28 February 2010


We were asleep and didn't feel it, but this was recorded at the Seismological Observatory at the University in Heredia (about 1 mile from here). What you're seeing is the shake here when the 8.8 earthquake hit Chile two mornings ago.

Over 3000 miles away.

I don't really know how to read these graphs, other than "wow, that's a bunch of jiggling of the markers", but... wow, that's a bunch of jiggling of the markers. Perhaps a geologist will stop by and illumine us. I do know that when we have our li'l 3.whatevers, the jiggling normally only covers about two of the horizontal lines.

21 February 2010

A Li'l Texas (Flood) Blues for a Sunday

Thanks to Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein's Facebook avatar for mentioning the King Biscuit Flower Hour, which led me to this clip.

20 February 2010

What If...

... the US was a mature and involved society? Then people like me wouldn't have to post pictures like this:

to try to get the point across.

19 February 2010

I Just Can't Keep Up....

There's too much to see on the internet, and I forget some of the best regular "features" from time to time. For example, The Far Left Side

Here's a sample:

17 February 2010

16 February 2010

How'd I Miss This?

Oh, it was originally posted at Pharyngula a week before Christmas, when we were moving and not online much.

14 February 2010

12 February 2010

Morning Awesome

Cineflex - Norwegian sunrise
from Leif Holand on Vimeo.

Title idea stolen from Bob Cesca, video found over at Little Green Footballs (who have fully come over from the Dark Side). Watch it in fullscreen.

09 February 2010

Stereotype? No Thanks

So, as you all know by now, I'm living in Costa Rica, and have been for nigh onto a year. In the heart of Latin America, with a population that's about 99.999999% Catholic. Okay, not quite that high, but it's way up there.


When you combine Latin America and Catholicism, you get macho-misogyny, right? Right?

Meet the newly elected President of Costa Rica:
Laura Chinchilla* (chin-CHEE-ya)

And if that's not stereoatypical enough for you, the newly elected 2nd Vice-president (yes, there are two here) is Luis Lieberman(no photo available).

Adding... So the Presidents of the United States and Costa Rica are both basically my age. Not sure how I feel about that....

06 February 2010

Double Take

As I was driving home from classes this afternoon, I caught up to and passed one of these:

As I first saw it ahead of me, I thought it was loaded with rip rap -- you know, the football-sized stone that you see lining ditches on highway medians and shorelines and such? As I got closer, though, I realized the trailer wasn't loaded with stone at all.

It was full to the brim with pineapples.

Alas, I din't have my camera with me, but it made me do a double take.

05 February 2010


Remember a couple months or so ago, when I posted about Highland's Cold Mountain Winter Ale? Well, Jen's dad brought me one when he came down last week, and tonight I am having it.

(see post title)

Thanks, Dick!!


Muh kitteh is broked!!

Okay, not really. She just likes to sleep in odd positions.

04 February 2010

That Was the Longest Week EVER

I started working at Centro Multicultural back around the beginning of July of last year -- don't remember perzakly when. They told me when they hired me that they had just started using a new textbook and that the teacher's books (with answers, tests, and "for further exploration" exercises) would be in "next week". Every couple of weeks, the "next week" would be reiterated.

Now, in fairness to the people for whom I work, this is Costa Rica and things happen ... when they happen. Especially when international shipping is concerned. I saw first hand last week, on the way to and from Nicaragua, how the trucks are backed up at (and approaching) the border. We saw trailer rigs with hammocks strung underneath -- the driver asleep in the shade -- showing that the drivers know they aren't going anywhere soon.

Also, there was that coup in Honduras a while back, which blocked up trucking for a while.

A couple of weeks ago, I was told that the books were in country, at the "customs house", and that we should have them -- you guessed it, "next week".

Well, I got to the institute this evening for my Thursday class, and Daniel, the owner's husband, looked at me with a gleam in his eye and said, "I have something for you."

After six months of teaching the books, I now have the teacher's book. And I must say, I'm not disappointed. They're really good books, and my students are doing well (and that was afore I had the T's book).



As far as I'm concerned, this should be the last words on the subject:

h/t to Bill Wolfrum, who says, "We Americans grow up hearing about 'Freedom and Liberty.' It is literally drilled into our heads day after day. We are now at a time when those words must either be proven true, or dismissed all together. A thank you to Mr. Spooner for his service and his beautiful sentiments."


Yesterday morning, the internet seemed all sluggish and stuff, so I tried resetting the modem (which Jen had done before to great effect). Unfortunately, I pressed the recessed reset button and not the power button, which is what she had done before.

No internet.

No way to access the passwords and such required to get the modem working again, other than calling the phone company and requesting a tech visit. So Jen called them and was told "24 - 48 hours".

But first thing this morning the phone rang, and I gave the tech directions, and he was just here and we have internet again!!!!

And, I will not press the recessed reset button again.

01 February 2010

This is the Best Idea I've Seen In a Long Time

Thanks to BlueGal, who led me to the post at Evil Slutopia, who got this from Deb on the Rocks, who originated it:

We Can Create A Foundation to Support Bloggers!

I believe supporting the Arts is one of the important ways we better our world. Service takes many forms, and all are necessary: the gifted content creators in the blogosphere are artists, and my life is so much better --our culture is so much better -- because of their work. The heart and soul of blogging, the truth of self-expression online, is so much more than the ridiculous few business models we've tried to use to support our artists.

For many of us, creating content and publishing online is our Parisian salon, our Algonquin Round Table, our Bread Loaf. We are a community of creatives. We know that publishing is a sacrifice, a commitment, the rushing, moving channel for our art, and we want to make way for the highest quality in online work to be supported whether or not it appeals to corporate sponsors. And are devoted to our community of creatives, even when we truly know each other: we are united in our passions, connected in doing what we are drawn to do. Every writer I know has said that her work has improved because of the practice of writing online, the feedback of audiences, and the exposure to other gifted, brave, vanguard authors. We know the value of quality and necessity of blogging, which is what makes us so very generous with our own limited finances when one of our own is in need.

I've often wondered why our rich tech brothers haven't become like the Medici's in Renaissance Italy. Why haven't they stepped up to fund creative development, or to create a foundation to protect our burgeoning art form and its creators? I'd like to encourage them and other related businesses to do so--and not solely by giving us free printers to review. Printers, coupons and samples of cleaning products don't pay emergency room doctor bills or get the electricity reconnected.

As a patron of the arts, I've donated money to many structured emergency relief funds. They are so important, so useful, in helping artists and writers continue to work despite financial setbacks. What if bloggers could have access to a fund like:

the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, which helps craft artists

the ASJA Writers Assistance Fund, for nonfiction freelancers

the PEN American Writers Fund for published writers

the William A. Graham Artist Emergency Fund, which helps visual artists

or other public, private, regional or local funds.

We have an opportunity to build this thing. I've submitted a request for a seed grant to start the process, from Pepsi's Refresh Everything crowd-sourced corporate giving project. This is what they are doing with the money they saved by not airing a ridiculously expensive Superbowl ad. This is an amazing gesture toward a future that is more authentic because of crowd-sourcing, and because of what we do every day in this space.

I've just put the idea out there to see if bloggers think that our art form needs this type of support. Do you? If so, please register and vote, and share the news. Republish parts or all of this post. Promote on social media. Do what you do, begin to protect what you love. The top two ideas in the funding category will be funded each month. If you have ideas of your own, submit it now for the next round on voting in March.

How it works:

1. Easy registration.
2. Vote every day in February.
3. Promote the link.

If you would like an email each day reminding you to vote, please email me at debontherocks@gmail.com to be added to the list. It's a very cool list to be on, but it won't be used for any other reason.

I'm offering up this idea because I love us. Even those of us who drive me crazy--sometimes especially them. I love what we do, and that we are lucky enough to do it. My heart breaks when economic suffering or personal and family crises gets in the way of creating for such brilliant people. I'd like to give us a chance to claim this next step in our medium's development. Please join me.