Monday, May 30, 2005

Day after 13.1 miles

Coming back from Bristol Airport after spending two roasting days in Amsterdam hitch hiking drained me out on Saturday, had half my cheese given away as a token of good gesture to all those picked me up.

Then it was 12am before I realise there is a half marathon waiting on the other side of my bombay dream (Thanks Chris for tipping his curry all over the freezer, which is in my bedroom)

I switched my phone's clock back to the UK time, and sleep I went, woken by the occasional Janga shouts, sod them, I was too tired to moan.

While 2749 keen runners having their warm-ups and massage, I was still in bed. Bing bang, the race has started and the Kenian is leading by 5 paces after the first mile, I was still in bed.


FUCK! It is 10:15am!!!!!?!?!?!?!?! I flew into my shorts, trainers, timer... Oh and my key!! fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!!!! There is no excuse to quit, I gave up too much for this.... Running toward the seafront, I encountered hundreds of leading runners.... By the time I got to the starting point, I was 25 minutes late. 'Off you go then' said the cheif.... I was running on my own, just like what I have been doing in the last three sober months.

The police had to re-block most of the roads while so many asked 'Where have you been???' 'Err... I missed a flight to the start' was my untruthful reply.

'Wrong turn mate!' Oh come on give me a fucking break.... 'Go back up this hill and turn right!'

The route included some run-down parts of Plymouth, and their reception to a lone Chinese runner was debatable. After 4 miles I eventually caught up with some injuried and unfits. Up the first hill I was struggling to burst that extra pace as I had a stomach full of acid with circulation of my limps just starting to flow.... 5 6 7 miles.... I already said hi and bye to hundreds of miles catchers, some had their Jellybabies to re-charge their sugar rush, while I only had the courage to catch up with my 29 other teammates in our bright yellow t-shirts.

Oh here you are! There is my module choice officer! 'Sorry I missed the group photoshot' She glared at me and her facial expression told me to sod off or else. So I did.

8 9 10 miles. Another teammate, her name was Sarah and she has been training since Januaray, marvallous, 'I will catch up with you later, yeah!?!' My enthusiasms must have shined through her eyelids and burnt her cortina.

11 miles have been the pass and back to the only part of Plymouth which had the mercy of German bombers. My stomach told me I need food or it is going to call a strike, lucky me this pub had a stall of pie and pastry 'Can I take one of there? I will pay you back later' .... Cheese and potato pastry, it was so wonderful to have this Cornish specialty as my company of the last 2 miles, only that I swallowed it with vengence after 400 metres.....

Well. Running and eating pastry ca
n be a good thing, espiacially it allowed time for Sarah to catch up and we had our second encounter..... 'Come on then, lets get to the finish line!'... I actually feel silly now leaving her behind in that last 800 metres after her back giving up, if anything I was breaking, it would be my left thigh rather than record!!

I was regonised by many officals and punters as the last guy to start, but I wasnt the last guy to finish!! 'oi!! You caught up a bit eh!!?'

1:51:26. Came 936th. Taking consideration of my perparation and the pastry break, I am satisfied with the result.

I did it. I did. I did it in style.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Staying awake

I was falling apart in the library during my pre-coked phrase. Found this recipe for this black sweety.

Introduction:

Contained hereunder is a HOW-TO for brewing up kitchen-sink OpenCola. Amazingly enough, every soft-drink vendor we spoke to acted like the preparation of cola was some kind of deep, dark trade-seekrut™. With much reverse-engineering and creative shopping, the research kitchens at OpenCola have coopered together the following makefile for brewing up The Black Waters of Corporate Imperialism™ in the privacy of your own home.

The basis for the whole thing is the 7X, Top-Seekrut™ formula. Our sources tell us that 7X is the internal Coca-Cola codename for their syrup. You'll note that the 7X formula contains eight ingredients: still more evidence of the deviousness of the Soda Gnomes.

As it turns out, mixing up a batch of cola's pretty easy. Finding the ingredients is damned hard. Most of this file is about finding and handling ingredients so as to produce a tasty bevvy without blowing up your kitchen, melting your flesh off your bones, or poisoning yourself. As with all undertakings of great moment, read and understand the instructions before attempting to commit cola on your own. Pay special attention to the "Warnings" section.

This recipe is licensed under the GNU General Public license. It is "Open Source" Cola, or, if you prefer, "Free" Cola. That means you're free to use this recipe to make your own cola, or to make derivative colas. If you distribute derivative colas, you're expected to send email to the recipe's author, Amanda Foubister (amanda@opencola.com) with your updates. In the future, we expect to have a CVS server up to handle additions, bug-reports, etc.

The Formula

7X (Top Seekrut™) flavoring formula:

3.50 ml orange oil
1.00 ml lemon oil
1.00 ml nutmeg oil
1.25 ml cassia oil
0.25 ml coriander oil
0.25 ml neroli oil
2.75 ml lime oil
0.25 ml lavender oil
10.0 g gum arabic
3.00 ml water

OpenCola syrup:

2.00 tsp. 7X formula
3.50 tsp. 75% phosphoric acid or citric acid
2.28 l water
2.36 kg plain granulated white table sugar
0.50 tsp. caffeine (optional)
30.0 ml caramel color

Preparation

7X Flavoring:

Mix oils together in a cup. Add gum arabic, mix with a spoon. Add water and mix well. I used my trusty Braun mixer for this step, mixing for 4-5 minutes. You can also transfer to a blender for this step. Can be kept in a sealed glass jar in the fridge or at room temperature.

Please note that this mixture will separate. The Gum Arabic is essential to this part of the recipe, as you are mixing oil and water.

Syrup:

In a one gallon container (I used the Rubbermaid Servin' Saver Dry Food Keeper, 1.3 US Gal/4.92 l), take 5 mls of the 7X formula, add the 75% phosphoric or citric acid. Add the water, then the sugar. While mixing, add the caffeine, if desired. Make sure the caffeine is completely dissolved. Then add the caramel color. Mix thoroughly.

Cola:

To finish drink, take one part syrup and add 5 parts carbonated water.

Scavenging and Handling Ingredients

7X flavor:

Measurement: I used a dropper purchased at a Shoppers Drug Mart (normally used to measure infant portions of medicine, I believe).

Oils: Oils can cause skin irritation. Wear latex food-prep or surgical gloves. If oils come in contact with skin, wash with soap and water.

I purchased all oils from health food stores and the herbalist store, Thuna's (see notes on gum arabic).

Everything could have come from the herbalist's. Try for 100 percent pure, undiluted oils. I used oils from the following companies:

  • CK Solutions, Ft. Wayne, IN 46825
  • Aura Cacia Oils, Weaverville, CA 96093
  • Aromaforce Essential Oils
  • Frontier Natural Flavors, www.frontiercoop.com
  • Karooch, Peterborough, ONT K9J 7Y8

When I purchased the oils, I specifically asked whether they were food grade or not. All persons said that they were, one person said she used them internally all the time.

Neroli is a very expensive item, be prepared (US$48.52 for 5.00 ml).

All others were a more reasonable price (US$2-9.30).

Gum Arabic: It is very important that you get only food-grade Gum Arabic. There is also an art-grade, which is readily available at art supply stores – never use art-grade Gum Arabic! Art-grade Gum Arabic is toxic. It will make you ill. You'll be sad. We'll be sad.

I found food-grade Gum Arabic at an herbalist store in Toronto called Thuna's (416) 461-8191. I purchased 112g for US$12.46, which will make more than 11 batches of flavoring formula.

Syrup:

Water: good old tap water will do, if you trust your tap. I used spring water.

75% Phosphoric Acid: Due to its acidity, this product is corrosive to the eyes and skin. Handle with gloved hands, and use extreme caution. If comes in contact with the eyes or skin, immediately flush with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Get medical attention. Rinse any spills on clothing or other surfaces thoroughly. Store in a secure area. Do not store more than 50.0 ml.

Try finding phosphoric acid at a compounding pharmacy in your area. There are pharmacies that still mix their own individual compounds and still stock phosphoric acid.

Citric acid: Very easy to find. I found mine at a Shoppers Drug Mart (Rougier Pharma Inc, Quebec, Canada J7J 1P3). Says right on the label, "For the preparation of acidulous drinks and effervescing draughts, and preservation of jams and jellies." According to the Coke history book, citric acid was used first in the formula, but they now use the phosphoric.

Sugar: Basic granulated white table sugar found everywhere. Buy from a bulk store to save some money.

Caffeine: It's best not to store caffeine in any amount. Caffeine can kill people in relatively small doses. The median lethal dose for an adult human is around 10 grams, or approximately one third of an ounce. You can find out more by reading the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for caffeine at http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/c0165.htm. Don't yeild to the temptation to create a "Super-Jolt™," adding tons and tons of the white stuff to your cola, our you'll be in a world of hurt. If stored, store in a secure area away from children. Toxic by inhalation and ingestion: If inhaled, remove to fresh air, If ingested, call a physician. Possible teratogen and mutagen. If product comes in contact with the eyes, flush with plenty of water. There is some great information on caffeine and it's over-consumption at http://www.thecaffeinepage.com.

Caffeine is completely optional. I used part of a caffeine pill (MVP, www.mvpnutrition.com), ground up in a pestle with a mortar. According to information on the pill bottle and on the Web site, the pills are 100% caffeine. As an extra safety precaution, I strained all of the syrup through a 4-ply of cheesecloth, in case any of the caffeine wasn't dissolved.

Caramel color: I found mine at a bakery supply store (World of Cake Decorating, 1766 Weston Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 416-247-4935). I was originally told to use double strength caramel color, but couldn't find it anywhere (retail or wholesale). It really only adds color, so it makes it a bit paler than we are used to coming out of a can or bottle. No other difference that we could discern during our taste-testing.

Cola:

Soda Water: I purchased a soda charger and CO2 cartridges at Nikolaou's (629 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 416-504-6411) to deliver the soda charge needed to make the cola fizzy. At testing, no one was impressed. What worked best was adding canned sodium-free (very important!) soda water to the syrup.

If you would like to make soda water yourself as well, here is a recipe from a great Web site on beverages (http://www.upl.cs.wisc.edu/~craft/bar/section7.html):

Soda: Carbonated Water

  • 5 U.S. gallons of water
  • 1.5 cups sugar (or sugar syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon dry bread yeast (rehydrated)

I fill each bottle 2/3 full, screw on the top, and leave for one or two weeks. Each weekend I measure and add the syrup to a few bottles, top them off with water and stick them in the fridge.

This is a very quick operation. I had experimented with adding dry sugar, but this caused an excessive amount of foaming.

Warnings:

These are all associated with each of their ingredients, but they're repeated here just to make sure. We're not making this stuff up. Cola is a harsh mistress, and she is quick to anger. Heed the warnings below or proceed into certain peril.

Oils: Can cause skin irritation. If oils come in contact with skin, wash with soap and water.

Gum Arabic: It is very important that you get only food-grade Gum Arabic. There is also an art-grade, which is readily available at art supply stores – never use art-grade Gum Arabic! Art grade Gum Arabic is toxic. It will make you ill. You'll be sad. We'll be sad.

75% Phosphoric Acid: Due to its acidity, this product is corrosive to the eyes and skin. Handle with gloved hands, and use extreme caution. If comes in contact with the eyes or skin, immediately flush with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Get medical attention. Rinse any spills on clothing or other surfaces thoroughly. Store in a secure area. Do not store more than 50.0 ml.

Caffeine: It's best not to store caffeine in any amount. Caffeine can kill people in relatively small doses. The median lethal dose for an adult human is around 10 grams, or approximately one third of an ounce. You can find out more by reading the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for caffeine at http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/c0165.htm. Don't yield to the temptation to create a “Super-Jolt™” adding tons and tons of the white stuff to you cola, our you'll be in a world of hurt. If stored, store in a secure area away from children. Toxic by inhalation and ingestion: If inhaled, remove to fresh air. If ingested, call a physician. Possible teratogen and mutagen. If product comes in contact with the eyes, flush with plenty of water. There is some great information on caffeine and it's over-consumption at http://www.thecaffeinepage.com.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

It's already the 8th...

I left this blog for a few weeks in hope that it would soak up some comments as a confirmation there is someone reading my baffles. Then again, it is a good excuse to focus on my dissertation -
"Explore the nature of dance music industry to discover the effects of globalized technologies on Bigga Records operation in 2005."

Straight forward stuff. Here is the shop's
website. Pretty naked.

Meanwhile I watched the new Woody Allen's movie "Melinda Melinda", two script writers debate at a diner table on whether life is a painful tragedy or comedy, converting their views into two seperate stories surrounding Melinda. (Hence the name). Its pretty funny and fresh.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Amsterdam trip is cancelled!

It is just not very sensible of me to throw my last four years investments in my degree away for a gig on a canal boat.... Among 2 millions strong oranje. Looking forward to my first exam on 3rd of May.

Dear Eric....

Got this reply on Monday, thought they might offer me a deal, but didnt bunge an inch.

Hi Eric,

Thanks for your complaint. I'm sorry that our deposit policy has caused youto question your opinion of Oxfam. I'm happy to offer some explanation toour reasoning.

This is our first year of stewarding at Glade. Last year, this duty wascarried out by Wateraid, who experienced heavy losses at the festival, i.eof 120 volunteers rota ed on shift some 20 turned up to work. As a charitywe are reliant upon volunteers being honest and reliable and doing whatthey say they will do. We have had considerably more experience thanWateraid in providing a stewarding service, however, we are also veryaware of the nature of the Glade festival. It is a small, popular festival,with limited tickets. Similar to Glastonbury, there will be people tryingto get to the Glade who can't buy tickets. By setting the deposit price athigher than the ticket price, it is the only weight that we have to makesure that the less scrupulous applicants will not just see applying tosteward as another way of getting into the festival. It is alsoencouragement for those who are stewarding to make sure they work theirshifts, and therefore get their money back. This obviously does thenreflect upon the genuine volunteers who wouldn't have considered beinganything less than honourable, but isn't that case everywhere in life,there are always some who make things worse for others.

We don't look at taking a deposit as a fund raiser. As far as I'mconcerned, I would prefer to pay everyone back their money after thefestivals are done, because that means that everyone turned up and workedtheir shifts and we were able to provide a good and professional service.Unfortunately, that doesn't happen. We always provide a good andprofessional service, but usually this is because there are some volunteerswho are prepared to go above and beyond and cover the work of those whohave jumped ship.

The deposit system is not meant to make stewarding elitist, but most peoplewho want to steward understand our need to regulate, and find a way to getthe cash together, afterall, we are not keeping the money, just holding itfor you.I can also tell you that the deposits are not held in a high interestaccount, as we have to have immediate access to the money in order to payback people who drop out before the festivals - although maybe that is awasted opportunity!!!

I hope this has explained a little about why we have made these decisions.We are also more flexible than you give us credit for, but you can imaginethat I am not going to advertise: if you can't afford the deposit maybe wecan come to an arrangement - , as then I would be swamped, and as it is weprocess some 2,500 applications in the space of 3 months!

thanks

Judy

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Oxfam

Dear Oxfam,

At the dawn of Summer I am utterly disappointed to acknowledge the that I might not be able to attend at the up and coming Glade festival. Due to my over stretched finance after four years of university without student loan, my intention was to reward myself with a time out at one UK festival. The Glade festival seemed to be an ideal option as it is known to have the charm of Glastonbury and an artists line up to match, let alone the forty pounds deficit.

This is where it annoys me as I was eager to apply a stewarding job with your organisation, and policy has already been set that a deposit of 130 pounds is required for all festivals. I feel that it is fair that Oxfam should take precarious measures to ensure operation would run smoothly, but it should never be a method to disguise an attempt to exploit keen volunteers.

In this case, first Oxfam should explain the motives of having a fixed deposit fee, or else it needs to be more flexible as Glade festival tickets are valued at 89 pounds including booking fee on their offical website, which means Oxfam would gain a clear 41 pounds profit on each ticket during the time these deposits are held, should Oxfam also pay the same amount as general public, which I doubted. While I am only focus on the Glade festival, my estimation 200 volunteers pay their deposit by the end of May, a sum of 8000 pounds (Based on *all deposits* £26,000 - *ticket costs* £18,000) would be availble for Oxfam to invest into their other campagins, earn high interests from fixed term loan etc. In my opinion that is a fair sum on top of the £25,000 donation from Glade festival.

Oxfam have been presistantly claim to support free trade across the globe, and progress can be felt by the increasing popularity of Free Trade goods. But I for once feel Oxfam has seriously breached such ideal approach on this occasion. It would be welcomed if Oxfam consider a more realistic pricing model for deposit fee next festivals season.

Kind regards,

Eric.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Movie review - Woodsman (USA)

What's the deal? A pedeofile (Walter) being released after 12 years (And he was never meant to hurt her) in prison, hoping the world has moved on so he can lead a normal life by gelling into a new job as a woodcutter while living at a flat opposite to a school playground. His fellow workers act like knowing a cup of tea has turned mouldy, while unwilling to drink it, the desire to take a peep is simply inevitable. Vickie beg to differ by taking his modest worker outlook to liking, and the rest went on with the struggling to keep his hands off little ones and being disgusted by the glances and stares and a few outbursts of fruastation throw in for good measures.

In another word? Please grow away!

Clever scene - No word for us to hear from the sister.

Food you shouldnt bring - Hot dog, lollypops and anything else that could attract attention......... he he he he.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Corporate Fallout Detector

I came across this invention when I was suppose to learn CAPM and Single Index model in Portfolio theory..... But damn this is inspiring....

Check out your shoppings rating!

"The Corporate fallout Detector scans barcodes off of consumer products, and makes a clicking noise based on the environmental or ethical record (selectable via the "sensitivity" switch) of the manufacturer. It explores issues of corporate accountability and individual choice. Due to increasingly complex global supply chains, a single product we buy may contain parts made by various companies all over the world. We may agree with the business practices of some of these companies, while not with others. The complexity of the relationships between manufacturers can be so great that it becomes unclear how to translate our personal convictions into good buying decisions, and all purchasing decisions involve an unavoidable element of risk. For example, a consumer may know that one company has a good record on human rights and pollution, but that company may be owned by another company that has a poor record in these areas. When one buys from the smaller company, the parent company also benefits. In this case, what should a consumer do to reward good business ethics? One can argue either for buying or boycotting products from the smaller company."

Movie review: Nobody Knows


nobody
Originally uploaded by djdtl.
What's the deal? Set in one suburb somewhere in Japan, a single mum with four kids from various fathers moved into a new house, she left the eldest 12 years old son some money and ran off to her new man. It's a powerful display of the oldest son's struggling to detached himself from the peer and taking on the responsibilty to take care of his younger siblings. Emotional with a lot of 'cute' shots, reminded me how Hello Kitty swallowed most Asian young souls in the 80s.

In another word? JENGA!!

Clever scene - Yuki growing out of the suitcase and credit at the end made me chuckle.

Food you should bring - Nothing, you should go and stay empty stomach, perferbly fast for the three pervious days.