Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I am not a runner. I don't drink coffee.

After working for a while this morning, I laced up my running shoes and ran from our hotel near Palais Royale to the Eiffel Tower. I brought running shoes on this trip because I knew it may be my best way to stay in shape. Not being a runner, running in the city works well for me because the major intersections give me a reason to stop frequently. :) After I got to the tower, I took the train back. I'm lazy. And I figured I should come back and continue working. I worked up a nice stinky lather on my run, so I fit right in when I got on the Metro.

This afternoon I was working on a document for work when I realized I didn't really need my internet connection. It's kind of silly to sit here in the hotel room when I don't even really need to, so I went to a nearby cafe and drank some coffee while I worked. Actually, I drank an espresso and then a coffee. I'm not a big coffee drinker, but I was just glad that I could order and the waiter understood me.

I should mention now that I kept a secret from Christine while she was gone. (Well really I've kept lots of secrets. She still doesn't know about the all night house parties I've been having. And by house parties, I mean Kuzca and I sitting on the couch while brush her. It's wild.) I signed up for some French classes that were being taught by an adult education group in town. So far I've had 4 two hour classes and I'm quite fluent. Maybe fluent isn't the right word. :) But I'm better than I was the other times I've been to France. I spend most of my time asking Christine what she said to someone and how to say it. I'm learning, but I can't say foreign languages are one of my strong points.

Monday, February 26, 2007


We apparently can't remember to pack a corkscrew when we come to France. We were at a grocery store (more like a Super Target) this evening to find some more reasonably priced plug adapters and we picked up a bottle of wine. One challenge of buying a corkscrew is figuring out what it is called. It's a little easier when you have a bottle of wine in your hand because you can at least mime the thing you're looking for. We found someone to point us in the right direction and tell us what it's called: tire-bouchon (/teer-boo-shawn/).

For lunch today I grabbed a panini and walked around the neighborhood. I got mildly lost, I had fun walking around the area before I found a street I recognize. Maybe I should carry a map with me next time. :)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Plug adapter

Todays first adventure was finding a plug adapter (adaptateur de voyage). Christine thinks she left hers at her last hotel, and we both need them to charge our laptops. I wasn't sure what kind of store would carry one, so I walked around tourist and looked for shops. Apparently the French like to sleep in, because most of the shops were closed. Eventually, I had walked all the way from our hotel near The Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe where I found a tourist trinket shop. I looked around and didn't see one so I decided to ask them where to find one. The rude (yes rude!) French bitch dug around behind the counter and pulled one out. Can you please pull you French nose away from you mobile long enough to pretend like I exist. Go screw. Si vous plait.


The flight over contained some screaming kids, but my Etymotis headphones did a good job of blocking most of the noise. After three times on the British Air Denver->London flight, I now have my routine down. Jack & Coke, Dinner with wine, watch movie, fall asleep. I woke up just as the crew was delivering breakfast.

We were a little delayed landing in London due to congestion and when we finally landed we had to taxi around for 10 minutes before we parked in the middle of nowhere. Then we had to take a 10 minute bus ride from the plane to the terminal. I only had like an hour layover in London so I was already freaked about missing my flight. Once I finally got into the terminal, there was a HUGE line for security. Because I had to be at my gate in 20 minutes, I go to go through the "fast track" lane. It really wasn't very fast, but I estimate that the other line would have taken over an hour to get through. They had 2 security screens open (one for fast track and the other for peasants), and neither set of employees were looking very motivated.

I did end up making my flight just in time. I never realized how quick it is to get from London to Paris because I usually doze off. This time I was awake and it was less than an hour flight. Apparently my luggage didn't get "fast track'ed" because it was still in London when I got to Paris. Not a huge deal. We could have waited another 40 minutes for it, but we decided we'd rather get out of the airport and have them deliver it. (To make a long story short, they finally got it to me Sunday afternoon.)

I was dragging a bit, but we stayed up until about 10 on Saturday night. We walked around, ate some dinner, and watched some Rubgy before calling it in. Sunday morning I got up around 8:30, so I feel like I'm adjusting to the time change pretty well. Sundays suck for a tourist in Europe. Most things were closed and the weather was cold and rainy today so we went to some museums. We both agree that we're not really art museum people, so we found some science museums. (FYI - http://www.museums-of-paris.com/ lets you list the museums by category.)

Our first museum stop (after a croque monsieur on the way) was Palais de la Découverte. Like most hands-on museums I've been to, it was full of kids, and half the exhibits weren't fully functional. It was okay, but not someplace I'd go back to. One of the exhibits had information translated into English, but the rest did not. Our next stop was Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace. This was a much better museum and worth the visit. We saw some interesting exhibits on some tunnels that are being built in the Alps, optics, biology, etc. (For the record, Musée des Arts et Métiers is a pretty week geeky museum.)

We were pretty worn out after all that walking around, so we took the Metro back to our hotel area and grabbed a Elephant beer and baguette sandwich at a cafe. Our hotel is really close to the Louvre. It seems like a pretty nice area so far. In the city, but on a side street that isn't really noisy.

Time for dinner now...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Made it

I made it to Paris. Heathrow is 0 for 2 on getting luggage to Paris on time. My luggage didn't make it (and neither did Christine's a few weeks ago). They got it on the next flight but we didn't feel like waiting around. I guess I'll probably get it tomorrow morning.

I'll post more later. Time for bed right now.

Monday, February 19, 2007

New Mountain Bike

Blue Sky Cycles hooked me up with a sweet deal on a Giant Trance 1 mountain bike. It's been sitting in my house while I waited for the weather to clear up and I finally took it out today. I didn't do anything too exciting. Just running errands. But so far, so good. It already feels better fitting than my old one.

Colbert blog

I just looked at the blog for the Colbert Report. I'll have to add that to my RSS reader after this gem had me laughing:

Nation! You won’t believe this but I just figured out a way to cut calories by drinking Diet Coke. The thing that was keeping me from drinking “DC” was the bad aftertaste, but I figured out a way to handle that now, which is that you just drink the Diet Coke with a huge candybar in your mouth, and then you eat the candybar. That’s what I’m talking about! Take no prisoners! I’ll take another candybar though.

In other fake news....news: I really meant to Tivo "The 1/2 Hour News Hour" last night. It's Fox's attempt at a Daily Show-esque program and if the clips on YouTube are any indication (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjIfaMwIFxU, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WCNc7JZ24k) it is absolutely horrible. Hopefully I can find a torrent of so I can check out this potential train wreck.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My REI sucks

I was great at the Fort Collins REI today by a sign that said they were changing their pet policy. After April 5, only service animals will be allowed inside. I really like to buy things from REI but at the same time I'm very irritated by the rule change. At the very least, I'll be sending them an email to see if I can get an explanation and to let them know that I'll be happy to shop at Jax for my outdoor gear (where my dog is welcome).

Another day, another ride, another mechanical

Another beautiful day in Colorado. This morning I went on a group ride and promptly broke my pedal cleat with the first 10 minutes. I don't think it was anything in particular that broke it, it was just getting worn out. I was still able to kind of clip in to the back of the pedal, but my foot kept slipping out. Partway through the ride, I split off and met up with some people from my team who were riding up from Longmont. I had intended to ride some hills with them, but going downhill at high speed with a broken cleat didn't seem like a good idea. 40 miles with a broken cleat, now that was interesting.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with much running around and then some bike maintenance time. My bike took a beating on yesterday's gravel filled roads. I made some lame guacamole (I forgot to get a jalapeno at the store), but the boringness was overshadowed by the tasty fresh tortilla chips I got from Whole Foods. They're a bit spendy, but highly recommended.

The Tour of California bike race started today and I watched it while I changed my bike tires. When I finished with that program, I was forced to find something else and I turned on "You're the One That I Want" (some reality show to pick stars for a production of Grease). Wow. That is a terrible show. I wish I could have the part of my life back.

I've kind of obsessively been watching "Extras" from the BBC. It was created Ricky Gervais, the same guy who did The Office. It's been great background stuff to have on today (I couldn't leave The Office on in the background because there was too much non-verbal stuff). Gervais plays an actor who is extra in movies constantly trying to get at least a speaking line. Each episode guest stars some big name, like Ben Stiller, Samuel Jackson, or Patrick Stewart. And for Jme, episode 1 of season 2 guest stars Orlando Bloom as a self absorbed egotistical version of himself. Funny stuff.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


It's an enviable position to be in: We live in a place where I had to decide if I should go spend a day in the Vail powder, or go a a bike ride in the hills. I hope our usual weather sticks around here for a while.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The bachelor - week 2

It's been a busy week. A lot of stuff to do at work, a lot of stuff to do at home, and some of my highest training volume of the year all coincided. The weather took a nice turn this week and I was able to get some good outdoors riding in. I went on our team's group ride yesterday for the first time in a while. I arrived a little late because I hit nearly every light between here and Longmont and there was some fog on the way down. My only goal for the day was to ride in a higher gear to build some leg strength. I thought I must be getting fatigued, because even the flat sections of road felt difficult. It wasn't until I got back to the shop that I realized my rear break had been dragging the whole time. Whoops! I guess that's what I get for showing up late and having to rush.

I picked up my new mountain bike on Saturday too. (Pictures to follow someday.) I didn't expect to be excited to get it, but I got to tell you I'm pretty darned stoked. It's fun to have a new bike. I'll probably wait until some of the mud dries up before I go ride it around.

Friday Livia and I met up in Denver to see a documentary call "The Bridge". It's a real feel good movie about the Golden Gate Bridge and how it's the most popular place in the world to commit suicide. The filmmaker had a camera on filming the bridge for a year. It appeared as if sometimes they were manning the camera, and able to zoom in on people on the bridge, and other times they just had a wide shot rolling. Sometimes they'd show the wide shot, and it'd be all quiet until you see a large splash in the water from someone jumping. I kind of expected the movie to be partly an argument for putting methods in place to prevent suicide, but they didn't touch on it at all. Instead, it was all narrative by family/friends of bridge jumpers (and one jumpee who actually survived). I wouldn't recommend seeing it if you're depressed. I also wouldn't recommend it as a date movie. If I weren't married, and I weren't there with an engaged friend, and there wasn't so much suicide. I totally would have scored. This is what my life has come to: My wife is out of the country, and I'm watching movies about suicide. Maybe I'll watch Barney or something to even things out.

Today I only took a short ride and then worked furiously around the house. I had a bunch of stuff piling up that was really bothering me and I'm leaving tomorrow afternoon for a short business trip to Portland. I wish I could stay longer (I'm getting back Tuesday around midnight), but there's just too much other stuff going on. I finished up my evening by reading the newspaper and watching the Grammy's. I didn't realize it before but Dan Wilson wrote a lot of songs on the Dixie Chicks new album (which cleaned up in awards). Of course, nobody probably knows who Dan Wilson is, but he was the front man for a (now defunt) band that I really like (Semisonic). It's cool to see him writing for someone else and getting some good credit for it.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Banana Bunker

I bring to you....the Banana Bunker:

I guess it's supposed to be used for carrying a banana in a manner that keeps it from getting crushed. Why do I get the feeling that this may have other uses?

Monday, February 5, 2007


Whoa, I'm a crazy bachelor. In addition to exciting things like laundry and grocery shopping, I watched a couple documentaries over the weekend:

The Bachelor Fort Collins - Week 1

I made it through 1 week as Fort Collins' most ineligible bachelor. It went by pretty quickly because I've been pretty busy trying to keep up with all the things that Christine would be doing if she were here. I feel bad for Kuzca because I think she's a little sad that her major play partner is missing. I've been overcompensating though. Her walk schedule has been upped to twice a day, I take her almost everywhere with me in the car, and she's getting some good treats when she can't ride along. I did my first grocery trip since Christine left. I think I'll be dining out a lot. :) It's hard to switch back to cooking for one again.

About the most bachelor-esque I did was watch play PS3 and watch the Superbowl in HD at a friend's house. It was a decent game, and I'm glad the Colts came out on top. My friend had various bets on the game, which adds a whole new level to watching. He stood to make somewhere around $600, but in the end he broke even because of some unusual circumstances. He would have won one large bet if Vinatieri kicked a field goal at the end of the first half. When he lined up for the kick, we figured it was a sure thing. Vinatieri + Superbowl = sure thing. We couldn't believe that he missed. Then, at the end of the game, my friend needed someone to score a field goal to cover the "over" bet. 4th and 6th on the 20 yard line. Surely the Colts will kick it. Nope. They decide to go for it and end up turning the ball over. Ha!.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

HP Superbowl commercial

HP will be running a commercial in the 4th quarter of the Superbowl. I'm cautiously excited because the commercial is supposed to prominently feature the XW8400, a system that my group designed. Here is some other information that I received today: