what did she say when they tried to send her to rehab?

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I don’t think Amy Winehouse deserves to be considered part of the legendary 27 club with musicians like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. But anyways.

summer is too short for all the stuff everyone tries to stick into it.

fail.

I did a lot of checking into moving to Germany. I figured out the procedure and what paperwork would need to be done. My wife wouldn’t need to jump through any real hurdles to live with me. We could bring our dog. I could arrange to have had my job waiting for me when I come back, I can learn German to the point I can integrate, and I could certainly find a job (I had a lot of interest in my stepstone.de profile).  In the end my mortgage is the show stopper. Even with a renter in our house, I wouldn’t be able to afford a mortgage in Canada and rent an apartment in Germany. I absolutely want to keep the house but my mortgage is pretty tight and doesn’t allow me to take a ‘rainy year’ away from payments or anything like that, so I’m stuck.

so that ends that, but I did my best to figure out what it would take to make it work.

not that I’m done travelling.. I was looking up a 3 week immersion course in Hamburg .. or the possibility that my next vehicle will be a volvo and I can do this whole European Delivery deal where I pick up the car in Goteborg, Sweden, drop it off somewhere it Germany, and have it shipped to Canada from there. I am still keen on seeing Hamburg and experiencing Christmas in Europe.  and do the Swedes still sauna in mid-winter? that would be pretty cool too.

ok, all done for today. more later. you’re the boss applesauce.

dealing with difficult clients

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my boss has our entire department signed up for a course in ‘how to interact with difficult clients’.

not meaning to brag, but it’s rare in my tier-2 position I deal with our ‘clients’ directly and thus, the chance to have poor client interactions are rare.

the flipside of that, is that in my position the items I work on tend to be higher responsibility and priority, and therefore issues that crop up during my work tend to affect many more people at a time, and much more acutely.

it’s my experience people tend to appreciate honesty, taking ownership of the blame, plus a willingness to correct the problem ASAP and communicate what your planned steps and timeline are to resolve their issues.  Some can look past the odd mistake. If you are able to provide notice in advance of what may be happening and clear communication throughout an issue cycle, that can help position you better to have smoother interactions between yourself and client.

on the other hand I know clients are less able to stomach finger pointing and repeated issues of the same kind causing interruptions to services they use.

Negative perceptions are often brought to the table:

  • A difference in view between the The IT dept on the severity and important of the interaction/issue as less severe
  • and for example: “These computer people always do this to ME”

Lastly, outside influences may also negatively or positively affect any interaction. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally a bad day for one individual can make it a bad day for everyone in their path.

In any case, I have been in helpdesk shoes before, so it will be interesting to see what tools and advice I can take away from the presentation, maybe even to lessen the impact on other staff normally and when issues from my end arise.

my puppy

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At first I thought I wanted a dog that was balls to walls hyper and happy, but now I realize how our cool, calm little dude is a perfect fit for us.

And at first every new dog is like a eager little brick,  some things take infuriatingly long to teach them, but they try their best. It’s once they ‘get’ how to learn though, it’s magical how quickly they will pick new things up.

Just yesterday I just started to teach him a ‘play guitar’ trick on the heels of my dad telling me he made a list, and came up with 38 different words or phrases Boo already understands.  Let’s count:

  1. Come
  2. Move
  3. Sit
  4. Down
  5. Wait
  6. Stay
  7. Sit Pretty
  8. Figure Eight
  9. Spin
  10. Wave
  11. Shake paw / shake other paw
  12. Be cute (lays his head on your lap and looks up at you)
  13. Look at me (look at your face, ignore everything else)
  14. Somebody farted (covers paws with nose)
  15. Play dead
  16. Off
  17. Up
  18. Under
  19. Over
  20. Through
  21. Heel
  22. Front (move from heel to in front of handler)
  23. In your house (kennel)
  24. On your bed
  25. Stop (stop moving or whatever he is doing)
  26. That’s enough (barking)
  27. Puppy (pointing out another dog)
  28. Watch (a bigger or possibly aggressive dog is nearby, be careful)
  29. Go say hi (releases him to go investigate a strange dog)
  30. Whisper
  31. Speak
  32. Jump
  33. Find Mom
  34. Find Dad
  35. Find it
  36. Take it
  37. Leave it
  38. Drop it
  39. Touch it
  40. Touch it with your paw
  41. Take a bow
  42. Treat
  43. Drink
  44. Go Potty (#1)
  45. Get Busy (#2)
  46. Play guitar
 Considering he also has a vocabulary in hand signals and whistles you have to admit that’s pretty impressive. I’m so proud of our little dude.

deep thoughts

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I think we’ve all heard Elmer Fudd reads Porno. It got me to thinking : What would Yosemite Sam sound like during an orgasm?

Just thinking out loud.

I’m still working on Germany stuff. My initial lead was to work for a friend’s company..but he may not be working for them much longer. So I have to attack this from another angle. I suppose I have the option to look at other locales in Germany in which to work..

Thinking about the options, we absolutely loved Cologne, so that option may stay open. Berlin seemed hyper interesting and is cheaper to live in, but doesn’t somehow appeal to me to work in. Munich and Frankfurt are quite expensive and likewise don’t appeal much to me from a working and living perspective.

Hamburg is somewhere I’ve never been but heard a lot of good feedback about. Bonn, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Dresden, Hannover, and Essen are other places that I haven’t been yet that interest me..but know very little about. Basically I’m looking to earn well, have a decent standard of living, have lots of options for sightseeing and things to do, a bit of local culture, good “IT” prospects..

In the process I have dusted off my 6 year old resume.. and after looking over the projects I’ve been involved with and the work I’ve done I feel more confident in getting a position somewhere.  The only issues are that Europe prefers to use the Curriculum Vitae format over the North American resume format, so I had to adapt to that.

The other issue is translating to German. Let me tell you, the job search field is ample opportunity to learn crazy new vocabulary! (gems like Lebenslauf,  Einstellungstest, Vorstellungsgespräch, Gehaltsvorstellungen). I think I will drop my CV first in English on German job search sites, and see what response I get..thankfully I have some super-smart and generous German Kontakte with whom to help me with the translation.

I also confirmed my mortgage DOES NOT have an option to delay payments a year, which is a setback, but I can work around that. I also need to see if there is an option to do a ‘trading places’ situation with another Hamburg resident.

My german class is likewise going well. At first I was worried going into a intermediate class that I would be in over my head.. but now I wish I had some more advanced classmates participating. There is some absolutely atrocious pronunciation going on, and the general level of confidence and vocabulary of my classmates to speak in German is lacking a lot. I will readily admit I’m far from ready to be dropped into German life at my current level, but mein Gott! A little competition between my classmates and I would motivate me a little more.

Wrote too much already! Will be back soon to write more!

Also, tschüß! (byebye!)

A chip off the ol’ journal

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Jan 19th, 2011

The first thing I remember is what a great mood everyone was in on the bus, as we rode from the airport to the property. Everyone had a good laugh over the confusion between the locally known MAMAjuana which the bus driver was trying to recommend to us, and the more internationally known marijuana.


As we reached the resort there was a crush of people trying to get checked in and that process was pretty slow and laborious. We handed out room directories as everyone checked in, so we could keep track of  room numbers. As we started to check-in, the receptionist stopped the process and forwarded us to the Royal Service VIP salon for check-in. As we were getting ushered away we told everyone to meet at the Marketplace buffet for dinner .

We weren’t sure what was going on because we hadn’t paid for Royal Service. Still, we went along with the process happily, and the concierge took us and our luggage via golf cart to our ridiculously upgraded room. After review of the overly awesome room, we thought there may have been a mistake and called the front desk to make sure we wouldn’t get billed big time for the upgrade. We were told it was ‘gratis’ (free!) because we were getting married there!


We had a bit of trouble navigating the resort but eventually found the Marketplace (a bit late). Most had eaten already and were working on second or third or fourth batch of drinks. Brent appeared to be getting a initiation from Dan that involved a lot of heavy drinking of everything in twos. After a drink or two and listening to the cover band, we decided to take the train to the beach.

As we rode the train past the Marketplace, the band started into a rendition of ‘Hey Jude’.  Our group was in the mood to join in, so queue much singing from the back of the train where we were located – and we sang nearly all the way to the beach. I actually heard people in the resort humming Hey Jude the next day!

A bar was just getting set up on the beach, so as we waited for that to be ready the group took pictures and enjoyed a walk on the beach in the full moon. I remember marveling at how 10 hours and 3000 kilometers changed things.

A few of the group came back to our suite after the beach to check it out. While the ladies discussed the changes of marriage and family life on the balcony, the guys discussed the resort, the security business, and got a complaint lodged against us by the next room. Apparently we made a bit too much noise and frightened the lady next door when we jiggled the knob on the adjoining door between suites. Whoops!

Shortly after everyone left our suite, we had a surprise call from Mats, who wasn’t supposed to be checking in until the next day (that one extra night cost him a pretty sum, too). I was pretty full of booze and tired to boot at that point – I’m sure I asked him about 5 times what room number they were in. In any case I managed to relay that we should meet at the marketplace for breakfast the next morning.

(to be continued…)

the internet is for bunga bunga

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there is an east indian and karachi restaurant on 8th street I frequent called Spicy Bite.. they do lunch and dinner buffet as well as menu offerings. they have a honeyed saffroned almonded rice pudding there that kicks ass. I would recommend the restaurant if you’re:

  • in toontown
  • looking for something different than the usual
  • ok with a bit of spicy

I called the german consulate this week… Germany is stereotypically bureaucratic, and struggling with a multitude of EU non-native workers as it is. I expected there to be a lot more hassle and paperwork required to be able to live & work there as a Canadian.. but it doesn’t seem that big a deal based on what I was told. I also found a couple full-immersion type German courses in Hamburg, that place you with a host family. These type of courses would be very intensive and helpful, I may follow up on them regardless of what happens.

my fellow studenten at the german class made and signed a congratulatory wedding card for us, and my boss has scheduled a cake and coffee thing for me at the staff meeting next week. I don’t think I’ve been congratulated so much in my life.

and the pictures did turn out great.. besides the 250+ amateur shots from our guests, at least 10% of the professional shots (of over 1000) are being considered for prints. It’s going to be difficult to narrow it down. I think we will want a big framed picture for the wall in the house, some for our scrapbook,  and some for the guest book we plan to have this summer at our reception.

next entry I think I will blog our travel diary. it will probably job my memory and yours a bit on the week that happened (what seems) so long ago.

unterwegs sein/on track

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through my german teacher I got the contact info for the Honorary Consulate for Germany, here.

I got some initial info and have an appointment to talk with her next week. I think she’ll be able to answer nearly all of my questions, and anything she can’t answer I’ve got leads on.

so far the germans I have talked to all have good things to say about Hamburg.. however, other than Frankfurt I’ve rarely heard much in the way of criticism of any locale in Germany. in any case, good reviews!

hard to believe we’ve been back from the dominican a week already.  two weeks was stretching it for being at the same resort – but damn! this working for a living stuff and not being able to do whatever I want on my terms during the day is already old. the anticipation for the next big trip is something nice to look forward to. (Jamaica? Germany? Sweden?)

that’s it for now though. TGIF.

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