Monday, April 30, 2007

The Arizona Camel

An ancient camel (8,000 to 10,000 years old) was recently dug up in Mesa, Arizona, about 30 miles from where I live. However, it took a blog comment from Mike who lives about 10,000 miles away to make me aware of this story. How this made prominent news in South Africa and not here I don't know. I'm sure that it made the news here but obviously wasn't a big story as I missed it and had to look it up.

Funny how things happening in your back yard and you don't know about it. More worrying are when things are in your back yard and you don't know they are there. The classic case is when someone comes to stay with you and wants to go and see something. You've never heard of this thing but when you look it up you discover that it's that strange building that you've been wondering about over the last couple of years but couldn't be bothered to find out about.

We were recently in San Diego and our host who has been living there for 7 years took us to Coronado Island. We'd been there once before and I suggested that when we return from the "island" that we don't drive over the bridge to get there but along the peninsula and come back that way. She insisted that it was an island and that the only way on and off was via the bridge and was surprised when I managed to navigate our way off the so-called island without using the bridge.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Splash & Dash 2007 #1

I did the first Splash and Dash (more like Sink and Saunter) this morning.

Distance: 750m swim and 4km run.
Time: 47:09

The photo is of me half way through it. My wife thinks that I'm looking at my watch but I'm actually staring at that chick's butt. Guess what number I was?

Surprise #1: None of the men wear speedos. Well one other man was wearing a speedo.

I probably exited the water in the first quarter of the field (of about 250 apparently) and finished the run in the last 10% of the field (if that).

During the run, I was only overtaken. I did not overtake a single person myself. I now call myself the "feel good guy." I'm guessing that 75% of the field overtook me so I made them "feel good" that almost everyone (except me) overtook someone.

Surprise #2: I was bitten on my right baby finger by a crab as I was coming out of the water. I swam right up to the edge and my finger went into the sand and came out with a small crab attached to it.

Hurt like hell and I screamed like a girl. Well I'm sure it didn't really sound like that. It was probably a deep burly manly growl of disapproval.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


After that last blog post I decided to visit the Mitchum web site to try and work out what a real man I am. Not needing too much encouragement I took the "Mitchum man-o-meter" test and scored an amazing 95 which means that I am more man than I could have ever imagined or wanted to be.

The award (and test) was presented by the lovely Nina. Don't let that distract you from your manliness though...

Do you own an iron?

I've just started a new stick of Mitchum Gel so that others can be close to me without becoming asthmatic. On the lid it reads "If you're not sure you own an iron, you're a Mitchum man." I had a good chuckle at that. When non-iron shirts first became available in the UK I restocked my cupboard with non-irons. Not because I didn't want to iron (there was no way I was going to do that anyway) - just that I wanted to put an end to the "dishevelled" comments at work.

Although the non-irons worked well there wasn't much variety in the selection and this didn't allow me to be the fashion victim that I wanted to be so in the end I came to an agreement with our amazing receptionist and she'd take my shirts home over the weekend and wash and iron them for me.

I took a look at the old stick I am chucking out and it reads "If you read the sports section first, you're a Mitchum man." Now I certainly cannot relate to that. You see, I'm a doer and not a watcher (or reader in this case) and I don't care how badly I "do" the sport, I'd rather be out there doing it than watching someone else do it.

I think that Mitchum need to reword that caption around the first birthday my wife had after we started dating. As her birthday present I told her that she could caddy for me while I played golf. Amazingly, she thought that this was a good idea. I immediately knew that I'd found the perfect woman. She didn't actually carry the bag for me but she trudged the entire course in good spirits and pushed euphemisms to their extreme as I dug up the fairways.

So how could Mitchum label their stick of deodorant with this experience?

"If you let your wife caddy for you for her birthday, you're a Mitchum man."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Roller Coaster House Prices

This is pretty cool. Richard Hodge from has created a simulated roller coaster ride from 1890 to 2007 showing the inflation adjusted prices of houses from the perspective of riding that roller coaster. Enjoy! Roller Coaster House Bubble.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gills Design

A friend of mine has just set-up a web site to promote his business so I thought that I'd give it a plug. Here's the link if you need: Drafting & Design for Houses in Phoenix and Arizona.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Richardson's Ground Squirrel

This morning I played golf at The 500 Club. This is the second time that I've played there but it must be one of my favorite courses. Each course has an interesting wildlife habitat that comes in from the desert to take advantage of the water that is so abundant on the golf courses. In fact, the golf courses are the modern day oases in the Arizona desert.

Most prevalent on this course is the Richardson's Ground Squirrel (Genus: Spermophilus). I've been calling the Gophers for about 18 months now but after a bit of research I discovered how wrong I was and I apologized to all the squirrels that I have misnamed.

They are usually very shy and dive into their holes when you come near them. The one in this photo was anything but shy. I was standing over my teed up ball and it ran over to inspect the ball and for a moment I thought it was going to knock it off the tee or take it away. Instead, he (or she - my squirrel sexing skills from 2 yards are not very good) sniffed it and then ran off.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Image IQ #1

Can any of my desert dwelling compatriots tell me what this is? This isn't a TGI Friday quiz that I know the answer to. I've seen this strange configuration all over the desert but have yet to work out what it is.

There are often 4 burial style crosses made of wood near each of the corners and a small mound of rocks. Then there appears to be 2 buried pipes that run along two of the sides. Most of the time there are some capped PVC pipes sticking out in the middle of this strange apparition.

Help is needed to dispel gopher burial sites and aliens.

Click on the image to see a larger image.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Top Blogs from Phoenix, AZ

This is the not-so-official list of top blogs from Phoenix that I've just set-up on Amazon's UnSpun site. Not sure how long WildFiction will remain at the top once my "friends" find out about this...

If this worked correctly then you should see a list above. You can vote directly on the list. The first time you vote you'll be asked to solve a captcha (a bit like beating Kasparov at chess) and then there's no looking back.

Cambridge Who's Who

It is my pleasure to inform you that you are being considered for inclusion into the 2007/2008 Cambridge Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals “Honors Edition” of the Registry...

Who are these Who’s Who people? Do they have no idea who I am?

Quoting Groucho Marx: “I refuse to belong to any club that will accept me as a member”

Quoting myself: “I refuse to belong to any club that mistakes me for an executive or professional”

Conversions in Google

I recently discovered another neat feature in Google which I believe has been there for years but somehow managed to remain hidden from me for a long time.

Google with do conversions for you in the search box. Try typing any of these phrases:

15 gallons in liters

(also accepts the non American spelling of litres)

4 hectares in acres

3 nymphets in strippers

(Okay the last one doesn't work yet. I guess that Google hasn't finished adding all the conversion tables.)

We will assist you momentarily

Whenever I get put on hold with the CVS pharmacy I get told that I will be assisted momentarily. I thought that momentarily was a made up word until a few minutes ago when I looked it up and indeed it is recognized in North America as a word that means "in a moment." I suppose that someone thought that one word replacing three would add to the brevity of the expression. If that's the case then nobody counted the syllables.

On a completely different subject (although not a complete non-sequitur) I can never use the word syllables without thinking of that clip from Black Adder III where Prince George thinks that Black Adder has said "Silly Bulls."

And again straying slightly off subject, I have a technique for checking the spelling of a word using Google. I type (separately) the two different spellings I think the word can take and see which word has more occurrences in the Google data base. Example: "Results 1 - 10 of about 1,150,000 for non-sequitur", and "Results 1 - 10 of about 62,500 for non-sequiter". Of course Google also asks you "did you mean to be an idiot or are you looking for this word…"

Blogging from Word 2007

I've just discovered a fancy new feature in Word 2007. You can blog directly from Word into your blog. Well at least that is what they say. I am typing this in Word 2007 and if you are reading it on my blog then it successfully published. If you are not reading this then it did not work.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Splash and Dash

I'm planning on doing my first Splash and Dash in 3 weeks time: Splash & Dash Spring 2007 Race #1. Although I've generally done a lot of sports and have almost always maintained a reasonable level of fitness I've never done a bi, tri, or quad-athlon.

Yesterday was my first day of training. I ran 4km along the Central Arizona Project canal. I'm not sure if you would call it a run but perhaps more of a jog. Even jog might be too generous, perhaps a shuffle. I had every intention of doing the 750m swim afterwards but after the shuffle that was not going to happen.

Today I did the swim first (which is the correct order for this Splash and Dash) but was too stiff and sore before and afterwards for another run. I'm thinking of asking the organisers if I can come back the following day to finish the Splash & Dash. I'll keep you posted on their answer.

Lack of Blog

I'm going through a phase of forgetfulness on my blog. Each day I come up with something that I want to blog about but by the time I sit down in front of the computer I've forgotten what it was that I wanted to blog about and so you haven't seen many blogs from me recently.

One trick to jolting the memory that I have found particularly effective is searching for porn. Now don't misunderstand me here - I don't actually go looking at the pictures I just bring up a list of search results. For example, if I typed in "naked images of pamela anderson" I get the usual hits but today I also get one from a web site called and the words wood and tuna jump out at me and remind me of a time I caught a tuna and had to hit it on the head to kill it and then I got the tuna's blood on my face and it got stuck in my beard and when I shaved it... and that's how I got back to the last post about the Four Blades.

(I'm not sure if my wife's going to buy that the next time she walks in on me surfing for porn but I'll let you know how it goes.)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Four Blades

I was restocking my razor blade collection which I do about every 6 months. One blade lasts me about 2 weeks and so the big pack of 16 about 32 weeks. I thought that I had the latest and greatest of the Gillette razors: Mine has a AAA battery that makes the razor vibrate while you're shaving. It's called the G3 Power and has 3 blades. When I've finished shaving I always run my hand along my jaw bone and pretend that I'm 1% as good looking as the guy in the commercial who does that. I notice the mirror vibrate a little if I do it for too long.

I was disappointed to see that Gillette now have a 4 bladed razor called the Fusion. It looks like it comes in both manual and battery power like the G3. My disappointment was because I no longer have the MAX blades that a man can get. I think that the number of blades that they're packing into a razor is now hitting the ridiculous level. It's a bit like the 3rd, 4th, and 5th releases of marginally B movies.

When are they going to stop adding blades to the razor? Will we see a 5, 6, 7, 8, 20 blades razor in the future? Will I have to grow an extra long face to use the 20 blade razor?