Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cats that look like hitler, the ginger edition.

For the past 6 and a half years, my faithful companion, bed hog and personal trainer has been my Jack Russell/Schnauzer Lucy.  Because of her terrier background, she's a big fan of chasing any critters.  In Vancouver, there was an abundance of creatures to chase, the most popular being squirrels, raccoons and skunks (she was subject to an attack by the latter as a pup)  In Germany however, there are a lack of creatures for her to take on.  We've seen the odd squirrel (and odd they are since they're red) but maybe a handful of times in the past year and a bit.  In our neighborhood though, there are an abundance of cats.  And my dog and cats have a tainted history.

As a pup, Lucy used to think they were a source of great fascination and would attempt to play with them.  However, being part Schnauzer, she's a big fan of using her voice and to entice them to play with her, she would bark and growl at them.  No cat took kindly to this and would either run away and/or hiss at her.  Then came my ex-mother in laws cats.  Again, fascinated with them, Lucy would coax them into playing, but they just hid and the odd time a paw would poke out from under the couch and swipe Lucy in the face and then she cried like she was being murdered.

Every morning when we go for a walk, it's like witnessing the food chain hierachy in front of my building.  There's almost always a cat spying a bird under a tree and Lucy sniffs out the cat.  The cat jumps on the fence and the bird flies away.  Most mornings, it feels like our walk is more cat hunt than pee break and I'm usually left with the cheesy Elton John tune "Circle of Life" in my head.

Except for evil cat.  Evil cat tries to stalk and attack Lucy. It's not the first German cat I've met that attempts to stalk my dog.  Something ain't right in the cat milk when cats attack dogs, but I digress.

Flashback to a few months ago, when a friend of mine sent me a link to this site. I'm not sure what's worse: that there's a website for cats that look like Hitler or that me (among others) finds great amusement in it.  Considering the history of where I live, any reference to Hitler or WWII makes me uncomfortable. I often get the impression that the whole history surrounding Hitler and WWII is a bit of a dark cloud in these parts so the fact that I find humor in the cats that look like Hitler website makes it even more awkward and taboo feeling.

And then my friend K, showed me a picture of her cat.  And all taboo and awkwardness was out the window.  I hereby present you... Ginger Hitler!
Samy (aka Ginger Hitler) courtesy of K (Samy gave granted permission to use)

And I just couldn't hold back my shock, awe and amazement.  It's one thing to see the cats on the website, but to put a face to a name (so to speak) is truly amazing.  The fact that he sits there so regally and with such an "authoritarian" look is amazing.  The Canadian in me still feels like it's politically incorrect to laugh at Samy, but if Samy is anything like his owner, he has a great sense of humor and finds comedy in his likeliness.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Popsy and friends

Well, I guess it's no surprise that alcohol and sex go hand and hand.  I'm pretty sure that when Adam tried to introduce the idea of sex to Eve, he may have done so after a few glasses of wine.  But still, what I received as a gift today made me blush.  It came in a non descript grocery bag, like it was embarrased to come out.  When I lifted it out of it's bag, I could see why.  When I stared at it's plastic container, I was puzzled for a few minutes and it took me a few minutes to compute and then. OH! and a slightly awkward feeling. What could POSSIBLY give me an awkward feeling you ask? Well, meet Popsy and friends!

Popsy and his pals are plastic sperm shaped "tubes" filled with alcohol. I'm not sure if people are supposed to think they're cute or not, but with painted eyes and perma surprise looking eyebrows, they kinda creep me out. If you try hard enough, you can pretend the colored ones are.... well, I'm not quite sure.  And then there's the white one.  Since my brother is a bartender, I've had to suffer thru one or two blowjob shooters over the years.  But even at that, those were slightly less offensive what with them being filled with baileys and whip cream and the less obviously phallic test tube.

Even though in Canada, we don't as obviously mix sex and alcohol (the bar where my brother works excepted) I can accept that these might be a "novelty" gift bought in a sex shop for a bachellorette party, but these were purchased at the equivalent of what would be a Wal-Mart!  Popsy, even has a creepy website of his own.  It doesn't say much, but apparently, he gets around.  On his events page, there are pics of him swimming throughout Germany. For instance, when "travelling" thru Koln, he dresses as a queen (even creepier if you consider that most Germans consider Koln the German equivalent of San Francisco in that it has a more prominent gay scene)  In Meinerzhagen, he spots a cow (!!!! I don't even want to know what THAT is supposed to mean about Meinerzhagenites!) and in Hamburg, he wears a condom (I guess it's best to play it safe in port cities...)

M, who gave them to me thought it would amuse me.  And it did sorta do the trick.  Now that I'm over the awkward feeling, I might milk a little entertainment out of Popsy.  I kinda think I'm going to leave them out next time friends are over.  Or perhaps I'll make a creative table arrangement with them aiming for a plate of deviled eggs.  We'll see.  But one thing is for sure, I'm sharing the Popsy love.  But first, I'll have to figure out which one is Popsy!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Hotel gems in Paris & Salzburg

To me, when I travel, there’s nothing worse than staying at a generic hotel. Because I travel a fair bit for work, most work travel entails a generic hotel, though generally nice to upscale hotels. Because of sheer lack of availability in some places, I’ve stayed in some pretty random hotels. So, when I travel for pleasure, I try as much as possible to find unique hotels or even better unique accomodations. If I’m aiming for a city destination, I try to aim somewhere that has some charm and/or some cool design features. If I’m aiming for an out of city destination, I try to make it more about experience, like the tree house in Costa Rica or the wine bodega in Mendoza, Argentina.

Lately, I’ve had a couple of scores in the city destinations. The first was in Paris. I took the mothership to Paris and thru my die hard research (if not persistence) came up with a great deal on a package with flight and hotel from Nurnberg.

Score 1- BLC Design hotel Paris I was happy to discover that this gem wasn't generic.  All I know about Paris hotels is that they are small, expensive and unless you're willing to pay the equivalent of a month's rent in most cities, generic.  Also, I was drawn to the BLC because since moving to Germany, my house decor has taken on a white modern theme so I was thrilled!  Small, yes! but it had underbed storage and made great use of space (my mom even used the tiny french balcony as her "smoking room".)

The BLC from the outside

Our room

My mother making efficient use of space
Score 2- Villa Carlton, Salzburg, Austria

A few weekends ago, a few girlfriends and I had a girls weekend in Salzburg.  The gem of the Villa Carlton showed up and, for the same reasons as the BLC, I was sold!  It was inexpensive, and cute.  Damn cute.  Though a lot of the furnishings were modern, it did have some traditional elements such as curtains fit for Maria from the Sount of Music to make dresses out of!  Again, I was a bit of a sucker for the interior decor, but it was a great place and I'd go back again in a heartbeat (though Salzburg does seem to be a bit more of a Spring/Summer city with all the river trails and patios)

The villa Carlton from the outside

The lobby lounge

The bed in the master suite

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Cruising into the sunset of my 30's

Next week, will be the start of my last year as a "30's".  It's not that I'm afraid of aging nor that I'm going to start lying about my age.  After all, all those years of bouncers not believing I was old enough to get into bars is starting to pay off (Thanks mom for some amazing wrinkle free genes)

Of the few decades I've experienced in my life, my 30's have by far been the most action packed.  While a lot of people backpack, party and do anything wild in their 20's, my time has been in my 30's.  It's definately NOT been a boring decade!  Before turning 30, I'd been to 5 countries, was just getting established in my career and the craziest thing I did was jumping off a cliff in Tobermory, Ontario into the freezing cold waters of the Georgian bay.

In these past nine years, I've been to over 2 dozen countries, climbed to the top rung of my profession, moved to Europe and have done everything from skydiving, paragliding (in Argentina) whitewater rafting and surfing (on a hard board no less!) in Costa Rica and spent a month in Northern Canada using "nature's toilet" paper and gathering a whole lot of useful leadership skills.

While most people in their 30's are "settling down" it seems like I was just getting started (though I did have a brief interlude with marriage in there) There hasn't been a moment in my 30's that's been dull.  So as I prepare for my last year of a wild decade, I'm trying to think of all the exhilarating things I can pack into this last year.  Here's what I've come up with:

Wing suit flying- ok, I know this is aiming big, but it would be the best thrill by far.  Of all the things I've done, this does seems to be the least likely and not because it looks like it was conceived by Wil E Coyote as another way to devise a plan to catch the road runner!  Nor is it unlikely because I'd chicken out, but that in order to do it you need about 200 skydive jumps.  And well, since I have 199 to go, I just may bankrupt myself before I get to the stage of wing suit flying.  But a girl can dream....

Race car driving lessons- Now that this speed freak lives in the land of speed free autobahns, what more perfect skill to acquire than precision handling at 200 km/h! Luckily for me,  there are a number of schools available to help me thru.  So next fall, me, france, formula 1 lessons, I see that becoming a reality.

Canyoning in Slovenia- In June, I've booked a week in Bled, in the Julian Alps of Slovenia.  I've picked it because it's supposed to be naturally gorgeous with mountains, glacier lakes and plenty of bike trails.  However, it doesn't have to be boring.  The Julian Alps are known for some awesome canyoning.  Though I've done waterfall rapelling before, I like the idea of randomly jumping off a running waterfall.  When my parents built me, it seems they forgot to give me a fear gene when it came to anything adventurous!

Shortie-  The last time I went surfing, I got up on a hard board rather than those long floatie foamy ones.  Getting up on a hard board is no small feat and I was screaming like a little girl when it happened.  What better way to live up the last year in your 30's screaming like a little girl for a week straight? Spain. weeklong surf camp. check.