Traveller T Shirt

July 7, 2007

Tavel T shirt Andy sent me a link to this shirt, knowing I’d like it. He was right. :)

I had a similar idea for a visual phrase book, but it never moved past the conceptual stage. I always found it easier to pantomime when I was unable to communicate verbally. I’d place the palms of my hands together, bring them to the side of my head and tilt slightly to the right, in what seems to be a universal symbol of sleep. Then I put my arms to my side with my palms up, lift my shoulders, open my eyes wide and perhaps and shake my head gently. This is seems to be a pretty universal look for bewilderment that conveys the “where?” effectively. The result usually involved pointing or a follow me gesture and worked as often as needed. While figuring out food and bathroom pantomime should be an easy exercise for the reader, what I found hard to convey (on more than one occasion, but most memorably in a small town in Tibet) was my effort to pantomime “where can I buy additional credit for my prepaid local sim card for my cell phone”. This precise message was pretty hard to convey even when I had the cell phone in hand and could point at the sim card, but I hadn’t remembered to bring the phone with me that day. Before giving up, I followed a nice man 2 blocks to his shop where he offered the use of his land line, I was directed to an electronics store (that didn’t even sell phones), offered the use of a passerby’s mobile phone, and sent to a store that looked very promising, but in in the end only sold calling cards not mobile phone recharge cards.

But back to the shirt. Besides the difficulty in asking where to do your laundry when the shirt is dirty, I think it has one additional problem. The envelope icon could get you either a post office or an internet cafe depending on the country, and perhaps the age of the person being asked. If it is an internet cafe you want, I’d suggest a keyboard or perhaps a mouse as an icon.

Thank you my mystery benefactor

May 19, 2007

Omaha SteaksWe are still working on getting everything set up in our new home, but the walls have been painted and the floors have been oiled. My new TV has arrived, along with cable and Internet access - in fact I am writing this message on our new Internet connection! Additionally, some very nice and considerate people have been sending gifts. I love gifts and always try to thank my benefactors. In fact I’ll take this opportunity to thank Julie and Seth for the terrific plants. They look great and make the place feel like home. My parents share my love of flowers and have filled the place with fresh flowers that make me smile every time I see them.

Along with all these goodies came a very generous package of Omaha Steaks too, but there was no note or card. We called Omaha Steaks to find out whom to thank, but that said they could not give out the name of the sender with out permission. They put us on hold and call to try and get permission, but were only able to leave a voice mail message. So, generous benefactor, please claim your due thanks! We grilled some steaks tonight and really enjoyed them.

If you were not the sender of steaks but would like to be thanked for sending something nice, or more likely if you’d just like to update your records, our new address is:

Meet Mr. Lieberman

May 11, 2007

Our new houseI just bought a new house in San Diego and I am really excited. I should be fully moved in by the end of this month. A few months after that, I should even have some furniture. I have been learning all sorts of things related to home ownership and I have started to meet the neighbors.

The other night I met a nice family that lives nearby. I introduced myself as Jonathan, and the parents introduced themselves and their children, but the parents said they would prefer if the kids called us Mr. and Mrs., was that OK with us? I thought sure, what do I care…

But then when their daughter said “Good night Mrs. Lieberman,” and I was confused… When did my mom get here? Mrs. Lieberman is is my mother, not my wife, or so it has been up until today. Even though I have lots of friends with kids, they are mostly too young to call me much of anything, so this hasn’t really come up before.

As a kid I remember calling many adults Mr. and Mrs., but it sure feels weird to hear kids refer to me that way now.

But back to the house! Please do come and visit, the weather is pretty darn near perfect and you can walk to the beach. We love guests, we have plenty of room and comfortable guest accommodations.

Registerfly in the ointment

May 8, 2007

Piss on registerflyMore than one loyal reader has asked me, “What the hell happened to the site?”

Register Fly happened! Register Fly was the Registrar I used to register my domain. There is a whole big scandal about the Register Fly exec who was alleged to have spent registration fees on hookers and a $6000 dog, but I cared more about the domains I had (and lost) with them. Their list of woes is long, but in short-I paid to renew names, but they didn’t renew them, I tried to transfer names, but they made it impossible. Such was the fate of I could not transfer the site, I could not renew the site, the site expired and served up crappy ads. Of course no one at Register Fly answers support requests or even picks up the phone.

When my site went down, in desperation, I hired some guy I found on a message board. I knew nothing about him, but I happily gave him my Register Fly account and paid him nearly $250. He transferred 16 domains that I had been unable to get from Register Fly, and after a week managed to save this site, which had expired! It was ridiculous to have to pay to get my own domains back, but I was glad to do it. I had spent weeks and had only been able to transfer 60% of my domains.

I am still stuck over $350 more dollars of useless “Register Fly credit” that I can neither get back nor buy anything with. I still have one domain in process, but I am almost done with the bums.

Here is more information on Register Fly and the class action suit.

Planet Ho - What happens in Vegas…

April 5, 2007

Planet HoWhat happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Vegas is, after all, home to the only Playboy Club in the world and countless strip clubs, but “Planet Ho”? That seems like it is going to far. I mean for a major strip resort to have a “Ho” theme. I guess Vegas really isn’t for families any more.

Planet HoKidding aside, I am in Las Vegas for a quick SPG run to keep my Status and I am staying at the Aladdin / Planet Hollywood resort, where they are still in the process of changing the signage. I thought I’d take advantage of the work in progress for some fun. Here is a nice night shot of Belagio and Paris from my window.

Where would you like to go?

March 28, 2007

I have been sorting pictures, buying a house and generally dealing with life after travel, but I hope to begin posting again shortly. In the meantime tell me where you want to go:

This is so sad…

January 25, 2007

We are back in the US and I am trying to readjust to “real life” and work up the energy to finish dealing with photos and writing things up. In the mean time…

When we met other travellers they were often surprised to meet Americans (US Citizens not the varied peoples of the two American continents) especially those on an extended trip. They think of most Americans as quite ignorant about world affairs. Sadly it is generally true. The following video was sent to me by one such friend from the trip. It is filled with cheap shots and editing to make the yanks look stupid, but it works to hilarious results.

I’ll just keep saying I am Canadian.

Burning Man

September 25, 2006

The Man at Burning manLife is short, burn something.

I am not sure where I first heard about Burning man, but I have wanted to go for a few years. Last year before setting out on the first leg of our trip I had contemplated going, but we had already made plans to go to Acadia. This year we finally made it. It was as exciting and exotic as any place we have been.

So what is Burning man?

To say it is annual festival in the desert of Northern Nevada is to say that that sex is the human behavior we evolved to encourage procreation. It is succinct and accurate, but it doesn’t give you a very good idea of what to expect.

Burning Man is an extreme camping trip. Extreme, in the sense of extreme sports –- it is a series of high energy spectacles, each striving to impress and amaze, to astound and delight. It doesn’t push the boundaries, it tries to convince you that the notion that boundaries is passe.

It is a magnificent mash up of survivalists and stilt walkers. Part Woodstock and part Las Vegas. Part Fourth of July and part Halloween. It is part Cirque du Soleil, and part “Pimp my Ride”. It is an art happening and a science fair. A burlesque show and tell. A place to birth your art and a place to burn your art. A sculpture garden of earthly delights. A commune for libertarians. A guided meditation and an Ibizan rave.

It is home for hipsters and hippies. A temple for technophiles and technophobes. It is a parade for maniacal mechanics and misfits in outfits. It is a stage for dusty jugglers and sunburned jigglers. A playground for queens and greens. A party for junkies and yogis. A laboratory for the chic and the geek. An experiment for anarchists and city planners. It is all these things, all at once.

Black Rock city, as the city is know, is a vibrant city with a peak population of 40,000. It has roads and plazas, neighborhoods and zoning. There is an airstrip, a TV station, a half dozen radio stations, a daily paper and an alternative paper, a postal system, a hostel, and an uncountable number of bars and clubs. There are workshops on an astounding variety of topics, a G.E.D. program, college classes, a lecture series and a film festival. There are Shabbat services and Hindu temple. There is a water slide, a roller rink, a Ferris wheel and a mini golf course. It is all non commercial and it is all free.

The city is an inferno of creativity and generosity and it is always there, as long as you only visit for one a week a year, because at the end of the week the entire city is dismantled and everything is removed returning the desert to its natural state and leaving no trace.

Here are some of the photos from Burning Man…

Art, Costumes and Spectacle

Art Cars

Critical Tits

Shadow Wall - My little contribution to the city

For more information on burning man visit

Where in the world are you?

September 16, 2006

?Several people have written to ask us just that. So here is a quick catch up.

We are in Sunny San Diego, CA and we will be here for one more week! We leave on September 24th for China and then we’ll work our way through SE Asia coming back the US in January.

We left sub-Saharan Africa (Namibia) in late March and went to Morocco (pictures are coming eventually). Then we met my parents in Paris. We came back in the States for a few months while I was looking at a business deal that ultimately did not happen. On the plus side it led us to Croatia for a conference.

We spent much of the summer catching up with friends and generally playing hooky from life. We have also spent some time trying to figure out where we want to live. San Diego, California is looking like the winner, but before we finally settle down we have one last spurt of international travel to finish — Asia.

However, we did take one trip here in the US that was as exotic as just about anything we have done overseas. We went to Burning Man. I’ll offer some thoughts on that shortly and there are a few stories I still want to tell from Africa, and hopefully I’ll find time for them too.

Blog spam!

May 19, 2006

For the last few days, I have been getting hundreds of comments of spam advertising everything from mortages to drugs. Fortunately Andy turned me on to Akismet the new free plug in from Word Press to stop comment spam. So far it seems to be working well, so I have stopped requiring accounts for comments again. If you have a Word Press blog, check it out and save the Spam for the eggs.

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