After seeing the devastating footage on the situation in Japan it seams natural to pitch in a bit to help the victims. Especially living on the Ring of Fire myself now, I feel a bit more connected to earthquake related topics and it’s effects. I can barely imagine what people in Japan are going through after getting hit hard three times: the earthquake, the tsunami and being on the verge of a Design Basis Accident. Not to forget all this is happing in the middle of winter with temperatures around freezing!
Mel and I usually donate a bit to people in severe need worldwide, as we understand that there can be situations in life where you are dependent on help from others to literally survive. The Red Cross provides a very easy way to make donations via your cell phone, by simply texting REDCROSS to the phone number 90999. That’s it. $10 will go to the organization for each text message and will show up on your next mobile phone statement. More info here.
What we did this time was to give the money we get back from recycling and donate it immediately. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone. in the State of California you get ¢5 reimbursed for each bottle that has a California Refund Value ( CRV ) indicator on it. Some other States have a similar system — I think in Michigan you even get ¢10 for each item. If you go to local recycling centers to drop off the bottles you also get money for aluminum cans plastic bottles and glass bottles. So, we have been collecting our ‘trash’ for a few weeks with barely any effort. Instead of throwing the containers in the regular trash, we just put them to the recyclable ‘trash’. Today, while running errands, I stopped by the recycling center on the way to drop off the empty containers.
All in all, the ‘trash’ was almost $20 worth and could be donated as I got the pay-out immediately. Done.
Collecting recyclables can become a simple habit and the received monday can be donated for a good cause. Think about it, it’s really that simple.
It has been a few weeks back when Google launched their new auto-completion search called Google Instant. Usually you would search by using the search term you already have in mind to find the best results according to Google’s Algorithms. But have you ever experimented what happens when you let Google think for you. Try to phrase a question by start off using a question word ( interrogative ) and let Google complete the question. You might get some very interesting results as my experiments here demonstrate.
Give it a try yourself and post your results in the comments…Have fun!
Yesterday, Mel and I went to an amazing event in Los Angles. Inspired by Drew Barrymore’s debut as a director “Whip It“, I took Mel to see the real thing. For those of you who don’t know, there is an actual real league of roller derby. In Southern California there is a premiere all-female roller derby league called the L.A. Derby Dolls. The skaters have strict rules they have to follow in order to score points. About 10 referees make sure nothing gets out-of-control. The sport can get brutal as we were witness of some hard impacts and gnarly slams. You can find an official picture gallery of injuries on the Derby Doll’s site. Although there is a strong feeling of competition you will also experience a very loving and friendly vibe among the contestants. A band plays at half-time and it’s a really cool experience.
Image source: laderbydolls’ photostream
If you are interested in watching some of the Fifa Soccer World Cup matches in a sports bar in Los Angeles, there is a nice collection on the web of places you can do that. The site is called WorldSoccerBars.com. Although the domain name is currenly quite misleading as it only covers cities in the US, it has potential to grow in the future. Check out what Los Angeles has to offer. Note: most of these bars are general sports bars with tons of screens broadcasting several different sports simultaneously. In most cases they are not specialized ’soccer’ bars..
Let me know which one is the best….
The image above was found on spiegel.de and shows the results of computer simulations created by German and US scientists to determine where the oil from BP’s mess is heading next. This result is based on four different scenarios as initial point to create the computer simulation. Most likely, the oil will drift around the Florida keys and the Trans-Atlantik stream will bring it up along the US east coast all the way over to Europe. But it will arrive in Europe far less concentrated compared to the images we are receiving through the media today. Of course, these are results from complex computer simulations, involving the hard to predict variables such as the weather. As the hurricane season 2010 has just started beginning with June 1st and scientists expect to have a strong season this year, what will actually happen is difficult to determine. I can image that the simulation hits it pretty close though.
Good bye Florida Keys. Nice to met you. Anyone want to rewrite Hemingway’s “The old man and the sea”? Let BP’s CEO Tony Hayward be the old man who will not deal with a giant marlin, but deal with a giant mess instead.
Here is a really neat google map visualization of the PB oil spill that allow you to overlay the current predicted size of the oil field with a location in the world of your choice. This helps understand the dimensions of the disaster in terms of area. Try mapping the oil against your location on ifitwasmyhome.com. This site was created by Andy Lintner.
For those of you who are interested in soccer, I can highly recommend the UEFA Champions Leugue Final match between FC Internazionale Milano and FC Bayern München. Both teams have won the title for their national leagues in Italy and Germany this year respectively. Both clubs are also listed in the top four clubs of all time success in the Champions League. To understand the importance of this match to the fans of Münch’s team, you have to consider that tickets for Munich’s stadium, the Allianz Arena ( image above ) with a capacity of 70,000 was sold out within one day. Now the interesting part of that is the the game is not played in Munich. It will take place about 1000 miles away in Madrid, Spain. All of the fans in Munich will follow the match virtually on the big screens in the stadium. I can imagine there will be some additional crazy big flat screens set up for the fans. Well, I hope so…
For the people in the US, FOX Sports is broadcasting the match, but you have to pay a fee to access the game. If you know a good place to watch the game in L.A., please let me know.
The Massive Attack show at The Wiltern was pretty good. Although I have to say their show works better on a bigger stage, like on those at music festivals. I saw them a few years ago in Germany and was much more impressed. The light show was very well integrated with the music, especially the big led wall in the background. There was finitely a lot of political content to consume through that wall. Sometimes it was used as medium for content delivery and sometimes as a medium for light entertainment – actually most of the time both. It was definitely at times supportive to the music, but at other times it was also very distracting from the music. Too overloaded for my taste.
The music was very well played, as expected. But felt also too über-produced. The supporting act Martina_Topley-Bird, who also contributes on the Massive Attack’s album “Heligoland” did a great job in sampling her vocals and creating an amazing solo performance prior the main act of the night. But MA needed a little more rawness to not sound like fresh from the studio.
A very common drink during Christmas time in Germany, especially at its infamous ‘Weihnachtsmärkte’ ( Eng. Christmas Markets ) is ‘Glühwein‘ ( Eng: Mulled Wine ). Creating some Christmas spirit in California is quite challenging and making some home-made ‘Glühwein’ definitely helps a lot. I found a nice recipe on a German web page. Yesterday, I gave it a try and I can say it turned out fantastic. Here is the translation of the recipe into English to share with you. Give it a try…
- 3 Bottles of Good Dry Red Wine
- 3 Oranges
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Apple
- 3 Small Cinnamon Sticks
- 1 Star Anise
- 4 Cloves
- 1 String of Saffron ( pricy but worth it )
- 3 Table Spoons of Raisins
- 8 Table Spoons of Sugar ( or sweetener to avoid next day head ache )
Pour the red wine into a big pot and heat up slowly. Do not let the wine cook! Wash the apple and one orange. Cut the orange into slices. Remove the core and cut the apple into slices. Squeeze the juice out of the lemon and remaining oranges. Put all remaining ingredients into the pot ( except the sweetener ) and let them simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Taste the concoction and slowly add the sweetener. Remove the cinnamon sticks and star anise when the spice reaches your desired intensity. The fruit can continue to stew. When serving, the fruit should not be poured into the mugs ( strain if needed ). Pour the hot ‘Glühwein’ into pre-warmed glasses or mugs and the cold will be taken from your bones. Serve with a piece of dark chocolate to round out the experience. Guten Appetit!
Good to know: Never travel on the day before Thanksgiving! This is a screenshot of the traffic conditions in Los Angeles on Google Maps on November 25 2009. In particular, I like the LAX traffic loop. According to my brother it looks like a regular day in L.A.