October 31, 2011
Halloween 2011

Tonight was Halloween and we were up to our usual tricks. This makes seven years of handing out full size candy. The magic continues to impress. Children are wowed and often shocked at the idea of receiving and full size candy bar when the rest of the night is filled with minis. The cries of 'awesome' and 'look Mom, it's a big one' are great. I highly recommend you give it a try.

We also carved a few pumpkins.

Mira's Dalek

Zoe's Frank from Donnie Darko

Michele's Boo

Once again, I made a timelapse movie of all of the trick or treaters as I handed them candy. This time, I filmed it on my iPhone.

Halloween 2011 from Michael Pusateri on Vimeo.

As I have in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 I asked every person what they were dressed as and wrote down the answers. I am careful to ask what they are, accepting their answers rather than interpreting what I see. I now have seven years of data to compare.

Here are the top ten costumes for the last seven years compared.

Out of nowhere, Zombies grab the crown from Witch. There were also several variations on the zombie theme. Clearly, the zombie meme is growing in American culture. More homemade costume this year. Only Captain America made it to the top ten, it being the only all store bought costume.

Almost everyone had a costume this year. Only a few came close to the perilous "nothing" answer.

We ran out of candy early, going through ~230 full size candies before 9PM when we closed up. After the candy ran out, I shut down the lights and put a bowl of extra single candy we had in the house outside. Michele threw in extra energy gels and bars we get at sports expo. I wonder how much will be left tomorrow.

This year's complete costume list of 217 people:

12 Zombie
7 Witch
6 Pirate
5 Princess
4 Dorothy
4 Fairy
4 Ladybug
4 Vampire
3 Captain America
3 Cinderella
3 Fireman
3 Ninja
3 Pirate Girl
3 Snow White
2 Alice in Wonderland
2 Ariel
2 Barbie
2 Batman
2 Cat
2 Clown
2 Cowboy
2 Indian
2 Kitty
2 Knight
2 Little Red Riding Hood
2 Monkey
2 Ninja Turtle
2 Power Ranger
2 Rose Court Princess
2 Scream
2 Skeleton
2 Tiana
2 Wolverine
2 Zombie Ken & Barbie
1 60s Woman
1 80s Girl
1 A Boy
1 A Warbler from Glee
1 Angel
1 Batgirl
1 Bee
1 Beetle
1 Ben Ten
1 Bloody Nurse
1 Britney Spears
1 Bumblebee
1 Bumblebee from Transformers
1 Burger King
1 Candy Corn
1 Candy Corn Witch
1 Cheerleader
1 Cop
1 Corpse Bride
1 Cow
1 Dancer
1 Daphne from Scooby Doo
1 Day of the Dead
1 Deatheater
1 Dementor
1 Devil
1 Devil Witch
1 Disco Lady
1 Dodger Fan
1 Dog
1 Easy-E
1 Every Day I'm Shuffling Robot
1 Evil Jester
1 Fancy Kitty
1 Frankenstein
1 Ghost Person
1 Ghostbuster
1 Ghoul
1 Good Pirate
1 Gorilla
1 Goth Red Riding Hood
1 Graveyard Zombie
1 Grim Reaper
1 Hermoine Granger
1 High Schooler
1 Hippie
1 Hobo
1 Hogwart's Student
1 Indian Girl
1 Jason Voorhees
1 Jessie
1 Jester
1 Kitty/Beaver
1 Lagoona from Monster High
1 Lion
1 Little Demon
1 Lizard
1 Mario
1 Mermaid
1 Mexican Man
1 Michael Myers
1 Minnie Mouse
1 Miss Wonderland
1 Monster Spiderman
1 Mummy
1 Mustard Bottle
1 Nerdy Zombie Soccer Player
1 Ninja Assassin
1 Nurse
1 Panda
1 Pea in a pod
1 Peacock
1 Penguin
1 Phantom
1 Pikachu
1 Pink Lady
1 Policeman
1 Princess Aurora
1 Princess Mom
1 Pumpkin
1 Robber
1 Rock Star
1 Rorschack
1 Rose Fairy
1 Scarecrow
1 Scary Axe Guy
1 Scary Thing
1 Scorpio Ninja
1 Shadowknight
1 Skull Rider
1 Smurf
1 Smurfette
1 Spidergirl
1 Spiderman
1 Sundrop Girl
1 Superwoman
1 Surfer with Bite
1 The Joker
1 Thomas the Tank Engine
1 Thor
1 Tinkerbell
1 Tooth Fairy
1 Unknown Monster
1 Waldo
1 Warrior
1 Werewolf
1 White Swan
1 Wolf
1 Wonder Woman
1 Zombie Hunter
1 Zombie Soccer Player

Posted by michael at 11:11 PM
October 17, 2011
Secret Drink Mix

For those of you that exercise regularly, you know the importance of staying hydrated, especially when you are out for several hours.

I've tried several exercise drinks and never been completely happy with any of them. Sometimes they are too sweet or have a strange artificial flavor. Sometimes they just don't sit well in the stomach. I had been using Heed for a while, but never liked how sticky it was.

I read about Secret Drink Mix launching at Interbike and decided to give it a try. I bought a few of the single use packets.

I was pleasantly surprised after my first ride. The flavor is good, but not too strong. Easy on the stomach and not sticky. I starting using the Secret Drink Mix as my regular drink. I liked the Orange and Lemon-Lime flavors. I didn't try Raspberry, 'cause I hate raspberry. But that's any entire rant in of itself...

The foil packets were easy use, the right amount for one bottle. Actually, I usually ride with 24oz bottles and the amount in the packet is for 16oz of water, so it's a little more diluted than recommended. This hasn't been a problem for me.

I read up a little more on what was going on with Secret Drink Mix. Dr. Allen Lim, the famed sports physiologist is behind Secret Drink Mix. Lim's philosophy of sticking with 'real food' and avoiding gels and goos is well known. In developing SDM, they stuck to simple basic ingredients and avoided any artificial flavors, colors, or other additives. I especially that the flavor comes from ground up, freeze dried fruit.

Below is an interview from Interbike with Dr. Lim where he goes into the details.

I bought a 1 pound bag and more packets. The packets work well for carrying in my jersey pocket on long rides where I need a bottle refill. They sell a small container to hold the power. Looks like a tea container to me, but it works fine.

After several weeks of using SDM during training rides and two metric century rides, I can say I'm a believer. It's the best electrolyte drink I've used. I like their philosphy of moving toward real food while riding and away from goos and gels. On last Saturday's ride, I left my Gu Energy alone in favor of eating a sandwich and a few cookies at the SAG stops. I do enjoy the Honey Stinger stroopwafels. They seem to be a reasonable alternative to more chemically focused energy products.

If you are looking for a change in your drink, give Secret Drink Mix a try, you may like it.

Posted by michael at 12:17 PM
A couple of different hotel rooms

Two different hotel rooms in the past month.

My Hotel Room in Hesperia from Michael Pusateri on Vimeo.

The Motel 6 in Hesperia, California

My Hotel Room in Las Vegas from Michael Pusateri on Vimeo.

The Ravella in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada

Posted by michael at 08:02 AM
October 12, 2011
Moving to electronic books

I love reading and I love books.

This is a picture of some of the books Michele and I have accumulated. This is after we have donated yearly to the local library.

Even though we both have Kindles, I still prefer to buy paper books. Can't really put my finger on why, but I still prefer a paper book in most circumstances. I do read a lot on my Kindle and am impressed by how quickly it's come to change what I expect out of a book.

Recently, I decided to learn how to program Ruby on Rails. My friend Yoshi, recommended a book to use. Obviously, I could have bought it electronically and had it in seconds, but instead I made a point to go to a store and buy the book. I was sure to check that it was the latest edition.

I've been humming along with learning for a bit and hit a stumbling block. Something didn't match what the book said. I got frustrated and chatted with Yoshi. After looking a bit, he said, "Aw crap, you ran into the rails 3.1 change. They fundamentally
changed the way css and javascript files are stored and generated." I was able to find some of the book errata online and move past.

This week I was continuing to work and bumped into another problem. Once again I couldn't get an example exercise to work. After two hours I finally found someone else with the same problem and learned that .rjs no longer worked and I needed to use jQuery instead. I had wasted two hours again, because my paper book was out of date.

On the left is the printed version and on the right, the electronic version.

This is where printed books clearly fail. Technical and instructive books simply get out of date too fast these day.

The book I'm reading is from Pragmatic Programmers and they offer a great program for people with the paper versions to get electronic versions. If you go to their coupon page and prove you have a paper version, you get a huge discount on the electronic version. I now have DRM-free version in PDF, Kindle, and iPad formats.

Textbooks, I'm liked reading you over the years, but your day is done. I'm an electronic convert.

Posted by michael at 08:05 AM