Friday, December 18, 2009

all flights are canceled. Well this is the current state of my vacation this year.

Now time to find some new flights, rebook them and get reimbursed for my loss of time and planning.

I'm kinda glad I got travel insurance and flight insurance for this trip.

So yes right now my flight from tomorrow is canceled and I will be in berlin a bit later. New flight is supposed to be on sunday...

...We shall see...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm driving car's since years and never actually considered changing anything on them. As long as there running I'm happy.

Now with the motorcycle, well I got it since 2 weeks now and did already the first modification to it. I replaced the standard light bulbs with some fancy high lumen light bulbs. And boy what a difference these make, I'm finally able to see something on the highway at night and feel save driving on it.

So far defiantly the most rewarding 100$ I invested so far and cheaper than fixing a couple of broken bones, because I didn't see the pothole at 75mph.

I also know that I will install the same light bulbs in the next car I own, I'm just amazed at the difference. It's really light and day.

planned for 2010, taking the bike camping in yosomete and later yellowstone.

required setup?

Something to work on in the next 4 month while I get my riding skills up.


saddle bags

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today I learned something new, how to push start a motorcycle and I have to admit it's a heck of a workout.

I got a call from a friend around 4pm that she is stranded and needs someone to deliver a can of gas to her car, sure not the big deal.
I was a bit frustrated since I just cleaned and lubed to chain, which was supposed to rest overnight. Reason being is that the lube can soak into the seals completely and 30 minutes are recommended, but a night was supposed to be better.

Anyway after riding to her house and picking up the gas, my bike didn't start anymore. Reason being, no electricity. At this point I remembered, wait I had the high beams running, while the engine was off. To keep the engine fan running, while lubing the chain. Seems that a motorcycle battery is drained much quicker than a car battery. In like 45 minutes or so...

So I googled on my trusty IPhone and found out that I can push start the bike, I just have to move it in first or second gear and it should fire up. 20 Minutes later I realized that the success is higher, if you turn the kill button off... Once this was done the bike stuttered and fired right up.

Guess I put in a new battery after my Christmas vacation, since I'm quite sure that the battery will be drained after being in the garage for 3 weeks, without running. And my car battery charger can't be used on the bike.

Also to take off the seat to reach the battery is kinda sad...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Since we had some sunshine today, the weather was nice and warm. So I decided to visit my girlfriend in sacramento on the bike and drive down the old river road.

View Larger Map

Well the idea was good, but turned sour wet after I hit a mild rain in woodland. But motivated as I was I still kep going and the tunes of pink floid - pusle joined me at the ride. I was successfully avoiding the squirrel of doom and this time there was no stray dog on the road (last time I went this way I ended up in the dirt with the truck, to avoid hitting a stray dog)

65 Minutes later I arrive happy and toasty warm in sacramento. Sure my clothes were dripping wet. But my outfit kept me warm and dry more less. Even the glove liner worked well enough at this 50F day (10 degree celsius) and we went to the store to look at some warmer gloves for me. I was kinda scared about driving back and not finding the road again. (No GPS on the bike and ihpone/TomTom are not cooperating)

Sadly it turned out they had no decent gloves at the store. I mean they have at least 500 pair of gloves, but not the ones I was looking for and there 'winter' gloves were a joke in the first place. The only gloves I liked and which were warm and toasty (and heated with an additional plugin!) were way to expensive. At least I got a 10$ neck warmer, which makes live much nicer. Than we stopped at REI so that Ashley can get some warm clothes for Germany.
It's great that she plans ahead instead of freezing her toes off, that's going to be my job anyway. Since we all know that I'm always freezing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

after I left work today I got surprised by the rain and it was so slippery that I decided to work the rest of the day from home.

Well I guess rest of the day is meant literally, since it's now 9.45pm and I'm still working. It looks like I fall into old habits and working on friday nights. Which turned out to be not the smartest thing todo, judged by past expiriences.

Anyway I decided to stop at the store and reward my self with some good chocolate, apple sauce and a 20 year old port. It's been a while since I had nice wine.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Since it was raining I finally had a bit time to take some pictures of jasmine instead of always riding her or trying to learn to control her.

So just some quick shot's from the garage and I will try to provide some better shot's once the weather is nice and I take her outside for a long ride.

Isn't she beautiful? She even has character. Today the horn and rear signal stopped working.
I already got the signal fixed, loose connection and I guess the horn is the same issue.

Monday, December 07, 2009

the biggest scam in the states seems to be the sales tax.

let's see you buy an item and you pay a tax for it? Ok I kinda agree with this so far. Than you take this item and sell it again. What happens to the buyer? He has to pay sales tax.

This translates into the following (fictive) example.

 person A buys a motorcycle and pays 10k dollar for it. The sales tax is 10%, so 1000$
 person A sells this bike to person B for 8k dollar, the sales tax is 800$
person B sells this bike to person C for 4.5k dollar, the sales tax is 450$
person C sells....

so for one item you the state got a total of 2250$ in taxes so far. Does this seem fair?

yes I had to pay sales taxes today for 'jasmine' And no I'm not happy about it. I just paid sales tax for my Passat 7 month ago...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

I was kidding since weeks, as soon as I get the bike it's going to be cold and rainning.

forecast for tomorrow:

-4 degree celsius
and rain...

i don't believe my luck...

look what saint nikulaus dropped off at my door last night

here name is 'jasmine' and she is a 2005 yamaha R6

I also got some wonderful truffels from my beautiful girlfriend

Friday, December 04, 2009

this mornign I stumbled over a deal for some logitech IEM's which were reduced from 400$ to 99$, one day only.

What did I do? Order 2 pairs like several other thousand people in the hope to sell it on craigslist for a quick 400-500$ profit. Let's see if it works out.... At least I got an order conformation before the logitech server collapsed.

today I came home and found a huge package on the door step. What could it be?

Surprisingly my REI clothes came a week early and now I'm almost ready for germany this year. And quite sure that I'm not going to freeze again...

Only thing missing are socks and glove liners now. Yes I hate nothing as much as to freeze and as I know my girlfriend she want's to walk all over berlin in a middle of a blizzard...

  • jacket - wind/water proof
  • jacket liner - fleece
  • jacket liner - thermo
  • underarmor pants (base layer)
  • underarmor shirt (mid layer)
  • rei light weight shirt (base layer)
  • rei mid weight shirt (mid layer)
  • rei fleece pants (mid layer)
  • jeans (top layer)
  • gloves
  • hat
if this is not enough, I'm really running out of options....

Thursday, December 03, 2009

tonight I started reading the novel 'First Blood' also better known as 'Rambo', because the movie is based on this novel. Sadly the movie is not very close to the novel and the worst thing...

in the preface the author analyzed the movie against the novel and gave away the main difference. He explained the different endings in the novel and the movie. Or let me translate this, on page 5 he gave away how the book ends.

Thanks, not really motivated to read it now anymore...

today I finally managed to connect my laptop to my little dot dac and have to say. The quality is quite impressive and I can't really complain. Now I just have to sort out all these bad quality < 256kbps mp3 files I have. Cause 128kbps sounds plain awful.

Advantage? Only have to buy cd's I really like and don't have as mpg3, since iTunes doesn't give you loose less compressed files :(

currently head direct is kicking out RE0 IEM for 79$ instead of 200$, since they are releasing the new version soonish.

There was no way I pass up such a deal and did not order these for my IPod/IPhone. Now all I need is a portable amplifier. I really like the iBasso T3 or iBasso D10, but I guess this has to wait till january/february/march.

But this also requires me to order a LOD for my I-Pod. 

After all I still have to pay for registration, insurance and delivery for the bike, which is going to be another 400$. Not to mention the great steakhouse visit :)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

yay my new cd and cooking book finally arrived. And so far I really like 'Anouar Brahem - The Astounding Eyes of Rita'

Not sure if I need a third cd from this band, since all there music sounds a bit similar. But it's just so calming and relaxing. Now one day I have to setup my system at home to rip the music from my cd's to a harddrive.


So I can listen to it on the way and while being at work.

something is seriously odd this year. For non apparent reason what soever all my laptops just die

  • T41p (company) - blown logic board, blown display, broken fans and other stuff. I fixed it so often, not worth it anymore. Had it for 5 years+
  • X60 (company) - blown display after 12 month , replaced by myself, now blown circuit board after 18 month. Had it for 18 months
  • mac book pro (privat) - blown display after 12 month
  • mac book pro unibody (company) - somebody dropped it during the airline flight and now I have no: wireless, webcam, bluetooth, keyboard lighting and to get it fixed I have to pay 1000$ for a new display. Not worth it, for 1300$ I get a new macbook and use the one without a display as a computing node. Had it for 8 Month
anybody sees a trend?

Now I'm actually considering buying a netbook, just to have reliable internet at home.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

progress with the quest of conquering everystate in the USA, 2 more are done...

  • new jersey
  • arizona
conquered means I was there for more than a lay over!

ich denke weihnachten kann kommen, endlich habe ich genug warme sachen zum anziehen...

  • under armor shirt
  • fleece pullover
  • fleece jacke
  • softshell jacke
  • fleece hosen
  • under armor hosen
  • handschuhe
  • muetze
I guess christmas can com, I finally got enough warm clothes to wear

  • under armor shirt
  • fleece sweater
  • fleece jacket
  • softshell jacket
  • fleece pants
  • under armor pants
  • gloves
  • hat

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

verdammt die aepfel sind nicht versunken in meinem versunkenen apfelkuchen...

how hard can it be?

2 days ago I tried to transfer some money from my account to the account of a friend in san diego. Online banking makes it easy and only charges you 10$ for a next day processing.

so I say ok transfer money, 20 minutes later I get a comformation that the funds are being transfered.

2 days later my online banking doesn't work anymore and the money is still in my account...

So I try to call the help line to figure out what's going on.

Great a voice activated system... Since I'm in no mood spell my name for the next 45 minutes I go to the bank to let them sort out this stuff...



me: hi I have an issue with online banking
teller: please call the help line
me: the help line does not accept my accent
teller: please wait, we get somebody to make the call for you
me: thanks

assistant: how can i help you?
me: this is my prolem
assistant: no problem

45 minutes later. Assistane was transfered from customer service to online service to general service to wire service and back to customer service...

So I have a comfirmation for a transaction which never happened. At this time I just order a secoond coffee and think glad that I don't have to do these calls...

75 minutes later she tells me she can't do anything about the transfer and she can't help me with online banking.

So I'm back at calling the customer service....

Which repeatatly hangs up on me. 30 minutes later, I'm trying the online chat system, Which seems to be a stupid robot. Which does not get the message.

Example of the chat log:

Faith: Do you remember your passcode? Please do not disclose it to me.
You: yes
You: but the passcode is not the problem
Faith: Wonderful!
You: the error message I get since 3 days is: ' * We're temporarily unable to process this request. Please try again.'
Faith: Please click on the above link to sign in.
You: i still get the same error message
You: ' * We're temporarily unable to process this request. Please try again.'
Faith: For security of your account we never store your passcode or have acess to them, I apologize, however, I will be glad to provide you a new temporary passcode immediately which allows you to change it to a permanent one, once you access the site. Will that be alright?
You: yes, sure
Faith: Sure, one moment please.

Surprisingly it worked. Only wasted 2 hours of my live and now running late with baking my cake...

update: just got an email that the none existing transfer was canceled...

Monday, November 23, 2009

today I finally managed to find the time and desire to update my little dot mk1 with some better componets which I have laying around since a couple of weeks.

Well what did I do?

and how did it changed the setup?

First of all the amplification dropped a lot with the 'new' tubes. Instead of the 25% I now need to increase the output to 85% for the same amplification.

And the sound did get much worse, specially at higher amplification levels. Right now I'm going to burn the tubes in for the next 48 hours to see if it improves, but I don't really think so.


opamp was worth it,
tubes, were a waste of 40$ for this amplifier. Maybe one day when I get my hands on a little dot mkIV I have better chances? We will see. I actually lust more after a mk VII or even Woo Audio 6 Special Edition which has all the features I could think off, maybe in a year or so when I also got some grado SR-325is or RS-1. My reward for another visa?

Hey I can wish and dream, but first comes a vacation in utah and antelope canyon! Maybe finally hawaii...

Right now my wallet has to recover for the next 6 month. These last 2 month were way to expensive and fixie left me flat broke...

correction after listening to these new tubes 5 more minutes. They sound absolutely awful to my ears.

So I will try to burn them in the next 5 nights and see how they perform. Afterward I will try to use the other opamp I got for comparison.

5 hours later and the sound becomes worse and worse. They are getting more and more static noise and I think they are broken. Time to send the seller a complain...

15 hours later and it's obvious the tubes are just really bad and I guess I stick with what I have till my hearing is more improved. So I can actually take advantage of the finer details in the music.

so my currrent expirience without a car is slightly frustrating.

Example I had togo to woodland 3 times this weekend at very odd times

friday 5pm - 11pm
saturday 6am - 1pm
sunday 6am - 1pm

Now since it was ridiculous cold I ended up renting a car for these days, which translates into another 200$ spend for renting the car and gas, frustrating at best...

So I'm looking now into the so called zip cars to see how this concept works. Which is basically a car sharing approach and could be cheaper. Not sure about it yet.

Why didn't I ride my roadbike out to woodland?

It was just to cold and dark, that's the only reason. But this is something of the past. Cause after renting the car I had the possibility to go shopping at REI, Cycle gear and Ikea which translates into

  • very warm heavy jacket
  • very warm light jacket
  • very warm heavy pants
  • underarmor shirt and pants
  • a new blanket and covers (Extremely warm and comfy, but makes it harder to get up in the morning)
  • candles, gluehwein and chocolate...
  • very warm gloves
  • sturdy pair of leather gloves
  • and some other stuff
so this should keep me warm in Germany and specially here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

and the car is sold. The funny thing is I would buy another Passat without hesitation again.

cost of ownership in 7 month: 7,754 - 3500 = 4254$ a bit much for my taste.

So no car for the next 12 month :(

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

mhm maybe I was a bit greedy.  I had a buyer for the passat today who offered me 3500$ and I turned him down because I wanted 4000$. Maybe I should had just sold the car to him and have one problem of my mind?

Well there is always another day...

Monday, November 16, 2009

after being back from new jersey and san diego I finally had enough time to figure out what's wrong with my car and got it running, after spending all friday afternoon under it and being covered in grease.

I even managed to replace the broken mirror controls and get it to pass the emission tests. So now I have to sell it in the next 90 days.

I just hope that it was the missing spacer which kept killing the speed sensors. So far it starts and runs fine and after an oil change feels like new.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

now I'm playing with the AH-D5000, my Denon 1940CI and little dot mk1+ since less than 24 hours and I'm deeply in love with the combination.

It's just so nice and relaxing to come home and listen to one or two cds with a glas of wine or to finish up some work. The only problem is. I don't enjoy my Shure headphones at work at all anymore. I mean they are nice headphones and sound great. But compared to my home setup they are just plain boring.

I just can't wear them and forget about them. Right now it just happens that I play 'Dark side of the moon' or 'Diversion bell' and totally loose track of time, till the music stops and reminds me that another hour just went by and I need to change the CD.
Now I just need the dac to arrive to connect the laptop to the amplifier. And how do LP's sound again? Help I'm addicted again and need more CD's...

I guess I'm taking my Mylene Farmer CD (California) with me at Christmas time or make a high res copy on the laptop...

The difference of a little amplifier is just amazing.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

today my little dot MK 1+ finally arrived which is the smallest headphone amplifier in the little dot program and it's right now unmodded.

And I just have to say I'm deeply impressed by the sound of it and currently only listen to it with the Shure SRH840 and can't wait for the Denon AH-D5000 to arrive.

Once I have the setup completed and learn the sonic profile, I will start to mod it a little. I already have the parts here, since they were rather cheap. I mean tubes and opamp cost like 5$ a piece.

What is missing?

I'm a bit unsatisfied with the bass and the highs are a bit missing. But that's more related to my low quality mp3's I think. Still waiting for the DAC and SACD player.

but it's really relaxing to just lay in the dark, have the tubes glow and listen to some Pink Floyd.

Monday, November 02, 2009

so after talking with the DMV this morning I'm not allowed to sell a Non Working Car in the state of California except to a Junk Yard.

Looks like I'm stuck with the passat a little while longer. Maybe I just put it into NON OP and cancel the insurance on it. And save till march for a newer car...

But the jeep with 70k miles down looks really nice and 4k is a pretty good price. Sure it's a 96, but 70k miles and 4WD, what do you want more.

and it's red!

Sure a 4Runner would be more reliable, but also twice as much and 4k I could easily save in 3 - 4 month, if it holds. It could even tow my passat to the junk yard...

Sunday, November 01, 2009

since the passat is more or less sold. Sale should be final tomorrow evening. I'm researching other cars. And most likely it's going to be a low mileage wrangler (<100k miles) or a high mileage 4Runner (160k around) and manual transmission.

Short anything with a 4WD and rated to be very reliable, since snowboarding season is coming up and I really want to go to Death Valley and UTAH next year.

There is one 4Runner which looks really nice, but 240k miles (it has a new engine and most parts replaced) kinda scare me a bit. I don't want another fixit car...

Oh we also got tickets for christmas.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I finally found the tools I wanted since a long time. Small precision tools to fix mac books, computers, glasses and just in general tiny things.
I think for 13$ it was a bargain.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

just discovered a new artist. Katie Melua and I actually really like her album 'Pierce by Pierce' to bad that it's only in 256kpbs and not 321 or higher.

But she has a wonderful voice, it just sounds great and relaxing. More or less perfect after a day of work.

Help I found a new addiction, buying CD's on iTunes...

the last weekend we decided to take a small trip to vegas which turned into an absolutely fun trip.

First of all we had a 2009 Toyota Avalon with close to 300HP as a rental car, which got an average of 30+mpg. Short plenty of power, plenty of space and affordable.

after driving for 8 hours or so we arrived in Vegas shortly before sunset and rented a room at the Excalibur for 99$ a night. Divided by 3 person = 33$ for staying in Vegas. Can't get much better.

After a couple of hours sightseeing and taking a lot of pictures.

we decided to grab some food. Well I decided since I really wanted to try some 'professional' brisket sandwich to compare it to mine.
For this we went to the supposedly best bbq place in town.

well, if this was the best place. I do not want to go to the worst place. Cause the food was over spiced and rather bad. That the waiter gave himself a 17.** % tip for lousy service didn't really help either.

At least I managed to take lot's of pictures of pretty motorcycles and some waitress posed on one of the harleys rather badly. Actually it was that bad that I did not even bother to keep the picture.

after this we tried to watch the water show at the bellagio, but sadly were to late and only got a quick shot of it

and decided to gamble instead a bit at the bellagio.

While we were there some random lady asked nico if he'd like to have a couple of show tickets and after a bit forth and back we figured out the tickets are for free and so we took them. It were 3 tickets, we were 3 people. Short perfect timing and combinaton.

The tickets turned out to be for Cirque du Solei - O and it was an amazing show. I actually ordered the CD afterward on my iphone.

 as you can see in the picture we were very close (4th row) and in the middle of the row. Short perfect tickets, which resale for 140-160 a piece normally.

After we spend the night in our fantastic hotel, we left and drove to the grand canyon.

We made a short stop at the Hoover Dam, fairly unimpressive.

and discovered some way more impressive chipmunks

yes our priorities were clear.But after all It was actually to see how low the water reserves are in Nevada/California.

normally the water covers the white area of the stone.

Anyway we continued to drive over the over Hoover Dam into Arizona. Another state done of my US map btwand arrived a couple of hours later at the Grand Canyon.

There we camped under an amazing sky full of stars

And like always we didn't plan very well and it turned out my sleeping bag was way to cold for these temperatures. Because originally we planned to camp at the Mohave Reserve, but it looked to boring that we decided todo something else instead. Short I was freezing all night and some animal kept pocking me non stop. I'm really shure it was a grizzly bear or mountain lion masked as this little fellow

he was actually so upset, that I didn't leave him into my tent, that he attempted to jump down the Grand Canyon the next day. For example his view was something like this....

No it's noy at an eagle, it's a raven in the picture...

Back to the topic. In the morning we made some breakfast on my sturdy little camp stove. Or in other words some tea and a tomato soup with pita bread. And continued to drive the last 5 miles to the grand canyon.
On our way there we discovered a bock (deer) who showed us that bathroom are optional...

I sadly did not manage to shoot him from the front, since a big bus came and kept honking at me to move my car off the road. I was also worried that he attacks us. Anne mentioned she can outrun him, but I was not to sure about this...

Once we finally arrived at the grand Canyon we took the opportunity to shoot hundreds of pictures. Since you never know when you are there again...

Afterward we drove back to Las Vegas, which was surprisingly quick. We only need like 4 hours or so. Afterall it was just one long straight road more or less...

One our way we discovered an old Airplane museum

And some strange looking houses....

When we finally arrived in vegas we managed find an even cheaper hotel. Called Hooters, which was not great. But 49$ for 3 People was a good price for this room and it looked ok. We even manged to watch the water show at the Bellagio this time

And loose even more money....

Also a tradition is, if you visit vegas you need to take a picture of fancy cars like...

a ferrari

a viper

and this was our weekend. 

As a final treat was that we had a nice Dinner at Buckhorns were an elderly gentleman gave us a 1994 Beringer Cabernet Reserve for free. It's a 140$ bottle of wine I could totally NOT appreciate...

The only sad part was that my wonderful Ashley was not with us on the Trip. Well maybe she makes it to the next trip. After all I'm going to San Diego in a week, afterward New Jersey and than Germany.

live is more fun with the right motivation and a couple of sweet deals:

a) 80$ instead of 400$, 2 weeks old - (Denon 1940ci) - nevermind seller backed out of it and can't even give him a bad review so I ended up paying 120$. Still a nice deal.
Second order got canceled too,  now I found one for 150$. I'm getting slightly frustrated...

b) 220$ instead of 699$, 200h used - (Denon AH-D5000)

c) 100$ no deal (Little Dot 1+, want to test a simple version before I go overboard again with the model I want)

d) Little Dot - Dac_I digital analog converter a bit to much money, but was recommended...

e) Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (SACD) - 10$ (I know I'm predictable), when will they release a SACD of 'The Wall' and 'Wish you were here' I wounder. Well I would be happy with the normal CD sometime.

and the best part is, If I don't like the headphones or the player and decide to sell them I can sell them without a loss and most likely make money out of it. Otherwise I would never had bought them.

Other SACD's order;

Norah Jones
Dire Straits - Brother In Arms
Elton John
Pink Floyed - Pulse

Now time to order tickets! for christmas :)

but the really annoying part is that the stuff need 1 - 3 weeks to get delivered :(

Monday, October 26, 2009

live is frustrating,

since I'm back from my wonderful vegas/grand canyon roadtrip, more about this in another upcomming post. I have nothing but issues with my software.

  • I have to increase the performance of the export by factor 8 - 10, ok a nice challenge
  • switch over the eclipse 3.5.* and nothing compiles anymore
  • a deadline is coming up till everything has to work
  • I have to perfect some features

and the stuff I actually really want to work on, just keeps piling up, like the quality and quantification module :(

Saturday, October 17, 2009

just bought my TomTom Navigation System app for my iphone. Let's see if it works better than my trusted 4 year old hiking GPS...

I just picked up my rental car, a 2008 Toyota Avalon and while it's a nice and fun car to drive. I would rather have a passat. The Toyota is just so whisper quite and doesn't purr at all. But well it does has close to 300hp and accelerates quite nicely and I'm happy that I have cruise control set to limit my self at 80mph.

But otherwise, all plastic inside :(

And I wanted the promised nissan maxima....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

last night was a slightly different night of going out dancing
 a friend of mine called me earlier that she is hosting a vip event
at the dream ultra lounge in sacramento and obviously I wanted togo

I did not expsect that this meant free alcohol of any kind and as much as you want
the vip party turned out to be only 8 people, including the head of security
and owner of the club and a couple of models.

short it was a fun night

this morning I started to research what this actually cost to host such a party. The smallest package is one bottle of alcohol, a couple of mixers and admission for 8 people. This fun cost 350$

now what did we have was:

2 different kinds of vodka
1 bottle of spiced rum
1 bottle of martini
couple of mixers

and we were between 8 and 15 people. Just coming and going. Which translates into  a custom package of 1100$ and 4 hours spend.
Way to rich for my blood...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

it was the year 2001 and I was highly into HIFI and spend countless amount of money on this hobby. Now 8 years later I'm still missing one thing of my audio equiqument and thinking about buying it again over and over again. At least once a month.

My beautiful Sennheiser HD600 headphones which I used to own and had to sell in 2003 because I was short on cash.

Sure it was nut's to spend 600$ on a pair of headphones no question about it. But I'm still considering doing it again and buying a nice amplifier for them. The big question is just, are mp3 files good enough?

The funny thing is, I do not miss my Dolby surround system or my speakers, which are now glorious plant support...

well if I see the statistic of my saving account right I could assume that I can ditch my car in 4 month and buy a replacement.
Right now If somebody would offer me 2k for it, he can have it and I wouldn't loose sleep about it. It's just amazing what I spend on it in the last 6 month...

  • blown ecu
  • keeps killing crankshaft position sensors => see ecu
  • flat tire
  • still possible blown catalytic converter
I guess  I never ever buy a used german car again. The next car is an old jeep or mustang. At least they have no electronics which can die...

This one looks good..

Monday, October 05, 2009

Well I'm back from Cambridge.

And I can only say if you ever have the chance to visit it. Definately do it. Sadly I had not much spare time between meetings, preparing my talk, practicing and catching up on sleep.

But at least I spend 4 hours on Friday running around and making a personal tour on the Kings College Chapel Roof, which gave you an amazing view over the city.

Short I want to go there again sometime and see more off it.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

in the last 62 month I've been on more airplanes than I ever though possible or wanted to be. Which included me staying at a lot of different airports and so I write down which ones are great, good or to be avoided at all costs.

The scale:

awesome - I was completely blown away
good - nothing really to complain about
indefferent - I don't really care
acceptable - minor issues, but ok
awful - never ever again

let's see

sacramento = acceptable
  • diners/bars close to early
  • check in is extremely slow
  • free wifi
san francisco = good
  • best airport food
  • if you don't fly united, than great and quick check ins
  • some more signs would be great
  • lot's of bars to choose from
  • slow customs/immigrations
chicago = indifferent
  • great architecture
  • slow customs/immigrations
  • food is ok
portland = awesome
  • extremely quick customs and immigrations, all done under 5 minutes
  • good bars
  • enough signs
los angeles = awful, avoid at all cost
  • directions are awful
  • extremely long in immigrations
  • friendly personal
  • impossible layout
  • bars close before 9pm
  • good clothing stores
ontario = indifferent
  • it's been so long since I've been there, can't even recal good or bad things
charles de gaule, paris = indifferent
  • slightly chaotic
  • frustrating layout
frankfurt am main = indifferent
  • frustrating layout
  • fast customs
  • quickish immigration
helsinki = acceptable
  • slightly chaotic
kopenhagen = good
  • great food
  • pricey
  • lot's of light
  • decent layout
berlin, tegel = acceptable
  • long checkin times
  • confusing layout
washington, dc = indifferent
amsterdam = indifferent
london heathrow = good
  • very good directions
  • lots of walking
  • nice shops and food
  • friendly personal

Friday, October 02, 2009

so the last 2 days I ended up spending in cambridge at the 10/2009 metacancer meeting.

Review sofar:

The meetings had some interresting talks, specially the impact of food and cancer. Like the risk to get some kinds of cancer is 75% if you eat 100g or more meat a day. Now the risk is reduced by 75% if you eat 100g or more fish a day.
But most of the meetings were a bit to abstract for me, since they are really not my field and I had the only talk about computer science.

Cambridge it self is a little wonderful town and it would be great to live here. The flair of the city is just amaizing and I really love the old architecture. That the local rugby team helped me at a pub to order food an drinks was just amazing.
Short the people are very friendly here and helped me countless times when I got lost...

I was only nearly run over twice. Thanks to people driving on the wrong side of the road. Well you could call it other side. But I did not exspect the way people turn into streets...

Picture wise, well I try to take some pictures today after the meeting is over. Because my flight is already at 4pm on saturday, which translates in me leaving Cambridge by 9am latest.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

this morning I got a ride from Ashley to the airport at 4am and after an uneventful flight of 1.15 minutes I managed to arrive in Los Angeles. Which is the worst airport I have ever been too. It has barley signs, it's complicated. The service unfriendly and the food is just plain awful.

And the worst is that I got to spend 9h here reading/working/watching movies and people are coming and going and I just keep staying. I can't even find people to talk to, since my gate is completely empty.

Short I'm bored out of my mind and pondering since 2 hours the idea to just get a beer or two. I also bought my first time ever internet access pass at an airport.

We shall see...

But I can't leave my spot, since I occupy the only working powerplug in this area...

Picture on the side is me after only 2-3h of sleep in the last 24 hours and being proud owner of a new fedora and haircut...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

well after a pleasant breakfast with my visiting friend Kim I decided to spend the rest of the day relax downtown or so.

Mhm but my car did not joined me into this and stopped working again. For some reason the speed sensor died yet again. So it's going to be parked for the rest of the month on the ramps till I find more money to put into. But what can kill a speed sensor in 60 miles. I'm running out of ideas and so does Dr. Google...
I mean last night the car was working fine without any flaws. Starting and stopping and over night it stops. I swear somebody is sabotaging me...
I'm so close to put the car in INOP and sell it as is for 1500-2000 as project.

The only thing which makes me happy if, is there is something blowing the speedsensors. It would had done the same if I brought it to a garage...

I was kinda undecided to go clubbing tonight, but it actually turned into a lot of fun and was nice to get out of dancing tonight and leave davis/troubles behind for a night.

Actually it was really fun, to begin it was Kim, Laure, Steven and me. Later we got joined by Kitty. Kitty is a glamor model I met last Thursday and can maybe introduce me to some people for possible shots. We sadly didn't make an even six as we planned, since she left her boyfriend at home. She said he doesn't really like togo out much.

club one: Social

it's more or less my favorite club in sacramento rigth now and was a lot of fun. Specially since we accidentally crashed a wedding and were happily dancing till we noticed that the average age was around 40 and people had smokings on, there were pictures of a couple displayed at every wall and the women had just stunning dresses. One in white...

club two: Dream Lounge

this was not so much fun since the DJ was rather bad and it was a touch to crowded. The highlight of this club was me chatting with a couple of Russian girls which thought it would had been funny to ask me in Russian for my name and that I was actually able to answer in Russian and politely asked them to speak English or German to me. Yes my first real world application of the 3 sentences of Russian I know.

club three: The Park

I'm not a huge fan of this club, since it's always to crowded. Because the dance floor is a touch small, but at least the DJ was good and we danced there for 2 hours or so. Well at least it was fun till some idiot decided it's cool to punch me in the ribs, because he felt like I'm invaded the space of him and his girlfriend.
I still don't know why I just walked away instead of doing something about it. Guess I have my smart moments and don't see the point of fighting in bars. Or maybe I just don't hit shorter people?


the best part of the evening was defiantly crushing the wedding. Which was a total accident. At least we were nice and didn't take advantage of the open bar.

Once we came back to Davis we had a couple of panninis at my place and called it a night. Now getting up in 5 hours is going to be a pain. Since I'm supposed to have with Kim, my former neighbor, some breakfast.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

well since my car is finally running again I decided to go shopping and buy some casual clothes for events, conferences and going out again. Since my wardrobe was not perfect anymore... Well it's never been.

So after driving 60 miles it looks like

  • no starting issues or funny noises
  • no leaking oil anymore
  • no burned oil smell
So seems it paid off that I worked on it a bit.

The big question left over is just, why can I fix this oil leak issue and diagnose it right, when a VW mechanic who works on VWs and Audis since 20 years is not able to find the cause for it? I mean I never touched a car prior to 4 month and still don't know what I'm doing. I just type the symptons into google and find possible causes.
Yes he fixed the leaking gasket, but he did not fix the actual reason for the gasket leaking. So frustrating...

About me and clothes,

Now why is it not possible to get 36 length pants at calvin klein anymore. They had gorgeous needle striped pants, which were 2 inches to short.

Well guess I have now a new pair of dress shoes, 2 new dress shirts and some normal shirts more. But I still need pants...

because my spare part finally arrived last night I could attempt fixing my car again this morning and it took....

12 minutes in total, slight an improvement to the last time, when it took 5+ hours.

What did I do different?

  • I knew where the part was located, 4 hours saved
  • I cut the old sensor in the middle instead of fideling with it for an hour, 59 minutes saved
  • I did not remove the coolant reservoir this time, 10 minutes saved
now the bill in total come out to:
  • wrong part 80$ - thanks ECS for providing this, you send me the part for a 1.8T...
  • comfirming diagnostic 90$
  • right part 40$
  • so 230$ total
compared to the quoted 360$ of the shop

Tonight I was kinda wondering what todo and so a friend invited me to join him playing settlers of catan, with the knights extension.

Well for some reason I was not really focused on the game and lost with having a total of...

3 Points

and we started with 3 points.

Short it was the worst game I ever played in my live.  Afterward we went to a local bar and played a couple of rounds of pool. Didn't do much better there.

Well at least I got out and relaxed a bit.

last night I went the second time to the davis firedance and took the camera with me this time.

And have to say I got some awesome pictures which were incredible hard to take. Why? Well you want to have the motion of the fire without it blowing out the picture and to have the body sharp and not blurry of the fire dances.

Ok let's think about it.

We have fast moving people - fast shutter speed
It is pitch black - low shutter speed
we have a an extremely bright fire - fast shutter speed
we don't know where the dances is going to move - small aperture
we want to capture the motion of the dancer moving the fire around him - slow shutter speed

short It's an impossible combination to take a picture off...

Is it?

well we can roughly predict where the dancer is going, so we can shoot at F5 - F8 and get him somewhat in focus

we can us an exposure which puts the flames nicely into the picture and don't overexpose it. And to capture the motion.

So after some test I ended up with 1s at F/5 to get a nice pictures of the flames, but the dancer was totally underexposed. So I fired a flash at him, next time bring a grid so it's only on him. But now we have a ghost, since the flash fires to early. At this point I remembered something about rear sync flash. So we capture the motion of the fire and the dance is underexposed. Now before the shutter closes we fire a quick burst of the flash and tada, we expose the dancer now.



now why are all these pictures black and white?
cause they look great like this!

Friday, September 18, 2009

the bright side is that my hands are finally ok enough that I can climb a bit and workout again.
But without my favorite rock climbing partner there is just not much fun in it, since nobody is there who motivates you or shares your accomplishes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

well today my new scale arrived, since I wanted to start to monitor my weight and live healthier. Including eating less meat, working out more and keeping balanced diet.

So first thing I noticed that I finally hit a BMI of 20, so I'm officially not longer underweight.
The second is that I'm getting fat in an unhealthy way. 19% Body fat content is way to much for me and I want to get it down to about 10%, without loosing mass.

I also listened to my best friend about my eating habits and will take my daily Dosis 'ensure' even if it taste awfully and is disgusting, but I can keep it in the office for a quick snack.

This stuff if basically a replacement meal and should help me to get the required amount of calories without taking to much fat to me, as I did lately.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

since the first speed sensor blew up, thanks for being the wrong part, I order now the hopefully right part and got it even on sale for 35$
Sometimes it's worth to shop around.

Disadvantage is that it needs a week to be delivered. But at least I can now write my first how to fix the internal of your car tutorial, if you have 2 left hands!

And it's never wrong to spend more time learning to write or to use your hands. Who knows maybe I learn enough, that I can sometimes even fix cars, if all other backup jobs fail.

Now I just need to borrow a car to get some new stylish clothes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

another uneventful sunday spend with trying the fix the car and watching the second rain in the year.

This time I only needed 45 minutes to replace the suction pump and the only hassle was to figure out how to cut the brass connectors without a tin clip. Turned out massive tree cutter do this rather well...

In total I saved around 400$ this weekend doing all the work my self. Which is nice and I start to get more confident with fixing my car. The big question is, does it fix the oil leak? The suction pump i took out was completely stuck and so responsible for the overpressure in the pvc system, which blew my gaskets. Now I just hope that the gaskets are not that shot that I really have to replace them. We will see in 1000 miles...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Last night I decided to grab some frozen yogurt with a new friend and were joined by a couple of other friends for a rock climbing session afterward. Which turned into a lot of fun and hope to repeat this soon.

Well besides the part that my car refused to start and we walked afterward to a bar for a refreshing beer. The rest of the night I ended up watching a very strange movie, but happily I don't remember much of it. What shall I say, some kind of early Tarrantino.

Now the 'fun' project was to get my car going again and a job which was supposed to take 50-60 minutes turned into a 6 hour project. Five hours of this were spend with actually locating the damn speed sensor. Which is located at the bell housing of the transmission at not at engine block as it was written down in the manual.

The good part is that the car is starting now and the bad part is that it sounds really strange and the noise seems to come from the serpentine belt, which is really tight. I didn't even work in this area of the car... Guess I do this tomorrow and replacing also the suction pump. Which I have laying around since a while.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

just a pretty area we passed while driving back to davis from twain harte