03 July, 2011

Sombra & Me

Helsinki, Finland.- Duke's Travels blog rises from the grave! Now with less travel and even less creativity and cleverness. But I'll see if I can slowly get my groove back. I have returned to blogging mainly to keep a journal on the life and raising of my new dog Sombra (seen here looking disgustingly cute as always). Sombra is a mix of Belgian Shepherd, German Shepard, Golden Retriever, and Toothless from 'How to Train your Dragon'. After a few months of searching for the perfect opportunity to adopt a cute puppy, we finally chose her out of about 8 other adorable little pups from her litter when she was only 4 weeks old.

Out of all the puppies from the litter, she seemed to be one of the more calm ones, although she had just the right sense of adventure.
We've had her for 2 weeks already, so here's the quick report:
  • We named her Sombra before we discovered she's a goth dog who likes to be in small dark places the whole time.
  • Seemed to be really calm. Turned out to be a little spawn of the devil.
  • Discovered (and thoroughly enjoyed) digging.
  • Doesn't have much prey drive, but has a very high food drive. Turned out to be a fussy eater, though
  • This bitch is fearless! She'll jump into any bush and to the edge of any cliff. She's like the honey badger. She don't give a shit.
I've started crate training her today (gulp!). In the next episode we'll find out if it was a success or a fail.

31 December, 2009

Goodbye 00's, hello 10's!

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN FINLAND AND SWEDEN.- Everyone's been wishing me a Happy New Year, but it's hard to think about just the year going by. Another DECADE has gone by. That's right; the 00's are gone and we enter a new decade, where we await new trends of music, fashion, technology, and retro styles that'll make people say 'Oh, that is sooo 2000's'.

Although this decade is not ending on a high note for the world, what with climate change and the global economic recession, I have to look back on the decade as the best one so far in my personal life. It was the decade of my 20's, the decade of the blog and the social networks, and the decade where I started making it out in the world on my own, far away from the family.

10 years ago I celebrated the Millenium in the most random place, (Fresnillo, Mexico) visiting a girlfriend I had at the time. I started this decade with no idea that I would meet friends that would spark my interest in Europe, finally end up visiting the Old World, and finally calling it home. I still remember thinking that if I ever travelled, it would be to South America; maybe Australia. I had no interest in Europe whatsoever. Ah, was I ever that young and naive?

I think it was in a Sam Harris book where I read that a large group of people in their 80's were surveyed and asked to rank the best decades of their life in order. The great majority answered that their best decade was their 70's, then their 60's, and so on... That gives me so much to look forward to. This last decade gave so many wonderful things, and I'm sad to see it go in a way, but I can't wait to see what's in store for the 2010's. I wonder if the Charleston will come back in the 20's.

Have a great New Year, everyone. And a great decade!


15 October, 2009

I've reached a new low

HELSINKI, FINLAND.- I apologize in advance if you this post is too technical for the musically illiterate.

I've recently discovered that my vocal range has gone down one whole note. My lowest note used to be an A (easiest to reach in the morning before my first coffee), which I was barely able to hold. Now I'm able to reach all the way down to a G, which makes those Pink Floyd songs a lot more fun to sing. Still works best before the morning coffee.

And now, to celebrate I'll be learning the Crash Test Dummies' legendary song Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm. That first 'Mmm' is indeed a low G.

I'm coming for you, Barry White!

12 October, 2009

The Weight Delusion

HELSINKI, FINLAND.- Back in my beautiful Finland after spending 4 weeks back in Mexico. And I have to say besides spending lots of quality time with my parents and seeing a few friends, this was a pretty uneventful visit.
I will say that I ate more Mexican food than I've ever eaten and by the end of the trip I felt like the fattest person on earth. But - oh surprise - I came back to realize I, in fact, had lost 200 grams.

Yes, that's right. I was in Mexico 4 weeks and I'm talking about my weight.

Move along now. Other blogs to see.


21 September, 2009

Viva Mexico!

PUEBLA, MEXICO.- It's been 20 days, more than halfway through my trip back to my homeland, and I've been missing Helsinki since day one.
Seeing my parents has been great, and it's been a much needed trip since my mom is ill, and my being here has really helped her out. My parents rarely go out anymore, but I've managed to take my mom out for several walks, the movies, a coffee, and took them both out to an Italian restaurant for their 26th Anniversary.

I've seen old friends, played with a couple of great bands, and eaten loads of Mexican food. At this point I should consider letting the airlines know about the extra weight I'm coming back with. Not to mention the loads of tequila that Mike and Tiina want me to bring back. At least they didn't ask for weed. I'm sure Mike got enough down in Colombia last week. Plus Mexican weed sucks; I've heard.

It was Mexican Independence Day! And I couldn't find anyone to party with. Yay! Had to watch the whole thing on TV. Oh well. Next year's the 200th Anniversary of our Independence. Maybe I'll have to come back for that one.

20 September, 2009

Stop Socialism in America! Sign the petition!

The Teabagger Socialist-Free Purity Pledge

I, ________________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:

I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.

I will complain about the destruction of my 2ndAmendment Rights in this country, while I am duly >being allowed to exercise my 2ndAmendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.

I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls. Also.

I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:

  • Social Security

  • Medicare/Medicaid

  • State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)

  • Police, Fire, and Emergency Services

  • US Postal Service

  • Roads and Highways

  • Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)

  • The US Railway System

  • Public Subways and Metro Systems

  • Public Bus and Lightrail Systems

  • Rest Areas on Highways

  • Sidewalks

  • All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., see Iowa 2009federal senate appropriations--http://grassley.senate.gov/issues/upload/Master-Approps-73109.pdf)

  • Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!)

  • Public and State Universities and Colleges

  • Public Primary and Secondary Schools

  • Sesame Street

  • Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children

  • Public Museums

  • Libraries

  • Public Parksand Beaches

  • State and National Parks

  • Public Zoos

  • Unemployment Insurance

  • Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services

  • Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, Stateor Federal Government (pretty much all of them)

  • Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)

  • Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)

  • Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking

  • Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies

  • Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies

  • If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care

I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist

locations, including but not limited to:

  • Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History

  • The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments

  • The government-operated Statue of Liberty

  • The Grand Canyon

  • The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials

  • The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery

  • All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, DC

I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided healthcare.

I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.

I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army.

I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.

Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.

Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I die.

SWORN ON A BIBLE AND SIGNED THIS DAY OF ____________ IN THE YEAR ______________.

___________________________ ___________________________

Signed Printed Name/Town and State

04 September, 2009

I am a Frankfurter

FRANKFURT, GERMANY.- It was 2005. Marillion was on tour, and I based my first trip to Europe on seeing Marillion in concert. My flight landed in Frankfurt, so the airport was the first thing I ever saw in Europe. Frankfurt is also the city where I met Marillion for the first time, and where they first kindly put me on a list so I could come see their show; after all, I did come all the way from Mexico just to see them.

Today I'm back in Frankfurt, and about to take my flight to Mexico City. I survived yet another RyanAir flight, and arrived in Frankfurt-Hahn airport. Now, the first part of the name is a bit misleading, since the airport is nowhere near Frankfurt, but eventually I got there and met up with my ex-girlfriend Veronika, (now married with 1.5 kids), whom I hadn't seen in 5 years. She was kind enough to pick me up from the bus stop and take me to Wiesbaden, where she lives. We spent several hours catching up, while I was (naturally) having a döner kebab, and said she'd probably have time to meet up on my way back. Hopefully next time I'll get to meet her little boy Freddie.

Yesterday I made 2 decisions, which could have gone very badly for me. First I took a taxi from Tampere to the airport, and now I'm sure that if I had taken a bus I would've missed my flight. And second, I decided to book a hotel room instead of sleeping in the airport, and now I'm glad I did. I need my rest, I'm not 21 anymore. AAAAAAH! I'm not 21 anymore!!!

Ok, I'm all done with my German breakfast. I did my best to keep it under 1000 calories. Mexico, here I come!

- Duke

29 August, 2009

Carlin Quote of the Day 1.6

'I wonder if a classical music composer ever intentionally composed a piano piece that was physically impossible to play, and then stuck it away in a trunk, to be found years after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy.'

- George Carlin

Musings from the center of an iron giant

TURKU HARBOUR, FINLAND.- From the desk of cabin number 6520 type I, Duke, this week's troubadour for the Viking M/S Isabella, a once glorious party vessel, now hideously overrun by old farts. Yeah, I ran out of poetic sounding terms at the end there. (Yes, party vessel IS poetic!) Thing's have not been terribly interesting lately, but I'm so incredibly bored that I just have to let it out on a blog post.
I've got 2 days left on this week's Isabella gig, plus 2 days in Helsinki to pack, buy souvenirs and do some last minute errands, and then it's off to the land tacos and mole for 4 weeks! They also have Domino's and Burger King which I'm really looking forward to as well. Yeah, yeah, it's not Mexican, but they don't have those in Finland.
Two more days of being completely ignored by tired, drunk, old people and I'll be free like healthcare in Canada. Oh, today's Saturday! So, it might not totally suck tonight.

Man, this was a boring post. But at least it was short. ;)

- Duke

03 August, 2009

4 more years!!

HELSINKI, FINLAND.- Back from the blogosphere grave! I've reached a new low in my personal blogging life; 2 months without so much as a paragraph, note, blurb, mental fart, Carlin quote or random musing. But at least I can celebrate my comeback with some good news. I received my new visa a few weeks ago. I was wondering if I'd just get it for one more year or a whopping three years for good behaviour - I got neither - or BOTH, come to think of it. FOUR more years of residency, courtesy of the Finnish Immigration office! Yay!
Four consecutive years of Finnish residency also means that the next visa will the big one; the permanent visa. Is this a good time to get more serious about learning the stupid language?


- Duke