Sunday, December 27, 2009

First drink in 51 months

On the 23rd September 2005 I gave up drinking (booze) for a year. This got way out of control and yesterday, 4 years and 3 months and 3 days I still had not had a drink. Today I put all of this behind me and had my first drink in over 51 months.

It was a glass of Shiraz/Cabernet from Penfolds, Koonunga Hill (Australia) served up at Macaroni Grill and it tasted delicious.

The reason that I gave up drinking was because I had been drinking all my adult life and I wanted to test myself to see if I had the will power to stop drinking. I also knew that it would be healthier for me not to drink. I enjoy being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle and it was on my doctor's advice that I started drinking again.

She's the same age as me as is her husband and she tells me that she makes him drink a glass of red wine each week (even though he doesn't like it) because it's good for him. I'd always known that red wine in moderation is good for you but had never considered this part of a health regime because I'd always been in the habit of having several glasses of that and many other drinks every week.

It's good to have one leg dangling off the wagon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What's Left

I was just updating my accounts with the new Quicken 2010 and it tells me that I have around -$4k in my accounts. I'm sure I have a positive balance but that doesn't worry me compared to when I'm next going to be paid which is in 1,786,456 days time. A quick division by 365 tells me that my next pay check should arrive in 4,894 years time. I wonder if Intuit employees get paid more often than that...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dog on pickup

Pinetop Lakeside in Arizona. I was amazed at the balance that this dog had. I have no idea how the dog is holding on but the truck went around a corner and the dog didn't flinch.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sedona Colors

Took a hike at West Fork in Sedona. Pretty fall colors.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Scorpion Hunting

Not too long ago I bought a Black-Light ultra-violet flashlight very similar to this one. As soon as I had it I enthusiastically went around our community at nighttime looking for scorpions especially around all the houses that had reported having had them. I did this for about three nights in a row and was disappointed to find none and blamed the flashlight for not being powerful enough.

Fast forward to last night and a friend in the community tells me that he has also just got a black light flashlight and had recently found a whole bunch of scorpions. With renewed enthusiasm I went out with him last night and we managed to squash 7 of them.This is an image of 4 of the dead scorpions in a bowl being illuminated with the black light.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The West Wing

When we took a vacation to Solana Beach at the end of September we stayed in a condo which happened to have the first season of The West Wing and so we started watching it. It didn't take more than a few episodes to get us hooked and when we got back we scoured Craig's List and found the complete series and started watching.

This has to be the most enjoyable way to watch any series. It's now about 6 to 7 weeks after we started watching it and we're on season five. Each season ends with a great cliff-hanger and I love that we can be watching the resolution in the next few minutes instead of having to wait half a year for it.

When the dialog gets too complicated (I am simple) I can rewind and switch on sub-titles and there are no commercials. I still haven't bought a Tivo but watching this series all the way through has pretty much convinced me to stay away from standard TV programming and go to something that will stream.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Do Not Call Register

Every now-and-then we get a marketing call to sell us something. It's not very often because (1) our number is unlisted and (2) it's on the do not call register. It's ironic that you unlist your number (at a cost) in order not to receive solicited calls and then you have to list it in order to not receive calls.

Well I got a call today asking for money and I asked them where they got the number. It was on some list that they had because apparently we've been giving money to charity and the charity organizations share lists of people like us. I then mentioned that the number is on the do-not-call register. At that point the lady told me that she worked for a Non Profit and they are exempt from referencing the do-not-call list.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Paradoxical Gym Entrance

I remember seeing this photo of an entrance to a gym a number of years ago and was reminded of it again today. I'm reading a book called The Black Swan and in it he mentions gym members riding an escalator to get to the gym and then going straight on to the stair climber.

I had always been puzzled as to why there would be escalators leading up to the entrance of the gym and I think that I now have the very boring answer. The escalators actually lead from the parking lot to the level where the gym and other shops are - not just the gym. Another explanation that I came up with was that the gym rented the space after the building was built and the escalators were there before. Boring but I'm happy after years of worrying about this that I now have an answer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Writing a Damn Good Novel

A number of years ago I wrote a novel called Wild Fiction and it was this novel that started this blog although this blog doesn't have anything to do with the novel, it just shares the name and the idea that you can't always trust what you read here.

If you want to read the novel you can do so for free online here: Wild Fiction

I never had the novel published in print (although I know that it is ridiculously easy and inexpensive to do so now) so don't go looking for it on Amazon.

While I was writing Wild Fiction I read a ton of books on how to write a novel. The two best books out of all of them were:


These books were also the shortest of any of the "how to" books but don't have any waffle - they are all 100% quality content.

What I love about these books is James Frey's attempt at trying to help you overcome writers block in the first book and then telling you that it doesn't exist in the second book and to just get over it and stop being so bloody lazy.

Enjoy and please post a comment if you've read either of those.

Sandpipers on Solana Beach California

I thought that these Sandpipers that we came across on Solana Beach in California were pretty cool.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Walgreens you suck

My wife calls Walgreens and CVS to find out which pharmacy is cheaper for a prescription she needs filled. Walgreens quotes $11 and CVS $17 so she obviously drops it off at Walgreens. When she goes to pick it up Walgreens say that they made a mistake and that it's $19. My wife asks if they can either honor their original quote or price match CVS and they say they will do neither but my wife can take her prescription back and get it filled at CVS. My wife not wanting to waste another hour and suspecting that the gas will cost $2 sucks it up and gets the prescription from Walgreens.

Walgreens that's BAD customer service - today you are at the top of my list of "Companies That Suck."

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Image IQ #8

What is this device? It took me a while but I eventually worked it out. It's a game, however, I've never seen this game played but would certainly like to try it one day.

And for another point, where in Phoenix, AZ is this course?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The decline of my blog

On the right hand side of the blog there's an archive widget that shows how many posts I've made since I started this blog in 2006. For past years it reads:
2006: 156
2007: 96
2008: 56
2009: 8 so far

We're already half way through 2009 so it looks like I'm going to get about 16 posts up this year. It's not because I haven't been doing anything it's because a time thief has been robbing me daily.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Wellness Score 2009

Last year my Wellness Score was 95. This year it's 85 which means that I'm 10 points less healthy this year. Aparently I don't do enough physical activity which surprises me because yesterday I went mountain biking in the desert, used the Wii Fit and went for a swim. I also don't eat enough fruit and veg which is ironic because I was eating a bowl of berries while answering the survey. 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fat in Flight

In August 2008 I blogged Airline Fat Tax where I proposed that airlines charge passengers by total weight (luggage and biomass combined). This will removed the price discrimination that is currently in place where lighter people subsidise the ticket prices for heavier passengers.

In the CBS news story United To Charge Heavier Passengers Twice To Fly we hear about how passengers that don't fit into one seat now need to buy a ticket for a second seat next to them. This is reasonable because they are taking up 2 seats. If a parent is traveling with a child in their lap they still need to pay an extra fare even though that child isn't taking up a seat.

However, what the airlines are missing at the moment is the weight discount approach. In order to reduce how much they offend their passengers they should charge a higher price and offer discounts for each pound your total weight is under their threshold. $1/pound sounds reasonable to me. Someone who's luggage and body weighs in at 240 lbs should be given a $60 refund to their credit card once they've checked-in at the airport assuming that a 300 lbs threshold per person is set. Of course there would also have to be a minimum because you're taking up a seat.

What effect would this have? Easy, people who are lighter and/or travel with lighter luggage will suddenly start traveling with that airline. The airline is carrying less weight and using less fuel and can offer a more competitive price to its customers. The other airlines have to handle the heavy weights.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Being an extra

One of my goals in life is to be an extra in a film. I have a friend who played the part of a stunt corpse in American Ninja 4 - The Annihilation and on a stag weekend we ended up in a hotel that had a small video collection which had American Ninja 4 and he showed us the scene that he starred in and it was so cool to be watching the movie with one of the "stars."

Today, my wife and I went and watched the Reduced Shakespeare Company's production of Completely Hollywood at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (theater 4301). There were only 3 actors doing the performance and as part of the act they included members of the audience. I remember hearing someone complain about this before saying that they go to the theater to be entertained and not to have to entertain. I sometimes feel that way, but not today.

This was very well done. The part that my wife and I "starred" in was a scene where eight members of the audience were pulled on stage and we were each given different and sometimes multiple roles. Ours was to be a young couple dancing and we put on an absolutely fantastic Oscar award winning performance.

What we lacked in youth and skill we made up for in enthusiasm. It was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Shovelling Sunshine

We've had a particularly rough winter in Phoenix this year. They say that we've already had 17.5 zillion photons of sunshine. Every single morning this winter I've had to shovel sunshine out the driveway before getting the car out.

I've put in an application with my HOA's architecture committee to plant some trees next to my drive. I'm hoping that the shade from these trees will solve this problem.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Image IQ #7

Where in Arizona can you see this aerial image of Oprah and what I assume is a promotion for 3 TV?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Javalinas on Canal Path

Out biking on the canal path on the south side of Reach 11 came across these two javalinas. I was holding the camera with one hand while cycling. I need to get a steady-cam for these action shots.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Golden Globes Best Dressed

I was just watching some of the Golden Globes' red carpet arrivals and the standard question that they were all being asked was "who dressed you?" The answers were typical; Calvin Klein, Gucci, Valentino, Versace, Christian Dior etc.

Now I know that most of you celebrities read my blog so I have a dare for you. Next time you're asked that question on the red carpet say "Wal-Mart." Go on, I dare you.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Threesome with Alyssa Milano

I had a dream last night. It was a work dream. There's a particular analytical come mathematical problem that I've been trying to solve at work and it's been on my mind and ended up in my dream. In fact I think that I solved the problem in my dream but I couldn't remember the solution when I woke up.

Which brings me to waking up. My wife didn't look very happy. I asked her what the problem was and she told me that she'd had a dream and it was sexual and it involved me, her and Alyssa Milano. We were involved in a threesome and my wife was not happy with it.

This is so unfair. I dream about math and she gets to dream about me in a menage a trois.

(I had no idea who Alyssa Milano was until she told me that she was the girl from Who's the Boss.)