Tag Archives: Health

Video: When Spring Arrives, Germans Appear As If By Magic

After an extended winter, spring has apparently arrived in Hannover, Germany (even though it has been snowing balls since I wrote this post). I recorded this short video on April 7th, 2013, when tons of Germans came out to the Maschsee to drink some beer before wandering over to the AWD Arena to watch the Hannover 96 play against VfB Stuttgart. (And I have no idea who won because — try as I might — I just don’t care.)

Usually, when I jog around the Maschsee in the morning, its like a ghost town. No one around but me, a German or two and a couple of filthy geese. But when the sun comes out? Oh, it’s party time. Check it out.

(NOTE: If you’re wondering about that grunting noise at the end, it’s me lifting the camera up with my tiny little T-Rex arms.)

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Video: American Man Grudgingly Jogs Around the Hannover Maschsee in Germany

Jogging sucks. You know it, and I know it. Even professional athletes and marathon runners know it; they just won’t admit it.

Every stride is a test. Every thundering heartbeat, every burning lungful of air, every aching muscle and swollen joint is a lesson in willpower. Your mind whispers conspiratorially, “You know, we could make this end right now. We could stop this pain if we wanted to. We can run for real tomorrow; let’s just walk today. Walking is good enough, right?” And then some ancient German granny in spandex totally dusts you, and you think, “Not today, Raisin Wrinkles. I’m not losing this race to the old witch from Hansel and Gretel.”

And if you’re me, you pull out your iPhone and start filming things while you jog. Here is a video of me jogging around the Maschsee in Hannover, Germany. The circumference of the Maschsee is 6.3 km, or 3.9 miles. Pretty hard, for a terrible jogger like me. It’s even harder when I’m holding my iPhone out in front of me and talking at the same time. I got a lot of funny looks from the Germans I passed, but I ignored them all because I was too busy trying not to hurl.

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Denglish 66: My German Wife Is Violently Proud of Her Salad Dressing

My wife and have fun in the kitchen, like when we wage pizza wars, eat fat or narrowly survive food poisoning. And we’re pretty healthy eaters, generally speaking. We make spinach salads almost every night, upon which we pour a little bit of our homemade honey mustard dressing. I think our dressing is pretty good, buy my German wife loves it. She loves it so much, she compares it to all other salad dressings we encounter. Like that time back in the spring of 2011, when my wife took me out to dinner at Jake’s Grill in SE Portland, Oregon, for my birthday. As we were leaving the restaurant, my wife casually stated…

THE WIFE: “Their salad dressing was lame. I expected fireworks in my mouth. Our dressing kicks balls.”

Click here to learn more about the term “Denglish.”

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Denglish 56: My German Wife’s Well-Intentioned Fitness Goals

My wife and I are fairly healthy people and we like to keep ourselves in shape. However, before we were married, my wife came to live with me while teaching primary school in the United States for a year; a 12-month span in which spare time became one hell of a valuable commodity. Between the two of us working full-time, planning our marriage, sharing one car, preparing our lunches in advance each evening, my German classes and her doctorate degree research, our exercise options were pretty much limited to joining a fitness club, where we hoped the financial commitment would guilt us into lifting something heavier than our totally awesome beer steins.

So, The Wife and I went back and forth over the issue of jogging around the neighborhood for free, or paying money to sweat it out with a bunch of grunting Philistines. My wife articulated her point thusly:

THE WIFE: “I really like the idea of gym membership right now because I wanna work out with you and then we both look incredible and feel healthy as shit!”

Click here to learn more about the term “Denglish.”

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New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part IV

New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Voliting in New York City

It took the remaining 5 days of our time in New York City to recover from our illness, but we managed to have a wonderful time and will remember it for the rest of our lives. I’m almost grateful for those long nights of trial and pain, because they were an incredible milestone in our relationship. They brought my wife and I closer together than ever before, and showed us just how thoroughly we can rely upon one another.

To this day, we have no idea what made us so sick; maybe it was food poisoning from that prosciutto pizza in Little Italy, or maybe we caught a stomach flu from that same hostel guest who boiled his potatoes inside the teapot. We welcome your diagnoses, dear readers, and we thank you for reading our story.

Here are a few of the pictures my wife took during our trip. I think they’re awesome, and I hope you do too.

Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part IV
Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part III
Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part II
Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part I

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New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part III

New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Voliting in New York City

Central Park in winter, 2010

Nausea and freezing temperatures in Central Park

After sleeping most of the day, we finally ventured back into Manhattan, where we visited Central Park, took dozens of pictures and ate dinner at an Irish Pub on the Upper West Side — and by “ate dinner,” I mean my wife had exactly 3 bites of broccoli cheese soup and one sip of beer. (The only thing she could stomach was a near-lethal dose of Imodium). This may seem like a lot of activity given my wife’s weakened state, but trust me when I say this woman is tough. Tough as balls. Big, swinging, cast-iron, German balls. She had a great time that day, and except for the sunken cheeks and dark bags under her eyes, you’d never guess she spent the previous night filling our toilet bowl full of wet cheese and trichinosis.

Our bed, after that incredible first night. Oh God.

My wife feels queasy just looking at this picture.

We returned to our hostel room and tried to watch Shrek Forever After on my laptop, but fell promptly to sleep because Shrek sucks. When we woke from our nap, it had been roughly 24 hours since our meal in Little Italy, and that was when I felt the first tugs of sickness in my stomach. I was soon nauseous, bloated and weak, yet foolishly optimistic about my chances of escaping the nightmare to which my wife had so spectacularly succumbed. Still, we took the L Train back into Manhattan and met one of my old art school buddies at a little dive bar in the Lower East Side.

The bar was small, dark and the jukebox played nothing but death metal. To be fair, everything sounded like death metal to me; I was deathly pale, my abdomen was full of gas and I had a headache. My physical state was declining so rapidly I was unable to finish my beer (this has never happened to me before in my entire life). At one point, my wife took a picture of my friend and I hunched over the bar, and a desperate mantra began cycling through my mind while I waited for the flash — “Ohgodhurryup, ohgodhurryup, ohgodhurryup…” The moment that flash went off, I jumped off of my barstool, sprinted to the men’s room and projectile vomited so violently I hurt my back. Now, I’ve seen the photograph my wife took just before I hurled, and if I hadn’t been there in person, I would have sworn that picture was taken of my good good college friend sitting beside Milkface the Dying Oregonian.

The Wife and I excused ourselves for the evening and headed back to Brooklyn, and it was there, in the shared bathroom of our hostel, where I found religion. I am not a religious man — never have been — but that night I prayed to God. I prayed real good. Every 30 minutes, in fact, while peering deep into that porcelain void, I begged God to make it stop. But God did not answer my prayers. Instead, he decided I should start throwing up while loading my shorts at the same time. And just like my wife, I was purging my ungrateful soul out of both ends. I soiled 4 pairs of boxer shorts that night, which I angrily stuffed into the bathroom garbage can. (My wife actually went so far as to wash her panties and keep them, and she even tried to wash mine the next day, but they’d already been taken elsewhere by the cleaners.) I took 3 showers that night, brushed my teeth 4 times and changed into every last set of clothing I’d packed. Sometimes, a second or two after emerging clean and hopeful from a shower, I would vomit and spray diarrhea down my legs, sigh, and return to the shower once more. I don’t know what crime I committed in my past life to deserve this torment, but it must have been spectacular.

Toward the early hours of the morning, after I’d long since graduated to dry heaves so vicious they burst the blood vessels in my eyes, I somehow, mercifully, fell asleep. I rested for 45 minutes before jerking wide awake, instantly aware of the fact that I’d just shat the bed. I waddled to the bathroom and cleaned myself up while my wife removed the soiled sheets, cleaned the bedspread and covered it with clean towels. I returned to our room a broken man: pale, weak, shivering and ashamed. I was about as appealing as a bag full of smashed assholes. But my wife gathered me up in her arms and laid me down. She spooned me and held a warm water bottle to my stomach. She was amazing, and she proved to me for the millionth time why she is the love of my life.

Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part IV
Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part III
Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part II
Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part I

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New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part II

New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Voliting in New York City

Italian American Museum Manhattan New York

“TAXI! TA–fine… didn’t want a ride from you anyway.”

It was day 2 of our New York City trip when we ventured into Little Italy. We walked, talked and snapped pictures of everything — even taxi cabs hauling ass in front of the Italian American Museum, apparently. We even enjoyed a gigantic thermos full of coffee, which I promptly spiked with whiskey, deeming it my “Manhattan Booty Juice.”

We had a wonderful time in Little Italy, like a montage from a 1980′s romantic comedy — all laughter, permed hair and sporadic food fights in curiously tolerant eating establishments. It was a wonderful time, that is, until we ordered a pizza.

Mulberry Street in Little Italy, New York City

Please don’t put a severed horse head in our bedsheets, oh kind and blog-loving Italian restaurateurs!

Now, I’m not necessarily blaming that restaurant in Little Italy with the huge red banners and awnings on Mulberry Street, but my wife began her nightmare sojourn through the 7th Sphere of Hell exactly 4 hours after eating there. Also, I am compelled — compelled, I say — to mention the prosciutto on her pizza tasted a bit… off. Now, I love eating dead pig parts — hell, I take a bacon bath every Thursday night — but this stuff didn’t taste like dry-cured ham at all. It tasted like thinly sliced Gorgon meat.

Later that evening, as we were riding the A train back to Brooklyn, my wife started pawing at the lining of her coat — like, compulsively — in a way which let me know something bad was about to happen. She jumped off the train at the next stop, sprinted to the nearest garbage can and threw up so violently her back arched with each heave like a greyhound bent over a mailbox.

My heart went out to her, because we all know just how badly this sucks. I helped guide her back onto the train and we rode to our stop at Nostrand Avenue. We barely made it back to our hostel and up the stairs before my wife fired prosciutto goo all over the communal bathroom. Toilet, sink, walls, floor — she hosed that bathroom down like it was on fire. Do you know the difference between regular vomiting and projectile vomiting? Regular vomiting sucks. Projectile vomiting is amazing.

My wife’s torment continued throughout the night. She threw up every 30 minutes, and her nausea was soon coupled with explosive diarrhea. The poor dear was rooster tailing out of both ends, soiling her clothes and the bathroom floor simultaneously. Normally I would congratulate this sort of behavior with a high-five and a slap on the ass, (maybe even take a picture to show our future children), but this time I was just plain worried. And adding guilt to my worry, as I would later find out, she’d been cleaning up her own mess each time it happened rather than asking me for help. On top of all of this… she looked bad. Like, The Walking Dead bad. I wasn’t sure if I should call an ambulance, try and get her to an emergency room myself or just keep holding the hot water bottle against her stomach while stroking flakes of dried yack out of her hair. I kept telling her it was just food poisoning and would run its course after about 4 hours, doing my best to channel the prestigious medical degree I totally don’t have. But hey, blind assurances were surely more appreciated than the hysterical meltdown I was experiencing inside. All told, it was one of the longest, most stressful nights we’ve ever shared, and it didn’t end until we both passed out at dawn.

We slept most of the next day, finally waking in the late afternoon. My wife was predictably weak as she emerged from the bunk beds, shivering like a newborn faun trying to stand in a pool of amniotic fluid. And you know how almost nothing but a few random food items sound good when you’ve spent the last night purging yourself right down to your very essence? My wife had almost no appetite except for two specific things: Coca-Cola Classic and Nabisco saltine crackers. I’m thinking she was severely dehydrated and her body needed to replenish its essential salts, and I know this because I went to art school.

Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part IV
Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part III
Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part II
Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part I

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New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part I

New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Voliting in New York City

In December of 2010, The Wife and I met up in New York City for a 10-day liaison; she flew in from Frankfurt, Germany, and I came from Portland, Oregon. By some miracle, both our flights and our luggage arrived on time, thus launching an epic saga of romance and sickness so powerful neither of us will ever forget it. Ever.

Packing for my flight to New York City

The essentials: 3D glasses, half-gallon of vodka, jug of cranberry juice and a copy of The Hunger Games.

We stayed in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, and if you’ve ever lived in Brooklyn, you should be ashamed of yourself for failing to warn us about this place. At one point during our trip, we told a bartender in the Lower East Side we were staying in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and he shuddered visibly, peering nervously over each shoulder. “Bedstock…” he whispered, filling two shot glasses with rye. “These are on the house.”

New York hostel street view Nostrand

"Not so scary in the daylight, ARE you, Bedstock."

Bedstock, or “Bed-Stuy,” can be seen in just about every Spike Lee movie ever made, and is home to such hip hop superstars as Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., Mos Def and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Though it is being swiftly and inevitably gentrified, Bed-Stuy can make one hell of an initial impression upon two white people who just stumbled off the A Train.

We arrived late at night in the pounding rain, huddled together like a pair of tiny stars in a sky full of midnight. But to be honest with you, no one seemed terribly impressed with us. In fact, the locals seemed to disregard our physical presence entirely, which is one of the things I like most about visiting New York City — the ability to lose one’s self in a quagmire of anonymity and thinly veiled contempt.

We stayed in the very heart of Bedstock, in a tiny hostel called 272 Putnam. Though we had our own room, the walls were paper thin, so the other hostel guests were privy to every sound we made — and you know exactly what I’m talking about here, dear readers. Our fellow travelers received an audio feast rich with safewords (ours was “banana”) and German expletives muffled by an orange ball-gag with a smiley face drawn on it. Just kidding! It was a frowny face.

Inexplicably, the private hostel room, which we’d specified was for just the two of us, contained two bunk beds:

Our bunk beds in the hostel in New York City

Figure 1: How we found them.

Bunk beds pushed together in a private hostel room

Figure 2: How we arranged them.

The space was incredibly cramped, but we pushed the beds together anyway, forming a cozy little love-cage with no practical entrances or exits. Notice the crossbeam in Figure 2, hovering innocently at pubic level. Sliding beneath it required a new limbo world record and carried a 75% chance of paralysis, so I generally opted to climb over. Whenever I needed a glass of water in the middle of the night, I would toss one leg up and over, extending my toes toward the floor, and slap that Godforsaken crossbeam with my pendulous nutsack. (Have you ever thrown a pair of seedless grapes at a stop sign? Me neither, but I bet it makes the exact same sound.) I would then crumple to the floor and assume a fetal position until my wife noticed I was still in the room. “Honey?” she called, peering down at me. “I thought you were getting some—are you crying?

Our room came with another interesting feature: the saddest house plant on the Eastern Seaboard. I think our hosts were attempting to enliven our room when they placed it on top of the mini fridge, but my wife and I died a little inside each time we looked at it.

“What should we name our house plant?” I asked.
Horst,”  replied my wife, without the slightest bit of hesitation.

Hostel room mini fridge, vodka and Horts the house plant

Horst was a total drunk.

Horst is probably dead by now, but I want him to know, although he failed to improve our hostel room’s prison cell aesthetic in the slightest, we greatly appreciated laughing at his expense. Oh, and I’m really sorry for pouring the watery remains of all my vodka cranberry drinks into his flower pot. That’s probably why he’s dead.

New York Hostel building Putnam Brooklyn

272 Putnam... where worlds collide.

An interesting feature of the hostel overall (or any hostel, ever) was the clientele. Each guest had flown in from a different part of the world: France, Japan, England, Germany, Kenya… and we all had our cultural idiosyncrasies. For example, when I tried to make tea in the shared kitchen area, I discovered someone (I’m looking at you, Kenya) had diced up red potatoes with herbs and boiled them inside the tea kettle. Inside it! So instead of chamomile, my wife watched in confusion as I filled her mug with starchy cubes of retardation.

To be fair, 272 Putnam is a great hostel; it enjoys a fantastic reputation, charges very low rates, and the owners are extremely accommodating. The Wife and I just needed a little privacy, which is exactly what hostels tend not to provide. And on a side note, I would like to stay in a proper hotel next time so I can avoid sterilizing myself while making a hasty exit from bunk beds engineered by the Antichrist.

Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part IV
Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part III
Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part II
Click here to read New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part I

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