Monday, March 26, 2012

Fitness and versatility

Being fit is meaning that I don’t get worn out by doing the things that I want to do. But it also requires training over and above the normal workload to be able to easily achieve your regular tasks.

Eg I want to be fit enough to ride my bike to work with a speed of ~25kph for ~7km. So I train on weekends going ~30kph for >30k.

But being only bike fir is not enough, I also like to be swimming fit. Also since I am not just a physical entity I like to be mentally fit. This means reading scientific journals occasionally, and always learning new things.

So fitness should be versatile, easily adaptable to other sports or areas of life. Like a work life balance. One third of the day is dedicated to funding the rest of my endeavors; one third to recovering from what I have done; and one third for everything else.

There are four stats in which I want to build more stamina, five for greater versatility: mental/physical/spiritual/emotional/recovery.

But why do I desire this?

Well I figure my self and my life is a gift from God and like a good gift I should look after it properly. Neither sitting it on a shelf as though it were an ornament nor mistreating it and using it improperly.

So I want to use my life and use it well. But what does that mean? How can I know if I am keeping fit and versatile?

That would be 1-3,9,0 the way to live my life.

Life is a constant learning and revising. Lots of knowledge is gained and lost, specific knowledge may not be useful like Alt+14=♫, but sharing interesting things is always going to be something I want to remember.

Jesus is a good role model for this type of thing, not just because he is an integral part of the relevant religion.

1 Jesus certainly did plenty of sharing, like with the five loves and three fish. His first miracle involved making wine, and all his notable meals were with a group of people.

2 He was prepared to be unprepared, not phased in the slightest by getting stuck at sea in a storm. And he was willing to follow his dads plan, although in the garden of Gethsemane he was considering the alternatives.

3 Timeliness was not an issue considering how much effect he had on the world in his mere 30 something years. Jesus also sent his disciples all over the country without a second set of sandals. That is defiantly an efficient purchase.

9 While it wasn’t all fun and games Jesus was a bit of a joker, telling riddles (parables) pulling coins out of fish. He must have been the life of the party for all the crowds that followed him, even climbing through a hole in the roof.

0 I don’t know why but I think Jesus was proud and humble at the same time. He certainly wasn’t ashamed of who he was or what he was doing. Like when he lost his temper and kicked all the merchants out of the temple. Then later when he gets arrested Jesus is a little sarcastic towards the guards asking “why didn’t they arrest him then, in the temple”, rather than sneaking up in the middle of the night like mafia trying to hide what they do.

His whole life was a bit of an escapade, gaining more momentum each day. As time went on he managed more and more of everything.

To start off with I was writing in one direction, now I found I went another, so I may as well jump the tracks a third time and get on a similar train.

Where else other than Jesus have I been inspired, such that I would write what I have written? It seems to me that most of my philosophies on life are founded on books.

Dune – series
Aesop’s Fables
Foundations edge
Isaac Asimov – various books
Discworld – series by Terry Pratchet.
Lion, witch, wardrobe – series
Bible, The
The magician series, mostly Pug.
Socrates’ Pursuit of happiness (somebook like that forget the actual name)
+Also anime like TTGL and Infinite Revyus. The keep on keeping on bit.
Pilgrim’s progress

Maybe one day I’ll type why I find them inspirational.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Taste of Harmony

A taste of harmony, I like that idea. Actually I usually try to make each individual meal as culturally diverse as possible. Like putting pineapple in Irish stew, or making a curry with Beef and Greek yoghurt.

We have been talking about this for a while at work and I just now realized that we have a sojourn scheduled that week too. Currently at work we have representations from, Belgian, New Zealand, Italy, France and India. I dunno what background the other Technomancer’s have.

While I do like my food my lunch at work normally consists of fruit or vegetables, with the occasional sandwich or instant noodles. You see I have problems with what I should take for lunch:
There is limited space in the fridge.
The cooking equipment consists of: Kettle, sandwich press, microwave & coffee machine.
Lunch is scheduled to last 30min.
The average attendance is 12±12, so it can get crowded at the sink.
We are an alcohol free site.

So normally when people bring things to lunch for their birthday it’s a cake or slice that sits in the bottom of the fridge. Added to this my cultural heritage is ~9generations of Australians, proceeded by Prussian on my mums side and the rest of Europe on my dad’s side. I think I’m Scottish/Irish direct descendant. I’ve never made lamingtons before and it’s been a very long time since I endeavored to bake a pavlova.

The next complication is what foods am I confident enough to feed to other people? Golden Syrup Dumplings and Self saucing chocolate pudding are not possible to pre-prepare or make at work. Curries and Pasta would also be a challenge to serve. Maybe rely of the microwave to reheat the food?

Maybe it’s easier to just bite the bullet and go for LAN only, that was I can also sign up to be a part of the event officially. If our secretary hasn’t done a theme for the burning of Minecraft then I’ll derail that train and make it a food sojourn.

Quiché, cold pasta and salad are the only things that spring to mind, then I have to try to fit them into my heritage somehow.

Maybe I’ll have a Sunday session of afternoon cooking.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

10 steps of progress

Have I succeeded?

1 Luxuries are to be shared:
As VRBones indicated this can be a curse as well as a blessing. I filled up my afternoons with other things and haven been inviting people for dinner much lately. I do still keep tea ~$10, and now that I am living alone that meal may last me half a week.
Currently I have given up coffee for lent although I also haven’t been drinking it much on my lonesome, I’ve had to many average coffees of late and it doesn’t have the allure that it used to. I’ve run out of beer because I kept sharing it.
Over the last year I’m pretty sure I spent more on computer games for other people than I did for myself. Since I have been back from PNG I’ve hardly played with myself at all. The occasional game of LOL with Levi and then there is the Thursday Sojourn.

2 Plan things:
Plan to be unprepared has been working well for me. I’ve also kept a rolling to do list, although many of the things have been on it for a year. One day I’ll post my Christmas photos from SA.
My trip to PNG helped a bit with my plan for cryogenic freezing. Being able to type at a computer was useless, but knowing a few card games and how to make a deck of carts is a good thing. Even if you speak a foreign language you can still have fun with pater recognition.

3 Spent more efficiently:
May need to rework this if I continue to live on my lonesome, although I have been doing a good job of paying off my house ~$1000 a month still works. I’d like to spend $2000 on the fun of Kite surfing, also to maintain my physical fitness. But that is a bit of a hurdle at the moment.

4 Exercise Mentally:
I’m learning typing good, and spelling too. Partially my blog but also email letters to people. I have much more confidence in my written language skill, but I’ve had to sacrifice some polysyllabic words. Also I have been talking to foreigners a bit of late, one day I hope to speak two languages. Maybe if everything on the computer is in one language and then English for everything else?
Still have a few games that I haven’t mastered and LOL always seems to have more champions.

5 Exercise Physically:
Between dancing on Monday and Tuesday nights for an hour each I think I now know:
Moonlight Tango – backwards dance
Midnight Tango – backwards dance
Argentine Tango
Salsa – spaghetti with the hands
Samba – horsy dance, with the Frisbee fling
Catherine Waltz
Alpha Waltz – the backwards one
Jive –cuddle, stop&go, chug, American spin
Paso Doble – bullfighting conquistador
Quick Step

Then there is the weekly bike ride to the beach for a swim and coffee. I don’t think riding to work counts as I do that nearly every day. Snorkelling may be another new cheaper thing to do at the beach, although there is not much to see.

6 Exercise Spiritually:
I’ve been somewhat consistent in reading the bible before work and sleep, partway through David at the moment. Also there is a weekly bible study for Lent that has homework, so I do that when I get home from work at my computer.
Query to follow up: Is my Spirit different to my Soul? This may also delve into community development theory and the LAN Psizomaijitsu. Nope, thats mostly my greek logic backgroud, and I'm suffering from preconception bias.

7 Exercise Emotionally:
Maybe this should be socially? Although watching the movie Red Dog defiantly counts as an emotional exercise. Visiting foreign countries are great for empathy and broadening your horizons. Also in November I went back to SA to visit rellies for the second time in 9 years. There is a new girl at church Beth and a new one at work Aurore that I have been getting to know. Haven’t been to Wednesday trivia for since before Christmas.

8 Recovery:
Recently got some wired skin irritation from PNG and cut my hands and feet up whilst snorkelling, both a learning experience. I also ate very little in PNG and got heatstroke.

9 Have Fun:
The fun thing at work has been learning Citect programming and being the first in the world to calibrate an NIR on liquid sugars. Also playing cards with Kristina, Levi and Nicole in PNG was good. Plus incorporating Technomancers Sojourn is not work or a hassle and we are still sticking too it so I think that must be fun too.
Sleeping is more fun when I wake up before my alarm, which means I’ve had enough sleep too.

0 Regret Nothing:
This is sort of turning into a “how can I be a better ben” thing. I can’t learn unless I first make mistakes to lean from and when I see the worth in my failure then it becomes priceless. It seems this is as much a subtle afterthought as having fun is…
This one here needs some word smithing, possibly a biblical reference too.

Progressive advancement:
Need more of all the above.
More sharing of luxuries, this is the ideal of communism. (the sort without corruption)
More Plan so that when I do not know what is going on I still know what to do and why I am.
More efficiency of worldly possessions means that I require less worldly possessions. These things need to be expended to acquire more of everything else.
More fit in the four areas of exercise. To be fit it to be able to do all the things that I want to do, I do not need to be an athlete to be fit.
More recovery so that when inconveniences occur the recovery is quicker and I have more practice at recovering from them. It’s the bumps along the highway of life that make it interesting.
More fun, is there such a thing as too much fun?
More adaption, Improvements can be made everywhere. What next can I do better than I did yesterday.
More more, I’ve forgotten what happened last week, so it needs to be done again and better this time. (reference Rock Lee from Naruto)

The progressive advancement of more fun through these activities is a good measurement of the current success rate of that which is the goal of being Ben and grabbing life with both hands and squeezing it for all it is worthwhile we all go for another trip around the sun.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pinapple casserole

Never done a casserole before and I have a pineapple to use, so here goes.

Preheat oven to 200C

500g diced Cow meat
1/2 cup plain flour
Keens Mustard, the name is so cool

All mixed together.

Then layer in a casserole dish in the following order:
1 large onion thinly sliced
1 tins worth Pineapple slices
1 tin of tomato (soup/diced/puree)
Generous amount of Worcestershire sauce
two layers of thinly sliced potato

Bung into the oven with the lid on for 50min.
Remove lid and let cook for another 25 min. The top potato should be crispy.

All in all that is a peculiar mix of flavors.

Graphically Significant

Whilst the correlation coefficient R2 is a terrific tool for quickly interpreting a calibration dataset, there are limitations. Sometimes you need a human to have a look. I was trying to explain this to somebody at work didn’t have a lot of success. Afterwards I found out about Anscombe’s Quartet. These are four graphs that show why statisticians exist. I changed the datasets a little so that the line of best fit would be near on perfect.

The first graph shows a fairly normal calibration dataset with too few samples. I’d be quite pleased if my first 10 samples showed this graph, the only issue would be to reduce the variation and collect more extreme samples. With this it seems the accuracy is ±1 unit.

The second graph would show perfect correlation if I was looking for a polynomial (y = -0.507x2 + 5.56x – 9.00 to be precise).

The third graph indicated to me that the data point at x6.5, y9.74 must be in error, possibly there was a typo in entering the data. All the other data points here give a perfect correlation to the formula y=0.6908x + 1.0056.

The fourth graph on the other hand is terrible; there really is no discernible line of best fit. Possibly there are only two samples and one of them has been repeated ten times.

Don’t try it with your English teacher, but for everybody else a picture is worth a thousand words.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Irish Coffee

For instant coffee:
    Place into mug the appropriate amount of coffee.
    Add sugar to taste.
    Add enough mild to cover the coffee, microwave for 30sec if you wish.
    Boiler water in kettle
    Add water to mug.
With a peculator or similar apparatus, follow their instructions for a long black.
    Place an amount of water into a small saucepan proportional to the number of mugs you are making.
    Set the temperature high.
    Place the proportional amount of coffee into the pot, preferably ground coffee.
    When reaching a rolling boil remove from heat. If you have the time when simmering set to low heat.
    Decant coffee through a sieve/colander into your mug. With some practice the sieve is not required.
Add a nip / finger of whisky to your mug. Irishness is not a prerequisite.
Add a sniff of nutmeg
Add a scoop of ice-cream, full fat.
Add on top of that a half teaspoon of cinnamon, ground.

Be wary of whiskers when drinking, they will collect ice-cream.
Also do not inhale sharply lest you remove all the cinnamon from the ice-cream.
Teaspoons are not required as the coffee will be self stirring. The ice-cream is less dense so it will float but as it melts it will, being colder, flow to the bottom of your mug. This displaces the hot coffee and sets up a convection current as the hot fluid tries to float past the ice cream.
With a boiling point of 78C the alcohol will not evaporate particularly quickly as I wouldn’t drink coffee if it was above 60C, so this can be considered an alcoholic beverage. Much better than a JägerBomb, that being another coffee alcohol drink made from a nip of Jägermeister in a can of Mother.

Bachelor Spag Bog

Been making this for years and only just realized that I have no set recipe. I defiantly at least need some photos as it is one of my staple meals for tea.
Start off with an onion. Top and tail it then dice it up.
Toss into saucepan with no oil on medium heat.
Cloves of garlic cut into disks with the back of the knife so they get a bit crushed, thrown onto onions. Add to taste 2-7.
 When the onion starts to brown, add your mince.
Preferably beef, ~125g for 2 people. More mince means leftovers.
Burn the mince a little for flavor if you like.
Add in a jar of pre made pretend to be pasta sauce. (Real sauce takes ~4hours to make and is wasted on a dish like this)
Add vegetable matter in the following order: Chunky frozen; Frozen or Chunky; Small and not frozen.
The volume of vegetable matter should slightly exceed the volume of mince.
When there are no frozen bits of vegetable, add pasta.
Stringy pasta is ill advised.
Shells and tubes restrict/accelerate the thermal flow of the saucepan making it more likely to burn on the bottom. They also contain hot sauce when you byte them.
Spirals and bowties are the ones I prefer.
By volume I add around the same amount of pasta as there are vegetables. Or fill up the saucepan.
Place the lid and reduce the heat.
As the pasta expands it fills the saucepan and becomes harder to stir. But if you don’t stir it it burns on the bottom and is hard to clean.

Serve when the pasta is done al-dente. Remove from heat. The pasta will continue cooking for a while due to residual heat.
Served with Perriperri/Tobasco sauce and topped with frozen grated cheese.

At the end you should have only used a cutting board one sharp knife one stirring implement and one saucepan.
I usually eat this in a bowl with a fork. When I have had my fill I’d place the rest in portion sized containers and place them into the freezer.

Salmon Pasta

Boil a handful of pasta, preferably spirals in a small pot.
When done el dente, tip out all the water. They will cook some more while mixing.
Return to the stove and turn the heat to minimum
Add 2 spoonful’s each of olive, capers, sundried tomatoes. Or whatever seems best.
Also add in a drained tin of salmon. Then stir through
When mixed turn of the heat and add some Parmesan cheese, stirring again.
My saucepan is small enough that I can eat this meal directly out of it.

Leaving the heat on whilst stirring, helps dry off the preservatives from the fish and veggies. This is supposed to be a dry dish, not a sloppy one. The good thing about it is that it is easy to make enough for only one person and all the ingredients can be left in the cupboard until opened, but then need to be refrigerated after use. If I haven’t finished off the olives and things in a week or so then everything goes into spag bog.

Monday, March 5, 2012


A language changes the way that you think. I really enjoyed the book “Sophie’s World” because it was translated to English and is about philosophy. Some cultures have concepts that are really hard to translate into English, purely because there are no words to describe any of it. So for a long time I have thought wouldn’t it be cool to speak a foreign language. But in my early years of schooling I kept changing languages, French, then German then Indonesian. All Indonesian did was make my English spelling go from bad to worse. And so by the time I finished school, all I can really do is count to ten and say Hi.

Arabic sounds musical and looks very arty when written, but there doesn’t seem to be many interesting things in Arabic culture. Like most of the countries that speak it have been at war for centuries and I don’t think I’d have much reason to speak to those people. Maybe the Turks would be interesting. I like the stories of Lawrence of Arabia, Aladdin and Sinbad the Sailor.

Russian I like because I got romantic ideas of the country from reading “War and Peace” when I was in primary school. Also before that we had a game called Troika, that was a series of puzzle games. None of it was in English and that made it more fun than it otherwise would have been.

Spanish, I could be like Zorro, or Don Quixote. One day I plan to do that pilgrimage where you walk across Spain but I don’t know when. I also still like fencing. So there may be opportunities to use this language in the future and it be useful. Maybe I could go and see Carlos in Columbia, the bloke I boarded with at Uni.

Japanese has only recently become interesting. Mainly because of anime but also because of my old SNES games. Part of the allure of them is the foreign language and the alternate fantasy settings, their spirituality is nothing like ours. Subtitled is definitely better than dubbed and I’ve picked up the odd word through repetition. This is probably a language I can use with computer games. Plus Brother Jo is quite good at it, so I have at least one person to practice talking to. And using a skill like this is the only way to keep it. I have learnt quite a few programming languages not that I have never used once I learnt them. It seem like a bit of a waste of effort now.

These are the ones that I have been more interested in. German and French are a bit too familiar for my liking. Particularly German I seem to be able to guess what topic people are talking about from a paragraph or two. There are enough words that sound the same. Also these languages use the same Cyrillic alphabet and my Indonesian experience tells me that my spelling and grammar will get worse from reading it.

There is also ancient Greek and Hebrew. If I decide to be a Lutheran pastor a part of the training includes reading transcriptions of the original translations, Dad and Brother Levi can already do this. But there would not be many day-to-day uses for either of these languages.

Oh and there is chemistry, that qualifies as a language too, although I’m getting a bit rusty in it of late.

Why am I still interested in learning a new language? I like learning; I still think it’s romantic. It will also be useful in the eighth continent, the internet, when playing computer games. I believe everybody in the world should be able to play games together, League of legends is a good example of this, or at least it was. I remember trying to talk to people in Spanish.

I also have a fondness for fantasy, LOTR, TOME, ADOM, SLASH’EM, those sort of acronyms. It’s nice to hear where a culture was developed and how they base their outlook on life. Some cultures fundamentally believe in Original Sin, they need to work hard to learn to be good. Some believe they are destined to be god, if only they work hard enough. Some that there is nothing after death but the decaying flesh and so we should enjoy it while it lasts. For some people their ancestors are sacred, for some it is sportsmen, some have holy ground and others holy relics. Note that your philosophic outlook on life is fundamentally tied to your parent’s religious beliefs. The way that you express yourself and communicate is colored by the means that you use to communicate.

So when will I get the motivation required to fluently speak another language? Can I find someone somewhere to practice enough to be fluent?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

What was PNG like?

Well, surprisingly similar to home actually. Since the main reason for the trip was to see my baby sister we didn’t really do much touristy stuff. It was king of more a bum around my sister’s house than an overseas trip.
After a while if figured out what made everything seem familiar. It’s the power points. They are the same as home. Then from this things like the Urn and TV were exactly as you should see in Perth. They also had similar TV stations and I was in the same time zone. Locals still have competitions with their neighbors as to who has the best lawn in their front yard. There were lots of things that felt familiar.
It was sort of a cross between Cambodia and Murray Bridge. I only got out and about much in Madang. So the Villages may feel different. Strangely enough the whole country seemed more civilized that the aboriginal communities that I have been to in Australia. Eg. I felt underdressed when we went to church.
When we were in Gaubin we stayed mostly in the hospital complex. But on our trip up the mountain we did see some nice wooden housed that made it feel more like another country. Also the fences were interesting. Mostly they were a series of saplings stuck in the ground. Nothing bigger than a mouse would be able to get through them. I don’t know what happens when the trees get big.
I don’t really feel like giving a blow-by-blow detailed diary entry on the trip. So some of the other highlights were:
PtMorseby Flight getting delayed a day. Chatting to an English couple, both called Alex, who helped organize a stopover in Lanbada Hotel. Pretty swish.
Getting heatstroke in Madang from walking between all the marketplaces.
Spending an entire day on a copra boat to get to Karkar island.
Sleeping on a couch, listening to German primary school classes most mornings.
Snorkeling most afternoons (apparently the weather was terrible).
Walk up a volcano, 5 hours to get there, 1 hour sleep at the top while the guides tried to start a fire, 3 hours to get back down.
2 big, bring a plate, feasts for tea. This after Nicole put us onto her starvation diet.
Each night, going to bed later and later because, we were getting better at playing 500.
Actually learning how to play 500, along with Kristina and Nicol, Levi was the teacher.
Skipping with the school kids, haven’t been skipping for years.
New food, always a highlight, although I didn’t take many photos. Also cold hotdogs with mayonnaise instead of cheese are terrible.
Being a German missionary for a week.
Hospital tour. Seemed like they can do nearly everything there and they see patients quicker and have more spare beds than any of the hospitals at home.
My flippers were nicked on the last day in Gaubin.
The last day in Madang I got a rash allover my back or bed bugs or something, was all scabby for a week after. These were the low-lights, but still noteworthy.
People make the place after all.

There done all written up, this took me about an hour to write. But I tell a similar story in only ten minutes somatically. Now all I need to do is add some photos and bung it on the blog. I may proofread it, maybe not.
Turns out I'm not motivated to put any pictures up after all.