I suppose I could have gone the Open Office dot Org route. But Open Office dot Org blows chunks on OS X. And, well, our household just happens to have three licenses for Microsoft Office just lying about. Since it was only installed on the two machines I never use, I did that which was needful.
My youngest daughter made Japanese style curried vegetables for dinner on Wednesday. It turned out absolutely fabulous. When she sets her mind to it, she can cook quite well. But, being twelve, more often than not she gets distracted and forgets something or gets impatient and doesn't read the recipe all the way. But this turned out very well.
So, kudos to her. Now if she can just learn to make moussaka as well as her older sister!
With my mom being in town, and consequently the easy availability of foods not normally kept in the household, I clocked in on Monday at 171, up five pounds from Friday morning. I knew there was going to be a gain before I even stepped onto the scale. All the same, it's a nice little feeling to have spent a weekend not paying attention to what I'm eating and only end up 2 pounds on the wrong side of the divided line. By Thursday, I was down to 167 but grew a pound overnight to end the workweek at 168. That's a nice go considering that I've been taking it easy this week.
Lifting goes unremarkably. I'm still struggling to add one rep per week to the shoulder presses to get up to the same number of reps as all the other exercises. The first circuit goes pretty well, but when I hit the second circuit, I can barely squeak in 15 reps which is the bare bottom of an acceptable number of reps for those pushing to build muscle endurance rather than muscle strength.
Running is still going well. This weekend my calves did not have cramps at all. This indicates that my legs are starting to acclimate to the Vibram Five Fingers. I was intending to wear the VFFs on one of my three mile runs this week. But I decided to push that off. On the one hand, both of my heels are rubbed a bit raw. Perhaps I should get a bit of tape rather than taking my present course of figuring that sooner or later the rawness will develop into callouses. Developing callouses, of course, would go much more quickly if I could abstain from picking at the scabs and dried skin. On the other hand, by the end of the week, the tops of my feet hurt in a slightly odd fashion. I think its from the largely uncushioned impact the front half of my foot is making with the concrete while I run. In any case, I think the prudent thing to do is to push off wearing the VFFs during the three mile runs until I'm more acclimated.
Saturday, I'm scheduled for a 8k walk. It's not something I would normally do but its a high profile event at work. I would have no problem with walking 8k to get somewhere. And I often go on shorter walks just for the sake of walking. I could also see hiking though the woods for 8k or more. But 8k through city streets doesn't seem very attractive to me. Nevertheless, I figure I might as well, it's not even 5 miles. I do hope running is permissible, though. Running that distance would probably take me half the time of walking. Then again, there may be plans for all my cow-orkers to walk in a group. I doubt I could convince them all to run at my pace instead of me walking at their pace.
Lastly in health news, I have a cold. I suspect that it either Swine Flu or Captain Trips. It isn't horrible. I've had worse. But it also isn't much fun: malaise, a slight cough, snotty nose, fever, etc. My wife also has it. It seems to be hitting her much harder than it is hitting me which is unusual. For whatever reason, in the past she has been much less affected by those types of illnesses than I. Where I might be laid up on the couch hacking my lungs for a week, she gets a sore throat for a couple of days. But, regardless, it's either Captain Trips or the Swine Flu. Humanity is almost certainly doomed.
Notre Dame's Philosophical Review put up a what seems to me to be a rather poor book review on a very interesting topic: Creationism and its Critics in Antiquity. The reviewer (J.P.F. Wynne of Northwestern) gives what looks like a competent synopsis of the main sections of Sedley's book and points out some important aspects of the foundations of Sedley's arguments. But there is no real criticism past the superficial level. That said, the book looks interesting. Where else are you going to find the collected creation accounts of presocratic philosophers, atomists and stoics?
Did you know that making soft toilet paper kills Mother Nature? I didn't. But the science of it is kind of neat, ``The reason for this fight lies in toilet-paper engineering. Each sheet is a web of wood fibers, and fibers from old trees are longer, which produces a smoother and more supple web. Fibers made from recycled paper -- in this case magazines, newspapers or computer printouts -- are shorter. The web often is rougher.''
I hope the rumors surrounding the death of US Census worker Bill Sparkman are just rumors. I will decline to engage in further analysis until such time as the details become clearer. But this could be a rather worrisome indicator.
There is at least one case where a public option for health coverage is less expensive than an equivalent private option. ``According to the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Medicare Advantage now costs the government 14 percent more per beneficiary than traditional Medicare.''
I found out this week that Michael Marmura passed away. He was the translator of Ibn Sina's Metaphysics of the Healing that we've been using in our class on the same. According to my professor, he was one of the finest minds in the world of Arabic philosophy.
This reflection on the relevancy of Keynes' magnum opus distills into a nutshell my unease with most economic theory of the present day.
The dominant conception of economics today, and one that has guided my own academic work in the economics of law, is that economics is the study of rational choice. People are assumed to make rational decisions across the entire range of human choice, including but not limited to market transactions, by employing a form (usually truncated and informal) of cost-benefit analysis. The older view was that economics is the study of the economy, employing whatever assumptions seem realistic and whatever analytical methods come to hand.
So I bought a couple wine making kits to go about making wine the right way. I find it interesting enough to look into the science at each step that is different from simply dumping yeast into some sort of mash. The only real difference thus far was dissolving bentonite into hot water and adding that into the mash during the primary fermentation stage. So far as I can tell bentonite is basically a clay and absorbs some of the loose particles in the mash to help clarify it. I don't know that adding the bentonite made the wine taste much better but I did notice from taking a sample between the primary and secondary stages that starting with a a higher quality mash certainly produces a higher quality wine. And I don't know that the kits really end up being any more expensive. The merlot kit I picked up for USD 70 for enough concentrate to make six gallons of grape juice is not a terribly high price. That ends up being in the neighborhood of three dollars per liter of wind at the end of the day. The port kit ends up being much more expensive, being 3 gallons of non-concentrate juice for twice the price of the merlot kit.
And now that I've taken a sample of something done properly, I can honestly evaluate my earlier attempts. They're bloody awful tasting.
Many moons ago, I was pretty impressed with the iGoogle portal. But I never really used it much. Turns out that in most Windows web browsers, Google will feed you the portal by default if you're logged in with a Google account. Consequently, I get logged into iGoogle quite a bit at work. And the more I use it, the more I think its sadly lacking. The integration one would expect from Google's various apps just isn't there. The widget for Google Analytics doesn't seem to work, or at least not work very well. The integration with Google Calendar is mostly a large, heaping pile of sucktasticness. The only thing it is good for is keeping a list of events for the upcoming week/day/etc. Google Mail almost works.
But the one thing I do like about it is the widget that pulls new random links from WikiHow every day. Most of them are rather banal and uninteresting. But enough aren't that I always look forward to seeing what will come up. For example, today there was a link to a document on how to make Swedish style cinnamon rolls. I will have to try to make these.
I should also mention that I do like the Google docs widget, but only on Chrome. It's nowhere as convenient on either IE or Safari.
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