Thursday, 30 July 2009

Flounder On A Chessboard

I was always curious as to whether this was actually true ... praise be to the Internet (and Italian wildlife shows that PETA wouldn't approve of).

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The Dangers of Changing Your Man

It doesn't matter whether you are a bike courier in Australia or a President of France the machinations of the female are bound to cause issues ...  Why can't they leave us as they find us???

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Contador refuses to bite on LeMond's 'clean' challenge - tourdefrance - Sport

Being a relative newcomer to the tour I'm not completely qualified to make or defend the accusations that fly regarding the doping scandals.  But LeMond's extrapolation of cheating by deducing the VO2 max of Contador seems a bit underhanded.  Certainly, if I was given a question which basically implied cheating I'd probably not answer it either.  Since Mr LeMond was reputed to have one of the highest VO2 max scores ever (92.5?) it's understandable that he's a bit obsessed with this stat but the claim that nobody's had one higher than 99 is a bit misleading - Bjørn Dæhlie supposedly had a score of 96 in his off season with the researcher's claiming it was possibly over 100.  Contador has shown himself to be the strongest cyclist in this race so maybe he does have the highest VO2.  But as any statistician will tell you - correlation and extrapolation is no guarantee of knowing anything - there are always outliers on the edges that defy the hypotheses.  Maybe Contador has taken something illegal or, more likely, he's trained in the grey area of legality, regardless, he's looking likely to win and it should be left up to the drug testers to determine whether he's cheated and not stat obsessed former champions.

Friday, 17 July 2009


This is the first mulefa I've seen that actually seems plausible and it's animated!

Thursday, 9 July 2009


Thanks to a bit of assistance from those in the industry can now legitimately claim to be a freelance "journo" (that's what journalists call themselves).
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Now That's A Burger!

After the previous day's debacle at finding a truly great hamburger I found myself in Newtown, having born witness to the shrewd bargaining skills of my ladyfriend at a residential orction - a celebration was needed and despite my ladyfriend's complete lack of expertise and judgement in choosing the perfect burger I managed to convince her to go to the Fuel for sustenance.  Step 1 was convincing her to go there and step 2 was convincing her to try to utilise the combo bargains on offer.  Whilst BurgerFuel does not offer a combo for the 1/3 pounder with cheese it does offer one for the 1/8 pounder.  So, I ordered an 1/8 pound combo and immediately heard a shrieking, 'I don't want a combo!  I don't drink Coke and I don't eat chips!' (I ignored the bald face lie part of the statement and tried to quickly explain whilst dealing with the service attendant that I was going to eat the combo and she was going to have the burger).  Having been in this situation before I found it prudent to deal with the ladyfriend rather than just barge ahead with my well intentioned plan and it did work dividends.  Oh, and what a surprise, she ate the chips.  But as a burger what a magnificent one it is - toasted, slightly wheaty bun that completely contains the juicy (yet still well cooked) patty and a saucy relish that is warmed by the bread and meat it accompanies - not straight out of the fridge and on the side like most cafes serve the butter for their toast.  I am yet to try the mythical In'N'Out but if it is, as some say, the best in the world and therefore better than my local legendary Fuel then what an amazing meal that would be.

The First Smoker
Truth be told, it does make me feel a little bit better to know that I share a bad habit with him.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Official Google Blog: Introducing the Google Chrome OS

Well, this does look interesting.  The Mac experiment was fun for a while but I still find myself drifting back to Windows - now, if only Google could get Spreadsheets and Documents to work like Excel and Word ... I'd be very happy.

Jilted Hasbro CEO Laughs Coldly As Scrabble Destroys Another Relationship | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
I wonder if Klaus Teuber is cackling away at me?

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The Good Burger?

Market research is never an enjoyable way to spend time - there's always too many people who love the sound of their own voice and everyone tries to throw in sly boasts about themselves that don't really interest anyone else (good for you, prime minister's EXECUTIVE assistant!) but they can work out to be cost effective.  Keeping things efficient, while we were in the neighbourhood, me and the boys decided to try the new burger joint, The Counter.  The menu from the web site seemed gourmet but not too gourmet - and the very salty kumera fries seemed to bode well for what was coming.  An interesting method of ordering - a tick the boxes menu with a mix of traditional and relatively unique ingredients was a bit disconcerting - too many choices of traditional and "premium" extras and far too many sauces - there were some standards on the menu but they didn't really appeal.  I'm not a big fan of the build your own burger - I always end up putting things on that I like individually or I like in other burgers but don't really gel when they're put on in the combinations I choose.  I want someone else to design my hamburger - if there's something on it I don't like or something extra I want I can always change the order.  The vast variety of ingredients that can go into a hamburger means an almost infinite variety of burgers but in truth there is only a very FINITE number of great burger designs - The Third Pounder with Cheese (from BurgerFuel), the classic Milk Bar with beetroot is another, even the Big Mac for all its faults is a brilliant design, having conquered the world.  The problem was not the combination, I don't think, the bun was cold and not toasted, the sauces were substandard (and I had to apply them myself!), the patty was too thick and too raw (truth be told, I had ordered a big one and we were warned it was only medium) and in the end the whole thing was just way too thick and it almost fell to pieces as I struggled to wrap my laughing gear around it.  It needed to be flatter (a Doofer wouldn't have gone astray although I don't think there's been a Doofer constructed that would hold this monstrosity).  The decor was eminently forgettable but I could get a beer and the waitress was nice.  These things are not important when it comes to enjoying the sandwich - don't get me wrong, it was tasty, it was a good burger but it wasn't a great burger.


At one level this is kind of amusing and impressive but at all others it's just disturbing.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Time Trialling

Watching sport on TV has never been my thing - the Olympics occasionally had it's moments and I gained a new appreciation for the medium during the past two fitba' world cups, but probably only because they happened to be played in a relatively close time zone.  Only once, when in Canadia, did the Tour de France happen on a watchable hour and I really couldn't get the interest up - however, unemployment has it's advantages and I think this could be the year I make an effort to follow this event.  It doesn't hurt that I participate in the sport to some extent - for me riding will always first and foremost be about personal transport but it is an amazing and enjoyable sport and one that I have some ability to follow.  For some reason I'm mightily disappointed that the "drug cheat" Floyd Landis is notably absent from this year's race - there are plenty of contenders, of course, for patriotic reasons, it'd be nice to see an Australian take it, but it's highly unlikely.  I'm not Lance Armstrong's biggest fan but he certainly seems to be a Tour de France winning machine and as someone once told me, he hasn't returned to compete - he's returned to win.  He probably shouldn't have found himself in the same team as the favourite - I think it's highly doubtful that he would work towards a victory for someone else no matter what platitudes he's mouthed over the past few days.
Watching three hours of time trials is an endurance event that am simply not capable of myself - especially when I was riding my own Calga time trial the next morning, but I did stay up to watch Lance's race and it's just depressing to see how good some of these riders are.  I know what it feels like pushing one's self to the limit on such a short course - to me, 15k is much worse than 160.  Did get a few tips from watching the professional's style that I tried to put into action the next morning - you've got to know when to step into the saddle and when to stay down, I also think it's wise to have more than two gears that work on your bike. 

Saturday, 4 July 2009

A Night of Games

The art of gaming has been quickly becoming a very satisfying hobby.  I'm not sure how long it will last but I have passed through the gateway via the portal of Settlers of Catan well and truly.  The mathematical reduction of civilisation with structured limitations but enabling it to be just as good with a 10 year old or the scheming, ruthless lady of Catan.  In short, like they always do, the Germans have brought their optimising skills to something new - the most efficient way for three to six people to enjoy themselves for 60 to 90 minutes (or 150 if you play with some of my friends). 
Each game has varying strategies and outcomes - tonight the dice were against me and whilst there was jostling for front stage, a tenuous longest road pushed James out in front and he edged towards an early victory, there was only one resource producing industrial powerhouse led by PJ, Ade strengthened himself by striking at me and the two closed in on the prize (I started to see possibilities in the future but had no time to close the gap).  PJ hovered at the edge and when Ade knocked everything down by building an unneccesary city and wresting the longest road from James it appeared that he was, once again, a laird.  Had it not been for PJ's lack of gaming knowledge he would have already claimed the game and the isle of Catan but the rules do state somewhere that if you forget to claim victory on your turn you forfeit but the points had been legitimitely taken - the palace he bought at the end brought instant gravitas to his empire and he was the true laird.
All three of us contenders had been allowed a basic flub, and one had been issued to PJ on layby.  So, perhaps the game was his (but also Ade's ... ... ..?).
The victories were spread around the table generously - the poker games that followed brought riches of a more tangible kind to James, the one in need of gold to brighten his heart, an, to a smaller amount, me, who hasn't won a game in ages ...

Thursday, 2 July 2009

The Perfect Burger and All Its Parts -

There are some very good tips within this article but I really don't think you want to over-engineer this most important of food items.  I'm a great believer in Burger Fuel and think that they are far and away the greatest of the franchise burger makers (although it must be said that I am yet to try In'N'Out Burger which has received the Eric Schlosser seal of approval) but when it comes to a great hamburger, and I mean great, you can't go past the Milk Bar Burger.  Truly, the Greeks have bestowed wonders upon this world.  First, they gave us critical thought, then democracy ... there was a bit of a gap there for a while, but great things come in threes and finally those noble immigrants capped it off with the perfect hamburger.