Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spinach, Basil, and Strawberry Salad

The local farmers' market started up last month and I have been getting a fair amount of my food there. Here is a salad that I tried the other day, using only locally-grown produce. In general I am not a big fan of the localvore movement. Back in the days that people had no choice but to buy food that was grown within a day's travel of where they lived people used to die of deficiency diseases. Today, thanks in part to long-distance transport, deficiency diseases are something that most of use never even think about, let alone have to worry about. But I digress. Here is the salad.

  • Rinse and dry about 2 pounds of spinach. Tear into large bite-size pieces.
  • Add a handful lemon basil leaves and a few purple basil leaves.
  • Toss the leaves with about 1/3 cup vinaigrette.
  • Mix in 1/3 cup fresh strawberry, cut in pieces.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

More NHL 2009 Playoff Predictions

My predictions for the quarter-finals were about as wrong as they could have been. My only success was in predicting that the Chicago Blackhawks would defeat the Vancouver Canucks. In the three other series I was completely wrong. At least it took seven games to decide each of those three series, so I can claim that I was not completely out to lunch. However, that was then and this is now. So, here are my predictions for the two semi-final series.

  • Pittsburgh vs Carolina. There is no question where my loyalties lie here. I want Pittsburgh to win this. They have a strong team. They have just come out of a series with one of the best teams in the league. They want to make up for losing to Detroit in the finals last year. They have the potential to win the Stanley Cup this year. However, Carolina has consistently surprised everyone by winning games. They are this year's Cinderella team, and it never pays to bet against Cinderella teams. They make it to the finals more often than they should based on their records during the regular season. However, Carolina is just not that good a team. They have played well in the playoffs, and deserve to be where they are, but I have trouble seeing them get past the Penguins. So, I will bravely predict that Pittsburgh will win this series in a long, hard-fought series of battles.
  • Detroit vs Chicago. This is another Cinderella team playing a heavily-favoured team. Chicago is a team on the rise, and they will be a force to be reckoned with in a year or two, but Detroit is just too strong. Chicago is about to face reality and will probably be out fairly quickly. I predict that Detroit will have little trouble winning this

Thursday, April 30, 2009

NHL Quarter Finals Predictions

Here are my predictions for the second round of the 2009 NHL playoffs.

  • Boston vs Carolina -- Boston should not have too much trouble here. My only concern is that Boston may have become a bit rusty while they waited for Carolina to wear away at the Devils. However, Boston is a fundamentally strong team, while Caroline is a fundamentally average team that has been on a hot steak recently. I do not expect Carolina's streak to continue.
  • Washington vs Pittsburgh -- This is going to be a great series, and it could go either way. I am rooting for the Caps, so I am going to predict that they will win, but it will be a long, hard slog.
  • Detroit vs Anaheim -- Detroit is the heavy favourite here, but the Ducks will surprise everyone and knock them out.
  • Vancouver vs Chicago -- Vancouver has a history of falling apart when it matters. I am a little surprised that they have even made it this far, so I will be even more surprised if they get past Chicago. I predict that the Black Hawks will eventually win this series.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

2009 NHL Playoff Predictions

Here are my predictions for the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

  • Boston vs Montréal -- Boston, but it will be a nail biter, and I will be rooting for Montréal.
  • Washington vs New York Rangers -- The Caps will win this one without too much difficulty.
  • New Jersey vs Carolina -- Carolina may pull off a surprise, but I predict that the Devils will ultimately win it. In a perfect world both teams would lose.
  • Philadelphia vs Pittsburgh -- Pittsburgh will discover that they actually have talent and pull off a win.
  • San Jose vs Anaheim -- This will be the big upset series. San Jose will lose, and probably lose convincingly.
  • Detroit vs Columbus -- Don't let the regular season fool you, Detroit will walk all over Columbus, much to my disappointment.
  • Vancouver vs St Louis -- Vancouver never fails to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. I do not expect this year to be any different. St Louis will win.
  • Calgary at Chicago -- Chicago is a team on the rise, but I do not think that this is the year that they rise out of the first round. Calgary will win.

So, Do yo agree with me? Let's see how well I do, and don't forget to visit my sponsors.

Monday, April 06, 2009

California Squidding

I found this article about jumbo squid this evening. California may be losing its human population, but it is gaining in its squid population. This will make me think twice about trying surfing when I am in Pasadena in June.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Go Caps

The Washington Capitals won their division yesterday, but they did it in a very unsatisfying way. They lost a game in an overtime shootout. The NHL awards one point to a team that loses a regular season game in overtime, so the Caps got one point. That unsatisfying point was enough to clinch the Southeast Division, which guarantees that the Caps will place at least third in the Eastern Conference. I would have liked to see them win the conference, but that is almost certainly impossible at this point. So, let's hope that they take the rest of this week to pull themselves together for a play-off run. I expect the Caps to make it to the quarter-finals, and perhaps even the semis, but I doubt that they will make it further than that. Their play has been off for the past few weeks, and they are going to be up against some stiff opposition. However, let's hope that I am wrong that that the Caps bring Lord Stanely's Cup to DC. Go Caps!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Octopus Escapes Aquarium

Octopuses are notorious for being able to escape from almost any tank. The ability of an octopus to escape almost anything is only matched by backslashes in a unix tc shell. All it takes is an opening the size of the octopus's beak (which is usually rather small) and the octopus will be able to squeeze through. This is because octopuses have no bones, and no internal shell. The only solid part of an octopus is its beak. Here is an amusing story of an octopus that decided that it had had enough of life in a New Zealand aquarium. This octopus escape story also briefly mentioned the recently discovery that octopuses use two of their arms as legs. The article implies that this is true of all octopuses, but my understanding is that this behaviour has only been observed in two species, and octopus experts are uncertain if this is a general behaviour, or just an adaption by some species.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Pepsi Giant Squid Ad

Pepsi has a new ad for Pepsi MAX, and it features a giant squid attacking a swimmer. It is nice to see giant squid being used in pop culture.