Posts tagged Me

Christchurch Earthquake – part II

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As most will now know, Christchurch (my home town) had a major earth quake on Tuesday 22nd February 2011.

There are many great resources on the net, and I don’t intend to duplicate them, just tell my story.

(Aside: More typos than usual in this post I am sure.  I just wanted to get it out there while I had the generator running.)

In case you are after more info here’s some great resource sites:

  • GeoNet (shows quakes history, location, size etc)
  • Canterbury Earthquake (up to date info for locals)  Everything from water, to petrol station info, to updates on repairs.
  • For Government Welfare/grants: Call 0800 77-99-97

There is also plenty of good news coverage:

Anyway, what’s my story?

First and foremost, I am safe.  My family is safe, my pets are even safe. Both my house, and where I work is very close to the epicenter of this quake.  I live in Sumner, which was hit very hard.  But luckily I live on a hill made out of rock, and a house made out of metal (yep I said metal, that’s what the walls are made of).  So, while I had almost every glass, plate and bowl I own smashed, and motorbikes tipped over, and garage shelves emptied onto the floor, the house is fine, nothing structural that I can tell.  No cracks even.

Still no power (although fixed that with a diesel generator), still no water through the taps (bottled water does the trick for now), so life is far from normal.  Driving a trip to get something like food or petrol takes me 3 hours round trip (normally would be 15 min).  Partly coz I need to go further (nothing on my side of town open yet), but mainly coz of major traffic jams, as so many roads are closed.

Work is a different story.  Will be a MAJOR mess.  Busted fish tank, computers everywhere (smashed) but looks like everything that is vital is still OK, and we hope to be back in their Monday, and back up and running (even if it is remotely) some time next week.  Lucky we have UPS back ups for things like the alarm and other essential services.  That will last a few more days, and power is expected on tonight.

What’s clear to many that survive the quake along with their friends and family is that despite all the busted homes and work places, it’s just stuff.  I say that with all my heart.  I lost 100+ bottles of wine – so what? I will buy some more.  I lost dozens of glasses and plates – big deal, Briscoes has them on sale next week I am sure.  My bike fell on the ground and needs a new indicator – so what?, it’s called order a new one. All that matters at a time like this is that me, my family, my friends, (and yes, my pets too), are safe.  Everything else is just stuff.   I am not going to pretend I know what it’s like to lose a close family member or friend from an earthquake – coz I didn’t lose any.  But I do know I am lucky, and my family and friends were too.

I will share one last thing with you – where I was when the quake hit.  I was at the gym.

Just got out of the shower, walking in my towel towards the locker area.  I was thrown from side to side in the corridor (it hit REAL quick, so no build up warning), and then I remember thinking “oh fuck this is big” and then saw the ceiling beginning to split way from the wall above me.  I ran for the locker and I remember thinking my sense of self preservation and my sense of modesty were fighting each other (remember I was naked other than a towel).  By now the 1st wave of the quake had stopped, and the building was standing, so a quick decision was to put on trousers and then leave REAL QUICK.  So I did that – threw all my stuff in my gym bag, and grabbed my shoes and socks and ran for the door.

But the escape from the gym by road was just as unnerving.  As we (me and a friend from the gym, he was driving) drove away from the gym the road turned to a river real quick (a river of sewerage, we could smell it!).  Cars dived headfirst into newly created pot holes that swallowed the front of the car.  Anyone in the car scrambled to get out.  I figured they were doing us a service, as anyone behind them now knew to drive around.  We go over this quickly when the car in front dived forward and was trapped.  We went 90 degrees, and drive though the local supermarkets garden (thanks Countdown!) and went for high ground.  By now the river was almost a foot deep, and only a few cm below the doors of many cars.  After 30 or so minutes we found an escape, and after grouping together 3 other cars, we went in convoy to try to get back towards town (in our case towards Opawa – only 1km up the road).  That took us some 30 minutes as 75% of the roads were impassable due to similar issues – sewerage flowing across the road, and massive potholes (and the two put together means we couldn’t see the potholes!).  Anyway, made it back to work to see the damage, which was severe, and then spent the next 4 hours TRYING to get home.  Didn’t work, since all roads to my place closed.  Picked up (well, almost rescued, since his place was demolished) another friend, and went to his mates place.  The rest is history.

I do also want to say, it very clear the Richter scale doesn’t work.  This 6.3 did WAY more damage and far more violent that the 7.1, and it wasn’t just coz it was closer. It was shallower, and hit areas that rebounded off low bedrock.  Anyway – my new earthquake scale I invented a few months back worked much better.  Most agreed it was a very clear FUCK ZONE around most of Christchurch that day! (read the post if that doesn’t make sense).

Black and White Version: I am fine, so are my family, friends and pets.  Lots of stuff broken.  But it’s only stuff.

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nutrition

Paleo Diet – updated log

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I am updating my post on my new eating regime, with daily info on what I am eating, and how I am feeling (the important bit).

The log and post on the Paleo diet can be found here.

Some observations I would make about reactions from friends that hear I am doing it:

  • It’s clear there is LOTS of mis information out there about what to eat to be healthy.  Lots of people talk about protein, carbs, fat etc, but not a lot of talk about FOOD.
  • The vast majority of people think a diet is to lose weight (I ain’t trying to lose anything here)
  • People seam to get the basic premise: eat food not stuff; eat food we were, in evolutionary terms, designed to eat; don’t eat plant foods that tries not to be eaten1 (i.e. has chemicals that fight proper digestion)
  • Most people think fat is bad.  A few think it’s just saturated fat that’s bad.  Only a handful get that neither is overly true – if there is one bad fat, it’s transfat (an unsaturated fat).
  • Almost no one gets that the worst things in western diets is sugar.  If one thing is evil, it’s sugar! (fructose being the worst).
  • People really do want black and white stuff – this is good, that is bad.  Life ain’t like that (yep – and I do see the irony about this blog (whiteandblack) blogging about that – life AIN’T like that, but people WANT it to be – hence this blog)

Note 1: It was pointed out to me by a few people that almost all animals try not to be eaten (mainly by running away if they get a chance), so the distinction is made above about plants that try not to be eaten.  AKA grains, or potatoes (try eating one raw and see what happens).

The more I read about the Paleo diet the more it seams clear that a number of proponents believe (limited) diary is OK, like PaNu.  Also most allow small amounts of caffeine (aka coffee) and alcohol – not because they are inherently good for you, or somehow a Paleo thing, but just coz they know people will consume them anyway, and they aren’t that bad for you when one looks at the big picture.

Update 22 Feb: My log now has a “cheats” section for each day – ie how well did I stick to the strict Paleo way.

Black and White Version: I am still learning about this area, but it’s clear what I thought was fact relating to healthy eating (e.g. low fat, high complex carb) was WAY wrong.

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yingyang

A black and white world – by Richard

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Anyone that hasn’t picked up the theme of this blog being black and white must be living under a rock or something.  But anyway, I realise that at times my posts are far from black and white, so here is my attempt to make up for it with a black and white, good and bad, hero vs villain wrap up of the world.  I will resit adding any footnotes to explain anything I say here, if ya wanna know more – Google it :-)   Here goes, in no particular order or grouping:

Richard’s Black and White commentary on the world’s (sometimes not so big) issues:

Stuff people say (which isn’t true)

The real deal…

Fat is bad for you Sugar is bad for you
Alcohol makes you fat All the crap food you eat at 3am when you are drunk makes you fat
Margarine is better for you that butter Butter is better for you that margarine
Focus on calories Focus on eating well (i.e nutrition)
People love Apple (macs) coz they look pretty People love Apple (macs) coz they work well (Oh, and they look pretty too!).
For good signal quality, buy expensive digital cables Digital either works or it doesn’t. There is no such thing as “quality digital”.  Cheap digital that works is just fine.
Right wing (politically) greedy capitalists are bad Right wing (politically) conservative greedy capitalists are bad
Greenies are out of touch and wrong Left wing Greenies are out of touch and wrong
You have to do {insert exercise of your choice} to lose weight You have to do SOME exercise to lose weight – and more often, and at a higher intensity
Eating {insert food} helps me gain muscle Protein PLUS resistance training helps grow muscle
The rich get all the tax cuts in NZ The rich pay most of the taxes in NZ
Any extreme religious group is bad Any extreme religious group that expects anyone else to follow their way of life is bad
Global warming is a major issue for the planet Global warming is a major issue for HUMANS, the planet will survive just fine without us.
CEOs/Politicians with big credit card bills are bad Personal expenses paid for by an employer, no matter what payment method, is bad.
On global scale, screwing the environment is the major issue for the future On a global scale, over consumption is the major issue for humans for the future.   The environment is just where we see its effects most.
Justin Bieber is gay Justin should be held under water till he stops struggling, but he’s not gay.
One should never joke about {insert politically incorrect thing} Humour, used appropriately, is a powerful way of getting a message across, especially for sensitive subjects
Right and left wing political supporters want different things Right and left wing political supporters want quite SIMILAR things, but disagree on how to achieve it
Jetstar in NZ is crap Oh wait, that was is true, JetStar is crap.

Black and White Version: Some stuff just have to be said, some stuff not.  But I just say it anyway :-)

Disclaimer: Most of this is serious advice.  There is one joke in it – and its either the JetStar or the Justin Bieber one – you can guess which I think is a joke :-)


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Gym Memberships Sale

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Thought about joining a gym but still coming up with an excuse (kinda like the same ones for quitting smoking I guess, or the diet starts tomorrow stuff)?

Anyway .. here’s your chance to get in now and get your gym membership subsidised by AT LEAST 40%.  The offer starts on 1 August 2010, so if you are reading this before then, get in now before the rush!

Click on the image below to be taken to the web site of FitnessNZ, who is offering subsidised memberships at over 100 exercise facilities (gyms) around New Zealand.

There are some terms and conditions (which are all listed on the FitnessNZ web site), but the key ones are:

  • This is designed to encourage NEW people into exercise, so current members (and certain past members) are not eligible
  • There is a VERY limited number at each facility available – and this depends on the facility, so if you are interested get in now!
  • You CAN buy this for someone else if you like, but they need to meet the criteria (i.e. a new member).

Black and White Version: Subsidised gym memberships available for a limited time – get one now!

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2degrees logo

2Degrees goes 3G

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2 Degrees  (the third mobile company in NZ with a network) announced their 3G network is ready in the NZ Herlad.

Mobile phone company 2degrees will start using its 3G network next week, putting it on a par with rivals Telecom and Vodafone.

Specialists are completing the final network testing, so it will be available only to a select group of customers.

But company spokeswoman Bryony Hilless said the 3G network would be available to all “sooner rather than later”.

While at present the data plans on 2Degrees aren’t that appealing for any moderate to heavy users.

What’s quite interesting here is 2Degrees are doing a very soft launch, with this 3G Launch news just slipping in, rather than Vodafone that announces things with a big song and dance, but actually says nothing (see post here).

For iPhone 4, and iPad users, this will mean a 3rd network can now offer an alternative, but for iPhone 3g and 3Gs users, XT is still the only option (IMHO) due to the frequency issues (as explained in this post about the iPad).  While there are other providers in NZ (like Slingshot, Orcon etc) these are just resellers of others networks – 2Degrees actually has its own infrastructure and network, albeit that it only covers 50% of the country for now.

Black and White Version: Competition hotting up in the 3G space in New Zealand, hopefully prices will start to fall soon (esp for data).

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AbCirclePro is crap and here is proof

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Danger Will Robinson, Danger!

Anyone who works in the exercise industry knows how frustrating it is to watch infomercials about exercise equipment on TV, as they (almost) all have so many over the top claims and are based on faulty (or no) science and some are what I would call a scam.

There are so many things these ads do wrong, but the key things they do are:

  • inflated claims
  • replying on small print (“results may vary” or “in conjunction with a calorie controlled diet)
  • the myth of spot reduction (i.e. doing abs exercises means you lose weight off your abs).  It doesn’t work that way – EVER!
  • I will stop there coz my list is gonna get long REAL quick.  Best I pass this to an expert …..

Anyway .. here is proof for one of the worst offenders, the AbCirclePro. A college of mine William Sukala undertook a comprehensive review of this machine, along with a peer review of his work.  The infomercial itself is in the YouTube video below.

Update July 2011: There is now a 2.0 version of the AbCirclePro.  It’s still crap, but if you want to read about it see this post on the Ab Circle Pro 2.0 scam.

Black and White Version: AbCirclePro is basically a product based scam.  Be warned.

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plane

Andrew Little and the EPMU union WAY out of touch on AirNZ’s stance

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Today, through the NZ Herald, Andrew Little, secretary of the Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union (EPMU) (and president of the Labour Party) attacked AirNZ’s stance on drink driving of it’s staff, and so called”Grubby Deals” in obtaining info from the Police.

Let’s be clear here (black and white even?): I think if AirNZ has a zero tolerance for drink driving, and a person is caught drink driving then AirNZ not only has the right to, but SHOULD take action.  Health and safety is FAR more important that nanny state “privacy considerations”.  Get real Andrew Little!  The public would have VERY little sympathy for your stance.  In this case AirNZ are disputing the facts, so it’s not even clear what they do info-swap:

Mr Fyfe retorted to the police in a letter he made public that the claims were unsubstantiated.

I for one would even go so far to say that if police pull over a pilot and they are over the limit and they are on the way to work they MUST advise the airline, or else we end up with issues like this that happened in the UK, and again here. (Remember the threshold for pilots is ZERO, many airlines have a “no drinking 12 hours before flying rule).

UPDATE: Seams AirNZ are dammed if you do, and dammed if you don’t here.  This story in the Herald when staff are NOT fired (even when AirNZ can’t identify them) it’s somehow AirNZ’s fault.

Black and White Version: The EPMU is out of touch. Unions should stop defending ALL staff, and stick to those that deserve support.

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boxing

XT bashing

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I think the only place that has more XT bashing at the moment than the mainstream media is FaceBook.  Appears the in thing to do is post ‘I hate XT’ or any deviation.  A witty link to something else topical helps, but doesn’t appear compulsory.  FaceBook fan pages, status updates, and links to TradeMe auctions about XT lemons. It’s all the rage this week.

Interesting to see the extent really, since unlike something like power supply in New Zealand, we actually have choice when it comes to mobile networks.   Yes they all rip us off (well I guess 2 Degrees is at least trying to help there), and yes the interconnect/termination rate is WAY WAY to high, BUT we actually have simple portability (you can take your # with you if you swap networks) and as has already been identified, NZ has one of the highest rates of people having 2 mobiles (aka 2 different networks).   Anyway .. lets explore this some more: (more…)

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toiletpaper

How to hang toilet paper (or stuff your mum should have taught you but didn’t part 1)

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Click on me for a bigger version

I thought EVERYONE knew how to hang toilet paper, but a quick google search reveals apparently not.

So, I thought I’d share something I found on the web YEARS ago, that keeps occupying status updates up on people’s FaceBook posts every 6 mths or so.

Often the short version of just the 1st image is shown, but this (IMHO) is just the what do to and doesn’t answer the more philosophically important important of  why we should do it, which is really what all the other images are about.

Click on the image on the right to see an enlarged version.

Black and White Version: There is a right way to hang toilet paper, and it’s the OVERHANG way (ie the end of the paper on the outside over the top, not underneath against the wall).

Hat Tip: Images all come from Chris Regen’s Current Configuration Blog, and the full story of how to hang toilet paper can be found there.  You can even download a pdf that you print and fold into a mini brochure.

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cellphone

Telecos may rip us off at times, but where is the user responsibility?

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A NZ Herald headline today was Salesman ‘crippled’ by internet charges.

This was due to what NZ mobile teco’s charge when roaming- $30 per MB in most countries.  So that’s $30,000 per GB – which compares to around $10-$20  per GB if on a plan in NZ (and no, that’s not a mis-print – $30,000 per GB).  (Btw, OZ is one of the few cheaper countries, and ‘only’ $8 or $10 per MB depending if you are on XT ($8) or Voda($10)).

Now I agree with DPF on Kiwiblog here that this is a rip off, but I think some serious points are overlooked in the media analysis: (more…)

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