“I know you, I know you”
(Said in Martin Short / Harry Shearer synchronized swimmer voices)
So today I met up with Anne, Wendy, Tom and Baby at the antique store where my mom now works. She has been at this job for the past two weeks and it suits her much more than the last job, based on commission and backstabbing.
We perused the aisles… I found this print I really liked, but it wasn’t priced, so I’m holding out to hear back from the dealer. It was of this ol pickup truck with a cap. Real odd colors.
But this isn’t the season about making my empty walls fuller, this is about giving, and I have a slew of things that just need framed. But I hate getting things framed. It’s a commitment, and pricey.
I did have a little luck though, and found a nice gift before we headed out for pizza.
Now I am cramming. I am burning printing cutting writing cards and wrapping. All while the TV is on in the background and my hatred for Jay Leno grows.
I will give kudos to the laptop tonight. While I am making a big 80 MB PDF, I am burning a CD, printing hundreds of complicated color pages, reading online, buying music and chatting here and there. No hiccups. It’s just working. (Knock on lapdesk) I’ll be honest, this amazes me. I remember OS9 all too well when any task meant I could go make coffee.
I like people who like music
After work, I went to a Christmas soirée up in Columbus for pizza, glühwein, and a gift exchange with the marketing department. It was fun.
I had only gotten my recipient’s name on Monday, so I made excellent use of their color-laser printer to make a CD-cover for an iTunes gift certificate after lunch. I threw in 600 megabytes of MP3 albums she didn’t have on her hard drive.
iTunes sharing is pretty dang nifty I must say.
Playlistism is rampant. I’ve determined the fulfillment department is on bad drugs.
Anyway, my gift from (the bobblehead collecting) Alex, was DVD sized. She played up on this blatant clue with a custom wrap-job (featured partially above). The photo of shirts and jeans is My Morning Jacket. The DVD inside? The Work of Director Michel Gondry.
I made reference to this group and DVD in brief conversations we have between dragging and clicking.
Damn she’s a good listener, and the custom giftwrap made it all the awesomer.
That is, if stupid means really effin great
So my friend Tom was all like, “These stupid creatures are great. You send in your socks to this dude and he makes a stuffed monster out of it. And it’s like cool.”
And I was thinking, yeah, whatever. Socks are good for two things: keeping your feet warm and monkeys.
But Tom, he wouldn’t stop yappin about these Stupid Creatures. So I went over to his house to pick up some stuff he stole from me, and I saw a box of them he had made (with new, but funky cool striped socks) for Christmas presents.
I was bowled over. The attention to detail on these things and craftsmanship is superb. They are weird and wonderful.
The best part is, this fella makes these out of his house and quit his day job. He even has an assistant. This is very much what I’d consider a dream job. (Not the part about the socks, the part about having a cool idea and running with it)
Now I just need a Stupid Idea.
Anyways, I’ve done my bit for viral marketing today.
Note: This entry is locked because Tom’s friends stalk me and they might be getting one of these neato things for Christmas.
Inside the Dom in Aachen
Our last day in Europe and we decided to take a day and relax at a spa. Not just any spa, but a fancy one about an hour away in Aachen. This gave us the opportunity to visit a Christmas Market without the crowds and enjoy some
Frühwein Glühwein together.
The group was a little tired at this point, and we were all a bit glazed bumbling around the city. A tangent trip into the smaller cathedral proved to be quite nice. The stained glass was funky.
We found the spa and finally figured out the entry and locker system and were raring to go. I had my fantastic newly acquired bad german swimtrunks and towels borrowed from the hotel. This place, the Carolus Thermen, was like an indoor waterpark. A family joint, it had all sorts of pools and hot tubs. You could swim outside to a “swirly” pool that fired up every half hour or so and created a current around the perimeter where you could float or swim. It was great fun and I think we managed to get there three times.
I stepped inside the first sauna of my life, and I stepped out a few minutes later. It was hot and dried my nose out. Made me sneezy.
The highlight though, was the “tepid room.” A place to quasi-meditate that was perfectly suited to the body’s temperature. After trying to focus, I eventually found myself floating away in a nap.
The tepid room was the first step of a complicated German process, but we failed to complete the other steps as there were no clocks or clear labels for the steps.
One last swim in the whirly pool, and it was time to head back to the hotel. Some Döner kebabs for din-din and an insanely early flight awaited each of us.
It was a great way to end the trip.
The streets of Cologne
A lull of a day, planted in the middle of the trip after we’d experienced many sights, sounds and tastes. We took some time to explore the city and wander through shops. Holiday decorations were going up all around and the Christmas Markets were planted in every square. As touristy as this place is, it didn’t seem over-done. The vibe was genuine.
We went to likely the best CD store I’ve been to aside from Amoeba. It was a little overwhelming and I didn’t have a crib sheet with me, but perusing the aisles was good fun.
Afterward, we avoided Starbucks and had some fancy ice creams with liqueurs. Actually, I had hot chocolate. We took a moment to piece together a torn up note we picked up along our walk, in hopes to recreate a moment from Amelie. Sadly, the letter writer Nils had nothing much to go on, other than he was gifting a ring and sorry about a death in a family.
There were no other clues or poignant meaningful messages. We shed no tears over our ice cream.
Greetings from the Heineken Experience
The Stedelijk Museum was first on the agenda, and it rocked. I was a little amused that the Marmot and I would gravitate toward the same pieces of art. And what a fun variety this place contained. So many good things, I’ll leave most of the detals to a gallery to be posted later.
Afterward, we found ourselves breaching the memo and hitting the Heineken Experience (Brewery Tour). Dang, this place was totally different than it was 10 years ago, and way more funner. Yeah, i said it. FUNNER.
Interactive exhibits. Rides of sorts (with disco lights no less). Great interior space design. Those kiosks where you can send photos and videos to friends (see above), and of course BEER. Well, three beers that is.
I think every museum should have kiosks to send internet pictures and videos, and beer.
Dinner that evening was spicier than J-Lo.
Then it was time for some relaxing downtime. I watched The Fugitive with Brian and threw caution to the wind after it was over. I went out to meet Brodie and Gus for one last night on the town and bumped into a friend of the BearsGoneWild to boot. It was a quiet night at the bars, but I much preferred it. Got to converse and drink.
3am came way too soon, no coffeehouses seemed open, so I headed home begrudgingly and found the 15 minute walk turn into an hour and a half street-wandering.
The weather was mild though, and I didn’t feel like a mark when i would take out my cruddy map to realize how much more lost I was.
Amsterdam is a fine place. Two thumbs up.
S – E – X – X – Why?
Waking up, we’d every intention of following the travel itinerary (“the memo”) and hitting some museums. But I hadn’t a moment to get a trim before leaving the states and we passed this wonderful barbershop in the leather-district of Amsterdam.
So I bumble in and take my seat for what would turn out to the longest and most frustrating haircut I’ve ever had. Tiny Tina, my barber, will laugh once I tell her that i cheated on her with two fey leathermen from the Netherlands who fought over how much hair they could remove from my mug.
Blah blah blah. Language barriers aside. I walked out 2 hours later, pounds lighter it SEEMED.
Did we go to the Foam photography museum at this point? I have no idea. It was incredibly forgettable.
Met back up with Brodie and Gus for a tour of the Sex Museum. I have better porn than this place, though it was relatively amusing and cheap. They really should serve beer, it’d be much more accessible.
The only thing I remember from the rest of the evening is something about throwing a weiner down a hallway.
It’s a bit blurry now
I still felt “normal” at this point and well adjusted to the time zone. Sleeping in Sunday was natural and good.
Pratt, Brian and I decided to hit the Thermos Day Spa and it was disturbing. The mental image of folks peeping the top of their head around a corner to see if there was space in the hot-tub was comical. As was the rest of that place. I did however, find myself a barstool and beer. And since it wasn’t shoulder to shoulder, I could fill up those tiny little beer glasses a lot.
Leaving there, we went over to Le Shako to meet up with the Netherbears and rendezvous with Brodie and Gus. When we got there, the bar was relatively empty. So we secured a fine table in the side nook and soaked in the warm tiny atmosphere.
Little by little, the bar began to fill up with kind faces and the beer flowed. We delayed dinner for an hour as the spirits were mighty fine.
Dinner itself: another warm memory. The Hemelse Modder was supertasty. Potato soup, mushrooms and sprouts with wasabi sauce were my starters before some tasty sausage.
And the wine, was delicious.
It started off handing out candy to trick or treaters. Turns out kids think “grab a couple” means a handful.
Then I went to a party. Turns out chicks can pick up chairs while their head is against a wall. I knew this, just never tried it.
Then I headed out to the bar. Turns out Halloween is the time to go out and buy cheap ill-fitting leather.
I dressed comfortably, Target pumpkin tee and some eye makeup. Turns out, subtlety in makeup disturbs people. “Are you ok?” “You look tired” “Stop looking at me”
A couple random Halloween shots.