Friday, April 30, 2004

There is a Korean word "Han" for which there is no direct English translation. It is a state of mind, of soul, a sadness so deep that no tears will come, and yet one in which remains hope...
Tomorrow night it's Canada vs. Germany in the World Hockey Championships featureing semi-Canadian Olef Kolzig as the goalie for Germany. This will not even be a speed bump for Canada :-) Go Canada Go!
Wednesday a bunch of us got the free Daimler-Chrysler tour at the Stuttgart plant. Interesting but nothing too special, I guess the production line we walked through was the least automated of any of their lines (some of which are 98% automated). We did catch a glimpse of a couple cool concept cars though:

Monday, April 26, 2004

Stuttgart has (another) beer festival going on this month. Quite simply awsome, I can't wait to go again this weekend before the VFB - Bochum game. Since the stadium is about a drunk man's 10 minute crawl from the festival grounds I'm assuming I'm not the only genius with this plan :-) Give me a shout out if you want to join our group of 19 for the game or the party afterwards.
A couple good quotes of "things I hate" from an Al forward:

1. People who point at their wrist while asking for the time.... I know where my watch is pal, where the fuck is yours? Do I point at my crotch when I ask where the toilet is?

2. When people say "it's always the last place you look". Of course it is. Why the fuck would you keep looking after you've found it? Do people do this? Who and where are they?

3. When people say while watching a film "did you see that?". No Loser, I paid $12 to come to the cinema and stare at the fucking floor.

4. When something is 'new and improved!'. Which is it? If it's new, then there has never been anything before it. If it's an improvement, t! hen there must have been something before it.

Do you guys have any? :-)

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I'm thinking about switching to O2 from Vodaphone since Voda is raping my a$$ on a monthly basis, I just hate to have to get a new number though and get everyone to change my entry. A story like this though makes me re-consider.
Looks like the Direct TV sateilite pirates in Canada (and the US for that matter) are slowly getting the lights turned out this month... so long to some great movies, sports and crappy television for a decent price :-)
I'm a geek. Instead of going to one of the biggest parties of the entire semester (Newie-Party #2, look at previous archived posts to see how good the last one was!) or driving to Amsterdam to visit one of my best drinking buddies during his layover (sorry N's, have a blast in Africa and I'll catch up with you in May for the stories and a couple cold beers) I'm staying at home all excited that I've finally got my invitation for the new Google Gmail e-mail service. Actually I'm very sick from the extreme amount of travel, lost sleep etc over the last two weeks and the body is just breaking down ;-)

But take a look at this, Gmail offers 1 GB of space for the e-mail account compared to only getting like 5 MB for my hotmail account which is hardly even enough for the MOUNTAINS of e-mails I get from the site traffic :-) It's the "auto-e-mail-conversation" mode thingy (I'm sure that's exactly what it's called) is what I'm most interested in. This combines all past e-mails from a e-mail tree in a nice conversational style format, great for some of those reply-reply-reply... e-mails that I sometimes have to scroll down for hours until I remember what the hell we were even talking about. I also don't really care about the so called privacy controversy that's brewing about the service. We'll see, na na na na I've got mine have you got yours!

Yep I'm a geek.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

With the combination of work, play and travel (being home only 2 of the last 15 days!) there's lots to tell, but it will all have to wait until the pukeing (from lack of sleep) stops hopefully tomorrow. However with all due props to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadians and big ups to the Calgary Flames, this one's for you Stevie:

Caption of a championship team in the making... :-) Go Flames/Canadians and yes even Leafs Go!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


Well it's been a great Easter vacation.

Early Thursday morning (5:30 AM) I fired up the old jeep and under the cover of darkness and freezing rain set off down highway A8 for the long trip to Monaco. The plan; stop in Zurick at ABB headquarters to garner a little inside view of what's going on over there, then off to Milan for none other than the legendary Bryan Adams, then the final leg getting into Monaco/Nice for some relaxing atmosphere to get some work done. The weather forcast for the weekend was not good with all 3 websites claiming pouring showers for the entire weekend, not a good start.

Then things really got interesting. About halfway to the border I realized that I had left my passport behind me, no problem right? Wrong. The Swiss are neutral and hence although they all accept euros for payment (as well as their own currency), they still require a visa for european travelers. Usually there's no problem and they don't even check you when you drive through but I guess I looked suspicious because I got stopped.

Problem #1 - No passport, please go over to the german side and maybe they'll issue you a tempory pass.

Great, no problem, I'm making great time on the highway, a quick 15 minute passport issue stop is nothing to sweat.

Problem #2 - No valid German drivers licence.

Seems as though after living here for over 6 months I can no longer rely on my Canadian drivers licence despite waiting 2 hours in line and spent 100 bucks on a special "one year" international drivers licence. Ok so those things are useless.

Screwed #1 - The German border authorities instruct me that not only will they not issue me a temporary pass, but they will not let me drive my car back home to get my passport.

Gribley. At noon on Thursday things did not look very promising to say the least.

Long story short, I was able to work some of the Rossi charm and just over 3 hours and 80 euros later I had a tempory passport for both Germany and Swiss-land and was again on my way. Take a look at the temporary Swiss and German passports, very cool but probably not worth the trouble or 80 euros it took to get them. At least they'll look good on my wall :-)

More to cum later, but in short only got lost 3-4 times resulting in a few hours driving time lost, Bryan Adams rocks but the concert seemed to fly by (and he totally rejected the Italian crowd after singing "summer of 69" but the rest was sweet!), got to the Green Dolphin and was thinking of you guys (you know who you are), weather turned out to be georgeous the whole time, weathermen are WAY overpaid and are TOTALLY incompitent, the drive home through France (to avoid the Swiss border) was beautiful through the mountains but was twice as long and toll booth rape-ige occured numerous times, wireless internet at the hotel was pretty geeky-cool, and finally the people, places and experiences will never be forgotten.

Thanks to Broken-Finger Guy and Stutt-Man for making the trek to the border: Roger HQ, Swissini one has completed checkpoint delta and is returning to sparrow's nest for mission Portugal.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

In a bid to discover some laughter my friends and I have been exchanging "porn" names over MSN. Your "porn" name is the name of a past/current pet followed by your street name that you live/lived on and supposedly it's a funny way to discover porn seudo-names.

Tommy Nelson... has a ring to it doesn't it? :-)

Here's another one I got through e-mail (thanks Al!):


Sometimes when you have a stressful day or week, you need some silliness to break up the day. And, if we are honest, we have a lot more stressful days than not.
Here is your dose of humor:

Follow the instructions to find your new name.

Use the third letter of your first name to determine your new first name:
a = poopsie
b = lumpy
c = buttercup
d = gadget
e = crusty
f = greasy
g = fluffy
h = cheeseball
i = chim-chim
j = stinky
k = flunky
l = boobie
m = pinky
n = zippy
o = goober
p = doofus
q = slimy
r = loopy
s = snotty
t = tootie
u = dorkey
v = squeezit
w = oprah
x = skipper
y = dinky
z = zsa-zsa

Use the second letter of your last name to determine the first half of your new last name:

a = apple
b = toilet
c = giggle
d = burger
e = girdle
f = barf
g = lizard
h = waffle
i = cootie
j = monkey
k = potty
l = liver
m = banana
n = rhino
o = bubble
p = hamster
q = toad
r = gizzard
s = pizza
t = gerbil
u = chicken
v = pickle
w = chuckle
x = tofu
y = gorilla
z = stinker

Use the fourth letter of your last name to determine the second half of your new last name:

a = head
b = mouth
c = face
d = nose
e = tush
f = breath
g = pants
h = shorts
i = lips
j = honker
k = butt
l = brain
m = tushie
n = chunks
o = hiney
p = biscuits
q = toes
r = buns
s = fanny
t = sniffer
u = sprinkles
v = kisser
w = squirt
x = humperdinck
y = brains
z = juice

Thus, for example, George W. Bush's new name is Goober Chickenshorts. Now when you SEND THIS ON...use your new name as the subject. And remember that children laugh an average of 146 times a day; adults laugh an average of 4 times a day. Put more laughter in your day.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Another great hockey night/season cum and gone. Thanks to everyone for their help, participation and memories. See you all next season!

Focusing the company on its core competences, reducing debt and inventories work? Could it really be that simple? :-)

Cereal thriller: How Kellogg's chief rebuilt the brand
Carlos Gutierrez has breathed new life into Tony the Tiger and Special K, James Prichard writes. But his success could present the breakfast food giant with a problem.

James Prichard
The Associated Press

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Kellogg Company chairman and chief executive Carlos Gutierrez, with Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger, has led a major restructuring of the company over the past five years. He has narrowed its primary focus to cereal and wholesome snacks, rebuilt brands and increased cash flow.
CREDIT: Shawano Cleary, The Associated Press

BATTLE CREEK, Michigan - Five years ago, with North Americans eating more bagels and muffins instead of cereal for breakfast, Kellogg Co. was starting to look a little shaky.

Earnings had fallen 22 per cent in 1998, and some Wall Street analysts, believing that the maker of Rice Krispies and Frosted Flakes would continue to lose ground, told investors to sell Kellogg stock.

Baked goods are still the breakfast choice of many consumers, but Kellogg, having undergone a corporate and marketing overhaul under chairman and chief executive Carlos Gutierrez, is again flourishing. It announced this week that first-quarter earnings will be up 30 per cent on stronger-than-expected sales, and analysts are again giving Kellogg a "buy" recommendation.

Mr. Gutierrez, chief executive since April 1999, has narrowed Kellogg's primary focus to cereal and wholesome snacks, given new life to brands including Special K, and reduced the company's debt.

"I think we've come a long way," said Mr. Gutierrez, 50, who became chairman in April 2000. "We've made a lot of progress." A charismatic and approachable executive, Mr. Gutierrez has won admiration in business circles for reviving a flagging company.

"His success at Kellogg shows he's a good leader for a large company and he understands the American consumer," said Ron Larson, a former Kellogg marketing researcher now on the food-marketing faculty at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

That understanding has led to a new image for some of Kellogg's older brands. Special K now comes in varieties, including Vanilla Almond and Peaches & Berries. And Kellogg is also catering to the diet-conscious with coming products that include a low-carbohydrate version of Special K cereal and reduced-sugar Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops.

Other healthy snack foods are planned, but Mr. Gutierrez expects the low-carb trend, which advocates eating meats and cheeses instead of high-carbohydrate foods such as pasta and most breads and cereals, to wane.

"I've been in the industry for almost 29 years," he said. "You learn to see these trends coming through and they always appear like they're going to stay. That isn't to say that low carbs isn't real, but I think that it's probably peaked."

Mr. Gutierrez acted quickly to create an ambitious, three-year turnaround plan that he now breaks down in simple terms: 2001 was the year of transition, with the acquisition of Keebler Foods Co. coinciding with the restructuring of Kellogg's business units, 2002 was the year of acceleration in sales and earnings, and 2003 was the year of momentum, in which the company surpassed sales and earnings growth targets.

Kellogg has sold units that were bad fits, such as Lender's Bagels, and bought good fits, such as Keebler, which was acquired in March 2001. While its cookies have not sold as well as expected, Keebler's store-delivery system is a valuable asset to Kellogg.

Kellogg's net sales rose from $6.2 billion U.S. in 1999 to $8.8 billion last year, a 43-per-cent increase. Earnings per share increased 131 per cent, from 83 cents to $1.92, and cash flow went up 82 per cent, from $529 million to $961 million.

Mr. Gutierrez said he plans to keep concentrating the company's resources on increasing cereal sales through promoting its many well-known brands. Kellogg will pursue more acquisitions of complementary companies.

The company's balance sheet has also undergone a restructuring. Mr. Gutierrez believes in managing for cash, a principle that emphasizes reducing the amount of money tied up in inventory, accounts receivable and accounts payable. Whenever possible, existing assets will be used for capital expenditures.

Since Mr. Gutierrez became chairman and chief executive, Kellogg has freed enough cash to pay down $1.6 billion in debt, said John Renwick, vice-president of investor relations and corporate planning.

Before Mr. Gutierrez took over leadership of the company, Kellogg was in trouble. While earnings fell in 1998, sales were flat and its stock price was hovering in the middle $30 range after trading in the high $40 range a year earlier. Kellogg cut 525 salaried jobs and 240 contract positions throughout its Battle Creek headquarters and North American operations in November 1998.

The company's stock is now back to the $40 range, its highest level in more than four years.

Mr. Larson said the company's troubles grew out of its inability to meet the competition.

"If other competitors are kind of 'on' and your products aren't quite clicking, that causes some problems," he said. "But if you've got some good products in the pipeline, which Kellogg's had and now has gotten out, I think that helped them a lot, too."
It's problems like this that really set back the success of Russian hockey. You won't see Canada sheading a tear though, way to go Women! World Champions for 8 straight years! The US can beat us for sure, but not in the big games when it counts!!

Monday, April 05, 2004

Denmark gets credit for sending this one in first:

A man walking along a California beach was deep in
prayer. All of a sudden, he said out loud, "Lord,
grant me one wish."

Suddenly the sky clouded above his head and in a
booming voice the Lord said, "Because you have TRIED
to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one

The man said, "Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive
over anytime I want."

The Lord said, "Your request is very materialistic.
Think of the enormous challenges for that kind of
undertaking. The supports required to reach the bottom
of the Pacific! The concrete and steel it would take!
I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your
desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and
think of another wish, a wish you think would honor
and glorify me."

The man thought about it for a long time. Finally he
said,"Lord, I wish that I could understand women. I
want to know how they feel inside, what they are
thinking when they give me the silent treatment, why
they cry, what they mean when they say 'nothing', and
how I can make a woman truly happy."

The Lord replied, "You want two lanes or four lanes on
that bridge?"
The excitement of the start of NHL playoffs also cums with a bit of a shadow with the looming strike for next year. This isn't bad for everyone, just consider the drooling Russian/Swedish/Czech leagues that can't wait to get some of their homegrown stars back home. I've always thought the Swedish league is strongest of all non-North American leagues (both financially and talent wise) but some others have a different opinion.

I've noticed that there's a lack of MBA related material in my posts lately, is it disdain with my current workload or just lazyness?

Friday, April 02, 2004

Why do I use my blog as a posting for forwards that I typically hate but cannot stop but read?

An Australian, an Irishman and an American were sitting in a bar. There was only one other person in the bar. The three men kept looking at this other man, as he seemed terribly familiar. They stared and stared, wondering where they had seen him before when suddenly the Irishman cried out, "My God! I know who that man is - it's Jesus!" The others looked again, and sure enough, it was Jesus himself, sitting alone at a table. The Irishman calls out across the lounge: "Hey! Hey, you! Are you Jesus?" Jesus looks over at him, smiles a small smile and nods his head. "Yes, I am Jesus," he says. Well, the Irishman calls the bartender over and says to him: "I'd like you to give Jesus over there a pint of Guinness from me." The bartender pours Jesus a Guinness. Jesus looks over, raises his glass in thanks and drinks.

Then the Australian calls out: "Oi you! D'ya reckon you're Jesus or what?" Jesus nods and says: "Yes, I am Jesus". The Australian is mightily impressed and has the bartender send over a glass of Fosters for Jesus, which Jesus accepts with pleasure.

The American then calls out: "Yall would be Jesus?" Jesus smiles and says: "Yes, I am Jesus". The American beckons the bartender and tells him to send over a pint of Bud for Jesus, which the bartender duly does. As before, Jesus accepts the drink and smiles over at the table.

Finally, after finishing the drinks, Jesus leaves his seat and approaches our three friends. He reaches for the hand of the Irishman and shakes it, thanking him for the Guinness. When he lets go, the Irishman gives a cry of amazement: "Oh God! The arthritis is gone! The arthritis I've had for years is gone! It's a miracle!!!" Jesus then shakes the Australian's hand, thanking him for the lager. Upon letting go, the Australian's eyes widen in shock. "By jingo mate, the migraine! The migraine I've had 40 years is completely gone - it's a miracle!!!"

Jesus then goes to approach the American, who says: "Back off man! I'm on Disability!"

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Even though the 67's were eliminated last night, the Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators are making a string push into the NHL playoffs. It all culminates Saturday night when we ice the season with a big win over the lolely Leafs. Leafs Suck! This is what it will look like when the Sens win the Stanley Cup :-)

Class is taking a backburner this morning so I can clear a couple "pains in my ass" off my to do list... it also looks like a 53 credit semester isn't quite feasible when you're part of the students committee, doing thesis research, going to Portugal for a week for a case study, going home for a month for the sis's wedding and doing an independent case study project with a professor (although it looks great on my course requirements list when I scratch them all off!).