Thursday, June 25, 2009


My knees hurt. I am really tired. I was sort of down yesterday.
Oh, well.

Friday, June 19, 2009


So, I am going to try something different with my Music Post. Perhaps most obvious is that it is not Monday, or maybe it is more noteworthy that I am doing this at all (after my long hiatus here).

Really, there is a lot of music that I like, and that I would like to share, but two obstacles that I was struggling with were, first, I really listen to a lot of the same stuff over and over again (all the time) so continuing to find new music or different genres of music is a challenge and, second, I really can't always find the stuff that I want to share on or other video hosting sites, or when I actually do find videos that I want I can't always embed them.

This brings me to the something different that I want to experiment with - I am putting a downloadable link of music from my own computer rather than a music video. If this is offensive to anyone, let me know - I will try to be both responsive and responsible in handling any complaints about the sharing of music via the Internet.

To listen to the song, you have to open or download it. I know that this works though Mozilla FireFox but I don't know if it will download through Internet Explorer. Leave a comment and let me know how or if it works for you. If readers of my blog actually want to know HOW I am doing this, perhaps I will explain it in a different post. To those who are timid about clicking on a link, these are virus-free downloads. Now you can add my play list to your play list. :)

All I really have to say about these songs is that I like them. I especially like the second song. Both of these are The Gypsy Kings.

The Gypsy Kings - Quiero Saber
Download as MP3

The Gypsy Kings - Montana
Download as MP3

Monday, June 8, 2009

Two Days (edited)

This is a Skype video snapshot. This is how Becky, Gabe, and I have stayed in touch while I have been here in New York. It has been nice because Gabe and his two cousins are learning to communicate with one another and to stay in touch with Skype as well. In two days, they will get to hang out in person. Becky and Gabe will be here on Wednesday. I think that the three cousins will have a great time together while Becky and Gabe are here. I know that I am looking forward to seeing them and spending time with them.

I miss you two.



Friday, June 5, 2009

My Students’ Comments

At the end of each semester, students at the University are encouraged to take part in teacher evaluations. The evaluation results are confidential and mostly presented in a numerical format but there is a section for comments. Here are all the comments that I received from the over 60 students that I taught this semester. It is possible that up to three comments (one in each column) are from one student.

You can read all this for yourself. How seriously should I take this sort of thing? The vast majority of students don't leave comments – only the really happy and the really unhappy – and in statistical analysis it is common to drop the highest and the lowest values because they don't represent the mean. Using that logic, I think that I should just ignore all these comments.

Positive characteristics or strengths of the course/instructor

Criticisms concerning the course/instructor

Additional comments and suggestions


The Vistas program sucks. It counts simple spelling mistakes wrong. I can`t spell in English, How am I supposed to know how to spell in Spanish?

I always felt like I was being picked on whenever He called on me and I got the answer wrong.

really cared about the class, very envolving, good graduate teacher, best one I`ve had here

Don`t think he should get so peaved when some of his students are acting like idiots, I`d just tell them to leave

keep it up, would take 1020 from him if he taught it

The class was very interesting because I never knew what way the instructor would incorporate learing a new language. I enjoyed the variety he offer.


Great professor! He was always willing to help and never made the students feel as if they could not succeed in his course. Provided extra credit and great lesson plans on a daily basis. I was never bored in his class. I wish all of my professors were like him.


a pompous prick! more concerned with showing he knew spanish than teaching the class. he should be a tutor not an instructor!


Obviously knowledgeable but not very prepared. First day, he had ever even opened the book. Scary.

Not very prepared for class until the last few weeks of the semester. Gave quizzes but a few were never returned.


Very good instructor. He presented the material well and supplemented the material with helpful extras. Made the course much more interesting.


Hmmm. What do you think?

Caring Adult

Last night: dinner. Today: to school and back.

  1. Last night I helped with dinner. Alon made steak. I had bought some plantains and some yuca (not yucca) at the store earlier that day so I offered to make the yuca as a side for the meal. Yuca is a root and in that way it is similar to a potato but it takes a little more work to prepare because it has a thicker, almost barky skin instead of the thin peal that potatoes have. Additionally, it has to be boiled for a little longer than a potato. Other than that, yuca is very easy to prepare – all you have to do is boil it. There are other ways to prepare it, of course, but this is what I prefer. I like the fact that it has a somewhat buttery flavor without having to add any butter at all. I prefer it with well sautéed onions. It is good as a side just like that or it can be served with a fried egg or with fried cheese and eaten as the central part of a meal.

  2. Here you have the yuca in the foreground and the onions still on the heat.

  3. Sorry about not providing a before photo. I was mostly done eating when I took this photo but it should give you some idea of dinner last night.

  4. This morning was some sort of Caring Adult day at Nola's school. I guess that that means that the kids are allowed to bring an adult to the first hour of school with them. I also think that this sort of day is designed to open the door for kids who don't have parents that can go with them for whatever reason. Nola and I were the first people there. There were a lot of different stations – the kids could write a poem, read, or do other reading/writing activities. A lot of adults showed up.

  5. I took this panoramic photo. It doesn't really show much.

  6. Here is the poem (prose) that Nola wrote. It is about her little stuffed dog. That is the dog with the black face and brown legs. It likes to jump over red slides. Nola put herself in the top of the picture as well.

  7. While Nola was in school, I watched a bootleg copy of the movie Up! on my computer (at I liked it. I got pretty emotional a few times during the movie. I also spent a lot of time looking at I like the fact that wordpress blog posts show how many comments they have in the feed on Google Reader. I don't know if I am really willing to switch over to wordpress (I have a lot of posts here in blogger), but there are several things about it that I like more than blogger (easier image uploading, the comments in the feed, the fact that it takes care of its own statistics without having to go to or any other similar site. I am sure that there are other advantages as well, but that isn't really what this post is about – but if I start a new blog in the future, I will probably go to wordpress). After school, I went and picked up Nola and a friend of hers from school. It was raining and I was really tired (I should have napped today). I stepped into a corner store to get a Coke and the girls held my umbrella. It was pretty heavy for them so they sank to the ground with it.

  8. For the first part of their play date, they were all hypnotized by Disney. Yay!

I am a caring adult. Now you know.



Thursday, June 4, 2009

Different Colors

So, today I went for a walk. I woke up thinking that I would like to go for a run but I decided that if I run it is very hard to get photos and there are some things that I would like to take pictures of along the route that I have run a few times. I mean, I am talking about the Brooklyn Bridge, after all. As it turned out, I didn't cross the bridge. I just walked around Brooklyn. I went to the bank and I deposited some of my tip money so that Becky would have money in the account.

  1. This was the first thing that I took a photo of today. All these bottle tops were scattered on the sidewalk right around the corner from my sister's house. I was impressed by all the different colors – none of them are the same.

  2. This is another photo of different colors. This is something that I have seen a lot of here in New York. It is pretty easy to see who the nannies are. I commented to my sister about this and she said that a lot of people hire women from the West Indies who will work for less money as long as it is cash money (because they are not legal immigrants?).

  3. Just your neighborhood Trader Joe's. What a great building!

  4. What I was really trying to capture with this photo was the two pigeons.

  5. A little fountain.

  6. There are a lot of these street vendors but I didn't see any selling post cards. I will look again, I promise.

  7. I watched this squirrel climb the stairs. It saw me looking and ran off to the side and then took a minute to check me out.

Aside from my visit to the bank, I got a haircut and I bought a spare battery for my phone. It is a great phone but the battery life is not great. Oh, well. I like it a lot.



Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Chocolate Room and other stuff

Well, unlike some of the posts like this that I have done in the past this one is arranged starting with the most recent photo and ending with the oldest one of the set. In this group of photos, I have some photos of roses (right now the roses here are all in bloom and looking amazing), little girls (looking cuter than ever), a block party at the local school, and a Chocolate Room.

  1. I was on the phone with Becky when I walked past these purple roses. It had rained earlier that day. I worked and it rained on our way to the job. The people that Alon and I moved had a heater on in their apartment and between the heat, the humidity, and the heavy lifting I was sweating like an animal. Later, I got rained on by a really heavy shower on my way home from work. Anyway, this was later than all that but there was still water on the petals and I thought that it looked really beautiful. I called Becky right back after taking these photos.

  2. This is The Chocolate Room. How could I resist? I was walking out to find post cards to send to people. Ari said that because of the rain, none of the street venders would be out. I guess that you can buy lots of really cheap post cards from people selling them on the street. Anyway, I was walking, I saw this, I wasn't sure that I would find cheap post cards so I opted for some chocolate instead. This place was great. I sat in the back next to a big window. There is ivy and plum trees back there. It was nice and peaceful. I liked it. I like to walk and relax.

  3. I ordered some drinkable hot chocolate, dark, with homemade whipped cream on top. I was surprised by the small size of the cup (it is like a 6 oz cup) and I remarked to the sales person that it was pretty small. She consented but assured me that it is really thick chocolate. Can you see how thick it is? She gave me a cup of chocolate mud. This stuff was not really drinkable. Near the bottom, I literally had to eat it with a spoon because it was so thick. I think that this was a serious chocolate overload. It took me like an hour to get to the bottom of the cup. I just had to take my time with this chocolate and eat it nice and slow. I enjoyed it. Mmmmm – chocolate. Just thinking about it makes me want more. The other chocolate on the table is a sample of chocolate sorbet that they brought me when I sat down.

  4. This was lunch on Monday. Fried chicken and fried plantains – also known as fried deliciousness. The other things on the tray are pine apple chunks and a coke. I was pretty happy with this as well.

  5. I love the star here. This is one of my sister's roses.

  6. This photo was taken on Saturday. Nola got her face painted at a school block party on Friday and the next day she was still wearing her war paint.

  7. This was Friday at the block party. One of the most impressive things about this area, about NYC in general really, is the incredible diversity of the people here. It is hard to see in this photo because of the movement and many of the people's backs are to the camera but there are all kinds of people here – Asian, Black, Redheads, Muslims, Jews – all playing and working together. The block party was a big fund raising event and there was even an art auction of students' art work that appeared to be doing really well.

  8. Here is Nola. Hello, Nola.

  9. On the way to the block party, a woman who drives an ice cream truck that parks where Alon parks his work truck gave Talia an ice cream thing. This is part of the effect that it had on her – it is like her war paint.

  10. I don't know what you call this thing. It is some sort of ice cream thing but it is really drippy and pretty scary looking. I don't like it but Talia loved it. I tried to wipe her hand off with a bandana I had in my pocket and she freaked out. Talia is a head strong little girl – watch out, world, when this one grows up.

  11. Bye, bye Talia.

So, there is a small sample of recent happenings here. I have pretty much wasted a lot of time today. I am feeling pretty beat up after the last several days of work. I think that I need to take a nap, eat some pop corn or ice cream, or consume some other frivolous calories that will put some gas back in my tank. Tomorrow, I definitely need to go for a run. My abs and back could use some tightening and the frivolous calories don't help me with that at all.