The Giant Pool of Money

About 18 months ago, NPR’s “This American Life” ran a fantastic show, which explained in layman’s terms what actually happened to cause the global economic downturn. 

I must have forwarded that podcast to 30 people. 

This weeks episode (a link to which is below) recounts some of that episode, while revisiting some of the people who featured in the original podcast.

It’s quite simply some of the best radio I’ve ever heard:
The Giant Pool of Money

Parenthood

Getting a real dose of it this week – Kim (my wife) is out of town for the fortnight and I’ve got our adorable 5 year old all to myself.  It’s a trip:  she’s just started school and it’s really what you’d expect from being a “single parent”.  Lots of running too and fro from school, to babysitters, to friends and back again.

Tonight was awesome, however.  For the first night all week, we’d enough time after getting done with homework/dinner/dishes to take a run up to Down Cathedral, a beautiful gothic building at the top of our street.

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Sophie took her scooter and we played fetch with the dog as the dusk fell into night (see photos below)  Tiring, but sweet as… 
Parenthood

Graze

About 8 weeks ago I became fed up with being overweight. It’s not that I’m huge, but more that I’d just begun to FEEL unhealthy, sedantary.

 So, first step, I joined a gym (maybe more on that later). Next step was

 http://www.graze.com

 I spend a lot of time at a computer and lunch generally consisted of a sandwich. I decided to switch out the sandwich and replace it with Graze’s hassle free deliveries of dried fruit, fresh fruit and nuts.

 I am a HUGE fan of Graze. In the 8 weeks since I went daily with their boxes, I’ve lost 10 pounds – and I still get to occasionally go crazy with a fish supper.

 Also, the fruit and nuts keep my sugar levels even so I’ve got good energy all day and their selection is wide enough that the deliveries never get boring.

 If you want to try Graze for free, just go to www.graze.com and enter the code WQYXPBJ.

 Anyway, this is the first diet i’ve ever been on – and it’s going well so far!

Graze

Football

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I love football. I’ve never been sure why the game has excited me so much, but it does. Every September is like Christmas when the new season begins.
 
And although I love my 3-time Superbowl winning Oakland Raiders A LOT, I love the game itself more. The scheming, the chess-like tactics and yes, the hitting.
 
So although my Raiders lost a heartbreaker last night to open the new season, 24-20 to the division rival San Diego Chargers, I’m just excited that football season is here.

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Football

Baking!

Being the youngest son of a large family, by the time I was 14 I was pretty much left to my own devices when it came to preparing food.  In those days, my menu consisted of little other than cereal, frozen pizza and the occasional pot noodle.  I saw preparing and cooking food as an enormous waste of time, which could be better spent playing music, listening to music or practically anything else.

Up until about 4 weeks ago, my inability to cook (other than scrambled eggs or somesuch) was a source of humour between me and my wife.  But about a month ago I decided it wasn’t funny anymore.

The decision to take a more hands-on approach certainly had something to do with my current dedication to losing weight, but it had more to do with the realization that cooking is such a fundamental human skill (a skill that quite possibly separated homo sapiens from other species in the evolutionary process) that I decided I wanted to acquire it.

It’s a skill that seems to be dying away with the proliferation of pre-packaged goods and fast food (food, I might add, that myself and my family still use a lot of).  It’s also a skill that’s essential to movements like Slow Life – an idea I admire and hope to incorporate into my own life.

Somewhat to my surprise, I’ve found the whole process enormously gratifying.  With the help of www.videojug.com, I’ve made some pretty simple dishes all taking between 1.5 and 3 hours to prepare, cook & serve.  

And as an extension of Sophie’s birthday this week, I decided to take my first ever real stab at baking.  She love’s Peppa Pig (http://www.peppapig.com/) and Peppa’s daddy loves Homemade Chocolate Cake.  So on Sunday – that’s what we made.

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Baking!

Sophie’s Welcome Home/Birthday Party

So Sophie was in Missouri her American grandma for much longer than expected this year – 6 months in the end. She was out of the country for her 5th birthday, so this weekend we had a belated party for her. She insisted on wearing her party dress (she’s the one with the blonde hair, below)

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Her friend is her cousin, Suzanna. The two of them are thick as thieves and irritatingly cute at least 95% of the time and we had the pair of them all weekend.  Princess obsessions are surprisingly fun when you’re hanging with these two.

Sophie’s Welcome Home/Birthday Party