No Samobor this weekend

Unfortunately the weather was too bad this weekend for us to visit Samobor and the over 170 year old Carneval (“fasnik”) festival. But, it’s ok. Samobor is really close to Zagreb, and as long as our friends are willing, we should get another change to go visit it.

Instead, we had a great lunch at our friends house, played Bela, and went out afterwards. It was nice, albeit, it’s still hard for me to get used to all the smoke everywhere. Bars here don’t have really good ventilation for that stuff. Sure, some bars in Philly are like that, and Philly hasn’t outlawed smoking indoors, but there’s much better ventilation.

Dinko and I are fortunate to have our friends and family offer to cook us lunches. It’s really great, but I feel bad that we can’t exactly return the favor in the same way. Our apartment and kitchen is too small to cook for four and we only have seating for 2. We’ll work something out to return the favor though 🙂

Imagining you’re in a movie

I’m a huge movie fan. I’m not a movie expert, just a fan. Movies to me are like books to my boyfriend. Sure, I like to read, but I’m so damn picky about what kinds of books. I get bored with books easily. Perhaps TV growing up has killed my attention span for things that need concentrating like reading. Who knows.

I fully immerse myself in the movies that I watch. While watching, many times I start to feel like I’m really part of the story. Just standing by observing and feeling all the emotions of the characters as well as my own. I’m sure a lot of people do this, especially with really well done movies that they enjoy.

Perhaps this love of movies is what makes me sometimes feel like I’m in one. Ever since I was young, there have been brief moments in my life where I “felt” like I was in a movie and some how not in real life. No, it’s not some crazy way to remove myself for tense situations–it’s just the ability for your mind to briefly remove itself form reality. Daydreaming, I suppose.

For instance, last week I was walking down the street in Zagreb, on my way to the tourist center to pick up some brochures (in English this time 😉 Now, everyone thinks all the time. When you are walking alone or quietly somewhere, your thoughts run a mile a minute and most times you aren’t really concious of that. You just think, and think, and think, and hold conversations with yourself in your head, etc. But for me, sometimes I feel like I’m in a movie.

So, while walking my thoughts about the day and the week, etc drift away. The outside noise starts to mimick something of a soundtrack and I feel like I’m the main character in some transitional portion of a film. Where the character is usually travelling somewhere and is either amazed by their surroundings or in deep thought and retrospection about their life.

I’m not actually amazed by my surrounds or in retrospect of some great event in my life, but that’s what I imagine my “character” as doing. The moment where I feel like I’m in a movie is brief, usually interrupted by the jolt of the tram, a bumping of a passerby, car horns, the like.

It’s a really interesting and enjoyable thing that happens to me. It can sometimes remind me of Selma in Dancer in the Dark. She hears music everywhere she goes. The noises of the day make wonderful music and she imagines herself in a musical. Mine is much simpler and I don’t start “acting” in it 😉

When I told this to my boyfriend, he said that I was weird and there’s no one else out there that does this. I beg to differ. I think there are lots of people who have experienced this and I might spend some time searching other blogs to find out, hehehe. There’s NEVER only one person that does something. There are too many people in the world for that to happen.

Don’t Click It

Can you resist the urge to click? The Institute of Interaction Research has built a new website that uses a different kind of navigation. It’s an interesting exploration that defies the ordinary web interactions, but I don’t find it revolutionary. See for yourself:

This exploration got me to thinking though. Can we really get rid of the “click”? Is gestural navigation a better replacement? What are the challenges that we will face by using gestural navigation over traditional interaction? There are many and I hope to explore this further.

Lots of construction in Zagreb

There’s a lot of construction going on in Zagreb. I pass 6 active construction for houses on my 15-min walk from the main street (where the grocery store is) to the top of the hill (where our apartment is). Not only is there a lot of active construction going on, but there’s a lot of stagnant construction as well.

There are many unfinished churches and houses in and around the city. I suppose people run out of money.

Big superstores are gaining a lot of popularity in Zagreb. In comparison to the U.S. these stores resemble regular-sized grocery stores. So from U.S.-standards, they’re not really big, but the normal grocery stores in the city are very, very small. They are often the size of a poorly arranged WaWa, but with less convenience 😉

There’s a big superstore, Kaufland, opening up behind our friend’s apartment in the East part of town. Unfortunately I don’t know what kind of store it is because the website is only in German, but we shall soon find out.

Z’nuff for now.

First language test

I took my first language test today. It was mostly a written test to judge how much I know of the language before they build a course for me. Apparently I know quite a bit. I have to cover a few things in level one before moving on to level two. I had some problems with cases, particularly the genetive case, and i didn’t know some words. But all in all I can read and understand very well for never being instructed. Eight years of listening to the language off and on and a few self-learning books helped me with that, ha ha ha.

I started my classes on Friday and will continue them twice a week for 8 weeks. Soon I’ll be fluent–yeah right!

Walking is dangerous

Today I went for a nice long walk. I walked to the main square in Zagreb to stop by the tourist center in hopes of finding a pamphlet on walking tours in English. The last one I picked up on Sljeme was in German. Unfortunately they didn’t have any so I’ll have to go back to Sljeme for the English one.

Walking in the city is dangerous. Sidewalks are not for walking. They are for cars to park on and dogs to shit on. If you squeeze by the cars, your likely to step in dog shit. If you walk in the street, you’re likely to get hit. Ah. Se la vie!

I’m so frustrated with the cars on the sidewalk. I don’t understand why people are allowed to park like that. You see old ladies walking home in the middle of the road on a busy street, because they can’t get by on the sidewalk. I did a little search online about “cars on the sidewalk” thinking this was a European thing and I’d find a lot more people from Europe frustrated. But I was wrong. The second and fourth results were articles in Philly sources bitching about parking on the sidewalk. Heh. Imagine that.

Cars parked on sidewalk in NL – PhillyBlog

Get your damn car off the sidewalk – Citypaper

I don’t know why Philly is complaining. They ain’t seen real sidewalk parking yet. Picture to come soon…