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:
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

August 29th

Waiting in Line
What to do on your free day? The plan was to get my Massachussetts ID - thats like a Personalausweis. Its better than carrying my passport to wherever I go. In order to get such an ID I had to go to the Boston Registry and apply for it. Picked a number at the entry - B984 - went upstairs and figured that it might take a while till its my turn. In fact - 2 hours later - it was finally my turn. 1 minute later it turned out that I waited without success. In order to get the ID I need my social security number which I have been waiting for the past 4 weeks. You can probably imagine how frustrating that moment was. Back in the appartment it was therefore time for a frustration beer.
The good thing though is that I did not wait in line for the 2 hours. I took a walk through Boston taking several pictures which you can see below.
Because of my day off today I went salsa dancing last night - longer than normal. I made it back at 2 AM - just in time for the replay of Obamas speech. I have to say - quite impressing. It will be interesting to see next weeks news coverage of the national convention of the republican party where John McCain is running for president.
So - I basically stayed up till 4AM - got up at 10AM - and then went to the Registry. Now its time for a nap. More salsa is coming up tonight as well as some relaxing time in New Hampshire tomorrow and some wild water rafting in Vermont on sunday.
Wading through the Frog Pond Thats the Frog Pond
Ranger's horse on lunch break Funny band playing in the financial district

August 28th

Back in the Office
Its been 10 days since I last was in our office. The difference to the last time is that I now have my own cubical :-) - no more moving from one office to the other. Check out the picture below. You can see the calendar that my friends from Gallneukirchen gave me sticked on the wall.
The other difference was that one of my sandals was missing. I usually wear my Birkenstock sandals that I brought from home. 10 days at home I left them in Dan's office - I thought that this was a "safe" place. Well - guess what? Only one of the two sandals was there when I came into the office this morning. Dan's response to my email asking him if he knows where the other one might be was: "Both were there yesterday... Sound like some is pulling a joke". Yeah - yeah - 2 hours later - after walking around either barefoot or with just one sandal on my feet - I found the second in one of Dan's drawers :-)
It will be another 7 days till I am back in the office. I took tomorrow off - giving me a 4 days weekend. And then I will be visiting customers in the Boston area. No big traveling this time - but I will still be away from the office.
Thats it - the plan for the weekend hasn't changed - still planning to do all the stuff I've listed 2 entries back.
Bye - time for salsa at Ryles now
My cubical Missing sandal

August 26th

Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention is the number one topic on the news these days - next week it will be the convention of the Republican party. As someone that is "only" used to a very scaled down austrian version of these politicial events its quite interesting to watch these events.
Besides this - I had my last day at Microsoft. One last day ahead with another client down here in North Carolina - then I am heading back to Boston tomorrow night.
Now I am back in my hotel room - after having a great burger in the Hilton. Watching a great old Elvis movie right now - while doing some email and updating my website.
Yeah - thats it. bye
Working with Jinga and Dave My evening hang-out: Watching movies in my hotel room while working on my laptop

August 25th

Greetings from North Carolina
Its been a short night. I hoped to sleep 4 hours - but only got about 3 in the end. For whatever reason I still dont trust the alarm clock on my new cell phone. Its because of that "fear" that I dont really sleep well when I know I rely on it.
Had a nice ride to the airport - very nice and chatty cab driver. Easy Check-In - almost no line at the security check. Got breakfast at the Gate (Orange Juice and some kind of yogurt) - followed by a nice conversation when waiting in line to board the plane (wondering whether there will be a follow-up opportunity). On the plane I at least caught up with sleep. Spent a full day with my client, had a nice salad in the close by hilton hotel and now I am sitting in the hotel room - doing some work - and letting you know what my day looked like.
Now I got two more days left - then one day back in the office on thursday - and then - yahooo - extended weekend. We have a public holiday on monday. Because of all the traveling in the recent weeks I decided to also take off friday - bringing me a full 4 day vacation. The plans have also already been made:
a) Getting a MassID on friday (I do no longer want to take my passport with me whenever I go out - therefore I get a state ID)
b) Salsa on thursday and friday night
c) To the beach in New Hampshire on saturday (if the weather is good)
d) THE BEST OF ALL: Wild Water Rafting in Vermont
e) FareWell beer with Andreas (the other Andreas) - he is going back to Linz for a couple of weeks
Yeah - thats it - cheers

August 24th - 2nd Entry

Beer, Soccer and Salsa
Here is a last minute update from the sunday evening/night events. 3 cool things happened:
a) Stephan and I did some Beer-Shopping
b) I found a soccer pick-up group very close by
c) Salsa at Ryles where I met Raj again - a good old friend from 05
Thats it - its almost 1 AM - have to get up in 4 hours to catch my flight :-(
Raj - my old friend - nice to see him again Also met some new friends - Michelle
Our beer supply in the cabinet Our beer in the fridge - we may wanna open a bar :-)

August 24th

Back in Boston with a Cold
Yahooo - back in Boston. Its been an easy on-time flight back to Boston last night. Brandon took me back to Cambridge. As it was still "early" in the evening (11PM) I decided to check out the local bar scene at Davis Square. Its always an interesting experience when you go out on your own - trying to find people to hang out with. I went to The Burren. They had a good live band playing cover songs. Got home a bit after 1 - got to bed shortly before 2 - and now its almost time for a "WAKE-UP GRIND". Stephan left me a message on the board that it would be time for that at 10AM - but I guess he wont mind if I do it an hour earlier :-)
The weather is beautiful these days here in Boston. Seems we are having an extended period of warm and dry weather. I hope that the sun will do me good today. Because of the cold air on the planes last night I dont feel all that good - throat aches.
The plan for tonight is Salsa - at Johnny D's.
Tomorrow morning I am again heading out south. North Carolina again - back to Microsoft and PeopleClick.
Have a nice sunday - bye

August 23rd

A long road trip is going to end
Whats great about those trips that I do is that you get to see lots of different places and you meet lots of different people. The LandWarNet show in Florida was as special as devLink in Tennessee is - but the people at those 2 shows are totally different. In Florida I had all those people from the US Army and those folks that work with the federals. At devLink I have hard core developers - great experts in their fields.
When I wrote in my last entry that there is more to say I was refering to an interesting scene that I observed last night. We went out to a Steakhouse with a group of 20 people.
Two things were interesting:
a) its hard to participate in conversations about topics that you dont know well. Mainly topics about us sports, local topics, ... - but - I am getting there :-)
b) two thirds of the folks on the table were Twitter'ing on their cell phones - sending messages to folks either on the other side of the table or to folks that were still back in the hotel.
Fortunately for me I didnt stay up too late last night - so I am fresh and energetic again for today. Flight back home is at 4:15PM bringing me back to Boston at 10:30PM.

August 22nd

Greetings from Tennessee
Greetings from this small little town in Tennessee close to Nashville. I have some mixed feelings about the things that go on here. Its been a great show today with all those people at the conference - but I can tell you - I miss Boston. I am honest - I would rather go out salsa dancing tonight than hanging out at the hotel bar tonight.
There is an additional conference day tomorrow (on saturday). Brandon and I are going to head back to Boston in the afternoon. Well - for me it will only be one day in Boston. Monday morning I am going to head south again - North Carolina.
There is more to say - especially about people having dinner and all they do is "twitting" :-)
Brandon and me at our booth Brandon and me at the bar :-)
One more shot from the bar Its all chocolate. Got it as a present from devLink

August 20th

Stories from Florida
The last full day in Ft. Lauderdale is almost over. Its been a good time here. Fortunately the storm didnt really impact us here at all. The weather was not to good yesterday - but it was OK today. Last night I took a nice walk towards the beach. It was a 2.5 miles walk from my hotel to the beach and another 2.5 miles back - long - but good.
Talking about the hotel. I've actually been re-located because the hotel that I was booked on was actually full - so they placed me in a different one - very nice one.
Well - not a whole lot else to say. Just came back from a nice bar with live-music - now I am sitting here with a can of Corona and a small pack of Pringles taken from the mini-bar.
Tomorrow in the afternoon its time to fly to Nashville, Tennessee. There I will take a rental - then wait for my colleague Brandon who will arrive a bit after me coming from Boston. We will then drive to Murfreesboro where devLink takes place. We are having a booth and I will also have a speaking slot on friday - looking forward to that.
Thats it - find below some pictures from last weekend and from my hotel room. bye
Stephan and I sitting at the Bar at Christohpers My minibar :-)
View from my hotel room at night View from my hotel room at daylight

August 19th

Travel Stories
Online Flight Status Check is a great thing - well - let me get this straight - its great unless you realize that your flight is delayed :-(
Got up at 5AM - went online - checking the status for my flight to Florida: 210 minutes delay!! So instead of departing at 7AM it changed to 10:30AM. Nevertheless I took the cab at 5:30. At the airport I felt hope - the monitors showed 7AM. But - arriving at the gate they again told us that it is still 10:30. Fortunately I have power outlets and WiFi access. Unfortunately NO BAR is open at this time :-(
Looking forward to the flight - it will probably be a very bumpy ride because of the Hurricane.

August 18th

Facing the Storm
Well - you may have seen it on the news: there is a big storm coming up to Florida. Now - guess where I am going tomorrow? Yep - thats right - Florida :-)
I am going to the airport early morning. The flight is scheduled for 7 but I already expect some delays because of the tropical storm Fay that has pounded the Florida Keys today. Just ordered the taxi for 5:30 - yeah - getting up early :-(
Looking forward to Ft. Lauderdale - never been there - hope its not too bad in the height of the summer. After that event I am actually really looking forward to devLink in Tennessee. I have a speaking slot to talk about Continuoues Performance Management. This may not sound exciting for you - but it is exciting for me :-)
Not much else to tell - the only other update is that Stephan is really excited about his new iPod Touch - he just loves that gadget :-)

August 17th

Stephan just became very COOL - he got his first Apple Gadget - an iPod Touch.
Yesterday we went to the new Apple store in Boston. Because of Tax Holiday weekend (no sales tax this weekend in Massachusettes) there were thousands of people. So we just looked around and figured out that the iPod Touch is probably the best choice for him. He then went back today and finally bought it. Now - for the past 2 hours we were sitting on the couch - iPod attached to his laptop - setting everything up - looks good so far. Its a great gadget - easy to handle - easy to configure. Seems that there really are some smart and creative people at Apple.
Besides playing with fruit :-) - I was finally taking a nice sun bath. It seems that the summer is back in New England. The original plan for today was to ride the bike to the beach. I then however decided to just go down to the Charles - lay down in the grass - watching the boats and do some reading. I finally finished one of the most disgusting books I've ever read: Feuchtgebiete. The other thing that was very interesting was to watch 5 jets flying in circles above boston - texting messages in the sky - check out the pictures below and the video that I put up on youtube.
Now I started my next book - another present that I got when leaving austria. It is Der perfekte Verfuehrer - well - I hope there is still stuff for me to learn about how to secude a woman.
The rest of the weekend was very much focused on salsa. Two days in a row salsa till they closed down the place. Unfortunately that meant there was not a lot of sleep that I got :-(
Thats the update for the weekend. The upcoming week will be busy. A day in the office on monday - then going on the business trip till saturday night. bye bye
Texting in the Skies More Texting
On of the bridges over the Charles Thats the place where I took my sunbath
"Apple-tized" Playing with the iPod Touch

August 16th

Saying Farewell to Eva
Eva - a colleague from our Linz office who works in the Boston office right now - is going back to Linz next week. So we went out this thursday for a farewell dinner. We went to this great Tapas place in Waltham - good food - and good drinks.
My plans for friday have been impacted a bit by the rain. It was a beautiful morning so I of course took the bike to work. Because work took longer than expected I was not able to make it home at 5 as I had planned. At 5:30 it started raining and did not stop anymore :-(. Fortunate as I am - Sarah offered to pick me up in the office. The plan was to go out for dinner and then dancing - which we did - just a bit time shifted. Now its saturday morning - just got my bike from work and now I am about to grind the coffee - making lots of noise so that Stephan finally wakes up :-) - its about time - 10 AM on a saturday!
Whats coming up? Well - lots of traveling. 3 days in Florida, then 2 days in Tennessee - back one day in Boston and then back to Microsoft in North Carolina.
But before all that I wanna enjoy the weekend. If the weather allows I wanna take the bike to the beach tomorrow - havent been there since I am back in Bean-Town.
Thats the end of this entry followed by some pictures from thursday night.
Lynne and Kathy Eric is doing a good job with this spanish carafe
Kathy is taking a shot too Brandon and Russell
Mo and Mike (after telling his great "Man from Morocco story" Farewell Eva - it was great having you here

August 13th

One Year till 30
Thanks for all the nice Happy Birthday Greetings!
So - yeah - the birthday is over - well - almost. At least theoretically. I just came home from a great salsa night at An Tua Nua. Now its just after 1AM - and I am sitting here with a beer finishing this perfect day.
It started at 6AM when I opened my first present. It was from Alois who gave it to me as a Farewell Present end of July - thanks for the great shirt. In the office came the first real surprise which still is a mistery for me. A flower delivery for me. The card on it said: "Welcome back to Bean-Town". Not sure who to sender is - but whoever it is - THANKS A LOT. I think you made some of my colleagues a bit jealous :-)
Then we had birthday cake and later at night we had some beer in the office. At the appartment - Stephan already waited for me with dinner. As I raised the wish to learn some cooking basics during my stay he let me help him with the Pasta. But let me tell you - he basically did all the work - I just gave it the final touch.
Although I told this old man (I am talking about Stephan) that I dont want to have presents I was given more than enough. New Salsa Pants - and two books - THANKS A LOT.
Well - and as already mentioned in the beginning I concluded this day with a night full of Salsa, Merengue and Bachata. PROST!!
The flowers from ? Helping with the Dinner
The final "product" Stephans presents for me

August 12th

Weather and Olympics
Whats the lesson that I learned today? Never think you are smarter than the weather man! Why that? Well - the weather forecast predicated rain. Nevertheless I hopped on the bike at 6:30 to get the office. 10 minutes later I remembered the words of the weather man - ITS GOING TO RAIN! And It DID. Arrived at the office 45 minutes later - soaked through :-(
Stephan and I are watching the Olympics right now - Volleyball and Synchronized Diving. We just invented a new sport - may become an olympic discipline in the future: Synchronized Beer drinking, synchronized burping and synchronized farting :-) - we are still practicing - not perfect yet - but we are getting there!
Before that we went to the Liquor Store - getting some beer for tomorrow. We are going to have some beers in the office. Why that? Well - its this one day in the year where I am getting older.
What else is going on? Lots of travel plans. Seems that I will have a full travel schedule for the next three months. Seems I am going to be on the road about half of the time.
Thats the update - here are some pictures of the stuff we got at the store.
A great selection of beers Tasting the Belgium

August 10th

A Weekend in Reflection
Its been a good time the past 3 days. Went to see the "Dark Knight" on thursday - thats the new Batman Movie. Almost a bit too long - but good.
Friday night salsa at Mambos. Was fortunate enough to get a ride home - so I didnt need a cab to get home at night.
On Saturday we (Stephan and I) started with a nice breakfast at home - donuts, coffee and fruits. After that I had to run some errands: needed to go to the bank to talk about my bank account. Then I went into the new Apple Store on Boylsten Street. Roman asked me to buy some gift certificates. As always when I visit an Apple Store - I am amazed about such a store works. There are many people on staff working around - helping people out. They also offer free workshops for customers, e.g.: how to use their latest software products or the iPhone.
After that I started a long walk. I checked out Faneuil Hall, Haymarket, Waterfront, North End, ... - It was amazing to see the "Big Dig" constructions finally finished. They created nice parks where there used to be multi level highways running through the town.
Later on saturday we went to The Public House. Its a great bar with an amazing selection of beers. After that it was Salsa time again for me. Pictures should be up soon on Havana Club Salsa. And once again - I was lucky enough not needing a cab to get home.
Now its sunday afternoon. Stephan did one "Open House" at After that we had brunch at Christophers - and now - its time to do some sun bathing in one of the parks here in Cambridge.
Here are some pictures - and - a reminder: I am still putting up more pictures on my YouTube Account. I added one funny story - told by one of Stephan's friends.
Saturday morning Breakfast at home Captain Jack Sparrow - a street artist at Faneuil Hall
An interesting building from the front And the same from the back - seems they kept just the outside walls
This is where once used to be a multlevel highway - now its a nice park area Doggy Language
More green: looking towards Faneuil Hall Having Beers in The Public House

August 6th

Back Home from North Carolina
Its been a long two days in North Carolina. From 5AM to 11PM yesterday - and from 8AM till 11:30PM today. I was supposed to be home at 10PM already - unfortunately the thunderstorms in the north east delayed most of the flights. So I spent a bit more than 3 hours on the airport in Raleigh - fortunatelly they had a nice bar :-)
Well - time to go to bed. Will be back down there in 3 weeks. Cheers

August 5th

Greetings from North Carolina
I am in the lucky situation these days that I am visting Microsoft in their office facilities in Durham, NC. Its the VSTS Testing Team and the TFS Team that are located here. For me as I guy that actually likes Microsoft (even if there software sometimes has problems :-) ) its a bit like being in Paradise.
But enough about that. I was pretty lucky in the morning to actually catch my plane. It departed at 7AM - so I took the first T at 5:20AM. Because of some construction the train was slower than expected - so I missed the first Silver Line Bus to the Airport. Hoped on the bus that brought me to check-in at 6:10. So - 50 minutes left till departure. Fortunately its easy to check-in if you just travel with carry-on luggage. I was done with it and went through security in about 10 minutes.
Now I am sitting in my hotel - in the middle of nowhere. But - the middle of nowhere offers a nice scene. The hotel is directly on a lake as you can see from the pictures below. The room is also pretty crazy. Its kind of a sweet. I have two batchrooms - 3 king size beds and a living room. I probably throw the dice to decide in which bed I am sleeping tonigh.
Thats the update.
The lake behind the hotel The Master Bedroom
The Living Room And two Guest Beds

August 4th

First Business Trip Ahead
Tomorrow is my first Business Trip in the States. I am going to visit the Visual Studio Team System Group of Microsoft in Raleigh, North Carolina. My flight is shortly before 7 - that means that I have to get up around 5AM - hop on the T (thats the Subway) and hope to be on the Airport in time for Check-In. Will be down there for 2 days.
Today I also went to the Social Security Office. Without a Social Security Number its like you dont really exist here in the states (well - its not that bad). Anyway - I need a SSN in order to get employed in the states. So I went to the office to put in my application. Unfortunately it was not that easy. First of all the system of the US Immigration Department was down and not accessible. Second - the lady at the office told me that it takes at least 10 working days after entering the states till my data is in the system. Before that I wont be able to apply for an SSN. What does that mean? Well - the lady was kind enough to handle the case for me without needing me to go back there. So - I should get my number within the next 4 to 16 weeks (yep - weeks - its a long process).
Thats the update. Need to go to bed now - cheers
Oh yeah - I have my first pictures on the local salsa scene web-sites. Check out Havana Club Salsa.

August 3rd

The "Pretzel Man"
Who is the Pretzel Man? Well - based on a girl at Salsa last Night I am the Pretzel Man because I sometimes do some moves that makes it look like our arms are winded like a Pretzel :-). Salsa was great. It was taking place in a former church that was changed to a great venue for dance events. Fortunately the place has a license to stay open till 2AM. Got home at around 2:30 - fortunately I got a ride from one of the dancers - otherwise it would have been a challenge to get home.
Today Stephan and I did some more Open Houses. We went to a 4 or 5 - one of them was actually not too bad. Well - we will see how the "House Search" will go on.
In the afternoon I first watched the game. So - for you guys at home. When I talk about "The Game" - I refer to a Red Sox Baseball game. We won :-). After that I went for my first run: 11k in an hour - ran through Cambridge and Somerville - it was a nice way to explore the neighborhood.
In the evening - Stephan and I had our usual program: Christohpers - and then some supermarkt shopping.
Besides putting up pictures on my website I decided to also upload some videos to YouTube. A video probably says more than some pictures. You should be able to find my videos at Grabnerandi on YouTube. The latest additions are shots from Christophers, StarMarket and Ice Cream preparation.

August 2nd

Weekend Activities
The first week is over. Did my first trip to the office by bike - had my first night at Ryles. Yesterday I met with Andreas - he is a former colleague of mine and works out of Boston as well. We went to Harvard Square to check out the new Beer Garden. Finally - a beer garden close to my home - it will probably not take long for me to be back there.
Today - Dan invited us for a boat trip on the Atlantic. He has his motor boat in a Marina in Quincy which is south of Boston. We then took the boat up north to check out Boston Harbour. After that we made a stop at one of the islands. The water was - well - lets put it that way - VERY REFRESHING :-). We were lucky on our way home. The thunderstorms were rolling in but we made it back to the marina just in time before it started pouring rain.
Now I am sitting at home - its relax time - before I will check out the new salsa place. Here are some pictures
Stephan and I doing modern communication: Skyping Andreas and Andreas
The new Beer Garden in Harvard Square On my way home at 1AM
The Marina in Quincy - many nice boats Full Throttle
One of the tourist boats in Boston Harbour Boston Waterfront
More tourist boats B and B - (Beer and Boston)