I did take pictures in Cologne but it was with my 35mm. I’ll get them developed this weekend at a black and white photo course I’m taking. Hopefully I won’t fuck them up when I develop them. I’ve never developed BW film before. I know I’m taking a risk but I’m doing it for art man, dig? Dude you gonna pass that or what?

Like any big Mac geek I watched the Steve Jobs Macworld keynote speech{link updated} live via Quicktime stream today. Two interesting things: The iPod mini (I cannot say that without putting my pinkie finger in the corner of my mouth) is cool but still too expensive. The mini (there goes the pinkie) is only 50 bucks cheaper than the 15gig full size iPod. Lame. However due to the €-$ exchange rate if I had someone buy me the 15gig in the US and send it to me then I would be paying a lot less than it would cost here. Hmmm.

The other thing Apple released today that is really really cool is a new program in their iLife suite and that is Garage Band. It is a program that allows the user to produce, record and mix their own music. There are great synth sounds, loops, amp modeling, export to iTunes…. The demo in the stream linked above is really interesting. This is by no means a professional system but it is a great tool for anybody learning to play an instrument. If you have a USB or MIDI keyboard you can record midi and assign it to any of the synth sounds. You can play along with a guitar, record it, make up solos, overdubs. If they would have had this when I was learning to play as a kid, things may have been a lot different. OMG, if I was a music teacher I would jump all over this program. Compose music that sounds cool and that focuses on a certain lesson theme like major/minor scales or chords, burn it to CD and give it to my student and have him or her practice to it. I think it be more motivating because it sounds good and not like the cheesy old MIDI crap from back in the day that always came with the Mel Bay guitar books. Like I said it is not a professional tool although If I was a musician on the road it would be great for getting down those spur of the moment ideas in the bus. Of course having some talent is important. There are going to be some users making horrible sounding shit, But it lead some people, especially kids, to discover talent they didn’t even know they had. That’s why I really like Apple’s products; because it enables people to create and express themselves who ordinarily wouldn’t in this fashion. And if Apple made it then it is probably very easy to learn because all of their products are so intuitive.

That’s so cool.

Bush in 30 Seconds is a political advertising contest sponsored by moveon.org. Over 2000 videos were submitted and voted upon by people just like you and I.

From the site:

“The winning entry, or derivative work of said entry, will be aired as part of a television advertising campaign funded by Sponsor. The ad will be aired during the week of the 2004 President’s State Of The Union Address (time and placement of airing shall be at the sole discretion of Sponsor).”

The viewer voting is done and now it is up to the judges to decide on the 15 finalists. The 15 finalists are really good. Please check them out. Quicktime required.

Chillmost calls the shots here, capich?

Well well. It seems somebody at the NYTimes is reading Chillmost.com. In an earlier entry here at Chillmost, there was a story about a mob shootout up in East Harlem. I called bullshit because there was nobody in the whole story called “Fat Tony”. It doesn’t matter if he was directly involved or not. There has to be a reference to at least one wiseguy who is know as Fat Tony.

I’m pleased to say that journalistic integrity has won out and that Corey “The Kill-again Kid” Kilgannon and Vincent “Vinny No Knuckles” Mallozzi have, shall we say, heard the voice of reason, and written a related article (free reg required) in today’s NYTimes. And whadaya know? Bottom of the 2nd paragraph.


So Silvester in Köln (Cologne) was a lot of fun. we booked the whole thing a day before we left. When we went into the travel agency and asked to go somewhere warm, they almost laughed us right out of the store. So we got one of the last little packages to Köln instead. Not warm by any means but still fun and a good getting away.

We stayed at the Jolly Hotel in the Media Park. It is an italian hotel chain and it was interesting. Almost all the staff was Italian and I think they were the interns and trainees. All the super professional hotel staff may have been on vacation somewhere. I don’t really know much about Italian culture but the impression I got from my Italian hosts was that it might be very… laid back. Prego!

On new year’s eve we ate a huge 5 course meal at the hotel. It was very good. M and I were the youngest people there by far. So we didn’t stick around for the glass of sekt or the big surprise, which was…duh…fireworks. We tried to get to the bridge that overlooks Köln that stretches between the Dom (Cathedral) and The Köln Messe (Convention Center). We didn’t get there in time because it was so crowded and it was probably too dangerous. There were fireworks everywhere, flying everywhere, exploding everywhere. Lots of people shooting pistols into the air. lots of out of control roman candles and other projectiles. At the entrance to the bridge there was a huge square filled with people all trying to blow each other up. So we got stuck here and enjoyed the show. It was a lot of fun. Some pictures courtesy of www.express.de

After that we went to an Irish pub and then another and then another. There are 9 Irish pubs in Köln and we visited them all during our trip. The type of beer brewed in the Köln area is known as “Kölsch”. I’m not sure what makes it different from say, a Pils, but it is very good. We also had lots of good food. Italian, Spanish, Thai. At the tai restaurant we ordered an appetizer and before it came, the waiter brought us little plates with sauces and another dish with some colorful looking fruit sauce. M and I both had no clue what it was. It looked kind of gelatinous with tiny chunks of fruit in it. Hmm. I looked around to see if anybody else had any. Nope. So I put my finger in it and dabbed a little sauce on and licked it. Ahhhh! It was Sterno Fuel! As soon as I tasted it I knew. I wanted to spit it out immediately but I didn’t have to make a discreet little spit into a napkin. I wanted to totally yack and wash my mouth out so I excused myself to the toilet. It tasted so bad. After I got back from the toilet the waiter came to the table and lit the pink sauce and it promptly became a huge towering inferno of appetizer-warming flame. I felt slightly embarrassed to say the least. I’ve had Thai foods a million times and I’ve never had to warm my appetizer. Maybe it was Köln thing. They were actually already warm so I just ignored the flame. Thanks for the warning waiter-guy.

Overall Köln is cool. It has a big multi-kulti population and it has lots to do. It was pretty damn cold when we were there. It is probably better in the summer. It is definitely more expensive than Hamburg. The beer was too small and overpriced. Other than that I highly recommend it to the Griswalds on their next European vacation.