Mittwoch, 31. Dezember 2008

Happy New Year!

May each day in the week be a good day
May the Lord always watch over you

And may all of your hopes turn to wishes

And may all of your wishes come true


May each day in the month be a good day

May you make friends with each one you meet

And may all of your daydreams be memories

And may all of your memories be sweet


The weeks turn to months and the months into years
There'll be sadness and joy, there'll be laughter and tears

But one thing I pray to heaven above

May each of your days be a day full of love


May each day in the year be a good day

May each dawn find you happy and gay

And may all of your days be as lovely

As the one you shared with me today

May each day of your life be a good day
And good night.
(c) Andy Williams

Click on the Bear to see the NewYear pictures!

Mittwoch, 24. Dezember 2008

Merry Christmas to all and to all, a good night!

Bear is not religious, but Bear still thinks that the meaning of these words are true and should be in our hearts not only this very day, but always.
Let there be peace on earth,
and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on Earth,
the peace that was meant to be.

With God as our Father,
brothers all are we,
Let me walk with my brother,
in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me,
let this be the moment now.
With every step I take,
let this be my solemn vow,

To take each moment and live each moment
in peace, eternally.
Let there be Peace on Earth,
and let it begin with me.

Words and Music by Jill Jackson and Sy Miller ~1955


Let me finish with the words of Tiny Tim:

Merry Christmas! And God bless us, everyone!

Montag, 15. Dezember 2008

Nervous breakdown

Bear is really close to a nervous breakdown. Bear had to go to uni before going to work to pick up some books. Shortly before Bear arrived at university, Bear noticed the front of her car smoking. Bear parked, opened the front and saw the cooling system smoking. And dripping. No other signs of over heating. Bear couldn't believe it.

Bear had her car in the garage on Friday (today is Monday). Because of new glow plugs Bear needed. Bear's car wouldn't start anymore after resting for two days. Bear had the ÖAMTC coming helping her to start and telling her that she would need new glow plugs.
That was actually the fifth time Bear's car was in the garage. Bear bought that car at the beginning of September. And it had already been to the garage for f*cking five times. First the plug of the front lights melted away. Then Bear had to have the brakes repaired. After that the rear end of the muffler (exhaust pipe) broke. Then the front of the muffler broke. (Both in the middle of the night of course). And last week Bear needed the new glow plugs. And now the cooling system broke down. Bear was close to tears. Well, actually Bear was not close anymore, Bear was in tears. Why oh why does Bear have to have such a wreck?!! Bear had to get rid off her Mini because she couldn't afford the repairs that had to be done. But looking at that wreck of a car Bear now has, she should have just sticked to the Mini... too late now.

Bear had the ÖAMTC coming. Again. At least Bear knows now what she is paying for monthly... He was really quick and really nice. And thank God and every saint that watches over Bear and her cars, it was only a tube to the cooling system that was broken. He could repair that. Bear needn't go to the garage again. Bear was happy. Though still in tears and close to breaking down, but happy that it was so easily done.

Bear hates that car. Next time anything will happen to that wreck, Bear will just smash it into the next wall. And wreck it. Completely. Once for all.

Sonntag, 7. Dezember 2008

Horns, masks, wild creatures and a happy Bear

Bear dragged Eva along to a "Perchtenlauf" in Hollabrunn on 29th of Nov. Bear has a Perchten-Fetish she guesses. Bear luuuvs those creatures. Eva doesn't. Eva is extremely afraid. Bear doesn't understand why.

Anyway, Bear dragged Eva along. Lots of people there. And quite some time to wait. Fortunately it was not too cold. Bear told Eva as much as she could about this tradition. They are supposed to chase old and bad spirits of the old year away and bring luck. When they hit you (and they hit especially only young girls and women) you're supposed to find a man in the following year.

Eva got hit a few times. So did Bear.
Bear loved it! Eva didn't! Although she is happy now, that Bear forced her having a picture taken with one of those creatures. Lots of them were there. About five groups. And the really good thing about this in Hollabrunn is, that they run around free. Of course there is Security but they are mainly concentrated on the Perchten. As they don't see much with those masks and their costumes are very heavy along with the bells. One could easily burn them with a cigarette or something... Anyway, they run around free. And that's good. Bear cannot explain properly what she likes so much about it. It's probably the wild, animalic charisma that engages them. For Bear it's very manly. And very desenchanting when they take their masks off. For Eva it's relieving.
And as for the small children. None of them was afraid! Not the slightest bit. And the Perchten were very nice to the children. Stroke their heads, let them touch their masks and carry them around.

Bear needs to get a mask of her own. A cruel, frightening looking and horny one...

Check out all the pictures Perchtenläufe

Samstag, 6. Dezember 2008

Saint Nick, Saint Nick!


Knecht Ruprecht
Theodor Storm (1817-1888)
Von drauß' vom Wald komm ich her;
ich muss euch sagen, es weihnachtet sehr!
All überall auf den Tannenspitzen
sah ich goldene Lichtlein sitzen;
und droben aus dem Himmelstor
sah mit großen Augen das Christkind hervor.
Und wie ich so strolcht' durch den finstern Tann,
da rief's mich mit heller Stimme an:
"Knecht Ruprecht", rief es, "alter Gesell,
hebe die Beine und spute dich schnell!
Die Kerzen fangen zu brennen an,
das Himmelstor ist aufgetan.
Alt' und Junge sollen nun
von der Jagd des Lebens einmal ruhn;
und morgen flieg ich hinab zur Erden;
denn es soll wieder Weihnachten werden!"
Ich sprach: "O lieber Herre Christ,
meine Reise fast zu Ende ist;
ich soll nur noch in diese Stadt,
wo's eitel gute Kinder hat."
"Hast denn das Säcklein auch bei dir?"
Ich sprach: "Das Säcklein, das ist hier:
Denn Äpfel, Nuss und Mandelkern
essen fromme Kinder gern."
"Hast denn die Rute auch bei dir?"
Ich sprach: "Die Rute, die ist hier;
doch für die Kinder nur, die schlechten,
die trifft sie auf den Teil, den rechten.
Christkindlein sprach: "So ist es recht!
So geh mit Gott, mein treuer Knecht!"
Von drauß' vom Walde komm ich her;
ich muss euch sagen, es weihnachtet sehr!
Nun sprecht, wie ich's hier drinnen find!
Sind's gute Kind sind's böse Kind?

Sonntag, 23. November 2008

Bears don't do swimming

Since Bear cannot join Bollywood-Dance-classes anymore because they changed the date, Bear decided to do Aquafitness. Every Tuesday morning. Bear knows how to swim. Bear might not be perfect, but Bear is able to keep her head above waterlevel. Bear did swimming classes in school for two years. Bear even passed the exam for lifeguard-helper.
But, hell, Aquafitness is nothing like swimming! Not at all! One hour without touching ground jogging and pushing and pulling and struggling, ... exhausting!!! ...
Especially if we use some tools to make it even worse. Like those kickboards (floats) for example. Made of foam and supposed to swim. But hey, swimming with this would be to easy. So we are supposed to stand on it. Under water. Not touching ground. Try that! While floating in the water, try to push that foam-kickboard under water to stand on it and then bend knees and straighten them again. Bear tried. Somehow everyone else seemed to be able to do it. Except for Bear. Bear managed to put on foot onto that board. And as she wanted to place the other one on it that kickboard catapulted itself out of the water, swooooshed over the heads of two other swimmer right into the face of a third one... Weeelll... That day, Bear had no problems in making new contacts. Bear had to get her board so often and apologise a hundred times for hitting others... Thank God that thing is made of foam!

Sonntag, 16. November 2008

Bearly film reviews

Bear went to the cinema a few times during the last year. These are the reviews:

Happy-Go-Lucky

"Living out loud: Mike Leighs liebevolles Porträt einer grenzenlosen Optimistin ist einer der schönsten Filme des Jahres." (Kurt Zechner, Skip) ~ Living out loud: a fond portrait of a boundless optimist is one of the lovliest movies of the year.

boundless optimist: yes
fond portrait: hmm... probably
one of the lovliest movies of the year: Bear hopes not!!

Bear loves british movies. Above all the comedies are great and the romantic movies. In this case Bear expected something else. Bear expected a funny movie with some love and comedy. But, ok. It wasn't. Unfortunetly far too long (even though only about 1,5 hrs). It was often pretty boring. And Bear would have rather called it a social analysis than a romantic comedy. A social analysis of the british lower middle class. Interestingly Bear did get to know most of the types of people portraied in that movie. Everyone except Poppy. Bear is perfectly sure that people like Poppy do not exist. People like Poppy will be striked to death after five minutes with them. Or they do not have any friends - no-one in their right minds would like to be longer in the presence with someone like Poppy.
Her quick-wittedness is pretty admirable - very good punchlines sometimes. Although Bear doubts that someone like Poppy (Poppy!! What kind of nickname is that?!) is capable of punchlines like these...
Well, nice social analysis but definitely not the lovliest and best movie of the year!!
~*°*~
~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~

Mamma Mia!

Definitely recommendable!!
If you like Musicals and you don't loath ABBA, then this is the easy going, easy listening, easy watching summer comedy to watch. Go, watch it in Original Version (not dubbed) - it's really easy to understand!
One is not you used to Meryl Streep playing a part like this but one buys it completely. Everyone - except for Pierce Brosnan - are pretty good singers or let's say not perfectly wrong. Pierce's singing is so incredibly horrible it just adds to the whole charme...
Interesting how a story could be written around the songs - and it works so well! Pretty often single lines did go along with the scenes - Bear adores it when filmmakers are cabable of that. Almost all of the time one had the feeling that the actores had so much fun while doing the movie. From time to time one also couldn't help the feeling that there was no script, just improvising. Delicious slapstick, wordplay, very good cast.

Bear was absolutely thrilled. One leaves the cinema and wants to dance and sing and go to Greece for a holiday. Bear thinks of it as *the* feel good movie of the year!
~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~

Sweeney Todd


Not really recommendable. Unfortunately.
Tim Burton is usually very grim and funny with his puppet movies - although Bear is not a huge fan, but Bear did like "A nightmare before Christmas" and "Corpse Bride! - unfortunately this was incredibly boring and up from the second half just disgusting. Not even Alan nor Johnny could help it.
Alan Rickman (Snape in "Harry Potter") is a very good singer, Johnny Depp ("Pirates of the Carribean") rather bad. At least he looks good with this hairdo and the leathercoat. Sasha Baron Cohen ("Ali G.") Bear did not recognise. And Helena Bonham Carter (in every Tim Burton movie because he is her lover) is ... well, just Helena Bonham Carter. They all did act very well, but Bear thinks it lacks of content and script. Sometimes - though very rarely - one recognises a bit Tim Burton (rather in the words the anything else); his macabre and funny side, unfortunately not too often.

Bear did watch it dubbed. The words of the songs are not very well translated - sometimes even wrong. Although it doesn't matter anymore. Boring. Disgusting. What a pitty.
~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~

The X-Files (movie)

Bear is an X-Files fan. Only this time Bear was pretty disappointed.
Either it's been too long of a time since the series was on TV and Bear is not so much up-to-date anymore or the movie was simply really bad. Bear fears it's the latter.

Scully is totally weak and Mulder to easy to inspire to do things. Skinner did turn up at the end for... for what exactly? Just to be in it? And Bear could just not understand why XZibit was in the movie (because of the X?). And what kind of story was that?? Frankenstein's monster, the two-headed Cerberus - very original. Billy Connolly (scottish comedian, "Her Majesty Mrs Brown") was good as usual but here Bear also wonders why they did come up with the story of the paedophilliac priest all the time. Just to have something for Scully to fight for or against?! But what was his bond to Frankenstein?
The whole thing did not even make Bear go "Huh". Nothing at all. What a pitty. TV-series should stay to be TV-series and never become movies...

Mittwoch, 10. September 2008

Is this the end of the world as we know it?


So, is this it? The media keeps talking about the end of the world because of the Cern-Experiment. What if it really is? What would you do? What would I do? (I just noticed that I do not call myself Bear anymore while thinking about my last hours on earth - interesting)
I just thought to myself that if today the world stops existing, should I really go to work? I am at work now.
I do not believe that because of this experiment the world will crash. Although it's not such a stupid idea that we finally manage to wipe ourselves off the planet *by* ourselves... Actually I think we'd rather destroy ourselves with a really bad war, polluting our environment totally or if all of this fails, an exploding sun - or imploding. Whatever.

But anyway. Let's just imagine these are the last hours, what would I want to do?! I would tell my parents that I love them (actually, I just did). I would cuddle my pets once more. Then I would drive my baby up a hill with a lovely view, take some chocolate and wine with me, call a few people to tell them a few things I always meant to say but never did - because it was never the right time to do so or because I just couldn't because you just don't speak those things out loud. (I guess I got a few people out there thinking now...)
And then I would wait for the end of the world to come. Hopefully front row...

Samstag, 6. September 2008

This has got to be a bad bad day...

Yesterday started in a real bad way.
Bear was on the road going to work. Bear saw all the cars stopping ahead and heard on the radio about a traffic jam. Great. Bear was right in it. Bear never understood why she always already is in the jam when they just start telling about that on the radio. They are always so slow.
Anyway. Stop and Go. For quite a while. Must have been a bad accident. Bear looked at her coolant and nearly got a heart attack. It was right before the red top! Bear was in the middle line, looked at the huge truck next to her, waved out of the roof while pulling over right in front of him onto the emergency lane. Bear stopped, turned on the warning lights, put on the visibility jacket and opened the engine bonnet. Bear was clever enough not to open the coolant yet as she remembered that it might be f*cking hot! What Bear forgot at first, was putting up the warning triangle.
So Bear sat in her car waiting. Bear didn't need to call the ÖAMTC. She knew she just had to wait for her car to cool down. Unfortunately the traffic jam was really long and Bear was not sure where exactly she was. She could have just gone and see if she was out of it after a few meters, but was too afraid of her car over heating again. So she stayed where she was in the shade under a bridge and waited.

A policeman on a bike came up the emergency lane, turning on his horn, but since it was only a bike it was no problem for him to pass Bear's car with all the trucks right beside her. A little later a small fire engine care came up. And here the first problem came up. Although Bear's car was parked really close to the side of the lane, they just couldn't pass because the trucks on the other lane were too close. Bear was not sure what to do. She couldn't really start her car as it was still too hot, so she just blinked at them hoping for the truck to be able to pull aside a bit. All of a sudden one of the firemen came up to her and told her to get the gear out. He will push Bear's car a little closer to the side. And so he did. Now Bear was extremely close to the wall.
Bear then got out of the car, thinking that the coolant might be a bit cooler now and that she might be able to have a look if there was still some water inside. So Bear opened it. It was not cool. It was still hot. And it nearly exploded with the stinking water running all over Bear's hand and car. Bear jumped but realised that she was on the highway so didn't jump too far. People looked at Bear. Bear was embarrassed. Bear got back in the car. Bear's car was now smoking.
Bear called her daddy, asking wether the police are able to file charge against her because of Bear blocking the emergency lane since they needed to get to the accident. Bear's father told her that she did have a break-down too and if there was the warning triangle out they wouldn't charge her. Bear got out of the car again and put the warning triangle up. Up until then Bear was so stupid to think that having the warning lights on would be enough. And Bear never thought of a connection between warning lights and battery...
Anyway. An emergency car pulled up. Great. They couldn't really pass because of another huge truck right next to Bear. Bear got a bit nervous. But they didn't seem to be angry. When they finally passed all of them looked out of the window grinning at Bear and saying: "Oijeeeeh!" Bear was even more embarrassed now.
In between Bear has already called her work to tell them that she was going to be very late.
A small van passed Bear and the driver gave her a sign that asked wether he should call some help for Bear. Bear rejected. Very nice, though.
Bear still sat in her car, watching the traffic jam getting a bit faster now and wondered if she could try now to start driving again. She decided to wait a little longer until she was sure that there was no Stop and Go anymore. After some more while Bear realised that the traffic jam might be over now because cars were going a wee bit faster now. So Bear got out, got the extra water - thank God, Bear always has that with her - and refilled the coolant (and the oil while she was at it anyway), got the warning triangle and wanted to close the engine bonnet. It wouldn't close. Ok, now how worse could this morning even get?! Bear tried a few times to close it, but it wouldn't properly. It did close but Bear could open it easily again. How was Bear supposed to drive into work with an engine bonnet not being entirely closed?!
A police car came up. They looked very angry at Bear and one of the took the microphone and said something through the speakers to Bear. Bear could not really understand it. But Bear guessed that it had something to do with the warning triangle not being up. Well, Bear just got it out of the street a minute before the police arrived!! Bear wanted to tell them, but Bear was still busy with her engine bonnet. She finally closed it but it was still not really locked. So Bear decided to drive very carefully.
Bear got to work without anymore distractions.

When Bear wanted to drive home in the evening she took some adhesive tape with her to stick her engine bonnet to the rest of the car. Bear tried once more to close it properly and all of a sudden it did. Good. Bear would have been very embarrassed if she had to drive home with the tape sticking on the front of her car.

On the highway Bear realised that her lights were not as bright as they used to be and then suddenly her radio stopped playing. That was usually a sign of an empty battery. Bear thought: "Oh, obviously the warning lights do empty the battery...". Yes, sometimes Bear is a bit blonde...
Bear got home finally. Although she hardly saw anything anymore because her lights were close to not working at all anymore and it was really dark.
At home Bear said to her father: "Do warning lights being on for more than one hour empty the battery?". Bear's father started laughing and wouldn't stop for the next ten minutes. Bear had enough of that day. Bear went to bed.

Donnerstag, 12. Juni 2008

Lost bugs only at Mayfest / Finally leaving on a Jetplane


Sunday, May 4th 2008

Before Bear went to Texas she (yes, *she*! Bear was told that Bears are sexual creatures and therefor should be adressed with the correct sex) surfed the net for information about Fort Worth and stumbled across something called "Mayfest" which took place from May 1st to May 4th at the banks of Trinity river. Bear told OP that she would like to go there and so they went on Sunday. OP told Bear that this was something mainly for families and children - and so it was. Lots of things for children to do and play with but also lots of booths with food or handcraft things or souveniers to buy. Unfortunately nothing what Bear would have liked to get, but at least lots of people around.
It was a bright sunny and warm day and so OP told Bear that they would be going there in his VW bug which is a convertible. OP behaved very gentleman-like that day with that car. He would always open the doors for Bear - maybe he thought Bear didn't know how to open them?! :-)
So, when Bear was finally ready to go they hit the streets. Bear felt pretty uncomfortable at first in the buggy. Bear has an old Mini (not for long anymore - and no, that's not Bear's in the picture, but it looks the same: Mini Sprite, British open, British racing green, 94) and there is not a big difference in driving an open bug or a Mini. Both have only 4 gears in both one is seated pretty low and both are pretty loud. *But* it is a big difference if one drives a small car like this on Austrian streets with lots of normally sized cars around or on US highways with lots of trucks and pick-ups around! And Bear must admit that at first she had not a lot of faith in OP's driving abilities with a gearshift as OP's other car was automatic and most US cars have automatic. But of course OP was a very good driver and handled that gearshift just as well, though Bear could not help but try to tell OP that he should go into neutral when waiting at stop signs or red light. Obviously OP did not have a lot of faith in Bear's driving abilities either :-).
Anyway, they made it safe to a parking-lot where they left the car and got onto a mini-train which went through the park along the river right to the Mayfest. It was a huge area. Bear got the tickets and they went inside. It really was not that exciting after all, but it was nice. Lots of families around. Bear and OP wandered around the whole thing, Bear always looking for some presents to bring home or maybe a Cowboy hat which Bear had wanted all the time. But Bear couldn't find anything that really attracted her. And most of the things were too expensive anyway.
There were lots of booths with food and OP made Bear try nearly everything. They always bought one thing together - otherwise they couldn't have eaten so many things and they were also invited for dinner at OP's dads. So Bear got some hotdog on a stick (Bear remembers that in Austria they had something similar), some roasted corn, and a few other things. OP also wanted Bear to try a certain ice-cream but the only booth that still had it, was way back and they were too tired - and there was also not enough time anymore - to go back.
At one point they met Niki, OP's sister, and her family and said Hello. And while queuing for some food, Bear saw a very small fenced in part with a sign that made Bear laugh for at least 15 minutes. Actually this place was meant for children that had lost their parents somewhere in the park and parents could pick them up there. But as a parent you were not allowed to put your child in there when you wanted it to be guarded by someone else, because you needed to do someting alone or whatever. But what made Bear laugh so much was the huge sign that read "Lost & Found - Lost children only" - don't you dare to put in some other child! - and the place itself which was so small that it was more like a cage. It probably was not so funny for native speakers as a woman standing behind Bear just looked at her a bit confused until OP explained: "She is from Europe." And Bear stood there for another ten minutes laughing her head off.


Well, that was that. A nice Sunday outing but not as exciting as Bear hoped it would be. So at about 6pm they headed back to the train-station to get the next mini-train back to the car park. OP's dad had invited them for dinner and he and his wife were already waiting for Bear and OP. Back on the mini-train to the car park, back in the buggy and onto the streets. This time Bear felt more comfortable in the bug. On one hand because they never went on the highway and also because Bear got used to driving in the bug.
OP's father was only ten minutes away living in a house that looked like the house Niki lived in. Small on the outside but bigger on the inside. With a small garden at the front and a bigger one at the back. Very American as Bear thought. OP's father and his wife were very nice and welcoming. Bear got some sweet tea (there is a difference between ice-tea and sweet tea!) and they sat down at the table where there was some sweet corn waiting and something that looked like a potatoe fritter but with tunafish and some green beans and salad. When Bear saw the sweet corn she thought: "Wow, it's getting even more American." :-) Before they started eating OP's father said grace including Bear in it. Bear was so touched!! He said Thank you that they got to know Bear and wished for a good journey home for Bear and that Bear and her loved ones will stay healthy and happy. Bear thought that this was so nice!!
While having the dinner - which was really lovely - they talked a bit about the usual things Bear got asked when she was there. If it was her first time in the U.S. and what she thought about Texas and what she thought was the big difference and what she liked most and also they wanted to know how the Austrians made their lovely salad dressing. OP's father and his wife have already been to Austria and they said that she just loved the salad dressing and that they tried to do it at home but it just wouldn't taste the same. So Bear explained it - which was really easy as it is only oil, vinegar, water, salt and pepper - but they decided that it might be the oil which made it taste so different.
For dessert they had coffee, some ice-cream and home made cookies. Then they watched a hockey game and finally OP and Bear went back home. It had gotten dark already but they stopped at a supermarket because OP remembered that Bear hadn't seen a proper American supermarket yet. It was a Wal-Mart and it was huge! They had everything there from food to clothes to CDs and DVDs, ... just everything you can think of. Bear finally got to see the rows of cereal and milk - as long as a whole supermarket in Austria would be and one could choose from cereal and milk only! Well, everything is bigger in Texas...
Bear got herself some chocolate chip cookies a chocolate bar and a country-music CD by George Strait, OP some sunglasses as he left his at Amber's flat and then they finally went back home. Bear still had to pack her suitcase. The plan was actually to leave early Monday morning for Dallas and have a look around Dallas - since they never managed to go there for the last ten days - and then go to the airport. So Bear had to have her things ready by Monday morning.


Monday, May 5th 2008

Bear's holiday was over. It was Monday. The day to leave Texas. The plan was to get up early, go to Dallas, walk around a bit and then go to the aiport. Bear's flight was due afternoon. That was the plan. The alarm went off early. Bear and OP switched it off, turned round and went back to sleep. So much for the plan of leaving early. Finally they did get up. But too late to go to Dallas before Bear had to be at the airport. So OP went to get some breakfast for Bear - he realised that Bear hadn't have any doughnuts yet. And Bear finished packing her very last things.
OP came back with lots of doughnuts. More than he actually asked for. Obviously he told the grocer that he had a visitor from Europe who had never had a doughnut before (which was not quite true, as Bear did have a doughnut before, but not a real American one) and so he got more for the European visitor to try. Bear did not eat them all. Bear gave half of them to OP, wrapped up another half of hers for later and ate the rest. Very sweet. Both, the grocer and the doughnuts.
So, it was their last morning coffee, cigarettes and newspaper out on the patio (!) before they finally hit the streets to Dallas airport.


A few days before Bear tried to confirm her flight details on the internet, which did not quite work. So OP called American Airlines and they said that the times were still the same. Bear just hoped that they were right. When they arrived at the airport, Bear handed her tickets to the AA-lady who told Bear that her luggage will be checked right through to Vienna, which made OP say not to lose it in the U.K. and the lady replied that this will happen with BA and not with AA with a grin on her face. Then she told Bear to check the luggage in at that guy who was right across the room. Weird that they do not check it in where Bear got her boarding pass. Bear went there and handed her luggage to that guy who asked Bear if she had any fire arms in her suitcase. Bear looked at him puzzled and stumbled "no". What a funny question to ask. On the other hand, Bear was in Texas and did not everyone in Texas have a weapon at home?! Anyway, Bear did not. They had one more cigarette outside the building - Bear's last cigarette for another 24 hours. Then OP and Bear said goodbye as Bear queued for the security check. Bear promised to text OP when she was safe back in Vienna and off OP went.
One more time shoes off, and everything getting checked and Bear was through security. Bear headed right for her gate, passing a few souvenir-shops, looking once more for a Cowboy hat or another present for Danielle (Bear promised to get Danielle something from Texas for her birthday) but couldn't find anything proper. Bear did see a funny T-shirt which had the horns of a longhorn cow on front and a line saying "nice racks" which Bear liked a lot and wanted to buy for Danielle, but unfortunately they didn't have the correct size. So Bear got a small stuffed horse that said "Texas" instead. Danielle is into horses a lot.
Then Bear saw Roosevelt. Bear fell in love with Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a bolster shaped with a Bear's face and Bear always wanted to have a bolster. Bear looked at Roosevelt but then decided not to spend money on it and went on. But Bear couldn't help it and went back to have another look at him. The lady watching Bear coming back said something like "You know you want it" and Bear decided to get Roosevelt. He is so comfy. Bear and Hamish will take Roosevelt on every trip from now on. Why is he called Roosevelt, you may ask. Well, it's a Teddy... so Teddy Roosevelt...

Anyway... Bear was at the right gate waiting. Quite boring. So Bear took a pictures of Roosevelt, Hamish and the pony. Finally the passengers were allowed to board. Bear got to her seat. Quite a lot of people were on that plane. Bear's seat was a middle one. Bear was not happy about that. She sat between two Irish ladies who were very quiet indeed, but Bear doesn't like to be in the middle.
The plane got onto the runway and stopped. For 1,5 hours. The captain told the passengers that they themselves were ready to leave, but obviously there were too many other planes ready to leave and so they had to wait. For 1,5 hours. On the runway. A lot of people got nervous because they had to catch a connection in Chicago and would obviously miss it. So did Bear. Bear had a connection leaving 45mins after landing in Chicago which made Bear nervous in the first place as Chicago was a huge airport and Bear was not too sure where to go to. After half an hour it was sure that Bear would miss her connection. Bear had never missed a connection before and was not sure what to do then. So Bear went to talk to a flight attendant telling her that she would miss her connection to London and what to do and the lady told Bear that she would find out as soon as they were flying as she couldn't get a hold of the airport in Chicago now. She also told Bear that she had a gentleman in first class who also had a connection to London and Bear told that man (who came up to them now) that she would appreciate him waiting for Bear in Chicago as he was English himself and could get the information easier as Bear could being nervous and all that. He said he would wait for Bear.
There was a man behind Bear who talked to another lady very loudly about him missing his connection - obviously again - and that they thought of maybe leaving the plane now and staying in Dallas as this would be the better option. The two Irish ladies next to Bear said that this was the most stupid idea they every heard before. So thought Bear. One couldn't get off a plane anymore once one were on. Security reasons. Well, obviously those two people thought they were the only ones missing their flights, when a few others - including Bear - turned round and told them to calm down since more people had connections they were going to miss. Didn't really shut them up.
Finally, after waiting 1,5 hours on the runway and a pretty annoyed captain who told the passengers every ten minutes how incompetent the tower seemed to be, the plane was allowed to take off. On the way the flight attendants announced new connection flights for the ones missing theirs, except the ones to London. So Bear once more went to that flight attendant lady and asked what she was about to do when landing in Chicago and that lady told Bear to get right to one of the officers and ask them. They would handle that. Bear once more made sure that the first class Englishman would wait for Bear in Chicago.
So, when Bear finally got off the plane - everybody was in such a rush - Bear looked for someone who looked important enough to tell Bear what to do and saw the Englishman waiting for Bear. Bear thought that this was really nice. He already got hold of a lady who dealt with his new flight and told her to handle that for Bear aswell. Very nice, Bear thought. That man also waited until Bear was told by that lady where to go and what to do. Really really nice, Bear thought. That lady, who was an elderly and very charming one, told Bear that she couldn't take the same flight as the Englishman as Bear had to get another connection to Vienna then. She said Bear would have to go to Frankfurt instead. And from Frankfurt get a connection to Vienna, which meant that in Frankfurt Bear would have to tell them again, to re-board Bear. That was easy, Bear thought, they speak German in Frankfurt. Bear asked about her luggage as she was told in Dallas that this was going to be checked through and that lady re-assured Bear that it still would be. Bear was not so sure, but was mainly happy to be able to get home within a day (more or less, regarding the time-difference).
Ok, so Bear was told to go to another gate which was only 5mins away and show them her ticket and tell them to let Bear on board. Bear said thank you, said fare well and thank you to the Englishman and off Bear went. Wrong direction. Bear realised after a few minutes and asked some flight attendant for the right direction. Bear finally found that gate, gave her tickets to the lady at the counter and told her that she was re-booked onto this flight. That lady, who had a french accent, was pretty rude and unfriendly. She looked at the tickets and asked what she was about to do with those. Bear looked at her and asked how Bear was supposed to know as she was only the passenger, missed her flight because of the airport and was told to come here and board the plane to Frankfurt. The lady gave Bear the tickets back and told her that these were the old tickets and Bear needed to get new ones. Bear asked how and that lady replied she didn't really know (nor care) and Bear should ask the officer who told Bear to get here. Bear gave her a look and went back to the other charming lady, told her how unfriendly that person was and asked for help. That lady shook her head, said that all Bear needed was a new ticket printed and that this woman probably didn't know how to do that. She printed a new ticket (only the one from Chicago to Frankfurt) for Bear and told Bear to tell that unfriendly woman to go to her counter after work and she will show her how to print tickets. Bear grinned, thanked her and went to the other gate again - this time in the right direction.
Bear handed that unfriendly, french accented lady her new ticket and said: "I am back." She hardly took any notice, did her thing, Bear got her boarding pass and boarded. Bear went to her seat and frowned. A baby right behind Bear! Bear sat down (window seat in the two seats row) and prayed for no more babies. Another young mother came up with a baby and sat down in the middle row, next to Bear's row. And one more in front of Bear. Bear was close to tears. The whole plane from Chicago to Frankfurt was full of young families with babies!!! Only a few elderly people, lots of babies and Bear. Bear thought of faking a hysterical attack to be able to get off the plane... but Bear settled for praying for no Baby sitting beside her instead. And so it was. The plane was not completely full to the last seat, not very empty either, but here and there were a few empty seats and Bear was lucky indeed. She had the whole set of two seats all for herself. Bear was happy. At least something. Bear was still afraid that the babies would cry and be loud during that looong flight, but Bear was lucky. The babies did behave.


Again it took some time until the plane finally took off but eventually it did and off Bear went into the sunset heading for Europe. Bear watched the sunset for quite a while, took a lot of pictures and watched TV. It was some not very funny TV-series on. Bear also tried to read but that didn't workt too well either, so eventually when lights went out everywhere on the plane, Bear tried to go to sleep. Although Bear did have two seats on her own, it was still not very comfy. Bear just can't sleep sitting up. And two seats were not enough to lie down. So Bear hardly had any rest. At some point Bear must have been sound asleep anyhow (if only for two hours) because Bear rememberd having the blinds of her window half way up and when Bear awoke they were down. But Bear felt like having no rest at all...
When Bear woke up, she looked outside the window and saw dawn breaking ahead. That was quite a nice sight. And quite a fascinating thought too. Leaving the US in the sunset and arriving in Europe at dawn. It's like flying away from the night...

Frankfurt. Finally german speaking people. German german, but german at least. Bear was dead tired. And fed up. Frankfurt airport is horrible. Not very well signposted at all. Half of her way Bear was not even sure that she was on the right way. Bear did ask when she left the plane where to go and was told to get to some hall to get her new ticket. Obviously that hall was at the other end of the airport. Bear walked for quite a while. When Bear passed passport control, the two - pretty bored - men looked at Bear and at Bear's passport and told her that Austrians are actually not allowed to pass anymore. Bear gave them a look and the other one said that Austrians are quite some naughty folk, that's why. And they also said that Bear did not look like on the photo. Bear was definitely not in the mood for jokes. So Bear replied: "Listen guys, I just had quite a trip coming from the US, I am tired, pissed off and my luggage is probably somewhere in China. No wonder I don't like my picture. I need to get a new ticket and find my way through this bad airport and am really not in the mood for jokes. So give me back my passport and get on someone elses nerves."
Ok. It was probably not a good idea to say that while they had Bear's passport and Bear being in nowhereland at the airport. But Bear couldn't help it. Anway, it worked. They just grinned at Bear, handed her the passport and wished Bear a good trip home.
Finally, after walking the airport like three times Bear found the hall Bear needed to find. Bear headed right for security, but that woman told Bear that she was not allowed through without her new ticket. Bear feared that she might have to walk the whole airport again, but that woman told Bear that the counter was right behind Bear. Thank God!
A very charming young lady printed the new ticket for Bear. Bear asked about her luggage. Bad question. If Bear could give her the sticker, the young lady asked, so she could scan the number. Bear didn't have any sticker. Bear never got any at Dallas airport. Together they searched every single ticket, old and new ones, boarding passes and Bear's passport. No sticker. Well, that was not too good, the lady said. Bear should have gotten a sticker. Bear explained to her that Bear got the boarding pass at one counter and handed over her luggage at another one, so Bear was not sure where she should have gotten that sticker. Bear also figured that OP who was chatting to the lady at Dallas airport, distracted her a bit from her work. Anyway, no sticker.
So, the young girl tried to find Bear's luggage in the computer without the sticker. No luck. She called American Airlines and asked where Bear's luggage was. Bear's luggage was not there. Bear's luggage was not in Chicago nor in Dallas. Bear didn't have any luggage, the computer said. And American Airlines said so too. The young lady was pretty contrite and asked wether Bear had her name and address on or in it. Bear said that she had both on the suitcase. That was a good thing, the girl said. So, the suitcase will be back eventually. Probably within the next week. Or two.
Bear didn't care too much about it anymore. Bear thanked the girl, headed for security and got on the plane. For some reason the journey from Frankfurt to Vienna is wiped off Bear's memory. Bear was probably knocked out then. Bear just remembers getting off in Vienna and heading right for the next possibility to have a cigarette. Bear talked to a young woman who wanted to go on holidays with her family and got stuck in Vienna in between. And then Bear looked the right luggage belt, hoping that her suitcase might have found its way to Vienna anyhow. And what a surprise, it was right the first one that came out. Bear was happy.


Bear's father picked Bear up. Bear was home again. Bear looked at her house. Dirty. Disgustingly dirty. Bear started to hoover. After nearly 24 hours of travelling, and quite a trip this was, Bear started cleaning her house when she came home. Bear didn't want to unpack in that dirt. After cleaning Bear started to unpack, put in the George Strait CD and downloaded her photos.
Bear had an unusual holiday. Bear had a different holiday. Bear had a good holiday. Bear took home a lot of good memories, and experiences. Bear was happy.


The end

Sonntag, 8. Juni 2008

Bad boys, bad boys...



Saturday, May 3rd 2008


Bear will not tell everything in detail as this was Andy's work and not just a tourist attraction. It was definitely a highlight of Bear's unusual holiday - if you want to know what happened, Bear will tell you personally.
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10am, OP dropped Bear off at Sansom Park police station. Andy already waited in the car and told OP to pick Bear up again at 6pm. Bear got in the car and looked around. Lots of stuff in there.
At first Bear was pretty quiet and silent. Andy told Bear a few things of his work and said that Bear could ask any time and any question it would have. Bear thought it would rather not interrupt Andy at work, but Andy was pretty cool about that and after a few hours they got on very well. And Bear was not too shy any more.
Bear and Andy talked about quite a few things: about Bear's holiday, about OP, about Andy, about Bear's life, about Andy's life, about lots of things.

Bear and Andy also did quite a few things: most of the time they were on the road checking cars. In the US the police is not allowed to stop a driver without a reason. In Austria they stop cars just to check them - that would be the reason then. But in the US they won't just stop a car to check on it - there has to be a reason and in that case the reason could be a sticker on the wrong side of the car or the plate hanging lose. Reasons that in Austria would cause the driver smiling at the police :-) and the police probably grinning back. Anyway a lot of cars got stopped during that day, quite a few people had to get out and Bear could not believe it, but the things about not moving, getting checked for weapons, having to put your hands above the head... all those things the Europeans only see on TV - it's true!
Bear also got to play with the speed camera - Andy explained it and Bear tried it. Was good fun. Unfortunately Bear didn't catch any speeders. First of all Andy wouldn't have been allowed to stop them because Bear had the speed camera and secondly they were all openly standing at the highway - everyone could see the police car. One would have had to be very stupid to go too fast then. Later Andy and Bear hid somewhere and Andy did catch a speeder.
At one point Andy also tried to get some drug-dogs (or whatever you call the dogs that sniff for drugs) but since it was a Saturday some of them were on the weekend and the others occupied.
Andy showed Bear a video of his last car chase and Bear hoped that a thing like that wouldn't happen that day. (It didn't and Andy wouldn't have let Bear join it anyway) Bear also got invited for lunch by Andy. It was Mexican food and Bear let Andy order it as Bear had no idea what to eat. It was something with refried beans (?), something Burrito- or Taco- or whatever-style ... but it was very good. Bear liked it.
Andy also showed Bear around that area a bit especially a hill where one could look across Fort Worth and where couples would come at night to make out :-)
When they had a small break at the police station, Bear talked to the firemen (volunteers) and made some nice pictures of them and the police cars and fire engines.
Lots of things they did that day and Bear was getting pretty tired, though it sat in the car most of the time watching Andy working and listening to him as he always turned some speaker in the car on when he left it. So Bear could follow (or try to) the conversation he had with the drivers he pulled over (which were quite a lot actually!) At the end of the day someone even got arrested! And Bear was right there watching it all and not getting for a whole hour why that guy was arrested and put in jail. Bear was pretty frightened about that but it all turned out to be quite harmless at the end. Still Bear thought that this was an extremely exciting day and was *very* happy when OP finally showed up at 6pm to pick Bear up again.

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Ok, Bear is definitely not into soccer at all but still watching the Europe championship at the moment: Austria vs. Poland and Bear must admit: it is not boring at all! And Austria really tries hard, though it's 1:0 for Poland atm. That goal was more an accident than really meant to be, but still. Even Bear gets that.
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So what is the big difference between US-police and police in Austria? First of all the US-police has a whole different attitude and appearance than Austrian police and US citizens react to the police with a lot more respect than Austrians would towards Austrian police. Which does not mean that Austrians don't have any respect for the police, but well... it's different :-) Bear thinks that the uniforms and weapons the US-police wear also makes a lot difference. Do Austrian policemen carry a gun around all the time? Bear doesn't think so.
Well, to sum it all up: it was a great day and Bear thanks Andy a lot for taking it with him that day!!

Evening
After that tiring day OP, Andy and Bear went to the Texas Steakhouse for dinner. They stood outside for quite a while and the guys talked until Bear at one point asked why they didn't go inside and eat. Andy told Bear that they had to wait until there were free seats and Bear asked how they would know that there is a free place when they stand outside all the time. Andy pointed at a display outside showing numbers. Bear felt a bit blonde. But hey, how should have Bear known?!
Finally they did get a table and their waiter was very nice and talkative. Bear asked OP and Andy to order for Bear as Bear - again - had no idea which would be a good steak to have. Bear had not had steak before. Andy orderd for Bear - again. And a good order it was. Bear had a lovely steak, medium, with vegetables and also did eat Andy's green beans. First day that Bear had food twice. But that working day with Andy made Bear very hungry. And very tired. Bear slept so well that night.

Dienstag, 3. Juni 2008

Billy Bob's lazy day


Friday, May 2nd 2008

Morning - Afternoon
Friday was an extremely lazy day. Bear and OP got up very late, had some breakfast on the patio (*patio*patio*), read the newspaper, talked and basically did nothing that day. Later on OP had some friends a visiting - a nice young couple who also sat down on the ... PATIO... and talked while Bear had a shower and freshened up a bit. They then decided to go to Kincaid's Hamburgers where Bear had a bacon burger, of course and for the first time realised that one gets free refills of every drink in Texas. Clever thing! Buy a drink and refill it as often as you like. Bear only discovered one McDonald's in Vienna on Mariahilfer Straße where they have free refills also.

After going back home, OP and his friends played on the X-Box and talked while Bear caught up on its emails and did tell a few people that it was fine and enjoying itself. Bear only sent one text after arriving in Texas to its parents and then sent nothing up until this Friday. Bear got a text from its daddy Thursday night asking if it was still alive. And some of Bear's other friends also texted asking if Bear was ok since they hadn't heard anything for a whole week. Well, Bear was enjoying itself so much that it simply forgot that there might be some people in Europe worrying... Anyway, Bear wrote some emails, sent some textes, tried to blog (which did not really work as Bear was too lazy to write in detail), surfed the web for a while, wrote some postcards, tried to write in its diary (did not work either), listened to music on its mobile and sang along. Oh yeh, and most of that on the patio of course. Bear did not really pay attention but saw some more people coming and leaving aswell. But Bear liked doing nothing, just sitting on the p.a.t.i.o. and listening to music.
So, this was really a lazy day.

Evening
Later that night Bear and OP went out to Billy Bob's Texas. Billy Bob's is a huge place in the Stockyards with bars, live bands, pool tables, mechanical bulls and real rodeo and one can do some country dance there. Bear read about that on the net and also the Texan guys Bear talked to at Heathrow airport told Bear to go there. So OP got his cowboy-y things out: jeans, white shirt, Cowboy-boots and Bear dressed up a bit and off they went to the Stockyards. Bear thought that OP looked really yummie - and a few other girls at Billy Bob's thought so also - Bear saw their looks when they passed them.
They had to pay 10$ each for entrance because of some live band playing there, wandered around a bit, looked for a sticker they saw on a car when getting there: "Welcome to Texas - Now go home!". Bear thought this was really funny and would have wanted to have a sticker like that. But at that souvenir-shop they only had Billy Bob's-things. So they got themselves a beer and sat down at a table close to the dance floor and watched people dancing. It was Friday night but there were not really a lot of people. Unfortunately. But that was probably also because the whole place was so immensly huge, that it would have taken a lot more people to crowd it up. Anyway Bear got to hear some folk/country music and got to see some Cowboys and Cowgirls dancing. Now the Texas Two Step really is a funny dance to watch. Especially for someone who is from a country that claims it sort of invented ballroom dancing. What was the funniest thing, Bear thought, was the way the dancing couple held each other. First of all you bend your body forward towards your pardner, so that the chests are pressing against the other one. Then the girl has her left hand on the man's shoulder and the man grabs the girl with his right hand around her neck! This is obviously the way they lead the girls. It sometimes looked as if they were about to strangle the girl instead of leading on the dancefloor! Well, the whole dance looked really funny, sometimes as if they were not so sure what they were supposed to do but kinda knew theoretically how to do it.
OP left Bear for a short while and Bear was really frightened that one of the Cowboys asked Bear to dance, because he was looking at Bear all the time. But fortunately he didn't. So Bear continued watching and making a video (which will be online as soon as Bear figures how to) and OP did come back with some Tacos which Bear had to eat with its hands as OP did not allow Bear to use the fork. He also offered Bear another Jalapeno, but since Bear never got the 150$ from the first Jalapeno it ate, it refused to try that one.
There was a female couple dancing where one of the girls obviously knew what to do and she showed the other girl. Bear watched them for a while and suddenly the girl fell on the floor. Or at least that's what Bear thought, but it was a dancing figure where that girl threw herself onto the floor, landing on her butt, turning round and during that turn stood back up again. Now that looked cool!

Bear and OP watched for a while, but at one point OP obviously got bored. OP is not that much into country music. So he asked Bear if they wanted to leave and since Bear had to get up quite early (for a holiday that is) the next morning to be on its date for a cop ride the next morning, Bear decided that it was time to leave aswell. Off they went back home. Bear liked country music. Bear also liked to watch country dance. Looked funny. But the next day was going to be a real highlight.

Montag, 26. Mai 2008

Texas Rangers shopping at a private party


Thursday, May 01st 2008

Midday-Afternoon
Again another slow morning. This day was going to be a special day for Bear. Bear and OP were invited to a suite at the Rangers ballpark in Arlington to watch a game of the Texas Rangers. OP has a friend, Jonathon, whose father ownes a suite there and sells Baseball Diamonds, custom made jewelery. This is why Bear and OP were allowed to come in that day and so Bear could watch its first live Baseball from a suite. It was a big suite with huge comfy chairs and sofas and a big telly. One could either watch the game on that telly or go out onto the balcony and watch the game from there. Or one could go around in the stadium and watch it from anywhere. Bear and OP also got some free food and drinks there. Bear thought such a suite is a nice thing. OP's friend Jon was very gentleman-like and asked Bear if it needed anything and if he could bring Bear anything.
Everyone told Bear to be prepared for a very long game - probably about 3-4 hours or even longer. Also did they tell Bear that the Rangers had not won for quite a while and maybe won't this day either. So, actually everyone did tell Bear that it might not enjoy itself. But Bear did. Bear likes Baseball.So they sat on the balcony for some while and OP tried to explain the rules of the game to Bear. Lots of rules in Baseball. Bear did not understand them all but tried. Bear did understand one rule: stealing the base. And suddenly Bear realised: *That is the reason for the really long games!* Bear just wondered why nobody else had that idea before?!
Jon also gave Bear and OP binoculars and they talked to a nice couple who were sitting next to them. OP always told everyone that it was Bear's first time in the stadium. The whole ten days everything was always the first time for Bear... Anyway, after watching the game for a while from the balcony, OP asked Bear if they wanted to wander around a bit. So they got their free tickets (if you're in a suite, one needs to get some tickets to be able to leave the building - where the suites are - and re-enter it to be able to go to the tiers), Jon asked OP once more if he remembered the rules ("be back before some inning" - forgot which one) and off they went. Before re-entering the building on the other side, they had a cigarette and then went around. Underneath the tiers there were booths with food and drinks and souveniers. Bear quite liked the earrings with the Texas Rangers' "T" on them, but Bear thought they were too expensive. On the other hand, Bear should have bought them, they were really nice and Bear couldn't find them anywhere else anymore. That's what OP called the "Vatican Syndrome": if you see something you like, get it and don't think you might come back or get it somewhere else, because you won't. True.
Bear and OP went around, Bear took some pictures, until they were at the seats right behind the catcher. They asked a security guy if they were allowed in and have a seat (as there were not too many people around anyway) and he told them he would make a picture of OP and Bear if they wanted to. After that picture Bear and OP sat down and Bear wanted to take some more pictures as everyone around suddenly stood up. So Bear decided to take some pictures of the audience instead when OP suddenly told Bear that the game was over. The Rangers scored and so the whole thing only lasted about two hours. And Bear hadn't payed attention! Because Bear was watching the audience instead. BUT the Texas Rangers won. Actually the Rangers did win for the whole week Bear was in Texas. Call it what you want, but Bear seemed to be a good luck charm for the Rangers...

Bear and OP went back to the suite where Jon was already cleaning. They stayed watching Jon working, talked to his father, had some more food and decided to get Jon to the garage to get his car later.
At the garage they had to wait for some time because Jon's car was not ready yet. So OP decided to let them do something on the Mystery Machine aswell - there was time enough. Jon showed Bear a gameboy game called "Pita Pong" or "Pongo Ping" or "Pita Pata" or whatever - Bear can't remember. When Bear read some magazines in Spanish about Texas' men and women (No, Bear can't read nor speak Spanish), OP played that game. Bear was a bit bored. Then three friends of Jon's arrived. And so it was six people waiting for the car getting ready.
All of them were OP's ex-students and all of them 18-20 years old. The girls first were a bit uncertain and reserved towards Bear, but not for a long time. They did then ask what nearly everyone asked Bear when they found out that Bear was European: if there was a big difference between Texas and Europe, if Bear liked Texas, if Bear could live in Texas, if Bear had already been to the US before, ... And they also told Bear that it had an accent - kinda British but not quite. Bear took that as a compliment. Better than having a German accent.

Finally the cars were ready. Jon and the girls asked wether Bear and OP would like to join them going to the mall. Bear wanted to visit a proper American mall anyway, so they decided Jon would lead in his car and the girls and OP would follow in their cars. Well, that was the plan. Jon obviously did some illegal turn somewhere and of course the girls and OP did not do that too, so they lost him. The girls turned round, OP followed - and lost them. But of course OP did find his way and arrived wayyy before the girls did. When Bear and OP arrived at the parking lot, Jon sat in the rear of his truck, eating the pasta he brought from the ballpark with chopsticks.
They had to wait quite a while for the girls who had obviously lost their way completely. Finally they arrived, having a few bites of the pasta aswell and then they all went off to the mall. There was an ice-rink inside and the whole mall was pretty huge. It was not very different to the malls in Austria, but of course a lot bigger. If Bear had been alone, it would have lost its way after the first turn. They went into a funny shop with lots of punky and gothy clothes in it and Bear found a T-Shirt that said: "I don't have ADD, I just ... oh look, a bunny rabbit". Bear loved that shirt! Bear should have bought it.
They wandered around a bit more until they found a souvenir shop for Bear called "Texas Treasures" where Bear bought some magnets and postcards. Later on Bear got caught by a girl that had a booth for cremes and things and who put some creme on Bear's hands and did something to one of Bear's nails which made it really shiny. Of course that girl wanted Bear to buy one of these things, but Bear didn't. Although Bear just couldn't say "No, thank you" and leave. That girl also told Bear that Bear had very beautiful eyes. Funny because that girl itself was extremely pretty and had lovely black eyes. She was from Israel which OP guessed within the first minute, so while she caressed Bear's hand they talked about Israel. Finally Bear had the guts to leave.

Evening
Bear was told that the plan was to go to Amber's place because she had just got her own flat and wanted to show it to them. So they all went to their cars and headed off to Ambers. Amber had two cats, a huge fury one called "Fuzzy" and a small one called "BeeBee". Bear immediately fell in love with Fuzzy. Bear loves huge cats. Bear also got to see some real yearbooks and when a few others arrived Bear managed to take a picture of someone carrying a beercan wrapped in a brown bag. Since one is not allowed to drink alcohol in the American public, one has to wrap it in a brown paper bag. Just like you always see it in the movies. Well, it's true. It was a long night. People were really nice. There was a lot to drink and a lot to talk. At one point in the night they got really philosophical. But at that time Bear couldn't follow the conversation anymore. It was way past Bear's bedtime. But it would take a lot more time until Bear and OP finally did drive home... But that's another story :-)

Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2008

Chuck Norris winning pool billard

Wednesday, May 30th 2008

Morning-Afternoon
Another slow morning. Bear and OP spent quite some time on the patio (p.a.t.i.o. - Bear is in love with that word) talking about life and God - literally.
In the afternoon they made their way back to downtown Fort Worth to walk around the other part of it. Bear needed to see the court house which is always in the opening scene of the TV-series "Walker Texas Ranger". Actually Bear wanted to see some real Texas Rangers but OP told Bear that it was more likely to see Chuck Norris himself than a Texas Ranger... Bear saw neither. Only the court house.

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Check out Chuck Norris facts in German and in English. - Enjoy!!
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Bear and OP wandered around a bit in that area and again Bear wondered where all the people were. Deserted streets. Very rarely a car and here and there one could spot a person. It seemed as if they themselves were not sure if they were allowed to walk on the streets or not. Ok, it was Wednesday afternoon, so people might have been at work, but hey, everywhere else in the world one would still see other people out on the streets. Not in Fort Worth. Fort Worth is deserted.

OP took Bear to a bar which some time ago used to be a different place where OP once played with his band. It does look a bit posh now, but very nice. It had a nice bar on the roof top which lots of plants around and Bear thought this was a really nice place. Bear and OP had a beer. Of course. And OP told Bear about the place. They also started to talk to their waiter - it's very easy to start a conversation with people (waiters, salespersons, any staff,...) in Texas. First of all they always greet you with a "Hi, how are you?", which of course is a phrase, but it makes it so much easier to start a conversation. Especially if you have someone like OP with you who does talk to everyone :-) . Bear and OP had quite a nice chat with that waiter, he was nice and talkative.
After that beer Bear and OP got hungry (or rather OP as Bear hardly ever seemed to be hungry in Texas) and OP took Bear to a Mexican place where Bear again had a salad (probably with some bacon in it) and OP had something with shrimps - something he said he always ate there. OP made Bear have a bite. OP said it was not hot, Bear could trust him. Bear did. Bear had a bite. Bear's eyes were watering. Bear drank a lot of its beer. Of course it got worse. OP found it quite amusing. Bear didn't. Bear told OP that it would never trust him again. It hurt. And so it did for quite some while. That is what Texan people considered not hot.
After the meal OP found someone he knew and went talking to them while Bear waited outside had a cigarette and took some more photos of the nice surroundings. Then they went on strolling around a bit and then headed back home.

Evening
Later that night Bear and OP went out. There was a Hockey game on TV and OP wanted to watch it in a Bar. Unfortunately it was nearly at the end when they arrived at the bar. But OP could at least watch a bit of it. They had a beer. And something potatoey. They then decided to change bar and have a couple of pool games. And a couple of beers. Bear was not very happy that day and told OP that it needed to get drunk. And so Bear did. And Bear also won five games out of six. Approximately. But Bear definitely won a few games and OP just one. Ok, Bear sucks at pool billard but enjoys playing it. And Bear only won because OP made some mistakes. But Bear didn't care. Bear won. Bear was tipsy and Bear won a few pool games. Bear's day ended fine.

Logan's running with a gun

Tuesday, May 29th 2008
The only sightseeing-things Bear and OP did, they did on Tuesday and Wednesday. Since it was Bear's and also OP's holiday they started every day slow and relaxed. Also they went out a few times and Bear got to know lots of OP's - really nice! - friends and drove here and there around Fort Worth, so that there was not really lots of time to get out of Fort Worth. Doesn't matter. Bear will definitely come back! (Bear should maybe tell OP about that...)

Afternoon
So on Tuesday OP decided to take Bear downtown Fort Worth because Bear wanted to see the Water Gardens.
Bear read that the movie "Logan's Run" (in German: "Flucht ins 23. Jahrhundert") was partially filmed in malls in Fort Worth and Dallas and one of the last scenes in Fort Worth Water Gardens. That's when they finally make it into the outside world and meet their first elderly person.

Bear and OP rode in the Mystery Machine to downtown Fort Worth; OP explained the buildings they passed to Bear and they parked behind the Water Gardens. Before going into that urban park OP wanted to show Bear a bit around that part of downtown. Fort Worth only has about 5 sky scrapers and Bear likes sky scrapers. That's why Bear took a lot of pictuers of the same ones - it seemed to look different from every angle, though...
Weird thing they realised was that there were nearly no-one on the streets. Well, it was during the week and it was afternoon but still, streets were deserted. Where was everyone?
They wandered around a bit, OP pointed out the convention center and a fountain that had a statue of a lying panther on it. In the 1870ies Fort Worth was economically run-down for various reasons: no cattle, no railroad, decreasing population, ... it was a drowsy place. So drowsy that it made a panther lying asleep in the streets. When Fort Worth recovered economically many organisations called themselves "Panther" - hence "Pantherville" or "Panther City".
OP saw something on the telly that noon about a Cowboyhat-maker in Fort Worth and since Bear was looking for a Cowboyhat for itself and its friend Danielle, he decided to take Bear there. It was a very small store with loads of hats hanging around and at the back one could see how they were made. OP told the woman at the counter that he saw the store on TV earlier and that Bear is from Europe (exotic-Bear). She was very nice and explained things to Bear and OP and let them touch various hats made of various material and Bear was also allowed to take some pictures. Unfortunately Bear thought that as a holiday-pressie that will probably never ever be worn again even the cheapest hats were too expensive and decided not to buy any. Though one must admit that Bear did look good with that pinkish Cowboyhat - a Cowbear!
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Btw: it cooled down to 11°C here and my heating is back on - in May! Just thought I'd let you know...
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Bear and OP got hungry and went into some sandwich-bar. OP wanted to act a bit healthy and ordered a salad, Bear was as usual not too healthy and had a BLT-Sandwich with crisps (Bear didn't know about the crisps before!!) and a smoothie. Bear just loves bacon, that's why Bear always had a bacon burger or bacon sandwich or bacon... It was a good BLT-Sandwich. OP told Bear that the ones he does himself are the best. So the next day he made one for Bear and of course it was *so much better*!! (No, honestly! It was really good!! But just give Bear anything that contains bacon and Bear'll love it...)
Anyway, after having lunch (what do you call lunch when you have it at about 4pm? dunch? as in dinner+lunch?) Btw: for the non-British-American-food-knowers: BLT-sandwich = bacon, lettuce, tomatoe-sandwich. *yummie*

After that they went on towards the convention center, passed (again) some Methodists (Bear thinks... and is definitely not sure if this is the correct link) who had a ... convention! there. They sold some things in the center - Bear and OP walked through - and they had a preacher somewhere outside preaching (first time Bear saw something like this!). But since this was not too exciting, Bear and OP went on to the Water Gardens and wandered around there. Unfortunately they didn't have all the water running, which would have looked a lot cooler, but it was nice anyway. Apart from being made of concrete. Which is rather unusual for a park. But it was an urban park. So maybe that's why. And there was supposed to be much water running various ways. (Well, down of course, but coming from various sides...) And that would probably be not easy if the park was made of grass and with bushes and trees... anyway. Bear wanted to see it and Bear saw it. And Bear made a lot of pictures. After all Michael York and Peter Ustinov once stood there. Somewhere in there.
After climbing the highest spot, sitting down and looking around a bit for 5mins, Bear and OP headed back to the Mystery Machine and went home. There was a game of Tennis waiting for OP and he didn't want to be too late. Bear watched it for a short while, but got cold at one point and went back to the flat. So Bear never really got who won...

Evening
Later that night Bear and OP met Andy the cop for dinner. Andy wanted to take them out for dinner. They went into some place that did look a bit like a diner. Though Bear thinks it wasn't one. But it reminded Bear a wee bit of those. Unfortunately Bear was not very hungry. Bear had only eaten the BLT-sandwich that day (and of course breakfast, since OP made breakfast everyday for Bear) but still. Bear was not hungry. But Bear agreed on having a potatoe soup which was so good!!! Bear loved it. And then Bear decided to go right for the desert. Which was ok, since Bear would not eat a lot anyway during that week. It was some cake-y, white chocolate-y, vanilla-ice-cream-y sort of thing. The white chocolate being in, on and around the cake. It was far too heavy for a dinner desert. And far too much for Bear. But Bear stuffed itself. It was just so good. Bear loved it.
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(Another hint to catch a HimBear: bacon and chocolate - not necessarily together)
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Bear felt a bit sick after eating that huge thing. Bear couldn't move properly anymore. But on they went to Andy's flat. Where they met Andy's newborn baby. And someone else who shortly afterwards left. It was a relaxed evening. Some beer, some cigarettes, some talking. Until Andy decided to show Bear his gun. Bear first was not too keen on that, but Andy insisted. So Bear followed him to the kitchen where Andy showed Bear a "glock", made in Austria. Andy explained it to Bear and wanted Bear to hold it. Bear didn't want to. Andy told Bear to relax as he had taken every precaution and Bear didn't have to worry, so Bear hold it then. Bear felt uncomfortable. It was heavy. Bear didn't like to hold it. Bear wanted to give it back, but Andy wanted to make a picture what Bear nearly freaked out and Bear said: "No way. Imagine anyone in Austria seeing this!" Bear gave it back and then went back onto the patio (that word!!) had a cigarette, being quite tense and telling OP and Andy's girlfriend that Bear just held a gun for the first time in its life.
So that was that. Another unusual ending for one of Bear's holi-days.

Sonntag, 18. Mai 2008

C'mon cattle! Have a Jalapeno!



Monday, May 28th 2008

Afternoon

Bear wanted to see the cattle at Stockyards. Fort Worth Stockyards is the national historic district where there are lots of Western Stores, a Rodeo place, Billy Bob's Texas and where they drive cattle along the streets twice a day. Hamish the Scottish Highland Coo wanted to see his Texan relatives - and so did Bear.
So Bear and OP headed off to Stockyards in OP's Mystery Machine. Not very many people on the streets there, but at least Bear saw its first Cowboy (or rather someone who wore a Cowboy-hat). They went around a bit, Bear took lots of pictures, read a few signs, talked to OP and then they sat down at the street to wait for the cattle.
There was a Cowboy-cop strolling along - it seemed the cattle-drive would start soon. And then they came. A few Cowboys on horses in front, behind and in between and a few Longhorns . Not many though. But there weren't many people on the streets either.
The Cowboy at the front always said: "Come on, cattle. Come on." And the cattle came. Slowly. Not looking left, not looking right they went along that street - Bear took pictures, Hamish got excited - and that was that. Bear imagined it a bit different. When Bear read about that it sounded like a real exciting thing: Cowboys galopping along, yelling "Yeehaww" and cattle running and mooing...
But anyway, Bear and Hamish got to see their cattle. And impressive horns they do have, Bear (and also Hamish) must admit!

After watching steaks on feet, OP suggested lunch (which was actually an early dinner, as it was about 5pm already). So they went to a place that looked like some Austrian Heuriger on the outside and ordered steak-burgers with French fries. And beer. Of course. Frosted. Bear is not really a fan of how the English (or British) serve most of their beer - warmish (not too often anymore, but still in some places), but *this* was ridiculous! The glasses - that looked like goblets - were frosted. Ice-cold! Bear could not even properly touch the glass.
The steak-burger was not incredibly good but ok. But along with it came a Jalapeno! Bear has seen those on TV already and knew what it was gonna taste like. And Bear is not really a fan of hot or spicy food. Definitely not hot. But Bear is also very curious (and a bit stupid). And OP said: "If you have a bite I am going to give you 50$." So Bear did have a bite. And another. And another. Bear's mouth hurt. But Bear was so brave and took three bites! The 150$, Bear never got...

E
veningAfter that meal, they wandered around a bit looking for Cowboy-hats, postcards and fridge magnets for Bear and then went back to the Mystery Machine. OP wanted to show Bear some really nice houses and a place he once wanted to buy. They drove around a quite nice area with pretty posh houses here and there. Bear was impressed. There was even an area where mostly students lived. OP told Bear that their parents bought the houses for them, they lived in it as long as they studied and then sold them. Incredible what kinds of cars Bear could see in front of those houses. Ok, nearly everyone in Texas has a pick-up-truck, but for heaven's sake these were only students!! Actually, what was really funny: one could see two to three huge cars in front of nearly every house. The house being not so big at all, rather small and it looked like the cars were bigger than the house!
Anyway, Bear and OP drove around that area for some while, Bear took lots of pictures and a video (which is not online yet) and then home.

For some reason Bear and OP were so incredibly tired that they went to bed instantly. It was only evening, but they felt like they couldn't keep their eyes open anymore. After only two hours or something, Bear woke up and saw the digital clock on the radio blinking. Bear watched it for about 30mins until it realised that this meant that the electricity was back on! Bear woke OP up and told him. OP was so glad about it that he went around the flat turning everything on and trying every electrical thing. Bear started to unpack its suitcase and have a shower.
Later that night they went to have another burger, a corny dog and bought some ice for the fridge. Bear learned that it is an American thing to carry ice around in a cup and eat it all the time. Bear thought that this was quite an annoying habit. *gulp*crack*crack*gulp*

Samstag, 17. Mai 2008

Electricity is actually a good thing!

May 26th - May 27th 2008


So, this is Texas.

Bear saw OP for the first time in five or six years again. OP has been to Vienna visiting friends and Bear then.
They put Bear's luggage in the car and off they went to his sister's house. OP told Bear that for the first weekend they will spend their time there, as his power had been turned off and he figured that Bear wanted to take a warm shower after this long trip.
Bear saw American highways for the first time. Bear has been to San Francisco ten years ago, but has only seen the city at that time and not much of its surroundings. Different. Totally different to Austria's highways. So much wider, straighter and bigger. Well, everything is bigger in Texas, Bear has been told. As far as this was concerned, Bear agreed. And then Bear saw also American suburbs. Exactly how Bear imagined them and has seen them on TV. Actually, nearly everything Bear saw and experienced in Texas was exactly as Bear has seen on TV before...

They arrived at the house of OP's sister and Bear met her three dogs Snickers, Gidget and Whistle. Bear likes dogs - Bear also has dogs. But bigger ones. OP showed Bear around and told Bear that they were invited to a friend's birthday party later on, but would only go if Bear thinks it wouldn't be too tired. Bear took a shower, felt refreshed and not too tired and so they went to the party. It was in a bar one had to drive to. Bear realised that everywhere you wanted to go to in Texas, you had to take the car. Or at least everyone did.
Bear met the birthday girl and some other people who all were very friendly and talked to Bear a lot. Especially a young man who asked Bear a lot about Europe and the difference to Texas. Bear had some American beer (Bear drank only beer in Texas as obviously everyone thought Bear had to try American beer) and a cup cake which tasted quite similar to some Austrian sweet - though Bear can't think of which one.
All of a sudden the girl's toilet door opened (which was right beside their table) and two girls were in there fighting! Shouting and hitting each other. Bear just stared and thought: Wow! Everyone around ran in and tried to get the girls out of the toilet and seperate them. Bear has seen one or two fights in Austrian bars aswell, but at that time it was men who fought and never girls. *And* a big difference was that in Austria only friends would go in between and seperate the fighters or maybe call the security at the entrance to seperate them, but never has Bear seen others or nearly everyone going in between such a fight.
The people around Bear said: "Wow, your first night and you already witness a chick fight. Welcome to Texas!" Yeh, well if that is the way Bear's holiday would continue... It didn't, but it still was a very unusual but lovely holiday for Bear.Bear is not sure when they left the party, but it was late. At least it felt like that. Bear and OP talked for another two or three hours until they finally went to sleep. Bear slept pretty well that night.


~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~Don't you just *love* the smell of summer rain?!!~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~

The next day Bear and OP slept in and had a slow day recovering from the journey (well, it was Bear recovering and OP probably wasn't too sad about that either). OP made some breakfast, they had coffee and talked on the patio (Bear loves that word! *patio*).

~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~Ok, now the power has been off for the fifth time because of the thunderstorm. This can't be a good thing for the computer - apart from being very annoying - it took two hours to write the three lines above...~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~~*°*~

Bear and OP did nothing that day apart from talking, watching some TV, relaxing, Bear did some trampoline-excercise. They did go to OP's flat at one point, so Bear could have a look at it in the daylight - which was a good thing for orientation later.
In the evening Bear and OP went to pick up Niki's (OP's sister) kids. Bear thought they were really cute and nice - not very shy either. Niki's daughter introduced Bear to her guinea pig and her son told Bear everything about the X-Box- or Playstation-game (Bear knows nothing about this) he was playing. Later on Bear and OP went to Dallas airport to pick his sister up who had been away that weekend (and that's why Bear and OP were able to stay in her house). Bear liked Niki - she was really nice and talkative.

Ok, so Sunday evening Bear finally moved into OP's flat. In the dark. Pretty difficult to find things then. Good thing OP told Bear before that they were going to go out with a friend later that night, so Bear was clever enough to put on make-up in the not-powerless house of Niki... *But* Bear did see a bit in OP's flat, because OP's friend - who they went out with later on - arrived at the flat before Bear and OP did and was so nice to put some candles on.

They went away in Andy's (OP's friend) car and during that ride they told Bear that tonight's plan was going to a strip-club!! Only if that was ok with Bear. If Bear didn't want to go, they would do something else. But Bear didn't mind. Bear has been to a strip-club in Vienna before. Not on purpose though. Bear's "friends" bought a male stripper for Bear's 30th birthday and that happened in a strip-club in Vienna. Bear did not really like it. But that's another story. So Bear said, it's ok to go to a strip-club.
Arriving there Bear learned that Andy used to work in that club as security and works now as a cop. At the entrance they had to show their IDs. Pretty stupid, Bear thought, as one could easily see that OP was older than 21 and Bear was also. But anyway. Bear showed its driving license which made the girl at the entrance nearly freak out because this Austrian driving license was "soooo cooool". Ok. Bear later got used to people freaking out by looking at its driving license...
The club was really nice. Bear liked it. Huge, with lots of stages, one main stage and lots of small tables around with extremely comfy chairs. Again Bear got some beer and they sat down at a table not too far away from the main stage. There were more guests than in the Viennese strip-club and also some female ones. The girls on the stages did really perform. Not like in Vienna. The girls in Vienna looked bored and hardly ever moved, but those girls in Texas did something! They danced, they performed, they moved and they didn't look bored. There was one very tall girl who danced at the pole did some moves Bear has only seen on TV so far. Wow. Bear was really impressed. So were OP and Andy. Bear sat there, mouth open and just watched. OP and Andy tried to get Bear to go to the stage and give that girl some dollars. They even gave Bear the dollar notes. But Bear refused. At one point they told Bear that if Bear wouldn't do it voluntarily, they would force Bear to do so. Andy was pretty tall and strong. Bear was afraid they would really force Bear to the stage. But they didn't. Though they did try to talk Bear into it for some while. But Bear was too shy and too afraid at that time. After all it was only Bear's second night in Texas! Later that week, Bear would have probably done it...
Anyway, they themselves did give that girl the dollars then. Bear was reliefed.

After another few beers for the guys (Bear had only one or two - Bear is a slow drinker) off they went back home. On the way back, they stopped at a gas station where OP got out to buy some cigarettes and so Andy and Bear could talk. Andy asked Bear if Bear was interested to go with him on a workshift during Bear's stay (reminder: Andy is a cop!) And Bear said "YES" without really thinking about it. Bear just thought: "Wow, riding with a cop in Texas. Who else could tell about an experience like that?!" Bear thinks that even Andy was a bit surprised that Bear agreed instantly. So they told OP about that and Andy said he would check with his boss and then Bear would have to come to the station before and sign some papers and getting checked on the computer - if Interpol or Scotland Yard was looking for Bear, Bear - of course - couldn't come. Good thing they never found out :-).
Back in OP's flat, Bear found it a bit hard to brush teeth and getting its lenses out without losing them in the dark, but Bear managed. Bed again. Bear thought that this was probably going to be the most unusual holiday ever: chick fight, strip-club and maybe riding with a cop... Wow. Bear was happy.