November 26, 2006

Fishing near Cocodrie, Louisiana

Filed under: Events,Friends,Places — Cory @ 11:17 am

Thursday morning I drove over to Covington, Louisiana to spend Thanksgiving with the Taurman family. In addition to a wonderful meal, they had also planned a fishing trip for us to go on the following day. Friday evening 5 of us piled into Chad’s truck and headed down to Cocodrie, Louisiana.

We had a room reserved at Boudreaux’s Marina, a nice little place operated by Andre Boudreaux and his family. After getting a little sleep Friday night we woke up before 6 am and had a nice breakfast at the marina. As soon as breakfast was gone we piled in the boat to head out into the marsh and start fishing. Normally there are several different fishing guides who can take groups out, but as it turned out, all of Andre’s guides had taken the week off to go hunting, so he took us out himself.

It didn’t take long before Choose was reeling in the first fish, a speckled trout, and pretty soon we were all pulling them in. We caught lots of trout, red fish, and black drum and by the time we went in around 1pm we had caught enough food for everyone to have dinner. We also couldn’t have asked for better weather for the trip (I took this video while we were fishing, its 22 secs, 21 MB).

Andre Boudreaux is the real deal, no question about it (with a last name like “Boudreaux”, how could he not be?). He also gives guided tours for those who want to catch alligators, and his stories about those trips are pretty funny as well.

This trip reminded me of how much I enjoy fishing. Sadly, I haven’t gone much since I moved away from Virginia.

Thanks to the Taurman family for a great time!

• • •

November 5, 2006

The Beatles’ Cirque Du Soleil Show: Love

Filed under: Music,Places — Cory @ 11:34 pm

I returned yesterday from my 5th trip to Las Vegas in the past 15 months (yes, I like the place). This time I was only out there for 2 days, for a mini family vacation (only part of the family, and only a couple days). The highlight of this trip was seeing the new Beatles’ Cirque Du Soleil show, LOVE.

After having an incredible meal at The Tillerman, we headed over to the Mirage to catch the show. This is the third Cirque show I have seen, and this one did not disappoint. Although there were less acrobatics in LOVE than most other Cirque shows, it was still amazing. LOVE tells the story of the Beatles’ lives, surrounded by their music. I’ve always been a Beatles fan (the first song I learned to play on the guitar was Lennon’s “Norwegian Wood”, thanks to Dad), so it was very exciting to get the chance to experience the Cirque show.

After the show I was thinking about other people/groups throughout history that have never been able to be replaced. Everyone pretty much agrees that there has not (yet) been another band as influential as the Beatles. But what else? The next thing I thought of was Michael Jordon. I don’t really follow sports, but when Michael Jordon was playing basketball he was seemingly invinceable, and I have not heard of anyone else like him since he retired (the first time). I imagine Steve Jobs will probably also appear this way once he retires. Alan Greenspan also comes to mind.

I imagine it would have been awesome to see the Beatles in concert, and to be around when they were changing the world. I wonder if we will ever see anyone as great as they were, or if the world we live in can handle such a revolutionary music group again.

• • •

October 7, 2006

H-Town Love

Filed under: General,Places — Cory @ 12:20 am

I’ve been in Houston for a month now, and I must say that I am already happier living here than I ever was in San Antonio.

Before moving here I was a little concerned, because it seemed that most people I talked to said that they hated Houston, and I often heard people call it the “armpit of Texas.” Apparently they either never lived in Houston, or they lived in an area other than Montrose, but either way, I no longer trust those people’s opinions.

In San Antonio if I wanted to go to a coffee shop, there were only a few options. And if I wanted to go to a coffee shop after 10 pm, there was only one option: Starbucks at the Quarry. Not exactly what I had in mind. As I type this, at midnight on a Friday night, I am at a coffee shop that is 3 blocks from my apartment, and is open till 1 am. Between here and my apartment there are (at least) 3 other coffee shops that are open until 2 am, nightly. Oh, and they all have free wireless, which seems to be everywhere in this city.

And then there are all the restaurants here. In the month I’ve been here, I’ve only eaten at a couple restaurants more than once, and I eat out every meal. I’ve already discovered more restaurants here than I did in 3 years in San Antonio.

I could go on and on with all the things I like about this city, and I haven’t even really begun to scratch the surface of what Houston has to offer. Part of my happiness here is probably due to the fact that I live in an area of town that really fits me. When I lived in New Orleans my apartment was in the “uptown” area, and I loved it. There were all sorts of places I could walk to from my apartment. When I moved to San Antonio I tried to find a similar type of area, but there just isn’t one. Broadway is about as close as it gets, but that still doesn’t really offer much. The Montrose area of Houston, however, offers even more than uptown New Orleans did, and the food here is Big-Easy-esque as well.

I also really like the apartment that I found here. The rent isn’t much more than what I was paying in San Antonio, and I like this place even better. Click on the image above to see a couple pictures that I took of the place while the movers were bringing my things in.

Oh, and I don’t have to compete for a parking space when I get to work in the mornings, so thats refreshing. ;)

• • •

September 27, 2006

Where in the World

Filed under: Places — Cory @ 12:24 pm

These were real popular several months ago, but I didn’t jump on the bandwagon back then. I’ve been to the states and countries in red in these maps, but more importantly, I have not yet been to the places in grey. At some point I will have to fix that.

Yes, you too can create a visited states or visited countries map.

• • •

August 5, 2006


Filed under: Events,Friends,Places — Cory @ 3:57 am

After delays from the firemarshall, Defcon finally got started around noon on Friday. We saw several talks, including magstripe hacking, wireless insanity, and even eXtreme Programming, all of which were very interesting.

Eliot joined us for a trip to In-N-Out Burger, where a massive number of beef patties were consumed by the 5 of us. Mmmm good.

At this point I am up $5 on the blackjack tables, woo hoo! :)

• • •

July 17, 2006

Overheard in NY + Google Maps = Overplot

Filed under: Places,Technology — Cory @ 8:33 pm

Everyone here should know by now that I love a good Google Maps mashup. In the past I’ve posted about the Seinfeld Mashup, the NYC Subway Mashup, and StreetEasy – a search tool for expensive real estate. Of course, all of these are based around one of my favorite places: New York City.

I am fascinated by NYC, especially the people living there, which is probably why I find Overheard in New York so interesting. How could it get any better? By adding a Google Maps mashup of course: Overplot. :)

• • •

June 24, 2006

A Couple Days in Munich, Mussels in Brussels

Filed under: People,Places — Cory @ 3:12 pm

After an extremely hot and exhausting train from Prague, we finally arrived in Munich Wednesday afternoon. Our first stop was the Hotel Europäischer Hof, where I stayed 5 years ago when Brian and I came over for spring break. I knew that this was a nice place, and we really did not want another hotel experience like the one in Prague, plus the HEH is directly across the street from the train station so that made it easy.

Wednesday night we walked around central Munich. With Germany hosting the World Cup this month, there were people from everywhere and many places were very busy. We stopped by the famous Hofbrauhaus Wednesday night but there was some World Cup game on all the televisions and the place was just crazy with soccer hooligans.

We had read about the meals and brewery at the Andechs monastery, so on Thursday we decided to check that out. It took us a while to actually get there (and we missed the tour), but once there we ordered up some gigantic pieces of pork, german potato salad, sauerkraut, pretzels and of course some of the monk’s own beer. I had an Andechser Apfelweisse (apple), and Jason had a Andechser Spezial Hell. My beer was extremely good, and left my head buzzing for the rest of the evening. We also tried to go to the BMW museum that morning but it was closed for renovations.

There are two foods in Germany that I really love: wiener schnitzel and apple strudel. I ate snitzel every chance I had, but it wasn’t until Wednesday night that we finally had some strudel, and it was totally rad. Can you dig it?

Friday morning we took a train to Brussels for one more night so that we could catch our EuroStar train back to London on Saturday. When we were in Brussels the first time we noticed everyone was eating mussels, so this time we decided to try them as well. We found a nice place and we each ordered a kriek and mussels marinated in white wine. Excellent!

Before leaving Brussels we stopped by Mary’s Chocolate’s to pick up some treats and gifts. Apparently Mary’s is where the royalty buys their chocolate, and there were pictures of several national leaders on the walls.

We are now on the EuroStar train headed to London so we can catch our flights tomorrow. This has been a great trip, but I am ready for my own bed again. :)

• • •

June 21, 2006

Fun in Berlin, Not-So-Much Fun in Prague

Filed under: People,Places — Cory @ 9:19 am

We got to Berlin Sunday evening and found a hotel from the information center at the train station. The main train station in Berlin is very new and is quite a place, its almost like a shopping mall that trains happen to pass through. Once we checked in to the hotel we walked around to find a place to eat. The place we found was in a locals area and was very good. The sign above the entrance said that the place has been there since 1270, which just seems outrageous for an American.

The next day we visited the Checkpoint Charlie Museum which documented the history of the Berlin Wall. There wasn’t much substance to the museum, although there was a piece of the wall out front so we took some pictures. Our train to Prague was scheduled to leave at 3:30, and so we didn’t have much time in Berlin. I wish we had planned for more time there because it seems like a really cool city now. It’s hard to believe that it was still separated just 17 years ago.

On the train to Prague I met this interesting Korean guy named River, who was traveling with a friend of his. He has traveled all over the place, and has quite an interesting perspective. River and I talked for about 2 hours, until they exited at Dresden.

Our train to Prague arrived around 8:30 pm on Monday night, and at that point we started trying to find our hotel. At this point, let me give a little background information on this hotel.

Several months ago my credit card company sent me a voucher for 3 free magazine subscriptions. Of the available choices, I picked Time, Wired, and Travel & Leisure Magazine. Just as I was finalizing the plans for this trip, I received a new issue of Travel & Leisure with that month’s focus being “Hotels in Europe.” I thought this was perfect timing, so I looked through it to find the cities I would be visiting, and see which ones I could afford. All the ones for the bigger cities were very expensive, but the one they listed in Prague seemed very nice. They suggested the three star Hotel Jasmin. I checked out their website and it looked like a good place to me, so when Jason and I arrived in Berlin on Monday we found wireless access and booked a room in Prague (they offered large discounts if you book online). I was excited about this, and we finally were going to be able to stay two consecutive nights in the same room. Ok, so back to the story…

So when we got to the train station we changed some money and stopped at the information center to get a map of Prague. We asked the guy where we could find the Hotel Jasmin, but he just looked at us with a blank stare and said “I’ve never heard of that hotel.” We had the address, so with his help we located the street it was on and how to get there via 2 subways and a bus. When the bus dropped us off we had a ways to walk, and at some point there ceased to be street lights. Walking along a dark and curvy street in a somewhat-sketchy part of town, this was pretty much the only time so far I have felt a little comfortable. We could not find the hotel on the street, even though we had its exact address. Finally I asked a woman who was walking her dog. At first she ignored me, then later she just pointed in a direction down a hill and through some apartments. So we went that way and up to an apartment for light to read the map. Another lady was walking her dog so we asked her as well, and she pointed us further down the hill. Finally we found the place, on a completely poorly lit different street. The front clerk (still not identified as male or female) seemed to be annoyed with the fact that he/she was going to have to deal with us. After being as polite as possible, filling out paperwork, presenting passports we finally had a key to room 104 in building A, and the clerk told us to pay one day before checking out. After walking in the direction we were told, we noticed a building labeled “3″ rather than A, and our key worked. Our room was like something out of a movie about the cold war. There were 4 walls, 2 small hard beds, a bathroom and shower with broken tiles on the floor, and drunk people loudly conversing outside the window. This was not what I was expecting from Travel & Leisure Magazine.

Enough about the crappy hotel room for now. After settling down we noticed that there was a wireless network available, but my laptop was not getting an IP address or anything from DHCP. After watching tcpdump and trying to connect to ports on several IPs we saw, we finally figured out the (random) gateway address, assigned ourselves an IP and were on the ‘net. There were all kinds of Fedora Linux machines on this network, and a Windows box with several open shares (mostly full of warez). Once we were on this network we immediately connected to the VPN to avoid having any shady neighbors from snooping traffic.

The next day we set out to see the sights in Prague. What we found was that most of the famous attractions are really just huge tourist traps for Americans, much like Stroget in Copenhagen. We walked around, crossed Charles’ Bridge, and climbed our way up to the Castle. For lunch we had Gulash, which is actually pretty tasty. That evening we checked out the area around the Dancing House and found dinner. Afterwards we traveled over to Wenceslas Square and finally headed back to the dungeon to begin packing.

While packing (around 1:00 am) we remembered that we still needed to pay, so we went to the office only to be turned away at the door by the genderless clerk. After explaining that we had to leave at 7am to catch a train, and just generally begging to let us pay, he/she/it finally let us in. As I pulled out my visa card the clerk said “no visa, no credit cards.” Uhm.. what? I asked about travelers checks, no-go there as well. This was problematic as Jason and I had spent the last of our Czech cash on a coke and milkshake before heading back to the hotel. The subways were closed, and there were no ATMs anywhere nearby. We were planning to leave at 7am the following morning to catch one of the only 3 trains to Munich, so going out in the morning wouldn’t work. We had about 90 euro left from Berlin and we asked if they would accept that, and fortunately they did. What kind of hotel operation only accepts cash? And why is Travel & Leisure Magazine recommending this place?

Altogether, our stay in Prague was not quite what I was expecting. Along with the generally unpleasant locals and shopkeepers, we also were forced to pay $50 in fines to the subway police for a dumb tourist mistake. No leniency at all. I probably won’t be returning to Prague, and despite our friendliness there, it seems they would rather we not return as well. Oh, and they don’t want you to visit either.

We are on our way to Munich now, which is familiar territory for me. I visited Munich 5 years ago for almost a week and had a great time. After Prague, things can only go up. Here are the pictures from Berlin and Prague.

• • •

June 18, 2006

Two Days in Copenhagen

Filed under: People,Places — Cory @ 4:38 pm

After missing a train connection in Goteborg we finally arrived in Copenhagen late Friday night. We took a bus to the House of Colors, a bed and breakfast operated by Gitte Kongstad. This place turned out to be really neat. We had the entire second floor of her house, including a living room, kitchen, bathroom and of course a bedroom. She provides free bikes for all her guests, as well as tv’s, computers, and wireless access. She also let us do a couple loads of laundry, and recommended local restaurants and bakeries to visit (she also asked us to pick up some skim milk for her while we were out :) )

Before beginning our sightseeing on Saturday, we went to the nearby bakery to experience the famous Danish pasties, which were excellent. Afterwards we picked up a couple of Gitte’s bikes and headed towards Stroget, a large street in Copenhagen that we had heard was a big attraction. As it turns out, its mainly a tourist trap with lots of big American shopping stores. We did not stay there long, and quickly headed over to the Danish Design Museum.

The Danish Design Museum was small, but interesting. They had an exhibit/store downstairs called the FlowMarket that seemed like something Brett would create. It was like a grocery store, but all the products were white or silver with single words or phrases printed on them. There were pill bottles with “Pause” written on them, buckets with “holistic thinking“, “meaningfullness” and “sustainable innovation“, and milk cartons that said “1 minute for reflection.” It seemed somewhat similar to Oblique Strategies. There were some other interesting designs related to work as well.

That night we visited a local restaurant near a harbor that Gitte suggested. When we got there the place was mostly empty, except for two mostly-drunk local sailors/truck-drivers/who-knows that were at the counter talking with the waitress, in Danish of course. After a few minutes the three of them finally noticed us standing there and they all gave us an intense stare. I asked the waitress if she spoke English, she said “a little” and asked what we wanted to order. The mostly-drunk guys were still focused on us, so I turned to them, smiled, and asked what them what they recommended. Suddenly they were our buddies and through translation with the waitress we ordered their suggestion (we still had no idea what it was). She asked what we wanted to drink, and the guys busted out with “Karlsberg!” The waitress asked small or large, I said small, and then the mostly-drunk guys went crazy with “small! small is for girl! you girl? E – I – E – I – O!!!” After awkward laughs, Jason and I walked outside to a picnic table and waited to see what we had ordered. As it turns out, we had ordered some of the best pork chops I have ever eaten, along with salty boiled potatoes. The meal was excellent, so afterwards we went back inside to say thanks to the drunkards for their recommendation, and to get the waitress to take a picture. We talked with the guys for a few minutes, then headed back to Gitte’s house to pack.

I’ve posted my pictures from Copenhagen in my Europe 2006 gallery.

• • •

June 16, 2006

Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway

Filed under: People,Places — Cory @ 11:24 am

We finally made it to Stockholm late Tuesday evening, after spending 19 of the previous 24 hours on trains. Once there the hotel information center told us a familiar story: there is a convention in town and all the hotels are fully booked. We asked them to check again, and they came up with a single room available for a single night at the Hotel Kristineberg. Book it, thanks.

Wednesday morning we walked around downtown Stockholm and saw the sights. We accidentally ended up at Stockholm Palace just as the changing of the guards procession started. It was a very cheerful event, with upbeat, happy horn music. We also visited the nearby Armory Museum. A little later in the afternoon we stopped for lunch and had authentic Swedish meatballs, which were incredible.

Until this point in the trip the weather had been absolutely perfect: cloudless blue skies and temperatures in the mid to upper 70′s. Just as we finished lunch it began to rain a little, but it wasn’t a big deal for us because we had Swedish massages scheduled at the Central Badet spa, which was next door to the restaurant. My massage was excellent, although I don’t think Jason was as happy about his. (he got stuck with some really old guy, while I got my massage by a 24 year old blonde Swedish hottie who just happened to be a former professional skiier, poor me! ;) ) When we came out of the Spa the rain had pretty much stopped, although it drizzled for another hour or so, and it has been blue skies ever since then.

That evening we caught an overnight train to Oslo, Norway, and we arrived there early Thursday morning. Want to guess what the hotel information center told us? “There is a convention in town. All hotels are booked. Sorry.” Long story short, we are getting pretty good at scrambling to find a place to stay in foreign countries (in this case, the Soria Moria).

We spent that afternoon walking around downtown Oslo and visiting the Norwegian National Gallery. This is the gallery that is home to Edvard Munch’s famous “Scream” painting, Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker” statue, and lots of works by Monet, Picasso, Munch and many other well known artists.

Wednesday evening we met up with Andy Hanssen for dinner at Bippat Sentrum. I’ve known Andy for a while through his work in the qmail community and as the author of BincIMAP, so when I started planning the trip I emailed him to see if he was going to be around. Andy is now a developer of QT at Trolltech, which from his descriptions sounds like a really cool place to work.

After dinner Jason and I headed down to the docks, which turned out to be a bustling place with lots of restaurants. Finally we headed back to the hotel and took some pictures of the beautiful hills/mountains.

It is now Thursday afternoon and we are on a train back to Copenhagen. We have finally learned our lesson, and have pre-booked a place to stay for the next two nights at the House of Colors.

We are having a great time and are moving around fast, which is fine with me. I have posted my pictures of Stockholm (the land of beautiful people), and Oslo.

• • •
« Previous PageNext Page »
Powered by: WordPress • Template by: Priss