Category: Freizeit und Freunde


People in bars tend to surprise you with the most wicked stories and weird ways of telling them.
Eating little Koala Bears, commiting suicide by jumping from the Hollywood sign .. those are old shoes, my grandma could come up with those tales.

What really impresses me, is the story from tonight: I go to a couchsurfing meeting, with low expectiations to draw in other people’s faces or on their butts by the abuse of “The most washable markers in the world”.
I enter the rancid bar, some Canadian ice hockey thing where usually just men with a SOP are hanging out (Semen-Over-Pressure, e.g. someone whose only girlfriends are made of inflateable latex). Ouch, the people look dirty. In midst all those drunkards I encounter our romantic group of about twenty globetrotting fans, the couchsurfers.

I happen to talk to a girl who doesn’t look very good … but has an amazing job: She analyzes shit.
Cow shit. Rancid pieces of cow shit. Just kidding, the pieces are fresh and still warm.

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Guide on how to analyze shit (as told to me by the girl who studies poo)

First of all, you need an experiment idea. You are studying biology and want your masters degree, so why not study crap for it. Let’s suppose you have the idea to find out about the prevention of heartburn in dairy cows (female cows who give milk) through comparing the food that goes in and the feces that come out.
Next, you need cows. The girl has thirty cows somewhere in a farming town in the United States.

That’s the point when you put down pen and paper – let’s be serious, burocratics can be a shitty way to waste your time – and get your hands full of warm, brown poo. A hands-on-experience that is guaranteed the shit! No pun intended.
So, go up to the cows every six hours – 3 in the morning is your start. Pat the cow’s ass to wake her up – and as soon as the cow rises and stands up, be ready with a cup under her rectal outlet. Cows are namely not getting boners (erected penis) as a wakeup-reflex; no, they take a dump.

Actually, cows are pretty weird. You can train them so that they go voluntarily in a stall where there are little lasers detecting their nipples and automatically lactating them (sucking out the milk). If the cow could, it would walk around the shed and right in again. Not because it’s sexually arousing to get lactated (who said that?) but because it’s a relief… like taking a dump!

FLATCH! The doodoo falls in your cup, success!
Repeat this on all thirty cows every 6 hours. After a couple of days the shit will be stacked up in your living room higher than your head. Time to examine it.
Study the scat in a laboratory and analyze the content under a microscope – getting a close look of cow bollocks is an unforgettable experience for the whole family!
Now, you find out that you actually want to study the DNA contained within the shit, and for that, you need the Canadian national lab in Montreal. So, put all your shit in your car and drive to the border.
“Miss, you can’t just bring shit from the US to Canada!”
“But Sir, I just want to look at shit in Canada that I collected in the United States!”

The boerder guard will let you fill out a lot of paperwork – like “Shit immigration I-224”, “Feces Transfer form R26” and “Alliance of the Shit Certificate A2”. After filling out that stuff concerning your shit, you can cross the border with a trunk full of poo. And one night, meet an Austrian in a bar and tell him the whole thing.

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After finishing my conversation about shit, cockroaches, manboobs and milk, I approach a group on the next table. One guy is looking for a less-than-800$-car to go to a crash derby with it. According to the fairytales, you just pay 25$ to participate, and instead of driving on muddy ground with a shitty car, you are driving on ice.

Not to forget that girl that seems horny, tells me about watching old people playing benjo and how much fun that is, and her financial problems after the economic crisis. I daze off a bit and am sure:

If I can’t lactate myself, I’ll join an ice crash derby and afterwards analyze the shit in my pants. But to be honest, I cannot tell which is more probable since there are two guys I know who can actually sqeeze milk out of their nipples.

I am standing in front of my Montreal apartment door. It’s about minus 15 degrees Celsius, and snow compressed by feet and tyres, is surrounding me. I rashly drag my hand through the maze of my pocket, and finally feel the keys. In that moment, a dark silhouette converges towards the door.

“TOBI BOND!”, exclaims Sandra, “you are are back?! Now? Wohooo!”
I actually expected to come back, put my luggage in my room, tell my roommates some remarks, and then talk to Lorena.
I didn’t even get the chance to put away my luggage – Sandra is joined by Jenny, then Michka and finally Yukkunn and his girlfriend. Everybody is standing in the little hallway, my shoes are full of snow and making everything dirty but nobody seems to care – the family is complete again…


The youngest in our family: Yukkunn

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What follows, is a marathon photo session on our couch, taking endless group photographs which I now have to steal from Michkas computer to display them.
All of a sudden, there are two more people in the room who I don’t know, both coming from Columbia. We start talking about Columbia (“So … what do you know about Columbia, Toby?” – “Cocaine! Right?”), as two more people drop in. Before I can think of more things of Columbia – well, it’s in South America, and people there drive like crazy, and they dance salsa, and … did I mention Cocaine? – about twenty more people spill through the door, leaving a junkyard of old, rotten shoes in our hallway.
In Montreal, you need to know that, due to the extremely cold temperatures, the city administration puts so much salt on the street to clear it from snow that practically everything is eaten away by the acid. Shoes, car paint (especially on the wheel case), the bottom of everybody’s pants, even whole moose herds who regularly confuse parks with forests are completely consumed by the salt on Montreal’s tough streets.
That’s why shoes get rotten and ripped up here, and that’s why Sarah Palin doesn’t like Quebec – most of the moose melt together with the snow on the street here.

Back to the very French farewell party for Sandra and Jenny: There are two big pots full of boiling red wine and fruits soaked with alcohol on the stove, there is cheese, and I might have even seen some baguette. The only not-so-French things are Jelly Beans and beer. The party gets pretty outrageous, and the vibe seems to press our furniture out of the living room, making space for the dancing crowd.
Finally I can unglue myself from the shaking dancing heroes, stumble into my room and shut the door behind me before I as a renegade get trampled to death by the troops of electronic music.
“Hey Lorena!” – back to the good old relationship of ours, namely through Skype. Five minutes of storytelling what happened in New York, as … “TOBI BOND!”

Michka jumpos into my room, dressed in a tight bicycling suit, immediately joined by my former roommate Fabrice, styled in the same fashion. “Ola Lorena!”, rufen sie in den Bildschirm. “Come and dance, yay-yay-yay!”

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The next morning, Michka and me wanted to go nordic skiing at 10AM – but wake up at 12, with the slowly degrading red wine sitting on our shoulders. Time for a wunderbar French-Canadian brunch with a lot of bagels, maple syrup and hot milk!

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A last advice: If you ever happen to wish to immigrate into France, here are your requirements:

  1. Fresh baguette under your arm
  2. French newspaper wrapped around the baguette
  3. Glass of wine in your other hand
  4. Tight bicycling suit
  5. Tightly rolled moustache, exceeding the width of your face.

If you are a girl, replace number five with “light moustache, 120% red lipstick to distract from the ladybeard”

If you want to immigrate into Quebec, simply replace the glass of wine with a jar of maple syrup, half full (the other half must be munched with pancakes lying in your stomach) and instead of a baguette .

Actually I planned to see New York like the last time, just rushing from John F. Kennedy Airport in East NYC by public transport all the way to mid-Manhattan and make it within two hours, catching the train heading north on Penn Station.
Stumbling with a fat suitcase full of dead rats (some people would actually identify them as rotten socks), a camera dangling from my throat and a backpack full of classic American literature – what could be more fun?

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Four weeks ago:
On my flight from New York to Los Angeles, I had all three seats on my side for me, my laptop (that I didn’t touch a single time during the flight), my backpack, a book about poker and about half a dozen empty plastic cups which once contained airplane Coca Cola.
On the other side of the center aisle, there were two guys, seemingly knowing each other, chatting for ten seconds after sitting down and falling asleep before the airplane even started rolling.
Six hours later, approaching LAX, the airplane got into turbulences. “Fasten your seatbelts” was the command, and even the nice Virgin stewardesses had to obey this order. The two sleepers woke up, and even a blind person could see them clawing their fingers into the armrests.
I admit my fear at that time, but since it didn’t really help the pilot if I would suffocate my good shirt in sweat, I decided to feel joy.
“Better than a rollercoaster!”, I said across the aisle. Scratching motion and burnt armrest smell coming back. We started talking, exchanged emails, and since then I knew Andrey and Loyzo. Shortly before I left Los Angeles, Loyzo invited me to a film set in NYC, and so my plan changed.

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This time I deposit my suitcase at Penn Station and walk around with my camera and my backpack, planning to meet Loyzo in the early afternoon. The battery of my camera goes dead all of a sudden, and the reserve battery’s energy is sucked out better than the blood vessels of my neck. I find a camera store online and, may it be coincidence, it is three blocks from Pennsylvania station. Upon entering my eyes exceed the size of my face. I have never been so flabbergasted by the features of a store.

  1. B&H Photo Video is as big as a Store like Ralphs or Food for less. Maybe bigger.
  2. It is filled with lenses instead of cucumbers, reflectors instead of pita bread, and
  3. The majority of employees, I guess more than 75%, wear little, flat black Kipas, important head covering in orthodox judaism.
  4. The number of shoppers equals the number of sellers. You remember those counters where you get advice on what to buy, and how they have numbers, like one to six? In that store, the numbers go from one to about fifty.
  5. On the ceiling, there is a huge system of conveyer bands, crossing like playmobil railroad tracks, transporting green boxes filled with ordered products. Everything is moving, endless amounts of boxes sailing above your head. If you would replace the kippahs with green hats, you would have no doubt that Santa Clause himself runs that store.

I walk out dazzled and amazed, with a nervous blinking eye that revolts again my decision not to buy anything. I finally hope for the goodwill of the guy at the Amtrak luggage storage counter to let me take out my battery charger of the suitcase, and I hope right.

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Saving the city from fire: Batman


Nice lunch for a decent price right next to Penn Station in Jimmy’s BBQ., perfect place for male New Yorkers who want to talk business with some BBQ in their mouth.


3-man breakdance group doing a 2-minute performance in the subway including back- and sideflips.


A fake kitchen on the film set Loyzo invites me to; a couple of people from the neighborhood were already happily spreading the word that a new foreign cuisine had opened… too bad that its all masquerade


The holding area for the extras. Oh, how I love holding areas for extras.

Loyzo introduces me to the set, and meet Andrey again, and my hands grab as much of the film set food as they can hold. After an exhausting day (I spent 4 hours of it powernapping at Loyzo’s apartment – he seriously offered me to sleep in his living room an a really nice matress altough he barely knows me), we decide to go to a bar within Loyzo’s walkie range. The closest one is this softcore-stripclub named Coyote ugly (who saw the movie?), where the bar tender girls hop on the bar and dance in tight jeans with each other to get the business running.
I, if course not at the tender age of 21 but 19, present my Austrian driver license to the bouncer. There are a lot of numbers on it, and judging his look when giving it back to me, he has no idea which of those numbers my birth date are.


Loyzo left, Andrey right, old dusty bras in the back.


After Loyzo gets back to work, I go with Andrey and a guy named Chris into a super classic American bar. The bouncer is 150 years old and just waves us through the door. You can only order two beers, and they both have to be either light or dark.

Going to the subway in zig-zag lines, I want to thank Loyzo with some candy. I buy one “Good & Plenty” and an enormous lollypop, which unfortunately explodes on the kitchen floor after I attempt to put it in the fridge. So, only good and plenty left for Loyzo.
Next day, 6:30 in the morning, I take a shower and Loyzo gives me some of the smoked meat he brought back from Europe. Believe it or not, it resembles Speck. Speck, Schnitzel and friends in Vienna are probably the only things I really miss here in North America.


On the way back, we get out before approaching the border – my pubic hair immediately turns into ice crystals. That’s gonna be fun in Montreal!

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Brad moved out of his room and needs “my” couch for the next few weeks, so I had the obligation to find a new sleeping space. I desperately asked around and facebook-messageed people. For the first out-of-stoner-apartment night a friend named Mike let me crash in his place.
Mike is living in the basement of a close fraternity house, and for the first half hour hanging out there, we mostly talk about women, Europe and California and stare at a blue, blank screen on his TV. While watching some crappy movie about a wannabe-gangster in posh Malibu, I doze off.
The next day, I am quite sure that I will be able to sleep at Leif’s – another buddy that goes to UCLA and has a talent for math and nonsense humor – place on his couch.
The night I arrive, there is no Leif there tough – he is on a party and expects me there – and so I innocently plan to sleep on one of the 6 huge couches in the fraternity lobby. This fraternity was thrown out of the house for a couple of unknown reasons, and little by little, people are moving in that want to start the fraternity again.
Not everybody is out that night tough, and instead of falling asleep, I randomly meet a couple of people, go to a trashy sausagefest (the vast majority of a party crowd are men), learn about various French fish dishes and nearly manage to force three guys to the ground in their laughter about some transvestite remark that I make.

Leif doesn’t show up, and I want to hang out with Lorena the next day early in the morning, and as random as the rest of the night was, I meet one of the oldschool fraternity guys and he offers me room number 16 for th last couple of days I will stay in LA.

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Schools starts again for Lorena, and so I have the choice of either sleeping into the day in room number 16 or getting up at 6 in the morning and spending my time at Starbucks. Due to the high working efficiency that I exprience in coffee places, I choose the latter one. So I meet Lorena for a couple of days with my laptop under my arm in front of the fraternity, and while she adjusts her school clothes, I race up Sunset Boulevard to drop myself off at Starbucks while she sits in school. In the last couple of weeks, I made random aquintances in Starbucks, out of which I handpick you the best:

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Mr Ogidobodo-Rastafari
A man of maybe 50 years, with huge rasta dreads and a really talkative mouth that misses a couple of teeth. He is surly on of the candidates for medical Marijuana, and starts telling me stories how he had a TV show in Los Angeles every monday with more than 10,000 viewers, and how her interviewed all kinds of famous scientists for his show. He wants to put the show online and following to my answer “if I would be good with computers”, he asks me for assistance to buy a computer and get his show running online. The conversation gets pretty odd after he tells me about this tribe in Africa that has connections to extraterrestrial beings and that the world needs to accept wonders like that.

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The guy in the blue shirt
He claims to not look his age – I guess him silently in his seventies, before he reveals to me that he is in his fifties. There are two cool stories that he tells me and everybody else: The first on is that he was once going to a boy school pretty much opposite of the girl school that Lorena goes to, and in those good old days where there were no security cameras, the good looking boys (he seemed to be one of them in his story, altough I couldn’t tell his handsomeness in young years) would sneak across the street over to the girls dorms and “kiss them” and “sometimes touch them, you know”. He is very good in telling that story with hand and feet, and even if you don’t requestit, hewill repeat it for you about four times in a row before he is finished.
The secondstroy is that he used to work for the fire fighters before he retired. Actually, he first worked for the fire fighters, then the ambulance, and then the police. I was amazed and asked him which was the most fun, and he chose the fire fighters as his favorite. On the question if he was on scene he objects and clarifies that he worked for all these departments in an office.
The guy in the blue shirt always wears his blue shirt, and seems to be in Starbucks every day. He sometimes just sits and stares straight ahead for more than an hour, and sometimes he approaches the people sitting next to him and telling them his story.

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The Turk
I don’t know much about him, but one day I asked if I can sit on the same table, and he said yes. He was about 30 years old, three-day beard and business attire. After a couple of nonconversational minutes he produces a sandwhich in this typical hard plastic wrapping out of his business case and offers me to join him eating it. I thank him and take one of the halves that are in the box. Twenty minutes later, he puts his laptop away and says goodbye with a smile – and leaves the other tasty half of this sandwhich with me. The box sais something like “$6.55”.

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Douglas
Actually, I met the Turk last, but Douglas was by far the most interesting one. First of all, I still have no idea wether Douglas is a legitimate person or not. Out of all my Starbucks-aquintances he is the only one whose email adress I keep, and the only one that really raises interest in me.
This particular day my cellphone is accidentally empty. I make myself dream about waking up and wake up at 3AM, 4AM, 5AM and 5:40AM in room number 16. After a shower, I still have a good amount of time left, so I start working on my paper for the Gedenkdienst. Completely in flow, I forget about time, and the next thing I know is that the watch on my laptop says 6:46 – and I have to be outside a 6:45. Accidentally, Lorena is still in the parking lot, and we drive to Hollywood.
By chance, none of the big chairs is free, so I have to plug my laptop in on this table where this one guy sits.
We really get going after I look after his laptop for a couple of minutes, where he opens a Word document and lets me read the first two chapters of his autobiography. Later I find out that he started off as a bush pilot in the US, then South America, the Russia and couple of more countries. He tells me about how he had a gold mine in the Amazon jungle and how he trained himself to wake up every day at 4 in the morning, with four hours of sleep, because if you want to be a global player, so he always tells his son, then you have to get up in Los Angeles when people in New York wake up.

The story of his rollercoaster carreer, which includes yacht companies, privatye jets, gold mines, and on the other side two times homelessness, is pretty fascinating and at the same time dubious.
He tells me about his recent project, an invention his brother made together with him, that shall be sold to General Motors; I tell him I would recommend him to do that whole thing in 3D and show him some of my portfolio.
He grabs his wallet, pulls out fourty dollars and says “Let’s get started then!”

While I work next to him in Cinema 4D, he tells me to ban words like “maybe”, “if”, “probably” from my vocabulary, and to stay away from dreamers.
“The people you want to meet are doers, not dreamers. Stay away from dreamers.”

At the end of our aquintance he gave me a business idea. Afterwards, I asked my dad for advice and he told me the idea had a couple of flaws. I think about realizing the idea any way, not because it is so good, but to get my mind started on thinking business.

I step into Lorenas house, go to the bathroom, leave the door open and do something in front of the mirror, like squeezing out zits. Suddenly I hear from the door, behind my shoulder, really loud:

“Mucho Machor. MUCHO MACHOR TOBY!”
I twist swivel around and see Lorenas mom standing in front of me. I think “Shit, that’s the end, now I got caught..”

“MUCHO MACHORR! MUCHHHHO MACHORRRR TOBY!”
I feel my face blush in the brightest tones of red, and am paralyzed. After a couple of more Mucho-Machor-attacks I regain control over my nerve system and ask “What does that mean?”.

“Much better. Your short hair is much better, Toby.”
My heart starts pumping again. It was nothing concerning my boyfriendish activities, it was about my haircut.
I better learn Spanish if I don’t want to get a stroke in a couple of months.
The correct writing is by the way mucho mejor, but in Spanish a lot of sounds merge into CHHH.

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I’m completely at least a week behind in writing the blog, so now I need to catch up – my time in LA is nearly over again.

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We encounter some nice party at the beach, a friend of Lorena throws a bonfire birthday.


Jackie had a little horse, little horse, little horse…

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The small little grave of Marilyn Monroe, the all-time diva – that is the space commited to the American icon of beauty and desire; the grave is inside a wall, not bigger than a Japanese sleeping capsule.

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Last but not least we finally fulfilled my wish of rooftop bathing: On Katrine’s grandmas rooftop, there’s a neat jacuzzi, and despite or maybe especially because the freezing temperatures, we went up to take a bubble bath. The nearby sauna can be quite a treat too when you are surrounded by air so cold that your breath freezes in mid-air (in Los Angeles, the freezing temperature of water is 15 degrees Celsius).

Los Angeles County Museum of Art – that’s what the LACMA stands for. It seems fashionable among the LA kids to drive to this fortress made of bricks and steel and take pictures in front of the museum. Some of them actually enter the museum, probably by accident, who knows.

The LACMA, located on Wilshire Blvd., is a huge complex of several buildings with all kinds of typical decoration around: big palm trees and tall palm trees. Another partof the museum is being built, so seemingly the exhibitions are going quite well, in a business sense. The entry fee for the LACMA: free. Therefore I guess the museum is supported by the city of LA.
Sounds amazing, does it?
Well … for one flaw: Some stuff in there is crap. In one huge exhibit room, at least 500 square meters of space, the only thing exhibited is an amoeba-shaped, wooden-colored wall. Waste of space and material, if you ask me.


The alley/forest/grid/hide and seek location in front of the museum, made with out-of-use street lights.


The biggest elevator I have ever seen. You can easily fit a tour bus load of tourists in here.


Entrance of the sport exhibit

As usual, this museum has different facettes, and a lot of that what you can see at the LACMA is pretty amazing (nearly as amazing as John Petrucci). The list of amazingness ranges from a forest of street lamps, a tower made of backpacks, very artistic and beautiful and creative columns (after I started calling this brown wall-thing “shit instead of art”, Lorena tried to play the amazingness of the building itself down. What an ignorant barbar she is), and a really interesting exhibition about the 2006 FIFA soccer world cup final, Italy VS. France.

All the shots and player movements in the game were tracked and are projected in 2D-graphs on huge screens. The exhibit features chinese-mask like monster faces which are made of sport shoe parts. A 3D-charater resembling Mr. Chestcracker aka Big Head Mode aka Zinedine “The headbutter” Zidane runs on a huge screen next to a 110-minute long video of a camera that only followed Zidane during the game. Another screen shows Zidanes running speed. In two deserted rooms, tribute is given to American Football, but the videos are boring and seriously, who in the U.S. cares about football.

I probably saw 1/100 of what the museum has to offer – for people who enjoy walking through museums definately a great venue to set up a tent in one of the exhibition halls, marry one of the paintings and raise a family between Roy Lichtensteins portrait of Marylin Monroe and 4 meter high balloon dogs made of stainless steel.

“Let’s watch a movie at your place!”, sagt Lorena zu Rachel, waehrend sie in meine Pommes langt.
“Alright, but we need Banana Pudding.”

Mit Banana Pudding ist Bananenpudding von einem Pudding-Spezialitaetengeschaeft auf dem Rodeo Drive gemeint. Von dem Preis erfahre ich natuerlich erst, nachdem Rachel ihre Kreditkarte ueber die Theke schiebt. 7$ fuer nen verfluchten Pudding, kein Wunder, dass die Wirtschaft in einer Krise steht. Doch alle sieben Dollar stellen sich nach dem ersten Bissen als gelungene Investition heraus – der Pudding ist alles andere al Pudding, mehr eine klebrige Masse mit ungekannter Konsistenz und leckeren Geschmackstuepfeln – ein pickig-teures Vergnuegen fuer den luxorioesen Auslandszivildiener.

Rachel hat, wie der Zufall es will, zuhause DVDs rumliegen, die von den Academy Awards – bei uns bekannt als Oscars – versendet werden, um die Meinung von Leuten zu bekommen. Die DVDs sind wie kleine Hochsicherheitsgefaengnisse; kopiert man sie zum Beispiel, hinterlaesst sie ein Wasserzeichen im Video, das genau auf den Empfaenger dieser Leih-DVD zurueckzufuehren ist.
“For your consideration” und “For a limited time” sind die Mottos. Toll, dass man einen Film 100% legal zu sehen bekommt, der vielleicht Oscar-nominiert wird, von den Oscar-Machern kommt und noch nicht einmal ordentliche Promotion-Kampagnen online hat; von einem offiziellen Filmposter ganz zu schweigen.

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Australia

Der Film mit Wolverine und Nicole Kidman spielt im Wilden Australien. Der Film handelt um die Ehefrau eines gemeuchelten Kuhzuechters, einem wilden Cowboy und Viehtreiber, und einem kleinen, halb weissen, halb aboriginalem Jungen. Die Frau uebernimmt die Farm und die Herausforderung, die Kuehe quer ueber den Staat zu treiben, um sie in bares Geld zu verwandeln und das Marktmonopol des Kuhzuechter-Boesewichts aufzuheben.
Die Story will ich nicht weiter verraten, aber scheint sich der Film dem Ende zuzuneigen, faengt wieder eine neue Geschichte an, und wieder und wieder. Waere als Trilogie oder drei voellig unabhaengige Filme sicher besser gekommen.

Die Romanze der Kuhliebhaber ist recht kitschig, dafuer bietet der Film allen Wolverine-Groupie-Kreischmonstern eine Menge Masturbatiervorlagen. Abgesehen von der anstrengenden Laenge des Filmes, ist die verwirrend erzaehlte Story das einzig wirkliche Manko; die Bilder sind atemberaubend und unglaublich farbintensiv, die Schauspieler mitreissend, und der Flair des Filmes unverkennbar.

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Wir entschliessen uns, eine Filmnacht zu machen. Damit muss natuerlich Lorenas Mama einverstanden sein. Rachel gibt das Telefon ihrer Mutter, und wir hoeren aus der Distanz:
“Hm, yeah … yeah, the kids want to do a movie night.”
“Yes. Of course, the boy sleeps in the basement.” – und das nur, weil ich ein Junge bin.
Ehrlich gesagt, der Keller ist superkomfortabel, da schlafe ich gerne fernab von den Damen.

“I’ll be just in the bathroom!”, ruft Lorena und springt von Rachels Queensize-Bett. Rachel und ich laestern ueber sie, und als eine Gespraechspause eintritt, hoert man aus dem Badezimmer: “Keep on talking, guys!”
Wir reden weiter, als schallendes Gelaechter aus der Toilette kommt. “Keep talking!”
Wieder schallendes Gelaechter. “You farted, right?”, rufe ich.

Lorena kommt aus dem Badezimmer, mit rotem Kopf.
“I farted, but I didn’t want you to hear!”
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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Brad Pitt als Mensch mit Gendefekt: Er kommt als alter Mann auf die Welt, und anstatt zu altern, wird er immer juenger. Als Dreijaehriger sieht er aus wie ein geschrumpelter Opa, und als fuenfjaehriger Faltenfritzi trifft er ein kleines, roothariges Maedchen, mit dem er sich schnell anfreudet. Jahre spaeter, als er etwa zwanzig ist und aussieht wie 50, trifft er das rootharige Maedchen wieder, und verliebt sich in sie. Im Herzrhytmus-Takt wird der gut erzaehlte Film durch oede Krankenhausszenen unterbrochen, in denen man die ehemalige Rotschoepfin als Greisin am Sterbebett liegen sieht, und der Film von der in Benjamins Tagebuch lesenden Tochter erzaehlt wird.

Die Idee ist grandios, und das Skript sowie die gesamte Interaktion der beiden Liebenden, die in verschiedene Richtungen altern, istr traurig und faszinierend zugleich. Der Film ist in grau-, ausgewaschenen blau- und Beigetoenen gehalten und ebenfalls viel zu lange. In der Hinsicht von Laenge haetten sich die Schreiber/kreativen Leiter des Projekts an Butterfly Effect eine Scheibe abschneiden koennen.

Nichtsdestotrotz, alleine schon wegen der Idee selbst sehenswert.

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Nach einer mikrigen Runde Forest Gump sind die Maedchen schlaefrig und die Gernegross-Filmnacht vorbei. In dem Alter schon so weich in den Eiern sein, das kann gar nicht gesund sein.

“Nevada!” – BAM
“Arizona!” – ZACK
“Ohio!” – TUSCH
“Florida!” – BONK
Missisippi, Texas, Washington, South Carolina – Bumm, krach, tot!

Lorena und ich haben ein Spiel mit Autokennzeichen. Bessergesagt, Lorena hat ein Spiel und ich spiele aus gekuenstelter Freundlichkeit mit.
Wie auch immer die Opferrollenverteilung aussehen mag, die Regeln gehen so: Sieht frau ein Kennzeichen von ausserhalb des Staates, schreit frau es laut heraus und boxt ihren Beifahrer oder Fahrer auf die Schulter. Dank meiner unkorrigierten Schasaugertigkeit bin ich mehr oder weniger mittellos, da der jeweilige Staat nur ganz klein oben am Kennzeichen vermerkt ist; Lorena hingegen traegt Tageslinsen und hat den sexistischen Vorteil von weiblicher Intuition und Multitasking.
Wer meine blauen Flecken zaehlen kommen moechte, sei herzlich willkommen.

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“Toby! There! It’s an Olympic license plate again! This guy was in the Olympics!”
Das Auto vor uns hat, fuer mich als Fahrer gerade noch erkennbar, olympische Ringe am Kennzeichen.
“Go and ask him, we’re on a red light.”
“No. I don’t want to.”
Der Motor brummt. “Coward. I can’t go ask him, because I’m the driver, and that would be irresponsible.”
Gruen. Wir fahren los. Der Wagen bleibt vor uns. Irresponsible? Weil ich als Fahrer bei einer Ampel aus dem Auto springe und einen anderen Fahrer etwas frage? Fuck that!
Die Ampel zeigt rot. Handbremse, Parking-Gear, weg mit dem Sicherheitsgurt, und schon stehe ich am Fenster des Fahrers.
“Hey, you have an olympic license plate! How comes?”
“Oh, this was issued in ’84, you know, there were the Olympics in L.A. …”
“Cool, thanks man!”

Ich laufe zurueck zum Auto. Laecherlich, wenn ich das nicht getan haette. Was waere das Schlimmste, das passieren haette koennen? Eine Hup-Tirade … so what? Sich von diesen kleinen Aengsten im Leben zurueckhalten zu lassen, macht das Leben einfach nur eintoeniger und kuerzer.

Willst du etwas tun, und dein Verstand meint “Ne, das ist nicht so toll, lass mal lieber sein” – dann solltest du dir die folgende Frage stellen: “Koennte ich bei dieser Entscheidung draufgehen, ins Gefaengnis geworfen werden, jemandem schaden oder eine Strafe zahlen muessen?” Falls dieAntwort nein lautet, dann wirst du nur von der natuerlichen Feiglingshaftigkeit zurueckgehalten.

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Herbst? Verdammte Importbaeume.


Happy Chanukkah in der Einkaufshalle Westwood Pavillion


Hierher kommen wir, um Robert zu treffen und ein Foto mit dem Weihnachtsmann zu machen – 15$ fuer ein Foto mit einem Fettsack in Verkleidung ist aber eine gesalzene Frechheit, und ich entsage.

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Am Abend besuchen wir Danielles Haus, in dem eine Weihnachtsparty einen Tag vor Weihnachten steigt. Ein 17-Fuss-Christbaum mit einer 2 Fuss langen Spitze: 6 Maenner brauchte es, um dieses Monstrum aufzustellen und zu schmuecken. Danielles kleine Schwester sieht uns beide Arm in Arm kommen, und umarm Lorena. Wie ich spaeter herausfinde, fluestert sie waehrend der Umarmung “Oooooh my god, Lorena, I LOVE your boyfriend!” So n bisschen Obessions- und Groupieverhalten ist schon sehr charmant, laeuft runter wie Butter auf meiner narzisstischen Hakennase!
Ich furze mal wieder ungebremst – in den letzten Tagen hat mein Darm wohl auf Treibhausgas-Produktion umgestellt.


Basketball fuer die Kleinen…


Und Football, Sex und Drogen fuer die Grossen!


Das wird gegen Anfang Jaenner bestimmt ein grossartiges Lagerfeuer.

Ich komme auf LAX an. Es ist Samstag Morgen, der ueblicherweise strahlend blaue Himmel von Los Angeles ist zu meiner epischen Enttaeuschung bewoelkt. Im Flieger habe ich einen Slowaken und einen Russen getroffen, die fuer BBC arbeiten und fuer einen Tag nach L.A. fuer einen Filmdreh fliegen – seit dreizehn Jahren haben die beiden Europaer eine Greencard, ich erblasse vor Neid und ueberlege fieberhaft, ob ich mir die Sympathie der beiden mit meinem exzellenten Drei-Wort-Russisch erschmeicheln sollte. In der Gepaeckshalle, in der bald die ersten Koffer auf ihre entspannenden Runden am Fliessband geschickt werden sollten, stelle ich meinen Rucksack ab. Der senkrechte Zippverschluss, der diesen Geniestreich der Transportation frontal teilt, geht langsam auf, und ich stecke das Pokerbuch, das ich im Flieger gelesen habe, hinein, um die Griffel frei fuer einen europaeischen Haendedruck zu haben – als ploetzlich zwei femde Haende meine Huefte greifen und mich herumwirbeln.
Vor mir steht das Maedchen.
Das Maedchen, das ich beinahe nur mehr ueber Skype kenne, bei dessen Anblick ich den Standardgedanken “Wenn ich sie doch endlich wiedersehe” und “Scheisse, ich hasse Beziehungen ueber mehr als 3000km Entfernung habe, das Maedchen, mit dem ich so viele Erinnerungen verbinde.
Es gab kaum eine seltsamere, unwirklichere Situation in meinem Leben, als die beiden Augenblicke, in denen ich dieses Maedchen nach wochenlanger, raeumlicher Trennung wiedergesehen habe.
Lorena.
Und dieses Mal faellt sie mir nicht um den Hals (Umarmungen sind very unsexual), sondern in den Rachen – die kleinen phillipinischen Flughafenkinder neben uns sehen verdutzt dem zuengelnden Wirrwar und schlabbernden Gegrapsche zu.

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Zurueck in die Stonerbude, und ab geht die Party auf dem Teppichboden voller Kotzflecken, Couchpolster-Federn und Asche. Meine Couch ist wieder frei (inklusive Federn), die Kueche wieder bewachsen mit Bergen voll ungewaschenem Geschirr (der Schimmelpilz muss wohl auf Urlaub gewesen sein, zumindest gibt es auf den Tellern keinen), und alles ist wie in der guten, alten Zeit. Hier eine Kompilation der letzten Tage:


So schoen dreckig wie zuvor, da werden romantische Erinnerungen wach…


So laesst sichs leben!


Geil – Cabrio imDezember!


Kino in Westwood mit beruehmtem Tuermchen dran

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Lorena waescht eines Tages innerhalb von 30 Minuten die kompletten Geschirrberge, und kurz darauf saugen wir das ganze Apartment…


Die Clustergranatenreste hier sind Federn aus der allzu dichten Polstergarnitur


Tadaaaaa!

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Knackiger Porno-Santa fuehrt oeffentliche Grapschtutorials mit versauten Assistentinnen im Einkaufszentrum durch


Crossdressing turnt mich ja sowas von an


Beim Versuch, meinen Roommate Geoff von einem Plastikband freizuschneiden, schnitze ich mit der Klinge in meine Fingerkuppe. Zu allem Ueberfluss habe ich auch noch eine Aphte, die das Kuessen besonders stimulierend macht.


In n Out-Burger, wie jeder patriotische Amerikaner.



Die Schule in die Schwarzeneggers Toechter gehen/gingen

In den letzten Tagen stieg die Temperatur nur einmal ueber -10 Grad; und genau das war der Tag, an dem sich alles, aber auch wirklich alles, in Eis verwandelte.

  • Plastiksaecke auf der Strasse, die auf die Muellabfuhr warten, sind von einer Eiskruste ueberzogen. Tritt man sie, zersplittert das wellige Eis in grosse Scherben.
  • Baeume, die vom Stamm bis hin zum kleinsten Ast in einer glasklaren, geleeartigen Schicht aus Eis eingegossen sind, die im Licht der Strassenlaternen wie eine Lichterkette glitzern.
  • Der Himmel so voll von weissem Schnee, dass die gesamte Stadt selbst in der Nacht in ein friedlich-helles Orange getaucht ist.
  • Gehsteige, auf denen ich in Altherrenmanier ausrutsche und mir saemtliche Baender verreisse; ich uebe schon mal fuer Beamten-Berufung und Fruehpension.


Blick von unserem Balkon


Der Baum ist von oben bis unten komplett mit Eis ueberzogen

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Meine Roommates bauten dieses Wochenende doch glatt ein Iglo im Norden von Montreal und uebernachteten zu sechst darin..

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Donnerstag.

Chris und ich erscheinen kurz nach acht Uhr bei der Arbeit – heute stehen zwei Vortraege im Vanier College am Programm. Naomi faehrt uns mit dem Auto zum Campusgelaende, die grosse Schneemenge erstickt jedoch jeden Hoffnungsschimmer auf Verkehrsfluss, und so betreten wir mit 20 Minuten Verspaetung eine gelangweilte Klasse, die unser Zuspaetkommen ausharren musste. Wieder haben wir technische Komplikationen mit dem Beamer.
Normalerweise waere ich ja der erste, der aufspringt und den trotteligen Besuchern zur Hilfe eilt, doch kaum schluepft man selbst in die Rolle eines Gastsprechers, uebernimmt man erstaunlicherweise auch die technische Unfaehigkeit des Durchnschnittsreferenten. Der Vortrag laeuft gut, auch wenn im letzten Drittel einige der Kids hinausspazieren, im Anspruch auf ihre wohlverdiente, stuendliche Pause.
Der zweite Vortrag, eine Stunde spaeter, faengt schon bemerkenswert besser an, als ein huebsches Maedchen erfreut davon erzaehlt, dass sie Deutsch lernt, bevor wir ueberhaupt angefangen haben.

Smalltalk (oder wer sich vor diesem Ausdruck scheut, “lockeres Gespraech” ist der Alternativbegriff fuer die Germanisten unter uns) vor einem Vortrag wie auch einer Museumsfuehrung hat fuer mich grosse Bedeutung gewonnen – kann ich ein paar meiner Zuhoerer im Vorfeld davon ueberzeugen, dass ich ein fescher Kerl mit guten Absichten und eigenem Leben bin, werden genau diese besonders gut zuhoeren. Um dem Vortragenden, den sie gerade etwas naeher kennen lernten, zu imponieren, stellen sie mehr Fragen oder heben ihre Hand oefters fuer Antworten, was wiederum andere Klassenmitglieder vor die Frage stellt:

“Wenn XY diesen Fremden mit seinem Wissen beeindrucken will, muss doch etwas dran sein, dass der cool ist?”
Im Nu kann sich eine soziale Dynamik entwickeln, bei der von den anfaenglichen Verbuendeten im Publikum eine rege Teilnahe an der Diskussion durch den Grossteil der Klasse sichergestellt werden kann.

Dieser Dialog findet natuerlich nur mit der Vorraussetzung statt, dass man ihn auch gestattet und bekraeftigt – ein mittelmaessiger Lehrer, der einen Frontalvortrag haelt, wird nie sonderlich viel Teilnahme von seinen Studenten erwarten koennen; schliesslich gibt er ihnen durch die einseitige Ausrichtung seines Unterrichts nicht einmal die Moeglichkeit, sich einzubringen.

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Am Ende des Vortrags kommt ein Maedel zu mir nach vorne und meint, es waere ein klasse Vortrag gewesen, und ob ich Facebook haette.

Klar, antworte ich, und zuecke einen Stift.
“Do you also have a phone?”
“hm, yeah, I have a cell phone”
Mit den Worten “then take this!” ueberreicht sie mir einen kleinen Zettel, auf den sie ihre Nummer gekritzelt hat. Schuechtern laechelnd watschelt sie davon.

Ich will gerade etwas zu Christian sagen, als das scharfe Maedchen, das Deutsch lernt, zu uns kommt und um unsere Emailadressen fragt. “So that I can practise my German!”
Aber natuerlich.

Sie steht im Tuerrahmen, ich rufe ihr irgendetwas nach, worauf sie Chris und mich ansieht:
” ‘aben Sie eine Kaffeeeeeeee?” Deutsch mit franzoesischem Akzent. Lecker.
“What?”
“Sie, ‘aben Sie ein Kaffeeee?”
“If we have coffee? You mean, if we want to have coffee with you?”
“Yeah, we can go and drink coffee together some day, and just talk a little!”
Riesenluege, sage ich da nur.

Ich finde diese ganzen Vorwaende ja richtig suess, wuerde jedoch aus purer Professionalitaet niemals so einer Einladung folgen. Weshalb Vortragende so begehrt sein koennen, erklaere ich ein andermal.