Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh boy!
The countdown has really started for real now!
I am in phase two of packing mode. That's where I lay everything out on the floor and decide what I REALLY want to carry around on my back for a week and a half. It's extra hard for me because it's been quite a while since I was able to dress like myself for 10 solid days. Usually I am in grungy kitchen clothes or grungy house clothes with the occasional dressy night out clothes. Walking around a major European city all day? I just don't know WHAT I'll want to wear! So I have to go for most comfortable without looking too dorky or being too cold or hot. I got a really awesome new pair of those variable length capri pants (in stunning chocolate brown) today, so I am in much better shape then yesterday when I was moaning about my pants choices.
So, packing is in process. The house sitting instructions have been written. We've arranged our ride to the airport. My international calling code has been retrieved (despite what my friend thought, my verizon phone will not work in Europe. Grr)
I've printed out all our bookings and schedules. I've got my bible of Berlin drinking establishments all marked up and ready to go. My camera is charged up. Just need to get a watch or find the travel clock I got at the airport last year, and I'll be ready.
I set up a travel blog here: http://www.travelpod.com/members/alienspice which I hope to be able to update with pictures from cyber cafes. They claim it's easy--we'll see. In any case, if there isn't an update here, check there.
Now I gotta get some sleep!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Brothers and sisters, I think I have done it.
As of this moment, I am pretty sure I have booked our travel all around Germany, Denmark and Sweden successfully. The horrible part was the Berlin-Kalmar part...I almost bought a cheap plane ticket the other day but then I thought I should consult with rebby first. By the time I was able to consult with her, the ticket prices had been reset, and it was looking like $700 (added to the $600 we paid for the Kalmar-Hamburg ticket) Which would mean spending as much on travel in Europe as travel TO Europe. I was despairing, but today I decided to try one more time to sort it all out. And I'm pretty sure I did. I've just booked a plane from Berlin to Copenhagen, and a train from Copenhagen to Kalmar, and two beds in a giant city hostel in Copenhagen to wait out the time in between. And the total of all that business is going to come in less than $400, even with the last minute price jump and paying for next day air of our train tickets. I feel like I have just run a marathon or someting!
Hopefully now I can relax and look forward to the trip for the next two days. Oh, I've gotta pack too.....

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ow Ow Ow!
Trip planning is making my head hurt!
I've spent most of the last two days when I wasn't at work or making dinner or washing dishes doing research for our trip. I've got the Berlin portion pretty well planned out, with a hotel booked and everything! It's here. I booked us a private room with a toilet and shower for two nights, giving us three days to explore Berlin. I've got the proposed itinerary all drawn up and I even printed out maps of the different parts of the city with the itinerary items all marked on it.
Berlin is pretty much handled.
We arrive in Hamburg at 11:30 or so the morning of May 23rd. My dear friend Caroline is going to pick us up and bring us to her house, where she predicts we will sleep until well into the afternoon on the 24th. So here's where things get crazy: do we hang out at her place and just chill a little, or do we head back into Hamburg to explore? I would really like to see the Spice Museum. And of course the Reeperbahn, but there's not much point in doing that till night time. So, do we head into the city in the evening, book a room in a hostel, party down, and then get up early in the morning to check out the fishmarket? Or do we just skip Hamburg, spend more time with Caroline, and then head to Berlin? Argh.
I'm pretty much decided that we will take the bus from Hamburg to Berlin---it's way cheaper and only takes about 3 hours. So that's figured out.
The really brain splitting part is figuring out how/if to go to Stockholm. There are cheap flights, but they get in at 11:30pm. Hostels in Stockholm are kind of expensive if you aren't a member of the youth hostel brigade or whathaveyou.
I haven't found much I REALLY want to do or see in Stockholm, apart from the Hare Krishna restaurant which is supposed to be a good one. Then there's the ordeal of getting from Stockholm to Kalmar for the wedding, which is about 5 hours by bus. Or less by expensive train. Booking in to the wedding hotel is going to be pricey as well, but it seems like it's not much pricier than hostels. And plus, it's the Freemason Hotel--no porn allowed! Ha.
We've already got our return to Hamburg from Kalmar tickets--they were expensive. The whole Sweden part of the trip is turning out to be expensive and mind boggling. But, as the whole reason we're going is to attend a wedding---we've got to work it out. Cross your fingers for me.
I'm going to bed now.....more research tomorrow after work.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Honky Paradise, brother

So, today rebby and I hid in the house practically all day. We have seen little of each other for the past week or so, and she is going to chicago for a training session for a couple days tomorrow, so we needed some hibernation time. In the midst of the hibernation we watched "Omega Man" for the first time. (rebby also watched "soylent green" for the first time this weekend...it was a hestonian nightmare up in here) This movie is remarkable for it's subtle and blatant racism, and also for the cool sets and ridiculous mutant costumes. But really---Heston is like the Hemingway of movies, only worse. He is one of those actors who is completely unable to disappear into his role. Which, as far as I can remember, is what acting is supposed to be about. Harrumph.
So after spending most of the day indoors, we decided to venture out for dinner and got some good thai in bloomfield. On the way home we drove past the new location of Vanilla Pastry Studio in East Liberty, on Penn Circle. It hadn't occured to me when I heard they were moving here from the west end, but when I mentioned it to rebby her first comment was "that's kind of a weird choice of name for the 'slib, isn't it?" I couldn't agree more. That tiny little stretch is quickly turning in to honky paradise while most of East Liberty's commercial district continues to suffer. I'm happy to have amenities close to home, but I certainly do hope things improve soon along penn ave, and I certainly hope some folks who actually live in east liberty will get the chance to benefit from all the new commercial development.
That's about it for my urban planning commentary today. My brain hurts.
Last night we catered what will almost definitely be the most fun wedding of the season. It was at the brew house, and it was a cocktail party style reception with just apps and desserts. The bride and groom (super awesome people) were dressed in sort of 20s gangster style, and everyone was having a great time. I boogied down at one point (after the bride INSISTED that I have a beer) to "Karma Chameleon" played at warp speed by an uncomprehending DJ. (or maybe he did it on purpose? I'll never know) The whole thing was super simple compared to the dinner style receptions we've been doing and will be doing for the rest of the season...it was a nice change.
Plus, I made some extra money for the European vacation. I also got my stimulus money, which will most likely be going to stimulate the German economy(shhhhhh)
Or perhaps Lufthansa. Take a gander at my del.icio.us listings for Germany when you get the chance to see what we're planning (it's almost all Berlin, which is going to be the highlight of the trip for me for sure) In fact, I may not ever want to leave once I get there. In fact, I may not ever want to leave rockcafe halford. Oh my god.
Working backwards(I know it's been two weeks since I updated, so this is going to be sort of stream of consciousness and I will probably leave a lot out, for which I apologize in advance) Alan had a pretty serious bike accident on Tuesday. He messed up his face and his ear, and suffered a little head trauma which means he isn't allowed to emote for a whie. So we're not going to be able to play the big show on Tuesday I've been planning for about 6 months. I am a little heartbroken, but it is still going to be a good show and I hope folks will still come. It's going to be Kill the Unicorn's last show before Mr Marcus leaves town and that alone makes it historical. Leslie is going to jump on the bill and I may get to drum with her, which will be awesome and fun. I totally love the hippie hand drums.
Speaking of Leslie and hippie hand drums, the previous Friday night (may 2nd) we had a beltane ritual/accoustic concert/may party/movie shoot at Leslie's palatial grounds in greenfield. It was a lovely time, and rebby's movie idea came together brilliantly. I can't wait till she is actually able to edit the footage into something amazing. Alan played the martyr to a T, and some of the photos and footage are really spooky. He held the attitude of St Sebastian for like 30 minutes, lashed to a maypole with ribbon. Crazy stuff. We played some beautiful music (if I do say so myself) and I got to dance around the fire like a crazy witch. I also got to drink a lot of meade and a lot of havana club rum that my friend Benrod smuggled back from China for me. Sweet! Everyone seemed to have a great time, and Jonas came with his poi and did amazing fire dances. We also tried to have a ritual conception performance on the stage but in the end the couple just weren't brave enough. Hopefully the fertility energy carried home with them and it all worked out for baby alfonse.
There's gotta be other stuff I should tell, but I just can't think of it right now. Hope the past couple weeks have been good for all of you and I hope I will be better at keeping track as time goes on.
OH OH OH! Happy mother's day to all the mothers. Hope you all had a lovely one!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

crikey, there's so much to tell, and I am in no shape to tell it. I'm sniffly and sneezy and it's 11:40pm and I should definitely be in bed.
just look at this for now, and hopefully I can fill you in tomorrow.

muckin in the moonlight