30 November 2009

Really, I'm Not That In To Holidays!

Just because I spent a lot of my sick time finding and downloading the four TV specials I listed in yesterday's post, and overnight last night downloaded the movie "White Christmas" to go with "It's A Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street" which I already have on DVDs, doesn't mean I can't be a bit Bah Humbug.

Oh, that reminds me, I want to try and find the Patrick Stewart version of "A Christmas Carol" online somewhere.

29 November 2009

"Christmas-time Is Here"

First things first, I'm feeling much better today. Still a bit stuffed up, but definitely "on the mend" as they say.

So, about this Christmas thing.... I've been looking here and there, and I've finally completed the Christmas Special Quartet. The four TV specials that always "made" Christmas when we were growing up. They are, of course:
  • "A Charlie Brown Christmas" -- this was always the number one must see of the year.
  • "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" -- remember, Bumbles bounce!
  • "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" -- the Boris Karloff-voiced cartoon, not that dumb movie.
  • "Frosty the Snowman" -- this one is sort of border, cause the animation was, IMO, crappy.

I found and was able to download copies of all four of these, and they will soon be on a Christmas Special DVD. Since the girls have (mostly) been growing up here in Costa Rica, I don't know how familiar they are with them, but I'm sure we'll all have a good time watching them together.

Here's the opening of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for your viewing (and memory) pleasure:

28 November 2009


I'm still feelin' poorly, and I missed both Thanksgiving dinners to which we were invited (Jen and the girls went, and I got "Bobby Bags" from both, though).... Ummm, I found some downloadable scenarios for one of the computer games I really enjoy playing and have played nearly to death, so it's nice to have new stuff to do.... I hear that cake (at least Dora the Explora [sic] cake) and wine go together.... Oh, and I've been watching (online) the HBO miniseries "John Adams", based on the David McCullough biography -- which I've read, and I've found it to be very enjoyable.... Can't think of anything else for now.

See ya!

27 November 2009

Well, Looka That

As I may have mentioned (heh), I've been under the weather the last couple days. I was telling Jen last night that all the congestion in my head must have really been messing with my equilibrium because as I was sitting on the couch yesterday afternoon I could have sworn there was a low-grade, long-lasting rumble of an earthquake going on.

It seemed to me that the couch was -- ever so slightly, but nonetheless -- moving from side to side. But we don't have that kind of earthquake here in Costa Rica.

Except, as it turns out, we did have two of them yesterday. The first was while we were out (looking at a potential home -- it was not the One, unfortunately) and it rumbled on for about 15 minutes. The second (which was the one I felt) lasted about three minutes.

(click to embiggen)

So I wasn't as messed up as I thought I was.

Almost Immediate Update: I didn't look further than the seismograph page I showed you before I posted, but it turns out that the first one was apparently associated with a 5.9 temblor off the coast of El Salvador. Which could mean that the second was an aftershock.

I don't know as much as I would like to about all this. Maybe one of my readers -- perhaps one who hangs out near his favorite coffee shop -- could point me (and any other interested parties) to some layman accessible information.

26 November 2009

Aimless Pondering....

Is it still a "cold" if one lives in a place where there's no such thing as cold?

/goes back to bed/

25 November 2009


As I mentioned the other night, I'm really not all that in to Holidays. I appreciate the good suggestions and comments on that post, but what I was really talking about was me celebrating. And now that I'm part of a familial unit with small children, I will have to engage more fully in the days. I have no problem with that, and maybe it will cause my own lost childhood wonder to rekindle. And if not, there's always Egg Nog with lots of rum. :)

Anyway, what I really logged in to tell you tonight is that there are a few things about the Thanxmasyear Arc de Celebration that I love. Like "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "Miracle on 34th Street"... and a couple of others. And tonight I found Charlie Brown (downloadable) and so -- after I preview it to make sure all the bits are in fact CB and not PR0N (yes, it even gets there) -- we can watch it with the girls. Jen isn't sure if they've seen it before.

Also, I'm sick and going to bed.

For those of you in the US, enjoy the turkey & fixin's, parades and football tomorrow!!

For the rest of you, get the hell to work! It's Thursday (or, for those on t'other side of the Int'l Dateline, Friday), for crying out loud!

24 November 2009

22 November 2009


Check this out! I'm #10 on Google on a search for "soft kitty, warm kitty", which, of course, is a little song from the wonderful program Big Bang Theory.

Okay, This Is One Aspect I Didn't Think About

Christmas -- and holidays in general, for that matter -- really haven't been a big deal for me since I was a kid. Once I stopped getting toys as presents, the whole deal paled.

Here I am now, in Costa Rica, part of a family with Jen and her two girls.

Girls who are 8 and 11.

Guess what?

21 November 2009

New Classes!

This morning I started two new classes in Belen (aka three towns over). These are groups that are new -- both to each other, and to our institute -- and there was some question as to what level (or levels) for which the students were prepared. And it was left up to me to make the determination. Which was fun in a way, because I'm really just flying by the seat of my pants to begin with in teaching these classes.

Lucky for these students, I've now had -- or at least, I've begun (they've not all 'taken', which, I'm learning, is par for the course in Costa Rican language schools) -- five classes, so I do know approximately what the different Levels are expected to know.

The first class had twenty-one students in it, ranging in age from 30 down to 11 (yes, 11 year-olds), and the second one four students (three adult women and one teenage boy). I'm pretty sure (but have to converse further with the Director of the institute to be certain [hey, we were both tired at the end of the day]) that the two classes will be combined, because 4 students isn't really financially viable for the business.

Oh, and I decided that the class(es) are to be Level III. So best of luck to the students (and me)!!

20 November 2009

It Always Scares Me When This Happens....

The Weather Channel Firefox addon thingy (...do da wubba bingo) -- application, I mean is way cool. Right there on the status bar of the browser, current conditions and immediate forecast.

Occasionally, however, it does this:

and I have to run to the window to make sure it's not the end of the world or something. So far, it has only been glitches in the programming. If it ever turns out to be something else, I'll let you know.

19 November 2009

Truth In Advertising

(click to embiggen for full effect)

From a 1962 issue of Life magazine. Read more about it here. Humble Oil merged with Standard Oil as part of a deal that created Exxon.

18 November 2009

From The Request Line

I'm not sure whether Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein meant this comment as "please share the pie" or as "please share the pie recipe", so, in the interest of fairness (and since the pie itself is all gone), herewith be the recipe....

I like to use a graham cracker crust, but you could use any type -- pastry, oreo cookie, 'Nilla wafer, whatever. The filling is made as follows:

Put 1½ cups of milk (whole is best, but at least 2% fat -- nonfat won't thicken) in a medium saucepan over low heat, until bubbles form around the edge. A low heat will keep the milk from burning as it heats, so be careful with the temperature!

Whilst that is happening, mix together:
  • 3T (that's Tablespoon) cornstarch
  • 4T sugar
  • ¼t (teaspoon) salt
  • 5T unsweetened cocoa (or less, if you're afraid of real chocolate taste)

After the dry ingredients are mixed, add ½cup of milk and whisk until blended.

Add this mixture to the scalded milk, and turn up the heat to medium. Whisk the mixture until it reaches a boil, then boil for one minute (whisking constantly, so it doesn't burn on the bottom).

Remove from heat, let cool to lukewarm and add 2t vanilla extract.

Chill and serve.

17 November 2009

Leftover Redux

The pie from the other day, tonight we shall finish it -- most likely:

So good.

16 November 2009

It's Kinda Cool...

that being outside the US, there are a multitude of video platforms available that don't work in the US. There are also ones that work in the US, such as Hulu, that don't work outside the States, but having downloadable episodic television (both "first run" and older shows) is pretty cool. Even with the Chinese subtitles.

What's not so fun is when you get two-thirds of the way through an episode and the rest won't load.

15 November 2009

Food, Glorious Food!

Tonight's dinner:

Steamed green beans, tuna casserole, and made-from-scratch chocolate pie w/(sorta)graham cracker crust*. As my Siamese cousin Ralph would say.... 'twas guuuuud!**

* - "Graham Crackers" aren't available (that we've found) here in Costa Rica, so we used "Fibra Miel", or "Fiber Honey", cookies.

** - And we haven't actually cut into the pie yet, but the "leavings" in the bowl were yuu-mmy!

14 November 2009

We Regret To Inform You...

...that due to spammers, I have had to turn on "word verification" for commenting.

I hate it, too, but I'm tired of dealing with the glut of spam I've had over the last few days.

Hopefully I can ditch this change in the near future.

12 November 2009

Sad News

I found out this afternoon that my mother's health is deteriorating, that her heart is wearing out. Her doctors expect that she will need to be prepared to go to Hospice care soon.

So in her honor, I'm posting the final couple minutes of this selection, Sakari Oramo conducting the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Jean Sebelius' masterpiece, Finlandia, known in the Methodist Church as the hymn, "This is My Song". It's always been Mom's favorite:

11 November 2009

You Won't Have Lou Dobbs To Kick Around Any More

Oh, wait, that was Richard Nixon, after he lost the 1960 Presidential election to John Kennedy.

Even though he resigned from CNN during his show today, we most certainly will have Lou Dobbs still lurking being a xenophobic a-hole ... possibly running for office?

Tenthers and Birthers and TeaPartiers and other assorted morans must be in celebratory mode tonight.

Come to think of it, those of us with consciousness and empathy and a desire to see the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few are a bit happy, too. No more Dobbs spreading lies on CNN (as the host of a show, anyway), and he'll likely get his ass handed to him if he runs for office.


09 November 2009

My Inner 12yr-old Would Like You To Know

Seen over on the Facebook sidebar:

08 November 2009

Sunday Night Classic

This Guy Really Doesn't Want a Mac...

Seriously, stop it. I don't care if Mac stuff is better. I don't care if Mac stuff is cool. I don't care if every Mac product comes equipped with a magic button on the side that causes it to piddle gold coins and resurrect the dead and make holographic unicorns dance inside your head. I'm not buying one, so shut up and go home. Go back to your house. I know, you've got an iHouse. The walls are brushed aluminum. There's a glowing Apple logo on the roof. And you love it there. You absolute monster.

Fantastically written tongue-in-cheek screed, h/t to Mike (and his roundup) over at C&L.

07 November 2009

30 Years And 2 Months Later....

In the fall of 1979 I started my first year of high school Spanish. The first things we learned were the "stock" tourist questions. You know, how to ask for directions, more beer, &etc.

Today, subbing a couple of classes at a location (an elementary school) I've never been to before, I finally made use of that first-learned phrase, "¿Donde esta el baƱo?"

Sr. Farias would be so proud.

06 November 2009

Just In Case....

there's anyone who hasn't yet seen this -- Jon Stewart lampoons Glenn Beck to perfection:

I can't stand to watch Beck for more than a few seconds at a time, but I can see every one of his "moves" in this piece.

Well done, Mr. Stewart, well done.

05 November 2009

Wingnut Math

Michele Bachmann's (R-Fantasyland) Healthcarepaloozathoniconbaggerparty, or whatever the hell she called it, happened today.


= "about a million" people.

04 November 2009

Today's PTOtKW -- Cause I Don't Even Want To Talk About What's Happening In The US

Low clouds this morning, because there's a Tropical Storm (Ida) lurking off the Caribbean coast. It was pretty much like that all day, except when the clouds got thicker and even closer, meaning fog, and I couldn't see shite out the window.

03 November 2009

The Green Hills Mountains of Ireland Costa Rica

Another in my (apparently) ongoing series of

Photos Taken Out the Kitchen Window [insert fanfare]!!!

This one was around 6:30 this morning, and the mountain across the valley was especially green-looking and sharp. The photo doesn't really do it justice, but there it is.

02 November 2009

Monday Funny

(found over at Lockwood DeWitt's place. If you haven't been, you really should check him out)

01 November 2009

Dear Republicans, Are There Any Adults Left In Your Party?

Because the ones in Congress have officially become 5 year-olds:

But Boxer cannot hold the markup unless at least two Republicans show up, and EPW [Environment and Public Works Committee] ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) signaled that he has unanimous support among the panel’s minority members to boycott the session until they get more data on the legislation from U.S. EPA and the Congressional Budget Office.

Inhofe said he will wait for Boxer to file an official notice of the markup — expected today — before responding with his own declaration of the GOP’s markup strategy.

They're not even attempting to hide the fact that all they're doing is being petulant.

“As soon as we find out what her announcement is and what she wants to do, we’ll have our response,” Inhofe told E&E last night. “We’ll have our unanimous expression ready.”

Why don't they just take their ball and go home, and leave taking care of pressing concerns to some more mature people.

More at EnviroKnow (blockquotes from NY Times article, h/t to C&L)