Friday, July 26, 2013

Don´t Crimp (or Cramp) my Style

Las Vegas doesn´t always have the best reputation, but it is known for many halfway decent things: hotels, entertainment, the highrollin´ life, ...this list is not inclusive but that´s the vast the majority of it. (You really can fit most of Las Vegas culture into category "highrollin").

One of the first things I noticed about Las Vegas was the disgusting amount of neon colors in style. Pink, green, orange, yellow, blue--no shade is safe.

It looks like a mythical creature spit up on it then tried kicking it around. There´s just no other way to put it.

I came here in January and the insanity continues.

 I don´t want to crimp this girls´ style, however, I really think this should be appropriate for Carnivale or EDC only.

Now I digress. As I was writing the previous sentence I had to think about how to use my American-English slang (or lack thereof). Was the correct phrase "to crimp my style" or "to cramp my style". Being the epitome of "nerd", I consulted

"To crimp my style" is defined as "to have adverse affect upon one" while "to cramp" isn´t even listed. Here´s the catch, though. "To crimp my style" takes on a new essense when changed to "crimping my style". The latter being defined as "to be bothersome to the point of ruining one´s day or event." Then it goes on to say that it´s frequently confused with "cramping my style", which is an equivalant expression. (But if it´s equivalent, how can you confuse it? Even more baffling is why it doesn´t even get two lines in if it does have an exact definition).

For your viewing entertainment...

Notice it says "PROMGIRL" at the bottom. That concerns me. I just had my senior prom two years ago. No of us would have been caught in something that looked like it was smacked around by a freshman in the chemisty lab. Anyone who would have worn this to Prom in the Wyoming, Colorado, Utah area would have been something of an outcast. Poor girl. Just kidding. This dress is just the pathetic cry of a wallflower.

I can only imagine that the next step in the fashion world is for someone to figure out how to make black a neon color, too. It´ll be bigger than Bieber.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

So maybe our friend Rolf isn´t quite so unique.

When was the last time you noticed so many bird carcasses in a 3 mile radius? Just walking around on campus I saw five dead pigeons since my last post . One was just a head so I don´t know if that really counts... There was also a dead cat walking to Mandalay Bay from the Hard Rock.

The bigger question here is why. Is it just because it´s so rediculously hot that birds just die midflight? Is it really too overwhelming for city maintenance to sweep it up??

To all you tourist out there:  Vegas off the strip is not what Vegas is on the strip. And unless you have hoards of money, don´t stay for more than four days. You´ll shrivel up much like the pigeons around.

This city was not meant to be inhabited. Most people that do live here though, are in transit, probably going to LA or back to nowhere, Wyoming next. My family is already talking about moving out-of-state.

By the way, city maintenence swept Rolf up on Monday.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

movie night

Because I don´t have a television, people ask ¨So what kind of movies and shows do you stream?¨ The answer: nothing.

I used to have a swiss website I used to use, but they were hacked and have never worked well outside of Europe anyway.

Being clumsy and not very tech savvy usually keeps me at a safe distance from things like iPads, iPods, iPhones, and even the prehistoric home Computer.

The other day, though,  I tried streaming ¨Eat Pray Love¨. After clicking a few buttons here and there without much thought about what I was okay-ing, I was blocked by a screen that claimed to be the US Department of Justice. Under Article 1, Section 7, they accused me of pursuing some ghastly internet material and told me I might be convicted as a felon if I didn´t take action within three days. Oh, and they also requested 300 USD.

This charge (in addition to not having a phone number or any contact information) concerned me, but there I was, tossing and turning all night thinking about how I was going to pay 300 USD within three days without a job and how this would look to Swiss authorities if I decide to apply for my Swiss passport. Always thinking ahead, I am.

Turns out I was hacked by a Bulgarian terrorist organisation when I tried uploading ¨Eat Pray Love¨  Saturday night. I´m exaggerating about the terrorist organization part, but I was told that the 40 viruses on my computer were traced back to the Balkin region...

(My anger was alleviated and I even smiled a little when I heard my woes and worries could have stemmed from Bulgaria).

So now I only have to pay 200 USD to clear my computer of Bulgarian bugs and I´m estatic to say I´m in no way about to run into a felony conviction.

This is why I prefer to read. On my window sill right now is ¨I´m a Stranger Here Myself¨ (Bill Bryson), the Swiss Constitution, and you guessed it, ¨Eat Pray Love¨ (Elizabeth Gilbert).

Call me a caveman, but I prefer a book that doesn´t have to be charged or will eventually charge me.

If you´re interested in a real travel blog, I´ll refer you to my favorite source of online entertainment:

An Irish perspective on life in Lativa. This is the only blog I follow because well, all the other travel blogs I´ve read just aren´t as good as hers. Cheers.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

plight of a duck

It's high time I write about something that's been bothering me the past two weeks.

Now, there isn't much to look at when walking from my apartment to the university, really. It's either busy traffic to your right, a desert to your left, an empty-blue sky looking up, or sizzling pavement looking down. Take your pick.

On one particular Monday I chose to stare at the burning desert in hopes of seeing something flashy that would catch my eye, like a ball of tumbleweed. Instead I saw something a tad more shocking, a touch more disturbing, a pinch more sombering: I saw a dead duck.

He was peaceful for the first two days, resting very comfortably with feathers shining brightly. I never thought of a dead Mallard as elegant but lo and behold...

Then his feathers started to fray. They dried and the wind carried them at the tips. Through hundred degree days he squatted. His neck arched further down and his beak lost vivacity (compared to when he was a freshly dead duck, not when he was alive).

He's covered in dust now and is more grey than brown. His head lays about three feet from his carcass. Once his head was off I knew it was an appropriate time to name him. I named him Rolf. We´re two peas in a pod.

I don't want this to tear at your heart strings, but this being didn't deserve this untimely fate.  He was probably just waddling his way from the sewage with the prospect of finding someplace worth searching for (like the Venetian). But how did Rolf loose the flock? Did he choose his own path or did he leave out of revenge and spite? Is he just a loner? (Once you name an animal, it´s hard imagine them not having human emotions, like feelings of revenge and spite. )...

Tomorrow I will walked by this misplaced being. And, maybe through some relationaship between the living and dead, I will figure out the ways of the world (or at least think of a better reason for a duck to be dead in a desertous plot next to a gas station than feelings of revenge and spite).

Goodnight, Rolf.

P.S. I forgot to add that despite the sentimental side of this, the science behind the composition process in the desert is quite fascinating.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

surprise, surprise

What´s the first thing that comes to mind when I say ¨gas station¨? Maybe an underslept truck driver buying cigarettes or a disgruntled elderly couple getting iced tea.

There´s no doubt that a  gas station is a safe haven for purely North American goods like jumbo Hershey´s bars and piping hot hot dogs. And how can I forget to mention the expansive choise of slurpee? Brainfreeze is one of my favorite childhood memories.

Despite all this bad, there is some good (yeah, right). If you look closely, a gas station in the US like 7-11 or WaWa may tickle your multicultural senses. Next to a gritty coffee machine, you may stumble on a Dutch delicacy, Stroopwafel.

I first learned of Stroopwafel while researching Dutch culture for a class project. My team and I choose this because it seemed manageable for our meager culinary skills. It´s not turning out to be quite so easy. The Stroopwafel is essentially two crunchy waffles stuck together by way of syrup, honey, or some combination of both. We´ve searched multiple ethnic grocery stores and mainstream US grocers but to no avail.

After a few weeks without any leads on how to actually make waffles to Stroopwafel consistency, we hit a dead end. 

Until today. 

Out of nowhere, a teammate of mine tells me we´re going to 7-11. I didn´t question it. (Afterall, he was my ride home). Besides being at the epitome of  all things ¨ghetto¨, this place didn´t even have slurpees, shaking my faith in everything I ever knew. 

But you bet that next to a gritty coffee machine was a basket filled with individually wrapped Stroopwafel. 

 Never would I have gone to a 7-11 in search of culinary inspiration...or Stroopwafel. 

I don´t really know how this helps my team, though. We still have to figure out how to make this thing without a proper wafflemaker. Maybe it just settles my soul knowing I can find a crumb of western european existence in even the darkest corners of my country. (Yes, 7-11 is a dark corner of my world).