Sunday, 28 February 2010

If You Knew Me In 2005, You May Be On The Internet

I've just about finished uploading a lot of pictures from 2005 to my flickr account. If you'd like, you can check them out here on fluidr (this link lets you see everything I'm uploading at the moment, so it'll be changing pretty quickly; you can still click on "SETS" near the top, though, and see all of the new uploads in a pleasing, black-background presentation). In any case, as I mentioned yesterday, if you happen to be in one of the pictures and don't wish me to post it, please tell me and I can take it down.

In the meantime, though, there are some great pictures, and it's been great to relive some nice memories! Some of the 2005 highlights include:

-My road trip to the Pacific Northwest, including Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, and eastern Washington state. (Bonus: there are also pictures of a teepee included!)
-Some good fun Philly-style, including a jaunt to Montreal! (This set has what now appears to be my most famous picture, which is of my friend Josh wearing a set of fake boobs in a costume store. I think it's getting so many hits cause I included a "boobs" tag!)
-The Eurotrip, with too much goodness and fun to even begin to describe!

If I get time this coming week, I'll try to start uploading some pictures for the time between 2005 and now, but it may be a slow process. Thanks for your interest, and thanks for checking out the pictures!

Have a good day!

Pictures From The Past

Our recent encounter with a thief has led me to try to backup as much of my digital stuff as possible. (You can read an article Brad wrote here). I've gotten Mozy remote backup, and I've also started uploading quite a few of my older pictures to flickr. That's something I've been meaning to do since signing up for a Pro Account with flickr, mainly just so I have an extra copy of my favorite pictures in case something ever happens to them.

Also, another advantage of backing up these pictures is that you can also check them out. Last night I uploaded about 100 pictures from a trip to Europe that I took in 2005. Highlights include Denmark, Sweden, and Germany. Feel free to check them out here, and if you like something --or if you happen to be in a picture and want me to take it down-- please tell me!

I'll also be uploading quite a few other pictures in the coming days, and if there's something interesting, I'll try to mention it here. Enjoy!

Looking for Pirates and Treasures

With this ost I want to begin the exploration of the places connected with Pirates. It's clear, the first step has to be in the direction of their capital. Ane the capital of pirates was �le de la Tortue, island Tortuga in Caribbean sea, a part of Haiti.

The name means "Turtle Island" and is so because the same island is similar to a tortoise.
Because it was the major center of Caribbean piracy, the island is very famous now among the tourists that like to visit it. Well, this means probably the prices have to be "special", but I did not find information about it in other sites and do not know anybody, who just visited this paradise.

By the way, the first photo is from the other Turtle Island, in Venezuela. But I thought, the landscapes have to be similar. More or less.

What is interesting, the Franch governors had nothing against the corsars because thought, they protect the territory from other, maybe more dangerous enemies. And maybe they were right.

Many persons go there looking for treasures of the pirates. I did not find notices that somebody found them. It means, we can be those fortunate, if we go there! :0)

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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Pictures of the Day, February 26 and 27, 2010

Here are the Pictures of the Day from today and yesterday. Hope you enjoy them!

I've been trying to get a few more pictures with people lately, since there's only so much you can do with inanimate objects. The main problem with this approach is that I don't have that much contact with a lot of different people most days. However, we normally buy our eggs from a neighbor across the street. Our niece Mariela (in the orange shirt) picked up a kilo for us yesterday, and included in the bag there was a little runt egg. You can see how small it is compared to the one Angela's holding. I'd not seen a chicken egg that small before.

This is Angela and her mom, Cecilia. Enjoying a nice, cold beer. We usually go to her parents' house on Saturday or Sunday evenings.

So, that's it for today. Hope you enjoyed them, and remember that there are more pictures that you can check out by following the following links:


This is the boat I originally intended to visit on that Friday afternoon earlier this month. Built in Greenwich in 1945, Hope is believed to be the last oyster sloop built on Long Island Sound. Unfortunately, I know little else about her. Caught up in the moment, I entirely  forgot to ask Norm Bloom any questions regarding her. To the best of my knowledge, she has been owned by the Norwalk Seaport Association since the 1980's.

Last year, I read an old New York Times article that discussed oystering under sail. A man named Philip Teuscher filmed an oral history of the men in Norwalk and Bridgeport who had worked these last remaining boats. The documentary was to be entitled The Last Drift.
Sadly,I have been unable to locate the film. My emails to several local historical societies remain unanswered, and  google searches only provided me with more information on Vin Diesel than I would ever want to know. Perhaps the film was never completed. Nonetheless, I will continue to look for it.

* Update: David Berkowitz of Bridgeport was kind enough to email and inform me that the University of Connecticut has copies of Last Drift. I am now in the process of contacting them.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Changed My Mind

Wow, folks, this is unprecedented! Breaking news! I decided to change the Picture of the Day from February 22nd. When choosing and posting this past few days' pictures last night, I ignored my artistic inclination toward the picture below and put up a flash-filled Picture of the Day featuring Hannah, Paola and Juan Guillermo's adorable daughter. I liked this picture better, though:

But I didn't know if her parents would "get" the blurriness of the picture. But I gotta keep it real. The new Picture of the Day, February 22, 2010. It's been changed in flickr, it's been changed in the annals of history.

Let us never speak of this again.

Lobsters Too

Oystering is the main activity for Norm Bloom and Son, but clams and lobsters are part of the business too. We didn't talk much about clamming, but when one of the company lobster boats came into view, the conversation naturally went in that direction. 
In the late 1990's, lobsters in Long Island Sound suffered a widespread die-off that destroyed most of the lobster industry here. There have been many theories about the causes, and Norm seems to believe that it is a combination of these that led to the crash in population.

  1. Lobster populations thrive in colder waters, and decrease as you move southward. The Sound is at the southern end of the larger population area. As water temperatures increased, the Sound became too warm for lobsters to thrive.

  2. The rise in water temperatures allowed a parasite to flourish which destroyed the lobster population.

  3. The use of pesticides, including the extensive spraying to combat West Nile Virus, may have been equally destructive against lobsters.

  4. A transfer of a disease from bait used by lobstermen.

  5. An overpopulation of lobsters brought on by over feeding. The abundance of baited lobster traps led to an increase in size and overpopulation.  Smaller lobsters feed on the bait yet can escape the traps or be thrown back by lobstermen. Too many traps led to an unnatural population.

Time flies when you are talking about lobsters. As Norm finished explaining his theories about the die-off, the crackling of ice against the hull made it clear that we were approaching the dock. After pivoting the boat, he put her in reverse and backed in to the narrow slip. I grabbed the frozen spring line, jumped off the boat at mid ship, and made it fast to the cleat. The lobster boat we had passed followed right behind. 

(More To Follow)
Washington Post: A Knell For Lobsters
Boston Globe: Shell Shocked
Soundbounder: Fruits Of Winter (part one)
Soundbounder: I Love It Out Here... (part two)

Soundbounder: Mary Colman (part three)

Soundbounder: Lifting The Dredge (part four)

Soundbounder: Little Growler (part five)

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Picture of the Day Catch-Up: February 21-25, 2010

Here are the Pictures of the Day for the last couple of days. I hope there's something interesting for you. Remember that you can also see more pictures, including an adorable one of my wife and our backup cat, by following the links at the end of this post. Enjoy!

February 21st: These were some oranges that my parents-in-law had hung in a little area behind their house. I'm not sure I understood why, but it made for an interesting picture, in my opinion.

February 22nd: This is Hannah, my coworker and friend Paola's daughter (well, she's half hers... she also belongs to her awesome husband Juan Guillermo, but since he's not my coworker, and since I was using the possessive, I had grammatical problems when I tried including him earlier in the sentence).
Nevertheless, good work, guys! Beautiful daughter!

February 23rd: February 23rd was a slow day. Apparently, the most notable thing we did was to eat some pasta.

February 24th: Some itabo stakes that were sitting on the back of a truck. I'm not sure why, but it parked out front of our house for a few hours. So I took a picture of it. Click here for a post I wrote a while ago about how to cook the flower that grows on this plant.

February 25th: Lucy playing a game of balloon with herself, to show us all how it's done. How IS it done? Well, the spaces above look like windows, but in reality they have no glass. A person on one side of the wall hits a balloon through the opening to the other side. The person on the other side hits it back. And so on and so forth.
Who knew that a dozen balloons could liven up an office so much?

That's it for now. Thanks very much for reading, and have a great day!

St Goazec Walk - March 2

We have a walk next Tuesday, March 2, leaving from the car-park by the church at St Goazec at 2pm. (The village is near the Chateau de Tr�varez and Chateauneuf-du-Faou.) This is not a very long route (about 7kms) but up-and-down with some steep sections, long steady climbs and some parts that may be very muddy in or after wet weather. Typical March walk, in other words. Boots and stamina essential! The reward will be great views of the Monts d'Arr�e and Montagnes Noires (weather permitting!) and quiet, pretty rural paths. Look forward to seeing you then.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Pack o' Cards Inn

After our very muddy walk in Combe Martin (see previous post) we went for lunch in the Pack o' Cards. We booked before we set off on our walk. The Pack o' Cards is a grade 2 listed building dating back to the 17th century. It was built by George Ley after a win at the gaming tables, stand on 52 square feet of land, has 52 windows and 4 floors with 13 rooms on each floor.

Sunday dinner was our only option today, but the children could have had something from the children's menu if they'd wanted it. An adult dinner was �5.95 and a children's was �3.95. There were only four puddings, all stodgy stuff with custard, so we didn't have pudding. The meal was nice enough, although I have no idea why the roast chicken came with Yorkshire puddings instead of stuffing. My major complaint was the length of time we waited. We sat down at our table at 1.00 and it was another 45 minutes after this that we finally saw our food. Considering roast was the only thing on the menu you'd have thought they'd have served it up much quicker.

Combe Martin

This sleepy little villiage is located on the North Devon coast just past Ilfracombe. It has a small sandy beach, as seen in the photo above, the longest street in England, stretching for three miles, and the pub where we had lunch. That's basically about all there is in Combe Martin, but there are several coastal paths leading from the village which offer spectacular views over the seas and Exmoor.

We parked in the pub car park and wandered down to the beach today and from there followed the footpath marked 'Hangmans'. This leads up some steep hills to two high promontories called Little Hangman and Great Hangman. Great Hangman is the highest sea cliff in England. We didn't make it that far. My husband, in his wisdom, said before we let home 'Oh there are good clear paths up there.' Which meant daughters no.2 and 3 decided they wouldn't need wellies and that trainers would do. Big Mistake! The paths were caked in gooey, slimey, slippery mud. Before we'd got very far indeed their white trainers had turned brown. Not long after this my husband was left with mud on his face when he was the first to slip over in it. Unfortunately he took daughter no.3 with him when he went. She did see the funny side - later.

We struggled on for a while hoping that going forwards would be better than going back. There were several places along the way to sit and recover from the steep climb, although I suspect they were actually intended for people to enjoy the lovely views. We did that too. Then we spotted a fork in the path. Go left and make the climb up to the summit of Little Hangman, or right back into Combe Martin. We went right. Perhaps we'll make it to the top of the Hangmans in summer, when the paths might be drier.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Picture of the Day Catch-Up: February 16-20

This week has been eventful, although not terribly busy, if that makes sense. For that reason, I was a bit slow on posting these pictures. Let's get caught up!

February 16, 2010: This is a large vase of seashells we've found on the beaches of Costa Rica. We put the sand dollars near the top cause they're cool. Here they're called galletas del mar, or "cookies/crackers of the sea" ("galleta" can mean both "cracker" or "cookie"). Fun fact: although their name isn't related to money here, sand dollars are still probably worth more than the Costa Rican col�n, the local currency.

February 17, 2010: It was a slow day. Angela and I traded offices, and I pulled some weeds. I caught this picture of the sunset, which at first isn't that cool, but if you look closely to the left, you can see part of the Gulf of Nicoya. Which is nice.

February 18, 2010: On Thursday we decided to go to the beach again, since there's a new section of highway and we wanted to see how long it took to get there (decidedly under two hours from Berlin). We went to Playa Bejuco again, and I saw this interesting driftwood in the water. I like the little "tributaries" leading to the puddle it's sitting in.

February 19, 2010: I like to bake, so I made some cookies because it was Lucy's birthday. Angela and I had gotten some Hershey's Kisses when we were in Colorado, and we'd been saving them. They turned out pretty well, even though I'd not made this recipe before. I also made some oatmeal-chocolate chip ones.

February 20, 2010: A note I had to write to attach to our wireless internet receiving antenna on the outside of our house. At midnight last night, some asshole shitkicker (probably from Berlin, since he was on foot) tried to steal the antenna... while Angela was in the room, with the light on. She opened the curtain and yelled at him and he ran off, but she didn't see who he was. It's annoying that this type of shit happens here, especially in a crappy little podunk town like Berlin. And what's worse is that there's nothing to do about it except get a gun or a dog or both. We'll probably get a dog, less likely a gun.

Anyhow, the note reads:
"Atenci�n ladr�n!
Por su posici�n, esta caja recibe una se�al. Si se la quita de ac�, deja de funcionar.
As� que no vale la pena robarla, y seguro que nadie se la comprar�a."
(By the way, remember that I teach English and German, not Spanish, so there may be some mistakes in the Spanish part)

English Translation :
"Attention Thief!
Because of its position, this box receives a signal. If it's moved from here, it stops working. So it's not worth robbing, and surely no one would buy it from you."

All of which is true. Hopefully it works.

So, that's it for now. I'll try to post a bit more frequently next week, as long as the dipshit who tried to steal our internet antenna doesn't succeed in the future. Until then, remember that the links directly below have quite a few more pictures that you can check out. Thanks for reading, and have a good day!

What is Kizhi?

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Some days ago I began to write about the antique Russian church architecture. You can remember these 2 posts The Golden Ring of Russia, Russian Churches Of XII Century
where I told about very interesting examples of wooden churches and wanted to write some posts about them.

The first place is entire island -national park, Kizhi, in Karelia Russia, in front of Finnland, where you can see not only churches but different types of houses too. The church on the photo is made without nails, the pieces were made so, that they take one other.

Unfortunatelly, the church is not every day open for tourist to protect precious icons. But the visit is interesting in any case for the walk you can make through the park. And you can visit houses of the population (with guide) too.

Interesting is that all that buildings are real. They were disassembled, taken on the island and assembled once more.

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Friday, 19 February 2010

Little Growler

One of the last boats Norman Bloom and I visited that Friday is also one of the newer boats in the fleet. Little Growler is a fiberglass dredger built in the late 1980's. While somewhat smaller in size, the operation that takes place aboard her is more or less the same. She was working an area north of the other boats, and was much closer to the  Connecticut shoreline.

"That area over there used to only have a few houses." Norm said as he motioned to the stretch of shoreline that extends from East Norwalk to Westport. He then went on to describe the slippery slope that follows this development. There is runoff from the roads; expensive lawns loaded with fertilizers; and soon there is a dock and a boat outside each home. "That was all 2-3 feet of water in there at one time."He explained.
I knew the area he was describing well. My summer job in high school was at Rex Marine in South Norwalk. Several times I had worked on customers' boats docked in the back yards along this stretch that Norm had pointed to. I remember thinking how nice the homes were, never once realizing that there could be a negative impact from them. I also thought back to something I had read in the book, This Fine Piece Of Water.  Development is mostly decided upon at the local level. Each proposal, in isolation, produces a "small but acceptable burden of pollution". When combined however, the destruction is large.
Norm then went on to describe a group called Harbor Watch, who test and moniter the water quality around Norwalk Harbor. "They are always testing." He told me. There are also plans to relocate the groups' laboratory alongside his office. 
Oysters feed by filtering suspended particles in the water, and the quality of water is essential to their existence. While harbors such as Norwalk may be cleaner than they were 30 years ago, the threats from sewage, chemicals, destruction of marshes, and development remain constant. No clean water, no oyster industry.
(More To Follow)

Hartford Courant: Saving The Oyster
Soundbounder: Fruits Of Winter (part one)
Soundbounder: I Love It Out Here... (part two)
Soundbounder: Mary Colman (part three)
Soundbounder: Lifting The Dredge (part four)

references: This Fine Piece Of Water, by Tom Andersen; Yale University Press; pages 172-73

Tro Breiz

Our pilgrimage trail is off to a good start in 2010, with Lesley and Denise kicking off with a visit to the extraordinary sculpted rocks of Rotheneuf. Have a look by clicking the Tro Breiz link on the right here.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Pictures of the Day: February 14 and 15, 2010

Here are the Pictures of the Day from Sunday and Monday:

February 14, 2010: Since it was Valentine's Day, after all, I decided that I needed some cheesy pink crap. This picture is cheesy, but the scarf that Angela knitted is certainly not; it's quite nice, actually. She finally gave up on the idea of making a rug for the cats, bought some weird weaving-type tool, and learned a new scarf technique. Good work, Valentine!

February 15, 2010: Today I was busy TCB at home, doing various paperwork and planning things. I got caught up on a lot of small things on my to-do list, but I didn't have many opportunities to leave and get some new pictures. It's a bit sad, though, when we measure productivity by the amount of waste we produce.

So, that's it for now. Remember, there are some extra pictures for most days --these two days included-- that you can see by following the links at the bottom of this post. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Picture of the Day Catch-Up: February 9-13, 2010

I've gotten behind in posting the Pictures of the Day this past week, since Angela and I headed down to San Vito in the south of the country for a few days. So, here we can get caught up a bit:

February 9, 2010: This was the Picture of the Day, and also the only picture I took, I believe. I was packing my bags to get ready for our trip to visit Yeison in San Vito the next day. I like this backpack, by the way. I got it from Chris Hunter sometime in high school, and it's survived a lot (including two years of sarcastic German comments).

February 10, 2010: This is the Picture of the Day, although I'm not sure how interesting it is. Yeison took us to the Wilson Botanical Gardens in San Vito. Here are some more pictures from the day:

Yeison Lara, in all his glory.

Yeison and Angela.

An amapola flower at the botanical gardens.

Some palm trees.

A cross in the cemetery in San Vito.

February 11, 2010: Costa Rica Picture of the Day. I took two pictures of the day for the 11th, since we also went to Panama. This is actually the border between Costa Rica and Panama at the town of Rio Sereno, taken from the Costa Rican side. You can tell the Costa Rican side because it's the one with terrible roads. This border crossing is a lot quieter than the one in Paso Canoas, which we used to come back into Costa Rica. FYI, if you ever use the Rio Sereno border --which you probably won't-- the Costa Rican official is an enormous asshole.

February 11, 2010: Panama Picture of the Day. We went into Panama with Yeison for a day trip, and it was very nice. We visited a few little towns in the mountains (which looked strangely like Austria or Switzerland) and enjoyed some delicious pizza. A nice little excursion.

Some of the mountains in Panama.

This was taken on the Panamanian side of the Paso Canoas border, which is a much more heavily-developed crossing on the Interamericana highway. Everything in Panama is a lot cheaper than in Costa Rica, so there are tons of shops just over the border to attract the Ticos.

Back in San Vito in Costa Rica, at a cafe. Yeison and his family were great hosts, so thanks again to them!

February 12, 2010: It was a long day, and there wasn't much time left to come up with a Picture of the Day since I had to do lesson planning for the following day. It happened to be my brother Paul's birthday, along with Dario's and Zombie Abraham Lincoln's. Why zombie? Because if he's reading this, he's obviously a zombie, and he must be stopped.

February 13, 2010: This was also a long day with little of interest going on. This is a mural that these two artists started painting at the school where I work.

So, that's it for now, and we're officially caught up! Have a great day, and thanks for reading, and if you feel like seeing more pictures from the last few days, you can click on any of the links directly below and see more:

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Ohhh Tenerife...

My friend told me once about the vacations they want to organize this month in Tenerife. Her husband has a cousin and this has a little house there. So, when his wife goes home to visit her parents they want to stay with him. My friend was just there and what she tells about that vacation is only "Ohhh!!!!! Tene-riiifeeee..."

I have to confess, I thought it's in Caribean sea. Ehhh what you want -I've heard the word but did not know more. If you re so ignorant as me, I have to say you, it's an island in Atlantic Ocean belonging to Canarian islands belonging to Spain.

Here I post some photos so that we, all together can begin to dream about it.

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