Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day

I must say my anthem for Earth Day will always be Michael Jackson's "Earth Song".

But (I already mentioned that couple of years ago).  So this is my runner-up.  Forgot how much I enjoyed the Counting Crows cover.

And yes I do realize there's a certain irony with the song when applied to this day.  But I think it still gets the point across.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Geek sleep pods

Staffers at some London data centers won’t be burdened with long commutes when the 2012 Olympics roll into town this summer and jam up city streets. Instead, they’ll have futuristic sleeping pods to crash in so they can never leave work.

In the past month, a London company called PodTime has sold 19 pods at £1,375 ($2,190) a pop to three collocation facilities, including a data center operated by Interxion, says Jon Gray, the founder of the 1-year-old company.

Gray, who thought up the pod business one drowsy afternoon while working as a project manager for Merrill Lynch, was surprised when Interxion — which operates 28 data centers across Europe — approached him in February, looking to buy pods. They quickly struck a deal and Interxion had its first pods within a month.

Until then, Gray thought his target market was overworked financial staffers, airport travelers, and youth hostels. “To be honest, it was not an application for the pods that we’d ever though of,” he says. “We thought we’d come up with everything we could think of, but Interxion were the first [data center].”

Soon other London data centers were calling. Gray wasn’t at liberty to say who else has bought the pods, but one company bought four of them. A third company bought five.

The pods come complete with lockable doors, a magazine rack, a shelf power supply, LED lights and the special kind of burrowing thrills you can usually only get from an MRI. All in a 4x4x6.5-foot package.

In a press release, Interxion said that it bought the pods so that engineering staff could stay onsite for 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the games. “Interxion realized the need to take its resilience that extra mile to ensure that its facilities … were not hindered,” the company said.

How bad will traffic be? On some days, London’s underground subway system, the Tube, is expected to carry more passengers than it’s ever handled in the past — 4.6 million travelers per day. Local transit officials are encouraging businesses to let employees work from home, and they’re encouraging employees to be ready to juggle their travel plans in the event that transit systems are overwhelmed.  

These look like a lot of fun, although I imagine they're definitely not for claustorphobics.  The site also includes a demonstrative video.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baby #5 on the way for Taylor Hanson!

Hanson‘s latest release? Another baby for Taylor!

The musician, 29, who’s one-third of the band Hanson, and his wife Natalie, 28, are expecting their fifth child, their rep tells PEOPLE exclusively.

“Natalie and I are so anxious to meet our fifth mini-Hanson,” Taylor tells PEOPLE. “As are the four siblings at home who are counting the days to the arrival.”

The new baby, who’s due in late 2012, will join elder siblings Ezra, 9½; Penelope, who turns 7 on Thursday; River, 5½; and Viggo, 3, along with Isaac and Zac Hanson‘s own four children.

The family friendly band is currently in the middle of an international tour to promote their album Shout It Out (which debuted at no. 2 on the Billboard Independent chart).

“After two kids, you’re outnumbered,” Hanson told PEOPLE in 2009. “So once you cross having three, having [more] is not such a big deal.” His children would agree. Added the singer: “I think it’s pretty much ‘the more the merrier’ for them at this point.”

Wow just wow.  At this point I have no words.  Taylor must be going for some kind of record! LOL.

And what's more scary is that his kids are about the same age he and his brothers were when their first album came out.

He does make very cute babies though, maybe this time poor Penelope will finally get a sister.

Congrats to the expectant parents! :).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sweden introduces gender-neutral pronoun

How can you raise a child in an environment free of gender bias when the very language you speak distinguishes boys from girls?

Well, Sweden is fixing that obvious linguistic flaw by introducing a new gender-neutral pronoun:
Just days after International Women's Day a new pronoun, hen (pronounced like the bird in English), was added to the online version of the country’s National Encyclopedia. The entry defines hen as a "proposed gender-neutral personal pronoun instead of he [han in Swedish] and she [hon]."The National Encyclopedia announcement came amid a heated debate about gender neutrality that has been raging in Swedish newspaper columns and TV studios and on parenting blogs and feminist websites. It was sparked by the publication of Sweden's first ever gender-neutral children's book, Kivi och Monsterhund (Kivi and Monsterdog). It tells the story of Kivi, who wants a dog for "hen's" birthday.
 The whole thing is kind of long so here is the link to the whole article for those interested. Via Neatorama

Awesome eye-popping graffiti by TSF Crew

flickr official site via collossal

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

No clay season or French Open for Kim Clijsters

Kim Clijsters will miss the French Open after announcing she will skip the claycourt season so she can be ready for the London Olympics and Wimbledon.

The Belgian has not played since tearing a hip muscle at the Sony Ericsson Open in Florida in March, with her recovery going slower than expected.

She is scheduled to resume training in around three weeks and will then focus on winning gold at this year's Games, something she has always targeted since confirming this would be her final season on the WTA Tour.
"My current physical condition does not allow me to get into top shape for Roland Garros," she said on her official website.

"However I can not wait to begin a long period of preparation for the grasscourt season, with the main objectives Wimbledon and the Olympics."

The three-time US Open champion is due to make her comeback at the Unicef Open in Rosmalen starting on June 17, one week before Wimbledon gets underway.

Well this was not unexpected.  Guess London will truly be the last hurrah for her.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Have a little mayo with your melon

You’ve probably never eaten melon with mayonnaise before. Well, we saw it being done by actress Erika Toda on the T.V. drama “SPEC” and thought we would give it a try. But seriously, melon with mayonnaise? Wouldn’t melon taste better as, well, simple melon?

In the drama, the heroine portrayed by Toda slices a melon, squeezes globs of mayonnaise on the fruit and eats the combination delightfully with a spoon. To find out if it really tastes good, one of our reporters tried the same combination, and to our surprise, discovered that the result is unexpectedly tasty! Wow!

The melon alone has quite a sweet flavor, but the slightly sour taste of mayonnaise apparently envelops the sweetness of the melon in just the right way; the strong flavor of the mayonnaise actually takes the sweetness of the melon to a whole new level! If you’re tired of plain old melon, this is certainly a new way of “upgrading” the taste of your melon.

Regardless of what your initial reaction to the idea may be, we highly recommend this mayonnaise and melon combination to our viewers. A word of advice: when trying this, don’t be stingy with the mayonnaise. To really enjoy the resulting flavor, add globs and globs of mayonnaise! We hope you have fun trying this unique fruit creation!

Photo and video: RocketNews24 via Neatorama

I'm not sure I'm convinced even the woman trying it isn't thrilled.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Q&A with Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis was known for her fighting spirit on court and, sometimes, her fighting words off it. You can see her drive is still there today, but also that time has softened the attitude. The five-time Grand Slam winner—who’s the same age as Venus Williams (31) and owns the same number of singles titles (43)—retired in 2007. 

Hingis, who married French equestrian show jumper Thibault Hutin in 2010, still travels a lot but lives in Switzerland (and has a place in Paris). She’ll be at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston this weekend for a 40th anniversary celebration also featuring Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, and others.

We caught up with her by phone last week while she was on vacation in the Cayman Islands. Hingis talked about her belief in the new world No. 1, her experiment with coaching, the men she likes to watch on court, and why she thoroughly enjoys life off court.

Which active player’s game do you think most resembles yours?

They’re all almost 6 foot, so it’s hard to compare. (laughs) Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova have been doing so well lately. I really like the game of Azarenka. At one of my last tournaments I got to play her. I thought already back then that she played so well and that she was able to win Grand Slams. It took a little while, four or five years, but I always believed in her game. And I told her after she won Australia, “Finally, you did it!”

Azarenka was on a streak like you were back in 1997.

She has so much confidence. I remember myself—you go on court, and you feel like you can’t lose. That’s such an advantage, because you’re not nervous and you’re playing well. It will be tough for anybody to beat her at this point.

Azarenka has said confidence is overrated, that it’s just about hard work. Your thoughts?

She is a player who always played very well. But at the Grand Slams when she played quarters or semis, she couldn’t beat the top players. I don’t know if she got nervous or something—I wasn’t in her skin. Sometimes you can have a hard first or second round, but it really begins in the quarters and the second week—that’s where you have to bring your A game. We didn’t see her doing that before. I think really her turning point was when she made the finals at the [WTA] Championships last year. Then she started playing well in Australia and all that. Something clicked. I don’t know what it was, but something did. Is that confidence? I think physically and mentally she did it all together. After winning matches, confidence comes along. But you still have to go out there and hit the ball.

Do you think, as many people do, that Agnieszka Radwanska is the top player whose game most resembles yours? 

She doesn’t have the same power as some of the other players, but she makes up for it with touch and strategy. I think it is difficult to say she plays like me, as every player is a bit unique.

Do you watch a lot of tennis? Which players do you most enjoy watching?

Yes, of course, especially now that I’ve been invited to more places. At the beginning of the year I felt like I almost been on the tour myself—Paris, Australia, Doha, now I’m going to Charleston. So players will be like, “Oh, you’re back on tour!” It’s kind of nice that we get invited and there’s a lot of anniversaries this year, like Coubertin and Charleston. I enjoy watching many of the players. Of course Azarenka is playing great and is fun to watch at the moment, but there are several WTA players who can compete for that top spot. On the guys’ side I’ve enjoyed watching the Federer-Nadal rivalry, and I will be keen to see if Djokovic can keep the top spot for the long term.

Do you see yourself coming back to professional tennis?

No, not at all. My life is nice and comfortable, and I enjoy myself playing these exhibitions. Also I’m training juniors at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy. That’s good enough. I don’t miss the grind and the drilling and all the travel. I like the travel sometimes but full-time, no. I think that’s for the younger players now.

Some of your contemporaries—like the Williams sisters—are still around and playing at a high level. Does that surprise you?

No. As long as they feel great physically and they still have the hunger, I think the right decision for everybody is different. They’ve always paced themselves well, even when they started playing. We started playing on the tour at the same time—Venus and I are the same age, Serena’s a year younger—but they always paced themselves well. They didn’t always play the full schedule from the beginning of their career. They just did their thing the way they thought it was best to do.

Do you keep in touch with many of the players you were on tour with?

There are some players I meet at the Grand Slams. For example, Lindsay [Davenport]. I played with her last year at the French Open and Wimbledon, and we’ll play together again. She’s doing interviews for Tennis Channel. Before the ceremony in Doha she sent me a little text, “Hey! I see you.” And of course when she had her baby girl in January, we were in touch. Or Monica [Seles] and Anna [Kournikova], we see each other at the tennis events.

Could you see yourself doing much TV commentary? 

I like to be more active. I did commentary in 2004, and it’s not something that I’m thinking of, no.

How’s the coaching going?

I’m helping a group of five junior girls aged 17 to 21. I like to be more on the court and helping that way and not being behind the scenes and commentating. It’s not even like coaching—it’s like consulting. I’m not traveling with the girls all the time like when I used to play. It’s only when I’m at home, and it’s sometimes at the Grand Slams as well. We’ll see—it’s a developing project. Right now it’s go with the flow.

How are you enjoying life as a retired pro tennis player? 

I enjoy it. (laughs) I mean, who wouldn’t? Tennis gave me everything that I can enjoy today really, what I worked all my life for, that I can really profit from the last couple of years and hopefully for years to come. I can spend time with my husband. You still get to travel, you get to see different places. Some day you gotta change priorities, you know?

Do you play and practice tennis much apart from the exos?

I like to keep in shape so I play a bit of tennis and often go out on my horses.

Are you still spending much time on competitive horse-jumping?

It’s been a little less. Last year and this year I haven’t done any competitions. I’ve been busy with a lot more exhibitions [and things] like that [Australian Open] trophy ceremony. That’s been more a priority, the tennis world again. The horses only a little bit when I’m at home or I accompany my husband when he goes to shows.

How are things going with your women’s tennis apparel line? How involved are you?

I am very involved. I help with the design, have spent time at Tonic’s headquarters in Vancouver, have done product testing and look forward to continuing to promote my co-branded line of Tonic Tennis Apparel by Martina Hingis. We just had a presentation in Switzerland. I hope that people will like it. You can look it up on the Internet at [The tentative launch date is late spring/early summer.]

You were on the Players’ Council a decade ago. What issues were you interested in at that time?

Oh, we were all on the board back then—I think it was myself, Lindsay, Monica. Other girls too. All of us wanted to have a say in how the tour should be run. In a way we wanted to protect ourselves. Our priorities were to have good tournaments and sponsorships and be aware of what’s happening on the tour. I think it’s very important to follow that even if you are a player. You should be interested in playing the matches, but I think there is a lot more to it.

What issues would you be interested in if you were on the Players’ Council today?

Tennis has changed so much. The sport has grown so much that there are so many things to do. But it should be divided by the players. The men had a lot more tournaments. They had three events in the same week, where we had only one event. We wanted to spread the tennis world, making it so we don’t have to play each other all the time. At that time you played one Williams one week, you played both Williams next week, then you had Davenport, Seles and Capriati waiting. So it was pretty hard. Where the men can divide themselves. Like Nadal played Queen's before Wimbledon, and Federer played Halle. They don’t have to face each all the time. At our time it wasn’t like that. I don’t know the way it is today, but I think it’s still a little bit of the same problem, that you have to play the same players over and over again. Get more tournaments and make it bigger.

Are you looking forward to the Family Circle Cup exhibition?

I’m excited to go back to Charleston. It’s been a little while since the last time I played there. To be on the same court as greats like Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, I think it’s pretty cool.

Martina Navratilova was on ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Did you get to watch?

No, I didn’t see that. But I heard that she was doing it. Right now I’m not watching much TV.

You’re very competitive even now, even when playing exos. Is this competitive nature a gift, a burden, something else?

Yes, I got the competitiveness from my mom. It’s always been very competitive in the family. Everything I do today, whatever I do, I still want to do it well. Now we started playing doubles a little bit as well. And same thing with my husband. We share and enjoy, but when we play—play cards, play backgammon, whatever—it’s like a competition. I think everybody is competitive in the bottom of their heart. You need some kind of drive to get motivated.

As a coach if you could give only two or three tips, what would they be?

Be a student of the game, be dedicated and, most importantly, enjoy it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Martina Hingis Hertz Women's Parking Challenge

Apparently Martina now owns nothing but Mercedes herself (although I'm sure she's kept all her Porches). 

Couple of other randoms from a Mercedes Launch Party and Tonic clothing line shoot.

Pics courtesy of  &

There's also a video from the event (which took place March 17th in Zurich) here:

Monday, April 02, 2012

Kim Clijsters comeback, Olympics & media

Four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters makes her return to tennis on Wednesday in Key Biscayne. She has missed the last two months while recovering from an ankle injury. Busted Racquet caught up with her this weekend to talk about her comeback, Olympic plans and the challenges that face the No. 1 player in the sport.

Busted Racquet: How are you feeling?

Kim Clijsters: My rehab since the Australian is going well. I've had some tests done on my ankle and I feel like I'm ready to go. I'm still going to be playing with my ankle taped probably until the end of the season as a precuation, but I've been in the States for a good week now. First we were in New Jersey visiting my family-in-laws and we came to Miami a couple of days ago. The weather is nice and I've been able to have some good practice days.

Busted Racquet: You've said you're working with your sights set on tournaments in July. Is it hard to prepare for tournaments now when you have a long-term goal?

Kim Clijsters: With a tough summer ahead, I was going to change up the intensity of the practice and preparations. It was going to be a bigger buildup for the summer. There are a few things that have changed a little bit and will change as compared to last year.

Busted Racquet: Do you have your year planned out or are you going to see how your ankle holds up?

Kim Clijsters: My calendar is set and I'm going to finish the whole season, whether it's playing at the US Open or if I make it back to the top 10 or top 8 and being a part of the championships, we'll see where it ends. I'm going to play it by ear and then I'll see how I feel and how I'm doing and how my body feels. For now, everything is set for the Olympics and then we'll see afterwards.

Busted Racquet: Ever since you've come back to the sport, there's been speculation about when you'll leave. Now that the Olympics is almost here, how strange is it that the build-up is nearing an end? And does it ever get strange having to talk about your retirement and family planning with the media?

Kim Clijsters: It doesn't really feel strange because I've always been very open and honest in press conferences or talking to the people. I speak with my heart. There have been moments where I've felt like it's hard -- talking about the Olympics -- but in the past year, I've been able to have a good balance with my home life and being an athlete and a mom and trying to be the best that I can be. The rhythm that we have now is good and I'm happy with where I'm at.

Busted Racquet: How much do you pay attention to the sport when you're not playing?

Kim Clijsters: I try to follow it, mainly online. When I'm home I have no time to watch TV. Frankly, I work out and the rest of the day is spending time with my family. I clean up the house or prepare for the next day. I don't have enough time to watch full matches, but I try to keep up.

Busted Racquet: Since you've been out, there's a new No. 1 in women's tennis. Victoria Azarenka has actually only dropped one set since you took one off of her in the Australian Open semifinals. How do the pressures of being No. 1 affect players? We've seen many a woman slip in their game in recent years after getting to the top.

Kim Clijsters: You can be ready to become No. 1 tennis wise, but you also have to be ready mentally and emotionally and physically as well. When you become No. 1 in the first year as a young girl, it's hard, but it's a lot harder to stay on top. Victoria has a lot of experience and has played big matches and beat big players before. 

In her case, it was just a matter of mentally keeping cool. It's not like she played a different game. She's become more consistent and stronger. When she walks on court, she has a confidence that she shows and her opponents see it. It comes with being undefeated and winning your first Grand Slam. It's great to see that those sorts of things happen to people. When I became No. 1 at a young age, I hadn't won a Grand Slam yet, so I had to deal with the questions that Caroline Wozniacki got. "Is she worthy?" It's not easy, it's a confidence thing. You learn more about how you perform in big matches and big points.

Busted Racquet: We always ask, what's your racquet preference: "c" or "q?"

Kim Clijsters: I don't know if it's the right way, but I spell it r-a-c-k-e-t.

Busted Racquet: Oh, Kim! And we were doing so well too! It's slightly disappointing. Thanks for talking with us today.

Kim Clijsters: (Laughs) Take care.

yahoo sports

Yes I realize this isn't exactly new given we already know the result of Miami and the fact that Kim is out again for another month, but I thought it was a great interview so I'm sharing it nonetheless. ;).

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Song of the Moment-Ingrid Michaelson-Do It Now

I highly recommend her latest album "Human Again" where the song is from.

I've got all of her previous albums myself (all of it is quite good).

Her songs are lighthearted, thought provoking, moving and at times quite funny.

Guaranteed to lift whatever mood you may be in.