Saturday, December 22, 2007

Do you like cats?

Almost every night, I hear something walking around on my roof. My roof is made out of some kind of galvanized tin; save the garage, where about a 5 x 10 foot portion of it is some kind of foggy plexy glass. My wife says that what we hear walking around is a cat or cats. A few months back, I even ran up there one day to investigate a noise only to scare a gray cat with yellow eyes. I remember those eyes clearly, because he looked at me with such terror as in disbelief that a human was up there with him. A split second later he dashed like lightning off the back of my house into the neighborhood behind mine.

Even after that incident, we still hear something walking around on our roof from time to time and almost always at night.

Well today has been a kind of rainy, lazy take it easy kind of day. The wife is out doing Christmas stuff and I've been hanging out here with the kids. I've been at this computer for the last 2 hours: checking email, working on a web app and reading the drudgereport while they were napping.

My son just informed me that there's cat crap on the roof. All kinds of questions went through my mind of course, so I just asked him how he knew. He pointed to a black spot on the garage's plexy glass ceiling. I thought it was leaf, so I said, "that's just a leaf." He said that it wasn't. So I went right under and looked up. He's right.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Errrrrrrrr!!! Big goverenment, the Federal Reserve and uninformed / irresponsible citizens

I'm so frustrated. What can I say? I do what I can to make sure that my finances are in order. My family works off a budget. We do not sacrifice raising the children that God has entrusted to us for a better lifestyle - i.e. we don't have a HUGE mortgage on a HUGE house. We have a 10 year old car so that we don't have to have a car payment. We try to pay cash for everything in order to not go into debt (Debt by the way is a form of slavery). We do all of this so that my wife can stay at home with the kids and so that I too can spend more time with them.

We do all that we can to not over spend and live below our means and for what? For the Federal Reserve and BIG government to encourage banks to loan money to people who do not have their act together? To a bunch of irresponsible credit junkies?

These people are loosing their homes, their cars and their shirts and I would say in almost all cases rightfully so! And now what? We hear the network news guys saying things like:

"The Fed is pumping billions of dollars into the economy to help out with the credit crisis".

What does this mean? I'll tell you what this means because I'm experiencing this first hand - its painful - and you will too over time.

This means that somebody at the Fed goes over to a laptop and pushes a few keys to "create" money out of thin air. They then push that newly created digital money to the banks. Let me explain the result of this, I'll try to keep it brief.

This is causing immediate and major inflation of our dollar. Our dollar is worth less every time they do this. If you have cash in hand, it is worth less than the day before the Fed does this. How much? About 4% less or so.

I live in Costa Rica. For the first time that I have known of, the dollar has fallen against the Costa Rican colon. What does that mean? My food costs more. My gas costs more. Everything costs more.

What does that mean for you? Your money is worth less on the global market.

What I'm not sure about though:

Is your house worth less? Well, if you're trying to sell it right now and you have it on the market for lets say $200,000. You put it on the market last week. Today the Fed created more money. You have your house for the same price: $200,000. Your house is worth $200,000 in todays dollars and its worth about $192,000 in last months dollars. Do you see what I mean?!

Maybe, if you don't sell your house, over time, the market will correct itself and the price will go up appropriately. In this case by market, I mean the housing market. Maybe, it will correct itself and reflect the true value of your house in today's dollars and not last months dollars. But how long will that take?

The same goes for any money that you have in Savings or 401K plans. Lets say that you have $100,000. Well that money is worth less now than it was last month. Maybe though, that too will correct itself over the next year and it will increase as our inflation has. (I hope so.....)

My opinion about this? Let those irresponsible people in foreclosure figure it out on their own or with help from private parties. The market needs to eat them (figuratively). This is the fastest way for us to move on. Even Clark Howard says this.

My greater opinion on this? Get us back on the gold standard and eliminate the Federal Reserve. Bottom line, (SO LISTEN UP HERE): The Fed is a private entity. Its not of the government. Don't let the name trick you. This private entity creates money out of thin air and loans it to us and our government at an interest! How absurd is that??? This private entity, the Federal Reserve, is ultimately owned by private individuals. It is to the benefit to these individuals that our government grows, becomes more socialist, takes more responsibility from the private sector, creates more wars, has socialized medicine, welfare, etc...... Why? Because it needs to borrow more of this imaginary money at an interest to be paid back to the Federal Reserve (to these private individuals).

So there you go. I guess that's why Republicans are good at war and Democrats are good at taking care of irresponsible people.

One more thing. What does this mean for me? Well I'm a hustler, I'm a fighter, I'm a schemer and more important than that, I trust The Almighty. I've seen Him do nutty stuff. CRAZY stuff. Sure yeah, I'll keep scheming. I have to. But I know that there's a way out for my family and me that will be provided by The Provider. Not sure what it is right now. But there is one.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

No PC for me please

Ha Ha Ha! There's been a Political Correctness backfire in retail America. You know how when you're leaving some big chain store (or mall store) after shopping this time of the year and they say to you "Happy Holidays". If you're like me, there's something inside of you that's actually bothered by that simple phrase; and if you're like me you say back to them "Thanks, Merry Christmas :-)".

Well, it looks like this silly political correctness is backfiring. How funny. These retail giants try not to offend anyone with their "Happy Holidays" but end up offending a huge base of clients called Christians (which by the way are part of the majority religion in the USA).

Why be so politically correct? I really don't get it. If I were in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan and someone said something like: "Happy Ramadan" or "Happy fasting" or something like that, I would gladly respond back to them the same greeting with no qualms about it whatsoever.

Well, it turns out that some of these stores are wisening up. I heard on the news the other day that Wal-Mart is making the switch to now use the phrase: "Merry Christmas".

I used to think that I was probably the only one offended or bothered with the blatant omission of any reference to my Savior in that greeting but it looks like you and everyone else were too.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Living Debt Free being part of a Faith Walk

Today, I've been listening to Dave Ramsey, like I do a lot. He was giving a high incomed fellow advice on whether to buy a house now or wait two years for the cash to be there to just pay for it. While giving the advice, Dave said something like buying things without debt is part of his faith walk.

For Dave, when he wants to buy something whether its a car, house or starting a business; its a spiritual decision. When he's saying that its part of his faith walk, I interpret that to someone buying like this:

"God, I want to buy something; but I do not have the resources to buy it. I will do my part in looking for those resources so that I can obtain what I'm trying to buy and at the same time I will trust you to provide that which I am seeking."

This does spin into a tangent that I won't address in this post and that being that perhaps God does not want you to buy that something (hence, perhaps that's the reason why you shouldn't use credit to obtain it).

One interesting idea is that if you use credit to purchase something then perhaps you are short circuiting God's provision.

But in the USA, they say that you have to have a mortgage to buy your home. But, does it have to be this way?!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Well, back in the United Social America

I've been in Georgia for a week now. Well a week tomorrow. I flew stand by and managed to fly back in 1st class. This was a first time for me. I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It was quite a treat.

Work has been interesting. We have a new VP who's a soldier. The guy does not take any crap and is cracking the whip on everybody. This has been going on for almost 2 months now. I have to say, that it is a welcomed change though on my part. It is a challenge.

I'm carless right now. Been getting around on MARTA. So far so good.

I was about 3 days shy of being in Costa Rica for 6 months straight. This is the longest time that I've ever been abroad.

Interesting enough, on Tuesday evening, after my first day back in the office, I was walking to the MARTA station. I twisted my ankle on a divot in the side walk. I had a flashback to my first day working from an internet cafe in Costa Rica. That night, I also twisted my ankle while walking on the side walk (See earlier blog post) . This time as well as that time I feared that I would not be able to run for awhile; however that wasn't the case as Thursday I ran a pretty good 4.4 mile going between my sister's and my granddaddy's neighborhoods.

Tomorrow, God willing, the rest of my family will be here. Speaking of the phrase "God willing", Costa Ricans (as well as other hispanics) use a variation of that phrase constantly: "si Dios quiere" ("if God wants" or "if God wills it") . The apostle Paul talks about this in one of his letters saying something like don't say you plan on going to this city or that and'll do business for a time you should say if God wills it then ...... etc.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Crown update

We are 70% through the Crown study. We decided to split up into 2 groups. Meyling has one and I have the other.

Meyling has 11 people. I had 11 but am now down to 10. One lady had to drop it due to recently becoming pregnant and the added stresses and complexities because of that.

Its really exciting. We have 3 more weeks to go and are on track with 21 people graduating! These folks are motivated, dedicated and excited about making wise changes in their lives and seeing God do BIG things.

In my group, every person is capable of leading this study. I'm hoping at least half of the them lead a Crown study in the next year. God willing, we will do one or two more at this church in January 2008.

On a lighter note, whoever is in charge of the bulletin keeps leaving in there: "Thursday night: Bible study at 7:00 pm". The problem is, that Bible study is not going on and has not happened in months! We've had 2 people show up, each on 2 different occasions thinking that one of our Crown classes was "The Bible Study". The thing is, crown is designed to be a closed small group Bible study. Once started, no new members should be admitted in. This is to maintain consistency and promote a more intimate small group study.

The funny thing, in this church of about 200 people or so, only 2 people have come looking for the Bible study in the past 7 weeks!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fine Culture


Every September, this is what folks in my home town do on Saturday night of Buggy Days. One time I almost had that pig. I was about 8 or 9 years old. My dad told me to not run with the crowd but to stay in the open and the pig would eventually run to me. Well the pig did and I grabbed that joker by its hind legs. He was slippery cause they'd greased em up before the chase. I had em for about 2 seconds and then Brian Nicholas jumped on me and that pig just slipt on away. Oh well.....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Crown in Cartago, Costa Rica

Finally, looks like Meyling and I are going to be able to facilitate a Crown group in her home church in Cartago, Costa Rica. This is something we've been wanting to do for 8 years now! Pastor Esteban and his wife have been very supportive of our efforts and plan to be in the first group. This past Sunday, Aug 26th the announcement was made in front of the church. From that announcement, we got a list of 26+ people. I was told that even more we're interested but for some reason, failed to get their names on the list because of miscommunication or something.

We have a problem here but it is a good problem. We can only have 12 to 14 people max in a group. Because of so much interest I want to do 2 groups. The Crown office in Costa Rica has already told us that they cannot provide additional facilitators, but they can provide us a 4 hour leadership training session. Two 'leader' couples have already shown some interest in doing the study but I have not approached either one of them yet about facilitating a group.

My idea right now, is to try to get both couples to lead a group together with Meyling and me giving them some support while Meyling and I facilitate a group ourselves. I'm overwhelmed in a good way not in a bad way. I'm overwhelmed at how God just dumped all of those people in front of us. I thought after the announcement that we would have 4 or 5 people in a group. Frankly, I'm just shocked at how many people are wanting to do this.

The size of the church is about 350 members. They had about 200 adults there last Sunday. This also just happened to coincide with Pastor Esteban being voted in as the official pastor of the church.

In case you're wondering what Crown is, it is a 10 week Bible study about money. It covers many topics some of which are debt, savings, work, tithing, retirement and training children. The general philosophy of Crown is that our money and our possessions are not ours but in fact belong to God and are on loan to us from God Himself. Therefore we are not owners but actually stewards and must administer these things in such a way that is pleasing to God.

Dave Ramsey has a similar course. See the following links:

http://www.crown.org

http://www.daveramsey.com

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fighting for Jesus

Right now, the boy is riding around in the garage on his scooter singing, "I will fight for you Jesus", "Jesus help me fight for you". What do I do? Do I let it go or do we have a theological discussion? At least he's also singing, "Jesus loves me", "I love you too Jesus."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Some Urban Outdoors Man stories

Yesterday, while dropping off the boy at school (its not a traditional school, they run around and play the whole day) I almost ran over an urban outdoors man sleeping on the side of the road. I was turning right off the two lane paved (busy) main road onto a dirt road. The Urban Outdoors man was sleeping on the side of the dirt road. As I made the turn, he was on the starboard side of the 4x4 vehicle that I was piloting. As I passed him, I honked the horn.

I dropped off the boy. On the return trip, I was determined to wake that fellow up. So I made my decent down the unpaved road and stopped right beside the man's sleeping area. I honked the horn and yelled at him to get up. I asked if he was worried about getting ran over. He slightly stirred but refused to acknowledge my presence. I had to move on, as another vehicle was turning left off of the paved road into the Urban Outdoors man's sleeping area.

Last Saturday, I saw a fellow at about 2:00 pm taking a nap laying perpendicular across the side walk. He was sleeping very very sound asleep as there was a lot of traffic passing by him and he was not moving.

There's this gas station on the west side of Cartago that has a lot of these outdoors man that come by to visit folks while they are filling up their gas tanks. About 2 months ago, when we were getting gas, within 3 minutes, 2 different outdoors men had come by the driver's side window and startled my wife. I had some cold french fries, so I gave one of them the fries. He was very happy and ate them on up.

There's this other dude that's kind of close to the Mas x Menos grocery store. (Pronounced Mas por Menos). This guy has to be about 20 years old and seems to have a serious cash flow problem as he's constantly walking around in the intersection approaching drivers of stopped vehicles at the traffic light asking for money.

About 2 years ago, when I was down here I was approached by an urban outdoors man requesting money. At first I ignored him acting like I couldn't speak Spanish (you know, playing the stupid gringo). This guy then started speaking to me in perfect English. I realized I couldn't ignore him, so we spoke in English for a while. I finally gave him some change. He had spent time in California doing construction work. His English was really good.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

New Proposed Flag for US

I'm proposing this as the new flag for the USA (United Socialist America.) Since we are becoming so communist in our mentality we should change our flag in order to keep up with the current culture. Friends, we are a far cry from those rugged, liberty minded individuals who settled our great land and made our country. Never mind that the preamble of our Constitution says "provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare". Now our government "provides the general Welfare and somewhat promotes the common defense". (Look at our border with Mexico)

I like this flag. Notice first of all, there are no more stars. Those stars are outdated representing a time in the past when we had different states, each with different opinions that frankly just get in the way of the "common" good. What business does a state (let alone a people) have governing themselves. With the states gone, its just THE ONE BIG FAT MAMA GUBERMENT takin care of us all.

The hammer and sickle represent the so called working class. I say so called, because that class can shrink on up as there is becoming less and less incentive to work because the fruits of their labor are being reaped by the BIG FAT ONE. To be honest, the hammer and sickle really represent serfdom and slavery. In reality, you are just a serf or a slave. To make you feel better about your condition though, we'll let you think that the hammer and sickle stand for the "working class".

Notice also even though there is the hammer and sickle representing the serfs, there is no symbol representing the entrepreneur, the owner, the owner-operator or any other category of class of a free nation with a diverse economy. That's because THE GUBERMENT holds all of those roles and titles. You are just a serf in this post-liberty feudal system.

Yes, you noticed that the 13 stripes are still there. That's there to make you think that you are still free. A token of patriotism of the past. A means to blind you of your current state. Well quit reading this and get back to work for the ONE GUBERMENT. If you're not working though, don't worry, they'll take care of you......

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Have you put your kids on Commission yet?

I'm listening to Dave Ramsey. He says that he hates "allowance"; you know, giving your kids money on some kind of schedule. He says that it sounds too much like welfare. His kids are on commission. The idea being - you work you get paid. You don't work, you don't get cash and you can't buy stuff. (Ha Ha) - [paraphrase of what Dave said.]

Dave also says that he just hates the word allowance.

What do you think?

Friday, July 20, 2007

What do you think?

Any similarities?







Some pics (finally)

Das SchloƟ This is the inside of our house. The door on the left is the front door from the garage. To the right of the table is the kitchen.




Nice View
This pic was taken about half way up the mountain whose summit is Volcano Irazu. The city in the valley is Cartago. The direction of this view is due south. You can see the southern mountain range of the central valley. Less than 40 miles (south) from the point that this pic was taken is the Pacific Ocean. Following the road on the right will take you down to Potrero Cerrado and then to Tierra Blanca. I'm guessing that this point is 1.5 miles above sea level. If you get a 1980 version of World Book Encyclopedia you can see almost the same picture.


Some Random Costa Rican Kid On the way up to Volcano Irazu one day, I stopped in one of the towns and took a picture of this kid on the side of the road. Its kind of chilly at that elevation but he didn't seem to mind as he's wearing a tank top.





Costa Rican Street Dog






My Friend Mr. T

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Transformers

We saw Transformers last night. I have fond memories of the cartoon series. When I reminisce about watching the Transformers as a kid, I remember hanging out at Brandon Smith's house with my brother and other friends watching the show. I always liked the 80s cartoon despite the fact that parts of it were kind of cheesy. For example:
  • Megatron would turn into a hand gun.
  • Soundwave would turn into a stereo box.
  • Optimist Prime's trailer would always conveniently just fade away when we was transforming to humanoid mode. (Brandon would start ragging on the cartoon. He would say something like: "hey where did his trailer go.") If I remember correctly, his trailer would also just mysteriously show back up when he transformed back to a rig.
The movie fixed some of that. Megatron now turns into some kind of jet (which makes much more sense to me than a simple hand gun), Optimist Prime did not have a trailer and Soundwave was not introduced. Some online reviews though allude that the Police car was him or inspired by him or he was turned into a Police car or something.

In the movie, the robots seemed very realistic and scary. The fight scene at the beginning between the rogue helicopter Decepticon and the US military in Iraq; and the followup with that 50 foot long scorpion Decepticon fighting the remnant of US Special Ops fighters left over from the first fight with the helicopter were both awesomely disturbing.

However they could've done a better job developing the Transformer characters. Perhaps they'll do that in the sequels though.

It was really funny to me how the Decepticons (and the Autobots ) hunted down Sam via his ebay user id and auction listing. The Decepticon even quoted to him his auction listing number.

I liked the history that they introduced giving Sam and the Transformers a remote connection through a brief encounter between an ancestor of his and Megatron.

Starscream just didn't look like himself at all. Yeah he was bad and scary, but they should've made him look more like himself. The same for Megatron too. Also in the TV series, Starscream was a good fighter but had a wussy side to him. The wussy side was not shown in the movie.

All-in-all I really like the movie a lot. It freakin rocked! It not only did justice to the cartoon but improved upon it in my opinion.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0418279/

Monday, July 16, 2007

Chupacabra

Last month, I created an ad on craigslist to give away a chupacabra that I had found. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of that post. After about 3 weeks, it was finally flagged for deletion on craigslist. It was posted in the free section and went something like this:

Giving away one free chupacabra to the right family. It will take the right kind of owner as he's kind of nasty, although I've been trying to tame him and have had moderate success. Would also probably be best for a somewhat wealthy family as he goes through about 2 goats or a dozen chickens a day. Just got all of his shots up to date. If interested, please send me an email so that we can arrange a time for you to come and take a look at him.

Below are some of the best responses that I got.



From: D
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2007 11:26:40 AM
Subject: chupacabra

I already have one so I do not mind to have another
one. Send me some pics.




From: N
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 5:24:30 AM
Subject: chupacabra

how do you have a chupacabra? do you have pics? i am interested - thanks -

My response to N:
No. We dont have any pics of it yet. But you can come and see it. Please take it. We are having a hard time domesticating it. I´m sure that with the right person, he´d make a good pet though.

N's follow up email:
chupacabra is supposed to be a mystical creature. do you have just a wild dog or something and you are calling him chupacabra? i have studied on this creature some and have found several different reported species of the same "animal". there are almost canine sightings almost alien sightings and almost reptile like ones. if you can show me pictures i would like that. i do not think if it was a real chupacabra then it could be domesticated. how did you aquire this nimal. please i would like more info. chupacabra fascinates me and i would be very interested but do not want to waste my time on a manged dog or something. thanks - n




From: John
Sent: Friday, July 6, 2007 9:10:50 PM
Subject: Chupacabra

Are you for real?

Sent from my iPhone

My response to John:

On Jul 11, 2007, at 10:11 AM

Some nice lady picked it up. She was real quiet and didn't have much to say. I wish that I'd gotten her contact info. Anyway, I'm glad that she did get that thing. I didn't like having it around.

John's follow up:

Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 3:24:21 PM
Subject: Re: Chupacabra

What did she pickup? Who is this? Did someone e mail u from here?

Sent from my iPhone

my response:
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 3:32 PM
Subject: Re: Chupacabra

Hello John,

I received an email from your email address inquiring about the chupacabra that I was giving away. The chupacabra is gone, thank goodness. If I do find another one, and you're interested in it, I will let you know and then we could make further arrangements. Until then please take care.


Message from Craigslist

Your posting has been flagged for removal.

Approximately 98% of postings removed are in violation of craigslist posting guidelines.

Please make sure you are abiding by all posted site rules, including our terms of use:

http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use.html

If you need help figuring out why your posting was flagged, try asking in our flag help forum: http://forums.craigslist.org/?forumID=3. Include posting title, body, category, city, how often posted, any images, HTML markup, etc.

If your posting was wrongly flagged down (2% of flagged ads are) please accept our apologies and feel free to repost.

Sorry for the hassle, and thanks for your understanding.

My response to Craigslist:

No problem. I meant to take down the ad because it had sold already.

Thanks!


Thursday, July 12, 2007

The beach: Palo Seco and Manuel Antonio

Vacation at the beach
  • Palo Seco
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Kayaking
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • The ride home
Palo Seco
Last week, on the 4th of July, my parents came into town to visit. Finally, after being here for 2 months we took a family vacation to the beach for 3 nights and 4 days. Saturday, we left for Palo Seco. The strange thing, according to dad's gps, Palo Seco is about 37.5 miles directly south of Cartago. However to get there we had to do a wide semi circle going west through San Jose to Orotina and then rounding it out passing Jaco and finally getting into Parrita and then into Palo Seco. It took us about 4 or 5 hours to get there and was well over 100 miles.

We stayed one night in Paloc Seco at the Hotel La Tranquilidad. Palo Seco is a very very very undeveloped beach. All there is is a bunch of cocunut trees lining the beach for 5 miles. I'm guessing there's probably only 50 or 60 structures on the entire 5 mile island. The sand there is brown. Real estate prices for a 1/4 acre lot (beach front) are as low as $100K in some parts.

Most of the property there is being sold under concession. This is how it works. On the 1st 50 meters from the high tide mark no one can build anything. from 50 m to 150 m past the high tide mark, the local government owns that land but can grant concessions to people to develop it. When you own a concession, you own exclusive rights to the land to do pretty much what you will with it like titled property. When the concession is up, the current concession holder has first rights to renew it. I'll try to make a point to post something exclusively on concessions later.

Manuel Antonio
We stayed 2 nights in Manuel Antonio. One night at a hotel that has awesome views of the ocean. Its pretty high up on the side of a mountain. The drawback though is that its about 3/4 mile walk to the beach. The second night we stayed in a kind of ok hotel right on the beach.

Manuel Antonio is a very beautiful area. Its probably half developed. They're very careful there though to leave a lot of trees. The hotels on the beach are actually hidden back in the woods. The ocean/beach there is really nestled in a bay. The beach stretches for about 2 or 3 miles and makes a curve like a crescent moon but more U-shaped. On either end are rocky outcroppings and mountains. Its really a kind of wide bay there (but the waves are good).

Kayaking
On Monday, Meyling, Dad and I took 2 kayaks out into the bay. These are the type of kayaks that you sit on (not in). More like a cross between a canoe and a traditional sit-in-kayak. Out in the bay are a few rock formations / small islands. The closest one to us was about 600 m out (according to the guy at the kayak place.) They called them gemelas (twins). We paddled out to there to the gemelas.

Dad tried to go in between the gemelas from the ocean side. The passage is probably about 10 feet wide at the narrowest point. He was timing the waves, but didn't time enough, because as he was making his approach a huge surge of water about 4 or 5 feet higher than the norm came rushing through and flipped him over. He was ok and managed to save his GT hat too. I got to see it all in slow motion and almost get hit by him and his kayak at the same time!

Once he got his kayak righted and back on it, we went around to the ocean side of the formation to check it out. Waves were constantly attacking the gemelas. Dad wanted to go through from that side. Meyling and I quickly paddled back around to the beach side to watch him come through and help him out in case he got into any trouble. We had enough time to get ready to watch dad come through.

That time he made it through with no problem. He said that he watched the waves for a few cycles and noted that after 4 or 5 there was always a big one going through. After deciding it was safe, he assaulted the passage right on the tail end of a 'big one'. He made it out just fine.

After that, we snorkeled very briefly. The water was pretty turbulent and at the same time we wanted to stay kind of close to the rocks to see stuff. Meyling and Dad went first. Dad saw some fish and Meyling saw some rocks. After that I went, I saw some rocks too. Then Meyling went again determined to see a fish and finally she saw a blue one.

After that we paddled around went out a little further to some other rock formations and then went back in.

Manuel Antonio National Park
On Tuesday, the day we left for home, we took a tour of the Manuel Antonio park. Our guide showed us a few 3 fingered sloths, some monkeys, lizards, bats and spiders. To his credit, we wouldn't have seen many of the animals without his help. He even brought along a telescope on a tripod to see the animals better. Our tour group consisted of us and a couple from Holland.

After the tour we got into the ocean (at the beach in the park.) The slope of the beach was pretty steep making the waves very powerful as they crashed on the beach. Once the girl came running out to be with me and the boy. She was suddenly flipped on her back and then flipped over completely and finally another wave was dragging her out as it receded. As she was going out, I was already there to snatch her up. She was fine but really upset and shocked as you can imagine.

The ride home
On the way back, the kids got pretty nauseated when we were going through the mountains. The girl actually ended up presenting her lunch. We had to stop a bunch of times, but it was better for everybody. All in all, I guess it was a rough day for the girl.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Knock Against Liberty

Costa Rica's president Oscar Arias just recently broke ties with Taiwan in order to establish ties with Communist China. I'm shocked for two reasons:

1) Costa Rica is a democracy, (albeit socialist). One would think that they would align themselves with another freedom loving democracy.

2) How can one man make such an important decision for an entire country? Appartently that's how it is in Costa Rica. Their congress doesn't have any say so in the matter. Strange.

Here's an interesting article about how China might try to take the liberty-loving "renegade province".
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/06/10/frontpage/defense.php

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Errrrrr 1

We´ve been here for over a month now and still have not aquired a place to live (renting or buying.) It´s really getting to my wife. There have been two places that we kind of liked.

1) Up in the air. At first Meyling hated the place, but after seeing a bunch of rat holes, she decided that it wasn´t so bad. I like that place a lot. The rent would be about $325/month. The problem right now is that the owners want us to sign a 1 year contract. We´re extremely hesitant to do that. We´re asking for a 6 month contract. They´re thinking about it....

2) Communication is more than half the battle. This is a house in a very decent area of town. Meyling thought that I didn´t like it because it really doesn´t have a back yard and there weren´t any security bars on the front windows. I thought that Meyling didn´t like it because it didn´t have a telephone yet. All in all, we both we´re happy with it, but it rented before we talked about it. It would´ve been $308/month and the land lord said that 6 months was better than a year. What´s the point of even writing this?

After a miserable week, I think we´re on the same page even though we´re on different sides of that page.....

Monday, June 4, 2007

Some funny things

One day I saw a guy riding a bicycle and smoking a cigarette.

I saw a guy riding a bicycle with an open umbrella going up a steep hill.

I've seen several cases of 2 people on one bicycle in heavy traffic. Once I saw 2 teenagers one peddling and the other on the handlebars laughing and screaming obscentities at the guy pedaling.

Several times while I'm out running in the mornings, I've seen a dad with his son or daughter sitting on the cross bar. In all cases it looked like they were on their way to the school.

Twice I've taken an unlicenced taxi to get home. These taxis are called pirate taxis. When I got to the house, my wife asked me how I got home so I told her. My 4-year-old found it extremely interesting and said that he didn't know that there was such a thing as a "pirate" taxi.

We looked at an interesting piece of property that's forsale about a week ago. The couple live next to his mom. Over the years, they've added on to their house in pretty much any direction. They have 2 rooms that cross the property line, each room sitting half on the mom's lot and half on theirs. There are two filled in swimming pools in the back yard. One rectangular that now has corn growing out of it. The other is circular and encompasses part of the rectangular one. Again, both are filled in. Nevertheless it was all very interesting.

The other day my sister-in-law lost her voice, I told my4-year-old that it may be in the back yard and that we needed to find it. He looked for it for a while.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Week 2 coming to a close

Finally my brother-in-law has DSL in his house. Half of yesterday and all of today I've been able to work here. We're still having trouble getting my Linksys router to talk to the modem. Hopefully that'll be resolved soon.

No more internet cafes for a while. I'll miss the atmosphere a little. Those places were mainly filled with kids from 12 to 23 years old. Some of them would spend hours playing these blood and guts shoot-em up first person shooter games. Others would spend hours chatting or looking at music videos or something.

I'm kind of rambling now: There were 2 internet cafes that I went to in Paraiso. One opened up at 7:00 am but my VPN would not work there. This one was like a dungeon and was way in the back of a building behind several shops. The internet cafe itself was long and narrow about 15 yards deep and 3 yards wide. Sometimes the kid running it had some incense burning. The walls were all black.

The other internet cafe just up the street opened at sometime after 9:00 am. This one was kind of like a party. It never opens at the same time. Many days I'd show up at 9:00 and it wasn't open. Same type of clientel as the other one, but the place was more lively. The guy running that place is Jimmy. He's 22 or so and is studying to be a computer programmer. I say it was kind of like a party because he was always playing party dance music there. The advantage that this place had over the other one was that my VPN worked there.

If you want a sample of the music. Go to this url. In the bottom right corner click "Radio en vivo". Then you'll have a chance to choose one of 3 programs for streaming.
http://www.911laradio.com/

Both places charge 100 colones / hour. That's about $0.19 / hour.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

First update

We arrived here in Costa Rica last Saturday (5 days ago). Today is Thursday. I've been able to successfully work form internet cafes all this week. I started with one in Cartago that cost me about $0.58 and hour. I've found another one in Paraiso (means Paradise in English) for $0.19 an hour. I'm mostly there now. Meyling's brother is tyring to get DSL in his house for me. When that happens his house will be my office during the day.

The views here are spectacular. I never can get used to them.

We're trying to find a house to rent or to buy. During the day Meyling is out doing that. In the evenings she shows me what she's found. Currently we're staying with her folks.

So far so good. This internet cafe is about 4 or 5 miles from the house. It takes me about 20 minutes to get here. Part of the time standing aroud waiting for the bus the other part of the time on the bus. The bus trip costs about $0.27 one way.

Last Monday night, I bent my right ankle by stepping on an even part of the side walk. The thought of not being able to run for a while really scared me. This thought came to mind becasue a similar thing happend to me in Costa Rica during Feb of 2004. I couldn't run for 9 months after that one! Anyway Tuesday it was bothering me. But now its almost better. I'm going to wait until next week before I go out running again.

My kids are having a big time with their grandparents.

Amy, Meyling's folks' dog keeps barking and nipping at our dog Tica. It's getting better though. They're almost putting up with each other now.

That's pretty much it for now.

Round 1over - a little back ground

We've been in Costa Rica for 5 days now. Our flight arrived last Saturday afternoon. That night, I slept 11 hours. It seems that since around my dog's birthday (January 14th) we've been moving non stop. Around that time we started working on the house to get it ready to sell for early Spring. We spent many weekends with the help of Miguel and Sarita and their son Esteban trying to whip that place into shape. ( Let me tell you, Miguel is one of the fastest people I've ever seen turn out quality work. Man he's fast.)

During the time of getting ready, our good friend from our small group, Rhonda (a real estate broker) lent us some of her wisdom by giving us key pointers on what to do in order to get the most bang for the least effort. This helped us tremendously. She even chose the colours for the paint and we even liked her colours more than ours!

After many hard weekends, we finally got the house on the market the 1st of March. Technically, it wasn't in the MLS until that Friday or Saturday afterwards. The long of the short of it is we had a bonified offer the following Tuesday. We worked with that and finally came to an agreement with the prospective buyer. After fixing all the things that the buyer and I agreed to fix from the inspection report, the house sold April 10th.

You would think that at that point we would be on the home stretch. The week before the closing date and the next week after we had 2 garage sells. We sold sold and sold. It was crazy. Then what was left we had to get into a 10x15 foot (8 foot ceiling) storage area (that was no easy task!) or ship to Costa Rica. (We did leave a few items with family members scattered around the north Atlanta area.)

Thanks to Meyling's sister Lindsay and her husband Bryan's generocity we stayed with them a little over 3 weeks after selling our house. (Incrediblely they still love us!)

During the 3 week period after selling our house, I even kept coaching my son's soccer team (the 3 year old Strikers). It was quite a haul from Lawrenceville to Newtown park in Johns Creek! Some days I even went from Buckhead to Lawrenceville to get my boy; and then from there to Newtown Park. (That was usually 2 hours of driving!) Concerning the game of soccer, I am by far no expert. I just love my boy and wanted to be his coach. I could not believe how attached I got to the other kids on the team though! One even told me at a practice: "Coach, I love you". It was heart wrenching!

During that 3 week period, every minute of every day was consumed by something. Finally, getting to Costa Rica has brought me from crazy busy to normal. Meyling on the other hand is still pretty busy.