A Rozy View on Life

I am John Rozelle, hear me ROAR like a dinosaur!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Am I Any Better?

[Perhaps it would be best to preface this entry with a post that was previously written, entitled "To Hammock (When a good thing goes bad)" posted in April 2006. "Am I Any Better" will make more sense in light of that entry.]

This is a view that I witnessed in the town of Dubrovnik.

If you can't quite see what we're looking at, let's take a closer look.

Still not sure? Let's just go ahead and zoom in a little further. That is correct, it is a pigeon.

This is very similar to the sight I saw from my balcony while I was hammocking ("To Hammock: When a good thing goes bad"). Except this time I was positioned above the pigeon. Previously, the pigeon had been positioned as the picture above represents, and proceeded to relieve itself on me.

This time I had the higher ground and a chance for payback. Put yourself in my shoes. My hammocking excursion had been thwarted my multiple pigeon efforts. They took advantage of their higher ground and ruined my hammocking pleasure. Now this pigeon, which (from my perspective) represented all that is pigeondom, sat there, unaware of his foe that lurked above.

I must admit my adolescent desire for revenge. Perhaps relieving myself on this little pigeon would not make a wrong right, but somewhere deep down inside would grin heartily. Somewhat shamefully (in hindsight) I pondered this divine retribution. Fortunately for the pigeon (and the pride of my family-although the pride of my family may have already diminished from the thought and admitance of my desire for vengeance) Taylor acted as my voice of reason.

As she stood there contemplating the reason for my childish laughter, she inquired to cause of my mirth. As I related my immature musings, she shamefully rebuked me in personal embarrassment. I considered her counsel and realized that this was neither the time nor the place for revenge, and perhaps not even the proper method.

In conclusion, I fear that in regard to motive and desire, I am no better than the pigeon. In regard to actual response (ignoring circumstance and presence of wise counsel) my actions could lead one to the belief that, indeed, I am better than the pigeon. You be the judge.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Smoking: not just for amateurs

One thing I have noticed in Croatia is the commitment level of most smokers. Smoking is not just a hobby, but an activity that requires dedication and determination. Personally, I have not witnessed a plethora of multi-tasking in Croatia, but while on the island of Lopud I witnessed something that will not soon leave my memory. I observed perhaps the most committed smoker I have ever seen. This man, let's call him Zlatko (mainly because it's just more fun and makes it more personal), was very perseverant in his desire to smoke while working. Interesting thing though, his work consisted of pushing a wheelbarrow. Now, I would assume that a person who was smoking while pushing a wheel barrow would choose to pull the "I'll just keep the cigarette in my mouth the whole time and look like a tough guy" method. Not Zlatko. Zlatko chose the "I'll smoke my cigarette with one hand and balance the wheel barrow with one hand" method. This truly was a tremendous feat. Zlatko, you impress me with your commitment to smoking and ability to balance a wheel barrow while pushing it with only one hand.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Rodeo Clown

Look with awe and amazement at the stupendous playground equipment the country of Croatia provides for their children (and foreigners).

Round 1: The Horse
[Although front-to-back stability on the horse is moderate, side-to-side stability is lacking.]

(As you probably guessed, I didn't quite make it for the full 8 seconds.)

Round 2: The Tire
[Not only is front-to-back and side-to-side stability lacking, the tire rotates, causing an even more challenging rodeo experience.]

This Tire-Bronco did buck me off a ways (pretty good distance, huh), but being the tough cowboy I am, I got up and carried on with my normal routine.
Cowboy up.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Knock Knock. Who's There?

So there I was, sitting in the living room, checking my email and listening to Audioslave (they're a good rock band). When all of the sudden the doorbell rang. Now, this is in and of itself not an out of the ordinary experience, but what followed was clearly not ordinary.
I opened the door and looked out into the dark hallway to see no one. So my eyes searched the premises to find the fantom ringer. To my surprise, I found a woman (probably in her late 30's-early 40's), crouched to side of my door. Her position resembled that of a catcher in baseball. She sat with her head held in her hands, saying nothing.
"Perhaps this woman is drunk and needing somewhere to sober up," I thought to myself. "Or perhaps she is begging for money." As I stood there looking at her, I expected her to initiate conversation, since she was the one who rang my doorbell. This did not occur, so being the communication major that I am, asked her if she spoke English. (Using my skills of deduction, I reasoned that attempting to conversate in Croatian would be short-lived and inefficient). She said, "Ne.....ne...ne," which means "No.....no...no" This was followed by a few other words which were indistinguisable.
"Do you need something?" I asked. No response.
I stood there, wondering who she was and why she was at my doorstep.
Then, after a moment (perhpas longer), she stood up, turned toward me and attempted to enter my living quarters. Needless to say, this caught me by surprise. I stood my ground, as any 25 year old man would when a 40 year old woman tries to come into his apartment, and grabbed her arm saying, "Excuse me.....No." Then she grabbed me by the throat and started yelling at me. Ok, just kidding about the throat and yelling-I thought that would spice things up a little bit. (I partially attribute my willingness to stand firm to listening to rock music. Had I been listening to easy Jazz, perhaps the outcome would have been different). After stopping her and telling her no, she returned to her previous position squatting next to the door.
My adrenaline pumping (the proper response of anyone having just confronted a 40 year old woman), I stood there looking at her, trying to make sense of these circumstances. This lasted a few moments, as I pondered a proper response. "Do I prepare myself to be more forceful if she tries to come in again? Is she in need of something and should I help her? What could I do to help her? Maybe she thinks she has finally found her long-lost American son." (I quickly ruled out the last one-she didn't really seem all that happy to see me.)
"Do you need something?" I asked. "...........Can I help you with something?" Again, she sat there, head in her hands. No response. So I stood there once again, pondering my next move. "Maybe I should just shut the door and leave her on the doorstep. That's kinda weird, but I really don't know what else to do."
Soon, she stood up once again. She walked to the stairway and proceeded to walk downstairs as if nothing had happened. Her movements did not convey signs of someone who had been drinking and the purpose of her visit remains a mystery.

Friday, May 12, 2006

One down, some more to go

This year in Croatia has consisted of many "firsts" for me. This year I have eaten my first salad, purchased a sweater, opened a foreign bank account, purchased scented toilet paper, eaten pasta every day for two weeks, and the list goes on.
A couple weeks ago Pete and I reached a landmark in our relationship as roommates. After only 8 months in Croatia, we finally exhausted our first box of laundry detergent. I know, it may have only said 40 loads, but some way or another, we have made it last 8 whole months. Think what you may, but I believe this can readily be explained by intentional conservation and effecient laundry usage or even by divine provision.

Jesus once made water into wine, and the Lord made a woman's supply of flour and oil not run dry in order to provide for Elijah, herself, and her son. Perhaps the laundry detergent is just one more example of the Lord's provision.

I know some of you are thinking to yourself, "John, stop trying to use the Bible to excuse your laundry habits." To you I say, "Judging others is one more activity judged as sin in the Bible." So thank you for not judging me:)

Cro Po-po

Well, the long awaited day finally came to pass. Merely an hour ago, as I sat praying (yes, I am that good of a Christian), my doorbell rang. It was none other than one of Rijeka's finest, a gentleman in blue. He came in, we sat down. He pulled out his stack of paperwork regarding my current visa status (or lack there of).
I, being a Communication major, thoroughly enjoy these sort of cross-cultural communication opportunities. Trying to be as polite as possible, I slid the pile of snacks, camera, cell phone, etc. across the table out of the way of this kind officer. My action (which I suppose to him appeared to be sudden and perhaps aggressive) was met with a loud and somewhat forceful, "Easy! Easy! Eeeeeaasy!" Guess he was a little spooked.
I think I may have made another mistake later on in the interview, while waiting for Pete to arrive back at the apartment. The officer and I sat there, neither one speaking the other's language incredibly well, attempting to make small talk until Pete returned. He asked if he could smoke a cigarette (Croatians love their cigarettes-this one smokes 20 a day), to which I responded, "No." [That one was for you, Taylor]. Don't worry Mom, he didn't pull his gun on me.
He asked a series of standard questions, "What is your birthday? Where were you born? What is your father's name? What degree did you graduate with? What exactly are you doing in Croatia?" and then followed with a question that I do not believe they train American cops to ask. "When you drink coffee, where do you go?" "Really? Are you serious?" I thought to myself. So I responded, and he seemed satisfied with the answer. This officer, on top of his 20 smokes a day, admitted to drinking 6-7 cups of coffee a day as well. This, my friends, is a true Croat.
Once the interview concluded, I asked him if he knew how long it would be until we would know the final decision regarding our visa status, to which he replied, "I will turn it in on Monday to the 'higher-ups', then after that two weeks. Or months." Once again, this my friends, is a true Croat.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Me Against an Army (Wildlife in the Kitchen)

So there I was, in my kitchen, preparing to make a splendid cup of tea (mmmm, tea), when I noticed a bit of food on the floor, covered with ants. Perhaps "covered" is not an adequate word; "swarmed with" may be more appropriate. Recalling that this grouping of ants is properly referred to as an "army," I responded in such a way to combat the forces that invaded my kitchen and desired to leave it in an even less sanitary condition than it was already in.
I recalled an internet cartoon called Trogdor, and decided I must do what I think Trogdor would do in this situation. (Please view this link in order to accentuate your reading comprehension, and understand what was going through my mind as I battled my little enemies).
Unfortunately, as much as I desired an aerosol spray bottle to fuel the flames to burninate the army, no such bottles were found in my residency. I was forced to mehtods employed by early man, and merely used a lighter, tweeked to exude flames 5x that of the normal strength. After certain components of the apparatus began melting, I was forced to use two lighters: one as the flame-thrower, the other as an igniter. I must admit, that as I sat there for about 3 or 4 minutes combatting the forces of kitchen evil, the inner-child in me found much satisfaction in burninating this battalion that threatened my kitchen's well being.
Kids, don't try this at home.

Xtreme Hammocking

Leisure sports are not just for leisure anymore. One can very readily combine the relaxation of hammocking with the thrill of any extreme sport, let's say particularly of rock climbing. I believe this picture accurately conveys this concept.

When trees are not abundant, make use of what mother nature provides. "John, is this 'Xtreme hammocking' merely because it in on rocks and not trees, as most people commonly conceive the idea of hammocking?" you might ask. To this, I respond, "I believe the inginuity of hammocking between rocks instead of trees lends toward 'Xtreme Hammocking', but the utter sharpness of the rocks secures the terminology 'Xtreme'."

These rocks were incredibly sharp, which not only makes the possibility of falling more of an immediate concern, but also increases the chances of ropes becoming frayed or cut in the course of hammocking (again, increasing the potential for falling). This unfortunate circumstance did limit my ability to rock in the hammock (not a pun), but did not decrease the overall enjoyment of the 'Xtreme Hammocking' experience. (Don't worry Mom, I put my semester of Engineering to use to ensure maximun saftey for your favorite son).

Notice the gorgeous view that this particular instance of 'XH' obtained.

If anything, I hope this increases your respect for extreme leisure sports and even motivates you to combine two pastimes you enjoy to produce a new form of enjoyable recreation.

Keep on Hammocking.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Croatia: the place where it is perfectly acceptable to lounge around on the beach naked, but you get looked down upon if you are barefoot in your own apartment.