Reindeer Games

One of my daily stops on this wild web is my recent activity page on flickr where I can see which photos I’ve posted that people have commented on. Recently I was talking with a few friends about the different uses of flickr, some people use it as a showcase for their best photography and others use it as a bit of a window into their lives. I fit in the latter category, and so it’s interesting for me to see what people think about what I saw or noticed enough to put online. Yesterday there was a new holiday wish posted on this photo:


It was an innocent enough comment, but I really wasn’t something I was expecting. Not so much the comment, but seeing that photo. You see, that photo isn’t recent. It’s from last year, Christmas eve on 2006. I’m not really sure where I’m headed with this post so if it seems scattered please forgive me. For whatever reason I’ve never been a huge fan of Christmas. I mean, I appreciate the concept of what it all stands for but it always struck me as the kind of thing people should just be doing all year around, not just on one day at the end of the year. Plus for the majority of my life the entire holiday season was filled with some kind of family related stress. This wasn’t anyone’s fault, and I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining because I know everyone always had the best intention but there’s something about being worried if you bought someone the right gift so as not to hurt their feelings, how to react if someone didn’t buy you the right gift so as not to hurt their feelings, how to react if someone bought you a gift which tells you very clearly they don’t know who you are at all so as not to hurt their feelings, who to spend what time with so as not to hurt their feelings? See the theme here? Rather than just relaxing and enjoying friends and family this time of year has traditionally been, for me at least, a lot of juggling so as not to hurt other peoples feelings. The cliche about needed a vacation after a vacation was never more true than when I’d return from Christmas holidays. Plus all the drama about the consumerism of it – are you buying gifts for everyone you should be, are those gifts in the right price range, what about people you bought gifts for last year but haven’t seen since, is it rude to not spend money on them this year. It goes on and on. I couldn’t wait for it to be over, really.

I’m Too Sexy For Teh Webs

Last night via IM from the other side of the world Crystal tipped me off to the global conspiracy to make me blush so bad that I pass out, which if true being named on Violet Blue‘s list of Top 10 Sexiest Geeks of 2007 is checkmate. That means she’s thinking dirty thoughts about me, which is just too much to handle! Wow… Major huge congrats to my fellow winners (who are all totally out of my league) Veronica, Frontalot, Ariel, Dino, Tanja, Jonathan, Leah, Gina and Kurt. As well as the awesome runners up. Finally, some web press that actually means something and that I might be able to work to my advantage. Hello ladies!

Back Home in Vienna

Creative Commons 5 year party @ c-base / Berlin

That sure is funny to say, but it’s pretty accurate at this point. After a week of planes, airports, security checks (including 3 at London Heathrow where I only changed flights!), conferences, events, hotels, and sleeping on assorted floors around Europe, being back in my own flat in Vienna is extremely comforting. The empty fridge not so much, but I’ll take care of that tomorrow.

The Creative Commons 5 year anniversary at c-base in Berlin was pretty fantastic. A few hours of talks about CC and demoing CC’d web projects (of course that was all in German so it was lost on me) and then tons of cake and adult beverages for those who wanted to partake. I was rocking a Club Mate or four, as you’d expect. Here are all of my pics from the evening and yes, that really is a European version of Edward Fortyhands. Of course they don’t know what a 40 is, so maybe this is Edward halfaliter hands.

I forgot to mention another super fun part of this week’s travels. When I got to Austria I bought a T-Mobile SIM card and threw it in a world phone I’d borrowed for the trip. It’s a prepay deal so I just buy a block of minutes and use them till it runs out and then buy more. Technically you can call a number and see what amount you have left, but it’s in German so doesn’t so a lot for me. Well, right after I got to France it ran out. I couldn’t buy minutes from any vendors there or later in Berlin because it’s T-Mobile Austria, not T-Mobile France or T-Mobile Germany which I guess aren’t linked enough to allow that. In theory I should be able to call in and just buy minutes with a credit card as well, but the SIM needs to be registered to an account to do that, and the number to call to register isn’t free, so I can’t even do that. I’m back in Austria now but since every single place is closed on Sundays I have to wait till tomorrow to get it running again. The slightly interesting part is turns out SMS messages are free to receive, so I keep getting them from friends and from Twitter, but I can’t respond which has made things a little difficult.

Also, bike nerds, I finally spotted a few fixed gears. I saw a few in the Plazes office in Berlin, and then tonight walking around Vienna actually saw two of them. Guess this isn’t the multi speed wasteland I thought! Also, Joi just got a new one, gonna have to send him one of our sweet new IAAL/MAF spokecards for it. Here’s the first one I saw in Vienna…

The first fixed gear I've seen on the streets in Vienna

Checkpoint Charlie


Paris was hectic and insane. It was great to see some old friends, meet some new ones, and do a bit of networking but in hindsight the majority of my time there was spent walking the streets looking for a hotel, sitting in the lobby of a hotel I wasn’t staying at, or sitting in the room of the hotel I was staying at watching live video streams of the LeWeb3 conference happening down the street. I probably could have done that from Vienna, but oh well. More stamps on my passport if nothing else. I left Paris at stupid o’clock yesterday morning, flew to London, then backtracked to Berlin. Clearing customs in Berlin was the first time this entire trip that the agents have given me a second look. I guess my travel is starting to look suspicious.

Agent: You were in France this morning?
Me: Yep.
Agent: And now you just flew here from London?
Me: Yep?
Agent: Seems like a long route to take, any reason for it?
Me: That’s a good question, if British Air will answer it for you I’d love to hear it.
Agent: Is this business?
Me: Nope, visiting friends.
Agent: How long are you staying in Berlin?
Me: About 48 hours.
Agent: Then you return to the US?
Me: No, to Vienna, I’m living there for the month. That flight is also via London, if you can believe that.
Agent: ..
Me: .
Agent: Have a night stay in German. *stamp*

Unfortunately there are no trains that run to the Berlin airport so I went to the taxi stand and hunted down one that was covered with stickers of all the credit cards the accept. Half hour or so later we pulled up to the flat where I’m crashing and I hand the guy my plastic. He’s not thrilled. I point to the stickers and he just shakes his head no. I pay the man in cash and go on my way. The rest of the day was filled with food, coffee and friends. Both online and off. Tonight is the Creative Commons 5 year anniversary party at C-Base then then I’m back to Vienna tomorrow. Very excited about both.

Berlin Streets at night