Initial Plan

I sat down with Marco and Alice today and sketched out a rough outline of my tour of Germany.

5/17 – Marco’s
Arrive, hang out with Marco.
Acclimate to local time.
Make plans.

5/18 – Maxon and Frankfurt
Go with Marco to work and see what Maxon is like.
Visit Frankfurt in the evening, buy 5-day German Rail Pass (189€ or about $256).

5/19 – Rotenburg
Visit Rotenburg with Marco and family.

5/20 – Berlin
Take train to Berlin.
Look at Berlin.

5/21 – Berline
Continue exploring Berlin.

5/22 – Berlin
More Berlin.

5/23 – Munich
Travel to Munich.
Explore Munich.

5/24 – Munich
More Munich.

5/25 – Stuttgart, Heidelberg
On the way back to Frankfurt, explore places on the way.

5/26 – Cologne
Travel with Marco to his parents’ in Cologne.

5/27 – Cologne
More Cologne.

5/28 – Around
See stuff.

5/29 – Return
Fly back to Boston

5/30 – Work at Staples
If I’m conscious.

Still need to flesh out the details, but that’s the general outline.

Will cost 189€ for rail pass, probably 200€ for hotel rooms (~40€ x 5 nights)
Total travel costs, ~400€ (~$543), not counting plane, food, and shopping.

Underway

I’m now officially underway… I’m in JFK now, I have 4 hours until my flight to Germany leaves.

I was stressed yesterday, but now that I’m in the process I’m pretty relaxed. I’ve flown often enough that it’s a familiar, easy process and so far it’s all gone nicely.

In the connector flight from Boston to NY I sat next to a nice guy who, it turns out, also lives in Worcester. He works at Astra-Zenica, inspecting labels on bottles all day to make sure they are correct. He says if he makes a mistake, people could die, so he is under tremendous stress all the time, and often just collapses in bed when he gets home after work. He was going to JFK to get a flight to London, where he will visit a friend there and then continue on to Ghana.

I had lunch at Boston-Logan, a side salad and plain baked potato from Wendy’s. Healthy and cheap food from an airport fast food joint. Who knew? Cost $2, less than bottled water.

Man, my neck hurts. Those little planes are not comfortable.

I just noticed a Nintendo DS demo station. Interesting. Cheap enough for Delta and Nintendo to do, since it’s basically just a DS that’s plugged in and running a custom cartridge. Cool to see one in the wild.

DS download station

Now I’ve got a few more hours to kill. My defective laptop battery will give up soon, and the power plugs here seem to be disabled. Bastards, can’t give a little free power to their customers…

Guess I’ll play some DS and flip though some books on Germany.

Doritos X-13D

I was looking for a snack to bring to a meeting at work, and while reaching for some Quakes (flavored mini ricecakes – yummy) I noticed a solid black bag of Doritos, marked only “X-13D” in big letters, with a white box below with text saying “This is the x-13D Flavor Experiment.”

X-13D

So of course, their clever marketing ploy was irresistable, so I shelled out a buck and bought the fat-laden bag of mystery.

I went to the meeting and passed the bag around, we all tried one.

*sniff sniff*
“Smells different.”

*CRUNCH*
“Tastes like…”
“A big mac!”
“Yeah!”

Yes indeed, Doritos has produced a chip that captures the flavor of a Big Mac. Which is exactly what you expect – it tastes pretty good while you’re eating it, but afterwards, you’re like “bleh”.

So, 100 points for marketing, 50 points for amusement factor, 10 points for actual flavor, 10 points for nutritional value, 0 points for “will I buy it again”.
Score out of a possible 500: 170.

Bzzzt. Interesting idea, Doritos, but try again.

Leaving, on a jet plane

I leave tomorrow, so I’m all jittery, unfocused… stressed.

Still have some packing to do, but I’m not too worried about that. I’m more worried about the things I *haven’t* thought of… some regulation or procedure that will make me miss my flight or get stuck at customs…

Plus, I want to bring Marco a present… what to get him that they don’t have in Germany?
Suggestions I’ve gotten so far are Maple Syrup and Fluffernutter…

Also, I’m *still* waffling on travel methods… do I get a rail pass? do I rent a car? do I just buy train tickets as I need them? And now it’s down to the wire… choose! Quick! Now! Schnell! Aaaargh!!!

Carl played the song Lost in Germany for me… hopefully not my anthem there…

Golden Compass

The Golden Compass series of books is being made into a movie, on the website they have a personality test that tells you what your dæmon is. Here’s mine:

Gettink ready for ze Deutschland

My trip suddenly looms, I leave next Wednesday, less than a week away!

Things to do:
[X] Get plane tickets
[X] Get passport
[ ] Plan Itinerary
[X] Buy German -> US power adaptor
[ ] Buy extra memory card for camera
[ ] Research cellphone use in Germany
[ ] Pack clothes
[ ] Pack gadgets

I plan to travel moderately light, so for gadgets, I’m thinking
* eBook reader
* Nintendo DS
* Camera
* Laptop
* Cellphone

So much to do! Guess I’d better get organized for a change.

The Tao of Dev

(if Tao is pronounced Dao, then Dev must be pronounced…)

Very relaxing day today.
Instead of lunch, I did yoga.
In the afternoon, I took a nice walk in the sunshine.
Then I ate a late lunch of sushi at my desk while poring over SQL queries.
A very deliberate, well-paced day.

momentary resolve

I feel a strange ennui
the sense that i have left things
incomplete
once too often,
sat around
too much

I think a spring cleaning
is in order
a feeling of accomplishment
from completing a task
dishes
boxes
lawn
laundry
desk
room
trip
life

I swear today will be
different
not like the last
eleven
thousand

healthy breakfast

My breakfast this morning:

Quick nutritional estimates shown: [Calories/grams of fat/grams of fiber]

Coffee
16oz with 2% milk and sugar [60/0.6/0]
Mixed fruit
4 strawberries [15/0.1/1]
2 peach wedges [20/0/0.8]
5 grapes [17/0/0.2]
Yogurt
6oz stonyfield farm lowfat vanilla [140/1.5/2]

I cut up the fruit in a bowl and then poured the yogurt over it.

Total Estimated Calories/Fat/Fiber:
252/2.2/3.8

Pretty healthy, and very yummy, to boot.

Spider-man 3

I went to see Spider-man 3 last night. Not bad. Had some good Spidy action, some funny parts. The story felt a little crowded with 3 villains. Including the Sandman was unnecessary in my mind… leaving him out would have allowed more time to focus on the symbiote.

Still, it was fun and worth seeing. We bought our tickets at Unos before heading over to the theater (they have discount prices, $7 each) but when Dave got the receipt to sign, it was for $0.00. So unless they changed the receipt amount after we left (which doesn’t seem legal) the tickets were free. Free movies are always more enjoyable.