maandag 15 december 2008

De appel valt niet ver van de boom... eh huis.

Inmiddels heb ik mijn nieuwe Mac een week in huis en hij is nog niet vaak ver van mij vandaan geweest hier in huis :-) Hij bevalt tot nu toe uitstekend. Ik heb al veel tips en tricks geleerd, uit forums, tutorials en gewoon zelf uitproberen. De toetsen die leken te ontbreken (qua NL/UK layout verschillen), zijn aan te roepen doormiddel van shortcuts (FN+backspace is hetzelfde als delete bijvoorbeeld, etc). Dus da's geen probleem. De upgrade van het OS, is er nog sneller gekomen dan ik dacht... vanavond om precies te zijn. Het is een soort fixpack en niet eens een totale new OS versie. Het is de 10.5.6 (tov de 10.5.5 die ik nu heb). Hij is gewoon te downloaden door een sw update te draaien, dus ook daarvoor is het goed geweest niet gewacht te hebben :-)))) Het scherm, gebruiksgemak en de super looks zijn elke dag weer een feest. helaas zie ik toch ook wel enkele nadelen van deze machine....
  • ik moet nog steeds slapen, werken, douchen etc... gaat ten koste van de tijd aan de Mac...
  • elke maandag moet ik toch weer een Windows XP machine opstarten en aan het werk die week..
  • soms moet ik iets van mijn Windows PC opzoeken en dan valt de 6 minuten wachten voor XP gestart is wel erg tegen... ook de 3 minuten voor hij afsluit vallen nog meer op dan vroeger
;-) kortom, ik ben erg blij met de nieuwe Mac!! ;-) View Marcel De Koningh's profile on LinkedIn

zondag 2 november 2008

De schuur is af!!!

Ja ja, daar istie dan... het schuurtje... hij is eindelijk af!!! Vandaag waren we eindelijk weer eens thuis, was het toevallig goed weer en hadden we toevallig geen andere ToDo meer staan.... dus we konden eindelijk het dak erop gaan zetten. Om ruimte te hebben achter de schuur, voor het boren en schroeven, hebben we de schuur in zn gehaal verschoven. Met hulp van Ton hebben we de houten constructie voor het dak en de dakplaten er samen opgezet. Daarna afkitten en een balletje op de nok en klaar waren we. Schuur weer op zijn plek schuiven en vullen met de stoelen, BBQ etc uit de tuin. Veel mooier gezicht en een handige ruimte erbij in de tuin. Nu alleen nog planken, ophang systeem etc bedenken, maar dat kan later wel, we zijn voorlopig ff klaar met klussen aan de schuur ;-) Marcel. View Marcel De Koningh's profile on LinkedIn

dinsdag 30 september 2008

20080929 New York City

20080929 New York City

Mostly Cloudy, 70F, not much sun.

We asked the lousy and never smiling Super8 staff and manager to add another night against the $85 coupon-rate. Although $85 was already too much, as the unfriendly staff sucked, our room smelled like a pub full of cigarettes and had insects, holes in the sheets and during breakfast many items run out.
The fun part? The coupon rate was not yet available anymore and the rate now would be $185! If you want a hotel without customers... Just put dow a sign "closed" outside, lunatics.
We went back to the room to make a phonecall. Howard Johnson, only 1.2 miles further on the same road, confirmed their coupon rate room was available. When we arrived the friendly staff even provided their $72 rate for the rest of the week for us. So we were all set! The shuttle mini van to Manhattan was $6 instead of the $2.50, but we would try it anyway and decide the next day if we would drive by car near a big parking and take from there the $2.50 mini van.

In Manhattan we bought unlimited 7 day metro passes, so we could go anywhere we want by subway.
South Ferry was the destination.
A friendly man told us we had to move over to a cart more to the front with every stop it made, as the last 5 carts would not go to south ferry. Later in the afternoon we would be waiting at a traffic light to go to the WTC, we stand next to him. He tabs on my shoulder saying hi. :-)
We arrive at South Ferry at take the free ferry to ellis island. We enjoy the trip on the water and see Manhattan, brooklyn bridge, statue of liberty and more. As I have only a few days left and much memory for photos I take photos like a sports photographer, tons.
Back at south ferry we took the subway to Brooklyn and walked back to lower Manhattan via the Brooklyn bridge.
A typical NY hotdog(2 for only $3) was nice, as it was already past 2 o'clock.
In battery park we have some nice double chocolate Milk and enjoy the view on the grandiose skyscrappers in the tiny colonial streets. We walk a lot here; trinity church, st paul's chapel, financial district etc.
At NY stock exchange it is very crowded, with many satellite news vans making reports of the failed Bailout that should rescue the american financial and economical situation.
The world trade center site is impressive, so large. A lot of workers and machinery is working on the new WTC buildings, to be ready in 2012.
In the meanwhile I had lost our New York tourist book/guide. So our goal now became to hunt down a bookstore and buy a new one. The subway and tips of people on the street brought us to Borders.
We than ate at Friday's and tired but thrilled we went back to the hotel.
A warm bath and a bed was enough to catch sleep.

Photo @ coast week ago

Photo yesterday @ NY City

zondag 28 september 2008

Tomorrow NY

We shopped today and than drove a bit more to NY. Day's Inn Branford, Connecticut. So tomorrow only 2 hours drive and we are the rest of the week in NY!

zaterdag 27 september 2008

Bad weather, but good spirits

Hi,

Went to Cap Cod yesterday. Terrible weather conditions. Even flood warnings we later discovered. But spirit is good, we are still on holiday! :-)

Today in a big outlet mall, shopping in 170 stores. We both bought cool new jackets!

Tonight we head to New York!

Still raining now and than(67F), maybe a tomorrow a hurricane, but we hope to get away before that thing arrives.

Cya,
marcel.

vrijdag 26 september 2008

Marshfield, south of Boston

Visited Boston today. We are now in a hotel, with slow/irrelayable internet connection to my pda. Marshfield, south of Boston. Near highway 3. Tomorrow we hope to go to Cape Cod, but bad weather is forcasted. We will see tomorrow.

donderdag 25 september 2008

20080923 Acadia

20080923 Acadia

Blue skyline, 65F, no wind.

In Augusta we wake up and take a nice warm shower. We searched and found a Denny's to have a big breakfast, that later resulted in not needing lunch anymore.
The 3 hour drive to Acadia is easy and during the drive we see many trees changed colors. Especially red seems to be the first color to appear in autumn.
We reach Acadia and see the first islands and ocean waters appear. Nice views. We go to the visitorscenter for advice, maps and to pay the $20 for an entrance pass(valid for 7 days).
$20 is also payed for the blackwood campground. Arround 15:00 the tent is all set and we drive the roundway and climb to the top. Beautiful vis on the many islands and ocean.
In Bar Harbor we walk in the centre to the little shops and have good pizzas with a salade. In the dark we drive back and take a sleep. Also here, we see many stars in the clear sky.

20080924 Acadia

20080924 Acadia

Blue skyline, 69F (later we saw 21C), Sun.

We wake up in the middle of the forest in Acadia National Park. Squirls are collecting their food and climbing the trees. It did not became very cold last night, which was nice in the tent. Also having breakfast outside is no problem. We even are able to pick up some sunshine through the trees.
There are no showers so washing and brushing teeth doesn't take long.
We decided to complete the rest of the loop road and stop at the parkings/sightseeingsides.
The plan of the day is to be arround 13:00 at the otherside of the Island, near Wonder Land / Harbor Trail, as that is a place and time low tide leaves tide pools, that might have some interesting creatures.
The first stop is the beach and it is beautiful. We walked along the coastline and I discovered a bit higher onshore a lake with reflections of the trees and mountains. Photo-time :-)
Otter view point provides great views on ocean, islands, rocks and ships, but no otters.
The thunder rock (need to find on the map the correct name), is a split between the rocks where, with high tides, the waves under the rocks pressures the air and bake a sound of thunder. But it is getting low tides, so we can view the place, but no sound show from mother nature for us at the moment. And as high tide is arround 19:30, we will be driving south already.
We walk the trail towards the rocks of the coast, where a ranger and a camera-man are searching animals in the tides-pools. The will use it later to present it to a couple of kids, appearently a ranger program takes place. Lucky for us, because they put the animals back and we are able to make pictures.
The search and walks, with the sun, makes me sweat and thus aware I need to drink more. But later I discovered it was too late and I got a headacke already.
We drive at the south west side to go back to the only bridge connecting the Island with land, but we did not like that specific road, as there are no nice panoramas anymore. As soon as we see a road crossing to the otherside of the island, we take it. It is unpaved, so it provides some extras to our 4 wheeldrive on this bumpy and dusty road ;-)
We drive on highway 1 to the south and after declining an hotel of $102, we find also, for us, an expensive motel of $65, but take it anyway as we need some rest.

dinsdag 23 september 2008

Our car in the USA

This car drove up to Mount Washington

20080916 Niagara Falls

20080916 Niagara Falls

Whole day Niagara Falls, fantastic!
Parked at State Park parking for $10 and walked to visitors center.
Walked to the island and did the Cave of Winds Tour.
Wanted to walk across the border, but the pavement on the bridge was closed for repairs. So we had to cross the bridge by car and park again on the Canadian side. We found a cheap $4 parking (instead of the $18 parking spots).
Watched the Niagara falls from Canada side was great. We went to iMax and to starbucks(a nice hot chocolate) to kill some time, so we coulb make night shots with the lightbeams (starts at 20:30).
Arround 22:30 we crossed the US border and we started to look for a hotel near the previous hotel, with success.

20080922 White Mountains

20080922 White Mountains

Cloudy, not cold.

In the night we had a little bit of rainfall, but not cold at all and the ground near our tent was not even wet.
The campground host come by and wishes us a goodmorning. He has a question about a saying he heard, that might be Dutch, if we know anything about it. We do not understand it, but we run into a very pleasant conversation with him. We talk about NL and the fight against the see, as we are partly below sealevel. New Orleans, government, US view on Russia, Wars in Iraq/Afghanistan, Oil price, house prices, nature/tree colors, animals etc etc. Again, very nice conversation, and we could continue if we didn't want to see more of the country, so we shook hands and said goodbye.
We had yogurt with cereals and left the Kancamagus highway to Lincoln. In North Lincoln is a shoppingmall, we wanted to check,out. Depending the "investigation" of the mall and the weather, we would go shopping today and tomorrow climb Mount Washington. But the weather was extremely clear and sunny, the shoppingmall was small, so we shopped for 1 hour and went up the mountain. Fee is $20 for a car, driver and cd. Add $7 for an additional person. An exciting drive of 25 minutes in first gear. We were, again, very lucky, because the clear blue skies is something that only happens about 30 days of the year. Many more cases there is fog, clouds or even worse weather. The views are spectacular. We even saw 2 old steam-mountain-trains come up and down.
The decent is more difficult, as you need to be in 1st gear and thus brake with the engine, but because we are heavy loaded with all holiday luggage, we easily go 30-40 mph in first gear, where 15-20 is the limit. So brakes and pauses to co0l down the brakes is key.
We set of arround 17:00 to Acadia Park, which we would reach at 23:00 according to TomTom without pauses.
We follow for 2 hours and decide to not follow TomTom's advise anymore, as it guides us onlynon small roads and in the meantime its completely dark. So we set course to Augusta(capitol of Main), so we can find food, hotel and hit i95 the next morning.
We arrive at 20:00 at Super 8 Motel and get a large room for $59. We eat at Applesbe.

20080912 Gettysburg

20080912 Gettysburg
Friday, unfortunately there is Lots of rain.
We are going today to the battle grounds of Gettysburg. A key turning point in the war between north and south.
We park and enter the big, new and modern visitors centre. Interactive screens, on the walls widescreen LCDs and neat other stuff.
We buy tickets for the iMax that displays the history of the war. Informative and great view.
We see the very heavy rain comr downso we decided to visit the museum. Interactive screens,
Museum
Battle fields by car, still raining.
Lancester
Internet
Waffles
Pool, but rain.

Hot chocolate at Niagara falls

Ilja's birthday

Ilja's birthday... we went to DunkinDonuts to get some hot chocolate and donuts to celebrate this! Happy Birthday Ilja!

Our Car in the USA

Our car compared to a Yaris... Very rare to see such small cars here by the way... :-)

20080921 White Mountains

20080921 White Mountains

Sunday, cloudy, 65F

An excellent hot shower, even with a radio, wakes us up. Breakfast and breaking down the campground.
We leave over I93 and take exit 34 to the Franconia Notch state Park Visitor Center. From there the I93 is now also called the Franconia Notch Parkway(from south to north).
We bought 2 tickets (each $12) and followed the self guided trail by foot. The Flume Gorge was beautiful. Nice wooden trails against the walls, so you really "walk over the waterfalls".
We continue over the I93 and take the next exits. Basin and some viewpoints we visit. Unfortunately the weather becomes gray, so the views from the mountains is not so clear.
We turn and take the I93 South, back to Lincoln.
Here we go to Dunkin Donuts, to have hot chocolate with donuts to celebrate Ilja's birthday. We phone here too. After that we phone my parents who have there last day in the west before they fly back from LA to Netherlands.
From there we follow our second scenic byway on the 112, the Kancamagus Highway(from west to east).
On the great highway with breathtaking views on mountains and colorful forest, some parkings for picknick or trails are there. We also take the stop at Sabbaday Falls, very nice.
A little after halfway the route, we setup our tent at campground covered bridge. $18 for 1 night. Ahand we already paid $3 for a day pass, to visit the parkings and picknick areas alongside of the Kancamagus Highway.
The campground-host, someone taking care of registration, campwood etc came to our spot to chat and check that we had paid and registered. When he asked where we were from, the answer "the Netherlands" did raise some questions to him. "is that a country? Is danmark, sweden also the netherlands? How did you get this car overhere from the Netherlands?" In return I thought I ask him a silly question too, "What's for dinner tonight?" lol.
We go to Conway to check for some dinner. A nice Mexican dinner it became. The 20 minutes drive back was interesting, because we only saw 2 other cars and it was completely dark in the woods. So traveling with low 35mph and big lights, not to crash into wildlife.

20080920 Green and White Mountains

20080920 Green and White Mountains

Saturday, Sunny, 65F

We wake up in the Green Mountains National Forest Campground. It was very cold tonight, almost freezing, but the tent and especially the new sleepingbags resisted the cold.
We drive via scenic routes to the I91 Northbound. At a lake, in the warm sun, we have a picknick and set the new destination to Lincoln.
When we arrived there we bumped into a KOA sign, that we followed. At 15:00 we register and setup our tent. In Lincoln we go to the visitorscenter and collect folders and maps. The man at the office gives hints and tips regarding Washington Mountain, the top you can by car or a $65 mountaintrain ride, and shows us the way to a supermarket.
We buy bread, drinks, etc and bump into a Chinese restaurant, were we eat very nice Chicken sweet and sour and a Chicken with Brocoli. Stuffed we set home and put the 2 weeks old laundry in the laundrymachines, that this KOA has available.
After the laundry was dried, we walked back in the dark night. Fair skies revealed thousands of stars, I even watched a while and saw about 5 satellites come over.
After sending Ilja a SMS to celebrate her birthday, we fel asleep.

20080919 Vermont covered bridges

20080919 Vermont covered bridges

Friday, sunny, blue sky, first night/morning frost, chilly. Ruthland, VT.

At Comfort Inn we took a nice hot shower and had a firm breakfast with hot waffles, toasted baggles, cornflakes, yogurt, tea and orange juice.
We checked out and went hunting for the covered bridges, but they appearently were hard to find. We went to an unmanned visitors office and grabbed some maps, where the covered bridges were marked on the maps, with exact street positions. I entered the 8 locations in my GPS navigation and now we easily found these interesting buildings in the beautiful countryside.
Under one of the bridges we could easily have a picknick near the water and nicely sit in the sun.
We drove some more scenic driveways and enjoyed the weather and views.
Arround 17:00 we arrived at the Jamaica Statepark, picked a spot, registered and in 10 minutes settled our campsite.
After a tip of the friendly statepark lady, we had for only $28 a very nice and large dinner (drink, salade, main course and apple pie dessert), at Dam Dinner, near highway 30.
We were back arround 20:00 and read and wrote a bit in the tent before calling it a (chilly)night.

20080918 Adirondack Park

20080918 Adirondack Park

Thursday, Partly cloudy with sunshine, Chilly/breeze. At the campground at 8th lake.

We wake up in the tent, with squirls, who are calling each other in the morning. First we walk to the office and register and pay the $22 fee for camping here.
We use a quarter to have our 5 minute warm showers.
A bit cold outside, as we are in the shadow of the forest, we improvise our own breakfast(yogurt & cereals) and hit the road.
We drive in the middle of the mountains, forest and lakes. Some trees start to change color. Near a lake we picknick, but its rather chilly due to the strong breeze, so we do not take long and continued our drive.
Near lake placid we drive towards the Olympic ski and bobslet facilities. Fun to see, unfortunately the bobslet is $65 and next to this high fee, also closed for today.
We set course to travel up the mountain (+/- 2000m). The $14 fee seems a bit much, but we do not want to drive all the way to here and not reaching the top. Although not so very high, the clear sky provides an excellent 360 panorama. Through the binoculars we see the Olympic Bobslet facilities in the mountains. Also some of the roads we drove, are very visable from this top of the mountain, White Face Mountain.
We meet some friendly people and have a chat. The road closes at 16:30, so we gear down and decent the whole way back.
We set course for a trip of a few hours to the South, Ruthland in Vermont appeared to be feasible to mark as a destination that evening.
Very healthy(not) but functional(stuffing yourself), we eat at McDonald some Quarterpounder, bigMac combo and a Ceasar salade.
In the dark(+/-22:00) we arrived at Ruthland, a very crowded Comfort Inn. The low coupon rate of $45 is, for the first time this holiday, unavailable, but for $55 we are more than happy to stay the night in 2 queen size beds.
The weather forcast shows low temperatures but clear and sunny skies. Perfect for our journey.

20080917 Cruising towards the lakes

20080917 Cruising towards the lakes

Sunny and chilly

The breakfast was typical for the price rate, muffin and limonade.
Today we would do a lot of traveling, as we would have to cross a big way east.
More than 300-400 miles we drove today.
Partly on interstate/highway, but most on single line routes crossing the country. Beautiful sights while nearing the area with many lakes. Name of this region is Adirondack Park.
Our aim was to find a campground and setup our tent, for the first time this holiday.
It was getting late and very dark, but we finally reached our destination. At the campground at 8th lake. Too late to check in, as the office was already closed. But we were allowed to find a spot and than we register early morning.
After setting up the tent, we drove a couple of miles back to find a place to have dinner. We were one of the last 2 tables still eating, but the pasta brocoli with garlic sauce and shrimps was excellent.

vrijdag 19 september 2008

Test if sending pictures to blog works

Heading North East

Hi,

I have some internet access on my mobilephone again ...

we are fine and had much fun already.
Washington DC, williamsburg, philadelphia , Amish land, shenandoah, gettysburg, Luray
Caverns, lancester, Niagara falls and more.
We are now just for a sleep in Ruthland,VT... We hope to see nice covered bridges and than we will be heading east, washington mountain, cape cod and acadia park lateron.
Than going south to boston , new york etc.
I hope to post you next week again, we seem to be a little ahead of our "plan" at the moment.

Ps its fun to get some sms or calls from my mom and dad, who are traveling at the West right now. They too have an excellent time in the States.

Well... we are packing the car and hitting the roads again!

Marcel and Sheila

dinsdag 16 september 2008

20080915 Letschworth Statepark

20080915 Letschworth Statepark

A bit broken backs, from the too soft beds in the Hotel in Bath, we drive to Letschworth Statepark. The weather is very bad, with heavy rain on the Interstate. As the clouds seem to come from the North and heading south we take a gamble and go to the park. And we "won", because the rain had stopped and sometimes the sun was peeking through the clouds.
We buy a ticket of $6, drive to the Dam Viewpoint and check the maps. As we didn't have breakfast, we went to a picknick point with a great view on the canyon. Small detail, nobody else was there, but the eagles catching height. So relaxed.
As we entered from the North Main entrance, we are driving south, upstream. It is a very green and wonderful park. You can tell, a remainder of Ike past her last night, many wet places and lots of branches and some fallen trees on the roadway and the trails. Park rangers are clearing the roadway in some places.
We had sun in the park, it was getting gray, but it remained dry.
We take small (1-2 hour) walks towards the lower, middle and upper falls. Also the inspiration point has magnificent views on middle, upper falls and the old railway bridge. Many pictures taken, also a little practice for Niagara falls ;-) .
We exit the park via the south gates and cross north west through the country site(we always avoid the interstate as much as possible to see something of the country and villages) towards Niagara falls. A 1.30 hour drive, where we again had lots of rain during the drive, but not when we arrived.
From a distance we could already see the mist of Niagara falls. Our preferred Hotel (with coupon) has vacancy, so we again needed only 1 shot to hit the hotel target. In the west, last year, it was much harder to get a hotel.
We unpack and go to Denny's for a nice meal. Within 3 minutes is a outlet, that we "just wanted to look at"... So I come back with 3 tees and new sneakers.LoL. Its than already 21:00 so Niagara falls will be lighted by colored light beams, so we drive to the falls. A 15 minutes drive through the city. The circus at Canada side with casino, hotel skyline and disco lightning can be seen way before you reach the falls.
Great view and I take many pictures. Some with exsposure times of 20 seconds. Cool effects. I talked with some cops that seemed to be garding the air, but appearently "goodmorning america" is broadcasting tomorrow morning from the watch tower. We go back to the hotel and sleep arround 23:30.

zondag 14 september 2008

20080905 Zaandam

20080905 Zaandam

We are up very early, I get up and start collecting electronic equipment to charge all batteries. Photo cameras , video camera , TomTom navigation system, GPS device, etc. I also burn a couple of cd's with music.
I arrange with my brother, that we drive to him tomorrow and that he brings us to the airport.
Sheila's father brings us a visit for thee and cookies after dinner.

20080911 Skyline drive

20080911 Skyline drive

Its gray and a little rain falls down. We eat microwave heated sausage on white bread with our honey mustard.
We start the drive to the national park and pay $15 entry fee.
The Views are blocked by the rain clouds and in the afternoon we can barely see the road unfortunately.
We decide to take a detour and visit the Caves. Asking about AAA gives us a 10% discount on the $19 entry fee.
We get a guided tour of ote than 1 hour and walk a lot. It is indeed a beautiful cave wit astonishing views. A lot of pictures were taken. A tripod would have been useful, but I managed with a monopod, vibration reduction and creating very steady positions.
After that we decided not to continue over the skyline drive, due to the Bad weather, but to drive 2-3 hours over the interstate. We got new hotel coupons and Travel Lodge still had very Nice rooms for just $45. The best of the deal? Denny's was just arround the corner, so we went there for a traditional dinner. All stuffed, and after watching some presidential tv shows, Ike hurricane news and noting down everything in the journal again, we went to bed.
Tomorrow we are going to check out the historical war battles fought on US soil. Hope it will stay dry, dispite that they forcasted thunder storms and rain again.

20080910 Williamsburg

20080910 Williamsburg

Gray sky and not so hot as previously. Today we visit the first British Colonies founded in the USA. Tickets to visit the almost 20 buildings inside were 38$, but we did not want to get inside them all.
We walked through the visitors center towards the old town. +/- 15 minutes walk. The town is lovely and you get a nice impression of that time, especially because people are dressed in costumes of that time frame.
We picknick in the other old colonial villages near the ocean. A bit colder.
We drive to Budget inn where we arrive arround 6 and sleep for just 45$. We eat for $18 at a Nice mexican restaurant, just on the other side of the road.

20080909 South of Washington

20080909 South of Washington

Weather was gray and some showers came down in the afternoon.

Econolodge we showered and had breakfast with some tea.
Headed off to the shopping mall at 9.20.
Shop until you drop? We did not drop... Yet. Shopping was fun and we did find some clothes. Gyros wraps were very tasting. A little more than 2 hours drive took us to Motel 8, we caught lots of folders with discount coupons for hotels, in williamsburg.
Tomorrow we will visit the historical colonial center.
In the evening managed to get my PDA online on the internet via a free WiFi hotspot.

20080908 Washington

20080908 Washington

Woke up at 6, started to charge the batteries and had a great homemade eggs and bacon breakfast.
Walked to the metro and went to the Zoo. Great free parc, where we saw Pandas! We were very lucky to see them, as they only showed themselves for a couple of minutes. We saw most of the other facilities and animals. We also had a concert of screaming monkeys, which was really great. It was very warm and sweaty weather.
We walked back to the metro and headed to the National air and Space Museum. A really nice (again free) museum near the Mall in Washington. From the first Wright Brothers flying, to warplanes, crossing soundspeed and landing on the moon. We also went to a Nice iMax movie "to fly" and had a noisy Mcdonald menu.
Driving through busy traffic south, through the old town and to a motel near the shopping mall, we want to visit the next day. Went to bed early as the feet were killing again.

20080907 Washington

20080907 Washington

Up very early, but took a lot of time to get prepared. Took a nice long shower, tea with dutch cookies and planned what we wanted to see in Washington.
We walked in 20 minutes to the Metro and after a good and friendly explanation of a Metro employee we bought for 15$ two day-passes.
Metro proofed to be an easy and handy transportation in Washington for us. In the end we still walked many miles to see the sightseeings. We had our breakfast and lunch all together in a nice 21$ chicken fries and soda combos. Arround 20:00 we were back and went to buy a lot of groceries in the subway supermarket.
We had a salade, roasted toast and nice cool orrange juice. We to bed arround 23:00.

20080906 Zaandam

20080906 Zaandam

I woke up very early this morning and I continued packing and checking our luggage. We drove to my brother, who we rang out of bed. At the airport both suite cases were with 21Kg just below the allowed 23 Kg. The self service on the internet safed us a lot of standing in the cue time.
The flight itself was very good, also the food and movies were Ok.
The last 30 minutes were unpleasant due to the fact we were flying through the remains of Tropical Storm Hanna. So we had a lot of turbulence and many people turned white and were throwing up. The landing was on a very wet track and much moist was flying around when the engine reversed to brake. But we made it.
It took a very long time before the luggage arrived, but at the customs we needed less time than last years.
At Herz there were problems. First we were picked out of the cue, as we had to use self-service machines. After being almost at the end of the process it stopped. At the counter the problem was determined that our prepraid order was not in the systems. A big problem, that the Herz employees had seen a couple of times. It took about 60 minutes before the broblem was found, phoned with Hertz headquarters,Visa and manually re-ordered again. After some negotiations I was able to get from a 100% fill the gass, to return the car with just 1/8 full. And they picked up the car for us, so we did not have to search it.
I do not know what is wrong with these rental car companies... 2 years back Budget in San Fransisco had an odd parking lot at a Hotel, where we had to pickup our car, and after 2 hours of phoning and fake promises they did not show up.
Last year our Expedia order with all inclusive with Avis, appeared to be wit out ensurances so 35% extra had to be paid all of a sudden.
And now this bs with Herz...

Anyway in 45 minutes we were at the suites and were helped very friendly. The rooms were big and very nice. We fell asleep arround 20:00 and slept until 6:00.

zaterdag 13 september 2008

Blogging via PDA in USA

I am attaching journal files I made on my PDA, hope it works.

zondag 31 augustus 2008

IBM Project Managers completed Salvation Army Projects

In 2007 IBM organized a Project Management Event. At that event, a project management workshop was started, to help the Salvation Army creating project plans. These projects aimed to support some of the problems the Salvation Army was trying to solve in many cities in The Netherlands. The workshop was a success, project plans were created and both the Project Managers of IBM as the people from the Salvation Army learned a lot and got results. Of course the Salvation Army asked if the projects could be executed with the voluntary effort of the Project Managers of IBM. Our team said "yes" and the next months we worked with a big group on 3 projects. Project 1 was to setup a weekly self defense training for the youngest kids in the area, to make them more confident of themselves. We arranged sponsoring, training environment, advertising, trainers, insurance for the kids, drinks, etc. We also made photographs of the kids to give them a memorable and touchable "proof" that they were really working on their self defense, something they could show to others, making them proud on their own achievements. Project 2 was to organize a big party for the whole neighborhood, so the kids on the street and the parents at home would all be outside and have a positive and joyful day together. We arranged again sponsoring, advertisements, flyers and posters, BBQ food, local gouverment approvals, sponsoring with pizza, live band, "open mic" rappers, stands with drinks, food and sweets, inflatable playgrounds, soccer competition, music and DJ, etc etc A lot of weeks preparations and the 1 day execution was a very exciting time. The day itself was excellent; Good Weather conditions with lots of sunshine, many volunteers to help building up from 07:00am, just as planned start at 12:00, music, kids, parents, food, drinks, soccer games, everything was there and people had fun. Around 19:00 the big BBQ started and after the last people left the party we cleaned until 23:30 and tired but satisfied went home. Project 3 was a small project in between the other two projects. It was to sponsor and build an IBM Kidsmart computer for the little kids at the Salvation Army center in Haarlem. So the little kids can play and learn at the center. Last week we came together to do a lessons learned and had a BBQ ourselves, as a "Thank you" from the Salvation Army to all volunteers of all projects. 3 Successful projects, where both IBM Project Managers learned a lot from the Salvation Army and the other way around. Bottom line, the neighborhood have seen a couple of projects and that effort was put into their neighborhood. They enjoyed it and had fun, lets hope it will inspire them for the future. PS As this was a summary of the text already provided in Dutch, no pictures were used in this English Blog. Please scroll down to the Dutch version(Haarlem Wijk Feest enorm geslaagd !!!) and enjoy the pictures I took during the events. You can click on any of the pictures to get a larger and higher resolution picture. :-) Pictures speak for themselves and do not need translations :-) Greetings, Marcel de Koningh Project Manager IBM View Marcel De Koningh's profile on LinkedIn

vrijdag 4 juli 2008

Haarlem Wijk Feest enorm geslaagd !!!

Midden 2007 had IBM een Project Management Event, waarbij alle IBM Project Managers enkele dagen cursussen, seminars, workshops, sporten, eten & drinken samen meemaken. Erg leuk, nuttig en leerzaam. Tijdens zo'n event is er vaak een Project Management Game, waarbij groepen Project Managers met elkaar een "case"of opdracht uitwerken. De besten winnen een prijs. Dit keer wilde IBM dit onderdeel realistischer en vooral nuttiger maken. IBM en Het Leger des Heils(LdH) hebben samen het idee uitgewerkt, om diverse LdH steunpunten in Nederlandse steden, hun actuele problemen en idee├źn uit te laten leggen. Met name omdat het Leger des Heils activiteiten wilden ontplooien met een projectmatige aanpak. Hierbij zouden de IBM projectmanagers helpen, om tot een projectplan te komen, met budget overzicht, actielijsten, planning etc. Laura en Camile van het Steunpunt in Haarlem Noord hadden een inspirerend verhaal, met 2 concrete doelen. Het eerste doel was om de kinderen in de wijk een Weerbaarheidstraining aan te bieden, om ze een stuk weerbaarder te maken, aan hun zelfvertrouwen te laten werken en vooral plezier met elkaar te hebben. Het tweede doel was om de hele buurt een keer met z'n allen een positief gevoel en plezier met elkaar te beleven, door middel van een Wijk Feest. Na 2 dagen brainstormen hadden we 2 project plannen klaar. We wonnen het 'event' helaas niet, maar met velen boden we wel aan om de plannen te helpen uitvoeren. Peter nam de projectmanagement rol op zich voor de weerbaarheidstrainingen. Marcel bodt zich aan, als projectmanager voor het Wijk Feest. De groep verdeelde zich in twee subteams, als heuse vrijwilligers. Maanden van voorbereiding gingen vooraf aan beide projecten. In die tijd, hebben we nog een 3e project in het leven geroepen, om vanuit IBM een echte Kidsmart Computer(een computer die tegen een stootje kan) te regelen, bouwen en af te leveren, voor de aller kleinsten in het steunpunt. Zo hadden we in ieder geval al 1 project geslaagd opgeleverd! :-) Het 1e project Voor de weerbaarheidstrainingen werden diverse activiteiten uitgevoerd; Locatie afstemmen, sponsoring, 2 trainers, verzekering van de kids (soms zelfs door het projectteam uit eigen zak betaald), reclame flyers en posters voor in de wijk etc. Een behoorlijke groep enthousiaste kids hadden zich ingeschreven en de 10 weken (elke week 1 les) gingen voortvarend van start. Het geleerde gingen de kids op het wijkfeest demonstreren. Ook hebben we enkele stoere fotos van ze gemaakt als herinnering. Klik hier voor het album.
De enthousiaste Kids en daar naast een foto met Laura(L), Camile(R) en de 2 trainers aan hun zijde.
Het 2e project het Wijk Feest had veel voorbereiding nodig en tevens ook veel voorzieningen. Projectmatig gezien, waren er behoorlijk wat risico's weg te werken om het project te laten slagen. We hebben zeelfs tot 2 maal toe op het punt gestaan, om te stoppen, omdat we bijvoorbeeld moeite hadden voldoende geld binnen te hengelen. Tenslotte kost het best wat geld; 2 luchtkastelen, in de middag eten, drinken en hapjes, een live band, podium met DriveIn DJ, kraampjes, fotograaf, voetbal toernooi, versieringen en kraampjes en in de avond zelfs EK voetbalwedstrijd laten zien en een heuse Barbecue met voor alle culturen wat wils (vegetarisch, halal , vlees, salades etc etc) en dat allemaal voor honderden bezoekers. Uiteindelijk hebben we de sponsoring rond gekregen door een groot aandeel van IBM, hulp van een pizza zaak, de HEMA die spullen voor ons regelden, het cafe waar Camile werkt en ga zo maar door. Naarmate de datum zaterdag 7 juni 2008, dichter bij kwam nam de spanning en werkdruk toe. Maar ook het aantal mensen, die wilden helpen nam toe. Zo kwamen steeds meer mensen bij het project om te helpen; de Flinties, jongerenwerkers Noord, Pizza man, buurtgenoten, smink-dames, henna-dame, EHBO-ers, sporters voor het voetbal, vrijwilligers van het Leger des Heils Steunpunt, de IBMers natuurlijk etc. De dag zelf, was voor de vrijwilligers wel erg lang. Om 07:00 uur al van huis naar Haarlem om te helpen opbouwen, taken op de dag zelf uitvoeren en nog rond 24:00 uur opruimen van de spullen en terug naar huis rijden. Het feest was geslaagd! Zie deze Dia Show! De vrijwilligers werkten hard, de zon was volop aanwezig en de ouders en kinderen uit de wijk hadden een enorme leuke dag met z'n allen. We hadden zelfs, zeker voor die jonge gastjes, enorme stoere rappers. Al vaak op TMF uitgezonden: www.spaansbenauwd.nl Prachtig mannetje... eerst zelf heel cool kijken hoe de Pro's staan op te treden en dan met 5(!) jaar zelf het podium op, Mic pakken en rappen in de "Open Mic Jam Sessie". Grote kleine Klasse! Alle kids verzamelden op het plein en hebben samen met de 2 trainers, hun opgedane ervaringen van de weerbaarheidstrainingen gedemonstreerd aan het publiek. Daarna, natuurlijk weer snel naar de waterglijbaan en ravotten met de hele buurt! Wat een lol hadden ze! Ook het voetbaltoernooi kende alleen maar winnaars, door het mooie weer. 's avonds hebben we nog om beurten aan de grote barbecues gestaan om het vele eten lekker te grillen. Het opruimen, na zo'n lange vermoeiende dag valt zwaar, maar we waren enorm voldaan en blij dat alle projecten zo geslaagd zijn. We zagen vele blije gezichten, kregen vele complimenten, mensen vroegen naar een vervolg volgend jaar en we hadden er zelf ook veel lol in. De reactie van het steunpunt is ook super:
Mede dankzij jullie medewerking hebben we een buurtfeest kunnen geven voor de Indische Buurt-Noord in Haarlem-Noord, op dit buurtfeest hebben wij ook een leuke demonstratie van ‘Wat nou!?’ gezien. Het feest was een groot succes en wij hopen dit volgend jaar weer te kunnen herhalen. Graag willen wij jullie bedanken voor jullie aandeel in dit succes. Wij kijken terug op een goede samenwerking en hopen jullie ook. Deze samenwerking willen wij graag afsluiten met een bbq in Steunpunt ‘de Hoek’. Tevens zullen we deze avond een korte evaluatie houden.
Dus, binnenkort komen we nog met alle vrijwilligers bij elkaar om de ervaringen te delen (om te leren voor volgende projecten) en om de mensen nogmaals te bedanken voor het vele vrijwillige werk, dat men de afgelopen maanden heeft verricht. Nogmaals iedereen, B E D A N K T!!! Geniet van je prestaties en de fotos op de website. (link 1, 2 en 3) Tot ziens! Marcel