Saturday, January 10, 2004

Beer Has Calories?

(Morning weigh-in: 181.5#, 15% body fat)

Rode last night, not that bad though I had some respiratory issues, but it sure was cold. I was supposed to hook up with Joe but he went to Mother's downtown earlier in the evening and "peaked early," and by the time I finished my ride, he was back home in Bethlehem. So, I went over to Which Brew, had a Troegs Mad Elf and a Delerium Tremens (both in 10-oz snifters, I'm such a beer snob), then drifted across the street to Porters to catch a set or so of Leather and Lace, an acoustic duo that I like. Unfortunately I got there just after their first set ended. (I caught up with a bunch of people there though, whom I saw earlier at WB and told about the show, and who'd hurried over to catch the first set.) A Troegs Oatmeal Stout and a Rogue Yellow Snow took me thru the second set so I drifted on home... For some reason I woke up this morning a little under the weather, but I got moving; first to the coffee shop, then to the gym -- I'm starting the seasonal switch from strength to endurance training.

My next task today (other than haircut/drycleaning/groceries) is to get new eyeglasses. Many of my friends were ecstatic when I told them I was thinking of getting new ones (the ones I have aren't exactly stylish), and Doug said he and Lori would help me pick a good pair. I'm meeting them, and also Kris Rigler, at the Lehigh Valley Mall to make it finally happen -- if we find a good pair today I'm buyng them dinner.

Friday, January 09, 2004

(morning weigh-in: 183.5#, 13% body fat)

Getting ready to go for a ride right now, too bad it's 9 degrees above zero outside. Short & sweet baby...

Thursday, January 08, 2004

a little experiment

(Morning weigh-in: 182#, 15% body fat, obsession index near 100%.)

No exercise today, I took the day off. I've got a handle on the exercise, and I'm coming to grips with the nutrition thing, but I still need to get my act together when it comes to rest and recovery. (Actually, I went to the gym after work, and realized I forgot to pack my gym bag this morning, but still.) More rest is in the agenda though. Going to be hitting the sack early tonight -- for me -- but I thought I'd play around here first. I have a ton of unused space available to me from my ISP for a personal web page, thought I'd start putting it to some good use:

Here's a shot of Doug (on the right) and me at Weyerbacher, Halloween 1999 I as far as I can remember. We started out from my place on bikes, or was that the year before... uh, now I can't remember...

Anyway, just putting this up to see how it works.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I was supposed to go for a ride after work, but managed to procrastinate until about 8:30, then it took me another 45 minutes or so to get to the point where I was actually on the saddle and rolling. Rode the towpath to just before Freemansburg & back. I was so bundled up (temps in the teens, major wind chill) and it was so windy that I didn't move very fast, got home around 11:00.

yesterday, continued

Morning weigh-in: 183 lbs, 15% body fat. So things are going my way...

One thing I didn't mention yesterday: I saw a Virtual Pubbster at my gym yesterday, the girl who carpooled with Joe G and me up to Burlington two years ago, and chewed our ears off all the way up with tales of woe. Outdoorsy girl, but she recently joined the gym because, like she said, she has some New Years resolutions of her own...

She's been dating the singer from Endless Mountain (local bluegrass band) and seems much happier now, life is good again ("be like the squirrel, girl"). Anyway, it was a strange coincidence, since I almost never run into these people outside of a Virtual Pub context, and I'd just joined that band's mailing list the night before. I guess it's a small world after all.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Recipe for Disaster

One of the girls in the Chain Gang is a real homemaker, very into crafts, cooking etc. She thought it would be a good idea if we all contributed recipes and made a Chain Gang cookbook -- after all, our unofficial motto is "an eating club with a biking problem." Nothing's been done about it yet, so I posted a recipe on our mailing list, "Fettuccine and Wilted Greens in Olive Oil and Garlic," which is a vegan version of the dish that got Joe, Doug and myself kicked out of the Black Bread Cafe (in Jim Thorpe) a few years ago.

The story: Joe (who's vegan, and rather strict about it), Doug (vegetarian, not so strict) and I rode in Jim Thorpe, and afterward decided to get some food in town. I'd been to the Black Bread Cafe once or twice before and liked it, and I think Doug & his wife (or was it Joe & Cindy?) ate there a few times as well; it's a somewhat upscale place (though "precious" may be a better term) with really good food. Joe was a little skeptical when we suggested it, but that's where we ended up. I forget what Doug ordered, but Joe got something like "pasta & wilted greens" which came with a garlic sauce -- this was the only thing on the menu he could order besides salad, and he made a point of telling the waitress up front that he couldn't eat meat or animal products, milk etc, before ordering (like I do with food allergies). I ordered the same thing as Joe, plus the black bean hummos appetizer.

Doug and I are pigging out on our appetizers while Joe sits there hungry, and then our meal comes out, all fancy and garnished -- with grated parmesan cheese. Joe stares at it for a second in disbelief, then asks the waitress to take it back and get him some without the cheese. She comes out with a new plate, and Joe starts eating, but stops because the sauce was made with butter. Doug and I are still stuffing ourselves, but I'm starting to sense trouble... Joe gets the waitress to take his second plate back, hopefully to get some non-butter-based sauce.

About a minute later, out comes the chef, all decked out in his chef uniform -- he might even have had one of those hats, I don't remember -- and he starts out jocular but you can see he's pissed. (By the way, there's a framed article on the wall, complete with photo, about how wonderful and upscale-french-cuisine-savvy our new friend is.) He demands to know what's wrong, Joe starts telling him, he gets all testy, which ticks off Doug who fires a few zingers, and tempers are mounting, and finally Chef Jaques says "Well, what do you expect me to do, make a whole new batch?"

Joe says "Uh, please?" and that proves the straw that brakes the camel's back.

Chef starts yelling "Get out! Get out of my restaurant!" We tried to pay, but he was like "No! Get out NOW!!" So we left. Coward that I am, I was dying of embarrassment the whole time, but as soon as we were outside we all burst out laughing and ran away down the street. We just got a $90 meal for nothing, though Joe was still hungry...

I've never been back, though I hear they have a new chef.

Anyway, here's a version that'll please just about everyone, with one possible exception:

Fettuccine and Wilted Greens in Garlic and Oil

Light olive oil, suitable for cooking
A jar of minced garlic in olive oil, or you can mince your own, several cloves worth
A box of fettuccine, or whatever pasta you like
A bag of mesclin-style salad mix (w/ baby spinach, chard, radicchio, arugula etc)

Pour maybe 1/4 inch of oil into a frying pan and put a couple of spoonfuls of minced garlic in it (amount varies according to taste -- I like a lot). Start heating the oil on low/medium flame, stirring constantly, and start the water for the pasta.

Keep cooking the oil, stirring often and taking care not to burn the garlic, while the pasta cooks. When the pasta is ready, drain it and set it aside.

Toss several handfuls of the mixed greens in the oil (way more than you think you'll need, since they'll shrink when they wilt), and turn the heat up a bit. Stir everything around and let the greens wilt, then pour greens/garlic/oil over the pasta and stir it all together.

This makes enough for two meals for me, your mileage may vary. Enjoy!

Monday, January 05, 2004

The Party's Over

Back to work today. But, instead of being stuck in a long drawn out boring day, I walked straight into an emergency! And it wasn't my fault! Dealing with a series of tube leaks in a header we supplied, meetings, research etc, took up the morning, then in the afternoon I started on the (rush) job that I'm supposed to be on. Union meeting at 4:00, the day just flew by...

Went to the gym after work. Colette, a riding friend from way back, has just started teaching spinning classes, and also switched to my gym, and has been bugging me to check out her class (I told her "after the new year"). I haven't done a spin class in years (and didn't particularly enjoy them then), but I found myself actually surprised by how much I liked her class. Well, Colette's always been pretty cool, so she's got herself a convert.

Today was also "Mug Night" at Which Brew: dinner discounts for Mug Club members on the first Monday of the month. They're normally closed Mondays, but the local PBA uses Which Brew for their monthly meeting, so they open for members as well. Typical Mug Club crowd; I met Brian there for dinner. He'd just come from his gym, where Colette used to work & convinced him to join, before she quit to teach where I go so he wasn't all that happy to hear my story... I had pork and saurkraut (traditional New Years Day dish hereabouts) and a Lancaster Milk Stout to wash it down.

And that was the end of my holiday... in the immortal words of Samuel Pepys, "and so to bed."

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Well, after about half a week of my new diet/exercise resolutions, I'm up two pounds... I know the conventional wisdom is not to be too obsessive about the scale (it's not even that accurate), but the "fat is converting to muscle so you're really getting more slender & in better shape even if the weight goes up" adage doesn't really hold all that much water for me: I have reasonably good muscle tone, not much intramuscular fat -- mostly I just have a serious inner tube, but this is the ominous "syndrome X" situation -- so there's not much "gain muscle to lose fat" opportunity. Still, if the scale doesn't start telling me what I want to hear soon, I'm going to throw it out the window. In other fitness news, I finally got my HRM watch battery replaced (it's only been about a year). My resting heart rate is currently 54 bpm.

One small reason why the weight might have gone up: Went to a co-worker Christmas party last night in Parsippany (my friend Vito, who retired about a year ago). This was the party that got rescheduled from the night of the big snowstorm, just before Christmas. For dinner they had pizza, antipasto, filet mignon, yams, potatoes, onions, broccoli casserole (Vito's wife & daughter are vegetarian, as is Jay Chandran, who I hadn't seen since he retired), a spiral ham (in case anyone's afraid of Mad Cow), homemade wine, sausage & peppers (Pat Gargone said he liked them, last Christmas), and several different pies for dessert. Good time and an unbelievable spread, but so much for my resolutions -- I'm surprised I can even move this morning!

We (Chain Gang) were supposed to go ride at Allamuchy this morning but it's raining and cold. Maybe a "Cold Mountain" matinee instead?