Maintenance

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On this cool, rainy, and wonderfully Autumn day I've been working on a few side projects, mostly involving the website (who needs to clean house or fold clothes? Not me!). I've properly formatted two articles to fit the overall theme of my website. I am still contemplating a few navigational changes but I am happy with the results for the time being. 

Here they are:
1) Leaves
2) Teachers

I've also been tweaking a few settings on domain name settings and routing, most of which I am pleased with. It seems that the more I use MobileMe the more I will likely stick with it. I am also using it for personal Mac related stuff and the ease and convenience of having everything in one location seems to balance the cost. The cost isn't much more than using another web hosting provider so it seems to be the direction I am leaning towards.

Unless something changes over the next day or two this is the last post for the week.

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A year, plus 1998

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Back in the day I used to write and journal quite a bit. Here is something I churned out back in 1998, while in college.

I just realized it, it has been 1 year since I went to MTI. Colorado was great!

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Cheap drugs and other thoughts

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Still sick but doing much better. Haven't been able to go climbing due to illness and busy work schedule, the kids are complaining as expected. The cold I had at the end of last week seems to have found a warm and cozy spot to hang out in my lungs and sinuses so that leave me with a lot of drainage, headaches, and difficulty in breathing at times. I started taking an antibiotic to make sure that whatever I have now doesn't develop further. $20 USD and no prescription for Augmentin, not a bad deal.

Work this week has been crazy as I am knee deep in the family and personal conflicts and issues of several children. That is what I am here for, no complaint, but it does add a lot more work to my schedule. While I don't enjoy seeing the children struggle I do see growth and hope and receive much satisfaction that I have the privilege to witness healing occurring.


Another brief post, have to read and study and see if I can get some sleep since I slept all afternoon. In closing here is a photo of one of the new residents that I mentioned in my previous newsletter. His first home visit was good and he only cried for a couple of days upon returning. I had to cancel my time with him earlier this week as I was sick, which didn't sit well with him as he was looking forward to our ijtamai'a (meeting). I set up some time Saturday and he was quite content to draw and dance.


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Felling a bit better...

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Went out today, intended to study Arabic...check, intended to relax...check, intended to go climbing...fail!

I still am a bit under the weather but I am feeling much better. There is hope that the "heat wave" we've recently had will come undone this week and we'll get some cooling rains and appropriate Autumn weather. The heat is driving my congested nose crazy and making it even more difficult to breath. A brief walk up from the green grocer left me breathless so I called off my personal plans to climb today, if I couldn't make it up a hill without wheezing I don't think that I would have been too successful in a self-belayed climbing attempt.


My post for the photo-a-day project I am doing was taken from behind Abraj (a shopping center). There are some excellent examples of graffiti here in Beirut and when I get a chance I plan on taking some time to photograph it. Some of it is of course political in nature and some is a good take on social commentary. Bart Simpson mooning the highway? Juvenile fun ;)


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Another week, another weak update...

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Sick. Again. It sucks. I can't complain too much, the last time I had some sort of virus/stomach issue it really wiped me out. This time I am congested, the trashcans full of kleenex around the apartment can serve as a witness to that, and have a sore throat. I had looked forward to going to Souk el-Tayeb today and climbing but all I could get the energy for was a trip to Borj Hammoud and cooking. The trip to Saifi (where the souk is) takes two buses and can last around an hour of traffic if bad, so my fall-back plan was Borj Hammoud, where I just wandered around and enjoyed the afternoon. When I returned home I made some pasta with a chicken stock base, to which I added some béchamel sauce. Thick, hearty, and didn't take a lot to fill me up. I am feeling better after taking panadol and a decongestant, though the drainage and sniffling is causing a bit of an upset stomach.

Worked on the website some today and cleaned a good chunk of it up before Mobileme went down. There are benefits to using Apple and Mobileme as a hosting platform but I am not sold on the cost yet. The month trial lasts until mid-November so I have some time to play around with it and see if it is worth keeping. Amazon.com has a good discount on the service so I might consider it if everything remains stable and I can determine a long term value. I don't think I have the patience or the will to deal with true web hosting and domain issues. As I said in the previous posting this blog's address is now http://b2b.mallaidh.org, though it can still be accessed via the older blogspot url. My current website can be found at either http://mallaidh.org or http://www.mallaidh.org, though there seem to be some minor issues with how the domain is forward at the moment. The second address (with www) seems to be the most reliable method for now.

I think this will be it for now, getting tired and need to do a few more things before I head to bed.




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learning, learning, learning

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So, I've decided to start my own website, to tie all my current postings, musings, and errata all to one central place. I will still be using this site as my blog and reflections on Lebanon/Kids Alive, but there is a new address. Don't worry about updating your address books unless you obsess over stuff like that, the old address at blogspot.com still works. The new address, http://b2b.mallaidh.org, is the direct site for this blog now. Once I get domain and hosting issues resolved I will be starting proper work on developing the site. While the goal is a unified "home" for my videos, photos, postings, and other things I find interesting I am also looking at it as a way for me to gain back my network and computer skills that I've let get flabby over the past few years. For the time being you can see a placeholder page and some of the work I have begun at http://web.me.com/mallaidh/Mallaidh.org/Welcome.html. After the current domain issues get resolved the url will be http://mallaidh.org, so keep that in mind if the above link changes at some point, I also don't think I plan to keep the Apple (Mobileme) hosting, but it is free for the time being and allows me to test things out.

Note: As of 11 pm Beirut time I got http://www.mallaidh.org to work. Will need to wait and see if other variations will work. I am not too impressed with Mobileme and think I will switch sometime soon, but that doesn't really affect the website or end product (just more "work" for me). There are other alternatives that are cheaper and more flexible that I want to explore, Mobileme just allows me to experiment for free now and practice with domain names, redirects, and such.

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Ruminations

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The Virginia State Fair should be ending this weekend, but I don't know as I haven't checked the dates. It is the first year they've held it at the new complex, the first year I've been abroad while it was going on. I can't disguise the fact that I miss fall in the US. The leaves, the crisp bite to the air, puffy white clouds against a bright blue sky, and all the trappings of Autumn...cooking, fairs, shorter days, and so on. Autumn in Lebanon is welcome, the days are cooler and I don't miss the sun peeking through my curtains at 5:30 in the morning, and the clouds and sky are still the same.

On Saturday I was outside observing the children playing and one in particular stood out. "John"* would run full speed and jump off the driveway, landing in the arms of an older student standing and the next level down. It was entertaining for everyone involved. Some of the other smaller students also got into the running and jumping, but never with the abandonment and enthusiasm as John. There was absolutely no fear in this little mind, he would run and jump, fully expecting someone to be there to catch him. Occasionally he would start to jump and someone had to hurry to catch him because they didn't know he was on the run once again. His jumps varied, some were of the sort that you'd expect at a pool...a run, hop, and then jump; others were a full-blown sprint and a leap into the arms of whomever was ready to catch him. The trust this young resident was admirable, causes one to think.




I've been inspired by a friend (thanks Zehra) from the US to start taking photos, well a series of photos. I will start taking photos on Monday, October 5th and posting them to my Picasa page. Each day for a year I will take a photo, it may be of me, the residents, Beirut, the campus, whatever...but I will take a photo a day as a journal and something to help share what I see and encounter on a daily basis. Each week I will post my photos to Picasa and attach a link from here and my twitter account.

Off to bed. I've made every excuse to avoid studying and now I have to take a shower and get off the climbing grime and sweat from this afternoon. Up early and prepare for the week and Arabic lessons. Until we meet again, ciao.

* John is not his real name...for the privacy of the children I will not refer to them by name and may alter small details. I know this stands in contrast to posting photos, but bear with me on this "contradiction".


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Polanski the Perv

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Ok, I am following the Polanski arrest thing relatively closely because I want to see how the whole thing plays out. Essentially you have a guy that is being excused by his peers because 1) the crime that was committed was over 30 years ago, 2) he is a talent that keeps the $$ machine lubricated in Hollywood, 3) they've probably done just the same (if not worse) and why would they want him to be punished if it involves they become accountable for the twisted deeds they've done (I am thinking Woody Allen BTW).

Here is an article (http://townhall.com/columnists/GuyBenson/2009/10/01/explaining_the_polanski_controversy_to_a_thirteen-year-old?page=full) that comments on the situation quite effectively. Please join with me in prayer that Polanski get the justice that is due and that he is held accountable for not only his original crime but skipping out as well.

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October '09 Update

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Here is my current update from Lebanon for the month of October. As always I am providing it as a PDF for download as well as posting on this site. Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge each page to something that is a bit easier to read.





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