January 28, 2010

Pictures of the Day, January 26, 27, and 28

Hi everyone! This week is the National Conference for Teachers of English in San Jose, so I've had to go there to help out and to present twice (my presentation title is "Sex, Politics, and Religion: Breaking Through Taboos," a good title if I do say so myself).

In any case, things have been busy. Here's a few pictures from the last couple of days:

January 26th: This is a trusty teddy bear that Angela gave me when we first met. I keep him on my desk to watch my shit when I'm gone. Plus, it seems to be the place in our house with the least mold.
She also gave me that little mug in the bear's hand, but it was separate at the time. I sewed it to his hand (yep, I can sew... it's genetic... thanks, Mom).
In any case, my bear was providing constant inspiration the other night while I was preparing my presentation for the conference, which started yesterday (Wednesday).

January 27th: This was in a session that I attended yesterday. I took a couple of pictures of the room (you can see more on the flickr page), but for some reason I liked this one, especially when I got it to my computer. I like how the light is shining on this girl's hand, but only there, really. It's like her pencil is holding the key to her enlightenment. Here's a bit of detail:

January 28th: I chose this as the picture of the day mainly because there were slim pickins. But the more I look at it, I like it. Mainly I like it because it's in a classroom, and I can't imagine that most classrooms could be host to a gas fire or one involving logs (which I think is what is on the "ground" in the "A" picture).
Plus, as I was analyzing the picture, I realized, "Oh! There's not even a fire extinguisher on the fire extinguisher hook!"
Oh, Costa Rica!

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January 26, 2010

Picture of the Day, January 25, 2010

Angela was cleaning a lot today, and she even cleaned the oven thoroughly. These are the knobs from the front of our Atlas brand oven. Atlas is, if not the best, then certainly one of the top ten oven manufacturers in El Salvador.

Cooperation in the isthmus: ¿Si se puede? Sure, ¿why not?

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January 24, 2010

Picture of the Day, January 24, 2010

Here's today's Picture of the Day:

The ticket window at the sala comunal de Berlin. I'm not sure which events they hold here that require tickets, but today's Water Board meeting wasn't one of them.

We went to the Berlin Water Board meeting because water is occasionally a pain in the ass in Berlin (by occasionally, I mean "during the day"). We finally had to install an enormous tank and pump near the Formerly-Crappy Casita near the back of our property, but it's still good to know what's going on with the Water Board. New this year: rates will be raised to about 40 dollars a year for water, and they're still trying to figure out where the leaks are.

Thanks for reading, and have a good one!

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Pictures of the Day, January 22 and 23, 2010

Here are my Pictures of the Day from yesterday and Friday, as well as an extra leftover. Hope there's something interesting:

January 22nd Picture of the Day: I'm not a huge fan of this as Picture of the Day, but I didn't have many other options. This is a bromeliad-type of flower in a tree in our back yard. I always think it's pretty impressive how these guys just grow all over the place, especially on branches of other trees. Plus, they're really light.
Buy or steal a bromeliad today.

January 23rd Leftover: This is technically a "January 23rd" picture, although I took it late the previous night before I went to bed, around 2 AM. I looked out our bathroom window and saw the fog and the streetlamp, and it was pretty nice. I'll have to try to re-create it some day, when I don't have to take it through a bathroom window, and when I don't have to wake up in 4 hours.

January 23rd Picture of the Day: While on my lunch break at work yesterday, I went to the Palmares Festival and bought some ice cream. They gave me an umbrella on the ice cream. I put it in our plant since I'm uncreative and wanted a Picture of the Day. Done and done.

So, that's it for those two days. We'll see what today brings!

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January 21, 2010

Picture of the Day and Morbid Story of the Day, January 21, 2010

Here is today's Picture of the Day:
If you've not heard it already somehow, there was a guy murdered in front of our house early this morning. Evidently, one coffee picker stabbed another one around 5:30 AM. According to rumors --and rumors, plus a lot of gossip, is about the only type of information available in Berlin at any given moment anyhow-- the stabbing was a result of a conflict that was carried on from a few days ago.

This is part of the crowd that was hanging out and rubbernecking. We actually didn't hear a thing, since our room is on the opposite side of the house, but when Angela woke me up around 7:30, she said, "There's a shitload of people in our yard!" I was surprised, but mainly because I didn't know she knew the word "shitload." When we went out, sure enough, there were a ton of people hanging out in our yard and in the street.
A few of the people in the crowd were family members of the victim. Most of the people in the crowd weren't. I can't imagine how it must be to have a bunch of slack-jawed dipshits hanging around you and discussing you and your son's death while you're looking on at his dead body. Shame on the police, for not keeping all the "tourists" away, I guess, but as my friend Lucy pointed out, it's also a reflection of their cultural approach to death and dead bodies, and it's quite different from what one may be used to in other countries.

Finally the cops closed off the road so that the inspectors could do their work a bit better, but people were still hanging out in our yard. I guess the cops thought that it didn't make sense to have an orderly crime scene where people weren't (literally) stepping on your clues, if creating that scene meant foregoing some insightful comment from one of the yokels eating a bag of chips while standing in our bushes.
Since the victim and killer are both from Nicaragua, this led to much speculation and talk about the "Nicaraguan character." Most of this talk was bigoted bullshit, of course, and it's lamentable that when a Costa Rican kills someone, they don't talk about how Costa Ricans supposedly don't know how to solve their problems without killing one another, either.

This is the worst part: when the cops were about to lift and move the body away, the crowd grew even more animated, and people clamored in to get a good look. I know, Lucy, you're right that it's a different cultural approach to dead bodies. Still, it's my cultural approach to say it's fucked up to gather up the family and then go down the road to see the fresh corpse. Also, I guess the fact that I'm not posting any pictures of the dead body covered in a white sheet shows a different cultural approach. Food for thought, at least.

So, that's the interesting news for today, I suppose. Not the good kind of news you want to spread around, but still the kind you should probably mention.

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Picture of the Day, January 20, 2010

I didn't have a chance to post this picture yesterday, but it's the Picture of the Day from yesterday. Angela's pretty.

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January 19, 2010

Picture of the Day, January 19, 2010

Here we have today's Picture of the Day, decided upon after much deliberation (and obviously much more photographing of this praying mantis-type creature):

I chose this one because it was the most "mantisy." You can see its colors, and you can also see its antennae, buggy eyes, and evil-doing hands. All in all, a nice picture. Thanks to Angela for pointing it out after she saw it on a plant on our front porch!

I also included this one just cause it's such a great picture of Cucho "roaring." We're training him to open his mouth enough so that we can put our heads inside and impress our houseguests (if we've not invited you over yet, it's because we want the routine to be perfect before we show it to visitors).

That's it for today. Thanks for reading!

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Picture of the Day Catch-Up: January 11-18, 2010

With this set of 8 pictures, I think we'll be about up to speed with the Pictures of the Day. I may put up a few more pictures from our trip to the US sometime soon, but we'll see about that. For now, hopefully there's something you'll like in this set:

January 11th: For the first week or so after we got back to Costa Rica, it was windy as balls. It's hard to take a picture conveying how windy it is, especially when you don't want to go out into the wind, but I think this does at least a passable job.

January 12th: My classroom, after class. Although sparse by American standards (especially since school's not in session here until February), this classroom is still pretty nice. You should see some of the public schools.

January 13th: Someone spray-painted this message on the corner by where we live. I believe it was for a bike race or marathon --something like that-- but it's still good advice in general: "go up."

January 14th: The weather in Berlin is strange sometimes. Near sunset, especially, things get kinky. Angela and I went for a walk to her parents' house, and the sun was setting through a thick fog, which had suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

January 15th: This is what they call a "receiver of coffee" here, but I believe we'd call it a depository. It's where the farmers drop off and measure their coffee at the end of each work day, and then the trucks take it down the hill to the Co-op's processing facility. In any case, I passed this depository on the way back from work late one evening, and it was all lit up, but closed and lonely.

January 16th: Speaking of coffee, there's nothing like a cup of it after a "long" day at work.

January 17th: This was a pretty lazy day. I worked in the yard moving dirt for a few hours, but then I sat in the sun and read "The Left Hand of Darkness," which Lucy loaned me. I love the back patio on a sunny day!

January 18th: Ah, the joys of trying to teach English right next to Palmares' annual two-week Festival. There was an elaborate 10-minute fireworks session near the end of my class last night (there's a video on flickr, if you want to see one of the multiple "false grand finales"). It's certainly pretty, but not conducive to hearing if my students are pronouncing "ship" and "chip" correctly.

Well! I believe we're now officially caught up! Thanks for reading, and check out the following links if you're interested in more pictures:
My flickr Page
January Pictures of the Day
January Leftovers
SeeVida (with pictures from multiple countries and contributors, including me in Costa Rica)
December Pictures of the Day
December Leftovers

If you're not familiar with flickr, you may not know that with each of these photo sets, you can view all of the pictures in a slideshow. Just click on that icon, near the top right of the page.

Thanks again for reading, and have a good day!

365: Picture a Day Project    365 Leftovers    All My Pictures    Sitzbook

Picture of the Day Catch-Up: January 6-10, 2010

Finally getting a chance to get caught up on some of the Pictures of the Day I've been behind on. Here we go with January 6-10:

January 6th: This is the big geodesic ball or whatnot that they have at EPCOT in Disney. I like this picture quite a bit.

January 7th: While in Florida, we stayed at the Port Orleans hotel. It was really nice, and set-up to look like the pre-Civil War American south. Disney's attention to detail is pretty incredible; the only drawback was that we had to keep hearing ragtime versions of Jingle Bells every time we went to the hotel's cafeteria. Oh well.

January 8th: Back in Costa Rica, at Juan Santamaria International Airport. This man was in the "Security Zone," whatever that means. (For me, it means that I get "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins in my head, only with different lyrics).

January 9th: Not that interesting of a day, not that interesting of a picture.

January 10th: We walked to Angela's sister's house for lunch, and we passed Lee's house on the way. His house is pretty impressive, but he's had major problems with it from the beginning, especially with contractors ripping him off. It's currently stalled in construction, as it has been for years now.

That's it for this set. I'm hoping to get caught up until yesterday sometime later today. Thanks for checking out the pictures, and remember that you can always see the pictures of the day, the leftovers, and the SeeVida set on my flickr page. I usually upload them there before I have a chance to get them on this blog, so those options are much more current and complete.

Thanks again!

365: Picture a Day Project    365 Leftovers    All My Pictures    Sitzbook

January 14, 2010

Childhood Memories Come Rushing Back... Sorta

This video is probably the most interesting thing I've seen today:

So far, at least.

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January 12, 2010

Picture of the Day Catch-Up: January 1-5, 2010

We're back here today, catching up on some of the Pictures of the Day I took at the start of the new year. Specifically, these are from January 1st to 5th. On January 2nd, Angela and I went with my family to Walt Disney World in Florida, so some of the pictures are from there. It was a great family vacation, and Angela will have stories about the rides to last her the rest of her life!

January 1st: This is a wall outside of a house at the entrance to my parents' neighborhood in Fort Collins. The house was once a school many, many years ago, but the owners seem to have renovated it. It looks pretty great now. I don't know if they put the bench there or not, though.

January 1st: I decided to have two Pictures of the Day for the first day of the new year, since I thought the snow and empty bench was a bit sad. So hopefully these nice warm flowers that were in my sister's house will brighten up the day. We went there with my mom's family to celebrate her birthday (she was the first baby born in Englewood, Colorado in the year she was born!) Happy birthday, mom!

January 2nd: This is a picture taken on Interstate 25, on the way to Denver International Airport. Once we were talking here (in Costa Rica) about the "winter" (dry season) here, and how everything looks so "dead" and "brown" during that time of year. I guess when you compare it to Colorado's winter, though, it seems pretty lush here.

January 3rd: This Picture of the Day comes from EPCOT's World Showcase at Walt Disney World. For a person who's into geography, traveling, and cheesy souvenirs from other countries, World Showcase is amazing. It's got around 10 or 12 countries represented, and each country has its own pavilion with buildings, restaurants, shops, cultural information, and sometimes rides or movies. It's great, actually, and was my favorite part of Disney World. I took this picture of the Japanese area in the evening. I'm still new to night photography, but I was happy with how this one came out.

January 4th: On our second day at Disney World we went to Hollywood Studios, which is basically dedicated to movies, music, and whatnot. They also have some pretty great rides, which are the ones that Angela will be talking about for decades to come. This particular picture is of the Tower of Terror, I believe it's called. Basically, it's a Twilight Zone-themed ride, and you strap into an "elevator" car that leads you around the hotel. Near the end, you go up 13 stories or so, and they drop you. Then you come up and they drop you again. You shit your pants, possibly, or you scream like a madman or madwoman. It's pretty fantastic. Angela said it was great, but she'd never, ever do it again in her whole life. I chose this picture because of the ghostly effect in the front of the frame.

January 5th: On this day we went to Disney's Animal Kingdom, which is like a zoo with rides, basically. It also had a ride that scared the crap out of Angela (the yeti-themed Expedition Everest roller-coaster), and lots of animals. It was actually chilly that day, though, about 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so we tried to do indoors stuff when possible. This statue was at a sort of Pan-Asian restaurant where we ate a tasty lunch (served by a nice Argentinean guy, of course).

So, that's it for today. I'll try to get completely caught up in the next day or so, but since we were on vacation during vacation, if you will, I had an extra hefty load of pictures so sift through.

Also, for each picture here, there are at least 5 more on my flickr page. Please check out the official collection of Pictures of the Day for January, as well as the January Leftovers Page, which has quite a few more interesting photos (at least they're interesting to me!).

Thanks again for reading and looking!

365: Picture a Day Project    365 Leftovers    All My Pictures    Sitzbook

January 11, 2010

Picture of the Day Catch-Up: December 27-31, 2009

Well, it's certainly been a busy couple of weeks since I've posted the latest Pictures of the Day. I'll try to do them 5 at a time or so until I get caught up, but there was a lot of backlog, especially from December 29th, when we went to the Denver Art Museum. I took a buttload of pictures that day, so you should check them out on my flickr Leftovers page. I think they're pretty neat, at least.

Anyhow, without further ado, here are the Pictures of the Day that I took between December 27th and 31st:

December 27th: This is a lampshade in the room where we stay when we visit my folks. I basically just liked the colors (As this project continues, I think that we'll find that this justification for choosing a Picture of the Day will be used more and more...).

December 28th: A Skeleton magnet that Angela and I gave to Dustin and Sam after visiting Mexico. It's now on their fridge. It's also got a name, but it's too late to look it up.

December 29th: There were a number of incredible works of art and sights at the Denver Art Museum, and I may even put up some more pictures in a separate post, but you can also check them out on my flickr page. Ironically, though, the picture I liked the best is this one of a ton of scotch whiskey bottles in Pint's Pub, where we went after visiting the museum.

December 30th: This is admittedly a pretty weak-sauce picture for Picture of the Day, but it was a bit of a slow day. Do you know what a "Lifestyle Mall" is? If not, then God bless you, my child. They're basically malls, but outside. So that means that instead of walking from store to store, you can drive from store to store in the same mall. And when it's hot as balls in the summer, you don't have to tolerate all that Air Conditioning that conventional malls had (the only good thing about them, it seemed). And when it's cold as balls in the winter, and you want to go from store to store, you have to go outside in the cold and possibly even rain, sleet, or snow.

I don't know what dipshit invented Lifestyle Malls, but I want to have a word with him, face-to-face and fist-to-nuts.

Anyhow, Angela and I ended up at a new Lifestyle Mall in Denver after visiting my aunt and uncle's family. Most stores were still vacant, which made the normally alienating experience of visiting a mall even more surreal and hateful.

December 31st: This may seem like a strange picture to choose as the final Picture of the Day for 2009, but it's a good one, in my opinion. What was 2009, really, if not those two chicken wings sitting around on the platter at the end of a celebratory meal? You know the wings I'm talking about: The ones that everyone is eyeing and secretly wanting to eat, but everybody's a bit too bashful and possibly too full to actually just grab and devour them.

Basically, these wings are the economic crisis.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed the December Pictures of the Day. I've been taking them in January, and will hopefully continue to do so until December 1, 2010. As I've noted before, there may be a delay in the posting, but I'll try to get them up as soon as I can.

And as always, thanks so much to everyone who reads this blog, and especially to those who pass on their encouragement. Let's hope 2010 is full of great pictures!

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A Koan For A Windy Day

If a tree falls in the forest, but nobody is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?

The answer, of course, is "yes."

See, regardless of where the tree falls, it will land on some power lines, thereby knocking out the power here in Berlin. The sound it makes is the cumulative sound of about 200 people sighing, knowing that they won't have electricity to prepare their afternoon coffee.

Break out the wood stoves and boil some water by burning those falling trees. That's what they mean when they talk about "synergy."

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January 10, 2010

Coming Soon...

Angela and I got back to Costa Rica yesterday, and things have been busy, what with watering the lawn, Angela's TOEIC exam, and killing all the crickets and cockroaches. I've still been taking the Pictures of the Day this whole time, and I'm hoping that starting tomorrow I can put up a few at a time. We got a new computer while in the US, and since I've been tweaking it, I've not had the time to get the pictures sorted out. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and I'll hopefully get back to you again tomorrow!

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