Mykonos Live: 7:30 a.m.
Tired. Hungry. A bit nauseous. Now I know why I don't go out at 4 a.m. to a sunrise party. It's not who I am anymore. Then again, I never really was that person. But, when in Mykonos, I thought I should participate.
When we arrived to Cavo Paradiso after a 15 minute bus ride (as it was the safest for both the departure and return), it was full of mostly straight boys and girls in their early 20s. The gays stood to the side. That was until around 6 when the homos took over the dancefloor (when finally the electro blips and intertwined scratching gave way to at least a few tunes with vocals). But it was over for Chris and I. So we said goodbye to Mark, Greg, Patrick, Bill and Mike and made our way to the bus in hopes that a taxi would pop by and allow us to make our way home more quickly. It did. It was 9 euros well spent.
But even as bad as the night was, would we do it again? Most likely. Not because we'd subject ourselves to the torture once more, but because we can say we did it. There's no wondering "what if." Instead, we can say, "It's not our cup of tea."
Mykonos Live! 3:30 a.m.
Call us crazy but we just woke up and are heading out to Cavo Paridiso for a sunrise party. We were told it was the place to be. How old are we again?
Europe Backs Obama
I made note yesterday on the plane to Chris that it seems Europeans are far more interested in Obama than McCain. Almost every paper features the trials and tribulations of the Democratic nominee whereas very few even mention McCain. So, it's no surprise that USA Today features an article today highlighting Obama's popularity in Europe.
A Few Reference Points
So far on our vacation, a few items have emerged as continual reference points during conversation. The first is a slow and drawn out (made with a Southern drawl), "Ooooooohhhhhh nooooooooooooo." This statement was made by our friend Matt in Puerto Vallarta when he realized something was burning in the oven. The second is Mark's impersonation of Mad TV's Bon Qui Qui. Check out here "King Burger" skit below (which has been viewed over 5 million times). "Security!"
Cousin T is Making a Difference
My cousin Teresa, who lives in Lindsborg, KS, has found her way onto CNN's "iReport" with her editorial on Obama. Check out here thoughts here.
Mykonos Live: First Night Out
We were hoping for a casual dinner. What we found was an overpriced restaurant filled with gays at Chez Maria. Not that the homos were bad, but we like our "marys" with a side of juicy chicken (or is it the other way around?)
From there, we headed to Pierro's where most of us stayed out until almost 4:00 a.m. Yours truly returned to the hotel around 2 as I wasn't feeling pretty with my mushroomhead haircut and lack of color. I let the rest of the boys do the socializing. Not that I was rude, but I was joking to most saying (and I quote a waiter from the "To Serve & Disinfect" episode of Will & Grace in season six), "I'm not here to make new friends." And last night, I wasn't. Tonight hopefully will be a different story.
Looking Back: Athens Airport
While we were waiting for our flight in Athens, we were treated to free Mojitos (which would never happen stateside as not only would it be an expensive proposition but the legal ramifications would be huge). As a result, I bought some Bacardi rum for our week in Mykonos (saving a buck or two is always preferred). Even better, the gentleman mixing the drinks threw in a bag of mint and limes just in case we had a hard time finding the essential ingredients on the small island just a short 20 minute flight away.
Mykonos Live! Landed
We just arrived in Mykonos after a day of traveling. We left this morning at 9 a.m. and it's now just turning 8 p.m. Considering our flying time between Munich and Mykonos is only 2:20, you wonder where the day went! Layovers and delays. But that's okay. We're here and it's gorgeous. More to come!
9 to 5 2 Premiere in NY
One good thing about moving back to Chicago is that we'll be able to jump on a plane to New York to check out shows like 9 to 5 and Xanadu. Fun.
Kooky Euro News
Good thing we're not going to Galaxidi in Greece around the beginning of Greek Orthodox. Every year, at the end of Carnival, Galaxidi (located 200 kilometers west of Athens) erupts in a 24 hour long flour war. Villagers throw over 3,000 pounds of flour on "Clean Monday." You'd think the baking ingredient could be put to better use - like in a delicious apple pie or chocolate cake.
Makes Me Nervous
I spent the morning trying to determine why the internet was down again. It appeared to be nothing on our end. So, of course, I got nervous that we would need to order another router and spend hours on the phone configuring the equipment. Fortunately, it appears the net is up and running. But, since it's gone down a few times this week, something tells me we're in for a bumpy world wide web ride. Please, let it just hold on until December.
And of course, as I'm trying to publish this post, the net is down and up and down again.
Swiss Clear Witch's Name
DP, the Swiss correspondent, just sent over this blip on msnbc.com about the Swiss exonerating Europe's last executed witch. Hard to imagine this happened just 220 years ago. What are we be doing today that in two centuries seems odd?
In the Nooz
Stories that caught my eye today include:
Major shrinkage expected for Germany.
Do we need a Mr. Gay Cuba?
Why is Shayne Ward, X-Factor winner from 2005, on the cover of Thailand's Men's Health?
The first rollercoaster being built for Oktoberfest 2008, Olympia Looping, started going up today (video included).
Dirty Sexy Money looks to get dirtier and sexier.
Mongrels are the new black.
Is it wrong that tossing items out of our top floor windows makes me giggle? Like tonight, when I had a small chunk of cucumber left from my evening salad preparation, I wanted to wind up and throw it out the window. Wherever it landed, they wouldn't know where it came from as it would have appeared to have fallen from the sky. That just makes me laugh.
A Bit Week 4 Employment
Bounce Into the Weekend!
Who says Labor Day weekend needs to be filled with happy beach tunes? Instead, bounce into the holiday with Bounce (Razor and Guido Mix) - a gritty number. "Bounce like you never...bounce."
It's good to know a litle about the German wheat beer on tap at Oktoberfest. There are numerous types including traditional and unfiltered Hefeweizen, Kristallweizen (crystal wheat), Dunkelweizen (dark wheat) and Weizenstarkbier (strong wheat beer). Weissbier is also quite popular. As an extra tip, the alcohol content for dark beer is higher so be careful when chugging one, two or three too fast. It will catch-up with you.
Oozing Mushrooms Cause Panic
Paul, one of our Chicago correspondents, just sent us the article below about "oozing" mushrooms. As pilot in training, these type of stories hit home for Paul. As for the rest of us who travel, anything "oozing" should cause concern.
A Ryanair Boeing 737-800, registration EI-DHA performing flight FR1024 from Budapest (Hungary) to Dublin (Ireland), was forced to perform an emergeny landing into Frankfurt-Hahn (Germany) due to a bag of frozen mushrooms.
A passenger had brought the frozen mushrooms on board of the airplane and put them into the overhead baggage compartment. During the flight the mushrooms melted and "sauce" dripped onto another passenger sitting underneath. That passengers started to complain about irritations of his mucous membranes, prompting the crew to divert to Frankfurt-Hahn. The passenger was brought to hospital.
The airplane took off again and completed the journey with a delay of 140 minutes.
There was no word, what consequences the mushroom lover might be facing.
All I Hear is Clang! Bang!
Of course, workers couldn't wait until after we move in December to begin construction on the large multi-unit building just a 1/2 block down from our flat. So now, at 7:00 a.m., I'm treated to the soothing sounds of a jackhammer. Later, if I'm lucky, hammers chime in to complete the symphony. To which I find all of this irritatingly funny as they don't like loud music or noises on Sunday, yet they're perfectly fine with CLANGS! and BANGS! from the crack of dawn until the sun sets at night.
Cher on Will & Grace
I was so happy to stumble across this YouTube posting from Will & Grace. Because of NBC's own Hulu website, the peacock network doesn't allow clips on YouTube so I was pleasantly surprised to find it. One of the best. Besides that, you get a glimpse of the Cher doll I have in storage back in Chicago.
Why Such a Rush?
I laugh everytime at people who are in such a hurry to exit the subway train that they get up from their chair before the train comes to a stop - only to get thrown across the car into other patrons standing quietly on the side. Can't these impatient persons wait just a few more seconds? It's not as though they can exit before the train comes to a complete stop. The doors won't open! Lesson learned people. Lesson learned.
Putting X 2 Work
With the arrival of fall comes the maturing of my favorite ornamental grasses on the first floor balcony. The plumes have just made their way out - greeting the chilly weather we've had all weekend. And being one of my favorite types of plants, these grasses, and their brilliant plumes, are a welcomed decoration to our outdoor space.
When Does It Turn Creepy?
After avoiding the gym shower today because it was full of creepy old men trying to cop a glance, I wondered, "When does it cross the line from being an enjoyable experience of hot dudes showering together to creepy old men lurking around?"
Because if the shower this morning would have been full of the Men of Olympics 2008 (and gay ones who would have been interested in their surroundings), for example, I most likely wouldn't have returned to my locker to wait for the room to empty. So at what point, or age, does it become problematic? Is it even an age? Or, is it more in the behavior of the creepy old men? Then again, if the young, hot dudes would be acting in similar fashion, would I care?
My My Meike!
The Rosenmeer restaurant in Mönchengladbach, Germany is causing quite a stir by having mens' urinals in the shape of women's mouths. Designed by Meike van Schijndel, i find them to be quite entertaining. Maybe we should commission one for our new home? We are installing a urinal in the master bathroom.
Fat Sally Saturday?
Fat Sally is relocating from Sunday to Saturday this week. Since our friend Xavier arrives tomorrow with Tim, we wanted to enjoy Sally one more time before leaving for Mykonos next Friday. Not that Sally is overly Fat today. She's only hogging down one meal today - pizza and coconut cake tonight. We can't go to overboard.
I'm a Mushroom Head
As I noted a few days back. before leaving for Mykonos (or this month's gay prom), it's important to get a haircut. However, it's even more essential that you give the cut a few days to grow out (as everybody knows your hair needs time to recoup and settle into place).
Unfortunately, I had my haircut yesterday. Now, I feel as though I look like a mushroom head. I asked for the top to be left alone (as I want to grow out the layers I feel were mistreated a few weeks back). My stylist listened. But, in the process, he cut the sides too short. As a result, I'm a mushroom head.
At least I have seven days before we leave. Maybe if I take extra vitamins the sides will undergo a growth spurt. If not, I can always wear a hat.
Men of 2008 Olympics
There's something very sexy about those rowers. Maybe it's the tight shirts that expose the ripped and muscular bodies. Just check out Shaun Rubenstein from South Africa and Rami Zur from the USA - especially those abs and (yes I'm going to go there) nipples. Oh, and don't forget to take a glimpse of Zoltan Kammerer of Hungary. He's good too.
Getting Ready 4 Prom
The Winter Party, Market Days, Mykonos. Big Gay Proms we call them. Because just like the high school passing ritual, these events take preparation. We diet. We tan. We get haircuts. All for a week of fun in the sun, at the bars, in the restaurants and at the clubs. Speaking of, it's lunch time. Where's my Tic Tac?
To see today's photos, go here or simply click on the Fest Fotos icon to the right.
Fighting the Urge
Because Mykonos is now just 8 days away, last night I was fighting the urge to eat a bowl of Mini Wheats with Chocolate inside. I held out until around 4 a.m. when I was so hungry, and frustrated that I couldn't sleep, that I bounced out into the kitchen, prepared me a bowl, and watched Will & Grace. They're frickin' delicious. At least they're whole wheat!
Men of 2008 Olympics
The plane crash in Madrid (headed for the Canary Islands) isn't the kind of article I want to read right before we leave for another vacation hotspot next week. I'm already stressed about flying our little puddle jumper between Mykonos and Santorini.
Walter, our friend in Lindau, just informed me that the religion tax is not limited to Munich or Bavaria, but actually it applies to all of Germany. And, apparently, it's also in Switzerland. No wonder the churches are so amazing.
Going, Going, Going, Gone!
Our relocation service told us this week of a website where we can sell our European purchases, such as our washer and dryer, refrigerator and television. So, right after Thanksgiving, we'll probably make a post to clean house. Of course, we're going to give our friends first shot at the items. After all, the HD television, for example, is just one year old - and I'd rather see it go to someone we care about vs. some Joe Schmo who just wants a good deal.
It's quite funny to see what some people are trying to sell including power strips and a single IKEA lamp that probably only cost 10 Euros new. I was thinking we'd just throw that crap away!
Men of 2008 Olympics
There Goes United's Biz Class
Paul, one of the Chicago correspondents, just sent over this newsworthy item for travelers who fly United. Apparently, the Chicago based airline is now going to be charging for meals in business class. I'm sorry, but when you spend over $5K for a roundtrip ticket, you shouldn't be expected to shell out another $20+ for a meal. Besides that, if you don't want to spend the money, it's not like a salad from McDonald's is going to keep on an eight hour international flight. Who wants to eat soggy lettuce? I guess it's a good thing our regular international flying will soon come to an end.
Announced In a Company Memo August 18, 2008
Catering Changes Provide Value and Options
Cost reduction and revenue generating opportunities continue to be the
focus of every division throughout the company. In the wake of high fuel
prices and a challenging economic environment, we must continue to examine
every aspect of our business and find new ways to improve our day-today
operations through efficiencies that still meet our customers' expectations.
And we can expect this will continue to drive changes to the way we
Fleet and capacity reductions announced in June have already resulted in significant
changes for our division, many of which were implemented in July and
August. And there are more changes scheduled for September and October.
These changes are difficult, but necessary, and we do not make them lightly.
However, they enable us to reduce costs and generate additional revenue
while preserving a differentiated product for our premium cabin customers
both internationally and domestically. Our industry is changing, and in
United's ongoing efforts to offer overall value and competitive fares, we need
to tailor our products and services to what the customer values and can
choose from accordingly.
The following is a general overview of the upcoming changes. You can
expect detailed information in the coming weeks.
Effective Sept. 2
North America United Economy® ( UE ) -All Markets
• Expanding a la carte snacks for purchase to flights between 760 -1149
miles (approximately 2-3 hours in duration) as a result of successful testing
in select markets. Along with the expansion, we're removing complimentary
biscoff and pretzels as data from those tests confirmed that the a
la carte offering appeals to our customers and they are willing to pay for
snacks of higher value.
• Continuing test of a fresh Buy on Board offering along with the current
snack box on flights between 1440 - 2099 miles (approximately 3.5 - 5 hours
in duration). Testing limited to ORD - LAX - ORD and DEN - IAD - DEN .
Effective Oct. 1
Increasing Buy on Board Prices
• Shelf-stable items increase from $5 to $6.
• Fresh items increase from $7 to $9.
Offering Two-Class Service on North America Three-Class Airplanes
• United First® service remains the same.
• A combined BOB service will be offered in United Business® ( UB ) and
United Economy® ( UE ).
•Customers in UB will receive complimentary beverages and BOB offering.
• Staffing will be adjusted to FAA minimums.
Buy on Board Offered Out of IAD to Europe (except KWI)
• Replacing complimentary meals in UE with BOB fresh and snack box
• Economy staffing breakpoints for all aircraft will be adjusted to current
North America BOB staffing guidelines.
Eliminate Second Service in p.s. Market
• Removing the pre-arrival snack service and replacing with a beverage service
in response to flight attendant and customer feedback.
Because sausages and beer go hand-in-hand (literally) at Oktoberfest, it's good to know your "wurst." The frankfurter (beef or beef and pork) is the most common sausage you'll find at Oktoberfest, but you should also try the bratwurst (pork, beef and/or veal), knackwurst (pork or beef with fresh garlic), and bockwurst (pork, lamb, turkey, and chicken with salt, paprika, white pepper, chives and parsley).
Our architect and design firm sent us a note last week letting us know they'd be looking for our thoughts on closet sizes, dining room table dimensions, etc. This way, they could complete their initial concepts. So, we're waiting on this end for their list of questions so we can compile our wish list.
Not that we're going to have THAT many options. The Chicago four square home only has so much room to work with without blowing out the back - which we don't intend on doing. If anything, we're going up into the attic. But even with that option, we're waiting until five or seven years down the road. Because as I've noted before, Chris, Maddie, Dennis and I don't need a six bedroom house.
Beautiful Dayz Like These
It's beautiful days like yesterday and today when I appreciate our living situation in Munich. As I ride my bike to the gym, through the center of Munich, I cherish the weather, the surroundings, and my ability to do so with a flexible schedule. And with our countdown on to the "Chicago Return," every moment takes on even more special meaning.
New 2 PTT
Because I find the unfolding of Oktoberfest so fun to watch, I thought others might find it interesting as well (especially those visiting Munich in September and October). So check out the link to PTT's new Oktoberfest Photo Blog located to the right, in the sidebar. Over the next few weeks, I'll be loading it up with Fest Fotos from the Theresienwiese and other Oktoberfest related snapshots. Check it out!
Munich's Religion Tax
I'm now an official German tourist. My residence permit expires on the 20th. And instead of renewing (as we're only here another four months - with a trip back to Chicago in October), our relocation services contact agreed with us that it didn't make much sense to renew. As a result, we had to "de-register" me as it's the law.
Another law I learned of today is the "religion tax." While filing for a residence permit, the form asks your "religion preference." When I questioned why that was anybody's business, I was told it's because Munich's residents pay 9-10% of their income tax to a specified religion. If that's the case, to save money, wouldn't you just say your an atheist?
It's a hot one! Robbie Rivera's Back to Zero (Fonzerelli Mix) is what I'm listening to right now before heading to the gym - and it's making me want to he-bop all over the flat. With hints of progressive, lightly splashed with an electro vibe, and loaded with vocals, Back to Zero is a summer scorcher. And I especially love the "echoing" instrumentation at the beginning and scattered throughout. Check it out! You'll feel like he-bopping too!
Not My Cup o' Tea
DP, the Swiss correspondent, sent over this picture of the 2008 men's gymnastics bronze medal winners. His past romantic fling, who works with the International Gymnastics Olympic team, passed it along. So, I'm doing the same. It's not my cup of tea but it might be yours. Besides that, I'm not sure who's in charge of their press materials, but this photo looks like something straight out of Bel Ami - porn featuring "hot, sexy, European twinks" (their words, not mine).
Fitness Brunch Revisted
It seems Fitness Brunch was a success. We had an enjoyable afternoon eating the "fruits" of Chris' labor including a fruit and yogurt parfait, stuffed french toast, frittata, biscuits, and parma ham. Later, while watching the Olympics, we rounded out the meal with a slice of chocolate cake. Now that's a strong start to Fat Sally Sunday.
Besides that, it was great to spend time with the boys outside of the gym. And when we learned that Tilo's girlfriend is one that, just this morning, Chris and I commented on how adorable she is, it made for quite the conversation. "She's one I'd take home to grandma!" I said. .
It may be Fat Sally Sunday, but today we're preparing for what our friend Mark referred to as, "Fitness Brunch." We invited our friend Daniel and his girlfriend over for brunch, along with Tilo. But, because Daniel's girlfriend can't make it, it will be just the two personal trainers from Leo's, Chris and I.
Chris has been cooking a bit since last night and this morning. I've cleaned and set up the terrace (even using the chair cushions). Not that we're getting all fancy. Two straight dudes could care less about the particulars. But being gay, we at least have to make a favorable impression.