August 2008 Archives

Help get Lisa to SxSW!

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Lisa is one of the Cornell Mafia that worked with me from 1998-2001, and she's leveraged HER expat experience into some sort of conditional semi-valid visa to live in the UK.  She's one of my heroes. And one of my free places to stay when I am on that side of the Atlantic. So with that said, I'm going to totally pimp her company out to get her here to Austin.  What you say? Hear her out, and throw some props to Six to Start!  Here's her email....

Hi there,


I hope you're well, and apologies for the spam.  I know, I've been terribly remiss in telling you the rest of the fairy tale.  Well, turns out, we escaped from the evil emperor and made our way to the promised land (  It just turns out the promised land requires a lot of development before it becomes a thriving metropolis, so we've bought the book Building Civilizations for Dummies and we're on our way to creating a wholly functioning civilization of our own.  It turns our just adding water like you have to do for Sea Monkeys is not the only step you have to follow.  I'm still working double duty with the day job, but hopefully I'll be able to narrow down to one job by the beginning of next year.  Fingers crossed!


So, we've come to the part of the story where we need the help from you, the viewers! We really, really want to go to SXSW next year and present some supercool panels about the work we've done this year.  But we need some popular support!  If you would be so kind as to spend a few minutes signing up through the link below (use your spambot email is fine) and giving us FIVE STARS for FABULOUSNESS:


You would be helping a little tiny startup in a faraway place realize its dream of coming to America (for a week...) and telling the world about how it can be a different place!  Vote early, and vote often! 


In thanks for your efforts of helping us cross the pond, here are some of our fun games: (more interesting after August 23, geared towards 10-14 year old brit kids) (oldie but goodie, this is what we'll be talking about at SXSW)


We're also doing for the BBC, but as you can see when you click, you're not allowed to see it since you're based not in the UK L  We're working on getting universal access to this since we'd really like for more people to see it.


Thank you very much for your help!  I'll be back in CA around early November.  France/Germany will likely be September/October.  Singapore will be maybe September?  Rest of world places will have to wait... I still need to work out my visa issues in the Uk first.




Watcher in the walls

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IMG_9326.JPGIn honor of prior homeowners that have stashed porn and tin cans in the walls of this house, we're leaving behind something for someone to wonder "How'd that get there?" Franz sent this little guy from Munich, and he's just the right size to sit on a header watching the front door for us. I can't imagine someone tearing down the hall walls anytime soon, so it may be that he'll be stationed at his post for long after we're gone.
Really, Boris. You couldn't be bothered to button your coat? Waving at Gordon Brown from the stage? Sure, stuff your hands in your pockets. Wave some more.
Chaz and I were thinking it'd be entertaining if Jacque whacked him on the forehead with the flagpole.
IMG_9369.JPG.. to set where the rivers come together and rise on the other side of the planet. Came close to strangling some customers, but didn't. Went for a walk along the river after work to chill some and enjoy a cool evening.

Great dining in South Side Pittsburgh: Thai Me Up for lunch and Double Wide Grill from where I post this now with my ribs and a cold beer.

Pittsburgh At Oh-dark-thirty

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IMG_9361.JPGIn business parlance, I 'leveraged' my insomnia and noisy hotel neighbors into a pre-dawn commute, with an excursion up Mount Washington above downtown to see the sun rise. 6:36am. I'm not a fan of that hour, and its not as impressive as the sun rising over the East Baray in Siem Reap, but if I consider that at that very moment on that side of the globe there's a stack of tourists climbing up on top of the ruins of Angkor to watch the sun set, I think I can feel my blood pressure drop just a bit.

I ducked out of the conference room at the customer site that's served as my desk this week, and into the funky Beehive Coffeehouse for a spot of tea and a few bits of internet. Pretty cool place. Its been a long week here already doing tug-of-war.

Cranky neighbor update

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Chaz got a quote in this week's Austin Chronicle article about the story. They're rather forgiving to the gringos.

Taste of her cherry chapstick...

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All the sudden I'm back at the airport, flying through Houston on the way back to go head to head.  Have to remember the phrase that pays, "Yes, we could do that, what part of the project would you like to drop so we could do that instead?"

Saw a few friends, got the lawn mowed, got the ears lowered, got the car washed, and looked at a prospective house to pick up.  Decisions.

We're 3 weeks away from heading back to Munich for 10 days, and its going to be a nice break.
So I'm on the first road trip for work in over 6 weeks. I do battle with a customer that wants it all for free. And now on Friday, my homebound flight for 2:51pm has a delay till 5:00pm. 6 minutes before we were to push back.
As of 2:45 pm/15AUG, CO316/15AUG from PIT gate D79 is expected to be delayed due to air traffic control. Since the flight may be cleared to depart on-time, you must be at the gate based on the scheduled departure time of 2:51 pm. The flight is now estimated to arrive into IAH at 7:08 pm. This information is provided as a courtesy and must not affect the time you report to the airport. Info subject to change.

Thursday at PNC Park

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08-14-08_2005.jpgI managed to work in a trip to PNC park to see a Pittsburgh Pirates game. $5 to a ticket scalper to get in, and a spectacular night with the moon rising over the city over the park ensued. Beer was way overpriced, but the hotdog was good.  This is the first time I wore flannel and jeans to a baseball game since I was in college. Beautiful night.


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  • Last week was in Ft Collins and Denver CO.  Great weather, good training, good connection with cowokers.
  • This week a project in Pittsburgh PA.
  • Entering Pittsburgh from the tunnels through the hills is amazing. The city is carved from the rocks and the rivers.
  • Free Wifi in downtown. Cool.
  • AC at house works. Cool.
  • Flight from IAH to PIT with fidgety Unaccompanied Minor in next seat. Not so cool.
  • Next week back in Pittsburgh. Short assignment.
  • The Dutch are having problems with installation of Systinet. Disappointing.
  • Overbooked hotels in PIT - not so cool.
  • Looked at a few houses more toward central Austin. Might see how we can leverage what we've got.
  • Looking forward to heading to Munich.
  • Always check clock radio in hotel prior to going to sleep to make sure maid hasn't change it to hip-hop station.
  • Summer in places where the temperature outside is below 80 is amazing.
  • Given enough rope, customers will certainly hang themselves. High.

Clinic Meeting

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Last night, the County Health District took its lumps and stood in front of the cranky neighbors to tell them the plans for the clinic site.  The paper has given it some good coverage, It did get raucous for a few moments, and the questions given the health district to answer were embarrassing to hear, knowing that they came from people that live just across the street of all places. "Will you be serving drug addicts?" "How will you insure your clients are not illegal immigrants?"  Does it feel good for these fine neighbors to live in such fear?  Rather than get something out of the deal, these cranks want to grandstand and live in abject denial that they're part of a community that extends beyond their driveway.  Combined with the physical disarray of the house, last night was mostly sleepless for me.  Hopefully the AC will get turned on today, and we'll begin to find some normalcy.

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