My chance to get rich!

Got this in email yesterday. I didn’t want Pam to be the only one getting rich the easy way. :D All I can say is that I guess that’s got to be one damn big trunk box to hold $11.8M. By the way, Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans, and Ghana is second.

Assalam w alaykum.

I am Mrs Zeinab Kaleem Arikama, from Sierra Leone republic, residing in Cote d’Ivoire. I am married to Mr Kaleem Arikama, who deals in Cocoa and Gold business in Cote d’Ivoire for twenty five years before he died in the year 2002. We were married for twenty years without a child; because of his love to me he refused to marry another wife.

He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days. Before his death we were a good Muslim. Since his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home.

When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US$11.8 Million, in a security company here in Cote d’lvoire, presently this money is still in the custody of the security company here in Cote d’lvoire, sealed in a trunk box.

Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next Eight months due to cancer problem. Having known my condition and I can not survive this cancer illness, I decided to donate this fund to any organization or a good person that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want a person or company that will use this fund for orphanages, widows and other peoples that needs help.

l took this decision because I don’t have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not even good at all because they are responsible for the death of my husband in other to have all his properties and I don’t want my husband’s efforts to be used by those that conspired for his death.

This is why I am taking this decision, I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the almighty, for he will fight my case and I shall hold my peace. I don’t need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health condition also the presence of my husband’s relatives around me always that is why you have to keep it confidential by using only e-mail to contact me, I don’t want them to know about this development.

As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the security company also issue a letter of authorization to enable the security company release the consignment that contained the fund to you.

My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Muslim, please always be prayerful all through your life, contact me on the this email address and any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing another person, or organization for this same purpose.

Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. 20% of the total fund will be yours while 80 % will be use as I already instructed in this mail, hoping to receive your response immediately.

Transferring this money outside Cote d’Ivoire is the only way I can have peace of mind, because it will prevent my husband relatives knowing about this money.


May Allah be with you.

Mrs. Zeinab Kaleem Arikama

Jon needs

This was totally stolen from VJ, but I thought it was so funny. I typed “Jon needs” into Google, so in case you are wondering what Jon needs:

Jon needs a poke in the other eye
Jon needs a new name!
Jon needs a consequence for misbehavior
Jon needs to answer some questions.
Jon needs to move on.
Jon needs to be a member of the Administrator’s group
Jon needs to do this training for two days.
Jon needs lots of support on the home front and elsewhere to help him maintain good boundaries.
Jon needs change for the bus.
Jon needs a break today
Jon needs everyone’s thoughts, well-wishes–and financial help.
Jon needs to be put in prison and locked up for life.
Jon needs someone 1 on 1 most of the time.
Jon needs to be out there like he needs air.
Jon needs a wider forum
Jon needs to tread carefully
Jon needs to raise about $10,000 American dollars in financial backing.
Jon needs the extra mic and stand for his 2nd banjo
Jon needs to eat anything!
Jon needs something more to do.
Jon needs to take a break, too.
Jon needs real women with real sound systems.
Jon needs a life.
Jon needs your help.
Jon needs to fix this.
Jon needs help in locating a summer job
Jon needs to be spending his time trying to find different sources for road revenues.
Jon needs to get off his tooshy and write something.
Jon needs a real paint sample from Shannon.
Jon needs to prove himself with his actions.
Jon needs to go because he has no respect for anyone
Jon needs time to reflect a bit
Jon needs to get laid more than anyone I know.
Jon needs crayons.
Jon needs no help in falling asleep.
Jon needs a hair cut
Jon needs limits and clear rules.
Jon needs to recalibrate his bullshit detector.
Jon needs to have his voting privilege revoked.
Jon needs to exercise more and eat less.
Jon needs to tell you one more thing
Jon needs to go for it all in the next year and then get on with the rest of his life.

Veggie what?

I guess if you eat too many bags of them, then you develop one?

The dream

Is someone else living my dream?


I stayed up late (too late) and finished “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”.

No spoilers here don’t worry, if there actually is someone out there that hasn’t finished it already.

I will say that I liked this one, although not at much as the last. It was much better than the second, which sucked. I think she had a real hit with the first book and then lost her focus when writing the second. From there on she did ok.

Something about books like this leaves me sad though. Nobody can really fly, even with a broom. And nobody is going to show up at your door and tell you that you actually have magical powers and can do all kinds of cool stuff that you didn’t realize. Then again, there aren’t powerful, evil beings floating around sucking the life out of people either. I guess it evens out.


Bex threw this to me a while ago. Can’t remember who threw it to her.

three physical things you like about yourself.
1) my hair
2) my feet
3) my very muscular prehensile tongue :D

three physical things you don’t.
1) my Shaggy-from-Scooby-Doo neck
3) my stubby legs

three things that scare you.
1) lightning
2) walking on a frozen body of water
3) our government

three of your everyday essentials.
1) chocolate
2) fiber
3) running

three things you are wearing now.
1) wedding ring
2) my yard shoes
3) my Manning Applied Technology T-shirt

three of your favorite bands or musical artists.
1) Toby Keith
2) Big and Rich
3) Faith Hill

three things you want in a relationship (stolen and rearranged from Bex :D ).
1) Sex
2) Laughter
3) Comfort

two truths and a lie (which is a lie?).
1) I have over 100 pounds of pennies.
2) I was once accused of aggrevated assault (I didn’t do it, I swear!).
3) I used to teach water skiing.

three physical things that turn you on.
1) Sarah
2) Michelle
3) Gellar

three of your favorite hobbies.
1) Making chocolate truffles
2) Running
3) Scuba diving (but, alas, that ship has sailed for now)

three things you want to do really badly right now.
1) Go to bed
2) Eat one piece of dark chocolate before bed
3) Stop thinking about eating for just a little while

three careers you are considering.
1) Patent Law
2) Teaching
3) Chemistry

three places you want to go on vacation.
1) Disneyworld
2) New Haven, CT (yea!)
3) Just stay home and veg out

three things you want to do before you die.
1) Run a marathon!
2) See my son grow up
3) Find a way to clear the junk out of my house.

three people you are throwing this to next
1) Pam
2) Audrey
3) Jennifer

Gyroscopes and boomerangs

Just weights and stretching yesterday. Upper body only to give the battered legs a rest. But I do have something else odd to write about instead.

I think I mentioned it in the 100 things about me page that I can make and throw a boomerang. And an email conversation with Jank a while back made me think of this again.

My Dad used to make and throw boomerangs as a hobby since us kids were very little. He did it so much that he would give little talks on it to groups like Cub Scouts and 4H and stuff like that. He was even on the news a few times.

One important thing about boomerangs is that the real ones really do go out and come right back to you. I have one called the Hurricane Hook which has a throwing distance of 45 yards (thrower to maximum distance away). Its remarkably easy to throw and has a beautiful flight pattern. Not sure its still available anymore.

So how do they work? OK, here’s the best explanation that I can remember. If anyone out there has better info, just let me know.

The boomerang has a cross-section like an airplane wing, with a flat side and an airfoil side. It has a leading edge and a trailing edge. So that as it spins, the leading edge is always heading into the direction of spin. When you have an airplane wing and you move it quickly through the air, you find that the air moves slightly faster on the bottom (flat) top (airfoil side) than over the top (airfoil side) bottom (flat side) , which gives you get a pressure differential.** With more pressure on the bottom, you get lift!

So, when you throw the boomerang, there is “lift” pushing against the flat side. Since the boomerang is perpendicular to the ground when you throw, it moves across the field to the left (in the case of a right-handed boomerang).

Now the turning part. A spinning boomerang acts like a gyroscope. Have you ever taken your front bike tire off and spun it while you held the axle, and then tried to turn it? Its hard to do, right? Well, that’s because the gyroscope doesn’t react to an external force the way you would expect. Rather, it will move in an axis perpendicular to the axis of the applied force (I think I have that right).

Think of the boomerang spinning around. There are two “arms” to the boomerang, and when it spins, one is going faster than the other. That is, the one moving in the direction the boomerang is traveling is moving faster than the one moving backwards. Force from the airfoil (that we talked about above) is going to be higher on the one moving faster. When that airfoil force is applied to it, the gyroscopic boomerang responds not by tilting (like if you pushed the top edge of a plate that was balancing on its side), but by rotating. Imagine it rotating counter-clockwise if you are looking down from above.

So now you have a spinning gyroscopic boomerang that is both being pushed across the field from right to left, but also rotating the same time. But remember that as the boomerang rotates, the direction that it is being moved “across” the field changes with the rotation, so that it moves in a circle (or more accurately a tear drop shape).

As I mentioned above, and as you would guess, there are left handed boomerangs and right handed boomerangs because the airfoil has to be going in the proper direction when you throw it. I have tried turning a left-handed booomerang around and thowing it “backwards” with my right hand, but the natural tilt of your throw is hard to conteract and it always ends up going off in a funny direction.

If you want a better explanation and nice images of how this all works, I found a nice demo at howstuffworks.

Gosh, the wierd stuff you learn when you aren’t out running. :)

**Thanks, Brenden, for the correction. :)

No, you cannot buy a piano today.

We decided to buy a piano. Well, not a whole piano, an electronic piano. We’ve been working on this for a while. My wife and son are taking piano lessons and have been practicing on my electric keyboard, which is nice and all, but the keys do not feel like a real piano. No weight, no touch sensitivity. The problem becomes apparent when they go to their lessons and can’t hit the keys right because the piano keys need more force and you need to learn to put emphasis on the notes. After several months of this, we decided to make the purchase.

An electronic piano is ALOT cheaper than the full size piano, which is why we can buy it versus a real one. And it doesn’t take up as much space, and you can wear headphones and practice at night and not wake up the house. They will have all 88 keys, some have the three pedals, and will have all kinds of electronic voices and tones to add in for fun. Some of the good ones use sound sampling to make the sounds, rather than a sythesized voice, so that when you hear the “grand piano” sound, its an actual grand piano.

OK, so we go to a piano store in town. We walk in and everyone just stops what they are doing and stares. Customers, salesmen, small children, everyone. Like we just walking in on a private dinner party. Finally, this one older guy swaggers up (and I mean like a lounge singer swagger) and asks us what we are looking for.

Us: We’re looking for a piano. (duh?)
Him: We are all out. Haven’t got a thing left.
Us: What are those? (pointing to the pianos)
Him: Those are going to our big sale this weekend at Piano-U College.
Us: Can we buy them there?
Him: Yes, but you need an appointment, except if you come on the last day.
Us: Do you sell electronic pianos at Piano-U?
Him: Oh, yes we have some models on display, but the ones we sell are different, and they’re-
Us: -all at the Big Sale at Piano-U?

So he shows us the display models and tells us NOT to buy one. He shows us fancy tricks he can do on the piano, but tells us he isn’t selling that one. He gives us a DVD about the pianos he is selling and tells us to come back on another day after we have watched the DVD. Uh, ok.

So we go home and watch the DVD. Its the multi-model owner’s manual for 4 different models of electronic pianos. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

We go back to the piano store a few days later and ask to see “Jack” the lounge singer.

Saleswoman: Oh! He’s not here. Are you purchasing today?
Us: Yes, we think we’ve decided on the model but need to ask Jack-
S: -just a minute and I’ll go get your invoice.
Us: ????????????
S: (coming back) I don’t seeeee you invoice over here. Did Jack write one up for you?
Us: No, see Jack said to come see him again and-
S: Oh, he’s not here. He’s over at the Big Sale at-
S: Yes, did you have an appointment?

So we tell her no and she calls the folks over there at the sale and finds that they aren’t busy and that its OK to show up and buy a piano. We drive over there following the “Big Sale” signs to Piano-U. We walk through the campus and find the building (following more signs). Inside the hallway is a woman at a small desk with a vase of flowers.

Woman: Hello. Do you have an appointment?
Us: No, we just called and they said to come down.
W: Oh, well first fill out this customer card and I’ll have Greg take you down there.
Us: (fill out card asking name, address, interests, and other stupid stuff)

Greg comes upstairs and gets us to escort us down to where the pianos are waiting. He’s very chatty and spends alot of time talking to my son. And this is something else odd about the whole thing (besides needing an appointment to buy a damn electronic piano). They are all VERY interested in talking to my son about his piano lessons. What are you learning? Do you like it? Who is your teacher? Hmmmm.

Anyway, Greg takes us to a large theatre room with a high valted ceiling and big black curtains covering all the stone block walls. The floor is wooden with wide boards and looks heavily varnished and worn. Its an old acting room with lights and a catwalk above. The room is filled with baby grands, uprights, and electronic pianos of every color, size and type. There are two other customers there and they are talking quietly with a saleman, and occassionally there’s a burst of mozart on the piano.

Greg doesn’t know anything about the pianos. He waits for Craig to come over and help us. Craig looks like the hologram doctor from Star Trek Voyager.

Craig: Please state the nature of the emergency.
Us: We’d like to buy one of these two pianos but we don’t know how the models are different.
Craig: One has twice the power, 4 times the RAM, you also get a split keyboard, and double the accompanying voices, plus a….

Craig rattles the differences off like he was a computer. He’s very impressive and I wish he was selling us the piano, but he almost immediately excuses himself to go back to his customer who is buying a $16,000 baby grand. Understandable.

Then Jack comes in. He immediately begins talking to my son. My son starts asking him about different functions that he saw in the DVD and then shows Jack how to reset the memory, but we stop him before he does it. Jack says that he has just exceeding Jack’s knowledge of this model. Oh.

Us: What about the A990 model, you told us about?
Jack: We just sold it. (points to an empty spot next to model A880)
Us: Well, then I guess we’ll buy this model A880.
Jack: Great, you can come get it in two days.
Us: Not today?
Jack: If you want the floor model you can have it now.
Us: We’ll come back to get it.

After taking our money, Jack escorts us back to the lobby area and says goodbye. Then he tells my son to come back and visit him in the store.

It was just an odd experience. Most stores you go in to buy something and you can’t stop the salespeople from bugging you. These guys seemed almost reluctant to sell you anything. Maybe that’s the hook. You are so amazed that they don’t want to sell you something, you feel almost compelled to force them. Wierd.

Hello? ABC Warehouse calling…

I sent an email to ABC Warehouse, complaining about the late night delivery of my dishwasher. I was nice and pleasant and factual. No swearing. I didn’t even say that they sucked. I think my wording was something like they had “left me feeling very resentful and bitter” about shopping at their store. Type “ABC Warehouse” into Google and see whose site shows up. :)

Last night I got two messages left at work from Mike at ABC Warehouse. His first message said he was calling to get more information and gave a few numbers to call him back at. In the second message (40 minutes later) he apologized for the mess up with the delivery and that he had spoken to the store manager in Ann Arbor and that on my next purchase, they would give me the “employee price”. I thought it was very nice of him to make the calls and offer that discount. I could have used the same treatment the other day (without my having to whine about it) but it was nice of him to follow up yesterday.

Not that I’m going to risk giving them my money again. Once bitten, twice shy, you know?

Has anyone used the Gatorade powder? I bought this a while ago because its cheaper to mix your own water, but I’m thinking it may not be such a good idea. There’s a big difference between the powder and the liquid (except the water). The liquid you buy is sweetened with glucose-sucrose syrup. But the powder only uses sucrose. To me it seems like there would be a big difference between those two in terms of how fast they digest and how quickly they are absorbed. Its gotta make a difference.

Along with that I’m wondering if training with one sports drink and then racing the full marathon with another will change how you do. What if you find some nifty drink that works well on your stomach and then get to the race and its some wierd crap with aspartame that a sponsor gave them for free? You are totally dead that’s what! These things make me nervous.

Last night I did an easy 3 miles on the ‘mill. 9:00 pace, 1.5%. I found my form has to be really different on the mill in order to do ChiRunning there. You basically are doing little hops up and down while the belt spins beneith you. Took about 2 miles to finally get into the right rhythm, but once I was there it was so obvious. Night and day compared with the wrong form. I’m still having to think about that left foot alot but its getting better.

And just in case you didn’t know, thinking about the marathon training starting up next month is starting to make me nervous. Really nervous.

Iron in motion and what is “natural”.

I did my weight lifting last night for the first time in about a month. I had dropped it back as the race got closer because it puts so much strain on my muscles and I really needed all the recovering time I could get in between running days.

Surprisingly, I was still right about where I left off a month ago. No major drops in reps at the same weight. I’m not sure how that happens with the upper body stuff. I’d expect some sore of drop in a month. Not complaining, just observing.

The Nike Brothers were at the gym last night too. No running last night. They had their matching cyling shoes on and were headed for the spinning class. Hmmm. Biking, running, could it be? Could the Nike Brothers be training for a Triathalon too!? Am I the only one left not doing this?

I noticed that they switch back and forth on the machines, taking turns. One is doing hand dumbells, while the other does lat pulldowns, then they switch off, and then back again. I think this allows them to do active rest in between sets. Its a way to step up your weight routine so you aren’t sitting around in between sets, but you are still giving the muscle you just used some recovery time.

Mark was talking about changing your form and how people will frequently tell you not to do it because your form is “natural”, and you are fighting nature when you try to change it. It kinda stuck with me because I think it was Mark that had made the comment that running itself was not “natural” as evidenced by the thousands of running injuries each year.

I think that running is a very natural thing, its one thing our body was “designed” to do. We are structured to run barefoot through the forest, jumping over logs and bushes, chasing caribou and rabbits. However, we were not designed to run on concrete and asphalt. There’s not alot of dry open rock that people spend alot of time living on. As a result, we put big rubber pads on our feet to compensate, then teach ourselves to run in them at a very young age. Lo and behold! We develop all kinds of injuries when we get older and spend all our time running. Our body was not designed to run on stone with rubber blobs on our feet. Its not natural.

When you think about it, our habits are all dreadful adaptations of natural behavior to a modern world. Eating poison served in styrofoam boxes or from little metal cans or fried in oil until its crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, or filled with fruit-flavored high fructose corn syrup, is such a bizarre and twisted adaptation of “natural” eating, that its a wonder our bodies function at all. Should anyone be surprised when our bodies just go crazy and put on weight or develop all kinds of disorders in trying to deal with this “food”? I don’t think so.

The same is true for that nasty heel-striking form we are taught as “natural” by the running shoe stores. Have you seen the ad for the new Nike shoe? The Nike Free is supposed to be like running “barefoot”, uh, with a big raised cushioned heel. In Runner’s World, they show the “barefoot” running step analysis with a HEEL strike! For Pete’s sake people! Have you never run on CONCRETE in bare feet? Did ANY of you actually try to think about this? What the heck could be more unnatural than running on concrete with a damn heel strike? To their credit, the picture of the bare foot was on grass, as if we all suddenly change our form when we run on grass.

Given all this, changing your form might not be “natural” but then your current form is nowhere near natural anyway. Its an adaptation of a natural form to an unnatural environment. If the world were covered with a foot of mucus, I suspect we’d all learn to walk and run on stilts. I can’t imagine what kind of unnatural gate we would have but I have to believe it would involve alot of chafing.

This was going somewhere but I got lost when I started the mucus line…

Anyway, don’t worry about changing your form. You changed it when the world taught you to run in shoes and destroyed your form forever anyway. You can’t do much worst than that.