Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Happy Fun Printer (Or, The Fabulously Amazing Site of Tablature!)

Well, my printer has become active once again, for the first time in several weeks... and let me tell you: it's wonderful to be printing guitar chords and tablature as opposed to applications and resumes. Absolutely wonderful.

For those of you who are interested, I've discovered a pretty good website that boasts 250k+ guitar tabs: Ultimate Guitar Tabs Archive. So far, I've been able to find most everything I've searched for, whether it be artist or song.

We're talking everything from the Goo Goo Dolls to the Eagles to Tori Amos to Johnny Cash to Guster to My Boys the Beatles.

Yeah, I admit it... I've developed a new obsession... :)

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Today was a lovely day in the Center of the Universe, despite the fact that about half the people (including Bizarro Mom, Syd, Maya and me) are battling a cold.


Speaking of the Universal Center, here's a video from a little while back... now all of my Dear American Readers can experience a tractor ride through the German countryside.

Maya is sitting left of me; Lizzy is sitting across from us; Huckleberry is attacking us with jumper cables, if I recall correctly; and The Little Rascal was driving the tractor (legally, of course).

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My skin is thick, darn it.

You seriously have to have thick skin to live in this country. Germans can be so freaking direct (and borderline rude) at times... but at least you generally know where you stand.

Ironically, my publishing this little fact in their country, in response to their behaviour, could be considered both direct and rude... but hey, when in Rome. And I'm slowly learning to give it back, though I still haven't concluded if that's a Good or a Bad Thing.

While on the subject... does anyone else have anything they want to criticize me for? Anything I've screwed up that you'd like to confront me on? Anything dumb I've said or done that you'd like to point out? Any language mistakes you'd like to make fun of? Any general complaints, criticisms, reprimands, or suggestions for improvement?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Work and Play and Lollipops

My poor, forsaken Blog... :)

See what happens when you work in front of a PC the entire day? In the evenings, the last thing you want to do is sit in front of it again... especially when you feel you ought to write something clever.

Excuses, excuses, I know.

Work is going very well - I'm understanding things and am enjoying the work itself. It's also been interesting observing the different corporate cultures between companies. During interviews, and also having worked for two companies (Siemens and Canon), I've had the opportunity to be an observer from a semi-insider perspective.

Well, I felt rather torn today, as I had to give up half-a-day in the Center of the Universe after promising Biff a month or so ago that I'd go to a concert with him. Though it was odd being somewhere else on a Sunday afternoon, there's really not much that beats live music. Germany has such a rich music history... just think about it... the only decent well-known non-German composers are Chopin and Rachmaninoff (Eleanor, do you want to wikipedia this to make sure I spelled it correctly, hehe? Thanks). So many famous composers are German: Mozart, Bach, Tokio Hotel, Beethoven, Wagner, Handel... and the list goes on.

If I believed in re-incarnation, I'd want to return as a window-shattering Prima Donna. Wait, our church doesn't need a Sopranist to shatter windows... the neighborhood miscreants are happy to oblige free of charge.

But that's another story.

Life is generlly going well. Having not worked for multiple months, I've come to appreciate both work and play all the more. Everything is somehow better.

Das Leben ist vielleicht doch ab und zu ein Zuckerschlecken. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Opinion Procrastinations and Musical Obsessions

So... there's been quite the debate regarding smoking lately... several people have asked me about my opinion and, honestly, I'm afraid that if I publish it, I'll be ex-communicated from the church.

My opinion is alive and well and written... it's just a matter of whether or not it ought to be published, especially when children are in the audience.

*thinks for a minute*

On a completely different note, I've developed a new obsession, und zwar, playing the Guitar. At Eleanor's the other day, I was sitting outside messing around on the guitar when a friend came by...

Friend: "I'd like to play the guitar... but I can't."
Mary: "Listen to my playing - I can't play either."
Friend: "I'd never sit outside and just play like that... I'd be too embarassed."
Mary: "Eh, you have to start somewhere."

Then Syd, who's never anything but sweet and encouraging came by...

Syd: *starts messing with my guitar* "The guitar keeps squeaking... you have to press the strings tighter."
Mary: "Well, YOU couldn't play it much better."
Syd: "Your MOM couldn't play it much better."

One of the many things I've learned since being here in Germany is that quite a bit is possible - you simply have to do something... you have to have a little confidence and take the necessary step. And if you mess up, that's ok, too.

The pessimistic perfectionist is becoming a smaller and smaller part of my life...

Friday, April 06, 2007

Lord, liar or lunatic?

With Easter approaching, I've been thinking quite a bit about Jesus... specifically, how people (including myself) view him.

Is he God? Is he a prophet? Is he a good man and nothing more? Is he a criminal who deserved to die? There's quite a bit of disagreement when it comes to who he actually is, which is why I think it's important to look at who he says he is. For example, he claims to be God. He claims to be able to forgive people. He accepts worship.

Is that normal? Is that right?

If I were to claim to be God, and claim to be able to forgive people, what would the general reaction be? Would I be taken seriously or would that be more in the diretion of blasphemy and being commited to an insane asylum? Probably the latter...

All that to say... when it comes to Jesus, there are really only three options of who he could be: Lord, liar or lunatic. If his claims are false, that would mean that Jesus is either a lunatic (he made a false claim but believed it) or a liar (he deliberately and vindictively made the false claim). But if his claims are true, that would make him Lord.

There is no way he was simply a "good man." Good men don't claim to be God, don't claim to be able to forgive people's sins, etc. That's what *crazy* people with delusions of grandeur do.

Based on what he's said, I'd argue that he's either a very bad man, or God.

So... if what he says is true, we all have something to think about.

Jesus once asked Simon-Peter, one of his friends, "who do you say that I am?" This is a good question for us today as well. Who do you say that Jesus is? Do you think he was *crazy*? Was he a warm fuzzy prophet? Was he a criminal? Or could it maybe be that he really can forgive us, really can bridge the gap between us and God?

It's almost Easter. The entire Western World is on vacation. This might not be a bad time for us to think about who Jesus really is, and what that means for us.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Smoking, Part II (Translated Comments!)

Well, Tobi and Lizzy left some interesting comments, which I've been kind enough to translate for my Dear American Readers.


Here's what Tobi wrote:

Point 1. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Smoking is poison (there’s no question about this) and no matter when and how often you smoke, you’re smoking out the Holy Spirit.

2. Nicotine is a drug and an addiction. Even if you only smoke every now and then, the step towards being a regular smoker (be it out of boredom or frustration) is very short. You should prevent such habits.

3. General question: do you want to be a good example for others or not? If I don’t want people or teens or youth to smoke, then I should consistently model this which would mean not smoking, ever.

4. It’s an either – or situation.

5. If you think you’re free, then you also have the freedom to say “no.” Smoking as a habit ties you down.

6. In the Bible, it says that if your behaviour is a hindrance to others, you should refrain. Well, I hate smoking, so your smoking would be a hindrance to me.

7. Smoking isn’t cool. Most people only smoke because of peer pressure. You could eat a candy or an apple or whatever instead.

Hash and marijuana are out of the question; they’re drugs. There are not decent medical values; it only anesthetizes the Holy Spirit. In the Bible, it says that you should have a pure spirit, even in pain. Look at how Jesus suffered; our pain is nothing in comparison.

Jesus didn’t smoke and wouldn’t smoke; he wasn’t into pleasure – He was here to save us. He kept his spirit pure and wasn’t distracted by smoking.

And here's what Lizzy wrote:

I totally agree with Tobi! I’ve never touched a cigarette and never plan to! Even though some friends of mine smoke, it hasn’t been hard for me to refrain because I think it’s disgusting!! It stinks, your eyes tear, it’s too expensive, etc.! When it comes to hash and marijuana, it’s the same story. I’ve never touched it and never will. I agree with Tobi!!

There’s also hookah. I wouldn’t count that as a drug, but in principle you can put it in the same category as cigarettes. You smoke it every now and then, but if you smoke it too much, you can become addicted (not as fast as with cigarettes, but when you’re addicted, it’s just as hard to break the habit!), which is why I think that what Tobi wrote about cigarettes also applies to hookah. I think you should keep your fingers away! It’s hard to prove whether hookah is more or less damaging than cigarettes… the only “advantage” is maybe that it doesn’t taste so disgusting. Another advantage might be the fact that you smoke in comfy little groups with friends/family. But these are the only advantages!