Month: August 2008 (page 2 of 8)

Obama = White Sox Fan

Obama disses Cubs fans (he’s a White Sox supporter) and summarily decimates his chances of Kelly McMahon or the Garbericks voting for him. That said, I think it’s pretty cool that he did some trash-talking for his team as opposed to giving a safe politician’s answer.

Man Drought

Man Drought?
The funning thing is, I think this article about the “man drought” facing single women in Australia’s urban areas was supposed to make me feel sorry for the women. But instead the demographer’s formulas for determining the pool of eligible bachelors just left me feeling really sorry for the guys. “From a pool of 1.32 million men aged 15 to 24, he took out all men who said they were married, in a de facto relationship, gay, have children from a previous relationship and who earn less than $70,000 a year. It left a pool of only 60,000 men…” So if you have a kid or your make less than $70K a year, you’re supposedly unmarryable. That just sucks. I submit to you men that any woman with these criteria isn’t someone you wanted to be with anyway.

Stormtrooper Realization

Those WERE the droids I was looking for…

Bangers and Mash

Note to self: Get ingredients to make bangers and mash tonight. That picture has induced serious cravings.


Tonight the Snook and I joined Kunaal and some other folks in Bondi Junction to see the very first Australian screening of WALL-E. Afterwards director Andrew Stanton and sound designer (and voice of WALL-E) Ben Burtt appeared to talk about the film and answer questions from the audience. The movie was… great. I was already primed for it to be great, thanks to this amazing MetaFilter comment. (It’s not a spoiler.) But the movie still surpassed my high expectations. I had to have the Snook give me a tissue about halfway through. Yeah, I was tearing up quite a bit. And the ending? When he can’t remember? SOB. Oh, and I loved, LOVED the final credits, with the whole history of humanity/art thing. I really recommend the movie. I feel like I need to see it again, just to look for the tiny details I missed because I was so engrossed in the story. (Like afterwards, an audience member asked Andrew Stanton about Sigourney Weaver being in the film, and I was like, “What? Where?” Totally missed that one.) Kudos to PopcornTaxi for throwing yet another great event. Stanton and Burtt was fascinating, and I was too interested in their talk to remember to ask my own question. (It was going to be a snarky one to Burtt about Jar Jar Binks, so probably best that I didn’t.) Seriously, you really ought to see this movie. And take somebody you love. And hold their hand.

Energy Gel Reviews

Energy Gel Reviews
When I decided to start experimenting with energy supplements, I asked the Snook to pick me up some at the health shop near his office. I also got some from our local GNC store. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Energy gels and goos are notoriously unpalatable. Here are my quick impressions of the ones I’ve tried.

  • PowerBar Gel (Chocolate) – Rating: 6/10. I tried this one a few months ago (before the Sydney Half) and described the taste as “medicated chocolate toothpaste”. It was very thick, almost like cake frosting that had gone bad. That said, I managed to get it down without gagging, and I definitely noticed a mental boost when I used it.
  • Endura Gel (Vanilla) – Rating: 9/10. I had this gel halfway through the City2Surf two weeks ago. I was prepared for it to be awful, but I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture. “Hey, this is good!” I said to the Snook as I happily sucked on the packet. The consistency was thinner than the PowerBar Gel, which made it easier to ingest quickly. I didn’t notice any dramatic positive benefits, but it didn’t seem to do me any harm either.
  • Endura Gel (Citrus) – Rating: 5/10. I was actually looking forward to sampling this gel on my long run yesterday, based on how much I liked the vanilla flavor. Unfortunately the Citrus is… not as good. The instant I tasted it, I immediately thought of lemon-lime dishwashing liquid. It was exactly that consistency and flavor. (Not that I’ve tasted dishwashing liquid, but you know what I mean.) And once I had that image in my head, I couldn’t get rid of it. Someone without that association may find this gel tasty, but I’ll never be able to use it now.
  • Elite Fuel Supply Squeezepacks (Tropical) – Rating: 1/10. Dear god, this is AWFUL. I could tell even before opening it that the consistency of this one – unlike the others – was extremely liquid. It felt like an unfrozen Otter Pop. Unfortunately the pleasant childhood associations ended there. I thought, “Tropical! How bad can that be?” It was like the worst medicine you ever tasted as a kid. I actually shuddered involuntarily after the first swallow, it was that bad. (I was near a water fountain in Centennial Park, and another runner was having a drink at the time. I looked at him and blurted out “THIS IS THE WORST THING EVER!” before I could even stop myself. He just gave me an odd look and ran off.) I couldn’t even finish the thing. I choked down about two swallows and then squeezed the rest out into the water fountain. NEVER AGAIN.

Anyone have any energy gel favorites that I haven’t tried yet?

Basic Physics Test

How Physics Savvy Are You? I scored 77.5%, which is pretty surprising given how many I had to make educated guesses at. I used to be awesome at Physics in high school… I’ve forgotten a lot. I’m sure the Snook is going to score off the charts.

5 Minute Chocolate Cake

5 Minute Chocolate Cake. Sweeeeeet. You make it from scratch and “bake” it in a mug in the microwave.


Now we’re talkin’! I feel like I’ve got my running mojo back a little bit. I wanted to add in a fourth day of running per week, but I didn’t want to kill myself with the distance. So I cut back the length of my 2nd run and added in a short 3rd run as well. Now I’ll be able to slowly increase the length of those two. As for my LSR (Long Slow Run) on the weekend – I was dreading it. The plan called for 12.5 miles, which is 20km. That’s fully 50% longer than the City 2 Surf I did two weeks ago. (Of course, for the C2S I also counted the long hike we did from Bondi to Bondi Junction, which made it a fair bit longer.) The distance was surprisingly easy though, and it definitely gave my weekly mileage a nice boost.

Week 7 distance: 17mi (27.2km)
Week 8 distance: 12.25mi (19.6km)
Week 9 distance: 21.65mi (34.7km)That’s a 27% increase on two weeks ago. Which sounds bad, but going by the “increase no more than 10% per week” rule, I only overshot by a mile. (And that’s probably because of the extra short run I did during the week.) I feel pretty good. I’ve got some “delayed onset muscle soreness” from the long run yesterday, but that’s to be expected. I did a 4:1 run-walk ratio throughout the whole thing. I ran from my house to Centennial Park and then did three loops around the walking track (which is just over two miles per loop). It was a warm day, so I made sure to hit the water fountains at every opportunity. I also tried out some new energy gels at the one-hour and two-hour marks. I was still a couple km’s short when I got back to the house, so I ran around the block until I hit 19.5kms. Then I walked the rest of the way home to cool-down. I was really surprised to note that, even with the walk breaks, I was on track to finish the half-marathon only a minute or two slower than I did in the actual race last May. Maybe I should seriously consider using the walk/run method in the Melbourne half…

Really, this is all to say that I’ve had a bit of a realization about my training. I think I was sort of assuming that by doing all this running, I’d naturally get faster. But I’m not, really. My pace has been hovering around the same mark for some time now. What I am noticing is how much farther I can go before I start to feel really horrible, and how quickly I’m able to recover afterwards. The last time I did a really long training run, I was battling a stitch in my side and an acid stomach the whole way. Not this time. (In fact, running actually got rid of the headache I’d gotten that morning!) I was tired at the end of it, but in a normal post-workout sort of way. I haven’t injured myself, and I don’t think I’ll have any trouble doing my normal weekly run on Tuesday. So while I’m not breaking any land speed records, I’m really happy with how my running has progressed over these eight months. I don’t know why it took me so many years to realize that slow and steady really is the way to go.

February Lady Sweater

February Lady Sweater - Finished!February Lady Sweater
This sweater took Ravelry by storm a few months ago. There are now more than 1400 finished projects, and another 5000 people still have it queued up. Why did it get so popular? If I had to analyze it, I’d say there were three important factors: it’s based on a famous baby sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman, who most knitters revere; the pattern was released for free; and the author looks SUPER CUTE in the photo. (That shouldn’t matter so much, but it really, really does.) Anyway, I somehow caught the bug and started it ’round about WWKIP Day. The pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn, but I decided to use an 8ply instead. I’ve had two packets of discontinued Cleckheaton Alpaca/Wool in my stash for some time, and it seemed like a perfect match. The knitting went really quickly, even though I was making the biggest size (to compensate for the thinner yarn). The top-down construction means you can try it on as you go, so I did plenty of fittings. Since I’m so tall, I had to do quite a bit of straight garter stitch after the raglan increases finished to get the sleeves to meet under the arms. That’s why I ended up doing a 4th buttonhole. The original plan was to dye it, but I realized today that I’d rather get some wear out of it now, this winter, rather than waiting to mess around with dyes. So I’m calling it finished! I’m loving it. It’s lovely and comfy and warm. The buttons came from the Button Shop in Newtown. I may still dye it in the future, but the cream is growing on me… (Ravelry details are here.)

And that photo? Was taken off the deck at Amy and Rob‘s new house! I knew it was in the bush, but man. Actual trees and nature! Very weird for these city dwellers… 🙂