Thursday, April 16, 2009

prague spring

Sorry it’s been so long, but the weather’s just been too damn nice to sit at home and write. Spring (now turned summer) came to Prague and was consummated with the requisite low-stakes poker game at the beer garden the Saturday before last:

Martha and I decided to see Obama together the following morning, so we’d have each other to blame for being late. After several pitfalls, misstarts and missteps, we got in by the skin of our teeth, just as HE was about to go on. Others were not so lucky:

Then they closed the security both in front and behind us, leaving about 50 trapped in a no man’s land between a string of metal detectors looking like high-tech exhibitionist port-a-potties ringing incessantly to the metal-laden crush of would-rather-not-be-no-man’s-landers, a 12th century castle wall, and the not-so-lucky above-pictured.

After about twenty minutes of pleading, they finally let us through to wild applause that wasn’t for us. It was a bit disorienting to see the American (and only) flag flying above Prague castle, but considering we didn’t actually have a government here then, I guess that made sense. It was our time, our moment indeed.

After the show, we met up with Greg and Mary at Luke’s Hotel Jozef for a fantastic and very healthful brunch! And then it was off in search of outdoor drinking while shouting ‘Obama’. From U Kotvy to O2, it was Election Day revisited in better weather. Mary was particularly patriotic... for a Canadian:

Obama must have said something to the Foreign Police while he was here, ‘cause on Monday, just before midnight, I got a call from the Czech consulate in New York telling me stop by and pick up my visa! I couldn’t believe it, so I checked the website that I check every day and sure enough, my number was the first in a series of hundreds. I guess she had a lot more calls to make. Weird.

So I’ll be back in New York on May 16th and will stay until the 1st of June. Orthodox mikeFEST!™ I guess. Plans are slowly coming together for mikeFEST!™ XXVII 2009 in Prague, kicking off exactly two weeks from today:

Travis came down from Berlin last Thursday and Casey and Matt were in town for Easter weekend:

And a pretty motley crüe gathered at Jirka’s out in Wet Dogs for Easter Sunday beach and barbecue:

I had been feeling sharp pain in my chest (left tit) for the past two weeks and was convinced that the fibrosis in my lung was worsening rapidly. It felt like I’d been shot with a shotgun. I’m now pretty sure that I just bruised my pec or cracked a rib while being dragged on the wrong side of the T-bar during that 20-minute long pull-up when skiing in the Alps. I’m much better now. Brain MRI on Monday... can’t wait ;-)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Hey! I’m not going to write much because you probably wouldn’t believe me, seeing how it’s April Fool’s and all! Last week, Damien and I are on the 22 tram from Tesco to Karlák and I have him buzz my phone. I answer in Czech and say (rather loudly, even for me), “I’m in the mountains! I can’t talk! I’m in the mountains! Bad signal! I won’t be back in Prague until Monday afternoon... at the earliest... depending on traffic. I’m in the mountains!”

The looks! The looks (and smell and feel) of pure hate I got from my fellow tram passengers! Seriously, try it. Try baldface lying in public in front of a large group of strangers who aren’t supposed to be listening to you. It’s amazing. I have never felt so terrible. Really a perverse rush. I finally had to explain to the entire tram that it was a ‘social experiment’ – I felt that bad. I couldn’t let them think that anyone could be that evil. I’m sitting this Fool’s Day out – I’ve had my fun already.

In the end, I did go to the mountains, the Alps of all mountains, for the weekend:

with Chris, Greg, Jack, Johnny and Pražák:

and kinda overdid it the first day. Given all my recent power dancing, I thought skiing would be a breeze. It wasn’t; and my legs completely gave out after a good eight hours. I still had a great time despite the occasional tangle (tango?) with the T-bar – long story short: I got dragged rather than 'lifted':

I actually skied a lot better when I was 14, much too much chagrin. But skiing is more about looking good than feeling good and no one looked more stylish than me with my glasses fashionably squashed into my (Greg’s) goggles:

And the nightlife was almost as demanding as the slopes, but we made it back to Prague alive and mostly intact – just in time for spring. I hear the beer garden is open.