Eight things, a meme-tag

I have been meme-tagged by the beautiful and eloquent Ms. Balderama, of Intoxifictian, Nonsense Versian, Naxian, and NYT-ian fame. The idea is to expose eight things about yourself. I’m borrowing in part from her borrowed template, since this is a meme, after all. So here goes:

1. I took great pride when young in being born during the witching hour, which (according to me, and not Wikipedia), was the hours between 12am and 1am on Halloween Night. It doesn’t seem to have given me any magical or demonic powers, but I’m certainly still a night person. I can make pretty good scary faces, too.

2. The longest train trip I’ve ever taken was also one of the shortest, scheduled Seattle to San Francisco, but in fact Portland to somewhere in the Oregon Cascades. The train didn’t make it to Seattle, so Amtrak bused us south to Portland. The train met us there, then died in the middle of a snowstorm a few hours later. Night came, people started freaking out without any announcements (or lights, or heat) from the folks in charge, and eventually Red Cross came and gave us coffee, donuts and blankets. At dawn, a bus came and drove us to Sacramento.

3. Ice cream: it’s OK, but it’s really an excuse for the cone, which channels one of the few really celestial textures on the planet: crunchy. See the next entry.

4. I’m mildly obsessed by toast. Or maybe not mildly. Have you ever tried Acme Bread toasted just perfectly with a bit of jam? Or German billion-saat-brot with a slice of ham? See, poetry.

5. I’m scared of flying. You should be too. Big, heavy things oughtn’t to float though the air with the greatest of ease, no matter what physicists say. I know my own personal experience has nothing to do with ease at all, unless a few drinks have been procured beforehand.

6. I have tried to learn Mandarin Chinese several times. The first time, I got so anxious every time I approached the classroom, or even the general area, I dropped out after half a quarter. Better luck the second time on my own, but I remember none at all. I’m doing much better with German, danke.

7. At various times I have played baseball, soccer, run track (hurdles and sprints), run cross country, and been a diver with distinctly sub-Louganian grace. For all my deep and abiding commitment to the computer-driven lifestyle of writing and geekdom, I’m pretty sure humans were meant to get up and move around once in a while. I really ought to take that advice.

8. I have no idea when I’ll leave Berlin. This city has afforded me the time and mental space to write a silly and intermittently serious kung fu novel, for which I owe it a great deal. It is rewarding and infuriating, and I can’t think where I could next be as happily sub-economic as I am today.

Und so, on that note, I meme-tag onwards.

Signs of the season’s change

The gray sky and sub-20 degree temperatures are all anybody really needs to tell that the summer is well over. Any serious sun we get from this point out will be cooler, and an undeserved gift, like finding that forgotten $20 bill in your pants pockets before you put them in the laundry.

But here are the real top three signs that it’s now autumn, and already heading quickly through to winter.

1) The rain hasn’t stopped dripping all day. No showers these, and the drops are chilly.

2) At cafe tables last week, everyone was wearing scarves.

3) (and most definitive) While I was sitting, shivering, sipping cold beers with visiting friends behind Tascheles late last week, the bartender began writing with white chalk on the giant steel letter that serves as a menu. She got as far as “G-L-Ãœ-H W-E” before getting distracted and moving away for a moment.

“What’s Gluhwe mean?” one my of friends asked, but I only groaned no, no, it’s too early for that…