Sorry about the heavy comment spam recently. I have a filter that catches a ton of it, but there will always be some that gets through with the simple blacklist mechanism I use. I just add the new offenders to the list and delete the comments. Not much else I am willing to do about it.
Chizzy's company announced it got bought yesterday. No real details yet about what this means for the Zurich office, but the initial information is that it would take AT LEAST several months for the new company to make any drastic moves. More promising news is that the sales territory in Chizzy's company that she supports is larger and stronger than that of the company that bought them. There is a high probability that all summer plans still have the green light. At this point, they include:
- Paris the weekend after next
- Amsterdam and Einhoven in early June
- Potential weekend somewhere in mid-June (Tobin?)
- World Cup in late June
- Visit home in late June/early July
- Chizrents coming out in early Aug. for Ireland and Italy
- Bergomery's coming out in Sept for London and Switzerland
We both arrived back in Zurich on Wednesday after our latest trip to the Great Northwest. We both were there primarily for the big wedding but I made a bit longer of a trip out of it because my job allows it. Chizzy basically just had a long weekend. Sorry to anybody reading this who didn’t know we were there and might have wanted to meet up with us. It was a quick trip.
I just woke up from a 3 hour nap in the middle of the day. I am not even trying to fight the jet lag and that is bad news. I’m in that strange middle of the day groggy nap mood right now so the post might reflect that.
The rundown. I spent the first couple of days with the folks, which means I had a cold. My mom insists every time she has seen me since college I have been ill. We went out to Aberdeen to see Grandma for a day. She made a fantastic meal as usual. My cousin also took me out for a bit of Hoquiam nightlife. It was a good time.
We did an Auburn garage run the night Chizzy came into town and that was interesting. The cops decided not to show up this time around. They missed a good one.
The remainder of the time was spent in Seattle and a huge thanks goes to the Berliners who let us take over their bedroom again this trip.
Had the bachelor party. We are getting old. I don’t even think The Warrior fell down once. I don’t remember Piro screaming in anybody’s face either. Odd.
Yes, that is The Nightmare second from the right. It was quite a reunion with 7 of us being high school pals.
Nice work on the marriage, you two. Now you have to bring it, dude. I only have 41 photos from our entire trip back and half of them are unusable shots from inside the candlelit church during the actual ceremony. I don't even have one of the wife. Terrible. It was a pretty sweet wedding with only one cell phone incident. The reception was sweet and the photo booth was a huge hit. Good idea.
I add this mainly to show off my tux wearing skills but also to introduce my agent. Meet Findlay.
The food tour was highly anticipated and did not disappoint. Had pho four times. Had a huge slab of beef. Had a good burger. Had dim sum. Had delicious pizza a few times (including a couple of my favorite Gordon Jumps). Had Mexican at least three times. Had a warm pastrami sandwich with the meat piled high (unheard of here). Had a couple corn dogs. Had pork roast (at Grandmas). Had a wedding pasta bar. Went to Denny’s for a Super Bird. Went to IHOP for biscuits and gravy. Good job, America.
We also scored some nice gear on the trip back. Got a new laptop from Costco to replace my dead old one. Returned with about 12 new DVDs. But the real prize was the new video iPod that the folks got Chizzy and me as a joint B-Day present. The podcasts are already being downloaded and a stereo mount will be purchased very soon.
It was great to see everybody. The tentative plan is to come back for the 4th of July, but you never know. There are other events that are high on the list as well. I still hope nothing has changed when we get back. You stay classy, Seattle.
We hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. Just a quick post about how we spent ours.
Back-to-back updates are becoming very rare on the site and I don’t want to bump Chizzy’s latest post off the page so if you want to see some pictures we took in London have a look here.
A couple of Chizzy’s coworkers organized a Thanksgiving dinner on the appropriate day at one of their apartments. I thought this was a little strange only because the two organizers were English and Austrian, but it was informally billed as a work event and the company is American so I think they were just playing along. Who doesn’t love an excuse for a big dinner party anyway?
Constituting a full two thirds of Americans present, we were asked a couple times what Thanksgiving was. I mumbled something about Pilgrims and Native Americans and when it was clear I had no idea what I was talking about Chizzy practically pointed out it was just the day that marks the beginning of the Holiday Season in the states. And of course the eating of the turkey.
We didn’t have turkey though. We had chicken. It was great nevertheless and several of the old standbys made an appearance… mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce. We contributed to the desert with some caramel/apple/pecan tart thingies. I didn’t think about it at the time, but that probably was the very first Thanksgiving I didn’t spend with family. If you are ever in that situation I will go on record as saying you can have almost as good a time with a handful of Swiss, several Brits, an Irish woman, a Frenchman, a Dutchman, a Czech woman, and an Austrian gal.
Our hostess getting it done in the kitchen
The rest of the cooking staff... and all-around great gals
Despite the scarf, this is the other American at the party. The blurry hands were not the result of bad photography... this guy can carve.
They were calling this punch. I think the more appropriate term was spoodie and it was just as strong as the stuff you loved from the college days.
Swiss dudes. The guy on the right played golf with Tiger Woods a few years back.
Not too bad, eh?
Got this shot on the way home from dinner. It was actually snowing, but you can't make it out. Still... you got a Christmas tree there.
I haven’t forgotten about the site. The folks and I have just been very busy with traveling. I knew we were trying to pack a lot of stuff in, but I guess I didn’t realize how little time we would have to relax. We just have a few free hours now before catching our next flight. In Switzerland, we have been to Bern, Geneva, Lausanne and, of course, Zurich. Then we went to Rome for a few days. Then we came back, did a load of laundry and then went to Vienna (not Venice). We just got back from there last night, did the load of laundry and are off to Paris for the weekend. It’s been great so far and I’ll fill in all the details when I find some time between all the work I am falling behind on.
We’re heading back to Zurich on Saturday. There are still a couple events left on the calendar before we leave, but we haven’t found much time to actually post on the site so I thought it was a good time for a quick recap. It has been great to be home and see the sights. Witnessed the M’s win one in Safeco, saw Coldplay in Auburn, won money at the Drift On Inn, went to a wedding, went to an engagement party, Chiz got a cavity filled, saw a couple movies, ate at Taco Del Mar three times, sat for well over 4 hours in traffic, did a product release at work, had respective guys/girls nights out, had dim sum, got new clothes, sat around a campfire in 80 degree weather in a driveway, paid $40 for a tank of gas, and (most importantly) saw a lot of friends and family. A special thanks to Nick and Shelby who let us take over their bedroom while we were here and share in the benefits of apartment living where no doors are ever locked. It was reassuring how we were able to fall right back into the routine from the moment we got here and I think that is why we will always consider the Seattle area our home.
It will be good to get back to Switzerland though too. We really do like it there and there is still so much to see and do during the next couple years. My folks are heading back with us on Saturday for their first European visit and we are going to hit Paris, Rome, Vienna, and a bunch of Switzerland while they are there. Stories and pictures to follow. And it sounds like several others are starting to plan visits as well. We are really looking forward to those too.
And I still plan on posting more often when we get back and get settled. Stay tuned.
Chiz and I are coming back home for a few weeks and some people have been asking about our schedule. A combination of not maintaining good contact information and the assumption that only people who know us read this site has given me the courage to publish what I know here. I don’t presume that anybody cares, but I figure it’s worth putting out there in case somebody might.
Rough Schedule (subject to change)
Aug 3rd - Arrive SeaTac
Aug 3rd, 4th – “The Garage” in Auburn
Aug 5th, 6th - Big wedding for K&T in PT
Aug 7th - Arrive Seattle (thanks Bern and Shelbs)
Aug 8th-10th – Three day work week at our jobs with Seattle nights
Aug 11th – Dentist (might work, might chill, might sleep, Dante’s?)
Aug 12th – Possible engagement party for S&R
Aug 13th – Lacey day (Sorry Mom. Might not be staying any nights)
Aug 14th – Auburn or Seattle?
Aug 15th-17th – Work week (Coldplay on Tuesday in Auburn)
Aug 18th – Work day? FG party
Aug 19th – Night out in Auburn
Aug 20th – Return to Lacey and heading back
We certainly want to see everybody. If you want to hang out while we are there, please send us your phone number and Chiz will put it in her cell phone and we will call you when we get in.
I think the correct amount of time has passed that I can freely publish this information. If you don't know by now you probably weren't going to receive a personal call anyway.
STEVE AND RANA ARE ENGAGED
Yes, the word is out. Congratulations you two. We were all shocked. I do not know if Steve got down on one knee. I did.
I’ve completed a bit over a month of German class. After the initial two week introduction, the class size grew quite a bit and now there are more adults. Still nobody speaks English though (including the teacher), which I find odd only because everybody else in the city seems to speak it fine. We lost the gal from Beirut but added a guy from Bosnia, two guys from Brazil, a guy from Italy, and a woman from Portugal. The damn kids are still in there. We got a new teacher as well. He is from Austria originally and looks exactly like you would picture a German teacher to look. He’s really cool though and ends up laughing quite a bit as we struggle through.
The pace of the class has really picked up and we are now in the midst of learning all the good stuff. Having 6 different words for ‘the’ can be confusing to a lad from Lacey. For example, one of the practice sentences would have translated word for word to: Now, open the man the child the door. The meaning of the sentence once you replace ‘the’ with the correct cases is: Now, the man opens the door for the child. Just for completeness for those learning at home, the actual German sentence was: Jetzt, öffnet der Mann dem Kind die Tür. You can see how practical my understanding is so far.
We had a test on Thursday and got the results back on Friday. The scale here, from worst to best, is 1 to 6. I got a 5 which was the second best grade in the class behind the Italian dude. The grades the children got brought them to tears. If they would stop messing around a pay attention maybe they wouldn’t cry like little babies.
Anyway, not terribly interesting but this is pretty much what I’ve been up to (aside from working very hard, J and Steve) so that is what you get to read today. It could be worse. You could be reading about what Chizzy does from day-to-day, which from what I can gather involves a lot of trying to figure out how to get a data storage device shipped from the Netherlands to the UK.
I know you guys in Seattle had a scorcher this past weekend too. I still read the news. I’d guess it was up around 90 here as well. And although I am incompatible with sunlight, I lathered on the 45 SPF and took to the city. Why? Because this weekend marked the arrival of our first official visitor.
And the award for the first person to visit us goes to….
Juliane Moore! No, it’s my sister-in-law Carolyn. The eldest female of the Cundiff clan was out in London after finishing up her MBA program and made a stop off to see her sister and me. We took her up to Utlieberg to look down on the city and it was the first time we had been there on a clear day. We saw stuff similar to this.
Continue reading "Hot Weekend"...
We moved in to our permanent place this past weekend. When Chizzy and I were looking for rentals in Seattle we'd drive down the street and almost invariably be able to tell which house was for rent before seeing the actual address. It was usually the worst looking one on the block. So we thought it was funny when our new building stood out too. It isn’t rundown (I haven’t seen anything rundown in this city); it’s just a completely different style than everything surrounding it. Guess which one it is
Continue reading "Four Months"...
My blarg.net email account expired a little while back and I didn’t renew it. If I was any good at keeping up my ‘contacts’ list in Outlook I would be sending this out via email but… well, I’m not. I’m very bad at that. And now everyone suffers. Anywhoo, I think I may have left some of you hanging without my new email account. I’m afraid to simply post my new email address here because it will probably make some spammers’ lives very easy.
Simply replace the description between ( ) with the appropriate answer to unlock the power to email me.
(My first name)@(the domain name of the site you are now looking at right now)
My first name is Bryan (note to good friends: that’s spelled with a ‘y’). When you do the domain name portion, don’t add the www part. It’s just firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chizzy can be reached in the same way by just using ‘chizzy’ as the first part of the address.
Here she is in a Swiss fine arts museum with neon lights arranged in an artful pattern by some dude from New York.
I know the picture posts are the most fun, but we haven’t done a news update in a while and there have been a few little developments. The first bit of minor news is that we finally got our permanent car. It’s a new black VW Golf and it’s pretty nifty. Although, we are seriously considering giving the car back and see if we can just have the company put that money towards our public transportation costs. We never drive around here and it is just a waste to pay to lease and park a new car that is never driven. Tram money would be thousand times more useful.
We had a nice long four day Easter weekend here. Chizzy has been working crazy hours and she really deserved it. We just used the time to explore the city some more and relax. Our options were pretty limited anyway since a holiday here is taken pretty seriously and finding stores that are open is very difficult. We did that Lucern trip on a Sunday on the coldest day we’ve had and we just had to walk around the streets looking in windows because nothing was going on. We took advantage of Saturday and went to the Zurich Zoo. Zoos are always a fun time. We probably should do a picture post about that one. The sloth was a big highlight because it reminded us of Steve. Actually, they had a ton of cool animals there and I’ve never seen so many monkeys. We lucked out and got to see feeding times for the orangutans, gorillas, and the lion. We picked the right day to make that trip because the next day was raining. But that was OK too because another bit of news is that all of our boxes have been shipped and we now have all of our stuff. We unpacked a couple board games and had some fun with those until I lost like 7 straight games and the fun stopped.
This also means my new PC and XBOX are here. It took all of two minutes for me to plug in the XBOX, completely fry it, and take out half the power to the apartment with it. I did put a voltage converter on there so I don’t know what happen. Anyway, I don’t feel too bad about it. It wouldn’t have looked right on the PAL standard TVs here and I would have had to have US games shipped to me. I think the real consolation though is that my new PC is Half Life 2 capable and I’ve been playing that. I think I can revert back to PC gaming for a couple years. Maybe XBOX 2 will be out when we get back.
The biggest news is that we have moved again...Continue reading "Spring is coming"...
We thought it would be fun to prove how much we miss and keep tabs on everybody with a post that reports the news from back home.
To begin, we have two very big CONGRATULATIONS to hand out. First, our good friend Rainier has been accepted to at least two law schools and looks to be leaning toward the Minneapolis school Hamline to spend the next few years of his life. Huge news and we are really excited for him. He might win the award for first visitor as he wants to make a quick Europe visit before he starts school in the fall.
Second, our good friends Tim and Kristina have got engaged and plans are falling quickly into place for an August wedding. Chizzy remains proud that she was present the night the two first met at Targy’s. She is less proud she allowed Kristina to be driven home a couple blocks by a complete stranger but it seems to have worked out. Congratulations to them and now maybe Tim can introduce Kristina to his mom. Joking. Come on.
We drove from Montesson to Zurich last Saturday. If you read the Brussels post a couple weeks ago you might have got the impression we learned our lesson about heading out on road trips without proper maps, planning and phone numbers. Chiz definitely took those lessons away with her and tasked me with figuring out the route, checking weather conditions, and actually driving. Either my laziness or my manliness made me believe what we experienced before was only a one time event so the extent of my exhaustive research was to, once again, head to mappy.com and type in the addresses.
Then she came home from work on Thursday night and reported the car broke down. Another pain, but we are growing accustomed to nothing going as planned so we discussed all the plane, train, and automobile options (bearing in mind we had boxes of stuff and Tolsty to deal with). She was able to get a rental car figured out through work on Friday afternoon but it turned out to be a manual transmission and I’m less than impressive with those. This is now our third car if you are keeping track. It was mutually decided without discussion the added stress of Chiz driving was probably less than the stress of me stalling on some hill, grinding gears, and generally looking like fools.
We get to the end of the apartment driveway on Saturday morning at 10:00 and she asks me which direction to turn. I say I don’t know and I thought she knew where the freeway was. This didn’t go over well at all and I was subjected to a lecture about how I have nothing to do all day yet I still can’t find time to do the simple things she asks of me. I can only agree that I am terrible and we have to head to the grocery store to finally buy a map of the Paris suburbs our last day in town. We never did actually get lost but there was tons of snow just like she was worried about and I again was the rightful bad guy for not having researched it. The snow and traffic turned our 6 hour trip into a 10 hour crawl but we were rewarded with a sweet apartment on our arrival.
Click to continue reading this post if you want to see pictures of the temporary place.
We have left France. Even though I think quoting Nelson from the Simpsons makes for a funny title to this post I must admit none of the French stereotypes ever really played out. There were a couple very funky smelling train cars but I really only got a bad whiff of one person during our stay there. Granted, our suburban location didn’t really facilitate mingling with the locals. I initially thought our location would have compounded any communication or nationality problems because of the scarcity of tourists but people were quietly tolerant of our English speaking ways.
I did really enjoy the bread as everyone predicted and I do now eat moldy cheese (if it’s supposed to be moldy). We tried a fair amount of wine but I still never figured it out and it tastes the same to me as back home. I was amazed by the patience of customers at the grocery stores who just accepted that a trip to pick up some food would involve a half hour wait in the checkout line. Surprisingly, (and thankfully) that patience also carried over to the roads where horns are rarely used and people were generally very defensive drivers. Parking was predictably difficult but simply stopping in a lane and turning on the hazards will buy you a free half hour. If you do opt for parking illegally you will only be fined 11 Euro or, in the case of Mike the co-worker, simply be towed a block or two down the street to where you should be.
Public transportation is great in the city and I am proud to say we hit the RER, Metro, and the bus system. However, the local bus service left a lot to be desired in Montesson. Aside from the erratic bus schedule the union would strike regularly without notice and just leave a bunch of old ladies sitting there in the cold. I think the strikes were worse than normal while we were there because the whole 35 hour work week laws were a hot topic and were being debated in Parliament.
The coolest thing I found about France is the liberal use of the term Voila (wa la). I guess it translates to ‘there it is’ but it is more like the Swiss Army knife of any verbal exchange. One time I just stood in a café and said voila over and over until I was served a sandwich. I now understand why magicians use it a lot.
I would love to go back to Paris in the spring or summer to see it bursting with people. I don’t normally enjoy crowds but that seems like it would be a cool experience.
So, we are here in Zurich. Look for an update soon about our trip here and our temporary housing.
That title has a loose connection to contents of this post. If you can figure out the reference before the end of the post you are one classy individual with cultured tastes.
I stayed up to watch the Superbowl last weekend. The internet was unavailable that night so I wasn't positive the exact start time or if it was even going to be shown on one of the limited number of channels. From experience, I guessed it would start around 4 pm PST and I recalled how the hype surrounding the Super Bowl always included statements like, "viewed by 1 thousand trillion people worldwide". So starting around midnight I just surfed through the stations until I found it. I only missed the kickoff... and the third quarter. I was fighting off sleep and although Paul McCartney was really brining the energy I drifted during his performance and didn't wake until the start of the fourth. The score was very close at that point and I was able to finish the game by painting team logos on my face and chest and doing the rarely seen one-man-wave.
The commentary was in French and although I had no idea what they were saying they seemed to be conveying the proper level of enthusiasm. I missed out on the commercials too but they did something that I thought was pretty cool. During breaks they would cut to the 2004-2005 season highlights of a particular NFL player and put the achievements in context. I guess they were just helping educate the viewer about what makes a good football player and to show some cool catches and runs. Even though I had McNabb and Westbrook on my fantasy team this season and they were the only reason I didn’t finish in last I found myself pulling for New England. Maybe the name Patriots was working on some subliminal level as I sat and imagined the parties taking place half way around the world.
Now to football news of the other sort. World Cup 2006 is being held in Germany in the summer months and tickets are already going on sale. They do it lottery style and the first drawing is being held at the end of March (next month). If anybody is truly interested, can plan 17 months into the future, and wants to try to attend a game with Chiz and I then drop me an email so I will know how many tickets to put when I apply for them.
And now here are some lyrics from Sports and Wine by Ben Folds Five:
Destiny was calling
Wednesday you'll be crawling
And you'll pray to be there soon
With sports and wine
Some men never grew up
Fortunate like you
Some men never found out
What it takes to be a dude
That's Sports and Wine
We got back on Monday night from a long weekend trip to Zurich. Zurich left a very good first impression on me. The old city and outlying areas are very nice and there are a ton of restaurants and shops and despite the freezing temperatures there were a lot of people out enjoying them.
Looking back towards city center. Standing where the Limmat feeds into Lake Zurich directly behind.
I'll get some more city pictures up in a while in the Travel category. In the meantime you can check out the latest Photoblog entry to see pics of one of our excursions.
When I got off the plane in Paris and collected the cat and luggage on a cart and headed to the door clearly marked "customs" I braced myself for a taste of Euro-style bureaucracy. I was a bit worried because the papers I had for Tolsty all said Switzerland on them due to our change of plans. Yes, I do worry a lot in general but I felt justified this time because before the woman at the USDA Veterinary office finally said it would probably be OK she let out a long sigh and said, “They probably aren’t going to like that”. So, here I went through the frosted glass doors ready for a stern glare and an even sterner lecture. I was amazed that the only face waiting for me was a smiling Chizzy. That’s right. Not a single check of anything was done at the airport there. No passport check. No customs. No pet paperwork check. We waltzed right out to the car and now Tolsty and I are wreaking havoc all over the place and nobody knows we arrived unchecked and without lecture.
Laughing about our unfettered access to the country in the carefree days
But now our reign of flying under the radar looks like it is in jeopardy…
Well, the entire family has made it to France. We are in temporary housing in the quaint little town of Montesson. Depending on how long we will be staying in France, we should be moving to Paris pretty soon. Tolsty travelled really well for 13+ hours in the little cage and adjusted quickly. He's already meowing with a nasal accent. Much better than me as I can only produce blank stares saying "Par-lay-voo On-glay" to people.
This is essentially just an initial hello to exercise the site a bit. J hooked me up big time with his Nullstream templates. Tweaks should be coming soon.