Thursday, June 12, 2008

C D Austrians

I am in Graz, Austria, as an invited guest of the Pfurtscheller lab. I have wanted to come here for over 10 years - as well as Albany and Tuebingen - because those are the three top BCI labs. I was flattered enough that they let me visit. I figured I would get maybe 5 minutes of face time with the big man. Instead, everyone has been quite generous with their time, which is all the more touching because I know these guys work hard. Quite a lot of people want to meet with them. They not only showed me their office, they also showed me their cool VR system and let me run a subject with my pet project, a hybrid BCI using both SSVEP and mu. Substantial discussion ensued about me working here. Novelty abounds.

I'd like to see some statistics on breast size across Europe. No, scratch that, I'd prefer raw data. I think the Dutch tower over all, but the Austrians are certainly above average. However, Austrian women, being formal and proper, all wear bras. I see the Austrians, but no seedy Austrians. I must get someone to translate my 'Let Freedom Ring' post into German.

But not Spanish. The Spaniards seem to need much less prodding to go topless, and I very much looked forward to this when I went to Spain. Ugh. Blech. When liberty clashes with decency, I usually prefer the former, but not with gramma feeling free in public. Breasts may be categorized according as eggs, lemons, oranges, or grapefruits. These are all fine. Even quail eggs - whole ones. If you might best be compared to broken eggs, or fried eggs, consider the serious hazards of skin cancer.

Europe has set itself ablaze with the Euro soccer championships, which occur once every four years. I first encountered this, quite accidentally, in 2000, when I was trying to get a hotel room in Florence and absolutely every hotel there, and in all the suburbs, and Bologna, were booked. I ended up spending the night in a McDonalds somewhere. This year, the event is hosted by Austria and Switzerland, and so the locals are completely mad. It turns out that Austria and Switzerland both have shitty soccer teams, and thus would never qualify, and so this is their only real shot in decades. Sadly, neither team has much chance. I saw the opening game - Austria vs. Croatia - and Austria lost. Then the next game was Germany vs. Poland. Are you kidding, I asked the bartender? No, he said, should be an old rivalry, huh? Yeah, sounds like a massive riot waiting to happen. Make sure the Germans don't try to sneak in a goal before the game officially starts.

I think they should schedule games along national rivalries more often. There would be more emotion, more exposed nerves, more bitterness, and thus the only thing that matters to the organizers, more money. I also saw portions of Greece vs. Sweden and Spain vs. Russia. Huh?! Aside from soccer, why do these nations hate each other?

Bremen had another huge soccer rally before I left, comparable to the one that so fascinated me when I first arrived there. The only difference was that last year, the foe was Hamburg (blue) and now it was Hannover (red). And also, once I saw the riot police, I immediately got as far away as possible. I was told that the Germans sent hundreds of their best riot police to the match against Poland at the request of the Poles. For fun, the reader can come up with some sarcastic comment this time, since I have too many.

I also must announce a far more terrifying rally in Bremen. There were lots of people wearing shirts or jackets with swastikas and fists. They were chanting, quite angrily, against a specific minority group of Germans only because they disagree with their political views. They advocated the extermination of this minority group. Doesn't this scare anyone else?!! Mark my words, the GegenNazis mean trouble. I know what Gegen means according to, but that is only the classic conventional definition. I think Gegen is a secret German word for Dart. Well, you may have fooled most of the world, but me n my 10 blog readers are watching you!!

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