Friday, December 23, 2005


This was just too good to pass up. :-)

LONDON (Reuters) - Australian scientists have proved what is common knowledge to most people -- that teaspoons appear to have minds of their own.

In a study at their own facility, a group of scientists from the Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health in Melbourne secretly numbered 70 teaspoons and tracked their movements over five months.

Supporting their expectations, 80 percent of the spoons vanished during the period -- although those in private areas of the institute lasted nearly twice as long as those in communal sections.

"At this rate, an estimated 250 teaspoons would need to be purchased annually to maintain a workable population of 70 teaspoons," they wrote in Friday's festive edition of the British Medical Journal.

They said their research proved that teaspoons were an essential part of office life and the rapid rate of disappearance proved that this was under relentless assault.

Regretting that scientific literature was "strangely bereft" of teaspoon-related research, the scientists offered a few theories to explain the phenomenon.

Taking a tip from Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books, they suggested that the teaspoons were quietly migrating to a planet uniquely populated by "spoonoid" life forms living in a spoonish state of Nirvana.

They also offered the phenomenon of "resistentialism" in which inanimate objects like teaspoons have a natural aversion to humans.

On the other hand, they suggested, people might simply be taking them.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Adventure # 54

When one lives in a foreign country where said person doesn't speak the language, almost anything can become an adventure.  Take for instance my shoe string.

It's bad enough when your shoe string breaks when you are trying to tie it and you need to go somewhere fast (which is inevitably when it breaks) but when replacing it becomes a week long adventure; well that's quite another story.  You might say it’s an altogether different blog. :-)  Not that you have too mind you, but you might.

So here it is.  My shoe string was a nice thick dark brown string for my every day business casual shoes.  The outside of the string was dark brown that is.  That's the part that broke.  The inside of the string was a light brown rope type of material.  My shoes however are a nice dark brown just like the string was.  To clarify, the string didn't completely break, just the outside pealed away leaving a big 6 inch section of core sting blatantly sticking out.

I began asking my English speaking Korean contacts about where I could buy shoe strings at and the continuous answer was, "what's a shoe string?"  Not a great way to instill confidence in acquiring said item. :-S

After my initial explanations brought everyone up to speed the answer became, "I don't know".  GREAT!!!  In order to buy more time I taped my shoe string together with scotch tape.  It worked for about a day and a half.

I canvassed my neighbor hood hitting the most likely spots looking for shoestrings and struck out on all accounts.  I did find shoe strings in the outdoorsy hiking goods stores, but these strings were a medium grey and would in no way work for my shoes.  I even stopped at a shoe polishing and repair shed, they're all over the place, and they didn't have anything at all.  How strange is that!

How difficult can it be to find stupid shoe strings?!  I called my good friend Paul and asked in great desperation where I could go and he said as you may guess, "what are shoe strings?"  lol  Paul however was of great service.  He took me to a market place that sold all sorts of things, mostly geared towards tourists.  It was like walking around a county fair ground or at the Highland Games, really more like the fair grounds as to the shear size of this place but I'm trying to help you get the picture.  :-)

Right, so, we walked around this place for a long time looking for shoe strings.  There had to be a million and one places selling shoes, socks, cheep jewelry, and what ever else you might think of.  Only one lady sitting on the subway stairs had strings, and they were the skinny kind so I decided to keep looking.

We then walked into a department store that is basically like the street booths but cleaner and with much better products.  Paul took me to this one booth that sold all sorts of American drugs!  Yaa for me, I found Advil Cold and Sinus!!!!!  Now if they only sold the Advil Allergy Cold and Sinus.  Things being what they are, I bought a few boxes and some Nyquil.  Ah, cold relief.

Now, inside of this place are about a million fifty places selling shoes.  Do you think any of them had shoe strings for sale??!!!!  NO!  I finally found one person who had good thick brown laces and he offered them to me for basically 2 bucks US.  Paul told me later that the guy muttered he should have charged me more cause I was so excited to buy them he thought he could have gotten double.  Apparently the price he normally charged was 50 cents but in my enthusiasm to buy them he jacked the price up on me.  Isn't he a wonderful guy.

No matter, I had shoe strings and I wasn't going to let the Dutch influence of my years spent in Sarnia ruin my high.  I had shoe strings and my plight was over.  I would have gladly paid him 5 bucks for them, so, in a twisted way I can laugh at him cause I got them cheaper than I thought I would.  Ha!  (There, now my Dutch readers can relax again and enjoy the story. lol :P

The funny thing is, when I came to work on Monday at the Academy, Mr. Lee had gone out and bought me two sets of nice brown shoe strings.  Oh well, I've since been back to the market to buy more drugs.  I also checked out a bunch of watches.  Me thinks I'll have to go back there again and buy one.  I wonder if I can work em down in price a bit.  Anyone seen Frank Degroot lately?...


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Just Another Look

I just wanted to give you a few more shots of Lila and to show you what I meant about building around the trees.  In the city, just down the hill (mountain), the trees are part of the side walk as it is in North America, the buildings take precedence.  On the outskirts of the city such as Lila, it is a little more common to see trees as a part of the architecture though not quite to this extent.  I quite like it.


Just another look at the school and the way things are built around nature. I really like it, though it would pose a few challenges. Posted by Picasa

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It's amazing how many kids fit into such a small area. Posted by Picasa

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