Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Trip to Baumholder!

Well, plans have been set there folks! I'm heading off to Baumholder this weekend. With an overnight stay in Frankfurt.

Now I just have to look into the bus tickets that I have to purchase. :-)

For those that don't already know, my family used to live in Baumholder for about 6 months or so when Dad was in the military, but I was 5 at the time so don't remember much. I'll have to print out a map of Baumholder just so I can get up to the apartments, which I think I know where they might be... Although the picture that I got from Google Earth didn't give details that I remember, but then again, I was five so who can say what I remember exactly! :-)

Well, from the looks of things everyone is saying that Amsterdam would be the best place to go to... I find it funny, because I don't really consider Amsterdam that a tourist trap that London, Paris and Rome could be/is. Hmmm... am I missing something? I guess I've have to put some research into it.

Well back to reading and understanding the programming language Objective C. TTFN

Monday, July 30, 2007

Quick Uploader found!

Hey there everyone!

Guess what?! I found a quick uploader for photobucket! So I don't have to manually put in 20 photos at a time. It's called Flock, and its a browser much like Firefox and Internet Explorer, but it also has the built in tool to take multiple photos at once and transfer them into photobucket. Not sure about its security, so I'm only using it for the photos till I know more, but then again, don't think I need ANOTHER BROWSER! :-) So, guess what, I've already uploaded the photos from Bonn into Photobucket! Yeah, I still have to take care of the blog itself now. :-/

Sorry folks, its been a little hectic here where I'm working right at the moment. Mr. D just went on vacation, so can't get any further assistance from him till he gets back. Which is a little bit of a problem, seeing that the template program that he gave me to use for the robot didn't work itself. So I need to hunt through 1000's of lines of code to find out how to fix the problem. Joy's for me! ;-)

Well, I need to set up for this weekend. I wanted to go to my old stomping grounds (when I was 5 years young) of Baumholder, Germany. But I need to go through Frankfurt to get there, so its going to be interesting to set up.

Oh, and the international office hasn't given us the word for our next pay check yet, so Frank and I are getting a little tight on the belts right at the moment. Actually, I'm probably going to have to brave this weather to get to the bank downtown to pull out some cash, just to deal for the week. (They said that the 3rd would be when we get paid...) Well, back to work for me. TTFN More on Berlin and Bonn coming soon...

Berlin Day 3 (Part 1) - Pick a train, ANY train!

So yeeeaaaahhhh, Day 3. I should have known what a day it would have been, after the first hour.

Well, after waking up, I gather my stuff because it was time to check out. Couldn't leave the bags there because check out time was like around 11am or so. Well, I get down to the lobby and there was a line to checkout, so I figured I'd sit in the lobby and check out the internet. Supposedly, they had wireless available in the lobby. Well, laptop wasn't able to see it that morning, or if anything it was going in and out, so it wasn't worth it. So I close it up and go check out. Well, the lady there was already a bit on edge with having to deal with a bus load of elderly trying to get out of there. Busy morning and pretty rough from the little I saw. So I get up to her and she was saying 2 breakfasts? Thinking that it was included "sure, what the heck" (I didn't actually have the 2nd breakfast...) and she tried to charge me for both? Well, I corrected that one quickly enough. But the lady still wasn't having a good time, but whatever. I'm not about to get charged 8 euros for a continental breakfast.

So, as I'm walking on down to the train station, snapping off a picture of the closed businesses (thinking once again of Mrs. C's statement that most places were closed on Sunday), I knew that I needed something food wise, if I was going to be riding around berlin. And I remembered, Fat Tires Brochure had discounts! Yup, got one for Dunkin Donuts! (Although I forgot to use it) Remembered right when I sat down. :-/ Well, it was across the street from the local station, so I finished off my two donuts and drink and walked to the ticket office. I still had that one problem with having no ticket! Figured I'd get the problem resolved as soon as I was up. Ugh, another headache. None of the ladies at the ticket window knew english. So it was a major headache flipping through my translation guide, trying to explain to them that I had no ticket. It was a probably a good 20 to 30 minutes, and 3 (yes, folks count them THREE!) ticket agents later that they explained to me that seeing I made the purchase online there wasn't a thing they could do... WHAT??? Online purchases and straight ticket purchases aren't really connected??? What kind of business... Okay, so I gather up my stuff, grab the phone number that the ticket agent gave me, and started looking for a phone.

Well, I'm sure all of you know about those jokes about New York stations and no phones? I think Die Hard 3 hit the nail on that one, with Samuel L Jackson finding one out of 3 working phones and it was being used... Well, it wasn't that bad here, but oooooh, it got close. All the pay phones here from what I can find out is a pay by minute phones, no standard charge 25 cents or something like that and talk for however long you want to. Nope. Nothing like that here. You either had the phones that only took cards, or pay the minute (if NOT SECONDS!!!). So there were like 14 stalls for phones right? Well, half of them were empty, half of the half were only card phones, which left about 3 as coins. Which was fine because there was only one being used. So no problem, I dropped a coin in and made the call (not yet, realizing the pay by the second), so I get to elevator music, when it cuts out. Did it give me a warning, saying "hey, deposit more money if you want to talk longer!"??? Nope, shutdown! Gah, more headaches. So about 5 euros later, I find out that I had two options, either I try to explain my situation to the conductor when I board the train (which as the gentleman on the line was saying, and I found out, that it was the weekend, and might not find anyone who spoke english), ooooor I go pay for another ticket and they would refund me the money paid. I went with the second option. It would save from the headaches, or so I thought. :-/

So ticket in hand (it was a different train because the other was filled), I went next door to the Fat Tire depot that they had right there. Yes, folks, they do have 2 locations in Berlin. Which was GREAT for me! Well, I rented a bike for a half day, got it around 11am, and the guy said, whenever I got it back 3pm or 4pm, didn't matter, as long as I didn't stretch it from there. Well, I dropped off my clothes bag there for Fat Tire to watch over (kept my laptop and valuables with me, just in case) ;-) and away I went!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Berlin Day 3 Photos Posted!

All 90 photos that I took of day 3 I have just posted of Berlin. Yeah, I know, I still haven't posted my experiences for that day. Don't worry, I'll get to that. But for now, it's time for me to go home and have some dinner. TTFN

Day 2 photos posted!

Finally! I've finally uploaded the 251 photos! So you can actually see my day 2 in Berlin! Yeah I know, it took long enough. But unfortunately, Photobucket can only upload 20 photos at a time. Ugh. Oh well, job done. And more to come!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Family Communication

When I was writting up this blog post last night, I couldn't help but think that its going to get nothing but negativity. You know those butterflies you get when you get REALLY nervous? Yeah, I have those right at the moment. I'm not going to name names, because not only does everyone involved know at least a few of the things that I've said, but the purpose of this email is to hit a larger topic. All that I ask is if for some reason you do take offense of what I'll be saying, please feel free to yell at me if you want, but reread what I'm trying to say. I just think that some of these things that everyone is having problems with is just absolutely silly. And I hope that everyone can get past these problems and come closer together. I can't fix these problems. I know that, its just too much for one man to fix. I just hope that effort can be made on both sides to get some amount of understanding. Well, I'm going to shut up now, and I'm going to email my sister who I haven't talked to in years and ask her how's shes been and for a little bit of forgiveness (seeing I haven't been there for her). Read the rest if you want to know what I was thinking last night. (I got the strength I asked for)


Yesterday(Monday)... was stressful. I kind of got myself into the middle of an unspoken problem in my family. On one side, supposedly due to old family photos not being looked for, communication broke down from there (which I think isn't really the truth, it might be a factor, but there were probably other factors), and on the other side, because of that lack of communication, they want nothing to do with the other because the lack of ... ... concern maybe? No, that's not right, I don't know what they are looking for really. Maybe what they are looking for is just the communication in general, which is understandable. I mean, communication IS (and always will be) a two way street.

Obviously, one side of the family doesn't know what the heck the other side is doing, and vice versa, and that saddens me. I remember back when we had a family gathering next to the lake, fishing, swimming, rowing a boat, just all around good times. Sure there might have been problems, but I felt like a BIG family at that time. I think if I remember correctly, all the guys at one point were watching Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan on the TV. (If I remember correctly, Dad hated that movie, not sure why...)

I mean, who cares if you didn't get a thank you note for a baby gift, who cares about photos, who cares about not getting a SINGLE phone call from someone when they are in town. Maybe they were getting a divorce at the time, maybe someone was dealing with cancer, maybe someone had a death in the family, or maybe when all said and done, they were so busy that it slipped the mind. Everyone has reasons, obviously some better than others, but THAT doesn't matter. What matters is FAMILY!

Now I know that I'm probably going to get some backlash from this, and well, I expect it. The truth hurts. Always does. Always will. Especially when nothing is said for such a LONG time. And well, I'm tired of it. Now, both sides of the family are probably going to take a look at this and be angry and/or confused. They may even ask me what I talking about for some of it. But you know what, ASK EACH OTHER!

I mean, I know that I haven't been the best son/nephew/cousin/brother, and I know that I could have communicated more. I could have sent out replies to those Christmas Email greetings that I've been getting from the one side. I could have stayed in better contact with ALL of my nieces and nephews. I could have been there whether mentally or physically with my brothers/sisters/uncles/aunts/cousins a little more. God knows that I love my immediate family to bits. Hell, I love my ENTIRE family (I guess even the black sheep, wherever they might be), and I don't want to lose anyone else. ESPECIALLY when its as STUPID as lack of communication.

Now, I know that we have our issues, we have our own problems, everyone does, but to say "I don't want anything to do with the other side of the family", I just can't do.
If I have to be, I'll be the bridge. I can already see that this post is going to bring some earthquakes. It normally does.

Now, I'm not expecting everyone to come running into each others arms, I'd be a fool if I thought so. But does it hurt to send out one email, make one phone call, HELL! Send a telegram! Whatever! Just something. Whether its a I'm sorry, or thank you, or a simple how have you been? As I see it, Family will be there for you, through thick and thin. No matter what you have done to piss people off, doesn't forgiveness stand for something?

I'm tired. This post was emotionally draining for me, and well, like I said, I'm probably going to get a backlash. It doesn't matter, as long as I can keep both sides. I'll be here for both sides, even if they don't want to be.

Dad, if you can here me, give me the strength to actually post this...

They now have T-shirts!!!

Oh this is priceless! One of my favorite sites, www.despair.com, is now offering t-shirts! Some of them are CLASSIC! haha

(Word of warning to those that doesn't know about www.despair.com, they got their start by taking those motivational posters that you sometimes see in big corporations, like:

Determination: It is the size of one's will which determines success.

And completely doing a 180 to them, such as:

Doubt: In the battle between you and the world, bet on the world.

And now, they have made t-shirts. ^.^)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Next City Poll

Hey there Everyone,

I created a poll, I wanted to know what everyone thinks would be a great city to visit. Because I only have time for one, and well, each one I figured would be great to see. So I would like to know what everyone thinks would be a great place to go to.

The poll is located at the very bottom of the blog. Sorry about the text color matching with the background. I'm currently looking through the HTML code to try to fix this. If you highlight the text, then you'll be able to see it better.

The poll will last till the 3rd of August. By that point I should be getting the tickets for the train. Well, let me know what you think. TTYAL

I'm a Jelly Donut! (Finale!) (Berlin Day 2)

Well, as I was saying, I went up onto the observation deck of the Fernsehturm tower, "aka Television tower", which spanned all the way around the tower, a full 360 degrees. Well... as you might have guessed, I took pictures. :-) From 72 to 115 matter of fact. I tried to take pictures of the descriptions as well, but they turned out a bit fuzzy. Well, I'm going to put them into the photobucket anyway. Enjoy the sights! :-)

Now after getting done with that, I head back down snap off a picture of another "Friendly Bear" and started walking back to the hotel (it was a LONG trek, but worth it). Well, I snapped off a picture of the statue outside of the St. Mary's Church, and I figured, oh what the hell, I'm only in Berlin for a short time, and Churchs tend to be really beautiful inside... I went inside one. Now, I know what you're thinking... Did it burn down? Lots of screaming people? Few hundred fire trucks? Ha Ha, yeah sure, right... No, none of that. But I snapped off some shots from 118 to 129. Snapped off another picture as to how popular Neptune's fountain got when it got hotter, can't see the naked children playing in the water, guess they were on the other side when I snapped off the picture.

Well, snapped off a picture of the local map as I walked on down, and came up to the Berliner Dom. So I figured if I was in one, another couldn't hurt. Snapped off pictures 132 and 133, of the Berliner Dom's side door and itself. Well, come to find out that I got there at the exact moment that it was closing up. Bummer. :-/ Oh well, I snapped off a few pictures of the exterior, pictures 135 to 141. Then I continued my walk towards Brandenburger Tor. As I was crossing a bridge, leaving Museum Island, I saw these statues that were placed on both sides of the bridge. Well, after changing the batteries of my camera, I snapped off the photos 142 to 146. Well, as we can see, there's another ad for cars (#147). But I started coming up to the Zeughaus, and I started snapping off some more photos. But once again, it was closed. :-/ (#148 - 150) Snapped off a couple more shots as I continued walking down the street. You can see them from #152 - 155. Well, I get back to the famous square again (you know the one with the book burning), and snap off a few more pictures. (#156 - 163) Well, I cross the street to take a close look at another one of Humboldt's Buildings, and as you can see they are having a book sale. #164 - #168 Took a couple of pictures of the names of who belongs on the statues, just in case you were wondering. :-)

Well, now I started coming into a business section of Berlin (right before Brandenburger Tor) and starting snapping off a few pictures, like Napoleon, a Ferrari store (Ferrari included), more construction, and a Friendly bear with a little more artistic "flavor". :-/ Saw police on #175... wondering why they blocked off the street... something to do with the fashion show? Saw what I could only assume was the Russian Embassy in #176 & 177. Look folks, MORE construction! (#178) Well, I finally came up to the Pariser Platz, which I believe is the name of the square in question, and started taking snap shots of what I could. Got a good shot of the Statue on 183. Took some snap shots of some of the carving inside the gate on 184 & 185. And finished off my stay at the Gate with 186 - 188. Well, I came up to Francesco Petrarca's statue, as he was shouting towards the Gate. Not sure why, but I'll research him when I can, but for now there you go with 189 and 190.

Well, as I was walking down Strasse des 17.Juni (still not sure why its called that), I saw basically #191, and thought, oh yeah, the Reichstag! Haven't been inside yet. :-) So I start snapping off some photos, sorry folks, the sun started coming down, so not the best photos in the world, but you take what you can get. :-) So 191 to 214 includes photos inside and out. I figured I'd also snap off a few of myself as well. Damn sun was in my eyes for a couple. :-) It was pretty amazing. The glass dome that you could go up in had the mirrored structure that you can see on 204 & 205, and the walkway was in a Helix fashion. One way to go up, and another to go down. :-) If you notice on #204, there are people looking at pictures that circle the mirrored structure. These pictures correspond with a history of the Reichstag as well. Didn't want to bore you with the history lesson, so I didn't take any pictures. :-)

Well, after having dinner, (#215) I continued my walk, and came back to the Soviet Honorary Memorial, so I figured I'd get a closer look. So I took a few pictures, 216-239. Got off a couple of pictures of the history of the Memorial, but there were fewer explainations there than the Reichstag. :-) Kind of hard to read, but I guess if you want to get a more detailed version, a trip to Berlin might be in order. :-)

Well, I get back to the Golden Goddess to find out that it had already closed for the day, so I went ahead and snapped off a few pictures of the outside. 240-251.

Well, after that it got too dark for anything else, and well, there wasn't much more between the Goddess and my hotel. So I just went back to the hotel. Besides, my feet hurt, I was tired, sunburned, and REALLY thirsty! Raided the mini bar to throw off the thirst. I could have stop along the way, but I was just too tired to think at that point. So I went to bed afterwards, and woke up to Day 3. Wish I could redo Day 3, but oh well... here we go!

I'm a Jelly Donut! (Part 5) (Berlin Day 2)

After the "Beer Garden", we went to see the Golden Goddess. We didn't actually go up in the tower, but I came back to it later. After the Goddess, which we didn't really stay for THAT long. We traveled down the road a short while till we got to the river, passing the Presidents House along the way. (We didn't stop there) Once we got to the Presidents House, we stepped up the gear to 3rd, and zoomed down the river squeeking our toys at the folks that were doing the river tours. :-) (A lot of tours in Berlin) :-)

Well, we fly past the "Haus der Kulturen der Welt", which I heard was nicknamed the "Pregnant Oyster", once again not stopping, till we get to a pedestrian bridge that crosses the river "Spree". We had to get off our bikes at this point (till we crossed the bridge), just because there were just too many people to ride across. So we get across the bridge, and behold, we are across the river from the train station that I came in from (#60). Too be honest, I don't know what #61 and #62 are, diplomatic buildings... maybe? I'll have to look those up again. (Well, found out that it was actually the German Chancellery (aka Chancellor's Office)

It's at this point that we are getting close to the end of the tour. Right after we had crossed the bridge, we get to the Reichstag, the parliamentary building that had burned down initially right near the time of Hitler's coming into power. Everyone believes that the Nazi's burned down the building, but no one could prove it. It was the burning of the building that allowed Hitler to step up into power the way he did. If you look carefully at pictures #63 and #64, you would notice the glass dome on top of the Reichstag. This was a fairly new addition, and its the main attraction here at the Reichstag. So much that you can see the line that is waiting on the front steps, I come back later for some more pictures here. Once again, I forget exactly what #65 through 68 are buildings wise, I can only assume that they are diplomatic buildings, but I'm not sure. I'll have to verify these again. (Yeah, 65 still the Chancellor's Office, 66 & 67 is the Paul-Löbe-Haus (aka Parliament Building), and I can only assume that 68 was the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus)

Well, we get to our last stop in the tour, which is a little square that has two museums on two sides, and the Berlin Dom on another. I forget which museums, I didn't have a chance to go into any of them, so they never stuck. But I'll find out later. (Altes Museum & Pergamon Museum)

So we head on back, turn in the bikes, give our tour guide a tip for a job well done, and we all go our separate ways. At this point, I didn't want to rent a bike at where I got the tour at, because I wanted to head back to the hotel, sightseeing along the way. And well, if I rented a bike, I would have to have backtracked. So the first thing I did, was go up into the "Pope's Revenge", did I mention that little tidbit? I don't think I did. Well, the tower of Fernsehturm was constructed by the Russians showing the world how technological they were. Well, as Randall put it, they were also ahead of their time by putting up the first disco ball. There was only one problem. As the sun hits the tower just right, it creates a little cross right on the tower itself. And seeing that the USSR LOVED christianity, they tried all they could to get rid of it, but they weren't able to do it. So Randall said that the nickname for the tower was called "Pope's Revenge" to spite the USSR. Not sure if that's exactly true, the nickname, but I could understand it if it was.

I'm a Jelly Donut! (Part 4) (Berlin Day 2)

Now we start getting to the Berlin wall and separation between East and West Berlin. Well, Randall pulled us off the to the side, and did a pretty bad drawing (he said that he was more of an Engineer) of Germany. Well, from this drawing Randall started explaining what happened with Berlin and Germany right after WWII. Talking about how everyone was leaving initially, and the steps that the USSR took to keep the citizens from fleeing. And then the tank standoff, between the Americans and the USSR, which if I remember correctly had about 30 tanks. Seeing that I'm a little bit aware of the History of the wall, (slighty), a bit of the information was repeative for me, so I took the time to take a couple of pictures of the "Squeeker" toy that was given to us on the bikes themselves. Randall said that the toys could be used to annoy little animals. We didn't see too many, so therefore, couldn't annoy nearly that much. :-) Well, back to the wall, after the explaination of the separation, Randall allowed us to roam around Checkpoint Charlie. Got in a few photographs. They had also put up some signs on the side of the street that showed everything that was going on at the particular checkpoint. Took a few snapshot of them, but there were just too many there. Plus, only had a short time before we got back on the tour, so I took the few that I thought mattered. If I wanted more, I could have taken the Berlin Wall tour, but I already explained myself earlier, so no worries. If you have a chance to take a look at Checkpoint Charlie, I would recommend it.

Well, we did go to another location which was right next to a section of remaining wall, and Randall was explaining that the building that we were standing next too WAS a Nazi building that remained intact. Supposedly it held prisoners there, if I remember correctly. I think it was also the sight where Hitler executed the one (Colonel?) that tried to kill him with a bomb. There was also some balloon rides being offered right next to the building, which was cool. Too bad I didn't remember the spot afterwards to go up in it. Oh well, maybe next time I go to Berlin (whenever that would be). :-) Got a couple of shots of me in front of the Berlin Wall, and then next to the "Friendship" Bears (or something like that, you'll see a few of them around).

Well, our next stop was the last remaining watch tower for the wall. These towers were used as sniper towers to warn escapees with the first shot, then to kill on the second. Randall expanded that some of these soldiers even had to shoot their own countrymen. I believe around the Berlin Wall explaination, Randall mentioned that JFK said "Ich bin ein Berliner!" ("I'm a Jelly Donut!"). Everyone knew that he was trying to say "Ich bin Berliner!" "I'm a Berliner", but he didn't say it right. Funny as it might be, most understood what he meant, and most still loved him for it. When JFK was assasinated, Berlin (if not Germany itself) held a candlelight vigil for him.

Next stop, apartments! Yes folks, #48 through #50 is a lovely location, home of Katerina Witt at one point, not too mention, that it was the same location where Hitler killed himself! Don't they look lovely?! :-) We were standing in a location where Hitler had his personal bunker, the same one that he killed himself in. Well, when the Russians took the area over, like most buildings they tried blowing up the bunker, but it didn't work. So what did they do? Just like everything else, they collapsed in the roof of the bunker and made it a parking lot. Or at least, that's what Randall said. I'll have to confirm that at some point, but for now, I'll believe him. :-)

Well, after that we went past the Jewish Memorial "Holocaust Mahnmal", (I went there on Day 3, so don't worry, I HAVE pictures) and we get to the Brandenburger Tor, aka The Brandenburger Gate. Why didn't I get a closer picture? Well, come to find out it was... wait for it... FASHION WEEK IN BERLIN!!!! Oh my God, all those models, and the dresses, and the mod... Yeah, not so impressive in my opinion. They decided to have the walkway right down the center of the gate!!! Well, I came back around later for some more pictures, but yeah, couldn't get the Gate in ALL of its glory. So we continued down the... (forgetting the street right at the moment, (its called "Strasse des 17.Juni?" Eh, oh well, figured there would be more.)) and we come upon the Russian Monument for all of the Russian soldiers that died in WWII, the "Soviet Honorary Memorial". It had a few authentic tanks, a few artillary, (all I think were bronzed) and a statue of a man that had too much of a rush job on him. Big body, big hands... tiny head. You can see that in picture #56. I'll be getting a closer view of the monument on Day 3, but at snapped off a few pictures #52-56.

Well, we finally get to the "Beer Garden" or something like that (I'll have to look it up (Schleusen Krug, it was called Beer Garden by Randall)), Randall was talking about it for most of the tour, you know hints here and there about how it was the reason why everyone was on the tour. Or something along those lines. :-)

Well, it was also a place that LOVED its pork. They had this one menu item (they had a list in English) that had meatballs, so I asked... just to make sure. Yup, not surprisingly it was made out of schweinefleisch (aka pork), so I tried ordering the cooked duck which was right below it. Well, they heard "Sure, I want the meatballs!". Little bit of a mix up, but it was resolved and I got #57. It was... delicious!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Travel by train... or by broom? ;-) (Not Berlin post)

Well, as I write this I'm getting some laundry done for the weekend. I'll be heading off to Bonn, Germany tomorrow (Friday), and from what I've seen so far of the tourist sights, there isn't much. :-/ Maybe I made a mistake about deciding about Bonn?

So far I've only seen about three things that might be of interest there. Eh, maybe I'll just go into the museums at "Museum Mile". Or maybe a trip down the Rhine?

Went to go see Harry Potter this past Wednesday. They do show the original sound recordings (aka English) like about one to two days a week. It was really great seeing that I wouldn't have been able to see it otherwise. There were two things that were kind of strange (no pun intended). One was that they had the opening title still in German, which is understandable ( I guess), the other was that they had assigned seating. In other words, you bought a seat, literally! It's kind of rare to see that in the states, so it was kind of a surprise here. Kind of wish I wasn't as close to the screen as I was. But it was still pretty good none the less. Good film, I recommend seeing it. Although it was fairly fast paced... oh well. Still good. :-)

Well, I'm almost out of money right at the moment, so I'm going to have to watch what I spend the remaining euros that I have. The trip to Berlin took quite a bit from the wallet. Well, tomorrow (Friday) I'll be writing up my "report" that will explain to the people in charge exactly what I've been doing for the internship. Basically its a formality, one that is required in order to get the last months pay. Not too mention the airplane ticket money that they said they would help out with.

Well, I have been planning my trips typically two weeks in advance, but I think I'm going to hold off for the time being. Just till I get the next paycheck. I also have to decide what's the next BIG destination. Well, I'll have to get the Birthday trip ironed out, at the very least. But I want to go somewhere out of Germany. That, however, is going to cost a bit... I was checking out the rail prices, and they were getting up to 200 euros or more. :-/ I'll have to check out how much I have left on the old credit card. Well, I have to get back to writing out my trip to Berlin, and I think my whites are done. So time to fold. TTFN

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm a Jelly Donut! (Part 3) (Berlin Day 2)

After that point we went onto our next destination, which Hitler made REALLY famous. It was the Bebelplatz, a square that held the 2000 (or was it 20000? Found out it was around 20000) book burning. With Humboldt University Library on one side and the Opera House on the other, it was quite a sight to see (not sure what building #25 was, but I could probably look it up (Can't find anything about it, I'll try to find out more later when I have more time)). #24 was Humboldt University, #27 was part of the Opera House. St. Hedwig's Cathedral was also there as well, but it was under reconstruction, so nothing but a billboard there right at the moment. Come to find out that when the Allies first started bombing Berlin, the Opera House was actually hit. Well, instead of spending money on food and all that for the people, the Third Reich decided to rebuild the Opera House. On picture #29, you see a picture of empty bookshelves. These empty bookshelves represent the books burned. It was quite stunning, would have been better if the window wasn't dirty.

Okay, for #30 through #33, I can't really remember everything that was there (Found out that the area is called Gendarmenmarkt). #32 was a French Church, and #33 was a German Church...(not sure about the German Church (ha! I was right! It was a German Cathedral)), if I'm not mistaken it was after the 30 year war that the German's brought the French to Berlin to repopulate the city. Sorry, can't really remember that much more. (Found out that #31 is the Konzerthaus, basically its a concert hall at this time)

I'm a Jelly Donut! (Part 2) (Berlin Day 2)

Well, we get separated into 3 groups, I was part of the 3rd group, but that doesn't really matter, what matters is that my tour guide was a guy by the name of Randall, you will see in from time to time in the background, the one with the dreadlocks. Our first stop was Neptunbrunnen (Neptunes Fountain). I had already taken a picture of it, so I figured no need for another one. So the next stop was the... ummm... I can't remember the name right at the moment (Found out that its called Marx-Engels-Forum). It was built by the Russians for the people of East Berlin for the 850th birthday of Berlin? I think I got that right. What did they put up? Statues of Karl Marx and another communist that I can't remember the name of off the top of my head. (Found out that it was Friedrich Engels), that's what got put up, plus a couple of other stone slabs showing the German Socialist Movement.

Well, after that brief visit, we rode onto the "Building of the Republic", I think (Actually it was called Palast der Republik or Palace of the Republic, I was close! It WAS the Berliner Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace), but was heavily damaged in WWII and later demolished by the GDR) Obviously, I'm going to have to edit this later because I can't remember half of the names that we visited. Well, you notice that the building is under construction, because when it was rebuilt by the russians, they used lots of concrete! And from that construction they also added quite a bit of Asbestos, not intentionally, and well, it was later condemned. It's only now that its being rebuilt. There were two other buildings right next to the "Building of the Republic" (Ahem, Palace of the Republic), one was once the Horse Stables of the "Palace", (which I did get a picture of, its number 23) and the other building that I got a shot of was once the face of the "Palace" (If I can remember right), but it was kept by the Russians and placed on a more "modern building", with glass windows all over the face of the building. Can't remember what the building #22 was, I'll have to check the web for it, but it wasn't really on the tour at that point. Just briefly mentioned by Randall.

I'm a Jelly Donut! (Part 1) (Berlin Day 2)

Well, where to begin? Let's just say that this blog is going to be cut into parts folks, just because.... BERLIN IS AMAZING! If you ignore the fact that there are quite a few reconstructions going on, you would be amazed as to what is here. How amazing would you say? Well, let's just say that I took 251 pictures! I took more, but those weren't really good pictures, so I deleted them on the spot. Matter of fact, the 251 pictures have a few bad eggs as well. I'll try to sort through them all when I have the chance.

I'm going to try to take you through those pictures as much as I can, so you might want to have the pictures open just so you can see what I'm talking about.

Here is the link for the photo album. http://s196.photobucket.com/albums/aa24/NovoCode/

There isn't anything there right at the moment, I mean, I did take 251 pictures. It takes a while to upload! :-) (Blogger is giving me some trouble with the link, so I'll just put the link for the main album down, and I've labeled the album Berlin Day 2, just so that you know)

Well, after waking up, I figured that seeing that I was getting a bike tour, that I would look the part of the tourist. So I went down to the train station so that I could catch the train to Alexanderplatz. That's where I needed to go for this one bike tour that I purchased. I snapped off a few pictures along the way to the train station, especially the multi-story Fitness Center. :-) Must love their fitness.

Well, I get to Alexanderplatz, and I was a little early, so I went around the area taking a few pictures. So I head on back around the time that I think I needed to be there (I really do need a watch, I say this now, because it was getting me into problems later, Berlin day 3). Well, come to find out, that I had purchased the Berlin Wall tour, so I figured, I'm here to see ALL of Berlin, not just the wall itself. So I asked about their full city tour, and they said, "no problem, it costs the same". I mean, sure, I could learn A LOT about the wall, but then again, there is soooo much more to see. So I opted for the full tour. Its a good thing I did. Well, the full city tour was a little bit later (11am), so I checked out some shops at the train station, saw a miniture train station so I snapped off a shot of that. Well, after buying myself a hat, (it was a VERY sunny day, which was completely the opposite of the forecast (which said that it would be pouring), so I needed the protection) I went to the meeting point at the right moment. (Thankfully, I was lucky, and judged the time correctly, I wasn't so lucky later, as you will fine out.)

(Posting more soon...)

Train Ride Conclusion... (Berlin Day 1 Concluded)

Well, after going through the train ride to Hannover, I had to switch trains. Which was another kind of disaster. They had overbooked the train. I'm not saying, "oh, there were like two or three standing up". No, I mean, there were people STANDING IN THE AISLES PRACTICALLY. I counted about fifteen people initially that didn't have a seat, IN MY CAR ALONE. I think there were about 15 more people in the other cars. So I didn't get a seat for the 2 or more hours on the train ride!

Well, we finally get to Berlin, at the Hauptbahnhof-Lehrter Bahnhof Train Station which is on the Northern end of Central Berlin. Basically North of the Strasse des, the Brandenberg Tor, the ... oh heck, I'm going to be naming off a few places that might confuse you, so I would suggest pulling out a map of Berlin yourself, just so you know where I went to on the 2nd and 3rd day. Well, I get to the main station, and well, the place is huge. Not like LAX huge, but still pretty big. So, I find the exit. Well, with the only map that I have of Berlin on my laptop, I knew that I would have some difficult times trying to find the hotel on my own, so what do I do? TAXI! :-) I didn't want to make the Friday the 13th any worse than it was already, so I went ahead and got a taxi to the hotel. Saw a few quick sights along the way (Presidents house and the Golden Goddess), but I wasn't able to really get anything.

Well, I get to the hotel and check in. Well, by this time, the sun was going down which meant that it was around 10pm, and I haven't had a chance to grab some dinner. So where do I go? Subway! The german cuisine... wait, what am I saying? Its Subway for crying out loud! Why would I go there? First I was tired, and didn't want anything fancy. Second, I could get chicken or turkey there without too many problems. And third, I didn't want to run the risk of running into pork on my first day.

So after dinner, I went back to the room and went to bed. Had a big day ahead of me, wanted to get some rest.

Forests Everywhere! (Berlin Day 1 Continued)

On the train ride, it struck me that there are quite a few forests here in Germany. Seeing that I've been to Oklahoma and California for most of my years, you don't see too many forests there. But I've seen quite a few here in Germany so far, one of which is Burgerpark itself. If it wasn't the fact of the rain (which its not currently doing), I would have nothing but smiles. Like the first day I got the Altima. Same kind of feeling. Well, my battery is probably going to die soon (was on the train at the time), so I'm going to cut this particular blog down for now. More later.

Movie Missed (Not Berlin Post)

Yesterday (Tuesday) was an interesting day for me. Well, on Monday, I had asked Frank if he wanted to go see the new Harry Potter film that came out here in Germany last week (I think). Well, I had found out on Monday that some of the theaters in Germany do play original languages for the films. Granted they only play like once a week (later found out that they play actually once a day), but hey, we don't really miss out all that much.

Well, Frank said sure, so we went yesterday to see Harry Potter. Come to find out that even though the guy at the ticket window, that I talked to on Monday, said that Harry Potter was at 7:30pm yesterday and today (Wednesday), it actually showed yesterday at 3pm. We were just "slighty" late. :-)

Well, were going down there tonight to see if we can catch it. Well, after walking away yesterday we got a bite to eat at a corner cafe (food was really good and cheap, had a Gryo Pizza! hehe). Forgot to take a picture though. Oh well, maybe next time.

That's it for now, now I'm going to get back to working on this past weekend blog. Its going to be a little messy in the postings, but I'll try to keep it somewhat organized. More later. :-)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Friday the 13th Strikes! (Berlin Day 1)

Well, if you think that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day, well, it was for me. I had major issues today that made me lose 64 euros. I had some considerable trouble with the one website that I booked the hotel through. They said that they would put up a link necessary for me to print out a voucher 24 hours after I made the purchase. Well, I signed on today thinking that I wouldn't have a problem with the link. However it still wasn't available. So I contacted the website (via email) and told them that its been 7 days since I purchased, it should be up and if they could fix the problem. So they replied that to print the voucher, I needed to click on the link...

Ha ha, pretty funny I thought, so I replied back that the link still wasn't available. Once again, they sent the same message. So seeing that I was running out of time and losing my patience, I sent one last email telling them that the LINK WASN'T THERE. They replied back for me to call their 888 number. So I went to Mr. D, asking if I could use his phone for the call to the states. He said no problem, so I contacted them. They verified my information and said that they could fax the voucher to me. So I gave them the fax number for my work. Well, the person said that it would take about 20 minutes, so I went to take care of a few more things. And so, I figured, I had about an hour to catch the train, 15 minutes to get home, and about 30 minutes to get the train station. 15 minutes was plenty of time to catch the train I thought. I had the ticket in my hand.

Well, I forgot about the voucher, it wasn't till I was halfway home (to pick up my things) that I remembered the voucher. :-/ So I continued home, but I didn't have time to check to see if the mail came (see prior blog post for the reason why), plus if it did come then Mrs. C didn't really let me know when I got there. So I gathered up my stuff, and took the 15 minute bike ride back to the University. I think I made some good time though, I was riding pretty hard there and back. So I get to the office, and Mr. D had already left for the day. So I asked Mr. F if he knew where the fax was, which was in the Secretaries office. Well, we get to the office (she was gone too) only to find that the fax was out of paper, so Mr. F went to get some more.

Well, voucher in hand, I figured that going back to the house would be the long way around, so I went in the opposite direction following Burgerpark because I knew that it would get me close... well, I turned too soon. Stupid me, I had looked at the map, and I knew that I had to pass the train tracks before turning left. But I turned too soon!!! Gah! I get to a familiar intersection, and start riding hard to the train station thinking along the way that I wasn't going to make it. Well, I get to the train station and eventually found a place to park the bike. They don't have any bike racks from what I could see, so I guess its park anywhere??? Well, I locked it up next to a light pole, and rushed into the train station. (I should have ran.) The gate that I needed to get to was gate 10, which was on the other end of the station. It was salt on the wound because if I didn't turn left, I would have gotten to the back entrance which would have been closer to gate 10. :-(

I run up the steps to gate 10, because I was at the train station at the EXACT MINUTE that the train was going to leave. I get to the train, and tried punching the button to open the door, but it was locked, and the train left RIGHT THEN!!! I was there!!! I missed it by 30 seconds!!! There wasn't anything I could do but to see about the next train, so after getting some information, I find the ticket counter. The ticket that I had bought was a discounted ticket and only good for that train. No refund, no exchange. :-(

So 64 euros later, I'm on a later train heading to Berlin. Here's hoping that the visit itself will be better overall.

P.S. There is more later, but things are a bit hectic around here right at the moment, so its taking some time to write up. I'm trying to get them done as soon as I can, TTFN

Friday, July 13, 2007

Having a few problems before the trip however...

Well, so far the ticket that I ordered over a week ago, that's supposed to get to me at least a couple of days ago, hasn't gotten to the address here. The ticket is the train trip home. I hope that the ticket will be waiting for me when I get home.

The other problem that I'm dealing with is that I need to print out this one voucher for my hotel in Berlin, but the site that I purchased it from isn't giving me the link for the voucher. :-( Another problem. I need to give them a call to get it resolved. Well, I need to go bug my supervisor to see if I could use his phone for the call.

Wish me luck, hopefully everything will get resolved by the time I get home to pick up my clothes.


Sights I'm going to "try" to see

Well, I'm almost out of here to head off to Berlin. I compiled a list of things that I might be interested in seeing. Went to a sight-seeing website which had a good list, so here's the list. I'm going to be checking off the list when I go, hopefully I'll be able to get to most, but its a BIG list. I mean, I ONLY have two days. :-) Wish me luck!

East Side Gallery - Remains of the Berlin wall

Brandenburger Tor - Brandenburg Gate would be a sight to see.

Denkmal Fur die ermordeten Juden Europas - Memorial to the Murdered Jews

Checkpoint Charlie - Famous Border crossing point.

Gendarmenmarkt - "Europe's Most Beautiful Square"

Neue Wache - Place of Remembrance

Zeughaus - "Mother of the Prussian Style" - German History Museum

St-Marien-Kirche - Beautiful parish church

Fernsehturm - highest tower in the city.

Siegessaule - The golden goddess of victory

Schloss Bellevue - Germany's "President" lives here.

Gedenkstatte Deutscher Widerstand - In Memory of Nazi Resistance

Haus der Kulturen der Welt - The Congress Hall was seen as a symbol of German-American friendship

Zoologischer Garten - Germany's First Zoo

KaDeWe - The MALL of malls in Germany

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtnis-Kirche - A ruined church which is a reminder of the horrors of war

Schloss Charlottenburg - A palace fit for a queen.

Funkturm - Berlin's "Eiffel Tower"

Olympiastadion - The stadium that hosted the 1936 Olympics & 2006 FIFA World Cup

Treptower Park - Recreational Area Near City Centre

Erholungspark Marzahn - Chinese Garden

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Beer, Bikes, and... Bugs???

Yesterday (Wednesday) was a pretty interesting day for me. It was a productive day for me at work, getting closer to uploading my code into the robot that we have, but I dealt with a unique bug when I was testing out my code.

When I was subtracting two floating point numbers (decimal numbers, for those that don't understand floating point), when the numbers were identical, the subtraction, at times, would produce a negative zero (-0). I was using the number that was produced by this subtraction to check to see if the value was still greater than or equal to 0 (value >= 0). But seeing that a negative zero came up, it didn't pass the test, which caused changes in my output.

The only thing that I could think of was that the environment (Eclipse) that I was using to code in, wasn't processing the subtraction right. The only thing that I could do for a temporary fix would be add a SMALL value to one of the numbers, and recalculate. This obviously doesn't fix the big picture, but it is only a temporary fix. I'll have to check with the people that built Eclipse to see if they know about it... or if there is already a fix for it.

Well, after the productive day, Frank and I joined another student at a local bar for a going away... drink, I guess. Two of the interns that got here before Frank and I are heading back home to India today (Thursday). Frank and I had been joining them for lunch lately, just because they were able to speak English as well. In other words, we were able to hold a conversation at lunch that didn't require a translator. :-) Well, only one of them joined us, (the other was packing I guess) and we sat down for a beer. Yeah, I know, "Me? A Beer?". But I figured if I didn't have at least one beer here in Germany, then I'm missing out of the whole Germany experience. Yeah, well,... I only had about a third of the glass. What can I say? I just don't like the taste of alcohol. Plus, the beer had a VERY BAD aftertaste. But then again, that might be normal...

Well, Frank finished off the rest of mine, which made him a little flush. We didn't have anything since lunch, which was about 5 hours prior, so alcohol on empty stomachs didn't help. But we were fine in the end. None of us felt like getting smashed or anything, especially with it raining outside and biking home would be a mess (Don't drink and Bike folks! It could get ugly). Well, we parted ways, and I followed Frank home (just to make that the two beers didn't effect him too much, which it didn't). However, on the way back, as Frank and I were biking along, we get to this turn... well, not really a turn... How can I describe it?

Okay, there are two parts to the sidewalks here in Germany. One for regular pedestrians, and the other for bikes. Well, there is this one part, where the bike path (which was already pretty narrow at this point) does a quick straight "s" kind of curve (like a x^3 curve, for those of you who know math fairly well). This curve is put there because there were trees along the sidewalk, so they put the bike path on one side of the trees, and the walkway on the other. Well, the trees and Frank kind of blocked my view of two other bikers who were coming down the same path in the opposite direction. Once again, I remind you that the bike path was already pretty narrow. Squeezing two bikes side by side is hard on a path like this. Well, Frank was able to pull around the two fairly well, he was ahead just enough, but I got to the corner just as I saw the other two bikes.

At this point was pretty scary, because trying to avoid the other bikes, I almost lost control of mine. I went into the street into traffic, but kept enough to the side of the road (kept it that much under control) to not be any danger. But I gave a few drivers a fright, NOT to mention myself! I'm looking for adventure here in Europe BUT NOT THAT MUCH! :-) Well, I put the bike back onto the sidewalk, went over to the pedestrian side (larger walkway) and continued home. See! See what I mean about not Drinking and Biking! There you have it, it could have been A LOT worse than what it was. Well, that was enough for one day. I'll save the rest for later on Friday when I leave for Berlin. :-) TTFN

Oh, almost forgot, I was listening to some Big Band Radio yesterday, and "Begin The Beguine" by Artie Shaw came up. If I remember correctly, this song was one that Dad use to play on the Organ ALL the time. But I'm not sure, I'll have to check in with my brother to see if he knows (He's the musician of the family). ;-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Saw this from a friend of mine...

Well, I was taking a little break from programming here at Germany, and well, I saw something from a friend of mine...

looɔ ʎʇʇǝɹd sɐʍ ʇı ʇɥƃnoɥʇ ı puɐ


Obviously, totally unrelated to Germany, but I thought it was amusing just the same. Ah the simple things. :-)


My shorts are Cursed!

Hey there Everyone,

I'm telling you the truth, I've worn shorts 3 times now on nice sunny days, and then it turns miserable! Twice before I've worn shorts are fairly sunny days, and it turns all rainy making the bike ride home quite... wet. So this morning I look outside to see hardly a cloud in the sky. Nice day for a picnic I thought (I still needed to go to work, but it was that kind of day), or at least that's what I thought. Right now clouds are rolling in with Thunder pronouncing their arrival! I mean, cut me some slack! I mean, it's practically rained every single day!!! Can someone tell God and/or Mother Nature to turn off the waterworks?! THAT'S IT! I'm moving to Rome! ;-)

Well, I have to get back to work, but I hope it clears back up. (Crossing fingers)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Finishing off Sunday...

Well, after making the entry that I just recently posted about Sunday Morning, my evening shaped up to be pretty good overall. I still had about two loads of laundry left to take care of, so I stuffed it all into one of my travel bags (one which had a should strap), and was about to head to find the laundromat. But I needed some food before I started doing some hard riding (the bag was a "little" heavy, but eventually manageable). I stopped off at the Mexican restaurant that was right down from the house. Hmmm... I still need a picture of the place. :-)

Well, after lunch, I took the bike ride. The ONLY laundromat that anyone knows about (or at least what the phonebook and a couple of students know about) is close by downtown. Its a little hole in the wall place off of the street 'Vor Dem Steintor'. The street was pretty narrow especially with the amount of traffic on it, made traveling by bike a little unnerving. I guess I'm too use to American Drivers. ;-) But it turned out fine. Got to the laundromat and started translating. :-) Spilled a little bit of the detergent when it spit out the detergent after I put the money in. They included the detergent in with the price of using the washing machine, which was great seeing that the price was 4 euros for one load. Well, they didn't have a change machine available there, so I had to bug this one store next door for some change. Thankfully the owner of the store was prepared (although he didn't speak english, but I was able to translate as much as I could for understanding).

Well, there's 8 euros down for washing two loads, now for the drying... 75 cents euro for 15 minutes. :-/ So if the dryers are anything like the dryers in America, a good hour is "typically" just enough to dry most everything. So there goes 3 euros for my shirts. However, my second load of pants that I had wasn't so lucky. I put in another 1.50 euros for another 30 minutes, and it was enough... still a little damp here and there, but it had to do, because I didn't want to break another bill just for another 30 minutes or so.

Oh, and I ran into some international students that were from Portugal that were studying at the German Language School that Bremen has (???) for the summer. What was interesting was that they came to learn German, but they also knew English fairly well. It's quite interesting who you run into in a Laundromat! :-)

Well, I put the clothes back onto my back and went home. Dropped off my clothes, but needed dinner, the food stores are closed on Sunday (which I just found out yesterday), so its up to dining out. Well, Mrs. C said that I could go back to the one street that I was at, for the laundromat, for cheap food with college kids in the area as well. She also recommended a place called the Schnoor, which is basically a shopping street with restaurants down the various streets. She said that it was quite lively at night. Oh yeah, QUITE lively! lol Well, I decided to go to the Schnoor so that I can do another quick tour of downtown as well. It was getting pretty late by this point (probably around 8pm local time), so I stopped in this one restaurant. I think it was called Olmpy, or something like that... not sure, I'll have to look at the receipt again. :-) The food was great! The baked potato that I had tasted a little weird, but I think it was more the sour cream, but I'm not certain.

Well, after dinner, I went in search of the Bremen Town Musicians. I don't know WHY they are called that, but I finally found them, and took a few pictures of them. I also ran into 3 folks from Seattle who were also there. :-) We basically talked about how the weather reminded them about Seattle, and that it was nice that the day was quite sunny. Well, after saying goodbye to the nice folks, I went home. I'm going to be putting up a new album with the few pictures that I took just to give you a little flavor of what I "experienced". :-)

By Sunday Morning...

Hey there Everyone,

Well, this weekend was a somewhat boring weekend. On Saturday, we had a day that was half raining and then half sunny. But, the sunny and rainy wasn't consistent. It would rain for about an hour, then the sun would come out, then the rain, etc. I've already been rained on twice (both times while wearing shorts!) that I didn't feel like leaving the house. So there's my Saturday for you.

Sunday, however, was a nice sunny day, that I'm going to have to work indoors for a short time. I still got some laundry to do, so I'm going to have to find the laundromat. So I went downstairs to get my clothes that are hanging up, and they are ROUGH TO THE TOUCH! I was like, WTF! I was thinking that there were water deposits in the water that just clung to the clothing after the wash. I mean, I had to let the standing air dry them, so what else would I think. I told this to Mrs. C, and let her feel the clothing. She said that there wasn't any fabric softener in the wash to make it nice and smooth. She said that the powder couldn't be a cleaner and a fabric softener at the same time. You know what I say to that... BALONEY! My Amway powder was fine when it came softening up the fabric, so I'm going to still with my "theory" that it had to do with the whole air dry, more than anything else. But I'm going to hold that "theory" to myself. Don't need Mrs. C getting all anal about the limited laundry services here.

Well, even though my clothes may itch like hell when I wear them (not sure, haven't had the chance to yet), they are still "clean". I was debating on taking them to the laundromat to get them rewashed, with I guess fabric softener! But Mrs. C is right. They are still clean, and nothing to cry about. (She said something about being made out of sugar, although she didn't know the right words, I think we all know what she meant)

Well, it's already 11:45am here in Germany on Sunday, and I still need to get to the grocery store, the laundromat, and maybe put in some sight seeing in when I have the chance. I don't think there will be much to tell later, so TTFN.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Berlin Postponed

Well, I was looking into the tickets for going to Berlin and coming back, and the tickets were typically coming out to around 72 euros, ONE WAY! Ouch! So I was searching around a little more, and I was able to find tickets at cheaper costs, it just means longer travel times and a few switching of trains. But I was able to get the tickets for 39 euros and 33 euros, going to and then back, respectfully. So 50% off. Not too shabby, but I have to postpone Berlin till next weekend. I guess it could wait for another week. :-)

Oh, I need to book a hotel... Hmmm... Let's see what I can find...

Well, while I do that, I guess I'm going to be sticking around Bremen for another weekend. Such adventures huh? lol Well, I'll try to fix that soon. ;-) I just hope that the weather improves out here. Kind of wish that I could switch the weather here with what's going on, on the West Coast. I'm sure everyone there would LOVE the rain right about now. :-)

So, Berlin's set up. I'm going there, no question about that. The question is now, where to go next. Frankfurt, and then onto Baumholder? Stuttgart? Heidelberg (which is just south of Frankfurt, supposedly from my friend, its a good place for good looking Frauleins)? Munich (Supposedly a good place to get drunk at, again from the same friend)? Garmish (which I heard is a great ski resort plus has the Neuschwanstein Castle nearby (I think I'll hold this one for my birthday))? Or should I go outside of Germany? Paris? Rome? Athens? London? I think I better check out the prices before I go too nuts. Well, time to get back to the search. TTFN

Going through the Spin Cycle

Well, I just confirmed this morning that Mrs. C has major restrictions when in comes to the Washer and Drier. It seems that when Mrs. C had prior tenants, she allowed them access to the Washer and Drier. But I guess they screwed up their own clothes and blamed Mrs. C for it. So, she decided that we have access to the bath and kitchen, but when it comes to the Washer and Drier she is willing to do a load of laundry a week. But only she puts the clothes in.

This puts some amount of difficulty for me, seeing that I was hoping to have some clean clothes by the time I got back home. Well, actually, I was able to get my white clothes and some pants cleaned this morning, well, washed actually. I guess there is a wide call to save energy, so Mrs. C has decided that the Drier isn't going to be used (unless there is an emergency?). So she has a clothes rack to hang up our clothes to dry. Thankfully they aren't outside or that would just defeat the purpose. :-)

I can understand Mrs. C's position, kind of silly, but I'll respect her decision. That just means that I'll have to find a Laundromat. Supposedly the only one Mrs. C knows about is one near downtown. It's going to be interesting carrying my dirty clothes on the tram. :-/

I'll have to see if I can find another resource. Well, time for me to get to work, buy a train ticket and research Berlin. I got my work cut out for me. Talk to everyone later.

Train Spotting

Well, yesterday (Thursday) was a pretty productive day for me. Not only did I make some amount of progress on my program that I've been working on, but I decided that I need to go out this weekend and explore more of Germany. Now, seeing that I'm not exactly sure where my old house was in Baumholder, (I think I found it using Google Earth, but I'm not 100% sure its the right place) I'm thinking about heading to Berlin. Plenty to see there, right? There's the Berlin Wall (I think there are still parts of it left... I... think... Hmmm...), and then there's the... ummm... well, there's the... ahhhh... Hmmm... I'll have to put some research into this, I clearly don't know too much about Berlin as I thought. (Unless, that's all there is to see in Berlin (WHICH I HIGHLY DOUBT!))

A friend of mine emailed me some spots to see, not a whole lot, but a few. One of which is a place for the beer. Hmmm... I wonder why he couldn't think of anything more... Hmmm... :-P

Well, back to my productive day, which doesn't have a whole lot more, but anyway! I took a bike trip back down to the train station, because I wanted to see at what times the trains left for Berlin and at what price. Well, I found what's basically a train schedule for all of Germany (I think, but it has a bit of info), and I got a rought estimate of the fare to get there. I also found a Western Union right next to the train station, so if worse comes to worse, then I could ask Mom to send something there. But I'll have to see if there is anything else that I could use.

All I have to worry about now is a place to stay. Where's a Motel 6 when you need one!? lol I'm going to see if I can get my advisor here to help me out a little bit for my trip. It's going to be interesting. :-) Wish me luck everyone! And I'll see you all when I get back, well, sort of. ;-)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4th of July

Woo Hoo! Its Independence Day!

Although, I just messed up. This morning when I was getting dressed, I grabbed one of the last pair of pants that I had (Need to do some laundry soon) and a matching t-shirt. Unfortunately, I had an appropriate t-shirt for today, and I TOTALLY forgot!!! Gahhhh! Here I was thinking that I could celebrate independence day as much as I can with appropriate clothing, but I totally blew that one out of the water. :-/

I guess I'm going to have to look around for some fireworks now... yeah, THAT'S going to be easy!

Oh well, back to work.

Slight chance of rain

Yesterday was kind of an annoying day for me. Well, ever since I got into town, the temperature has kept at a fairly steady temperature, not too hot for shorts but yet, not too cold for pants either. So seeing that it was raining lately, I quickly went through my supply of pants. So I figured what the heck, why not shorts for a while. I'll get back to this in just a sec.

So I wake up, and tweeeek, I have a major KNOT in my right shoulder/neck. You know the kind, the kind where it kind of requires a massage therapist to remove it quickly. Well, I get dressed (in shorts) and head to work on what looks to be a nice sunny day. hahaha

Around 1pm it turns cold and the clouds start rolling it. I could just hear them saying "Okay Guys! He's at work! Lets Go!"

So here I am at work, trying to get through an annoying bug in my code, trying (and failing miserably) to update my drivers on my computer, I got this HUGE knot in my shoulder, when it starts pouring. I'm not talking about "sprinkle, sprinkle", no I'm talking about raining so hard that "I could hear it pounding the roof which is another story above where I work" hard (which I was hearing by the way). AND it just wouldn't let up!!! Its around 6pm by this point, and I knew if I stayed longer it would just get colder. So, I throw my backpack on, throw my jacket (that Mom recently bought me to replace my old blue torn up jacket) over both my backpack and I, and I ride on home. Frank was a few minutes ahead of me, but he knew I was coming so he left the door open a crack so I could get in quickly. The front door that Mrs. C has isn't like the typical front doors in America. No, it requires you to use the key to open up the latch that is typically handled by the door knob. Hence, the reason why I was so thankful that Frank kept it open ever so slightly. Well, the rest of the night went okay, same as normal. I'm hopeful that today will be a better day. TTFN

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Oh, picture link

My Brother also informed me that he would like the link for the full photobucket album.

So here you go:


The changing of names

Hey there everyone,

My brother asked a good question of me the other day, and I figured I'd just address it here. He was curious as to why I would change names and/or not use the full names of those I know, and well... It's kind of weird, I'm all for the internet and the sharing of information, and yet at the same time, I'm one for one's own privacy as well. For those of you who already know me and who "Frank" truly is, then it doesn't really matter, but for those that come by this blog randomly, then they just experience what joys I'm having over here. I mean, I guess if you are curious as to who is who, then I guess you can shoot me an email (if you know what that email is), but I'm one to try to keep everyones privacy... well... private.

Its kind of silly I know, but until such a time where there is no one out that can use information maliciously, I figured why give them that information on a silver platter. Well, I have to get to work. TTFN

Pretty Boring Yesterday = short post

Hey there Everyone,

I didn't go on some wild adventure yesterday, so I don't have much to say. Took a different bike path to work yesterday, got my computer into working order (it wasn't compiling my code that I made, in other words it was seeing my code as just some text, and not a possible program), and I went home. Didn't feel like going out to eat, besides got to make sure that my paycheck lasts for the month. Figured if I go over 10 euros a day then I might be in trouble. So far, I think I'm doing it... I'll have to re-figure my amount soon. Going to check on exploring a new town this weekend. Wonder where I should go first... Hmmm...

Monday, July 2, 2007

Albums found

Well as you can see I found a site that is very helpful in uploading the album to my blog. All you have to do is click on the picture and it takes you to the album. I was just taking to many pictures to trying uploading directly to the blog. (That would just be too crazy!) Hmmm... :-)

Well, I'm going to upload my other pictures that I've already shown into Photobucket, just so that I have it on hand later. :-)

Well, enjoy the pictures. Talk to you all later.

Path & Downtown

Photobucket Album

Museum and Park Visit

Photobucket Album

Touring called on account of Rain! (Well, not totally)

Well, today (Sunday), Frank and I decided that we needed to see more of the sights here in Bremen. So I go grab some bread from a corner bakery (which is right next to the corner store) for breakfast, actually, I picked up a bread that had a prezetal feel to it (hard on the outside, soft on the inside, with a bit of salt covering the loaf), and a courssant (sp?) which unfortunately had some fudge cooked in the center. I was able to scrape away most of it, but it was interesting none the less. Well, those two pieces of bread with Mrs. C's homemade Strawberry jelly, and I was set to go. :-)

Frank and I hop on our bikes and head to the "Universum Science Center Bremen". It's a hands on Museum where it "explores" Man, the Earth, and the Cosmos. Frank was saying that San Francisco has something similar but the Bremen museum was better. I haven't been to the San Francisco museum that he is referring to, but I was highly impressed with everything that they had there. Too bad it's not in Los Angeles, or I would have told Mom to take her kids there. Its fun for the whole family. :-) If you ever come to Bremen, it is a stop that you should take. Well, Frank and I kind of split up at the very beginning, I went into the gift shop and got something for my niece and Mom (more for her kids, but figured she would get a kick out of it herself). Ah Ah, you'll just have to wait till afterwards to see what I got. :-) After exploring the full museum, and completely losing Frank (he had already left for home), I stopped at the museums "mensa" and picked up a hamburger (verified that there wasn't any pork in it). The burger wasn't all that great, it was pre-cooked, then microwaved. Should have known, but at least it filled me up.

Well, seeing that the museum was next to the University, I stopped by there to send off a few emails, then I figured that there was a big park just down the street from the museum, so I wanted to check it out. The "Der Burgerpark" was by far, the greatest park I've ever seen. The pathways were clear, there was no litter, there were trails ALL over the park, the forests were thick, the grass was green, AND you could rent a row boat for the "river" (which went through I would say half the park). Oh, don't forget that there are horse trails, a petting "zoo" (Donkey's, Gerbils and the like), lakeside restaurants, a miniture golf course, play areas for kids, one massive hotel on one end (which was quite beautiful, as you will see), a lake on the other side (with a "beach" to boot), and a couple of WWII Bunkers!!! Words are just not enough, I probably would have crashed in one of the many fields there, just to relax my legs, as well as, my rearend, if it wasn't for the fact that it started to rain right when I was finishing off exploring through the park... Well, not really, there was just too much to see. I did at one point want to get on one of the row boats to cruise thru the park, but its better when you have company (where's a Fraulein when you need one!) AND ITS NOT RAINING! Well, I booked on home, but took a quick picture of one of the WWII bunkers before I left.

Needless to say, I was a little soaked when I got home. So, now I'm going to have something to eat, play a videogame, reading a bit and then going to bed, it's been a BUSY weekend. TTFN

P.S. Can't play Star Wars: Empire At War right at the moment, because now for every battle that tries to occur there is a fatal exception, it overflows the stack. So basically, with no possibility of doing ANY battle, the game is essentially a "paper-weight", it looks pretty but does nothing. Tried installing some of the patches, but that didn't help. I'll have to check out the web for any additional info.

A trip downtown

Well, come to find out, it rained during the morning, but after 12pm or so, the clouds parted. It was still an overcast day but it didn't rain at all when we were out. Well, I woke up pretty early yesterday, not sure why. Had my door open, and kept myself busy on the computer for a time. Then I started getting hungry. I didn't have anything in the frig, so I decided to head off to the supermarket to pick up some food for lunch and dinner. Well, just as I was getting on my bike for the trip, Frank came riding up. He said that he had already went to the supermarket to pick up some food. :-/ He thought that I was still asleep at noon??? Well, he had picked up some food mainly for dinner, no lunch or snacks because he figured that he would get lunch elsewhere and snack at the corner market. Actually, he picked up essentially for this one recipe that he picked up online, a cassarole. Well, at least he had some extra left over of the materials. According to him, the cassarole turned out okay, but I was too tired to have dinner. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Seeing that he didn't pick anything for lunch, he said that we could go downtown for lunch. I was like "sure, no problem, I could hold off for a time". So we get on our bikes, I kept my backpack completely empty (except for the map), and we started riding the HeerstraBe Schwachhauser (or is it Schwachhauser HeerstraBe? (I'll have to look that one up again)) down to downtown. Oh, almost forgot, HeerstraBe is a fairly major street.

Well, we get near the Am Wall, the one park that Mrs. C was showing a little bit of the other day, park our bikes before we cross into downtown, and walk the rest of the way in. We passed by quite a few places to eat, but I guess Frank was looking for something in particular, because we didn't stop. We walked quite a bit around downtown. Well, I got to the point where I was starving so I told him that I was going to stop at this one tiny food stand to pick up some lunch, then Frank was all like "Well, I was thinking about stopping at that one pub we passed, but feel free to pick up something". Now, I'm not one for fish, rye bread, or raw onions, but what I had at the food stand was pretty good over all, they mixed pretty well (maybe it was the spices?). We walked around quite a bit, I took plenty of pictures, and it kind of amazes me the amount of people that know English here. The gentleman who served the fish, a cute Fraulein who waitressed at a corner coffee shop (where Frank picked up some latte/coffee brevage and a coke for me), and a couple of workers at a Museum that I would visit the next day.

Well, I won't bore you with the details. I'm just going to put up the pictures of the trip downtown. We went home after that, I got myself some ice cream, and went to bed.

Warning! Code Jargon ahead!

Yesterday was a slow day for me. Got up went to work, almost had a sneak attack of pork at lunch (they put ham inside some chicken breast and cooked it together), went with a Gyro from a tiny turkish stand that's still on the Boulevard, but on the other side, closer to the red building, and started coding up what the folks at CoSy needed. It was kind of slow going because not only did I have to reinstall eclipse (which for those that don't know, its a programming environment that can handle multiple processes, I use it for programming C and Java), but I was also trying to figure out what they were looking for. I had thought that they wanted to have something fairly elaborate from me, but come to find out, they just need to find which algorithm is needed for path planning (in other words, they need me to program out how the robot is going to find the right path).

After a little bit of time there, I packed up and headed for home. I took some pictures of the route that I take from the university to the house and vice versa. I got a wide mixture on the route, nature, traffic, trains, graffity, and unfortunately, rain.

As I speak (Saturday Morning), its currently raining. I heard that its going to rain all weekend. I think Mom was right in that Germany has its rainy summers... I hope it doesn't rain all summer long, that would put a crimp in sight seeing. Well more later.

I'm going to see about finding a site where I can post my pictures up a little more easily than what they have here. I'll post later with the pictures.