15 December, 2010

Why not bring a new friend Home for Christmas.

Merry Christmas. Christians believe that Jesus came to earth as a gift from The Father so that all men could have Reconciliation to the Father through believing in Jesus. They believe that as God is perfect, that man's imperfection has driven us apart from Him so we need Reconciliation to know the joy and peace He intended us to know. That is why Jesus came to earth to be the means of that Reconciliation. What a cool gift. That is why Christians celebrate Christmas. As the actual day of Jesus birth and the COOL GIFT being made to man is unknown at some point the end of December was deemed a good time to Celebrate and now we have the season of giving gifts to remember the GIFT that keeps on giving, never wears out, or breaks, never needs batteries, never fails, lasts forever, and the only one you can take with you when you die! WAY COOL no?

They tell us that this is the time more people give up and end there lives than any other time of the year. That is so sad as now is the time we should remember and realize that the HOPE entered the world, and knowing the HOPE is free. Separation from the Father and trying to earn His approval is not possible for Man which is what causes the depression that plagues so many this time of year it also is what causes acts of desperation in followers of faiths seeking to earn reconciliation. However the GIFT is free and anyone can accept it. What a waste to give up when the goal is easily attained, to make something so easy so hard and fail in the end. The thing is you can know the peace anytime and anywhere the decision to believe in Jesus and follow HIM is yours and no one else's. Christians call telling God you accept his gift through Jesus, Prayer, and that is one Prayer He will always answer in the affirmative.

Giving gifts is claimed to be the greater joy but you know in your heart you LOVE getting them just as much. I challenge you this year to think about accepting the Biggest, Best and Coolest gift you could ever get. I'ed like to introduce you to the greatest person who ever lived on this earth. Jesus.

Siberia Tom

20 September, 2009


Things are sometimes not what they seem. In Cyrillic script some letters look like others we are familiar with and some look different. Take for instance the letter F as we know it looks like ะค in Cyrillic. Cool isn't it. and some others are the same but different. like the letter o is almost always pronounced like a soft a. and a number 3 is actually a z , while the small capital H is actually the letter n, and the c is pronounced s. Got that. There will be a test later in this post.

Take for instance this telephone booth which in not in service, apparently leads one to question if it was a TACO-fone phone or a Toxa-fone phone. We have wondered what exactly that is all about and what one would use one for. To order tacos or to report hazardous waste spills. Or maybe this phone has some other sinister use we have not yet guessed. They are located all over Bay city and most are in this or worse shape. Apparently the coming of the Cell phone has killed the Takcofon phone market. But as always happens just when you decide to have no idea what is up a lightbulb illuminates and you know.

These phones were for ordering take out from the HAZMAT cafe.
Question answered and case closed.

Now that you have read all that, I hope the rest of your day goes better. Have a good one!


15 September, 2009

Monthly post

humm this is a not so regular blog isn't it. Things get in the way of playing on the internet. What did we do before internet. Can you picture blogging by candlelight? Ya that is pretty lame wasn't it. In the last 4 weeks I have started a new post 6 or 7 times. I wanted to include pictures but I don't want to waste your time with bad ones so I haven't. Several months ago I started helping some friends register at a local university to take some classes. We spent the first two months working on getting the university to help us get them a visa. That didn't work so we got our own visas for them as students, it was easier and faster. That took about 2 weeks. So in June we started with the paperwork for their registrations. First we translated their passports and diplomas. Then we had those documents notarized. Then we took them to the local department of education who requested that we get copies of transcripts. When we had those we were then told that they needed to also be translated and notarized and accompanied by a copy of the institution who granted the diplomas' accreditation paperwork, which needed to be translated and notarized and accompanied by a document from the US embassy stating that it was correct. Right! Like that is going to happen. Last week our students started classes. All went well. It was decided that as they only wanted a couple semesters of language and not a degree that the translated diploma would do fine. Hurry up and wait.

Oh, about the pix;
Well, can your cat play cards?

This one is not a picture from here.


15 August, 2009

prickly fruit.

Not far from our house is a park. The park has some near fountains and statues in it. Around the edges there are quite a few trees. They looked like some kind of birch or willow to me with whitish bark but the lower sections were pretty rough like an Elm. They had big leaves that look like elm leaves but which are really big. Here last week we noticed these little things growing on the trees. some old dried ones are on the ground we had never noticed before and they open up like a clam when they dry. Inside is a pit like a peach. Nope I have no idea what they are.

In town they have been working on the streets. It seems that the storm drains filled with sludge this spring when there was heavy rains and that led to some flooding. So now they are digging up the old ones and replacing them with new ones. The new ones look a lot like the old ones so We are not exactly sure what the point is but the work goes on. I am not sure the real name of the drains Our friend Bruce called the Juuies when we visited him years
ago in another central asian country so we adopted the name. They are like city wide irrigation ditches. Water flows through them most of the time and people use them for washing cars or irrigating there yards or trees. They also seem to use them for litter removal. I guess that is why they are plugged.
People seem to think that there is an unlimited supply of water even though it seems that the agricultural development of the country is limited by access to water. Every apt we looked at had at least one if not all the faucets and toilet leaking water constantly. We are told that the parts to fix them cost more than the water will so just to let them run. That is just wrong to us so we keep buying washers and new fixtures to try to stop the flow.

Water is always an issue. In Russia we used a little Katadyn camp water filter. We probably didn't need to but our friends said we should do something so we did. It lasted the entire time we were there. We changed the filter once as we thought it needed it. Our water here ruined the element and ceramic stone within 20 gallons. There are some really fine minerals in the water. Our little pump filtered to .3 micron that is pretty fine. But as we cant get more filters here we have had to look for another option. There are Indian filters available here for about $30 which seems cheep. On line we read that their elements may use Arsenic to kill bacteria and that it may be good to avoid that. We had thought of buying one and then getting Us or Swiss elements for it. Last week we went
to check on them and there on the shelf were enough Swiss elements for one unit. So we bought the set and put it together. Of course nothing ever is as easy as it should be so we had to get creative to keep the valve in the housing as the threads and the nut that were supposed to do that job were not a match. Some teflon tape and packaging it came in did the trick though and it is not leaking so far. The shiny can seems to remove the dirt okay and kill the bugs in the water okay but the water has a bad taste and smell after it passes through the filter. Life goes on. We will see if it is the water or the filter.

If you live where you can drink the public water from the tap without thinking about it. Thank the guys responsible. That one fact puts you in about the richest 5% of the people in the world. The danger is having so much is you forget what life would be like without it. I saw a spot the other day that Cuba has started requesting farmers use Mules as that saves gas. Think about that. What would food cost if we returned to farming with mules.


18 July, 2009

Honey, I'll get the mail on the way home....

Yes, we have a post office box here. I shared once before about getting mail in Russia so maybe I have an issue that way I don't know. Thursday I was walking home and decided to stop in the post office and check to see if any mail had found us yet. We have been doing this since we returned from The US in early June but until now only "air mail" in our empty box.

The postal locks here are sorta neat they look like Philips #2 screw driver tips. They file off the sides like the notches on a key to make the key. There are 4 sets of tumblers that way. If it is made well that is probably a nearly pick proof lock, at least they want you to think that they are.

The down side is that the key fits any of 4 ways so getting it right on the first try is addressed with a mark on the key and lock that you match up when you insert the key. Well, on all the others you do that, on ours you insert it 180 degrees off. More pick proof I guess.

Ya too much info I know but Thursday we had mail. Well, sort of mail, we had two slips of paper saying we had mail. So I thought probably international mail requires you to pay for delivery or something so I went to the window to ask. The lady who works there is really nice and she took a great deal of time and words I didn't know telling me that I had to go to another post office to claim my mail. OK so I asked my friends where they pick up mail from the US. Of course it comes to there PO box next to mine. But boxes come to another post office a few blocks away in the general direction of where she had indicated.

Diana and I set off with our papers and knowledge of where to go. We went to that post office and were told that where we needed to go was near the train station. We went to the train station and asked for the post office. We were told it was on down the street a few blocks. We wandered on down the street and we found a sign that had the address of the post office we wanted on it. So we followed it and asked for the post office. Nope not here back the way you came.

We asked another guy yes further on the way you came from. And another, "it is on the train station" Russian prepositions sometimes translate funny. Ok back to the train station, and wow the address is the same as the one on our paper. So we go in and ask about the post office. No it is not here but go out the door and to the right 25 steps and there it is. So out the door and 25 steps to the right and there is a door. It is locked and inside is a desk pushed up against the door so it can't open. Ok so another 15 steps to the next door. It is a restaurant, but they know where the post office is. Great they point to a dilapidated building about 100 yards up the track in a industrial area that looks a bit spooky. So with Diana watching my back we venture into the unknown. When we arrive at the building in an area where people don't seem to pick up after there dogs or maybe it just smells like that, we get to the building and the only door on the front says Post Office Store. Inside we can see a small grocery store. We think well Aunt Bee got the mail in a dry goods store on Maybery RFD so maybe the same here. We enter and ask. A guy without shoes sits by the door selling seeds, there is a lady behind a counter with a postal scales so I approach her and show her the papers. She tells me "yes this is our house" no wait I bet she said "yes this is the right building" Hard to tell as Russian may not have been either of our first languages. But the guy with no shoes takes us back out side and points to the end of the building and to the right. Again with Diana guarding my back we set off in search of the post office.

We turn right and walk past the old truck blocking the parking lot and to the back corner of the lot and building and down a couple steps into a lower floor of the same building into a dark room with a few boxes and desks and a guy working at one under a bare light bulb. I show him my papers. Then I hear him say my name and then he produces my two letters. He then ask's me to write on the back of the papers from the registered letters that I received them to sign them and put the date.

So I have my letters and it only took two hours to pick it up, I got a couple miles walking in and learned how to say international post office in Russian so some people understand.

But next time I can do this in a hour or less. Cool

So what was your major acomplishment today?

13 July, 2009

Well it almost helped

So do you get those annoying little time to update some bit of software now and then? I do ocassionally and
living here where the internet is just a bit faster than dial up it
signals having really slow internet until the newest update is installed.
If you notice I have not posted in a while and in part that is due to being
busy and in part due to not having an
y new pictures
to add and in part to my browser along with the free one
from Mozilla neither being able to display the BlogSpot site correctly.
A few days ago I got the update your browser notice so I left the computer on while we went out and installed the update. Just now was the first
time I could get back on BlogSpot and at first I thought the update has fixed it, well, almost. I have the bar back at the top but there is still three screens between the title applet
and the Preview box.
Not so bad, at least I can log-in again... However I am still missing the formatting area so it may be hard to add a picture.
Yes, it was hard. The applet is there hiding in the white area. And the edit window holds all of 35 words. But we have opposing thumbs so we preserver.

04 May, 2009

Take out Pizza?

Several months ago I was having lunch with a friend from a Western European country.  One known for culinary stuff.  Coming from the heartland of Steak and potatoes I am somewhat ignorant of  such things.  Anyway I was enthralled as he showed the proper way to eat using a utensil in each hand while holding the fork with the manufacturer data showing rather than underneath.  He told us how his country men found the American habit of eating one handed cumbersome and inefficient not to mention downright humorous.  This was interesting watching the peas being rolled up the bottom of the fork to perch there without falling as they made the trip to their final resting place.  He then shaired a bit of humor regarding Americans refueling rather than eating, which struck me as sort of oxymoronic as he was the one eating with both hands to save time.

Anyway, regardless of that, they do have take out Pizza in Paris.  Who would have thought a frenchman would stoop to buying take out.  Maybe the starving artists don't have time to cook or cant afford both a fork and knife so cant get regular food off the plate.  I don't know.  I wonder if they deliver to Central Asia.  I could go for an American sausage, Canadian bacon, and extra cheese on a traditional hand tossed crust.

Keep your eyes on The Son