samedi, août 16, 2008

Luis increases his ClubGettingIntoConfidence

After a month and a half of living in Germany, I'm beginning to think in compound words.

Well, my daytime activities were pretty predictable at this point: wake up late, work on my “renter’s dossier,” email and call some potential landlords to try to set up visit appointments, and then snarf down a bit of food.

By about 20h00, I got a call from Fantômette that the Frenchy Krew was gathering at a pizzeria in nearby Kreuzberg for dinner to celebrate the birthday of her girlfriend, so off I went. The place was called Casolare Trattoria, which had pretty good pizza at very reasonable prices. The place also had a rather charming outdoor terrace with beerhall-style seating, although we were eventually chased inside after midnight (since the restaurant is in a residential neighborhood).

Bar 25 for DER STEMPEL

After some post-prandial coffees, we broke into two groups and headed over to Bar25 separately. The plan was to go there first and get our hands stamped, so that we could come back later on Sunday without worrying about being turned away at the door. That was a bit optimistic on my part, considering that I had to catch a flight Tuesday morning and still take care of some other business on Monday, but I followed the rest of the crowd anyway.

After grabbing a drink and wandering around the premises for a while, we realized that it was already 1h45. Our plans were to go to Berghain, and by 2h00 the place was probably going to have a horrible lineup already. Ack! We finished our drinks quickly and started walking over.

Berghain and line-related adventures

We got to Berghain / Panorama Bar shortly after 2am and there was a rediculous lineup, probably a good 1.5 to 2 hours-wait. One of the guys in our group, a kid that lived in Berlin when this club opened in 2004, insisted that he had “earned” some privileges and led us up about three-quarters of the way along the line and made us nonchalantly merge into the lineup where it was rather wide and a bit chaotic. Although I’m sure some people noticed, nobody seemed to want to call us on it.

We broke into groups in the lineup, since we were 5 in number and there was a good chance of having trouble at the door in such a large group. Fantômette and her GF broke off as a pair, the other boy went alone, and I took the hand of another girl who was good friends with Fantômette and her GF. Taking a cue from last week’s [LINK] lineup adventures, I waited until the line moved a bit forward and then shoved all the way over to the right, near the guest list entry and—more importantly—near where the bouncers patrol the lineup. None of the bouncers walking outside were ones that I had talked to, so I didn’t expect much, but just as I was recounting the story of last week to my partner, I feel a tap on my shoulder. It was a bouncer:

“Hej, bist du allein?” (Hey, are you alone?)

“Um, nee...” (Um, nope)

And I had to think for a split-second: if I say that I’m with all 5 of us here, this thing is dead in the water. May Fantômette and her GF forgive me!

“Ich bin mit dieser Mädchen hier.” (I’m with this girl here)

“OK, kommt mit.” (OK, come with me)

And with that—after throwing apologetic glances to Fantô and her GF—we followed the bouncer up to the door and he waved us directly into the box office. Yay! I rule! Another little piece of my getting-into-clubs-confidence was restored.

The odd thing was that last week, it was the Black American bouncer who recognized us, which made sense, since both I and the other two people I was with had shown up on off-nights (i.e., Wednesdays) and chatted him up and so on. This guy, on the other hand, was someone I recognized as a bouncer (actually, the same one working the door a little more than a week ago), but with whom I had never had any direct contact. I’m guessing there were to reasons for his recognizing me and pulling me out of line: 1) With the exception of one weekend, I’ve been to Berghain/Panorama Bar at least once every week; and 2) every time I leave the club, no matter how late and how burnt-out I am, I always said “ciao” or “tschüß” to the bouncers at the door. I guess that pays off, eh?

In the box office, the bouncer who was frisking all of the guys was the one who knew me better (Black, from NYC). As soon as I approached him, he said “Hi” and waved me through. As I passed him, he looked in my bag and said, “Woah! Wait a minute…” and took a closer look at my cellphone, and then once he had convinced himself that it wasn’t a camera, he let me go. Nonetheless, nothing like the intense and rather personal frisking you often get here.

Once we were inside, my lineup-partner suggested another reason for why the bouncer at the door had recognized me: she said that I had a “certain energy” about me that made me easy to remember. I thought that was a really lovely thing to say, and it totally made my night.

Feeling bad about leaving behind the rest of our crew, we grabbed drinks at the downstairs bar and then parked ourselves on one of the benches (deceitfully covered to appear cushioned) to wait for the rest of our group. Thankfully, they came through in another 15 minutes or so, and then we were off to Panorama Bar.

0h00-5h00: Luna City Express

The Luna City Express team consists of Phage (a.k.a. Marco Resmann) and another dude that I didn’t quite recognize (after some research: Norman Webber). Their set was pretty much straightforward house, with an ongoing alternation between vocal-heavy “soulful” house and more abstract minimal house. It was a solid set, although I’ll admit that by 4h00 I was ready for something else.

We spent that first couple of hours waiting for other members of the Frenchy Krew to arrive, making arrangements for “party favors” as necessary, and otherwise getting ready for the night ahead. After several weekends of doing multi-site nights, it was kind of nice to just land in one club early in the night and just stay there and get settled in.

5h00-7h30: Oliver $ @ Panorama ; 5h00-8h00: Luke Slater @ Berghain

I spent pretty much this entire timeslot alternating between the two floors, so I can say something about both sets, I think. Oliver $ laid out a very high-intensity house set, heavy on the vocals but also pounding and sometimes rather noisy. Considering that he was occupying something of a headliner slot, the high intensity of his sound was pretty appropriate, but thought his pacing was off; nearly every transition between tracks was over-dramatic and bombastic, as if THE BIGGEST CLIMAX OF THE WHOLE SET was happening every 5 minutes. It got a bit tiring after a while, so I found myself wandering over to Luke Slater’s set quite often.

Luke Slater is a rather huge name in techno, and some of my friends count his performances among their favorite ever. I’ve seen him a couple of times in Toronto a long time ago and really liked his sets, although at that time I was more into pounding / big-room techno than I am now. This time, his set was really good and very skillfully played (with none of the pacing issues of Oliver $), but his sound was still essentially pounding techno. Nothing especially minimalist about it and certainly not even a scent of house or any other genre…maybe a whiff of hard trance here or there, although I doubt Slater would describe his set that way.

So those three hours or so were spent dancing in one room until I got tired of the sound, then moving to the other room until I got tired of the sound, and so on. It wasn’t unpleasant in any way, though, and I enjoyed circulating around the club and doing a bit of people-watching. Often, when I’m really enjoying the music, I’ll tend to park myself in one corner and spend 5-6 hours dancing without really moving around much.

At some point during the set, I wandered into the smoking area and struck up conversation with a slim, dark-haired guy who was standing alone. He was Berliner, apparently, and was pretty friendly. After some small talk, he made a comment like, “Wow, there are lots of great guys here,” which I took as a pretty clear signal. I made the requisite yes-I-am-also-queer noises and then we proceeded to have a slightly more flirty conversation. Then, when I mentioned I was moving to Paris, he said that he was actually here with a French guy that he had met the other night. It wasn’t clear whether he was saying “I’m taken, but you’re cute,” or “He’s just a buddy, so let’s get it on,” or “Threeway, anyone?”, and before I could get a better idea of the situation, another friend of his came by and he had to run off and find someone. For the rest of the night, whenever I saw him, he would be surrounded by his team of friends (presumably with the “French guy” he was with) staring intently at me but not approaching me. shrug ah well.

7h30-9h00: Henrik Schwarz live

A lot of people in my crew were pretty excited about this set, so I was really interested to hear this guy’s sound. Considering that it was a live set, I was sort of expecting abstract minimal techno and—maybe—a bit of very minimal and deconstructed house. Instead, what we got was a really robust, full-sounding house set complete with several different sets of vocals, acoustic-sounding percussion patterns and melodic basslines. It was really surprising (in a good sense) to hear a very thick sort of house emerge from a cloud of musical elements like this, since the “live” medium usually tends to give rise to more sparse, bloodless sets (which I also like, mind you).

At some point during this set, I had yet another amusing encounter with a guy. There was this rather cute guy in an adidas shirt and a yellow hat who turned to me, said “hey!” as if he recognized me, and then leaned in and said, “Ca va?” (French: How are you?). I assumed that we had met at some other night out, since he guessed that I spoke French and I don’t look French at all, so I answered in French and we kept on dancing next to each other for a moment. Then, he leaned in and started saying something to me in German that sounded like a question, but I couldn’t quite make out. After asking him to repeat it a few times, I made out that it was something about the two of us being at the Gayhane night together, which is Berlin’s premier Turkish (and other Südländer) queer night. I’ve actually never been to Gayhane (I always seem to miss the night when it’s on, which is only once a month), so in the end I said “no,” which I think confused him. We gave up trying to communicate and just danced for a while longer.

A minute later, a boy passed by in what looked to be some sort of striped leotard and grey track pants, and this guy waved at the boy’s back and made a sort of bemused comment in German that translates roughly to “Huh, OK then…” After a pause, he leaned in and said, “There’s a lot of gay guys here, isn’t there?” Considering that he had just asked me if I had met him at Gayhane, that sort of confused me, as that wasn’t the kind of question a gay guy living in Berlin would need to ask. On the other hand, he had his arm wrapped around me as he asked me this question, and my hand was about 5 cm above his ass. On the third hand (yes, imagine you have a third hand), he might just be straight but somewhat “opened up” by alcohol / drugs / the atmosphere, which I’ve noticed happens quite a bit here. Hmm.

After that exchange, we ended up drifting apart. Later that evening, I spotted him dancing somewhat intimately with a guy that I think was his boyfriend (who was, alas, totally unattractive to me), and two topless muscle-fairies. So, in the end, I’m guessing he at least liked guys. This one, too, spent a lot of time dancing with his supposed-partner while glancing across the floor at me, but if that was an invitation to some 3-way adventures, I was totally uninterested. Too bad; he was cute as hell.

9h00-12h00: Jesse Rose

You might recall that about a month back Jesse Rose spun at Panorama Bar and I found him inexplicably hot. Well, that was clearly just a passing moment of ardor, as I saw him this time and there was nothin’. I think, in retrospect, that I just really liked his eyes, which are still really cute, but the rest of him was doing nothing for me. Also, he was dancing near me before his set, and I noticed that he had no ass to speak of. That may have also killed it. Anyway, enough about his body (although, considering how often people make comments about the appearance of female DJs, I think it’s only fair), on to the set.

Jesse Rose’s last set here was pretty house-y, but mostly within a minimal-techno sort of frame that gave the set a certain forward momentum and a sort of punchy sound that I really enjoyed. This time, it was balls-to-the-wall house: every second track had vocals, there was a real emphasis on acoustic (especially latin) percussion, and the texture was always very full. The sonic profile was the typical minimal / microhouse texture of low and resonant bass, empty mid-range, and complex and crystalline high-freq patterns. Clearly, the theme for tonight in Panorama Bar was house, house, house.

Anyway, this really isn’t a complaint, because the set was great, even if it wasn’t quite what I expected. By about noon, I was feeling pretty tired and I was realizing that I would be in Paris, looking at apartments, in less than 48 hours, so I said goodbye to my remaining friends (many of them had gone home before me), and made my way home.

On the way out, I made a point of saying “tschuß” to the bouncers. Clearly, it’s a good strategy.

vendredi, août 15, 2008

Playhouse night at Panorama

After my frolicsome adventures the previous night/morning, I slept like a log until about noon or so, and then hauled myself out of bed and got to work. I pushed myself to do some rapid blogging and get it out of the way, and then I went out and wandered from copy shop to copy shop until I found a place that would scan a document for me. Once I got that document scanned, I went back home and started finally putting together all the financial documents and housing documents I had to create a sort of “renter’s dossier” in PDF form that I could send around to potential landlords and carry around to the apartment visits.

All of this took a long time, especially since I had to add translations for all of the letters of support that were in English (i.e., all of them). By the time I was done, everything was in place except for one document that I had been waiting on from UofC. I got an email later that night saying that the document would be faxed to me in a matter of hours, so I resigned myself to putting the finishing touches on the dossier on Saturday and busied myself with looking up some more postings on FUSAC, and Craigslist. Apparently, there has been an explosion of scamming on the Paris Craigslist apartment pages, mostly from Nigerian scam artists who post impossibly cheap rentals and then demand wire transfers or money orders. Thankfully, I already had an idea of the going rates for rentals in the area, so I knew that a 35m3 1-BR in the Marais for 500€ is not just unlikely but impossible.

Anyway, I sent out emails to the owners that had posted email addresses, made a note of those that I would have to call on Saturday or Monday, and then started getting ready to head out.

Panorama Bar: Warhol’s Unfinished Symphony (aka Playhouse label night)

One of my Frenchy friends was up for going out tonight, and we eventually agreed to check out Panorama Bar. This was the same guy that made we wait ONE WHOLE HOUR for his late ass last week, so I made a point of telling him that we would meet inside the club this time. Also, he was bringing along two other guys with him, so I didn’t want us to approach the door as a clot of 4 people.

There was a relatively small lineup when I got there (about 1h45) but things were moving rather slowly, as the bouncer was on a total refusal kick, barring entry to nearly 3 out of every 4 groups that approached the door. Most of them, in turn, would try to bargain with the bouncer or get him to explain his reasons for bouncing them (which they never do), which took up time. Nonetheless, after a few minutes, I was near the front of the line.

I got in pretty easily this time; the older grizzly guy with facial tattoos and piercings took over the door as soon as I got to the door, and he waved me in without hesitation. Phew! I was beginning to regain my confidence in my ability to get into clubs (although I still haven’t been back to Watergate, if that says anything).

0h00-4h00: Carlos Valdes

This set started out as rather low-key house that leaned more in the classic/vocal sub-category, rather than the “minimal” house that tends to be played out here. Although it was perfectly appropriate for an opening set, his “opening set” was a 4-hour slot, so after an hour or so I began to want something a bit more dynamic. Eventually he transitioned into a more intense, more tech-house sound, and then he made his exit through a more minimal house sound. Overall a good set, although I wish he hadn’t taken so long to get to the more energetic material.

Although it was still relatively early in the night, the crazy partiers were out in force tonight. We did what we usually do at Panorama Bar, that is, park ourselves right at the front of the room and hide our bags in the empty beer crates and dance like crazy. And tonight it seemed that all the totally drunk / high wacktards decided to do the same, as I spent a lot of my time that night dodging sloshing drinks and lit cigarettes that were in the hands of these human windmills.

4h00-8h00: Heiko MSO

I wondered why this guy called himself “Heiko MSO” when “Heiko” would do just fine, but then I did a search on MySpace Music with just “Heiko” and I discovered that it’s a very popular name. So fair enough.

Anyway, Heiko’s set was much more intense from the outset. The sort of tracks he was throwing down tended to sound like minimal techno that just happened to have house-influenced elements thrown in. There were even moments when an old-style acid-house 303-line (a.k.a. Roland 303 [LINK]) would come in, echoing the recent revival of the acid-house sound about 2 years ago. The set was heavier and more pounding that what I would usually like to hear, but I was impressed with his way of making the sound work. He had a very good hand for controlling the ups and downs of the set, neither taking too long to find a peak of intensity, nor flipping back and forth between suspense and release like a light switch.

By about 7h00, I was beginning to feel a bit tired, but I tried to keep going to see the next DJ at 8h00 (Nick Höppner). Right about then, three totally drunk girls decided that it was a good moment to start a drink-throwing fight, spattering the decks with liquid (surprisingly, the DJ took it in stride and kept on spinning). Before I really figured out what was going on, I had a vodka+red bull down the back of my shirt. Great.

The feel of the cold drink down my back cut through my mood like a scalpel, and I went from “Maybe I can hang out a bit longer” to “OK, I’m done.” As it turns out, my buddy was also ready to head home, so the two of us got our bags and coats and headed out. We felt like walking, so we wandered along Holzmarktstraße until our paths diverged, and then I kept on going until the Jannowitzbrücke U-Bahn station and continued home from there.

jeudi, août 14, 2008

Sex and Public

Well, today was the day that I really started cracking down on my housing dossier, which pretty much took up my entire day. I collated all the scans and PDFs of my various documents and started organizing them and stitching them together into a larger document. Then I created the table of contents for the whole thing. Then I wrote all the translations for the documents that were in English. It kinda went on interminably.

By about 20h00, I put things on pause and made dinner (i.e., re-heated arroz chaufa) and broke open a bottle of wine with my roommate. It was a Cahors from the south-west of France (from Lot), which started out super-tannic, but opened up into something like a Bordeaux’s more robust older brother. Mossy, musty, earthy, but not nearly as thick as a red from the Rhone region.

Anyway, the wine was great, but perhaps not the brightest idea considering that I was supposed to be going out tonight. Half a bottle of red can make you pretty tired, especially if you haven’t been living like a Frenchman for more than a year. I made myself a very strong coffee and tried to get myself motivated for the night out.

Weekend Club: Horizontal Night

By about 00h30, I finally got a move on and headed out the door. Apparently, the plan was to go to Weekend club and see Dinky spin, along with a label-mate on Horizontal called Matthew Styles. Never heard of the latter guy, but Dinky impressed me quite a bit when I saw her spin at Panorama Bar a couple of weekends back, so it was on.

As it turns out, the last train had already come and gone, so I hopped into a cab and then picked up Fantômette and her GF and a surprise visitor and we all rolled our way to Alexanderplatz. There, we met another four people, one of whom had a spot on a guest list with +4. As it turns out, the guest list spot was for the next night, but saying so at the door still got us past the bouncers, which was good considering we were 8 in total. Well, at least 6 of us were girls, so that helped.

As a recent article on Resident Advisor has mentioned, Berlin techno scenesters will always complain that Weekend is too much of a drunken meat-market, but the club’s layout is great and the music programming is often hard to resist. Well, that would be my complaint, too, but you’ll see near the end of this story that I have no right to complain tonight.

?h??-3h00: Dinky

After grabbing a drink up on the rooftop patio, we eventually made our way downstairs and got dancing. Dinky’s set was great, if not quite as dynamic and enthralling as her set at Panorama Bar a couple of weeks ago. She made good use of tracks that had melodic sub-bass lines, which gave everything a certain forward, driving motion. Also, she seemed to be part of that cohort of DJs that have declared the summer of 2008 the Summer of Congas, as every third track seemed to feature Afro-Caribbean percussion prominently. She even ended her set with a track that involved a remix of some guaguancó song, which I had some trouble identifying. All I could made out of the vocals was that the woman repeatedly sang “Dando, dando…” and occastionally would finish phrases with “Así terminó la confianza, caballero…” Anyway, I have no idea what the original song was, or what the track itself was, but it was a nice finish to her set.

3h00-?h??: Matthew Styles

Styles’s set started out really classic-house, which was fun at first but then got a bit boring. After a few tracks, though, he started mixing in some minimal and tech-house and generally exploring some neighboring genres, and by 4h or 5h, his set was firmly within a minimal-house sound. Generally speaking a good set, although occasionally marred by really tall trainspotters that would shove past me to demand the name of the track currently spinning.

As it turns out, my Irish lad from last Friday missed his train and was still in Berlin. He had said that he might show up at the club tonight, and by around 4h30 or 5h00, he made an appearance. Aware that this was a happenstance and probably rare opportunity to repeat the fun of last week, aware that this place was a meat-market anyway and in wry defiance of the fact that this was a mostly heterosexual meat-market, we proceeded to make out like crazed weasels. I’ll admit to being a bit self-conscious about the whole thing, since (unlike Irish-boy) I was still going to live in Berlin for another 3 weeks. On the other hand, if some bouncer decides to deny me admission to the club because I was doing something that countless heterosexual couples were doing, I’ll just go to Berghain/Panoramabar, thank you very much.

Speaking of being denied admission, I looked at my phone later that morning and discovered that one of my friends had been blocked at the door and told he couldn’t come in without some women on his arm. I found that so bizarre for two reasons: 1) this guy is not usually the sort to get denied entry anywhere; and 2) the “bring girls” thing seems so inappropriate to the Berlin techno scene. Then again, maybe I’m just confusing the part for the whole, that is, the Berghain/Panoramabar scene for the whole of Berlin.

On the way out of the club, as the Irish lad and I took the elevator back down to the main floor, leaning exhaustedly on each other, a slim fey Asian boy glared at us, said something in heavily-accented German to one of his companions, and then gestured in our direction. I’m guessing that he was making a snide comment about the two of us making out on the dancefloor, but I chose to ignore it. Considering how miserable he looked, I guessed that he was jealous of the fun we obviously had.

After getting our coats from the coat check and heading back out, that same Asian boy and his friends were standing outside near the door. Although I wasn’t really paying much attention, I heard from his direction, “*coughcough* CHEAP *cough* CHEAP *cough*.” Silly boy, if you want to be bitchy about it, you should be cough-shouting “slut!” instead; nobody says “cheap” anymore. Maybe “whore,” sometimes.

Anyway, his friends didn’t laugh and I didn’t look in his direction to see their facial responses to the thing, but the whole thing seemed to be less about ridicule and more about frustration or something. From the moment he spotted us in the elevator to the moment he sulked away from us outside the club, he seemed to be genuinely angry. As before, I ignored it and Irish lad seemed to be oblivious, so we sat down on a ledge nearby, had some water and chatted, before heading to Alexanderplatz and taking our separate U-Bahn trains home.

mercredi, août 13, 2008

Boring Day, but Great Photo

Today was productive but pretty uneventful. I finally started contacting people from the classified ads in Paris for housing. Mostly by email so far, but eventually I’ll work up the courage (and cellphone credits) to start calling. I also started organizing my folder of financial documents and landlord references, which is probably going to take a few days to get figured out. I’m still waiting on one last letter from UofC indicating my housing allowance, which I really hope I’ll get before the end of the week.

So, after a day full of that, I headed out to the Berghain Kantine to hang out with the Frenchy Krew and see off another pair of folks who were leaving for Paris. Good times but pretty brief, and I think I was home before 3 or 4 in the morning.

So, since this post is pretty unexceptional, I thought I’d spice things up with this photo, which my mom sent me a couple of days ago:

So this is me and my dad, many many years ago. I’m guessing that I must’ve been 14 or 15, since that shirt that I’m wearing was one of the ones we bought out of desperation when our bags were stolen in Sitges, near Barcelona. Anyway, I’m sort of amused by how the awful glasses and tacky shirts would fit all too well in the techno-hipster scene here.

mardi, août 12, 2008

Frenchy Food and another sneak-attack party

My mission for today: write up my !@#$ing notes for Saturday before it all leaks out of my head. Side-mission: wash that radioactive pile of clothing from the last few days of partying.

As you can probably tell from the length of Saturday’s post, this took a long while to write. Believe it or not, I literally spent the entire day from noon to 19h00 writing that entry. No kidding.

From there, I headed out to La Cocotte with the Boys Who Do Dinner (i.e., me and 3 guys that have been doing weekly food outings for the past 3 weeks). Good times were had, no small amount of wine was had, and a series of those lovely oeuf cocottes with truffles were also had. Mmmm. That whole weight-loss thing I was talking about yesterday risks coming undone with just this meal. After the appetizer, I had the boeuf bourguignon, which was amazing, one friend had the turkey and girolle mushrooms that I had eaten last time, and the other two had the steak tartare. The tartare looked to be of good quality meat and they had all the necessary fixings to mix into the meat, but everyone was a bit shocked by the sheer size of the portion. I mean, there was easily 500g of raw ground meat sitting on each plate. Good god.

Well, thank goodness that I hadn’t ordered the steak tartare, because I got a text message about 5 minutes after leaving the restaurant from one of the Frenchy Krew, inviting me out to Club der Visionäre. At first I was preparing to send my regrets, but then I realized that I had wussed out on them last night, too. So off I went.

As it turns out, more of the party-team was there than I had expected, as it was the last night in Berlin for one of them. We hung out on the little terrace near the bathrooms for a good couple of hours and drank beers and chatted about the previous weekend and where we had gone and the craziness we had seen. From the sounds of it, I had missed an amazing freakshow at Bar25 Sunday night, including lots of costumes, nudity, and a couple of people arriving to the club by kayak & canoe. Really.

Almost everyone turned in around 2h00 or so, and I found myself saying my goodbyes and leaving by 3h00. I had forgotten that it was a weekday night, which meant that the U-Bahn wasn’t running. Damn. I schlepped my way to Schlesiches Tor and picked up the next night bus heading in my direction, making a connection at the ever-sketchy Kottbusser Tor and finally wandering home.

lundi, août 11, 2008

Work and Arroz Chaufa

Well, today was another one of those days of misplaced accomplishments. I woke up and said to myself, “What an eventful weekend! I better start writing up my notes for that right now.” And instead, I spent the day working on some official email correspondence, collating the various rental documents I’ll be needing to rent an apartment in Paris, doing some much-needed maintenance on my laptop, paying bills and updating my financial records, and so on.

Later in the evening, I decided to make myself some arroz chaufa [Note: the recipe on this link isn't quite the same as mine], since I had a couple of huge bunches of green onions sitting in the pantry that needed to be used. I still needed rice, eggs and meat, so off I went to Karstadt to get what I needed. Rather than buy a cut of pork, marinate it in a soy-ginger-sugar solution and then slowly grill or roast it, I decided to find the German equivalent of lardons and improvise from there.

I have to say, it actually turned out really good, even though the taste was a bit different from what I’m used to. For each batch of fried rice, I put about a quarter of my available lardons in a dry frying pan and let them brown on medium heat (about 5 minutes per side) until they had rendered all of their fat. Then, I added finely chopped ginger and hot pepper and let that flavor the fat. From there, I did the usual thing of adding a quarter of my rice and coating it, then a quarter of the chopped green onions and some soy sauce, then I made a little omelet in the center of the pan with the egg and mixed it into the rice as the top of the omelet started to go opaque. Delicious.

Ironically, this would be the moment to mention that I'm pretty sure I've been losing weight since I got to Berlin. I especially notice it on the Monday after a weekend out on the town, since I eat less when I'm partying and I probably lose more liquids from all the dancing. Nonetheless, even after packing myself full of arroz chaufa, most of my clothes are still fitting me loosely. Yay! Apparently the "Berlin Diet" works for me, although I'll have to think of a different weight-loss strategy when I get to Paris. For one thing, the food is far too good there; for another thing, the kind of partying I've been doing here is impossible in Paris for a whole series of reasons.

As is always the case with arroz chaufa, I had WAY too much food left over, so I pushed as much of it as I could onto my roommates and then put the rest into the fridge.

I had been waiting to hear from the Irish lad (of Friday night fame), in the hopes that we might go out tonight, but he backed out, claiming fatigue, so I put myself in front of my computer and spent the rest of the night writing up my blog entry for Friday.

dimanche, août 10, 2008

My 4-hour day

Yep, another “missing” Sunday. I slept until about 23h00, when a friend of mine called me to ask if I was at Bar25. The 10-year anniversary party was still going on and he was trying to get in. Alas, I was of no help to him, so I gave him my regrets and then puttered around for a bit. I snacked on a bit of food, did a bit of web-surfing and email-answering, and then headed back to bed and called it a night/day/whatever.