Chaos and Conversions

Street fireworks in Berlin

That was the scene on the streets of Berlin lat night, a brief moment of no explosions or fire or chaos. It was amazing. There is no question in my mind that Berliners know how to blow shit up for New Years. That said, it’s 2008 now which is amazing, I can’t even describe how happy I am top have 2007 be in the past. Of course that means I need to figure out my next travel plans ASAfuckingP since everyone I know in Berlin is leaving in the next 24 hours. So I did. Rather than spec out the whole freaking trip here before I leave I thought I’d wait till I got somewhere and then blog it, so that I have an excuse to write something which will help keep this place interesting. I will say that I return to the US in 13 days, and between now and then I’ll be visiting 6 cities in 4 countries traveling by a variety of different methods which will surely be interesting. I have hotel reservations in some cities, a couch with my name on it in others, and some yet to be determined. It’s going to be fun.

That said, I’m skipping Scotland this trip simply because of the god awful state of the US Dollar versus other world currency. I’ve gotten comfortable with the Euro, in fact very comfortable. In fact so comfortable that I’m actually pissed I have to go back to the Dollar in a few weeks. In fact so comfortable that I want to open up a bank account in an EU country and move a bunch of my cash there, as well as ask some international clients to pay me in their native Euro rather than the Dollars they currently convert to. Anyway, that’s a different story. Scotland, as part of the UK isn’t on the Euro, they are on the GB Pound which has an even worse conversion rate against the Dollar. So much so that as far as I can tell the other EU countries that are on the Euro are totally pissed off at the UK for keeping the Pound and are annoyed to death by it. Of course I can’t avoid it when I go to London, but I did limit my time there as much as possible because of that single fact.

Where Next?

Berlin Underground

It’s the last day of 2007 here in Berlin, several places around the world (namely those near Australia) are already enjoying 2008. I can’t wait for it personally. That said, my flat mates here in Berlin take off for their respective corners of the world on the 2nd, and I think I have to be out by the 4th, though I don’t return to the US until Jan 14th via London so I’m trying to decide where to go in the meantime. My thoughts are the moment are:

1) Berlin -> Hamburg -> Edinburgh -> London
2) Berlin -> Cologne -> Belgium -> Amsterdam -> London
3) Berlin -> Dublin -> Cork ->  Dublin – London

There are bonuses to all of these options, and I’ve got friends to see, places to crash in many of them. Others not so much. I want to get to London by about the 10th so I can spend a few days there as well. Hmmm..

laid up

The other night I decided not to be a pain in the ass vegan while getting food with a group of folks after 24C3 and we ended up at a Stake House. I knew walking in my choices would be slim to none and after talking with the waitress this was confirmed. Esther was kind enough to explain the diary thing in German and she went to the kitchen to check what might work. A side order of “wok cooked vegetables” was the only option, which I took. Unfortunately I’m pretty sure it wasn’t as dairy free as I was lead to believe as about 8 hours later I was wrecked. It’s not the worse food poisoning I’ve had by a long shot, but I’m out of commission for sure. I slept the majority of the day and keeping my fingers crossed for improvement by tomorrow. It’s New Years I’m going to be totally bummed if after all this planning I miss everything because I’m unable to move.

Apologies to everyone going forward, but I’ll be passing on any trips to to restaurants like this in the future.

Reporting from Berlin

coat room

Someone snapped this shot of several of us crammed in the “3rd bedroom” at our apartment in Berlin. As you can see calling it a bedroom is a slight bit misleading as it’s much closer to a larger closet. Or maybe a smaller one. Luckily not all of us are living in that room. Unluckily I am. My pics from 24C3 can all be found in this flickr set or simply watch the “Berlin” tag on my stream. I’m also going to be contributing a bit to Berlin Metblogs while I’m here though that will be more local, less nerdy / personal crap. While at the conference, which runs the next 3 days I have a DECT phone, which you can reach from any other DECT phone at the conference by simply dialing my extension 5859 which spells out LULZ, or you can even call in from around the world at 04615056623 5859, long distance phone charges will apply of course. That said, please remember the time difference if you call, as well as know that it only works while I’m in the congress building. Otherwise, more soon.

And a good day to you

In the past few days I’ve gotten a handful of super nice holiday e-mails from friends packed full of all kinds of nice things that I wish I’d been considerate enough to think of sending to my friends, family, and loved ones (none of which overlap of course). Every time I got another one I thought that would be the catalyst to get me to do it however every time I started I thought what I was writing sounded dumb and then started worrying about all the people I needed to send it to and who I’d forget and if one group of them would get the same jokes that another group of them would get or whatever. And then I’d delete the e-mail and go pretend to do something more important.

The truth is my friends, family, and loved ones are the single most important thing to me, each one more important than the others (don’t try and figure it out, just run with it) and nothing I could ever say would encompass exactly how I feel. What I do want to say is thanks. Thanks for everything, the good, the bad, all of it. The pats on the head, the kisses on the cheek, the kicks in the balls. I wouldn’t be where I am right now, I wouldn’t be who I am right now with out each and every one of them, and each and every one of you. For that I’m eternally grateful. I’m sure I’ve never told you all that in person, and no matter how much I intend to as I write this I’m pretty sure I will continue not to going forward. So be it. You know who you are, and I really can’t thank you enough. I hope no matter what you are doing today, and this week, that it makes you smile and that you can get away, even for a few moments, from whatever bullshit you have to deal with the rest of the year.

xmas card