Sunday, June 29, 2008

Leaving the Facebook

I have seen the tumbling, tumbleweeds blowing through the dusty streets of Facebook City. It's turning into a ghost-town I tells ya, and I ain't hanging around and risking being the last man standing, all there on my lonesome, submitting status updates that no one can hear, just like the hapless, SOS radio signal in 'Lost'. Nah, no way mista, not this time. I'm on the first train outta here.

Dropped in at the local inn for one last time, and pulled up a chair with the old codger who sits in the corner. He'll spin a yarn about the good ole days for a price of a drink, and is good for gossip on the latest goings ons. This time, he tells of a new gold rush, of people packing their bags and heading out for a hot, new, social site. But I'll leave 'em to it. I'm getting old, my body weary.

Friday, June 27, 2008

When I woke up today,

I didn't know it was going to be day of washing. In the morning, I did the regular, quick, face wash. Then, at around lunch time, I had a nice, relaxed shower. After this I gambled (and won) that it wouldn't rain and I spent a good hour washing my car. Then I washed my clothes. In the late afternoon I went to gym, came back and had another shower. I might top it off by washing a few dishes tonight.

Indian stock market bubble

Here is a 10-year chart of the Indian stockmarket (BSE SENSEX). It looks like it's got 'bubble' written all over it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Coffee ... it's in the smell

A possible explanation for why I enjoyed shoving my nose into my bag of Vietnamese coffee:

"That morning coffee is just the thing to get the brain in gear and the body moving. But it turns out that just the aroma of coffee also gets some of our genes up and at ‘em. That’s according to research in the June 25th issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The authors report that a sniff of coffee turns on several genes in the brain in ways that help diminish the impact of sleep deprivation. In rats, at least.

Rats that were stressed by lack of sleep were exposed to the smell of coffee. Seventeen different genes got activated in their brains. And thirteen of them produced proteins known to protect nerve cells from the damaging effects of stress. While there have been numerous studies analyzing the health impact of the ingredients ingested when drinking coffee, the researchers say that this is the first study to examine the effects of coffee’s aroma. So maybe you don’t have to shell out that four dollars for the latte—just walk by the counter…"
Source: Sci-Am's 60 second podcast

ps - Bad news on the weasel coffee. It's simply not as good as the normal Vietnamese coffee I have been drinking.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Major script flaw in Boiler Room

SETH: I'm gonna hand you this case on a silver f******g platter. I know everything you don't. I know how it all works. How Michael makes his money, where it goes, and who's getting it. Now what happens tomorrow?

TRUE: You go back to work tomorrow like nothing happened. Just for one day. I need your client book and your whole C- drive backed up onto floppy.
Before you ask, Seth does manage to copy his entire C drive onto a single floppy disk.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Trung Nguyen Vietnamese coffee is no more

My beautiful Vietnamese coffee has run out.

Since I came back from 'nam, I've been knocking back a cup of this stuff almost every day. It has a lovely, intense aroma with a rich, strong taste, and it's dead simple to make using a tin cup dripper thingy (see picture). Fortunately, I have another, large stash of the famous Vietnamese 'weasel coffee' to work through, and this should last through to the winter months. But what to do when this runs out? Well, I've just done a quick Google search, and the famous Vietnamese coffee producer Trung Nguyen is now selling it's coffee in the UK! This is very good news indeed. I know what I'll be asking for for xmas.

Milton Keynes is not quite the modern city

Broadband in Milton Keynes gets knocked hard by a BBC technology reporter:

"The city's telephone network, built in the seventies when the price of copper was sky-high, has an awful lot of aluminium in it, which makes it pretty useless in terms of delivering broadband.

So Milton Keynes, a new town, is trapped in the 20th Century when it comes to the high-speed internet - which is why the fixed Wimax network we were there to cover is an attractive option for some residents with no other way of getting broadband.

We used the Wimax network to do a live broadcast - which we thought might be a world first until we discovered that my colleague Alistair Leithead had broadcast live from Afghanistan via a Wimax network set up in Kabul. For developing countries with shaky fixed-line telephone networks Wimax is quite a useful way of getting broadband. How amusing that this applies to Milton Keynes too. Perhaps the city would like to twin with Kabul?"

It isn't all that bad here. I'm currently on a free broadband connection with Orange, delivering speeds of just over 3 MB, which is fine. However, when speeds make their next big leap, MK will probably lag a few years behind.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

There Will Be Vader

Can't believe I missed this when compiling the list of There Will Be Blood spoofs/parodies etc. It's ten minutes long, but if you know 'There Will Be Blood' and 'Star Wars', it's worth every minute. Welcome to a work of genius:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fat Lumps update

I'm on track to lose a stone in weight by the end of September. It's a bit OCD, but I'm keeping a log of every single thing I eat so I can estimate my daily calorie intake (today was 1650). It's a big help. To prevent polluting my main blog with diet tips and the like (distinctly not RM!), I'm maintaining a tumblog called Fat Lumps.

'What is this Tumblog business?', I hear you ask. It is like blogging 'lite'. Think of it as somewhere between blogging proper and Twitter-ing. Before you ask, Twitter is a community where people send the equivalent of text messages to each other, or just to themselves...personally, I can't see it serving a useful function, but then again, I also see limited value in Facebook and other such sites - the novelty wears thin after a few months as one realises these 'tools' are not quite as life-augmenting as first thought. Of course, the truth is that I'm just getting old, and don't want to admit it!

Funky self-portraits using that web 2.0 magic

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Daily Speculations word analysis

Just discovered a really cool word-cloud generator called You simply throw in a speech, article, etc, choose a font, and it arranges the words into a beautiful cloud.

Here is the word-cloud of the Daily Speculations site:

Click on the image to see it in full size

Friday, June 13, 2008

There Will Be Blood spoofs, parodies and homages!

I scavenged these beauties from Youtube:

There Will be Ketchup

There Will be Pokemon

There Will be Weed on Campus

There Will be Arnold Schwarzenegger as Daniel Day Lewis

There Will be a Girl Dressed as DDL, Singing About Milkshakes

There Will be Blogs and Orphans

There Will be an Age Mismatch

There Will be a Long Swede

... and, as a bonus, here is 'No Football For Old Men' (coin toss parody)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

a ritual

When I hear the sound of rain falling late at night, I open my bedroom window and stick my hand as far out as I can reach. I will hold it there for a few seconds, listening to the sound of traffic in the distance.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nothing is over! Nothing!

It's from the crucial, character revealing scene in the first Rambo:

Film reference in Sly Moves

'Nothing will work if it’s too restrictive, nothing!'

- From 'Sly Moves', Sylvester Stallone's health and fitness book.

Do you know the line and film this quote pays homage to?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stopping the hayfever in its tracks

The hayfever came for me yesterday and I just wasn't ready. Cancel that. I actually invited it in by leaving my windows wide open so all those nasty little pollens could come in and land on my face, which is exactly what they did. Blasted pollens. My hayfever tablets helped but when the pollen is extreme, like it was yesterday, I still suffer big time. I reckon I sneezed over a hundred times during the day.

Better times today, though. I've only sneezed twice and day is nearly over. Here's what I did:

- Left windows only marginally open so nasty pollens can't get through.
- Take the electric fan out of the box and leave it running on a low speed so the pollens have a hard time landing on my face.
- Switch out the pollen ridden bedsheets.
- Dust the room from head to tow.
- Hoover every nook and cranny.

I am in a pollen-free zone, for now.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Flugtag June 2008 - 6 pics

One of the jumps:

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sly Moves by Sylvester Stallone

I'm selling my 'Sly Moves' fitness book on E-bay (auction closes on Sunday).

I read this book for the third time a few days ago and ended up taking endless quotes and photo scans that I may as well have kept the book!

Here are some snippets and pics:

Face it, the old cliché is true: no matter how rich or famous you are, without your health you’ve got nothing.

You can achieve extraordinary things into your fifties, seventies, and beyond if you really want to. It’s that simple. All it takes is the desire to live better and the passion to feel more alive. It’s that simple if you’re prepared for it.

Cream cheese will hurt you.

And on the seventh day, eat! Nothing will work if it’s too restrictive, nothing!

Holidays are supposed to be a break from reality. If you see some pie or stuffing you can’t resist, I say go for it and know you’ll pay the piper later. Promise yourself you’ll stay on that treadmill an extra two or three days and then you’ll be even. It’s very simple mathematics: whatever you put into your body, you can take away with the right combination of cardio and smart eating.

And, for the fans, here are links to earlier Stallone related posts:

Who is John J Rambo?

Rocky film site

Sly Stallone

Sly Moves - book

Stallone knows the truth

Rocky Balboa

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

McDonalds in the UK and US: a calorie comparison

Here is the nutritional information for a selection of foods at a UK McDonalds:

Here is the nutritional info for the same food selection, this time using the American McDonalds web-site:

Each item in the selected American menu has between 20-50 extra calories.

At first, I thought this was simply down to larger portion sizes and that the American customers were getting better value for money, but then I looked at the protein content of the burgers. The US Filet-O-Fish has 1 gram less protein than the UK version, while the US Big Mac has 4g less protein than the UK equivalent. Instead, the extra calories in the US burgers seems to come from extra carbs and extra fat.

Source for nutritional information: McDonalds (US and UK web-sites)

Work it Mr Snail

The sun finally came out today, and me and Mr Snail made the most of it.

After taking this picture, I moved Mr Snail to damper pastures so he wouldn't dry up in the strong mid-day sun.