Waste Time, But Feel Good About It

So, before I left for Iraq, I found a great new time wasting website, www.freerice.com.

Here's the deal: you answer vocabulary questions and for every correct answer, you donate 10 grains of rice to help feed the riceless.

I know 10 doesn't sound like much, but the site also tracks your vocab level (from 1 to 50), so you can compete against yourself to see how much you know. For me, this means, I can play for hours trying to get my score up to 50.

I haven't yet. So far, I top out at 47. In all honesty, I average in the 40-42 range most of the time.

It's pretty addicting. You need to answer three right to move up a level, but each wrong answer pushes you back a level. It's a lot of fun and you can rack up a lot of rice.

Even if it is vocabulary.


Let's All Try for a Day

I have mentioned here before that the government of Iran has a reputation for crazy. I, myself, have refrained from calling anyone over there crazy and I intend to continue to do. However, from time to time, I find it necessary to point out goings-on with my new neighbor which could - possibly - be construed as, if not crazy, a little unusual.

Case in point: state run Irani television has banned the use of the word "women." Read more here.

The word has been replaced with "family." I am not sure how this works in practice. Perhaps in Farsi it all makes perfect sense, but I imagine the evening news must sound like this:

"Today in Tehran, thousands of families protested our eradication of the term currently known as 'family.'"

or is it "Today in Tehran, thousands of family protested...?"

Wait, my mistake. It would be "Today in Tehran, everything was great and many families celebrated their love for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a devout manner."

I just can't imagine why any nation would replace a plural noun with a singular noun!

Oh, wait. My mistake again. They do it to get the international media to cover nonsense rather than stories like this one.

I intend to stop using the word women on my blog in honor of Iran and their diversion skills. I will also use family.

At least I will until I forget.

Just like Iran wants...


Hank Hill Sold It To Me

Everytime I come to Iraq I want to write something meaningful, but I usually end up writing junk. I think it's very interesting junk, but it's junk nonetheless.

I don't know why I don't write anything substantial. I just don't usually feel much like it.

Or it could be because Angie won't stop talking to me while I try to write this. (Hi, Angie)

Today, we bought propane heaters for the house. That's right. Propane. Believe it or not it's a step up. We've been using kerosene until now. It stinks and is rather dirty.

Supposedly, propane is safer and healthier for us. That's what the ex-pats tell us, so we decided to give it a try. We haven't actually purchased any propane, though, so we can't use the heaters. I don't know when I'll be able to give you an update on the quality of propane-generated heat, but I will as soon as I can as I am sure you're just dying to know.

Once you have my recommendation, you can rush out and buy your own propane heaters to replace your old kerosene sopas...

In other news, I have internet at home and it's wireless if you can believe it. And it works! It's a little slow, but that's because I opted for the cheapest package. I may have to change that this next week.

I need faster internet so I can download Christmas Music!


Kurdish Food


I saw this website today, though and I drooled a little.


I feel guilty for this fake picture. See here and here for real pictures and a rice recipe.


Why Does the Internet Refuse to Work?

Usually, the internet works just fine, but now that I want to get online to help Todd fill out his Visa application, I am without the web.

I shouldn't be surprised, but I always am when things don't work.

I am using something called blog.gears to type this. It allows me to use Blogger offline, and then publishes it when I am online again. Whenever that is. Who knows?

I am writing this on Monday night. Hopefully, this will upload the same day. Maybe not.

Things are going well. No complaints.

It's chilly, but not yet cold and Nila is doing really well. I know that's the only reason most of you check this blog anyways.


Nothing Much to Say, but...

...I figure I am in iraq, so I should update this every now and again.

It's interesting to be back again. I have never been here in the Autumn, so that's new. I've also never been here with a wife and a baby, so that's new, too.

The people here love Nila. They are very happy to meet her and she's gotten some very interesting gifts already. My favorite is a tiny stuffed animal on a keychain. When you press the button in its stomach, it squeals and then says "I love you" while it's eyes light up and the light is red.

So, it's great. A little sqealing, red-eyed animal.

We're starting to make plans for Thanksgiving dinner, too. We'll be able to find a Turkey, but someone will have to kill it (not me) and I don't know what other goodies we'll be able to recreate, but between the ten of us here in the office, we should be able to come up with something good.

It won't be the same as spending Thanksgiving in Ohio, of course. No family, no frui-pagne, no Macy's parade, no Watergate salad, none of Erin's off-color jokes, no White Castle at midnight, no driving to Jeffersonville. Just not the same.


Back in Iraq

Hello, everyone!

Me, Angie and Nila made it safely to Iraq. We arrived yesterday and today we're settling into our house and office. So far, Nila seems pretty happy.

We spent Thursday night in Dubai and it was very nice, but super hot and really humid. I didn't expect it to be humid. I also didn't expect there to be so many Indian people! We had great Indian food, though.

I'll let you know when I have something more exciting to share.


What is the What

It's almost 4:30 am and here I am writing a blog post.

I am finishing up the last of the laundry so I can pack. I don't want to be rushed tomorrow, so I decided to stay up all night or until I was finished washing clothes.

I had another task, too. I had to finish reading What is the What by Dave Eggers. It's a library book, so I can't take it with me. I started reading it before I went to California, but, as usual, I got busy and didn't finish it, but I was determined to read the whole thing.

It's a fantastic book that I can't recommend strongly enough.

It's about the Lost Boys of Sudan and it's stunning in it's depiction of the struggles - a word too soft - these boys and thousands of Sudanese refugees endured and are still enduring in Africa.

Here's a link to more information on Southern Sudan.


So Little Time

So much to do!

Would you believe that we only have two days left before we're on a plane to Dubai!?!

It's crazy.



Somewhere along the way Halloween has become an important family holiday. I don't know what your family does - maybe nothing. But, my family has a tradition.

Every year we all get together for Beggar's Night to see the kids' costumes, pass out candy and eat pizza. It's grown since it first started at Christy's and it centered around Kate trick-or-treating. Now there are three kids carting candy home. next year there may be four if Angie and I get desperate enough for candy to force our 14 month-old out onto the streets. And it's changed locations to Vanessa and Rob's home and neighborhood.

But some things remain the same. We still take tons of pictures, we still eat too much pizza and drink too much pop. It goes without saying that we eat too much candy. We laugh alot, too.

That's the best part.

Check out more pictures here.