28 October 2010

Shameless Brother Plug

SINCE MY BROTHER is coming to see us tomorrow, I might as well give him a shameless plug. He's a featured blogger on a website called Hockey Independent where he covers the Washington Capitals. The site just put out a little promo video on youtube:


BIG DAY FRIDAY! Although the kids don't know it yet, my dad and brother are flying in Friday morning and will be with us for about 10 days. You have no idea how excited I am about that.

To be fair, the kids know they are coming 'soon', they just don't know it's tomorrow. But I think they are catching on because we spent most of today cleaning their rooms, shopping for food, getting the garden looking good. But,\ they're not the brightest kids in the world, so we'll probably still fool them.

(Note to self: do not let kids on computer this evening or tomorrow morning because they may read this post and the whole surprise will be ruined. Apparently, I'm not that bright either!)

Reality Show for Former Half-Term Governor of Alaska

I DON'T EVEN know where to begin. As hard as I try, I can't pry myself away from US politics. And it seems that everything going on in American politics is somehow tied to Sarah Palin -- the Vice-Presidential candidate in 2008. But the more I read about Sarah Palin, the harder it is for me to believe that she is a serious candidate to be the President of the United States. Now she has a reality TV show.

I'm sure her show will be fun, interesting, and a big hit -- but how does this help her convince Americans she is presidential material? My favorite quote is when she's talking about life in the great outdoors and she says: 'I'd rather be doing this than in some stuffy old political office.'

Really, Ms. Palin? Don't you think we kind off got that message when you quit half-way through your first term as Governor of Alaska?

Oye. Here's the promo from The Learning Channel.

27 October 2010

Love the Badge

I'M IN GENEVA at the moment because I had a meeting yesterday with my doctorate thesis adviser. We met for about 90 minutes in his office and had a productive time talking about my project and planning-out the next 15 or so months -- months that will be spend reading, research, and writing.

But as great as the meeting was, I was most excited about getting an official pass to enter the UN grounds. Silly, I know -- but I'm like that. You can't even see it in the photo, but just imagine that it looks really, really cool. And the best part: I got to keep it when I left. The photo I took a few months back of the main entrance (left) turned out a lot better.

Wish List

IF SOMEONE WOULD like to buy me a little gift, I found what I want at a bike shop in Geneva yesterday. It's running about 7,000 Euros, but I really don't need the time trial version of the bike as shown, so the standard set-up will be fine and that will cut the costs by a couple thousand.

26 October 2010

You Know It's Autumn When...

...PEOPLE START MAKING art out of autumn vegetables. The name of our village carved into pumpkins and squash. Pretty impressive.

OIB, Food, and the Eiffel Tower

AS I HAVE mentioned several times on this blog, I teach history and economics at an international school that offers the international option of the French baccalaureate (it's called the OIB). The option that we teach is the American option -- meaning the history and literary program has a slight US-lean to it. For example, in the terminale year we teach two major units over the course of the year: international relations during the Cold War, and US domestic history during the same period. It is a very demanding program and it is also growing rapidly around France and the rest of the world. A couple weekends ago I represented my school at a meeting in Sevres (just outside Paris) where more than 200 teachers and administrators from around the world (literally) came to discuss the OIB program in general. It wasn't just the American option -- the OIB currently includes Spanish, German, Italian, British, Russian, Danish, Japanese, Chinese, and many other 'options.' It was the diversity of the people at the meeting that was the most interesting and encouraging.

But why bore you with that! The most important part of the weekend was the food I ate. I had two incredible meals I ate with some colleagues in the 7th Arrondissement. The first was at La Fountaine de Mars and it was fantastic. I'm not usually one for hyperbole, but the beef burgundy that night -- which our waiter explained had been marinating in red wine for two days -- was the best thing I have ever put in my mouth -- and that includes Hot Tamales, which now rank second. The next night a few of us ate at a little bistro near the École Militaire called Le 7ème Vin. This time the food item I will remember was the Autumn Vegetable Soup -- a delicious puree of seasonal vegetables like pumpkin, squash, and potato.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: nothing is better than Paris on a per diem.

Oh, and on the walk back to my hotel I snapped this photo:

This is Getting Embarassing

IF I DON'T do a better job of posting here, Kerri's is going to get upset. OK. I got the message.

03 October 2010

Familiar Sundays

WHEN WE LIVED in the States we really looked forward to Sundays in the fall. There were several reasons for this, not all of which are outwardly obvious. If pressed to list the reasons in order, I would offer the following:
  • Fall means the hot, humid, summer is coming to an end
  • Sundays in the fall mean NFL football games are on almost all day
  • One of those games is the Redskins (our beloved, though terribly flawed, local team).
  • Redskins games usually means a big meal with various parts of the extended family.
  • That meal is always really good and may include: BBQ, Chili, or massive Mexican buffet.
We haven't had a 'typical' autumn Sunday since we arrived in France...until last Sunday.

Thanks to a promotion at nfl.com, I purchased a free week of something called 'Game Pass' -- a program that allows you to watch every NFL game on the internet in HD quality. Because of the time change, the first game of the day started at 7:00 French time and we got prepared. First, we put a large pot of Chili on the stove and let it simmer most of the afternoon. Then, at about 7:00pm we hooked up the digital projector to the computer and beamed football onto the wall.

Next up: whole family ate dinner while we watched football. Just like back home.

It was great.