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:
June 2010
May 2010 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

May 29th

Memorial Day Weekend - Its going to be Sunny - its going to heat up the Grill
Unfortunately there are no pictures today - not because I havent taken any - but because I can't find my USB cable to transfer the pictures. Not sure where I left it but I hope to find it soon as Stephan and I took some nice pictures of our last Beer & Wine Shopping Tour :-)
The last week had some "disturbing" moments: not only are there big problems with the oil spill in the gulf of mexico but back home a good friend has to go through a rough time - all the best to him.
This weekend is Memorial Day weekend. The reason behind this holiday is to memorize the US soldiers who died while in the military service. It also kind of marks the beginning of the summer her in the US which lasts till Labor Day Weekend in September. This first extended summer weekend lets many bring out their Grills and organize BBQ's. I got invited to Nate's BBQ tomorrow and Juliana's on monday - looks like its going to be a meety and beery weekend :-)
Before enjoying the BBQ is time to help some friends move to a new appartment - 8AM sunday morning is the time when we get started (fortunately I am an early bird - even though it will be hard on sunday).
What else is going on? Well - our Celtics (Boston Celtics Basketball Team) finally won the Eastern Conference Final against the Orlando Magic. They won the 6th game and won the series 4:2 in a great match last night. Now they are either going to play the Lakers from LA or the Suns from Phoenix. Its going to be tough (and expensive) but I hope to get tickets to one of the games in the NBA Finals - would be a great experience.
The other thing that I got done today was getting my bike back from the shop (it needed a tune-up as it made some really odd noises - seems they found the problem and now I am ready to commute again) and I finally got a hair cut. I was on a skype call with Didi today and his response was: "what happened to you - did you get under the lawn mower?" - yeah - it is kind of short - but well - it is summer. Speaking of which - its been great here lately. Warm temperatures - sun - a record high this week with 32 Celcius and another 32 to be expected on monday.
Alright - enough the stories: time to dig into some potato soup. We just watched Ratatouille and that made me hungry :-) -> great movie - another one to recommend if you havent already seen it.
Adios - Ciao - Tschuess (pictures will hopefully follow once I found my cable)

May 25th

Sometimes plans change - and - be open for something different
The plan for last night was to check out the season finale of Two and a Half Men. In the end I ended up watching the 4th playoff game of the Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic. What a game! Unfortunately for Boston they didn't sweep Orlando out of the series. But they get there next chance this wednesday.
Looking back at the weekend I have to say that I had a new experience. I was invited to a BDay Party on saturday night - to a group that I hardly knew (actually I only knew one person). I met a ton of new people though - most of them with a very "left-wing" view on political and world affair topics. It was interesting engaging in conversations with them - unfortunately - even though I've lived here for a while now - I am still not good in engaging in policital discussions. So I basically listened in and was surprised about some "different views" and opinions on certain topics.
This new group of people reminded me how good it is to listen and learn - and be open for some other opinions. I am currently reading an amazing book - Hot, Flat and Crowded. It talks about the challenges that growing population and our dependency on energy has on our climate and our world politics. The first part is more or less a Status Quo Reality Check - really interesting to learn how we ended up in this current situation and what is going on around the globe - especially in emerging countries. The second part - which I am just about to start - will talk about how we all have to adapt and become creative in finding new ways to deal with our energy hunger and the problems that globalization brings with it. If you want to educate yourself a bit on this topic - I definitely recommend that book.
Another good (an relaxing) way to learn about things are movies like Invictus. We watched it sunday night and I was deeply impressed. It tells the story of South Africa - back in 1995 - when Nelson Mandela became president after being released from prison and how he used the Rugby World Championship to unite his people. It reminded me about soccer where fans cheer to all their players (whether they can pronounce their names or not or whether they have a different skin color) - so - sports seem to help to bridge some gaps we have in our society - they question is what happens when the game is over.
Before I get to philosophical now its time to conclude this entry with some pictures from the weekend.
One of the guys who told me his opinions on certain topics As you can see - the building we were in had a "very interesting" touch to it
Driving in Ardy's car towards Downtown Boston TD Garden on the right - thats where the Celtics and Bruins play their games

May 22nd

The world is a small place - even in a city like Chicago
Yesterday I got the chance to see a little bit of Chicago - the "windy city". I learned that the name "windy city" doesn't only come from the actual wind - but from the fact that corruption was really big here. I Hoped on one of these Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tours that tour through the city. Definitely a tour to recommend. It was a double-decker bus with an open roof deck. Fortunately the weather was nice - well - almost. After about 2/3 of the tour the tour guide (he was really hillarious) said: Don't look back - it looks like we are going to get soaked in a bit. Behind the bus the black clouds came rolling in and 5 minutes later it poured like crazy. Got off the bus and fortunately found a nice bar :-)
So - the world is a small place - isn't it? Yesterday I got proof of that in 3 instances:
a) I went to the Puma Store to get more of these great shoes that I use for dancing. The guy from the store comes to me and asks if he could help me. I kind of thought he has a german accent - so I ask him where he is from: I AM FROM AUSTRIA :-) - it turned out he is from Salzburg. Small World #1.
b) Met a friend of mine from Boston - who happened to be in town for her brothers graduation. As most of my friends are from the salsa scene I was lucky with her as she is a dancer to - so she joined me at Rumba - which was an awesome place with great food and great live-music. Small World #2.
c) After the first dance we both stand on the dancefloor looking around. I spot a guy that looked familiar and told Sarah -> Hey - don't we know this guy? It turned out that it was an old friend from Boston - Baba - who moved away from Boston in 2007. Last time I saw him was back in 2005 and now we meet again on a dancefloor in Chicago. small World #3.
Now its time to get ready for the trip back to Boston. The flight is at 11. One benefit of Chicago is that they really have great public transportation. It is a 45min ride with the train to O'Hare for only $2.5 (unbeatable). Unfortunately I am going to miss the Champions League Final which starts when I will still be in the air :-(
Alright - here are some pictures - time to wrap up here
Looked very odd: A fountain with red water Suicide pidgeons?? :-)
The austrian guy at the Puma Store On the tour through Chicago
Buckingham Fountain Nice little bar that helped waiting for dry weather
Live-Band at Rumba Boston is in the house :-)

May 21st

Resting in Chicago
After a really long wednesday - had to get up at 3:30AM to get my flight to Chicago - my body needed some rest. Instead of checking out the nightlife in Chicago I just enjoyed my hotelroom - going to bed early and sleeping in. But - I got some time to check out this great city. The last time I was here was back in winter where it was cold and a little snowy. The last two days here have been really nice - sunny and warm.
My hotel is conveniently located - close to the Millenium Park and within walking distance to different sights such as the Hancock Tower, the Navy Pier, the Buckingham Fountain (thats the one shown in the intro of Married with Children (that is Al Bundy)), and some of the museums.
So - besides work I actually got to see a little of this city. Today is my last day here before I am heading back to Boston tomorrow morning. I hope to get some additional time in the City and I hope that I finally make it to salsa. There seem to be two places on friday nights: Rumba and Alhambra Palace.
Alright - here are the first pictures of the last two days - enjoy
The Grill at the Millenium Park where I had my first dinner Chicago Cloud Gate (aka Bean)
Remember this guy from Al Bundy? The Marina
Lots of bridges in Chicago First Water Tower in Chicago
From the top of the Hancock Tower $8.5 for a bottle of beer :-)
Yeah - but it was good (312 is the area code of Chicago) A map of Downtown Chicago

May 18th

Driving through a hail storm in Denver
Just watching the news here in my hotel room. 10 tornados in Colorado today - fortunately none of them in the area of Boulder and Denver. But - the severe weather sent rain, lightning and even hail - just as I made my way back from Boulder to Denver - fun fun fun :-)
Its been a long but really successful day. Thanks to the time difference to Boston it was easy to get up - get some work done in the morning before I drove my rental over to Boulder - which is about 45mins away from Denver. After my workshop with my client I spent two hours walking through downtown Boulder. It really is a lovely city - well known for the University of Colorado. The Pearl Street Mall is in the heart of Downtown Boulder and offers many shops, restaurants and also several micro-breweries :-) -> I guess I don't have to mention that I explored one of these breweries :-)
On my way back to the Hotel - which is conveniently located at Denver International Airport (yeah - I can even see the tower from my hotel room) - I drove through Denver. What I saw was really nice - but - unfortunately I didnt see too much as this was the time when the storm came in.
Alright - time to go to bed. As my flight is at 6AM and I have to return the car by 4AM I better get up really early. That means - no salsa tonight - just 4 or 5 hours of sleep before it is time to hop on the plane to Chicago. cheers
Walking through Pearl Street Mall in Boulder Court House
more from the Mall and even more from the Mall
yep - the Mall again :-) A sign at the Mall :-)
The good stuff: tasted the Koelsch and the Hefeweizen Driving into Downtown Denver

May 17th

Into the WEST it is this week
Yeah - finally another week of traveling ahead. This time my trip also includes two new cities - Denver and Boulder in Colorado. Unfortunately I wont be spending too much time there as I will arrive late tonight - staying at the airport - have an early start to my day tomorrow - but - hey - there should be some opportunity to check out these two cities before I head to Chicago early wednesday morning.
But - back to the East where we had an AWESOME weekend. The weather was just perfect these last couple of days - with sunshine and warm temperatures. Sorry for all my austrian friends who have to live with their miserable weather (its been raining for days and it seems it will continue to rain for a little longer).
Ardy and I took the opportunity to spend some time with Thomas - another colleague of ours who arrived friday afternoon. We got to enjoy the weather in Boston and we also got to see a Biochemical-Lab from the inside - thanks to a friend of Ardy. Her boss actually won the Nobel Price last year and another one of her colleagues is considered for the Nobel Price next year (lots of smart people in this city).
Bostonians enjoying the great weather on the waterfront ... ... or on sailing boats
We enjoyed it at a bar on the waterfront ... ... this bar to be precise :-)
In the biolab Looks messy - but based on Silvia it is actually very clean :-)
This stuff is probably not for brewing beer :-) In the danger zone :-)

May 15th

Weekend is here - a travel week is ahead
Last thursday I had a new culinary experience: we went to a Japanese Stake House where they prepare the food at the table. We were a rather big group from the office so the chef had to show his best in order to prepare all the different meals in a larger quantity on-time. It was fantastic watching this guy. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me. The pictures that I took with my phone are not all that great because of the bad light - but - I hope you get the feeling about what this type of culinary experience was like.
The week ended with a smiling and a crying face for Boston sports fans. The Celtics made it to the next round - eliminating Cleveland in the Best-of-Seven playoff game and are now facing Orlando. The Bruins on the other side allowed the Flyers from Philadelphia a historic comeback. The Bruins won the first three games but then lost the next 4 with already leading 3:0 in the last game and still loosing it 3:4. Nature must be a fan from the Bruins - right after the match ended thunder, lightning and rain rolled over Boston :-(
Weatherwise the weekend will be awesome - sunny and warm. Right now we have two guys working from a landscaping company outside in the drive-way. Reminds me of the work my brother is doing.
Thomas - a colleague of mine just arrived in town last night. If everything goes according to plan we are going to enjoy the nice weather this weekend - maybe with some sightseeing in Boston or just hanging around.
From a salsa perspective I finally made it on the dancefloor last night. Haven't been out all week (which is almost unheard of :-)). There was Havana last night and there is going to be Havana tonight with a Live Band and with a fund raising event by my friend Amanda.
Looking forward to next week - finally on the road again. I am going to check out a new city - Denver and Boulder in Colorado. After that it is going to be Chicago. All for business - but I am sure I will find some time exploring these cities besides what I have to do their for work.
Alright - thats it - some pictures - and then out into the sun. Cheers
Digging up the dirt Reminded me of my brothers work
Downtown Jamaica Plain - busy saturday morning City Feed - our favorite place to shop for coffee and sandwiches
#1 and #3 from the City Feed Sandwich Bar Our japanese cook
Putting on the meat Putting everything on fire :-)

May 12th

About Shopping, Movies, Biking, Weddings and Mass email
I was always kind of proud of myself to "only" have one credit card - the one from my bank here in Boston. I never understood why people sign up for so many different cards and then struggle with paying the credit back on time in order to avoid fees. Well - last saturday we went shopping. Not only did I get new jeans and jackets - I also got talked into a credit card from the store we went shopping. Why that? The guy at the register asked me: Hey - do you have our store card? If not - do you want to sign up for it - it is 20% off everything you buy today and tomorrow. I thought - cool - if it is just store card I am good with it. When he asked me about my social security number I got suspicious and asked more details. Well - in the end I signed up but opted out of all the other credit card options that come with the card. So - hopefully - the only money I spend on it is the amount I bought clothes for (of course - 20%off) :-)
The weather last weekend wasn't as good as it could have been. Heavy rain on saturday and cold and breeze on sunday. Perfect conditions for movies: We saw The Hurt Locker (really good but also really disturbing) and Up in the Air (liked it a lot - it shows some of the problems with "corporate america"). Besides the movies it was also time for more sports. Seems the Celtics made it back and are now only one win away from getting into the NBA east coast conference finals. The Bruins are still ahead in their playoffs but lost their last two games :-(
Biking has been great this week - although it was really hard. After I had my fasted bike commute last wednesday I had my slowest commute this monday. My legs were still tired from the weekend but what really killed me were the headwinds that blew hard on monday morning. Great thing about my bike commute: it allows me to get an energized start into my work day and it allows me to cool my brain down after an exhausting day in the office - and - I burn many calories - so I am less worried about the beer I drink at night ;-)
Weddings: hey - yeah - seems some of my friends are getting married: I don't reveal any names - but two of them just told me in the last week that it is time for the next big step in their lives :-)
As for Mass email: boy - it sounds easy - but if you do it the first time and if you don't have the right approach it can really mess up your day :-(
Alright - no pictures today - but hopefully later this week. Thomas - a colleague from Linz is coming in tomorrow. I am sure we will do some sightseeing this weekend. There is also going to be a live-band at Havana on saturday and a fund-raiser of one of my friends who raises money to fight AIDS. Thats it now - bye bye

May 8th

A long and exhausting week is over
Its been a tough week - long days in the office - several bike commutes and some salsa dancing. On monday I checked out the OM Lounge in Harvard Square. Roland - a friend of mine - started a salsa night a couple of weeks ago and I was interested to check it out again after my long trip to europe. It was really nice - they had the windows open to the street as the weather out there was phenomenal. Roland also brought in a mexican friend who played some nice tunes as preparation for Cinco De Maya.
On tuesday I was a bit embarrassed. I took the bike to work hoping that it is not going to rain in the evening (although they predicted it). At 6PM the clouds were really dark and I was getting ready to hit the road. My colleague Eric offered me to give me a ride home. I took the offer and was really glad - but - I regreted taking the offer for 2 reasons: a) we got stuck in bad traffic and it took us longer to get to my place then it would have taken me with the bike and b) it didnt even start to rain :-( -> THANKS ERIC - sorry for the long ride you had to give me.
On wednesday it was time to visit the other Eric (yeah - we have a bunch of them in the office) at his place. Thanks for dinner. After that I checked out An Tua Nua where another friend of mine - Carlos - runs the salsa night on wednesday nights.
Well - thursday - another great day for commuting on the bike. I tried to beat my personal best time that I had on tuesday morning when biking to work. On tuesday it was the first time getting to work in under an hour (58:30) :-) - unfortunately my legs were tired and I couldnt repeat that time. At night I went out with Ardy. We havent really had the chance to catch up with things since I was back. Went to The Tavern in the Square for burgers. The Red Sox were playing and so I tried to tell Ardy a little bit about the rules of the game. I remember when I started watching baseball. I had no clue about what was going on. Stephan did a great job in explaining and I finally got into it. Not sure if Ardy is now more into it - but - it was a try :-)
Friday was long - and exhausting. Thanks to my friends Sandro, Juergen and Martin I "virtually" got to drink a beer with them - check out the pictures below - they are snapshots from a Skype-Video Call. It was hillarious. They called me several times during the afternoon. I was working from home and they were working on their alcohol level :-) - SAMOS!!!
Finally - at 7PM I finished all the work that I had to do for the week and joined Stephan in watching the 3 Bostonian Sport Teams: All 3 teams had a bad day: The Celtics (Basketball) lost their NBA Playoff game, The Bruins (Hockey) lost thier NHL Playoff game, and the Red Sox (baseball) lost against The Yankees (boooooh).
After this exhausting week I was looking forward to Havana Club. Unfortunately I was too tired. I passed out on the couch at 9PM and finally went to bed at 10PM. Well - there is another Havana Club night coming up tonight - yeah!!! :-)
Alright - long story about a long and exhausting week. Here are some pictures.
Mexican music at OM Lounge More from the OM Lounge
OM Lounge on Mondays: Really nice place to dance Yummie: lobster that made it into our pasta
Cinco de Maya Salsa Night at An Tua Nua More from An Tua Nua on wednesday
Virtually with my friends: Skype Video Snapshot Here is my beer and ouzo :-)

May 2nd

Boiling Water in and around Boston
Due to a problem in the main water supply for the Boston Metropolitan Area about 2mio people are forced to boil their water before using it drinking. It is interesting how people react to this situation. About one hour after the government announced this problem the stores were out of bottled water. Stephan and I have a better way of dealing with the situation: we have heard that there is also water in beer and that it is safe to drink ;-)
The weekend was amazing - for multiple reasons: we had the Wake Up the Earth Festival in JP, there was salsa dancing at Havana Club and we had a record temperature high today on May 2nd - 30C. It is close to midnight now and we still have 24.
I also made it to brunch at Christophers today. Instead of driving over or taking the T I decided to take the bike. Fortunately we got to sit outside on their new patio - that helped drying my shirt as I was totally soaked after the 30mins ride. On the way over I took some pictures while riding the bike. Most of the way is actually part of my daily bike commute to work and I always wanted to get some more pictures of that.
Well - its going to be another busy week. The weather - despite some thunderstorms that come up from the south - is supposed to be nice and it seems I get some biking days in :-)
Alright - time is up :-) Gute Nacht!
Wake Up The Earth Parade One of the several stages
The Mojito was delicious (even without rum) :-) Havana Club: early in the evening before the dancers come in
On the bike trail along Columbus Avenue towards Boston On Mass Ave crossing Newbury Street
Crossing over to Cambridge Charles River that divides Boston and Cambridge
Approaching Harvard Square Finally there: Christophers Brunch Menu :-)

May 1st

Havana Club - great as always :-)
After one week of no salsa dancing it was finally time for Havana Club in Cambridge. 4 soaked shirts later I was happy and ready for a drink at The Tavern - thats the bar in Central Square we always hang out after Havana closes at 1AM. Its the one hour we get where the salsa crowed actually has time to socialize. This time I actually took several pictures to remember these times.
Before going out to Havana it was time for dinner. I tried helping Stephan with cooking - it is really time for me to leverage the fact that he is a Chef so that I can pick up some hints.
Now - saturday - its time for two things: a) get the grass cut and b) get to the Wake Up The Earth festival here in JP.
Alright - time for some pictures. The sun is waiting outside.
Watching and Learning from the Chef Here we go - working with both hands
Mr. Havana Club: Thanks Jeff for all these great parties Raj - it is always hard to get a nice picture with him
Well - seems getting a nice picture with me isnt that much easier either :-) Tiger!!! :-)
Hey Nate: I am catching up with my beard :-) Summer is here - time to enjoy the sun