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:
April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009
November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009
May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 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

March 28th

A trip to Europe
Touchdown on European soil on friday morning. I am on business trip back to Linz for a couple of weeks. Usually I post those trips ahead of time and let everybody know about it. This time I tried to keep it a secret - except some of my closest friends. I wanted to see the surprise effect - especially at yesterdays Salsa Ball in Linz - which is the biggest Salsa Event we have here. I was fortunate enough to arrange my trip so I could be here - even though that meant that I miss the Boston Salsa Congress which happens on this weekend as well.
Arrived in Munich at 9AM with a 3.5 hours layover before boarding the plane to Linz. One big lesson learned: NEVER have Buffalo Wings, fried Jalapenos and 2 beers before going on a 7 hours flight -> I am sorry!! :-)
Friday night was party time. Annette celebrated her 30th at the Sepp'n Ranch in Oberweitersdorf (in the lovely Muehlviertel). Thanks to my jetlag I had no problems staying up at 3AM - unfortunately due to the jetlag it was really hard to get up at 9AM :-(
Last night was salsa time - Sabor Latino - the Linzer Salsa Club organized this great event in the City Hall in Linz. The live Cuban band Grupo Sincopa made the night even more enjoyable. Unfortunately somebody that I hope would make it to the Ball couldn't make it - but - there is always another salsa night coming up at Remember on monday.
The ball ended at 2 - then the party crowed moved to Cafe Valdez to dance the night away. With the time change - yeah, Europe finally made the daylight savings change too - I got to bed by 5. At noon it was finally time to see my parents - as always - mom prepared a delicious meal - it was nice to see my parents and all my nephews and nieces.
Here are some pictures from my first weekend back in Linz. Oh yeah - ALL THE BEST my friends who perform tonight at the Boston Salsa Congress.
Schnapstime @ Sepp'n Ranch - drinking with friends and with the owner of that place Annette and Florian enjoying their time on the dancefloor
Good Morning Muehlviertel The Sepp'n Ranch in the morning
A parade on the Linzer Hauptplatz - guys in traditional K & K uniforms Brunch in the Lentos Cafe -> AWESOME!!
On my way over to the City Hall - Ars Electronica Center On the Linz side: Lentos Art Museum
Nibelungenbruecke and the Linzer Hauptplatz in the back Nibelungenbruecke with the City Hall on the left and AEC on the right
On of the many performances last night at the Salsa Ball Thanks to the Sabor Latino Team for organizing this great event
My youngest niece Lisa Isnt she lovely? :-)

March 25th

Being out with friends
Its been a nice week so far: checking out the new salsa place in Harvard Square on Monday, hanging out with Stephan at the Milky Way on tuesday and hanging out with friends and colleagues (yeah - they are also my friends :-)) last night at Christophers.
Weather wise Boston sees signs of Spring but it seems Winter is coming back. Its been rainy early in the week - its been clearing up yesterday and it is nice and warm right now - well - just before the snow comes in tonight :-) -> yeah - they just predicted a little bit of snow for Boston - is that really necessary?? :-)
The weekend is almost here - whats it going to be? Going to a BDay party on friday and Salsa on saturday - yeah :-).
Cheers and cu soon
Thanks Roland for a great monday night salsa at the OM in Harvard Square Thanks Brendan for this great beer - did some testing in the office prior to Christophers
Chef Stephan fixing the special menu at Christophers :-) Can you find the problems? There are 2 mistakes - one is already corrected
Manuel and Ardy enjoying Nachos, Beer, Fries and all sort of other food Ardy and Stephan
Two great colleagues and friends: Kathy and Dan Joanna joined us too - she hasn't seen Manuel in a year

March 22nd

Salsa by Rumba Y Timbal
We had a great weekend with spring like temperatures. On sunday - the dance groups from Rumba Y Timbal performed their show at the YWCA in Cambridge in front of friends and family before they are going to show their talent at the upcoming Boston Salsa Congress. I have never been at the YWCA before and was really impressed by the great dance hall and the stage that they have their. The performances were amazing too. Three teams of different levels showed off - including Jacky's team -> yeah girl - the real important day at the Congress is getting closer :-)
Tonight a new salsa place opens its doors at Harvard Square. A friend of mine - Roland - tries his luck on mondays. Looking forward to see this place - the web site of the O M Restaurant & Lounge looks very promising.
Here are some pictures from yesterdays event. Now its time for a new episode of 2 1/2 men - have been waiting for a new episode for 3 weeks now. Aloha
Group I Group II
Group III All salsa performers together

March 20th

Leaving Las Vegas - but not leaving the good weather :-)
My trip to Vegas is over. Its been successful from a business perspective. In terms of my personal activities outside my work I have to say that I really got into checking out the different shows they offer in Vegas. Wednesday night I got to see Lion King which was amazing. Thursday night I got to see O - a show from Cirque du Soleil -> just breathtaking how these acrobats show their talent not only in the air but also in the water. Well - and - as I am just not at all into gambling I got to see another Cirque du Soleil show on friday night which was called Love. Love is all about the Beatles - its basically a muscial with many many songs of the Beatles performed with the typical Cirque du Soleil feel to it (lots of acrobatics).
After the show it was time to finally check out the salsa scene in Vegas. Unfortunately it didn't happen. After Love I went out for dinner - I had to skip lunch due to my presentation and havent gotten a chance to eat anything until 9PM. I went to a brazilian bar/restaurant. While waiting for the food I ordered a Caipirinha. The bar tender asked me: small, medium or large. I thought I can definitely handle a medium. It turned out that everthing is a bit bigger in Vegas - not only the hotels or casinos. This drink was about 3 times as much as a regular cocktail and it was about 3 times as strong. I made it through half of it till my dinner arrived - by that time I was "in a good mood". By the end of the dinner and by the end of the drink I knew what I had to do -> just go to bed and forget salsa :-)
It was actually a smart decision - due to my early flight in the morning I had to get up at 4:30AM anyway.
When we landed in Boston the captain announced the local temperature - I guess everybody on the plane believed these were still the Vegas temperatures -> it was +23C!! Perfect weather to get the chairs and table out on the patio and enjoy the first wheat beer outside :-)
Time for bed now - but not without some pictures from the last few days.
Getting in the O Theatre at the Bellagio Artifical Garden at the Bellagio
One of the many gambling tables A Poker Room
Getting ready for my presentation My office for the last 3 days
The pool area at my hotel - looked nice - was nice :-) Getting into the Love Theatre at the Mirage
Yes - it was a big cocktail :-) Prost - the patio is officially opened

March 17th

My St. Paddy's Day - a bit different than what the rest is maybe doing :-)
Well - I made it to Vegas - as have probably a million of other people - at least it seems so as the city is crowded. It also happens to be St. Patrick's Day - to all my Irish friends -> I hope you have sobered up when you read this post :-)
My day was a bit untypical I would say for a St. Paddy's Day. Instead of enjoying the time outside in the warm weather ( told me it is +25C out there) I was freezing in my hotel room or in the conference center. Well - it was not all that bad - I actually sneaked out during the day to catch some sun but it could have been more.
My evening program was really cool. I bought tickets for "The Lion King" musical. When I went to my seat I sat down next to a family of 4 (parents + 2 younger kids). I sat down next to the boy who - right after I sat down asked me: "Are you here all by yourself?" - I said: "Yes - welcome to my world :-)". It was nice chatting with little Andrew who turned out to be from a small town outside Toronto. He gave me his recommendations about what to do and see in Vegas and that he doesn't understand why Vegas has such a bad reputation. Well - I didnt want to discuss "certain" topics with a 14 year old - but - hey - he was right. Besides the annoying people that hand out those hooker-flyers Vegas should more have the reputation for great shows and food. Anyway - it was nice talking with my seat-neighbour who kept asking me how I liked the show after the individual scenes. Honestly - IT WAS PHENOMENAL!! If you get the chance - check it out.
Well - and - instead of hanging out alone in a bar buying cheap Budweiser in green cans (yeah - they have a St. Paddy's edition) I decided to stop at the convenience store to buy an apple and water for $5 (maybe I should have gone with the beer instead as I could have gotten 2 beers including tip for $5).
Two more days in Vegas - cheers
Caesars Palace - my hotel here in Vegas One of the many St. Paddy's parties along "The Strip"
Aren't we all a little Irish? The "City Meditation Group" :-)
Sports Betting Bars in one of the Casinos GREAT SHOW!!
Walking back to my hotel at night The water fountain show at the Bellagio

March 16th

Leaving for Vegas
Its almost time to leave the house to get to the airport. I got a call in the afternoon from a 1-800 number. Usually I am suspicious about numbers like that but I picked up and was happy to do so. It was an automated information call that let me know that my flight got delayed - not a whole lot - but enough to help me making my decision whether I should take a cab or the T (=subway). Its going to be the T :-)
The weather has been crazy these couple of days. First we had 5 or 6 days of sunshine and up to 15 degrees. Then we had 3 days of non-stop rain with local floodings all over new england. And today - well - back to spring - sun and warm - crazy weather - interesting that there are still people out there that believe that there is no climate change going on.
My reunion with my former colleagues was nice - but - effected by two things: a) the weather and b) the fact that they closed down the bar where we were supposed to meet. Fortunately there was another bar in the area. It was nice seeing some old faces again - and some faces that I didnt even know worked for my old company :-)
Before going to bed last night I was surprised by a link I was sent by Vanessa. She is one of the regular salsa dancers at my favorite club here in Boston - Havana Club. Last saturday she brought a camera to our Rueda circle. Before we started Rueda we did some warm up Salsa on an empty dance floor. Jeff played camera man. Well - honestly - I was pretty surprised about the result - in a positive way. I have never seen myself dancing on video (except some smaller snippets). Especially because of her skills (or her Mac-Books software) the video came out really nice. check it out - I believe the link should be publicly accessible. She also took some shots of the Rueda circle - hope we will also get a video of that.
Alright - time to get going. Time for head to the west where they expect +25C :-)

March 14th

A special Sightseeing Tour
Often when I have friends in town I offer them to show them the highlights of Boston. I kind of have my own tour including parts of the Freedom Trail - Back Bay - Waterfront and Cambridge. Manuel - my colleague who is in town - had 2 friends over in Boston who are currently on a trip through the US. So I was asked to give them the "Grabner-Tour". Unfortunately the weather is extremly crappy this weekend - and I mean - REALLY crappy. We started the tour in light rain - but soon made the decision that it is better to go inside to stay dry. The first place we found - take a guess -> an Irish Pub :-). The rain only got heavier while we enjoyed burgers and beers so we decided to get the car and finish the tour by driving around in Boston and Cambridge. We saw a lot of sights in fast forward mode :-) - hope they enjoyed it.
Last night we adjusted our time to daylight savings. The US is 2 weeks ahead of europe meaning that there are only 5 hours time difference right now between Boston and Linz. It was a little bit harder to get up in the morning - not only because there was one our less but also because its been another great long salsa dancing night at Havana.
Whats coming up? A customer visit tomorrow in Dover, New Hampshire. Its going to be a long ride - it is 70 or so miles from here. In order to avoid traffic I probably leave long before 7AM. In the evening its time for another Segue-Reunion. Segue was my former employer that brought me over to the states back in 2005. Its great to keep in touch with some of my former colleagues - seems we get some folks this monday that havent been at the previous meetings.
Well - and on tuesday night its time to take off for Las Vegas. I am going to be there for a conference. Vegas is an interesting city. I am not a gambler at all - but fortunately there is more than gambling. I got tickets for O (Cirque du Solei) and for The Lion King (Musical). They also salsa dance over there - what a surprise :-).
Alright time for brunch. Its going to be another new place in a part of town I haven't yet explored a whole lot (except getting lost with my bike) :-)
Happy Sunday
Ardy (aka. The One Man Party) - having a good time at The Field 4 Austrians on the table - the 5th was taken the picture
Yummie Burger, Fries and Sam Brick Red Thats where we spent most of the time during our sightseeing tour
Havana Club visitors getting ready for a performance Performance by Meta Movements

March 11th

Its been a week of birthdays. Starting with my brother Herbert and Stephan on sunday - Maximilian's (my 5 year old nephew) today and Sandro's tomorrow (well - technicall it is already past midnight in Linz so - HAPPY BIRTHDAY SANDRO!!
I promised Maximilian to call him on his birthday - and so I did. Seems he was having a party with some of the friends - and - he got plenty of presents on top of a delicious Sachertorte - happy birthday little guy.
Last night I went out to another Celtics basketball game. Brendan and I got great seats again - but - well - lets put it that way - the seats were the only good thing about that game. Unfortunately it was a terrible game by the Celtics loosing it by 91:111. But - I have to say - basketball in general is an awesome sport to watch live.
The weekend is now almost here and I have another "Grabner-Tour" booked on saturday. Manuel (my colleague from Linz) and 4 of his friends are in town. They want to do some sightseeing and asked me to show them around. As I have quite some experience in showing people around in Bean-Town I am happy to do that on saturday. It seems the weather is going to be crappy (unlike the last couple of days were we had beautiful spring weather). Fortunately for us - Boston has many bars to offer to sneak in during the day and to avoid any rain - wind or snow.
Happy Birthday again to all you guys at home that got older in the past week - sorry I couldn't be there to sing you a song (I know - you are not so sorry about that fact).
I assume Sandro and the rest of the group is doing the annual birthday trip to Gastein - sorry to miss that :-(
Cheers and Good Bye

March 8th

A lot of lessons learned this weekend :-)
Its been a great weekend - a weekend with several lessons learned. Let's see what that means:
It is BRUNCH - not BRUNCHING: Yeah - I think we finally got it. Both Manuel (a colleague of mine from Linz who is here in Boston right now) and I made the mistake several times this weekend and used the word brunching instead of brunch. There is no brunching - neither is there a word lunching or dinnering -> lesson learned (Thanks Stephan) :-)
He is 48.5 years: Well - this is a bit hard to explain - but - at 4AM on saturday we came to the conclusion that our birthday boy has to be 48.5 years old. Believe me - 4 of us did the math and it made perfect sense :-)
If they say it is an hour wait it can also mean two hours:: Going out for dinner was a bit of a challenge for our patience on saturday. We went to our local bar/restaurant. We have hardly seen it that packed but were ok to wait one hour (thats what the host told us). Well - two hours later we got our table. The food was good - so the wait was worth it :-)
One guy can shop like several girls together: Well - look at the picture below. Manuel took advantage of the good euro->dollar exchange rate :-)
It can be really warm in Boston in the first week of March: We had +15C this weekend and this warm weather is going to continue for a couple more days -> Spring feels really good.
I game is not lost until its over: Stephan and I went out to see Celtics vs. Wizards last night. What a strange game. The Celtics were behind all game long. They were behind 12 points with only a couple of minutes left in the 4th quarter with no real signs of a happy ending. Well - there was a happy ending. They turned the game around and "The Garden" could celebrate another win of the local basketball team
Happy Birthday again to Stephan. It was a nice weekend with lots of (late night) talking - drinks - friends - food - and - an interesting Celtics game on sunday night.
Now its monday night. My body feels sore after my first day taking the bike to work. I LOVED IT!! The 26km (16 miles) in the morning felt like a blessing - its just the perfect way to start a day like this. The 26km at night were a bit hard - seems I am a bit out of shape after several months of not being on the bike - but - well - next chance tomorrow morning :-). I also learned that it is time to pay more attention on the roads again. Being a bicyclist in Boston offers multiple challenges: wreckless drivers not taking note of people on bikes, potholes that grew almost twice in size over the winter and a lot of small rocks and sharp objects on the road that caused multiple flat tires on my bike last year. But overall - great to have spring back - lets get the "Winterspeck" off my ribs.
Here are some pictures from last weekend. Enjoy - cheers
Manuel (aka Burger Boy) with a Bella Luna Burger With the Birthday Boy ready for food after 2 hours of waiting
Having BRUNCH - not go BRUNCHING @ Alchemist Lounge Shopoholic :-)
Before every game its time for the national anthem The basketball field from the balcony
Kevin Garnett - trying to get the Celtics back on the winning side And its IN!!

March 6th

First Bike Ride of the Year in Spring Like Weather
Spring feels good :-) - it is +12C out there right now with the sun shining from a blue sky. Time to get on the bike for the first time this year. In two hours I managed to get to the Arnold Arboretum, to Boston along Commonwealth Avenue, through Boston Public Garden, to the Boston Harbor/Waterfront over to Cambridge, along the Charles River back to the Bostonian side via the Mass Ave Bridge and along my usual bike path back to Jamaica Plain --> Conclusion: AWESOME!!!
I also had my lovely "pink" camera with me to capture some impressions along my route today.
Whats coming up? Its Birthday Time. Stephans is turning - well - we dont reveal the age here - but - his birthday is good reason to celebrate. Dinner tonight, brunch tomorrow and the Celtics vs. Wizards NBA Game tomorrow night.
Enjoy the pictures (especially my friends at home in Austria who got another batch of snow this weekend - check out how spring looks like)
From Peter's Hill in the Arboretum towards Boston Thats me :-)
At the Christian Science Center - the Reflection Pool not yet filled with water :-( Along Commonwealth Avenue
Boston Public Garden - no Swan boats yet :-( Kids sitting on the "Make Way for Ducklings" statues
At the Waterfront - with sailing boats on the Atlantic In front of a piece of the Berlin Wall (thats on the Cambridge Side of the Charles)
Boston from the Cambridge Side Yeah - its me again

March 4th

An unusual week is almost over - let the weekend be unusual as well :-)
Another work week is almost over. Its been a busy week at work - but its been rather calm and quite in the evenings. No salsa this week so far - instead of going out I decided to go to bed early and take it easy - that has actually been really nice - although - I am craving for some latin music now :-)
The weekend ahead should be nice - weather and activity wise: It seems we get the first glimpse of spring with sun and temperatures up to +10 C. On sunday - the old man in our house (thats not me) - is going to start another year in his life. For his birthday the plan is to hang out with some friends for either brunch or lunch - and - at night - we are going to head to "The Garden" and watch a Boston Celitcs Game (thats basketball) :-)
I am in the rather fortunate situation that I got two tickets for the sunday game - and - I got another ticket for the game on wednesday. Thats going to be a lot of top class NBA action over the next couple of days -> lucky me :-)
Oh well - there is really not a whole more to tell - neither do I have any interesting pictures :-(
Good night

March 1st

Olympic Weekend
Its been quite an unusual weekend for me. Friday night - after getting home from San Francisco - I decided to just stay at home and take it easy. Stephan and I watched the Olympics - boy - what a night. Have you ever seen short track? - what a sport - CRAZY!!! - especially the Relay (=Staffel). I've never seen a sport as fast and as chaotic as this one - really cool - really amazing.
So - after skipping friday night salsa at Havana and going to bed early I had a great start into saturday. I slept long (I blame it on the west-coast time that my body was still on). I went for a run around Jamaica Pond - boy - how beautiful was that - the weather was perfect - not too cold - just right. I did 3 laps totalling to probably 10 or 11k. It felt so easy after a 10 hour night rest :-)
In the PM it was time for beer shopping - Stephan and I had to return bottles of the last month or so - and - of course - get some new stuff in. After that I discovered a new bar in Somerville. Well - it was not the bar that attracted my attention - it was the beer they had on tap -> Stiegl from Salzburg :-). I got two glasses before the keg was empty. They promised to get a new keg by the end of next week.
Saturday night was Havana. Salsa Y Control - the company who always does the salsa lessons from 9-10 - had one of their groups performing at midnight - really nice to watch.
On sunday it was time for antoher new experience - a HUGE bowl of breakfast. We went to Sound Bites on Broadway in Somerville. The Broadway Bowl is basically a huge bowl with EVERYTHING you can imagine for breakfast - it was YUMMIE - and - it was the only meal I had that day :-)
In the afternoon it was time to watch the final Olympic event. The hockey final between Canada and the US. What a great match - with a great victory by the Canadians. We also watched the closing ceremony before saying good night to a good weekend.
Today is monday - well - technically it is already tuesday. Brendan and Kathy made it over to Jamaica Plain. We hung out at my local bar - the Milky Way - for food and drinks. It was nice having them over - spending the evening with them.
The remaining week sounds promising. Ryles tomorrow night - a new Salsa Opening on wednesday at An Tua Nua - dinner with Ardy on thursday and I am sure there will be more activities coming up on the weekend (including Stephans birthday).
The crowd at Havana watching the Show The Salsa Performers at Havana Club
Digging into the Broadway Bowl Cherie with her breakfast plate - the guy was the owner of Sound Bites
Harpoon Ginger Wheat - AWESOME Miller Light - well - we got it for free - therfore we drank it
With Kathy and Brendan at the Milky Way A shot of the bar