Ingrid and Ralph’s Excellent Adventure

Saturday 11 July 2015, a day like no other. It started out ordinarily enough, a trip to Vienna to do what we love to do, wander Vienna, take pictures, have a good lunch, take more pictures and end the day with a visit to Naschmarkt, Vienna’s open air fruit, vegetable, etc market (etc is of interest only to non-vegans). Worked out pretty well. Late afternoon came and we had done it all, covering about 13km in the process. All that remained was to get to the rail terminal, buy some vegan maki for dinner and catch a train home. All went as planned and we caught the 5:26 train out of the city. We got comfortable and settled in. I hung my “equipment” vest (for batteries, cell phone chargers, cables, a spare camera and a few other things) on one of the hooks. Those that know me irl know that I am rarely without my vest of many pockets. Turned out we had settled in on the sunny side of the train and the sun was getting low. About 20 minutes out of the city we reached the first major stop and a seat opened up on the shady side so we moved and relocated everything. Ingrid and I then got involved in composing an email with attachments getting passed back and forth between our 2 iphones. A while later I wanted to put something back in my vest only to discover that it wasn’t there. Disbelief was quickly replaced with the realization that someone had stolen my vest. In all honesty, frustrating but not a big loss. Not a big loss except for my U. S. Passport. A copy of my Austrian registration document which contains our home address, my car key, clearly identifying it as belonging to a Volvo and our house keys. The rest is replaceable for probably under $400 but the keys combined with the address are giving us a good case of nerves. And so the adventure begins.

We planned to go to the local police in the town where the train drops us off but a few stations on we realized that with my car key in my missing vest and Ingrid’s at home we have to find transportation home. We get to the station, call a taxi to round trip us home and back to the station to get the car. We go to the police who tell us that our best approach would be to go to another police station about a half hour away (and further from home) we go to that station, spend about 45 minute filing our report head home and finally have our maki at about 9:30.

Now we need to change the locks on the house and car, be especially vigilant until that’s done, report my missing passport to U. S. Consular Services. Possibly get a new registration document for Austria and amend our visa filing to reflect my new passport info and replace all the small camera equipment that I lost and, at some point when it’s on sale, order a new lightweight vest.

The take for thief is my passport and keys, an old, small Canon point and shoot that I keep as my “always have” camera. 4 camera batteries for various cameras, a solar charger for my iPhone, an iphone cable, various other cables, some plastic toothpicks, a couple of microfiber glass/lens cleaners, a pack of spearmint Fishermen’s Friend, a pack of eucalyptus Fishermen’s Friend, about 3/4 box of antacid, around 10 figs, and various other crap that I keep in my pockets. A busy time coming up replacing all of the important stuff and some of the unimportant stuff. We survive and we travel with a new vigilance.

Wikipedia Education Program

Are students in your country contributing to Wikipedia as part of their coursework? Find out the latest about the Wikipedia Education Program.Wikipedia Education Program kicks off another term — Wikimedia blogStudents around the world have returned to classes this term to learn that they will be contributing to Wikipedia articles for their coursework. Now in its second year, the Wikipedia Education Program…

Thoughts on the Death of Osama bin Laden

I, an opponent of capital punishment (and this was nothing else but a pre-emptive death sentence), sit with conflicted emotions. I am glad that the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks has finally paid for his acts. I am troubled that I can find nothing wrong with the way justice was delivered. Maybe sometimes there’s room for an exception? That is something I will have to deal with in the coming days. I can understand the crowds in the streets in various cities but, on the other hand, it has the stink of grave dancing to it. It should certainly give Obama a boost in the polls, but there are still 18 months to go before election day and the state of the economy and the state of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the adventure in Libya will also weigh heavily. The symbolic value, today, of bin Laden’s death is undoubtedly large, the practical value remains to be seen. All that being said, one unanswerable question looms large: How many people would be alive today had this been done 9 years ago? What would the state of the economy be today if the prolonged wars had been unnecessary. bin Laden’s death 9 years ago would have cut the head off a still essentially nascent organization. bin Laden’s death today is largely symbolic. As Sun Tzu said, “There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.” Let’s hope that today’s action at least helps to bring to end the warfare currently underway.


Stream-of-consciousness pronouncements from a self-anointed expert on nothing