Samstag, 27. September 2008

Washington Lake Bicircle

Seattle is a city of many different faces. Not only are there mountains and valleys, plains and temperate rainforest, there is also salt as well as sweet water.
One of the sweet water lakes in Seattle is Lake Washington and Saturday was the day we were going to circle it (well, almost).
After initial problems, the only remaining cyclists, Sudip and me headed out for the tour.
Soon after the start, Sudip made contact with the local concrete, but that didn't keep him from going on.
After reaching the initial goal of Marymoore Park, we did not go back as we had planned, but went on and circled Lake Sammamish, all the way to Isaquah (yes, Indian tribes are around here ;-)).
On the way back, we crossed the I 90 that goes over Lake Washington on a floating bridge that has a beautiful view of Mount Rainier. By the end, we had completed 63 miles of bicycling.

On Sunday there will be another hike in Snoqualmie National Forest. Looking forward to it!

Obama vs. the guy who brought us Palin

After attending Department Orientation and the party afterwards (seriously, shrimp and wine at 3 pm in the afternoon?), I went to witness part of American history ;-):

It was 6 pm when the two opponents faced each other, watched live by millions of people all over the world (plus the few politically interested Americans).

In the undergraduate library, the staff had set up a beamer and so everybody who wanted could come by, grap some snacks and drinks and watch the debate together with like-minded people (which in Seattle basically means non-Republicans).
The room was packed and people were having a lot of fun. It was like going out to the movies... with popcorn and laughs... and afterwards you talk about the actors' performance.

I'm looking forward to next Thursday, which promises to be funny, since the two potential Vice Presidents will meet each other on screen.

Tune in at 6 pm Pacific Standard Time (nine hours back ;-))

Bottom Line:
Why don't we have this at home?

Excuse me, is this where I teach?

It had come earlier than anyone had feared and it crashed down upon all of us like a lightning:
The first day of school! After weeks of fun we had to get serious... ("why so serious?")

After I had my first class, it was pretty clear that I had to drop one of my courses, because I would simply not be able to handle the workload of three courses. The only question remaining was: which class.

So I went through three classes that day (boy, what a day!)
My first was International Conflict, a class in the undergraduate level (for all those without a Bachelor degree). The discussion session revealed that it would be an incredible amount of work. Some of the issues seemed to be a repition of what I had done before. And the real killer: that class is scheduled Tuesday through Friday, every day! Not a good standing in the challenge of my courses. By the end of the day it was clear that this course had to go. See you in Spring International Conflict.

The other classes were not less work, but somehow "Ideologies of Space" and "Science Fiction, Colonialism and Racial Representation" (what a combo!) did trigger my interest more. Not to speak of the professors:

My Science Fiction guy basically consists of black and metal, sometimes combined. Especially noteworthy is his bracelet. He wears a bike chain (sic!) on his right wrist. Funny about that: sometimes he looks at it like it was a watch. Maybe he uses the different links to calculate the time on his own planet ;-).
Even more interesting and eccentric is my other professor. He is totally confused ("excuse me, is this where I teach?") and has a bad tendency of forgetting everything (how congenial!). His whole air and looks scream "Ballard" or "Captn Ahab", while his hair is rather related to Medusa in Greek Mythology.

I am looking forward to both classes and I have a feeling that they are going to challenge me in oh so many different ways.

After a long day of school, one has to get his mind off the serious issues of this world (like Science fiction and whale fiction), so it sometimes helps to watch the people who are still left on campus.

I have not yet found out, if they are rehearsing to take over the slow motion indsutry, if they are wannabe breakdancers who didn't make it in New York or if they are just practicing their capoeira moves ;-)

Diving 21+

Monday was a crappy day for most of us.
As we have tried so many different sports before, we went for "diving" that night.

Dive Bars like Earl's offer a variety of choices to dive in... self-pitty, Jaegermeister, Long Island Ice Tea, frustration, self-denial, Bacardi coke and loss of memory to just name a few.

They tend to hire barristas who have lost their glasses OR have their glasses on, but had to many glasses themselves... OR who have been in medical school and instead of mixing drinks, they mix desinfectants that they spice up with a few drops of something with taste.

A few impressions will have to be enough. Nobody remembers anymore than that about this night anyway.

"Authentic" German Beer ;-)

Boat Cruise & Ballard Insides

Ok, I have some catching up to do: letzgo!!
Saturday was mainly used to deal with the effects of Friday (see picture for visualization):

but by Sunday we were all ready for a new go at "meet as many international students as possible in as little time as we give you", organized by FIUTS.
So we went to a boat cruise around Seattle harbor.

Since my neighbors had decided to fix their roof at 8 am (on a f***ing sunday morning!!), I was up early and went to Pike Place Market

to get some Shrimps

and have a look at respectless T-Shirts

In order to understand this T-shirt (and totally crack about it like I did), one must know that Bellevue is the high class fancy part of Seattle, where Microsoft is located. Ballard (where I live) on the other hand is pretty down to earth. It is mainly inhabited by Scandinavian people, used to be a fisher town until it turned into a ship building town during the war. Of course, Bellevue doesn't have the best reputation in Ballard.

Another of Ballard's favorites is this little fellow here:

Ballard for Obama was originally planned to be a joke for a fair. However, it turned out that people bought the shirt away like hot buns ;-). The shirt is now constantly sold out. It is Ballard's own viking way of supporting Democracy in the country.

Although I hardly met any new people on the Cruise (at some point you just stop to care), I did learn a lot about Korean and Taiwanese education, talking to people I had already known. Apparently their students are really competitive until they reach university. Everybody tries to prove him/herself in order to go to the best universities. When they finally get there, though, they do not have that pressure anymore and supposedly become pretty lazy. Also, usually only rich people's children get to go abroad. However, a lot of our Internationals seem to be the exemption from that rule.