Oh Hai 2008! Cologne pt2

Köln Underground

Day 2 in Cologne, or Köln if you’re nasty. I actually ventured out from C4 today to see a bit of the city, also because I hadn’t eaten anything in like 30 hours or something so I needed to find eats. Which I did, so no worries. Outside of just wandering around I wend down and saw the cathedral like a good tourist. Holy crap that thing is big, and old, and wow. I also saw the Gerhard Richter stained glass window in it and holy crap that thing is big, and new, and wow. Here’s my flickr set with pics of all of that. I got yelled at when I walked into the cathedral because I didn’t take my hat off quick enough, meanwhile there were women all over the place with hats on that no one even looked twice at. More evidence of sexism I tell you!

Back at C4 I was shown the singing scanner. Oh. My. God. This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Well maybe not that cool, but really damn cool. Basically it uses the tons usually created by a scanner in the act of, um, scanning thing to play songs. Check out this video I shot of it for a better example of what I mean. I’m impressed. Even better is that this isn’t a hack, it’s actually something that was built into the firmware of this kind of scanner and just never publicized or something. I guess it needed a bit of programming to get it up and running but there you have it.

Later tonight I’m going out with some of the guys here to some kind of old factory thing to hear some local drum & bass. We’ll see how that goes. Tomorrow – Amsterdam.

Oh Hai 2008! Cologne pt1

Old Macs
So after finding this kick ass online alarm clock I was actually able to go to sleep and not worry about waking up in time for my flight out of Berlin and into… Cologne. Yes, I know that’s not too far – I actually spent more time at the airport before the flight than on the plane itself. I started watching The Future Is Unwritten while I was waiting and so far it’s awesome. I got on the plane and fell asleep before I was allowed to turn on any electronics so I didn’t finish it but it’s on my list of things to do in the next 24 hours or so.

There was some mix up with my ride from the airport which was coupled by no wifi at the terminal and my T-Mobile Austria SIM card having just run out of minutes and not being able to recharge it since I wasn’t in Austria anymore. So yeah, after about a hour I just jumped in a cab and headed over to C4 where I’m camping out for the next few days. I met Jens when we both spoke at Roboxotica this year and I was really impressed with his talk on Hacker Spaces at 24C3 so I was pretty excited to see this place in action. It’s actually way cooler than I thought it would be. Spending time here, at C-Base in Berline and at the Metalab in Vienna has given me a whole new set of ideas to chew on when I get back to Los Angeles. We don’t have any kind of places like this in town, though I know the people are there. I’m wondering if some kind of super complex co-working/hackerspace/haven might be workable. Hmmm…

I’m heading west from here in a few days.. more soon. Oh, also I posted a few videos from the last few days on my blip.tv account.

2007: The Year In Review, in photos

I’ve been saying that 2007 was the worst year of my life. Really massively shitty to tell the truth. And because of that I felt that I really needed to do something to tie the whole thing up and leave it behind me. Of course I couldn’t figure out the best way to do that, and then I saw what Larry and Mike were doing and I knew I had to steal the idea. So rather than write something I decided to go through my flickr account and pull a few photos from each month that represented what was going on. I didn’t have any idea what a monster of a task that was going to be when I started it, but once I got into it I had to finish it. When I did, and looked back over it all, I now don’t know if 2007 was a shitty as I’ve been saying it was. It was certainly full of change, and mostly unexpected. It had some very low lows, but also some very high highs. I lost a lot, but I think in the end I’ve gained even more. And standing here looking back over the last 12 months I don’t know how much of it I’d change if I had the chance. Of course there are some things I wish had played out differently, but overall I think it wasn’t really that bad, just took a lot of adjusting and looking at things differently that I had before. If 2008 has half the excitement that 2007 had it will still be amazing.

So, the pics are after the jump. I gotta warn you it’s a big page with a lot of photos that will probably take a while to load. I didn’t link to any blog posts, as you’ve probably read them all anyway, and sometimes photos tell their own story. In many cases you can click the photo for more on that specific thing, if you want. So this is just images and brief descriptions. Enjoy.

Looking Forward: 2008

I finally got around to catching up on some friends blogs and I really like the shortish “goals for 2008” posts that Kent and Micki made. Simple, straight forward and clear. I don’t know that I have these kinds of goals at the moment. Maybe I do and I don’t even realize it but the thing I’m walking away from 2007 with (more on that in a future post) is that, for me at least, it’s more beneficial to spend time today doing things I’ll be happy about tomorrow than spending time today worrying about what I’m going to tomorrow to be happy. If that makes any sense at all. I’m not even sure it does to me honestly. That said, if I had to make something up on the spur of the moment, in 2008 I’d like to see the following:

  • At least one of the several, amoeba like projects swimming around my head to take a more solid form. This could involved traveling, where and how to live, online video, making the world a better place, or all of the above.
  • Complete four consecutive Wolfpack Hustle rides, preferably in a single month.
  • Do what ever is needed to allow Metroblogging to become “full time” rather than “part time” for a handful of core people.
  • Get rid of more stuff.
  • Listen to more new music.
  • Travel more… which brings me to…

Where I've Been : Dec 2007

That’s a map of where I’ve been so far in my life, as for December 2007. Blue is where I’ve been, Red is where I’ve lived. In the next week or so I’ll be adding 3 new cities and 1 new country to that list but there is still far too much gray. My friend Mitzi wrote the other day about where she wanted to go in 2008 and it got me thinking. Anytime I’ve made big elaborate plans of where to go they have fallen through, yet in 2007 alone when at the last second I’ve just made up my mind to buy the ticket and figure it out later I’ve found myself in Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Montreal, Toronto, Vienna, Chicago, New York and soon several other places as well. Sure it helps to have a little planning, but it also helps to just say fuck it and go. So, where would I really like to go in 2008, though not really putting in stone that I’m going to try to go there. Every time Tim Ferris write about Buenos Aries I want to see it myself. And that checks off another continent. New Zealand or Australia would do the same. We’ve also got tons of bloggers in India/Pakistan that I’d love to visit in person. However I don’t know if 2008 will be the year for going new places or revisiting ones I am already familiar with. For sure I see myself back in DC and Toronto, and Vienna and probably Berlin. I guess we’ll just have to see. So much for simple, straight forward and clear eh?

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.