31 July, 2009

Summer vacation is finally here!!!

Spent the day yesterday with the Dalai Lama. The teaching itself was a little dry, but it was a pleasure to bask in his radiant charisma.

The program he's giving this weekend sounds fantastic! He'll be speaking about the links between the economy, science and spirituality and will participate in a panel discussion on the economic crisis, poverty, climate change and personal responsibility. I would have loved to have been able to see it but the timing just wasn't right for me.

Now I've got to start packing the camper in earnest. There is so much to be done before we leave for vacation early tomorrow morning! We'll be spending a week hiking in the mountains in Valle d'Aosta and two weeks on Lake Garda. Care to join us?

29 July, 2009

Spitting image of his daddy

Happy boy at the end of the school year saying goodbye to his elementary school backpack before donating it to needy kids in the Ukraine.


We're leaving on Saturday to go camping for three weeks in Northern Italy. And I'll be in Frankfurt tomorrow to see the Dalai Lama. There's so much to do before we leave! And here I am farting around on the Internet and checking out cool videos.

I was totally floored by this 3D building projection by UrbanScreen-- they take art in a whole new direction! Check this out!!!

An extended version of this video is available by Urban Screen on Vimeo.

26 July, 2009

They did it!

M, S and B passed their Taekwando tests this weekend and have earned new belts! M and S have earned a green belt and B has earned a yellow one.

And here's a quick video I shot-- kind of reminds me of how it was to play with D when she was a puppy! Only real difference is that B doesn't bite. or poke unsuspecting guests in the crotch...

20 July, 2009

Get along little doggies!

This weekend we went horseback riding in Münklingen. This time the horses were real, not plastic, which was a marked improvement...

17 July, 2009

What a way to start the day II

This morning before I was fully awake the cat came in and vomited on our bed.

I must have some seriously bad karma to work through...

16 July, 2009

What a way to start the day!

This morning when I opened the door to our our floor-to-ceiling bathroom cabinet, it wrenched its screws out of the wall, did a swan dive across the bathroom and vomited its contents into the toilet. (which of course hadn't yet been flushed.)

Goooooooooood Morning!

14 July, 2009

Sweet memories

I'd heard from Russian friends that there's a Russian supermarket nearby. For some reason I'd been picturing it as a dank hole-in-the-wall with shelves which are empty save for dusty bottles of vodka.

My friend and I stopped in after our Aikido lesson this morning and I was shocked! The staff is all Russian and there's Russian radio playing over the loudspeakers. I felt like I'd stepped into the Twilight Zone!

They've got all kinds of specialty foods that I haven't even thought about in years, including a wide assortment of Красный Октябрь candies that I used to eat by the fistful during my days in Moscow. Some of them still taste like cardboard, but they bring back sweet memories...

*image thanks to uniconf.ru

13 July, 2009


There are a myriad of reasons I enjoy living in Germany, but quality of Internet service certainly isn't one of them. We have constant outages, and when we do have service it's remarkably slow. I'm willing to bet we'd be better served in a third world country!

Those of you who were around last year will probably remember the struggles I had with our previous provider. Our experience with the new one hasn't been much better.

Today I called for the umpteenth time about service outages-- Internet probably works here only about 1/2 of the time. Spent more than an hour on the phone with our provider last week and it didn't resolve anything.

Today when I called and told the guy the history and that I'd downloaded the new firmware he said "No you didn't." I was totally shocked and confirmed I had, with the help of his colleague. And he said: "OK, fine. then what did you do?" He was totally testing me!

Since I was paying by the minute so that he can be rude to me, I gave up and we went through all the same steps I did last week to download the software together.

Then he asked: "Are you connected wireless or with the cable?" When I said "Wireless" he said: "OK". I thought this was is weird, because last time I had to do it over a cable connection. He then had me download and run the firmware update. And of course it didn't work. So he said: "OK, then it's not our problem. there's nothing more I can do."

When I blew up at him he asked: "Are you connected using wireless or a cable?" And I said: "Wireless, I told you!" To which he answered: "You should never update firmware over wireless! Check the readme file-- you were supposed to use a cable! Goodbye."

My blood is still boiling!