Camping Trip

We took the kids on their first camping trip this weekend. It rained so heavily on Friday that we decided to drive into town; we couldn’t see the car in front of us on the road. Saturday was much better; misty in the morning, but the sun came out in the afternoon. Of course, Sunday morning the rain returned, and gave everything a thorough soaking just before we had to pack it all up and head home.

We went to Presqu’ile Provincial Park, about an hour and a half east of Toronto. It’s usually a nice park. There’s a 2 kilometer long sandbar, complete with beach, running between the mainland and what used to be an island in Lake Ontario. The beach is at least 50 meters of empty sand, great for kite flying.

Alas, thanks to recent storms, the beach was closed for swimming. It seems that all of the contamination from Toronto’s beaches travels east, and the first thing it hits is Presqu’ile (and then Prince Edward County, which includes Sandbanks Provincial Park).

On the plus side, there were lots of other kids there, so our kids were never bored. In fact, despite the rain and the lack of swimming, they both said they want to go camping again!

posted at 10:27 pm on Monday, July 29, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Camping Trip

What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?

I’m overweight, and I’ve been having trouble dealing with that. I know people who are doing quite well on the Atkins diet, but several people I trust had convinced me it was a bad idea.

What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?
(Update: the article is archived at a diabetes site now)

The research community has been recommending low-fat diets for 25 years, based on (it turns out) very little justification. And it’s hard to argue the fact that humans cannot have evolved in a carb rich environment, because we’ve been farming for less than 10,000 years.

An example from the article:

the N.I.H. spent several hundred million dollars trying to demonstrate a connection between eating fat and getting heart disease and, despite what we might think, it failed. Five major studies revealed no such link. A sixth, however, costing well over $100 million alone, concluded that reducing cholesterol by drug therapy could prevent heart disease. The N.I.H. administrators then made a leap of faith. […] they had failed to demonstrate at great expense that eating less fat had any health benefits. But if a cholesterol-lowering drug could prevent heart attacks, then a low-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet should do the same.

Time to go do some more research, I think.

posted at 10:49 am on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 in General | Comments Off on What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?

Over The Edge

Spent the weekend at Over The Edge, the Toronto Kite Fliers annual fun fly. The weather was great, sunny and hot both days. Over The Edge is held at Ajax Waterfront Park, which usually has good winds. Well, mostly; when the wind is off the lake it tends to roll up and over the field, so the winds are fine 100′ up, but lower or non-existant at ground level. Naturally, it was like this both days :-)

On the first day, Lee’s son Kane was there, so Gareth and Charlotte had someone to play with all day (which they did!) while the rest of us flew kites. Of course the kids got into it too, despite the ‘subtle’ winds. I got to fly my new Loon Dance Rokkaku, my new favourite kite because it is so easy to fly even in light winds.

On the second day, we took my nephew Mark William with us, so again, Gareth and Charlotte had someone to play with. The wind at ground level was much lighter, and dropped steadily during the day, although (as usual) the winds 100′ up were steady and strong. Kites would sometimes fall out of the sky, and required quite a but of work to relaunch!

Sunday dinner was pleasant. I think people are getting used to our kids, because some of them actually chose to sit at our table instead of the other one! Gareth even won a Popcan Kite in the raffle.

Canal Days is coming up, and I’ve been drooling over several large kites at Into the Wind. Alas, the kites I really want are expensive… maybe I’ll buy myself a birthday present for next year’s kite season.

posted at 11:05 pm on Monday, July 15, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Over The Edge

A thoughful IPR article.

Janis Ian has written a thoughful article about the whole “free downloading” mess. Her argument in a nutshell: free downloads help sales.

This is apparently true for most people with a large catalog of “mid-list” items (books or music); see the comment about Misty’s books in the article. The industry is so focused on stars, and get-rich-quick items, that the mid-list is pretty much dead, which hurts the artists (but not the publishers, or they’d fix it).

Remember, this is about the Music Industry, not the artists, and always has been (look at the number of people who have been screwed by the Industry with bad contracts…)

posted at 11:28 am on Wednesday, July 10, 2002 in General | Comments Off on A thoughful IPR article.

Paint Ball Extreme

The Tippmann Hellhound is a jeep. With a 10-barrel, 50 round-per-second, chain gun (powered by a variable speeddrill :-). It has a 6,000 round ammo hopper, a grenade launcher, 15 lb air tanks (so you never run out of pressure) and on and on.

Proving, once again, that some people have too much time on their hands.

posted at 10:31 pm on Tuesday, July 09, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Paint Ball Extreme

Supermarket Cards and Segmentation

Supermarket Cards: The Pricing Issues

Synopsis: supermarkets raise their prices, then “discount” them back to the original level to “reward” their loyal, dedicated customers. In the process, they re-orient the entire store to serve the small-but-profitable group of loyal customers.

Welcome to the free market economy :-)

posted at 1:34 pm on Monday, July 08, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Supermarket Cards and Segmentation

The Range Visit

Frank TCGN took me to the firing range this weekend. Wow, what a blast!

The day started with the usual last minute packing. Travelling down an apartment elevator with eight firearms and associated ammo is an experience. We hit the road at around noon (only an hour late :-), and arrived at the range at about 1:30 PM. We had the place to ourselves; the last guy from a previous group was on his way out just as we arrived.

We started with skeet, taking turns shooting at five traps in a row. My very first attempt I hit two out of five, which seemed like beginners luck for a while since I couldn’t hit a barn (with a shotgun!) after that! Fortunately, I managed a 3 out of 5 later in the session. Frank managed to hit all 5 on his last attempt…

Hitting clay targets is both easier and harder than I thought. They’re relatively small, and with the (standard) guns we were using the shot spreads quickly, so if you wait to long to fire none of the pellets hit the target. (Skeet competition shotguns apparently have a constriction at the end of the barrel that keeps the pellet spread smaller, but you can’t fire slugs out of them). On the other hand, firing to quickly doesn’t give you time to aim. On the gripping hand, If I both concentrate and relax, it’s not that hard to track and fire quickly and still hit the target. I guess it’s like many other things; pay attention but don’t “panic”. Either that or my video game experience is showing through.

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of recoil from the shotgun; with a proper grip, it was merely movement, instead of shoulder-bruising impact.

Next: pistols. We started with a .22 target pistol at maybe 20 yards. Pistols are hard to aim; I am no longer suprised by the statistics we once argued about in a role-playing session. My first couple of clips weren’t bad by my standards, but suddenly I couldn’t hit the target! Sadly it turned out that the sights had deviated on the gun, and we couldn’t get them true again. Ah well, on to the .40cal. That gun has an appreciable recoil, and a satisfying “CRACK!”. One shot splintered the 1×2 we were using to support the targets!

Last up in the day was the rifles. Frank has an H&K SL8-4 (the black version), with a nice scope attached. With a little patience and proper breathing, this thing will consistently bullseye, although Scott did have a little trouble hitting the padlock. I managed to drill a hole all the way through an old 5-1/4 inch (40 Mb :-) harddisk, and lodged a bullet inside a second one. I’m going to take the second one apart so I’ll have some nice platters to show off.

We briefly tried a few others (the WWII-era Lee Enfield MkIV has a truly wicked, shoulder-bruising recoil!), but it was getting very late, and time to head home.

The experience was great, and I’d recommend that anyone try it at least once (my wife is scheduled for the August long weekend :).

posted at 9:20 am on Monday, July 08, 2002 in General | Comments Off on The Range Visit

House Reorganisation

It all started when the kids asked if they could have their toy room on the same floor as their bedrooms (where the library is now). We though about it, and decided that it was a good idea; we would get our family room back :-)

So on Monday, Pene came over and helped haul furniture all over the house:

  • move the furniture from the family room to the living room.
  • tidy/vacuum the family room.
  • move the furniture, and TV/VCR from our bedroom TV watching area to the family room.
  • tidy/vacuum the bedroom.
  • move the books and bookshelves from the library upstairs to the bedroom. Wow, I have a lot of books.
  • tidy up the rest of the old library.

It was 34°C outside, and the A/C wasn’t keeping up, which made the move a little more complicated. At this point we ran out of time and energy, so we went out to a very nice Mediterranean buffet called Jerusalem for dinner.

We’ve spent evenings the rest of the week moving a few toys at a time upstairs from the family room to the new toy room; I guess we’ll have to finish up on Saturday morning before taking off for our busy party schedule.

posted at 10:16 am on Friday, July 05, 2002 in General | Comments Off on House Reorganisation

Photos from the range visit

Frank TCGN took me out shooting on the weekend. Here are some pictures from the event:

posted at 11:26 am on Thursday, July 04, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Photos from the range visit