the year in books 2010

And so the year draws to a close, and I continue the one tradition you can rely on here at Click Clack Gorilla: a list of the books I’ve read over the past year. What can I say, I’m a book geek, and I keep a list. For any other book geek bloggers reading this, I’d love to see your own list. If you make one, link up in the comments below, pretty please with a frozen cherry on top.

This year was rather P.K.Dick-heavy, as I reread my entire collection of his works. Best of the year were The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (fucking amazing-worthy of at least a hundred exclamation points, but I will save your eyes) and Into the Forest by Jean Hegland. What can I say, I love apocalyptic fiction. Worst of the year were Valis and The Divine Invasion by P.K. Dick and The Worthing Saga by Orsen Scott Card, each of which I had to force myself to finish and which I intend never to read again.

Last year most of my reading list got lost among too-oft switched journals, and I had a humble total of 26 titles. Apparently this year I have shunned most social contact in favor of pressed wood pulp and words written by strangers (though I do know the author of several titles on the list—woot woot!) with a total of 56.

Here’s to a new year in books! If I was the type to make New Year’s resolutions, and I am not—I prefer to make lists that I will never complete all year long—mine might be to finally read Kafka in the original German and to get my own damn book finished and onto the shelf already. Here, here!

1. What We Leave Behind by Derrick Jensen and Aric McBay
2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (reread)
3. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula LeGuin
4. A Canticle for Lebowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
5. Der Schrechsenmeister by Walter Moers
6. You Who Hear Tell Others by Finn
7. Ronja Räubertochter by Astrid Lindgren
8. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
9. Travels with Lizbeth by Lars Eighner
10. Ghosty Men by Franz Lidz
11. Mongo: Adventures in Trash by Ted Botha
12. Vulcan’s Hammer by P.K. Dick (reread)
13. When in Germany, Do as the Germans Do by Hyde Flippo
14. Garbage Land by Elizabeth Roythe
15. The Bells in Their Silence by Michael Gorra
16. Going Green by Laura Prichett
17. Those Crazy Germans by Steve Sommers
18. Man in the High Castle by P.K. Dick (reread)
19. Radio Free Albemuth by P.K. Dick (reread)
20. Counter Clock World by P.K. Dick (reread)
21. The Simulacra by P.K. Dick (reread)
22. Clans of the Alphane Moon by P.K. Dick (reread)
23. A Scanner Darkly by P.K. Dick (reread)
24. Hardcore Zen by Brad Warner
25. We Can Build You by P.K. Dick (reread)
26. I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey Into the Mind of Philip K. Dick by Emmanuel Carrere (reread)
27. Now Wait for Last Year by P.K. Dick (reread)
28. Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
29. Rocket Queen 2 (zine)
30. Comet Bus 52 (zine) by Aaron Cometbus
31. The Worthing Saga by Orsen Scott Card
32. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
33. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
34. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
35. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
36. Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien
37. Into the Forest by Jean Hegland
38. Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody
39. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
40. The Telling by Ursula LeGuin
41. Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by P.K. Dick (reread)
42. Valis by P.K. Dick
43. The Divine Invasion by P.K. Dick
44. Dwelling Portably 1990-1999 by Bert & Holly Davis
45. Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates by Tom Robbins
46. Time Out of Joint by P.K. Dick
47. Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and With (Almost) No Money by Dolly Freed
48. Land of Lost Souls by Cadillac Jack
49. Wild Ducks Flying Backwards by Tom Robbins
50. Big Hands by Aaron Lake Smith (zine)
51. Lost in Deutschland by Brian Melican
52. Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins
53. Bad Habits by Cristy C. Road
54. Indestructible by Cristy C. Road
55. Xenophobe’s Guide to the Germans
56. Stinking Creek: The Portrait of a Small Mountain Community in Appalachia by John Fetterman

What were your favorite books this year? I always love me a good recommendation…

Thursday December 30th 2010, 7:00 am 11 Comments
Filed under: books,conspiracies

the road

What do you want? In our hyper-consumer society, it may seem like a complicated question, with an answer an itemized list ten miles long. My own answer is simple, however, and it is not about what shirt or gadget I want to own or what I want to do next week or year.

What I want is direct access to clean food, air, and water. That’s it. Everything else is secondary because everything else is secondary to my survival. If I have clean food, air, and water, I can build and heat a shelter, play in the snow, sing a song, write a book—if I have those three basics, there is nothing I can’t do.

It is because of this that I am concerned about “the environment.” It is because of these three things—things I literally cannot live without—that I am concerned about issues like industrial air and water pollution, mine run-off, nuclear waste, genetically modified foods, pesticides, factory farming, mountain-top removal, clear-cutting, etc, et. al, usw.* And I am willing to give up everything else in order to have those three things because without clean food, air, and water, I am nothing. Without them I would die.

One other thing keeps me interested in “the environment.” See, turns out despite my cynical tendencies, I just fucking love being alive. In fact, I like life so much that I want to make sure that human life continues on and on for a really long time after my death. I want people to be able to continue to experience this chaotic heap of beauty and friction and joy and love and anger and hate. I want people three hundred years from now to look at a little yellow bird eating a bright red berry on a snow-covered branch and smile, as I did looking out of my bedside window this morning.

To the planet, none of the issues hot in the green press matter. If climate change results in ecological conditions that no longer support human life, it will just keep rotating around the sun. If nuclear war eventually reduces the entire planet to a radioactive wasteland, the moon will keep the tide coming. What I think is important to remember in all our environmental quests is that the planet does not need to be saved, we do. We are the ones with something at stake, and we’ve got everything to lose.

Anthropomorphizing this hunk of rock as “Mother Earth” seems to have led many people to think of environmental activism as something they need to do for the planet, for someone or something else. It makes it easy to separate ourselves from “the environment,” and this is why I keep putting that phrase in quotation marks—it, too, is a phrase that makes it sound like the environment is something off over there that we have nothing to do with. But we are a part of the so-called environment, and if it stops functioning, so will we. We need to stop seeing taking care of “the environment” as an act of charity, and start seeing it as taking care of ourselves.

So ask yourself, what do you want? And would you be willing to give up in order to have it? Would you give up plastic bags and paper napkins and disposable straws? Would you give up car and air transportation? Would you give up strawberries in January and frozen foods? And what about piped-in water, central heating, and electricity? Would you turn off your computer and would you fight?

I don’t know much about you folks out there reading this, but I thought I’d recommend a challenge to examine your personal environmental impact called The No Impact Experiment. It is a one-week experiment in examining your consumption and waste habits and making steps to change. I don’t think participating will change the world per say, but I think that it could be a good exercise in meditation on our habits and our interconnectedness and dependence on every single link in the eco-chain. This particular experiment is especially good for beginners at the whole “how low can you go?” impact limbo.

If we want to keep this planet inhabitable for as long as we can (instead of speeding up the deterioration process by, for example, pumping CO2 into the air), we are going to need to start opening up to some radical changes. Participating in this little experiment could be that first step for you. If you decide to give it a try and blog about it, feel free to link up in the comments.

*usw is short for und so weiter, and is the German version of “etc.”

Wednesday December 29th 2010, 7:14 am 3 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies

soup season

Last year I put my dumpstered tulips in the ground in December. This year the ground was already frozen solid before the grocery stores had started throwing away the plastic mesh packages of bulbs that they sell every fall. The winter this year came suddenly. At the end of November it put its big frost-bitten foot down, and it just hasn’t stopped snowing since.

I love snow. I love the way it muffles sound and reflects moonlight. I love the way it dabs a bit of magic on everything, dressing up the ugly, adorning the already-beautiful. But the cold months do make having a kitchen in a separate structure a bit of a challenge. In the summer I’m glad that the fruit flies have somewhere besides my living space to buzz. But in the winter, heating a second wagon eats up a lot of wood, and since no one is sleeping in there, everything ends up frozen eventually anyway. So we have, for the most part, evacuated.

The cooking still happening in our kitchen is quick and guerrilla-esque. One person sprints in, sets a pot of noodle water on the stove, and sprints back to the warmth of an already-heated wagon, coming back occasionally to check on things, and, finally, to pick up the finished product and bring it back to a candle-lit table next to a crackling fire. It gets the job done, but it does manage to leech quite a bit of the joy out of the process.

So instead of sprinting between icy air and cheery warmth, instead of chopping vegetables with fingerless gloves and visible breath, I’ve moved operations into my own wagon for the winter. ‘Tis the season to cook on the wood stove. Which means, in turn, ’tis the season for soup.

Wood stove cooking takes a bit more planning than your average stove-top meal. Water takes longer to boil (if it boils at all), and you can’t just turn the burner down to low heat and let simmer, as so many recipes recommend. Though I imagine a metal contraption that would raise your pan away from the heat might have the same affect—anyone know what folks used to do hundreds of years ago? Perhaps people hundreds of years ago simply cooked differently. Perhaps they ate a lot of soup, as the easiest way to cook on a wood stove is to fill up a big pot with veggies (and/or meat) and water and let it simmer for days. In half a day it’s ready to be eaten, and then you can remove (to refrigerate in a pile of snow) and reheat (back on the wood stove for a half hour) as you please until you’ve devoured every last drop.

Last week I opened soup season with an onion-curry number that I cooked on the wood stove next to the table from which I’m writing you right now. The same soup that can be seen simmering on my wood stove in that picture at the top of the post.

Because renovating this wagon took almost a year, I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted and to plan out what I’d do with the living space in minute detail before I’d even finished re-siding the facade. I thought about the frozen lettuce and fingers that embodied winter in our kitchen. And I decided to create a small kitchen space that I could use when everything started freezing. The space’s main function throughout the year is to give me a place to pile crap and make tea, but with the stomping of winter’s icy foot, it’s now the birthplace of the season’s soups.

It’s a space that would be much too small to use to cook with a group of people—or even just one other person. But it’s just the right size for one gorilla to chop up some vegetables and dump them in a pot of water (well, my soup-making method is a bit more complex than that, but not by much). And at the table there’s room for two to huddle on folding stools over steaming bowls of the best cure for winter I know.

A lot of people don’t like cooking in their living wagons because they don’t like being constantly enveloped in the smell of their lunches and dinners. I, on the other hand, love to open my door to the smell of onions, garlic, and simmering vegetables. It also means that you and your clothes smell like food all the time. But as the season’s ode de perfume is wood smoke, I find the scents of garlic, onion, and curry, if not an improvement, a welcome change.

For those who’d like a look at the bigger picture, here is a photo of the entire kitchen space, in all its current, glorious chaos. Hanging stuff on the walls and from the ceiling is one of the best ways to organize your crap if you live in a really small space. The brown glass pots are for things like salt, garlic, and chili powder—that is, the spices that I use the most.

The electric hot plate is my cooking back up (or summer alternative to heating up water for tea on the wood stove), and just out of sight on the floor next to the broom is my “refrigerator.” I still haven’t gotten around to insulating the floor you see, and that is the spot on the floor furthest from the heat of the wood stove, and it keeps the dairy products perpetually cold.

Of all the kitchen things that you can see in that picture, only two of them were purchased new (if we do not include the food items): the broom and the white ceramic measuring cup. Everything else, and I really mean every single thing, I either bought at the flea market or found in the trash.

This post was a part of Simple Lives Thursdays at GNOWFLINS, Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist, Real Food 101 at Ruth’s Real Food, and Make Your Own! at Natural Family Awareness.

Sunday December 26th 2010, 2:22 pm 11 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life,food,wagenplatz

christmas according to dolly freed

“Christmas doesn’t exist for us. December 25th is just another day here. ‘Tis the season to be greedy, ostentatious, treacly sentimental, frenzied, hysterical, morbidly drunk and suicidal, and we see no reason to pretend otherwise. So we ignore it in the hope that it will go away. Christmas has become like a horse with a broken leg. You can’t enjoy the horse and simply ignore its broken leg—the only decent thing to do is to put it out of its misery and be done with it. If you’re religious, you surely realize that the potlatch orgy of December 25th has little to do with Christ. Mammon or Bacchus, maybe, but not Christ. So do yourself a favor and refuse to play the game. If we all ignore it, it really will go away.”

Amen, Dolly, amen. But it is complicated, isn’t it? Navigating the tradition-steeped waters of friends’ and families’ holiday festivities as a person who doesn’t believe in God or care much for consumerism for the sake of consumerism is an activity warranting a good life jacket. The Beard and I give each other little surprise gifts all year long and, as they aren’t forced by the name of the seasonal game, they are all the more meaningful.

At the same time, I’m a bit of a sucker for traditions, and I love the sights, smells, and sounds of winter celebrations: a pine bough on the mantle, bread baking in the oven, snow outside, and friends on the way. There is nothing I don’t love about a big meal with friends, especially during the winter when kitchens become cozy bastions of warmth of all kinds, tucked safely away from the cold stormy world outside. As much as I would like it if Christmas disappeared, I wouldn’t like it at all if winter celebrations disappeared completely.

The way I see it, there is always a reason to celebrate, and we need to make sure we take the time to do so with reckless abandon as often as possible. Celebrate everything and celebrate often! This, in turn, is why I don’t hesitate to celebrate on December 24th and 25th with those who do celebrate. Why not? We all have the day off from work and all the shops are closed—two good reasons to celebrate if I ever heard ‘em. We don’t go to church, but there is a big meal, and the evening usually ends with the “ugliest present” exchange game. No purchase necessary!

If you need another reason to celebrate, here’s a good one for you: today is the shortest day of the year. Not only does that mean it is the longest night (a time that I hear is especially good for a party) of the year, but that every day after it will have just a little bit more sunlight.

How do you deal with the Christmas question?

Tuesday December 21st 2010, 8:00 am 4 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies

rock n’ roll jesus

If you’ve been around here for a few years, you might remember my satirical German Christmas market report from 2008. No? Well The Christmas Market Gauntlet: A Guide to Dresden Christmas Markets is still sitting around, bored and lonelier than ever with the holidays on their way again, like the only one at the nursing home who isn’t expecting to get any visitors come December.

In Germany at this time of year you can hardly walk out your front door without tripping over a Christmas market, and I have a love-hate relationship with them. That is, I hate crowds, kitsch, and excessive shopping habitats, and I love mulled wine and sparkly lights. So this year I figured, well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And chug a glass of mulled wine while you’re at it—it’ll make the white flag that much more palatable.

So, it is in this spirit that I present to you a blog that I originally published on Young Germany on December 14, 2010. Formatted to fit your screen, and edited to include a more graphic, gorilla-like display of personal bias.

It’s that time of year again: shoppers are out in hordes, white twinkle lights abound, and everybody who’s anybody has something to say about the state of the weather—which in Germany in December would be a resounding “Brrrrrr.” Tis the season to be freezing, but German cities have a solution to cold hands and feet, a tried-and-true formula for rosy-cheeked cheer, and an aesthetically pleasant way to hack off ye old Christmas shopping list: the Christmas Market. And be they tourist, transplant, or Teutonic, no one can seem to get enough.

As one loath to large crowds, I planned my annual Gluhwein (mulled wine) gluttony for a quiet weekday afternoon. During Christmas market “rush hour” you’ll have to push your way to the front of the mulled wine stand and pray you make it back through the thirsty throngs without emptying your glass on someone’s wool coat. On weekday afternoons and evenings, however, a stroll through the aisles of the rustically decorated gift and food vendors can proceed at your leisure and without the sardine-effect typical of a Christmas market on a Saturday afternoon.

The Mainz Christmas market is gated by two red-and-gold be-speckled Christmas trees, and over the gate an 11-meter Weihnachtspyramid (Christmas pyramid) holds watch over those coming and going from the market entrance. Just beyond them you’ll find the shining star of the market’s mulled wine vendors. Though slightly more expensive than others at the market (but only by fifty cents), this stand sells mulled wine made from local organic wines with the choice of an additional shot of fruit schnapps to give your holiday cheer that extra rosy glow. Not quite as syrupy sweet as the mulled wine at other stands, it’s my personal favorite. Of course, the authentic cheapskate would have bought his or her mulled wine for 3 euros at the grocery store, heated it up at home, and brought it along in a thermos: a tactic with the happy side of effect of eliminating the need for a visit to the market all together.

Once your thirst has been satiated (if only temporarily), it’s time to peruse the wide selection of snacks available in a bag, on a stick, deep-fried, covered in powdered sugar, and slow-roasted over an oak fire. There are yard-long licorice whips, balls of deep fried dough with six different dipping sauces; there are sausages, schnitzel, and, of course, chestnuts roasting on an open fire. You’ll find row after row of brightly colored sweets, iced baked goods, and enough sugar to ensure the continued employment of the entire nation’s dentists.

The fatty foods and the abundant supply of wine grease—sometimes quite literally—the wheels for kaufen (buying). For that is the main purpose of the Christmas market: buy yourself a mulled wine, buy yourself a sausage, and then buy all the stocking stuffers you need (“need”) for your friends, family, and colleagues. If everything goes according to plan, you’ll be too drunk to notice how quickly your wallet is emptying.

While Christmas markets are certainly a better backdrop for the year’s mandatory holiday shopping than the sterile corporate bubbles of shopping malls and chain stores, they remain identical in intent. As well-dressed as Christmas in Germany may be, here too it is a holiday centered around the exchange of money for goods, erhm, gifts. Take the “shop” out of the Christmas market, and you’d be left with a few lonely strings of light and a lost looking man in red carrying an empty bag.

Author’s note

This year’s visit to the Christmas market was made exponentially funnier by the presence of rock n’ roll Jesus in the hand-carved, life-sized nativity scene set up in front of the cathedral (look at his right hand). Party on Wayne.

Wednesday December 15th 2010, 8:10 pm 2 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,germany

biofuel, bioschmuel

Last week at work I wrote up a little diddy about how Lufthansa is going to be testing out biofuel on one of its domestic routes next year. If you’d like to read the article, it can be found here.

For those of you who aren’t going to bother reading the article, I’ll summarize. Lufthansa and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) are going to spend 6.6 million euros testing biofuel on a Lufthansa passenger plane. CO2 emissions will be reduced, the environment will be saved, air travel will inch toward becoming sustainable, and we’ll all live happily ever as we fly into the sunset on the rump of a Lufthansa Airbus. Indeed.

I didn’t really want to write about Lufthansa’s forays into biofuel that morning, but it was perfect fodder for another website that I write for, so I drank half a pot of coffee and wrote about it anyway. The more research I did, the more irritated I became.

The press release that was my main source that morning was chock full o’ assumptions, and, as is the case with a hell of a lot of press releases, just an advertisement dressed up to look like news. The press release assumed, for example, that air travel could ever be sustainable, that anything produced within the current industrial production system could ever be sustainable, and that air travel itself was a goal both worth spending millions of euros on and continuing in the (allegedly) more-sustainable future. When you try to dress an advertisement up as news, you end up with that little-kid-in-his-mommy’s-heels-an look. Our papers are catalogs of children dressed up in their parents’ over-sized business suits.

Sustainability as I understand it is based on a well-balanced give-and-take relationship (emphasis on relationship here). As far as I can tell, building airplanes (and airports) out of metals and chemically produced synthetics has a lot to do with taking and nothing to do with giving, no matter what you’re using to fuel said airplanes. Unless you count pollution as a gift. In which case, you’re going to have the best Christmas ever because pollution is the gift that just keeps on giving. Giving us cancer, giving us asthma, giving us allergies and birth defects and respiratory problems and global warming.

Green solutions, band-aids on the breach of a sinking ship. Though many seem to be enthusiastic about accompanying the captain and his ship down into the murky deep, I’d rather adapt to radical changes in our culture now and know that this ole rock will remain fit for human life for a long time to come then insist that we need sustainable commercial airlines in order to survive. And if we were to, say, pull the plug on commercial air travel completely, we wouldn’t need to spend 6.6 mil. testing biofuel either. Imagine that.

Tuesday December 14th 2010, 8:00 am 1 Comment
Filed under: conspiracies

recycling for the apocalypse

“Sometimes, lost in post-apocalyptic reverie. I imagine that even the landfill may not be the final resting place in the empire of scrounge–that someday, when the present world of mindless hyper-consumption has finally failed, those thousands of tools and bicycle parts and lengths of copper pipe that I know are buried there will be dug, reclaimed, reinvented. In that regard I figure that, as an urban scrounger, I’m practicing for the apocalypse”
-Jeff Ferrell, Empire of Scrounge

Behold the recycled door! Fashioned from a metal car-advertisement board that showed up one morning from nobody knew (or could rightly remember, or wanted to admit) where. Lovers of apocalyptic aesthetics can now eat their hearts out with a spoon (door handle)! Love, love, and love.

possum living by dolly freed

Dolly Freed’s call to simple living and to abandoning ship on the money economy/wage slavedom is the simplest, yet most poignant I think I’ve come across yet. “It’s feasible. It’s easy. It can be done. It should be done. Do it.”

Well, well, well, if it wasn’t a freegan manifesto. Dolly doesn’t call her book Possum Living that, probably never even heard the word “freegan,” but all the ingredients are there:

(a) Fuck the money economy (Who wants to work a full-time job when you don’t have to?)
(b) Wean yourself off of your obsession with material possessions because it’s easier to live without them than it is to work for the money to buy them.
(c) Learn how to provide for yourself—hunt, garden, forage, dumpster dive, scavenge, diy, borrow, build, and make, and then sit back and love the non-working life.

Though she often quotes the Bible to back up her points, Dolly claims that she and her possum-living pops aren’t religious, idealistic, or anything else that most of the back-to-the-woods folks, then and now, seem very often to be.

No she says proudly, “We’re just incredibly lazy. You wouldn’t believe it! We have an anarchy here wherein neither has to do anything we don’t feel like doing. (Except to feed the creatures. You can’t neglect animals in your care.) Normally I do the housework and the Old Fool does the garden, the heavy work, and the care of the creatures. Not because we have sexist roles, but because the housework bugs him more than it bugs me, and vice versa. If I don’t feel like doing the dishes for a couple of days, why I just don’t do them. I often feed the animals if Daddy feels like goofing off, and he often does the dishes. The anarchy works for us because we love each other and don’t abuse it. It amazed me that so many people must either dominate or be dominated, like a bunch of monkeys on Monkey Island at the zoo.”

But Possum Living is more practice than preach, and in it you’ll find tips for hunting and fishing (and cooking the bounty), instructions for raising rabbits and chickens in your cellar, moonshine recipes, tips for saving money on food (buy your grains at the animal feed store, for one), and instructions on diy health care (coincidentally, all of Dolly’s remedies are moonshine), housing (buy a cheap wreck and fix it up with scavenged materials), schooling (hello, public library), clothing (thrift stores), and law (a very strange chapter mostly involving suggestions for bullying others into doing what you’ve decided is right). The chapters on brewing your own booze are the best I’ve ever seen and the most simple: no fancy gadgets to buy (as there always were in your average brewing/distilling book) and diy as hell.

“Fat and sassy”—that’s how Dolly describes her totem the possum, and it’s how I’d describe her book (though it was an incredibly quick read at 218 liberally spaced pages). And what a lady! She wrote Possum Living when she was 18 years old, and a year after a small publisher printed it (Universe Books, 1979), Bantam picked it up and printed the hell out of it.

Most interesting, perhaps, is that the most recent printing (Tin House Books, 2010) is accompanied by an afterward written by an older, wiser Ms. Freed. Her Dad, who she lived with during her possum days, she left to drown in moonshine, and then she got her GED, put herself through college, and became a NASA engineer.

She regrets, she says in the afterward, the take on diy law she advocated when she was 18 and especially regrets recommending having children out of wedlock. These days she lives in Texas with a couple of kids and a couple of air conditioners. Her possum days are long behind her, but with a little help from her book, yours don’t have to be.

Should you get a’ itching to get yourself some Possum Living, click on the link above. Apparently, by buying it that way, I’ll end up getting money, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Otherwise, I bet your local library has a copy, and I bet you have a pen you could use to copy down all Dolly’s instructions possum-style.

Tuesday December 07th 2010, 7:27 pm 1 Comment
Filed under: books,conspiracies,diy,freegan

the weather outside is frightful, let it snow, etc

Going into town these days means being inundated with Christmas songs, means ending up with a lot of rather unfortunate tunes stuck in my head. Or as the Germans would call ‘em, “ear worms.” (Isn’t that just a delightfully pictorial translation of having a song stuck in your head? I heart languages. May the world never become so globalized that all but one language is extinct.)

This evening the Beard and I went into town and braved the Christmas market in exchange for a cup of mulled wine spiked with schnapps. Mondays are a pretty good day to hit the market for the kind of people who hate crowds, and we were even able to ramble around comfortably so that I could take some photos for a blog I’ll be writing for work.

It’s no wonder that the people who run Christmas market stands can earn their entire year’s income in just one month. Booze plus shopping is a time tested formula for un-adulturated spending and sky-high profits. And in very few places do the two cohere as seamlessly as they do at Germany’s Christmas markets.

So in the name of the new winter season I will not be showing you pictures of the Christmas market, but of winter as it descended upon us last week, wagenplatz life ala god’s spilled crack-cocaine.

Briefly, the snow is capable of magic; everything looks gorgeous, and it’s easy to be in love with the world. Then it melts, leaving only mud in its wake. It has already started to drip.

Monday December 06th 2010, 8:59 pm 1 Comment
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life,germany,wagenplatz

calling all ghost chasers, camera experts, and skeptics

Explanations are in order, and I have none to offer. Please fill the comments with your expert knowledge and philosophical musings.

Whatever the explanation, I think I feel an album cover coming on…

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Saturday December 04th 2010, 7:00 am 10 Comments
Filed under: america,conspiracies