Crazy Ivan 2011

Esteemed gentle readers,

It’s time once again for another Crazy Ivan, the maneuver that captains of Russian submarines and Firefly-class space ships alike use, a sudden unexpected turn to get in the faces of whoever’s following.

BOO!  I’m in your faces!

And now I shall ask you some questions; I would love it if you could answer some or all of them in the comments section below.

  • What’s your name?  Where are you at in the world?
  • How did you find this blog?  You’re not one of the people that found me looking for sex toys for dogs, are you?
  • Which posts do you read?  Are you here look at pictures of my chicken fried steak?   Are you drawn to my intimate stories of hope and phonology?  Can’t stop watching my dishes dry?
  • Any idea why the Germans seem to like me?  Of course I find the German people lovely, but I’m so surprised to see that the second highest number of hits to my blog come from Germany (after the USA) despite the fact that I have a shortage of German friends (I’m ashamed to admit it) and I rarely blog about German things… I suppose I do provide a lot of shadenfreude
  • Finally does anyone know of a creamy salad dressing that I won’t hate?
I suppose that’s all for now, but if you have any other info, questions, or suggestions for me, I’m all ears.  Once again, please leave your comments on this post; if you’re reading on a reader or something you’re welcome to click on over.

And don’t worry, I won’t use any of the information I gather in the comments to sell to some evil marketing company, who will contact you directly and try to sell you some insurance…


No, I will not.  And to prove it you, I shall now post a link to a picture of a cute cat.

27 thoughts on “Crazy Ivan 2011

  1. you have my address, but i will post i live in salt lake. i found you because i know you and you make me laugh.
    i look at pictures of your chicken fried steak. a lot. more than the acceptable non-creepy limit. … i might go look at them now before i finish this post. ooo.
    can’t imagine why the Germans like you. i’m irish and i like you. i can’t explain that either.
    i don’t know which creamy dressings you’ve tried. you’re a big boy; make your own. you’re a yummy cook. (well, i don’t know if *you’re* yummy, but your food is.)
    i give you permission to sell this information. if you can find a buyer, that guy deserves this information. poor schmuck.


      • ahhh, my driveable cave…! good times, good times. especially when we stopped at the air conditioned mall so we could walk around in the a/c there. that’s where you taught me about the mall husband pit.


      • Remember when we housesat for Cora, who kept eyebrow hinting and elbowing us for using their love nest? When all we did was run their a/c…. wink wink nudge nudge nudge say-no-more, say-no-more


  2. My name is Christie Hile. I live in Tumwater.

    I found this blog looking for Filipino food recipes to cook for my sister-in-law (who is half-Filipina).

    I read all your posts, but I linger with longing on your food-related posts.

    Germans and Filipinos share a love of all things pork.

    Lemon, Garlic & Tahini?


  3. 1. Rachael Trotter, Auckland, New Zealand (you might call it “Noo Zealand”, we might call it “New Zild”)
    2. Spanishpod
    3. Mostly the ones about learning languages, especially Spanish. Whatever else takes my fancy when I’m bored!
    4. Do you speak German? I’m assuming that’s one of the few languages you are not fluent in…maybe they feel smug that you can’t understand them yet??!!
    5. Yogurt and blue cheese? Give up on creamy dressings and embrace the balsamic dressing.


    • Ich kann nicht Deutsch sprechen… although I’m pretty sure my next post will be about pflaumenkuchen.

      I did give up on creamy dressings long ago, but I was just wondering if I had been too hasty. I’ve actually been steering clear of balsamic; it’s kind of sweet for me.


  4. Mike, in Toronto, moving to Beijing in a couple weeks though.

    Listened to you and Amber on Qing Wen. I still stalk all former Praxis employees/suits, except Ken.

    Pretty much read all of your posts. Especially liked the one last week about keys to language learning.


  5. My name is Mark, I live in the southeastern US, and I know you from your Spanish podcasts. I foumd your blog mentioned on another Spanish learning site, and decided to follow along for a bit. Great stuff except I disagree with your assesment of podcasts being outdated for learning. While videos are more readily accesible, it is always about content. I will always prefer an informative and entertaining podcast over a lackluster and unimaginative video everytime! For me content is always king.


    • Hey Mark!
      Thanks for reading!

      To clarify, I don’t at all think that podcasts are outdated for learning; but I do think that tablets and smart phones leave podcasts looking old-fashioned and lonely. There will always be room for great audio, but I think technology is growing past audio-only.

      As for videos, I have no plans for lackluster and unimaginative videos, or anything else 😉


  6. 1. Nathan, high school teacher in New York City
    2. Spanishpod/Sinoplice
    3. I think you have a lot of good things to say about language learning (I’m currently studying French), and your sense of humor makes reading the other posts worthwhile.
    4. Given their attention to detail and innovative sense of design, dog sex toys are of a surprisingly inferior quality in Germany.
    5. Japanese “goma” (sesame)


      • No, unfortunately, although Amber did invite me to karaoke for your birthday (?) once. I’ll definitely buy you a drink the next time you’re here though!


  7. My name’s Jen. Not Jenny.
    I am a former Praxis employee. I probably would’ve read your blog while still working there and at least had a better idea of what to expect when it came time to exit the building, but I was working hard at being the only foreigner in Shangers to survive without a vpn.
    I’m a food nerd. I’m a grammar nerd. If it’s well-written, I’ll read just about anything. So I read most of your posts.
    Most Germans I know think North Americans are OK and all, but they think we’re overly friendly. Maybe you suckered them in by being as frank as they are. They’re intrigued.
    Ever tried a creamy balsamic vinaigrette? Use a long dollop of heavy cream (or a combination of heavy cream and dijon) as your emulsifier. My secret ingredient in all dressings is a bit of maple syrup.


  8. 1. Matt, Texas
    2. Spanishpod
    3. I enjoy the language related posts but at this point I will at least skim the other posts as well.
    4. The Germans are sizing you up. Watch your back.
    5. Trick question: ALL creamy dressings suck.


  9. 1. Seattle area.
    2. Spanishpod.
    3. I read all posts, especially the language insights. Your food photography is great.
    4. No comment.
    5. You shouldn’t be eating creamy dressings. Learn to appreciate just a few drops of really good basalmic. You’ll live longer. And I do worry about your health.


    • Rick,
      You’re in Seattle! Do I know you?

      You know I think I’m too cheap to ever buy good balsamic; and too irritated by the bad stuff to ever order it again. I’ve been all about those gingery-orange juicy dressings that they serve at japanese restaurants lately.


  10. 1. Martin. Denmark.
    2. SpanishPod
    3. Most. I was most interested in learning about your point of view on Praxis Language.
    4. I’m German, I thought about the question, and I have no idea. Maybe there are just a lot of German users of SpanishPod? Maybe Germans are more interested in reading blogs than other users of SpanishPod? Maybe your food porn is particularly attractive to Germans? (I admit that I kind of like it.)
    5. No idea, I usually eat salads without dressing.


    • Martinillo,
      You are in Denmark! I was sure you were one of the many hits I was getting from Germany!

      I’m glad you like the food porn, my friend! Your comments are always welcome!


  11. Hehe, “geographically disguised” so to say. Yes, I’m the little red dot in the very north of continental Denmark. 🙂


  12. 1. Elisha – Seattlelite, but I’m really ready to get the hell outta dodge. Applying to Grad Schools soon.

    2. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon your blog, but I like it. I quote you to Peter Chi. I do know that it definitely was not because of sex toys for dogs. I only research the life and loves of bedbugs currently.

    Speaking of which – make sure you know how to check for them in your travels – those Bas%$#@% take a lot of time, money and mental health to get rid of…

    3. I would visit your site more, if you posted the latest versions of grapas del destino. Just sayin…

    4. I know absolutely nothing about Germans – except that I might visit their country some day. Preferably not for Oktoberfest, unless I’m not in a big city. I’ve heard that real German’s don’t go to the big one Oktoberfest events, only tourists do…

    5. I friggin hate creamy dressing…


  13. 1. Nikos – currently living in France, though heading back to my native Australia soon

    2. Frenchpod/Spanishod. I started stalking Amaury after listening to the two of you on Frenchpod, then took to stalking you after you popped up again on Spanishpod. While I really like your work on Spanishpod, for me, you and Amaury will always be the dreamteam.

    3. Initially the language-related ones though now I read them all. I would definitely read the “how to someone’s ethnicity” post that you mentioned in lifeskills #1 “sort silverware INTO the dishwasher”

    4. In my (limited) experience, Germans are voracious language learners with very high quality English skills. Perhaps they’ve come across your work while brushing up on their French/Spanish/Chinese, liked what they heard, and so tracked you over to here.

    5. I don’t do dressing, I like my vegetables rare and naked.


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