April 20, 2006

I have finally managed to upload the pictures from Germany and the first few days in Jo'burg. It was really neat to see baby tigers and lions playing, as well as seeing other large animals in an environment that is as close to the wild as you can get.

Tomorrow I fly to Cape Town and meet up with Dayna. I can't wait! There are some amazing hikes in the area, and the views are incredible. There are also great winelands, beaches, clubs, and much more. It's going to be a well deserved holiday for both of us.

Lions and Tigers and Rhinos
April 17, 2006

I landed in Frankfurt on Saturday morning at 10am only to find out that my flight to Jo'burg wasn't until 11pm. This worked out really well, as it gave me a full day to explore. I met Tony on the train to downtown Frankfurt who was in a similar situation and spent the day with him. On Saturdays there is a market in the main squares and so we got to see Frankfurt at its best. After a few glasses of the local apple wine, and steins of beer, we explored the Roemerberg, took a city tour, and poked around in the shops. Amazingly 80% of the city was destroyed in the war and there are only a handful of buildings that survived. I expected Frankfurt to be much bigger, but you can walk across it in 20 minutes. Walking down the streets it sounded like I was playing Wolfenstein.

I arrived in Jo'burg at 10am on Sunday morning to a few clouds, and 30 degree weather, had a quick shower, and then was taken to a Lion and Rhino park by SRK Jo'burg's IT Manager Hamilton, and his wife Pam. The park is a huge plot of land with fences separating the predators from the rest of the animals. There are a number of different roads, and you can drive around the whole thing in a day, which is exactly what we did. To start out the we came across 5 male lions and 3 female lions chowing down on a cow carcass. The park isn't big enough to allow live feedings (the prey doesn't have enough room to escape apparently), so the lions have to resort to eating beef. We were able to park 50 feet from them and watch them eat and then lie around in the sun. We then headed into the Cheetah area, and were extremely lucky, the cheetah had dragged it's meal near the road, and we were able to park within 10 feet of it and watch. Hamilton and Pam said that they've only ever seen a cheetah once before at this park, so it was pretty cool. On our way out for lunch we came across three rhinos, and a number of wildabeasts, buck (kudu, antelope, and a handful of other varieties) and a warthog. To finish off the day the park has a big cage full of baby lions and tigers. There were 4 lions, 3 white lions, and 2 tigers all about twice the size of my cat all play fighting together. We were able to pet them through the fence which was very cool. A monkey was also running around looting the garbage cans, and eating junk food. There was also a 2 week old lion cub (smaller than my cat) that they were feeding with a bottle. In the same area there was also a pair of white tiger cubs, and 4 or 5 lions that were a bit older and bigger. To end the day we saw a couple Hippos, a Jaguar, and three Siberian Tigers in more of a Zoo type area that you could walk around in.

It's been a blur to start the trip, but so far everything is going great! I'll upload pictures whenever I get a chance to charge my laptop. I forgot to bring an adapter for the plugs down here, so I'm slightly gadget crippled at this point..

Hello from 15000 Feet
April 14, 2006

So far this flight is going much better than my last flight. Lufthansa is miles better than anyone I've flown with so far. I've got 3 feet of leg room (bulkhead seat, I'm on Boeing's wireless internet, playing Poke online, and running a test Netware Migration in Vmware.

So far this day has been great, Dayna made me waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast, then my flight was delayed by half an hour so I was able to meet up with Brad, Lisa, and Skarb for a beer over lunch.

We're now going 686mph at approximately 33000 feet, I'm sipping on a free beer, and I'm first in my Poker tournament. Life is good.

Mottie Go...eth

Today I'm flying halfway around the world, well almost. The earth's circumference at the equator is 40,075.16 kilometers, and I'm flying 17,000. I leave at 4pm today, and all told it will be 30 hours before I arrive in Jo'burg at 8am on Sunday morning. What a way to spend Easter! Brad is flying into Vancouver at the same time I am flying out. It would have been nice to see him for the first time in almost a year, but thankfully it sounds like he'll be back in the summer

I'll be online, so look for lots of new pictures and updates.

Easter in Africa
April 11, 2006

It's almost here. Well most of you will be enjoying an extended long weekend, I'll be flying 16000kms. I leave Friday at 4pm and arrive in Jo'burg Sunday morning at 8am. Nothing like 30 hours of flying to get your blood pumping! I have approximately 8 hours to spend in Frankfurt, but we'll see if that's enough time to get out and see a bit of the town. Having to clear customs to leave the airport, and then again to re-enter doesn't leave a lot of time.

Google Analytics
April 5, 2006

After at least a month of waiting I've finally gotten my Google Analytics invite code. For those of you who have websites/blogs I'd highly recommend it over any other free stats package that I've seen. You simply add a few invisible lines of code to all your pages and it does the rest.

"Hacking" My Car
April 1, 2006

Last month when Dayna's insurance ran out, we decided not to reinsure her car, as we rarely drive anymore, and when we do it's usually together. The only issue with this is that I only have one key for my car, and so I started looking into getting a new key made for her. VW wanted $260 for a new 'switchblade' key. I guess because of the immobilizer and the electronic locks they aren't cheap. I was able to find a used, blank key on Ebay for $15, which leaves the problem of reprogramming the immobilizer. After a little bit of research I came across a program called VAG-COM. It allows you to interface with your car, much in the same way the dealer does. So now rather than spending $80 everytime my Check Engine light comes on, I can just plug my laptop in and see what the problem is. The other advantage that it gives me is that I can reprogram my car to accept the new key that I bought. Ebay again came to the rescue, and I was able to find a USB --> VW adapter for $25. So far I've spent $40, and I have a new key, and diagnostic software for my car, a slightly better deal. Now I just need to contact my dealer and get the "Secret Key Code" for my car, so that I can reprogram the immobilizer. Apparently Ewan knows some guys who own a VW shop so I'm hoping it goes smoothly.


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