My Diary

I've split my diary now to individual months - so - the default page will be the diary of the current month. Here are the links to the other entries so far:
February 2009 January 2009 December 2008
November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008
May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007
November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007
May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006
November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006
May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005
November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005
May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004

January 29th

Greetings from sunny San Francisco
My trip to San Francisco is almost over - its the last day here at the SharePoint Technology Conference at the Hyatt close to the San Francisco International Airport. Its been a good time so far - business as well as leisure wise.
Had a good trip over to the west coast. Boarded the plane at 6AM and arrived here in San Fran at 10AM (local time) - so it was an almost 7 hours flight. I must have been sitting right at the AC unit of the plane because my legs almost froze when I put them down underneath the front seat. Now to the fun part: After spending the day at the conference I decided to take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transportation) from the Airport into town. After stroling along Market Street and Union Square I went into a bar for dinner. After that it was time for Salsa: I went to this salsa bar. To put it in one word: PHENOMENAL! It was a lot of fun - met great people - they had a live band - lots of dancing - lots of sweating. Took the last train back to the hotel and finally got to sleep at 3AM.
Now its time to go. I have two presentations today - one starting at 8:30 - so I better get ready and I better get a coffee before that :-)
Here are some pictures from here and also one that I took in Boston last weekend. Oh - by the way - Boston. Seems I just missed another messy winter storm. Lots of snow - lots of ice.
Sam Adams Brewery house with a nice icy water fall The Atrium of the Hyatt Hotel at SFO
Salsa Club More Salsa in the Club

January 26th

Changing Farenheit for Celcius - San Francisco - here I come
Just had a look at the weather forecast on for San Francisco. Seems that the temperatures in Celcius are about the temperatures that Boston will have in Farenheit. So - while I will enjoy 10 to 18 degrees Celcius, Boston will struggle with the same in Farenheit - which is about -10 to -6.
As cool as it sounds to be in San Francisco - the actual event might not be as great. I am there for a conference which actual takes place at a hotel at the Airport. That means I will actually spent most of my 3 days at this hotel - miles and miles away from San Francisco itself. But - I do have plans to go salsa dancing tomorrow night. Seems that there is a nice Salsa Club which is close to a BART Station. So - the plan is that I am taking public transport to get into town - dance a bit - and go back to my hotel at the airport.
Well - its time for bed. Need to get up at 4AM - taxi picks me up at 4:30 - plane departs at 6:07AM. Pictures will follow. bye

January 24th

A message from austria: Rosenball 2009
Every year in January - the Rosenball in Gallneukirchen takes place in the Gusenhalle. Every year - the JVP Gallneukirchen - is doing a Cocktailbar at this event. I missed last year due to traveling and of course I missed this year because I am in Boston. But - thanks to Didi - I kind of was there. He sent me some pictures from the event which you can see below. He had a special suprise for me as well - guess you figure out what the surprise is when looking at two of the pictures.
Talking about events. Two trips are waiting for me in the next two weeks. One trip to San Francisco - well - to be precise - to the Airport Hotel at the San Francisco International Airport (thats where the conference is taking place that I am going to). And another trip the following week to Seattle. Seattle is going to be great. I am fortunate that the event is taking place at the Convention center which is in downtown Seattle - not too far from the Salsa Clubs :-)
Looking further ahead - there are two private things coming up. Just bought tickets for the Dirty Dancing Musical performed at the Boston Opera in February. The other one is a trip down to Florida in March. Stephan and I are doing another trip down to Florida - the last one has been in 2006 where we went to Miami and drove to the Florida Keys. This time we start in Delray and from there we will see where the roads are taking us. We booked our tickets two days ago. If we would have known better we would have waited two more days. Due to the financial crisis - many airlines started to give away really cheap tickets - damn it - would have saved 100 bucks.
Now - here are some pictures from the Rosenball 2009. Thanks again to Didi for sending me those. Bye Bye
Andreas seems to do a good bartending job The cocktail bar crew: Sammy, Andrea, Sabine and Didi
Surprise #1: My Dad (check the picture in the back) Surprise #2: My Mum
Magical :-) Andreas and Christian
Mahlzeit! Guess it was their 4AM good morning jause

January 22th

Burned out too quickly
Its been my third time at metrorock. I had to pass the test the 2nd time as the guy taking the test last week forgot to put it on my profile - but that was easy. So - climbing is really cool and a lot of fun. But - if you don't really know the tricks and how to use your body correctly to climb up there you burn out pretty quickly. Thats what happened to me today. I was totally worn out after 2 hours. But - I managed to climb a 5.7, 2 5.8's and a 5.8+.
I also had a new experience last night on my way home from Salsa at An Tua Nua. It was 1:20 AM in the morning and I was driving down Perkins St. in Jamaica Plain approaching the rotary on Center St. Knowing rotary's (or roundabouts for our british readers) from europe you just yield for the traffic that is in there. At 1:20AM you can probably imagine that there was no other car on the road. Unfortunately for me I missed the STOP sign that was a couple of meters before the rotary. The cop that sat in his car just at this location saw me - turned on his flashy lights - followed me and pulled me over. Thanks to this cop I only got a warning and didnt have to pay $150 which would have been the fine for it.
Now - the weekend is almost here. Just one more day. It will be a full weekend of Havana Club Salsa in Cambridge and Boston. And - again - Boston is going to be hit by some nice artic air coming in on saturday. The lows will be about -18 degrees - the highs will be around -8.
Here are two pictures taken today. Cheers
Ice hanging from our roof The metrorock climbing arena

January 20th

A Day for the History Books
No need to explain the importance of today - the new president of the united states was sworn into his new position - leading this country for the next 4 years. As many of you - I followed parts of the ceremony on tv. Lets wish him the best for the tasks that lie ahead.
I am fortunate right now as I have been working from home the last couple of days. This saves me 1.5 hours every day that I would need to commute - especially in those weather conditions that we have here right now. Which brings me to the nice side about winter. Check out the pictures below. Went out for a run round the Jamaica Pond. Its a winter wonderland right now.
Other than that it is business as usual. Salsa, Climbing and hanging out with friends. Enjoy the pictures
Winter Wonderland #1 Winter Wonderland #2
Winter Wonderland #3 Sorry for whomever this car belongs :-)

January 19th

Happy Birthday Joanna
Thanks for the nice evening last night at Joanna's house. Its going to be her birthday tomorrow - so she invited friends over for Tapas, Sangria, Music and Salsa. As I had time in the afternoon I helped her and Jane to get the Tapas ready. Well - I tried my best - but I guess I could have done a better job in the kitchen. I rather boiled than grilled the shrimps - I burned the onions and the garlic. Thats probably the reason why the girls figured out that I like it hot - and therefore sent me to fireplace to get a fire going. It took me more than an hour - but it burned in the end :-)
More and more people came - the later the evening got. One of the highlights was Jose playing with his guitar - he did an amazing job and we (the crowd) tried to add the vocals.
As if we would not yet have enough snow here in Boston it started snowing again at night which made the way home a bit challenging. I was lucky in I-95 where I could actually go 50 on the snowy streets. Entering RT-9 however showed a different scenario. The plow trucks were in action and therefore I had to follow them with about 10mph. After about an hour I made it home safely.
The night however was not yet over. At around 4AM our combined heating and air condition unit on the third floor decided to quit working - and it did it with a loud bang. So - now I am waiting here at home for the heating guy to show up. Fortunate for me I can work from home - and - fortunately the heating in the kitchen works :-)
Thats the update - here are some pictures from last night.
Joanna and Jane working on the Tapas Time for some dancing? :-)
The open fireplace - and the Tapas It was nice and cosy close to the fire
Monique and the birthday girl Jose and Joanna entertaining the rest of us
SALSA Time Working on the fire (and the beer)

January 18th

Special THANKS to Stephan
Life couldnt be much better for me here in Boston. Job is great - Salsa is awesome - people are friendly - making new friends - and I have the best roommate that I could imagine.
As you may know - I dont have a car here. I thought about bringing my austrian car over but it turned out that this is more costly than I originally thought. So that option is out of the game. Thanks to Stephan though I can use his car to get to work - to my salsa places and to visit my friends. I actually think I am using the car more often than he does. THANKS AGAIN - it makes life just so much easier for me.
Now to some other topics: SNOW!! Its been snowing since just past midnight. We've just been out there for the 3rd round of shoveling the sidewalk and the driveway - nice - I love the snow.
Last night we've been invited to a party at Verena's house. She is renting the house with 8! others. So - it is quite a big house - and they invited a bunch of people. It was fun. First time for me to play Rockband - played the drums. After a while we changed one of the rooms into a salsa dance venue :-). Overall its been a really fun and nice evening.
Now its time for the next event. Its Joana's birthday. Actually it is on the 20th - but as this would collide with another big event (you probably know what I am talking about - yep - the inauguration of Barack Obama) - she decided to celebrate it today. Thats why I have to end this entry now. Here are some pictures from the snow action we had today.
Have a good week
Working with the shovel on the back stairs Done with the first round
Thats the new snow of today

January 17th

Banking Business
Banks have been in the news more often lately. Today it was time for me to do some business with them. When I opened my us bank account about 4 years ago I didnt have a social security number and therefore had to provide all sorts of other means of identification. Now - finally having a SSN enables me to do things like online money transfers and allows me to apply for a credit card. As I also recently had the address change to Jamaica Plain I thought - hey - lets go to the bank and get everthing done at once. Sounds like an easy plan. But it wasnt as easy because the computer system didnt really like our new address. Long story short - it took me a full hour to get my address changed :-(
What else is going on? Well - I still have a sore upper body from climbing on thursday night. I really enjoy this sport - its an interesting new challenge. As its only been my 2nd time I am still doing many many mistakes causing me running out of energy too quickly - but - I think I am making some good progress.
Yesterday - Friday - it was finally time again for Havana Club on Green Street in Cambridge. Its the salsa club that I used to go to as often as possible back in 2005. The club was closed for almost a year now. But - finally - they figured out their licensing issues and this means that the biggest salsa venue in Boston is open again for all those crazy salsa folks in town :-)
The other fun event last night was having Sydney, Ross and Hans over for dinner. I left them after dinner for salsa - but rejoined them at 1:30AM. I had to do some "beer catch-up" after leaving them for 4 hours :-)
Here are some pictures from yesterday night and from my walk across the Charles River today which is frozen due to the nice arctic temperates we have here in New England.
Have a good weekend
Hans and Sydney doing prep-work for dinner His first bechamel sauce
The two guys breading the pork Ross and Sydney - as you see - lots of catch up work for me
As we had Schnitel for dinner it was time for some Austrian Schnaps The frozen Charles River

January 14th

Whats been happening?
Well - quick update about the last and coming days. Segue-Reunion on monday night at the Purple Shamrock. It was fun seing those guys again. The later the night - and the more beers we had the more creative ideas we got :-)
On tuesday I skipped climbing - instead I have been invited for dinner - followed by a great salsa night at Ryles.
Wednesday - well - that was today. A .NET User Group Meeting in Waltham - hosted by the guys from Microsoft in their local office. After that was over I went straight to An Tua Nu. I was sooo hungry - I almost couldnt wait for the waiter to ask me what I want. After I had the burger it was time to burn it all off - yeah- salsa again :-)
Whats the plan for the next days? Climbing tomorrow night (thursday). Salsa at Havana Club in Cambridge. Its the salsa club that I used to go to back in 2005. It was closed for the past year - so I am really really happy that it is opening again this friday. Then - a party on saturday hosted by Verena and her 8 roommates (yes - 8 - they have a big big house). And another pre-birthday party on sunday - Joanna is inviting to her place for Sangria, Tacos and Salsa. Her actual birthday is on the 20th - but that would definitely colide with the inauguration of president obama.
Well - thats it. I have some pictures today. I think its a funny series of pictures showing our daily routing in the morning when making coffee :-)
Bye bye
With the former segue guys (and some others) in the Purple Shamrock Mike, Mark, Me, Steve, Russell
Step 1: Lets see whats left from yesterday Step 2: Dump the old coffee
Step 3: Beans in the grinder Step 4: Grinded coffee into the coffee maker
Step 5: Add water Step 6: Press the button
Step 7: While waiting for the coffee - sneak the first danish Step 8: When Coffee is ready - pour it into the mug
Step 9: Add milk Step 10: PROST

January 11th

Hot and Cold in Boston
Another winter storm crossed New England and let out between 5 and 10 inches of snow. In these cold weather conditions you can do different things to keep you warm - my preferred way - you can probably guess: salsa dancing.
There has been a nice salsa party at Seven Lounge in Worcester (pronounced something like Wista). Its about an hour drive from Boston and we were not really sure if we should take the drive as the snowfall was predicted during the night hours. Despite the snow - Raj and I decided to go - thanks again man for driving.
Its been a nice salsa party - interestingly enough with lots of familiar faces from Boston. As you may know - everything closes at 2AM in Massachusetts. After that - the only chance to do something is to hang out somewhere private. Thats what we did. I was invited over for drinks, food and more dancing. Finally went to bed at 6AM - could crash at a place in Worcester and I then got a ride back home to Boston in the early afternoon.
First thing that needed to be done at home was to shovel the driveway and clear the car. Stephan already cleared the sidewalk in the morning but was thoughful enough to also let me take part of the fun.
Whats the plan for the week? Another Segue-Reunion meeting at the Purple Shamrock tomorrow night, climbing on tuesday at followed by salsa at Ryles, salsa on wednesday at An Tua Nua, probably a quite thursday night and then again another weekend.
Thats it - have a good week
Salsa at Seven Lounge in Worcester Salsa at the "After Party"
Carlos: The most hillarious guy I've ever met: he is a real entertainer The later the night - the more tired people got
A Thank you to our host (the girl on the right) Thanks Jacky for letting me crash at your place
I got "All Inclusive" treatment this morning And some new snow in our backyard

January 8th

Rock Climbing
Today was my first rock climbing day. Inspired by friends at home and by friends from here I thought about giving it a try. So I had my first introduction and safety lesson at 7:30PM at MetroRock Indoor Rock Climbing Center. Its been an interesting and fun experience. Those of you who have done it before may remember their first time. The first wall was kind of easy - the most challenging part was to "fall down" - having enough trust in the person down there pulling the rope for you. After the "easy wall" Christian showed me some more challenging walls. Well - I didnt get too far up :-(. I soon realized that a) I dont yet have the skills and b) dont have any strength in my upper arms (even though I thought I did lots of beer lifting recently :-) ). We finished with two easier walls which I actually managed to climb up to the top. Looking forward to the next time.
Straight ahead is the weekend - full again with Salsa - some work in the house - and maybe a brewery tour. As I may have mentioned before - the Sam Adams Brewery is right around the corner from our new place here. And they offer free tours through their brewing house - including beer tasting :-)
Thats it - time to go to bed.
Good night

January 6th

Lots of new experiences
I am soooo glad to have sooo many great people here that make my life really easy.
Thanks to Stephan who is giving me his car whenever he doesnt need it. It works out pretty well right now. I can take it to work and then drop it off at night in Cambridge so that he can drive home after his night classes.
Thanks to Dan who gave me tickets to the Bruins game tonight. They were not just normal tickets - they were actually priority tickets with special seating - THANKS A LOT!!
So - its been my first NHL game that I've seen. To be honest with you - I was a bit disappointed. I mean - the seating and all the stuff around was great. But the game itself and the crowd was totally lame. If I compare it to Linz (which is 5 times smaller than the stadium here) - then I have to say I prefer Linz. Well - the game wasnt really exciting - maybe thats the reason why people didnt get excited about it.
The next experience was that I went to the game with an old friend of mine. I was supposed to go there with Jessica but unfortunately things turned out a bit different than expected. So I say thanks to Sarah who was a great company tonight.
The last new experience (well not totally new) - is that I now (at least for the next couple of weeks) - mainly work from home. We are soon moving offices because our office is getting too small. As more people already join the company and as we are short on office space I was asked to work from home more often. Well - I probably dont need to tell you that this is definitely welcome :-)
Thats it. Have a good remaining week - here are some pictures.
Farewell picture from last week: My mom and sister with me at the airport Ice skating at the Frog Pond in Boston Common Park
The Garden: Thats the Stadion where the Bruins and the Celtics play their games In honour of their won championships
We had priority seating at a nice sports bar And we had some free snack food
Game action Of course we drank responsibly :-)

January 4th

Our connected world
Its interesting for me to see how websites like facebook, myspace, studievz, ... changed our lifestyle. We share a lot of information which is instantly accessible to everbody out there in cyberspace. People that used to have a problem paying with credit cards or giving away certain personal information on a website are now giving away information like birthday, personal phone number, personal adress, status of relationship, ...
The more interesting thing is how people react on information that is posted. I've heard of people loosing their job because they posted they exposed too much of their private life or people that have not been hired because HR departments did an online check first on those community sites.
I had my own personal experience these days where I shared some personal information on my facebook account. The response was "phenomenal" - it showed me how tiny our world has become - how much time we all spent in checking our "virtual community" and how much technology has changed our lifestyle. Whether it is good or bad I dont know.
Now - back to things that really matter - at least for me: Its been a fantastic weekend. Lots of salsa on friday - lots of salsa on saturday. We also got some work done in the house - went to Home Depot to buy more shelves for our closets. Checked out new bars and restaurants in the area. Just came back from the cinema - we watched Yes Man - VERY FUNNY!!
Now we are sitting here at our most favorite place in the house - the kitchen table - both equiped with our laptops and our Julius Echter Hefeweizen :-)
Plans for the week: going to see a Bruins game on tuesday, salsa on wednesday (An Tua Nua) and maybe some climbing on thursday (I thought its time to try something new - why not climbing).
Have a good week and - you guys at home in Austria - enjoy your Fenstertag and the public holiday on tuesday.

January 3rd

What to do on the weekends?
This seems like a stupid question - but its a question that really comes up right now. In the past months we were typically busy with Open Houses (looking at houses that are going to be sold), shopping for the new house and moving from Cambridge to Jamaica Plain.
Now - all of these things are done. Well - we still have to do some work in the house - but there is no real time constraint on that.
Now whats the plan? As much Salsa dancing for me as possible :-) Have been out at Mambos last night and I am looking forward to Havana Club tonight.
As I gained several pounds over the past 4-6 weeks (during the time in Linz and over the holidays) - its time to focus on sport again. Biking is not an option right now due to the wintry conditions here in Boston. But I am going to check out some running routes. We have a chain of parks here in Boston which are called Emerald Necklace. So there should be enough track for me to run.
It will also be time to check out the neighborhood a bit more. We already discovered a nice little bar last night. They only serve beer and liquor - no food - and they also don't have (to our positive surprise) TVs everywhere on the walls.
Thats the update. Have fun