April 2008 Archives

Teeny Tiny Tomato!

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IMG_8617.jpgThis little guy was spotted yesterday afternoon, and he hung on through the thunderstorms, and looks to be a contender! The cherry tomato plant has a few more on the way as well. As bad as the camera is taking other shots, in macro mode, its doing quite well.
The weekend looks to be pretty terrific thus far. Chaz got the bedroom TV hung, and we both got our bikes washed & waxed. I'll have to get them inspected this week.

Who's a big plant now?

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IMG_8613.jpgThese guys are taking off! I've watered them this morning, in case the rain doesn't come. Plenty of blooms are popping, but no fruit so far, which is a little annoying. The herbs are nummy however; we've got lots of cilantro & basil to munch on.
Lost was too freaky for words last night. Holy cow.
This week has been a long needed a 'bench' week between projects. I'm trying to ramp something up with P&G, and on call to help out the dutch should they need assistance. I've been fortunate that they haven't so far. In the meantime, I've got time to clean out the inbox in outlook, and mop up some of the messes on my hard drive in folders called "tmp", "temp","crap", and "tmpinstall". The creative process isn't pretty; bits go flying everywhere.
Other projects at the house are getting done as well. My spring cleaning project is generally the windows once the oak trees have finished dropping their pollen. All the windows have got 4 panes of glass, 2 of which are removable. Its an enormous pain in the ass to do it, but the difference is amazing when the yellow haze is removed from the view.
Travel plans are in the works for Houston and Munich for fun.
Dooce will be on TV next week. She was spot-on with regards to the LooLoo commercial. How fun is all that?

Notorious H.R.C.

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OK, I don't like that she calls my boyfriend Tim Russert "Tubby Tim", but the 3am scene is great.

Lemme put the Barry White on...

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IMG_8611.JPGOh it's spring.. in full effect.

Above Namche

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IMG_1547.JPGAbove Namche Bazzar, Nov. 2006. I'm in a contemplative mood. Mostly cause someone next door is smoking some skunky weed, and I'm all for it when in this town, but they need to go outside and do it. Bleh.

A thrill a minute

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04-19-08_2118.jpg 04-19-08_2116.jpgThere's a little fair on the Dam Square tonight - a few rides, some games and junk food, as if junk food weren't already fully available everywhere on the street here. The spinning chair one is probably pretty cool, as it is going up above the buildings, and I'm sure you can see all the way to the Ij and all the steeples around Amsterdam. I didn't ride it though. Its not much fun when you're on your own. As a matter of fact most of a Saturday night kinda stinks when its like that. I tried stopping in at the Engel to see if any of the guys I know from town were there. Nope.
Got the shopping all done, so it's time to pack. I dont know how its all going to fit.

Yellow pages help you find...

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IMG_8608.jpg.. all the Escort Clubs in 10 seconds. Not that they're very hard to find in Amsterdam.
I had a great nights sleep - slept all the way till 9, which was luxurious. Souvenir shopping is done, chocolate shopping is done, I think I'm ready to relax and think about heading home soon.


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Vrijdag Middag Borrel. (said Fry Me Bo) Happy hour!

Project is turned over, I'm back in Amsterdam for the night. I'm exhausted.  Documents are done. Code works. They're happy. I'm happy.

Its been a busy week, and now I need to find some food.


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DCP_0210.JPGChaz takes good care of me - he sent me photos of my little tomato plants! Still no fruit, I'm not missing anything.
I fear for the poor dutch people in my training class today. Franz and I ate at The Garlic Queen last night. had nearly 2 bottles of wine, a cognac afterwards, then this morning coffee. My breath is fit to start an international incident. Whoa.
IMG_8509.jpgFranz pointed it out this morning. There's a few hours in the morning when the water is pristinely still, and the canal houses are paired with their reflections before the traffic of the day obscures the scene. The sun rises early here, but for hours only the tops of the houses are lit, highlighting some of the statues, carvings, and even golden roosters that blend in to the houses during the bright midday.The sky is reflected in the windows, and things are calm. Sure there's plenty of urban decay to see at street level, but there's so much more to the city than that.
I'm joined for a few days by Franz, who managed to work his days off in such a way that he can visit Amsterdam. He's doing the tourism and gastronomy tour; one comment he had, "Three days is not nearly enough to eat my way through all the things on offer." I think he'll make a few more trips up this way. This time he seems to recognize this as a business trip for me, and he's letting me have some of the space I need in the mornings to get rolling, which is nice.
The commute on the train goes through a lot of agricultural area. I'm sure my mom would be all giddy at the flower fields that change their hue from morning to afternoon in bright painted stripes of pink and purple and white and yellow. Big business out there that the train zips past.
The free news sheets that are handed out to morning commuters have run stories on the Texas polygamist story that has unfolded this week. One called the compound a "breeding machine" for the sect. Editorials have questioned how this happens when the practice has been outlawed since the 1860s. Religious extremism in all its forms is a hot button issue right now in the Netherlands, so I'm not surpised the Dutch are slack-jawed at how Americans can seemingly allow sexual abuse to be carried out for so long. There's privacy concerns here too, but the sense of community as a nation leads to very few things being secret for long. Its a curious balance, the way they've traded a few different sets of liberty for security.
Nivea score! They're giving away samples of their "Extreme Comfort" shaving line at the Den Haag station. Off to the office.


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IMG_8507.jpgThe commute back to Amsterdam takes about 45 minutes plus a little time walking. Its not a bad walk at all, I should add.


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IMG_8500.JPGUgh. The team was glad to have me here. I'm tired though. I saved 1 Euro with my bonus karte today. Rock.

Stray SMS

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Just received on my NL mobile: "Schatje, ik hou echt met heel m'n haart, vor altijd. Echt geweldig met je schatje(l)"

Google translates: "Schatje, I really like with all my heart, forever. Really great with your baby(l)"



I seriously doubt I have a secret admirer.  Should I reply saying "Dude, Schatje gave you a fake number"?

Morning View - Keizersgracht 320

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Keizersgracht 320 ViewScore Swank! Its a brisk 40 degrees outside, but it calm, and the sun is climbing up the sky. The trees on the canal look to be ready for spring as well now. As most hotels were booked for this week, I found a nice little apartment for a few days. Coffee machine, internet wire, orchids, a shower - its all good, and feels like plenty of space.
Flights were easy today - and the transatlantic leg was really quick - 8.5 hours from Houston.
I'll get my shirts ironed and get on a train to The Hague here shortly.

HA! I remembered it

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Albert Heijn BonuskarteNearly Packed. Wheee! *stress*

Spring morning

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IMG_8456.jpgLazy spring mornings make me feel good. The sunshine takes off the chill from the night, and the coffee starts a low buzz to ramp up the day. Laundry is started, bedroom is cleaned up to stage for packing. It'll be a busy day, but I'm not done feeling the sun and watching the trees and grass dance in the breeze.

Bugz have sprung!

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04-11-08_1513.jpgA bit of rain, a bit of sun, and the big old Texas bugs start popping out right and left.
Made a trip to San Antonio yesterday for Daryl's 50th birthday. I can only hope to age half as well.
Somehow I managed to screw up my week long reservation for the trip to Amsterdam next week. I probably forgot to click "confirm", so a few days were spent scrambling looking for lodging, but I might be ok. I found a B&B for 3 nights, and gamed the system at the Marriott for the other 3 nights. When a rewards reservation gets canceled, the system sticks it back into the pool of available revenue rooms. Point, click, reserve.

Tomato Tuesday

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IMG_8445.jpgYeah! They're coming right along. I can touch the plant, and that rich tomato smell lingers on my fingers for a bit. I don't think these blooms will bear fruit - still kind of early for that.
I've got this week to finish up a few tasks for the Dutch, then I head over there for a week to train their trainer and get them rolling with the product, as well as started with the next version updates. The weekend and week has been good - have gotten some time on the motorcycle in, had some good food with Chaz, gotten into the gym a few times, and am about caught up with the paperwork that accumulates over the course of a month.
Sometimes I can't believe how badly I screw things up when my brain doesn't engage before my tongue does. Meatspace has really poor exception handling and it never fails to bite me in the ass.
Chaz modified our cable service here at the house. The cheapest route involved getting TW's phone service, which we'll never use. Its downright silly, but obviously gives them something to crow about, and leverage against AT&T in the legislature, when they can say they have X number of installations.

Move over Silverman...

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It was bound to happen.

Bonus Basil

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IMG_8428.JPGAnd in this corner, the herbs are doing quite well as well. Its time to harvest some of that basil.

Tomato bloom

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IMG_8426.JPGOh yeah! She's got some blooms on the way! Urgh - the lawn needs to be mowed.

Inmates run the asylum

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There's talk in this political season about spending billions to build a fence between the US and Mexico. But what good is a fence when keys to the gates might be falling out the back of a factory.

Sprung!! Too!

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IMG_8423.jpgI've got these great live oaks in my yard. Their contribution to spring? They drop their old leaves in March, then in April get their new leaves along with their flowers. The flowers then proceed to drop tremendous amounts of pollen all over the house, the car, the motorcycles, the patio, the furniture, and anything else that holds still for 10 minutes. Yellow seed dust everywhere.


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IMG_8421.JPGHurrah! Chaz calls these "Grandma Lilies". There's just a row of them in the yard down near the street that have been here as long as I have been. They're reliable about blooming every year.

Tomato Update

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IMG_8419.jpg They're enjoying the overcast slightly damp weather this week. The basil has gone nuts, and I think we're ready to use some of it. MMmmm.

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