I’m Off

After spending the greater parts of the last couple of days learning about CSS script and cutting and pasting code I have managed to get my blog transferred over to my domain all in good order.  You may find it here.

Additionally, hosting the blog at my own domain enables me to customize the blog template I have been using so the appearance may change over time.

Be sure to change your bookmark, unless, that is, you’re happy to be rid of me.  I will be learning how to put together web pages and posting them as I go.

Saturday morning, early, I am off on my non-stop flight to  a month in Playa Baracoa.  I will be taking video and hope to post video reports.

Hasta la vitoria siempre

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You’re So Right Chronicles – Part III

UPDATE: Since You’re So Right has indicated that his chronicles make themselves up and flow unexpectantly from the ether into his consciousness, I have created a
You’re So Right Chronicles page which one may access by clicking on You’re So Right Chronicles just above the header photo.  Unfortunately, at this point, I must post the Chronicles in one text box.

Yesterday I rented server space from a web hosting company and will be moving things to my own domain, as soon as I figure out how.   I’ll keep you five informed.

You’re So Right

  • June 24th, 2007 at 1:17 pm · Edit

    Part III – Avian Passion Aside: No Means No

    “You, sir, are an anachronism. A stereotype. A figment of someone else’s imagination.”

    With real satisfaction I noted that, like clockwork, the mood change had come just as he drained his second box of Cabernet Classique. He wiped his chin with a tamale husk and turned to consider me more closely. This only redoubled my concentration on a point beyond the horizon.

    “You would be intensely annoying, if it were not for the fact that you don’t exist.” In leaning over to jab my chest with this thumb he kicked the shoeshine boy in the nose. The pathetic figure continued to buff while trying to stanch the flow from a nostril with a polish applicator. My companion tossed a coin in the street and pushed him roughly away. “That’s enough, get lost.”

    He was winding up for a four-alarm rant. I could scarcely conceal my delight. We had been at our usual table on the plaza for most of the afternoon. He had had me shift my chair several times to position my blistered pate between him and the sun and now it was beginning to drop behind the tiled rooftop of the Hotel Central.

    “I suppose it was the pigeon remark that brought this on.” I had to tread lightly, no sense goading him into using the ring.

    “I suppose it was the pigeon remark that brought this on.” He twisted his face into a nasty grimace and raised his voice to a squeal as he did a horrid impersonation of my newly acquired speech impediment. He belched loudly and called for another large box of red wine. “And I want it fresh. None of that old stuff.” He shouted after the retreating waiter.

    “I simply said that the males seem unusually aggressive. In light of the fact that the females are clearly not interested. They should take the hint.”

    “They should take the hint.” Again with the voice.

    “These are not your effete, politically correct, ‘By your leave, missy’ gringo birds!” I tried to imagine the smell of Listerine and failed.

    “These are unspoiled, hot-blooded, revolutionary LATIN pigeons. They see what they want and they take it! They part the feathers and have at it. Your pathetic rules of permissible behavior don’t apply here, Heloise!”

    “No need to get so upset. I only meant that in a civilized, sophisticated, democratic society…”

    “Oh? And where might that be?” You’re referring of course to that little banana republic just north of the border?” He cleared the table with broad sweep of his arm, held the wine over his head and made like a shopvac straight from the spigot.

    “That little republic, for all its shortcomings, is based on the rule of law…”

    “The law! That’s rich! You mean like the ‘law’ in Guantanamo? The Bay of Pigs ‘law’? The ‘law’ that contracted the Kennedy assassination? The ‘law’…

    “Oh, please. Not that Kennedy thing again.” This was going beautifully.

    “Yes, that Kennedy thing again. Do you deny that Kennedy was assassinated by Texas oil businesspersons concerned that he planned to end the Oil Depletion Allowance because he was acting to deneuter the Federal System, through issuance of Executive Order 11110?”

    “OK. So you have a problem with the current administration. The system is designed to deal with that. Checks and balances. How about some of the Democratic candidates? How about Hilary?”

    “Hilary? Don’t make me laugh. Hilary Clinton has gone through so many contortions trying to explain away her vote to authorize Bush’s Iraqi adventure and enunciate her current positions on the war I’m surprised she’s not in permanent traction. She will pander to just about any constituency to fulfill her desire to be president. Which in my book, qualifies her for immediate disqualification.”

    I resumed my serene consideration of the horizon.

    “Bahhhh. To hell with you. I gotta shit.” He threw up his hands in exasperation and started for the facilities. I glanced at the clock on the tower of the Bacilica Paris Hiltona Cathedral and noted it was exactly 5:19 pm. Say what you will about the man, he’s as regular as an atomic clock. Must be all that fresh fruit.

    The entire cantina staff arose and hustled to assist with robes and headdress as their benefactor shambled toward the WC, beads rattling, feathers wafting. My chance had come at last.

    Next Installment
    Part IV – The Condi Man Can

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In Case You’ve Missed Them

In case any of my five readers have missed the chronicles of “You’re So Right”, the master of Iconoflatulence, here are Parts I and II. I am eagerly awaiting Part III.

You’re So Right

Part I: I Can’t Place the Face, but the Odor is Familiar

As the shards of my shattered consciousness began to reassemble themselves, against my better judgment, like astigmatic quilt-makers on crack, I realized that it was pronounced “ha” as in hah not “ixla” as in Xalapa.

My vision cleared in brief bursts. Slowly, like one of those fifties movies where they played with the focus of the camera to simulate…well, someone’s vision clearing in brief bursts. When I finally came to, I really wished I hadn’t. Before me, squinting through clouds of acrid tobacco smoke at a wheezing laptop, muttering and chuckling as he hunted and pecked, sat a vision from hell. Not just any hell but a really bad hell, like living in the suburbs of a major American city . Or maybe having to sit through 24 hours of C-Span. Bad hell.

Hunt, peck. Peck, mutter, hunt. “Welcome back, sailor.”

With what, I am proud to say, considerable clinical detachment, I did a quick visual assessment of the abomination before me. Small, thin, dark as Cuban maduro with stringy matted hair the color of, say, the bilge from some steamer in Vera Cruz harbor. Arms like armadillos, feet covered in patent leather penny loafers. Awful. But the head. The head. So strangely distended under the massive pressure of a large granite boulder held in place by hemp and burlap. Sloping quickly back from the wrinkled forehead to form a shelf over the grizzled neck.

“I said welcome back, Kitty.” I realized he was talking to me.

“Where am I? Shit!” This is what I would like to have said. But, since I was incapable of speech just then, what I actually whined was “Whffffffarrach! Shisssht!”

I was unable to localize the pain with any certainty. It was mostly between my shoulders and my scalp, I knew that. It was like driving a 1972 Volkswagen behind a truck hauling sheep manure up a hill. You can’t go around it and you can’t stand the smell. Eventually, I realized that something had gone really wrong with my teeth.

“What’s the matter, not feeling so great?” The horrific demon before me continued hunched over the computer and distractedly worked at his left nostril with a mini-whisk, clearly vexed with some elusive turn of phrase on the screen before him.

“Whachadotobe?, you sonabamick!” I moaned.

“Oh, not much. Just a little pre-Columbian dental work. Thought I’d take care of it while you were still in dreamland.” He pulled luxuriously at his pulpy roach as the blue of the monitor reflected off his filthy, holographic My-Little-Pony shades. “Want to have a look?” I detected more than a little pride in his remark.

He lifted a hand mirror and held it before my face, tilting and zooming until he was sure I could see myself clearly. “Go ahead, say ahhhh.”

I barely recognized my own visage. My hairline, which I had always considered one of my best features, had somehow receded to about mid-crown; the sixties surfer bob replaced by a series of short tufts. Pig-tails actually; densely knotted and slathered with a tarry substance which held them a various angles away from my head. My face was bright red. Ape’s-ass red, except in the rivulets of dried tears which revealed the pallid skin beneath.

With great care, I drew my lips back from my throbbing choppers. I gazed in horror at the intricately chiseled and perforated designs that covered the formerly off-white glories with which my sainted parents had worked so hard to provide me. Each incisor was now adorned with three vertical grooves bordered by a sort of crescent moon chipped out along the midline; the designs on one side perfectly symmetrical with those on the opposite side of my mouth. Festooned as they were with tiny constellations of holes and imbedded chips of semi-precious stones, I couldn’t help but admire the artistry on some depraved level.

“What the thuck?” This last accompanied by a convulsive wince and fresh torrents of tears brought on instantly by the pressure of front teeth against lower lip. “Whath have you done to be, you badman!”

“Mad?” He snapped his head back so quickly that he slightly lost his footing, balancing as he was some 60 or 80 pounds of stone on his scrawny neck. “Mad you say?”

Whether it was the cackle of fetid laughter fouling what remained of the breathable air in that dank space, or the crude bludgeon brought down sharply on my stubbled pate, I know not, but the resultant return to incoherence was welcome beyond words. As I slipped into that satiny abyss, I realized that I was in the presence the very person I had come so many miles and spent so many years in search of. Once again the Shepherd of Satsop was within my grasp!

Next Installment
Part II – Do These Shackles Make Me Look Fat?

You’re So Right Part II – Do These Shackles Make Me Look Fat?

“OK, Let’s try this again. Muy rrrrrobusto, RRRRRRoberto!”

“Muy robusto, Roberto. ARGGGGGH!” The sensation was a lot like having one’s small intestines fed into a blender straight through the abdominal wall. As with all the times before, I had to look down and confirm, to my amazement, that there was nothing attached to or boring into my wretched gut.

“I don’t think you are really trying, you Gringo swine.” He reached once again for his Teletubbies ring.

“No, no. Please! I can do it.” He eased his hand away from the ring and gazed down at the notes before him on the podium. There was no way I could do it.

“RRRRRamon! Que pasa, hombrrrre?”

“Ramon, que…..ARGGGGH!”

“You imbecile! Where did you learn to speak Spanish, the phone directory?” His eyes were bulging so far out of his head they smudged the back of his glasses. “You’ve got to roll your R’s. RRRRRRRRoll your R’s!” The viscous spittle against my forehead sounded like hail on the roof of a ’57 Chevy.

“I don’t speak Spanish.”

“You certainly fucking don’t!” He took off the mortarboard, shuffled back over to the couch and fell into its fetid recesses. With childlike joy, I realized that today’s session was over.

As he lit up another dark dogend he glared at me in utter exasperation. “How in the name of all that is holy do you expect to be ready at this rate? Your coming out is just a few days away. You are going to ruin everything!”

“I…I’m sorry. Can we try German?” Big mistake.

“German? Did you say German, you pea-brained frat boy?” He reached for his pinky.

When I came around again he seemed to have regained his composure somewhat. “Ausgeseitnicht! Sie sind jetzt hier. Wie gehts?”

“Good, thanks. Sorry about the German remark. I’m just not myself, I suppose.” I attempted a smile through my cracked and bloody lips. “That’s an interesting trick. How do you do that?”, nodding toward his hand.

“Oh this little thing?” He held out his mottled ham and smiled coquettishly as he cocked his head to each side and admired the ring like a newly betrothed farm girl.

“Just something I worked out in my spare time. In case I had surprise guests. A little nanotechnology for the tum-tum. You swallowed it with that hamburger helper at lunch a few days ago. Works great don’t you think?”

“Absolutely. Feels like I’ve got a roto-rooter in my guts. “

“Just what I’d hoped. Here, check it out.” He swiveled the laptop around so that I could look over his shoulder as he clicked through the diagrams and spec sheets. As near as I could gather, the thing, which looked a little like a miniature molly-bolt, was designed to lodge itself into the lining of the small intestine where, upon activation from the remote control, it would continue to drill and tear its way through the digestive system. Talk about Montezuma’s revenge.

“How long ‘til I shit it out?”

“I’m not exactly sure, weeks…months. You’re the first, you see. Look upon it as your little contribution to science.”

“This is truly flattering. All to motivate me to learn Spanish. Sort of gives new meaning to the term ‘total immersion’.”

He had to grab the sides of the stones to support the head-shaping machine as he exploded into paroxysms of laughter. Stomping the floor, he rocked uncontrollably as his howls were gradually replaced with gasping for air. When the coughing had stopped, he regarded me with a sidelong glance and what I thought was a possibly a glimmer of respect…or was it some new recalculation of how much more it would take?

“That’s very droll. Very good. Did they teach you that at the academy?”

“Academy? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I would have shit myself if that were possible in my condition.

“Very well. Have your little games. Ready to get back to work?” He crushed out the roach on the back of my hand. The duct tape might as well have been monel metal.

“If we must. Mind if I ask you a question?”

“Not at all, fire away.”

“Are you planning to kill me?”

He turned to face me and raised his arms slowly in a gesture of evangelical sincerity. Out of the corner of my eye, I might have seen something scuttle across the room. “Kitty, you cut me to the cuticle.”

“In seven days, you and I will sitting at a table on El Gastrointerologico Square sipping a cold Bohemian and watching the pigeons mate. This I promise you.”

“Now try this: Rrrrrrruiz, mi amigo! Dos Tequila, Porrrrrrrrrrrrrrfavor!”

Next Installment
Part III – Avian Passion Aside: No Means No

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Los Amigos Del Taconazo

I have found that local bars are good places to practice Spanish, as the patrons and proprietors are generally friendly and ready to strike up conversation.

You may remember my periodic reports from Jose’s cantina in Merida, which I would visit a couple of times each week. Jose’s is what I would call a very funky place, others would probably think it seedy, and still others disgusting; and I couldn’t honestly argue with either point of view. After all, it rained almost as hard in the bathroom as it did outdoors and Jose was often exceedingly drunk. One night, in fact, he was so drunk that he walked around his place apparently unaware that he had pissed his pants. Shortly thereafter he took one of his periodic rides on the wagon.

I have been visiting the bars in my neighborhood here in Xalapa and have found a few that I enjoy. The other day, however, I hit the jackpot just a couple blocks from my apartment, when I stumbled upon Cantina La Negrita. Stumbled upon, because, like many of the bars in town, from the outside La Negrita carries no indication that there’s a bar inside. The other day as I walked pass I heard accordion music emanating from the doorway so walked in.

Here is what I found.  You can certainly tell that I’m a videography neophyte.

Los Amigos Del Taconazo play Norteno music, which features a diatonic (meaning a different note results from a pull on the bellows than from a push) button accordion (in this case a Hohner Corona) and usually a guitar and bass. The bass in the video is 90 years old, and really, really looks it. Los Amigos, who have been playing together for twelve years and play every afternoon at La Negrita, told me they dream of going to the USA to play.

Another serendipitous occurrence in Mexico.

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My Homemade Double Biquad Antenna

As I have mentioned I have become interested in antennas with which to received WiFi signals. A while back I posted a photo of my kitchen sieve antenna that slightly improved my reception of the signal from my apartment building owner’s wireless internet router three floors above my apartment.biquad-front.jpg

A few days ago I mentioned that I had decided to build a Double Biquad antenna and that I had been scouring the City for some copper sheet to serves as an antenna reflector. I was inspired in my antenna plans by the information on this web page and this page.

Alas, I have failed in my search for sheet copper and have had to settle for an aluminum kitchen pan for a reflector, despite the corrosion problems associated with joining aluminum and copper.

biquad-element.jpgI drilled a hole in the center of the pan and inserted a 1/2″ male copper plumbing fitting, which I soldered to the pan. Inserted in the male plumbing fitting is a short length of copper pipe to which I will solder the “biquad” element as soon as I receive the coaxial cable I ordered.

At the rear of the pan I will attach a female 1/2″ copper plumbing fitting, to which I will attach a yet to be designed system for attaching the antenna to some structure on the roof, assuming that my landlord doesn’t object. Having shown him my kitchen sieve antenna, I’m sure he believes, correctly I admit, that I am a bitantenna-back.jpg of a whacko.

Further reports and photos will follow.

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Plaza Xalapenos Ilustres

Having researched options for extending the range of WiFi receivers and broadcasters I ran across lots of designs for home made antennas, some with ranges of many miles. My curiosity piqued I decided to build a very long range “double bi-quad” antenna.

I needed a piece of scrap 12 or 14 gauge household wiring, a short piece of half inch copper pipe, a piece of sheet copper about 5″ x 9″, and some low loss coaxial cable. So off I went scrounging.

I was able to get the scrap wire and copper pipe with no problems from a scrap dealer up the street not to far and ordered 15 meters of the right type of coaxial cable and necessary connectors from a vendor on Mercado Libre, Latin America’s eBay affiliated online market place. Finding a piece of copper sheet, however, has been difficult.

I have checked in every hardware, electrical supply, and kitchen equipment store in Centro and in the area of the Mercado Los Sauces with no luck in finding copper sheet. A couple of days ago, though, I asked in a local plumbing supply store and the nice proprietors directed me to a metal dealer just off Avenida Lazaro Cardenas, a good ways North from my apartment.

So yesterday morning off I went to locate the metal dealer. Being Sunday I knew it would probably not be open for business, but I need the exercise and it was a beautiful sunny morning for an urban trek, up and down through the hills of Xalapa.

My map of the city doesn’t include a scale so I don’t know for sure how far I walked before locating the metal dealer in a very nice Colonia Rafael Lucio part of town, but I had been walking for an hour and a half. It was another hour and half to return. I plan to go again this morning.

The real treat of my long walk was encountering the Plaza Xalapenos Ilustres, a tree lined pedestrian plaza which separates the to and from lanes of Avenida Xalapa and which stretches from block upon block from the Avenida Presidente (Lazaro Cardenas) to Avendia Americas. The stretch of Avenida Xalapa passes the Pantheon Xalapeno (a large cemetery), a large sports school, and the famous Museo Antropologia.

The plaza, according to an informational sign, contains 1733 trees, predominately Sweetgums, Mexican Sycamores and Shamel Ash.

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Sunnergy Dealer in Xalapa

There was an informational booth in Parque Juarez yesterday for a local Sunnergy dealer, Grupo Hersa, located in Col. Ferrer Guardia, 8-42-92-64  hersa_1@yahoo.com.

Presently the company is selling only vacuum tube, gravity feed, batch type hot water heater systems with the integrated tank of stainless steel.  The smallest system, with a 132 liter tank is selling for $8,700 pesos.  The systems include a mounting rack.  The company eventually plans to also sell photovoltaic systems.

Sunnergy is a company n Guadalajara whose website may be found here. 

 

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