Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy 2011!

Happy New year, and yes, I'm still alive.
It has been a while since my last post.
So many things happened. I've been back to the Netherlands, and returned to the USA. Got engaged, bought a new car (no, I still have my Honda Accord, and yes, more credit score fun.... :( )
And, been working on some other things as well.
One exciting thing is my wedding here in Atlanta!!! Coming up in March.
Most of it has been taken care of by now. a lot of filling in the details.

A fun one I have been working on is on the Webcast. With family and friends all over the world I know some won't make it. But with the technology of today, that doesn't need to be a problem.
So far, it actually seems pretty simple. I created an account with, fiddled around a bit, and saw myself "life" on a second computer!
Pretty awesome :)

Tomorrow I'll do a little test "on location".
I'm very excited, and interested in how that will go...

And then set it up/write instructions so that I can pass the operation to someone else, and I can actually be the groom in my own wedding, instead of the webcast operator :D

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pursuing housing

Those who follow this blog for a while now, might remember how I blogged about that it takes a car to get one. Back then, I decided not to pursue any housing yet. Now, 9 months of living in something much like a fancy hotel room later, I had gathered enough courage to try again...

And, with only a small list of requirement (affordable, spare bedroom(s), not too far from work, and at least a decent building quality), I stated looking online using Craigslist and Google maps. (btw, Do you know how annoying searching at craigslist is, without proper grouping or filtering? I ended up building something myself, if anyone is interested, let me know) Anw, the result was a small list of places I was more interested in. Some townhouses, some apartment communities, and even a single house. Next step, call all private owners of the townhouses (and the single house). Again, like with the cars, at least half was already gone, and the rest wasn't available to make an appointment with for that day.

So, with a small list of apartment communities and some help for experience and mental support, we set of for a little ride. (Have I ever mentioned how much of a requirement a car is in the States?)
The first, furthest away, was a small townhouse, cramped in, and had cow's heads to open the kitchen closets. And was the most expensive we intended to look at.
A little later, at another apartment community, when we arrived everyone was out, so we had to wait half an hour during which we visited a local supermarket and picked up a copy of an Apartment guide. Trying to kill time, we went through it, and picked some more potential apartment communities. Which was the best thing we did there, because after we returned and got our tour, we went to one of those, which was located just right, and had a nice pricetag. Except that by then, they were about to close, so we returned the next day for a tour. We liked what we saw, and I decided to stick with that one. We got an apartment number, of an apartment on the first floor, facing nothing but woods, thinking all was perfect, and not dissatisfied with how smooth this had gone so far, we left.

Then, about a good 1.5 weeks before the move in date, I got a phone call. Whether I could move in a little later, as they would need the time to clean the apartment. Trying to be friendly, I accepted the maximum move in date that was possible, giving them 1 additional day. Both sides happy.

4 days before the original move in date, I got another phone call. The current attendant canceled their move out...
They did have another similar apartment, on the 3rd floor, facing the parking lot, which I could get for the same price...
Really? ...
Alternatively they had a slightly different and (90 Sq ft) smaller apartment, on the 2nd floor, and facing the woods, in a different part of the community.
If I wanted I could step by and come and see both for myself, just, they would close in less than 30 minutes, and I was at least 20 minutes away, so, not really.
We did make an appointment for the next morning, and I ended up accepting their 2nd option.

Next, Insurance and Power.
Before I could move in, I had to get renter's insurance, and put the power on my name. So, I call Georgia power, ... only to be told that as I haven't lived in the states for 5 years yet, I need to go to one of their offices in person.
Then let's try insurance. Actually, kudos to Nationwide, the guy I got on the line was very helpful, very patient, and very detailed and complete in his explanations. Only to have to call me back 5 minutes after we ended our phone call, because Nationwide stopped their insurance in Georgia... :(
But after some internal call he made, he transferred me to their Progressive department, with whom I finally was able to set up my insurance.

The next day I went to set up my power at the Georgia power office, what, I have to say, wasn't a bad experience. Well, AFTER I was able to find the place... Google first sent me to the wrong end of the street. Minor drawback, they could not set up paperless billing yet, and the first bill will come in the mail after about a good week, at which time I know I will not be able to check my mail for a while. (Thank God for friends!)

All swell, end swell? Not quite yet...
That same day I put the power on my name, I go to get my apartment's keys, and have the move-in inspection. So, while signing all the papers, suddenly all power goes off, and stays off. A big accident down the street had taken out the power lines.
So, suffices to say, the move-in inspection was only a partial one. With half the place to dark to be able to see any issues. Luckily, they were very fair 2 days later when I had gone back in with enough light, in accepting my list with additional point.

I still need to get that first power bill. But (knock on wood) so far it seems that the housing mainly provided me with another good story to tell. (And maybe some additional/higher deposits :) )

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Internet Outage

Today, the Internet in our office went down.
It made me realize, you don't know how "connected" you are, until the Internet goes down;
No ability to search for some quick information
(including when the semi finals start)
No skypecall to colleagues, friends or family
No access to company data
No emails (as it uses an online mailclient)
No mental support via FB
No news sites, blogs or twitters
No nothing!
How did people survive before "The Internet"????

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May; Month of Marathon Madness

Having a new girlfriend and all is nice, but I guess that we're doing something wrong, as this month is turning in a serious Month of Marathon Madness!
Let me explain. We have 3 weekends, in which we are covering a total of more than 5700km! (~3500miles) Yes, that is by car.
Now, we have 2200km (~1400miles) done. And still coming up, a 1040km (~660 miles) roadtrip, and a 2500km (~1500miles) roundtrip.

But, the madness is not complete, to balance all that sitting in the car, we decided to go and do something more active...
Catie and I signed up for a half marathon in March 2011, and a 5K October 3rd 2010, and are planning on another half marathon in May 2011, and possibly some others... Yes, marathon as in running.

What have I done...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lunch time!

Just wanted to share a look at my lunch location, right behind my office; my "kantine":

So, what do you think about it?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring? They call THIS spring?

I know, different places in the world have different climates.
Put so far, this must have been the oddest spring of all!

Spring; the time of year where after a cold winter, you open up every window in your house to let the fresh new air in. Where the grayness is replaced by blooming flowers, and the temperature rices a little again.

But not here in Georgia.

Here, after the freshness of the winter leaves, people close up every window, seal of every opening, and hope their air conditioner holds. Then, temperatures soar up to 30degrees Celsious (86F), cars turn a Uni-color, and if we had more brick roads, they all would be Yellow Brick Roads. Now, we ended up with just yellow roads. And
I think I might also know where the Beatles got their inspiration for "Yellow Submarine"..

The reason for it all (apart from the temperatures) is the pollen Pine trees release here in clouds. Cars, streets, windows, plants; everything gets a yellow coating.

Quite an experience...
And well, I can imagine a worse color than yellow...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Slow Cooker Convert

Don't get spoiled now, yes, 2 blogs in 2 days.
But I just have to report on the slow cooking.
Last night I set of into a new culinary adventure, slow cooking.
Found a recipe, got the groceries, and even prepared the ingredients that needed cutting. This morning, I quickly tossed the couple of ingredients that needed to be sauteed in the skillet while preparing my breakfast and enjoying my morning coffee. Mixing it all together in the slow cooker resulted in just a nice amount for the 1/2 2/3rd requirement, slowcooker on low, and off to work; not much later than usual. Seems even when additional preparation is required, with a little thinking ahead, it doesn’t require getting out of bed any earlier. (+1)

Arriving home
When I cook rice on a timer, and arriving home having the place smell all nice after the fresh rice is wonderful. But today, the sent was less oriental, and all the more Mexican. It kind of reminds me of a Mexican restaurant. In my own kitchen, without much effort (big +1) I did worry a bit about it drying out maybe, as the recipe time was a little less than the time I had been out for work, but, a quick look in the pot convinced me I didn’t had to worry; plenty of liquid left. And I can’t resist the smell, so I’ll have a quick taste…

Oh my, that is good. Maybe I should have reduced the green pepper a bit more, as the flavor is quite clearly present, although not too overwhelming. Can’t wait for dinner time!

Was anybody keeping score? In any case, after a little bump at the start, I have become a slow cooker convert; that meal was great. (+1 if you’re still counting). And still half a pot left to freeze, for another great dinner another day (yes, another +1).