Ghetto Wedding -- Wedding Reception at McDonald's

It's your big day. You are getting married. You want the day to be special. Where do you hold the reception? At the classiest place in town -- McDonalds. This happened in the McDonalds on Bay Street in this tropical paradise.

Hail, hail the guests are arriving.

The wedding dinner is served.

The drinks for the toast to the bride.


Time to show off the wedding finery.



Don't the bridesmaid look lovely. The table setting is classy.




Some guests always arrive late for the dinner.





Getting more condiments.







The second course is ready. Funnily enough, I think that all of the children of this union will learn to say "Do you want fries with that?" as part of their career.







The best man insures that everything is running smoothly.


The groom looks in ecstasy into the eyes of his loving bride, thinking of the Big Mac that he will serve her later.


A happy portrait.



Here the happy couple is off to the honeymoon. I wonder where that will be? At the motel by the railroad tracks with the miniature golf course? Wedding reception at McDonalds. Now I have seen everything.

More Pondering of the Imponderables

I was out for a walk near the American Embassy when I saw this sign on a vacant lot. I think that the owner is trying to use reverse psychology. That tactic is not really recommended in a place where a lot of folks are not that swift.



The sign made me ponder the imponderables. One of them has to do with the weather of late. We had a cold front blow in, and for the first time since June, I had the air conditioning off. I opened all of the windows and it was the first time in months that there was fresh air in the house. That got me to wondering if all of this time, I was breathing in recycled flatulence and all the nasty stuff like exhaled carbon dioxide and bad breath and such. It couldn't have been healthy.



There were other imponderables as well. The kitties were all fluffed out in the cold weather. Back home, the kitties used to go out in the freezing winter weather, yet the feral cats here are acting like a -40 degree blizzard is blowing through. Have the cats so acclimatized to the warm weather that they actually think that the weather is really cold?



Yesterday, I drove over a telephone wire that had been torn down from the utility post and was snaking across the main street. It had been like that for days. Just when I got arround to getting a picture of it, someone had strung it back up. It provided telephone services to a Texaco station.


However, the biggest imponderable in my life right now, is how big the revenue streams will be from the financial products that we are unleashing on the Caribbean.

Thank you for the hits

Thank you for the huge spike in hits today. I suspect that it is due to being featured from this link:

http://www.blogged.com/about/moth/

Or could it be my rank on Technorati:
Rank: 2,631,291

Or perhaps I have been favoured by Google Blogger.

At any rate, it is satifying as a blogger to reach a larger audience.

I hope that you will favour me by sticking around and following this blog. Thank you.

Cloudy of Late

The Lovely One and I bought a locally produced calendar in this tropical paradise. It gives a month by month synopsis. For the month of October, the word is that this month is cloudy and rainy. The calendar hasn't disappointed.

With the shortening of the days (yes we see that here in the tropics, but not as severe as up north), when I wake up, not only is it darker, but the darkness is accentuated by the clouds. When I feed the kitties, it is still warm, but pleasantly warm, not hot like a month ago.

We have been on this tropical island for almost a year now. But we have never been here in November. It will be interesting to see what November brings, other than the end of the hurricane season. The ocean of late has been a lot rougher, the waves are higher and it is considerably cooler. However, a swim in the ocean is still as refreshing as ever.

Scientific Discoveries


A great weekend was had by one and all with many scientific discoveries made. My software guys Bob & Derek are in their last week here on the tropical isle, so we decided to make the most of it. The island has an old abandoned underwater aquarium on a private island. It is a structure stuck out in the middle of a lagoon with a bridge built to it. The walkway on the bridge has fallen through. The structure looks like a combination between a space needle and a flying saucer.

We had decided to explore it by snorkelling underwater. We walked to the water's edge and got around the gate to the private road leading to the island. We crossed the bridge, and there was a security guard waiting to meet us. She was going to kick us off the island. When she saw my fishing spear, she said that we could use the beach, but if we speared a lobster, we had to give it to her.

The aquarium structure/space needle was amazing. The underwater ports looked like something from Indianna Jones. There was an amazing amount of fish there, but the current was really strong. As we were swimming back, I did get a shot a barracuda, but missed. The same with a lion fish. I also found the biggest hermit crab that I had ever seen.

We went across the to the cricket club after our adventure. They still play cricket in these West Indies. Beers were four dollars and a cheeseburger was five dollars. In these islands, beers usually go for seven dollars and cheeseburgers are typically $12-$14 dollars. It tasted good as well.

Sunday, we went snorkeling on golf ball beach. Bob found many many golfballs, but they dribbled out of his bathing suit and was left with just a fraction of his find. I speared a trigger fish, a fairly good specimen, and we came home. I lit the barbeque and we grilled steaks and the trigger fish. The trigger fish didn't taste too bad, and the steaks were delicious -- flamed broiled over charcoal.

But the biggest discovery that I made of scientific import, was a new methodology for dissolving chewing gum. I bought a bag of guineps from the Haitian fruit vendor. After eating them, I popped a piece of gum in my mouth. The guinep juices immediately dissolved the gum. I am sure that there is a practical application somewhere for this.

Mass Configuration

I have to go onto the buses in this tropical paradise, and do a bunch of things to configure my electronic fareboxes. We are switching WiFi providers, so I have to write a new network identification (SSID), and the password or encryption key along with it. I have to input a static IP address for the wireless adapter. I have to copy over new software, and I have to record the hardware address or MAC address for MAC address filtering security. And I have to take a copy of the farefile.

I wrote a program in C# to do all of this, and I just carry the program on an SD Memory card, which I stick into the PDA and run it all from the memory card (I borrowed the memory card from my digital camera).

Here is the source code listing for the program. Each button does a function described above. I downloaded the OpenNETCF libraries to do some of the stuff:


using System;
using System.Linq;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Data;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Text;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using OpenNETCF.Net;
using System.IO;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;
using Microsoft.Win32;
namespace massConfig
{
using DWORD = System.UInt32;
public partial class Form1 : Form
{
public Form1()
{
InitializeComponent();
}
private void button2_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
this.Close();
}
///
/// button1_Click
///

///
///
/// this button sets the ssid and WEP key
private void button1_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
AdapterCollection adapters = Networking.GetAdapters();
foreach (Adapter adapter in adapters)
{
try
{
if (adapter.IsWireless)
{
EAPParameters eapp = new EAPParameters();
eapp.Enable8021x = true;
eapp.AuthData = IntPtr.Zero;
eapp.AuthDataLen = 0;
eapp.EapType = EAPType.PEAP;
eapp.EapFlags = EAPFlags.Enabled;
bool abc = false;
abc = adapter.SetWirelessSettingsAddEx("NameOfSSID", true, "WEPKEY", 1, AuthenticationMode.Ndis802_11AuthModeOpen, WEPStatus.Ndis802_11WEPEnabled, eapp);
adapter.BindAdapter();
MessageBox.Show("SSID written");
}
}
catch (Exception mm)
{
MessageBox.Show(mm.Message);
}
}
}
///
/// button3_click
///

///
///
/// This button moves the fare file to the SD card
private void button3_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
RegistryKey masterKey = Registry.CurrentUser.CreateSubKey("ControlPanel\\Owner");
string ownerName = (string)masterKey.GetValue("Name");
String fareFile = "/ftpfiles/fares.csv";
string ill = "/Storage Card/fares/" + ownerName + "fares.csv";
File.Move(fareFile, ill);
MessageBox.Show("Fare file moved.");
masterKey.Close();
}
///
/// button4_click
///

///
///
/// THis sets the static IP address of the adapter
/// I have to increment the IP address so I do it from a file
private void button4_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
RegistryKey masterKey = Registry.LocalMachine.CreateSubKey("Comm\\SDIO86861\\Parms\\TcpIp");
string fileName = "/Storage Card/ipnos.txt";
StreamReader SR;
SR = File.OpenText(fileName);
string str = SR.ReadLine();
SR.Close();
int lastNum = Int16.Parse(str);
string cdd = lastNum.ToString();
string[] ipArray = new string[1];
ipArray[0] = "192.168.54."+cdd;
masterKey.SetValue("IpAddress", ipArray, RegistryValueKind.MultiString);

DWORD enableDhcp = 0;
DWORD autocfg = 1;
DWORD useZeroBroadcast = 0;
masterKey.SetValue("EnableDHCP", enableDhcp, RegistryValueKind.DWord);
masterKey.SetValue("AutoCfg", autocfg, RegistryValueKind.DWord);
masterKey.SetValue("UseZeroBroadcast", useZeroBroadcast, RegistryValueKind.DWord);
string[] gateArray = new string[1];
gateArray[0] = "192.168.54.1";
masterKey.SetValue("DefaultGateway", gateArray, RegistryValueKind.MultiString);
string[] subnetArray = new string[1];
subnetArray[0] = "255.255.255.0";
masterKey.SetValue("Subnetmask", subnetArray, RegistryValueKind.MultiString);
masterKey.Close();
lastNum = lastNum + 1;
System.IO.File.Delete(fileName);
StreamWriter SW;
SW = File.CreateText(fileName);
SW.WriteLine(lastNum.ToString());
SW.Close();
MessageBox.Show("Static IP written.");
}
///
/// Copy the new software over
///

///
///
private void button5_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
System.IO.File.Delete("/Program Files/Farebox1/Farebox1.exe");
System.IO.File.Copy("/Storage Card/exefiles/Farebox1.exe", "/Program Files/Farebox1/Farebox1.exe");
System.IO.File.Copy("/Storage Card/exefiles/OpenNETCF.dll", "/Program Files/Farebox1/OpenNETCF.dll");
System.IO.File.Copy("/Storage Card/exefiles/OpenNETCF.Net.dll", "/Program Files/Farebox1/OpenNETCF.Net.dll");
System.IO.File.Copy("/Storage Card/exefiles/saniTize.exe", "/Program Files/Farebox1/saniTize.exe");
System.IO.File.Copy("/Storage Card/exefiles/hider.exe", "/Program Files/Farebox1/hider.exe");
System.IO.File.Copy("/Storage Card/exefiles/NETCFv35.Messages.EN.wm.cab", "/Program Files/NETCFv35.Messages.EN.wm.cab");
MessageBox.Show("Software Copied.");
}
///
/// button6_click
///

///
///
/// collect the mac address and the owner ID of the IPAQ and write it to a file
private void button6_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
RegistryKey masterKey = Registry.CurrentUser.CreateSubKey("ControlPanel\\Owner");
string ownerName = (string)masterKey.GetValue("Name");
masterKey.Close();
AdapterCollection adapters = Networking.GetAdapters();
foreach (Adapter adapter in adapters)
{
try
{
if (adapter.IsWireless)
{
string macadd = BitConverter.ToString(adapter.MacAddress);
StreamWriter SW;
SW = File.AppendText("/Storage Card/macs.txt");
SW.WriteLine(ownerName + " , " + macadd);
SW.Close();
MessageBox.Show("mac address written");
}
}
catch (Exception mm)
{
MessageBox.Show(mm.Message);
}
}
}
}
}

Dog Meat

Someone from Korea came to this blog looking for a source for dog meat. They make a dog meat stew in Korea. When I was a kid, we had a set of Art Linkletter's Encyclopedia, and they profiled the Dog Meat General -- a Chinese warlord. The encyclopedia said that the title came from his fondness for eating dog meat, but more scholarly tomes say that it came from his addiction to gambling a certain game of chance called "Eating the Dog".

In my blog entry, I put up some source code for programming the WindowsCE HP IPAQ Personal Digital Assistant or PDA. I used a picture of a boy and his dog. Good old Google took the word "source" from source code and my title "Boy and Dog" and sent this Korean to this blog who was looking for a source of dog meat. I think that eating dogs is disgusting. As I have iterated, I am a dog person, and I love dogs.

Radio City

I recently commissioned a study of our WiFi coverage on this tropical island. The study came back with maps and pics of our coverage superimposed over aerial photographs of downtown. The main street is where the pink dot is running left and right. The green area is how our Wifi antennas cover the area.

While I was looking at the map, I was amazed at how big the cruise ships are. Man they are the length of several several city blocks. Our downtown area could fit into two cruise ships. That might be a solution to revitalise the tourism, as the numbers have been dropping lately.

The other thing that I noticed, is that our Wifi can be picked up by the cruise ships. I had my PDA on while downtown, and I picked up the internet connection on the cruise ship. They wanted 75 cents per minute. That is highway robbery ... er ... piracy on the high seas ???

Soursop

I have hired my friends Bob & Derek, both software engineers to join me here in the Caribbean for the final push to develop the software for the swipe/RFID card combining the e-Wallet with the stored value card, and texting cash by cell phone text message.

Bob and I were to meet Derek to go snorkelling over a twin engine Piper aircraft that had crashed into the ocean and lay in about 30 feet of water. As we were proceeding to the site, we stopped at the Haitian fruit stand. I bought seagrapes, oranges, guineps and a soursop. This was the first soursop that I ever tasted. It cost me $4.00 for the thing.

According to Wikipedia, the soursop is a broadleaf flowering evergreen tree native to the North American tropics, and is the same family as the pawpaw. It is also known as guanĂ¡bana, graviola, Annona muricata, and Guanabanus muricatus.

The woman who sold it to me, said that the best use was as an ice cream ingredient. The soursop was hard, and I was to wait until it was extremely soft, and then freeze the mushy fruit inside, seeds and all. The seeds are hard and inedible, but you spit them out as you ate the ice cream.

I waited until the fruit was soft, and didn't freeze it, but ate it with a spoon. It was mushy, sugary yet intensely sour. It was like eating a custard apple mixed with Sweet Tarts-- the extremely sour powder candy that we ate as kids. The thing has some serious pucker power to it, even though the juice is sticky and sweet. It is used to make sorbet, candy, agua fresca drinks, and fruit bars.

The soursop is used as bush medicine here as well. Here is a direct quote from Wikipedia:

Nutritionally, the fruit is high in carbohydrates, particularly fructose. The fruit also contains significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B1, and vitamin B2. The fruit, seeds, and leaves have a number of herbal medicinal uses among indigenous peoples of regions where the plant is common.

In the Caribbean it is believed that laying the leaves of the soursop on a bed below a sleeping person with a fever will break the fever by the next morning. Also, boiling the leaves and drinking may help induce sleep.
The tea, fruit, and juice are used medicinally to treat illness ranging from stomach ailments to worms.


It was a chore to eat the entire soursop. It was the size of very very big softball. I don't think that I will eat it again because of another line that I read in Wikipedia:

Research carried out in the Caribbean has suggested a connection between consumption of soursop and atypical forms of Parkinson's disease due to the very high concentration of annonacin.

YIKeS !!!
************

The Daily Bread of Source Code

Here is my daily bread of source code. In my IPAQ farebox application, I want the application to connect to my particular WiFi SSID or wireless network called by name. So I put in a network change listener that fires whenever there is a change in the list of WiFi available networks.

I have to use the following library:

using System.Net;

Then in my declarations, I have the following:

//Monitoring number of network connections
SystemState network;
ConnectionManager oCon;


In the load method after component initialize, I have the following code to initialize the listener:

network = new SystemState(SystemProperty.ConnectionsNetworkCount); network.Changed += new ChangeEventHandler(network_Changed);
oCon = new ConnectionManager();

And then I have the following method:

///
/// network_Changed
///

///
///
/// this is the method called by the event handler. It's whole purpose is that
/// when the change is fired by the callback, the number of network connections
/// has changed.

void network_Changed(object sender, ChangeEventArgs args) {

DestinationInfoCollection oInfo = new DestinationInfoCollection();
foreach (DestinationInfo d in oInfo)
{
if (d.Description == "mySSidstring")
{
try
{
oCon.Connect(d.Guid, true, ConnectionMode.Asynchronous);
}
catch (Exception vb)
{
ErrorString = vb.Message;
}
}
}
}



There you go -- an easy way to connect to a named SSID or wireless network using C#, WinCE 6.0 in the compact .Net framework.

Wine Tasting and Blades

This is a new one for me. I have been invited to a wine tasting hosted by HP or Hewlett Packard. I thought that they were doing this out of the goodness of their heart. Turns out that we have a wine tasting, and 45 minutes later we get a Blade/Storage presentation lasting almost two hours, Then they give us a cocktail.

I was thinking of turning this down, because the red wine in a tropical country sometimes is baked into an oxidized mess from sitting in the hot sun on a dock somewhere. However, in spite of me liking French wine, the Lovely One and I shared a decent Australian lately.

The saving grace is that perhaps, I am one of the few people in this country who (A) knows what a blade server is, and (B) actually needs to buy some.

A blade is a simplified server without the peripherals like keyboards, power supplies etc. They go into a server rack and are managed centrally. They are excellent for cluster computing and web servers.

I am curious to see what the turnout will be for this new marketing paradigm. The other thing about this affair that has my curiosity picqued, is that the restaurant that it is being held in, is a very good restaurant.

Favourite Informal Restaurant

This is a view of one of my favourite restaurants. It is not a fancy upscale restaurant. The menu can be best described as roadhouse or pub fare. However I choose a table under the tree or by the water and the dining experience is great. The seaside ambiance is fantastic.

The Lovely One and I eat there when we don't feel like cooking and/or fine dining -- when we want to eat something fast. I also take my colleagues there to informally discuss business. Nobody pays attention to us. Most of the patrons are crew members of the luxury yachts, or boaters who have arrived from Florida or the Caribbean and need or want some pub ambiance.


******

As part of my ongoing efforts to publish my software discoveries, I have a neat snippet of source code in C#. I need to take many IPAQ PDA's and set the Wireless network names, or SSIDs. It is a pain with the stylus, so I wrote a small program to do it. I do it from a form, and I press a button to do it. You have to download the OpenNETCF libraries. Here is the code snippet:


using System;
using System.Linq;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Data;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Text;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using OpenNETCF.Net;



///
/// button1_Click
///

///
///
/// this button sets the ssid and WEP key

private void button1_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
AdapterCollection adapters = Networking.GetAdapters();
foreach (Adapter adapter in adapters)
{
try
{
if (adapter.IsWireless)
{
EAPParameters eapp = new EAPParameters();
eapp.Enable8021x = true;
eapp.AuthData = IntPtr.Zero;
eapp.AuthDataLen = 0;
eapp.EapType = EAPType.PEAP;
eapp.EapFlags = EAPFlags.Enabled;
bool abc = false;

abc = adapter.SetWirelessSettingsAddEx("mySSIDstring", true, "myWEPkeyString", 1, AuthenticationMode.Ndis802_11AuthModeOpen, WEPStatus.Ndis802_11WEPEnabled, eapp);

//I suppose that I should check to see if abc=true, but this is a hack

//so I don't


adapter.BindAdapter();
MessageBox.Show("done");
}
}
catch (Exception mm)
{
MessageBox.Show(mm.Message);
}
}
}
}

Micropayments Convergence

I recently presented my image of micropayment technology to a major bank in this tropical paradise. This was the graphic that I used for my vision of micropayments convergence.

I have architected some rather exciting technology. So far we have an RFID stored value tap 'n go card. We have a system that we built for sending cash by cell phone. We are working on a swipe card system and we have the elements of payments by internet. My software team from the north, is in place here as I write, busy coding away.

What I mean by convergence, is that a person would be able to text cash from his e-Wallet to anyone else. Or he/she could text cash to his/her tap 'n go card. Or the swipe card can access the same e-Wallet. Or the internet could access the e-Wallet, and transfer cash to another person or tap 'n go card. We are converging, or tying together all of our technologies.

It is an exciting time for me, as the systems that I sketched out are becoming a reality, and for one of the very few times in my life, I feel that I am doing significant work.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I was driving home from work, a little tired and a bit low. I looked up and saw this rainbow over my island home in the sun. It lifted my spirits. In the words of Johnny Nash: I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. It was uplifting to see a simple rainbow.

Caribbean Consanguinity


The president of our technology company is also a commentator. He is writing a book on the various conditions of this country including social conditions. One of his areas of interest, is consanguinity. Consanguinity is the property of inter-relatedness, or put simply, two people sharing a common ancestor. On an island with a long history, consanguinity is not only a social issue, but it has socio-economic implications as well.

Social mores, or how people perceive sex and child-bearing is different in the Caribbean than in say the mainland Americans. Taboos are a lot looser, and there appears to be no social stigma to having children out of wedlock.

Some of the background information presented here comes directly from hospital records. In this island nation, there are about 5,000 births per year. Twelve percent, or 600 hundred of these births are to girls under the age of 16. Three thousand of these births are to single women. Of these three thousand, over 1,200 women already have a child by a different father than the child that they are giving birth to.

I conducted an online survey related to consanguinity on the local forums. I will post some of the more interesting results as I finish the calculations.

One of the questions that I asked was:

"How many men in your circle of acquaintances have fathered a child with more than one woman".

The results were astonishing. The mean average was 6. Among the respondents, most people knew an average of six men who had fathered a child with more than one woman.

The median average was 8. That means that half the respondents knew less than 8 men with children by more than one woman, and the other half of the respondents knew more than 8 men with children with more than one mother.

The modal average is split evenly between two and ten. A modal number is one that appears most often. From that I can make an inference that some respondents knew only a couple men with multiple parent partners, and some knew a high number of men with a child by more than one woman. Does this suggest that there is a division of classes of people -- those who have a low number of procreating men with multiple partners, and those that don't? It would be an interesting path to explore for a sociologist.

To get down to the nitty gritty of statistics, the standard deviation is 3.79 spread over this number set. That means that since the respondents knew on average, 6 men who impregnated more than one woman, using the standard deviation, the majority of answers would fall between 2 and 10, which is mirrored exactly in our modal average.

Standard deviation can be used to deduce another fact. It is the "twice the standard deviation rule". 95% of all respondents would fall into the category of knowing twice the standard deviation of men above and below the average. Since the standard deviation is rounded to 4 (you can't have .79 of a person -- although I have known a few of those), the range is from 0 (you can't have -2 people) to 13 men having a child with more than one woman. Let me restate this more clearly.

If you asked all of the islanders, 95% of them would answer that they know between 0 and thirteen men (two standard deviations above and below the mean) who have fathered a child with more than one woman.

It is an amazing statistic, especially at the high end of thirteen. How does this impact consanguinity? I will show in a later blog entry, some more results of my survey, and the conclusion that I have come to. The conclusion is this:

When an islander here marries another islander, there is a 50:50 chance that they will share a common ancestor within the past three generations.

That is some serious stuff.

Paw Prints

I pulled in from the airport to our home in the tropics, and the first thing that greeted me, were the kitty paw prints on the wall.

Our house is raised a level from the street. Our parking is against the yellow wall. The bright yellow line in the pic marks off the parking spaces. I always use two parking spaces because I am sick and tired of other people putting door dents in the Lovely One's Beamer. I love that BMW, and it seems to be a target.

It is apparent that our feral cats love the Beamer too. They use it as a boost up to our place ... which is their feeding grounds. Ever since I started parking the car across two spaces, their little paw prints started showing up on the wall. They jump on the hood of the car, make the leap to the top of the wall, and use their hind legs to boost themselves up. The wall is littered with kitty paw prints.


I grabbed my computer bag and my suitcase from the trunk, and made my way to the door. Of course the cats were all there to greet me, and gave me a "where the heck were you look". A friend of ours had been feeding them for the four days that I was gone.

I came back to the tropics and immediately was engulfed in the bedlam that is our business. In spite of the fact of waking up at 3:00 AM to catch my flights back here, I worked until late, and I am beat.

Autumn in the north is an incredibly experience, and instead of getting into my suit and doing a presentation to the Ministry of Tourism today, I should be in a fleece and jeans, paddling my canoe in a hidden boreal forest backwater. I interrupt this reverie to remind myself that the very reason that I am in the tropics, is so that I can do this every autumn for the rest of my life without worrying about how to pay for it.

The paw prints reminded me that life goes on. Time to feed the cats again.

Autumn's Glory

I am home for four days for business meetings. The leaves are all scarlet, crimson and gold painted by Jack Frost. The air is crisp and clean. The open spaces are wonderful after being cooped up on a crowded island. The air is fresh. In short, it is good to be home.

Another kind of potcake -- Potcake Says I

The contraption that you see in this photo is a stolen shopping cart -- or trolley as they are called in this Caribbean country. It is pushed around town by an indigent fellow who calls himself "Potcake". He sells hubcaps that he finds back to the motorists who lost them. He sleeps somewhere outside, and I see him in the morning and in the evening, and I see him on the streets at night. His clothes are filthy, and half the time he is not wearing a shirt. However he does have a radio that he listens to, and I swear that I saw him once with a cell phone, but I could be mistaken. A passerby called his name as Tommy once.

When he does manage to sell something, I see him in the food store, buying snacks. I have actually seen him sell a hubcap and so has the Lovely One, so I imagine that he does get some sales. I once saw him sitting on the wall of a grave yard with a spinner hubcap, trying to unload it on some passing motorists.

At the odd time, Potcake will be trying to sell coconuts or guineps or other fruit that he comes upon in his travels. Most of the time, however his wares are just hubcaps.

He is semi-literate, and puts up hilarious signs on the back of his "wagon". The first time that I saw him, his sign said that he was mad and not going to take it. I thought that it was social unrest. Various messages include "Who is your daddy?" and "The devil is here". This one seems to be against cheap people who work you and pay you nothing. It is rather hilarious coming from someone who doesn't have a job.

New Tourist Souvenir Cards



The Ministry of Tourism in this tropical paradise has asked for a tourism souvenir card for our tourism product. These tourism cards will carry a stored value of money which can be spent at various tourism hotspots around the island. It is safer than cash, because tourists are worried about identity theft in the Caribbean.

The card is a genuine collectible with fabulous pictures. The money on it can be used to go and see the flamingos, or to buy souvenirs, to partake of the island culture, to get transportation or to just partake of what the island vacation experience has to offer.

The above pics are mock-ups using some of the Lovely One's photography. These will be presented to the tourism poobahs in the government next Friday.

Fire or so I thought

Man, did I get a start the other day. I was at the office, in the washroom when I idly glanced out the window. I couldn't believe my eyes. The sky was filling with black smoke. It looked like the supermarket next door was on fire. This would have been the second fire that I have seen in this tropical land. The first was in an earlier blog entry where a Land Rover went up in flames near our house.

I dashed outside to see what the matter was. It turned out that there was a power failure and the diesel generator for the supermarket kicked in. Unfortunately something was drastically wrong with the generator. It was spewing black black smoke that filled the neighbourhood. They quickly shut it down, and the supermarket was in darkness like the rest of the neighbourhood.

It took over twenty minutes for the smoke to clear.

Lucky Day

I have had an incredible day. It was full of fortune and luck. It started off with a meeting with a corporate partner where we ironed out technical details for a new revenue stream for the company. Then I met with a potential investor at the exclusive Ocean Club. The meeting went exceedingly well. The Ocean Club was alive with the colours of the golf greens, the deeper greens of the fairways, the palm trees, and off in the distance was the turquoise and blue ocean.

Afterwards, I wrote some code for the IPAQ PDA until 4:30 PM. The Lovely One picked me up, and we bought some nice New York strip steaks for dinner. I got into my bathing suit and went off to golf ball reef. As an afterthought, I came back to the house for my spear and Hawaiian sling.

As I was walking down to the beach, I came upon an American penny. I tucked it into my bathing suit. At the reef, I slipped into the water and immediately found half a dozen golf balls. I went by the wall reef and looked around for a fish dinner, but there were no fish that were sizeable enough to spear.

Towards the end of my swim, I came upon a reef ledge near a sandy bottom. I took a deep breath and dove to the edge of the ledge. I held onto the ledge and peeked underneath. There was this big lobster. I grabbed a hold of him, and about this time, I was out of air.

I swam to the surface and the lobster was making a ruckus about being yanked out from under the ledge. When I let go of him, he zoomed away backwards. Instead of heading for the ledge, he was in an open wide expanse of sand about twenty feet down. I took a deep breath, dove down, lined up my spear and shot it with my Hawaiian sling.

The lobster's body with about 3/4 the length of a newspaper page. It was huge. I carried the thing home on my spear, and as I was walking up the hill from the beach, I found a brand new tee shirt, still folded on the sidewalk. Some tourist bought it, and it fell out of the beach bag on the way home. The tee shirt says "Welcome to Paradise" on it, and it is my new shirt that I wear when I am skindiving.

I broiled the lobster with the New York Strip Loin and the Lovely One and I had a fabulous surf and turf dinner. Some days, all of the luck lines up on one side, and this day was such.

Answers, Answers, and more Answers

This blog entry is a mish mash. Let me explain. I get a list of all of the search engine terms that makes people come to this blog. And you still are getting the wrong pages on this blog.

For example every few days, I get visitors who are searching on Google for "name of the house that the Lucayans lived in." The answer is a bohio. I answered this earlier, but Google is still taking visitor to the page on the Lucayan artifacts.

Every week I get a pile of people searching for "Smooth Palm Tree Trunk". Google takes them to my page on a woven palm tree trunk which is far from smooth. I don't know how to fix that, because presumably folks are looking for answers on how to smooth out a palm tree trunk.

I get a lot of Google queries for tying cabbage. I presume it means tying up the leave of the cabbage, but for some reason they end up here. I have no idea on how to tie cabbage, but instead of googling "how to tie cabbage" you may want to google "how to harvest cabbage".

And finally I am getting a lot of hits on Haitian marriage laws. They all keep getting the Haitian marriage certificate that I posted. Let me give you a hint. What you have to google is "droit civil haitien" and let google translate the page for you. Voila!

Update: If you are looking for Haitian law on marriage, follow this link

http://books.google.bs/books?id=0VWXmxCcnz0C&pg=PA326&lpg=PA326&dq=code+civil+haiti&source=bl&ots=azNmzlAjex&sig=iZcZZjsK5dPvsUr4AfoDNekfOng&hl=en&ei=rty1SdzmJpjAtgf0xLG0CQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result#PPA326,M1

I thank you for the hits for Avogadro's Ants, and Fibonacci basketweaving. That's just plain fun. Just like the pic up top. Everything on a WiFi map of the city, from ricin poison, to peanuts to an RFID card to my IPAQ and Beamer keys. Just plain fun.

Rasta Peanut Vendor Reprise

I am trying something new. I am trying photoshop manipulation to make the impact of the image stronger and sharper. This is my rasta peanut vendor from an earlier blog entry.

It was tough to get the shot. I shot it through a car window while I was stopped at a stop light. The vendor was in the shade under a huge tropical tree. The green post structure to the left of the image is a bus stop. The rasta is feeding the pigeons with peanuts. The rasta was deep in the shadows.

I snapped several photos and to be honest, I wasn't pleased with any of them. The first thing that I did was to use the sharpen filters. The pigeons were a bit out of focus.

Then I equalized the image to make the rasta stand out. Then I replaced all the heavy dark greens with a light green. I then selected the rasta and used the fill-in flash to make him even lighter. I then added the doves to the selection and inverted it so that the background was selected. I used the lightness slider on the saturation filter to lighten the background.

I then wanted the green bus stop to stand out, so I selected that part and used the equalize filter again.

The wild eyed look was fortuitous along with his cap to hide his dreadlocks.

I am still not totally pleased with this pic, but this is the first iteration.

How much does a Rasta peanut vendor make ?

Yesterday, the Lovely One needed the car at noon. On my way home from work over the bridge, was the Rasta peanut vendor selling his bags of wood-fire roasted peanuts. I grabbed a dollar bill out of my pocket, and bought a bag.

These Rasta peanut vendors ride a bicycle with big retro chopper handle bars that can carry a 40 pound bag of peanuts. They buy by bulk. The peanuts are so fresh, that they don't have a crunch to them yet. It is almost like eating a semi-dried soy bean. They roast the peanuts over coconut husks and other wood that they glean, and sell small bags of them for a dollar each.

I don't know how these Rasta guys stand the sun. Typically they are in long pants, usually cast off Dickie uniform pants worn ubiquitously by hotel staff here. They have black or dark tee shirts and usually another dark shirt on top of the tee shirt. They had their huge dreadlocks stuffed under a black woolen knitted hat, and they stand in the sun all day selling peanuts on the roads and carriageways of this tropical burg. They seem to be immune to heat.

I bought this bag of peanuts and went back to work. As I was pondering the imponderables of executed software code, I was casually munching on peanuts. I looked at the bottom of the bag, and discovered that the Rasta peanut vendor numbered all of his bags.

I had often wondered how much these guys make in a week. This number was a clue. I had bought #14 at noon. So by straight linear extrapolation, he would sell double that or roughly thirty bags a day. However at night, folks going home from work would be hungry, so lets bump that to 35 bags a day. The peanut vendor works 6 days a week, so he makes about $210 dollars a week. By contrast, our secretary earns $350 a week, which is higher than average. Secretaries make from $250-$300 per week.

So all in all, the Rasta peanut vendor doesn't do too bad. He is a self employed capitalist entrepreneur. The sun (and rain) are the only employment hazards. It must be self-sustaining, because I see peanut vendors all over town. I can just imagine them going to cocktail parties though. The opening line would be "I work for peanuts".