Oysters & Fireworks

This may very well be my last post from Geneva, depending on how much time I can carve out of our graduation day on Friday, so I thought I’d make it a first, for both piggie and me!

I’ve never been much of a connoisseur of seafood. Sure, I enjoy a nice fillet, and the occasional pot of muscles, but I’ve tried to stay clear of oysters. There’s something about the idea of putting a raw, slimy, slug-like object in my mouth that has kept me from enjoying them…until last Saturday that is! I enjoyed several very salty, yet slightly sweet, soft yummy oysters, fresh out of their shells. If you’ve never had fresh oysters in a sunny farmer’s market in Southern France, I highly recommend it :)

As for piggie, he enjoyed his very first “Swiss Day” fireworks. The first of August is the Swiss equivalent of the 4th of July in the U.S., and they certainly know how to party here in Switzerland. Just a bit down the hill from the John Knox Center, piggie and Daddy R traveled down to the festival square where we enjoyed fries, soup, and sausage (although piggie not so much on the sausage). Afterward we hung out with a group of friends to watch a fireworks show that would have been far too close to the crowd in the U.S. for litigious reasons, but close enough that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Enjoy the pictures!

Piggie Pigs Out!

Daddy Rimes has been trying to live a bit more frugally than I did last year while in Geneva, and thus I’ve been eating my own homemade dinner of delicious cured meats, yogurt, and other goodies from the fancy French supermarket nearby. That is, until Wednesday evening, when I just couldn’t take another homemade sandwich. So piggie and I ventured out with a group of people from the grad program, and headed out to Fifty-Fifty, one of the BEST Italian restaurants in Geneva. The Pizza Capricciosa was fantastic, complete with the fried egg in the middle, but piggie thought the Salade Nicoise was quite delectable.

The gruff-voiced owner was even nice enough to bring a special ice cream treat for piggie, complete with a cute little cowboy hat. On the way home, piggie felt like it would be fun to play some pool, so we stopped at a local sports bar (plastered with Spanish flags from the recent World Cup victory), and played a game of billiards while enjoying a nightcap.

Daddy Rimes Back in Geneva (and my computer hates it)

It’s late July, the humidity in Michigan is stifling, and families everywhere across the Northern Hemisphere are vacationing in the sun. Which means Daddy Rimes is spending three weeks away from his family in the Swiss town of Geneva. Doing what you ask? Being a geek, talking about games in education, computer programming, web development/coding, and many other forms of geekery.

Why then would my computer hate all this as the title implies? Because yesterday, in an attempt to strike fear into the rest of electronic devices, I flung my laptop from my backpack onto the floor; the stone slate floor, from quite a considerable height. Apparently zipping your backpack closed is a good idea before slinging it onto your back, and while the laptop suffered quite a nasty blow, you have to give Apple a HUGE amount of credit for making such excellent hardware, and then wrapping it with a sturdy aluminum shell. Thus far, my laptop has continued to function admirably, and I have my fingers crossed that all of the damage is purely cosmetic.

Piggie has full faith that my laptop will continue to perform above and beyond it’s normal call of duty given it’s harsh treatment.

In Case You’re Wondering Why I’m in Geneva…

So it just occurred to me that many people had no idea what exactly I was going to Geneva to do, and now that I’m coming to the end of my residency, I actually have something to show off :)

For the past 2 and a half weeks, we’ve been working on our web coding abilities, video production skills, and pedagogical understanding of the impact of games and simulations on education. The ultimate goal is to change the world….but the more realistic goal is to create an application or project that will begin to connect learners from around the world, and either engage them through awareness or activism.

The project my partner and I are putting together is tentatively titled “Act Now”, and I thought the “pitch video” was worth showing with everyone. Sorry for the tiny size, but I hope you enjoy it.

Bear in mind this is just the pitch video, and the website itself is being developed as I type this, by my partner Kira and myself. We think we’ve really hit on something great, and we’re going to be presenting this as a potential partnership to WFUNA (World Federation of United Nations Associations).

Piggie Visits a Castle

This past Thursday we had our very first official “field trip” from class, and actually got to do some sight-seeing during what would have been time for project and video development. After a morning of Ruby on Rails development, we loaded onto a tour bus for Annecy, France, a city that appears to be the ice cream capital of France. Every other shop in the old town was an ice cream parlor or stand, filled with the most amazing flavors (Banana was my favorite). Before heading down to the city however, we stopped at the Chateau de Menthon, a castle high atop a hill overlooking Lake Annecy, and conicidentally enough, the birthplace of St. Bernard Menthon, who was responsible for breeding and popularizing the St. Bernard breed of dog to help traders and travelers through the high mountain passes.

Piggie and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, eating far too much ice cream, delicious muscles (which I had never had before, but will now gladly eat again), and discovered a candy store that sold the most amazing looking lollipops.

Piggie at the U.N.

Yes, yes, it’s been a few days since I posted last, and my apologies are most sincere. As much as some of my photos may suggest, I am working very hard on coding and webpage development. The amount of work we’ve put in on video production, Ruby on Rails development, and other learning is intense, and many people are up working past midnight on their homework.

Yesterday though, we had a break in order to visit the United Nations offices here in Geneva. Don’t be fooled though; by offices they mean a large 5 story building that would easily consume a couple of football fields. I don’t have pictures from the outside yet (we weren’t allowed to photos in certain areas), but what I do have I’d love to offer for your viewing pleasure.

Why were we at the U.N. you might ask? It wasn’t for sight seeing. The emphasis of my master’s program is global awareness, advocacy, and activism via technology. So we went to the U.N. to meet with a few NGOs. We met with the director of WFUNA, the World Federation of United Nations Associations, which represents over 100 non-governmental organizations around the world. It’s sort of like the umbrella organization for United Nations Associations and offices around the world. I then had an opportunity to meet with some higher ups with Unicef here at their Geneva offices. Very amazing and wonderful people to talk to, and really puts a human face on these large multi-national organizations.

So without further ado, here are pictures from piggie’s adventures at the U.N. in Geneva!

Tea Party

On the first full day here in Switzerland, I got to attend a tea party. Not a terribly fancy affair, but all in attendance were required to speak with British accents. Why? Because the party itself had been planned by children. The instructors are blessed enough to have their families here with them in Geneva, and when their children aren’t playing video games or reading, they’re using their creative energies to plan tea parties, complete with construction paper doilies.

It was a lot of fun, and I even won a raffle. My prize; a 2 franc tea cup that had been purchased earlier at a flea market in town. Pictures of piggie at the flea market enjoying a nutella crepe, and hanging out with some puppet friends, as well as the tea party are all below.

OH! And check out the cool night time/day time shots of the bell tower from the church at the end of our road. I’ll have to get the name before I leave.

Piggie in Suisse

After too many hours aboard 3 different planes, piggie and I were ready to explore what will be our home for the next 3 weeks. We’re staying at the John Knox Center in Geneva (a conference/retreat center nestled in among embassies and other international organization headquarters), and when I tell you that it has a “campy” feeling to it, I’m not exaggerating. Yes, we’re staying in what appears to be a concrete bunker, but the surrounding countryside is gorgeous! That, and we’ve got one of the most walkable, and picturesque, cities in Europe just a 5 minute bus ride away. So far I can vouch for both the scenery and the strawberry ice cream here in Geneva, but piggie is all about the chocolate flake cereal. Take a look for yourself.

On the Home Front

IMG_6030Things have been relatively quiet here at home while Mommy Rimes is away. The trouble with the past two weeks is that I’ve been working my summer job, putting together some resources for a grant project I’m doing with iTunes and the state of Michigan, and trying to be the ultimate single dad. Needless to say, my master plan of being able to finish up several small projects around the house, make frequent trips to the park, and keep up with my e-mail hasn’t been working out too well. That’s alright, because when my life gets this hectic, it actually makes it easier for me to concentrate on what’s really important; family.

Which means last Saturday, when Little Miss R and myself had the whole morning together, we went downtown to the farmer’s market, played with the animal sculptures on display downtown, and had some time to just be silly. Although the pictures are of poor quality, here’s some of our Saturday adventure.

IMG_6027For the past few summers, St. Joseph has played host to an outdoor art display. It all begin with replica carousel horses, but other years have seen bears, cars, boats, and this year we have animals. The theme is Surf ‘n Safari, which is actually quite clever given that we’re on Lake Michigan. The animals are pretty impressive too, with this ostrich being one of Little Miss R’s favorites. You can’t tell from the photo, but this bird is wearing ruby slippers.

We also had time to stop by the Gorilla Putt Putt and play a quick hole of minature golf. If you’re listening St. Joe Today, you should get started on next year’s theme of miniature golf holes. Little Miss R enjoys playing putt putt, even if she holds the club backwards, and uses it more like a shovel than a golf club. We also had a chance to go down to the peir on the mouth of the St. Joseph river, where we saw a man fish a medium sized snapping turtle out of the river…yikes! More pictures below for your enjoyment.