San Francisco, the weird

Human Cats
Human Cats

Folsom Street Fair. Judging for the name, one would expect something completely different. If you have no idea what it is, ask Google Images (NSFW). I think I had never seen so many naked guys, not to mention bondage and whip demos, leather and latex, and all sorts of crazy stuff, in broad daylight, in a major city center.

The two women in the picture above were just hanging out there, acting like cats,  playing with toys. I so wished I’d had brought a laser pointer

Living with cash in Germany

I’ve been living in Cologne for two months, and there are some things that just don’t make sense. I visited Berlin two years ago and I don’t remember being that frustrated, so maybe all of this is specific to the region.

By Maximilian Schönherr via Wikimedia Commons
By Maximilian Schönherr via Wikimedia Commons

The public transport seems great: you can get anywhere, with frequent service, and they are very punctual and efficient (if you know where you are going). The problem is when you want to pay for it. I’ve read they’ve been discussing increasing the penalty fare, since there are so many fare dodgers.

Reading that you might think the Germans are dishonest, but the truth is half the times the touch screen just won’t work. Or it’ll work so bad that by the time you manage to get to the pay screen, you already arrived.

If the screen is working, the next handicap is having to pay with coins: 2.70€ per ride, 9.70€ for the 4-trip ticket. You probably don’t carry that amount in coins every day, but even if you do, more often than not it’ll demand the exact change. Even at 11am on a weekday.

You might see in the picture a slot to pay with card, but don’t be fooled: Visa/MasterCard are unheard of around here. They only accept their EC cards, so don’t think any of your other cards will work.

Speaking of cards, I went to an electronics store recently to buy some stuff, for a total over 100€. Guess what: only EC or cash.

I wonder what’s going on with Visa/MasterCard here.

Germany, take 2

Pretty much any band website, as seen from Germany
Pretty much any band website, as seen from Germany

Sorry for being repetitive, but let me get this straight:

Most bands host their videos on Youtube for free. And that’s not trivial, if you look at Green Day’s profile you can see 300M+ video views. That’s not easy or cheap to stream but hey, that’s why Youtube is there, right?

Now the bands assign distribution rights to record labels, which in turn rely on national organisations for international distribution. These guys from GEMA are so cool they don’t think a band deserves the right to play their own videos in their own website.

I thought the Spanish equivalent (SGAE) was crazy, but GEMA certainly raises the bar for copyright absurdity.

More on Wikipedia.