According to this article, Plano, TX is one of the best places to live in the western united states. In my neck of the woods, a place called Sugarland Run does well. I've never heard of it, so I obviously need to do a little more research.
If you want to enjoy an incredible array of TV entertainment, check out BBC America, which is channel 114 on Comcast. Right now, I'm watching "Coupling", which is a hilarious comedy with very few boundaries. Right after this, there's "The Prisoner", an award-winning spy/mystery. British humor takes a bit of getting used to, because it's more blunt than US humor. Being English, it's always great meeting an American who enjoys our slant on life.
I've decided to have a go at a Triathlon, so I'm spending more time on running, swimming and cycling. This weekend, I cycled about 20 miles at an average speed of 14mph. This doesn't even compare with Lance Armstrong (surprise, surprise), who has the highest average speed at the Tour de France of an amazing 25mph. I noticed an interesting difference in style between my friend and I. When we were going up a hill, she stayed in the same gear and pedaled at the same frequency, whereas I changed into a lower gear and pedaled faster. I don't know which is considered better, but I do know that there is no way I could have gone up the hill without dropping down the gears.
I've lived in Adams Morgan, Washington DC, about 10 months now. It's got a reputation as a hip spot in the DC area, and after visiting some of the other places around here, I've got to agree. 18th street is the main place in Adams Morgan, and it's filled with a wide selection of restaurants and clubs. There are Indian, Moroccan, French, Turkish, and other styles to choose from. In addition, there are a good number of coffee shops, including a popular Internet cafe called Tryst. Although I'm probably going to move to Georgetown at the end of the year, I thoroughly recommend the Adams Morgan area as a fun place to hang out.
I've always been a big fan of both Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley, and felt that they made a great couple. After all, how often do you find a really good-looking couple that also share a British silly sense of humor? Unfortunately, after Hugh's much-publicised temporary mental meltdown, they parted ways. I was sad. But now I'm happy again, because Hugh has met Jemima who seems at least as good a match as Elizabeth. The universe once again is in balance.
Many people believe that personalities are heavily influenced by pivotal childhood experiences. According to a recent article in the New Scientist magazine, it's more likely that many of those childhood experiences are really just manifestations of the existing personality. It's certainly a thought-provoking notion, and in the "nature" vs. "nuture" debate, pushes things towards the "nature" side of the equation.
Scientists are taking a novel approach to lowering the incidence of Malaria. Although Mosquitos are the primary carriers of the Malaria virus due to their taste for blood, the idea is to genetically engineer them to produce a Malaria vaccine that they in turn spread to their usual victims. It's a brilliant idea; use the carrier to spread the cure! I bet there are plenty of other ways to apply this same approach, especially in the area of memes. For example, could Republicans be somehow used to spread Democratic ideology?
My Scottish grandfather, sadly departed and one of the greatest influences in my life, called his loose change "chaff". At the end of every day, he emptied the chaff out of his pockets into a jar. Every few months, he deposited the money in the jar into a bank account set aside for my brother and I. Even though the daily amounts were tiny, by the time I was 18 the account had around $6000 in it, and when I graduated from high school, he gave me a $3000 gift. The gift was of course appreciated, but in many respects, the thing that meant the most was that he had planned the gift for so long. I plan on continuing this tradition if I have children of my own.
I was in New York today on business, and while I was waiting for a taxi, a large orange vehicle with whiskers and a tail drove by. Guess what? It was a kitty-kar advertising the Meow Mix cafe that I mentioned a few days ago. A happy coincidence!
One of the books I'm reading right now is the 48 Laws of Power. It's not written for nice people and shrinking violets. It's written for people who want a better understanding of human nature and how to manipulate others in order to gain power. Apparently, according to the reviews on Amazon, it's a revered tomb that ranks up there with "The Art of War" and "The Bible". So far, it's been enjoyable and makes a lot of sense. Here's a good quote from early in the book: "Half of your mastery of power comes from what you do not do, what you do not allow yourself to get dragged into." The book includes plenty of interesting examples from history, including anecdotes involving Caesar, Casanova and Napolean. Highly recommended. Another eye-opening book by the same author is The Art of Seduction, also an instructive read.