Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Review of H10013 Eco-Friendly Napper

Originally submitted at

Nothing makes a hard day's work easier than your trusty office dog. And nothing makes him more comfortable than our Eco-Friendly Napper Dog Bed. A FetchDog favorite, the Eco-Napper is lined with recycled IntelliLoft that's sewn to prevent bunching making it as easy on your dog as it is on ...

Good fit for a picky doggy

By Merritt from Long Beach, CA on 10/15/2009


5out of 5

Pros: Attractive Design, Comfortable For Pet, Easy To Clean, Soft

Best Uses: Large Pets, Medium Pet, Travel, Small Pets, Indoors

Describe Yourself: Long-time Pet Owner

I had previously bought my very tall German Shepherd mix a very squishy bed for him to lay on. However, he much preferred to plop down on a rug instead. He didn't like how the bed shifted around when he stepped on it. I got the eco-friendly napper for him try out because of its portability and its rug-like resemblance. After I placed it on the floor he knew right away it was the place for him. He curled up on it and folded his legs in to try and keep every part contained within the mat. I also like how easy it is to clean, just throw it in the wash.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Octoberfest Alpine Village Torrance, CA

Every October brings Octoberfest to Apline Village in Torrance, CA. I happen to work in Torrance, so a few co-workers want to make a go of it one evening. We arrived fairly early, just after 7 pm, but it was already very busy. While walking to the big white tent from the parking lot I made the comment that it smelled like college. Stale beer does that... After $8 each we made it inside and we headed over the the beer and food ticket purchasing counter. Something like $20 each later we had enough for a plate of food and one beer. I got a super pretzel to split with friends and received many stares due to its large size. Unfortunately there was no space to be had at any table. We made due despite the lack of seating though. We watched the festivities on the stage, enjoyed all the people dressed up in Octoberfest attire and joined in on the roaming train of people. It works for once a year, but anymore than that, it makes more sense just to go to a bar.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

LA Triathlon Swim

Now I enjoy a good rough water swim. I like the challenge of timing my stroke and pace with the undulation of the ocean. However, I don't like fighting through constant surf, reaching 10 feet overhead at times, just to get around a bouy. That was the gist of the 2009 LA Triathlon swim leg. Getting out to the first bouy involved a lot of dolphing through the water, a lot of diving under waves and a lot of sprinting in between waves. It wasn't a smooth start. I was worn out by the time I reached the first bouy. Many rescuses were performed and many folks didn't even make it out through the surfline.

The water conditions were caused by storms way out in the Pacific as well as big winds. Big, predictable surf coming in nicely timed sets isn't a big challenge, but constant surf moving in every direction doesn't leave much room for swimming. It is something that is difficult to train for. I think next season I am going to try out some training techniques to improve my blast out from the beach to the bouy.

I did the swim in just over 23 minutes. That is quite a bit off of the under 20 minutes I was aiming for, that is until I saw the day's conditions. Fighting through the very croweded water the entire swim wasn't helpful either. In the end I wasn't slowed as much as I thought. I figured I easily waisted more than 3 minutes farting around in the waves. Rounding back home towards the beach I kept looking back for waves to ride into shore. I was in bad position when one finally did hit, breaking right on top of me, and I got pounded. My googles ended up somewhere out in the water of Venice Beach. After that I had to backstroke it in the rest of the way with some help from more waves. The good thing was I didn't have to worry about the googles anymore... I was lucky not to lose a contact lens.

LA Triathlon

Today I participated in the Los Angeles Triathlon for the second time. 2007 was my first experience as a swim ringer on the Olympic Relay. I missed 2008 due to it coinciding with my shoulder surgery, so I came back strong for 2009. Maybe someday I will get a bike and do the whole thing. That day might have to wait until after I stop spending money on my house and cars... ha, like that will ever happen!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Alt Car Expo - Tango

This electric car looks like it got squished between two semitrucks. If not for the massive weight sitting underneath it, I would think it would tip over at every turn.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Safety Glasses of Awesomeness

I found these safety glasses at work. They are completely nerdy and so much more awesome than the sleak modern ones I usually wear.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don Burns Corona del Mar 1 Mile Swim

To finish off the SPMA open water series I participated in the Don Burns 1 Mile Swim at Corona del Mar in Newport Beach, CA. It was the first year I have done the swim and the first real 1 mile race I have done. After experiencing many ups and downs through the summer with a shoulder still recovering from last September's surgery, for once, I did not go into the swim already feeling fatigued from a week of training. I also went in pretty relaxed and open minded. I just wanted to do what I could with my arm while securing enough points to win the open water series in my age group.

There were 269 swimmers and everyone took off on the start together in a mad dash to swim out and around the first buoy. The course was an attempt at a rectangle with a buoy at each corner. I got off on a good start without any need to push my way through a crushing pack of swimmers. I kept up a good pace and was even able to summon a surge towards the finish. However, I did noticed that anytime another jostling swimmer interrupted my tempo I lost ground because it took me quite a few strokes to get my arms moving steadily again. Next summer I should be in a much better position, hopefully I can keep the injuries away.

In the end I finished 21st overall and 6th amongst the women, but I won my age group. I must note however, that I would have done much better if I had worn a speedsuit like the others ahead of me. Results can be found here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Naples Island Swim 2009

I told myself that I would have to stick to 2 miles or shorter this summer. However, I could not resist signing up for the 3 mile (really about 2.75) Naples Island Swim in the Los Alamitos Bay. I had been training in the bay all summer and I figured the relatively calm water wouldn't be too bad. I was also starting to feel very good in training leading up to the event. The only detail was that I managed to feel too good the week before the race and thus pushed my recovering shoulder too hard in practice. I did too much butterfly, pulling and laps around Treasure Island in the bay. I was extremely sore the morning of the swim, despite attempts at resting the shoulder the day before and trying active recovery in preceding practice sessions.

The water temperature dropped down in the bay the week of the race. It had been fairly comfortable for most of the summer, but some cloudy weather and changing tides led to chilly water. I made an attempt at a warm up swim, but after a couple strokes I knew that was a hopeless case. Instead I grabbed a towel to stay warm during the last few minutes before the start. I just wanted to get through the race, not do anything special.

Due to the length of the event it wasn't difficult to get out with the main pack on the start. I kept along smoothly, until the pack headed out across the main through way to the ocean. The water was more rough and I could not keep up a high arm tempo and hope to have my shoulder last through the race. In the end I know I could have done a lot better, but I was glad to make it through. I finished first in my age group, but overall results have not yet posted.

My shoulders were undoubtedly sore afterward. I took a week off of swimming, had a wisdom tooth removed, and spent a few days slowly recovering. I have now also reverted back to icing down the shoulders everyday, along with periodic icings while sitting at my desk at work if things feel particularly tight.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Plug In 2009 Panel

Billy Nye the Science Guy was there.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

There's Lizard in the House

I came across this lizard in the house while vacuuming. The dog wasn't interested in him. He hung around for a couple days before I found him sitting beside the door. I opened it up and he scurried away.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I went swimming and I got me some medals

I started off the 2009 SPMA LCM Regionals meet with a second place in the women's 25-29 age group. Results can be found here and video can be seen here. I was in heat 11 lane 4 wearing a bright orange cap. I've been doing too much open water distance swimming as I defiantly took awhile to get moving. I held back way too much from the get go. Ah well, I just need to get experience again.

I won my age group in the 100 breast and 100 free as well. My stroke stayed consistent throughout the race in the breaststroke, however due to lack of actually training the stroke my speed was pretty off. I will have to try again after I start trying to work more breaststroke into my workouts. My gauge though is always the 100 free. I will never forget how to swim that race. I stayed strong over the entire 100 and wasn't much off the time I did two years ago. I will greatly improve when the shoulder gets more recovered for sure.

Cal Luthern Pool for LCM Regionals

2007 SPMA LCM Regionals was the last meet I swam in before my recent shoulder problem flared up. I entered the 2009 meet because I figured it was time to try it again with the new shoulder repair. I switched up the events and left off the 200 IM in favor of the 400 free. I started entering IM as a masters swimmer since I never really did it much at all growing up. I figured I had a lot of room for improvement. However, right now my butterfly isn't there so I chose a 400 free to get warmed up. It is also an event in which I have had very little experience.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Police Interceptor Astro Van

I was behind this Police Interceptor Astro Van at a traffic light. I really liked the spoiler.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Head

A friend of mine from Chicago recently informed me that he had a couple hats to send my way. He simply stated that he had somehow come into a large supply of hats that were like the Chicago version of the Wisconsin Cheese Head. Now I pictured a hot dog hat, due the popularity of wieners in Chicago. However, when I finally got the hats in the mail I opened the box to find two slices of pizza. They are in fact Chicago deep dish pizza hats. I have no idea what I am going to do with them. The dog though, found them extremely disturbing.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Balboa-Newport Pier 2 Pier Swim

On Saturday June 11th I showed up in Newport Beach to swim the 2 mile Balboa-Newport Pier 2 Pier swim for the third time. Back in 2006, it was the first ocean race I ever entered thanks to the prodding of my South Bay Swim Team teammates. I missed the 2008 event with a bum shoulder, so it was a test to see what kind of conditions my newly repaired shoulder could withstand. It survived half mile swims a few weeks ago. Since then it got even better conditioned and my stroke became more stretched out. I wanted to see if I could maintain it throughout the 2 miles.

The water temperature was comfortable for a swim. The waves were small, but getting larger every minute before the start. My main frustration with large open water swims has been getting out on the start. Unfortunately this race was probably my worst start experience yet. As the crowd ran towards the water someone got swept up by an incoming wave and went crashing into me knocking me over. I then got carried backwards by the wave while swarms of swimmers passed me by. I was stuck in a pile of people until well past the first buoy before I could start to break away.

I kept a smooth steady pace for the race. Just as the end pier was in good sight I started feeling a pinch in the left shoulder. I maintained the pace I was at to get through to the end, but I had hoped to be able to put down a final surge. I had enough energy to pick up the pace, but the shoulder couldn't do it. It won't be too much longer before the strength is there, some more training and it will get there.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Corvette Parking Only

At work we now have designated Corvette parking spaces. They are marked by the Badboy Vettes logo spray painted on the ground.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Redondo Beach Triathlon 2009

After making an appearance at the 2007 Redondo Beach Triathlon I got another chance at it in 2009. Once again I teamed up with Scott Webb as a relay. He did the whole bike, run thing while I just swam. I don't do triathlons myself because the biking thing involves too much equipment that I don't want to deal with. The swim was 1/2 mile along the beach south of King Harbor in Redondo. The weather was great for the race, the sun even came out early for a typical June morning. The water temperature was also very comfortable after swimming in Huntington Beach with no wetsuit. I kicked off the swim with a nice 6 minute lead and Scott finished it up with a strong win in the relay group.

I like triathlon swims because the crowd just kind of meanders into the water. It isn't the elbow flying fight to the death to get to the first buoy that is open water swimming. Plus it is the only time I can legally wear a wetsuit for a race. Although, if I was a pro triathlete that comfort would go away.

I was a bit surprised with my swim being the second day of competing in one weekend for the first time since shoulder surgery. During my warm up the shoulder was feeling rather tired, but the water temperature and the wetsuit kept me warm and comfortable. The shoulder loosened right up by halfway through the swim. The shoulder still has some time to go to get strong again, but my speed is still there. I just pay for it with a lot of soreness later.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Huntington Beach Pier Swim

This morning I headed a few miles down the beach to Huntington Beach for the 59th Annual Pier Swim. This was my first swimming of the pier as during previous years I was a wuss about the cold. However, after a couple years of ocean swimming in Southern California I have gotten pretty acclimated to cold water. I was informed that the water temperature this morning was 65 degrees. Once I was wet there was really no thought about the water temperature, after all it didn't cause my pinky toes to freeze.

Laid out on Google Maps the swim equates to about 1/2 mile. It was my first official competition back after having shoulder surgery last September. The shoulder still gets sore during distance swims, but I push through it. It doesn't weaken however, which is key. There was a strong current pulling everyone into the pier during the return leg of the race. Getting pounded by a wave was a sure way to end up close to the pier footings. I caught a couple good waves, then got pummeled by one and had to get back out from the shadow of the pier. I guess I ended up 1st or 2nd for females in the end. I didn't stick around to see the results because my 2 hour parking meter used up all my change and expired well before everyone finished.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand

Sean's dad was a choirboy at this cathedral. When he was about 10 years old a woman leaped from the tower to her death. She hit Sean's dad in the head with her foot on the way down. He was standing outside singing with the choir at the time. It must have been extremely traumatizing.

Giant Kiwi in Christchurch, New Zealand

This photo actually contains two kiwis.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Don't Piss Someone Off and Leave Your Car in their Possession

ZR1 in the Wild

People who race Mazdas like Corvettes apparently, the ZR1 in particular. I found this example parked in the Mazdaspeed pits at California Speedway during a NASA event. It would have been nice to see it on the track, but it was brand spanking new and shiny. I can understand the desire to let it break in a little bit longer before stretching its legs on the track.

NASA Racing, Its Been Awhile...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Old E46 M3 Exhaust For Sale

I finally got motivated and have listed the Hamann exhaust from my old E46 M3 on EBay. The exhaust is famous or something because it was in a tv show... scroll down to learn more on that.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

We Brought a Dog in the Club

Joe wanted to bring his pit bull Damien into the club. He had to prove to everyone he could make it happen. Damien made it inside. A dog in a club attracts a little attention... He didn't stay very long though.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Someone Needs to Make Direct Injection Upgrades

I have a great desire for a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT. The reason is that I want to twin turbocharge the sucker. However, what will hold me back for awhile is the lack of upgradeability in the direct injection fueling system. I really want to see what kind of power can be pushed out of that motor though (the 3.6L V6 VVT DI). I want to take down Nissan's VQ37! In the meantime I suppose I could try and poke at the engineers who work on that engine to see what kind of numbers they think could be pushed out by the stock direct injection system.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Temescal Canyon Pool

I just discovered this pool at the base of the hills in Temescal Canyon. I came upon it after I read an article about teenagers dying in car accidents speeding on Pacific Palisades Blvd (it doesn't look extremely curvy, just wide, teenagers can be stupid). I used the satellite view of Google Maps to check out the road, of course in satellite view I always check out the nearby pools as well. Upon discovery of this pool in its serene location I thought, "Hey I want to go check it out one day!" I inputted its location into Google and sadly I was confronted with an LA Times article describing the recent bulldozing of this swimming hole.

The Malibu/Western Valley area has a big lack of regulation size pools. I know because I searched far and wide to see what options I had for swimming after work when commuting through that area. Backyard pools are ok and all, but most are tiny and you don't meet anyone new in your own backyard. Community pools are wonderful and they are disappearing at a high rate due to their high maintenance costs. This pool's case is particularly disheartening because the true owners (the city) would not invest in its repair. The leasing operators (YMCA) said they would fork up for the repairs, but they wanted to make sure their investment would see many years of use which could not be promised by the true owners. I miss the East Coast at times, where many pools are private.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Import Racers

Back in 2005 (or maybe it was 2006 when it aired) I did a tv show that aired briefly on ESPN2 called Import Racers. Only a few short years later it is very interesting to think about where everyone has gone since it happened. The host Sal Masekela is now all over E! on top of his duties hosting all that is the X-Games. Eric Hsu has gone onto work for the motorsports power name, Cosworth and Tanner Foust has become a superstar driver. Then there is myself who has moved on to engineer for General Motors. Progress is beautiful, eat that Audi! Check out the show below:

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Windows Home Server

DSC_0109, originally uploaded by merritr.

I got my boyfriend an HP Media Server for Christmas. It runs with the operating system Windows Home Server. I found the software PlayOn that can serve Netflix and Hulu to a PS3, XBox, other media boxes and coming soon, the Wii. Thanks to enterprising individuals before me I easily found directions on the web to get the program loaded onto the server in order to start feeding movies and tv shows to my PS3.

Upon getting the connection going I came to the realization that my cable internet BLOWS. I have always wanted to avoid using cable service of any sort, but for internet it was really my best bet. Now streaming video to the PS3 over wifi was not the ideal setup, I will fix that by running a Cat6 cable in the near future, but that ended up being the least of my issues. When video streaming, or using any significant amount of bandwidth, my cable modem disconnects. The modem log file is filled with synchronization and downstream pulse failures. Tired of all this I have realized that Verizon Fios internet is available in my area. I will be getting it installed soon and hopefully I will be satisfied. I am really excited about finally getting a package with fast upload speeds. I am getting the 20Mbps up and 20Mbps down pacakge. Finally website management won't hog so much time, something I can't spare.