This is the blog for Matt Hollingsworth. I'm from Ojai, California. I've worked in comics for 22 years as a color artist.

This blog will largely be used to show my daily life as I live in Samobor, Croatia and as I travel around the region. Lots and lots of photos! Leave me a comment, will you?

All content on this blog is copyright 2013 Matthew Dale Hollingsworth and cannot be copied or used for any purpose without my consent.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

There are some funny little language differences here in Croatia. Differences between the English and Croatian languages.

One that popped up last year for me was "džuboks". My friends here thought that that was how you pronounced it in English too. But, the funny part is, that is pronounced like "Jew Box". For my Croatian pals, in English, it's "jukebox". It has nothing to do with Jews. Well, if it was playing Klezmer music, I guess it could. But it's not a Jew Box.

Another one that is really strange to me is when Croats pronounce a V like a W. This makes absolutely no sense to me. They don't even have a W in their alphabet. They also pronounce a W like V, which to me makes total sense. Seeing as how they don't have a W, change it to a V. Makes sense. But to pronounce a V, which IS in their alphabet, like a W, which is NOT, makes no sense to me. My friend Esad says womit instead of vomit, for instance. Always reminds me of Chekhov in Star Trek 4 saying "nuclear wessels". Esad also says "awailable".

I've asked him and others about this a lot and have never gotten a good answer. They say basically that they see no difference between those letters. But that still doesn't make sense to me.

Inspired by the blog here:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Where have I been? What have I been up to for the last 9 odd months?

Well, I've been all over. And I've been doing a lot of things. So, here's a bit of a catchup blog post.

I've been meaning to get back to this for a while, but once you stop for a while, there's some sort of inertia that keeps you locked on (or in this case off) course.

2009 has been a good year for me personally. We spent a good chunk of this year traveling. We've taken almost 10 weeks off from work and spent the bulk of that time traveling. That's more than 2 months off this year, which is huge for me. We spent 4 weeks in January and February in Thailand, 10 days or so in Southern California, and 3 weeks in Tribunj, Croatia and traveling around that area (1 week was working, so I don't count that week). In early August I headed to London solo to attend the Great British Beer Festival, which was four days of drinking with thousands of merry strangers. Lovely. In September we headed to Tunisia for a week, which was not so lovely. Then, just a couple of weeks ago we headed to Vienna. It's a beautiful city and we had a great time.

I'll post more about these trips later, but in brief, Thailand was the best and Tunisia was the worst. All of the trips were fantastic except Tunisia. All told, 5 countries other than Croatia were visited on 4 continents. Well, 6 countries if you count our 2 little day trips to Slovenija.

Nara and I also were married in August. And she's the best wife a man could ask for! We're very happy together. We lived together for a while before that, and life's pretty much the same as it was before we were married. We're a great couple and really like living together and enjoy our shared life. So win win!

I also set up my homebrew brewery here in our basement. I homebrewed for five years while living in Portland, but had last brewed in 2002. So there was a 7 year hiatus there. But with quite a lot of effort, the brewery is all set up here and functioning well. Brewing beer, of course!

Still working a lot for Marvel Comics, but also working for DC Comics again for the first time in some years.

We're also saving for a house and for retirement. So working hard when we're not traveling and trying to invest and save as much of that money as we can.

This is all just a quick catchup on what's been up in my world. I'll touch on these topics in more depth later and post pictures and all that good, fun stuff.

But that doesn't quite touch on why I stopped blogging. I stopped primarily because I started to get really annoyed with the volume of people e-mailing me about their desire to move to Croatia. Well, that in and of itself is not annoying. The annoying part was when they'd ask me for a lot of in depth advice about the process or when they were just up late in America and dreaming about moving overseas, had never been to Croatia and thought they'd just up and move here. Okay, it's fine to dream. But I'm not here as a service to people who want to move overseas. I mean no offense by this, but I will no longer answer this stuff. And in fact, I have removed my e-mail contact. If you want to have some contact, leave a comment on this blog. Don't e-mail me about advice for moving here, please. Anything I have to say on the subject is already in this blog, so read the blog if you want information on living here.

I also didn't quite get back to blogging because some of the stuff that I notice that I might want to blog about is sometime a negative impression of Croatia, the people here and living here in general. And I don't want to offend a lot of my friends. So how do I go about writing about the negative aspects of living here? I don't have the answer for that yet, but we'll see. Either I'll try to find a way to write about this stuff and hope to not offend my friends and others or I'll just skip that part. More likely I will write about it, but try to be as tactful as I can. That said, I still like living here and enjoy a lot of the culture and the people here. But as with anything, it's not all rosy. Yin yang and all that. The overly positive first impression has, logically, been replaced by a more balanced view of life here after having lived here for 3 years now. When you first arrive somewhere, it retains that "vacation" edge to it for a while. Once that's worn off, you can settle in and get a more realistic impression of the place. That's where I'm at now.

Oh, and I have my third visa. This year it was easy. It just required us to stand (yes, stand the entire time) in line at MUP, the police station, for 6 hours. We then got in for our meeting and had to return 30 days later and it went smoothly. The woman who processed me this year was great and all went smoothly.

So that's that for now. I'm hoping to get back on here more regularly but can make no promises at this point. Time will tell, as always.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I looked out the window a few minutes ago and saw this image. Seems some local gypsies got inventive and knocked over the paper recycling container to bust into it from the bottom and take the paper. Presumably, they'll hit as many of these as needed to fill that van then take it in to some recycling center and get some money for it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Well, we'll see if I can get back to blogging a little more regularly now that we're back home in Gajnice.

Took a look at that little map at the bottom of this page and see that I've now had visitors from 79 different countries. Wow. That's kinda cool.

Also received e-mail recently from a site that added me to its links section. The site is called Spotted by Locals and is intended to have people living locally in various locations around the world blog about their own area, thereby providing local knowledge and insight about the area. I added a link to their site in my links section to the left side of my blog here. The Zagreb portion is called Zagreb by Locals, and the link goes there. Go check 'em out, wouldya!?

It's snowing today in Gajnice. The snow started last night and went all night and now there's a blanket of snow covering everything. I'm sure it'll melt in the next day or two, but for now it looks nice outside. And I'm currently reading the book Snow, by Orhan Pamuk, so it's nice to sit there and read with the snow outside. Appropriate.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

We're back home from Thailand. Been back for one week. And while it was a great four week vacation, it's good to be home.

When I've been here for a while, in Zagreb, sometimes I get jaded. But often when I leave and return, I notice how much I like it. I was in the center yesterday and was noticing how clean it is. There can be a lot of graffiti in the center (and, well, everywhere). And this sometimes makes it LOOK like it's dirty. But as I was riding the trams and buses around, I was noticing how clean it is. Very little litter. Walking around the center, with the sun shining and looking at the park on Zrinjevac was nice. And taking the train home later, I was just happy to have this fast ride to avoid traffic with.

Sometimes when I travel, other places are MUCH much dirtier. I had the same reaction when we returned from Belgrade. While I really enjoyed my time there, it's a dirty city. And by comparison, Zagreb looks shining, new and clean. Same thing with Bangkok. Bangkok is perhaps the dirtiest city I've ever been in. The infrastructure there is not enough to support the large population they have. Many areas have a bad sewage problem with the horrific smell of raw sewage wafting through the air and mixing with the wonderful spices of the cooking going on in the little stands on the street.

Not all areas are filthy, but many are. It's a city of ten million people, so it's 12 or so times larger than Zagreb. So comparing it isn't really fair. It's a city that is bustling with life and all that entails. It's filled with wonderful chaos, but also immense filth. We enjoyed our time in Thailand. And we will return someday. But man, it's good to be home.