Houston …

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been at the HPCC07 conference on Houston. I gave a talk and chaired a session there … and was hanging out a lot (of course :)). I’ll just post some commented pictures as I know that you’re all tired of reading:

I lived in the Texas Medical Center (apparently the biggest Medical Center worldwide) … look at those hospitals!!!

Just some of them actually …. there were dozens of those hospital skyscrapers!

and full of puddles like in Bloomington. I felt like home!

but then a policeman with a cowboy-hat … not home anymore. Certainly not!

more indications of being in Texas … they served Mexican food (here Taco chips and Guacamole) at the conference …

Oh yes … the tour guide was standing in front of this picture named “Flowers” and discussed for about 10 minutes that this is her favorite picture. So guys, does this remind you of some earlier talk of some talks given in Chemnitz. I guess somebody has something in common with Texans ;).

More Texas oddities at the sidewalk …. weird people!

Yes, I did really chair a session … was pretty nice :)!

Oh, this was the only techno club in Houston … apparently closed since a while :-(.

That’s all folks!

Will be back in Germany … for some days ;)

For all that don’t know it yet – I’ll be in Germany (Chemnitz) between the 11th and 24th of October! I have some things to do (I’ll of course bring work :)), but the evenings should be free to party! So let me know if something will be on during this time!

Beer contains estrogen!? [update]

Oh my gosh! Read that:

I’m not sure if this is true but since I don’t like beer anyway I’ll just stop drinking it :). Please, anybody who has evidence – write me (own beer bellys and man boobs do not count as evidence)!

UPDATE: Ok, Mehdi gave me a hint … beer contains hops (of course!) and now google for hops and estrogen :-/. No beer for me anymore!!!

Wiiii party :)

I’ve been at a Wii party yesterday. I was sceptical at the beginning because I’m not too much into video games (as they are usually desocializing). But the Wii is awesome. It supports up to 4 players (!) that can even play simultaneously in some games! Hmm, why do we have so many PS3’s in the lab? We need Wiis *g* – ok, we would not get any work done but have lots of fun!

Im looking forward to the next event ;).

Orbitz idiots vs. United Airlines

I booked my flight to the states through Orbitz.com because is was cheap at this point. But yes, cheap … and nothing more. I tried to change the flight back to Germany yesterday. It took me 45 minutes on the phone, talking to many different people and half of them couldn’t even speak a proper English. It was amazingly bad. Anyway, it seemed fine at the end and the fees were 100 EUR to change the flight and $30 service fees for orbitz (I am wondering which service!!!). They told me that I shall call back when it does not change in the online system in 24 hours.

It did not change … of course not. I called them back, again, people who could not communicate properly (I suspect an Indian call center). The only thing they could do was to undo yesterday’s transaction and tell me to call United Airways (after another 45 minutes on the phone!!!!).

So I called United, expecting that I will just loose my ticket. And they have been surprisingly competent. It was awesome! They changed everything in 10 minutes, sent me confirmation emails and charged only 100 EUR. I’m deeply impressed by their service (actually this should be normality, but I was used to Orbitz).

I’m not going to use their “service” again!

September 11th vs. August 6th

We’re all kind of used to the mourning of the whole world for the victims of the 11th September attacks. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s terrible but seems a little bit exaggerated. About 3000 people died and two big buildings collapsed. But there have been much higher losses in the history. E.g., I’m sure that there were many days during WWII where more people, more innocent people died.
The thought of the day in farliblog is along those lines: “Why do more media commemorate the victims of Sept. 11th than they did on Aug. 6th”.

What was on Aug 6th? No idea? Right, I didn’t either before I did some research. It was the day when the first nuclear weapon was used to kill hundred-thousands of innocent people. Yes, not three-thousand but more than three-hundred thousand (including people that died later)! Hmm, so what was the difference between those two events? One “ended” a war (that was over anyway) and the other started a war. So what if the bad “terrorists” were a legal nation in a declared war with the US? So would this be ok then? Is there any other difference? Hmm, the methodology was pretty similar – both sneaked in with tactical maneuvers (the airplane carrying the bomb was camouflaged as a harmless scouting plane without weapons). The targets? Both attacks killed mostly civilists, and this was known in advance.

And the best is, the US did never apologize in any way for those attacks.

But this is of course absolutely nothing against the war crimes of the Nazis :-(.

I conclude that war is terrible … just something to think about!

This place is great!

I just want to mention that it is 11:30pm, I just took a shower and I’m sitting topless on my balcony working with my MacBook pro. The view is great and some friends just passed by. Oh man, this is sooo great! I love this place and the weather.

Some random pictures

Everybody is waiting for pictures, I know … and I got a camera phone now! So here are some random pictures:

We explored the new underground Chemistry building. This is pretty interesting, because I know it’s there, I’ve seen the construction work last year. And we went into the first floor (I mean the first underground floor), but we did not get deeper … is it a secret facility? Do they have three-eyed fish and cloned pigs … huh, exciting!

We *THINK*  … obvious reasons to not to take the elevator … the stairway did not look much better. Falling Fire? Sounds like Halflife! I guess I need to get a Rocket Launcher before I go there next time.

This is just to document the amazing weather we had in the last two weeks. Great sunshine and about 30 degree (low humidity) – oh it was just awesome! And for all of you who don’t know – I started martial arts again. After I stopped Karate about 7 years ago (before going to College), I finally started again – yeah! But something new, Tae Kwon Do (the Korean Karate version) … I’m glad that one of my best friends (Jungjin, a Korean guy) convinced me. The nice guy next to me is Peter my judge in my last belt test (for Orange *yikes*).

Aldi schoenen Sachen …

This time some German title :). Do you get it? Yeah, we have an Aldi here! People did not believe me, so I had to provide some proof. We tried to find some Nutella, and I thought a German supermarket chain should have this. So we went to Aldi. Ah, btw. it was 32 Degree Celsius and wonderful weather *yeah*.

Yes, the Aldi exists! See, that’s me and my American car (that proves that it’s really in Bloomington!).

Oh, some random Japanese girl ran into the camera … ;).

Inside the Aldi … looks like in Germany, right? But it’s full of American Hillbilles, weird, huh?

“Incrdible Value Every Day” … hmm, too bad that most of the products suck. The German Aldi is much better! And the American uber-sucks!!! There was no Nutelly, nowhere! Ok, good that the Walmart is kind of close :). So we went there to find the Nutella! And we found it, I mean kind of :-(:

Yes, everything around was stuffed with ugly peanut butter *grin* and the good Nutella was (of course) sold out. But we asked a strange looking but very nice walmart employee (most are kind of strange) and he brought us more *yeah*. So we finally got Nutella … puh, that was hard!