Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Buen ano!

Tonights the big night! Montevideo will be ablaze in fireworks, wish
everyone could be here and see it! I see a cruise ship that I had seen
on a travel show pull into port today. During the show the ship was at
Punta del Este for New Years eve, looks like this time it's Montevideo.

I am going to the same place for a party and fireworks from the
rooftop. The lady hosting the party showed me her arsenal and wow! She
has these rockets that look like 40 ounce beer bottles attached to 3
foot sticks! I asked if I could contribute but she said no, just bring
more fireworks! So I went around the corner and bought a couple
packages of smaller bottle rockets.

Wish I had someway of videotaping the mayhem tonight, but alas I am
without a camera.

Till next year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another long walk and refreshing rain

Took another long walk to Mercado del Puerto, really don't know exactly
how far it is. Hot, sunny, I should have worn sunscreen. The city was
a ghost town compared to the last time I did the walk. Why? Everyone
took Friday off and went to Punta del Este, the beach resort.

We had a short rain shower today, nice, cooled off the temperature and
there was this nice clean smelling breeze that came through the apartment.

Just relaxing now.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in Montevideo

Feliz Navidad! It's 10:30am local time (GMT -2) and it's 77 degrees and
cloudy. Last night went to a Christmas party complete with great
international food, fireworks and a potato gun, huh?

I had never seen a potato gun myself, here are the directions
We went to the beach, loaded up the spuds, sprayed in the hairspray and
screwed in the igniter, FIRE IN THE HOLE! goes the cry, plop, goes the
spud. The someone shouts, "It's Uruguayan hair spray!", LOL, didn't
have enough flammable content. Swapping to some better hair spray and
the spud flew several hundred yards to the water! It was very funny.
Eventually the igniter gave out on us and the fun was over.

The fireworks were funny as well, we called them "Chinese knock offs of
Chinese fireworks", some of them just did the most crazy things.

Come midnight the entire city erupted in fireworks, we walked to the
beach and we could see the fireworks at Punta del Este almost 50 miles away!

The Southern Cross was visible last night over the water. It was a nice
night, mostly.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Feliz Fiestas!

80 degrees and sunny, Christmas eve in Montevideo. The fireworks are
beginning to pop here and there, tonight the fireworks will be in full
force. I know, Christmas eve fireworks? I guess it's a South American

We got off work early today, good thing as it was a ghost town. Small
party around close of business, there will be others. In fact I am
getting ready to go to one now. There will be good food, and then hours
of Rock Band on Wii!

Oh, Feliz Fiestas, yep, Happy Parties, thats another thing they say here!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The ladies at the hair salon

I go to a small hair salon around the corner from my apartment once a
month for a haircut. Always funny as I don't speak Spanish well and
they don't speak English. I do know they talk about me as I hear them
say "He doesn't speak Spanish" and they wonder if I'm Chinese. Today
the lady cutting my asked me if I spoke "any" Spanish to which told her
a little. Well as it turns out a lady at the hair salon spoke English
and now the ladies who worked there finally had their chance to ask me
questions, any kids, where am I from (Of course), where do I work. It
made the awkward silence I usually spend there much easier.

Book corner - Finished Reading

This Man's Army - A Soldiers Story From the Front Lines of the War on
Terrorism by Andrew Exum
Paperback 248 pages

I was expecting an action packed book full of good war stories, instead
it just seemed like a book full of an officer in a boys club. Not
worth reading at all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Book corner - Finished reading

The OSS Double Agents by W.E.N Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV
Paperback 426 pages

I liked this book. The authors took some little known facts from WWII
and weaved them into this novel that carried just enough suspense,
intrigue and romance to have you flipping pages all night! Worth
reading : )

You may have noticed by now that I'm not exactly a book critic.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The air conditioner comes on!

I had managed to live without turning on my air conditioners until
today. Hot, really hot! In fact I drew the curtains, brought in the
cats and turned on the frio!
It was in the low 80's today, right now it's 74F.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Magic cat

As I'm getting ready to go to bed I do a cursory look around the bedroom
for any cats and I shut the door. The bedroom door squeaks a bit along
the frame when you shut it or open it when it's shut. I lie down, pick
up my book and look down and there's Tawny. Strange, but I guess I
missed her. Picked her up opened the door "squeak", put her out, shut
the door "squeak". Get in bed, pick up my paperback and look down and
there's Tawny! I felt goosebumps, I actually questioned my sanity for a
second. I picked her up, opened the door "squeak", put her and shut the
door "squeak". I told myself, I definitely closed the door, I did hear
it squeak.
Got in bed, picked up my book and looked down and there's Tawny! Now,
I'm really freaking out, whats going on? To which I finally realized
there had to be a logical explanation, oh like the sliding glass door
was open! Every time I put her out she went to the living room, went
through that sliding glass door, and back to the bedroom. Usually when
I have the bedroom door open I hear street noise and shut it, but last
night nothing.

Magic cat indeed!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Book corner - finished reading

Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward
Hardcover - 466 pages

An interesting look into the behind the scenes look of the plans for the
Operation Iraqi Freedom. Worth reading for you history buffs.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Seventysix trombones in the big parade

Well maybe not that many. I walked to the rambla last night to see the
fireworks, which pretty much is Noche de las luces. The crowds were big
and migrating towards Poictos, but some people just grabbing some lawn
and settling in. The sound of sirens, could it be the start of the
parade? People get up and walk to the street and wait, no it's just
police motorcycles escorting an ambulance, but why go sit down, maybe
the parade will start soon. Minutes go by and more sirens, could this
be it? Here comes a police on a motorcycle, then a Coca Cola delivery
truck with a big Feliz Navidad ad the side with Papa Noel drinking Coca
Cola, then comes a large truck with people dressed as elves and Papa
Noel waving, then two more large trucks with platforms and large
speakers, one would think that there would have been entertainers, but
no, just empty platforms, then came the Channel 11 news truck.

Fortunately the fireworks were very nice, it was very windy and some of
the fireworks flew very close where I was. I brought my binoculars so I
could see the fireworks close up.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Doc's big adventure

Yesterday I started off the weekend with a Christmas party at the big
guys house. Was pretty neat complete with an opera singer who sand
Christmas songs. It was beautiful when she sang Silent Night in
Spanish. The food was great and wasn't a very long night.

Went home and slept fairly well, waking up around 3:30 in the morning
and proceeded to watch TV. One of my favorite movies came on, Eternal
Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I watched it and went to bed, slept in late.

Today decided to go for a walk to Mercado del Puerto which is at the
other end of the city. Those of you who have kept up with my blog know
I have done this before. It was a nice walk, not much different than a
walk back home on the boardwalk, less the dog poop and dead chicken
(Sangria sacrifice).

Arrived at Mercado del Puerto is was very busy. I had no intention of
eating there as it's rather expensive. Thought it was funny that the
largest crowd of young people was at the last vendor inside, empanada's
(Think little Hot Pockets) for 25 pesos, LOL!

Walked into the old city and the first thing that greeted me was dancers
in traditional clothing of some unknown country and live band. The
dancing was wonderful but they sure looked hot. I felt sorry for them
as they only had a little bottle of water that they were sharing amongst
each other in little dixie cups! My best guess is they were Paraguayan,
possibly Peruvian. I am going to research the outfits.

Walking further into the old city I came across the museum of Uruguay.
Spent some time there, it was free : )

Stumbled upon a park with vendors setup everywhere selling everything
from crafts to old things. There was also a country band and line
dancers, rather unique to Montevideo.

I caught the 104 bus wanting to see how close it went to my apartment, I
figured I at least knew one of it's stops, problem was it didn't go that
way. That's okay, I rode it to the end of the line which stopped at a
shopping center I had never visited. It's the largest store in
Montevideo, much like Wal Mart. I didn't go inside but grabbed a
chirico sandwich and drink from a vendor and caught another bus back to
the old city.

Walked around some more and got an ice cream. Saw some people sitting
in the middle of the main drag, blocking one of the lanes but at a
location that traffic could go around by turning right and going around
a park. That was nice of them. Of course curiosity got the best of me,
wanted to know what they were protesting. All I know is that they were
Communist youth, enough for me!

Caught another bus going the other direction, rode it to the end of the
line, it took me to Playa Pocitos. It was packed, people getting a good
place for the fireworks at 9:30 (It was 7:00). I would have waited but
there was a bit of a chill in the air and my feet was killing me. The
rambla was closed so no buses that took that route. I grabbed a taxi
and went home.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Noche de las Luces - festival-of-the-lights manana

It's going to be crazy and I plan to be there! Last year the rambla was
packed solid and the fireworks went on forever. This time I'm going to
leave a little earlier. Wish I was invited to one of the folks who live
in an apartment on the rambla! Best view in the house and don't have to
deal with the crowds.

Blonde's need not apply

I was talking to a lady from work who is very blond, much more blond
than any Uruguayan! So she tells me that she is going to stop walking
to and from work as she has been harassed to many times and she was
concerned for her safety. When she told me where she mostly gets
harassed I was surprised, the hill by the engineering school. In the
mornings I occasionally see some transients when I walk to work, they
are usually sleeping or just waking up, mostly there are taxi drivers in
the parking lot waiting for a dispatch and talking. In the afternoon
though it can be anything. Kids smoking pot, people relaxing in shady
spots, friends just getting together.
Mix all those people together and a very blond American woman walks by,
I can foresee some catcalls etc. from the peanut gallery.

It's to bad as she enjoys walking to work.

In the entire time I've been here I have only been approached once and
that was for a light.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Effortless Tomatos

Another year of very small tomatoes and absolutely no effort put into
growing them. In fact, I didn't even pick them. If my housekeeper
hadn't picked them and brought them in I wouldn't have even known I had
any! They are about the size of peas though, LOL!
My Dad has a green thumb, I wonder if I have the gene?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Opera 10.0 Beta musings

I am testing Opera 10.0 Beta, first thing I noticed is that it wiped out
all of my RSS feeds, that was a bummer the other thing is the Yahoo
homepage doesn't like it, won't recognize it!

I went to to see how that showed up, does anyone even go to anymore? Funny thing I found on the bottom of the page an offer
for MSN dial up, first month free then $17.95 a month!


The cruise ships arrive

This morning I saw a cruise ship pulling into port as I walked into
work, really is a neat sight. Apparently a Norwegian Cruise Lines
arrived yesterday.
Sometimes I see them and think I'd really like to be on board, relaxing,
eating, reading. Someday!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Crazy bites or scratches on my arm

I have no idea where they came from but my right arm has scratches or
bites from the back of my hand to my elbow. It isn't itchy, I don't
recall any of the cats doing it. Just weird!

Balcony weather and street weather

How to guess the weather? If I go out onto my balcony (Facing the
street) it always appears cooler than it is, go down to the street and
that's the real deal.
From my balcony today one would have thought I needed a long sleeved
shirt, not so when I went to the street! Sunny and hot!
Went to Parque Rodo to find a shady spot top read. Why shady spot?
Because I got sunburned yesterday on the beach!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nice day to relax on the beach

I took the day off as I had some compensatory hours due to me. Nice day
to take too! Sunny, warm and not to windy. Walked to the beach with
one of the books I'm reading and stayed for awhile. Some tourist kids
showed up, not Uruguayan, possibly Paraguayan, they didn't look
Uruguayan or Argentine. They were enjoying the beach as were four stray
dogs chasing each other up and down the beach. Two of the dogs were
very nice looking, two were mutts. I wouldn't be surprised if someone
was looking for any or all of them.

I saw a cruise ship out in the distance the other day, probably be a
common site soon,

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Book Corner - Finished Reading

The Phony Marine by Jim Lehrer (Of 'The News Hour with Jim Lehrer')
206 pages

A quick refreshing weekend read. I enjoyed it. It's about a man who buys a Silver Star medal and turns himself into a phony Marine. Nice surprise ending.

Why Uruguay?

You would be surprised at the number of Americans who come to Uruguay to retire, or visit and decide to stay and live here. But why?

Well when was the last time you heard about Uruguay in the news? Can you even find it on the map? I'd have to say that for one thing compared to the crime even in my own hometown, the crime here is not that bad. The economy is pretty stable and the prices aren't to bad as a whole.

Interesting article about retiring in Uruguay:

To The Ferria

Decided to go for a walk to the neighborhood Sunday afternoon market. First thing I noticed was all of the trash on the street, must have been windy the night before. It looks terrible, but it will most likely be cleaned up by tomorrow.

I wanted a bag of mani caliente, hot sugared peanuts. I remembered the price was around 18 pesos. I ask a vendor how much and he said 25 pesos, which I knew was the "gringo price". At the other end of the market I find another vendor with larger portions of peanuts for 18 pesos!

Not sunny, at least not now and it was a little cool and windy. Just checked the weather, 69 and 24mph winds expected!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Nice warm day here, weather forecast shows
an expected high of 87! Go and eat some turkey!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Genesis To Revelation - #7

Finished reading through the Bible, New International Version for what I
believe is the 7th time. I accomplished it by reading a little of the
old and new testament daily, towards the last few months I started
reading in the morning as well as the evening.

Give it a read sometime!

A Good Night Then A Bad Night

So I took the bus out to the church last night for an event that is
somewhat sponsored by church, I say somewhat sponsored as it is mostly
something that the associate pastor took upon himself, it's called el
living . The best that I can explain is it that it
is a get together with music and food and talk about spiritual topics,
but not to heavy and not to churchy. It was a good night, it was
running late though and by the time things were wrapping up it was after

Now the neighborhood the church resides in is a nice neighborhood, but
it has it's problems, mostly house break ins and people getting robbed
at knife point.
I was a bit concerned about waiting at the bus stop by myself, but
apparently there was a girl who also was going, but as it turns out had
a ride. Another thing is that the buses don't run as frequent late at
night and sure enough I found out my regular bus had stopped service and
I would have to take another bus.

Not such a big deal except I don't know where the new bus will take me
or if I will be able to find another bus to get me closer to my home.

I went to the bus stop and after about a 10 minute wait or so the bus
arrived, it was a nice bus, like a tour bus, very comfortable seats.
The good thing I realized was that it was making few stops and heading
towards my neighborhood, this was good. Unfortunately I didn't get off
at the right stop, and out of pure frustration ride the bus to it's last
stop at the end of the city.

Now what to do? I wait at a bus stop for awhile and none of the buses
seem to be going to my neighborhood. To make a long story short, I just
got any bus, the driver dropped me off at another bus stop where a bus
took me exactly where I needed to go.

In the end a 1 hour bus trip ended up taking 2 hours!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Have a good time here!

So I'm watching this tourism commercial on TV, great food, music,
wonderful beaches, shopping, beautiful women. Where? Right here in my
backyard, LOL. Most of the commercial was filmed right here in
Montevideo and chances are I probably had scene them filming it at one
time or another as it's not unusual to see a film crew out and about.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Some Amazon Reviews On Class 11

I was reading some of the reviews, talk about harsh! There were folks
that did quit reading the book. Amuse yourselves here:

Finished Reading

Class 11: Inside the CIA's First Post-9/11 Spy Class (Hardcover)
Author: TJ Waters
320 pages

Well just as the book suggests, it's inside the class, not much more. I
had a hard time finishing reading this book, it was rather boring.
Judging by it's Amazon rating I wasn't the only one. Not worth reading : (

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Oranges and Banana's

I have been on an Oranges kick lately, used to be Apples, but the prices
has jumped up. I can buy a kilo of nice almost seedless Oranges for 19
pesos a kilo, that's less than a dollar for almost two pounds : )

The price of Banana's have gone up as well, around 35 pesos a kilo.
They are really huge Ecuadorean Banana's and although the price is
killing me, I still buy them.

Picasa 3 Beta test

Google's handy picture organizer has come out with a new Beta version it now includes a movie maker. I have been
playing with it a little, trying to find the latest features. Another
new feature is that you can Geo tag the photos to Google Earth, in that
someone searching Google earth can find your photos. So far I like it,
I think when it comes to photo editing Picasa is easy to use and
integrates with Google's web albums, give it a try!

Howling winds again

What crazy weather! We have enjoyed the past couple weekends with
sunshine and warm weather and today, howling winds, gusts of 35mph and
break out the light jackets as the temperature is 59 degrees! Just like
the weather back in the States!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Christmas Creep In Montevideo

Just returned from Punta Carretas mall and finally found the theme of
this years Christmas, Navidad Azul, that's right "Blue Christmas".
Wasn't sure if it was the giant blue Christmas tree's that gave it away
or not : )

So this is weird, there were Christmas carolers at the center court of
the mall singing, "Don't worry, be happy", but they just kept singing
that chorus over and over. It's November 8th, it's 7:30PM (LT) and it's
daylight outside, it's 68 degrees and warm and I'm wearing shorts and
flip flops. Just doesn't feel right, LOL : )

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Skype Beta 4.0.6

I installed the latest Skype Beta on my PC. Wow, what a total
difference, new interface new everything. It's much more of a resource
hog that it's predecessors.
Only tried it out a couple of times so yet to make an opinion.

Any day now

I expect to see the cruise ships start pulling into port, it's so nice
and warm here. There have been lots of tour buses about the city,
mostly from Brazil and Argentina, which I find amusing. They come from
the big countries to look at the little country, staring out the windows
thinking "Hey, they look just like us!"

It Happened Again

I went to the mall yesterday and wouldn't you know it they have their
Christmas decorations out, Christmas creep as I like to call it. Well
last year they put on a totally neutral and confusing display, they did
it again this year. This years theme? Polar bears and girls in fairy
costumes with wings. Last year it was some mystery magical woman whom I
wasn't sure what all she was supposed to be connecting with.

No Papa Noel (Santa Claus), no baby Jesus and nativity scene, just Polar
bears. They do have Christmas trees but even them are void of any
Christmasy theme.
Just plain weird!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A new era begins

I opened up my hometown newspaper, online that is, to see the election
results. I woke up around 1:00am (I am 3 hours ahead of EST) to see
what the results were and I think even at that hour back home it was

All I can say is I hope our new President has wise advisor's and will
lead our country out of this economic mess.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Congrats Dr. Angela - New Baby!!!

Congrats to my sister Dr. Angela and her husband Dr. Chris, proud
parents of a new baby boy, Luca Brial. You know what, I think I need to
make sure if it's a boy or not. But hey, good news!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Asado Time

Just returned from an asado at the associate pastors house as part of
Serve The City Uruguay. What's and asado? Basically it's a cookout,
lots of meat, but mostly lots of talk and just enjoying the time
together with friends. What I thought was funny is how long it takes to
leave, as everybody greets everybody with a kiss on the cheek and it
seems the goodbyes go on forever, but thats just part of the culture
that makes Uruguay so fun : )

Wikipedia definition of an asado

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Summer Has Definitely Arrived!

Extended Forecast   

Updated: 10:00 PM UYST on October 31, 2008
Clear. High: 77° F. / 25° C. Wind SE 6 mph. / 10 km/h.
    Sunday Night
Scattered Clouds. Low: 59° F. / 15° C. Wind ESE 8 mph. / 14 km/h.
Scattered Clouds. High: 82° F. / 28° C. Wind light.
    Monday Night
Partly Cloudy. Low: 60° F. / 16° C. Wind light.
Clear. High: 82° F. / 28° C. Wind NNW 11 mph. / 18 km/h.
    Tuesday Night
Scattered Clouds. Low: 64° F. / 18° C. Wind North 8 mph. / 14 km/h.
Partly Cloudy. High: 84° F. / 29° C. Wind North 6 mph. / 10 km/h.
    Wednesday Night
Clear. Low: 60° F. / 16° C. Wind NE 4 mph. / 7 km/h.
Clear. High: 89° F. / 32° C. Wind light.
    Thursday Night
Clear. Low: 68° F. / 20° C. Wind light.
Clear. High: 89° F. / 32° C. Wind NNE 13 mph. / 21 km/h.
    Friday Night
Clear. Low: 64° F. / 18° C. Wind NNE 13 mph. / 21 km/h.
Sports Weather

Halloween at work

I forgot to mention what it was like yesterday at work. There is a
contest for the best decorated office door/hallway, the winner gets a
pizza party. Well the same section that had one last year went for the
gold this year and all of the other sections just gave up! I have to
admit they had quite the elaborate spooky hallway going on, complete
with electric chair and a pumpkin attached to a rope that slid across
the atrium.

I know what your asking, electric chair? I had to see and try it for
myself. They had a typical wooden chair with aluminum foil on the seat
and cloth wrapped around the legs. They also had the lid for the head
complete with elastic band to go under your chin. When the "warden"
gave the sign the switch was thrown and the chair vibrated, enough to
make you jump! But I didn't, LOL. I think they may have had an
electric sander attached to one of the chair legs.

Sorry no photos : (

Summer Has Arrived

If any day deserves to be said of that, it would be today!  Nice warm sunny day in the mid 70's, just a beautiful day all around.  Started off a little brisk in the morning but quickly warmed up.

Spent the day doing some volunteer work for a group called Serve The City
which does things such as what we did today and that was working at a womans shelter.  We spent some time working in their backyard pulling weeds and lawn work and helping with organizing a large library of teaching posters that they distribute throughout Latin America.

All in all a nice day, got to see a different part of the city.  Not like where I live at all.  Not a bad place, just different.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Good Day and Bad Day

Yesterday was a good day. Went to church, caught the connecting bus and
met someone from work at the next bus stop (Small world isn't it).
Walking to church saw someone else from work who waved hi. Church was
good and went to the pastors house for a cookout afterwards and spent
all day there, finishing with coffee and deserts.

Today was somewhat of a bad day. I am sponsoring a new couple at work
and one of the nice things you do is buy them some groceries so they
don't have to go out shopping and have some stuff available. I had
asked them what they wanted and I went out to get it (They arrive
tomorrow). I have the keys to their apartment as I am going to meet
them at the airport and take them there. I buy the groceries and walk
to their apartment, not exactly a hop, skip and jump away but doable.
I get there and try to explain to the portero in my limited Spanish that
I have food for a new embassy people arriving tomorrow Showed him the
keys, thought that would be it, it wasn't. He's saying something to me
and I have no idea what he's saying, I tried explaining again to no
avail. I tried calling at least 5 people from work to help translate,
nobody answered their phones. I was hopping mad, literally. I finally
got through to somebody who explained to me that the portero wanted some
identification. I thought I was going to cry. I had gone home after
work and as my modus operandi I empty my pockets. I grabbed the
groceries and start for the long walk home. I was halfway home when I
realized I had my Uruguayan identification card in my shirt pocket of
all things, I thought I was going to scream.

I'll bring the groceries with me when I pick them up at the airport manana.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Church Party

Just returned from a church party, they are celebrating 30 years as a
church at their new location. It was pretty neat as they had opened a
time capsule that was 50 years old, it contained items from the era as
expected. Today the church put out a display showing how the church had
changed throughout the century as it goes back to 1892 but joined with
another church in 1976, the new building was dedicated in 1978.

On display was toys through the era, to include a 77 year old teddy
bear. The lady who owned it told me a fascinating story about it, from
the time her grandmother gave it to her when she was 2 to the time
American Airlines had lost the suitcase it was in on a flight to the USA
(Her second since being in Montevideo) but turned up the day she was

All in all it was a good time. I cheated on the way up taking a taxi to
my bus stop, but on the way back took the connecting bus. It was funny
as at one of the bus stops two girls from church got on the bus,
although I had left before them, they had caught a ride to the bus stop
from someone at church.

The Ramone's

I was talking to somebody at the Halloween party about how someone
looked like Joey Ramone of the retro punk rock group the Ramones. So
this guy says, I saw them last week. I thought he was joking. I said
there was only two surviving members and he said that the lead guitarist
said that he and the drummer were the only original Ramones, the other
two members of the band weren't. Apparently he just stumbled upon
someone selling tickets outside of a small venue for 150 pesos,
discounted from 400 pesos as the show didn't sell out. The Ramones
opened for some Argentine and Uruguayan bands. Incredible. I wish that
I knew they were in concert here as it would have been so cool to see them.

Halloween Party

Went to a Halloween party last night, but it was nothing like last
years. Not sure where the pizazz went but it was gone. I left at 2130,
some people were arriving as I was leaving but apparently nobody else.

There are picture of me at last years Halloween party on my Facebook
profile, but I'm going to make you look for it!

Friday, October 24, 2008

25th Anniversary of the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon

On Sunday, October 23,1983 at approximately 6:20 a.m. 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers were killed and hundreds of others were wounded or disabled. This was the result of a suicide truck, laden with explosives carrying the equivilant of 20,000 pounds of TNT that detonated on the ground floor of BLT 1/8 headquarters barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The largest non-nuclear explosion of its time. Other servicemen from 1982-1984 perished from sniper fire and other atrocities. Others died years later or are permantly disabled as the result of their wounds. This makes a total of 270 Marines, sailors and soldiers that died during a peacekeeping mission.
(Image and quote from )

On that date I was a young Marine going to MCCES at Twentynine Palms, Ca. I believe I first heard about the bombing on television. I remember how quiet the entire base was. At PT (Physical Training) our Platoon Sergeant had us do 100 jumping jacks in honor of those who had died. Not sure how exactly that honored them, but we were all pretty mad and sad at the same time.

My bunk mate from boot camp was killed there. I worked with Marines who had survived the bombing and the stories they recalled about digging for survivors were not pretty to hear.

When I was tranferred to my first duty station the call went out for a volunteer to go to Beirut, I think we about trampled all over each other to go.

Semper Fi!

Book Corner - Finished Reading

The Guts To Try: The untold story of the Iran hostage rescue mission by
the on scene desert commander
By" Col. James H. Koyle, USAF (Ret)
390 pages

This had to be the most depressing book I read this year! Hows that? I
knew that a CH-53 helicopter had collided with a C-130 but didn't know
everything leading up to that disaster. Six months of planning and
practicing but there were oversights, and like what happened during the
Katrina disaster communications between all involved was askew.

For you history buffs it is an eye opener.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Absentee Voting

I mailed my absentee ballot the other day, hopefully my write in for Ralph Nader will get him elected, I'm kidding!

Honestly it feels good to take part in the elections even though I am far away.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Latest Issue Of Marines Magazine

Someone dropped off the latest issue of Marines Magazine for me at work:
Well I start thumbing through it and immediately start ranting at my coworker about the pictures. You see the magazine was dedictated to "Drill', I being a former Marine Drill Instructor immediately took note of the sloppiness of the recruits in teh pictures. The genetleman who gave me the magazine asked my coworker if I had something to say about the magazine as he knew it would set me afire! Of course this is all in a joking sense, believe me,

Monday, October 13, 2008

Columbus Day Holiday

Thanks Columbus! Kind of an overcast cool Spring day here, nobody
having Columbus Day picnics, don't know why, LOL!

Hackers Suck

So I found out the other day the church web site was defaced by some
Turkish Islamic group, at least they did use the Turkish flag as one of
their backdrops. Our webmaster had the web host restore the web site
from a few days earlier, one would think that would have fixed it. So
when I found out that the site was back up again I decided to take a
look, 2 seconds later I had the Bloodhound virus on my computer.
Fortunately my anti virus was up to date and working properly and caught
and deleted the virus, but still that wasn't a good thing.

I did some research and found out the exact vulnerability that the
hacker had utilized and forwarded this information to the church
webmaster who fixed it most rickey tick!

Only if hackers would put their skills to good use!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Church work day and riding the bus

I took the bus to church yesterday (More on that) as it was a work day.
I totally wore the wrong clothes, long sleeve black t-shirt and jeans.
Turned out to be a pretty nice sunny day and I was sweating. Spent
almost 5 hours shoveling rocks from a big pile and either throwing into
places that needed it or filling a wheelbarrow. Couldn't complain as
the gentleman that was helping me was 59 and he shoveled more than I
did. As expected I did end up hurting my back but after some Motrin and
a hot bath it took care of itself, my shoulder hurt that night though.

Now previously I had been getting to church by taxi, this costs around
250 pesos one way, at a 20 peso per USD exchange rate around $12.50, add
a tip, and closer to $14. That's one way. It was starting to hurt the
ol' wallet. I had tried to learn the bus system but it did sound
confusing. Well the associate pastor at the church has a program with
all of the bus routes and suggestions on how to get from point A to
point B. So I take a taxi to the nearest bus stop that for the bus I'm
going to take as it's a far off, this costs around 55 pesos with tip,
get on the 104 bus to Carassco for 13.50 pesos and walk the rest of the
way, beats 250 pesos!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Google Chrome Cool Down

Well my days of limited excitement about Google Chrome are quickly
coming to an end. Fast? Definitely. Easy on resources? Yes. But, it
just doesn't have the bells and whistles that I'm looking for. I've
switched to Opera for a few weeks now and haven't opened up Firefox or
Internet Explorer. The nice thing about Opera is it's built in RSS
reader which is by far better than it's competitors. Give it a try!

A Belated One Year Anniversary Shout Out

I called my daughter yesterday and she calmly reminded me that her one
year wedding anniversary had passed by. I felt like a schmuck,
especially since I did make myself a calender reminder, but somehow I
missed it.

Happy anniversary Daniel and Kristina and best wishes on another new
year together! :-)

Windy Days

On my walk to work this morning nothing appeared out of place, but on my
walk back I could tell that there was very windy while I was working.
Although Montevideo is a very pretty city when it gets windy the hidden
trash comes out. Trash everywhere, not so pretty. On a good note it
will all be cleaned up tomorrow, the city does a very good job at
picking up the mess quickly.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Best BBQ Song Ever

Click on the kink, these guys explain BBQ better than I have ever heard it before and in song!

Moving On Up

The clocks that is. One hour ahead last night so I am now 2 hours
ahead of EST. But when DST starts in the USA, clocks will go back one
hour there and then I will be 3 hours ahead of EST!

Book Corner

Finished Reading: "Finding Fish" by Antwone Fisher
369 pages

You may have seen the movie, I have. I was a little reluctant to read
it, but glad I did. In fact I now wish I had the book first and then
seen the movie as the movie didn't do justice to this man's very
difficult and sad childhood. Definitely worth reading/

The Chili Cook Off

I love chili! And nothing makes my ears perk up more than the words
'chili cook off'. Yesterday I went to one and it was a feast for my
belly! There was so many good entries, but Leney made the best by far.
It was very unique, I especially enjoyed the fact that the heat wasn't
overpowering and kind of was the last effect as you tasted it.

In all I must have ate 8 bowls of chili!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy 75th Dad

Yesterday was my Dad's 75th birthday but he had his party today. Got a
chance to have a video chat with him with his new webcam that he
installed (Woo Hoo Dad!). He read me corny jokes from a book of jokes
compiled from emails that he had sent and was made into a coffee table
My Dad looks good for his age is doing well and is still working.
Hoping I'll be just like him when I reach that ripe old age!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Need to catch up on this:

Born To Kill - TJ English - 341 pages - Title of the book comes from a slogan written on some Vietnam soldiers helmets. The book is about the rise and fall of a violent Vietnamese gang in New York.

A Walk In The Woods - Bill Bryson - 416 pages: The author and a friend walk the Applachion Trail. It was a good read and peaked my interest in doing just that.

Easy Target - Tom Smith - 288 pages - About a helicopter scout pilot during the Vietnam war.

Taking The High Ground - Military Stories Of Faith - Jeff O'Leary - 300 pages. A very good read, great stories of faith. Read this in one night, that good!

Almost finished reading Chicken Soup For The Mothers Soul, just because I ran out of something to read and it was at my Mom's house.

A Travellers Story - Part 2

I always wonder when I can say "This was the worst flight ever", I thought the Baghdad days would have anything else beat, but I take that back.

So I left ORF for JFK by way of Delta (The AA flights to Miami were full). Well Chris is the queen of overweight bags, I never know how she gets away with it. One of the bags she packed for me weighed 70 pounds! I told her there was no way I would take that and tried shifting some weight to another bag. I get to the Delta counter and my bag weighed 51.5 pounds, the agent made me remove 1.5 pounds!

The flight to JFK went without incident, no F-22 Raptor show (Forgot to mention that I told the pilot that the Raptor show was cool, he said "Wasn't it though!").

Arrive at JFK and wait for my 10:15 direct flight to BA (Buenos Aires). At 9:30PM when we should be boarding the gate agent announced that the departure time just changed on the board to 7:30 AM, she wasn't sure if this was correct, 30 seconds later she announces that in fact, yes, the flight has been cancelled until the next morning and to go back to ticketing for hotel information.

I take off for AA ticketing and not long after have my hotel and food voucher. Had to take the sky train to Federal Circle and catch a hotel shuttle to the Ramada Plaza Hotel. The shuttle was there and took us to the hotel. Check in was easy enough. The room was a rat hole. Went to the restaurant and the hostess told me I could use my $10 voucher for the soup and salad portion of the buffet (Usually $16, complete buffet $26).

We had to be back at the gate at JFK by 6:30AM. For whatever reason I left the hotel at 4:30, made it through security and was at the gate by 4:55AM, much to early. Fell asleep and a lady told me that the gate had changed to 41, we were at gate 4! But the information boards didn't say this and there was no announcement. I thought I'm not walking all the way to gate 41 if this isn't correct. Turns out it was. But there never was an announcement nor gate change info on the information board.

Board the plane and settle down, plane pushes off from the gate and one of the flight attendants says over the intercom that that one of the engines wouldn't start and we were going back to the gate. People got upset and wanted off the plane. This meant that their bags had to be removed. 3 hours later we were taxiing to the runway.

Wheels up to a plane full of applause, 10:30AM for a 7:30AM flight

I fell asleep after the meal (Breakfast although it was lunchtime). A bit later I hear the pilot say "Some of you maybe wondering why we have been flying around in circles, we have to lose weight to land in Miami, a part of the plane broke", gate agents will help you rebook.

We land in Miami to a plane full of applause again (Those funny Argentines).

We go to gate E24/25 and gate agents go to work. It was lots of confusion and messages over the loudspeaker in Spanish which didn't help me, but I was able to figure out what they were saying.

This time I get a room and 2 nights at the Crowne Plaza and my flight leaves tonight directly to Montevideo. I also got 2 $10 vouchers and one $5 voucher.

Fortunately the Crowne Plaza is much nicer than the Ramada. The meals are fairly expensive, but the vouchers offset the price. Went for a walk around, it's like being in another country, another Latino country.

I'll probably leave here around 9:30PM or so. Have to recheck my bags but I already have a boarding pass so I'll probably do a self check in.

A Travellers Story - Part 1

I'm on a Delta flight from JFK to ORF (Norfolk, VA). Pretty much a boring 45 minute flight on a 50 passenger Embraer ERJ-145.

Not long after cruising altitude the pilot mentions that Antlantic City was visible over the right side of the plane, cool except I'm on the left side, back to reading.

The pilot then mentioned that there was a F-22 Raptor following us on the left side of the plane, I looked and sure enough there it was.

Our pilot gently rocked the wings of our plane (To say "Hey dude!") and I watched as the F-22 rocked it's wings. Not but a few seconds later the F-22 did a triple barrel roll the banked over our plane. Goosebumps shot through my back, it was pretty cool! I looked around the plane and everyone was asleep or reading.

The F-22 then came back in sight. I thought it would be cool to see that bird go vertical with full afterburners. I must have sent this message to the pilot because all of a sudden all you can see were two vertical contrails that just kept going, and going and going, right to the moon.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bill Obituary

My stepfathers obituary:

William B. Gott VIRGINIA BEACH - William B. Gott, 74, went to be with
the Lord Sept. 5, 2008. He was born in Maine June 17, 1934. William
attended Gateway Free Will Baptist Church, and was a volunteer at
Salvation Army. During his career in the United States Navy, he received
many honors including the Bronze Star with Combat V, Vietnam Unit
Citation and a Licensed Merchant Marine Officer by U.S. Coast Guard. He
proudly retired from the Navy as a commander. He is survived by his
loving wife, Ok Bun Kim Gott, of 27 years; three daughters, Sherry,
Cathy and Cindy; two stepchildren, Dominic and Michael; and five
grandchildren. He will truly be missed. A service of remembrance will be
held Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Gateway Free Will Baptist Church with Pastor
Karl Sexton officiating. Condolences may be made to the family at

Food Fest!

I went to a going away party last night and there was so much good food
there! My belly was so happy! I should have took a picture,
Most of the stuff I can't spell, but one thing that did stand out was
the empanada's. A shout out to Leney who hand made these delicious treats!
When I got home I laid on the couch and fell asleep, my stomach was bulging!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Step Dad passed away

Bill Gott CDR Ret and my Mom
Although I meant not to include much personal matters in my blog this is important enough to mention.

My Stepfather passed away yesterday afternoon after a long illness, he was 74.

My Mom married Bill much after I had joined the Corps and moved out and we didn't always have the best relationship but he had a good heart.

Bill was a alumnus of the Maine Maritime Academy and joined the Navy, retiring as a Commander. He was a Vietnam veteran as well serving in Cambodia.

I am leaving for the States tomorrow evening and return next Monday.

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Mothers Morning Walk

Speaking of walks, when I was home I joined my Mom during her morning
walk. Now being a former Marine you would think that I'd have no
problem with a 0530 walk in the morning on the beach, but was I wrong!
I was surprised at how many people were up that early in the morning
also going for a walk, and everyone was very friendly.

My Mom put a twist to the beach walk, where I thought she would walk on
the wet hard sand, she prefers the soft sand! I don't know how many
blocks she walks till she is back to the pavement but it seemed to go on
forever! My wife who is in better shape than I am took it all in
stride, I think she barely broke a sweat.

Her neighborhood has changed so much. All of the old beach cottages
have been torn down and some contemporary behemoth replaced it or they
have been remodeled so much there is nothing left of it's original
informal beach design to them.

Chilly willy

So much for a mild winter. I just plain forgot that winter wasn't over
yet! It's been much colder lately, today Low 39F/High 48F, add the wind
off the river and it's a cold walk to work in the morning!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Chrome 0xc0000005 Exception Error

Well my Google Chrome run didn't last past the install, kept getting an exception error crash, so it wouldn't work. Nothing had hit the internet yet but I knew I wasn't the only person with the error. One morning later and there are messages all over the internet about it, mostly on Google Groups. Was holding out for the best suggestion and here it is for anyone that runs into it. The culprit? Symantec Endpoint Protection.

If the client is unmanaged then , please perform the step below :
1) Back up the registry on an affected system.
2) Open the registry on the Agent system by entering regedit from a
run prompt.
3) Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services
4) Open the Start DWORD.
5) Change the value to 4 to disable the drivers.
6) Reboot the system to commit the changes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google Chrome just launched

It's the new Google browser. I'm downloading now and going to give it a
test try

Monday, September 1, 2008

Long weekend continues

Wow another three day weekend, last weekend I had Monday off because of Uruguayan Indepenedence Day, today of course for Labor Day, sweet!

The weather has been nice overall, not cold but not hot either!

Sure miss summer when it should be summer though, LOL!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Travel Story

Once while flying United, I think from Frankfurt to Washington I was
watching the safety film and was wondering if the flight attendants in
the film were real people or actors, especially this one guy, he was
really good. Well when we landed at Washington and I was on my way to
my next gate I looked next to me and there was that guy, and yes he was
a United flight attendant. I was going to say something to him, but he
looked like he was in a hurry.

Book Corner - The Bourne Betrayal

The Bourne Betrayal
Pages 496
Author Eric Van Lustbader

Well, it was another novel in the Bourne whatever series. Although you
would expect Bourne series to be far fetched, this one just put me off,
I thought it was just way out of bounds. Not sure if this one will ever
make it to film.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beautiful Day In The Park

Very nice day today, low 60's and sunny. Went to the Sunday feria at
Parque Rodo which is near my apartment. I like to go to the hambueguesa
stands (Roach coach) and get a burger con queso for about 30 pesos and a
drink and watch the street actors, be it musicians or in the case today
a young couple doing gymnastic dancing and such, very entertaining.
Afterwards I like to get some hot candied peanuts and walk to the beach
then back to the apartment.

Funny thing about the gymnastics couple, after the show the young man
went around with a bad for donations and kids and adults alike were
dropping coins in the bag, occasionally someone would drop a 20 peso
bill in the bag (Around $1 USD) and he would take it out and make a big
deal about it and everyone would clap and I thought, wow, people in the
U.S. merely sit on the sidewalk and stick out a paper cup and make more
than that. I know they couldn't have hardly made more than a few
dollars, I felt bad that I didn't have more pesos to give them.

View Larger Map

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Long Distance Tech Support

I'm often giving long distance tech support, mostly to family, but this
was a first. I talked Chris through securing her cousins wireless
access point, and I have to hand it to Chris as she pulled it off
keeping me cool and now no more neighbors tapping into her bandwidth!

Strawberry Letter 23 - Brothers Johnson

Heard this song today on the 70's station and got chills! Had to crank up the surround sound and dance around, woo hoo! Crank it up and enjoy!

Lyrics | Brothers Johnson - Strawberry Letter 23 lyrics

One Day At The Beach

That's all I wanted when I was home, just a few hours in the waves with
my boogie board, and I got that chance. The ocean water was warm and
the waves although not perfect were rideable, looking forward to going
to the beach here when summer comes around!

Wiped Out

Mi casa es su casa, thats what I told her when I gave her the job to
watch the cat and apartment, well she took it to heart! The morning
after I arrived and went to the pantry for some cereal there wasn't any,
didn't think that Uruguayan kids liked Grape Nuts cereal but guess I was
wrong, thought for sure I had two boxes. Went to make coffee, thought
for sure I had left a kilo, I had enough for one pot. Well, I did tell
her to eat anything in the house and make herself at home : )

The Return To Uruguay

Whats my job? That was my first question when I got to my office, I
didn't know where to start! These computer things look familiar,
probably something to do with that. I'm back in the swing of things,
putting some of the stuff I learned at school to use, for once, LOL!

The weather has been cool, but not overly cold. Today was in the 70's.
Went to the mall to go grocery shopping, a Burger King opened at the
food court. A Whopper meal is 120 pesos, about $6.30USD, really wanted
one but passed. Prices at the grocery store have gone up a little, my
favorite Granny Smith apples have gone up from around 32 pesos per kilo
to 44 pesos, still less expensive than the U.S.

Got a haircut, that went up to, from 100 pesos to 120, still less
expensive than the U.S., same price as a BK Whopper meal : )

Monday, August 18, 2008

Greetings from Buenos Aires

Just arrived in BA, at a internet cafe. Not bad $5 for one hour. The drive from Virginia Beach to Dulles was horrible, what should have taken 4 hours took 6. Thought for sure I would miss my flight but made it in time with a biz class upgrade to boot : ) Slept the entire flight. United business class is good, but not great, the European carriers have nice business class. Fact is very difficult to get comfortable in United business class chairs, but the food is always good.

Flight to Montevideo leaves in a little over an hour.

I will blog more about my visit home to Virginia Beach when I settle down at the apartment.

Wonder how the cats are?

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Mother Of All Thai Peppers

Chris and I went out for Thai food the other night. I ordered a spicey Thai dish and boy was it hot. I ate this one small Thai pepper that was burning hot! I had to put a packet of sugar on my tongue to neuatralize the heat.

Unfortunatley our waitress never returned to fill my water glass, even though I was sitting there wiping the sweat from my face constantly.

But the food was good!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hotel fun

My first two weeks were fairly quiet, but now I have someone who is waking up pretty early and I hear his/her radio going off. Then I have loud televisions and door slammers to deal with.
What's happened to my neighborhood?

Still nice and hot here, well duh it is summertime! I need to get as much sun as I can before I make the trip south, really south, South America south.

How to pass a Microsoft exam

First study until your brain melts. Study until you can't stand to look at any of the material anymore. The morning of the exam drink plenty of coffee. While taking the exam keep rubbing your face in your hands, sigh frequently, reread the questions multiple times, fold your arms and lean back.

When you get to the last question and the "Are you sure you want to end this exam" dialogue pops up, do click on it while your heart races faster. Will it say "Congratulations" or will it say "Sorry".

Thank goodness for me I got the Congratulations page.

Long overdue updates

Greetings! Still here in Nowheresville, VA. It's boring. First part of training is over.
Grabbed a rental car and made the trip south to see family. Forgot what it was like to be stuck on I-64 traffic in Tidewater Virginia, it didn't take me long to remember.

Got a chance to have some of my favorite pizza, ChiCho's with my Dad. Now I need to have some Pho' soup (Yes that's redundant, pho means soup in Vietnamese) and all of my cravings will be satisfied.

One and a half more weeks of training to go.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Guess who's getting sick?

That would be me! I can't believe it, another head cold. So far runny nose and the headache behind my eyes. No swimming pool for me today!

Anthony Bourdain in Uruguay

In 15 minutes Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" (Travel Channel) show comes on and he'll be in my neck of the wood, Uruguay. Should be cool!

Crew blog entry here about Uruguay

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Note to self

Don't watch The Food Network for extended periods when hungry.

So to satisfy my hunger pains I went to Red Hot and Blue a bbq joint. There are a few up here in Northern Virginia I'm not sure where else. I got a sandwich to go, but next time will eat in as I think the portions are a bit bigger. They do have a wicked hot bbq sauce. I know everyone has a really hot bbq sauce, but this one is definitely hot, but a good hot.

Saturday in Warrenton

I'm bored. Beautiful day, but nothing to do. Went to the pool and was hoping housekeeping would have cleaned my room while I was away, but they are still at the other end of the hall.
I have been using the wireless connection versus the wired connection at the hotel, amazingly faster. I can get a wireless signal poolside but the screen on my both my laptop and handheld are to hard to see.

I should be studying, but I wonder whats on HBO...

Gadget Review - Skype for PocketPC

So I bought a used HP Ipaq 4700 around two years ago for whatever reason and was really excited when Skype developed a version for PocketPC. Initially it was model specific, so you had to find your model, download the software and install. It didn't work. Then Skype came out with an all around version for all PocketPC's, it almost worked, but when I tried to make a call the program would quit. Well I overheard someone saying how he has been using Skype on his Ipaq and I thought, well it should work for mine then. So I went back to the Skype download site and see that the latest version was something like where I had version, would it make a difference? YES! I can actually get Skype to work on my Ipaq now. The point? So anytime I am at someplace that has a WiFi hotspot I can logon to Skype via my handheld and make a call : )
If I am really geeky (Okay, so I am), I also have a Bluetooth headset for my Ipaq, so I can use this in conjunction with my Ipaq just like a cellphone.

Now really what I would like is a PocketPC capable cellphone, then I can have the best of both worlds : )

Monday, July 21, 2008

Trip Report

Well I'm here in Warrenton, VA, aka worlds most boring city. My flight to Buenos Aires was without incident. Made it to the airport in Montevideo with minutes to spare. Had submitted for a upgrade on United and was waitlisted, which I thought for certain meant I wouldn't get it, but surprisingly even had a choice of seats : ) Of course it's always nice to fly business class but United business isn't that special, although the meals are usully pretty good.

Chris met me at Dulles which was a nice treat as I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've arrived at an airport all by myself.

I'm staying here at the Holiday Inn Express, nothing special except they do offer a halfway decent breakfast and the rooms have a fridge and microwave. I have lots of Priority Club (Holiday Inn) points so I tend to stay at their hotels to keep up my status with them.

So back to the boredom.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Forfeited Air Miles

I got an email from US Airways telling me unless I fly one segment by September with them or sign up and get a US Airways credit I am going to forfeit almost 19K air miles.
Super bummer. It may actually be worth it to fly one way from Dulles to Norfolk one weekend while I'm in country as 19K probably won't earn a free ticket but possibly a upgrade.

I'm also getting close to losing my miles on Delta, although not as much confused

Buen Jura de la ConstituciĆ³n

Woo Hoo, another local holiday and short work week. But alas I am
scurrying around packing my bag. Which brings me to another story. My
old faithful green "Jeep" brand luggage. I bought it at Value City
years ago, it's olive green and rugged. The nice thing about it's color
is I never mistake it for anyone else's. It's also very rugged and has
been seam popping stuffed and tagged with a "Heavy" label so many times
I can't count. Well last night I grabbed the larger piece and weighed
it, nearly 18 pounds, not a good thing these days. Might have to trade
her in on a big rolling duffel bag :-P .

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Preparing for the trip home

I know I'm going to forget something, always do! Had to arrange to have
a cat/house sitter for the time I'm gone. A nice college girl will be
watching the feline gang. She just needed to know the most important
thing about the apartment, how to work the remote control ;-)

So the office threw me a small birthday party Tuesday which was very
nice. That makes the second office birthday party I've had. The first
being a surprise birthday party in Sarajevo that was well planned out.

Oh No!

I'm going home in a few days and looking forward to going to the beach,
but I forgot, I'm white as a ghost! Now I'm really going to look like a

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

When I got off work today and stepped outside I thought I was in the
wrong country, it was so warm! 79F to be exact. This winter has been
unusually mild although the temperature is forecasted to drop next
week...but I'll be in the good ol' U.S.A! :-)

A new record!

Turned on a light switch this morning and blew two bulbs at once!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Montevideo in the Wash Post

Thanks to my former coworker for pointing out this article about Montevideo in the Washington Post.

Enjoy biggrin

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gadget Review - VoFree VoIP (Skype) Adpatar

What is it? It allows you to use an ordinary home phone as your Skype
phone. I have been making my Skype calls in front of the PC or laptop
which isn't always convenient. We have a cordless phone and it I
remembered seeing these devices. There were several on eBay and I was a
bit skeptical but took the plunge, it was only $26 with shipping.

Installation was easy enough, plug in the box to a USB port attach the
cord to your phone and your phone line (You can still use your phone to
make regular calls).

What the directions failed to mention was the extra steps to get it
configured with Skype but being the geek that I am I was able to solve
that fairly quickly.

The directions on how to use it also was wrong, but I was able to figure
that out.

I was also a little uneasy because the product was made in China, but my
anti virus hasn't screamed yet.

Made some test calls back and forth with Chris and the quality was very

So if your a Skype user and want to break free from the PC give it a shot!

Woo Hoo I'm Page Rank 2

Unless your a blog geek you probably have no idea what I'm talking
about, and still I'm not sure if I know what it all means. I checked my
Page Rank and I have gone from a 0 for the longest time to a 2 (Out of 10).
You can read about Page Rank here:

and check your blog or web site here

Book Corner- finished reading

Air Battle Force by Dan Brown

The third book I've read from this author and the last. I thought I'd
like his epic tales of air superiority with neat sounding futuristic
weapons, but I guess I wasn't.
Not that it was a bad book, it was a good read, but not for me : )

Blog catch up

So here's a short summary of my past week:

My son visited me, his first trip to a foreign country.

We took a tourist bus to Punta del Este.  I had never took the bus so it was an adventure, mostly because of the language barrier.  Managed to find the right bus company, buy the tickets and make it to the bus with minutes to spare.  Our visit to Punta wasn't that great as we got off at the wrong bus terminal in Maldonado which put us far from the beach, but we ended up walking to Punta which then turned into another adventure as we became somewhat lost after finding our way back to the road the bus terminal was on (Wasn't sure which direction to turn).  A taxi solved that problem!

All in all a good time was had.  He found himself saying "Si" and "Gracias" quite a bit around the apartment by weeks end.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Great Guns! Stray arms at Baghdad embassy

I found a bandoleer of 5.56mm SAW machine gun ammo, a coworker found a 9mm pistol in the bathroom.  You heard it first on the Doc Report way before it was news, LOL!

Great Guns! Stray arms at Baghdad embassy

Associated Press - July 11, 2008 5:33 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. Embassy workers stationed in Iraq's Green Zone are being reminded about the embassy's gun rules.

An unclassified memo obtained by The Associated Press says "Weapons are continuing to be left unattended throughout the embassy compound." It warns that improper weapon handling has "legal and political implications."

The rules say people with permission to carry guns must keep them within their reach at all times or with a person assigned to keep them. The rules apply even at the Green Zone's swimming pool, where someone has to be designated "gear guard."

And the rules specify that no weapon can be carried if the staffer is drinking alcohol.

Those whose guns may be confiscated by a security officer need to bring a note from a supervisor certifying that they've been "counseled on proper weapons retention."

I've got some 'splaining to do!

Where have I been? Between internet connection problems and my son
visiting I haven't been able to send off a Doc Report in a few. I'll
catch up this weekend!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Iraqi Dinar laughs

When I was in Baghdad the big frenzy was buying the Iraqi Dinar, it was something like 1500 Iraqi Dinars to 1USD.
Current conversion rate is: 1,195.000 Dinars to the US Dollar ($0.00084)
If it would just equal 1 penny, we'd be rich. So people bought huge amounts of Iraqi dinar in cash and stuffed it away.

Take a peek at the exchange rate

Gene Simmons - Marine Corps Boot Camp Treatment

So last night I'm channel surfing and catch a little bit of Gene Simmons 'Family Jewels' om A&E. Noticed that he was on a Marine base with his daughter, wanted to see where this was going (Yes, I know now the episode is a year old, LOL). So he (Gene) asked for a little taste of Boot Camp, the Marines gladly obliged.
Two Drill Instructors, male and female swoop into the picture and start a firestorm. So this is where I start getting a little anxious, for whatever reason I don't find stuff like this "entertaining", more flashbacks for me than anything else, so I watched something else, but curiosity drove me back. I then was quite amused by him trying to go through the obstacle course (His 14 year old daughter navigated every obstacle). I then was shocked I was ever able to do it! And not only that, have to demonstrate the course flawlessly in front of a few hundred Marine recruits, talk about pressure!

When Gene an his daughter visited the VA hospital, that was something. This man showed deep sincerity and appreciation to all of the vets he met. When he met this young soldier who had been paralyzed by a snipers bullet it they were both moved to tears, it was quite moving. Here one of the most famous rock stars of the 70's, who personified everything rock and roll, yet a caring human being.

There are video clips all over the net of the episode.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Travel woes correction

So no 8 hour layover in St. Louis on the way to Dallas, but still a
fairly long layover in St. Louis on the way to Norfolk, and upon luggage. The most horrible travel award still stands!

Traveling Blues Part Deux

I thought I took the prize for most horrific traveling stories,
especially coming in and out (Mostly out) of Baghdad, but alas, I
relinquish my crown and now hand Chris the tiara of most miserable
traveler. She got out of Montevideo with no problems, albeit with a
lack of sleep. She called to tell me that she had been rerouted to
Dallas/Fort Worth instead of Atlanta (Switch from AA to Delta) then to
Norfolk with a 8 hour layover! Yikes! She then called me from Miami,
it gets better, there is a layover in St. Paul on the way to Dallas/Fort
Worth, she told me that it was a short layover and she would most likely
not be getting off the plane or so she thought. Yet another phone call
as she boarded the plane, that short layover,,,another 8 hours! I told
her to beg and scream when she got to St.Paul to get her out of there.
Apparently every seat on AA is booked up, summer time, cutting back on
flights, all of that stuff. 3 days traveling from South America to home
in Virginia!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Skooch" A Doc Report Podcast

Well that was fast! I have embedded the Flash Player version here, but the Podcast download is here:

Enjoy : )

powered by ODEO

Upcoming stories

I keep telling myself I am going to blog my favorite life stories when I
get a 'round-to-it', well now that Chris is gone and I've got nothing
but time on my hands, I will.
But, I am going to do something different, I am going to make a
podcast. Hopefully it will be easy and if so, I'll blog how I did it.

The stories I'll podcast are:

1. "skooch"
2. Shark fishing on Wake Island
3. 4th of July in New York

Maybe some Drill Instructor stories in the mix as well.

Traveling blues

Chris had a flight last night leaving at 9:00PM. I scheduled a driver
to pick her up at 6:30, arrive at the airport at 7:00PM or so, plenty of
wiggle room for a direct flight to the States. There was some fog last
night and we both wondered about it delaying her flight but decided that
it wouldn't be a problem. She calls me not soon after she arrived and
told me that now the flight wouldn't be leaving until 2:00AM, not only
that they would now have to rebook her from Miami to Dallas/Fort Worth
to Norfolk at a great delay. She wasn't a happy camper. I felt sorry
that she had such a long layover here at our little airport.
1:00AM rolls around and she calls me, the flight has been canceled! She
was coming home with a family that I work with and make the apartment
ready. They arrive around an hour later and the couches and spare
bedroom are full of sleeping heads. Wake up time 6:00 for taxis to pick
up everyone at 6:30 or so. This morning Chris asked what I was going to
do when she left, I said go back to sleep, she said you better not (She
thought it was Monday). She has since arrived at the airport, and
called. She now has a flight, but also a 8 hour layover at Dallas/Fort
Worth (yee haw). The ticket agent told her every flight is booked solid.

I get to go though all of this in a few weeks here...

Calender add on for Thunderbird

Way cool add on for Thunderbird users, finally a calender option. Just
installed it and it gives Thunderbird the Outlook 2007 feel, without all
of the fluff.
If your using Gmail I'd give Thunderbird a try, very easy to install and
configure for Gmail, in fact it's already set for it, add the calender
option and your good to go!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Gordon Lightfoot 1974 - Sundown

Couldn't help myself! The subject says it all. Gordon Lightfoot, the man could write songs! C'mon, Carefree Highway, If you could read my mind, Edmund Fitzgerald. Gotta love the Gord man!

80's Flashback Supreme - The call - The Walls Came Down

I usually don't do this, but for whatever strange reason I had this song in my head this morning. Sure enough, everythings on YouTube and I found it. This is a fairly deep alternative cut that got lots of college radio airplay. I got into this band and bought LP's and CD's along the way.
Who? The Call, name of the song "The walls came down". There was talk that this was a Christian band but they downplayed that in all of their interviews.
Nevertheless, great song!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tawny the trained kitty

I'm going to have to word this carefully, so here I go.

So this morning I wake up and go to the bathroom and do what men 'do' in the morning when the door pushes open and here comes Tawny. As I'm standing there 'doing' what men 'do' in the morning Tawny jumps in the bidet, stands up, puts her paws up against the wall and promptly 'does' what a kitty does in the morning, finishes, turns around and scratches at the chained plug attached to the bidet and jumps out.

I'm not sure how she learned any of that.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Get to know Doc - The news junkie

I am a news junkie, and I can't tell you why or when it happened, but I
just like keeping up with the news. Which is probably why I find it
hard to post to my blog in the morning because I am reading the news,
always starting with the back home news then onto
a back home television station and then to the
Washington Post

Now for those of you who
match news preferences with socio-political preference I really don't
care for the views posted on either paper and prefer Fox for news on
television, guess that let that out of the bag, LOL!

Time to go to work!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Comment Spam

Not you Monika, LOL! All of a sudden I got swamped by a dozen comment spams, I guess comment spam is better than no comments at all, LOL!
Tags: ,

A foggy morning

Chris shouts this morning "Where did the outside go?!", I join her looking out the window to see yes indeed, the 'outside' did seem to disappear in fog. I think our first real fog since we've been here, and guess what? My first morning blog post even though I need to leave for work, like, now.

Here are a few photos taken from our balcony, as usual.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

9:30 PM and the coughs begin

I've been sick for a few days now, not feeling so bad during the day, but having a really bad hacking cough at night that keeps me from sleeping. Was hoping it wouldn't be so bad tonight, but it's already started. Ugh : (

Tawny the veggie kitty

Remember Tawny, our Uruguayan kitty? Funny thing about her, she loves lettuce. We discovered this one day after Chris washed some lettuce and laid it out on the dining room table on a towel to dry. Low and behold Tawny is on the table with a piece of lettuce, we shooed her off, but this wasn't the last time. So the next time Chris washed some lettuce she threw a piece to Tawny, but that didn't stop her from jumping on the table to grab another piece. Now, Tawny watches Chris wash the lettuce as she knows there is going to be a piece for her. When Chris throws pieces of lettuce in the trash, Tawny goes looking for it.

I'll try to get a picture of Tawny and her lettuce and post it.

Palm froms

Chris corrected me, not palm tree leaves, but palm froms. So, here are some they fell off of the tree in from of our apartment, now picture the entire median covered in dead palm from from one end of the other. Probably would have made a better picture, but the weather was really nasty that day.

Homemade marshmallow fluff

All I can say is YUM! We can't find marshmallows here, and definitely not marshmallow fluff (Which I love with peanut butter as a sandwich). So Chris took it upon herself to make some, only it required corn syrup, yet another item you can't find here. So she was going to make the corn syrup but decided against it.

Well to our good fortune a colleague was leaving and bestowed upon Chris 2 bottles of corn syrup! The marshmallow fluff recipe was on the counter the next morning.

I am right now enjoying a very warm apple crumble with flax seeds covered in gooey marshmallow fluff! YUM!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Miserable Day

It's cold, rainy and very windy today and to top it off I'm still sick. I stayed home today, which is unusual for me, but better that then go to work coughing and sniffling and everything else.

Last night I had a good case of the coughs that kept me up most of the night, that was no fun.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Estoy infirmo

Translated: I'm sick. It started off as just a sinus infection, hardly
anything more than my head feeling funny and the occasional runny nose
and cough, but as the days went on I started to feel a little bit more
yuckier, and then last night the dreaded coughs kicked in, keeping me
and Chris up all night. We had run out of cough drops so Chris Googled
home made cough syrup, went to work in the kitchen and brought back this
"witches brew", believe it or not, it worked! I'll try to find the recipe.

Happy Birthday General Artigas

Thanks to General Artigas we have a local holiday and a day off, and
pretty much the country of Uruguay! There is a bridge named after him,
several roads and on and on. Can't find his wiki page, but I'm sure
it's out there.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Facebook me Facebook you

I know your dying to ask, do I have a Facebook profile? Yes, I admit I have a Facebook but I'm not really into the whole Facebook thing. I have bumped into a few friends and of course coworkers, but not much more than that. Haven't installed any of the applications (Do you install them?) or answered any of the questions I get bombarded with, maybe I will later.

I'll put a link to my Facebook profile later.

The winds of change

This past weekend was windier than ever here, sustained winds of around 32-37mph almost the entire weekend, which made for plenty of whistling windows and howling winds.
This morning on my way to work I noticed plenty of palm leaves had fallen down, makes sense.

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Battle Born by Dale Brown
576 pages

This is the second Dale Brown book I've read, the first being 'Storming Heaven'. Much like the previous book I read by the author it's chock full of pilot jargon, forcing me to Google some of the terms, I mean, what exactly is "angels eleven"?

It was a pretty long read!

But back to the book, not bad, a bit far fetched, but interesting. South Korea attacks North Korea in a planned effort to reunite the country, the USAF steps in with a secret weapon to prevent an all out nuclear war.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Muzak Attack

One funny thing that I noticed about shopping at the local grocery store has to be their choice of muzak, mostly classic rock and roll songs. Amusing in the fact that classic rock and roll songs that would be in English, not the most favorite music here.

Another thing about the muzak is it sure makes me feel old! Today at the grocery store I heard 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen,wow, never would have though that would make the muzak circuit, but then we heard 'Shine on you crazy diamond' by Pink Floyd, double wow!

So I'm guessing here that everyone knows what muzak is, for those of you who don't it's the instrumental music that is playing in the background at the mall etc. that usually has that lounge lizard feel to it.

Saturday blogging

I'm so mad at myself, why? I have really slipped on my blogging
efforts. I kept saying that I would at least try to post one thing in
the morning before I went to work, but haven't done that. Then it was
post something after work, haven't done that. Now, back to doing what I
have done for the past couple of weeks, a few blog posts on Saturday. I
need a kick in the pants to get more blog posts out!

Computer Success Award

I had reinstalled XP on our home computer using the restore DVD about 3
months ago and was never able to get the microphone to work, which is
pretty important for us as we use Skype. So I tried different
microphones, I tried the front and rear microphone jacks, I tried
updating the drivers, nothing. Everything pointed to the sound card had
failed. Well, I didn't want to invest in a new sound card, but what was
I going to do? I realized the web cam had a built in microphone, was
there a chance that I could make this work? To my surprise yes! How is
that? The web cam wasn't acting as a microphone per se as it was a
sound card. Took some playing with, but it works!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Lefty righty left....

What in the world was that subject of this post? It doesn't make sense
just saying it, you have to hear it, hear what? A running chant, i.e.;
Marines Corps DI running chants.

See at work I have a computer with sorts of music on it, we listen to it
all day. Sometimes it plays recorded Marine Corps running chants. I
cannot understand at all how anyone can find this entertaining, but
apparently some people do or had.

Funny thing is, when I was a DI at Parris Island a recording company had
come to the Island to record just that, running chants. Chance are what
I listen to at work is one and the same. I watched the recording
engineers at work, they had Drill Instructor school students running in
a circle on the basketball courts with the recording team in the middle
extending a boom mike. The students in turn were singing various
chants. Had no idea I would be listening to then 14 years later on MP3.

Now something I have to mention about "singing" running chants, it was
never very fun, in fact it was a lot of work! When your the junior
Drill Instructor you can count on having to be called out to sing chants
for the recruits. Well for one, you have to sing loud, really loud,
then on top of that you have to be thinking about your next chant as you
are finishing ending another. You can't just finish a chant, stop and
catch your breath and then think about another! But there was a trick
of sorts if you were stumped on what to sing next, filler chants!
That's what I called them. What would that be? Well just little stuff
for the recruits to sing back to you, all the while your thinking...what

The all time classic chant? The all time Army and Marine Corps favorite
chant? The good ol' C-130 rolling down the strip chant, whoever came up
with it was a poet. There are so many flavors of this chant, all
depending on what branch of the service your in.

Here is a link I found on the web

Oh funny, you can buy this on eBay!!_W0QQitemZ230258900053QQcmdZViewItem?IMSfp=TL0806042045r12094


Exchange rate

The exchange rate here just keeps going down and down and down. It has
been as low as 19.10 pesos to the USD, compare that to around 24 pesos
to the USD when we first arrived.

All in all the prices are still reasonable on most things, but costing
us more :'(

I like to put overseas prices in the Big Mac perspective. As I
mentioned in my earlier post a Big Mac sandwich by itself is 60 pesos,
when we first arrived that sandwich would have cost $2.50, not to bad,
and now, $3.14. I was debating with Chris about the price of a Big Mac
meal (with fries and drink) in the U.S.A, I seem to remember that it was
less than $4.00.

Beautiful day here

Wow, what a nice day here in Montevideo! We went for a long walk,
original destination feria de tristan navaja, but after many blocks of
walking we realized that the feria would be probably be closing by the
time we got there. Instead we went turned around and headed for the
feria closer to our home. I got a nice big hamburguesa from a roach
coach for 4o pesos. Not a bad deal as a Big Mac by itself is 60 pesos.

Jack Lucas - Medal Of Honor winner dies

This is kind of strange in that I was just thinking about this gentleman the other day.  He had visited Parris Island (Marine Corps boot camp) and although I didn't meet him, I did drive behind his old Chevy van with handicapped license plates along with MOH recipient as well as Marine Corps stickers plastered all over.
His is a very unique story as he is the youngest person awarded this medal, not only that he survived jumping on a grenade, while a second one (grenade) was thrown in at the same time!

Here is a link to his story.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Veggie week report

We made it! Veggie week was a success, we ended it Monday with a nandu
fajitas (Explained somewhere in this blog).
Looks like we plan on making veggie week something we will do once a
month. Not only was it good for us, we save money too, which is always

Monday, May 26, 2008

To our fallen comrades

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae

Book Corner - Finished Reading: Thunder Point

Thunder Point by Jack Higgins
356 pages
Copyright 1993

Not to bad of a book, kind of like a spy novel. Sometimes I thought
that the characters wouldn't do the things they ended up doing, but in
the end, did. Worth reading? Probably not.

The authors better known book is "The Eagle Has Landed"

Friday, May 23, 2008

The not so hot peppers

Chris bought some peppers at the market that looked like jabaneros, when
we got home she cut a sliver and we tastted it expecting steam to blow
out of ears but it wasn't hot, just mildly so. We ventured into larger
slices and realized they weren't hot at all. Into the fridge they went,
destined for a salad or some other meal.

So, I made a salad and chopped one of the peppers up and put it in my
salad and guess what? Yes, it was HOT! Maybe not jabanero hot, but it
wasn't a mild hot either!

Vegetarian week

As Chris and I were shopping, she mentioned how she was tired of beef.
Just off a whim I said, let's go vegetarian for week, she said ok. And
thus began our vegetarian journey, from Monday to Sunday.

Now mind you, we are eating vegetarian meals, not doing the vegan thing.

Chris has made some wonderful vegetarian meals, eggplant parmigiana,
vegetarian fajitas, veggie pizza and more.

When I realized that peanut butter and banana sandwiches were vegetarian
I knew this would be easy for me!

Where have I been?

Yikes! Shame on me, I haven't posted in quite some time. And now I
have writers block!
So whats been going on?

Shopping: Chris brought me to the local grocery store the other day so
I can endure the fruits and vegetable sale that they have every
Wednesday. It was a mad house. The store really stocks up and marks
the price down on most of the produce, with food prices going up, it's a
good deal. It was pretty much a madhouse!

Work: Same ol', same ol'

Cats: Still the same.

More to come

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bicycle race

There was a bicycle rtace here in Montevideo over the past couple of days. The street in front of my apartment was closed for the race, the local police kindly told us that by way of their radio loudspeaker this morning, LOL. I was able to pick out a few words and came to the conclusion of what they were saying.
One thing I did find out about taking action photos with a consumer model digital photo, it doesn't work well.
I take one photo, and zoom, the racers are gone! All the while the camera is writing the picture to the flash card.
Here is one of the photos I took.
Here is the link to the photos:
Posted by Picasa

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Seven Days To Petrograd
Seven Days To Petrograd by Tom Hyman
Published 1988, paperback 355 pages.

So a few pages into this book I was wondering if I would ever finish
reading it. It's set back in 1917 and is a thriller capped with
history. An American assassin is on a sealed train from Zürich to
Petrograd with Lenin on board and he has to kill him while the train is
in Germany. So we all know what happens.
All in all I enjoyed this book, very suspenseful!