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Archive: April 13, 2008

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Sunday,  04/13/08  06:07 PM

So I unplugged this weekend, and it was great.  No rides, no work, and no kids.

Jim Clendenen
Jim Clendenen

Saturday night Shirley and I attended a winemaker's dinner at the Qupé winery in Los Olivos, hosted by Jim Clendenon of Au Bon Climat (left) and Frank Ostini of the Hitching Post (right); yeah, if you saw Sideways, that Hitching Post.  We left Saturday morning, and before the dinner drove all over the Solvang / Lompoc / Los Alamos / Santa Maria / Los Olivos wine area.  The dinner was fabulous: great food, and even greater wine; fortunately some of the winemakers present sampled their own wares and began one upping each other, and before long the really good stuff was coming out; a '96 Sanford and Benedict Pinot Noir was amazing (from the Santa Rita Hills), but I give the night's honor to a '00 Hitching Post, a Pinot made right there in what is today the Qupé winery, in the middle of the Bien Nacido vineyard; paired with pheasant and butternut squash purée.  You might say it had the home field advantage :)

Frank Ostini
Frank Ostini

Countrywide for saleToday we got up at the crack of noon, headed up Ballard Canyon, and ambled through the town of Los Olivos.  That sleepy upscale town is doing fine - no shortage of tourists, wine drinkers, or art patrons - but I did notice something kind of amusing; a Countrywide Home Loans office with a Coldwell Banker "for sale" sign out front.  A sign of the times, I suppose, for Countrywide if not for Los Olivos.

Ojai Grand Prix - right opposite the podiumThen we drove the long back way to Ojai (along Lake Cachuma and through foothills of Monecito and Carpinteria).  Once there we happened upon the Garrett Lemire Grand Prix, a 45 mile criterium bike race!  I swear it was a coincidence, I had no idea.  Pretty much at random we picked a little restaurant to have lunch, and upon walking out the front door I discovered we were directly opposite the podium.  How cool was that!

Ojai Grand Prix - the finish!So we ate a leisurely lunch while the riders did lap after lap in the 95o heat, and then walked out to watch the finish, as the survivors of a 20-man break sprinted home.  Pretty awesome.  Kyle Gritters outkicked the field for his first pro victory.  Once again I must tell you that you have to see a pro bike race live in order to appreciate the power and speed.

Anyway I'm back now, rested, mentally and physically, full of food and wine, and with my batteries charged.  As I plug back in I am happy to note my experiment with using Gmail as a server-side spam filter remains a massive success.  Just a few wayward spam have escaped, and meanwhile there are over 7,000 spams on the server.  How satisfying...  Onward into the week!


Sunday,  04/13/08  07:26 PM

Beijing Olympics logoFar from being the PR success the Chinese government had hoped for, the Olympics are becoming a sort of bad political joke.  The headline news seems to be speculation about who will show up at the opening ceremonies.  And this is rather typical: how the Bejiing Olympics got its logo.

Remember I reported I changed my site to direct hotlink requests to a special logo image?  Well today pretty much randomly I checked my referer logs for images, and I can't believe it but there are still a metric ton of hotlinks to images on my site!  All these sites all over the place are serving billboards advertising this blog.  I think what must happen is that the images get cached by would-be hotlinkers' browsers, so they never see the logo image instead of the one they think they're linking.  Amazing.  Moral of the story: don't hotlink :)

cancer cellGood news from the front: Cancer rates decrease for some groups.  "The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, released in October, found that cancer incidence rates have stabilized and, for many of the most common forms of cancer, are actually dropping.  Among men, incidence rates for lung cancer (the leading cause of cancer death in men) decreased by 1.8% a year from 2001 to 2004, and rates for colorectal cancer fell by more than 2% annually. Perhaps most impressive were the changes in the incidence of breast cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer death in women, behind lung cancer. Those rates for women dropped by 3.5% a year during this period."  Excellent.  As people live longer, more will get cancer - it tends to be the thing that kills you in the end - but we are now increasing the quality of life for the average person.

odd of dying different waysAnd speaking of the odds of dying somehow, this great chart shows that your chance of dying from a bicycle accident are 1 in 5,000, less than in a car (1 in 84) and from cancer (1 in 7).  Heart disease is still the worst at 1 in 5.  (Yeah, I know you can't read it; click it to enlarge.)  Good stuff to know.  [ via Ottmar Liebert ]

I find it very weird that suicide is 1 in 119.  Wow.  Can that be right?  Also weird: earthquakes (1 in 117,000) are worse than floods (1 in 144,000).  Not shown, but found in the table of the linked National Safety Council report: cataclysmic storms (e.g. hurricanes) are much worse, at 1 in 4,300.

Tom BoonenTom Boonen is the king; he triumphed in a bunch sprint to win Paris-Rubaix, the toughest one-day bike race in the world (sorry, Milan-San Remo) and arguably the toughest one day sporting event, period.  Poor George Hincapie was riding in the front and feeling good when his rear wheel broke.  Such are the breaks...

Brad Feld: Sillyness-as-a-service.  I love it.  He forgot AaaS - Acronyms as a Service :)



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