Monday, April 26, 2010

Show's Done

Yesterday afternoon we wrapped up the show after a long slow day. It was family day so most people were outside enjoying the sun and the huge equipment on display that the kids enjoy. These companies put on rock shows for the crowd. The bring in these huge pieces of equipment with big sound systems and large monitors to put on a show. It is impressive. One company, Liebherr, was reported to have spent 50 to 80 million Euros on their outdoor display. They brought in their own buildings and had to put in water, waste and electric lines to support them. When they leave they have to pull it all out.

After the show we packed everything up and headed to the apartment to clean up for dinner. For dinner we headed for downtown Munich to find a restaurant. We ended up at a place that is over 100 years old and sat outside on the sidewalk. The waitress was my favorite of the trip so far. She was feisty.

When we came by the restaurant we picked up a menu and my coworker began translating. The waitress overheard and offered us a menu in English. We accepted. After sitting down I told her that my coworker spoke German and if she wanted she could speak with him. She refused, she wanted to speak English with us. After dinner we ordered dessert. My first inclination was to order chocolate ice cream but after she told us there was a cheese cake roll I decided on that, my coworker ordered the ice cream. Upon delivering the dessert she handed me mine and said "here is your flavorful sweet." and then she turned to my coworker, handing him his ice cream she said "here is your boring ice cream." We laughed. She was like this the whole meal. We both agreed that she liked me better because I was out of my element trying new things and she liked that I helped her with her English.

By the way, the beer of the night was Hacker-Pschorr's Dark White Beer.

On our walk back to the underground we came across this. It is a memorial for Michael Jackson. Candles were still being lit and flowers looked as if they were recently placed. A couple local ladies were there looking at it and laughing. I told them that he must be missed more here than in the States because I didn't see anything like this there. They said they knew he was big here but not that big. They didn't like the memorial.

This was a random shot I took of the typical street downtown Munich. I can't imagine driving here let alone parking.

That's all for now. Miss you all at home.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bauma Trade Show

Munich, Gemany - Bauma Trade Show.

My flight made it just fine. The ash couldn't stop me!

Our booth is a bit on the boring side at the show so I am choosing not to show it to you. Instead I will show you our neighbors who are helping us through the slow times. The two young ladies are from the Czech Republic and love practicing their English on us. They also have been supplying us with coffee and bier. The bier is a local bier from their city and it is quite delicious.

The gentleman in the photo is from Moscow and is fun to speak with. Fortunately his English is excellent because by Russian is nonexistent. He likes to talk politics and get my take on Obama and the healthcare debate. He didn't really have a position, he just wanted to hear mine.

Tonights dinner was traditional German food, pizza and bier. Yummy!

We ate outside in the courtyard of the local mall next to the trade center the show is held in. The servers were from Italy so it made our experience all the more authentic. The bier was a white bier (Hefewiezen), made by a local Munich company Paulander, and went very well with the pizza.

That's all I've got the time and energy for tonight. I've got to get to bed so I'll be ready for the last day of the show tomorrow.

Gute Nacht

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Barefoot Running Update

I'm still wearing the crazy shoes for running. Funny how much attention they get. This week I had a guy pull up beside me in his car slow down and just stare at my feet. He didn't say anything, maybe because I had my earphones in, he just stared then drove off.

I'm running about 3 miles every couple days. The pain I was promised by others who have worn these shoes has come and gone. The most pain came in the lower part of my calves and the highest part of my quads. One day at the gym I was wearing my regular running shoes on the treadmill and my feet were burning in pain for the first five minutes. Maybe my feet missed the barefoot shoes.

On Thursday I think I must have run over five miles. On my run I go through the neighborhood and enter the nature park near our house. My normal path I run about 3/4 of a mile in the nature park. On Thursday I decided to mix it up a bit and take some different paths. I got lost. After sometime I found a familiar trail and found my way out. When I got home my daughter commented that it took me a lot longer than normal. I decided to look at the map I have of the nature park and see if I could retrace my path. After a good long look I think I figured out where I went wrong, which added almost two miles to my nature park leg of the run. I was sore.

So far the Vibram Five Fingers have not been worn to the gym. Mostly because I don't want to have to go through the inevitable awkward "what is that guy wearing" stage. For now I'm content to use them outside on the road and trail and keep the Nike's for the treadmill. I will, however, be taking them to Germany, ash permitting, to run the streets of Munich.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

10 Commandments Mash-Up

This is funny. I don't care who you are. Funny!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Future Soldier

Today Alex and I had most of the day to ourselves. We hung out, he played video games, I read, we watched Iron Man, and he made a pronouncement:

"Dad, when I'm 18 I'm going to join the Army."

He's 8 going on 9 and I have no doubt that he is serious. Many kids have ideas of what they want to be when they grow up that never come to fruition. I for one was going to be the next Frank Lloyd Wright, but instead I'm working for the man selling parts. Alex wants to be a police officer. I think one day he will be one and a damn good one.

We've told him that a good step in becoming a good police officer is to have military experience. Also, we've told him that a college education is a good step too. It didn't come as a surprise to me that he left out the college part of his future plans. You don't find too many eight-year-olds who look forward to more school. For the most part they look forward to summer and the latest and greatest video game.

As his dad I want to be an encouragement to him and his hopes and dreams. I'd be proud to be the father of a soldier.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Big Read

As a challenge to myself I am reading more non-fiction than fiction. It is easier to pick up a book by David Baldacci or James Patterson than it is William Zinsser or David Cordingly. Patterson and Baldacci provide what I refer to as "mind candy" - quick easy to read fluff that fills the brain for a bit and is gone. William Zinsser and David Cordingly make you say "who?".

Here are the titles and back page descriptions of the three books I am reading simultaneously and why I chose to read each one:

  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser

    "On Writing Well
    has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity, and its warmth of style.

    It is a book for anybody who wants to learn how to write, whether about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts, or about yourself. Its principles and insights have made it a cherished resource for several generations of writers and students."

  • Lately I've been doing a bunch of writing and editing at work. The work I'm editing is by someone who doesn't know I'm editing it, but I do it anyway. His writing tends to be a bit wordy and fluffy. After reading a blog post by Donald Miller titled Read These Seven Books, and You'll be a Better Writer I decided to pick up this book based on the description he wrote and reviews I read online. I guess it's a classic - who knew? I didn't. So far I am about a quarter of the way through the book and have found it to be a great help both in the editing I'm doing and my writing for work; since I don't really edit what I write here because most of it is from the hip it may not spare you from some of my bad writing habits. Zinsser's passion for writing, words and structure is contagious.

  • Under The Black Flag by David Cordingly

    "This rollicking account of the golden age of piracy is packed with vivid history and high seas adventure. David Cordingly, an acclaimed expert of pirates, reveals the spellbinding truth behind the legends of Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, Sir Francis Drake, the fierce female brigands Mary Read and Anne Bonny, and others who rode and robbed upon the world's most dangerous waters. Here, in thrilling detail, are the weapons they used, the ships they sailed, and the ways they fought - and were defeated. Under the Black Flag also charts the paths of fictional pirates such as Captain Hook and Long John Silver. The definitive resource on the subject, this book is as captivating as it is supremely entertaining."

  • This book is the result of a trip to Costco for coffee. Some people can't resist grazing the free samples when the go to Costco, well I can't resist the book section. First, the cover caught my eye, the cool black cover with the menacing skull. Then, the fact that it was about pirates - aargh! "I must read this!" I thought. So I bought it.

  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

    "In this powerful, straight-from-the-hip examination of the internal obstacles to success, bestselling author Steven Pressfield shows readers how to identify, defeat, and unlock the inner barriers to creativity. The War of Art is an inspirational, funny, well-aimed kick in the pants guaranteed to galvanize every would-be artist, visionary, or entrepreneur."

    I know I have a creative side. I also know I have a lazy side when it comes to my creative side. AND... I often don't like to share my creative side because I also have a sensitive side that fears criticism from others about my creative side. This book also was picked due to its presence on Donald Millers list. I thought this book might live up to its promise to give me a "well-aimed kick in the pants" and get me to move on some of the ideas I have floating in my thick, rather large (size 7 5/8") head.

  • A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young

    "Since its publication in 1965, A Technique for Producing Ideas has helped thousands of advertising copywriters smash through internal barriers to unleash their creativity. Professionals from poets and painters to scientists and engineers have also used the techniques in this concise, powerful book to generate exciting ideas on demand, at any time, on any subject. Now let James Webb Young's unique insights help you look inside yourself to find that big, elusive idea--and once and for all lift the veil of mystery from the creative process."

    This book was recommended in another book I listened to on audio CD The Art of Woo by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa. It is a tiny little book that I eating a little bite at a time. I do a good portion of the marketing at work which requires an exercise in creativity and ideas. I hope this book gives me the little spark to generate these ideas more completely.

My hope is that these books add to the value of my life and not just fill some space in it. Not that fiction is bad, it's just a full menu of fiction is a bit much. It's like going to a restaurant that just has dessert on the menu - you can't survive on just peanut butter pie, although there are nights when I'm willing to try.

This is the year of change and my reading habits are part of that change. Running and reading. The two R's of 2010.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Help a Family Adopt

When Brianna was born Kathi worked as an assistant to the Dean at the Pacific Christian College from which we both graduated. To help us out with Brianna we had the most awesome team of students who would watch her during the time Kathi was at work. One of those students was Jen. You couldn't find better care for a newborn then Jen and the crew of girls who cared for our precious child. We remember them fondly.

Since then Jen has grown up, got married to her classmate Trent, and they have kids of their own. Time flies. You can see Jen and her family here on her blog.

Jen and her family are in the process of adopting a child from Thailand, you can read about it here. They are in the beginning stages and are currently raising funds. As a thank you to Jen for her time with our girly I sent a donation to her fund and am asking you to kindly do the same. Not only for Jen but also for that special child who is waiting for a family to call their own. God calls us to take care of the fatherless. Let's make this happen for Jen and Trent.

Sprechen Sie Englisch

At the end of the month I'll be in Munich Germany for a week. I'm going to help out at a trade show for a weekend and to pack it up when it's over. This is one of the largest, if not the largest, trade shows in the world. It is very important for us and could really help the companies presence in Europe.

I don't speak a lick of German. Fortunately my co-worker does. Unfortunately he leaves three days before I do. This will be a test for me, one I've passed before in Japan and Mexico. Although I do understand Spanish and speak a tad so Mexico was less a test than Japan was.

The other test I'll have is endurance. My plane lands at 7:50am and I head straight to the show for a full day of smiles and pleasant conversation. I hope their English is good. I plan to pack a few 5-hour energy shots for this, I know I'll need them. The jet-lag is going to be brutal.

For work I've had the privileged of travelling to Mexico, Japan, Australia and Texas. These foreign trips are fun even though I'm going to hang out in their garbage for days on end. The fun I have is trying new things and seeing new places. This mostly happens during meal times and sleep times. In Australia I was able to rent a car which afforded me the experience of driving on the other side of the road from the other side of the car. Japan, oh boy, I could tell stories all night about that trip but if you search back in this blog you can just read them.

While in Germany I am hoping to have a day or two to site see and explore. I found a bicycle tour that I'd like to take on my last day there. It is four hours long and looks to be a great way to see the city. Of course bier is on the menu. Bier and coffee are my two favorite beverages and since Munich is not known for their coffee I'll settle for the bier.

I will post pics and stories from there for sure. I'm nervous and excited, or I have a nervous excitement about this trip.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Run Brian, Run

I was not born a runner nor am I much of an athlete. Due to a high cholesterol level I started an exercise regiment that includes a treadmill and weights. For over a year I have been doing my best to get up every morning at 4:30am to get to the gym for a solid workout before work.

Most days I spend 1/2 hour to 45 minutes on the treadmill. I began my treadmill regiment with a brisk walk but this past year was inspired to begin running. The inspiration came from volunteering at a charity run for a friends non-profit organization. Being a part of this run and meeting the people who were running in the event made me want to run.

This past week was the first time I moved the running from the treadmill to the road. My route covers a hair over three miles. Two of which are on the road and one is through the nature park on unpaved paths. So far so good. Both times I ended up in the rain which to my surprise I actually enjoyed. I know it'll beat running in the heat of summer.

One of the other things that we saw at the charity race that inspired me was a family of barefoot runners. The dad was totally barefoot pushing a running stroller with two kids. The mom however had some of the funkiest shoes I've ever laid eyes on. This week I picked up a pair. I am going to give barefoot running a try.

These are the Vibram Five Fingers. My first worry about these shoes was the loss of cushion and what that would mean to my untrained older joints. After reading numerous articles and reviews about barefoot running and these shoes in particular I decided it was worth trying.

Yesterday's run went very well. As many of the articles warned, I feel some new muscles that were not being worked previously. What I noticed running in these shoes was the loss of cushion, which concerned me, was replaced with the feel of the road and trail which was exhilarating. Instead of my feet being isolated they were free.

I've got a long road ahead as I train my old body to do something it hasn't done much of before but I am excited about it. Gotta run!

The Easter Song

Keith Green was taken from this world too early in my opinion. He had a unique way of saying things. I remember this song from long ago and still love it. In celebration of the Risen Lord I thought I'd share this video.


Friday, April 02, 2010


Part of our Easter tradition is to color eggs. I know, we are unique. Tonight was that night. The house smells of vinegar and the eggs that were once white are now brilliant colors.

Here's the set up. You can just feel the excitement.

Alex thought his egg looked like it had pants on so he added a plumbers crack. Sorry, he gets his sense of humor from his mother.

Brianna on the other hand took the spiritual route. She must get that from me.

This is one of my eggs. It is a dinosaur egg. Since God made dino's I decided to include one of their eggs in our collection.