Thursday, June 29, 2006

Frickin' Laser Beams

Dr. Evil: You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that cannot be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for, honestly? Throw me a bone here! What do we have?
Number Two: Sea Bass.
Dr. Evil: [pause] Right.
Number Two: They're mutated sea bass.
Dr. Evil: Are they ill tempered?
Number Two: Absolutely.
Dr. Evil: Oh well, that's a start.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Put another log on the fire

Several years ago I found a program online that contained a database of foods and exercise, and it allowed the accurate tracking of personal nutrition. It was an interesting exercise to do that for a month or so, as it really makes you think about what you are eating.
Yesterday, I did a search and found a 2006 online version called Nutridiary.

I am constantly blown away these days by what is available over the web for free. This online program is no exception. It contains a very respectable database of common foods, each with all the nutritional info. It allows the user to add custom foods (and enter the nutritional info if desired) and to build up meals of common eaten foods. The point being that there is a log feature that allows the user to add food and meals consumed, and track the amount of calories burned thru exercise.
I'm not a nutritional expert (obviously) but it's about as accurate a way of tracking this stuff as I can imagine. The graphs and reports on nutrition, exercise, weight goals etc is easy to use and slick.

A quick free registration, and you're in business.
Weight loss secrets

Monday, June 19, 2006


I'm paranoid about some things.

I hate it how when you pay for something with your credit card, they give you a receipt with the numbers ALL on it, including the expiry date. That is just dumb.
So I bought a small, cheap shredder a couple of years ago and I shred all that stuff.
I mean, think about. If you picked up some random credit card receipt with that info on it, you could go online and start buying stuff. 2 seconds of research on the web might give you a billing address and you're in 'business'. If it was in the trash with a bank statement, wow, hello PRADA.
So, I'm paranoid about that stuff.
What about digital data? Throwing out a back up CD or DVD that didn't burn correctly or it's out of date? Well, best you destroy that mutha first. I use a huge box cutter and cut the crap out of the surface, and break it up. Old hard drive? Drilling practice.
I see some shredders now have CD/DVD shredding to crunch it up into bits...that's cool.

Anyway, check out this story. It's quite funny, but it goes to show what can happen if an old hard drive gets into the wrong hands, and more importantly that a little privacy paranoia is not a bad thing.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sailing in the Z

I grew up sailing. My Dad built a Nolex 22 trailer sailer around 1977, and we took family holdays in it for years. It was a 4 berth glass over ply yacht, painted bright yellow and called "Kowhai Manu" which, in Maori, means yellow bird.
We sailed it around some of the beautiful lakes and coast of NZ.
When I was 9, he built me a racing dingy called a P-Class, which is a 7 foot wooden boat with a large sail. P-Class's are a NZ design since the 20's and really are a NZ institution - every significant kiwi sailer usually started in a P. Some of the more well known kiwi sailers are:
Peter Blake
Russell Coutts
Dean Barker
Chris Dickson
Peter Lester
Grant Dalton
Leslie Egnot
Digby Taylor

NZ is famous these days as the only nation to ever successfully defend a challenge for the America's Cup outside US waters. NZ's fixation with the America's cup started when Australia won it in 1983, and NZ decided to challenge Australia for it in 1987 in a boat called "KZ7". It was a classic story, including a "BandAid" type celebrity song called "Sailing Away" that all kiwis bought a copy of to help find the challenge. We didn't win, but we learnt a shit load about 12m yacht racing, including the biggest wanker of them all, Dennis Conner. After that were a couple of challenges for the cup in San Diego, much of in in court rather than on the water as rules were bent, broken and ignored.
1995, NZ got really serious, and built a black boat, NZL32, or "Black Magic" which totally kicked ass and finally lifted the cup off the Americans. The same competition saw the Australian boat sink in the opening round, which absolutely delighted kiwis the world over.
1999 saw the first NZ based Challenge, and that injected billions into NZ as global fat cats came down to eat fresh NZ lobster with NZ wine while watching the races just outside of Auckland, and left with titles to coastal property all over NZ. Some would say this was the beginning of the property boom in NZ (subsequently fuelled by Lord of the Rings, and 9/11)
NZ defended the cup and soon prepared for another onslaught in 2003. Russell Coutts, the man who helmed both the win in San Diego and the defense in NZ, was bought by a Swiss team called "Alinghi" much to the horror of the nation. I have never seen such passionate anger over a sport as happened when Russell went to the Swiss. The 2003 campaign Team NZ logo was called "Loyal".
Russell took with him some key players of the previous NZ team, so the writing was on the wall for NZ in the 2003 series, which saw the cup lifted from NZ by Alingli, crewed mostly by Kiwis who were paid millions.

I was lucky enough to meet and talk sailing with Peter Blake around 1982 when I was 12, and it was a tradgedy when he was murdered in 2001 while on a Environmental Awareness expedition in the Amazon.

100% Pure NZ Sailing website
The America's Cup wiki
Sir Peter Blake
Red Socks

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Taking on the world

I read a good book about once a year. I mean a paperback type book. Maybe twice a year if I am lucky, but generally I don't have enough regular spare time to have a good book on the go.
So, usually when I have the chance to have a vacation(a relaxing type, not a visit-the-family type), it is time to buy a good book.
On our recent trip to Phuket, I didn't have anyidea what I was looking for, but I spotted "Taking on the world" by Ellen MacArthur.
I've watched a documentary on this remarkable woman a while ago, and the book is an autobiography of her journey up to and including her first solo yacht race around the world.
Ellen's book is a great read, and I couldn't put in down til it was done. Very inspiring, and really got me thinking about buying or building a yacht at some stage in the future. (I'll just add it to the list shall I?)

Ellen MacArthur's Site

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Video killed the Jpeg star

Everyone's got broadband now it seems, and gone are the days of waiting for pictures to load on webpages.
Videos are all the rage now, with several video hosting communities now very popular.
One I see coming up more and more is
You can search for whatever you like, and there are home-made movies, funny clips, favourite moments, you name it.

Here's a great clip:

Check it out, it's a awesome clip of MotoGP highlights. Even if you're not into bike racing, this is really worth a watch. Check out these guy's wheeling and 2 wheel drifting like they do it aaaaall day. You'll see Valentino Rossi feature quite a bit (number 46)Rossi is to MotoGP what Ayrton Senna was to F1. He is the man.


I have been reading a website for about 3 years now, by a guy Rob Cockerham. The site is It's an interesting site full of pranks, weird experiments and lost of interesting trivia type stuff.
One of my favorite stories is the one when he tried to win a Chevy Trailblazer. Especially the Epilogue on page 3.
Anyway, he has just done a blurb on 4 awesome products and the second one he chose, was the Sonicare Toothbrush. Recently, Joyce was raving about the orgasmic Sonicare also. Both these people are semi-insane, so I take them seriously.
I had to go get one of these Sonicare toothbrushes for myself.
Firstly, I have already got a Braun Electric toothbrush and 2 days ago, I thought to myself why would I possibly need another electric toothbrush?
Rob said "If you don't have a Sonicare right now, get one when you get paid, or ask for one on your birthday. They will change your life, and probably save you money at your dentist."
Joyce said "oh,oh,ohhhhhhhhhhh.......It's the best money I've ever spent"

So that was it, I went to the 3C and got one. They had three models, but the guy subtlely pointed out the NEW model, the e7300 elite. (like I was ever going to buy any other model)

Well, is friggen amazing....and orgasmic. They were not lying to me. I used it 6 times the first night.
So why is it so good? Let me explain. My last braun toothbrush died about 6 months ago, and when I got a new one I took the old one to bits. There wasn't much to it, just a ni-cad AA battery core and a 50 cent electric motor in it, like slotcar motor, only cheaper. They was a plastic cam arrangement (and egg shaped thing) that coverted the rotary motion into a back-and-forth jiggle. That's it. Oh yeah, and a clickclack switch to make it all happen. This is 1910 technology, people.
I haven't take the Sonicare apart (yet) but my observations indicate a few things. It has a signal type activation button, no click clack. It has beeps, it had multicolored status LEDs and programmable timer. This in DIGITAL baby - A friggen computer.
(Philips is the company that invented the CD, so it's hardly surprising)
Apart from that, it uses a classy induction charger and they say it lasts for 2 weeks between chargers, so they include a nice travel case with it - for your up-to-2-week holiday.
I have no idea what the technology is that makes the sonic head do it's digital-sonic thing, but it's amazing. I have never had teeth so clean, so easily.

So there you go. Rush out and buy one of these. It's really expensive, but if it saves one trip to the dentist, it's paid for itself like that, and I am convinced it will.

Sonicare e7300 Elite website

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Go to Phuket and Phi-Phi!!

We just got back from a short visit to Phuket and Phi-Phi Islands, in Thailand. These places both featured prominantly on the world news Dec 26, 2004 when the Tsunami hit.
Although human casulties were high, there was surprising little damage in Phuket. Most of the beach front properties are still there, but there is a huge amount of rebuilding going on - I suspect the tourist towns are taking the opportunity to use their aid money to build new and build better. The beachfront area at Phuket has been totally re-done and looks great.
The numbers of tourists have yet to return, apparently caused by a common myth that the place was completely wiped out. The people are hurting economically and are wonderful hosts, they just need more business, then Phuket will be stronger than ever.
Travelling there over May to Oct has one distinct advantage: It's low season, so the people are few and the prices are rock bottom.
We stayed in a couple of really nice resorts for a fraction of the normal price, and the staff were wonderful in looking after us. (Resorts booked thru , and flights to Phuket using
Firstly, in Phuket at the North end of Patong Beach was the Novotel Coralia Resort. Great Thai themed room and even better sunset views right of the attached balcony.
Patong beach is a peaceful place now, where groups of Thai friends and familys gather to eat and talk, swim or place beach football. There are a bunch of friendly dogs there too, one dog who like to sit by me was the spitting image of Jack.
After 2 nights in Patong, it was onto a boat for a 2 hr trip to Phi-Phi Island, stopping briefly in Maya Bay on Phi-Phi Ley, where "The Beach" was filmed.
Then a transfer to a smaller boat for the journey to the Holiday Inn resort on Phi-Phi Don.
The resort's longtail boat took us over the reef through the crystal clear warm waters to the white sands of the resort.
Once again the resort was deserted, and the staff gave us a wonderful waterfront bungalow, just meters from the sand and hammocks hanging in shady trees.
One of the reasons we chose this resort was the snorkelling is excellent right of the beach, so we did a fair bit of that while we were there. One morning, we took a long tail boat a couple of miles out to a reef off Bamboo Island where the snorkelling was slightly better, while the boatman slept for an hour or so while we checked out the underworld.
The food and drinks were great and there was a small island style 3 piece band who sang their hearts out during happy hours.
5 min walk up some steps was a rugged clifftop bar for watching the Sunset (notice a common theme here) which we enjoyed a couple of times over some Singha beers and satay sticks.

That short stay in paradise was over too soon, and we were back on the boat to Patong. We decided to go back to the Novotel.
Patong town itself has a fair bit of the shopping, glitz and glam(!) that Thailand is famous for, and also some fantastic restaurants. Our last night's meal was in an very authentic Italian Pizzeria, complete with wood fired oven, and several cigar smoking mafia type italians enjoying a good bite.
A great holiday to a great place. Of course it was too short, but this one really was too short. Definitely high on the list of places to return to, who knows next time we might check out a bit of sailing in the islands....
The best thing you can do to contribute to the rebuilding of Thailand's southern beaches is to go for a visit!! - Thailand Travel info
Novotel Coralia Resort, Patong
Holiday Inn Resort, Phi-Phi Thailand hotel bookings Budget carrier
Tsunami wiki
Tsunami photo timeline