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September 26, 2003
Degrees of cold

So the last few days have been about the coldest days all year in Miami with temperatures from around 40 degrees as the low to 65 degrees as the high. It is really not too bad except for in the morning when the temp is actually in the low 40's. Barbie and I are planning on heading into town to get some winter clothes this weekend, but with all the tourists in town for Oktoberfest, it could end up being a nightmare. All I know is that I was told I would need a scarf for sure...now when someone tells you need a scarf, then you know it is going to be freezing. Here's my theory on winter wear:

  1. Jacket: Miami winter COLD
  2. Wool Jacket: COLD
  3. Down Jacket/ Trench Coat: Really COLD
  4. Gloves: Why am I living here COLD
  5. Ear muffs: At least Canada is nice during the summer COLD
  6. Scarf: If it is cold enough to freeze my lungs, then it is not fit for human inhabitation COLD
Posted by Don at 09:16 AM
September 23, 2003
Interesting evening...

Barbie and I went out last night to a comedy club to celebrate Mareike's birthday...she is the one who owns Schirkan and lives right down the street. Barbie and I were a little concerned over the fact that entire show was going to be in German, but we were going to give it our best shot. I was actually feeling somewhat proud of myself before hand b/c I could somewhat understand what people were talking about at our table, so how much harder could the comedy show be? Apparantely speaking at a dinner table, and speaking on stage, go at 2 completely different speeds...so it was really tough...although I did pick up a few phrases here and there. The good thing was that it was improv, so they did a lot of body acting (like charades), which obviously helped. The show ended up lasting about 2 and a half hours...with a 15 minute break in between. Lars (Marieke's fiancee) did help us out a lot with the translating of things so that we could understand the setting and what was going on, which was a tremendous help. All in all it was actually a pretty good time, and I must say I did laugh quite a bit...guess that says a lot for the actors/actresses. It's probably the best thing for us to be forced to have to listen and comprehend things...as they say, the quickest way to learn a new language is to put yourself in an environment where you are forced to speak it.

So this morning comes around and I'm heading to work, and all I can find on the radio is talk show after talk show, and of course it is all in Deutsch. Now I understand this is Germany (a.k.a Deutschland), and that all the talk shows will be in Deutsch, but I usually could always rely on the radio to have English music...but this morning I was having no luck. 2.5 hours of Deutsch last night, plus Deutsch radio this morning, followed by another 2 hours of Deutsch class later this evening, I felt I had earned my keep and could relax with some English. Never in my life have I been so happy to hear Ricky Martin singing 'Living la vida Loca' in English/Spanish. It's a crazy world when I have to resort to talking about Ricky Martin on this site. :)

Posted by Don at 11:12 AM
September 22, 2003
Oktoberfest 2003 Weekend

Well we have had a fun and tiring last couple of days. As mentioned earlier, this weekend was the start of Oktoberfest, and our friend Rich was having a bunch of friends over to celebrate. Anyways, let's start with Saturday evening, as we didn't do much up until then anyways. So we all meet up at Il Borgo for dinner. In case you didn't catch on by the name, it is an Italian place...although all the courses we had were fish related, so go figure. Of course the highlight of the meal was dessert which was chocolate mousse with strawberries! :) Afterwards we headed to Club Pacha for some clubbing. I would have to say it has been a while since Barbie and I have been to a club, as a matter of fact I don't remember another time. Either way we had a blast hanging out and dancing and what not. Supposedly this is the 2nd hardest club to get into in Munich, but Rich had already arranged everything so that we could all hang out in the VIP area. We didn't end up getting home til after 4am, and we were the first people to leave! Great night...rough morning.
Sunday starts off a little rough of course, but all is good and we end up taking a few naps to prepare for Oktoberfest itself. We head to the infamous Thereseinweisse U-bahn station where Oktoberfest is held at around 4:30pm prepared to enjoy some more good times. The good thing is that we are going to the wine tent so Barbie can drink also. I must say I was surprised to see that Oktoberfest is not just a bunch of large tents for drinking, but an entire carnival as well. Somehow I would have to think that beer and carnival rides don't really go together, so you pretty much have to go in with the idea of either drinking or riding the rides. Obviously we were there for the beer this time. The wine tent was packed, and our box seemed even fuller. Luckily we got to hang out at the English speaking table once we finally got situated. Our box (group of tables) was right in front of the band which made things even more exciting. As the Oktoberfest Pictures show we all had a blast, and our host Rich even got to go on stage and sing...although he had alreadly lost his voice by this time so it was a little tough to hear him over the instruments. Anyways, it was a blast, and enjoy the pics.

Posted by Don at 12:07 PM
September 19, 2003
Oktoberfest is almost here...

I've put in countless hours of training for this Oktoberfest, although I must admit it I am by far not the most prepared. I am, however, ready to give it my best shot. This is just going to be one of those crazy weekends that come around every once in awhile, where there is just non-stop activity. Our friend, Rich (the guy on the left), is having a bunch (about 85) of people coming to visit him here in Munich this weekend, and he has a walking tour planned for Saturday afternoon, a dinner at 8pm, followed by late-night clubbing. Sunday morning is being reserved for recuperating, b/c from 5pm til Midnight we will all be hanging out at Oktoberfest and drinking beer (except for Barbie who will be drinking wine). The bierzelt (beer tent) we are staying at is actually a heffeweissen and wine tent, so we won't be getting the Liter beers that are so famous, but not to worry, b/c we are going back with Cisco on Sept. 31st, and we will have plenty of oppurtunities then. I would have to say I am pretty excited about going to Oktoberfest, as it is probably on my top 20 things to do in a lifetime (I'll post those later). Anyways, for those of you want to learn more about the history and celebration of Oktoberfest...go to: www.octoberfest.de.

Posted by Don at 01:50 AM
September 16, 2003
It's the subtle differences that matter...

I hate to admit it, but I do go to get and get professional massages. This may sound a little feminine for some of you, but it usually feels great, and I am more than comfortable with my masculinity. Anyways, to give you some background on how it works in the States, you usually are escorted to a room which is dimly lit, has a massage table covered in sheets, and some soft music in the background. They then kindly ask you to undress while they are gone and to get under the towel that is also on the bed. After you are ready to go, they knock on the door, come in and begin to give you a massage...all the while covering your private parts with the towel. This is what we were used to...well, WELCOME TO GERMANY!!
We show up last night to this local massage place, and I swear the place is about 50 years old. It's one of those old buildings with long corridors that remind you of WWII movies and the hospitals the GI's had to be put in...the only difference is that there were actual rooms instead of sheet walls. Anyways, Barbie goes her way and I mine. They escort me to my room, so far so good, then she leaves and tells me to undress. As she leaves I notice that for one there is no towel on the bed for me to get under, and two that the room is brighter than a summer afternoon in California (I would have said Miami, but it does rain there during the summer afternoon). As I am getting undressed the girl walks in...not even barely knocking and waiting for a response, but one of those knock and walk in all in the same motion. Needless to say, I've decided to keep my boxers on since there is no towel and she is watching me getting undressed. So I lay down on the table and begin to notice that there is no soft music...just a local radio station playing all sorts of random music...nothing classical by any means. THEN IT HITS ME!! This extremely bad odor that can only be described as the smell your wife complains about after a long run or 3 hours of basketball. The masseuse has extreme body odor and it is not something that you can just get used to ... the room now wreaks of this. Needless to say, it was a little hard to enjoy the massage with the bright light, hip-hop music, a 1950, barely padded, massage table, and the smell of someones underarm filling the entire room for an hour. The only good thing about the whole incident that it is only 25 euro for an hour...and we are pre-paid for one more, although I will have to request the masseuse take a shower or put on some deodorant before hand.

Posted by Don at 03:49 AM
September 10, 2003
The Genesis question

I have recently finished the book "The Genesis Question" by Hugh Ross and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was actually surprised when I finished b/c there was still about 40 pages left, but it was all appendices and notes. Anyways, the book deals with using science as a support instead of a hinderance to the creation story in Genesis 1-11. He suggests a lot of things that were never presented to me in all my days growing up in a private Christian school and also going to church...which kind of surprises me. A lot of what he says has to do with the translation b/t ancient hebrew and modern day English.
Basically he states a lot of the misconceptions are b/c the Hebrew language does not have enough words to describe something. For instance, the King James or NIV Bible states the world was created in 6 days, but the Hebrew word for day can be translated to mean a 24 hour day or just an extended period of time. Since modern science shows that the world is millions of years old, which would contradict the Bible if the world was created in six 24 hour days b/c man has only been around for some odd thousand years, he states that the Bible refers to an extended period of time, and not 24 hour increments. His basic theories lie in the fact that each animal, sun, star, moon, insect, whatever, all were created by God to pave the way for man. For instance, he says that when animals would become extinct, he would then recreate them (not evolution), and that the reason they became extinct is b/c they had served their purpose during that time of the world's creation. He also states that although scientists can see these differences in animals from fossil findings, they cannot see them since the time around when man came to be. His reason for this is b/c we are supposedly still in the 7th day of creation...which is when God rests. Basically God is not doing anymore creating, and science seems to prove this by not finding any new species from existing ones.
Another interesting fact regards the flood. Science shows that it is basically impossible to have a global flood...basically there isn't enough water in the world and a few other reasons. Dr. Ross claims the flood was not global in the world sense, but global from the perspective of the writer and mankind at that time. (Note: This concept of keeping things relative is very pre-dominant) Basically, man at the time of the flood was only around the Mesopotamia area, and when the flood supposedly wiped out man and the world, it refers to only the Mesopotamia area. And the fact that there is no way Noah could have put all the animals of the world on the Ark, he says the animals are only specific mammals, birds and something else, but not insects and what not.
Although he does make some good points throughout the book, he does seem to cop out of some things every now and then and just use the fact that God is God and can make anything happen. For instance, the gathering of the animals for Noah's ark, the creation of different languages, different races, etc. He does state that there are just some things science will never be able to prove, and that is where faith must be used...ie. (raising Lazarus from the dead, turning water to wine, etc.).
So, my conclusion is that I would definitely recommend it if you were as confused as I was about trying to figure out whether science or the Bible was correct regarding creation, or if you just want to learn a little about science. I'm not saying this book will turn you into a Christian or have all of life's answers, but it does a good job of presenting the facts...although he does throw in some religous overtures every now and then, which is to be expected.

Ah...so now I am on to Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. I'm only on page 15, and the book is about 400+ pages, so it may be a while til my next book review.

Posted by Don at 12:38 AM
September 09, 2003
Weekend festivities

I wouldn't exactly call the weekend festive, but I thought it was a good a title for the post anyways. If you read the last post, then you know what happened Saturday, so this is pretty much just a Sunday wrap-up with a few extra stories thrown in to add some spice. So, on Sunday I woke up around 10ish..got a whole 4 hours of sleep thanks to the late night listening to football on Saturday. Barbie and I headed to the movies to see Fluch der Karibik, and for those of you who don't know what movie it is...then you can look it up. :) Anyways, we had heard it wasn't going to be that good of movie, so expectations were low, but we actually ended up really enjoying it. They did a good job of keeping the movie interesting, and also for throwing in actual scenes from the Disney ride...which no one in the entire theater got except for Barbie and I. Both Barbie and I give two thumbs up!
The rest of day included a much needed nap, followed by heading to the Marriott to watch some NFL football. That's right, we can get some NFL games. It's amazing though, b/c the sports bar has about 20 TV's, and they only show one game on all of them. Not sure if it b/c it is all they can get or what, but we only got to watch the Packers vs. Vikings game. The Niners actually were on afterwards, but that was around 11pm by the time the first game ended, so I didn't stick around. Either way, there was football!

And now for the added spice...

About a week and a half ago I went to get a haircut. For those of you who know, my hair is not that hard to cut so I usually don't spend a lot of money on some fancy salon type place like some people...aka Nick. I went to the same place I had gone before, however, there was someone new working. The fact that she was new, combined with my not being able to speak Deutsch did not make for a very good haircut. My first inclination should have been the fact that she said they didn't have a size 2 clip-on for the shaver/cutter thinga-majig. All they had was a 3...and let's just say the 3 is definitely shorter than the 2 I am used to. Then, when she is done, I ask her to take just a little more off the top. She shows me how much, I agree, then she proceeds to forget all about what she showed me, and cuts my hair a lot shorter!! The whole thing was bad...I ended up getting home and finding stray long hairs on the side (where the very short #3 was used), plus the front of my hair is all whacked. Normally I don't care too much b/c it'll grow out, but I got a good beating about it when hanging with Gordo, Barry, Curtis, etc. last Thursday, so I thought I should at least mention it here. Bad things happen when you don't speak the language, the don't have your size cutters, and the girl is new...just a word to the wise for those of you who may ever encounter a situation like this.

Posted by Don at 12:26 AM
September 07, 2003
A late but great night...

So I decided to give this whole listening to football games on the internet a try last night. And when I refer to "night", I'm talking about staying up to 6am! So most of you east coasterners like to complain about the games starting at 8pm, but the games here start at 1 or 2am, and I don't even get to watch them...I just listen. Anyways, so last night about midnight I turn on the TV and notice I get to watch the U.S. open live...and the bonus part is I get to see Andy Roddick come back from 2 sets down and match point to win...just awesome. Since the FSU game doesn't start til 1am, and the UF vs. UM game doesn't start til 2am, I've got an about an hour to kill. Luckily I had the tennis match, as well as being able to listen to some great games like the Notre Dame comeback against Washington St., and the the Georgia Tech win over Auburn. I must say listening to some of these 'southern' announcers makes me laugh sometimes. So, by the time FSU game starts I am pretty excited, only to hear Maryland take a quick 10-0 lead to start the game. Doh! Well, FSU ended up scoring 35 unanswered points to blow out Maryland, so other than the first 5 minutes the game was great.
During half time and the end of the FSU game I would switch over to listen to the UF vs. UM game...and what a game that ended up becoming. UM basically rallied from a 23 point deficit with about 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. The only bad thing about this whole comeback is that it reminded me of last year when UM did the same thing to FSU. I did enjoy hearing the Canes win though.
So...to top things off during the evening, I got to watch the women's tennis U.S. Open final. Nothing too exciting there, but it was good to feel like I could watch a sport instead of having to listen to it.
So if you could imagine, I had tennis muted on the TV, and both games on the computer as I would switch the sound back and forth depending on what was going on. I guess I have a "football" problem. The best news is I get to actually watch some NFL games today at a local hotel...although I have no idea which one, but let's hope for the Fins!

Posted by Don at 05:34 AM
September 04, 2003
Things that make you go hmm...

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am reading a book that uses science as a proof for, and not against, the Bible. So far I am really enjoying it, although some things are a little hard to comprehend. Anyways, so I got this email and it just happens to fit into this type of discussion so I thought I would share it:

NASA and the Bible:
For all the scientists out there, and for all the students who have a hard time convincing these people regarding the truth of the Bible, here's something that shows God's awesome creation, and that He is still in control.

Did you know that the space program is busy proving that what has been called "myth" in the Bible is true? Mr. Harold Hill, President of the Curtis Engine Company in Baltimore, Maryland, and a consultant in the space program, relates the following development.

"I think one of the most amazing things that God has done for us today happened recently to our astronauts and space scientists at GreenBelt, Maryland. They were checking out where the positions of the sun, moon, and planets would be 100 years and 1,000 years from now. We have to know this
so we won't send up a satellite and have it bump into something later on in its orbits. We have to lay out the orbits in terms of the life of the satellite and where the planets will be so the whole thing will not bog down. They ran the computer measurement back and forth over the centuries, and it came to a halt. The computer stopped and put up a red signal, which meant that there was something wrong with either the information fed into it or with the results as compared to the standards. They called in the service department to check it out, and they said, 'What's wrong?' Well, they found there is a day missing in space in elapsed time. They scratched their heads and tore their hair. There was no answer."

Finally a Christian man on the team said, 'You know, one time I was in Sunday School, and they talked about the sun standing still.' While they didn't believe him, they didn't have an answer either, so they said, 'Show us.'

He got a Bible and went to the book of Joshua where they found a pretty ridiculous statement for any one with 'common sense.' There they found the Lord saying to Joshua, 'Fear them not, I have delivered them into thy hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.' "Joshua was concerned because he was surrounded by the enemy, and if darkness fell, they would overpower them. So Joshua asked the Lord to make the sun stand still!

That's right...'The sun stood still and the moon stayed and lasted not to go down about a whole day!' (Joshua 10:12-13)

The astronauts and scientists said, There is the missing day!' They checked the computers going back into the time it was written and found it was close but not close enough. The elapsed time that was missing back in Joshua s day was 23 hours and 20 minutes... not a whole day. "They read the Bible, and there it was 'about (approximately) a day.' These little words in the Bible are important, but they were still in trouble because if you cannot account for 40 minutes, you'll still be in trouble 1000 years from now. Forty minutes had to be found because it can be multiplied many times over in orbits. "As the Christian employee thought about it, he remembered somewhere in the Bible where it said the sun went BACKWARDS.

The scientists told him he was out of his mind, but they got out the Book and read these words in 2 Kings that told of the following story: Hezekiah, on his death bed, was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him that he was not going to die. Hezekiah asked for a sign as proof. Isaiah said 'Do you want the sun to go ahead 10 degrees?' Hezekiah said, 'It is nothing for the sun to go ahead 10 degrees, but let the shadow return backward 10 degrees' Isaiah spoke to the Lord, and the Lord brought the shadow ten degrees BACKWARD! "Ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes!

Twenty-three hours and 20 minutes in Joshua, plus 40 minutes in Second Kings make the missing day in the universe!" Isn't it amazing? References: Joshua 10:8 and 12,13 and 2 Kings 20:9-11.
Forward this to as many people who you believe would think this is equally as cool. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, Professionals built the Titanic.

Posted by Don at 04:56 AM
September 02, 2003
Fantasy football

Well for the first time in about 3 or 4 years we had our fantasy football draft online. As I'm sure you can all imagine it would have difficult to get me to the states for just a draft. Anyways, there were definitely some advantages (time limit, teams are automatically filled in after the draft, no yelling 'That player is already taken'), but it was pretty sad that I had no BBQ going and no beer. The main reason it b/c it took place at 5:55am my time. Those darn West Coastaners get grumpy if you make them get up early, so I had to bite the bullet. Anyways, my team is average at best, but you never know what will happen.

ps. Did I mention that I am missing watching football?

Posted by Don at 04:02 AM