Showing posts from April, 2008

May is a nasty month

Every so often I eliminate some food from my diet for a period of time. It's partially in the name of losing weight, partially good health, but mostly just me being obstinate towards myself instead of others (for a change). My method every time I do this is to not buy the food items in question--using the reasoning that if I don't buy it I can't eat it. And it's a lot easier for me to not buy something so that when I get those nasty cravings, I'm too lazy to go out special to get said items. It works for me 'cause I hate making special trips like that.

This time around I'm eliminating soda, kid cereals, and salty snacks. I ran out of chips 2 weeks ago, soda on Saturday, and kid cereal about 5 days ago. Tonight is the first bad night--soda is the thing that is hardest for me to do without--but I suspect the next 4 weeks will see me lusting after soda a lot worse than tonight.

The damn stuff is so cheap and wonderful. I can't quite remember why I even elimi…

Time does not exist

I wasn't able to sleep last night since I'd slept off a headache during the afternoon. As a result I was laying in bed awake for hours--and that got me to thinking. Not a safe thing, y'know?

One of my conclusions is that time does not exist. I'd been talking about this about 8 weeks ago with Lee but hadn't been very eloquent in my reasoning. I'm going to make another stab at it now.

My reasoning is that time is just a word we use. Time is just a measuring stick by which we judge change. Essentially it's the next dimension past what we can directly perceive. Since we perceive 3 dimensions, we've assigned time to the 4th dimension.

Let's visit a hypothetical situation. A 1-dimensional being, should such a thing exist, would use the second dimension as "time". As its single point moved in a 2-D world, that second dimension would seem to be ever changing from the 1-D critter's perspective--and would be perceived as time. Now to us, beings in …

Is it a miracle?

Some people might think of this as a miracle but I just call it overdue rain.

This picture here is my backyard taken from the shelter of the door to my laundry room. I left work early today due to a sinus headache and pinched nerve in my back. I went to bed soon after getting home and now I find myself wide awake at midnight. Wonderful.

We received some rain over the weekend, starting late on Saturday and continuing through today. I got soaked leaving Wal-mart Sunday night when a light rain decided to become a downpour whilst I was inside trying to find food. That, apparently, is a mistake late Sunday night. There was nothing attractive in the veggie department and the meat and bread areas had meager pickings as well. I left the store with just a few items--and a lot of rain.

In case the rain wasn't obvious in the picture above, here's a closeup of the bird water dish. It was really coming down. We still have a huge rain deficit here in Eastern NC but this is definitely helping.



What do you think of this necklace on "Gold Box" sale at today?

To me it looks like a dog tag. Not something I'd want to give to a girlfriend. (the "Fifi" part I added, in case that's not obvious)

Do women want something this chunky looking around their neck? And would a woman want it monogrammed or personalized with a name? Perhaps a contact phone number on the back too? I'd hate it if my girlfriend got lost and wasn't able to find her way home. True, Alzheimer's is at least a year or two away--but it's good to be cautious.

Seriously, does anyone like this? Maybe it's just me that thinks it looks like a dog collar.

I'm still thinking about Nena and that armpit hair thing. Unlike what Bob-Kat said in comments, I thought it was an appealing look.

80s music

I was watching VH1 for a while today. They were playing one of those countdown shows across most of the afternoon and evening. This particular one was tracking the top 100 pop hits of the 1980s, 20 songs per hour.

I recorded from 80 up to #1 and ended up watching the first two of those shows, which would be from #80 up to #40. It's interesting what you remember. The song that had the most emotional impact was REO's song Keep on Loving You. Not a very good song, I admit, but every time I hear it I remember this girl I was sooo in-love with at the time, circa 1980. Unrequited, of course. Those are the ones that really stick to your soul music-wise.

Another interesting song was Gabriele Susanne Kerner (AKA Nena) and 99 Luftballons. I loved the English version of the song back then though the German language version got a lot more radio play. But on the show they were talking more about her unshaved armpits than they were about the song itself. LOL I have to admit it's a hot …

Dave is food

While I like to hike outside I don't always enjoy the wildlife that I find out there.

Here's a case in point. I plucked that sucker (literally) over there on the left off my knee yesterday before work. She was firmly attached but not yet feeding off of me. I used the tweezers pictured below to slowly pry her away from my horrified flesh. LOL

What's weird is that I got that tick just by mowing my grass. That's the first time that's happened to me in the 5 years I've owned my place. It's the 5th tick I've pulled off of me this year and it's still early. Prior to this, my worst year I had 3 ticks across the Spring and Summer. Obviously this is going to be a banner year for me and ticks. Oh joy.

Have any of you---those of you with warm climes, that is--noticed if ticks are worse this year than before? I'd have thought with that horrible drought last year that there'd be less ticks than usual.

two odd news stories

The following two news briefs occurred over this past weekend. As far as I can tell, they are actually true. They sure sound like fake stories tho...

Getting knifed in the back at work by a colleague is unfortunately not an uncommon experience. For a Russian factory worker last week it was, however, not merely metaphorical--although the man's senses were so dulled by alcohol that he failed to notice the knife stuck in his back by a co-worker.

The newspapers Komsomolskaya Pravda and Gazeta reported on Friday the case of Yury Lyalin, a 53-year-old electrician in the town of Vologda, north of Moscow, who was stabbed by the factory's security guard as they were having a drunken argument.

Passing out at the factory, Mr. Lyalin awoke the next morning and attempted to resume his duties, but was sent home by his boss due to his inebriated state. No one noticed the 6 inch blade stuck between his shoulders. Mr. Lyalin went home, had a bite to eat, decided to lie down for a while and was on…

Rachel Ray and Earth Day

Lee made a challenge to me last night. She wants both of us to not buy a single thing from Amazon during the month of May. That's good for the planet since directly and indirectly consumerism is such a plague on our biosphere. (So that's my Earth Day plug.) Of course Amazon is aware of that and is doing a big "Green" push to make consumers think they're doing the planet good by spending more.

So, this should be easy, right? Not so much. Normally I'm very careful with money and except for a few months at Christmas I rarely buy consumer goods. Unfortunately this year I never stopped spending money. Eeeek! So this challenge that Lee is making is just in time. I need to stop shopping! (sorry, Chris--I know that's against your religion)

Adding a little background stress to the month of May is that I want to cut soda out of my diet for the month. I do this several times a year but it's always difficult for me 'cause I LOVE soda. Carbonated sugar water. …

snake in the leaves

I took this picture 8 days ago when I was on a hike at Morgan Creek. I thought I had posted the picture at that time--but when I went to show the picture to a co-worker, it turns out I was wrong. *gasp*

So here's my snake picture. He was good sized and while snakes don't bother me, in this case I never got closer than 5 feet away. He looked a mite pissy and even non-poisonous snakes can bite.

Of reading and rabbits

This is turning out to be a cool and rainy weekend. I left my windows open during the night despite it getting chilly (50f) and so now I have my red fleece pullover on to stay warm. It's a Wal-mart clearance buy. Only $4.88 so I use it like a t-shirt not a coat.

Fortunately I did get some mowing done yesterday before the rain started. Now that we have some water coming in that grass is really going to take off. And speaking of taking off, the leaves on my backyard trees are really coming out now. I think the dry weather had been holding them back. Other than the mowing, I mostly just read yesterday. I finished an old Clancy novel that I'd read several times (Cardinal of the Kremlin) and started a Twinkie book that I picked up from Amazon on clearance a few weeks back. The book is actually an explanation of the chemical background of the additives in snack foods and uses the ingredient list on Twinkies as a way to organize the topic.

And speaking of snacking, look who's munc…

Pride goeth before a Fall

Above you can see the Eno River, just above Fews Ford near the start of the Buckquarter Creek Trail. I was wandering along the trail with Jules after work on Thursday. I tend to like to take pictures from both sides of a stream so anytime there's a good linkage of rocks, I try to switch sides. The rocks you can see in that picture above allowed me to do just that.

Here's the same rocks photographed from upstream, on the other side, a minute or two later.

In the picture above you can see Jules measuring the distance between rocks in her head. Studying the situation...

Just before I took this picture I yelled to her that she shouldn't try it 'cause the rocks didn't have enough surface area on top for her to land after a jump. But did she listen?

This is what happens when people don't listen to my advice! LOL Fortunately Jules just got wet from the knee down. She could easily have landed face first on a rock. Jumping across streams on rocks is for the nimble, y'…

Two turtles and a Mom

I went hiking with Jules after work last night. We went along the bank of the Eno River which isn't very far from where she lives. That's safest since I don't want her to know where I live. She's a little off at times and it's best to be safe. N'est pas?

We came upon those two turtles sunning on a branch about 2 miles up the river and almost immediately after Jules saw the Mama Goose. I was still looking back at the turtles and Jules hissed at me to stop just moments before the goose followed Jules' lead with goosey hissses of her own. Of the two, the goose sounded far more like she meant business. Ha! I didn't approach any closer but I did get 3 good pictures of the Mama guarding her orbs.

That nasty ole belly fat

Here's an excerpt from a science journal that is kinda interesting. Apparently just having extra fat around your middle is enough to make you hungrier--which of course triggers eating and more fat. Fat wants company? It would appear to be so. Weird.

Can your belly fat be making you hungrier?

According to a recent issue of The FASEB Journal, the extra fat we carry around our middle could be making us hungrier, so we eat more, which in turn leads to even more belly fat.

Dr. Yaiping Yang and his colleagues at the Lawson Health Research Institute, which is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario, found that abdominal fat tissue can produce a hormone that stimulates fat cell production. Yang calls the hormone Neuropeptide Y or NPY. Discovring that this hormone is produced by abdominal fat tissue was a surprise since previously NPY was believed to be produced only by the brain. Yang believes this novel finding may lead to new therapeutic targets for combating obesity.

The traditi…

Tax Day Blues

What a nasty surprise. For the first time in my life I ended up owing the government a substantial--at least for me--tax bill. In addition to what I have taken out of my salary, I ended up owning over $2,800 to Uncle Sam. Ouch.

And what makes it worse to my mind is that the extra tax is due on money I don't have. Stock market stuff, you see. I had some tidy gains early last year then the tide turned and those gains evaporated away.

I started my portfolio with $8k, saw it rapidly increase to $20k (thus the $3k tax bill instead of the usual $3k tax refund), but then it returned back to earth--dammit--and now all I have is a so-so 30% increase from my initial investment.

This tax year I'll be able to deduct my losses but that won't help on the taxes since you can only use stock market losses to offset stock market gains, not salary. This might just teach me to pick some good quality stocks and stick with them, and not to play around with fly-by-night companies. Ha! Not likely…


Let's see, according to Reuters:

President George W. Bush is very concerned about global food shortages and has asked senior aides to look into how the United States can help alleviate the problem, the White House said on Monday.

Top finance and development officials from around the world called on Sunday for urgent action to stem rising food prices, warning that social unrest would spread unless the cost of basic staples was contained.

Maybe if we weren't growing crops just to put them into our gas tanks, that would increase the amount of corn available--and drop the price thereof. Just a thought. Especially since corn is one of the most subsidized and petroleum intensive of crops.

Mushrooms and crabs

The mushroom in the title refers to that big fella in the picture above. That's my leg in the background to give some scale to the thing. It was HUGE. I took the picture while hiking near Carrboro on Saturday. Just 15 minutes or so after I took that picture it began raining. Hiking loses some of its appeal when it rains.

As for crabs, that refers to the season premiere of The Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel this upcoming Tuesday.

This weekend Discovery has been running marathon sessions of the first three seasons of Deadliest Catch but I've only watched snippets here and there. I'll be sure to watch the new season though. Those guys on the Crab Boats make a lot of money in just a few weeks, but the hell they go though to catch the crab is just nuts. Going days without sleep, in freezing temperatures, salt spray constantly on them, hauling around hundreds of pounds of gear and bait--and knowing that one slip can mean almost instant hypothermia. Yikes. No amount of money …

Purple on Saturday

A short hike today yielded me a picture of this little purple cutie. A gentle light rain was accompanied by much cooler temperatures. It felt nice.

Man or Woman?

Now, don't peek at that picture until after you take the quiz!

Teresa sent me this interesting quiz. It determines whether you're a man or a woman, food preferences wise. No need to go out and get different clothes if your indicated gender is surprising, the results are statistical only and certainly not legally binding. Of course if you're just looking for an excuse, feel free to go to town.

For the sake of open disclosure, I was almost totally feminine on this. But I'm only moderately worried about that. I might prefer 9 out of 11 foods in the feminine way but I still don't like the color pink and I have no frilly underwear. And I'm willing to wear flannel--but not very often.

The indicators are in that picture to the left but don't peek at the picture until you've taken the quiz. As you know, that'll lead to answer bias!

A couple of those are close calls. Like horseradish versus cinnamon. I don't have either very often but I'd never want to e…

bookcase meme

The lovely Diane over at Martinis for Two invited me to do a meme.

The theme is what's on your bookcases. Well, mostly books in my house. As you can see in the following pictures, I have a lot of books. 3 bookcases of them in my upstairs storage room, another bookcase of hardcovers in the upstairs landing, another bookcase of hardcovers in the living room, cookbooks in the downstairs hallway, and finally more hardcovers in the bedroom--along with some fleece socks, camera batteries, a box of candles, and some bug spray. The bedroom bookcase attracts some clutter.

I'll pass this meme on to Liz at Library Tavern, cause she's a librarian, and to Sassy cause I hear she's got a lot of books. Enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday


Nerd Crossing

Do you think that's funny? You can find it at this address. The guy that creates them, Randall Munroe, is a CNU graduate with a degree in physics so he knows about the geek-thing first hand. A lot of his comics, but not all, deal with the math / science / physics area especially how scientists and non-scientists interact with one another.

A Sunday Hike

This is the same hike I did last Sunday, along side Morgan Creek. This time,however, it wasn't raining--just a little sprinkle the first 30 minutes--and so we went a lot further. It actually ended up taking 4 hours and we did around 8 miles.

Aren't those flowers pretty? There's something about purple or yellow flowers that really appeals to me. Sure, white flowers are nice, red ones too--but yellow and purple are my favorites.

This was the sticky point in the hike. We walked along Morgan Creek but occasionally we needed to cross to get to better trails--we did the crossings on top of sewage pipes. They're pretty wide and the footing isn't bad. Usually. On this pipe the water was flowing over it in a few spots and the pipe ended at the concrete thingy--about 6 feet from land. I made it across easily enough but the others were a little wimpy--so I had to go back after taking this picture and we backtracked up a half mile and crossed on an easier pipe. Boring!

This is …

Judah Ben-Hur has left the building

Charlton Heston died last night at age 83. He was born John Charles Carter in Evanston, Illinois on Oct. 4, 1923, and derived his acting name from his mother's maiden name and his stepfather's last name.

He won an acting scholarship to Northwestern University in 1941 and that started him on his road to fame. The 6-feet-2 actor didn't have a particularly fast start but a DeMille remake of the 1923 silent film The Ten Commandments, proved to be just what Heston needed to propel him to lasting success. Interestingly enough, Heston's son, Fraser Clarke Heston, played the role of the infant Moses in the film.

This began a series of several films in which Heston portrayed Jews of the biblical era. The aforementioned Moses, Judah Ben-Hur (for which he won the 1959 Oscar for leading actor), and John the Baptist.

Ben-Hur was one of the first films that I remember watching on television. That was probably around 1965, 6 years after it was made. Movies didn't transition to telev…

Some changes

As you no doubt notice, I've changed the blog's appearance quite a bit this morning. I've gone over to one of those boring Blogger templates so I can play around with their gadgets a bit. I'll decide over the next few days just how much to tinker with this--or toss it out and bring back the format I had before.

Feel quite free to give me your opinion on this format change, the state of the economy, price of gas, or how much cleavage should be shown in public. That last one should really be accompanied with visual aids. I can provide my Email address if you want privacy....

Bugs and weight

It's 6:45am and I'm writing a post in my blog. I need my head examined!

Actually there's a reason for the early hour. I needed to come into work quite early to work up some slides so that the results would be ready by 9am so that a coworker would know how to handle her part of the experiment. Since her leg is going to take around 8 hours she was understandably reluctant to wait until noon to see the results. Thus, I had to come in 3 hours early at 6am. Right now my coverslips are in a one hour incubation with fluorescent labeled secondary antibody. So here I am complaining about it! :-)

Onto the subject of this post, bugs. More accurately bacteria. And weight. Not their weight, mind you. Our weight.

According to a news release from the Mayo Clinic (that always reminds me of that scene in the movie Airplane), bacteria have an affect on our weight. Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Known as gut microbiota, the trillions of bacteria that populate the human gastroi…

Huge Craters

Having a high def tv is usually a good thing. But there's the occasional disadvantage. This point was brought home last nigh when I watched the season premiere of Hell's Kitchen.

Gordon Ramsey's face looks quite lined on a normal set, but in high def it's scary! That fellow has flesh issues--and when he's giving his "I am pissed" look--it really is intimidating now.

One interesting thing, Hell's Kitchen starts a few minutes after the hour so I ended up recording the last few minutes of that singing show. It was the first time I'd ever seen it--and those people are really good. I was quite impressed.

I assume it's late in the season and the really bad ones have been eliminated--but even so, I can see all those folk having recording contracts after this is done. Still, I doubt I'll ever bother to watch the show. I just don't have any interest in watching people sing.