Friday, December 30, 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016

I took a 2mg sleeping pill last night and slept well despite getting up a couple times during the night.

It was obvious we had a little rain overnight.

Teresa got me up at 8am and we left the apt at 9am for my 12:30 appointment with immigration.  (No, I have no idea why we needed to leave so early.)  We walked to a busier street where we quickly caught a taxi.  Laura was with us and we dropped her off at Metro Estacion Industriales.

By 9:45 I had my passport with the new Pensionado Visa inside and we were about 3 hours shy of my appointment at the immigration office.

Next door there was a nail salon so Teresa got a manicure for 5,000 pesos and on the other side was a mom & pop bakery so I had a café con leche while I read my Nook and waited for Teresa.

I finished Chesley Sullenberger’s Highest Duty (he was the pilot that landed crippled US Airlines Flight 1549 in New York’s Hudson river) and downloaded Michael Connelly’s The Wrong Side of Goodbye.

 Teresa had a cup of coffee and the ladies from the salon came by and chatted with her.  One of them asked if she could have my blue eyes.  She also asked if I had a son.  I said yes.  She asked, by motioning with her finger, if he was married.  I said no.  She asked if I would introduce her to him.  I asked her age.  She showed me a photo in her cell phone of a famous 60 year old Latina that looked great for her age.  I told her my son is only 30 years old.  Anyway, we had a lot of laughs.

We quickly caught a taxi and at the corner a juggler performed right outside our side window – like just for us.  The light was changing as Teresa dug into her purse for some change but all she came up with was keys and we all laughed about her giving him her keys as we went through the intersection.

We were at the immigration office by 11:30.  At 12:50 it was my turn.  I paid 173,000 (about $58) pesos for my new Cedula, I didn’t have to have new photos or fingerprints taken and we were out of there 20 minutes later.  In a couple weeks I can start looking online to see if my Cedula is ready for pickup.

We took a taxi to a small mall called Great Day where we had lunch at Frisby.  I had the FriSnack and I helped Teresa with her Frischuleta and we shared a bowl of a soup called Ajiaquillo.  It was good, it just seemed like chicken soup with corn niblets.  The total came to 37,200 or about $12.50.

We quickly caught another taxi and were back at the apt by 2:30 for 11,000 pesos.

Teresa’s mother came by about 5:30.

About 6:45 the neighbor stopped by and dropped off 100,000 pesos for her use of my parking spot in the garage.  That will come in handy.

MT left at 9pm.  Laura returned by 9:30.

T-shirt of the day: Arrogant.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

December, 2016 Chess Life magazine, page 40

First to set the scene.  The 1994 World Championship Candidates match, held at Trump Tower in New York City.  The rest I quote exactly:

When I was introduced as "Grandmaster Pal Benko," Trump turned to his secretary and asked, "Don't you think I could become a grandmaster if I put in one or two years on chess?"  I couldn't believe I heard that question!  I answered that you have to be born with the ability to become a grandmaster, and that I had never known anyone who started chess after the age of 20 and became a grandmaster.

He had no idea how difficult it is to earn a chess title, although it is possible that it is comparable to the rigors of a candidacy for U.S. president.  But certainly, had he started down a chess path he never would have become a billionaire.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Last night I took a whole (3mg) sleeping pill and went to bed at 11:30.  I didn’t wake up until 5:30 – yeah!  After a trip to the bathroom I closed the bedroom window (I’m sure with the traffic it would be getting noisy soon) and went back to bed.  I finally woke/got up at 8:30.

Laura left for work at 11am.

I did another 30 minutes on Chess Magnet School.

I left the apt at 2:30 for the 3:30 showing of Passengers (7.0).  (Teresa told me she was too busy to join me.)  I quickly caught a bus in downtown Envigado.  Walking to the back of the bus I saw a young lady with blond hair.  I sat in the seat behind her and asked if she spoke English.  She did.  She’s from New Zealand, is traveling alone, first visited Cartageña, is staying in a hostel in El Poblado, and will be in South America for a year.

In Oviedo I walked past the new Starbucks store.  (It’s now the 3rd in Medellin; I understand the 2nd opened just before it in Santafe mall.)  Almost all the seats were taken but at least there wasn’t a line.

Upstairs I bought a preferred seating ticket for 11,250 (about $4) plus another 2,800 pesos for the 3D glasses (about $1) which I understand I can keep for future use.  Cool!

I sat for a few minutes reading my Nook until 10 minutes before the scheduled start time then got in the refreshment line.  I should have gotten in line earlier because it was Soooo Slow!  When it was finally my turn I bought a medium popcorn (salt, they didn’t have butter) and a large soda for 17,000 pesos (about $3.75).

The movie was good it’s just a shame they give away one of the major plot points in their trailers.  I didn’t see much advantage in the movie being in 3D but sooner or later I think all movies will be in 3D because it’s more realistic.  At one time they only had silent films, then talkies, then color and I think the next commonplace thing is that they should be in 3D.

After the movie I walked a short distance to the elevator which would take me downstairs very close to the Carulla grocery store.  I waited too long – about 5 minutes – with a few other people who spent most of the time on their cell phones.  When the elevator arrived of course we all waited for people to exit the elevator.  Then the woman between me and the door just pushed the down button again and the man on the other side just watched the doors close.  Idiots!

I took the escalator and stairs down to Carulla.  I looked for garlic butter and was told they usually have it but not today.  I did find the package of Borden’s American cheese that Teresa asked me to pick up.

I only had to wait a couple minutes for a bus and even got a seat in back.

I was back at the apt before 6:30.

T-shirt of the day: Don’t fucking touch me.
(This t-shirt was actually "for sale" in a small store; I wonder what demographic this appeals to.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I slept well last night despite only taking a 2mg sleeping pill.

Laura left for work at 9:30 this morning.

Teresa talked to someone in Martha’s office and I understand we have a 12:30 appointment with immigration on Thursday and that the charge for a new Cedula will be 173,000 pesos (up 11,000 pesos from last year) that I can charge to my debit card.

My brother loaned me a little cash to get me through the remainder of the week.  It would be a shame to spend the whole week cooped up in the apt since I have more time this week.  (There are no M/W/F gym classes and no Wednesday chess match.)

I showed Teresa the trailer (in English) of Passengers and she’s interested in going with me – not today – but tomorrow.  Today it’s playing in Oviedo at 3:30 so I’m hoping it’ll be the same tomorrow.
Interestingly, since I changed my Yahoo password, I haven’t had any additional attempts to access my account from Russia, Ukraine or South Korea.

At 3:30 I heard one loud peal of thunder.

Teresa told me her mother isn’t feeling well again so she left at 4:30 to make her something to eat.  They both came back a couple hours later as MT is feeling much better.

T-shirt of the day: Latte now, yoga later.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

I slept well finally getting up at 9am.

It’s a mostly sunny morning.

I did some morning exercises because I understand we won’t be going back to the gym until next week.

After breakfast Teresa had some words with Laura and then the latter left.

Teresa complained to me that Laura’s too tranquillo (calm or lackadaisical).  She sleeps until 11am and doesn’t want to go to school or work.  Teresa told me she’s always worked hard and sometimes while studying at the same time.  Teresa told her she’s going to be 20 years old and can get her own apt and take care of herself and we’ll live together alone.  To be continued!

I informed Teresa that I have only 19,000 pesos in cash to last the remainder of this week.  She told me I could borrow some cash from her mother.  I said only in an emergency.  She reminded me that we have a container half full of 500 and 1,000 peso coins that we can exchange for bills at $efecty.  That sounds like a plan.  I also have $45 in my checking account and $50 in the savings account.  I transferred the latter to the former in case we need to go to Immigration this week.  But that’s it until my pension money comes in – which should be on Saturday.

I completed another hour of tactics on Chess Magnet School.

We didn’t even have enough minutes left in the cell phone to call Martha to see if my visa is ready.  I took 10 1,000-peso coins out of our piggy bank and went to Gano to have minutes added.

At 2:30 it started drizzling slightly.

I finished chapter 4 – Passed Pawn in Aron Nimzowitsch’s My System.

I watched Episode 5, chapter 3, Part 1 and Episode 6, chapter 3, Part 2 of Ascension.  I see that the mini-series is from 2014 so I guess that’s all they made of it.

Teresa’s mother has diarrhea so at 5:30 Teresa went to make her soup and give her some Immodium.

I checked and last year the charge to apply for my new Cedula was 162,000 pesos so I’d better keep $75 available on my debit card.

I watched Season 1, Episode 2 of Battlestar Galactica.

Teresa came back and reported that her mother didn't need the Immodium and is feeling much better.

T-shirt of the day: I really need a day between Saturday and Sunday.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Last night I took a full sleeping pill (3mg), slept well, finally getting up at 9am.

Teresa alerted me to 2 squirrels in the tree outside.  I only saw one.  Their squirrels are red and I told her ours in the US are brown or gray.

Teresa made a cake and asked me to try it.  I didn’t like it at all.  I asked her if it had meat in it and she said no, it’s cauliflower.  Yuck!
At 3pm we got some rain.

I dressed for the party about 4:30 and waited and waited for the ladies to get ready.  I wanted to bring my Nook but Teresa said Juan (Laura’s boyfriend) would be there so I would have someone to speak English with.  I took it anyway.  We finally left the apt at 6:10 and Laura had an Uber car waiting for us downstairs.  First the driver took us near Mt’s apt where I understood we were following Albero’s car with Wilson and MT inside.  The long ride to Vicky & Albero’s apt cost 25,000 pesos.

We had a nice dinner of ham, salad, potatoes and dessert.  I had a small glass of rum and Coke – close to my one and only alcoholic drink of the year.

They put on some English Christmas music videos which was nice.  Later Daniela showed up with her 8-month old son.  Even later Laura showed up but without Juan.

We finally left at 10:20 by taxi and it only cost 17,000 pesos for the return trip.

We all pretty quickly went to bed.  I took another 3mg sleeping pill and was soon asleep.

T-shirt of the day: Inspire before expire.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

It’s Christmas Eve - day!  Teresa surprised me by informing me that today is Christmas Day.  (Not where I come from.)

Today’s a sunny day with just a few clouds.

I didn’t sleep well last night due to a variety of noises.

We left the apt at 9:45 and caught a taxi right away.  On our way to Mayorista I saw a man sprawled out on the sidewalk next to a bicycle.  Two policemen were standing a few feet away looking at him.  I only saw everything for a split second so I have no idea what happened next.

At Mayorista I helped Teresa pick up a few things and then went to the deli for a café con leche.  I’m pretty sure I saw another gringo there (he was about 6’2” and was wearing shorts and sandals) but I didn’t bother him.  I finished Carl Sagan’s Demon-haunted World and downloaded Chesley Sullenberger’s Highest Duty. 

I paid for groceries and a “cash” car took us back to the apt for 10,000 pesos.

I took the lunchmeat (ham) out of its package and separated it into 4 pieces each, wrapped each in plastic wrap and then put them all together in a plastic freezer bag marked jamon (ham).
Teresa sent me to the corner store for 4 bags of milk.  They were out so I had to walk to Exito.

First I stopped at the ATM and took out the last of my cash for this week/month/year – 600,000 pesos (about $200).

I picked up the milk and then got into one of the long checkout lines.  Just as I arrived another man, holding only a bottle of rum, arrived ahead of me, in either my line or the one next to us.  A minute later another woman came up and said something and stood with him.  I thought it was his wife.  She said something to me and I said “I don’t speak much Spanish but you’re first.”  As we approached the register she was clearly in my line and he was in the other.  I thought they were playing that game – whoever gets to the cashier first – but he never moved to our line and she wasn’t holding anything.  A minute later a young woman who I assumed was her daughter joined her with a shopping cart.  What was worse was that there were clothes in her cart.  I imagined hearing “price check on register 7”.  I think I was in line for 20 minutes for my 4 bags of milk.

The Colombian Peso closed for the week at 2,991 to the Dollar.

I made microwave popcorn and watched my Chicago Bears lose to the Washington Redskins 41-21.  Today, especially in the first half, I had some problems with buffering.  Next year I’m going to increase my Wi-Fi speed from 5mb to 10mg and see if that helps.
I watched Episode 1, Chapter 1, Part 1 and Episode 2, Chapter 1, Part 2 of Ascension (7.2) on Netflix.  (It seems like this series has a strange numbering system.)  There was a big plot twist at the end of this 2nd episode.

Laura went out somewhere and came back a few minutes later.  She presented me a book – Mind Wide Open by Steven Johnson.  I told her I’d start it after I finish my current Nook book.

Laura went out again and brought back a cake for tomorrow’s party for 38,000 pesos (about $13).

I watched Season 1, Episode 3, Chapter 2, Part 1 and Season 1, Episode 4, Chapter 2, Part 2 of Ascension.

T-shirt of the day: Today has been cancelled.  Go back to bed.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Last night I slept very well finally getting up at 9am.

It’s another very overcast cool morning.  Yahoo!

Among new US movie releases I would like to see Passengers (6.8) and Patriots Day (7.1).  Locally, I would like to see Passengers (6.8) playing in Oviedo.

I’m getting down to the last few hundred dollars for this month.  I’m also running out of petty cash.  My conundrum is that if I take out too much cash now I might not be able to use my debit card for Teresa’s hairdo today or for groceries tomorrow.

We left the apt at noon for Teresa’s hair appointment across from La Visitacion.  (We both took umbrellas as we left because it was misting slightly.)  I guess Laura had called for a Uber car because there was a car waiting for us as soon as we walked out of the apartment.  It cost 17,000 pesos which I thought was a little more than usual but worth it in these days when it’s hard to catch a taxi.  (Another good reason to have a smartphone.)

In the mall’s food court I had a FriSnack at Frisby and Teresa had Sancocho (sp?) at another restaurant.  (While waiting for our food I made a quick trip to the restroom where I bought a package of toilet paper from a vending machine for 200 pesos.  At one point while sitting at our table Teresa asked me to look behind me.  Over my shoulder, standing in line, was a young girl.  She had large breasts and one of those t-shirts cutoff just below the breasts to show her midriff and small stomach.  Yes, she looked very sexy!)   

Teresa got to her appointment a couple minutes early and I walked over to Zona Dos.

At Krispy Kreme I had a large latte and NY Cheesecake donut for 7,600 pesos (about $2.50).  I read my Nook while enjoying my snack.

I had emailed my brother about Teresa’s habit of constantly freezing, defrosting, and refreezing things like bacon, hamburgers, lunchmeat and cheese.  He suggested I buy plastic wrap and freezer bags to wrap them in smaller quantities.

I stopped at Carulla where I bought 100 square ft of clear plastic wrap (I'm pretty sure we've already got some in the apt somewhere) and a box of 20 freezer bags for a total of 8,260 pesos (about $3).  Tomorrow morning we make a trip to Mayorista for more food.  I'll be watching for the right products in the cart and when we get home I'll start packaging them.  Hopefully, Teresa will learn from my example.

Back at Krispy Kreme I had another latte and donut.  There was a young lady sitting next to me with an Apple phone.  I asked her if she didn’t think it would attract thieves but she said she wasn’t concerned.

Back at the beauty shop I paid 102,000 pesos for Teresa’s hairdo.
Across the street right away she said it’s difficult catching a taxi today.  Two minutes later we had one.  Today was another example of the driver shutting my car door because he was afraid I was going to slam it.

This ride only cost me 11,000 pesos.

About 5:30 Teresa sent me out for milk.  As long as I was out could I please stop at the bakery and pick up 2 almojabanas for her because she was cold (I consider it delightfully refreshing) and wanted to have them with coffee.  At the bakery they didn’t have them so I bought 2 pan de queso (just a different type of cheese bread) for her and a croissant for me.

I did another 30 minutes of tactics on Chess Magnet School.

I watched Season 1, Episode 1 of Battlestar Galactica.

T-shirt of the day: I don’t play nice.

Thomas Jefferson and the power of the people.

History taught him [Thomas Jefferson] that the rich and powerful will steal and oppress if given half a chance.  Jefferson taught that every government degenerates when it is left to the rulers alone, because rulers ... misuse the public trust.  The people themselves, he said, are the only prudent repository of power.

But he worried that the people ... are easily misled.  So he advocated safeguards, insurance policies.  One was the constitutional separation of powers; accordingly, various groups, some pursuing their own selfish interest, balance one another, preventing any one of them from running away with the county: the executive, legislative and judicial branches; the House and the Senate; the States and the Federal Government.  He also stressed, passionately and repeatedly, that it was essential for the people to understand the risks and benefits of government, to educate themselves, and to involve themselves in the political process.  Without that, he said, the wolves will take over.

Friday, December 23, 2016

American elections, power and the Bill of Rights.

Also from Carl Sagan's Demon-Haunted World:

Those who seek power at any price detect a societal weakness, a fear that they can ride into office.  It could be ethnic differences, ..., perhaps different amounts of melanin in the skin; different philosophies or religions; or maybe it's drug use, violent crime, economic crisis, school prayer, or "desecrating" ... the flag.

Whatever the problem, the quick fix is to shave a little freedom off the Bill of Rights.  Yes, in 1942, Japanese-Americans were protected under the Bill of Rights, but we locked them up anyway - after all, there was a war on.  Yes, there are Constitutional prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure, but we have a war on drugs and violent crime is racing out of control.  Yes, there's freedom of speech, but we don't want foreign authors here, spouting alien ideologies, do we?

The pretexts change from year to year, but the result remains the same: concentrating more power in fewer hands and suppressing diversity of opinion - even though experience plainly shows the dangers of such a course of action.

How a scientist thinks.

The following is from Carl Sagan's book Demon-Haunted World:

[When] the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, newly arrived on American shores, enlisted in the Manhattan nuclear weapons Project, and [was] brought face-to-face in the midst of World War II with U.S. flag officers: 

So-and-so is a great general, he was told.

What is the definition of a great general?  Fermi characteristically asked.

I guess it's a general who's won many consecutive battles.

How many?

After some back and forth, they settled on five.

What fraction of American generals are great?

After some more back and forth, they settled on a few percent.

But imagine, Fermi rejoined, that there is no such thing as a great general, that all armies are equally matched, and that winning a battle is purely a matter of chance.    Then the chance of winning one battle is one out of two or 1/2; two battles 1/4, three 1/8, four 1/16, and five consecutive battles 1/32 - which is about 3 percent.  You would expect a few percent of American generals to win five consecutive battles - purely by chance.  Now, has any of them won ten consecutive battles?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

I forgot to mention that I got buttered popcorn at the theater the other day.  Actually, it was drenched in butter!  Too much of a good thing.  (Not all theaters here have it.)  

I left the apt at 11:30 to buy Teresa a Christmas present.  (Laura knew I was going and asked me to buy some cinnamon rolls at Cinnabon.  She had just last night tried them for the first time.)  I knew Teresa wanted a pair of shoes and I had found her size in a pair of shoes she left in her closet.  They were US size 6 ½.  She told me if I get her shoes they should be Colombian size 36 (US size 6).  I took a bus and got off at Santafe.

I checked out Zara, Falabella and Bon Bonite but didn’t find anything I liked.  I walked down the hill to cross the street and while waiting for the pedestrian light to change to green a young man on the corner offered me a sample of the sugar coated peanuts he was selling.  Speaking to me in English he said they are the best in the world, are hot and for only 1,000 or 2,000 pesos.  I told him maybe “later”.

In Oviedo I found a pair of shoes I liked but they weren’t available in her size.  I found another pair they had and I bought them for 164,900 pesos (about $56).

I walked back across the street and bought a bag of peanuts for 2,000 pesos.  I asked the guy how he knew I was a gringo and he said by my clothes and my Ray Ban sunglasses.  (Although they could have been cheap knockoffs that they sell downtown.)

Back in Santafe I bought a sleeve of 5 small cinnamon rolls at Cinnabon for a little less than 5,000 pesos.

I quickly caught a bus back to the apt.  A couple guys got on the bus on the way back started singing rap; I wish I could find the person who started that music genre!

Teresa tried on the shoes, proclaimed they were too small (and that’s my fault?) and after lunch went back to Oviedo with her mother.

After lunch I made a quick trip to Exito for a few things.

I did another 30 minutes of tactics on Chess Magnet School.

Teresa came back with a new pair of shoes she liked so all is good.
The music from the park started at 6pm.  About 9pm much louder music started from an apartment in the building across the street.  It’s like they wanted the whole world to hear.  (Maybe I should get some loud speakers and share MY music with them and the rest of the neighborhood.)  Thankfully, the music stopped just after 10:30pm.  I’m beginning to think that Envigado, thankfully, has a noise ordinance starting at 11pm.  We’ll see how it goes for the coming weekend holidays; that will be the real test.

T-shirt of the day: Life is like a bicycle.  You just have to keep moving.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Today’s officially the first day of winter!

I got up at 9am, it was very overcast and it was obvious we had a little rain overnight.  We got a heavy downpour from about 10am to noon so I just did some exercises in the apt instead of venturing out in the rain.

At 12:40 I noticed I no longer had an internet connection because, I soon deduced, we no longer had electricity; probably due to work on the new Transmillenia (sp?) bus route on Avenida Poblado.  The electricity was back on by 12:55pm.

Teresa is going shopping with her mother in Mayorca so I left the apt just before 1:30 for the 2:40 showing of Rogue One in El Tesoro.  I walked to downtown Envigado but there weren’t any taxis there to take me to Medellin.  A large newish pickup truck pulled up and asked me where I’m going.  I took my first “effectivo” (cash) trip alone up to El Tesoro for 15,000 pesos (about $5).  I got there before 2pm, bought my ticket for 17,300 pesos (about $6), and walked around the mall for a little while.  Then I waited in line for about 10 minutes for my turn to buy a large popcorn and large soda.  The woman in front of me spoke English and she got upset because the line was moving so slow.  I understood she questioned the employees behind the counter in Spanish as to why there were 4 people behind the counter but 3 of them were just standing there doing nothing.  I told her she’s in Colombia so she has to be patient.  She said she’s Colombian but she can’t take the slowness here sometimes.

The movie was in one of the Premier theaters on the 4th floor with fancy reclining chairs.  (Btw, there was a snack bar just outside our theater but no one downstairs mentioned it.)  I saw Rogue One and thought it was very good – it seemed like the precursor for Episode 4 – The New Hope (the original 1977 Star Wars episode).

I walked downstairs to where you catch a taxi but there was a long line so I went down to basement level where we usually go for one.  Down there I saw a large crowd and a woman was letting a few people into a gated area like you would see at DisneyWorld.  I asked her what was going on and she said they are here for the concert.  A minute later there was a roar from the crowd so I guess the performers just showed up.

I went up to the 2nd level where I got out of my taxi when I arrived, hoping I could catch one before it went down the hill to the other location.  I waited 5 minutes but no taxis came.  I went back down to the main level and got in the back of the line.  Of course it started raining.  While waiting someone dressed in a reindeer costume got in the back of a float that looked like it was surrounded by snow.  At 6pm a parade began with elves, others dressed like for mardi gras (but not skimpy costumes), a lady spinning a hula hoop, a few on stilts and finally the reindeer float.  I also ran into my dentist and his wife coming in.  I finally got my turn for a taxi 55 minutes later.

I told the driver Parque Envigado (I should have said close to Parque Envigado).  As we got close to downtown Envigado I told him to veer to the right but he went left headed for the park.  I got off at the Exito and walked a few blocks in the rain back to the apt.  I was so happy I brought my small umbrella.

Teresa gave me my Christmas present of 5 new t-shirts – something I really needed.

I guess the electricity went out again during the afternoon because I had to reset the microwave clock again.  Also the TV had to “recharge” but after waiting 10 minutes or more we just gave up.  Hopefully when Laura gets home she’ll know how to fix it.  A couple hours later I turned it on and it worked ok.

I’m not sure what’s going on but I’ve noticed lately a large increase in the number of people reading my blog.  In the last week it has varied between 54 and 103 per day.

I practiced tactics for another 30 minutes on Chess Magnet School.

T-shirt of the day: Turn on my night.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Finally, a sunny morning with only a few clouds.

I looked at the Facebook page for El Viejo y El Pancake and it said it was open today.

I put on my shorts, t-shirt and sandals and left the apt just after 9:30am.   I met Chuck at a local bakery and we had a cup of coffee together.  After waiting 10 minutes at the corner for a bus we walked to the metro.  At San Antonio we transferred to the west line.

At the foot of the steps outside Estacion Estadio we saw that the restaurant wasn’t open.  I told Chuck there are lots of other restaurants along 70th street so we started walking up the block.  We ran into another gringo named Alan (310 665 8030) so we asked him where he recommended we have lunch.

He led us about 6 blocks away (Calle 42A #68A-09) to a restaurant named La Boccata.  Their menu included salads, pizza, pasta, paninis, hamburgers, etc.  We each had a nice lunch for about 20mil.

Alan walked us back towards the metro station and then we said goodbye and continued on our way to the stadium area.
I made a stop in a public restroom that had no toilet seat, no toilet paper and no soap in the toilet dispenser.  Luckily I had a small package of toilet paper with me.

We walked over to the chess league office where there was a single tournament game going on – king and rook vs king and knight.
We walked over to one of the smaller soccer fields where we watched the end of a match where Itagui beat another team.  Being so close to the field we were impressed by how fast the action was.
A dark cloud passed overhead and I felt a couple raindrops but nothing more came of it.

We walked by another building filled with empty chairs and dozens of people waiting outside.  We each bought a bag of freshly made potato chips for 2,000 pesos (about 65 cents).  We watched a few people bring trophies and what looked like goodie bags into the building.  We guessed this was where the awards ceremony would be.  We stopped at a large truck where the goodie bags were coming from and I asked to look inside one of them.  They each contained a snack like a snack bar, chips, and a juice drink.
We took the metro back to Envigado, quickly caught a bus back to the park and said goodbye.  We’ll get together again when Chuck’s wife leaves for a trip to her hometown of Cali.

I watched the pilot episode of Cheers.  (It got better later in its run.)  Then I watched the pilot episode of Seinfeld which was much better than Cheers.

I did another 20 minutes on Chess Magnet School.

Teresa showed me where I got a little sunburn on my shoulders.

T-shirt of the day: Ladies, I have arrived.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

The morning was again overcast but it cleared up partially during the day.

I watched the beginning of the Today show and then an episode of Mayday before leaving for the gym.  Today I didn’t have to enter my Cedula number and give my fingerprint to enter.  It looks like they are in the process of moving the desk around.

I did my exercises in an hour and 15 minutes.  Today I weighed in at 80 ½ kilos.

After lunch I made a trip to the grocery store for lettuce.  I also picked up maple syrup (original Aunt Jemima) and 2 types of bread.  There was a line so I just read my Nook for a few minutes while waiting.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to meet Chuck to go have lunch at El Viejo y El Pancake (The Old Man and The Pancake) but I’m not sure if they will be open.

I did another 30 minutes on Chess Magnet School.

The music started at 6:30pm but once again stopped before 11pm.
I watched part II of the Battlestar Gallactica pilot.  Wow, the original pilot must have been 3 hours long.  I checked and I see it consists of 73 episodes!  Wow, that should keep me busy for a while.

T-shirt of the day: We run this town.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

I slept well only getting up once after being awakened at 4am by fireworks.  I finally got up at 9am.

At 11am I made a quick trip to Exito which could have been quicker had there not been so many people in line.

On my way there I stopped in a side less tent and picked up a brochure about the new rapid bus system that they are building on Avenida Poblado (Carrera 43A).  Now they are working on the infrastructure and I understand it is due for completion next November.  If I understand the map on the brochure it will run from the south side of Envigado north to Aguacatala station and then west and then run south to Itagui.

I made microwave popcorn and then watched my Chicago Bears lose to the Green Bay Packers 30-27.  (But we’re on track to have the 4th pick in the 2017 draft.) 

About 3pm I heard an unmistakable sound and looked outside and saw 2 men on horseback riding down the street.  Where do they think they are – Caldas?

The black king for my leather chess set broke completely in half.  With difficulty I repaired it and another piece with superglue and Scotch tape.

I watched the pilot episode of Battlestar Galactica from my external hard drive.

T-shirt of the day: Ym si siht. Trihs eifles.

(The letters and words were backwards so when held up to a mirror it said “This is my selfie shirt.”)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

I slept well getting up only once during the night, finally waking/getting up at 9am.

The Colombian Peso closed at 3,007 to the US Dollar.
I left the apt at 10am and after a 5 minute wait in downtown Envigado I was on a bus to Poblado.  (At one point the driver slammed on the brakes and I had to catch myself because I was sitting in the middle seat in the back with no seats in front of me.)

At MBE I received my annual SS Benefits Letter for 2017 – I get a 0.3% raise – Woo Hoo!

There is a fair going on in Parque Poblado that Teresa wants to stop at later so she asked me what time they close.  I asked and was told 11pm so I’m sure that will be enough time.

I did another 30 minutes of tactics on Chess Magnet School.
Laura arrived about 1:15 and 5 minutes later we left to have lunch at Federal Ribs.  I’ve read some reviews that it’s supposedly southern cooking and that it’s second for ribs only to Mu in Parque Lleras.

Teresa wanted to go what she thought was a shorter way – uh oh!  Her way we still ended up on Avenida Poblado so I think the distance we saved could probably be measured in yards.

At first we couldn’t find the restaurant until we went to the other side of the block we were on.  I’m guessing I probably wrote down Calle 30 instead of Calle 30A.

The restaurant looked nice, nothing fancy, but I thought the food was underwhelming.  First I ordered onion rings for everyone to share.  One seemed to be cooked correctly and the others seemed to be a little overcooked, close to burned.  They tasted good so I’ll give them 4 out of 5 points.  I ordered ½ plate of their special ribs with their Federal sauce.  I had read that they were fall off the bone but these were anything but.  They were pretty chewy and by the time I finished the first of 4 ribs, the others were cold so they couldn’t have been very got to start with.  There wasn’t a lot of taste to them so I give them only 3 points.  You get 2 sides with the rib plates so I ordered Cole slaw and corn-on-the-cob.  I had one taste of the Cole slaw and didn’t want anymore they only get 1 star for that.  The corn-on-the-cob was pretty good so I’ll give them 4 stars for that. 

The ladies were going to have salmon until the waitress told them they specialize in ribs.  Duh!  The place is called Federal Ribs not Federal Fish.  The ladies weren’t impressed with their ribs either.  The whole experiment cost me 112,537 pesos or $37.50.

We walked down to MT’s apartment and we all took a taxi to El Poblado.  I thought we were going to the flea market at Parque Poblado but Teresa directed the driver to a flea market at San Fernando Plaza’s parking lot.  They looked at a lot of knick knacks but didn’t buy anything.

We walked down to Parque Poblado and looked around there and I got off easy with the purchase of a small creche (it fit in a box that was less than 1 ½ x 1 1/2 inches) for 20,000 pesos (about $7).

We walked back down the Gold Mile looking for a place to stop for a drink but everyplace was too noisy for MT.  I didn’t mind either.
We ended up resting for about 30 minutes on a park bench in front of Parque El Presidente and then taking a taxi back to the apt.  I asked the driver why there isn’t more traffic today and he said it’s usually like this on Saturday afternoons.  I think we need to get out more on Saturdays – there’s usually not anything on TV anyway.

Back at the apt I wrote and submitted a restaurant review to Trip Advisor for Federal Ribs only giving them 3 out of 5 stars.

I did another 30 minutes of tactics on Chess Magnet School.

The music from the area of the park started at 6:30 but thankfully ended promptly at 11pm.

T-shirt of the day: Have water.  Drink beer.

Second suspect in Brazilian soccer team air crash put in jail - Reuters

Second suspect in Brazilian soccer team air crash put in jail

Bolivian authorities have jailed the second suspect accused of wrongdoing in the air crash that wiped out Brazil's Chapacoense soccer team last month, prosecutors said on Saturday.
Gustavo Vargas Villegas, a former official with Bolivia's aviation authority was arrested and will be held until trial on charges that he misused his influence in authorizing the license of the Bolivian plane that crashed in Colombia while taking the team to Medellin for the Copa Sudamericana.
His father, Gustavo Vargas Gamboa, former chief executive of the LaMia charter airline company, was jailed Thursday pending trial on charges including manslaughter over the Nov. 28 crash.
Both have said they are innocent.
"I am innocent. I did not authorize the operating licenses," Vargas Villegas told reporters on Friday. Vargas Gamboa said on Thursday: "The prosecutors are a bunch of liars
The accident killed 71 people after the plane apparently ran out of fuel, shocking the global soccer community and sparking questions about why the aircraft would have tried to make the international flight with what looks to have been less than the required amount of fuel in its tanks.
"The prosecution has collected statements and evidence showing the participation of the accused in the crimes of misusing influence, conduct incompatible with public office and breach of duties," La Paz District Attorney Edwin Blanco told reporters, referring to the Vargas Villegas.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

Another overcast day.

Among new US movie releases I would like to see A Kind of Murder (5.4), Solace (6.4), and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (8.3).

Locally, I would like to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (8.3) playing in Oviedo, Unicentro and El Tesoro.

We left the apt at 10am and I took the small umbrella even though Teresa believed we wouldn’t need it.  We were at El Tesoro by 10:20 for her 11am appointment.

I made a withdrawal from an ATM and then we stopped in Fedco looking for a back brush for the shower that we had seen in their Santafe location.  They didn’t have exactly what we were looking for.

We waited 25 minutes in the dentist’s office before he saw Teresa.  Her procedure took about an hour and he showed me up close what he was doing.  We kid a lot with each other, for example: “I asked him how long is the warranty on his work today?” He replied “10 minutes”.  I told him “in that case he should have lunch with us.”
He had told me that there might be an extra 75mil charge but after he was done he gave us a 75 mil credit.  We’ll be in next month for cleaning so we’ll use it up then.

We had a nice lunch in J&C Delicias for 68,600 pesos (about $23) including tax and tip.

We quickly caught a taxi to Martha’s office.  On the way it started raining and while in the office it became a downpour.  They had all my papers for the visa application but the visa wasn’t in my passport.  I asked if something was wrong and was told no but later they showed me an email from the embassy that they mailed my visa on Monday so I guess we’re still waiting on it.

I was told that we need to go to immigration and file for an extension because my visa expires today.  (I know now that I need to start the renewal process a month before the expiration date of the visa.)

Martha took us there in her car.  I see she has a new office setup near the immigration office.  By the time we got there it had stopped raining.

In immigration we talked to a man at the “reception desk” and he sent us to another man in back.  I understood from what I heard from them “we can’t help you” and “last hour” and he wrote down “embassy certificate” on a piece of paper.  When we left Teresa said that all of the documents are wrong.  Back at Martha’s office #2 she disagreed with their assessment and read something to Teresa from 4 printed pages.  I thought she said that her daughter is a lawyer and several time she said everything will be all right.
She dropped us off a little further down Avenida Ochenta.  We quickly caught a taxi but traffic was about the worst I’ve seen and it took over an hour to get back to the apt.

I received an email from MBE that I have documents waiting for pickup.  Now what?

Btw, I never received the SS Benefits Letter that I ordered and was supposed to be delivered to the apt.  Maybe this is the benefits letter that I receive every year although usually that comes in January – too late for me to use for renewing my visa.

The ribs of our smallest, simplest umbrella is now broken so I ordered a new one from for $15 + $5 shipping.

I spent another 50 minutes on Chess Magnet School tactics and was promoted to Captain (level 16 of 21).

T-shirt of the day: XXX-XX-LXXXIII (For those of you not up-to-speed on your Roman Numerals, this translates to 3-2-83 so I assume his birthday is February 3rd, 1983. (Latinos put the day before the month).)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Teresa informed me that the dentist called and we have an 11am appointment for tomorrow so we’ll be leaving the apt just before 10am.  Afterward, we’ll probably have lunch and maybe see a newly released movie in El Tesoro.

I met Chuck and his 26-year old son Carlos at El Pastelito.  He’s only staying here through Sunday.  Tuesday Chuck and I plan to go to El Viejo y El Pancake for lunch.

Back at the apt I changed my Yahoo password to something unique from all my other passwords.

Teresa told me she wanted more imitation flowers for decorating the apt so we left at 4:30pm and it took a while to catch a taxi.  The driver didn’t know where La Habitacion is but I remembered from our last trip where the taxi driver turned off Avenida Poblado.  One problem I discovered is I had the name of the mall wrong –it’s La Visitacion

While Teresa shopped for more flowers I went to the food court to read more of my Nook book.  First I had the security guard write down the address of the mall so I’ll be ready next time we visit.

She not only found more inexpensive flowers but also found a beautiful fancy flower vase that was priced at 279,000 pesos that we got for 173,600 (about $58).  I understand it’s for after Christmas.  I told her that’s all we can afford this month.

We quickly caught a taxi back to the apt.  On the way she remembered to tell me that Martha called and my passport with new visa is ready for pickup and we have a 3:30 appointment at immigration.  She was concerned about the timing but I told her we should have enough time to take care of both her implant, lunch and my passport with visa and Cedula.

We were back at the apt by 7pm.

I completed another hour of tactics on Chess Magnet School.

T-shirt of the day: Herpes. (I’m clueless as to why a man would want to have that on his t-shirt.)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Teresa needed to go with her mother for a doctor’s appointment (she has red cheeks) so I went to the gym alone.  I worked on each machine and left an hour and 10 minutes later.

On my way back from the gym I saw the house that was on fire yesterday.  They had been working on that roof for some time.  They had put plywood over one section and I could see electric conduit running next to where all the plywood was before it burned.

I finished chapter 3 of Aron Nimzowitsch’s book My System.  Chapter 1 was The Center and Development, chapter 2 was Open Files, and chapter 3 was The Seventh and Eighth Ranks.

I tried to find a telephone number for Yahoo but apparently you can’t contact them that way.  I finally sent them an email beginning a discussion of why I’m receiving all these “sign in attempt prevented” emails.  Today I supposedly got one from Vietnam.

I took apart my Philips shaver and tried to clean it really well.  I’m afraid it’s getting old and will have to be replaced soon.

I took my Denman hair brush apart, cleaned it really well and now I’m having difficulty putting it back together again.  I ended getting it about 90% put back together.

I completed another 30 minutes on Chess Magnet School.

I read that 1 billion Yahoo accounts have been hacked.  Their name shouldn’t be Yahoo! It should be Yikes!

We heard music coming from the park starting at 7pm but it ended by 10pm so it wouldn’t affect our ability to get to sleep.

T-shirt of the day: Coffee, tea, pancakes and you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Yahoo hack - BBC

'One billion' affected by Yahoo hack

  • 21 minutes ago
  • From the sectionBusiness

Yahoo phoneImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Yahoo has said more than one billion user accounts may have been affected in a hacking attack dating back to 2013.
The internet giant said it appears separate from a breach disclosed in September, when Yahoo revealed some 500 million accounts were accessed in 2014.
Yahoo said names, phone numbers, passwords and email addresses were stolen, but not bank and payment data.
The company, which is being taken over by Verizon, said it is working closely with the police and authorities.
When Yahoo disclosed in September the 2014 data breach, the company said information had been "stolen by what we believe is a state-sponsored actor". Yahoo did not say which country it held responsible.
That breach included swathes of personal information, including names and emails, as well as "unencrypted security questions and answers".
The hack took place in 2014, and Yahoo has come under pressure to disclose why it took so long for the breach to be made public.
The new breach raises fresh questions about Verizon's $4.8n proposed acquisition of Yahoo, and whether the US mobile carrier will try to modify or abandon its bid.
If the hacks cause a user backlash against Yahoo, the company's services would not be as valuable to Verizon.
In a statement, Verizon said that it would evaluate the situation as Yahoo investigates and would review the "new development before reaching any final conclusions".
Yahoo said on Wednesday that users should change their passwords and security questions.