Sunday, June 29, 2008

Honda Minivan

I just saw a commercial for the Honda Odyssey and they were touting the "green" nature and gas saving ability of the vehicle. The major way they tried to do this is by advertising that you could drive 483 miles on one tank of gas. They also share that the vehicle gets about 23 mpg highway.

A little quick math shows an approximately 21 gallon tank. This means that at current Fresno gas prices you would be paying almost $100 every time you fill up.

Long story short, distance you can travel on a tank of gas is not a great way to show how green a vehicle is. If I were to use this strategy to market, I would make sure the vehicle had an extra large reserve tank for fuel.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Website Recommendation - TreeHugger

It's time again for my website recommendation. Today I'd like to point you to

I've linked to TreeHugger a number of times in past posts regarding the environment etc. I realized while reading through their RSS feed today that it is one of the most positive blogs that I read. I honestly get really excited and greatly look forward to the future just because there are so many exciting things happening in the "save the environment" section of industry and government. A lot of times, especially with the environment and climate change, we hear about how our world is dying and we are all screwed. TreeHugger has me less worried about the future of the environment and leaves me wanting to be proactive about the environment in everyday decisions.

I decided that I shouldn't keep this blog to myself, and that we can all benefit if we read this blog.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bulldogs are Champions

If you are from Fresno, you undoubtedly already know this, but the Fresno State Men's Baseball team won the 2008 NCAA Div I National Title in the College World Series.

This is a big feat. First, this is the first national title any men's team from Fresno State has ever won. Second, it is the lowest seeded team to get into the CWS since it expanded in 1999. Third, it is one of, if not the lowest ranked/seeded team to ever win a national title in all of American college sports history. So I would say they did an outstanding job.

One of the phrases being tossed around the city tonight, and over the past week has been "Underdog Wonderdogs" or some variant of that. They are truly the diamonds of our hearts here in this city.

Check out the newswire article on the win.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Little More Exercise

I've found that since buying my scooter I've done a lot less exercising. As you may know I was getting into bicycling a fair bit this spring, even biking to work a few times. Since getting my scooter, I think I've only been on my bicycle maybe 2 or 3 times.

This morning I got up a little early (on my day off) and went for a bike ride here in North Fresno. It was nice to get out again, especially in the morning air.

As well, my friend Sean invited me to play softball with his engineering firm this evening, and that was wonderful to get out and participate in some more activity.

I think I should sleep well tonight.

Monday, June 23, 2008

More Smart News

I received an email from my Smart Dealership in San Jose today letting me know that my car has now been built and will very shortly be on its way from Europe to Long Beach, CA. From now until it arrives at the dealership is from 30-40 days, and I'm sure this last month is going to kill me. I am really excited to finally get my car.

From this information I am pegging the date right around the end of July or the very beginning of August. That would put it right around my brother Andrew's birthday.

Just some more information for those that might not believe the Smart Car is that safe. Here is an exerpt from a forum post at Smart USA(insider):

Driving on I95 in CT a car on the exit ramp decided to cut back into traffic. He hit the car next to me, who then slammed into me . My car hit the guard rail
(at 70 mph) and bounced off like a ping pong ball, rolling three times before hitting the opposite guardrail (which then flipped me right side up). Thank god I was wearing my seatbelt, and driving this amazing car. I opened the door and stepped out. Very shaken, but not hurt. I'm a little stiff now, but other than that I'm perfectly fine... MY SMART SAVED MY LIFE!!! - evilbean42

Check out some pictures here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I know I'm getting older, but seriously?

I try to go through my spam filter every couple of days in my Gmail account, just to make sure the guardians of my inbox have not cast aside important messages.

I usually skim both the "From" column as well as the "Subject" column. I've mentioned before Spamusement that uses spam subject lines and creates wonderfully humorous cartoons from them (albeit self-admitted terribly drawn). Over the last couple of weeks, I've noticed a trend that I am receiving a number of spam emails that tell me that I "look stupid" or that I have a "stupid face".

These spammers must be getting really desperate that they are resorting to these tactics of name-calling.

But, as normal, I'll probably end up buying whatever they are selling because they are playing on my insecurities.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Addiction and Controlled Substances

It is really sad that enough people in our world have bought eye-glasses for the wrong reasons and without need for them that we have laws that require prescriptions to buy certain levels of vision correction.

I'm sure the biggest casualty in the underground world of corrective eye-wear has not been the elderly or children, but insects and bugs whose lives are cut short by those addicted to refracting the sun's light.

I hope we can someday live in a world where people are responsible enough to make good decisions and not use eye-glasses for harm, but only in ways for which they were designed.

Who is with me?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Incredible Hulk

I went to see The Incredible Hulk last night. I was much happier with this version than the one a few years ago.

I liked the fact that they got the transformation into the Hulk out of the way early, and kind of alluded to it and described it throughout the movie. I also really like Ed Norton as an actor, so that was a plus. I also enjoyed all of the location backdrops, as that added a lot to the movie.

AFI 10 Top 10

On Tuesday night, Andrew and I were watching the AFI 10 Top 10 movie list. It was interesting for two reasons.

  1. Trying to guess which 10 categories they would use, and
  2. Which movies would be placed in each category
Overall, I was satisfied, but there were a few things I thought were pretty ridiculous.

  • In the sports category, they left out Rudy.
  • In the western category, they left out Tombstone.
  • No Comedy category, they only had a Romantic Comedy category.
  • No Horror category.
  • No War category.
  • They did have a Courtroom Drama category, I don't think there are enough courtroom drama movies, let alone good courtroom drama movies to have a whole category dedicated to it. Sure the #1 movie (To Kill a Mockingbird) deserved that spot, but come on.
  • The Epic category was too broad to have any good comparisons.
That's my review of the show.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 Unboxing

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I recently made a purchase from Well my "something" finally arrived and as promised here is the unboxing of the purchase.

I don't know what's gonna be inside.

It was a pretty small box, small enough in fact it actually fit inside my mail box. Just about the right size for a baseball, but it was much lighter than a baseball.

A little bit of green, as well as a flyer for inside the shipping box.

The complete contents of my package.

Let's see... what is it?

I never would have guessed that this is what I would get.

It turns out that I got a little grow kit, called an "eggling", whose motto is crack & grow. A few too many drug references, but fortunately I received seeds so that I will soon be growing my very own mint plant. I am quite excited, because there are a lot of great recipes that call for fresh mint, and now I can use some home grown mint that grew out of an egg.

This little experiment was very interesting, and it's maybe a bit like gambling. The better thing is that it takes a lot longer than a hand of blackjack to lose your $10, plus you are guaranteed SOMETHING.

Smaller Packaging, Bigger Waste

I've been thinking this for a while, and I was happy that treehugger posted about the shrinking packaging size of consumer goods (at least here in the US).

One thing I learned in school, especially geometry and science, is that when you reduce the size of something it increases the surface area to volume ratio. That means as something decreases in size there is more outside needed to contain the inside.

With a number of companies decreasing container sizes to keep prices consistent, they are sacrificing amount of waste. Shrinking containers mean that for the same amount of product their is more packaging and therefore more waste in our landfills.

This is why bulk foods and concentrated products are so environmentally friendly, because they use a lot less packaging. One company that does a great job of this is Shaklee, which has a number of concentrated products that reduce the amount of garbage in the landfill. For example, Shaklee's full home cleaning kit is so concentrated that it saves 108 lbs. from entering the landfill compared to conventional "ready to use" cleaners available out there.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Blog is Getting Popular

Well I guess my blog is becoming popular, because I got my first piece of Comment Spam about a week ago. It was on my post about my plans for travel next year.

The comment said...

Opening one after the another, Fortune is expanding across the length and breadth of our country. The business hotels of Fortune like Kolkata hotels in India, hotels in Gurgaon and Fortune hotels in Chennai are equipped with all modern amenities catering to the requirement of the Business travelers. Your trip to these places would become a pleasure by being at Fortune hotels. The rooms of these hotels are equipped with amenities like 24 hrs room service, inroom tea/coffee maker, Wi-fi connectivity, etc. You would find a range of F& B outlets here.

I did delete it, so it is now immortalized here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Taking Advantage of High Gas Prices

I've discussed before about people moving away from low gas mileage vehicles as gas prices climb steadily higher. This got me thinking about ways that one could Take advantage of that.

If people are getting rid of these vehicles it would seem smart to go into business doing something with these vehicles. Some ideas I've come up with include recycling/reusing parts for more environmentally friendly purposes, retrofitting them for low/no emissions, and turning them into some sort of amusement park ride.

Do you have any ideas?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dodge's gasoline price lock

Other than probably being bad for the environment by convincing people that gasoline can be consumed like candy, Dodge's gasoline price lock may also make Dodge go broke.

Sure if gas hovers around $5 a gallon it could be alright, but if gas heads up closer to $10 a gallon that is a lot of money that will start hemorrhaging out of the company. I did a little calculation, and assuming 30 mpg (which is high for Dodge) that would be 400 gallons a year at the 12 000 mile per year limit. That could potentially be around $6 000 over the three years that dodge would have to pay.

I guess Chrysler will be pushing really hard for peace in the middle east.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Much More Exciting than iPhone 3G

At least it is to me.

I'm just sad that I didn't find out about this sooner, because it has apparently been on the HTC website for a few months now.

Introducing the new HTC Touch Diamond!

As you may know, I recently bought the HTC Touch, which was the original touch based cell phone, released even before the iPhone. I really like my phone, but I almost wish I didn't find out about this Touch Diamond until I was ready to get a new phone.

Looking at some of the features of this phone is making me drool (almost literally). Since the iPhone 3G will be the best phone to compare with, I will give you some examples of the Touch Diamond's features compared to the iPhone 3G.

Touch Diamond vs (iPhone 3G)

-102mmx51mmx11.35mm (115.5x62.1x12.3)
-2.8in screen (3.5in screen)
-480x640 px (480x320 px)
-110g (133g)
-3G (3G)
-3.2MP Camera (2.0MP Camera)
-Secondary Camera in front (No secondary Camera)
-Video Recording (No Video Recording)
-Resistive & Capacitive Touch Inputs (Capacitive & Resistive Inputs)
-528MHz Processor (620MHz processor underclocked to 412MHz)
-4GB Internal Storage (8GB or 16GB of Internal Storage)
-G-Sensor for screen orientation (Accelerometer/Proximity/Ambient Light sensor)

So these are the basic features of both, obviously they run on different OS platforms. The HTC Touch Diamond is by no means the hands-down winner, but at least for what I am looking for it wins out. I would say my top reasons are 1)smaller, 2)better resolution/more pixels, 3)Camera(s)/Video. It would have been nice for more/expandable storage and maybe a few more of the fancy sensors, but I'm doing fine with 4GB of storage in my current phone.

Here's a video of some of the features of the phone.

When watching this video, specifically watch for the weather animation. I absolutely love the rain animation with the water droplets and the windshield wiper

Also, in fairness, because you can actually buy the iPhone 3G through a carrier you pay a lot less (ie $199 & $299). Through you can buy the unlocked version of the Touch Diamond for $789. I know, it's expensive, but I think I'm going to save up for it (after getting some more use out of my current).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gas Can Blues

Here's an Ad from Europe for the Smart Car. Fortunately I do not have a gas can, so when I get my Smart Car I won't be causing any heartache for those plastic containers.

(Via AdFreak)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Next Year Travel Plans

Taking a page out of the travel book of the average European I am starting to plan out my next big trip. (From what I understand from my friends in Germany is that most jobs require you to submit vacation requests at least a year in advance! Mind you the average German gets a whole lot more vacation time than the average American. I guess that's a fair trade-off).

Of course a lot of my travel planning is fantasy and dreaming, and planning is half of the fun for me anyways, so my plans could change very easily, but I am seriously considering more of an exotic trip for my next vacation. I've been to Europe 4 times now, and while I absolutely love Europe, I am ready to explore somewhere else. I will go back to Europe someday there is no doubt, but if I hope to achieve my goal of visiting 50 countries in my lifetime I've got to head out to some other areas of the world.

Now to the current manifestation of my travel plans. While watching Rudy Maxa's World on a PBS support drive this past weekend, I watched some amazing video of a part of northern India called Rajasthan. I've wanted to travel to India for a number of years, and this program got me really excited about the idea. So I went in to trip planning mode and came up with this itinerary including India and some Southeast Asian countries.

Fly from Fresno to Mumbai (Bombay) India
Spend about 5 or 6 days exploring Indian from Mumbai to Calcutta while taking the train.
After finishing in Calcutta fly to Bangkok, Thailand and explore that city for 3 to 4 days.
From Bangkok fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and explore that city for another 3 to 4 days.
When finished in Kuala Lumpur fly back to Fresno.

Check out this map for locations of places.

The whole trip would be about 2 weeks long, and while it may seem like a whirlwind trip that's just my style. I think that you should see as much as possible on a trip to new places, and if you see something you like, make plans to go back again someday. As well, depending on who came along, I could easily change my plans to stay in other areas or alter the length of stays at some destinations.

I found flights for all of these flights for as little as $2300, which is fairly good considering all the flying. I am guessing that the total cost for the two weeks would be around $3000. However, this could fluctuate depending on choices of hotels/trains etc.

If you are interested let me know, I love traveling with other people, and would be happy to take others with me.

Stamp Collecting

Working at Target has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people, both in the form of the guests that I serve everyday as well as my fellow team members that I interact with regularly. One such team member I am going to tell you about today is Larry.

Larry is a 50something heavy-set Armenian man with a salt-and-pepper ponytail in the back of his head. He works in the Garden Center at my store and is one of those guys who is really nice, but you still probably don't want to mess with him. Larry, along with working with plants and fountains all day long at Target is an avid stamp collector.

Larry enjoys finding out about people, and if you aren't careful you can spend entirely too much time just chatting with the guy. One time while talking with Larry he found out that I am of German heritage. He then told me that he would bring me some stamps from Germany. I said ok, and about a week later I found a bag on my desk with at least a hundred stamps inside part of a number of collections. These stamps are mostly from Germany and some even as old as WWII era.


I was quite surprised, but made a point to thank Larry for the stamps. About a week later, another bag appeared on my desk with even more stamps, many German, some from the era of the DDR, as well as some random stamps. Again, I was surprised and thanked Larry.


After finding out that I bought a scooter, Larry said, I've got just the stamp for you, and sure enough on my desk a few days later I find a stamp from Israel with a caricature riding a scooter.


So now, after years of not collecting stamps, I've got myself a small little stamp collection with very little effort on my part.

That Was Quick

As you may remember, I recently applied for my US Passport. That was on May 23rd. I went out to get the mail and sure enough I got my passport today. That is less than 3 weeks from application to receipt!


Three weeks to get my passport is very quick, considering it took about 8 weeks to get my last Canadian Passport. However, I'm sure that almost any situation would be better and less stressful than getting that last passport.

One thing that I am very curious about is the fact that I have a U.S. Electronic Passport, which basically means that it has an embedded RFID chip. I just wonder if it is safe.

I must say though that the artwork and stylings of this passport are great, the pages look great compared to older model US Passports. Every page has a different picture depicting US history/life including the Statue of Liberty, Native American Art, and an homage to the Space Program. It is pretty neat. The cover is a little thicker than your average passport, but the front cover design is the same as the older passports with the exception of the RFID symbol.


More Informative Traffic Lights

I like this idea of having traffic lights that actually tell you how much longer the light is going to be Red/Yellow/Green. It gives drivers a little more information and I think it could potentially reduce the number of red lights being ran. (Speculation of course).

Back in Edmonton, AB, Canada (where I'm from originally) there are a number of intersections that have warning lights a few hundred meters back that flash to alert the driver if they are going to hit a red light or if they will be safe for a green light. As a driver that helped me plan my driving a little better, and it got me much more in the mindset of slowing down in preparation for the red light, even if it looked green ahead. I think if most intersections had this it would start to train people to slow down much earlier for lights, and has the potential to save gas by reducing the amount we would have to slam on our brakes.


I think I might start "reviewing" movies that I see here on my blog. I may only give a review if the movie was extraordinary though (either good or bad). I am a little hesitant to do this because the last thing people need is another person giving their opinion on movies, which can be a very personal thing. There are many movies that some people love and some people hate, so my feelings on a movie will probably do little for anyone.

Some of the movies I have seen recently are:

  • Ironman - Great action and visual effects, although a few more fight scenes with the Ironman utilizing all of his technology would have been nice.
  • Speed Racer - Eye candy that can put you in a pretty good mood, no matter what is happening in the movie. The bright colors and fast movement leave you feeling happy even if the story was a little strange and random at times.
  • No Country For Old Men - The Coen brothers did an excellent job keeping me in suspense and trying to guess what was happening and going to happen. The movie consisted of a few different parallel (and somewhat intertwined) story lines, and the ending of a couple of these stories left me wanting more.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Classic Indiana Jones with a few added computer visual effects for good measure. Usually not too cheesy, and while the ending might seem a little strange, I can see how it can be viewed just as "out there" as endings to some of the other movies in the original trilogy.
What really has me worried is this summer's line up of new release movies. There are a few movies that I am really looking forward to seeing, including Get Smart and Wanted, as well as some that look pretty good and I may just end up going to see them in the theater as well, including The Incredible Hulk, The Love Guru, Hancock, and The Dark Knight. I will probably spend too much money going to see these movies in the theater this summer.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Carbon Emissions

The Brookings Institution recently conducted a study that examined the per capita carbon footprint of major metropolitan areas in the United States. I was a little surprised by the results, especially where my city of Fresno placed. The study looked specifically at transportation and residential uses of energy and the carbon emissions from those uses.

The results are here, and you can see that 6 of the top 12 cities for low per capital carbon emissions are from California. This isn't a huge surprise for places like San Francisco and San Jose, because they much more densely populated than other places in the top 12 like Los Angeles #2!!! San Diego #10 and Sacramento #12. Fresno was much higher than I imagined at #22 in the country. A little further investigation shows that one of the big reasons for this is the difference in transportation and residential sources of carbon emissions. Fresno is all the way down to #71 in transportation (not a big surprise there) and much higher up in residential #6. As a visual person, I found the geographic representations quite helpful and informative.

Of course, this takes into account sources of electricity and also usage. If you get a lot of your energy from renewable and carbon-free sources you will have a much lower per capita usage and a much higher rank. Fresno gets hot though in the summer, along with places like El Paso, TX, Tucson, AZ and Phoenix, AZ which are all in the top 20 of residential usage. I know a lot of people here in Fresno use their Air Conditioning almost non-stop in the hot summer.

Click on the link for the results above and check them out for yourself. I think ranking and measuring is a great way to help people/cities/areas compare themselves to others and ultimately can be very useful for improving. Hopefully studies like this can help.

(Via WorldChanging)

PS - This is the 100th post at JukeyBlog!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Logo Universality

I probably won't comment a lot on logos, but one of the things I strongly believe in as far as logos go is it should be as universal as possible.

I don't mean this in a sense of being attractive to all people, but rather through all forms of media. Especially in a time of all types of guerrilla marketing campaigns we see logos in all sorts of places from clouds to rooftops to tatoos a logo needs to be recognizable in whatever form it manifests itself.

The more detail in a logo, the more difficult it is to use in different forms of media. I think you will find the most recognizable and valuable logos and brand symbols are normally the most basic. Take my beloved Target logo, it works almost anywhere, and recently was chosen as the best logo.

I was reminded of this idea I have when I read this post about DirecTV updating their logo to be shinier and more 3-D. Sure it might look good in the limited number of places where the logo can be viewed in all its glory, but if they were to use it in any number of places where they would have to "dumb down" their logo, it would be all for none.

I think a big a part of why this is important is because if you have to change your logo for the medium, it means you don't have a consistent logo and therefore your brand image is more difficult to keep up.

Reaching the World (Wide Web)

As a Christian it is important to reach the rest of the world that doesn't know Jesus. One of the biggest complaints I've heard about the Church is that it is a social club only for its members. While myself and I'm sure many other Christians see the validity in this view, sometimes it is hard to know how to get out of that rut and reach people who aren't already sitting next to you.

One thing I love seeing, and hope dearly it is working, is Churches just trying different things. As a big user of technology and someone that is almost never separated from e-mail/facebook/Internet/twitter it is cool too see Christians and Churches using and utilizing some of these technologies.

Church Marketing Sucks pointed to a Church that projected a Twitter feed onto the big screen at the front of the church and actually encouraged people to contribute to the sermon and the worship experience of every participant. Reading about this from someone who was one of the driving forces behind the experiment, it sounds like it was a success. People could comment on different aspects of the service/sermon or even carry out a public dialog about what was being said/felt/experienced. I bet this would make for a much closer knit community especially if more dialog was encouraged after the service (in a face-to-face environment). Plus it would be a lot more acceptable to read from a digital bible.

I truly think these are the types of things that Churches should be trying, because what worked 5-10-50 years ago probably won't be effective in today's world. Although this will not work in every situation, every Church, for every person, but each Church has to find their own niche.

Not to toot my own horn, but I actually thought something like this would be an interesting idea a few years ago. I think I was sitting in on one of my Dad's sermon's and I thought it might be a cool idea to make it more of a collaborative effort with the entire congregation. My idea involved laptops and tablet PCs and more of an IM format, but it would accomplish a very similar outcome. I think this might also be very useful if a number of people in the group are not clear on something. Either the pastor or the rest of the group can see this immediately and react and adapt the message.

What do you think?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Dinner Last Night

Since getting my HD Television, I've really enjoyed watching PBS HD (especially since I don't have cable or satellite). One of the great things about PBS and especially PBS HD is that there are a number of good cooking shows, which have given me numerous ideas for meals. The other night I was watching a show on PBS HD called Lidia's Italy which is all about Italian food and how to cook it. I love Italian food, and watching this show inspires me to no end. On this episode was a dish called Neapolitan Macaroni & Cheese. It looked really good.

If you've watched PBS shows you'll know that they often link to the website for more information on what they are discussing at the moment. Lidia's Italy links to their website for more info and recipes, I figured they would have the recipe available on the website. They did not. I searched the web and someone with a DVR figured out the recipe after multiple watchings of the episode. I used the recipe, and with the help of my roommates made the dish last night. It turned out quite well, and it is definitely a keeper.

I paired the dish with a Chardonnay from Sutter Home's Fre label. Fre is their alcohol removed wine. I wanted to try it and see how it compared to real wine. It was definitely more "juicy", fairly sweet, and very smooth. It worked fairly well with the dish.

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Future Option for Transportation

While I am very excited for my new Smart Car to arrive this summer, my excitement for the advancement and future of transportation exceeds even that.

Check out this new car, the Aptera.

The Aptera is a new vehicle coming out within the next 1-2 years, and it is available in plug-in hybrid variety and purely electrical. While this is not entirely new, the most fascinating aspect is the way it looks. Some say it is a cross between an airplane and vehicle from the Jetson's. It doesn't fly, but it does get incredible mileage.

While this concept may or may not "take-off", I am mostly excited to see people thinking outside the box (every single other car on the market) and being creative and experimenting with design.

I love the way it looks as well as the environmentally friendly attitude in which it drives.

(Via Josh Spear)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Honestly, I'm not Texting.

With a great phone comes great responsibility, or at least it seems that way. My new phone can do so much that I feel the rest of the world isn't ready for it.

I have two bible translations on my phone and I use them especially in Church. I enjoy not having to lug around my large bible when I go, especially when I'm riding my scooter to Church. This has the problem of it looking like I'm texting in Church. It might actually be more of an issue for me than other people looking at me, but I just feel guilty even if I'm just following along with the scripture reading.

Similarly, Ben Terrett of Noisy Decent Graphics is suffering from the same issue in meetings where he is taking notes using his iPhone. He feels like he needs to start every meeting off with an apology if he needs to use his phone for note taking.

Should we have to apologize for using technology around people? Is it just necessary to apologize to the people that aren't as technology savvy as us or as trusting of us?

What do you think?

Fresno Downtown Revitalization

Here is an interesting article from Fresno Fusion about Attraction Theory vs. Asset-based Approach to the revitalization of downtown Fresno.

I'd also recommend reading the comments at the bottom of the post as there is a lot of information and other ideas that people have for our city.

(Via Fresno Famous)