Well, back to the boring logs, although there might be a picture or two here and there. Iíve become way behind in my logs, so my memories are starting to get fuzzy on days I didnít deliberately do anything cool. Itís Thursday, and Iím behind three days!
Monday morning came fast. Too fast. Even though Iíd not really stayed up remarkably late or anything, my leftover exhaustion still pressed into my ability to wake up. The shower was starting to act weird at this point; I guess more people were staying in my building now. It varied quickly from hot to cold, and the pressure would rise and drop wildly when this occurred. Sometimes freezing, sometimes blisteringly hot. I managed to make it through without serious burns, and dressed quickly. I still hadnít done my dishes this morning, and I had hit snooze twice. I was ready to go in short order and took the stairs down to my car, no longer conscious of the scary phantasms that occupied the hallway.
My typical plan to park in the driveway was nearly thwarted. The area in front of the entrance was packed to the gills with cars, so I took the only place I could, hindering the exit of a couple of cars from the parking spots there. It wasnít impossible for them to get out, just difficult. Apparently a lot of people had my same idea to avoid the walk in the garage. Breakfast once again was delicious. They had wild berry juice again to go with my cereal, with which this time I went with the dried fruits variety. Itís my favorite. I realized as I sat why the driveway was so crowded; the restaurant was full of people talking in German, French, Japanese, and English, in a variety of accents. Very international, I thought. As I headed back to the car, I decided not to leave my key, which would save me the trouble of returning back there each evening. Iíd just leave it in the car. As I got back to my car, I noticed every car on the driveway had a pink piece of paper under the wiper blade. I knew precisely what this was, and it didnít take a German expert to figure out the foreign language message. ďDonít park in the driveway, please use the parking garage.Ē I had been parking there all last week, and no one had cared until today. Considering the number of people out front this time, however, I understood why it had become an issue. At the same time I was annoyed Ė having to park underground added an easy 10 minutes onto my morning, as it was a long walk back to my car from the lobby.
Traffic was also heavy on the way to work, which Iíd not seen until now. Not Austin heavy, but still pretty dense on the Autobahn. I was driving along, nearly to the gate when it suddenly hit me. I didnít have the wireless card for my laptop! Iíd taken it out of the bag when Iíd gone to Berlin, and now it was sitting in a drawer at the hotel. Bugger. It was *possible* to work without it, but I wouldnít be able to do much of anything. The card I didnít have was necessary to get on the plantís network; my normal ones wouldnít work. Fudge. I returned to A4 and swiftly found my way back to the hotel. In and out of the room I sprinted, happy I had my key with me. This entire process ended up making me about fifteen minutes late.
Getting into the building was a task. The line of people getting badges checked was very long, and I have to follow a much more complex procedure. I made it up to the conference room, but in spite of my lateness, Michel wasnít there. I sat down and waited for him. I was an at impasse with what I was doing, so I wasnít really sure what the plan was for the morning. As it turns out, Michel had gone to France for the weekend, and wasnít expected until the afternoon. I blew off the morning reservation as it was pretty useless anyway.
When lunch rolled around, we went to the cafeteria as usual. I got a curry sausage thing with potatoes and a little sauce. It was generally tasty, but wasnít spicy at all, so it was a little disappointing. Janice asked everyone if they wanted coffee, to which I thought she meant the same goofy coffee automated machine weíd been using. ďOh, no,Ē she said, ďthis is *good* coffee.Ē She led us to the different automated machines outside the cafeteria which Iíd seen the other day. I had assumed you needed to pay for this inside, but as it turns out, there is a card reader on it, and you can use the same virtual currency you use for food right there at the machine. I put in my card, put a cup under the spigot, and pressed the button for cappuccino. The machine is really cool! It had a bean reservoir on top and grinds the portion of beans right before it pours forth frothy milk and espresso a moment later. It didnít look like the instant crap that was dunked into a glass from the big free machine Ė this was *real* cappuccino, had a great aroma, was hot, and above all, very, very tasty.
ďIf I had known about this, I wouldnít have ever used the horrible thing in the Teakeuche,Ē I said referring to the other automated behemoth that releases a substance which is not, but not entirely unlike coffee. The only down side to this method is that it costs 81 Euro cents, but this translates to right around a dollar for a *good* cappuccino. Worth every penny, including the walk over to the cafeteria to get it. We returned to the room for a moment, and people drank their coffee quickly. I just sip mine, and when people wanted to take a walk, they asked if I needed more time. I told them that I slowly drink mine and even though it would be cold when we got back, I donít mind cold cappuccino.
Apparently itís been decided that Rayko will be coming to Austin to work with us in February. He was talking about where he wanted to visit, and he asked how far Dallas was from Austin. I said three hours, and he said he wanted to go to Plano. This threw me for a loop.
ďPlano?? Why would you want to go to *Plano*??Ē I queried, completely taken aback. Plano is not exactly a hot tourist destination, and wasnít close to Austin either. He explained that there is a shop there that rebuilds classic Mustangs, and he because of his fascination with American muscle cars, in particular classic ones, he really wanted to visit. I understood this desire at this point; Iíve had some odd destination requirements in Japan as well for similar reasons people would otherwise miss. I told him the best way to get there, and we discussed the different things the shop offered. It sounded cool, actually, and Iím not really into American cars. He also needed to find some parts for his friends 1978 Oldsmobile, which I didnít think would be a problem. They were excessively expensive here, for things that shouldnít cost much of anything.
Back in the room I awaited my next lab reservation and tried to finish up the Berlin log, which was getting longer and longer. Sometimes I think it would be easier to *not* do this, since Iíve been more and more interested in providing loads of information, and this takes a lot of time to create. On the other hand, people seem to find it interesting, I use it for my memory of the event, and when Iím done Iím always very proud of what Iíve created. So, maybe one day Iíll really get fed up, but for the moment, Iíll just complain about it.
After the second session, I managed to get something working, so I was happy again. It went much better than the missing morning one! After demonstrating Skype for Janice (thanks Bianca!), Michel and I left around 6 and I dropped by the grocery store on the way home. I calculated Iíd have exactly two meals left that Iíd be eating in the room; we had the opera one night of the remaining four I was in Dresden, plus a team dinner we had been planning on. That just left tonight and one other night. I picked up a few more hot dogs, some more soup (some in a can this time), cereal, milk, and water. They didnít have any of the really good blueberry yogurt today, which made me a little sad. I got a couple of cups of another brand instead. I also went to the ďbulkĒ pickles and bought a bunch. Pickles I can eat as many as I want without much worry, and these were extra special good. I got a few of a different type as well. As I checked out, I picked up some Berry-flavored Smints, which I didnít know existed.
Back to the hotel. I was able to avoid going up front this time, and simply returned to the room. I took a brief jaunt downstairs to work out, and afterwards I was just going to sit down, work on the logs, and watch some TV. However, my cell phone rang, and there was a problem at work. After I finished dinner, I picked up my laptop and headed to my secluded spot in the lobby, sure I was going to be screwed again. This time though, I took my DLink card with me, just as a test of the hardware. It was the only remaining possibility with regards to why I couldnít get a signal.
Man, Iím good. The connection was stable, and in contrast to previous attempts, very fast. I was able to use Skype again, and had no trouble initially getting on the net. At some point I happened to notice that my little window with remaining time was showing some German error message. Since I had a connection, I wasnít really worried about it though. I did, however, notice that I couldnít go anywhere I didnít already have a session to, such as SSH or VPN. It didnít bother me though, as I was already connected to everything I needed. A moment later, an American walked up to me and asked if I was online. When I told him I was, he made a huffing noise and cursed under his breath. I explained why I was still able to access, and he said, ďSo it *is* on their end then,Ē to which I agreed. He walked off.
He must have gone to complain to the lobby, because a moment later I too was kicked off and couldnít get back on. Doggone it. I figured they were rebooting or something, so I took a little break and worked on the log, which is what I was going to do that night in the first place. Fifteen minutes later it came back up, and I was moving once more. I talked to my mom, sister, and dad for a little bit, but it was starting to get late. I returned to the room, put my dishes in the sink, and went to bed, replaying tonightís episode of 24 for background noise as I fell asleep.