24 April 2010

Reuse This!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Not just on Earth Day, but every day. I do that. Drink coffee from a washable ceramic mug instead of a disposable cup. Wear clothes handed down by my nephews. Make origami out of street flyers. Much as I love to replace them with the latest and greatest, most of my computer equipments are five years old, or longer. Curbside recycling of paper and plastic is nice, but I don't only recycle the stuff used in the house. If I buy a bottle of drink while out, after consuming the content I would take it home, or recycle it at the nearest recycle bin.

I wish everything is easy to re-use, like clothes and paper. Case in point are these plastic pieces that come with the ink cartridges for my Hewlett-Packard Color LaserJet. They protect the cartridges' drums, supposedly, during transit at least, but once unpackaged, what to do with them? They are about 30 cm (11 inches) long, unbendable although a bit flexible along its length. I just cannot think of any way to re-use them other than perhaps melting them and pouring the resulting slush into the shape of a puddle, to make a fake spilled drink. I do know burnt plastic smells horrible though so melting is not such a great idea. Perhaps HP can replace it with cardboard someday, like how styrofoam is used less in packaging these days.

18 April 2010

Scene From A Jogging Trip 20100418

I don't seem to lack ideas to blog about, I just don't have the time. The latest recurring idea I want to capitalize on is "Scene From..." In this particular case, it is "Scene From A Jogging Trip," as I just resumed jogging and demoted cycling to the secondary form of exercise. "20100418" denotes the year, month, and day - I hope to write more posts from my jogging trips.

I usually do not stop to take pictures during my jogging trip because I am working on endurance. Even at traffic stops, I would be jogging in place, so for me stopping to take pictures is considered cheating myself of the endurance test.

The above photo was taken after I was done with the jogging session and was heading back home. Is drive-thru a necessary evil or what? It's convenient for sure. You don't get out of your car, just wait in line to place your order then drive to the next window to pay for your stuff and get them. All the while with the car engine running, the air unnecessarily polluted and more unrenewable energy burnt. I can see how in certain places street parking is simply next to impossible. Or at certain hours of the day the parking lot is full and drive-thru is the only choice left. Other than parking a block away and walking to the location, of course, but most people absolutely prefer not to walk.

In this case, it was early morning on a Sunday and the parking lot for Raymour and Flanagan was deserted. There were a few cars near the entrance of the furniture store but close to the Starbucks outpost there were plenty of parking space. Yet people just queued up to buy their espressos or whatever drinks they thirsted for. Granted I do not if the outpost even had a walk-up window, but for a business that likes to have a green image there should be one. It is possible too that Starbucks has no agreement with R&F to share the parking lot. There may be a fee to be paid, by Starbucks to R&F, so for a few bucks in saving, just let those engines idle in the queue.

15 April 2010

Back To Jogging, Simplified

After three months of cycling as exercise, I decided to resume jogging, at least as the main form of workout. My goal with exercising is to shed some kilograms and cycling has not helped. I started cycling on New Year's Day and three months later, I am still just a few kilos below 90 kilos. I weigh myself every week, perhaps I should not, like how a watched kettle does not boil.

The reason I started cycling was that after a few months of regular jogging my right foot started to hurt. There was the usual aches and sores elsewhere but the right foot had it worst. Just lightly jabbing the center of the right sole would produce a sharp pain. Maybe it was because I was using an old pair of sneakers. The bottoms of the shoes were not even, so some parts of the foot probably took a greater impact. Since quitting jogging late last year, I got a new pair of sneakers. I actually resumed jogging last week. Ran twice then and three times this week. So far the old right foot has no complaint. As long as my right foot can take it, I will continue to jog and use cycling as secondary. On days that I have time, I will put in a few KMs on foot then ride a few more KMs on the bike. The distance covered by each form of exercise does not justify it, but I still like to refer to the combined workout as a biathlon. Only if I have one of those endless pools, I can even do a triathlon.

Up to this week I always jog in a closed path, e.g. round and round a park. What's annoying with that was that I sometimes lose count of the laps. I play music on my cell phone while jogging, starting a new song or restarting one as needed, so that each lap is matched to a song. The Recently Played playlist would keep track of my progress. Alas, the playlist only knows the last ten songs so by lap number eleven or twelve I would be on my own. Worse yet sometimes the cell phone's battery would die midway through the session.

Starting this week I jog in a straight path. From my cycling trips, I know how far from my house is 3K. Go that far out and back then I will have 6K covered. I have to deal with cars on the road but it's not too bad at 5:30 A.M. Perhaps on the weekend I can go 4K out. Linear triumphs over circular, Keep It Simple, Sir!

07 April 2010

More Excuses To Have An iPad (and Sanity Checks)

Here I am trying hard not to run to the local Best Buy or the nearest Apple Store to scoop up an iPad and there are so many good reviews out there. My MacBook Pro still works, I still should spend less time online, the house still needs a major renovation, the list goes on and on. Here goes some more excuses, heck, maybe I can spin this off into a cartoon or two.
  • I can use it as a digital picture frame. (Digital picture frames are wasteful electricity-suckers. I cannot consider myself green and at the same time have something running 24/7 showing photos that definitely are not viewed all the time. Besides, all the months I had the iPod touch I showed its photos only a few times, ten times top. A stock iPad cannot stand by itself so that would be another x dollars to make the thing stand up like a photo frame.)
  • A man in black turtleneck and jean robbed me at gunpoint. When he ran away with the $500 I happened to have, he dropped behind this beautiful electronic gadget. (Yeah, right.)
  • It was on sale, 50% off, at the local electronic store. (Apple products are classy and are not carried everywhere. Sure you have the Chinese knock-off that may look like an iPod or a MacBook, even an iPad, but bona fide Apple devices don't come cheap.)
  • I can use it for videoconferencing at the Newtown High School (Elmhurst, Queens) reunion at the Astoria Manor in NYC on September 25, 2010. (Even with the 3G iPad coming out in late April 2010, there is no camera whatsoever with any of the iPad. Someone may come up with some add-ons, or maybe Apple will release a newer version, but the likelihood of a new iPad, complete with video camera, is highly remote. For video conferencing, a cheapo netbook is still the answer.)

05 April 2010


The iPad, aaaaahhhh. For me it is a matter of Want over Need. I already have a MacBook Pro and am happy enough with using it around the house. At most I would take the laptop when I go visiting relatives in the city. I am not one of those people who drag laptops everywhere they go. Even though my iPod touch passed away some months ago, I have been able to make do with an ancient Handspring Deluxe (Palm OS) and a 2G iPod. Still, I cannot help thinking up some excuses to buy the iPad, then quickly realized how lame they are.

  • To get my son to read more, even if it is just comic books. (Once he has the 'Pad, he will play games all the time. He does not read the comic books I borrowed from the public library anyway.)
  • I like reading e-books on the couch. (I listen to podcasts and read books from the public library - cannot beat the price.)
  • I can watch movies on it. (I can barely keep up with the DVD movies I borrow from the library. Granted they are not this year's features, but a year or two behind is not that bad. I am not that keen about buying movies either. I bought some Ben 10 movie for my son once from the iTunes Store. He saw it once or twice and then that's it, just sitting there taking up room on my hard drive, or off on some backup media, with little chance of ever being watched again. If I can help it, movies, like books, are best used as borrowed items from the public library.)
  • My mother can surf the web with it. (She is obsessive with cleaning around the house, she won't have time to surf. When she does use it, she probably wants to print out the news article to send to friends and I will end up using the laptop to do that anyway.)
  • I need to check email and can use the free WiFi at the atrium near the office. (I do fine checking email at home at night, all these years.)
  • I should buy one to review for ATPM free online, volunteer-based magazine. (Someone in ATPM already did, maybe there are others who already bought it).
Who knows? I may say to heck with saving money, that even though I just spent a few thousand dollars just last year for a MacBook Pro and that I need to save money for an upcoming major home renovation, I should just get it over with, Want over Need... Maybe going back to this list will convince me not to give in to temptation.