Saturday, October 30, 2010

Book Corner - Finished Reading

The Bible - Various Authors
1094 Pages
New International Version

This makes my tenth time reading the Bible cover to cover. I start on New Years day and work my way a couple of chapters a day and I always seem to finish mid November.

I'll have to admit that it's not the easiest read always, some of it shall I say is a bit boring and unfortunately difficult to understand, but I always take away something new.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oatmeal, What A Meal

I remember when I used to hate oatmeal, even the sweet kind with bits of apple and raisins and all that stuff, I never did like the mushy taste. That was then this is now. Now being a much older guy who has had some bad cholesterol numbers in his day.

Initially I was still kind of shying away from oatmeal, Chris bought some plain oatmeal and I added raisins and some syrup and it was okay, but not great.

Then she bought a case of Country Choice Organic Multi-Grain hot cereal which technically isn't oatmeal, but does contain oats. I add some water and put it in the microwave for two minutes then take it out and add some flax seed, raisins and a bit of brown sugar. Delicious! Not mushy at all.

The Amazon reviews are pretty much 5 stars across the board:

I've been eating this stuff everyday for breakfast for the past two months. I'm curious to see if my cholesterol levels have gone down.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Round The City

I was going to the store the other day and couldn't help but notice that on every corner along with the usual bored and underpaid policemen with machine guns now there was mean paramilitary soldiers with machine guns as well. I had to go to a few stores looking for something and sure enough, every corner there was soldiers. I even passed a soccer field and there had to have been ten soldiers that I could see guarding it.

Honestly I have no idea whats going on. Not exactly tourist friendly stuff I imagine.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Violets Are Blue by James Patterson
391 pages
Alex Cross Series

Imagine that, I read another Patterson. Without a doubt this was typical Patterson fare, almost predictable.

I need to keep track of all the Patterson's I've read, otherwise I'm going to find myself reading the same book again.

All in all a quick three day read.

Chris Feeding The Newborn Kitty

Chris feeding the newborn kitten this morning.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Miracle at St. Anna by James McBride
304 pages
WWII Novel

I'm glad I finished reading this book. I almost dropped it to my 'Quit Reading' category, but after a few chapters I found that I liked it. From what I understand the author did a great job in his research so although fiction it does carry lots of historical prevalence.

If your unfamiliar with the book/movie it's about a group of Buffalo Soldiers from the Army's 92nd Division that liberate an Italian town. The story revolves around the relationship between the soldiers, their white commanders, the villagers and the Italian partisans.

I'd say it was a good read.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Update On My Dog Friend

I still haven't taken a picture of her, I should do that tomorrow. So lately I've been bringing her a portion of cat food with a Milk Bone biscuit as a treat. I know, why cat food, because we have pounds and pounds of it. She eats it up, I figured she would.

I had two ice cream containers that I would bring and fill up with water and hope that it was still there when I got off work, well the first one disappeared and sure enough the second one disappeared. You might think that someone cleaning the sidewalk took it, but believe me someone saw it and saw it as a viable container to use in his or her home. I guess I'll have to eat more ice cream then.

It's funny as I walk to work in the morning I know the two places that she hangs out at, next to guard shacks. If she's not at one, she's next to the other. I can see her looking at the people as they walk by and when she's see's me I can see her tail wagging.

Sadly when I pet her she tucks her tail and hangs her head, obviously very frightened. If I have my umbrella it frightens her that much more so. I hate to think what she's been through.

Note to self, take a picture!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Sam's Story by Elmo Jayawardena
167 pages

This is the second book that I have read by a Sri Lankan author. It's the story of "Sam" who is a houseboy for a rich family. Sam grew up impoverished and is illiterate.

We see the world as Sam see's it. The war is still going on and his coworkers are Tamil. He has lost two brothers to the war.

From start to finish I enjoyed this book. You can find a better review on Amazon : )

Abby Gets Hurt

Ever hear the old saying, things can change in the blink of an eye?
I came home today and everything was going well, we talked about going out to eat. The cats were fussing with each other and I picked up Abby and started petting her. The next thing I know she scratched my wrist really hard, hard enough for me to yell "OWW" and she jumped out of my hands.

In that split second I knew that couldn't be good, she's a little kitten. I saw her land, it looked like a clumsy fall, but Chris saw what really happened, she landed on her head!

Abby went under the bed and Chris picked her up and put her on the bed. She tearfully said that there was something wrong with her. Initially I wasn't so sure, but it became painfully obvious something was wrong. She couldn't walk right, she was falling down, and she just didn't want to move.

I tried calling our vet but she was out of town. We called a few others and a taxi and when the tzi arrived we took a long trip through Colombo traffic across the city.

At one point Chris said that Abby wasn't moving, I was praying to God that the she was maybe just sleeping, thank God she was.

The veterinarian was busy with some dog owners but he got to look at Abby. He checked her eyes, rubbed her head and said that she would be all right. He gave her a shot of antibiotics and steroids and said to bring her back tomorrow. I think we were both a little skeptical as she just didn't look right.

We came home and let her stay in the carrier and continue to sleep.

About and hour later we heard crying and we run to the bedroom, there's Abby on the bed looking at us. We were both a little frightened, what did this mean? My guess, she's hungry or has to go potty.

We took her to her bedroom (Yes she has a bedroom) and she goes straight to her litter pan! We were very happy. I went and got her a pouch of cat food and she started eating. Next thing we know she's messing with our other cats again and joining us on the couch!

Tears of worry and tears of happiness. Lots of prayers answered. Thank you Lord!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Alex Cross's Trial by James Patterson
380 pages
Mystery thriller
Alex Cross series

This was rather an unusual Patterson read. It's a;most hard to call it an Alex Cross series book, but we do hear from Alex in the first two pages of the book, he is "writing" the story that we are reading.
We are taken back to the early 19th century and into the deep south where the main character is sent on a special mission by the President to investigate lynchings.

All in all not so bad, I'll give it a good read.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Abby Update

It's official, she figured out that she could jump over her barricade, so we either find something higher or just let us join us, she has joined us.

She follows Chris everywhere and stays with her on the couch and when she does go around the apartment she doesn't stray far. I thought we would have to shut some doors when she was out as there are so many places she could hide, but she hasn't.

One funny thing about her is that she tends to hop almost like a kangaroo. Her back legs look longer than our other cats, maybe it's our imagination.

Our older cat Cricket has given her the paw once or twice so Abby knows to give her some distance, but Feral on the other hand hisses whenever she is nearby. Feral will eventually run away in disgust.

They all have their own spaces, Cricket has one bedroom, Feral like the laundry room and now Abby likes to sleep with us.

She still wakes us up at some ridiculous hour in the morning to eat. Ugh.

Abby Likes Ice Cream

My Old Flip Flops

When I was cleaning up our old apartment back in Montevideo something our cleaning lady has always stuck with me "Don't throw anything away", today was a good lesson in why to take this to heart in poor countries.

You may have recalled my dilemma about my favorite flip flops and getting a new pair. After a weekend at the beach I realized there was a bit of shall we say "funk" coming from them and I knew it was time to go, but I didn't throw them away but put them by the trash chute.

Today some maintenance workers were working on our air conditioner. They take off their shoes (Although usually sandals) before coming in.

I decided to go to the gym and when I opened the door and stepped into the foyer I looked down and there was my old flip flops. One of the apartment maintenance guys had been wearing them.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Corner - Finished Reading

The Siege by Stephen White
416 pages
Mystery & Thriller

Judging by the reviews of this book I thought I was really going to like it. It started off well enough but then the author intertwines different characters into the story that got a bit confusing.
Towards the end I was having a hard time finishing it.

All in all, not recommended.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Dime a Dozen

When I got out of the Marines I was fortunate enough to get my foot in the door in the IT industry. The "tech boom" was just beginning to creep up and I pretty much rode the wave from job to job.
I started off installing network equipment and moving computers from desk to desk. It wasn't difficult work. I was interested in what happened after I installed the equipment, what happened beyond the wires.

Fast forward a decade and the boom, well boomed. I had at one time been able to go from contract to contract but at the end of one project it took me about six weeks to find a job (Maybe four). It pretty much scared me about the IT job scene. I was lucky, a coworker on the same project was never able to land a job, it took him a year and that's only because he went full time in the National Guard and went to Iraq.

Whenever I run into IT contractors I am always curious as what the job market is like back on the "beltway" (Northern VA/DC area), my old stomping grounds.

Turns out things are as bad, if not worse. I told some contractors the story of me not able to find a job for six weeks, that brought some good laughs from them. Six weeks is considered fortunate. They said that they all know someone who has been unemployed for over a year, some even two. All college educated people within the IT field.

Me, I'm a dime a dozen. A computer guy who can double click in all the right places? There's someone to fill my shoes at every corner.

Look at it this way. Everyday there are people getting out of the military with plenty of computer experience, every year colleges graduate kids with IT degrees, every year kids graduate from high school with skills that I only dream about. Then there are the IT tech schools and IT "boot camps" and add to that the ranks of unemployed IT people already looking for work. It's a jungle out there.

If I were to lose my job I would be in a bad situation, and I know it.

Thank God for little blessings.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Church Decision

I don't know what got me thinking about this, but maybe because it's Sunday.

When the first Sunday arrives for recruits at Marine Corps boot camp something happens, the categorization.

A Drill Instructor will get all of the recruits in the squad bay and try to sort the recruits into one of three different religious preferences, Catholics, Protestants and the others. Well it's easy enough to identify the Catholic's, you just ask them to raise their hands, sit down or whatever. It's the Protestants and the "others" where the fun begins.

The DI will then take the next step of going to each recruit and asking them what church they attend, if any, and telling them you're a Protestant or an other. This will make the recruits confused and the DI angry. "Sir this recruit attends the whatever his hometown church is yada yada, this recruit is not a Protestant sir" (Marine recruits have to talk in the third person), and this will go on and on.

You see the chapel has a Catholic service and a Protestant service utilizing the same chapel. As for the others the base may or may not have someone who can be there every Sunday. The Navy provides the chaplains for the Marines and how many lets say Buddhist chaplains do you think are in the Navy and stationed in South Carolina? Some recruits get creative. Church is a break away from the DI's, so between sitting in the squad bay or sitting in chapel even if it's not their religious preference, well you get the idea.

When I went to boot camp it was Catholic's and Protestant's, no others, you had to make a choice.

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Owners

I caught a ride back to the apartment after work as I had some items to bring back. The car park (Parking garage) is located in the basement level and you have to drive down a ramp but now before some guards will stop and double check things. Honestly how or what they are checking for I don't know.

I immediately noticed that the guards were wearing new uniforms, then I realized that I didn't recognize any of the guards at all. I knew this wouldn't be good.

My suspicions were confirmed when I spoke to Chris. Sure enough they tried to stop her this morning in the lobby and she just walked right by them. I think they got the point.

We went out to lunch later and when we returned and walked past the guard station I could hear one of them mumble something about checking her purse. We got some strange looks from them as we kept on walking by.

So we asked our faithful receptionist about the change of guards and she said that the bank and apartment building is now owned by the government. Our apartment building is attached to a high rise bank headquarters,

Today the power blinked and the new owners conducted a generator test, one of our pet peeves. I wish they would tell us when they are going to do that.

It will be interesting to see how things play out with this. I know one thing, it only reinforces Chris' desire to move to another apartment building.

More on that later.