Saturday, December 27, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Our team of three recently hired a new employee and instead of boosting productivity by 33% as expected it's jumped by 100%. I think that we've discovered a new incentive...
Our team consists of only men. We had a choice of hiring anybody we wanted. We decided that we could hire someone with comparable skills or a smoking hot babe with no skills. We choose the latter.
The babe now sits in a corner of our office and says and does nothing. At midday, whoever has been most productive gets to go to lunch with our new team member.
[Edit: This blog post is about a fictional employee working in a fictional team at a fictional company. Don't confuse this with real life.]
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Yesterday (1 November 2008) I had the pleasure of passing this kidney stone. I say pleasure because it's wonderful to know exactly what caused all this pain. It's amazing that something so bloody small can cause so much pain.
The pain hit me shortly after eating my wife's excellent chicken curry so you can guess who's cooking immediately got the blame for the pain. I'm still trying to work out how to dig myself out of that one. I'm thinking diamonds and gold.
She graciously took me to the ER and shortly after checking in the pain disappeared completely and the staff were convinced from the symptoms that it was a kidney stone.
I was not so convinced because about 15 months ago I ended up in the same ER with the same symptoms and the standard pain killer for kidney stones did nothing to alleviate the pain and the CAT scan showed up nothing.
After seeing the stone I am now a believer. It's a great relief knowing what caused all this pain. I think that having pain without knowing what causes it is always a worry because you don't know what to research or adjust to prevent it from happening again.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
- You will only discover that the lock on the bathroom door of your new house does not work when you get your first guests.
- If your brother is passed out in the bathroom with his head just to the left of the toilet bowl and you try and use the toilet standing up you will miss to the left.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The last time I was at a drive it you picked the sound box off a post and hung it on your window. Now you tune your radio station to a given channel to get the sound.
We took our SUV and parked it backwards and had an inflatable mattress already pumped up in the back with the seats folded down and a few cushions. Popcorn, pretzels and beer. It's still pretty hot out so we had to keep the windows down. A number of people had chairs out and plenty of kids running around.
We watched Tropic Thunder (average to bad) and then the first half of Iron Man which was enjoyable up to when we left (had to get home for a call) and it looked like it could have had potential.
We'll definitely be doing that again. Next time might try the one in Scottsdale.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
When you and your buddy decide to take your bikes into the desert for a ride roll up to the pump just after he's started filling and as he's finishing take off the gas cap and ask him to top up your tank. Doesn't even appear on your credit card.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
- People - Do I like the people I work with? (Would I voluntarily go out to dinner with them?) Are they clever, creative, inspiring, and supportive? Do they challenge me and help me to progress?
- Location - Is this the country, and city that I want to live in? Is my commute enjoyable or can I easily make it enjoyable? Is the office located somewhere I want to work? (e.g. what other business are next door?)
- Work - Is this the type of work that I want to be doing? Is the company moving in the direction that the work that I'll be given be the type of work that I want to do?
- Remuneration - Is the package good?
I allocate a rating for each one on a scale of 1 to 10 and then add it up. Anything above 30 is a good score.
There are times when you'll sacrifice one of the points for more of another because it brings your overall score up. A case in point:
My wife recently changed jobs so that she now works from home (doing the same job) rather than work in a store. For that she took a pay cut. Although we didn't use these 4 points to explicitly evaluate her new job we would have probably reduced point 4 by 2 points. However, she loves working from home so point 2 has probably gone from a score of 2 to 10 for a net gain of 6 points.
Your job score might change from month to month so evaluate it and write it down and check it every now and then.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I have a new ride. It's a Suzuki DRZ-400. It's too tall for me to touch my feet flat on either side but when I become obese I'm hoping that I'll be able to weigh the shocks down enough to flat foot it.
It's great fun in the desert but a bit slow on the open road. I'm planning on a trip from Lake Pleasant up to Crown King via the forest back roads in the next few months. Let me know if you're interested in joining me.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
To reduce the cost of fuel that they burn, arguably the only but definitely the largest variable cost that the flight will bear they've started to reduce the weight of the plane by carrying less fuel and replacing the heavy metal food carts with plastic ones.
How else can airlines reduce the weight that they carry and therefore their costs?
One way to do this is to charge each passenger by weight (both body biomass and luggage) instead of by "piece." A person weighing 300 lbs is going to cost more to move across the country than a person weighing 150 lbs. Just ask the pilot of a Cessna.
At first blush this may seem unfair because you're taxing the fat. This is discrimination dammit!
But is it?
Are we not already discriminating against the passengers whose combined body and luggage weight is below the average? Are they not paying an implicit subsidy for their heavier co-passengers? I think so.
If it costs the airline (say) $1 per pound in fuel to fly our biomass and luggage from Phoenix to New York and our total weight is 30,000 lbs then it's going to cost the airline $30,000 in fuel. If that 30,000 lbs is represented by 200 passengers weighing an average of 150 lbs each then the airline is going to have to charge each passenger at least $150 just to cover the fuel costs.
Now consider that 100 of those passengers each weigh 200 lbs and the other 100 each weigh 100 lbs. It's going to cost the airline $200 per heavy person and $100 per light person to move them across the country. The total cost to the airline remains unchanged at $30,000. However, the lighter passengers are paying $50 more and the heavier passengers $50 less for the costs that they contribute towards.
What would happen if an airline were to implement a fat tax policy?
What if they were to diplomatically call it an "underweight discount" instead of a fat tax?
Would that airline attract lighter people?
Would fat people boycott that airline? If they did, that would shift the fuel cost from this airline and onto other airlines. Good or bad?
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
I have no idea how we got on to this subject but a co-worker described a Chuckwalla to me and when I heard the description I realized that I'd seen one on a hike at Pinnacle Peak on 4 August 2007.
I must confess that I didn't recall the exact date (or the year) but when I found the photo my ability to read the date off the image file didn't let me down.
This is apparently a large lizard (could you tell?) and part of the genus Sauromalus and the iguana family.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Apparently each language has its own idiomatic way to express this. In French you would say "pull the chain." In Spanish you would say "tirar de la cadena." I didn't know that until right now so I can't claim to be able to speak Spanish.
I wonder, however, about languages such as Zulu. Do they really have an idiomatic way to express something that is so new to the culture/language? Please could all the Zulu speakers who read this respond with a comment...
Sunday, June 22, 2008
My wife sometimes tells me that I have a big head. This evening I had cause to measure it and discovered that it's 57cm which lead me to looking up my head size and I discovered that in fact I have a medium sized head which is defined as:
57-58cm or 22 3/8 - 22 3/4 inches and a hat size of 7 1/8 - 7 1/4.
Do you know your hat size?
Saturday, June 21, 2008
When you're setting up the Wii Fit it records your height (you need to input that) and weight (it measures that).
If you're doing something like a lunge you're supposed to put a certain percent (I'm guessing 50%) of your weight on your front leg. Because this leg is on the Balance Board the Wii Fit can measure the percent of your weight on that leg and provides a marker on the screen showing you if you need to put more or less weight there.
I've now used it twice in two days. I'm sure I'm going to post more about this soon...
Friday, June 20, 2008
During the two months that I had the bike both the front and back tire inner tubes split. I am guessing that this happened for one or both of the following reasons: (1) The inner tube supplied is 1/4 inch smaller in diameter than the wheel diameter and/or (2) they are very low quality.
Usually this wouldn't be a concern because you can buy high quality replacements from companies like Bell. However, because of the design of the wheels these inner tubes require an extra long valve stem and even though I live in the 6th largest city in the US no one carries stock of this type of inner tube. Even if they did it's inconvenient having to replace one a month.
The only way that I managed to replace the inner tubes was by calling Pacific Cycle on the East Coast and having them shipped which means that I have to pay for postage as well as the new inner tubes.
When I read the reviews about this bike there was one person who marked the bike as "not recommended" for the sole reason of the inability to buy an inner tube. I'm not sure why that didn't concern me at the time but it should have. If Pacific Cycle stop making or supplying those inner tubes then the wheels on this bike become useless and your have to spend several hundred dollars replacing the wheels.
It's a real pity because it's a great mountain bike.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
It was 12-gauge, double barrel and with a hacksaw from Ace Hardware I reduced the barrels to a manageable length.
So I was cruising down the path this morning with the shotgun taped to the handlebars like a rotating tail gunner from a Lancaster Bomber when I saw the little bastard at the usually spot. It froze as if staring down the barrel of a gun. I grabbed the stock with my left hand and squeezed both triggers in its direction but hit the desert scrub to its left and raised a cloud of dust that I had to cough through.
Now remember that I haven't even slowed down at this point. I reloaded by holding the stock between my legs and shoving 2 more AAA's into the barrel. By now the roadrunner had taken off but was still in front of me unable to leave the path because of a high wall and line of trees.
This time it was easier to aim because it was holding a steady height above the ground and not quivering. I decided to let rip with one barrel at a time. The wide spread passed just below it to the right knocking him slightly up and left. The choke barrel caught it up the tail and it exploded into a cloud of feathers.
I swallowed a fist full of feathers as I sailed through the aftermath and set a new record cycling to work.
Of course I ditched the shotgun behind a bush before I got to work because we're not allowed to guns at our desks.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I couldn't help wondering if they were a husband/wife team taking me on or Roadrunner Olympic Contestants. I'd like to think the latter.
They'd obviously planned this. We arrived at a fork in the path and they split. My regular fork at that point is slightly uphill so I selected the easier route. I think this took them by surprise as I quickly caught my single competitor and forced it into the bushes.
Again I am victorious!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
For those that know Reach 11 I saw the bobcat in the section between Tatum and 56th on the paved path just north of the perennial pond. As soon as it saw me it dashed back into the undergrowth on the north side of the pond.
This morning there was no sign of the roadrunner. I'm sure it's plotting something...
Monday, June 09, 2008
My guess is that the roadrunner doesn't understand the concept of weekends and thought that because it hadn't seen me on the Saturday or Sunday that I'd given up and wasn't coming back to the races.
How very wrong it was and how very easily I beat it today.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Usually it starts to run as soon as we lock eyes on each other but this morning it just stood there. I started pushing hard on the pedals expecting it to take off running at any minute.
As I drew up to where it was standing a Gambel's Quail with 5 tiny chicks came running out of the bush right across the path. I slammed on brakes and came to a skidding sideways stop just managing not to wreck.
After the dust had settled there were no witnesses left except myself. The roadrunner had disappeared into the bushes with its accomplices. I disqualified the roadrunner and declared myself the winner.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
For the first time I drew up parallel to him and knew I was going to overtake him. That's when the bastard cheated and took off and started to fly and rose up to eye level with me. I stared him straight in the eye and he returned my glare and then I decided that if he was cheating so was I. As we approached a tree I took a quick swerve to the right and tried to head-butt him. Lucky for him he swerved out the way but had to go around the tree.
When he appeared again on the line of the path, still flying, he was a few yards behind me and I saw him land and give up. He just stood there in the path with a bewildered look on his face.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
The last 2 days I've encountered a roadrunner. I'm not sure if it's the same one - I'm guessing yes. Like the Racing Lizard this roadrunner has been racing me.
Roadrunners can run at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour (24 km/h) and generally prefer sprinting to flying. I cycle along that part of the desert at around 12 MPH. The roadrunner keeps a steady pace ahead of me and when I push a bit faster he (or she) picks up the pace to keep the same distance. When we get to the end of the path the roadrunner turns off and disappears into the bushes.
Did the roadrunner win or did I? I think it was yours truly because the roadrunner gave up and I continued.
Monday, May 26, 2008
I had a bit of fun blurring the name out of the picture so you couldn't read what it is. I thought that the word pixelate was the correct verb nowadays for blur but it turns out that paint.net (excellent paint replacement for windows) uses the very blur for the function of blur. Had I used the obvious it wouldn't have taken me so long to find.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
This couldn't be more off target. They've given it to a man who has no goals.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Work is having a wellness drive and we've been encouraged to fill out a wellness survey with our health provider. Apparently I'm 96 well and 4 unwell. I'm not sure what the units are, perhaps it's percent. If so, I think that the 4% unwellness is my nose which is easily big enough to represent 4% of my body and has been sneezing recently.
Aparently I don't eat enough fruit and veg...
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Computers count in binary, 1's and 0's. That's because each of place in memory can be either on or off. Humans count in decimal because we have 10 digits, 8 of which we call fingers and 2 thumbs.
It's obvious then that bees should use base 6 to count and that should make it equally obvious why the cells in honeycomb are hexagonal.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
This morning a large lizard took off next to me and kept pace for about 100 yards. It never found a hole and eventually just stopped. I couldn't work out if he'd stopped because he was exhausted and had run out of steam or just didn't consider me a threat anymore.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Here is the captcha that I've been given for this blog post before it will "go live."
Now what do you think it says? I'm guessing that it's "oogafk" and I'm pretty sure that I'm right.
However, I've noticed that blogger never accepts my initial guess when posting a blog. No matter how right I am it says that I'm wrong and gives me another captcha. The second one I always get right. I'm guessing that this is a bug.
That's when it struck me about how cool it would be if restaurants gave you the ability to reduce their online menu to what you can eat and perhaps even allow you to order it by your favorite types of food.
So if you're allergic to fish or nuts or if you're a vegetarian, kosher or halal eater you can select what is acceptable and what is not. Also, by ranking your preferences for different food types those dishes that had your favorite bits in them would be listed at the top.
Does anybody know of any online menus that do this?
Now I know the answer to this question so I had already answered it correctly before I had turned around to look at her.
"Phat is spelled P.H.A.T." she said. "It stands for Pretty Hot And Tasty."
"In that case you're definitely phat," I replied.
This question promises to be more and more difficult to answer in the future...
Monday, March 03, 2008
1. The Gospel Church is full and cannot admit any more members, or
2. There are fractional Gospel churches. There might be a Quarter or Half Gospel Church.
This requires further investigation...
Thursday, February 28, 2008
At the beginning of this month I was 77 miles behind target. I need to average just over 2.7 miles a day to make it so I started cycling to work and have managed to notch up 190 miles this month.
Early, in a desperate attempt to make up miles, I asked the organizers if I could include distance skied in the figures. They said yes but I decided not to add those miles as technically you don't propel yourself to the top of the mountain and gravity pulls you down. So cycling to work it'll be.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
On the face of it, time-share often looks cost effective and appealing but there are a whole bunch of hidden costs that you don't take into account.
In the worst case scenario, I would be paying $55/day on top of my timeshare for staying there. That's $10/day for the safe, $10/day for the Internet connection, and $35/day for cleaning service. Can you believe that there's a safe in each room but they charge you to use it? All of these costs are included when you stay at a hotel apart from maybe the Internet which is included 90% of the time.
There are other annual fees that the timeshare company will charge you that will also add up. There's the annual maintenance and then they nickel and dime you with other taxes and fees. They often state that the annual maintenance fee is "only" $790 and then further down the contract there's an annual $89 charge for something and then another $59 charge for another item.
In the case of my parents-in-law, when we added up the annual and daily costs (excluding the purchase price) they can stay in a great hotel in Vegas for that period of time without buying the timeshare.
Monday, February 11, 2008
My skill at interior design has never before allow me to criticize or look down on anyone else's handiwork, until now. Have a look at the image, can you spot the mistake?
We just spent a great weekend at the Mexican resort town of Puerto Penasco (there's a tilde over that n but I'm too lazy to go looking for it). I was admiring the Las Palmas condo that we were in and came across the coat hooks in the cupboard. I was somewhat surprised to see one of them upside down. You had spotted that by now hadn't you?
In my best Spanish I asked the front desk to explain it. In his best Spanish (which is excellent by the way) he said: "It's for when the polarity of gravity inverts and you still need to hang your coat or umbrella."
I got my money's worth out of my dictionary to give you that translation.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Sunrise was great. First time I've skied there when all the slopes were open. Interesting to see the other two mountains; Apache Peak at 11,100' and Cyclone Circle at 10,700'. The black runs on Cyclone have some great names like Tempest, Thunder, Suicide, and Hurrican Ridge.
Driving back from the ski slopes I saw some guys doing some ice fishing and curiosity got the better of me and I walked out onto the lake to see how they do it. They've got this massive drill bit that's the diameter of a medium sized tree trunk that they screw through 3 feet of ice and then drop their line in. A few pan sized rainbows were lying on the ice next to their coolers. You never have to worry about keeping your catch fresh when you go ice fishing.
Friday, February 01, 2008
I almost missed today. That wouldn't have been a very good start.
Straight after work we drove up to the Mogollon Rim town of Show Low. There's snow everywhere and this is easily one of the most beautiful places I've been to. Tomorrow we ski.
So how did Show Low get its name?
According to the legend, the city was named after a marathon poker game between C.E. Cooley and Marion Clark, they decided there was not enough room for both of them in their settlement. The two men agreed to let a game of cards decide who was to move. According to the story, Clark said, "If you can show low, you win." Cooley turned up the deuce of clubs (the lowest possible card) and replied, "Show low it is." The stakes were a 100,000 acre (400 km²) ranch. Show Low's main street is named "Deuce of Clubs" in remembrance.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
I discovered a button on the dash with the picture of a tortoise and another with a picture of a hare. It seemed fairly obvious that pressing these would increase and decrease the speed of the scooter. Testing the buttons showed that my guess was correct and I point this out to the two geniuses that had been in charge of the original operating instruction with the question "Just what did you think those buttons were for?"
It turns out that they thought that since this was a zoo (even though it's called a museum) that you pressed the hare button when you spotted a member of the rabbit family and the tortoise button if you saw a tortoise.
Sometimes you have to give up.
Another goal is to do less exercise. I covered over 200 miles of self propelled distance in 2007 mostly swimming, hiking and cycling. This meant that quality time in front of the TV watching Law & Order repeats, Oprah, and Doctor Phil was never realized. I've calculated that if I can cut down my exercise to just 50 miles this year I can add about 2 hours of extra telly per week.
My wife claims that I am the best husband in the world and spoilt her rotten during 2007 by taking her out, on holidays (remember Vegas honey?), and buying her stuff. There doesn't appear to be any room for improvement this year (my bad) so I'm going to have to cut back there to look good again in 2009.