Thursday, November 29, 2007


This guy in Wichita is modifying vehicles to get over 100 MPG.  He put a turbine engine in a 2005 H3 Hummer and that's just to charge the batteries.  It only kicks on when the batteries are low.  It'll run on any fuel, including cooking oil.  A 600 horsepower electric motor turns the wheels.  It's a 5000 pound vehicle which gets 60 MPG, and it does 0 to 60 in 5 seconds.  His innovation should turn the automotive industry on it's ear.  I hope he makes millions.

Fall holidays.

I had a great Thanksgiving, but spent most of the time relaxing in the woods on a summit known as High Top watching for a deer to shoot in Eastern Oklahoma.  I saw more deer this season, but nothing I could shoot (legally).  I've been urged by our hosts to come back to the same spot for turkey season in April.  I likely will, since I have a share in the land lease, which was neither cheap nor expensive considering the vast size, beauty, and remoteness of the place.  It has a cozy cabin with solar power and a satellite dish and gravity flow water, which is treated but not potable.  Just the stove and the water heater are on propane, and that made the whole thing feel very civilized.  Any camping situation with indoor plumbing, hot showers, and no cell signal gets my approval.  Our hosts had a satellite phone and we used two-way radios for coordinating meal times, etc.

The niece and nephew rode down to Oklahoma with me, and that's always fun.  On these type of trips I get to listen to a lot of Radio Disney on Sirius, which is mostly vapid teeny bop music.  The return trip was no fun.  I got 30 minutes away and realized my backpack wasn't in the vehicle, so time was wasted returning for it.  By the time we reached the higher altitude portion of our trip which goes over Big Cedar, a 2500 ft. ridge in Eastern Oklahoma, there was a soupy thick fog and one could scarcely see the brake lights of vehicles only a few car lengths ahead.  After that, it rained and rained the whole way.  We stopped at Fort Smith, Arkansas for dinner, and proceeded to Joplin where we stopped for a car sickness incident. . . in pouring rain with no service station in sight.  By the time I recognized the problem, got the Jeep from 70 to 0, got out into the rain to grab a plastic bag out of the back, the one strapped in a child seat had coated herself and the seat.  It had to be about 35 degrees.  I did some minor clean-up, but in the name of comfort proceeded to the next truck stop to buy paper towels and wipes, use restrooms, get gas, change her clothes, and get going again.  It was midnight-ish when we got home.  It was 9 hours later.

So far this week, I've been playing catch-up at work, which is typical following a holiday, and I've worked out twice and played hockey twice.  Tuesday night I was playing at the Carriage Club and it was my first outdoor hockey game.  I look forward to more!  Brisk is the word.

And now, you can vote for your favorite presidential candidate based solely on their cookie recipe.  Some of these recipes look really good.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Omega-3 Eggs

"Meat from grass-fed poultry, though very low in fat, has high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. Guess what?? The eggs do, too!!"

I found that the grocery store now stocks these Omega-3 Eggs, which come from grass-fed, cage-free chickens which are fed flaxseed, so the eggs contain more Omega-3 fatty acids and 17% less cholesterol.  And the eggs taste better than the regular Grade A Large eggs.  I can vouch.  Maybe I'll eat more eggs now.  Life just keeps getting better.

I spent quite a bit of time outside this weekend, because the weather was amazing.  I raked enough leaves to bury an SUV.  Not that I tried, but I think the trees had more leaves, or they all dropped at the same time this year.  There's also a very large pine tree in my back yard which is probably a goner.  It has been gradually dying over the past couple of years, and only the very top is still green at all.  The problem is that the safest direction to fell the thing is right on top of the fence, and right near my neighbor's storage shed.  I think I have a few months before it's totally dead to figure out how to dispose of it.  If the wind blows it down on the neighbor's shed, I hope she has her insurance premium paid up.  When my other neighbor's tree crushed my shed, I got an insurance check to replace it.  And I did.  I wish the shed was about 40 feet closer to the house, though.  I'd use it more.  It's mostly just a garage for the lawnmower.

Today, while watching the Chiefs almost beat the Colts, I played in a poker tournament with a $100,000 prize pool.  Out of 20,000 people, I came in about 5000th.  I didn't play loose enough for 10 minute blind increases.  You have to really gamble at that pace.  The top 3000 got paid, and the prize for 1st was $17,000+.  I learned to pay more attention to the tournament blind structure.  I had won my way into it via a $2 satellite tournament in which I had won 1st place, so I wasn't out much money by losing.  I missed a couple of draws, which really hurt my stack, then never got any cards after that.  The blinds got me before I was in the money.  3000th place got $17.  That would have been nice, considering I had only paid $2 to get into it.  I had missed some opportunities by not playing looser early on, and missed some draws, which I should have folded to save the stack I had built up.  Oh well, not my best, but the cards weren't helping.

I scored in our hockey game tonight, but we lost by a few points.  One of our leading scorers hit the crossbar of the goal 3 times and hit the post twice.  If he had shot those a few inches lower, we would have won.  Most of my shots hit the goalie right in the pads.  It's frustrating to get so many chances, and not get points onto the board (well, except one point).  My hat's off to their goalie.

The "We Cheer for Beer" crew was cheering for us again.  I hurried up to the bar to give them our free team pitcher after the game, because nobody on my team drinks after the game.  Then, I stuck around while they cheered and beered for a team who has bought them seven pitchers so far this season.  While there, some players on another team bought them two more pitchers, because they were terrified to have them cheering against them.  That's my whole reasoning, too.  I'd rather have them cheering FOR us than AGAINST us.  Their cheers are crude, disheartening, and sometimes distracting.  I'd rather be entertained by them than annoyed by them. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Business Casual Warning!

Here is the only part of the office weekly newsletter that everyone actually reads before hitting the delete key.  I stopped even reading the cafeteria menu.  If outsiders will be in our space, we dress up. . . and tone down the conversation.

Dress Code

Monday, Tuesday, Friday- Jeans

Wednesday & Thursday- BUSINESS CASUAL


A fellow Okie over in the Unix area of the office bought a tray of sushi from Siki for a ridiculously low amount of money (happy hour?), so I went over there to grab a few pieces.  While there, he gave me a sticker, which he found appropriate, since we are from the same neck of the woods.

You don't hear the word "y'all" in Kansas City very often.  When somebody does "y'all" me, I do a double take. 

Since my last post, I've visited Cocoa Beach and had a great crab cake sandwich at a Captain J's, a beachside bar near the Ron Jon Surf Shop, which I also patronized.  That was Friday.  It was a strange day to leave the frosty ground of Kansas City, sleep on the plane to Orlando, grab a rental car and arrive on a sunny beach about 45 minutes from the airport.  Since there was a hurricane in the Atlantic, the surf was up. . . way up.  I saw some 10 foot waves, at least.  My intention was to learn to surf on this trip, but those waves were enormous, and the surfers who were out there really knew what they were doing. 

Later, back in Orlando, we found the Boston Lobster Feast, an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet.  I ate two lobsters and half my weight in crab legs and peel-n-eat shrimp.  The next day, we hit Epcot Center, which takes almost half a day to explore, then quite a bit more time to enjoy the rides and restaurants.  I think the kooky Ellen Degenerous Energy ride with multiple animatronic dinosaurs was the highlight, if not the least thrilling ride.  Mission Space won in that category.  We didn't brave the line for Test Track.  70 minutes of estimated wait time was too much of an investment of our limited time.  We had a show to catch at Downtown Disney.  La Nouba is better than your typical Cirque du Soliel show.  I would argue that it's the best one, because it retains a circus feel, has triple the number of feats of human weirdness, and doesn't try too hard to be something else, like their Vegas shows (but the contortionist in the Zumanity show at New York New York takes the cake!).  After the show, we hit the clubs at Pleasure Island, the clubby area of Downtown Disney.  After a brief tour of clubs featuring bad music or rotating dance floors (or empty dance floors), we ended up a the retro disco club where the ratio of fun people was much greater.  Serendipitously, I met up with a going away party for a lady who is moving to Kansas City.  Tons of fun.  Sunday, we went to the Magic Kingdom before the park opened and as soon as the rides opened, we hit the major ones in rapid succession before any long lines formed.  We did Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, The Haunted Mansion (fave), and the "It's a Small Hell" rides in the space of 90 minutes.  In one boat ride, all seven levels of Hell are represented, and set to the same music, over and over and over.  I did spend a minute staring at the Dumbo ride wondering why anyone would wait in a line for that, and less time than that staring at Splash Mountain thinking it would be a bad idea to get wet at 9am on a cool morning.  We managed to catch our afternoon flight back to KC, and I still had time for a nap and my regular Sunday league hockey game.  I spent most of Monday recovering.