Archive for the 'Coming to America' Category

Feliz fin de semana!

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Listening to caller requests on Recuerdo 100.3La Preciosa 92.3 after grabbing some take-out lunch.

All recent immigration issues aside, this is a great place to pick up Spanish. Venga!

Global Players on CNBC

Monday, March 20th, 2006

Sabine Christiansen in my living room. Funny. Tonight’s subject: “Fighting foreign takeovers: patriotism … or protectionism?” Judging from the last 10 minutes this looks like an exact clone of her weekly talk show in Germany: a lot of talking, no real insights.

Go to Hell in 10 Easy Steps

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

This is what spending a high school year in the US can do to you: you develop a strange fascination with late-night infomercials for practically anything from how to improve your memory to how to get an edge in life, from electric rotisseries to how to strike it rich in the real estate market with zero down payment, from understanding the bible to, well, really understanding the bible.

Tonight, I came across yet another goodie of infomercialism. Attention, kids: these guys are really, um, messed up. Don’t buy into it!

But wait, there’s more:

Please note that the above list is just a random sample. I don’t endorse any of the products mentioned (though I have endured the informercials more or less extensively over the past years).

San Francisco, 309 Miles

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

On the 5, headed North for San José. Four hours to go.

Plantjes en Bloemen

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

Quite a momentous day today, as I kicked off gardening season 2006. Tomatos, peppers, zucchini, a selection of herbs, and a lime tree will take on the concrete backyard. I expect to become self-sufficient by June.

Krautshow is back!

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

Finally, the wait is over!

The Krautshow Goes On: Special Oscars Edition!

We admit that more time than originally planned has passed since the Krautshow took off at the end of last year. But now the show continues!

On the occasion of the Motion Picture Academy Awards, this month’s episode focuses on the recent uprising of the German Film, sheds some light on the godfather of Germanic cinema, Wim Wenders, and translates the Oscar-winning cowboy movie “Brokeback Mountain” into a heartbreaking “Berlin Kreuzberg” that even Germans can understand.

Ride on!


Broken justice

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

Very sobering article in yesterday’s Sunday edition of the San Jose Mercury News: Tainted trials, stolen justice, part one in a five-part series that will continue throughout this week.

Taken together, the Mercury News findings offer a picture of a system that often turns on its head the presumption that defendants are innocent until proved guilty. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and appellate justices frequently act in ways that cause defendants’ rights to be violated.

As the exectutive editor notes:

Our investigation did not conclude that the justice system does not work — far from it. We found that most trials are fair and that most defendants are convicted by juries presented with strong evidence of their guilt. We also know that the system sometimes bends over backward to guarantee defendants’ rights, and that things happen in the courtroom and on appeal that help, rather than hurt, defendants’ chances to go free.

But often, that’s not the way it works.

If Silicon Valley can’t get their act together, I wonder how things look in less fortunate places elsewhere in the United States.

Web Monday follow-up

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

I enjoy life in Silicon Valley. A whole lot. The energy here is tangible. The people, the conversations, the constant flow of ideas, this pervasive sense of opportunity, the can-do attitude — it can really get you excited sometimes.

Makes me wonder:

What if we could somehow borrow some of this energy and spark something similar in Germany? What if we could grow an environment as nourishing as the one here, attracting the world’s best and brightest? What if we could create a climate that values entrepreneurship and rewards innovation — a climate that would put Germany on the map of cool places to live, learn and invent (and start a business)?
Now, while I know this won’t happen overnight, I’m pretty sure it can be done. At the very least, it’s definitely worth aiming for.

So when I had a chance to go back for a quick visit to Cologne (Germany) a few weeks ago, I brought along the idea for a Web Monday — an informal gathering of people already working on some of the topics related to web 2.0 (in the broadest sense). I was curious to feel their pulse, if you will, and find out firsthand if and to what extent the future of the web might actually be “made in Germany”.

I’m happy to say Web Monday went really well. First of all, the infrastructure (nice location, with Wi-Fi, beamer etc.) was in place, thanks to the many who self-organized via the wiki. Second, the turnout was simply huge! A nice mix of well over 80 people attended, among them bloggers (some of Germany’s top-ranked, in fact), podcasters, wikipedians, software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, senior business people, internet veterans, students, journalists etc. as well as a few newbies or otherwise interested bystanders. Some people came all the way from Frankfurt, Stuttgart, or even Brussels (Belgium). There were a total of four brief standup presentations of current projects that night. And to top things off, we even had sponsors for the first couple rounds of drinks for everyone.

All in all, a pretty neat get-together, given the one-week notice.

Feedback has been very positive overall. In general, people seem to have enjoyed the open format, to the extent that immediately afterwards there was already talk of a next Web Monday in Cologne to be held some time soon.

Just to give you an idea who some of the people in the audience were (listed in no particular order and far from complete):

As of today, there are two Web Monday meetups taking shape, one in Cologne and the other one in Berlin. I have heard some people in Hamburg and Frankfurt express interest in setting up local editions of Web Monday in their respective city or region as well — we’ll have to see how that goes.

The Web Monday wiki has proven to be an invaluable tool in setting up all this. Its doors will remain open, and anyone interested is more than welcome to contribute — on both sides of the Atlantic.

Thanks once again to everyone who helped put this together. I see a lot of potential going into 2006.

With that said, here’s to a happy and venturesome New Year!

San Jose Public Library

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

Not only is the San Jose Public Library excellent, my newly upgraded membership lets me borrow 100 items at a time! Today, I made good use of it and picked up the following (all pretty good):

  • Hilary Hahn — Bach, Concertos (ASIN: B000099156)
  • Cecilia Bartoli — the art of Cecilia Bartoli (B00006JIC4)
  • Piotr Anderszewski — Bach, Partitas 1, 3, 6 (ASIN: B00005UV9B)
  • Evgeny Kissin — Chopin, 24 Preludes, Op. 28 and others (ASIN: B00002DE5F)
  • Bonnie Raitt — Souls Alike

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

Saw the latest Wallace and Gromit movie about two weeks ago. It was simply excellent, of course, and so are the reviews.

Funny, I saw Creature Comforts in San Jose, too — back in 1989/90.