Penguins (Thanks Mick)

7 02 2011

Did you ever wonder why there are no dead penguins on the ice in Antarctica – where do they go?

Wonder no more ! ! !

It is a known fact that the penguin is a very ritualistic bird which lives an extremely ordered and complex life. The penguin is very committed to its family and will mate for life, as well as maintaining a form of compassionate contact with its offspring throughout its life. If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into and buried. The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and sing:

(Read this next part out loud)

“Freeze a jolly good fellow”

“Freeze a jolly good fellow.”

Then they kick him in the ice hole.

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iMacs, Mice and Money…and sex too

4 10 2009

Well I knew it had to happen and I guess for a month I was top of the hill but it looks like Apple will release a new iMac .  To really add insult in injury a new mouse might come too.  At least that I could buy.  Now I just need to wait for the supposed new tablet/reader/ipod on steroids.  I’m intrigued by the Kindle from Amazon but there has to be a better way of doing it.  Maybe Apple can do it.

All staff in the school district had to take a series of online tests to show that we understood the district sexual harassment policy.  Looks like this Air India crew should have done the same.

I don’t have enough money to operate a hedge fund but the Caymans might now have to raise taxes.

Now that my car hit 100,000 it’s time to start thinking about new cars.  I saw a 2010 Camaro the other day and fell in love.  Last night I read a review in Car and Driver magazine.  It said that 14,000 people had paid earnest money on the car but hoped none of them were over 5 foot 10 inches.  Guess I need to find a new mid life crisis car.





Really Random

26 09 2009

Well-The Huskies beat USC last week and I missed the whole thing.  Today I thought I would try to watch the Stanford game but I turned on Fox and they had soccer-and they call themselves “Fair and Balanced”

So I’m watching the Arizona/OSU game and reading the Husky Blog.  It could be worse.

Here’s something I’ll get sometime! Just don’t know what kind or when!

I had a lot of work done on the car this week.  It should be good for another 100,000 but it didn’t stop me from drooling over the 2010 Camaro I saw in the YMCA parking lot the other day.





What I forgot to tell you

21 08 2009

OK.  I’m home now.  I’ll go back to work on Monday but every once in awhile I think of something I didn’t mention earlier.

Guanajuato Film Festival was fun.  This time I even made it to more than one session.  “Cine en Corto” pretty much takes over the city for a few days.  I went to several sessions in the main theatre.  This time they were serious about no smoking.  One time the moderator interrupted himself to remind somebody in the audience not to smoke.  Much better than when I went to a session a few years ago outside of town.  There I was in the last row and people were finding their way to their seats with a combination of cell phones and cigarette lighters.  Once settled they just lit up….

The film festival also makes use of just about every feature of Guanajuato.   The horror movies are shown in the city cemetery (yep-same cemetery painted in PRI colors).  Also at midnight they use the city tunnels to show movies.  I didn’t stay up late enough to see if they were horror movies too.

The last night I was there Irma and Berta and I went out to a restaurant I hadn’t been to before.  It’s part way up the hill behind Teatro Juarez.  Great view and like everywhere in the city lots of steps.  After that we walked down the hill to another lounge that I hadn’t entered before.  I knew there was a bar because when I used to walk to school in the morning there were always workers throwing out empty beer bottles.  Finally I found where they came from.  I mentioned it to Graciela when I returned home that night.  She said “Oh yes.  I was born there”  She said that the building used to be a clinic and most of her sisters were born there.  I said that the bar had a nice view of San Francisco church and she said that that window is the room where she was born.  She likes to tell people that she was born in a bar.

The morning I left Graciela, Istela and Ramon took me to the airport.  We decided that two hours early would be a good idea since one time I arrived an hour early at 5:00 AM to find a madhouse.  We got to the airport at 10:00 AM and we were just about the only people in the building.  I got my suitcase checked and then we went over to the coffee shop and waited.  We talked till about 5 minutes till boarding time and I slowly made my way through security (again just about the only person) and stopped in the Duty Free shop and then to the gate.

The bus station is usually a different matter.  Guanajuato bus station usually has only two or three busses in at a time but Leon is pretty busy all the time.  I do have to show my ticket to get to the platform and then again to get on the bus.  Somewhere in most bus stations I’ve seen an altar to Mary.  Once in Zacatecas I saw “a prayer for the bus driver”  Guess we won’t see that in Oregon.





Dia de la Cueva

1 08 2009

Yesterday was Dia de la Cueva in Guanajuato.  It´s about a 400 year old tradition (392 according to the Municipal President).  Some people start the fiesta the night before by climbing to the top of the bufa and camping the night.  Others climb early in the day to the top or to a cave about halfway up the mountain where there is a monument to St. Ignacio.  In the afternoon there is a mass and all day is one long party.  We got invited the night before by somebody in the Municipal President´s office (mayor/commissioner) to have lunch in his tent.  We left the house around 11:30 and went down the steps to Paseo de la Presa and then climbed the callejon on the other side of the street (Saucello) to the Panoramica.  We didn´t climb all the way to the top of the Bufa but we set up camp under a tree for awhile in the area where as Graciela put it “This is where the action is”.

That´s where the action was.  There were cowboys and horses and lots of people selling food and hats and just about anything else you could think of.  Different bands had set up areas for entertainment and one group of cowboys were doing tricks with the horses in front of the band.  I talked with one boy who looked about 9 years old and he interrupted his showmanship to tell me that he had spent a year in Iowa.  He also told me it snows there!  I snapped a few pictures.  I think my favorite was the cowboy dressed in sombrero and poncho texting on his cell phone.

Somewhere around 3:00 PM we went over to the president´s tent and filled ourselves with chiles rellenos.  The waiters were busy and made sure that everybody was happy.  We stayed there till the waiters were cleaning up around us and started to leave around 8:00 PM.  By that time many people were leaving the area and Saucello was crowded with people going down.  There were three busses waiting at the bottom and I was glad we didn´t have to take a bus but only walk up the 82 steps to home.  I was pretty dirty by the time we got home!

The other thing happening here this week is the International Film Festival.  They are using just about every area to show films all day.  I spent Wednesday and Thursday watching different films.  The invited country this year was the UK so I thought I would have no problem watching those films.  Boy was I wrong.  A couple of the films were set in Scotland or maybe North England.  I couldn´t understand the English and had to read the subtitles in Spanish to understand!   I really enjoyed the festival this year.  It was the first time that I had planned out my days to watch some of the films. Tomorrow they announce the winners so I guess I´ll be there.





Aguascalientes

29 07 2009

Yesterday I went to Aguascalientes.  I left the house around 7:30 and caught a taxi to the bus station.  The ride to the bus station is now a nice 5 minute hop thanks to the new tunnel that was opened last year.  I can catch a taxi at the bottom of the callejon or at the top of the driveway and go through the new tunnel which is just up the street (Paseo de la Presa) and when we leave the tunnel we are in “the country”  which I have to believe will soon be developed.  The new tunnel road leads to the other access way to Guanajuato and the bus station.  I took the ETN bus to Leon and switched to another ETN bus to Aguas.  It´s the nice bus with only 24 seats that are nice and wide and recline.  I watched “Forbidden Kingdom” with Jackie Chan and Jet Li.  It was pretty good and I understood most of it.  I arrived in Aguas at 11:00 AM and grabbed a taxi to the center.  The taxi was 20 pesos and the driver didn´t know about Oregon but sure knew about the apple orchards of Yakima!

Since I forgot to check my AAA book I decided that the best way to understand the layout of the city was to take a tour.  Aguascalientes was named because of the hot springs in the area.  It has a couple of main squares and lots of churches!  I visited a museum about Jose Posada and his engravings.  He was an artist who did drawings and engravings of Mexican life and death!  In the museum were engravings of markets and firing squads!  Later he started drawing skulls and skeletons in everyday poses as editorials.  I´ll have to research the whole story in English and report back!  (Here´s wikipedia´s take on it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Catrina) The skeletons and poses have  become associated with Day of the Dead and Mexican culture.

By the time I was done with the museum I was getting hungry so I started walking back to the center.  There on the corner in the former Hotel Francia was a Sanborns.  Sanborns is an upscale  department store that usually has a restaurant.  I like going there because I can find a good meal at a decent price and not worry about anything.  The Mole is great!  I had enchiladas with dark mole for 81 pesos.  I passed on postre and decided to try and get one more museum in before my bus.  I thought that all I had to do was to leave Sanborns and turn right on Juarez and go about 5 blocks to the museum.  I did leave and turn right.  Unfortunately I left by another door and turned right on another street.  After 5 blocks I thought to myself “this doesn´t look like the museum” and realized that I wasn´t on Juarez.  I did decide though that that whole section of town looks like Yakima avenue in Yakima.  Even the hills in the distance reminded me of Yakima.  I started to walk back to the center and decided that I didn´t have enough time so I hailed a taxi.

Now usually when I enter a taxi I always agree on a price first for the destination.  This time when I asked the driver said “well-12 pesos more or less” and actually pushed a button on a meter.  We talked along the way and he told me that he wasn´t from Aguas but had married there.  He also told me to make sure that I ask the taxi driver to push the meter button to make sure things were honest.   First time I had seen a meter!  The whole trip was 16 pesos and when I tried to give him a tip I got a lecture about counting my change.  He was out to make sure that nobody cheated me!

I got to the bus station with a few minutes before the bus and ETN gave me my sandwich and drink.  I got back to Leon with enough time to check out the leather market across the street from the bus station but didn´t see anything I had to have.  I got back to Guanajuato and decided to race for a taxi since it looked like rain and I didn´t want to walk back from the market in the rain after the bus ride.  I didn´t even bother to check the price because I knew it would be more because of the lateness of the hour and the rain.  I got home just as the rain started and it only cost 40 pesos which is what I paid to get to the bus station in the morning.  I´m pretty sure that if I had left 10 minutes later when it really started pouring it would have been 50 pesos!

I did take photos this morning of my walk to the center.  People have asked me about the steps so there is a photo of part of the 82 steps from the callejon up to the house.  I walk down Paseo de la Presa and then to Embadores and then left Madero and Sangre de Cristo and Juarez.  I walk past Plaza de la Paz and end up at Mercado Hidalgo.





Random Notes

24 07 2009

The headline in the newspaper the other day was that the cemetary was being painted in the colors of the political party PAN (blue, white, orange).  I laughed and pointed it out to Istela and she reminded me that the new Guanajuato license plates are PAN colors too.  To be fair the license plates do look nice and the picture of the cemetary looked pretty good too.

I saw my first security camera in the city today.  It was attached to the exterior of a building right next to one of the historical marker signs.  I´m pretty sure there were no security cameras in the 1700s.

The “inmueble catalogado” signs are on most of the buildings in the historical center which means the owners are not supposed to change the structure of the building.  Since Guanajuato is a World Heritage site they try to do a lot of balancing with the old and new.  There are no stop signs or lights in the historical district so drivers and pedestrians kind of watch out for each other.  Usually it´s pretty easy to dodge the cars and trucks.  There is still one guy who takes his burros from one side of town to the other selling planting soil.  I haven´t seen him go up any callejones but it would certainly be easier than using a car.

The callejones are narrow alleys or stairs going up the side of the hills around the city.  I have enjoyed counting the steps.  There are 250 from Teatro Juarez to Pipila and 369 from Panoramica to Paseo de la Presa.  There are also 82 steps up to the house (handrails not really an option here).  That does not count the ramps leading to the steps.  I decided the other day that the steps aren´t bad it´s the ramp leading to the steps that´s the killer.

I went to Lagos de Moreno the other day.  I grabbed a taxi to the bus station at 8:30 AM and was on the bus at 8:40.  From Guanajuato I took the bus to Leon and got a second class bus to Lagos.  It´s part of the Jalisco Highlands and is a pretty nice city.  The streets are narrow and there is a river walk park along the historical district.  It seemed like there was a church on every street corner.  Don´t know how they get enough priests to serve!  When I was searching for Lagos before I came there was one site trying to sell houses to Americans.   Didn´t see any houses I wanted but then I´m spoiled by Guanajuato.   I grabbed a bus back to Leon and walked around the leather market for awhile and took the ETN (luxury bus 24 seats) bus back to Guanajuato.  I got back to the bus station just as it started to rain.  I grabbed the bus back to town and it was pouring.  As we got closer to the center you could see some of the calljones become little rivers and some streets were flooded.  We got dropped off at the market and by that time the rain had settled a bit but I still did some wading.  Thank goodness for Crocs.

Yesterday was the presentation of the 2009 Cervantes festival.  Irma had invited me so we met at Teatro Juarez.   The Cervantes festival is every November and people come from around the world for music, dance and literature.   This year the “honored cities” are Zacatecas and Quebec.  Both are sister cities with Guanajuato (along with Ashland)  and are sponsoring entertainment during the festival.  The governors of Guatanjuato and Zacatecas both spoke along with representatives from Quebec and the Cervantes festival.  After the politicians and videos there was a reception in the theatre.  Zacatecas brought tequila, cheese and candy.  Guanajuato had typical sweets.  I didn´t see anything from Quebec.  We were stuffed by the time the reception was over.  I said that I was almost too full for lunch but Irma said that the reception was just “botones” or snacks so it was ok.

Last night I went to Mega (the real shopping mall) and went to see the movie Harry Potter.  It was a pretty good movie but you know the book was better.  45 pesos for the movie and 30 pesos for the taxi ride home so it was a fun evening for under $7.00.  The taxi driver did ask me how I was getting to the airport when I leave (sorry don´t need a taxi) and how he could get a visa (sorry-don´t know that either)

So that´s the news!