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    • The shape shifters in their usual form.
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Sydney Teasers

Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is visible under the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the early morning

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House at night… from my hotel room!

Seafair Triathlon 2009

Below are side-by-side results from this year and last year. Without the same amount of training or the wetsuit, I didn’t do very well on the swim this year — definitely this is the first place for me to improve in the future. However, I did better everywhere else, even with a bike computer that wasn’t working.

The lower bike transition time is due to no wetsuit, but the swim was still clearly a net loss this year by about a minute and a half. I had a few lapses of concentration on the bike, but none too long. Overall I kept my pace up pretty well, passing often, despite not knowing how fast I was going. This year my average speed on the bike was 19.08 mph, compared to 18.40 last year.

The biggest win for me, however, was on the run. I guess the altitude training of Peru paid off, as well as a slightly different strategy. This year, I was able to push through the initial pain better because I knew it would subside. I also walked on the steepest part of the hill (last year I told myself I would not walk, so I continued to run up the hill even though people who were walking were going the same speed as me). This gave myself a little bit of time to recharge while not wasting the spring of my step on the steep part of the hill. I think the strategy paid off overall — the time certainly indicates this.

Overall, I am quite happy with this result. My goal was to beat my old time, which I was able to do, and with some more pool time leading up to next year’s Triathlon, I should be able to improve on this year’s result next year as well.

Year 2008 2009
Place 647 649
Age 25 26
Sex M M
Overall Time 1:31:57 1:28:20
Div Place 56 79
Swim Time 0:16:54 0:18:44
Place 738 1122
Bike Tran Time 2:34 2:01
Bike Time 0:39:08 0:37:41
Place 504 393
Run Tran Time 1:25 1:13
Overall Pl After Bike 515 564
Run Time 0:31:55 0:28:41
Place 1177 945
City & State Bellevue, WA Bellevue, WA

Seattle/King County Bike Helmet Law

My friend Theo recently got a ticket for riding his bike in Seattle without a helmet. Another friend, Christine, recently wondered if she could ride her bike around Greenlake without a helmet. I knew that legally, the answer was no, but I didn’t really know exactly how it was illegal — ie, which level of our government is screwing us over in this case, and how it came to be. So I did some research. It ended up being a lot more difficult than it should have been to figure out,but here’s how it became illegal to ride a bike without a helmet:

Part 1: The King County Board of Health enacts Title 9, regarding Bicycle Helmets. The text of title 9 can be found on the Board of Health’s regulations page.

Part 2: The City of Seattle Council votes 9-0 to extend Title 9 to cover Seattle

So, despite the fact that I’ve been passed by numerous Seattle cops while riding without a helmet, ticketed by a UW cop for “running a stop sign” while not wearing a helmet (and he didn’t even mention the fact), and even told by a Seattle Police Officer that “the helmet law is not enforced in Seattle,” it apparently sometimes is, when it suits the officer’s whim, just like the rest of the laws that can be used to arbitrarily screw over anyone at anytime, if you dare cross the gargantuan police state government.

The Return of Linkin Park?

Recently read:

IGN: Will we see any new material from Fort Minor?

Shinoda: I’m putting all my Fort Minor energy into the new Linkin Park album. You never know which tracks will make the final cut, but hopefully there will be more rapping, and some big beats on the new LP record!

Thank goodness — no more of this bland Minutes to Midnight nonsense!

ETA

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We can confirm that your application has been successful and that you now have a valid ETA.

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An ETA is automatically linked to your passport. The customs authorities and airline check-in staff have access to this information, using your passport details, so there is no need for any further documentation or reference numbers to be presented.

We hope you have a wonderful stay in Australia.

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Peru Part 5

The final installment of the Peru 2009 Saga!

After returning from Machu Picchu, we had a night and a day free in Cusco before flying back to Lima to complete our Peruvian circle. The first night, I treated Kunlun and Scott to a nice Inca Grill, including lamb, alpaca, guinea pig, and other meats at a restaurant on the Plaza de Armas recommended by the couple we met on the Machu Picchu trip. The food was much better prepared than our Cuy (Guinea Pig) experience in Arequipa, so I actually got to taste the Cuy this time. It was alright, but certainly not something I’m going to replace my normal American meats with. Alpaca, on the other hand, I could integrate into my normal diet.

That evening we met up with Ben back at the Hostel. Ben and Scott ended up going out clubbing with some people Ben met in his trip to Machu Picchu. I was way too tired to join them, but I did sleep very well.

The next day, we mostly went shopping, hitting up an artesan market we had discovered that had good prices earlier. I ended up with a few nice things, mostly made out of the remarkably soft Alpaca wool.

The next day at about 8:00 am, we were on board a Taca airlines flight back from Cusco to Lima. Our hopes for Lima were limited — we had heard there really wasn’t much to do. That was certainly true of where we had stayed previously, near the airport, but this time we hailed a cab to Miraflores, a much nicer neighborhood in Lima, and we were pleasantly surprised. Just off the oceanfront, sitting atop some stunning 100-foot cliffs, lies the most extravagant shopping mall we’d seen in Peru.

The mall boasts a large variety of US-based and native chains. After enjoying some ice cream we ended up watching Transformers 2, which was intense action with a still-hot female star and an even worse story than the first. Meh. I found it difficult at first to not read the subtitles (I guess I’m too used to always reading them from my film festival experiences).

Scott was feeling ill that night, so we kept a low profile. That first day back in Lima, however, ended up being the best weather, so we really should have done a tour then, if we had the chance.

The next day, Scott was feeling better, although not great, so we headed out to see what Lima had to offer. We found some markets where we made a few additional purchases, ate at a very nice Cibiche restaurant. Cibiche is a seafood dish, often Sole, that is “cooked” by citric acid. It is pretty good for a fish-eater like me, even if it is a bit harsh on the stomach (Ben’s later revolted). We also had our last shot at a cheesecake, and it still wasn’t very good, so Scott and I decided that Peru simply doesn’t do cheesecakes very well at all.

That night, we ate at a Pizza Hut (in Miraflores at least, it is a relatively upscale dining establishment with still-decent prices), and generally tooled around a lot.

Today, Scott and I headed to the beach (it is highly inaccessible from the cliff-side mall, but a nearby park offers access), so I could try out the South Pacific surf. The beaches we found were very rocky — or perhaps I should say pebbly — and I found it to be not as pleasant as sand beaches, except that sand tends to get stuck to everything, whereas rocks don’t. Also, the surf was quite harsh, so I never ended up actually swimming, settling instead for large swells that broke near the level of my head and tossed me around a bit. It was still fun.

We headed back, then took a cab to the mall where we hoped to find a tour bus, but there were none leaving in our time frame, so we grabbed lunch (yummy Fajitas at Chili’s) and ended up taking a cab to the Plaza de Armas, the traditional city center of every Peruvian city. From there, we wandered through some parks before heading back to the hostel area for dinner. We ate at a Chinese restaurant for dinner, then picked up our stuff and, eventually, headed for the airport.

Ben and Scott are now checked in and will soon be boarding; Kunlun and I are spending some time on the web before we catch a few Z’s and check in for our own flight.

Overall, its been a good trip; I’ve learned a good deal, had some very good, some mediocre, and some pretty bad food; I lost only a few items, but I’m bringing back more; and I think I got a lot of wonderful pictures, which will be posted before too long.

Peru Part 4

Coming soon. Outline:

  • The setup
  • The play
  • The reward
  • The fallout
  • The aftermath