Portland State Study Abroad 2013

Through Portland State’s MBA program, I had the opportunity to study abroad for two weeks. My normal 8 credit load is two 4 hour classes for 12 weeks but the study abroad program allowed me to complete 8 credits in only two weeks. Getting to travel internationally is an added bonus.


Breakups are hard

I think breakups are always hard.  Frequently, you see the end coming.  And often you’ve already moved on before officially ending it.  I recently ended a 5+ year relationship with…


I’ve been loyal to Rhapsody ever since my two-week trial subscription in June of 2004.  Being in the IT industry, I spend 90% of my day staring at a computer screen and there is only so much Top 40 radio and cheesy morning shows a person can stand.  For under $15/month, Rhapsody  provided 6+ million songs and the ability to peruse to my hearts content.  The only real issue was that Rhapsody was incompatible with my iPod.  After my car was broken into and my backpack was stolen (work laptop, external hd, iPod, and Passport gone) I quickly began researching which MP3 player would replace my iPod 5G. I carefully weighed the options: iPod Classic 160GB, iPod Touch 32GB, or Zune HD 32GB.  It essentially came down to the gorgeous display on the Zune HD and the subscription model offered by Microsoft’s Zune Pass (it didn’t hurt that I’m generally anti-Apple).  In a perfect world Rhapsody’s subscription service would have been compatible with the Zune HD but, for better or worse, Microsoft has decided to tie their subscription music service to their own devices, exclusively.

I’ll miss you Rhapsody and maybe one day – after you’ve realized that you were getting complacent and letting yourself go – we can try this relationship again.  But for now, I’m moving onto something younger, slimmer, and sexier.

P.S. Begging is not a strategy to keep me, have some respect.

Young Fredrick is embarrassing

I’ve recently been boning up on my Web Hacking skillz and, while practicing, I decided to search the dark cubby holes of the Internet for references to “Fred Berning”.  Some of you will remember that I used to be Fred in my pre-Chicago years.

I searched for myself on Google Groups.  Google Groups contains an archive of messages posted to old Usenet newsgroups back in the early Internet days.  Newsgroups were kind of like the precursor to blogs, a virtual place where like minded people “met” and exchanged ideas, comments, and arguments with others on a particular topic.

I’m going to risk embarrassing myself to educate others, that the Internet NEVER forgets.

Apparently,  when I was 19 I really liked Mark and Brian and spent time defending them against Howard Stern fans.  At least one other person agreed with me.

I even go so far as to compare the quality of celebrity guests between the competing radio shows.  For the record, I still think #5 is “extremely funny” and I apologize to Corey Feldman.

I’m sure glad Facebook didn’t exist when young Fredrick was roaming the Internets unchaperoned.

Empire State

This week, I had a work trip in Mahwah, NJ so I decided to take the opportunity to visit Ben, for a few days, in NYC.

During my last trip to NYC, I saw the inside of some great restaurants and bars but had no interest in being a tourist.  This time, I figured I should at least see a few iconic places before spending the rest of the night drinking.  Only having one full day to sightsee, I chose The Top of The Rock and Central Park.

The observatory deck offered great views of the entire city and the weather was clear and sunny.  From 30 Rock, we walked to Central Park, stopping into St. Pat’s Cathedral (Mom, I looked for bottled Holy Water but didn’t find any), passing by Trump Hotel and into the South End of Central Park.  The Park is amazing and one could easily spend an entire day wandering and still not see it all.  We even experienced the circle of life when I noticed a hawk chowing down on a captured squirrel.  And on the way back home, we ate a couple “franks” at the famous Gray’s Papaya.  Why is it famous?  I don’t know but it was featured in the movie Fools Rush In, which starred Salma Hayek, thus explaining why I ate there.

Move to Chicago and kiss your pristine bumpers goodbye.

One thing you’ll notice about cars in Chicago, is that many of them have dented and/or scratched bumpers.  This is a direct result of frequently parking their car on crowded side streets.  Parking in my Lincoln Park averages $200/month.  And since I’d rather have $200 extra to blow at the bar, I drive around with ghetto looking bumpers.  I realized today just how desensitized I have become to hitting cars as I Austin-Powered myself into a tight parking spot.

I noticed a person sitting in the car as I pulled up along side to parallel park.  She must have thought my spatial perception was off since there was no way my car was going to fit in the spot, at least not without hitting both her car and the one behind me.  I slowly backed in and shook the car behind me.  I then cranked the wheel and pulled forward, hitting her car.  She wised up and pulled her car forward, a foot or so, after that.  Not wise to play parallel park chicken with someone who’s been parking on Chicago streets for 4+ years.