Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Acupuncture

My friend Alex opened his own acupuncture practice in Vero. It's called 5 Seasons Acupuncture, located at 1928 14th Avenue, (772) 539-0240. I went in to check out the place and it was a slow day, so he offered to put some needles in me. I've never been acupunctured before. It was a little weird. I couldn't even feel the one on the top of my head, but the other ones all felt a little different. Going in, it doesn't hurt but it does feel strange. My left side felt like my right side which apparently means I'm in balance or something.

After you get the solid metal pins put in you (you know I hate needles), you lay there for a while and relax. I felt all kinds of different sensations all over my body, not just where the pins were. You should check it out if you're interested. If in Vero, go see Alex.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

FSU Triathlon Sponsorship

If you didn't already know, I'm the new treasurer for the FSU triathlon club. I want to get some sponsors. I'm thinking of asking: Budweiser (PBR as a fallback), GU, Oakley, Moe's, Sunshine Cycles, Timex, Publix. Any other ideas?

We're going to put our sponsors' logos on our uniforms which we'll be wearing for about 15 races this year. We're hosting 2 races and we can put sponsor stuff in the packets and hang banners with their logos. We can link to them on our website. I don't know what else the team can offer the sponsors (except lots of business for the local bike shop). PLEASE let me know if you have any ideas.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Goal Setting

They say that if your goals are specific, attainable but challenging, and written down, then you'll be more likely to achieve them. I'm not sure why the written part matters...maybe it's to keep you reminded of the goal and/or make it tangible. Anyway, here are some of my physical goals for 2008:

Be able to:
Swim 2.4 miles nonstop (preferably not in a pool!)
Bike 112 miles nonstop
Run 26.2 miles nonstop (preferably at a race)
Get flexible again...enough to touch my head to my knees when I "hang it down" and both my knees and head to the ground while doing the quad stretch.

I think these goals meet the above criteria. Let's see if it happens.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Earth Machine

Today I went to a sale of the Earth Machine in the mall parking lot. They had a semi trailer full of these things. The sale was from 8am-5pm. I got there around 7:20 upon recommendation from veterans of this sale. There is a huge line that forms.

Why so many people? Maybe it's because Tallahassee only has one of these sales per year. I think it's because these Earth Machines are being sold for $30 when their market value is about $100.

Black Light on that Money

I had my black light on last night and saw something weird on a $20 bill. I looked closer and the strip that's in the middle that says USA TWENTY glows under a black light! It's green! I wondered if the other strips glowed. Of course, I had to find out. The 10 is orange and the 5 is blue!

Tonight I traded a couple bills for a 50 and it's yellow! I wonder what color the 100 is. 3 cool points to the first person to post what color the strip in the $100 bill glows under a black light.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Some Serious Snoozing

Normally, I can tell at which point in the semester I am by how many times I hit the snooze button. At the beginning of the semester, I'm bright eyed and bushy tailed when the alarm goes off (except for mornings after special nights). As the semester wears on, I start to hit the snooze more times and more frequently. Near the end of the semester, it's almost impossible to make myself get up.

This semester was a little easier to ditch the snooze problem. One main factor was probably that my earliest classes were at 12:30 or 2:30 (10am on Friday). I love being able to sleep past noon on a school day without ditching class.

Over the summer, I have an 11am start time. That shouldn't be too bad. I hope that the snoozing doesn't start until at least halfway through the summer.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Local Businesses to Patronize

There are some local businesses that I patronize at the expense of all other businesses in that industry. Even though I have to pay a little more, I get quality service and the ability to communicate with the people I'm dealing with. Also, it keeps money in the local economy.
Here is a list, consider it an endorsement/recommendation, off the top of my head (I'm sure I'm missing a few...will update post as I remember some):

Vero:
Midcoast Tire - new tires, balances, rotations, alignments
Indian River Battery - car batteries
Don's Import Auto Service - mechanic
Ay! Jalisco - mexican food (not many alternatives in Vero...I guess you could go to their other location)
The Trading Post - get some gas
Indian River Office Center - they carry stuff the big chains don't have. I hear Elanor retired...sad.
Giorgio's Pizza - check it out.


Tallahassee:
University Cycles - all my mountain bike needs
Sunshine Cycles - all my road bike needs
La Hacienda II - mexican food (sometimes I'll go to Tapatío). most of the other mexican food in Tally sucks.
Decent Pizza - best in town
Marcone Appliance Parts - just found out about them when I needed a new ice maker. Very friendly and efficient. I'll go back if I need anything else.
Shaw's Running Store - he also has tennis stuff. He'll fit you into some shoes that are right for you.
Liquor Loft - Spacious and clean. Professional. I wish they were open later sometimes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Una Broma Mía

Acabo de crear esta broma siguiente...es para decirselo a los españoles...

¿Cuál es la bebida preferida de Japón?

-Zumo (Sumo)

THC

I've been getting a lot of questions lately about where I did my undergrad. I think I'll take this opportunity to talk about the wonders of the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University on the John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter, FL. (aka The Honors College, THC or the HC).

Basically, the HC will prepare you for graduate school. It's all honors classes with all honors students. There are policies that might be considered drawbacks (living on campus required, meal plan required), but they aren't so bad. There is (was when I was there) a great social network where everybody hung out with everyone else.

You get individualized attention from your professors (who ALL hold a terminal degree in their field) and there are small class sizes. The professors will all meet with you during their office hours or any other time if you can't meet then. The administration is willing to work with you. For instance, I wanted to take 3 classes that were offered concurrently for the Fall 2005 semester. I spoke with some people and they shuffled the class schedule so that I could take 2 of the 3 instead of only one. In the chemistry department, we got to use machines that undergrads hardly ever get to touch.

Overall, the HC was the only place I applied and if I had to do it all over again, it would still be the only place I'd go. I would turn down admission to Harvard to go to the HC (unless Harvard offered me a full ride).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Train How I Race

I thought this was appropriate to share with my readers after my race on Saturday. Also, I just found out how easy it is to add videos and I might start playing with adding videos to my blog on a semi-regular basis.

Pick #73

Smashing Pumpkins - "Tonight, Tonight" from the best selling double album in the world, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Collegiate Nationals Followup

To the best of my recollection, USAT's Collegiate Nationals race this weekend was the first national level competition that I've been a part of. I was able to meet my goal (see previous post) and I finished in 2:28:13. The breakdown of times was:
Swim: 30:19 (didn't beat my goal of 30 minutes, but I might have if I didn't have to deal with the other people beating me up and getting in my way)
T1: 2:55 (my champion chip came out from under my wet suit in the swim and I was waiting for someone to rip it off my ankle...anyway, it made it hard to get that leg of my wet suit over the chip!!)
Bike: 1:10:28
T2: 1:56
Run: 42:38

I know the transition times look slow, but the overall winner's times were:
T1: 1:11
T2: 0:45

The hills were good for me...There was nothing harder than the Hartsfield/High ride. I passed a bunch of people on the hills. I didn't get to see many team mates since we started in so many different waves.

The average time for graduate students was 2:32:07, so I guess I was just a little better than average. I think that if I hadn't broken my wrists, I could have gone about 10 minutes faster since I wouldn't have lost all of my base. It would also have been nice to start before the 9th out of 10 waves. I guess now I have an Olympic Distance time to submit for my next seeding and I won't get put at the back of the pack.

Next triathlon that I think I'm doing is Emerald Coast on May 31. Let me know if you want to go.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Collegiate Nationals

I'm off to Collegiate Nationals Triathlon and I don't know if I'll have internet access before Sunday. The race is the biggest I've ever done, both in terms of distance and number of participants. There will be 1,000 student athletes representing their schools over the course of an olympic distance triathlon which is:
swim 1500m (a mile is 1609m)
bike 40km (about 25 miles)
run 10k (about 6.2 miles)

Wish me luck. The race starts Saturday at 7am (but I start at 7:32 because the swim goes in waves & I'm a slow swimmer). My original goal (last semester) was to finish in about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Since breaking my wrists and not training so hard because of school work etc., I've decided that I'll be happy if I break 2:30.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Power of Programming

I have a research assistant position now where I am currently merging lots of (big) data sets. At first, I was learning how to merge data from one file into another file. As I progressed, I needed to merge info from 67 tiny files into 1 big master set (and repeat that process for a couple big master sets...after that's complete, merge info from another different 67 data sets into the augmented original). This would have taken forever by hand, but by programming Stata, I'm able to run this through the computer in a couple hours.

The coolest part about it is that I can start the computer on number crunching before I go to class, it works while I'm in class (doesn't that mean that I'm working too?) and it's (close to) done when I get back. I also eliminate the possibility of forgetting to merge one of them in by hand. High five for technology.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

WWID for a Klondike Bar

OK, honestly, Klondike bars aren't that good.

Here are examples of things I would do for a Klondike bar:
pay up to $1.00
eat another Klondike bar
hold my hand in ice water for a minute
run a mile (or 3)
agree to be in a commercial
eat it in a walk-in freezer
wear a silly hat
write a blog post about Klondike bars

Here are examples of things I would not do for a Klondike bar:
club a baby seal
ingest excrement
play trivial pursuit
wrestle an alligator
take a shot of gin
enroll in a biodiversity class

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Soñar con español

A veces, es difícil recordar los sueños al despertar. A mi, me gusta bastante cuando recuerdo el hecho que he soñado con español la noche anterior. Hoy en día, no creo que sueña tanto en castellano como antes. Con la frase anterior, quiero decir durante la epoca en la cual estaba en España o el Ecuador o matriculado en cursos del idioma. Parece que se me ocurran con más frecuencia después de escuchar mucha música en español o ver programación en este idioma.

Se dice que cuando sueñes con un idioma, sabes bien lo que has aprendido. Lamento que no uso mis mañas del castellano con más frecuencia. Algunas veces, tengo pesadillas en cuales hago errores en conjugar los verbos o usar vocabulario equivocado...pero sé que son errores y autocorrecto.

Qué sueñes con su idoma más extranjero.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Birthday Presents to Myself

Yesterday, I was halfway done mowing my back yard when my mower decided to stop working. Out of nowhere. I mean, it started first pull and everything. I checked if something was stuck underneath (no), if I was out of gas (no), if the air filter was obstructed (yes). I fixed the air filter. That didn't fix my problem. I check for spark. No spark in the plug. I went to check for spark between the cable and the plug by unhooking it. The mower worked when the cable was unhooked. Weird. It was temperamental. I got frustrated. Gave up.

Today on my way home from school, I stopped by AutoZone and picked up a $3 spark plug, hoping it would fix the problem. It did. Hooray. I also bought a 13/16 spark plug socket (with a magnetic base...fancy) for $7. I think I might get myself another birthday present: a holster for my pistol. I don't know if I want a shoulder strap or a hip holster. Maybe I'll have to browse.

Water Fountains

Water fountains are gross. I don't drink out of them unless I'm really thirsty and there aren't any other feasible alternatives.

They just installed a new water fountain across from my office. I guess it's not so gross since it was just installed & it's at a college campus. I think that park- and elementary school-water fountains are probably the grossest. If there was a water fountain in a 5-star hotel, it would probably not be that gross. I think the ick factor comes from kids putting their mouths on it or slobbering all over the place where the water comes out. If I had a water fountain in my house, I'd totally use it. In fact, my little brother has 2 water fountains now and is thinking about hooking one up at our house in Vero. That would be pretty unique.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pick #71

Brand New - "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad" from Your Favorite Weapon

I Know What You Like

You can tell what people's hobbies are not only by how much time they spend on them, but also by how much money. It's almost a measure of how much they plan on using the equipment. If you're a serious carpenter, you'll have more than one kind of hammer. I'm going to focus on sports.

I play tennis in running shoes, running shorts, and a t-shirt. I play volleyball (and swim) in board shorts. I recently started wearing a swim cap for swimming. I have 2 pair of goggles, thanks to Camille. One is comfortable but sometimes leaks, so the other (never-leaky) is for races. I am pretty into this triathlon thing now. I bought a bike for $550 then all kinds of accessories (who knows how much money!). I just bought a triathlon wetsuit (not to be confused with a surfing wetsuit) and got to wear it for Saturday's race. I got elastic shoelaces for T2. I have a couple pair of running shoes and a couple pair of race shoes. I've been willing to trade away my money to get these goods.

However, when I do other sports, I'm a little stingier. I didn't buy my own softball bat the last couple times I played. I use my old baseball glove/other equipment to play softball. I did have to get a couple softballs. I use my tennis racket for tennis and racquetball. I have two volleyballs. When I was playing soccer more, though, I bought cleats, shin guards, a ball, socks.

Away from sports: some people spend a lot on their computers or electronics. Others have thousands of dollars worth of (comic) books in their room. Some people trick out their car. Other people spend a lot of money on tools for their cars (which probably saves them money later). Basically, every hobby has some super-specialized equipment that has cheaper (but less technical) substitutes. When people start buying model airplane glue instead of using superglue, they're getting pretty into it. Watch your purchases to figure out what you're into these days.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Red Hills Results

1:21:48
28th/258 overall
3rd in my age group
4th for FSU
10:03 swim (1/3 mi)
1:37 T1 (with wetsuit)
47:50 bike (16 mi)
1:09 T2
21:08 run (5k)


I would have placed 4th in the collegiate division, but they somehow had me down as an age grouper. I took all the turns on the bike really slowly since it was wet and I am still a little skittish of right hand turns. I felt like I was going 3mph on the bike (I averaged only about 20mph) and didn't totally rock out the hills. There weren't many people in front of me and that was pretty awesome. When I came in to T2, there were hardly any bikes racked. I had to stop during the first quarter mile of the 5k to stretch my calf muscles. That made me lose some dude in a UF jersey :(. Overall, I didn't go as much faster than last year as I wanted (I was looking for a 1:18 time) but the course was slow for everybody. Results are up at the Red Hills Triathlon website.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Error: Title Does Not Uniquely Identify Blog

I ran a Google search for "Blah Blah Blog" and it returned about 287,000 results. I came up with the name all on my own. I wonder how many of the others did versus how many of them were copycats. Mine isn't even on the first 16 pages of the Google results. I quit searching. Maybe it has something to do with my relatively low readership.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Fridge

My brother brought a fridge leftover from my Uncle's house when he came to visit me. I cleaned it up and replaced my old fridge with it. The only problem is that the ice maker in the new fridge didn't work. We looked at it and tried to troubleshoot. We deduced that the only thing broken is the ejector (the plastic piece that spins around and spits the frozen cubes out of the mold). Unfortunately, it's an electronic ice maker and neither of us knows how to fix crap on a circuit board. That means I had to get a new ice maker. The ice maker alone was $163 or I could get a kit that has everything you need to install an ice maker in a fridge that doesn't already have one for $103. WTF? I bought the kit. Now it makes ice. I need to get rid of my old fridge...do you need one? Let me know.

Fair Tax

I'm writing a paper right now, the topic of which is Taxation in Theory and in Practice. I decided to write on the Fair Tax. Over the course of reading up on it, I think it's a cool idea that won't get the support of any politicians. If the citizens want it, they're going to have to band together and demand it.

Basically, the Fair Tax is a 23% sales tax on all new goods and services which will replace all other Federal taxes. Note: you don't pay any tax on used goods (or used services???). The website will be more than happy to give you a laundry list of the benefits the Fair Tax will give our country. I read a good portion of the material on the website and decided to put my name on the petition to give "full consideration and debate on the floor of the House of Representatives and Senate" to the Fair Tax legislation. They need 100,000 signatures on the petition and currently have about 70,000. I don't think they'll reach their goal by April 15. Anyway, I figure that there's no good reason to keep it from being talked about on the floor of Congress.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Tri Wetsuit

I got a Quintana Roo Ultrafull triathlon wetsuit from trisports.com. Size MS if you couldn't have guessed. Anyway, I took it out for a test (drive? run? swim.) today at the FSU Rez. I had to swim in the designated swim area. I busted the crap out of my right pinky on a dock that protruded from the boundary rope...I think they should move the rope in a little bit. Maybe I should learn to spot better.

Anyway, I felt really fast in the suit. I floated pretty easily. I even got my feet to poke out of the water in a lake! I practiced my entry/exit from the lake and those cool corkscrew 90° turns.