Seriously though, although most of the comics are a bit stupid, it’s still the only webcomic that references history more than half the time, and when it’s funny, it’s really funny.
Seriously though, although most of the comics are a bit stupid, it’s still the only webcomic that references history more than half the time, and when it’s funny, it’s really funny.
Deadspin has a hilarious yet accurate article on those individuals who don’t like the idea that New Orleans is going from the Hornets to the Pelicans.
There are two major problems that Facebook has. 1) The privacy thing and 2) Too many morons.
The first solution is easy — stop posting sensitive stuff on Facebook! This is not rocket science. Do not put your phone number, address, credit card or social security numbers on Facebook. Seriously. Worried about posting some stupid and making somebody mad, offended, or sad? Don’t put it on Facebook. Yes, there are Byzantine privacy settings on Facebook, and that’s not cool, but anything you put on a largely public website has the potential to be up for grabs.
The second problem has an equally easy solution — go back to the way things were. Whenever I see somebody’s pet or a five year old with a profile on Facebook, it drives me up the wall. All you need is an e-mail address — and those are really easy to get — and you can be on Facebook. At one point, you had to be a college student with a college e-mail address. I’m not saying college students aren’t morons, but there was at least a barrier to entry, so you weeded out some of the more egregious morons. Now, I realize that the genie’s already been let out of the bottle, so here’s my solution: make everybody pay $5 (lifetime, no monthly or yearly bullshit) to get on Facebook. It could be higher or lower, but in order to pay the $5, you’d probably need PayPal and in order to get that, you need a bank account. This will prevent stupid parents from setting up Facebook profiles for children — i.e. pedophile magnets.
Curmudgeonliness over. Now, as your reward, a picture of ducks.
– I downloaded the Oregon Trail and was disappointed to find it won’t work on Vista, even with compatability mode. While I’m at it, I’d like to give mad props to Oregon Trail II, an underrated game that was far superior to the original.
– Why does everybody think Vince Young is a bust? Sure, he’s loony, but look at Zach Greinke as someone who rebounded quite nicely. Young seems to have lost confidence, and I think going to a team with low expectations (hello Lions!) or a team with a really good player’s coach (hello Vikings!) could recapture his career.
– Phillies-Rays is the antithesis of Yankees-Marlins. I want both sides to win, yet this is an impossibility. I think the Phils will win, but it should be a dogfight. We’ll see if I get to watch more than an inning or two.
– Hockey has started again and I’m vaguely interested. Even buying NHL probably wouldn’t get me as excited in hockey as I used to be. This is my first big experience with a major strike in sports; there hasn’t been a football strike since I was a toddler and my interest in baseball developed after 1994, not before. Only the power of Hejduk (or Hedge Duck) could renew my interest; I’m not even sure if he’s still playing.
– If Mick Foley’s ownership stake in TNA isn’t a work, that would be wicked sweet. Mick Foley as the Commissioner was comedy gold; as an owner would be comedy platinum.
– Tony Romo is the best QB in Madden 09. I haven’t faced Pey-Ton yet, but Romo is better than Brady at the very least. Bears thinking about.
And I… am… OUT OF HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Some of you may know that I live in the Chicago Area (somehow, even though I’m closer to Indianapolis by a good half hour. You figure it out.) That means the only way to see the Indians is to watch the White Sox, Cubs, Braves, or Cardinals play them. So 19 times a year, I suffer through the pain that is Hawk Harrelson, former Indians 1B and all-time jackass.
Why do I hate Harrelson? There are many reasons. He’s an enormous home-team man, calling the visitors “the bad guys” and other such endearing nicknames. “He gone,” his signature strike out phrase, is probably cursing White Sox fans to fail in their efforts to maintain quality grammar. Every single White Sox hitter is “a great two strike hitter.” Juan Uribe is a “great offensive shortstop” who is “clutch,” despite his putrid OBP (.250). 21 HRs is nice from a no. 9 hitter, but it doesn’t make them genius.
Over the years, I have become convinced that Hawk tortures DJ into believing his insane drivel. They NEVER disagree. Hawk makes Joe Morgan look progressive. There’s this gem: “The reason that ERAs and home runs have gone up is because pitchers don’t pitch inside any more.” He also has an enormous man-crush on both Josh Barfield and Grady Sizemore. Either that or he’s an even bigger idiot than I give him credit for. He constantly calls Barfield “a good-looking ballplayer,” but given Barfield’s complete lack of results, I’m forced to conclude that Hawk just wants to get in his pants. There was also this exchange about Sizemore.
DJ: Grady seems hysterical about that last strike call.
Hawk: Yeah, but he’s got a nice smile.
Explain that! I grudgingly admit I enjoy hearing him use old-timer lingo like “ducksnort,” but there are ways to say it without being an asshole. You know what? BAM! Enemy. Here is the promised duck:
Before I begin, I should warn my readers that there are pictures of me in here. Because of the disturbing nature of such a thing, I will continue this post underneath the fold. If you have small children around, seeing my visage may stunt their emotional growth. You have been warned. (more…)
I am trying a new photographing strategery here and shrinking the images down somewhat in the actual post. That way, I will hopefully not run into the problems that I had in the Breisach post. If you would like to see the full image, click on the image and a new window will appear, containing said image in its entirety and glory.
So, Vassilis and I had been talking about going to Zurich because of a deal that a travel agency here has: 28 Euro for a round-trip ticket, though you have to leave Freiburg at either 6 or 7 AM and leave Zurich at either 7:45 or 8:45 PM. We decided to leave at 7 AM and 7:45 PM, due to the fact that nobody wanted to get up that early and there isn’t much to do after it starts getting dark. Originally the plan was that Vassilis and I would set up a double-date of sorts and bring along our girlfriends, but his was unavailable due to her having to work. As a result, Vassilis brought Cansin along.
Naturally, if you put two individuals who live in or around the Balkans, much of the conversation is each individual boasting about how much better his country is than the other, and this is certainly the case with a Greek and a Turk. For most of the trip, Vassilis was going on about Cyprus and Greek philosophy and so on, while Cansin was talking about Turkish greatness. To shut them up on occasion, I said that they’re both the illegitimate sons of Macedonians and Albanians. Incidentally, all of this (at least among people in our program) is done in jest, and it happens far, far more often than it should.
Anyhow, we all met at 7 AM to take the train out and arrived at approximately 9:15 or so. The train was pretty empty—apparently not many people want to jump on the Thursday morning offer to go to Zurich for 10 hours—and the trip uneventful. Probably because we were all tired…
Upon arriving at the Zurich train station, the first comment out of Vassilis’ mouth was about how it was pretty cool that the train stopped right on the street. The first comment out of Cansin’s mouth was about how it was pretty cool that the train stopped right on the street. The first comment out of Jianhong’s mount was about how it was pretty cool that the train stopped right on the street. The first comment out of my mouth? How it was pretty cool that nobody listened to anybody else. The weather in Zurich for most of the day was pretty crappy: very overcast, so a lot of my photos didn’t turn out all that great. Several of them were too dark, including one of a statue of a rhino in front of a bank.
Speaking of banks, we saw a Deutsche Bank right near the train station and wanted to stop by to withdraw some money or to exchange currencies to the Swiss Franc. We walked inside and a serious-looking man in a business suit was slightly dismayed upon our arrival. He informed us, after we asked about an ATM in the area, that Deutsche Bank does not do that in Switzerland and is only set up to do investment banking (or somesuch). Jianhong then asked about Bahnhofstrasse and how to get there. The guy picked up one of their business cards and opened it up to show a city map, showing us our location and how to get to Bahnhofstrasse. I’m pretty sure he did it just to get us out of there, but it was still nice of him. We also went to the tourist information center and picked up a couple of maps and other information about the city to help us on our way.
So after this, we went around and found a bank which does, in fact, do exchanges. We exchanged 80 Euro into Swiss Francs. By “we,” I mean primarily Vassilis and me. Each of us was to put in 20 Euro…but Cansin didn’t have any money on him, so I had to lend him 20 Euro. And I lent Jianhong 10 Euro as well. I’m such a nice guy… Anyhow, after receiving our money—which is very colorful and interesting, though the coins feel kind of fake—we continued along.
There are a lot of Greek-influenced pieces of art in the city. If you take a look over on the left side of the screen, you will see Vassilis standing next to one of them. But really, who cares about Greek art when you have a river? It’s kind of crass to say such a thing, but there’s something much more important than art and architecture: ducks!
If you cast a glance onto the right side, you will see some of the many ducks in the river. The ducks were playing around as ducks are wont to do. Over on the other side of the river were some swans, but I don’t care for swans, so I didn’t take any pictures of them.
The best part about this visit was that I got the chance to photograph a brand new type of duck. Not new in the sense that nobody has ever seen it before, but rather new in the sense that my history of ducks does not include one…or did not! On the left, you will be able to see one cavorting with my favorite kind of duck. I wanted to get a closer image, but falling off of the pier would not have been such a stellar idea, if you know what I mean.
This pier area also had a Greek statue, but it was a statue of a naked man feeding a swan. I don’t like naked men and I don’t like swans, so you could tell that I wouldn’t like this statue. There were also a bunch of little kids around, as this apparently was some kind of field trip. Some of the boys were trying to chase the pigeons. They were not very successful, but it reminds me of my youthful days, in which I attempted to chase down pigeons. I was not successful either. It turns out that pigeons are pretty fast and they get to utilize an additional dimension. Stupid z axis, always thwarting my plans.
Anyhow, we sat down for a little bit to eat a snack and plan out our next move. During this, Jianhong shot a series of images. On the left is Vassilis, with Cansin in the middle, and a goofier-than-usual me on the right. You can tell that I should either be a programmer or an economics professor, just based on how I look… Anyhow, click for big images and just realize that none of this was staged.
Here are some additional photos from the pier for your viewing edification: Jianhong Is Too Dark For My Camera; Vassilis The Bodyguard; Cansin Taking A Picture Of Me Taking A Picture Of Cansin. And yes, in that third picture, Cansin really does have the camera tag on his camera still. Vassilis eventually took it off because Cansin didn’t know how.
One of the cool things about Zurich is that pretty much every balcony is painted and decorated, which made walking through the old district a lot of fun. Speaking of the old district, there was one stretch in which there were four used bookstores on one street. This strikes me as a little too much, but they had some interesting books there, so I was okay with it. Plus it made things easier for us one-day tourist types who wouldn’t get to see too much of the city.
As we continued to walk around, we saw the Grossmuenster, a large, Calvinist church in the middle of town. Jianhong snapped some pictures of the inside but they turned out blurry. She also took pictures of the big front door, which had a lot of religious engravings. She paid particular focus to the naked women on the door. But then again, so did Vassilis…
As we walked out of the church, I took a couple of pictures of the area. You can see one of them if you look to the left…now!
In addition to the picture, we decided to walk across the bridge that you can see there. On the bridge, a woman walked up to Cansin and informed him that he should put his wallet in a more secure location, as she noticed it out in the open and anybody could have taken it. She comes from Buenos Aries and had never had any thievery problems there, but after moving to Zurich, she had her wallet stolen twice. That goes to show you: wherever you are, never trust anybody and always have at least one hand on a gun at all times. Oh, and don’t leave valuables lying about, I suppose, but I think that my advice is much better.
At any rate, I was able to get a good picture of Jianhong on the bridge. I really like that scarf…
After a bit more walking, we decided to stop and have a rest, so we went into a Starbucks because I had to use the restroom and we knew that they would have one. The prices in Zurich are exorbinent, even for Starbucks standards, so I’m glad that I didn’t get anything to drink. I just had a muffin, which cost roughly $3. I also got the chance to go to the restroom. In Zurich, it appears that all of the restrooms are keycoded so that people cannot just walk in and use the restroom without purchasing anything, so I had to get the keycode. This, admittedly, made me feel like a secret agent, as I now have special information. Though they probably change the code pretty often and thus my special information will decay in due time.
We stayed in the Starbucks for a while and then we headed off to the watch and clock museum. After all, if you’re in Switzerland, you might as well go to the watch and clock museum. On the way, we found a souvenir shop and looked at the stuff. Most of the stuff was so expensive that it hurt me to look at the prices. Amsterdam was downright cheap compared to Zurich, I have to say… Vassilis wanted to purchase a little Swiss pin but one of them was 10 Francs and another was almost 7. In other words, roughly $7.50 for the more expensive one. Ouch.
So we went to the museum and learned a lot about mechanical clocks. On the left, you can see one of the coolest ones. This does exactly what it looks like: you fill the cannon with powder, set up a fuse, and at noon, the magnifying glass lights the fuse and the cannon goes off. This would also make for one entertaining alarm clock…
There were a lot of interesting clocks, including many different models. I got to see the watch that Sir Edmund Hilary wore as he scaled Mount Everest, as well as the world’s tiniest wristwatch.
There was also a clock designed for Louis XIV. This one looks like it took way too much effort, but it looks pretty incredible. The clock, as I recall, took years to make and is gold-dipped bronze and turtle shells. You have to get very close to realize that the frame was actually many pieces put together.
There were some other grandfather-style clocks as well, including one which was designed for Louis XV, but they didn’t look all that interesting, to be honest. Vassilis is partially blocking a fairly standard-looking grandfather clock on the right side of the right image.
But my favorite clock was not a big one. Instead, my favorite one was an auto-synchronizing clock. The problem with most pocketwatches back in the day was that they would not be all that accurate. It was a lot harder to get a pocketwatch to work accurately than a standard clock, so one ingenious fellow found a way to synch up one to the other. On top of the clock is a stand for the pocketwatch. Each evening, you put the pocketwatch on top of the clock and, at midnight, there is a metal bar which comes up into the pocketwatch, resetting it back to midnight. This way, when you pick it up in the morning, your pocketwatch is synched up with the more accurate clock.
I tried to get a good picture of the synchronizing mechanism, but because the clock was in a glass box, I was unable to get close enough to really show you the awesomeness of the design. So you’ll just have to take my word for it, I suppose.
Incidentally, a lot of the information here comes from the fact that there was a guy who gives guided tours, so I’m not even making any of this up. At least, I’m probably not making any of it up…unless I made up the story about the guy who gives guided tours, and in which case, then I’m probably making the whole lot of it up.
But back to cool clocks. The second-coolest clock around was this number over on the left side of things. Yes, that seriously is a skull with a clock inside it. I tried to imagine who would own such a thing, given that it was probably designed before goths or motorcycle gangs gained prominence. But now I will no longer be able to imagine anybody as being evil if he doesn’t have this kind of watch. Alternatively, all evil people have such watches. Because man is that cool. But in an evil way.
There are some other interesting clocks and watches in this museum, including matching pocketwatches made out of wood and ivory, a clock made entirely from wood, and gigantic mechanisms which somehow tell the time thanks to the umteen hundred gears which spin. Oh, and an Egyptian night-time “clock:” a conical basin filled with water, and with a hole at the bottom. There are markings which show what time it is based on how much water is left in the basin. It’s a brilliant use of physics, I have to say.
But now I have to show something just for Dan, to keep him interested. It is hard to see from the image (thanks to the fact that they have the watch standing up), but this was a watch designed during the 1790s in France. France, after taking an arbitrary piece of metal and calling it a “rational” measurement, decided to do the same thing with time. Instead of our Babylonian-derived 24 hours a day with 60 minutes and 60 seconds (all base-12, as the Babylonians did things), the French decided that it was only “rational” to have 10 hours a day, with 100 minutes of 100 seconds apiece. Stupid French, always trying to mess up good measurements with their pseudo-rational crap. At least this one got dumped where it belongs.
Anyhow, after we left the museum, we walked around a bit more. By this time, it was getting dark, but Jianhong wanted another picture of herself taken. That resulted in the shot over on the left-hand side of things. As an image of her, it stinks, but I actually like the picture, which is why I am showing it. After all, not all photos have to focus on the foreground…
Later on, after eating a quick dinner, we split up and went to a few stores to kill some time, and then headed off to the train station, to go back to Freiburg and get some sleep.
And now, your moment of zen.
Yesterday, I completed my fourth exam: The Making of the Euro. As a way of celebrating, I took a day trip with Jianhong to Breisach. Breisach is a small city on the Rhein bordering France (and also within a half-hour ride from Freiburg), and we went to see all of the sights, which meant that we were back within 3 hours. Zing, town of Breisach!
I should note here that I am trying to use a new setup to display my images. I signed up with box.net and am having them host my images. If this all works out as nicely as I would like it to, you will see a wonderful picture of Breisach to the left of this text. If it does not work out as well as I would like it to, you might see a picture of a disgusting fat guy, sort of like the Something Awful 404 page. Seriously, what’s up with that? Yeah, okay, so I’m just using this text here to pad so that I have enough text to make up for all of the pictures. I know that it can be pretty difficult to fit them all in, and I’m still learning about the “align left” and “align right” thing, so I’ve yet to master that feat of image-placing awesomeness. Err, moving right along…
The town of Breisach has one major feature, outside of being located on the Rhein: a big church at the top of a hill. It’s one of the highest points of the town, and also where I took this picture.
But we aren’t quite there yet. No, our journey begins at the train station. After departing the station, we walked up a little bit and saw a big spinning ball in the middle of town. This wasn’t just any big spinning ball—it was a big spinning ball which was leaking water. Instantly finding this cool, we went to take a closer look. The ball apparently has some mechanical structure which keeps it spinning, and it spins powerfully enough that neither of us were able to stop it. But then again, it’s a smooth, wet, round object so it wasn’t exactly that easy to get a good grip on it, especially if you don’t want your pants getting wet. And for some reason, I didn’t.
After seeing the Spinning Globe of Doom, we were presented with a fork in the road. Should we go left, or should we go right? Well, I said left and then immediately saw something very odd to my right. Something…else…
Yes, that’s right: a Woolworth’s. I had some recollection that they went out of business a few years ago, yet I was seeing one right in front of my own eyes. It turns out, according to Wikipedia, that Woolworth’s did go out of business, but the German version spun off and continued the fine tradition of cheap goods for cheap. Woolworth’s turned into Foot Locker, Inc., and there’s actually one of those in Freiburg, so the whole world is just so tiny.
After a little bit of walking around, the two of us decided to ascend to the peaks of the town—to the church! On the way, I snapped a photo of this bas relief, supposedly from the 17th century, or of the 17th century, or involving the 17th century in some way.
There’s a lot of sandstone art in this town, so I used my intense deductive powers to realize that sandstone was probably pretty cheap at the time that a lot of this was made. Jianhong’s hypothesis is that the town was relatively rich and wanted to show it off by purchasing a more expensive stone than usual. I am not sure whose hypothesis wins this round.
We ascended some staircases, went up some inclined roads, and generally moved in an upperly direction until we got up to the top. One of the fun things about this is that part of the stairs and road winds around itself, so you can actually see people who are beneath you at some points. Thus, in voyeur mode, I took a picture of some person looking off of a lower point. Eat it, unknown person! I decided not to show the picture of this unknown person because it’s pretty hard coming up with enough text to actually separate all of these pictures and WordPress usually doesn’t like it when I try to insert tables, so I am trying not to go that route. So you just have to imagine a picture of me taking a picture of somebody taking a picture and then you can also imagine the smug self-satisfaction I had while taking this picture (notice how I snuck it in there; I’m a tricky one, I am), just because I knew that it was probably the dumbest one of the day.
Okay, so we got up to the top of the hill to get to the church. Upon ascending the hill, we notice a piece of art just sitting there outside. Jianhong decides, after seeing the back of it, that she has to hop on up and have her picture taken inside the thing. I, being the camera wielder, agree with this proposition and then I snap this photo. She didn’t actually see until after the fact what the front of this thing looked like… I actually like the bull coming up through the ground, though the rest of it is pretty stupid. That’s the problem with modern and post-modern art: for every really awesome part, there is at least as much of a crappy part involved. It’s like the artist said, “Hey, you know what’d be really cool? A bull bursting up from the ground. But I need something else…something…crappy. I’ve got it! A naked woman who’s been vivisected and attached to a giant triangle with a spur at the top! It can mean the passion of woman being vivisected and attached to a giant triangle, or love after being vivisected and attached to a giant triangle, or my hopeful pleas to get the government to give me money to commission a piece of garbage atop a really sweet-looking bull bursting forth from his brick encasement.” And that bull’s probably pretty mad that the woman-thing is on top of him. I mean, he knows he’s all sweet and stuff, but people are going to look at the partial chick above him and say stuff like “Man, that bull is pretty sweet, but what’s up with Limbs McGee there?” And did I really have to use “vivisection” up above? I know that it’s not for humans, but yes, because it sounds pretty cool, and that’s all of the motivation I need to say a word.
After all of this deep philosophy, we walked around the church some and went inside. I was not allowed to take photographs inside, and I didn’t want any Papal Assassins on my tail, so I just played it safe and pocketed the camera. Anyhow, the most interesting feature about this church was the big, imposing iron door on the front. This looked pretty awesome, but I didn’t take a photograph of it. My reasoning for not taking a photo is that it looks awesome, but only when you’re actually there. If you’re just looking at a picture of it, it’s probably not all that interesting, as there weren’t any markings on the door or anything. It was just a door with a handle that just happened to be made out of iron. Like the kind of door that you’d think would protect you in the event of a zombie attack.
Speaking of which… We actually got to Breisach at about 1:30 PM or so and it seemed like the town was deserted. Pretty much nothing was open and there were very few people out in the streets. Granted, this is a very small city, but it seemed very weird. Jianhong wanted to know what was up, and I hypothesized that the town might have been taken over by zombies and hoped that she had brought some kind of firearm with her because I didn’t. She didn’t, either, but we were able to test my hypothesis, as we saw a human-like object a couple hundred feet ahead. If it started screeching and trying to eat us, we’d know to high-tail it to a safer location and find something to unleash raw, human justice upon the living dead. It turned out that the woman was alive, though, so we were safe. And the reason why most of the shops were closed is that most shops in Breisach close at 12:30 PM and re-open at 2:30, so we just caught them during the lunch/siesta break.
Because we were able to avert this crisis, I can continue with the photographs. On the right, you see a picture of Jesus I snapped. This was back at the iron-door-equipped church and was out in a little courtyard-like area. The statue itself was protected with a series of locked gates. These gates were the type with the dull points at the top and not quite far enough apart to fit a shoe through. So basically, they were there to protect Jesus from hooligans like us, who would get in there and take closer pictures or something of the sort. Because there aren’t any arms on this statue, I called it Jesus de Milo. Then I laughed to myself. I don’t think Jianhong would have found it funny, so I didn’t bring it up. Which is slightly odd for me, as normally I just say things regardless of whether she thinks it’s funny, just because I think it’s funny. She’s polite enough to laugh along…
Anyhow, that was the end of the series of church pictures. After this, we walked back downhill and decided to go down to the Rhein. Now, the real reason for this day trip wasn’t to take pictures of churches. No, the real reason was to spend time with my girlfriend on a beautiful, sunny day. But the somewhat-real reason was to take pictures of ducks.
The first picture here is of a swan. A swan is no duck. I learned this in my biology class. Now, there are a couple of things that you will not learn in a biology class, however. The first one is that swans are big jerks. They like to bite people and the smaller birds and just act like all-around douchebags. I wanted to punch one in its dumb swan face just because of this, but I knew that if I did not have a more solid reason for doing so, the people around me might get suspicious and possibly stop me from unleashing fowl vengeance upon this bird of doom. Plus people foolishly believe that swans look beautiful, so they let them get away with pretty much anything. There is little I can do to counteract such myths other than to continuously inform others about this, and to be honest, I don’t want to do that. So I’ll let people live in their fantasy land where swans are graceful and beautiful creatures who aren’t big jerks, but if a swan ever tries to bite me, I’m going to grab it by its neck and punch it right in the face. You hear that, swan? I’m coming for you!
So that is the first thing you have to know about swans but have not picked up in your years of schooling. The second thing is that swans are racists. You don’t believe me? Take a look at this picture over on the right. It might look, to the untrained eye, as though there are just some swans in the foreground and other birds in the background. But think about that for a second: ducks and seagulls can cavort without nary a problem, yet none of them are near the swans. Why not? Because the swans are big racists. While somebody was trying to feed the birds (and shooing away the seagulls as they came by—which means she might be a swan partisan), all of the ducks were afraid of the swans, and the ones who tried to get food were darting in and out.
Why would they do that? The only reason that they would is that swans are racists and hate being around the “inferior” ducks. Swans, just because you’re big doesn’t mean you’re The Man, and only The Man can keep people down. Speaking of which, as we were walking uphill, I was explaining that I am The Man—as opposed to a more generic “the man,” which simply means somebody who is great or a male differentiated from other males by a definite article—in that I keep people down. I was kind of vague about my ways, and didn’t bring up the Zionist World Order stuff (gotta keep it a secret, y’know?), but rest assured that I am The Man and I keep people down. I’m not sure what else The Man does; I never really got the job manual, so I’ve had to try to wing it. So far I’ve been able to keep Tony down and sometimes I bring people down by talking about my pets who have gone to cat and dog heaven.
As I said, there was somebody out there feeding the swans. Here is one shot of the feeding frenzy. Note that the ducks were forced to keep away from the food as the gluttonous swans hoarded it all in their filthy, gaping maws.
But you know what? Enough of the swans. Swans are stupid creatures and I shouldn’t spend all of my time hating on them. I should not be sippin’ the Hateorade, as one Brandon Phillips might say. No, I am a man of love and a man of ducks, and I should spend my time loving ducks rather than hating those filthy heathen swans. And there were some cool ducks out there. There were a couple of mallards, including one who looked like he had a blue head rather than a green one. But my favorite was this little guy down at the bottom. This fellow was a really cool duck, and he got his head in a few times to get some bread. Take it to the swans, little duck! I wanted to take a closer picture of him, but he just wouldn’t get close enough to me, and every time I went over to try to walk by him, he moved to the other direction. So he’s probably a little camera-shy, but he is definitely the star of the show here. And you can see him in this shot chilling on an anchoring chain, oblivious to whatever those stupid swans may be doing. No, this is a duck of excellent proportions: an Arthur Fonzerelli of ducks, if you will. I would have shaken its hand if it, well, had any hands. But it didn’t. And despite this, I still enjoyed the duck’s presence. You might call it an unflappable duck. I just did, and you can’t do anything to stop me.
After watching the ducks for a little while, we went to sit down on a park bench and just watch the river. While we were sitting there, a woman with a red bag walked by us. Jianhong said that she’s a ghost, and that the only reason I can see the ghost is because I’m sitting so close to her—as she can see ghosts. And she had a human head in her red bag. Our conversation continued in this vein for a little while, and then veered off to something or another else. But we just sat there for about an hour or so, and as the sun started its descent onto the horizon, we decided to get going before it got dark and/or cold.
I know that the temperatures in Ohio (and Illinois) have been really low lately and that there’s been a lot of snow, so naturally I have to rub it in. It was about 60 degrees and sunny, without even very much wind. So I could walk around in a t-shirt without anybody looking at me funny.
Incidentally, as I was taking this picture, it was 17 degrees. I had an original shot, but didn’t like it very much, so I moved in to get a closer view. Right when I got close enough to take the picture, it dropped down to 16. I think this was a slight punishment for my being a jerk and rubbing this in.
But we walked back to the train station to wait for the 3:39 Breisgau S-Bahn to take us back to the Freiburg train station. When we got there, I noticed that woman with the red bag and pointed her out. If she’s really a ghost, I said, then I shouldn’t be seeing her here. But then, a few seconds later, she disappeared despite no train having showed up. I’ll leave it to my readers to ascertain the true meaning of this. Was she really a ghost? Did she achieve ghostly justice and, with the human head as a chit, find a way to ascend this mortal coil? Or did I just not look hard enough and see that she sat down at a bench or went inside? Probably the latter…
Update: Well, apparently box.net doesn’t like to keep images available for linking, so that option is right out. I suppose I’ll keep uploading them to the WordPress account. After all, the amount of time it took for me to set up all of the images was just too long to repeat it over and over again.
Normally, I think internet memes are totally uncool. But the ORLY Owl has serious staying power. I mean, I usually only even write things like “ORLY” when I’m having a fit of self-loathing, but just look at this guy…
What a cutie-pie! How can you ever get tired of that? I giggle each and every time I see him.
Speaking of adorable, I want to share this with you all. My vote for Person of the Year sent it to me, so you know it’s got to be good. Well, at least I know it’s got to be good.