Saturday, April 18, 2009

Quick Trip

So we have been to the states and back. It was a quick trip with not much time to do much of anything. The reason for the visit was to take part in the sentencing hearing. Mandie gave an excellent statement, and now the case and all that malarkey is now officially over! Mr. Smith was sentenced to 59 years of jail time, which means he will most likely spend the rest of his life in prison. Here is a news article and video that describes some details of the story.

We did not take many pictures, so I'm afraid all I have for you is a boring one of me in the hotel room. We did make it to a Mexican restaurant before we left. You will never realize how much you miss Mexican food till you move to a different continent.

I was at a birthday party last night and discovered that my school made a promotional video, and I show up in it twice with my scruffy winter-time beard. It was shot several months ago and they just finished their post production. You can find it here on youtube.

Today I picked up several books after making arrangements with a guy who decided he wanted to get rid of them. Among the assortment are airplane books, German mysteries, a stack of boring trash novels, the history of Prussia, German quiz questions, coffee table books: one of Europe, and one of volcanoes!, and a variety of language books. The volcano book has really awesome pictures, mostly of fire and destruction, but also maps of volcanoes around the world.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

7/8 Breakcore

On wednesday, despite being sick, I went to a Venetian Snares show. It was awesome! Funk played lots complex electronica in various time signitures, with lots of noise laced in and out of the arrangements.

Walking around in Kreuzberg yesterday, Mandie and I came across a large graveyard. Exploring it we came across the graves of Felix Mendelssohn, His sister Fanny, and E. T. A. Hoffman. The Mendelssohns were both signifigant German Composers during the Romantic Period. Hoffman was also a significant figure in the Romantic movement, in literature and music. You may be familiar with his book, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

Another thing that I have noticed is that the large black and white birds that hang out around our building are actually magpies! I have left shiny objects on our window ledge in hopes that they take them.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Mono played in Berlin on Saturday. If anyone does not know this group, they are amazing and you should check them out. Mono is an instrumental post-rock quartet from Japan. Their music is beautiful, and live it is cathartic. They go from peaceful melodic ambience to piercing sonic winds, all the while holding onto their dreamlike finesse and style. The first time I saw them was in Asheville down by the river in a small warehouse. I have a story behind this, but it is one that most people doubt or just attribute to coincidence. It is not a story to tell here, but if anyone really wants to know, send me an email and I'll tell you.

Most of this past weekend was spent in Gorlitzer Park having picnics and hanging out with friends. I know, life is so hard. Now that the weather is getting warmer, all the people, art, and culture are coming outside and filling the city with life! It feels so much better now than it has over the course of this long dreary winter. While in the park, there was a large demonstration that marched through rallying support for a large party to be held in Tempelhof, the airport that is shutting down here in Berlin. They had signs inquiring, "Have you ever squatted an airport?" You can find info on their website. By occupying the airport, many hope that they can influence the city to designate this area as public space.

We went for a walk by the East Side Gallery, a stretch of the Berlin Wall that is still standing after its construction in 1961. Of course now it is in rather poor condition, chipped away with rebar exposed and sticking out. Weathered down with decades worth of graffiti, there are some plans to restore sections to how they looked in 1989 with some of the more famous paintings recreated. This particular section goes along the river and we showed up just as the sun was starting to set on the other side. As it was getting dark we started heading towards the show. Later on we explored some of the back lots and random alleys. We found cool spots by the river, and shortcuts. In one lot we even found a bunch of people having a bonfire! After exploring we grabbed some dinner at a sidewalk halloumi cafe, and then headed home.

I am slowly progressing in my piano lessons. With all the practice, I can finally recognize notes and play my scales with both hands at the same time. Hopefully with enough work I can become somewhat decent at reading music. This is of course my primary goal.

Right now, I am in the market for a mixer. I have gone to some music shops here in Berlin looking at different mixers and considering my options. If anyone has any advice, imput, or suggestions on this matter please let me know.