I’m writing this from the departure lounge of British Airways in Frankfurt International. Like Heathrow’s infamous Terminal 5, there seems to have been a bit of…err… remodelling going on in this lounge. This caused the trip to the gate to involve a long and circuitous set of detours which led up and down multiple staircases, past janitor’s closets, through construction zones, and not a few empty corridors the sort which one envisions oneself being mugged in. Nevertheless, I made it, got our trade show display checked in (it’s going through Terminal 5, so I don’t need to see it for a couple of months), and am currently wondering whether to go for the “Coffee and water or softdrink.. only €4.70!” ($8). I think not.
Unfortunately, this little outpost of the airport doesn’t seem to have a newsstand, so my plan of blowing all my remaining Euros on German kids comics won’t be happening this trip. I may still luck out at Heathrow, however, and at least pick up a ton of Postman Pat and Fireman Sam comics. Or at least a bottle of water for less than $4.00…I hope.
That’s the boarding call… I’m off!
At 12:20 in the morning, having indicated to British Airways baggage handling that, “Why yes, getting our trade show display in time for the trade show was… important”. A tired-looking delivery guy in a Deutsche Post van (!) showed up outside my hotel with the missing trade show display. The show would indeed go on.
Rudi Brandl, a customer of ours, had agreed to help us out at the show, and as the one really good German-speaker (he’s German, after all!), he was a lifesaver. Thanks *very* much for all your help!
When he’s not being Shanghaied into comic software-selling duties, Rudi runs a sign shop, and had actually made up a sign for us to post at our booth. In German, it said, “Our German is catastrophic. Our English is not so good. We speak pretty good American. But our software is terrific.” It was a very cool sign, and it got more than a few laughs (and knowing looks). Murphy’s law being fully in effect, My colleague Joe and I would inevitably wind up in long, stumbling discussions with folks at the show who spoke only German; as soon as we’d tag off booth duties with Rudi, he’d get corralled into a discussion with folks who spoke only English. It was a struggle at times, but we somehow muddled through. For what it’s worth, my German on the last day of the convention was considerably improved from the first day.
I hope to post pictures from the show later when I return (I didn’t bring a USB cable or card reader for my camera, unfortunately). In the meantime, I’m now typing this from a hotel room in Frankfurt. Joe went home today, but I’ve got a couple of days before my flight home. I’m hoping to see the city a little, visit a few comic stores, and maybe even take in a play while I’m here.
In about nine hours, I’ll be sitting in an airport getting ready to head out to Erlangen, Germany for the International Comic Salon. Even now, the whole thing is pretty surreal to me–with the move, Atlas, and everything else going on, I’ve really not had time to do more than try to make sure we had all the right power cords packed and that our bags came in under the maximum shipping weight.
I’ve never attempted to do a trade show in a foreign language (unless you count British English). I have no idea how the show’s going to go, but I do know that it’s bound to be interesting. Also, being Germany–one of the big “good food” countries of the world, I won’t lack for great eats. I just hope everything (including me) gets to the show in one piece, that things more or less function.
…and Away We Go!
I’ve been mum on the whole moving thing for a couple of weeks while we waited for the owner of the building to come back from a foreign trip and… well, actually sign the lease. That accomplished, we had just 11 days to organize an office move, including our office machines, telecom, servers, and a small army of toy robots.
This past weekend was spent stripping an ungodly amount of wallpaper off the new offices, scrubbing gallons and gallons of wallpaper paste off walls (delightful!), and priming, prepping, and painting all the offices in a variety of colors. It was a long, long weekend for all involved, but we got it done. Big props to editor extraordinaire Shiaw-Ling (who turned out to be a pretty darn good painter!) as well as my own folks, who actually spent their entire vacation—on purpose!—helping out.
The end result? The sedate former law office now looks like the home of a hip Swedish design firm—or maybe a new exhibit wing for the Tech Museum. Either way, it’s going to be a lot of fun to come into work there.
Another really good thing about the new location: we’re mere blocks from the origination point of Covad’s wireless T1 service in San Jose, allowing us to double the bandwidth of the Atomic Avenue and ComicBase sites without breaking the bank (as would have been the case with bonded T1s). I’ve just run some initial speed tests at the location, and it looks encouraging indeed. To tell the truth, I’m getting as excited as a kid before Christmas just thinking about what we could do with that extra speed.
Moving day is Monday the 28th, and both ComicBase and Atomic Avenue will be down for some period while we move gear to the new location. Wish us luck!
I want one.
…actually I want a whole bunch of them. For the office
Old Time Radio Fun, an online purveyor of public domain old radio shows, is letting visitors have free access to a bunch of old Christmas episodes from shows ranging from Jack Benny to Dragnet(!) to George Burns and Gracie Allen. It’s a real blast from the past, and a lot for fun for the holiday season.