Archive for March, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad!

March 25 2012

Today is my dad’s birthday.  I gave him a call (at exactly midnight ending his birthday here in Europe).  He said “it’s not late, it’s my birthday week.”

Two funny things happened on the course of the conversation.  First, Peyton puked on him.  Apparently, it was a mess, so he called my mom over.  She cleaned up the baby first, to which he responded “oh, I see, get the baby first, not the birthday boy.”

Then, they open the cake to find “Happy Birthday, Sir” written in the icing.  When Peyton was first born, he told my family that she will call him “Grandfather Sir.”  I guess that the name stuck.

Finally, Devon was able to get skype working so I could see dad while we sang Happy Birthday to him.  In the photo, you can see him pointing to himself during the “to me” part of the song.

Singing "Happy Birthday" to Dad

Singing "Happy Birthday" to Dad

Then, I spent some time talking to Peyton on Skype.  She tried to climb into the computer with me.  After several unsuccessful attempts, she became very frustrated.  Would be nice if coming to visit me were as easy as climbing into the computer.

Happy Birthday, Grandfather Sir!

Also, I want to say Happy Birthday to my MOM as well 🙂  She celebrated a big birthday last week.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BOTH MY PARENTS!!!

Birthday Celebration

March 23 2012
We surprise Herbert on his birthday

Herbert's reaction to us singing happy birthday at the Prater

For Herbert’s birthday this year, we threw him a small surprise party.  And, he was quite surprised when we came out of no-where and started singing “Happy Birthday” to him as he was walking around the Prater with Letta.

For the party, we spent 2 hours at the amusement park, where we rode bumper cards and went for a ride on the Riesenrad (ferris wheel). From the top of the wheel, we could see all of the familiar sites in Vienna. Somehow Herbert managed to get a discount on our ride (from 16 Euros down to 8,50), which made it even more enjoyable.

I'm getting ready to go go-karting

The helmet is on!

Finally, we made our way over to the go-karts.    We went for 10 minutes with “super speed”.  This was the first time I had been on a go-kart, and unfortunately, I think that I hurt my back.  After watching from the sidelines, Chao and Morten say that I am a lunatic at go-karts — but do you really believe them?

We ended our evening at the Schweizerhaus, a brewery at the Prater.  These types of breweries are typical in Vienna, but this one seemed to be a bit more touristy than the ones with which we are familiar.  When I made the reservation, I asked if we could have a cake with candles.  They told me that I can buy a cake (45 Euros) and candles (1 Euro each) from our waiter.  When we asked our waiter, there was neither a cake nor candles that we could buy.  In addition, they ran out of the Stelze (pork knuckle).  In the end, Michael, Michaela and I ordered three  entrees and soups.  The food was good, and the service was so-so (I never expect good service in Vienna anyway).  I was quite disappointed in the lack of Stelze.

For more photos of the event, check out my Picasa album.

Schwarzfahren

March 21 2012

Schwarzfahren is a german word which literally translates to black-riding.  The meaning of the word, however, is riding a (train / u-bahn / bus) without a ticket.  Schwarzfahrer (a man who rides transport without a ticket) and ein schwarzer Fahrer (a black rider) can easily be mistaken.  The following video makes use of this double-meaning:

Often in the u-bahn (subway), I see signs that warn that there is a fine of 70 Euros for schwarzfahren.  They always stand out to me because the English equivalent of schwarzfahren would most likely be politically incorrect.  I also find it quite funny that one of my most law-abiding friends is petrified of schwarzfahren (but he has done it … twice)!  So, when I heard this song come on last.fm, I was very amused (translated lyrics are below):

Guten Tag die Herren,
ja ich bin schwarzgefahren,
nein ich hab es nicht vergessen,
ich hab es einfach so getan.

Na und Na und,
sperren sie mich ein,
Na und Na und,
es könnte schlimmer sein,
es könnte schlimmer sein.

Guten Tag die Herren,
ja ich weiß das ist Gras,
Nein ich hab es nicht vom Freund,
ich habs einfach so zum Spaß,
ach kommen sie das bisschen Gras.

Na und Na und,
sperren sie mich ein,
Na und Na und,
es könnte schlimmer sein,
es könnte schlimmer sein.

Guten Tag die Herren,
Ja ich bin durchgedreht,
Ja das war alles ich,
das wird ein längeres Verfahren,
das können sie sich besser sparen.

Na und Na und,
sperren sie mich ein,
Na und Na und,
es könnte schlimmer sein,
es könnte schlimmer sein.
Hello, gentlemen,
yes, I have been schwarzgefahren,
no, I have not forgotten,
I have simply done it.

So what, so what,
lock me up,
so what, so what,
it could be worse,
it could be worse.

Hello, gentlemen,
yes, I know this is weed,
no, it's not my friend's,
it's mine to enjoy,
oh, it's just a little weed.

So what, so what,
lock me up,
so what, so what,
it could be worse,
it could be worse.

Hello, gentlemen,
yes, I am out of control,
yes, that was all me,
it's going to be a long proceeding,
but it's not worth the trouble.

So what, so what,
lock me up,
so what, so what,
it could be worse,
it could be worse.

(Thanks to Florian & Andy for helping me translate the phrase “sie sich sparen”).

Fitness Goals

March 16 2012

In April, I will run a 16.1k as part of a Relay team at the Vienna City Marathon.  Luckily, there are two teams from IST Austria, and Morten will be running the 16.1k for the other team.  We will be running together, which will make it more enjoyable.  As I was running into Vienna last week (just under 16km), I decided that I wanted to run in a marathon.  Perhaps I can be ready for the Philadelphia Marathon in November.  Anyone want to join?

A second goal came about when I was at the gym on Sunday evening.  I discovered that I can not do a pull up.  So, my goal is now to be able to do a pull up.  I spoke with Rudy, the trainer at IST Austria and expert fitness coach sponsored by Activia, who gave me a few pointers on exercises to build up strength and muscle memory.

I will share one of my feeble attempts at a pull-up.  The video is side-ways because I do not know how to rotate it.  Sorry about that!  Hopefully soon, I can share my successful attempts too.

 

A New Career

March 8 2012
a photo of Andy's overgrown wig

Andy Before

About two weeks ago, Andy asked me to cut his hair.  This was after I told him that my Kathy and I used to cut our friend’s hair in college.  (The first time we did it, our friend cried).  Nonetheless, I am experienced in cutting hair.

I told him not to expect much, but that  … if he really wanted … I would cut his hair.  And so, I cut his hair.  Perhaps it was more of laziness on his part than his confidence in my ability.

I thought I did a pretty good job.  The only trouble was that I did not know how to finish the front.  Somewhere along the way, Morten said that he looked like Justin Bieber.  I didn’t know who he was, but then I looked at Andy and realized that I saw his face on a magazine once.  And so, I just kept cutting until I had no more options.  At the end, Morten said “you should have just left it at Justin Bieber.”  I don’t think it was that bad:

 

a front view of Andy's new 'do

After the Haircut

After Andy's Haircut

Another View of the new 'do

After the haircut, Andy decided that he need to get it professionally touched-up.  So, he asked Morten where he goes to get his haircut.  [[The back-story:  The last time Morten had his haircut, he accidentally asked his hairdresser out on a date.  After an awkward conversation, it was cleared up.  Ever since then, I have been joking that Morten is dating his hairdresser Sophie.]]  Morten told Andy where to go get his haircut in Vienna, but did not clarify that Sophie was not in fact his girlfriend.  When Andy returned (with only slight modifications to his haircut), he said the following “well, it is quite funny that Morten’s girlfriend doesn’t even know his name.”  And, that was the end of Morten and Sophie’s love-life.  Poor Morten also has to find a new hairdresser.