Archive for the ‘personal’ Category


Monday, April 30th, 2007

Beautiful but hot morning in New Delhi today. I slept like a log last night after all the travel and stuff. We’ve been taken to a vendor’s office today for a bit of meet and greet, and discussion of strategy for future projects. When I got here my name was on the welcome board in the lobby, and the receptionist presented me with a HUGE bouquet of flowers. A little embarrassing but pretty cool at the same time. I may give the flowers to one of the people from the office here, who came along on the Agra trip yesterday and made the experience much less intimidating.

The drive in was actually quite pleasant – traffic not too insane, and as well as rickshaws and many many cars we saw a couple of elephants being ridden. One had stopped by the side of the road to grab a few leaves from a tree. Totally cool.

We’re having lunch with the chairman of the vendor company today, then more sales pitch in the afternoon, then off to Bangalore tonight.

new delhi by numbers

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

18: Number of hours traveling to get from Minneapolis to New Delhi
8.5: Really irritating hours of the trip, with some guys going to Amsterdam on a stag week to “get messed up”. They had already started drinking in the airport and were really noisy and drunk on the plane. Of course they were sitting next to me.
0030: Time I got to my very nice hotel room late Saturday night/early Sunday morning
0600: Time I got up in order to do a day trip to Agra
253: Number of kilometers from New Delhi to Agra (that’s 157 miles)
4.5: Number of hours to get to Agra (I had been told about 3 hours by an Indian friend in Minneapolis – I need to have a word with him when I get back…)
115: Temperature in Fahrenheit at the Taj Mahal. Blimey it was roasting. I felt like a frying egg. That’s 46 Celcius.
3: Liters of sweat I lost while walking around the Taj Mahal. Did I mention it was hot? But it was also quite amazing and well worth the drive and the heat – quite beautiful.
50: Approximate number of people who ran over to me and tried to sell me stuff every time I got out of the car.
50: Number of these people who I ignored, and who gave up trying to bug me within 30 seconds. I think I’m getting the hang of being a tourist here.
50: Number of pictures I took of the Taj Mahal – mostly of the buildings and area, with a few of some tourists and some monkeys.
4.5: Number of hours it took to get back to the hotel.
2140: Time I got back to the hotel. I’m too tired even to have a beer.

Special bonus number: add together all the numbers listed above and you will get the number of times we were almost killed on the roads to and from Agra. I had forgotten how ridiculous the traffic is here. Several times we almost ran into speeding oncoming cars.

P.S. It’s hard to remember all the things I saw along the way – real sensory overload. One difference between here and Bangalore is that not just oxen are pulling carts – lots of camel power going on (Delhi is further north and nearer to the desert). Lots of people in cars and rickshaws, or in fact any kind of transport imaginable. Buses packed with people, and more people riding on the roof. Rickshaws carrying 15 people (usually built for 2 or 3) including some hanging off the sides. Considering the cars pass within fractions of an inch, at speed, this is just suicidal.

Anyway through all the hustle and, furthermore, bustle of the Indian traffic I do like to try to remember at least one comedic sign – the one on today’s trip which stood out was by the side of the road, and said “Institute for Advanced Research on GOATS”


Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

So this evening through a series of slightly odd events I’m going to find myself delivering a guest lecture at the Carlson School of Management on the technology impacts to retailers. This is my area of work, so you’d think it’d be just fine, but right now I’m a tad on the nervous side. Wish me luck.


Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Lots of travel at the moment, hence not too much posting. This week I was in Austin, TX for a couple of days to meet with some very prominent clients, then on Friday I’m off to India for a week to meet with a vendor in New Delhi, and then to Bangalore to meet with our office folks there. The travel is kind of fun, it’s good to meet with other people, but also exhausting – obviously the schlepping around, and emotionally too it’s hard to be away from Emma and Toby.

The upcoming trip to Delhi is going to be interesting, in that it’ll be nice to be on the client side of things, and hopefully well looked after by these vendors, and also because the current weather forecast I’m seeing says that it’s over 100F, with “widespread dust”. Nice.

dinna ken and dinnaken

Monday, April 16th, 2007

I got the bus out to Emma’s work to meet her for lunch one day a couple of weeks ago. On the way we went through the University, and I noticed that one of the residences is named Dinnaken House. This was funny for me as a Scots lad – in my previous life “dinna ken” means “don’t know”, as you will see in this poem. I liked that you would go to a place of learning and live in Don’t Know House


Thursday, April 12th, 2007

I just nipped out to my favorite coffee shop to get a zap of americano. On the floor of the shop was some money – I picked it up and thought “hmm, a rumpled $5 bill”, and although a couple of people saw me do it, nobody said “Hey – that fell out of that person’s pocket” or anything. So I pocketed it, paid for my friend Kyle’s coffee, and left a more generous than usual tip.

When I got back to the office I unrumpled it, and realized that it was actually $50. So I feel a bit guilty – the kind of person who drops a crumbled 50 either has loads of money and doesn’t feel the need to have 50s in their wallet, or hardly any and doesn’t have a wallet.

I don’t feel right keeping this – I think I should just make a quick donation to Mercy Corps or something – what do you think?

manbag update

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

You might remember my rather pathetic manbag post a few weeks ago, where I had seen another dad at Toby’s school who had an excellent-looking bag. Yesterday while Emma and I were out shopping we found it. Bad news – v expensive at $280, but at least I know what and where it is. It’s the Bosca Messenger Correspondent bag, and it’s kind of fantastic. Looks like very high quality construction, nice size, good organization pockets inside, and very much my style. But $280. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to save my pocket money for a while:
Bosca Messenger Correspondent

shopping adventures, consumer larks

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

We’re having some friends round for lunch and for dinner tomorrow, so went out this afternoon to pick up supplies. We decided to go a bit upmarket, to Byerly’s where the food is excellent and overpriced, and some of the shopping carts have little cars on the front for kids to sit in and drive, which makes things easier for harried parents (not that we are, but it means we can focus more on what we’re buying and not worry about keeping an eye on Toby).

Another customer-friendly feature, also good for a lone parent, is that they not only bag your groceries, but you can have them put them in boxes which are conveyed to a pickup point where a winsome youth will load them into your car, saving you having to lug everything out by yourself. Unfortunately something broke down in the system today and when we got home we realized that we’d been given someone else’s groceries. I called the store and spoke to a manager who said he’d send someone over with our stuff right away. Sure enough, 40 minutes later the manager himself was at our door with our stuff and a generous gift card for our inconvenience. Nice work, Byerly’s!

wild spring

Monday, March 26th, 2007

This weekend the weather really picked up – it’s over 70 degrees, about 25 degrees warmer than usual. So a lot of things woke up – we’re seeing buds on trees and shrubs, almost all the snow has finally gone, birds singing, and our cats enjoying the porch and windows being open.

There’s a downside – bugs are waking up. On Sunday morning Toby and I went down to the kitchen to make breakfast and Toby said “Dad, I see a bug on the floor. Dad, I see a lot of bugs on the floor.” I focused a bit and saw ants, all over the place. So I herded Toby through to the dining room, and the cats into the basement, and covered the floor with anti-ant spray – we left the kitchen for the morning for the spray to do its work. When we got back at lunchtime all the ants were dead – nothing moving, so I swept everything up before letting the cats out of the basement. Scout in typical melodramatic fashion had thrown up a little bit on the basement stairs so I had to deal with that too.

Other animals are waking up as well. In the evening I was reading Toby his story before bed, when we heard Nessie (the younger, female cat) yowling through the kitchen window as she does when she sees a strange cat near our house. Scout went over to see what was going on, and she turned on him, hissing and spitting, which she has occasionally done, but this seemed a bit of an overreaction. After a few minutes we heard yowling again, so we went to look too. It wasn’t a cat – there was a great big raccoon bumbling around in the yard, so no wonder Nessie was so upset. We watched the raccoon for a few minutes until it wandered away, but when we saw the kitchen floor we noticed drops of blood all over the place. My first thought was that maybe the raccoon had somehow scratched Nessie through the window screen but she seemed fine. The we realized that when she had gone for Scout she had given him a scratch on the back of one of his legs which had bled a little. It was just a tiny nick, and he recovered quickly – they seem to be good friends again this morning – but it was quite a dramatic evening for all of us.


Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

I have a dilemma. There’s a dad of one of the infants at Toby’s daycare who has a fantastic bag. Not a clunky, dorky laptop bag or a little clutch purse but one of those messenger-type bags. And it’s pretty much ideal, not too big, not too small, leather, smart but without being boring, stylish, and it looks (from furtive glances) like it has useful compartments like an accessible space for an iPod.

That’s not the dilemma, just the background. The problem I’m having is that I don’t know the guy – we tend to drop off and pick up our kids at approximately the same times, but have only kind of acknowledged each other without actually talking. So how do I ask him where he got his bag without sounding like a huge girl (as I did in the preceding paragraph of this post)? I certainly don’t want to be all like “OMG *where* did you get that *fabulous* bag I simply *have* to know??” but it’s going to be difficult to ask without sounding like that.

For the record I do currently have an excellent bag which Emma gave me a few years ago – it’s brown leather, good size and also has convenience (with necessary accessible iPod-sized compartment) and I haven’t seen anything else which comes close. It’s just starting to get a bit battered due to having been used every day for years, and as a laptop bag on many long flights.

Any advice, readers, on how to deal with this?