Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Word up!

First of all, how are y'all doing over there with the swine flu? If everyone I know could please make an effort to avoid dying in an influenza pandemic, I'd really appreciate it. So far it looks like it hasn't gotten to Georgia yet, but I suspect it's just a matter of time. Probably it's coming to Germany too, though. It may be time to quarantine myself in my apartment.

Secondly, I've been a bad blogger of late. I realized I haven't posted any Helgoland pictures. Here you go. First, I give youth Pohnert group. Yes. There are a lot of us.

Second, here's a picture of some rubber boots. One of the gray/blue pair is mine. Something like 9 euro at Aldi. That's some dope shit. Nothing makes me feel as sexy as walking around in rubber boots all day.

Next, please turn your attention to the bathing beauties on the beach. They don't seem to realize that it's cold. Please note point number 6 from the April 18th post.

And finally, we came across some rather unusual marine life while in Helgoland. The rocky intertidal is truly a fascinating place. You'll have to look really hard in the picture to see it - he's rather well camouflaged. We're doing feeding assays with him later to determine whether the chemical defenses in the algae help him avoid predation, or if it's just that he's more cryptic.

That's all I got for today. Oh, and the 90's hip-hop phrases are brought to you by my Swedish friend. Nothing's funner than a Swede saying "Word up!"

Peace out, yo!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

NPR listeners like pot

NPR is doing a story about legalization of marijuana, which I should confess, I haven't read or listened to. But you can - here.

I did, however, look at the poll results. I was expected something like 60% in favor, because, honestly, we all know the political persuasion of the average NPR listener. Instead, it was much, much, higher. See?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes, but only for medical purposes

Total Votes: 12,234

Either NPR fans are way farther to the left than I expected or the people who follow NPR online are not representative of the larger listening audience. Which, now that I think of it, makes sense. I guess a lot of the elderly fans haven't quite figured out how to access the wide world of internet polls.

That's all I got today. Just thought I'd share.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

10 Things I learned over the past week

Okay, here's what I learned, in no particular order. Drum roll please....

1. Hamburg is a very nice city. It turns out that there are a lot of hippies who like to hang out in parks, so Jenny's thinking of moving there. I never really feel cool enough to hang out with the hippies (I'm not sure how to dress the part and my history of drug use is limited) so it's not as much of a draw for me. But it's a port city, which is cool, and we walked through a bunch of different neighborhoods.

2. People love in different ways. We went into one of the sex shops in St. Pauli (the red light district) and saw all sorts of unusual things. For example, gas masks. Does anyone understand the appeal?

3. Osterfeuers are fun. Germans celebrate Easter by lighting a big bonfire the night before. Apparently it tells winter to go away and keeps away monsters or witches or something (I got conflicting reports). Anyway, we went to the one on the Hamburg beach. I had a beer at midnight.

4. I continue to enjoy chocolate and alcohol. Lent is over. It's a good thing to be able to drink and eat chocolate again. I thought perhaps I'd like them less after not having them for a month and a half, but that is not the case.

5. I don't like to be told what to do. Perhaps this applies to everyone, but I realized after my trip to Helgoland that I really like being able to make my own schedule. I'm too old for class field trips.

6. Seals are awesome. They were just laying on the beach on Duene, the island neighboring Helgoland. They seemed unaware of the cold, and indifferent to the people taking pictures of them. They were just relaxing on the beach.

7. I prefer beaches that don't require me to wear a heavy coat. Really, I think that point is obvious. Enough said.

8. I think that I don't get seasick. Okay, so I probably don't have enough evidence to say that definitively, but it's looking good. The waters were pretty calm though. I need to test my mettle in rougher seas.

9. It's difficult to kill a fish by smashing it's head against the ground. I have Thomas to thank for this piece of information. You see, they're slippery, and if you hit them hard enough to have an impact, they just sort of slide out of your hands across the boat deck. But they don't die with just a light tap. Trust me, I know.

10. Rope is fascinating. Jenny and I became experts on rope during our time in Hamburg/Helgoland. For example, rope can be used to tie things to other things. Rope can also be used to tie things to themselves. Ask me about rope. It's my new favorite subject.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Update on my life

Today is Georg's birthday. It's very exciting, in large part because we had cake, and I like cake. One was chocolate and it made me wish that Lent was freakin' over already. I mean, denying myself makes me feel closer to God or something. Kristina tells me that Lent is over on Friday, but I disagree. I'm pretty sure that it's not over until Easter Sunday. From a theological perspective, it doesn't make sense for it to be over on Good Friday. Back me up people. Am I right? Anyway, I'm thinking that my Easter breakfast may be bloody marys and chocholate bunnies. Mmmm. Lecker.

So I'm going to be leaving Jena for a week on Friday. It's sort of unlikely that I'll post anything in the meantime. Since the days surrounding Easter (i.e. Friday and Monday) are state holidays Jenny, Kristina, Kristina's boyfriend Dirk, and I are heading off to Hamburg. You know, just 'cause it seems like a cool city. Plus it has a large red light district. Prostitution in legal in Germany.

Starting Tuesday the entire lab is going on a field trip to Helgoland. It's a rock in the North Sea with a marine lab. It looks like this:

I'm sort of excited, except that I've heard that if the weather is bad we could be unable to take the ferry back to the mainland. Then we'll be trapped, and we'll have to eat Carsten so that the rest of us can survive. (We talked to him about this. He's not thrilled, but admits to the logic of it.) I'll let you know how it goes.

In other news, spring has finally arrived! It was sudden. I think it was last Thursday when the world got warm and happy, and I finally could let go of the resentment I felt towards all people living in warm places. Plus, I heard on CNN this morning that there's a cold snap in Atlanta right now. The weatherman had to take in his plants. Also, sometime early this week I noticed that most of the trees have leaves now. I'm pretty excited.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Canada is in good hands....

I was watching CNN the other day, and one of the reporters was going around showing New Yorkers pictures of G20 leaders and asking them to give the name and country of the leader. I can do most of the European ones, but even the reporter got some of them wrong. Anyway, my favorite picture he showed is this one (I managed to find it on the internet later).

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada. Why is he wearing a sweater, when all of the other leaders had ties? More importantly, what's the deal with the cat? Doesn't the photo look like it came from an internet dating site? Frankly, this picture is more youth minister than prime minister.

Anyway, my subconscious must have gotten stuck on that idea, because I had a dream that Mr. Harper was leading an English prayer service in Berlin. This is the sort of thing that happens when the only English TV station you get is CNN. You start dreaming about Canada's prime minister.