Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Calorie Bank

I've been living at home (aka the "Gingerbread House") and not doing a whole lot of exercise because I was a little bit sick. I've been eating lots of food, and much of it has been junk food. I have made lots of deposits in the calorie bank without making a whole lot of withdraws. I might be getting a little fatter. I think that's how it works...your deposits in the calorie bank build up in the form of fat over time and you can withdraw against that fat when you aren't eating as many calories as you're burning.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Switched from Motorola to a PrimeCo Phone

Like Lil Troy, I'd like to be a baller, and to that end, I'm switching away from my Motorola phone. Since PrimeCo's not around any longer, I'm getting an HTC Hero phone with Google Android. Should pick it up tomorrow. I'll give an update about how I like it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pick #169

Jake Owen - "You Can Thank Dixie" from Startin' With Me

In Vero so long that I had to show a little bit of local love.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another Hammock on the Block

I used to tell people that once on my street, they can identify my house by the hammock in the front yard. I guess I'll have to start telling them it's the one with the black hammock out front because I saw that someone else has put up a white one.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sweet Periodic Table

There's a periodic table of the elements at http://ptable.com that gives you way more information in a really sweet way than a printed table would be able to give. All you nerds should check it out.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pick #167

Rufus Wainwright - "Hallelujah" from Singles

I'm told that Leonard Cohen wrote this song, but Rufus does my favorite rendition.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Forgive the Inexcusable

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life - to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son - how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it means to refuse God's mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.

-C.S. Lewis

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alive Again Video

By Sarah Mac Band at their CD release party for "I'm Not Scared" at the Submarine in Thomasville, GA on 11-14-09.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dexter's Folly (Last Night)

Dexter fans: this post references last night's episode. If you haven't seen it, you may want to wait to read this.

First, I noticed a filming error. When Dexter's going through one of the empty houses, you can see a face in the bottom left corner of a set of jalousie windows. I thought that someone was watching him, but it's part of the film crew.

Now for the mistake Dexter made: he should have taken care of Trinity after hitting him with the shovel. When Trinity was on the ground, Dexter should have injected him with that sodium-whatever-it-is that he keeps in his syringe. Even though the little boy was sinking in the concrete, there was no chance that the concrete would have set up any harder during the time it would have taken Dexter to incapacitate Trinity. Dexter would still be able to rescue the boy and he would have had the opportunity to kill Trinity that same night.

Maybe they had to write that kind of mistake into the show to set up the final two episodes, but I don't think that Dexter's character should have gone for the boy first. Maybe this is part of his changing as a result of having children himself, but the old Dexter would definitely have taken care of business with Trinity first...especially because he knows that a new kill cycle is just being started with the boy, so there are 3 more people in immediate danger. Bad Dexter.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pub Run

Yeah, pub runs are great. You get some friends together and run from one bar to another. Take turns buying pitchers and take it all in. The event itself is only part of the experience. There's also the anticipation: "hey, are you doing the pub run on Saturday??" and the post-event: "man, that was so cool when those kids on bikes followed us to the next bar."

I've always wanted to do a pub run race. Teams of 3 or 4. At each stop, each team has to consume one pitcher and every teammate has to down at least one glass. The team can't leave to go to the next pub until everyone on the team has finished the beer. Ironically, I think that the experience wouldn't be as pleasant if they were races like the beer mile. What really gets to you when you combine drinking and running is speed. You don't want to drink too fast and you don't want to run too fast. Drinking too fast makes it slosh around in your stomach when you run. Running too fast makes it slosh around in your stomach. There's also the increased chance of hurting yourself. And one last problem with a competitive pub run: finding enough people down to do such a thing to themselves. It's way easier to throw together a friendly pub run.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Road ID Firefly Supernova

I just got a Firefly Supernova by Road ID. Mine's blue. It's tinier than I imagined. I clipped it to my backpack for my ride home tonight. I still want to test it out running. I wonder if it will bounce and annoy me.

I'm always curious how I look (how visible I am) on my bike at night. I really want to get in my car and watch someone else ride my bike. Anyway, tonight I settled for dropping my backpack at my driveway, facing down the road. Then I rode my bike to the end of my road and I could still see the flashing light. Road ID claims that you can see the light from up to a mile away...that might be a little far fetched or under perfect conditions or something. This light was still very visible from a quarter mile away. The light is supposed to be omni-directional, meaning it doesn't matter which direction it's facing - you'll still see it from any side. I pushed my backpack over and looked at the light coming out of the side of the Supernova and it was not nearly as bright. You could only see it faintly at about 100 meters.

I'll see how well it holds up...it's supposed to be waterproof down to 300 feet (a light like this would be sweet in low-vis water). It's small enough that I can keep it in my backpack. The packaging says that there's a bike mount for it, but I can't find one on roadid.com. If I like it, I'll probably get another one or 3 of them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tri the Rez Recap

Alright, Saturday was the big day. No, not the Great Floridian iron-distance race...not my Granny's 80th b-day...but Tri the Rez. We had packet pickup on Friday and it's a good thing so many people came to get their stuff early because we had a chance to learn what we were supposed to do and it made packet pickup on race morning easier.

We ran into a few snags before the race started. For instance, I realized that I didn't have a lead-out vehicle for the bike. Also, we weren't able to get on Lost Lake Road to mark the pot holes and the turns until 8am (right when the race starts). We were short staffed on volunteers and had to reassign people from one job to another (e.g. body markers became intersection people on the bike course). A couple other snags: didn't have water at the finish line for about the first 60 finishers, didn't have run course marked on the ground which led to 3 runners making a wrong turn and getting DQ'd and I feel responsible (but I gave them awards anyway because they would have won their age groups even if they hadn't accidentally cut the course...and free entry to next year's race since I thought that was fair). I also hear that there was a bit of a bump coming out of the water on to the boat ramp...maybe we'll come up the beach next year...

Overall, I got lots of positive feedback from participants and spectators. I think I did a pretty good job of throwing things together in the 3 months that I had in which to do so. Most everything ran according to plan and ahead of schedule on race day. I think the missing markings on the run course were the worst part of the day, so that's not too bad. There was someone who was having trouble breathing in the swim and the Rez lifeguards did a great job getting him out of the water and into the hands of the FSU First Responder Unit who did a great job of taking care of the situation. The FHP did an excellent job of managing traffic on the bike course (so I'm told...I never got to see the bike in action). I think people liked the awards and there was a good deal of door prizes for the size of the race. Results were posted online before I got back home!

Looking forward to next year...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Zit Popping

The coolest way to pop a zit (or bug bite) is definitely to pull out a hair that's growing through the bump.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pick #163

Old Crow Medicine Show - "Alabama High-Test" from Tennessee Pusher

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Buckle Up Bumper Stickers

I've wondered why people put bumper stickers on their car which are supposed to encourage other motorists to wear their seat belts. One driver shouldn't want other drivers to buckle up due to the moral hazard problem. People will drive safer if they don't have a seat belt. Steven Landsburg proposes that roads would be the safest if there was a spear coming out of each person's steering wheel pointed straight at their heart. Taking away the spear and putting on a seat belt gives you a sort of license to drive more carelessly. You should want to be the only driver on the road with a seat belt.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Red Cote

No, not lobsterbacks...Butler GUM Red Cote Disclosing Tablets are Sudafed-sized chewable tablets that you use to see where you did a bad job of brushing your teeth. I discovered some in the drawer at my family's house over the weekend and decided to try one after brushing. I was surprised at how much I missed (even considering I was using a crappy travel toothbrush). The cool thing is that you can make sure your mouth is squeaky clean before retiring for the evening.

I took a couple of these tablets back with me to Tally. I decided to try one tonight after using my Sonicare. Still missed some spots...most of them were spots I know that I have a hard time getting so I've already started giving those areas special attention after regular brushing. I guess next time I should brush, floss, and use my Sulcabrush (maybe even mouthwash?) before chewing a tablet and see how good I do when I go the whole 9 yards.

It's been quite some time since I checked up on myself after brushing. When was the last time you did? It might be kinda cool to check it out and see what you routinely miss after completing your oral hygiene routine.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

feeDuck


This is a duck outside the Anchor Inn in Lantana, FL. Picture taken after dark tonight without the high ISO setting on my camera...I think it was on "twilight portrait" mode...whatever that means...I think it means you need a tripod because the shutter's open for 2 seconds. There are 2 ducks in the picture. It's currently my desktop background. It'll fit 16:9 monitors.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

An? Historic

Alright, I've heard it a billion and a half times (that's (1.0 x 10^9) + 0.5) in the past year. Some people say "an" historic and others say "a" historic usually followed by the word "election." Here's the deal: "a" comes before consonants and "an" comes before vowels...well, it's not quite that simple or people'd never make the "an" historic mistake. You see, "a" comes before consonant sounds and "an" comes before vowel sounds. So, in order to pull of saying "an" historic, you should pronounce historic like you're British...namely, omitting the "h" sound at the beginning and saying "iss-toric." Please and thank you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

More Like 24 Flavors

Someone in the DH @ THC sat down with a Dr. Pepper (I think it was TBW). I took some ketchup, poured it into the glass, and said "more like 24 flavors!" Good times.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vibram Five Fingers

Have you seen these crazy shoes? They're called "Five Fingers," made by a company called Vibram (VEE-brum) who's been making shoe soles for years. I read an article about them in Runners World a while ago and I came across their facebook page yesterday. I found a local store and went to check them out. My size 42 foot fit fairly comfortably into the shoes, except my pinky toe felt weird. I thought I'd get the Classic model, but after looking at their usage chart, I think I might have to try a different model.

I'd like to have a pair of water shoes. These might be the perfect ditch running shoes...they can get wet and dry quickly. They'll let your feet feel the ground and respond. The only problem is that I'm not cool with the price tag yet. Maybe I'll ask for some for Christmas.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tri ≠ Try

You might not know it by the name of my race, but I don't like it when the abbreviation "tri" is used to mean "put forth an effort" or "attempt." It's really overdone and it's been old for a while.

My race didn't have a name first. I was calling it "Tri at the Rez" at first, which was short for "the Triathlon at the FSU Reservation." Rez Race might have been a cool name, but someone suggested that I call it Tri the Rez and I thought that the name kind of advertised what kind of event it would be. I'm not a big fan, but it works.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nike Air Vapors

When I was in middle school, I fell in love with the Nike Air Vapors, which were $100 shoes at the time. I just couldn't convince my parents to buy them for me. We came to a compromise that they would give me $40 toward the shoes because I needed new shoes and that was the most they were willing to spend for a new pair. I agreed to the deal and withdrew money I had earned by mowing yards to finance the rest of the purchase.

I got the shoes and they were the sweetest ones I'd ever worn. I wish I could find a picture of them online, but I've exhausted my searching capabilities to no avail. I was happy to wear them to PE every day and they were pretty cool. I got a lot of use out of them. After they were done for as school shoes, they turned into lawn mowing shoes until I outgrew them.

As much as I liked them and as much as I used them, I quickly realized that it wasn't worth spending $100 on a pair of shoes. I had other things to spend money on (like CDs!) and $100 shoes aren't that much cooler than $40-$50 shoes. You just might have to look around a little and find last year's model or something. I would never have learned this lesson if my parents hadn't made that deal with me. Good move on their part.

I guess I've recently purchased running shoes that are about $100, but I make way more money now than I did during middle school. I also believe that a pair of running shoes that is quality made and fits you properly can end up saving you money by preventing injury. These shoes aren't bought to be cool but rather to be functional. Plus I'm not going to outgrow them like I used to back in middle school.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

False Confidence in Kilometers

I was once riding with a cyclist who had not been riding for long and had just acquired a speedometer. I've never had a speedometer on my bike. I asked him how fast we were going and he said "35." I knew that was way way way too fast at the moment (flat land and not max effort). I told him that his speedometer must be reading in kilometers. Kind of ruined his day. He thought he was pretty fast before I ruined it for him.

Some people like to have their speedometers in kilometers because the race distances are measured in kilometers. Just watch out before you tell your friends that you went on a ride this weekend and averaged 35mph when you mean 35km/h...it could be an interesting material to make fun of you.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pick #161

Trapt - "Headstrong"

Maybe a bit too popular to make a good POTW, but I saw it on a TV commercial for some mix cd they're trying to sell for $20 and it reminded me that it's good when you're in the mood.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vista at McKee Botanical Gardens

Can you see the ugly spot? It used to be red but it's not as noticeable after making the pic b/w.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Multi-Use Trails' Yield Patterns

I've been troubled in the past by whoever decided to design the yield pattern on multi use trails. For those who don't know, it works like this: horses always have the right of way. That makes sense since they spook easier than walkers, runners, rollerbladers, and cyclists. Cyclists are supposed to yield to everyone and walkers (and presumably everyone else on foot or wheels attached to their feet) has right of way over cyclists but not horses.

Pedestrians should totally have to yield to cyclists. Especially on off-road uphill trails. Pedestrians can stop and start more easily plus they're more agile. Why should a cyclist have to go out of his/her way to give a walker the path? The walker should sidestep onto the grass and allow the cyclist to pass. In practice this is what happens a lot. If I'm walking/running on a multiuse trail, I will concede the right of way to a cyclist (and of course horses, but that rarely happens). That approach is way more efficient and practical. Why didn't the people in charge of designing the yield pattern see it this way?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Welch's Harvest of Help

Welch's has a thing kicking up until December 21, 2009 where anyone can go to http://welchs.com/harvest and click the "Donate Now" button. For every click, they will donate eight-8 oz. servings, up to 1 million servings to Americans who are "at risk of hunger." No purchase necessary.

Welch's is also donating a minimum of $100,000 to Feeding America. You can only click once per day (per IP)...it would be kinda cool to make a robot do it for you every day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Great Floridian Ironman Experience

Official results: age group overall I got 61st or 63rd overall out of 227 finishers. There were about 325 people signed up for the race and at least 265 of them started. I got 4th out of 11 (only 9 finishers) in my age group.

My unofficial time / (and official times)
swim: 1:12:56
T1: 6:05
Bike: 6:19:37
T2: 7:33 (should be 8:27 because I accidentally stopped my watch!)
Run: 5:17:09 (they have as 5:37:08 which means I spent 20 minutes in the medical tent)
overall 13:03:22 (they have as 13:24:08)


Story:

Pre-race - got up at 5am and ate a good breakfast. all that other good pre-race stuff (better left unsaid). This is the first race where I had bags. I got out of bed a couple times Friday night to make sure I had the right stuff in the right bags. I had about 4-5 hours sleep (and 10 the night before thanks to Erica and her nice family).
Left the hotel just after 6am. Got to park. Remembered to wait to apply sunscreen until after body marking. Got body marked (first time I had my hands drawn on) and went to pick up my chip...Becky Richter was handing out chips. She was just there and decided to volunteer! How cool. (Not a total surprise to see her b/c I knew she'd be spectating). I got my bags and everything set up. Then I had to go put the water bottles on my bike.
Grabbed the wetsuit and headed for the lake.

Race -

Swim: I started back in the pack so I wouldn't get swam on top of. Ended up running faster than people through the shallows and was near the front and didn't like the way it was looking with a water churning machine right behind me. I dropped into a fairly comfortable rhythm and stayed on course pretty well the first lap. Some dude scratched the outside of my right ankle and drew blood. I guess that's better than goggles getting knocked off or a kick in the mouth. After the first lap, I took the gel out of my wetsuit sleeve, downed it on the beach with a cup of water, and headed back in. I think my first lap split was around 35 minutes. I swam a little bit off course but not much on the second lap. Had a little trouble spotting buoys with the sun right behind them. Definitely ahead of my goal pace of 1:20-1:30.

T1: Becky was my wetsuit stripper. Pic can be seen on http://www.greatfloridian.com/ with the caption "Is this a merman?" {edit 10-26: site keeps being updated...I don't see that pic anymore} The wetsuit got stuck on my right foot and it took 2 of them to get it off! The rest of T1 went fairly fast.

Bike: At the awards ceremony, they said that the bike course was the toughest it's been in the 19 year history of this race. The bike course was fairly sparsely populated with cyclists. Not like Gulf Coast. We did a 2-loop course (not identical loops). I climbed pretty well without too much effort, trying to keep in mind that I'd need my legs to run. I passed people all over the hills. The only people who passed me were on really expensive bikes. I saw plenty of people get flats but I was lucky enough not to. The course was really well marked and the law enforcement handled intersections very well. Volunteers at the aid stations made it easy to get some water. I drank at least 130 fl. oz. on the bike, probably more. I took at least 6 Hammer Endurolytes capsules, 5 fl. oz. of Hammer Gel, 2 PB sandwiches, one and a half water bottles full of protein/FRS/Hammer HEED/agave nectar, half a banana, 24 fl. oz. of coke, 2 granola bars, and I can't remember what else.
I finished the first lap of the course right on time, had a "special needs" break just as I had planned. Something got in my left shoe and was irritating me. I couldn't get it out while still riding, so I had to stop for that. It ended up breaking the skin, whatever it was.

The second lap took us out of the hills to flatter country where I started to cramp up. First it was the inside of my thighs. I stopped, dismounted the bike, and stretched while a few people passed me. After riding some more, the cramping didn't go away for long. Around mile 100 my bottom quads started spasming. It got to the point where I couldn't stand up on my bike (even if it was only to give my butt a rest from the seat and not to push hard) without cramping my entire quads. I couldn't stretch my hamstrings or calves while clipped in b/c that would make my quads cramp. It sucked climbing hills without being able to stand up at all. Good thing I have that small chain ring. I was really not looking forward to hills after mile 100. I still outclimbed people during those last 12 miles. I ended up finishing about 10 minutes slower overall (20 minutes slower on the bike) than I had planned.

T2: Almost didn't dismount in time! There was no line. Got my run bag and tried to stretch in the changing tent. Ended up laying on the ground. Changed then tried stretching again. Ouch! Stretching any muscled made the opposite muscles cramp. I put on some sunscreen and took off. Luckily neither the swim nor bike irritated spots on my foot were bothered by the running shoes.

Run: 3 lap course. I thought my legs would feel better after I started running. WRONG! The good news is that my achilles didn't flare up on me. Anyway, I'd be running then both calves would cramp at once and my quads would lock up and I'd stumble along. Walking hurt worse than running since I had to straighten my legs more. I didn't get any better after a couple miles into the run. My goal pace had changed from 4:30 before the race started to 4:00 in order to break 12 hours. I ran/walked the first 8 miles at an average of 10:03 pace, including stops for stretching. I decided about 4 miles into lap 1 that I would take advantage of the next medical aid opportunity I had. That came at the finish line.
I checked myself into the med tent and they weighed me at 148.8 when I had checked in on Thursday at 159.2 (but that was with street clothes & stuff in my pockets). I still probably lost at least 8-9 pounds since then. My blood pressure was about 120/78 and my pulse was at 96. The medical people told me I was dehydrated. I hear that the road temperature on the bike was 105°F. It was also not as humid as I'm used to so my sweat evaporated really fast...but I'm pretty sure I drank just as much as I should have. One guy didn't want to let me finish and I told him that wasn't an option. They made me drink a 24 fl.oz. Gatorade Endurance Formula and said I could go when I finished it...but then they changed their minds and said I needed to drink a half liter of water. I could hardly drink any more. I had about 5 fl. oz. and asked if I could walk with the bottle and make progress on the course. They said yes.
Starting lap 2, I saw my parents and told them I was in bad shape. My dad told me that I didn't have to finish and I gave him a look which said I was going to. He said not to worry about the 12 hour mark because the course closes at 1am (I ended up finishing around 9pm). I also got about 1/2 mile past the special needs station before realizing that I forgot to get my stuff! Later on I think I heard a rock cover band playing Black Lab's "Sleeps with Angels" and I'm pretty sure I wasn't auditorily hallucinating. I took a water, coke, and gatorade at just about every aid station and had to go pee a lot. I had to stop and stretch a lot. I was getting demoralized. I felt like I didn't deserve to beat anyone in this race.
At the beginning of lap 3, I was feeling better than the beginning of lap 2...especially since Becky called Carmen and I talked to her for about a minute while on course (don't tell the officials). It was starting to get dark. I put my visor and sunglasses back in the special needs bag and grabbed my PB M&Ms. I got to my parents and told them I was feeling relatively better and I'd see them at the finish line. I also mentioned that I'd like a beer. My dad said he drank them all. Immediately after that I felt pretty good and ran a little over a mile non-stop. I got to one of the aid stations and a volunteer told me that I looked better than the last lap. They gave us glow-necklaces for safety. I said something about it feeling like a party. It was really nice to see the mile markers start with the number 2. My mind cleared up a little and my body felt better after starting to drink chicken broth at the aid stations. It sucked that I was still in agonizing pain. It was hard to drop down to the ground to stretch. I was doing better than the first 2 laps. I ended up being able to run the last 2.5 miles or so to the finish. I decided that I would take water on the run at the last aid station because I didn't know if I could start again after stopping. My run was a good pace, probably around 8:00 miles. After the last aid station, I saw Erica & Buddy. They ran with me to the finish (in flip-flops). Buddy called my dad to tell him to get ready. They were impressed with my finish. I feel like I could have ran the entire thing nearly that fast if my stupid legs would have cooperated. Finishing was a relief.

Post-Race: I got my finisher's medal & t-shirt. I went to the medical tent for a final checkout. Somebody kind of massaged my quads & calves. I didn't know that there were "real" massages only a hundred feet away so I missed them. Did I mention that it hurt to walk? Instead of being mad about it, I was glad that I got to go to dinner with Erica & Buddy (and my parents). We walked back to transition to pick up my stuff. When we got to the van, my dad presented me with a beer...he hadn't drank all of them! So good. Dinner at Ay! Jalisco V. I ate almost a whole flauta de pollo. Not too hungry. Tired. We talked about if I should take an ice bath (using ice from the hotel's ice machine!) and thought it would be good if I didn't think I'd cramp up. Instead I decided to go the hot tub route. I massaged my legs and stretched while in the hot tub & that made a difference. I was in bed by 1am after checking the preliminary results online.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Going to Clermont

I'm leaving tomorrow to go to Clermont for the Great Floridian iron distance triathlon (Ironman is a brand name). I think I'm ready to go physically and mentally. I still need to pack, though. I'm going to meet up with Becky Richter and Andrea Gaga/Case. I'm staying tomorrow night with Erica from the FSU tri team and I should see Buddy from Vero. My parents are coming on Friday (which happens to be their anniversary). I'll have lots of support out there.

I don't often get the impression that something will be a milestone in my life. I think the Tallahassee Marathon back in February was the last one and before that maybe college graduation. I know that getting my PhD will be one, but this race will mark an accomplishment in my life. I'm looking forward to having it under my belt. Hopefully the process will be enjoyable too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fresh Music & Picks of the Week

So, my pick of the week thing has been going on for quite some time now. Over 3 years on my blog alone. A couple years before that in undergrad. I'd like to have this continue for quite some time. Who knows when I'll quit blogging. Maybe my blog will just become a pick of the week machine.

In order for that to happen without repeating artists, I'll have to keep being introduced to new music. That's pretty cool. I find that sometimes you have to set a goal with the intent for it to generate secondary effects. For instance it seems easier to try to keep doing the pick of the week thing which forces me to try to find new music than to just look for new music for the sake of finding it.

I think that kind of thing can help people stay in shape...if you want to get in shape, sign up for a race. That way the race will push you to train for it. Otherwise there's no carrot/stick to your plan to get fit. School kinda does the same thing. The goal is to learn, but they make you take tests along the way as a means of keeping you on track. I like to keep my car running smoothly, but it's probably the threat of breaking down on the highway that actually keeps the maintenance at a higher level.

Do you do stuff like that? Set one goal in order to achieve another?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Personal Credit Card Reader

Engadget posted a sweet article on a new device that will allow users to take credit card payments through an iPhone. Imagine how that could improve the way you pay people...it could just about eliminate checks. I could get my roommates' and tutorees payments via credit card.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Boost Your Faith In Humanity

On Tuesday, I went to the bike shop before school, then hunting for plaster of paris, then to my office to do some work and eat lunch, then swimming, back to the office, then stupid hazing presentation. Well, I forgot to lock my bike on the rack behind Bellamy around noon after hunting for plaster. I came out maybe an hour, hour and a half later and nobody had messed with it. Amazing. It's a pretty sweet bike...not top of the line or anything, but totally worth stealing. I'm sure some people saw the opportunity. It made me feel better about society knowing that nobody capitalized on that golden opportunity.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tri the Rez Discount

Hey, to all of my blog readers: Here's a code for $5 off of entry at Tri the Rez... ProMoFoSho ...just enter it in the Coupon Code box during checkout at Active.com or write it on the bottom of the hard copy entry form!!

Yes, I did steal the discount code from the name of a promotional CD by The Summer Obsession.

Abrazado

Ayer estaba montado en bicicleta durante la vuelta de FSU a mi casa cuando no pude recordar la palabra española para "arm." ¡Ay! Tengo que practicar más. Al principio fije en "hombro," pero sepía que no lo es. Siguiente, "brazo" que parece que tiene razón pero no fue seguro. Después pensé sobre la palabra "abrazar" y decidí que sí, es "brazo" que significa "arm" porque "abrazar" a alguien es como ponerle entre los brazos.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sigma = S, not E

I've seen it a lot, but mostly in the word Greek...Sigmas used as the letter E: GRΣΣK...I guess it looks like an E, but it's really an S. It doesn't really bother me. In fact, it's kind of creative. I just wonder if they know it's wrong.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Scheduled Maintenance

I just hit 150,000 miles on my odometer on the way to Carmen's place this past trip. I wanted to look in my owner's manual and see what kind of maintenance I'm supposed to perform at this point. Unfortunately, my owner's manual only goes up to 120,000 miles. All I've been able to find is that I should change the transmission filter. D says that I should just take it in to a shop and pay for them to do it. He takes his truck in for transmission filters. That'd probably be better than me messing it up anyway.

I wonder why the manual's maintenance recommendations stop at 120,000 miles...do they not expect the car to last longer than that? I hope not...that's a bad signal. If I made a car, I'd schedule maintenance all the way through 300,000 miles...that way you'd know when you got the car that the manufacturer thought (or wanted you to think that he thought) the car would last that long.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rape Tunnel

Some artist has built a "rape tunnel" installation where he promises to attempt to rape anyone who dares crawl through it. See a more complete article here. I don't think I "get" art.

Friday, October 9, 2009

DeSoto Penis Pad


I just got a pair of DeSoto "400 Mile" bike shorts. I don't know when I'll have a chance to take them on a really long ride, but for now I'll be amused with the shape of the chamois. Looks like a cock-n-balls. Wouldn't you agree? Sack, shaft, and head. Giggle.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pick #157

Global Warming Extravaganza - "A Capella Metal" (available at http://www.myspace.com/theglobalwarmingextravaganza)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

First Bite of Ostrich

For Carmen's birthday, we went to her parents' house in her home town of Rensselear, IN. We got in late on the night of the 3rd and we went to the Trail Tree Diner which is the only place open 24 hours around here. I had a specialty sandwich with mashed taters & gravy with probably an extra 1200 calories. In the morning, we had breakfast then Carmen, her dad, and I bagged about 50 pounds of acorns for her to use in her research (trying to get voles to eat them). After that, I rode her dad's comfort hybrid bike for a little 10 mile jaunt. It had a speedometer and I was able to push it up to 32.21 mph. Maybe a slight downhill, definitely some wind at my back, but it was a comfort hybrid...I'm impressed.

Next, we went to Valparaiso for lunch. Ate at Maria Elenas. I had lasagna and everyone else had ostrich. Naturally, I had to try the flightless bird. Tasted kind of like beef. It was served like a steak would be. You don't want to cook it much more than medium rare or it will get really tough. It was still a little tough prepared as suggested.

We were going to go to the great lakes shore or something to see sandhill cranes or sand dunes or something. We didn't. We came back home then C, Mr. B., & I went through the woods looking for animal tracks so that we could make plaster casts. We stayed out until dark and got two deer prints and a cool double-raccoon-paw mold. She's got to do those for class.

I'm going to wake up in the morning and get breakfast out, have a tour of the town, then head back to Bloomington to watch a lecture on invasive grass.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Buffalo Burger & Local Beer

Last time I came to visit Carmen in Bloomington, we went to the Upland Brewery almost every day (just a couple blocks from her house). They have a restaurant attached to their brewery and AMAZING beer. I've never been a beer snob, but I've got to say that beer's been ruined for me for the past month without Upland.

I've been wanting to try a buffalo burger for quite some time now. When we first went to the Upland, I was debating over a few menu items until I saw the bison burger and I ordered it. Tasty. I need to eat more of these guys. I mean, eating cows is alright because I don't like them. Cows are jerks. I've never met a buffalo, but they definitely look cooler. They're supposed to be better for you. And they go well with local beer.

I'm in Bloomington now and I'll surely have a bison/beer meal at the Upland before leaving.

Monday, September 28, 2009

An Eventful 22 Hours

OK, so if I didn't get a chance to tell you, here's some of the stuff that happened in the past 22 hours:

I was supposed to go biking with Logan (and maybe Javi) at 8:15am. I went to bed around 2. My home phone rang about 3:45 and a troubled friend needed to stop by. Ended up sleeping on the couch. I ended up dropping the Growler jug (1/2 gallon, heavy glass bottle with lid) on my floor, spilling about a quart of water and breaking the glass. I was vacuuming at 4 something am. Got the floor fan blowing on the carpet and it was pretty dry when I got up. I couldn't fall back asleep until after 5. Got up at 7:30 to get ready to cycle. My cell rang as I was about to leave the house with Logan telling me his chain popped and he can't ride. I went back to bed until 11.

Got up, ate again, hopped on my bike before noon. Went to Havana looking for hills that I rode there about a year ago. Couldn't find them. Rode Havana to Shady Rest Rd to some road that spit me out on US-90, almost got hit by a Chevy Silverado, to Quincy, to Faceville (GA) to Attapulgus (GA) toward Quincy, hit a cutoff to Havana, and back to Tally. Came home and ran 4 miles at a good clip (about 7:37 pace). Showered, ate, ordered Decent Pizza to go, picked it up, running into The Sarah Mac (and chatted it up for a minute or 2) at Decent while I was waiting for my order to get ready, watched Dexter at Alex et. al.'s house, back home, changed pedals on my road bike, finished the pizza (took some effort), then packed up a little.

More on the Silverado: I'm going W down US-90 when a truck at a stop sign on a side road starts pulling out. Normally they stop and let me pass. This one wasn't stopping and I had to jam my brakes and slide to the left a little. I thought the driver was laughing at what she just did. Minutes before that, I was passed very close by an asshole in a white car and I decided that I was unhappy with motorists. I looked at the truck's license plate # and called *FHP. I gave them the make/model/color/license plate of the truck before I see the truck whipping a U-turn to come back my way. I think the driver's upset that I'm on the phone and coming back to do bad things to me. There were guardrails where I was, so I took myself and bike behind the guardrail. My cell dropped the call. I quickly redialed. Turns out that the driver wanted to apologize. I told the FHP not to worry.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Grooveshark

Dan showed me this insane website called Grooveshark. You can play songs on demand. Hurry up and use it before it gets shut down!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

All This Training's Wearing Me Down

I woke up this morning ready to go to the experimental econ reading group. I decided it was more important to sleep another 3 hours. I think I made the right choice. On top of my increased caloric needs, I have increased need for sleep. I guess sleep repairs stuff. I need to be rested if I'm going to drain my body every day. Today I swam a mile, biked about 15 (mountain bike), and ran about 15. That 15 mile run was slow and it was so humid that I drank 52 fl.oz. from my Camelbak over 15 miles. That's the most I've ever drank in 15 miles.

Training's also getting in the way of being a really productive student. Or maybe that's this race organizer thing. Seems like word is starting to leak out a little about the race. The flyer is up in the Leach center and some pretty cool people are telling their friends. I really hope it ends up being worth all the effort I've poured into it. Once this race is hosted I will have been done with the Ironman for about 3 weeks and I'm going to take exercising down plenty of notches. And get fat for the winter.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Insatiable Appetite

I just can't seem to eat enough these days. I've been putting away who knows how many (5,000?) calories per day. For dinner, I had a pound of fish and half of a good sized pizza topped with chicken, pepperoni, red & green bell peppers, and plenty of cheese. Chased that down with a couple sodas. Follow that up with a couple bowls of ice cream.

The weird/sometimes annoying thing is that I can't eat a whole whole lot at once. I need to have a little break. I can fill up and then be hungry 30 minutes later. That's why I ate my dinner in 4 sittings tonight.

Any suggestions on what I can do? I hear that sushi rice expands in your stomach...

Pick #156

Taj Mahal - "Bright Lights Big City"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Twitter: I'm behind the times...

I just got a Twitter account last week. I bet you can guess what my user name is. I didn't know that you don't have to get text messages when people you're following Tweet. Anyway, we'll see if I end up using it for much. It's kinda like when Facebook updates everyone's status message on their home page...I think.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dissertation Road Blocks

OK, so I've got an idea for my dissertation. I want to quantify the reduction in your probability of having a crime at your address if you have a security system. However, I need some data that's a little bit sensitive. In fact, it's legally "confidential data." I am in the approval process with the Human Subjects board at FSU right now. I've called around to places asking what I'd need to do to get data (I can't actually get anything before HS approves me). I keep getting told that there's nothing I can do and they can't give out the info I need. I just need to keep going higher up the chain, I guess.

I don't know what I can do to help myself out...I'm thinking: 1. letter from my advisor asking for the data on FSU letterhead. 2. encrypt data? I don't know a whole lot about that. 3. Password protected hard drive...I know they do it with USB flash drives...why not big hard drives? 4. Offer to get fingerprinted, tap my phones, & monitor my internet usage to prove that I'm not sharing this data with anyone. 5. Promise never to reveal any individually identifiable information.

Let me know if you have suggestions for things I could do to convince people to let me use their data. Basically, I just want the address and when it first had a security system installed. I see why that's confidential, but confidential doesn't mean unobtainable. At least I know that these data exist.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Finding Money

I like finding money. Even coins on the ground. Even pennies. I especially like it when I'm on my bike at a stop light and see some change and pick it up. I'm still trying to fill up that stupid piggy bank. I still haven't decided what I'm going to do with the money once it's full.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Overgrown Yard

This house is on Carmen's street. They never mow their yard. She says that the city levies some sort of monthly fine for not mowing your yard and that the owners happily pay that fine instead of mowing. Kinda cool.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Overachieving

Why do people hate on overachievers? You know, the slackers who look down on someone who's doing lots of stuff. Or a really good job at something. There's nothing bad about doing a lot of activities. In fact, I think it forces one to manage one's time better and be all around more productive. Why not hate on slackers for being a drain on society?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

LÄRABAR

Let me tell you about a tasty, tasty bar. The LÄRABAR is amazing. I've liked every one of their flavors that I've tried...even flavors that don't normally do much for me, like apple pie. They're a little expensive, so I only get them as a treat. They don't have anything bad for you in them. All natural and all that other crap. I highly recommend you pick one up next time you get the chance.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Beach Blast Triathlon Recap

It looks like I did better than I thought. Actually won my age group. Results at http://members.cox.net/kei1race/blast2093.txt. Let me also mention that I didn't sleep at all on Friday night and I don't know why. Furthermore I guess I didn't eat enough because I was pretty hungry when the race started.

Race recap:
Swim: started way behind schedule. Not good for my hunger. It was getting cold outside the water. The Gulf was pretty warm, though. We swam clockwise and Doug told me later that counter-clockwise would have been much faster due to a rip current. I had some people up in my personal space and gave one person a knee in the side. I stayed pretty well on course.

T1: Everything was soaked...my helmet was half full of water. I didn't wear my sunglasses. Forgot to grab granola bar to eat on bike.

Bike: Ended up taking my gel before the turn around instead of near the finish, like I had planned. At times there were wind gusts that made my bike a little hard to handle with the Blackwell 100mm front wheel. There was an insane head wind going down the bridge over the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway on FL-386 on the way out. I had to downshift on the downhill! I didn't get a very strong climb up that bridge either. The roads were all wet and I was trying not to run anything over. I guess I failed at that...found out at the end of the race that I got a flat tire...on the Blackwell...freaking tubular tires...I don't like 'em. It happened near the end of the bike course. I heard the brakes start to rub the rim and wasn't sure why. Now I know. I rode it in to T2 on a low pressure tire.

T2: yummy wet socks for the run. No visor needed. Still left the sunglasses. and a 10 second mess up: left my race number belt on the ground. Had to turn around halfway through transition to go back and get it! What a rookie mistake!

Run: had to eat granola bar on the run...not as easy as on bike. Ran around 7:11 pace for the first few. Guess I got a little faster after the food kicked in. Nobody passed me, but I didn't feel fast. I ran about 10 seconds faster than last year.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Good News for Race

The Florida Highway Patrol has agreed to man the roads for Tri the Rez. The event is a go. There's more info on the race at http://sites.google.com/site/tritherez/ and you can register at active.com. This is a great race for first timers.

Dino Joke

Why don't dinosaurs talk?




Because they're all dead!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Solo Century

Today I did my first solo 100 mile bike ride. I got up at 6:15 to go volunteer at the youth triathlon. Rode my mountain bike there...about a 12 mile round trip. Came home, ate, napped, then rode my road bike to Blountstown in 2:20 and returned in 2:29. It felt good and gives me confidence for my ironman. I got back home and ran 4 miles in 32:20...not such a bad time considering earlier in the day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

An Amazing Trip

It's no secret that I just dipped out of town for 12 days to go see Mani in Nashville and Carmen in Bloomington, IN. I had been meaning to go see the both of them but it hadn't yet happened. I had nothing short of an incredible time.

In Nashville, I got to meet Mani's roommates and a couple of his friends, see his school, and ride my bike. It's kind of crappy that Nashville's on central time but Bloomington and Tallahassee are on eastern time. I just kept my watch on eastern time the entire trip and tried to mentally adjust while in Nashville. We didn't get to the Grand Ole Opry like I wanted, but there really wasn't time. I did see the Parthenon and some cool local places.

I was really excited to see Carmen. She called me from Rensselear and said that she was going to Indianapolis to have lunch with Camille and that I should wait a little while to leave. I just couldn't help myself and I had to leave immediately. It takes me 5 hours to get to Bloomington and it should take her 3 + lunch time. Anyway, she had been in Prague all summer and hadn't been able to contact her sublet guy to let her in/give her the keys. When I was almost to Bloomington she called and said that I might have to drive to Indy for the night. Luckily her sublet guy got a hold of her and met us with the keys. I was in Bloomington for a little over an hour before Carmen showed up so I took a mini tour. It's pretty easy to get around in that town. When she showed up, we still had to wait an hour to get the keys. We brought our stuff up to her door in that time.

She treats me so well. She took care of all my expenses while I was up there (except when the grocery store's credit card machine was broken). That first night we went to the Upland Brewery which also has a restaurant attached and I got a burger made with buffalo meat. I've been meaning to do that forever. It was really good. The Upland Brewing Co. makes really good beers. I went back there a few times during my stay.

There was a lot going on that first day and we kind of forgot that we were dating now and should be in some sort of different role...so it was the same Austin & Carmen as it had always been. We were able to pay a good amount of attention to each other before school started for her on the 31st. I got to meet some of her friends and it was nice to hang out with them. I got to go to Indy and see Camille and also Camille came to Bloomington. I got to see her dad a couple times and her mom for a day. Met her Uncle John and saw him on more than one occasion. I got to train almost as much as I should have. We went hiking in a national park and rode our bikes all around Bloomington. We had a couple meals with Kieran as well. She took me to some of her favorite restaurants and other places. I found a cool running store downtown. We went to a farmers market and a couple community gardens. My time was spent on lots and lots of activities. Camp fires and playgrounds and exploring. Phwew. Action packed trip.

As can be expected, I didn't get much work done during this trip. Maybe an hour and a half's worth @ Mani's and the same @ Carmen's. In fact, I wasn't on top of all my activities going on. Because of that, I didn't remind the tri club treasurer to go to the budget presentation so the club isn't getting any money from FSU this semester as a result (I did tell him about it before I left). That would have been done right if I was in town. I also have to play a lot of catch up right now, but it's totally worth it. I wouldn't have traded this trip for nearly anything. I found out that Carmen and I work really well together. It was a weird concept getting to know someone I've known for a while but in a different capacity. I learned a lot about her that I didn't know and I bet the same is true for her. One thing that I do know is that we've always cared about each other. I guess we're just manifesting that care in a different direction than ever before. She makes me happy. Sucks that we're so far away. Oh well, it's worth it to have someone you're really compatible with.

That's why I haven't posted to the blog in a long time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bad News for Race

The Leon County Sheriff's Office informed me yesterday that they can't do the race on November 14th because the fair is in town. I asked how early the fair opens...can't we get the race done before that so the officers could work both? They told me that their officers can only work so many hours in a day. There's absolutely no way that they could do it on that date.

It took them one month to get back to me with that response. I emailed the special events department on July 24th about the race and I got a response on July 29th asking if I was planning on paying for the cops or if I wanted the LCSO to incur the cost. I just assumed that I would pay for the law enforcement. BUT BUT BUT didn't they know about the fair on July 29th? Couldn't they have told me so I didn't pour my heart out into organizing all kinds of stuff for this race? We wouldn't have announced it to people and we wouldn't have wasted the time of the t-shirt vendor, the Rez staff, the timer, ME, other tri club members, the Sports Club Program, etc.

There is one last hope, Obi Wan, and that's the FHP. I called them and haven't heard back yet. This ball needs to get rolling soon. I guess if worst comes to worst, we can reschedule the race for spring.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Friday on Vacation.

We had a pretty good trip from Vero. We stopped for gas in Tamarac and mom realized that you're not supposed to drive trucks with brand new rear ends on the highway until they get broken in. Oh, and you're not supposed to pull a trailer either! We stopped again in Florida City for food. Wendy's. There was a girl with a sign that said the was homeless and I told mom to give her the left over french fries but she didn't! I should have done something about that.

Apparently Sailor got excited when we hit the Card Sound Cutoff and he got really excited when we crossed the toll bridge. Sailor was at the apartment when dad & I were rolling up in the boat (just ahead of a fierce storm) and he spotted the Escapade from way far away. He was so happy to get on the boat. Apparently he wanted to go swimming when I hopped in the water for the first time.

After the fierce (but short lived) storm passed, we decided to go have a look around. I jumped in and saw a bunch of lobsters so small that they weren't even worth tickling. The first decent lobster I saw was a big boy in a hole with other potential keepers. It was shallow enough that I decided he was mine. I waited at the surface to catch my breath and planned my approach. I got one of the smaller ones away from him without disturbing him, then surfaced for air. On the next descent, I tickled him just where I wanted him, got him in the center of the net, tapped him, and I dropped my tickle stick when he swam back into the net so I grab him with my right hand. I didn't have a catch bag since I was just scouting so I had to call the boat over. We threw him in the boat in the net. I was NOT going to risk losing that one. I got a catch bag and dad hopped in the water. We got 6 more (3 each!) before it started getting too dark to see without diving down. I was able to kick myself up into the boat without hurting my wrist. No ladder needed for me this year!

We came back and got a picture of my big lobster. Hopefully that's an omen for how the lobsters are going to be on this trip. I then decided to run. Changed clothes, put on the Green-Layer 100% polyester (recycled??) jersey and went for an hour long run which turned into a 40 minute run due to excessive amounts of lightning mixed with a need to poop. It was a nice run, though at a good pace and taking me places I don't believe I've ever been before.

After the run, I showered and got out just in time for dinner. Ate a big plate of spaghetti & meat sauce with garlic bread. After that, I was pretty tired and ready for bed around 10pm. I had actually told mom goodnight and she asked me to see if Dillon would take Sailor out to do his doggy business. I couldn't find my brother, so I decided I'd do it. Before I went out mom asked me for a flashlight that I brought. She then told me that dad needs it. I took the dog and the flashlight out. Turns out that dad found a CRACK in the HULL of the boat! He was just checking the mooring lines to make sure there was enough slack for low tide and then heard the bilge pump run. Thinking that there's no good reason for it to kick on, he decided to see if something was the matter. Sure enough...crack in the hull. You can see the water trickling in. We waited around to see how long it would take before the pump had to kick on again. It was about 35-40 minutes. During that time I was chewing some gum to use to stick in the crack. That seemed to help it a little tiny bit. We need to patch the fiberglass...but it's in a really inconvenient spot. OK, maybe not the worst spot, but not a great place for a crack in the hull either. At least it's tiny. Assuming that the battery doesn't die and the bilge pump can do its job overnight, we're going to spread Uncle Mark's ashes at the butt crack of dawn. He always used to wake us up at least an hour before we wanted to get up. Sometimes he'd go out with my dad and come back before the rest of us were up. Anyway, after the spreading, we have a special treat planned. My mom wanted to put him (or part of his ashes) in a special place under the sea. She was trying to think of what she could use as a container that wouldn't float and would hold the ashes pretty well. She wanted to use a film container, but I assured her it would float if there was ANY air in there. She said someone told her to drill holes in the container to keep it from floating but I pointed out that the ashes would escape too. I decided that we should put him in a bullet. My dad's got reloading stuff, so we took an empty .303 British shell and filled it with Uncle Mark's ashes instead of black powder then put on the tip. It will sink and hopefully stay in the same spot for a while. Maybe mom can come back and see it in a year or 2. The only thing that could make that a problem is if a curious diver catches a glimpse of it and takes it out of the hole. The spreading ceremony tomorrow will happen one year to the day after part of Uncle Mark was buried up in Virginia.

So much for going to bed early.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Study Your Spanish a Little Bit More

I got a sales call early today. Picked up the phone, said hello, and didn't get a reply. So I said hola. Lady says "Mr. Boyle?" So I respond sí and we have a conversation, her in English and me in Spanish. She didn't know the verb gastar, so I said pagar instead. It lasted about 3 minutes...I told her that I couldn't spend much money right now. At the end of the conversation, she was like "I'm going to let you go. Study your Spanish more."

Ouch. I guess I am out of practice. I really need to make more of an effort to speak it. Writing is even becoming not so easy. ¿Back to Spain? I wish.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I.O.U.S.A.

HBF, I just watched a documentary called I.O.U.S.A. and it outlines very clearly one of the biggest problems facing our country: DEBT. It doesn't discuss individual level debt very much, but rather addresses 4 key deficits contributing to our national debt. Those deficits are: 1. budget, 2. trade, 3. savings, and 4. leadership. It goes through in terms that non-economists can understand and tells people quantitatively and qualitatively what each of these deficits are, why they are important, and what can be done about them in the short term as well as the long term.

I RECOMMEND THAT YOU WATCH THIS DOCUMENTARY. It didn't infuriate me as much as Who Killed the Electric Car, partially because there's not just one concentrated beam of blame. I guess if I had to pin down one person to blame for our current situation it would be GHWB. Actually, when I say current situation I mean the deficit as of mid-2008. The current bailout has put us further in the hole. There's some crazy amount we owe, averaging out to around $184,000 PER AMERICAN!!! There's no way that could be paid back in a generation.

I know that we can inflate away much of our real debt. However, there are problems with inflation too. There are a lot of costs involved in adapting to new price levels. Also inflation punishes the people who have been saving. That seems like a bad way to start building a new culture of fiscal responsibility at the micro level.

Personally, I've thought that running trade deficits was a good thing. We give pieces of paper to other countries and they give us goods and services. I guess that I was right in the short term. It's pretty awesome to get real goods in exchange for nominal money. What I didn't think too much about in the past is how sustainable such behavior is. Since America is a pretty rich country, we can afford to just keep sending out pieces of paper overseas for quite a while before we run out of paper to send. However, once we get to the point where we don't have any more paper, we don't have any more real goods to sell to get more paper, we're SOL. Warren Buffet wrote an article titled Squanderville versus Thriftville. Admittedly, I watched the animated version but it's a nice and simple way to explain why we can't keep doing what we're doing.

Just like watching Kilowatt Ours moved me to start buying renewable energy credits (I get about 450KWh/month from Sterling Planet), this documentary has moved me to contact my elected officials and demand that they take positions to attenuate this pending crisis. I know that my generation is set up to pay into the social security system and not receive nearly that same level of benefits back. In a few decades, we'll be forced to be way more productive or the government will think that it wants to raise the tax rate to pay for even just the service on our debt (although maybe they should take a look at where we are on the Laffer curve first). If you think that our situation is bad, imagine what life will be like for my children and grandchildren. We can't keep spending this much without making enough to cover our standard of living and start paying down what we owe. This is true on a personal level and a national one too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Theme Parties as Signaling Devices

So, I had an interesting experience late in the spring semester. I was invited to a party at this guy John's house where I'd never been. He's invited me plenty of times & I've always had other stuff to do. This time I was making sure to go. As an added bonus, I knew about 15 other people who had RSVP'd yes on facebook. As luck would have it, none of those 15 people ended up going.

Lucky for me there was a theme to this party. Something about army guys/GI Joes, something. The idea was to come dressed in camouflage attire. I don't have any camo shirts that fit anymore, but I still have some shorts (and a hat). I showed up to a house where I only knew one of the people who lived there and nobody else. I made my way to the keg and grabbed a beer without incident. I mingled for a while then inquired if anyone had seen John. I tracked him down after a while and said hi. A little more random mingling, then headed home (on my bike people...I don't drink & drive).

I'm pretty sure that people would have started asking questions of me if it hadn't been a themed party. Nobody else knew who I was (OK, a few other people had seen me at other parties and we recognized each other's faces but didn't know names or anything). Even though nobody knew me, everyone knew that I belonged. I must have been invited and got the memo that it was a camo party because I was dressed the part.

One of my friends used this themed party signaling device after some people had crashed her parties in Orlando. She started telling people to dress according to the theme and that way they were able to identify the party crashers and get rid of them. It's a brilliant and simple idea. You can identify any interlopers (or bums who don't dress up). At that point, enforcement becomes pretty easy.

That's why your next party should be themed.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Trendy Ts

This is a post from a while ago, but I've been adding sites to it as I've found them, so there's probably something good on here that you haven't seen before.

I love checking out funny Tshirts on websites. They're normally so expensive, especially after shipping that I never feel willing to shell out the dough for them. Anyway, here's some links to fun T sites, all sure to waste at least a little bit of your time:

Tshirt Hell
Busted Ts
RoadKill
SnorgTees
Crack Smokin' T Shirts
URShirts
Crazy Dog
DamnFunnyTshirts
LoserTshirts
UnratedShirts
Tastee Tees
Thread Pit
TorsoPants
The Big Rooster
T-shirt Bordello
Cotton Factory
Shirt Woot
6 Dollar Shirts
NoiseBot
Headline Shirts

Hopefully there's at least one you haven't seen before.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lending (a Hand)

I started subscribing to my church's newsletter electronically. This month's is available here. The cover page has a nice quote: "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full." -Proverbs 19:17.

Obviously this isn't just talking about money. Time spent helping or even conversing and treating people like they're not beneath you is valued. It's nice to hear an assurance that time, money, and effort spent helping those less fortunate will be repaid in full (with interest!...that means that young people should really get on the help train!). However, does that knowledge crowd out some intrinsic value of helping? It's like back in high school where you were required to do volunteer hours...kinda defeats the point of volunteering....however, it's good because it increases volunteerism.

I guess it doesn't atter what someone's motives are for helping those less fortunate. If it's making a spiritual investment to be repaid later or feeling good about yourself or just that you enjoy giving pleasure to other people, who cares. The same good outcome results regardless of the motive. I don't care if people volunteer because they're in NHS or Key Club or need the hours for a scholarship, they're out there volunteering. (Assuming a constant quality of volunteer hours because some people might put more effort into the volunteerism if they believe in the cause).

Anyway, it never hurts to build your bank account a little bit with the Big Guy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bear Paw B.O.

I went "tubing" at Bear Paw for Jamie's birthday today. I didn't bring my own tube this time so I rented one from the Bear Paw people. I'm sure they don't wash those things off after people use them because they smell like body odor. HBF, everyone's raft was stinky. I would recommend using your own raft and launching yourself with your group of friends instead of using Bear Paw.

Jones Storage

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Coacksucker?


Interesting Prague graffiti. I'm not exactly sure what they were going for.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Remote Desktop

Whoa is technology amazing. I've been videochatting for free over long distances. I just took remote control of my desktop machine at school and had the power to run GIS and Stata from the comfort of my own house. This opens up possibilities. Could make me way more productive. I hope it does. I can check on the status of a Stata program (and fix it if it breaks). I can do one thing on this computer and another thing on another computer and check in on them both. Shit, I could overtake a few computers and use each of them for a different task. Amazing. I love technology. Except when the battery falls out of my laptop and I lose whatever I was working on.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Triathlon Nightmare

Last night I had a nightmare that I had a super crappy T1 in my ironman. My swim went well, but when I got to T1, it took me forever to put on my running shoes. I was like "crap, I'm in my trainers." People were passing me all over the place as I'm sitting on the ground. I took them off and put on flats then ran out of transition before I realized that I was supposed to be getting on the bike. When I turned around to go get my bike, other crazy stuff happened. I found my cross country spikes, but not my bike shoes. Then I realized that I hadn't picked up my packet. I've spent about 15 minutes in T1 and I'm getting really frustrated with myself. I had to go find the packet pickup lady, who was at a merch tent. She tried to sell me a hoodie. I finally got my packet (which was amazing: it was a biking jersey with all the stuff they give you shoved into the pockets). I woke up before I could put on my numbers and hit the road. It made me realize that I really need to think about my transitions before the race. Maybe even practice them a little. I've been thinking about making a list of what I want to put in the bag for each of the transitions and the special needs bag. I think I'll write that list down today.

Pick #147

Oasis - "She is Love" from Little by Little

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pro Lithic

Interviewer: Boy, Stephen King, you sure have written a lot of books. You're pretty much the definition of pro lithic.
SK: I think you mean prolific. A pro lithic would be someone who gets paid to be a rock.

Runner Dog Friend

When I was running today, a dog came running at me about 5.5 or 6 miles into the run. It turned out to be friendly and followed me down the street. I thought it would stop there, but the dog ran the next 5 or so miles with me...most of them alongside me. Friendly dog, but no tags so I didn't know his name. I tried to get the dog to go home when I was leaving his neighborhood, but he kept following me. I tried to give him water at my turnaround point (I was wearing my Camelbak), but he ran away from the water stream. Anyway, this dog went out on to Capital Circle NW (a fairly busy road with 45mph speed limit) and wasn't mindful of the cars. I figured that if it followed me all the way home I could feed it and keep it in the back yard. Fortunately I saw a cop car and flagged it down and we ended up loading the dog in the back of the cruiser and I gave the officer directions to where the dog and I had first met. I think the cop took the dog back home. I wonder if I'll see that same dog again next time I run through that neighborhood.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Weird Movie Volume Problem

I've had a problem on my laptop that movies won't play their sound as loud as music. I've tried to adjust the volume settings for individual programs, but that doesn't seem to matter. Windows Media Player will make a movie quieter than songs plaid on WMP and Firefox does the same thing when I try to stream Netflix movies. Any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong?

Tri at the Rez

I'm putting on a triathlon via the triathlon club @ FSU. We're going to host a sprint triathlon the same distances as Red Hills on November 14th, 2009 at the FSU Reservation. I'm in the process of getting all the necessary permits & whatnot. I need to find some good people to be on my team to put this thing on. Hopefully we'll raise a good deal of money that we can use to help send people to Collegiate Nationals in Lubbock, TX this year. I'm sure I'll write more as I get more progress.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why Moths Have Powdered Wings

There is a cool spider living in a web outside my rear garage door. I watched it grow up from a little tiny thing to a pretty large cool looking spider. I wish I could get a picture, but my camera won't focus right. I've got to duck a little to avoid this spider's web, but that's ok. I figure that it catches all kinds of flying pests and eating mosquitoes is cool with me. The other night I was out back at night and I saw a moth. I caught it and threw it into the spider web in hopes of watching it get wrapped up by my friend, the spider. To my amazement, the moth didn't stick to the web. That's when I realized that they probably have powder on their wings for a reason. Maybe one reason is so that they don't stick to spider webs.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Laptop

I bought an Acer 5535 laptop from TigerDirect. I'm starting to get used to it. It has a full sized keyboard and a number pad. Kind of crappy battery life, and it's got Vista on it, but whatever...it was a good price. The main reason I got a laptop is so I can get work done when I'm away from Tallahassee on my amorous trips up north. I need to get it set up for remote control of my desktop machine at school. That way I can use the power of the number crunching laptop from the convenient location of wherever I am. It's also a portable DVD player, but I don't think it could get through an entire DVD without having some wall power. I picked up a power inverter to plug into my car's cigarette lighter for taking this thing on road trips.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Picks #145 & 146

Whoa! Looks like I didn't put up a pick of the week last week...how'd that happen?! Here are this week's & last week's:

Boys Like Girls - The Great Escape
Saosin - It's Far Better to Learn

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Serial Correlation in my Bedtimes

I definitely notice that there's serial correlation in my bedtimes. If I'm up late one night, it's nearly impossible for me to get to bed early the next night. If I want to start going to bed earlier, I have to do it in 15 or 30 minute increments. My bedtime one night is probably the best predictor of my bedtime the next night.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

¡Ay! ¡Qué calor!

No hay mucha gente quienes ya sepan que empecé una relación a larga distancia. Ella vive muy lejos de mi...a unas 12 horas. Hablamos bastante en Skype y acabo de comprar un webcam. Me parece que la distancia y falta de contacto construyen una sensación de necesidad y anticipación. Antes, no pensaba que era posible empezar algo amoroso a larga distancia para mi. No quiero ofender a nadie, pero no he encontrado la mujer perfecta para mi en Tallahassee durante los 3 años en esta ciudad. Estoy satisfecho con elegida dama quién puede elevarme a niveles donde no voy solo.

Por el título, supongas que voy a recontar algo muy caliente que pasó entre nosotros. Debes conocerme mejor que eso. Sino hablo de un calor que estaba durmiendo en un lugar muy hondo de mi ser. Despertó el calor. Pone un fuego bajo mi corazón y hace que palpita más rápidamente. Este sentido envuelve a mi pecho y a veces me dejan las palabras. Pues ya lo sabes por la manera como escribo ahorita. Lo raro es que no puedo organizar mis sentimientos ni describirlos. Sólo sé que me hace feliz. Vale la pena. Ojalá que podamos juntarnos por un poco de tiempo, por lo menos.

Pienso que la falta de contacto físico va a ser la parte más difícil.

Lo siento, pero tuve que escribir algo. Si lo anterior no tiene sentido o hay castellano equivocado tengo que confesar que tengo sueño. Buenas noches.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Genetically Modified Tobacco


You'd better watch out for this biohazard...

I don't know what the top line says. Vstup means enter and I assume zakázán means don't even think about. They were just growing these plants in the ground. How cute to be so scared of GM plants.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Head Winds

When I'm cycling with people, sometimes I like to say that there's always a head wind if you're going fast enough. I think this is a good metaphor for life.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Green Bicycle Project

I went to help Micah & co. paint at the Green Bicycle Project (GBP) today. If you haven't heard about the GBP, then you should check them out if you're considering picking up a good used bike. Micah restores bikes that are missing parts and have been abandoned as well as finding nice bikes that are no longer wanted by their owners. His bikes are really cheap compared to anything you could find at a bike store. If you want to stop by the shop, check out the Contact Us tab on the website.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pick #144

Vampire Weekend - "Oxford Comma" from their self titled release

Monday, June 29, 2009

WORLD'S FIRST EVER TEXT-BASED BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Dan just generated the world's first ever book recommendations based on a computer measuring text. It's not like Amazon recommendations that say "this person bought this book AND this other one." Go to Booklamp.org to read up on what they're doing. The system won't be available to the public for a little bit, but I'm privileged since this piece of HISTORY was made in MY house. This is only the second time I've ever felt like I was witnessing history in the making. The first time was September 11, 2001.


The way this works is that I give Dan a book. He plugs it into a magic machine and spits out other books that are similar in writing style. The first book is the one that I asked him to plug in. The totaldiff measures how dissimilar any book is to the one that I ask him to plug in. Naturally, the first book should have 0 difference from itself. The lower the totaldiff numbers for the other books, the more like the original book they are.


If you like Tom Robbins's Jitterbug Perfume, then try reading some other books on this list!



+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+

author genre title totaldiff

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Tom Robbins Literary Fiction Jitterbug Perfume 0

2. John Updike Literary Fiction Terrorist .8802958

3. Tom Robbins Literary Fiction Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates 1.097272

4. Gary Shteyngart Fiction Absurdistan: A Novel 1.117625

5. Ian McEwan Fiction Saturday 1.135522

6. Salman Rushdie Literary Fiction The Moor's Last Sigh 1.228756

7. Tom Robbins Literary Fiction Another Roadside Attraction 1.264306

8. Jonathan Raban Fiction Waxwings 1.266642

9. Barbara Chase-Riboud Historical Fiction Hottentot Venus: A Novel 1.310913

10. Herman Melville Fiction Classics Billy Budd, Sailor & Other Stories 1.376428

11. Peter Mayle Literary Fiction A Good Year 1.381948

12. Dean Koontz Suspense The Taking 1.391685

13. Miriam Decosta-Willis Erotica Erotique Noire/Black Erotica 1.409069

14. Dean Koontz Fiction By the Light of the Moon 1.414718

15. Kurt Andersen Fiction Heyday: A Novel 1.429005

16. Diana Gabaldon Fiction The Outlandish Companion 1.436414

17. Peter Mayle Fiction Chasing Cezanne: A Novel 1.452523

18. George MacDonald Fraser Historical Fiction Flashman on the March 1.520791

19. Nancy Reisman Fiction The First Desire 1.540411

20. Frederick Zugibe M.D. True Crime Dissecting Death: Secrets of a Medical Examiner 1.541348

+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+


p.s. sorry the columns don't line up quite right.

p.p.s. I just bought Terrorist by John Updike on Half.com and it will be the next book I read.

Sonicare Power

I got a new brush head for my sonicare toothbrush. This thing rattles my skull when the battery has a full charge. They must have done something radically different with the placement of the magnets or something else in the design of the head because the base I'm using has never been able to rock my head like this does. I can tell if the battery's wearing out because it feels normal. That extra power makes my teeth feel cleaner too.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Left Hand Release


Would you believe that they had a left hand release seatbelt on the plane on the flight home? A Delta operated Boeing plane. How unsafe!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Using Only Song Titles, Etc.

So, TBW posted a Facebook note with these Qs. I think you have to use only one artist's song titles to answer the Qs. He used Stereophonics and it was pretty good. Here's mine. Feel free to comment on the blog and change the answers to make them your own.

Pick Your Artist: Something Corporate
Are you male or female: Not what it seems
Describe yourself: Looks Like Chaplin
How do you feel about yourself: Ruthless
Describe where you currently live: I woke up in a car
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Cavanaugh Park
Your best friends are: Babies of the 80s
Your favorite color is: She paints me blue
You Know: Miss America
What's the weather like: Hurricane
If your life were a TV show, what would it be called? Globes & Maps
What is the best advice you have to give: Fall.
If you could change your name, what would it be: Straw Dog

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Praha, Česká Republica


It was a little bit hazy from rain all day. You can see Prague Castle (Pražský Hrad) and some flowers.