One more day to go…

I only have to make it through tomorrow and I’m free! I will be happily unemployed starting Oct. 1! I plan on doing the rest of my packing, cleaning, and visiting people over the next week. Things will be a little complicated because I’ve lost my wallet and I have all of 35 bucks in my checking account… There’s a fat paycheck coming on thursday so I’m not worried but I am currently trying to remember what was in my wallet and canceling them. I need a new driver’s license so I’m going to try to keep driving to a minimum until I get the new one…

In happier news I have ordered my new laptop! It should be here on thursday. A 2GHZ white MacBook if you’re curious. Now all I gotta do is get some more RAM and my dream laptop will be ready to go. Yipee!!! No more work and a new computer, should be fun…


15,000 people…

… that’s how many applied for the 400 jobs available with the new Wal Mart that opened in Chicago. 15 thousand people! Anyone that voted to require higher wages paid by employers (and therefore reduce the number of people hired) should be shot. Luckily for the people of Chicago, the Aldermen couldn’t override Daley’s veto on the big box store payment bill. There’s going to be a lot of people saving a lot of money in Chicago, you can be sure that this won’t be the only store in Chicago either. It seems to me that if 15000 people are applying, there needs to be more low skill job opportunities in Chicago, something that the Unions and politicians are dead set against. Jobs are much more important there than “protections” from those awful capitalists. Things are going to work out just fine there, and Wal mart will do very, very well…


One more week to go!!

The last week of work, I can hardly believe it… My motivation is at an all time low, only one week to go, I’ve made my goal of $500 in spiffs for the month, and I am only showing up physically, I am already gone mentally. It’s hard to believe, but I was at the company longer for my second tour than I was for the first. 5 years since I came back up here, I’m still not where I’d have liked to be, but i think that this trip will go a long ways towards getting me there. The important thing is that I am in much better shape mentally now than I was 5 years ago and I really believe that things will continue to get better and better, but then again, everything is looking pretty damn sweet right now with only 1 week to go at work:-)


Headline manipulation

I have a google alert system that sends me an email whenever Yemen is mentioned in the news. There were several in my inbox this morning. The first one had the headline “Suicide bomber foiled in Yemen”, it was written by an Arab news source (can’t remember if it was from Yemen or a neighboring country). The second headline I read was from the AP, “5 killed in suicide bomb attacks in Yemen.” Huh, I wonder which one was right. Well, it turns out that they both had the same facts but decided to spin them differently. The 5 that died were one security guard and the 4 bombers. Usually the bombers are not included in the death count, so I wonder why the AP chose the headline it did. The tone of the two reports is quite a bit different as well, the Arab one is quite upbeat, pointing out that the bombers failed because of the actions of the security personnel while the AP trots out the old “ancestoral home of Osama Bin Laden and site of the Cole attack” descriptions. It’s as if they are looking for excuses to paint the country in a negative light…


Digital camera tests

I’m still amazed that people actually like these things’ picture quality so much. As soon as the light level drops, the picture quality goes to hell. I guess they’re fine for web use and snap shots, but give me 35mm any day! On a more positive note, the video quality (at its highest setting) is more than acceptable for TV viewing. That’s good since it was a big factor in my purchase decision. I’m hoping to make some DVDs to send back so that you guys can get a better feel of the place. Everything looks good!


Most popular page on my site

Believe it or not, my most popular page on my website is my essay on demand curves. I’ve gotten over 50 hits in the last two days. Most of them are from two different IP address, one in India and one in England. I wonder if whole classes are using it, it sure looks like it, 20 hits from the same IP address within a 2 minute window. Makes me think that I should get on my supply curve page and then lead into supply and demand and the meaning of a price of a good. Sigh, that’ll take actual time though. If I got that laptop, I could do it over at my mom’s and up at my aunt’s place in october…. Hmmm….


Nothing like good contacts…

A friend of Rick’s friend came to the party that he threw. She’s (to me) a grandmotherly lady with quite a bit of traveling experience, she learned her Arabic in Morocco. She was with the State department I think… Anyway, she and I had a nice conversation at the party. She admitted that she had always wanted to go to Yemen and was envious about my travel plans. I gave her an invite to come out and see the place whenever she could. Well, she came in the store the other day and bought a camera from me. We were talking about my trip and she asked if I was going to go up to Oman. I had thought about it, it would be an interesting place to go to. Well, one of her good friends is living there. Oh yeah, she’s also married to the US ambassador to Oman as well. She said that I should give them a call sometime… I can see it now, I call up the embassy and ask for Bob, the ambassador… If I can get in touch with them I’ll be sure to go visit Oman, especially if Anne does come out there. She also has friends with USAID. Not really sure what they do…

Another customer of mine works for some government agency or another and he’s given me quite a bit of good advice. He hasn’t been to Yemen (yet), but he has travelled all over the world. I doubt that I’d be able to make contacts like this anywhere else in the US, so I guess there are some benefits to living in the DC area:-)


Last spending spree taking place…

I’ve decided not to get a new computer, I think… It’s just too much money, and my current computer works just fine. That’s the rational side of me talking of course, it sure would be easier to take a laptop though, and I could use it on the plane ride too… It would also make some of my tasks much easier and faster… I’m currently trying to rip an AVI file into an MP4, it’s taking a long long time to do though… Why am I doing that? So I can out it on my iPod of course. No, I haven’t bought one yet, I’m waiting to see what the new ones look like on tuesday, there’s going to be a big announcement about the Apple music store too. I figure that an iPod will be a good replacement for me on the plane, and it’ll allow me to listen to all of my music without disturbing the locals (not sure what kind of reception “Walk” by Pantara would have over there. Now that I think of it, they’d probably dig it…)

I’ve also gone on a mini music spree. Picked up the Best of Rev. James Cleveland on Ebay for a penny (plus shipping of course). Great rave up gospel music, no excuse for not owning this, great music and cheap!! I’ve also ordered an Aretha Franklin live gospel album and a collection of black prison work songs form the 30’s. All of them are well known incredible performances so I’m looking forward to it.

I also got my new (to me) camera today. A black Konica Hexar AF. I can’t try it out though since I don’t have a battery for it. I’ll take care of that tomorrow. It looks just like what I was looking for and it has the reputation of being an incredible performer. I should be set, now all I have to do is try a little harder to convince myself that I don’t need that computer….


Keeping the weight off…mostly

Just weighed myself for the first time in 3 or 4 months and I’m at 210. It’s actually exactly what I thought I’d be. Not bad considering I’ve been eating whatever I want and not doing any exercising to speak of. I have put on 5 pounds from my low of 205, but its still much lower than my worst (measured) weight of 229. I’m hoping that I can exercise a little more before my trip. I’ll still be eating whatever I want, after all I’m sure there won’t be any pork BBQ (or pork anything for that matter), pepperoni pizza, ice cream, etc over there. Of course I’m sure that I’ll find new things that I love over there and will rationalize my bingeing on them cause they aren’t over here… Well, as long as my weight stays under control (along with my blood stuff) and I feel ok I will continue to enjoy food… Now for that whole exercise thing…


Steve Irwin died

I was never much of a fan, but I admired his courage. The way he died reminded me of a friend of the family. Mike lived next door to my grandmother and had health problems his whole life. Circulation problems, respiratory problems, heat attacks, and even diabetes. He lived into his early 70’s when he died of cancer…. Steve Irwin handled numerous deadly snakes and man eating crocks but was killed by a 1000 to one freak occurrence. Getting stung through the heart by a sting ray was probably the least likely way he imagined himself dying. Oh well, just goes to show that when it’s your time, it’s your time.