Garfield Live!

New and updated post, using english grammar!!!

I was gonna give this post an alliterating name that rhymes with “tussi mixtures”, but then I thought, better not be flagged by Google, plus, how low would that be stooping for a gag, anyway…

Now, I know I have sunk low anyway, posting pictures of Garfield instead of fun, crazy travel pictures to exotic locations. I’m sorry, I just don’t happen to be at a fun, exotic location right now, so I’m trying to make due with what I have. Looking at the beautiful things all around and closer to me, like the cat, or these cans of empty beer arranged in a floral pattern littering my desk. Less beautiful, albeit more smelly is the kitty litter box just outside the door, which I see as just another example of collateral damage caused by Garfield. To wrap up this topic, enjoy the picture of her posing,
then discovering the paparazzi and choosing the most consequent exit strategy.

Furry Friends

Now I usually don’t blog about my domestic life, because if you’d come to my apartment, you’d realize that there is nothing funny about a flat where a hair dryer can cause a major power outage and there are legends about when the tub was last cleaned [updated: my new flatmates cleaned it! they actually pumped something like an entire wookie from the drain]

So when Rouven, my new flatmate, confronted me with a cat, and asked whether we can keep him, well, I instantly realized this is prima face blog material. For this blog is the forum where I am allowed to be blatantly honest about some things, including domestic wildlife.

So to be honest, my first reaction was shit, one more thing for me to trip over when I’m on my way to a midnight snack. My sombre mood lasted until I opened the refrigerator, and smelt that I had forgotten my sardines in over the weekend! Now, it was while smelling the sardines and contemplating whether they were still edible for humans that it struck me: what about edible for cats? it might be OK for me, but yum-yum for the cat! why not feed the cat?
The cat is huge and fat and orange, so I think I’ll call it Garfield.

Of course, before Greenpeace storms my site, I will say that eating the food is strictly voluntary for Garfield, but of course, I do recommend the fish… cause I would probably have eaten them myself, were it not for her…

Update! : it did not end up eating the fish, but I did find it in my bed this afternoon, so I guess that makes it 2:0 for the cat…

Albania: the ultimate bogus road trip.

Somehow, after days of hard conference work, my soul was aching for a little treat, parhaps some more space than the cramped plenary could provide. Little did I know, that this treat was just around the corner, in the form of the ultimate bogus road trip, one right across the border, to Albania…

The trip actually did not start out being a real treat, with the Don (2nd from left) breaking and entering my hotel room at 7.30 (early if you consider the last picture from the party before was thankfully labelled by my camera as having been taken at 5.30), shaking me from sleep and telling me that the “taxi to Albania is waiting downstairs.” “…Taxi to Albania??? ah right…”
I had no idea when we had had such a seriously whacked idea.
So I emptied my pockets of all things I wouldn’t need to be buried with, realized with a sigh that my breath still contained enough alcohol to be considered a fire hazard, found the way out of my room down a flight of stairs I had previously not known existed, and so the bogus journey began….

Before you could say “kalashnikov” Leo The Don, J-B & me were already being whisked away to our uncertain fate. My brain was franctically pumping out theories and new topics regarding inhumanity while we sped through somewhere… yes, such was my condition, that I took about 20 pictures like the one above…

Somehow, the landscape flying by seemed to confirm my apocalyptic mood…


I recalled Mad Max, being reminded of the inequality, coldness, and hostility inherent in mankind, plus that cool part where Mel Gibson battles it out with postapocalyptic warriors on top of a rusty land-train…

Yes, Albania was quite special. For me, the hot & cold, extravagance and poverty was an incredibly moving experience, especially because I was still far from sober.

Seriously tho, the pictures confirm what I still remember about the trip: that one part of the country was in ruins, and right next to there ruins, brand new houses were being built, and inbetween the houses, the craziest, most excessive BMWs were cruising; everywhere you could buy Cartier pearl-tipped duty-free; The Don didn’t want to miss out on such a deal. Of course, like all of Cartier’s discerning clientele , he preferred to pay in American Dollars.

Compliments on Albania, it was the only place that I was miraculously able to withdraw Euros from the teller machine, as opposed to Skopje, where this had proven impossible. (The lack of bancomats in Skopje is probably at least in part responsible for my skeptical description…) To make a long story short, we had a brief sojour in Pogradec, a type of turbo-capitalist city, with Mercedes S Classes cruising dirt roads in a martian feudalism that reminded me of nobility cruising desolate landscapes in the classiest carriages in Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities

EuroCo part II.

But before we go to heaven, let’s go shopping. We actually went to the biggest Mall in Skopje, which you actually cannot miss, because it’s right next to the main square.

I had to cringe a bit about the negative side effects such incapsulated opulence has on its surroundings (if you didnt get this one, just read my publication):

of course, I have already discussed south central Skopje in my previous post. So let us go onto more pleasant subjects, like for instance our visit to the only restaurant open on sundays at 15.30, McDonalds.

Obviously, I had fun photographing our accompanying frenchmen in flagranti with a BigMac and fries…

Soon, it was again time to leave this safe haven for the bogus bus trip which would take us to paradise lake.

now, before you all get the impression that I was just goofing off and that students don’t have to attend lectures in paradise, I have to dissappoint you, referring you to the picture left. Important to note is that the capital letters do not signify any brainwashing; they signify POINTS WHICH I KNOW TO BE VERY RELEVANT TO ME.

But, after all the work I did, I also needed fun and recreation.

Now, I know that different stakeholders visiting my site expect different content, and I hope you’re appreciating the mix. To again fulfill a few expectations, here a wild party pic:

Which I have censored, to satisfy the expectations of another group of stakeholders. I believe everyone should be happy now.

Now, many of you have been telling me “Berti, I like your blog, but I think too often, you’re posing with the wrong people. Some say, I shouldn’t be posing with uptight people. Others say, I shouldn’t be posing with drunk people. To show my synergious nature, here a picture of me posing with two security guards. And to answer your question: yes, they were drunk. As you can see, I felt secure, nevertheless (so they were actually doing their jobs quite well).

EuroCo in Macedonia.the real monty. Instead of the full one.

POP Quiz: Who can find Mazedonia on the map? Anyone? Ok, who noticed I spelled Macedonia wrong in the last sentence? Everyone? Great. Obviously I am dealing with a selected clientele.

Just kidding. Here is some help, courtesy of google earth:

Check google earth sometime. there is a small hardcore of crazy people, labelling everything including our offices in Macedonia. (thanks to Marko doing this, I have more spare time to mark the University and City Kebap in St. Gallen.)

So this is the country I started my bogus journey from. Note the little star on the map. Thats Skopje, the capital. Although it looks small from up here up here, its actually a great city. Please feel free to misunderstand great to mean splendid in this context. What I actually mean is that it has lots of inhabitants.The nicest thing is, it still has that touch-of-socialism spirit, with lovely attention to every detail, including the water faucets which are too long for the sinks underneath.

We took a small tour of the hotel surroudings.

now before I get irate mail on the one-sidedness of this portrayal from all Macedonia fans, I would like to refer you to my exit to purgatory/entering heaven at the Lake Ochrid post… So yes, I am a wee bit biased against Skopje, but I am already planning my return to other parts of the country… [In the first picture, lake Ochrid is the one where the google user went crazy labelling and ended up missing the screen and our attention span with his monstrous text-snake.]

Yes, that is heaven…

…where we went to after we endured the murderous elevator doors, missing steps, street races, and general chaos of Skopje…. so to talk about heaven, I will see you on the next post.