Friday, April 21, 2006

Spinning, What?

I thought I knew what cardio was. I thought I knew how much my little heart could take.

That was all before I found my new gym-love and gym-archnemesis all rolled into one no holds barred, gloves off 1 hour treat: Turbo Kickboxing

At the 13 minute mark I didn't think I had any more turboing, kicking or boxing to give. But my gym ego wouldn't let me leave. So I tried. Hard. I looked like a jackass. I thought I had seen my face as red as it could get - until I hit the 20 minute mark and glanced in the mirror. Tomatoes, I'm telling you. Fire trucks.

Still, I made it the whole hour. It wasn't pretty, but I did it. It was awesome. I'm so going back next week.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Out of Control

Gas station sign seen from bus on the way to the gym: Premium $2.74
Gas station sign seen from bus on the way home from the gym: Premium $2.84


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Fun In The Sun

Living off the grid. Is it just for the insanely rich and/or those kooky hippies? Jason and I, belonging to neither group (okay, maybe we're kooky hippies) are going to try and find out.

So where to start? Our first step is setting up a small solar generator to power the smaller appliances in our apartment. I'm using this guide as a starting point, supplemented with some additional research. So far it doesn't appear to be difficult at all - or even that expensive - to set up a small system.

Once the initial setup is complete, the solar energy is obviously free, and the system can be expanded to provide more power as needed.

This week I'm going to price components and possibly do some purchasing. I have no idea how interesting this is to anyone else, but I'll keep you updated on my progress. And let me know if you, too, want to join the free energy revolution. We can compare notes. It will be awesome.

Friday, April 14, 2006


I went to a lecture today, given by Dr. Baptista of the Center for Coastal and Land Margin Research (CCALMR), on the Columbia River observation and forecasting system CORIE.

It was a good talk. He went into the structure of the monitoring stations themselves and also spoke about dealing with the realities of funding and organizing the operation. I was surprised to learn how many organizations had their hands in the project, from local (town level) to national organizations like NOAA and even DARPA.

The projects make real time data available to the public. They also provide access to compiled data that have been through quality control. CORIE alone has something like 70 TB worth of data gathered over the past ten years.

I think I'm going to try and take his class. I always get excited about models when I see them used in real-life applications.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Organizer's Organizer

Screw 30 Boxes. Google Calendar is where it's at.


The European Space Agency's Venus Express has sent back some amazing pictures. I can't wait to see more!

From the press release:

Scientists are especially intrigued by the dark vortex shown almost directly over the south pole, a previously suspected but until now unconfirmed structure that corresponds to a similar cloud structure over the north pole. “Just one day after arrival, we are already experiencing the hot, dynamic environment of Venus,” said Dr Hakan Svedhem, Venus Express project scientist. “We will see much more detail at an unprecedented level as we get over 100 times better resolution as we get closer to Venus, and we expect to see these spiral structures evolve very quickly.”

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Kicking It Up A Notch

I joined a shiny new gym. Yesterday I went to a great spinning class. Spinning classes always make my face bright red - it's pretty embarrassing. Today I'm going to a lifting class. It apparently is for "full body strength." Which is nice because I do, indeed, want my whole full body to be strong.

I really, really want to be skinnier. But my real goal is to be able to climb big mountains at a somewhat decent speed. Since I'm so short I always feel like I'm holding the pace back. This season we've set our sights on Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood, two climbs that we'll likely do with a group. My goal is not only to keep up with the group but also to not be the slowest climber.

It's nice to belong to a good gym again - especially on cloudy, drizzly days like today that make getting out and hiking not much fun.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


After more than a week with no pre-approved credit card offers in the mail I am calling the OptOutPrescreen experiment a success. No longer do we have to deal with 2-10 pieces of junk mail filled with our personal information stuffing our mailbox each day.

If everyone in the US opted out of having their credit information sold to these credit card and insurance companies these industries may choose a different advertising tactic that would result in a lot less paper and plastic moving from the mailbox to the trash can to the landfills. Additionally, the resources used in producing and transporting the junk mail would also be saved.

Another benefit may be a decrease in identify theft. While I don't believe my identity is worth stealing, and would actually hinder rather than help someone wanting to change their financial identity, other people actually do have to worry about such things. There's a lot of info that comes along in those envelopes.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Just a Weather Note

I walked down to check out the New Seasons that just opened - just opened right by my house I might add, how awesome is that? - in just a T-shirt (well, and pants of course. This would probably be a much different post if I was just in a T-shirt) and I was warm! And the sky was bright blue the whole time I was out. Of course in the past 10 minutes since I got home it got cloudy again, but it was blue, I swear. And it's still warm, so I'll take it.