Wednesday, March 29, 2023
No, I don’t mean for letters. Remember sending letters? An actual piece of paper through the Mail? Stamps, sheets of paper?
Never mind all that I couldn’t tell you the last time I did all that nonsense other than for … well let’s just say Pre-Covid plus a few years.
I bake. A lot. Practically every day something goes into the oven. Most of that stuff is best off if weighed.
My coffee is weighed. To the gram. 21g Coffee, 10g creamer, 3g sweetener, 430ml water at 90c. Three “standard” ice cubes when brewed.
See, the meme is incorrect. The meme being that Americans will use anything except Metric. Truth is that personally, I mix my measurements. Even the old saw of measuring things in Bananas. Besides, the whole “Traditional” measurements here in the US are overlays for Metric so Stuff Your European Meme.
It really does help to have a good electronic scale. On the other hand, seems to have gone past Bananas and Metric to Breaking Bad.
You see, it was cheaper than going to the thrift stores within walking distance of my house. I ended up with a kitchen scale that measures down to 1/10th of a gram for all of $8.
Yep. Eight Whole Dollars. The last time I bought an electronic scale at the thrift, it was $5. Oh and this came to my front door in a little cardboard box. Helpful because I really do get enough exercise and don't need yet another walk!
I press the little button. It lights up cheerfully in blue and prints Hello on the screen. Then I weigh what I have to with the thoughts that this all is probably a bit more than anyone really needs.
I’m not in a motor home out in the wilderness making illicit things, I’m making coffee in the morning, or baked goods.
Good baked goods are a saviour. I have to have them. My workouts have my metabolism jacked up so fast that I get to an hour in and am having cookies. Home Made cookies. On a bench in front of City Hall. Or on the front bumper of my Jeep.
Hey, I actually look good in spandex workout clothes.
If you take anything from this ramble, keep in mind a good kitchen scale is perfect for maintaining a healthy diet. Portion control is important. Get your macro nutrients, hit your calorie count, and be gentle with the carbs. At 110 calories per ounce, 28.3g, it’s easy to get a sugar shock.
But that measurement? An “average” paperclip weighs a gram. So this thing is supposed to be accurate enough to weigh out our food in tenths of a paperclip.
It’s nuts. Or rather 25 pistachio nuts since that’s an ounce and right about 100 calories. Perfect for a late night snack in front of the reruns on the DVR.
There I go again. Measuring things in things other than metric.
That picture? Banana? 168.7g. 6 ounces or about 100 calories…
You don’t have to ask. Yes, I’m hungry. Going out to the kitchen, should I bring back something?
Sunday, March 26, 2023
I will say that I truly enjoy wandering around a flea market. There were a bunch of them around Philly and I made it a point to get my produce there as well as some home made jelly and baked goods.
I got stabbed at the flea market.
I thought it would be fun to take my son to the flea market to see the wide array of commodities being sold.
"Oh, look! There's an ice cream man!" My boy exclaimed. So we walked up to the ice cream booth and I said: "Hey there ice cream man!". And then we ordered a couple cones.
Next was the kettle-corn man; my favorite! So of course we said: "Hey kettle-corn man!" We watched the popcorn pop for a while, and didn't leave the kettle-corn guy's booth without a big bag of popcorn in hand.
And after that we visited the glass blower man. We said: "Hey glass blower man!". Then we watched the mesmerizing glass blower man for a while..
It was a pleasant evening up until we approached the little man at the woodworking booth and I said: "Hey there whittle guy!".
Saturday, March 25, 2023
If an old dude tries to give you advice while cutting slices off an apple with a pen knife...
Take the advice.
This morning at about 7:45, I was in a long line at a grocery store that opens at 8:00 for senior citizens only. A young man came from the parking lot and tried to cut in at the front of the line, but an old lady beat him back into the parking lot with her cane...
He returned and tried to cut in again but an old man punched him in the gut, then kicked him to the ground and rolled him away.
As he approached the line for the third time he said, “Look, if you don’t let me unlock the door you’re never going to get in there!”
And furthermore at the market...
An employee at the local grocery store was primarily responsible for keeping frozen goods well stocked.
At first, he only had a few items to manage, such as bagged ice, frozen pizza, and ice cream. However, as time went by, he found that his daily "to do" list from management was getting longer and longer, sometimes even including things outside the frozen section. At his breaking point, he went to his manager to complain about the unfair treatment and to state his grievances. He demanded that something had to be done.
The next day, he saw his "to do" list and was profoundly relieved. He had finally received just ice.
(You may want to read that last sentence out loud.)
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
The granddaughter Leia was all confused. She made a comment to granddad, Red. Now mind you, the character of Red is an irascible and irritating parody of a grumpy old man.
Anyway, the granddaughter, Leia, made a comment that she thought Red was so wise. The comment that has stuck with me is one of the best pieces of advice I have heard in quite a while.
I'll paraphrase it "It's alright, we're all making it up as we go along".
I want to add a "You'll figure it out" to that but it is something nobody told me until I was well out of college and on my own.
And that is the point of it all.
If you are too rigid and dogmatic, you're not going to enjoy yourself and whatever it is, you'll grind to a stop.
If I had that magic time machine and went back to my younger self, I'd tell myself that.
It's that rigidity that got me in big trouble.
It was the early 2000s, I was in Philadelphia. Inline skating was fading to just us hard core people. Even my mentor had transitioned to cycling. I had gone at it to the point where vacation was a week off from work and skated 204 miles. Usually with headphones on and listening to audio books and DJ sets on the iPod.
Yes, 7 consecutive days, carving so many loops in Fairmount Park where the Park Maintenance crew asked me why I was doing it.
"Because it's fun".
Ok, so Ricardo Lino ends his skating videos with that line and it brings a knowing smile to my face. But there's a flip side to that.
I was quite dogmatic, which is the bad side of consistency. I would weightlift in the mornings before work then skate the night away. Eventually season ends. Had to readjust the diet for the off season since I was burning 100 calories of food per mile, and at 100 miles a week, that's a lot of carbs.
However, the secret is that inline skating builds the outsides of your upper legs, the quadriceps muscle, much more than the insides. The result is that simply standing up would dislocate your knee cap.
Now THAT is not fun.
So what I am doing now to counteract all that is cross training on the bicycle. Yep, the anti-cyclist is now on a bike. And being true to form, I'm finding out a few secrets.
But the idea of putting someone who is built like a Baseball player with a broad chest on top of a piece of sports equipment that costs as much as a used car is pointless.
That broad chest of mine forms a very effective windbreak. I'd be the anchor man in a pack.
Better that I don't compete in a team.
So it all comes full circle. I am only competing against my yesterday.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, Competing Against My Yesterday requires consistency. Find a sport, or combination of sports that works well with your strengths and "run with it".
It isn't slow and steady wins the race, but more like repetition will sharpen the blade on the whetstone.
Sunday, March 19, 2023
A good solid telling of a little story I have heard a number of times. On the other hand I just got back from a workout and I'm a little loopy!
A crocodile is walking to the Roman Colosseum, where a gladiator duel is scheduled to take place.
Along the way, he runs into a serial killer.
The crocodile, being a crocodile, is unconcerned and promptly proceeds to devour her alive before continuing on his merry way to the Roman Colosseum.
He makes it there just fine, and enjoys a gladiatorial match for the ages- a feast for the eyes unlike any that have ever been seen.
While watching, he overhears a few fellow spectators who are particularly prone to gossip.
He learns that the serial killer from earlier was in fact the infamous Colosseum Killer, and rumors were abound that she was to strike again today, during the match.
This would surely have interrupted the entertainment, disrupting the show and ruining the crocodile's day.
While walking back home, the crocodile thinks back on his encounter. He pats himself on the back, incredibly pleased at himself for having eaten her.
At the end of the day, he was gladiator.
Saturday, March 18, 2023
How about a story that turns dark at the end? I'm not talking about a clarinet here...
A high school band teacher was trying to teach a new orchestral piece for their upcoming concert. Knowing that the head of the school board was going to be in attendance, the band teacher was under a significant amount of pressure to make a good impression, lest he risk having the funding for the arts and music programs cut.
As he tried to get the band to play a particularly difficult section of the composition, he became distracted by one of the clarinet players loudly talking with their friends.
Several times he reprimanded the clarinet player for talking, but each time the band continued to play, the student resumed talking.
Finally, the band teacher snapped and threw his baton at the clarinetist in anger, skewering the boy right through his heart.
The teacher was arrested, a trial commenced, he was found guilty of murder and subsequently sentenced to death by the electric chair.
Eventually the day came for the sentence to be carried out, and the teacher was given his final meal, walked to the chair, read his last rites, and the warden, with the heavy burden of duty, flipped the switch sending 2,500 volts of electricity through the teacher.
After he threw the switch again, cutting off the circuit of electricity, he became astonished to see the teacher sitting calmly in the chair, and other than a slight bit of smoke and singed hair, he appeared to be perfectly fine. So again he threw the switch to electrocute the teacher, and once more the teacher sat there no worse for wear. A third time the warden tried, and a third time the teacher remained perfectly unharmed.
So the warden, in accordance with state law, releases the teacher from incarceration, having failed three times to execute him.
As the teacher walked out of the prison gates, he was greeted by a throng of reporters eager to get the story. As he approached the reporters, a young journalist from the Times approached him with a microphone in hand.
Reporter: “They say you were electrocuted three times, how did you manage to survive?”
Band teacher: “I guess I’m just a bad conductor.”
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
My own theory of competition in sports is simple.
I'm not competing against you.
I'm not competing against the Team.
I'm not competing against the person down the block.
I am, however competing against my yesterday.
Someone once said that the power of compound interest will make you better, all you need to do is keep at it.
In other words, you did it yesterday. Just do it again but apply yourself.
Sure, that's simplistic but so is much of life.
Don't get me wrong, I have a dream. Of Duluth, Minnesota. I would LOVE to go to the North Shore Marathon and skate that. But time, funds, and logistics mean that it probably won't ever happen even if I am at 600 miles on the bike this year and nearing a lifetime career 24,000 miles on skates.
On the other hand, you need to be able to measure all this "stuff" right?
You can look at your watch, skate for a longer time.
You can measure your distance, run further.
You can look at your speed, bike faster.
All that is normally done once you have your feet up and have looked at all the gear that is needed while you are doing your thing, but you have to actually finish what you are doing.
How can you tell in a very basic and concrete way that you are not "killing yourself" while you are out there doing your favorite pastime?
Sure this doesn't work in a swimming pool so you swimmers may have to wait for the end of a "lap", but here we go...
It's called "The Talk Test", and it is much simpler than you expect.
The rule is basic. You're going at your favorite exercise. Full speed. You're feeling good, spry, and worked. How do you know that you are overdoing it?
Say a sentence. Talk to someone, even yourself. If your voice seems highly labored, you've gone too far and need to dial it down, take it back a notch. Too relaxed? Speed up.
On the other hand, this is so basic that you forget you are doing it.
When I skate or bike, I have on a sport watch. It is constantly checking my heart rate. I have a rate I like to hit, the average should be above 150, and the higher the better. I have averaged over 160 and for my age bracket, that is probably higher than it should be for an endurance workout.
But like my doctor said "I'm not worried about you".
There are wrinkles to this one and I have a habit of annoying anyone around me or at least alerting them to my presence.
Not really a bad thing.
The last time I was out on the bike, I was enjoying myself. I was carving a groove in the bike lanes, even though my normal route was interrupted by a police action and I had to cycle through the neighborhood.
Minor setback for me. I was saying, "Out Loud", to anyone who might have heard that I felt bad for the "kids in the high school" that had their learning interrupted by what was going on more than my having to "bike through this hood" to get my cardio burn on.
I passed a few people on that lap and when I came back I did not realize that one specific woman was there when I said "Around-and-around-and-around".
She responded "And you eventually get some serious distance done!".
I laughed at the goodhearted comment and realized that as a big guy with a big voice, I should watch the big words in case I interrupt someone else's routing.
So while you are out there, "Under Power" consider just repeating a sentence. It could be as simple as "I'm enjoying this workout!". Listen to how you say it. It should be clear and crisp.
Oh and if that sounds to soft and forced-upbeat, remember "Mind Over Matter" works too. Your mind in a positive state will help you do more and make you feel better than saying "I hate this workout".
Trust me, I used to be extremely asthmatic, and the first actual run I ever did was less than the perimeter of my mom's house.
Now, I'm most certainly, not.
Sunday, March 12, 2023
It's time change Sunday in my house. I'm busily resetting clocks and wondering why every room here has two or more of the things. How about you?
Here in Kentucky, you don't see too many people hang-gliding.
Ol' Zeek decided to save up and get a hang-glider. He takes it to the highest mountain, and after struggling to the top, he gets ready to take flight.
He takes off running and reaches the edge--into the wind he goes!
Meanwhile, Maw and Paw Hicks were sittin' on the porch swing talkin bout the good ol days when maw spots the biggest bird she ever seen! “Look at the size of that bird, Paw!” she exclaims.
Paw raises up, “Git my gun, Maw.” She runs into the house, brings out his pump shotgun.He takes careful aim. BANG...BANG.....BANG.....BANG!
The monster size bird continues to sail silently over the tree tops. “I think ya missed him, Paw,” she says.
“Yeah,” he replies, “but at least he let go of ol' Zeek!”
Saturday, March 11, 2023
I am feeling generous, and my file with all the jokes and stories is getting full so here are five little short gems for you to gnaw on!
What is the correct word: to exorcise or to exercise your dog?
The correct choice is to exorcise, as in to get the devils out. You do that by walking the dog.
If you do not believe me try keeping your German Shepherd inside with two short pee breaks a day and see what happens
Walked by the YMCA yesterday
A teenage boy was sat there stroking a duck. I said "young man, there's no need to feel down..."
Although my wife is still young, I think she's showing early signs old dementia.
For example, twice this week she told me she doesn't remember what she saw in me.
I was gifted a resistor by an old monk
So far, I haven't been able to use it in any circuits due to it's abnormally high resistance. Too mamy ohms.
Thought For The Day....
Are old ladies in wheelchairs with blankets over their legs simply retired mermaids?
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Two Ingredient Cupcakes are 89 Calories until I add this Five Ingredient Chocolate Icing, 223 Calories total
Ok there are a lot of caveats to this.
First of all there's a hack involved. A Box of Cake Mix, that clocks in at 1600 calories total. The box says 1/10th of it is 160 calories, but if you are making cupcakes like I did, it means that you are getting 18 of them. Math puts that at a hair below 89 calories.
Now really you do want icing on that but that hack?
A Box of Cake Mix plus a can of Diet Soda gives you 18 "Right Sized" Cupcakes.
I was dubious, but it really tasted pretty good. Yellow Cake mix, right off the shelf, and a can of Diet Ginger Ale. When it baked, it didn't taste weird, or even taste like Ginger Ale. They tasted like a Yellow Cake. Different sodas and different cake mixes will taste different - Go Wild! Be Creative!
But Bill, I hear you ask, what about the Icing?
I found a Five Ingredient "Simple Chocolate Icing" all over the place. Now it's here. I am using the icing at a "regular" rate. Not a huge amount on top, I'll leave that to you. I will do the math for 1/18th of the ingredients below once I piece it together.
Add Icing, 134 Calories. Yes, do add the icing, it's a really good recipe, trust me.
Total is 223 calories, give or take.
- Box Cake Mix. I used "Duncan Hines" Yellow Cake Mix.
- 1 Can Soda. 12 Ounces. Pick your favorite flavor. Diet, if you use regular it will increase the calorie count by 10 calories per cupcake. Your choice.
- Mix the two together in a right-sized mixing bowl.
- Stir them together until smooth.
- Bake at 350F/180C for 18 minutes, give or take.
- Test the cakes with a toothpick so that it comes out clean.
- Allow to cool.
Chocolate Icing (YAY!)
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 7 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, butter, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl.
- Mix using an electric mixer until blended and creamy.
Sunday, March 5, 2023
So this would be a perfect story for a sunny warm Sunday morning, or so I thought when I found it in my files!
One day, God summoned Adam for an important task he must complete...
God Said, "Adam, I want you to do something for me."
Adam said, "Gladly Lord, what do you want me to do?"
God said, "Go down into that valley."
Adam said, "What's a valley?"
God explained it to him...
Then God said, "Cross the river."
Adam said, "What's a river?"
God explained that to him...
Then God said, "Go over to the hill."
Adam said, "What's a hill?"
So, God explained to Adam what a hill was...
God told Adam, "On the other side of the hill you will find a cave."
Adam said, "What's a cave?"
God explained what a cave was...
Then God said, "In the cave you will find a Woman."
Adam said, "What's a woman?"
So God explained that to him too...
God continued, "I want you to reproduce."
Adam said, "Well, gosh, how do I do that?"
God muttered away to himself, rather annoyed. Then, just like everything else, God explained that to Adam as well...
So, Adam goes down into the valley, across the river, over the hill, into the cave, and finds the woman. Then, after about thirty minutes, Adam was back...
God, his patience wearing thin, said angrily, "What is it now?"
Adam then asked... "What's a headache?"
Saturday, March 4, 2023
I have been propagating plants pretty much all of my life. Unfortunately the last crop of Croton I had propagated failed. I guess that week of winter we had was too much for the babies.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat!
What did my wondering eyes behold.
After a brutal late Autumn wind storm I noticed that my young Elm tree had finally lost all of its leaves in preparation for the cold snowy winter ahead.
I smiled to my self realizing how nature helps all creatures prepare for the coming seasonal changes.
But then my gaze was drawn to a red shotgun shell which had lodged near the top of the tree.
I don't know if it was ejected there, or carried by a bird but you can imagine my surprise at seeing...
A cartridge in a bare tree.
An astronaut flies in his space shuttle
And after flying for a while he stops at the nearest gas station in space to fill up.
Once he’s done he asks the cashier where the nearest bar is.
The cashier respond with “if you just go over to the next moon, you’ll find it. It’s called The Keyboard.”
The astronaut thanks the cashier and leaves.
Once at the moon, we walks inside and sits down.
The bartender asks him what he would like. “Just a beer. Also, why is this place called The Keyboard?”
The bartender says “because it’s a space bar!”
A guy is hired to paint lines on a little country road.
The boss gives him a big can of paint and a brush and sends him out.
At the end of the day, when he comes to get paid, he tells the boss he got two miles done. The boss is pretty impressed.
At the end of the second day, the painter reports that he did half a mile. The boss is a little surprised at the drop, but he thinks maybe the first-day enthusiasm just wore off.
At the end of the third day, the painter reports that he did 400 yards. The boss says "That's quite a difference from the first day."
The painter says "Yeah, well it's a lot longer walk back to the paint can now."
Wednesday, March 1, 2023
No, it's not like I've been abducted by aliens, then fell into a sci-fi furor.
It's more like yet another flat.
Oh sure, if you cycle, you replace tires frequently and shrug as you go out and roll through a Century on the weekend.
Never did a Century on the weekend, I'm purposely holding my distance down to "intermediate". I guess around South Florida we have a few things that are working against my going further than that.
On the roads.
Get the picture?
I went, according to my records, 1200 miles on my old tires before I had a flat.
Oh sure, it's dumb luck. The dummy would be me. I've been told that by others. People don't go 1200 miles, the equivalent of Fort Lauderdale to Times Square in NYC, without a flat.
It might be better if I had more flats. I'd be better at changing tubes. Hmmm... NO!
Sitting at a water stop, mid workout, in front of Wilton Manors City Hall. I had my Dashboard Cookies and Thermos of ice water while waving hello to the very friendly woman who was cleaning the front doors there. Mouth full of Dashboard Cookies is not a good way to say hello.
That Dashboard Cookie thing? Park four cookies on the dashboard of your car and by the time you get back, the sun will have moved the shadow of that tree you parked under and they are now baking in the sun. Sure, the cream between the vanilla cookies melted in the bag and made a mess. Next time get the sewing kit cookies and use those. Four to a bag. Perfect for a mid workout snack. Bring extra water, you are doing endurance, aren't you?
I changed the tubes in the tire after I got home. There was crap on the road. Crap being a wire that got pounded into the tube to a depth of a thumbnail width. I discovered it with a mouth full of Dashboard Cookies.
See how it all fit together? I pumped that back wheel to 30 psi, I don't know how may bananas that would be, nor how may giraffes, so you'll have to find the conversion factors yourself.
And the tires are curing just like before, using two US Quarters as a clamp and a spreader for the pressure. A binder clip helped. Those things are really useful.
The last time I got a lecture about not looking I laughed. 12 to 22 mph on a bike with the sun in your eyes does not make for accuracy. Just don't run over that bottle that someone carelessly tossed into the road. That lemonade in the water bottle is most likely not lemonade.