28 February 2011

Is that awkward?

I've been trying to buy a new hoodie from lululemon for about 2 months now. They never have my size or color, so I finally broke down and signed up for their mailing list. That hasn't worked any better than occasionally browsing their website, but at least I can look forward to pictures of absurdly pretty yoga girls in my inbox every Thursday. SI Swimsuit issue? Meh. Yoga girl is better in every way, not least because she looks like an actual person instead of a cartoon character. 

I mentioned this already, but just in case you're new around here: I'm eco-friendly in that I like hot girls that are into recycling and yoga.

Athletic girls > stick figures, every time.

25 February 2011

So good it hurts

Loved this. A lot.
Image copyright explosm.net. 

24 February 2011

Please don't eat that. Ever.

I love oatmeal. I haven't eaten it lately but you better believe I'm going to demolish the McCanns Steel Cut oats (my grandfather's favorite, from the TIN, not the g-damn box) the next time I have a carb cheat day; i.e. Saturday.

Gramps knew how to put it together right, with the essentials: a slice of butter melting in the center, cream or milk (if you're a feeble weakling) poured around the edges, and brown sugar dribbled over the top. Raisins? I don't even know you. Apples MAYBE, if I'm in the mood. If that doesn't sound good to you then you don't know how to live. It was guaranteed to 'stick to your ribs', a quality much valued at the old man's house. If you indulge too often it's also guaranteed to 'give you a heart attack', but once in a while it's not going to hurt you.

Mark Bittman points out that McDonalds has gone into the oatmeal business, and they've managed to turn this wholesome food into something awful. He explains it in detail, but this is is all you really need to know:

"The aspect one cannot argue is nutrition: Incredibly, the McDonald’s product contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. (Even without the brown sugar it has more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.)"

So don't dare eat that stuff. Eat the real thing. You will be amazed how good it is, even without the essentials. If you're in a hurry, follow these simple suggestions from the fine artists over at McCanns: http://www.mccanns.ie/preparation.html

23 February 2011

Income inequality

Here's a graphical summary of what I meant when I was talking about the cost of the tax cuts. Note how the income gains of the past 30 years have been distributed.

Full list of graphics here:

It may be that you don't think this is an issue, in which case you're probably comfortably in that top section. Lucky you.

22 February 2011

How much is that gonna cost?

Note how much the cuts and war(s) cost in 2009/10
Senator Jon Kyl (John?) recently suggested that the Feds should extend the Bush tax cuts permanently, but also rejected any notion that unemployment benefits should be extended unless the money was cut from somewhere else.

The awesome part about this is that it articulates the Republican position very clearly. Rich people should make more money, and unemployed people should go get a job. And if they can't feed their kids / pay the mortgage while they look for work, tough shit. What, the tax cuts will cost about TWENTY TIMES as much as the cost of unemployment? Whatever. Give a (very much smaller) portion of the people 20x as much money as a (very much larger) portion of the people in great need. Yeah that sounds fair.

Almost as fair as creating a budget shortfall and then sticking your opponent with the bill. I'm no fan of unions, and at first I thought it perfectly reasonable for the governor of WI to reduce his operating costs. Except that he didn't spread the costs evenly; he exempted (predominantly white, Republican) firefighters and cops, and stuck it to the teachers and other public sector employees. Is this a legitimate attempt to balance the budget, or is it a concerted effort to break the union? I'm not suggesting the unions in Wisconsin don't need to be reined in, or that costs don't need to come down. I'm suggesting that there are more intelligent ways to go about it than, you know, giving the people that voted against you the middle finger. Oh, you're being funded by the Kochtopus? Never mind then. They totally have your best interest at heart.

Aside: This is an old pattern from Reagan-era politics- cut taxes so overall funding is reduced, and then make up the deficit difference by cutting social spending, because you can't cut defense spending or how will we pay for an enormous standing army? Nuclear bombs or school lunch programs? Never mind that you can buy a shitload of lunches for bomb money. THE COUNTRY IS AT RISK.

21 February 2011

Birthdays all up in hurrrr, part 2

This image is making it's way around the interwebs. I'm sharing it here because I think it is rad. It belongs to this guy: http://dribbble.com/seriousron

We're not on a first-name basis or anything, and image is copyright him, so don't go trying to steal that thing.

Birthday party was great. My friend's girlfriend threw a party at their house for the two of us (he has a birthday earlier in the month). Lots of my peeps came and if anyone had a bad time they were too nice to mention it. I <3 my peeps.

There was a wine tasting and a vodka tasting, so you had an excuse to try all the different boozes. It was a quite a production and it came off really well, which was a testament to all the work that the organizer put in. My contribution was to show up and drink vodka sodas and scold anyone that tried to dick around with the music. (At one point I'm pretty sure I said, "When you have a party you can do the music; otherwise, don't touch it." The key to music at a party is to just play something good and leave it alone. Too much back and forth confuses the mood.) And eat all the 7 layer bar cookies that she had put out. I actually ate so many that I began to feel sick and had to have a glass of water. That's how I roll.

18 February 2011

At least I got a free brownie

The nice girl at the place where I frequently lunch gave me a free brownie today because it's my birthday on Sunday. So that's nice. I love treats.

I wanted to dominate teh internets today with a good post about birthdays and stuff but I'm over it. I'll be back tomorrow with something good. So good you will say damn, that was good. Maybe.

17 February 2011


Not a very bloggy week this week, so here's a link from my uncle, who loves basketball way more than me.
It's sweet time waster. If someone did the same thing for soccer goals I'm pretty sure my head would explode. 


Description of the link:
"Our Valentines day gift for hoops fans, the visualization below is an Interactive [Ed: why capitalized?] video collection of the most important and amazing shots in NBA history, mapped by location and year. We asked the authors of some of our favorite basketball blogs to submit their favorites and then rounded out the list to get to 65 total shots."

15 February 2011

Let's try this again: trackday pics

The last set of links from picasa broke the blog, so we'll try something a bit more low-tech.

Here's the photos that I bought from the professional photographer:


And here's the photos that I took with my own camera:


I included this photo because it reminds me that my body position needs work. A lot of work.

14 February 2011

Birthdays all up in this bitch

Had some of this saved in the freezer but my roommate at it all
It's my birthday this Sunday. My friend's GF is throwing a party. I have mixed feelings about it. (My birthday, not the party.) I'll be 37. It's not a bad number. Kind of an intermediate sort of number. 

I opted change my eating habits in the weeks leading up to my birthday, try something different. Cut way back on the carbs, mostly. Been doing that for about 3 weeks now. Can't say it's made a huge difference in my physical shape. I was already in decent form, so any changes were never going to be dramatic. Still, I'll stick with it for another couple weeks and see how it goes. I miss eating granola bars. They make such an excellent snack. And also cake. Because cake is such an excellent anytime food. Especially homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (pictured). That stuff is so good I cannot stand it.

I'll be celebrating my birthday over the course of the whole week. I plan to do this by going to the gym, maybe buying myself something nice, and generally cramming as much awesome as I can into my day to day.
Pretty much the same as every other week then.

Such a thoughtful gift!

I did <3 that I was number 07
For Valentine's Day my girlfriend decided to give me day at the track.

Wait, that's not right...

If I HAD a girlfriend, then a day at the track would have made a wonderful gift. Or a fun opportunity for her to catch up on her reading while I sped around the track in Fontana. Plenty of opportunities for quality time in between sessions. And during the car ride out there. And the car ride home.

Instead I flew solo. So it goes.

Pretty good day for my first track experience. My lap times were slow. One good thing about being so slow is that there are many places to pick up time, lots to work on. So, silver lining there. Overall the bike performed great.

I didn't get on the gas aggressively enough, or brake hard enough, or turn fast enough, to turn fast laps. In other words the best place to pick up time is: everywhere. My line and body position improved though. Next time my goal is to bring lap times down AND hold a crisp, consistent line. It'll probably be a couple months before I can go again. The track is popular, and they only reserve certain days.

11 February 2011

Is that work-related?

Overheard on my way past the receptionist, as she was speaking into the phone, "I just feel like, everything he said to me was like, a lie."

If you use that sentence, and just imagine her as a caricature of a typical receptionist then I think you've pretty much got it.

Image is from Google a couple days ago, to celebrate the birthday of Jules Verne. I copied it here because although Around the World in 80 Days was kind of lame, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was ahead of its time.  

Someecards delivers the goods- what your Gmail really says

Click to embiggen
This is lifted straight from someecards so if they kill the link you'll have to get there on your own.

It's the subtext of your gmail inbox. 
I laughed.

My favorite? "Belligerent, easily debunkable conspiracy theories about 'our so-called president'", from grandma. Mine used to come from my (old, racist, crazy) great aunt. Now she gets shunned to the spam folder.

10 February 2011

900 Days and The City of Thieves

Finished two books about the siege of Leningrad. Before I started reading about it I had no idea that there even was a siege, and didn't appreciate that Leningrad used to be called St. Petersburg (as it is now), or that the siege has no parallel in history, or what an epic idiot Stalin was, or how terrifically f'd up the Soviet government was. So much to learn! (Borrowed both books from Jeff. Well, I borrowed the second one. The other one I found on the floor in his garage and appropriated.)

The first book: The 900 Days: The Siege Of Leningrad is great but it suffers from a huge cast of characters and an incredibly boring devotion to minutiae. And a tragic shortage of maps. Pictures would be nice, but if you don't have them, you don't have them. But no maps is shameful in a book of this type. The two(!!) maps that are included are poorly detailed, so it becomes difficult to follow along without backtracking. If you really want a feel from the miseries, top to bottom, this is the book to read. It took me almost a month to finish, which is a really long time. I had to take a break and finish a couple books along the way, just to lighten up a little.

For the casual reader, I recommend City of Thieves, which draws heavily on 900 Days. Indeed, the author uses dramatic events from 900 Days to create his fiction, so much of what he describes actually happened.

The individual miseries of the siege are available in either book, but the numbers are as follows: According to 900 Days, at least 1.1 MILLION people died of starvation or starvation-related causes in Leningrad from 1941-44, with another 300 or 400 thousand killed in the fighting. So, 1.5 million people in and around that one city. It's hard to get your head around. It's like San Francisco starving to death. Except San Francisco is only ~800,000 people. So add Boston (600,000), and you're juuuuust about there. I had a difficult time trying to process it.

Both books highly recommended.

08 February 2011

Best. Interview. Lately.

For three bucks I'll buy this game on the strength of the interview alone.


Thank you for briefly illuminating the pit of abyssal despair I call existence.

You're welcome, friend.

That's why my mom doesn't know I ride a motorcycle

Reader Shannon (NMSNSS) says:

Oh my gosh, do all motorcycles just come apart like that on impact??! It looked like a plastic toy. The mom in me is having a panic attack for all motorcyclists right now.

Just to be clear, that wasn't me in the crash video posted below. I use the word 'crash' intentionally. Most people use the word 'accident', but that implies that nothing could have been done to prevent it. Almost all crashes are not accidental, they are caused by negligence or carelessness.

Motorcycles don't always disintegrate when you get rear-ended. Although they are mostly plastic toys. Consider the photo here, showing my first bike after a super cute co-ed named Chelsea Schwenn (I'll never forget her name) tried to run me over while pulling away from a red light. She was looking at her iphone when she hit me. Seriously.

Very lucky for me that I was physically unharmed; the bike (and her audi) were banged up. She was mortified, very kind, and almost as shaken as I was. The only negative thing I have to say about her is that she should have been paying better attention at the wheel. But who among us isn't guilty of that? Note that it wouldn't have happened if I had filtered between the lanes to the front of the row. Only got hit because I was in regular traffic.
I spent this past Sunday trying to ride a supermoto bike around a track. It was scary and fun but safer than riding in traffic. I look forward to doing it again. This weekend I've got bigger plans: riding my own motorcycle around a track. It will be similarly scary and fun, but much faster. Average speed at the kart track was maybe 30 mph? Lots of super tight turns, and also I am slow. Average speed on the track this Sunday (for me) will likely be 60 MPH, with a top speed of well over 150 MPH. Here's some links:

R6 (600 cc bike) hauling ass, with engine noise.

zx10 and R1 (1000cc):

They claim they hit 170 on the straight, but unless it was proven by a transponder I am skeptical. Maybe an indicated 170 on the speedo, with a more likely actual of 155ish. The smaller bike (R6) was turning faster laps.
Anyway, that's what I'm doing Sunday. Palms are clammy thinking about it.

Lastly: Don't dare tell me to 'be careful'. DON'T DO IT. I'm sick of hearing it, and it has no impact on my riding. I am one of the most careful riders around. Besides, the track is the safest place to ride. Instead, encourage other drivers to 'be careful', since they represent the greatest risk to my safety.

07 February 2011

How hard is it to PAY ATTENTION? Too hard.

How bad is it?
Umm, you're buying the guy a new motorcycle, and you're lucky not to be going to jail for being criminally negligent. Although you probably should get your license suspended for this kind of stupidity.

Note that rider is in jeans, boots, gloves, jacket, and helmet. Good job, rider.

05 February 2011

Let's do this!

Coincidentally, this bike is similar to the one I will be riding (though I will be slower)
Getting ready for bed early on a Saturday night because I have to get up early tomorrow and go to the track in Riverside and ride supermoto. Ohhhhhh yeah.

How early? I'll be up at 615, meeting my friends in Lake Forest at 715, and then heading out to Riverside shortly thereafter to visit the Adams Motorsports Park. There I will do all I can not to embarrass myself and endanger myself or others. And also I will try and have some fun.

I'm renting time on a KX450 that has been converted to a full-time supermoto bike. It's not a beginner bike, and this was the actual conversation that took place today when I met with Ryan and Kevin over at Metric Method* to discuss the details of renting the bike and tomorrow's track day.

Me: What kind of bike is this?
Ryan: Kawasaki KX450
Me: Is this a race bike? I am a beginner.
[Full disclosure: I know this is a race bike, because some seriously fast racer sold it to Ryan a couple years ago and he's tried to sell it to me once or twice when my own bike was getting routine maintenance. Also, do you really think a guy that owns a motorcycle service shop would run a bike that wasn't fast? No you do not. So... ]
Ryan: Hey Kev, is this a good bike for a beginner?
Kevin: (long pause) Well, you have a literbike, so your careful throttle control will help you here.
Me: (smiles nervously) Great! ehhhh...
Ryan: Okay super!
Kevin: (laughs)

This is all a warm-up for next Sunday when I take the beast to her first trackday at the AMA course in Fontana.

Aaaaaaaand... bedtime.

* Best place in Orange County to get your bike serviced. No exceptions. It's possible you can find someone cheaper but if you want a full-service shop then this is the way to go. Highly recommended.

03 February 2011

Darth Vader in training

Loved every part of this, even though I came at it from a different direction when I was little.

02 February 2011

Food: it's what you eat!

Here's a 'food manifesto for the future', which is really a fancy way of saying 'here's some ideas about food'. I recommend it.


Lots to chew on in this article (pun intended), but my personal favorite is farm subsidies. As here:

End government subsidies to processed food. We grow more corn for livestock and cars than for humans, and it’s subsidized by more than $3 billion annually; most of it is processed beyond recognition. The story is similar for other crops, including soy: 98 percent of soybean meal becomes livestock feed, while most soybean oil is used in processed foods. Meanwhile, the marketers of the junk food made from these crops receive tax write-offs for the costs of promoting their wares. Total agricultural subsidies in 2009 were around $16 billion, which would pay for a great many of the ideas that follow.

True Story: I have a friend that works for the federal gov't; he's an economist, very bright guy, and he works to evaluate the (in)effectiveness of farm subsidies. Every year he recommends that the government take steps to reduce subsidies and improve the overall health of the economy, and every year the politicians ignore the recommendations. That's your government at work. At least they're managing defense spending. Wait... No, no they aren't.

That's... That's not exactly what we would have expected...

I dare you not to laugh.

Main red flag here is the way the big dog doesn't take eyes off the smaller dog. Also, she just got out of a cage so you know she's not well socialized. But still, that's not what we would have expected.

01 February 2011

Not as good as seeing it in person, but it's a great start

This was all over the interwebs today:


And I confess that I enjoyed it very much. The 'street view' effect gives you an idea what it's like to actually see the art installation, as opposed to just seeing the art. You can use the feature to navigate around the museum. Sweet.

The people have spoken - part 3 (4?)

hawt secks to my eyeballz: http://metricmotorbike.com/
I enjoy that people come to this space and share their comments. So I like to respond to the comments. Not in a timely manner, but still, we get to them eventually. So:

From the Art of making me cry in public spaces, Erin says:

I did the same thing. Got that book from someone and then cried like a baby on an airplane while reading it. Blair made fun of me.....

To which I respond:
Shame on Blair! He should read the book and try not to cry. It's tougher than you think. Upside: Rocky loves you more than anything in the world. So there. To be fair, B is one of the kindest people I've ever met, so it's likely that his making fun of you was funny instead of mean. If he did it to me I would just hug him until he couldn't stand it any more. Love FTW!

From Work got done, Shannon (NMSNSS) says in BOLD, and my comments in plain text:
I'm always amazed at how comfortable everyone gets discussing their most personal bodily functions on a mission trip.

Breakfast conversations often center around the consistency and frequency of last night's eliminations.

That's just fun.

Is it? It was something. I dunno about fun. :) But camping / working in Foreign Lands really brings that to your attention. I noticed that some people were clearly not comfortable with the discussion. I didn't mind it, but I didn't really participate. On the other hand, I am a guy, and I live with a guy, and we are total bros, so we talk about shit all the time. If the roommate has to dump out you better believe he tells me about it. Otherwise what would we talk about?

My husband and I have been on trips to Central America to drill water wells for villages without access to clean drinking water.

That is actually kind of awesome and bad ass. For real. I worked on a drill rig one summer in Fargo, North Dakota. I think that anyone with a terminal illness should move to Fargo, because every day there feels like forever. Working on a clean-water well rig would be awesome. And also miserable. Awesomely miserable? Miserably awesome? More awesome than miserable? Yes!

Check out Living Water International at http://www.water.cc. You would like what they do. You could get new blisters AND a lovely rash from being covered in drilling mud all day.

But...it's a good thing to do.

I will go if Blair goes. Seriously.
Buddy trip!

Photo courtesy http://metricmotorbike.com/, which rebuilt this fantastic motorcycle and then sold it for the fantastically low price of $3200. Of all the other fantastic things about this motorcycle (and there are many), my favorite is that you OR your girl would look cool while riding it. And it's not too big, which means that your girl could actually ride it comfortably.

Let's evolve

Evolution vs. creationism is a recurring theme around here. I'm too lazy to look up the posts but the short version is that one is science and the other is religion and there shouldn't be any confusion or equivocation about this. Especially not in a science classroom. As it turns out that's easier said than done, courtesy this short brief from Scientific American
High school students flunking biology might take some consolation in knowing that most of their teachers would be, too. So suggests a commentary in the January 28th issue of the journal Science by Michael B. Berkman and Eric Plutzer of Pennsylvania State University, who surveyed more than 900 U.S. high school teachers about how they taught evolution. ["Defeating Creationism in the Courtroom, But Not in the Classroom"]

Shockingly, they found that only 28 percent of teachers taught evolution effectively, and 13 percent actually advocated for creationism. The roughly 60 percent in the mushy middle steered around conflicts between evolution and creationism or taught both and let students draw their own conclusions. (Always such a good idea….)

You can put me firmly in the camp of teaching students science, and letting them draw their own conclusions. I don't want to shock anyone, but creationism fails as science. There is no debate in the scientific community about this. If you disagree on scientific grounds then I encourage you to do more research, preferably in the sciences. If you disagree on religious grounds then I defer to your expertise.

In unrelated photos, here's me building a house for a needy family. It looks a lot like the photo from 2 years ago (see profile pic). Maybe because I wore the same clothes. I retired (read: threw away) the shirts AND the hat this year, so maybe next year we'll have a new look. Retained the jeans; Diesel keeps me looking sexy on the jobsite.