Monday, November 30, 2009


It was a double holiday this last week, so we had an unusually long opportunity to take advantage of the local awesomeness. Among our adventures, I spent a bit of time as an outboard motor.

Once they had their fun with boating, Star and I invented a game where we both go underwater and she points to something she wants me to retrieve. She's been working on what she calls her "trash sculpture" for a while now, and this was a great opportunity to get some unique content.

Yes, I am aware that we were basically playing fetch, and I was not cast in the role of the human. Welcome to parenthood.

After everyone else had retired to their towels, I did a bit of phobia bashing. It was moderately successful, but not as far as I might have liked. My swimming line was a bit angled, but with waves and such I think I have more of an excuse.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Apparently, I cannot swim in a straight line

As folks who have known me for some time, I have an odd phobia of swimming in the ocean alone. This is inconvenient, as I would really like to do some distance swimming in the Med. I've been training up to it, and have made quite a bit of progress. Unfortunately, really getting more than a quarter mile off shore is still daunting. Since we often swim in a local pool, I've been using that to train up.

I've been trying to make the practice a bit more similar to swimming in the open ocean by keeping my eyes closed and trying to imagine that I'm actually in deep water. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long for me to start wandering out of my swim lane and creating problems. Hopefully, improvements in my form will help keep me going in one direction on autopilot. We'll see...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cheap excuse

As the days since my last post tick on, I have become progressively more desperate. Seeing that I am not able to make time for a proper post, I am going to attempt a cop out by posting a picture. We had been on a shopping trip and were quite a bit behind schedule for the day. We therefore decided to purchase lunch at the mall.

I give you photographic evidence that it is not wise to order food while fatigued and under child-inspired duress. I find this angle amusing because it looks like the entire order is for Dandellion. For those of you who might be new to this type of food, I welcome your speculation on these items in the comments. We ended up with a massive set of takout boxes in the end.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I bet I know what you weren't doing

Amidst all the fun and successful errand running this weekend. I had an experience that I hope is quite unique among my readers. At my (unwise) behest, we took the girls to see a new movie called Winx. I had reached entirely inaccurate conclusions from the previews. Instead of being reasonably empowering, light-hearted fare it was one tortuous ordeal of cliched brainwashing. I would like to think none of my friends spent their weekeds watching a movie of CGI fairies and their boyfriends graduating from magic school.

On the other hand, as I write up this post, I am struck by how this might actually be the 4 year old's version of the upcoming James Cameron Avatar movie....

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I'd like to take a moment to promote a podcast that really resonated with me. It very clearly articulates a radically different approach to international development, supported by some intriguing arguments.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pieces are coming together

One key difference in the way life is going for us this time in Beirut (as opposed to last time), is that we are much better positioned to take advantage of all the richness the city has to offer. For example, it has been quite easy for me to get into a cello school. Even though my electric cello is working out quite well, my teacher thought it best that I have an accoustic so I can practice on those dimensions and bowing techniques.

Therefore, off to the cello store I went. As with many things in Beirut, it turns out that the lutheir and I shared a mutual friend and an interest in Chinese. He even put me in touch with some Mandarin classes through the Chinese embassy. Sadly, my timeslots are filling up quickly, and I probably won't be able to take advantage of that (but I digress). The point is, I am now the proud owner of this beauty:

The instrument has a soft, rich tone. Particularly warm in the C and G strings, which I prefer. The A is well-rounded and not harsh. It is a bit on the quieter side, but projects nicely.

In other news, I've had my first run with a local rugby team. They were very welcoming and really fun to work with. While there will be a bit of a learning curve switching over to rugby league rules rather than rugby union, it looks pretty reasonable. With this opportunity, my extracurriculars will focus on Arabic, cello and rugby (and Internet spaceships with Eve online for some downtime).

Monday, November 2, 2009


This weekend was particularly awesome for us. Among our activities was an outing to City Mall to see Toy Story in 3D. This impromptu photo does a great job of capturing the personalities of the attendees.