Wednesday, January 10, 2007
I've Been Tagged! 5 Things You Didn't Know About Me...
Looks like Rick tagged me, and now I am supposed to tell you 5 things about me nobody knows. Hmmmm... The trouble is: Since I write so much about what I do on this blog, I am not really sure there are 5 significant things about me nobody knows. But anyway, I'll give it a go:
- My name is Markus, and I am a magazine-aholic...
Yup. I subscribe to probably 25+ magazines, and still I buy more at the newsstand! Programming, Business, Science, Money, Management, Yachting, ice hockey, Computer Games,.... And in 2 different languages too! From the US, the UK, Germany, Austria. And I read them almost all cover-to-cover. Or at least I try, and I am constantly behind. I am not sure why, but it just fascinates me. This is probably also why I started CoDe Magazine and other publishing efforts we have going on (more about that soon on my dev blog! Stay tuned...)
- I read Mickey Mouse
I have a subscription to those German Mickey Mouse books called "Das Lustige Taschenbuch" (never read an English one, now that I think about it). I am not quite sure why. I guess it just gives me a great break from a job where so much is serious and heavy thinking. I am way behind on my Mickey Mouse books too. But I do read at least one or two every time I go to Austria.
- I play computer games
I am quite addicted actually (and so is Ellen!). We have PC gaming stations both in the US and Austria. We have an XBox and an XBox360 in the US. Also an old Nintendo 64 (which shall be mentioned for completeness). We have a PlayStation 2 in Austria (and no, I don't think I'll get a PlayStation 3). We now also have a Nintendo Wii in Austria (which is very cool actually... oh, and it actually belongs to Ellen since Santa... ah, I mean the Christkind brought it for her). We both each have a PlayStation Portable (PSP). And we probably still have the portable Nintendo thingy. And of course, we also have just about any game for any of these systems that rates above 80%. And since I do not like buying games digitally, we have quite the collection if little game boxes. EBGames would be jealous!
I used to like going to the movies, but I really got bored with it. I see playing games as the logical next step. Of course I can also never play all the games we have. Especially since I like finishing them. But that is OK, because Ellen plays them all. She usually gets bored after the tutorial. And truth be told: I really don't play on any of the consoles very much. I just do not like sports games and jump'n'runs and that much. There are very few games on consoles that tickle my fancy. I like strategy games and role playing games (offline mostly, although I am still sucked into WoW), and those are best experienced on the PC!
And then of course, professional interest kicks in. So I am also quite interested in game development and things like XNA. I even have attended the occasional Game Developer Conference, both in the US and the UK. Maybe, one day when I am retired, I will start a game company.
- I follow Formula One
I am not really a racing fan though. I've never followed Nascar or Indi/Kart very much. However, I follow Formula One religiously. Formula One is huge in Europe. It is a high-society sort of thing. A lot of glamor. Lots of money involved. Everyone wants to be part of it. I really got into watching it more when I moved to the US. I guess I felt it kept me connected to Europe. I now read a Formula One site at least once a day, even in the off-season. (Strangely, I do not subscribe to any Formula One magazines... I wonder if I should...). I got a TiVo for the main purpose of taping Formula One. And I have been to a few Formula One races (Hungary and Brazil).
- I am super-competitive
You think you are competitive too? Ha! I am sure I am more competitive. That's right: I am even competitive about being competitive. I am not sure what it is, but no matter what I do, you can't be better at it. And if you are, I will get obsessed with it and try to improve until I can beat you. Well, OK, maybe it is not quite that bad, but I often feel that in situations such as sports, it just adds a lot more fun if people are into it and are trying to be competitive. Who cares about playing hockey if nobody wants to win? I think this attitude served me well in my career too. I am not a sore loser though. Ellen sometimes says I am, but I really just do not like losing. However, if someone beats me fair and square, I do not come up with bogus excuses as sore losers would. In fact, I am quite happy for whoever won and I want other people to do well. After all, I do not like winning because someone else is worse. I like winning because I am better!
- And for the grand finale...
...the biggest secret of them all: I am also... oh... wait a minute. I was only supposed to share 5 things. Never mind. ;-)
OK, that's it. Now I am supposed to tag 5 other people. The question is "whom?". After all, I want interesting people who may have interesting secrets to give up. And ideally someone who will actually post something. So here goes:
OK, fellas, give up your secrets! ;-)
Posted @ 6:51 AM by Egger, Markus (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Monday, January 08, 2007
Belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone!
Boy, have I fallen behind blogging. My new year's resolution for this year is to catch up my blog with some of the things I have done this fall. But boy have I been busy! (Well, who isn't, these days?)
The most recent thing that happened is that Ellen and I celebrated Christmas and New Year's in Austria (as we do most years). What was unusual this year was that Ellen's parents (who normally live in Arizona in the winter) also came to visit us. So from my point of view, the whole family was together to celebrate Christmas for the first time. That was pretty neat.
Unfortunately, Austria presents itself somewhat unusual this year. For one, there is practically no snow! So far, it has been the warmest winter in 1,300 years! Yup, that is right, 1,300! They have given up on the whole "warmest on record" thing. Instead, we must now go to the geological record to find a warmer winter. As a result, many of the fun things to do here just haven't happened yet this year. While last year, I went cross country skiing in November (see this post, and this and this), this year, I went once for 5 minutes and gave up since there simply wasn't enough snow. Also, as far as downhill ("alpine") skiing goes: It is possible, and I guess up in the mountains the snow conditions aren't even too bad, but the weather just hasn't been nice enough to make me want to go. And so far, we haven't even gone sledding either. Frankly, it sucks.
Also, as far as the Christmas spirit goes, it just isn't the same without snow. Nevertheless, we did quite a few "christmassy" things. For instance, we went to the Christmas market in Salzburg. It was still very nice, but it certainly lost its "cuteness". Here are a few pictures taken by my mom-in-law:
On the way to the Dome square, there still are all the horses as always:
This particular guy told some tourists that the name of his horse was "Mozart". Then, he turned around to me and whispered "of course not... who would name his horse 'Mozart'?". Then he grabbed the horse by the reins and said "c'mon Amadeus, let's go...".
Here's a picture of the "Christkindlmarkt" (the Christmas market) as soon from the entrance to the Dome:
As I said: Not nearly as cute looking as in the previous years. Still, it was nice. A little later, a small choir showed up and sand some Christmas carols.
Here's another photo of one of the stands up close:
If you go to the Kristkindlmarket, make sure you get some hot chesnuts and some "Gluehwein".
BTW: If you like Christmas markets (and they are pretty cool), and you come to Austria, try to also go to the one in Innsbruck. We didn't manage to get there this year, but it is worth a trip.
Also, the Getreidegasse (a small and famous street in Salzburg) is quite nice around Christmas time. here is a photo from just around Mozart's birth house ("Mozart Geburtshaus"):
Always an insider tip in Salzburg at Christmas time is the "Gluehweinwald" in the "Peterskeller":
Go right through the doors in between these trees and hang a left. This is where a lot of the locals go after work to have a "Gluehwein" (hot wine) and get in the Christmas spirit.
Christmas Eve was very nice too. Lots of food. Lots of presents. (For a description of what traditional Christmas is like in Austria and why I talk about Christmas Eve, see my post from last Christmas... this is also the post where I claim that in Austria "snow is virtually guaranteed on Christmas". Oh well.). The next day, we got together with other parts of the family. Some of my cousins played music. It was quite the event.
We also celebrated New Year's Eve in a traditional Austrian fashion. We got together with some friends, and - you guessed it - consumed tons of food. We had "Tartar's Hat" this time. This is a dish (or more an "event", actually) that is prepared at the table, almost a bit similar to Fondue. Except instead of a pot of hot oil, one has a heated "cone" that resembles a Tartar's hat (hence the name). The cone heats up, and then one sticks small pieces of meat and vegetable on it. There are tons of side-dishes and sauces. It is amazingly good! (Maybe even worth a separate blog post at some point).
The big thing about New Year's Eve are fireworks. I guess that wouldn't be completely unheard of in the US either (and I understand it is quite common in some parts), but here it is huge! Last year, we didn't have any ourselves, but this year we decided to go for a small assortment of fireworks. Just before midnight, we made it up to the roof of our building (we have a flat roof) and watched other people's fireworks. The view was fantastic! Unfortunately I do not have any pictures. Then, at about 20 minutes past midnight (when the other fireworks started to slow down), we fired off ours. A friend of mine is a professional "fireworker", and he put together a box of professional fireworks for us. The whole thing was fired electronically and set off more than 2 "rockets" a second! It was quite the spectacle. I think we will do it again next year.
Happy New Year, Everyone!
Posted @ 7:14 AM by Egger, Markus (email@example.com)