Dissonant

I just discovered a new genre of music….dubstep.  It’s straight outta London’s electronica scene, and if it’s one guilty pleasure I have it’s European techno music.

Dubstep isn’t all “I’m in a rave!” high energy beats…..I find myself being drawn to the chilled out rhythms.  My need for serenity is bleeding into my music selections.  Some have lyrics, but most are instrumentals.

I am obsessed with Songza, a free music playlist stite and this soothing playlist is one of my favorite.  I love anything in a minor key, so this one is also played quite a bit.  It also works well as background music.

Rock on.

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But wait! There’s more!

Back in the day, I used to stay up late with my friend Jon (ahem) and we’d watch infomercials.  It was mainly because my parents did not have cable and we never hung out at Jon’s house.  I’m not even sure why we watched them as much as we did, but I was more easily amused in my early 20’s, I suppose.

So it’s fair to say that I’m well versed in the typical informercial.

I have a near and dear friend who is promoting a weight loss product.  I’d love to tell you the name of the company, but I’m afraid that I, too, will be promoting it by this blog or worse, draw criticisms for my own warped opinion, so for discussion purposes, it will be simply The Product.

The thing about The Product is that, well, it works in all major areas: weight loss, finances, and freedom from the typical 40 hour work week.  My friend has lost a substantial amount of weight, makes wicked money, and drives a car that I could only dream about having in my driveway (mainly because I don’t have the testicular fortitude/bank account to drop $40k on a car).  Sounds great, right?  My grandfather, who lived to be 100 once said, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  The other proverbial shoe has not dropped yet, and has no intention of dropping, as my friend is working her way towards quitting her 9-5 job she hates and doing this full time.  I understand the typical 40 hour work week for a corporation is not for everyone: just as college, marriage, and owning a home is not for some — and I totally get that.  And while The Product is not something I would use or sell, I support my friend because that’s what friends do.

I don’t use The Product because I like food, not meal replacements that tout the nutritional equivalent of a wheelbarrow full of carrots and other preposterous ideas.  No one needs that many carrots.  Seriously.  Diarrhea would your top worry.  My food idol – another friend – who’s diet I look up to – even rolled her eyes at the idea, and she’s way into health, fitness, and otherwise being awesome.  Also, I couldn’t sell water to people in a desert – I’m a shy introvert at my core and selling things makes me cringe.  My friend is the typical extrovert with a large personality to go with it.  I think that’s why we make such good friends – we’re the exact opposite.

With all that being said, my friend is stuck in a perpetual infomercial.

I asked her about her business — and I got an email full of rhetoric.  It wasn’t a friend telling a friend about an experience – it sounded like a cut and paste job off a website.  She seems to be demonizing people (i.e. me) that work a normal job.  I’m pretty sure she’s not attacking me personally, and she’s just really excited about this experience and how it’s changed her entire outlook on life and she’s expressing that.  Her Facebook news feed is just a stream of corporate thoughts and I’m half tempted to hide them just so I don’t have to deal with how The Product is amazing and it does this and that and I feel like this because I’m now taking that and…..<sigh>  I want my friend back.

I feel slighted.  And it’s not that I’m jealous of her new career zeal – I just want a healthy perspective.  It always concerns me when people jump head first into an ideal and run with it, burning bright and fast: I’ve seen it happen to people who are in love, start a new job, become a Christian — sometimes the loudest voices and the brightest lights go out quick – a la Jim Morrison – a star so bright it becomes a super nova and collapses in on itself.  Boom.  Gone.

Have I told her any of this?  No.  I want to do that in person, as emails get misconstrued with emotions.  I already expressed my concern when she was doing this at 1st — I said my piece, there will be no more from me on that, I have accepted it.  I will support her, not The Product.

The funniest part of it all?  I actually went to one of the information meetings about this, more so out of obligation than interest, and we watched an informercial.  I was so proud of myself, I did not go all Mystery Science Theatre on it.  Although I really, really wanted to.

Jersey Shore auf Deutsch

Never in my wildest dreams have thought that I, a Christian/college educated/professional woman, would ever watch Jersey Shore, let alone watch it with a notebook and writing stuff down.  Ah, the joys of watching trashy American TV with German subtitles!  Because my job is so cerebral, I think this is a great way to unwind.  Is it wholesome?  Not in the least.  But it lets my mind go.  So far I’ve learned useful phrases such as:

“Ruf ein Taxi!” Call a cab!

“Vinny ist weg!” Vinny is gone!

“Wie findest du die brueste?” What do you think of the boobs?

“Poppen” – a vulgar term for sex.  (My translation software didn’t even know it.  I had to google it and find it on an urban dictionary.)

It’s slowly coming together, but it is nice to see how things translate.  I keep hitting pause so I can use my software to further translate.  Some other things I have noticed about Jersey Shore, now that I’m through half a season:

  • For people who have a beach house, they are never at the beach.  What is up with that?  I’d be out there all the time.  My camera crew would be sunburnt.
  • Why on earth would you tan in a bed when you have a beach house?  Or go to gym?   Hello!  Morning run on the beach?
  • I know there are guys out there who pull girls from clubs, take them home, and then call them a cab before the sun rises.  I just never expected to see it on TV every time they go out clubbing. Which is every night.  Good grief, they must be tired.
  • I wonder if MTV gives them STD checks/test every few weeks.  Because they should.
  • I never realized how common weave/extensions were.  They’re so expensive!
  • I know, especially from my younger days, it’s fun to get dressed up and go out clubbing.  But every night at the same few spots?  I’d get bored.  Also, there’s no way I could drink that much.  The enzyme doo-dad that breaks down alcohol is not plentiful in my body.  I have a low tolerance and I aim to keep it that way.  These guys are professionals.
  • They work at a t-shirt shop on the boardwalk – this is the closest they come to the beach on film – and they either don’t show up, show up late, or go AWOL.  I know it’s not a “real job” and they have contracts with MTV, but still……it just shows poor character in my opinion.
  • The only thing they take seriously on the show is drinking.
  • I could never hang out at the house.  I would not have sex with any of them.  I would not (and could not) drink with them every night.  I have very little tolerance for drama in my face.  I’d turn into den mom/buzz kill.
  • They don’t do dishes and apparently MTV does not have a maid come in either, so their kitchen looks like a bomb went off in it — I’d be cleaning the entire time.  I’d be excited for everyone to go to the club so I could sweep and vacuum.  OMG, I’d be the old lady.
  • One of the hilarious lost-in-translation bits is “The Jersey Turnpike Dance:” to do this you put your hands on the floor and shake your butt in the air.  I only know this because I looked it up on the internet.  Jersey Turnpike Dance does not translate.  They call it “bück-dich-tanz:” literately the “bend-you-[over]-dance.” It’s stuff like that I’m trying to get a handle on — some things just don’t translate.  At all.

Stuck in America

Once upon a time when I was a camp counselor, I had the opportunity to work with a variety of counselors from around the globe.  The one counselor who really suck with me was Mia who was from Croatia, and it was her 1st time on American soil.  She spoke English better than most Americans and it wasn’t textbook English – it was conversational English.  She knew and used all the colloquialisms – without a trace of her native country’s accent.

I wanted to know what her secret was.  Where did she learn such Americanisms?  “TV, ” she replied.  Apparently in Croatia she was able to access American television and picked up the language merely from exposure.  “It’s how I learned German, too,” she added.  “MTV was broadcasted in German, so I just picked it up.”  Wow.

As I’m learning German, I remembered what Mia had said and how most people pick up a language: complete submersion.  It’s near impossible here in Wilmington.  I keep telling The General that Germany is going to default with the whole Euro mess and maybe America will have a wave of German immigrants.  Then we would get to the point of where signs will be in German, German radio stations (oompa bands?), and German television; much like what has gone on with the wave of Mexicans in our country.  The house across the street from us just sold. I  secretly hope it’s new owners are German.  The General thinks I’m nuts.

So I signed onto RTL, a German broadcast company, much like NBC here.  They have a lot of the same shows we have here: “Ich bin ein Star, holt mich heir raus!” – I’m A Celebrity, Get me Out of Here! and “Deutschland sucht den SuperStar” – American Idol.  I figured it out because they use the same logo.  And “Der Bachelor.”  I know, quality programming.  They have everything online, so as I excitedly clicked on the series a window popped up with a German blurb I couldn’t translate.  My app basically said that it couldn’t be accessed because the law prohibits them from being viewed outside of the German viewing area i.e. America.  Bah.  I can access clips, but not the whole show.

And so the reading with my limited vocabulary continues.

My German roots are rotting

It’s month 4 of learning German via Rosette Stone, a Berlin newspaper, and random Rammstein songs.  And while my vocabulary has greatly increased, my speaking ability seems stunted to “one noun, one verb” sentences.  And that noun better be in the singular tense.  God help me if I need to use the formal version v. informal version.  My grandparents are turning in their urns; local native speaking Germans have headaches and they don’t know why.  Our summer trip to Berlin is yet to be formally scheduled, but it’s on my radar in the new year.

I have the reading ability of a 1st grader, but the speaking ability of an 18 month old.  I have this bad feeling that I’m going to be pointing at things in Germany and whining until they’re given to me when I don’t know how to say the word.  Some of my vocab words are coming in handy  when browsing the newspaper and what I can’t decipher I’m using a translation app on my computer – which works about 95% of the time, it’s not perfect.

Today I stumbled upon a blog for the lovelorn from the Berliner Zeitung (Berlin Newspaper).  It’s all in German.  It’s an advice column of sorts.  And while it probably isn’t the most honorable thing to read, it is the most entertaining.  Okay, so I have to translate most words (although I can easily translate “Ich hatte gestern Nacht Sex in der Küche im Appartement einer Frau” – “I had sex last night in the kitchen of a woman’s apartment,” which is actually what caught my eye, mainly because I could understand it.  Germans capitalize nouns.)  And apparently sex is the same in both languages. Who knew?  It’s a good thing though: won’t have to worry about saying that accidently and embarrassing myself.

I got my Twilight book in English, so I can follow along with the German version,  too.  I’m hoping the more I read, the more I’ll understand sentence structure and it’ll eventually click in my head.  I know I need to speak it more, which is where Skype and some poor unlucky German speaker will be useful when my Rosette Stone Totale subscription runs out.  So far my group chats on Rosette Stone have been very touch and go.  They’re very encouraging, but I’m struggling.

My goal is to speak and write it well enough to not struggle through it.  As fluent as I can get this side of Deutschland.