It is in Heidelberg, so that’s good!

And there are some great people in town at the same time to have some fun with.  So that’s good too.

For what it’s worth, NPS actually knows better!  We should have stayed at the arthotel or maybe even Hotel Ritter with the old people.

I mean, any hotel actually named Staycity Aparthotels is gonna be exactly like this.  So just don’t.  LOL.

Hamster cage 223 is just like every other hamster cage here.  Looks great in pictures because of the veneer and plastic.  But it is made of veneer and plastic.  And it has the design sensibility of a modern TV.  Big black slab with some fake wood veneer pasted on.

Speaking of the TV, here it is splotted prominently on the plastic veneer architectural feature.

The toilet does get its own plastic room.

What a nice touch to add those moth orchids!  They are easy to care for after all. And… Oh no wait, they are plastic.  LOL.

Whatever you do, do not steal the hangers!  They are very valuable as they are not made of plastic.

The shower area looks great and there is even glass!  But really, the floor is all thin bouncy plastic.  (We will give them props for good water pressure and plenty of hit water.)

So just don’t.

We’ll leave you with some Heidelberg to cleanse your pallet.


Over here on the “used to be an American Army base side (which is quickly transforming into a high tech center, Mandy’s Grill is a great place for breakfast.  Very much international and tasty.

The walk to the center is not too bad from here (about a mile), and there in tourist zone you can find most anything.  Read some science with a Hugo or a Capari Orange.


Anyway, two showerheads and no hope for redemption for the Staycity Aparthotel.  We’ll be smarter next time.


Europe changed their clocks forward for daylight savings time last night at 2am…or maybe that was 3am?! Fortunately, my friend Gunter reminded me of this ahead of time.

I wondered whether or not my G2 would “do the right thing” WRT daylight savings time and the alarm that I always count on. Nope! Good thing the failsafe backup plan worked. The hotel called to wake me up at the correct 7am (not the version my phone was using); I only very rarely request wake up calls. The G2 meanwhile decided on its own that my 7am alarm “should have been” for 8am when it changed its own time setting. Awful. I could be in a state of panic now instead of zooming toward Frankfurt on an ICE train.

Would the DAli clock do the right thing? You be the judge.

I was pleased to meet Jan Egenberger, the proprietor at the Qube in the morning. It was his call that woke me up as requested. Jan arranged for me to have a double espresso macchiato and a roll before the official start of breakfast. We also briefly discussed the Qube’s rating from the previous entry and what might be done to address shortcomings. Jan is a very diligent and determined guy.

Here’s the interesting bit about the evening before. After dinner at the Print Media Lounge (who knew they served food?!), I was fortunate enough to head over to the Bent Bar for an absolutely delightful evening with Milan Nesin. Bent Bar is hands down the best mixology location in Heidelberg. And Milan mixes a very mean drink.

We compared notes, discussed some standards, introduced one of my favorites to the mix (a Nevada), and tried some of Milan’s very carefully constructed house drinks. The Bent Bar is a must visit location for anyone serious about mixology.

Back to the G2’s poor attempt to run my life. Since we were out pretty late anyway, Florian and I decided to wait until 2am and see what our phones did. His changed time properly. Mine decided to lag and change itself while I was asleep (well after 2am) and to screw up the wake up time. Let this be a lesson for all…smart phones are not to swift when it comes to daylight savings time changes in “non-home” locations (two weeks after the US time change). What a mess.

My friend Sammy has an expression that I enjoy reusing, pretending to have invented it myself. He often says, “that was pretty not bad.” You have to read between the ambiguity and grok the context to figure out what that means. Just to make thing even more ambiguous, I recently determined that the Qube hotel in Heidelberg is either “pretty not good” or “pretty not bad” depending on how much rum you have in your system.

The conference where I gave a keynote this week is held at the Print Media Academy (which just so happens to have the best mixology in Heidelberg that I have yet to come across). So I switched hotels, moving away from the heart of town at the the arthotel. It was not the most clever move.

The Qube has aspirations to be a hipster hotel, but their construction budget does not allow them to reach their vision. Case in point, though the rooms have great layout and windows, the furniture is veneer, the glass shelves (!) in the bathroom are several hundreds of mils too thin, the flat screen TV is small enough to be swallowed up by the wall, the curtains can’t be set up to block the morning light, the shower cube floor is plastic and makes a very unsatisfying sound when water cascades down on it, and the twenty-something bartender is utterly harmless (and quite possibly a waste of oxygen). The qube hotel does not suck, but it does not rock either.

Gorgeous skylights provide a perfect view of ikea grade furniture.

The spartan decor is nicely assembled, but just a smidgen too cheap.

Das German bed...no sharing covers!

The bathroom has plenty of tile and glass. It looks better in website pictures than it feels in practice.

Glass cube shower = good. Thin wobbly door with plastic seals = bad. Shower controls = good. Noisy plastic floor = bad.

More bathroom.

One more rant and I will be done. The Euro-hotel-Internet can’t save state (they try to write down your MAC address but then they throw out the paper). Re-authenticating every time you close your laptop lid is very silly. I have so many Internet credential scraps of paper that I feel like an absentminded professor.

So now some good stuff. The Troopers con put on a great dinner followed by a packet wars contest. The second best part of the evening was the live electronica created in realtime as a soundtrack. The best part was the miraculous appearance of a bottle of Mt Gay 1703 rum (a blend of 10 to 30 year old rum with a delicious sweet finish). Quite possibly that bottle was the best rum in Germany…it is gone of course.

Micele mixes music under the influence of superior rum.

And some more good stuff from the next night. After the conference, the speakers were invited on a trip up the Neckar river for dinner. Excellent scenery, great food, and fun conversation.

A quick walk from the boat back to Print Media revealed a wild scene. Velvet ropes, pulsing Euro-“music,” zillions of bleach blonds wriggling to the “music,” too many beautiful people and posers per square foot, and a mob scene. The hacker boyz were denied entrance through the main door even though they had on VIP bracelets. (Their pants were not expensive enough…and the big flag they were carrying did not help.) Since I had on my all black uniform, I walked right in. Long story short about the evening, the bartenders got the memo, and Seelbachs were available (after proper authentication) thanks to the miraculous procurement of some Peychaud’s bitters in Munich. That’s a funny story all to itself with a bartender turing from a raging dick into an obsequious dog in a split second. Hah! A good time was had by all. The power of the Troopers staff was obvious.

Friday night with excellent friends was the best so far. Good luck with the creature you guys.

And Saturday was great too, with another flying expedition from the metropolitan Kirn airstrip.

Gunter and the plane. 80 HP is enough to fly.


Ultimately, we’ll give the Qube a high three showerheads rating, which in the strong Heidelberg hotel market makes you fall right off the list.

It has been a year and a week since I was here last, and I am back at the arthotel in Heidelberg. I was greeted by name at the door and my room was ready for an early arrival. I am in room 325 again.

The huge tile bathroom is superb. It has both a tub and a glass shower with a gigantic frosted door.

The shower is worth travelling to Heidelberg for.

Superb controls and a soaker head. The only bug in this shower is the container of "shampoo" which according to Ken van Wyk may be filled with Nair (hair remover).

The flight over the pond was uneventful. I was in a business class pod on a 767. United did a solid job. I ordered an expedited meal (cheese plate only) and tried to get to sleep early. Six hours pretending to sleep and four actual hours of sleep seems to be maximal for across the pond travel East. Yawn.

A new friend (Micele) picked me up at the airport and we zoomed to Heidelberg where I attempted to stay up until 11pm. That was interesting. Ate some sausage and sour kraut for lunch, did a major walk, had a few cocktails (nothing of note), had some more German food, and so on. Still a restless night.

Heidelberg is gorgeous this week. Spring is just starting.

View from a bridge.

The arthotel Internet service is worth a remark. You have to get a piece of paper with login credentials for each device (I have three) that is good for only one day. Six pieces of paper into a two day stay here, this system is seeming rather silly indeed. Net in Europe is still not a normal everyday thing.

Also of note is this weird mate-like drink that comes in a bottle called “Club Mate.” This is apparently the rage in hackerboy circles. All the caffeine and half the calories. Not bad. But also not good.

Club Mate hacker boy juice.

The arthotel bar has suffered a severe setback. No more good rum. This is a darn shame. The havana club 7 sucks compared to Mt. Gay Extra Old or the 15 year old Cuban they had on hand last trip. Similarly, an absinthe run was unsuccessful Monday due to smokey atmosphere and bad music. I miss my bar.

Nits notwithstanding, the arthotel retains its five showerheads rating.

Noplasticshowers has reported in the past from Heidelberg. This trip is completely different. I am here on business to deliver a talk to hundreds of fellow geeks. I took the opportunity to try out some new things in Heidelberg. Turns out that was a great idea.

The arthotel is a very nice place to stay. Great space. Friendly and helpful staff. Just enough hip (and not too much). And no plastic showers. I am in room 325.

On to the bathroom. Excellent shower with soaker head. And a bonus bathtub view of old Heidelberg and a church. By European standards, this is a HUGE bathroom.

The rest of the room is just as interesting architecturally.  Not a square angle in the entire place.

Of course no visit to Heidelberg is complete without seeing my good friend Markus. We spent Saturday after my international arrival have a relaxing day of Kellerbier and Nürnberger followed by some real mixology at the Print Media Lounge.

Sunday was also incredibly cool. My friend Gunter met me in greater metropolitan Kirn and we drove up the hill for some flying. Gunter is an excellent pilot and he was happy to give me some instruction and put up with my death grip on the stick. Here is the plane we flew and a view of Heidelberg from 2000 feet.

Incidentally, the arthotel has a world class selection of rums, including Mt Gay Extra Old and a 15 year old Cuban rum called Liberacion. The arthotel earns a very high five showerheads rating. I know where I will be staying in future trips to Heidelberg.

The venerable old Hotel Ritter in Heidelberg has been serving guests since the Renaissance. As one of the only German cities not bombed to smithereens during WWII, Heidelberg attracts lots of attention and tourists. Entire herds of Japanese tourists flush through with regularity.

The Hotel has a very friendly staff and a quirky set of interconnected old buildings filled with antiques. The breakfast room is gorgeous. Ritter fits Heidelberg to a T.

For the European extravaganza, we requested a family room and ended up with two rooms connected by a small sitting room with a spiral staircase. The rooms are nice enough, though they have very modern furnishings out of touch with the feel of the hotel. The bathrooms are generic Euro bathroom.

The obligatory bathroom shots show the pretend marble which may actually be some kind of (dare we say it) plastic.

Really the only major problem with the Hotel Ritter is the ridiculous European paid internet system. If you bring along your own DNS server on your laptop everything will work just fine for free…but that would be bad behavior.

Hotel Ritter earns a four showerhead rating.