Jan 13 2012

Right Tool For The Job

Category: Amsterdam,Friends,Personal,WordPressChrisM @ 11:49 pm

Almost four weeks since this blog had a “proper” post on it. Since Christmas, New Year and Amsterdam all took my focus away from the blog, I tried to tweet photos or updates occasionally to keep some fresh content coming in. Anyway, back home now, though in a month or so we will all be moving back to Astana. I will try and post up the rest of Anna’s photos from last year, and also some info/pictures from the recent Amsterdam trip as soon as I can.
Before I forget, if anyone has noticed graphical glitches in the last few months, after a few WordPress core and plugin updates, please do let me know.

PDA Laptop Keyboard Right Tool For The Right Job

Anyway, I’ll be trying to use this netbook’s keyboard more often when adding to this site, and once Anna is at most one month behind in her photos, I’ll try posting Anna and Tim pictures within a week or so of them being taken. That way Ira’s family and friends can see Tim before he gets there, and once we move back to Kazakhstan, our family and friends back in the UK can keep an eye on the children in something closer to real time 🙂
When we are in Kazakhstan, Irina has some more maternity leave available, so it will be both of us looking after Tim and Anna a little longer. One possible direction to take would be me taking on more daytime work, and finding a nanny/childminder for a few days a week. The obvious field of work would be more IT based work, as this requires virtually no preparation time (beyond my normal techy-based idle research) compared to teaching English, my main other work when in Astana. Given regulations soon to come into force in Kazakhstan, I will not be able to write about some current topics of interest, but others who aren’t based in Central Asia have been doing a good job keeping people updated with links and thoughts. When fund management jobs were recently juggled around a little, KZBlog, eurasianet.org and neweurasia.net all caught some articles worth reading.
Anyway, I have not had any voice-over work since before Anna was born, and although there are definitely a lot more students who want extra lessons, the time spent preparing for each one can sometimes double time away from Anna (and now Tim). Fixing computers, installing new set ups and recovering from digital disasters also don’t require me to pay special attention to the (English) vocabulary spilling out of my mouth, lest I should pass on any bad habits to locals wanting to use English for academic or job related reasons! I just have to hope we can get a GPS sorted for our Kazakh car, as trying to find streets can take a long time in Astana, not only do you have the near gridlock achieved when traffic lights are turned off in favour of manual control, but with names actually changed fairly frequently, you want to spend your time away from home working on a errant computer, not battling against the massed 4x4s around the city!

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Dec 24 2011

Inevitable last minute Christm…

Category: Anna's Photos,TweetsChrisM @ 7:31 pm

Inevitable last minute Christmas shopping. Anna on a Flimbles ride. http://t.co/471dlgnJ

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Dec 23 2011

Xmas Eve Eve – http://t.co/lkG…

Category: Anna's Photos,Pictures,Tim's Photos,TweetsChrisM @ 5:51 pm

Xmas Eve Eve – http://t.co/lkGdNfcj http://t.co/v7bBTpIJ http://t.co/anyuovPO http://t.co/Mdvbezza http://t.co/YT3zHITa http://t.co/N5WX3cRV

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Dec 13 2011

Alt Xmas Tunes

Category: VideosChrisM @ 7:34 am

It has been a long time since I posted a Shlomo-sourced video, and Christmas hasn’t featured on this blog much, so…

Now, that Dubstep Snowman video is hiding around here somewhere. Have to go and search it out 🙂
Here it is…

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Nov 23 2010

Low res video through fly scre…

Category: TweetsChrisM @ 7:22 pm

Low res video through fly screen of Xmas lights outside Astana park. yfrog used as media service. THIS IS A TEST http://yfrog.us/6b3xqz

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Nov 20 2010

Seb’s Trance Playlist

Category: Friends,Personal,VideosChrisM @ 2:41 am

Just a very short post, passing on our friend Seb’s great YouTube Trance video playlist. Quite a few of the tracks don’t have real music videos, but I still think it is worth just letting it play in the background on another tab, as I’ve done whilst writing tonight’s posts. Thanks Seb, some of these tunes bought back great memories, and it was good to know what a few of them were actually called. We all look forward to seeing you again around Christmas time, when we will be back in the UK. Which reminds me, I need to think about updating the MP3s on my phone and thumb drives, I’m getting bored of listening to the same tracks over and over whilst walking to work…

This is the first time I’ve tried embedding a playlist from YouTube, please do leave a comment if it behaves strangely.

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Nov 19 2010

PS3 FanBoys, Look Away Now

Category: VideosChrisM @ 11:50 pm

My thanks to ChrisB for posting the following video up on Facebook. As I may have mentioned already on this site, I’m hoping to get a Kinect for Christmas. Partially for the intended use (playing games and interacting with some menus on the Xbox without using a controller), but also because I’m fascinated by the potential for other uses when the USB device is plugged into a Windows/Linux (or even a Mac I suppose!) box and drivers (already created) and applications and bodges (some already out in the wild, some currently in alpha stages) are used. Yes, the whole Minority Report-style waving your hands in the air to select and move objects around has a short term appeal to it, but just check what the guy does in the clip below. As mentioned within the comments section on the video’s native YouTube page, the possibilities of what can be done if you could use two or three Kinects around a room at the same time are very interesting.

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Nov 12 2010

Long Hair And T-Shirts

Category: Anna's Photos,FriendsChrisM @ 9:46 pm

Back on the 16th of April (a few days before my birthday) we all popped over to the Agnew’s residence, as we don’t get a lot of opportunities to catch up with each others’ news. I forgot to ask if it was OK to publish photos of our friends, so you will have to make do with just a photo of Anna and me. She is proudly wearing her “I love Wales” t-shirt, and by the looks of it, about to make a grab for something she isn’t supposed to. You may remember that last Christmas we spent Christmas Day at the Agnews, and had a great time; this year however, we will be spending Christmas and New Year back in Britain, and giving our friends a bit of piece and quiet 🙂 Looking back at these pictures, I’m still surprised at just how much Anna’s hair has grown in such a short amount of time!

Chris And Anna Merriman At The Agnews

Chris And Anna Merriman At The Agnews

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Nov 05 2010

Driving, Biking And Singing

Category: VideosChrisM @ 10:16 pm

A couple of videos that recently caught my attention on YouTube. Actually I think they came from FailBlog or another Cheezburger related site, but I prefer to giev credit to the original posters where possible, and the quality is often higher…
Anyway, here we have two drivers who truly believe they can multi-task. First we have an American driver who found that talking on the phone whilst driving just wasn’t occupying enough of his mind, so he now completes a couple of other tasks simultaneously…

Now we have a clip from New Delhi (India), where a motorcyclist shows just how laid back he is about traffic in that area. I can’t help wondering, at least a little bit, if it might be a setup, but an interesting video to watch, nonetheless.

Oh, and finally I can’t let this one slip by. I’ve not seen Sesame Street in decades, but I do like their style. Here we have Ricky Gervais singing a sweet lullaby to Elmo (the red puppet that always talks in the 3rd person). Worth sticking through the traditional beginning, and a welcome way to blank out the memory of Ricky’s “music video” in The Office Xmas Special a few years back 🙂

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Oct 21 2010

Easter Breads

Category: Anna's PhotosChrisM @ 3:04 am

The 4th of April was around Easter this year (I’m assuming that is Russian Orthodox’s date for Easter, as they still use the Julian calendar for (movable?) feast days). Anyway, it was definitely the 4th of April using the Gregorian calendar, and Anna seemed to like the day, especially when she had her very own iced Easter bread to herself. As you can tell from the photos (caviar anyone? 🙂 ), we were over at Irina’s parents’ house, and although not religious, they do celebrate Russian Christmas and Easter each year. I think that in years past people would hand decorate boiled eggs, but here they are in pretty plastic covers that I’m assuming save a lot of preparation time, meaning more Easter iced bread could be made. I know which I prefer!

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