Cup of coffee anyone? How about a doughnut?

Coffee cup with a built-in doughnut holder.I saw this coffee mug tonight on a website and thought of a few friends. Wouldn’t it be great to take this to the office kitchen and load up on a cup of coffee and a doughnut? Or, you could slide a couple of cookies in the mouth.

Of course, there are a couple of issues with the whole idea.

First, are there always doughnuts or cookies in the office lounge? It would seem like a great waste of coffee space to carry a mug around that only half of it was dedicated to coffee. I do have a second hand. I always assumed its purpose was to carry around my doughnuts and cookies.

The second problem is that the coffee might heat up the doughnut too much. Then you would have chocolate ooze dripping off your mug as you walked back to your desk. That is, assuming you eat chocolate doughnuts. Personally I like mine glazed (yes, I also prefer vanilla ice cream). Either way, you have a sticky mess falling from your cup onto the floor or on your desk. I would rather have the doughnut drip on my hand so that I can lick up every bit of sugar available.

I am not sure if the second problem is worse than the first or vice versa. They are both serious problems. But carrying a coffee cup that is only half full of coffee seems to be the greater of the two problems to me.

If you are so inclined to purchase one, you can pick up the Face Mug at Amazon for $18.

Nurse Judy Came to Visit

Family shot in front of the Puente de las Mujeres
Puente de las Mujeres in Puerto Madero

We had a great visit with a friend from our days at the Bill Rice Ranch. She has been a neighbor and friend for almost 20 years. Without going into too many embarrassing details, let’s just say we have been through a lot together. Not the least of which involves lots of gauze, pain and tears.

She was here for almost a week and we acted like tourists each day.

Wednesday—the day she arrived—we took it easy and talked most of the morning. In the afternoon she and I rode bikes to church and worked on setting up some new microphones she brought with her. Then of course we ended the evening with a church service.

Man painting with his feet
A man painting with his feet

Thursday we went downtown to our city, La Plata and saw the sites. There really isn’t a lot to just walk around and see other than a few old buildings. The city has some nice places to visit, but it would take days to really enjoy the city in the right way. We have an old museum and some beautiful parks. We spent the majority of our time at the Republica de los Niños (the big park near our house) and the old Gothic-style cathedral (the tallest in the Americas). We finished off the evening with a sign language class at church.

Friday was our long walk through Buenos Aires. We started with a train trip to the station in BA. Then we rode the subway to the Casa Rosada which is the seat of the executive branch of government in Argentina. We took a walk down to the waterfront and toured a couple of ships which are now turned into museums. Then a stroll down Florida Street. This is a fancy place where people with money go to shop. Mostly tourists. We enjoyed a walk instead of buying anything. We saw a man painting with his feet, listened to a little music and got rained out of watching some tango music. We rode a nice bus home. We planned to spend much more time in BA, but with the rain we came home and enjoyed a couple of episodes of Shaun the Sheep.

Family at Republica de los Niños
At the park near our house--Republica de los Niños

Saturday Judy and I went to my sign language class at the deaf association in town. We then spent the afternoon at the hippie market. This is a handcraft market that is mostly run by smelly hippies. That night we had some fellow missionaries over for a meal.

Sunday was business as usual. Church in the morning and a long nap in the afternoon. We took a quick trip to another handcraft market before the evening service.

Monday was the day Judy had to return home. One final trip downtown to enjoy a final bus ride and look at a couple of souvenirs. I rode with Judy in a taxi to the airport. The ride cost us $65, but got us from our front door to the front door of the airport. Not bad for a 1.5 hour ride.

The End

The real adventure began on my trip home from the airport. I wanted to get home as cheaply as possible partly just to see if it was possible to get from the airport to home on public transport with no taxis involved. I took a bus for about 45 minutes to a train station. Bus cost $0.50. When I got to the train the ticket booth said I could get on without a ticket. I got to my next train connection and had to wait 50 minutes for the next train. But, I then rode that on to my house. Total cost was the lone 50 cents I paid for the bus. The downside is that the trip took me 3 hours to get home (twice as long as going), but cost $64.50 less than the trip going.

We had a good time talking about old friends and where they are now. We also enjoyed the excuse to take a few days to go see the sites. After she left all our attention got turned to preparing for our church’s missions conference which started a few days later.

Review: How to Distinguish Good and Bad Information Online by Howard Rheingold

Video coverThis video series by Howard Rheingold helps the viewer try to determine what is junk and what is valid information on the web. There are 12 different video segments that let you jump to just the information you are looking for, or you can watch them all at one time. The program is set up in an interview format so that it is not just a talking head video. The interviewer is asking Mr. Rheingold various questions to keep the video on topic and moving forward.

I love the information given, though I think it is a little basic. This is the kind of information that is helpful for someone new to the Internet or that friend who forwards every email hoax to you. Mr. Rheingold really targets this information for children; however, I think kids who have parents on the Internet probably know most of this information. If you are concerned about your kids getting duped into believing bad information online, then this would be a good video series for you.

One section of the video includes tips on how to use search engines. It does not go into detailed search strings you can use to refine your search, rather it gives tips on how to use search to find out if the information you are being told is legitimate. There is also a section on tracking down the truth of what you think might be an urban legend. I wished more people would learn that instead of posting to Facebook and their entire email list a bunch of false information.

Most of the sections are 10 minutes or less. It is something that can easily be watched in chunks of time. The whole program is 1 hour and 42 minutes long.

I don’t like the title of the videos, though I understand it is probably not offensive to most people. However, I always think a publishing company limits their ability to sell books  when they use a questionable word in the title or an inappropriate picture.

Crap Detection 101: How to Distinguish Good and Bad Information Online can be found at O’Reilly. Because it is a video series you can only buy it directly from the publisher. It is available for download or streaming off their website.

[Disclaimer: I was given a free review copy of the video series]

Temaikèn Biopark

We took a family trip to Buenos Aires last week to visit the biopark Temaikèn. I am not entirely sure what makes a biopark different than a zoo, but they seem to have taken great care to make sure you don’t think of it as a zoo. However it functions, it looks like just a fancy zoo.

Welcome to TemaikènOn Tuesdays they have 1/2 price entrance which cut the cost from $16 to $8 per adult. Since the park is a couple of hours away from our house, we decided to combine our trip to the park with a trip we already planned to Buenos Aires. We spent the Monday after Easter with some missionary friends and then went from their house to a hotel in BA. The hotel was very nice and we enjoyed our stay. But, we had to be up early to make it to the park when they opened at 10:00.

Even though the park was only one subway and one bus ride away, the bus took over an hour to get there. We enjoyed the subway ride out of town during rush hour when all the morning traffic was going into town. It was fun to watch all the people crammed into the trains going the other direction. Then we only had to wait a few minutes to get the bus to the park.

The park is very clean. That is the thing that I think I was most impressed with. Everything seemed to be in good condition. I told someone it was like Disney ran the place. It is not quite that manicured, but almost.

Large Flying FoxThey had many of the normal animals you would see in any other zoo, but they seemed to be missing several important ones. There were no lions, giraffes or bears. They had large flying foxes (a type of bat) that were gigantic! They have wing spans up to 6′. We were able to go into the cage with them. It took a few minutes to convince our daughter to go in, but she eventually did. They were mostly asleep.

There were plenty of play grounds to distract our daughter. One of them was compelling enough that I got in on the fun too. I think we may have had more fun at the playground than the rest of the park.

One of the things that really set this park apart from many other zoos is that there were so many cages that we could go in with the different birds. One whole section of the park was huge bird cages. You wouldn’t know you were inside a cage if you didn’t specifically look at the cage above you. Then you would leave one caged area right into another. So they were able to keep the various birds separate from one another, but we did not have to exit the cage and enter the next. Going out of one put you right into the next one. We could get really close to some of the birds.

Bengal TigerThey had a beautiful white bengal tiger that we enjoyed watching. It was as if he understood that people were watching him and he put on a show for us. There was a moat that he could swim in right up to the glass where the people were. He jumped in and played with the water before swimming over to the people. He didn’t run around and do backflips or anything special like that, but just seeing a large cat walk around is impressive.

The trip back to BA took another hour. Then we had to ride two subways to get back to the next bus. The first subway was going into town during rush hour when most people wanted to go out. We got to experience the same joy as in the morning where we were on a subway train with few people while the train going the other direction was jam packed. But on our next train we got to experience the sardine can. I have been on packed subway trains before, but this was the worst I have ever experienced. There was no need to hang on to anything, it would have been impossible for anyone to fall. We got on and at every stop moved a little closer to the opposite side of the car. Or, I should say we got shoved to the opposite side of the car. Without our knowing it, the stop we needed to get off at opened up to the “inside” of the tracks. That meant that when the doors opened we didn’t have to fight the crowd to get out. We just had to make sure we did not get trampled when other people got off with us.

The rest of the trip home was less eventful. We enjoyed a little nap on our final bus to the house.

If you are in Buenos Aires and are looking for a great place to spend the day with the family, I can highly recommend Temaikèn.