Eight Things You Might Not Know About Me

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008 | Misc, Private | 2 Comments

It’s a new year so it’s time for a new scam blogmeme. Craig Cmehil (SAP Evangelist), who was tagged by Maggie Fox (love her posts on DFOF), tagged me to write 8 things you do not know about me.
If you just came to my Blog via Google search words like “blackberry 8310 gps”, “flickr girls” or “trial bike videos” (according to Google Analytics the most popular ways to find my Blog right now) you don’t know anything about me. On the other hand if you happen to be my wife or my brother you know already everything. So let’s assume you are somewhere in the middle and therefore you might not know…

1) I have young parents. My mother married with sixteen (my parents are still happily married) and I was born when she was twenty. My brother Thomas is 10 years younger then me and is also a Product Manager (at Ciao).

2) I was born in Rotenburg an der Fulda in Germany which was also the hometown of the Rotenburg Cannibal. While I do enjoy fine dining I do not endorse his activities.

3) On a positive note I was born on the same day like Linus Torvalds.

4) My father, grandfather and great grandfather worked all as forest rangers. I grew up in a forest house about a mile away from a village with 90 residents. My parents tell me that when I was a baby our hunting dogs would guard me during the day (but no, I was not raised by wolves). I have a German hunting license which is actually very hard to get (requires one year of training and many tests and exams), but have not practiced hunting for a long time.

5) During my first week at college (European Business School) a fellow student introduced me to Hiphop. After listening to KRS-One “By All Means Necessary” I was hooked and started to build up a Hiphop vinyl music collection. A few years later I also got involved into the local Breakbeat and Techno scene. Together with some friends we recorded radio shows and made them available via tapes in the university library (pre-cursor to Podcasts). I actually co-produced a Breakbeat record under the pseudonym Rawmotion. Since I graduated fairly young I was not ready right away for serious work and jobbed in a local record store during the day and as a DJ during the night. My record collection is now for sale.

6) I only ate Asian food for the first time when I was 18. It was a Chinese restaurant in Kassel and I remember I was immediately comfortable to eat with chopsticks. Since then I have travelled to Asia multiple times (Malaysia and Japan) and even my wife (whose grandparents are from China) agrees that I am a natural with chopsticks. I assume I was Chinese or Japanese in a former life.

7) I lived for two years in Columbus, Ohio. Go Buckeyes! And by the way the midwest is not as bad as many people think. I had a lot of fun and made good friends. However I prefer to live on the West Coast.

8 ) My first computer was a Commodore 64. I bought it when I was 15 from my own savings. My parents did not want to get me a computer since they thought I would only play with it and it would distract from homework. Well they were kind of right since I used it mainly for gaming. A couple of years later I got a Commodore Amiga which was an amazing machine at the time. I was so disappointed when I started to use PC’s at work, but got used to it. A couple of weeks ago I switched to Mac.

I doubt that anyone will make it to the end of this post, but if you did it congratulations… now you know everything.

So for all my work writing this up late in the evening I now want to know eight secrets from Rashmi Sinha, Jonathan Boutelle, Ryan Stewart, John Dowdell, Ted Patrick, Jason Calacanis, James Ward and David Hornik.

Stop Motion Video with Adobe Premiere Elements

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007 | Adobe, Humor, Private, Video | 6 Comments

Today I played with the cool stop motion video feature of Premiere Elements. Result – A super cool video of Max scooting around the room. Check it out it is only 20 seconds.

How much do you spend on clothes?

Sunday, May 27th, 2007 | Fashion, Private | 6 Comments

Cote from the Redmonk crew asked on Twitter how much people spend monthly on clothes. Thinking about this I found it easier to ponder my yearly spendings on clothes since I go for months without buying and then end up in a shopping spree. I found that I spend on three different categories.

1) The Basics
I think you can get basics like jeans, shorts, sweaters and shirts in good quality for great prices. My favorite stores in the US for these commodities are Target, Costco and Loehmanns. The best however is Muji, which I discovered in Tokyo, but they are expanding to Europe as well. Muji is an abbreviation of the Japanese “Mujirushi Ryohin” which translates into “no brand, but nevertheless high quality”.

“Through the careful selection of materials, streamlining manufacturing processes,
and simplifying our packaging, we have continually introduced high quality Muji brand products onto the market, at lower than usual prices.”

So in total I spend about $250 per year in this category.

2) Urban Streetwear
Always need to have comfortable but funky clothing for hanging out in the Mission or the Haight on the weekend. I also just enjoy discovering the latest trends in funky stores with clothing from local Bay Area designers. My favorite store in this category is Upper Playground on Fillmore in the Lower Haight.
Upper Playground Logo
Another great option (not only for clothing) is Giant Robot (again my love for Japan). Karen got me this great T-Shirt for my birthday.
Giant Robot T-Shirt
Other favorite shopping options include Villains in San Francisco and for upscale streetwear Fred Segal in LA.
Typically I buy a couple of pieces a year (some T-Shirts, Polo shirt and a Hoody) which total around $300.

3) Designer clothing
Yes, I have to admit I continue to be a sucker for nice Designer clothing (what do you expect I am European after all). I indulge in buying a few nice pieces a year (ideally when they are on sale). My favorite brands are Prada and Giorgio Armani and I buy modern but timeless pieces which I can wear for many years. Typically this includes dress pants, dress shirts and sweaters. For jackets I prefer Stone Island, but they are hard to find in the US (Fred Segal has them). Another great designer is Martin Margiela. Check out his uebercool retro web site and don’t let the intro screen (“This site is not under construction”) deceive you.
Finally my shoe purchases fall mostly in this category as well, since I tend to wear a favorite pair for years. Currently my absolute favorite shoes are from Medium, which is somewhere between Designer and Urban Streetwear (if you meet me it is very likely I wear the Medium Soloist). The dress shoes I mostly wear this year are from Trippen, great shoes from Berlin. I am eyeing however Paraboot which I saw in Tokyo.
Again I tend to buy only a very few pieces a year so I spend probably around $1,000.

There you have it. Total is $1550 per year which averages $130 per month. Hopefully this gave you some inspiration to look beyond the regular mall clothing. Also let me know about other cool stores/brands I should check out.

“Boing” makes Max laugh

Thursday, May 24th, 2007 | Humor, Private | No Comments

Here is a little clip I recorded of Max recently. Everytime I say “boing” I am shaking my head, which makes him laugh.

Enjoy and cheers!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006 | Misc, Private | No Comments

And that’s what I call Halloween Gemuetlichkeit

Fireplace Ready for Halloween

Two Perfect Days in Los Angeles – Day 2 – Part 1

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006 | Fashion, Food, Private, Travel | No Comments

So its the second day of our Los Angeles trip. In the morning we drove to the LA Farmers Market.  I have to say this was probably a highlight of the trip and I wish we had something similar in the Bay Area. The market is open every day from early morning until the evening. A lot of different produce stands to browse around, but the highlight are the food stands. We had our brunch at the French Crepe Company. The Prosciutto with Figs was a real treat.

We also had the Pan Bagnat, a baguette sandwich stuffed with Tuna salad.

Also noteworthy is the French store, wine bar and restaurant Monsieur Marcel. Next time I want to try their Cheese Fondue, it looked great.

We briefly checked out the new mall next to the Farmers Market but it is boring, the same stores you get all over the US. So to continue with typical LA shopping we went to Fred Segal on Melrose Avenue, which is more upscale then the Santa Monica counterpart we visited the day before. If you arrive around noon it makes for great people watching and star spotting. I am pretty bad at that since I have no memory for faces.

Funny side story to proof the point: Last week I was at a wedding. At the evening dinner Karen pointed out a guy to me and said “I think this is Larry Page”. I told her that I met Larry at a convention a couple of years ago and he looks completely different. Well, later at the party we found out it was Larry Page and Karen was once again right.

Apart from the fact that Fred Segal had a great selection of Martin Margiela clothing, I was mostly impressed by the cool Vestax Handy Trax turntable… I will need to get one soon.

In the afternoon we headed over to Beverly Hills to stroll down Rodeo Drive. I realize there is so much more we did that day, so I will save it for another Blog entry…

Two Perfect Days In Los Angeles – Day 1

Thursday, August 31st, 2006 | Food, Private, Travel | No Comments

The next morning we drove to Santa Monica and had breakfast at the Urth Caffe near the beach. The Urth Caffe has a couple of locations throughout LA and I make sure to stop by there at least once on every LA trip. They have excellent breakfast and very good lunch sandwiches. I personally like the Portabello Mushroom Panini the best. Now we were fit for shopping and headed to Fred Segal in Santa Monica. If you are into casual designer fashion, this is the place to hang out for a day. Well, we did not have so much time so on to the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Stopped by the Ripcurl store and spent a lot of time at Puzzle Zoo, a great place to find collectibles (like Full Metal Alchemist figures). After a little snack we visited Kidrobot, another great store for obscure figures (they have a store in San Francisco and NY as well).

Once you reached the end of the 3rd Street Promenade you can head towards the beach and walk back along the water, but since it was pretty windy we took a shortcut back to the parking garage. To escape the tourist area we drove to Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. I suggest you park somewhere at Montana and 12th Street and visit the many boutiques and stores along Montana. We stopped by Di Dios’ Italian Ice and had delicious Gelato.

Finally we headed to some of my favorite LA neighborhoods the little underground Japantown around Sawtelle Blvd. (between Missouri Ave and W. Olympic Blvd). As ususal we went right to Giant Robot to browse through contemporary Japanese street culture toys and books. If thats not enough visit also Giant Robot 2 just across the street. After dinner at Gr/eats (yes thats the Giant Robot restaurant next to Giant Robot 2) we drove back to the hotel to get some rest and be ready for day 2.

Two Perfect Days In Los Angeles – Arrival

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 | Food, Private, Travel | No Comments

As part of my recent mini vacation I spent two great days in LA. Inspired by United Airlines Inflight Magazine here is my personal version of two perfect days in LA…

We arrived early Sunday evening and checked into the Standard Hotel in downtown LA. I think the Standard Hotel is a good value and I like the modern minimalist interior. As soon as you arrive you feel immedatly that you are in LA. After I droppped the luggage I headed straight to the Rooftop Bar (make sure you got a wristband downstairs) and relaxed with a White Russian at the Sunday afternoon pool party.

After a while you will get annoyed by the LA crowd and also you need to eat something. I headed over to Ciudad a Latin American restaurant and Tapas bar with a nice outside patio. Sunday evening they feature an excellent “Tapas only” menu and make sure to try their excellent Mojitos.

On the way back I stopped quickly by the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and enjoyed the view from the top floor and glass elevator (which was used in the movie Total Recall).

Living the "Simple Life”

Thursday, August 10th, 2006 | Private | No Comments

We drove to Southern California today for a couple of days vacation on the country side. Karen’s friend Christine has a house (kind of a mini farm) in Santa Ynez. Remember the movie Sideways? Thats where we are. Its nice to relax away from the high tech and do simple stuff like feeding the farm animals (horses, goats, chickens, dogs and cats).

A Simple Life

Well they have Wifi here, so no need to be off the grid. We will spend a couple of days here and on Sunday head down to LA.

New Alpine Car Multimedia System

Sunday, August 6th, 2006 | Private, Technology | No Comments

A week ago I decided to finally update the sound system of my car. A main decision criteria was to get a very good connectivity to my iPod. After doing some research I decided to go with the Alpine Mobile Multimedia System IVA-W200. It has an excellent video touch screen and an easy and fast way to navigate the iPod. I got it installed at Bay Car Stereo in Mountain View and they did an excellent job.

Here is a short video how to navigate the iPod from the Alpine.
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