You know that cliche superpower question... If you could have any super power, what would it be?

For a while I have been thinking that my ideal superpower would be to speak all the languages of the world.

Last weekend I met a girl who is well on her way to doing just that... I was amazed.  At 21 years of age, she speaks 8 languages. All I could say was, "Whoa."

With that, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas in those 8 languages...

Merry Christmas
Feliz Navidad
Buone Feste Natalizie
Joyeux Noel
Froehliche Weihnachten
Zalig Kerstfeast
Veselé Vánoce
С Рождеством

Also, since I am still in Hungary, how about a little Hungarian!?

Boldog Karácsonyt to you all!

I am off to enjoy the beauty and neutrality of Switzerland!



I have the simplest tastes.

When I came to Debrecen, I bought a bike making it necessary to buy a bike lock.  I had a few options: A) piece of crap B) does the job C) the best.  I did what most would do and went with B - the one that does the job.  As temperatures dip to around -10C (or teen's F), this bike lock that "does the job" now freezes making me despairingly blow my warm breath into it like a crazy person in attempts to unlock it. Now, I am just waiting for the day that my mediocre key that fits into the mediocre lock breaks as I wiggle it around, and I have to walk my frozen ass home from wherever I may be.

As my numbing fingers were wiggling the key this afternoon, it became clear to me how much mediocre things suck.

Oscar Wilde said, "I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best."

Me too, Oscar...

When we invest in mediocre things, we set ourselves up for disappointment.  Whether it be a bit of money for a bike lock that "does the job," or a bit of time and energy for a job that is just "OK," upon our investment, we know that happiness and satisfaction is a gamble.

We can get away with settling for low quality when it comes to some things in life.  For instance, I bought a pretty sweet scarf for $1 at a flea market.  If I went out to some shop and invested in a mediocre scarf, I would always be wishing I had either gone to the flea market and find something for $1 or invest a bit more and go for the cashmere.

I realized the same is true for most aspects of life.  Great achievements aren't supposed to be easy - you have to invest.  So, when its time to invest next time, go for the big, beefy, well engineered bike lock and the cashmere scarf.  You'll be happy you did.



Do you like apples?

Tis the season... for latkes - a dish that I have had at least once a year for probably my entire life.

The only way to eat latkes is with applesauce.  The only apple sauce that this apple snob will eat is the homemade stuff.

The applesauce wasn't quite as good as what my mom's, but for that I blame the limited variety (and quality..) of apples available in Hungary.

Nevertheless, I surprised myself with my culinary finesse.

How bout them apples... (the ones simmering in the pot under the lid).



Shut up, thoughts!

Sitting and breathing is an art which is new to me.  It is a way to quiet your thoughts.  Many refer to it as meditation, but that intimidates people.  It intimidated me.  Others say it is praying to yourself.  But that doesn't work for me - praying involves thoughts.  The art of sitting, breathing and quieting thoughts is new to me.  Some argue that it takes a lifetime to 'master.'   Others, including me, say that there is no right, nor wrong, no good, nor bad when it comes to a meditation practice.  I think I have got a pretty good hold on it after just a few months of regular practice.  Why is there so much hype about sitting, breathing, and quieting your thoughts?  I was curious about this too, but the reason for the hype soon became clear to me.  Sitting, breathing, and quieting your thoughts fixes things.  It makes your life better.  Science continues to prove the benefits.

How is this possible?  I think that I have a short, sweet, and simple answer - Empowerment.  Being conscious of your ability to sit down, breathe, and quiet your thoughts at your own will gives a sense of self empowerment (What empowerment provides us is a whole other story, but in short, empowerment provides us anything we want).  Human beings are complicated and chaotic creatures.  Our complexity and chaos often causes stress.  Stress in my eyes is a broad term that defines anything that harms us - our bodies or souls.  Emotional harm, can lead to physical harm and vice versa.

If you don't meditate, you fit into one of three categories:

1 - "Meditation is 'weird'"
2 - "I don't have time to meditate"
3 - "I can't quiet my thoughts"

Resolution #1 - Meditation is not weird.
Resolution #2 - You do have time.
Resolution #3 - Slightly more difficult, but yes you can.

Now, I will leave you with a metaphor to help you if you have risen above reasons #1 and #2 for not meditating and find yourself having trouble quieting your thoughts...

Our breaths are like the waves in the ocean, our minds like the moon.  Thanks to our moon, our waves continue at a constant rate, breaking into the shore one after another.  Take a deep wave and let it crash completely.  Become aware of the ocean swells.  There is nothing that can stop these waves.  Fish (thoughts) can swim through them, surfers (noise) can ride them, but nothing inhibits their continuous cycle.



Is it reallly almost over?

I'm sorry for all of you people who are informed citizens and watch/listen/read news daily, but now I know just as much as you about 2010 in less than 3 minutes.  Thx, Google.



if there is one THING that i miss...

Its the fun between my legs.

FRAMED-Andi Wittmann Rider profile from Felix Urbauer on Vimeo.

But I prefer to keep the rubber on the ground.



A Perseverance Parable

There is a club in Berlin that gets a whole lot of hype.  Many describe it as being indescribable.  Others say its hands down the best club in Europe.  Either way, it is a huge 3 story warehouse filled with speakers and drugs along with crazy European deejays putting both to good use.

For a couple of techno deprived tourists, it seems like a place worth visiting.  Despite stories of the dreaded "dark room" where you can almost taste public sex, and stories of being turned around at the door due to the club's "selectivity" for no rhyme nor reason, it was 2:30AM on Saturday night, the prime time to give it a go.

The flashing lights and shaking walls are in site, and the vibrations seem to heat up the sub freezing air.  The only thing between the tourists and the techno is a quick queue and a few intimidating German guards.  

At the front they stand, all too vulnerable to the judgmental security armed with foreign language and questions alike.

Seconds pass as blank stares meet an outstretched arm pointing in the opposite directions.  Tonight just wasn't their night.

Along the walk of shame back toward the street, a couple of curious Germans inquire about the party within the shaking structure.  Jokes of the security guard judges were shared along with some laughs and a few swigs from a bottle.  Before they knew it, the tourists were marching their warmed souls back toward the doors equipped with smiles and confidence.

This time, it was to the right at the front of the line, towards the guard with a tattooed face and his two accomplices.  The new judging eyes met cool looks of confidences, and foreign questions received affirmative responses of "Yah."  

Seconds ticked away as the judgement continued.  

Finally... the wave of affirmation.

Sometimes you've just got to take a swig, find a new perspective, and give it another go.



A poor portrayal of tremendous travels

I left my footprints in two amazing European cities.  Prague and Berlin are in some way opposites, but both equally sensational.  The amazing architecture in Prague was left untouched throughout World War II, while Berlin has relatively recently been completely rebuilt around few standing monuments.  Although there are far too many wonderful experiences to fully share, I will attempt to summarize the highlights of my long weekend getaway into the beautiful winter wonderlands.

I reunited with Piero from Vienna who studies in Prague.  After a night filled with homemade piiiiiza, drinks, and dancing I attacked the city at full force in attempts to seeing it all during my one full day in Prague.

Prague Castle.

Snow capped Prague.

"Old" Prague.

View from Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge and Old Prague

Christmas time in Old Town Square

National Museum

Having left many sights unseen and many things undone in Prague, Piero and I hopped on a train early Friday morning and headed north to Berlin.

Christmas chaos at Alexanderplatz - I'm no grinch, but this wasn't my favorite part of the city.

Berlin was colllllld - like frozen river cold.

Berliner Dome.

Altes Museum

Brandenburger Tor

Holocaust memorial

Sure, all of the tourist attractions were great and must be seen.  Although I skipped out on many (the WALL!?) in order to experience some more of the 'underground' culture and art which was abundant and awesome.

A bunch of crappy crap, and some cool crap, at the Fleamarket in Mauerpark.

Both Prague and Berlin are definitely deserving of a return trip, maybe when the weather doesn't cause my joints to freeze stiff.




A lot to grasp...

But I dare you to try, because I don't want to lose you.