March 31, 2008

Annabelle

Anything I have to say today seems trivial. When someone you love is suffering, it changes your view of the world, and what seems significant. I feel a real disconnect. Outside it is a beautiful day, and it just doesn't seem right somehow.

My friends are two states away, and I can't be there in person for them. I'm in the habit of trying to put myself in other's shoes, to see the world through their eyes. I try to imagine what I would do, how I would feel. For empathy, and to somehow prepare myself for what the world might throw at me. It is impossible of course. You don't really know how you will react until you're there.

I imagine the wife and I would shelter ourselves from family and friends for a time to try to wrap our heads around it. To find our feet and hope or pray for the strength to go forward in the world so suddenly changed.

I tend to be logical, and try to be strong, even a bit emotionally detached from challenges. When my friend discovered her breast cancer, she spoke of an advocate that was with her to guide her through the process. I thought that was a wonderful thing, and that I might actually be good at it. While empathizing with their challenge and the road ahead, I could provide a level head to help digest the wall of information coming at them. Then a friend died and it rocked me more than I expected. In truth I'm not as emotionally strong as I thought I was.

My friends have faith and I know they will find strength in that. They also have many wonderful friends when they are ready. I hope they are given an advocate who understands their baby's condition and the challenges that lie ahead. Though I may try, I can't imagine what they are going through. I feel like I should be doing something. Something.

March 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary Sean & Marci

It was a wonderful day, and we are honored that we were there.

Congratulations on number five!

March 28, 2008

Aeronautical engineers go back to their roots

Were they wasting time throwing paper airplanes in class?

Japan is set to launch a paper airplane from space as a study in aerodynamics. An origami master spent 18 months trying to create the perfect space aircraft from paper. Their hope is to launch it from the space station sometime in the near future.

Full Story

Back when Seattle had a Kingdome, the Mariners would have an annual paper airplane night (sponsored by Boeing's Museum of Flight). People would write their name on a provided piece of paper, create their airplane, and launch it from the upper deck hoping it would land in one of the car sunroofs below.

The promotion is no longer, mostly because the Kingdome is no longer. Just over eight years ago, March 26th, 2000 the Kingdome was imploded.

March 25, 2008

Thank you for your support

I am trying to back up some stuff from our Tivo DVR. We unfortunately don't have a DVD burner in ours, so it means backing up to VCR tapes.

This is from the 2006 Ironman championships. It is a pretty inspirational show that I watch from time to time to get pumped up for my next event.

While we're running a marathon, we need all the inspiration we can get in the last miles. It is amazing the power we get from the spectators. A shout of your name can really give you a lift.

Below is a scene with Natascha Badmann, a 6 time Ironman champion. She was four or five minutes behind the leader, but was struggling. About 40 seconds in you will hear a spectator shout her name.

video

Thanks to all of you cheer us on. You Rock!

March 24, 2008

Weekly numbers

Down a pound from last week, so I'm at the "round" number of 180. Probably could've snuck into the 170s if not for all the aptly named deviled eggs at Easter yesterday. I seemed to eat better things last week, but probably ate too much in volume. My training numbers from last week are:

Running: 19 miles
Biking: 15 miles
Swimming: 1 mile

March 22, 2008

Ask and you shall receive

One of my faithful readers saw in an earlier post that I was looking for a place that stocks Pike Place Kilt Lifter. She and her husband were downtown near the market and were nice enough to swing by the brewery and pick me up a six pack. Thanks Tami!


Man, you know I haven't had Basil Hayden in quite awhile...

New water bottle

I have been carrying a Nalgene water bottle around with me for a couple of years now. I try to avoid buying any bottled water for several obvious reasons.

* As mentioned in the video in the previous post, it takes 5 liters of water to produce a liter of bottled water.

* To meet Americans’ demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year.

* Bottled water is more expensive than gasoline.

* Much of bottled water is simply tap water, and the Seattle area has some of the finest tap water.

You may have heard some reports about problems with certain plastic bottles leaching a chemical into the water. The chemical in question is bisphenol, and it has been linked to a variety of cancers. A Canadian company, Mountain Equipment Co-op, pulled certain Nalgene bottles from the shelves. According to the Nalgene site:

"MEC removed food and beverage containers constructed of polycarbonate. MEC will continue to carry a wide range of Nalgene hydration products made from other materials, including HDPE, LDPE, PP and PET."

Nalgene also states that the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and other entities have been studying polycarbonates for 50 years, and that they don't pose a health risk to humans.

This site clarifies it a bit by relating the type of plastic to those little numbers you find on the bottom of plastic containers these days. See below:

If you stick with plastic, some choices are better than others. Look for the numbers on the bottom.

AVOID (notorious leachers) BETTER
#3 (PVC) #2 (HDPE)
#6 (polystyrene) #4 (LDPE)
#7 (a catchall category—includes polycarbonate hard plastic camping and baby bottles)

Not sure what to believe at this point, but my Nalgene bottle is a #7. So I made the journey to the promised land (REI) to check out an aluminum bottle, and of course use my annual dividend and 20% off coupon. They still have a much wider selection of plastic bottles, but I was able to find a new shiny bottle:

I will hang onto the Nalgene bottle for now. I'll find some use for it. I may need to use it again when I find out about the dangers of aluminum.

Conserving water

Today is World Water Day, an awareness day sponsored by the United Nations to highlight the critical lack of safe drinking water worldwide. It has been held since 1992, but has become more well known in the past couple of years. According to their website,

"Nearly 1.1 billion people (roughly 20% of the world’s population) lack access to safe drinking water. The lack of clean, safe drinking water is estimated to kill almost 4,500 children per day...A third of the Earth’s population lives in “water stressed” countries and that number is expected to rise dramatically over the next two decades"

We are experiencing our own shortages in the U.S. The Southeast had their worst drought in 50 years in 2007. My cousins who live in Atlanta have been taking what they call "military showers" and have been saving the run off (often called gray water) to flush their toilets. Atlanta was down to a 90 day supply at one point. Obviously low-rainfall his year is a major factor, but booming growth is what has made this a critical situation.

The Southwest is highly dependent on the Colorado River. Seven states and Mexico are fighting over water rights, and very soon there won't be enough to go around. California experienced its biggest water shortage in 15 years in 2007.

For all the concern about the oil crisis, the water crisis will be much worse. As Dean Kamen mentions below, we will likely figure out a substitute for oil. What will replace water?


As he points out, there is technology on the horizon to purify water (he demonstrates his own vapor compression distiller), but of course the cheapest and most effective action is conservation.

March 20, 2008

Spring is here - so is yard work

So I mowed the lawn yesterday for the first time this year. It was pretty tall in places and looking ratty. Where it wasn't growing tall, it is mostly moss. And of course a couple of dandelions have popped up, so the battle continues.

This is the beginning of the fifth season of lawn care at the old homestead. Well really the fourth since the first summer it was mostly dandelions until we put sod in in the fall. Once the new sod was in, we needed a real lawnmower. I decided to be a little environmentally conscious. A single lawnmower emits as much pollution in an hour as 50 cars driving 20 miles. So this is what I bought:

It runs off of a 24 volt rechargeable battery. No oil or gas, no need for a tune up, starts with a flick of a switch, and it is much quieter than a gas mower. I had never seen one in person, or knew anyone with one, so I was relying on what I found online. After three seasons of mowing, I am still happy with my purchase. One charge takes care of both the front and back lawn (about 3,000-3,500 sq ft).

They actually have a more powerful version now. It has a wider cutting blade and power that compares to a gas mower. So if you need to replace your lawnmower, consider a Neuton!

Sorry, another rant.

We did not have the best experience getting our new windows installed. Some of the experience was detailed here. An abbreviated time line:

4/28/07 - signed the deposit check. Estimate of 5-7 days for measurement, 6-8 weeks to have them installed (roughly 7 weeks total).

5/16/07 - 18 days later after numerous calls from me they fess up that they haven't called anyone. They come out to measure.

7/26/07 - 13th week - scheduled installation. They call that morning to say windows weren't ready after all so they weren't going to show up. Offer $250 for my skipping work, moving furniture and taking down blinds.

8/9/07 - 15th week - windows installed, but one of them is cracked.

8/29 through 9/6 - many unreturned phone calls. Finally reach a human and express my frustration. They promise to take up with manager.

10/8/07 - 24th week - window replaced.

10/19/07 - they call for payment. No notes in file about our many discussions or any contact with the manager. Spoke to Gary who says "Are we terrible at customer service? Yes." He says they have new systems now which should help in the future. He will only knock off another $250 for my trouble.


3/18/08 - I receive a bill for $249. Three days on the phone to get a human, I find out that there is no note regarding Gary's $250 deduction. Finally transferred to Gary who says he will take care of it.

I suppose I should expect the $249 to show up in a collection account soon. The name of the company for anyone in the Washington/Oregon area is Evan's Glass. You have been warned.

Happy Birthday Carson!


No, you the man!

March 19, 2008

Stupid Brother

So I wanted to go Office Space on my fax machine the other day.

It is a Brother 1860C machine that has black as well as color printing. Somehow all four ink cartridges either were out of ink or low, all at the same time. Not sure how this is possible since I have never used the color inks. So I pulled all of the cartridges out, gave them a shake, and put them back in. Now the black cartridge was fine, but the yellow showed it was empty.

This shouldn't matter since I was trying to send an outgoing fax. But apparently it does. The machine wouldn't work. I looked in the manual to see if there was some sort of override, searched the machine menus, and pushed every button I could. I needed to have the fax sent in the next 45 minutes, so I had to go into work. I decided not to mess with it when I came home since I was already pissed off.

Coming back later brought no solution. I went online to see if there was a remedy. There is a remedy if the ink is low, but not when it is empty. So I sent an e-mail to their support group. Their response started with a bunch of unrelated crap about using their ink and information about computer printing (which mine doesn't even do). Their response to the disappearing ink is that the machine uses some when it cleans the printer head.

The best part was the last paragraph that said

"The positive aspect of the Brother ink jet machines is that Brother took into account that ink does get used and has designed machines with an ink jet technology that will save consumers money. Many other manufacturers incorporate the print head and ink cartridges into a one-piece assembly. Even if only one color is empty, the customer is required replace not only the print head itself, but ALL colors contained in the cartridge as well. This usually leads to a more expensive ink cartridge. Brother, however, manufactures the print head and cartridges as separate consumables. With Brother's Print head and Ink Cartridge technology, you replace only the empty ink cartridge, thus reducing your cost per page."


In my response I pointed out that their system does nothing to save money since their machine is obviously designed to waste ink since all the (unused) color cartridges ran out at the same time as the black ink. Now I need to buy four cartridges when I only need one.

I will see if I can refill the cartridges. I have been doing so at Rapid Refill Ink in Edmonds for my printer. I found another place, Eco Cartridge in Kirkland, that looks like it takes care of more models. Refilling cartridges can save you 40%, and of course reduces waste. It also takes oil to produce the cartridge and ink, and of course oil is now $110 a barrel.

I may just sell the %#&* thing. I can't wait until my industry goes all electronic.

March 17, 2008

Science of sleep

There was an interesting piece called Science of Sleep on 60 minutes last night. We still don't know enough about what goes on while we sleep, and why it is so important to our survival. Several studies have shown the results of too little sleep though. There are effects that you might suspect. Diminished reactions, difficulty in concentrating and coordination problems. Like people who have consumed alcohol, sleep deprived people don't know just how impaired they are. You can't "train" yourself to do without sufficient sleep.

Memory is actually improved while you sleep. You will remember more of what you study the night before if you get some sleep, than if you pull an all-nighter for the test.

Some effects were not expected. The studies show a disconnect between the emotional part of our brain and the reasoning part of the brain in sleep deprived people. Similar disconnects are found in people with psychiatric disease.

Insufficient sleep can also contribute to obesity. A hormone called leptin is connected with feelings of hunger. Levels of leptin drop in sleep deprived people and they overeat.

In one of the studies a subject was allowed only four hours of sleep for six days. The subject was healthy in the beginning, but after just six days of limited sleep he had become pre-diabetic. Lack of sleep messes with the bodies ability to process sugar.

Really interesting stuff. The two parts are below. Each are about 12 or 13 minutes long.


Part 1



Part 2

From the road

I was driving to Kent this morning, so lots of freeway time. Traffic wasn't too bad until I reached the ship canal bridge. Things always seem to jam up there no matter what the time of day.

Cars were still moving about 20-30 miles an hour. The car in front of me was weaving back and forth in her lane, and the right turn signal had been on for a couple of minutes. It seemed a little early on St Paddy's Day to be worried about drunk drivers. It turns out drinking wasn't the problem, but rather fashion. The woman was too busy brushing her hair to be able to drive in a straight line.

Off the freeway in Kent a school bus was a bit ahead of me in the next lane. On came the flashing yellow lights, then the red. I slowed to a stop waiting for the little red stop sign to flip out. Turns out it wasn't stopping to pick up any kids, it was stopping at a rail road crossing. It is the law you know. How do I know? Saturday morning cartoons man!

Weekly numbers

One step forward, two steps back. My body fat number improved one more percentage point, but I am up 2 pounds from last week. My food failings last week were eating on the road a few more times than usual. I show little restraint when making fast food choices. The training numbers from last week were:

Running: 22 miles
Biking: 45 hill workout on stationary bike
Swimming: 1 mile

March 16, 2008

Blind teenager uses echolocation to "see"

This is pretty incredible. It is amazing the ability to adapt and flourish that some people have.



Tip o' the hat to Jim for passing this along.

Pack light, or it'll cost you

United and U.S. Airways will begin charging for that second piece of luggage. High fuel costs and other financial woes are making airlines look for ways to offset costs beyond raising ticket prices. In addition to charging for a second bag, fees are increasing on size and weight of luggage as well. And the charges are cumulative. A second bag that is oversize and overweight will be charged three separate fees.

That set of golf clubs, bicycle or pair of skis could really cost you.

Full Story

A great way to see the city

I read the article Touring San Diego - on the run in the travel section of the Seattle Times this morning. It details a reporter's experience with Jennifer Hughes of City Running Tours. The company does customized tours of San Diego for runners. Your guide offers information on the sights like any other tour guide, except you are both running along the streets rather than riding around on a bus.

I have heard from multiple sources that running is a great way to see a new city. You tend to take in your surroundings better than you do driving in traffic. It is also easier to set your own pace, linger at spots that interest you, and see things from a different perspective. The company takes reservations at www.zerve.com/cityrun which also features running tour companies in New York, D.C., Chicago and Charleston.

I think a bicycle tour of a new city would be another great experience. Of course it is easier to pack running shoes than a bicycle for your next trip.

March 15, 2008

Early St. Paddys

For the last three years some friends and I have kicked off the running season by running the St. Paddy's Day Dash in Seattle. The 3 1/2 mile course runs from Seattle Center, onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and ends at Safeco Field. Running along the viaduct offers some great views of the Seattle waterfront. There's 10,000+ runners, so there's lots of good energy as well. The 2005 event was the first running event for Cherie and I, so it has a spot in out heart. A few other friends have started their running careers at this event as well.

This year we decided to forgo the crowds (and entry fees) and stage our own little 5k. We set up a route in Issaquah that started and ended here:


We're no fools.

I actually did a 10 mile run right before the 5k because I was scheduled for a 13 mile run this weekend. Might as well get it all taken care of in one morning. It was Tami's second time out running since her surgery, and Wendy and Cherie haven't been able to get out much yet, so we all took it pretty easy.

After the run we all went into the Gaslamp for a nice lunch and a Guinness or Kilt Lifter. We served Kilt Lifter at our wedding, and I don't think I've had one since. Quite tasty - I need to find out who carries it.

These runs are a great excuse to get together with our friends. This time around it was nice to avoid the crowds and save the entry fee for grub and a brew. Maybe a new season starting tradition.

March 12, 2008

10 percent

Something from the triathlon lectures this past weekend stuck with me. The first lecture was called "A swimming lecture won't make you a better swimmer...". She joked that with a name like this, she wasn't sure if anyone was going to show up.

One of the things she said at the beginning of the lecture is that most people stress out about the swim leg of the triathlon more than any other leg. The she put up a slide that simply said "10%". She said that the swim leg of the triathlon is only 10% of the event. We are all stressing out about the smallest part of the event.

Probably true about a lot of things.

Magic 8 ball - outlook is cloudy

The summer Olympics are in Beijing this year, opening at 8:00pm on 08/08/08. Apparently eight is the luckiest number of all because it sounds like the Chinese word for prosperity. Things may not work out as well as they had hoped.

Full Story

The world-record holder in the marathon, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, has said he would not run the marathon because of the air pollution level in Beijing. He will attempt to qualify for the shorter 10,000 meter which should be easier on his lungs. Other athletes may skip the opening ceremonies and only spend minimal time in the country. Possibly more embarrassing for the Chinese, some athletes may wear face masks unless they are competing.

The Chinese have spent $16 billion trying to improve the air quality for the Olympics. Factories have closed or been relocated, others will not operate during the Olympics, 1.5 million cars will be banned from the streets, and they have planted a 1,750 acre forest north of the Olympic village to increase the oxygen levels.

How bad is it? "The average amount of airborne particulate matter, known as PM10 in environmental jargon, is six times the standard recommended by the World Health Organization."

The joke is that rather than training at high altitudes or sleeping in oxygen tents, athletes may train by running behind a bus.

The Chinese are also planning efforts to control the weather. Beijing averages 7 inches of rain in August. There are plans to induce rain before the games to cleanse the air of pollution, then prevent rain during the games. Good Luck.

How to waste time on the internet

One link leads to another, and before you know it an hour has gone by.

There was an article in the Seattle Times this morning about the band The Presidents of the United States of America. They have an album coming out soon. Their hit songs have catchy, bouncy music with mostly nonsense lyrics (Lump, Peaches, etc). The Times had a contest to name a song, and the band would create a song based on the title. The winner was "Sweet and Sour (I love the girl, but I wish she'd take a shower)". Here is their creation:



In the article it mentioned that Weird Al Yankovic directed the video for their first (real) single from their new album, "Mixed Up S.O.B." Of course then I had to visit YouTube to find it. Here it is (warning, obvious language):



Weird Al videos were also nearby, and I'm a fan. Here is one of his best parodies, and one of his best originals:





And now you have wasted a chunk of time as well.

March 11, 2008

Global sins

From ABC news:

In a newspaper interview, the number two Vatican official in the area of sins and penances says that environmental irresponsibility is one of the new forms of sins we should all be aware of.

He suggested the old seven deadly sins were largely individualistic: lust, wrath, gluttony, sloth, greed, pride, and envy. But in the modern world, modern sins have a much bigger social impact.

"We have shown a constant ability to find new ways to offend God's law," said John Wauk, who is a priest at Opus Dei and literature professor at Rome's Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

The New Mortal Sins
1.) genetic modification
2.) carrying out experiments on humans
3.) polluting the environment
4.) causing social injustice
5.) causing poverty
6.) becoming obscenely wealthy
7.) taking drugs

Oil embargo

"Quicky oil-change shops may urge us to change the oil in our vehicles every 3,000 miles. But most cars nowadays don’t need changing that often. In fact, most manufacturers say you can go 7,000 miles without a problem. Ditto for that SUV—unless you really are starring in one of those TV ads and driving it hard and long over dusty roads."

"What difference does it make? Consider this: each year California alone generates about 153 million gallons of used oil. Change less often and it really can save your engine and the planet."

Courtesy of the Green Life from The Sierra Club

March 10, 2008

Weekly numbers

Better week this time around. I weighed in this morning at 179, down 3.5 for the week and 1.5 overall. Pretty good training this week, and I ate a little better as well. Late night snacks with a cocktail is my weakness at this point. Training numbers were:

Running: 21 miles
Biking: 45 minutes stationary bike
Swimming: 1 mile

March 9, 2008

Quote of the day

"Runners should listen to their bodies, but not to all of their stray remarks; listen to your body when it repeats a clear point, and never ignore it when it shouts."

Runner's World discussion group

I wouldn't say I've been MISSING work Bob.

I had a brief moment last week where I felt a bit athletic.

On Wednesday I felt odd for not working out. I have finally got back into a rhythm these past few weeks, and Wednesday is one of my two days off. I have never missed working out before. I guess pairing training with trying to lose weight this time around makes me want to be doing something each day.

Bike Expo

I went to the annual bike expo this weekend. The bike expo has many vendors selling bikes, components, nutrition and clothing. Many other booths are there to advertise their bicycle rides and events. Still others are for charitable organizations which have become a big part of cycling and running.

The expo is sponsored by the Cascade Bicycle club. They are also big presence at the show discussing their advocacy efforts and signing up riders for their own events.

I made it out without buying any new gadgets. There were some really good deals on things I would like, but don't really need. I was looking more for information and equipment for triathlons this time around. They had a separate area for triathlon booths this year, but it was still pretty limited.

What really drew me in this year was a good schedule of lectures. Saturday had a lecture about fitting all your training into your busy life. It was paneled by four local successful athletes. The gist was if you are limited on time, make sure all your workouts are structured and focused. Quality over quantity. Also to make sure that the people in your life know how important the training is. It can limit your family time, but you're likely to be more engaged when you return. Quality vs. quantity again.

The next one was an entertaining presentation by Joe Kurmaskie, the "Metal Cowboy". He has written a few books on his biking adventures. He biked across the U.S. with his two boys in tow a few years ago. Then last year he biked across Canada with his wife and now three sons aged 9, 7 and 1 years old. He was an entertaining speaker, and I'm looking forward to reading his books. He has been called Bill Bryson on a bike, which is good enough for me.


The classes Sunday were focused on triathlons. There was a separate lecture on swimming, biking and running. For someone who is too cheap to hire a coach, there is a lot of information out there about how to improve. There are so many different ways to say basically the same thing. You keep coming back to hear it in the way it finally clicks with you. Lucky for Runner's World, Bicycling and the like.

March 6, 2008

I should clean more often

So I cleaned out my truck today. It was getting pretty ugly. Things weren't quite growing yet, but Spring was on its way.

Ever since I worked in construction, I haven't really taken the time to keep the interior clean. Back then if I bothered to clean it, I was only going to track in dirt and dust the next day. There was also various tools and rain gear in the back seat at all times, so I've become used to a certain level of dirt and clutter. Today after work I pulled out all the junk. Tomorrow - vaccuum.

While I was digging through the crap, I found a gift card from a local bike shop. I had won it last May on commute-to-work day. I threw my name in a hat at one of the support stations that day, and I won a $50 G.C. I had spent about $18 of it a while ago, then forgot all about it. So today I bought these:

They are freddy fenders from Planet Bike. Now if it is raining outside, I have one less excuse. Hopefully with these attached to the bike I won't come home with a dirt skunk-stripe up my backside. As an added bonus, 25% of their profits are donated to bike advocacy groups. Even better, for me they were free.

Since I was in the neighborhood, I stopped by the Brooks Outlet store. They carry older model running shoes along with clothing and weather gear. I was hoping that they had last year's Adrenaline GTS 7 at a discount. They had them at about $25 off MSRP.

As I was looking at them, the friendly lady pointed out that they had some with a red #2 on the box. Apparently these were made with a slightly firmer forefoot. She said unless I was an elite runner (I tried not to laugh) I probably wouldn't notice a difference. And these were $55 off MSRP. I resisted the temptation to grab them all. I picked up one pair and will try them out ASAP so I can pick up at least one other pair.

They were also having a buy-one-get-one-free sale on some of their shirts. The shirts were already clearance priced. I ended up getting two running shirts for $10.

It was a very good shopping day.

March 5, 2008

More observations about white people

Rippin' on marathons from Stuff White People Like.

I don't think I accost too many folks about it. Of course I am looking to do a triathlon this year...

The latest eco accessory

Nokia has created a phone named "Remade" built with 100% recycled materials. The metal casing comes from aluminum cans, the rubber buttons from recycled tires, and the chassis from recycled plastic bottles. It is only a concept phone right now, and much still needs to be done to get the batteries recycled from old phones, but hopefully this is the beginning of lower impact electronics. Article.

Happy Birthday Sean!

March 4, 2008

$$ leaving on a big jet airliner

Boeing lost out on a bid to provide the Air Force with tanker planes worth $40 billion. They lost to Northrop-Gruman who is teamed with the European company that makes Airbus planes. Naturally in the Seattle area there is an outcry, but many people around the country were surprised/outraged about the decision.

The $40 billion would certainly have provided a boost to the economy, though not likely soon enough to cushion the current downturn/recession. Some of the money will stay in the U.S. as the planes will be assembled in Alabama, though the pieces will be built overseas. To send the contract to a foreign company rankles many people. Why would they do this?

Turns out that of the five deciding criteria, Boeing tied for one but lost out on the other four. In addition: "The reviewers concluded that if they funded the Northrop Grumman proposal they could have 49 superior tankers operating by 2013, whereas if they funded the Boeing proposal, they would have only 19 considerably less capable planes in that year."

This contract was originally going to go to Boeing with out being bid out. This was fought in 2001 by Senator John McCain among others. Now that Boeing has lost, there will likely be an appeal of the decision.

Many people have been outraged at no-bid contests in the past, so the complaints on this one are a bit hollow. To suggest that Boeing should have been given the contract despite a worse bid seems counter to the (justifiable) outrage over pork-barrel politics and bills stuffed with subsidies. I guess you can rail against the $300 hammer, unless of course your town makes the $300 hammer.

According to this editorial (Depressing Karma), Boeing actually blew one of their best chances at winning the contract when they destroyed the tooling for the MD-11 airlifter shortly after they bought McDonald Douglas in the late '90s. Of course the letter writer is in France...

Quote of the day

“A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time - pills or stairs. “ - Joan Welsh

March 3, 2008

Freeze!

Here is a link my friend Jim passed along over the weekend. It is pretty funny stunt in Grand Central Station in New York.

http://www.maniacworld.com/frozen-in-grand-central-station.html

Weekly numbers

Some forward and backward progress this week. I have managed to gain 2 pounds this week, up to 182.5, but dropped a fat percentage point. Theoretically that means I added some muscle, but I am guessing it is mostly related to the volume of cheese and gin & tonics consumed during Saturday's book club meeting.

I am going to begin listing my training numbers each week, if only to highlight how bad my eating habits must be. Last weeks totals:

Running: 15 miles
Biking: 33 miles
Swimming: 2 miles

After seeing my friend's weight numbers (down 9 pounds last week without trying), I was curious how that happens. I have heard that your weight fluctuates noticeably not only during the week but during each day. As a test I weighed myself last night before going to bed:

10:00pm Sunday night - 185 pounds
7:30am Monday morning - 182.5 pounds.

2.5 pounds lost while sleeping. So if I could just get a few days of sleep...