Well, this is who I was supposed to be, people magazine's sexist man alive. Hollywood just cracks me up sometimes. Since we were dressing up as characters, I decided a haircut was finally in order. So I took my wife's people magazine to Great Clips, and told the hairdress to give me "The Jude Law." She asked if I wanted my hair dyed too, but I didn't think that would be necessary.

This was the first Oscar party I have been to, and I have to say it was fun. I didn't expect to like the show very much, but I really like spending time with friends. Getting to see everyone dressed up was worth it, and the awards weren't too bad. I'll admit it was more exciting than the superbowl. Oh, and I got to try Cory's mead, which was great!

I can't wait to get the photos of Katie. She was the perfect Phantom of the Opera.

And here is a photo of me posing like Jude in the November 29th, 2004 People Magazine. I wish I had the magazine with me for the Oscar night, I could have posed much better. Oh well, enjoy.
Often it is the little things in a relationship that add up to give you the feeling that you are really loved. Husbands and wives know this, as do boyfriends and girlfriends. I know that I can't neglet my wife, and then do something big to try and make it up. Conversely it is all the little things that she does that makes me feel loved. Things like patiently sitting through the movies that I pick out. (I usually really like them, but she rarely does. Well, I guess she liked El Mariachi alright.) Or like how she always says good-bye to me in the morning with a kiss. It all adds up.

I think it is the same way sometimes with God. Now he has done the biggest thing: dying for my sins, and restoring our relationship. Even though that would be more than enough for me to feel loved, he doens't stop with that. Sometimes I just have to stop and admire a beautiful day, or the birds, or the river on my walk back to work from school.

The thing that got me thinking about this was a little thing that happened to me today. I had to come into work today to make up a few hours, and since the courthouse isn't open on Saturdays, my office was locked. Well, I opened the door with my key, left it locked, and sat down at my computer. A few minutes later, I went out the back door into the break room to make a couple of burritos. Then I realized that I left my keys on my desk. Crap! I was locked out. This is so annoying, I'd have to try and find someone to let me back in, and if I couldn't I wouldn't be able to get any work done or even drive home.

I walked around to the front of the office as I was calculating all the senarios, and opened the front door to the office. It was locked, but somehow it didn't shut all the way. Nice. Thanks God! It's the little things.
If you still don't have a gmail account, and would like one, send me an email or post a comment, and I will send you an invitation.

In case you haven't heard about gmail, it is Google's free web-based email. You get 1 GB of storage space (that's about 1000 MB), or four times as much space as hotmail. Also, it has a really nice interface, and no annoying flash ads. Personally, I really like it. You can read more here.

Oh yeah, and you can search your email like you search Google.
Andrew posted the Mexico photos on his server. Check them out and leave comments right on each photo here.
Every week Rocky names someone in the Bible, and Jess and I each make a joke involving that person. So here is last week's:

Q: If your kitchen is Methodist, and your living room is Lutheran, what is the john?

A: Baptist!
Test your US Geography, and try to beat my score!

Click here.

Dan is now famous around the University of Montana campus.

He randomly appears on the UM Homepage, or you can find the article here.
Happy 31st to my wonderful wife!

Я люблю мою жену.
We left the hotel in El Paso around nine I think. We had a lot planned for the day, since we wanted to get to Cuauhtémoc that evening. Our first stop was the Mexican insurance place. After giving them all the information they needed, we found out that we couldn’t pay with the VISA, so we went for a little walk around town to find an ATM. It was harder than you would think, but we saw a tall bank from the distance so we headed that way. I was surprised. Walking around El Paso, you would think that you were already in Mexico. There were streets with all the store fronts written in Spanish, and most of the people looked Mexican. There really is a lot of culture in the United States.

After paying for the insurance, we found a border crossing and drove into Juarez. Getting through Juarez was surprisingly easy, and before long we were on the highway. We had to stop somewhere around fifty miles into the country to go through customs. It’s kind of funny that they don’t have it on the border, but I guess it’s near the border.

Going through customs was an experience. I’m glad we had Dan with us, since he had been through it before and knew what to do. Everything was in Spanish. There were no signs in English. The only thing in English was one paper that we had to fill out. I think U.S. customs is a little bit different. I seem to remember seeing signs with four or five languages written on them. We had to get visas and a temporary import permit for the car. We had to pay for the temporary import permit there, but you have to go to a bank within a couple days and pay for the visas. Weird. Once we got the paperwork done we had to drive through a checkpoint. The guard only spoke Spanish with us, and he was hard to understand because he had a pretty thick accent. I think he was messing with us. He asked us if we spoke Spanish, and then if we spoke Japanese or French. I wish he would have asked if we spoke Russian or Chinese. Dan and I could have had some fun with him. It’s probably better that he didn’t.

After the two-hour or so delay going through customs we were back on the highway. It was nice; much nicer than I expected Mexican roads to be. It was about like an interstate here in the U.S. We were driving on what they called the Ruta de Paizanos. Paizanos are Mexicans who Emigrated to the U.S., and are coming back to visit. There was a brochure for them at customs with a forward from Vicente Fox and everything. I think they are an important part of the Mexican economy, but I’m not an economist.

Before getting to Chihuahua, we stopped at a road-side burrito and Quesadilla stand. Man that was some good Mexican food.

We had hoped to get to Cuauhtémoc by six p.m., because Dan says the police stop patrolling the highways at six, and we didn’t want to be targets for bandits. We didn’t even reach Chihuahua by six, but I think it was okay. We were on toll roads, and before we left Luis at Fiesta en Jalisco (the Mexican restaurant in Missoula) told me that it’s not like it used to be. It is much safer to drive in Mexico nowadays.

Driving through Chihuahua was as surprisingly easy, and even easier than driving through Juarez. We were on the highway the whole time. It wasn’t like that the last two years Dan had come down. There were all kinds of businesses there that you see in the U.S. like Home Depot.

I forget what time we got into Cuauhtémoc that evening. I think it was around eleven, but we went to the Hotel San Francisco. We got a room with three double beds and three breakfasts for around $20 a night. It was another long, but good day. We decided to call Mike the Missionary in the morning, and just crash for the evening.

Well, we got in another game of Russian Scrabble the other night. Jess wasn't able to play this time, so it was just Jamey, Tim, and I. Tim was in my Russian class last semester. He's a pretty cool guy, and this was the first time he came to play. We keep trying to get his girlfiend to come play with us. She speaks Russian because she is from Belarus.

The Florence hotel lobby is a really cool place to play. I think it is relatively unknown. The hotel was built way back in the 1800s, but burnt down in 1937. Then they rebuilt it, and recently they just renovated it again. It is a pretty classy place, and they sell coffee. However I think the coffee stand closes at five or something. So it wasn't open while were there from eight to ten. I don't think we would have normally been able to get into the lobby, but there was someone cleaning the glass doors, and she let us in.

Later on, Jess stopped by with her friend Beth. Just to say hi for a couple of minutes. Overall, it was a pretty cool evening in a pretty neat place.

And now for some more Russian-Spanish cognates (sorry these might not be as interesting):
  папа = papa
  мама = mama
  интересный = interesante
Okay, well someone is named The Skirt,
Twice called Dress, but her feelings weren't hurt.
She knew how to make rhymes,
And read them sometimes.
And when Katie left town she drove Mert.

If you want to ask someone when he was born, you say "В каком году ты родился?" If you want to ask a girl you say "В каком году ты родилась?" Translated more literally it is, "In which year were you born?"

Note that you use prepositional case here with В, and that год goes to году in prepostional case.

When answering, you need to use masculine ordinal numbers in prepositional case. So to say you were born in 1979 you would say, "Я родился в тысяча девятьсот семьдесят девятом году." This is like saying "I was born in the one thousand, nine hundred, seventy nineth year."

Я родился в тысяча девятьсот семьдесят девятом году. В каком году ты родился?

And now for Russian-Spanish cognates.

Here is the false cognate of the day:
  собор ≠ sabor
  собор = catedral

And a real cognate:
  симпатичный = simpático

Note that neither симпатичный nor simpático mean sympathetic in English.
Well, so the last poem wasn't technically a limerick. Here is a rehashed version:

There once was a woman named Jess.
Whose real name was Spanish for dress.
Well, she could speak Slovak,
And thought that gypsies rock.
In Europe, Greta she did bless.
Happy Birthday Katie!

That's my wife Shannon on the right.
There once was a girl named Jess,
Who went by the name of Dress.
She happened to speak Slovak,
And thought Gypsies rock,
And so she saw Gretta each year.

Well, it was a good first day. It was a bit longer than we had hoped, but still not bad. We got up early, like eight or something, and our goal was to make it to El Paso or Juarez. We kind of wanted to stay the night in Mexico, so we were hoping to make it to Juarez. The travel book of Dan’s said that most people would remain oblivious to the drug trade that was going on all around them in Juarez, but listed a few hotels with “a professional” staff. I guess that was a good thing.

We remembered to take that right back at Albuquerque, but around a town called Los Lunas the brakes started to make an awful noise. It began to happen just when you would brake, but before too long it was happening even when the brakes weren’t on. I thought that it was probably that the brake pads were worn, and the little squeak bar was rubbing on the rotor, so we decided to stop and check it out. It was about six o’clock and we didn’t see a Midas or anything, so we just found the local AutoZone, and worked on it in the parking lot. This was kind of annoying, but these things happen. I just hoped that it wasn’t going to take too much time that we could otherwise be spending in Mexico.

After buying new brakes and some tools that we would need, we jacked up the front driver’s side. I broke off a couple of the lug bolts before I managed to remove the wheel. (Stupid mechanics with air guns) Sure enough the brakes were shot, but Andrew had just got them replaced a couple years ago. Brakes don’t wear out that quick, do they? Well, no they don’t. The brake caliper was seized, and the brakes were being applied all the time on that wheel, so they wore out prematurely. The other side was fine. Thanks to the fine team at AutoZone we figured that one out. Luckily they had a caliper for the Gallant in stock too. So we bought it and some jack stands, and we borrowed some Vise Grip pliers to pinch off the brake line. Oh yeah, and some new lug bolts.

After only three hours, we had the car back together, and we were ready to roll. We bought the guys at AutoZone a six pack of Corona, for all their help. They had even offered to stay after the store closed.

We made it to El Paso at around two a.m. We would have crossed over to Juarez, but we couldn’t find an insurance place open that late. I had heard there we some, we just couldn’t find any. So we found a hotel in El Paso, and crashed for the night. It was another long day, and I still had that annoying cold I left Montana with, but the border was right across town. We were all excited.

Sure you could buy a Russian Scrabble board off of ebay if you're patient, and want to drop thirty bucks on a cardboard game. A much better option is to build one yourself out of wood, and have Jamey paint it with her mad skills.

I found out which letters we would need here. Then I cut them from a strip of oak, sanded them, and gave them to Jamey to paint. Then, I just put together a board mostly from some left over lumber, and gave that to Jamey to paint too. A couple of days later, we were playing.

We tested out this beautiful board last Wednesday in a no-points game, and it worked great. Of the seven people who where interested in playing, Jess, Jamey, and I were the only ones to show up. We each laid down a word almost every turn. Of course, we were playing with racks of nine letters to make it a little easier, but still.