Sunday, June 25, 2006

See you in a week

I know I told some of you to expect this week's Weekly Photo Quiz. I promise that I will get back to every Friday contest, but not this week. I will be gone for a week so check back next weekend.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I Killed the Tadpoles

Last week my wife and youngest son went to a park and caught a whole bucket full of tadpoles. They cared for the tadpoles for almost a week and they seemed to be surviving okay. The problem was that they were in a bucket that I use for mixing paints, drywall mud, or other things around the house. So, being the great father that I am, I set up a fish tank for the tad poles and made the transfer into their new and improved environment.

Within an hour of improving the lives of these tadpoles, all but two of them were dead and the others were on their way to heaven as well. So I did what any good parent/ husband would do. I went to that same park that night and, in the dark, I caught even more tadpoles and two frogs to add to the collection. My boys are completely satisfied with the fish tank/ frog aquarium now and so far all of the new tadpoles are flourishing.

Our only mishap so far was one of the frogs turned white yesterday. Apparently it had died sometime in the morning and turned white in the process. With one frog and 20 tadpoles remaining, I think we are doing alright. The lesson learned... if you have a family pet, make sure it is generic looking so if you kill it on accident you can find a replacement and no one will know. Obviously this is harder with real animals like dogs, but fish, frogs, turtles, mice, and cats are all perfectly replaceable.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Random Sampling

A little more than a year ago my wife and I wrote lists of things we want to do in life. (I have discussed these lists before so I won't go into detail here). As you know, my list is ridiculously long so I had to divide it into sections. I thought I would share a section here today. This list is constantly growing so this is subject to change...

1. Eat Big Animals in Africa (So far I have tried elephant, all varieties of antelope, wildebeest, ostrich, and crocodile)
2. Eat lobster in Maine (Done)
3. Eat Sashimi in Japan (Not done in Japan yet)
4. Eat a Passover meal in Jerusalem (Not done)
5. Eat alligator in Florida (Done in New Orleans so it counts I guess)
6. Eat something crazy in Africa (Do grasshoppers count??? See picture here
7. Have a Beverage and bratwurst in Germany during Ocktoberfest (Done but not during the right festivities).
8. Bangers and Mash in smoky English Pub (Too many to count)
9. Creme Brule' and Crepes in Paris (Done with my wife!)
10. Cappucinno in Italy (Done in Venice on a canal during sunrise... pretty tough to beat that one)
11. Seafood in Boston (Best place for seafood I have ever found)
12. Kangaroo or something "Outbacky" in Australia (Not done)
13. Pickled Herring in Scandinavia (Actually having this in Minnesota is more than enough... Disregard)
14. Real tacos in Mexico (Hundreds so far... and still counting)
15. Sheep in New Zealand (Next year)

Many more food experiences have already been done or will be done but these are the cliche' ones that made the list. Any ideas that I should add?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Flinstone Brakes and Car Horns

The following is one of several entries from my travels to Uganda. Enjoy.

The first day in Uganda and I am enamored by the driving. From the airport where we arrived we had a 4 hour journey to the western part of the country in a hired taxi. I have had the privilege of seeing many different countries in the world and I have to say that Uganda ranks number one in the craziest drivers. They drive at high speeds, they don’t mind bumping other vehicles or people, and I am sure that they actually wear out their car horns during the course of the car’s life. Our driver maneuvered through traffic, he passed all slow moving vehicles, and he somehow managed to avoid all pedestrians and mo-ped drivers that flood the streets.

The only way to survive while riding in cars in Uganda is to just completely trust you driver. If you are the type of person who stresses with close calls and aggressive driving, you are better off sleeping through the ordeal. If you like to use what my brother and I like to call the “Flinstone Brakes” (you know, the imaginary brakes that passengers sometimes try to engage by slamming their feet on the car floor), then you will certainly be worn out from your journey in the car.

Based on what I observed, I have put together the following tips should you ever have the privilege of driving in Uganda. .

1. Drive fast. You won’t actually get anywhere in a timely fashion but the journey will be more pleasurable and the bumpy roads will seem more like amusement rides.
2. Use your horn. You must honk your horn when you see pedestrians or mo-peds, which are used as taxis. These people will then get out of the road so you don’t have to run them over.
3. Don’t slow down for people who ignore number 2. They have to learn the hard way.
4. Watch for random speed bumps. Even though you do not slow down for other people, you will find some large speed bumps in random villages. Slow down for these or you might leave your transmission behind.
5. Do not modify your driving on narrow, dirt roads. Just because you may be in a small car and you may find yourself on what looks like an off-roading course, rules 1-4 still apply.
6. Stop for fuel often but only put in 3-6 liters (or 1-2 gallons) at a time. I’m not sure why but just do it.
7. Leave your windows down even if it rains.
8. Keep a plastic bag in the car in case passengers get car sick (apparently all taxis do this).
9. Don’t worry about any traffic laws but always wear your seatbelt. The police are actually strict about the seatbelt.