Monthly Archives: May 2013

#10 Meeting the Day[9] community

On the 18th of May, I flew to London to hang out with friends, but left for Las Vegas on the 20th of May. I can see why people, who don’t play cards, tell me that Vegas is only interesting for a day or two. However, if you are playing poker, it’s great fun. Tournament poker can be a cruel game sometimes, so by mid thursday my profits amounted to an impressive two dollars…

That said, I am fairly happy with how I played. Besides, the most important thing is to enjoy the time spent, which I did, with winning merely being a plus.

On Friday the 24th of May I flew to Los Angeles and met up with some people from the day[9] community for korean BBQ. I actually made the mistake of walking all the way from my hotel near USC to where the BBQ place was – one and a half hours and some sun burn later, I arrived at the place, the Haejangchon Korean BBQ.


Since it was still early, I continued walking around the city a bit, stopping at coffee shops and fast food places to A) get something cold to drink, B) cool down inside an airconditioned place and C) use the free wifi there to check facebook and twitter. I did manage to go all the way to the walk of fame, but took the subway to go back. No way I am walking again.

When I got to the place at 17:45, it was packed. There were a few people sitting outside and one of them looked familiar, so I asked him “Are you Chris by any chance?” Fortunately he was and so I had just found the early arrivals of the day[9] group. By the way, if you do not know who day[9] is: He is a celebrity shoutcaster / commentator / video producer, mostly known for his involvement in starcraft with his webshow, called the “day9 daily”, running Monday to Friday. A good introduction to what he does is the often quoted daily #100. He has also got over 150k followers on twitter – for reference, as of writing this, Boris Becker is shy of 200k followers.

Anyway, we chat a bit and eventually everyone gets there, including Sean “day[9]” Plott himself.


Despite having a reservation, we still had to wait and were then spaced apart on several tables. The place is just that busy, which means that it is pretty damn good. Originally Megumixbear, another Starcraft celebrity, was supposed to join us, but alas her car broke down. Ah well, maybe next time. Here is a picture of me with some of the other attendees. Funny thing, at this table we’re two computer scientists, one electrical engineer, one aerospace engineer and one physicist.


I’m not exactly sure what the thumbs down was about, as everyone had fun and the food was great as well.


Here is a close up of what the barbecue looks like, although this was the more exotic stuff. We had “normal” types of meat, too.


The crux of being the guy with the camera is that you don’t get too many pictures with yourself. For a while Sean joined our table and we ended up talking about various stuff – I bothered him with my excitement about the new XCOM and my work in progress. To my surprise, he said something to the effect of “Oh yeah, send me a draft when you’re done.” The first draft isn’t even ready and then it’s going to take a while until a half way decent, polished version is finished, but I’ll take it at face value and have added him to my list of beta readers :)


After the BBQ we headed over to “Haus” for dessert and talked some more about all sorts of things.


This went on till about 22:30 and then Michael, who actually organized the meeting (thanks for that!), me, Jeff, Andy and Alex still lingered and talked for another hour. Jeff and Andy kindly gave me a ride to my hotel. All in all a fantastic evening with great food and awesome people. Definitely the highlight of my USA trip so far.

#9 Japan, continued

Hi everyone,

as promised here is part two of my Japan trip. I really should have written it down shortly after I was there, but that can’t be helped now. Let’s go through the highlight reel of the trip:


In the Tokyo subway, they play birds chirping from the loudspeakers, which struck me as weird, but it’s actually quite nice. The funny thing is that since Yokohama is by the sea, those bird sounds are sea gulls in Yokohama. While Chiara was at the conference, Armin and I visited the Mitsubishi Industrial Museum.


They had one of these “stick your head through and take a photo” suits, which of course I had to try. All the pictures with the camera were not as good as the ones taken with the phone: I had the flash on with the camera, so you cannot see that my face was illuminated with blue light that is supposed to be the reflection from the earth.



Since we had a car, we were able to drive around and visit some cool places that don’t get as many tourists. Here we were in Ito, staying at a traditional style hotel.


As you can see, there are tatami mats in the room (which apparently are also used as a unit to measure the size of a flat) and we are having some authentic dinner.



Of course practically sleeping on the floor made me turn every half hour, when one of my limbs had fallen asleep and I needed to get the circulation going again :)

Matsumoto Castle

One of the famous old castles, that contained a from the outside hidden “dark” floor without windows.


On this floor, all the ammunition and supplies were kept. Going up, the stairs became progressively steeper, which was a bit of a problem for me in the end.


I guess they didn’t build them for tall people with backpacks.

Snow Monkey Park

My favourite part of the vacation was the snow monkey park. I was taking pictures of the monkeys, that were some five meters away, but when I walked on, I almost stepped on one of the monkeys, who sat right in front of me. I did not expect how close they come.

Since this is a park where it is strictly forbidden to feed the monkeys, they mostly ignore the tourists and do their own things. It was a very cool experience that way.


On the way back, I had a four hour layover in London. That seemed like a lot of time to me, so I took the Paddington Express to meet up with my friend Trent. When I arrived and walked around London, I thought “Oh, wow, I am home again”. After living there for five years, I have now been away for over two years, but it still exerts that pull on me.

Back at the airport, Verona Pooth (German celebrity, who also had a guest role in the 1998 Conan TV series) and her husband sat down opposite of me. Since she was wearing sun glasses, I figured she did not want to be disturbed. It’s kind of funny how celebrities always wear sun glasses as a sort of cloaking device. Of course everybody still recognizes them, but I guess they’ll still not want to be pestered for autographs when they are “in disguise”.

Overall it was a really good vacation, but since few people speak english in Japan, Tokyo has just been removed from my “places where I would like to live” list.

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