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This week I was in Copenhagen, Denmark participating in an Exchange, Office & Office 365 Ignite event with 200 worldwide Microsoft partners, PTAs and customers. I was invited by the team putting the event on to observe and present at the Partner Day.

The first afternoon, my colleague, Mike, and I grabbed a quick lunch, saw an interesting street sign

Street sign

and some “authentic cooking”

Authentic cooking

before that evening was spent with the worldwide PTAs at a local pub playing pool, drinking huge beers (not my regular pastime)

Big beer

and attempting to drown a waterproof Toshiba mobile phone.

Of course, while in Copenhagen, I had to get my first Danish cache. Nearby, I left my mark!

Script Ohio

As it was cold (-2 degrees Celsius) and snowy, I was happy the that cache was  pretty close to my hotel & the event location (Tivoli Hotel & Conference Center.)

I also had the good fortune to wander around a on a couple occasions while in Copenhagen. During our couple outings, my colleague, Doug, and I got to see the famous Little Mermaid statue (including snow and ice at the base),

Little Mermaid 1

stop at the local Hard Rock Café for shots and shot glasses

HRC shot

and toured the world famous Carlsberg Brewery (where I had even more beer.)

More beer

The last dinner I had in Copenhagen was with a good sized group at Pluto. We had a tasting menu with many, many courses served family style. Several starters, multiple mains and yummy deserts. I didn’t think that I’d ever be hungry again! Thanks, Alistair for arranging and taking the group.

After the last day of the event, I opted to change hotels to a hotel attached to the Copenhagen airport to better accommodate having to be at the airport around 4am for a 6am flight. Given that I was within a 20 minute train ride from the airport to Malmo, Sweden, I decided to do a short visit to another country, grab a Geocache or two and dinner in Sweden. I was able to walk from my hotel to the Copenhagen airport and down to the train station right at the airport. The train that I took to Malmo made just a couple stops on the way and took under 1/2 hour to get to Malmo Centralstation from the CPH airport.

Once I arrived in Malmo, I snagged a bit of free WiFi at Malmo Centralstation, validated my advance research on nearby caches and headed out. Luckily, there were two caches pretty much AT the station. I grabbed both Swerail #3 – Malmo and Utsikt Malmö Central, which translates to Malmo Central Views and has something to do with a parking garage :).

Sweden cache

That brings my total number of caches found to 524 including caches in 11 countries and 46 US states plus Washington, DC.

After nabbing the two caches, I wandered away from the station in search of an interesting place to have dinner. I stumbled upon a hopping area with a handful of bar / restaurants including mello yello and it’s neighbors. There were hundreds of young Swedes having a Friday beer or meal. So many smoking. The good news is that I (and those hundreds of others) sat out on a huge, shared patio.

Mello Yello

Did I mention that it was zero degrees Celsius? It’s ok, they provided outdoor heaters and blankets. 🙂 My Swedish dinner consisted of a Mello Mai Tai and delicious Cannelloni (one of their “Klassic” menu items.)

Dinner Mello Mai Tai

Finally, I headed back to the Mamlo Centralstation for my ride back to the airport and hotel. What does Sweden have against balloons?

Swedesh train station

In any case, it’s now 341am local time. I’m up, showered, dressed and walking to my airplane to Amsterdam then Seattle just as soon as I post this. So looking forward to being home. Until next time.

There was so much enthusiasm today about the Windows 8 and Surface announcements. I’ve been really jazzed lately about all of the TV commercials and videos. In particular, The Surface Movement commercial rocks.

I know that I will be getting my Microsoft provided one at the end of December but I sure couldn’t wait so preordered mine when pre-order became available on 10/16/12. My pre-ordered Surface shipped from China on 10/23/12 (Pacific time) and is nearly here. Check out the route is has taken over the last 50 hours.

Image

I should have it in hand tomorrow morning! Not only that but I’m going to join in a Microsoft internal celebration tomorrow morning before visiting the Microsoft Store at Bellevue Square and seeing all the excitement.

Watch this space for the next update. From a Surface, maybe?

I was fascinated by the post that Mike Jenkins had shared on Facebook today so I tracked down and read the whole article from over 5 years ago. Absolutely unbelievable. Not only does it speak to our world, culture, technology, lack of appreciation of the beauty around us but it really speaks to my Project260 thinking. If you read and like the article, take 10 seconds and tell me.

Amazing.

Mid April is here

Three brief comments today…

  1. Nathan leaves for Israel on Tuesday morning for an 8 week trip. Holy cow!!! Watch this space for updates.
  2. I wanted to give a Project260 update. Even though I haven’t made any progress on a web site or app yet, I’ve tracked 4 gives of mine for a total of $7 in the last two weeks. Very interesting experience so far.
  3. I really and truly haven’t forgotten an Australia update. It will be forthcoming.

Sad and good

How sad is it that I a) haven’t blogged (again) since January b) haven’t gotten back to the subsequent parts of my Australia story. :(. My commitment is still there to get back to the Australia story but… that’s not the good part of today’s blog.

Today, I want to share an idea and ask for help.

Ever been walking down the street, be approached by a homeless person and asked for money? How about those guys (sometimes women but mostly men) on the street corners with the “homeless, need help” signs? Right, we all have.

I’ve struggled with this for a long time. I tend to be a charitable guy and generally want to help those in need. It’s hard to tell, though, how folks who approach me and ask for money will use the money I might give them. If they are going to use it for rent, clothing, food for themselves or their children, I’m all about helping. All too often, my fear is that they’ll use the $ I give them to go buy cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. On occasion (even once in Phoenix with my then 11 or 12 year old son) I’ve been known to offer to take the asker to buy them food. If they decline, I would presume that they would otherwise have used my money for reasons that I wouldn’t agree with.  A colleague of mine and I had this very discussion last month in the streets of Chicago. We were both torn by “what should we do?” when asked for money by somebody on the street.

From time to time I will listen to the Two Minute Torah Podcast. On my drive home this afternoon, I decided to see if I could catch up on one or two of the podcasts. One was from parsha Vayakhel-Pikudei 5772 by Scott Littky . In this transcript of his podcast, Scott talks about an occasion where he faced this very situation and his Rabbi, on the streets of DC, “…gladly reached into his pocket and gave a couple of dollars to the man.” Then Scott busts me by calling out that “Some may question this practice because we do not truly know the persons situation but we are taught that it is not our role to question their situation. Our obligation is to give and work towards repairing our world, (Tikkun Olam.)”  Sigh.

This got me thinking. What if I committed to giving $5 per week to people in need this way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty charitable guy giving throughout the year to places like PanCan, the American Red Cross, my synagogue, Pelotonia, United Way, public radio (KUOW and KPLU) and more. But, for only $260 per year (just over 1 cup of coffee per week, less than a month’s worth of gasoline for two cars at today’s prices, 1 – 2 nice dinners out, you get the idea…) I could make a small impact to hundreds of people in need, just $1 at a time, over the course of that year.

So, watch this space for more details on Project260 as the details evolve. I’d love to have help writing mobile apps and managing a web site for folks to capture and track (for their own information and entertainment, to share if they choose) their $5 per week generosity and charity. Do you want to help me with the technology? Would you consider keeping a few dollar bills in your pocket and seeing if you can give out $5 per week or $260 per year? Let me know!