not as much about the location of the crotch (though now I am sure to consider that thoroughly). I bought a pair of dress pants a few weeks ago that were a 30-inch inseam - even the 32 I would have had to wear too high. this seemed really weird because 30 is in the lower range of what you can get, yet i am somewhat above-average in height (these were, of course, particularly long for 30-inches but still).
I think you can get fashionable work pants that are cut right, they're just harder to find, and you probably have to pay more.
I really hope that it has something to do with office romance.

That's pretty shocking that you purchased a 30-inch-inseam pant. I generally wear a 32 (and occasionally 33) and you're a good 3-4 inches taller than me. It's actually a pretty good mental picture of someone with really short legs but an incredibly long torso who is 6'2". You must be some kind of freak.

I don't think it's that I have freakishly short legs (or, alternatively, a shockingly long torso). I think these pants were just slighly long, and I think I like to wear them (gasp) even lower than you do. normally I wear a 32, and if I'm buying a suit, sometimes the salesman guy tries to but me into 34s but then they're usually up really too high.

Monday, October 31, 2005

A Fatwa on Football

From the Guardian Unlimited. A fatwa on football (soccer). I thought it was amusing.

The legal opinions proclaimed by Islamic scholars, known as fatwas, have proliferated in the Muslim world since the 1980s. The growth in fatwas - some of them contradictory - has led to debate over who can legitimately issue them. As part of a government drive to eliminate frivolous fatwas, the Saudi newspaper Al Watan recently published one such edict setting out new rules for football. We publish an edited translation below.

In the name of God the merciful and benevolent:

1. International terminology that heretics use, such as "foul," "penalty", "corner," "goal", "out" and others, should be abandoned and not said. Whoever says them should be punished and ejected from the game.

2. Do not call "foul" and stop the game if someone falls and sprains a hand or foot or the ball touches his hand, and do not give a yellow or red card to whoever was responsible for the injury or tackle. Instead, it should be adjudicated according to Sharia rulings concerning broken bones and injuries.

3. Do not follow the heretics, the Jews, the Christians and especially evil America regarding the number of players. Do not play with 11 people. Add to this number or decrease it.

4. Play in your regular clothes or your pyjamas or something like that, but not coloured shorts and numbered T-shirts, because shorts and T-shirts are not Muslim clothing. Rather, they are heretical and western clothing, so beware of imitating their fashion.

5. If you have fulfilled these conditions and intend to play soccer, play to strengthen the body in order better to struggle in the way of God on high and to prepare the body for when it is called to jihad. Soccer is not for passing time or the thrill of so-called victory.

6. Do not play in two halves. Rather, play in one half or three halves in order to completely differentiate yourselves from the heretics, the corrupted and the disobedient.

7. If neither of you beats the other, or "wins", as it is called, and neither puts the leather between the posts, do not add extra time or penalties. Instead leave the field, because winning with extra time and penalty kicks is the pinnacle of imitating heretics and international rules.

8. Young crowds should not gather to watch when you play because if you are there for the sake of sports and strengthening your bodies as you claimed, why would people watch you? You should make them join your physical fitness and jihad preparation, or you should say: "Go proselytise and seek out morally reprehensible acts in the markets and the press and leave us to our physical fitness."

9. You should spit in the face of whoever puts the ball between the posts or uprights and then runs in order to get his friends to follow him and hug him like players in America or France do, and you should punish him, for what is the relationship between celebrating, hugging and kissing and the sports that you are practising?

10. You should use two posts instead of three pieces of wood or steel that you erect in order to put the ball between them, meaning that you should remove the crossbar in order not to imitate the heretics and in order to be entirely distinct from the soccer system's despotic international rules.

11. Do not do what is called "substitution," that is, taking the place of someone who has fallen, because this is a practice of the heretics in America and elsewhere.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Run-In I Shall Never Forget

Well, since most people seem to enjoy this blog the most when I write about my travels, I thought that today I might give you just what you asked for. Here's a little story from my trip to Europe that I forgot to write about while I was there (hard to believe I missed it, as it's pretty good). Anyway, hope you enjoy it.

If you remember from reading NegativeMode in August, I traveled to Europe. I went to over ten countries, lots of cities, etc. The last country I was in before returning home was Germany (if you don't count the stopover in Iceland). While in Munich, PositiveMode and I rented motorcycles and rode south, through the Alps, and into Austria. If you don't remember, or didn't know in the first place, you can read about that trip here.

So, during our ride, just as we passed back into Germany from Austria, PositiveMode and I pulled off of the side of the road to rest, drink some water, and enjoy the German Alps. We were in an idyllic town just at the foothills of the Alps, on the edge of a stream. There were even some cows wandering near-by with bells on their necks. Very Sound of Music. While we were relaxing, PositiveMode went into a nearby shop to purchase a few pretzels, a gold chain, and some chewing gum. Meanwhile, I wandered down the stream and a bit further into the woods. I was looking for a nice place to refill my water bottle, when wafting out through the trees, I heard what I thought were elfin voices singing, along with the sound of an accordion. I followed the noise as it grew louder. After about 50 meters, the singing stopped, but the accordion was melodically playing on. I continued towards the sound, when I reached a small clearing in the heavily wooded area. What I saw amazed me. There, staring forlornly into the distance was a lone Bavarian Highlander, outfitted in full lederhosen, playing a wistful dirge on his accordion. It turns out, he was staring up at something in the trees. Luckily, I was able to snap this picture:

I asked the wistful Highlander what he was staring at, and he slowly pointed to the trees. There, to my astonishment, were 9 dwarfs, drinking beer and playing Scatergories. Unfortunately, as soon as they saw me, they vanished, as if into thin air. Although startled, I asked the Highlander what just happened, was my mind playing tricks on me? The Highlander just smiled:

He then began stomping his feet rhythmically, smiling maniacally, and laughing like a mad man. For three seconds, silence. Then, as if he knew I was a native Pennsylvanian, he played the Pennsylvania Polka for me:

It was absolutely magical, but the whole time, I was upset that PositiveMode was missing such an authentic, magical, German experience. When I told the mysterious Highlander, he responded not with a word, but with a deep chortle which rose from the very bowls of his substantial belly. I looked at him quizzically, but he just smiled his mysterious Highlander smile, put down his accordion, and chugged a beer:

The next thing I knew, he was gone. Disappeared into the ether from whence he came. I quickly retraced my steps back down the stream to our motorcycles and told PositiveMode about what I had seen, but he didn't seem interested. Rather, he was more concerned with eating his pretzels and chewing his gum.

I just shrugged it off and we headed back to Munich. I can't believe I forgot about this story until now. I'm just glad I was lucky enough to get pictures to prove it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

White Sox Win World Series


This is the last time I will post a personal-triumphance sports update (I have to promise this to NegativeMode to get away with this one) but this story could not go ignored. For the first time since 1917, the Chicago White Sox are the World Series Champions.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Demography and Stuff

So, there's this website out there called frappr that I think is pretty cool. It allows you to use GoogleMaps to create a map of where all the members of your group are located. It can be any type of group you want. For instance, I've created a map of where all of you (my readers) are located. Simply click on this link, and you'll see what I'm talking about. Of course, this will only work if you're willing to participate, so do so damnit. I'm curious to see where all three of you are located. . . .

In other news, Canadians have discovered that the more educated a woman is, the lower her sex drive is likely to be. Any of you law school grads care to comment on that? Also, and this should come as no surprise (no pun intended, really), married women were more than twice as likely to report low sex drives. Read the article here. Great, I'm really looking forward to being married to an MBA grad.

Also, there's enough pot in Kentucky that if each Kentuckian were to smoke a joint an hour, they still wouldn't finish it all (although the article doesn't say how long the joint-an-hour smokage would have to last, but still....). Is this true BrownBear?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sing it Yao!

Don't ever tell me that China lacks the pop cultural cachet of which we Americans are so proud. We may have AJ, Brian, Howie, Kevin, and Nick, but they have these guys, who clearly have us topped in every conceivable category. Check it out, you won't be disappointed. You rock China. You most definitely rock.

Thanks for the link Trout, and a public congratulations on your marriage.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Golden Age of the Giant Wheel

I really find the phrase "Golden Age" distasteful and vainglorious. How can we possibly know that something has reached its golden age when technology/society/art is progressing at such a rapid rate? We've already had the golden ages of television, movies, aviation, and illustration. Is that to say that we've seen the best those areas have to offer? I doubt it. It's pretty hard to argue that the so-called golden ages were the best ages of their respective milieus. The Golden Age of Television didn't have one reality show, not to mention Saved By the Bell or Seinfeld. They didn't even have jet engines in the golden age of aviation (for the most part).

Have there been any recent golden ages? No one would dare call the 80s the golden age of something (maybe the Golden Age of 80's music), but did we have the golden age of anything in the 90s? Are we in the golden age of anything now? The Internet perhaps, or maybe porn, but again, how could you possibly say that? It just grinds my gears, that's all.

Is only one golden age so far that I feel confident in endorsing -- the Golden Age of Old Timey Bicycles (a.k.a. penny-farthings). I mean, look at this bicycle. It doesn't get much better than that.

Not only is it awesomely cool, but the penny-farthing was notoriously prone to accidents. "To slow and stop a high wheel, as with a fixed gear bicycle, the rider applies a backwards pedalling motion, augmented by use of a spoon-shaped brake pressing on the tyre. The center of mass being both high and not far behind the contact point of the front wheel meant that any attempt to stop suddenly, or any collision with a large pothole or other obstruction, would be likely to send them flying over the handle bars (known as "taking a header" or "coming a cropper"). On long downhill stretches it was recommended that riders take their feet off the pedals and hook them over the handlebars, so that in case of a crash they would land (hopefully) on their feet. This made for quick descents but left almost no chance of stopping should the need arise."

Just try and convince me that the penny-farthing isn't bad-ass.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Scouting for Camel Toads

Is there any need for me to even make a comment (click on the picture to enlarge it if you can't read it as is)? I'm just sad that with winter fast approaching, most, if not all, camel toads will go into hibernation. At least you can always travel north to Canada in search of the elusive Moose Knuckle.

Special thanks to Mr. E.L.McNett for sending me the picture.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Charlie Sheen's Necklace

ContactMusic, which is like an online version of Spin, Rolling Stone, etc. had this article about Charlie Sheen and porn-star Ginger Lynn online a while ago. I found it very amusing. The most pertinant parts are as follows:

Porn legend Ginger Lynn has astounded fans of veteran actor Charlie Sheen - by selling the pearl necklace he gave her when they were an item.

The Platoon star dated the blue movie actress during an era of self-confessed drug use, and gave her a pearl necklace . . . which she is now selling on internet auction house EBAY.

Lynn tells PAGESIX.COM, "I'm parting with a few of my things that no longer hold the value in my heart they used to.

"The pearl necklace . . . [was] the very first gifts that Charlie Sheen ever gave to me. Now you too can say you got a pearl necklace from Charlie."

If you don't know why that article is extremely funny, good for you, I suppose, but you can find out here, at UrbanDictionary (which by the way is awesome). I'm sorry that the article is old news, I just thought that it was a very well-written, informative article that most of my readers (if there are any left other than PositiveMode) would enjoy.

More importantly, I'm not sure exactly how you sell such an item on ebay. Usually, a pearl necklace is quite elusive, and at the very least, markedly ephemeral. How does shipping on that work, or is it for sale locally only? So many questions, so few answers.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Fowl Ball

I started wondering about the relationship between the military and chicken after passing by a KFC the other day. Colonel Sanders and his special recipe has tantalized our tastebuds for over a half of century. What about Chinese food? The delicacy of hot, sweet and spicy pieces of dark meat is known as General Tso's chicken. The perfect match of military precision and tender fowl - simply a coincidence or is there something deeper? I decided to probe a little further and this is what I found: here's a link to an excellent article by Michael Browning of the Washington Post that explains the roots of General Tso chicken. Did you know that Napoleon ate Chicken Marengo after defeating the Austrians at Marengo?

Amazing stuff I tell you.

Now, here are some of my own examples of chicken from around the world:
- Argentina - Lieutenant Garcia chicken - sauteed lightly in butter and lemon
- Ukraine - Admiral Boris chicken - boiled with potatoes and carrots and served on a chess board
- Qatar - Corporal Habib chicken - Roasted with garlic and served with nutty couscous
- Ireland - Private Ryan chicken (a.k.a. Saving Private Ryan chicken) - fried in canola oil and served with cabbage and corn nibblets

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Elevator Stand-Off

I really hate elevator stand-offs. By an elevator stand-off, I mean one of those instances where you're in an elevator, the elevator reaches its destination, you put your arm out and make the "after you" gesture, and at the same time, the other occupant also makes the "after you" jesture (I think this is almost exclusively a male thing, but I've never been in an elevator with another woman whereby I was also a woman so I don't know for sure). Sometimes, the arm jesture is accompanied by an "after you," "no, after you exchange."

It's just silly, two men standing there arguing about who should get of the elevator first. Does it make you effeminate to lose the stand-off? Is it boorish behavior to not offer to let another man off the elevator before you in the first place? Today, I was on the elevator with three other men. When we stopped, the other three all attempted to let the others off first. It was madness. Of course, I just got off. I refuse to participate in the elevator stand-off. I guess I'm just an effeminate boor.

Finally, there are few things better in this world than an authentic, Philadelphia cheesesteak.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

You Can Breathe Easy Now

I think the worst thing about not having your own office would be the inablility to freely pick your nose. Even if you have your own cubicle, you can discretely pick your nose. A shared office, however, would make any sort of probosciatory reconnaissance nearly impossible.

I don't really know if that's the case or not, but just something I thought about while sitting here, picking my nose in my private office.

Also, I keep both moisturizing lotion and Arby's horsey sauce (mayo with added horseradish I think) in my desk drawer. My face has been dry recently, and I've been using the lotion fairly often, which leads me to the fear that one day I'm going to rub Arby's horsey sauce all over my face. That would be embarrasing. Maybe I'll put them in separate drawers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

World's Most Expensive City Revisited

During my lunch today I came across the 2005 list of the World's Most Expensive Cities, conducted bi-annually by MercerHR. Topping the list are Tokyo, Osaka, London, Moscow, and Seoul, in that order. The rankings are compiled by Mercer using a "cost of living basket" comprised of 186 items which are purchased at three different stores (supermarkets, convenience stores, department stores) in each city. Add them up, divide, so some math, and there you have it, a list of the most expensive cities. Now, if you have been reading this blog for the past few months, you know that PositiveMode and I recently travelled to Europe, stopping first in Reykjavik, Iceland. Further, you know that PositiveMode and I are in mutual agreement that Reykjavik is the most expensive place on the planet (read my three previous posts about Reykjavik here, here, and here if you'd like).

So, where is Reykjavik on the list of the 144 most expensive cities (entire list here)? It's not there. There is absolutely no explaination for this whatsoever. Trust me. I've been to the cities ranked #1 (Tokyo), #3 (London), #8 (Copenhagen), #12 (Paris), #13 (NYC), #18 (Stockholm), and #20 (Sydney, where I even lived for six months) and not one of those places has anything on Reykjavik in terms of expensiveness. And those are just from the top 20. Is this ranking seriously trying to tell me that Reykjavik is less expensive than Chicago (#52), D.C. (#78), Detroit (#101), Pittsburgh (#111), or Winston Salem, NC (#119)? That's madness! Do you know how much a pizza pie is in Reykjavik? $30-$40. A .75 lb. piece of chicken breast at the super market? $12-$18. No joke. I saw it with my own eyes.

The only thing I can think of is that Mercer forgot about Iceland or Reykjavik for some reason. Perhaps their maps don't include any cities north of Oslo. I know PositiveMode can back me up on this one. If any of you have been to Reykjavik, please, feel free to comment, cause I'm at a loss here.

Unrelated News: This is just disturbing. Don't worry, it's safe for work, but that doesn't make it any less disturbing. It's a link to Steven Seagal's energy drink. I'll repeat that. It's a link to Steven Seagal's energy drink. Yes, Steven Seagal is producing an energy drink. I'm not sure what to even write about that. Just read this gem from the webpage: "Steven Seagal Enterprises was formed in 2004 as a way for Steven Seagal to share his wisdom and experience of energy with the world. The infinite wisdom of Steven Seagal combined with an experienced Sales and Marketing team has made it possible for Lightning Bolt to emerge as one of the most unique energy drinks on the market." WTF?!? "Wisdom and experience of energy"?!? "Infinite wisdom of Steven Seagal"?!? This has to be a joke right? Please tell me this is a joke (sadly, it isn't). Someone, please try this and let me know how your energy experience was. . . .

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thank You Jebus

I would just like to be the first (although at this point I am most likely the 57th or so) to congratulate PositiveMode for passing the Bar Exam on his first attempt. I had no doubt that he would pass with flying colors as they say. Again, congratulations, it was no easy feat (nor feet).

I would also like to be the 8th to congratulate NegativeMode for passing the Bar Exam on his first attempt as well. Not only is he handsome and smart, but now also a lawyer. Good on ya mate.

No doubt all of you knew that both Modes would some day be LawyerModes -- now it is official.

Word 'em up.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Sox Win AL Central

In an irregular bit of semi-conventional news, I happily report that the Chicago White Sox have officially clinched the American League Central Division Title, their first since 2000, by defeating the Detroit Tigers 4-2 this afternoon.

Here is a nice photo gallery of their celebration.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Give Peas a Chance

There are few things I hate more in this world than canned peas. In fact, I can only think of three things that I hate more than canned peas: Hitler, roaches and Ray Romano. I started ruminating about canned peas when I was eating fresh stir-fry from my work cafeteria. In my stir-fry was a handful of fresh peas. With wonderful flavor and texture, fresh peas are one of my favorite vegetables. Canned peas on the other hand taste like rotten garbage. This leads me to an important point - I believe that there is no greater difference between any fresh and canned product than there is between that of peas. For example, I enjoy the crispiness of fresh green beans, but also enjoy the somewhat mushy texture of canned green beans. Canned corn is ok with me. Same with canned spinach, mushrooms and carrots. Peas are a whole different story. For some reason, the process of canning the peas has stripped these once vibrant balls of flavor into lifeless, wrinkly, pungent funk. Someone needs to get on those Del Monte execs and tell them that the status quo is unacceptable. We cannot allow one more can to infect the palate of our youth. We must put a stop to this immediately. I need your help.

And to the Chesapeake You Shall Journey

I apoligize for the staleness of the previous title as alluded to by PositiveMode. I have no doubt he speaks for you all. Unfortunately, it's difficult for me to find time to post while adjusting my schedule back to that of the so-called "real world". Please do not take that as some sort of excuse, but rather as an acknowledgement of my own blogospheric shortcomings. I will make time for more postings. I pledge this to you.

While I'm here, I am happy to tell you all that the River is again flowing (or appears to be from my vantage point at least) in its proper North to South orientation. Perhaps the recent rain has raised river volume and spurred the River to take corrective action. Perhaps higher-ups as NOAA realized that I was on to Operation River Reversal. Maybe I'm just punch-drunk from years and years of playing face-cup (PositiveMode or DJ Skuggs could enlighten you on face-cup. It's not my place.). Whatever the cause, I don't care. As long as the River is once again back to PositiveMode (I guess I should have liked the fact that it was flowing in the opposite direction, as that would have been NegativeMode. However, with my new job and subsequent responsibilities in life, a backwards flowing river was just too much to take. In the future, I promise to be more attuned to my NegativeModeness.).

I'm Getting Sick of The Previous Title

So I'm going to change it, with this non-substantive post. "GULC's Very Own Apprentice" was getting stale.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

GULC's Very Own Apprentice

Let me start off by apoligizing for missing the annual "Talk Like a Pirate Day." There's really no excuse for that. Hat's off to PositiveMode for catching it and posting it up here. Now, on to the important news.

Tonight, I will be watching the season premier of a show I have never watched in the past: The Apprentice. I've heard every season that it's a good show, etc., but it just didn't appeal to me. Well, that's all changed with the addition of our very own apprentice, Marshawn. Those of you who recently graduated Georgetown Law with me all know Marshawn. What you probably didn't know (I didn't, but that's not really saying much, as I don't have my finger on the pulse of either reality-show world or law school world) is that she is one of the apprenti this season. Here's a link to her official bio from NBC (looking very serious I might add). The Apprentice is on every Thursday at 9pm eastern (for those of you in other, more silly, timezones) and I encourage you to root Marshawn on (although I don't know what help that will really be). Anyway, best of luck to you Marshawn, I'll be watching!

Other News: The river outside my window (which I now realize, after talking to some of my other working-stiff friends, is quite a commodity) still appears to be flowing in the wrong direction, albeit slower than before. Perhaps I'll take a walk down there one day at lunch to figure this mystey out.

I like Cirque de Soliel, but I feel quite effeminate discussing it.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Avast, Me Hearties!

I was waiting for NegativeMode himself to post this, but it's gotten too far along in the day.

Today is Interational Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Does anyone know what actual evidence we have that pirates really talked like this?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Questions Posed to You (Yes You).

Is it wrong for a man to use a bronzing moisturizing lotion? Is it wrong to even ask that question outside of the privacy of one's own home? I think the answers are "no" and "yes", in that order.

Have you ever walked down the street (or been on a train, bus, etc.) and thought, "I wonder if that guy is crazy, truly mentally insane. I mean, look at him, he must be. There is at least a 75% chance that guy is crazy," or something to that effect? I do all the time. Or at least I did all the time when I rode the metro daily. Point being, how many times do you think someone has looked at you and thought the same thing (or maybe, "I wonder if that guy is homeless?")? I'm sure people have thought I was crazy, although I don't know about homeless.

At what point in a relationship is it appropriate to tell someone that they have something in their teeth, on their face, etc.? The day you meet someone? Do you have to be good friends? Carnal knowledge?

Why does the river outside of my window look like it is flowing North when I know for a fact that it is flowing South (I don't think anyone can answer this without actually coming to my office and looking, but I'm perplexed nonetheless)?

I absolutely despise the phrase "to wit".

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Happiest Hour of All

I think happy hour is an interesting phenomenon. When I was in school, happy hour made sense: drinks were cheaper, which in turn, makes you happier (and drunker (which makes you happier)). With work though, happy hour oftentimes does not even include drink or food specials. It's just a time when you can get the hell out of work and get alcohol into your body as soon as possible. A more appropriate title would be "Thank the Lord I Don't Have to go Back to that Desk for Another 10 Hours Hour."

I realize that for most people, happy hour is truly a happy time, but again, that happiness usually stems from not having to be at work coupled with the alcohol. By that account, lunch could also qualify as a mini happy hour (or half-hour). You get to leave work, get some food, relax. That's happy hour right there minus the alcohol.

And if it's the alcohol that makes your hour so happy, why not just sneak some vodka into work and drink from 2-3. Guaranteed that could be one hell of an hour, and quite possibly much more fun than sitting with coworkers who you've just spent the last 10 hours with, trying to make small talk, while not trying to seem like a raging alcoholic (I admit, getting caught drinking vodka at your desk would make you seem more like a raging alcoholic, so you should try and avoid getting caught).

I hope I don't seem to bitter about happy hour, because I'm not at all. I just think it's an intersting cultural phenomenon. In fact, I'm going to go to happy hour today, although I doubt it will last just an hour. See you at 5. . . .

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I would like to echo the sentiments of NegativeMode (see immediately below) that this Blog will not slow down with the advent of this new, permanent "job" life-concept. I, for one, will redouble (and possibly retriple) my efforts on NegativeMode.

Also, I have resurrected PositiveMode, at least for this week. This is primarily a side project, as I do consider NegativeMode the more significant Mode (although it should not be forgotten that PositiveMode was the original, if only by one to two days, and if I recall correctly the name was Matt's idea), but I think that I can actually increase my quality and productivity on this, the Main Mode, by allowing something of an outlet over there. For those of you interested in a bit of a diversion, I suggest you occasionally read PositiveMode.

For other newly-graduated readers of all sorts who are starting jobs in and around this month or week, what you feel are asteroids smashing into the hull of the ship.

We're also out of coffee.


I am now in America and working at a real job. This makes posting much more difficult, although not impossible. I will do my best to keep NegativeMode alive and well, but do bear in mind that it is difficult to entertain the masses, even for me.

That is all for now. I just wanted to alleviate any fears that you may harbor deep down inside that perhaps NegativeMode is slowing down. It isn't. In many ways, it is only just getting started (I have no idea what that means, but it seems like the correct thing to say). Now if you'll excuse me, I must reinsert myself into the so-called "Real World."

Friday, September 02, 2005

Rough Riders ... The Full Report

Tuesday, September 29th at 9:30 am PositiveMode and myself went to the motorcycle rental shop, where we had, the night before, reserved our respective motorcycles. I had an '03 Honda 800 VFR waiting for me and P-Mode had a '04 BMW 1150R waiting for him (years are approximate). We geared up (full helmets, jackets, gloves) and headed out down the Autobahn (route 95), taking it easy as we got used to the new bikes to Starnberg. We had the entire route planned out on maps, one of which I had taped to my tank. I was therefore in the lead.

When we got to Starnberg (about 10 miles away from Munich), we were looking for Route 2 south, but couldn't find it right away. No problem. We stopped at a gas station, where I turned off my bike, and checked the map. We found our way in less than 2 minutes. Unfortunately (of fortunately for you, in terms of interesting stories), I got back on my Honda, hit the starter ... nothing. P-Mode and I have had pretty good experience with dead motorcycle batteries, and we knew right away ... dead battery. Inauspicious start to say the least. This was at about 10 am.

We asked at the gas station for a pay phone. None. Maybe some at the train station a few miles away, but no idea. Jumper cables? Only for sale. The attendent suggested we try a mechanic down the road. Okay, maybe he can jump the bike. As we had only one working bike, P-Mode headed over to the mechanic while I waited at the gas station. About an hour later, P-Mode finally shows back up. "Where the hell were you?" Apparently, he missed the turn for the mechanic, which put him back on the Autobahn. There were no exits between Starnberg and Munich, so he had to ride back to Munich, turn around, and then go to the mechanic. Once at the mechanic, P-Mode learned that the mechanic's grasp of English was about equal to P-Mode's grasp of German, which is to say rudimentary. Turns out, the trip to the mechanic wasn't much help (PositiveMode can expound on his "conversation" with the mechanic later).

So, back at the gas station over an hour later, the only solution we could come up with was to go back to Munich where we rented the bikes, and see what they would do about the problem, i.e., give me a new bike, fix the other, money back, etc. Of course, the only way back to Munich for the two of us was me on the back of P-Mode's BMW bike. Needless to say, to grown men on a small motorcycle is not the most heterosexual mode of transportation, especially here in the states. Luckily, it is slightly more accepted in Europe, and P-Mode has long hair coming from under his helmet (thus allowing me to pretend he was a pretty lady, albeit a large pretty lady), so that's what we did. I hopped on back and off to Munich we went.

Now, I was willing to get on the back of his bike, as it was our only mode of transportation back to Munich to try and resolve the problem, but that's where I drew the line. No way was I wrapping my arms around P-Mode to hold on. Sorry, but that's where I draw the line. Instead, I had to hold on to the grab bar behind me. This method of support is much more terrifying than simply holding on to the rider (FianceeMode has confirmed this), but that's what I was left with. Needless to say, the ride back to Munich was terrifying, gay, and something I did not want to have to repeat. When we got back to Munich, the guys running the shop (very nice guys by the way) said one of them would go back down to Starnberg with us to jump the bike, and told us it would be fine like that. Okay. I trust them. Of course, in my mind, when they said they would go down with us and jump the bike, I assumed they ment in a car, in which I would ride with the guy from the shop. Nope. He meant on a bike, meaning I would have to get back on the bike with P-Mode and repeat the ride in reverse.

The second time, it was less terrifying, but still pretty gay. Oh well, we got my bike started, took the charger with us in case we ran into any other problems, and started on our trip. At the time, it really sucked, and delayed our start by about an hour and a half, but I guess it provides a good story to tell you, and a great mental picture (sorry, but we were unable to get a picture of the two of us on the bike together). Now that we got that little story out of the way, on to the actual ride, including some spectacular pictures:

From Starnberg we headed south along the shore of Starnberger See (see = lake).
From there, we continued south into the Bavarian countryside, which is mostly flat, farm land with some rolling hills.
As we wound our way further south, the hills became higher, and one in particular rose above all the farmland, so we rode to the top to get a view of the countryside. Pretty good view, and you could see for miles in every direction. Not a clound in the sky.
After coming back down the large hill we continued southward, where we stopped at the base of what appeared to be a ski resort for lunch. Up to this point, we were travelling on mostly two lane country roads, which were all in perfect shape. The roads all have a broken white center line, meaning you can pass anywhere you want, which is nice when you're on a motorcycle. The drivers are also very curtious and aware of motorcycles (moreso than here at least), so if you're going to pass, they'll pull over as far to the right as they can to make it easier. Anyway, this is where we ate lunch.
After lunch we continued southward for about 10 minutes until we reached the fairytale castle of King Ludwig II. It is simply beautiful situated on a mountain in the foothills of the German Alps. That's it over P-Mode's shoulder.
From there we continued south, through some beautiful fairytale towns and into Austria. This picture is from a town just by the Austrian border, on the German side.
Once a few miles into Austria, we stopped at a gas station just to make sure we were on the right track, and still on course. This is the view from the gas station. Not bad, but those mountains were nothing compared to the ones we were getting closer to.
This is the biggest mountain I have ever seen in my life. That is, until we rode about 20 mintues further. As you can see, you can't see the top of it, as it is surrounded by clouds. Beautiful, amazing area to ride through on a motorcycle.Shot of a stop between the Alps at a mountain stream. It was cold. We did a lot of stopping for me to take pictures and to just relax.P-Mode riding through the Austrian Alps.
Back in Germany, now in the German Alps. We were going to go down a mountain road, but it was closed due to severe flooding in Germany and Austria in the past few weeks.
This is now on the northern edge of the German Alps. There were several amazing lakes and these picturesque towns surrounding them.Just after taking the last picture, we headed up a mountain on what I thought was the best road of the whole trip, from a motorcycling standpoint. It was up the mountain and then back down the mountain on the other side, with a 90 to 180 turn every 40 feet or so. Nothing but S curve after S curve for a few miles with amazing views all around. There were hundreds of sportbikes all over the mountain running up and down, some at some pretty fast speeds. It was amazing. Not only that, but as we rounded one bend, we passed a lookout over the lake. There must have been 75-100 motorcycles parked there, the riders taking in the views or getting ready for their next run up or down the mountain.

From there we headed back up the country roads towards Munich. It was getting dark, and the mountains faded away and back into German farmland (like in the second picture). About 20-30 miles south of Munich we got on the Autobahn back to the city. Let's just say that it was the fastest I have every traveled 20-30 miles in my life. The Autobahn is amazing. I was getting blown by by soccer (football more correctly)moms in BMW station wagons who must have been going 140 mph. It all feels perfectly safe though, because the roads are in such good condition, and the drivers stay in the right lane and know what they are doing.

All in all, besides the morning mishap, it was one of the best days I had in Europe, and definately the best day I've ever had on a motorcycle. I can't imagine a better place to spend 10 hours riding around.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Last Hurrah

I am now in Frankfurt, Germany, which I can assure you, is the hottest city in Europe. Seriously, it is hot as Hoden (feel free to use this free German to English translator if you'd like to know the meaning of that word if you cannot figure it out) right now. I am going to smell none to pleasant upon my return to the United States. I currently don't have anything to interesting to blog about. I suppose I could fill you in on the entire motorcycle trip yesterday, but that would best be covered once I am able to post pictures again tomorrow night or Friday.

I will point out that Germany is the only place where NegativeMode is automatically translated into German (not that it would be translated to German in France, but it would be translated into French, were such things done as they are done here, here being Germany, but they are not). By that, I don't mean what I post, but everything else, i.e., when I read your comments, intead of seeing "Brownbear said...", I see "Brownbear hat gesagt..." It makes your comments all the more enjoyable, but also makes posting much more difficult. I know you don't really care though.

My next posting will come from the good ole' U.S. of A., complete with all the exciting pictures you've been waiting to see. Until then, I'll leave you with this simple thought and lovely picture - PostiveMode bought lederhosen. Here is a picture of him trying them on. . . .

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

And What´s The Deal With Count Chocula?

I mean are we supposed to be afraid of this guy?

I arrived moments ago at the easyinternet cafe and found Matt furiously working on a new blog Post, and offered him some words of affirmation regarding a few spelling questions [update, I just offered actual spelling advice, not just affirmance]. Then I told him I could beat him to the ´post´, as it were. Hopefully I just did (although if I win this battle, the close proximity of the posts sadly assures that his will appear above mine in Blog Order. Oh, the woes of internet publishing protocol).

[Pre-post Update: NegativeMode got his post up first. A triumph, at least, for the primacy of my post on the Blog]

Things I did not expect to learn today: (1) a BMW 1150R is fully capable of supporting the weight of two adult American males; (2) I am capable of driving a vehicle under such conditions; (3) NegativeMode is capable of not wilting in terror under these circumstances, and I at least know that if any screaming did occur, the wind noise at such speeds is capable of drowning it out, as I did not hear any.

Sehr Gut Auf München

I am now in Munich (as our basterdized American tounges would pronounce it). The trainride from Prague was lovely. It really was a nice train ride except for one minor incident Mia had with an angry German woman over the openness of our window. Luckily for us, we had no clue what she was saying, so we ignored her. Anywho. . . .

The first night in Munich was fairly uneventful. We walked around a little and then went to have an authentic German dinner. We thought we were going to a huge beer hall, but it turned out to be a tiny German restaurant with no English-speaking staff or menu. However, PositiveMode and I were able to use our pre-kindergarden knowledge of German to skillfully intergrate ourselves into German society. Dinner was quite good, but unfortuantely, I have absolutely no idea what I ate. It was called Putinsteak (I think that's spelled correctly) and I was expecting cow. Instead, it looked like chicken/pork/turkey. The best way I can describe it is that it looked like my mother's turkey steaks from when I was little, but I guess that's of no help for those of you who aren't in my immediate family. Anyway, whatever the meat was, it was actually excellent. The beer is also very good and big.

The next day FianceMode returned to America, and PositiveMode and I wandered around Munich. The only notable event was our lunch at the Kartoffelhaus (literally, "pototo house"). Those of you who know me know that there is ablsolutely nothing I'd rather eat than anything concocted out of potatoes. It's some sort of disease. I ordered what amounted to be potatos au gratin with spinach, and I'd have to say that it was probably the best meal I've had while in Europe. Later that night we went to the Haufbrauhaus for dinner. Very enjoyable. For those that don't know it is a massive beer hall in Munich that serves liter beers while an oompah band plays loud German music. There, I had the "meatloaf" which I can best describe as a fresh hotdog (not a beef hotdog, a real hotdog, i.e., mix of chicken, beef, pork, etc.). It was also really good, but I have an unnatural liking for hotdogs. In summation, I love German food. Meat, potatos, beer. Three of my favorite things.

Today, PostiveMode and I went on an adventure. We have to go eat dinner now, so I can only give you the abbreviated story (which unfortuantely leaves out the funniest/gayest part) but I promise to give the full story in the next day or two. Short version -- we rented motorcycles, rode south of Munich to the "fairytale" castle (looks like a real version of the DisneyWorld castle) then headed south into the Austrian Alps. Rode through the Alps, back into the German Alps, and then back to Munich. All in all, it was about an eight hour loop through the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It was a beautiful day and the roads were wonderful on a motorcycle. I'll post some great pictures of the trip later.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to get some hotdog meatloaf, potatos, and beer. Tschus!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Mizzore Prizzogue Biznatches

I have clearly run out of interesting titles for my posts, but oh well, you aren't here for the titles. I am still in Prizzogue (that's what the locals call it. Actually, this leads me to an interesting side note, so I'll just add it here: It is really funny to me to see European "thugs". By that, I mean guys who want to emulate 50-Cent, Eminem, etc., you know, thugs. It's funny though, because they are all these skinny Swedes or Czechs or Danes and they would clearly get their asses kicked in the United States. I enjoy it though. Anyway....).

Yesterday was beautiful. About 75 and not a cloud in the sky. After getting our train tickets for Munichen we took the trolley across the river to the big park on the hill (no idea what the big park on the hill is actually called). We hiked to the top of the hill (not really a small hill, more like a really big hill/small mountain). At this point I stopped to rest because I thought I was going to die from hiking up (there was a funicular railway, but Mia thought it would be better to hike, which was right. Also, I like to say and type funicular). Then we climed to the top of the mini Effiel Tower they have at the top. Of course, no elevator, so we climed the 300 steps. If I had to guess, I'd say I've climed roughly 2,364,864 steps this trip so far. My ass will look superior. It was worth it though, as they views were beautiful. You could see 20 miles in each direction (cardinal directions of course).

After that we wandered through the city towards the hostel, getting some gifts along the way (Don't worry Mom, I got you the heavest thing in all of Europe just like you like. Too bad Dad isn't here to cart it around for you.) After a lovely Italian dinner and some wine we went to the biggest club in Central Europe (I've been trying to figure out what "Central Europe" consists of. Maybe Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia?, in which case it isn't too impressive a claim.) The club was quite large and fun though, although not nearly as nice as Dream (for you DC residents). Beer was only a dollar though, and you can't beat that. Then we went to bed.

Also yesterday, I saw a woman wearing what amounts to "boy-cut" underwear but wearing them as shorts. It was astounding, like she forgot to put pants on before going out and sightseeing. She was with her husband and son too, and there was her ass, hanging out for all to see. I just thought I'd mention that, as it was really quite shocking.

Today we have no plans other than eat at this magical vegetarian restaurant for dinner and possibly go to the Communism Museum (I have been compared with Stalin on this very website, so I figure I'd czech it out (poor joke, sorry)).

Tomorrow, off to Munich. See you there. . . .

Friday, August 26, 2005

Czech Mate

I am currently waiting for my Philly cheesesteak to be ready (it is a Prague speciality) so I will fill you in on what I've been up to.

When I last wrote, I said I was going to the Vegetarian restaruant recommended by my sister. We ended up not going there, but going to a traditional Pragian restaurant instead. It was good. I had goulash (my wiener goulash is much better though). Also, they made their own beer, so we tried a sample of each. They had banana, cranberry, cherry, nettle (no idea what that is, tasted like pepper), coffee, and wheat. I didn't like any of them that much, but did like their regular pilsner. Did you know that pilsner was invented in the Czech Republic? It was, and they like it here. So do I.

After dinner, we went and drank cheap beer at a bar called Atmosphere. We both got Hoegaardens that were as big as Mia´s head (she has a small head, but they were big beers). Then we had some beers with some nice Brits we met. Lovely.

Yesterday we spent most of the day in the Jewish Quarter at the "Jewish Museum". The museum actually consists of 6 synagogues that were constructed anywhere from 400-100 years ago. It was very good, very informative, and nice to finally see some synagogues after all the damn churches I've been in. Then we wandered around the streets shopping and looking at crap. The wandering around the streets is actually one of the best things to do in Prague. There are so many little alleys and twisting streets that contain great buildings, shops, restaurants, etc. You find some of the best things just wandering.

Last night we had dinner at Red Hot and Blues (which we do not think is affiliated with the Virginia restaurants of the same name, but may possibly be) where there was live jazz. They guy playing guitar was very good, but what really set him apart was his stirring, jazz rendition of Hit Me Baby One More Time. Good stuff. After that we drank for a few hours and then went to bed.

Today we're going to check out the "New Town" Square and possibly go to the Eiffel Tower looking structure on a big hill that looks over the entire city. It's so nice out today, it should be a good time to go up there.

I can't post any Prauge pictures right now, nor do I have any more viking Bill pictures (they seem to be the most popular), but I'll try and get some up soon. Later.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

World's Largest Dollar Store

Sweden: Our second day in Stockholm we got up late and spent the day wondering around some of the pedestrian shopping areas. Very nice city and hot girls (did I mention that before?). Then we headed over to Old Stockholm which is on an island to itself. Had a lovely lunch there. Mia had some wine (she seems to have a lot of wine when she is with me (whine too). I think it helps her deal with me, but that's for another time and place).

We then headed over to the Royal Palace. As luck would have it, we walked up as they were starting the changing of the guard. It was cool to watch, but after the ceremony was over, the band marched down the street and continued playing. We followed them and listened for a while. What did the royal band play? Abba of course. Mia and I watched as they ended their performance with a resounding rendition of Momma Mia! I guess I should have expected it, the English Royal Band played the Beatles, it's only natural that the Swedes would play Abba.

Side Note: Everything in Sweden appears to be manufactured by Abba, not by Ikea as one would expect. The lockers were Abba lockers. The tomato sauce was Abba tomato sauce. You would be amazed at how much in the grocery store is an "Abba" product. I was expecting it all to be Ikea, but they threw me a curve with the Abba whatnot. I don't think it has anything to do with the actual band, but maybe it does. Anyway. . . .

We hung out in Stockholm for the rest of the afternoon and then headed to:

Prague: We got in late last night, around 11, and went and had a few drinks. Beer costs $1 everywhere, and that's not for a small beer, that's for a half liter. Not bad. And the beer is very good beer. You can't beat it. For the record, I've now paid $10 for a beer in Iceland and $1 for a beer in Prague. I'll take the Prague prices.

Today we got up and headed to the castle. Very cool. Very huge. Great views of the city. Afterwards, we had a beer and wandered across the Charles Bridge (the famous one that connects both sides of the city). After crossing the bridge, we stopped at a riverside bar to have a beer. I was very upset to see that it cost a full $2. Can you belive the audacity of them to charge $2 for a beer?!? Anyway, now is dinner time so we're gonna head to the vegetarian place my sister recommended (I swear Ali, if it sucks, I'm wrapping up the leftovers, bringing them home, and making you eat them!).

So, my thoughts on Prague, it's the best city I've been in yet. It's cheap, fun, beautiful. Everyone says how amazing it is, and they aren't wrong. Mia and I are actually considering cancelling the stop in Vienna and staying here for an extra two nights just to hang out. Great city.

Okay, I'm hungry, and that's enough typing for now. Hope all is well wherever everyone is. . . .

Monday, August 22, 2005

Big News

Ok, I realize that I am being quite prolific today, but that is because we have free internet and I can finally post pictures. Plus, Mia and I are using the time in Sweden to relax and recharge a bit before Prague. Anyway, on to the "Big News".

Three days ago, on August 19th, 2005, in Tivoli Park in Copenhagen, Denmark, I asked Mia to marry me, and she said yes (not before asking if I was joking of course). So, we are officially engaged to be married. Scary, no doubt, but after almost four years, I know that she's the one for me.

I asked in Tivoli Park, which is the oldest amusement park in Europe. We were by a lake in the park at night. The trees, lake, and fountains were all awash with beautiful lights and a concert was going on in the background. It was beautiful. I asked under one of the trees next to the lake. It was wonderful.

I'm sorry that I can't tell every one of you in person, or at least by email (although not those of you that I don't know, as I have no idea who reads this), but all of my email addresses are saved on my computer at home.

So, now I continue the trip not with my girlfriend, but with my fiancee (weird to type that). Anyway, here's a picture of the happy couple. You'll notice that after 4 years we're already starting to look like eachother. . . .

The park/lake where I asked (I know it's dark, but it's the best I can do right now):

The Rest of the Pictures

Now, I know the "viking" from the earlier pictures will be upset, but this may be my only chance to post pictures for a while, so I'm striking while the proverbial iron is hot. Enjoy the lastest:

View from the canal boat ride in Brugges:
One of the bars in the Heiniken Brewery in Amsterdam. They have lots of bottles there:
Mia and I (sorry, my face and most of my body was cut out of the picture, but I got the important parts):
Mia after she fell into the North Sea (or Baltic Sea or possibly Atlantic Ocean, I need to check a map) while trying to get to Ariel in Copenhagen:
My castle, i.e., Castle Rosenborg in Copenhagen:
Mia on a bridge in Stockholm today:
Proof that a Brown Bear in Sweden is called "Bjorn" (See earlier post, especially you BrownBear, or should I say, Bjorn):

Because You Can't Get Enough

This is the first true viking I encountered in Iceland. He was actually born over 4000 years ago, frozen in a glacier and unthawed. Now he's a lawyer. Some would call him an unfrozen, caveman, lawyer. I call him PositiveMode. National Park in Iceland. Probably the most beautiful place I've seen on the trip thus far from a nature standpoint (Swedish women are a close second).

A Jew in control of Glasgow Cathedral. You could actually see the Holy Water boiling. This picture will win me a prize once I lighten it up in Photoshop. Random German highlander I ran into in Glasgow contemplating his beer over candlelight. Simply chilling.
The German Highlander's identical twin brother who I happened to run into right by the Tower Bridge in London. That crazy German sure loves his icecream. Almost as much as he loves men.
Inspection of the Guard (ceremony immediately prior to the changing of the Guard at Buckingham, except much cooler. Thanks Rick Steves!) Did I mention before that in this picture they are actually playing Beatles tunes?
Some tower in Paris. I forget the name. I do know one thing though, that thing must be 20,000 leagues tall! Mia workin' it in front of the Arc de Triumph. I don't think she wants me to post this, but she's napping, so that's what she gets.
Sun setting over a houseboat in Brugges. I'll try to see if I can get the post-Brugges pictures posted soon. Later.