Archive | December, 2009

Is Chocolate Milk Really That Bad?

28 Dec

So after a little Christmas break, I was reading this article about the new war on chocolate milk. The basis of this story is nothing new, it is infact a new target in the same direction as the fight to get unhealthy food out of schools, ban vending machines, and try to sue Mcdonalds for everything. And it got me thinking, is chocolate milk really that bad?

The issue at hand is chocolate milk in schools, and the push to remove chocolate milk from schools across the United States for health reasons. I grew up drinking chocolate milk, granted I drink a little less nowadays than what I used to, but the fact remains, I am not overweight and unhealthy because of my chocolate milk consumption. So I personally take offense to movements such as this, not only for their false evidence, but also for the greater issue of a total lack of personal liability. In this artcile Ann Cooper, director of nutritional services from Boulder Valley School District in Colorado states that:

If a child chooses chocolate milk instead of regular milk every single day for a year, she says, they’ll gain about 3 lbs. because of the extra sugar and calories. “Over the course of a K-12 education, that can add up,” says Cooper.

 If Cooper’s statements are correct, if I drank a glass of chocolate milk everyday starting say when I was 5 years old until I was 24 years old, I will of gained 57lbs of chocolate milk weight hanging around my middle section. Well that’s scary! I wonder how much weight I’d gain if I ate one sandwhich everyday for a year, maybe we should ban sandwhiches too? Fact is, there is a total disregard for the nutrional value of chocolate milk, and the amazing ability of human beings being able to burn calories through their daily life.

The deeper issue to this health blame game that has erupted over the past decade boils down liability and responsibility. When will we draw the line in the sand and realize that there is only so much blame that can be diverted from yourself. There is no physical force making you buy chocolate milk and drink it excessively until you become overweight. The old rationalizations that fast food is cheaper to buy than healthy food simply does not fly anymore. Nowhere is it cheaper to buy 10 dollar meal combos for each member of your family at BK or McD’s than what you can buy at a grocery store for that same amount of money spent at the drive-thru window. By placing regulations on what foods we can and cannot buy we are slowly chipping away out our right to choose, our freedoms even. We are slowly creating a society in which we are told what to consume and what not to, a society where nothing is your fault, but rathery societies fault. If it comes to that, heck, why don’t we just line up and have the government hand out are designated rations of food we are supposed to eat each day, it would save us all some time at least!

All sarcasm aside, is this what we really want? I just hope everyone thinks about the bigger picture when they are faced with these decisions. And for the record, I am in no way being compensated by any National Dairy Council to write this, but if you are reading this and would like to, please contact me. Rather I’m just a big kid who loves chocolate milk. Drink up!


Fresh from Vancouver: Gallery Prints Are In!

21 Dec

They are in! The new canvas gallery prints, stretched over 3/4″ mount, black edges, complete with mounting wire and hardware, they are ready to hang! Complete with description cards, check them out, and let me know what you think.

Large ones are 24×32, smaller one is 18×24. Each print comes with it’s own 10×15 description card with details about the particular photo.

If you are interested in obtaining one of these, or would like a canvas print of any of my photos, contact me!

You can view them on the FivePuddles Facebook Fanpage by clicking here!


18 Dec

So I thought I’d title this blog entry with a simple name, just a day of the week. But yesterday was not just any Thursday, nope yesterday was a Thursday that went nothing like I had predicted.

This Thursday was one that occured on December 17, and I started it still not asleep from Wednesday. It was nearly 1am and I was in my house still not yet in bed. I quickly realized that staying up any later was of no benefit to myself, so I tried to get some sleep before a 4:15am rise. Thursday was the day some friends and I were going Snowboarding at Marmot Basin!

Waking up in the dark, I scrambled a couple eggs and had a bite to eat before heading out into the crisp morning. Although it was cold, it was finally in the -15 to -20 degrees celcius range, a much needed releif from the last 2 weeks of -35 to -40 degrees celcius. After a few pickups, 5 of us were in the SUV and headed west towards Jasper. All of us had done this trip before, this was my 3rd time this season. It takes roughly 4 hours to drive to Jasper from Edmonton, and we started to drive up the mountain to Marmot Basin.

It was good to be strapped back into my bindings, cruising down the mountain in the morning, the sun was out, and it was warm. The snow was fresh, a small layer of powder ontop of a crunchy groomed base, not like the powder session I had last time, but still great to ride on. Every ski or snowboard enthusiast knows, that once you’re on in the snow, with an amazing view over the mountains, doing what you love, everything else fades away. You forget the long drive, the slippery roads, the lack of sleep you had the night before, at that moment, you’re just riding.

But on our 5th run down the mountain, 3 of us stopped to look back at where the other 2 were. Standard protocal when your friends are behind; hold up, sit in the snow and chat a little and eventually you’ll see them coming down the slopes. But when the other 2 didnt show up for a while, we were wondering what had happened. A passing skier asked us if we were waiting on a girl in a pink toque, and when we said yes, she said that she was laying down with ski patrol further up. We unstrapped our bindings and immediately started hiking up the mountain a little ways to where our friend was down. She had taken a fall and landed wrong on her arm and was in a lot of pain, luckily our other friend was with her, and went to get help. It didnt take long before the medic showed up, and she was placed into the sled and taken down the mountain. She was going to the hospital, and the ambulance was waiting when we got down.

So very quickly this Thursday turned into something completely different than any of us expected. A ride in an ambulance down the mountain, and hours in the hospital later, our friend turned out to have a dislocated elbow. Luckily the doctors were fairly quick to reset her elbow, and hand our friend back over all drugged up and in pain, but ready to go home.

We took our time driving back to Edmonton. And got into town close to 11pm, but the day was not over yet. Since our friend lived on her own, 2 of us agreed to stay with her for the night, something the doctor recommended due to her condition and the drugs they had given her. So after getting all her gear into the condo, we went to pick up her car which was parked at another friends house, and were back to spend the night. That was yesterday now, it makes alot of things difficult with one arm; driving a standard car, cooking breakfast etc. So we’re doing our best to lend a hand. It will be weeks until shes feeling close to normal again.

To me it’s still Thursday, one long unexpected Thursday.

Flying News: Boeing and George Clooney in the News

15 Dec

So if your browsing the headlines today you’ll come across a couple articles with a common theme; flight. First off, today is a big day for Chicago based airplane manufacturer Boeing. Today is the day that the companies newest plane the 787 Dreamliner took its maiden test flight over the skies of Everett, Washington. Boeing hasn’t released a new plane in over ten years, and while their biggest competitor went for big, with the Airbus A380, Boeing which revolutionized the large aircraft market with the 747 long ago, is shifting its focus to smaller, but more efficient flying. The Dreamliner is designed with mostly composite materials which make it lighter, and capable of flying longer distances. With capacities of 210-330 passengers, its aiming for the point to point long distance flight market. Not surprisingly, carriers such as Air Canada will be one of Boeing’s biggest customers, the airline struggles to fill its large aircraft on long flights between major Canadian cities, and has already ordered 37 of the aircraft priced at $150 million US each. .

The new dreamliner has seen delay after delay pushing back its original expected release two years ago, giving european manufacturer Airbus an advantage to creep into its markets. But the new Dreamliner should bring some fresh competition to the industry with new features like lower pressure and higher humidity in the cabin which is supposed to reduce jetlag. But don’t expect to be boarding one at the airport anytime soon still, the 787 Dreamliner wont be doing commercial flights until at least 2011.

Also in headlines is Globe buzz about George Clooney’s new movie ‘Up in the Air’. The movie follows a business man who flys more than most people ever will in their life, flying 350000 miles last year alone and pushing up to the 10 million miles mark. But can you slow down somebody who is always on the move? Even when we are surrounded by people can we still be lonely? When you run into the love of your life, do you stay grounded, or keey flying? These are questions the movie focuses on. There are a couple trailers for this movie, one with a very good monologue, check it out here:

Quick & Easy Meal: Honey-Soy Pine Nut Pork

12 Dec

Love to cook or maybe you hate to cook, doesnt matter today it’s a cooking blog entry!  If your a busy person its nice to be able to make a meal thats delicious, healthy and fast. Heres a dish that I just made this evening that really is very quick to make and really only required a few ingredients. Ive included some photos I took during the process as well just to help with the visual aspect.

First, what you’ll need. Please note I never use actual measurement when I cook, so Im not about to list them in a recipe, haha!

Boneless Pork

Nuts or Seeds (I used Pine Nuts I had left over from a previous dish, you can use sesame seeds or any type of nut)


Vegetable Oil

Soy Sauce

Green Beans (Or any vegetable, be creative, that’s what cooking is about!)

Rice or Noodles

First, you’ll need to take the nuts that you have chosen, in my case the pine nuts, and crush them into a coarse consistency. If you have a mortar and pestle, this could be a great time to actually use it, or just use the back end of a spoon, crushing the nuts in a medium sized bowl. If your using something small like sesame seeds, skip this step, just put them directly into the bowl.

Once you’ve got that finished, go ahead and pour equal amounts of dark soy sauce, oil, and honey into a mixing bowl. If you only have creamed honey, just heat some up in the microwave to liquify it. Stir that concoction up well, getting it to a nice consistancy and then set that bowl aside, after a quick taste of course, go ahead, its good.

Now hopefully you have thawed your pork, or if you always buy your meat fresh, your good to go. Slice that pork up into fairly small pieces, something a bite or two in size. As soon as you are finished, go ahead and toss all the pork into your bowl of oil-soy-honey marinade. Stir that up, making sure all the pieces of pork are completely coated. Let that sit for a minute and absorb the flavor.

Now is a good time to get some rice or noodles cooking, I also cooked up the green beans at this time. Turn your stovetop on medium heat, and get your skillet or frying pan ready. Pour some oil in there and set it on the burner. Have your bowl of marinated pork ready to go, along with your bowl of crushed nuts or seeds. Now here comes the fun part, pull out the peices of pork one by one and lay them flat in the crushed nuts, flip it over to cover both sides, this coating is going to give the pork a tasty crunch. Repeat this process with each piece of pork, laying them in the pan ensuring not to splash hot oil on yourself.

With all your pork in the pan, let it cook for a good few minutes, turning the pieces over so they are cooked and browning on both sides. You don’t want to overcook your pork, it will give it a tough texture, a common mistake by many.

Your almost done! Prepare a bed of the rice or noodles in a bowl, and once your pork is cooked, start laying some pieces ontop of the bed of rice or noodles.

From here I quickly sauteed my green beans in the same pan that I cooked the pork in, making good use of the rest of that flavor. I then scooped some beans ontop of the pork and rice.

And that’s it, your done! Garnesh that dish with some fresh herbs if you’ve got them, some coriander would go well. Grab your chopsticks, or fork if your chopstick inept, and dig in. Its a healthy and tasty meal that should only take you 15 minutes to make. Be sure to cook up a little extra for tomorrow incase you don’t have time to cook!

Battle of the Smart Phones

9 Dec

A battle is brewing between two technological devices, and as the 2009 Christmas season creeps up, things are only getting uglier. With Apple recently holding top position among smart phone sales with its iPhone, and with the new release of the iPhone 3GS, one may wonder if there is any competition out there. Well there is, and one of the leaders in the field of competition is the Motorola Droid from Verizon Wireless.

Watch tv for any length of time and you can see tension between AT&T which carries iPhone, and Verizon Wireless which carries the Droid. With wireless coverage slams left and right, to the newly “private” commercial Verizon put out portraying the iPhone as a pretty phone that only somebody in a beauty pagent would want. That commercial seems tough to view anywhere on the internet, due to recent articles about it, and the negative feedback. Nothing new for Apple as it’s entire ad campaign since its popularity the last few years has focused on competitor bashing.

Droid does have a very hefty arsenal when put up to the Apple empire. The iPhone has more apps, but the Droid has Google’s Android marketplace with plenty of applications, most of which are free. The Droid also boasts supierior navigation capabilities when compared to the 3GS. The Droid has a very customizable interface, and also boasts a removable battery, which is one of the first things to go in any phone. Another perk for the Droid is that in addition to the full touch screen it also packs a full QWERTY slide out keypad making for much faster texting and browsing.

Crunching some numbers, both phones have 16GB of storage space. The Droid has 6.4 hours of 3G talk time compared to iPhones 5 hours. Droid has 5.0MP camera, iPhone has 3.0MP. iPhone has over 93000 apps, Droid has 10000. Droid has multitasking capability, iPhone does not. Both phones sport accelerometers. Droid has a 3.7″ screen with more pixels than iPhones 3.5″ screen. The iPhone does sport the pinch-to-zoom function where as the Droid does not. And the sad truth is that if your in the United States, Verizons network coverage is significantly better than AT&T’s.

So it comes down to what you want from your phone. The biggest thing going for Apple is it’s reputation, even with a lesser product if you can convince people to buy it, you’ll win in sales. This is something Apple has excelled at. Maybe we will actually see some competition for the iPhone come 2010. Afterall a little competition is healthy.

I very good review of each phone running side by side through browser speed tests and functionality can be found here:

Space Photos

7 Dec

Stumbled across this gallery of Space Photographs from November, and found it to be quite stunning. Take a look!

November Space Gallery