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Archive for March, 2008

Jazz Café in San Pedro, Costa Rica

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

After dinner with friends last night we stopped for a drink at Jazz Café in San Pedro. It’s the only spot in San Jose to listen to Jazz that I know of, and the only Jazz bar I know of in Costa Rica to be honest.

In any case, Tuesday nights are their “Jam Session” nights and some locals were playing when we arrived. There was a drummer (whose drums were too loud) and a bassist (whose bass was too quiet), a pianist (who played clumsily) and a saxophonist (whose sax looked like a child’s sax and who had no lungs).

It was amateur hour but still fun, they were jamming away and their enthusiasm was fun to watch and the moment I wondered if they’d play my favorite (’Round Midnight) they started playing it. They butchered it, playing it too slowly, too soft and with bad timing on all parts but I was happy to hear someone play it live for the first time in ages and ages.

I sense an hour of ‘Round Midnight renditions coming on….

CNN: Spitzer used used call girls 8 times

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

And the outrage continues as many wonder why he didn’t buy new….

This has to be the worst typo I’ve seen on CNN.

CNN: Spitzer used used call girls 8 times

Two Betta fish in the same tank

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Ok, so I have two “Siamese Fighting Fish” (a.k.a. “Betta” fish) at the moment, and I had one in a community tank and the other in a large vase. The community tank is a bit aggressive, there is a Red-finned shark that harasses a lot of the other fish. He hasn’t injured any fish that I know of, but he chases them when they come near the bottom of the tank.

With a large Angelfish keeping the fish at the top of the tank in check I figured I may have the right kind of crowd to make for a tank that can house two Betas in one tank. See, everyone “knows” that you can’t do this. The conventional wisdom is that they will “fight to the death. But in the wild, that is just not true, the weaker fish will usually flee. However in a small tank there is no opportunity to flee so the Bettas can actually kill each other.

In any case, the experiment seems to be working. They have both been in the community tank for a week now and the larger one only chases the smaller one for a second or two and they’ve not even touched. It’s a tentative peace, based on the smaller one being afraid enough and the larger one being uncomfortable enough around the red-finned shark and the angelfish. I don’t recommend it for novice aquarium keepers but for those with experience with difficult fish pairings and with a large tank with the right crowding and enough places to hide this can be done. They will chase each other briefly at most and have not fought.

Manuel Antonio (Quepos), Costa Rica

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

Ok, so on Friday we decided to go to the beach (Manuel Antonio, in Quepos)  on a whim and took our dog Harry.  He vomited a bit on the way (he gets motion sickness) but he enjoyed the trip and eagerly took in the sights.

It’s a long drive, several hours, and we left pretty late so we got to the beach at around 11 and started looking for a hotel. Luckily, one of the first hotels with vacancies said having a dog would be no problem so we checked in and all headed out to dinner.

Dinner proved to be more challenging, as it was now past midnight and most kitchens were closed. But we found a restaurant/bar whose kitchen was still open and their food was not bad at all. They had no problem with Harry (the tables are on a covered, but open, deck) so he joined us for dinner (from under the table).

Harry woke us up early the next day, and we checked out and headed for the beach. We had a quick breakfast at a beach side restaurant and then hit the sand. We rented some chairs and a big beach umbrella that were setup all across the beach and took orders from the various waiters serving drinks across the beach (that’s alone is one reason I prefer living outside the States) and drank beer while Harry discovered digging. He’d tried digging at home on a tiled surface but at the beach it actually worked and he frantically dug a fairly impressive hole. This kept him busy enough for us to relax until he saw a large rottweiler run into the surf and roll around in the water. Harry went nuts and challenged the dog to a duel. We had to hold him back as he barked and thrashed and tried to get loose to quote “kick the dogs ugly ass”.  He’s a Maltese and loses his fights with our not-yet-fully-grown cat so I played it safe and held him off the ground.

I rented a jet ski for an hour and spent some time circling some islands right outside of the national park (where I was not allowed to go) which was a lot of fun, and then we headed back. The trip back was in the daylight, and the two narrow rusting metal bridges you need to cross to get to Quepos looked even more derelict than at night. Thankfully, they are being replaced with new bridges and it shouldn’t take the 15 to 20 minutes it sometimes does to get across in the future.

In San Jose, I had a bit of bad luck and was stopped by a traffic police. I hadn’t renewed the “right to circulate” (kinda like registration) for the car yet and the cop played hardball saying he may have to take my license plates. He was, of course, expecting a bribe but I would rather not pay into their corruption (I think tolerance for corruption is a huge impediment to economic progress in developing countries) and he took them away and ticketed me. Now I’ll have to go through a lot of hoops and pay a lot of fines to get them back and since I don’t have time or patience to do so I’ll end up paying someone else to do it. He would have let me walk for 10 to 20 dollars, but now I’ll end up paying a couple hundred and not being able to drive my car a week or two and paying a lot in taxis. The good angel on my shoulder (as opposed to the lil’ demon who gives the bad advice)  is avoiding me because he knows I want to kill him right now.

But in any case, we got home and the cat hadn’t partied too hard in our absence so all is well.

P.S No, we didn’t go to the national park. I’ve already been several times and we’ll be back soon enough so we didn’t bother walking over to ask if Harry could go. Given his enthusiasm to confront the dogs, horses, and cows he saw it would have been funny to see his reaction to monkeys but that will have to wait till next time.