Monday, December 29, 2008

No Child Can Beat Me!

365 days. 1 year. That is a long time. The days seem to go by quickly, but the days add up. If you look at my streak widget you will notice that it is over 365 days. That means that I have not thrown up for over a year. I am working hard at getting my streak built back up after last years perilous trip to St. George where everyone got sick and puked. Hopefully there will not be a repeat this year.

My streak is only the 2nd longest in my house. Chloe threw up the day before me last year (the 26th). Diana and Jordan both have thrown up during the past year. Good times. I might put something funny in Chloe's food one day just so my streak can pass hers. I don't have to worry too much, though, girls are always throwing up when they get sick, so I will wait to poison her for a little while longer.

The only thing that is missing is time. When you have a 15 year streak it is a sad day when you throw up and the only thing that gets your streak back where it should be is time. Time, the greatest enemy of a kitten.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It Is Over

Christmas is over. All the build-up, all the work, gone in no time. Here is a quick roundup of what Santa dropped off at our house this year.

Chloe:
  • Clothes, clothes and more clothes
  • Littlest Pet Shops
  • Miscellaneous other stuff
Jordan:
  • 3 months of cooking classes
  • Bakugan battle arena
  • Miscellaneous other stuff
Family:
  • Disney Think Fast
  • Lego Batman
  • Pictureka!
Diana:
  • Skee ball machine
  • Movies and TV shows on DVD
  • Beyonce's new CD
  • Magic Potion Lotion
Matt:
  • iLuv iPod alarm clock
  • iPod travel charger
  • Charging valet
  • Movies and TV shows on DVD
It was a great holiday, we had a blast. Can't wait until next Christmas!

My Back Hurts!

Christmas Day and the 26th was full of fun and snow. A lot of SNOW! The snow came down like mad and the wind was 50 plus miles per hour. It was crazy outside. Once the morning of the 26th got here I had two plus feet of snow on the ground and an hour and a half of shoveling and the ground was finally clear. My back hurt!

A couple hours later the snow was falling again! This time only three or four inches fell, but I was out in the cold shoveling once again. I took some pictures so you can see what the house looked like after all the snow.



You can see all the snow on the bushes and all piled up on the driveway and pathways. My back hurts, I do not want to have to shovel anymore! Hopefully there is no more snow for a couple days.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is the day before Christmas. How come other holidays do not get an "eve"? I have never celebrated Arbor Day Eve or Columbus Day Eve, but I have been out and about on All Hallows Eve, which is the day before Halloween. Scaaaaaaaaary (not really).

I guess Christmas is just such a great holiday that it gets an Eve while most other holidays do not. I am getting excited for Christmas to be over. I cannot stand much more horrible Christmas music on the radio and in the stores. Lets get back to the Muzak that I do not usually even hear.

I also can't wait to actually get a parking spot at a store that is within 200 feet of the store entrance. I hate walking through the whole parking lot to get to my car. As an aside: do you notice how Walmart parking lots are sloped? They always slope up (so you are walking up a slight hill) on the way in and then slope down (so your cart feel empty and light) as you walk to your car. Very crafty Walmart, very crafty.

I do want to take a second to thank all my friends for the great treats and gifts they have dropped by the house the past couple days. Most of your treats have been very yummy.

Lastly, I just want everyone to know that I really did not get Diana a big screen and entertainment center for Christmas, I was just tricking her because she thinks I would actually write the gift I got her in my blog.

Talk to you all tomorrow when I post pictures of the kids opening their presents! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And It's Done

The guy came back with the broken part to Diana's present. He installed it in about 5 minutes and we were up and running. I just put the back piece back on shut the door to the room it is in. I am now ready for Christmas.

Diana and I are going to make our plan for tomorrow. We still have a couple friends to get things to and plenty of gifts to wrap. We also need to make a stop at a store to pick up something for the kids from Diana's brother. Diana wants to get something for the cat, I say no, we will see who wins. I have to (once again) be vague as I found out today that the kids do read my blog. Now I have four readers if you count both kids.

Tomorrow should be a good day. We have the errands in the morning and in the afternoon a family Christmas party, then we come home and get to bed early so Santa can come. The kids are pretty excited.

I am sure Diana will love the new flat screen and entertainment center in the toy room. It will be awesome to watch the high-def movies.

The Day Before the Day Before

Today is the day before Christmas Eve. I was up early to let the electrician in that was looking at Diana's present. He found the problem in about 15 minutes and then spent another 15 minutes fixing it. He could not get it to work how it should so he is taking it to his shop today and will get everything set right. He will then bring it back and I should be in business.

After the electrician left I turned on the computer and worked for a couple hours. Today was supposed to be all PTO, but I had a couple lingering issues from yesterday. I am now done working and am preparing to take the kids out to deliver treats to neighgbors and friends.

Once done with treat delivering I am going to pick up a present for Ry-ry from someone around here. This is not a present for Ry-ry, it is a present Ry-ry is giving someone else. I am not saying exactly what all this is because the person that is receiving this present could read the blog. Around Christmas it is hard to have a blog and to have secrets too.

It is barely 11AM and I feel like I need a nap. Well, I better stay busy or I will be napping. Merry Christmas Eve, Eve!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Disappointed

I am sad right now. I can't say too much because Diana will read this.

I bought one of Diana's Christmas presents last week and have been waiting for a time to put it together. Putting this thing together is a two-man job so I volunteered my Dad to help out. He came over bearing lights for the small bush in front of the house (pictures tomorrow) and he was ready to build. We break everything out and start building. Four hours(!!) later it was ready. I plugged it in and...nothing. Sad. I played with wires, tried different outlets, got a surge protector. We tried everything. Then I started undoing wires. There was one set of wires that if I unhooked them everything worked (except the button this wire belongs to).

My Dad is having an electrician from his work come over tomorrow morning to take a look at it. Good thing I did not wait for Christmas eve for this thing.

Only two more days and you will all know what I got her. She will love it. The present of her dreams! Actually, there are two presents she would like more; one sparkles and the other meows. This present does neither of these things, but it is a dream present for her. Can't wait to give it to her!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not Ready

Christmas is in 5 days. Diana and I still have many things to get. Chloe and Jordan are done, we just have some candy to still get for them. I need to pick up one of Jordan's presents. We still have to decide what to do for our friends and neighbors. We still have to get presents for our parents. We still need to get presents for other family members. We still have to go grocery shopping so we can be done going to the store for the week. I do not want to have to go to any stores next week. Here is the perfect example of why I don't want to be shopping next week:

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Weirdness

A while back I posted 6 things you did not know about me. You can find that post here. Today, I add one more item to the list. Remember, this is completely, 100 percent true and can be verified by Diana.

The number seven thing you did not know about me.

7. I am the world's greatest cheese grater. I do not like to get my cheese pre-grated at the store. I do not like to have a processor grate my cheese. It must be hand-grated by me. When I grate cheese it is a glorious thing to behold.
Stay tuned for more things you don't know about me as I figure them out!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Love Blogging

Tonight, we had some friends over for a dinner party. It was a good time. We got to talking about Facebook and blogging. I was surprised that many of the people had blogs. I thought I was a weird person with a blog of my own. We had a good discussion about blog security and Facebook. As you know I really enjoy Facebook but I just use it for the networking part. One of my friends is a big Facebook gamer. I will have to check out a couple of the games and see what I think of them.

I have been so busy these days that blogging has been one of the last things on my list. As I talked about my blog tonight I thought about how if I am going to blog I should do it more. I am really going to put a little more attention to the blog in the next little while. It is the least I can do for you, my loyal readers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Old Standby

Sorry I have not posted lately. Life has been a little hectic around here. I am sure you all know what that feels like. I have not had any time to think about what I could post, so here are some YouTube vidoes of people falling down. You will chuckle - you know it!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Feel Dirty

I went to Chick-fil-A for dinner again.

It sure was tasty.

I need to go take a shower.

I can stop anytime, I just don't want to right now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Another Fantasy Sports Update

Fantasy Football Update:

I crushed jerkface (the name of my opponent) in football. I had four guys going on Monday night and they mostly played well (all but Lee Evans who did not catch a pass). Marshawn Lynch had a great game and he was the work horse for me that got me over the hump and the big win. My record in football is now 8-2. Both of the losses were complete flukes though. I should be undefeated!

Fantasy NBA Update:

I crushed my opponent last week. I can not believe that I actually won again. Remember that my team sucks. It really does. I am winning with some of the lowest scored of any winning team, I am just playing bad teams (even worse than mine) right now. This week I play the number one team in the league and currently as behind him by about 80 points. Hopefully I can keep up and pull out a fluke win. We will see. I am excited to see what happens.

My Favorite Song Right Now

As of late the song that has been going through my head is "La Ciegena Just Smiled" by my good friend Ryan Adams. This song is off Adam's "Gold" CD that was released in 2001. Here are the lyrics (and they are good), but the music is what really takes this song over the top. It is all excellent.

"Ah the night...here it comes again"
It's on with the jeans, the jacket and the shirt
How'd I end up feeling so bad
For such a little girl
And I hold you close in the back of my mind
Feels so good but damn it makes me hurt
And I'm too scared to know to how I feel about you now
La Cienega just smiles..."see ya around"
And I hold you close in the back of my mind
And raise my glass 'cause either way I'm dead
Neither of you really help me to sleep anymore
One breaks my body and the other breaks my soul
La Cienega just smiles as it waves goodbye"
Ah the night...here it comes again"
It's off with the jeans, the jacket and the shirt
How'd I end up feeling so bad
For such a little girl
And I hold you close in the back of my mind
Feels so good but damn it makes me hurt
And I'm too scared to know how I feel about you now
How I feel about you now
La Cienega just smiles and says, "I'll see you around"

Here is the lyrics and music together from YouTube (with Ryan Adams in the background being a punk):

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So I Married An Axe Murderer

After I posted a scene from So I Married An Axe Murderer (SIMAAM) LD let me know how much she disliked the movie. I could not believe it, I don't know anyone that does not love this movie, and if you don't like it you are suspect. Here are some of the best scenes from SIMAAM.

This montage reminds me of many nights at home as a kid.

This poem sucks.

I had a conversation with a Delta pilot that sounded eerily like this once.

Some people say I am insensitive, but this is absurd!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Heart Chick-fil-A

There is a new Chick-fil-A open in my neighborhood. Well, not really my neighborhood, but close by. Well, not really close by, but within a 20 minute drive from the house. 20 minutes is close enough for me. I am eerily drawn to the Chick-fil-A. I love it. I love all things from the Chick-fil-A.

I wish there were more Chick-fil-A's near me. There used to be one in the mall (Valley Fair) close to my house and every trip to Fashion Place Mall included a trip to the Chick-fil-A. The Chick-fil-A in Valley Fair closed a long time ago, and the Fashion Place location moved to the food court (they used to have their own location actually in the mall).

A couple years ago an actual store opened up on 106th South and State street. Everytime I went by I had to stop to get some of their chicken. Last year another new location opened up, this one on 114th South and Bangerter Highway, about 15 minutes closer to my house. This week another new location just opened on 72nd South and Bangerter Highway, another 15 minutes closer to my house.

I am addicted to this chicken!



My theory is that after The Colonel died the Pentaverat allowed S. Truett Cathy into their secret society. They also gave the formula of the addictive chicken to Chick-fil-A. This new location has been open for a week and I have already been there twice. Get me some more of that chicken!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fantasy Sports Update

I am sure you all missed my weekly fantasy football update. I am sorry for not getting it posted sooner. This week has been pretty hectic. I have had many personal as well as business items to worry about and deal with this week. Not to say that this week has not been a good one, just busy. Now I am feeling a little sick and just want to stay in bed and hang out with the wife (which is exactly what we are doing as I type this).

I lost my fantasy match up this week. I was very sad. I should have won. I lost by 11 points and I had two guys that did not play (due to injury) and another guy that played for the first quarter and then was out the rest of the game. I also played Aaron Rodgers and he was horrible in a Green Bay loss. I could not believe it. I needed this win. I now reside in second place in my league with a record of 7-2.

I play the number three team this week whom I have already beaten once and plan on beating again. Hopefully all of my team members play well. A couple of my guys play some bad teams, so I am very encouraged.

Switching gears to the NBA and fantasy basketball: I won last week. I can barely believe it. I am also leading by a large margin so far this week with only tonight and tomorrow until the end of the match up. Maybe this year in the NBA won't be so bad, of course, I am playing some of the worst teams (if it is possible to have a worse team than mine) in the league right now. I will keep you updated.

Reading Level Update

Hello and welcome to Junior High.

Ever since I received a link from Lesley that led me to find out that my blog had the reading level of "Elementary School" I have been trying to improve my blog so I could move up a level. I have not been very happy about my low reading level. I have been trying to improve my writing and the quality of the blog. I hope you have all noticed, I now write in complete sentences (sometimes).

Tonight, I checked the link (http://www.criticsrant.com/bb/reading_level.aspx) to find out my new reading level. My blog is now certified as Junior High.

Way to go me! Just so you all know, Diana believes that one sentence paragraphs (like the one that leads this story) is the reason my blog was so lowly related before. I guess we will see if this posts reduces my reading level.

At The Costco

I was at Costco last night to get some milk, chocolate milk, pizza, and a churro (and you thought it was impossible to get out of Costco for under $200 - all of this only came to $199, just kidding, only $20). I was waiting near the food court with about 20 other people. There was quite a rush on pizzas and the lady behind the counter was flustered. The other lady there (that was at the register) came over to help and the pizza cutter lady went ballistic on her. Screaming that. "I have those tickets in a certain order," and, "you are going to mess me up!" and more. It must have been humiliating for the register lady. She walked back to her register as someone from the back called up to ask what was going on. The mean lady started yelling again that register lady was messing her up. Register lady now starts to say that she was just trying to help and very quickly mean lady yells at her to "Be quiet, there are customers that can hear you!"

When I view people like this it makes me feel better about the friends and family that I have. I do not think anyone that I freely associate with would do something like this. Let me hear some stories you have about confrontations you have seen or been in that are like this.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Work Week

All this week we have had the Burton Group analyst planning meetings in Salt Lake. It has been a great week. Being a distributed company (Burton Group has almost 150 employees and only 50 work in Midvale), I do not see my peers and colleagues very often. Being able to hang with them and see them in their element (discussing their topic subjects) was very fun. I am quite the geek, but these guys I work with are really geeks. They dig deep inside of technologies and learn all the ins and outs, I learn just enough to be dangerous.

We started the week (Monday) with a level set of what to expect for the week and that was excellent. Seeing what and where our research is going lets me truly see the genius and work that goes into the company by our high-level executives. Monday night the entire team went to Biaggi's, a local Italian eatery. It was OK, not great, but good. I had never been there before and I will probably take Diana there someday (soon).

On Tuesday there was team planning meetings, but I had to go into the office to do my day job. I am sad that I missed the unconference sessions that took place on Tuesday. I got a lot of work done in the office on Tuesday.

Wednesday I had meetings in the office in the morning but I went up to the hotel in the afternoon to see how things were going. It was really great to see the way the teams work together. Each team is very different, but the ways they communicate are awesome. Some teams have a discussion, some teams just talk, and others get in to more of a "heated" discussion. These guys are passionate about their topics! Wednesday night I went out with the DCS and NTS teams to Cafe Molise in downtown SLC. It was OK, not the best Italian I have ever had, but good.

Today (Thursday) I went downtown all day. It was another great day as the teams discussed cross-cutting topics. It was very informative and I like seeing the life of the analyst. As much fun as the sessions were, I really liked having time to talk with the analysts and get to know them better.

Can't wait for next years planning meetings!

Wii Games

We got the new Costco ad in the mail today. Diana and I were looking through the ads of 56 rolls of toliet paper for 75 cents and 7 60" LCD TVs for $9. There was an ad for $5 off select Wii games. We have a Wii, this could be good for christmas. I quietly look over at Diana and say, "Wii games." All of a sudden Jordan runs in from the other room and yells "Wii games! Let me see!" This kid can't hear me from five feet away, but can hear "Wii games" from a room away. Weird.

Later that night we were in the car and Jordan was saying "What?" to everything we said so I decided that we, as a family, needed to add "Wii Games" to the start of every sentence we say to him. The rest of the way home the whole family would say, "Wii games, Jordan, we are going to get Frostys," and stuff like that. The whole family was laughing and having a good time.

It was fun.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

To Be A Kid

While we are babysitting I think about all the ways life changes as you grow. When you are a kid you can say whatever you want and people think it is cute or funny. When you grow up it just us not as cute. Here are some things that I heard tonight from the young kids we watched tonight:

"I know you guys love each other."
"Be careful with me, my mom loves me."
"I'm not a rhinocerous."
"I cut off your fat tummy."
"I'm fast too."
"I like myself."
"Diana's angry!"

Let me just say that this kid we watched is one of the cutest kids I have ever seen (removing my own two kids, who are the cutest kids I have ever seen).

Babysitting

Diana and I are watching some friends kids tonight (Chloe is out babysitting). The five-year-old told me the song he made up:

"I am the ice cream man
Running over fat kids
In my big white van
They want ice cream
I will just give them
Some broken bones"

He made this up on his own - I swear! He is in the living room while I am in the kitchen singing it over and over again. Diana loves it and is wiping the tears of laughter off her cheeks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The President-Elect

I have been an Obama supporter for a while and I think he really can bring the country together as well make positive changes for all citizens of this country. His accpetance speech really blew me away last night. Here it is:

Links

I have not done a list of links for a while. Here we go:

You women are dirty, and this study proves it. I like the line, "Should a man worry about holding hands with a girl?" and the person responds, "I guess it depends on which girl." This stuff is hilarious, a comedian could not write it better.

I like to shop online. I have been buying more and more online through the last year. Last christmas was my first real HUGE online shopping experience. I bought our Wii, games, controllers, chargers, and even other gifts all online. I would say about 80% of all our gifts were purchased online last year. I don't know if I will be able to purchase that much this year, but I will try. Here is an article about online shopping and the popularity of it.

Blogs are changing the world. They change the ways companies do everything these day. I think it is very important that a company or a person control the message they are trying to spread. I also think a blog is a great way to take that control. The weird part is that five years ago you never heard of a blog and now blog posts are picked up by news organizations as fact.

The Blackberry Bold is just about out. Here is a good review of it. I am waiting for the touch screen Storm to come out (it also still has to be released on TMobile) and then I will get it. This reviewer really does not like the size of the Bold, but let me tell you, size matters and a big beautiful screen with a great keyboard will make up for any discomfort.

A real iPhone killer? I doubt it. Samsung does not have the "cool" factor that Apple does these days.

I love Skype. It is an awesome technology. VoIP is where it is at, but the world does not agree. Diana does not like it. I do not think she realizes that we have digital phone at home and it is ran through our internet connection. Out phone is just like VoIP!

Halloween was last week, but you can still view this slide show of "geek-o-lanterns" from Wired. There are some pretty cool pumpkins. I am not a very good pumpkin carver, but I try. I do not think I could make any of these.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Next President of the United States

Flu Shot

I got a flu shot today. The guy still gave me one even though I marked that I have been sick in the past week. The guy that was giving out the shots just did not care. The shot seemed to go fine and I had no problems.

My arm is starting to ache a little now.

I am sure most of you just say "wuss."

Fantasy Football Update

I win again! Another blowout as well. I did not even have that good of a week.

I am the man. The best news is that the team that was ahead of me (and undefeated) lost this week as well. I rubbed it in a little by posting some smack to the (old) number one team.

This morning I woke up with a first place team in my football league. No matter what happens today, it is a good day. Now I need to keep this going. I play the number five team this week and I am heavily favored (again). I plan on crushing this weeks opponent and prepare to play the number three team next week.

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Prague Photos

Swan faucet from the Imperial Hotel restaurant. This is how they do it in the CZ. No simple water falling on your hands, it has to come from a swan.
I love this sign, it is all over the CZ. I think it says, "Kids, feel free to play in the streets even though there are cars everywhere!"
This is a good shot of the narrow streets of Prague. Narrow streets half-filled with restaurant stands and then people crowding the rest of the free area.
Statue right at the start of the Charles Bridge. There are statues about every 20 feet on both sides of the bridge.
The Powder Tower, which was the first official "site" that I saw on my trip to Prague.
Old Town square has old buildings in it. That is probably why they call it "Old Town."
This is the "In Case of Fire" instruction sheets for the Prague Hilton. Hilarious!

This is the astronomical clock in Prague. If you are into astrology this is probably really cool. For me, it does not do much.
Church that is right off Old Town square.
This is from the cathedral at the palace. This was really beautiful.
View from the Charles bridge.
View from the other side of the Charles Bridge.

Alex getting in some part time work selling snuggies.
More pictures to come as I continue to get them all uploaded. If you want to see them all, go to my Facebook page. I have 3 photo albums full of photos with more to come.

They Tried To Make Her Go To Rehab...

My mom dislocated her shoulder yesterday. She spent the day at the hospital. She does not know how she did it, she just woke up with her shoulder hurting. She did say she got some pretty good drugs for the pain though, so that it is a plus.

I called her today just to check up on her and she told me all about her day. It is good that she hurt her left arm - or she wouldn't be able to play solitaire or send me all those cheesy emails that she does. I guess that is good for her, not for me.

As I talked to her on the phone Chloe came in and heard just some of the conversation. When I got off the phone she asked, "Grandma has to go to rehab? She doesn't do drugs!" I told her she did not know her Grandma very well. Then Chloe asked what she needed to go to rehab for. I told Chloe, "She watches too much Law and Order."

Diana finally made me tell her the whole story - which by the way - is not as good as the story I could make up myself.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

The family went to the pumpkin patch the other day. We ended up with three big pumpkins and a bag of pinenuts for Diana.

Here are the pictures from our adventure:








Gifts from the CZ

While in Prague I got the kids a couple items (of course, I am the best Dad ever!). The kids got Czech Republic national team soccer shirts and Czech Republic olympic team sweatshirts. I also got some postcards of "Praha" for them - but I do not have pictures of the postcards. Here are pictures of the kids (in direct sunlight) wearing their stuff:



Fantasy Football Wrapup

Another win!

I now sit at 6-1. My lone loss being the fluke Reggie Bush 2 punt retuns for touchdowns game. I was once again the highest scoring team in the league. The lone bad point is that I did not pass 300 this week (I scored 270.5).

Looking ahead to this week: I am playing one of the worst teams in the league and I am heavily favored to win. I was looking forward at my schedule and I am slated to play the number one team on the last week of the season. Hopefully, I will still have one loss and he will be undefeated - and I crush him. That would be the best payback I could think of.

I still have a couple weeks of no Tony Romo. I have been going with Jeff Garcia as my 2nd QB to get through my bye weeks, he has been doing OK, but not great. I might not use him this week, but Green Bay (Rodgers) plays against a good defense this week so I might not use Rodgers.

Basketball also started last night. I have the worst team in my league, so you might not hear much about my NBA team this year (I am sure Diana is happy about that).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Around Town

Prague has about 1.2 million people within the city. Kind of like Salt Lake. I do not generally run into co-workers or people I know while out on the town at home. In Prague that is a different story. I ran into many, many people I knew while out touring for about 4 hours. The list of people I ran into yesterday:

Mike N.
Mike N's current woman
Bob
Lori
Big Philly Style
Trent
Eric
Homan
Karl
Stephani
Tom
Choward
Collin
Doug
Kelly
Chris R

Well, I guess today is the day I head home and stop runing into people randomly. Prague has been fun, we had a great conference. I am excited to come back to Prague next year now that I have a good feel for the area. I am even more excited to get home. Here comes the 21 hour trip to get me home and into my own bed at night.

Well, I gotta get in the shower and get ready and then go check out. I have a taxi leaving in an hour.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hello? Part 8

I guess this is the last day.

I am a little ashamed to say, I liked that.

It's like the Rosetta Stone for cereal.

You are the king of rock, there is none higher.

I am going to call this file Chet bet.

I'm getting myself a marionette.

I could feel Chet stirring.

Well, this just isn't fair.

I don't think my pallette agrees with estrogen.

Go back to your room and make out.

If she's up for so am I.

I guess that's the end.

The best Catalyst Europe ever.

Imagine seeing you here.

Thanks.

Wednesday

Today was Wednesday. Wednesday is almost over for me. Wednesday was also day two of general sessions for Catalyst Conference Europe 2008 in Prague. It was another great day. I am really having a good time here in the CZ. I really need to get home though. It is tough to be gone so long with the 8 hour time difference.

This morning I helped get the room coordinators off for the day. I even had time for breakfast before sessions started. I then took the time to work! Actual work. I was copying SharePoint lists like a madman. I copied 6 different lists that have a lot of items in them - one of them had over 80. This took all day (I am sure being in Europe caused some latency). I am doing this to complete my automated production workflows. Today was a very big part of what needed to get done. All I have left to do is apply the created workflows to the correct lists now and I am golden. Golden in this case means that I am done. I do not know if I will have the time to get this done tomorrow. Tomorrow is the last day of general sessions, and it is a half-day. I also like to spend the time after the break taking things down and letting the people start packing. Packing is hard in Europe, it all needs to be taken care of very carefully because of Customs. KBeard is getting very good at it. We will see if I get any SharePoint time in. Nevertheless, I plan on finishing early next week.

Other things that happened today was talking with some of the analysts, watching a couple sessions, averting one disaster (with mic's; our AV team, once again, did not get us enough mic's), and fixing another disaster. Let me go through these items one at a time.

Watching a couple sessions. I do not think I sat through one complete session, but I do enjoy watching parts of sessions. It is very informative. I sit for 10 or 15 minutes and then move on to the next room. I do this for many reasons, one is because I like to check on the room coordinators. Another is to see different presenting styles, and sometimes, I just want to hear the content.

I did not really divert a disaster today, I just spoke with AV about our mic situation and then we decided how the mics should be handed out to each person that was on stage. At the end of the day today we had a 7 and 6 person roundtable. We used every mic in both rooms to pull these off.

There was another disaster that I had to fix. I do not think it will be a big deal. Hopefully. I spoke to my boss and he is cool with it. If you want more information send me an email or a shout out and I will let you know. This is something that I should not blog about.

I also spoke with a bunch of analysts today as the day went on. It was fun. The pressure is leaving and people are starting to have a good time. It will be sad to leave, and there is not another Catalyst until late next July, but there is plenty of work to be done by then.

For dinner I went with a group to a tourist trap in the town square and had a great tasting Pfeffersteak. I have no idea what it is, but it was good. I am now back in the office printing agendas and announcements and then I am going to bed.

Catch you tomorrow!

Hello? part 7

How's that cream working out for you?

I've got experience delivering the package.

It all started with KBeard being a 12 year old.

I'm more afraid of ventriliquist dummies.

Go to "getsnuggie.com"

It's going to look good on you.

People are mostly water.

You only have to tape one wheel.

Eldina lost her iPod.

I lost my pants.

Don't put that on there.

I think I knew that.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fantasy Football Wrapup

I won!

312 - 185

I demolished my opponent. Very nice to get the win even though I was away. I always find this coming week harder as it is hard to follow NFL while in Europe and then I am too tired to take care of it once I get home. I need to remember to do everything I need to tomorrow so I can forget about it. I play the worst team in the league this week. Hopefully it is easy.

I am now 5-1. My only loss to the number 1 team that was lucky - yes, I said lucky - to beat me. I am smelling playoffs and want a rematch for sure. Maybe that smell is just Europe. Whatever. I am feeling good about the team right now.

Reading Level

LD sent me a link to determine the reading level of my blog. Well, kiddies, you can all relax. My reading level indicator is elementary school. I thought my humor was more junior high, but I guess not. I suck.

If you want to rate your blog, click the link here: http://www.criticsrant.com/bb/reading_level.aspx

By the way, LD, thanks for ruining my day with this.

Coke

I stopped drinking coca-cola and most soft drinks in July of 2005. That seems so long ago, but it really is not. Not drinking pop has not been that hard on me. I have an occasional drink, but I try to just have water. I never have Coke though. I am like the "Million Little Pieces" guy. I can stick my nose in Coke and then push it away. There are some days though that turning it away is very, very, very hard. When I go to Catalyst NA the urge is there a little. The sugar and caffeine pick me up sounds great in my mind, but is simple to resist. The longer Catalyst Europe goes on the harder it is to resist Coke. By Friday's flight home I will be salvating every time I see someone with a Coke.

I cannot, I will not have a Coke. I could use all the moral supprt you guys got for me right now.

Sunday and Monday and Tuesday

The past few days have zoomed by very quickly. They always do when you are at Catalyst Conference. The good news is I did leave the hotel today. We walked out the door, decided that we could not have a European meal in the timeframe that we had and walked back in to eat at one of the hotel restaurants. It was a good meal, plus I got to actually leave the hotel. Haven't done that in a couple of days. I promise to take more than 10 steps outside the hotel tomorrow.

I have been talking to the wife every day. It is important that I let her know that just because I am 7,000 miles away it should not hurt our communication. I am happy to be coming home in a couple days and it is good to see that I have plenty to do once I do get home. It should be a good time. I don't think things will slow down until after the new year at this point. With Halloween next week and then Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner. Doesn't it sound weird to say "Happy Holidays" right now? Believe me, it will be here before you know it.

Sunday was a final day of getting ready for the conference. I did get out of the hotel a couple times and that was great. Saw a little bit of the town. Had Italian for dinner. We always have Italian at least once while we are gone. When I said that the best Italian I ever had was in Munich it made KBeard and Ivan think about the Munich trip and their favorite Italian. This is when Ivan said his favorite Italian was during the Monaco trip. I did not go to Monaco, it was before my time. I knew once Monday hit I was in for good (for at least a couple of days). We set as much signage as possible on Sunday, as well as making sure everything was set up for the next day. Registration even opened on Sunday.

Monday was workshops for attendees. I was not the workshop coordinator for Europe (first time I have attended a Catalyst Europe without doing this task). It was nice to just be a helper. Sid did a good job. I helped with signs in the morning and talked Sid off the edge because he can get a little hyperactive sometimes. With my role at Catalyst I had to help with stage setup and to ensure that things were acceptable for the content team. This was not hard, just time consuming. It is very fun to see everything get put together. Also on Monday is the room coordinator meet and greet with the audio/video staff and a separate meeting for Burton Group analysts to see the stages, learn about the clock and prepare themselves for Catalyst. These meetings were good and afterwards there were changes to the stage that had to be done. Monday night is the opening reception and I attended and ate a very good meal.

I should also let you know that on Monday I was also trying to get some "day job" work done. This is work that I do at Catalyst that has nothing to do with Catalyst. I have a bunch of work to get done and I got about a quarter of it done Monday. At the time I had hoped to get more done on Tuesday, but you will see later that did not happen and I now have to hope that I can get something done on Wednesday.

Tuesday is the first day of general sessions for the conference. We have record attendance at this Catalyst and I was very interested to see just how many people were actually here. We have well over 400 people checked-in to the event. With more hospitality suites (thus, more check-ins tomorrow). It is a really good sign for my company that even in these trying financial times, we were able to get this great attendance number. The first day of general sessions is always crazy. I try to be laid back, but always end up running all over the place. I decided this year that I was not going to do that. I decided I would get up really early to ensure no problems. I was to the office before 7:00AM. The show starts at 9:00AM. One of the room coordinators beat me. I helped this room coordinator get all set up with her room. And then started moving through all the other rooms. I was talking with AV and Burton Group people, preparing for the day. The morning went pretty smooth and I let our a huge sign of relief when the sessions started. I hung out for a while to make everything was working and then I went to breakfast.

I was so late for breakfast it had closed and I was forced to go to the hotel restaurant for breakfast where I had my usual. From there I was back in the sessions making sure everything was working. I had to have master of ceremonies announce to have everyone turn off any network scanning devices as they were interrupting the network. I had to ensure that that was worded correctly and got to all the rooms. Many other small things happened (laser pointer was needed, printed signs, etc.) and it prohibited me from working anymore in SharePoint (I guess I could be doing that now, but I am trying to get ready for bed).

I room coordinated for Sid for the last 20 minutes of the day. I was IMing with Diana while I was room coordinating. I picked up and went back to the office where I chatted with all the room coordinators as they came up to the office. They all agreed that the day was pretty flawless. Tomorrow will be interesting. We have 2 roundtables tomorrow afternoon that have a combined 13 people on the stage at once. Plus, we still have the other two rooms at that time. Things could get crazy. I am sure it will work out though.

At this point in the day I was ready to go to the hospitality suites. I ran through those, did not really eat much, and I was done. This is when we (Ivan, Kristin, and I) decided to try and get out of the hotel. This did not happen as explained above. Well, technically it did happen, because we did leave the hotel.

I type this while I wait up to talk to Diana. I am missing the family and am getting more excited everyday to come home and be with them again. Just two more days to go for me.

Hello? part 6

Now I know about the iPod Touch.

I'm popular.

That Collin is a dirty dog.

Eldina puts ketchup on everything.

Spring Break Gone Wild?

I did ask for cheese.

No wonder he is such a crazy left-wing nut.

Like the Death Star trench.

I just made a slurping sound with beans.

Time for drugs.

That was hot. Action.

And you did, didn't you?

I am just a big tank of think.

You looked and gave me the finger.

No one gets your soccer humor, Ivan.

Please don't scan my private ports.

De-Matt-funk-i-fie it.

I make Slurpees out of babies.

Are you afraid you're not nasty enough?

Wedding tackle.

Your Dad is a freaking psych0.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hello? part 5

(Throws cookie on floor) AAAiiiiiyyyyyeeeeee!!!!!!!!

There's a story that goes with that.

They were solving the worlds financial problems through their blogs.

I have nothing to laugh at.

Did anybody check the flux capacitor?

You don't need another dose of estrogen today.

Muppets...not puppets.

Bad donut.

I'm the hip-hop-a-potamus.

Hallo! Welcome to the Skype Test Calling Service...

That was a little awkward.

It is my Star Trek communicator.

I'm an idiot.

Milk and cookies.

He's not my kid to spank.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday Is A Special Day

Yesterday was Saturday. That is a pretty obvious beginning isn't it. All of these end-of-day reviews are coming the next day. Usually I am too tired to type all of this at midnight before I go to bed. Last night I could have typed, but I could not get connectivity in my room and I did not want to go down to the office. I actually called Diana on my cell phone and talked for 20 minutes. At 99 cents a minute. She had some news (that I am barred from blogging about) so we had things to chat about.

Saturday started out like any other day. I woke up. I actually woke up a little late as I had forgotten to set my alarm clock. I was not late for anything, I just got up later that I usually do. I like to get up at 6:45 AM. I woke up at 7:15AM. The extra half-hour of sleep was nice. I got up and got ready for the day and went down to breakfast around 8:30.

At breakfast I am eating some fried potatoes, bacon, sausage (not the chicken one), and a ham, green peppers, and cheese omlet. I have had that breakfast everyday so far. It is tasty. I also have a couple of glasses of orange juice during breakfast. Not on Saturday though, the drink lady hated our table and never came and re-filled our drinks.

After breakfast it was time to work, and work we did. As the rest of the team worked on logistics I took care of BG presentations and USB drives. I finally got the final missing internal presentation and was able to create all the USB drives on Saturday. That is cool. This task does not usually get completed until Sunday. All during this time various Burtonians are coming in from touring or just arriving from the airport. It is always nice to catch up with people that you do not see very often. Hearing peoples airplane and touring stories never gets old either. One person came in and told us all about a tour he went on and that he was able to drive a Tribant (spelling?). He gave us the URL for this tour company, and it turns out that they specialize in "stag" weekends. Whenever you go to a website that has headings like "Stripper In A Limo" you have to start worrying that Human Resources is going to be contacting you. It was a good time. Of course, most of the good times happened after this unnamed person left and we started checking the website and were able to make jokes. By the way, we have a couple people that will be taking tours from this same person after the conference.

It is now time for lunch and we head over to the Imperial Cafe, which is inside the Imperial Hotel. The Imperial Hotel was built in 1914 and is known for its art deco look. It is very nice and they had a tile design on the ceiling. There was also goose neck faucets in the restrooms. I have pictures of all this to post (whenever I can post them). We then walk back to the Hilton for more work.

One thing about travelling internationally is that you forget what day it is and what day of the week it is. I don't know if this happens to everyone or just me, but it is very disconcerting. All of a sudden you think it is Sunday and that you are behind. Half an hour later you think it is Friday and that you have more time to work on something. Hopefully once the conference starts I can keep it all together.

We work for a couple more hours and finally get the space to start setup. I am still working on presentations so everyone else heads down to setup. By the time I finish my task, the work downstairs is almost complete. I help out with a couple small things and it is time for dinner. Half the group does not come and we also call the CEO of BG to see if he wants to come with us, he does.

We go out to a nice Czech dinner. It is good. I have really liked the Czech food that I have eaten so far. When I was in Barcelona I didn't really eat the food because I am not a seafood guy. In Prague I can manage, they are mostly a meat and potatoes kind of town. We have a good dinner with conversation ranging from Euro-Disney to our Catalyst Conference to [enter Ivan's plane story here]. You really have to talk to Ivan about his plane story. It is getting better and better. Ivan had his best yet retelling during this dinner. Way to go Ivan!

We head back to the hotel and it is late. Not too late though. We head to the lounge and watch "The Mist" in Czech. We really do not know what is going on, but it was fun to watch. We also just sat around and talked. The Mist was about half over when we started, so it's not like we watched the whole thing in Czech. I also had a hot chocolate during the show. A hot chocolate in Prague is like warm chocolate pudding. We had the idea of adding whipped cream and then stirring it in to dilute the chocolate a little. It worked OK, but by the time I was half-way through my drink it was pudding again. These Euros have got to figure out the whole hot chocolate thing, and hopefully soon.

It was finally time to head to the room for some sleep. I got in there and my laptop would not connect to the network to call Diana via Skype, so I called her on the cell phone. I sure do miss the family. You don't know how much you rely on these people for a brightness to your day until they are halfway around the world and you only get to talk with them for 10 or 20 minutes at a time. Good news is that the conference is quickly approaching and then the days burn through like wildfire. Before you know it it is time to go home.

Home...what a wonderful thought.

Hello? part 4

I want my freedom inches.

This is not North America, why are you worried so much?

Whooooooooo! Video highlights!

I got a little too brave yesterday.

That's why nobody likes me.

I got my first one for free, that's why I love it.

I don't need to hear that.

There's some kiwis that have seen Footloose and I haven't!

Are you one of those people?

Oooohhhh! I got a boog.

The part I can see of Chet is very handsome.

I was right, you don't even have to question it.

More concrete than Aaron.

You guys are fighting like a bunch of girls.

Matt, there are plenty of little girl things that you do.

A Czech-place here? I don' think so.

You just gotta man-up and go out.

Rub my belly...beeeeyotches.

She wouldn't smile if she were off duty.

I loved him in Blade.

I don't want to be the liberal elite media.

That's the sound of European approval.

Who doesn't like the Ewoks?

Meatballs!

I have the poster, but not for the movie.

I'm so street you don't even know.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yesterday

I realized that I did not post about my adventures yesterday. It was a good day. I worked for most of the morning and through the afternoon. I should start at the beginning.

I got up when the alarm went off at 6:45 AM, hopped in the shower and got dressed. I then hung out in my room as we were not meeting for breakfast until 8:00AM. I got a little more work done.

I went down to breakfast at The Atrium and met up with the group. Just so you know, the group consists of Chet, Karl, Kristin, and Ivan. This is the group that almost always sets up Catalyst. We have been doing this for a couple years now. The breakfast was the general Euro hotel buffet breakfast. Their omlets were a little runny. Their scrambled eggs are a lot runny. I just cannot eat runny scrambled eggs. I can eat the omlets because I pretend the runny-ness is melted cheese. It is all good.

From there we went to the office and started stuffing bags. This took a couple hours of work. The conference guides were not included so they still must be stuffed into the bags, but we are going to have registration take care of that. At this point we are stacking boxes and clearing areas of trash so the rooms are clean (the room we are in will become three seperate rooms for the conference days). I look at my watch and it is after one. For lunch I have a cookie (provided by the hotel) and half of my leftover ham and cheese sandwich. The cookie is not very good. The ham and cheese sandwich is fine, the bread was a bit chewy. At this point the rest of the team has a pre-con meeting with the hotel so they go off to that. I do not want to go to the hotel meeting, so I stay in the office and work on some things for my day job.

About 20 minutes in to work, my internet goes down and I cannot get it back. After plating with it for a little while I decide to go to my room as I know that I can get a good signal there - or even plug in (they have a CAT-5 cable in the room). I pack up and take a couple minutes to figure out how to lock all the doors. FYI: Slide the card in twice quickly to lock doors. In my room I continue to work on a mix of Catalyst items (like external and internal presentations) and regular day job stuff. I found out that the company meeting recorded with no audio (still have to break this one to my boss) and took care of a bunch of consutling items (reviewing and posting the open report - I received a couple complete emails since I received the report). Right as I was finishing up I got an IM from KBeard that they were done, wireless was up in the office and they were all down working. Good times. I packed up and went down to the office.

In the office I was now in "finishing up" mode for the day. Shortly, KBeard states that we should get out of the hotel and see some sites. I am up for it, as I am done with work. Ivan has to work on some documents for his boss. As Ivan finishes up, I pack up and take my stuff upstairs. While upstairs I grab a jacket.

When I come back down everyone is ready to go. We head out in to Prague, my first walking tour. Everywhere else I have been I have taken a cab. We walk down some streets. The archiutecture is beautiful, and if I could get my pictures sent to me via my Blackberry I would be posting a ton. Just wait for me to get back to the US, I will be posting photos like crazy. Prague really is beautiful and we see many great spots. We go to old town square and see the astronomical clock. We walked halfway across the Charles Bridge. Typing all this now really wants me to be able show you pictures, but I cannot. Maybe I can get some pictures from someone else. One cool place, I did not go in (maybe next year) is the museum of midevel torture instruments. Sweet!

For dinner we stop at Maze Prague which is a Gordon Ramsey restaurant. Gordon Ramsey started the restaurant in Prague, and then opened one in New York, and finally this Prague one, that is still pretty new. The chef from the London location moved to Prague to start this one. It was pretty cool. I took a picture of my pork trio and I will post it (sometime in the future). It was pretty good. For an after dinner treat the restaurant gave us rose gelatin. Tasted exectly like what I would expect a rose to taste like. The consistency was horrible though and I did not finish mine. Karl ate two.

We walk back to the hotel and head up to the lounge to hang out for a while. We are watching a James Bond movie (in English) and we are making fun of it. One by one we head off to bed. I get to my room and talk to my wife and kids for a while. It is a good time. We got a lot done today. I have to start focusing on presentations and ensuring that all is done and ready for the conference from here on out.

Hello? part 3

More quotes that you probably cannot understand.

Let's see who dies first.

It's a good Amie-catcher.

A guy can complain.

That's what she said.

That was a made-up experience.

The Scott is Thornock.

That room is in the contract.

That was his gang sign.

I gotta get my warlock on.

You will be entertained and hunted at the same time.

He always wants his shirt off.

What does that mean.

Your Skymiles number is 7.

Click on "Dinner with Stripper."

There is no fidelity in wireless.

I've heard you were a bell-chimer.

We are all going in the bathroom afterwards to look at it.

Bring me my Halusky.

We are Americans.

What is the centipede? You mean the worm.

She turned out to be a drug dealer.

I imagine Jesus as a liberal Mormon.

I got you babe.

Will you call me Babydoll?

That's right sweetheart.

That's a lie someone told you.

Or, he doesn't know how to spell it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hello? part 2

I will be adding more quotes as the day progresses. Here we go with day 2:

It's what happened.

Don’t tell me to shut up.

I don’t believe in accidents Gertrude.

You're a gadget whore, you have to make a lot of money.

I did it so people would feel sorry for me.

My politics don’t mix with my religion.

I got a new zit coming. It sucks!

I might have even grabbed you, I don't remember.

If we travel in a pack no one will mess with us.

I was going to get you a 70's comb, but it was too good for you.

I like to call it the inverted Nixon.

Just kidding, I don't call it that.

What do you do to a quail to get rabies.

I love gizmodo.

It's geeky, I like it.

It works in so many ways.

I've been waiting to get her alone.

It's either powdered sugar...or cocaine.

That's the Hell's Kitchen guy.

Which clone was ours?

He found my unicorns.

Picture from Prague

I told you that I was having trouble getting my pictures. Well, here is the only one that I can get sent to me right now. I do not know what the problem is. I am looking into it. This is a picture of the walkway up to the restaurant we ate at last night. The restaurant is actually behind us, this trail switches back. Once thing we did find out is that we climbed too high, we had to go down a level on the restaurant to get to where we were going.

When In Czech, You Get Czech

My blogger header is in a different language.

You probably cannot read that, but I cannot read Czech, so I am just guessing the button that I click. Once I login, I get English. Everything else works great.

Update: I tried to spell-check and the whole blogger application went crazy. Almost every word I had typed was highlighted as misspelled (and I don't spell that badly). I think blogger is getting confused between the English and the Czech. Words like "will" and "the" were highlighted as misspelled and the system gave some words I do not recognize as replacement options. Hopefully I don't misspell anything too badly while here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Trip To Prague and Prague

Ahoy! (Ahoy is how you say "hello" in Czech)

When last you left your intrepid traveller, he was about to board a large plane to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Here is his story. No names or places have been changed to protect the innocent, for there are no innocent.

The plane ride was actually pretty uneventful. I got about 30 minutes of sleep while on the 10-hour flight. I had an open seat next to me, so I had room to stretch out. I placed my laptop bag on the floor next to me. I love flying with an open seat next to me. I also always try to choose a seat where I can lean back and not feel bad. On this flight, I had what I call the "perfect seat." It was a good time.

One thing that really bugs me about flying is people that grab other peoples seats to move around the cabin. Some old lady grabbed the back of my seat one time right as I was dozing off. The old guy that was across the aisle from me used my seat to help him get up, I thought he was going to pull my chair off the floor and flip me on my side. Just a little common courtesy here, please.

I watched "Swing Vote" on the plane. If you have not seen it, it is worth seeing, but I did not really enjoy it. This movie has Kevin Costner in the role of slacker father that gets to recast his vote for President and decide the whole thing. There was some funny parts, and other parts the revealed probably a little to closely to what politics is really like. I give this movie 2.5 out of 5 stars. It is a good election-time movie though. Check it out next time you are on your way to Prague!

The second movie was something called "The Visitor." I did not watch it. I watched "Batman Begins" on my iPod. This was awesome. I love my iPod. I am a gadget freak - and the iPod Touch is the ultimate gadget. By the way, I give Batman Begins 5 out of 5 stars. After Batman, I read a little in one of the two books I brought to Prague, "The Host." This book is a little weird and I don't know how much I like it. My wife says to keep reading and it comes together. We will see.

As we started our decent in to Prague, I turned on "Good Will Hunting," another of my all-time favorite movies. I did not finish this movie, but I should have time over the next couple of days and nights to get this in.

The plane finally landed (I did not get out of my seat for the entire trip). Ivan and I walked to the Passport line and I won. Ivan's line was so slow that I gave up waiting for him and I went and got my bag. This also gave me time to look at a map and find an ATM. My bag was waiting for me when I got to the carousel and I pushed a couple old ladys out of the way to get it. Actually, just one old lady. OK, not really, it was an old guy.

I waited for Ivan, he got his luggage and we were on our way. We stopped at the very conveinient ATM and walked out to the car. We rode to Prague and I took many pictures (which you will see in an upcoming post). Once at the hotel I got my room (on the first floor, I am awesome) and took a shower.

After the shower I upoacked and then headed down to the office. Once I got down to the office it was time for lunch and we went to the Bistro Cafe in the hotel. Everyone (KBeard, Captain Karl, and me)except Ivan got Ham and Cheese sandwiches with fries. Ivan got pumpkin ravioli. Ivan did not choose wisely. He was jonesing for a ham and cheese all through lunch. Captain Karl gave Ivan half his sandwich. None of us with ham and cheese finished our lunch, so we have a snack for later/tomorrow.

Now it is working time and we stuff all the badges and prepare bags for stuffing as well as prepare hospitality suites, get signage ready, get the printer ready (the photo cyan blew up in travel), and do some general unpacking of the shipment. By the time we get all this done it is around 5:00PM and time for dinner. We get the name and a reservation to a nice place. We all go to our rooms quickly to freshen up.

Off to dinner, this was a place not to far from the hotel. It was very nice. First we went in the French part of the restaurant, but our reservation was for the Czech part of the restaurant (the lower level). We headed down and had a good dinner. I should note that Chet has now joined is. Chet took the SLC to Paris direct and then Paris to Prague. He said it was a good flight. If you are heading to Prague this way you can contact Chet for travelling tips.

At dinner, Captain Karl, KBeard and I all get the Roast Beef in Cream with Potato things. When you think Roast Beef in cream you think it might be some kind of sauce, but no, there was whipped cream right on my roast beef. It was not bad. Ivan and Chet got the Pork Knee. Ivan is trying to eat all the joints of a pig (he had pork knuckle in Munich a couple years ago), next is Pork Wrist or Elbow - do pigs have elbows?

It was a good dinner and we got back around 8:00PM. I called the wife and spent some time talking to her and the kids. Sure do miss them. After the call I got on the computer and have been going through emails and sending myself photos so I can post them on the blog.

Now my Blackberry is freaking out and I will have to get the rest of the quotes and the pictures tomorrow because it is now 10:11PM and I am getting tired. Tomorrow is a full day of work and I have plenty of Catalyst as well as regular job work to get done.

Hello? part 1

Things heard and taken completely out of context while in Prague for Catalyst Conference Europe 2008. By the way, the next time you see Ivan, ask him about his plane story. I don't know if it will ever get blogged about by him.

Blow on it.

A harpsichord makes me want to kill myself.

Love handles are a seeing eye dog for your butt.

They don't really cater to the young crowd in the catholic church.

The Trinity of Love includes a punching Nun.

You could be right by doing that one-third of the time.

It is amazingly clear.

I didn't plan my vacation appropriately.

Sweet.

Are we human or are we dancer?

Too long, help (you must say this loud, to help the person understand you).

It's not a dictatorship.

They do a laser show.

As always, talk to me if you want carification on any of these.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

At the Airport

Here is the first of many Catalyst EU posts. I am at the airport waiting. No adventures, yet. The guy across the walkway missed his flight and is dropping f-bombs like crazy. He is going to Australia and does not understand why he has delayed his trip a day by missing this flight. He is berating the counter person pretty good. It has been a good morning so far. Finished the packing, got kids off to school, filled up the car with gas, had breakfast with the wife. Got to the airport at about 9:30, checked in with no problems at the kiosk and checked my bag (48 pounds), sweet. Went up the escalator to security and there was basically no line. I did not even have time to untie my shoes. I found my gate and hooray! Now I just have to wait to get on the plane. 30 minutes to go. I posted once about who are the people that get gates up front and do not have to walk all the way to the end of the concourse, well, today, I am one of those people. I am at gate D2, the first operating gate (D1 is closed).
And the adventures begin.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Leaving for Prague...Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the day. Once again, Catalyst Conference Europe. This will be the first time I (and the conference) has been in Prague. We are expecting big things with an all-time high for registrations in Europe. It should be a good time.

We have done well with speaker registrations and presentations. We are only missing a couple, which is great for Europe. I like going to Catalyst Conference to help with the conference and see the presentations as well as see how Burton Group affects our clients. You do not get a good feel fro what Burton Group does until you see Catalyst Conference.

Of course, being able to travel to Europe and spend some time in these great cities is a fun part of Catalyst Conference as well. I will be posting pictures of my travels as they happen.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fantasy Football Wrapup

Victory!

I am the highest scoring team of the week in my fantasy football league. I scored over 300 points! That is huge. The average score is probably around 230, my average is more like 260. It was a good week. Maurice Jones-Drew, Andre Johnson, and Braylon Edwards all went off! This is the team I envisioned when I drafted them.

One sad note, Tony Romo, my number 1 QB, is out with a broken pinkie for four weeks. Hopefully I can cope. I have Aaron Rodgers and Donovan McNabb as my other 2 quarterbacks, so I think I will be OK.

Next week is a Europe week and I usually do not do too well on these weeks, I have won a couple and lost a couple. The hard week is really the weekend I come back. I am tired and don't have a lot of time to research, so I miss a couple guys that I should have picked up or I do not update my lineup.

Is This A Road?

Tonight we went to Robert's to pick out a couple items. It was a rather normal trip to Robert's. Nothing really stood out. We got a deal on some cubes for Diana's office. I was driving on the way home and I decided to drive on the golf course road near our house. As I turn, we are having a nice conversation with the whole family. All of a sudden Diana exclaims, "Is this a road?" A road? What does she mean. Where we were passed the three test of being a road: 1) White lines on the edges. 2) Yellow lines in the middle. 3) Paved. Check, check, and check. It is a road. Me and the kids laughed the rest of the way home.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Iron Man - Update

Diana and I decided to let the kids watch Iron Man, as long as we watched it as a family. Diana fast-forwarded through the scene we deemed inappropriate. Chloe asked when she could watch the part we fast-forwarded through. I told her that when she is 40 she could come over to our house to watch Iron Man...and I would still fast-forward it.

If you want to know the part, send me an email or make a comment and I will let you know so you can make the decision of if this movie is appropriate for your kids.

Chloe's Soccer Game

Chloe played soccer today today in cold and windy weather. I cannot believe how cold it was. At least Chloe was able to run around to stay warm. I just had to stand there and be cold. Chloe is getting a lot better at soccer and she really enjoys it. She made some really good kicks and even the other parents are noticing her improvement.

The season is almost over, she better score her goal soon if she wants her Coldstone treat. Here are some pics from today.
Chloe playing defense. I had to talk to her about playing too far forward.
Here is Chloe running after the ball.
Chloe is actually getting ready to kick the ball in this one. She is the master of the short pass. She likes to get "assists."
Chloe is getting in position to stop the opposing player here. That is the perfect defensive stance (I taught her that).

Yes, It Was Snowing Today

The above picture is of my swearshirt with SNOW on it today at Chloe's soccer game. I cannot believe it was snowing today. I need to go buy a snowblower. I still have blisters on my hand from last winters snow shoveling. This is out of hand.

Can't I get some warmer weather (60's) for another week or two. It feels like it was just last Monday when it was 80 degrees (that's because it was!).

Jordan's Eye Appointment

Jordan had an eye appointment with Dr. Sargent today. It is all good news. Jordan wears glasses because one his eyes is dominant, the other is weak and takes longer to dilate and focus. There are a couple ways to help this. 1) Wearing glasses (which Jordan is doing); 2) Eye exercises (Jordan is not doing these); 3) Patching (Jordan is not doing this, and we hope he will not have to). Patching consists of Jordan actually wearing a patch over his dominant eye for a certain amount of time per day. This allows the non-dominant eye time as the only eye and forces the eye to strengthen itself.

Jordan used to be 20/-27000 and is now 20/-200, which is great! We hope the eye can continue to strengthen and (hopefully) one day the glasses won't be necessary. That is best-case scenario, of course, but we can hope. Today was a quick appointment, the doctor said that he is really improving and wants to delay the eye exercise/patching decision to April. He also said that if he continues to improve the patching probably won't be necessary.

Jordan has enough things to deal with, we don't want to have to deal with him going to school as a pirate (eye patch). We would have to get him a parrot and a wooden leg. That would be awesome!

Iron Man

Last night Diana and I watched Iron Man on DVD. I have a friend that says Iron Man is better than The Dark Knight. To him, I say, "You, my friend, are incorrect." Iron Man is good fun and I do recommend it to you (3.5 out of five stars...just kidding Ry-Ry; I give Iron Man 4 out of 5 stars). Robert Downey Jr. is the perfect Tony Stark. He plays him perfectly. Gweneth Paltrow is a little out of place as his assistant Miss Potts.

The best part of this movie is the action, and it has plenty. The action scenes are all special effects. Iron Man is just computer generated the entire time, which is fine, he fits in the background really well and his final fight scene with the other robot is really good. It is too bad that they never really explain the Arc Reactor or why it can do what it does.

If you have not seen Iron Man already this summer, you really need to. It is good. If you saw it in the theatre, I thought it transferred really well to my TV screen at home.

There is one quick make-out/sex scene with Leslie Bibb and Robert Downey Jr., you don't really see anything, but Diana and I are debating if we let the kids watch it or not. One of Jordan's friends that is a year younger has already seen it many times, so Jordan really wants to see it. Chloe also wants to watch it. Diana and I will have to make a decision and get back with you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Question of the Day

This is a new feature I want to start on the blog. I ask a question, put my brief thoughts, and then open it up to all you (all 7 of my loyal readers) to discuss.

Is it OK to rent a movie and then rip it to my iPod, as long as I get rid of it within a reasonable time frame?

To me, this is OK. When I rent the movie I get it for a certain amount of time. Just because I am not going to watch it on the TV does not mean that I should not be able to watch it on a different medium. If you say this is wrong then is it OK to take a movie on vacation and play it in a portable DVD player or in your car? What about projecting the movie in your backyard for friends and family? I will remove the video from my iPod and delete it, I just want to "rent" it for a week, what is the matter with that?

Last Yard Work of the Year?

Yesterday I mowed the front yard. Tonight I mowed the back. Could this be that last time for the year? It is supposed to snow tomorrow. Diana wants me to mow again before I leave for Prague. Hopefully we get like three feet, then there is no way I can mow again.

I hate yard work. My main problem is that you have to do it all the time. You can spend hours on a weekend making sure it is all perfect, but then you end up having to do it all again next week. No matter how good a job you do, the grass grows and the weeds come up.

I do not have a good lawn mower, either. A couple years ago the motor that pushed the mower broke. Now I have to push the mower, and it is a heavier mower because it is supposed to be self-propelled. Tonight while I mowed one of the back wheels kept sticking. Then I was not only pushing, I was dragging the mower.

The problem with all this is that I cannot complain to my wife about this because she tells me to hire someone and I am too cheap. Maybe if I got a riding lawn mower I would like the yard work better, but who's got $1,000 in this economy?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fantasy Football Wrap Up

It was a bad week for fantasy football. I was not very happy. Let me tell you the story. After Sunday, all of my guys had played. I was up by 92 points. It was a good, no...great lead. I could not imagine losing. I was a little boastful. My opponent had 5 guys that were playing on Monday Night Football. 3 were on defense. The other 2 were the Saints number 3 receiver and Reggie Bush. I am sure you have seen the highlights. They were pretty impressive. He ran the ball, he caught the ball, he returned kicks - and ran two back for touchdowns. When you think of the ways you might lose a 92 point lead they usually do not include the other guy running back 2 punts for TDs (it has only happened 7 times in the history of the NFL). I ended up losing by 3 points.
I suck.
Next week I play one of the not good teams. I am predicted to win handily. I hate it when the computer picks me. Too much pressure.

Today Was A Good Day

Today was a work day. And it was a good day. I finally got some movies ripped to my iPod Touch. I started with Good Will Hunting and Batman Begins. My first try - a couple days ago was to use Handbrake. Handbrake is supposed to be software that will rip a DVD right into a file that can be loaded onto your iPod. I could never get it to work. The audio was fine, but the video was all broken up. After three tries I gave up. I did some more research and I found out that Handbrake works better on a Mac. I use a PC so that is no good. I finally found another way to rip the files. Here is the link: http://www.anders.com/guides/convert/video/iPod/windows.html. The software has been updated so the screen shots are not exact, and it takes HOURS to get everything done. The files end up being HUGE. Both movies are about 2GB. The picture is crisp and gorgeous. Better than TV or a movie theatre. If you want to rip movies to your iPod - you should do it, it is pretty easy. After I got that done I went to work, which with the Europe conference coming up things are a bit crazy for me, which is good, I like the end rush excitement. Many things to get done before I go. I fly next Wednesday and am gone for 9 days. I, of course, will be blogging the whole thing and will be reviving "Things Overheard At Catalyst," everyone's favorite feature when I travel.
Jordan had an Orthodontist appointment today to, so I took him. That was fun and there was good stuff there too, but Diana wants to announce that, so keep checking her blog for a MAJOR family announcement.
If you need help converting DVDs for your iPod, give me a shout-out.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Not That I Can Sway Your Decision

I was having a discussion with my Dad and brother tonight. The conversation went to politics and the presidential election. When I said that McCain was a warmonger and does not want to end the Iraq war, plus he wants to start more wars they did not believe me. Below is a video talking with McCain and his ideas for the future of the war. This man is insane.

Palin is even worse. The VP debate was unwatchable when she was talking. First, she would not answer a question, she just spouted off some soundbyte that someone told her. I do not know how you can support a VP when people say she did good just because she did not make a fool of herself on TV.
By the way, when I first saw the Tina Fey SNL skit about the Katie Couris interview I thought they made it all up. Then I watched the interview. I could not believe it! This woman does not know what she is talking about on half of these issues.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Need A New Alarm Clock

I need a new iPod alarm clock. If you have not heard, the new iPods can no longer be charged via a Firewire connection. My iPod alarm clock uses Firewire (it is old). I have been looking around for a new one. Here are three that I would love for anyone to get for me.

This is taken from a USA Today news story on new iPod Accessories by Marc Saltzman

Alarm clocks built for iPods are old news. Heck, virtually every hotel I’ve stayed at over the past year offers them. But a few new models have surfaced recently with some interesting bells and whistles, including iPhone support.
As with their predecessors, these new “clock docks” are designed to keep on your nightstand or dresser, and ship with adaptors to fit various iPod models (and a regular audio-in port for non-iPod music players). Docking your device not only charges its battery, but also allows you to listen to your favorite music, podcasts or audiobooks through its speakers, as well as select a song or playlist to wake up to in the morning.
These following models, however, go above and beyond this basic functionality. Flip over thisiPhone or iPod touch users who enjoy watching videos on their device must hold it horizontally to view the widescreen presentation. But this can be difficult when it’s docked in a compatible clock radio since most iPods are snapped in vertically. Now you can have best of both worlds: the iHome iH41 ($79.99; ihomeaudio.com) is the first iPod/iPhone docking station that can be tilted on its side to watch video. What’s more, a built-in sensor automatically flips the time and other text for you, making it easily visible on the illuminated LCD screen. You can keep this horizontal orientation to flip through your music (via Cover Flow) or turn the iH41 back upright, if you prefer.
As with other iHome models, this decent-sounding clock lets you wake up to an iPod song or video (and includes a snooze button if you need more zees). You can also plug in an non-iPod MP3 player into the line-in jack and it offers an optional battery backup in case of power failure. The iH41, however, doesn’t include an AM/FM radio. Plus it’s not officially iPhone compatible so you’ll have to put it in airplane mode to avoid wireless interference.
Double it upWith more than 160 million iPods sold since 2001, chances are you have at least two of them kicking around your home. If this is the case, the iLuv iMM173 ($129.99; i-luv.com) might be for you. It’s the first “dual dock” alarm clock for the iPod and iPhone, allowing you to plug two models into the top of the unit to charge overnight and listen to music from either one.
Each docking tray houses a universal base that fits all iPod or iPhone models with a dock connector (therefore excluding the first three generations of iPods) and it also includes a standard 3.5mm audio-in jack for other MP3 players. To prevent interference, this iLuv model is properly shielded to prevent TDMA noise when an iPhone is docked. The 10 watts of total power is ample for a bedroom (with jAura soundcell technology for crisp acoustic audio), plus the oversized LCD display and remote let you easily navigate through its features, such as dual alarm clock, FM radio with eight presets, LCD dimmer, music or buzzer options, and more.
Wireless wonderIt’s the mother of all iPod alarm clocks -- the top-of-the-line iHome iP47 ($199.99; ihomeaudio.com) offers a full-sounding audio system for your iPod or iPhone. As with the iLuv iMM173, you need not put it in airplane mode in order to dock and use an iPhone, plus you can wirelessly dial and receive calls through its speakerphone (with built-in mic) and see caller ID info on the large LCD display.
Have another cell phone instead of the iPhone? No problem, as the iP47 is also Bluetooth-enabled so you can pair any nearby compatible phone (up to 30 feet away) to receive and place calls. And if your phone or laptop supports Bluetooth Stereo (A2DP) you can wireless stream music from your handset or PC to this great-sounding 4-speaker alarm clock. Features of the iP47 include a dual alarm clock; iPod/iPhone music, buzzer or AM/FM radio wake options; and full-featured remote with snooze.