Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday


Wow, I ran across an item on the "onion" today, which threw me for a loop. Click here I have to live longer. Funny, to me Cholesterol count was a joke, but hitting a 7.3recently made me think how many years I have left on this earth. I'm planning on making the 2022 Mongol rally with the pmpkn as my co-driver. Allright, enough weeping. My mom tested high and changed her diet, which brought the numbers down. I'll do the same, right after I get back from the shooting range this thursday. Full Auto Ak's and Machine guns. How sweet is that? No, I won't be taking the lad with me.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

L. Woomack






Thanks, I really missed hearing this song on the radio. Of course I also like this one, Don't you just hate it when you're on the road posting via the laptop and the battery dies before you are done and it is post now or die time. Anyway. Thanks to Boni for the link to LeAnne Womack's classic; "Dance" Click on the post title for a truly great song.

As for the pictures; Just some random shots from my laptop while I can still see the screen. The weirdo at the top is my buddy Neil. Got a degree in film making so he could make a career out of sailing. Nice looking workshop, eh? We were making a trip back from Kuwait and ran out of things to do. So, we applied glossy sealant to the entire engineroom and painted the workbench in the shop. Capetown S. Africa to Violet, Louisana at nine knots. Lord, that was a long trip.
In the middle is my friend Dan Gunny with a couple of nice Wahoo from the waters surrounding Diego Garcia. Talk about a thousand miles from nowhere. Great fishing, I failed to score on that trip. Although, I was prepared, my fish gave me the old head fake and slipped the hook. My girlfriend Bobbi Jean, had better luck although her first fish stripped the hooks off the lure.
At the bottom; me in my mom's canoe cruising around the stream abutting her house in Maine. Lovely place in the fall. Not bad in the spring and summer either, but let's not talk about winter.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring



Fourteen days to go and the regular season begins anew. Ah! Joy. Much as I'm enjoying the spring Sumo basho, the Red Sox still hold my heart in a warm embrace. Some years, the embrace is a little more crushing, than warm, but so it goes. Technically, the regular season begins in late March with a couple of games in Japan, but I'm a strict tradionalist and don't even watch inter-league games, so I'm not counting those two. Although, I will watch if the game is on.

Spent the day in the warehouse yesterday and I'm feeling pretty good about life at the moment. There are some storm clouds on the mining horizon here, however, those for another day. I'm off to procure a two-year residency visa today, so no more wanderings along the Chinese border for me. I'll use my days off to ride the train to Erdenet and visit with the family. I'll close with happy thoughts for everyone and some pictures of the pmpkn wandering around the playground. We took him out for lunch on Sunday and he was a little madman. He's working on stairs now that he has managed to cross thresholds without falling. Scary stuff.. No words yet, still in the "howler monkey" stage. Ah! Spring, a cute baby, new job, and baseball again.. Just plain sweet...


UPDATE My day just got better. Upon arising, my dear wife informed me that today is Mongolian Men's Day. Yippee.. Actually, it is Army day, but they use it as a generic men's day. Our plan is; that after breakfasting on pancakes and sausage, I will journey to the visa office, if the power is back on. (there was a largeish fire at a generating plant last night, which services that section of UB and they may not be back on line) At any rate, my dad's extra laptop arrived yesterday and I can spend some of my man's day, getting that to work while watching a bit of the basho. Then, Pmkpn and I will relax at home, while Erdene does a little gift shopping, after that we will all dine out at the resteraunt of my choosing. I choose a place with good pizza, as that is Erdene's favorite and we don't have the funds for sushi just yet.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Too strange


I ran across this little item on a military affairs page, I visit from time to time. The complete article HERE, not that either of my loyal readers are THAT interested in Global Thermonuclear War. The gist of the story revolves around some recent changes to the Minuteman III ballastic missle. Here's a snippet.

The first six test flights have shown that the new and improved missiles are less accurate and had shorter range than the missiles they replaced. This was somewhat expected.... The shorter range can be attributed to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. The old motors did not have to comply with EPA rules, the replacement ones do. This meant the new rocket motors were heavier, which resulted in shorter range.

Yes, thats right the EPA wants to make the delivery systems for ICBMs environmentally friendly. I mean; come on. The sole purpose of this particular rocket is to shoot a nuke a few thousand miles, whereupon the delivered warhead creates an environmental disaster worse than the morning after a chili cookoff. I did note mention of testing the missiles (sans sexy part), so they do have some justification for making the motors EPA compliant, but overall, I'm calling Shennanigans on this one.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Just plain Whacky




Where to start? Mary-Ann busted for MJ possesion isn’t nearly as strange as the Governor of New York resigning over a prostitution scandal. Although, I’m scratching my head over the image of Mary-Ann and Ginger smoking on a number and grooving on the radio, while swerving all over the road. Then again, a woman having a toilet seat surgically removed from her butt, because she camped out on her boyfriend’s john for two years, must be a front runner in the weirdness category.

After all that, I don’t have anything comparable to post. I’m glad. Strangeness; such as the above, just doesn’t hit the news here. While I wouldn’t call Mongolians strict comformists, they are still in the process of coming out from under the shadow of the Russian bear and can be a bit shy in expressing themselves. A case in point. My friend the Doctor is in the process of concluding a real estate transaction, but has difficulties expressing his feelings through a translater. Whether or not he has anger management issues, has been well documented, however Mongolians do not express themselves in a similar fashion. Yesterday, when a prospective buyer tried to change the rules of the game in the end stages, he was forced to make a show of packing up and heading for the door in order to make his point. When the buyee’s realized what his actions meant and called him back to the table, his lovely, but somewhat reticent translator, then made a slight slip by calling out, “Wait, Honey”. Last time, I let the doctor make use of my wife’s services as a translator. It‘s too stressful for her, but her experience around him, allows her to head off disputes as soon as she see‘s the red rising to the hair roots. Even, in the chaotic mess which is UB traffic, there is little reaction to moves which would collect a whole bunch of “nines” in Dade County and a middle finger at the very least in the more civilized sections of America. Just another puzzling aspect of Mongolian behavior for me to ponder. Then again, there are more than a few Mongolians shaking their heads after seeing the Doctor in full rant mode. Viva le’ difference.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Lessons


Lesson one; Don't let the Doctor use the camera.


No pictures of meat on the spit, mining/drilling equipment, or much else. Other than girls hanging onto drilling equipment or just random girl shots. Otherwise, the "spit-up" was a great time and if a company can be judged by the quality of their grilling equipment, I'm with the right people. It would be a squeeze to put one of the two bbques in the back of an F-150 and you would need a forklift. Electrically driven, thirty-six toothed seven inch gears, turn well-forged, half inch diameter, spit rods fitted adjustable tines, over propane flames. I was well and truly impressed. Perfect balance, no sloppy shifts as the mutton turns. Plus, they have some great dogs guarding the property. They bite, but they get used to you after a bit, is what I was told. Great. Good thing, I really like dogs, and the three patrolling the warehouse area are on the extremely large, likabale, albeit shaggy side. The biggest one seemed to like me, so I should survive. If all works out well, pmpkn will have his first horse ride on a dog. He (the dog) has a tongue the size of a london broil, so their meeting should be an interesting one. Pmpkn will finally meet something which can outdrool him.

Quiet Sunday afternoon here in UB, my wife's brothers are napping in the living room, while Erdene and the lad do the same in the bedroom. Brother, Ankhaa has just returned from his mining job in the Gobi and has offered to take us all to dinner tonight. Great to have him home, although, the pmpkn is being a bit shy around him. Spending the entire winter in the Gobi, must have been tough. UB can be a bit short of the necessaties, but the Gobi is truly the outback. I'm due to head down that way this summer, so I'll have a better idea from firsthand experience, but "a whole lot of nothing" fairly well summs up what I've heard so far.

To say I'm excited about this spring and summer would be the understatement of the year. The job is exciting in its way, with the challenges of a new career field, but seeing the lad toddle around outside, goes beyond anything I've experienced in my life so far. His curiousity and happiness are free of all boundaries. We have some challenges ahead; mainly potty training, but so many fun things to look forward to together. His cuteness is at max these days, those five teeth give him a great look and his smile melts my heart at least a half-dozen times a day. Not sure why he's stuck at five teeth though, but they will come. He's also a bit pigeon toed, but so am I. He falls well, which is more than I can say in my current lamed state, I think we are looking forward to some very happy days.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Off to the Spit Up

Just a short food post, before the Doctor and I venture off to eat spitted mutton with my new co-workers. The new food find in UB are a small nut known here as Cedar Nuts, or Pignoli to Italians, and just plain pine nuts in the states. They are wicked tasty and go well with just about anything. Salad, Pizza, crushed on top of a baked potato. Even in Chicken stuffing. I love 'em. My first experience with pine nuts was on a BOAC jet while visiting England as a lad with my grandparents. As I recall, they were crushed and used to surround twice baked potato. Sort of a substitute for the skin. I'm not sure of the usages in Italian food, but they are soft and absorb flavors exceptionaly well. Fairly inexpensive here in UB, but they can be pricey elsewhere. I'm interested in the history of this food. Is this a transplant from Italy or was it grown here orginally and shipped over the silk road to Italy? More later.
Todays recipe is a simple salad. Cucumbers in wine with onions. Pretty simple, but nice on a warm day. Slice cukes and onions, mix with white wine, a tablespoon of oil, vinegar to taste, and a little sugar. Garnish with dill or chervil and marinate for a few hours.

Today is Mongolian Womens day. Erdene enjoyed Pancakes with her favorite sausage and two pink roses. She thinks the pumpkns smiley face is the best present and I won't quarrel with her there. Too bad the miners scheduled the spit do with Womens day, but brother Ankhaa is back from the Gobi and will fill in while I'm away. Weather is still lovely here. Relatively warm, with clear skies. We had pumpkin out for most of the afternoon yesterday, as we did errands and he's loving the freedom of the great outdoors. More later, off to the spit.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Sniglet

I've always loved sniglets. My favorite is snack gas, the escaping air from a bag of chips, as it is opened. Today, I have two sniglets to go along with a ub weather report. I ran across an interesting article on MSG, it's uses, and some discussion of potential harm at the NYT today and thought I would post a link. The article HERE Iv'e wondered about how bad it really is, since my dad's second wife professed an allergy to MSG, while at the same time nursed a growing addiction for chinese takeaway. I'm trying to remember our favorite spot in Portland, Maine, but am drawing a blank. Great food though. To this day, my absolute number one pick.
MSG isn't a huge draw, I know, but anyone interested in applications for cooking and just for a possible green pie in Trivial pursuit, might enjoy the article. To sum up; it's everywhere, not absolutely known to be harmful, and tasty if used in reasonable amounts. There is a salt and spice product here which is loaded with msg, as well as some tasty spices, but if I use too much, I'm called to task by the missus. Otherwise, it brings out flavors and rounds off the finish nicely.



My second item has had me laughing for a couple of days. Seems Louis Vuitton wants to use Keith Richards as an ad for their product lines. Old crinkled leather, I guess. I can't imagine him appealing on any other level. Hell, he wouldn't even work for an anti-drug ad if only because his continued existence flies in the face of the "drugs are bad, ok?" argument.

Lovely day here in UB. Crystal clear blue skies, a nearly balmy thirty-eight fahrenheit. As the first real fine day, after a long winter, it feels just right. Pmpkn had his first outing in his new shoes and did just fine. He was a little overwhelmed by the possibilties at first, but settled down to exploring every nook and cranny of the common area/playground. I made a short journey to the market. Not a frown in sight, with everyone who could find an excuse to be out is walking and talking in the sunshine. As part of our new (Mark's job) plan, Erdene is going to be cooking more. Tonight, she makes her first solo at Scalloped Potatoes. I wanted to make lamb stew, but I'll have my chance tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What I like to see in the window

Nothing like coming home after a long afternoon's trekking about town, to see my favorite faces in the window. I need to come up with a plan, though, so Erdene and the lad can get out and about without me, once work begins. I'm thinking; baby harness with a rectractable lead, as UB is not stroller friendly for any practical purposes. Fortunately, he enjoys walking and seems to be fairly adept. Whew. I was hoping he would take after his mother's coordination as mine is obviously lacking.


So, The Doctor and I are invited to a spit-up on Saturday with the lads from the drilling company. Funny, I thought the Aussies called it a barbie? This language barrier is going to be a beast. I'm off to a tour of the warehouse this week, once Kim returns from a trip up north. Kim? Now, what is up with that? A driller named, Kim? Next week, I'm off on another tour, a few hours outside of town, for a look at a drilling site. I think my guide for that one is named, Terri or is that the name of the driller, who head butted the doctor over new years in the name of Aussie/US relations. Life is truly an adventure.

I'll have a food post in a day or so. I found a new local ingrediant, which rocks. Speaking of rocking. Well, rock and roll. I linked the post title (I hope) to a utube video featuring a demo of the AA-12 full-auto shotgun. Pretty neat stuff, they have managed to tame the recoil and attached a 32 round drum magazine. Not sure what it's good for (legally) but it chews stuff up in grand fashion. Other than that, The strategy.com website has a cool vid showing off the new shotgun round for the 120mm gun on the M-1 tank.

Big family outing today. We are all going to the bank, to set up a joint account here, then we're off to lunch at the "Silk Road" Best pizza and pasta in town, plus it promises to be pmpkn friendly. I found a promising sushi place nearby, but later, once we see the first paycheck.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

GOOD NEWS / BAD NEWS


Bad



In the comments of my last post, I alluded to a fall on the ice. I’d post a picture of my x-ray, but haven’t bothered to visit the hospital yet. My good friend the Doctor has found many useful pharmaceuticals available over the counter in UB and Erdene does a first class tape job. The fall itself was nasty, I could feel my ribs give when I hit the cobblestones and nearly simalteaosly the laptop gave a little crunch as it landed. My laptop screen is a sad story. The black gob on the screen is growing a little bit every other day, sort of like watching an eclipse. Which we will see this summer, as well as a Sumo exhibition featuring the top ranked Mongolian wrestlers, because there is



Good news

I landed a job with the largest supplier of drilling equipment in Mongolia, my first choice of employers when I started looking for work here. First class outfit, mostly Australians, but I’m pretty good with languages so that shouldn’t pose an insurmountable problem. One small difficulty is; while I have pursued geology as a hobby since my high school days, I know next to nothing about mining equipment. The company is aware of that fact, plus I’ll be starting as a shipping and receiving clerk, which should allow me plenty of time to figure out the rules of the game. Pay is good, Erdene and the Pumpkin are on the insurance with the western clinic we’ve been using, and I‘ll have the opportunity to visit the more isolated mining sites in Mongolia over the course of the summer. Cool beans. I was starting to run out of time and money and I really believe there is more potentional here in the mining industry, than anything I can think of back stateside. I’ll hit the embassy on Monday, for a absentee ballot and secure a long term Mongolian visa from the UB authorities, and a local bank account. (Paying 1.3% interest per month, no less), after the above is accomplished I‘ll be good to go. Oh: I need to pick up a Mongolian Drivers liscence in case I‘m called on to drive the corporate Land Rover. The cool kind with the snorkel for air intake while crossing rivers.

I think I have finally gained true Ex-Pat status. All this from someone who never particularly cared to travel. Funny how life works. Really, I never traveled much, until I joined the Merchant Marine. England for a summer when I was a lad in the company of my Dad’s parent’s, Germany for six weeks while in high school. Other than that, I made one trip to San Diego for sister Amy’s wedding and that was it for east-west travel. The Reality of where I am hits pretty hard at times, but I’m in control of my destiny once more, so no complaints. As a bonus, my fall gave the DVD drive the jolt it needed as it is working for the first time, since my bag fell of a chair at Wild Bill's. File that one under, he givith and taketh away.