Amsterdam, the second and third days

Well, I didn’t get a chance to edit anything yesterday (16 May), but that’s OK; I spent the whole day at the conference, so there’s nothing terribly interesting to talk about. :-)

Unless you’re interested in weather, that is — the beautiful weather ended abruptly yesterday evening with a torrential downpour and thunderstorm which reminded me of living in Florida. I haven’t seen so much rain in years — fortunately, the storm was short-lived (maybe an hour) and by the time I was ready to leave, the rain had subsided to a tolerable level. But I was happy to split a taxi with some of my colleagues instead of taking the tram back.

We had dinner last night at an Argentinian Steak House near the hotel. It was a much more drawn-out process than any of us had expected — one of our number ordered soup, which resulted in the main courses being delayed for close to an hour! Silly us — we didn’t realize that it was impossible to start the main courses until he finished his starter and the waiter had picked up the empty soup bowl. It was close to 10pm before we got fed, which was a bit late for a heavy meal — so I had a hard time falling asleep. I finally managed to drift off about midnight; the alarm came awfully early this morning!

I had breakfast with colleagues this morning at the hotel; again, we had some service problems, resulting in our arriving at the conference at 9:15am instead of 8am and so I missed most of the opening plenary panel. But I got to see enough to have an idea of the preceding discussion.

And now I’m in a panel session on “Practice and Experience”. There’s Internet connectivity in the back of the room; but there’s only one power outlet here, and that’s being used by the hub, so I’m on battery power at the moment. More later….

Later….

By popular demand (my mother), here is a picture of me in the terminal room at WWW9.

Amsterdam pages: [15 May] | [17 May] | [18 May] | [19 May] | [20 May] | [21 May] | [22 May] | [23 May] | [25 May]

Amsterdam, the first day

I had an uneventful flight (I slept more than usual for a trans-Atlantic flight, which was nice…but probably only four hours, which is not really enough). But I got to Amsterdam too early; the hotel wasn’t ready for me. So I left my luggage and walked to Centraal Station to buy a train pass for my entire stay; then I took the tram down to the RAI convention center to register for WWW9, and that’s where I am as I type this.

But en route, I stopped for lunch, having an old Dutch favorite…

Falafel: (The Hebrew means "Falafel like in the land [of Israel]".  Thanks to Yiftach Ravid for the translation!)I also noticed that some of the least savory aspects of the global culture have reached Holland.

It’s a beautiful day in Amsterdam, making for very pleasant walking. And my path took me past the street of flower markets, which was very pretty.

I only wish I were wearing short sleeves — it’s probably 80 or so, so long sleeves are less than optimal (on the other hand, they’re keeping me from getting sunburned). I have a few pictures, but they’ll have to wait till I get back to my computer — this one doesn’t seem to have a PCMCIA slot. (Thanks to Rohit Kahre for loaning me his computer; it’s different enough that I’m going to stop editing now after getting one picture up. Macs may be easy, but I’m too imprinted on Windows….)

But now it’s 3:15pm here and my hotel room should be ready, so I’m going to blow off the tutorials here and head back to the room. More later, perhaps.

Later the same day…

I eventually got into my hotel room, where I discovered that the phone charges are rather high by my standards (roughly 40 cents/minute (US), topping out at $10/hour/call, or $1.75 to access AT&T, plus AT&T charges), so I don’t think I’ll be connecting up from the hotel very much!

I went to dinner with Rohit; we ate at Little Tel Aviv: , which, of course, was a pizzeria. I declined the ham pizza in favor of mushroom, which was very good.

After that, I joined a private canal tour set up by Sally Khudairi of ZOTgroup.
I’ll post more pictures when I get a chance to edit them.

Amsterdam pages: [15 May] | [17 May] | [18 May] | [19 May] | [20 May] | [21 May] | [22 May] | [23 May] | [25 May]

Preparing for Amsterdam

So far, I like the DC280 quite a bit; I’ll know better after my trip, of course. I am not quite so happy with PhotoDeluxe; after I use it, my display is sometimes fouled up (odd colors all over the place) and there doesn’t seem to be any good way to recover short of a reboot. (A little experimentation shows that I can recover by setting the desktop to 256-color mode and then back to 24-bit color. Whew!)

At any rate, I’ve taken and edited only a few pictures so far. Here’s one of Diane (well after Passover!) and one of Jeffrey in his room.

Now, I should get off the computer and start packing. Oy!

Rankings of Real Ales

As shown by extensive personal research at the Pen and Parchment, the following ranking is true:

  1. Spitfire
  2. Old Speckled Hen
  3. 6X

They tried to kill us; we won; let's eat!


Happy Purim!

I’m glad to have something to say good about today. Except for the Wizard of Oz Purim Shpiel and Megillah Reading at Shir Hadash, today has been an archtypical Monday — not a day to enjoy.

Besides being very busy at work, and having to rush to get to shul on time, after we got back from services, our son mentioned that he had to finish his Mission report for tomorrow (a standard 4th-grade assignment here in California). There was much more work left to do than he had told us — even with our help, he didn’t finish until nearly 11pm, well past his bedtime (and awfully close to ours!). And there are still some final touches he has to add tomorrow before school — but there was no way he would have been able to do them tonight.

And apparently he has a science project due soon, too. Oh, well; I remember burning sugar as my science project in high school when I’d left it to the last possible night — it didn’t go over very well with the teacher, either. And I also remember putting off an 11th-grade term paper until the day before it was due,then cutting classes to do the research and staying up until the wee small hours typing the paper up — that was probably the first time I ever drank coffee. Perhaps procrastination is inherited!

Life without phones?

Yesterday morning, GTE rang the bell very early to tell us that they were ready to install a new data line. Since the installation was entirely outside, we didn’t have to stay around and we didn’t — we took off for Torah Study and Minyan, and then lunch and Love in the Title, an Abbey Theatre of Dublin production at San Jose Rep.

The play was, ummm, different — it takes place in a meadow in Ireland, where three generations of the same family meet: Cat, from 1930 (age 20 or so), Triona, from 1960 (age 30 or so), and Kate, from 2000 (age 37). Cat, the grandmother, hasn’t gotten married yet; Triona has just had Kate. It was a very talky play (difficult to follow because of the authentic Irish accents).

Eventually, we came home, and I discovered that neither of our phone lines worked, though our data line was just fine. So I went next door and borrowed a phone to call GTE, who warned me that there would be huge costs if the problem was inside. I didn’t think this was likely (two lines? Right after a service call?), and I didn’t have much of a choice anyway.

So this morning, after a trip to the Y to exercise, I came home and found GTE here — working inside. There was dialtone at the junction box (there’s no delimiter, so I couldn’t plug a phone in to check myself), but none as soon as he wired up the inside lines. So we dug out the access to the crawl space (it’s in our son’s closet) in case the guy needs it, and he’s busy working under the desk in the other room. And now he’s fixed the lines. I still believe that it was yesterday’s work which caused the problem, but I don’t have any way to avoid paying for the call. *sigh*

Once the service guy leaves, I’m going to go to shul and catch up with the book group, which is discussing I Married a Communist by Philip Roth and picking out books for next year. Then we have the Purim Carnival, and then our havurah is going to see Mission to Mars; we saw part of the filming in Petra, Jordan last year on our trip to Israel.

Mission to Mars would have been a better movie if it were 20 minutes shorter — but I’m not sure which 20 minutes I would have cut. Suffice it to say that I kept checking my watch during the film. And I kept waiting to hear the Blue Danube or Also Sprach Tharathustra! But we did get to see the Mars rovers that we’d seen in Petra, and also some shots shot in the siq (the channel leading to Petra), which is where we were delayed on our trip.

The Purim Carnival was fun, especially for the kids — our son went through $5 worth of tickets and came back with 2 cents worth of plastic toys, and a goldfish. We’ll see how long the fish survives.

FAQ

This is a vanity and experimental site, pure and simple. It’s unlikely that there will be many frequently asked questions, but if there are, I’ll answer them here.

Why Defenestration Corner?

A long time ago (well before Microsoft Windows!), I published a fanzine named Defenestration. I still have the material I collected for the 9th issue, but it’s unlikely that I’ll ever publish on paper again. But when it came time to name this site, I decided to reuse the name.

So here I am…

I’m just starting at this Weblog business; I’m already impressed with what I see other people doing, but I haven’t figured out what to say yet! So if I appear to just be typing random thoughts, you may well be right.

This evening will be somewhat unusual — we’ll be going to services at Shir Hadash, but it’ll be a “regular” service instead of Family Services. It should be a nice change of pace.

Then tomorrow, we have Torah Study and informal services, as usual. And after that, San Jose Rep with Love in the Title.