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.