Saturday, November 24, 2012

The iPad

Okay, I have always said that the iPad is just a big iPhone and that I do not need one because I already have an iPhone. Now that I've had some time to play with this one that I'm writing this post on, I think I really like it. Now I can see why this thing really is changing things.

I had a BlackBerry PlayBook that I was using and it was nice to have instead of dragging a laptop around, but this, oh man, way better! Now I can see why many people are calling this a computer replacement (not sure I'd go that far, but it certainly could be for some people).

I've had it now for a couple days but this is the first day I've actually been home enough to give it a good tryout. Only thing is, it's not that comfortable to hold...maybe that it something that I will get used to, I don't know. Really interested to see how this will pan out.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Missed my train this morning

Today I woke up at 8:01 and I was supposed to catch a train in Amsterdam at 8:16.  You can imagine the shock that I felt...I was instantly awake and totally pissed.  Ends up I set my alarm for 18:30 instead of can you mess that up?  I ended up making it to the train station somewhere around 8:30.  Of course I missed the train.  So, I went to the International ticket desk, they were not able to help at all and said I had to call a number that was on my ticket.  I called the number in Belgium and that woman could not help me either, but she said that since I am a member of "The Card" (kinda line an airline frequent flyer program but for the Thalys train) I could just go to the next train to Paris and ask if there was room, if there was then they would let me on.

So I went to the next train and luckily I made it.  I got to Paris only about an hour late, not to bad but for the whole first 1/2 of the trip I could not relax, even though I was on the train and on my way for some reason my nerves just would not stop.

Now that I am in France everything is going smoothly so far.  Got all the planned work done for today and am ready to start with tomorrows stuff.  I am starting to get along a bit better with the colleague who is with me.  Things are still a bit shaky between us but seem to be getting better at least.

Tonight I was getting ready to set my alarm for tomorrow and actually set it for 20:00 instead of 08:00.  Good thing I caught it on time!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Milan and Venice

Last week I got to go to Villa Gallarati Scotti which is right outside of Milan.  The place was really nice and PPG Europe IT had the whole thing rented out for us and some people from IT in Pittsburgh as well.  There were probably about 70 people in all I guess.  It was a really nice experience.  I finally got to meet so many people that I talk to all the time on email, IM, and phone in person.  The food and the coffee were both great.  It was also warm and sunny there.

Later I decided to stay longer and get a hotel in the city since I was never there.  The cool thing about Milan (even the part right in the center) there are a lot of people who do not speak English.  It was great going to restaurants and bars trying to talk to the locals in Italian and them being genuinely helpful and hospitable.  Very cool.  I was going to stay for two days but Dan and Amanda convinced me to go to Venice with them for a day.  Venice was beautiful, pretty much everything that you would expect it to be and more.  Every turn you make is worth taking another picture.  Well of course me being me, I did something stupid, I fell in one of the canals!!!  Here is the story:
 I was waiting for Amanda to be done in a store and started walking down the wet marble steps to the canal to maybe take a picture or something.  I was at the second to the last step and decided to go down one more.  As soon as I did that SLIP and SLASH, I was totally in the canal, phone, camera and all.  I went down to a little above my waist, Gross!!  I immediately tried to climb out but could not because it was just too slippery, I fell back in.  Then I hear Dan say "That's Nick!" He came over and pulled me out but the damage was done, I was soaked.  Almost right after that Amanda came over and the conversation went something like this:

Amanda: Guys look at these cute socks I bought
Dan: Nick fell in the canal
Amanda: whaaat?
Me: Look at me, I am soaked
Amanda: ?????

The worst part was my hotel for that night was still in Milan (a 2 1/2 hour train ride away).  We were also in a section with no stores to buy new clothes and even if we did find a store things were wither way too expensive for stuff that I did not even like or closed for lunch.  We basically walked abound for a couple hours looking for something for me to buy.  I felt bad for Dan and Amanda but they would not leave me no matter how many times I told them to just go and that we could meet up later.
Eventually I did find some pants socks and shoes, ended up going commando because there was no underwear around, but no big deal.

After that we went back to Milan and the next day I took the train back to Venice (as planned this time) by myself.  Well overnight, Venice apparently had some of the worst flooding that it's had in years, almost every shop I passed on the way to the hotel was flooded and pushing water out onto the streets.  I finally made it to my hotel and was immediately happy with my choice to stay there.  Instead of them just handing me the key, I had a whole conversation with the lady.  She was telling me everything, where to eat, what to do, and even gave me a free pair of waterproof boots to wear around for during my stay.  She went over the tide schedule with me so I knew when to where them and then started to tell me about the guy that stays at the hotel during the night being sick.  Then shes like so, I give you all the key.  She gave me all the keys to the doors that I needed in the hotel and my room key.  She also took me to the doors to make sure I knew how to open them just in case.  Then she gave me the owners number in case I needed her and shed me on a map where both the owner and she lived (very close to the hotel).  Wow, what service.  I got to my room and it was just as expected, small but clean, stuck my head out the window and right there in front of me were the sites of San Marco.  Wow!

It is crazy to get anywhere in Venice.  All the site are spread out and there is no explanation as to how the city is laid out at all.  You have to cross a bridge ever few steps and it is almost impossible to ever retrace your steps.  I of course loved this because as you may have noticed from my previous posts, I love getting lost in cities and exploring.  I ended up getting to see a few local neighborhoods as well because of this with no tourists around.  I would recommend Venice to anyone as long as you don't mind a lot of walking.  O ya, that was another cool thing about Venice, there are NO all!  So cool to not have any cars in an entire city (at least the center of it).  For one thing it is not really possible to have them and for another I believe it is not allowed as well.  I wish more cities would follow suit.  Cars and cities just do not mix.

Italy was great as always, I miss the food and the espresso already.  I still can't imagine why my great grandparents ever wanted to leave such a cool place.  It must have been pretty bad at the time.  It's a shame.

Anyway, here are all the pictures form the trip.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

For once I was CAREFREE in the rain

Tonight even though it was cold as hell and I was only wearing a thin Halloween costume with flip flops, I was carefree in the rain.  You see. the costume did not have any pockets so I only wore a hoodie and the only thing that I brought with me were my keys witch were left in the pocket of the hoodie.  Usually when it is raining and I am on my bike, I'm flipping out because I think my phone is going to get ruined.  Well, tonight it was raining like crazy and it was such an exhilarating feeling no not care!  Yes it was col, but I was at a Halloween party and drinking, so that took care of the cold part.  It was raining and I did not care for once!  All I had with me were clothes and keys, both of which are waterproof.  I was totally drenched by the time I got home but this time, I did not care.  It was actually kinda fun being able to bike the whole way home in heavy rain without having to worry about your iPhone getting ruined.  Maybe I should not bring my phone with me more often...

Friday, November 2, 2012


Someone who when sitting at a café only wanders what to order next, not what time it is
Someone who loves cities and exploring them until they can't walk one more step
Someone who orders desert when no one else does
Someone who likes the simple pleasures in life
Someone that doesn't settle for the status quo
Someone to travel the world with
Someone extremely curious
Someone spontaneous
Someone adventurous
Someone passionate
Someone different
Someone fun