Thursday, April 29, 2010

Going back to Chicago

Debra, like many frequent fliers has spent many a delay at Chicago O'Hare but after Collaborate I finally got the chance to take her on a visit. I went back to the home of Keeper Dan and his wonderful family. You will remember I originally lived in their home and I met up with them all again last year in Florida.

The children Jake and Anna love me but really it is Miss Debra they love most, remember their birthday video? I have to tell you this but they had Miss Debra read Harry Potter to them because she has an ' English accident' , they are so cute.


It was a very special occaision in the Norris household, it was Jake's first communion. Apparently I was not appropriatley dressed so I was left behind, but everyone else did look very smart.

But enough of children time for the adults. We went off to have a great dinner and then meet up with Jason and Anne who are diving friends of Dan. I met them last year when I went on the liveaboard with Dan and Mogens (remember the naked dive?) well they wanted to catch up and to meet Debra, it was such fun although Anne did throw the drinks at me, still I like the odd cocktail. I love it when my friends meet and become friends. Now if only I could find Debra a man..............

More from Miracle Open World

With All the excitement of the ash cloud and that terrible imposter Joe, I forgot to tell you about MOW. Once Mogens finally took me out of the parcel I was sort of adopted by Cary and Alex and you have seen those videos, but once we got to legoland I think Alex Gorbachev and Marco Gralike became honoury keepers. Mogens tries his best but unsupervised he is not that reliable.

Anyway I got to hang out with my new friends at the water party - the hairy mammoth and of course I had fun on the water slides. Off course being legoland there were lots of special photos.  I must say thank you to those that looked after me.

Marco even did a video of me and you know how I love videos.

I can't wait for MOW next year but am a little concerned I may have another clash of dates as it overlaps with Collaborate.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Up in The Air

I told the story earlier this year about how much I relate to 'Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs' well I now want to tell you how much Debra relates to 'Up in The Air'.

At the beginning of the year Debra and I were sat in the lounge at Heathrow Airport waiting having just arrived back from the US, waiting for the flight to Belfast. Not content with just my company she phoned a friend and started with the 'is this all my life is?' speech. It really annoyed me, people queue up to meet me, she gets to have me with her most of the time and yet it is not enough, I may be looking for a new keeper soon. Anyway the friend says 'have you seen 'Up in the Air'?'

If you haven't seen the film then I recommend it, if you are one of my friends in the ACE Program you will relate to the travel. In fact, Debra doesn't often go to the cinema, so she and I didn't see the film, until it was showing 'on a seat back near you' - her favourite movie house. We actually watched it on our flight out of Oslo after the volcano episode. Dan was on the same flight, and she and Debra kept swapping notes.

So let's have a look at the film and how it resonated with Debra.

So George Clooney (say that in the same sighing way that Debra does), travels all the time. First match.

He has great frequent flyer status (yep) and is not far off status for life (for Debra she needs 10 consecutive years, she is on year 8 or 9).

Home is where you pack for the next trip (yep again), he lives alone (oh dear) and counts the days there as pretty miserable. (Debra is now squirming as she reads this).

He lives in hotels and there was a lot of product placement for the Hilton (I love staying in those, I love the bath robes - oops, sorry, this is about Debra not me and yes she has status with Hilton).

But I think that is where the comparison ends. For instance his sister is getting married and she send him a cardboard cutout of herself and her husband to be and asks him to photograph them in the different places he travels to. THIS IS RIDICULOUS - who on earth would carry around something that was not real just to put them in photos? You wouldn't catch me doing something as daft as that. Who would be interested? I am so glad I don't know anyone quite that stupid. In fact in the film, he actually starts to bond with the cutouts, a kind of imaginary friend. If Debra developed an imaginary friend I would be out of here pretty damn fast.

Back to the film, he meets another traveller who shares the same lifestyle, loyalty programs and they start a casual affair. In the film, these two 'friends' go as far as to swap travel plans to see when they would next be able to meet up. Isn't that what TripIt is all about!

Well that is not Debra, all the people she meets when travelling are technical nerds or geeks and not a lot of romantic interest for her there. But she can live in hope she will meet someone special one day, over the security line, in the executive lounge or the hotel lift. (Apparently once Debra did spend a lot of time in a lift - or elevator, but it was a long before my time).

The film is about re-evaluating your life and I suppose I should help her. But I love this lifestyle and imagine if she stopped, I would be banished to some cupboard and just left there. Just like Dan did to me before Mogens started this 'hate the vest' campaign. Without my 3 keepers I would be a lonely person and I don't want that.

Nothing Stops Stanley - Getting to Vegas

This was such a manic time that I didn't write much, I have said thank you to Khanley who stood in for me whilst I battled with ebxjkbkw hiehlej ( or something similar) but who else did I meet? Debra arrived minus here luggage but I was at hand to make her respectable.

I met the real ' catch me if you can' - Frank Abagnale Jr. he is really famous but still wanted to hang out with me.

And look at this gallery of fans, Oraclenerd himself, the great Steven Chan and many others. Who can you spot / Identify?

 I don't gamble much but everyone who wore me was lucky and I believe Ian Abramson was particularly lucky that night ( or so he tells me)

Khanley Stands In

I thought the party in Måløv would mean I would miss out on Collaborate altogether so I spoke to my brother 'Khanley' (his keeper is Basheer Khan) and asked for him to stand in for me. He was up for it and for the first few days was my official representitive.

He attended all the Fusion 'Soup to Nuts' sessions on the Sunday as most of the presenters were ACEs.

I think 'Khanley' took his role very seriously as he has sent me an awful lot of photos. I know that now I am this famous I must expect to share the limelight, but I do have an insecurity part to me (I spend far too much time with Debra), and am worried that these 'cleaner' siblings may one day take my place in the hearts of my fans.

I went to the ACE Dinner and met with Victoria Lira and my great friend Floyd. You can also see Linda and Elke in this photo.

OAUG were also celebrating their 20th birthday and here Khanley can be seen with the past presidents. And it wouldn't be Vegas if he wasn't photographed with a show girl.

I created the volcano and so everyone should have realised it wouldn't stand in my way. I did make it to Vegas and you can hear all about it in my next post.

Nowhere Better on Earth

Having caused the volcano me, and my three keepers were all in the 'Yellow Mansion' home of Mogens in Måløv, Copenhagen. Do you know, that even though we were together we never got the chance to have the 4 of us in a photo again.

The house was full of refugees, people who could not get home and no-one minded. I had friends as well, I made it up with imposter Joe and Sten also came to visit with his 'Vesterli'.

I can't begin to tell you who else was there but this was the best place to be, there is nowhere better on earth. It was a real OakTable fest and so many of my great friends where there.

My Secret Mission - Eyjafjallajokull

Debra and Dan were very disappointed that they could not make MOW this year. Debra was attending OUGN and Dan was working in Berlin. Both very close but not close enough. Then their travel plans meant both were actually flying to the US via Copenhagen. Desperate to spend time together Debra paid to changed her travel date by one day, and then when Dan found his course could finish earlier he bought a new ticket to get to Copenhagen a day earlier. There would be a party in Mogens' house on the Friday night, not just us four but lots more friends as well.

When I knew I was going to have all my keepers in one place for just one night I thought - 'how can I extend the party?'

Last year I went to New Zealand and watched a Geyser, I was very interested in how they knew it would erupt at the same time every day, and then discovered that they can force the timing by adding soap powder to the geyser. I thought 'what if I did that to the rumbling volcano in Iceland?'

I am not sure if I have told you but Debra and Lisa Dobson have a friendly Icelandic GIT, and so we asked him nicely to drop a lot of washing powder into the volcano and hey presto, no-one was going anywhere. Borkur (the Icelandic GIT) did do it a bit early as Debra and Dan had to actually get to Copenhagen but we talked about that a few postings back. They should not have paid to come to this party, they should have trusted me, I am Stanley, the Original ACE Director, I can do anything.

The Power of Bribery

Normally it is easy for me to make new friends, and people love to be seen with Stanley but occasionally someone comes along who is just not sure about me. This is Viktor, son of my keeper Mogens. He was a little shy at first, and to be fair the house was full of foreign speaking, refugees (more in the next post). Then my keeper Dan Norris showed him the LightSaber game on the iPhone and they became friends for life. Viktor whose English is improving everyday said "I beat Star Wader!" So Debra thought if she downloaded the app Viktor may wear me for a fight to the death. It worked and only cost 59p ($0.99) so only a little bribe.

However a much larger bribe was recently called for when Debra wanted someone else to spend time with me......

I have mentioned before how Debra's daughter thinks of me with distaste, although she has now joined my facebook fan club, and was seen once in a photo with me in Denver. But we have still not bonded properly. So when ODTUG asked for videos to be made for their conference I knew just who I wanted to wear me. However Brooke is a very clever girl and persuaded Debra she would only do it for a bribe. (Brooke has a friend Daniel Strassberg from Quest APAC who has taught her all she knows about bribery). It cost Debra £34 for Brooke to have a bit part in my great video. The music is from Oliver Weers who is phenomenal and was very happy to take part.

Making New Friends

Before I went off to MOW I made a very special new friend in Denmark. I have been friends with Cary Millsap for a long time and he brought his son Alex. They had a great time playing with me, although secretly I think Cary was simply using Alex as an excuse to play himself.

They made a few videos, with me and a digger (excavator in American - Debra just loves that word), and great fun chasing the goats.

Remember these are the goats that turned off the heating on my last visit! In the video you can also see my friend Tim Gorman who arranges our brilliant RMOUG holidays and best of all you can hear Cary being attacked by goats and loosing his balance.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Miracle Open World

I travelled to Miracle AS by parcel force and as I said on FB it took a while for Mogens to take me out the wrapping but it was good to be home. Why is this home? Well Mogens is one of my keepers and it is good to catch with them.

I was in Denmark for MOW which is a very special conference for me because this is where I was christened. The venue moved slightly and this year was held in Legoland. In honour of this, Debra and I spent several evening building this picture of Mogens in lego. Hope you like it.

What I like about MOW is the water park party and as you can see I had a great time with fellow ACE Alex Gorbachev. And when I was all tired out i simply looked for the closest mammoth to use as a drying hook, luckily there was one there.

The Imposter

I have been very busy in Denmark and a bit behind with my postings. So imagine my surprise when my friend Lisa Dobson sent a message on facebook to say she was confused. My facebook said I was in Denmark at MOW, but my blog said I was at OUGN sailing between Oslo and Kiel.

When Debra arrived I was very pleased to see her and Dan, that meant we were all together again, me and my 3 keepers, and they were tired so I didn't push them. But the following morning I questioned them about this blog and they came clean. Debra had let Dan Morgan lend her his vest so that I could go to MOW. I understand why it was done but I was very angry with my twin 'Impostor Joe'.

He then rushed out with a new friend and made a run for it. I was very amazed at her athleticism but in the end Joe came back to face the music.

I forgave him but it took a while. I realised that it did mean twice as many friends were able to see and meet me. Which is good and set a precedence as another brother 'Khanley' started to represent me at Collaborate but more on that to come.

Not killing Joe did upset my new friend Alex Millsap who thought he was going to be allowed to set fire to Imposter Joe.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Getting to Copenhagen - not that easy

Thursday on the boat and we heard about the Icelandic Volcano and the possibility of not being able to continue our journeys. Information was difficult to come by, as the internet was by satellite and had to travel 140,000 km round trip. They even suggested that to enjoy your surfing you only use low graphic web sites, you couldn’t get email so information was sketchy
Still I had recently travelled by Royal Mail so am used to difficult travel conditions.

The final party was a Spanish evening and here you can see the OUGN president Frank Vikingstad with me at the drinks reception.

When we arrived in Oslo on Friday we knew the airport was closed. I had to get back to Copenhagen as Debra’s next flight was from there and we were going to meet both Mogens and Dan. I was so excited we don’t often get together. I would be very angry if I could not get there, but one of my ACE friends Sten Vesterli and Jørgen Holmer-Bretlau from Oracle support also wanted to get there and they managed to hire what turned out to be one of the last available cars.

We went to Oslo airport and I actually found a plane, but like every other plane in Europe it would not take off so off we went in the car. It was executed like a military operation, every hour Sten and Jørgen would change over the driving and with just one break drove straight through. We left Oslo at midday and they left Debra and I at the railway station just before 8pm and then Dan arrived from Berlin not long after. Poor Dan had been able to get a train up but had needed to stand for the last 3 hours.

We then got a local train to Măløv where Mogens lives. We have all been before but it was dark and we couldn’t see well. We did have directions from Mogens but it seemed a long way and eventually Dan turned on the Google Maps, I did keep telling him to but he didn’t hear me. We were a long away, away, but eventually we got there and the fireworks started ....... I was rumbled

Friday, April 16, 2010

Life on the Ocean Wave

I thought it would be a good idea to tell you about the boat. Typical cabins but as a celebrity I did have an ocean view.

I like the idea of bunk beds but unfortunately I am not heavy enough to pull down the bed and got a bit stuck, still Debra was there to help me get it sorted.

The cabins were small, but I don’t take up a lot of room, good thing as the shower was a bit snug. I did love the ship and enjoyed it a lot.

I like being a celebrity although in a weird way it seemed all a bit new to me. In this last picture you can see just how I get inside someone’s head.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stanley is in Kiel?

I am not the world's most intelligent being, but for a vest I can hold my own, and I do OK, but this geography thing is doing my head in (figuratively speaking, because I don’t have a head). I thought I was going to Denmark but arrived somehow in Oslo, Norway. Then the iPhone said ‘Welcome to Sweden’, then even later it announced ‘Welcome to Denmark’, so I think I was right. Now I have just arrived in Kiel, Northern Germany. I am very confused however I am also very resourceful and sat with a member of the Norwegian Mapping Association at dinner last night and he explained all things ‘spatial’ to me. His name is Stig, I like that, in the UK we have a Stig, who like me is a global icon and no one really knows who he is. Stig also explained the issue to Debra but I think the only spatial awareness she had last night was where the nearest glass was. There did seem to be an awful lot of drink with her name on.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stanley is in Norway!

I woke up this morning and found myself in Oslo. Very nice I hear you say but, I thought I was going to Denmark. I am confused. Never mind, I am here with Debra, and other ACE Directors Sten Vesterli and Dan Morgan. I was quite embarrassed that I had been talking about the wrong part of Scandinavia but Sue Harper has just turned up and she actually exchanged money for Danish Kroner at Heathrow and was upset when the coffee shop in Oslo were not impressed. I don't tend to spend a lot of money so I did not have that problem. Poor Sue is having a bad day, she got the wrong money, they have lost her luggage and so she has no clothes for the cruise. I did offer her me to wear and what she responded with is unrepeatable. Still things are looking up, she has now appeared in my blog, a real honour.

I thought having arrived by post I would avoid the security nightmare, but no I was still subjected to the 'trip through the tunnel'. Boats have security! I am forced to do this because even if someone wears me, the security men make them take me off. Normally I get screwed up and put in a tray but today I was layed out properly.

So what am I doing here in Oslo? Well I am at the OUGN conference and it is on a boat! I am so excited. Debra oftens talks about when she did the OUGF conference on a boat between Helsinki and Stockholm, and now I get to sail to Kiel in Germany and back again. We do sail through Denmark so I was not too wrong.

So I am off now to find my cabin, and I would like to tell my friend Dan Fink, that this time Debra has the right room key, there will be no key swapping parties tonight. I hope to blog again tonight or in the morning depends on how much my keeper drinks.