Another First Day – Part 1

Why part one? Because this day is only 4 1/2 hours old and I had to get up because the 12h time shift has it’s way with me. So now I have Homer Simpson’s voice in my head yelling through clenched teeth:” I hate you so much time shift, you think you are so much better than me!”.

Oh well, but being educated and having gone through this a number of times, I know better than Homer and I will just have to prepare to fall asleep….around 3:00PM….on my first day….in my new job.

No seriously, I am excited and soooo looking forward to starting.

Oh, but here is a funny story. I told you yesterday about our plan to execute on a mattress, which we did by the way. It’s awesome – Latex, means point-elasticity, which means that it perfectly conforms to a body’s outline – well to a point, I will won’t be able to sleep on my side. But I am going off on the wrong tangent here. So after we had both determined that this is the item we would want to spend the next few years on we entered the paper filling out stage. The gentleman we bought from was apparently in love with this process since he moved back and forth numerous time to get more or additional information and to check on additional rebate opportunities. After a while, where we thought we should drive this process to a close because we had about 6 people congregated around the cash register, he played the Coup De Grass – something that even for the most seasoned shopper was a curveball: The Map.

Imagine making a purchase where the items gets delivered after a few days to your house. You provide the address, right, that should do it? No, here there was a nice 6x9in area on the bottom of the purchase agreement left open to draw a map on how to get to the customer’s place, I kid you not. We looked at each other and fought laughing. So we proceeded to work with the Salesman to draw a map. It turns out, that Barbara has an amazing recollection of the blueprint of our new place and how it will look when it’s furnished – kind a useless for this purpose; that I was able to tell a great narrative on what features were on the premises an around us – at least as useless, but that it was the salesman, who was able to put it all into context. The delivery men are now in possession of a map that will allow them to take either the scenic route to our new abode, the guaranteed traffic jam route (pretty much any route is the traffic jam route  at any given time of the day) or any other route they please. Delivery is supposed to be “a little bit at 2:00 and a little bit at 3:00PM”.

I say a little bit Good-Bye now until we hear a little bit from each other again.

Laters

Yours Excited Markus \m/ (and still sleeping Barbara, how does she do that)

P.S.: Part 2 will evidently follow after I have finished my first day.

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Leftovers

Hey there,  here we are again. With Summer coming to a close and me starting a new job, I thought I’d tie up a few loose ends.

1. ) Last week Thursday, one of my projects that I have been working on since April came to a close or better to a culmination. There is an organization called STEM )Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) that has made it its mission to promote the four STEM disciplines and attract children K-12 and college kids to them. The group consists of like-minded individuals from companies, educational institutions and non-profit organizations from all over the state. All of us have recognized the necessity that we need to get more children into the STEM branches. To achieve that we promote and encourage critical thinking, curiosity and innovation.

On Thursday, August 26th 2010, the Minnesota State Fair opened and we had our STEM expo at Carousel Park, next to the Grand Stand. We had, if I remember correctly 16 exhibitors present, mostly with interactive and participative exhibits. The weather was great and we had great traffic. It was extremely rewarding to see the interest and participation by boys and girls alike in the offered activities. I am looking forward to working on the STEM day in 2011.

2.) Friendships and family are what it’s about. We are about to start a new chapter in our life. On Wednesday I am starting a new position in Bangkok, Thailand. But over the last five month, I have had many people spent time with me or with both of us or work on my behalf. I have made many great memories during this time. Memories that consist of care, criticism, jokes, a lot of shot shit (from shooting the shit) and obviously a lot of shared sweat during early morning runs, mountain bike rides at Theo Wirth and Murphy-Hanrahan and a few swims. And of course the my very much enjoyed coffee lunches with Marsha and the occasional Dave.

I very much appreciate the opportunities that my friends Joe and Alec have given me in the photographic field and in the business consulting field. And although, I certainly appreciate the opportunity to have earned some money during this time, the most valuable to me was the experience in a completely different field from engineering with a completely different set of people with different interests and strengths. I did learn a lot from my assisting jobs. So thank you guys.

3.) The intellectual exchanges, that I have had with my friend Hugh at the Caribou in Bloomington. The conversations I have had with my friends Adam and Jeff while running. And finally the exchanges of infinite wisdoms, that can only happen when two people who shouldn’t play pool, play pool or when you sit in a beautiful Summer evening breeze on someone’s deck sipping Cokes.

Out of all these conversations, if only one of the ideas can be realized we’ll…

…run the German camera manufacturer Leica to new unknown heights and sucesses.

…have a German born Secretary Of State and a president from Iowa or southern Minnesota.

…have the education system overhauled and as a result make the American K-12 education the envy of the world.

…have the most admired, fairest and most efficient tax system in the world, because tax revenues are actually reliably predictable.

…have Porsche ditch the Panamera and replace it with a 911, that gets 85 miles to the gallon at an average speed of 150mph going uphill I-70 from Denver, CO to the Continental Divide.

and many more.

Alright, I say “so long until the next”. We have to go a buy a mattress now, because it turns out even Global Nomads gotta sleep on something more comfortable than a Therm-A-Rest.

Markus \m/

When Detroit Knew What They Were Doing

We had a car show in our neighborhood last week. I have mentioned it numerous times – I love cars, although the emotional component that has made car design so great is being driven more and more into the background. Case in point, Porsche the company that has its 911 in any dictionary right next to sports car, even they starting drinking from the spoiled well as exemplified with their 4 seater coupe Panamera. The first and second generation Porsche boys are spinning in their graves – poo-leeeece!.

But I don’t want to get upset or upset you. No we are going to stroll down memory lane with broad smiles on our faces.

’62 Corvette – most of my friends start salivating when it comes to any of the early Corvettes, the stuff that dreams were and probably are still made of.

The care came stock and looked like this – Detroit, you may want to start looking for the recipe that allowed you to build cars that were just beautiful.

Unfortunately, this Corvette was the only classic car that deserves to be shown here. But there were plenty of Hot Rods, such as the 1940 Ford Coupe.

Unobstructed view of the  iron cast V-8 with a flame paint job – ah, unadulterated decadence.

There was another Rat Rod – my favorite, because of the amount of understatement in matte black with white wall tires but most importantly a prominently displayed engine with open carburetors.

Hm, then there was this Chevy with just a cool paint job. I love the sensual shapes of the fenders on this car.

Alright, car manufacturers worldwide, get your act together and start building cars with a face again, right now I have a hard time seeing anyone hot rodding a 2010 Chevy Malibu in 30 years, can you see that? And while you’re at it at some technology, that we frolic in our cars in good conscience – Do It!!

best regards

Markus \m/

Weekly Photographic Summary: 8/14 – 8/22

Hey, yes you, my dear follower of the globalnomads2010 blog…I know it’s been a while since you got a proper photographic weekly summary – well they kind of remind me of the weekly highlights we used to do where I worked at in Bloomington, although they shouldn’t, sometimes it can be a bit of a chore, but here we are with a fresh helping of said weekly photographic highlights.

The weekend was pretty relaxed. I did some grocery shopping and took a few pictures of the great sky that presented itself to me as well as a picture of the signs that the neighborhood association put up. One now unequivocally knows that one is in the Armatage Neighborhood as indicated by the signage.

This is shot looking west along Hwy 62 around noon.

You are now entering God’s Country – no, not Wisconsin – the Armatage neighborhood in beautiful SW Minneapolis – suck on that Edina and Eden Prairie.

I might have mentioned it before, but I am pursuing my self assignment of looking for unique angles to look at the world. Recently, I have become more sensitive to reflections (NOT obsessed). Anyway, here are three images I like. The first one is on my way back from grocery shopping – my reflection in the rear view mirror of a pickup truck. Then my reflection in the metal corner of a photographers equipment case. And finally the reflection of my self in my new Batman/Joker shirt in our tea kettle during a quiet, pensive moment with a cup of tea.

Reflection in the chrome case of an outside rear view mirror.

You may have to get your bearings on this one,but you can see my hand, the camera and my legs and …well you’ll get the picture.

Check it out my  “old Batman and the Mean Joker” T-shirt . Yes this is the Mean Joker, the one I was afraid of when I was seven. Not the “Oh-He’s-Not-So-Bad-Jack-Nicholson” Joker and not the “Weird-5 o’clock shadowed-Cesar-Romero-60s-TV-Series” Joker either.

Enough about reflections and the Joker and back to the city we live in – Minneapolis. I took this final shot for today when my friend Joe and I returned from a photoshoot a we drove across the new Mississippi bridge – yep, the one that pancaked in August of 2007. Again that week had just great skies in store.

I the word of Bugs Bunny: “That’s All Folks”

Take care until the next.

Yours Markus \m/

Reflections On Compassion

I have been thinking about compassion, how it is used by people and what to means to me.

Compassionate Conservatism – remember that? That was how former president George W. Bush summarized his political vision during the campaign for his first presidency. A lot of time has passed since then and a lot has changed in this country since then.

In early 2009 a lot of my co-workers and friends lost their jobs. Some found work quickly others were forced to reconsider their life and make significant adjustments and others again are still looking for work. Seeing people who I know, that I have worked with and seeing people near and dear to me in particular thrown into upheaval and suffering touched me deeply. I have been trying to help wherever I can and where I can actually make a difference. But as I thought about what compassion meant for me I came back to one co-worker in particular who we shall call Jim. I had been working off and on for more than 10 years with Jim and I recognized what he brought to the table that made my life easier and me and my team more successful. So as I pondered compassion,I tried to answer the questions what compassion meant to me with Jimmy in mind.

Through my questions I am trying to define the borders of my compassion in regards how and what can I give and how much and what is needed.

Generally, I believe that it is better to teach people how to make a fishing rod and then how to fish, rather than giving them fish. But this analogy only works if there is time and no pressing urgency. If you provide people with fish, when do you start taking the time to teach them to be self-sufficient? How much pain and suffering am I willing to inflict in order to accomplish my teaching assignment? How do I behave compassionately, if people lack the drive to help themselves? Fr me this is heavy stuff. Over the last five months I have enjoyed my friends compassion in various forms, but I also tried for myself to very hard to move ahead. I received compassion in terms of continued friendships – some have even grown deeper, a call to go out for a coffee and chat, a bike ride, being asked for my opinion to help. Being asked how things were going – general concern. I received compassion from people I hadn’t expected it, people called me with concrete job leads, others said:”We should do lunch” that  never happened. I deeply appreciate the various forms of helping hands I received from so many of you, but we were not in financial straits, we are not in danger of loosing our house.

I wonder how I can help my former co-worker, who desperately needs a break and so positively deserves a break. Jimmy is highly capable, motivated and easy to work with, but he does not a four-year degree. He can counterbalance that lack with experience and a stellar track record.

So, how compassionate should I be and how compassionate can I be? Where does my compassion get in the way of encouraging and letting Jimmy be self-sufficient again?

Is giving someone in need your house too much? Is giving money to trivial, although there is a clear benefit to it? What I have done thus far is to be a person he can talk to. I am lobbying among my friends – that can make things happen – on his behalf, that when they hear of a technical designer position, they should notify me, because I have a guy who will blow them away – Jimmy is that good.

Well, a lot of words, maybe to little specificity for you my reader, but you see what going on in me. If you go the impression that this entry is about me, it wasn’t supposed to be, it is about me in a sense that i need to come to a decision that Barbara and I are comfortable with on how far our compassion extends and where we say this is as far as we go and then watch the person starve. Maybe I am framing this all wrong, I’d love to hear from you.

best regards and do one selfless good deed every day.

Markus \m/

Great Place To Go

Yesterday evening we went out to dinner with our friends Jeff and Annie. Having listened to Frank Sinatra in my head for most of the day, understandably I was up Italian. Since we didn’t want to cook – due to excessive heat and humidity – we decided to go out for Pizza. Now in Minneapolis, since about 2008, the obvious choice for top-shelf pizza or as the Italians call it “Pizza Scaffale Superiore” is Punch. We asked Jeff and Annie, whether they’d care to join us. Jeff and former Pizza maker himself was immediately convinced, while Annie was a bit reluctant. “I am not that hot on Punch (Blasphemy!!!!!), I’d rather do Pizza Biga (never heard of it).” So Pizza Biga it was and they were great!. The food was great with great company and a good conversation that covered multiple topics – what I would call a worthwhile dinner. Oh, you gotta try the grilled beet salad with goat cheese. During Summer they harvest herbs and tomatoes for their restaurant and put it on their salads or daily specials.While we were there it started pouring – see image.

But the best thing – besides the Pizza – that Pizza Biga has going is the Pumphouse Creamery next door. To be fair, forget about it if you are on a diet and want to shed a few pounds, really don’t go there, the tiny results of your previous efforts will be obliterated so quickly…absolutely no point going there or to Pizza Biga for that matter!

But, if you want to indulge in hand- & home-made ice cream, then the Pumphouse Creamery (http://www.pumphouse-creamery.com) is the ticket. After some hesitation I had a banana-chocolate malt. During the ordering process I was advised that I should just go with just their organic banana ice cream and substitute the chocolate ice cream with their home-made chocolate sauce (NOT Hershey’s!), because it would make for a like more punch…and who doesn’t like that?!. Just writing about it makes me drool all over the keyboard again. So, if you are in the mood for some Pizza or a good salad followed by an ice cream based desert, I recommend go for the double whammy: Pizza Biga followed by the Pumphouse Creamery.

with watery mouthed  regards

be cool

yours Markus \m/

The Voices In My Head Are Singing….

….:”My kind of town Chicago is. My kind of town Chicago is.” Although, the voices are really just a single voice, that sounds like Frank Sinatra in the ratpack movie “Robbo And The Seven Hoods”.

Yes, last week we drove to Chicago to run a few errands there. We both love Chicago. The city has a great mix of turn of the century brick buildings and modern highrises with glass facades. There are many great restaurants, bakeries and cafes to indulge in. In addition, one can escape the hectic live of downtown by simply walking along the lake front. Plus for me personally, I could spend hours in front of the egg (that is actually a bean) in Millenium Park.

We stayed in Oak Park on Wednesday and then left early Thursday for downtown – 12 miles straight east on Chicago Ave. We found a nice Crepes cafe (nothing says Chicago more, than a Banana-Nutella Crepe with a cup of coffee, really) and watched the world go by. In this case the world going by were primarily Chicagoans who went to work. They were already heavily focused on the day ahead and things on their To-Do lists that needed to get checked off and accomplished in order to further progress – this town means business. I hope I never went to work like that and I hope I never will. I mean, how can you be nimble and adapt when you are in “Zombie Mode”? In contrast, the girl who ran the cafe, although she was by herself making crepes batter, baking croissants  and biscotti in order to get the store running, she was chipper and really seemed to enjoy herself.

Anyway, may be the people we saw that morning were just tired from a night of heavy partying – I mean the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup almost 3 months ago. It certainly, can’t be the Cubs, because they are 17 games behind the leader and in second to last position. Da Bears don’t play, yet, neither do Da Bulls. Whatever it was, t was interesting to watch being carefree from a street cafe, with the taste and texture of Banana and Nutella intoxicating me and the sun shining down on the busy streets – a perfect morning really.

When we were done with the things we came here for, we walked around Chicago – along the river,Michigan Avenue, Wabash, State Street ad took pictures. Unfortunately, the battery of our little camera had not been properly charge, which meant I had to resort to the iPhone camera. I know definitely Joe is raising his eye-brows in disbelief and possibly even desperation, but we had to make do with what we had available. The self assignment was “Lazy Photography”. This means, that I wanted to take interesting images of whatever was just around us. As we had breakfast, there was a highrise and I just followed its contour into the sky, by craning my neck…but not getting out of my chair.

While walking around we had to wait at one of the many traffic light intersections. Looking down, I saw the cool use of very primary colors – black, white and red and basic geometrical shapes. So I took an image of it.

To further enhance the modern cubism in this image, I unleashed a few Photoshop functions on it to get to this image.

On our way back to the car we came past the always beloved Chicago Water Tower. Again a an example of how old and new architecture complement each other. I love the juxtaposition and coexistence of old and new – in fact thinking about it, this is why I like the East Coast cities like Boston and NYC a lot, but also Chicago and Minneapolis/St.Paul an of course San Francisco. I hope that city planners keep that connection to a city’s past in mind when they contemplate new construction versus renovation.

At around noon, we started heading back to Minneapolis and just as we were about to get onto I-90/94 I saw this nice reflection of an old Chicago example in a new Chicago facade. The traffic light was red just long enough to boot up my phone (which is laughably slow since I upgraded to IOS 4.0, c’mon Jobs you and your guys can do better than that, really!) and then snap the picture.

Alright gang, this is it for today.

Take care and try to do at least one good, unselfish deed a day – you get so much more in return.

Yours Markus \m/