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 2010 August 2010 July 2010 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

August 31st

Time is flying - so is hurricane Earl who comes flying up the east coast threating my weekend plans for a nice bike ride on saturday and a party on sunday. Lets keep our fingers crossed that he moves further away from the coast line once he comes up north - dont need the rain and the wind while having a cookout on the patio :-)
Talking about biking. In order to go on a bike ride through the Blue Hills with Eric I got my old fat tires on my bike last friday. On saturday morning I discovered the rear tire to be flat :-( - kind of reminded me of the bad flat tire streak I had last year with 6 flats in 2 weeks. Got it fixed right away and still keeping my fingers crossed that it will last for another 2 weeks. As great as broader tires are when mountain biking - the harder they make my commute to work. The 20k ride to work has never been that exhausting before - the upside of this however is that I have less of a regret at night when I drink a beer :-)
The pictures of today have all been taken from delicious food we had the last couple of days. Stephan invited friends over on sunday and we had bluefish for dinner - just delicious. Tonight we made pasta. I am not a big help when it comes to cooking but I have been trying to pay more attention and try to help more. It is fascinating to watch Stephan and learn on how certain things are done - and - how well food actually turns out in the end :-)
Time for bed - its going to be another early morning commute tomorrow. The weather has just been phenomenal here in the past days. Temperatures are up above 30 degrees during the day - so its good for me to get on the road early in the morning before it gets too hot. Tschuess
Starting with fruit wrapped in proscuito and cheese on tomatoes Grilled Blue Fish, Corn and Red Beads
Awesome multi layer chocolate cake for desert One must not forget the beer :-)
Working on the pasta sauce MAHLZEIT!!

August 28th

All shiny and new
After Stephan got a lot of cleaning done outside we both worked on our windows today. Now they are all shiny and almost look like new :-)
The thing that made me laugh when I got home today was a note on my laptop (check out the picture below). Our household really became an apple household - with two Dells who seem to loose some ground these days :-).
Summer is back in Boston after we had heavy rainfalls for 3-4 days. Now the temperatures are up in the high 20s (maybe 30 tomorrow), sunshine and no humidity. Seems like Boston is "showing off" before I leave - just to make it a bit harder :-)
The big topic these days seem to be the "constantly moving people". Boston - and especially Cambridge with all its students and young professionals - sees a lot of commotion these days. It is end of August - new students moving in and many people moving away. Some that left occasionally make it back for a visit - such as Ivan who moved to England a couple of months ago but is here right now for a quick visit. Next weekend is Sarahs last weekend and the weekend after is my last. As great as the change in people is (because there is always somebody new to meet) - the hard it is to say good bye when you finally got to know somebody better.
Time to enjoy the weather and time to congratulate Berni - a friend from home - who just got married today.
The original Macintosh :-) Apple-Schnaps :-)

August 25th

I dont always go shopping - but if I do - I prefer Apple :-)
I kind of stole this line from a funny series of Dos Equis commercials. Why did I use it for todays headline?
Well - I have always been a fan of Microsoft products - I admit - and never really looked at other stuff. Since I got my company iPhone about 1.5 years ago I "extended my horizon" - just fell in love with it from the first moment. This past sunday it was time for a little shopping tour. I had some items on my list that I wanted to buy before heading back to Europe. On my way through the streets of Boston I stopped at the Apple store on Boylston. 30 minutes later I walked out with an iPad :-). As I also had to replace my old MP3 player I ended up buying another Apple product - an iPod. Love both of these new gadgets. First thing I had to do when I got home was to sit on the couch on the 3rd floor and order a pizza online through my iPad. I also followed the status of the pizza delivery till it arrived. I know - really geeky - but it was a perfect thing to do on a rainy sunday.
On monday evening we had a friend from Stephan over. I helped him with his website and he returned the favor by bringing two cases of a variety of beers (mainly belgium) -> Thanks John!! Great to see the website finally up and running.
In my office complex they organized a blood drive - meaning - people in the buildings can stop by and donate blood. I wanted to join but was rejected :-( - it seems we had too many mad cows (and other stuff) in Europe in the last 30 years. So - didnt donate blood - but I got the voucher for some chocolate :-)
Yesterday evening it was time to check out new places in Cambridge (another way to "extend your horizon"): Plough and Stars and Peoples Republik. I can recommend both!
Tonight is going to be another night on the dancefloor. They have a fundraising event at An Tua Nua which I dont want to miss.
This week also happened to be the anniversary of Kathrina - the devasting hurricane that hit the US in 2005. I remember it well as I was supposed to fly out to the south but my flight got canceled in the last minute.
Now - time to go and time for some final iPad and beer pictures :-)
iPad on the lap, iPhone on the table, Harry Potter on tv :-) Great desert beer - worked great with the cake
Great ale Beer from Hawaii

August 22nd

I LOVE Boston, but my heart belongs to Austria
I got a very sweet text friday evening which made me smile. Rainhard Fendrich - one of your successful Austro-Popers - performed at the Kronehitfestival in Linz. One of his most famous songs is called I am from Austria and kind of became the inofficial austrian anthem. Whenever it is played you usually see people singing along with the song enjoying the lyrics.
Yesterday I was invited to a boat ride on the Atlantic. I really enjoy being on the water - and - while sitting on the boat - looking out on the sea I thought about the great time I had here in Boston and the great time that I am going to have back home. I am not great in translating lyrics - but - some text passages of the song alwways strike me when I hear or remember them - just as I remembered while sitting on the boat looking out on the ocean, such as> "Thats where I am from - thats where I belong. It melts the ice of my soul - like from a glacier in April. Even though we may have forgotten - I am the apple of your tree" (sorry for the loose translation - thats the best I can do :-).
Anyway - so - the closer I get to the point of returning home the more fortunate I feel about the time that I had here and the more I am looking forward to getting home again. Thanks to my friends at home to keep in touch and remind me about whats there waiting for me.
Change in topics: time to reflect on the good time I had this week and whats coming up. Thanks to Dan - my colleague - I had a final boat trip on the Atlantic. He has a nice motorboat which we took out to Worlds End. Got the boat on a boje - had lunch and also jumped into the refreshing water - NICE - and - THANKS DAN!!
Besides being on the boat I enjoyed two nights at Havana Club and several miles on my bike - it is time to get my total km count on my speedometer up to 6000km - 300km left for 3 more weeks to go - should be doable :-)
It is sunday noon now - its the first time in weeks where it is actually raining and it seems it is going to rain for the next couple of days. Hopefully this wont be the end of the summer. Good thing is that rain makes it easier to do things such as just hanging out inside - doing some shopping - catching some movies - ... - guess thats going to be the plan for the next couple of days. As I figured out a way to capture and format my pictures even on this temporary laptop I finally have some new pictures to show. Adios
The boys (Stephan and our neighbor John) got a new toy (High Pressure Cleaner) Lots of corn leftover from last weekends party - guess we have corn salad for the next party :-)
Evening sun over the Charles River in Waltham Company Farewell gathering for Eva who is moving back to Europe
Enjoying one of my birthday presents - thanks John! On the boat - crusing through the Boston Islands
Would be great to have a house like this Enjoying the view - thinking about Boston and Austria
Thanks DAN for the great afternooon Looking forward to my sailing trip end of next month :-)

August 19th

Hi, this is Dan - How can I help you?
I was surprised hearing that greeting when I called into DELL Support today - I expected a Raj or Sanjay to help me with my laptop problems. So - as every morning I got up early and turned on my work laptop. Since 2 days I had to press this weird key combination to get it started (figured that out through an online forum). Today this combination helped me to get it started - followed shortly after by a nice blue screen - then it went black and stayed black :-(. Based on Dan I get a new motherboard which should hopefully solve me problems. Lets hope the best - it is interesting to experience how dependant we are on these little black boxes.
It is time to say Happy Birthday to Julius. Udo's first born turned one. We (Stephan and I) know the real reason behind giving Julius his name :-). In order to honor his name and to celebrate his birthday we just opened two bottles of this great brew - PROST!!
There would be more stuff to say and some pictures to show - but - this temporary laptop I got is not really equiped to get my pictures or do the editing - so - this has to wait. But - the last couple of days had a lot to offer: Cirque du Soleil (AWESOME!!), Restaurant Week in Boston (great way to explore new restaurants), farewell to Eva who is moving back to Europe.
Happy Birthday again - will visit little Julius in about 4 weeks

August 15th

Lots of good news on this weekend
Based on my friend Klemens I just turned 11111 - which is the binary representation of my age -> yeah - it is geeky - but I love it :-)
Besides turning one year older - which I consider as good news - I had some friends from home letting me know about their good news. I am not going to share it in public - but - it made me really happy to hear what they had to tell me this week :-)
Birthdays need to be celebrated - of course. My birthday started at 6:30AM with a skype call (unfortunately I left my camera and headset in the office - so we had to repeat that later in the office). It was followed by a nice bike ride to the office - a good day at work with some more skype calls - a text message from my mum (yeah - she is technically savvy enough for that) - a birthday beer in the office - a bike ride home - a Julius Echter when I arrived home - great dinner with Stephan at the Milky Way - a great night at Havana Club and a drink at the Tavern after dancing.
On saturday we hosted a small cookout. It was the first bigger party this year. Stephan did another phenomenal job with the food. He found this german sausage place on Route 1 in Saugus. We had different types of Bratwurst and Knacker. We had Sauerkraut and Bretzel. We had Corn on the Cob and Schwarzwaelderkirschtorte :-). I am happy to say that many of my friends followed my invitation and showed up - helping us to get rid of most of the corn. We double bought corn - both Stephan and I went shopping and we ended up with 50 pieces of Corn cobs :-)
Now its sunday - time for the final clean up - and then - the final activity on this weekend: OVO - Cirque du Soleil. Adios
First Ingredient for a good german/austrian meal: Sauerkraut Then there are Bretzel
Step 1: Prepping the Corn - getting rid of the silk Step 2: Soaking them in water
Step 3: Putting them on the grill Step 4: Eating (rolling your eyes is optional)
Step 5: Season it with a beer and a smile Opening the Champagne (not the sparkling wine :-))
Toasting - thanks for coming!! Hanging out on the patio
Bobby, Joana and Nate Me and Christopher
Christopher and his girl friend Breakfast on sunday with the rest of the birthday cake

August 12th

More Stories and Impressions from my last trips through New England and Nova Scotia
The last two weekends were great. I used up my remaining US vacation days to explore New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont) and the eastern part of Canada (New Brunswick and Halifax). I documented the most interesting things already in my last couple of blog entries - but - there are some more stories that I just want to write down so that I dont forget.
Don't get into an argument with a canadian about hockey
On our first stop to Halifax we got to spend the night in Woodstock, New Brunswick. We went to the local pub to get some late dinner. Thats where we met some locals who were talking about sports. I heard one of them saying: "finally this whole soccer thing is over - one month - much to long for such a boring sport". Well - this was my trigger. I jumped into the conversation as I wanted to find out why this guy didnt like europen football. His best argument was that a real sport - like hockey - is tough. It is so tough that - here comes the quote: "When my guys play hockey - it is so tough - they all have to puke after 3 minutes". I should have responded with: "Guess they had a lot of bad booze the night before". Anyway - he went on with how tough Hockey is as compared to soccer where the guys just stand around the field for 90 minutes. Lesson learned: don't get yourself into an argument with a passionate canadian hockey fan. I have to give him credit though. At one point he stopped - reached over to shake my hand and said: lets stop it here :-)
You get your personal beer carrier on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont to cover the 1.5m distance from the door to the patio
We got to have dinner at Ri Ra - a great Irish Pub on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont. Suddenly I noticed people walking out of the door - handing their beer to one of the waiters - walking the two steps to the outside patio - getting the beer back from the waiter that followed them - and then sitting down at one of the tables. The same thing happened the other way round. I was curious as to what type of law we owe this "spectacle". So I asked our waitress to explain it. It turns out that Church Street is usually a pedestriant area with lots of bars and restaurants having their patios on the street. During the day it is however open for deliver trucky and other cars. In order to avoid broken glass on the street the patrons of bars are not allowed to carry their beer on the 1.5m public stretch between the bar's door and the patio as the risk of breaking a glass was too high. Kind of makes sense - but - well - I put it to the category: "Strange laws in the US" :-)
Why is there no alcohol content printed on US beer bottles?
I always wondered why most of the us beer bottles dont show the aclohol content. Got the answer on my trip. All american beers - instead otherwise labeled - have an alcohol content of 5%.
There is a one dollar coin
Besides the two dollar bill that I recently discovered I also just found out that there are one dollar coins. On my recent trip to New York I got a subway ticket and had to pay cash because the credit card reader didnt work. I put in a 5 dollar bill and all I got back were coins - but - I was surprised to not end up with a handfull of quarters. I got 2 One Dollar Coins.
Its great to eat in America
The US is well known for its fast food restaurants across the globe. Unfortunately - thats the only culinary image that many people will ever have from the US without getting the chance to really explore all the great culinary options besides $1 burgers or 25c wings.
The trip to Halifax and Maine was heavy on seafood - lobster - mussels - crab. Before I moved to the US I was not that big of a seafood fan - but - living in an area where great seafood is available it is just hard to not fall in love with it.
On the trip to Vermont we explored Irish Food (in the bars and brew pubs) and lots of local products from Vermont (cheese, sausages, vegetables, ...). It is the diversity that I really love about this place. And - lets take some common sense here: it is a country of immigrants - and all those immigrants influence the culinary landscape in a very positive way. And by the way - the real burgers are just FANTASTIC!!
Vermont is like little Austria
Driving through Vermont is like driving through the Muehlviertel or parts of the Alpenvorland. Its all green - very hilly - and you see a lot of Austrian flags. Why that? Well - I guess for multiple reasons:
a) there were several austrian skiers that immigrated to the in the early 20th century and influenced skiing in Vermont
b) the Trapp Family with the Trapp Family Lodge. Most Austrians dont know who the Trapp family or Sound of Music is. I didnt know before I came to the US. I know now - but still havent seen the movie (still on my list)
c) check out the following links: A little Austria in Vermont, Innsbruck Inn at Stowe

Alright - this turned out to be a longer entry than I thought. Time for some more pictures from the recent trips.
The two chefs (Stephan and Tony) fighting over a bag of "Uncle Bens" (we wont tell the school about this :-)) Enjoying a crab sandwich in Maine
Great band performing in Burlington, VT From the top of Top Notch
Bangers and Mash at the Vermont Brewery and Pub Chocolaterie in Burlington, VT
Driving through Vermon on I-89 Taking the kajak out to the marsh
Looks like my hear got a mind on his own :-) "Scenic ride" through the marsh

August 10th

Exploring New England
Over the last 4 days I've been exploring some additional areas of New England. Started saturday morning with a drive up to Burlington, Vermont. Got to explore Burlington which I always believed to be the capital of Vermont - well - it is not. The capital is actally Montpelier - learned something new :-)
Burlington happened to celebrate their Festival of Fools - similar to the Linzer Pflasterspekatel. Besides Burlington we got to do a nice hike through Smugglers Notch State Park, checked out the ski resort in Stowe and went with a recommendation we got from a bartender and therefore checked out the all so famous The Alchemist Pub and Brewery. We also got to check out many other great local beers from Vermont - such as Switchback, Long Trail or Otter Creek.
On our way back to Boston we stopped at Green Mountain Coffee and learned a lot about coffee beans, harvesting and roasting. Green Mountain has become a great success story. The obviously dont grow their own coffee - but - they do a great job in rosting all different types of flavors - had to pick up several packages.
Then it was time for another good bye. I've spent many days at the Sarah's Summer Camp in New Hampshire over the years I've been in Boston. Not only was it time to say good bye because I am leaving - but because it is also the last season of the camp as I got to know it. The camp got sold and is going to be managed by new owners from now on. So - its been a great last afternoon walking through the camp grounds, swimming in the lake, taking the canoe out into the marsh and eating dinner with the other 250 something kids.
Alright - time for some pictures.
A small mountain lake in Smugglers Notch Tapping water from the source :-)
Awesome taste :-) Inside a hotel in the Ski Resort
Beer Sampling in Burlington Checking out Green Mountain Coffee
The Tent Unit at the Summer Camp Kids out on sail boats
The island in the middle of the pond Coffee for the next couple of weeks :-)

August 5th

A HOT final trip to New York City
Its probably been my last trip to New York before heading back to Linz. I was invited to do a presentation at a user group meeting last night. The venue was pretty nice - Time Inc. sponsored the event and invited us to their conference center in the Rockefeller Center. The toughest thing on that trip was not the presentation - it was the heat and humidity that is covering New England and New York these days. I soaked two shirts on my way from the presentation to David (where I crashed the night) and from David's place to a bar. The toughest areas are the subway platforms where it is probably another 5-10 degrees warmer than outside. Getting on the subway then gives you another extreme experience -> ICE COLD :-)
My goal was to find a salsa party and dance a last time in the big apple. Found a place called "Plan B" that got great reviews. So I started my way from the upper west side down to the lower east side. 45 minutes later I arrive at the place - but - well - the bar no longer exists :-( - a long trip on subway without a reward. Fortunately I could hook up with another friend and we at least enjoyed some drinks before I had to finally say good bye to New York: So my "Plan A" was to go to "Plan B" - but it turned out that this "Plan A" was no good so I had to come up with my "Plan B" which turned out to be the best plan of all ;-).
Instead of flying or taking a bus to New York I decided to use the Acela. The Acela is the "High Speed" train that connects Boston with New York and Washington. Its not High Speed such as the ICE or the TGV - but - it runs at a decent speed. On the way home though we got delayed for about 90 minutes caused by a tree that got snapped by a thunderstorm. The most hillarious thing was the conductor who tried to explain the problem and what the engineers do in order to fix it. The quote where the whole train bursted into laughter was: "The engineers are working on it - they do - uhhmm - engineering STUFF".
Unfortunatley I didnt take pictures while being in "The City". I took two quick snapshots while leaving through the window on the train.
Whats coming up? An extended weekend in New England. This time we explore Vermont and New Hampshire. Its time to say good bye to Sarah's summer camp and visit it a last time. Adios
Upper Manhatten #1 Upper Manhatten #2

August 2nd
A great trip is over - 2400km and a lot of lessons learned :-)

It's been a great trip to Nova Scotia and Maine - with several stops on the road - lots of good conversations, lots of music in the car and lots of good memories that will last for a while.
On saturday we did the Harbor Hopper - a tour through Halifax on a amphibious vessel - similar to the Duck Tours in Boston. Well - we learned some interesting facts about Halifax. The second largest explosion in human history (after Hiroshima) happened in Halifax on December 6th 1917. The city of Boston was one of the first to respond and help. As a gesture of appreciation Halifax sends Boston its Christmas Tree every year since.
Another funny story we heared: During the G7 Summit a couple of years back the politicans who participated got together for a Summit picture - at 11:59. Every day at noon - the canon of the Halifax Citadel is fired. Well - they also fired it on that day - freaking out some of the politians and probably more so the security guards :-)
From Halifax we drove to Deer Isle, Maine to visit our friends Tony and Tina. On the way there we stopped in Saint John. We were not really sure - but we believe we didn't find the best spots in the city to explore. There was not a whole lot to the city that we found in the 2 hours we stopped for lunch.
Staying over at the Pilgrims Inn (with Tina and Tony) - was just phenomenal. It was time for me to say good bye to them. We got a great dinner: Steamers for a starter and Lobster. Well - its been a great feast and a great last evening with my friends.
After saying good bye in the morning we drove to Round Pond, Maine to visit a friend from Stephan who runs Muscongus Bay Lobster. We got a tour through their facility and had a delicious crab roll. I learned some more facts about Lobster: the lifecycle of a lobster is 7 years where they grow a larger shell and then grow inside before they loose the shell and grow a new one. Depending on how thick their shell is you can either have soft or hard shell lobsters.
Before we actually got to Round Pond we made another stop at Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Observatory. It was a good stop with a great view from the top of the bridge and a good exploration of the fort.
Alright - we got home just in time for 2 1/2 men - looking through all the pictures and having a beer to conclude the trip. Here

Our trip with all our stops
In interesting way to advertise along the harbor walk :-) A wedding while being on the Harbor Hopper
Some great ships in the Halifax Harbor Thats the Harbor Hopper
Found a salsa club :-) - small scene but nice dancing This was the most fascinating scene from Saint John - we are sure there must be more
At the Pilgrims Inn - it is such a beautiful place Let's start with some steamers
Thanks for the great night friends First he bit me - then I bite back :-)
Getting the meat out of the shell Closing the bar with Tony and Stephen
View from the top of the bridge View towards Bucksport, Maine
Fort Know in Maine, not to be confused with the one in Kentucky Checking out the fridge room at
Male left - female right Back in Boston after 2400km!!