Saturday, December 30, 2006

Good-bye 2006

Well, our internet is back in service...just in time for me to make my trades for fantasy soccer. Yes!

I will be spending new year's eve in transit to Papua, so this will be my last post for the year 2006. See you next year.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Rainy Rainy Day

It has been rainy almost non-stop the last two days. So, I have been camped in front of the computer playing with Photoshop. The above photos are some samples of what I was playing with....the actions from panoFX...

The internet has been down for the last two days too because of an earth quake off of Taiwan damaging underwater cables. For some reason, I am able to connect here at school, but cannot access any sites from the states from home. Maybe the school connection is via satelite. The Jakarta Post said that service will not be restored for at least another three to four weeks. Arggggh.

I am off to Papua on Sunday, so there will be no blog updates until I return the following Sunday....then Tika, Kayla and I will be headed to Bali.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Day After

Last night, Dad and I were able to video chat for the first time from Pennsylvania to Indonesia. That was way cool. At least we now know it can be done.

After chatting, I did some browsing through some of my favorite sites and came across some free actions by where I got the plasma TV action to create the TV above. Cool, heh? There are some other cool actions too that I will be playing with the next few days.

Today was golf. I shot a 92 today. Not bad considering many putts were left just short....if only they had dropped....well, you know the story. The skies were so clear up in the mountains, we could see all the way to the city of Jakarta. Amazing views of Mount Salak...a great day all around.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Afternoon

At 11:30 this morning, we all packed into the car to head to the Four Seasons Hotel downtown for an incredible brunch with our friends the Sietsma's and Murnane's. It was one of the best I have ever seen, and of course, we all went back n' forth to the food tables for third and fourth helpings with a different theme for each round. A bread-cheese-fruit round, a beef wellington-turkey-potatoes round, an omlette-bacon-sushi round, a pasta-tacos-salad round, and a huge desert round. Needless to say, I left feeling like the New Year Blimp. Kayla fell asleep as soon as she hit the car seat, and Tika and I came home and crashed on the couch for a much needed nap. Aint vacation great?

I am hoping to connect with my family at home tonight...Mom and Dad, Pam and Mike, Kathleen and Steve....if you are reading this, how about connecting on-line at around 9:00 or so???

Christmas Morning

Believe it or not, we were able to sleep-in until 9:30 this morning. Kayla could wait no more, though, and the opening of presents commenced soon after waking up. It took only 20 minutes to rip through all the presents, and we even opened just one at a time. Kayla loved every one of her presents, but her favorite was the clothes Mei Mei sent and the shoes Mommy bought her. Figures.

Tika's favorite was the new cell phone I bought her, and in a very close second, the earings that Mom and Dad sent. You done good, Mom and Dad!!

Scott's favorite was the new golf club (opened earlier in the month). You know you are getting old when the presents for Dad become underwear and socks...I have reached that age. I am going to the camera store later this week to get a late Christmas present for myself...Tika insisted....seriously.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve-Eve Shopping

You would think living in a Muslim country, shopping the day before Christmas Eve would be no problem in terms of crowds....WRONG. Man, you wouldn't believe the zoo at the mall last night. I guess there are more Christians than one would think in least those who celebrate Christmas.

I just needed to get one thing for Tika, so I thought a quick trip to the mall.....yea, right. I left at 5:30 in the afternoon, and didn't get home until after 9:00. This is a mall that is only 10 minutes from our house. First, it took over 30 minutes to get there...traffic nightmare. Then, the parking.....oh the parking....OVER ONE HOUR weaving through illegally parked cars in the four floors of the underground parking garage. Talk about a nightmare. Then the shopping. I don't think anyone was in their home last night...the entire city of Jakarta was stuffed into the Pondok Indah Mall...unreal.

Anyway, I haven't left the house ALL day today (Christmas Eve). After last night, I think I will just camp at home. We will walk across the street to Chris and Indah's house tonight for dinner...shouldn't be any traffic.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Let The Vacation Begin

Finally, we are on vacation. Jakarta and work start to get on your nerves after some time, and it is always nice to have this three week break to recharge the batteries and to get away from it all for awhile. I started my vacation with a round of golf with some good friends. We had the entire course to ourselves, and I was hitting the ball well....all makes for that perfect day.

Today, we joined four other families for a visit to the newly opened water park. Kayla had a blast, but didn't like it much when water got on her face. I need to train her better as I am hoping she will be my dive buddy when she gets older. The park was ok, but it would be a complete nightmare on the weekend...good thing we went on a week day.

I mailed a couple of packages yesterday before golf. They will not make it to the states by Christmas, so Mom, Kathleen and Pam, you will have a late Christmas present to open...that can be nice, right?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Putting Our Heads Together

The day started out butting heads. I arrived at school to find someone parked in my spot. We teachers value are small plot of real estate in the parking lot, and when someone trespasses onto our small plot of land, we get angry. The wrong parking spot caused a chain reaction...someone parked in spot 31, so 31 parked in my spot, so I parked in 34's spot, and 34 had to park somewhere.....and it went on and on. The damage that is done by one can cause lots of trespassing calls.

My day did get better though. Dad and I had a chat via my iMAC, and were able to put our heads together to solve my music problem for the slide show I am giving tomorrow for the closing assembly at school. I really wanted the song from the Christmas video I made a few years ago. Across the ocean to the other side of the world, in a matter of minutes (maybe seconds), Dad passed the song to me, and it is now part of my slide show. Is that amazing or what? Can you imagine doing that just 10 years ago?

In other news, JIS had it's December graduation tonight. There were three graduates. I was tasked to take photos, so I set up the nice studio lights. The Japanese mothers were over the top with happiness that I was there to get photos of the three kids and their families. It was a nice ceremony, and some very moving speeches were made by the kids giving praise to their teachers, friends and family. Ayaka spoke of her love of music and how JIS changed her was really a moving speech. Once again, the kids at this school never cease to amaze me.....they are truly great kids.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ribs and EPL

Saturday nights are reserved for the English Premier League Soccer games. I have been transformed into a fan. In the past, I was always frustrated when turning on the TV to watch sports...hoping to see some American sports, Soccer was usually the only choice. When I went to parties, all my good friends would sit around and talk about soccer. So, this year, I asked my friend, Jurrien (the soccer king of JIS) if I could join his EPL Fantasy Soccer league. My goal was to learn something about the game, learn about the players, and try to enjoy watching it on TV since it was nearly my only choice of sports. Well, my goal has been reached. I am hooked. Every Saturday morning, I sit at my computer for a couple of hours reading all the latest gossip about soccer...who is hot who is not, who is injured, who might be playing, what teams are playing eachother, etc....then, I start buying and selling my players. It is very addictive, and alot of fun.

On Saturday nights, we try to all get together to watch the games, make fun of eachother's trades, make some side bets, cheer when our guys score, and yell out bad words when a guy that we traded scores. Last night was the first night we were ALL able to meet. Chris served ribs and beer, and that was enough to attract all of us to his place to watch the games. Don't worry, I would still rather sit and watch American football, college ball, baseball and golf....but at least now, I have another sport that is dominant in this part of the world to watch.....if you can't beat them, join them.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Early Christmas Present

Dad gave me permission. I had a golf game up at Rancamaya, so just had to bring my new club with me. I let Kayla have the honors of opening my present. She was as shocked as I was to see a new hybrid club from, so THAT'S what was in the box...I had no idea.

Well, Rancamaya was awesome. It is up in the mountains set in the most beautiful location. The first hole looks straight at the volcano, Mount Salak. The t-box is set up on top of a cliff, and you smack the ball off a tee to the fairway down below about three to four hundred is really cool. The second shot leaves you about 150 yards or so to the green protected by a small lake on the right and bunkers to the left. I took out my new hybrid, and launched a beautiful shot right onto the green. I was hooked to that club the rest of the round. However, Dad is right, you must swing slowly and smoothly or the club misbehaves....which happened a couple of times, but overall, I loved the club. Thanks Dad.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Drastic Measures

Sometimes, as a leader of men, drastic measures must be taken. My fellow bloggers, whose very links rest on this page to the right, were not being good soldiers of a blognian nation, so were given verbal warnings. They have since updated their blogs, and are now in the good graces of their leader. Keep up the good work, Comrades.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Panoramic Photo

The night before UN Day, I had an idea of a great photograph. Why not get all the flag bearers to pose for a photo, and then make a huge panoramic photo, and hang it somewhere in school...what better way to represent an international school? So, I set up my camera on a tri-pod, arranged the 47 kids in a circle around me, and then used string to keep them all equi-distant from my tri-pod. I took 38 vertical RAW photos overlapping a kid in each photo, and then stitched them together in Photoshop for one continuous panoramic photo. When I was done, the file was 1.7 gigabytes in size, and when printed, it would be two feet high and TWENTY feet long. The next step was to find a printer able to print a photo of this size, and then mount it, and hang it. I called my good friend, Deniek, a Balinese photographer who lives in Jakarta. He told me that the EPSON software for his large format printer could only handle files up to a certain pixel dimension, and my photo was way over. SO, we were able to lower the resolution enough to get into the range of the software, and at the same time, keep the photograph at photo quality....the quality came out fantastic, and there is no way you could tell that it was printed at 200 dpi instead of the standard 300 dpi for most photos. The guys came to school yesterday, built a custom frame for the photo, and then the school carpenters hung the photo. It now is displayed proudly in the high school office.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Just A Cute Photo

I really don't have anything to report, but thought this was a really cute photo of Kayla, so there.

We are two days into the exam period. I am almost finished with the grading of my Pre-calc exams, and then have another stack of Senior Math exams to grade. It is not very exciting, and I was struggling to keep my eyes open at one point. The only thing exciting today was the arrival of the 20 foot panoramic photo I made. It is now hung in the high school office, and I think it is way cool. I will get a photo of it tomorrow, and post it on the blog.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Party at the Chamberlain's

Every year, Scott and Dunja host a Christmas party. Everyone brings something to eat or drink, and the Chamberlain's provide Santa Clause, Christmas music, and fun. When they first hosted the party, there were only a few kids....well, over the years, the attendance has grown. Yesterday, there were over 50 kids. It was really good....Thank you, Scott and Dunja.

Kayla was not too happy about sitting on Santa's lap, as you can see from the photo above, but she had a good time.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Happy Birthday Pam

Today is Pam's birthday. Happy Birthday, Pam!! We are thinking of you way out here in Indonesia.

Friday, December 08, 2006

It's Friday

It has been a long week, and I am looking forward to just kicking back this weekend. I especially enjoy NOT having to get up at 5:30 in the morning.

During UN Day at JIS last week, I took a panoramic photo of the flag bearers. I arranged all the kids in almost a complete circle around me equidistant from my tripod, and then took 38 vertical RAW shots which I stiched together using Photoshop. The result is fantastic. I am having it printed today at 2 feet high by 20 feet long!! Yes, that's right, TWENTY feet. It is going to take over four hours to make the print. It will be hung in the high school office...very cool.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Butch Makes His Move

Congratulations to Butch, who just moments ago, was announced as the new Vice Principal at Pattimura Elementary School. He will start his new position next school year.

His status on the "Jamie" trip is now questionable as we are all pondering whether or not to take an administrator with us or not. The committee will need to convene to make decisions....he may just be assigned different duties (administrative duties) on the trip. If it IS decided that he can go, his status as Vice Principal will have no bearing on the trip...he will still be known as the young kid sister, Dorothy.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Advent Calendar

Kayla has a nice, new Advent calendar that was made by Sandy Craig. Thank you very much. As you can see, Kayla gets very excited every night to hang a new ornament on the calendar. It is awesome.

By the way, if you are wondering about Kayla's choice in clothes...well, for some reason, she wanted to wear her bathing suit over her clothes...maybe she is trying to start a new trend...Kayla is a "style setter"

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Towel Head

What is it about women's innate ability to wrap a towel around their heads without it falling off? Not that I need to wrap a towel around my bald head, but I couldn't do that wrap thing if it meant my life. Kayla, on the other hand, is of that species. She sees mom do it once, and like magic, she puts her head down, twirls the towel, and then in one fluid motion, moves her head swiftly back with the towel flopping into position to form the perfect "towel head"....unreal. Then of course, she wants to pose for a photo.

I taught my last Photoshop class of the semester today, and all the students (teachers) had a show and tell presentation of the projects they have been working on all semester. There was some really good stuff...made me proud as their instructor. I now have my Monday and Tuesday afternoons free...It won't last long though...softball season is quickly approaching. I have told Butch and the school that I will teach Photoshop next class for professional development, and one class for the newly formed JIS Academy that Butch is the head. The JIS Academy will operate as a night school for parents wanting to take art classes, computer classes, etc.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Nice Surprise Today

I couldn't sleep last night as I kept thinking of the book I was reading. I got to thinking about old friends that I had lost contact with, and was wondering what they were doing now. I had a little time on my hands this morning as all three of my Pre-calc classes were taking a test. As the kids struggled on the test (I always know I have a good test when I hear several sighs throughout the morning), I surfed the net looking for old friends. Unlucky for me, most of my good friends have common names such as Mike Williams, Tom Jones, John Fielder, etc...doing a search for those guys is not easy. But, I had a good friend in Hawaii named Joe there can't be many of those around. I googled him, and BINGO....Dr. Joe Safirstein, orthodontist, popped up on my screen with a photo. It was him. I sent a message via his website, and 10 minutes later, I get an email from him.

Joe and I taught SCUBA together at the Hyatt Regency Kauai. We had many good times together, lots of laughs, and talked about our future a great deal. I saw him a couple of times after leaving Hawaii, but we went our seperate ways and eventually lost touch after many years. The last time I saw Joe was in Gainesville to watch a Gator long ago, I can't remember the year....I think 1993. Anyway, he checked out my blog and my photos on, and then we were able to ichat from MAC to MAC from my new iMAC in my classroom. We could only do text chatting.....gotta figure out how to get the video to work. Dad and I tried some time ago, and it didn't work, and it didn't work today either.

Anyway, it was really great catching up with Joe...he has a good life in Oregon with his TWO dental offices. He says he can now go to the Hyatt in Hawaii as a pampered guest instead of serving them....I guess we have made it....our dreams came true.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Chance For National Championship

I got up early to sign-on to watch the SEC Championship game against Arkansas via the internet. It was a great game. Since USC lost to UCLA, the Gators now have the chance to play Ohio State for the National Championship. I sure hope they don't match Ohio State up against Michigan.....they already played a few weeks ago. I need this chance to prove to my Big 10 rival here at school who the better conference is....the SEC or the BIG 10. We all know the answer to that question...the SEC, of course. More news to follow....

Friday, December 01, 2006

UN Day at JIS

The day started badly. I was awaken at 4:00 in the morning with loud thunder and a downpour of rain. I was thinking, "Man, it has been so nice for so long, and then UN Day comes along, and it pours rain."

Well, it was still raining when I went to work. Luckily, the rain cleared, and it was pretty dry for most of the day, so I was able to get photos of the students wearing their national dress. The photos above are a sample. It really is a great day at school. The moms of different countries set up booths all around campus, and we all get to gorge ourselves with Indian food, hot dogs from the American booth, Thai food, Dutch food, Canadian food, Italian, spanish,...and the list goes on and on....then, in the afternoon, the kids put on a show that amazes me every year. Dancing, singing, and music from all the different nationality groups. This truly is a great school to work....and it is full of such talented, nice kids.