ninja guy

Where are the pictures?! 5:18pm / December 10, 2006

You're probably wondering why I haven't written on here in like four months. Well, I'm back in Barrie of course, so it doesn't make so much sense for me to update you guys with what I'm doing, because chances are I'll be telling you about it or showing you pictures in person.

Svea, on the other hand, is 6443 km away from home, so she's been updating her family and friends with everything that's going on. So if you want to see some pictures of our house, Oktoberfest, Thanksgiving, Halloween, or to check out her new web design, I send you over to her site Cutie Bum.

Moving back to Canada 11:05pm / August 9, 2006

It's official, we're moving to Canada on September 14th. We'll be getting an apartment somewhere in Barrie.

Svea's planning to volunteer at the MacLaren Art Centre to get some museum experience under her belt before starting university back in Berlin. We'll stay at least 6 months but possibly a full year, depending on Svea's visa situation and everything else.

I'm going to start freelancing full-time, so if you know someone who needs a web site let me know. :) I'm really looking forward to being self-employed, it's something I've always wanted to do.

Anyway, we'll have lots of time to visit you all, and since neither of us will have a real job, we should have the flexibility to do anything any time! See you then!

Lyndsay 7:36pm / July 24, 2006

My friend Lyndsay came to visit during the last week of June. I was honoured that she chose to spend her birthday with us. To celebrate, we took her out to the Q-dorf, a bar themed as a German village with over a dozen mini-bars within. We met up with some Danish people and had a really fun night.

Besides that, I took Lyndsay out to see all the sights including the Reichstag (German parliament building). Everything was super crazy since it was during the World Cup.

Lyndsay has a blog at, so you can go read her side of the story.

London 7:10pm / July 24, 2006

Since I'm on holidays in Canada, I figure I should do some catch-up and show you all the photos I've been neglecting. First off, here are our pictures from our trip to London on Easter weekend. Yes, three months ago. Better late than never.

We managed to see a lot of sights while we were there, and luckily we had hardly any rain. We didn't make it to any museums except the Sherlock Holmes museum, as you can see.

Cutie Bum 8:14pm / July 3, 2006

Svea finally has a web site! Presenting It's in German (though she said she might write in English occasionally) but she put up a ton of new photos from her prom, her trip to Spain, and other parties. So since I'm so lazy to actually put photos online, go there for all the latest.

Weltmeisterschaft 2006 11:40pm / June 13, 2006

I know I haven't put pictures up here in some time. I still owe you all photos from London, Hamburg and Wiesbaden. But right now it's the World Cup so I should talk about this first.

Things to note about the World Cup:

  1. In German it's called Weltmeisterschaft 2006 (WM 2006)
  2. The games last a month, so we will be in Canada for the playoffs (care to join us, anybody?)
  3. It is impossible to get tickets to the game. They had a lottery system to give them out, and that was done a year ago.
  4. I've never seen so many German flags in my life. Normally it's not cool to do anything patriotic in Germany (for fear of being considered Nationalist aka Nazi) but to cheer for the sports team is different
  5. The games are spread out all over Germany. (The first Berlin games were today).
  6. It was expected that Berlin would be super crowded with tourists but this hasn't happened. It is pretty crazy around places showing the games, though.
  7. In almost every shop there is some football-related display to cash in on the hype. Even the cafeteria at work is covered with flags and posters.

It will be weird when the games are over. I think Germans won't know what to do with themselves. Okay - I will leave you with some photos of the Olympia Stadium in Berlin. These were taken some months ago when I saw the local team Hertha play. Enjoy.

We're coming to Canada 9:54pm / April 18, 2006

I just bought the flight to Toronto. We'll be arriving in Toronto on Friday, June 30th at 4:34pm, leaving on Saturday, July 22nd at 1:40pm. Hopefully 22 days is enough time to go to Wonderland, go camping, cottages, beaches, garage sales, visit all the museums and other tourist stuff in Toronto, see fireworks for Canada Day, celebrate Svea's birthday and, of course, see all our friends and family. See you then!

Boat Tour 10:18pm / April 8, 2006

Last weekend, we did the touristy thing and took a boat tour through central Berlin. It was nice to see the backs of these beautiful buildings, so many carvings and details put in that you rarely get to see up close. The 2nd last photo, beside the giant sculpture of people wrestling, is Berlin's largest sky skraper, the Allianz building. Yes, it's not very big at all. As you can imagine, I took a million pictures.. this is only the best 1/4 of them.

Back to the Future 9:57pm / April 8, 2006

A couple of weeks ago, Svea and I went to a costume party, the birthday party of Janina. I dressed up as Marty McFly from Back to the Future, Svea as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Svea won first place of the girls, I won second place of the guys.

We shopped all day for the pieces. I got some women's vest, the sunglasses and the suspenders from Woolworth's, and the jacket and shirt from a used clothing store. Svea made her dress herself, painted the shoes, and bought the basket and a toy Toto. The real dog was somebody else's. :) I also added the original movie photo for comparison.

St. Patrick's Day 5:53pm / March 21, 2006

Saturday was St. Patrick's Day. It's not nearly as big in Germany as it is in Canada, but I still made sure it was celebrated in style. We went to an Irish pub and drank Guiness and watched an Irish (actually German) band. Svea met these real authentic Irish guys too that were there on holiday. If you look close, you can see our friend Henni wearing my Maple Leafs hoody...

In the bathroom 10:38pm / March 13, 2006

I know what you want me to talk about. You want to hear about the differences in toilets. Right? Ok here goes..

Toilets here flush totally different. There is only a small amount of water in the bowl. Any water in the toilet automatically goes right down the drain, so you can't get plugged or overflowing toilets here. Nobody even owns a plunger. But, the downside, most toilets have a little "shit shelf", so your business doesn't actually sit in water at all. Every time you take a shit you have to scrub the bowl with a toilet brush. There, I said it. This is as gross and offensive as it sounds. I'll never be completely used to it.

The toilets here are very environmentally friendly, though. With so little water in the bowl, flushes use much less water. Actually, the lever either works one of two ways. Either there are two buttons, a little and big button, for little amounts of water or big amounts of water (for #1 or #2). Or, there is a lever that you can push back when you want to stop the flow of water. This let's you flush just a little if you want.

Okay, that's enough of that topic. I'll stop now. Just be glad I didn't include a photo!

At the movies 9:49pm / March 12, 2006

Originally, I thought I'd write a lot on here about the million small differences between Germany and Canada. But I haven't done this at all really. Anyway, I'll start now.

We just got back from watching Capote. There's an English "Original Version" theatre here, Sony Cinestar at Potsdamer Platz (the ultimate tourist area of Berlin). All other theatres show movies overdubbed in German. This is pretty much the only theatre we go to. It's just like a Cineplex or any other big theatre.

At this theatre, there are 45 minutes of commercials and a few previews. I hate this, but at least it means you can come almost an hour late to a movie without missing anything. Half way through, they bring up the lights, and people come in to sell ice cream. Even though it's an English theatre, most of the previews and all the commercials are in German, so it's easy to ignore them.

Movies come out later in Europe, usually about three weeks later or sometimes more. Garden State came out here about 6 months after it did in Canada. I was able to buy the DVD from Canada before it was in theatres here (and cheaper than the theatre would have costed for the two of us).

When the movie is over, the lights stay off during the credits. This is because you're supposed to watch the credits. You're always "supposed" to do this, in Canada too, but nobody does. You can really tell the Americans/Canadians in the theatre because they get up as soon as the credits start, and complain that the lights aren't there to help them out of the theatre.

Buzzword Hellfire 9:59pm / February 19, 2006

If you didn't know, I have another website, The Future of the Web. It's all about web development and design, so it's probably not all that interesting to most of you.

However, I just wrote a shooting game which I thought you might get a kick out of. 'Web 2.0' is a buzzword describing the 'new' Internet. Of course, there is no 'new' Internet, there's just a lot of hype. Anyway, I'm sick of all these new buzzwords, so I wrote a game where people can blow them up. It's kinda fun even if you've never heard the words, so enjoy!

Play Web 2.0 Buzzword Hellfire

Election Day 6:21pm / January 23, 2006

Well, today is Election Day in Canada. I had the chance to vote already (NDP). I ordered a ballot by mail. They sent me three envelopes and a ballot. I had to write the full name of the candidate I support (in Barrie). Then, I put the ballot into an unmarked envelope. I put the unmarked envelope into an envelope with my name and a barcode. Last, I signed that envelope and put it in another envelope to mail it to Ottawa.

When they got the envelopes (hopefully by today!), they opened up the first. Then, they scanned the barcode and verified I only voted once. They opened that envelope, and put the unmarked envelope into a box. Then they threw away the barcode envelope. When the polls close, they will open the unmarked envelopes in the box. This way, my vote remains anonymous (though I obviously don't care).

I can't wait to see the results. It'll be 6:30am here when the winner is announced!

Canada Pictures 9:34pm / January 22, 2006

Here they are, the pictures from Canada. I've split them up into individual pages, because there are a lot of photos altogether.

I haven't included every picture, and even the full-sized pictures are shrunk down. So if you want the original images, or you want the extra ones, just email me and let me know.

Happy New Year 8:41pm / January 19, 2006

Wow, it's already been almost three weeks since we got back from Canada! We had a great time there, and I'm glad we got to see all the people we did, though I'm pretty frustrated I didn't get a chance to see some people I really had hoped to. I apologize to those people, and promise I'll make it up to you next time I come back.

I did, however, get to see a lot of my family. This is definitely the best reason to come back at Christmas. Thanks for so many turkey dinners!

I have so many pictures of everything we did, I don't know where to begin to put them online here. And I know all of you will want to see some pictures, but won't be interested in other ones. So, I will put each event on it's own page, then link to it from the main site, so you don't have to load all the millions of pictures every time you load How does that sound?

So stay tuned, I will get them up here as fast as possible. I promise! :)

Balance Protection Insurance 4:03pm / December 23, 2005

"Balance Protection Insurance" is a huge rip off. For some reason, when I originally got my TD VISA card, I opted to sign up for it. "It's only $0.69 per $100, and it will ensure that your balance is paid on time." "Sure," I said. Unfortunately, I never really thought about this until a few months ago. I realised that I was being charged $24/month on my $3500 balance. And for what? All it does is insure you, so if you are injured or unemployed, it will help you pay your VISA bill. It's not worth paying one cent. It is much better to use that monthly charge to pay off the balance faster. I found this article on Globe and Mail that discusses this "Balance Protection Insurance".

So I highly recommend you cancel it right now if you are paying it. And if you do, be careful, because I had to cancel twice before they actually stopped charging me. I called back and complained about this, and at least they were nice enough to refund me the two times I was charged since I first cancelled. So good luck.

I cut my hair 7:24am / December 7, 2005

I got my hair cut this weekend. Short. But I'm not going to put up any pictures of it. You'll have to see it for yourself. Luckily, you only have to wait 9 more days before I'm in Canada!

We're pretty excited about coming. We still have to figure out what to bring and what to do when we get there. But we can't wait. See you soon!

Weird Bus Stories 5:49pm / November 22, 2005

A weird thing happened today. I was taking the bus home from work, and I noticed that most of the people on the bus were coughing. Svea has a vicious cough right now, so I figured everyone had her cold. Then, I had a tickle in my throat, so I had to cough too. After a few minutes I realised the bus wasn't going anywhere, and then the bus turned off. Since we were just a ten minute walk from my house, I decided to just get off and walk home. When I came downstairs (it was a double-decker bus), everyone had already gotten off the bus and was standing outside. Nonetheless, I just walked home rather than wait around for another bus.

Afterwards, it occurred to me that the coughing must have been related to why we stopped.. But I have no idea what it was.. my best guess was some kind of smoke coming from the heating or the engine or something. And I guess I'll never know..

I just remembered another bus story I forgot to share: A month or so ago, Svea and I got on a long bus (like two buses attached by a pivot in the middle). Right after pulling out of the station, we drove very close to another bus that was turning right. A second later we heard a loud crack and figured the bus had tapped the other one. Then, the next second, a window near the back exploded and threw glass pieces all over the people at the back. The driver pulled over and we all got out, then I took a few photos.

Sean 10:30pm / November 12, 2005

Sean dropped by unexpectedly Sunday night! Svea and I were in the middle of watching a movie, when he buzzed from downstairs. Svea answered, and said to me, "Jesse? Can you come here?" I picked up the phone and Sean said "Yo, Jesse, you've got to let me up, I have to take a huge piss!"

He had come to Amsterdam with some friends from work for a week and took a few days to come to Berlin. It was his first time here, I had always come here by myself last year.

He stayed with us for three nights, leaving Wednesday morning. It was really good to see him, and we had lots of fun. I took him on a walking tour across Berlin, basically seeing all the famous monuments, the big central park (Tiergarten), the parliament building (Reichstag), the big gate (Brandenburg Tor), and lots more.

Happy Birthday to Me 10:32am / November 12, 2005

Thursday was my birthday. Thanks for all the cards and emails! I turned 25. I thought I would feel old turning 25. But I don't. It's pretty much the same as 24. Actually, I'm kind of looking forward to what the next five years bring. Mostly because I have no idea what will happen.

I didn't do a whole lot on my birthday, but I never do. We just went out for Italian food, then rented Human Nature (great, and I had no idea it was written by Charlie Kaufman until afterwards), and House of Wax (way better than I thought it would be, considering it's Paris Hilton's first movie, er, Hollywood movie).

Svea made me two T-Shirts, one that says "DON'T WAKE THE DRAGON" and the other "THE MAN WHO BROKE A DRAGON'S HEART". The first one is something I say to her when she's pissing me off (ie. tickling me). "The dragon" in this case being the intense rage that boils inside me exploding out into some serious retributional tickling.

The second is from The Simpsons, when they go to China to get Patty (or Selma?) an adopted baby. Homer takes some kind of sleeping drugs on the plane, and sees a flying dragon out the window. The dragon asks him for some peanuts but Homer only offers one. Later, you see the dragon flying with two other dragons, where he says "There he is! The man who broke a dragon's heart!" at which point they start crying rainbows and one starts playing a harp singing "The man who broke a dragon's heart".

Happy Halloween 2:37pm / October 29, 2005

Last night, it was our friend Louisa's birthday. She threw a Halloween party, which was a lot of fun. Halloween isn't a big deal don't even trick-or-treat. So it was really cool to be able to have a Halloween night.

Svea dressed up as a pirate. I wrapped myself up in aluminum foil and saran wrap and called myself Future Man. It was horrible sweaty and hot under there so I wore it as long as I could..about two hours..before I gave up and cut it off. My mask was pretty sweaty too but I did my best to wear it all night.

I Booked the Flights 8:53pm / October 27, 2005

I booked the flight back to Canada! Svea and I will be arriving in Toronto at 2:05pm on Friday, December 16th. We will be leaving Toronto 5:15pm on Sunday, January 1st. So, we'll have 16 days to see everyone, celebrate Christmas and party for New Year's.

I want to make sure we get to see everyone, so please, let me know what days work best for you so we can put together a bit of an agenda. I don't really have any plans so far, except for Christmas and New Year's. Svea wants to go snowboarding again..I'm kind of nervous about that but I'll do it too. Last year when she came to Canada, we went to Horseshoe Valley.. she did snowboarding but I did skiing because I thought it would be safer. I didn't know until my fourth time down the hill that you aren't supposed to go your fastest straight down the hill, so I almost killed myself and others. This time I'll do snowboarding again..

See you soon!

Comments! 9:59pm / October 23, 2005

I've added comments to the site now. Just click "Add a Comment" to add a new one..and if there are already comments, it'll say "View 2 Comments" so you can read what others wrote.

Have fun!

Ska Concert 9:45pm / October 19, 2005

I know, I know, you want to see pictures. Here are some from a ska concert I went to a few weeks ago. If you look closely you can see just how sweaty we all got. It's pretty gross actually. But it was a tremendous amount of fun.

You can also see a short video of kids dancing to the music. I think it's a cute clip.

Also, here are a couple of pics from when my good friend Sergey came to visit for a few days.

Cheese Pizza 6:13pm / October 19, 2005

When I was on my first trip through Europe, Egypt and India (which was a year ago if you can believe it), the thing I said I missed the most from Canada was Cheddar Cheese. Oh god, how I loved cheddar. I ate it at least once a day. And painfully, throughout the world, cheddar just isn't popular. In fact, I never found it. And after those 15 weeks, within an hour of coming back to Canada, I ate cheddar cheese and Premium Plus crackers.

Shortly after I moved to Berlin, I found cheddar cheese at a few grocery stores that have a large variety of imports from around the world. (I've also found Kraft Dinner, but a box costs around $5!) It's often called Englisch Cheddar. But it's completely different.. there aren't the same Mild, Medium and Old varieties. There isn't Light, Extra Light and Regular. No brands like Cracker Barrel to choose from. Just one type. Englisch. And it's not very good either. I don't know why but it just doesn't taste right ever.

As a result, I've grown to LOVE Gouda. Gouda is everywhere here. It's the only cheese I buy. I eat toast with gouda every day for breakfast, put it on casseroles, pizza, grilled cheese, everything. I have a feeling that when I come back to Canada, I'll miss the gouda you can only find in Europe.

Another cheese thing: the Mozzarella here is completely different. It comes in a package as a ball in water. It's wet and rubbery and used for sandwiches. It's NEVER used on pizza. I have no idea what the cheese on pizzas is.. but there is hardly any. You can get pizzas with spinach, eggs, broccoli, everything there shouldn't be. But no mozzarella. Plus, pizzas come almost exclusively intended to be eaten by one person with a fork and knife. How I miss extra-large deluxe pizzas from Pizza Pizza with garlic dipping sauce!!

Fuckner 6:38pm / September 22, 2005

There's a guy at my work named Oliver Fuckner. Isn't that great? Fuckner? I bet he has a lot of problems. I mean, they probably wouldn't be able to say his name on TV (in Canada anyway). He's probably been denied from using his name as a user name or email address on some web sites too. Anyway, I just thought I'd share that.

IFA 7:09pm / September 9, 2005

Svea and I went to the IFA on Wednesday, a huge convention of consumer electronics. I got off work early, but still we only had two hours to try and see everything. We made it all the way around the enormous grounds, but at the end we realised there was a whole downstairs to the event we hadn't begun to explore. Unfortunately it was closed then. It was pretty neat, lots and lots of big TVs and computer monitors, cameras, mp3 players, etc. There was also this 3D television. There was a magician doing some tricks, and a camera filming him (with 2 lenses). And right beside him were TVs showing him in 3D..and you didn't need glasses to sense the depth. It was pretty interesting.

The most exciting thing though was on one of the walls there was a bunch of black & white clipart of buildings and different "city life" kind of graphic art, and right in the middle was a highway sign saying "Barrie (straight arrow) Orillia (left arrow)". I was shocked. Below you can see a picture of it Svea took with her cell phone, as well as a picture of a very long Foosball table.

Hamburg 1:41am / August 28, 2005

Just to give you a quick update, Svea's in Siena, Italy at the moment, on a week-long school trip. Has anyone ever had a week-long school trip before? I think the longest I ever had was an afternoon at the Toronto Zoo. But a trip to another country?? Also, Monday is my first pay day in a very long time, and I'm very much looking forward to it (and I imagine TD is also looking forward to visa and line of credit are both over their limits!)

Anyway.. here are some pictures from our trip to Hamburg in June. Svea's dad lives there with her step-mom and her brother and sister. In the photos, you can see her sister, lots of buildings around Hamburg, and photos from an art gallery in Hamburg including a) an owl by picasso, b) "the kiss" by Brancusi, a pretty famous sculpture we had to memorize in high school art class, c) paintings by Paul Klee, my favourite artist. I wasn't expecting them and all of a sudden there they were. That was very cool.

Hamburg's a beautiful city. It reminds me a lot of Barrie, and of lots of other cities put together..bits of Amsterdam, Berlin, Toronto, etc. And in case you're wondering, yes, I did eat a Hamburger in Hamburg. At Burger King. It was exactly like any hamburger I've ever had at a Burger King..shitty :)

Around Berlin 11:20pm / August 18, 2005

Here are some more pictures of around Berlin. These were mainly taken on one day, when we went out dancing at a Reggae bar until the sun came up again. Below you can see a giant foosball game, some Berlin monuments, Svea's best friend Louisa, lovely Berlin graffiti, some sunrise photos, and finally pics of the intersection we live at. The last picture is shot directly in front of the Mexican restaurant a couple doors down from our house.

Finally, Pictures! 8:16pm / August 13, 2005

That's right, here are some pictures. I know this is a long time coming. These are just a start, just some of the things I've been up to since I came to Berlin in April.

Below you can see:

  1. Svea's birthday, a small party in our apartment
  2. Live 8.. we watched it far from the stage in a park on displays
  3. Random pictures from riding our bikes around Berlin
  4. Going on a row boat on a lake in Berlin with Paulina, Svea's cousin
  5. Svea's friend's brother Manuel's birthday party


Flea Market Shopping 6:59pm / August 13, 2005

Today, me and Svea went to a flea market and did some shopping. Flea markets here are like big garage sales, not really anything like the 400-Flea Market. It seems to be 70% boxes of crap found in the houses of dead old people. It's unsorted and chaotic, but of course there are some treasures to be found. Everything's reasonably cheap, and the price can always be haggled.

Something that happens a lot here is guys playing accordions on the subway (hoping people will give him some change afterwards). I was thinking about getting an accordion ..but I guess they are usually a few hundred dollars. Well, today I saw a toy one at the flea market and it was only 3 euros so I bought it. It works. It's not a professional one. But it still plays music and it's fun. My neighbours will probably kill me soon (if Svea doesn't beat them to it). Later at the flea market, I saw a real one. The guy wanted 70 euros for it. I told him I wouldn't want to pay more than 20. He said I could have the case for 20.

I also found Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" for a euro. Svea bought some books, 2 tea pots, and a couple Gameboy games.

QWERTZ 9:30am / August 11, 2005

Working as a programmer in a German company has its difficulties. Speaking English hasn't actually been that much of a difficulty. All the people I work with directly also speak English. Plus, I know enough German to make small talk in the kitchen now and then with other employees.

One thing that has been more difficult to get used to is the keyboard I'm using. The first noticable difference is that the Z and the Y are switched. Next, to allow for more characters (äÄöÖüÜßµ°§ and €), theres an extra AltGr key where the right Alt key normally is. For example, I have to hold this key and press Q to get @.

Where it really gets difficult is programming. Most of the programming I do is full of the characters {}<>[]#+*?|'". And all these characters are in entirely new places, most using this AltGr key. So although I've gotten really fast at typing HTML tags like <title></title> in Canada, it takes me about ten times as long here because I always screw up and have to correct myself three times.

I imagine after programming here for a few years, and I finally get used to this keyboard. But then I'll have to go back to Canada and start programming again on an English keyboard...

Free TV 8:57pm / July 30, 2005

For Svea's birthday I bought her a "DVB-T" Digital Terrestrial TV receiver. It cost 79 euros (about $116) for a box that sits on the TV. Now we get about 27 channels for free. Of course, they're all in German, except BBC World. Theres also a music channel (but not MTV). Even though it's over antenna, it's a digital picture. You can see the name of the current show and see what's coming up next in the guide.

But the best part is, it's completely free. Well, the law says that everyone with a TV needs to pay 15 euros a month for TV tax.. but apparently nobody pays that. Svea said one time the TV tax man came to her mom's place to count her TVs but she just wouldn't let him in. So until that happens, we get basic "cable" free from the airwaves.

Exchange Rate 9:46pm / July 27, 2005

In the few months since I came to Germany, the Euro and Canadian dollar has changed drastically. It dropped from $1.65/euro to $1.47/euro! This certainly has a good side and a bad side:

Good side: I have more credit to borrow from my Canadian accounts until I get paid.

Bad side: When I start paying off my Canadian debts, it's going to take longer.

Oh well, maybe it'll change back just in time to benefit me.

P.S. I started work today. Seems like a really cool place. Free drinks and they'll even pay for my monthly transit pass. The work itself is pretty interesting too. Should be a good fit for me.

My house on Google Maps 12:08am / July 27, 2005

You can see a satellite map of where I live thanks to Google Maps. You can see that I live in a Garden House, the third building from the street.

I live in the northwest corner, so out my window I just see into that courtyard and into the dozen windows of other apartments across from me. I live on the fifth floor (except in Germany it's the "fourth floor" -- they start numbering at 0).

I signed the contract 4:36pm / July 26, 2005

I signed the contract. I also got to see where I'll be working. It turns out there's 300 employees of this office! I never realised it was such a big place. I work in a room with four others.. I'll probably never get to know 95% of the other employees there. We're having a work party in the middle of August..that will be cool. It's on a Friday afternoon so we end work early and go eat and drink beer somewhere.

So I start working tomorrow! I'm looking forward to starting a new job (it's been many years since I've done that), setting up my computer, figuring out what I'll be doing. I also will eventually get a free cellphone..the downside of which means I will be on-call one day a week in case the web server crashes. It's worth it I guess.

Good News 3:57pm / July 25, 2005

I got my work visa and residence permit! It was a lot easier than I thought. The lady didn't speak English, but it was okay, we didn't talk much. The visa is good until June 30, 2006..but I can always renew it again. After about 20 minutes of waiting I had everything I needed to start working. Well, almost everything.

Next, I had to go to city hall to get an Income Tax Card. That was pretty easy too (even without being able to speak English). Then I figured I'd go get everything else I could with my new residence permit. I went and got a library card (costs 10 euros/year) and then went and opened a bank account. The bank account was the hardest part of the day, but it's all over with.

Tommorrow, I'm going to sign the contract for work.. so I will start working on Wednesday! (But I still won't get paid until the end of August..sigh..) Anyway, it's official now.. I'm staying in Germany!

The Big Update 8:19pm / July 23, 2005

I've been in Berlin now for three months. So what's happened? I found a job about two months ago. It's for a company called Strato. I'll be a Java Developer.

I applied for a Residence Permit/Work Visa soon after I got the job offer. It's been about six weeks now, and I still don't have the visa. On Monday, I have an appointment with the Immigration Office. I don't know if I'll get my visa then, but I have my fingers crossed. (It could take another month, or maybe they'll send me back to Canada.. I don't know!)

The summer has been going good. Svea's been off school for a month, so we've had a relaxed time together, going to the park or riding our bikes around Berlin. Right now she's in Turkey for two weeks for a little holiday in the sun.

I'll keep you updated with what happens Monday..the big news.. and I'll try to get ninjaguy updated with some pictures and stories of what I've been up to this summer.

Danny Deckchair 7:14am / April 7, 2005

I just saw the greatest movie I've ever seen. Danny Deckchair is about an eccentric man in a big city who doesn't fit in, so he ties a lot of helium balloons to a deckchair. He sails off to another world where he reinvents himself.

I really just want to breakdown and give you the entire plot synopsis, because the whole thing is so beautiful. But, I don't want to spoil anything. I can tell you that the acting is incredible, and the entire thing is directed in a way that feels completely realistic. It flows so well. It's just completely amazing.

First Post 11:23pm / April 6, 2005

Welcome to the new ninja guy web site. I know, I still have yet to finish the trip photos. It's just so much work, but I will continue with them and get the rest of them up there. I'm going to revamp this site to be my ongoing journal.

If you haven't heard, I'm moving to Berlin on April 29th. I think I may have gotten a job there, so I'm taking the plunge. While I'm there, I hope this site will let me keep in touch with everyone! Stay tuned!

Jesse Skinner