Tuesday, August 28, 2007
In my life I am fairly spontaneous, I was not sure whether to go to Jacksonville or Orlando, then reading things I discovered that Gainesville has an airport and is only 45 minutes from where my father lives. The fare was cheaper too. So I went with it.
I left St. Louis at an early hour, landed in Miami, and since my connecting flight was a different airline, I had to go through security again. The T.S.A. people really do their best NOT to make it any more miserable than it has to be, all you have to do is cooperate and I always thank them. I don't envy them their job.
Gainesville is very pretty, also much more humid than I'm used to. This is a very fancy hotel, it's owned by someone Indian. The room service here is wonderful. Someone from the desk called my room to reccomend a good Indian buffet, I hadn't mentioned a liking for any particular form of food, so I don't know how they guessed I love Indian food.
Might be the nose ring! :).
Anyway I'm here a few days. I'll decide later today about my onward journey to Ireland. I'm probably going to use Aer Lingus out of Orlando. It seems to be cheaper to leave by way of Orlando than by way of Jacksonville.
Yesterday's flight took me through a small tornado. It was a tiny bit choppy, but I was alright.
The flight was not full, only 3 or 4 people on it.
I like the St. Louis airport a lot better than I like the Miami one. Mostly it's a matter of the foood situation. St. Louis has better food. I have basically enjoyed this trip though. So far so good. Off to see about doing laundry, I will be seeing my dad again later.
Friday, August 24, 2007
St. Louis Science Center
a nifty educational tool to explain freeways in St. Louis to the children of St. Louis and to visitors to this interesting American city
Ivan the Terrible, Kat and I are going back today to watch the film about mummies.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I'm glad he's visiting, and yes it is a fact that Bosnians are numerous here. I saw very many in the airport when I arrived. I'm sorry I'll be missing the festival, by then I hope I will be seeing my father, and then with any luck should be on my way to Ireland. I have a friend there I am visiting with for a few days.
Woke up way too early again...
Don't let this photo scare you off from a trip to Granite City, it's a small, pleasant town, with more churches than bars, and it seems pretty nice people.
I woke up far too early. That happens to me sometimes. It is quiet here in this hotel. Not a huge lot of business here, and that's o.k. I had to take a smoking room in order to get ground floor. That's fine, I am not bothered by the slight smell of tobacco in my room. I can always burn a small amount of incense if it does get to me.
I am enjoying that it is possible to cool this room. We went to a quaint eatery called 'The Hen House' for typical Midwestern fare. The place is decorated with antique farm implements, which included a rusty scythe! :) It was the less elegant, less efficient Anglo-Celtic-American model. The food was decent, prices are reasonable and the service was good, unobtrusive but they made sure you had what you needed.
After eating, we all went to the Big Lot store, a discount place, for sodas for me so I don't get ripped off drinking machine sodas, and some candies and stuff like that to share while hanging out watching films. We plan to watch Borat together. All of us are huge Borat, Ali G, and Bruno fans. I turned Kat on to Brega, Ceca, Seva, Nervozni Postar, and other Balkans music types. There was something crazy over at Radmila's 'My2Second Shelflife' the crazed mash-up of Serbian narodni muzika with breakdancing bit, she ADORED it.
I guess they had gone to hear Gov. Blagojevic speak at Kat's college too. He's rare in being both Serbian-American and a Democrat. It seems like a lot of Serbian-Americans are Republicans.
I have largely reserved for my forward journey. I need to arrange lodging in Florida, mostly the problem is not knowing if the two hotels for the area I'm going have complementary van service from the airport or not. This one was too far away for that. It cost to get here as a result, and this town doesn't have adequate taxi service, in fact this town doesn't have ANY if the phone book is any clue!
I think I'll have the kids get me to a hotel with complementary van service the night before my flight, and I'll avail myself of the wake up call and the van. Getting me to a hotel with the service is probably easier than actually being dropped at the airport at the un-Godly hour going to Florida at 7 am is going to result in. On the up-side, it was a very cheap fare, and there's only one plane change, and that plane change has a nice long break between. I can stay in the secured area, have a nice lunch, catch up on phone calls e.t.c.
I need to get these people to put a new light in the bathroom, the one they have has burned out. B.T.W, I haven't changed my computer from Yakima Gulag time, so it's wierd, I woke up too early for here, tried to stay down, couldn't so I got up and now I am going to do my hair.
The water here is a little brackish tasting to me. I asked my son to bring either club soda or fizzy plain water. He brought a brand called 'Mendota Sparkling' which comes in cans. Not bad at all. If water is going to be paid for, I want some fizz, and if it's going to be brackish, I want fizz and bi-carb both! :) It's a quirk, work with me here.
Nature notes, there is a lovely Rose of Sharon near the Hen House, and coming back to the hotel yesterday morning, I saw a cicada! We don't get cicadas in the Yakima Gulag.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
A quiet day in the Greater St. Louis area
It's funny too, because even though I've had Balkans related news, it's been a few days since the remarks that offended the flamer were made by a COMMENTATOR, a VISITOR to this blog. To me doing that is chicken-shit behavior, go to the commentator's blog, that person DOES have a blog.
Alright, that is off my chest....
To far more pleasant business.....
Today was a quiet day. I spent it in the company of my son and his girlfriend, who is a nice girl. I like her. They get along well. We went shopping for movie watching junk food, and then had all the wrong cords, so we had a Nerd party instead, each of us sitting in the same room sending one another links on our laptops, or going to look at things on each other's lap tops. We drove around, I saw their place. It's very small. So it made sense to hang out in the hotel room I'm in, more electrical outlets, and more room and there's a fridge, a TV, a microwave and hi speed wireless is free with the room. So tomorrow we'll go to the Zoo in St. Louis, or the Science Center. Kat is really cute and sweet and funny. She really appreciates Ivan the Terrible too.
Anyway I'm enjoying seeing them.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Halfway out of the country....
I'm in Illinois, landed late in St. Louis, for Reasons of State! Seriously it's true, President Bush was in Minneapolis because of the horrible bridge collapse three weeks ago, this collapse wasn't his fault, it's decades of neglect, not all of it Republican neglect. Anyway first the plane couldn't leave Boise, then, once in Minneapolis, the next flight and all others couldn't leave until President Bush did. The pilot, (airline shall remain nameless, as will pilot! :) gotta keep them outa trouble!) said, and I quote, 'Well this time it's not ***** airline's fault****** We can't leave until the illustrious president gets his fanny off the ground' I think he really wanted to say 'get's his @$& off the ground' I was pushed around in Salt Lake by a really gorgeous Siberian guy from someplace near Lake Baikal, and bought a strange fish taco from an Uzbek guy. I HIGHLY recomend the hereldic device method of baggage ID, it sure worked for me, both in having others retrieve my bags, and in; retrieving my own baggage! I'm not kidding, this is a great Medieval solution to a really annoying modern problem. Talked to my son, did not know he and his girlfriend nearly died due to an encounter with a deer on the freeway! My son avoided the deer which was down, by swerving, landing instead in a lot of horrible farm sludge, which made both him and his girlfriend sick. I am going to go ahead and take a couple more day's here if I can in this room. Not wonderful, it would make 'Monk' go 'wipe', but it's close by, ground floor, and not exhorbitant.
We hope to do some touristy things for fun together. I am wasted, and too overstimulated to sleep just yet.
The other thing is that I feel sorry for the TS.A. folks, and am amazed they do such a good job of keeping their cool. It gets pretty chaotic. I think it helped me that I gave every sign of cooperating, and thanked them, and made sure to ask NICELY if I could put my shoes back on and stuff. I am not so uptight about bare feet as some folks are, it probably helps. Did have to be searched once, which was wierd, I thought I"d done an above average job of removing metal in all it's lovely forms from my immediate person. Turns out my duct-tape and foil anti-RFID wallet I made sets off all the crazy machines! So now I know what to do in future.
There are as some of my readers already know, a LOT of Bosnians in St. Louis, got to use the language with some lovely young ladies who had landed, we were mutually kvetching about luggage. Mine turned out to be on another carosel, and again, what ever angel gave me the bright idea to paint the hereldic devices on it, it worked well!
I actually found my bags pretty fast this time. Hauled them to the cab area, a guy who was African hauled me to an area only a mile from where my son and his girlfriend live, so it worked out pretty well all around.
Time to brush the junk food off my teeth, and catch some sleep. laku noc folks.
Monday, August 20, 2007
I feel a bit tired from all the smoke in the air here in Ketchum, but I think it's bothered my sister more, she's just out more enjoying the healthy outdoor lifestyle of Ketchum with her dog, and has always been sensitive to smoke. Both of us are less active than we'd normally be. She arranged my itinerary onward. She's extremely good at it, and all that remains is the shuttle bus to Boise. The office isn't open until 9 am and the line is busy. Anyone with heart or lung conditions needs to be out of Boise. There are evacuations all over, and there was an information table by City Hall in Ketchum.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Blogging the Free World
Serb ian Village Erects 'Rocky' Statue
it's interesting they had a Croatian artist do the statue.
Broader Spying Powers in U.S.
I have awakened too early, like 4:30, it's a time adjustment thing, so I got online early. I'm going to try to call Skelly's friend in Twin Falls. I'd love to meet his family, but it's not certain my schedule will allow it. The fire is so intense I probably am not taking that hang gliding trip I was considering either.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Centralni Komitet says:
'I think we should just be able to knock on the floor and wake up the government.'
'Sarcasm sure is twinkly!'
'It's like tearing a phone book in half one page at a time.'
'We can belch our way into the astral plane!'
'Wow, a whole new way to pine!'
Smoke over the mountains ii
I was not wildly in favor of the partition of BiH in the first place, it was an accomadation to some very bad elements in BiH. As an American of partial Irish descent, and as a person well acquainted with the Indian sub-continent, I could see into the future. Partition isn't good. BiH was for centuries one country! Partition was economically destructive to India, Pakistan and Bangla Desh, and it led to nearly 40 years of war and terrorism in Northern Ireland. Partition is a lame-ass solution to a problem that should and could be solved in better ways.
Immigrant Cash World-wide Economic Giant
This story is of interest, partly because it mentions Albania, but also because it mentions what an impact immigrants have when they send home money. It's mostly a good impact for their relatives.
Poaching on Skelly's Old Turf
I got to meet my sister's adorable dog, Beverly, an Aussie Shepherd, who worked more as a cow dog. Lovely sweet dog, very intelligent!
My sister's human friends from her job at the local thrift store are really lovely people. Two have recent birthdays, Zelda who picked a LOVELY comfortable dress for me, it's modest and colorful, and Laura, who is Argentinian, and very pretty, a wearer of fun hats, so they invited me to join them for drinks, and some pommes frittes. I got a sense of how much they love my sister, and how much they respect her. Really it rather touched me. I felt like I hit it off with them all too.
The fire is totally awful, it's huge, the air smells of smoke, the sun was an orange red dot in the sky, and it gave us both headaches. The smoke looked nearly solid. I will link to my Flikr pictures of this fire. Probably later when I am less tired. I reorganized my luggage again. I think I have it down to a much better set up.
So far, knock on wood the escape plan is working. I have secured an apartment in Sarajevo. Haven't heard from the landlord yet that they recieved my deposit, they wanted proof faxed, and I am not where I can fax or send a scanned thing yet. It should reach them, and I'll be where I can do that soon. Maybe they have a Kinko's here! That would help! :)
b.t.w. Bosnians and Croats frequently work as guest workers at the Sun Valley resort, and I really enjoyed walking around it last night with my sister. Now to go watch her DVDs of 'Big Love' later komrads! :)
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Happy Independance/Partition Day to my Indian readers!
This article was interesting because it shows the interfaith observances that were once common in the Balkans are not a totally dead thing.
Not Balkans related but of interest:
The key words would be 'unwilling to work at the posted salary'! Basically that is the problem, employers try to do things on the cheap, they don't want to make sure of adequate benefits, or to pay workers what their time is worth so of course the workers disappear!
My family are partly of Indian descent, not just my children, but I have Indian cousins on my father's side of the family and there are ties with India even on my mother's side. So this is a day we mark in my family.
So the van deal fell through and this zeka is going to leave as she arrived, by Greyhound. A lot of complicated arrangements had to be made to get me to Idaho in the daylight hours. Basically, I will be staying at a hotel in downtown Yakima in order to be right across the street from the Yakima depot, and then I can arrive in daylight in Idaho. The town I'm going to isn't noted for having a good selection of hotels close to the depot, not even seedy hotels. All the hotels are at least 7 miles away. I'm telling you, you get into the American hinterland and it's hard to get around without being able to drive.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Kusturica isn't really a Serb, so why he's doing this is anyone's guess. Still it's amusing reading. I've been out of the loop several days preparing for my actual escape from the Yakima Gulag. First stop will be Idaho, and to fly there is almost as expensive as to go all the way to Europe FROM SEATTLE! jebiga! WTF! anyway, my Greyhound days are not over so it's either Greyhound or a shared ride with a friend of a friend of my sister. Went to top up minutes on my cell phone, so I'd be able to call people and take calls, and went to get some other errends done. Busy busy busy, it won't be long now.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Kadaffi's son admits Bulgarian Health Care Workers were Tortured
But he says it wasn't that bad....
Serbia stepping up patrols on Kosovo border
So here I sit in the middle of mty packed up living room, my computer is on a tea tray on a box and I am hurrying becaue I'm wireless all the way. Tomorrow is the soonest I will be gone. Anyway I am tired, and it took me an hour because of inturuptions to eat my piroski and drink my coffee from my free 12 ounce mug from the title company. So now back to work. At least I'm all done doing Medieval things to my luggage :)
This bit is comparable to Kultur Shock see below to compare
I guess Hail Seizures has new stuff out, Camille's mom called me, she's the cute girl with the fiddle :) I couldn't find the new stuff, so she'll have to show me
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Neat luck! :)
I signed the papers, and the deal on this house will close as early as the 10th of August or as late as the 14th of August. So officially the house was on the market four weeks to the day before a first offer, and five weeks for the back up offer. That was fast! :)
Anyway, I am relieved to have gotten this far. Then my daughter and I went to the Salvation Army, found some cute green shoes for me, flat slippers, and then a white kurta for me, then my daughter found a blouse and some of the cutest red high heels I ever saw, but for me best of all was a carry on that turns out to be really intended to carry a computer along! YEAH! It turned out to have a sleeve JUSt made for my lap-top, and enoug room for one change of clothes, maybe my camera, and I was very happy to see it. I need to paint my little heraldic device on it, this bag, and a back pack ought to work for the big jump! :)
I need to get busy. Expect slow to no blogging from this quarter. Much needs to be done at my end. I do have an apartment in Sarajevo once I pay the security deposit, and I need to get my Eurail pass. I have to get that before I even leave.
Anyway take care dear readers!
Kosovo Troika to Meet in Belgrade August 10
NOT my headline, the story seems bto me to be more about one political party's take on Serbian-Russian relations.
A Grateful Serbia Offers It's Economy to Mother Russia
Bosnia Bans Import of Meat from Great Britain
What really is sad about the latest Foot and Mouth outbreak is it seems associated with an American owned research facility. A lot of people in the States think the last outbreak was terrorist related. Not a proven theory, but very current among people who remember about the outbreak.
Off to paint heraldic devices on suitcases, and to pack up my sewing stuff and make breakfast, not necessarily in that order.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I also resent not being able to bring things that were perfectly FINE before. It's really very annoying. I'm not someone who makes trouble, I just want to go on my travels and be comfortable. Not a lot to ask, but I guess I'm wrong there. Yeah yeah yeah, the terrorists. So how does depriving me of things help get rid of them?
I painted something very distinctive on all my suitcases, part of my family's coat of arms, I hope that helps keep them from being lost, it's sort of a Medieval solution to a modern difficulty.
On the up-side, I think I've secured a place in Sarajevo. I need to send them a security deposit, it's more than I want to pay, but it's a fully furnished place, and I can take advantage of it to look for a place that's lots cheaper. It has internet access as part of the fee, and all uitilities excepting fixed line phone are covered so it's good.
Story of Serbian Tennis Champs
Regardless of my opinions about Milosevic, I feel for the people on the ground who suffered under the bombing, and I respect the people who kept on with their lives.
OSCE Mission in Kosovo condemns unprofessional, irresponsible journalism by local daily
More details on the Modern Human x Neandrathal skull
Ukraine agrees to enforce war crimes sentences
Monday, August 06, 2007
Terrorist Attack on Macedonian Govt. Building
Fires near Dubrovnik ease up
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Sunny Sunday too! :)
Serbia Police Clash With Gunmen
Pope praises late Romanian Orthodox leader
Irish Tourists Stranded in Dubrovnik Airport
Palestinian Doctor Falls in Love with a Bulgarian Lady
Good, I'm glad he found someone nice!
Saturday, August 04, 2007
I need to call a friend and see if she needs it, if not, then I'll just call Salvation Army to get it. Someone out there needs it.
I know one friend is going to want the plastic locker I have too. It's kind of a cool thing, I got it free, and it's something she can keep on her porch.
Gave the kids the cooler and some food items, things I'm not likely to use up before I leave.
The shed is full now basically, Kierna wanted the little ammo box I use as a tray when I eat. I gave her a Cabbage Patch Doll, a boy doll. She was happy and asked for the ammo box tray to use as a bed for him so I said yes. She was happy to get it.
My daughter and I managed pretty well with the boxes. She is SO strong. Then we had lunch at her place. She was tired from working and went to sleep for a bit. I even fell asleep during a movie the kids were watching. So now I am rearranging my suitcases. Some of them may go into the shed until I have a more permanent address. I'm only taking two right with me. Anyway I am making final decisions about what goes into the two I do take, obviously my computer, and once the house sells, a current converter, and a couple days change of clothes, important papers will go into the smaller one. I will put other things I will want or need in the slightly bigger one. Both have wheels. There is no way I can do this all without wheels. I will check one bag. I am going to get a Euraii pass. I haven't been a lot of places, and this would be when to go see some of the rest of Europe, sometime before I'm old and decrepit and can't anymore. People wait too long to do that stuff.
Croatia, foodie destination
yeah the food is pretty good there.
Serbs criticize Croatian celebrations
Huge number of pigs die in swine fever outbreak in Romania
Friday, August 03, 2007
Thank God it's Friday!
Anyway a lot happened in Balkans news yesterday, none of which I got covered.
I also have been putting out feelers for an apartment in Sarajevo. Correct me if I am wrong, but it looks to me like housing prices have gone WAY up in Sarajevo. I have been keeping track of this for some time, as I've wanted to go there for a long time. Unfortunately I could not go when I wanted to. I could not sell my house when I wanted to, and while at least I did not sell at a loss, I did not sell at a profit either. Real estate prices are down here in the Yakima Gulag, they never were high. I'm rather glad I didn't get a super nice place, because actually a place in need of repairs stands a better chance of selling quickly in this type of market than a more modern place.
I just need a little place, a one room or a garsonjiera type of set up. I need a certain amount of privacy, and to be close to shopping and transit. It would be nice if there were a balcony and a lift, and I really need my own bathroom. I need a fridge, even just a small one, and I need a stove. I need Internet service. I don't need other amenities. I'm quite capable of getting a few towels. I don't have to have loads of furniture. I do need one closet or reasonable facisimile thereof.
What I want should not cost 200 euros a week like one place that responded to an e-mail. One place is 700 euros for three months. This isn't REAL bad, but it's probably more room than I absolutely need. It's a big place and probably really really nice. I may take it for a short time and see whether I can do better once there. Unfortunately, most of the subletting places online don't advertise cheaper places and I can't just get a copy of Oslobodjenje or other paper to check that out. It used to be there were LOADS of real-estate ads on Saraynet too. Lately that isn't so. Considering some of the prices I've seen, I may be better off staying in a hotel or pension or a hostel. I really don't need a full sized apartment. I really can't afford such a set up for very long. Obviously I'll keep looking and I'm sure ultimately I'll find something suitable.
One guy called me up at 4:05 a.m. which was alright, I often wake naturally at that un-Godly hour. I talked with him about his place, it is larger than I need, but nice, and not totally unreasonable. His price includes utilities, and if I am going to be in a bigger place, at least having that covered in the price would be a good thing. He seemed a nice fellow too. It may be his place I end up taking. I hate flying. I know it's probably going to be even less fun than before. I am going to go first class if I can. I dislike the crammed nature of coach. From the U.S. I need to make a stop in Ireland, one of my friends from the Abbey Hostel has her own flat now, and she's kindly invited me to visit her. I'm going to do it, because I can see her, and I can go do some of the things I had to miss out on because it was Winter when I was last in Ireland. It's going to be a pleasure to visit an Ireland that is at peace.
Yesterday's news today:
Well actually this item is today's news:
pecial team to investigate 17,000 suspects in 1995 Srebrenica massacre
Serbia: surge in murders shocks public
What would Serbia sacrifice for Kosovo?
Bosnia Plans to Expel Arabs Who Fought in Its War
Top envoy urges Bosnians to adopt police reform
Odd skull shows Neandrathal AND modern human features
Ancient Bulgarian necklace found on shop-keeper's wife
Cart ban infringes Gypsy rights
Serbian ag minister joins Lippezaner row
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
and a worthwhile read
School Corp Collision( My title)
I have been really fed up with how the big multi-national corporations dictate so much of our daily lives despite all efforts to get rid of this malign influence on our lives. I don't like it, and I find myself startled to be in agreement with some things coming out of no less than the Heritage Foundation. That is a stomach lurching feeling for me, but check it out, they are saying things I've been saying for YEARS in this paper!
again via Metafilter, aka MeFi:
Paper on Schools
The thing is that I haven't liked having my life micromanaged from school on up, and it's not the government doing the micromanaging, it's corporations for the most part.
I'm glad so many on what I consider the 'other side' see this too, and have been willing to fight over it.
At the same time it's a stomach lurching experience to recognize my thoughts echoed in these papers, sometimes word for word. I remember getting samples of panty-hose in Home Ec. I remember the little samples of Clearasil, which totally failed to deal with my acne b.t.w. Only good old Queen of Hungary water followed up by a yogurt mask or sleeping with a layer of zinc oxide on my face does the trick.
Why are kids being given samples of this stuff and told it's the road to 'self esteem'? Why isn't some normal accomplishment, some ACADEMIC or even some ATHLETIC accomplishment not the reason for 'self esteeem'?
Damn if I had kids now they would all be home schooled at this rate.
At the same time school should help give kids job skills, they should be REAL skills not appearances skills. Look in the craaazy wild West fashions change, what is an acceptable appearance changes, usually because companies FORCE the change on us through the use of those agents of influence, the fashion designers, but the need for REAL math skills, REAL language skills and REAL knowlege of other cultures DOES NOT change.
Testing and teaching to the test has never been o.k. and it's been a part of Empire and Imperialism from the time of the Mandarins on right through to present times. It results in poor leaders who get knocked over by everything from the Hordes of Ghengis Khan to the insurgents of today. I have to say teaching to tests results in failure. It would be better to let the kids hang around on street corners than to keep this up.
Lippezaners face starvation
It looks like due care was taken in this instance, so I guess the horses have to suffer because the owner hasn't broken the law in Serbia, unless there's animal cruelty statutes.
Bull imprisoned with his owner
Irish general to take over N.A.T.O. post in Kosovo
This is scary, I bet Dr. Laura would be all over those two! This is carrying the Balkans cult of sons way too far!
Montenegrin woman has first child at age 62
pssst! Romania IS in the E.U. ! I think it's more of a factor than the discrimination which is bad in both countries, although I have to commend the humanity of a Romanian border policeman who lent a shivering, cold Roma young man his coat.
Over 100 Roma cross from Serbia to Romania
Drink your coffee, it's GOOD for you!
Told you so! :)
And from Romania again:
Spell to fix your floppy drive
And this just in
Bulgarian who was wrongly accused in plot to shoot Pope John Paul II found dead in his flat