Thursday, December 15, 2005

Turning 30

I am now in my last week as a twenty something yuppie. Next Tuesday I will no longer be able to say that I am in my twenties. So what does turning 30 actually mean? Is it really just a meaningless number? What was I doing 10 years ago?

I decided to turn to my trusty Internet and google "turning 30". First of all "google" is not something I would have said 10 years ago. Anyway, I was suprised to see so much written on the subject of turning 30. OK, I wasn't that suprised I'm sure every subject imaginable has be written about on the Internet.

Link 1
Link 2
Link 3

The past decade has been pretty busy. I didn't even know Shannon when I turned 20 now we're married and living in our second home. I graduated from University, got a job at JetForm who changed their name to Accelio who then got bought by Adobe. I also managed to travel to places such as Costa Rica, Cuba, Greece and Germany.

So now that I am on the brink of turning 30 what will change? Probably not a lot. I'll still have a wife, home, job and a great group of friends. I still plan on travelling as much as possible. But, I am also looking forward to the opportunity of having new experiences.

Turning 30 won't be that bad. It is just another number but does provide a time to at least look back and realize that living life is all about what you put into it. As long as I keep a sense of adventure along with a positive outlook in everything I do all my experiences will be great no matter what age I am.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I hate being sick

I'm at home today with a pretty bad sore throat. For me this is usually a pre-cursor to a good cold but so far the sore throat and headache is still lingering. After resting for as long as a I could I decided to spend a little time updating my website. After a few weeks of being in various stages of broken I think it is all working again. I still want to make my picures easier to search but that will have to wait for another day.

I am really hoping by taking the day off work that I will get better soon. I don't want to have to take any more time off and also have a busy weekend ahead of me. To start, on Friday I'm off to see a little band from Ireland called U2. That should be an awesome concert as long as I'm feeling well. As if seeing U2 weekend wasn't enough it is also Lionel's bachelor party on Saturday. I have been doing most of planning for the party so am hoping people show up and everyone has a good time. I guess I will just have to wait and see. :-)

I'm going to go pop a few more pills now.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's November already?

Man how time flies! Where did the last month go?

Well to start off we all had a great time at Khao Thai in the Market for Lionel's birthday. The food was great! I had some reservations since my past few Thai experiences were not so good but I am a believer again. Mmmmm good.

In the past few weeks Kelly and Lionel also sold their house and are moving to their new one this weekend. How exciting! I've already been over once to help paint and can't wait to go back again to help them settle in.

Now that Haloween is over it is now finally time to look forward to Christmas. Yes - that wonderful time of year is almost upon us. We are even having Christmas in Ottawa this year which will be a blast especially since it will end with a New Years wedding for Kelly and Lionel. Before long the tree will be going up along with all the decorations. More on this later though.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Happy Birthday Lionel

It is October 16th which means it is Lionel's birthday once again. The frenchman is turning 28 today!!

The celebrate a bunch of of are going to Khao Thai in the market. This is a newish Thai restaurant tht we've wanted to try for a while so tonight sounds like a good opportunity.

On the subject of Thai food I was driving down Wellington Street a few weeks ago and noticed Siam Bistro was all boarded up. It looked pretty closed but I did offer the suggestion that maybe this was just new decorations. Somehow I don't think I was right though.

I am looking forward to visiting this new Thai restaurant tonight however especially since it has received pretty good reviews. I will let you know how it went tomorrow.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada. To most this means a day off of work and lots of turkey to eat. But why do we get a holiday in October and is it at all related to the holiday of the same name in America?

Thanksgiving in Canada has generally thought to come from three traditions.

The North American Thanksgiving goes back to an English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but in 1578 he held a formal ceremony in what is now called Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving the long journey.

European farmers in Europe held celebrations at harvest time to give thanks for their good fortune of a good harvest and abundance of food. They would often fill a curved goat's horn with fruits and grains. This was known as a cornucopia or horn of good plenty. When Europeans came to Canada it is thought to have become an influence on the Canadian Thanksgiving tradition.

The third influence happened in 1621 in what was to become the United States.

The third influence started in 1621 as pilgrims celebrated their first harvest in the "New World". Around 1750 this celebration of harvest was brought to Nova Scotia by American settlers from the south. At the same time, French settlers arriving were also holding feasts of "thanksgiving". These celebrations and offerings of "Thanks" influenced the Canadian Thanksgiving.

As is the case with most of Canadian history our Thanksgiving traditions are a blend of European and American with a bit of our own influences as well. Even our language is a mix of British and American English.

So now we've got a basic understanding of why Thnksgiving occurs and its traditions but what's with the date?

In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November according to a declaration by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. In 1879, Canadian Parliament declared November 6th a day of Thanksgiving and a national holiday. Over the years many more dates were used for Thanksgiving, the most popular was the 3rd Monday in October. After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11th occurred. Ten years later, in 1931, the two days became separate holidays and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.

Finally, on January 31st, 1957, Parliament proclaimed...

"that the 2nd Monday in October" ... "be a Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed."

So why is our holiday on a different day than the U.S.?

If you think about it this does make sense - since in Canada we have a shorter growing season and our harvest is sooner then in the US - our Thanksgiving celebrations should be earlier to celebrate the harvest time.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Birthday weekend is over

Even though it didn't go completely as planned the 28th installment of Shannon and Kelly's birthday is over.

My previous post already talked about the dismal service received from the Boing! trampoline facility in Gatineau.

To continue on our unlucky streak it was the weather next that thwarted plans to go to the cottage for the weekend. Shannon and I took Friday off in order to relax and prepare for the trip but by noon the rain and cold weather prompted us to cancel the trip. :-( It may have still been fun at the cottage in the rain but nicer weather would have definitely made it MUCH better.

With the cottage trip cancelled we did end up going to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Saturday afternoon which was pretty fun but also quite absurd.

The weather finally got nicer on Sunday however so we ended up going on a 35 km bike ride around Orleans which was lots of fun.

Only 361 days until the next Shannon and Kelly birthday extravaganza. I wonder what we will get up to next year?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Boing! or bust

Well actually Boing! WAS a bust.

The final stop for Shannon and Kelly's birthday was to be Boing! trampoline in Gatineau. We had made a reservation a week prior for 10 people to use their facility between 9:00 and 10:00. Unfortunately, dinner went a little late and we got lost on the way so didn't end up getting to the Boing! facility until about 9:10. Yes, a whole 10 minutes late. No big deal right? Well you'd be wrong. The employee working at Boing! decided to shut down the whole facility even though their posted hours were until 10:00 pm. To make matters even more absurd the employee knew we were there but refused to show her face. Oh but it gets better. Next up her "boyfriend?" shows up supposedly to pick her up but then leaves since we are asking him questions about why the place isn't open. Another 20 minutes goes by as we try to figure out what to do next and the "boyfriend" shows up again and this time sneaks the employee out of the building and speeds off. Needless to say we all had a good laugh about how absurd the whole situation was and have no idea how anyone would try running a business like this.

I'm sure this story isn't over yet so check back for updates. In the meantime I would recommend never paying to go to Boing! in Gatineau. There are much better places you can spend your money.

Happy Birthday Shannon and Kelly

Today is Shannon and Kelly's birthday!! The twins are turning 28!!

A plethora of events have been planned to mark this momentous occasion but I cannot divulge everything she there are a few suprises in store still.

The birthday extravaganza starts tonight at a new Ottawa restaurant called Milestones. After a few hours of drinks and dinner we will moving to an undisclosed location for some more suprise activitites.

The fun doesn't stop there though. This weekend a group of us (including the birthday girls) are off to a cottage for more fun, relaxation and possibly a few more suprises. Man I love suprises.

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to Shannon and Kelly,
Happy Birthday to you!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hanging out in New Jersey

So I spent most of the day shopping with my mom and Kathy in Bridgewater. I didn't end up finding anything (surprised?) did find some stuff for Shannon instead. Shopping in the states is definitely a lot more interesting since it seems like there is so much more selection. Maybe another trip out later on this week will be more successful for me.

I didn't manage to get Jon Stewart tickets so don't really have any plans for the week but will probably head to the city for one of the days.

Dinner is BBQ ribs tonight. Mmmmm...ribs.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

San Francisco pictures

If you are itching to see pictures from San Francisco they are now posted in the photo archive section. I will eventually move some of the pictures out into a photo album so thet they will be more accessible.

For now however if you don't mind jumping through a few hoops and wiating for thumbnails to load feel free to visit the photo archive section of the site. Once there click on Travel - San Francisco. You will then see four dated directories. Click on each of these to see the pictures underneath.


Monday, July 04, 2005

Back to work in Ottawa

It was Canada Day this past weekend so San Francisco is already becoming a distant memory. After returning home on the red eye I only had a few hours to go home, unpack and then re-pack for an overnight camping trip. I managed to squeeze in a few power naps that allowed me to make it through the day.

Our trip to Wilderness Tours was amazing though. This place was packed for the long weekend and it was so much fun to play all the sports, be fed well, dance the night away and then retire to a tent for the night. Neeedless to say by Saturday I was very tired and even after plenty of sleep I am still tired and it is Monday. One more night's sleep should fix me up well.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Good bye 'frisco

In a matter of hours I will be leaving San Francisco once again. I just finished my last session and am about to head out to do one last tour of the city.

Last night was the JavaOne "after dark" bash. Dennis Miller was OK. His humour is pretty political and American centric so needless to say it wasn't exactly my cup of tea. I did laugh a few times though. Camp Freddy was a blast though. This celebrity band consisted of members from Jane's Addiction and Incubus plus others I can't think of right now. Anyway, they played a good mix of rock/punk and even managed to get the crowd of computer geeks bouncing on their feet.

Now that JavaOne is over I am ready to go home. As usual it has been an extremely busy week and there was way more I wanted to see at the conference but didn't have time for. What did I learn? Here's a bunch of buzz words I'm coming home armed with:

POJO, annotations, EJB 3.0, persistence, lightweight containers, Spring, hibernate, SOA, JSF, web services...

I think I will reward myself and go to the aquarium. Dinner is at 6:00 at the Cheesecake Factory. Yum Yum, I can't wait. I haven't had a real dinner in three nights so am beginning to feel a little icky.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Borland Bash

Last night was the annual JavaOne Borland bash. For the past five years this software company throws a huge party at a local bar. This year was no exception we even managed to snag an extra ticket for Shannon. There was plenty of food and free drinks all night as well as a pretty good band to entertain us.

The CEO of Borland kicked of the evening and even played with the band on stage for a bit. It was hilarious to see the CEO of a company jamming on stage. Way to go Borland CEO!!!

Once the formalities were over the rest of the night became one big party. We were only out until midnight but definitely drank enough for the night by that point. Even before the Borland bash started we also attended several Sun parties that were going on as well. Needless to say there was plenty of free food and drink to go around.

Today I'm back at the conference attending more sessions trying to absorb as much as I can. Right now I am listening about how to avoid web service security attacks.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

JavaOne - Day 2

I've made it to day 2 of JavaOne. Currently I am sitting in the morning general session.

Yesterday was pretty busy. It started with the opening day general session which turned out to be a little bit of a zoo. Try to imagine 8000 people trying to filter into the same room at the same time. Needless to say there was quite a bit of waiting in line. Once we all sorted out though it turned out to be a good keynote to kick of the week.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

JavaOne 2005 - After Dark

I picked up my conference materials today which included information on the JavaOne "after dark" event on Wednesday night. As usual Sun has put together quite a star studded evening of entertainment and games.

The all female Led Zeppelin cover band Zepperella will opening the night with their music. There will also be pool tables, a bungee trampoline and something called motorized kegs (?).

Next up is SNL alumnus, Dennis Miller. Dennis Miller will be providing a one hour set of his sharp comedic take on current events.

To end the night the band Camp Freddy will play until 11:00 pm. This band is made up of former members of Guns 'n Roses, The Cult, Alice in Chains and Jane's Addiction. Some additional special guests are also expected to show up.

Anyway it looks like it will be a fun night. Now all I have to do is see if I can get Shannon in somehow.


Today was stayed in San Francisco and spent most of our time visiting "the Rock".

I started my day by making a quick trip over to the conference centre to register and get my swag bag. I received a nice JavaOne backpack and t-shirt plus a bunch of conference materials.

Our Alcatraz your was very neat. The buildings are definately showing their age but we were still able to visit them all including the famous cell block. The rest of our day was spent hanging around Fisherman's Wharf. This is a typical tourist area but even still it had some interesting stores to look at and plenty of people watching.


Saturday was a full day with all of us hopping into the car and driving two hours south to Monterey and Carmel. Before getting there however we made a stop in San Jose to visit the Winchester Mystery House. This house is a huge mansion that was continually built over many years by a slightly eccentric rich woman. It has stairs that go nowhere, fake windows and goofy staircases.

We then drove down to Carmel and the 17 mile drive. This scenic drive along the Pacific coast is absolutely beautiful and includes the famous Pebble Beach golf resort. In Monterey we had a bite to eat and strolled along Cannery Row to do some shopping.

By now it was close to 8:00 pm and well past time to head back to San Francisco. On the way back we dropped the rental car off at the airport and then took the BART back to our hotel.

To finish of our day we headed out to a pub for a few drinks and even found a 24-hour diner for some greasy late night food.

Friday, June 24, 2005

We have arrived

We have arrived in San Francisco!

It seems like so long ago that we were getting up at 4:30 am this morning but we made it with no problems at all. We have just checked into the hotel and once we are settled will head out to explore the area. I think this afternoon will take us through Napa Valley and to Muir woods. I am also predicting an early night as we are all getting pretty tired already.

Monday, June 20, 2005

San Francisco here we come!

Our trip to San Francisco is a mere four days away.

I am travelling to San Francisco in order to attend the JavaOne conference but Shannon is also tagging along for the first time. We leave Friday but the conference doesn't start until Monday which gives me a few days to show Shannon around. As usual I have proably planned more than is possible to do in a few days but I will try my hardest.

Here is a quick run down of what I hope to do while in San Francisco.

  • Golden Gate Bridge

  • Alcatraz

  • The Aquarium

  • Muir Woods

  • Winchester Mystery House

  • Monterey

  • Carmel

As usual I will try to write about all my adventures.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Summer is here

The weather lately has been awesome so I guess that means summer is finally here. Yay! I also love how it stays light until 9:00pm. The arrival of summer also means there is lots to do and see. Shannon and I are having a party this weekend to partly celebrate my half birthday (I'm 30 this year!). Next weekend I am off to San Francisco for the JavaOne conference and Shannon has decided to tag along this time so it should be a good time. Canada Day and HOPE are also on the horizon.

When I travel my blog usually sees more activity mainly due to the fact that I have something interesting to write about. I'm sure San Francisco will be no different. So far side trips to Monterey, Muir Woods, a couple of aquariums and a Jelly Belly factory have been tossed around. You'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, April 22, 2005

A little more rested...a little more tanned

Well we're back from vacation and are all rested and slightly tanned (will the peeling ever stop?). I will post our pictures and some more stories in a few days so be patient.

Do you use RSS? If you have no clue what I mean feel free to stop reading.

I am now posting a machine readable version of my blog that can be picked up by RSS readers. I have added the fveed to my personal Roger's home page and it works great.

If you feel like playing here is the link: RSS feed

Friday, April 01, 2005

Allegro Papagayo

I found a site that has pictures of the resort we are going to in Costa Rica. so here is a quick preview.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Costa Rica here we come!

It is on y a few more weeks until Shannon and I head off to Costa Rica for a week. We have some activities planned and I am going to go on a few diving trips but for the most part we are looking forward to lots of relaxation by the pool with a drink in hand.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Home sweet home

It has been 18 days since I last touched Canadian soil. It is good to be home, mountains of snow and all. I really do love to travel and see new places but in the end one of the best parts about travelling for me is going back home at the end of it all.

It is now the day after returning back to Ottawa and I feel pretty much over my jet lag already. I slept well last night though which helped.

All my pictures are available in the photo archive under Travel -> Germany but I wouldn't even bother trying to look at them yet as there are hundreds and you'll probably end up crashing my server if you try. :-)

Thanks for reading about my adventures in Germany. I'm sure my posts from now on will be less frequent until I go on my next adventure.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

On my way home

I am now sitting in the Lufthansa business class lounge at Frankfurt airport. Definately not as nice as the Air Canada lounges but there is still free beer and snacks. There is no free Internet though so I will have to post this message once I get to Canada.

I hvae about another 45 minutes until my flight begins to board. Plenty of time for some more snacks and beer. I deliberately didn't eat breakfast or lunch today in anticipation of the free food in the lounge but now all I am stuck with is peanuts and gummy bears. Healthy eh?

See you in about 10 hours.


It is finally Tuesday. I had a very restless sleep last night probably because I was excited to go home.

Yesterday I was still in Heidelberg and finally had the chance to tour the castle. My plan was to also do some shopping before leaivng for Frankfurt. I say "the plan" because I didn't get any shopping done. The tour of the castle went much longer than I thought and I ended up having to run back to the hotel in order to catch my shuttle. I left the castle at 12:47 and had a good 15 minutes walk/run to get back to my hotel. With some margin of error I tohught I was fine. What I forgot to consider was Germans and their punctionality. I got back to my hotel literally at 1:01 pm. I saw the blue TLS shuttle waiting and then I saw the driver get back in and start to leave. Woa..calm down you are getting ahead of me. Using the last bit of energy I had I spinted to the van and started knocking on the window. I think I startled the driver a bit but she did stop and let me in after picking up my luggage from the hotel. The morale of the story is when in Germany make sure you are always early.

Ok, so I got to Frankfurt and checked into my next hotel yesterday afternoon. I pretty much dumped off my stuff and then headed to the airport to catch a train to downtown. There have ben several times during this trip when I have felt a little Amazing Race'ish. Trying to figure out the trains is one of those moments. I can just see the clue saying "take the train to the main station in Frankfurt." Unlike on the show there are no ticket agents to talk to all you have is a machine in German. so I basically ended up randomly hitting buttons until I got something that looked right and then gave the machine some money. In the end it really didn't matter what I bought since it is very rare that anyone will even check your ticket.

In the end Frankfurt was a bust. The main reason I went was for al lthe great shopping it supposedly has. I spent two hours walking the main shopping area and came out with nothing! Sorry no shoes Shannon. At least I can say I've been to Frankfurt I guess.

Back at the hotel I finally got to go swimming (one of the reasons I picked this hotel). I was all by myself but had fun just the same.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Munich and Strasbourg

This weekend I went to Munich and Strasbourg (hence the clever title).

Munich is about a 3 hour drive from Heidelberg on the autobahn. Our rental car had GPS built in which was pretty nice. The car told us how to get right downtown Munich without ever having to open a map. Our day in Munich (Munchen if your German) started at Marienplatz. There is a glockenspeil that plays here everyday at 11 am and noon. From there we ventured out on a self guided walk of the old town in order to see the major sights in our limited time there. One of our stops was the world famous Hofbrauhaus. This is one of the many beer gardens in Munich but definately the most famous. They have live polka everyday and beer is served by the liter (see yours truly below). We stopped by at around 1:00 pm and it was packed. There were so many people drinking. To make it even better there was a football match in Munich that day so there were plenty of drunk fans to add to the atmosphere. After two liters of beer were consumed we continued on our walk of the city. The second half of our walk took much longer largely due to the additional bathroom breaks that were required. Me being cheap made it more difficult by trying to find washrooms that were free. I still can't believe some places want 50 euro cents off you just to pee! What a rip!

That is enough about Munich for now. I have a ton of pictures to sift through but that can wait until Ottawa.

Today was our trip to Strasbourg. This time we only had about 1.5 hours of driving to do. The weather was also much nicer which allowed us to test out the autobahn a little better. We ot the car up to 200 kph. What a rush! Our average speed was more in the 160 - 180 range though.

I thoroughly enjoyed Strasbourg. It is quite a large city but it has a beautiful old town with lots of different architecture and an amazing Cathedral that dominates the skyline. Yet again we did a walking tour of the old town in order to maximize what we could see in an afternoon. There are no beer halls in Strasbourg but instead there is a great restaurant called La Cloche du Fromage. As you can guess this place dealt only in cheese. But man it was good cheese. My co-worker and I opted for the cheese fondue. At 20 euro each is it a little pricy but you can eat as much as you want. I've never been a huge fan of cheese fondue but I must admit this was better than anything I've ever had in North America. Those French sure know a thing or two about cheese I guess. Four thumbs up!

Well that brings you up to date with my travels this weekend. Sorry for the abbreviated summary. I have lots more to tell but with only two more days until I get home I would rather wait until I see everyone in person.

Have a great Monday and I will see you back in Ottawa.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Heidelberg Print Media Academy

This entry is mostly for Kathy. These are pictures of the Heidelberg Print Media Academy. Apparently Heidelberg is not only the name of the town but also a company that makes very large printing presses. They have a fairly new building in Heidelberg right next to the train station for seminars and training. for those of you not interested in printing (is tat everyone but Kathy?) the building is still pretty interesting to look at as it is all glass.

Late night at the bar

So we decided to go back to the Schnitzelbank for dinner last night. This restaurant is a tiny little hole in the wall with about five tables in it. It is quite normal to share your table with other guests when it is busy which is what happened last night. The three of us were at a large table and invited a couple over to share our space which they graciously accepted. They were a German couple in their fifties from Heidelberg. Anyway after ordering food we got to talking and it turns out this couple had quite a few interesting stories. The man was a dentist and him and his wife travel three times a year for two weeks each time since Germans are entitled to six weeks of vacation. They have been all over the world (not Canada yet) and were telling us about it. They have been to the Carribean and all over Asia as well. Over Christmas they had thought about going to Indonesia for their vacation but at the last minute decided to go to Turkey instead. While skpping Indonesia was very lucky they also told us about being in Costa Rica during earthquakes, Cuba during hurricane Charlie and deep sea fishing in 10 meter waves. Even still they seemed to enjoy all their trips.

After dinner we were having such a good time that the German couple invited us out to a bar for a few drinks. We were like sure why not. By the way, we started dinner at 7:30 and didn't leave the restaurant until 11:00 pm just to give you an idea of how restaurants never rush you to leave. We walked to the Altstadt and ended up at a pretty small bar that was packed when we arrived. Luckily we got some seats along the bar and ordered a round of Pils (like lager).

What started out as a stop for one beer soon turned into more beers and soon enough 2:00 am rolled around and we were being told the bar was closed. Actually the bartender, Denise, was great and joined in our conversation as well and kept playing good music for us.

Even though getting up this morning wasn't so fun it was great to just hang out with some locals and really get a feel for how people spend their time around here.

Rumsey ... out.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Living in Heidelberg

I have now been in Germany for about a week and a half and am beginning to feel like I am living here. I know my way around, have taken several forms of public transit and has eaten at many of its restaurants. I still have yet to explore the old part of town near the castle but plan on walking there tonight as well as next Monday.

Last night we went to a Vietnamese restaurant in Mannheim. I've been told it is one of the best in the world! Never having had Vietnamese food before I really had nothing to compare it too. I had some beef dish wrapped in La-Lot (sp?) leaves with rice noodles. It was quite good but definately not my favourite type of food. It is fun to try out new food though so am very happy that I went. While in Mannheim we also got to see the McDonald's. What is interesting about this McDonald's is what is above it. The fast food giant is on the main level and then on the two floors above it is a huge fitness centre. The gym has windows all around it and all the treadmills had a front row view of the golden arches outside. OK, so it wasn' that interesting of a story but I thought it was a funny sight to see.

My room/home...

Bizmartplatz...the main transit hub of Heidelberg steps away from my hotel

And finally the entrance to my hotel

Monday, February 28, 2005

Sorry to ruin the suprise...

I'll get to the suprise in a bit.

First, I bet everyone who reads my ramblings is dying to know what the building I spend my day in looks like right? Well your wait is over (thank you for being so patient).

Pretty nice eh?

OK, on with my story...

So by now I am sure you know that I took the train to Zurich on Saturday. In order to make best use of the 3.5 hour journey along with reading Life of Pi I decided I would write some postcards. I won't say who they were addressed to but needless to say quite soon into my journey I had completed writing six cards. Yay for me! The cards still had to be addressed and stamped but that wouldn't take too long. I then proceeded to enjoy my day in Zurich. Luckily on the way home from Zurich I was pretty tired so slept most of the way back since I had no more postcards to write. I guess by now you can tell where I am going with this story. By the time I got back to my hotel room and emptied my bag my six wonderfully written postcards to six even more wonderful people (even more if you count significant others) had dwindled down to two. :-(

So there is my sad story for the day. Whose cards were lost? Who will get one in the mail shortly? I guess we will never know. OK, I know but no one else does. OK, fine I'm sure whoever found my cards on the train knows too but I doubt they know who you are. Then again...

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Wanna buy a Porche?

After the Porche museum I also popped into the factory dealership to see the latest production model and to see if I had enough Euros left to buy one. Who would have known they'd be so expensive?

How much would you be willing to pay for a 911 Carrera?

Can you read that? 85 000 euros! Double that for Canadian dollars. And that was one of the cheaper ones. They had a special edtion yellow 911 only available at the factory store for 125 000 euro. For the thrify Porche buyers out there however a Boxter could be bought for around 50 000 euro. I you happen to be passing by Stuttgart however they also sell their company cars so maybe you could get a good deal on a slightly used Porche.


The German train system is very reliable. The schedules are down to the minute and after being on six trains this weekend only one was late. On my way to Zurich we were five minutes late leaving one of the stations and the conductor was apologizing profusely. In the end however I think we ended up only being two or three minutes late. I think VIA could learn a thing or two from these guys.

I awoke this morning very tired but determined to catch my train for Stuttgart. I made it with a few minutes to spare. Yay! Stuttgart is the home of Mercedes-Benz and Porche. I therefore spent most of my day visiting both of their museums and looking at lots of old cars. I liked the history side of it too. If it wasn't for the museums being open there is very little that can be done on Sundays around here. Everything is closed. I thought maybe in the touristy areas there would be at least a tacky souvenier store open but nope...all closed.

It was another cold and snowy day here in Germany. Luckily all my activities were at least inside but there was still enough walking outside to make me pretty chilly since all I have is my fall jacket. I keep hearing that they never get this much snow over here. Do I believe them? Is it just one big coincidence that all the snow they received this year happened while I was here? Seems a little convenient to me.

Well anyway enjoy some pictures...

Saturday, February 26, 2005

My day in Zurich

It is late Saturday and I just got back from my trip to Zurich, Switzerland for the day. Needless to say I am wiped right now. I walked myself silly for almost 8 hours and didn't even stop for food. Central Zurich is definately meant for shoppers, with lots of expensive stores to choose from. I went in a few but for the most part just kept walking. The Altstadt (old town) was nicer to me since it had lots of tiny cobble stone streets to explore. To walk its old streets is to follow in the footsteps of such famous figures as Charlemagne, Goethe, Einstein, and Lenin. The oldest houses date from the 1100s. After seeing as much of the city on foot and with a few hours still to spare I hoped on a subway and left town in order to take ride up the side of a hill in a cable car in order to get some nice views of the city. There lots of walking trails up there also but it was pretty cold so I pretty much took some pictures and then head back down again.

Geesh - I have more to say but am really tired. I am getting up early again tomorrow to go to Stuttgart so need some sleep.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Lunch at SAP

Lunch is provided for all SAP employees. Our building has a huge cafeteria that is laways packed at lunchtime. Each day there is a new menu of items to choose from and it is all controlled by electronic access cards. Since we don't work for SAP they have machines that you can fill your card up with money. The cost of lunch is always 5.50 euro every day no matter what is being served. It is still cafeteria food but for the most part it is retty good.

Last night we got back to Heidelberg at 7:00 so had an hour before the stores closed to get in some shopping. I had already run out of almost all my cash since no where likes credit cards that much. I decided I might as well go to a bank machine and get more money out while I had the chance. The first bank machine didn't accept my card. :-( I wasn't too worried yet but after three bank machines I was beginning to think bringing just my PC financial card was a huge mistake. What was I going to do for a week with no cash? I decided to try one more bank (it was much bigger than the others) and luckily the machine spit out a bunch of bills much to my delight. Actually, unlike machines in Canada which for the most part only give out 20s this machine gave me an assortment of 5, 10 and 50 euro bills. Very nice.

It is now Friday and I am sure I will have lots more stories over the weekend to share about my adventures in Switzerland and Stuttgart.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Life at SAP

We went out to a local brew pub last night for dinner. The beer was awesome and for food most of us ordered bratwurst, sourkraut and fried potatoes. Very german eh? What was also neat were the tables. The pub just had large square tables for about ten people so you are expected to sit at someone else's table if there was room. Since the place was packed our group of six joined to locals. They were nice and knew enough English but we did have to correct them when they thought we were American. I guess that is understandlable though since there is a large US Army base nearby. Speaking of the US good 'ol P. Bushy is visiting close by today. Supposedly he is visiting a military hospital were causualities of the war go.

OK - on to what I do during the day since no one seems to believe I am actually doing any work here. SAP is in a town called Walldorf which is about 30 minutes from Heidelberg. So far I've taken a cab only once and have had rides in the other two days. The SAP complex houses over 10 000 people so it is large! We are in building 3. In order to get in the building you need a security pass which I have. The security is pretty tight they have revolving doors like at the subway but glass that only move once your pass is accepted.

For the most part this week I have been catching up on all my work left back in Ottawa. I have also been learning a bit more about how SAP works and what its culture is like which was one of my objectives. I also need to meet with a few people that work here but haven't done that yet. so basically I am an Adobe face here who for the most part is just doing his regular day-to-day job. The days are a bit longer though, 8:30 to 6:30. Usually there is then just enough time to have dinner before going to bed. I'll save my story about lunch until another time.

I hope everyone is doing well back in North America. If it makes you feel better it has snowed every day since I got here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A few more pictures...

Here are a few more picutres. There is even one with me in it!!!

Die Kartoffel

You say potato, I say kartoffel.

This was the name of the restaurant we ate at last night. The restaurant is in a tiny medeival town about 20 minutes from Heidelberg. All the streets were very tiny and cobble stoned. We were there at night but I'm sure it would be an interesting place to see during the day.

Anyway, more about the restaurant. It is a tiny place whose speciality, besides potatoes, is meat. Not any kind of meat mind you. Their meat is a tender fillet server raw on a rock. OK, I will explain. Basically, after having your salad they serve you your raw meat on a very hot stone that you then proceed to cook yourself to your own liking. They also provide some sauces for dipping. It was quite enjoyable to cut off some raw meat and then watch it sizzle. I started out having some pretty rare peices but slowly more and more of the meat cooked until it was probably about medium rare by the end. Besides, the meat we were also served a baked potato with ample sour cream. Mmmmm, those Germans sure know how to eat!

Here is a picture of our table and a few of my co-workers.


Monday, February 21, 2005

Die Adler

So I went to my first European hockey game last night. The game was the Mannheim Adlers (Eagles) vs. the Nuremburg Ice Tigers. The Eagles won 4-3. Interestingly the eagles had some out of work NHLers on their team. One I can remember is Hecht who I think plays for the Buffalo Sabres.

Watching hockey in Europe is nothing like North America. The fans over here are amazing and the players really show their appreciation for the fans. First, the energy at the rink is huge. There are people drumming beats and EVERYONE chants along. Basically, take what you've probably seen or heard of soccer fans and put them in a hockey rink. They really love their team and show it. At the end of the game all the kids hang of the glass and the players come out for high fives and to wave to the crowd. I wish they did that in thr NHL. Also on the topic of hockey was their arena. It was outside! OK, that is a bit of an exageration, it had a roof but the sides were open to the outside so needless to say it got pretty cold inside. Also, one half of the arena was standing room only, that's where the real fans were. We opted to pay 26 euro each though to get a seat five rows from the ice.

The restaurant attached to our hotel is called Cafe Gecko. We get breakfast there for free but it looks like it is a pretty popular place the rest of the day as well.

Anyway, they have a web cam so who knows you may catch a glimpse of me sitting at the bar having a drink. I am six hours ahead of you so may be there around 10 or 11 pm your time.

Cafe Gecko web cam

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Denner Hotel

Here is a quick picture from my hotel window. It is early Sunday morning so it isn't too busy out yet. The building across the street is a big department store.

The autobahn

My trip from Frankfurt to Heidelberg was my first introduction to the autobahn. Let me just say that we were doing 150 in the SLOW lane in a Ford mini van and there were plenty of Mercedes and Porches passing MUCH faster. However, Germans are very good drivers so those speeds don't even feel that fast. Germans prove that driving fast does not equate to driving bad. There was no tailgating and everyone always indicated.

BTW...I've never seen so many people driving German cars before (hee hee, that is my joke for the day).

Guten Morgen!

I made it to Germany. It is 9:30 in the morning which would make it 3:30 am back in Ottawa. I guess I better not call anyone to say that I made it OK.

The flight was very good. Executive Class is definately the lap of luxury. I was going to describe what it was like but I don't think words can do it justice. My main course from my four course meal read like this, "Grilled Chicken Breast enhanced by Thai Red Curry Sauce, presented with steamed Bok Choy, Fried Rice with Egg and braised Parslied Carrot slices." It was yummy. Also, in honour of Shannon I had a lovely glass of port with my apperitif of cheese and fruit. I did manage to get an hour of two of sleep on the plane so hopefully that will hold me over until tonight. I spend the rest of the time watching TV. They had an episode of CSI but I had already seen it. Instead I watched a Discovery channel show about building a new bridge in the San Francisco Bay. For the movie I picked Sideways. It was slightly artsy but quite poignant (did I use that word correctly?).

Weather wise it is around 0 and snowy. There is snow around but no where near as much as Ottawa has.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Toronto Stopover


I am Toronto right now enjoying another quick stay at the Maple Leaf lounge in Toronto's new terminal 1. I poured myself some honey brown on tap and am now benefitting from a delicious rum and coke. Boarding for my flight starts in about five minutes so I need to finish up and get to the plane.

Next stop...Germany!!

P.S. My thumb is doing better but I still haven't found any hand cream. Don't worry Shannon I will moisturize as soon as I can.

Yahoo! News - British say foods tainted by cancer-linked additive exported to Canada, U.S.

Not related to my travels but an interesting story nonetheless.

Yahoo! News - British say foods tainted by cancer-linked additive exported to Canada, U.S.

My trip has begun

It is now 12:40 pm on Saturday and I just arrived at the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Ottawa. I will be boarding my flight to Toronto in about an hour. In the meantime I am being treated to a large and unlimited assortment of beer and other beverages as well as lunch if I so desire. On a sad note however my thumb is currently bleeding. My skin is so dry right now that I scratched my thumb ever so slightly with my fingernail and managed to gouge a pretty nice hole around my knuckle. I was hoping to find so hand cream in the lounge but there is none so I guess I will just have to suffer. Maybe another Kilkenny will numb the pain.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The night before test

It is the night before I leave for Germany. I am currrently configuring my laptop for the trip and want to confirm that I will be able to update my blog while travelling.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Tremblant Trip

Well we are finally back from our trip to Tremblant. I am pretty sore now after three full days of skiing but it was defined worth it. Our group of 20 stayed at an awesome chalet arranged by Angela and I am pretty sure everyone had a great time. Here we are in front of our chalet.

Kathy was definately there even though it looks like she just grew out of the snow.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

My trip to Germany

I will be travelling to Germany in less than two weeks for a business trip. Since it is rainy and cold right now in Ottawa I thought it would be nice to see what the weather is like in Frankfurt.

Hmm, not too much better right now but hopefully it warms up a little bit more.

I will actually be staying in a city called Heidelburg which is about an hour south of Frankfurt and 1.5 hours from Strasburg in France. fort he moast part I will probably be kept busy working while in Germany but am hoping to see as much as I can at least on the weekends.

Here are links about where I am going if you are interested.

Monday, February 07, 2005

I'm back - did you even notice I left?

Argh - I switch routers a few weeks ago and have been having FTP server issues ever since. I finally got ot the bottom of my issues tonight however and now have all the right ports being forwarded to the right servers. It is business as usual at planetrumsey again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Emma's new bed

Here is a picture of Emma enjoying her new Christmas present.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Happy New Year!!!

Shannon and I had a New Year's party at our house this year. Even though it was put together at the last minute there was a good turn out and I think everyone had a good time.

Click here to see photos of the party