Sunday, May 30, 2010

Swedish Fish

I have not seen any Swedish Fish candy in Sweden. Kinda makes me wonder how they got their name.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I had some really smelly fish today called surströmming. It had to be opened outside and it is about as pungent as Wikipedia describes it. The first bite was part of a tapa-like dish...I had a piece of hard bread with a slice of a special potato on it topped with red onion and the fish. It really wasn't that bad, so I decided to try a bite of the fish straight up. Not so bad. I had a couple more bites before calling it quits. I did not finish the entire fillet.

Hours later, I still get that strong taste in my mouth when I burp. All in all, I am glad I tried it. Call it a cultural experience, or perhaps a character building one.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Food Out the Window

Have you ever been driving (or riding along in) a car and had something like an apple core or banana peel that you needed to get rid of? Think about throwing it out the window? Decide it's OK because the litter is biodegradable? I used to think so. Fortunately, I learned that animals come to scavenge your scraps and thus put themselves in harm's way and get used to going to the roadway to look for food. This behavior is bad for animals and motorists.

On another note, I also learned that throwing gum out the car window is also a bad idea. Birds can eat it and it can mess up their insides or make them unable to kinda gets stuck in their mouth sometimes (if what I hear is true, that is).

The best thing to do is hold on to your trash until you stop the car and find a proper trash can.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Zamzar is a cool website that will convert files from one file format to another. I've used it to get text out of .pdf files and it's definitely worth checking out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Fear the Boom and Bust" a Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem

Favorite parts:
"In the long-run we're all dead."
-"In the long-run, my friend, it's your theory that's dead"
Broken window fallacy.
"We're all Keynesians now."
Keynes "ignores human action and motivation."
"Real savings come first if you want to invest."
"mal-investments wreck the economy."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hace mucho tiempo

No he escrito en español desde hace mucho tiempo. Ya sé que el lector regular de mi blog pensara que voy a decirles algo personal o jugoso (perdón, RAE). Al contrario, sólo quiero teclar en castellano para practicar y recordarme que no es tan difícil y debo hacerlo con más frecuencia.

No imagino que vaya a encontrar muchos hispanohablantes en Sverige (Suecia). Será un día más feliz si este pasa.

Buenas noches.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Not All-or-Nothing

I've come to realize recently that certain choices don't have to be all-or-nothing. I was reading that the reason people decide to stop doing something is because the number 0 has salience whereas other numbers seem arbitrary (e.g. # of cigarettes smoked in a day). There were times in my life when I had resolved not to shop at Wal-Mart or eat at McDonalds. I was nearly distraught after having to grab a bite to eat at the golden arches on a road trip with my family due to my brother's inflexibility. To be honest, it tastes pretty good when you eat it infrequently.

I may have had the realization about the all-or-nothing idea when thinking about my meat consumption. I know that eating meat is very resource intensive. I also know that there's no way I'll make it through life without consuming a tasty burger or chicken every now and again (I think once a week would be the bare minimum I could tolerate). Not eating meat is better for the Earth than not driving your car. But you don't have to give up all the meat in your diet. You could just cut it back gradually. Every pound of pork passed by is a step in the right direction. But I love bacon. I also find (this may be surprising to those who don't know about diminishing marginal utility) that the less often I eat bacon, the tastier it is.

Let's say you have a problem with time spent on Facebook. You could delete your account. Or go for a week without it. Maybe a more sensible approach would be to limit your daily time on the site. Or maybe you think you drive too much. You don't have to trade in your Buick for a bicycle...just start making little trips on the bike instead of driving. I hope that you'll start to fall in love with cycling and gradually displace more car trips, but it'd be dumb to encourage anyone to go cold turkey on the car.

On the other side of the coin, say you want to start working out. You don't have to hit the gym 7 days a week. Maybe start a running routine at a reasonable rate. Don't try to pack in 50 miles/week right off the bat. You can gradually phase into good things and out of bad ones. Then you can stop phasing in/out when you find the balance that works well for you. The process will be more comfortable and each step in the right direction is a good step.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Footbike, Laughter Ensues

I don't know why, but this cross between skateboarding and cycling makes me laugh. Audibly.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Capitalist Pig

Someone called me a capitalist tonight with the intent of using it as a derogatory term. She stormed off and left, but I remained and chuckled to myself. Sure I believe that the market system is good for many things. I am not naive enough to believe that it works all the time. Remember that chapter in your econ principles book about market failures? Ya, that. I'll gladly take verbal rap for being a capitalist. I think it's along the same lines as someone calling me a "Christian." That's not offensive. I'm glad that's part of my being. I'll embrace it. I hope you can feel better about yourself after faux-degrading me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cold Shower Season

As the weather warms up, there comes a time when you can go exercise (or mow the yard or something) and get so hot that you actually keep sweating after taking a shower. I believe these are referred to as "after-sweats." It's kinda crappy to get out of the shower and begin to perspire. One way you can attempt to keep the after-sweats at bay is to rinse in cold water. It also helps not to wash in really hot water.

Just like a hot shower feels really good in the cold of winter, I actually look forward to turning the knob to the right a little bit more than normal after I finish a summer run. There's something refreshing about a cold shower. And even if the whole thing's not cold, a nice cold finish is still a treat.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

TV v. Reality

What you see on TV isn't real. Probably even if it's the news. My parents taught me from a very young age that there's a difference between what goes on in the world around you and what you see on the tube. That may be one reason I liked scary movies as a kid. Even though they make you jump or think about the boogey man, I knew that it was all staged. Unfortunately, I don't think many parents teach their children about the fictional aspect of TV/movies.

When this concept really hit me was after Borat came out. People really thought that he crapped on the street in NYC and that a horse fell over at the rodeo and that Pamela Anderson was kidnapped by him. WTF?? Of course not! It's a MOVIE.

Everything you see on TV is made up. Did you know that the Fresh Prince was not filmed in an actual house?! And "reality TV" is scripted. It's all fake.

Well, maybe not everything you see on TV is absolutely made up. I understand that documentaries can show real stuff, but you're only seeing one side of the story if you watch only one documentary on a topic. Kinda like if you just watch Fox News. The idea of these productions is to showcase one side of an issue...and there's nothing wrong with that. You've just got to realize that what comes on the stupid box isn't the gospel.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bike & Build Encounter

I was at Micah's shop yesterday when this girl came in talking something about bikes. Said she cycled from coast to coast last summer (Actually, she said from North Carolina to somewhere I don't remember, probably San Diego). She had previously mentioned having a Giant road bike with sentimental value. I asked her if she had done Bike & Build and she responded in the affirmative. Pretty cool. Talked to her about it for a little bit. I said it was crappy that I'm too old for it. She said I should be a leader. I thought you needed to have B&B experience but she told me otherwise. She said that there was someone on her trip who was 26 and was not a leader, so maybe I could swing something. She also purports to be amigos with some people higher up in the organization.

I've since been in email contact with her. I found out that there's too much work involved with being a leader while trying to finish my dissertation. Maybe I could bring my experience as a bike mechanic to the table or something else to encourage them to let me in. I've thought about it and that would be the perfect way to end my scholastic career and let me transition to the real world. It would be one last summer of incredible-ness before hitting the 9-5 or whatever I'll do.

I've always felt like I'd like to give something back since I've been given so much. Over the past year I've been able to volunteer a lot more, probably due to participation in Golden Key (knowing what's going on is half the battle). One service project will never make up for my debt to society, but this would be a nice gesture and a big down payment. I'll be sure to keep you posted on any progress.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bike Polo

I played bike polo for the first time on Friday after Critical Mass. It's interesting. I crashed a couple times. I guess that's why some people have polo-specific bikes (so you don't mess up your everyday bike). I might try to rescue an old bike that's falling apart in my parents' yard and it could get turned into a polo bike. I don't know how often I'll play, but probably more often if I had a good bike for it.

The basic rules (as I understand them) are:
1. don't put your foot down on the ground or you have to go out of bounds at center court and touch the boundary before you can touch the ball again
2. to score a goal, you have to use the skinny (circular) end of a croquet-mallet shaped mallet.
It helps if you've got to have pretty good control of your bike on top of hand-eye coordination and the ability to look at your surroundings while handling a ball on the ground.

Saturday, May 1, 2010