30 November 2006

Check Out Those Buttresses!

Flying Buttresses of Strasbourg Cathedral

I've always liked flying buttresses. And the copper-topped flying buttresses on the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg are some of the nicest I have seen in a while. Like a lot of things (especially buttresses), you have to pay to get the best view...


24 November 2006

Friday Afternoon Excitement

Flaming Twingo

We were walking down the street in Strasbourg Friday afternoon when we came across this Renault Twingo that was on fire. Shortly afterwards, the fire fighters came, with their nice, shiny helmets, and put out the fire. Soon all that remained was the bad smell.

This all took place outside a driving school. I am just going out on a limb and guessing here, but I think maybe, just maybe, the student failed the driving test.

23 November 2006

Mrs. Allanimal

So at work we have this intercom system, so that if you aren't at your desk and someone really needs to get a hold of you, you can be paged via a loudspeaker in every room.

So, today, I was paged. But instead of the guy saying "Herr Doktor Allanimal" (OK, the doktor bit I made up), apparently it was "Frau Allanimal".

For the Germanically-challenged, that means everyone for the next two hours had a good laugh when they saw me, since they paged "Mrs. Allanimal" instead of "Mr. Allanimal".

Ha ha very funny. Maybe it would have been if I hadn't been having a crappy day already.

22 November 2006

Someone Fed the Monkey

Someone Fed the Monkeys

Despite the signs all over Singapore's Bukit Timah Nature Preserve (the only remaining bit of rainforest left in Singapore) that forbid the feeding of the monkeys, someone still gave me a banana. It was yummy.


14 November 2006

Greetings from the Philippines

View from Hotel Room

I've been in the Philippines since Sunday night. Almost didn't make it. Long story that I am sure I'll get to eventually. Anyway, haven't seen much of the sights, since the hotel seems to be in the middle of nowhere and getting to and from the office (and anywhere else) also takes a while. I'll talk a bit more about it later, but the main thing I have to say is that Singapore and the Philippines are so very different. Except for the fresh fruit at just about every meal. I've probably had more fresh pineapple in the last 8 days than I had in the rest of my life.


09 November 2006

A Bit More from Singapore

Bug Eyes

Not a whole lot more to say at the moment, other than things are going well. I did want to share this picture of a Singaporean building, which is sometimes called the Durian, but I think it looks more like bug eyes.

Speaking of Durians I saw this sign in the subway:
No Durians

I don't think I need to justify the smoking ban, the eating / drinking ban or even the flammable "goods" ban. But Durians? Well, I think wikipedia sums it up best. Read, in particular, the section about their taste and smell.


08 November 2006

Hello from Singapore


I have been in Singapore since Monday night, and the Jet Lag is nearly gone. So far, the work part of the trip (the real reason I am here) is going well. We may even finish early (but I won't count the chickens too early...).

The picture above is the view from my hotel room balcony, on the 35th floor of a 70 storey building. I didn't have a tripod, so it is a bit blurry and noisy. There is also some blur because I forgot about how glass tends to fog when moved from an air-conditioned environment (my hotel room) to a hot, humid environment (the balcony). Oops.

Last night we were entertained by a Singaporean, who took us to an incredible seafood restaurant. He ordered all the food, and it was all quite incredible. We sampled at least 6 dishes, with great names like drunken prawns, bamboo clams (this one contains enough garlic to make the Vampires run for the next time zone!), black pepper crabs and butter crawfish.

It was all very good, and stuff that I would never would have ordered on my own. I like to tell myself I will eat anything, but I tend to be a big weenie about ordering stuff. I get what I know I will like too often, rather than diving in and trying something new. So it was nice to have someone make that decision, because if I looked at the menu, I probably would have found something boring to eat instead of the exciting stuff we got to sample yesterday.

This trip is a big bunch of firsts and record breakers for me. First time in Asia. Closest I've ever been to the equator (slightly more that 1 degree away). Farthest east (until I hit the Phillipines on Sunday). I just wish Jeannette could be here to experience it all with me.

Well, I am on my lunch break at work, so I should probably get back to work. We're hoping to have our stuff done tomorrow, so we can take Friday off and have some fun.


05 November 2006

I'm Off

In about 1 hour, I hop in a car to drive to Frankfurt to wait in the airport until I get on a plane to sit for 12 hours until I get to Singapore. In that too short but too long hour before I go, I am trying to figure out what to do. It is dark & cold outside, so going out is out. I can only say "Bye, I'll miss you" to Jeannette so many times. So I decided to show you some silly pictures from Berlin. Not all of my silly Berlin pictures, just some.

First: here's me, in my best attempt to imitate the Tick's pose on my T-shirt. I am only slightly taller than the TV tower, unlike the Tick and the City's skyscrapers. But I think I did OK.

Here's Jeannette, attempting the same. But she doesn't have anything on her T-shirt to compare the pose with. If I were a better photo manipulator, I would combine those two so we were standing on either side of, and still dwarfing, the TV tower.

Inspried by the "I Crush Your Head" guy on Kids in the Hall, I had to crush the TV Tower's ball. The effect isn't quite perfect. I'll have to work on it.

OK, this one isn't so silly. But It is interesting. Zooming in on the ball and all those antennas.

Also not silly, except that I have captioned the photo as: "A strange light beam melted the Fernsehturm in Berlin's Alexanderplatz today. Authorities are still investigating..."

(Don't worry, it isn't really an orbital tower-melting laser. Its just the sun and some wacky effects of light whose name eludes me at the moment. Physics classes were sooo long ago!)

OK. Hopefully I will be able to send an update from SE Asia. If not, see you in 2 weeks.

03 November 2006

Bunch O' Stuff

Well, I have barely even started on my recap of my trip to the former DDR with my mom & step dad, and I have been lagging behind on the tagging and commenting and tweaking of the photos. Which is a big bummer, because there are some really good ones. And of course, I keep taking more. Which makes it hard, because some of those are really cool and I want to share them.

But life has been busy. Take a look at Jeannette's blog, and you will find out about one of the exciting things I have been up to. Plus I am getting ready for a 2-week business trip to Singapore and the Phillipines, which will most surely mean even more photos to get behind on.

It is getting cold here, and the leaves are changing and the swans are migrating. We have seen a lot of foreign swans lately - the stretch of river outside our window seems to be a popluar runway for them.

And we went to a Halloween party, thrown by an American friend, but most of the guests were German (or at least Eastern European and still not hip on the whole Halloween thing). Well, I made a couple important observations:
0) This one is number zero because I actually noticed it last year or the year before. Anyway, why can Germans spell Halloween correctly, but insist on calling it Helloween?
1) Germans think that the only appropriate Halloween costume is a witch (female) or a vampire (male). Or something involving spiders (unisex, but leaning towards feminine). Our costumes weren't. We got funny looks. I guess I will have to wear more black next year.
2) I tend to be detail-oriented in my Halloween costumes. To me, the little things really matter, and they are synergistic and really make the costume work. Very few other people even notice the little things, so my costumes tend to be a big waste of time (except that they make Jeannette and me happy).
3) Not having a car, and therefore having to walk to the train station and take a train to get to a Halloween party in a country that doesn't celebrate the holiday can get you a lot of strange looks.
4) Consider your audience with the costume. I could explain this better, but I think I can sum it up as: If you are going to a party where hardly anybody knows you, don't dress up as a big nerd in a costume that could make the characters in "Revenge of the Nerds" look downright studly. You see, what happens is that these people that don't know you think that the costume is really you.
And with my costume, that meant nobody wanted to talk to me.

At least I got to go home with the cheerleader.