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.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pine Cone-ette: The importance of the state brewery

This is an ordinary bottle of Germany beer. I'd say it's one of the most popular beers to drink around here. It's reasonably priced, has a pleasant, mild flavor, and the label kind of makes me laugh with it's strange, geometrical lady and pine cones. And another thing that is cool is that it's called Pine Cone (Tannen Zäpfle, well it's a regional diminuitve, but that's another story all together). I guess that in reality it's called Pine Cone-ette, which is nothing short of great.

And wait, this beer gets even better! Take a close look at the picture below (I hope that your screen is bigger than mine so that you can see the details. Due to some computer selling and buying, I'm not using my computer right now and don't have photo software.) At the bottom of the bottle you will see the word "Staatsbrauerei" which means "State Brewery". Yes, my friends, this beer is produced at the Baden State Brewery. Baden is the region next to ours', Swabia, and together we make up the state of Baden-Wurttemberg.

What does this say about the importance of beer in Baden?

Monday, January 21, 2008

The tastes of home never tasted so good

On Saturday evening I prepared meatloaf and sweet potatoes. I can, without a doubt, say that I have never tasted anything more like home before. As I slowly and purposefully ate my meal (wouldn't want it to be gone too quickly), I was overwhelmed with the feeling of pure bliss. It was a comfort food experience, the likes of which I have never experienced.

To be honest, I do not know why I have never prepared this meal in Germany before. Meatloaf calls for mixed ground meat (1/2 pork, 1/2 beef) and that is most of what is available at the store here in the ground meat section of the store. Meatloaf calls for onion soup. Well, Knorr, the company that often makes onion soup in America is German and probably invented packaged onion soup. And really, what it comes down to, is that meatloaf is actually just "Fleischküchle" or "Frikadellen" (German version of meatloaf, pretty much the same ingredients, but made in meatball size and cooked in a pan on the stove) prepared in one big mass and done in the oven.

Any-hoo, hoorah for that delicious meal and the great feeling of home that it brought on!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The place where the books live

Today Christian asked me, "Why is it pronounced 'lye-berry' when it's spelled 'library'?"

January 22, 2008 - Post Script:

After reading the comment I got on this post, correcting that pronunciation of "library" I realized that, for those of you who don't know me, this post needs clarification. I thought it would be funnier without clarification, but whatever, you don't get it, I'm not funny, whatever.

Christian is my boyfriend. He's German and his English is excellent, which is what made it so hilarious when he asked me, with all sincerity, about the pronunciation and made this error, which children commonly make.

That's why I posted it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Top Christmas Card of '07

I got this card from my dearest friend Zosia this Christmas season and I'm still laughing about it. What could be funnier than this alien and/or robot celebrating Christmas in space with mistletoe in hand?

Thank you Zosia for brightening every day since I received this card with your utter comedic genius (I really do look at it every day and laugh).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hello Kitty takes a turn for the worse. Or was this always a part of her evil master plan?

While glancing at my new, rather snazzy, Google Sidebar, the headline "The Hello Kitty Assault Rifle that actually exists" caught my eye and I, of course, had to click on it. The link took me to a blog by the name of Crave, which explained how, some time back, photophopped photos of such a rifle paraded about the internet. Well, someone took their cue from those original doctored images and actually made one (I didn't actually realize that people actually made their own rifles).

So here it is in all of its totally disturbing pink glory (glory?) This has just gone to show me that gun nuts are even creepier than I had previously believed.

I really hope I don't end up on some sort of Gun Lovers hit list now . . . sorry for that morbid thought . . .