Welcome to my blog and website, I hope you find your visit interesting.
Every human is an artist. The dream of your life is to make beautiful art.
As you might have noticed I have made some changes to my website. The obvious changes are the colors and boxes that the various text parts are in. I also updated the photo album. And the not obvious updates you cannot see, are in the code behind the web pages. I have made big changes to the code, now it is all html5 and css3. This doesn't really mean anything to you who are reading these pages, it does mean that it is easier for me to make future changes and do maintenance.
On my Chip's English Help web site I am also making a complete change, both to the front and to the back-end code. This is a big job. It wasn't supposed to be. I have tried 4 different LMSs (Learning Management Systems) but migrating my existing work into a new system has not been an easy import process. So, because of the problems that has included I have also made major changes to the lesson pages. I still hope to have the entire site completed by the end of 2018. I finally gave up on all the LMSs and am just building my own. The LMSs, with only one exception - Moodle, have terrible support. The problem with Moodle is it is simply too big and too complex for my needs. And it has one big flaw, in my opinion - it won't simply display my own pages without a large amount of modifications to make the work in the Moodle system. So, no more Moodle, no aTutor, no Chamilo, no eFront. Some of those might be fine for universities and schools, and government offices, but not for a small, personally developed site like my own Chip's English Help.
I have written about various Colombian coffee's in the past, and so far my all-time favorite is Al Amir Cafe con Cardamomo, but that is a tiny operation that only produces something like 10 or so bags (the big burlap bags) of coffee beans each season. I haven't found a website for them but here is their twitter account: https://twitter.com/cafe_AlAmir. Therefore, very few finished packages of coffee reach the local stores. I've found that coffee here in Barranquilla only once, 3 years ago. After Amir, my favorite is Dorigenn Santa Marta coffee (http://www.dorigennusa.com). It is grown in the Sierra Nevada mountains here in the Caribe region. Now I have another favorite - Café Fino Verde. This is another single origin coffee (as are the two previously mentioned). Fino Verdé is grown in the Antioquia department (similar to a province or state), in the high altitudes (about 5100 feet) of the Andes Mountains. It is a family owned business. This is an excellent smooth tasting coffee. On the package the description includes this: "Every single cup of coffee from our premium Betania selection gives a delicious taste of coffee of an intense sweet flavor with floral, cocoa, and fruity notes. Citric acidity, medium bodied, and a delightful post clean honeyed taste." Wow, okay, so most of that means nothing to me. Floral? How do flower taste? I don't know what to make of that. Fruity? I know many different fruits, and I don't taste any of them in the coffe. Cocoa? Yes, that I can detect in the flavor, and it's wonderful. Post clean honeyed taste? I have no idea what that is supposed to mean. I suppose the coffee snobs in the world understand all that, I don't. Regardless of all that, this is an excellent coffee, and if you can find it in your local area, buy some, you won't regret it.
And there is another coffee I have tried since I wrote the above paragraph - La Morelia Gourmet (http://cafelamorelia.com). It comes from the Quindío region of Colombia. This is another favorite of mine, and excellent coffee. The flavor is definitely different from the Santa Marta coffees. And I like it a lot. If I understand the website information correctly, it's written in Spanish, it is also a single origin coffee. The single farm is owned by a couple, Gilberto Torres and his wife Cecilia Valencia, and they have 3 children. The farm is located south of the town of Armenia. It can be located on google maps by searching for "Café La Morelia, Quindío, Armenia, Colombia". They are located at around the 5000feet elevation, in the Andes Mountains. So, again, if you can find this coffee in your city, you must try it.
I've added more photos into the Barranquilla/Christmas photo album.
Since I wrote the above paragraphs a couple weeks ago, this is new: As for the Chip's English Help web site I'm building - well, for reasons I won't post publicly, I am having to rewrite the entire site. This is not due to anything I have done or not done, it is the fault of another person who will remain unnamed. Problem for me is the external hard drive that had all the files I was building was destroyed. All I have are the ones that had been uploaded to the web server. Three years work, gone down the toilet (not literally). Not just the web site is gone, so is my music folder which contained about 40,000 songs of many different cultures/countries, including complete discographies of many bands, including my favorite - The Moody Blues (every band album plus every individual solo album plus videos and other songs collected from many web sites), same for the Beach Boys and The Beatles. And, my photos from many years with my wife Cheryl and our sons, all those pictures are gone. All my scanned pictures from my childhood, gone. More than 20,000 photos, gone. Also, my music, my songs, that I wrote and recorded. The original individual tracks of those 20 songs, gone. And five years of English lessons with my students, all gone. That backup external hard drive had close to 20 years of collected files. And it has been destroyed by another person. Two days before Christmas. Needless to say, I'm not happy right now.
I hope everyone reading had a great Christmas. And I hope you all have a fun and safe New Year celebration.
I have uploaded many pictures to the photo album - look in the Colombia folder for the new folders called Puerto Colombia and also Usiacuri, and also a folder called Misc Pics. Puerto Colombia is a small town just outside of Barranquilla. It has the remains of a very old pier, which was the longest pier on the Caribe coast, at something like 1 kilometer. Then a couple years ago during some very high winds part of the pier was destroyed. You can see me on the pier, or what's left of it, and in the distance you can see the end of the pier. There is a move to get funding to restore the pier. Usiacuri is a very small town (village) about 25 kilometers outside of Barranquilla.
The Tour de France came to its conclusion today, and it was a very good tour, with many photo finishes. This years edition covered 3,540km (2,200-mile) and included starting in Germany, then the riders visited Belgium and Luxembourg before heading into France. The race started with 198 riders, and finished with 31 riders retiring before the final stage. The retirements including such big name favorites as Alejandro Valverde, Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish, Thomas Geraint, Richie Port, Mark Renshaw, and Marcel Kittel. My short review here is centered on the Colombian riders partaking in this years Tour.
This Tour was the first Tour de France my wife has ever watched. And with the Colombian riders doing well she had plenty to get excited about. And she did get excited, jumping, yelling at the other cyclists on TV, it was very entertaining just watching her watch her first Tour.
In other aspects of my life, in teaching English, I have new students and a full schedule. I have a husband-wife couple as students, and they are beginners, another business owner looking to expand her business into the USA, and a woman running the local office of a foundation (Stand By Me headquartered in England) that has a school for underprivileged children in a village in the mountains.