Monday, March 31, 2008

World Tour 2008

Well, World tour 2008 is about to kick off. World Tour 2007 was a hit and will be hard to match. Here are the current dates:
  • April 2-6 Collaboration at MPI-Martinsried
Munich, Germany

Vienna, Austria

  • April 13-15 MPI-CBG Postdoc Retreat
Děčín, Czech Republic

Berlin, Germany

Heidelberg, Germany

  • September 19-22 Hanging out with Mom and some good food and sun
Venice, Italy

Solid yet unconfirmed dates:

* May 30 - April 1 Splatsch Ultimate Frisbee Tournament

Düsseldorf, Germany

* October 15-20 Texas Longhorns football game and general Austin time (good eats)

Austin, TX, USA

Tentative Dates:

*MAY 5-7 Hyman Lab Retreat, Mendel Center (on the site where Mendel worked)

Brno, Czech Republic

* Summer Roughin' it with ol' Mike

??, Madagascar

* December 13-17 ASCB Annual Meeting

San Francisco, USA

Whew. Adds up when you write it all out at once.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Colby Bird explained (kind of)

Many people ask me to explain my brother's art. Usually I try to give them an idea as I understand it, but then generally stop as I envision Colby
listening and getting quietly frustrated. The gallery in NYC representing Colby has a small blurb on his art in general, but doesn't help for specific pieces. Now, lucky for all you that have asked me, the gallery has published a small publication (scroll down for download), which includes an essay by João Ribas, whom (who? eric?) I ignorantly presume is some big-shot in the art world. Anyway, there are specific pieces referenced there, including a few that were in his show last year that I made it to.

Be warned, in contrast to what you read here, it includes big sentences with big words, like

It is this confounding mixture of individualized capitalist aspiration, ersatz opulence, perceived authenticity, and the obsession with consumptive iconography that gives the work of Colby Bird its distinct resonance.
I don't even know if I've heard the word "ersatz" before. At least in English. In German I know it most familiarly from "Ersatzverkehr". Which often means you gotta ride the bus cause the tram is broken. I guess like "replacement transport".

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jazz gig

Last Thursday night went to a show in a student club down towards the university. I had seen some pretty cool posters (is this picture not cool?) advertising a guy named Johannes Bauer playing the trombone. From the blurb they had on the website I knew I was going to be in for some jazz improvisation on the trombone with an unconventional overtone, but had no idea to expect this. Most of the time he was not playing the trombone as you would expect, but rather making noise with it in ways other than vibrating the lips, like just blowing air through, or speaking into it, or making strange animal-like noises, etc. and all while having small fits and spasms. And looking vaguely drunk.
Here's a youtube clip I found that basically sums up the show.

So I while it was interesting watching him contort himself while making strange noises with the rest of the band, it was a little disappointing. and it got old. I think I was craving structure and rhythm after listening to 4 talented jazz artists on drums, keyboard, trombone and bass for an hour without any of it.
I guess it didn't help I was listening to some Bill Watrous prior to heading down:

(wait for the trombone solo)

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Blog Name

Working with Jeff's suggestion...

Ummm, yeah, I think I'm going to you know, keep this on the table and also look for other options

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Today is the one year anniversary since I posted my first post on this blog.
This will be the 153rd post in a year, which comes out to about 3 a week on average.

One of the (several) reasons I started this blog was to provide friends and family in the US that I am seldom in touch with an easy way to get glimpse into what's going on over here. Ironically, however, almost none of my family and friends (in the US) that I told about this blog are among the regular visitors I get here. I try not to take it personally.
I guess not surprisingly, by far most of my hits are from Germany.

In the next year I hope to post more of my photography, haven't really been doing that. And at the same time hopefully find more time for posts of actual substance and a bit of writing rather than one-liners.

At this landmark I've decided to change the name of the blog. Wendelicious just sounds stupid to me now for whatever reason (The name comes from my middle name, Wendell). I just haven't decided on what to change it to yet.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Look at this lovely pair I picked up for FREE from a couple moving to California.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Some horribly unfortunate Americans forced to pay just over half what Europeans pay for gas

just so they can drive their Chevrolet "Avalanche" (No, that's really the name) that was
shipped from Colorado all over Maui.

"After seeing the total, I won't be smiling," Sweeney said as he watched the numbers on the Chevron pump spin faster than a slot machine.

The pump finally stopped at $97.20, which put 24.5 gallons in his Chevrolet Avalanche.

He was elated about living on Maui and being reunited with his black, super-size pickup truck, which just arrived from Colorado, but he wasn't so thrilled about paying nearly $4 for a gallon of regular.


"Outrageous. Completely outrageous," said Janet Carone, of Wailuku.
The thing is, it actually evens out cost-wise, because while Europeans pay twice as much for gas, their cars also get twice as many miles per gallon.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


It appears sometimes stealing is OK. Like when you are in Germany.
I think there may be a cultural difference here.

In the basement of my apartment is a room where everybody keeps their washer. Which is weird on its own because there are like 6 to 8 new washers down there, and never is more than one running at once - but everybody gets an individual key to turn on their washer's electricity. I guess so nobody is tempted to steal another's electricity and use their washer. I share mine with Nate, a concept seemingly lost on the rest of the residents. We could have in fact two washers shared between the whole building and never have to wait. anyway.

The basement is locked. Only tenants of this building can get in. I started keeping my laundry detergent down there - no reason to bring it up and down. But one day I felt like somebody was using my detergent - it seemed to be going away too fast. So when I got a new bag of detergent I put my little glass cup in it in a way I would remember to see if it changed.
Last weekend I came down to do some laundry and all my detergent was gone. And my little cup was left on top of the washer. Somebody just stole my detergent. Because they could. Somebody who lives in my building and has a washer. Somebody who is probably paying 400euros+ in rent plus has a 300euro+ washer. And they are going to steal detergent from their neighbor. detergent. Because they could.

I'm starting to realize there must me some cultural differences here when it comes to such things. I mean maybe I'm naive, but it seems like there's more of an attitude of "If you leave something in position in which it could be stolen, it's fair game, and you can't complain."

A couple years ago I left my bag in a restaurant/bar. When I came back for it, it was gone. The bartender said matter-of-factly "you should have come back earlier". As if there was a statute of limitations on how long something can sit there before it's fair game. Then when I went to the police to report it (my laptop, passport, and ipod where in there), the officer told my dryly "This isn't technically a crime, we cannot report it as such. Since you were not with your bag when it was stolen, you left your bag there, and somebody else found it." Did I mention my passport was in there? It's not like it wasn't clear who's it was. but I guess this is part of the cultural difference.

A friend of mine had a party in the back of our complex. Again, it's locked - you have to have a key to get in, or be buzzed in. So we're all friends there and, long story short, somebody at the party steals my bike light I had been using as a flashlight. Just walked home with it. one of the guests. Even an email to the invitees produced no knowledge. But I guess I shouldn't have just set it down on the table and walked away.

My new bike was stolen a few years ago, locked at night behind a friend's house. But that seemed like more of a professional job - they cut the lock and may have even watched me ride it back there. So not really relevant here. But I just want some pity for all I've had stolen.

But I'm even going to call out a labmate here. One day comes in with a digital camera 'found' at a train station or airport or something. I think the reasoning went something like if he left it there somebody else would steal it. It had a whole lot of nice pictures somebody took on their trip around the world.

But worst of all is my friend Alex's roommate. This guy is at a club and finds a coat check button. So what does he do? Promptly heads straight to the coat check - and gets the guy's coat, wallet, and cell phone. Trashes the wallet, and then goes home with a new cell phone and coat. This a college student. Then he brags to his roommates about this pathetic shit. but everybody seems to find it moderately amusing except me. I mean, what an ASS. Losing 50 euros in a wallet is one thing. All the documents and the cell phone stuff - ugh. And ready for the kicker? This asshole was needing a new cell phone and had just won one on ebay. So now that he 'found' a new one, he decides he's going to renege on the won ebay bid and screw over the seller. class act! Moral of the story as explained to me: You shouldn't leave your wallet and cell phone at a coat check.

I've never lived in a 'city' in the US. In Austin I was really in a nice neighborhood and Ann Arbor and Charlottesville don't count at cities. Maybe this is just me learning that people aren't nice and it only seems like it's Germany because I've only lived before in little happy college towns and neighborhoods. But it's really getting on my nerves.

update: I got the story above wrong. It was not a wallet, but a keychain that was found with the coat and cell phone and trashed.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Airbushes and Photoshop

It's clear to anybody now that over the last 10 years the use of the airbrush in magazine cover portraits is getting out of hand. Early on the most absurd seemed to be limited to "Men's" magazines like Maxim and whatever. And while it's ridiculous, and in fact just not sexy, somehow it wasn't too bothersome, it's not like anybody expects anything more from these kind of eye-candy driven magazines.
But nowadays it's just creeping up everywhere. Look through any advertisement flyer. Probably even one for "Sears" women's section. Everybody is airbrushed to hell. Women and Men. But it's like everybody is getting used to it so they keep pushing and pushing it. Like we are actually accepting that people look like that. Soon they will be able to completely do away with models and just have purely computer generated images.

But the point of this post was for you to check out this website, advertising for "retouching".
Click on 'portfolio', then click on the pictures, then mouse over the large photos of celebrities for before-after. And then be prepared to gag. WTF? Not only are complexions turned to alien-smooth ivory, but thighs are thinned, chins are pulled in, eyes modified, asses given more curves or cut down.
And then you wonder if there is one human image in today's entertainment or advertising for ANYTHING that hasn't been dramatically modified. It's to the point where I don't think anybody could argue this can't be healthy for society.

Illustrated nicely in this video:

From this old post on Shakesville.
Where there are actually a number of posts on the "impossibly beautiful" theme.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Spiders on Drugs