Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Negative on the Russia dealio

Ya durachil vas, in English, means "I fooled you."

No one in Russia wants me to teach Russian to Russian kids. I wish it had been true, really. It would have rocked, and I hope to teach overseas some day. Thanks for the well-wishes, I appreciated them.

Props to Beth C and Kassie for not buying my story.

And special recognition to Jonathan Cannone, who was fooled in 2005 when I announced that my mother was expecting triplets. Don't get fooled again, Jon. It's more than a song, it's a way of life.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Moving to St. Pete's, RU!

Some of you know that I've been studying Russian for the past year. Well, I've been looking for an opportunity to put my new skills to good use and see an awesome part of the world.

So I applied a couple weeks ago to the Eurolingua Institute, and have been accepted to teach with them next year! Here's my new job description.

While they haven't told me for sure where they will place me, the lady who I talked with (Lirpa Solovyava, in charge of recruiting and placement) said there was a good chance that I'd be near St. Petersburg, working as part of a new government project to combat illiteracy in rural children. Because children there usually have to work on their family farms and can't regularly attend school, almost 35% of the rural population are classified as illiterate when they reach adulthood. So I'll be teaching them to read and write Russian.

The job will last for a year, this August through next July, after which I will come back and lay down some pwnage on anyone who wants to play me in chess. And perhaps anyone who wants to try to outdrink me.. just kidding. I'll tell you more specific dates, where I'll be, etc. as I find out.

не верьте этому!

(posted late.. I first posted this on xanga and myspace at the date below. It is now 4/3, at the same time)


Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas/Year in Review from my family and me.

Greetings, people whom I love. There's little to report to you on my life this year. I have been working full-time since April at a place called United Plastics, grinding up industrial plastics such as bins and car bumpers. For fun, I play basketball whenever possible. I also bowl every week with some awesome friends of mine, Jayna and en and Matt. We lose most of our league games in spite of large handicaps, but we have a lot of fun. I plan to have more excitement next year, either finding a place to teach on the east coast in the fall, or traveling from Spain to China this summer with some friends and perhaps teaching English in Asia. Or, perhaps something else will happen; the Lord's plans are often unpredictable.

Have a merry Christmas and a great 2007, and let me know how you are doing,

To those of you who are interested in my family's life: we send you our annual Christmas letter. Everyone wrote a piece, from my dad to 3-yr-old Lydia. You just read my piece. Find a link to download the rest on my xanga, facebook or myspace (you must be listed as my friend on the particular site).

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Go Blue!


Go Blue! Beat the Buckeyes!

Monday, November 13, 2006

McDonald's value: Fries vs. double cheeseburger

One of the best food values in the prepared food business, measured by energy per cent of cost, is McDonald's double cheeseburger. For only a dollar, it provides an amazing 460 calories, for a value of 4.6 Cal/cent.

The problems with this burger is, it's nasty in more than one way. It tastes like one would expect for a dollar. And the worst problem is, it tastes like it is loaded with salt. Salt is ok, but too much not only disrupts the body's water-sodium balance (leading to water retention, thirst, high blood pressure and kidney problems), it tastes bad. One DC contains half of the body's maximum recommended daily intake of salt.

The more expensive large fries ($1.79) tastes better, but has its own problems. Suprisingly, salt is not one of them. Lightly salted in the box, the fries provide an acceptable 14% DV of salt, 1/7 of the maximum daily intake, and still taste good. They provide more energy than the large fries - 570 calories, or 3.2 Cal/cent. But they contain 8 grams of trans fat. Any amount of trans fat, and especially more than a few grams per day, massively increases one's risk of heart disease and may cause other health problems.

Oh, and to anyone who received a free food coupon while playing McDonald's Monopoly: tomorrow (Tuesday) is the last day to redeem your coupon.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Michigan election endorsements

Here is who and what I'm voting for on Tuesday (between 7 AM and 7 PM at your local voting station). Hopefully you'll find at least part of this helpful.

U.S. Senate race: Michael Bouchard
Incumbent Debbie Stabenow is the classic senator who thinks that a big, federal government is the solution to any problem.

Bouchard doesn't have a Senate voting record, but he seems to be a typical conservative. It appears he actually believes in cutting taxes, government spending, and regulation. For example, he'd like to phase out the 15% tax on our paychecks - that's way more than I spend on all other taxes combined - that goes to a Social Security program that will go broke before young people benefit.

Most Republicans give lip service to things like this, then enact federal oversight of schools (No Child Left Behind - though it should be the states' and communities' job to oversee schools). I'm optimistic that Bouchard will stand out; he criticizes the Republicans currently in charge. My main concern is that this long-time sheriff will outlaw things because they're illegal rather than because they should be illegal. This includes immigration - will he only try to punish/fence out illegal immigrants, or encourage legal immigration? Will he be too pro-war?

Leonard Schwartz is also appealing. He's a Libertarian who knows what the Constitution allows congress to do (not as much as it does). If Michael Bouchard didn't stand so strongly for small government, I'd vote for Schwartz, never mind that it would mean (horrors!) the Republicans might lose control of the Senate. Good riddance, I'd say. They're not really any less of an evil than the Democratic system.

Governor's race: Dick DeVos
I'm pretty much basing this on money issues. We need someone who will make Michigan friendly for business, especially small business, as soon as possible. That, not state-sponsored health care or other social programs, is the only way to slow Michigan's job bleed. DeVos, a successful businessman himself, should be able to do this. He'll also be able to help the state work efficiently within its cramped budget. Granholm wants the state to add a health insurance program to its budget woes. How will we pay for that? Raise taxes on the few rich people left in Michigan to drive them out?

Michigan ballot proposals.

I tried to reword these slightly so they made sense.

Proposal 1: A constitutional amendment to require that conservation funds must be used for their intended purposes.
Vote no. This is ridiculous. It is the job of the state House and Senate to decide how to spend the state's money. If this passes, the only way to do anything new with the money is pass a new amendment. The state has only diverted money from these funds once over the last few years, anyway.

Proposal 2: A constitutional amendment to ban state affirmative action programs based on race, gender, color, ethnicity, or national origin. (This applies only to state-based hiring/contracting/school admission.)

vote no. I almost said "yes". This wouldn't be a bad thing. If it passed, discrimination would still be illegal; this only bans favoring minorities. If it only banned quotas, this would be a good idea. But if it bans a CMU admissions director from admitting an Argentinian student to keep the school from being just a bunch of boring white people, it's bad. I hate to ban personal discretion, even when it's abused sometimes.

Proposal 3: To allow a mourning dove hunting season in the state.

vote yes. Doves are no different from anything else we hunt. The one objection that carried weight with me was that mourning doves mate for life. However, Wikipedia says that single mourning doves will find a new mate.

Proposal 4: To prohibit the state and local governments from using eminent domain to take private property for private purposes.

vote yes. This protects private property from the state. The specific purpose is to keep the state from taking private property to let Wal-Mart or GM buy and build on it. The state can still take land for parks, highways, and other public uses (with proper payment).

Proposal 5: A law to establish mandatory school funding levels, and significantly raise current funding levels (by $565 million).

vote no. Where will the money come from? Money doesn't correlate to better schools anyway, as a Home School Foundation study found. Not that I'm opposed to , but let the state congress decide on the funds rather than voters. That way, they can decide how to fund it rather than mandating "give them $565 mil right now."

State senate, district 27: John Gleason
John Gleason seems to have more common sense than concern for political wrangling.

I might post another blog with Attorney General, Secretary of State, and other endorsements.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


It started last winter. The Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons both played strong during their seasons and ended with the best record in their leagues.

The Red Wings promptly lost in the first round to Edmonton.

The Pistons, favored early in the playoffs to win the championship (with amazing 2:1 odds) lost in conference finals. I watched most of their 82 season games, and they let me down hardcore.

Now the Detroit Tigers, a cinderella team coming from several sub-.500 years including a 106-loss season in '02, spend most of 2006 with the best record in baseball.

They beat the Yankees, then swept the pennant series.

And then, they rolled over and lost the World Series 1 game to 4. How do my awesome sports teams lose so badly? Will the Michigan Wolverines choke like that?

The Tigers are still the coolest-looking people in sports. Check out these mugs:

Maglio Ordonez:

Curtis Granderson:

second baseman Placido Polanco is still the bomb-diggity. Check out the grin:

my second favorite Tiger, catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez:

and Kenny Rogers, who among a team of greats stands out as the greatest.

go 2007 Tigers!