Neat Idea but Stupid Website

I was randomly surfing the Internet today before my Bible Study and came across a site called MapJack. It is kinda like google street view except they seem to focus on overseas locations. Turns out they had pictures of a place I’d been–Chiang Mai Thailand. I wish I could link to the right to those pictures, but the stupid site embeds everything behing tons of Javascript. So, just go to the site, and choose Thailand, Chiang Mail from the drop down.

[Updated 2012-12-26 09:15:50] This article was in the wrong category


Last night we had a real treat at language class: a guest! A few weeks ago, our teacher had told us about a friend of hers who was back in town. She had been here, but moved to London for work. We mentioned that we would like to meet her, and then left it like that. Well, last night, this girl came into language…and then Marijana told us who she was.

The first wrods out of her mouth were amazing…her British accent was…how should I say…spot on 🙂 At least to my American ears, she could pass for being a Britisher…no problem. Then, we asked how long she had been in London–in Serbian, of course–and found out she had been there for 9 months. We thought she had been there for a period of years…not just months. I was floored and thrown off balance the entire time because of this. I was just fascinated with her accent.

After more conversation, it turns out that in university she had studied linguistics and worked long and hard on her accent. We were able to talk about 1/2 and 1/2 English/Serbian with her. But more importantly, for me, she gave us some good pointers on accent development. I think the biggest or most important one was spending time observing where people put their tongue and shape their mouth. Then, practice practice practice in front of a mirror till you get it right.

So, if you are headed overseas, think about that. I’d say if you could get a video of your language teacher saying a bunch of words, then you could simply watch that and practice. Perhals you ought to have two cameras…one to focus on the mouth (a close-up type shot) and one to focus on general mannerisims. Then, you could get both subleties of non-verbal communication as well as that extreme close-up of the mouth, tounge, and lips.

Oh, you are probabaly wondering why the candy corn picture. Well, our friends from VA who came brought us tons of stuff. Part of what they brought us was candy corn. We took some to language last night to share with our language teacher. Turns out, she loved it (who doesn’t like sweet stuff). We also shared some pumpkin–well, sort of–with her. But, I’ll leave that for another post (we have pictures to share about making it).

Muffin Mix

The kind you just mix with water (or milk and eggs and oil).  You know…the instant kind

Natural Gas Prices

A recent topic of conversation around town has been the increase in natural gas prices. From what I have been able to tell from the news and what people have said, the price of natural gas has either doubled or increased by 50%. According to this article at B92 the price of natural gas has jumped from $250 (US Dollars) to nearly $500 for 1,000 cubic meters. For those who don’t know your conversions, 1 cubic meter is about 35 cubuc feet. How does this compare to what you pay in the US?

Well, when Cyndi and I were living in Columbus, OH and getting our gas from Columbia Gas, we were paying the outrageous amount of 99 cents per mcf–100 cubic feet. In Richmond, we payed about $1.49 for that amount of gas. So, in Columbus, we would have been paying about $350 for about 1,000 cubic meters of gas.

I know the amount isn’t that much, but the rate of increase is huge. Imagine having your heating bill double within a month. At the start of winter! Now, imagine living on a fixed very small income. Now you get the idea.

Oh, I just realized that most of those prices are in dinars. Right now, the current exchange rate offered by the banks in town is 60 dinars to the dollar. This is up from a low of 47 dinars to the dollar we saw about a month after we got here.

Picture from winkydo