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Month: May 2008

Sublime – no really

Sublime – no really

Ran across this guy’s music a little while ago – and it just keeps coming back hauntingly to my play list. He’s a 35-ish native Australian from one of the native tribes down there. His name is Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu; he was born blind and plays his guitar upside-down since there weren’t any left-handed guitars in his village growing up. His songs are mostly in his native language of yolngu. He only seems to do shows for the 200 people sized crowds. I can only hope he makes a trip to the states. I’ll go see him. Apparently it’s pretty common for people to leave in tears.

Here’s some clips of him singing at his myspace account. Try the track “Gurrumul History” for a good one…

Here’s a youtube clip of him playing one of my favorites live. If you can get through it a couple of times without it kicking you in the chest like a billy goat, then you’re a stronger person than me.  The guy is clearly tapping into a side of his soul most of us ever just get a glimpse of.

Kiwi wins the 500 and Danica’s ‘walk of shame’

Kiwi wins the 500 and Danica’s ‘walk of shame’

Great Indy 500 this year. New Zealand’s Scott Dixon won this year – which is nice to see a kiwi win. Nice to hear the accent too – missed the sound from my trip there about 2 years ago. Overall the race went great – very few accidents/yellows and lots of good racing. The warm track conditions lead to a lot of slippage. It was hard for people to make gutsy moves and most drivers commented on the lack of ability to pass. So it was fast racing with just a few, but really good, lead changes.

Danica Patrick got lots of coverage. More than anyone other than the leaders really. She started in 5th but hovered in that range all the way back to 12th at one point. The in-car coverage indicated she was having trouble getting full speed out of the car. But she was taken out late in the game due to a poor merge by a rookie Indy driver in pit row. Yes, it was pretty much the other guy’s fault, but merge accident happens a lot at Indy – the pit lane is really narrow – and it clearly was just bad luck and a rookie mistake. Still, after the wreck, she started walking on the track down pit row to probably have a few words with the other driver. A security guard went out on the track to get her off, and her press secretary was frantically trying to reign her in.

At first it was interesting and somewhat entertaining, but in the end it simply left a bad taste in my mouth. Competition at that level is very heated and passionate. Yes, people will get angry and I can understand that. But in that race, Tony Kanaan (started in 6th right next to Patrick and was well on pace to win or place in the top 3 of the race) voluntarily took getting taken out by his own teammate to prevent a crash with slower teammate Marco Andretti after Andretti pulled an aggressive move that forced Kanaan in the wall. Look at the difference in his response:

Kanaan said after the race that Andretti made “a stupid move,” (my note: which I agree) and he refused to back down from his assessment. But Kanaan expects the issue to be resolved professionally. “I’m not going to create problems; we have a championship to win, either for me or the team,” he said. “We’re going to talk, get frustrated a little and get over it.”

On top of that, veteran Sarah Fisher (who’s been at Indy more times than I can shake a stick at) was taken out by his wreck.  Which is horrible for her because it seems she has had no end of bad luck at Indy and has been working on a shoe-string budget for years. Yet Sarah was one of the first to come to Danica’s trailer after her recent win in Japan to congratulate her – a win Sarah has never had in the years of Indy driving she’s put in.

While I like Danica as a racer, I’m finding aspects of her attitude less and less likable. So exactly what was going down and confronting him in front of everyone supposed to do? What did she hope to accomplish? (this is more than rhetorical – really try to come up with an answer and see what I mean)  All it did accomplish was to get her escorted off the track by security and her picture isn’t on the papers today for having a good race, but for the ‘thwarted altercation’.  And this isn’t the first time she’s had after-accident altercations. This was clearly an accident, and yep, it was more likely the fault of a rookie driver. You might even come to words with the person – but doing it in front of the world – walking down the pit track during the race – makes you look unprofessional and immature. It also reveals a lot about your character and deeper psyche – and seeing the difference between Kanaan and Patrick really showed that difference to me.

I’ve really wanted to like Danica – I really have. I was quite a fan at first. She used to race on the same cart track my boss races on just south of Portland. But it’s what people do when people are pushed to their extreme edges that really reveals who they are underneath – and I’m beginning not to like what I see in Patrick’s push to win. We might now argue about gender inequality and the fact that she probably needs to work 2x as hard to prove herself in this male dominated realm (and you’d probably be right), but character is character no matter what you do.  And I’ll take character over winning any day of the week.

Gasbuddy for interesting charts + Indy 500 runs Sunday!

Gasbuddy for interesting charts + Indy 500 runs Sunday!

We can add one more thing to the certainty of death and taxes

Gas prices will keep going up.

Check out these charts from gasbuddy.com. I find it interesting that right as summer starts, prices go up a lot; but come about Aug/Sept in years previous, it dropped back down again. Except for last year. Also, the gas temperature map changes dynamically – so refresh often. Interesting to see that the midwest is so ‘hot’/high. However while I was at home, in one day, gas prices went from $3.73-ish to $3.95. Across the board. The one station that didn’t update it’s gas prices had a line around the block.

But, if gas guzzling is your thing – this Sunday is the running of the Indianapolis 500. I’m having a little get-together at my place for the event.

Here are a few fun facts:

  • The fuel mileage of an IRL IndyCar Series car is less than 2 miles per gallon. A car burns approximately 1.3 gallons of fuel per lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • They use 113 octaine 100% ethanol fuel (as of 2007) and last check ran about $9/gallon
  • The 3.0 liter V8 engines of IRL IndyCar Series cars produce more than 670 horsepower.
  • An IRL IndyCar Series car accelerates from 0 to 100 mph in less then three seconds.
  • The draft created by an IRL IndyCar Series car extends 25 feet behind the car.
  • While traveling approximately 230 mph, IRL IndyCar Series cars travel slightly more than the length of a football field in about one second.
  • IRL IndyCar Series drivers endure G-forces equal to nearly four times the weight of gravity while going through turns, which is approximately the same amount of force the space shuttle leaves the launching pad at Cape Canaveral with.
  • Each of the eight pistons in an IRL IndyCar Series engine travels nearly one mile up and down in the cylinder every minute.
Up $0.20 in 8 hours – time to invest?

Up $0.20 in 8 hours – time to invest?

I was just back in Indiana doing a presentation on some work I am doing in my current job to my old Computer Science professors at Purdue.  It was a great trip, and a wonderful chance to catch up with my those that taught me.  It was also great to get a trip home to visit my family on the company dime.  I got to check out the new CS building – almost twice the size of the old one – and still they said it wasn’t quite big enough.  Even in the midst of nationally declining numbers of those entering computer science.

At any rate, when I went in for my presentation, the price of gas was $3.72.  When I left the presentation, every station in town read $3.95/gal.  There was still one station with the old price in town where I grew up and a line had formed around the block.  Remind anyone of the 70’s?  My guess is because it’s prep for the labor day weekend…

Got me to thinking, at the rate of growth that the price of gas has gone up in the last year, I should have just invested in the futures market for gas.  Or heck, just buy a huge tank and fill it up, wait 1 year and sell it at 50% more.  It’s seen 100’s of percent growth in just 5 years – way better than most investments…

So, can you actually do that?