Thursday, November 23, 2006

How to eat less on Thanksgiving

In my opinion it's very easy to diet and lose weight. All you need to do is fill your stomach with something that will take the place of calorific food before you start eating and that will cut down the amount that you are going to eat.

That something is water. Simply drink a pint or two or three (depending on how big you and your stomach are) of water immediately before you eat. The water will be sitting in your stomach and make you feel full after a regular meal instead of an over-sized one.

You can apply this trick to anytime you feel hungry and don't want to eat. Drink a pint of water and then eat an apple (or a turkey).

Spam Galore

I usually check my email in the evening before going to bed and then again first thing in the morning. This means that there is a sleep-gap of 8 to 10 hours and in the morning I see the largest number of spam emails in the spam folder.

I am a big fan of Google's GMail. It does a fantastic job of correctly filtering spam into the spam folder and so it rarely bothers me and I just see a figure which tells me how many spam mails were filtered.

On any morning this number is usually between 25 and 100 so this morning it surprised me to see 568 spam emails sitting there. A quick calculation shows me that I am receiving, on average, more than 1 spam email per minute.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Heating the home at zero cost

I just had an idea about warming your house during the winter using decomposing vegetation. My first thought went to using grass cuttings and the idea is that you have a hollow wall with about a 1 foot space on the house's outer wall. The grass cuttings are dropped in there and the heat generated from their decomposition aids in keeping the house warm. I'm sure there are many flaws to this plan such as the reduction in size of the grass over the winter will cause it to only heat the lower portion of the wall and once decomposed will not provide further heat. How long does decomposing grass generate heat for? I don't know.

My second idea was to have a standard compost heap and have some heating pipes running through the compost. This would be separate to the house's central heating and these pipes might run under the floor and add a few degrees to the house and supplement the standard heating system.

Why I am thinking about that right now I have no idea. It's already 80 degrees outside and I'm going to go for a swim in a short while.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How the brain works

I received this image and explanation from a doctor so it must be true.

Have you ever wondered how a woman's brain works? Well, it's finally explained here in this illustration. Every one of those little blue balls is a thought about something that needs to be done, a decision or a problem that needs to be solved.

Fascinating though this process is, it is not as efficient as a man's brain, which requires only two balls.

Blog Juice

My Blog Juice

My Blog Juice

I found this on Vern's Blog.

Due to technical issues I can't comment or directly access Vern's blog but I'm sure he'll receive my thanks from here when he reads this.

Vern: I read your blog through an online reader which can get to your server and relays it to me but because I don't have direct access I can't comment. Same old problem as last time.

This means that this blog is pure pulp! Even more pulpy than Vern's blog.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pars Persian Cuisine

Phoenix, Arizona is not the first city I would have thought of going to in order to taste Persian cuisine. My choices might have been Tehran, Sabzevar, Shiraz, Perspolis. (Yes Shiraz is not only a grape from which a fine red wine is made but also a city in Iran. You know nothing of the geography of Persia do you?)

Pars opened 31 days ago and when you walk in it immediately takes you away from an American city and into the Middle East. The decor is very impressive. If you go, and I recommend that you do, walk up to the "paintings" on the walls and take a very close look and you will discover that they are in fact rugs and not paintings. Had me fooled.

We had their recommended dishes which were "well recommended" and as small eaters the portions were about 3 times what we could manage. The Zereshk Polo with baked chicken was delicious and the Sabzi polo with Mahi Mahi had been de-kebabed before if reached the table. (And you didn't think you could use the word kebab as a verb did you?)

I must also mention the hummus which is the best that I have tasted. Hummus is made from chickpeas and (I think) olive oil among other "stuff." (I'm not a chef nor a food critic so I'm not going to pretend to know what I don't.) In the past, the hummus that I have had, has been on the dry side and required plenty of liquid with it. Not this hummus, it was perfect.

Where is it?

11144 Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Suite E9, North Scottsdale, AZ, 85259 (located at Ancala Village next to THE GOOD EGG).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

D-List Blog

This blog is rated as a D-List blog.

D-List Blogger

OnStar Tale 6

I received a call from OnStar today letting me know that my account is now active. I tested it and she was right, I can now log into my account online. I got the impression that it was activated a few days ago but I wasn't told and the caller said that it doesn't really take 2 weeks turnaround but that there is some lead time.

Upper management will be calling me in a few days time to discuss why I could not give GPS co-ordinates to the operator to get me to my location and why the operators don't have Internet access.

I am wondering if OnStar is a gigantic company with tens of thousands of employees and for this reason it is not nimble and quick to react. I'm also wondering if their job application forms have a line which reads: "Have you ever blogged about OnStar before? If so, please list all links in the space provided below. If that space is not sufficient then please attach a separate sheet with the details."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

604 Days of Chess

The game has finally ended and I have lost.

As you can see from the board, Mike had me down to just my king and cornered me in check-mate.

The game started on 20 March 2005 and ended today on 14 November 2006, 604 day later. I first mentioned the game here: Red Hot Pawn. Is this a record? I don't know, I'll send an email to the owners of Red Hot Pawn ( and ask them.

I noticed that as soon as the game was over, Mike immediately challenged me to a new game. I have also noticed a worrying improvement in my opponents game. He's getting quite good.

Now there was another thing that I noticed when I went to the Red Hot Pawn site to check on my defeat. That was this excellent advert.

For me, an adult, this advert does not cause offense. (If I recall correctly this type of advert did not cause me offense at any age.)

However, I'm not sure that Mike's parents would be happy with Mike viewing these ads when he's playing chess. I know that the Red Hot Pawn web site has the option to subscribe and if you are a subscriber then you will not see adverts - that could be a solution.

However, if they are going to take images like this off the site if I subscribe then I'm definitely not going to subscribe to the site. Let them stay!

It may be that Mike's computer has an adult image filter on it and so he doesn't see ads like this. Is there such a thing to stop kids seeing ads like this? I don't know...

Soul For Sale

I was intrigued when I came across this web site today: Win My Soul

This man is selling his soul. Each $1 raffle ticket you buy gains you a chance of winning his soul. The draw takes place sometime in 2007 and it includes the right to name his offspring (with limitations), a percentage of his annual taxable income (minimum $500/annum), and the setting of the date of his wedding and a say in planning it.

I certainly hope that he gets enough entries to make this worth while. When I checked his site a few minutes ago it said that he had 402 entries which is, I assume, $402. That's not much if you're committing to a minimum of $500/year.

Good luck Gerald!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Where not to buy a house

I was just reading a Business 2.0 article about the new rules of real estate and was not in the least bit surprised to discover that Phoenix is in their Top 10 Cities of Where Not To Buy. They state about Phoenix:

Last year as many as a third of new home sales here went to speculators and investors. Many of them are now competing with builders to dump their holdings, and prices in some developments have dropped by more than $100,000. Source: Business 2.0 Where Not to Buy

All you need to do is take a casual stroll around some of the new and used houses for sale and see what astronomical prices people are expecting for next to nothing. I agree with their analysis. Another year of falling prices ahead for Phoenix.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Lookout Mountain Phoenix Arizona

I hiked up Lookout Mountain today. Change in elevation from base to summit was 475 feet over a 0.6 mile hike. Starting at the northern car park it took 13.5 minutes to the summit and then 7.5 minutes back with a 10 minute break at the top.

Now you may be asking yourself "how the hell did he get an aerial photo of Lookout Mountain if he was hiking up it?"

I used a neat feature on Google Earth that allows you to tilt the picture and if you have the terrain setting switched on it will show it to you in 3D. The image shows a water tower in the bottom left hand corner and also the zigzag path we took to the saddle before turning left to the summit. This image is taken from north of the mountain looking south.

If anybody else has hiked this I'd be interested to know what sort of times it has taken you from the northern car park to summit and back. You can post your times in the comments.

OnStar Tale 5

The titling of my OnStar experience by days was becoming a bit of a misnomer so I've changed it to "Tales." As you can see day/tale 4 was skipped because I started at zero so this is the 5th tale.

Yesterday the out-laws went off to Costco by themselves. I penned what I thought were accurate and unambiguous directions. I was wrong. The 5 minute trip around the corner led (apparently) to a 30 minute drive to the other side of the city.

After realizing that they had driven about 6 times the distance that they should have they plucked up the courage to press the OnStar button. According to them, OnStar saved the day and directed them back to Costco. According to them, OnStar couldn't find the particular Costco that they were looking for but I am just reporting this second hand so I'm not sure what actually happened but they were pleased with the results.

At the bottom of my directions I had written the address on the Costco they were supposed to be going to with the addendum "if you get lost then press the OnStar button and give them this address!"

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Iced Golf - Hard Cold Facts

As mentioned in the previous blog post I was playing golf at Legends at Arrowhead today. Towards the end of the game, around the 15th hole, we'd finished all the drinks and there was just ice melting in the cooler on the cart.

I came up with an ingenious idea. The club head is going to be harder and therefore able to hit further if it is cold. So before each shot I soaked the club head in the iced water.

It worked like a charm. I was adding at least 20 to 50 yards to each drive and the other shots with the irons were cracking as well.

I did not ice the putter or the balls because I think that might be disallowed by the R&A golfing rules.

Convergent Golf - a theory

I was playing golf today at Legends at Arrowhead. We were a 4-ball in 2 golf carts. If you're good at math then you already know that I'm going to tell you that there were 2 of us in each cart.

While we were playing I noticed something. Michael and I were in the same cart and more often often than not our balls would be near each others' balls. It looked like the same was happening with the other two.

This has lead me to the Play Convergent Theory which is stated as follows: "You are more likely to play the same type of game and shots as the person that you share a cart with than the other two players in a 4-ball."

They say that women who live/work together have menstrual cycles that become in sync with each others'. Now along the same lines I think that the players in the same cart have games that sync up. This has nothing to do with their cycles but more because they are discussing the game and the shots that they are playing and tips that they have read in books and magazines. It's this sharing of (mis)information that subtly influences each-others games such that they converge in style and stroke.

I think that I'm on to something here...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

OnStar Day 3

From the titles of my recent blog postings you may have noticed an OnStar theme going on here.

According to my excellent GMail service I am told that I received an email from OnStar 22-hours ago welcoming me on board. Included in the email is this:

Also, we encourage you to take a moment to log in to your account profile and ensure that we have your most up-to-date contact information on file.

As you might expect, I clicked on the account profile link and entered the account number that they'd provided only to be greeted by a 'Your account number is invalid' message.

Customer support was very friendly and told me that in fact my account number is NOT invalid but it will take up to 2-weeks to activate my account and I should come back in 2-weeks time and try again. I was given a reference number.

Now remember that this is a company that can pinpoint exactly where your auto is, remotely unlock your doors and will receive an instant message if your airbags deploy. However, it's going to take them 2-weeks to allow me to gain access to my account online? This must be a record for today's e-commerce...