Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Big Silver Jugs of Jaipur

There were two identical (as far as I could see) jugs like this. It seems that Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, when he journeyed to England for the coronation of Edward VII, only wanted to drink Ganges water on his trip. These vessels were commissioned for that purpose.

These jugs and other impressive items, such as weapons were housed in buildings that are part of the City Palace complex, most of which is still occupied by the royal family.

This is the pavilion which houses the silver urns and had been used for royal audiences back when the Maharaja ruled.

That fickle feeling of speed

I would be willing to bet that this has happened to most people who drive: You travel some long distance on an interstate highway and then the last few miles to your destination are on regular streets. You look at the speedo and are doing 65 in a 30 MPH zone! It is perfectly understandable, not to a police officer of course; you've gotten used to tooling along at 80 and so 65 seems slow. You really have to rely on your instruments.

Speed, when running is measured differently than in driving: Runners will mostly express their efforts in minutes and seconds per mile. The range of speeds is much narrower than when driving. Drivers could realistically expect to be going anywhere from 25 MPH to 80 MPH while a typical runner may go as fast as 6 minutes per mile (in a short race) to as slow as 9 minutes per mile in a long slow workout. This is a range of only about 4 miles per hour. Even with this small range, it is easy to tell within 20-30 seconds/mile what your pace is.

In spite of this fine precision, one still feels the effects of habituation: For instance, I have been injured for a few months and now that I am feeling better, am trying to get back to my usual speed. At my age, I need to run 8:00 minutes/mile to qualify as an entrant into the Boston Marathon, so I naturally try and keep all of my training runs at or below 8:00 per mile. Last week I finally broke 8:00 a couple of times and not by more than a second or two per mile. It felt really fast and not due to effort--my cardiovascular system is not being pushed at this pace. I'm just not used to this speed. Again, it is good to have instruments: In this case a digital watch with a timer on it. If it wasn't for the watch I would think I was right back up to speed, rather than around 30 seconds per mile slower than I ought to be for these distances.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Double Papasan completes the project

My wife's workspace: I made the desktop and Ikea made the rest of the table. She has always wanted a double papasan chair. Back when she was pregnant with Dahlia, we went to a Halloween party at Attila and Michelle's place and they had such a chair. She dressed-up as a big black pregnant cat (she was past 8 months by then) and curled up on their papasan chair. She stayed put for the better part of the party and vowed then that we would one day own a chair like that. 10 years later, the dream has come true. My work space is over on this side.

Weekend Lunch Update: Mussels

My wife and I left the kids at home and went to a fancy v. the usual grocery store--this is pretty much a date, or at least bonding time. I toyed with getting some sushi, but it was kind of expensive and of questionable provenance. The mussels were only half the price but I had to get a pound of them, which is a couple of times more than needed plus they don't keep and nobody else in the house likes them.

I got through most of them though.


Monday, February 01, 2010