Rebecca and I went to Poland a few weeks back, and visiting Auschwitz is one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had.

Stuttgart's Besenwirtschaften

Stuttgart has these wonderful little hidden little charms that make it a really great place to live. One of our favorites are the Besenwirtschaften, which are traditional Swabian wine houses. They’re operated by the families that own the numerous vineyards around the Stuttgart area, and by law they are allowed to open 4 months out of the year. They are scattered throughout the city and its surrounding towns, and if you find one you can enjoy very simple (and cheap) Swabian food and fresh wine from that year. One of my favorites is a place in Degerloch that a German woman introduced me to. It is essentially a living room that overflows into a side room, so the atmosphere is wonderfully warm and intimate. At the most, 20-30 people pack into these two small rooms, and the close quarters means that you are forced to meet and talk to your fellow wine drinkers. Two out of the three times we’ve been there, we’ve had Germans who were young kids during WWII come tell us about their first experience eating bananas and oranges given to them by American GIs. It really is quite nice of them to tell us this, and it makes us feel welcomed in Stuttgart, where our social circle mainly revolves around the large community of expats working for the many international companies based in Stuttgart. Anyway, so we went last Saturday, which happened to be the same night as the big lunar eclipse. Between 5 of us, we had about 6 liters of wine, so by the time the U-Bahn got me home, I wasn’t as steady as I needed to be to take some good eclipse photos. I managed to shoot two frames before passing out. My next one is really a drunken picture, and the following night I took a few more frames since my camera was already out.

A few months ago I was asked if I could create a small website for my high school graduating class’ 10 year reunion. My immediate thought was “Wha? It’s been 10 years already?!,” but it turns out no, I graduated high school only 8 years ago. I’ve got another two years to go (Yes, the reunion is a long ways off, but look how quickly the last 8 years passed!). But, that still leads me to feeling old, especially now that I rely on my sister, 10 years younger than me, to keep me up to date on all things hip. Then I come across chain mails like “25 Signs You’re Getting Old,” where during my youth I would have brushed off as a stupid forward. Now, I’m remarkably fascinated by it and think that every single item on the list is true (and funny!). So anyway, in the midst of my mid-20s crisis I decide that I should probably work on this class reunion website that I promised our class president. From the time of domain registration to its currently (partially) complete state, it only took me about 3 hours, and the vast majority of that time was spent trying to fix the poor quality of the Wando logo I found online. Drupal 5’s amazing power and flexibility really allows for rapid development of basic sites, and yet can still scale to do extremely complex sites like NowPublic and FlixYa. I didn’t even have to install new code since I just used my existing codebase and created a new settings.php file. And the new default theme, Garland, is nice enough out of the box where I can just adjust the colors and call it a day. Open source is wonderful.

The Family Connection

I recently got married, and one of the results of marriage is that you gain some new family members. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of my cousin-in-laws, Jackson West, is writing for NewTeeVee, a newly found GigaOm-network website devoted to web video. It was only a few months ago that I found out Jackson was as much a pyromaniac as I am, as we tried to rig together as many bottle rockets as possible in one go. We both survived unscathed, and now it’s definitely good to see Jackson doing his thing for NewTeeVee. Looking forward to the new gig, Jackson.

Wedding over, Pictures online

We’ve finally recieved our pictures from the photographer, over a month after our wedding (that’s another blog entry). About a third of the pictures are on, so head on over there to see our gallery. Be sure to add comments and contribute your own photos taking during our celebration in our Wedding Images Group. Thanks again to everyone for helping us celebrate.