Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Google Blunder

I'm having some problems with my Google account.  Today, I almost wasn't able to get into my blog.  It seems they are starting to require a gmail account to access my Google account, but I don't have a gmail account.

I created a gmail account, but my gmail account has no affiliation with my Google account.

I figured out a way to bypass it for now, but somehow I need to figure out a way to give my blog to my gmail account.  This, then, opens up a whole slew of issues regarding adsense and various other utilities that are currently associated with my Google account which I'm going to have to quit using or somehow move to my gmail account.  I'm loving Google today¡  They have made me quite happy¡

All they have to do is allow me to associate a gmail address with my Google account and all would be right with the world.  For reasons that are only partially my fault, I can't do it.

I fear that if I don't get the situation rectified soon I will be locked out of my blog and the sadness will bring tears to millions.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Back from Europe

In case any of you in my humble blogdom were unaware, I have returned from my 5 week stay in Europe.  I'm going to try to increase my blogging output to maybe twice a week.  I've gotten rather lazy as I succumbed to the Euro way of life with the Frenchman on strike because they are being forced to work an extra 2 years before retirement.

Anyway, I have some stories to tell about my trip to Paris.  I'm debating on just telling each rather boring day at a time (Sunday through Wednesday).  Or doing categories like my thoughts on the people, the socialism, the capitalism, the strike and the android.  Or maybe I'll just cram it all into one huge 500 word essay.  Once I finish debating with myself I'll post it (either as a series or a single post).

Monday, October 18, 2010

10 Days Ago in Frankfurt

I’ve been trying to set aside 2 hours to write my blogs.  My last couple of stories have been heralded as my best work ever by my blogging instructor.  Notice that it’s my best work ever.  You can say that and it still may barely be bearable.

Anyway, in my desperate attempt to keep the chain of best bloggings going, I’ve been waiting until I have time before actually writing.  I decided today, that this will never happen.

Today was my second day in Paris and I’ve just now decided to write about Frankfurt before I forget what’s left of the portion I remember.  But, I don’t have 2 hours to set aside.  But, without further ado...

A colleague of mine from work picked me up at my lovely hotel at 4 o’clock.  We were to be at another colleague’s house at 5 o’clock for BBQ and beer and who knows what else.

I remember being picked up.  I remember going to the store and buying some red evil feminine looking liquor (sorry for any redundancy).

We’ll call our host Marcel.  I don’t know if it is spelled correctly, but it’s a good name.  I don’t know how to spell his girlfriend’s name, but we’ll call her Andrea. 

We arrived at Marcel’s house and Andrea met me at the door with a friendly face and a mischievous smile.  I already knew Marcel had a bit of a mischievous sense of humor so I knew I was in trouble.  10 seconds in and I was already a little bit nervous.

Marcel offered me a hefeweizen.  If you’ve read my previous posts, you may be seeing an uncommon common denominator.  I drank a liter.

Then Marcel decided I was drinking too much beer and needed to slow down so I’d have room for BBQ.  This sounded like a good plan!  So, he started pouring Cola Lights (Diet Coke to you Americans) and rum.  This was frightening, but they were all younger than me so I had to show no fear lest I become “the old man”.

Sometime during all of this Andrea’s friend showed up.  Andrea was scared her English would not be good enough to keep up (or something) so she invited a friend over who I think could speak English.  But, her friend was more there to keep Andrea company in case “the three guys” went off on some English speaking tangent or something.  I think. 

We should call her friend Natascha.  Natascha was quite attractive and she smiled at all my witty jokes even though she pretended not to speak English.

Finally, we ate.  I remember enjoying the food.  Some good sausages with cheese if I recall correctly.  Once everyone finished eating the evil red bottle was opened and shots were poured.  I don’t know how many shots were poured.  I know at least 2.

I have this mode.  It’s a self defense mechanism.  When I’ve gone beyond the point of witty into the point of obnoxious belligerence, I flip this little switch in my head that makes me quit talking and go into “autopilot”.

When the decision was made that we had spent enough time at the house and it was time to go to Frankfurt.  I had already hit the switch.  I was in full autopilot.

Rumor has it that I walked in straight lines and I didn’t hit anyone, but I didn’t talk much either.

I vaguely remember walking to a cab station and waiting for a cab that could hold 5.

I remember going to an appropriately named rock club called, “The Final Destination”.  I remember someone buying me a Long Island Iced Tea.  I remember thinking about hitting the person.  I remember dancing to some Nine Inch Nails or Marilyn Manson or something.  It was good for me.

I didn’t hit anyone.  Later we went to an Irish bar and this person that ordered me the tea got a drink called, “Cinderella”.  I laughed at him for 20 minutes.  He’s a big guy and I was picturing size 12 glass slippers.

Next day, I found pictures on my phone.  Here they are, in the order that I think I remember…


Cinderella’s on the right.


The beginning of the end.


Sorry about the blur.  But honestly, I don’t know how anyone expected me to take a picture without blur.


Waiting for the first Taxi (I think).


I am kind of embarrassed by this picture.  I don’t remember anyone taking it.  From looking at the picture now, I believe that this is how Cinderella convinced me to drink the Long Island Iced Tea without getting hit.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saturday at Marienplatz

I think I mentioned in my last random posting that I went to Oktoberfest the weekend of October 1st.  I am almost two weeks behind in my bloggings.  There’s just not enough time.  Just as a teaser we went and rocked downtown Frankfurt last Saturday.  At least I think we rocked it.  I vaguely remember walking out the front door of the house and meandering down a cement path towards a cab station where we were to be chauffeured to our alleged “rocking” facility.

But, Saturday at Marienplatz is a story that can not be left completely untold.  However, the details must be slightly obscured to protect the guilty.

I guess our story starts at Oktoberfest.  I was there, but it was very busy.  The magic thing about the Munich Oktoberfest is there is no place to sit unless you get into a party tent and the party tents are completely full before lunch.  On Saturday it was worse.   By lunchtime, I was tired of standing and I was getting hungry and I didn’t want to eat standing up so I left and went to Marienplatz.

Another interesting thing that should probably be mentioned is that I got asked directions twice.  Both times not in German and not in English.  I either looked really smart, really friendly or someone had secretly taped a tour guide sticker to my shirt (in 10 different languages).  I became very good at pointing.  Oktoberfest that way, Marienplatz that way.

I must admit I wandered Marienplatz for a bit.  They had some interesting stuff going on with some animal rights entertainment or something.  Pictures of big ugly chickens with breasts and women wearing fur coats in little chicken wire pens.  I’m not sure what it all meant, but the music was not bad and it was ever-so-slightly entertaining.  Let’s see if I can find some pictures.image

Interesting tidbit about the above picture.  I think I hung out with the man in the blue shirt later that afternoon.  Now, I’ll have to compare pictures.  You can too.


I was looking for a place to sit down, have a beer and eat some lunch.  I finally found a place.  This place had 3 waitresses working the tables.  I wish I had pictures.  There was one cute and friendly waitress, one pretty and bitchy waitress, and one not so pretty and not so cute amiable waitress.

I managed to get the bitchy one.  I honestly asked the cute and friendly waitress for a table, but somehow I got shuffled.  It happens when you are sitting by yourself.  They don’t want you to eat up in valuable seating.  The cute and friendly waitress was the obvious choice for the larger parties.

I should also mentioned that they were both Asian.  The amiable one, not so much.

So, I sat.  I ordered a hefeweizen.  The bitchy waitress asked me if I wanted large or small milk.  So, I said, “A beer”.  And she brought me some kind of pilsner.

I drank the pilsner, ordered some spaghetti and made eye contact with the cute and friendly waitress and pointed to my empty beer glass.  She came and asked me if I wanted another one and I said, no, but I can have a hefeweizen.  The bitchy waitress finally brought me a hefeweizen.

While this was going on some excitement was beginning to happen on my left.  There were four English speaking people sitting at the table next to me.  I assumed they were married couples so I didn’t gaze too much at the lovely ladies for fear of getting in trouble, but I did do a sly bit of eavesdropping.  It’s almost impossible not to when surrounded by a bunch of people you can’t understand and then suddenly, you hear something strangely and alluringly intelligible.

Then Dick Van Dyke showed up.  He asked, in German, if he could sit at my table.  I said sure.  I can’t remember what dialect I applied.  It was probably some embarrassing form of Texan.  I don’t really remember his name although I’m sure we shook hands and perhaps shared names.  I call him Dick because he was a Chimney Sweep there in Munich.  He was a very friendly guy.  He spoke a little more English than I could speak German, but we shared a beer and finished our meal together.

Then the chatty woman at the table to my left gazed into my eyes and said something like, “So you can speak English?  Have you been sitting there enjoying our conversation?”  She said it smiling or I would have run.

Then Vince said some off the wall comment about the lack of good looking women over the age of 40.  I can’t remember the exact sentiment.  I was eavesdropping again and details are not important.  Then, the chattty woman.  We’ll call her Laura asks what I think of that.

I said, “He’s right.  Good looking single women over the age of 40 are hard to come by.”  Laura and her friend left.  We’ll call her friend Kim.  And I have that affect on people (the leaving part).  But, in all fairness I had had over a liter of beer.

Then John, Vince and I start talking and I discover they are vacationing from South Africa.  Of course, I have to know if they watched any of the World Cup games (which Vince admitted to). 

Rattled side bar.  Durango, my blog instructor, tells me I get rattled sometimes.  This is a rattled sidebar.  Actually I think 90% of this post has been rather rattled.  In case you haven’t read any of my clever postings before I kind of make it a hobby of mine to study astrology.  Now, Vince was reminding me an awful lot of an old buddy of mine back in Dallas.  It was eerie.  Turns out they are both Sagittarius.  Sagittarius is a fire sign.  Aquarius is an air sign and for some reason air feeds fire and huge billowing flames of insanity normally ensue.  Oh, I’m an Aquarius.  In case you, ahem, didn’t know that by now.

I can’t remember exactly how the subject came up.  It’s possible he asked me if I’d ever been to Munich before and if I knew any cool spots.  But, I think it was more creative than that.  Anyway, I stayed across the street from Marienplatz about 7 years ago for about 3 months so I did know some places.

I told him about the Mexican bar down the way that serves tequila and the Irish bar down in the cellar next to the Church.  He opted for the tequila.  The explosion was near monumental.

He called his German buddy, Jergen, he called Kim back, he called Laura back and we all headed to Sausalitos.

I remember ordering the first round.  They had Don Julio which is one of my faves that my other Sagittarius buddy introduced me to so we ordered that first and between the 5 of us finished off the bottle.  Then, well, I don’t remember. 

Rumors abound and my texting was embarrassing.  And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.  Here’s a picture…


See the guy in the blue shirt.  I think he’s the same as the previous picture.  I didn’t realize it until I started writing.  That’s Vince toasting.  Damn Sagittarius.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Trip To Oktoberfest: Summarized

I left my hotel in Oberursel on Thursday morning at 8 AM.  It was a cold and dreary morning with sprinklings of wet stuff falling from the gray sky (not at all like the picture from their brochure).

Luckily, my faithful colleague, Thorsten, arrived at 7:55 AM to pick me up and take me to the train station in Bad Homburg.  It’s about a 45 minute walk.  I’ll get to that later.

My train was scheduled to depart at 9:14 and arrive in Frankfurt at 9:40 where I’d have to run upstairs to the “long distance” trains and hitch a ride to Munich which was schedule to leave at 9:55.  This timing was already making me nervous.

I arrived at the Bad Homburg train station at 8:05 (a little over an hour early for those of you not paying attention).  The little trains from Bad Homburg (a suburb of Frankfurt) into Frankfurt are called S trains.  They aren’t the only kind, but that’s what my ticket said.  They seem to run about every hour.

The trains were being cancelled because the Frankfurt main station was having problems and only one of the tracks was getting through.  I found the first hot looking German frau I could find and followed her onto the 8:15 S train.  What should have been a 20 minute ride, turned into an hour ride.  Fun was had by all, but mostly me.  I think everyone else was trying to get to work.  I was just making googoo eyes at the girl across the way.

Frankfurt was uneventful.  The toilets cost 70 cents at the train station, so I waited to P on the train.  That sounded better in my head.

Got on the train and was in Munich at 1:30 PM.  I don’t remember much about the train ride except playing Robo-Defense on my phone.

I decided to walk from the train station in Munich to my hotel.  I have challenged myself not to take taxis.  I also have not rented a car.  I was kind of hoping it would encourage me to try harder to use the local mass transit systems.  Instead, it has encouraged me to walk.

Train station to my hotel was about 2.9 kilometers according to Google Maps.  I had to walk past the Pizza place where I had my first date with my ex-wife.  That was kind of depressing.

Hotel was nice.  Cute little blonde receptionist in a short white skirt greeted me, smiled lovingly and told me my room wasn’t ready.  She offered me a drink at the bar while I waited though.  But then she left me there alone.  I never saw her again.  I have that affect on people.

Here’s a picture of the backyard of the hotel taken from imagemy hotel balcony.  It was pretty.  Not entirely unlike the receptionist.

Once I got settled, I realized I left my insulin in my backpack which I decided to leave behind because it wasn’t big enough to hold souvenirs.  I had enough insulin left for about 12 hours.  So, I did what every good diabetic with a limited supply of insulin would do in a foreign country.  I panicked.

I went back down to the receptionist, who was no longer that same pretty one, but I hid my disappointment.  I asked where the nearest pharmacy was.  She gave me that questioning, “What the hell are you talking about” look that I am so fond of.  So, I said, “Wo is die Apotheke”.  I have no idea how close I was to right, but she said, “Oh, Apotheke” and proceeded to give me directions on a map.  It was just around the corner.

I went there and the pharmacist lady spoke pretty good English.  She was worried that I didn’t know what I was talking about when I explained that Novalog is the exact same as Humalog and Humalog was all they had.  She said she had to order it and I’d have to come back and pick it up at 5:30.  This was at 3.  I was planning on being at Oktoberfest by 4 so this was already not going well.

I decided to walk down the road to Marienplatz.  It was about 2 kilometers.  I walked around a bit and finally decided to grab something to eat at this little Turkish fast food restaurant called Que.  After that I went back to the Pharmacy and picked up my insulin.

Then I walked to Oktoberfest.  Getting to Oktoberfest at 6:30 PM is not really a good idea.  I was imagining the Texas Gestapo at such a place and how full the Texas jail systems would be with all the blatant displays of public intoxication.  And I was sober.  I finally stopped at a Franziskaner Hut to have a beer before walking the 2.6 kilometers back to the hotel.  Let me just point out that Google says 2.6, but I never managed to walk it once without getting lost.

My trip from the hotel to Oktoberfest takes me down a street called Nußbaumstraße.  And the funny thing about Nußbaumstraße is that there is a big Psychiatric hospital on Nußbaumstraße.  In case your German is rusty Nußbaumstraße translates quite literally to Nut Tree Street.  Anyway, it made me laugh every time I went past it.

Here’s the map I used to get around.  The blue goes from my hotel to Oktoberfest.  Marienplatz is at the U just above my hotel (well a little to the left) and just above Oktoberfest is the train station.image

If you want to see all my pictures of the Oktoberfest, you can go to my Facebook page.  I know it’s a cop out, but there are lots of pictures and a 200 word story for each one and I have not the patience.  If there is an outcry from the masses then I may try again.  Funny thing is I don’t know if that link will work unless you are my friend :).

I already blogged about Friday at Oktoberfest.  It was cool and ugly all at the same time.  A big Texas Prost to my friends from the Czech Republic!

Saturday morning I went back and was there at 9 AM, but it was so unbelievably crowded, I didn’t stick around for very long.  My Saturday pictures are also on Facebook.

Here’s a picture of the line of people walking down Nußbaumstraße on the way to Oktoberfest Saturday morning.


Here’s a good shot of the crowd looking down one random street in the park (probably about 10 AM)…


When I left Oktoberfest on Saturday I went to Marienplatz to hang out.  That’s another story all on its own and I’ll have to get permission from certain people to tell the parts I remember.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Via my Netflix addiction, I've been watching a show called Coupling.  Today, I decided not to have some good German beer after work and come back early to the hotel instead.  I've been suffering from a cold.  More on that later.

Rather than spend my time blogging about my trip to Munich, which I fully intend to do, I decided to watch another episode of Coupling on Netflix.

The show is just hilarious.  It's got kind of an "awkward humor" that I am really fond of.

On today's episode, the crazy girl, Jane Christie (played by Gina Bellman), falls for a man who hosts a religious radio show.  She explains her disappointment to her friends by saying, "If he's already worshiping God, what does he need me for?  I don't need the competition."  It made me want to go update my online dating profile.  But I didn't :).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Quick Note

Quick note to let you know that as soon as I have a spare 2 hours, I have more pictures of my trip to Munich and some stories to tell about the people I met while I was there. I took some folks from South Africa to a tequila bar in Munich.  Talk about mixing the Africans, the Germans, the Mexicans and the Americans.  Just wanted to make sure my millions of fans knew I hadn't forgotten about them :).

If you haven't considered buying the new Kindle from Amazon you should really check it out.  I had the opportunity to see one the other day and if I could afford to buy one, I would.  The readability and portability of the darn things is simply amazing.  I never thought I'd be a fan of these kinds of digital books, but I really liked the thing.

Friday, October 1, 2010

You Think You Are Better Than Me?

In case you don’t know me, I have a big problem with “authority figures”.  Me and my boss get along fine because he doesn’t tell me what to do.

I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, but in exchange, no one else can think they are better than me.  I never get autographs.  I don’t care about movie stars.  They are no better than me.

I have a big problem with the USA and their stance on “illegal immigration”.

In case you aren’t familiar with the Declaration of Independence, it starts, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

You may notice, if you are an accomplished reader (not stupid), that it doesn’t mention anywhere in there, “people born in America”.

You either must believe the statement or must not.  Regardless of your heritage or your location of origin.

Today I arrived at Oktoberfest at about 9:30 AM.  Here’s a picture of the approach…

You’ll notice the Germans on the left and the Americans on the right.  Lederhosen and no lederhosen.  Also, I know because I followed them half the trip.  The ones on the right spoke American English.  The ones on the left spoke German.

In case you are of the ignorant, Oktoberfest in Munich varies from year to year, this year it goes from September 18th to October4th.  That’s a long time for it to be so crowded every day.  In the Dallas area, the Addison Oktoberfest lasts 4 days and I think in all 4 days it doesn’t see the patronage of one Munich Oktoberfest tent in one day.

Now, I must kindly ask my younger readers to go find something else to do.  Today at Oktoberfest something made me so angry, I thought I might get arrested.  It will require descriptive explicative's.

I walked around for about an hour looking for a place to sit.  Finally, some guys from the Czech Republic invited me to sit at their table.  They were very happy to have an American at their table even though only one of them could speak English.  Here is a picture of us…image