Thursday, October 13, 2011

Honey badger doesn't give a shit.

Today (and tomorrow) was (is) something called the SFB meeting.  Basically, our group gets funding to collaborate with some folk from the University in Wien (Vienna).  So four times a year, we get together in one of the respective cities (Innsbruck this time) and people give talks (also known as structured naptime with coffee breaks).  Below is a picture of the best figure I saw all day:

The potential well is about a C-cup deep.  Oh wait, did I just say that aloud?

(What happens if one nipple tunnels to the other nipple?)
Yes, boobies.  I am a very mature person.
We also have what's called a "social event," where everyone basically goes and eats for free.  (The "free" part is key here.)  The place we went this time was up in the mountains.  Here's a map:

The captions "lab" and "home" and "eat" should be pretty self-explanatory.
For reference, it usually takes me about 20 minutes to get from blue to red by bicycle.  This involves traffic stops, trying really hard not to get killed by fucking nutjob European drivers and rain (lately, at least).  It's also usually early in the morning or late at night, and everyone who knows me knows how much I love doing things in the morning that don't involve sleeping, mountain biking or eating bacon.  (And shit, bacon is just as good at one pm than at 9:30 am.)
To get to this place, you have to go from red, then along the river (the blue thing...y'know), then along the thing called arzler the black thing.  Now, this isn't exactly the most topographic of maps.  But I can tell you with utmost certainty that the town of Innsbruck is mostly flat.  However, the moment you leave the town, the elevation climbs absurdly.  The bike I'm borrowing has gears, but apparently nothing for the uphill (so why even have gears?  Hell.). So it was...a difficult climb, to say the least.  Satisfying, though.  Especially because the first thing they did when I locked up the bike was hand me a cup of spiced hot red wine.  Yeah, I know, I should really just keep bitching about how lonely I am.  Fuck off, you.
Okay, so I got a pretty bitchin' free meal.  (Note: Tyrolean food still does not sit well with me.  Sorry, roommate.)  My advisor came to the table and the following conversation ensued.

Advisor: Okay, you guys can have two drinks, then afterwards you have to pay for them yourselves.
Me: Holy shit, they're going to buy us drinks?
Everyone else: Only two?!

But the best part was yet to come.  I had to make use of the facilities, and came upon a sight so...WTF that I had to go back to capture it on iPod.

That is...exactly what it looks like.
Yes.  We have a shower, which was stationed in between two toilets, and in the shower is a tasteful arrangement of ears of corn.  It's a good thing I was in a bathroom, because I almost shit myself laughing.  It's shit like this, Austria...
Got a ride back to my flat, the smallest room in Innsbruck, and now I'm wide awake, even in the face of massive sleep deprivation.  Eh, fuck it.
For something awesome, click here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sleeping is overrated

I suppose I ought to write something.

This isn't getting easier.  In fact, it's getting harder.  Every day, I'm one step closer to just giving up and quitting and getting on the next plane to the States.  Yesterday, I convinced both of my parents that I was quitting.  Only after a lot of talking to a certain very good friend of mine was I willing to stay.  Even then, maybe for just a semester.  I'm not getting my Ph.D. out here, that's for damn sure.  At best, I leave with my Master's.  At worst, I leave with a semester of study at the University of Innsbruck under my belt.  Not bad, probably.  But in all honesty, I want to finish what I start.

Every day I wake up hating this.  I hate being alone, I hate being so far from everyone I care about, and I hate what I've gotten myself into.  The loneliness is crippling.  The feeling in my stomach is crippling.  It's like a constant knot of pain and anxiety.  It's no fun.

But here's some cool stuff.  This past week was "Woche der Physik," or Week of Physics.  I went around and took videos of some of the better experiments that we had to show the general public.  (The general public speaks German.  I do not.)  Two of them are below.  I'll load more later.

Here's a giant soap bubble window:

I wish I remembered the name of the guy in the video, but he's a nice guy.  We were playing with it after we set it up.  I later learned how to make awesome massive bubbles with it--someone took a picture of me doing it, so maybe if I find it I'll post it later. That was a lot of fun, and I met a lot of people when I set it up and such.
A demonstration of gravity--the coin-sucker:

The kids were hilarious on this one.  One of them is the hand you see at the end reaching down into the abyss.  I wonder how much money was put into that thing over the course of the week...certainly enough that I could use it...

I miss my old life and want it back, but that's just not possible right now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ein Leben ohne Träume ist zu leicht

ein Leben mit Liebe ist zu schwer

What's the first thing you notice about this picture?

Hung and well hung

Jesus has huge testes, apparently.  I mean, it's obnoxious.  The Catholics here really take their shit seriously.  (I mean, if I believed in a god, he'd have a huge schlong too, but...)
That said, this is really in a pretty part of town.  This is actually on an Innsbruck, that is, a bridge over the river Inn, which meanders around and through the town.
That's all for now.  I'll leave you with this, the average direction of research:

They need one that doubles back on itself about five times.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I can still make you cringe from overseas

Today I'm going to tell you about the weirdest shit.  Literally.
Austria is a nice place.  It has all of the comforts you would expect in a western European country.  It even has peanut butter.  And Tyrolean ravioli, great.

Amazing shit, filled with amazing shit, topped with amazing shit.
But this isn't about food.  It's about what comes after food.
Austrian (and I believe some German) toilets have what they call a viewing shelf.  I yoinked this picture from some other poor soul's blog, so...sorry, dude.  But it illustrates nicely what I'm talking about.

The infamous Austrian Shit Shelf
This is apparently a holdover from the days of parasites and yore, when it was fairly important that you got a good view of whatever came out of your posterior before you sent it into the great beyond.  You know, so you could figure out what was wrong with you before you went off to have your blood let or something equally useful.
Now, it's pretty damn useless.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't...check shit out, but this is a bit extreme.  Because Austrian food...well, it's really hard to find a vegetable in typical Tyrolean cuisine, at least.  I guess you could count potatoes, since most of America counts French fries as a vegetable, but it's meat, bread and potatoes, usually fried and topped with butter.  Yes, it's awesome, and no, most people here are NOT obese, but by day six of standard fare, I'd kill someone for a fucking Brussels sprout.  (Here, the Brussels sprouts actually come from Belgium, believe it or not.  I actually get to see where my food was grown when I buy it at the store.)
The downside of such a diet, besides it being a bit...heavy, is that your shit soon gets the consistency of paste.  You sit down on one of these lovely shelf toilets, let it go, and there's a nice log of fucking caulk when you get up.  If it was sanitary, you could probably seal your bathtub tiles with it.  (Please don't.)  So you...well, you get a good look at what pre-constipation is like.  Soon enough, you don't need the shelf at all, because you've got a giant wad of biscuit dough corking your sphincter.
But enough about the description.  What do you do next?  Well, genius, you flush.  This IS the first world, you know.  No squat toilet shit here.  But when you flush, what happens?  If you're lucky, you send your wet Play-doh like progeny into the sewer with only a disgusting brown streak to mark your spot and remind you of the naughty thing you just did.  But if you're not, and trust me, this fucking happens, the poop doesn't budge.
Nope.  It's fucking glued there.  Staring at you, in all its fiber-free glory.  Reminding you that the last time you ate a green vegetable was about two weeks ago.  You have two options.  You could flush again, and pray.  (I'm not a religious person, but I'll be damned if I didn't appeal to every god Man ever invented...)  Or you could get the good ol' toilet brush and...poke at it.  Coax it, plead with it...just get it the fuck off of that stupid-ass shelf.  Regardless, you just spent more time with your shit than you would ever want to.
And you just spent way more time reading about shit than you ever wanted to.  I'll leave you with this, then, since you're me on Facebook, writing me out of your will and putting out a burn notice.  This is the best thing I've seen since coming over.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I hate having to name these things

So...everything is in German now.
This is going to be short, because it's late here and I'm tired, but I wanted to update.
I don't have pictures yet, my camera battery died, but my dad took a bunch of photos here and he said he'd email me a couple.  So I'm going to hold off on stories until I get pictures to accompany.  Stay tuned for Jesus with a really visible scrotum and other exciting tales of my adventure in Innsbruck.
I have a job, an office with a view that would make the world's richest CEO's jealous and a temporary place to stay.  I am registered as a U.S. citizen living in Innsbruck, a student at the University of Innsbruck and am on my way to a bank account of my very own and a residence permit.
I am often terrified, lonely and sad.  I can't talk to my damn boyfriend without crying.  That's my latest goal--make it through a conversation without accumulating obnoxiously gross amounts of snot in my nose.  It's one day at a time.  I'd be lying if I said I never thought about just packing it all up and leaving, just 3 days in.
But I can't.  I didn't go all this way to bitch out.  If my relationship with...a certain really special person suffers, it would have suffered if I were in Boulder.  As it stands, it's actually kind of powerful to be able to communicate regularly with someone across the planet.
I get by.  It's really easy to get exercise around here, since I have to walk or bus everywhere.  Goal for this weekend: get a bike.  I've been mooching off of my dad for food, but he leaves tomorrow and I'll have to fend for myself.  But they have broccoli here, and meat.  I'm set.
It's really pretty here, the weather has been nice.
I'm going to bed now, though.  Going to read a bit then pass out nicely.
Adios, amigos.  Thanks for reading.  That was a post relatively free of naughty language, IMO.

Monday, September 19, 2011

ein Hauch von Menschlichkeit

I'm in Philadelphia, bogarting the only plug-in I can find at the gate.  I'm also something like four hours early for the flight.  Watching the customs guys mill around (they better not know that I'm illegally pirating music here), as well as the gigantic behemoth airplane that's supposed to take me over an ocean.  I swear, this thing is so goddamn has just under five million windows and this massive bulging underbelly that holds everyone's precious shit.

The wireless here is going in and out, but I have music to listen to and inane shit to write about, so we're cool.  I managed to pick up a massive cold somewhere between Philadelphia and Skytop, PA (this swanky-ass place where the wedding was) and hence spent the past couple of days in this Day/NyQuil-induced haze, but everything's all right now.  Thanks, body, you're a champ.

Okay, none of that is interesting.  Really, nothing right now is terribly interesting, unless you're about four years old (oooh, look, BIG AIRPLANE!!  oooh, look, it's engine will suck you in and spit you out and still have room for dessert!).

Apparently, it's cold in Innsbruck.  So it goes.  I might have missed biking season completely.  Damn.