Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Old Rules No Longer Apply...

It's amazing, really. Past Me always said I wasn't going to be like my mom and dad. Past Me said I was always going to be cool, I was always going to like the things I liked as a kid. Past Me always said I wasn't ever going to turn into one of those bitter old people that shakes his fist and yells at kids to get the Hell off of my lawn. If I couldn't avoid it totally, I would keep it at bay for as long as possible.

Past Me never really realized that I was, in fact, born one of those old people, and that I was never cool to begin with.

I was playing Rainbow Six Vegas 2 the other night, feeling cool to be an adult playing video games (and well, mind you). Old people didn't play video games. I'm knee deep in Tangos, patrolling the outskirts of the Villa, fighting for my life, when I realize I am the last man standing. Being that I joined the hunt a little late, I hadn't racked up too many kills, and I was lurking around an outer door, knowing there were some bogeys just around the corner. I lob a grenade, and it happens to catch the edge of the doorway, bounce backwards, and blow me apart, ending the mission in failure.

"Nice move, pops," some whiny little pimple face grunts, and suddenly, I am staring at the load screen you only see when your session is over. The little ass clown punted me from his session, as if I was some noob who didn't know his ass from his X-Box.

I drew in a deep breath of surprise and then proceeded to issue a litany of profanity directed at the little prig who could no longer hear me.

Little prick.

Then it occurs to me that there are no more adults like when I was a kid. I fully expected at some point to retire my childhood and be forced to like boxing, fishing, and the Wall Street Journal. I figured that all my old memories of movies would be stripped of their color, and television "shows" would suddenly become "programs". I expected that I would develop a taste for blue work shirts and ill fitting dark blue denim jeans. I figured I'd grow fond of those trucker caps with the foam front and the cheesy messages on them. I simply assumed that I would instinctively grow fond of the grass outside my house, and despise the neighborhood kids who happened to let their ball bounce on it. I dreaded the day when I would stop understanding not only video games, but computers, DVD players, and CD changers as well.

Someday, my kids will swear they aren't going to be like their old man. They'll be embarrassed that their dad remembers the days when you couldn't shuffle your iPod playlists within themselves, when you had to wait a week to download new songs for Rock Band, when your computers were so large they couldn't fit in your front pocket. And on the days when they feel like connecting with their dear old dad, they'll invite me to play one of their video games, and shake their heads in pity when I keep having to ask which of the seventeen buttons fires the freeze ray.

And I WILL yell at kids to get the Hell off my lawn, but only because I no longer understand the games they play, and they laugh when I try to understand them.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Achtung, Babies!

I have finally visited one of my many homelands. My father's side of the family is half German, and today, my honey bunny took me to Deutschland for some shopping! At the advice of Nille's sister Lise, we went to Hansen's Brauerei in Flensburg, which is just across the border. I ate a real German delicacy; Hamburger and French Fries! Unfortunately, there were three kinds of sauce on the burger, and you all know how much I dislike flavor. But the beer was ver güt! (or whatever.)

Here I am drinking beer at a real German brewery. It made me nostalgic for my first beer, taken in at the tender age of four. My brother in law Teddy tasked me to take a photo of me drinking from a classic beer stein... this, sadly, is as close as it comes. It is surprisingly hard to find a genuine old-timey beer stein to drink out of. So an oversized mug had to do.

This one is for Tommy: The name on the sign translates to "Brother Beck"! It is a clothing line, which is ironic, seeing as how he barely wears clothes as it is. :) There are walking streets in Germany as well as Denmark, areas were people can walk without fear of being run down by a passing car. It is sort of like the Mall, with no ceilings or moody goth kids. It's like walking through Great Adventure without the rides or the $65 admission ticket.

The obligatory touristy church shot.

The harborside in Fleinsburg.

You know what zat means:


Thursday, May 15, 2008

A grim harbinger of the future...

Stare in Wide Eyed Horror and LAMENT!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hello, and Welcome to Denmark...

This is post number two on my international journey. I have been in Denmark for 4 days. It has been a great trip so far.

I went to a Danish Wedding last night, and it was an interesting experience. Pernille's best friend Lone married her sweetheart Lars, and I got to be there. There are a number of traditions that are not present in American weddings.

The bride and groom must be the first ones to sit at the table. They must also be the first ones on the dance floor.

The traditional tapping of the glasses to incite bride/groom smooches was given a new twist. The Toastmaster provided all the guests with tiny wooden hammers that were used to tap on the metal plates on the table.

The Groom must leave the room at LEAST once a night, whether he needs to or not. At that time, every man in the room can get up and kiss the bride. The same tradition applies to the bride leaving the room, in which case the groom gets kisses from all of the women (and, in this case, at least one man, Lars' brother Kim, who smeared lipstick on his mouth and left a large amount of it on his brother's face).

The bride still throws her bouquet, but rather than any sort of garter ceremony for the men, instead, the groom's friends grab him and hold him in the air while someone cuts his socks and tie.

The men in the room cannot remove their jackets until the groom does. The same goes for their ties. A particularly sadistic groom could make for a hot evening.

The bride and groom must dance the traditional wedding waltz before 12 midnight. The entire party surrounds them, closing in until they have no room left to dance. The whole thing had a very "Shirley Jackson's Lottery" feeling to it. Bad fortune follows those new couples foolish enough to skip the waltz.

The reception is the most formal part of the entire event. While it isn't out of place to dress formally for the church, it is more important to have on your best for the reception. Pernille looked absolutely gorgeous in her gown (pictures to come) but then again, she would look absolutely gorgeous in nothing but a burlap sack.

The family and friends of the couple write songs based on popular melodies, changing the words to reflect the couple's lifen and relationship. These songs are delivered throughout the night by special delivery, which is staff members of the reception hall being heralded by the musician.

The party tends to run later. MUCH later.

There is a musician at the wedding rather than an obnoxiously loud and invasive DJ. The guy we had was GREAT. It was like having Victor Borge trapped in John Cho's body.

Though not a tradition, another nice touch was that the bride and groom stood at the head of the table and introduced every guest at the party. Being that there were 30 people at the reception, it was far easier to do than it would be at a typical American wedding. But it was a very nice touch, making the thing that much more personal.

Tomorrow we are going with Lars and Lone to a strange and enchanted place called LegoLand. Hopefully I'll make it through customs.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

My Blog has gone crazy from the spray...

So I figured I'd make a post from the Airport in Amsterdam, and when I opened my blog, the top sign in options are in Dutch! Anyway, this officially marks the first INTERNATIONAL post of the Smart Centipede. Look for further correspondences in the coming two weeks as we explore Denmark and Germany!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

"The Truth Is...

... I am Iron Man."

And I am impressed. I have never been a tremendous fan of Iron Man, especially now that Marvel used him to kill Captain America, but this movie was the best Marvel Comic movie since X2. And stay through the credits to see an uncredited cameo that could turn 2011 into a VERY good year... I managed to stay away from the internet hype and thusly had no idea it was coming, and quite frankly, I am glad I didn't know in advance.