Goodbye EDS/HP

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 31, 2013 is the end of an era for me... On this day I'm saying goodbye to E.D.S./ H.P after over 16 years working for these two companies.  Over the years I've seen many colleagues leave, sending off an email to everyone letting us know that they were moving on outside of the E.D.S. /H.P. world, so I've had a lot of time to think about this moment and therefore I wanted to do something a little bit different.  I thought that I'd take this chance to write up a farewell for colleagues, clients, and anyone else that might be interested in the end of this era for me.

I remember being interviewed for the position that I was hired for at Electronic Data Systems and when asked about my aspirations within EDS, I said that I'd like to be C.E.O. Ok, I was young but I think that I obviously made a good enough impression that I was hired. When I hired into E.D.S., they had what was called a dual career path and for a long time I thought that I would work my way into General Motors. Quite a few colleagues that I know from my earlier days did this, but when I had a chance to interview for a position at General Motors, staying with E.D.S. at that time seemed like the best decision.

I worked my way in E.D.S. starting out at a call center, going into a specialty group that handled arbitrations for a client, working at the dealer business center, and finally I worked my way in project management from being part of a project management office to being the project manager for lots of projects. At E.D.S. the sky seemed to be the limit.

I Owe E.D.S. a lot!
It is through E.D.S. that I met my wife.  She was working for E.D.S. in Germany and I was working for E.D.S. in the U.S. Around the time that we got married she was fortunate enough to get what was called an Expat assignment to the U.S. and when it was time for her to come back to Germany, well, naturally I came along.

Why Am I Saying Goodbye?
Well, the shorter version of this is that H.P. Germany made the decision to close the Rüsselsheim location that I'm tied to as part of many workforce reductions that H.P. has done over the years.

Great People
Over the years I worked with and met lots of great people at E.D.S./ H.P. I've seen a lot of talented and people dedicated to delivering superior service to their clients and colleagues. I hope that I'll have the chance to work with many of them in the coming years and I wish the all the best and that they find success and happiness in their lives both professionally and personally. 

Whats next?
That is quite the question.  I'm not really sure what the next phase of my life will lead me too.  I think that there are lots of directions that I might take, but at this point I'm not sure.  I know that I love working on big projects with new technology and where people can work on something greater than themselves and feel a sense of accomplishment afterwards.  Whatever I do, I want to be able to leave my mark.

Lets Connect And Stay Connected
I would love to be able to stay connected and know what my former colleagues are up to. You also never know when there might be a project that we can work on together, so keep an open mind and your eyes and ears open. You can find links to several of my blogs as well as my various social profiles here.  You can also email me from there as well.

Bye for now!

Our Visit to Europa Park 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

As part of our Summer vacation 2013 the family and I visited Europa Park in July. We've been to Europa Park several times but it had been a few years now and with the girls being older (especially taller) they're now able to do more of the rides than the last time that we went.

Since the last time we were at Europa Park, we'd seen that park had a new restaurant called the "FoodLoop" and we were excited about checking it out.  In the resturaunt there a few tables centered around different platforms where food and drinks are brought to your table in special containers over a mini roller coaster. You use a touchscreen to order your meals and your food and drinks are sent from the kitchen over the mini roller coaster to the platform where your table is. I can't guarante it but I can imagine that some kids who might need to be "encouraged" to eat their meals will be entertained by the food delivery and therefore more like to eat what is ordered. I can also imagine that the whole order and delivery process encourages people to order more food and drink.  

Because Anna likes roller coasters, she went with me through the park, while Sarah and Christine did the tamer rides. Anna and I started off with the Blue Fire. The Blue Fire is a looping coaster with passengers going through 4 different inversions. It only reaches 124 ft (38 meters) with top speed of 62 mph (100 km/h), but the looping is what makes it exciting (Wikipedia).  Anna had a good start and we were off. There is something special about wooden roller coasters, sure they don't tend to go as high or fast as many of the steel ones, but they're a lot of fun and some coster enthusiasts swear by them. Next up was the Woodan, a wooden coaster that reaches a height of 131 ft (40 meters) with a top speed of 62.1 mph (99.9 km/h) and a G-force of 3.5 (Wikipedia).While the Siver Star might not lead any coaster catagories any longer the first hill reaches heights of 239 ft (73 meters) with a drop of 219 ft (67 meters) at speeds up to 78.9 mph (127 km/h) and gravitational forces of 4g, so it is a pretty exciting ride and Annd didn't see the slightest bit scared! It is nice that someone else in the family likes to ride the roller coasters besides myself, so that I don't have to ride them alone.

It was a very hot day when we went, so we all tried a few water rides.  The thing about water rides is that most of the time you don't sit in the right seat, either you want to get really wet and most of the water misses you or you don't really want to get wet and the water is attracked to you like a magnet.  Christine decided to stand outside of one of the water rides, thinking that she might get wet.  She got a little wet when the first water ride went by and decided to stay for the next one, well she got absolutely soaked, so the trick seems to be that you find a splashy area around the water rides if you really want to get soaked.

We always have fun at Europa Park and we really enjoyed our visit this year.  I can imagine that we'll try to plan a trip there next year.  Since Europa Park gets decorated for Halloween and Christimas, we could even plan a trip to catch either of these.

Photo credit. The Silver Star picture is courtesy of Wikipedia.  The other pictures we took at the park.

September 11th - 12 Years Later

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Chances are that you probably know what day it is (or you'll soon be reminded if your day is just starting) but today is the twelth anniversary of Attacks of September 11th. A dozen years have passed and we're more than a decade after this terrible event.  On this day every year, I think of the victims, their families, their friends and I like to honor the memories that we all have of them. 

I discovered Project 2996 when I was doing research of an article that I was writing about September 11th, and it has become a part of my life ever since.  Doing research on some of the victims brings them into your life and though you have you probably never met them the memories of their lives become part of you and as long as you live, these memories will live on.  It might not make any sense to someone who hasn't participated yet, but surely you have read something in your life or seen something (via television or possibly online) that has touched you.  If you haven't experienced this, you need to because it is at moments like this that our humanity shines through.

Last year I talked Dale (the man responsible for Project 2996) into trying something a little bit different.  We were going to pin pictures of the victims of September 11th into a Project 2996 group pinboard on Pinterest.  The goal is to get a pin done for every single victim, with a tribute written up for them as well.  We haven't accomplished this yet but I'm really proud of the people who have joined us in the project.  I've done a couple of speeches about September 11th at Toastmasters and I convinced a friend of mine to join in on this little project, she did several pins last year and a few days ago she asked me if we were doing anything for the 12th Anniversary.  She said that she didn't have much time but she still managed to do a good dozen or so pins, so my she has a heart felt thank you from me. I'm confident that we will get a pin out for every victim!

This morning I did a dozen plus pins myself and have now learned a little bit more about Barbara Olson, Peter J. Ganci, Jr,, Army Specialist Craig Amundson, Ryan Daniel Fitzgerald, Anthony Joseph Coladonato, Andrew Cross Abate, David E. Rivers, Irina Buslo, Bojan Kostica, Gregory James Malone, Kathryn Anne Shatzoff, Peter J. O'Neill Jr., Faustino Apostol Jr, John G. Farrell, Margaret S. Lewis, Virginia M. Jablonski, and Stephanie McKenna. One of the new vicitms that I learned about had a tribute that had been written as part of Project 2996 and in reading the tribute I noticed that a family member had asked the writer if she knew the victim, but also came the comment that she was so glad to see the tribute. I received a comment from the wife of a victim that I wrote about and it touched me deeply to see this. 

On this September day, I think about the people that I have written tributes in the past (Keith Roma, Christopher Santora,Joseph P. Henry, Karl Henri Joseph, and Dana Hannon. I especially think of David W Laychak, who was the first person that I've written about in Project 2996.

I hope that you take some time out of your day to remember the victims of September 11th, their families, their friends, and the world as this day left all of us a little sadder and world a little less richer because of all these wonderful people we lost and the impact of society that they would have had and the lives that they did and would have touched.  You can follow the board on Pinterest and even join us if you'd like to do some pinning.  You can also write tributes of your own.  If you don't have a website or blog to post them on, I'd be happy to post them for you.  Feel free to leave a comment. If you knew any of the victims, I'd love to hear your memories and stories about them. 


Here are my posts for the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Annivesaries.  You can read more about the pinning campaign here.  The Project 2996 website is here and the Facebook group is here.

Are Your Ready for the German Champions League Final?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Millions of people will watch Bayern Munich (Munich) play Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final tonight, will you be one of them? After 124 games with 365 goals scored, we're down to this game (figures from Wikipedia). This is a unique match up and the first time that it has been an all German Champions League final. Bayern and Dortmund are two of the top teams in the German Bundesliga, hard core and casual fans alike will be ready for these two rivals to play in this huge game.

Bayern has one of the biggest and best known soccer clubs in the world. They're the biggest and best known sports club in Germany, and 4th biggest soccer club in the world generating 368.4 million Euros in 2012 (Wikipedia). To me they're like the New York Yankees of soccer, having won 23 national tittles, winning the Champions League in 1974, 1975, 1976, and 2001; while being the runner up in 1982, 1987, 1999, 2010, 2012. They might not always win but you can't afford to overlook them.

Dortmund has developed into quite a rival for Bayern.  They won the Champions League in 1997.  Dortmund has had their ups and down and even almost went bankrupt.  Jürgen Klopp has lifted Dortmund out one of their low periods winning the Bundesliga in the 2010-11 and 2011-2012 seasons. 

Living in the Rhein-Main Area, I started following Jürgen Kloppwhen he was the coach at Mainz 05 and was impressed that he was able to led that club from the second Bundesliga to the first. I also liked watching him when he was part of the soccer coverage on German television.  It was lot of fun seeing him lead Dortmund to their two recent Bundesliga tittles.

I've seen that Jürgen Klopp has given some interesting interviews lately and I decided that I wanted to find out what was said. Since the game tonight is being held in Wembley Stadium in London, there are interviews that are done in English and non-native English speakers this provides the opportunity for lots of lost in translation  moments or translations problems.  In fact there was a Jame Bond quote that really piqued my interest.  Jurgen Klopp said in an interview at the Guardian in response to the possiblity of Robert Lewandowski will likely be leaving Dortmund (with a good possiblity of ending up at Bayern), "What can I say? If that's what Bayern wants … It's like James Bond – except they are the other guy [the villain].

Jürgen Klopp told the Guardian about the deep pockets of Bayern and their ability to spend large amounts of money on players that   "Bayern want a decade of success like Barça. That's OK if you have the money because it increases the possibility of success. But it's not guaranteed. We are not a supermarket but they want our players because they know we cannot pay them the same money. It could not be our way to do things like Real and Bayern and not think about taxes – and let the next generation pick up our problems. We need to work seriously and sensibly. We have this amount of money so we can pay that amount. But we lose players. Last year it was Shinji Kagawa." While he probably didn't mean that teams that don't have an endless supply of money to spend on players might not be woried about taxes but that most teams don't have the financail resources to complete with Bayern, Mancherster United, Real Madrid, and so on.  This is certainly a challenges for many teams in many diferent sports.

I can't really say that I was surprised, but I learned that Jürgen Klopp was recruited by both Bayern and Hamburg while he was at Mainz 05, before he ended up going to Dortmund. He said of the experience of being consided for the job at Bayern that "It wasn't too disappointing --for a second division manager to be called by Bayern is not the worst thing in the world"  I'm sure that Dortmund fans are glad that he ended up where he did.

Over the years I've liked it when cross town rivals met in various championship games, this makes the event special and stand out more.  In baseball I remember when the New York Mets played the New York Yankees and when the Oakland A's played the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, so it is exciting to see two German teams playing in the Champions League final.  

 Jürgen Klopp said "We are a club, not a company..but it depends on which kind of story the neutral fan wants to hear. If he respects the story of Bayern, and how much they have won since the 1970s, he can support them. But if he wants the new story, the special story, it must be Dortmund. I think, in this moment in the football world, you have to be on our side." I'll be pulling for Dortmund, how about you?

Here is a infographic that you might find interesting....

Photo credits: I combined the logos from the clubs based on logos at Wikipedia (Bayern and Dortmund).  The infographic comes from here.

Good Bye Roger Ebert!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Source: via darryl on Pinterest

I was deeply saddened to read that Roger Ebert passed away.  For me Rogert Ebert will always be half of the movie critic duo of Siskel and Ebert (they are pictured together at the top of this post). I used to watch their weekly movie review show to see what they thought of the new movies and often used their reviews in deciding if I wanted to go see a movie or not (like lots of other people I might add).  Their show was a big part of my life.

Source: via darryl on Pinterest

I think what originally drew me in was my love for movies.  I've often thought that it would be great to be able to make a living by being a film critic, so it is only natural that I would enjoy watching these two do their show.  For me Roger seemed more down to earth that Gene.  Gene often appeared very snobbish for my taste, but the two of them together did what I thought movie critcs should do.  They told us what they thought of the movies they reviewed and between the two of them you could get a good idea of if a movie was worth seeing.

Source: via darryl on Pinterest

Time when by and Gene Siskel died and he was replaced by another film critic. I had stopped watching the show at this point and not long afterwards I moved to Germany so I wasn't aware of all that Roger Ebert with through in the past decade, so I was really surprised when I read the accounts of Roger Ebert after he died!  He had quite a battle with cancer and as a result part of his jaw was removed and long story short he lost the ability to eat, drink, and speak and even needed a feed tube at one point. He turned to a series of computer voices in order to speak, this eventually included a copy of his own voice derived from his own DVD commentaries! The picture above is a caricature of Roger Ebert drawn sometime after the problems with his throat.

I was surprised to learn that Roger Ebert was largely responsible for convincing Oprah Winfrey to sysndicate  her show, would Oprah have been nearly as popular if she hadn't listened to his suggesion to go into syndication? Good Morning American had a nice interview with Chaz Ebert, Roger's wife, there is a video in the article but I'm not able to view it from Germany.  It sounds like they had quite a life together.    

Even though his show didn't hold the same priority and place in my heart as it did when I was younger, I really miss the show that he and Siskel used to do. I admire his attempts to continue and carry on after his health initially became an issue.  I wonder what it must have been like to fight the battle he fought with his voice. Losing his partner to cancer earlier, I'm sure that he often had doubts if he would be able to keep fighting. I wonder how many movie critic were influenced by Siskel and Ebert? Whenever I think of thumbs up, I'll always think of you and Gene Siskel. I hope that you get to meet all the stars that passed away before you. Imagine the movies they could be making now.

Photo credits: "Siskel & Ebert" picture from Roger Ebert's timeline on Facebook. Roger Ebert giving Thumbs up picture courtesy of the IMDb. The caricature of Roger Ebert is from All of the pictures above have been re-pinned to my Gone But Not Forgotten board on Pinterest.

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Hello Pope Francis!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

                                                                                Source: via darryl on Pinterest

Goodbye Cardinal Bergoglio, Hello Pope Francis! The world welcomes you open arms as the new pope. You are taking leadership of the Catholic world at a time of great turmoil and challenge.  You have a honeymoon phase with your new position where the world is waiting to learn about you and people are willing to listen to what you have to say and hear you out.  There is a new hope with a new pope and we all are crossing our fingers that you'll be able to live up to our expectations and help to lead us forward.

I truly hope that you're able to bring the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and all the religions of the world together, and that you'll be able to find some common ground by which you can build an effective coalition of the world's religious peoples.  There is so much division in the religious worlds at the moment and we desperately need to find a common ground, to find new ways to work together, and to lift each other up.  As the Pope, you have some influence here, I hope that you'll use it to these means.. 

I hope that you're able to get the atheists and agnostics of the world to join you on a different common ground.  That you can use the realization that we're all people and that our humanity should bind us together, to lift up our weaker brothers, sisters, and children that need our help.

I hope that you're able to bring together the states and nations of the world.  There are lots of politicians that have become corrupt over the years and are no longer looking after the needs of the people, they're only looking after the needs of special interests and those that are able to pay for their time and attention, or the various political systems have been broken and world leaders aree unable to manage in the mess we have today.  I hope that you're able to get warring parties to come to the table and negotiate, so that we can end all the useless bloodshed and conflict.

I hope that you're able to inspire and motivate the wealthy people and corporations of the world to realize that they have obligations to society and that life is not only about making money.  I hope that you're able to inspire them to feed the poor, to create lots of  jobs that pay a living wage so that employees can support their families and have a decent life.  I hope that you're able to convince the wealthy and the corporations that the world has limited resources that need to be shared equitably and that polluting and destroying our world for short-term profit is not in the best interest of the human and animal populations on our planet.

I hope that you're able to bring the Catholic church up to date while preserving the best of Catholic traditions and customs.  Please do a review of all major policies, and where the church needs to come out of the dark ages, shine your light and help them to move forward.  There are lots of Catholics who really want to be a part of the church again but many of the church's dogma, teachings, and policies are out dated, and they exclude many who would like to be a part of the church. 

I hope that you're able to lift the poor out of poverty, that you're able to help them break the cycle of poverty that only seems to pull in more and more people. I hope that you're able to inspire the uninspired to do wonderful things with their lives.

I hope that we're able to look back in 5 or 10 years and see your time as Pope as a real breakthrough, one that the world has been waiting for. I wish you all the best.

                                                           Source: via darryl on Pinterest