Month: September 2007

Almaty Was Nice

Four days in Central Asia went very well. We hope to launch this fall based on the plans we made. Rich, my traveling colleague and friend, did a great job leading the group in planning. For most of this trip I was busy configuring and reconfiguring some spiffy USB flash drives. These drives run a secure communication system for our website volunteers to use when they respond to visitors on this site. I also trained everyone how to use this new communication system.

Our new friends gave us these gifts on the last day.

This weekend I’m enjoying Budapest. Had dinner at the Adler last night and a day of good meetings yesterday.

Another Craig’s List Bargain – Band Marino

The 20 year old Czechoslovakian-made drum cymbal, part of Andrew’s original drum set that we brought back with us from Budapest, had been literally coming apart as Andrew has played it over the years. It has been time to get a replacement. Our search took us to Craig’s List, of course. We found a deal, and the seller directed us for the sale to the place he practices with his band, a tricked out garage in nearby Oveido. We bought the cymbal and met the others in this band, Band Marino, who were there practicing at the time. It turns out they are working on their second album and getting ready for another tour. They gave us a copy of their first CD, The Sea & The Beast.

On our way out we asked Dylon, the drummer, if he gave lessons. He said he was considering starting, and we agreed to stay in touch. Well, the next day we talked again, and tomorrow Andrew will have his first lesson with him.

So Craig’s List came through for us again, only this time we not only got a great deal on a cymbal, but we found a drum instructor, too.

But that’s not all!

On the way home Andrew and I listened to their CD and were totally amazed at how good this band is. You can listen to their music on their website,, or get it at Pure Volume.

So that makes three great finds this time from Craig’s List!

Celebrating 19

Daytona Beach Weekend

Sunrise Over Daytona Beach

September 3rd is our anniversary, but we usually end up celebrating it one or two weekends after the actual date. Maybe that’s a result of being last-minute planners. After 19 years we’re still not sure why, but we sure had a good time this weekend in Daytona! We had absolutely no agenda, and we stuck to it diligently. Our good friends took care of our children and animals in our absence. Thanks!

Stuck On Big Thunder Mountain

Stuck On Thunder Mountain

Stuck On Coaster

One of the benefits of living in Orlando is Florida resident Disney passes. They let you spend a few hours at the park and still have fun. We went yesterday afternoon and rode a few rides then came home.

Our ride on the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster was the best. In the middle of one of the chain-pull uphill sections we suddenly stopped. The PA initially said there was congestion ahead, but after ten minutes of waiting we figured it was something more than that. The next PA announcement said they had some difficulties, and they were shutting down the ride. So a few minutes later one of the ride operators came out to where our coaster was stuck and helped us all off onto the walkway. We walked back through some hidden doors and hallways and finally exited out the now-empty loading area.

As compensation they gave us passes to jump on to another ride without waiting, so we went and did Space Mountain. Only it ran like usual and was far less interesting.

I Get To Go!

Last week a trip I had abandoned became a reality again, and I’m really happy about it. Since January coworker, Rich, and I have been planning a trip to Central Asia to help our ministry leaders there get a version of going. About two months ago I concluded Rich could do the trip by himself and that I needed to focus the majority of my attention on fund raising. But last week I realized that I really did need to go and that my technical background will be necessary to navigate some of the issues related to what we are trying to do there.

Best of all, I was able to schedule a detour to Budapest over the weekend after our meetings! Woo hoo! The only bad part of this is that I can’t take Cathy and the kids. They’re green with envy.

So later this month I’ll be in Muslim, Russian speaking Central Asia for the first time.

One of the cooler things we plan to do is give our staff members and volunteers USB flash drives with computer programs pre-loaded that will allow them to respond to website visitors securely, without compromising their identity or location.