Sunday, December 9, 2007

Travel season is upon us!

The weather in Madison has turned cold. In the last week we've had 10-12 inches of snow, so winter is definitely upon us. The lakes in town are on the verge of freezing for the season. This would be about 3-4 weeks ahead of when they froze last year. Fortunately, air travel allows (relatively) quick and easy access to warmer environs.
So, now we're into travel season. I journeyed home to Renton for several days over Thanksgiving and enjoyed nice weather, with sun every day. I helped to put the lights on the roof, and actually did it in the sunshine and was so warm I had to remove a layer of clothing! I have a clause in my contract that says I will only put up the lights if it is raining, freezing or dark, but I decided to do it anyway, since I won't be home for Christmas. (I think my parents have pictures of this)
Just before the snow came to Madison last week, Katie left for the west coast. She endured wind and rain in Seattle and Portland, but missed out on the snow and ice in Madison. From there she went to San Francisco. Temps were in the 50s, with sun.
So with the weather turning cold and Katie gone to the Best Coast, I was more than happy to get out of town and go to Miami. Miami was unlike anyplace I'd been before. It was still Florida (all the nuts roll downhill and end up in Florida) but it was definitely not like Cocoa Beach. It seemed at times like a tropical paradise, and 85 degrees was a lot better than neg. 5 degrees in Madison! I could definitely get used to that sort of climate. And the Cuban food and Mojitos also helped make Miami enjoyable. And people-watching on Lincoln Ave in South Beach was something everybody should experience. There were lots of people spending lots of money, wearing fancy clothes and driving cars that were more expensive than most homes in Madison. Fast cars, big boats, big money and big boobs in tiny tops does a good job of describing Miami. It was a good place to go for a weekend, but it was all a bit much for any longer. So after a bit of a delay (and several miles of walking in the Miami and Chicago airports) I'm back in Madison.
Katie should get home either late Monday or early Tuesday, and we're already getting set for our next adventure to warmer temps: Peru and Dallas. Then after two days in Madison, back to Florida (two weeks in Cocoa Beach.) In Peru we will live like movie stars. In Dallas and Cocoa, it will be more like normal folks.
And here is one bit of news from the gross-out file: Minn. Slaughterhouse Workers Fall Ill

Monday, November 5, 2007

Must be time to talk about the weather...

I guess we've been lucky here so far this fall in Wisconsin. But the good times are past. Even as we had temps around 70 last week, today we've had our first snowflakes of the season. We'll have flurries and 25-25 mph wind tonight, and a "hard freeze" in the middle of this week. Brrr. At least I got some new gloves. Working outside my hands have been getting cold (because when I'm working outside, I'm pretty much the only one not working hard enough to stay warm....)

Now onto one of my other favorite topics. I was walking to my car today and as I walked past the back, I noticed that my rear bumper had been tagged by some idiot, scraping the paint off of the corner. Pretty typical for the clientelle around here. We have a few really nice Euro rides in the lot, but quite a few dumpy Japanese cars in various states of disrepair. I'm pretty sure one of them pulled in and didn't quite make it past my car.
In other Volvo news, the old "R" wheels I used to have on my car were sold this weekend. I have had the standard "Turbo" wheels on since the fall of 2004. It was pretty sporty with the old ones, but I couldn't find tires for them that were up to the challenge of carrying the heft of the Volvo.
On a last note about the Volvo, I purchased petrol today for the first time Sept. 30.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stay thin to cut cancer risk

Well, I'll give it my best. This article on lays out ways to cut your risk of cancer. Top recommendations:

  • Limit red meat
  • Limit alcohol
  • Avoid bacon, ham, and other processed meats
  • No sugary drinks
  • No weight gain after 21
  • Exercise every day
No sugary drinks and no bacon, huh? That and all you have to do is never gain weight after you turn 21...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Three things...

These three topics could not be further apart:

Alicia Silverstone has an ad promoting vegetarianism. It was too provocative and was pulled from Comcast Cable in Houston. Was it the beef manufacturers, or the bible belters?

Blackwater USA has posted a classified ad (#18370, posted 9/19 )on a popular rowing website ( looking for personal trainers for Navy SEAL candidates.

And French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared that "France doesn't want war." LOL! With 600 years of French military history, I can see why.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cost Calculators

Here is a really simple tool for figuring petrol cost per mile, adjustible for the current price of gas. It puts me at about $0.15/mile at today's prices ($3.20) but was about $0.10/per mile at $2.00, which it was not so long ago.

As far as determining cost per mile, the IRS give $0.405/mile for tax purposes, so based on raw numbers, I am still (amazingly) ahead of that, but that is figuring in depreciation as well. When I figure depreciation (I paid $14,565 and dorve 73,396 miles, the car is now valued at near $3848) this comes to $0.146 per mile.

So, figuring that my average price put me somewhere around $0.12 per mile, the depreciation at $0.146 per mile and repairs at $0.158 per mile, total cost per mile is $0.424.

The AAA says that it costs $0.522 per mile. Here is a guy who says he did it for $0.375 driving 20,000 miles per year in his FoFo. I don't really trust his judgement too much because he has another post in which he says "I’ve always wanted a Toyota Camry V6 XLE!" Arrgh!

I guess that I have generally overlooked the obvious here. The key to the whole cost per mile problem is that as mileage goes up, cost per mile goes down. Time to start piling on the miles!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fuel mileage

So, I've kept track of fuel consumption since my trip from Chula Vista to Princeton in March of 2003. On that trip I used 106.75 gallons and drove 2701.7 miles for an average of 25.878 mpg.
This picture was taken just before the start of that trip. And I took the picture because I thought prices were super-high!!! Since the start of that trip I've used 1,932.534 gallons of petrol. I've driven 42,786 miles in that time, earning a total of 22.139 mpg over that time.
Best one-tank total: 28.936 mpg
Worst one-tank total: 13.220 mpg I will not add up the total cost of the fuel, because I don't have all the receipts. And I don't want to know.
Maybe somebody could figure out what the average price of premium fuel was over that time frame, but it has gone up quite a bit. It used to be less that $40 per tank, now it pushes $50. An average of $42 per tank over the 130 or so tanks in this record would come to $5460 at roughly $2.62 per gallon.
Depending on the cost of gas and the mileage, it comes out between 10-14 cents per mile.
Maybe I should buy a Camry hybrid and, like a typical Camry owner, never make repairs. It would be much cheaper, and since it is a hybrid, I'd save scores of cash on fuel. Probably I'd just plug it in. Left lane, here I come!

Volvo Running Costs, breakdown (pun intended)

Here are the cost, broken into categories to spare you having to sift thru the vast data:

Planned Service (60K, 90K, 120K, 130K service): $3288.48
Unpanned Service (thermostat, rear main seal, A/C fix): $2389.19
Tires & Wheels (3 sets tires, one set wheels): $2146.69
Suspension repair/Upgrade: $1860.11
Oil Changes: $703.36
Accessories: (Roof Rails, Spare Key, Car Cover): $664.82
Mileage since I bought the car: 73,396
Cost per mile (excluding petrol & insurance): $0.1588

It might be cheaper to run a Ferrari!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Volvo Running Costs

A staggering $11662.28 over 68 months for an average of $171.50 each month.
I spent an hour making a table with each line item, but it *poof* and disappeared. Maybe I'll do it again later. Maybe not.
It was seen as a performance car for me, and some of the costs were modifications I made to enhance performance (air filter, brakes), some were to enhance its hauling capacity (heavy duty springs, shocks and struts). Some were repairs due to overuse or overestimating capabilities.
Several times I just got bent over by the shop.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This Old Car

Well, if the saablog's author can lament the 900, I feel able to do the same about the 855 T5. His car was bought about 15 months ago for $800 for a fun project. Mine was purchased in 2002 for $14,565 for tong-term transportation. The 1997 Volvo is now past its 10th birthday, and starting to show it. Today I waxed the roof and hood and discovered that the paint is not in the best of shape. It has several rock chips on the hood which need to be filled (I need to go the dealer and get some, since the container I had exploded in the golve box last year.) The roof is another story. It is covered, or maybe pitted, all over with black spots. Maybe other cars of mine have had blemishes like this, but it shows more on the Volvo since the car is white. The waxing I did today did nothing to solve the black-spot problem. It just put a shine over the top of them. I expect that I need to get some sort of semi-abrasive rubbing compound to get a bit deeper into the finish, and then get another wax job. But I would probably need to get a buffer to do it, since it would take some serious rubbing to get the paint back to good. The biggest problem is that I don't have a good place to do the work where I could plug in the buffer. I'm not really supposed to do it at work. Another thing the Volvo needs is new spark plugs, and probably fuel injectors. I'll have to check the service recommendations and look at the last time these things were done. The car has definitely lost a step.

Of course all of these things are in addition to the sunroof leak (previous post). I have ordered a new weatherstrip seal to hopefully fix the leak problem. That is not a project I'm looking forward to.
I just saw a commercial for the new MB C-Class. I like the looks of that! But if any new cars are in the future it will likely be somthing more economical (but likely still something German.) I'm thinking that long-term maybe Katie and I will get a small two-seater for in the city (maybe Smartcar, maybe something sportier like a Miata, S2000 or Boxster) and then something bigger (wagon or hatchback) to put all of our toys onto or into. But that is still a year or two away. It doesn't make too much sense to me to get something else without a garage to put it in to keep it nice, anyway.
Some mileage notations:
February 2002: 59,147 (Seattle)
Mar 29, 2002: 63,130 (Princeton)
Oct 29, 2002: 71,309 (Princeton)
Oct 27, 2003: 83,283 (Princeton)
Mar. 26, 2004: 90,610(Chula Vista)
Sept 16, 2004: 103,371 (Princeton)
Mar. 27, 2005: 110, 925 (Renton)
Sept. 6, 2005: 118,043 (Renton)
Apr 3, 2006: 125, 568 (Madison)
Sept 10, 2006: 128,439 (Madison)
Mar 29, 2007: 131, 089 (Madison)
Sept. 3, 2007: 133,346 (Madison)
I definitely don't drive the Sprotswagon as much as I used to. Maybe that is why I feel more like spending money on bikes than on the Volvo. Also, since I don't use it as often, I feel like I neglect the car, and am unsure of what maintenance it needs regularly.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

German Town Scraps Street Signs

Time to lay on the horn and stab the gas!! Anarchy rules on the streets. Crazy Germans. I guess the Dutch tried it too. I don't think it would make much difference in Madison, since nobody seems to obey street signs anyway.
As an aside, I can now blog in Hindi: एरिक'एस फ़ोन ब्लोग हस चंगेद तो एरंदोम्ब्लाठेर!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

From Russia with Love

*in best Russian accent* "You have the mother of all bombs? Ha ha ha, I now build the father of all bombs, four times bigger than zis mother bomb... " And all this just after Russia resumes the long range bomber sorties. Well, now maybe they won't have to carry nukes. Well, at least Russia has a stable government. But wait...

In other happy news from Russia, President Putin dissolved the government today. He then named an obscure cabinet official "loyal technocrat Viktor Zubkov" to be the next prime minister, and Putin's likely successor at the end of his term. I have my doubts he'll go away so quietly. My bet is Putin's hand gets tired from flapping the gums of his puppet. But then again, we saw how jacked Putin is, so maybe he won't get tired.

Finally, the love part of the posintg. The governor of a Russian province has urged his citizens to take the day off and have sex in order to have babies born in nine months on Russia's National Day and increase the overall Russian population.

So in summary, Russia has a new big bomb, has resumed long-range bomber runs, had it's government dissolved by a power-hungry ex-KGB man (at least GW hasn't tried that yet, although I'm sure he has pondered it) and is trying to increase its population. All this not long after the ex-KGB spy poisoning and the resulting diplomatic fallout with the UK. Russia is definitely stepping up their global presence and global show-of-force, and Putin is trying to recapture much of the power that Russia lost with the collapse of the Soviet Union. In order to be seen as a major player in world politics, Putin feels it is necessary to rattle his sword a little bit and show the world that Russia still means business. Now with its state-controlled oil business, Russia has the funds to finance the military machine that sunk the USSR.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Swimming in Volvos

Oohhh. Looks like I will have some work to do on the 855. The more it rains, the more it gets wet in the car due to the sunroof. I'll need to check the drains, and make sure they are not clogged, but I believe the culprit to be rust on the metal frame which supports the sunroof glass. This allows water to seep between the glass and the frame. If unmolested, the water then will either stay put and drip into an area feeding the drain, or the sun will come out tnd the water will evaporate. However, if I move the car (specifically, turn the car) the water spills out of a channel in the metal frame and onto one or the other of the front seats--it depends on the direction of the turn. It does not yet drip onto the headliner and does not drip into the interior of the car when the car is not in motion.
The fix seems to involve removing the glass from the sunroof, separating the metal from the glass, removing the rust and repainting the frame, sticking the metal and glass back together again, and then re-installing the glass and fine-tuning its position once in place. Details here:

Emmy winning Video

Featuring Music Superstar Justin Timberlake:

Too funny to pass up

Ahh, the joy of the corporate blog...
The coments are hilarious to this blog posting...

What is funnier: The fact that there are corporations paying somebody to bolg, or the fact that there are so many people who are taking the time to bash the company?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Goin' to the Races!!!

So Katie, Kevin and I went to the local bullring racetrack on Firday night. Madison International Speedway is a 1/3-mile paved track, with a 1/4-mile smaller track running around the inside. I was drawn in by the prospect of "Trailer Races" and the fact that it was "Tribute to America" night right here in the middle of the US of A.

Well, they had all sorts of racing on tap for the thousands of spectators drawn to the buggy, smoky racetrack set in the middle of rolling farmland. Qualifying was underway when we arrived for the Wisconsin Challenge Series Late Models, which are kind of like NASCAR cars, but cheaper and slower. The qualifying gave each car 3 laps around the track, and the top qualifier had an average lap time of 101.something MPH. So we had that to look forward to.

So after the invocation ("Thank you lord Jesus for letting us live in the US of A, the best country in the world...") (it was Tribute to America night, after all) and the National Anthem (Complete with Fireworks) we were treated to the "heats" of some of the lesser events, all running around the very short track.

The first cars out were the INEX Bandoleros. These looked like they should have Shriners with their fezes coming out, but they were mildly entertaining to watch. The class was for kids under 14 or something, and there was some okay driving (and one good crash). Then came the INEX Legends, then the hilarious Roto-Rooter Bandits, and finally the Hobby Stocks.

The Bandits need to have roll cages and racing harnesses, an $850 claim value, and no suspension modifications. "Any American or foreign made 1980 to 1996, front wheel drive
standard production automobile offered with a three or four cylinder EFI engine allowed.
Wheelbase maximum is 104 inches. No Honda CRX, convertibles, T-tops, two seat,
sports cars allowed. All wheel steer cars and special manufactured cars allowed only
with prior approval
Claim Rule: The track may purchase any car for $850.00 after any event. The amount
is for the complete car except for safety equipment. If the winning driver refuses the
claim, he loses all prize money and points for that race meet and the car is barred from
further competition. Claimed cars may be disposed of by auction or by any method at the
track’s discretion.

The Hobby Stock is even better: "Any American OEM full body rear wheel drive passenger car, 1964 or newer, full frame or unibody. Frame must match body. Minimum 107.5 inch wheelbase, maximum one inch difference from side to side."

The Bandits and Hobby stocks were very similar, except that the hobby stocks were big RWD American cars, and the Bandits were smaller FWD American and import cars. They were definitely DIY (do-it-yourself) projects that people could get into for about the same price as getting something cheap to autocross (although you can't drive these on the road). Both the hobby stocks and bandits were really beat up. It looked like the cars and drivers were trying to love up to some scene from Dukes of Hazzard. Lots of rubbin', lots of mangled body work!

Anyway, we stayed through the heats and finals of these four classes, ( they ran the four classes, took a break, and then ran them all again) but then it was late and there were a lot of mosquitos, so we left before the main event (100 laps) and before the highly-anticipated trailer race.

Kevin said he'd only go again if somebody paid for his ticket and bought him a couple of beers. I'd go again just for the heck of it. It was a good time!

My Camera didn't take good pictures, so I've taken some from the internet...

Friday, September 7, 2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Odds & Ends

I don't really have too much to say on any one thing, so there will be a collection of not-really-connected ideas and items I've come across.

At the cottage over the weekend, we came up with several questions that needed answers and there was no internet to find the answers, so now that we're home, here they are:

How do you make Soy Milk? (scroll way down for recipie)

How much water do fully loaded barges draw? (thanks to Kevin L for that)

Next, I thought I had won the netherlands postal code lottery, but when I googled the bank information, I found out that somebody was trying to scam me... I guess there is no such thing as a free lunch...

Last week Todd sent me a map of his bike-thru-Norway. Wow, that looks like a long way!
Finally, plans are afoot to buy a European beach house in ten years. If you have any experience buying houses on beaches in Europe, please let me know. Italy, France or Spain are the most likely spots at this time, although I won't completely rule out Greece, Croatia or Macedonia.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Todd's new bike

So my friend Todd just finished his thesis research/bike trip down the coast of Norway from Nordkapp and Svalbard to Egersund and then a ferry across to Denmark and ride into Copenhagen. (No, he didn't really ride all the way to Svalbard, he took a ferry) The picture at the left is of Trollstigen, a famous series of switchbacks northeast of Bergen. From Todd's blog (there is a link on the right of this page) here are some stats:

total--2141 km (1330 miles)
avg speed--16.5 kph (10.3 mph)
total ascent--72,836 feet
broken spokes--8 (+ one complete wheel rebuild)

He had quite a trip. He met some fellow nomadic travellers from around the world, and spent lots of nights frezezing and wet camped by an icy stream in which he bathed. Any time he paid for a campground or hotel (electricity and hot water) he felt really guilty about it. He went for the first month of the trip without a trailer, but realized that his bike was overloaded, so he bought one for the last two weeks of the trip to try and avoid getting any more broken spokes (although he had already made it through the most remote parts of his travels and the majority of the trip before he broke down and dropped the kroner on the trailer). I can't wait until he posts some pictures!

Anyway, he'll be in Copenhagen completing his studies thru February so he deccided to get a new carry-all bicycle for his in-town sojourns. He got a new Nihola! I'd never heard of it, but there are a lot of euro companies making bikes like this. He says that he has been riding around the city with his fiancee in the front taking pictures of the city. They even put a doggy door in the front of it for their whippets. I guess that if Todd is going to be a pedicab driver, it is a good thing he got himself in shape by pedalling the length of Norway!

Monday, August 27, 2007


I thought since I had driven the BSOS race car, I'd put in my own saablog entry! I recently vacationed in the Pacific northwest, and had two of the coolest "loaner" cars available: The BSOS 900 racer, and the Volvo V70R. I didn't get to town in time to participate in the Track Day festivities in the V70R, but I'll make sure to next year!

My week started out in the V70R Sportswagon. It is an enjoyable car to drive, with 300 HP, AWD and a 6 speed manual transmission. The down side to driving this car, is that my brother got it new, and is still very protective of it, so I am afraid to have much fun with the car, lest I somehow damage it, spill something in it, or get a door ding by parking in the wrong spot. So far I've been lucky and none of those things have happenned. We took the car to Roslyn, and we were going to have out road bikes with us, but they were somehow delayed by FedEx, so we didn't have them available to put onto the roof of the Volvo. It was a fun drive over the pass thru rain and drizzle at 80mph plus. Then in Roslyn we drove on some gravel roads and I was quite nervous about the poor off-road characteristics of the car. It has AWD, but very poor ground clearance, and I was plenty nervous driving around potholes at 5 mph! So we Hiked and mountain-biked in Eastern WA, then returned to the west side. We drove into Seattle and collected a parking ticket at the University of Washington (don't worry, we've paid it already) and then drove it up to Everett to see Nana. It is wonderful on the freeway and has plenty of power and is very confident on the road. The next day we traded it for the BSOS 900.

After five days in the V70R, the 900 was a positive joy to drive! With all the windows and the sunroof open there was a feeling of being very in-tune with my surroundings (maybe that is not the right word for it when you are cruising thru the I-90 tunnel at 60 mph--drowned out is more correct!). But there is a certain joy of driving that comes with the Saab. Some of it is related to the fact that I don't feel the need to be so uptight when driving an $800 car, and some of it is the view over the hood with the stripes and the "vintage" feel of the interior. You can feel like you are pushing a lot harder and using more driving talent when cruising around in the BSOS 900. To display the same amount of talent in the V70R, you, have to be exceeding the speed limit by a good percentage, and I am generally too risk-averse for that!

So now I'm back to the 855 T5, and it is a combination of the driving experiences in the BSOS 900 and the V70R. It is probably the least agile of the three, with power and acceleration closer to the R. It is equipped with interior features and accommodations somewhere in between the other two, and provides a joy-factor somewhere below the other two, but still holds a high-enjoyment factor for me. As much as I wish it was, it is not the BTCC wagon pictured here!

Thanks brother!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

The worst car care town in America

I'm pretty sure that Madison is the worst place to try to get a Volvo worked on in the USA. Or any car for that matter. I was driving home from a missed dentist appointment yesterday morning (I showed up a day late for a 7:00am appointment) and drove past a tire store. I had noticed that I have a really slow leak in one of my tires, and the place was open, so I decided to stop. They couldn't fit me in immediately, but I could come back at 10am. Fine. As I left the tire store I drove past the Jiffy Lube from a previous post where the moron there though I was driving a Saab ("Saab, Volvo--They're the same thing!") and they had a sign out front readin "Qualified Technicians Wanted." Indeed.
So anyway, after giving my friend Amy a jump-start in her P.O.S. 1990-something Isuzu Trooper/Nissan Pathfinder crappy old SUV I drove over to West Town Monona Tire. I re-affirmed my request that they find the leak and repair it, and then also rotate the tires. I've had the tires for maybe 6000 miles, and they should have been rotated already. The fronts are showing a fair bit of wear at the shoulders. They said that there would be no problem!
So I went into the cramped waiting room which smelled of old coffee and old people and started reading a two-day-old copy of the Wisconsin State Journal. Not much of a paper, but the best there is around here.
So after a little bit more than half-an-hour, they come and get me from the waiting room and tell me I'm free to go, as the guy is processing my payment, he confirms that they have patched a hole in the tire which was from a screw in the tread, and he confirmed they had rotated the tires. $48.00 or so.
So I left the West Town Monona Tire and went to see my friend the Octopus. It had been a long time since I'd had the Volvo washed (I would wash it myself, but I don't have a place to do it.) So $10 to the Octopus and I get home and look at the car, and I'll be switched if the tires with the balding shoulders aren't still on the front!! So I look closer, and yep, the good ones are on the back. Damn.
So I head back out to West Town Monona Tire and walk into the shop and ask them how they normally rotate the tires. I know how you should do it, but maybe they "rotated" them side to side or some crap like that. Nope. It should have been swapping the fronts and rears with the fronts switching sides. "Oh, well let me ask Teddy if he rotated them or not." Walks out. Walks back in. "Uh, no, he didn't rotate them. We'll, uh, rotate them right now. Do you have your keys? I'll pull it in right now. So I paced back and forth in the lobby for another 15 minutes while they actually rotated the tires.
I'm not sure if they did it on purpose, (most Camry drivers wouldn't notice probably) or if they just "forgot" to do half of the service I asked for. They certainly didn't forget to charge me for it.
Don't go to West Town Monona Tire.

New World's Tallest Man

Yes, I know that I am a little bit late on this story, but I was busy dealing with the rules and intricacies of socialist Canada and was unable to post for a while. Also, I'll admit I was a bit sad to see Bao Xishun, the Chinese superhero stripped of the title. Bao saved the dolphins, and here you can see the new World's tallest man, Ukrainian Leonid Stadnik with Ukraine's president Viktor Yushchenko. Leonid must not be too much of a superhero, because you can see he was unable to do anything about the 2004 poisoning of President Yushchenko.

While we are on the topic of Eastern European leaders, some new photos came out of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was on a fishing trip in Siberia with Prince Albert of Monaco and soon afterwards released a whole bunch of photos. Let's hope that world diplomacy doesn't come down to a battle of wits or hand-to-hand combat between world leaders. Of course, maybe that would teach GW a lesson. Putin holds a 6th-dan black belt in the Japanese martial art of Judo. I think he could slap around most world leaders even with one hand tied behind his back and without that huge knife on his hip!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

We're part of the next big thing!

Having our own tomato and pepper plant put us at the forefront of a new movement.
Now if we can only keep it alive long enough to eat a tomato...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

12 Hours-Bottle-to-Throttle

Well this piece of news would seem to answer for some of the NASA mishaps. Maybe the ice damaging the shuttle's thermal tiles was coming from the astronauts emptying their drinks before they climb aboard...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bao Xishun is at it again!!

World's tallest man meets world's shortest man

Okay, I got the scoop reading another blog, but twice in as many days Bao Xishun is in the news!! Just a dew days after his traditional Inner-Mongolian marriage ceremony, Bao has met He Pingping, who has petitioned to be recognized as the world's shortest man at just 74cm tall (less than 2.5 feet!!).
I have found a picture of Bao saving the dolphins as well...

Can you guess it yet?

The coat of arms of Peru contains the escutcheon or shield, consisting of three elements: the top left section shows the vicuña, the national animal, on a light-blue field, representing the fauna of Peru; the tree in the top right section is the cinchona tree (the source of quinine, a powerful anti-malarial drug and the key flavorant in "tonic water," used in making gin-and-tonics), on a white background, representing the national flora; and the bottom cornucopia with coins spilling from it, on a red field, represents the mineral resources of the country.
Machu Picchu was constructed around 1450, at the height of the Inca empire, and was abandoned less than 100 years later, as the empire collapsed under Spanish conquest. Although the citadel is located only about 50 miles from Cusco, the Inca capital, it was never found and destroyed by the Spanish, as were many other Inca sites. Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle grew to enshroud the site, and few knew of its existence. It was "discovered" in 1911 by Yale historian and explorer Hiram Bingham.
A map of Peru.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Favorite Chinese guy

I love seeing Bao Xishun in the news again. I think he is like the Chinese version of Paris Hilton. (haven't seen too much of her in the news since she went on Larry King after getting out of the slammer, huh?) Anytime Bao makes a move, it is in the news. First, he was certified "World's Tallest Man." Then he saved the dolphins with is super-long arms. Then he got married in a civil service, and now he is in this "traditional" ceremony. I can't wait to see what this hero does next! Hopefully they put him in charge of cleaning up Chinese food! He can use his massive feet to kick some serious ass!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Who needs frequent flier miles?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Modes of transport

I've given a clue to my brother on the mobile phone. I've told him that the native peoples of the land I'll be visiting had no wheels in their "olde tyme" civilization. For whatever reason, the wheel was not an idea which would have given them much advantage. There are many climates and topographies where a wheel would not be too helpful. Imagine pulling a cart through sand, across rivers, through thick mud, or up a steep, narrow mountainous trail. (Or down a steep, narrow mountainous trail!).
The country is roughly ten times the size of England.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Nobody has guessed correctly...

At least not the country. The state has been mentioned, and is one where I have driven my own vehicle, and a state-owned vehicle. If
As for the country
Clue #1: It is not an island.
Clue #2: It has mountains and an ocean.
Clue #3: It is the only place in the world we could get tickets to, but the few tourists who have venured there and have returned said it was amazing...

With more guesses, you'll get more clues...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Which of these vehicles will we encounter on Vacation?

Which of these vehicles will we use or see on our trip? (make sure to guess the location--see 6/26 post)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

We're going on Vacation! Where in the world...?

So we're going to another country on another continent, in another hemishphere. Then we'll be visiting a US State. We've both been to the state before, but not together. This will be at Christmas time. Any guesses?p.s. I'll bet you've never been there!