Es freut mich, Kreuzberg, sie kennen zu lernen!

Day 2 in Berlin. My brain woke me up at 7:30, so I got up to get bread (OK, an eclair) at the Turkish bakery on the corner to find that there was a film crew in the street outside the apartment filming a zombie-cyborg movie. Yay zombie-cyborgs! In German! The woman at the bakery rolled her eyes when I asked her about the filming, as if saying “Great, another zombie-cyborg movie.” M got around and we went wandering Kreuzberg. Today’s weather was gorgeous, and as it is supposed to be rainy and cold for the next week, every single person who could be outside today in Berlin was outside. We found our way across the Landwehr Canal near our place to Görlitzer Park and sat in the sun in the bowl that used to be the train turntable.

We wandered from there and had lunch(ish) at a cafe along the U-bahn 1 line and watched people for a long time just being lazy and enjoying the weather. From there we ventured up into Mitte to go to Kastanienallee, where we knew there was a great art store to get some supplies. Along the way we saw a park completely packed with bodies soaking up the last summer sun of Berlin which cried out to me “Buy some ice cream!”. Not one to quash ice cream urges when they hit, we found some ice cream and spent more time being lazy in the sun. Eventually we made it to the art store and then headed back to Kreuzberg to meet famed Australian scrytchian Justien and her sweetie Robert. We had an excellent dinner at a bio (organic) restaurant and got to know each other. Both were immensely entertaining.

The apartment we subletted through Craiglist for a pittance is great and convenient to the U-bahn. M and I agree that we’re glad the first time we came we stayed in Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg where there are more young people running amuck and the cafes and such are more densely packed. Kreuzberg, however, has its own charms and holy hell is it cheap over here. I am eating more cheaply than in Austin even with the terrible dollar/Euro conversion.

The jet lag is still kicking me, so I’m off to bed. We’re going to try to head to clubs and shows later this week. I’ll report back with any musical finds.


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Pep talk for guys who live alone and fear they may be creepy

Hey there, guys! I know, I know, the last time you asked a girl out she threw up on herself and then was thrown out of the bar, but don’t worry, Mars was in retrograde then and things like that can’t be helped. Don’t let a setback like that keep you from getting your groove on and keeping that bad spoilt-cheese smell at bay.

What you need to do is get out more! Go to the coffeeshop and make sure to talk to the girl behind the counter about innocuous things like the weather, Matrix Re-loaded or the latest Oprah book you’re reading. Keep the conversation to 30 seconds or less. Don’t tip too much, as coffeegirls are wary of that sort of business. Now that you’ve done that, head off to the local bookstore – NOT the library. We all know creepy men who hang out at the library! Refrain from skulking in the stacks. Instead, head to your local Barnes and Noble and help yourself to their magazine section. Feel free to sit down and read for awhile. Make sure not to get too into your articles – there are ladies afoot! Avoid car, computer and boobie magazines. Instead, choose world affairs, vegarian cooking and light business magazines. Women go crazy for men who are well read on politics, cooking and appear to have money! When a lovely lass is browsing the selection nearby, glace at her non-chalantly, then go back to reading.

That’s right, act like you have better things to do than meet her. As she stays in the aisle and ponders Real Living vs. Simple Living, stand up and put your magazine back where it belongs. (Never, ever put it back in the wrong place -this is a sign to a woman that in the future you will mix her white undies with her black ones in the dresser drawer. Avoid that penalty!) If you’re reading the right magazine, you’ll have to move past her, perhaps stretching your arm in front of her. Say “Excuse me”. She’ll love your politeness. When she smiles, hesitate for a moment and then say, shyly, “Do you like that magazine? I’ve been thinking of getting my sister a subscription for her birthday.” Do not say “my mother” – this would indicate that you think this lovely young lady is grandma material. When she responds, let the conversation flow naturally. Do not think about telling any off-color jokes about the shovels in your trunk or starting to say “heh heh heh” too much. When you ask her out for coffee next week, she’ll be delighted and give you her real phone number! After that, it’s just a few months until she’s revamping your wardrobe at Nordstrom’s and making you drink Diet Pepsi to help trim that tummy. And that, my friends, is love. Go get ’em!


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crackle’s saturday night

crackle called all of her friends. two didn’t answer, one’s number was disconnected and skink hung up on her. crackle hazily remembered the fight – in the alley behind the hole in the wall a week before – that ended with her throwing a shopping cart at skink, but she assumed that was water under the bridge. oh well. she looked at her porn for a while, got off, read the weekly rag and stared at the wall. “this sucks,” crackle said. she opened the door of her efficiency. the flourescent light over her door twitched and buzzed. flesh colored geckos skittered around it. crackle picked her nose. it was still hot out at 3am. it would be hot for another two months. “god i’d love to do some drugs,” she said. crackle put on her boots.

crackle walked through her neighborhood in the dark. she said hi to the cats who had been left outside. she watched a fat racoon crawl into the storm sewer as she tromped by. “sewer racoon versus sewer possum,” she said, “who would win?” she walked past the state cemetary and the closed beer joint. she walked through the chichi yuppie neighborhood with its restored clapboard houses and inhabitants who liked to think of themselves as ‘creatives’. she walked through the university neighborhood and laughed at a couple of kids throwing up behind a dumpster. she walked through the campus and got hassled by the twinkie security cops. she walked through the state capital grounds and stepped over the fence to traipse through the off-limits rose garden. she walked down congress, the only person on the street. she got to the river and stood on the bridge, watching the water move underneath, streetlights reflecting their orange
sulpher glow. she was the only one alive. the sky was starting to pale. she found her way under the bridge and watched the bats slowly return to their home, as the sky became pink and the city woke up.


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