Sunday, November 09, 2008

Surprises from the White Supremacists

My good friend and colleague, Alan Fortuna, recently referenced this article on his blog and, since the photo I took in the train of child vandalism didn't turn out and since that was going to be my next post, I've decided to steal Alan's idea.

In a very small sample of people, Esquire Magazine found that many white supremacists would vote for Obama. Now, I have no idea if they actually ended up doing so, but they seemed pretty convinced. Their argument: Obama is a racist (I disagree, but that's not the point) and it's better to vote for a black racist than a white person who isn't in touch with "white racial identity".

By posting this, I am in no way saying that I think white supremacists are cool for voting for Obama, rather, I just thought it was interesting and surprising.

I'll try to get on that same train again to nab a photo of the cheery child vandalism that I saw last week. Damn that'll be a great post if I can find it again . . .

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

John McCain's New Campaign Slogan: Yes, we will.

This morning, during my daily stroll through various online media sources, I came across an article discussing what McCain's possible strategy will be during the final Presidential Debate tonight. And in the first paragraph the author mentioned McCain's new slogan at some of his speeches and rallies, which is, get ready for it, "Yes, we will."

C'mon, McCain campaign, this is ridiculous. First you start using "Change" after the Republican Convention and now you're taking "Yes, we can". Oh, of course, it's not exactly the same as the slogans of the Obama campaign. . . except it almost is. Regardless of which party you support, the lack of creativity and of a unique message for the Republican candidate is just sad.

Oh yeah, by the way, I'm back.

Friday, March 07, 2008


Hello friend,

I'm here for just a few moments to tell you that I'm on a vacation from the blog, a so-called blogcation. I'm working on my thesis now and will be for the next few months and so there isn't too much time for blogging. I hope that something interesting will happen when my thesis is done so that I can write here again and tell you all about it.

I hope everyone is doing well and wasting their time reading other blogs in my absence.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fungal gnats -- as gross as the name suggests

Please do not look down upon me, dear readers, but I have fungl gnats.

Well, I don't have them as in "they are on my person", oh no no no! My houseplants have fungal gnats. After repotting my plants in anticipation of the growing season, I noticed what looked like fruit flies in my room. I tried some plant pest spray that we had around the house but it didn't seem to do much good. Of course my search for a solution lead me to the internet, where I very quickly learned that I (or my seven plants) have fungal gnats and that they are the result of contaminated soil.

So first off I'll like to thank Hornbach, which is the German Home Depot (not like it's just another big hardware store; it really is the Home Depot, same signs and store layout), for selling me contaminated soil. The next order of business will be to buy new soil and repot all my good friends again, which I can't really imagine they will like, since I'm sure there were just getting comfy in this soil. Oh yeah, and then there are the potatoes. In my internet search I also found a number of organic methods of pest control, one of which is to put 1/2 inch potato slices around the base of the plant. The gnats will then either lay their eggs in the potatoes or the little larvae will wiggle in there because they are potato-lovers (I'm not sure which). My job is then to throw the potato slices away each day and put new ones out, thus throwing out their eggs and halting their reproduction, at least in my room. It's a strategy similar to the Tübingen pigeon house (we got another one, so there will be another post soon!).

So that was a nice topic for a blog post . . .

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ah the joys of getting screwed over . . .

I'm an Ebay fan. I really am. Love it. Haven't had any experiences to make me want to stop hiting the Ebay. Well, what's going on at the moment could make me hate Ebay if my Ebay love wasn't so strong. (Yes, now is an appropriate time to be creeped out by how I'm talking about Ebay.)

I'm selling my computer on Ebay because it's loud and, I think, in retrospect, I was asking to much for it (Buy it now). Which is precisely why I was so surpised when someone bid on it. Let me digress . . .

If you are an Ebay buyer, have you ever seen a message like "Won't ship to Nigeria" at the end of someone's auction? I have and I thought to myself, how sad that one bad experience is turning everyone against Nigeria. Well, I'm starting to see what they're talking about. Let us return to the story . . .

So I was surpised that someone decided to "Buy it now" especially since there was the option to suggest a price. Shortly after the auction ended I got an e-mail from a "woman" in Canada who bought the computer for her step son in Nigeria. I'll have to admit, she seemed surprisingly well-informed. She knew she needed my BLZ (German bank code) and IBAN and SWIFT numbers and she knew that I should look at for shipping costs to Nigeria. So I went to the website and the post office. I got the shipping estimates for her. I got all the silly international banking numbers for her. And today her "bank" called me, probably from their cell phone in Nigeria from the sounds of it.

"We sent you an e-mail"

The e-mail was from the woman's address, not a bank's.

"No no, just listen. We have the payment here and just need your shipping receipts in order to transfer your money to you. You will receive your money in three weeks."

I think he meant was "We'll be long gone in three weeks, living it up with your computer."

Also strange was the fact that the "woman's" name had changed in the third e-mail.

Alright, so it's prety obvious now that this is a scam and, because I'm not a moron, nothing will happen to me. I'll even be able to get my listing fees back from Ebay. Pretty much the only thing that will happen is that I may start writing "Won't ship to Nigeria" at the end of my listings.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Obama is rockin' the Reggaeton and other thoughts on candidates

Yes folks, in case you haven't heard, Barack has his own Reggaeton song and you can listen to it at Amigos de Obama, but you do have to register first.

By the way, not that it is at all relevant to his bid for president, but did you know that Barack Obama has a lovely singing voice? While listening to the NPR Day to Day podcast, I heard him trying to sing in Spanish and while his Spanish was pretty pitiful, I was impressed by his ability to project and carry a tune.

Another bit of intereting candidate information regards Ron Paul and this does have to do with his candidacy. Last week I was again listening to the NPR Day to Day podcast and heard an interview with James Kirchick, in which he discussed his most recent article, Angry White Man , in the New Republican. In both his article and the interview, Kirchick discussed the newsletters that Ron Paul distributed monthly starting in 1978. "What they[the articles in the newsletter] reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays."(Kirchick, 2008, Angry White Man). Paul denies that he wrote offensive articles, stating that he didn't actually approve everything that went into the publication. But really, who puts their name on a publication and then doesn't give a hoot what kind of bigotry goes into it? Not really the level of responsibility that most people are looking for in a president. Since publication of the article, Ron Paul has "disavowed moral responsibility" for the newsletters published under his name. That's just ridiculous if you ask me.

So, that's the end of my random thoughts on presidential candidates. Back to work.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Back in the classroom

Last night I started teaching again. I hadn't taught in about six months and was nervous. I'm not even really sure what I was nervous about . . . failing I guess. Isn't that what one normally gets nervous about?

At any rate, last night kind of sucked. For some reason there was another class in our classroom (booking fluke) and we had to hold class in this large lecture hall of sorts. Not everyone had the same book because the institute I work for, for some stupid reason, uses different versions of the same book for different classes, meaning that some people had the 2nd edition and some had the 3rd. This does, believe it or not, make a pretty big difference. So I abandonned my lesson plan (I also had what was eventually deemed the 'wrong' book) and winged it with the 'right' book. This lead to my leason being a little more frantic than usual and I think I overwhelmed my beginners. I think I also didn't realize just how beginner some of them are. At the end of class students started complaining about the book and about the padagogic principles of the book, uuugggghhhh.

Upon leaving, I ran into my friend Monica, another long-time teacher who had just finished an equally trying 1.5 hours "in the pit". We walked part of the way home together and bitched about trials of teaching. It helped.

And this morning I taught my seniors beginner class and, to be honest, I rocked it. This seems to be an ongoing trend in my seniors' classes. I'm not sure what it is, but we have a certain affinity for each other. So I'm going to take my senior confidence back into the classroom with me tomorrow when I teach the group from yesterday again. They will be wowed, oh yes, they will.