Monday, July 31, 2006

Hot makes you cold, and vice versa

Because of the physiology of our bodies, drinking cold water or liquids when we're hot does not make us cooler (the consumption of liquid nitrogen, oxygen, or any other super cooled liquid being the exception, of course). By drinking a cold beverage you fool your body into thinking your core is cooler than what it actually is, and when we're cold our body reduces the flow of blood to our skin surface and extremities to reduce heat loss, so we're making our body do the very opposite of what we really need it to do. By drinking a hot beverage the reverse occurs, our body thinks our core is hotter than what it actually is so it increases the flow of blood to our skin surface and extremities to promote heat loss; despite this, when we're hot and sweaty a hot cup of tea or coffee is usually the last thing on our minds.

I was on the Elliptical Trainer at the gym this morning for all of 12 minutes. I started off at 130spm(strides per minute), after about 3 minutes stepped it up to 150spm for 5 minutes, then finished off the last two minutes or so at 170spm, before slowing right down for a couple of minutes around 100spm. Apparently I burned up 1600 calories in just 12 minutes. I didn't really start perspiring until about 5 minutes in to the workout, but the difference between the Elliptical Trainer and the Treadmill is not just in the impact level of the workout (with two dodgy knees I want as low impact as I can get), I usually don't perspire anywhere near as much using a treadmill as I do on the Elliptical Trainer. I also seem to have to run for 20 to 30 minutes on a treadmill for it to tell me I've burned anywhere near 1000 calories, let alone 1600.

Let's see...if I have a 3-foot (or 1 yard) stride, then in the 12 minutes I did:
3x130 + 5x150 + 2x170 + 2x100 = 1680 strides
1680 strides = 0.95 miles in 12 minutes = approx. 4.75 miles per hour
which is not even what I set the treadmill on for a workout, so why was I sweating like a pig for doing considerably less than the average treadmill workout, and why was I still sweating at work almost an hour later...well that was because the building management decided to follow Mayor Villaraigosa's idiotic directive and set the thermostat at 78F so it's not like the building was cool when we got here.

But if my calculations are correct, I took approx. 1600 strides, and the machine claimed I burned off 1600 calories...that's like 1 calorie per step! I reckon I burned off more though, what with the rate I was perspiring even after I'd finished exercising, but still...1600 calories in 12 minutes??? I dont even burn off that much after 30 minutes on the treadmill.

How can 12 minutes on the Elliptical Trainer provide a more intensive workout than 30 minutes on the treadmill? Riddle me that, Edward Nigma.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006

The war on Tourism...I mean Terrorism

This is bloody ridiculous!

The Property Manager of Southgate, a very large Mall and popular tourist shopping spot in Melbourne, Australia, is upset because some tourists were taking photographs of "obscure things...things that would be of no interest to put in a photo album". The items being photographed were facades of buildings, i.e., shop fronts, which I'm sure some people would find interesting. Maybe Ms. Barrance does not find them interesting, although she's Property Manager of Southgate so I'd think she should be fascinated by facades of buildings, but that doesn't mean other people wouldn't be fascinated by them.

When we were in Australia we took a photograph of a mural inside a large department store that featured a male model. The mural had been painted over a wall and a door in such a way that the door "knob" was in an extremely inappropriate but very amusing position, in relation to the male model, that is. So we took a photograph of it. No, we didn't display it in a photo album, but we showed it to several friends when we got back :)

Tourists take photographs of things, often things we consider mundane and ordinary, but these are tourists, this is the first, last, & only time they might see these things, even if it's just a shop front. I walk down the streets of Los Angeles and people are taking photographs and video taping everything and anything. If it moves, shoot it. I understand. I did that when I first got here, too. I took many, many photographs of downtown Los Angeles. When we got the photos developed Liz asked me where I'd taken them. I told her they'd all been taken within a block of her office, and yet it was the first time she'd seen most of those objects and buildings.

I think Ms. Barrance needs to learn the difference between a tourist and a terrorist.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Eccythump, this one's for you

I've brought over a lot of stuff from Australia, including almost an entire suitcase full of Games Workshop miniatures (1.5" high, plastic models for table top battle games). One of those games was Necromunda, a game Eccythump and I spent many months playing and arguing over, on account of the rules being a little ambiguous and so Eccy and I could never agree on exactly which rule applied in each situation.

A week or so ago, JE discovered the clear plastic storage box containing the Necromunda game, the box of which is decorated with savage looking punks with bright red mohawks wielding very BIG Guns. Guns deserves a capital G because they have really BIG Guns.

Being 6-years old JE immediately wanted to play with this fascinating looking game, unfortunately many of the pieces are missing, on account of me leaving the game in the care of my 6 year old nephew for 6 years. I don't blame the nephew, I left it for him because he'd always wanted to play with it but I knew exactly what would happen if he did, and I left it to him anyway. The plastic models were also mostly unpainted on account of me being a lazy bastard, and Eccy and I didn't really care about them being unpainted, we just had fun playing and arguing and spending quality time together.

Today I bought new paints (on account of the old ones being dried up, after 5+ years of non-use ;) and just spent over 2 hours painting 6 models. And the following pics are the results of my 2+ hours of concentration. Not fantastic, not bad, but not great work either. But then all I wanted to do was get a few models painted for JE to play with, and he's not going to care about a slap dash job, he just wants to play with them.

Aah, Eccy. Those were the good old days. When are you next coming to visit us? It's only a 15-hour plane ride ;)

Here's the best of the pics. One of them is not so hot, but it shows 5 of the 6 models I painted, all together. The pics are clickable and will blow up to Epic Proportions if you do so. Fairly warned be thee, says I.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

An illegitimate minority?

I'm seriously considering checking the "Other" category on any form that ask for my ethnicity (other than those where I might get in trouble from the Feds), then writing in Australian-American, for that's what I am. I think if someone whose family has never set foot outside of the U.S. anytime in the last 200 years can claim to be an African-American, I, who have only been here in the U.S. for 8 years, can call myself an Australian-American.

I'm an American citizen but I don't think like an American, but after being here for eight years I also no longer think quite like an Australian. I'm not an American, and I'm not an Australian; I'm an Australian-American. In fact that's legally correct because I am a citizen of both countries.

I'm sure I'll get funny looks from some people, but I'll just explain that while I may look Caucasian, I'm actually an Australian-American.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Use Google for good, not evil

Actually it's not so much evil...just googling the wrong things, and not even the wrong things, really, just sometimes I google my previous life, like the Twin Cities Archery Club. I used to belong to this club. Shot in a few tournaments with them. Won a few trophies. Had a good time with the gang. I just googled them now (as you can probably tell) and it made me depressed. Not because of anything that's happened, just because this is one more chapter in my life that's closed to me now. I know the President and Secretary. I could email them...but there's no point. We might email each other back and forth, and then we'd stop, and life would go on, as it always does.

Circus! Curcus!

We took JE to the Circus last night, it was pretty good, and the seats Liz bought were awesome, just 3 rows from ringside. The Circus (or at least Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, whose show we saw) appear to be giving their shows a theme and tying everything in together; this time around it was the Circus of Dreams, where all of your dreams can come true.

A "family" was randomly picked out of the audience, and they just happened to be sitting in the very front row, right in front of us in fact. Dad, Mom, older daughter, Jan, and younger brother, Dan, all ran into the center ring and were asked what their "dream Circus job" was. As soon as Dad opened his mouth it was obvious they were plants. "Well that's easy," said Dad, "I want to be the Ring Master so everyone has to do what I say." And with that a bright red, sequined Ring Master's jacket was lowered from the ceiling and "Dad" slid it on. "Oh yeah! This is great," he said, as he ran off backstage. Mom said she wanted to be a trapeze aerialist and a ring was lowered from the ceiling. Mom climbed in, showing too much familiarity with the ring than would be expected in a non-Circus Mom, and the ring was hoisted away up into the ceiling. Jan said she wanted to be a Circus Dancer. She received a multi-colored wraparound skirt like that worn by the other Circus Dancers, and when she put it on and stepped in with the Dancers she was indistinguishable.

Then Dan spoke up saying he was just a little kid, what could he do? Quite a lot, really. Dan, like Dad, Mom, & Jan, was a ringer. He was actually one of the youngest actors in the Chinese Theatre group which gave three performances throughout the evening. As well as the very athletic Chinese acrobats we were treated to several performances by the Clowns. The Cossack Horse Riders also gave several excellent shows, and were later described by Liz as "yummy". She then had to explain to our 6-year old son with the big ears what "yummy" meant :D

Madame Shamshiva gave two performances which involved a lot of tricks with dogs, cats, and doves, but midway through her second performance I started to develop a dislike for her. The trained animals were very good, I just got bad vibes from her. Maybe it was the way one of the dogs cowered from her and rolled onto his back, which is what he was meant to do, the rolling on the back that is, not the cowering. Maybe it was that she seemed to take all of the credit for the animals, and accepted all the accolades when they performed a difficult trick, rather than directing your applause to the animal who actually performed the trick. Yes, she may have trained them, but to me she gave off a vibe of "I taught him that. Aren't I clever?"

The real highlight of the show was the Globe of Death, or something like that. Three motorbikes (the enduro variety, not street bikes) rode up the ramp and inside the Globe, positioned themselves, then began riding around the inside of the Globe until they were actually riding sideways, then they began riding higher and darting in among each other, crisscrossing in an awesome display of skill (& trust) where one wrong move would have been catastrophic. Then another bike joined them and their dance with death resumed. Then two more bikes rode in and it was just a blur of machinery inside the Globes as everyone rode seemingly at random between everyone else, but in what was obviously a brilliantly choreographed dance. I guess you'd start that with two bikes, but it's not something that could be practiced at slow speeds, because at times the bikes were doing complete loops, riding upside-down across the roof of the Globe, and there's no way you can slowly ride a bike upside down. I forget if there were eventually 6 or 7 bikes inside zipping around and missing each other by inches, but as the riders set a new World Record for 5 bikes inside the Globe of Death way back in 2003, I suspect it was probably 7.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Yahoo Maps? What's that?

I may never use Yahoo Maps again (except for the fact that I have a ton of saved addresses in My Yahoo Maps®) because Google Maps are Friggin' AWESOME! Did they recently upgrade their Maps? Or have they always been this awesome?

Type in the address, maximize the window, and there's a full screen Map, not like this piddly little thing Yahoo gives you. Need to zoom in on an area, position the mouse cursor over your point of interest and roll the mouse wheel forward. Want to Zoom out, same thing but in reverse. Want to scroll the map? Left click & hold anywhere on the map...and drag! It's that simple!

Printing. Google Maps provide a much easier to read map than Yahoo.

But the real clincher, more for the fun & wowness factor, is the button in the top right corner that says Satellite. Click it and the Map changes to a recent Satellite photo that can be Zoomed in to disturbing levels.

I can see my House!!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Scratch & Sniff : Public Transport

Aah, the smells of Public Transport.

This morning on the bus the guy that chose to stand over top of me had an interesting aroma that I just couldn't quite place. It wasn't B.O., but it was definitely an unwashed kind of odor, and when I finally placed it, man did I wish I hadn't.

It was stale urine, as if the guy had pissed in his pants a few days ago and hadn't washed them or even changed out of them.

This afternoon, thankfully just a few stops before mine, no, it wasn't the same guy; an older guy got on and I offered him the seat next to me (I had the aisle seat). After he sits down he turns to me and says "thank you", and I pretty damn near got drunk right there. This guy was also pissed, but in a different way than the morning guy.

We drove past the police station and the guy tells me he works there. Phew! I try to avoid breathing whatever the hell he's blowing out coz he reeks more than the morning guy. Then, he tells me they've been knocking back a few at work.

Like it's not already obvious!

This guy continued to talk the rest of the way, changing subjects almost every sentence, and blowing out a massive amount of alcohol fumes with every breath. I've never been so glad to get to my stop. I said goodbye to the old lush, got off the bus and staggered, I mean walked home.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sixth Sense 2 *Contains spoilers*

Do a Ctrl-A or just click & drag to highlight the below text.

Why did Malcom's patient shoot him at the start of SS(1)? Because Malcolm didn't help him like he said he would.

In SS2 it's revealed that Malcolm's patient (& murderer) is actually an adult Cole. In SS(1) Malcolm's ghost actually traveled back in time to find and treat a young Cole, but as we all know from the end of SS(1), while Malcolm accepts his death and moves on, Cole still sees dead people!

Now, after years of seeing dead people at all hours of the day and night (as will be chronicled in SS2), Cole goes insane and takes out his frustration on the one person who he thinks let him down most, Dr. Malcolm Crowe.

The mandatory Shyamalan twist being that Malcolm won't even attempt to help Cole until after Cole has killed him!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Babies; nature's chemical weapons

Liz falls for it almost every time. I pick Amber up and stick her butt in Liz's face and ask if she thinks Amber is dirty, so Liz takes a big sniff. And that's definitely the wrong thing to do when someone shoves a baby's butt in your face :D

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Using Blogging powers for good, not evil

Mog's Blog reminded me of my recent trip to the Vet/Kennel where I was picking up Anzac (who we're trying to find a new home for, by the way, so if you live in the Los Angeles area, or even the Southern California area, and are in the market for a good doggy, check out this page.)

Mog stopping to pick up a kitten abandoned on the highway reminded me of the kitten a chap brought into the Vets while I was there. The little guy can't have been much more than four weeks old yet someone had dumped him in this fellow's yard. The reason for the dumping was quite clear; although the kitten was very cute, his left eye was twice the size of his right and it was obvious he'd need surgery, but it was just as obvious that he was destined to go through life with one eye. So someone didn't want to deal with the expense of taking care of the kitten, and couldn't even be stuffed taking him to the animal shelter and claiming they'd found him, so they just dumped him in someone else's yard. Nice one, asshole, solve your problem by making it someone else's problem.

In the two days that the chap said he'd had him, the kitten had totally bonded with him; finding himself a surrogate mother. The guy was most likely in for several hundred dollars of Vets' bills, and at the end of it all, his new pet would still be missing one eye, but the guy didn't seem overly concerned with that; he was more concerned with making sure the kitten got taken care of, properly.

Some people are pet people, some people should never be allowed near pets.